Archive for December, 2015

News and Analysis (12/9/15)

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

“[W]omen finally are allowed to stand alongside men as candidates – and a remarkable 900 women have seized the opportunity“:

“We care for this country. We love this country. While no amount of money will bring back victims’ loved ones for their families, we hope this will alleviate some of the financial burden for these families”:

“It made me pretty sad and angry to actually see an incident like that but also the reaction of the people coming together to vastly outnumber a bigot was pretty heart-warming”:

“The customer, a Latino man, who asked Haque to not identify him, intervened and held down Kolvani until police came. Another passerby called 911. Neither of the Good Samaritans are Muslim”:

“[A]bout 70 jihadis had traveled from the US to Syria to join militant groups, a relatively small number compared to Europe, and the greater threat in the US was individuals responding to online radicalisation” by DAISH propaganda:

“The most recent FBI data indicates that hate crimes based on race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation have dropped across the board—with the exception of crimes against Muslim Americans”:

“Obama’s request that American Muslims help “root out” and confront extremist ideology in their communities is getting mixed reactions. Muslim leaders say they want to help, but some are not happy that they are being singled out”:

“Homs was once dubbed the ‘capital of the revolution’ and saw some of the first protests of the 2011 uprising. But the truce means the entire city returns to government control, in a boost for President Bashar al-Assad”:

The lawsuit alleges that cleric Fethullah Gulen orchestrated human rights abuses … against three men in Turkey. It alleges that Gulen ordered followers among the police and judiciary to plant evidence against” them:

News and Analysis (12/7/15)

Monday, December 7th, 2015

“Bringing these academic programs here was not just for the sake of the programs. We wanted our citizens to be mentally open. We wanted them to be critical thinkers, to have a stake in the country” Sheikha Moza bint Nasser

… VCU’s “president said the involvement of six U.S. universities in Qatar will have a huge impact on the region”:

Islamic? No. A state. Yes. “Seeing Daesh [Isis] and the caliphate as simply a target to be systematically broken by forces other than Middle Eastern Sunnis … is to fail to understand this fight” — Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb …

… The Islamic State is “not looking to direct attacks at all… [T]heir direction is to inspire” — Michael Leiter, a former senior counterterrorism official in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations:

“[A]s police officers wrestled the suspect to the floor, a bystander yelled: “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv'”:

For Lina, Islam is bigger than any ethnic identity; for Miriam “Islam … pushes you to know and seek knowledge;” and Noelia “has never seen so much love” as in Islam, and Myree sees “Islam growing in the Hispanic community”:

Women are the favorite targets of cowardly Islamophobes:

“At first men in Kafranbel were suspicious of the center and unwilling to let their wives or daughters go there but gradually they relented, realizing the benefits of women learning new skills that could be applied both in the home and outside”:

An Ahmadiyya community member’s intense devotion to the U.S. provides no immunity from Islamophobia:

If Turkey thinks its sovereignty is threatened by a 17-second incursion of Russia into its airspace imagine how Iraq feels about Turkish boots on its soil:

The man claiming “the world’s greatest memory” can’t remember Muhammad Ali (whom he has met several times”) or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who “penned an essay critical of Trump’s absurd, uninformed or just plain incorrect’ statements”:

State of Religious Freedom in the US and Europe

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

[On December 3, 2015, I  attended a KARAMAH-sponsored event focusing on the current state of international religious freedom in the United States and Europe The following summary is a report only of my subjective impressions of the panel and is not intended as an exact transcript. Any errors are mine alone.]

State of Religious Freedom in the US and Europe

Aisha Rahman, Esq. (KARAMAH). the US constitution guarantees free exercise of religion use and prohibits both religious establishment  by government and religious tests for public office, but outside the law Americans are subjecting Muslims to collective blame. Now many are calling for internment of Muslims like the internment of Japanese during WWII. In the most recent year the percentage of Religious Use and Incarcerated Persons Act actions regarding mosques has skyrocketed compared to the nine years previous. Most of the increase is due to hostility to Muslims. Objectors to most instances of religious land use back down once they understand the law. Only in cases of mosques must land use cases resort to lawsuits to make objectors back down.

Engy Abdelkader, Esq. To say that the violence and discrimination against Muslims is a consequence of backlash against Muslims is to excuse it as the consequence of aggression or discrimination by their coreligionists. But before the Paris attacks a study on hate crimes against Muslims in Britain focused especially on hate crimes against women and found a reluctance by the public to intervene or defend these Muslims. For example, a threatened woman appealed to a bus driver who said he could do nothing. This lead to a $10,000 lawsuit that has changed the behavior of bus drivers. Tell Momma (a British support group for Muslim victims of hate violence) says over 60% of attacks on Muslims whether online or physical are aimed at women. A pre-Charlie Hebdo study in France came to a similar conclusion. An online posting of a woman in a burka identified as a “slut” highlights the specifically gender-slanted nature of the attacks. A schoolteacher in France called for grilling all Muslims on hot coals to fight terrorism. Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West began “as a Facebook page managed by a chef and convicted cocaine dealer“. In France several mayors have ended the practice of substitute meals for pork in schools with large Muslim populations, schools on which packed lunches from home are prohibited. Muslims vary widely in their degree of religious observance, except on the issue of pork consumption. In one French town the mayor said he would prohibit the opening of any more kabob restaurants because they go against Judeo-Christian values. Over a hundred Muslim female students who had already been forced to remove their headscarves were now commanded to stop wearing long skirts, demonstrating that any limitations on religious garb is s slippery slope. This is effectively an attack on access to education. The discrimination is not limited to women, and in France Muslim men are four times less likely to receive a job offer than Catholic men.

David Saperstein (Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom). It is not enough for a country to say it defends religious freedom, more important is what happens to people in those countries. It is not only a question of freedom of worship but the entire gamut of religious practice. There are 2,000 religious denominations and faith groups in the US. The three elements of religious freedom identified before guarantee that your legal rights will never be tied to your religious beliefs practices or identity. In Tajikistan people under 18 may not participate in public religious ceremonies. In China beards and headscarves are banned and Ramadan fasting restricted. It is women and girls who are disproportionately affected. Jews as well as Muslims were affected by the French ban on head coverings. When such bigotry comes from political leaders it gives an aura of immunity to such discrimination and a green light to extralegal discrimination.

Aisha Rahman. The teaching of Islam needs to include the time of religious freedom in Islam.

Engy Abdelkader. I would not use “jihadi” to refer to people engaged in criminal activity. In the observant Muslim’s mindset Jihad has a positive connotation.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad (Minaret of Freedom Institute). The press has a double standard. Muslim terrorists call themselves  “Islamists” and “jihadis”  because they are trying to put a positive spin on their unIslamic actions in the same way that “Ku Klux Klan” members call themselves “Christians” and “patriots” to put a positive spin on their unChristian actions. It is important to note that studies show that backlash against violence committed by Muslims spikes when there is political demagoguery. When George W. Bush went to a mosque to declare that Islam was not responsible for the attacks of 9/11 the violent spike against Muslims in the wake of 9/11 was largely quashed. Political demagogues today are fanning the flames in way they do not do with the white terrorists like the Planned Parenthood shooter.

David Saperstein.  There must be pressure both inside and outside the system. There are good people within the system who can’t act until pressure outside makes them do it.

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

News and Analysis (12/4/15)

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Anonymous FBI sources report that the attacker “had been in touch on social media with extremists who were under FBI scrutiny” but that his “contacts online did not involve any significant players the FBI knew of …

… leading to concerns over a spike in anti-Muslim violence:
“The speed at which [CAIR] went on live television underlined the depth of concerns in a community already buffeted by a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric this year and increased public scrutiny” …

…  but Dahlia Mogahed asks why even though the motive of the San Bernadino killings is not clear while that of Planned Parenthood killings is,  everyone assumes “Muslims kill for Islam” and white shooters are just deranged” …

… while Juan Cole ponders the way white terrorists are treated differently (being called “gunmen” instead of “terrorists” while hundreds of billions are spent fighting and new government agencies created to fight non-white equivalents …

… and Steven Salaita challenges the “discourses of violence into categories of good and evil, civilized and savage, rational and unreasonable.  Who creates these binaries?  Who suffers their finality?  Who profits from their endurance?”

Intent on showing they are tougher on Muslims than their rivals, the Socialists ask, “How many mosques were closed for radicalization during the last 10 years? None”:

Attention, Donald Trump: The Middle-Eastern-looking  people “caught video-taping the disaster and shouting in what was interpreted as cries of joy and mockery” in New Jersey were five Israelis arrested by the FBI:

Irfan Ahmed critically reviews Hallaq’s argument in The Impossible State that the “state as an institution and entity is a purely European idea … in sharp opposition with … Islamic governance … [dismantled by] European colonialism”:

News and Analysis (12/1/15)

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

“About 200 people … stood for hours with signs of friendship and support for religious freedom, and they hugged worshipers who drifted over from the mosque” far outnumbering the dozen armed protesters at last week’s hate-fest:

“[T]he recent attacks in Paris are part of a larger ISIS strategy to polarize Western nations, and foment hate toward Muslims” and it’s working on some people:

She visited the United Patriots Front demonstration to understand them. They wanted to “ban Halal,” without knowing what it means  know what it was. Then they lied to her they would not use her picture and then they lied about her:

To Mernissi “silent, passive, obedient woman” are not part of “the authentic message of Islam” and the Qur’an has been a bestsellers for over a millennium because it seeks “to seduce the reader through language, not with violence” :

“The population’s desire for peace, however, does not necessarily ensure a smooth path toward reconciliation…. Success …hinges on bringing the armed groups to the table”:

The father of one victim called for an end to the double standard and for the murderers to be given the life sentence normally given to Arabs, but “under Israeli law, a social worker must first approve convictions of minors”:

Pollard motive was not misguided concern over Antisemitism; he was paid well by Israel and also “offered to sell additional secret documents to Pakistan, Apartheid South Africa, Australia, Russia and some Middle East countries”:

“The available information, including evidence from Turkey and our own sources, indicates the Russian aircraft violated Turkish airspace. We also know that the Turks warned the Russian pilots multiple times … [with] no response”: