Author Archive

Black Liberty Matters

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

With the murder of George Floyd, the demand for respect for the lives of black Americans has exploded into the streets. Yet, after two decades of imprisonment of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (f/k/a H. Rap Brown), the demand for the respect of the LIBERTY of black Americans remains shockingly mute. Is it that Americans value liberty less than life (Patrick Henry is turning over in his grave) or is it that a century and a half after passage of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery Americans are still loath to admit that liberty, no less than life, is right for black people as well as whites?

On July 1, 2020, the Islamic Circle of North America live-streamed a conversation between Imam Khalid Griggs and Imam Jamil’s son Kairi Al-Amin, Esq. on the story of Imam Jamil Al-Amin’s struggle and updating his situation. Kairi explained that his father has seen more clearly than most the necessity of a bridge between the youth and the elders of a community. Imam Khalid noted that Imam Jamil is an excellent example of the hadith that the Prophet (pbuh) said that the best before Islam will be the best in Islam once they understand the din. Jamil “was who he was before Islam, and just became a better version after he embraced Islam.”

Imam Khalid asked Kairi in his professional opinion as a lawyer if there is any precedent for someone having a lifetime gag order imposed after his conviction so he can never discuss the falsehood of his conviction. Kairi responded that there is no official gag order, but, rather, that any request for an interview has been routinely denied for twenty years. Even Mumia Abu-Jamal has a radio show. But knowing “the power of [Imam Jamil]’s words to move people” (when “they put the leader of the Aryan Nation in a cell next to him he took shahadah“) so after that they used solitary confinement and federal custody to prevent his words from reaching a public kept in darkness. It’s never been about the murder (of which a video of the actual murderer confessing now has definitively shown Imam Jamil to be innocent), Kairi says, but “about his influence.” If he has the power to convince the leader of the Aryan Nation to embrace Islam, what impact might his words have on a sleeping nation that had to wait for a video of a man being strangulated before they realized that black lives matter?

In 2002 Imam Jamil was convicted of killing a police officer two years earlier. Deemed too high profile to be held by state authorities, he was transferred to a federal “supermax” detention in 2007. In 2014 he was transferred to a federal medical center due to his deteriorating health under incarceration, and since 2018 he has been incarcerated in a federal penitentiary in Arizona. He should be released completely, not on humanitarian grounds, but on the grounds of his innocence.

Kairi reviewed all the evidence that demonstrates his father’s innocence. The strongest piece of evidence is that even before the trial ended another man confessed to the crime and continues to profess his guilt to this day. There are now 48,000 signatures on a petition for his release or for at least a new trial in which evidence in his defense would be admitted. You can contact the Fulton County district attorney’s office directly.

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

News and Analysis (7/5/20)

Sunday, July 5th, 2020

“It was important for me to do this on a holiday that is supposed to represent America, and I wanted to shed more light on what America really should be about” — demonstrator Sandra Nichols:

Sri Lanka’s government claims to be “adapting” WHO guidelines which allow for burial of Covid victims in order to force Muslims to allow the desecration of the victims’ bodies:

“The row, which lasted several minutes, shows how conservatives will use the failure of the nuclear deal to boost the Iranian economy to isolate any reformist candidate in next year’s presidential election”:

A series of fires and accidents is suspicious …

… but Benny Gantz says Israel is “not necessarily” behind them all:

“[T]he evidence now, for the first time, very specifically meets one of the five criteria set forth by the United Nations Convention for the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide from 1948”:

Europe earlier suspended its own attempt last January to trigger dispute resolution with Iran, but now Iran is losing patience with Europe’s failure to compensate for American non-compliance:

“The pageant has given Muslim women … the chance to participate in an American rite on their own terms, without having to compromise their faith. (Its motto: ‘promoting modesty and inner beauty.’)”:

Getting Real About Israeli Annexation Plans

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

The diversity of reactions to Netanyahu’s planned formal annexation all West Bank settlements have been fascinating. While disinterested parties, such as the EU, have generally been opposed to the proposal, not all Zionists favor it and not all Palestinians think it means a whole lot.

Christian Zionists love it for the same reasons some pragmatic Zionists hate it: because it will bring closer a horrible war that the Christian fundamentalists think is the fulfillment of a Biblical prophecy of an Armageddon in which non-converting Jews are killed. Dennis Ross and David Makovsky are concerned that the Netanyahu’s rashness will alienate the Arab states undoing “recent seismic shift that has taken place in Arab attitudes about Israel. Many of the region’s leaders now believe that, if the United States retreats from the Mideast, Israel is not only a necessary bulwark against the threats Arab states face but also a potentially useful ally. Unfortunately, the willingness of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to push annexation for his near-term political benefit could damage the emerging alignment between Israel and the Arab states. Arab leaders certainly won’t want to look as though they are even indirectly helping Israel take what they consider to be Palestinian territory.”

Naturally, anti-Zionist Jews such as Jewish Voice for Peace are alarmed that Israel’s de facto annexation is now to be practiced as in-your-face de jure Jewish supremacy. Not only are signs being raised that certain areas are off limits to Palestinians, but signs signifying areas under the Palestinian authority are coming down.

Also skeptical are pro-peace Zionists like J-Street (which bills itself as “the political home of pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans”). For them, annexation “would fundamentally betray the vision and democratic principles of Israel’s founders, severely imperil the US-Israel relationship and make it nearly impossible to maintain broad support for Israel in the US.”

The pragmatists and the peace-lovers are joined by even such a self-described “ardent Zionist” as Robert Satloff, for whom annexation “abandons a relatively secure and surprisingly durable status quo for no real reason. If the U.S. and Israeli governments can’t convince even me of the logic here, there is no hope they will convince others that annexation is anything but a domestic political maneuver fueled by the growing electoral power of Israel’s ideologically motivated settlement movement, devoid of strategic rationale.”

The Palestinians too are divided in the same ways. For some it crosses a red line and for others it is just Israel’s admission to the world that yes, all the accusations of brutality, apartheid, and colonization are true. For the latter group annexation is a step in the right direction that brings the insidious infection into the sunlight where international opinion shall finally have an opportunity to resolve to treat it.

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

News and Analysis (6/22/20)

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

Apparently with Israeli government approval, spyware is distributed to Arab governments to spy on journalists, including Saudi interceptions of phone calls with the subsequently murdered Jamal Khashoggi:

“The ad, which included a photo collage of President Trump, Pope Francis and burning American flags” presaged that “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device” in Nashville:

Arrested along with seven others BLM demonstrators, the college student was deprived of her religiously-motivated headscarf for seven hours in violation of the Religious Land Use and Incarcerated Persons Act:

The OIC may consider action as the oppression in Jammu and Kashmir continues to mount:

An example of communal harmony in India is demonstrated by the Muslim man who, “in an effort to contain coronavirus, … developed a contactless sensor bell for a Hindu temple”:

The Qur‘an charges man to be God’s steward (khalifa) in maintaining the balance inherent in the natural world on which human survival depends:

As Iran’s chief rabbi reminds the world that “Judaism is a religion that is 3,300 years old, while Zionism is a national and political movement that is just 100 years old” …

… emeritus Oxford Avi Shlaim thinks the time has come to rectify the injustice of Britain’s recognition of the national rights of what was then a tiny minority in Palestine and denial of the same to the majority:

“A Turkish-US business council is projecting Turkey as a trading alternative to China” in the wake of “[c]riticism of China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic [that] has widened the gap between Washington and Beijing”:

“Despite escalating tensions, both countries see Iran’s Chabahar port as key to stabilising neighbouring Afghanistan”:

News and Analysis (5/26/20)

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

“The Covid-19 pandemic has beautifully dispelled the taboo, the myth, the common practice ⁠— that women do not and cannot pray with men”:

“State enforced disruptions to internet access are problematic at all times and in the midst of a global pandemic, such restrictions are unconscionable”:

“Education promotes individual freedom, empowerment and yields important developmental benefits” but in Kashmir getting higher education is an unusually difficult challenge:

Is the pigeon named Bond? Mohammad Bond?:

As tension mounts between the Chinese and Indian military over Kashmir …

“Debt-laden Islamabad gets Beijing funds for joint venture opposed by Delhi”:

“Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) has announced a black-band protest across the Union territory following the recent incidents in which doctors were allegedly manhandled, harassed and not allowed to reach hospitals”:

Rejecting the misconceptions of his Greek and Roman predecessors, Ibn Haytham’s innovative data-based understanding influenced later scientists including “Galileo Galilei, … Johannes Kepler and … Sir Isaac Newton”:

News and Analysis (5/2/20)

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

Fasting “can be difficult under normal circumstances for incarcerated people…. The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is no longer allowing religious volunteers to conduct in-person services in the jail”:

“Government officials piled some 9 tons of gold — an amount equal to about $500 million — on Tehran-bound jets this month as payment for Iran’s assistance in reviving Venezuela’s crippled gasoline refineries”:

Pompeo’s plan “to extend a conventional weapons embargo on Tehran that is legally set to end under the Iran nuclear deal, provoking anger and disbelief from European allies”:

The keys to a successful prisoner swap are mutual interest, a like-for-like exchange, and a willingness to share the credit:

The 27-year-old founder of and “first Muslim woman to run for federal office from New Jersey” received a phone call filled with anti-Muslims racial slurs threatening to kill her and her family:

“By initiating gunfights with guerrilla fighters, jailing people for going to buy food and medicine, bringing charges against journalists, and beating doctors, paramedics and municipal workers, India is tightening its grip” …

… leaving the people of Kashmir to endure a quiet Ramadan in a devastated economy:

After years happily married “to a devout Muslim while raising our children in a faith that was not my own … I realized that … Islam was no longer something outside myself but housed within”:

As “Muslims around the world are observing Ramadan, a time of fasting, spiritual reflection and charitable work,” a mosque in Connecticut “is giving out grab and go meals to first responders and people in need”:

The singer/philanthropist wonders why we humans are “the only earthly creatures who have to live with the knowledge of their own mortality” and “what might be beyond the final wall we must all climb one day”:

U.S. Policy on Human Rights in the Middle East

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

[On November 21, 2019, the National Interest Foundation held program on “U.S. Policy on Human Rights in the Middle East.” These notes summarize my impression of highlights of the presentation and are not an attempted transcription.]

Opening Remarks by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D – Virginia), House Committee on Foreign Affairs

No American, no resident of America should feel threatened. Despite its contradictions, America was meant to be a place where one must feel free. Human rights abuses in Syria and Egypt are routine. We still don’t have justice for his constituent Jamal Kashoggi, whose criticisms of the Saudi government were moderate. The Saudis have lied at every step since his murder. The fifteen assassins were flown in on planes owned by the crown prince, and Saudi denials ring hollow.

Panel I: “Human Rights in the Middle East” Moderator: Kelley Beaucar Vlahos (The American Conservative)

Areej Al Sadhan (Human Rights Activist) is a Saudi/American dual citizen whose brother, a humanitarian aide worker for Red Crescent, had been held for twenty months by the secret police, brutally tortured, and denied any contact with his family for social media postings on human rights issues.

Matthew Hedges (Durham University, UK) spoke as a victim of a false charge and of forced medication at the hands of the UAE. Although the UAE was founded by Shaikh Zaid bin Sultan Al Nahyan in alignment with the West, his successors have turned authoritarian. They originally charged him with distributing secret information, but on demonstration that the information was open, they changed the charge to distributing sensitive information. His case is not unique: He met a man who had been detained without charge for two years. He has now been under detention for ten years and does not expect ever to be released. He believes that the persecutors now have new tools and are emboldened by the complete absence of an international reaction. He alleges that Abu Dhabi uses its seat on the NYU board to suppress criticism. Although the charges against him have not been made clear, the evidence was completely on his masters thesis and why it is part of an MI-6 report. People he had met had been picked up by various securities services and his family had to leave the area.

Amel Ahmed (Nala Films for HBO) was in Sana working as a journalist and she saw Yemenis take to the streets. America took no action regarding Ali Abdullāh Salih and the Saudis installed Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, who attempted to split Yemen into six disproportionate regions for the benefit of the Saudis. When the Houtis rebelled the Saudis declared Yemen a battleground in the fight against Shia regional influence. Twenty million of the twenty nine million residents are now suffering what the UN calls the worlds worst humanitarian crisis. Terrorist groups have been given American weapons and victims taken to black sites. Many do not realize that Saudis participated in the Arab Spring. One imam who urged demonstrators to respond to Saudi violence only with their voices has been executed. You cannot obtain justice for Kashoggi without demanding justice for the others who have been detained or driven underground for demanding the change that President Obama advocated.

Abdullah Alaoudh (Georgetown University) says that the same individuals who murdered Kashoggi are the ones waging war in Yemen, persecuting critics, and who are behind his fathers arrest, mistreatment, and secret trial, seeking a death sentence on bogus charges including “seeking to establish a constitutional monarchy” and “possession of banned books.” There is no due process. They expected a verdict on his father later that month. He believes the people who extra-judicially killed Kashoggi are capable of anything, including judicially killing his father.

Panel II: “U.S. Foreign Policy and Human Rights” Moderator: Bruce Fein (Fein & DelValle PLLC) asks, “Do we have the credibility to put human rights above crass national interests?”

Former Congressman Nick Rahall (D–WV) said that in his time in Congress he saw human rights become more and more of an issue. The U.S. was good about speaking up for human rights, except for the Israeli-Palestinian issue. We know the Gazans live in sewage conditions and the human rights of Palestinians are unrecognized. There is more debate about US policy in the Israeli Knesset than in the US Congress. He doesn’t say that the US could be a panacea, only that we have no right to claim any moral superiority. In regard to Saudi Arabia and “moderate” Arab allies, we let them get away with anything. We overlook a lot in the Saudi rivalry with Iran because we want them to ally with Israel.

Doug Bandow (Cato Institute) says human rights is a stepchild of US foreign policy even under the best of circumstances, and these are not the best of circumstances. In Egypt, thousands are yet detained under conditions far worse than they were under Mubarak. In Turkey, tens of thousands have lost jobs and/or are in detention. In Israel/Palestine, the State Department no longer views the settlements as illegal. We seem to sanction our adversaries over everything except human rights. The more insecure you make a country, the less likely they are to take risks involved in improving human rights. Of tools, the US has the bully pulpit, and the President should be able to employ high sanctimony, despite the role we have played in those problems. We have aid, military security guarantees, arms sales, and sanctions. Bandow would argue the US should disentangle itself and first do no harm. We should recognize that these countries will continue to trade with us. They will sell oil irrespective of our position on human rights. The mere statement of interest in the subject, especially by US civil society, is essential.

Mohamed Soltan (The Freedom Initiative) says that two months after he got out of prison, the US wanted a photo op to show it could engage with the other side. He met with Sec. Kerry and was baffled not only that he didn’t see the human side of things, but that recruitment in prisons leads to radicalization. Although Soltan’s presence at the program is living testimony to the Obama administration policy, the region is a hot mess from policy developed under a national security lens. On his way to a meeting with the Trump administration, he got a message about a woman from Lancaster, PA, arrested in Egypt and separated from her children because of a tweet. Understanding our leverage requires understanding how much these regimes depend on us for their legitimacy. He believes the Arab Spring is alive and will come back depending only on the US government being true to its values. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died in sectarian violence that was the consequence of our intervention. It doesn’t matter that it was not intended. Much of what we think are legitimate tasks for the world’s policeman has horrible consequences.

Sarah Leah Whitson (Human Rights Watch) encourages reflection on the absence of accountability in US foreign policy. It must grapple with the violation of human right for which we are responsible. The grave crimes committed by American military and intelligence personnel in Iraq have not been reckoned with. The US is currently responsible for the violations of human rights and international law, for example, in Yemen. It is a party to the conflict. She is happy Pompeo ended refueling support, but intelligence support continues, which has been so dumb as to result in bombing of schools, hospitals, and funeral homes. The US continues to provide support and cover for the continued occupation of the Palestinian Territories, and the murder of demonstrators at the Gaza border. All who claim to be foreign policy realists abandon their realism when it comes to Israel. Their challenge is to justify assistance to an apartheid state. Put aside the myth of nonintervention in Syria; Egypt after overthrowing Egypt’s only fairly elected government uses its weapons against its own people in Sinai as well as in its interior. She does not look to the US to fix human rights problems. Pompeo weeping with Iranian demonstrators while demonstrators in Gaza are cut down just doesn’t cut it. She wants the US to realize that while it can’t fix everything, it must stop ruining so much.

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

News and Analysis (4/25/20)

Saturday, April 25th, 2020

Cancelling Islamic rituals has precedents in Islamic history such as the pilgrimage cancellations during the cholera outbreaks of 1837 and 1846:

“The state has silenced politicians, the pulpit, and other sections of the society” and now goes after the “few independent media voices”:

As different states look at different scapegoats for their failures in dealing with the Coronavirus, India blames it favorite target:

Because of the Palestinian population’s young average age, only two of the “484 reported coronavirus cases as of April 24 … have died so far”…

… but while Israel’s stranglehold on the Occupied Territories has delayed the outbreak of Coronavirus there, but will leave them “weakly positioned to cope when contagion kicks in more forcefully”:

President Rouhani promises Iran would never be the one to shoot first, but IRGC leader General Hossein Salami has ordered the navy “to destroy any American terrorist force in the Persian Gulf that threatens .. Iran’s … ships”:

Goldblum hedged, “I’m just … thinking out loud and maybe being stupid,” but when a non-religious Iranian wears a “red and white striped kaftan and a blue hijab outlined with 50 stars,” is s/he inviting the questions?

News and Analysis (4/18/20)

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

Forget fake news about coronavirus being invented in a weapons lab; the real news is how Israel is weaponizing the virus …

… leaving Palestinians to fight “the coronavirus crisis using familiar tactics from half a century of Israeli military occupation”:

The state denies it is happening, but a doctor reports, “Certain patients from the majority community were not comfortable being in the same ward with patients of the minority community”:

“[J]ournalists, human rights activists and Kurdish politicians languish in prison on terrorism charges. Yet …, Istanbul has become a beacon of safety for persecuted people across the Muslim world”:

“Grocery shop owners … donate PPE to health workers, food to the elderly and even Easter eggs to local children.” A customer says, “That man deserves a knighthood”:

“You don’t ask what I have to say, / but judge what I wear with pride. / I can climb mountains and cross oceans. / My spirit is free from prejudice freedom that Islam gives” — from a poem she wrote, recited at her funeral:

Emgage supports Biden despite his snub of their the forum they co-hosted at ISNA’s last annual convention that “left some Muslim leaders feeling that” he was among “the contenders … all but ignoring them”:

The coronavirus lockdown in Kashmir has paused neither the Indian aggression or the rebel insurgency:

Iran partially lifts its lockdown …

… while Pakistan permits congregational prayers on conditions including that “worshippers would maintain a 6-foot … distance from each other instead of … praying shoulder-to-shoulder”:

Acquiring combat drones …

… and aspirating to nuclear subs, Iran explains, “We are at our own home, while they (Americans) have come from the other side of the world and are creating problems for the regional countries with threats and sanctions”:

News and Analysis (4/4/20)

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

Trump says he would help Iran if they asked, but they haven’t asked for medical help–only that the U.S. keep it’s promise to end sanctions …

… so his administration hints that he is ready for war:

“Forced cremations during coronavirus crisis flout WHO guidelines”:

“A Muslim-led crowdfunding campaign has raised nearly $500,000 to offer micro-grants to low-income American families whose livelihoods have been hurt by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus”

“Muslims are not a monolith … This is not The Muslim love story, it’s A Muslim love story”:

Journalists are concerned by Iran’s “decision to suspend all newspaper printing and distribution in the country, where newsgathering and distribution is already tightly restricted”:

As Israeli officials threaten medical annexation of the West Bank

… Israeli settlers exploit the lockdown to spring a wave of violence against the indigenous people …

… but Palestinians resist:

After a Muslim missionary group was slow to comply with the physical distancing guidelines, Hindu nationalists started false rumors that Muslims were deliberately engaging in “Coronajihad”:

Recommended reading while waiting for the crisis to pass: