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Pakistan: Fatwa Allows Transgender Marriage

27 June, 2016 - 22:00

Pakistan_transgender_fatwa

Dawn.com, a large Pakistani newspaper has reported on a fatwa passed by a clerical body in the country that supports transgender marriage.

LAHORE: At least 50 clerics affiliated with a little known Tanzeem Ittehad-i-Ummat have issued a fatwa (religious decree) that marriage with a transgender person is lawful.

The fatwa, released on Sunday, said a transgender person having “visible signs of being a male” may marry a woman or a transgender with “visible signs of being a female” and vice versa.

But, the fatwa added, a transgender person carrying “visible signs of both genders” may not marry anyone.

It declared that robbing transgender people of their share in inheritance was unlawful and that parents who deprive their transgender sons/daughters of inheritance were “inviting the wrath of God”.

The clerics called upon the government to take action against such parents.

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Buddhist Mob Rampage Against Muslim Villagers, Destroy Mosque

27 June, 2016 - 21:09

Burma_Mosque_destroyed

Hundreds of Myanmar Muslims have been displaced from their homes after a violent mob of Buddhist nationalists destroyed their mosque, and ransacked their businesses in the village of  Thuye Thamain.

This is a clear consequence of the violent Islamophobic atmosphere that has been nurtured by successive military regimes and which Suu Kyi’s “democractic” NLD party, which won national elections in 2015, has done nothing to stem or counter.

via. Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC.net)

Police reinforcements have been called in to help guard a village in central Myanmar where religious tensions are running high after a Buddhist mob destroyed a mosque.

Authorities said an angry mob of around 200 Buddhists rampaged through a Muslim area of a village in Bago province following an argument between neighbours over the building of a Muslim school.

It is the latest flare-up of anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar, which has seen sporadic bouts of religious bloodshed since 2012, with a surge of Buddhist nationalism presenting a key challenge for Aung San Suu Kyi’s new government.

Own Lwin, the local police chief, said the atmosphere remained tense with around 100 police officers deployed to keep the peace.

He said there had been rumours that there might be more unrest, adding that no arrests have been made over the destruction of the mosque.

Win Shwe, the mosque’s secretary, said Muslim residents feared for their safety and were planning to move to a nearby town until the tension cools.

“Our situation is not safe and now we are planning to leave the village … We still feel afraid,” he said.

Strident anti-Muslim sentiment has fomented across Myanmar in recent years, with outbreaks of violencethreatening to unravel democratic gains since the former junta stepped down in 2011.

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Notts Casual Infidels Post Investigated For Supporting Murder of MP Jo Cox

21 June, 2016 - 19:36

Nottingham_Infidels

The presence of Islamophobic hate pages on Facebook and other social media platforms has been noted by Loonwatch and others for quite some time; recall Garibaldi’s expose on SIOA, the mother of all Islamophobic hate pages. These incubators of hate are where the anti-Muslim/anti-Left messaging, including violence is nurtured and disseminated to a wide audience of like-minded individuals.

Police are now investigating a Nottingham based hate group calling itself Notts Casual Infidels that stated that the murder of MP Jo Cox was an indicator of them “taking it to the next level.”

Nottingham Post

Police have said they are investigating a far right campaign group’s social media post following the death of MP Jo Cox.

The Notts Casual Infidels group has since deleted its Facebook post, which carried a link to a Guardian article following the story after news broke of the 41-year-old mother’s death.

Mrs Cox was killed by gun shots and stab wounds.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We are aware of social media posts commenting on the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox which appear to have been attributed to a group claiming to be from Nottinghamshire, and our enquiries with regard this social media activity are on-going.”

The post, which was later deleted due to criticism from anti-fascist campaign groups and Facebook users, said: “We knew it was only a matter of time before we take it to the next level. We have been mugged off for Far to (sic) long.”

Spokesman Jamie-Ray Upton told the Post the Facebook update “came across wrong”.

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What Role Did FBI Play In Radicalizing Omar Mateen?

20 June, 2016 - 23:58

fbi_badge_gun_cc_img_0

Today it was revealed that the FBI is censoring parts of Omar Mateen’s 911 call proclaiming “allegiance” to the Islamic State which are sure to feed conspiracy theories. This is on top of an Alternet expose by Max Blumlenthal and Sarah Lazare about FBI efforts to lure Mateen into a terrorist plot and questions of whether or not it backfired by contributing to Mateen’s “lethal mindset.”

Via. Alternet

Before Omar Mateen gunned down 49 patrons of the LGBTQ Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the FBI attempted to induce him to participate in a terror plot. Sheriff Ken Mascara of Florida’s St. Lucie County told the Vero Beach Press Journal that after Mateen threatened a courthouse deputy in 2013 by claiming he could order Al Qaeda operatives to kill his family, the FBI dispatched an informant to “lure Omar into some kind of act and Omar did not bite.”

While self-styled terror experts and former counter-terror officials have criticized the FBI for failing to stop Mateen before he committed a massacre, the new revelation raises the question of whether the FBI played a role in pushing Mateen towards an act of lethal violence.

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Robert Kinder Farris Charged With Hate Crime After Threatening Seattle Mosque

17 June, 2016 - 19:15

Idris_Mosque_Hate_Crime

By Caitlin Moran, via. The Seattle Times

The King County prosecutor has filed a hate-crime charge against Robert Kinder Farris, the Seattle man accused of threatening the Idris Mosque near Northgate earlier this week.

Farris, 37, was charged with one count of malicious harassment, Washington state’s hate-crime statute, and will be arraigned June 30. The felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.

He was arrested Tuesday afternoon at his Greenwood apartment after a brief standoff with police and remains in jail on $2 million bail.

According to charging documents, Farris began posting threatening comments about Muslims on his Facebook account Sunday and continued doing so until his arrest. One of his posts included a photo of the Idris Mosque in North Seattle from Google Street View with the comment, “Idriss [sic] Mosque in Seattle, too many targets to count.” He also vowed to “take revenge” against Muslims, an apparent reference to the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.

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On The #Orlando Massacre

14 June, 2016 - 00:57

People attend a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Orlando attack against a gay night club, held in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

People attend a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Orlando attack against a gay night club, held in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

The past week has been a roller coaster for Muslim Americans. Muhammad Ali’s passing which was a tragedy brought the country together and for a moment Islam and Muslims were human again. Ali, represented the best of Islam and was a “radical Muslim” in his own right. He reminded America and the world that to be a “radical Muslim” doesn’t need only conjure images of ISIS and Alqaeda fighters. Just a day later, a man named Omar Mateen, attacked an Orlando gay bar massacring 50 and injuring 53 people. It is important here to speak out and condemn homophobia and all that contributes to it. Orlando and those affected by the attacks are in our thoughts.

The Intercept: Special Ops Killing of Pregnant Afghan Women Was “Appropriate” Use of Force

3 June, 2016 - 19:25

gardez-military-article-

By Jeremey Scahill, via. The Intercept

An internal defense department investigation into one of the most notorious night raids conducted by special operations forces in Afghanistan — in which seven civilians were killed, including two pregnant women — determined that all the U.S. soldiers involved had followed the rules of engagement. As a result, the soldiers faced no disciplinary measures, according to hundreds of pages of Defense Department documents obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act. In the aftermath of the raid, Adm. William McRaven, at the time the commander of the elite Joint Special Operations Command, took responsibility for the operation. The documents made no unredacted mention of JSOC.

Although two children were shot during the raid and multiple witnesses and Afghan investigators alleged that U.S. soldiers dug bullets out of the body of at least one of the dead pregnant women, Defense Department investigators concluded that “the amount of force utilized was necessary, proportional and applied at appropriate time.” The investigation did acknowledge that “tactical mistakes” were made.

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The Stranger: Human Nature and the Other

2 June, 2016 - 23:36

Laith_Saud

First of all I want to apologize for the lack of posts over the past several weeks. I know for our regular readers and supporters this has been a disappointment. Writers here haven’t had as much time, especially since we are all volunteer but the hope is to move away from that soon and have a consistent staff. So expect changes and more consistent content.

In the meantime here is an important video that gets to the root of tackling bigotry and hate. An excellent lecture by Prof. Laith Saud.:

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

29 April, 2016 - 19:44

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

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

via. The Independent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29 April, 2016 - 19:16

khalil-abu-rayyan-twitter

(h/t:JD)

via. The Intercept

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 April, 2016 - 18:01

Death_to_Arabs_Tel_Aviv

via. Electronic Intifada

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

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

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

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

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

22 April, 2016 - 17:42

John_Alletto_Cab_Driver_Hate_Crime

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

via. DNA Info

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21 April, 2016 - 19:44

rejected red square stamp

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

via. BizJournals.com

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

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

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

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

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Bottles Of Alcohol Thrown At Mosque Windows As People Pray Inside

21 April, 2016 - 19:30

Totteridge Mosque

via. BuckFreePress

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

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

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

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Teju Cole: Charlie Hebdo Finally Steps Away from the Mask

8 April, 2016 - 16:04

Author Teju Cole

Author Teju Cole

 

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

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

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

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

Teju Cole: Charlie Hebdo Finally Steps Away from the Mask

H/T: Yousef

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the original Facebook post here.

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

7 April, 2016 - 23:41

congress_hearing_women_terrorism

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

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

via. Alternet, Grayzone Project

 

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

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

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

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

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