Wednesday, 12 December 2018

On Patriarchy and Women in Islam, Khaled Abou El Fadl Q&A

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

'I'm not his property': Abused Muslim women denied right to divorce

The first time Noor visited the Board of Imams Victoria, in Melbourne's Coburg North, to apply for an Islamic divorce, she took with her an audio recording she had secretly made during one of her husband's violent outbursts.

"It was of one night when he was screaming and yelling at me in front of the children," said Noor, a Muslim who wore a niqab during her decades-long marriage.

"He was verbally abusing me, smashing doors, ripping up sheets, putting down me and my family ... I taped it thinking no one would believe me."

Once inside the building, a glass-fronted office space wedged between an electrical store and a denture clinic on a sleepy stretch of Sydney Road, Noor sat down nervously before a panel of five male imams and carefully recounted the years of physical, emotional and financial abuse she had suffered at the hands of her husband, who had recently breached the intervention order she had taken out against him.

He often criticised and yelled at her in front of the kids, she told ABC News, for petty reasons — for example, if she didn't prepare food to his liking.

And he beat her, she said, when she confronted him about his escalating financial abuse.

This was Noor's experience. Having presented the Board of Imams with what she believed was sufficient evidence, she was hopeful they'd acknowledge her husband's violence and swiftly grant a divorce.

Instead they dismissed the tape, she said, and told her to give the relationship another chance. "I honestly thought they weren't listening to me," she said. "They wanted me to go back and try again for the sake of the kids."

When she insisted she had tried, that she had made up her mind, they told her they needed to hear her husband's "side of the story" and that they'd be in touch after that.

It took six months for the Board of Imams to get back to her, Noor said, at which point they claimed to have forgotten the details of her case and asked her to come back in to retell her story.

Eventually, after a year of waiting, calling, praying, Noor — who had moved in with her parents — withdrew her divorce application, defeated and depleted.

"It killed me," she said. At that stage she wasn't interested in starting a new relationship; she simply longed to be free of a man who for years had controlled every aspect of her life.

For a long time, she believed his violence was her fault. "I would think it was reasonable", she said, "because I thought I'd done something wrong, and I deserved it."

He also repeatedly threatened to take another wife, which hurt and distressed Noor, not only because they were already struggling financially.

"I'm allowed to marry four women," he told her. "You have to change your Western mentality."

Now he was refusing to grant her a religious divorce.

Muslims in Australia may have a civil divorce, but if they do not also obtain a religious divorce, they are considered still married in Islamic law — and in the eyes of their community.

Getting an Islamic divorce, however, can be a difficult and protracted process, especially for women, who face stricter requirements for initiating divorce than men, depending on the laws of their cultural community.

While a husband is allowed to divorce his wife at any time, without cause, often imams will not grant a woman divorce without her husband's consent, or proof she has legitimate grounds for an annulment (which, depending on the legal school, can include infidelity, physical, financial or emotional harm, and sexual dysfunction).

In theory, domestic violence is one such reason: if a woman can prove her husband has been abusive — for example, by producing an intervention order, or photographs of her physical injuries — imams in Australia say they'll dissolve the marriage and hand over the paperwork, no problem.

But in practice, advocates and survivors say many imams are denying women the right to divorce, in too many cases detaining them in abusive marriages for years.


Monday, 10 December 2018

Modi’s India is a living nightmare for Muslims: #RanaAyyub

At the crack of dawn on Dec. 5, 1992 , my mother found a poster on the door of our apartment in Mumbai (then Bombay). The poster had an image of the Babri Mosque, painted in black with men holding swords standing in a circle around the monument. It read “Chalo Ayodhya 6 December” (let’s march to Ayodhya on Dec. 6). The Babri Masjid, a 16th-century mosque built by Mughal emperor Babur in Ayodhya, a town 960 miles from Mumbai, had been a disputed structure for years; some Hindu leaders alleged that it was built over the birthplace of Lord Ram. In the 1990s, right-wing Hindu leaders and members of the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party started a polarizing movement, and ultimately called on Hindus all over the country to converge in Ayodhya on Dec. 6 to demolish the mosque.

Hindu nationalists responded to that call and climbed on top of the mosque brandishing swords. The grand mosque, a symbol of faith for India’s largest minority, was razed to the ground. Overnight the patriarch of our family, who was feted as a progressive writer and a government school teacher, was reduced to being merely a “Muslim.” Provocative speeches by leaders of the BJP and other right-wing groups fueled a whirlwind of carnage: More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed around country; Mumbai alone witnessed 500 murders.
By Rana Ayyub December 6 at 9:45 AM
Rana Ayyub is an Indian journalist and author of “Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Coverup.”

At the crack of dawn on Dec. 5, 1992 , my mother found a poster on the door of our apartment in Mumbai (then Bombay). The poster had an image of the Babri Mosque, painted in black with men holding swords standing in a circle around the monument. It read “Chalo Ayodhya 6 December” (let’s march to Ayodhya on Dec. 6). The Babri Masjid, a 16th-century mosque built by Mughal emperor Babur in Ayodhya, a town 960 miles from Mumbai, had been a disputed structure for years; some Hindu leaders alleged that it was built over the birthplace of Lord Ram. In the 1990s, right-wing Hindu leaders and members of the conservative Bharatiya Janata Party started a polarizing movement, and ultimately called on Hindus all over the country to converge in Ayodhya on Dec. 6 to demolish the mosque.

Hindu nationalists responded to that call and climbed on top of the mosque brandishing swords. The grand mosque, a symbol of faith for India’s largest minority, was razed to the ground. Overnight the patriarch of our family, who was feted as a progressive writer and a government school teacher, was reduced to being merely a “Muslim.” Provocative speeches by leaders of the BJP and other right-wing groups fueled a whirlwind of carnage: More than 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed around country; Mumbai alone witnessed 500 murders.

It was then that we, the sole Muslim occupants of a Hindu residential colony, began to feel that we didn’t belong. We moved to a Muslim-dominated pocket of Mumbai -- India’s most cosmopolitan city.

BJP and its leaders who led the campaign for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya were voted to power in the general election that followed.

Twenty-six years later, as India marks the anniversary of the demolition of the mosque, Indian Muslims continue to live their worst nightmare as they wake up each morning to humiliating and threatening discourse by legislators and members of the ruling party.

Anti-Muslim hate crimes are not just encouraged but also rewarded by those in power. According to a report on hate crimes released by Fact Checker, 76 percent of victims of hate crimes in India over the past 10 years have been Muslims. Ninety percent of these attacks have occurred since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was voted into power in 2014.

By labeling Muslims as “beef eaters” and expanding bans on the consumption of beef by putting in place new rules to curtail cow slaughter that disadvantage Muslim and lower-caste Hindus, the Hindu nationalist BJP is encouraging young Hindu men to become so-called cow vigilantes, who brandish their patriotism and faith by physically attacking Muslims. Even a rumor that a Muslim family ate beef for dinner, or a Muslim man ferried a cow to a slaughterhouse, can prove fatal in the hinterlands today.

When Muslims are not being lynched for bovine-related reasons, they are attacked for marrying Hindu girls, for sporting a beard, or for wearing a skullcap or other symbols of religious identity. They are berated on popular, state-favored news channels for being ungrateful betrayers and traitors who have no love for the national flag.

Attacks on Indian Muslims are also a part of a wider campaign to undermine the community and its rich history. The Taj Mahal is an iconic 17th-century mausoleum, built by another Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, but it is frequently disparaged in remarks by Modi’s deputies. Yogi Adityanath, Modi’s choice as chief minister of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, has stated that the Taj Mahal isn’t sufficiently Indian — code for belonging to India’s Islamic past. “Foreign dignitaries visiting the country used to be gifted replicas of the Taj Mahal and other minarets, which did not reflect Indian culture,” he said at a rally in the state of Bihar last year. “Now, [Hindu] holy books such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana are offered as gifts.” In the past six months, names of iconic cities and railway stations such as Allahabad and Mughal Sarai named after Muslim figures have been changed to reflect Hindu culture.

The obliteration of India’s Islamic history and culture is also reflected in the rewriting of school textbooks in provinces ruled by the BJP. Mughal rulers such as Akbar and Shah Jahan who embellished India’s cultural legacy are being reintroduced in academia as debauched, villainous invaders who robbed India of its Hindu heritage.

Communal fault-lines are not new in the country. When India was partitioned in 1947 — leading to the creation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan — tens of millions of Muslims chose a secular India as their homeland; they were betting on a more promising future in a country that enshrined religious equality into its constitution. But Hindu nationalists have long claimed a greater moral right over the nation and have questioned the patriotism of Indian Muslims. And the prejudice is no longer just rhetorical. It has turned into violent hatred that has spilled onto the streets of the country.

The shift in India’s attitude toward minorities is being met with resistance and response by writers, artists and activists. Even Bollywood, which usually keeps its distance from politics, is responding in small ways. A film released in August titled “Mulk” (Nation) tells the story of a Muslim family that is forced to prove its patriotism in the face of a prejudiced police force and society. The film is a work of fiction but reflects the agony of the 180 million Muslims in India.

Ever since 1947, Muslims have consciously chosen to place their destiny in the hands of a secular India, believing in the guiding principles of democracy. That faith is now being tested every day. In 2014, when Modi was elected prime minister, Muslims knew they now had a leader who carried the stigma of ruling the state of Gujarat in 2002, when nearly 800 Muslims were massacred in a planned attack by Hindu mobs. In its verdict on those riots, the Supreme Court of India described Modi’s government at the time as “modern-day Neros” who looked elsewhere when “innocent children and helpless women were burning.”

In Modi’s India today, as acts of communal violence increase, the worst fears of Indian Muslims are coming true.


Friday, 7 December 2018

For China, Islam is a 'mental illness' that needs to be 'cured'

Today, in a world where nations as close as Myanmar and as distant as France are weaponising Islamophobia to drive racist, populist visions, China is not only joining in, but violently upping the ante, capitalising on this global moment to use Islamophobia to push forward its own populist vision: Wiping out an indigenous people seeking self-determination and standing against the state-sponsored mandate of Han supremacy.

With Islam serving as the spiritual lifeline connecting the Uighur people to their land, their history and to one another, the state has zeroed in on it. If it can destroy Islam, Beijing believes, it can destroy the Uighurs. And this is precisely what it has been doing behind a curtain of global ignorance for years and, even after the UN lifted that curtain for the whole world to see in August, it has carried forward without pause. 

For Abdulla, that feared knock on the door is yet to come. It may never come, or it may come tomorrow, or the day after. Yet, the fear of the unknown and the stark reality that every moment with his children, his wife, and his elderly parents, could be his last, follows his every step like a shadow. Beyond the walls of the concentration camps, Xinjiang has become an open-air prison for Uighur Muslims like Abdulla, whose every word is monitored and religious expression closely policed. 

He only finds solace in prayer. Prostrating himself before Allah, beginning in the early morning and one final time after sitting with his children at dinner, he prays that the state does not take him away and destroy his family.

Yet, the paradox of prayer symbolises the imminent perils of being Muslim in Xinjiang today, whereby the more people are unwilling to relinquish their spiritual identity and disavow Islam, the more likely they are to be taken way and kept far from everybody they love and everything they know, locked away in a living hell devised to purge them of their faith, disintegrate their families, and wash away their nation.  


Monday, 26 November 2018

A West African Scholar: Princess Nana Asma’u

"We begin with the story of Nana Asma’u, the daughter of Uthman don Fodio, who was not only a renowned scholar of her time, but a poet, a political and social activist, and a creative intellectual. She is considered to be one of the greatest women of 19th century Islamic communities. She was born in 1793 in modern-day Nigeria. A princess with an impressive lineage, she was named after a hero in Islamic heritage—Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr, who was a strong woman in her support of Islam. She was raised in a supportive Islamic household, having not only memorized the Qur’an, but extensively learned the Islamic sciences and four languages as well.

Asma’u believed in women having a role in society and she led the women of her time by example throughout her life. One of her greatest achievements was compiling the extensive collection of writings of her father after he passed away when she was 27. The degree of respect the scholarly community had for Asma’u is seen here because they chose her to complete such a monumental task. Not only did this job require someone trustworthy, but also someone who was familiar with his writings and was well-versed in the Islamic sciences.

When she was a mother of two and pregnant with her third child, Asma’u completed the translation of the Qur’an in her native tongue and also translated her father’s work into the various dialects of the community. This shows her concern for her community and her desire to bring the knowledge of the Qur’an and Islam to her people.

Asma’u saw a dire need for the teachings of Islam to reach the women in her community and beyond the Sokoto region. She saw that women were absent from the circles of knowledge and stayed in their homes as they tended to their familial duties. Asma’u came up with a brilliant idea to not only teach these women but to teach them in the comfort of their homes. It was then that she gathered knowledgeable women in her community and trained them as teachers. This group, known as jajis, traveled to neighboring communities to bring Islamic knowledge to secluded women. This movement was called the Yan-taru movement, which means “those who congregate together” and “sisterhood”. Asma’u taught the jajis to use lesson plans, poetry, and creative mnemonic devices in their teachings.

Nana Asma’u, by the grace and guidance of Allah (swt), revolutionized the way her community learned Islam. She brought the knowledge of the religion to the people in an easy to remember fashion and wrote in their language. Her legacy is a legacy of scholarship and activism, and her name is still used today in West Africa." 

From the Muslimah's Renaissance page on FB. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Rape victims allegedly murdered by relatives in 'honour killing'

In a bid to restore the 'honour' of their tribe, two men in Bhong area of Rahim Yar Khan allegedly murdered two sisters after they had reportedly been abducted and subjected to rape by some influential landlords.

According to local police, the deceased sisters were first abducted and raped by a group of men and later fell victim to their own relatives' wrath when they returned home.

The abduction purportedly took place in Basti Gulab Khan of Mouza Muhammad Murad Dahir area on Sunday when Shah Mureed Kharu and Ali Dost Kharu, the two accused, allegedly kidnapped the siblings, one of whom was 18, and the other 20.

The victims' father claimed in the first information report (FIR) that the suspects had abducted his daughters and abused them before releasing them a day later.

The father said that he was also fearful that the members of their tribe could kill his daughters upon their return for having "smeared the tribe's name".

When the girls returned home following their ordeal, the father said, their uncle Muhammad Saleem and another relative Shah Nawaz allegedly strung a noose around their necks and dragged them to the nearby fields.

The father said that by the time he reached the crime scene, the girls had already been murdered.

The dead bodies were shifted to Sadiqabad THQ Hospital for autopsies.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Melanie Phillips wants to “destroy” the “Muslim world”

In April 2018 – within The Comment Awards’ one year period of consideration for writing – Melanie Phillips wrote an extraordinary article encapsulating this ideology. In it, she threatened that the entire Muslim world would be “destroyed”.

The piece, written in the form of “an open letter to the Muslim world” (archived here) addresses all Muslims and ‘Islam’ as a homogenous bloc of barbarians comprising a wholesale obstacle and inherent threat, by its innate nature, to Western “progress and modernity” – by which the Muslim world will eventually be destroyed.

In this regard, there would be little if anything in the letter that Spencer and his ilk would disagree with (even Phillip’ staunch pro-Israel line would be endorsed by Spencer who supports Israel’s new nation-state law and sees Israel as an example of the kind of ‘ethno-state’ he wants to create in the US).

But Phillips’ writing is careful. Like Islamist hate preacher Anjem Choudary, whose public pronouncements meticulously incited to hatred but only barely within the letter of the law allowing him to continue for decades, Phillips’ language seems designed to be vague enough to slip into legal ‘acceptability’.

You people like killing Jews

The letter begins, “Dear Muslim world”, and moves rapidly into arguing that the entirety of the latter is engaged in a conspiratorial war on Western modernity aimed at destroying “the Jews”, particularly those trying to live in Israel. Phillips blames not Hamas, but the “Muslim world” as a whole for killing 26,000 Jews, including military casualties:

“More than 26,000 dead—with most of the military casualties consisting of Israel’s precious young who must be conscripted to defend their country—purely because there are people determined to prevent the Jews from living in their own ancestral homeland. But you know all about that because you are the people killing them.”

Note the language. The “Muslim world” is equated with a whole “people”, who are de facto culpable in trying to destroy the Jewish people:

“You are the people who have been trying to destroy the Jewish homeland for the better part of a century. Look how hard you’ve tried. You’ve used war. You’ve used terrorism. You’ve used the Palestinian Arabs as pawns. You’ve used the diplomatic game. You’ve used economic boycotts.”

You people have a culture of honour and shame

Phillips goes on, attributing to the “Muslim world” as a people an inherent anti-Semitism rooted not in violent extremism, but in core Islamic teachings—a view held by the likes of ISIS and endorsed by far-right zealots such as Spencer and Tommy Robinson. Not only that, but she insists that the Muslim people suffer wholesale from a “culture of honor and shame” which further reinforces this deep-rooted “hatred of the Jews” (for now, we will merely remark in passing that this flies in the face of the historical record and Islam’s most authentic theological readings):

“We understand why you hate Israel. Paranoid hatred of the Jews is embedded in your religious texts. Moreover, since you believe that any land ever occupied by Muslims becomes Muslim land in perpetuity—and since the very idea of the Jews being your equals in ruling their own land is anathema to you—your culture of honor and shame means that you cannot accept a Jewish state in a region you claim as your own.”

You people know that your religion is not about peace

Phillips goes on to equate her barbaric readings of Islam with a “holy war” being waged by the Muslim world on the West:

“For all the terrible violence and mayhem you have unleashed in the cause of Islamic holy war, your purpose is ultimately defensive. You realize that, in its freedom for the individual and particularly for women, modernity poses a mortal threat to Islam. Unlike the ignorant West, you know that Islam does not mean peace. It means submission. Modernity means submission can no longer be enforced. Which is why, in its seventh-century form at least, Islam is on the way out.”

You people want to destroy the Jews

She does pause to acknowledge that there are an “increasing number of the Arab young, who are on Twitter and Facebook” who “don’t want to fight the unending battles of the seventh century.” But she then goes on to racialise the Israel-Palestine conflict and demonise all Palestinians wholesale:

“Of course, none of this means the Palestinian Arabs are about to abandon their war to destroy Israel… But the unstoppable force of modernity is meeting the immoveable object of Islam, and modernity will win.”

The problem here is not with Phillips’ critiquing Islam. Even if she is completely wrong, which arguably she is, the problem is that she racialises her barbaric depiction of Islam by constructing Muslims – literally addressed as ‘you people’ – as largely intentional vehicles for this inherent barbarism:

“Which is why you believe you have to stop modernity. Which is why you are at war with the West. And which is also why you see the Jews as your enemy of enemies because you believe they are behind absolutely everything to do with modernity. Destroy the Jews, you imagine, and you will defeat modernity.”

But it’s okay because you people will be destroyed by Israel and Western modernity

She closes her piece with the following genocidal double threat:

“If you finally were to decide to end your war against us in Israel, finally decide that you love your children more than you hate us, finally decide that instead of trying to destroy Israel you want it to help you accommodate to modernity, you will find our hands extended in friendship. But if you try to remove us from the earth, we will destroy you.

Dear Muslim world, wake up and smell the coffee. The Jewish people has defied all the odds over and over again, and will continue to do so. You may break our hearts by killing our loved ones, but you won’t break us. Progress and modernity will destroy you instead.”

One threat is conditional and tangibly military (if the Muslim world doesn’t end the war on Israel, it will be destroyed by Israel); and the other is unconditional (either way, the Muslim world will be destroyed by Western progress). Read plainly, Phillips’ reference to both physical and cultural forms of destruction of the entire Muslim world has deeply unnerving and seemingly genocidal connotations.


Imagine if I had written similar words as an ‘open letter to the Jewish world’, threatening that either Muslims would ‘destroy the Jewish world’ if it did not cease its war on Muslims, or ‘the Jewish world’ would be inevitably ‘destroyed’ by the advance of superior Muslim culture. I would be seen, rightly, as a not-so-closet Nazi.

For those that like to assume there are no consequences for such language, this is worth bearing in mind when considering that far-right terrorist Anders Breivik was an avid fan of Phillips, and quoted her approvingly in his manifesto.

Phillips is not doing journalism with pieces like this. She is simply spouting the same brand of bullshit that gives the Spencers, Robinsons and Breiviks of this world a hard on.

I’m not “offended” by this bullshit – I am maligned, marginalised and demonised by this bullshit.


Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Why Jew Hating Trump Supporters Love Israel.

Their open fondness is built on two premises:“If Trump is pro-Israel, then he can’t be an anti-Semitic, white nationalist” is the logic that underpins this new right-wing orchestrated talking point, but anyone who follows the machinations of the Israel Lobby and its cadre of Zionist organizations and individuals knows only too well that far-right, white nationalist, and even avowed neo-Nazis have long been courted as allies in their fight to permanently erase Palestinians from the ever expanding Israeli controlled territory.

In fact, Israel not only weaponizes anti-Semitism to provide cover for its brutal security state apparatus, but also it was European anti-Semitism that created the Israeli state in the first place. When Theodor Herzi, the founding architect of the “Jewish state,” brought forward his idea for creating a state in Palestine for exiled European Jews in 1896, prominent Jewish intellectuals dismissed his idea, claiming it undermined Jews who had assimilated successfully in European societies.

Dejected but not defeated, Herzi enlisted the help of the Chaim Weizmann, a prominent British Jewish figure, who, in turn, won support for Herzi’s proposed white European settler colonial project by recruiting the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, an avowed white supremacist.

“We have to face the facts,” Balfour said. “Men are not born equal, the white and black races are not born with equal capacities: they are born with different capacities which education cannot and will not change.”

Balfour also enacted anti-immigration laws that were designed to restrict and prevent Jews migrating to Britain. In many ways, Balfour’s ban on Jews was the 100 year precedent to Trump’s ban on Muslims.

In November 1917, the Balfour Declaration laid the groundwork for the future state of Israel, stating that, “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

Balfour thus became a hero among Zionist Jews, who were only to happy to ignore his demonstrable record of avowed white supremacy and anti-Semitism, which brings us to where we are with Trump and white supremacists today.

During the past year, Trump has deployed anti-Semitic tropes, retweeted anti-Semitic posts, and has given cover to anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi agitators, going so far to label thousands of Nazi flag waving, “Sieg Heil” saluting thugs as “very fine people.”

In return, America’s Jew haters have praised Trump for his “honesty” and his defence of white America. What is telling, however, is the same anti-Semitic hate groups and individuals also support Trump’s decision to validate Israel’s war crime, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

You see, while Nazis and white supremacists might still hate Jews, they simultaneously also love the apartheid Israeli state.

Their open fondness is built on two premises:

Muslims have replaced Jews as the number one target for European white supremacists, and Israel’s abusive mistreatment of a majority Muslim population inspires them greatly, and
They love that Israel is everything they dream of: a fascist ethnocratic brute that suppresses a non-white indigenous population.
Across Europe and the US, Israeli flags now wave comfortably alongside Nazi and white supremacist banners. When 60,000 ultranationalists marched on Poland’s capital last month, Israeli flags were there. When neo-Nazis marched on Charlottesville, Virginia, Israeli flags were neatly nestled among flags of the Confederacy. Paradoxically, however, anti-Semitism remains at the heart of the platforms of all white supremacy groups that turned up to either.

Zionism and white supremacy are not strange bedfellows, but natural allies, according to Nada Elia, adding that, “Both represent a desire to establish and maintain a homogeneous society that posits itself as superior, more advanced, more civilised than the “others” who are, unfortunately, within its midst, a “demographic threat” to be contained through border walls and stricter immigration law. American fascism, then, is holding up a mirror to Zionism.”

The intersectionality between anti-Semitism and pro-Israel fervour is no accident. It was a strategy hatched and formulated by far-right, white nationalists in Britain in the late 90s before gaining traction in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

When Nick Griffin, a Holocaust denier, took the helm of the far right, ultranationalist British National Party (BNP) in 1999, he shelved his public anti-Semitism, replacing it with open hostility towards Muslim.

Having never made a public statement about Islam or Muslims previously, Griffin suddenly attacked Islam as a “vicious, wicked faith,” while also claiming the “Islamification” of his country had taken place via “rape.”

From this moment forth, anti-Semitic political entrepreneurs on the far right began adopting pro-Israel talking points to mask their naked anti-Muslim bigotry, and Griffin admitted as much when he penned a 2007 essay that stated the motives behind substituting the far-right party’s anti-Semitism with Islamophobia: “It stands to reason that adopting an ‘Islamophobic’ position that appeals to large numbers of ordinary people?—?including un-nudged journalists?—?is going to produce on average much better media coverage than siding with Iran and banging on about ‘Jewish power’, which is guaranteed to raise hackles of virtually every single journalist in the western world.”

Zionists of all stripes teamed up and leveraged the political mobilizing power of anti-Semitic far right groups. NYU adjunct professor Arun Kundnani noted that by 2008, “a group of well-funded Islamophobic activists had coalesced” in order to demonize Muslims and Islam for the purpose of gaining support for Israeli policies of occupation, segregation and discrimination from far-right voters, white supremacists, and anti-Semites.

These pro-Israel individuals began positioning themselves as “counter-jihadists,” and, in turn, became darlings of the far right media landscape, with some even making their way into Trump’s foreign policy circle. Frank Gafney, for instance, who warned the US government had been taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood, continues to have Trump’s ear.

So, no?—?Trump’s move on Jerusalem does nothing to assuage his prior expressed sympathies with anti-Semitic white supremacists. It only reminds us how deeply Zionism and white supremacy are woven into the DNA of two respective white settler colonial states: Israel and the United States.


Thursday, 1 November 2018

Huddersfield grooming gang: The Islamophobia issue

Earlier this year, one of the victims of the Rotherham grooming gang anonymously wrote a very informed and intelligent piece on this issue for the Independent.

In it, she said that grooming gangs are upheld by religious extremism and even went so far as to compare them to terrorist networks. But even she - having very good reason to allow herself to be tempted to take the racist approach - condemned the work of people like Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robinson , saying he doesn't speak for her, and said that she and other survivors are 'uncomfortable' with the EDL's protests.

In her own words, she 'experienced horrific, religiously sanctioned sexual violence and torture' and described how her main abuser beat her as he quoted scriptures from the Quran to her. And in Oxford, it was said that sexual assaults were particularly sadistic.

But, despite what some right-wing media and extremists want you to think, the fact is this isn't actually the case with every Asian grooming gang in the news.

It's a point that the prosecutor of the Rochdale grooming gang, Nazir Afzal, has already made.

Speaking about the case in an interview with The Guardian in 2014, he said:

There is no religious basis for this. These men were not religious.
"Islam says that alcohol, drugs, rape and abuse are all forbidden, yet these men were surrounded by all of these things. So how can anyone say that these men were driven by their religion to do this kind of thing?

"They were doing this horrible, terrible stuff, because of the fact that they are men. That’s sadly what the driver is here. This is about male power. These young girls have been manipulated and abused because they were easy prey for evil men."

In an interview with the New Statesman earlier this year, he described the ethnicity of street groomers as 'an issue', but gave more weight to the night-time economy that they often work in, the availability and vulnerability of the young girls who are often around it and the community's silence and lack of action to tackle the problem.

And I believe, based on the evidence heard in court, that what he said is also true of the Huddersfield grooming gang.

One of the victims in Huddersfield was Asian - something that also happened cases such as Rochdale and Newcastle, but is not often reported by the media.

The ringleader, Amere Singh Dhaliwal, converted to Sikhism after the abuse. He wears a turban, carried a kirpan in it and swore on the Guru Granth Sahib before taking to the witness stand. Raj Singh Barsran, who hosted many of the 'parties' in his house, is also a Sikh.

We shouldn't focus on race and religion and the discourse should be about something much more important - for a start, the causes of hebephilia and ephebophilia.


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Grandmaster Wang Zi-Ping

Grandmaster Wang Zi-Ping (1881 - 1973) was a proud Chinese Muslim. He had a beautiful fist length beard and followed the Hanafi school. He specialised in Chinese Martial Arts and he was known for his mastery of Wushu and Tai Chi. He also served as the leader of the Shoalin Kung Fu division of martial arts. 

Islam has been practised in China since the time of the Sahaba - 1400 years ago. May Allāh assist and grant relief to all our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed in China and across the world because of their faith in Allāh and His Messenger ﷺ.

More info

Monday, 22 October 2018

One man’s (very polite) fight against media Islamophobia

News about Muslims in the British press is rarely positive, but it is never scarce. Consider these stories, published across a typical month towards the end of 2016. In the Times on 9 November 2016, an article announced: “Islamist School Can Segregate Boys and Girls.” On the Daily Express website, nine days later: “Anger as less than A THIRD of Muslim nations sign up to coalition against Isis.” In the Sun online, on 1 December: “SECRET IS SAFE: Half of British Muslims would not go to cops if they knew someone with Isis links.” On the Daily Express site the day after: “New £5 notes could be BANNED by religious groups as Bank CAN’T promise they’re Halal.” On ITV News, the same day: “Half of UK Muslims would not report extremism.” Two days later, in the Sunday Times: “Enclaves of Islam see UK as 75% Muslim.” The Mail on Sunday, that same day: “Isolated British Muslims are so cut off from the rest of society that they see the UK as 75% Islamic, shock report reveals.” And another version, in the Sun online: “British Muslims are so cut-off from society they think 75% of the UK is Islamic, report reveals.”

No other community in Britain receives such regular torrents of bad press. But that is not the most shocking thing about these articles. Every single one of them was misleading. And they were not just lightly dotted with inaccuracies. The chief premise of each piece – the premise articulated in the headline – was dead wrong.

In each case, the newspapers had to correct, retract or rewrite their work. There was no evidence, for instance, to suggest that only Muslim groups were concerned about the composition of the new banknotes, as the word “Halal” suggested. The tales about “isolated Muslims” who are “cut off from society” were all inaccurate. In fact, a government report had found exactly one secondary school whose overwhelmingly south Asian students, when surveyed, believed Britain’s population to be 50-90% Asian, “such had been their experience up to that point”. Contrary to the headlines, the report found no Islamic “enclaves”; actually, no references to religion at all.

These fabrications can all be found in an Excel spreadsheet maintained by Miqdaad Versi, an amiable, animated, sartorially rumpled man who has made it his personal mission to confront, very patiently and politely, the Islamophobia of the British press. Versi lodged formal objections to the errors in each of these articles with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), a regulator whose rulings most British publications have agreed to abide by. Ipso forced the newspapers to correct all of them.

Full article

Sunday, 21 October 2018

The Real and the Fake 700 year old Great Mosque of Xi'an, China

We know that Internet is full of fake stuff. One such email doing rounds is the "700 year old Mosque in Xian Shanxi, China from the time of the Ming dynasty. The entire Quran is written on the walls of the mosque." An example of this tweet is here:

This mosque is Tiban Turen Mosque in Malang, Indonesia. Tiban Mosque is called because it is said that the mosque is in the village, with a narrow road, and with its grandeur was built without the knowledge of the local people. According to the myths circulating in this area the mosque building was built by a genie in just one night.

However, when this was confirmed to the secretariat, it was said that the construction of the mosque which was actually a complex of the Salafiyah Bihaaru Bahri Islamic Boarding School 'Asali Fadlaailir Rahmah was purely built by the students and worshipers.

In fact it is actually an Islamic boarding school. It has 10 levels, where each level has a different theme. On the 1st floor there are several large aquarium displays and souvenirs. Floors 2-6 You will be spoiled with various calligraphy carvings and ornaments that spoil your eyes. On floors 7-8 you can buy some of the mosque's special souvenirs. And at the end of the 9-10th floor you will be spoiled with views of the green and comfortable village from a height.

Some of the above info is Google translated from IloveMalang.

You can also watch this video for more info.

Now coming back to the Great Mosque of Xi'an, China, there is a recent article from The News, Pakistan.
The Great Mosque of Xi'an has charmed the Muslim dynasty with honor as much as any other religious heritage -- with one being epic calligraphy of entire verses from the holy book - Quran.

This largest mosque across the province of Shanxi, China has breathed seven hundred years since its birth during the Hongwu reign of the Ming dynasty, with further additions during the Qing dynasty, still stands gracefully -- portraying all the elegance in its wall calligraphy.

The architecture excellence takes its mantra from a fusion of Arabic and Nastaliq script brought on to the walls with no voids for imperfection and is indeed a blissful gift, which after construction was next taken in responsibility and renovation under impact of Qing dynasty.

What adds to its perfection is the scripting brilliance yet in its fine prominence and gathers as much believers as any other would.

In 1956, the mosque was declared a ‘historical and cultural site protected at the Shaanxi province level, and was later promoted to a ‘major historical and cultural site protected at the national level in 1988. The mosque is still used as a place of worship by Chinese Muslims, primarily Hui people, today.