News and Analysis (1/3/21)

January 3rd, 2021

Isreal provide vaccines to illegal settlers, but citing agreements predicated on a full peace agreement that never materialized, Israel denies its responsibility to vaccinate those under it occupation, demanding the impoverished PA do it:

Austria starts the new year by requiring all imams in the country to register with the government, and they are encouraging rest of the EU to follow suit:

The Indian government has planned to create settlements for retired Indian soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir, but local residents threaten to resist the plan to place “a soldiers housing colony in the ‘most militarized region in the world'”:

The unIslamic practice of instant divorce has been criminalized, but the high court finds no prohibition of bail if the competent court has heard from the married Muslim woman making the complaint before granting bail:

“The admission is likely to add weight to fears that the ‘love jihad’ law will be used ‘to target the Muslim community'”:

Following opposition from BJP MPs and a public uproar, a proposal to name roads after Muslim social workers and other locals in the predominantly Muslim locality is dropped as a “dangerous” reflection of a “communal mentality”:

Muslim League in India have been campaigning in Kerala, an Indian state with a strong presence of communist, against Marxism and communism and frame it as “anti-religion ideology”:

Many are worried that one of Trump’s last acts in office could be attacking Iran, but it is more likely that Biden will need to deal with the potential retaliation to Soleimani’s assassination:

Arafat’s widow Suha accuses Palestinians rather than Israelis for poisoning her late husband and accuses him of terrorism for involvement in the second intifada:

News and Analysis (01/01/21)

January 1st, 2021

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are pushing Trump to attack Iran in the hopes of sabotaging Biden’s plans to re-enter negotiations. Iran accused the US of trying to “fabricate a pretext to attack Iran” and that they still have “every right to avenge the blood of [Soleimani]”:

The ruling BJP party in Assam, state of India, has banned private Islamic schools and plans to shut down over 700 of them by April:

A Nigerian Catholic priest is receiving criticism from the Muslim population there for a sermon characterizing Islam as a violent religion and calling for a government overthrow. Christians around the country are backing his message:

Data has shown that Muslim voter turnout and Muslims running for office since Trump’s presidency has significantly increased in response to his attempt to ban their travel to the country:

If his home is demolished, one of the affected residents says, “I have no alternative at the moment but to put up a tent”:

A UK student who denied the existence of the Palestinian people at the same time as he accused UNRWA of perpetuating their refugee crisis accused the school at which he sought “to write a dissertation on the ‘systemic biases that exist in the United Nations and target the state of Israel'” of a “toxic anti-Semitic environment”:

Israel’s new ally agrees to join with its old ally Egypt in cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood including “pursuing and handing over all Egyptian Brotherhood members who fled to Sudan in the wake of the fall of President Mohammed Morsi by revoking their nationality and then handing them over to Cairo””

New appointments are intended to signal the government’s promotion of “principles of tolerance, pluralism and the embrace of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” but human rights groups warn that by outlawing Islamic groups by presidential decree Indonesia undermines freedom of association and expression“:

Malaysia’s PM criticizes Muslim conservative party in the country for claiming the current government is a “Muslim government,” insisting the current administration depends on non-Muslim support so succeed:

News and Analysis (12/30/20)

December 30th, 2020

Many states are beginning to elect their first Muslims as more individuals from the community run for public office:

In an effort to curtail freedom of speech, Canada adopts the IHRA definition of antisemitism which conflates criticism of Israel with anti-Jewish sentiment:

Controversy surrounds the media failed to describe the Christmas Day Nashville bomber as a “terrorist”, which term many argue is applied only to Muslims:

Although Israel has acquired millions of doses of the vaccine from Pfizer, Palestinians are not eligible to receive it even though under International Law, “Israel is legally obliged … to provide for their [Palestinians’] healthcare”:

The Indonesian government says it has banned the group for associations with terrorists, intimidating religious minorities, and opposing the official state ideology, but critics perceive apolitical  motivation and warn of a potential backlash:

DJ Sama Abdul Hadi’s father denies allegations that participants were drunk or taking drugs or even entered the mosque at all as the party was “held in the bazaar, where visitors come to shop and to stay at the guesthouse”:

Historically, Iran has held a neutral position in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but this week, they displayed their desire for closer relations with Armenia and intolerance for an Azerbaijani anti-Syrian propagandist:

News and Analysis (12/28/20)

December 28th, 2020

The Iranian government hopes to pass bills to allow them to join the Financial Action Task Force in order to streamline access to COVID-19 vaccines and promote free trade:

Iraqi President Barham Salih attended Christmas Eve Mass to promote religious camaraderie in the nation and fight against extremist violence together:

Insisting that Iran does not fundamentally differ from its western critics on human rights, but only objects to the exploitative misuse of disagreements on an implementation mechanism, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs called for an exchange of views to better understand how to fix deficiencies:

UAE collaboration with Israeli efforts to destroy UNRWA further demonstrates that the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab nations harms the welfare of Palestinians:

In addition to social media suppression of Palestinian expression, AI programs have been used by Israeli and Palestinian Authority security forces to arrest 800 Palestinians for their social media posts:

Following local elections in Kashmir, politicians, including Jamaat-e-Islami, are now under the Public Safety Act, which states a person can be taken into custody to prevent harmfully action against state. Other nations worry about torture and conditions of those jailed and extra-judicial killings:

In the war-torn country of Yemen, a power-sharing government was established this month. UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Iran all currently in the country, causing many instabilities and challenges for the new government:

News and Analysis (12/26/20)

December 26th, 2020

President-elect Biden plans to continue the close relationship with Modi established by Trump while being wary of growing anti-Muslim hostility in India …

… and seems to be backing off his earlier immigration pledge that included ending the Muslim ban on “Day One”: 

Trump has pardoned a former Republican congressman charged for charity work with the Islamic American Relief Agency, but not the Muslim charged in the same matter:

Original plans for building a park on waqf-owned Al-Yousefieh cemetery were brought to court where it was decided that “the municipality’s actions were illegal”:

Bangladesh asserts that “[t]he Rohingya Muslim refugee problem would be solved when they would go back to their country, Myanmar” even though Buddhist mobs and police have been launching a deadly genocide against the ethnic group since 2016:

Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock. who has in the past made comments comparing Netanyahu and Southern segregationist George Wallace has changed his tune after receiving endorsement from Democratic Majority for Israel:

In the first election since Modi revoked special status of Kashmir, local elections were held where the anti-Modi coalition won many seats resulting in at least 75 arrests:

Both King Mohammed VI of Morocco and Erdogan maintain their position on Israeli occupation of Palestine, but Erdogan has no plans of restoring diplomatic relations until he sees changes in Palestine:

After reintroducing the Yemen Peace Initiative earlier this month, Iran directly calls out Saudi Arabia for their involvement in Yemen which caused the current humanitarian crisis in the nation:

Jared Kushner says the Trump administration strengthening ties between apartheid Israel and Arab dictators makes it “the most pro-Israel administration” and also “the most pro-Arab/Muslim”:

News and Analysis (12/24/20)

December 24th, 2020

Young members of Indonesia’s largest Islamic group protect churches from violence during Christmas, and in the process, “renew and strengthen interreligious relations”:

Muslim advocacy groups in the U.S. condemn Trump’s decision to pardon four Blackwater contractors jailed for massacre of Iraq civilians:

Trump says, “If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over,” as i it never occurred to him that Iran might feel the same way about the Soleimani assassination:

The FBI says that Iran, not Trump supporters, are behind a website threatening government officials and accusing them of treason: 

Sri Lanka’s government rejects Muslim requests to permit burials based on Islamic rituals and officially decides to cremate all COVID-19 victims:

American college students continue to face suppression of criticism of Israel and promotion of Israeli policing methods:

Tactics once used to turn criminals into informants are now used against Muslims who have overstayed their visa:

Hamtramck  is joining “[t]he majority of Michigan cities, townships and villages … [that] have already banned recreational marijuana businesses” but the strong Muslim community there is upset about two vendors that applied for the necessary permits before the ban was passed:

With tension in and around Iran increasing, China tries to convince the US to join nuclear deal again while Netanyahu rattles his sabre:

News and Analysis (12/21/20)

December 21st, 2020

Al-Azhar has submitted to Egyptian government controlled media demands that they follow the lead of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars to declare membership in the Muslim Brotherhood religiously prohibited:

Muslim advocacy group is now demanding Alaska Airlines to apologize for kicking out two Muslim men from a flight for communicating in Arabic earlier this year:

Due to potential “sectarian violence”, Iran receives backlash for suggesting that Afghanistan use a Shia Iranian militia to fight against ISIS:

EU Foreign Ministers pave way for the US to restore JCPOA in the hopes of preventing further tension in the middle east:

Uttar Pradesh “love jihad” law is beginning to receive criticism from leading feminist activists in the country:

IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty denies the Chief Minister’s accusations, accusing him of “playing the communal card”:

Following tension between Iran and JCPOA members, the US threatens to further escalate hostilities in response to any retaliation for their assassination of an Iranian official:

Chinese official confirms that they have no plans of stopping the reeducation camps in Xinjiang and denies there are any forced labor occurring:

Through Egypt’s EastMed Gas Forum, negotiations between Israel and Palestine from 2016 could begin again due to maritime border disputes:

News and Analysis (12/19/20)

December 19th, 2020

“Israel bears moral and humanitarian responsibility for vaccinating the Palestinian population under its control” — Physicians for Human Rights:

Many imams were sacked for not complying to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance’s order to condemn the Muslim Brotherhood:

Disputing “a far-right stereotype that has spread widely in the media” accusing “Pakistani-heritage Muslim men [of] abusing white girls” Britain reports that “research has found that group-based offenders are most commonly White”:

With Turkey and Malaysia being the only Muslim states supporting Uighurs, several Muslim groups in the US call out countries in the OIC to acknowledge the crisis in East Turkestan:

Muslim women served “as political consultants to the Prophet Muhammad” (pbuh) and “as health-care providers” at the front lines of battle” in the Prophet’s lifetime:

Iran’s envoy called for Afghan-led peace in the country at a UN Security Council meeting, charging the presence of foreign troops are a source of instability:

“After the abrogation of Kashmir’s special status last year, the government now wants to remove us from our own land”– Kashmiri natives:

Since Modi’s reign as Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, Muslims have been potentially systematically discriminated against on the basis of their faith, which has spread across the nation:

“The U.N. observers were on their way to meet with the victims of the Indian cease-fire violation”:


December 17th, 2020

[On December 16, 2020, Nonviolence International held a webinar on Jonathan Kuttab’s book Beyond the Two State Solution. The following highlights are lightly edited excerpts transcribed from the YouTube recording of the entire webinar, which readers are encouraged to access here:]

David Hart, Co-Director of Nonviolence International: I am Jewish and was raised being told of a land that was taken from us in a war when the whole world was against us. And still, somehow, we prevailed. International law made clear that no nation may keep land taken in war, but we were defending ourselves and we certainly would not hold the land long. When I learned something of the reality of everyday Palestinian life and came to see it as a deep affront to those basic values Jews are taught are at the heart of our faith, I was somehow more able to accept this contradiction because it came with the story that land would be traded for peace, and the occupation would end soon. That was decades ago. Sadly actions that have reshaped facts on the ground have made the call for a two-state solution more of a cover for oppressive policies than a realistic path towards peace with justice. Jonathan’s book attempts [to implement] a fundamental principle of creative conflict resolution.  He takes seriously the basic needs of both parties. What will it take for us to extend our compassion to the Palestinian people? Maybe we could start with the recognition that they are fully human, Radical, I know, but true nonetheless. My hope is that those willing to grapple with this complex and difficult issue will read Jonathan ‘s book and help us change the conversation.

Jonathan  Kuttab, Co-founder of Nonviolence International, practicing attorney in Israel Palestine, and the United States: I think this project started when Bob Herbst and I started thinking about: What does really take? What does each side really want? Can we create a new vision that makes sense for both people? It was a painful conversation, because I was one of those who believed in a two state solution before it was [widely advocated].  I thought it was a pragmatic way to deal with these two narratives, these two ideologies, that were mutually exclusive. “The more we get the less they get.” “The more they get, the less we get.” “One additional immigrant means one fewer person for us.” “One more Palestinian birth is a demographic threat to the other side.” After a while it became clear to me that the two-state solution not only doesn’t work, because it has been thoroughly and consistently undermined, but that it has become an alibi for the status quo, an alibi for refusing to address the injustices, an alibi for dealing with the discriminatory and sometimes very racist ideologies that totally negate and demonize [the “Other.”]

This book has three parts.  The first part explains how the two-state solution was created, and how it was undermined and collapsed and is no longer workable, because I think it is important to get rid of false hopes before we create new hopes. The second part, the most important part, is to set out a vision. People ask, “Is it even possible to think of a vision that satisfies the needs of both?” I think it is possible, but it is very painful. It requires that we give up the idea of exclusivity. Rather than argue if your narrative is correct or incorrect it requires asking what is it that your narrative provides for you? What is it that you want? Zionist Israelis tell me, “We want a Jewish state.” But what is a Jewish state? What does that mean?  You can’t circumcise a state! What is the irreducible minimum that you want out of this state. And, yes, the Palestinians also. “What is it that you want out of a Palestinian state?  For a long time we were told that the goal of Palestinian nationalism was statehood, but you can give me a state that means nothing. You give me a passport, but I can’t travel. You give me a Parliament but I can’t vote for it. You give me airport, but I can’t fly out of it. So, what is it I want out of statehood.  I want something very concrete. I want freedom; I want equality; I want freedom of movement; I want self-fulfillment; I want participation in my life; I want empowerment. A state is supposed to give me that; but if you give me state without any of those contents you give ne nothing.  I make no judgements; I claim no symmetry between the two parties. I simply ask can we come up with a vision that will accommodate the other rather than negate and demonize and criminalize and delegitimize the “Other.” The third part of the book, which I think is the weakest, is a chapter that I was almost forced to add at the end, which is “How do we get from here to there.” This book is not for anyone who insists on their maximalist ideology. If I say, “Filistiin Arabia, Palestine is Arab,” that all these Zionists from all over the world should go back to wherever they came from, then this book is not for me. Similarly if you think Israel should be as Jewish as France is French, if  you aren’t willing to accept Palestinians’ right here, then this book is not for you. This conversation is for those who say, “Despite what I believe, despite what I think, despite what I have grown up with, despite my  historic/religious/national/whatever rights, I recognize that there is this other group who are living in this land today and I can’t get rid of them, an dits not right to get rid of them. I need to find a way to accommodate them [and] t incorporate them into my visions.” I am totally open to those who disagree. I am totally open to this conversation.

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, faith-based activist, one of the first women to become a rabbi: I ant to begin by doing a land acknowledgement … to understand a root cause. When I am on Turtle Island I acknowledge that I am a guest on Ohlone land, and when I travel to Palestine I acknowledge that I am a guest on Palestinian lands. We can begin the healing with a vision of radical inclusion and equity.

Robert Herbst, Jewish Voice for Peace, human rights lawyer: I’m in my seventies and for decades I was uncomfortable about the oppression over there, [but] I only really expressed my concerns within the tribe until  when the Gaza operation “Protective Edge” became too much for me to bear. In 2016  I met Jonathan and we bonded very quickly over the one-state idea. A caste-based society in which Jews dominate over non-Jews is not kosher.

Azmerah Hammouri-Davis, Friends of Sabeel, Black-Palestinian poet: It was not until I was arrested an airport while leaving Israel that I realized how insensitive my teacher’s joke [about being a terrorist seven years earlier] really was. I was contained for an hour, strip searched, patted down [for the crime of having] a Palestinian grandfather whom I had never met. When I asked why I was arrested I was told, “This is Israel, what do you think?” How naïve of me. [Since then,] I have net so many Jewish colleagues who are committed to this work. There is a wave of people ready to dismantle old logic, to cultivate, to see the joy and humanity in each of us, and to say this can be different.

Rabbi Gerald Serotta: The brilliance of what Jonathan writes about is that it is not a solution but a vision. It is an attempt to bring justice and dignity [to the] forefront.

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

News and Analysis (12/17/20)

December 17th, 2020

Iran released a statement denouncing “any destructive action against maritime security and safety.” and the Houthis declared that the “U.S. and the U.K. have failed to protect Saudi Arabia’s ports, and that they would be prepared to shield them if the kingdom asks”:

After receiving controversy planning to outlaw “Political Islam”, Austria drops the term from the bill and replaces it with “religiously motivated extremism”. The new terminology allows facilitates targeting of mosques:

30 lawmakers in the House write a letter to Facebook CEO asking to remove anti-Muslim rhetoric the same way they remove other “content related to … extremist violence”:

As tension grows between Iran and Turkey, Iran sides with Turkey regarding America’s sanction: “U.S. addiction to sanctions and contempt for international law at full display again…”:

Federal class-action lawsuit was filed against Michigan prisons for requiring Muslim women to take off hijab for mugshots:

Following the execution of a journalist, Iran jails an Iranian anthropologist for his research on the country’s culture of child marriage and female genital mutilation:

The Bosnian Muslim and Croat Orthodox Christian members of Bosnia’s presidency snubbed the Russian official’s visit after he first met with the Serb member and “supported … rejection of NATO membership for the country and opposed changes to a U.S.-sponsored agreement that ended Bosnia’s bloody civil war”:

The outgoing Trump administration declares “a marginal group operating underground, as a ‘Specially Designated Global Terrorist.’ Most of the group’s members are in jail or in Iran”:

Diplomats from Iran and remaining JCPOA member-nations meet to discuss the recent state of the deal since the US’ withdrawal as Ayatollah Khamenei appeared public after a long time to make a statement anticipating continued hostility from the U.S. after Biden’s inauguration: