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Jordanian writer shot dead as he arrived for trial for insulting Islam

The Guardian World news: Islam - 25 September, 2016 - 12:16

Nahed Hattar shot three times in the head outside Amman court where was on trial over cartoon he shared on Facebook

A prominent and controversial Jordanian writer, who was on trial for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam, has been shot dead outside the court in Amman where he was due to appear.

Nahed Hattar, 56, posted a cartoon on Facebook earlier this year that he said mocked jihadi attitudes, for which he was facing charges in Jordan of inciting sectarian strife and insulting Islam.

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“Sunnis condemn the Saudis” isn’t news

Indigo Jo Blogs - 24 September, 2016 - 12:46

A group of imams in turbans and robes, with a small minaret with crescent and star symbols behindThe Independent carried a story last Thursday in which Robert Fisk claimed that “for the first time”, Saudi Arabia was under attack from both Sunni and Shi’ite scholars as some two hundred scholars, including the mufti of al-Azhar Ahmad al-Tayyib and mufti of Syria Ahmad Hassoun, as well as representatives from Kuwait, Libya, Jordan and Sudan, had met in late August in Grozny, Chechnya at a conference hosted by Putin’s infamous puppet-thug Ramazan Kadyrov and opened by Putin himself, issuing a statement that condemns Wahhabism as a “dangerous deformation” of Islamic belief and calling for “a return to the schools of great knowledge”, presumably meaning the four schools of law. Fisk claims:

Although they did not mention the Kingdom by name, the declaration was a stunning affront to a country which spends millions of dollars every year on thousands of Wahhabi mosques, schools and clerics around the world.

Wahhabism’s most dangerous deviation, in the eyes of the Sunnis who met in Chechenya, is that it sanctions violence against non-believers, including Muslims who reject Wahhabi interpretation. Isis, al-Qaeda and the Taliban are the principal foreign adherents to this creed outside Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Fisk claims that this story was ignored by the world’s media, with the exception of one Benjamin Barthe at Le Monde in France and “the former senior associate at St Antony’s College, Sharmine Narwani”, who wrote a piece on Russia Today about it. In fact, the world’s media have covered it, with the Wall Street Journal claiming that it reflects “a new fracture”, when in fact it represents an old one. Both Fisk and the WSJ’s Yaroslav Trofimov give the conference a historical importance that it doesn’t really have. Scholarly works condemning Wahhabism have been around for as long as the sect itself. There is a wealth of literature available in English, both translated works from Arabic (and other languages) and some written in English, criticising different aspects of Wahhabism: the rejection of the four maddhabs and Sufism, the misguided literalism about the attributes of Allah ta’ala, the odd positions in fiqh they adopt, and their attitudes towards people outside the sect — not always unbelievers, but always “astray”. The article Advice to Our Brothers, the Scholars of Najd is a good example of the former by a Kuwaiti scholar, and the articles by Abdul-Hakim Murad and Shaikh Nuh Keller on Mas’ud Khan’s website, mostly written in the 90s but the website is still maintained, are fine examples of the latter.

The RT article goes into much more detail than Fisk, but no more demonstrates the statement’s historical significance. The conference’s conclusion, for example states that “Ash’arites and the Maturidi are the people of Sunnism and those who belong to the Sunni community, both at the level of the doctrine and of the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence (Hanafi, Hanbali, Shafi’i, Maliki), as well as Sufis, both in terms of knowledge and moral ethics” — statements like this have been appearing in scholarly texts and articles for decades — on which Sharwani commented:

In one fell swoop, Wahhabism, the official state religion of only two Muslim countries -Saudi Arabia and Qatar - was not part of the majority Muslim agenda any longer.

But is it? Saudi Arabia still has oil money and is still able to finance the publication of books, to pay imams, to finance mosque construction and maintenance the world over, while mainstream Sunnis have struggled to do a lot of these things. Imams in many mosques in the west are still underpaid, mosques themselves are often architecturally underwhelming, translations and printing often of poor quality, and publishing houses for high-quality original books and translations have come and go over the years I’ve been Muslim. She notes that the Muslim Brotherhood, “bank-rolled” by Qatar, was also specifically excluded, yet they also still command the loyalty of millions of Muslims worldwide and their figures still run Muslim organisations and are often trusted as leaders (they issued this statement which accused the conference of “igniting fires of discord among Muslims around the world”). One conference isn’t going to change that, especially when it says nothing that has not seen said many times before and it’s financed and hosted by an ally of the Assad regime. (According to the Italian-based site AsiaNews, the conference also resolved to open a new TV station to counter al-Jazeera; there are plenty of Muslim satellite TV stations already, so what makes them think this will have any more credibility than those, or al-Jazeera, just because it’s linked to Putin, Kadyrov or Assad?)

The media often make a big deal when an Islamic scholar issues a “fatwa against terrorism”, and ignores the fact that many other scholars had done the same many times before. A good example was the fatwa (or article or speech, as a fatwa is a legal opinion given in response to a question about a specific situation) condemning suicide bombings issued by Dr Muhammad Tahir al-Qadri, the leader of a group called Minhaj al-Qur’an which is based in Pakistan, which was trumpeted by the London Evening Standard in 2010 despite many such opinions having been given in the past (including by Wahhabis, such as the Saudi scholar Ibn Uthaymeen but also mainstream scholars such as in this example [PDF] from 2005) and despite Qadri’s influence being much less than the Standard made out. It gives the impression that Muslims had taken that long to condemn suicide bombings or terrorism more generally, when in fact they had not and the non-Muslim media had simply not listened or done their jobs properly, or had been invested in furthering a story that Muslims were complicit.

So, even though some of the scholars have a big international following, the conference and its communiqué are tainted by being hosted and financed by mass-murderers and their allies. Many Muslims the world over shy away from scholars who are closely linked to governments, both secular and religious, which bomb and starve Muslims, which bomb aid convoys, which reduce whole ancient Muslim cities to rubble, and which persecute Muslims for openly practising their religion. Many Wahhabis are apolitical, and they are not going to be convinced to change their beliefs on the names and attributes of Allah by a religious edict issued by people with these sorts of connections. For the rest of us, we knew all this anyway. Maybe the media did not fall over themselves to report this, but then, it’s not news.

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Unity gives Jerusalem a prayer: Jews, Muslims and Christians join for worship

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 September, 2016 - 07:00

Eight religious leaders brought their congregations together for eight days in one room. It was a dangerous move

In a small building in the foreboding shadow of Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum looked upon a crowd sitting attentively before her. “We have had a long way to go to prepare for this evening,” she said with a soft smile. “Today we all do something very brave.”

Related: Want peace between Israel and Palestine? The Iran Deal is a good guide | Wardah Khalid

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Philadelphia: Car Firebombed In Possible Islamophobic Hate Crime

Loon Watch - 23 September, 2016 - 12:46

muslim_car_firebomb_philadelphia

If the allegations of the victim and witnesses bears out then this is one of the most horrific incidences of Islamophobic hate crime this year. (h/t:J)

Via. The Mirror

An explosive believed to be a firebomb has been thrown into a car – allegedly while the driver was still sitting inside.

It is also believed that the victim alleged the suspect shouted ‘There you go, Muslim’, before throwing the device into the vehicle.

The car has been almost completely destroyed by the suspected bomb after it set on fire .

It has been reported that the incident took place in North Philadelphia this morning at approximately 5am.

The video was recorded by a witness, going under the username @FeministaJones, who said: “Heard a huge explosion. Didn’t know what it was. Then heard a man yelling saying his skin was burning.

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First Dog on the Moon's reverse-racist history of Australian racial intolerance

The Guardian World news: Islam - 23 September, 2016 - 07:22

A recent poll found that 49% of Australians are opposed to Muslim immigration. Way back in 1943, Gallup found that 51% of Australians were opposed to any “coloured immigration”

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Bill Shorten: Turnbull must be clear he is not on side of people ‘doing Isis’s work’

The Guardian World news: Islam - 23 September, 2016 - 07:15

Labor leader says far right is repeating comments by ‘crazy fundamentalists’ in Syria about Islam being incompatible with western values

Bill Shorten says Malcolm Turnbull needs to make it clear he is not on the side of people intent on “doing Daesh’s dirty work” in Australia.

The opposition leader told reporters on Friday that Islamic State’s “crazy fundamentalists” in northern Iraq and Syria regularly made arguments Islam was incompatible with western democratic liberal values, “and now in Australia we have got people who are doing Daesh’s dirty work by repeating the same allegations, except from the far right”.

Related: Race discrimination commissioner criticises Pauline Hanson for stoking division

Related: Pauline Hanson says 49% support for ban on Muslim immigration is too low

Related: Muslim immigration poll result due to poor leadership, says Tanya Plibersek

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Muslim Family’s Apartment Set On Fire

Loon Watch - 22 September, 2016 - 22:18

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via. Arab American News

MARYLAND – A widowed Muslim mother and her two children are the targets of hates crimes in an apartment complex, after unknown culprits left hate-graffiti and then returned on another day and lit their home on fire.

The incident took place in Windsor Mill.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations on Friday said the family was targeted in a series of incidents, and called for a thorough investigation.

Family members are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Cpl. John Wachter, a spokesman for county police, said someone entered the apartment in the unit block of Fallridge Court on Sept. 6 and set fire to something on the stove.

Wachter said “offensive writing on the wall” led police to classify the incident as a possible bias crime. It wasn’t reported what was exactly written, but it included reference to ISIS.

CAIR said the graffiti had been scrawled before the fire was set, during a series of break-ins that began Aug. 20.

After the Muslim woman contacted police on numerous occasions following a series of break-ins, they told her “there’s nothing we can do” and suggested she install security camera.  Her children are only ages 9 and 12.

They have since moved in with family in Bel Air because the woman was too afraid to stay at the apartment in Windsor Mill.

“She’s been pretty traumatized by this whole incident,” said Zainab Chaudry, Maryland outreach manager for CAIR., adding that the family believes the perpetrator is someone with access to the apartment .

Authorities also suspect that the culprits of the crime may be residents of the apartment complex, as someone would need to have a code to enter the building.

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From tin sheds to temples: the past, present and potential of the Australian mosque

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 September, 2016 - 22:18

Mosques have crucial roles to play in overcoming fears about Islam and supporting progressive values within the faith

I presented a slide of an Afghan cameleer’s mosque to a conference of art historians last year, noting that this was Australia’s most distinctive contribution to Islamic architecture. Some of them laughed.

It was, after all, little more than a corrugated iron shed, stained and dented, a humble outback structure that serves its purpose and makes no claims to magnificence. Our “Afghan” mosques – made by skilled cameleers and traders from Afghanistan and beyond – are unique to Australia and they are remarkable. But should these 19th and early 20th-century regional buildings define our concept of a typically Australian mosque today?

Related: Bendigo mosque: high court throws out request to hear appeal

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Code of race ethics proposed for parliament to counter rise of One Nation

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 September, 2016 - 21:00

Exclusive: Labor weighs plan to invite parliamentarians to sign up to a set of principles respecting diversity and truthfulness

Labor is preparing to launch a proposal to invite all federal parliamentarians to sign up to a code of race ethics, echoing an initiative advanced by the ALP and the Australian Democrats during the period Pauline Hanson was last in parliament.

The code is yet to clear Labor’s caucus processes, but the shadow attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, has told Guardian Australia it would be an important gesture for the 45th parliament. “It would send a message about what sort of parliament we want to be,” he said.

Related: We can't eradicate racism but telling its targets to grin and bear it isn't good enough | Tim Soutphommasane

There’s a real danger that we are normalising what might otherwise be unacceptable ideas

Related: The debate about 18C doesn't have to be a left-right slanging match | Gay Alcorn

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North West Infidels Promoting Racism And Xenophobia In Local Communities

Loon Watch - 22 September, 2016 - 20:53

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(h/t:Mend)

via. The Times

Racist stickers saying “rapefugees not welcome” have appeared on lampposts and bus stops in a coastal town.

The anti-immigration stickers, which are being investigated by police, show the logo of the North West Infidels, a far-right group.

The images display the popular man’s name Muhammad and list defamatory statements underneath. A sticker at the Market Place in South Shields, Tyne and Wear, portrays refugees as chasing a woman with knives.

Local residents expressed anger at the signs. One said that she had reported the “awful” stickers to police and the council but more were appearing.

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Mosque Arsonist Shared Pro-Israel Propaganda

Loon Watch - 22 September, 2016 - 20:28

islamic_center_of_fort_pierce_fire

via. Electronic Intifada

The man accused of setting fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce in Florida a week ago is an ardent supporter of Israel who labeled all forms of Islam as “radical.”

Joseph Michael Schreiber, a 32-year-old messianic Jew, was arrested at his home in St. Lucie, Florida, on Wednesday and charged with arson and a hate crime. Police say he confessed after his arrest.

His attack is part of a spate of anti-Muslim hate crimes since the start of the current US election season.

The mosque he set ablaze has been regularly attended by the father of Orlando nightclub gunman Omar Mateen and the crime was committed on 11 September, which marked the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The attack was also the night before the Islamic center was due to hold a community celebration for Eid al-Adha.

Extensive damage

An affidavit by the St. Lucie County Police Department describes Schreiber as “a habitual felony offender,” meaning that if convicted he could face up to life in prison due to Florida’s mandatory sentencing laws.

The affidavit also notes that Schreiber’s Facebook page was littered with “anti-Islamic postings,” “posts related to pro-Israel propaganda” and “negative propaganda related to Muslims.”

Police estimate damage to the Islamic center in excess of $100,000. As of Friday, the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce reported it had received more than $30,000 in donations from well-wishers to help it repair the extensive damage.

A hate crime enhancement was added to the charges after police discovered the social media posts.

Media outlets were quick to publicize Schreiber’s anti-Muslim postings, but few mentioned his promotion of pro-Israel propaganda or his admiration for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, two great champions of the anti-Muslim far right.

Schreiber’s postings showed he turned to Islamophobic hate sites, official Israeli sources and Israel lobby groups for information.

According to Schreiber’s Facebook page, he is also a fan of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, IDF Women, the Israeli American Council of Florida and the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America.

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Pauline Hanson says 49% support for ban on Muslim immigration is too low

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 September, 2016 - 12:30

‘People would have been in fear to answer the question,’ One Nation senator says of Essential poll, and claims actual figure would have been much higher

Pauline Hanson says she doesn’t believe that 49% of voters support a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia.

“I’ll tell you something, I believe it’s a lot higher than that,” she told Sky News on Thursday.

Related: Race discrimination commissioner criticises Pauline Hanson for stoking division

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Muslim immigration poll result due to poor leadership, says Tanya Plibersek

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 September, 2016 - 01:42

Deputy Labor leader says results, which show 49% of Australians want to ban Muslim immigration, indicates Australian leaders not doing enough to foster cohesion

A poll showing almost half of Australians surveyed want to ban Muslim immigration shows Australian leaders have not done enough to foster cohesion, the Labor deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek, has said.

The poll comes a week after One Nation senator Pauline Hanson’s first speech in the Senate, in which she reiterated her call for such a ban and has sparked a debate about the best way to tackle rising anti-immigration sentiment in Australia.

Related: To fight racism, we need to craft a better 'we' To fight racism, we need to craft a better 'we' and ditch the 'us' and 'them' | Tim Hollo

Related: We can't eradicate racism but telling its targets to grin and bear it isn't good enough | Tim Soutphommasane

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