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Khalid Jabara Was Victim Of Hate Crime And Tulsa Police Failure

16 August, 2016 - 19:12

Vernon_Majors_Khalid_Jabara

Vernon Majors, a 61 year-old White male had been violently harassing and intimidating his Christian Lebanese Arab neighbors, the Jabara family for years. He used racial epithets against them and also Islamophobic slurs consistently over this time period.

In fact, he intentionally struck the mother of the family, Haifa Jabara with his car causing grave bodily injuries to her person for which he was sent to prison. Eventually he bonded out and that’s when the nightmare for the Jabara family began all over again.

This story reflects the Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism rampant in America and a complete breakdown and failure on the part of the Tulsa Police Department to protect its citizens. The Jabara family did everything they could within the law to protect themselves but the Tulsa PD did not take them seriously. The question is why and how much did bias play a part?

Muslim civil rights activist Ahmed Rehab has called on those concerned by this brutal hate crime to go onto the Facebook page of the Tulsa Police Department and give them a “1 star review.”

Just rated Tulsa Police a “1 star” on their FB page, and let them know why. Please do the same. If you want more details on the murder of Khalid, see my last status. I am sure if they get a torrent of bad reviews, it will make it into the chief’s meeting. A good fast way to let them know how you feel.

abara_Tulsa_Police

Islamophobes Terrorize Church In Bid To Fearmonger About “Muslim Invasion”

16 August, 2016 - 18:10

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These Australian Trump devotees want to “Make Australia great again.” Does that mean giving the land that was stolen by White colonizers back to the aboriginals? It should be but that’s not what they mean. Instead they think it’s cute and funny to dress in what they think are “Muslim clothes” and make fake chants while interrupting a Church service. They stand on stolen land, where their ancestors killed, murdered, raped and forcibly converted true native Australians to Christianity, yet they want to warn about a fictitious “Muslim invasion.”

I also have to point out the irony of Islamophobes deluded enough to believe that protesting against an Anglican Church, “dressed up as Muslims” (whatever that means) is the way to go about “saving” Western civilization.

PS: The response by Father Bower of the Church was awesome!

via. Instanews

A group of far-right protesters dressed in mock-Islamic clothing has interrupted an Anglican church mass in Australia, chanting about a “Muslim invasion.” The church minister said he was appalled by the stunt, but said he supports people’s right to protest.

The group Party for Freedom gathered at Gosford Anglican Church in New South Wales on Sunday to stage a spectacle in which they pretended to pray while using a loudspeaker to blast out what sounded like a Muslim prayer. They then chanted slogans against Islam before leaving, ABC reports.

Later the group took Facebook photos at a pub in full Muslim garb while being questioned by police. They claimed on their page that the protest was against Father Bower, who preaches at the church. They say they are against his making friends with Islamic preachers and being favorable toward a multicultural Australia.

“It was … just out of the blue, some of the congregation were quite upset,” Father Bower told ABC, shocked that the disturbance had to happen halfway through his sermon.

“I recognized one of the participants and clearly they weren’t Muslims — it was mock attire,” he added. “I took a minute or so but I worked out who they were. I quietened the congregation down – they were a bit distressed.”

The group denies its behavior was inappropriate, its leader Nick Folkes telling the Australian broadcaster “I don’t have to apologize because we didn’t hurt anybody, it was only words and it was a protest sort of thing, it’s very different to going with the intention of physically hurting somebody.”

Continue reading…

ACT! For America’s Empty Promises

12 August, 2016 - 19:33

ACT_For_America

By Emperor

The 2016 presidential election season has been punctuated by the implosion of the Republican party, decimated by the long nurtured hatred and xenophobia that it has thrived upon for decades. The Republican elite have for some time either looked the other way or actively pandered to and supported bigoted organizations, hoping to reap electoral dividends.

One such cog in the Conservative movement’s wheels has been ACT! For America. ACT! For America is one of a plethora of Islamophobic hate groups whose shady practices and links have been exposed repeatedly over the years. ACT! is led by Brigitte Gabriel and has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from leading donors of the Conservative movement.

In July 2014, we reported Brigitte Gabriel’s announcement that ACT! For America was launching university campus chapters. ACT!’s purported goal in establishing these university chapters was to counter Muslim Student Associations (MSA), which, in line with the conspiratorial messaging of Islamophobes was a supposed “Muslim Brotherhood” front. ACT! claims that their “goal is for Students Who ACT to be recognized as an official student group on at least 100 campuses by the end of 2016!”

Students Who ACT claims the following platform.:

“As the only group on college campuses focused on promoting national security and defeating terrorism, “Students Who ACT”:

  • Lead the way in encouraging student participation in the defense of American values and liberties in their communities and on the state and federal level;
  • Further their peers’ education of ACT for America’s core issues including raising awareness of global Christian persecution;
  • Combat extreme bias and intimidation by encouraging students to respond and exercise their Constitutional right to free speech;
  • Promote patriotism among fellow students.

Students help raise awareness through group activities such as holding educational events, staying active on campus with like-minded groups, attending the ACT for America National Conference, participating in social media campaigns, and working with the local ACT for America chapters.” (ACT! For America Students)

It’s been two years, so how far along is Brigitte Gabriel and ACT! For America in achieving the establishment of “100 chapters” on University campuses?

By using the good ole’ google maps list, ACT!’s official “Find a Chapter” map, and Facebook we see that only four universities supposedly should have an ACT! For America student group on campus. These are Murray State University, Liberty University, Tulane University, and Oklahoma State University- Stillwater.

However, looking at the most up-to-date list of student organizations at all four universities, neither ACT! For America nor Students Who Act are listed as student organizations at these universities. The student life coordinator at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater, and Evan Frejo confirmed that they do not have a student organization related to ACT! For America on the list of student organizations.

Therefore, it’s apparent that ACT For America does not actually have a single official student organization at any American university. Indeed, the goal of 100 chapters by the end of this year is not only unattainable but in the past two years they have opened a grand total of zero chapters! Money well spent for an Islamophobia machine that is funded to the tune of over $200 million dollars!

Bill Clinton’s #DNC Speech: Propagates “Good Muslim vs. Bad Muslim” Dichotomy

28 July, 2016 - 19:20

Former President Bill Clinton speaks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016. Hillary Clinton officially became the Democratic Party’s standard-bearer on Tuesday in a roll-call vote of delegates on the floor of the convention. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times) XNYT328

Former President Bill Clinton speaks on the second day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016. (Stephen Crowley/The New York Times)

“If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you.” -Bill Clinton, DNC 2016

It’s not surprising that in his DNC speech, Bill Clinton, adopted and forwarded the simplistic “Good Muslim” vs. “Bad Muslim” dichotomy and was therefore widely criticized. Hillary supporters, those who have cared enough to respond, have argued that this is an over reaction because Bill had “good intentions.”

This charitable interpretation is expected as many see the current presidential race as an existential fight for the future of America and any criticism of Hillary or her husband, especially in the context of the campaign will be viewed as an attack. For my part I view Bill Clinton as a wily politician, who is aware in this instance of what he was saying and doing. He doesn’t see anything wrong or untoward in the mentality that lead him to utter the words he did. Ironically, it was a statement that could also easily have come out of the mouth of Donald Trump. So instead of differentiating himself from Trump and being inclusive of Muslim Americans, he ended up reinforcing prejudice and stereotypes.

By Peter Beinart, The Atlantic

[T]he worst moment of the speech came near its end, when Clinton began to riff about the different kinds of people who should join Hillary’s effort. “If you love this country, you’re working hard, you’re paying taxes, you’re obeying the law and you’d like to become a citizen, you should choose immigration reform over someone that wants to send you back,” he said. Fair enough. Under any conceivable immigration overhaul, only those undocumented immigrants who have obeyed the law once in the United States—which includes paying taxes—will qualify for citizenship. Two sentences later, Clinton said that, “If you’re a young African American disillusioned and afraid … help us build a future where no one’s afraid to walk outside, including the people that wear blue to protect our future.” No problem there. Of course African Americans should be safe from abusive police, and of course, police should be safe from the murderers who threaten them.

But in between, Clinton said something dreadful: “If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together, we want you.” The problem is in the assumption. American Muslims should be viewed exactly the same way other Americans are. If they commit crimes, then they should be prosecuted, just like other Americans. But they should not have to prove that they “love America and freedom” and “hate terror” to “stay here.” Their value as Americans is inherent, not instrumental. Their role as Americans is not to “help us win” the “war on terror.”

Whether Clinton meant to or not, he lapsed into Trumpism: the implication that Muslims are a class apart, deserving of special scrutiny and surveillance, guilty of terrorist sympathies until proven innocent. I think I understand where the formulation came from. In the 1990s, one of Clinton’s key New Democratic innovations was his insistence that with rights, come responsibilities: To receive government assistance, welfare recipients must work. If people commit crimes, the government will punish them harshly.

Continue reading…

Open Thread: Turkey Coup Attempt

19 July, 2016 - 19:08

Turkey_tank_man

The events in Turkey have roiled the world, especially the Muslim majority world. Hundreds are dead, thousands injured and now there is statewide crackdown in which 6,000 people have been arrested. The coup attempt has been blamed by Erdogan on the Gulenist inspired Hizmet movement in coordination, or under the patronage of the CIA. The rivalry between Erdogan and Hizmet has been going on for quite some time now, as Erdogan accuses them of trying to create a parallel state and has arrested and disbanded Hizmet members and their institutions in Turkey.

What are your thoughts?

Erdogan demands extradition of Gulen:

Gulen responds to the charges:

Steve King: “Western” Civilization Created Everything

19 July, 2016 - 18:53

Steve-King-Interview-638x425

Here is Islamophobe and all around racist, US Rep. Steve King speaking in the familiar vernacular of racists and nativists on MSNBC.

“This ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” King said. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

Hayes asked: “Than white people?”

“Than, than Western civilization itself,” King said. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

In response to the “Western civilization” myth that is advanced by White supremacists and their allies it is a good time to relate the words reportedly said by Gandhi: when asked, “what do you think of Western civilization?” he replied, “I think it is a good idea.”

Loonwatch Noted Mike Pence as an Islamophobe “To Watch” In 2012

15 July, 2016 - 18:38

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence joins Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Westfield, Ind., Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence joins Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Westfield, Ind., Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The 2012 election cycle wasn’t good for Islamophobic politicians, many of them lost, and they lost big. That same year however we noted Gov. Mike Pence was a winner and an “Islamophobe to watch.” He has now been chosen as the GOP Vice Presidential candidate by Donald Trump, reinforcing his Islamophobic credentials.

Mike_Pence_Islamophobia

France: #Nice Massacre

15 July, 2016 - 17:49

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Another horrific massacre, this time in Nice, France. This is on top of massacres in the Muslim majority world, (Bangladesh, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia) where hundreds have been killed in bombings by individuals supposedly acting in the name of ISIS. Once again proving that the greatest victims of terrorist violence continue to be Muslims.

Of course this individual who perpetrated the attack fits the pattern of a non-religious, wife-beating, life-long petty criminal who all of a sudden got “religion.” Sadly, there will be no real discussion of the factors that lead to such violence. Khaled Beydoun however lays out the facts.:

Newt The Brute Racist: Calls For Profiling And Deporting Shariah Following Muslims

15 July, 2016 - 17:18

Newt_Gingrich_Deport_Muslims

Newt Gingrich made headlines last week when he said something thought to be semi-non-racist, acknowledging that Black Americans essentially live under an iniquitous system in which they face greater discrimination and violence. The Washington Post quoted Gingrich saying:

“It is more dangerous to be black in America. It’s both more dangerous because of the crime, which is the Chicago story … But it is more dangerous in that [you are] substantially more likely to be in a situation where police don’t respect you and where you could easily get killed. And I think sometimes, for whites, it’s difficult to appreciate how real that is. It’s an everyday danger.”

He couched this in a context that Blacks aren’t “respected” because of their “crime” but he still was forced to acknowledge the obvious double standards and violence.

However, anyone who thought Newt might have evolved from his general Georgia-inflected White Supremacist beliefs was quickly disabused of that when yesterday he went on Fox News and called for Muslims who believe in Shariah to be deported.:

“Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in sharia they should be deported,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Sean Hannity.

“Sharia is incompatible with western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up sharia — glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door,” he added. Further, he said: “Anybody who goes on a website favoring ISIS or al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, that should be a felony, and they should go to jail. Any organization which hosts such a website should be engaged in a felony. It should be closed down immediately.”

Gingrich also said that the attack in Nice is the “fault of Western elites who lack the guts to do what is right, to do what is necessary,” and suggested that mosques in America need to be monitored.

Continue Reading

Florida Mosque Removed As A Polling Site After Complaints And Threats

14 July, 2016 - 18:55

Islamic-Center-Boco-Raton-HP

(h/t: Carl)

via. Washington Post

For years, the Islamic Center of Boca Raton, Fla., served as a polling station for Palm Beach County voters.

Since at least the year 2010, citizens have cast their votes within the pastel green walls of the mosque, whether it was for a presidential primary, a municipal election or a special primary.

Last week, however, the mosque was removed as a polling site.

The decision was made by Susan Bucher, Supervisor of Elections for Palm Beach County, after she received complaints, and threats, about the use of the mosque in the upcoming Florida primary in August and general election in November. Bucher, a Democrat, is running for re-election for the nonpartisan supervisor post.

“We began receiving complaints from voters,” said Bucher in an email to The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board. “Some felt uncomfortable voting at the Islamic Center.”

Continue Reading

Muslim Woman Egged At Walmart Because Of Hijab

13 July, 2016 - 17:53

Farad_Ashfar_Walmart_Hijab

via. Arab American News

CALIFORNIA – A Muslim woman was allegedly egged because she wore a hijab as she was exiting a Walmart on Sunday in northern California.

Farad Afshar,  a student at Chabot Community College in Hayward, posted to Instagram that his mother was targeted by a group of men while leaving the store with his younger sister.

They had spotted her while she was shopping and stalked the mother and daughter as they exited.

The men smashed eggs onto the mother’s head and body, presumably because she was wearing hijab.

“My mom is the most kindhearted, loving, and selfless person you’ll ever meet. She has a great amount of pride and respect for her religion, culture, and customs. The fact that she can’t walk out of her home without feeling safe is sickening,” Afshar said on Instagram after posting a picture of his mother covered in eggs.

“I am at loss for words due to the immense amount of hate that is in this world. No one should have to see their mom broken because of a couple of people having disgusting prejudices about people that do not look like them.” he added.

Kashmir Intifada: Anti-Occupation Protests Rock The State

12 July, 2016 - 21:32

Kashmir_Resistance_India

Not much coverage in the media regarding India’s brutal occupation of Kashmir. Kasmiris however have been on the streets daily, protesting the state violence that is an everyday fact of life.

via. AlJazeera English

Confrontations and pitched battles between protesters and Indian armed forces have continued in Indian-administered Kashmir, despite a round-the-clock curfew imposed by authorities.

Dozens of protesters were killed and hundreds wounded over the weekend after police and paramilitary troops opened fire on tens of thousands of Kashmiris who took to the streets to pay homage to the rebel leader Burhan Wani, who was killed on Friday. At least one police officer was also killed.

Wani was the leader of Hizb-ul Mujahideen, a group fighting Indian control of the disputed region. He has been widely credited for reviving armed resistance in Kashmir, using social media such as Facebook to reach out to young Kashmiri men.

K Rajendra Kumar, the director general of Jammu and Kashmir Police, told reporters that 100 police personnel had been wounded and that three went missing while quelling the protests.

Activists and separatist leaders criticised the security forces’ response to the protests, accusing them of using excessive force.

Continue reading…

Pakistan: Legendary Humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi Has Passed Away

8 July, 2016 - 20:31

Abdul-Sattar-Edhi

Abdul Sattar Edhi embodied the deep core of Islamic spirituality wedded to social activism. His efforts and developing institutes serving the most vulnerable and poor in Pakistani society, often neglected by the state was deserving of a Nobel Prize. His story is amazing.

via. ABC News

Pakistan’s legendary philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, who devoted his life to the poor and the destitute, died on Friday at a hospital in Karachi following a prolonged illness. He was 88.

Edhi’s family announced his death and his son, Faisal Edhi, asked all people to “pray for the departed soul” of his father.

Earlier in the day, the family had announced that Edhi’s condition deteriorated and that he was breathing with the help of a ventilator. Edhi had been undergoing treatment at the hospital for the past several weeks and his son said he was suffering from kidney- and sugar-related problems.

Edhi, known as “Angel of Mercy” for his social work that also won international acclaim, established a welfare foundation almost six decades ago that he oversaw together with his wife, Bilquis Edhi.

The foundation owns and runs Pakistan’s largest ambulance service, as well as nursing homes, orphanages, clinics and women’s shelters, along with rehabilitation centers and soup kitchens across the country.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his condolences and sorrow over Edhi’s passing and said he prayed that God will give the charity worker “the best place in paradise.”

Edhi was a “real gem and asset for Pakistan,” Sharif said in a statement. “We have lost a great servant of humanity. He was the real manifestation of love for those who were socially vulnerable, impoverished, helpless and poor.”

“This loss is irreparable for the people of Pakistan,” the prime minister added.

The funeral is due to take place Saturday in Karachi.

Continue Reading…

The Most Beautiful Eid Picture of 2016

8 July, 2016 - 18:53

A belated Eid Mubarak to all those celebrating!

Sunnis and Shias came together for the Eid prayer in Karradah, Baghdad where a horrific car bombing killed nearly 300 Iraqis. This was a show of unity and defiance against those who wish to fan the flames of sectarianism, and it is beautiful.

via. Asad Dandia who writes: “Sunni and Shia Muslims offering Eid prayers side-by-side in Karradah, Baghdad, at the site of this week’s car bombing attack. What a profound act of unity, solidarity, and resilience.” (h/t: Harun)

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Jeremy Corbyn Vs. War Criminal Tony Blair

7 July, 2016 - 23:28

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A must watch video on the difference between Jeremy Corbyn and the war criminal Tony Blair. One is being hounded out of the Labour party while the other is feted by think tanks, politicos and makes millions in the service of dictatorship, hate and violence. Guess who it is?

Surveillance of Japan’s Muslims

7 July, 2016 - 19:25

Junko Hayashi is the lawyer for plaintiffs who challenged police surveillance of Japan's Muslim community [Ian Munroe/Al Jazeera]

Junko Hayashi is the lawyer for plaintiffs who challenged police surveillance of Japan’s Muslim community [Ian Munroe/Al Jazeera]

Y tu Japan?

Edward Snowden commenting on this stated, “People of the Islamic faith are more likely to be targeted … despite not having any criminal activities or associations or anything like that in their background, simply because people are afraid.” Snowden also mentioned that the last terrorist attack in Japan was not by Muslims.

By Ian Munroe, via. AlJazeera English

Tokyo, Japan – Mohamed Fujita used to host religious study groups at his home that were open to all Muslims. But today he’s afraid to invite strangers, in case they’re police informants.

Extensive surveillance has put many people of his faith on edge, he says, sowing mistrust.

A native of Japan who converted to Islam more than two decades ago, Fujita was one of 17 plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenged blanket monitoring of the country’s followers of Islam. His name has been changed in this story to protect his identity, after police documents labelling him a possible security threat were leaked online.

Fujita’s wife first noticed the couple was being followed by law enforcement in the early 2000s. He says he would go out of his way to cooperate with officers when they would occasionally approach him. But they eventually asked that he report on other members of his mosque and he refused.

Then came the leak in 2010 of 114 police files, which revealed religious profiling of Muslims across Japan. The documents included resumé-like pages listing a host of personal information, including an individual’s name, physical description, personal relationships and the mosque they attended, along with a section titled “suspicions”.

A skyline view of a mosque in Japan’s capital, Tokyo [Ian Munroe/Al Jazeera]

The files also showed by the time the 2008 G8 summit was held in Hokkaido, northern Japan, at least 72,000 residents from Organisation of Islamic Conference countries had been profiled – including about 1,600 public school students in and around Tokyo.

Police in the capital had also been surveilling places of worship, halal restaurants, and “Islam-related” organisations, the documents showed.

Within a few weeks of the leak, the data had been downloaded from a file-sharing website more than 10,000 times in more than 20 countries.

Fujita and the other plaintiffs, many of whom were originally from Middle Eastern or North African countries, sued in the hope the courts would deem the police practices illegal. Their lawyers said police had violated their constitutional rights to privacy, equal treatment, and religious freedom.

After two appeals, the Supreme Court dismissed the case on May 31.

The justices concurred with a lower court that the plaintiffs deserved a total of ¥90 million ($880,000) in compensation because the leak violated their privacy. But they did not weigh in on the police profiling or surveillance practices, which a lower court ruling had upheld as “necessary and inevitable” to guard against the threat of international terrorism.

“We were told we don’t have a constitutional case,” says Junko Hayashi, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “We’re still trying to figure out, how is it not constitutional?”

Law enforcement mostly ignored the case. One of the few public statements they made came at a United Nations human rights committee hearing on the matter in 2014. An official from the National Police Agency said “details of information-gathering activities to prevent future terrorism could not be disclosed”, but that “police collected information according to the law”, according to UN records.

Some have defended the surveillance of Muslims, including Naofumi Miyasaka, a professor at the National Defense Academy of Japan. He describes the data leak as “the biggest failure in the history of Japan’s counterterrorism” because it would have hurt the ability of law enforcement to gather intelligence on potential threats through “mutual trust and cooperation between police and informants”.

The Supreme Court decision generated few headlines and little public debate in Japan. Local media outlets had covered the legal proceedings by focusing on the leak of information, tiptoeing around the police surveillance issue.

Continue reading …

Alternet: Why I Confronted Top European Liberal Politicians On Their Role In Mainstreaming Islamophobia

7 July, 2016 - 19:06

Yasser_Louati_Kouchner

An important read by the director of CCiF, Yasser Louati on his confrontation with political and national figures who have advanced Islamophobic narratives and agendas in the guise of liberalism. Such interventions of speaking truth to power are vital and must be shared widely.:

By Yasser Louati, via. Alternet

What might have been another mundane public relations event with foreign government officials ended up in a heated debate between the audience and three figures who have played an influential role in shaping the political atmosphere in Western Europe and the Middle East.

Despite having been invited to speak on Europe’s dangerous trend of Islamophobia, Straw set the tone by wondering why Muslims were not loud enough in condemning 9/11 or bold enough to address global terrorism — ignoring all the blanket condemnations French media either did not report or omitted from their coverage. Addressing the growing refugee crisis in Europe and the rise of anti-migrant attitudes in his country, Kouchner staunchly refused to hold France’s successive administrations responsible for the numerous laws and measures specifically targeting French Muslim citizens. In return, Kouchner expressed his satisfaction at laws limiting the garb Muslims are allowed to wear in public spaces because, according to him, “freed Muslim girls and women from the oppression of their brothers, fathers, and husbands”.

Though Spain’s Zapatero denied the existence of Islamophobic attacks in his country, he distinguished himself by refusing to draw a direct link between Islam and terrorism and called for widespread efforts to tackle anti-Muslim sentiment through education and dialogue.

Continue Reading…

Islam Thrives In Communist Cuba

2 July, 2016 - 18:37

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via. USAToday

HAVANA — As Cuban salsa beats pulsate along Obispo Street in the oldest section of this Caribbean capital, bearded men raise their hands to their ears and face east toward Mecca.

They whisper in union “Allahu akbar” (“God is great” in Arabic). They recite verses of the Koran. They bend down and place their head, knees and hands on Oriental rugs.

Together, they represent a thriving group of Islamic followers in the most unlikely of places: communist Cuba.

As Muslims across the globe celebrate the holy month of Ramadan, which kicked off in early June, they are joined by a small but vibrant community of Muslims — about 10,000, based on their own estimate — who are blending Islamic values and Latin American customs in Cuba. They are now holding their daily prayers inside Cuba’s first mosque on an island more associated with Catholicism and Santeria.

“Islam has been important in Cuban culture since the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the island,” said Marta Linares Gonzalez, 60, who converted to Islam and picked the Islamic name Fatima. “He came with Moorish slaves, who are part of the Spanish culture.”

Shortly after Fidel Castro took control of Cuba in 1959, he instituted a communist government, complete with prohibitions on religion. Catholic churches were shuttered, religious schools of all kinds were forced to pack up and leave the island and everyday Cubans took to praying to God in private.

As the years passed, Cuba’s government started easing those restrictions. They allowed for a freer expression of Catholicism, the predominant religion on the island, and Santeria, the blend of African, Caribbean and Catholic beliefs that has become popular throughout Cuba.

In recent years, the Islamic faith has also taken hold.

Pedro Lazo Torres, known as the Imam Yahya, said there used to be so few Muslims in Cuba that they could hold their prayers inside someone’s home. As they grew, their prayers spilled out into the street. Torres is now president of Cuba’s Islamic League and says the number of Cubans asking to convert continues to increase.

He now operates out of a mosque that was inaugurated in June of 2015 thanks tofunding from Turkey’s president, Recep Erdoğan. Located in Old Havana, the mosque sits next to an Islamic museum, known as The Arab House, and has brand new Spanish-Arabic copies of the Koran.

Torres said the Muslim population has grown in part because of students who travel to Cuba from Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Rwanda. After an earthquake hit Pakistan in 2005, hundreds of Pakistanis resettled in Cuba and were given scholarships by the government.

Continue Reading…

Minneapolis: Students Wounded After Gunman Opens Fire While Screaming ‘f*ck Muslims’

2 July, 2016 - 18:10

Hussein Gelle (KARE)

Hussein Gelle (KARE)

By Travis Gettys, via. Raw Story

Police are searching for a gunman who opened fire on five Somali men on their way to prayer services in Minneapolis.

The men were wearing traditional Muslim clothing while driving from a basketball game about 2 a.m. Wednesday to a late prayer service at a nearby mosque whey overheard a man making disparaging remarks about their religion, reported the Star Tribune.

It’s not unusual for Muslims to stay awake for overnight services during the holy month of Ramadan, which ends next week, and the men had actually been at the mosque earlier before leaving to go play basketball near the University of Minnesota campus.

They overhead a “very drunk” man make insulting remarks about Muslims as they got into their car, and they spotted the same man at the next intersection and questioned him about the insults, reported KARE-TV.

“The man said, ‘I didn’t say those things, I know a lot of Muslims. I have Muslim friends,’ and we said, ‘That’s great!’ and so we thought it was over,” said victim Hussein Gelle.
But another white man wouldn’t let it go.

“But his friend came up and said, ‘What if I said f*ck Muslims? What would you do if I said f*ck Muslims?’ — and we told him it was over,” Gelle said.

That’s when the second man pulled out a handgun and threatened them.

“Well I am saying it,” the man said. “I am saying it, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
The Somali men drove away, and the man fired at least seven gunshots at them — wounding the 22-year-old Gelle and a 19-year-old man in the car.

Continue reading …

Shariah High Court Appoints First Women Judges In Malaysia

30 June, 2016 - 17:44

Malaysia_Shariah_Female_Judges

When most think of Shariah they have a simplistic understanding of it as a misogynistic law system that oppresses women and minorities. Little do they know of the egalitarian and compassionate spirit that is supposed to underpin its logic. It looks like in Malaysia strides are being made to resurrect that original ethos.

via. The Malay Mail Online

SHAH ALAM, June 27 — Two women judges from Selangor have been appointed to the Shariah High Court, a first in Malaysia, the Star Online reported

Noor Huda Roslan, 40, and Nenney Shuhaidah Shamsuddin, 41, received their appointment letters from the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah during a ceremony at the Istana Bukit Kayangan.

According to the news portal, the Shariah chief judge Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said the appointments showed the Sultan’s concern about Shariah Court matters.

Dr Mohd Na’im added that the appointments had nothing to do with gender, and the two women were qualified for the job.

Seven other women were made Shariah Lower Court judges.

Continue reading…

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