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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The lucrative business of mourning in Iran

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 November, 2014 - 05:00

Singing eulogies has become a profitable career path in the Islamic republic, with performer demands increasingly reading like a rock star rider

Black banners draped along Tehrans boulevards, public squares, bridges, overpasses, buildings, and residences somberly ring in Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, a time of spirited eulogy reading, mourning processions, and passion plays.

Although Iranians fall across a wide spectrum of religious belief and practice, the Islamic republics particular brand of enforced public piety reaches its peak during the holy months of Muharram and Safar. In the run up to the ninth and tenth days of Muharram, known as Tasua and Ashura, festivities reach a fever pitch.

At a house fully draped in black and green and catering only to female mourners in western Tehran, Haj Javad, a eulogist, brings his voice to a breathtaking crescendo as he recounts the horrific fate that befell Hussein and his followers on this day of Ashura over 1400 years ago. The crowd answers Haj Javad with cries and sobs of pain, and with the audience as warmed up as it can get, Haj Reza takes the mic.

He begins a recitation on Husseins brother, Abbas, who loyally supported the third Imam to the end of his struggle. Haj Reza describes a meeting between the brothers as vividly as if he were a witness to the event. He even has different voices for each brother.

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Police Investigate Vandalism At Ottawa Mosque

Loon Watch - 4 November, 2014 - 18:54



A rock-hurling man smashed windows at a south Ottawa mosque early Friday in an act of vandalism that the vice-president of the mosque suspects is a hate crime.

Surveillance video at the Assunnah Muslims Association mosque recorded the man in a hoodie, shorts and sneakers throwing at least a half-dozen rocks at windows and the glass door of the women’s entrance to the mosque at 4:28 a.m. The stone thrower also shattered a large upper window and damaged the stucco on the west side of the mosque on Hunt Club Road near Bank Street. It’s estimated the vandalism caused more than $10,000 in damage.

Vice-president of the mosque Jalil Marhnouj said the vandal brought his own rocks. “When people came to pray here this morning, they saw the Ottawa police here and they saw the damage,” he said.

The vandalism at the mosque comes a little more than a week after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as he guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial on Oct. 22. Zehaf-Bibeau then made his way to the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings, where he shot and wounded a guard before being shot and killed himself.

A man who attended the mosque was later stopped on Oct. 25 by police as part of a national security investigation. Officials at the mosque said Luqman Abdunnur upset other members of the congregation when he stood up after a sermon on Oct. 24 and praised Zehaf-Bibeau as a martyr.

There is no evidence the vandalism at the mosque is connected to either incident. Ottawa police aren’t currently treating it as a hate crime.

“You feel unsafe, you feel targeted, you feel terrorized in a way,” said Marhnouj of the attack on the mosque. “Anytime there is a media report about Muslims negatively, whether from here or elsewhere, we are all put in a basket: ‘Muslims are terrorists.’ We feel always we are guilty by association,” said Marhnouj. “I shouldn’t have to disassociate myself all the time from the actions of others to prove my allegiance.”

The vandalism is being denounced by the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

“An attack on any house of worship is reprehensible and we condemn it,” said executive director Ihsaan Gardee. “There have been other incidents that have occurred, so obviously there is a concern among the community of a potential backlash to the acts last week.

“But at the same time we are very confident that our fellow Canadians will see the attacks of last week for what they are: the acts of individuals who in no way represent the sentiments and feelings of the vast majority of Canadian Muslims, who reject outright these kind of violent acts that target innocent civilians and our fellow Canadians,” said Gardee.

Ottawa Citizen, 1 November 2014

Attack on Shias fans fears of jihadi blowback in Sunni Saudi Arabia

The Guardian World news: Islam - 4 November, 2014 - 18:53
Assault signals that sectarian tensions unleashed by Syrian war and rise of Isis now pose a real security threat in the kingdom

Fears of jihadi blowback from the wars in Syria and Iraq reaching Saudi Arabia have been fanned by a deadly sectarian attack that killed five people on the Shia religious holiday of Ashura.

Saudi police on Tuesday announced the arrest of nine people suspected of involvement in what was labelled a terrorist shooting at a Shia mosque in al-Ahsa in the countrys eastern province, as mainstream Sunni clerical leaders condemned the incident, which analysts have described as ominous.

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21 Lessons in Leadership from the Prophet | Part 2

Muslim Matters - 4 November, 2014 - 12:13

Part 1 | Part 2

Law of Navigation: Anyone can Steer the Ship, but It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course


The Law of Navigation states that it's the leader who sets the vision for his people, and then he leads them to that vision.

Are there words to describe the incredible vision of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)? Can you imagine what it would be like if you and the people you led were tortured, boycotted, mocked, murdered and driven out of your homes and still having the wherewithal to talk about conquering Rome and Constantinople? Allahu akbar! How amazing is that? The Prophet always kept the greater vision for his people at the forefront of his mind and the minds of his people. He never took his eyes off the ultimate prize and greater mission.

He had the vision and foresight to:

  • send Musab to Madinah long before he made hijra in order to develop a following there before his arrival.
  • send the believers to Abyssinia even when they didn't want to leave.
  • always remind the people of the greater life to come.
  • sign the treaty of hudaybiyya despite some of his companions objections.
  • listen to his advisors in the battle of the trench and in the thwarted trip to Mecca for Hajj.
  • develop young and dynamic leadership all around him so his work would continue after his death.
  • know when to be patient and quiet, and when to step up and speak out.
  • give the right roles to the right people at the right times; ibn Masud, Khalid ibn Waleed and Musab ibn Umayr are a few that come to mind.

These and countless more examples from the Prophet's life show that he was a forward thinking person of great vision, therefore we should be the same.

Reflection Questions on the Law:

  • How do we exemplify this quality from the Sunnah in our lives?
  • What is our long term vision for ourselves, our families, our communities and our organizations, and what steps do we need to take to make that vision come to life?

The post 21 Lessons in Leadership from the Prophet | Part 2 appeared first on

Masked gunmen kill five in Saudi Arabia

The Guardian World news: Islam - 4 November, 2014 - 07:52
A crowd from the minority Shia community were attacked in the east of the country as they prepared to celebrate a festival

Masked gunmen killed five people in a mostly Shia area of eastern Saudi Arabia late on Monday as the minority community prepared to celebrate the festival of Ashura, police said.

Nine people were wounded in the shooting, the latest in a spate of sporadic unrest in the oil-rich east of the Sunni-dominated kingdom where most of its two million Shias live.

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Meeting the last masters of alam, a dying art

The Guardian World news: Islam - 4 November, 2014 - 05:00

This week Ashura ceremonies took place throughout Iran, but the traditional craft behind the metallic ornament is being lost

Safar Fooladgar hits a piece of iron the size of my palm with his hammer. Like a drum rhythm, his hands evoke a dance: bang, swish, bang, swish, bang. Each time his hammer lands, another detail begins to form: it will soon become the face of a dragon.

I am in a small south Tehran workshop of one of the last living masters of the art of alam, a heavy metal installation filled with intricate figurines and engravings, used in Shia Muslim ceremonies marking the martyrdom of Imam Hussein and those who fought by his side at the battle of Karbala in AD680 against an army loyal to Yazid, caliph of the emerging Muslim world.

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Shia Muslims chanting down with Isis join Ashura procession in Sydney

The Guardian World news: Islam - 4 November, 2014 - 03:26

March participants play down prospect of sectarian tensions a day after a Muslim leader was shot outside a Sydney Islamic centre

Thousands of Shia Muslims marched through the Sydneys CBD on Tuesday to mark Ashura, the anniversary of the death of the prophet Muhammads grandson Husayn Ibn Ali.

The black-clad procession numbered more than 2,000 and stretched almost a kilometre, led by women in chadors and green headbands chanting, down with Isis and Husayn is for peace.

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Christians Blast Ballot Initiative Banning Sharia Law In Alabama

Loon Watch - 3 November, 2014 - 19:00


Is common sense making a come back among Christian conservatives?

Think Progress

Next week, Alabama voters will be asked to cast their ballots on Amendment 1, a carefully worded measure that would prohibit “the application of foreign law” in the state’s courts. The ballot initiative is ultimately seeking to ban sharia law, an increasingly popular right-wing legislative tactic that serves to demonize the Islamic faith as something that Americans need to be protected from.

The push to ban sharia law is often spearheaded by prominent Religious Right figures like Pat Robertson and Bryan Fischer. But somewhat of a different scene is playing out in Alabama in the lead up to the election, as Christian leaders in the state are speaking out against Amendment 1.

Randy Brinson, the president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama — one of the state’s largest network of conservative evangelicals — is one of the religious figures lending his voice to the opposition campaign. In an interview with the Birmingham News this week, Brinson said that the effort to pass Amendment 1 is “just silliness,” adding that “it’s all something that lawmakers can trumpet back to constituents that they’re protecting Christian values, but they need to be working on other stuff.”

“Sharia law is not going to be implemented in Alabama, it just isn’t,” Brinson said. “This is a tremendous waste of effort… My frustration is that people — good people — get behind something like this just because they want to score political points with the Christian community. But it’s redundant — you don’t need to amend the constitution to address these issues. I just don’t think they thought through this particular thing.”

Plus, Brinson opposes Amendment 1 because he believes it would communicate to other countries that Alabama doesn’t respect their laws. He also worries the measure could impose additional barriers on people seeking to complete foreign adoptions, get married abroad, or conduct business with colleagues outside the United States’ borders.

And he’s using those messages to rally members of his organization to vote against the ballot initiative. In email blasts sent to the Christian Coalition of Alabama, Brinson urges members to sign a petition against Amendment 1 to “protect Alabama from unnecessary laws” and “protect international adoptions.”

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OCCJ anti-bias campaign targets Oklahoma lawmakers

Loon Watch - 3 November, 2014 - 18:43


Oklahoma lawmakers may be some of the most regressive, bigoted lawmakers in the nation.

Tulsa World

The Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice last week sent out a letter to its 1,565-member mailing list asking people to tell their state legislators they are concerned about anti-gay and anti-Muslim rhetoric by state officials.

The letter campaign is an apparent response to comments made by state Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, in which he called Islam a cancer in American society, and by Gov. Mary Fallin, who has made statements suggesting that same-sex marriage does not represent Oklahoma values.

“We do not believe the anti-Muslim and anti-gay statements made by some members of the Oklahoma Legislature represent the majority of Oklahomans’ beliefs. Nor do they reflect the true meaning behind ‘Oklahoma values,’ ” OCCJ president Jayme Cox said in the letter.

In an interview, Cox said: “When all the anti-Muslim rhetoric came out, we were concerned about the safety and well-being of our Muslim friends. We wanted to make sure our elected officials were paying attention. … We didn’t feel that enough was being done.”

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Nigeria suicide blast kills Shia Muslims at Ashura procession in Potiskum

The Guardian World news: Islam - 3 November, 2014 - 17:16
Dozens killed after suicide bomber detonates device at religious ceremony in north-eastern Nigeria

A suicide bomber has killed at least 23 people in a procession of Shia Muslims marking the ceremony of Ashura in Potiskum, north-eastern Nigeria.

In a separate incident overnight in central Kogi state, gunmen using explosives blew their way into a prison in the city of Lokoja, killing one person and freeing 144 inmates, the prisons coordinator for the state, Adams Omale, said.

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The beat of Ashura in Iran - in pictures

The Guardian World news: Islam - 3 November, 2014 - 09:08

Shiites take to the streets during the holy month of Muharram to commemorate the death of the third Imam, Hussein, slain along with 72 of his comrades in a battle against the army of the seventh-century caliph Yazid. The large drums, or tabl, were used in battle to alert the public, disorient the enemy and direct troops. In keeping with the military nature of these processions, mourners simulate self-flagellation with light-weight chains to the thump of a bass drum and the crackle of a snare. All photos by Khashayar Sharifaee in Irans northwest city of Tabriz

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Muslim leader shot outside Sydney prayer hall by alleged Isis supporters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 3 November, 2014 - 08:01

Rasoul Al Mousawi to undergo surgery after he was shot in the face outside an Islamic centre in Greenacre just hours after threats allegedly made

A Shia Muslim community leader will undergo surgery after being shot in the face with pellets outside a Sydney religious hall, which witnesses say was targeted by supporters of Islamic State hours earlier.

Rasoul Al Mousawi, 47, was standing outside the building in Greenacre in Sydney south-west around 1.15am on Monday morning when a number of pellets were fired.

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