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Innocence of Muslims actor sues Google to block controversial film

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 September, 2014 - 20:35

Gaylord Flynn says he has received death threats and follows a federal court order for Google to remove film from its site

A second actor has sued Google Inc over a movie trailer called Innocence of Muslims that mocked the Prophet Mohammad and led to riots in 2012, six months after a US appeals court ruled for another actor and ordered the film taken off YouTube.

Gaylord Flynn said he has received death threats and fears for his life while Google continues to provide its users with access to the film through pirated content websites known as torrent sites, according to his lawsuit, filed on Friday in a California federal court.

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Rape, death threats over mosque plan at Currumbin

Loon Watch - 15 September, 2014 - 18:46

Chris_Robbins

via. News.com.au

A GOLD Coast City councillor says she’s been threatened with gang rape and death over a proposed mosque, and Facebook is protecting the identity of her tormentors. Chris Robbins says she has spent several weeks trying to get the social media site to reveal the identity of the creators of the “Stop the Mosque at Currumbin” page after it used a photo of her as its profile picture, claiming she was receiving money from unspecified Islamic backers, a claim she denies.

Ms Robbins says she had to engage a lawyer to threaten the website with defamation before the picture was removed.

The page remains live along with a host of anti-councillor comments from Facebook users.

Facebook has told AAP it has had no contact with any lawyers representing Ms Robbins and says the Gold Coast councillor has not begun its process for requesting data.

“We respond to requests for data to police consistent with our law enforcement guidelines,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

“These guidelines also outline if and how civil litigants can make data requests.” The spokesperson said Facebook was contacting Queensland police to understand what, if any, requests for data relating to the incident had been made.

Ms Robbins says she was targeted by protesters after announcing the council had received an application to build a mosque at an industrial site in Currumbin on the southern end of the Gold Coast. “Horrific vilification, threatening all kinds of nastiness directed at me because I’d basically gone to the meeting and said council’s got an application for a mosque and we will be assessing it as we’re obliged to by law,” she told AAP.

Controversy over the proposed development has deepened after it received support at a council planning committee meeting on Wednesday.

Police are investigating after death threats were made against Cameron Caldwell and William Owen-Jones, two of the five councillors who approved the planning proposal.

The Stop the Mosque page published contact details for all five of the councillors after Wednesday’s meeting, calling them “traitors” and asking followers to contact them with their views. Ms Robbins, who voted against the proposal on Wednesday, says the lack of accountability for the page’s authors is despicable and highlights how easily people can target victims through social media with little fear of consequences.

“I’m very upset that the social media platform has taken no responsibility,” she told AAP.

“Facebook is allowing those individuals to hide their identity and to vilify and libel and threaten people like me. That’s OK, I can handle it, but if I’m 15? This is a terrible thing.” Ms Robbins, who believes there are legitimate community concerns about the proposal, says a final decision on whether the mosque application gets approved will be judged on planning grounds and nothing else.

A full council meeting on September 16 will decide the application’s fate.

Latest anti-Islam headline in the Mail

Loon Watch - 15 September, 2014 - 18:39

Mail-on-Mary-Ann-Shipstone-murder

via. IslamophobiaWatch

This is the headline to the Mail‘s report of the shocking murder of a young girl shot dead by her clearly mentally disturbed father in retribution for his failure to win custody and denial of access due to his earlier violent behaviour.

There is, needless to say, no evidence that religion played any part at all in the tragedy.

A number of below-the-line comments make this point. For example:

“This has nothing to do with Islam….it’s another estranged father taking out his bitterness on an innocent child.”

“There is a lot of mention of Islam in this article… The fact she rejected him is probably the only relevance here… Nothing to do with Islam… More to do with a father with serious psychiatric issues.”

“Similar has happened in the past, but the religion of the family or the murderer isn’t emphasized as to the extent it is in this tragic case. Why? it just causes hatred.”

However, it is notable that these comments have received far more red than green arrows from Mail readers.

Read the rest…

Brooklyn: Former Marine Attacks Muslim Family in Hate Crime

Loon Watch - 15 September, 2014 - 18:02

Andrew_Laina_Hate

What is happening in Brooklyn?

via. New York Daily News

A Pakistani family was allegedly attacked by a violent former Marine during an afternoon stroll to the park — at least the second anti-Muslim hate crime in Brooklyn in as many weeks, the Daily News has learned.

Shabana Chaudhry, 29, who’s nine months pregnant, was walking to a playground with her two-year-old son in a stroller, not far from her Marine Park home on Sept. 6, when they were allegedly accosted by Andrew Laina.

“What are you doing in my neighborhood? Get out, Arab,” he yelled at the woman, who was wearing traditional garb, court papers charge. He then decked her husband Muhammad Rizwan, 29, who immigrated to the U.S. just a month ago, and tried to grab their son, Talha.

“It was really scary,” Chaudhry said, adding the offender was persistent and clearly intoxicated.

“He wasn’t fighting with anyone else, but he wouldn’t leave us alone,” she said.

“I didn’t expect something like this,” said Rizwan, who was thrown to the ground but escaped without injuries.

“It was not my intention to fight.”

Cops responded and cuffed Laina, a known nuisance with a lengthy rap sheet.

“I am not the enemy. They are terrorists,” the criminal complaint quoted him as telling police. “I am a Marine. I was in Iraq. I killed 14 people.”

Laina, 28 is facing up to four years in prison for assault as a hate crime. His Facebook page shows him dozing off while wearing fatigues and crawling in muck.

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Should American Muslims Reconsider the Liberal Alliance?

Muslim Matters - 15 September, 2014 - 05:05

By Mobeen Vaid

 

Background

As a result of the Bush years and a neoconservative ideology that disproportionately favored policies curtailing the rights of Muslims domestically and interventionism on the international stage, American Muslims have, for the bulk of the last decade, overwhelmingly affiliated with the Democratic Party. This affiliation came to the forefront in the 2004 Presidential Election when 76% of American Muslims supported John Kerry while only 7% supported President George W. Bush.  Having been a historically Republican voting bloc, the political realignment exhibited by American Muslims was so drastic that John Zogby characterized it as “virtually unprecedented” at the time. American Muslim support for the Democratic Party intensified during the 2008 Presidential Campaign, as 89% of American Muslims voted for then-candidate Barack Obama. Four years later, President Obama's re-election campaign was widely supported, again, with a nominally lower 85% support from the American Muslim community, a number nearly identical to those who formally affiliated as ideologically liberal.

The Muslim community's political realignment has not only been evident in the context of presidential elections, but is also on full display vis-à-vis contributions and volunteer hours for liberal democrats, Facebook posting and re-tweeting of liberal politician and pundit statements, along with shifting opinions within the American Muslim community on topics such as gay marriage, evolution, abortion, and related topics. This dynamic is what I have termed “the liberal alliance” which represents the political, social, and ideological commitment to liberalism, which American Muslims have and continue to make en masse.

As of late, political discussions in the American Muslim community have placed this relationship under the microscope, with critics centering on President Obama's domestic and foreign policies that have, in large part, not been a significant departure from that of his neoconservative predecessor. In fact, a number of his policies have been systemically worse, engendering a bipartisan consensus around issues that were historically viewed as uniquely conservative. Military interventionism, curtailment of domestic freedoms, and protections for Wall Street executives and firms guilty of fiscal malfeasance stand today as the prevailing positions of both Democrats and Republicans alike, with rare exception.

Given this reality, the question begs itself as to what American Muslims should reasonably do – if indeed the best chance for political viability is uncritical support for a party whose platform is virtually identical to its counterparts (at least in regards to core 'Muslim' issues such as domestic surveillance, indefinite detention, Guantanamo Bay, interventionism, Israel/Palestine, etc.) then is it really worth participating at all? Should Muslims 'throw away their vote' and cast ballots for third-party candidates that have no chance for victory?

Red/Blue Dichotomy

Perhaps the first component of this discussion that needs addressing is the simplistic nature of political engagement that has dominated Muslim communities for the better part of the last decade. Though not uniquely Muslim, the tendency to view politics as a blue/red proposition is, without question, problematic. In this framing, Republicans are frequently caricaturized as representing the worst that their party has to offer, whilst Democrats are brandied as 'pro Muslim', in seeming ambivalence to said candidates' public statements and voting record.

Muslims need to realize that the red/blue dichotomy is a false one, and that political debates are little more than theatrics that depend on factors above and beyond substance. Journalists, political pundits, and candidates frequently employ what is termed manufactured outrage by taking a perspective that is nominally different than their opponents but presenting the two sides as being representative of a deep philosophical divide.  The utility in doing so is that it provides the illusion of real debate while implicitly structuring what constitutes politically permissive discourse.

Accordingly, the strictures of permissive political discourse work to marginalize alternative voices as fringe or otherwise eccentric while yielding a citizenry that is largely obedient, a dynamic Chomsky articulated when he said,

The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.”

In addition, American Muslims need to view politicians for who they are – politicians, not friends, family, or community members. Politicians are rarely principled enough to be 'pro-Muslim' or 'anti-Muslim', rather they are apt to act on that which is politically expedient at a given point in time. The fact that certain members of the Democratic Party and liberal establishment advocate on behalf of Muslim causes has more to do with a shared political adversary than a common moral/ethical paradigm.

This is even more so when it comes to political commenters and satirists.  Yes, there is little question that political commentators and satirists such as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, and others serve as proportionately more balanced brokers of political conversation than their right-wing counterparts. That said, even the best pundits are not inherently aligned with mainstream ethical Muslim commitments (and it would be unreasonable to expect them to be such). When Stewart, Colbert, Maddow, Maher, and the many other liberal political commenters portray arguments against gay marriage as ontologically inferior and borne out of an outmoded world of theism run amuck, they critique not only the 'religious right', but frankly, the ethical framework outlined in the Qur'an. The secular framework wherein Muslims and fellow co-religionists are cornered into abdicating their theistic commitments in assessing what to advance in the context of positive law is a fickle distinction, one that Noah Feldman terms the “Orthodox Paradox” and Daniel Haqiqatjou wrote extensively on in this post last May.

Perhaps more problematic than the desire to consistently reformulate traditional Islamic commitments to coincide with modern secular liberal sensibilities, is the likely outcome of such a syncretic theology.  If American Muslims persistently recast Islam in light of secular liberal values, how can they expect to fend off the spread of secular liberal movements against theism? Can American Muslims engage in the political milieu of the modern Democratic Party while maintaining the line that they are merely electing 'the lesser of two evils' without inhering any of the ideological commitments concomitant with liberalism?

So What Should We Do?

Given the aforementioned challenges, what should be the structure of future engagement?

For one, American Muslims should reconsider the liberal alliance, at least as it is currently constructed.  This means critically addressing the areas of incongruence between liberalism and Islamic Law, as well as engaging in informed discussions concerning the range of contemporary challenges facing civic society beyond the red/blue dichotomy. American Muslim leaders cannot afford to merely parrot red/blue talking points when discussing current events without expecting that same discourse to pervade the congregation. In addition, American Muslims need to prioritize their ethical/moral commitments over the desire for acceptance, understanding that although strategic compromises need to be made in the process of political participation, not every compromise is worth making or representative of a modern 'Hudaibiyah' moment.

Secondly, American Muslims need to severely attenuate the current fervor tied to national elections.  There is no act of political participation less meaningful than voting in presidential elections, as the Electoral College renders 90% of the states decided well before the election date.  In a contentious year, three or four states are legitimately in play, whereas in most years the states that may actually swing one way or the other are the one or two which candidates tend to focus their efforts on.  If American Muslims find themselves residing in a swing state, then casting a ballot for president makes sense and assessing candidates electability within ones moral framework should indeed be done, even if that means relenting to the 'lesser of two evils'.  Otherwise, American Muslims in non-swing states should consider voting for third party candidates or perhaps refraining from casting a presidential ballot.

Thirdly, American Muslims should embrace Oppositional Politics as part of a broader engagement strategy.  No one is proposing that Oppositional Politics be “the platform” for American Muslims, but it should certainly be a component of the broader strategy – you can read my earlier post on this for more details concerning it.

Cognate to Oppositional Politics is support for issues 'uniquely Muslim': Guantanamo Bay, interventionism, drones, Mohamed Soltan, Aafia Siddiqui, global conflicts (Syria, Gaza, etc.), and related areas of concern need to be issues that American Muslims feel no compunction advocating on behalf of.  American Muslims cannot allow intimidation or domestication to curtail their ability to advocate for policies deemed politically inconvenient, even as a beleaguered minority. A platform devoted to remaining within the safe timidity of populist liberal politics whilst circumventing politically contentious topics engenders a political climate of fear and passivity. Organizations that pursue such an approach risk alienating their constituency and losing legitimacy within the American Muslim community.

Lastly, American Muslims should heighten their involvement in local politics. This is not only with respect to elections for local congressional candidates and state government positions (school board, etc.), but with respect to outreach, community engagement, and interfaith programming. Amaanah Refugee Services in Houston, iman in Chicago, and ICNA Relief represent successful models of community outreach programs, and interfaith coalitions such as Shoulder-to-Shoulder pioneered by ISNA have demonstrated what can be accomplished when we work with other faith communities to advance areas of shared values. Though it has been emphasized time and again, the imperative to support our local communities cannot be understated, and if we are to have any chance of carving out a dignified future for ourselves and our children, we must ensure that we genuinely care about those around us and wish them good.

In doing so, we pray that Allah allows us to fulfill our covenants to Him, live up to the moral responsibility concomitant with being the Best of Nations, and manifest the injunction to:

Let there be from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful.” [3:104]

ameen.

And Allah Knows Best.

The post Should American Muslims Reconsider the Liberal Alliance? appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Isis doesn't deserve to be called Islamic, Australian imams say

The Guardian World news: Islam - 15 September, 2014 - 01:22

These criminals are committing crimes against humanity and sins against God, grand mufti says, though national council does not support sending troops

Australian imams have called for the term Islamic not to be used when referring to the Islamic State (Isis) group, saying it serves only to give credibility to the groups claims of religious authority.

There was nothing Islamic about its murderous actions, the Australian National Imams Council said, and the phrase Islamic State referred to an era when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together harmoniously.

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Steve King’s Plan To Defeat ISIS: Spy On Muslim Americans In Mosques

Loon Watch - 14 September, 2014 - 22:03

Steve-King-Interview-638x425

via. Think Progress

By Igor Volsky

Muslim Americans are fighting back against Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) suggestion on Thursday that the U.S. government should spy on mosques to stop the recruitment of fighters into the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“The radical Islamists have 1.3 or more billion Muslims to work with,” the Iowa congressman said on The Steve Deace Show. “Now they aren’t all supporters… but that is a huge population to draw from,” he continued, suggesting that recruiters are “certainly in the United States,” particularly in mosques in Virginia and Minneapolis. “So they have a network that they flow in. And it isn’t that all Muslims are a supporter of ISIS but the network that flows through the mosques is certainly the communications centers. We ought to be looking at this dot to dot. And we ought to have people sitting in those mosques watching to see what’s going on,” he explained.

The United States government estimates that more than 100 Americans are already fighting in Syria’s civil war and dozen of whom are part of ISIS.

But American Muslims view ISIS as an abomination to Islam and the group itself has little regard for the fundamental tenets of Islam, blowing up copies of the Qur’an, killing fellow Muslims, and slaughtering innocent youth and using rape and sexual slavery as a weapon.

Virtually every single American Muslim organization has publicly disavowed both the ideology and the practices of ISIS and just a day before King’s remarks dozens of Muslim American clerics and community leaders distanced their religion from the beliefs of the terrorist extremists. “ISIS and al Qaeda represent a warped religious ideology,” Faizal Khan, imam of the Islamic Society of America mosque in Silver Spring, said during a press conference with Muslim-American leaders from Indonesia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Sudan and Trinidad. “Either we reject this violence in the clearest possible terms, or we allow them to become the face of Islam and the world’s perception of us for years to come.”

On Thursday, Muslims in Virginia responded directly to King’s comments. “It’s really reprehensible, red meat rhetoric being thrown out there,” Mahdi Bray of the American Muslim Alliance told the local NBC affiliate in Washington D.C. “No. we don’t need spies in mosques. I think we went through that with Hoover, with Dr. Martin Luther King and that didn’t work either, he saw a communist behind every sheet. So I don’t think there’s a need for that and actually — and, again, this goes back to my original characterization of this being un-American.”

Following the terrorist attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, the FBI routinely spied on Muslims in mosques. The New York Police Department recently disbanded a unit responsible for infiltrating and eavesdropping on New York’s Muslim communities and in San Francisco, the the FBI in San Francisco used a public relations program “to collect information on the religious views and practices of Muslims in Northern California and then shared the intelligence with other government agencies.”

MuslimKidsMatter | Oh Allah (Poem)

Muslim Matters - 14 September, 2014 - 21:55

Oh Allah

By Hana Hubert

Oh Allah, creator of all in existence,

Oh Allah, you rule all, with no resistance.

        The King, the Owner, it is to you we pray,

You blessed us with our life, in which we have a say.

        Oh Allah, the All-Hearing, you hear me when I ask,

To ease the duties of the people who are burdened by their task.

        And to guide the un-guided, and show them the way,

So that they also can feel the beauty that Islam does portray.

        Give the children who are starving a proper meal and bed,

And clothe and feed the orphans who yearn to be fed.

        Oh Allah, bless our mothers, who raised us from day one,

Grant safe passage for the travelers who burn beneath the sun.

        Oh Allah, make us pleased with our life as it may be,

Give us courage to battle failures that uproot us like a tree.

        Let us all afford a house, that can support our families,

And give us strength to face our fears, that hover above us like bees.

        Oh Allah, I know you hear us, so answer us when we plea,

For our du'a to be answered, Allah I know you hear me!

About the Author

Hana Hubert is a smart, strong, healthy 10-year-old girl who loves to care for others in a good-natured, well-mannered way.  She loves caring for plants and doing ibadah to Allāh.  She enjoys drawing, painting, and playing with her friends.  She also likes to play in the park, swim, and jump on her trampoline.  Her favorite colors include all shades of green.  Hana lives in Delaware with her parents and younger brother. (Attention, writers!  Muslim Kids Matter is a regular feature at Muslim Matters.  New articles for kids are posted every other Sunday.  You're welcome to send in your entries to muslimkidsmatter@muslimmatters.org.)

The post MuslimKidsMatter | Oh Allah (Poem) appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

British Muslims fear backlash after David Haines murder

The Guardian World news: Islam - 14 September, 2014 - 21:12
Communities across the UK say risk of reprisals rises with each report of violence by extremists using cloak of religion

British Muslims are bracing themselves for a backlash after the beheading of David Haines by Islamic State militants, leading community figures have said.

Harun Khan, deputy secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said a backlash was experienced virtually every time violence carried out by extremists who claimed to act in the name of religion received high-profile media coverage.

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There will be FUD

Indigo Jo Blogs - 13 September, 2014 - 18:00

A demonstration in favour of a Yes vote in Glasgow, today (13th September 2014); people are filling a street and there are Scottish flags being held in the foregroundIn under a week as of this writing, the Scottish independence referendum will have been held and the votes will either have been counted, or will be in the process. Last Sunday in the Observer, Will Hutton proposed a constitutional settlement to save the union: a wholesale change to the British constitution, giving each of the constituent nations an assembly of its own, including England, the replacement of the House of Lords with a “House of Britain” representing the nations and regions, and greater autonomy for cities and towns. The major parties have already promised to transfer more powers to the Scottish parliament in the event of a No vote, in particular greater control over taxes.

The campaign for a No vote styles itself “Better Together” but its major tactic seems to consist of what the computer industry calls FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt. The fears are mostly about the economy: of major companies moving their headquarters to London, of prices in shops rising, of North Sea oil running out (or sometimes, of a large part of it being claimed by England), of what currency Scotland will use or of it having to join the Euro, of whether it can join the EU immediately, of whether the British armed forces will still get ships built there, even of border controls at Gretna (which, of course, there aren’t on crossings to Ireland; you did not need a passport even during the Troubles). Last week it started to appear that the FUD tactics were not working and that opinion polls showed that support for a Yes vote was increasing (in some cases that the Yes vote was ahead); Prime Minister’s Questions was cancelled so that the leaders of the three major Westminster parties could go up to Scotland and campaign against independence, and promises of more power for Holyrood were made. Nobody was suggesting a comprehensive reform of the British constitution. The last thing any politician down south wants is more power slipping away to the English regions, or having to share power with anyone unless it’s absolutely necessary, or of meaningful regional assemblies in England. Labour and the Tories are used to power being an all-or-nothing affair.

As a British citizen of English and Irish origin, I do not particularly want to see the UK split up, but I do not blame Scots for wanting out, particularly in the present political climate. If I was a Scottish voter the topmost thought in my head would be “no more Tories”. Of course, independence will give the political right a chance to re-emerge in Scotland once it is no longer associated with support for the union (witness Alex Salmond’s fondness for Donald Trump’s developments and golf courses), but they will in the short term be free of the mindless, uncaring vulture capitalism which has been imposed by the present coalition (and even then, the Scots are partly protected from it by devolution). I am more worried about what it will mean for the rest of the UK. Many minority populations in Scotland identify as Scottish, but not many in England identify as English; they use the term to mean white (although in my experience, they can often spot the Irish in someone at ten paces). Much like those with a Soviet national identity in parts of the former USSR after that union broke up (notably Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine), there are a lot of people around the UK who identify as British, and their home country will no longer exist if Scotland leaves (even though the name “Britain” in fact refers to the Celtic ancestors of the Welsh and Cornish). I am less worried about the “perpetual Tory government” scenario; the recriminations over the break-up of the Union may well prevent the party winning the next election, particularly when the party faces competition with UKIP. Nobody seems to have considered the status of Northern Ireland; the loyalty of its mostly Scottish Protestant population is to Britain, not England.

The major reason why nationalism has grown in the past couple of generations has a lot to do with the failure of the British state to adapt to modern times. Britain likes to pride itself on taking the first steps towards the Rule of Law and constitutional government, but it was left behind by other large modern democracies such as the USA, Germany, Spain, Canada and Australia decades ago. We now have a political structure built for a time when most of the population was illiterate and disenfranchised; the political classes resist reform because it would likely mean neither of the big two parties would ever form a single-party government again. We have had decades since the end of the Empire to redress the political balance, but the political classes have formed a vested interest in their own right and resisted at every step of the way. Even the current “five-year Parliament” law was enacted only to stop the coalition being broken up if the Liberal Democrats decided to back out. The signs are that the Tories want to sink us deeper into the past, celebrating the feudal Magna Carta while campaigning to strip away from British citizens the rights that citizens of those countries take for granted by removing us from the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Union. Elsewhere in Europe, physical borders and obstacles to travel have been torn down; the Tories and their press defend ours, despite the unnecessary expense and inconvenience they cause.

I do agree that in the event of a Scottish No vote, the UK will need major constitutional reform, but it should happen regardless of which way the vote goes. It should have happened decades ago, rather than merely being discussed in a panic just as it seemed that Scotland would leave the union in a referendum held as a challenge to Alex Salmond. A hundred days was probably too short to “save the Union”; ten days certainly was. We have no hope now, except to pray that the Scots vote No. But we cannot blame them if they voted Yes. Our sclerotic and antiquated political system and the political classes and press that defend it are to blame for the current crisis.

Image source: @YesVoteScots.

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'Islamic State' is a slur on our faith, say leading Muslims

The Guardian World news: Islam - 13 September, 2014 - 18:00
Imams call on David Cameron and others to stop using phrase which they say gives credibility to a terrorist organisation

The prime minister and media should stop legitimising the terror group rampaging through Syria and Iraq by describing it as Islamic State, according to a coalition of imams and organisations representing British Muslims. Use of the jihadis' preferred title, they argue, gives credibility to the Sunni militants and slurs the Islamic faith.

Signatories to a letter to David Cameron, including Sughra Ahmed, president of the Islamic Society of Britain, admit that UK Muslims need to do more to dissuade their young men from being misled into taking part in the group's "hatred and poison". "We shall take every opportunity to continue to say clearly and loudly 'not in our name' and 'not for our faith,' " they write.

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EDL supporters attack police during Rotherham sex abuse protest

The Guardian World news: Islam - 13 September, 2014 - 16:00
Police make four arrests at English Defence League rally, as far-right group is accused of 'trying to divide Rotherham'

English Defence League (EDL) protesters have attacked police in Rotherham while demonstrating over the recent revelations about child sexual exploitation in the town.

Three men linked to the demonstration were arrested ahead of the march on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and remain in custody. A fourth man from Rotherham was also arrested on suspicion of committing a public order offence.

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Official Statement of Dr Bilal Philips on his arrest in Philippines

Muslim Matters - 13 September, 2014 - 15:35

OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF DR. BILAL PHILIPS

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful

10 September, 2014
From Immigration Detention, Davao City
Mindanao, Philippines

Dear Friends, Students, and Supporters,
Salaam alaykum. Peace be upon you all.
I would first like to thank you for all your prayers and various positive expressions of care, concern and support. I'm happy to inform you that I am safe and well-treated in Davao City immigration custody, as my request for voluntary deportation is being processed.

Though I appreciate your rallies and demonstrations of support in Marawi City, Zamboanga and elsewhere, I advise you all to keep calm and not let your genuine expressions of support spiral out of control and degenerate into wanton destruction of property and the loss of life and limb.
Please allow the due process of law to take its course. The false allegations and misunderstandings circulating in the media will be tackled legally in order to clear my name and lift the ban on any future visits to the Philippines – God willing. There is sufficient evidence to prove my innocence in my hundreds of youtube video lectures and khutbahs (see my youtube channel: aabphilips), over 50 published books, many of which can be downloaded freely from my website: www.bilalphilips.com or www.kalamullah.com, or the hundreds of posts on my official facebook page: Dr. Bilal Philips, with almost 2 million likes.

As to my being on the no-fly black list of America, I join the ranks of Nelson Mandela who was put on it while he was in Robbin Island, and he remained on the list as president of South Africa until he won the Nobel Peace Prize for the same reason he was put on the list in the first place. Because of a narrow policy of the US and inhospitable atmosphere, I prefer not to go to US like one your local public official in Davao City who shunned going to the US for medical treatment. Not to mention the actual meaning of American label placed on me as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the 1993 attempted bombing of the World Trade Center. In normal language, “un-indicted” simply means “no charges have been filed against me due to lack of evidence”, and “co-conspirator” means “guilty by association”, that someone who the authorities arrested had my name in their telephone book, or they were seen shaking hands with me, or they prayed next to me in a mosque, etc.
Regarding the British 3-year ban, based on a statement taken out of context from a video program originally made in 1995 and rebroadcast along with my other programs continuously in Sharjah TV, UAE, since 2003, it has already been successfully demonstrated to Canadian Immigration authorities that I was misquoted. The ban in Australia follows the American lead blindly and the ban in Kenya also blindly follows the British ban. As for the German lifetime ban unilaterally issued by the Mayor of Frankfurt, it was thrown out of court in Germany last year. The Mayor's appeal was also rejected by the higher courts, he was made to cover all court costs and the ban was lifted. I was not banned or deported from Bangladesh earlier this year as in commonly falsely reported. I entered the country and left on my own will.

Sensational journalism has also played a major role in demonizing me, like that of the daily newspaper which plastered a picture of me on their front page, Sept. 10th issue, with the heading “Suspected Terrorist Arrested”. The related article contained a series of irresponsible, inflammatory and inaccurate statements from PRO 11 Regional Director Chief Superintendent Wendy G. Rosario. Superintendent Rosario was quoted as saying that I was considered a person of interest because of alleged links to a terrorist group outside the country. I have never had any links nor have I ever been accused of having links to any terrorist group. Superintendent Rosario further stated that I was invited for questioning by the police while lecturing in a mosque which is inaccurate, as I did not lecture in any mosque in Davao, my lecture on “Raising Righteous Children” was a public lecture in the Sunny Point Hotel auditorium attended by Muslims and non-Muslims. He then stated that I was prevented from lecturing in Zamboanga scheduled for the 4 and 5th (correctly the 5th and 6th) which is untrue. I personally decided not to go to Zamboanga when the Mayor of Zamboanga withdrew her support by cancelling the venue and her provision of government security forces. She also requested the Department of Justice to prevent me from coming there. The organizers in Zamboanga requested me to come anyway, assuring security from ex-generals from their ranks, but I thought it prudent not to go since the mayor was personally opposed. He then stated that the Bureau of Immigration issued a blacklist order against me on the 4th September, also untrue. They issued the order on the 5th at the request of the Mayor of Zamboanga, and I arrived in the country on the 4th. He then mentioned that there was a report that I was already blacklisted while failing to mention that the previous blacklisting was lifted by the government. Such irresponsible sensational journalism has been identified by the UK government's Runymede Report as a major source of Islamophobia. I trust and pray that the majority of the people of the Philippines will not tolerate such attitude.

It is very sad that lecturers and speakers like myself who call to Islamic moderation and oppose extremism, terrorism, indiscriminate violence and revolt, are blocked from conveying this peaceful message to Muslim minority communities. We recognize that extremism is a product of ignorance of true Islamic teachings so we promote in our lectures the acquisition of correct knowledge and the practice of Islam's authentic teachings. In banning and demonizing us, they have created a vacuum of information which continues to be exploited and filled by extremist elements who easily recruit youthful impressionable followers with emotional messages to their savage, violent and merciless unIslamic methodologies and ideologies.

I have always been a proponent of peaceful solutions to our problems as you all know, the motto of my university (Islamic Online University.com) is “Changing the Nation Through Education”. Please be an active part of this prophetic methodology for change by joining the ranks of over 180,000 registered students in my university, most of whom are studying free of any charge in the free Islamic Studies Diploma program.

Peace be upon you all.
Dr. Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips
Chancellor, Islamic Online University

The post Official Statement of Dr Bilal Philips on his arrest in Philippines appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Moeen Ali urges British Muslims joining jihadist groups not to go

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 September, 2014 - 14:50
From my understanding were not allowed to fight
England bowler surprised by reaction to wristbands

The England bowler Moeen Ali has urged young British Muslims who are thinking about joining the Islamic State terror group "not to go".

Ali, who is a devout Muslim, told the Huffington Post that he believed Islamic law did not permit people from the UK to go out and fight for jihadist groups in Syria or Iraq.

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Friday Links | September 12, 2014

Muslimah Media Watch - 12 September, 2014 - 07:00
News that Scottish student Aqsa Mahmood has joined ISIS in Syria shocked many, but she isn’t the only woman to do so. The Guardian features an article on the reasons why young women choose to go to Syria and what kind of life they are living there. Human Rights Watch reports that African Union peacekeepers in Somalia have sexually [Read More...]

Death threats over mosque: councillor says Facebook protecting users

The Guardian World news: Islam - 12 September, 2014 - 04:53

Gold Coast councillor says Facebook wont reveal identities of creators of Stop the Mosque at Currumbin page

A Gold Coast city councillor says shes been threatened with gang-rape and death over a proposed mosque and that Facebook has been protecting the identity of her tormentors.

Chris Robbins says she has spent several weeks trying to get Facebook to reveal the identity of the creators of the Stop the Mosque at Currumbin page after it used a photo of her as its profile picture, claiming she was receiving money from unspecified Islamic backers, a claim she denies.

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