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Muslim Day in Oklahoma stresses political engagement despite growing anti-Islamic sentiment

The Guardian World news: Islam - 1 hour 55 min ago

Amid rhetoric from protesters and some legislators, event at state capitol meant to engage state’s estimated 40,000 Muslims in community discussions

A group of supporters formed a makeshift greeting line to escort Muslims into the Oklahoma state capitol for Friday’s first-ever Muslim Day as a smaller group of protesters heckled participants as they arrived.

The event was hosted by the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations as a means to foster civic engagement among the state’s estimated 40,000 Muslims.

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France: Israeli Embassy and its PR Man “Elad Ratson” Threaten Bloggers with Bombing

Loon Watch - 2 hours 18 min ago

By Emperor

The Israeli embassy in France and Elad Ratson, its Director of PR (Public Relations) has threatened websites and bloggers, among them, Al-Kanz, (a website that’s previously tipped us to Islamophobia in France) with a Gaza style bombing. (hat tip: MuslimMatters)

Elad Ratson’s LinkedIn Profile:

Elad_Ratson

The image created by Israel embassy website (coolisrael.fr) and shared by its PR man:

u1bjtel3

By @EladRatson: “Islamists in France struck by a targeted Israeli strike”

Al-Kanz and its founder Fateh Kimouche have been targeted by many who want to see the website shut down. French blogger Oliver Pechter writes:

Hassen Chalghoumi, « moderate imam », with links to radical zionist organisations, has asked the Israeli government to take down his website (july 2013).

Frederic Haziza, journalist for the radical right wing Jewish « Radio J » radio station and French public TV station LCP, interviewing Jean-Christophe Cambadelis (leader of the socialist party) asked, earlier this month and in the aftermath of the killing that took place in a kosher store, how we should put an end to online « holocaust denying and antisemitic campaign » on the net, naming Al Kanz among the « bad guys » A crude lie : Al Kanz, let’s repeat it, has condemned clearly antisemitism and criticized those of his fellows that support bigot comedian Dieudonne M’Bala (2010, 2014). Nevertheless, Kanz « kept calm and carried on »

Pechter notes that the threats have continued and now you have Israel’s French Embassy getting involved in upping the ante.

coolisrael.fr, a website edited by the Israeli Embassy, wrote an article called « Islamists in France struck by a targeted missile from Israeli PR ». The so called missile is « symbolic » and refers to a stereotyped Hasbara video that was largely mocked on social networks these last days: « to which side do you belong ? ».

This is all in the backdrop of a new Hasbara (propaganda) campaign initiated by the Israeli Embassy in France that seeks to counter perceptions of Israel as uncool, murderous and suffocating of the Palestinians.

In doing so they think it is joyous to show a missile striking Gaza and creating a giant cloud of flames and debris, including no doubt human limbs and charred bodies.

This is a week when the Israeli Embassy in France launched on YouTube and Facebook a campaign entitled ” Whose side are you on? “against fundamentalism and Defence of Democracy (video shown at the end of article). Real missile targeted to Islamists but also anti-Semitic and anti-Zionists of all kinds, this Israeli communications campaign is a big hit. She made ​​the buzz on social networks and the numbers reflect this success. 78,994 views on YouTube 709,665 views and 1,748,480 people on Facebook Our article on this video has also become one of the most read and shared the month with more than 2600 shares…. (coolisrael.fr)

The Israeli embassy and its spokesman think the usage of such imagery to make their point is going to win them sympathy and support. Somehow they have also translated the number of views and shares into a victory, even though most are the result of their video being parodied and lampooned.

According to Pechter the websites targeted are not all of the same stripe but Eldad and the Israeli Embassy wish to conflate them all together in an attempted delegitimization.

Among other websites (two far-right antisemitic websites and Oumma.com, most visited Muslim website, known for his opposition to Muslim Brotherhood), we can see Al Kanz logo broken in two. At first sight, the picture (Gaza attacked) is, at the same time disgusting and childish. But it has to be taken seriously in a country with already so many « tensions » as France.

coolIsrael.fr

 

After Al-Kanz called both the Embassy and Eldad Ratson out they removed the links from their social media but have not removed the article, nor have they apologized.

The article was promoted by the embassy on social networks. When it provoked a « twitter battle » between Al Kanz and Israeli PR director, they withdrew the links, but not the article. Nor did they apologize.

The embassy is also directly connected to France’s chapter of StandWithUs:

Coolisrael.fr is hosted by the « Ambassade d’Israël » (Israel’s embassy), as we said, and edited by Laurent (« Epelbaumas »), French leader of « Stand with us », in charge of « digital communication » at the Israeli ambassy. « Stand with us France », unlike its US branch, is a tiny organization. Its website have been hosted by the Israeli ambassy in the past,  a new illustration of the links between SWU and the Israeli FM.

Whois registar of coolisrael.fr « siliconwadi.fr », another website edited by the Ambassy

Whois registar of coolisrael.fr
« siliconwadi.fr », another website edited by the Ambassy

« Laurent », editorial director

« Laurent », editorial director

Interestingly after we tweeted @EldarRatson about his message of hate, he blocked us:

Eldar_Ratson_Twitter

He wants you to know that despite happily posting articles with pics of indiscriminate bombing and then sharing them all over the media he is really cool and Israel is cool because he really loves sea life and coral reefs.

Mohammed Emwazi's university refuses to cancel hardline preacher talk

The Guardian World news: Islam - 2 hours 34 min ago

University of Westminster event to go ahead on Monday despite petition signed by 3,000 students to stop Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad ‘preaching hate on campus’

The London university attended by ‘Jihadi John’ militant Mohammed Emwazi has refused to bow to pressure from 3,000 students to cancel a talk by a controversial preacher accused of describing homosexuality as a “scourge” and “criminal act”.

The University of Westminster’s Islamic society was forced to postpone the event entitled ‘Who is Muhammad?” over security concerns on Thursday night after Emwazi was unmasked as ‘Jihadi John’.

The general thing is it’s not a crazy extremist university. Not at all. Everyone I know is condemning this Jihadi John

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Bangladeshis protest after atheist writer Avijit Roy hacked to death

The Guardian World news: Islam - 3 hours 15 min ago

Hundreds rally against fundamentalism in Dhaka as Islamists claim responsibility for murder of prominent US-Bangladeshi blogger

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Dhaka in protest at the murder of a prominent secular American blogger of Bangladeshi origin who was hacked to death with machetes after he allegedly received threats from Islamists.

Avijit Roy and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, were attacked on a crowded pavement as they were returning from a book fair at Dhaka University. Ahmed, who is also a blogger, lost a finger and remains under treatment at the Square hospital in Dhaka.

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India's Hindu BJP to share power in Jammu and Kashmir with Muslim PDP

The Guardian World news: Islam - 4 hours 21 min ago

Narendra Modi embraces Kashmiri Muslim Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as new state government takes power in Srinagar after December elections

The Indian prime minister’s Hindu nationalist party is preparing to enter government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in a ground-breaking political move that will see it form an alliance with a local party representing the alienated Muslim population.

Narendra Modi sealed the deal for his Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) on Friday in characteristic style by enthusiastically embracing Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the 79-year-old Kashmiri Muslim head of the People’s Democratic party (PDP).

Related: Narendra Modi’s remarks on religious tolerance spark national debate in India

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The dangerous folly of trying to divide France’s Jews and Muslims | Nabila Ramdani

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 hours 20 min ago

The French Jewish leader Roger Cukierman is playing with fire in allying himself with Marine Le Pen’s National Front

Five teenagers were arrested last week in eastern France for desecrating more than 300 Jewish graves. In a shocking attack, tombstones were smashed up and swastikas daubed in red paint in a cemetery in the Bas-Rhin department, where 2,605 Alsatian Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the second world war. Less reported was that all of those caught were from traditional middle-class French families, and none had anything to do with Islam.

Roger Cukierman, a leading member of France’s Jewish community, would certainly not be interested in such inconvenient details. In an interview on Monday, the notoriously provocative head of the Crif (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France) said: “We need to say things clearly: all acts of violence against Jews today are committed by young Muslims.” Though he offered the token qualification, “of course, it’s a tiny minority of the Muslim community”, Cukierman later used the term “Islamo-fascism”, and stated that Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National (FN) and a white Christian, was “blameless” when it came to antisemitism.

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Murdered blogger Avijit Roy received Islamist threats before his death

The Guardian World news: Islam - 8 hours 30 min ago

It is unclear whether men formerly arrested in Dhaka for online death threats against the Bangladeshi-American writer were free at time of machete attack

Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death with machetes by a mob of unidentified attackers in Dhaka, had already received several death threats from Islamists for his writings on religion and science.

A US citizen of Bangladeshi origin, Roy described himself on his Facebook page as an engineer by profession and a writer by passion.

২০১৫ সালের একুশে বইমেলায় মুক্তমনা লেখকদের বই http://t.co/gxfpdrFw3w

ধর্ম কেন ভাইরাসের সমতুল্য? (প্রেক্ষিত : পেশোয়ার এবং শার্লি এবদো) http://t.co/ocr29al3wN

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Newcastle prepares for first UK Pegida rally against 'Islamisation'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 9 hours 15 min ago

Opponents of far-right German group to hold counter-protest supported by MPs, Newcastle United fans, trade unions and anti-fascists

More than 1,000 anti-fascists and trade unionists are expected to take to the streets of Newcastle on Saturday to oppose the first demonstration in the UK by the anti-immigrant group Pegida.

The group’s protests in Germany have attracted tens of thousands of people but opponents said the event in Newcastle was likely to attract a few hundred; mainly far-right activists.

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Indian court clears six men of murdering four people during 2002 Gujarat riots

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 hours 14 min ago

Latest trial takes five years to complete, with reason for acquittal not immediately clear

A court in India has cleared six men of murdering four people including three British nationals during religious riots in the prime minister’s home state of Gujarat in 2002.

At least 1,000 people, mainly Muslims, were killed in a frenzy of communal violence in 2002 in the western state where Narendra Modi was chief minister before he was elected prime minister last year.

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Nigel Farage's anti-immigration chant strikes a chord with US Republicans

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 hours 28 min ago

Ukip leader delivers right message at right time for an audience appalled by Obama’s stance on immigration and radical Islam

Only at a gathering of America’s most dyed-in-the-wool conservatives would the otherwise obscure leader of the UK Independence party attract groupies. But apart from the fact he is clutching a glass of red wine rather than risk the local beer, Nigel Farage is in his element at the Gaylord National Convention Center outside Washington DC.

I’m American Ukip

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Muslims Predict Jesus Will Defeat ISIS, Beginning in 2015

Muslim Matters - 20 hours 58 sec ago

This was originally posted on the Huffington Post 

By  Canadian Muslim Leader, Spokesperson, Author and Educator

All right, it might not start until 2016, these things can be awfully hard to predict exactly. However, surprising as it may seem, one way or another the end of ISIS is in sight, and it's all resting securely in the hands of Jesus, peace be upon him.

There has been a great deal of mainstream media attention lately, both video andprint, regarding the fact that ISIS is recruiting based on the promise that their fighters are actually participating in the rapidly approaching end of the world.

At the same time, mainstream orthodox Muslim websites are already predicting Jesus' return as early as 2022, starting an Islamic prophetic clock set to run over the next 7 years, in the purportedly rapidly approaching run-up to Armageddon.

The good news is that even if they're wrong, those claims ISIS is making about their own role in Islamic end-time prophecy spell their own certain end. Because even though ISIS claims they're fighting on the side of the angels, it's obvious they're not,and it should become progressively clearer to even the most misguided Jihadi that either ISIS is wrong about Armageddon or that they're on the wrong side, because of all the things Muslims know are supposed to happen.

And if it turns out they're right, then we can all rest assured that by the time the dust has finally settled there will be no question left about who's side they are really on, because it's all going to be about Jesus.

Frankly, although I'd like to believe the orthodox predictions are correct, I think they're premature, and that ISIS is crazy-stupid. We had a very informative event up here in Calgary last month hosted by the US State Department, where Dr. Michael Ryan of the Middle East Institute shared his valuable insights into ISIS' recruiting strategy. We learned that ISIS actually complains in their internal communiqués about their difficulty recruiting informed Muslims, because “Islam makes them tend towards life and their community”. They find more success attracting Muslims they call “losers” — ignorant about their Islamic faith and marginalized by drugs, alcoholism, crime, mental illness or recent life-changing events. That's not the sort of Muslim you would expect to know much about the religion, or to make good life — or end-of-life — choices either. Given that, I think we can discount their validity of their “good-guy” claims, even despite their despicable and deplorable actions which should in themselves be sufficient.

But even if we considered that they might be right about the impending apocalypse, what sort of events should the next few years bring according to confirmed Islamic eschatology?

  • First, the Euphrates River should soon be uncovering a mountain of gold, with the Arabian Peninsula becoming filled with meadows and rivers.
  • Then, some Muslims throughout the world will be inexplicably transformed into apes and pigs because of their attempts to make lawful some rather significant major sins. Personally, I think that one's aimed squarely at al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabab and ISIS and their associates, and their rather liberal views regarding murder, tumult, oppression and slavery.
  • Then shortly thereafter you can expect the coming of the Mahdi, his uncovering of the Ark of the Covenant and his evangelism of a significant proportion of the world's Jews, who will wake up and realize that they shouldn't be ignoring and allowing Israel's oppressing Muslims and Christians in Palestine.
  • Then, you will see the coming of al-Masih ad-Dajjal –the false Messiah or anti-Christ– the descent of 'Isa ibn Maryam ['alayhis-salam] –that's Jesus– and his defeat of the anti-Christ followed by the coming of Ya'juj and Ma'juj –Gog and Magog–,followed by:
  • The rising of the sun from the west
  • The appearance of the Beast of the Earth
  • The wind that will take the souls of the believers
  • The ruin of al-Madinah –Madinah–
  • The destruction of the Ka'bah –Mecca– by the Abyssinians
  • And the fire that will come from the Yemen to gather the people in Sham before the coming of Judgement Day.

 

I think you'll all have to admit, that's a lot to pack into the next seven years and it's going to be hard to miss.
And with that 7 year clock running, if it all doesn't start happening soon, you can expect to see ISIS supporters starting to slip away.

But if it does come true, what sort of a man is the Mahdi supposed to be? Muslim prophecies are actually frighteningly clear, and do seem to predict the current state of affairs in the Levant, hold out hope for the rest of us and promise an end to ISIS.

At the end of time, a severe tribulation will descend upon my Ummah from their ruler. A worse tribulation will not have been heard of before, until the earth's expanse is constricted upon them, and until the earth is filled with tyranny and oppression, so that the mu'min will find no refuge from the oppression.
Then, Allah ['azza wa-jall] will send a man from my descendents who will fill the earth with equity and justice as it had been filled with oppression and tyranny. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth will be pleased with him. The earth will not withhold any of its growth, but will bring it out, neither will the sky withhold a drop, but Allah will pour it out upon them in showers. He will live among them for seven years, or eight, or nine. The living will wish that the dead were brought to life again to witness the great good that Allah brought about for the people of the earth.
There will be at the end of time a trial that will sort out men as gold is sorted out from metal. So do not revile the people of Sham, but revile their evil ones, for among them are the Abdal [great righteous people]. A flood is about to be released upon the people of Sham that will split their unity, so that even if foxes attack them, they would defeat them.
At that time, a man from my household will come out with three banners. The one who estimates highly will say that they are fifteen thousand. And the one who estimates lower will say that they are twelve thousand. Their sign will be: “Amit, amit [kill, kill].” They will meet in battle seven banners, and under each of those banners will be a man seeking the kingdom. Allah will kill all of them, and restore to the Muslims their unity and bounty, and their far ones and near ones.

And what about Jesus? Even though Muslims and Christians disagree about what he is, with Christians claiming he's God and Muslims declaring he's not, everybody agrees about what sort of a person he was, is and will be: a man who fulfilled the Jewish Covenant and taught benevolent compassion to his followers, his example remaining a source of hope and inspiration to all humankind for the rest of time.

Can anyone conceive that that person –or Person– when he –or He– descends to lead us, could conceivably countenance the despicable and deplorable acts of ISIS?

God Forbid, it could never happen, not even if the world ends tomorrow or lasts for another thousand years.

Bottom line, I have served God and loved Jesus my entire life, and I followed Jesus into Islam when I realized I became a worse man by worshipping Him and a better man by following him. And my greatest hope for today is that Muslims and Christians are all starting to look forward to his return, because regardless of when that happens his example and his words can guide all of us to a better place together, with the help of God.

Because regardless of what the next years bring or which faith we follow, we are all waking up and realizing that we all need Jesus, peace be upon him.

Praise God/alhamdulillah, Amen.

The post Muslims Predict Jesus Will Defeat ISIS, Beginning in 2015 appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Hindu Center Targeted With Swastika And Message Of “Muslims Get Out”

Loon Watch - 26 February, 2015 - 21:19

Bothell_Hindu_Center_Get_Out_Muslims

Islamophobia in the heartland. Not so bright Neo-Nazis spray-painted hateful messages on a Hindu Temple and Cultural Center.

What’s that about Islamophobia having nothing to do with race again?

My Northwest, By Chelsea Hawkins

It’s not often you see a Lutheran pastor standing in front of a golden Ganesha. But that’s the scene as Christian, Sikh and Muslim leaders stand alongside Hindus in a united front against hate.

“The core value of all faiths and the core value of being an American is about love and care and tolerance,” says Reverend Paul Benz of the Faith Action Network.

Recent acts of vandalism at the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center and Skyview Junior High School in Bothell have members of the community concerned. The Hindu Temple was tagged with a swastika and the message “Get out.” Over at the junior high school a message read, “Get out Muslims.”

Read the entire article…

‘Jihadi John’, like me, was radicalised. So I know how extremists exploit grievances | Maajid Nawaz

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 February, 2015 - 20:44
Racism and violent Islamism feed each other in a vicious circle: we must counter the narrative of victimhood

The unveiling of Mohammed Emwazi as the man behind the “Jihadi John” mask is a reminder that Islamist extremism is an ideology that is accessible to all. It is clear from the news in the past week how powerful a draw it is for such a diverse range of people.

From the Bangladeshi-heritage east London schoolgirls to Emwazi, the well-off west Londoner of Kuwaiti heritage, Islamic State (Isis) and other extremists recruit from across British society. It is this inherent vulnerability that should inform what is the most appropriate response, without doubt a civil society one.

Related: Former Ukip councillor expelled over racism row claims 'hidden agenda'

Just as racism became the go-to grievance for my actions, so too does Islamist extremism feed far-right extremism

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The Stream-AlJazeera: Austria Passes Controversial ‘Islam law’

Loon Watch - 26 February, 2015 - 18:33

Austria_Islam_Law

A big part of the issue is also that other religions are allowed to receive funding from foreign nations whereas Islam and Austrian Muslims are being singled out for particular scrutiny and a different law.

Muslim groups condemned the bill specifically stating the ban on funding is unfair because international support is still given for Christian and Jewish faiths. They are planning to contest the bill in the constitutional court. (CarbonatedTV)

AlJazeera America, The Stream

A bill reforming a centuries-old law governing the status of Muslims has just been passed by Austria’s National Council or parliament. The law has sparked discussion over the relationship between state and religion and the status of 560,000 Austrian Muslims. In a controversial move, the Islam Law bans foreign funding of mosques and religious leaders and reminds Muslims that state law takes precedence over religious belief.

The bill protects Muslim religious holidays; allows Muslims to consult clerics while in the military, prisons and care homes; and receive food in accordance with Islamic rules. The law encourages preaching Islam in German, instead of Turkish as is common in Muslim communities.

Around 200 protesters gathered outside the Austrian parliament to oppose the law while online they used #Islamgesetz (“Islam Law”):

Translation: @qaasimilli: Austrian Muslims speak up and defend yourself against getting forced into the corset of a church-like organisation. The Islam Law cannot be accepted”.

Translation: @omerigac: The new Islam Law in Austria is a governmental injustice and a setback for religious freedom”.

Translation: “@mpopp75: I can understand Muslims annoyed by the Islam Law. I would also be annoyed by a law on atheists or people with no confession”.

Meanwhile the President of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland tweeted: “A very questionable Islam Law has been passed in Austria. Is this another sign for bad weather for Islam in Europe?”

Cartoonists were quick to play on the idea of Austrian Islam. Below, a man performs a “Jodel”, a traditional Austrian song from a minaret, while an Austrian says: “Islam, Austrian style. Wasn’t that hard was it?”

Translation: “@duduhier: Almost ingenious, Islam should become more Austrian. Bravo!”

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ISIS and the “three silly girls”

Indigo Jo Blogs - 26 February, 2015 - 17:54

 Even my kids didn't know I was returning".Recently three young girls, British Bangladeshis from east London, left the UK for Turkey apparently intending to join ISIS in Syria, and the media have been up in arms about the fact that someone was able to ‘groom’ these girls to think life would be better over there and that they were allowed to freely leave the country. One Grace Dent wrote a piece in the Independent arguing that they were entirely responsible for their behaviour, that they were “not silly kids wagging off school, but calm, considered, A-grade students who have researched their trip, found hundreds of pounds in funds, booked flights and headed towards earth’s closest vision of actual hell”, and had managed to deceive their families about their intentions, something she would never have been able to do as a 15-year-old. The piece was widely criticised, notably for overlooking the fact that the 15-year-olds were “vulnerable children” according to Nousheen Iqbal in the Guardian, and that the childhood of children of colour is commonly denied them, according to Judith Wanga (@judeinlondon on Twitter).

I’m sure I’m not the only person who found the story a bit puzzling; the three girls were shown on airport CCTV and wearing very western clothes; only one of them was even wearing something like hijab. Plenty of Bengali women in east London wear every kind of hijab from a simple headscarf to long black robes and a face-veil (niqaab), yet the three girls who would flee to ISIS country would be seen in public in brightly-coloured western clothes and no hijab. This seems pretty odd, even as a disguise, given the reported insistence by ISIS that women wear robes and a double-layer niqaab (which, by the way, is readily available in east London or from any number of online Islamic clothing retailers). Nosheen Iqbal refers to “rockstar barbarism”, comparing the three girls to some of their peers who are infatuated with the likes of Boyzone or Damon Albarn, but there is nothing much charismatic about ISIS. Al-Qa’ida had Osama bin Laden who, at least in the standard media image of him, was handsome (especially if you grew up in an area and a culture where there are a fair few men who dress the same way), but ISIS has no similar figure; even its leaders keep themselves in the shadows and are known only by nicknames. So it’s difficult to see who they might be infatuated with.

It’s patronising to dismiss the girls as ‘just children’. People that age are well above the age of criminal responsibility; when someone that age commits a murder, they get life, the same as an adult (the wording is different, the effect the same). It is, in my opinion, a way for older people to assert their power over them, by dismissing their ideas as mere passing flings or fads and praising them for their ‘maturity’ when they do what the older people want. (Asian parents are a favourite media hate figure, usually portrayed as conservative and their parenting style as restrictive and stultifying; it is ironic that parental authority is being invoked here to criticise the girls’ action, both by Muslims and the mainstream media.)

Besides the fact that many 15-year-olds have already gone through real struggles, whether in their families or school or their health, in Islam adulthood, with full responsibility for one’s actions, starts at puberty and it’s normal in many Muslim countries for girls to be married by that age. It’s assumed that the girls are foolishly running away from a life of opportunity and freedom, something that cannot be assumed of girls growing up in inner-city east London, even if they could have got A-levels or even degrees. Nobody questions whether they had ever seen green fields other than on TV or from the window of a train. Nobody questions whether they would have had careers, or whether they would in reality have ended up as east London Bengali housewives. There are worse things to be, of course, but if a girl knows she’s destined to be a housewife and mother to six children, you can hardly blame her for wanting a bit of adventure first, and perhaps wanting to be part of history, to help in the building of a great nation.

Many westerners cannot fathom why three girls would leave a life of liberty and luxury, as they see it, to join a group of barbarians who burn libraries and take women as sex slaves. As a Muslim, I can tell you that many Muslims simply do not believe what the media says about Muslims. This was the case with the Taliban, it was the case with al-Qa’ida and it’s the case with ISIS. In the community I was part of after I converted in 1998, I found plenty of people (all men, of course) who readily believed the Taliban leadership’s explanation of some of their actions and dismissed the rest as lies. The Taliban propaganda sheet Dharb-i-Mu’min was given out openly at the mosque I attended and one story was about a young woman who had sold personal possessions to raise money for the Taliban.

The refusal to believe that al-Qa’ida were even partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks persisted long after the events; a middle-aged male convert told me that it was “part of iman (faith) not to believe what the kuffar say about Muslims”. It is not only ‘silly girls’ who refuse to believe that everything the media report about ISIS atrocities is true. There are Muslims who believe ISIS is a Jewish plot, an outfit run by products of Israeli intelligence training, and those who believe that its leader really is the rightful caliph of all the Muslims and who is it saying bad things about them? Why, the Jewish-controlled media, of course.

The western media do not do their credibility with Muslims any favours. Their intended audience is either middle- or working-class whites and their editors and reporting staff tend to be one class above the audience, even in the left-wing media, and the same ethnicity. Appealing to Muslims would not sell many more copies, but it could make the true stories a bit more credible. Various mainstream media outlets have reported just about every rumour about atrocious or crazy ISIS behaviour, several of which have turned out to be false (e.g. the “ISIS enforces female circumcision” story from a year or so ago).

While it is true that extremists re-interpret the texts to justify their actions, something which has been the case since the Khariji massacres in the early days of Islam, some of the most widely-reported atrocities are things commonly known to be unlawful in Islam, such as the “sex slaves” story in regard to Yazidi women in northern Iraq (where slavery exists, sexual relations with a slave woman are only allowed if she is Muslim, Christian or Jewish; otherwise, it is fornication or adultery as well as rape, and there is no interpreting one’s way around this). Any Muslim hearing that story would know there was something not quite right about it, even if it is only the assumption that the women taken in this way will all be raped. Yet it was peddled as fact, without question, in mainstream media news reports.

Finally, it is possible that the girls left the country because they wanted to live in a country where being Muslim was the norm and they were not hearing Islam or Muslims vilified in the media every other day, or having to answer for what other Muslims did in the street or at school, or subject to any other pressure or hostility. For all the talk of how 15-year-olds are ‘just children’, the same may be true of the people insulting or threatening them in the street or at school, and in any case that fact does not occur to them. No white person living in the suburbs should assume that just because they are not seeing bodies pile up in the streets, that there is no such thing as Islamophobia or that ordinary Muslims are not experiencing it because of what the media reports and because of the comments of certain politicians.

As 15-year-olds, these girls would have been a year old at the time of 9/11 and only six or seven when the Jack Straw niqaab affair happened, leading to numerous front-page vilifications of Muslim women in British newspapers. Older Muslims like myself remember a time when there was not much hostility to Islam as a religion; younger ones only remember the time of the “war on terror”, of a society that regards them as a problem or a threat and where “multiculturalism” is a dirty word. As usual, the media pour scorn and pity by turn on these three young women, and do not even consider the fact they are a large part of what the three may be fleeing from.

Possibly Related Posts:


Will Austria’s experiment with Islam work for grassroots believers? | Usama Hasan

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 February, 2015 - 16:33
Vienna’s wish for an organic, integrated form of Islam that avoids foreign influence risks creating an official religion distrusted by ordinary Muslims

Austria has passed controversial reforms to the country’s 1912 law on Islam that made it an official religion of the country. Is this a step forward or backward?

In Britain, although we have an established church, the idea of officially recognising several religions seems strange. However, it has been common practice in other parts of Europe. The 1912 Austrian law hails from the end of an age when territories in eastern Europe and the Balkans, with mixed Christian and Muslim populations, were regularly fought over and changed hands between empires and kingdoms such as the Ottoman, Serbian, Russian and Austro-Hungarian.

‘We want to give Islam the chance to develop freely within our society and in line with our common European values.'

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The Tablet set to celebrate its 175th year of continuous publication

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 February, 2015 - 13:21

Catholic weekly founded in 1840 plans series of events to mark its anniversary

The Tablet, the Catholic weekly regarded as one of Britain’s oldest journals*, is about to celebrate 175 years of uninterrupted publication.

Founded in May 1840 by a Quaker convert to Catholicism, Frederick Lucas, it is published in London but has garnered an international audience.

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Multitudes review – a vigorous debate about British Islam

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 February, 2015 - 11:23

Tricycle, London
The debut play from actor John Hollingworth uses a divided Bradford family and a Tory party conference to confront the problems facing Muslims in Britain

John Hollingworth is a brave man. An actor by trade, he has chosen for his first full-length play to write about multiculturalism: more specifically, the tensions inside a divided Bradford family. But while one could pick holes in his plot, his play is as urgent and immediate as the morning headlines.

Hollingworth uses an interrelated quartet to highlight the big issues. Kash is a secular, widowed Muslim keen to stand for parliament and prepared to address a Tory party conference, taking place in Bradford, on the need to rebuild trust.

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Lombok: Beyond the Islamic tourism drive, it can be an island for everyone

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 February, 2015 - 01:00

The Indonesian island is pushing itself as a ‘Muslim-friendly’ tourism destination, but Lombok has something to offer people of all backgrounds and beliefs

It’s August 2013 and I am in Lombok. Eid has ended and the traffic has stalled. Forget that we are in a rural road that is cut into the side of a hill overlooking the ocean – this snarl is as bad as anything I experienced in downtown Jakarta or the clogged roads around Bali’s Seminyak and Ubud. Only the aesthetic differs: there are no western tourists walking around wearing bikinis; instead most of the women climbing off motorbikes and carrying their picnics to the hill wear headscarves.

While the Hindu island of Bali has an ‘anything goes’ vibe, Lombok has a different character. The scenery is more mountainous and arid, and the vibe more serious – even austere. A largely Muslim island, tourists visit for the peace and quiet, the great beaches and diving and proximity to the popular Gili islands. Hotels and resorts that are opening are less spring break or schoolies, more sedate places of rest and relaxation.

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