Tuesday 30 August 2016

Burkini Bans, Muslim ‘Hygiene,’ And The History Of The Holocaust

Tragically, we’ve been all-too-easily indoctrinated to engage in such stereotypes and behaviors. Our human fellows have fallen for perpetrating and justifying the destruction of innocent Native Americans, blacks, Armenians, Jews, gays, Roma, Bangladeshis, Cambodians, Bosnians, Tutsis, and...the list goes on. We are masterful at spiraling animosity and hate, at fomenting war and annihilation, even inciting the destruction that ricochets back to ourselves, in response to the tensions, animosities and grievances we stir in the world.
Relinquish our role as bystanders and take serious matters seriously. 
What we desperately need is to think, hard, about the role we must play, to foster creativity and cooperation on this planet, so that it, and we, its inhabitants, may survive.
Most of us need to relinquish our role as bystanders, and to take serious matters seriously.  Burkini bans―far from trivial―are really about indicting all Muslims.  They are the latest element in the smearing of every Muslim which has become normalized, accepted, and purposefully nurtured in our time.  They are cynically calculated incitements to whole new chapters of intolerance, exclusion and hatred, which slide toward even deeper levels of destruction.  
If you think I am overstating this, just read the hateful comments, including calls to genocide, that currently pile up under any article about anything to do with Muslims.  And visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in person or online, and note the individual and incremental stepping stones of policies and legislation that led, inexorably...to the Holocaust itself.
Author’s postscript on being an ally against this oppression:
A question:  In those places where hijabs are banned, can women who have lost their hair, perhaps from cancer treatments, wear a headscarf?  Further:  I’ve been considering what I would do at the beaches where the ban is in force―as a non-Muslim, and as someone who believes this policy is wrong, dangerous, unjust, and hypocritical.  I I were male or female, wearing any sort of coverup or wetsuit, I might put a sign on it: “This is my burkini”.  Or, I might either buy a burkini and wear it, to test whether it is only Muslims who are are to be banned and penalized, or whether a secular Jewish woman, who just likes the fashion, or wants full sun protection, would be equally held liable. Are the French police checking the religion of those wearing burkinis? Are there now to be religious tests for who may enjoy the beaches?
Or, I might improvise some similar beach fashion; leggings, a long-sleeved tunic, and a wrapped headscarf or hood, to test the arbitrary policing of the policy.  If multitudes of non-Muslim women, who object to these laws, wore burkinis, or parts of burkinis (just the tunic, or the outfit minus the head cover), or improvised variations of similar costumes, somewhat akin to the Danes who wore yellow stars to support their fellow Jews under the Nazis; it would expose and interfere with this arbitrary and hypocritical ban, purportedly targeting women on the basis of what they choose to wear...in actuality, targeted because of who they are. Imagine the police, comically perplexed by an array of all sorts of variations of this look, trying to sort out all the arbitrary permutations of this unjust policy.  One can imagine it as quite comedic, if it were not so insidious.  Someday, when this is history, people will recall those who interfered with and stood up to injustice and intolerance.
Full article

Tuesday 9 August 2016

BDS is a war Israel can't win

A pro-Palestinian protester supporting the BDS campaign against Israel takes part in a demonstration in Cape Town, South Africa [Getty]
In the view of Palestinians, the state of Israel has never possessed legitimacy, not by international standards, as it was founded on expulsion, land-theft and military occupation. The BDS movement approaches this abstract issue by offering practicable action for citizens in the West, while the official international community dithers away the decades, leaving Palestinians worse off than ever before. 

That such leverage should be applied to Israel is entirely justified. After all, autocratic dictatorships with closed economies, lacking - in Halevi's celebratory words - "an independent judiciary, a free press, universal healthcare and religious freedom" are not typically responsive targets to protest campaigns for justice, like that of the BDS movement.
Citizens in America don't propose a boycott of North Korea - the US government does that for them, making it illegal to do business with that outlaw state: yes, the very same US government which blocks every effort by the United Nations and international courts to address the illegality of Israeli settlements, military occupation, collective punishment, economic enslavement, and wholesale destruction and murder of a captive population.

Thursday 4 August 2016

It's not Muslims or people with mental health problems who are most likely to kill you in a terrorist attack – it's men

Image result for male violent
Toxic masculinity is what entitles a man to take a weapon and take other people's lives in the name of his values. 
Toxic masculinity enforces the idea that being a “man” means not just being strong, but showing that strength through violence and fear. It means always being the one in control, having power and dominance over others at all times, by any means.
If typical masculinity promotes emotional disconnection – something that men’s mental health charities are already trying to combat - toxic masculinity goes one step further and promotes the absence of empathy altogether. It also promotes the dismissal of anything deemed “feminine”, and the hatred of anything that contradicts heteronormative ideals around what it means to be a “man”. 
The easiest way to think of it is to imagine the military. After all, soldiers are paid mass murderers. Different wars, same tactics.
However, toxic masculinity has its roots in the everyday: to prove this, we should look no further than the fact a significant number of these killers were domestic violence perpetrators. Not just these killers, but the majority of mass murderers.

The men who massacre the public are the same men who butcher women privately in their own homes. The same principles of power, control, fear and violence apply: instead of using violence to instil fear in one woman, they scale it up to instil fear across nations. These men walk among us, everywhere, but we only pay attention to their violence when it spills onto our streets.
If we want this violence to stop, we need to address the root cause and its everyday manifestations before they escalate. These men were not extremists existing outside of society; they are products of it. They were men drunk on the entitlement that patriarchal cultures serve them. 
They did not impulsively decide to go out and murder large numbers of people; they were fired by a deep, burning desire for control.
Toxic masculinity hinges on having power over others; it demands inequality. As our world becomes more unequal, it becomes more violent. Toxic masculinity exists on political levels: in policing, prisons, immigration detention centres and controlling security measures.
Full article:

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Muslim woman strikes up friendship with 'terrified' passenger who saw her text the word 'Allah'

A young Muslim woman has described how she befriended a woman too terrified to sit beside her on a plane after she texted the word "Allah".
The encounter, explained in detail on Facebook, touched readers on social media who have shared and commented on its story of reconciliation in the face of fear more than 9,000 times.
Jiva Akbor, a young Muslim Briton from Greater Manchester, said a mother with an 11-year-old son left beside her on the flight to Spain rapidly left her seat, before returning "literally shaking" with two air hostesses.
"She stood there, with a look of fright on her face. I was confused. For a split second I thought she had some health issue or something, and about the have a panic attack," wrote Ms Akbor.
"At that moment she looked at me and said, "I saw you write a text message and you wrote Allah on it.
"My heart stopped."
Ms Akbor said the many incidents involving Muslim passengers who have beenasked to leave flights or move seats came "flooding" to her mind, and she was afraid that the two air hostesses with Beverley would leave her in Gatwick Airport.
But in her post she praised the calm air hostesses, one of whom told the frightened woman: "You are free to leave the flight if you wish."
Social media users thought most highly, however, of Ms Akbor herself for being "the chillest girl ever". The young Muslim explained that Allah meant "God" in Arabic and discovered her neighbour was a Roman Catholic. She explained she was "just a regular Muslim girl travelling". 
"After about 15 minutes of conversation I could feel her calming down and starting to accept what I was telling her," wrote Ms Akbor.
"Before too long I could see remorse in her tone, I think she was shocked at her own reaction and the realisation of what she had thought of me was setting in.