Friday, 30 March 2018
Thursday, 29 March 2018
Last summer, India witnessed a number of grisly acts of anti-Muslim violence: ten Muslims were lynched or murdered. Yet in December, when a Hindu man hacked and burned a Muslim labourer in Rajasthan, there was something particularly macabre about it – the attacker had filmed the murder and shared the video on social media, and it was shown on television. Murder was no longer merely news or a statistic.
In the video, the attacker could be seen justifying his actions (to “protect the honour of Hindus against Muslims”). As the weeks went by, we learned more about the murder. There was a love triangle involved; the girl whom the attacker was besotted with had eloped with another man, a Muslim; to get even with his rival, the attacker had plotted murder but, in his unhinged state, killed another Muslim by mistake. Or so the story went.
As for the attacker himself, media reports said that he was “a well-meaning, quiet man” to those who knew him. One bewildered neighbour declared: “We had no idea he could do such a thing. We have known him for a long time and he didn’t seem to be the kind of man who could murder someone.”
How did the well-meaning, quiet man turn into a murderer? That question assumes greater significance if we step back from the Rajasthan case and behold the broader canvas: how did rail passengers, neighbours and villagers in the country turn into Islamophobic lynch mobs? Surely they too were normal ordinary people until some point in their lives. When and how then did these people become vicious? What incites ordinary people to commit heinous crimes?
Until they tell us how they developed murderous instincts, we can look elsewhere to similar normal peaceful people who metamorphosed into brutish murderers and also documented their violent transformation. For studies suggest regularities in some forces turning ordinary people to violence.
See without seeing, hear without hearing
Melita Maschmann was a simple schoolgirl in Weimar Germany until the Nazis took power in 1933. That year, she defied her parents to join the Hitler Youth. In her memoir, translated and published in English in 1964 as Account Rendered, Melita narrates her transformation from an ordinary teenager to a Nazi propagandist and official who supervised ethnic cleansing in Poland.
In chilling detail, Melita documents how the spread of toxic lies conjured up a “bogeyman” in the Jewry and created a general anti-Semitic atmosphere, in which she and other ordinary Germans would come to accept – even justify – violence against the minority group. Once Jews were portrayed as “the most dangerous enemies”, ordinary people condoned anti-Semitic violence: “… false tales… had to be invented and propagated amongst the people so that Müller the shoemaker [a German] should not get any rebellious ideas when his neighbour, Mayer the tailor [a Jew], was taken from his bed one morning and never came back.”
Systematic manipulation of the German psyche centred on a design that falsehoods, when repeated often enough, would make people believe them. To that end, Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister, orchestrated the vilification of Jews to a deadly crescendo. Powerful anti-Semitic lies warped German minds and deadened morality to such an extent that violence seemed and became normal. The consequence was murder on an epic scale.
The path that took ordinary Germans to ethnic hatred and savagery traversed a dark valley of toxic myths about ethnic minorities. That valley of transition not just made Germans complicit in mass murder, but also killed in them the basic virtue that respected the sanctity of human life.
India too, it seems, is now standing at the entrance of a dark valley. Virulent lies about Muslims that turn normal ordinary people murderous are circulating in the country. That “well-meaning, quiet man” in Rajasthan, we now know from police accounts, was on a toxic diet of “hardline Hindutva videos” that “fuelled his hatred towards Muslims”. And he is not the only one in the country on a diet of Islamophobic myths.
‘Hum paanch, hamare pachees’, ‘love jihad,’ and all that
Of considerable currency these days is the claim that the Muslim population share will overtake that of the Hindus and turn India into an Islamic nation. There are three strands to this argument.
Hum paanch: the insinuation that Muslim men are polygamous since Sharia law licenses men to have up to four wives, whereas Hindu men are monogamous.
Hamare pachees: the charge that an animal cycle of reproduction prevails among Muslim women leading them to have numerous children (five per woman so that Muslim households are rendered “child producing centres”, according to one purveyor of this view), while most Hindu women have just one or two children.
Love jihad: the claim that young Hindu women are seduced by Muslim men and converted to Islam to boost Muslim numbers.
Wednesday, 28 March 2018
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
"Say: Are they equal those who know, and those who do not know?" (Quran 39:9).
"Blessed are the women of the Helpers. Their modesty did not stand in the way of their seeking knowledge about their religion" (Saying of the Prophet - Bukhari and Muslim).
Although the Quran has placed so much emphasis on acquiring knowledge, and in the days of Prophet Muhammad Muslim men and women were never too shy to ask him questions including those related to private affairs such as sexual life, for Muslim parents of today, sex is a dirty word. They feel uncomfortable in discussing sex education with their children, but do not mind the same being taught at their children's school by secular or non-Muslim teachers (of even the opposite sex), by their peers of either sex, and by the media and television. An average child is exposed to 9000 sexual scenes per year.
These parents should know that sex is not always a dirty word. It is an important aspect of our life. God Who cares for all the aspects of our life, and not just the way of worshiping Him, discusses reproduction, creation, family life, menstruation and even ejaculation in the Quran. Prophet Muhammad , who was sent to us as an example, discussed many aspects of sexual life including sexual positions with his Companions.
The main reason Muslim parents do not or cannot discuss sex education with their children is because of the their cultural upbringing, not their religious training. They are often brought up in a state of ignorance in regard to sex issues. As a result, they may not be comfortable with their own sexuality or its expression. They leave Islamic education to Islamic Sunday schools and sex education to American public schools and the media.
What is sex education and who should give it?
Is sex education about knowing the anatomy and physiology of the human body or about the act of sex or about reproduction and family life or about prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy? Is giving sex ed equivalent to permission in engaging in sex? One sex educator at my son's school told the parents, "I am not planning to tell your children whether or not they should engage in sex or how to do it but in case they decide to do it, they should know how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STD), venereal diseases (VD), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and pregnancy."
The problem with this is that at the present time sex ed as taught in the public schools is incomplete. It does not cover morality associated with sex, sexual dysfunctions and deviations and the institution of marriage.
One of the basic questions is, "Do children need sex education?" Do you teach a baby duck how to swim or just put it in the water and let it swim? After all, for thousands of years men and women have been having sex without any formal education. In many traditional civilizations, sex education starts after marriage and with trial and error. Some couples learn it faster than others and do it better than others due to difference in sexual perception and expression of one partner. In my opinion having a dozen children is not necessarily proof of their love. An appropriate and healthy sex education is crucial to the fulfillment of a happy marriage.
Monday, 26 March 2018
Word spread through Facebook and Twitter posts among the various networks of women involved in grassroots work — in education, health, microfinance, women's shelters, workers' rights.
The March brought together women across class, ethnic, and religious lines. University students cheered on older feminist icons. Placards in English and Urdu read "Patriarchy is Fitna (sedition)", "Kebab Rolls not Gender Roles", "Woman is King" and "Stop Killing Women." Children waved orange and yellow flags with the Aurat March logo, and 97-year-old folk singer Mai Dhai sang and banged enthusiastically on a dhol, the traditional Pakistani drum played at weddings, stirring women and men to dance together in a spirit of festivity and celebration.
Friday, 23 March 2018
Thursday, 22 March 2018
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Religion is very easy, and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded." Sahih Al-Bukhari
Tuesday, 20 March 2018
The torture victim stood in front of her tormentor wondering what treatment would be meted out this time in the notorious Branch 215, also known as Raid Brigade run by military intelligence in Damascus. Would it be a merciless beating or would it be another sex assault on her already broken body?
The start of the investigation was interrupted suddenly by a ringing telephone and she watched and listened with incredulity as the voice laughing and giggling down the line prompted the torturer to break into a warm smile. Almost automatically, he softened the tone of his voice, for that is the effect most daughters have on their fathers.
In the seconds that he looked away from his torture victim he had morphed from brutal monster into a warm and caring father. This was one of the more chilling aspects that emerged from the stories I heard from Syrian women who have been swept up on an industrial scale and thrown into Bashar Al-Assad’s prisons since the start of the 2011 war. The cold reality is that the mass rapes, sexual assaults, punishment beatings and mental torture are being inflicted on women routinely by someone else’s fathers, husbands and even grandfathers.
At the end of the shift, these men must return to their family homes and normality, having completely destroyed the lives and souls of the women and young girls in their grip. The harsh reality is that if your husband works in Branch 215 then he is probably a serial rapist or is standing by as a spectator watching the most heinous, unimaginable crimes being carried out on women prisoners and girls.
I wonder how this particular monster responded when he got home and was asked, “What did you do today, Daddy?” Obviously he would not be telling his daughter about the teeth he smashed, the bones he had broken or the sex he had forced on his victims.
While trying to shine a light on this dark underbelly of the Assad regime, I met several women who ended up in Branch 215 or other equally terrifying prisons and ghost jails run by the Syrian regime. In every encounter, the image of Bashar Al-Assad loomed large, either in portraits hanging on walls or on the T-shirts worn by the men responsible for the brutal rapes.
Yes, you read that accurately. Incredible as it may seem, the face of the Syrian leader is emblazoned on T-shirts worn by the rapists in his employ, as if he defiles Syrian women by proxy. No wonder that many who manage to get out of the prisons cannot bear to look at the face of the Syrian leader. Those small, thin lips and piercing stare must send shivers down their spines every time they see his image.
Monday, 19 March 2018
I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, which is 82% Black American. In contrast, Dearborn, MI, which borders Detroit, has the highest concentration of Arab Muslims in the country and also is home to the largest masjid in the country. I attended Wayne State University (WSU), which is located in Detroit (the actual city, not the suburbs). Compared with other universities, the campus was not large and much of it included the city of Detroit itself. However, I knew WSU had a lot of Muslim students so I was excited to meet fellow Muslims.
Yeah well… with a few exceptions, many of the non-Black Muslims looked at me with disdain, as if I walked around with something on my face. The first Muslims that I met on campus were a Somali family from Canada who I loved dearly. After (semi)joining the Muslim Student Association (MSA), I met another sister who was kind to me, treated me like a normal person and actually asked me about my community and my teacher. I met a few Muslims after joining other school organizations who were cool also. Other than that, I stayed with my own friends who were primarily Black American Muslims as well.
It’s safe to say that my entrée into college was a cultural shock. The few times I went to an MSA event, I could feel eyes burning down my back. Every now and then, a sister would question me about my style of khimar (often times in a bun and accessories adorning my head, or African fabric wrapped up high in a gele or wrapped tightly around my head with multiple colors and patterns), as their friend with no khimar stood by and watched the interrogation. When I walked around campus and gave sisters the greetings of peace, they would either ignore me or just say a half-hearted “salaams” in return. One time, I volunteered at a dawah table during Islamic Awareness Week and none of the sisters at the sisters’ table spoke to me, even though I tried repeatedly to be social and involved in the conversation. I once had a sister who saw me with my KhaliqArt skirt on, saw the letter “Kha” and asked me if it was haram (prohibited in Islam). Mind you, it is a letter…of…the Arabic alphabet. That’s akin to asking if wearing the letter K on your shirt is un-American.
My expression of my Black Muslim identity (American clothes, khimar style and knowledge of Islam) was being challenged. I couldn’t understand why; and for a while, I felt conflicted. To be considered a “real” Muslim, you have to fight for Palestine, Iraq and Iran? I have no problem speaking out against injustices inflicted upon brothers and sisters in the Middle East, but I often wondered why the same importance wasn’t given to the brothers and sisters in Africa or their distant relatives in America? It’s safe to say that the realization of the racism in the Muslim community was eye-opening. I had expected to be welcomed into a global community like I had been part of it since birth, yet I was being ignored and dismissed as a Black Muslim.
The denial of Blackness in Islam is not a new phenomenon. Just as American textbooks would have us believe that our history started on plantations, some in the Muslim community would have you believe that Black Muslims don’t exist, or that we’re just relegated to being an abeed (slave). Mind you, the richest person ever in the history of man was Mansa Musa —an African Muslim king. One of the most influential men in American history was Malcolm X, a Black Muslim man. However, you rarely hear non-Black Muslims speak of Mansa Musa; and when Brother Malcolm is mentioned, often it is in a way that seeks to separate him from his activism. Brother Malcolm to be exact, was firm and grounded in his Blackness, even after he made Hajj. Yes, Hajj introduced him to a broader, global view of Islam, but that in no way prevented him from continuing to fight for the justice of his people. You have to be in tune with your Blackness to even fathom the plan Malcolm had for his people.
When I was younger, I sometimes tried to understand why some non-Black Muslims would look at me with such disdain. The answer is simple: while Islam does not condone or promote racism, cultures do. And because I am proud to be a Black Muslim woman, it scares some people. Why?
Friday, 16 March 2018
I have a lot of love for this Sheikh, need more of him :)
In a nearby village, Saeeda* holds her youngest daughter as she talks about how she was brought to Haryana 20 years ago with her sister.
“I only know that I arrived in Haryana when I was 11,” she says. “I was brought here with my sister but I haven’t seen her since we arrived.”
She was sold to Azim, a widower 20 years older who already had six children by his first wife. She says she was beaten by her husband and his family. “They wanted me to obey them, and if I objected they always had the same words for me: ‘We own you because we bought you.’”
Saeeda was visited by activists from Empower People who told her what rights she had as a wife and mother. Now, her husband has agreed to give her a property in her name, which means that she and her children are secure if Azim dies before she does.
Many paros, she says, are thrown out of the family home when they are widowed. Her home has become a meeting place and refuge for the other paro women living in her village, and she also helps others in her wider community who have been trafficked into marriage.
“Now I have enough courage to fight,” she says.
Thursday, 15 March 2018
They have survived rape and the slaughter of their families. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya girls and women fled Myanmar to escape a military crackdown.
In Bangladesh's refugee camps they thought they would be safe. But inside the tents that house almost a million Rohingya refugees, women and girls are being bought, sold and given away.
Girls are being forced into marriage because relatives can't afford to feed them, or are being lured to brothels with the promise of good jobs. We investigate the dangers still facing Rohingya women and meet the people seeking to exploit them.
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
“The loss of Andalusia is like losing part of my body,” H.R.H. Prince Turki al-Faisal told me.
I had asked him what the loss of Andalusia meant to him as an Arab. The son of King Faisal, widely celebrated in the Muslim world, Prince Turki heads The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s preeminent think tank, and has been Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and the U.K. The question had excited the normally taciturn prince. The mask of cultural and royal impassivity developed over a lifetime of diplomatic dealings had dropped as his body and voice expressed high emotion. The image of Andalusia had struck a nerve: “The emptiness remains.”
“‘Andalusia was the exact opposite of Europe at that time — [then] a dark, savage land of bigotry and hatred.’”
When I asked him what Andalusia meant to him, he replied, “I have a passion for Andalusia because it contributed not only to Muslims but to humanity and human understanding. It contributed to the well-being of society, to its social harmony. This is missing nowadays.” For the prince, “Andalusia was the exact opposite of Europe at that time — [then] a dark, savage land of bigotry and hatred.”
At its height, Andalusia produced a magnificent Muslim civilization — religious tolerance, poetry, music, learned scientists and scholars like Averroës, great libraries (the main library at Cordoba alone had 400,000 books), public baths, and splendid architecture (like the palace complex at the Alhambra and the Grand Mosque of Cordoba). These great achievements were the result of collaboration between Muslims, Christians and Jews — indeed the work of the great Jewish Rabbi Maimonides was written in the Arabic language. It was a time when a Muslim ruler had a Jewish chief minister and a Catholic archbishop as his foreign minister. The Spanish had a phrase for that period of history — La Convivencia, or co-existence.
The civilization of Muslim Spain was the embodiment of the Islamic compulsion to seek ilm, or knowledge. Andalusia produced many firsts, the first person to fly, Ibn Firnas, after whom a moon crater was named, as well as a bridge in present-day Cordoba and the first philosophical novel, by Ibn Tufail. Through Spain, Europe received models for universities (Oxford and Cambridge are examples), philosophy and literature (for example the work of Thomas Aquinas), and the study of medicine originating from the work of Avicenna and Abulcasis.
There were two distinct Muslim responses which emerged from that time and would cast their shadows on the present. Both Jalaluddin Rumi and Ibn Taymiyyah lived at the time of the destruction of the Arab world. Rumi was alive when Baghdad was sacked. Ibn Taymiyyah was born five years after its destruction.
The impact of that time is clear in the way these two looked at the world. Rumi responded by consciously rejecting barriers and differences between people and reaching out to everyone with love. Ibn Taymiyyah responded in exactly the opposite way by underlining the threat to Islam and advocating for the drawing of rigid boundaries around the faith. He famously issued a fatwa against the Mongol rulers, even those who claimed to have converted to Islam because they did not adhere strictly to the sharia. He declared a jihad against them which was compulsory for all Muslims. The notion of Islam in danger may be traced to Ibn Taymiyyah. Both men continue to influence Muslim thinking in our time. Mystics throughout the world are inspired by Rumi, groups like the Wahhabis and the Salafis draw their inspiration from Ibn Taymiyyah.
Tuesday, 13 March 2018
“The Gaza Strip has just declared ‘a state of emergency’. Whilst the BDS movement bolsters its wins, Gaza’s humanitarian crisis grows worse as the money pours into the hands of Israelis from international organizations seeking to help.
The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip right now – brung about as a result of Israel’s 12 year, illegal siege – has seen next to no coverage, being completely ignored by most popular News outlets.
Lately, the cause for ‘Palestinian human rights’ has been growing in support amongst people of the West, with many coming to terms with the reality of Israel’s brutality against the Palestinians. As a result of growing support for the cause, many people are now active in sharing information regarding human-rights abuses, carried out against the Palestinians, few however are sharing the following information.
Israel is making big bucks off of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, in fact, the worse the situation gets the more Israel makes.
If there is to be real efforts in a Boycott of Israel, perhaps not paying into the Israeli economy – international aid – would be a start.
Israel are actually rewarded – with hard cash, the usage of their services and work for their people – whilst they purposefully strangle the Gazan population. That’s right, people giving money to International Organizations, sending aid to Gaza, are actually contributing to an Israeli incentive to make Gaza’s conditions even worse.
How are International Organizations giving Israel the incentive to make Gaza’s condition more unlivable?
The answer to this is very simple, International Organizations, seeking to send aid into Gaza look for the cheapest options available to them, in order to send as much aid into the Strip as necessary. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), more than 80% of Gaza’s population are dependent upon International relief, this means there is a lot of items crossing the Erez (Israel/Gaza) border to help the people.
The International Aid Agencies then take their budgets and spend on the cheapest and most efficiently delivered items available, which come from… you guessed it, Israel. Normally products produced in Jordan or other neighboring countries would be cheaper, but due to international import taxes – into Israel, then through the border into Gaza – the price ends up being cheaper for Israeli made goods.
In 1994 Israel and the “Palestinian Liberation Organization” (PLO) signed an economic deal, known as the ‘Paris Agreement’, this agreement ultimately concluded that no import tax was to be charged on items entering the Gaza Strip from Israel. As a result of this Agreement, Israel has been able to make a monopoly out of International aid, coming in to supposedly help the deprived people of the Gaza Strip.
People now maybe asking why the border between Egypt and Gaza is not utilized, the answer to this, is that the Rafah crossing (Egyptian border) opens a few times per year and is also at he mercy of Israeli decision makers, who will not allow for aid to come through frequently this way.
More than just buying a few Israeli good, this is an industry for Israel.
Israel are not just having a few goods purchased from them, they are literally supplying the food to most Gazans. More than 80% of Gaza is completely impoverished and the worse it gets, the more aid is needed. Gaza has a population of over 2 million, thats a lot of goods everyday, for a lot of people.
Israel are never scrutinized for this and if International Aid Organizations, decided at this point to buy from elsewhere, there is every chance Israel could just close the Gaza border.
Think about this, Israel strangles the population of Gaza and for the tighter the death grip, the more revenue they receive, its the ultimate display of dominance and inhumanity. Not only are goods being purchased, this creates for jobs in Israel stimulating their economy. Even in order to bring the goods into Gaza, Israeli trucks are being used for this.
So what is the solution?
Well for a start, this is something that the BDS should at the very least be discussing!
If we simply leave this very important issue alone, we will allow for the humanitarian crisis to get worse and worse in Gaza. This is a key issue to act upon and will effect Israel greatly, if we are able to change the situation at hand.
This article is a condensed version of this case, written to try and get this point across, this is an urgent matter as people are dying as a result of inaction on this issue.
If we want the siege on Gaza to end, we need to take away the incentive of Israel to make money off of it, or at the very least, make people aware that they are.”
Monday, 12 March 2018
Friday, 9 March 2018
Thursday, 8 March 2018
Paul Moore has been found guilty of the attempted murder of mother of 9, #ZaynabHussein.
He hit her with his car and ran over her twice breaking her pelvis, four vertebrae, arms and a leg.
Mrs. Hussein said: “I was walking on the footpath, minding my own business…it [the car] impacted me from behind”.
She added: “As I lay on the ground I could see blood coming from my head”.
Being unable to get up, she lay on the ground “completely helpless” for a number of minutes, after which she was hit a second time.
Mrs. Hussein said: “all of a sudden, a car ran over me and hit me a second time…I remember the impact and hear cracking sounds as though bones were breaking in my legs”.
Mrs. Hussein also said: “It was when a car hit me for the second time, I knew it was someone trying to kill me”.
Moore said he was "proud of himself" that he did Britain "a favour."
He then tried to knock over a 12-year-old Muslim girl.
She spoke of how the car was travelling at significant speed and had mounted the pavement. She stated that the car “scraped” her, throwing her bag “flying into the air”.
Racially and religiously aggravated hate crimes have seen a significant increase in the last few years over England and Wales, and in particular Leicestershire.
The Leicestershire police force reported 1,010 racially or religiously aggravated hate crimes in 2016/17 which is an increase of nearly 45% from the previous year (697).
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
Tuesday, 6 March 2018
Monday, 5 March 2018
On the house that Farris Barakat built, the words of Martin Luther King Jr. wrap around the porch overhang, as though they were protection from the outside world: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
It took his brother's death for Farris to fully embrace those words.
In February 2015, Deah Barakat was gunned down along with his wife of six weeks, Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan.
News of the triple slaying at a Chapel Hill apartment complex reverberated here and around the world as another instance of hatred toward Muslims. A neighbor was charged with three counts of murder but not a hate crime -- sparking further outrage.
The deaths yanked Farris from his life's trajectory and set him on one he had not anticipated.
At 24, he abandoned his courier business and everything else to speak out against hate. He devoted much of his time to renovating a 105-year-old rental house his brother had owned in a rundown neighborhood east of downtown Raleigh.
Farris named it for his brother. Deah means "light" in Arabic, and The Light House now serves as a center for youth, a gathering place Farris hopes will further Deah's dreams for a more tolerant America.
Here, at this house, Farris hopes to find the light that was so cruelly snuffed out.
Friday, 2 March 2018
Thursday, 1 March 2018
What is the Muslim world? At TEDxLancasterU, linguist Tony McEnery argues that this phrase, which was used 11,000 times in articles discussing Islam written from 1998 to 2009 by the British press, highlights an unsettling trend in the media -- using language that characterizes Muslims as violent and unusual -- a trend that, as he shows, has a long history and he asks us to change.