June 29, 2016

News & Analysis (6/29/16)

Turkey observes a national day of mourning after a heinous attack in Istanbul last night. Well over 200 people were injured above the 41 killed. Officials believe Daesh is responsible:

The popular conspiracy theory among Islamophobes that all Muslim organizations are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood have made it to the Senate of the United States. The sheer boldness and stupidity of these claims never ceases to amaze:

In the United Kingdom, there has been a three-fold increase of public attacks on Muslims, mostly on women, usually those with hijabs. Social media seems to be a tool of radicalization for the attackers, who are usually mobs of teenagers:

The Swiss have strict rules of naturalization, based partly on the level of assimilation into the local culture. The refusal of participation in a compulsory swimming class resulted in a rejection of citizenship:

The Indian supreme court is seeking to bring equality to women by banning unjust practices in Muslim traditions. However, most, if not all, of these practices are already not in line with Islamic law, especially the Qur’an, which emphasizes just the gender justice they are seeking:

June 27, 2016

News & Analysis (6/27/16)

According to the author, the best model is a “[n]eutral, non-interventionist state…that guarantees individual freedom…” Furthermore, modernization is not the same as secularization, contrary to what some may think:

The state has no right to regulate the religious practice of people. However, a mostly-Muslim country should be aware that the Qur’an clearly states that those who are ill are exempt from fasting:

“The fatwa stated that a female-born transgender person having ‘visible signs of being a male’ may marry a woman or a male-born transgender with ‘visible signs of being a female’, and vice versa. However, it ruled that … [an] intersex [person] may not marry anyone”:

Masters Students are protesting the lack of jobs in Egypt, even though protests are not allowed. Their situation is worsened by a “bloated” and “labyrinthine” civil service bureaucracy. The Egyptian government may be “the single largest employer in the Middle East”:

Turkey’s resumed diplomatic relations with Israel and Russia may be a case of “practical realpolitik overriding ideological considerations” …

… since the only possibility of a coup against Erdogan lies in the possibility of mass public protests in response to further foreign policy blunders or excessive zeal in fighting Kemalist  laïcité:

A pastor criticizes the lack of religious tolerance from some Christians toward Muslims. The problem, he says, are “zealots,” presumably on both sides, who preach hate and mask the positive aspects of their faiths:

June 26, 2016

News & Analysis (6/26/16)

Michele Flournoy doesn’t deny advocating military intervention, but only insists that she stopped short of boots on the ground”:

Historical context and analysis shows how America’s “cultural and demographic ignorance” explains why its decades-long political and military geopolitical engagements “exacerbate rather than diminish the region’s myriad difficulties”:

U.S. Law does not allow transfers to the prisoners’ own lands, so the government sends them to its Balkan allies instead:

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the U.S. and the world. These portraits challenge Islamophobia by providing a sampling of the diversity of American Muslims:

In making the accusation, the lawyer for the restaurant accelerates his campaign promoting the idea that merely being visibly Muslim is act aimed at destroying Western Civilization:

A preacher on Facebook accused a group of “radical Muslims” of rallying around a picture of Jesus decapitated. In fact, it was an image of Imam Hussain and the people were Shia Muslims celebrating Arbaeen, mourning the martyrdom of the Prophet’ Muhammad’s (pbuh) grandson:

“Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory in Fallujah over a week ago…. He pledged that remaining pockets of IS fighters would be cleared out within hours, but fierce clashes on the city’s northern and western edges persisted for days.”:

An immigrant from Afghanistan recalls how they were treated by their neighbor after two terror incidents in Norway. It shows how dangerous–and easy–it is to blame an entire group for the actions of few:

June 24, 2016

News and Analysis (6/24/16)

A mosque was destroyed in a village in Myanmar, belonging to the persecuted Rohingya Muslims. The president, Aung San Suu Kyi refuses to recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic group, nor call them by their preferred name:

A NYPD policeman dismissed from his job because of his “violation” of the department’s beard policy recently won his first amendment freedom of religion case in court:

The Civil War in Yemen is continuing with Saudi involvement in the fighting. The United States continues to support them because it prefers the devil it knows:

The killing of Jo Cox, British member of Parliament, illustrates, yet again, the hypocrisy following mass shootings/acts of terror. The media has taken pains to avoid calling him a terrorist, even though he was motivated to kill an innocent person by extremist political views:

“No fly, no buy” has been presented as a common-sense gun safety measure. However, upon closer inspection all it does is doubly-oppress those that have been placed on a “watch list” that is beyond appeal as neither its members nor its criteria are public:

“[O]nly through an equation combining respect for collective culture with individual freedoms and the demands of identity with the reality of pluralism, can Muslim societies hope to regain their lost equilibrium and stability”:

Why does Rachid Ghanouchi collaborate with a party “whose raison d’etre is to oust Islamists and restore secular governance”? Partly practical politics and partly because he thinks the notion of “political Islam” is “a Western concept”:

A Muslim woman in London, Canada had her hijab ripped off at a supermarket. Earlier this Ramadan, a bloody pig’s head in a gift basket was left at the steps of a mosque in Quebec:

June 23, 2016

News & Analysis (6/23/16)

After the Orlando massacre, there have been many claims that Muslims should ‘do their part’ in reporting Terrorism. Well, a former friend of Omar Mateen’s did report him in 2013.

“‘It looks increasingly like this may have been the act of a seriously troubled individual whose personal problems dwarfed any last-minute inspiration from radical groups,’ said a senior U.S. official familiar with the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity”:

In response to Orlando, the Senate is seeking to access Americans’ email data and browsing history without a warrant. This follows the pattern of limits on freedom after an attack.

The “satirical street group who posted video clips on social media that mocked President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and criticized an agreement with Saudi Arabia that would hand control over two strategic Red Sea islands to Riyadh”:

CAIR has compiled a new report showing increases in Islamophobic activities. This year marks an increase in funding for anti-Islam organizations as well as an uptick in Mosque attacks. This further shows that negative campaign rhetoric can have real-life impacts for American Muslims.

 

“It is far more likely for a Muslim child who is cut away from his mosque and the Islamic weekend school or full-time school to be preyed upon by these people. His only educator is the internet — YouTube. And you know what kind of world that is”:

It’s good that British Muslims are being taught that FGM and forced marriage are against British law, but to really stamp out the practices, admit that they are against Islamic law:

Beloved singer Amjad Sabri was killed by unidentified gunmen in Pakistan. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, perpetrated because they deemed his music (called Qawwalis) blasphemous:

June 21, 2016

News & Analysis (06/21/2016)

Bahrain has revoked citizenship for Ayatollah Isa Qasim. He is accused of encouraging sectarian divisions. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards warned the response to this would be armed resistance:

The political rhetoric that blames Muslims for terrorism is “designed to distract the public’s attention from the root cause of the problem: continued U.S. interventionism in the Middle East and Afghanistan”, is inaccurate and further erodes the freedoms of American citizens:

“ISIS did not exist until Bush went into Iraq; ISIS would not have expanded into Libya and Africa if we (along with NATO) didn’t destabilize the nation”:

The Iranian government has arrested 10 persons allegedly connected to the Islamic State. The government says that the country been a target for terrorist plots, and that these individuals were planning on carrying out an attack:

The media widely referred to the Orlando shooting as the “worst mass shooting in US-History,” but the mass shooting at Wounded Knee was six times more deadly. That it was perpetrated by the government only makes it a more shamefully unjust taking of civilian life:

Attempting to reprimand a woman on a bus in Great Britain for speaking a “different language,” a man showed that he is not familiar with the languages of his own country:

“[M]any Americans have not been exposed to the positive messages of moderate Muslim organizations because they receive so little media coverage”:

The US is meticulously screening the prospective Syrian refugees. Though it promised 10,000, it is limited by the speed at which multiple agencies can process the applicants:

June 18, 2016

News and Analysis (6/18/16)

He was an activist against both the Mubarak and Muslim Brotherhood regimes, but nothing could prepare him for the brutality of the Sisi regime:

“There are people who have stopped practicing Islam as a result of being gay and being ostracized. I will not pay that price. But because I am not willing to walk away, I am left holding that bag. The bag is the one that contains the beauties and burdens of being a gay Muslim”:

“Istanbul pride week organizers issued a statement with a #LoveWillWin hashtag in Turkish rejecting security concerns as a reason to ban the parades. It said ‘the governorship prefers to limit people’s rights and freedoms instead of taking measures to deal with the threats'” …

… but some Muslims “are welcoming what they see as an opening within their communities to address anti-gay attitudes” an some note that ‘the Ottoman Empire decriminalized homosexuality 100 years before … the West” …

… and one gay Muslim now finds the “Muslim community opening up ‘so much more… Individuals who never really talked to me about my sexuality actually reached out to me…to say they see me and value me. Those were the words that were used and it was beautiful'”:

“As I have continued to study Islam, I have come to understand that the underlying message of my faith is one that invites us to acceptance of the great diversity of the people with whom we share this miraculous planet — and of our own experience as part of that diversity”:

“This is New York City, the most diverse place in the world. And in New York, we protect our own and we don’t give a **** what anyone looks like or who they love, or any of those things. It’s time for you to leave these women alone, sir”:

“A statement said the Iraqi flag was raised above the city council building after its capture by Counter Terrorism Force troops, police and soldiers…. The US defence secretary, Ash Carter, said there was ‘still some fighting to be done’ as IS still controls a significant part of the city”:

“Israel has broken more UN resolutions than any other country in UN history…. According to Professor Francis A. Boyle … it is also responsible for ‘crimes against humanity’. The UN Human Rights Commission came to the same conclusion”:

“A soccer player-turned-politician … stands accused of asserting … that the president was guilty of theft[,] … referring to charges in 2013 of corruption against Cabinet ministers, the director of a state bank and members of the president’s family by pro-Gulen prosecutors:

June 15, 2016

News and Analysis (6/15/16)

Was the Orlando attack an act of self-loathing? “A repeat visitor who used to drink to excess at Pulse, saying he couldn’t at home because his family was ‘really strict,’ Mateen was also on a gay dating app used by other patrons of the club”:

“Muslims are less accepting of homosexuality than most religious groups in [a recent] study” but more accepting than evangelical Christians and Mormons:

“The LGBTQ community has stood in solidarity with the American Muslim community in challenging Islamophobia, on college campuses and beyond, and today we stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community”:

Sissi, who has no tolerance for criticism, tries to blame his regimes inflation (under which the Egyptian pound has dropped was recently devalued aby 14%, while the actual value is almost 30% lower yet) on “dishonest traders”:

“No legal system among nations, including Islamic law that forms the basis of the legal system in the Islamic Republic of Iran, justifies the punishment of citizens without due legal process. Placing political dissidents under house arrest is a transparent example of such persecution”:

“‘[R]adical’ can mean not only ‘extreme,’ but also, by extension, ‘genuine.’ After all, the ‘radical’ Islamist considers himself to be the ‘true’ Muslim just as the ‘radical’ feminist might consider herself more devoted to her cause than someone who would shirk that label”:

June 13, 2016

The Orlando Nightclub Attacks

[I have been interviewed by two journalists on Sunday’s murderous attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando. Here are my responses to the questions posed.]

Questions from free-lance journalist Abdel – Rahman Youssef for Al-Jazeera

Q. What do you think the impact of of this incident on the US elections, either when it comes to voting for the Republicans in Florida or in the elections in general given that Florida is a swing state?

A. Until this event, the extremely high negative ratings for both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump (57% for each in the Post-ABC poll of May 16-19) meant that there was a strong possibility in this election that the Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Gary Johnson would carry the balance of power between them, or even win enough states to throw the election to the House of Representatives. It is conceivable that this event will alter that that possibility, but whether and how it does depends upon too many variables (for example, precisely how the Trump, Clinton, and, for that matter, Johnson, campaigns react, and how the different segments of the electorate receive those reactions) for me to venture a prediction

Q. Some Americans on Twitter deemed the incident as another September 11. What is your take on that? And how do you think the attack is similar to/different from 9/11? Will the ramifications be the same?

A. The 9/11 attacks were inspired, if not planned, by al-Qaeda. As we do not yet know whether this was a homophobic hate crime or an attempt to copy-cat ISIL’s Paris nightclub attacks, it is premature to draw parallels to 9/11. However, the differences are stark: difference in scale (9/11 had an order of magnitude more victims), difference in mode (9/11 was a coordinated pre-planned attack while this appears to have been a lone wolf action), difference in target (9/11 was aimed at the U.S. military establishment and employees in an economic power center while this is aimed at civilians belonging to an oppressed social minority group at a recreational site).

Q. How can Muslims respond to the consequences of this attack  especially we are in Ramadan and Islamic centers are hustling with Muslims who are actively observing the ritual of fasting?

A. As is appropriate for people engaged in a ritual meant to increase their God-consciousness and spirituality, Muslims are responding with expressions of sympathy for and solidarity with the victims and calls for Muslims in the vicinity of the crime to donate blood for the victims and to provide any knowledge they may have of the perpetrator to the proper authorities.

Questions from Javier Mendez of EL-Mercurio

Q. It is possible that Islamic State could attack into the USA?

A. Although the investigation is ongoing and any conclusions are premature, an anonymous US counter-terrorism official was quoted in Vice News as saying that there is “no evidence yet that this was directed” by ISIS. As of now, the following facts are especially relevant:  Mateen’s father reported that his son was infuriated by the sight of two men kissing in public, Mateen’s fomer wife has described him as a violently unstable individual, the authorities say he bought the weapons only days before the shooting, he had been investigated previously by the FBI, and at no time was he in a position to be trained by ISIS. These facts suggest that this was an act of violence perpetrated by a homophobic individual who subsequently sought to associate his deed with a larger movement, not an operation instigated by ISIS.

Q. What could be the political and security effects in USA for this serious incident?

A. As this was the worst mass shooting incident in American history, it pushes multiple socio-political hot buttons, especially Islamophobia, gay rights, and calls for gun control.

Q. In your opinion, what will happen with the war against the Islamic State?

A. Eventually the Islamic State will be crushed by the people immediately oppressed or threatened by it. Foreign military intervention to date has only delayed that by allowing the terrorists to force themselves on the locals as the alternative to Bashar Assad’s brutality in Syria and to the Iraqi regime’s hostility to the Sunnis of Western Iraq.

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

June 12, 2016

News and Analysis (6/12/16)

“The suspect, identified as Omar Mateen, died in a gunfight with police. Authorities are looking into whether the attack on the gay nightclub was an act of domestic or international terror”:

M. H. Zaman worries “that this election may be pushing [my son] toward pragmatism over the idealism that America represents”. His dream is that his children “will grow up in a country that judges them only on … their character, … their ideas, … their values and, … their actions”:

“[W]e decided to work for the citizenship rights as well as Quranic rights of women….. We know that ours is a patriarchal society. However, Quran gave equal rights to women 1400 years ago, whereas in reality the society denied it to them”:

“Rev Wilcox said over the past four years his cathedral has seen the conversion of about 200 asylum seekers. He added: ‘I can’t think of a single example of somebody who already had British citizenship converting her with us from Islam to Christianity'”:

“The crackdown on hairstyles is part of a larger battle to control public morals by autocrats who either seek to ban religious expression from public life or impose pious behaviour” from Uzbeki controls on men’s facial hair to Saudi Arabia bans of partially shaved head hair:

Wherefore the press’s strange effort to paint Muhammad Ali as a Sufi? His God-given character was bolstered by the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X Shabbaz, and Warith Deen Mohmmad:

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