News and Analysis (9/3/20)

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)

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)

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”

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)

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”:

News and Analysis (8/23/20)

August 23rd, 2020

“Palestinians … are forced to build without permit because getting one is almost impossible from a racist municipality that is ready to build thousands of housing units for Jews and not a single house for” them:

“[T]he social-media giant’s internal group for Muslim employees … said Facebook needed to make its policy-enforcement process for high-profile users more transparent and less susceptible to political influence”:

The stealth by which Article 370 was abrogated exposes the lie that the intention  was to promote democratic constitutionalism and federalism:

The UAE and Israel have incompatible interpretations as to what they agreed to regarding annexation of “portions of occupied Palestinian land on which unlawful Israeli settlements are currently situated” …

… a reflection that “the true reason for the deal had nothing to do with Palestinians and everything to do with Iran”:

“[D]espite its towering influence and centrality to the rise of our modern world, the Ottoman Empire’s history has for centuries been distorted, misrepresented, and even suppressed in the West”:

Illegal Bitcoin mining can’t be the only misallocation caused by Iran’s subsidization of power consumption:

Reporters taken on “heavily supervised” Chinese propaganda tours differ as to whether they are seeing reeducation centers or concentration camps:

News and Analysis (8/21/20)

August 21st, 2020

“Tehran called on Abu Dhabi to release the boats and its nationals, and to hand over the bodies of those killed”:

“The city of Phoenix and the Phoenix police targeted my brother for his race, they mocked him for his religion and disability, and then brutally killed him” the victim’s sister:

“[D]etainees had complained before the pandemic to ICE officials that the pre-packaged halal meals were rotten and expired, the letter said. Some said they had suffered stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea”:

The “[m]ove means babies cannot travel through Israeli-controlled crossings”:

Arranged marriage is much understood, but its racist side must be called out as a violation of Islamic ethics:

“We cannot therefore support this action which is incompatible with our current efforts to support the JCPOA” — Joint statement of France, Germany, and the UK:

“Israel’s military occupation and expansion of illegal settlements, despite Fatah’s control of the West Bank, dispel the myth that Hamas is the main obstacle to peace”:
“Head-shaving … in France … was the punishment after World War II meted out to thousands of women who had relationships with Nazi occupiers in so-called ‘horizontal collaboration'”:

“India has the potential to be a global leader in promoting democratic technology norms, but instead it leads the way with internet shutdowns”:

News and Analysis (8/19/20)

August 19th, 2020

With Sudan as well as Saudi Arabia lined up to follow in the UAE’s footsteps, Palestinians and Muslim nations outside the Arab world know betrayal when they see it:

At least two businesses in the UAE have received an unpleasant surprise in the wake of their government’s appeasement of Israel’s American protectors:

Pompeo has “every expectation that every country in the world …, including every member of the P5, and every member of the UN,” will do whatever the U.S. tells them too, however reckless or insane:

What exactly did Pompeo say to Russia about bounties offered to the Taliban to attack Americans? He appears to be trying to shift blame onto Iran:

Criminalizing the already illegal “triple talaq” was more about pulling down Muslim men than saving Muslim women and the Delhi riots investigation is about depicting Muslim women as morons:

A government official says the “the government to order the withdrawal of 10,000 troops from the union territory … [is] message [to] people that the government was willing to address their concerns”:

To understand why Iranians don’t trust the U.S. government, “start with Coup 53, an exhilarating new historical documentary that unfolds with the pace and complexity of a thriller”:

Israel denies that it arrested Mahmoud Nawaja for his BDS activism but a military court released him “after 19 days of illegal detention”  with neither charges nor an apology:

News and Analysis (8/17/20)

August 17th, 2020

“The U.S. claimed it seized Iranian petrol, but even though the cargo was sent from Iran, neither the ships nor the petrol were Iranian” — Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh:

“[I]t was primarily due to the endeavours of … active Muslim women in the mosques that left behind the great legacy of Awqaf [endowments], a tradition which survives even today”:

The report “alleges that Facebook’s top public-policy executive in India, Ankhi Das, refused to apply company anti-hate speech rules to BJP politicians and other “Hindu nationalist individuals and groups”:

Salman Rushdie will not allow facts (e,g,, Iraq invaded Iran, Indonesia has long been a democracy) to challenge his view that the Muslims must adopt a laïcité that even American Christians won’t swallow:

She responds to the taunt, ‘This is a man’s game” with “it’s a man’s game and a woman’s game. You just missed the goal and you are having a mare so focus on yourself.” Later, “they usually apologize”:

“[H]igh-speed Internet will be provided to post-paid subscribers while pre-paid customers would be able to enjoy the benefit of the services only after completing [a] verification process”:

The UAE persists with the pretense that that its U.S.-brokered treaty with Israel helps the Palestinians and poses no threat to Iran:

“Analysts say Saudi Arabia does not want risk its business interests in India for supporting Pakistan over Kashmir”:

People differ as to where Islam and Germany fall on some rational/spiritual binary; two academics try to sort out where various Muslim figures on both the left and right fall, and why :

News and Analysis (8/15/20)

August 15th, 2020

“Washington got support only from the Dominican Republic for its resolution to indefinitely extend the embargo, leaving it far short of the minimum nine ‘yes’ votes required for adoption” …

… which suits the Trump administration’s plans for unlilateral sanctions and, if Pompeo has his way, for war with Iran:

The claim that the Palestinians somehow benefit from the suspension of formal annexation is a fraud because Israel continues its oppression and theft without the embarrassment of de jure admission of guilt:

The head of Jerusalem’s “hospital of the poor” is concerned over its possible closure because under Israeli occupation, “No Palestinian institution in Jerusalem that is shut down is reopened again”:

India claims men it gunned down armed militants; their families say they were laborers looking for work”; HRW demands an independent investigation and repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act:

Police sources admitted off the record that students were being summoned as part of a ‘verification process’ … over  “concerns that the students may … indulge in activities considered anti-national”:

That India’s “Islamic rulers patronised coexistence through both literary and administrative means” is little appreciated: