Archive for March, 2019

News and Analysis (3/30/19)

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

” Israeli forces on Saturday used live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas on the protesters, killing three 17-year-old boys, and wounding at least 207 people”:

“HijrahFest is like a pious version of the US’ SXSW where, instead of music, 12,000 festivalgoers network, explore a Muslim-themed trade show … and attend Quranic studies guided by the hijrah community’s top preachers”:

From Asad to MbS, “Arab governments spend millions of dollars on research to shape Western thinking about domestic political activists opposing their rule, some of whom are religious” — Foreign Policy report:

“Amnesty International’s director for French-speaking Canada, said the bill contravenes the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion”:

“[T]he first female president of the Islamic Society of North America” says Muslim women are “shedding that narrow congregational model [inherited form the West] and also rediscovering our history”:

Racists are surprised. The most common first “names in the database” did not include Muhammad, but were “Michael, Daniel, Andreas, Sascha, Thomas, Christian, Manuel, Patrick, David, Jens, Justin, and Sven”:

The judge “found no proof, as required under a 2013 decision … that the services were a substantial factor in the attacks, and that the plaintiffs’ injuries were a reasonably foreseeable consequence”:

Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel.

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

[This is a summary of author Ben White‘s remarks at an Arab Center of Washington DC round table about his book Cracks in the Wall: Beyond Apartheid in Palestine/Israel. held on March 29, 2019. It is not a transcript, but a summary of my impressions of his presentation and the discussion.]

There is a de facto single apartheid state in all of Palestine, but the good news is the cracks in the wall developing internationally. I myself favor a single democratic state, but I will focus on the cracks in the wall that reflect trends that go a way back, not only changes in how jews see themselves, but how the Palestinians are being seen. J street, JVP, If Not Now, etc. are important developments. We are witnessing the ending of the era of bipartisan support for Israel. There is a huge change and now a big disparity in how the grass roots in each party see Israel. From 2014 to 2017 Israel dropped on the survey of American allies from 6th to 16th, but more importantly the disparities between the two parties widened. This phenomena can be seen in other countries where even liberals and progressives have become more critical of Israel while Israel right had become more willing to collaborate with far right parties abroad. The third factor is how the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has grown. It’s economic impact has been marginal, but it has changed the discourse and given activists a way to get on board. It says this is ultimately about rights.

It is vital to express how little is on the table for Palestinians across the Israeli political spectrum. The mainstream spectrum has only three offers for the Palestinians: the status quo, annexation, or separation. The last group is too often mistaken for viable peace partners but they provide no timetable for a Palestinian state and set conditions that make its realization impossible. The blue and white list has hardly spoken about this issue and Benny Ganz kicked off his campaign by boasting about how many Palestinians he has killed in the Gaza Strip. The parties differ about what to do about the fact that there are Palestinians in the land but their fundamental assumptions are all the same.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad: You made a profound point about how the effect of the BDS movement on the discourse has been more important than its economic impact. I invite you to comment on the narrower issue of how the attempts to suppress the BDS movement by executive orders and legislation provokes a backlash as Americans realize that these attacks on First Amendment rights demonstrate that Israel threatens democracy in America as well as in Israel/ Palestine.

Ben White. It not only threats to freedom of speech but is a sign of weakness. The Jewish nationality law was in part a reaction to Palestinian demands to equal national rights, but it has dragged into the spotlight the same type of reaction. Such acts produce conversations that their movers eventually wish they hadn’t started. As the supporters of Israeli apartheid realize this, new non binding resolutions are being introduced to silence the free speech objections, but their impacts are still provocative.

For a number of years the UK had a conveyor belt theory of terrorism that nonviolent extremists would eventually become terrorists, resulting in the PREVENT policy that institutionalizes Islamophobia. I believe that in the UK you must make case by case decisions as to whether to push back or just go in with work at hand.

There is no JVP in Britain because it is a much smaller community in Britain. There are smaller groups. JVP is unique in the world. There is a kind of J Street equivalent but it is smaller and doesn’t do lobbying as internal conversation.

The BDS in South Africa in South Africa was different in that it had a simple end point: one person one vote. The Palestinian situation is more complex, but I see an advantage to the difference. This BDS movement is about ending one’s own complicity in the oppression. As and when there are significant developments in the Palestinian movement, there will be a ceiling on the impact of the BDS movement, but it’s ingenuity is in taking the political issues off the table and focusing on human rights.

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

News and Analysis (3/28/19)

Thursday, March 28th, 2019

It is disturbing that even in the 21st century some Virginians cant morally distinguish killing chickens for food from enslaving humans for the color of their skin:

“CelebrateMercy, has over the past two years given $115,000 to vandalized Jewish cemeteries and memorials …, and facilitated the donation of around $238,000 to the Tree of Life … Congregation in Pittsburgh”:

“[B]ased upon the separation of state and society, … [Islam] brought down the walls separating regional civilizations … and gave birth to some of [its] most celebrated historical figures in culture, science, and art”:

Her message to the hypocrites in office: “You cannot march with us against the Muslim Ban as you condemn Congresswoman Omar and sign off large military packages to an apartheid state” …

… “[T]he idea of Muslims and Jews as naturally opposed is an extension of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, in hopes to reduce the political conflict to a religious one …. [and to] pit Muslims and Jews against one another”:

“[I]n feminist circles… [t]here is seldom more than one Muslim woman in the room, much less a black Muslim woman. These spaces lack a fundamental understanding of Muslimah agency” …

… and “there are only 3 Muslim MEPs out of a total of 751. And since they are all men, Muslim women are invisible in the EU parliament (with the exception of some of the cleaners)”:

“Her intimate portraits highlight Muslim women of all ages, backgrounds, and careers …  to combat stereotypical and monolithic representations of Muslim women and create a space of inclusion and belonging”:

“Issa Amro … was arrested by Palestinian security forces … after  criticizing the Palestinian authorities on Facebook for arresting a journalist in Hebron who had been critical of President Mahmoud Abbas”:

News and Analysis (3/26/19)

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

The history of Muslims in New Zealand, which goes back to 1769, includes helping “in the construction of Christchurch Cathedral by transporting stones from the Port Hills quarry” …

… yet the community has been spied on, and even a government official’s statement saying not all Muslims are terrorists suggested that “she could only ever see a terror threat coming from Islamic extremists” …

“[T]hose in the West who promote the idea that Islam and liberal democratic values are incompatible … demonise Muslim communities by conflating Islam and the Wahhabi ideology that the West has empowered”:

An ex-Marine planned to blow up an Islamic Center. When he saw his little daughter’s reaction to his murderous hatred, he instead went to the center to learn about Islam. What he learned changed his life:

Claiming they are Indian citizens falsely caught up in the BJP’s anti-immigration sweep, question the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council’s jurisdiction saying their village is in another district:

A minister “in Cape Town, has been accused of heresy’ by two other ministers, because he referred to Muslims ‘as ‘brothers and sisters’ and ‘children of God'” … in solidarity with the [Christchurch] victims”:

The video suggests that IDF soldiers executed not car-ramming assailants, but innocents who “collided accidentally with an Israeli army vehicle that had broken down on a narrow road in the middle of the night”:

Shortly before the PA legislature swore in its first Muslim legislator, another legislator delivered an opening prayer asserting “Jesus, you are our only hope” and thanking God that Trump stands with Israel …

… while in the UK despite suspensions over “objectionable content, including calling Muslims ‘cavemen,’ Saudis ‘sand peasants’ and comparing Asian people to dogs … most … have been readmitted to the party”:

“It was the disparity between the life of Khadija and the lives of some modern British Muslim women, still repressed under cultural rules in the 21st century, that inspired me to become a women’s rights activist”:

A look at the Australian cesspool in which an “’absolutely inter-related’ mix of misogyny and racism” which meet in “white male supremacy” has bred both the Christchurch shooter and the politician who defended him:

News and Analysis (3/23/19)

Saturday, March 23rd, 2019

Penalties for students “who criticize the Kingdom while abroad are daunting: passport freezes, death threats, intimidation, retraction of scholarships, and attempts to lure them back to the country”:

“62 Palestinians [were] also wounded by Israeli forces” and the UN Human Rights Council condemned Israel’s “‘apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force’ against civilian protesters”:

“I feel like she understands us, and she understands what we need… She’s talking to the world about how you should be treating your Muslim population” …

… and “[i]n a day without precedent, people across New Zealand were planning to observe the Muslim call to prayer Friday”:

“Religious detainees have had their religious texts and items confiscated, been forced to eat forbidden foods, and have even watched as U.S. immigration agents threw their holy objects into the garbage:

“An American bigot told her to cease defending Islam because were she to remove her headscarf her father would beat her up, but her Saudi father said, “That’s no man’s decision to make… I’ll support you” either way:

“Several Arabic and Muslim teenagers were assaulted in separate incidents this past week … [apparently] by students from John F. Kennedy High School who traveled to South Paterson after school looking for victims”:

“Our aim will be that whatever we can do for conciliation in the Middle East, we want to play that role” — Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

News and Analysis (3/20/19)

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

“When minority identity politics overreaches, it lamentably forces Christians to bake cakes for gays. When a majority united by ethno-nationalistic passions does so, mass violence … isn’t off-limits”:

Until Australian media and politicians realize their role in what led to the Christchurch tragedy, they will continue to “kill the deceased and march in his funeral procession”:

Erdogan responds to white nationalism with Turkish nationalism, “we have been here for 1,000 years and God willing we will be until doomsday. You will not be able to make Istanbul Constantinople”:

Unlike Spike Lee’s BlackKKlansman, who sought to expose the KKK, this “35-year-old black man – had called the Ku Klux Klan over and over again because” he shares their hatred of Islam:

Delayed entry to help bury victims due to remarks he denies making about gays, he is on ISIS’ hit list for opposing “violence in the name of Islam, and urges people to follow the laws of the country they live in”:

“Oyub Titiev, 61, had worked for years investigating allegations of abuse ranging from torture to murder under the increasingly autocratic rule of the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov”:

“[T]he French state wants to regulate and confine the Muslim presence – in particular, the visibility of Muslim women – through legal means” …

… and although “there is still no indication by the Australian government that anyone of a Muslim or migrant background is welcome or safe in this country,” one Aussie Muslim woman declares, “This time I am done hiding”:

“The Malay parties in Pakatan Harapan have to pander to the conservatives by regressing to religio-racial supremacy in order to maintain a foothold in the Malay vote bank, especially in view of … [recent] crushing defeats”:

His plan to designate the IRG “as a foreign terrorist organization … would be the first time the United States designated a unit of another government’s military as a terrorist group.” Is sauce for the IRG sauce for the IDF?

News and Analysis (3/18/19)

Monday, March 18th, 2019

“New Zealand Muslim leaders on Monday conveyed messages of love, compassion and appreciation for the community support they had received after a lone gunman … [killed] 50 people and injur[ed] dozens more” …

…. The first victim responded to the man pointing a rifle at him “with clear intentions to kill … [him] with the most gentle and sincere greeting of ‘hello brother’”:

“[T]he Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has set up a fund for the victims.” of the New Zealand shooting, “reciprocating the kindness of Pittsburgh’s Muslim community after” last year’s synagogue shooting”:

[W]hite nationalists’ major motivators is ‘the great replacement’ conspiracy theory. They fear that Jews, blacks and Muslims will replace white people and eventually subordinate them”:

“[A]nti-market policies of the 1980s … were … the result of … the … war with Iraq and the flight of the Pahlavi-era upper class. In the early 1990s, … the government’s rhetoric and policies radically shifted to become pro-market”:

Hearing the call to prayer, a college student cried for her “brothers and sisters suffering around the world … in Chinese internment camps and …. in Palestine[,] …in Afghanistan[,] in Yemen[,] … here[, and] … in New Zealand”:

Statement on the Terror Attack in Christchurch

Saturday, March 16th, 2019

The Minaret of Freedom Institute stands in solidarity with Muslims around the world, and all people of good will, in condemnation of the horrific murder of 49 innocent people in Christchurch, New Zealand. May God be with the victims and their families, and guide us all through this time of grief and sorrow.

We deeply appreciate the kind words, gestures and continued support of people of all religions and those who follow no particular faith, but whose conscience as to right and wrong remains pure and uncorrupted. We renew our commitment to defeat hatred and bigotry with compassion and love.

We are well aware that such disgraceful incidents are enabled by those politicians, hate-group leaders, and trolls who seek to advance their own power and status by dividing us against one another, but we refuse to respond in kind and will continue to support and comfort one another with an unshakable faith in the Oneness of the Divinity that has created us all and challenged us to compete in the doing of good.

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

News and Analysis (3/14/19)

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

“Pirro doesn’t know the constitution, doesn’t know American history, doesn’t know her own tradition of Catholicism, and doesn’t have the slightest idea about Islam”:

“This is 100 percent the same thing as making children take their test on Christmas or Easter. It would never happen”:

The arrest of Serikzhan Bilash by Kazakh police for “inciting ethnic hatred … has raised questions about China’s efforts to silence critics of its policies in Xinjiang”:

“The senior noncommissioned officer believed that Valdovinos, 26, who has an approved exemption from her brigade commander to wear a hijab in uniform, was wearing her hair out of regulations underneath it”:

“This is the harshest sentence Amnesty International has documented against a human rights defender in Iran in recent years, suggesting that the authorities … are stepping up their repression” …

… national security laws “are so vague that any peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression can also be interpreted by the Iranian authorities to repress those who criticize them”:

A “proposed transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia has raised concerns in Tehran’:

“Rouhani’s meeting with Sistani and the generally positive reception the Iranian leader received in Iraq is a reminder of the limits of the “zero-sum prism that [the United States] views much of its regional rivalry with Iran”:

“Palestinians in the West Bank live under a system that was supposed to last just five years … [but] Israel dug in by building an extensive network of roads, military bases, settlements and quarries”:

News and Analysis (3/11/19)

Monday, March 11th, 2019

“Lebanese-American businessman George Nader” reported “that [at the] meeting … the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia wanted to aid Trump in his bid for the White House”:

Palestinians like  the “15-year-old lay dying … after being shot in the head by Israeli soldiers … didn’t get a mention in the resolution Democratic leadership pushed through … that condemned various forms of hate”:

“After Parveen was released from custody and spoke to HuffPost in an earlier article about being fed pork,” his green card was denied and he now faces possible deportation:

The school now claims that as a private school it need not honor its “offer [to] the boys’s parents [of] a ‘generally positive indication of acceptance’ of prayers” and its suggestion of available space in the library:

“Ramy … is a practicing Muslim who truly believes in his faith, and that alone makes a show centering on his experience a startling, welcome exception to an increasingly monotonous rule”:

Al-Issa noted the Qur’an explains that God deliberately created diverse people, and opined that “only an aware group of people will be able to overcome [negative] difference by realizing God’s wisdom in diversity” …

… and a Malaysian argues that the Qur’an teaches that “differences of opinions but they are meant for human beings to achieve progress and happiness through the course of life”: