Author Archive

News and Analysis (9/15/20)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

Cleared of all charges by the courts, he was sucked into a nightmare “beyond the reach of the U.S. judiciary. Within the realm of ICE, there would be no public documents, no legal hearings;” yet he held onto his faith that “[a]n innocent, independent, wise individual will prevail in any situation”:

The so-called “peace” agreement actually smooths facilitates Trump administration sales of “sophisticated weaponry to the Persian Gulf states” that could as easily be used against Israel as against Iran …

… yet even as he arms Arab states, “Pompeo vowed Tuesday that Washington would prevent Iran from purchasing ‘Chinese tanks and Russian air defence systems’ as the end of the UN arms embargo against Tehran approaches”:

Joe Biden has a “track record of viewing authoritarian leaders in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere as moderate Arab allies’ who guarantee ‘stability’ in the region”:

Some pundits excused Trump’s withdrawal form JCPOA on the grounds that it wasn’t a treaty, but the 1955 Treaty of Amity is a treaty confirmed by the Senate and Trump has withdrawn from that as well, illogically claiming that JCPOA supersedes it:

“The museum was meant to showcase the arms, art and fashion of the Mughals” but Hindu nationalist officials “hostile to recognizing the country’s Muslim history” plan “a complete overhaul of the museum … [to] instead celebrate India’s Hindu majority, leaders and history”:

Celebrating the power of non-violent Palestinian resistance, Bacha chronicles the ways that grassroots engagement has produced creative movements of social solidarity and enduring personal self-transformations:

The settler murdered “a Palestinian toddler and his parents in an arson attack” that burned a four-year-old boy as well, but he could be released in as little as fifteen years:

Pro-Israeli PACs have poured over $1.5 million into the coffers of 2020 Congressional candidates. A lot o money, yes, but a tiny fraction of the U.S. taxpayers’ money it buys for Israel, so, all-in-all, a lucrative investment:

News and Analysis (9/12/20)

Saturday, September 12th, 2020

There are still some “progressives” who deny the Israel’s apartheid and settler colonialism, but after decades of persistent oppression of the indigenous people of Palestine, that’s become a harder row to hoe:

Bahrain, where a Sunni monarchy rules over a Shia majority, joins the UAE in abandoning the demand that Israel conform to international law in its treatment of the Palestinians before normalization in order to advance a coalition with Israel against Iranian regional influence:

“To win the support of the pro-Israeli constituencies … Joe Biden, and his running mate, Kamala Harris, have deviated even further from the low standards set by the Democratic Obama administration”:

The Taliban want “an ‘inclusive Islamic system,’ and the release of at least 8,000 more Taliban prisoners,” while the U.S.-backed government calls for a ‘humanitarian cease-fire'”:

“[T]he E3 feel frustrated the US has not yet shown a willingness to negotiate a compromise on the ban’s extent”:

“Akbar Tabari received the jail term after being convicted of ‘setting up and heading a bribery network'”:

His defenders say, and the courts deny, that the executed man claimed his confession was extracted by torture; his “attorney accused authorities of denying his client a family visit before the execution, as required by law”:

[R]esearch and waves of protests and crackdowns indicated massive disappointment among Iranians with their political system. This steadily turned into a deeply felt disillusionment with institutional religion”:

News and Analysis (9/10/20)

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Only one of the public officials asked to dissociate themselves from the hate group have done so:

Should government dictate the language of a people?

As women have taken their case to social media,” police have announced they have taken action against at least one suspect. Many women hope this will be just the beginning of a broader movement against sexual violence”:

“The … price of government patronage is high for ulema (religious scholars) in the Middle East. Generally speaking, they have to openly support or maintain silence about autocracy at home, while speaking of democracy, pluralism, and minority rights to Western audiences”:

A legislator says “that the military should take control of all internet activities in Iran — ‘for the protection of citizens, like all over the world.’ Anonymity on the internet would be a thing of the past as the military would determine users’ identities and monitor them”:

“COVID-19 restrictions have contributed to Palestinians being unable to travel outside Gaza for medical treatment”:

“The head of the country’s aviation authority said restitution talks would begin on October 18 … [and] told IRNA news agency that Iran is open to paying “full compensation for what it has done”:

“There was no mention of a military partnership in the reported draft agreement, … and speculation that Iran could lease strategic Gulf islands to China was spread by former-president … Ahmadinejad and … parliament [members ]suspicious of Beijing’s intentions”:

“Tehran’s continuous efforts to market the regime to its own citizens command disproportionately little attention beyond cursory media coverage of the routine passion plays that pass for pro-regime rallies” until now:

News and Analysis (9/7/20)

Monday, September 7th, 2020

Muslim minorities in Montenegro … felt threatened” and Muslims in neighboring states feared “another genocide” when the then incumbent, now defeated, Democratic Party of Socialists “inflamed ethnic tensions to take attention away from corruption scandals”:

“Dr Kafeel Khan was released on Tuesday after spending seven months in jail for criticising anti-Muslim citizenship law.” He accused his captors of “physical torture”:

An inconsistently applied concern for aesthetics is the government’s transparent excuse to deprive Athwajan miners their livelihood:

The “rallying cry of violent Hindutva action and has preceded several lynchings” on the 40-minute long recording of the transmission from the victim’s phone clearly points to murder, yet “the police has only registered a robbery case”:

“The Israeli government is opposing a petition in the country’s Supreme Court by 40 citizens which says officers responsible for severe rights violations must not be given training by the Israeli Police”:

“Conflating Jewish people with the state of Israel as if we are one in the same is itself anti-Semitic” — Stephanie Fox, executive director for Jewish Voice for Peace:

The House-passed “version of the Defense Spending Bill … repeals the 2002 Iraq Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which the administration has already used to justify the killing of an Iranian general”:

India and Iran share concerns over “the prospect of the Taliban regaining their dominant position in Afghanistan and what that would mean for regional security … [a]s the US pushes the intra-Afghan dialogue in Qatar between the  Taliban and the Afghani government”:

“Supreme Court lawyer Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi … was surprised to see ‘Tablighi members are prosecuted for provisions regarding the “spread” of a life-threatening disease when most of them never tested positive for COVID-19′”:

New and Analysis (9/5/20)

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

The army that is teaching the knee-on-the-neck tactic to U.S. police shows the world that that it can be used against elderly demonstrators as well as young suspects:

“The MEK’s disinformation primarily targeted right-of-center outlets receptive to a hawkish line against Iran”:

“A teacher coerced into giving classes in Xinjiang internment camps has described her forced sterilisation at the age of 50, under a government … crackdown [that] swept up not just women likely to fall pregnant, but those well beyond normal childbearing ages”:

“Israel holds the remains of hundreds of Palestinian dating back to 1967, kept in morgues or otherwise buried in unkempt graves in what is known as the cemetery of numbers … in contravention of international law”:

“[M]embers of a far-right group set fire to a copy of the Quran” and “[d]ays later in Oslo, protesters … tore up [its] pages … and spat on them.” Norway’s PM “denounced the actions as ‘hurtful’ … but defended the group’s right to express their views”:

“[F]resh tensions have exposed the underlying divisions and rivalries among militias, tribes and political figures that have plagued Libya since the ouster and killing of dictator Moammar Gaddafi during the country’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising and NATO intervention”

“[T]he Palestinian factions announced they had approved the creation, within five weeks, of a joint committee to organise ‘the popular resistance’ and ‘put an end to the divisions’ between themselves’:

“[P]olitical parties are banned, and all executive, legislative, and judicial authority ultimately rests with the seven hereditary rulers. The civil liberties of both citizens and noncitizens … are subject to significant restrictions” — Freedom House

The ability to attend services at a distant mosque made possible by demands of the Coronavirus has been a Godsend for converts like Rivera who, identifying as  queer, found his local mosque to be “a very gendered and inaccessible space”:

News and Analysis (9/3/20)

Thursday, September 3rd, 2020

Facebook took down political posts critical of the BJP but not hate speech against Muslims. One post “dubbed Muslims in India a ‘degenerate community'” and many of the dozens of Muslims’ lynchings were “triggered by fake news … on WhatsApp”:

“Is it so hard to understand that journalists, in the normal course of their work, must make contact with the people they write about?”:

An opposition leader accuses the BJP government of “lying about normalcy in Kashmir. If that is the case (that there is normalcy), then why were senior leaders of a political party placed under house arrest and not allowed to meet?”:

India has denied statehood to Kashmir to give the “central government a direct control over the region” to reclaim it form Islam because it imagines “the seven centuries of Muslim history are an aberration and it is time the region returned to its civilisational mothership”:

“Youssef, “up for two Emmys for the second season of his comedy series, Ramy, about a practicing Muslim who’s torn between his faith and his desire to fit in,” talks about how his Egyptian immigrant father managed a Trump hotel:

Amnesty International knows of more than a dozen persons who “have received flogging sentences, in addition to prison terms, … at least two [of whom] have had their flogging sentences implemented” and “is aware of three ongoing cases of enforced disappearance”:

“[A]uthoritarian regimes … tend to explain human rights violations by citing ‘national security’ needs” , … [so] this statement is not particularly helpful in determining the scope of actions prohibited … [with] respect for the sovereignty of another State in cyberspace”:

As Western global hegemony delineates “what is progressive and what is not; we run the risk of stereotyping our own ways of life. … Ideas of progress, liberation and freedom are being redefined by [M]uslim[s] worldover and Kashmiri women occupy the frontlines”:

The head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, says that those who “insult Prophet Muhammad, who teaches goodness, justice and freedom, ” expose their lack of morality and honor, but that “Muslims will not respond to such ignorance with ignorance”:


News and Analysis (9/1/20)

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

“The artist … is set to be prosecuted by the State Security Court on charges of “offending an Arab country”. Many have speculated the Arab country in question is the UAE, after Hajjaj made satirical drawings of the normalisation agreement”:

An astrophysicist, an author and two musicians are among the latest victims of Israel’s war on Palestinian culture:

A “common  sense precaution [from] the top court” disallowing “Muharram processions anywhere in the country on the ground that this may lead to the blaming of a particular community” has been enforced by the authorities “with brutal energy”:

“Both Israel and the UAE have wanted normalization for a long time. … No serious Israeli opposition exists. Public opposition in the UAE, if it exists, is sufficiently suppressed as to appear non-existent. And Palestinian opposition is irrelevant”:

Biden’s foreign policy pledges “aren’t just platitudes.. They signal a reversion to the post‐​Cold War view that America can and should be everywhere and solve every problem”:

“If by the bridge, you mean that we will allow them to bring their voices and propagate it [in  Srinagar], that is not a bridge. If by the bridge you mean that you will allow us to take the voices of J&K and Ladakh and propagate it [in New Delhi], it is fine”:

Roohi Sultana sits on the floor with her students using “the play-way method. The kids really get involved in this process of learning. I am merely a facilitator, but it fills my heart with joy to see their creativity take shape through the teaching”:

As Iran cooperates with the IAEA, “Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia are attempting to save the 2015 accord, leaving the US isolated”:

A break in the clouds?

News and Analysis (8/29/20)

Saturday, August 29th, 2020

“If [madrassas] have proliferated across India, it is testimony to the abject failure of the Indian state and its parts in the task of universalising free public primary education”:

Fanatical Swedish Islamophobes kick and burn Qur’ans on the Muslim day of communal prayers and then riot after the banned leader of a Danish anti-immigration party who had himself burned a Qur’an wrapped in bacon is refused entry:

“[G]overnment forces fired shotgun pellets and tear gas to disperse hundreds of Shia Muslims participating in a religious procession in Indian-controlled Kashmir”:

As if in a scene form a Kashmiri version of “Fahrenheit 451,” booklovers “used to hide all the literature on Kashmir – particularly the books on politics and religion – in a small trunk that was later buried and dug out every now and then”:

A blue plaque will be installed at the London home of Noor Inayat Khan, the subject of the film “Enemy of the Reich” celebrating ‘Britain’s first Muslim war heroine in Europe'”:

“There are no laws banning women in music but religious decisions issued under Iran’s Islamic rulers … have been used arbitrarily, said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran”:

Iran’s Islamic revolution was incomplete, never having eliminated the Shah’s practice of banning release political prisoners “to certain impoverished and remote areas” away from their homes:

The light sentence for the father who murdered his 14-year old daughter (an adult woman under Islamic law) after she “ran off with a man aged 28″ is fodder for those fault the system as subjecting to male discipline for non-conforming to patriarchal social roles”:

“New Delhi claims that Kashmir used its semi-autonomous status to discriminate against sexual and gender minorities, but its own moves are doing more harm than good”:

Hagia Sophia, Just War, the Inviolability of Awqaf, and the Meaning of “Prayer”

Thursday, August 27th, 2020

I received many gratifying letters of appreciation for my blog “Sincere Advice for Erdoğan on Hagia Sophia” published in July, in which I urged Mr. Erdogan to let Christians as well as Muslims pray in the Ayasofya now that it was to be reopened for prayer.  Only one person protested my suggestion. On the Sociology of Islam listserv, our dear brother Dr. Yusuf Ziya Kavakci (Emeritus Professor, Advocate, Ankara Bar Association), while expressing satisfaction with my summary of the controversy, expressed deep disappointment in my proposal, declaring it to be “unexpectedly  inconsistent” with my summary and “a reflection of a very non legal liberal way of thinking.”

To my attempt to explain why my policy proposal is not in conflict with Islamic law, Prof. Yusuf replied that the conquered church had become personal property of Fatih Sultan Mehmed who then established a waqf with specific conditions. He objected to the subjecting this analysis to any just war considerations “that that may bring us to discuss the legitimacy of whole past of the world today including USA, Canada, whole South America and Europe etc.” expressing his opinion that the Ottoman contribution to the structure “is over 70/80%” and “totally owes its existence to Ottomans care and very carefully observed maintenance, for which concerned Christians must be thankful to Ottomans.” Further, he argued that there is an ambiguity in the term “prayer,” and that while “Christians and any other faiths’ followers can pray in terms of duas [supplications] and zikr [remembrance of God]” that the only formal prayer permissible in a mosque is formal Muslim prayer [salah]. He also claimed that various Christian denominations will not allow other denominations to hold formal prayers in their “consecrated halls,” let alone allow Muslims to pray salah there.

Here is my response:

I most definitely do wish to incorporate just war theory into this discussion. Just war theory is integral to Islamic law and I shall not betray the law by ignoring it.  As to the practical consequences of just war theory, that it raises questions about the legitimacy of all kinds of things including the colonization of America, well, “Let the justice be done though the heavens fall.” Having said that, I do not expect the heavens to fall since the passage of generations since the time of the theft of property does indeed affect the degree of the injustice on living generations since the maintenance of property does affect its ownership.

But to your main point: That the charter of a waqf is inviolable. Whether the property donated to the waqf was the legitimate property of the donor is a fair question of justice and must not be ignored. If the donor did not have just title to the property, then the owner cannot donate it. However, let us set that aside for the moment and for the sake of argument stipulate that Hagia Sophia was fair booty of war after the Muslims successfully defended themselves from aggression by the Byzantines, forced to the use of arms because the Byzantines would not surrender or negotiate terms of a treaty.  Let us further stipulate that the church and state in Byzantium were so intertwined that there is no merit in distinguishing state property from church property and that therefore the building did indeed become state property administered by the Sultan on behalf of the ummah. Even so, as I and others have argued that does not mean that they building cannot be shared with Christians, as was done in Cordova, Damascus, and elsewhere.

Although it is not necessary for my argument above,  I do wish to challenge the premise that the charter of a waqf cannot be changed no matter what.  The jurists do admit of cases when the waqf charter may be terminated: such as when the goods of the waqf have been altered or destroyed, or if it is used to perform acts against Islamic law, or if it comes to violate the notion of waqf.  I would argue (against the prevailing thought) that, by the same token, when the charter of a waqf becomes counter-productive or harmful, then means for amendment of the charter must be allowed. It is important to understand that at the time that the colonial powers occupied the Muslim world, many of the awqaf had become obsolete and the fuquha’s insistence that amendment of their charters was haram gave the colonists the excuse to destroy the awqaf and in some cases to dismantle the waqf system itself. To claim that a waqf charter cannot be amended when its purpose is obsolete is a legal absurdity that leaves the ummah vulnerable. It is as absurd as a system that insists on the production of buggy whips long after automobiles have rendered them obsolete. Rather than double down on this claim, the fuquha should be divining Islamically permissible means for waqf charter amendment, and any new waqf should include procedures for amendment in the charter itself. (I have set up such a waqf that provides income for the Minaret of Freedom Institute and the Islamic-American Zakat Foundation.  The charter specifies what should happen in the event that either of these institutions should become extinct.)

Let me address your objection that the word “prayer” is ambiguous and that du`a must be distinguished from salat or mass which must be distinguished from one another. Mass is as essential to formal prayer for the Orthodox Catholics as salah is to Muslims, and I cannot conceive that the Christians of Damascus would consider that the space allocated to them in the Grand Mosque is being used for prayer were it confined to supplication and exclude the mass any more than the Muslims who pray jum`a at a synagogue in northern Virginia would consider themselves to have prayed jum`a if they were restricted to du`a.

That the Christian denominations dispute among themselves is irrelevant to the question. The Christians disputed among themselves over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem to the point that some sought to lock others out.  They resolved the problem by entrusting the keys to a Muslim family that to this day opens and closes the church without discrimination among them. I again echo Omar Mukhtar: “They are not our teachers.”

May Allah guide us all closer to the truth,

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

News and Analysis (8/26/20)

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

An Afghani refugee sometimes mocked as “terrorist” told the white supremacist mass murderer, “You took that name from me. Today, you are the terrorist” and “elicited spontaneous applause from other victims in the courtroom”:

Notwithstanding Israeli Pressure on its European members, the UNSC is not buying Pompeo’s illogical claim that the U.S. has the right to trigger a clause in a treaty from which it has withdrawn …

… while Iran grants IAEA access to two contested sites and the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation says that the IAEA “will carry out its independent and professional responsibilities and Iran will fulfil its legal commitments” under the JCPOA:

“Last week, under pressure from a group that polices the Canadian media on behalf of the ‘Jewish state’, CBC Radio host Duncan McCue issued an on-air apology for using the word ‘Palestine'”:

Hamas “was to provide security along [the border] in return for Israel’s alleviation of the blockade. But Palestinian leaders in Gaza accused Israel of continuing to renege on implementing its side of the bargain”:

Mustafa Akyol finds  “huge” gap in the degree of personal freedom “between the freest Muslim majority countries (Bosna and Herzegovina and Albania) and the least free ones (Syria and Yemen)”:

The Jammu-Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society calls “India’s communications blackout following the scrapping of the disputed region’s semi-autonomy last year ‘collective punishment'”:

The “rift between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia” over Kashmir” poses serious challenges to Saudi Arabia’s quest for geopolitical and religious leadership of the Muslim world”:

“Democrats invited Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour to speak during a ‘Muslim delegates and allies’ assembly, but then kicked her away the first chance they got[, showing that] … the party wants our vote, but they aren’t willing to work for it”:

A  senior research analyst at the National Iranian American Council says, “US pressure is in many ways cementing the system at the expense of the livelihoods of Iranians”: