News and Analysis (8/1/20)

August 1st, 2020

Convention delegates are frustrated by both the Democratic Party’s refusal to acknowledge Israel’s brutal occupation and “by a drafting and voting process that was anything but open, inclusive and democratic”:

The Australian native “converted to Islam as a teenager. He ‘fell in love with America’s history, its principles, and particularly its commitment to freedom'”:

Both the U.S. and Iran “want to see a withdrawal of NATO forces; … to stymie the Afghan heroin trade; … to protect against terror groups …; and an inclusive government in Kabul that is not monopolized by the Taliban”:

  • Jammu and Kashmir authorities detain journalist and editor Qazi Shibli (Committee to Protect Journallists)

… meanwhile doctors who must treat locked-down “residents of the Valley online.” find it “no easy task in Kashmir, which has had no 4G internet for close to a year and where broadband connections are thin on the ground” …

… but Kashmiri Muslims fighting the scourge of intoxicants can learn from the Muslim barber who “raised enough awareness among the people and they wouldn’t let their daughters be used for prostitution any more”:

“The people who really need a mosque are the estimated 500,000 Muslims in Athens and the Attica region”:

In a nation where cremation is the norm, worries “about the hygiene of burials” are presented as an objection to cemeteries:

The monarchist group leader was arrested “for alleged involvement in a 2008 mosque attack in Shiraz that killed 14 people and injured more than 200”:

[T]he Islamic regime, which was established on promises of ‘social justice’, is still struggling to convince Iranians that it has remained true to the ideals of the revolution”:

The “RSS driven exclusionary ideology of Hindutva, which has no space for minorities, especially Muslims. Second, is a radical departure from the pluralistic and democratic polity … [of] India’s founding fathers”:

Ukraine describes first round talks as “constructive”, but reports that it is “too early to say how much compensation Tehran would agree to pay”:

News and Analysis (7/30/20)

July 30th, 2020

Will Trump continue to pushing “a candidate whose public statements have evinced intolerance to Islam at a time when the military and the rest of the country is reckoning with America’s painful legacy of discrimination”:

Thanks to Erdogan’s backfiring forced religious education campaign students are “increasingly likely to describe themselves as atheists, deists or feminists, and challenge the interpretation of Islam being taught at school”:

While the BJP claimed that the new law was part of its efforts to secure jobs in Kashmir, it actually acts against the interests of unemployed youth in Kashmir”:

As Indonesia rises as a soft power in the international Muslim movement, the Saudis and UAE play a complex game that challenges MbS attempt to project himself as the champion of moderation and progress:

Families of the victims say compensation is not Justice. “We need closure to know what exactly happened on that night. Justice is discovering all the truth and prosecuting all those responsible for this heinous crime”:

China does not want to repeat America’s disastrous Middle East adventurism, but rather to develop “commercial relationships that are not backed by conventional military force;” but the Iranian public is skeptical:

The Chinese government continues to claim that the concentration “camps are merely vocational and training centers….” Arbeit macht frie?

“Independent watchers … say the … government’s brutal policies … have … only decimated the pro-India constituency in the politically sensitive Valley, and, … provoked the rise of a young generation with a die-hard attitude”:

The victim claimed to be the Prophet. “It was not immediately clear how the assailant, identified as Khalid Khan, managed to get into the court amid tight security”:

News and Analysis (7/28/20)

July 28th, 2020

Hajj pilgrims honor the sacrifice of Abraham, and “the Maryland Hajj ended with rented sheep ambling in small petting enclosures and a station where Eldadah said families donated a total of $2,000 to Americans in need”:

“President Erdogan is helping China repatriate Muslim dissidents by sending them to third countries before they return”:

Israel cut off the British charity’s aid to the most deprived Palestinians by using refusal to discriminate against children of militants to pretend that Islamic Relief is a “terrorist organization”:

Never shy about taking credit for its military operations, “Hezbollah denied its fighters had engaged in any attack along the border,” but scandal-ridden Netanyahu needs a war:

Ayesha and Reza got engaged to be married in January, 2017. Then Donald Trump came between them:

As Israel increasingly sidesteps the PA as its enforcement arm, some Israeli conservatives fear it is accelerating an “advance towards … establishment of one Israeli-Palestinian state with equal citizenship for all inhabitants”:

The “NGO Foundation for Media Professionals” alleges contempt of court as government-mandated “slow internet speed makes telemedicine, or online consultation, impossible” during the Covid crisis …

… while “Indian Army, Border Security Forces, paramilitary forces and similar organisations” no longer need a a “no objection certificate” to from Jammu and Kashmir’s home department to acquire or requisition land”:

The Pakistan Press Foundation sounds the alarm over moves to crush freedom of the press and of expression in multiple attacks on journalists, new media, and even textbooks:

The facility “is said to be riddled with coronavirus cases, according to rights activists, raising further concerns about her deteriorating health”:

News and Analysis (7/26/20)

July 26th, 2020

“‘They all want to kill us’; that’s something you hear in Israel. But as an officer in the Jenin district, I met loads of Palestinians daily. I realized that just isn’t true”:

Muqtedar Khan calls a widely followed Muslim’s claims that Islamic law prohibits non-Muslims from expanding or renovating their religious buildings is an invitation to Muslim vandalism:

Germany is supposed to provide one pastor per 1,500 soldiers, but while the army’s estimated 300 Jews have some pastoral care the 3,000 plus Muslims have none:

“Israel’s Supreme Court accepts argument made by Israeli authorities that Palestinians held in prison are no different than family members or flatmates living in same home”:

Indians debate whether the warming relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh threaten the crackdown on Jammu & Kashmir …

… where with the shutdown of Internet and cell phone service the people have relied on television to learn of the arrests of their political leaders:

“Allowing foreign firms to be the majority shareholders of their joint ventures … [with Iran addressed] the long-running issue of inefficiency and poor productivity among the state-owned automakers”:

An online report indicates that “China would invest up to $400 billion over 25 years in Iran’s banking, telecommunications, ports and railway sectors, … and deepen military cooperation”:

Iranians are not generally big fans of Donald Trump or MbS. Ahmadinejad seems to be the exception:

“[E]ven though we have a clear interest in ousting Netanyahu, our enthusiasm and hope for what might happen next is very low — and we are indifferent to the identity of whoever will lead the next government”:

News and Analysis (7/24/20)

July 24th, 2020

“I’m not saying the police are perfect. White supremacy is the enemy. It’s everywhere. It’s within all institutions in America” — Imam Khalid Shahid:

“The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) has prompted many Afghan and Rohingya Muslim refugees to convert to Christianity so as to become eligible for Indian citizenship”:

“Hagia Sophia has long been hailed as a symbol of the coexistence of Christianity and Islam” …

… and the current controversy could have been avoided:

“[S]o-called progressives can comfortably posture as progressive without having to complicate their politics by interrogating their complicity in whitewashing crimes against Palestinians”:

“A US F-15 on a routine air mission in the vicinity of the at [al]-Tanf garrison in Syria conducted a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance” — Capt Bill Urban, US Central Command:

South Korea pleads with Iran to understand that its utter dependence on U.S. military protection from North Korea leaves it with no choice but to submit to Washington’s demands they illegally withhold Iran’s money:

Indian Muslims accept at-home Eid prayers during Covid, but protest that the “size and health” of sacrificial animals requires in person inspection:

News and Analysis (7/22/20)

July 22nd, 2020

Because the “legislation … is unlikely to be embraced in the Republican-led Senate, … it appears the issue will be fought out in the US presidential election contest”:

African-American Muslims want to know why Arab-American Muslims are peddling alcohol, pork, and racism:

“Since its inception, the state of Israel has adopted a militaristic approach to policing its Palestinian population.” After 9/11, the “US began to travel to Israel for training in so-called counterterrorism and counterinsurgency.”

The deal increases US weak global position, particularly in the Middle East after Trump’s withdrawal from several international agreements, ceding global leadership to China …

… and the potential economic-political cooperation between China and Iran could further reduce the value of India’s ties with Israel and US already challenged by Trump’s unstable and unpredictable foreign policy …

… but between Iran’s wariness over dependence on a foreign power and China’s expectations of US cost imposed on companies that aid Iran, Tehran and Beijing are likely to delay the deal until after US November election:

Young Canadian photographer Alia Youssef attempts to counter typical stereotypes about suppressed Muslim women through a photo project reflecting the vastly different experience of Muslim women …

… while Sarah al -Amiri works to shatter stereotypes of Muslim women by becoming head of science operations and deputy project manager for space probe UAE is about to send to Mars:

Bari Weiss “made a career as a Zionist warrior, often smearing anti-Zionists in ways that she is quick to call McCarthyism when others employ the same methods”:

In 2016, Michigan went to Donald Trump by 10,000 votes. The Biden campaign knows there are 150,000 Muslim voters n Michigan:

“Israel has recently banned Palestinians from holding activities or events in East Jerusalem and has shut down many organizations and arrested several of their employees and activists in the city”:

“Pakistani villagers living along a highly militarized frontier in the disputed region of Kashmir accused India on Wednesday of intentionally targeting civilians, but they vowed never to leave”:

Sincere Advice for Erdoğan on Hagia Sophia

July 20th, 2020

The Vatican message marking the advent of Ramadan this year, addressing “Christians and Muslims: Protecting Together the Places of Worship,” says, “For both Christians and Muslims, churches and mosques are spaces reserved for prayer, personal and communitarian alike. They are constructed and furnished in a way that favors silence, reflection and meditation. They are spaces where one can go deep in himself/herself, so favoring for God-experience in silence. A place of worship of any religion therefore is ‘a house of prayer’.”

This is an important perspective to bear in mind as a controversy erupts over the declaration of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that he intends to open the Hagia Sophia Museum to Muslim prayers in the wake of the Turkish high court decision that takes away its status as a museum, raising concerns over its status as a UNESCO world heritage site. Hagia Sophia was a Greek Orthodox Church that became a mosque after the Turkish conquest of Constantinople and then a museum under Kemal Ataturk. The fact that the Muslims had not destroyed the Christian murals allowed their restoration.

Erdoğan’s decision has sparked a lively debate on the “Sociology of Islam” listserv. Some have defended this move on the grounds that Turkey is a sovereign state and as such has the right to do whatever it pleases with state property. Others, like Sayyid Syeed of the Islamic Society of North America have objected that Islamic law itself requires respect for the places of worship of other religions, especially of the “People of the Book” citing Umar-al-Khattab’s scrupulous defense of the rights of Christians to the their churches in Jerusalem.

The mere fact that secular international law allows us to convert a museum into a mosque doesn’t mean we should do it. I am not the only one whom this controversy reminds of the incident in the Libyan teacher-turned freedom fighter Umar Mukhtar’s fight against the Italian fascists. When some of his troops wanted to kill the prisoners of war they had captured, Umar insisted there would be no killing of prisoners. When his men protested that Mussolini’s troops would surely have killed them had the battle gone the other way, Umar firmly responded, “They are not our teachers.” (And, no, I am not comparing exclusion of Christian worshipers from a mosque to murder of prisoners. I am saying that in freedom of religion no less than in the rules of war, the worshipers of the nation state are not our teachers.)

Hagia Sophia has been a church, a mosque, and a museum in its long history. We do not wish to see Turkey follow in the steps of Spain where at the Great Mosque at Cordoba, which has been originally been a church, one now sees a sign warning “Roman Catholic prayers only.” Rather than dwell on fine legal points (whether from secular law of the nation state or Muslim fiqh), let us seek a resolution facilitated by good will, magnanimity, and a common devotion to the Lord God Almighty.

Some have defended Erdoğan’s actions on the grounds that Hagia Sophia was the subject of a waqf established by Muhammad Fatih Sultan and that therefore Ataturk’s conversion of the site into a museum is a violation of the terms of the religious endowment. That Ataturk violated the terms of the waqf is beyond doubt, but the implication that restoring the right of Muslims to pray in this mosque prevents respectful tourists from visiting or Christians from praying within is flatly wrong and misrepresents Islam to the world.

President Erdoğan himself can turn this public relations disaster into a teaching moment about Islam. All he need do is unambiguously declare that his intention is to allow both Muslims and Christians to be allowed to pray in the museum (as both Muslims and Christians prayed in the Church of St. Vincent in Spain under Muslim rule and Muslims and Christians do to this day at the Great Mosque in Damascus). This would make it functionally both a church and a mosque even as it also remains a museum open to secular tourists that still want to admire a beautiful architectural achievement that is also a testimony to the faith of adherents of two great religions. It is surely a building such as those mentioned in the Qur’an of which Allah (swt) says, “Did not God check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure.” Let His name be commemorated there in abundant measure once again.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

N.B: While I have attempted to reflect some of the points raised in the discussion of this issue on the Sociology of Islam listserv, I speak only for myself and am responsible for any shortcomings herein.

News and Analysis (7/19/20)

July 19th, 2020

“The secret authorization–issued sometime in 2018–offered the US spy agency more freedom to both conduct cyber operations and choose its targets without the White House’s approval”:

“Iranian law allows those convicted to appeal again even after an appeals court has upheld the original verdict”:

Voluntary actors work alongside NGOs; mutual aid is non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, and more sustainable in the longer term:

Ukraine’s foreign minister said any conclusion should come from international investigation:

Muslim women are increasingly successful in a genre with a “traditional lack of diversity and popular depictions of women and Islam”:

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela says that when Israelis ask “Where is the Palestinian Mandela?” they are deliberately distorting the legacy of his “revolutionary, intellectual and freedom fighter” grandfather:

“Iran is signaling Europe and a potential Biden administration after the United States November election that US an Europe policies threaten to drive the Islamic republic into the arms of China”:

The mysterious fires in Iran continue …

… will Tehran respond using old methods of retaliation?

“An array of loitering munitions, often dubbed ‘suicide’ or ‘kamikaze’ drones, that could very soon revolutionize the way wars are fought in … [the] volatile” Middle East:

News and Analysis (7/15/20)

July 15th, 2020

After a Muslim employee’s report that George Floyd tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill led to the accused’s murder by police, the store’s Muslim owner says that it “will no longer call the police on customers”:

All opposition parties condemned Erdogan’s decree to shut down “a nonprofit private university known for its high educational standards”:

… while in England, “Prevent strategy appears to have had the effect of discouraging free speech within universities” pressuring students, especially Muslims, “to say the ‘right thing’, or to be quiet” …

… and Amnesty International accuses Iran of “an alarming escalation in use of the death penalty against protesters, dissidents and members of minority groups”:

Israel’s demolition of Zakariyya al-Battik in 1950 have erased its original history and identity; a recovered 700-year old document is a testimonial of the Palestinians’ root in the region:

With the mysterious incidents in Iran now spreading to include ship fires …

… an analyst identifies four “reasons Israel might be waging its shadow war more overtly — which could backfire” …

… but who is behind the hijacking of the oil tanker the U.S. has implicated in a money laundering scheme involving Iran ‘s Quds Force?

Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri of the Irish Muslim Peace & Integration Council said; “the choice of Croke Park is symbolic to Irish Muslims in their dual identity as being both Irish and Muslims”:

“Iran has delayed providing international investigation with the flight’s black box recorder but has reportedly pledged to provide it to French investigators on July 20”:

Jammu and Kashmir are smothered between Covid and Indian repression:

China is more interested in “energy security” than “in cultivating a vassal state in the Middle East”:

News and Analysis (7/12/20)

July 12th, 2020

After decades of violating the Qur’anic commandment Sudan scrapes laws that made it illegal for non-Muslims to drink alcohol and that criminalized conversion from Islam “potentially punishable by death”:

Palestinian-Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid says that the removal her post reflects a trend “to restrict Palestinian digital rights and free expression” …

… and the failure in Palestine of the “international legal regime [that] was meant to help end colonialism … threatens its very existence”:

Racial equality people still fight for today, reflects Muhammad’s revolutionary and the still unrealized racial message he outlined in his Farewell speech as “the basic religious and ethical ideals of Islam.”:

Founder Al-Khatahtbeth explains that the “Muslim platform doesn’t limit or restrict any expression of the faith”:

“Despite the past experience of the Bosnian War, and recent white supremacist attacks, many European experts, officials and pundits, appear to focus on extreme groups that have a Muslim background”:

“Off-screen, they have taken charge of their stories, proving that they never needed to be spoken for or rescued, but for a meaningful reflection of this reality in cinema, Muslim women will have to write their own stories”:

Key among the many mistakes that contributed to the tragedy were a misaligned radar, traffic control’s failure to identify the plane as civilian, and a,military unite that fired without authorization:

The oppression of Jammu and Kashmir continues:

Amendment introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey will provide aid to Palestinians through non-governmental organizations: