Peter Zieve: Anti-Mosque Crusader, Shocked By Negative Reaction To His Campaign

Loon Watch - 21 April, 2016 - 19:44

rejected red square stamp

Peter Zieve, sought to link a local mosque that was going to built to radicalization and terrorism. In what turned out to be a feel good story, the community responded negatively to his attempts.


Peter Zieve, president of Mukilteo-based Electroimpact, said he is throwing in the towel on his campaign to raise concerns about the mosque and what he says is a link between having a mosque in a community and breeding Islamic radicalization.

“Apparently I have no privacy, and I have no freedom of thought,” Zieve said Wednesday afternoon.

The negative response that he got via email and in local newspapers “just completely overwhelmed me,” he said. “I didn’t anticipate it.”

Zieve sent a bulk mailing of unsigned postcards to residents of Mukilteo, a city of 21,000 about 45 minutes north of Seattle, telling them that a mosque is planned for their town. He didn’t put his name on the postcards, but he confirmed to the Puget Sound Business Journal last week that he was the person behind them.

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Bottles Of Alcohol Thrown At Mosque Windows As People Pray Inside

Loon Watch - 21 April, 2016 - 19:30

Totteridge Mosque

via. BuckFreePress

A mosque in High Wycombe has been targeted in a “racist hate attack”, with bottles of alcohol being thrown at the building in an attempt to smash the windows while people prayed inside.

Community leaders have now condemned last week’s attack on Totteridge Mosque which they say poses a “serious threat to a cohesive and diverse society”.

A “youth” was spotted throwing the bottles against a window at the back of the mosque, in Totteridge Road, at about 10.50pm last Wednesday, before driving off quickly in a car.

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Attacks on the new NUS president show the limit of free expression for Muslims | Iman Amrani

The Guardian World news: Islam - 21 April, 2016 - 19:15
Malia Bouattia has a track record of standing up to racism and discrimination. But once again a Muslim in a public role has come in for special criticism

Malia Bouattia was elected the first black woman president of the National Union of Students yesterday. This moment of history followed one of the most high-profile and controversial elections the NUS has had – and even after the vote, the arguments go on.

Bouattia, in her current role as black students officer, has spoken frankly on a range of issues. Last month she addressed the UN in Geneva about the harmful effects of Prevent, Britain’s anti-extremism scheme in schools; she has worked on the Why Is My Curriculum White campaign; and she has a strong network of student supporters on social media.

Related: Philosophy has to be about more than white men | Minna Salami

Related: Tories step up attempts to link Sadiq Khan to extremists

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Five Surprising Places To Find Islamic History In The United States

Muslim Matters - 21 April, 2016 - 05:55

By Furqan Shaikh

In the current climate of political rhetoric against Islam and Muslims, it can be hard to remember that the United States has always been a country that has respected and acknowledged the contributions of people, places and ideas from outside its borders. While we often think of its inheritance from Greece or Rome, here is a quick tour of five surprising places where Islamic history, verses, or symbols have been represented and recognized by US institutions.

harvard law school

1) Harvard Law School

The tour starts just inside the entrance of the Faculty Library at Harvard Law School, where the Words of Justice exhibit presents 33 quotations representing history's greatest expressions of justice. Displayed prominently at the entrance wall are three quotations, the first by Augustine of Hippo, the second from the Magna Carta, and the third a verse from the Holy Qur'an (Chapter 4, verse 135), which reads: “O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both.” The passages of the exhibit were chosen by Harvard Law faculty and students for their “testimony to the endurance of humanity's yearning for fairness and dignity through law.”


2) The Supreme Court

Move from the renowned school of law to the highest court. Carved in marble inside the Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., directly above the courtroom bench, is a frieze showing eighteen of the greatest leaders in history who played a role in establishing laws. The line-up includes Justinian, Charlemagne, King John, and the Prophet Muhammad.

Although the frieze was carved in 1935, the inclusion caused a controversy in 1997. A Muslim group argued that the portrayal of the Prophet was forbidden and that the faof the sculpture should be sanded down. Chief Justice William Rehnquist responded that the sculpture was “intended only to recognize [Prophet Muhammad], among many other lawgivers, as an important figure in the history of law.” In addition, an Islamic legal scholar, Taha Jaber al-Alwani of the Fiqh Council of North America, wrote an extensive fatwa arguing that the sculpture was intended as a positive gesture and as an honor bestowed by non-Muslims. The group that raised the concern stated that they felt the issue was closed and the matter was behind them. As one article noted, the incident helped point out that not all taboos are eternal.


3) The U.S. Capitol

Walk across the street from the Supreme Court to the US Capitol building. Around the walls of the House of Representatives Chamber are twenty-three relief portrait plaques, depicting “historical figures noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law.” Installed in 1950, the portraits include Moses, Grotius, Napolean, Blackstone, and Jefferson. At the North-East corner, between Maimonides and Innocent III, is a portrait of Suleiman, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566.
Best remembered today for the architecture he sponsored, including the Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul and the old city walls of Jerusalem, Suleiman was known during his lifetime as the qanuni, the one who gives “canon” or laws. Among some of his laws, according to historian Lord Kinross, he issued a ferman prohibiting blood libel against Jews, and developed a reform that reduced levies paid by Christian Rayas, “raising their status above serfdom to the extent that Christian serfs would migrate to Turkish territories to benefit.”

shutterstock_349840910 4) The Dome of the Library of Congress

Painted in 1897 by Edwin Blashfield, in the gigantic coffered dome above the main reading room of the Library of Congress is a mural of Human Understanding, depicted as a female flanked by two cherubs. Surrounding the mural are twelve winged figures representing epochs which were thought to have contributed to the evolution of Western civilization. The figures include Judea, Greece, Rome, Italy, Spain, England, France, and Islam. Islam is portrayed as a figure standing next to an alembic with a banner reading “Physics,” representing the contributions of Islamic physical sciences.

The impact of Islamic lands on the physical sciences is succinctly demonstrated by observing the number of scientific words that originated from or were transmitted through Arabic, many recognizable by the prefix “al”, which means “the.” The words include those used in mathematics (algebra, algorithm, average, zero, decipher, Arabic numerals), astronomy (nadir, zenith, almanac, and the majority of star names), and chemistry (alcohol, alkali, amalgam, benzene, elixir, and alchemy – the precursor word for chemistry).   JeffersonQuran550x358

5) The Library of Thomas Jefferson

Walk East into the Library of Congress' Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room. Here, amidst Jefferson's personal library, one finds a two-volume copy of the Qur'an, translated by George Sale and initialled by Jefferson himself. Jefferson purchased the Qur'an in 1765 while studying to be a lawyer. The copy of Qur'an entered public awareness in 2007 when it was used during the swear-in ceremony by Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim to be elected to the US Congress.

Ellison said that using Jefferson's Qur'an made an important point: “It demonstrates that from the very beginning of our country, we had people who were visionary, who were religiously tolerant, who believed that knowledge and wisdom could be gleaned from any number of sources, including the Qur'an. A visionary like Thomas Jefferson was not afraid of a different belief system. This just shows that religious tolerance is the bedrock of our country, and religious differences are nothing to be afraid of.”

That, perhaps, is what this tour can teach us. More than anything about Islam, these symbols are about America. They are about an openness to acknowledging America's debt to a shared human heritage, a concept that seems to have been all but forgotten in today's environment.

It is perhaps a lesson equally applicable now to both America and many Muslim-majority countries: it is only by recalling the best of our principles and traditions that we can defeat the worst of them.

Follow Furqan on Twitter @furqankshaikh

An Open Letter to Moms with Daughters Looking to Get Married

Muslim Matters - 21 April, 2016 - 00:42

muslim bride

Dear Aunty,

The biggest mistake I have seen mothers make when it comes to their daughters who are looking to get married is that mothers unreasonably pressure their daughters to change essential parts of their identities just for the sake of a “husband,” who is entirely abstract and imaginary at this point.  One of the big changes that I am always seeing in my friends is their mothers telling them to take their hijabs off to appear “less religious,” or “more attractive,” or God knows what.

Firstly, your daughter is an individual and has a mind, body, and soul of her own.  She is ultimately the caretaker of her life and her hereafter.  I know you want to support her and see her happy, and it is only out of your love for her that you want to help her find the right man to marry.  But along this unquestionably frustrating, difficult, and confusing path towards finding her spouse, it is possible that you'll lose sight of what's really important–your daughter.  Her getting married isn't the end-all-be-all of her life, it's just a step along the way that many young women hope to take.  Some of us will never get married, as horrible as that sounds for those of us who are dying to get married, but that's the simple truth.  Being married will not make your daughter happy, being married to the right man at the right time will.


Secondly, there's an elephant in the room that we are really ignoring here.  How many times have we, as women, been told to do or avoid certain things for society's perception of us?  And how many times have we, as women looking to get married, been told that there is something wrong with us?  If your daughter is not getting married, it's more likely than not that she has not encountered the right guy for her yet and Allah is testing your patience.  Yes, I totally understand and admit that there are plenty of daughters out there who are completely unreasonable and reject proposals for no legitimate reason–that is another issue.  The issue I am addressing here is that after trying for a while unsuccessfully, asking your daughter to change something so essential to her, to her identity, to her faith, such as wearing the hijab, will not help her be successful in her marriage.  

Sure, perhaps after taking the hijab off she'll get a lot more proposals, and maybe she'll even get married.  But the message you have instilled in your daughter with your repeated insistence is that, “You are not good enough the way you are.  You are not good enough to be a wife.  You are not adequate and you need to change yourself.”  I am not talking about small things, like asking her to get a new pair of glasses because her glasses look like a train wreck on her face, or that she reconsiders how tall a potential suitor needs to be.  I am talking about big things, things that make your daughter who she is–like the fact that she wants to work full time in a particular field or that she would rather not have kids.  I am not saying that being in a marriage does not require compromise–of course it does, it's an active two-way street where two individuals work together as a team to support their family as a whole and each other as individuals.


But when you're asking her to change something major in her life or personality before she gets married, just for the sake of catching a man's or his family's attention, then you are depriving her of the self-confidence she needs to be an advocate for her own self in her marriage.  If she is not “good enough” the way she is and she has made so many changes to her essential being just to get married to a man, imagine how difficult it will be for her to be happy.  How can she be truly vulnerable with her spouse and how can they develop a deep and meaningful relationship if she is holding herself back constantly?  How can she be in a working relationship when you have convinced her that she is not worthy of being in one?  How will she navigate life's and marriage's challenges?  You are asking her to throw herself away to simply get married,  but you're not allowing her the space to actually be successful once she is married.


At the end of the day, your daughter becoming a totally different person just for the sake of marriage will not make her happy.  Your daughter being married to someone who wants someone other than who she actually is will not make either of them happy.  Your daughter never getting married does not mean a life of misery is in store for her.  Your daughter getting married does not guarantee her happiness or success in this life or the hereafter.  What you really want for your darling daughter, the little girl who you cradled in your arms and watched grow up, is success in this life and the hereafter.  Equip her with the self-confidence she needs to be the best person and insha'Allah the best wife, and support her in reaching her highest potential with your powerful motherly love.  She needs you now more than ever as her biggest cheerleader, especially if things are getting difficult on her journey towards marriage.    

When I was looking to get married, people kept telling me I needed to change things about myself that were really important to me.  My mother never asked me to change a single thing.  When the world was telling me “you're not good enough” and “you'll never get married,” her quiet approval assured me that I was good enough, that I am good enough.  And now that I am married, I realize that if I had pretended to be anyone else just to catch my husband's eye, I would have killed my chance at being truly happy and successful in my marriage, for both me and my husband.


Your Daughter's Friend          

P.S. — Stop asking your daughter to lose ridiculous amounts of weight to look more attractive.  We need to embrace our bodies for what they are, and there are many things we cannot, and simply should not, change about them for a superficial, “skin-deep” purpose. She is beautiful the way she is, and as long as she is in good health, she needs your encouragement to believe that she is truly beautiful.

How is the 2016 Election Impacting Muslim (and Other) School Children?

altmuslim - 21 April, 2016 - 00:03
By Uzma Mariam Ahmed This election cycle has been difficult to experience, even for adults.  Civil conversations and respect for diversity have been sidelined, and the loudest voices in politics and on television now are frighteningly extreme. Unsurprisingly the hateful rhetoric has filtered into American schools. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has just released [Read More...]

NUS elects first female black Muslim president after tense contest

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 April, 2016 - 16:38

Malia Bouattia stood on a radical grassroots platform and made headlines last year after opposing a motion to condemn Isis

The National Union of Students has elected its first black female Muslim president, after a tense contest in which Malia Bouattia unseated incumbent Megan Dunn.

Bouattia, a leftwing former University of Birmingham student who has been the union’s black students’ officer for the past two years, stood on a radical grassroots platform opposing the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy, Prevent, and pledging to reignite the traditions of NUS activism.

Related: Is free speech in British universities under threat?

I received an open letter from Jewish students with questions & concerns about my #NUSNC16 campaign. My response:

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French students wear headscarves for 'Hijab Day'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 April, 2016 - 16:08

Organisers at prestigious Sciences Po say event will encourage understanding of stigmatisation faced by Muslim women

Students at Sciences Po, one of France’s top universities, have invited people to wear the headscarf for a day, saying that by covering their hair participants could “better understand … the experience of stigmatisation” of some Muslim women.

The event came a week after Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, suggested universities should ban the headscarf and claimed that a majority of French people believed Islam was incompatible with the values of the Republic.

#HijabDay at the prestigious Sciences Po university in central Paris today

Journée du Hijab, á Sc Po. Á quand une journée de la Charia? De la lapidation? De l'esclavage?

Comme enseignant à @sciencespo, je veux dire ma désapprobation face au #HijabDay. En France, les femmes sont visibles. Non au prosélytisme !

Happy #HijabDay

Related: French PM calls for ban on Islamic headscarves at universities

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MPs shout 'racist' at Cameron after comments on Sadiq Khan during PMQs

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 April, 2016 - 15:15

The prime minister criticised Labour’s candidate for London mayor for ‘sharing a platform with extremists’

David Cameron was met with cries of “racist” in the House of Commons as he joined attacks on Labour’s London mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan, after he claimed Sadiq Khan had links to a supporter of Islamic State.

Cameron laid into Khan during prime minister’s questions, saying the Labour mayoral contender had nine times shared a platform with a radical imam called Suliman Gani, who supported IS (Islamic State).

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Influx of morality police to patrol the streets of Tehran

The Guardian World news: Islam - 20 April, 2016 - 04:00

As many as 7,000 agents in the Iranian capital will be targeting women with ‘bad hijab’, but a new police-spotting app may give fashion rebels the edge

Police in Tehran are deploying 7,000 undercover morality agents tasked with a fresh crackdown on women defying strict rules on the wearing of the hijab, among other offences deemed unIslamic.

Every spring, as the temperature rises and with it the desire of people to go out, the authorities in Iran tighten their grip on social norms, increasing the number of the so-called morality police deployed in public places.

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Palestinians Are Dying, But Only Israelis are “Vulnerable” in The NY Times

Isabel Kershner in The New York Times reports that Israelis are suffering from “a sense of vulnerability” after a bus bombing in Jerusalem this week. The event, she reports, sowed fear and anxiety in a population “already on edge” after a series of attacks over the past several months.

Although there were no reported deaths from the bombing, she writes that Israelis were reminded of the second Palestinian uprising “when suicide bombers blew up buses in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities, killing scores.”

Missing from her account is any mention of Palestinian fear or vulnerability in spite of data showing that Palestinian deaths outnumber Israeli fatalities by a factor of five or more, depending on the time frame. The second intifada, for instance, which Kershner takes as her reference point, left 5,904 Palestinians dead compared with 1,163 Israelis.

She notes that “about 30” Israelis have died in the past six months in contrast to “more than 200” Palestinians, a rate of more than six to one. But this fact has not inspired her to look into Palestinian anxieties. Instead she once again attempts to place the blame on Palestinians, writing that they reportedly died in “attacks or attempted attacks or in clashes with Israeli security forces.”

Nothing is said of the frequent charges that Israeli troops have carried out “street executions” of Palestinians who pose no threat to them or others. (See TimesWarp 3-25-16.) Likewise, nothing is said about the crippling effects of the brutal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the crucial background for this conflict.

Kershner entirely omits the context here while focusing on every possible source of Israeli angst: the bus bombing, the recent discovery of a tunnel leading from Gaza to Israel, a belligerent statement by Hamas and the lone-wolf knife and vehicular attacks by Palestinians.

Discerning readers may ask why Palestinians are using kitchen knives and automobiles as their weapons of choice, but the Times is not about to address the question. It would underscore the fact that Palestinians are the vulnerable party, an unarmed and virtually helpless population contending with one of the most sophisticated armies in the world.

In fact, Palestinians face daily threats from Israeli weapons, ranging from bulldozers to drones to live fire. Gaza farmers tending their fields near the border with Israel and fishermen at sea are frequently targeted by Israeli bullets and shells. West Bank communities confront the threat of land confiscation, settler attacks and demolitions that destroy homes and livelihoods.

And unarmed protesters in Gaza and the West Bank have been injured and killed during non-violent demonstrations. In fact, Israeli security forces injured a shocking number of Palestinians last year, a total of 14,925. As of April 11 this year, troops had already wounded 1,627.

According to United Nations data, Israeli forces have injured an average of 109 Palestinians each week in 2016. By comparison, Palestinians are wounding an average of four Israelis weekly. Yet it is Israeli “vulnerability” that takes center stage in the Times.

Kershner writes that “the threat of the tunnels continues to sow fear in Israeli communities along the border,” but she fails to say that not a single Israeli civilian has been harmed because of the tunnels. During the 2014 attacks on Gaza, they were used solely for targeting Israeli troops.

Palestinians, on the other hand, have reason to feel vulnerable, and they have reason to build tunnels as one of the few means of defense when they are under attack from Israeli weapons, but the Times has no interest in reporting this. It is only Israeli angst that matters here.

Israelis may have to deal with their fears, but Palestinians have to face much more: the loss of land, water, mobility, security and dignity. They have concrete and verifiable casualties, and they have to contend with their own defenselessness and fears, but in spite of all the evidence, the Times has turned its back on their narrative, joining Israel in blaming the victim.

Barbara Erickson

[To subscribe to TimesWarp, scroll to the bottom of this page for email, follow @TimesWarp on Twitter or like Times Warp on Facebook.]

Filed under: Pro-Israel Bias in NY Times Tagged: Gaza, Intifada, Israel, New York Times, Palestine, West Bank

Swiss halt Muslim family's citizenship process after refusal to shake hands

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 April, 2016 - 16:54

Brothers refused to shake female teachers’ hands because it violated their faith but politicians say school officials’ compromise went against Swiss culture

Switzerland has suspended the citizenship process for the family of two teenage Muslim brothers after the boys’ refusal to shake hands with their female teachers sparked a national debate over religious freedoms.

The brothers, aged 14 and 15, had informed education officials in the northern municipality of Therwil that physical contact with women who are not family members violated their faith.

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Head of German anti-Islam group on trial for hate speech

The Guardian World news: Islam - 19 April, 2016 - 15:56

Pegida founder Lutz Bachmann was charged with inciting hatred through Facebook posts allegedly branding refugees ‘cattle’

The founder of Germany’s xenophobic and anti-Islam Pegida movement has appeared in court on hate speech charges for allegedly branding refugees “cattle” and “scum” on social media.

Lutz Bachmann, founder of the far-right Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident movement, was charged in October with inciting racial hatred through a series of widely shared Facebook posts.

Related: Pegida: what does the German far-right movement actually stand for?

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