Monday, 30 December 2013
Friday, 27 December 2013
Wednesday, 25 December 2013
Even more of a hell hole for women and in general :(
An Afghan policewoman and a pregnant teacher were hanged and their bodies dumped within a few kilometres of a foreign military base recently handed over to Afghan control, officials said on Thursday.
SourceThe two women, policewoman and mother of two Feroza and teacher Malalai - like many in Afghanistan the pair use only one name - were kidnapped on Monday in the conservative southern province of Uruzgan, said Abdullah Hemat, a spokesman for the provincial governor."A post mortem examination shows that both were hanged," he said.Successive, often deadly, assaults on women working in state institutions are fuelling concern that hard-won women's rights promoted by the United States and its allies are eroding ahead of the end of the NATO-led combat mission next year.Several female police officers have been killed in southern provinces in recent months.The Taliban are known to target female officials working for the U.S.-backed government, although some attacks have been linked to family feuds and male relatives outraged that the women are going out to work.The bodies were found in an area of provincial capital Tirin Kot on Wednesday, said provincial police chief Matiullah Khan. He believes both killings were linked to family feuds.Australian and U.S. forces had managed security in the province since 2005. That ended on Dec. 11 when they formally handed over control of the province to Afghan security forces.The place where the women's bodies were found is only a few kilometres from the Tirin Kot base where the hand-over ceremony occurred.Australian forces left the province on Sunday.
Monday, 23 December 2013
Saturday, 21 December 2013
Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un. This is probably one of the most tragic things that I have ever had the misfortune to read. May Allah reward this brother in the hearafter for his good intentions and noble desire to help people and give his family patience to deal with such cruelty and tragic loss. Ameen.
SourceBritish doctor Abbas Khan has been "in effect murdered" by the Syrian authorities just days before his expected release from jail, Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robertson said.He said the death of the 32-year-old orthopaedic surgeon from south London was "at best extremely suspicious".Mr Khan was arrested last year in Aleppo where he was helping civilians.Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said Mr Khan committed suicide using his pyjamas to hang himself.He said the results of an autopsy proved this, and Mr Khan's body would be released to his family so they could conduct their own inquiry.One of Mr Khan's brothers, Shahnawaz Khan, said it was "a lie" and "pure fiction" that his brother committed suicide as he had written to his family saying he was looking forward to coming home and spending Christmas with them.
Friday, 20 December 2013
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Monday, 16 December 2013
If that feeling of, “I’m better than thou,” creeps up on you while comparing yourself to someone else, consider the following:
1. Consider the saying, “Some saints have a past and many sinners have a future.”
Being a ‘saint’ isn’t guaranteed for any one person for a lifetime. But the path to God’s forgiveness is always open and especially tailored just for the one who makes a mistake and regrets it and seeks to change, even if it’s over and over and over.
2. Think about our sins and shortcomings.
Oh, wait, can’t think of any? If we can’t, we’ve been deceived by Satan and are in an even worse state than any of those whose blatant sins we perceive.
3. Remember the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: “No one with the slightest particle of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” (Bukhari)
Sometimes the actions we see others engaged in may be sins, but may not be as serious as the problem of arrogance. In wanting others to act like they’re people of Paradise, let’s be careful not to make ourselves candidates to be barred from it. God protect us.
4. Ask ourselves: Is that person a parent?
If they are and we aren’t, they’re already light-years ahead of our game. If she’s a mom, Paradise is potentially below her feet. If they are a mom or dad, any good they taught their kid and their kid acts upon are rewards going straight back to them. How are we going to compare ourselves to that? If they are and we are, consider: what great work might their progeny do that may be because of one lesson that person taught them?
5. Remind ourselves: We have no idea what another person has gone through or where they’re really coming from.
How many people were physically beaten in order to make them pray, pressured into wearing hijab, or sexually abused by a “religious” individual? Our minute interactions with individuals are not a gateway to their backgrounds and past struggles. We don’t know the pain they’re working through. And sometimes, due to those very painful experiences, people leave the practice of Islam or leave Islam completely. But then they sometimes choose to come back. And when they do, it will take time. They have to work through their emotions, the toxic relationships which originally caused the schism they experienced with Islam and the difficulty in finding a niche in a community after leaving it for some time. And all of that is jihad. Everyday they are waging internal battles.
What they go through cannot quite be compared with the young man or woman who was raised in a supportively religious household, who was a part of a nurturing mosque community, who was put in Islamic school since kindergarten and taken to Qur’an classes everyday. A twenty-year-old hafith (one who has memorized the entire Qur’an by heart) might be impressive and may God bless them and He has raised their status in a special way. But they may not necessarily be closer to God or earning more rewards from God than the struggling servant who has dealt with incredible hardship and is struggling to come back.
So, what can we do when that ‘holier than thou’ feeling creeps in?
Think: Omar, may God be pleased with him, used to be a hostile Islamophobe who would beat his servant for her belief in God. Now, he is known to us as one of those promised Paradise by the Prophet ﷺ himself. Would he have been our role model if we knew him before Islam? Maybe not. But look who he became. You know why? Because, by God’s guidance and mercy, he had a teacher and a community who helped him reach his full potential.
That’s what we need to be for others and allow others to be for us. Be a loving mentor. Be a supportive friend. Be an encouraging counselor. Be a shoulder to cry and lean on. Your awesome love for Islam and “Muslimness” will be communicated simply through your actions of being there for others in an uplifting, genuine way. If applicable, when someone is ready, that person will ask you about Islam and seek your help in becoming the best Muslim they can be, God willing. Or perhaps they’ll be more open to listening to your sincere, gentle advice on something you’re truly concerned about because of your love for them. This perspective does not mean we do not advise others when we’re concerned for them, it simply means we do so while withholding judgment and in a methodically wise way.
Be like the Prophet ﷺ. Engulf your heart so deeply in caring for people’s happiness in both worlds that it simply does not have space for judgment or arrogance. And perhaps, because of your sincere acceptance of another, you’ll soon find that very person being a means of guidance for your own self.
Friday, 13 December 2013
Wednesday, 11 December 2013
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
Madrassas are usually thought of as Muslim-only schools where children study only theology and end up as religious teachers or clerics.After 9/11, many in the non-Muslim world viewed South Asia's tens of thousands of madrassas with suspicion, regarding them as a breeding ground for radical strains of Islam.But in recent years, defying the stereotype, nearly 600 government-recognised madrassas in West Bengal have introduced a mainstream school curriculum, and non-Muslims are studying in almost all of them.Currently, about 15 percent of the students in the state's modernised madrassas are non-Muslims, and many of them are expecting to become engineers, doctors, scientists and other professionals.Orgram and other madrassas in the state have undergone modernisation offering courses in physics, chemistry, biology, geography, mathematics, computer science, English language and literature and other regular subjects.Islamic studies and the Arabic language course form a small part of the curriculum.Funded by the state, the madrassas which are located mostly in rural Bengal charge no fees, and offer free school uniforms and mid-day meals, making them especially attractive to students from poor and lower middle-class families.Examples of Muslim students who attended the madrassas and are now successful in their careers have spurred many non-Muslim families to send their children to the madrassas, many say."In Hindu-dominated society until some time back, madrassas - identified as Muslims only institutions - carried a stigma. Non-Muslims and even many Muslims used to stay away from them," Dr Khandkar Fariduddin, an eye surgeon and an alumnus of a modern madrassa told Al Jazeera."But, now that they have known that a madrassa student can also become a doctor, engineer or other good professional, they are shedding their inhibitions and sending their children to these modern madrassas," he said."Now the modern madrassas are part of mainstream education infrastructure in West Bengal."
Monday, 9 December 2013
Have you ever seen a Muslim woman skateboarding with heels? A Muslim veiled woman fencing at Olympics level? A veiled woman performing handstands, or juggling in the street?
Well you might see me doing one of those things if you check out a two-and-a-half minute video shot by two Brooklyn-based friends, Habib Yazdi and Abbas Rattani.
The video features a dozen Muslim women; all of us veiled, dressed modestly but wearing the latest trends. Our hair is partially covered, totally covered, or sometimes wrapped in a turban. Mixed with the Jay-Z's "Somewhere in America" soundtrack, the video offers an antidote to prevailing western stereotypes of Muslim, veiled women as inactive, passive, uniform in their appearance, and hidden.
Shot in five cities--New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Hillsborough, S.C.--the mission of the video is to project a positive, rarely seen image of veiled Muslim women living IN the West. A year after participating in the video, I am pleasantly surprised to find it doing just that, offering an image that is both joyful and realistic.
Released on Nov. 30 the video is rapidly attracting viewers on Youtube and being heavily shared on Facebook and other websites. It was removed from Vimeo on Dec. 3 for copyright infringement involving the soundtrack, but had amassed 70,000 views within three days of being made public.
I took part in that project as a model for the New York-based Underwraps agency. We shot in a cold Saturday afternoon in December 2012 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, with two others models and the head of the agency, Nailah Lymus.
From climbing on trees to scaling to the top of shipping containers to performing stunts, the intense activity on that shoot made us almost forget the biting cold.
Habib Yazdi directed us with the help of a producer named Sara Aghajanian. They said they wanted to project an image of strong and confident veiled Muslim women. They wanted something that mainstream media has never showed. The one and only rule they gave us was "Be yourself and have fun!"
A few days ago, I sat with Yazdi, a 27-year-old American Muslim of Iranian heritage, at a diner in Manhattan and learned more about what the project meant to him. Born and raised in Texas, he said he was ridiculed and taunted in high school for having a mother who wore the hijab.
"It was always on my mind, 'why is it ridiculed that my mom dresses like this?' And 'why is it seen as something lesser or inferior to other women?' I think that kinda stayed with me for a long time," Yazdi said.
Finding Fashion in Iran
After being teased in the United States by those who had no understanding of the veil that his mother was wearing, Yazdi remembered being pleasantly surprised when he encountered Iranian women wearing the veil in a country where it is mandatory.
"I saw a lot of young women who were forced to wear the scarf but they do it in such a fashionable way such as it defied the whole meaning behind why you are supposed to wear it. I was really taken by their strong sense of fashion there and how they use these restrictions imposed by the government to rebel within these restrictions," he said.
Yazdi has not showed the video to his mother yet but he's sure she will like it.
With its lack of narration, its trendy look and dynamic hip hop soundtrack, Yazdi and Rattani adopt a commercial approach meant to popularize the image of veiled Muslim women as "bold, powerful, young, rebellious, and fashionable women," Yazdi said. "We want to give people a different experience of what they tend to see and hear about Muslim women. You see how easy it is to manipulate images to create an idea, so for us it was like, why don't we do the same thing? Why don't we do our commercial and manipulate the images in our favor?"
If this kind of media were more widespread, the director thinks it could help change perceptions about Islam and women.
"Imagine if these images of Muslin women we have in the video are more prevalent, it becomes cool, it becomes hip, it becomes something that you are exposed to," said Yazdi. "If you see this and it is presented in such a fun and cool capacity, everyone is going to respond to that."
A Realistic Depiction
I can't speak out enough about the importance I see of this effort. The woman that I am in that video--doing a handstand among other things--is the woman that I am every day. In addition to my commitment to journalism, I am a very active woman. I'm into sports. I love being creative through fashion. Today I no longer wear the hijab but I covered my hair for nearly two years. During that time--as in none other--I found I had to show and prove that I was not inferior.
I decided to remove the veil just a few weeks before the Underwraps Agency put me on the set for this shooting, with my hair wrapped in a black turban.
People unfamiliar with Islam often assume a woman cannot workout, cannot play sports, cannot go out on her own, must be accompanied by a male relative, and so forth. In some parts of the world--such as Saudi Arabia--these restrictions might apply. For most of us, fortunately, they do not.
To combat the reductive stereotypes, we need more media that reflects our multi-faceted identities as Muslim women. It might not be every day that you witness veiled Muslim women wearing heels and skateboarding. But if you are ready to perceive us, you will come across plenty of active, funky, joyful, confident Muslim women who are also wearing the veil.
Each model in the video offers strong examples of what it means to be Muslim woman in America. There's Marwa Atik, co-founder and designer of Vela, a Los-Angeles based hijab company; Ibtihaj Muhammad, the American Olympic fencer; and Noor Tagoori, a young CBS radio journalist whose dream is to become the first Hijabi anchorwoman or talk show host on American television.
Jay-Z's song "Somewhere in America" has roused some controversy online because of two curse words in the track. Yazdi and Rattani have since released another video with a sanitized version of the song.
Otherwise, the music is essential to the message of "all things being possible in America," Yazdi said. "It is almost a shout out to say okay there are some good things here. As much as this country is to blame for the images that were very harmful for Muslim women, it is still a place where you can dress like this, act like this and be like this."
I strongly share that view. When I decided to wear the hijab, I felt comfortable doing so because I was living in the United States where freedom of belief really does seem to exist. As a French citizen, I was never AS uncomfortable as when I traveled home with my hair covered. Wearing hijab is not allowed in school and public jobs in France and covering your hair is often perceived as a lack of social integration. In the United States, by contrast, it can be a way to follow the director's orders and "be myself and have fun."
Hajer Naili is a New York-based reporter for Women's eNews. She has worked for several radio stations and publications in France and North Africa. She specializes in Middle East, North Africa and women in Islam.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
Nelson Mandela has returned to his Creator.
The Prophet (SAW) praised Mut`im b. Adi because he was a man who stood up for what was right, and helped the downtrodden Muslim community at a time when the Quraysh was guilty of the height of injustice.
It is my opinion that if there was one man in our time who truly embodied that spirit of Mut`ims struggle, it was Nelson Mandela. Of the rewards that Allah gives a person in this life is respect and fame, and it is very likely that the genuine love all felt towards him was a result of his sincere efforts to help the weak and oppressed of his nation, and fight the unjust, tyrannical, inhumane and un-Islamic notion of white supremacy and Apartheid.
Another benefit that we as Muslims can derive from Nelson Mandela's life is that truth shall always win in the end. For much of his life, Mandela was labelled a terrorist (even by the US and UK). Eventually, he won the Nobel prize and became his country's president. 'Terrorists' are relative, and when one is fighting for the truth, in a legitimate and Islamic manner, eventually his cause shall be victorious, even if the opposers of truth despise it.
May Allah guide us all to truth, humility and sincere action.
Shaikh Yasir Qadhi
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Monday, 2 December 2013
Some gruesome cases that have been reported in the media in recent times from different regions in the country include that of 23 year old Dharmender Barak and 18 year old Nidhi Barak, who paid a heavy price for defying their families and falling in love.The couple, from a village in Rohtak district in Harayana, were tortured, mutilated and killed by the girl’s father and their relatives when they tried to run away and marry. A friend whom the couple had confided in, leaked their plans to the girl’s parents, who lured them back with assurances, only to allegedly kill them in the most cruel manner. The police is treating the ‘double murder’ as a ‘honour crime’.In September 2013, the Haryana police arrested a police sub-inspector in connection with the killing of a 19 year old girl from Panipat. Meenakshi had eloped with her lover and the cop had tracked her down and handed her over to her family, who then allegedly murdered her.On October 24, 2013, in another case from Haryana, a 15 year old Muslim girl from Muzzafarnagar was banished to her uncle’s house to prevent her from seeing the boy she was in love with. Her uncle allegedly murdered her and buried her in Panchkula District in Haryana.While the cases of ‘honour killings’ continue to pile up, convictions are few and far between.