Loon Watch

Subscribe to Loon Watch feed
The Mooslims, they're heeere!
Updated: 5 hours 10 min ago

Malik Jalal: What It Feels Like To Be Hunted By Drones

29 April, 2016 - 19:44

Pakistanis protest Hillary Clinton's visit, demanding an explanation for illegal drone attacks

Pakistanis protest Hillary Clinton’s visit, demanding an explanation for illegal drone attacks

via. The Independent

I am in the strange position of knowing that I am on the ‘Kill List’. I know this because I have been told, and I know because I have been targeted for death over and over again. Four times missiles have been fired at me. I am extraordinarily fortunate to be alive.

I don’t want to end up a “Bugsplat” – the ugly word that is used for what remains of a human being after being blown up by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone. More importantly, I don’t want my family to become victims, or even to live with the droning engines overhead, knowing that at any moment they could be vaporized.

I am in England this week because I decided that if Westerners wanted to kill me without bothering to come to speak with me first, perhaps I should come to speak to them instead. I’ll tell my story so that you can judge for yourselves whether I am the kind of person you want to be murdered.

I am from Waziristan, the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. I am one of the leaders of the North Waziristan Peace Committee (NWPC), which is a body of local Maliks (or community leaders) that is devoted to trying to keep the peace in our region. We are sanctioned by the Pakistan government, and our main mission is to try to prevent violence between the local Taliban and the authorities.

In January 2010, I lent my vehicle to my nephew, Salimullah, to drive to Deegan for an oil change and to have one of the tires checked. Rumours had surfaced that drones were targeting particular vehicles, and tracking particular phone signals. The sky was clear and there were drones circling overhead.

As Salimullah conversed with the mechanic, a second vehicle pulled up next to mine. There were four men inside, just local chromite miners. A missile destroyed both vehicles, killed all four men, and seriously injured Salimullah, who spent the next 31 days in hospital.

Upon reflection, because the drones target the vehicles of people they want to kill in Waziristan, I was worried that they were aiming for me.

Continue reading…

The Intercept: FBI Uses “Honeypot” To Ensnare Michigan Man

29 April, 2016 - 19:16

khalil-abu-rayyan-twitter

(h/t:JD)

via. The Intercept

KHALIL ABU RAYYAN was a lonely young man in Detroit, eager to find a wife. Jannah Bride claimed she was a 19-year-old Sunni Muslim whose husband was killed in an airstrike in Syria. The two struck up a romantic connection through online communications.

Now, Rayyan, a 21-year-old Michigan man, is accused by federal prosecutors of supporting the Islamic State.

Documents released Tuesday show, however, that Rayyan was motivated not by religious radicalism but by the desire to impress Bride, who said she wanted to be a martyr.

Jannah Bride, not a real name, was in fact an FBI informant hired to communicate with Rayyan, who first came to the FBI’s attention when he retweeted a video from the Islamic State of people being thrown from buildings. He wrote later on Twitter: “Thanks, brother, that made my day.”

Rayyan, who had previously been arrested for having marijuana, is now charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and making a false statement to acquire a firearm.

Although Rayyan is not charged with terrorism, the FBI and federal prosecutors have treated his case as a national security concern, making numerous references in court filings and at a detention hearing to statements Rayyan made about the Islamic State and his supposed aspirations for violence.

Rayyan has pleaded not guilty to the federal gun charges, and his lawyers have asked the court to force the government to turn over all remaining communications between Rayyan and the FBI informant.

According to transcripts of conversations between Rayyan and the informant — which were made public for the first time this week — Rayyan had fallen in love with Bride and had even proposed marriage.

The transcripts show that the FBI informant initiated conversations about violence on several occasions, and when she did, Rayyan would tell her that he didn’t want to hurt anyone. In an online conversation on December 26, 2015, the informant asked Rayyan, using the Arabic word meaning this earthly life, “What do you want from this Dunya?”

“Honestly to get married,” he responded. “I think if I get married I will be happy. I’m just lonely sometimes. I want to start a family.”

Continue reading…

Electronic Intifada: “Death to Arabs” Protest In Tel Aviv

22 April, 2016 - 18:01

Death_to_Arabs_Tel_Aviv

via. Electronic Intifada

In Tel Aviv’s Yitzhak Rabin Square on Tuesday evening, thousands of Israelis rallied in support of Elor Azarya, the soldier filmed executing a gravely wounded Palestinian last month.

Rally-goers shouted anti-Arab slogans and attacked persons perceived as being leftists or journalists.

Hours earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a call for leniency for the soldier.

Times of Israel reporter Judah Ari Gross tweeted that an activist from B’Tselem, the human rights group that released the video of Azarya shooting and killing Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, had to be escorted out of Rabin Square by police in order to “protect his life.”

Continue reading…

Chicago: Man Asks Cabbie If He Is Muslim Before Attacking Him

22 April, 2016 - 17:42

John_Alletto_Cab_Driver_Hate_Crime

A cab driver was attacked in Chicago by a pedestrian in what has been deemed a hate crime. The lawyer is using the mental health defense and the fact that his client was intoxicated as an excuse to say his behavior was an “anomaly.”

via. DNA Info

A suburban man is charged with a hate crime after he walked up to a Chicago cab driver, asked him if he was Muslim and then beat him when he responded “yes,” prosecutors said.

The driver was stopped at a red light near Division and Larrabee streets about 3 a.m. Feb. 21 when 37-year-old John Alletto walked up, opened the driver’s door “and asked if he was Muslim,” prosecutors said.

The 42-year-old driver replied, “yes,” and Alletto began to punch the man in his head, neck and body, Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said during a bond hearing Wednesday.

At that point, the driver’s passenger got out of the cab, prosecutors said.

When a witness approached, Alletto yelled out that the driver was Muslim, according to Scaduto. The witness said it was racist to attack a Muslim and called Alletto “a racist,” Scaduto said.

Alletto then turned toward the witness, and the two began to fight, according to prosecutors.

Continue Reading

Peter Zieve: Anti-Mosque Crusader, Shocked By Negative Reaction To His Campaign

21 April, 2016 - 19:44

rejected red square stamp

Peter Zieve, sought to link a local mosque that was going to built to radicalization and terrorism. In what turned out to be a feel good story, the community responded negatively to his attempts.

via. BizJournals.com

Peter Zieve, president of Mukilteo-based Electroimpact, said he is throwing in the towel on his campaign to raise concerns about the mosque and what he says is a link between having a mosque in a community and breeding Islamic radicalization.

“Apparently I have no privacy, and I have no freedom of thought,” Zieve said Wednesday afternoon.

The negative response that he got via email and in local newspapers “just completely overwhelmed me,” he said. “I didn’t anticipate it.”

Zieve sent a bulk mailing of unsigned postcards to residents of Mukilteo, a city of 21,000 about 45 minutes north of Seattle, telling them that a mosque is planned for their town. He didn’t put his name on the postcards, but he confirmed to the Puget Sound Business Journal last week that he was the person behind them.

Continue Reading…

Bottles Of Alcohol Thrown At Mosque Windows As People Pray Inside

21 April, 2016 - 19:30

Totteridge Mosque

via. BuckFreePress

A mosque in High Wycombe has been targeted in a “racist hate attack”, with bottles of alcohol being thrown at the building in an attempt to smash the windows while people prayed inside.

Community leaders have now condemned last week’s attack on Totteridge Mosque which they say poses a “serious threat to a cohesive and diverse society”.

A “youth” was spotted throwing the bottles against a window at the back of the mosque, in Totteridge Road, at about 10.50pm last Wednesday, before driving off quickly in a car.

Continue reading…

Teju Cole: Charlie Hebdo Finally Steps Away from the Mask

8 April, 2016 - 16:04

Author Teju Cole

Author Teju Cole

 

In July of last year, the editor of Charlie Hebdo told Entertainment Weekly the French paper would no longer draw Muhammad-themed cartoons.

Critics decried the decision, accusing editors of caving in into “radical Islamists” in the wake of the murderous attacks on their offices the preceding January. The paper insisted they had done their job in defending the “right to caricature” and questioned why  they were, “expected to exercise a freedom of expression that no one dares to.”

Now it seems they were neither caving in nor moving on, but rather dropping the mask of “satire” alltogether. Painting all Muslims with a broad brush, they ditched their longstanding ruse in favor of a straighforward assault, launched in an article entitled, How did we end up here?

Below is an excellent analysis by Nigerian-American writer, photographer, and art historian, Teju Cole, cross posted from Facebook:

Teju Cole: Charlie Hebdo Finally Steps Away from the Mask

H/T: Yousef

Charlie Hebdo was given last year’s PEN/James and Toni C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award, despite the objections of hundreds of members of PEN. Now, the people of Charlie—who in my view were simultaneously the victims of a terrifying, unspeakable crime, and the producers of an antic and gross publication (nothing wrong with that) that was at the same time deeply prejudiced—finally step away from the mask of “it’s satire and you don’t get it” to state clearly that Muslims, all of them, no matter how integrated, are the enemy.

Historical analogy can be tiresome and too easy, but sometimes it’s the sharpest thinking tool around. Reading this extraordinary editorial by Charlie, it’s hard not to recall the vicious development of “the Jewish question” in Europe and the horrifying persecution it resulted in. Charlie’s logic is frighteningly similar: that there are no innocent Muslims, that “something must be done” about these people, regardless of their likeability, their peacefulness, or their personal repudiation of violence. Such categorization of an entire community as an insidious poison is a move we have seen before.

Read the piece yourself—don’t just react. Read the piece and think through who you wish to be in relation to the kinds of arguments it presents. If I hadn’t carefully scrutinized the url (and thus confirmed that it really is legit), I’d have thought someone was doing a cruel parody of laïcité. The fact that the essay itself is written in English also indicates very clearly that Charlie is aware of its global audience now, of the bigotry that is increasingly popular here in the US, disguised and undisguised.

Meanwhile, you might remember that SOS Racisme, a French “anti-racist” organization, was brought to New York last year to defend Charlie from accusations of racism. One of the founders of SOS Racisme was Laurence Rossignol, the current French minister for women’s rights. This same Rossignol said last week that women who wear the hijab are like the “nègres américains” (American negroes/ American niggers) who accepted slavery.

So, SOS Racisme gets on stage and, on behalf of PEN, gives an award to Charlie Hebdo, and everybody applauds and congratulates themselves for their fine understanding of satire. The same Charlie, in this new editorial, writes: “From the bakery that forbids you to eat what you like, to the woman who forbids you to admit that you are troubled by her veil, we are submerged in guilt for permitting ourselves such thoughts.”

What thoughts? The wish to discriminate freely against Muslims without having to be called out on it. The freedom to draw everyone who is Muslim, or comes from a Muslim family, or is connected to North Africa, or “looks” Arab, into one big universal blood guilt that makes them literally responsible for the horrors perpetrated by a few maniacs. The desire to have this hatefulness lauded as courage.

This is precisely the logic also of the masses who praise Trump for his “honesty”—as though only ugliness could be honest, as though moral incontinence were any more noble than physical incontinence. But when someone sh*ts their pants in a public gathering, we do not immediately congratulate them on their freedom, on their honesty.

I don’t enjoy writing about this—and I certainly didn’t enjoy the endless insults I inevitably receive for daring to even write about it. But the situation is f*cking absurd. It is deeply consequential for Muslim people in France, in Europe, and everywhere where they are minorities. It is consequential for their safety, for their daily lives, for their well-being in the countries they call home. I’m more convinced than ever that PEN, a fine organization whose fierce advocacy of persecuted writers I’m proud to continue to support, in this case got it very, very wrong.

Read the original Facebook post here.

Asra Nomani Testifies Before Congress, Says Hijab Can Lead To Terror

7 April, 2016 - 23:41

congress_hearing_women_terrorism

Alternet’s Grayzone project on Islamophobia has an excellent article by Maha Hilal on how the recent congressional panel on “women and terrorism puts women in the War on Terror’s crosshairs. It is a must read.

Islamophobia-enabler Asra Nomani was among those testifying at the hearings. Nomani, was there to put forward the discredited argument that increased outward religiosity, in the sense of starting to wear hijab is a sign of a trajectory toward terrorism and a potential threat indicator.

via. Alternet, Grayzone Project

 

Next, Asra Nomani, a Muslim, provided personal anecdotes of her own family’s path to radicalization. She spoke about book after book that documented Muslim women victimized by the brutal patriarchal culture of the Islamic world, using the hijab, or headscarf, as a specific token through which their oppression is made visible. Nomani then constructed a scenario in which hijab serves as a warning sign of terrorist intentions.

“On the conveyor belt of ideas, what you end up with is Libya, ISIS putting up billboards telling you how thick it has to be,” said Nomani. “You end up with women beating women who do not comply with these regulations, you end up with mandatory laws that require that women live with this partition. Because hijab does not mean headscarf, it means separation.”

“It’s a very dangerous trajectory,” Nomani continued, “and it’s one in which we hear disturbing comments in which mothers in the Islamic state are forcing some of these sex slaves to have abortions so that their sons can continue to have sex with these sex slaves.

According to Nomani, putting on a headscarf can set women on a path that eventually leads to martyrdom. “It is a virtue then to kill,” she declared. “For all the reasons that have come before us on the conveyor belt, a woman is virtuous if she then becomes a shaheed, or a martyr.”

Continue reading…

French Minister Compares Muslim Women Who Wear Hijab To “Slaves”

2 April, 2016 - 22:59

Laurence Rossignol

Oh, I wonder why Muslims feel alienated in France? France, continues to astound with outdoing its own racism and hate, especially of its Arab and Muslim populations.

By the way this is their minister for women’s rights.:

via. AlJazeera English

France’s minister for women’s rights has compared Muslim women who wear the veil to American “Negroes” who accepted slavery, in an interview with French media.

Laurence Rossignol made the comments to RMC radio and BFM TV, igniting accusations of racism on Wednesday across social media as a petition was launchedcalling on the minister to resign.

In just a few hours, the petition gathered more than 10,000 signatures.

Rossignol was a guest on a programme to discuss the Islamic fashion industry. She later said the use of the word Negro had been made in error, but stopped short of retracting the remark.

Many on social media pointed out that Rossignol previously founded an anti-racist coalition, SOS Racisme.

France has the largest Muslim minority in Europe and some of the continent’s most restrictive laws about expressions of faith in public. The veil was banned in 2011.

Elsewhere in the interview, the minister reportedly criticised those who made fashion items such as the so-called burqini, a modest swimsuit covering the head, arms and legs, as “irresponsible”.

Today, according to the  2015-2016 State of the Global Islamic Economy Report,Muslim consumers spend an estimated $230bn on clothing, a number that is projected to grow to  $327bn by 2019 – larger than the current combined clothing markets of the UK ($107bn), Germany ($99bn), and India ($96bn).

Earlier this year, the Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana unveiled a new abaya and hijab collection aimed at Muslim women.

Continue reading

Terror isn’t just ‘mad,’ ‘irrational’ and ‘inhuman’

1 April, 2016 - 22:11

Women comfort each other during a tribute to the victims of the Brussels terror attacks | Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty

Via. Politico, By  

Terror and death have struck in Europe once again, this time at the heart of European Union with a doubly strategic message. Brussels is home to the Continent’s core institutions and the attacks at the airport and the subway station neighboring the EU quarter sent a clear message. The target is political, and no one, no matter who they be, or where they are, will ever feel entirely safe again.

Condemnation of the attacks in Brussels, as in Paris, Istanbul, Damascus, Baghdad, Bassam or Ouagadougou, has to be firm, absolute, and without exceptions, half-measures or attempts to distinguish between victims. Clarity is essential here, as it is in the terminology we use and the solutions we propose. But before we can formulate a response, we must face the problem head on and try to understand its origins (this in no way means justifying acts of terrorism, whatever George W. Bush may have said, and what Manuel Valls says today).

It is imperative that we untangle the reasons behind this hard swerve toward violent extremism — because it is not just “mad,” “irrational” and “inhuman.” These words only serve to confuse our vocabulary, and offer no political clarification on the elements of the equation. They add blindness to an emotional reaction already stoked by fear. What we need today is reason and measured conversation — we have to be tough, yes, but above all, reasonable.

* * *

How do we explain this violent extremism? Why today? Why in places of symbolic meaning on every continent?

The first reason is political. We cannot, today, afford to disconnect these events with the violence, terror and death that have long been commonplace in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, and in Africa and Asia more widely. European and American foreign policy does not happen in a vacuum, as those who target us have repeated in countless videos: You have caused war and death in our countries, now you will suffer the consequences.

Is it right to declare war when our citizens are killed but to consider ourselves at peace when we kill the citizens of others, somewhere over there, far away?

While nothing can justify terrorist attacks, we must hear those who criticize the incoherence of our allegiances and our support of dictatorships. Does the condemnable violence of their reaction mean we can ignore their arguments? Is it right to declare war when our citizens are killed but to consider ourselves at peace when we kill the citizens of countries far away?

The second reason has been half-expressed in various statements put out by the commanders behind these terror operations. It is about provoking fractures in Western societies between Muslims and other citizens in the West. It is about making Muslims feel that they will never be welcome in our societies. Their goal is to use Muslims to feed our fear of Islam; for us to associate them with danger and violence.

To spread insecurity and social instability along religious fault lines at the heart of the West is one of the explicit aims of these kinds of attacks. Commanders prey on frustrated youth (educated or not) and manipulate them psychologically and intellectually (on the Internet or in places often far from the mosque). They sell tales of glory and of vengeance against mankind and the wrongs of history. Religion is evoked to construct, justify and lend legitimacy to violence.

The goal of the violent extremists is to use Muslims to feed our fear of Islam; for us to associate them with danger and violence.

This is not, in fact, a process of “religious radicalization” because the majority of young people who join these networks often only have a few months of experience with religious practice. The shift is sudden, not a progressive evolution from religious belief to violence and terror. Some are still involved in petty crime, alcohol, drugs, and nightlife when they organize attacks.

Jihadi recruiters use religion as a political tool and to defeat them we must respond in kind – with solid and rigorous religious arguments. But we should not mistake our target: Religion is a disguise that hides political aspirations, lust for power and divisions that are cynical, Machiavellian and often inhuman. (Drug use among jihadi militants during attacks is widespread, revealing their somewhat relative adherence to beliefs of how to attain paradise and salvation).

* * *

A woman cries near Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, the day after a deadly attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France.

A woman cries near Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, the day after a deadly attack on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France | Antoine Antoniol/Getty Images

How do we respond to a situation that is so complex, whose causes are so diverse, and whose consequence is the spread of a strain of violence that can strike anywhere, in multiple forms? Knowing that groups like Boko Haram, Daesh and ISIL want to instill fear and deepen divisions on an international level, we must guard against trying to outbid them with over-emotional responses and a line of thinking that paints the solution solely as an issue of war and security. Instead of defining an “us” and a “them” that distinguishes between Europeans and Muslims, we have to say “us,” together, and with conviction. I said the same thing 15 years ago, when I launched the “manifesto for a new ‘we.’”

We urgently need to establish partnerships based on respect, trust and critical debate between political institutions, social organizations and citizens (including Muslims and their diversity of religious representatives — not only those arbitrarily chosen to represent Muslims by the political authorities).

To continue to deny that there is no connection between our politics (or our absence of clear politics) in Syria, Libya, Iraq and even in Palestine, and terrorist attacks targeting Europe proves our alarming ignorance.

We must stay humble while remaining determined to combat violent extremism by grappling with its causes as much as with its concrete expression. In Europe, we can start by avoiding criticism of neighboring countries and the failures of their intelligence services — as we heard in Britain regarding France, and in France about Belgium. No one is in a position to impart lessons to others — and besides, it is an attitude that is not conducive to effective cooperation. Nor do alarmist comments that reduce a deeply complex situation to a war of civilizations (“they want to attack our liberties”) or a problem of failed integration (“these young Muslim terrorists haven’t understood or assimilated the principles of democracy”) help in any way. These are false, and dangerous, conclusions to draw.

Continue reading …

Muslim Woman Slashed In The Face By White Male, Called “Terrorist”

1 April, 2016 - 06:39

Muslim_Woman_Slashed_New_York

Is this going to be the new normal in Trump’s America? Oh, and the police are not investigating this as a hate crime.

via. NYDailyNews

A Muslim woman walking down a Manhattan street during Thursday’s rush hour was slashed in the face by a man who called her a “terrorist,” police said.

The 20-year-old woman, a student at the private postsecondary school Make-up Designory, was taken to Bellevue Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, police said. The attack left a two-inch laceration on the left side of her face, police toldCBS New York.

Police sources describe him as a white man wearing a black hat and a black jacket. He came up behind her, slashed a roughly two-inch gouge into her cheek, and ran off, police sources said.

Continue reading…

In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA

31 March, 2016 - 23:16

la-g-na-cia-pentagon-isis-20160324

Do we ever get tired of “unintended conflict?”

via. LA Times

Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter five-year-old civil war.

The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.

In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east.

“Any faction that attacks us, regardless from where it gets its support, we will fight it,” Maj. Fares Bayoush, a leader of Fursan al Haq, said in an interview.

Rebel fighters described similar clashes in the town of Azaz, a key transit point for fighters and supplies between Aleppo and the Turkish border, and on March 3 in the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsud.

Continue reading…

Aqeedah, Allies and the Age of Islamophobia

31 March, 2016 - 22:58

diverse_protesters_Gays_Muslims

Part five of a six part series. See parts: I, II, III and IV.

Guest Post By Umar Lee

The Aqeedah (creed) of the Muslim is very near and dear to the believer.  Indeed it separates Islam from kufr (disbelief). Every Muslim is a takfiri in some sense of the word, for example no Muslim believes you can pray to a head of lettuce and refer to that as Islam.

Within Islam there are disagreements between scholars and different traditions and schools of Aqeedah and jurisprudence.  I studied Aqeedah with some of the best teachers America has seen. I will never claim to be the best Muslim or even a good Muslim. I’m very much a struggling Muslim and I always have been.  However, one thing I’ve always taken serious is my Aqeedah.  Even if I’ve flirted with different understandings and teachings I’ve basically always been on, and am on today, the Aqeedah I was taught by Sheikh Ali al-Timimi and the rest of my teachers.

Because of this I’ve been asked many times how can I as an activist be in the streets with and make common cause with atheists, agnostics, communists, druggies, thugs, LGBT activists and others.

For me it is a very simple matter.  Islam promotes justice and I stand with those calling for justice as long as what they call for is just and not in opposition to Islam.  Once they call for things that Islam is opposed to I no longer stand with them on those particular issues.

The same principle can be applied to electoral politics. Endorsing a Democrat or Republican candidate doesn’t mean you’re married to them and everything they stand for, voting isn’t a revolution.  It means you’ve looked at the totality of the candidates and you side with the one who is both the least harmful and has the greatest likelihood to do something good.

In America to participate in either movement politics or political party politics the Aqeedah of the Muslim can hold you back.  Meanwhile, if you take on a liberal, a conservative, or intersectional Aqeedah of non-Muslims, you can have a lot more success. This will get you more jobs, money and patronage. Unfortunately, many Muslims are making this choice. When the opportunity to advance politically arises and Muslim Aqeedah stands in the way it is the Aqeedah that goes away.

While many will see this as simply an example of weak Muslims selling out their religion to please non-Muslims it’s not that simple of a matter. There is a level of rationalization that goes along with this. The belief that yes I’m cutting some corners, and yes some of this may be dodgy from an Aqeedah standpoint, but I’m working towards the greater good.

In an age of Islamophobia Muslims are seeking allies.  There exists real enemies to Muslims and people in America who wish us harm. Therefore, it’s quite natural to grow close to those who are combating our foes and willing to be our allies. However, as my mentor Imam Mahdi Bray would say “politics is dating it isn’t marriage.” We can be allies without being one with our allies, we can stand with people in one area and not in another. We don’t have to completely take on the ideologies of our political friends and we shouldn’t be forced to sacrifice our Aqeedah for political game or more media access.

The dunya (world) is like an ocean during the time of the storm. The waters are difficult to navigate and at times it’s difficult to keep the ship afloat.  Our emaan (belief) guides us out of the rocky waters and once we get to port our Aqeedah is the anchor which will hold us steady. Take away our Aqeedah and we are just adrift at sea.

Umar Lee is an author and freelance writer from St. Louis now based out of Dallas. He may be contacted atUmarlee@gmail.com and found at Twitter @STLAbuBadu

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

The Mask Falls Off: Suu Kyi’s Anti-Muslim Comment

25 March, 2016 - 17:03

Suu_Kyi_Muslim_Interview

Aung San Suu Kyi, viewed as a hero by many for her democracy activism has equivocated on the genocide faced by the Rohingya Muslims, refused to condemn rampant Islamophobia, as well as racism against persecuted ethnic minorities such as the Kachin and Shan peoples.

This isn’t surprising considering her party, the NLD, chose not to field a single Muslim candidate in the November 2015 elections due to the anti-Muslim atmosphere created by groups such as the the MaBaTha and others. The following story in the Telegraph highlights that her equivocation and silence on issues of genocide and racism may not simply be down to the fact that she’s a “politician” but also that she herself has Buddhist nationalist tendencies.

via. Telegraph

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi made an anti-Muslim comment about a BBC presenter after being challenged on violence suffered by Burma’s Muslim minority.

The Burmese politician, who was once under house arrest for 15 years in her native Burma, made an off-air comment about BBC Today presenter Mishal Husain after losing her temper during an interview where Husain asked her to condemn anti-Islamic sentiment.

Following the interview, Suu Kyi was heard to mutter: “No one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim.”

The comments were revealed in a new book, The Lady And The Generals: Aung San Suu Kyi And Burma’s Struggle For Freedom, by Peter Popham.

The book reveals that the 70-year-old president of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy refused to condemn anti-Islamic sentiment and massacres of Muslims in Myanmar when she was repeatedly asked to do so by Husain, the first Muslim presenter of Radio 4’s Today programme, during the interview.

Continue reading…

Mother of “cucumber, not cooker bomb” toddler, in her own words

25 March, 2016 - 15:48

Editor’s note: In January 2016, a British Muslim mother was called in for a meeting by her 4 year-old son’s nursery school. The managers informed her that her little boy had been referred to a ‘de-radicalisation’ program after drawing what they alleged to be a ‘cooker bomb.’ Shocked by the news, the mother reached out for help on the private Facebook group, Muslim Mamas (see their public page here). Muslim Mamas is a close-knit group of some 9000 Muslim mothers from around the world. This mother now shares her story in her own words for the first time, though the story has been reported in The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph and other news outlets.

Assalamu’alaikum,

Some of you may have heard about the four year old boy, whose nursery wanted to send him to a deradicalisation programme for mispronouncing ‘cucumber’. Well, that was my son. I’ve been a member of Muslim Mamas for a while now and wanted to share my story with you all.

“He told us it was a cooker bomb”

One afternoon back in January 2016, when I dropped my little boy to nursery, the nursery manager and deputy manager called me into a side room and presented me with a document, together with some drawings that my son had drawn. I recognised the drawing straight away, as it was a recent one. It was of a man with a knife. My son had told me it was ‘daddy cutting a cucumber’ so I told the school managers this straight away. They were unconvinced.

“Well, that’s not what he said to us. He told us it was a cooker bomb,” the nursery manager replied.

I was blindsided by this. My son has never talked about bombs at home. I was so confused and upset. At that point, I didn’t immediately associate his pronunciation of cucumber as “cukkabum” with a “cooker bomb”. I’d never even heard of such a thing.

cucumber-bomb

The school then showed me two other scribbles by my son. They said he talked about “pulling a string in Africa.” I explained that my neighbour’s cat used to visit our home frequently and my children often played with the cat by pulling a string. Sadly, the poor cat got run over and, not wanting upset them by telling them that he had died, I told the kids that the cat had gone to Africa to be with his family.

“Prove yourself innocent”

Again, the nursery manager dismissed my explanation and told me that they were referring me to Channel. I had no idea what Channel was, but assumed it was social services. I asked the manager if this was the case and she told me that yes, they did work together and that they would help me raise my children in the ‘right’ way. By this time I was in tears and pleaded with her not to refer me. But her reply did little to console me.

“Your kids might not be taken off you. You can prove yourself innocent,” she said.

I was distraught! I continued to plead with her. She asked me what he was watching on television and I told her that he liked his superheroes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, but I would put a stop to this immediately if it would help (and I actually did go home and do this!). I even banned their Disney movies, as the nursery manager described one of my son’s drawings as that of a train blowing up. Incidentally, this is the opening scene in Toy Story 3.

Nothing was going to help me that day. She told me I’d already been referred and I had to “sign the referral form”, which I declined to do. I couldn’t – it just felt wrong to sign a document I did not agree with. My son, according to the nursery’s own description is a very ‘gentle’ child. I couldn’t accept the things that they were now suggesting about him.

I left the meeting and went home. My husband was away, so I telephoned him and explained the situation. He told me not to worry and reminded me that our boy always says “cukkabum” when he means “cucumber,” so obviously they’d misheard him. It then became clear to me what had happened.

“Cucumber, not cooker bomb”

I called the nursery manager immediately, with a renewed sense of hope and told her about his mispronunciation of the word “cucumber”. My son was still at the nursery and I told her to go and show him a cucumber so that it all becomes clear. However, the nursery manager was not willing to discuss things any further and told me that my son had already been “referred” and it was out of her hands. She then asked me again about signing the document and I once again refused. She informed me that she would “have to put down a reason”.

Continue reading …

[VIDEO]: Forcing MUSLIMS to Wear Badges – Public Experiment

18 March, 2016 - 18:38

Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims has wide support among Republicans, even in erstwhile “blue states.”

Republican_Poll_Muslims

In the public experiment below we are given a glimpse into how easy it is for fascist policies to be embraced when an incentive is added.

This isn’t meant to imply that everyone who would force Muslims to wear badges are Republicans, some of them may very well be liberals, since Islamophobia isn’t only a problem on the right.

Lord’s Resistance Army Abducted 217 People In Central Africa, Did You Hear About It?

17 March, 2016 - 20:42

joseph-kony

Did you know that The Lord’s Resistance Army has abducted 217 people since January in the Central African Republic? 54 children were among those kidnapped by the LRA and it is feared many of them may have been made into soldiers or sex slaves.

Central African Republic was the scene of gruesome inter-communal violence and the successful genocide of its Muslim inhabitants in the Western part of the country.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel force has abducted 217 people since January in the Central African Republic (CAR), a campaign group says.

This is nearly double the number of abductions carried out by the LRA in 2015, LRA Crisis Tracker added. The abductees, including 54 children, may have been forced to become soldiers or sex slaves, it said.

The LRA appear to be trying to “replenish” its forces because of military setbacks, the group added. It has been hit by a spate of defections, and arrests since foreign forces began pursuing it in 2011.

The US deployed 100 special forces to support thousands of African troops searching for LRA commanders.

The level of international outcry and reporting here is small when compared to the reaction that Boko Haram’s kidnapping of over 200 young girls elicited.

Is the difference down to the fact that “the West” only gets exercised about such issues when the horrid group perpetrating such actions are doing it in the name of Islam? Why is there less attention paid when a self-described Christian group like the LRA commits similar atrocities?

Indeed, the viciousness and suffering that the LRA has afflicted is on a greater scale than anything we have seen so far from groups such as Boko Haram. LRA Tracker says that the group “is responsible for 100,000 deaths and an equal number of abductions.”

A final note: is anyone else unsettled by the deployment of US special forces in Africa? Our role on the continent is constantly expanding and we just don’t have a good track record of making things better when we intervene. This needs to be watched warily.

On Marco Rubio “Standing Up” To Trump’s Islamophobia

14 March, 2016 - 11:42

Rubio

Guest post by AJ

It’s cringe worthy to see Senator Rubio tackle Trump’s Islamophobia by mentioning the crescents in the Arlington Cemetery and thus trying to appear ‘Presidential’. Rubio’s record shows he has no genuine concern about Islamophobia. Take for example when he lambasted President Obama for his speech at a Baltimore mosque or the fact that Rubio’s largely Zionist neocon donors wouldn’t want Rubio to behave in any other way. These examples highlight that Rubio is neither Presidential or better than Trump. His criticisms of Trump fall off the mark as they just reinforce the reality that he is a politician who will say anything to the win the race.

via. Vox

At CNN’s Republican debate on Thursday, Marco Rubio appeared to do something very unusual for the GOP stage: He tried to take a stand against Islamophobia, particularly against Donald Trump’s Islamophobia.

Only Rubio did it in the worst possible way.

Rubio said, commenting on Trump’s comments that “a lot of” Muslims hate America:

I know that a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says, because he says what people wish they could say. The problem is presidents can’t just say anything they want. It has consequences — here and around the world.

And so let me give you one: Two days ago, I met this extraordinary couple who are on furlough because they are missionaries in Bangladesh. It’s a very tough place to be a missionary. It’s Muslim. And their safety and security very much relies upon friendly Muslims that live alongside them — that may not convert but protect them and certainly look out for them. And their mission field really are Muslims that are looking to convert to Christianity as well. And they tell me that today they have a very hostile environment in which to operate in because the news is coming out that in America leading political figures are saying that America doesn’t like Muslims.

So this is a real impact. There is no doubt that radical Islam is a danger in the world.

I can also tell you that if you go to any national cemetery, especially Arlington, you’re gonna see crescent moons there. If you go anywhere in the world, you’re going see American men and women serving us in uniform that are Muslims. And they love America. And as far as I know, no one on this stage has served in uniform in the United States military. Anyone out there that has the uniform of the United States on and is willing to die for this country is someone that loves America — no matter what their religious background may be.

Rubio’s answer isn’t that we shouldn’t be bigoted against Muslims because we should respect other people and their beliefs. It’s that we shouldn’t be bigoted against Muslims because it’s tactically advantageous to be polite, because we need Muslim allies in the Middle East, Muslims might convert to Christianity, and Muslim Americans could maybe join the military.

This is pretty weak. The problem with Islamophobia is, fundamentally, that it’s bigotry. While being nice to Muslims does happen to be tactically advantageous (as Hillary Clinton has also said), it shouldn’t be the primary reason for rejecting bigotry.

Not only that, but Rubio actually suggested that we should respect Muslims because they might stop being Muslims — by converting to Christianity…

Read the rest here.

Creepy Sam Harris Loses Debate Then Refuses To Air It

10 March, 2016 - 23:02

sam_harris1-405x355

There’s a debate that Sam Harris doesn’t want published even though he’s the one who asked for it in the first place. His excuse is that it was extremely “boring” and that his nerdy sycophants, who have better things to do wouldn’t want to waste their time listening to it.

Apparently, writer and Yale Law School student, Omer Aziz, wiped the floor with him. (h/t: Tanveer)

via. Salon

Last December, I published an essay in Salon reviewing “Islam and the Future of Tolerance,” a book-length “discourse” on reforming Islam, conducted between neuroscientist Sam Harris and activist Maajid Nawaz. In it, I argued that the book was a simplistic and unoriginal take on a complex topic, more of a friendly conversation than any kind of serious analysis. The piece concluded by lamenting the erosion of public debate, as intellectuals of previous eras have been replaced by profiteers more interested in advancing narrow agendas than in exploring difficult questions.

The piece got Harris’s attention, and he publicly reached out to me on Twitter to invite me on his podcast to “discuss these issues.” Although some of his followers mocked the invitation, I gladly accepted, and we set a date and time for our debate.

That’s when things got interesting, because it turned out that Harris did not want a traditional debate or even an open discussion. As he wrote in one email:

I’d like you to just read [your piece], line by line, and I’ll stop you at various points so that we can discuss specific issues.

This was a bizarre and rather creepy way to structure our conversation. Think of how awkward it would be to read your writing in front of a critic who had empowered himself to stop, critique, and rebuke you whenever he wanted, with thousands of people listening. Even the strongest piece of writing cannot withstand a line-by-line cross-examination because such an exercise puts the writer in the witness box and therefore on the permanent defensive. If Harris’s rules were followed, our discussion would be more like an undignified show-trial than a frank conversation. Is there a single journalist who has ever participated in, much less proposed, this sort of guerrilla attack?

I replied to Harris and noted the absurdity of his invitation:

I really hope you were not literally intending for me to come on and read my essay on your podcast with you stopping me every other sentence as if I was in some kind of deposition or trial. This would be a totally fruitless conversation.

Instead, I proposed an alternative approach: We should each pick a few topics—reforming Islam, radical jihadists, holy war, etc—and have a debate around each one, alternating between who would kick things off. In other words, we should have a normal debate, on equal footing, where arguments could be tested against their rebuttals. Harris rejected that offer and firmly reiterated demand to be  judge, jury, and prosecutor.

Read the rest of the article…

Pages