NY Times Applauds While Israel Robs Palestine of Water

The New York Times invites us to gaze with wonder on the miracles of Israeli technology today, with a page 1 photo and story touting the innovations that have saved the country from drought. Because of wise policies and applied science, we learn, “there is plenty of water in Israel.”

The Times never tells us, however, that a significant number of those who reside on the land are seriously deprived of water: Palestinians in some areas of the West Bank are forced to survive on only 20 liters of water a day per person, well below the World Health Organization minimum of 60 liters. In Gaza 90 percent of the water is unfit to drink.

Meanwhile, Israelis in West Bank settlements “generally have access to as much running water as they please,” according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, and Israelis over all use three times as much water as Palestinians. Settlers also confiscate West Bank springs, and Israeli security forces destroy water equipment in Palestinian villages and prevent their residents from building cisterns and wells.

In the Times story, “Aided by the Sea, Israel Overcomes an Old Foe: Drought,” Isabel Kershner writes that Israel is thriving because it has adopted recycling and desalination. She quotes at length from Israeli officials but includes not a single Palestinian voice.

Kershner manages to dismiss Palestinian concerns in two sentences: “Israel, which shares the mountain aquifer with the West Bank, says it provides the Palestinians with more water than it is obliged to under the existing peace accords. Palestinians say it is not enough and too expensive.” She feels no need to address the humanitarian crisis Israeli has created in confiscating Palestinian water for its own use.

In fact, Israel steals the water from under the feet of Palestinians, draining West Bank aquifers, allocating 73 percent of this water to Israel and another 10 percent to settlers. Palestinians are left with 17 percent, and many are forced to buy from the Israeli water company at rates up to three times as high as the tariffs charged Israelis.

Kershner omits any mention of the obvious inequalities between Israeli West Bank settlements and the Palestinian villages nearby. Settlements often have swimming pools and green, watered turf, while villages remain dusty and dry, without enough water for agriculture or even for home gardens.

The Times has also turned its back on news that underscores the outright theft of water in Palestine. It had nothing to report, for instance, when settlers recently surrounded a Palestinian spring with mines and barbed wire. The paper also remained silent when security forces destroyed pipes providing water to an impoverished Jordan Valley herding community earlier this year.

Many organizations, however, have spoken out. The United Nations, the World Bank, Amnesty International, B’Tselem, church groups, If Americans Knew, and others. They have issued reports and press releases noting that Israel violates international law in confiscating Palestinian water resources and highlighting the striking disparities between West Bank villages and Jewish settlements.

Kershner found none of this worth mentioning in her story today. Instead, we find a promotional piece that should benefit Israeli water specialists now peddling their products in California and other drought-stricken areas of the United States.

Editors and reporters are complicit in this effort to tout Israel as an enlightened and technologically advanced country, even in the face of its flagrant theft of Palestinian water. The New York Times has found an Israeli puff piece on water technology to be worth a front page spread, but it deems the criminal confiscation of this basic resource unfit to print.

Barbara Erickson

Filed under: Uncategorized

Phoenix anti-Islam protest triggers counterattack: a stand against bigotry

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 hours 52 min ago

Interfaith leaders and community gather to support mosque. Protest the second in response to Texas shootings outside ‘Draw Muhammad’ contest

Related: Texas shooting: the group behind the Muhammad cartoon contest

Some of the hundreds of protesters arriving at a Phoenix mosque on Friday evening to demonstrate their first amendment protections carried firearms, American flags and shouted expletives.

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RBI: Reviving Baseball In The Islamic Community

Muslim Matters - 11 hours 11 min ago
Baseball + apple pie = America

Baseball + apple pie = America

Two months ago, I spent a few days in Arizona during Major League Baseball's annual spring training.

If you've never been, spring training is like a month-long live music festival, with baseball replacing bass as the soundtrack. Half of the league's teams convene in Arizona, the other half gather in Florida, and fans from all over the world descend upon these balmy locales to watch their favorite teams and players prepare for the upcoming season in a series of exhibition games.

I made the trip to Arizona this year to see my favorite baseball team (the Seattle Mariners) and my favorite player (Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Dontrelle Willis, who actually announced his retirement during spring training) in what is becoming something of an annual get-together for some of my family.

Before my wife and I landed at Phoenix International Airport, however, I wasn't sure what to expect as a Muslim in Arizona. I had my preconceived notions, considering that we were entering a politically “red” state that has a history of controversial anti-immigration legislation and once rescinded Martin Luther King Day. But a quick online search turned up a couple of masjids near our resort, as well as a link to the Arizona Muslim Voice, a community newspaper based in Phoenix. I also found an article from 2011 in which the Arizona Muslim Voice editor speculated that Phoenix's Muslim population had grown by more than 100,000 in the previous decade.

So while it isn't quite Philadelphia or Dearborn, Mich., Phoenix is not a ghost town for Muslims, either. That was good enough for me.

And over the course of five days at spring training, I saw sisters admirably wearing headscarves and long black garments in the 80-degree desert heat. I saw brothers rocking kufis and tell-tale beards with whom I could exchange knowing nods of the head. I met one brother working at the airport whose face lit up at the sight of a fellow Muslim entering his city as a tourist. I saw quite a few Muslim baseball fans.

What I did not see were Muslim baseball players.

For a sport that embraces the label of “America's pastime,” baseball — especially at its highest level — has not always represented the demographic diversity of the United States. While Major League Baseball earned an “A” grade in its racial hiring practices on the 2014 Racial and Gender Report Card, it had a “C+” in gender hiring practices. Almost 40 percent of major-league players are racial minorities, thanks to the sport's strong grip in Latin American and Asian countries, but the number of Black players has been dropping for years and continued to drop in 2014. Only 8.2 percent of the league's players are Black.

Diversity in baseball, like everything in baseball, comes with a backstory.

Jackie Robinson's MLB debut in 1947 is canonized as the moment that paved the way for current Black stars like Andrew McCutchen, Jason Heyward and C.C. Sabathia, and MLB has also made a point to retroactively adopt the old Negro Leagues into its own historical narrative. (Even though it was MLB's own racism and discrimination against Blacks that made the Negro Leagues necessary.)

Latino players were allowed to play in the majors before Black players were allowed, and today there is not one MLB organization that does not have at least a handful of Latino stars on its main roster and/or in its developmental system.

The 1990s and early-2000s witnessed the beginning of an influx of MLB players from Asia, headlined by South Koreans like Chan Ho Park and Japanese standouts like Ichiro Suzuki.

And Jewish players have history in pro baseball going back some 150 years, with Hall of Fame talents like Hank Greenberg and Sandy Koufax preceding modern stars like Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler.


But to the best of anyone's knowledge, there has been one — and only one — Muslim player in major league history: Sam Khalifa.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 1982 MLB draft, Khalifa played shortstop and second base for the Pittsburgh Pirates for parts of three seasons in the 1980s. Three years after he'd been named Arizona state high school player of the year at Sahuaro H.S. in Tucson, Khalifa made his major-league debut as a 21-year-old. At the time, he was the seventh-youngest player in the majors.

Khalifa was mostly a backup with the Pirates, never appearing in more than 95 games (out of a 162-game schedule) in any of his three MLB seasons. Khalifa had a .219 career batting average, hitting 20 doubles, three triples and two home runs with 37 runs batted in and a .964 fielding percentage.

Khalifa spent most of 1987 and all of 1988-89 in the minor leagues. In the 1990 offseason, still only 26 years old and receiving interest from the San Diego Padres, Khalifa retired from baseball following the assassination of his father, Rashad Khalifa, an Islamic scholar.

Sam Khalifa may have played the same position Jackie Robinson on the diamond, but he was no Jackie Robinson. And I'm not talking about talent, but historical significance. After Khalifa, there was no flood of Muslim players entering Major League Baseball. There wasn't even a trickle.

He remains the first and, as far as anyone I've talked to can tell, the only Muslim to play in the majors.

There have been no Muslim MLB managers, either. And current Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi isn't just the first and only Muslim GM in MLB history, he's the first and only Muslim GM in any American major sports league. Chicago Cubs assistant GM Shiraz Rehman is another Muslim in a prominent front-office position.

Why aren't there more Muslims involved at the highest levels of baseball?

First things first, I don't think this is at all like the “old days” of MLB, when White management deliberately collaborated to keep Black people entirely out of the game; and even well after Jackie Robinson, maintained unofficial limits on how many Blacks could be on one roster.

There is no ugly history of anti-Muslim attitudes in baseball — certainly nothing close to the vitriol hurled at Blacks and other minorities. Sam Khalifa wasn't run out of the game. In a 1986 article in Aramco World magazine, he talked about how he was being treated.

“Sure, there's always some clubhouse ribbing and I've been called 'the shaikh,' but it's been in fun,” Khalifa said. “I never felt any prejudice in Arizona or anywhere else. People respect me for what I am and that's good.”

I don't think Muslims are being kept out of Major League Baseball today. I don't think many Muslims want in. For one reason or another, baseball has not caught on in the Muslim American community.

Are there socioeconomic issues creating a divide between a sometimes expensive sport and a community that includes many immigrants who live at or below the poverty line?

Is it a matter of scheduling, with baseball suffering due to occupying the same part of the calendar as soccer?

Is there bound to be an awkward fit between the American pastime and a community whose roots are not in America, a community that is often made to feel rejected and unwelcome by many Americans?

Or is there something inherently, religiously un-Islamic about baseball?

Rany Jazayerli is one of today's most influential Muslim figures in baseball. The full-time dermatologist is a part-time writer for ESPN who co-founded Baseball Prospectus and for years maintained Rany on the Royals, a blog dedicated to the Kansas City Royals.

I asked Jazayerli why baseball is not as popular with Muslim-Americans. Here is his theory:

Baseball, rather than football or basketball, is the sport most identified with traditional American culture, and I'm using “traditional” as a euphemism for “white.” This isn't because of anything that Major League Baseball is doing per se — there is a long and storied history of African-Americans playing baseball, and while African-American participation has dropped in recent decades, their place has largely been taken by Latin American players. The sport on the field is not dominated by whites — but the fan base for MLB is mainly white, certainly far more so than the fan bases for the NFL and the NBA.

The NFL is so big that it simply dominates all walks of American culture, while the NBA, which is a league populated mostly by African-Americans, has been associated with American “counterculture” — which here I'm defining as simply the culture of minority groups — for decades. The rise in the NBA's popularity over the years may be connected to the increasing popularity of countercultural entertainment in general.

And here's the key point: American-born Muslims as a whole have, I believe, embraced American counterculture more than traditional American culture. I'm not saying this is right or wrong; I think it's actually quite inevitable overall, because most immigrant Muslims to this country are not white, and white America continues to regard non-white immigrants with considerable suspicion. If you are the child of Pakistani parents who didn't feel comfortable with your parents' culture growing up in New Jersey, and you didn't feel comfortable around the white majority in school who made you feel like an outsider growing up, who may have taunted you with racist taunts, then you're going to start identifying with other ethnic minorities in America. You're going to listen to hip-hop music, and you're going to watch basketball. You're unlikely to watch baseball, and you're even less likely to watch hockey, and you're *really* unlikely to listen to country music, which is not only dominated by whites but has legitimate issues with how welcoming it is of minorities in America.

It's probably not a coincidence, then, that my family is from Syria and I pass as “white” by any reasonable definition of the term. I didn't look like an outsider to white America growing up, and I never felt like an outsider, and I fell in love with baseball from an early age.

I don't want to overstate the correlation — there are plenty of brown Muslim Americans who are big baseball fans, and several who work within the game — Adnan Virk hosts ESPN's Baseball Tonight, and Farhan Zaidi is the GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Disclaimer: both are actually Canadian.) But I also don't want to ignore something which is pretty obvious: whereas 80 years ago, immigrants to America were usually European, and so could integrate into American society pretty seamlessly if they learned the mainstream culture — which meant baseball — today immigrants to American are not typically white, and so unless they come from cultures which have already embraced baseball, they are likely to gravitate to American sports which are the province of minorities, like basketball.

So in order for baseball to grow in popularity among Muslim Americans in the future, one of two things — preferably both — needs to happen. Major League Baseball can find a way to make inroads among minority communities, which they can start to do by de-emphasizing history and tradition when it comes to marketing the game. MLB is legitimately interested in connecting with the African-American fans that it has lost over the years, and the concerns raised by Chris Rock in this takedown of MLB will get attention from the Commissioner's Office.

But the other thing that needs to happen is that Muslims in America need to better identify with being American, to accept that they can be fully American without compromising their faith one bit, and to make an active effort to not only integrate with mainstream American society but to be actively engaged with bettering American society, rather than cocooning themselves into their own insular societies. Note that this should be the actual goal regardless of what it has to do with baseball; I think seeing more Muslims become baseball fans would be a product of more active engagement with American society, not the other way around. In the grand scheme of things, it's not important whether more Muslims become baseball fans. But more Muslims becoming baseball fans is a likely by-product of more Muslims recognizing themselves as fully American, and not sensing any conflict between the two.

The problems facing baseball that Jazayerli and Rock bring up can possibly be fixed by concerted, long-term marketing and community outreach efforts. And even if they work, the results may not be plainly visible for a few years.

Or, baseball could get lucky and have that one superstar emerge who Pied-Pipers a legion of young fans to follow in his footsteps.

The NBA became a hit in China on the back of Yao Ming. Boxing's modern-day popularity among Filipino fans is tied mostly to the rise of Manny Pacquiao. Tiger Woods is viewed as golf's liaison to Black America, while Danica Patrick has been credited with drawing more female interest in NASCAR.

If one Muslim baseball phenom gets to the major leagues and blows up, that could do more to endear the Muslim community to the sport than however-many millions MLB might be willing to throw into a marketing campaign.

But it's kind of a chicken-vs.-egg thing, because baseball may not find that Muslim superstar without first doing its share of work to promote the game to Muslims — or less specifically, to counterculture America and young America.

“The first Muslim star is not going to be from a Muslim country,” ESPN's Adnan Virk, a Muslim of Pakistani descent who grew up in Canada, was quoted in a 2013 article for Fan Graphs. “It's going to be a guy like me.”

The first Muslim Major League Baseball star will also have to be ready for all that comes with being the Jackie Robinson of Muslim baseball. Although it's been 30 years since Sam Khalifa played, the next Muslim MLB player will be navigating a whole new world and a whole new America with different attitudes regarding Muslims.

He will have to find his way in the quintessential American sport in an America that has turned his people into a dangerously marginalized minority.

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Protesters berate Muhammad during anti-Islam protest at Phoenix mosque

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 hours 21 min ago

Counter-demonstrators shout “Go home Nazis” at contingent of anti-Islam protesters, some of whom were armed

More than 200 protesters, some armed, berated Islam and the prophet Muhammad outside an Arizona mosque on Friday in a provocative protest that was denounced by counterprotesters shouting “Go home Nazis”, weeks after an anti-Muslim event in Texas came under attack by two gunmen.

The anti-Muslim event outside the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix was organized by an Iraq war veteran who posted photos of himself online wearing a T-shirt with a crude slogan denigrating Islam and waving the US flag.

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Police believed to be the target as Philippine mosque attack injures 15

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 hours 48 min ago

10 police officers among those wounded in dual-blast attack on mosque on remote Philippine island long plagued by Islamic militancy, say officials

Fifteen people including 10 police officers were wounded in an attack on a mosque on a remote Philippine island long plagued by Islamic militancy, officials said on Saturday.

Successive blasts struck a mosque on the island of Jolo – an initial grenade attack followed by a bomb explosion that was intended to target police who rushed to the scene, local authorities said.

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Islamist fighters blamed as eight killed in rocket attack on Benghazi

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 hours 38 min ago

Battle for control of Libyan city has been going on for a year, in a conflict between former rebel groups who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011

Eight people were killed and eight wounded when a rocket hit a residential district in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Friday, officials said.

An army commander blamed Islamist fighters for the rocket strike. Fighting for control of the country’s second-largest city has been going on for a year, part of a conflict between former rebel groups who helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but now back two rival governments.

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Draw Muhammad – Another Point of View

Muslim Matters - 23 hours 25 min ago

Turn on the T.V. in last few weeks and we are inundated Draw Muhammad news. First it is was the contest in Texas; then there was the attempt to place the drawing on Washington, D.C. Metro systems; now there is the rally in Phoenix.

While violence is not the way to respond these kinds of events (truthfully, in my opinion violence is never the way to respond to anything), what if our approach as Muslims is completely wrong. Let's take a step back and look at this another way.

The story of how Abraham raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) destroyed the idols in his father's shop can be found in the Jewish text of the Midrash Genesis Rabbah 38.13, and Surat Al-'Anbyā'. For those that don't know, Abraham raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) destroyed all the idols in his father's shop, except for one. He placed the stick in front of the only remaining idol. His father asked what happened and Abraham replied by saying

“Rather, this – the largest of them – did it, so ask them, if they should [be able to] speak.” (21:63) Oddly enough, his father didn't believe him.

What should we take away from this? That Allah does not want anyone worshiping idols. I understand that this seems to just be for the Jewish people and Muslims, but wait…there is more!

In the Bible (NIV), in the book of Exodus chapter 20 verse 4 through 6 we read:

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,

but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. “

The same verse can be found in the Torah. So this commandment holds for the Jewish people and the Christians. What about Muslims? Well other than the fact that we believe in the 10 commandments, we can read in Surat Al-Ĥaj

“That [has been commanded], and whoever honors the sacred ordinances of Allah – it is best for him in the sight of his Lord. And permitted to you are the grazing livestock, except what is recited to you. So avoid the uncleanliness of idols and avoid false statement…” (22:30). That seems like a pretty clear command from Allah.

However if that isn't enough for you there is Surat 'Ibrāhīm (14:35)

“And [mention, O Muhammad], when Abraham said, “My Lord, make this city [Mecca] secure and keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols.””

No matter how you look at it a strong case can be made against idols and idol worship in any of the 3 major religions; thus we can all agree that idol worship is wrong.

When someone draws the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) Muslims get upset, why? Because we shouldn't have images of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) for fear that someone might worship that image and not Allah. Someone could put more faith in that image than in Allah.

But here is a question for all of you reading this –  When Family Guy animates Jesus raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) into an episode where is the Muslim outrage? When South Park animates Jesus raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) into one of their shows are Muslims protesting? When Adult Swim debuted the show “Black Jesus” where was the Muslim voice saying that it was wrong?

Is Jesus raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) not our Prophet too? Are these not images of a Prophet being broadcasted?

When the Family Guy episode aired the reported that “Christian News says that this time Seth McFarlane, who is an outspoken atheist, has gone too far in his mockery of Jesus Christ. A collection of angry comments proved that Christians were not happy with Family Guy's treatment of their savior, Jesus Christ.

After “Black Jesus” aired on Adult Swim USA Today reported that a pastor said “It was horrible, disgusting and completely offensive. Down to a person, everyone in the youth group was offended. It just shows where we are a nation. … We have no respect for God,

The article goes on to say… “The loss of faith among youth is having a detrimental impact on the nation… When I was a senior in high school, in 1974, prayer was a part of our society, there was an acknowledgment of God,” he said. “Today, faith is perceived as a myth. There is a lack of respect for the authority of God, although I will tell you that if Hollywood had produced a program called Black Muhammad, or whatever, there would be an outrage.”

The Reverend that made this statement is spot on. We are commanded in Surat Al-`Ankabūt “And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in a way that is best, except for those who commit injustice among them, and say,

“We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you. And our God and your God is one; and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him.” (29:46). As Muslims shouldn't we “Love your neighbor as yourself.”? (NIV, Mark 12:31).

I get that in this current anti-Muslim climate it may seem like a lot to ask; especially when it feels that everyone is out to “get you.” But the first step is trying; after all if Muslims can protect the Jews  while they pray in Norway, and Christians can protect Muslims while they pray in Egypt, maybe we can work together to put an end to this Draw Muhammed fad without letting people that use violence as a means of communication speak for us.


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Doggart- the Tennessee Terrorist

Muslim Matters - 29 May, 2015 - 20:38

By Khalil Meeks

Federal law enforcement agents caught a real terrorist. He was plotting to attack a small town in New York, burn its buildings and kill its residents. The terrorist was planning to bring like-minded militants and various weapons to help him kill as many people as he could.

“If it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds.”

No informant provided the plot or tried to convince him to commit these crimes. This would-be massacre was the sole creation of this real-life terrorist.

Federal prosecutors secured a plea deal on April 24. The defendant in this case admitted to “threatening an armed attack and firebombing of a New York… community.” A victory for the F.B.I. Yet, the agency did not issue a press release or hold a press conference touting this latest win in their war on terror. No well-orchestrated media circus followed this plea deal.


In fact, federal prosecutors were only seeking charges related to violating “civil rights laws, specifically a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 247(a)(1), intentionally defacing, damaging, or destroying any religious real property, because of the religious character of that property, or attempting to do so” and threatening to kidnap or injure others.

This individual, who was planning to attack with a small army and kill innocent people, was not charged with any terrorism related crimes. None.

His name? Robert Doggart.


His target? Approximately 200 Muslim residents in Islamberg, NY.

Doggart is an ordained Christian minister. He is a Navy veteran. He is an engineer with a Ph.D in engineering management from LaSalle University. He is white, Protestant and a Tennessee native. He ran for Congress in 2014 and received 9,200 votes. He referenced his faith as justification for his crimes.

I do not mention these facts to shed a negative light on Christianity, veterans, engineers, LaSalle graduates, whites, Tennesseans or congressional candidates. None of these characteristics are relevant to this individual's crimes. I mention these facts to highlight the vast differences in how Muslims and non-Muslims are treated by federal law enforcement and the media.

If Doggart was a Muslim, does anyone doubt the news media would be whipped into a panic-filled frenzy over the F.B.I.'s latest terror arrest? Does anyone doubt that the F.B.I. would pursue terrorism-related criminal charges? Does anyone doubt that the F.B.I. would be calling this their latest victory in their war on terror?

When the F.B.I. accuses a Muslim of committing a crime, terrorism charges are often thrown in his or her face. In fact, federal law enforcement spokespersons often describe Muslim defendants as terrorists even when no terrorism charges are involved in the case. This was true for Aafia Siddiqui, Ibrahim Dremali, Rafil Dhafir and others.

Adding a terrorism label to a criminal cases also increases the prison terms. It's called “terrorism enhancement sentencing guidelines” and can more than double the time a defendant spends in prison. These guidelines seem to have been written just for Muslims.

This comes as no surprise. The federal law enforcement agents received training from anti-Muslim extremists who teach them to view Muslims as violent and radical. Not just some Muslims… all Muslims.

The Doggart case just affirms what we've observed for more than a decade. Muslims are treated differently in the American justice system. The “terrorism” label is often thrown at Muslims in an apparent attempt to increase the chances for convictions – and it seems to be working. Terrorism is scary and no one wants to let a terrorist go free. But when these labels are reserved for a special classification of people (i.e., Muslims), then a separate and unequal system of justice is created.

And that's a system of injustice.

Doggart is currently out of jail on a $30,000 bond as he waits for a judge to sign the plea deal. If signed, Doggart faces up to five years in prison for planning to massacre 200 Muslims… men, women and children.

Five years… not 65, 86 or life in prison. Just five years.

Hopefully, this case highlights the need to defend Muslims against injustice in the American court system. Hopefully, this case sheds additional light on the problems Muslims face when caught up in the controversial, biased and unfair targeting and discrimination against Muslims by law enforcement and the courts. Hopefully, this case serves as an example of how important it is for Muslims and all supporters of equality and freedom to “stand out firmly for justice” because this is not the only “if he were Muslim he would have been called a terrorist” case in America.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Khalil Meeks is the Executive Director of Muslim Legal Fund of America —a national charity that funds legal work and programs to defend Muslims against injustice in American courtrooms, prisons and communities. Established in 2001, MLFA has defended freedom of speech, association, and religion as well as the right to a fair trial and other constitutional rights.

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Rabble-rousing and Sacred Cows

Islamicate - 29 May, 2015 - 20:08

Atheists hold religion to be a product of human imagination, a relative experience that gives humans a sense of meaning. It is usually for this reason that they look down on believers of all faiths, “the poor things believe in ghosts because it gives them comfort” as if otherwise we’d be found in a corner somewhere having a mental breakdown. What they overlook is that religion is one of the highest forms of intellectual endeavour; to ask the pertinent questions such why we are on earth, how we got here, and what we should be doing.

It is this sense of reflection on things both around us and within our souls that Allah continuously urges throughout the Quran and the sunnah; that combined with civil conduct forms the backbone of a believer’s behaviour and attitude. We commonly hear that the Prophet was sent to destroy the pagan idols, as did many of the prophets of Israel before him, but the erecting of sacred monuments, both literal and metaphorical is something that tends to frequently occur amongst humans across time – the Prophet’s description of how the devil implanted polytheism amongst the early humans is a relevant narrative. And thus sections of the Muslim community have erected their sacred cows, to even glance at any one of these with a skewered eye is considered sacrilegious; the irreverent audacity requires sounding the war bugle.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article that I believe fairly objectively pointed out that human rights organisations and Muslim civil liberty groups are, perhaps inadvertently, veering into the realm of general political representation for the interests of a faith group. And if an organisation intends to politically represent the general interests of a faith group, then it might be a good idea not to predominantly focus on one thing. The consequence is simple: as a result wider society (have and) will assume that’s all Muslims care for which leads to a whole host of problems I’ll cover elsewhere. This was one of the main thrusts of the article. The other being that although we’re all anxious about what an unfettered Conservative government will now get up to, rather than despair we should be thankful to God (given that shukr is a synonym of imaan) with what we do have, especially in comparison to other believers who exist out there, and continue working against the tide of anti-Muslim prejudice.

In order to counter the question as to what the problem with Muslim civil liberty groups politically representing the general interests of a faith group is, or whether I have any tangible instances that it doesn’t seem to work, I offered the most recent (hence why I chose it) example of how things have gone wrong when human rights organisations do so: the Emwazi affair. Now the affair wasn’t exactly a secret, the entire country was privy to what happened and the consequences it had, even the Prime Minister had something to say. I, and others, hold that one of the reasons it turned out catastrophically was because political considerations weren’t duly made, and to be fair we wouldn’t expect a human rights organisation to have to. But simultaneously, given that the two realms (general politics and rights advocacy) have variant methods of operating, simply plonking one into the other is never bound to work.

To be frank, the vast majority of readers glossed over it all, the point rather self-evident to them given the entire event. Some readers may have disagreed with some points, something I always welcome. But others just couldn’t get over the fact that I had written the four-letter word: CAGE. In fact there was another four-lettered word, MEND. Now both the devotees of these organisations and their associates saw a simple and tangential mention as an attack, not only by me, the author, but those willing to post it; so in true fascistic style they began a campaign of misinformation, as provocateurs they were blatantly dishonest about what the article was saying (many not even having read it) in order to whip up support against those who ultimately don’t buy into the whole ‘pharaoh vs Moses’ complex for British Muslims. For these agitators we are ‘Quilliamites’, pro-zionists and liberal secularists, with no qualification to speak – we should simply remain quiet.

Beyond the childish school-playground name calling, the fact that most of these agitators have neither qualification in religion nor politics is amusing – but it seems they are a cohort who believe its their right to speak, often in a vile and lowly manner, whilst all others must be silenced. Anyone having engaged with various sects who do nothing but sloganeer, some of which these agitators ascribe to, will have at one time witnessed such behavior.

Whilst I knew that even tangentially referring to events that included sacred cows might provoke irrational hostility in some I held that it would be good to analyse how people respond and what they respond with. Given my intention to work to strengthen the Muslim community as a religious group, both in their relationship with the Most High as well as with those around them, it served as an experiment to see where our weaknesses lie and assess our ability to digest very simple suggestions without being led off course by emotional sentiments. The argument that ‘airing our private laundry in public’ will help the community’s antagonists is incredibly weak, I used an example of things that are public and wasn’t directly commenting on any organisation for there wasn’t any need to. In fact an important consideration that we frequently overlook became apparent: often it is the actions of members and associates of such organisations that actually undermine their reputation.

It would be absurd to deny the valuable work CAGE has done to highlight human rights abuses, a fact that meets consensus across the human rights field. Similarly, MEND have put in a phenomenal amount of effort to galvanise Muslims across the country and raise political awareness, and God says: “We never fail to recompense those who work righteousness.” (Quran 18:30) Not once did I imply contrary to the above, but to rabble-rousers or those who are unable to see beyond the lens of human rights something as long-winded as a mere tangential mention, off the back of an example, for the purpose of a greater point – all somehow avails as a scathing attack.

Amongst Muslims there are some appalling methods of reasoning, such as regarding the saying of one thing automatically negating its opposite (the above being an example), or guilt by nominal association – sometimes even by a mere arbitrary correlation. It is a sad state of affairs where the given approach for activists who claim to work for our benefit adopt the Bush-Blair doctrine: you’re either with us or against us. This mentality is not only destructive but also extremely divisive, ironically the same thing such activists like to accuse those of who simply don’t see things their way. In response to those who might argue that such reactions are understandable as there is a lot of mistrust and suspicion in the community given the rise of antagonistic voices I offer two brief considerations: firstly, a good way to ascertain the position of a person is to look at what they do or say in the context of other things they have done or said previously. This is also the methodology of religious orthodoxy, to read the Quran and sunnah holistically and not to cherry pick a singular verse or hadith as this leads to either extremism or religious laxity. Secondly, if it is mistrust and suspicion that leads such people in their approach then their ability to evaluate things clearly and intelligently has been impeded and perhaps they should withdraw from the entire affair.

For the sake of our faith we must refuse any idea that allows Muslims sacred cows – it is an irrational practice. Allah the Most High intended for man to move beyond his simian nature and become a humble, thinking and civil creature, “We created man in the best of forms, then we returned him lowest of the low.” (Quran 95:5-6) al Tabari opined that a return to the ‘lowest of the low’ was the state of losing the intellect (due to age), and al Qurtubi put it to being an arrogant disbeliever.

Secondly, and I must reiterate that my initial article wasn’t about this specific issue, but in the course of the rabble-rousing it cropped up along with others: where any person or organisation opts to publicly speak in anyone’s name or faith then those who have been represented reserve the right, of course courteously, to voice reservations, especially where the former might pay no heed in private. Whereas one group might feel what they do (in a way that affects others) is great, if others feel it is actually harming them, their future or that of their children then they have a right to voice concern and to demand their silence or secret counsel is not only absurd, it is also offensive.

For all of the talk about Quilliam, among the reasons they adopted contentious and antagonistic approaches to dealing with the Muslim community wasn’t simply down to Usama’s view on human evolution and secularism or Majid’s muscular liberalism – yes there is no doubt many of their views oppose mainstream religious positions (I also accept that there are some complex discussions that need to take place that must not and cannot be simplified) – but also the way in which rabble-rousers and the adherents of the sects they were previously members of dealt with them. For those who see their organisation as a misfortune on the Muslim community, clearly “whatever misfortune befalls you is a consequence of what your own hands have wrought.” (Quran 42:30)

Given that Ramadan is around the corner, a time of imsak (refrain) and reflection, let us remember that Allah cares little for the hysterias on social media or the trivial opinions of men. The ultimate truth is that everything that we do, think, or reason – even to ourselves – shall be called to account, and death is imminent. Given it to be the month of the Quran, it behooves us all to read and then reflect on how Quranic we are.

Anti-Islam protesters to stage 'Draw Muhammad' contest at Phoenix mosque

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 May, 2015 - 15:34

President of mosque says ‘They’re not looking for an intellectual conversation’ as organizers encourage people to bring guns despite claims of ‘peaceful’ protest

Anti-Islam protesters have planned a “Draw Muhammad” rally outside an Arizona mosque once attended by the gunmen responsible for the attack on a similar event in Texas earlier this month.

The event is timed to coincide with the Friday night communal prayer, jummah, at the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix. Rally participants are encouraged to bring guns to the event, despite the organizer’s claim that it is a “peaceful” protest.

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Dubrovnik summer festival to go ahead with Michel Houellebecq play

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 May, 2015 - 14:11

Croatian festival reverses decision to cancel Les Particules Elementaires after police expressed concerns because of French author’s critical views of Islam

The Dubrovnik summer festival will go ahead and stage a play by French author Michel Houellebecq, reversing a decision to cancel it after police voiced concerns for security because he has stirred controversy over his critical views of Islam.

“The festival’s council has confirmed this year’s programme, which will include the play Les Particules Elementaires,” the culture ministry said in an emailed statement on Friday.

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Andy Burnham: an uninspiring, Tory-lite shop-minder

Indigo Jo Blogs - 29 May, 2015 - 13:28

Picture of Rachel Reeves and Andy BurnhamLabour warning by Andy Burnham - You will not win if workshy have an ‘easy ride’ | Western Daily Press

Last week I got a letter printed in the New Statesman, in response to their leader column which, without naming names (although elsewhere in the edition, the criticism was levelled at Len McCluskey, the general secretary of the Unite union), claimed that some on the left preferred futile opposition to power. I responded that people who believe in social justice will not campaign enthusiastically for someone who promises to do no more than mind the shop for the Tories and take the edge off one or two of their worst policies. It would be hard to get people out to vote for such a man either, and Labour risk losing more of their core vote to nationalist parties (right now, UKIP, but who knows what parties will be on the scene by 2020). Andy Burnham, the front-runner for the Labour leadership, exposed himself as another shop-minder in a speech to ‘workers’ at Ernst and Young in London reported in the Western Daily Press today (also on the BBC website): that “Labour cannot win the next election while voters believe it gives the workshy an ‘easy ride’”, that “society’s wealth-creators must be valued as highly as NHS staff” and that Labour mismanaged the economy before the credit crunch, allowing a significant deficit to grow.

The website quotes his speech:

The painful truth is this: though we pride ourselves on being the party of the many, we only had answers for too few. Our appeal was too narrow.

Politicians make a terrible mistake when they try to compartmentalise the voters and speak only to the hope and dreams of some in certain parts of the country.

Aspiration is not the preserve of those who shop at John Lewis. Aspiration is universal; it is felt by Asda and Aldi shoppers too.

Since when was your social class or aspiration dictated by what shop you buy your food from? John Lewis is a chain of department stores, and they happen to be the biggest or only one in some town centres, while being absent from others. Some people shop for food at Waitrose because it’s just nearest, or in some way most convenient. There are Tescos, Morrisons’, Aldis and Asdas in affluent areas and while Waitrose (the food arm of John Lewis) does stock some more upmarket items, their commodity food items cost about the same as in other supermarkets.

I have never believed in levelling down, denigrating success or the politics of envy.

What are the so-called politics of envy? It seems that this accusation is levelled any time it is pointed out that the rich have too much power, or that positions of influence (e.g. in the media) are full of people born with silver spoons in their mouths, or that there is insufficient opportunity for people from less privileged backgrounds to get into a prestigious university or a professional job, or that a small number of very wealthy people are crowding everyone out of whole cities, with politicians’ help. None of this has to do with envying anyone’s wealth or lifestyle. It’s about wanting to get on in life and wanting barriers removed.

The “politics of envy” is a long-standing trick used by the rich and powerful to knock back challenges to their position, as articulated by the American diplomat George Kennan in a famous 1948 memo (emphasis mine):

Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives.

… We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and—for the Far East—unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.

Remember this next time you hear a wealthy man say that the rich are not rich because the poor are poor, as Donald Trump did recently.

Back to Andy Burnham:

“Nor have I believed that people should be handed everything on a plate.

“It worries me that, in some people’s eyes, Labour has become associated with giving people who don’t want to help themselves an easy ride. That must change before we can win again.”

“Some people” meaning “people who believe what the Sun and the Daily Mail tell them. Labour used to be the party of the industrial working class, but since the industries were destroyed and Labour did nothing to rebuild them, the people left on the scrap-heap with nowhere to go have to be supported somehow, if they won’t be employed. Labour, when in office, did not “hand everything on a plate” to anyone; people did not get benefits for unemployment, for example, unless they proved they were looking for work. The system did not change from when John Major was in office, and he introduced the scheme for precisely this reason.

Mr Burnham will say Labour did not talk enough about the importance of businesses that create jobs and wealth.

“We didn’t celebrate the spirit of enterprise,” he will say. “Far too rarely over the last few years has Labour spoken up in praise of the everyday heroes of our society. The small businessman or woman; the sole trader; the innovator, the inventor, the entrepreneur. The small businesses that become big businesses.

Is there a culture of denigrating inventors or entrepreneurs? By and large, genuine inventors like Trevor Bayliss are celebrated, although so much advancement in technology is nowadays done by groups. Small businesses are not particularly valuable or convenient to either party; the Tories favour big businesses who can make large donations to their coffers and use economies of scale to drive down costs of public projects, while the left like large workforces that they can unionise, call out on strike, and fund the Labour party with. Small businesses are more likely to have a more personal connection to their workforce, and sometimes pay less but make up the difference in goodwill and in-kind benefits, when they can. This looks like inefficiency to a capitalist, and is equally anathema to anyone who advocates class struggle.

So, Labour should really spell out what they plan to offer small business owners rather than just mouth platitudes about the “spirit of enterprise” and “society’s wealth creators” in a speech to “senior business figures”. Their needs are often diametrically opposed, as they enjoy fewer tax breaks, fewer economies of scale, less publicity and cannot call in favours as large businesses can. And too much of the growth in ‘self-employment’ over the past five years masks people doing jobs at less than minimum wage rather than genuine entrepreneurship. It doesn’t offer the possibility of expansion.

“The people with the creative spark to think of a new idea and the get-up-and-go to make it work. Who often have to fight against the odds to succeed, but put in the hours, the sweat and the hard graft to do it.

“So I want this message to go out loud and clear today: in a Labour Party I lead, they will be as much our heroes as the nurse or the teacher.”

Does Burnham plan to even think of the worker who does not have the time or money to indulge their “creative spark”, who even if they had a good idea to offer their employers, would be dismissed as a low-level nobdoy with ideas above their station? How does he plan to improve wages, job security and working conditions for them? The genuine entrepreneurs (which a lot of large business owners are not) are certainly a group of people that Labour could prise away from the Tories, but it must not be at the cost of neglecting the people Labour was set up to represent, and whom they can no longer take for granted.

Perhaps you could call some business owners heroes, but they are the ones that provide good jobs with prospects and who contribute to their local communities, who don’t pollute the environment more than is absolutely necessary and do not look for any excuses to get out of paying back the state that educated them and their workers, treated them when sick, takes away their rubbish and paved the roads their goods are transported on. Quite a numnber of them are villains who do the exact opposite of all of these, and to say so is not to be “anti-business” and is not a sign of envy or resentment. And as for their value vis-a-vis teachers or NHS staff, some of us don’t regard the latter as heroes unless they actually do something heroic that is beyond the call of duty. Just doing your job does not make you a hero, any more than being a businessman or an employer. And much as business gets out of paying a lot of tax and can ruin the economy with sub-prime lending and other irresponsible behaviour and get away with it, so are teachers and NHS staff, as well as private and public healthcare management, not held accountable when their behaviour costs lives or causes unnecessary suffering (Nico Reed, Connor Sparrowhawk, Kane Gorny, Stephanie Bincliffe … the list goes on and on and it takes years to get anything resembling justice, if it ever happens).

And Burnham gave this speech at Ernst and Young of all places — a major finance company, to workers who are able to price those nurses and teachers, not to mention the cleaners and bus drivers, out of living in the neighbourhoods they grew up in or near where they work. A huge insult to all the struggling people in this country. Burnham is not an inspiring new Labour leader as Blair appeared to be in 1997; he offers the timid conservatism of the New Labour era without the few sparks of radicalism. He is a time-serving mediocrity and typical of the shop-minders the right wing of Labour produces. He is regurgitating Tory platitudes and straw-man arguments and making no attempt to challenge them. Surely someone must realise that serving up the Blair formula again will not work, given that its moment will have been 23 years gone by the time of the next election? Why on earth should anyone who believes in social justice expend money and effort campaigning for a party that dismisses it as the politics of envy?

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Closing Doors to Open More | Ibn al-Qayyim

Muslim Matters - 29 May, 2015 - 12:26

Translated by Muhammad Elshinawy

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

 وَعَسَىٰ أَن تَكْرَ‌هُوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ‌ لَّكُمْ ۖ وَعَسَىٰ أَن تُحِبُّوا شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ‌ لَّكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not. [Surat al-Baqarah: 216]

The great imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah bestow mercy upon him) said,

“You should busy yourself doing what has been demanded of you, not what has been guaranteed for you. Provision and

are two matters that are destined and finalized; so long as the time of death does not arrived, the provision will continue to come.

And if Allah closes one of its paths for a wisdom which He alone knows, He will – out of His mercy – open another path for you which is even more beneficial.

Ponder the state of the embryo, how it is fed from the blood of the mother through one path; the umbilical cord. Once it is born and that path is closed, two other paths – the breasts – are opened for him through which nourishment is now provided, except that it's more delicious than what he used to receive from the first path. Thereafter, these two paths are closed upon weaning the child, but four paths of nourishment replace them which are more perfect for the human being; two food (animal and vegetation) and two drink (water and milk). Eventually, these four paths are also closed by a person dying. However, Allah will open – if he is an inhabitant of Paradise – eight paths in their stead; the eight gates of Paradise, to enter from whichever of them he pleases.

In this fashion, Allah does not prevent His slave from attaining any worldly matter, except to give him something better and more beneficial than it. No one enjoys this privilege except the believer; Allah deprives him of acquiring the lower in order to grant him the higher. But due to man's ignorance of what is actually good for him, and the wisdom, generosity, and kindness of his Creator, he isn't able to differentiate between what he has been prevented from and what has been preserved for him. On the contrary, he is deeply attracted to the immediate things, even if they may be inferior, and hardly yearns for what has been deferred for him, even if they are superior.

If man were just with his Creator – he is not so – he would realize the favor of Allah on him via the worldly enjoyment that He deprived him of, and it being far greater than what He gave him of its enjoyment. Indeed, He only deprived him in order to give him, and He only afflicted him in order to heal him, and He only tested him to strengthen his bond with his Creator, and He only put him to death in order to elevate him, and He only removed him from this worldly life in order to meet Him.”[1]



[1] Taken from [al-FawâEid], by Ibn al-Qayyim, with adaption

The post Closing Doors to Open More | Ibn al-Qayyim appeared first on

South-east Asia migrant crisis: numbers are now 'alarming', talks told

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 May, 2015 - 07:19

Thailand’s foreign affairs minister, Thanasak Patimaprakorn, tells meeting of 17 countries that Burma must reconsider its treatment of Rohingya

The surge of migrants in south-east Asia has reached an “alarming level”, said Thailand’s foreign affairs minister on Friday.

He has called for regional governments to address the root causes of the crisis – a reference to the swelling number of refugees who have fled persecution in Burma.

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Fury after primary pupils are asked to complete radicalisation-seeking surveys

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 May, 2015 - 22:49

Parents complain after London council circulates questionnaire among year 6 pupils in schools with large Muslim intakes

Parents of children as young as nine have reacted angrily after schools in an east London borough asked pupils to complete surveys designed to provide clues to possible radicalisation. Waltham Forest council has been piloting the scheme in five primary schools with large Muslim intakes. The questionnaire, circulated among year 6 pupils, asks how much they trust the police and people from another race or religion.

They are also asked whether they agree that it is acceptable to marry someone from outside their race or religion and whether women are just as good as men at work. Another question asks if the pupils believe their religion is the only correct one. About 22% of the population in Waltham Forest, one of the most deprived local authorities in England, are Muslim.

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Former Guantánamo detainees plan joint wedding ceremony in Uruguay

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 May, 2015 - 22:41

Adel bin Muhammad El Ouerghi and Abdelhadi Faraj, who were released in December, will marry two Uruguayan women who have converted to Islam

Two former Guantánamo Bay detainees are planning to tie the knot with women from their adopted home of Uruguay.

Imam Samir Selim told the Associated Press that he would officiate at the ceremony for both men 6 June at the Egyptian Islamic Center in Montevideo.

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With Courage and Anguish, A Gaza Athlete Speaks Out

His name is Iyad Abu Gharqoud; he is a soccer player and a resident of Gaza, and he speaks to us directly from The New York Times today, allowing us to hear his anguish— as well as his courage—in telling his own experience of Israeli oppression. This is a rare occurrence in the newspaper of record, and we should savor the moment.

It is true that Abu Gharqoud’s op-ed piece “FIFA Should Give Israel the Red Card,” appears in print only in the international edition, but it is also to be found online, with a reasonably prominent position on the World page. The essay, calling on FIFA to suspend Israel for its treatment of Palestinians, is notable for its ring of genuine feeling: his love of soccer, his grief at the suffering he has endured and witnessed and his fear of Israeli reprisals for this moment of speaking out.

The young athlete writes to us from Bureij, a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, where his family has lived since they were driven from their home near Beersheba in 1948. He has found “great joy” in playing soccer, but as a professional he has come up against the fact that Palestinians under occupation live “at the whim of Israeli officials.”

His teams, Hilal al Quds and the Palestinian national team, are often held up at check points or prevented from traveling altogether; players, coaches and referees are denied travel rights, harassed and imprisoned; and two athletes were permanently maimed last year when Israeli border police shot them in their feet.

Abu Gharqoud writes of the special agony of Gaza, where Israel bombed soccer fields and recreation areas last summer, where four boys died under Israeli shells as they played soccer on a sandy beach and where Israeli missile fire killed eight soccer fans as they watched a televised World Cup game.

When he calls for FIFA to suspend Israel, his plea has the force of a moral argument. “I have been stopped at too many checkpoints, held for too many hours and suffered too long on account of my Palestinian nationality to be silent at this crucial moment,” he writes.

Here it becomes clear that he is taking a serious risk by speaking out. He goes on: “I have dedicated much of my life to excelling at the sport I love, but there are more important things in life than success on the soccer pitch.” In other words, he knows that Israel could choose to ruin his career for what he has told the world.

This is an antidote to the usual Times reports on Palestine/Israel, where we find official commentary taking the place of on-the-ground reality. Abu Gharqoud speaks with an authentic voice, and he gives us one small piece of the crushing Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Although he writes of soccer, he links its struggle under Israeli rule to the larger picture of occupation, to the “subjugation of the Palestinian people.” Two states or one, he writes, is not important. “Equality is.”

The article should point us to Israel’s repressive policies beyond the game of soccer. We could substitute almost any other endeavor in its place and find similar stories: in education, for instance, where schools are attacked with tear gas and students detained on the way to exams, in agriculture, where crops are destroyed and market produce left to rot at checkpoints.

In this piece, the Times has lifted the curtain to give us a brief view of the crushing effect of the Israeli occupation. Readers would benefit from more of this, but past experience warns that we should not expect a repeat any time soon.

Barbara Erickson

Filed under: Palestinian soccer Tagged: FIFA, Gaza, Israel, New York Times, occupation, Palestine


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