May 28, 2016

News an Analysis (5/28/16)

Government violations include “interfering with [Anwar’s] ability to challenge the improper conduct of the judiciary, limiting the time available to prepare a defense, withholding key prosecution evidence, and illicitly manipulating key alibi witnesses for the defense”:

Islam is adaptable and fluid in a sense outside of its core principles, and it can adapt to local settings. We have done it in Africa, Central Asia and India, why can’t we do it in Australia?”:

“Muslim students in Switzerland have now been ordered to shake their teachers’ hands. If they refuse to do so, their parents could face a fine of up to 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,000)”:

“You can give somebody else your business. If you can’t be nice, we don’t want you.” — Shop owner’s wife Cindy Ramsay to a bigot “as she returns him $3 he spent on ice cream”:

“[N]otwithstanding his national celebrity and credentials as the youngest-ever chaplain for the New York Police Department, Latif is routinely harassed by the FBI and other government agents”:

“The idea that the first exception might be for a Muslim student was particularly polarizing, given the national discussion and starkly divergent views about the role of Islam in U.S. culture”:

“16 federal states offer some form of Islamic religion classes in their schools, similar to the Catholic and Protestant religion classes they have traditionally had”, but “[r]ivalries and disputes among Islamic associations have complicated efforts”:

May 23, 2016

News and Analysis (5/23/16)

“The biggest challenge for the TDC [Truth and Dignity Commission] is to face the deep state resisting against the change and against all kinds of reform because they are facing an accountability process and they do not want to be accountable of all violations they did”:

“We want religious activity to be completely independent from political activity. This is good for politicians because they would no longer be accused of manipulating religion for political means and good for religion because it would not be held hostage to politics” — Rashid Ghannouchi:

“It is not an accident…. Someone would have to physically go into the safe in Office of the General Counsel, pull out this document, which comes in many parts, … and take the time to physically destroy it. It doesn’t make any sense. It is not how the CIA works”:

“We feel that any kind of political imposition from the government to try and silence people from engaging in these kind of non-violent grassroots initiatives are really an affront to our democracy” — Tyler Levitan of Independent Jewish Voices Canada:

The target of Trebor Gordon’s bigotry says, “The Constitution of the United States gives him the freedom of speech,” and the Council member who employs him “will give him an opportunity to change” but will change Gordon’s title from “Outreach Director to Director of Special projects’:

The selfie as a tool for spreading peace and love?

“When more than half of Muslims, when in doubt, would give Sharia precedence over relevant national laws,’ then ‘something we can no longer control’ will be at work in the country, Petry said.” State control of the people is more important than justice? We’ve heard that before:

“Ms Bi is supported by campaign group Parents Want a Say, which backed John Platt, 44, when he successfully overturned a £120 fine for taking his daughter to Disney Land during term-time by appealing at the High court”:

“Of the 152 detained, 10 went on hunger strike last week and another 11 joined them Saturday…. Three of the hunger strikers were moved to hospital on Saturday according to … a sister of one of them”:

May 19, 2016

No State Institution (Including the Citadel) Has the Right to Deny the Religious Freedom of an American

The Citadel is The Military College of South Carolina, a state institution. The reaction to the school’s decision to refuse to allow a Muslim student to cover her hair with a headscarf has unveiled a woeful ignorance of the nature of America’s strong Constitutional commitment to freedom of religion. I was especially disturbed by Asra Nomani’s statement, quoted in the Washington Post, “Women and girls, of course, should have a right to wear — or not wear — the headscarf in society, if they wish, but it is truly an insult to the struggle for secularism and civil rights in this country to conflate the headscarf with the struggle for religious and civil liberties in the United States.” We fully support Asra Nomani’s right to dissent from the majority opinion on Islamic law, but her presumption that religious freedom in America applies only to religiously mandated rather than religiously motivated action is flat wrong.

The South Carolina Religious Freedom Act was designed to “restore the compelling interest test as set forth in Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), and Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963), and to guarantee that a test of compelling state interest will be imposed on all state and local laws and ordinances in all cases in which the free exercise of religion is substantially burdened.” Those who have argued that the hijab is not mandatory for Muslim women raise a point irrelevant to the question.  The Citadel is an institution of the state and as such must respect religiously motivated acts as well as religiously mandated acts. Beards are not mandatory for men in Islam, but those who wear beards because it is encouraged by the Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) have their rights respected under the standard that this law was intended to restore.  The woman who chooses to wear or not wear a headscarf, like the man who chooses to wear or not wear a beard, is alone responsible to God, the Exalted, for her actions, but no state institution (including the Citadel) has the right to deny the religious freedom of an American citizen without meeting that compelling state interest tests.

The purpose of the religious freedom act is to restore the constitutional standard of strict scrutiny, that the practice of religion may not be infringed unless the purpose of the law is shown to serve a compelling government interest and that it serves that interest in the least restrictive manner possible. Whether a religious act is religiously mandated (as, say, prayer) or religiously motivated (as, say, the skullcap for Jewish men) is irrelevant. The questions the Citadel must answer are: what is the compelling government interest here and is this the least restrictive means of meeting it. If the Citadel’s answer is that the compelling state interest is crushing any semblance of individuality, that “interest” strikes this writer as neither compelling nor desirable. Any truly compelling interest they may have would no doubt apply to the armed services themselves, and they have found less restrictive means of meeting them, with no need to force women to display their hair.

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

News and Analysis (5/19/16)

The good news of Muslims, Christians and Jews defending one another:

“Given that transgender people are 49 –times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population, their exclusion from the high-level meeting will only impede global progress in combating the HIV/Aids pandemic” — Samantha Power in response to a letter written by Egypt:

Egypt was ranked 158 out of 180 countries in the 2015 Press Freedom Index, according to Reporters Without Borders…. In December, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Egypt was second only to China as the world’s worst jailer of journalists in 2015″:

“Montgomery County has been innovative in its approach, especially with its outreach to the sometimes hard-to-get Muslim community” — Officer Sharif Hidayat:

“[I]n the Supreme Court, … petitioner Shayara Bano has challenged the constitutionality of Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 in so far as it seeks to recognise and validate polygamy, triple talaq and nikah halala”:

Less than 1% of the 350 mass shootings in the U.S. “were committed by Muslims, but it was the one committed by Muslims in San Bernardino that was labeled … terrorism,” not Robert Dear’s murders at Planned Parenthood or Dylann Roof’s murders in an African-American church”:

In Israel a conscientious objector has served 111 days in prison so far for refusing to let her body be used as the tool of Israeli oppression …

… while “Roger Waters, Pink Floyd co-founder and BDS advocate, narrates the film, … [which] deconstructs the establishment media’s propaganda efforts” to misrepresent the apartheid state’s dehumanization dispossession, and massacres of the Palestinians as self-defense”:

Her family doctor said she was found by hunters who brought her and her baby home and her uncle said that the baby’s “father died while she was in captivity,” but the military claims that it rescued her and the baby, along with a Boko Haram suspect who claimed to be her husband”:

LA Times warns that “If Congress strips governments everywhere of their protection in U.S. courts, those countries will almost certainly adopt similar policies against the U.S.”:

 

May 16, 2016

News and Analysis (5/16/16)

A newspaper calls allegations that an official government ministry letter saying that none of the 711 Muslim yoga instructors who applied were granted permission to attend world yoga day is a fraud are “clear attempts to stifle the freedom of the press” …

… while in Egypt protesters were sentenced “to up to five years in prison in a series of short mass trials … for “opposition to the government’s surrender to Saudi Arabia of two Red Sea islands under a deal negotiated in near total secrecy” …

… and even as Iran “arrested eight people out of some 170 people identified as being involved in modeling on social networks including 58 models, 59 photographers and makeup artists”:

… Iran’s FM told Americans, “The Iranian government does not support, nor does it organize, any cartoon festival of the nature that you’re talking about. When you stop your own organizations from doing things, then you can ask others to do likewise”:

“Muslim women are not treated equal to men. None of us are. But further subjugating them to [Western feminist] prejudices will hardly help them achieve equality on their terms”:

“[A]ll Americans are entitled to peacefully exercise their religious beliefs free from discrimination and violence” — DoJ; “Mr. Payne has taken responsibility for his actions and is sorry for them. He is ready to begin the healing process and move forward” — Perp’s attorney:

Two Jewish-Muslim video experiments are conducted on New York streets …

… while, in the West Bank, a project drawing deep underground water to irrigate palms growing “prized Medjool dates … is the first large project to be funded by both Jews and Muslims in the United States … and to be operated by Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims on the ground”:

“The Shi’ite Muslim group is fighting in Syria, backing … al-Assad against a range of Sunni groups including Islamic State and the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front. But a war monitoring group … [says] there had been no shelling by rebels in that area for more than a week”:

“[S]ome western and Arab-backed rebels [are intermingled] with groups such as … the Nusra Front, which the U.N. has designated a terrorist organization … [but] Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have rejected attempts by Russia to get those rebels placed on the U.N. terrorist list”:

Epitomizing “clandestine colonial carve-ups, Sykes-Picot has become the label for the whole era in which outside powers imposed their will, drew borders and installed client local leaderships, playing divide-and-rule with the “natives”, and beggar-my-neighbour with their colonial rivals”:

“Without the protection of family and community, they frequently endure sexual violence, unintended pregnancies, trafficking and even child marriage” — Babatunde Osotimehin, head of the UN’s Population Fund:

May 13, 2016

News and Analysis (5/13/16)

“Who was in charge when torture occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad: the private contractor interrogators, or the US military that hired them?”

The judge wants clarity as to whether “building, health and safety codes as well as labor and wage laws” are being used maliciously without “proper notice of code violations” or “opportunity to appeal” and with illegal searches:

He spent years establishing “established his footprint in the extremist network. But after the 9/11 attacks” he realized he didn’t know his own religion. Spending “two years in Syria studying Arabic and Islamic studies … exposed him to … the ‘spirituality of Islam'”:

Despite the fact that 60% of respondents in a recent poll said that Islam “had no place in Germany” a Muslim woman from the Green Party “took the post in Baden-Württemberg from a member of a populist anti-immigration party on Wednesday”:

When she donned a headscarf after “reading the works of 11th-century Sunni theologian and philosopher Al-Ghazali,” her father feared her new-found religiosity might interfere with her studies. Instead she has become France’s leading Muslim expert on human sexuality:

“Over 600 Egyptian authors … [condemned the] regime that deals with freedoms with ignorant nonchalance, that privileges a discourse of oppression, that mouths terms like ‘morality’ while emptying them – by its actions – of all meaning, that violates the constitution every day”:

The number of “Americans who traveled, or attempted to travel … to the Middle East to join the self-styled Islamic State” has steadily dropped from 6-10 per month “during 2014 and the first half of 2015″ to average just one a month”:

“There was no immediate reaction from the Israeli government, which has authorised at least eight air strikes against targets inside Syria since the start of the civil war five years ago”:

“Bin Salman’s biggest difficulty is likely to be jobs, with a desperate need to reduce dependence on foreigners to get young Saudis into private sector jobs rather than the undemanding and unproductive state positions so many see as their birthright”:

May 11, 2016

News and Analysis (5/11/16)

Only the mildest form of female circumcision is “medically, legally and religiously sanctioned … [and] Fakhruddin in his statement said [even that] should only be allowed after a woman attains legal adulthood, after which they are free to make that choice”:

The planning board determined the mosque needed 107 parking spaces, more than double the 50 required by township ordinance … [and then quibbled] over the placement of a drainage basin forced into its proposed location by the supersized parking lot”:

A Dubai princess notes that 83% of Americans are “neutral about Islam” and do frequent Internet searches on “Muslim” and “Islam” showing that a desire “to know about Islam,” but that academic articles those “who rely … on infographics, tweets, pictures and videos”:

“Security has gradually improved in Baghdad, which was the target of daily bombings a decade ago, but violence against security forces and Shi’ite Muslim civilians is still frequent. Large blasts sometimes set off reprisal attacks against the minority Sunni community”:

“Interviews with women attending churches and mosques in Leicester, Oslo and Madrid showed that Muslim and Christian women in these cities had similar views of what citizenship is and how a good citizen should act”:

“[A]t the age of 16 we’re all going through the same thing biologically….  I remember … [an] Imam saying … that women who wear the hijab are protected. You’re battling with all these things so if you … have sex, or do drugs, you feel the guilt three times more than anyone else”:

The 73 year old man “was the fifth and highest-ranked opposition leader to be executed since Deember 2013 for war crimes. Bangladesh says the prosecutions are needed to heal the wounds of conflict but human rights groups say the trials fall short of global standards”:

“Hamas, which rules Gaza, says 30,000 people have applied to travel for various reasons, including humanitarian cases. The group’s Interior Ministry called on Egypt to extend the opening period to meet the demand”:

“This isn’t just about me. It’s about my friends, my family, and everyone who comes from a background similar to mine, anywhere in the world”:

May 8, 2016

News and Analysis (5/8/16)

Amid wide condemnation of “Conservative Party tactics in the race, … Defence Secretary Michael Fallon refused to apologise” saying “I think it is right that candidates for some of the most important offices in Britain do get scrutinised about their past associations” …

… while “in the face of a Conservative campaign seeking to tar him as sympathetic to Islamic extremists[, s]upporters said Khan’s own message — that a victory for him would show the world how tolerant and open Britain was — carried far more power” …

While the West condemns al-Shahab for drafting children to fight their wars, they back a Somali agency that forces children to spy on the militants. “There’s nothing NISA does that the CIA doesn’t know about,” according to a senior Somali official:

Seymour “Hersh now publishes abroad because his … revelations about deceit and brute force in the conduct of foreign affairs that delighted his editors when … [about] Dick Cheney lost its shine when he reported on President’s Obama’s not-so-different Cold War liberalism”:

“It is a religious rumble that barely makes headlines in the secular West since it is carried out at mosques and Islamic conferences and over social media. The Islamic State, however, has taken notice”:

Al-Jazeerah says, “The death sentence against journalists is unprecedented in the history of world media and amounts to a real stab against freedom of expression around the world” …

… Video included “El-Sissi,  My President, Made Things Worse” and one repeating “the phrase ‘leave,’ first … [directed] against longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak” and some mockingly “repeating catch phrases used by government supporters in defense of el-Sissi’s policies” …

… while the man who blew the whistle on Israel’s nuclear weapons program continues to brave prosecution, now indicted for “meeting with Americans,” moving to a different apartment and telling Israeli TV the truth about the rogue state nuclear program:

“To win visa-free travel for its citizens, Turkey must still meet five of 72 criteria the EU imposes on all states exempt from visas, one of which is narrowing its legal definition of terrorism … [that it has used] to silence dissent, including detaining journalists and academics”:

“New analysis suggests that there could be hundreds of uncounted victims of the war”:

“Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) [is] one of the world’s biggest Muslim organisations … but [d]espite their good intentions, … appear amateur next to IS … who … send about 200,000 tweets a day into the United States alone, according to US officials … [and have their] own news agency”:

“The call was the latest move by the head of Libya’s United Nations-backed government to assert authority … since Fayez al-Serraj’s return to the country in March. He has been unable to exercise much power beyond his office walls — much like his predecessors”:

May 5, 2016

News and Analysis (5/5/16)

Der Staat über Alles? “Religion in Germany never stands above the state” — Volker Kauder on “German Values”:

‘This … [applied] when there was no security for women and when women were at risk of being abducted….  I believe they should withdraw this statement and not degrade women. Islam gives great freedom to women – travel is part of that freedom” — Dr Sheik Howjat Ramzy:

Aide Tom Angel said emails like the one he posted listing “Towels for hats,” “Constant wailing from some idiot in a towel,” and “You can’t wash off the smell of donkey” as reasons “Muslim Terrorists are so quick to commit suicide” were not meant  “to embarrass or demean anyone”:

The starkest difference between the Canadian and British polls “is one of political zeitgeist … over how to curb extremism.” Things may get worse when the Queen gives Parliament plans “to give the government more powers to ban organisations and gag suspicious individuals”:

The company claims a security video shows there were long lines waiting for tables but a video taken by the women as they left shows “open tables throughout the restaurant”:

“When Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim to attend cabinet, becomes London’s mayor, it will be proof that cosmopolitan London doesn’t care about race. It doesn’t. But it will also have borne witness to an at times gruesome campaign”:

The resignation clears the way for an election as early as October in which Erdogan hopes to “win two-thirds of the 550 seats in parliament – a gain of 50 from the AKP’s current 317 – to allow the party to change the constitution without the need for a referendum”:

District Police Officer (DPO) Khurram Rasheed said police will recommend an :exemplary punishment” for those who drugged and murdered the girl, insisting, “This is not a part of KP’s culture. This is the first time an incident of this type has taken place.”

“Peace Without Justice, a non-profit body based in Italy, has called the tribunal’s proceedings ‘a weapon of politically influenced revenge whose real aim is to target the political opposition’. The government denies the accusations”:

May 3, 2016

News and Analysis (5/3/16)

An interfaith struggle for liberty takes on those who “suggest that Muslim immigration should be halted and First Amendment protections regarding religious freedom removed when it comes to Islam”:

“[S]triking the roof or upper story of a home or building with a mortar shell or missile prior to bombing … [is] supposed effort to warn civilians inside that they should evacuate … [but] rights investigators found the tactic to be ineffective and at times deadly to the …civilians”:

“[B]etween the lines of its vision to kick what royals are calling an ‘oil addiction’ are clear steps for Saudi to kick its other habit – reliance on US economic and military support”:

Forget “Prevent” and the absurd expectation that “crusty MPs and self appointed ‘community leaders'” can prevent the radicalization of Muslim teens; why not call on former One Direction star Zayn Malik, a Muslim who “can be seen to celebrate and enjoy liberal values”:

Local Muslims charge the mayor with “using a form of blackmail to get more non-Muslims on his side and against our community. And to what end? He could end up radicalizing a lot of kids as a result”:

“The freedom of speech; the right to a fair trial and … [and protection of] minority rights … are just some of the criteria demanded by the EU of countries before it lifts visa requirements…. It is hard to see how Turkey could be described as meeting these conditions”:

“Prosecutors have opened close to 2,000 cases of insults to the president since Erdoğan took office in 2014, prominent journalists appear in court two or three times a week, Kurdish journalists are beaten or detained …and foreign journalists have been harassed or deported” …

… while in Egypt, “[p]olice backed by army troops initially barricaded the entire area on Monday and prevented people from approaching the building…. Hundreds of uniformed and undercover police were still deployed across central Cairo to try to prevent any protests” …

… while, the Palestinian “journalists’ union says that Israel is also holding in detention another 19 Palestinian journalists and students of journalism, one of them for more than 20 years” in addition to one union leader now being held “for four months without charges or trial”:

The suit charges the “manner in which Mrs Powell was treated by LBPD officers was simply a show of authority over a woman of color who was unable to protect herself”; it comes as LA and SF police “have come under scrutiny over racist and homophobic text messages and emails”:

Mass media obituaries of anti-war activist Daniel Berrigan mention the controversy caused by his criticism of Israel, but impugn the veracity of their substance …

… “[R]ather than embracing the diversity of Jewish identities and cultures …, the European-dominated Zionist movement has opted for a[n] … ultra-nationalism which suppresses Arab identity as ‘backward’ and ‘primitive'” and regards the native Arab population (Palestinians) as invisible:

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