Roundtable: 200 days of genocide and resistance; campuses fight back

Electronic Intifada - 24 April, 2024 - 23:26

News report (01:18); Abubaker Abed live from Deir al-Balah, Gaza (19:46); Professor Mohamed Abdou on Columbia University and expanding protests across US campuses (45:28); Jon Elmer shows latest videos from the resistance in Gaza and the West Bank as well as a series of operations from southern Lebanon by Hizballah (01:27:06); and a group discussion (02:11:25).

Iranian women violently dragged from streets by police amid hijab crackdown

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 April, 2024 - 14:10

Video evidence shows multiple arrests after regime launched new draconian campaign against women and girls

Harrowing first-hand accounts of women being dragged from the streets of Iran and detained by security services have emerged as human rights groups say country’s hijab rules have been brutally enforced since the country’s drone strikes on Israel on 13 April.

A new campaign, called Noor (“light” in Persian), was announced the same day the Iranian regime launched drone attacks against Israel, to crack down on “violations” of the country’s draconian hijab rules, which dictate that all women must cover their heads in public.

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From the archive: How Hindu supremacists are tearing India apart – podcast

The Guardian World news: Islam - 24 April, 2024 - 05:00

We are raiding the Guardian Long Read archives to bring you some classic pieces from years past, with new introductions from the authors.

This week, from 2020: For seven decades, India has been held together by its constitution, which promises equality to all. But Narendra Modi’s BJP is remaking the nation into one where some people count as more Indian than others. By Samanth Subramanian

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Israel Seeks Escalation For Latitude – The Regional “Conflict” Widens

Muslim Matters - 23 April, 2024 - 09:28

by Ibrahim Moiz for MuslimMatters

18 April 2024


It comes as no surprise that the breathless prospect of a war between Iran and Israel, the feuding regional expansionists of southwest Asia, has again drenched the headlines. When Israel bombarded the Iranian embassy in Damascus earlier this month, it deliberately sought to widen the scope of conflict in the region in order to raise the stakes and draw the United States more directly into the fray. In so doing, it also took temporary attention off its own genocidal assault on the Palestinians in Gaza. Iran, meanwhile, has staked its regional reputation as an emblem of “resistance” to the Zionist state and the United States, and felt compelled to respond, if only to maintain that credibility and ensure that further Israeli attacks would not go without question.


This writer has for fifteen years been hearing breathless talk of an American war on Iran. The coming to power of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005, his government’s crackdown on a defeated opposition after the 2009 election, major protests in Iran in 2017 and 2022, and certain flashpoints in the Iraqi and Syrian wars each brought grim warnings of an impending war with Iran. When in 2003 former American generallissimo for Europe, Wesley Clark, ran for the American presidency, he listed Iran among the seven countries targeted by the then-neoconservative regime in Washington D.C. Even earlier in 2002, Iran was listed by the United States in an improbable alliance with its archenemy Iraq as well as North Korea – a late stand-in for Tehran’s ally Syria, even as Damascus worked behind the scenes with American repression – as part of an “Axis of Evil”. In turn, Tehran defiantly positioned itself at the center of an “Axis of Resistance”, purporting to remove the American shadow from the Middle East and attack Israel.

Tehran’s actual record, however, is far more mixed than this chest-thumping rhetoric would suggest. To be sure, the United States has an unusual obsession with Iran dating back to the 1950s, when they famously engineered a coup against a nationalist government in favor of a tyrannical monarchy. That monarchy’s overthrow in the 1979 Iranian revolution was accompanied by rousing rhetoric about defeating the Great Satan and spreading an Islamic Revolution; since then, Tehran has been a target of both American sanctions and rhetoric, coupled with occasional back-and-forth attacks such as the 1983 attack on the American barracks at Baghdad and 1987-88 attacks on Iranian seacraft. The most dramatic recent episode saw the American assassination of Iranian generalissimo Ghassem Soleimani, a major architect of Iran’s regional network, after his militias had menaced the hulking, fort-like American embassy in Baghdad.

Escalation in regional conflict after Israel bombs Iranian embassy in Damascus

Escalation in regional conflict after Israel bombs Iranian embassy in Damascus (Photo by LOUAI BESHARA/AFP via Getty Images)

A closer look, however, reveals that mutual obsession is precisely a reason that Washington and Tehran’s spars have not escalated into full-blown war. For instance, during much of the 1980s Gulf war the United States formally backed Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, in a nod to their Gulf allies, but informally also armed Iran in a nod, ironically, to its closest ally Israel, which saw Baghdad as a worse prospect than Tehran. At the outset of the American war in the Muslim world, Iranian troops helped invade Afghanistan – where, indeed, the coalition of opposition to the Taliban was originally gathered by Tehran – and, even after being denounced in an “Axis of Evil”, helped invade neighboring Iraq by dispatching their local vassals in league with the Americans. The latter was a serious risk, given that American occupations now flanked Iran to east and west, but the pay-off was that the American-installed regime in Baghdad proved eminently friendly to Tehran, who frequently played off different Iraqi groups to maintain their supremacy.

Neocon bloodlust aside, this role was eventually realized in Washington: thus, for instance, it welcomed the Iranian-backed Hezbollah entering formal Lebanese politics in 2005, and after largely empty early threats against Bashar Assad – for whose protection Iran invaded Syria during its civil war – the United States backed out, instead preferring to target the Daesh group that had formed after the Iraq invasion. In the latter war, Soleimani’s web of Shia militias proved valuable: while the Americans bombarded Daesh from the air, Iranian troops and militias attacked them on the ground. This occurred after the 2015 Geneva Accord had been reached with Tehran over their nuclear programme, where Iran’s role in Syria was a major bargaining tool. Though Donald Trump’s regime promptly scrapped the agreement and briefly escalated tensions with Iran, it has long been abundantly clear that Tehran, through a skillful mixture of quiet cooperation interspersed with occasional escalation, has enough mutual interest in countries like Iraq to avert a direct attack by the United States. In turn, Washington, no love though they might have for Tehran, has little interest in a large-scale war that could potentially dwarf its misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Where Iranian expansionism has been indirectly useful for Washington has been in persuading Arab regimes that Tehran and not Tel Aviv is their ultimate enemy. This, in turn, has paved the way for normalization between the Zionist ethnostate and various mainly despotic Arab governments under American brokerage, in the ludicrously misnamed “Abraham Accords” of the early 2020s – in combining Jewish ethnonationalists and Arab despots, the deals would have been better named Herod Accords. Iran’s benefit has been to continue to expand its influence – in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even to some extent Yemen – westwards, a project that predated the 1979 revolution.

Escalation to Get Leeway

Unlike in the 1980s, Israel now sees Iran as its premier, potentially nuclear, rival in the region. Escalation with Iran, Tel Aviv knows, would inevitably drag in the United States to its own rescue, and force them into a frontal confrontation with Tehran; moreover, it would be welcomed, whether openly or tacitly, by many Arab rulers from Jordan to Saudi Arabia: they are genuinely frightened of Iran, whose contempt toward them has been undisguised since the 1979 revolution. For its anti-American rhetoric and occasional actions, Tehran’s most frequent and bitter target of opposition has been what it views as the petty puppet states of the Arabian Peninsula, particularly Saudi Arabia. At least since 2015, this has translated into backroom links between various Arab rulers and Israel.

This is the reason that Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called in public on Arab statesmen to hold their silence on his genocide, attempting to portray Palestinian resistance as an Iranian puppet. In fact, of course, Palestinian resistance is organic and has lasted generations, no more a puppet of Tehran now than it was a puppet of Cairo in the 1960s or Tripoli in the 1970s. Modest Iranian armament of the Palestinians has not disguised the latter’s independence – Hamas, for instance, broke with Tehran for years over the Syrian war, where they backed different sides, and continues to maintain cordial diplomatic links with other governments such as Cairo and Amman to keep its options open.

The fact that it has nonetheless been primarily Iran-linked groups outside Palestine that have made any meaningful contribution against Israel, with the Lebanese Hezbollah striking in the north and the Yemeni Houthis in the Red Sea, has given Tel Aviv the opportunity to present the frustratingly resilient Palestinian resistance as a Persian proxy and probe Iran into an escalation to turn this propaganda into reality. Already since the winter Israel had struck in Lebanon and Syria, killing not only Hamas leader Saleh Arouri and his lieutenants but also Hezbollah officers and senior Iranian generals Razi Mousavi, Sadegh Omidzadeh, and the former commander of both the Iranian praetorian ground and air forces, Reza Zahedi. The latter was slain in the April 2024 attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus, officially an act of war.

Iran felt compelled to respond, if only to draw a line, but also feared drawing the United States into the fray. Thus its retaliatory strike on Israel was carefully choreographed and allegedly warned beforehand, with its United Nations envoy Amir Iravani stressing afterward that it sought no more escalation: Tehran’s point had been made, and “the matter can be deemed concluded.” Whatever the mental gymnastics of Zionist politicians and media, this was a predictable, eminently rational response, and even a rabidly pro-Israel United States is not willing to stick its neck out beyond indignant verbiage.

What the Iranian-Israeli duel has done, however, is enable Israel to get another concession. The increasingly feeble government of Robinette Biden has been apprehensive about an Israeli attack on the southern Gazan city of Rafah, near the border where some million Palestinian refugees have been driven to the discomfort of both otherwise pro-Israel governments in Cairo and Washington. Having been unable to respond to Iran on Israel’s behalf, Biden will likely yield to Netanyahu’s festering thirst to attack Rafah. In that respect, the real victims of this latest round of Iran-Israel irascibility are likely to be the Palestinians.



Foreign Affairs Official Resigns Over Gaza Genocide

Debunking Beheaded Babies, Concert Rapes, And Human Shields: Hasbara Words That Work For Israeli War Crimes, Apartheid, And Genocide


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Prayer rituals in schools remain a divisive issue | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 April, 2024 - 18:27

Readers respond to a news report and an article by Nadeine Asbali on a prayer ban at Michaela community school in London

I was disappointed by the court ruling on Michaela community school’s prayer ban (High court upholds top London school’s ban on prayer rituals, 16 April), and shocked to see the jubilant reaction from several prominent politicians. Children praying in school is not disruptive or threatening, and for Kemi Badenoch to suggest that these pupils are attempting to “impose their views on an entire school community” screams of xenophobia. With this ruling, it’s the other way around. The prayer ban tells Muslim children that their religious and cultural practices are foreign and undesirable, and in doing so forces conformity to a homogeneous British identity.

I attended a Catholic school in Glasgow with a large number of Muslim students. Many wore hijabs and observed Ramadan, and every Friday a lot of my friends would go to a nearby mosque for midday prayers. In a school system where religious education was taught out of a textbook by old white men, having the opportunity to learn about other cultures through discussions with my peers and exposure to their lifestyles and practices was an enriching experience. Surely this environment of diversity, acceptance and understanding is one that our educators and politicians wish to cultivate?
Oliver Eastwood

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Anyone is welcome at ceasefire marches | Brief letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 April, 2024 - 18:25

Policing at a pro-Palestine march | Solving the climate crisis | Greatness in baldness | Paint colours | The best guitarists

It is appalling that a police officer used the phrase “openly Jewish” when trying to move Gideon Falter away from a pro-Palestine march (Met apologises for calling antisemitism campaigner ‘openly Jewish’, 19 April). But it’s also ludicrous to suggest that being Jewish would be provocative. There have always been lots of “openly Jewish” people at the marches calling for a ceasefire, carrying signs such as “Jews say ceasefire now”, “Jews against Israeli militarism”, “Jews for justice for Palestinians” and “Not in our name”. The drive to portray these marches as somehow anti‑Jewish is truly regrettable.
Dr Bob Banks
Grindleford, Derbyshire

• Had this been a pro-Israel campaign, I wonder whether the police would have felt inclined to prevent an “openly Muslim” man or woman wearing a hijab from crossing the road.
Coral Ash
Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire

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Post-Ramadan Reflections From A Mother Of Littles

Muslim Matters - 21 April, 2024 - 11:14

The departure of Ramadan often makes me reflect on my past nine Ramadans as a mother. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had tried my best to fast, but it was too difficult. I gave birth to her on the 9th day of Ramadan, and just like that, I found myself overwhelmed with the exhaustion and delight of my newborn – along with an entire month of fasts to make up. 

Fasting While Pregnant

It was narrated from Sahl bin Sa’d that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“In Paradise, there is a gate called Rayyan. On the Day of Resurrection, the call will go out saying: ‘Where are those who used to fast?’ Whoever is among those who used to fast will enter it, and whoever enters it will never experience thirst again.” [Sunan Ibn Majah 1640]

I asked my mother how she fasted while pregnant and raising all six of us, and she shrugged and said she just did. SubhanAllah. May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reward all our foremothers for their strength! Inspired by my mother’s example, I was determined not to add to my qada fasts with my subsequent pregnancies.

My sister-in-law gave me an incredible tip about soaking chia seeds overnight and having that for a suhoor drink. That incredibly hydrating drink worked wonders, especially when mixed with lime juice and brown sugar or honey. Sure, I still felt thirsty, especially after I nursed my baby/toddler, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) gave me the strength to bear it despite my struggle.

Alhamdulilah, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) gave me the ability to fast throughout Ramadan while I was pregnant with my second baby and breastfeeding my toddler, and while I was pregnant with my third baby. SubhanAllah, during my pregnancies, my chronic asthma flare-ups – something that could cause me to break my fast when I needed my inhaler – resolved. I’m grateful I didn’t have any other pre-existing or new medical conditions that made fasting too difficult for me. Through the Mercy of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), all of my babies arrived full-term and healthy. Every woman and every pregnancy is different, so please consult with your Muslim doctor first. My intention is not to shame those who cannot fast, but a reminder that fiqh-wise, the default is to at least try to fast when one is pregnant and/or breastfeeding. 

Muslim Worldview

“Or who is it that could provide for you if He withheld His provision? But they have persisted in insolence and aversion.” [Surah Al Mulk: 67;21]

Fasting while pregnant and/or breastfeeding can sound unthinkable to non-Muslims. Why would a pregnant woman, responsible for nourishing her baby, abstain from food and water during daylight hours? Isn’t that harmful and irresponsible? This is where the Muslim worldview comes into play. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sustains us and our babies, from heartbeat to heartbeat, and from breath to breath. Fasting while pregnant and breastfeeding was and is an exercise in trusting Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), who keeps us all alive every single day.

That being said, when women do struggle to fast, then Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Mercy is there for us too. In the Shafi’i school of thought, if a pregnant or breastfeeding woman breaks her fast purely for the baby’s well-being, then she has to make it up later and pay fidya. If she breaks her fast due to fear for herself or fear for herself and the baby, then she only has to make up the fast without fidya.

Design for Success

Hisham said, “I asked ‘A’isha, ‘What did the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, do in his house?’ She replied, ‘He did what one of you would do in his house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed.” [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 540]

Alhamdulilah, the constant support of my husband and mother-in-law made fasting in Ramadan (and replacing my fasts outside of Ramadan) significantly easier. We divided the chores of getting groceries, prepping meals, and getting our kids washed, fed, and dropped off and picked up from school. As a household with small children and an elder, we prioritized our worship and did not go out for fancy iftars, nor did we host lavish ones. We kept it simple. When we hosted our loved ones for iftar, it was pot-luck style, so we could all share in the barakah. I am so grateful that my mother-in-law and late father-in-law (may Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) have mercy on him) raised a son who actively participates in household duties, just as the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) did, which eases the burden from me.

A mother and father

Muslim parents [PC: Patrick Boucher (unsplash)]

I strongly recommend having these division-of-domestic-labor discussions with one’s spouse and/or extended family members before Ramadan. In the Shafi’i school of thought, housework (including cooking) is not the wife’s responsibility – any household task that she does do is considered charity. It makes a difference when the daily responsibility to run a household, prepare meals, and clean up afterward is shared, instead of unfairly assumed to be the woman’s task. This gives wives and mothers the well-deserved opportunity to take turns going to tarawih, read Qur’an in peace, or even just rest and make dua’. It’s important to give children the opportunity to share in the Ramadan reward too by giving them simple tasks like setting the table or putting their dishes away. This way, the whole family gets to worship Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in Ramadan; united as a team.

Paying Back Fasts

Narrated `AisharaḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her):

Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Do good deeds properly, sincerely, and moderately, and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 6464]

Over the ups and downs of raising little children, it took me many years to pay back my fasts. There were times when my debt to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) felt endless, and it felt like I would never pay it back. My husband encouraged me to keep going, and to look at the days I had paid back instead of how much I had left.

I sought comfort in the example of our Lady Hajar raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her). She was alone in the desert with a crying baby, and ran out of food and water. She did not collapse in despair and perish with her son. Rather, she ran back and forth, striving to look for sustenance, until Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) miraculously brought about Zamzam at the feet of her crying child.

Instead of viewing paying back my fasts as a burden, it helped to view it through the lens of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) giving me the opportunity to revisit the spirit of Ramadan throughout the year, and throughout the seasons of my life.

Modeling Contentment

Narrated Al-Qasim:

`Aisha said, “We set out with the sole intention of performing Hajj and when we reached Sarif, (a place six miles from Mecca) I got my menses. Allah’s Messenger ﷺ came to me while I was weeping. He said ‘What is the matter with you? Have you got your menses?’ I replied, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is a thing which Allah has ordained for the daughters of Adam. So do what all the pilgrims do with the exception of the Tawaf (circumambulation) round the Ka`ba.” `Aisha added, “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ sacrificed cows on behalf of his wives.” [Sahih Al Bukhari 294]

I have two young daughters. When the time comes, I want them to love their periods and integrate womb care into their daily lives. This is more likely to happen if they observe me doing the same, through all the seasons of my life, especially when it comes to my worship. Once, I used to be annoyed when I got my period during Ramadan and grumbled about how many days I had to pay back. Motherhood has changed that. I now welcome that time to rest, instead of pushing myself through exhaustion. I am getting better at listening to my body and nourishing myself with herbal tea, food, water, and rest. I am grateful that I am also rewarded for not fasting when I am on my period. Paying back my fasts from my pregnancies has taught me the gift of acceptance, instead of fighting reality.

Making Ramadan Memories Little hands

Making Ramadan memories [PC: Masjid MABA (unsplash)]

My three young children are now learning how to fast, one day at a time. They enjoy going to the amazing Ramadan bazaars with my husband and buying delicious food to bring home for us to break our fast. We praise them for however long they manage to fast. Ever since they were babies, they were able to sense when Ramadan arrived. and cry until we would carry them down and join us for suhoor. Now they’re old enough to walk downstairs with us! They’re still too young for us to take them to the masjid for tarawih, but we can pray in congregation at home. As an added bonus, they get to choose what kind of favorite meals they want me to cook or order in during Ramadan. I have fond memories from my childhood of being paid a dollar for each day I fasted, and I can continue this tradition with my own children. 

I hope and pray that over the course of their childhoods, my children’s Ramadan memories and Ramadan traditions will strengthen their connection to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) not only during childhood, but throughout their lives as adults. Childhood memories like these turn into strong emotional ties related to faith, and will remain in their hearts as they grow older. Sometimes, it is the strength of these positive associations with worship that make it easier for teenagers and young adults to maintain their connection to the Deen even when they are struggling with other spiritual challenges. 


Each Ramadan gives us mothers a beautiful month-long opportunity to fast for Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sake – with the merciful option of breaking our fasts and paying them back alongside a fidya, if it is too difficult for us. Although it takes so much patience and compassion to raise little ones, and even though it can be so difficult sometimes, what comforts me is knowing that these positive memories can carry through their adult lives, long after I am gone.

What we are building, one fasting day at a time, is a bridge to the afterlife, where we await the vast mercy of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reunite us with our children and all believers in Jannahtul Firdous, and through the door of Rayyan.



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