Guest post by AJ
It’s cringe worthy to see Senator Rubio tackle Trump’s Islamophobia by mentioning the crescents in the Arlington Cemetery and thus trying to appear ‘Presidential’. Rubio’s record shows he has no genuine concern about Islamophobia. Take for example when he lambasted President Obama for his speech at a Baltimore mosque or the fact that Rubio’s largely Zionist neocon donors wouldn’t want Rubio to behave in any other way. These examples highlight that Rubio is neither Presidential or better than Trump. His criticisms of Trump fall off the mark as they just reinforce the reality that he is a politician who will say anything to the win the race.
At CNN’s Republican debate on Thursday, Marco Rubio appeared to do something very unusual for the GOP stage: He tried to take a stand against Islamophobia, particularly against Donald Trump’s Islamophobia.
Only Rubio did it in the worst possible way.
Rubio said, commenting on Trump’s comments that “a lot of” Muslims hate America:
I know that a lot of people find appeal in the things Donald says, because he says what people wish they could say. The problem is presidents can’t just say anything they want. It has consequences — here and around the world.
And so let me give you one: Two days ago, I met this extraordinary couple who are on furlough because they are missionaries in Bangladesh. It’s a very tough place to be a missionary. It’s Muslim. And their safety and security very much relies upon friendly Muslims that live alongside them — that may not convert but protect them and certainly look out for them. And their mission field really are Muslims that are looking to convert to Christianity as well. And they tell me that today they have a very hostile environment in which to operate in because the news is coming out that in America leading political figures are saying that America doesn’t like Muslims.
So this is a real impact. There is no doubt that radical Islam is a danger in the world.
I can also tell you that if you go to any national cemetery, especially Arlington, you’re gonna see crescent moons there. If you go anywhere in the world, you’re going see American men and women serving us in uniform that are Muslims. And they love America. And as far as I know, no one on this stage has served in uniform in the United States military. Anyone out there that has the uniform of the United States on and is willing to die for this country is someone that loves America — no matter what their religious background may be.
Rubio’s answer isn’t that we shouldn’t be bigoted against Muslims because we should respect other people and their beliefs. It’s that we shouldn’t be bigoted against Muslims because it’s tactically advantageous to be polite, because we need Muslim allies in the Middle East, Muslims might convert to Christianity, and Muslim Americans could maybe join the military.
This is pretty weak. The problem with Islamophobia is, fundamentally, that it’s bigotry. While being nice to Muslims does happen to be tactically advantageous (as Hillary Clinton has also said), it shouldn’t be the primary reason for rejecting bigotry.
Not only that, but Rubio actually suggested that we should respect Muslims because they might stop being Muslims — by converting to Christianity…
Read the rest here.
Mounis Hammouda spent 480 days in an Arizona detention center; his friend Hisham Ghalia is still there.
Building does not belong to any individual or organisation, according to council report on long-running row
Local authorities in Córdoba have dealt a blow to the Catholic church’s claim of legal ownership of the Spanish city’s mosque-cathedral, declaring that “religious consecration is not the way to acquire property”.
The report, written by the city council’s secretary general, Valeriano Lavela, marks a significant intervention in a long-running row over the building, which lies on the site of a Visigothic Christian church built in the early 9th century and was given to the local bishop by Fernando III in 1236 when the city fell to Christian forces.Continue reading...
Comedians Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah are advertising their comic documentary while fighting bigotry, with a ‘delightful’ poster campaign on the New York subway that mocks Islamophobia
The Muslims have come for New York City’s subway system in a coordinated attack affecting 144 stations across the borough. Authorities were alerted to the plans of Muslim-Americans Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah months ago, but failed to prevent the pair of comedians from implementing a campaign that is inciting laughter among millions of New Yorkers.Continue reading...
Ibtihaj Muhammad was told that her headscarf had to be removed for a security photo, and was then given a pass with another – incorrect – Muslim name
A member of the USA Fencing World Team today was forced to remove her hijab by staff at the SXSW festival for a photo on her ID badge, she said today via Twitter.
Ibtihaj Muhammad, who will be the first US Olympian to wear a hijab, said she explained that she wears the head scarf for religious reasons but the registration authorities insisted she take it off.
I was just asked to remove my hijab at SXSW Registration for my ID badge.. I can't make this stuff up #SXSW2016
Even after I explained it was for religious reasons, he insisted I had to remove my hijab for the photo to receive my badge #SXSW2016Continue reading...
Amid the chaos and the clashes at Trump rallies Friday, a small group of people on opposing sides tried to reason with each other in St Louis – loudly, but civilly
As Trump supporters and protesters clashed outside rallies in Chicago and St Louis Friday, there was screaming, spitting and physical scuffles, and racial slurs were levelled at protesters.
In St Louis, a small group of black protesters and white men in Trump hats tried something different: they had an actual conversation.Continue reading...
Last week, someone posted a picture to the Mencap Facebook page, and the picture has been widely shared on social media and has found its way into the mainstream press. It shows a young woman standing next to an elderly man in a wheelchair, in a small recess outside two fire exits. The woman is smoking and is talking on a mobile phone. The man has shopping hanging from the handles of his wheelchair and three bags piled on his lap tray, one of which is pressing into his face. Mencap responded by telling the original poster they were “appalled” and had suspended the support worker in the picture and reported it to the relevant local authority safeguarding team; the picture has generated outrage in the learning disability blogging community; Neil Crowther and Mark Neary both posted articles which took apart Mencap’s response to the picture. Personally, while I agree with the criticism of Mencap, I think we are jumping to too many conclusions about the woman’s behaviour. (I’ve not named the woman or her home town in this article.)
The original poster knew the name of the care worker and where she came from. She also knew she worked for Mencap, despite there being no Mencap logos on display. We have to ask how she knew this. A second person on the Facebook thread attached to the image claims that she has also been sharing details about the man and his care and that she has “evidence”; again, one must ask where she gets this “evidence” from (I did a search on Facebook for someone by that name and from that location; it returned no results). People on Facebook weren’t satisfied with Mencap’s assurances that they have suspended the woman; they said she should have been sacked immediately, despite there being laws to protect workers from summary dismissal on the basis of flimsy or specious evidence, such as assumptions made about a photo.
The Sun and Daily Mail both ran versions of the story, with the Sun’s in particular uncritically giving the original poster’s version of the story, claiming that the woman was “supposed to take him on a trip out of the home to give him fresh air and a break” but instead “went shopping and piled her bags all over him”. The support worker refused to comment in both versions; the Mail has invited readers to contact them via a named email address if they know the support worker or the service user, while the Sun quotes an anonymous neighbour of hers in her home town saying she “only seems to care about herself” and is “clearly not suited to caring at all”. I am not sure if the “businesswoman” who took the picture had been following the pair or just happened to see her as she walked by. But looking at the picture, the ground is wet and it may have been raining, so the alternative to putting the shopping on the man’s lap tray would have been to put it on the ground which, as it is in paper bags, would have got it wet. We are invited to assume that the shopping is all hers; there is no evidence of that and we cannot see any logos on two of the three bags (TK Maxx do stock men’s as well as women’s clothing, by the way).
The woman may be bad at her job, but as there is no evidence of her using violence against him, treating him roughly or being verbally abusive (and if the “businesswoman” had acquired any such evidence, she would surely have posted it with the woman’s name attached), I really don’t believe that exposing her by name on social media and in the national press is necessary or appropriate. There are possible explanations to this picture which are not abusive; that some of the shopping might have been his, or for him; that the phonecall might have been to or from her Mencap bosses, or to whoever was looking after her child about some urgent matter; that they’d taken shelter from rain in the recess and weren’t there long and there might have been nowhere else to stop that wasn’t wet or crowded; that she may have been calling a cab. The woman’s face and name have been made public, but whoever took her on, whoever may be responsible for recruiting “idiots on minimum wage”, as someone on social media referred to her and others like her, whoever sets her workload, hasn’t been.
Of course, if she really did do a personal shopping trip while she was meant to be taking the man out for “some fresh air”, then pile her shopping on top of his chair while having a cigarette and a natter on the phone, that’s clearly unacceptable, but we’re being asked to assume the worst about her by someone who seems to know a lot about her and may have a personal grudge against her. She could easily have posted the picture to Mencap and to social services privately, rather than post it straight onto a public Facebook page with identifying information. As for the “minimum wage idiots”, we’ll continue to get bad care from some of the large number of poorly-paid carers as long as we aren’t willing to fund good care by giving carers proper training and paying them accordingly. The tabloids that gleefully shame a young woman for not being a good enough carer have spent years cheering on cuts to disability benefits, to the local governments who provide these sorts of services, to the legal profession that fights for people’s rights, and will be the first to attack any proposal to raise the taxes necessary to raise care standards by training and paying decent carers.
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Undercover police monitoring International Women’s Day march in Paris grabbed activist wearing “Boycott Apartheid Israel” shirt.
By Dr. Mohannad Hakeem
Social media brings with it many complexities when it comes to interactions between people. Muslims are no exception, and the halal/haram set of questions in this regard are endless. Youth groups in my area asked me for advice and clear guidelines for gender interaction – in person or when using group chat apps (whatsapp, GroupMe, and the like). Questions that were asked included:
- Is it permissible for Muslim men and women to communicate on the same group chat, and to what extent?
- What are the kinds of words and messages that are permissible? In other words, what is an acceptable tone in this form of communication?
- Is it ok to send emoticons and memes to express one's emotional status, and to what extent? [by emotional I don't necessarily mean “love” but rather happiness, sadness, surprise, etc.]
- Should there be any limit or curfew on when to send instant messages or use the service?
Clearly, for some readers, just the idea of bringing up this topic would make them immediately label me as well as the questioner as being strict, fanatic, or having a backwards mentality. For those readers I gently advise – stop reading now, this discussion is not meant for you. This article is directed towards muslim activists, who are, by definition, supposed to follow the rules and regulations of Islam, especially when it comes to working for the sake of Allah and in a Muslim environment. They are expected to ask about or research the rulings (fatwa) towards certain issues without “shopping” for a fatwa that customizes Islam to their lifestyle; rather, they are expected to customize their lifestyle to follow the Qur'an and Sunnah.Doubtful Matters
On the other hand, this article does not address the halal/haram aspects of group chats. I am in no way qualified to answer this question; however, I will try to “decipher” the problem and help the reader see it from different angles. Actually, if there was a clear answer that such a thing is halal or haram, then I assume very few people would ask about it to begin with. It is one of those grey areas that the Prophet mentioned in his famous hadith, narrated by Nouman bin Bashir:
“The permissible matters in Islam are clear, and the unlawful matters are clear, but between the two of them are doubtful matters about which many people do not know…” [Bukhari & Muslim]
So, the Prophet mentioned that many people do not know and cannot differentiate in doubtful matters, but the same statement suggests that some people do know about these matters. I will try to shed some light on these doubtful matters when it comes to group chats, while trying my best not to give a fatwa or even a personal opinion.
Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on him) has a beautiful statement:
“إن السلف لم يطلقوا الحرام إلا على ما علم تحريمه قطعا”
“The salaf (righteous predecessors of the Muslim Ummah) avoided calling anything haram except on known matters that were clearly and explicitly mentioned.”
What is the practical implication of this? The scholars used to answer most of their questioners by: “Do this” and “Don't do that”, because this is what matters at the end. The essence of your question should be an action item; you are expected, the moment you gain any new knowledge, to use it as an FYA (For Your Action) and not only (For Your Information). My dear brother/sister, let's hold off on our endless halal/haram discussion and focus on the action items.Omar Bin Khattab: Beyond the Halal/Haram Paradigm
When Omar Bin Khattab was the Caliph of the Muslims, an interesting matter happened that relates to the halal/haram discussion. He sent a letter to Huzaifa bin Al-Yaman after appointing him as a Wali on Al-Madaen (a city in Iraq). Huzaifa married a lady from the people of the book (Christian or Jewish, according to some narrations). Omar asked Huzaifa to divorce her; Huzaifa replied that he will not do so until Omar says clearly if what he did was halal or haram.
Omar replied back by saying:
“It is indeed permissible to marry from the people of the book, but their women are more eloquent in speech and hence more deceitful”.
Other narrations quote Omar saying:
“They are more attractive than Arabian women, and this might cause other men to follow your example and stop marrying from the Arabs.”
A third narration mentions a further elaboration to Omar's viewpoint:
“Because I am afraid that you may marry a prostitute from amongst them.”
He understood that the Qur'an restricted such marriage to those women who are chaste from among the people of the book, as in [5:5].
What does this teach us? Omar was issuing a “presidential mandate” from his position as the Amir of the believers, not a fatwa. He was a visionary leader who understood the social consequences that may result when a leader like Huzaifa performs a controversial action, even if it was halal. He definitely has the authority to command someone, especially a “Muslim activist” and a role model like Huzaifa. It is worth mentioning here that Omar's statement should not be understood as a “generalization” towards all women from the people of the book, since the narration clearly mentions the historical context in which it was used.
Following the footsteps of Omar , any Muslim leader is allowed, at least theoretically speaking, to instate by-laws or regulations that may limit the “freedom” of his/her volunteers. The details of the decision making mechanism are beyond the scope of this article.
What are the factors that should be considered before creating those by-laws for group chats? And to what extent is this issue problematic (a doubtful matter) or obvious (clearly halal or haram)? What is the best way to describe this topic through the lens of the book of Allah and the general guidelines of Islam? This will be discussed in Part 2 insha'Allah.Br. Mohannad Hakeem holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering; he is a full time research engineer at Ford Motor Company. He authored more than 10 technical papers and 25 patents. In addition, he is a youth mentor, public speaker, and an activist based in Dearborn, Michigan. Between 2002-2005, he provided content management support to major Islamic programs at Iqraa Channel in Beirut, Lebanon. A frequent contributor to aboutislam.net Sharia section, he enjoys writing and speaking about the tafsir of the Qur'an, Islamic history, seerah, and the fiqh of activism. He invites his audience to view Islam in 3D, and understand it in a holistic way that doesn't contradict but rather compliments with their professional life and secular education. www.mohakeem.com
The other day I was searching for a place to stay in Paris for a weekend break with my sister. I tried to make a reservation via Airbnb at a small studio flat and was surprised when the host replied saying that she didn’t feel comfortable letting me stay because she didn’t trust me. I tried another apartment and received another message saying pretty much the same thing.
Having never had any problems with previous hosts, and having gained good reviews when I’ve used the service outside Europe, I couldn’t understand their distrust. The only thing they knew about me was my name.
The persistent culture of suspicion means Muslims often find themselves in a defensive position they don’t want to be inContinue reading...
Maps that show the reality of Israel’s land theft have angered right-wing bigots.
The Sudanese politician Hassan al-Turabi, who has died aged 84, was Africa’s most active contemporary Islamic ideologue. He was involved in the imposition of strict Islamic law, and was an early mentor of Osama bin Laden.
As the long-time power behind the throne of Sudan’s despotic leader Omar Bashir, Turabi gave safe haven to Bin Laden in Sudan from 1990 to 1996; the US counter-terrorism expert and policy adviser Richard Clarke called them them “soulmates sharing a vision of a worldwide struggle to establish a pure caliphate”. In 1993 Washington designated Sudan “a state sponsor of terrorism” and the UN later imposed sanctions on Khartoum after Turabi’s agents allegedly aided an attempt to kill the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 1995.Continue reading...
How can the movement for Palestinian rights engage with the politics of Native independence in North America and beyond?
There’s a debate that Sam Harris doesn’t want published even though he’s the one who asked for it in the first place. His excuse is that it was extremely “boring” and that his nerdy sycophants, who have better things to do wouldn’t want to waste their time listening to it.
Apparently, writer and Yale Law School student, Omer Aziz, wiped the floor with him. (h/t: Tanveer)
Last December, I published an essay in Salon reviewing “Islam and the Future of Tolerance,” a book-length “discourse” on reforming Islam, conducted between neuroscientist Sam Harris and activist Maajid Nawaz. In it, I argued that the book was a simplistic and unoriginal take on a complex topic, more of a friendly conversation than any kind of serious analysis. The piece concluded by lamenting the erosion of public debate, as intellectuals of previous eras have been replaced by profiteers more interested in advancing narrow agendas than in exploring difficult questions.
The piece got Harris’s attention, and he publicly reached out to me on Twitter to invite me on his podcast to “discuss these issues.” Although some of his followers mocked the invitation, I gladly accepted, and we set a date and time for our debate.
That’s when things got interesting, because it turned out that Harris did not want a traditional debate or even an open discussion. As he wrote in one email:
I’d like you to just read [your piece], line by line, and I’ll stop you at various points so that we can discuss specific issues.
This was a bizarre and rather creepy way to structure our conversation. Think of how awkward it would be to read your writing in front of a critic who had empowered himself to stop, critique, and rebuke you whenever he wanted, with thousands of people listening. Even the strongest piece of writing cannot withstand a line-by-line cross-examination because such an exercise puts the writer in the witness box and therefore on the permanent defensive. If Harris’s rules were followed, our discussion would be more like an undignified show-trial than a frank conversation. Is there a single journalist who has ever participated in, much less proposed, this sort of guerrilla attack?
I replied to Harris and noted the absurdity of his invitation:
I really hope you were not literally intending for me to come on and read my essay on your podcast with you stopping me every other sentence as if I was in some kind of deposition or trial. This would be a totally fruitless conversation.
Instead, I proposed an alternative approach: We should each pick a few topics—reforming Islam, radical jihadists, holy war, etc—and have a debate around each one, alternating between who would kick things off. In other words, we should have a normal debate, on equal footing, where arguments could be tested against their rebuttals. Harris rejected that offer and firmly reiterated demand to be judge, jury, and prosecutor.
Palestinians welcome major win, but warn that the security and incarceration firm’s role in Israel’s abuses continues