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Farkhunda, A Long Term Vision

Muslimah Media Watch - 2 hours 40 min ago
Guest Post by Kawsar Hosseini (@kaw_sarr), who writes at the blog East-West Bridge The story of the lynching of Farkhunda, a woman accused of burning the Quran in Afghanistan, has been widely covered by media in recent days. Among those who have written about the lynching are many Afghans. In a Guardian article, Frozan Marofi, one [Read More...]

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Convert To White Supremacy

Loon Watch - 29 March, 2015 - 21:36

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Original guest post

By Hakeem Muhammad

In Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s recent op-ed, From Selma to Tunis: When Will We March Against the Segregation of Our Own Time, the Somalian ex-Muslim activist posits that segregation within Western liberal states is a phenomenon of the past. She asserts that racism impacting African-Americans has lessened, and that “a different group is [now] the victim of comparable legal discrimination that imposes segregation on them”: women in the Muslim majority world.

Ali’s entire political thought uses every tool in the arsenal of the White supremacist power structure: the myth of a post-racial America and the myth of American exceptionalism (i.e. “America treats women well; the problem is ‘over there’ in the Middle East”).

Ali’s celebration of the end to legal discrimination in the liberal Western world and promotion of the narrative of American exceptionalism obscures and conceals the systemic anti-black, anti-women violence that is structurally, physically, and psychologically present throughout the USA and further allows for its perpetuation.

Oppression of Women in “Liberal” States

When Black American women (such as Assata Shakur, Sister Souljah, Tynetta Muhammad), including converts to Islam discuss through speeches and books their oppression in living within a classic liberal state, they challenge the post-racial myth promoted by the likes of Ali.

In marked comparison to the royal treatment Ali receives, for these Black American women, the classic sapphire trope emerges, a narrative portrayal of the “angry Black woman” (in which Black women are seen as always complaining, with their issues never being taken seriously) is reinforced.

Black scholar Bell Hooks identifies capitalism, White supremacy, and patriarchy as three interlocking systems of oppression. Indeed, it is this oppressive paradigm which controls the narratives of women’s oppression that people listen to, sympathize with, and gain support for, and which is abandoned and neglected.

An illustrative example is when Black activist, political prisoner and exile, Assata Shakur states,”I am more concerned about the rise of the prison industrial complex that is turning our people into slaves again,” it hardly breaks through to the mainstream. Stories such as her’s, highlighting oppression under “enlightened” secular Neo-Liberal law garner minimal, if any, media attention.

In contrast, Ali’s story of oppression (exposed as filled with deception and lies) gets enough attention that she is lauded as a hero precisely because the values that she promotes are in line with the dominant White power structure.

It’s no wonder Ali’s demographic consists largely of New Atheists like Sam Harris, Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins whose racist views emanate from the very “enlightenment” that Ali constantly promotes with blind zeal.

Ali’s conclusion reiterates her claim that racial discrimination in Western liberal states has been done away with and posits “liberal enlightenment” as the antidote to structural violence against Muslim women. A narrative that completely contradicts the reality of many Black women.

The reality of racial discrimination is not limited to Blacks but is also witnessed in the contemporary experience of long marginalized and oppressed Native-American women.

Native American women on reservations have been raped and receive no justice.

“We have serial rapists on the reservation — that are non-Indian — because they know they can get away with it,” …  Asetoyer was talking about the loophole that prevents tribal authorities, who have jurisdiction over crimes committed on Indian territory by Indians, from having any authority over non-Indian male abusers. That’s despite the fact that non-Indian men account for an estimated 80 percent of rapes of Indian women … the astronomical rate of abuse of Indian women is well documented by the federal government.

Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women’s Health Resource Center has stated, “It’s immoral that the Congress of the United States would stand there and say that Indian women are less than their White counterparts.” Native American victims of rape have been given little, if any, justice in the supposedly enlightened judicial system of the United States.

While Ali seeks to portray the liberal West as a role model for women’s rights—opposing the “backwards” Islamic world—such a portrayal is, as we can see, vastly inaccurate. Though the oppression of women, especially minority women is a systemic social problem in the US, less media attention has been given to it than to the stories of oppression of Middle Eastern women.

Not only have Native Americans throughout history been systematically dehumanized, raped, tortured, killed, and herded into reservations—with White settlers taking away their basic rights to land, voting, etc.—but this behavior still exists under the liberal law that Ali extols as a panacea for all the world’s ills.

In fact, some Native American women scholars such as Sandy Grande consider the modern-day attempts to assimilate Native Americans to liberalism as a continuation of the cultural genocide that began because of the differences between the worldviews and cosmology held by White settlers (not to mention sheer greed for land and “glory”).

Selma to Soweto: Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Post Racial/Post-Apartheid Myth

Ali asserts that the number of individuals oppressed by Islam “is vastly larger than the number that was affected 50 years ago by segregation and apartheid.” Despite Ali’s dogmatic New Atheism (which is purportedly based on rationality and empiricism), no credible evidence for her claim is given.

Ali portrays apartheid as a problem of the past, in reality, the Whites in South Africa still control the majority of the land, wealth, and other South African resources, while the much greater population of Blacks continue to be disproportionately impoverished and incarcerated.

The Native Law Act passed in South Africa confined the Native Black population to 7% of the land. In a 2013 study, Cherryl Walker and Alex Dubb determined that, “Whites as a social category still own most of the country’s land.” Thus, the end of de’jure racism has not signaled the end of structural racism.

Concerning America, Ayaan Hirsi Ali states: “the president was right to push back against the idea that nothing has changed since 1965.”

Instead of citing a politician with an agenda, Barack Obama, Ayaan Hirsi Ali would do better to look into the works of Obama’s professor at Harvard University, Derick Bell, who highlighted that while the legal system of racism may have changed, structural racism merely changed its modus operandi.

Even after the Fair Housing Act and Brown Vs. Board of Education, African-Americans continue to face racism from housing realtors and continue to be confined to impoverished and segregated schools. In a study on the impact of the Fair Housing Act passed in Chicago to outlaw racial discrimination, sociologist Douglass S. Massey notes that, due to practices such as redlining, racial steering, and block-busting that developed in the Post-Jim Crow era, “the level of Black-White segregation has hardly changed.”

In an empirical study titled, “The Prison Boom & Lack of Black Progress,” University of Chicago economists Derek Neal and Armin Rick examined Black and White income inequality, unemployment rates, and the increasing number of Black men in Chicago who are in prison. Neal and Rick concluded that: “the Great Recession has left most black men in a position relative to White men that is really no better than the position they occupied only a few years after the Civil Rights Act of 1965.”

The Raw truth

Yet, rather than addressing the de facto racism that has emerged as White supremacy hidden under a different guise, Ali prefers to focus on the “new segregation” of Islam. In her sloppy quoting of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she cynically seeks to co-opt the African-American freedom struggle which is on-going and continuing, exclusively for her own Islamophobic ends.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is not a hero following in the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement as she pretends. The raw truth is that Ali left Islam and effectively converted to White supremacy. Ali’s entire political thought uses every tool in the arsenal of the White supremacist power structure: the myth of a post-racial America and the myth of American exceptionalism.

As self-professed vanguards of “modern liberalism” turn their sights on Islam as the new big enemy, such actions only lead to more racism against Muslims (especially Muslim sisters) and cover up for deep structural and societal problems, rendering them invisible and/or trivial.

About the Author: Hakeem Muhammad is a 20-year old African-American Muslim who currently studies political science at West Georgia University. God willing, in the future he plans to study Islamic theology and be a positive force for social change. You can find him at his website www.hakeemmuhammad.com and on twitter at @hakeemtheroots.

-Ali, Ayaan. “From Selma to Tunis: When Will We March Against the Segregation of Our Own Time?” The Huffington Post. Accessed March 28, 2015.

-Hooks, Bell. Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. London: Pluto Press, 2000.

-Johannes G Hoovegeen et al. “Not Separate, Not Equal: Poverty and Inequality in Post-Apartheid South Africa,” William Davidson Institute (2005).

[1] Dissel & Kollapen. “Racism and Discrimination in the South African Penal System” – Accessed February 21, 2015. http://csvr.org.za/old/wits/papers/papadjk.htm.

More of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Intimacy for Muslim Couples

Muslim Matters - 29 March, 2015 - 19:07

Intimacy Matters with Haleh Banani, Saba Syed and Hena Zuberi: Erroneous Eastern Cultural Beliefs about Female Sexuality

For mature audiences only

Watch Introduction here

Click here to watch the video:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Why many women do not want to engage intimately with their husbands?

– Erroneous cultural beliefs about female sexuality (Sex is dirty. “Pure” women don't want sex etc.)

– Unsatisfactory intimate experiences (specifically the lack of climax in women due to the misunderstanding on the husband's part that his wife is not supposed to reach climax for years)

– Media and books creating an unrealistic portrayal of intimacy and raising expectations

How does culture affects how women think?

Families mutilate female sexuality by teaching girls that:

– Sex is bad

– Sex is dirty

Good girls don't even have sexual thoughts before marriage

– So much so that parents or elders of the family won't hesitate from scaring off the young women from intimacy

Pernicious effects of fallacious teachings about female sexuality:

– Guilt and shame associated with sexual desires

– Damaging self-esteem

– Aversion towards sex

What can women do to change and re-frame if they have been raised with these beliefs?

– Physical and mental exercises to help change a woman's concept of sex

How are these cultural beliefs wrong Islamically?

– A detailed analysis of how sex is not dirty in Islam

Some Islamic classes and teachers teach that women who feel desire will not attain the pleasures of Paradise.

While others teach sex as charity (sadaqah) based on the hadith, but limit women's sexuality when charity (sadaqah) is explained as: seeking reward only from Allāh.

Women then start treating intimacy as merely an obligation, with a 'holier-than-thou' attitude, not expecting any sensual pleasure. But sadaqah also means truth and giving the best that we have.

– An elaboration on hadith of sadaqah

What are some solutions to counter the way intimacy is introduced in a harmful way to a young man or woman?

– Parenting needs to revolutionized

– Open communication between children and parents

– Parenting workshops

– Open discussions within the communities

 

The post More of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Intimacy for Muslim Couples appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Stable-door logic

Indigo Jo Blogs - 29 March, 2015 - 18:22

 Why on earth was he allowed to fly?"Last week a GermanWings airliner was crashed into a moutainside in south-western France, killing everyone on board. The evidence seems to suggest that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, crashed it deliberately, and investigations have turned up evidence of fairly minor mental illness and deteriorating eyesight that could have been the motive for his apparent decision. The day after the flight data and voice recorders were investigated and prosecutors announced what they believed happened, newspapers demanded to know why he was allowed to fly, as if this sort of thing could have been predicted from the evidence that was available.

Lubitz was able to shut the pilot out of the cockpit after he left to use the toilet because security systems installed after 9/11 allowed him to override his pilot’s own code. It seems that security measures implemented to prevent one kind of previously unforeseen disaster have enabled another, clearly because nobody thought that a pilot would crash his or her plane deliberately, and the most likely person to want to get into the cockpit against the pilot’s wishes was a hijacker. A system which allows control over a plane to be seized from the ground has not been implemented because of fears over safety and security, and a rule that a cabin crew member must be in the cockpit when one of the two pilots is away, so that there are always two people in the cockpit, was already in use at some airlines but not Lufthansa/GermanWings, although they have decided to adopt it now.

Every time a tragedy occurs, we assume that we could have done something to prevent it; the idea that a deranged or evil person was just too clever for us is regarded as a defeatist attitude. Readers have no doubt heard the expression “shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted”, but this is the stock response to an unforeseen tragedy or atrocity. The drive is particularly strong after an air disaster because rich and powerful people travel by air, because it’s the only quick way of getting to many places and because, although genuine accidents are rare, an attack on an aircraft can kill everyone on board quickly; a passenger is much less likely to survive than in a car, bus or train crash. The same phenomenon is seen after other terrible occurrences, such as where children are murdered. After Ian Huntley murdered two young girls at the school where he was a caretaker, for example, it was revealed that a number of accusations had been made against him, but as none were proven, he could not have been prevented from working with children. A whole new safeguarding body was set up in response to this.

While I was not particularly interested in working with children myself, I feared at the time that if someone committed a murder and it turned out that he had no previous convictions but did have a problematic school history, this also could be used to bar people like me from not only working with them but also having access to them. I mentioned this to a work colleague and he replied, “yes, but what’s worse, you not being able to get a job or a child being killed?”. When a murder is reported on, all such details reporters can find about the criminal’s past are reported, including professional or amateur diagnoses of things like Asperger’s syndrome and their obsessive behaviour (like always demanding paprika and broccoli on his pizza in Lubitz’s case), regardless of what relevance, if any, these things had to the crime. These things are weird, weirdos kill children, therefore they are relevant.

Attitudes to mental health are coloured by a lot of prejudice and irrationality. Because mental illness is heavily associated with irrationality, people often suspend their own reason when making judgements. I once heard, for example, of a woman who was raped in a public place and reported the attack to the police. When it came to prosecuting, however, the Crown Prosecution Service found evidence of past mental illness, some of whose sufferers had been known to consent to rough sex in unusual places, and as this information would likely be used by the Defence, they decided not to prosecute, and the rapist went on to rape someone else. Now that it appears that one airline pilot with depression and burnout may have crashed a plane on purpose, people insist that any pilot with a history of “mental illness” should be barred from flying even though most are no danger to anyone or indeed themselves — last week’s disaster is the first of its kind that, if the official story is correct, had no political motive.

Of course, it’s necessary that airline pilots be mentally and physically robust as their judgement could mean the difference between life and death for hundreds of passengers (and between the black and the red for their airline, although this isn’t often spoken of this soon after a disaster). Michael Moore wrote an essay some years ago about the low salaries paid to pilots on American commuter airlines, and remarked that he wanted “the people taking me with them to defy nature’s most powerful force — gravity — to be happy, content, confident, and well paid” so that they’re not thinking of where their next meal is coming from when they have dozens of lives in their hands; however, in the Observer today, pilot and aviation writer Simon Moores notes that the life of a junior pilot, particularly in the low-cost sector, is often a poorly-paid, insecure and stressful one. It could be that if we barred everyone with a “black mark” on their mental health history from being pilots, we would end up without enough pilots. His mental health may turn out to have had nothing to do with this crash at all; air crashes have taken place because the pilots were convinced they were somewhere other than where they were (such theories abound about some of the so-called Bermuda Triangle crashes, for example) so we should not rush to add more stigma to mental illness than already exists when pilot stress and resulting poor judgement may be a greater threat to airline safety.

(As an afterthought, many Muslims have been complaining that the idea that this was a terrorist attack was not even considered when it became obvious that the pilot was white. Some humorous articles have shown up on some websites, like the one in which investigators found a copy of the Qur’an in a bookshop near Lubitz’s home. The complaint basically runs that if the pilot’s name had been Mohammed, the first thing considered would have been that he intended this as an act of jihad, regardless of whether he also had a history of mental illness and had no known connection to jihadi activity whatsoever. The problem is that Muslim political movements do exist which have been known to hijack planes and crash them, causing large-scale loss of life, while right now in Germany there aren’t, and the last terroristic movements to appear in Germany did not use that particular method. It’s a more justified complaint when white Christian fanatics carrying explosives attack security checkpoints with machetes at New Orleans airport, or when neo-Nazis stockpile weapons in northern England and the incident is not prominently reported and mental illness is readily given as an excuse. Germans are even less notorious, in recent years at least, for lethal terrorist violence than right-wing white Americans, so it’s reasonable to assume that Lubitz’s action was either a mistake or had personal motives, and to at least consider the possibility of a political motive if his name had been Mohammed.)

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MuslimKidsMatter | Inspiring Quotes from Islamic Children’s Books

Muslim Matters - 29 March, 2015 - 07:30

Children's books have a special charm, unlike any other medium. It is through these, seemingly simple books, that inconspicuous truths are etched in the minds of the readers, the impact of which is felt without even realising and lasts long after the books have been read.

This is a small collection of such quotes that have impacted readers of readlittlemuslims.com. There, no doubt, exists many more among our readers, which I would love to have you share in the comments below.

Inspiring quotes from Islamic children's books

Inspiring quotes from Islamic children's books

 

“Whether or not you pass your exams with flying colours is decreed by Allah. But it is your efforts made here – and in your whole life, that count.” The House of Ibn Kathir – The Competition Begins- NS Jalali

“We live our faith
until next year
under the moon,
under the moon,
under the Ramadan moon.”
Under the Ramadan Moon – Sylvia Whitman

“The flower had lived the life that Allah had created it to live and nothing could be better than that.” The Perfect Gift – J. Samia Mair

“Even though it seems like we can imagine anything, we cannot imagine everything.” How Does Allah Look? Emma Apple

“…even the name Muhammad is very special. His mother Aaminah had seen in a dream that he would be named Muhammad, which means the one who is praised. It was Allah's way of telling her that Muhammad would be a great man. And he really was.” Faatimah and Ahmed-We're Little Muslims – Razeena Gutta

“But we can't see Allah the same way I can see you. We see Allah through all His creations. And through them we believe Allah to be true.” Ilyas and Duck Search for Allah – Omar Khawaja

“There are going to be times in your life when God asks you to make a choice, and sometimes the right choice is not so easy, and sometimes that choice concerns people you love. But you cannot make choices for others, just like they cannot make choices for you. Just remember God in everything you do, and you will be okay. Good Lord willing, the rest will come in its own time.” Lulu and the Monkey Marriage
Mac McGooshie

“The greatest reward you can receive is from Allah. It is better than all the rewards of the world.” The Apple Tree – Mariam Al Kalby

“My dad says he has a beard because he's copying the greatest man who ever lived.” My Dad's Beard – Zanib Mian

“Each night they came unfailing,
This seething congregation,
To reflect on the words of their Lord
In silent celebration.”
Ramadan Moon – Na'ima B Robert

 

The post MuslimKidsMatter | Inspiring Quotes from Islamic Children’s Books appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

My journey into the complex lives of British-Muslim women and girls | Sara Khan

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 March, 2015 - 00:03
Across eight cities in very diverse communities, I try to find out why those opposing radicalism struggle to find a voice

On Friday, we learned that five east London girls, all from Bethnal Green academy – the school attended by the three girls who left home to join Islamic State in February – have been made wards of court, to stop them travelling to Syria. The news broke as I came to the end of four weeks visiting eight cities across the UK as part of Inspire’s Making a Stand roadshow.

Our purpose was to mobilise women to challenge extremism. (And to gain personal, specific commitment: “I will be #makingastand by confronting the men who are promoting extreme views at the Islam stall in the town centre,” said one contributor.) But for me it was a huge learning experience.

Raising teenage children is hard enough, but different first languages can widen this inter-generational divide

Thirtysomething YouTube sensations don religious clothing but have few qualifications to speak about Islamic law

Challenging extremism means standing up to traditional gender roles that have stifled the contribution of women

Continue reading...

Muslim women silenced on Muslim women’s dress

Indigo Jo Blogs - 28 March, 2015 - 20:21

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, pictured in 2009Last Saturday, the Guardian published a long-winded screed by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (or Alibi-Brain as we call her) claiming that “the veil” as worn by Muslim women constitutes a “rejection of progressive values”. It’s basically the “single transferable Yasmin Alibhai-Brown article about Muslims”, variants of which have appeared in at least two other British newspapers, and consists of some familiar false historical claims (e.g. “the veil” originates in Persia or Byzantium and its revival is backed by Saudi petro-dollars) and spurious interpretations of scripture sourced from people without any grounding in Islamic scholarship, as well as outright baseless claims, such as this one:

Like a half-naked woman, a veiled female to me represents an affront to female dignity, autonomy and potential. Both are marionettes, and have internalised messages about femaleness. A woman in a full black cloak, her face and eyes masked walked near to where I was sitting in a park recently, but we could not speak. Behind fabric, she was more unapproachable than a fort.

Actually, you might have been able to speak to her. You just didn’t try, preferring to entertain yourself with a flight of self-righteous fancy.

The article’s headline is, to us Muslims, a lie: “as a Muslim woman”. Alibhai-Brown belongs to a sect which diverged from Islam centuries ago, the Isma’ilis. This is important, as non-Muslims often define ‘Muslims’ in terms of appearance, in terms of a professed identity, of first names, of cultural characteristics. Muslims define Muslims in terms of those who believe as we believe and worship as we worship: those who believe the Two Testimonies and in what flows from them (always the tricky bit), and who affirm them and practise what they entail. As Isma’ilism is a different religion, albeit with (some) shared beliefs and history, its followers do not have the authority to tell us what Islam is and what it isn’t. And non-Muslims are deceiving themselves, or each other, if they insist on treating someone like Alibhai-Brown as one. She is not.

On Monday the paper printed three letters in response. Not one of them was from a Muslim woman living in the UK now — the first and by far the longest is by a female professor from the Aligarh university in India (an institution where women remain barred from the main library, a rule justified by its vice-chancellor on the grounds that if ‘girls’ were allowed in, there would be four times as many ‘boys’), the other two from (probably white) non-Muslim women in England, one of them (Norma Clarke) a professor of English literature and creative writing at Kingston University. (Yasmin Alibi-Brain’s spurious “Muslim” status does not compensate for the lack of a Muslim female response to her attack on them.) The section is headed “Voices behind abd beyond the veil”, but none of the authors sound as though they come from ‘behind’ it. I briefly attended that university ten years ago, and there are plenty of Muslim women there — Prof Clarke could have talked to some of them to ask why they wear the hijab (very few wear the niqab nowadays, although quite a few did back then, before the Straw affair).

Clarke’s letter attacks the supposed phenomenon of “little girls … being turned into sexual beings”, a favourite canard of feminists regarding the wearing of hijab by little girls (as opposed to those past puberty) but in fact, Islam does not require girls younger than that to wear it, or their parents to make them wear it (and young girls in most Muslim communities never wear niqaab, only the headscarf). There are three reasons why they sometimes do: one is that they are used to it by the time it becomes compulsory (and to avoid the situation of them appearing at school suddenly and it being assumed, correctly or otherwise, that they are menstruating); the second is that it is a uniform item in some Muslim schools, or considered the appropriate dress for religious activities such as reciting the Qur’an; the third is that it’s “grown-up dress” and girls wear it because it is how their mothers and other older females dress. It’s usually a compliment in our society to tell a child they look, or act, grown-up, and we call them “young man”, “young lady”, and some mothers I know (perhaps some fathers as well) call their young daughters “my little lady”. It doesn’t mean they look sexualised; a lady usually means a female of pleasant and becoming appearance and behaviour. Muslim girls can be “little ladies” just as much as other little girls.

The last letter is from one Mabel Taylor of Knutsford, someone a brief Google search reveals is a serial letter-writer whose missives have appeared in both local and national newspapers and even the New Scientist. She opines:

As an unbeliever I find it incredible that followers of religious faiths adopt rules and regulations regarding what they wear, eat and where and how they pray etc. Why on earth do they think that an all-powerful, omniscient creator would be even vaguely interested in such mundane human-inspired ideas?

Part of the answer to this is that a really omnipotent and omniscient deity would know, and concern Himself with, small matters as well as large — Abdul-Hakim Murad mentioned that this is a debate that took place in the Muslim lands in the classical era in which some suggested that Allah’s knowledge might not include “pernickety things”, and orthodoxy held that Allah is “al-‘Aleem”, all-knowing about things large and small. We also don’t believe that the rules of our religion are merely “adopted” by us, but revealed by Him through His Prophets on whom be blessings and peace. But on top of that, why is there room for a brief side-swipe at religion in general from an “unbeliever”, but not for a thorough-going critique of the original article from one of the people targeted by it?

The paper hasn’t printed any further responses since Monday. I called the Guardian’s reader’s editor on Wednesday and asked why no response to the letter from a British Muslim woman had been printed, and was told that the letters page reflected the letters that were sent, and were not solicited. I find it difficult to believe that they did not have any response from the religious British Muslims, women in particular, that Yasmin Alibhai-Brown criticised last Saturday, particularly as they sometimes include online comments among printed responses to their reviews, obituaries, Notes and Queries entries and so on. It seems the intent is to silence an uppity minority community. There is a saying that has its origins in central European political traditions, particularly in countries with a history of foreign occupation, and is nowadays used as a slogan of the disability rights movement: “nothing about us, without us”. When Muslims are talked about in the media as a problem to be solved and shut out of the discussion, this should be our stance.

Image: Simon Veit-Wilson, via Wikipedia. Released under the Creative Commons CC BY 2.0 licence.

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The Muslim Community from Rushdie to Hebdo

Inayat's Corner - 28 March, 2015 - 20:01

SatanicVersesI went along to the Muslim Institute in Old Street, London, earlier this afternoon to take part in a panel discussion entitled “The Muslim Community from Rushdie to Hebdo”. I have written about this topic on several previous occasions so I used the opportunity to place the topic in a wider context that interests me most. A summary of the points I made follows below:

  • The Satanic Verses Affair led to the launch of the Muslim Institute’s Muslim Manifesto in 1990 which called for the creation of a Muslim Parliament and described it as a “non-territorial Islamic State” in Britain. The demands to ban/pulp  the book etc are all rather embarrassing now! Still, we were a very young community at the time and were bound to make lots of mistakes.
  • There will always be some people who will call for a ban on books, movies, art, music that they find offensive or sacrilegious.
  • Europe has an understandable suspicion of the role of religion in issues to do with freedom. In the 17th Century, Galileo faced the Inquisition due to his support and advocacy of the Copernican revolution which contended that the Earth revolved around the Sun and not vice versa which had been the view prior to that. The Catholic Church regarded Galileo’s views as sacrilegious and placed him under house arrest for the last nine years of his life.
  • In his book, The Beginning of Infinity, the scientist David Deutsche argues that a Tradition of Criticism is essential for progress in science and politics and many other fields of human endeavour. To his detractors, Rushdie’s novel was a blasphemous book. To his supporters, the book was an exploration of themes to do with immigration and religion.
  • Charles Darwin wanted originally to publish On The Origin of Species only after his death as he was quite aware of the controversy his views on evolution would cause in Victorian England. Many in the Church found his theory to be anti-Christian and anti-Biblical. Today, the theory of evolution sits at the centre of all biology. As Dobzhansky observed “Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution.” Great insights may well challenge the religious authorities/thinkers of the time. That is not a reason to suppress the ideas/insights.
  • After lecturing British Muslims about the value of free speech back in the late 1980s, the UK government is today itself intent on eroding our free speech. Witness this week’s announcements by the Home Secretary Theresa May regarding Banning Orders, Mosque Closure Orders and the open intimidation of universities to force them to deny a platform to speakers the government deems “undesirable”.
  • Theresa May provided a definition of extremism in her speech as follows:

 “the vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.

  • theresa mayMaybe she was tipsy when she delivered her speech as the definition of “extremists” is so broad that it would certainly encompass the well known scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins who famously did not display much “respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs” when he wrote in The God Delusion that:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

  • Will the government seek to deny Professor Dawkins a platform at universities to speak? I doubt it.
  • While pointing fingers at British Muslims for not doing enough to integrate and adhere to “British Values” the government just a few weeks ago lowered the British flag at a number of government buildings in response to the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. This honour was reserved for a despot who ruled as an absolute monarch and who presided over an insanely corrupt kingdom which routinely features in lists of the world’s worst places for respecting freedom. This was also a good excuse for me to insert a Powerpoint slide entitled “David Cameron – The Twat”.
  • I ended with an observation from Salman Rushdie as I thought it was a poignant way to end the presentation given that I had started with the Satanic Verses:

freedom-of-thought-becomes-impossible-salman-rushdie

  • And during Q&A I made a comment regarding the government’s curious attempts to engineer a favourable government-friendly Muslim identity that is uncritical of the government’s foreign policy disasters in the Muslim world and its draconian counter-terrorism measures at home. I noted that a Freedom of Information request had been submitted to find out the names of the British Muslim organisations that the government had been supporting/financing in this regard – but they had refused to provide this information.  How bizarre.

AlterNet: Exposing Anti-Islam Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Latest Deception

Loon Watch - 28 March, 2015 - 17:07

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali/Magan

An excellent article by Max Blumenthal on Ayaan Hirsi Ali that has gotten a lot of shares on social media. It notes what we and many others have for quite some time, her fraudulent autobiography and deceptive Islamophobic tactics.

By Max Blumenthal, AlterNet

While promoting her new book, Heretic, on a March 23 episode of “The Daily Show,” Somali-born author and anti-Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali made a staggering claim: “If you look at 70 percent of the violence in the world today, Muslims are responsible,” she told host Jon Stewart.

Stewart did not demand any evidence and Hirsi Ali provided no citation. However, she made a strikingly similar statement in a March 20 essay previewing her new book for the Wall Street Journal: “According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies,” Hirsi Ali wrote in WSJ’s Saturday Essay, “at least 70% of all the fatalities in armed conflicts around the world last year were in wars involving Muslims.”

I contacted the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), a leading British foreign policy think tank, to inquire about the source of Hirsi Ali’s statistic. According to IISS Media Relations and Communications Officer Kat Slowe, IISS did not explicitly state such a figure in its research.

“I have spoken to a number of our experts and they cannot identify where this statistic may have come from,” Slowe told me.

“Their best guess is that the journalist in question [Hirsi Ali] may have access/a subscription to the [IISS] Armed Conflict Database and may have calculated this statistic independently. There are some concerns that it could be misleading as, without Syria (near 200,000 total deaths, and almost half of last year’s global conflict deaths) the figure would look massively different (and of course, this conflict did not have its root in religion),” Slowe added.

Read the entire article…

'Farkhunda belongs to all of the women of Kabul, of Afghanistan' | Frozan Marofi

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 March, 2015 - 09:00

The funeral of the young Afghan woman brutally killed by a mob united people in their grief and showed that a few women can make a big difference

It started very small; none of us had a plan. When I saw on Facebook that Farkhunda would be buried on Sunday morning, I quickly posted the information on my timeline and got myself together. I wore black, for my sorrow; I wore trainers on my feet, so that I could be strong.

My daughter Regwida and I went to the graveyard where Farkhunda would be buried. I wanted to express our sorrow, nothing more. There was just one other woman there.

Related: Protests in Afghanistan after woman dies in mob attack – in pictures

Continue reading...

IndiaTimes: “Shocking! Mob Ties A Noose Around The Neck Of This Cow Trader And Makes Him Utter ‘Jai Shri Ram'”

Loon Watch - 27 March, 2015 - 16:58

Jai_Shri_Ram_India_Hindutva_Terrorism

In France, it’s the politics of pork, in Sri Lanka and India it’s over meat in general.

(h/t: Saqib)

By Mugda Kapoor, India Times

Modi might have said that his Government would not allow any religious group belonging to a majority or a minority to incite hatred, but things in India are far from over. The ban on beef by the Maharashtra government has already kicked off a huge country-wide rage, this was made even worse when Haryana (another BJP ruled state) decided to follow suit. The latest twist into the ban of beef is the following video which has been going viral.

The video allegedly features a muslim cow trader who was trading cows for his hindu employer. It shows him tied to an electric pole and surrounded by a fundamentalist mob which is thrashing him and inciting him to utter Jai Shri Ram.

Click here to watch video.

France: Pregnant Muslim Woman Attacked & Beaten For Wearing Hijab

Loon Watch - 27 March, 2015 - 16:40

France_Hijab
By IbTimes

A pregnant Muslim woman wearing a headscarf was violently attacked in the French town of Toulouse by an individual, who accused her of wearing a “hijab” to hide her hair.

According to her account, the attacker pulled on her veil, grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground, where he hit her several times in a street of the Rose Garden, in the north-east of Toulouse.

The young women, in her thirties, lodged a complaint of racist abuse a day after the attack on 24 March. Investigators of the body of departmental security have interviewed the mother at the clinic she is recovering in.

“There is no reason to doubt her word,” said a police source, referring to the possibility of the establishment of a sketch of the assailant who fled.

‘None of that in our country’

According to the victim’s husband, Mounir, 33, the woman took her two daughters to school when she was faced by two young men.

“One of them grabbed her hair, pulled on her veil while insulting her [saying] ‘None of that in our country’ … He threw a lot of punches… His friend, who was not involved in the violence, told him to stop,” the man was quoted as saying by La Depeche du Midi.

In a statement, the Socialist deputy of Haute-Garonne, Christophe Borgel, said “there was no doubt” about “the racist and anti-Muslim character of this aggression”.

“The [French] Republic does not tolerate any racist attack, the [French] Republic will not tolerate any aggression because of the religion of one of its citizens,” Borgel wrote.

The spokesman of the Regional Council of the Muslim Faith (CRCM) in the Midi-Pyrénées, Abdellatif Mellouki, said he had “deep concerns” about “an increase in Islamophobic acts.

This comes less than 10 days after thousands of demonstrators marched in Paris and a dozen of cities in the country – including Lyon, Marseille and Grenoble – to protest against racism and Islamophobia. The protestors claim the attacks against Charlie Hebdo triggered further racist acts.

In late February, an Odoxa poll revealed 77% of French people felt Islamophobia was progressing – while 68% said it was also the case for anti-Semitism.

Timbuktu's Djinguereber mosque: a history of cities in 50 buildings, day 5

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 March, 2015 - 09:52

Constructed from the very earth on which it stands, Timbuktu’s oldest mosque is at the heart of daily life in the ancient city, loyally maintained by the proud descendants of its original builders

Just as a public clock might establish the rhythm of some towns and cities, the Djinguereber mosque has set the time for nearly 700 years. Only recent attention on northern Mali – including a 2012 Jihadist occupation – has disrupted the gentle routine built around five prayers a day and an annual “restoration week” that triggers a DIY frenzy in the city’s homes.

“We have not had to do major patching up since 2006 when the Aga Khan’s restoration programme began,” says the Djinguereber muezzin, Mahamane Mahanmoudou. “But I can see some small cracks now. We will have to do some work this year,” says the 77-year-old, who is also mason-in-chief of the mosque.

Djinguereber remains a marvel of architecture where you feel the greatness of God and Islam in your soul

Related: Delhi's 16th-century Purana Qila fort: a history of cities in 50 buildings, day 4

Continue reading...

Friday Links

Muslimah Media Watch - 27 March, 2015 - 06:00
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, CEO of Muslimgirl.net, explains how Muslim women are ‘spoken over by the public’ and their voices ‘ignored.’ In a rare protest in Afghanistan’s male-dominated society, female rights activists in Kabul carry coffin of a woman beaten to death for allegedly burning Quran to graveyard. A Muslim [Read More...]

Keeping our Brothers and Sisters in Islam

Muslim Matters - 27 March, 2015 - 01:41

الحمد لله رب العالمين و الصلاة و السلام على اشرف المرسلين سيدنا محمد سيد الاولين و الاخرين و على اله و اصحابه و من دعا بدعوته و استن بسنته الى يوم الدين. ) سُبْحَانَكَ لَاعِلْمَ لَنَا إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا إِنَّكَأ َنْتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ(

 

All praises belong to Allāh. We send prayers and salutations on the most honorable among the Messengers, our leader Muḥammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), the leader of the early ones and the later ones, as well as on his family, his companions, and those who call towards his message and adopt his Sunnah until the day of resurrection. “To You belongs all purity! We have no knowledge except what You have given us. Surely, You alone are the All-knowing, All-wise.”

The Practice of More or Less

This is an article meant to be a complement to two recent articles on the subject of practicing Islām. The intent here is to demonstrate how it is necessary for us, as Muslims, to bridge the gap between those who practice and those who practice less.

There is no denying that as Muslims, as a matter of fact, as human beings, we are bound to live as positive contributors to our social environment, through dignity and respect, despite our differences. One may use any word they wish: tolerance, open-mindedness, accepting diversity. All words refer to the ability the most honorable ones among us have in sincerely displaying a high standard of character when dealing with others.

The first matter to establish and agree on, is that there is a categorization among the Muslims which has been established by naṣṣ (textual evidence) of Qurʾān, and which will always exist until the end of times.

“Then We gave the Book as an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants; among them is the one who wrongs himself, and among them is also the one who takes a middle course, and of them is the one who is foremost in virtuous deeds by Allāh's permission; this is the great excellence.” (s. al-Fāṭir,v. 32)

One wishing to see a full tafsīr of this verse, may consult this article.

Below are three statements on the tafsīr of this verse which are most relevant to our present discussion:

It has been narrated that while delivering a sermon, ʿUmar Ibn Al-Khaṭṭāb raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, after having read the above verse, that Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: 'Our foremost ones have gone ahead, our middle coursed ones are saved, and our wrongful ones are forgiven.'[1]

It has also been narrated through Abū Dardā, that Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: 'The foremost one will enter Paradise with no accounting; the middle coursed one will go through an easy reckoning and then enter Paradise; the wrongful one will be held, until he thinks he is doomed, at whichpoint, he will be overtaken by the mercy of Allāh and will enter Paradise.'[2] This is yet another glad-tiding for accepting Allāh's oneness, although one may be lacking in their observance of Allāh's commands. It is also a glad tiding for those who observe Allāh's commands, through being freed from a reckoning or going through an easy one.

Ibn-ʿAṭā explains: Allah Taʿālā has mentioned the wrongful ones first in the verse so they may not despair from His favor. It is also said that he has mentioned them first so they may know that their sins do not distance them from their Lord. It is also said that this order was set because, generally, one's initial spiritual state is that of disobedience, followed byrepentance [tawba] and then steadfastness [istiqāma].

According to Ibn-ʿAṭā's explanation, if this verse is directed at anyone, it is to those who practice least. Yet, those who practice their Islām more diligently can benefit from the order of spiritual progress explained by Ibn-ʿAṭā. If we accept that spiritual progress is a natural progress, as explained by Ibn-ʿAṭā, then we convince ourselves to give salām because we are sure they're good Muslims. It's only that they are at a spiritual stage which is less advanced. There is nothing wrong with greeting others with all due respect and consideration, and with no fear of being judged. If the fear of being judged is the only reason why we fail to do so, then we are running away from annoyance while forsaking an obligatory or commendable matter. It is one of the traits of Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) to endure annoyance from others. Being judged is a light matter, especially from a person with whom we do not have regular dealings (spouse, sibling, co-worker etc…).

In fact, those who practice Islam diligently should greet the less diligent ones with even more warmth than they would normally do to ones similar in practice to themselves. This is so because if the diligent Muslims were to forsake greeting the less-practicing ones, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, then by what miracle will they be drawn towards their category? Guidance lies with Allāh, but Allāh has made means for everything in this world. The guidance of the first category of Muslims to the second category, or their capacity to remain within that first category is dependent on the dealings of those Muslims who have the fate of being in a higher category.

Why Keep Company?

Keeping company with one another has been encouraged in the Qurʾān by Allāh's affirmation that He has bestowed His bounty on the people of īmān by making them brothers.

“Remember the blessing of Allāh upon you: When you were enemies to each other, and He brought your hearts together, so that, you became brothers through His blessing.” (s. Āl-ʿImrān, v. 103).

The main objective of companionship is to assist one another and strengthen one another.

“He is the One who supported you with His aid and with the believers,and He united their hearts.” (s. al-Anfāl, v. 62-63). It is also narrated in ḥadīth, 'The relationship of the believer with another believer is like (the bricks of) a building, each strengthens the other.'[3]

There are even greater benefits in the ākhira (hereafter), such as the ability of those who are superior to intercede on behalf of those who are inferior, thus allowing them to gain forgiveness and high stations in Paradise (through that intercession).

This is critical to understand and practice upon. If those who practice less are deprived of the company of those who practice more, their practice will only worsen as they progress towards death. ʿAbdullāh Ibn-ʿAbbās  explains, 'Does anyone other than people corrupt people?”

In other words, either corruption or righteousness is a guaranteed effect of companionship. Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also explains this through his saying, 'A person is on the religion of his friend, so let each one of you carefully consider whom they befriend.'[4]

Those Muslims who are less-practicing and yet love their Islām, should attempt to keep the company of those who practice more than them. Likewise, Muslims who practice more should attempt to befriend the Muslims who practice less so they may benefit from their companionship. The problem of forsaking the salām requires much more than a simple online discussion. It's a behavior that requires actively seeking Allāh's assistance to correct. In doing so, we hope to comply to Allāh's command in assisting one another towards righteousness and taqwā. It's just as important as, if not more, than dressing in accordance to the precepts of Islām.

There are numerous examples from Rasūlullāh r that exemplify adopting kindness when dealing with others. One such example is when he reprimanded ʿĀisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) for being harsh to a Jewish woman. He said, 'O ʿĀisha, adopt gentleness, because indeed Allāh-Taʿālā is gentle and He loves gentleness. He grants through gentleness that which He does not grant through harshness, and which He does not grant through anything else.'[5]

Afshush Salam

Greeting our fellow Muslims is the simplest form of social interaction. The salām is 'the greeting of the people of Paradise', and it is 'The word (they receive) from a Merciful Lord' (s. Yāsīn, v. 58). Regular salām through many weeks, months, years can go a long way in preserving a Muslim's Islām or taking them to the next category of piety. This is nobility of character. That is, for one to be able to maintain honorable dealings with those who fail to do so, or those whose demeanor is repulsive. It is mentioned in ḥadīth that, 'The believer will certainly reach, through his noble character, the rank of the one who pray during the hours of the night and fast abundantly.'[6] It is also mentioned that those who will sit the closest to Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) on the day of qiyāma are those whose character is the most noble[7]; the noble next to the noblest.

According to ʿUmar, the less diligent are 'forgiven' and according to Abū-Dardā's ḥadīth, 'will be overtaken by the mercy of Allah and will enter Paradise.' One may as well look at them as people of Paradise when dealing with them. Their road to Paradise is just different and we are responsible for contributing to better that journey.

It is narrated about ʿUmar Ibn al-Khaṭṭāb raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), that he once took someone as a brother for the sake of Allāh in Madīna-Munawwarah, and that the person eventually moved to Shām (Syria). ʿUmar later enquired about his state of affairs from someone coming from Shām. The person replied, 'That man is shayṭān's brother!' ʿUmar asked 'Why?' He replied, 'He indulges in major sins to the point that he even drinks liquor.' ʿUmar then said, 'Inform me prior to leaving for Shām'. He then wrote to his friend in Shām:

“Hā Mīm .This is revelation of the Book from Allāh, the Mighty, the All-Knowing, the One who forgives sins and accepts repentance, the One who is severe in punishment, the One who is the source of all power. There is no god but He. To Him is the ultimate return (of all).” (s. Ghāfir, v. 1-3)

Following the verse, Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) then reprimanded and rebuked him.

When the man came to read the letter, he wept, and said, 'Allāh has said the truth and ʿUmar has indeed discharged naṣīḥa (well-wishing advice).' He then repented and returned to his good ways.

It is worthy to note that ʿUmar's advice was received well and had the desired effect. This is because, rather than shunning the brother, he kept the man as his brother in Allāh, even after having been informed about his state of affairs. Finally, the advice was discharged through a letter privately (with wisdom).

The salām of the practicing Muslims to the less-practicing ones, taking them as brothers or sisters for the sake of Allāh and advising them when there is an opportunity to do so, will go a long way in improving their practice, in shā Allāh. Having dealings with them while living as a contributor to the betterment of society will have an even greater effect. Furthermore, doing all this for the sake of Allāh will guarantee that results are reached.

The above is a reminder to all our Muslim brethren. A reminder that Allāh has put us in the same verse insūra Fāṭir; our differing levels of practice are none but a source of strength for us. Rasūlullāh ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), whom we all profess to believe in, is our link to Allāh and his teachings and lifestyle should be our aim. Muslims who practice less should make a sustained effort to educate themselves about the Rasūl ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his practice of Islām. Those who follow that practice outwardly should make a sustained effort to learn how to take example on him inwardly, by adopting his noble character when dealing with others.

We ask Allāh to favor us all with an Islām that is granted acceptance, which constantly grows, and which we meet Allāh with.

Was-salāmu ʿalaykum wa raḥmatullāhi wa barakātuh.

[1] Al-Durr al-Manthūr, al-Suyūṭī

[2]MusnadImāmAḥmad, Mustadrak al-Ḥākim

[3] Al-Bukhārī and Muslim

[4]Abū-Dāwūd and Tirmidḥī

[5]Al-Bukhārī

[6]Abū-Dāwūd and Ibn-Ḥibbān

[7]Al-Tirmidhī

The post Keeping our Brothers and Sisters in Islam appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

A Reaction’s Potential

Muslim Matters - 27 March, 2015 - 01:09

Since moving to Flushing, NY 8 months ago, I have passed by the John Bowne House countless times. The sign outside of this historical monument reads: “Bowne House: A Shrine to Religious Freedom Since 1662”. In 1656, when the town of Flushing was part of the Dutch colony New Netherland, governor Peter Stuyvesant passed an ordinance prohibiting the practice of religions other than the Dutch Reformed Church. John Bowne defied this ban by allowing a group of Quakers to hold religious services in his home. When he refused to accept guilt for his actions, he was swiftly deported to Holland. Bowne successfully argued his case abroad and Stuyvesant was ordered to permit all faiths to worship freely, establishing the principle of religious freedom in New Netherland. [1]

It is ironic that I live a stone's throw from this beacon of justice, yet have felt apprehensive leaving my home of late due to my outward manifestation of my religious beliefs—a headscarf and ankle-length skirt. My work as a resident-physician entails that I leave my home in the early morning hours and often return after dark. It is soothing to know that Flushing is bustling at all hours and that a person contemplating a violent act against me would be deterred by the presence of bystanders. But it is troubling to know that I think in such a manner when this well-preserved “shrine to religious freedom” stands 4 blocks away.

If I were to consider my newfound apprehension solely in the setting of my personal experiences, my fears would be vastly misplaced. Instances of prejudice directed toward me for my religious beliefs have been few and far-between. And when I have endured them, the reaction of those who may be of help has been swift and effective. I recall being openly demeaned as a sophomore in college by a visiting professor during class. When I received a C- for a subsequent assignment on which I had worked diligently, I could fathom no other motivation for the professor's behavior but prejudice. I still remember the words he used to explain my grade when I approached him 2 days later: “Your work was far below the level of your peers; your grade should actually have been closer to failing; that may have convinced you to drop this class since you clearly don't belong here.” Reliving that experience, now 7 years old, is still traumatic. But the rest of my memories connected with this incident are fuzzy; positive experiences are always harder to recall than the negative. I recall heading to my advisor's office in tears and explaining the situation. I recall speaking with the university's Muslim chaplain and trying to make sense of what had just happened. I recall over half of my classmates offering to speak in my defense when they heard of my grade. I recall digging out my father's 1980s tape recorder and hauling it to my next class, ready to store evidence. But neither my classmates nor my antiquated cassette tape were needed; within 2 days my assignment grade was changed to an A-. I learned soon after that my situation had been explained to the Dean, who had spoken with my professor. What I remember of the outcome of this incident is my well-deserved A in the class and my dean's assurance, citing my service activities within and outside the school, that my presence within his college was more valuable to him than one visiting professor's.

My dean judged me, and I am grateful to him for it. His judgment, based on my academic record and personal activities, taught me that it was safe to showcase my faith, as justice would be served should prejudice arise. I was the student who cited a Qur'anic verse in her medical school application essay as a motivation for my career choice. While a medical student at a historically Jewish institution, our annual Fast-a-Thon, organized by students of various faiths in commemoration of the charity encouraged during the Islamic month of Ramadan, was known to be a main source of funding for our student-run free clinic. I refused to hide my research on end-of-life care of Muslim patients in my residency application, and ended up matching into a top-tier institution in the deep South for the bulk of my training.

My experiences have taught me that I am safe and welcome in this country, that my rights will be upheld, and my judgment will be based on my character and the actions that I bring forth. But recent events have swayed this thinking. When it took the U.S. President over 2 days to condemn the brutal murder of 3 openly Muslim students in their home in North Carolina and begin an investigation into its motive, one starts to question how much such bright souls matter to our country's fabric. When all the news could talk about for days after the event was a parking dispute, inherently placing some blame on the victims for their own execution, one wonders how much their actions and character factor into their judgment. In my comparatively-insignificant incident of prejudice, the response of those with authority shaped my reaction to such hate into something exceedingly positive. Unfortunately, a tragedy which has affected millions of Muslim-Americans is not being moved along such a trajectory.

I thank the news networks that have since portrayed Deah, Yusor, and Razan as the giving souls filled with potential that they were. I don't listen to the bigots who, amidst this calamity, have called for more murders of Muslims and have told my community that we do not belong in the USA. I was taught 7 years ago how to judge my own worth and know that it has not dwindled. It is estimated that 10% of US physicians are Muslim [2]. Pursuant of a career path fueled by self-sacrifice, I wonder how we can be thought to not belong in the country whose fellow citizens we selflessly serve. To the zealots who claim so, will we belong here when your heart stops beating and we are the doctors who pump your chest to help bring it back? Or perhaps at a time of tragedy when it is a doctor wearing a headscarf who stabilizes your injured child?

I am an example of how the USA can uplift its minorities with a sense of belonging and thereby benefit from our potential. With my religion as a driving force behind my good actions, I believe there is much that I can give to my country and its citizens. It is said that John Bowne's Quaker home served as a part of the Underground Railroad and helped many slaves to freedom. Those who shared his faith are known to have played an instrumental role in abolishing slavery. Imagine an America where Governor Stuyvesant's ordinance against religious freedom was upheld, an America without a Quaker legacy. We cannot know the potential lost when a group of people is subdued and made to feel that its contribution is unwanted. Rather, we know that the possible input of a million people fueled by a spirit of giving to a country that upheld their rights and encouraged their advancement is infinite.

 

 

Works Cited

[1] “The Bowne Family Biographies.” Bowne House. Web. 14 Feb. 2015. <http://www.bownehouse.org/history_bowne_family.htm>.

[2] Karim, Talib. “Muslim Doctors Abundant, But Muslim Hospitals Non-Existent PDF.” The Muslim Link 24 Nov. 2014. Web. 15 Feb. 2015. <http://www.muslimlinkpaper.com/myjumla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1440:Muslim Doctors Abundant, But Muslim Hospitals Non-Existent&Itemid=17>.

The post A Reaction’s Potential appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Reconsidering Muslim Dating & Expectations

Muslimah Media Watch - 26 March, 2015 - 20:20
One of my very first projects at Muslimah Media Watch was to review dating sites. The experience of discussing how we use technology to find a mate (here, here, here and here) baffled me a little because of the gendered and racialized aspects that I found while doing research. Later on, I also discovered that the [Read More...]

Iranian big-budget film causes controversy by depicting Muhammad

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 March, 2015 - 12:37

Director Majid Majidi defends blockbuster Muhammad, Messenger of God claiming it is meant to ‘bring unity to the Muslim world’

A big-budget Iranian film about Muhammad’s childhood has courted controversy by including shots of the prophet’s back, among them a low-angle shot of a teenage Muhammad against the sky.

Physical depictions of Muhammad are taboo in many Muslim communities – particularly those adhering to the dominant Sunni tradition – but Shia Islam, practiced by 90-95% of Iranians, has a more liberal approach to the issue. However, mindful of religious sensibilities, the film-makers – led by director Majid Majidi – have not attempted to show Muhammad’s face.

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