Ash-Shafi’i, Straw, and the Modern Seeker

Muslim Matters - 10 November, 2014 - 05:29

By Umm Sultan

Playing with Straw

Imam Ash-Shafi'i was a brilliant, diligent and respectful student by all accounts even at a young age. Would it surprise you to learn that once even he was scolded for playing in class and not paying attention to the lesson?

As a boy Ash-Shafi'i studied hadith under imam Malik, attending his classes at masjid An-Nabawi in Madinah. It was the habit of imam Malik while reading ahadith to point to the grave of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and say, “So-and-so narrated from the one in that grave…” One day during class imam Malik glanced over at Ash-Shafi'i and noticed him wetting straw with his saliva and apparently playing with it.  imam Malik continued with the lesson and narrated forty ahadith to his students. When the class had concluded, he called Ash-Shafi'i over to reprimand him. How dare he play while his teacher was narrating ahadith from our Nabi! Ash-Shafi'i explained that he was not playing, instead he was using the straw to write what was being narrated on his hand, as he could not afford pen and paper. Imam Malik then asked Ash-Shafi'i to prove this by relating one of the ahadith he had narrated in the day's lesson.  Ash-Shafi'i did not narrate one hadith, instead he narrated all forty, copying the delivery of his teacher by pointing to the grave of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and saying, “So-and-so narrated from the one in that grave…” (Al-Shinnaway p. 4)

Though much about teacher/student interaction has changed since the days of imam Malik and imam Ash-Shafi'i, much has stayed the same. Is it common in our modern classrooms and masajid that students are perceived as “playing with straw?”  Do we assume that when students are drawing in class or using mobile devices that they aren't engaged, that they are playing, or worse yet, exhibiting disrespect? Are we as a community equipped to deal with learners whose study habits don't exactly jive with the traditional madrassa?

Drawing in Class

My straw of choice is drawing and, while I personally have never gotten in trouble for drawing in class I do know it happens. In her TED talk, graphic recorder Rachel Smith relates that in her school days her teachers scolded her for taking visual notes, insisting that while she was a good student she wouldn't succeed if she didn't “pay attention.” She goes on to relate that thirty or so years later, her thirteen year-old niece encountered the same resistance to her drawing in class but, like Ash-Shafi'i, she was able to prove that she was indeed paying attention and could use her visual notes to relay the key points back to her teacher.

Contrary to how it may look, research has shown that doodling while listening leads to increased retention and focus, even when the pictures have nothing to do with the content. Drawing is even more powerful when the images are actually linked to the learning experience, forming a stronger connection in the brain. So what happens when teachers actually create a space where drawing isn't taboo, where it's even encouraged? Professor and Immunologist, Dr. Virginia Scofield, may never have passed undergraduate organic chemistry had it not been for her decision to make visual representations of the content; attributing her success to visual-thinking she introduced visual note taking to her own university courses and found that it helped her students thrive.

Straw 3.0

Most often these days the “straw” that students play with has a battery life. Increasingly, K-12 schools and higher education institutions are embracing technology, however NO CELL PHONES remains a steadfast rule in many institutions of learning. I taught English As A Second Language (ESL) in one such high school, and though the school viewed cell phones as an unwarranted distraction, for my students it was just the opposite. In fact, my students used their cell phones to support their learning, to clarify and understand, to translate and make sense of academic content.

About a year ago, a popular Muslim speaker posted the following on Twitter, “Cell phones usage during class indicates disregard for the teacher, knowledge and the value of ones time.”

Upon reading the previous tweet my first instinct, similar to that of imam Malik, was to think, “How disrespectful!” Then I thought of my ESL students, learning complex concepts in a nuanced-filled language that is not their mother tongue… sound familiar? Some of the lecturers in our community see cell phones as Straw 3.0, while others are starting to embrace the technology, fully expecting students to follow along in their Qur'an app, tweet using the class/event hashtag, or simply clarify or find the correct spelling for Arabic terms.


While the straw is ever-evolving the problem is the same, serious learning isn't confined to one “look” and can be exhibited in a variety of manners.  The question is how do we as a community strike the balance between proper adab regarding our teachers, while enabling use of different methods of interacting with and ultimately learning the material.



Umm Sultan is a wife, mom and certified ESL teacher. She has become increasingly interested in how modern Muslims can employ study skills to increase reflection and retention of their Islamic studies. One of her favorite methods to do this is taking visual notes.  You can find her collection of sketch notes and note-taking tips on her website

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Call to resist anti-Islamic bullying after company drops halal certification

The Guardian World news: Islam - 10 November, 2014 - 03:21

South Australian trade ministers call comes after Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt bowed to pressure and dropped certification

South Australias trade minister has urged businesses to take a stand against anti-Islamic bullying, after a dairy producer bowed to pressure and dropped its halal certification.

The Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company says it will no longer pay a $1,000 fee to have its products certified as halal after receiving abuse on social media.

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Debate: “Islam’s War On Christianity”

Loon Watch - 10 November, 2014 - 01:32


TVO discussion on Islamophobe Michael Coren’s ridiculous new book, “Hatred: Islam’s War On Christianity.” Coren was supported by contributor to the Toronto Sun, Farzana Hassan and opposed by Muslim scholars Mohammed Fadel and Imam Shabir Ally.

At times the discussion is infuriating because of Coren’s attempts to cut-off the other panelists but overall interesting with quite some important nuanced points and facts brought up by Fadel and Ally.


The 4G rip-off

Indigo Jo Blogs - 9 November, 2014 - 21:10

Website image showing 3G speeds compared to 4G. In practice, you will rarely notice the difference in speed.Last month I switched from the 3G SIM-only deal I’d been on with T-Mobile since 2012 to a new 4G deal with EE, which is part of the same company (I’m not sure who owns who). Under the old deal I’d been paying around £11-12 per month and getting unlimited data and a cap on my calls and texts, and 08 numbers (free or reduced rate on landlines) were effectively premium rate. This new deal included unlimited texts and calls but a 2Gb monthly cap on my data. And for the first time since I started using smartphones in 2009, I ran out of data (albeit only 15 minutes before the ‘month’ ended last Monday night).

I was not all that dissatisfied with the performance of 3G, but it had noticeably deteriorated in the last year or so. I had been unable to download anything in some places, including town centres where the phone said there was good coverage, and this could not always be explained by the network just being busy. I wondered if the shortage of IP addresses might be the reason, but others told me it couldn’t be. No, the 3G bandwidth had been reduced to make way for 4G, and of course my bill wasn’t being reduced to compensate. I looked into what 4G deals were available, but they all offered much less data than I used and were much more expensive (nobody is doing an unlimited 4G data plan except Three, and that costs £20 a month). I went into an EE shop in Cambridge and asked which 4G deal would be best, and was told I was using more than 3Gb a month, which would cost me £20 a month. There was no way I was willing to pay that much.

Then I got rid of the Twitter client that was using the vast majority of the data I was downloading, and EE increased their 1Gb 4G package to 2Gb, and it appeared that I could afford 4G after all. I signed up for that deal and got my new SIM on the 4th October (a Saturday). I have noticed that there are fewer data gaps although when out in the country (which I often am because of my job), I only get 3G or even 2G, but my usage has turned out to be more than I thought it would be, and I only use my phone for email, social networking and a bit of Web browsing. I never use it to download audio or video files and I have auto-play switched off for things like embedded videos on Facebook. The simple fact is that if you follow a lot of people, and they tweet and retweet a lot, it’ll eat up the quota pretty quickly. Web pages with a lot of images will do the same even if you only view six or seven in a day (mobile versions are often not much better than desktop versions in this regard). One day last week my Web browser used more than 50Mb of data and Twitter more than 40, which was more than the daily share of my monthly quota. So I changed Twitter clients again (to Tweetings, which lets me disable image downloads when on mobile networks) and set my browser not to download images except on WiFi either. I also turned off data while I was working. These things reduced my data usage considerably (though only to just below the daily share), and on days when I’m neither working nor out most of the day, I use a lot less (generally less than 20Mb).

Mobile phone companies are promoting 4G as a way to access music, video and TV over the phone networks, but these uses must run any data limit down in a very short time. Last night’s Doctor Who, for example, was a 320Mb download on the BBC iPlayer app; a 2Gb monthly limit will let you download six of those, but that won’t leave much data left over for, well, data. Or other TV shows. So, it’s not necessary for social media or web browsing, and the current data limits are inadequate for what it’s meant for. It’s hard to see how 4G isn’t a big con, intended to get people to pay more for less and get them off ‘over-generous’ legacy 3G data plans from the days when a phone was a phone and mobile internet was an afterthought. If you’ve got 3G, you use a lot of data and you’re not experiencing constant interruptions, don’t touch 4G. If you want multimedia, you’ll need a very big and expensive data plan.

Possibly Related Posts:

How Isis got its anthem

The Guardian World news: Islam - 9 November, 2014 - 17:59
A stark Arabic chant is emerging as the anthem of the Islamic State. And its just the tip of a booming industry turning out songs of bloodshed and devotion. Alex Marshall investigates the rise of the jihadi nasheed

The first two minutes and 52 seconds of Dawlat al-Islam Qamat are undeniably beautiful. It is little more than an Arabic chant, sung by a man whose voice is so relaxed you expect him to drift off halfway through. It sounds timeless as if it has been dug up from the eighth century. The mans melody has got a gentle swing, something you could easily imagine a jazz drummer playing behind to give it some oomph. Soon he starts layering his voice, so it sounds like a whole choir is trading lines, the songs impact growing as he does. Musically, its better than just about any other religious song you could name.

But just as you are starting to enjoy it perhaps thinking you might tell your yoga teacher to play it in class some sound effects drop in. Theres a sword being unsheathed, the stomp-stomp-stomp of soldiers feet and some stuttering gunfire. And it is about that point you remember exactly what you are listening to. This is, to give it its English name, My Ummah, Dawn Has Appeared. It is the most popular song in the Islamic State. It is, arguably, the worlds newest national anthem. The Islamic State has arisen by the blood of the righteous, it goes. The Islamic State has arisen by the jihad of the pious. God Save the Queen it isnt.

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Government bows to Christian pressure over religious education

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 November, 2014 - 17:37
Education department waters down proposal for pupils to study a minimum of two religions in wake of Trojan horse scandal

Pupils studying religious education will be taught that Britain is traditionally Christian, after the government bowed to pressure from the Anglican and Catholic churches and watered down proposals for pupils to study a minimum of two religions.

The initial proposals, made in the wake of the Trojan horse affair in Birmingham schools, were aimed at stopping schools from using religious education as a vehicle for promoting extremist Islamic ideas.

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Al-Aqsa tensions 'extremely worrying', says EU foreign policy chief - video

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 November, 2014 - 15:49
The European Union's new foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, attends a joint press conference with Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Friday at the start of a two-day visit aimed at calming regional tensions. Mogherini says that the surge of violence in Jerusalem makes it all the more critical that Israel and the Palestinians return to negotiations quickly Continue reading...

Friday Links | November 7, 2014

Muslimah Media Watch - 7 November, 2014 - 06:00
Last week over 200 women and girls, many of them minors, were reportedly raped in North Darfur by Sudanese military men. Later this week, two young women have been gang-raped in Central Darfur, Sudan. Meanwhile, Sudan has denied access to the UN in Darfur to investigate the report of the mass rape. According to a report, ISIL is [Read More...]

United Kingdom: Man Gets Light Sentence For Assault on Niqabi, Muslim Woman Attacked For Wearing Hijab

Loon Watch - 6 November, 2014 - 19:27


via. 5Pillarz

Emiliano Sanchez, 59, confronted Shirin Akter outside a Lidl store and asked her: “Why are you wearing this? This is not the Quran and it is not allowed in this country.”

The Spaniard then pulled off her niqab and minutes later said to a Lidl worker: “Did you see that Pakii? I told her to take that thing off her head.”

At Glasgow Sheriff Court last Friday, Sanchez admitted harassing Shirin and acting in a racially aggravated manner towards her in the city last November.

Sheriff Alayne Swanson said the offence was “serious enough” for Sanchez to be jailed but instead ordered him to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community.

The 32-year-old mother-of-one Shirin, said: “He should have been sent to jail.

“The fact that he wasn’t sends out the wrong message to people.

“Racism is something which shouldn’t be tolerated anywhere.

“I was left scared to go out with my six-year-old daughter and was living in fear of being attacked again.

“I was afraid every time I went out that it could happen again – it’s not the way people should have to live.

“I was very upset after the attack. I had a full face veil with just my eyes showing. It is important to me because it is my religious faith and I feel comfortable in public with it on.”

Standing up to bullies can lead to hate crimes.


Maryam, 19, was confronted by a group of white girls at Piccadilly Gardens on Tuesday after expressing her disgust at the way they were treating a beggar.

As a result, she was subjected to a torrent of racial and physical abuse by the gang, which left her in tears.

The gang shouted: “Go back to your country you f*cking terrorist Paki, I will bomb your face off.”

Then they slapped her face, before pulling her hijab off and kicking her on the left side on the hips.

“What bothered me was what she said. The words hit me more than the physical attacks,” Maryam said.

“You know when you hear these things being said and you get really upset that people are saying these things, but try having someone screaming it to your face.

“I felt weak. I feel horrible from shock I started crying. My friend, from the shock stood there didn’t know what she was doing.”

The group of girls had initially hit out at a hijabi beggar, telling her to ‘go back to your own country’ and ‘if I went to your country and begged for money I would get kidnapped and killed’.

Maryam said: “Maybe it wasn’t my business because I knew I was getting myself into trouble, but then I thought if I don’t stand up against these people, who will? Will they ever learn?

“I can’t keep seeing people get verbally abused. It was a disgusting scene and I hope, I really hope no one ever goes through this.

“I did go to the police station and filled a report and a statement and there’s 0.1% chance they will find these girls but I did the right thing.

“Yes I got verbally and physically abused but if it meant to stand up for what’s right, I will go through that pain again and again and again.”

Jody Hice: Elected To Congress Despite Believing Islam Doesn’t Deserve First Amendment Protection

Loon Watch - 6 November, 2014 - 19:16

I think Hice wants us to know he really, really, really loves 'Murica.

I think Hice wants us to know he really, really, really loves ‘Murica.

Daily Beast


Republican Jody Hice romped home in a safe rural Georgia congressional district last night. The congressman-elect is on the record saying that Islam is not a religion that deserves the protection of the First Amendment. He also has warned that Satan is infiltrating society and that there is a gay blueprint to dominate America via sodomizing “your sons.”

Yet Hice does have some surprisingly progressive views, such as his belief that women should be allowed to run for office. This is provided that they get permission from their husbands first.

ISIS says Islam justifies slavery – what does Islamic law say?

Loon Watch - 6 November, 2014 - 18:56


By Professor Bernard Freamon, CNN

In the past few months, the world has witnessed horrific accounts of the enslavement of thousands of innocent Yazidis and other religious minorities by ISIS partisans in Iraq and Syria.

In a recent article in its online English-language magazine, ISIS ideologues offered legal justifications for the enslavement of these non-Muslim non-combatants, stating that “enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah or Islamic law.”

The article argues, based on a variety of Shariah sources, that ISIS partisans have a religious duty to kill or enslave members of the Yazidi community as part of their struggle [jihad] against their enemies.

This argument is plainly wrong, hypocritical and astonishingly ahistorical, relying on male fantasies inspired by stories from the days of imperial Islam.

It is also an affront to right-thinking Muslims everywhere and a criminal perversion of Islamic law, particularly its primary source, the Glorious Quran.

Jurists around the world acknowledge that there is now a universal consensus recognizing an irrefutable human right to be free from slavery and slave-trading.

This right, like the rights to be free from genocide, torture, racial discrimination and piracy, has become a bedrock principle of human affairs. ISIS seeks to remove Islamic jurisprudence from this universal consensus by citing Quranic verses that recognize the existence of chattel slavery.

Citation to Quranic verses on chattel slavery at first blush seems to make this point because the Quran, like other religious texts, accepted the existence of chattel slavery as a fact of life at the time of its revelation.

It is also true, however, that the Quran established an entirely new ethic on the issue of slavery and ISIS’s selective use of certain Quranic texts to justify contemporary chattel slavery ignores this fact.

First, consistent with the new ethic, the emphasis in all of the revelations on slavery is on the emancipation of slaves, not on their capture or the continuation of the institution of slavery. (See, for example, verses 2:177, 4:25, 4:92, 5:89, 14:31, 24:33, 58:3, 90:1-12.)

There is not one single verse suggesting that the practice should continue. Further, the Quran makes no mention of slave-markets or slave-trading and it repeatedly exhorts believers to free their slaves as an exemplification of their piety and belief in God.

Perhaps the best example of this emancipatory ethic is chapter 90, which is explicitly addressed to the Prophet Muhammad. It posits that there are two roads one can take in life and that the “high road” is the one that leads the righteous human being to free slaves.

The Prophet followed this exhortation, exhibiting a great solicitude for the material and spiritual condition of the slaves in the society around him. His example inspired his companions to emancipate thousands of slaves and, in an oft-quoted statement, he remarked that he would meet the man who “sells a free man as a slave and devours his price” on Judgment Day.

This is an explicit condemnation of trafficking in free human beings.

It is true that there are reported examples from the Prophet’s life that describe him as giving and receiving slaves and he even used slavery as a tool of conquest in war.

He freed all of his individually owned slaves and the wartime circumstances in those reports were very unique, involving specific people who engaged in war or treachery against him.

There is only one Quranic verse, 47:4, that authorizes capture of prisoners of war and it does not permit slavery, ordering military commanders to either free the prisoners gratis or hold them for ransom.

Enslaving a prisoner of war is therefore arguably illegal and certainly enslaving a non-combatant is likewise an Islamic crime.

Many forget that, for hundreds of years, Muslim imperialists and slave-traders illegally raided non-combatant villages in Eastern Europe, West Africa, East Africa, India and Southeast Asia, plundering, pillaging and capturing and raping women and children with impunity under pretextual jihads.

It seems that the ISIS ideologues want to revive this shameful legacy.

Traditionalist interpreters conclude that slavery is lawful in Islam simply because there is Quranic legislation regulating it, suggesting an implied permission.

Even the traditionalists must acknowledge, however, that all of the Quranic verses on slavery arise in contexts that overwhelmingly encourage emancipation.

Why is this? It is because the Quranic intendment contemplated a gradual disappearance of chattel slavery.

This is exactly what has happened in history. ISIS refers to the disappearance of chattel slavery in the Muslim world as an “abandonment” of the Shariah.

This is wrong. Rather, the verses contemplate the advent of a slavery-free society through the vehicle of emancipation.

Read the rest of the article…

Irans dog walkers could face 74 lashes in criminalisation of pet ownership

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 November, 2014 - 15:20
Proposed law to prevent Iranians from keeping animals deemed unclean is latest crackdown on western cultural invasion

A group of Iranian MPs has proposed making it a criminal offence to keep dogs as pets or walk them in public, with offenders subject to 74 lashes or a fine.

Irans reformist Shargh newspaper reported on Thursday that 32 members of parliament, who are mostly affiliated to the conservatives, had put forward the proposal for the legislative body to vote on.

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What’s The Matter? | Should I Marry a Good Man and Live With Mother-In-Law?

Muslim Matters - 6 November, 2014 - 12:32


I am looking to get engaged to a man. He is very kind, prays, fasts and is good to his family. However, he believes that we have to live with his mother who is divorced. I am a very independent woman and that is very hard for me to do.

I asked him to allow me a transition period first for a period of time, then his mother could move in with us. He will not accept. He has 2 other siblings who are working and married, and live in the same city as his mother, yet he has taken it upon himself to be the only one who cares for her.

She is not disabled, or elderly. In fact she works full time and is in great health. He not only wants us to live with his mother, but he wants me to move into her house. I am professional and have a high ranking position. He unfortunately did not do well in school and works as a laborer.

I am considering him for marriage because of his good character, but he will not compromise with me on this matter. I have prayed istikh ara, because I know he is a good man, but I know myself and I can't just move into his mother's home. I am in my mid 30's and its hard to find a good spouse.

Every time we discuss it, we argue and get upset at each other. In addition his family is of Indian background and I am of Arab background, making it even harder for me to just abruptly move into his mother's home. I am looking for sincere advice, adherent to the Islamic Teachings. I am consulting other resources as well. Please provide me with your insight.

Much thanks and JazakAllah Khair for your time,

Should I Marry a Good Man and Live With Mother-In-Law


Bismillahi Ar Rahman Ar Rahim

It is commendable that you are focused on his good character, for the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said that good character should be the spotlight when deciding on marrying someone.  However, other items must be taken into consideration.  The fact that the two of you are from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds may prove to be challenging in the future.  These aspects are not impossible, because there is beauty in diversity, but challenges may arise in your marriage that are worth being addressed now.

Have you considered premarital counseling? It may prove to be helpful since it consists of a third party professional who will sit with the two of you to help you discuss your differences and prepare you for married life. The specific issue of moving in with your mother-in-law may be addressed at that time, and the counselor or therapist will assist the two of you to come to an understanding.

It sounds as if both of you have tried to discuss the issue but, due to the strong emotions involved on both sides, it is difficult to truly hear one another. Living with his mother seems to be a decision he made long ago in his mind, so that it is difficult to walk away from that dream. On your end, being that you are a professional, independent woman, living with your mother-in-law seems to be walking away from the life that you had in mind. Dr. John Gottman talks about dreams behind a conflict. He states, “Perpetual gridlocked problems between you and your partner often conceal underlying feelings and dreams that aren't getting communicated. Your initial focus when discussing these conflicts shouldn't be in solving the problem right away, but rather first to move from gridlock to dialogue by understanding your partner's position in depth.” On the Gottman relationship blog, he discusses in detail an effective way to discuss the problem. Give it a try, insha'Allah.

When making a decision, isthikhara is the best path to tread upon, as you said you have done already, Alhumdulillah.  Isthikhara is a du'a asking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to make the right decision for you.  It may not be clear now as to what you should do, but with Allah's guidance and your trust in Him, doors will open in the right direction, insha'Allah.

May Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) help you and make ease.


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Shots fired at mosque in Southern California

Loon Watch - 5 November, 2014 - 19:04



COACHELLA, Calif., Nov. 4 (UPI) – No one was injured early Tuesday morning when shots were fired at a mosque in Southern California.

Coachella police said the incident is being treated as a potential hate crime. There were people in the building when the Islamic Society of Coachella Valley mosque was hit.

Riverside County Sheriff’s Captain Andrew Shouse said at least five shots were fired, including one that struck a Toyota parked in front of the mosque.

A man who was in the mosque at the time told the Desert Sun there were four worshipers praying.

Salah Salah, a member of the board, said the mosque was founded 16 years ago in Coachella, an agricultural center 130 miles east of Los Angeles. It now has about 90 members.

“Somebody drunk? Something crazy? Nothing ever happened here before,” Salah said. “We are concerned about our safety, our security.”

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Los Angeles, said the shooting should be taken seriously.

“Any time shots are fired at a house of worship, the FBI should offer its resources to local authorities to help determine whether or not there was a bias motive for the attack,” Ayloush said. “Our nation’s leaders also need to speak out against the growing level of anti-Muslim sentiment that can lead to such incidents.”

Fanatic Beheads Teen “Witch” After Watching Christian Videos

Loon Watch - 5 November, 2014 - 19:00

Isaiah Marin

Isaiah Marin

Another instance of online radicalization? This won’t get as much attention since the perpetrator is not a Muslim. Would it be right to declare this an act inspired by Christianity? Should all Christians now be under the microscope of suspicion?

These are rhetorical questions. There is no doubt that these are the actions of an extremist individual whose actions don’t represent the large majority of peaceful Christians. (h/t: Arman)

What if they were Muslim?

The RawStory

A “religious zealot” in Oklahoma nearly beheaded an acquaintance in a brutal slaying after watching Christian videos, police said.

Isaiah Marin was playing cards Wednesday afternoon with his brother and the victim, 19-year-old Jacob Crockett, at an apartment in Stillwater.

Police said the 21-year-old Marin was watching online videos “related to his Christian beliefs and the Book of Matthew” before he picked up a sword and began swinging it around.

His brother told him to be careful, and then he told police that Marin stabbed Crockett in the chest.

Marin’s brother said the suspect had argued with Crockett in the past because the victim and his brother, Jesse, “were practicing witchcraft and Isaiah had strong Christian beliefs.”

Samuel Marin fled from the apartment, police said, and his brother ran after him and promised to explain why he had killed the teen in letters from jail.

Police said Isaiah Marin called 911 and confessed that he had “murdered someone,” before rambling about magic and sacrifices.

“I hacked them to death with a machete,” Marin told dispatchers.

Police found Marin walking along a state highway, covered in blood and carrying a long knife.

Marin said he had fantasized about killing four or five people, including Crockett, police said.

Investigators said Crockett, who was the son of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol officer, had been nearly decapitated in the attack.

Jesse Crockett, the victim’s brother, said Marin was a “heavy drug user” and “religious zealot.”

Police said the case had no religious implications and was not related to recent beheadings by Islamic extremists — including an attack by a Muslim convert at an Oklahoma food plant.

Marin, a student at Northern Oklahoma College who intended to transfer to Oklahoma State University, was charged with first-degree murder and remains held without bail.

Why I doubt people who say they loathe Islam but not Muslims | Andrew Brown

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 November, 2014 - 15:01
It is psychologically unnatural to claim that you hate an ideology without hating the people in whose lives it is expressed

It is a trope among people who loathe and fear Islam that their fear and loathing has nothing in common with racism because Islam is not a race, the implication being that hating Muslims is rational and wise whereas hating black people is deeply irrational and stupid.

Some people who claim that Islam is profoundly evil will also say that they bear Muslims no ill will but I dont think they are telling the truth. It is really difficult and indeed psychologically unnatural to claim that you hate an ideology without hating the people in whose lives it is expressed. Religions, nations, and even races are all shared imaginative constructs (although nations and races have other characteristics as well) and if you really want to extirpate them, you must extirpate the people who imagine them as well.

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Pakistan arrests dozens over Christian lynchings

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 November, 2014 - 13:00
Police seize 44 people after Christian couple were beaten to death and their bodies burned for allegedly desecrating a Quran

Dozens of people have been arrested in Pakistan after a Christian couple were beaten to death and their bodies burned for allegedly desecrating a Quran.

Blasphemy is a serious offence in conservative Muslim Pakistan, where those accused are sometimes lynched.

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