Monday, 26 September 2016

Florida mosque arsonist shared extreme pro-Israel propaganda

The man accused of setting fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce in Florida a week ago is an ardent supporter of Israel who labeled all forms of Islam as “radical.”
Joseph Michael Schreiber, a 32-year-old messianic Jew, was arrested at his home in St. Lucie, Florida, on Wednesday and charged with arson and a hate crime. Police say he confessed after his arrest.
His attack is part of a spate of anti-Muslim hate crimes since the start of the current US election season.
The mosque he set ablaze has been regularly attended by the father of Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen and the crime was committed on 11 September, which marked the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The attack was also the night before the Islamic center was due to hold a community celebration for Eid al-Adha.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Birthright Agenda


I went on a Birthright trip when I was 20. I didn’t know anything about Israel or Palestine, and I kind of wanted to keep it that way rather than delve into what appeared to be an endlessly complicated, exasperating web of politics. I did not want to have an opinion on this; it seemed to be a subject too hopeless to be worth wading through all the controversy. But Birthright didn’t seem particularly political, and it blatantly claims not to be; it’s ten free days of traveling, fun and cultural learning in Israel for Jewish young adults. So many people I knew were coming back from these trips saying that it was the best experience of their lives. How could I say no?

What became abundantly clear – even after experiencing and seeking out so much from the pro-Israel side of things – is that Israel enacts many layers of systemic oppression and human rights violations upon the Palestinian people on a daily basis. There are sometimes violent acts of retaliation from Palestinians – in the form of Hamas rockets, stabbing attacks, all of those things the news publicizes- and these acts of violence are obviously worthy of full condemnation. But unlike what I’d assumed before, this was not a case of two sides with roughly equal power and resources that just hate each other and just hopelessly can’t coexist. In reality, this is one colonial power – a group with large sums of money and resources (largely in the form of $3.5 billion of annual aid from the U.S.) – claiming ownership over a piece of land and ethnically cleansing the population that had been there for, at the very least, many generations prior. Not only are the death tolls(especially civilian death tolls) exponentially higher when it comes to Palestinians killed by Israel than the other way around, but the actual power structure is similarly skewed. This is what the term “Israeli Occupation” refers to. It encompasses genocide, rampant violations of international law, large-scale racism, colonialism and de facto grand apartheid. All of that is the undeniably relevant context in which Birthright trips take place.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Islam chose me: Susan Carland on religion, love and the hijab

Susan Carland. Make-up: Peter Beard. Styling: Penny McCarthy and Nichhia Wippell. Dress by Sportsmax.
"But if your intention is sincerely, 'I don't particularly enjoy being in magazines but I have the intention of trying to create a more cohesive society or a society that has some nuance in this conversation about Islam...' I don't think I'm particularly good at public speaking, but if people say, 'Please come and talk to us,' I feel uneasy about saying no and then complaining about the level of public conversation."
Carland and I meet at a Sydney photographic studio in the week that controversy is boiling over the short-lived burkini ban in France, where police were photographed forcing a woman to remove her long-sleeved top on a beach.
For Carland this is "that old thing of women's bodies being used as a battleground for - generally men's - political conquests. I see the other side of women being forced to cover up in some countries as just as problematic." She was pleased by the reactions of disbelief and outrage from many Australians, "a reassuring sign of how generally Australia accommodates or champions multiculturalism".
Carland pays a price for her public profile, attracting abuse on Twitter that she deals with by pledging a dollar to UNICEF for every hateful comment - about $4800 so far, with half donated by supporters. But with a daughter, Aisha, 13, and son, Zayd, 9, she is as likely to tweet about children's games or snot-eating as about refugees or racism.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Olympic Athletes Show the Positive Power of Islam

Britain's Mo Farah celebrates winning the Men's 10,000m during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 13, 2016.
The Power of Prayer

On Aug. 13, Somali British long distance runner Mo Farah sought to claim back-to-back gold medals in the 10,000-meter run. In the middle of the race, the favorite locked his legs with another runner and fell on the track. He bounced right back up, strategically wove his way past the pack and claimed gold.
After he crossed the finish line, Farah fell on the track again—this time to pray. He bowed his head before a stadium of adoring spectators. That performance was just as dramatic as racing past Kenya’s Paul Kipngetich Tanui to win this third gold medal.
Farah’s prayer can help counter the damaging stereotypes of Muslims held by many around the world. For Farah, and scores of Muslim athletes, faith is not incidental, but central to their excellence in sport. “I normally pray before a race,” Farah said. “I read du’aa [Islamic prayers or invocations] think about how hard I’ve worked and just go for it.”
The Weight of Gendered Stereotypes
A young woman in a head scarf can often conjure up images of frailty and disempowerment. But Egyptian weightlifter Sara Ahmed is anything but. She can out-lift most women in the world and has the kind of physical power few possess.
Donning all black with a red headscarf, the colors of her nation, the diminutive Ahmed lifted a combined weight of 255kg (562lbs) to claim the bronze medal in the 69kg weight class. The feat, given her nationality and ethnicity, was unprecedented. Ahmed became an instant icon in her native Egypt, becoming the first female medalist in the nation’s 104-year history in Olympics’ competition and the first Arab woman to win an Olympicmedal in weightlifting.
As she bowed her head to receive her medal, Ahmed represented world-class power, strength and Muslim womanhood, disrupting tropes that have enabled headscarf bans in France and trite oppression narratives in America and elsewhere.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

I Love Muhammad (pbuh) But I Hate The Musalli Horse Stance

A correct kung fu horse stance with feet wide apart and a pole balanced across the thighs

The Prophet (pbuh) said that when Muslims stand for prayer, we must not leave any gaps between us otherwise Satan runs in those gaps during the prayer. But this must be put in context as the following anecdote illustrates.
A Saudi friend told me that one young man in his country adopted the Musalli Horse Stance in prayer. When an elderly man asked him why he was standing in prayer like that, the young man replied, “Because Shaytan (Satan) runs through the gaps.”
The elderly man replied to him, “My son, your feet are so wide apart that Shaytan will run under your legs if you are not careful.”
Good point. I have prayed next to people whose foot is pushing so hard on my foot that instead of thinking about my Lord the only thing I am thinking about during my prayer is which Accident and Emergency Department will have the shortest waiting times if this geezer fractures my foot.
Read entire blog My love and dua to my brother Babar Ahmad.