News and Analysis (11/19/18)

November 19th, 2018

The PA’s plan to force Palestinians into a social security system squeezes workers already saddled with debt with no way to guarantee a payoff in their old age:

“The Trump administration says the point of these sanctions is to punish the Iranian government. But, Kamyab says they’re actually punishing [American] business owners like him” …

… and “[w]ith commercial ties dating back to the ancient Silk Road, many Chinese companies have said that they will still find a way to do business in Iran, despite the threat of US punitive actions” …

… while in Iran four have been arrested as U.S. sanctions are pushing workers into the arms of socialism as employees “at Iran’s oldest sugar cane company went on strike on Saturday over unpaid wages, calling for the troubled factory to be nationalised”–hardly the regime change we want:

The “change, proposed by Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who is Muslim, clarifies the 180-year-old rule against wearing hats on the House floor to allow for religious headwear, including headscarves”:

The Chinese government claims those in the camps are taught Mandarin and given “vocational training to help them get a job” but those who have been held in the camps report indoctrination and say “they were constantly hungry. And before they allowed them to eat, they had to chant, long live Xi Jinping” …

… and one city now demands that anyone guilty of such “crimes” as living “in accordance with the Koran, … banning alcohol, smoking and dancing at weddings[, or] … rejecting government provided housing, subsidies and cigarettes or booze as being ‘haram’ … turn themselves in” within 30 days:

“In recent months, some European banks have refused to process payments even from Iranian firms that are exempt from sanctions out of fear of U.S. penalties, according to people familiar with the transactions”:

“The announcement … is aimed at legitimizing some illicit gold mining activity in the country as well as creating more jobs and giving a boost to the economy. … “Coin demand was healthy as the Iranian central bank increased the amount of gold coins released to the market”:

News and Analysis (11/16/18)

November 16th, 2018

A “record 55 Muslims won election last week from federal to local offices” …

… the victories of Muslim women have been especially meaningful to Muslim girls:

The first note said “You are a terrorist.” The second said “I will kill you.” The police have been called in but the girl’s family “says they just want the person responsible to come forward, so they can turn this into a learning experience” …

… while in Israel a “proudly Zionist” school bullies two of its students for silently demonstrating solidarit with Palestinian victims of Israeli brutality:

The Trump administration seems willing to buy the Saudi retread of the story that Khashoggi’s murder was not premeditated but Congress is not:

In classical Muslim society there were numerous cases of Jewish senior ministers. Morocco has one right now:

The legislation asks the State Department to consider targeted sanctions for individuals responsible for alleged human rights abuses in China” and for “an interagency report on the number of persons detained in the camps, camp conditions, and the number who are arbitrarily detained”:

“The Saudis are very angry at Trump. They don’t trust him any more and feel very strongly about a cut. They had no heads-up about the waivers”–an anonymous “senior source”:

What could possibly motivate Iran to support Sunni extremists like the Taliban? A Woodrow Wilson International Center Scholar suggest the answer is U.S. foreign policy:

“Amnesty called the trial ‘inherently unfair’ because they were denied access to lawyers of their choosing and had no chance to appeal the court’s ruling. Additionally, the televised ‘show trials’ were alleged to be embarrassing to the prisoners”:

A pollster reports that over the past three years Iraqi “Shiites who believe that Iran is a reliable partner in Iraq has decreased sharply, from 76 percent to 43 percent, over the same period. Those who believe that Iran is not a reliable partner increased from 24 percent to 55 percent”:

The Passing of Sulayman Nyang: Connecting the Dots

November 15th, 2018

Yesterday we laid in the ground the physical body of one of the most influential American Muslims of our time. Prof. Sulayman Nyang, for many years the head of the Dept. of African Studies at Howard University, was a member of the Minaret of Freedom Institute Board of Advisers for almost its entire history. He was a force in the Muslim community in America and his passing constitutes the loss of a scholar, a teacher, and an inspiration.

For us at the Minaret of Freedom Institute, we will miss his enthusiasm. When other Sunni Muslims tried to discourage us from the unprecedented inclusion of the general public at American University in 2007 for a discussion of Sunni-Shi’a relations on the grounds that it “would only make things worse” Prof. Nyang enthusiastically jumped into the program which was such a success that ISNA emulated it two months late. Later, when the Amman Declaration was issued declaring that there are eight schools of Islam, not just the Sunni or Shia schools, Br. Sulayman eagerly urged us “to connect the dots” from our breakthrough at American University to Detroit to Amman.

“Connect the dots” became a persistent theme for Sulayman as he urged us all to put all the little pieces of the events happening around us into the big picture. He did this with a deep knowledge of history, a pastoral appreciation for the human spirit, an activist’s commitment to fairness and justice, and a refreshing sense of humor. When we published Islam and the Discovery of Freedom he urged me to consider writing a paper on “How to Be an Entrepreneur Without Being White.”

A man of immense energy, Sulayman not only supported the Minaret of Freedom Institute, but served on the boards of the African Studies Association, the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, America’s Islamic Heritage Museum, and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. Despite his ill health in recent years he continued to show up at events urging us to connect the dots.

As I observed the galaxy of Muslim intellectuals, activists and community leaders at the funeral, I considered how every one must have been touched by Sulayman Nyang’s erudition, insights, and integrity. We are the dots connected by Sulayman’s great life. His spirit lives on.

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

News and Analysis (11/14/18)

November 14th, 2018

The new Congress may gave us a glimpse into a conflict between the imperialism of Carolyn Maloney’s “feminism from above, bestowed on black and brown women by white ones” and “the progressivism of [Ilhan] Omar and [Rashida] Tlaib represents feminism from below“:

“Many critics and observers … believe that the new token, controlled by the government, would take away some cryptocurrency characteristics, including anonymity and decentralization”:

“The Islamic Revolutionary Court … executed Vahid Mazloumin and his “accomplice” Mohammad Esmaeil Ghasemi … [on charges] ‘disrupting the economic, foreign currency and monetary system’ through ‘illegal deals and massive smugglings of foreign currencies and gold coins'”:

“If Tehran pulls out of the 2015 deal, it could have a weapon in a matter of months”:

“The MEK’s efforts over the past two decades to convey a benign public image completely at odds with this internal reality … has required money—lots of it” including an estimated $180,000 paid to John Bolton “for his multiple appearances on behalf of the group.”:

Palestinians are willing to accept the Egyptian brokered ceasefire but Israel uses the violence it unleashed by its deadly raid on Gaza as an excuse for war:

“Inspired by Mu’min’s own upbringing within a thriving Black Muslim community in the Bay Area, Jinn examines how identity is formed by religion, family, and relationships”:

News and Analysis (11/12/18)

November 12th, 2018

A “century after Muslim soldiers from South Asia, North Africa and elsewhere went to war for their colonial masters, a U.K.-based campaign is working to shed light on their oft-overlooked sacrifices”:

An Israeli social media expert was present at meetings held a “year before the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, [between] senior Saudi intelligence officials close to [MbS and] … a group of businessmen to discuss the potential use of private companies to assassinate Iranian enemies” …

… and now among those stepping forward to help MbS “to escape consequences for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi … have been fellow Arab dictators, such as Egypt’s Abdel Fatah al-Sissi[,] … cynical opportunists, like Russia’s Vladi­mir Putin,” and, of course, Benjamin Netanyahu:

Advising followers not to fear accusations that they are “bigots or racists” the proposer of the purge declares, “We’re patriots who don’t allow jihadists to play in the fields of the lord,” while their critics within the Republican party ask “what message is being sent to other minority communities?”

“Qatar … has no grievance with Washington and little sympathy for Tehran but has come in different ways to depend on both. … [M]easures … designed to force Doha to break its links with Tehran … have had the opposite effect” …

… and “Iranian sanctions complicate matters for New Delhi and Tokyo in their relationship with Washington, as neither shares the intense US dislike for Tehran” …

… and “Iraq’s president said on Sunday talks with the United States were continuing and his country’s special conditions regarding sanctions on Iran should be taken into consideration” …

… while three small Caucasus countries that buy no Iranian crude oil “have to various extents relied on Iran for natural gas, and stand to be affected – if only by uncertainty until the exact scope of the sanctions becomes clearer”  …

… and the Trump administration exempts an important Iranian port being developed by India in order to prevent China from benefiting:

“Indonesian Ulama Council’s followers are obeying” its nonbinding opinion that “vaccines use a gelatine as a stabilising agent which is based on ‘illicit’ substances derived from pigs” even though “Jewish and Muslim organisations around the world have ruled this not to be a problem”:

Ms. Helal says the “idea of ‘the poor Muslim woman’, the poor oppressed woman who has used sport to overcome that” is “an insincere and inauthentic way of engaging with Muslim women”:

Israel’s lethal raid may sabotage its indirect understandings with Hamas “backed by Qatar and Egypt, to allow cash and fuel into Gaza … [as] part of a broader effort to alleviate deteriorating conditions in the impoverished territory after 11 years of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade”:

News and Analysis (11/9/18)

November 9th, 2018

“A Jordanian source, with an inside knowledge of his country’s diplomatic affairs, told MEE that the Saudi decision is part of a bilateral agreement with Israel to put an end to the ‘Palestinian identity and the right of return for refugees”:

Despite expressions of human rights concerns over life imprisonment for leading an opposition party that sought “a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister”, but was accused of “spying on behalf of rival gulf state Qatar,” the U.S. “will not seek to impose sanctions over the matter”:

The city of Troy “has approximately 53 places of worship within its 33.6-square-mile border but not one for Muslims…. Adam Community Center sued five months after the Troy Zoning Board of Appeals indicated there was no acceptable place in the city left for the group to build a mosque”:

The assailant was “charged with bias intimidation, simple assault and terroristic threats”:

Liz Bucar‘s study of Muslim fashion taught her that “modesty does not look the same everywhere, … Muslim women don’t need saving [, and] … Muslims contribute to mainstream society”:

Israel attempted to excuse the murder with vague claims that two men were trying to “sabotage” the fence:

The head of the Islamic-Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem and Holy Sites wants the holders of the  keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to give them to another member of the family after a house owned by the current holder mysteriously ended up in the hands of Zionist extremists:

The city of DeSoto honored the late imam who was a member of the Minaret of Freedom Institute Advisory Board and “the first Muslim to recite the invocation on the floor of the U.S. Senate”:

News and Analysis (11/7/18)

November 7th, 2018

“During her tearful primary election victory speech in August, with her immigrant mother by her side,” Rashida Tlaib, “the daughter of Palestinian immigrants … said relatives in the West Bank were watching her success. ‘It just shows how incredibly wonderful our country can be'”:

“[T]he future head of the Church of England ‘thinks Islam can teach us all a way of understanding and living in the world, which sadly, he believes, Christianity is poorer for having lost'”:

The “fiery, young, shirtless Palestinian rebel wielding a flag of Palestine in one hand and a slingshot in the other at an Israeli blockade” whose image was “compared to the iconic Eugene Delacroix painting of the French Revolution, Liberty Leading the People” has reportedly been shot:

President Macron warned “that the nuclear non-proliferation regime itself is at stake,” and Europeans see no advantage to themselves in turning Iran into a failed state or further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Syria:

“Iran Telecommunications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi … said that Iran would sue Israel over the attack through the International Court of Justice”:

“BGP attacks are not uncommon, with Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and YouTube all becoming victims in recent years”:

News and Analysis (11/5/18)

November 5th, 2018

“Where anti-BDS legislation is almost certainly unconstitutional is in the United States (see, for example, this 2016 article in the Harvard Law Review). That’s where the real war for justice in Israel-Palestine is being waged”:

Germany’s foreign minister, has “proposed that Europe should set up its own international payment channels and its own equivalent of Swift” to sidestep American attempts to cripple the financial messaging service …

… but “a planned special channel to safeguard non-US trade with Iran would not be ready in time” for today’s reimposed sanctions forcing Belgium’s Swift to “face possible punishment under new EU rules if it complies with US orders” …

… but “India has not only been engaged in tough negotiations to secure a waiver from US sanctions for its oil imports from Iran but has also explored mechanisms to secure its interests in the strategic Chabahar Port should Washington decide not to exempt the project from the curbs”

“The common ingredients of the Iran and Contra policies were secrecy, deception, and disdain for the law…the United States simultaneously pursued two contradictory foreign policies a public one and a secret one”:

The female Muslim rapper with a degree in Christian ethics is called too Muslim by some and not Muslim enough by others:

“Former officials say they believe the breach originated with an Iranian double agent that was hired by the CIA — what they claim would be a result of lax vetting”:

“MBS has mentioned several times he would like to see a different Middle East and wasn’t as sympathetic with Palestinians as they might have wished for. MBS did give Israel more security in the sense that he was framing Iran as the biggest threat” anonymous Saudi official …

… “We do not interfere with the affairs of Arab countries and we do not accept anyone interfering in our own affairs” — Mahmoud Abbas:

“Once a month, thousands of Palestinians make the long journey to various prisons in Israel to meet their detained family members”:

News and Analysis (11/1/18)

November 1st, 2018

Disturbing leaks emerge in the Khashoggi murder including allegations that the reporter was strangled and dismembered, …

and his body dissolved in acid on the consulate grounds, …

… and that in the wake of the murder the Saudis publicly extolled him as a “friend [who dedicated] a great portion of his life to serve his country” while privately telling Jared Kushner and John Bolton that he was a “dangerous Islamist”:

“Israeli public broadcaster KAN reports that information from spy agency Mossad helped lead to the arrest…. Iran was quick to dismiss the claims as fiction” with a foreign ministry spokesman attributing the allegations to “the enemy’s plots and conspiracies” against emerging European-Iranian cooperation:

“Through this campaign, we hope to send a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place for this type of hate and violence in America”:

“Making love can feel like praying; to me, they’re both ways of purifying, exploring and growing the body and mind”:
“The renewed push for a political solution in Yemen comes amid growing criticism of U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s Yemen air campaign and American arms sales to the Saudis, in the aftermath of the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi Consulate in Turkey”:

“Khashoggi’s death shows disconnect between religion and religious-based leadership”:

“Our issue is not a piece of cloth or our headcovers, we take issue with you coercing us, with you deciding our destiny. … We want to scream a just culture off the top of our lungs: ‘the right to choose! No to coercion'”:

Jason Rezaian who spent 544 days imprisoned by the Iranians says, “Altering bad behavior through prolonged commercial relations — even with old adversaries — has proved a much more effective strategy for the United States than sanctioning governments into submission”:

News and Analysis (10/30/18)

October 30th, 2018

American Muslims are united in condemning the terrorist murder of Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue and in offering support …

… while an Islamophobic former FBI agent has “posted an inflammatory tweet claiming the Democratic party was responsible for the man accused of killing 11 worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue”:

Is there a “Trump defense” for those would mass murder members of a minority group vilified by the President or his supporters?

“The violent repression of IMN and the detention of its leader have drawn accusations that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is abusing human rights” and “has sparked fears that IMN could become radicalised” as was Boko Haram “after police killed its leader”:

“We Shiites are proud that our noble marjas have never gotten permission from any power but glorious God and have not been bound by the constraints of any political and economic bodies” — Elisa Hazrati, a member of parliament and managing director of the reformist Etemad newspaper:

Canada tries to impose its own perverse version on “Shariah law” on Muslims by banning adoptions by Muslims:

The “Palestine Liberation Organization described the killing as ‘a clear war crime in violation of international law’ and called on the ICC to move forward with an investigation”:

“Contaminated and scarce water owing to Israel’s brutal siege and bombing of infrastructure leads to death and disease”:

“The Muslim group last week made the highest offer for the chapel in the northern city of Bergamo at an auction organised by a local hospital, outbidding the Romanian Orthodox Church which had been using the building for its religious services”: