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MediaMatters: “Fox & Friends Outraged That World History Students Are Learning About Islam”

16 April, 2015 - 22:39


The attack on history education continues with Fox News episode decrying Islam being taught in World History courses.

By Craig Harrington, MediaMatters

Fox News’ latent Islamophobia manifested itself during two segments criticizing a Wisconsin high school for asking history students to write about Muslim Americans based on materials covered in class.

On April 2, according to emails initially obtained by right-wing talk radio host Vicki McKenna, world history students at Union Grove High School were asked to write a short essay about daily life for Muslims living in the United States. Students were asked to write five paragraphs in which they “pretend” to be Muslim and briefly outline their daily routine along with any potential “struggles” they might face.

Fox News expressed its concern about the assignment during two segments on the April 15 edition of Fox & Friends, in which co-hosts Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and Brian Kilmeade wondered if it was appropriate for students to learn about Islam — the world’s second-largest religion — in a world history class. At first, Doocy wondered if students wrote about “what Sharia law is,” and how they were graded if they did, while Hasselbeck worried that students might not being learning enough about Christianity:

Doocy reiterated his alleged concerns about Sharia law during a later segment, in which he hyped common Islamophobic tropes about the religion being violent and intolerant:

DOOCY: I wonder if they actually, if they did study the religion in this world history class, if they wrote down things like, “If I criticize any part of the Quran, they will kill me,” or, “If Muslims marry non-Muslims, they will be put to death,” or, “If I’m caught stealing, they’ll amputate my right hand.” I wonder if they put that kind of stuff in, because that’s all part of Sharia law.

Fox has a long history of stoking Islamophobia and worrying about the supposed looming threat of Sharia law, recently attacking a school for allowing a student to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic.

Record number of anti-Muslim acts in France

16 April, 2015 - 21:35



Abdallah Zekri, head of the Observatory said in a statement that anti-Muslim acts rose by 500 percent, compared to the same period in 2011.

” Never since the establishment of the Observatory in 2011 have Islamophobic acts known such an implosion of actions or threats, especially on social networks,” Zekri said on Thursday.

Zekri stated there were 222 anti-Muslims acts during the 1st quarter of 2015, (56 attacks and 166 threats) against a total of 37 acts in 2014 – ” An increase of 500 percent,” said Zekri.

Zekri added that the number of anti-Muslims acts in January 2015 reached 178.

He explained that this “burst” was mainly due to the deadly attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, followed by a hostage situation in a kosher supermarket two days later, leaving a total 17 people dead.

“However, those horrific and terrifying crimes cannot justify under any circumstances the steep rise of hatred or revenge against Muslims in France,” stressed Zekri.

“They (Muslims of France) are not responsible or guilty of committing these terrorist acts that devastated the country,” he added.

Zekri said the assaults targeted men and women, generally in public places and transportation, and in some instances pregnant women.

He also said that in certain cases, targeting mainly places of worship , grenades and firearms had been used.

“This is simply racism and rejection of men and women who aspire to just be respected,” said Zekri.

“Does the motto of the Republic ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ make any sense? Unfortunately, the question (must be asked),” added Zekri.

Zekri went on to accuse political leaders of remaining silent in the face of such an increase of anti-Muslim acts.

“All this happens without any reaction from politicians, who, instead of denouncing, try to find excuses,” he said.

Zekri said that the political silence fed radicalization and pushed youths to leave to join extremist and terrorist groups.

“Fundamentalism feeds fundamentalism and it is not surprising that young people, who feel excluded, marginalized and accused of all evils, are radicalized and leave to be killed for free, considering that they have no future in this country,” Zekri concluded.

ThinkProgress: Islamic Extremists Have Seized Control Of U.S. Cities, Says NRA Seminar

14 April, 2015 - 21:45



These people have guns?

By Kira Lerner, ThinkProgress

NASHVILLE, TN — Islamic extremists have seized control of cities across the United States and have enacted sharia law, according to a speaker at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting who spoke about current and emerging threats to American gun owners.

Author Steve Tarani said during a presentation in Nashville on Sunday that he has witnessed the alleged “no-go zones” — areas where police cannot enter — while shadowing a friend who serves on the Detroit Metro SWAT Police on a drive in Dearborn, MI. He described pulling up to one of the alleged Muslim-controlled areas:

The street signs suddenly went from English to Arabic. There wasn’t a single English word on any shop or any street sign. And in fact, these little yellow signs were posted all along the edges. Jeremy said to me, ‘this is it. We don’t go past this line.’ And I said to Jeremy, ‘what do you mean? You guys are Detroit Metro. You’re the SWAT team. You can go anywhere you want. What if you get a call over there?’ He said ‘this is it, it’s hazardous for our team if we go past this line.’

I have seen it with my own eyes, witnessed it in the backseat of a car and it is for real. No-go zones exist in the United States.

Dearborn, Michigan is not the only place that these settlements exist. They are spread out over the country in various cities. There’s an estimate of over 5,000 known terrorist cells in the United States. However our most persistent and significant threat, right now, to us here today this morning, is the homegrown violent extremists.

There is no factual basis to allegations that parts of the U.S. have turned into no-go zones that Muslim extremists had supposedly conquered — a myth that was spread by Fox News reports earlier this year.

Tarani’s comments were part of an hour-long seminar in which he discussed what he claims are the threats Americans face on a daily basis. The frequency and intensity of “mass murders, beheadings and suicide bombings” are increasing, he said. After detailing the events of a number of mass shootings and terrorist plots by an “endless supply” of militant groups around the world, Tarani told the audience they should be prepared to respond to all kinds of threats.

Read the rest of the article…

“It’s really disgusting,” Vandals target Muslim mosque

14 April, 2015 - 00:54


KFOR: Newschannel 4

EDMOND, Okla. – Before Sunday prayer service, raw bacon was discovered by a child at a local mosque.

“I always felt safe here. I always felt it was a comfortable place to go,” Adam Soltani, CAIR executive director, said.

On Sunday, vandals tossed bacon along the doorway of an Edmond mosque near the University of Central Oklahoma.

“Someone would have to know that according to the Islamic faith, pork is not allowed for Muslims to eat, so it sends a message that they know that and that they want to offend,” said Soltani.

Students are shocked to see this happen in their community.

“It’s really disgusting, actually. I just don’t understand why people would do that,” Erick Larson, a student at the University of Central Oklahoma, said.

“I think it’s ironic that it happened so close to when UCO had our Tunnel of Oppression, which actually addresses things like this,” Deshara Flemming, student at UCO, said.

“Whenever we see a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric and speech in a local community, it seems to be coupled with unfortunate incidents of hate crimes and vandalism,” Soltani said.

This isn’t the first time a mosque has been targeted in the metro. In 2012, vandals shot paint balls at the Grand Mosque of Oklahoma City.

In 2013, surveillance video was released showing a suspect painting racial slurs on the walls of another metro mosque. Both were investigated as hate crimes.

“I think with each incident, the concern grows even stronger,” Soltani said.

The mosque filed a police report with Edmond.

At the same time, CAIR has contacted the FBI in hopes they will investigate this latest incident.

The Edmond mosque plans on installing surveillance cameras.

Unworthy victims: Western wars have killed four million Muslims since 1990

14 April, 2015 - 00:24



“Landmark research proves that the US-led ‘war on terror’ has killed as many as 2 million people, but this is a fraction of Western responsibility for deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last two decades.”

by Nafeez Ahmed, Middle East Eye
Wednesday 8 April 2015 16:12 BST

Last month, the Washington DC-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a landmark study concluding that the death toll from 10 years of the “War on Terror” since the 9/11 attacks is at least 1.3 million, and could be as high as 2 million.

The 97-page report by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning doctors’ group is the first to tally up the total number of civilian casualties from US-led counter-terrorism interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The PSR report is authored by an interdisciplinary team of leading public health experts, including Dr. Robert Gould, director of health professional outreach and education at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and Professor Tim Takaro of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

Yet it has been almost completely blacked out by the English-language media, despite being the first effort by a world-leading public health organisation to produce a scientifically robust calculation of the number of people killed by the US-UK-led “war on terror”.

Mind the gaps

The PSR report is described by Dr Hans von Sponeck, former UN assistant secretary-general, as “a significant contribution to narrowing the gap between reliable estimates of victims of war, especially civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and tendentious, manipulated or even fraudulent accounts”.

The report conducts a critical review of previous death toll estimates of “war on terror” casualties. It is heavily critical of the figure most widely cited by mainstream media as authoritative, namely, the Iraq Body Count (IBC) estimate of 110,000 dead. That figure is derived from collating media reports of civilian killings, but the PSR report identifies serious gaps and methodological problems in this approach.

For instance, although 40,000 corpses had been buried in Najaf since the launch of the war, IBC recorded only 1,354 deaths in Najaf for the same period. That example shows how wide the gap is between IBC’s Najaf figure and the actual death toll – in this case, by a factor of over 30.

Such gaps are replete throughout IBC’s database. In another instance, IBC recorded just three airstrikes in a period in 2005, when the number of air attacks had in fact increased from 25 to 120 that year. Again, the gap here is by a factor of 40.

According to the PSR study, the much-disputed Lancet study that estimated 655,000 Iraq deaths up to 2006 (and over a million until today by extrapolation) was likely to be far more accurate than IBC’s figures. In fact, the report confirms a virtual consensus among epidemiologists on the reliability of the Lancet study.

Despite some legitimate criticisms, the statistical methodology it applied is the universally recognised standard to determine deaths from conflict zones, used by international agencies and governments.

Politicised denial

PSR also reviewed the methodology and design of other studies showing a lower death toll, such as a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, which had a range of serious limitations.

That paper ignored the areas subject to the heaviest violence, namely Baghdad, Anbar and Nineveh, relying on flawed IBC data to extrapolate for those regions. It also imposed “politically-motivated restrictions” on collection and analysis of the data – interviews were conducted by the Iraqi Ministry of Health, which was “totally dependent on the occupying power” and had refused to release data on Iraqi registered deaths under US pressure.

In particular, PSR assessed the claims of Michael Spaget, John Sloboda and others who questioned the Lancet study data collection methods as potentially fraudulent. All such claims, PSR found, were spurious.

The few “justified criticisms,” PSR concludes, “do not call into question the results of the Lancet studies as a whole. These figures still represent the best estimates that are currently available”. The Lancet findings are also corroborated by the data from a new study in PLOS Medicine, finding 500,000 Iraqi deaths from the war. Overall, PSR concludes that the most likely number for the civilian death toll in Iraq since 2003 to date is about 1 million.

To this, the PSR study adds at least 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan, killed as the direct or indirect consequence of US-led war: a “conservative” total of 1.3 million. The real figure could easily be “in excess of 2 million”.

Yet even the PSR study suffers from limitations. Firstly, the post-9/11 “war on terror” was not new, but merely extended previous interventionist policies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Secondly, the huge paucity of data on Afghanistan meant the PSR study probably underestimated the Afghan death toll.

Read the entire article…

Muslim charities in UK say banks blocking donations

9 April, 2015 - 20:55

(Reuters / Chris Helgren)

(Reuters / Chris Helgren)

Islamic charities lose millions as ‘risk-averse’ banks block donations – think tank

Millions of pounds worth of donations to British charities have been blocked or returned by global banks, amid terror financing concerns. Humanitarian operations in Syria, Iraq and Gaza are in jeopardy as a result, a think tank warns.

In recent months, a slew of international banks including HSBC, UBS and NatWest have frozen accounts held by UK-registered charities and global NGOs that deliver aid to crisis-ridden conflict zones.

International development think tank, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), warns banks’ “overly risk-averse action” towards charitable organizations and NGOs in Britain is a direct result of UK counter-terror legislation.

Continue reading …

Also see Al Jazeera :

Muslim charities in UK say banks blocking donations

Yasmine Taeb: Notorious Islamophobe To Address Members Of Congress

8 April, 2015 - 22:11


By Yasmine Taeb, ThinkProgress

In a post for ThinkProgress last month, I discussed how a tightly-knit group of anti-Islam activists and organizations in the United States are in fact collaborating with and at times funding similar discriminatory and bigoted elements in Europe.

In a recent apt example, notorious anti-Islam and far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders has announced he will be addressing members of Congress at two events later this month. Wilders, who has called for a ban on the Qur’an, the construction of new mosques, and Muslim headscarves, boasted on his blog of his invitation to the United States by members of Congress. His invitees are none other than far-right congressmen Steve King (R-IA), known for his vociferous anti-immigrant stances, and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), infamous for his House floor tirades about “terror babies” and claims that “radical Islamists” are pretending to be Hispanics to come to the United States. The trans-Atlantic alliance is in fact a match made in heaven, as Wilders’ conspiratorial and xenophobic views align well with the extreme right fringe of the Republican Party.

After inquiries to Gohmert’s office for additional details about the April 29 reception, his staff merely told me that Gohmert had invited the Dutch politician to speak on Capitol Hill but that Gohmert is not hosting the reception. Wilders is also expected to speak at a breakfast the same day for lawmakers belonging to the Conservative Opportunity Society, a group that was founded by former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich. “I feel deeply honored by the invitations. In my speeches I will warn my American colleagues of the dangers of Islamization,” wrote Wilders on his personal blog.

This is of course not Wilders’ first speaking engagement in the United States. Wilders spoke at a 9/11 commemoration rally in New York City in 2010 where he voiced his opposition to Islam. During a visit to Denver, Colorado in 2012, Wilders warned an audience at the Western Conservative Summit of the threat of “Islamization,” called Islam a “dangerous, totalitarian ideology” and argued for banning the construction of new mosques in the United States.

Read the entire article…

Jews And Muslims: It’s Complicated (IV)

8 April, 2015 - 20:24


“Tinghir” where Muslim-Jewish coexistence flourished for many years.

Original guest post

By Mehdi

Read Part I, II and III in this series

The separation

After the creation of Israel, Arab populations were overwhelmingly opposed to any appeasement with the state, especially in the context of the massive eviction of two thirds of the Palestinian population (a proper ethnic cleansing as stated by Israeli historian Illan Pappe).

Many Arab Jews were also radically Anti-Zionist, such as the prominent political activist Henri Curiel. Curiel formed an important network to support the struggle of several liberation movements, including the Algerian FLN during the war of independence against the French. A recent documentary on Egyptian Jews mentions his unheeded warnings to Gamal Abdel-Nasser regarding the 1956 French-British-Israeli aggression. His murder in 1978 remains unresolved, though recent revelations suggest that he was the victim of a former French-Algeria nostalgic.

Other Anti-Zionist personalities included individuals such as Abraham Serfaty and Chehata Haroun, who refused to leave Egypt and had the following written on his grave:

“Every human being has several identities. I am a human being. I am Egyptian when Egyptians are suffering, I am black when blacks are suffering, I am Jewish when Jews are suffering and I am a Palestinian when Palestinians are suffering.”

Most Arab countries witnessed riots and unrest following the combination of the birth of Israel and the Nakba. These riots took place in a context of existing unrest, as most Arab countries were fighting for their independence. In Morocco, for instance, several riots targeted Jews after the 1948 events, but other riots and violent attacks also targeted French settlers during the same period.

While there were several dimensions to violence in Arab countries at the time, these events were still frightening to many Arab Jews who started thinking of leaving their countries. Israel also deployed several means to either convince or simply push Arab Jews to emigration; the law of return was enacted partly for that sake.

In Arab states, the Israeli Mossad deployed many operations, from financial arrangements, propaganda, to covert operations that included deliberate sabotage.

In parallel, the rise of Arab nationalist discourse pushing for independence, and strongly opposed to any Western imperialist interference did not build an inclusive discourse for minorities (whether Jewish, Armenian, Greek, or others), despite the initial efforts of leaders such as Habib Bourguiba in Tunisia, or King Mohammed 5 in Morocco.

The growing tensions within Arab countries, during the independence struggle (as in Algeria), or against Israel (as in the 1956 Suez aggression by Israel, France, and the UK against Egypt) put Jews in an uncomfortable situation, sometimes used as scapegoats, and sometimes pressed to loudly proclaim their allegiance and loyalty. The distance between Jews and their compatriots grew larger and many started to leave, either towards Israel or Western countries.

  • In Morocco, from 1948 until the country’s independence in 1956, Israel’s interest was not great and the French colonial authorities turned a blind eye. After the 1956 independence, King Mohamed 5 wanted to maintain Jewish presence in the country (he had taken several stands to protect Moroccan Jews against Vichy laws during WW2), and refused any type of cooperation with Israeli authorities; departures were then mostly clandestine. After his death in 1961, King Hassan 2 cooperated with the Mossad to push Moroccan Jews to expatriate, this was part of a large deal involving security arrangements, sales of weapons and exchange of intelligence labelled Operation Arche and confirmed by figures such as historian Yigal Bin-Nun. No expelling of Jews happened and many Moroccan Jews chose to go live in Canada and France, but the consequence is that the majority of the 300,000 Jews who lived in Morocco when the country became independent are now gone.
  • In Egypt, there were episodes of riots and violence against Jews, but the Lavon affair showed that the Israeli secret services also deliberately conducted sabotage operations (and not only in Egypt) to scare people into leaving. The attitude of the Egyptian authorities was mostly repressive (in a context where Nasser and the free officers had just reached power and were eager to demonstrate a strong stance towards British imperialism, before the 1956 Suez aggression). Minorities such as Greeks, Armenians, or Jews were targeted and smeared as Trojan horses for imperialism and Zionism and gradually became scapegoats and targets of aggressive rhetoric. These stances scared Egyptian Jews who felt they would not be sufficiently protected, and convinced most of them that they would be better off leaving.
  • In Iraq and Syria there had been episodes of violence during WW2, such as the horrible 1941 Baghdad pogrom (which happened in the context of a British intervention to topple the Iraqi government). In 1951, the Iraqi Government established a law that made the advocating of Zionism or belonging to a Zionist organization a crime and ordered the expulsion of Jews who refused to sign a statement of anti-Zionism, the implementation of such a law in an arbitrary dictatorial regime made it easy to target anyone and put Iraqi Jews under pressure. The combination of Mossad covert operations and incendiary nationalist discourse and violence (not only directed at Jews but also towards Shiites, Christians and other minorities) led most Jews to leave their country.
  • Countries like Algeria and Tunisia saw most Jews choosing to go live in France. The effects of the growing social divide resulting from the Crémieux decree in Algeria, the atmosphere of the fratricidal independence warfare made the situation dangerous for any person assumed as linked to French colonialism. It also forced most Muslim “harki” collaborationists to flee the country (while several others were massacred after being abandoned by the French army). Overall, the Jews’ departure in both these countries is part of the general emigration that took place at independence and not really the result of specific Anti-Jewish campaigns. On the other hand, the 1963 Algerian nationality code stated that a pre-condition for citizenship was having Muslim paternal fathers and grandfathers; Jews had to undergo a special process to request citizenship. Such a measure was not only insulting for the many Jews who had fought for independence, it sent a signal to most Jews that they had little to no room in the future of the country and convinced them to emigrate.
  • In Iran, while some emigration took place, many Jews still live there even after the 1979 revolution, they have the possibility to travel every year to visit their relatives in Israel, usually via. Turkey, with both Israeli and Iranian authorities choosing to turn a blind eye.

These examples do not offer a comprehensive outlook of Jewish emigrations from Arab and Middle Eastern countries (the Wikipedia page on this topic offers good context) but they give some perspective. Unlike in Palestine in 1948, there never was any organized campaign to expel Arab Jews, the failure of Arab nationalists in particular and state leaders in general is that they didn’t convince them to stay and failed to give them confidence about their place in the new nations.

The claims that Arab Jews were massively expelled has to be looked at as Israeli counter-propaganda to establish a moral equivalent with the fate of Palestinians in 1948.

Still, the sad fact is that by the end the 1960s, the overwhelming majority of Arab Jews had left their country, either moving to Israel or to Western countries such as the USA, Canada and France. They were now separated from their Muslim compatriots, which meant a loss to most Arab countries, whose diversity was an immense source of cultural wealth, and whose national narrative had now shifted to a chauvinistic narrow discourse.

On the other hand, Arab Jews did not receive a particularly great welcome in Israel, where they underwent significant discrimination by the Israeli authorities, mirroring a Western-Oriental divide between Israelis, where the establishment (symbolized by Askhenazi Europeans) discriminated against Arab-speaking immigrants.

The discrimination they suffered is still a bad memory for many “Oriental Jews” who created protest movements such as the Israeli Black Panthers and have overwhelmingly voted against the Labor party since. Wounds have begun to heal with the increasing integration of Arab Jews into Israeli society.

MizrahiThe 1967 war and the crushing of Arab armies by the Israeli offensive went one stage further in widening the gap and the nature of the conflict. On the Israeli side, it gave a morale boost to the religious right and helped them pressure the government to allow and fund massive settlement building in the occupied territories, thus increasing their political importance in the Israeli social-political landscape.

On the Arab side, the 1967 defeat was a massive blow to the Arab nationalist movement, which had many flaws, was authoritarian, but was still trying to build some form of Arab autonomy while trying to provide room for minorities. The defeat gave way to the rise of Muslim conservative and fundamentalist movements, whose discourse provided little to no room for minorities, especially Jews. In both cases, the results were disastrous for whoever favored coexistence.

Beside the increased divide, there was also the emergence of Anti-Semitism, often borrowed from Western Anti-Semitism. This discourse is punctuated by invitations and publicity for: holocaust deniers such as Roger Garaudy and Robert Faurrisson in Lebanon and Iran, successful sales of purely Anti-Semitic propaganda such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or even Mein Kampf in Lebanon and Egypt, conspiracy theories about 9/11 being a Jewish plot, several shameful talk shows or TV series such as the Egyptian “Horseless rider” (the plot stars a virtual horseman who slays the “Zionist dragon” and denounces a “Jewish conspiracy against Palestine” inspired by the Protocols of the Elders of Zion).

In Western societies there has also been a limited but real rise in Anti-Semitism among some Muslim communities. In the UK, it was acknowledged and condemned by Mehdi Hasan, and this tendency also exists in other European countries, as shown in the recent violent events in Sarcelles, following summer protests against the war on Gaza, the kosher market attack in Paris, or the attack on a synagogue in Copenhagen.

The scale of these events is subject to manipulation (Islamophobes tend to exaggerate their scale while a tendency for denial exists on the other end of the spectrum), but in any case they represent a very worrisome trend and regression. The increase in Anti-Semitism should be fought and condemned, as it was by prominent critics of Israeli policies, such as Lebanese writer Elias Khoury, or Beirut based reporter Robert Fisk, and the late Edward Said, whose words remain as relevant as ever.

Why do we expect the world to believe our sufferings as Arabs if we cannot recognize the sufferings of others, even of our oppressors, and we cannot deal with facts that trouble simplistic ideas of the sort propagated by bien-pensants intellectuals who refuse to see the relationship between the holocaust and Israel. Again, let me repeat that I cannot accept the idea that the holocaust excuses Zionism for what it has done to Palestinians: far from it. I say exactly the opposite, that by recognizing the holocaust for the genocidal madness that it was, we can then demand from Israelis and Jews the right to link the holocaust to Zionist injustices towards the Palestinian, link and criticise the link for its hypocrisy and flawed moral logic.

But to support the efforts of Roger Garaudy and his holocaust-denying friends in the name of “freedom of opinion” is a silly ruse that discredits us more than we already are discredited in the world’s eyes for our incompetence, our failure to fight a decent battle, our radical misunderstanding of history and the world we live in. Why don’t we fight harder for freedom of opinions in our own societies, a freedom, no one needs to be told, that scarcely exists?

When I mentioned the holocaust in an article I wrote last November, I received more stupid vilification than I ever thought possible; one famous intellectual even accused me of trying to gain a certificate of good behaviour from the Zionist lobby. Of course, I support Garaudy’s right to say what he pleases and I oppose the wretched loi Gayssot under which he was prosecuted and condemned). But I also think that what he says is trivial and irresponsible, and when we endorse it, it allies us necessarily with Le Pen and all the retrograde right-wing fascist elements in French society.

No, our battle is for democracy and equal rights, for a secular commonwealth or state in which all the members are equal citizens, in which the concept underlying our goal is a secular notion of citizenship and belonging, not some mythological essence or an idea that derives its authority from the remote past, whether that past is Christian, Jewish or Muslim. As I said, the genius of Arab civilization at its height in, say, Andalusia was its multicultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic diversity. That is the ideal that should be moving our efforts now, in the wake of an embalmed, and dead Oslo, and an equally dead rejectionism. The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life, as the Bible says.

As a mirror effect, Islamophobia has also risen to the point of becoming common among political parties in many Western countries and in Israel. It has been promoted by many organizations, including several Zionist pro-Israeli support groups, who fully embrace the concept of the so-called “war on terror.”

Loonwatch has done thorough work debunking these Islamophobic campaigns, there is no need to list them. Nevertheless, the striking aspect is how organizations with different agendas and objectives, such as US and European pro-Israeli support groups, neoconservative intellectuals, European extreme right wing parties, and some personalities coming from the left wing all stand side by side on an ideological anti-Muslim crusade.

Historically, the horrors of the holocaust have positioned many Jewish intellectuals and political organizations at the forefront of Anti-racist and other universal struggles (such as the protection of Bosnian Muslims during the horrific ethnic cleansing and massacres in the 1990s). This history makes it sad to notice that several Jewish mainstream organizations (such as the French CRIF) have either kept silent if not actually supported Islamophobic campaigns.

In 2002, after Jean Marie Le Pen reached the second round of the French presidential election, the president of the CRIF (representative body for Jewish organizations in France) declared that this was a signal for Muslims to keep quiet, completely forgetting about the Anti-Semitic dimension of Le Pen’s party. In perspective, mirroring Anti-Semitic regression among Muslims, a regressive Islamophobic trend has also emerged among Jews, as many prominent intellectuals and organizations are so blinded by their unconditional support for any Israeli policy that they openly befriend populist parties that have a heavy Anti-Semitic past. One illustrative example of this paradox is when Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman received a delegation of extreme right wing parties in 2010, including personalities such as Geert Wilders, Belgian Philippe Dewinter, Swedish Kent Ekeroth, or representatives from the Danish people’s party.

It remains the case that contemporary politics in Israel and the Arab world are dominated by movements that are either not interested in promoting multi-faith coexistence (if they are not actively fighting it). This is the case for most Arab regimes, and both nationalist and Muslim conservative movements.

The outlook is similarly ugly for the Zionist spectrum, now strongly leaning to the right (if not the extreme right), where racist discourse has become mainstream. Discourse in favor of coexistence with the Israeli Arab minority and Palestinians in the occupied territories is largely only promoted by what is termed the “extreme left wing” and some prominent figures such as former Knesset chairman Avraham Burg, veteran peace activist Uri Avnery, journalists such as Amira Hass or Gideon Levy, and other pacifists.

For Muslims and Jews who had coexisted for years, the resulting situation and tensions we see today are purely depressing; this leaves the question of what to do.

What now?

As shown above, separation between Muslims and Jews in the Muslim world is now a fact and will be difficult to reverse. The wounds of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the post-9/11 atmosphere has created suspicion and distance. The relationship is not completely broken but a lot of work has to be done in order to fix things.

As explained in the introduction of this article series, my view of history is driven by my personal background and my family’s positive experiences. Obviously, my narrative is quite subjective. I am sure that many people will disagree, either with the overall perspective, or with some specific details, what I hope most people will agree with me is about the urgency of inventing new forms of coexistence.

While Jewish/Muslim relations are not monolithic, and are driven by local considerations, many points need to be highlighted. First of all, coexistence should be reinvented, the terms of coexistence that existed a few centuries ago are not applicable to the modern world; Jews and Muslims both expect equality. Coexistence will happen in different places from the past, while it existed mostly in Arab and Muslim lands before, it is now more likely to happen in Western countries and in Israel/Palestine, as these are the places where significant Jewish/Muslim communities tend to live side by side (for instance in France, the United States, Israel/Palestine, the United Kingdom or Netherlands).

Building a new model of coexistence also goes hand in hand with a common fight against bigotry. Jewish and Muslim anti-racist organizations should help each other more when Anti-Semitism or Islamophobia emerges, this already occurs, but it has to happen systematically. The sight of Jews supporting Islamophobia or Muslims supporting Anti-Semitism is a pure disgrace and at odds with history, this has to be fought fiercely.

Common Jewish/Muslim initiatives, whether involving history seminars, arts, sports, or any concrete project should be encouraged, people (especially the youth) should be given more opportunities to meet and talk. Bigotry and hostility towards others are less likely when they have a face, a name, and when they can be related to with an anecdote or joke. Creating sustainable relations between people is what helps solve problems.

Most of all, no long term solution can be considered if it does not include a fair and sustainable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, a solution that addresses the plight and suffering of the Palestinians, whether the ones in the occupied territories, in Israel, or the refugees, and addresses their political rights to self-determination and independence.

Such solutions should also provide assurance to Jews that they can live safely and in peace with their neighbors. Arab Jews who want to live in Arab countries should also be given the opportunity to do so. Whether a solution involves a single state or a two-state solution is a different matter (the prospect of a two-state solution is more unlikely than ever).

Despite the legitimate criticism that can be made of Palestinian organizations such as Hamas, the Israeli government’s attitude, its unrestrained usage of violence and its settlement policy are the main hurdles.

The recent horror of the Gaza massacre shows that this is not an even fight, just as peace was achieved in South Africa by addressing the suffering of the victims of apartheid, the focus should be about protecting the Palestinians and guaranteeing their rights. If this doesn’t change, no good can be expected, and things will keep going downhill for Jewish-Muslim relationships.

Prospects look dark for now, intellectuals who identify themselves as “Liberal Zionists” need to face the political and ideological contradictions that they have been evading regarding the peace framework that they want to establish, and their vision about how to guarantee Palestinians’ rights and end their suffering. As peace activist Uri Avnery had once put it in 2008:

… Something like this is now happening to the Revisionists themselves. They ask for three things: a Jewish State, a state that encompasses all of historic Palestine and a democratic state. That is too much even for God. So a Revisionist must choose two of the three: a Jewish and democratic state in only a part of the country, a Jewish state in all the country that will not be democratic, or a democratic state in all the country that will not be Jewish. This dilemma has not changed over the last 41 years.

6 years later, the dilemma is still as relevant as ever, but the first option (a Jewish and democratic state in one part of the country) which would guarantee two states is less likely, the points raised by Avnery still require an answer and cannot be evaded any longer.

Beside the Israeli-Palestinian front, more effort should be put on teaching common Jewish/Muslim history. In his book “Defeating Hitler”, former Knesset chairman Avraham Burg had suggested the Israeli education system to focus more on positive experiences such as Andalusia, to show children that Jewish history is not only made of tragedies.

Similarly, in Muslim countries, especially the ones that have a strong Jewish history, children should learn more about the multi-faith and multi-cultural dimension of their past. This does not mean that the negative moments and periods (explained above) should be evaded, quite the contrary, tensions begin and grow in the shadows when such topics are avoided.

These suggestions may sound naïve and insufficient to some, especially in light of the never ending tragedy unfolding in the holy land, but they are a positive, practical first step; it would be unforgivable not to try .


To conclude this overview, I would like to come back to two people who symbolize better than anyone else the profound sense of coexistence and tolerance.

The first person is named Yacout and appears in Kamal Hachkar’s movie “Tinghir Jerusalem” mentioned in the beginning of this article. This Jewish Amazigh lady was born in Kelaat Mgouna in south east of Morocco and grew in Casablanca, dressed like any Moroccan woman, she emigrated to Israel and made an unplanned but magnificent appearance in the movie. Speaking with emotion about her fond memories of her childhood in Morocco (sending virtual kisses whenever mentioning Muslims) and how well she remembers her Muslim neighbors (apologies, video is in Arabic/Hebrew with French subtitles), and simply expresses her despair about why land is subject to such hatred.

The second person is called Lahcen, a Moroccan Muslim Berber not far away from Tarudant in the south, who, in the 1950s made a promise to his Jewish friend, Moshe, on the point of emigrating to Israel. From then on, he would look after Moshe’s family’s graves, regularly buying paint to maintain Jewish scriptures and made a point of sticking to his promise.

These two wonderful people unfortunately passed away in 2014, they are anonymous people who witnessed the devastating effects that history can have on people’s lives. They weren’t prominent intellectuals or scholars who could speak at length about history, but they both had their own simple words, and humble way of practicing tolerance and the best of what our civilizations have produced.

Now that this generation is slowly leaving the stage, the challenge we face is to keep their message alive and reinvent it in the context of our time. In other words, the challenge is to renew and reinvent peace/shalom/salam.

Fox Guest: Rand Paul Must Prove He’d Nuke a Muslim Country if We Needed

7 April, 2015 - 22:36

Fox Guest: Rand Paul Must Prove He’d Nuke a Muslim Country if We Needed

by Andrew Kirell | 11:33 am, April 7th, 2015

On Monday morning, Fox & Friends held a lively debate between Brad and Dallas Woodhouse, the modern (and very much bloodless) political equivalent of Civil War “brother against brother” battles.

Brad is a Democratic consultant and the head of American Bridge PAC; Dallas is a Republican strategist and founder of Carolina Rising. The siblings once reached minor fame when they were interrupted by a phone call from their mother during their dramatic C-SPAN battle.

For their joint Monday morning Fox appearance, the pair debated this very Fox & Friendsian question: “Which GOP contender has the Democrats most afraid?” And when the subject turned to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) — seen by GOP foreign policy hawks as too non-interventionist — here’s what Republican Woodhouse had to say:

[Paul’s] sort of worldview may not be fitting the world as a lot of people see it right now. He’s got to prove — in my opinion, Rand Paul’s got to prove that he will nuke a Muslim country if we have to. I’m not saying we should. But I’m saying we will do that if it takes saving America and that there’s no doubt that he will do what it takes to protect America.

“Thank God you’re not running for president,” Democratic Woodhouse said in response.

Continue reading….

Nana Asma’u Leader Of Women’s rights in Islam and West Africa

7 April, 2015 - 00:04

Nana Asma’u

Original guest post

by Razainc

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to those who prepare for it today.”-El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz

I intended to write this article for International Women’s Day earlier this month but time did not permit. This article is a short profile of Nana Asma’u’s pivotal role as Muslim leader in the 19th century. Nana’s father, Usman Dan Fodiyo, like his daughter is famous in his own right and I plan to write an article on him in the near future. Usman Dan Fodiyo was the first ruler of the Sokoto state and was succeeded by his son Muhammad Bello who was also a half-brother to Nana Asma’u.

There are a few things I wanted to mention about the Qadirriyya Sufi order before I delve into Nana Asma’u’s life. The Qadirriyya order was a decentralized order. Unlike some Sufi orders which focus exclusively on the spiritual dimension and break from traditional Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), the Qadirriyya order in Dan Fodiyo’s region focused on the Sunnah (saying and traditions of The Prophet Mohammed (SAW).

Education was important to the Qadirriyya order. “The Qadirriyya order sought to serve by teaching, preaching, and practical work while rejecting materialism.” The goal was not to consume yourself in the material world to the point where you forget about the spiritual dimension but live in the world while staying connected to spirituality.

Joining the Qadirriyya order was as simple as a hand shake and saying Ziker (liturgy) in remembrance of the eponym of the order, Abdul Qadir Jilani, after whose teachings the order was modeled. This made it very easy for locals in Dan Fodio’s region to join. It did however demand a certain level of spiritual discipline like praying, fasting and general asceticism (1). In practical terms Dan Fodiyo sought a balance where Fiqh would develop virtuous outward behavior, Tawhid (realizing the unity/Oneness of God) would be the basis of beliefs and Sufism would develop the spiritual dimension. While a few royals joined his ranks many of Dan Fodiyo’s followers were commoners.

Nana Asma’u

Usman Dan Fodiyo’s teachings came into conflict with the ruling authorities, whom he felt were not properly practicing Islam, this lead to his followers being threatened. Thus Dan Fodiyo and his followers made hijra (migration) and eventually strengthened their numbers which infuriated the authorities (2), thus began what is known as the “Sokoto Jihad.” This is the context in which his daughter Nana Asma’u(1793-1864) grew up.

Asma’u was a West African princess, scholar, Sufi mystic, poet, teacher, educator, wife, mother, and actively involved in politics and social reform. Asma’u was born a twin, the custom was to name twins after Hassan and Hussein the Prophet’s grandsons. Dan Fodiyo however decided break from tradition and named her after Abu Bakr’s daughter Asmā’ bint Abu Bakr suggesting that he had spiritual intuition that she would be special.

Asma’u was tutored as a child in various subjects from fiqh and tawhid to Islamic philosophy and mysticism. Her poetry focused on getting people to live a righteous life and turning back to God. Her poetry and writings also focused on war, as well as women and their roles in the community. She tried to lead people on the Prophetic path.

She married Gidado Dan Laima with whom she had six sons, their first born died as an infant. Laima later became chief adviser to the Sokoto Caliphate under Muhammed Bello. Asma’u would help organize the Muslim community under the Sokoto Caliphate.

By forty Asma’u would be called Uwargari (Mother of the People). She was also fluent in several languages: Arabic, Fulfulde, Hausa, and Tamacheq Arabic. She was also “Erudite and well versed in Arabic, Greek, and Latin classics.” She liked rare books which she avidly collected and would also use to teach her students.

In her poetry, in addition to dealing with the political issues of her time, she also took time to praise the good deeds of everyday people regardless of their status. Take for example excerpts from two elegies she wrote.

Her elegy for Na’Inna, her uncle who was an average citizen who held no official position.

Elegy for Na’Inna:

He was cheerful, loved his family to visit him. Acted likewise with his neighbors. He told them many things. He did not concern him self with worldly happenings May God forgive his sins.

Or an Elegy for her neighbor Halima.

Elegy for Halima:

She was a fine woman with lots of common sense. She loved children and adults treating them fittingly with respect. She was religious and kept close relationships in good repair. Acting always with never ending patience.

Many of Nana Asma’u’s poems can be found reprinted in Educating Muslim Women: The West African Legacy of Nana Asma’u 1793-1864 by Beverley Mack and Jean Boyd.

First one The Path of Truth:

For there is [in Paradise] no illness, no ageing, no poverty, no death: we remain for ever. Forever in enjoyment, relaxation and pleasant talk We walk in Paradise, we have seen Muhammada… The houses are made of gold, the clothes of silk We drink from fragrant rivers of Salsabil with Ahmada. The bodies of people are as beautiful as rubies or red coral, Their ornaments are jewels and topaz. They feel no sadness of heart and do not think sad thoughts They are forever in Paradise together with Muhammada.

“If anyone asks who composed this song, say That it is Nana, daughter of the Shehu, who loves Muhammada. You should firmly resolve, friends, to follow her And thus you will follow exactly the Sunna of Muhammada.”

Also here is an elegy Asama’u wrote for Dan Fodiyo’s friend Umaru al-Kammu’s daughter Aisha. Umaru’s children married Dan Fodiyo’s children, one those marriages was that of Umaru’s daughter Aisha who married Muhammad Bello.

“The death of the beloved Aisha reminded me of those who have passed away from among wise and pious sisters. My sorrows, my loneliness, and my melancholy increase the flow of tears on my cheeks into torrents. At the loss of the noble Aisha. Oh, what a woman! She had all the virtues Of pious women, humble to their Lord; Of the women who have memorized the Qur’an by heart and who do extra In prayers, alms-giving, then recitation of the Qur’an, defending the unjustly treated, carrying the burdens of many responsibilities. She was a guardian of orphans and widows, a pillar of the community, ensuring harmony. I am desolate over losing her, for she was my bosom friend, my confidante, from our earliest days. This is no surprise; the love we had for each other came to us from our fathers before us; it was not short-lived. God in Heaven, judge her with pure forgiveness and make room for a grave in perpetual light. On the Day of Judgement preserve her from all that is feared, from everything terrifying on that day. And place her in Paradise with our Shaykh, her father and her husband in the heavenly abodes.”

She was also not one to bite her tongue even to her own allies for their behavior. Take the case of Dan Yali “the son of the Fulani patriarch, Muhammad Moyijo who had offered a safe haven to the Shehu after the Community was forced to leave Gudu in 1803.” Dan Yali was known for his strange behavior which initially was generosity but eventually changed into him squandering his wealth and being very gullible and easily tricked into giving his wealth .

“The new caliph, Ahmad Rufai ɗan Shehu, dismissed him,” Asma’u praised his dismissal writing :

“Thanks be to God who empowered us to overthrow ɗan Yalli Who has caused so much trouble. He behaved unlawfully, he did wanton harm And caused hardship… We can ourselves testify to the Robberies and extortion in the markets, on the Highways and at the city gateways.”

Asma’u was and is a role model for many women in West Africa. Asma’u was also a writer of battles she witnessed particularly in the battles that came to be known as the Sokoto Jihad (1804-1830). Asma’u didn’t only teach students (both men and women) in her own community but she also was part of a network of women teachers whom she trained to teach women in the rural areas.

Amina of Zaria

Asma’u was following in the footsteps of the Prophet’s wife Aisha who was a general, scholar and teacher. West Africa is also not alien to empowered Muslim women, take for example the General Amina of Zaria mentioned by Muhammad Bello in chapter seven of his text Ifaq al-Maysur (The Wages of the Fortunate) which covers much of the history of West Africa, talking about Husana history.

Amina of Zaria was said to have been a brilliant military tactician and general and credited as being the first person to establish a government over all seven of the Husana regions. She also developed fortified walls “Amina was also responsible for the development of well-fortified walls around the city of Zazzau … called ganuwar Amina, or Amina’s walls.”

In popular discourse you have pundits and journalists regularly talking and writing about how Boko Haram and ISIS represent Islam’s discourse on women and education. However, two centuries ago you had Asma’u’s famous call,“In Islam, it is a religious duty to seek knowledge. Women may leave their homes freely for this.”

Saheela Ibraheem

When we think of Islam and the role of women or Islam and the African diaspora Nigerian-American’s like Saheela Ibraheem one of the world’s smartest teenagers should come to mind. Lets also recall scholars, educators and leaders like Nana Asma’u and Amina of Zaria, they more closely represent Islam than Boko Haram or ISIS ever did or ever will.

Nana Asma’u’s story is a riposte to the orientalist image of Muslim women in history that marks them as invisible and oppressed beings. Nana, is a role model for many, one who reminds us today that it is possible to be devout in faith, an artist, a just leader and a mystic–at the same time.  Nana’s empowerment and support of women’s education is far removed from the bellicosity and anti-education ideology of group’s such as Boko Haram, in contradistinction to them she was a life long learner and teacher who truly valued education.

Note unless otherwise sated most of this information is referenced from Nana Asma’u One Woman’s Jihad Scholar and Scribe by Beverly Mack and Jean Boyd

Yasir Qadhi On American Foreign Policy And The Rise Of ISIS

5 April, 2015 - 22:29


Muslim American Islamic scholar Yasir Qadhi faces his share of death threats, from not only the right-wing in America but also now from the extremist ISIS organization.  In the following video he goes into depth on the reasons why ISIS emerged, the Iraq War and what part US policy has played in creating the conditions that gave birth to the group.

It is a definite must watch.

Activists Call China’s Jailing Of Muslim Over Beard And His Wife For Wearing A Veil ‘Absurd’

4 April, 2015 - 20:19

headlineImage.adapt.1460.high.xinjiang_beard_china_0330.1427733150160 Sam Harris must be proud.

Activists call China’s jailing of Muslim over beard ‘absurd’

The man’s wife was reportedly sentenced to two years for wearing a veil

March 30, 2015 10:54AM ET

A six-year prison sentence reportedly given to a man in China’s traditionally Muslim Xinjiang region for growing a beard was “absurd,” an overseas advocacy group said.

The sentence comes as Beijing continues its crackdown on visible signs of Muslim religious observance among the country’s Uighur ethnic minority. Chinese authorities have warned of a violent separatist movement among Uighurs, but international rights activists have broadly criticized China’s treatment of the group. Hours after Chinese state media reported the man’s sentencing on Sunday, the incident was reported in the international media as another example of China’s repression of Uighur religious freedom. Accounts of the sentencing online on Chinese state media have since disappeared.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress advocacy organization, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday that the Chinese media reports of the punishment were “typical of the political persecution” faced by Uighurs.

“This is a case that would not happen in any other country in the world,” Raxit said in a statement. “It is unacceptable and absurd. It exposes China’s hostile attitude and crisis of governance.”

“If a Chinese person grows a beard, it is a personal fashion he is allowed to choose freely. If a Uighur grows a beard, he is a religious extremist,” he added.

On Sunday, the state-owned newspaper China Youth Daily reported that a court in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar sentenced a 38-year-old Uighur man to six years in jail for growing a beard, while his wife was given two years for veiling herself.

The man “had started growing his beard in 2010″ and his wife “wore a veil hiding her face and a burqa,” the paper said. Both practices are discouraged by local authorities.

The couple were found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a vague accusation regularly used in the Chinese judicial system against dissidents

An employee of Kashgar’s propaganda department declined to confirm the report Monday, telling AFP, “I know nothing about this.”

Chinese state media later appeared to retract its own accounts of the sentencing, after the story was picked up by international English-language media Monday, in an apparent attempt to prevent further criticism of China’s human rights record. The China Youth Daily report and several other articles on the case had been deleted from mainland news sites hours after an article on The Washington Post publicized the incident.

The initial accounts spurred debate among users of China’s popular online social networks.

Some said the punishment was an appropriate way to guard against extremism. “Anyone dressed that way is a terrorist, not a Muslim!” wrote one user on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

Continue reading …

Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Steve King Invite Dutch Fascist Geert Wilders

2 April, 2015 - 19:56

 Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

“Under his wing”: Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

Geert Wilders is on his way to the US again, this time at the invitation of two US congressmen. He will also be awarding a prize at Pamela Geller and Deacon Robert Spencer’s “Draw Muhammad” contest in Texas. (h/t: WaltervanderCruijsen)


On Wednesday April 29th, he will speak at a reception offered to him by Congressman Louie Gohmert (R, TX).

That same day, he speaks at the invitation of Congressman Steve King (R, IA) at the breakfast meeting of members of the US Congress belonging to the renowned Conservative Opportunity Society, a group founded in 1984 by Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Wilders: “I feel deeply honored by the invitations. In my speeches I will warn my American colleagues of the dangers of Islamization.”

After his visit to Washington, Geert Wilders travels to Garland, Texas, where on May 3rd he will give a speech and award a prize of $10,000 for the best Muhammad cartoon.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Convert To White Supremacy

29 March, 2015 - 21:36


Original guest post

By Hakeem Muhammad

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

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

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

Oppression of Women in “Liberal” States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Raw truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

28 March, 2015 - 17:07

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Ayaan Hirsi Ali/Magan

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

By Max Blumenthal, AlterNet

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire article…

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

27 March, 2015 - 16:58


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

(h/t: Saqib)

By Mugda Kapoor, India Times

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

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

Click here to watch video.

France: Pregnant Muslim Woman Attacked & Beaten For Wearing Hijab

27 March, 2015 - 16:40

By IbTimes

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

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

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

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

‘None of that in our country’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Raw Story: Georgia ‘patriot’ reportedly planted pipe bombs in park to sow fear of Muslims

24 March, 2015 - 22:34


By David Ferguson, Raw Story

A 67-year-old Marietta, Georgia man is accused of planting a backpack containing two pipe bombs in an Atlanta-area public park in order to frighten the public and sow fear of Islamic terrorism.

According to Atlanta’s Channel 2 News, conservative “patriot” Michael Sibley confessed to police that he was trying to educate people that terror strikes can happen anywhere and without warning when he planted the bombs last November.

The backpack contained two partially-constructed pipe bombs, a Koran and a list of “soft targets” for terrorist attacks — i.e., non-military, unguarded structures like hospitals and schools. Among the list of potential targets was an Atlanta Jewish center.

Channel 2 quoted Sibley’s arrest report, which reported that he “(s)tated that he is a ‘patriot’ and he felt no one was paying attention to what was going on the world. Sibley felt if he placed the package in a Roswell park then people would finally get that this type of activity could happen anywhere.”

Read the entire article…

Devout Christian Goes On Rampage At New Orleans Airport And You Didn’t Hear About It

24 March, 2015 - 19:35

via. Daily Beast

via. Daily Beast

What if they were Muslim?

By Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast

A Muslim American man carrying a duffel bag that holds six homemade explosives, a machete, and poison spray travels to a major U.S. airport. The man enters the airport, approaches the TSA security checkpoint, and then sprays two TSA officers with the poison. He then grabs his machete and chases another TSA officer with it.

This Muslim man is then shot and killed by the police. After the incident, a search of the attacker’s car by the police reveals it contained acetylene and oxygen tanks, two substances that, when mixed together, will yield a powerful explosive.

If this scenario occurred, there’s zero doubt that this would be called a terrorist attack. Zero. It would make headlines across the country and world, and we would see wall-to-wall cable news coverage for days. And, of course, certain right-wing media outlets, many conservative politicians, and Bill Maher would use this event as another excuse to stoke the flames of hate toward Muslims.

Well, last Friday night, this exact event took place at the New Orleans airport—that is, except for one factual difference: The attacker was not Muslim. Consequently, you might be reading about this brazen assault for the first time here, although this incident did receive a smattering of media coverage over the weekend.

The man who commited this attack was Richard White, a 63-year-old former Army serviceman who has long been retired and living on Social Security and disability checks. He was reportedly a devout Jehovah’s Witness.

Given the facts that a man armed with explosives and weapons traveled to an airport and only attacked federal officers, you would think that the word “terrorism” would at least come up as a possibility, right?  But it’s not even mentioned.

Instead, law enforcement was quick to chalk this incident up to the attacker’s alleged “mental health issues.” That was pretty amazing police work considering this conclusion came within hours of the attack. There was no mention by police that they had even explored whether White had issues with the federal government stemming from his military service, if there was any evidence he held anti-government views, etc.

Perhaps Mr. White truly was mentally ill. Interviews with his neighbors, however, don’t even give us a hint that he had mental problems. Rather they described White as a “meek” and “kind” man who a few had spoken to just days before the incident and everything seemed fine. You would think these neighbors would at least note that White had a history of mental illness if it was so apparent.

Read the entire article…

For A French Rabbi And His Muslim Team, There’s Work To Be Done

24 March, 2015 - 18:19


By Eleanor Beadsley, NPR

Rabbi Michel Serfaty drives to his first appointment of the day, in a suburb south of Paris, just a couple miles from the notorious housing project where gunman Amedy Coulibaly grew up.

Coulibaly is the self-proclaimed Islamist radical who killed a police officer and later four people in a Kosher market in Paris terrorist attacks in January.

France has Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities. For the last decade Serfaty and his team have been working in bleak places like this, trying to promote understanding between the two populations.

Serfaty is still going to the same places since the attacks, but there’s now a team of undercover police officers who accompany him everywhere. Still, The rabbi says he’s more determined than ever.

“These are difficult times for France and especially for French Jews,” he says. “But if anything, we realize our work is even more important.”

The rabbi makes his way into a community center where his French Jewish Muslim Friendship Association has a stand at a local job fair. Serfaty hopes to recruit several more young people to help with community outreach in the largely Muslim, immigrant communities where most people have never even met a Jewish person.

A poster for the French Jewish Muslim Friendship Association, which works in many poor, immigrant neighborhoods.

A poster for the French Jewish Muslim Friendship Association, which works in many poor, immigrant neighborhoods.

Eleanor Beardsley/NPR

“In these places they often have specific ideas about Jews,” says Serfaty. “And if they’re negative, we bring arguments and try to open people’s eyes to what are prejudices and negative stereotypes. We try to show children, mothers and teenagers that being Muslim is great, but if they don’t know any Jews, well this is how they are, and they’re also respectable citizens.”

Serfaty says people need to realize they must all work together to build France’s future.

The rabbi takes advantage of funding from a government program that helps youths without work experience find their first job. Serfaty takes them on for a period of three years, giving them valuable training in mediation and community relations. Serfaty’s recruits also study Judaism and Islam. And he takes them on a trip to Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp.

The rabbi takes advantage of funding from a government program that helps youths without work experience find their first job. Serfaty takes them on for a period of three years, giving them valuable training in mediation and community relations. Serfaty’s recruits also study Judaism and Islam. And he takes them on a trip to Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp.

Serfaty is looking to hire three or four new people. With his affable manner and easy laugh, the job interviews are more like a friendly conversation. He needs Muslim employees for his work, but French laws on secularism forbid him from asking applicants about their religion. So Serfaty draws out the candidates’ views and beliefs in discussion — and through provocative questions.

Read the entire article...