Ever since the publication of his latest novel, Submission, it seems Michel Houellebecq has succeeded in achieving what in psychoanalytical theory is known as “the return of the repressed”.
It is not by chance that the last cover of Charlie Hebdo before the deadly terrorist attacks carried a caricature of Houellebecq, with the strapline “In 2015 I lose my teeth, in 2022, I will do Ramadan.” What happened as tragedy in France repeated itself as farce in Croatia this week. A play, based on Michel Houellebecq’s novel Les Particules Élémentaires, was to open in Dubrovnik in July. But the Croatian interior ministry decided to cancel the premiere for security reasons after the police determined that staging the play would present a security risk.
What happened as tragedy in France repeated itself as farce in Croatia this weekContinue reading...
She describes her job as “to carry the hopes and aspirations of thousands of Hindu families in the UK”. And in the performance of this role, Trupti Patel, president of the Hindu Forum of Britain, hasn’t been shy to rally her people to vote for one particular party. In an open letter on the forum’s website, Patel attacks Labour and the Lib Dems for insulting Hinduism by supporting legislation to outlaw caste discrimination. “Only the Conservative party has stated that if they are in a majority government, then this piece of unwanted legislation will be repealed,” she says, adding: “In these elections, the very honour of your faith is in danger of being undermined.” In short, vote Tory.
David Cameron has a longstanding relationship with the 600,000-strong Hindu community. Just three days before the general election, he was back at the temple in Neasden, north London, taking part in the ceremony. The Conservative Friends of India even rewarded him with his own campaign song in Hindi: “The sky is blue and glorious. This is colour of Britain’s pride. Let’s join together with this blue colour. Let’s join together with David Cameron.” Mind the contents of your stomach, it gets worse. “Your dreams will be fulfilled; He’ll keep his commitments; The job which David has started; He’s determined to finish.”
Obscured by the public outcry against Lutfur Rahman, Richard Mawrey has opened the most enormous can of wormsContinue reading...
Education minister to look into reports school scrapped national anthem, banned piano on the grounds it is evil and stopped boys and girls sharing corridors
The federal education minister Christopher Pyne will investigate allegations of stricter Islamic practices being introduced at the Islamic College of South Australia.
Pyne will write to the state government and to the principal of the school in Adelaide to inquire into the allegations that sparked protests on Friday.
A new book tells the history of an ethnically cleansed Palestinian village.
Israel is using lethal force as a matter of policy.
The end of the Zionist colonial venture remains the precondition for justice and peace for all the residents of historic Palestine.
This general election delivered a more united government and a more cohesive Conservative party, but a more divided United Kingdom. It was therefore heartening to hear the new government’s commitment to bringing forward policies that would help to bring us closer together as a nation, would try to eradicate the “us and them” mentality, and allow us to congregate around the noble cause of shared British values. Heartening, that was, until one read the small print of the proposals on British values.
This could have been a moment at which to raise our eyes to the sunny uplands of a future, united, cohesive nation, in which the opportunities that this country has to offer are available to all. A very Conservative vision.
The ultimate defence of freedom is freedom itself, and that’s not something we can take for grantedContinue reading...
By Karim Serageldin
As a practicing psychologist, I was once consulted by a brother in Turkey in need of immediate relationship advice. In summary, the brother's “emergency” was that he had met a nice religious girl from a good family but was not attracted to her at all. He was under pressure from both his and her family to make a decision after three short meetings with the sister.
I asked him what he liked about her; he said she was religious and came from a good family.
“Okay, what else?” I could feel his anxiety through the computer screen. To marry or not to marry?
“Should I just go for it?” I was shocked.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment that requires compatibility, attraction and personality flow, none of which he felt. But he failed to recognize this, because he was stuck on the hadith (narration of the Prophet Muhammad ) narrated by Abu Huraira in Bukhari:
“A woman is married for four things: her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be unsuccessful.” (Book #62, Hadith #27)
In my opinion, this hadith is often misunderstood, because in pursuit of a religious spouse we forget the other reasons. In the case of the young man I talked to, he thought we should only marry for religion and ignore the other three. Are you likely to sustain and succeed in a marriage where there is no compatibility beyond sharing a similar theology and ritual practices? Furthermore, what someone else calls “religious” may not mean the same thing to you.
In my experience working with couples for many years, I know for a fact that this is irrational. When we fail to apply reason in matters of religion, we get pain, destruction and failure, especially in marriage. We cannot live a true path of spirituality if our attempt to follow Islam lacks sincerity, wisdom, and deep reflection on our context and ourselves. Some Muslims live the path of serving Islam, as if it is a person nodding its head in approval every time we apply a hadith or Qur'anic verse. Islam is a path to God. God is the one to whom this path leads. Did this brother think about God in his process? That one day he will meet Him and be asked about “just doing it” without regard for the deeper requirements for success in human relationships? He considered getting married in order not to hurt the sister's feelings—what about when he divorces her because he realizes it was a huge mistake?A few points to reflect on:
- Never ever marry someone you don't feel right about out of fear or pressure. This is likely to lead to failure. In the end, you and your partner will suffer, not your family, your culture, or even your religion.
- Marry someone who possesses all four reasons mentioned in the hadith not just religion. This is more likely to succeed and sustain a life long partnership.
- If religion is important to you, avoid marrying someone who does not have religion, even if the other three reasons are alluring. This is just as unlikely to succeed.
- Use this hadith as a guide, not an axiom with closed borders. We also marry for love and chemistry, in addition to these four reasons.
- Islam teaches us to admire diversity. If we always married people from the same socioeconomic status, race, or ethnic group, for example, this would hinder a more colorful, multicultural ummah (community).
- Sometimes people act religious because it is more “marketable” for marriage. Be cautious and go beyond surface checkpoints of theology and practice. Get to know the person and their family more deeply.
- Take your time. If you do not feel you are given enough time to get to know someone do not get married to avoid cultural stigmas. Families that rush their kids into marriage are the ones to have sincere skepticism towards.
Karim Serageldin is practicing psychologist with years of experience working with the Muslim community. He facilitates workshops, counseling and life coaching with an integrated approach of Islamic spiritual values and contemporary psychology. He specializes working with relationships, youth, family and men.
The post When You Marry for Four Reasons, Don’t Forget Your Reason appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
With Prophet Muhammad ﷺ being so central a figure in Islam, it would be natural for generations of Muslims to have had a desire to depict him artistically. However, all four Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence have strict prohibitions on visualizations of the Prophet. As a result, Muslim artists had to find alternate methods of depicting Muhammad ﷺ through calligraphy.
In the Ottoman Empire, an art form known as the hilye developed. It combined hadiths that described the appearance and character of the Prophet (known as al-Shama’il al-Muhammadiyya) collected by Imam al-Tirmidhi (824-892 CE) with thuluth style calligraphy, the most prominent form of calligraphy in the Ottoman Empire.
The most common form of the hilye was produced by the great Ottoman calligrapher Hafiz Osman Efendi (1664-1698 CE). The description of the Prophet (translated below) adorns the center of the canvas, usually in a circular or crescent shape. It is bounded by the names of the Prophet’s ﷺ closest companions and the first four caliphs: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali. At the bottom of the panel would be verses from the Quran and the artist’s name and date. This style of hilye became the standard, emulated by generations of Ottoman calligraphers.
The standard description of the Prophet ﷺ used in hilye’s came from his cousin and son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib and was recorded by Imam al-Tirmidhi. Below is an English translation of it:
Transmitted from Ali, may God be pleased with him, who, when asked to describe the Prophet, peace be upon him, would say, “He was not too tall nor too short. He was medium sized. His hair was not short and curly, nor was it lank but in between. His face was not narrow, nor was it fully round, but there was a roundness to it. His skin was white. His eyes were black. He had long eyelashes. He was big-boned and had wide shoulders. He had no body hair except in the middle of his chest. He had thick hands and feet. When he walked, he walked inclined, as if descending a slope. When he looked at someone, he looked at them in full face. “Between his shoulders was the seal of prophecy, the sign that he was the last of the prophets. He was the most generous-hearted of men, the most truthful of them in speech, the most mild-tempered of them, and the noblest of them in lineage. Whoever saw him unexpectedly was in awe of him. And whoever associated with him familiarly loved him. Anyone who would describe him would say, ‘I never saw, before him or after him, the like of him.’ Peace be upon him.”
They say that humanity only really learns the most earnest of lessons in a state of crisis, a state of complete breakdown. Only after facing that breakdown, are we then capable of embracing the breakthroughs necessary that have largely been neglected. It is when we are at the cliff edge, in the emergency of the situation, we find humanity is able to effect the kind of changes where there was resistance before.
Brothers and sisters we are facing that very scenario.
If you look at every single aspect of the British Muslim livelihood, it is under attack. In the depth and breadth of anti-Muslim bigotry, every aspect of our rituals, character and identity is being ideologically assaulted. There is not one aspect that has spared the demonisation. All of it is has been thoroughly demonised. Even more so now, with the latest counter-terrorism laws in various western nations, normal human characteristics are seen as suspicious if you are Muslim.
Simultaneously, we have seen the Government marginalise legitimate organisations like MCB, MEND, CAGE, MPACUK et al, whilst financially and political organisations like Quilliam and Inspire that have no grass roots support whatsoever. A similar dynamic is at play in the US. Propping up the likes of Anjem Choudhry and Ayaan Hirsi Ali to represent the moral “battle of Islam”, whilst side-lining or smearing the likes of CAIR, ICNA, serves to unite the liberal left with the naturally Islamophobic hard-right. The point is to isolate us, rob us of precious allies in society, in order to have more freedom to affect their hateful agenda.
We normally think of Islamophobia as a disorganised effort. At most, we may see it, if in any organised fashion, the constant pushing of certain narratives in the media. In fact, as we have seen in various pieces of study into this social phenomenon, it is a real organised industry, with its jobs, roles and financial backers. This web of hate of preachers, power brokers, ideologues and their backers are mainly mapped in the US. Nathen Lean's “The Islamophobia Industry” and Fear, Inc. 2.0 covers most of that research. We have yet to see a similarly comprehensive research when it comes to the Islamophobia in UK and Europe. However, given the political trajectory of Europe, there is very little doubt that it doesn't exist.
The effect has been devastating to say the least. Our response has been more so.
If the warnings our communities received from certain people, to prioritise the tackling of anti-Muslim bigotry seriously, were not heeded, seeing their predictions manifest in front of our eyes did the job perfectly. In the UK, more mainstream politicians are calling for powers to shut down masjids under the undefined banner of “extremism”. Religious slaughter is already banned in at least five European states. Calls to ban the niqab is growing strong in the EU overall. The very zakat is being demonised as governments accuse Muslim charities of “funding terrorism” with little or no evidence. In the US, the very safety of Muslim lives has been a problem before the Chapel Hill shooting, as is the media's dismissal of Muslim suffering.
It is necessary to comprehend all of this for one single realisation. The only way to counter an increasingly dangerous and more violent Islamophobic movement, is to create a movement ourselves. One that not only demands a stop to Islamophobia, but goes further. We need a movement to demand the equality of Muslims here and abroad, and an industry whose sole job is to propagate and legitimise that demand. Anything less would not be sufficient.
In addition, the great shift in prioritising the grass roots towards this danger is also key. Without it, the institutions of activists, lobbyists and advocates would soon collapse under the demonisation. The need for mass support from the Muslims is equally vital. As a result, every single Muslim, aside to everything we do to make a living and practice Islam, must prioritise the cause of defending Muslims against the demonisation we are all facing.
If you are an artist, you must depict and visualise the cause. If you are writer, you must write about the cause. If you are in business, you must fund the cause. If you are a mosque leader, you must educate and empower Muslims for the cause. If you are in media or politics, you must advocate the cause. If you are a specialist in technology or social media, you must develop the tools necessary for the cause. If you are teacher, you must teach the knowledge that is necessary for the cause. If you are a mother or father, you must instill the values of justice in their identity, so that they will never forsake this cause. And of course, if you are an activist, you must prioritise your time for the cause. Everyone must play their part.
In our emergency that we find Western Muslims are in, we have real opportunities to overcome the issues that we have resisted to address for so long. Out of necessity, we must unite across sectarian and theological differences, to tackle Islamophobia in all aspects of society. We must revive our largely inert masjids so that they are fully functional community centres, that support their Muslim and non-Muslim communities and instill a strong, positive and proactive Muslim identity. We must outreach and invest a stake into the local concerns of our community and not just focus on “Muslim issues.” We must create the ideas, tools, mindsets, infrastructure and leaders for our children to, not to defeat Islamophobia, but to be simply be capable of fighting it. They will not have a chance otherwise.
Above all, we must be people of justice. This core value of Islam that is far from central in every part of our social fabric. We must above all, revive this core Islamic identity. Not just because it will transform and mobilise the sleeping Muslim masses. Not just because it will gain us allies among those who desire a civil, peaceful society. Not just because it will give Muslims in the inner strength needed to weather this storm. We must be people of justice, above all, because we are Muslim and it is what Islam demands of us.
The biggest threat to Muslim activism, is Muslims ourselves. No one can help us, except us. The Islamophobia industry is in its end game. We must build the machinery that is needed to protect our rights. Our children's future depends on it. We still have time, but there is no time to waste.
Imran Shah is a political blogger and activist on issues of Islamophobia, who specializes in social media and grass-roots activism in the United Kingdom. He also comments on issues of Islamophobia on platforms such as 5 Pillars, Islam21C and BBC Asian Network, and he writes this piece in his personal capacity. His twitter handle is @imranshah884.
The post The Muslim Communities Are in a State of Emergency And In It Lies Our Biggest Opportunity. appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
What do you all think? (h/t: Capt. JB H):
This storm of controversy started after Martin released a photo of a T-Shirt design she is currently marketing, which reads “F*ck Chris Kyle”.
Interestingly, this story blends into right into a much more inflammatory situation created by anti-Islamic media personality Pamela Geller who was seen to have intentionally baited what looked like a terrorist attack in Garland, Texas last Sunday.
“Very telling that the #ChrisKyle fans who tell me he ‘died for my freedom’ to wear clothes are threatening to rape & kill me for free speech,” said Martin on Twitter…
Perhaps. Abby Martin is a staunch anti-war voice and her view are very well known on that issue – so her feelings regarding both Kyle and American Sniper should come as no surprise to anyone. Mob threats of physical violence against Martin and her family are flat wrong, if not illegal, and should be treated seriously by law enforcement. However, in this new nation of extremes, it’s obvious that passions are running hot in all directions – on issues regarding war and the synthetic fear of terrorism, ISIS and of Muslims in America. Unfortunately, not everyone is patient enough, or in some cases even able to rise above the “shock culture”. Whether it’s the bombastic Geller, the cutting Martin, or the war mongering cult of Kyle, this is the new ugly America where everyone is compelled to shove it in each others’ faces, and where ideological opponents are threatened with heinous physical crimes.
Wiser pundits should be wondering where this new “free speech” odyssey is actually heading. Regardless, we’ll have to get used to a confrontational culture, of endless calculated and intentionally instigatorial mud-slinging, hate-based and polarized discourse trumps civil debate and discussion. This is just the way things are now. And we expect this unsettling trend to get worse, before it gets better.
So who’s right and who’s wrong? At some point in the near future, that won’t even matter (if it doesn’t already). Problem, reaction, solution. Undoubtedly, this is where the foul-mouthed ‘Geller Culture’ is all heading. As this new instigator environment becomes progressively worse (as it certainly will), then expect our trusted savior and nanny supreme – the Government – to step in and restrict our REAL free speech. Originally, Americans’ “free speech” was earmarked by the US Constitution’s founders – first and foremost – to protect genuine dissenters from a tyrannical government or state.
MASS GRAVES OF ROHINGYA IN THAILAND: ASEAN MUST END HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE REGION.
Dear Chief Editors,
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM) was deeply sad to hear about the finding of more than 30 graves of Rohingya in Sadao, Thailand. This news is not new to us. Ethnic Rohingya who fled prosecutions from the Myanmar government are vulnerable and always ended in this kind of situation. We became victims at every stage in our journey to seek refuge in neighboring countries. We became boat people in our journey to seek protection. Thousand of Rohingya died in the ocean over the years. Every years tens of thousands ethnic Rohingya men, women, children and elderly fled Arakan State due systematic prosecutions by the Myanmar government. We believe many more graves of Rohingya in Thailand as we continuously heard about it.
For many years, Thailand has been giving bad treatment for ethnic Rohingya who seek refuge in Thailand. We were treated as illegal immigrant and faced deportation to Myanmar. Ethnic Rohingya are not illegal immigrants. We are asylum seekers who fled Genocide from the Myanmar government and should be given treatment as asylum seekers according to the International Law. It is well-known that Thai authorities are involved in the Trafficking chain but nothing was done by the Thai government to tackle the problem.
We feel very sad that ASEAN SUMMIT 2015 has just ended with the spirit of ASEAN COMMUNITY but today we heard about this shocking news. This is the time that the ASEAN Government must deal with the Myanmar government to stop the gross human rights violations towards ethnic Rohingya.
We felt very frustrated that the Rohingya's plight was not discussed during the ASEAN SUMMIT 2015. We are suffering for very long time. We hope for the ASEAN SUMMIT 2015 to discuss our plight but it was not discussed and our fate remains the same. Rohingya issue is not only an internal issue of Myanmar but it is an internal ASEAN issue that needs to be resolved after long ignorance by the ASEAN Government.
Ethnic Rohingya in Myanmar faced continuous Genocide from Myanmar government. But there is no real action taken by the ASEAN Countries and the United Nations.
We call for the ASEAN Government to intervene with Myanmar to stop prosecutions towards ethnic Rohingya and recognize Rohingya as citizen.
We call the Thai government to prosecute all perpetrators in human trafficking including the government officials.
We call the United Nations to send an Independent Inquiry to Thailand for investigation and publish its report for further actions.
We call the Government of the United States to take up this issue with the ASEAN Governments to end Human Trafficking in the region.
Zafar Ahmad Bin Abdul Ghani
Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization Malaysia (MERHROM)
Tel No: +6016-6827287
The post Letter to the Editor: Mass Graves of Rohingya in Thailand — Appeal to ASEAN appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.
Members of the Rohingya ethnic minority have taken to the sea to flee persecution in Burma, but their options are narrowing as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia refuse new migrants. Residents of the cramped Aung Ming Lar ghetto reveal a bitterly hard life with many willing to risk everything to get away
In the courtyard of a simple mosque bordered by recently dug graves Mohammad recounts in a low monotone how he lost his daughter.
“She was vomiting and had diarrhoea, but I could not take her to the hospital,” he says. “There was no doctor that could visit her, so she died here.” Pormin Vibi was just 18 years old.Continue reading...
There have been several debates on threads here regarding whether or not Jews are a race or religion or both. It’s a complicated question, further complicated by the fact that differences exist among Jews in how they answer that question, though a great many see being Jewish as both race/ethnicity and religion.
I’m not interested in rehashing that debate here but wanted to highlight a blatant contradiction and tension between two shows from this year on the BBC program, “The Big Questions.”
BBC’s, “The Big Questions,” hosted by Nicky Campbell claims to delve into questions relating to “moral, ethical and religious debates.” However, quite often the show is simply an exercise in which guest can deliver the best soundbite and applause line.
Unresolved contradictions abound in the program, such as the one displayed in the video below. Self-styled “counter-extremism” guru, Maajid Nawaz implies that the difference between Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia is the issue of racism, though he doesn’t explain how this makes it a lesser form of bigotry and xenophobia.
Nawaz claims one can be racist against Jews but not Muslims because Jews are a “race.” This is contradicted on another show by Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner who states explicitly that, “Jews are not a race” but a “religious civilization.”
The contradiction and lack of nuance remains, and goes to a point we (and others) have made quite often: racism against, and racialization of, religious groups whether in the guise of Islamophobia or Anti-Semitism is not only conceivable but a well documented fact.
When a Sikh or an Arab Christian is mistaken for Muslim because of their “look” this points to racism and racialization. When an Indian man is shoved off a train platform to his death or a Sikh man is repeatedly stabbed because of the perpetrator’s conflation of Brownness with Islam it points to racism and racialization.
Clearly then, at the heart of much of both Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia is an undeniably virulent racism, which talking heads such as Maajid Nawaz and Douglas Murray unfortunately are all too happy to undermine with short soundbites.
Where were they radicalized? and what if they were Muslim?White supremacists accused of planning for ‘race war’ in Florida
Members of a white supremacist skinhead group called American Front trained with AK-47s, shotguns and explosives at a fortified compound in central Florida to prepare for what its reputed leader believed to be an “inevitable race war,” prosecutors said Tuesday.
According to court documents, members of American Front discussed acts of violence that included causing “a disturbance” at City Hall in Orlando, shooting at a house and attacking an anti-racist skinhead group.
At least 10 members of the group, which authorities described as a militia-styled, anti-Semitic domestic terrorist organization, have been arrested in Florida since the weekend, including at least three people on Tuesday.
The felony arrest charges include paramilitary training, attempting to shoot into an occupied dwelling, and evidence of prejudices while committing an offense. The last charge falls under Florida’s hate-crimes law.
“This investigation is a result of our ongoing partnership with local law enforcement and federal agencies in a concentrated effort to stamp out hate crime in our community,” Ninth Circuit State Attorney Lawson Lamar said in a statement Tuesday.
His office said he would not comment further on the case because the investigation is ongoing.
Environment department accused of violating European law for not getting UK Air site, which provides live data on air quality, online since Islamist cyber-attack
The UK government has been accused of breaking European law after failing to get its air-quality website back online more than a month after a cyber-attack by Islamist hackers.
The UK Air site, part of the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), is supposed to provide live estimates of air quality across the country, including levels of particulate matter and other pollutants, as well as health advice.Continue reading...
Muslim Women’s Council wants prayer space ‘managed by women, primarily for women’ to offer teaching, information and support
A Muslim group seeking to establish Britain’s first female-led mosque is to consult on its plans for a prayer space “managed by women primarily for women”.
The Muslim Women’s Council (MWC), which was founded after a series of informal conversations with women in Bradford, believes that women have traditionally been marginalised in places of worship.Continue reading...