Friday, 31 March 2017
Thursday, 30 March 2017
“We came as immigrants, and this country has given us so much,” Mrs. Ansari said in an interview ahead of the announcement. “We want to give something back to America, but also to humanity. We want to promote the idea of equality.”
On Friday, the Ansaris announced a $15 million gift to the University of Notre Dame, one of the top Catholic universities, to create the Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement With Religion. The institute will aim to deepen knowledge of religion and look to explain how the traditions and practice of various religions influence world events.
“Whenever you get a gift of this size, it’s tremendous, but particularly to have this named for the Ansari family, who is Muslim, is tremendously meaningful to us,” said the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, in an interview. “We believe religion is very important in our world. It can have a negative impact, but it should be possible to study the ways religion can be a force for human development and peace.”
Father Jenkins said the institute would look at religion not through a sociological or political lens, but through one focused on the religions themselves.
While the couple and the university said the gift, which was 18 months in the making, was not conceived as a way to make a political statement, all parties acknowledged that it came at a politically charged time, given the debate over Muslim immigration in America and Europe.
“In the last couple of years, the majority of problems have been created by the misunderstandings among the religions,” said Mr. Ansari, an oncologist and hematologist. “Is this the right time for the announcement? Yes, because there is so much going on.”
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Monday, 27 March 2017
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Friday, 24 March 2017
Thursday, 23 March 2017
A woman arrives at a poll station to cast her vote in the Dutch general election in The Hague, Netherlands on March 15, 2017
The war did little to soften Dutch imperial ambitions. In 1946, while Nazi leaders faced prosecution in The Hague in the Netherlands, Dutch soldiers were rounding up and slaughtering Indonesian freedom fighters in a brutal counter-insurgency designed to take back control over their former colonies. Indonesia has claimed that 40,000 died after World War II in a years-long killing spree by the murderous Dutch captain Raymond Westerling on the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
But while the Netherlands’s historical intolerance of Islam and suppression of Islamic practices and movements in their colonies are a matter of record, many Dutch have yet to grapple with their nation’s colonial legacy. Henk Schulte Nordholt, professor of Indonesian History at the University of Leiden, said that Wilders’s rise reflects the Dutch people’s ignorance of their own history. After the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the Dutch empire “was the biggest Islamic empire, without many people in the Netherlands really realizing that,” he added.
There has been some progress. The Dutch government has begun paying modest reparations to some of the widows of Indonesians executed during the Netherlands’s attempt to recolonize Indonesia after World War II. But this is only a first step. “We tend to discover new cruelties in our colonial past and then instantly forget it so next year there is a new revelation and new discovery. It’s a very structural amnesia.” Contributing to this amnesia is the fact that only a small number of Indonesians moved to the Netherlands after the 1960s, making the country’s colonial legacy even less apparent, Nordholt said.
As a result, the Dutch have managed to preserve their self-image as a historically liberal, tolerant nation, distinct, say, from their German neighbors to the east. As with many other self-professed liberal nations, like the United States and Germany, Dutch enlightenment values have always clashed with baser, tribal impulses in the nation’s politics.
Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam rhetoric Islam recalls earlier eras of Dutch politics. His anxieties over a supposedly Islamicizing nation are distinct from imperial Dutch worries about Islam providing a vehicle for anti-colonial resistance. Nonetheless, historical ignorance in the Netherlands helps explain why so many Dutch view Islam as foreign even though the religion is deeply tied to their country’s history.
“People have no idea,” Nordholt said. “There is ongoing amnesia about the colonial past.”
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Monday, 20 March 2017
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever wishes to (enter Paradise) should treat people as he wishes to be treated by them." (Sahih Muslim)
The Prophet also said: "If you are kind to your neighbor, you will be a believer. If you like others to have what you want for yourself, you will be a Muslim." (Al-Tirmidhi)
Friday, 17 March 2017
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Wednesday, 15 March 2017
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Friday, 10 March 2017
Thursday, 9 March 2017
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Friday, 3 March 2017
Thursday, 2 March 2017
Abdul converted to Islam seven years ago. “I never felt I was a bad boy. I was exposed to drugs and different elements, but I was never violent,” he said. He “stumbled across” Islam and was instantly attracted to the sense of structure and rules governing every aspect of his life.
“I thought, ‘wow, this is amazing’. But I also enjoyed all those things in my life, and I didn’t want to let them go. It was a slow process – it took about three or four years to realise I was living a lie,” he said. In the film, he talks of “drifting and wandering” until he became a Muslim. “It changed my life entirely. I was turning my back on my previous life.”
Lee was shocked at his brother’s decision. “I knew he had some sort of secret, but I thought he was gay or something. I wasn’t expecting this. If he was going to be religious, I’d have expected him to go into Christianity, not become a Muslim. It’s not something you’d expect a white man to do.”
Lee had taken part in several EDL rallies “against Muslims in general – the way they treat women, paedophilia, things like that. I didn’t really have a bad view of Muslims – it was something for me to do when I was bored”.
The brothers grew up in Dudley. For nine months after he converted on Christmas Day 2009, Abdul commuted from his home town to Birmingham before moving to the city. “I remember putting on my jubba [ankle-length robe] and literally shaking before I opened my front door, wondering what people would think. White people used to stare at me, sometimes with a look of betrayal. But I don’t take any notice.”
Soon Abdul met Hina, a Pakistani Muslim, on Facebook. A week or so later they met in person; seven days after that they were married. “It was a leap of faith, trusting in God,” he said. It was also instant fatherhood for Abdul, then still in his 20s; Hina had two teenage sons and a daughter from a previous marriage. Abdul’s relationship with the boys, and his insistence on them being strictly observant Muslims, has not been easy. The couple now have another two children, two-year-old Zahra and baby Mohammed.
In the film, after Mohammed’s birth Abdul hosts a celebratory barbecue, inviting members of the local Muslim community – and Lee. In an awkward scene in the back garden, Lee observes that all the other men, including Abdul, are eating with their hands. “It’s like you’re going backwards,” he says.
Afterwards, he says: “I wouldn’t say I was comfortable, to be honest, I just did it for Shaun. He’s chose this path, I’ve chose [another], but he’s still my brother. I miss the Shaun I grew up with.”
Speaking to the Observer, Abdul said: “We disagree but we have mutual respect. I still feel close to him – blood is thicker than water. But I don’t know if I’m deluded.”
Khan spend six months persuading and reassuring the mosque elders before filming began. “We had to establish a relationship. They were saying ‘we trust you but how do we know it won’t be changed down the line?’ It was a difficult project. But I think there’s a sense of relief at the outcome,” she said.
Lee said his decision to take part in the film was “purely for my brother”, but added that the process had made him more tolerant of Muslims.
Abdul’s motive was “wanting our own voice to be heard rather than other people creating news about us”. He added: “I want people to start a conversation, just break the ice, just talk to us. Even the skinhead white guy. But British people won’t ask, they prefer to let things build up under the skin. We just need to communicate with each other and break down the barriers.”