Saturday 30 June 2018

Far Right anti-Muslim Campaigner

It’s a thrilling time to be a racist nationalist.
Forget the old days of being marginalized, of the painstaking efforts to recruit activists, of de rigueur haircuts and uniforms. Now, you can build an international grassroots nationalist coalition online with a simple narrative and single hashtag. 
Anti-Muslim prejudice travels particularly well across borders and feeds so many of today’s dark nationalist fears. 
So when a British far right activist was recently arrested, now jailed, for live videoing defendants midtrial - alleged Muslim sex abusers - it was an obvious trigger for protests online and in the streets, from Texas to Tel Aviv:  #FreeTommyRobinson.
Robinson used to be head of the English Defence League, a far-right, fiercely Islamophobic group specializing in street brawls. He’s spent the last few years becoming one of several convergence points for anti-Muslim nationalists of various stripes (similarly to Steve Bannon, late of the White House). 
He’s cozied up to the U.S. alt-right, forged links with the European far-right – as a leader of the U.K. branch of the German racist group Pegida ("Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West.") He makes a point of turning up after U.K. terror attacks to taunt Muslims. And he wrote a book, subtly entitled: "Mohammed's Koran: Why Muslims Kill for Islam."
Part of Robinson’s tactical shift towards nationalists-in-suits-not-swastikas is his newfound love for Israel. Back as EDL leader he made an attempt to form a "Jewish Division" but his interest in bridge-building with the British Jewish community was entirely rebuffed then, as now. 
But, treading an ignominious path well-beaten by other European far-right leaders, he visited Israel in 2016 and was hosted by Brian Thomas, an ex-Brit who shares his hostility to Islam and boasted of their "friendship."

Friday 29 June 2018

Quebec City mosque shooter 'not a monster' say parents

The parents of the 28-year-old man who opened fire on worshippers in a Quebec City mosque, killing six men and injuring more than a dozen others, have blamed years of bullying and intimidation for their son’s actions, saying he is not a “monster.”
After pleading guilty to six counts of first degree murder in March, Alexandre Bissonnette is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole for up to 150 years.
As sentencing arguments wrapped up on Thursday, Raymond Bissonnette and Manon Marchand spoke publicly for the first time since the shooting, expressing their sympathy to the victims and lashing out at the crown prosecutor for minimising the relentless bullying Bissonnette suffered in school.

“Alexandre is not a monster,” Raymond Bissonnette told reporters as his wife fought back tears beside him. “The crown said that all young people are bullied at some time in their lives and don’t commit serious crimes. I think that this opinion does not do justice to the serious damage and suffering caused by bullying and intimidation.”
They had worked for years to address the bullying but failed, leaving Bissonnette battling mental health issues. “Unfortunately, Alexandre’s mental condition caused by the years of intimidation was not identified by us nor by the doctors he consulted,” he said.
He noted that the crown did not order a psychiatric examination after Alexandre’s arrest. Instead it sought to “demonise” their son by seeking six back-to-back life sentences, amounting to a 150-year sentence that could rank as the longest in Canadian history.
“One hundred years is actually a death sentence in disguise; we all know that,” said Raymond Bissonnette. “I fear that in my son’s case, the crown is seeking a political, not a judicial sentence.”

Nearly 50 people were at the mosque in 2017 when the three-minute shooting rampage began. Video of the attack played in court showed Bissonnette pausing numerous times to reload his semi-automatic Glock handgun as worshippers scrambled to protect the handful of children in the mosque at the time.
Bissonnette’s parents have attended much of the sentencing hearing, listening quietly as the victims’ families detailed how the killings shattered their lives and left many in the city’s tight-knit Muslim community fearing for their safety. “I would like to express to them, once again, in my name and my family’s name, all our compassion, our sympathy with them in this terrible, terrible, terrible ordeal,” Raymond Bissonnette said.

Canada mosque shooter says he was motivated by Trudeau welcoming refugees

Earlier this year, prosecutors sought to paint Alexandre as an unrepentant killer who saw violence as a means of avenging the relentless bullying he had suffered in school.

The court heard that Bissonnette had trawled the internet, obsessively following the social media feeds of Donald Trump and right-wing commentators in the US and scouring for content to feed his resentment of immigrants, Islam and feminists as well as his fascination with mass shooters.
When asked if he had anything to say, a tearful Alexandre said he was ashamed of his actions. “I regret that my life has caused so much suffering and pain for so many people,” he told the judge.

In February, Bissonnette’s parents issued a written statement, hinting at their anguish in the wake of the attack. “The immense pain and suffering caused to the innocent victims and their families by this inexcusable act remains for us, to this day, totally inexplicable,” they said. “Alexandre remains our son whom we love and who will always remain a part of our family. Like all parents, we had hoped to see him succeed and be happy in life. In a sense, we, too, have lost a son.”

The judge is not expected to hand down a sentence until October.


Wednesday 27 June 2018

A Second Wife: I Face Homelessness

I am the second wife as of 6 months ago. For the first four months, my husband has supported me. Now for the last two, I am struggling and face homelessness.
He has canceled the lease for the apartment. He stopped providing groceries and has blocked me from being able to pay the bills. He has a first wife and two children with her. He said his obligations are mainly for them, not me. When I tell him I do not feel like having sex, he will guilt me into doing it even though I at times feel unwell as I just miscarried our child. I may be pregnant again (I know in a few days), and he said I can find stuff in people's trash to use for my baby (he said the same when I was just pregnant with our child we lost).
I have two children from a previous marriage. He used to treat my daughter well but would be very cruel to my son. I told him he needs to stop and treat them equal. He is always comparing my son to his sons and it makes my son very depressed. 

I want to get out of this marriage at this point. But he uses Islam's rule that only the man can give the divorce as a way to keep me stuck with him. He finds it funny that I tell him I and my kids will be living in the streets. He doesn’t care because he is more focused on his real wife and his children with her. Next week, he is going to purchase her second house. Why does the woman need two houses?!?!?!? 

In addition, he just bought her a new van and now a new car. Why does this woman need two cars??!?!! Anyways, I told him I will leave Islam if it means I can leave him. I am tired of this! I am not some property like cattle. To be used and not supported. I am second guessing my converting to Islam entirely. I was never treated this poorly before!

As-salaam ‘alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh,
Thank you for contacting us here at I am so sorry to hear your story. What has happened to you is profoundly wrong and goes against all Islamic ethics of honor, dignity, respect, marriage, and the treatment of women. Islam is a religion of justice and mercy, not of abuse.

Your situation involves several different issues, amongst them being justice in polygamy, the obligations of a husband towards his wife, and a woman’s right to divorce.
When Is Polygamy Allowed?
With regards to polygamy, Allah says:

“And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice].” (Qur’an 4:3)
Polygamy is allowed only when the man is able to commit to being just between his wives. A Muslim man who chooses to marry more than one wife is absolutely obligated to pay for both families, not just one. Indeed, it is abhorrent for him to claim that he only owes his first wife and children anything.

The Prophet Muhammad explicitly warned men who seek to do injustice between their wives of the severity of doing so.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever has two wives and favors one of them over the other, will come on the Day of Resurrection with one of his sides leaning.” (Tirmidhi)
In Islam, husbands are obliged to financially care for their wives and take care of their necessities. Obviously, this means ensuring that their wives have a roof to stay under, food to eat, and all the requisite utilities are taken care of.

Who is a Qawwam?
Allah described men as Qawwaamoon – that is, guardians and caretakers of women – precisely because they are obligated to financially support their wives.

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means.” (Qur’an 4:34)
It was narrated that Mu‘awiyah al-Qushayri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I said: O Messenger of Allah, what are the rights of the wife of one of us over him? He said: “That you feed her as you feed yourself, clothe her as you clothe yourself, do not strike the face, do not disgrace her and if you want to shun her (by way of disciplining her) do not leave home.” (Abi Dawud)
Allah also says:
“Lodge them of where you dwell out of your means and do not harm them in order to oppress them…” (Qur’an 65:6)
While this verse specifically refers to women who have been divorced, we must know that this applies even more so to women who are still married!
What your husband is doing to you and your children is a complete betrayal of his role as Qawwaam – as guardian and caretaker. His claims that he is not responsible for your welfare or your expenses are absolutely incorrect. Nor do you “owe” him any sexual intimacy; by neglecting his own obligations towards you, he no longer can lay claim to that “right.” You should not feel guilty about not engaging in sexual intimacy with him as he has completely violated all your own rights over him.

You Can Seek a Divorce
Finally, Islam does not say that only a man can give a divorce! In fact, there are several ways of ending a marriage in Islam. The talaq, which is a male-initiated divorce; the khul’, which is a female-initiated divorce; and faskh, which is a legal means of annulling or dissolving a marriage in cases of negligence, abuse, and so on.

In fact, considering the details of your situation, and the dire circumstances that you have been placed in, I strongly urge you to find an Islamic authority in your region who can officiate a faskh for you. The man that you are currently married to is someone who has no honor, no dignity, and no respect for you as a wife. As a Muslim woman, you are entitled to excellent treatment, justice, and mercy from any man who wishes to be your husband.
If you are willing to share your location with us, we may be able to put you in touch with those who can (from an Islamic legal perspective) end your marriage and free you from having any marital relationship with this degenerate individual.
If possible, search for a Muslim woman’s shelter in your area. Otherwise, please do seek assistance from a local masjid or Islamic center. InshaAllah, the Muslim community in your region should come together to help you out of your deeply unfortunate situation.
After all this, I just want to let you know that what you have gone through with this man is absolutely no reflection of Islam as a religion. Unfortunately, while Islam is perfect, many Muslims are not; in this case, this man has used you and abused you and gone against basic Islamic ethics, morals, and obligations.

Allah Doesn’t Want You to Live in Oppression
What you are going through is not easy, but know that Allah does not want you to live in oppression. Indeed, Allah hates oppression and has forbidden Muslims from inflicting it upon others. He has commanded mercy for Himself, and He has commanded us to have mercy on others.

As a Muslim woman, your faith is your own and is not tied to this man. Rather, know that your Lord and Creator chose you amongst all others to accept Islam in your heart, truly, not for the sake of a human being, but for the Sake of the Most Merciful. Turn to Allah and seek His Love, His Mercy, and His support – He is there for us when no one else is, and He loves for us to ask Him for His blessings and His assistance in our times of need.
Know that even in times of greatest difficulty, Allah provides us with hope. He tells us,
“For indeed, with hardship comes ease. Indeed, with hardship comes ease!” (Qur’an 94:5-6)
I pray with all my heart that you and your children are protected from the evil of this man, and that you are able to leave this terrible situation. May Allah ease your affairs and bless you with a beautiful future full of happiness, security, and above all, His Mercy and blessings upon your family.

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Noura in her own words: Teen who killed rapist husband shares her story

Sudanese teenager Noura Hussein, who is on death row for killing her 35-year-old husband, in a case that has sparked international outrage, has spoken out for the first time about her forced marriage, and the rape and struggle that happened when she stabbed him.

CNN obtained a first-hand account from the 19-year-old, who is currently awaiting retrial in an Omdurman prison cell after appealing her death sentence.

The teenager's story has put a spotlight on forced marriage and marital rape in Sudan, where the legal age to enter into marriage is 10 and marital rape is not a crime.
Noura's family made her get married at 15, but allowed her to finish school. Three years later, after a public marriage ceremony, her husband tried to consummate the marriage. After refusing to have sex with him on their "honeymoon," she says he raped her as members of his family held her down. A day later her husband tried to rape her again, and she stabbed him to death. When she went to her parents for support, they turned her over to the police.

The Sudanese government has not responded to CNN's requests for comment on the case.
Noura's first-hand account was obtained by CNN. It has been translated, and lightly edited for clarity and length.

Noura Hussein: He told my parents that he wanted to marry me when I was in the 8th grade.
They fooled me after I sat the secondary school exams at the end of that year.
And the first time I even saw him was a week after he proposed the marriage to my uncle.
And from the first time they told me I refused. I told them I don't want to marry, I want to study.
I spoke to him directly and said, "I don't want to marry you."
I fled to Sinnar to my aunt's house, but two days later they brought me back and the religious ceremony took place, two weeks after he first proposed, in our house.

Afterwards I had no communication with him. If he visited the house I left. I told him, I don't want you.

The wedding ceremony was three years later after I sat my school leaver exam. They did all the usual rituals for the wedding, his family are well off, but in all that time I didn't take anything from him -- not a single penny.
I was overwhelmed with anger, I didn't want this man.
I sat in the hairdressers contemplating suicide.

I cried sitting next to him. In the car he kept coming closer to me and I kept moving away. We arrived at the honeymoon flat, I locked myself inside one of the rooms and lay down fully clothed.

This went on -- I refused to eat, I refused to leave my room. On the third day he told me it's time you open the door so I don't break in. I refused but while he slept I crept out and found the door to the flat was locked.
On the ninth day his relatives came, his uncle told me to go to the bedroom. I said no so he dragged me by my arm into the bedroom and his cousin slapped me. All of them tore at my clothing. His uncle held me down by my legs and each of the other two held down my arms. He stripped and had me while I wept and screamed. Finally, they left the room. I was bleeding, I slept naked.
The next day he grabbed me, threw me on the bed and tried to climb on top of me. I was fighting back and my hand found a knife under the pillow. We began grappling over the knife. He cut my hand and bit down on my shoulder.
I ran to my parent's house. I had no idea how I got there. I was still carrying the knife.
I was hoping to finish studying law and then marry, my dream is to be a judge.

Monday 25 June 2018

Toxic Masculinity Took Another Woman’s Life And No, Thoughts And Prayers Don’t Help Anymore

Recently, a bus hostess was shot dead in Faisalabad after she turned down a man.
Mehwish Arshad, a bus hostess, was shot dead at Faisalabad’s Kohistan Terminal. She was murdered for refusing to marry a security guard – a classic case of toxic masculinity running its course. After her father’s death, she was the only financial support of her family. It is important to point out that bus hostesses are harassed on a daily basis. The man who shot her was also an employee.
In the CCTV video, the man can be seen talking to her as he forcibly grabs her hand and she visibly looks disturbed and tries to pull her hand away. She succeeds in pulling her hand away and there is a two-second pause before he shoots her, and runs away. There is no one around to witness the incident, save a person or two in the background, but would that really have stopped the man?
In the harrowing footage, the woman can be seen sliding down the steps in pure agony, with no one to help her as she took her last breath.
For most Pakistani men, women can exist either as homemakers or as sexual toys, with zero agency of their own. This leads to the development of the thought process where they are the “alpha males” whom no one dares to turn down. It is important to point out that socio-economic aspects do not really matter when it comes to mindset.
And let me stop you before you say “not all men.” That’s truly besides the point.
Feminism is made fun of in Pakistan, by men and women alike. Yet, we’re the ones who need it the most.
However, it is imperative to point out that these cases are why we need feminism in Pakistan. The emancipation of women as individuals with their own agency over their thoughts, bodies, lives, and decisions is of the utmost importance.
All these women who suffer, or lose their lives due to the inability of men to understand the word ‘no’, rarely get justice.

Sunday 24 June 2018

Islam and Muslims in South Africa


Muslims have a rich heritage in South Africa.

S Mayson, describing the Islamic life in the 19th century Cape Town, in The Malays of Cape Town, writes: "In 1652 a few Malays of Batavia were brought by the Dutch into the Residency, and subsequent Settlement of the Cape of Good Hope... " It is possible that these "Malays of Batavia" were the first Muslims to come to this country.

1654 Arrival of first Asiatic at the Cape

Around 1654 the Dutch East India Company established the Cape as a half­way house for its ships travelling between Holland and the East Indies. It was also to serve as a penal settlement for convicts and political exiles from the East.

G M Theal, the historian, says in his book, History of South Africa before 1795, on the Dutch East India Company, "With her [the Haaselt] came the first of a class of persons afterwards numerous in South Africa and whose descendants form at the present day an important element in the population in Cape Town."

Four "Asiatics" had been sentenced by the High Court of Justice in Batavia to banishment and hard labour for life. Their crime: preaching insurrection in Batavia against Dutch rule. Three of them were sent in the Haaselt to Mauritius and one was brought to the Cape of Good Hope.

This political prisoner was probably among the the first recorded Muslim to land on South African soil, two years after the White settlement in the country2.

1658 Advent of the Mardyckers

The first recorded arrival of free Muslims known as Mardyckers is in 1658. Mardycka or Maredhika implies freedom. The Mardyckers were people from Amboyna [an Indonesian island] in the southern Moluccas and were brought to the Cape in order to defend the newly established settlement against the indigenous people, and also to provide labour in the same way that they had been employed at home, first by the Portuguese and later by the Dutch, in Amboyna. Jan Van Riebeeck had requested that the Mardyckers be sent to the Cape as a labour force. The Mardyckers were prohibited from openly practising their religion: Islam. This was in accordance with the Statute of India [drafted by Van Dieman in 1642] which stated in one of its placaats [statutes]: "No one shall trouble the Amboinese about their religion or annoy them; so long as they do not practise in public or venture to propagate it amongst Christians and heathens. Offenders to be punished with death, but should there be amongst them those who had been drawn to God to become Christians, they were not to be prevented from joining Christian churches. " The same Placaat was re-issued on August 23, 1657 by Governor John Maetsuycker probably in anticipation of the advent of the Mardyckers to the Cape of Good Hope. The Placaat governed the Cape as part of the Dutch Colonial Empire.

Read all about it here:


As Ramadan begins, take time to find out the history of Islam in SA
17 May 2018 12:47 PM

With Thursday marking the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, Eusebius McKaiser speaks to a professor in Religious Studies at the University of Johannesburg, Farid Essack to discuss the history of Islam in South Africa.

Essack begins by explaining the number of times that Muslims go to pray and why they do so.

    They pray fives times a day. Because Muslims generally pray. There are five daily prayers, The Sunni Muslims pray at five different times and the Shia Muslims combine the evening prayers and the day prayers and both groups do the early morning prayers.
    — Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

The professor added that there are approximately about 860 000 Muslims in South Africa.

    We have been around for a long time actually. We first came shortly after 1652 to South Africa about a year after Van Riebeeck had first landed. They were brought as slaves because the local Khoi weren't very cooperative. So we come from Salon, Mauritius, Madagascar, and Mozambique.
    — Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

He said there are two major streams of Islam in South Africa.

    So the one arrived shortly after Van Riebeeck and they came from the east - labourers, political exiles. The Dutch were in occupation of the Cape and they were in occupation of Indonesia.
    — Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

He says the Dutch colonialists considered some of them to be troublemakers in Indonesia, and so sent off to a faraway place at the southern tip of Africa - the Cape Colony.

This stream is known as the Malay community. The other stream arrived as labourers on the eastern coast of Southern Africa, in the area now called KwaZulu Natal.

    They came from India in 1860 along with some Hindus. And the descendants of that crowd, they are now in Gauteng, in North West, Mpumalanga, the Northern Province and of cause largely in KwaZulu Natal.
    — Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

The professor adds that there is one other stream that arrived between 1873 and 1880 He says these were 500 slaves that were liberated and brought to Durban.

    They ended up in Durban and they were known as Zanzibaris, they were from Tanzania and Zanzibar. But they had white gowns and they had beards so culturally they didn't fit in with the local Zulu community at all. They did follow the similar cultural and religious practices of the Indian Muslims.
    — Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

So when apartheid came along, they were proclaimed Muslims.

    Until today, you have a community of black Africans living in the middle of an Indian township, Chatsworth, the Zanzibari Muslims.
    — Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg

He also explained the difference between the words Islam and Muslim.

    The one is a social-religious community, these are Muslims. And Muslims follow the religion of Islam.
    — Prof Farid Essack, Professor of Religion Studies University of Johannesburg


Two stabbed to death in 'brutal' attack on mosque in South Africa during morning prayers
'Shocking and sad assault on what is probably the last day of Ramadan'
Adam Withnall
Thursday 14 June 2018 08:17

South African police say two worshippers have been stabbed to death in an attack on a mosque in Malmesbury, Western Cape.

The suspect, who was armed with a knife, was shot dead by police outside the mosque. Three others, including a police officer, were injured during the incident.

The Muslim Judicial Council said in a statement that it was “shocked to its core to learn of a brutal attack on the Malmesbury Masjied in Cape Town in the early hours of this morning”.

The two people killed were in I’tikaaf meaning they had been sleeping in the mosque for a period of days as an act of devotion. The attacker was not known to the mosque community, a spokeswoman for the Council said.

Western Cape police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said the suspect, “believed to be in his thirties and armed with a knife, was still on the scene and charged at the police who tried to persuade him to hand himself over”.

“He ignored the calls and tried to attack police. He was shot and killed in the process,” Mr Traut said.

The attack comes a month after another assault on a mosque in Verulam, north of Durban. In that attack, three men stormed the place of worship, killing one and injuring others. They then fled the scene, and no arrests have yet been made.

Speaking to eNCA, Mishka Daries of the Muslim Judicial Council described the attack as “brutal”, saying it was a “shocking and sad assault on what is probably the last day of Ramadan”.

Asked if she feared a spike in such incidents, Ms Daries said she “understood these concerns within the Muslim community”.

“We are still trying to come to terms with the attack,” she said. “A mosque, a church, a synagogue, any house of worship – they are sacred places… you feel safe, you feel secure, you know that this is your time with God and that is your focus. Unfortunately it seems this isn’t the case.

“We would like to call for calm in the community,” she added, urging people not to “retaliate in any form” while the facts surrounding the attack remain unclear.

Outrage after deadly South Africa mosque attack
Three assailants on the run after killing one worshipper during midday prayers and critically wounding two others.
by Azad Essa
12 May 2018

South African police are hunting for three attackers who cut the throat of an imam and stabbed and seriously injured two other people at a Shia mosque.

The attack on the mosque on Thursday in Verulam, a town 27km north of Durban, left the Muslim community outraged and demanding answers.

Major Bheki Langa, KwaZulu-Natal province's acting police commissioner, said in a statement the motive was still unclear. The assailants also set the mosque on fire before escaping in a getaway vehicle.

"Such criminality cannot be tolerated. A team of investigators has been dispatched to solve the case and bring perpetrators to book," Langa said.

Emergency rescue services initially said the imam of the mosque had died after the attackers slit his throat. But the Herald newspaper reported on Friday that the imam had survived the attack and was in a critical condition at a local hospital, together with the caretaker of the mosque who was also stabbed.

The man who died was a worshipper named Abbas Essop who had come to the imam's aid after he had heard screams from the mosque. The assailants had also reportedly slit Abbas' throat.
Swift condemnation

The incident drew immediate condemnation from the Muslim leadership across the country.

Faisal Suleman, chairperson of the South African Muslim Network, told Al Jazeera his organisation would not want to speculate on a motive given it was still not clear.

"We condemn this attack and we are urging the law enforcement to spare no effort in apprehending the perpetrators alive so that the reasons become known," Suleman said from Durban.

"South Africa has not had such attacks in the past, so we caution against speculation."

The Muslim Judicial Council denounced the bloodshed and said the core of Islamic teachings and principles are "respect for all human beings".

Islamic scholar Shaykh Rafeek Haseen told community radio station Voice of the Cape that Durban's Muslim community is in shock and urged people not to jump to conclusions.

"It may be a case of money laundering or a personal issue between the perpetrators and the victims. I do not think we should jump to conclusions that this attack is motivated by sectarianism," said Haseen.

The United Ulama Council of South Africa denounced "these grievous and vicious attacks".

"We condemn these unjustifiable acts of violence, which foster nothing but tension, mistrust, and insecurity within communities," said the group's Secretary-General Yusuf Patel.
Extremely rare

Muslims make up about 1.9 percent of South Africa's 55 million population, with most following the Sunni Muslim denomination. Attacks on mosques are extremely rare, but observers note anti-Shia rhetoric has been on the rise over the past few years, especially on social media.

Farid Sayed, editor of the Muslim Views newspaper based in Cape Town, said there have been attacks on mosques before, but usually from the "racist, white right-wing".

Sayed said many Muslims in South Africa deny the fact that there is intra-faith intolerance in the community.

"One can dismiss this as a once-off attack, it may not even be a sectarian attack. But I think it alerts us to the fact that we could actually be facing a situation where there could be violence [in the future].

"In the past, it was always verbal attacks, not physical. I have some [social media] posts that suggest that it 'was just a Shia mosque', in other words, they deserved to be attacked," Sayed said.

The country's parliament also released a statement condemning the violence.

"A mosque is a religious institution and South Africa's constitution guarantees and protects the right to religious practices," Francois Beukman, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, said in a statement released from parliament.

"This kind of attack on three innocent people is totally unjustified. We want our communities to live in harmony, practising their religions without fear."

Saturday 23 June 2018

Who is playing for Kosovo?

We are not sports fan but was surprised to see all this controversy about Swiss footballers Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri who have risked inflaming political tensions in the Balkans after they used an Albanian nationalist symbol to celebrate their goals against Serbia in a 2-1 Group E victory in Kaliningrad.

The pair, who both have ethnic Albanian heritage but grew up in Switzerland, turned Friday night’s match around after Serbia had taken the lead through Aleksandar Mitrovic early in the first half.

Both put their open hands together with their thumbs locked and fingers outstretched to make what looks like the double-headed eagle displayed on Albania’s national flag. The thumbs represent the heads of the two eagles, while the fingers look like the feathers.

Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s independence and relations between the two countries remain tense. Xhaka’s parents are originally from Kosovo and they are of Albanian heritage. The Arsenal midfielder’s father was imprisoned in the former Yugoslavia for campaigning in favour of Kosovan independence.

So what exactly happened in Kosovo?

During the period between March 24, 1999 to June 19, 1999, approximately 10,000 people were killed, with the vast majority of the victims being Kosovar Albanians killed by FRY forces. Approximately 863,000 civilians sought or were forced into refuge outside Kosovo and an additional 590,000 were internally displaced. There is also evidence of widespread rape and torture, as well as looting, pillaging and extortion.

Read all about Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims in Kosovo here.

Read all about Islam and Muslims in Kosovo here.

Friday 22 June 2018

Pak never fails to disappoint, she will be forever condemned because she simply wasn't 'sharif' enough and excuses will always be made for him :( 

In a country where there are estimated to be more than 1,000 so-called “honour killings” a year, her case has become a cause celebre, with the acquittal viewed by some as effectively sanctioning violence against women. Siddiqi’s lawyer, Hassaan Niazi, said it was “the worst form of victim blaming”.
Speaking to the Observer, Siddiqi said women were being undermined by a patriarchal system that deters them from reporting crimes such as rape and “honour” violence because “of the stigma against women in the justice system, in which the onus is on the woman to prove she is the victim”.
She added: “My struggle is a test case for all women who come into the court system. We are the targets of character assassination, and when it comes to motive, the onus is on the woman to prove her innocence instead of the criminal’s guilt.
“When the court asked me what [Hussain’s] motive was, they tried to prove I was a woman of loose character, that I am immoral and don’t have values. The defence said in court that I was having illicit relationships with other boys, which was a lie. Their entire defence was based on discrediting my character.”
Siddiqi, who is from a cosmopolitan, but religious and culturally conservative, family, struck up a friendship with Hussain, the son of a well-connected lawyer, at college. The pair became close, but she ended the relationship after becoming concerned by his obsessive and controlling behaviour, and his hacking of her Facebook account.
“When a guy crosses all limits and he says ‘you are like my property’, that’s what made me leave him and that should be enough. It doesn’t matter what happens, even if I had married him, nothing gives him the right to attack a woman like that.”
What followed was a campaign of harassment and blackmail, culminating in the attack in Lahore’s main shopping street, which left her fighting for her life. The case caused uproar, with celebrities and politicians expressing dismay. Jamshed Kazi, the country’s UN Women representative, said: “Khadija’s relentless pursuit of justice is an extraordinary example of courage that highlights the multiple barriers women face to access justice including stigma and gender bias.”
Such has been the outcry that, following the acquittal, Pakistan’s supreme court took the extraordinary step of issuing a suo motu – where a court is able to start proceedings without a formal complaint – to re-examine the case. The process will start on Sunday. “The supreme court’s decision is a very positive step, not just for me, but for all women. It has revived people’s trust in the court system and shows the power of the people, of our youth and of social media who made their voices heard and the supreme court has listened,” she said.
Siddiqi said she hoped her case would inspire other women to fight for justice, and lead to legal reforms to ensure women are treated fairly. “I’ve had so many messages saying ‘this happened to me’, and it gives people strength. There is a stigma for women to get justice, not just in Pakistan but across the world. This shows if you hurt or kill in the name of honour, you will be challenged. As a law student, I owe it to these women to show the justice system isn’t just for the rich and powerful.
“Thousands of women are killed across the world. I was one of the rare few who survived, so I have been given the chance to be an example for all women.”

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Board announces ‘urgent review’ into deputy, after JC reveals she promoted ‘Islamophobic’ views

The Board of Deputies has pledged an “urgent and detailed case review” into one of its deputies who has expressed what have been described as “Islamophobic” and “anti-Arab” views.
The JC has seen tweets shared by Roslyn Pine, who stood unsuccessfully to be vice-president of the Board in last month’s elections, describing Muslims as “the vilest of animals”, as well as one describing Arabs as “so evil”.
She also retweeted a message describing Arab migrants to Europe as “an invading army”.
The JC understands her account, @RoslynPine, was suspended by Twitter in November 2017. Mrs Pine admitted running the account but denied ownership of another account, @Pine_Roslyn, which was also suspended.
She denied establishing a third account, @toscasbacci, which shares anti-Muslim messages and tweets supporting right-wing figures such as Tommy Robinson. The account features the same profile image as one allegedly previously used by Mrs Pine on her WhatsApp account. She denied it was her account on the messaging service.
Mrs Pine is currently a deputy for Finchley United Synagogue and previously represented North Salford Synagogue in Manchester.
Speaking to the JC, she defended her right to hold “views against Islam”, denying it was Islamophobic to do so.
Mrs Pine added: “There is no such word as Islamophobic. ‘Islamophobia’ is trying to shut down criticism of Islam. I detest the creed of Islam and I’m entitled to say it.
“I have an issue with Muslims and Arabs who want to kill us, who want to destroy Israel. And that is an Islamic fundamental if you know anything about what the Koran is.
“I have views that offend people. That is what a free society is. To criticise a religion — including Judaism — I have no problem with that. In a free society you should be able to criticise a body of ideas.”
New Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl has ordered a report on Mrs Pine from the internal committee responsible for breaches of its code of conduct. Mrs van der Zyl said: “I will not tolerate any anti-Muslim hatred whatsoever. Irrespective of this particular case, I have also asked for a complete list of the sanctions available to us and recommendations for whether these are sufficient.
“I have asked that this be on my desk by no later than the end of next week.
“As a community that has faced more than our fair share of prejudice, we need to be crystal clear on this and lead the fight to defeat it.”
Previous internal reports into Mrs Pine’s conduct — as well as notices that complaints have been lodged against her — were not circulated among deputies ahead of the election.
A fellow deputy, who wished to remain anonymous, described Mrs Pine’s conduct as “very problematic”, adding that she had frequently used “racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic language”. The deputy added: “She is a very proud person and she doesn’t want to change her views or tone down anything she says.
“It doesn’t show a good side of the Board to younger deputies. She has treated people in an offensive manner, and her language has also been quite violent.”

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Men-only mosques invalidate jumma prayers

By Yvonne Ridley

I thought that headline would grab your attention! First and foremost no one’s just made me a mufti and I’m not an Islamic scholar so after reading this I urge you to go out and seek corroboration and knowledge from men and women who truly know and love their Islam.
Secondly I would ask you to check out the committees of those mosques where women are forbidden from entering. I bet the decision taking is made by men and that those men have their roots in countries which were once colonised by the British. There’s a thesis in there somewhere but let’s focus on the issue of men-only mosques for today.
The thorny subject was brought to my attention by Egyptian scholar Sheikh Fadel Soliman who I first encountered in New York and then in Cairo when I was brand new to Islam. He introduced me to the then Grand Imam Sheikh Mohamed Sayyid Tantawi, the Rector of the famous Al Azhar University in Cairo, and the leading cleric in Sunni Islam worldwide.
At our meeting Sheikh Tantawi went to shake my hand and I drew back amid a few gasps from those in our immediate circle. I was still wrestling with the notion of shaking hands of the opposite sex when, astonishingly, the late sheikh accused me of extremism as I refused his hand. Sheikh Fadel interjected and corrected the man widely considered to be head of the Arab sunni world, again more raised eyebrows but he diffused a tense situation.
Ever since then we’ve become great friends and he is someone I’ve relied upon over the years when faced with challenging dilemmas and questions about Islam simply because he has shown himself to be a man who speaks without fear or favour. It’s no use consulting a sheikh who will tell you simply what you want to hear.
The ‘handshake’ thing has troubled me on and off for many years but I’ll return to it another time. I want to focus on the far more pressing phenomenon which is men-only mosques. It is something which troubled me within days of embracing Islam and is virtually unheard of in the Arab world although common in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe.
When I lived in London my nearest place of prayer was the Islamic Centre in Soho. On arrival I was told I could not enter. I created a fuss and the imam at the time (it was around 2003) said the same thing. As I was kept at the door I told him at I knew he was wrong and I would go away, seek knowledge and return to challenge him again. I told him that there was no such thing in Islam as a men-only mosque and I was sure of this – as a feminist and a lifelong supporter of women’s rights there’s no way I’d embrace a faith which sidelines one gen
Now, more than 15 years on, I stand by my insistence that there’s simply no such thing as a men-only mosque and there never has been. It is a concept born out of misogyny and while some of you may wave your hands dismissively and accuse me of being on a feminist trip, stop right there. The truth is your jumma prayers are invalid if you pray in a building where Muslim women are barred. Don’t take my word for it – ask a scholar free of constraints and not someone from the oil-rich schools of scholars for dollars.
Egyptian-born Sheikh Fadel Soliman from The Bridges Foundation, who has a Master’s degree in Shariah, has been investigating the subject for some time. The problem was also resurrected by another friend of mine Imam Ajmal Masroor whose wife and daughter were refused entry to a London mosque quite recently.
Both these men stand up fearlessly for women’s rights in Islam and as I say, I’m proud to count them among my brotherly friends. “Men-only mosques are a bidah as they violate a clear instruction by the Prophet (pbuh) ‘Dont you ever prevent the female servants of Allah from attending mosques’. He forbade us from making a single gender mosque,” says Sheikh Fadel.
He also sought clarification from another hugely respected authority Sheikh Muhammad al-Hassan Walid al-Dido al-Shanqītī who runs a respected educational centre in Mauritania. Not only did the sheikh agree he went further and declared places where women are barred from worship as not even mosques! “The condition for any place to be considered a mosque is that no one can be disallowed to enter and prayer freely. So, if people set out to make a mosque for one type of people only say, for doctors, or rich people, or white, or black, it is not a mosque. Call it whatever you want; it’s not a mosque,” explained Shk Soliman.
And so what of these men-only mosques and their status in Islam? “The jummah is invalid” declares Shk Soliman. This is huge news, it’s seismic when you consider in the UK around a third of the mosques are men-only! It’s something the Muslim Council of Britain, once sinking in a swamp of its own misogyny, is trying to grapple with today as it finally realises we women are half the Ummah and we gave birth to the other half!
The solution is simple. Lift the ban and then set about turning mosque committees into areas where the decision makers and takers are split only by gender. Let’s end the days of men-only mosque committees which serve no one especially the community and consign to history those fake mosques where women are banned.
It is a message I gave in South Africa recently which was welcomed by many of the women I met in Johannesburg and Durban but sadly not all of the men were as enthusiastic. Goodness knows why since there’s not a Muslim man alive who would challenge the word of God and yet, the Qur’an makes it clear mosques are houses of worship for all.
The view on gender discriminating mosques is also condemned at length here by Imam Ajmal Masroor who asks and answers three questions quite simply: “Can a place be called a mosque if it bans prayers? No! Can a place be called a mosque if it was women only mosque? No! Can a place be called a mosque if it was men only mosque? No!”
As I say, don’t take my word for it but if you pray in a place where women are banned then I’d be seriously concerned. If your jumma prayers are invalid then how do you get back all those lost years? I don’t know the answer but if I was a man praying in a men-only mosque I’d be very concerned.
There are three floors in which to worship at the Soho Islamic Centre, surely one can be set aside for women? Next time I go I will demand my right as a Muslim and now I have the knowledge to stand up to the misogynists who should take heed.
And while I’m on with it, for those mosques where women are accommodated ask yourself this: Can we do better? I am sick and tired of going to mosques where the sisters’ rooms are dark, damp, grubby and unclean. This is a terrible advert for Islam. I’m not going to name and shame the mosques and prayer rooms here – their committee members know fine well what I am talking about!