Archive for January, 2021

2nd Conference on Cultural Rapprochement Between the United States and the Muslim World

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

[These are my notes from the Muslim World League’s 2nd conference on cultural rapprochement between the United States and the Muslim world held in New York City October 3-4, 2018. These notes summarize my impression of selected highlights of the presentations and are not an attempted transcription.]


Dr. Abdullah bin Mahfudh Ibn Bayyah. Chairman of emirates fatwa council and president of the forum for promoting peace in Muslim societies.

The holy Quran calls on those who differ to seek a starting point for agreement. Islam’s way of looking at things is to weigh benefits and harm. Any ruling that goes from benefit to harm from justice to injustice has nothing to do with religion whatsoever. We want for all religions and all their adherents to move from mere acknowledgement of the other to knowing the other. We have inaugurated the alliance of virtues or of shared values inspired by the alliance of ethical businessmen from the time of the prophet. Our message to humanity is love, peace, and friendship. We believe that this is possible as long as we do not despair of God’s grace or of one another. Since its founding the United States has promoted many values in community with Islam. Defining a concept such as freedom can lead to confusion. As Muslims we value freedom but not in a way that leads to chaos. With the approach of Columbus Day it is appropriate to note that the first member of Columbus’s crew to spot land on the voyage was a sailor who died as a Muslim in Morocco.

Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Alissa. Muslim World League (MWL) Secretary-General.

In this meeting we are free to discuss new issues. All religions are exposed to extremism because all have elements who think they have a monopoly on the religion and the have pretexts that change the holy scripture and attack the values of the religion. To confront Islamophobia it behooves us to make known the true Islam that promotes forgiveness and tolerance. The motives behind the distortion of religion is political ambition. Religion cannot be imposed, and true religiosity understands the wisdom of God is in all religions. The MWL has always understood the importance of not isolating children from the world. We must totally reject all forms of racism and bigotry. “They have what they have and you have what you have and don’t ask about what they are doing.” We want a peaceful and just solution for the Palestinian problem from the table of negotiation and nothing else.

Important Communication Issues Between the U.S. and the Muslim World (Immigration, Minorities, Religious Identity and Integration, as well as Islamophobia.)

Dr. Bawa Jain (Secretary General for the World Council of Religious Leaders)

There was a young Saudi in America who in either venue tells people what they want to hear.

Mr. Mohammad Al-Sammak (Secretariat General, The Islamic / Christian Spiritual Summit)

Freud has a theory of the narcissism of differences, that no matter how small they are, we make them a major matter if they are our differences. 11% of all Americans now believe all Muslims are anti-American.

Bridging the Religious and Cultural Gap

Dr. Bob Roberts (Founder The Israeli-Palestinian Peace:

Every religion is everywhere. How do we build bridges? I used to be afraid of Muslims. I overcame it by becoming friends with Muslims. I love Shaikh ibn Bayyah. He would make a great Baptist pastor. I built relationships with Muslims in my area. My tribe, the Baptists, are the strongest driving force behind Islamophobia. We are building Baptist Muslim retreats around the world. After retreats we must visit one another’s homes. We must switch from interfaith to multi-faith. You don’t have to compromise your belief; just be respectful. That we get along  because we agree on everything is baby faith. To respect the right to disagree must be the objective. Until I say the same thing in public that I say in private I am not transparent. As a child of God I should be just as concerned about Lebanon or Syria as I am about my own country. We deal with imams and pastors because we want to reach their congregations. Our primary concern as Christians is love and the primary concern of Islam is peace. Those concepts go together.

Mr. Marwan Faouri (Secretary-General of the Global Forum for Moderation) Cultural and Historical Polemics: “Understanding Diversity and Pluralism”

The Palestinian issue is the central issue and the test of rapprochement.

John Duke Anthony. President and CEO National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations.

More than 70 times the U.S. has cast a veto in the UN. More than 40 times it has cast a veto in defense of Israel. If the terrorists have done more to harm the image of Islam than anything else, America’s support of Israel has done more to harm the image of America than anything else.

Historical Role Models of Cultural Exchange Between East and West

Dr. Uchenna Ekwo. Center for Media and Peace Initiatives.

In any newsroom there are people proud to be war journalists but there are no peace journalists.

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

News and Analysis (1/31/21)

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

Groups like CAIR are on high alert following Capitol riots as they receive direct message from hate group threatening to go “Muslim hunting”:

“The case has amplified disquiet over the scheme, which has been labelled anti-Muslim and called discriminatory and divisive”:

Khamenei is accused of undermining the fundamental principle behind the vilayat-e-faqih: “If expertise is not required to understand different areas of human knowledge, then the clergy cannot monopolise the understanding of Islam”:

Following the forced resignation of its network and resource development director for “tweeting antisemitic material under an alias,” Islamic Relief Worldwide is “exonerated of institutional antisemitism”:

Marine Le Pen, French far-right leader and daughter of convicted racist Jean-Marie Le Pen, proposes popular law to prohibit Islamic headscarves “in all public areas in France”:

… but South Africa amends dress policy to allow for headscarves after a military officer was indicted for wearing hijab with uniform:

A 29-year-old “training and development consultant from Glasgow” defeated an “an imam and teacher” by 107 votes to 60:

An Idaho woman assumes Muslim garb to dodge the mask mandate, pleading “something traumatic from her childhood”:

“Western weapons are not only the cause of death of many Yemenis but also the main cause for instability in the Gulf,” said Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman of the Iranian foreign ministry:

After securing ten million doses of vaccine by offering Pfizer data that critics say violates privacy, Israel offers .05% to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza:


News and Analysis (1/28/21)

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

Since VP Harris was critical of Kashmir annexation in 2019, many are hopeful to see improvements in the region:

Neoconservative critics are terrified that Biden will appoint a man who has “has called U.S. Middle East policy ‘a litany of failed enterprises’ requiring ‘self-reflection” and is a true believer in diplomacy'”:

Some are suggesting Biden help Nasrin Sotoudeh, lawyer of high profile cases in Iran and human rights activist, through negotiating with Iran:

Munawar Faruqui, Muslim comedian, is charged under Section 295A of India’s penal code, which prohibits “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings…” all before opening his mouth:

“As a community that has often needed to explain itself and what Islam truly represents, we deeply empathise with your shock and anguish that someone who professes the Christian faith seeks to … desecrate it” — Mufti Nazirudin Mohd Nasir

Biden’s restoration of relations with and aid to the Palestinians is driven by a desire to resurrect the two-state solution: 

“President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff said the Biden administration is independent and will not follow all Israeli commands like the previous US government, after Israel announced it is revising attack plans against Iran”:

Israeli immigration open to “virtually anyone of Jewish ancestry” is closed to three out of four Palestinians living “on land controlled by Israel are citizens of Israel, and even then their rights are limited compared with their nearly seven million Jewish counterparts”:

“While such deference is particularly inappropriate for a president as willing to lie for personal and political gain as Trump, the Court, to quote [a different decision by] Chief Justice Roberts’ … should never ‘exhibit a naïveté from which ordinary citizens are free'”:



News and Analysis (1/25/21)

Monday, January 25th, 2021

Biden administration want to take the JPOCA is a starting point with or without Israeli input: 

The perpetrator started with a string of anti-Muslim slurs, proceeded to robbery, and finally to a death threat:

A Muslim ethicist says the Islamic yardstick for regulating AI should be “falah” (spititual success) which means, first of all, “Do no harm”:

College professor is being sued for framing terrorist as “absolute mandate of Islam”: 

Salah says that reflecting on his brother’s survival of the 9/11 attacks made him realize that god meant for him to pursue his passion for football:

The EU has been invited to observe and monitor Palestinian election between groups such as Hamas and PA:

Anti-Muslim law in which the French government can intervene in everyday lives of Muslims is close to submission to the National Assembly:

Parallels between the Middle East and the US are analyzed through the effects of the Arab Spring and recent American politics:

Iran says it is willing to address Saudi concerns:

News and Analysis (1/22/21)

Friday, January 22nd, 2021

President Biden’s repeal of the “Muslim” travel ban brings positive comments from Muslims around the country:

Five members of the French Council of the Muslim Faith signed on, but three groups refuse, citing the charter’s “prejudicial …, accusatory and marginalising tone,” fearing it will “weaken the bonds of trust between the Muslims of France and the nation”:

Sharia courts in Nigeria face a backlash for charging people for blasphemy:

As the president of the Pakistani-administered Kashmir, points out Muslim persecution in Kashmir and other parts of India,  a British MP urges parliament to work with the UN and investigate alleged Kashmiri genocide since the special status was revoked:

As Muslim representation in media increases, so does misrepresentation. Says one critic, “Netflix is that one kid at school who thinks Ramadan is a country”

Despite the fact the the US and Iran are both waiting for the other to make the first move on restoring the JCPOA, Iran anno0unces a return to status quo ante oil production:

Foreign Muslim intervention resulted in death of many Serb prisoners in the war more than two decades ago, and a Bosnian commander is now convicted of “failing to prevent or punish atrocities against” them:

Iran blames the cryptocurrency miners for outages, but they claim the government is making them a scapegoat for badly outdated electricity infrastructure:

News and Analysis (1/20/21)

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

As Biden enters office, there are several challenges his administration needs to overcome regarding Iran:

Israel censors groups like B’Tselem who describe the country as an “apartheid state” from teaching at schools:

Then NSA chair John Bolton reported that when Trump was trying to negotiate a trade deal with China he greenlighted the detention camps; now, on his last day, Mike Pompeo releases an official statement recognizing Uyghur genocide in Xinjiang: 

There is a legitimate debate in Islam over whether all interest is usurious, but the Diyanet’s granting of a monopoly on home mortgages to state banks is not moderation, it is statism:

French Prime Minister rejects proposal to “outlaw religious veils for children”, which could indicate future changes to current Islamic face-covering ban:

Studies show that GPT-3, the most advanced text generator to date, trained not “on real-world fact-checked data, but instead on human sentiments derived from places like Reddit,” has a significant anti-Muslim bias:

Boston-based political scientist who has been lobbying U.S. officials on foreign policy was arrested by the FBI for secretly working for Iran:

Archbishop of Greece makes Islamaphobic comments at a televised speech that “Islam is not a religion but a political party and its followers are people of war”:

Iran blacklists Trump and former senior officials for “their role and participation in terrorist and anti-human rights acts”:

News and Analysis (1/18/21)

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Egypt seizes assets of Muslim brotherhood members using a 2018 law regarding “organisation and management of the assets of terrorists and terrorist groups”:

22-year-old Muslim is elected into office to serve on local Board of Education reflecting increased Muslim involvement in politics:

Joe Biden is confirmed to sign several executive orders soon after inauguration, such as returning to JCPOA and overturn Trump’s “Muslim ban”:

Hamas and the EU welcomed the announcement, but Palestinian citizens are divided as to whether “elections held under present conditions would not be fair and free” and whether Hamas or Fatah would accept a victory by the other side:

Indian Government mishandling of land in Delhi following the Partition of India has led to modern segregated communities:

A year after having been cleared of charges in court and “three days after the killing of a leading nuclear scientist and senior defense official” blamed on Israel, an Iranian-American is abruptly convicted without trial and sentenced to ten years in prison:

Nine Muslim federations have agreed to denounce “female circumcisions, forced marriages, “virginity certificates,” racism, and anti-Semitism” and to distance mosques from “nationalist speech defending foreign regimes”:

BJP had to apologize over an attempt to leverage a dispute over wewlfare3 benefits into a wedge between the Christian and Muslim communities:

The victory for women’s rights will, according to one activist, allow Muslim women in the area “to pursue studies, to be a normal part of society, be financially independent, and follow their dreams about what they want to to become”:


News and Analysis (1/15/21)

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Truck parked near US Capitol during last week’s riot had a threatening message singling out Andre Carson for being one of the few Muslims in the US Congress:

Fairfax County is being sued for when Muslim school board member was pulled over, pepper-sprayed, and forced to take off her hijab:

Cracking down on the losers of last November’s elections, Jordan confirms that the Muslim Brother has been “dissolved and lost its legal status” in a move to deny competition “to the state’s previous political levers, the tribes and the army”:

As Pompeo piles more lame duck sanctions on Iran …

… and over two dozen VoA employees demand “the immediate resignation of their new director and his top deputy” for allowing Pompeo to commandeer the outlet for a propaganda event, counterterrorism officials and Russia’s challenge his claims:

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released report regarding China’s involvement with Uyghurs indicating possible US intervention in the future:

As WhatsApp users look for alternatives following recent security and privacy changes, both Turkey and Iran take advantage of the situation to promote their own messaging apps for potential censorship and spying:

The application of India’s 14-year old Forest Rights Act to occupied Kashmir may be a silver lining for Kashmir’s forest nomads:

As Pakistan claims a diplomatic victory as British parliament addresses the crisis in Indian-occupied-Kashmir, and calls for the US and EU to do the same …

… a Biden appointment signals a potential for an improved US policy:

Sweden, which authorizes itself to judge crimes in other countries against non-Swedes,  recently arrested an Iranian national for alleged involvement in the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners in Iran:

News and Analysis (1/13/21)

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Contradicting past U.S. intelligence officials description of a complicated and tense relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda, Pompeo accused the nation of actively supporting the extremist group:

Days after Trump was banned from Facebook, the tech giant bans Iran’s state media, Press TV, without “any warning or explanation.” Press TV credits their criticisms of the West and Israeli occupation for their ban:

SCOTUS declines to intervene in Muslim flight attendant’s claim that she was fired for not wanting to serve alcohol:

Another popular Muslim prayer app, Salaat First, is caught selling data off to entities linked with ICE:

Palestinian activist is taken off terrorist list prepared by Israel after a two-and-a-half-year case:

Israel has set a historical precedent of persecuting Palestinians, resulting in unequal distribution of vaccines. Experts say Israel won’t be able to fulfill herd immunity without providing the Palestinians under occupation with vaccines:

State prison guard is being investigated for posting Islamaphobic content on social media, showing that “there is a nexis between the far right-wing in this country that has morphed into terrorists and law enforcement”:

“His legacy will be one that’s recorded in history as having played a massively outsized role in making politics of the US and Israel much worse than they would be otherwise” — Yousef Munayyer, non-resident senior fellow at the Arab Center DC:

“Never say, ‘Why me?’ Say, ‘What for?’ … I have found my purpose in life”:

News and Analysis (1/11/21)

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Noting that since 2015 Afghani civilian and military deaths are more than 400 times the number of Americans military deaths, President Ghani hopes that Iranian-American negotiations will coincide with U.S. troops withdrawal:

After Palestinian groups warned against Israel utilizing the last bits of Trump’s presidency for more illegal settlements, Israel releases statement stipulating the confiscation of 1,008 dunums of land:

Iran gives Biden until Feb . 21 to change U.S. policy …

… and as media speculate a potential attack on Iran by President Trump, Iran’s envoy to the UN remains calm:

Officials at a London school demand a girl who has worn an ankle-length skirt for years to choose between wearing trousers or showing her legs:

In Kashmir “financial incentives have led to extrajudicial killings of innocent people” …

… and where Mick Jagger once jammed with local musicians, tourism now is crushed by Modi’s policies:

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was censored on Twitter after making negative comments regarding Western vaccines and some support the Supreme Leader to be banned from the platform:

“[T]here is consensus among all Palestinian factions about the need to unite for an honest election”:

Bangladesh authorities appear to be ignorant of he hadith in which the Prophet encouraged Aisha to perform an errand in the mosque despite her menses by asking her “Is your hand having a period?”

The US designates Yemeni Houthis as terrorist group as they continue to resist the Saudi invasion of Yemen: