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George Galloway interviewed by police over Bradford 'Israel-free zone' speech

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 August, 2014 - 19:20
Respect MP's comments and visit by Israeli ambassador cause Muslim leader to accuse both of creating disharmony in the city

Respect MP George Galloway has been interviewed by police under caution after claims that he incited racial hatred by declaring Bradford an "Israel-free zone".

West Yorkshire police said the 59-year-old spoke to detectives voluntarily after complaints about a speech he gave in Leeds this month in which he said: "We don't want any Israeli goods, we don't want any Israeli services, we don't want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college, we don't even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so."

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Pamela Geller, ‘Anti-Muslim Hate Group’ Leader Banned From UK, Holds Pro-Israel Rally In NY

Loon Watch - 18 August, 2014 - 21:33

Very well done post by Paul Vale at the Huffington Post. Kind of hilarious. Geller even showed up to whine in the comments section.:

(Huffington Post)

NEW YORK — On Sunday the American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI), an organisation the Southern Poverty Law Centre has listed as an anti-Muslim hate group, held a demonstration in New York’s Union Square in support of Israel and “minorities persecuted under Islamic rule”.

The group’s leader is Pamela Geller, an activist who in 2013 was banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Theresa May. The government restricted Geller, along with author and blogger Robert Spencer, from entering the country as it was concluded their presence in the would not be “conducive to the public good”. The pair had planned to attend a rally in Woolwich following the death of Drummer Lee Rigby.

Here’s Geller on Sunday…

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…along with Robert Spencer.

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There were around 150 people at the event.

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Many had come with homemade placards.

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“The media” took a bit of a kicking…

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As did Obama…

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…despite being the only Western leader to authorise air strikes against militants in Iraq.

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This woman sought divine inspiration for her sign…

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…and received it.

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…whereas this chap just went to Home Depot.

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This guy forgot the name of ISIS.

While this entrepreneurial chap had a bag full of Israeli flags…

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…which he was peddling for $10.

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Then there was this piece of couture.

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And this Panama hat.

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Click to see the entire article…

 

This attempt to redefine religious bias marks a shift from hard secularism | Andrew Brown

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 August, 2014 - 13:36
The Equality and Human Rights Commissions consultation does not seek the functional re-establishment of Christianity its prompted by the rising importance of Islam

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched a consultation on whether it is handling religious equality appropriately. This marks a significant unease with the way in which equality law has dealt with Christians, in particular since 2010. The central question is whether there is anything more to Christian discontent than whingeing about the progress of gay rights.

The Evangelical Alliance sees this move as a triumph. Don Horrocks, a Baptist minister who is its head of public affairs, says the commission has failed religion and belief totally.

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Dr. Ramadan “Boycotting” ISNA and RIS – What Do You Think?

Muslim Matters - 18 August, 2014 - 11:00

Back Story: Dr. Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Muslim academic and writer, announced that he was going to boycott the ISNA and RIS conferences this year. His contention with ISNA was that they were not doing enough to speak out against policies that adversely affected American Muslims, and with RIS that they were supportive of Sufi speakers that gave theological and popular cover for undemocratic leaders in the Muslim world. His follow up interview is here.

ISNA and their supporters responded here and here saying that they did speak truth to power, and not being at the table meant that their voice (and subsequently that of American Muslims) would not be heard at all.

RIS has said little so far.

A few scholars have lined up in support of Dr. Ramadan, including Omar SuleimanAbu Eesa Niamtullah and others.

So where does that leave you? Well, that is for you to work out, but as someone who is an intrigued bystander (I am not particularly a fan of any of the parties involved and do not live in North America) I thought I would share some of my thoughts.

1. Public Boycotts and Private Advice

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One of the main points of contention from the ISNA/RIS supporters is the manner in which the advice was given – publicly rather than in private. There is an argument to be made about giving advice privately. However, when the mistake is public, or on public policy by those in authority, then it may create greater fitna to advise in private. It leads to a lack of trust by the general Muslim public in both parties – the group deemed to be in the wrong (for not giving them a chance to explain themselves publicly) and the group that are advising (for being supposedly silent).

We saw this when a ṣaḥābi raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) publicly scolded Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) for having twice the amount of garments from the war booty on as compared to everyone else. This act of publicly taking the leadership to task had a two-fold benefit – Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was afforded the chance to explain that his son had given him his share, and the Muslim public were reassured that there was no corruption at the heart of the Caliphate.

2. When Leaders and the Public Differ on Strategy

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ISNA argued quite strongly that the strategy of 'engage at all costs' is the only correct way forward. Any other strategy would be pointless and counter-productive. This ignores the fact that, sometimes, leaders need to accept a strategy that they believe to be flawed in order to preserve the unity and loyalty of their community.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself showed us this when he accepted the younger ṣaḥābah's desire to fight at Uhud instead of defending from Madinah (as was his preferred option) in a council. Even though it turned out the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was right, and the decision led to the tragedy of Uhud, it prevented a greater tragedy of disillusionment and disunity amongst the ṣaḥābah at a critical juncture.

 

3. Misrepresentation or Oversimplification?

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Looking at this debate, I'm struck by how one side is oversimplifying the discourse into a stark message of engage or don't engage, when in fact it is the parameters of how and who to engage with that is being questioned. Honesty about this crucial fact (i.e. the opposing view has some valid basis and is worthy of consideration) is vital.

When Caliph Uthman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and Abu Dharr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) disagreed about the corrupting influence of the vast amounts of wealth that had been flooding Madinah – they each stated their cases without stereotyping or oversimplifying the other. Uthman raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was of the opinion that it was not the quantity of money but whether or not it had been purified by zakāh and sadaqah that was important. Abu Dharr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) feared that even ostensibly purified wealth would corrupt the egalitarian spirit of Madinah. Whilst the ṣaḥābah didn't agree on everything, they didn't oversimplify each other's views in order to avoid engaging in serious and honest debate… and neither should we.

4. When Scholars are Made into Leaders

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The broader issue is there is a serious debate going on about how the Muslim community should deal with the many challenges it faces. This requires leaders to forge a clear strategy, after gaining the confidence and loyalty of the community.

Instead, we find ourselves in a situation where scholars/imams are being made into surrogates for leaders. Although the two are not mutually exclusive, they are not the same thing. This is where the problem – and the potential solution – lies, in my opinion.

A leader (or leaders) need to arise that can articulate a vision for Muslims in the West, and in America — a vision that balances the need for engagement with the maintenance of dignity; a vision that unites different factions and methodologies; a vision that inspires hope and a unity of purpose, not just a uniformity of views.

These are just some of my thoughts… what are yours? Share them below.

 

The post Dr. Ramadan “Boycotting” ISNA and RIS – What Do You Think? appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Australian jihadists fighting overseas should be stripped of their citizenship | Malcolm Fraser

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 August, 2014 - 07:16

Australia would be totally justified in saying anyone who has dual citizenship will forthwith lose their Australian citizenship if they fight abroad with any other forces

There has been lots of discussion about what ought to be done about Australians who fight with extremists groups overseas. Thus far, there has been little practical action.

This situation was foreseen in 1960-61, when Garfield Barwick passed legislation to amend the crimes act. Barwicks legislation introduced an offence called treachery. While the act of treason, at the time, could attract the death penalty, Barwick limited the penalty for treachery to provide for a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life.

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You didn't fight for me: how 'moderate' Muslim leaders influence radicals | Yassir Morsi

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 August, 2014 - 01:01

A severed head on the front page: such an image provokes us to condemnation, as it should. But who condemns, and how, are key factors in the production of more young radicals

The image of a seven-year-old boy holding up a severed head is undeniably disturbing. It is not ambiguous. This is not an issue like euthanasia or capital punishment, where disputes over ethics or justice lead to competing positions that can be debated. There is no need to do so here, and there is barely an appetite to ask what motivates such acts, by debating geopolitical contexts or failed foreign policies.

Whatever else is being discussed, it is still a seven-year-old boy holding up a human head. What else can we say after that?

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MuslimKidsMatter | Stereotypes About Homeschooling: The Kids’ Response

Muslim Matters - 17 August, 2014 - 17:00

Stereotypes About Homeschooling: The Kids' Response

By Nur Kose and Zaynub Siddiqui

The school year will be beginning for many kids around the world.  Many kids are wondering what this year will be like.  Will they go to a public school or a private school?  Will they begin the adventure of homeschooling?

People are often curious about families who homeschool.  As homeschoolers, we have encountered many questions including numerous misconceptions about the way our school works.  Some kids think we're totally lucky, while others pity us.  Many have mixed feelings about us, wondering if it's okay to befriend us or thinking that we're weird because we study at home.

There are many articles and books out there about the homeschooling experience from the parents' perspective.  What's missing is how the kids, the homeschoolers themselves, view their way of schooling.  Two homeschoolers in two different states, we have decided to collaborate and write a bit about how we feel about homeschooling.  We want to chase away some stereotypes and common misconceptions that so many people we have met have about us.

Stereotype #1: Homeschoolers Sleep All Day and Play All Night

Many people think that just because we're at home all day, we don't seriously study.  Perhaps they believe that receiving a proper education requires neat rows of desks and chairs in classrooms as is the norm in schools throughout the world.  Many may believe that staying at home isn't conducive to learning while in fact one's home is the best place to learn and grow as a family.  As homeschoolers, we are able to use this to our benefit, learning practical life applications and school studies at the same time.  And yes, many homeschoolers actually wake up and sleep at an appointed time and follow a certain study schedule throughout the day.

Stereotype #2: Homeschoolers are Not Smart

One slightly frustrating misconception that people often have about homeschoolers is that we're not very smart or are not capable of learning well and that's why we pulled out of school.  Even when people think they understand homeschooling, they are often surprised when they find out I get A's and have won nationwide academic competitions during my years homeschooling.  What people don't understand is that the world of homeschooling is very broad.  Just as all sorts of kids make up a public or private school, the same can be said for homeschoolers.  Students even vary within one family.  One of my brothers, for example, is great at memorizing facts and this helps him get good grades on exams.  My other brother, however, often has trouble remembering many important facts.  Unlike my first brother, though, he shines with creativity, always ready to make something with some paper and glue or experiment with various supplies in the kitchen.  “Smartness” can't be easily determined by a set standard.  Everyone learns differently and excels in something different.

Stereotype #3: Homeschoolers are Geniuses

Then there's the other group of people who assume that homeschoolers are natural geniuses and can zip through grades without much effort.  Sure, there are lots of homeschoolers around the world who have demonstrated superior skills and homeschoolers are often the ones to win major competitions.  It's also true that many homeschoolers are a grade or two ahead.  With the flexibility of homeschooling, they have been able to finish studying the material for a grade more quickly than others have.  However, this doesn't mean that simply being a homeschooler will make you a genius or that homeschooling requires little work to achieve high results.

To make an assumption about the academic capabilities of homeschoolers based on a few homeschoolers you know is neither fair nor accurate.

Stereotype #4: Homeschooling is So Boring

Many think that, as said before, we sit around all day. This is, in fact, very untrue.  Homeschooling comes with so many opportunities and lessons that normally any student in school would not be able to participate in. We meet amazing people and have the chances to go and explore places.  Oftentimes, parents make a homeschooling essay or lesson out of all sorts of experiences. For example, I once went on a week-long trip to Dallas,Texas. Distracted by the wonders of the trip, I had not gotten a chance to study during the week.  During the plane ride home, my mom whispered to me, “I expect an essay about our Dallas trip in two days.”  Some homeschoolers do complain that homeschooling is boring, but these are often the ones who have not been to public or private school before and are not able to really compare the two.  And of course, kids without many siblings to homeschool with would probably not have much fun.

Stereotype #5: Homeschooling is All Fun

Sometimes kids who attend public or private school are jealous that homeschoolers get to go to Chucky Cheese's in the daytime or go traveling for long periods of time during the school year.  Many often think that homeschooling is always fun, picturing us studying in pajamas, munching on cookies while studying algebra.  And it definitely is true that much of the time, homeschooling is lots of fun.  We do get to go places other kids can't when they're in school and we get to tell kids who go to school stuff about what happened at daytime get-togethers. Usually my mom doesn't go out during the daytime, deciding to focus on our studies instead.  Sometimes, however, when we were younger and she was invited to a mothers' gathering, she would take the bunch of us with our bags of schoolbooks. The host would set aside a room for us to study in.  It was often weird to be the only kids there, except for the little toddlers and babies running around making a ruckus and sometimes grabbing our pencils.  We'd often feel special to be the only kids able to witness these get-togethers among the other kids in our community.  Other times, just like any public or private school, homeschooling isn't so much fun.  We also worry about our grades, get frustrated by exams, and refer to subjects we don't like as boring.

Stereotype #6: All Homeschoolers Homeschool Alike

Homeschoolers all have different ways of teaching and planning. Some join groups in which multiple parents teach all their kids together.  Some study alone at home with just the parents and the kids.  Some study through online courses and communicate with their own teachers through the Internet or phone.  Others don't work on their regular studies much and do the minimum amount of homeschooling because they might be doing a professional sport or memorizing the Qur'an. Some homeschoolers are more structured with set hours each day to study while others are more flexible and study at random times throughout the week. Teaching isn't restricted to the way of public schooling and neither is learning. You can learn through anything if want to.  In many homeschools, parents teach important skills through hands-on learning.  One homeschooling family we know learned about raising hens in a year-long project.  The parents incorporated math in the project while the kids carefully measured boards to build the chicken coop.  Caring for the hens taught science and responsibility.  The kids even had English lessons by reporting about the hens and writing articles about their experiences.  Such methods of learning inspired the children more than plain old facts in their textbooks and bland assignments about things they have never experienced.  Such kids are more likely to pursue their studies on their own because of their interest in such projects.

Basically, there are so many ways to homeschool that you can be pretty certain that any two homeschoolers you know study differently.  Don't make assumptions about all homeschoolers based on what you have seen in someone else.

Stereotype #7: Homeschooling is not “Real School”

When people make comments like “don't you wish you went to real school?” I always get annoyed, saying that I do go to real school.  Does studying at home mean that I am not getting a real education?  Have the last seven years of my life been unreal??  If so, why did I just beat you by twenty points in that vocabulary bee?  Maybe unreal is better than real.

Stereotype #8 All Homeschoolers are Antisocial and Awkward

Many people will come up to me and ask, “Where do you go to school?” I reply with a small smile, “I homeschool.” Then it gets so quiet that you can hear the crickets.  Everything gets awkward and the girl looks at me with pity and I can tell she is mentally questioning my social life, which really isn't fair. In fact, before homeschooling, while attending a public school I was so shy to the point that if someone called my name I would feel like hiding under the table in fright. Homeschooling brought me out of my shell and made me communicate with people more.  Just because I don't talk to kids my age every day does not mean my communication skills are undeveloped.  I regularly attend workshops and Islamic events with my family and when I interact with other community members, they remark that I appear more mature than many others my age.  What we really don't get is why people assume that a traditional school environment is a better environment for kids to grow up in than a homeschool.  How can kids ever mature and learn real-life lessons if they're stuck with other immature kids their age forty hours a week?

Stereotype #9: Homeschoolers Don't Dream About Going to College

When I first encountered the question, “So, do you plan to go to college?” I was momentarily shocked by the implication of the question.  Did people really think that just because I was homeschooled, I wasn't interested in pursuing higher education?  Did people really think that I just stayed at home for fun and didn't care about the future?  However, I eventually allowed myself to realize that such a misconception wasn't entirely the questioner's fault.  There are, in fact, many homeschoolers who do not plan to attend college due to other studies or family circumstances.

Stereotype #10: Homeschooling is Restrictive

This absolutely must be the most untrue stereotype ever.  Upon separately interviewing a number of homeschoolers (the kids), we discovered that most of them enjoy homeschooling because of the freedom it provides.  One homeschooler remarked that she gets to learn faster than kids in public school because she studies at her own pace.  Another girl stated that she loves being homeschooled because her mom allows her to organize a plan for her daily work on her own.  Being homeschooled, she gets special privileges.  All the homeschoolers we interviewed agreed that the best part of being homeschooled is the freedom it offers.

We have probably had the best experiences as young adults, having so many opportunities. We have entered competitions and attend events normal students would never be able to attend, written books for children, and have talked to people that you don't meet everyday. Most of all we are able to learn about life the real way, learning how to navigate and search for opportunities rather than worrying about our next period.  We can advance in topics that we excel in and use that to make a difference in the world. As a homeschooler, I've read college level books and have written articles for a really cool website :) and excelled in my photography more than I would have ever been able to if I were in school.  Since our parents get to decide on our curriculum, we get to incorporate religious studies with our other subjects.  For example, while learning about Egyptian history, my mom adds Prophet Musa's story in, allowing me to learn from different perspectives.  With homeschooling, we can learn about the things we want to, such as Islamic art, Islamic history, and Islamic science.  We can include Qur'an reading and memorization in our daily schedules.

People have always commented on how cool I am and how lucky we are because of all the opportunities we have.  One of the best parts about being homeschooled is that our parents realize many things about us that they wouldn't have been able to discover had we gone to a regular school.

 

Although you may have heard many stereotypes about homeschooling, try to think of it as a unique experience, not something that's there for weird people.  Just as public and private schools offer different methods of learning, homeschooling is a special way for kids to bloom as they learn about life with the people they love most.

About the Authors:

Zaynub is thirteen years old and is in eighth grade.  She enjoys debating and is an aspiring photographer.  She also has a special passion for reading, writing, and using social networks.  Zaynub was born in Pennsylvania and raised in California.  She currently lives in Washington D.C., USA with her parents, sister, and brothers.

Nur Kose enjoys reading, writing, and riding her bike.   Having recently turned 16, she is enjoying starting to drive.  Nur is starting 12th grade through Indiana University's online high school diploma program.  When she is not studying, she is leading the 99 Orphans Team (of which she is president), trying to get articles for MKM (of which she is editor), or managing her room (of which she is boss).  She also blogs at http://nurkose.net/. Nur lives in Delaware, USA with her parents and four younger siblings.

(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 | Stereotypes About Homeschooling: The Kids’ Response appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Israeli court allows protesters to picket Palestinian-Jewish wedding

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 August, 2014 - 16:14
Anti-Arab group urges supporters to bring loudspeakers and horns to wedding of Mahmoud Mansour and Moral Malka

A Palestinian man and his Jewish bride-to-be are facing hostile protests in the Israeli town of Rishon Letzion after Israel's high court refused their application to ban demonstrations outside their wedding reception.

Mahmoud Mansour, 26, a Palestinian from Jaffa, has had to hire dozens of security guards after an anti-Arab group, Lehava, published details of his wedding reception online and called for Israelis to come and picket the wedding hall.

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Saudi Arabia does not support Islamic State terrorists or any others | @guardianletters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 August, 2014 - 15:40

Richard Norton-Taylor suggests that Saudi Arabia has been funding the most intolerant brand of Islam in his blog (UK weapons trump human rights in Israel and Saudi Arabia, 11 August)

He suggests this is Wahhabi absolutism. Hearsay and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. He supports his argument with information gleaned from the column of a fellow journalist from another newspaper.

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David Cameron urges swift action against Isis

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 August, 2014 - 23:50
Prime minister warns that terror my come to streets of Britain if Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria are not defeated

David Cameron has warned that if the Islamic State (Isis) is not urgently defeated, it will bring its "poisonous" terrorism to the streets of Britain. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the prime minister said a "firm security response" is needed to defeat the jihadist militants, who have created an expanding caliphate in the heart of Iraq and parts of Syria.

Unless these "warped and barbaric" extremists are dealt with, he wrote, they will create a "terrorist state" on the shores of the Mediterranean.

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Isis: a portrait of the menace that is sweeping my homeland

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 August, 2014 - 23:25
The rise of Isis is rooted in a mix of politics, a Sunni sense of isolation and a shakeup in Salafist doctrine. Here, an analyst whose Syrian home has seen some of its bloodiest excesses, explains its dramatic surge

Abu al-Mutasim, 18, from a Syrian border town in the province of Deir Ezzor, joined the rebellion against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in early 2012. He left his family home in Bahrain, where his parents worked, and fought for the Free Syrian Army for a few months before joining the hardline group Ahrar al-Sham. Around the end of the year, disillusioned, he went to visit his family. His parents banned him from travelling back to Syria. But last summer he returned to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis), now renamed the Islamic State.

I asked him what he would do if his father were a member of Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida's official franchise in Syria, and the two met in a battle. "I would kill him," he replied firmly. "Abu Ubaida [a prophet's companion] killed his father in battle." What drives people such as al-Mutasim? I faced this question directly recently, as I saw Deir Ezzor, the province where I too come from, overrun by Isis, and as the group carried out some of the Syrian conflict's grisliest atrocities.

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Egypt's Rabaa massacre: one year on

The Guardian World news: Islam - 16 August, 2014 - 08:01
The killing of 817 protesters last August was this week judged a crime against humanity equal to, or worse, than Tiananmen Square. But feelings on the ground are mixed

"To this day, I can't believe it happened. I reached a point where I couldn't talk to anyone. I couldn't talk to my family. When people spoke to me, I just nodded."

A year ago, Ahmed Husseini, an Egyptian student, lost seven of his best friends. Like many who survived the Rabaa massacre, he struggles with depression. He saw a psychologist for several months, but that didn't help. Last month he ended his engagement because he felt even his fiancee could not understand what he had been through.

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Road Rage Racism: Crazy Lady Goes On Anti-Muslim, Racist Rant

Loon Watch - 15 August, 2014 - 23:01

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By Emperor

When two cars get involved in an accident the drivers usually exchange information or file police reports, right? Well not in the video below.

Apparently sometimes the only way to respond to an accident or incident on the road is by going ballistic, especially if you suspect the other driver is a “fucking Mooslim!”

The unidentified lady goes into a berserk, hate-filled, threatening rage and at one point even physically attacks the other driver, who is video-taping the altercation, perhaps because she was screaming insults at him.

The woman who has an obsession with the man’s mother can’t seem to keep her expletive filled, racist rant coherent. A definite downer for any racist bigot who at least wants to make a modicum of sense when letting loose how they really feel about any particular minority.

At one point she screams at the other driver as he apologizes (for what exactly we are unsure),”Learn to goddamn drive, you fucking Muslim.”

 She then asks, “You’re a Muslim, aren’t you?”

“Yes, ma’am. Proud,” he answers.

To which she accuses him of being a terrorist who blows up buses and that’s when our sorry racist mixes up her hate, calling the other driver a “nigger-loving atheist loving bitch.” If you ever needed proof of how racism and Islamophobia are tied together, well, here it is.

Despite it all the man remains calm and urges her to be calm, to which she responds by physically assaulting him.

The moral of the story? If you’re Muslim, Black or atheist (or a combination of all three?) you have to be a better driver than everyone or else you’ll be susceptible to a barrage of racist road-rage!

Also remember to get all on video.

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