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The Islamic Ruling on Denying a Parent Access to Children from Scholars in UK

Muslim Matters - 18 February, 2015 - 19:56

Written for UK context, for those in non-abusive situations

After a marital breakdown, children are all too often used as pawns by feuding parents. In theory, both parents should put the interest of their children first, and although they have equal responsibility, it is wrong to assume that they have equal power, when it comes to access to and custody of the children. Under the current legal framework in the UK, the resident parent (the one with the custody of the children) has disproportionate powers regarding the children.

In our society, it is almost always the mother who has custody and rights over the children, where as the father faces a potentially uphill struggle to realise his rights. This anomalous position has led to a lot of abuse, particularly because many mothers use it to instantly and absolutely deny the father access to the children. In a number of cases, all relations between him and the children are severed at the mother's behest, and she will demand that he seeks contact with his children by obtaining a child arrangement order through the courts, if mediation fails, which can all take between three and four months or even longer, and by that time, the children have already been further traumatised due to the sudden absence of their father. Also this gives unfair advantage to the mother who can abuse her privilege of custody and unduly influence the children vis a vis their father. The children find themselves torn by their loyalty to both parents but tend to yield to the mother's pressure not to see the father and to inform Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) that they do not wish to see their father. Again this puts the father at a disadvantage and in the difficult situation of having to show that the children have not been negatively affected. This could be viewed as a form of child abuse, because the situation is imposed on the children (particularly very young children), who are powerless and have no opinion in the matter; their right to see the father is taken away from them.

Often, some mothers will continue to obstruct contact, even after the courts have issued a contact order, which gives the father the legal right to regularly see the children at agreed times. This is simply another severing of the bond between the father and the children that must be endured until a further court hearing takes place which could be months later.

The courts at times may be reluctant to enforce the contact order, because they may believe that labouring the mother is not in the best interests of the children. The question is, is it, then, in the best interests of the children for a situation to be created, which prolongs the absence of their father from their lives? It could be argued, the legal hurdles are creating a new generation of fatherless children, who know nothing of their own father, other than his name and the fact that he is biologically related to them. Similarly, there are also cases of fathers with custody engaged in the same process.

This reluctance of the lawmakers to reprove mothers who breach a contact order could be seen as an implicit green light, at some instances, permitting these mothers to continue denying fathers access to the children. Of course, this separation damages the relationship between the children and the father and in some cases the frustrated father feels forced to give up, as he has to bear extremely high legal cost due to the many court hearings, caused by the mother's non-compliance with the contact orders.

This situation was publically echoed by a senior Judge, Mr Justice Coleridge, in 2010 by making a statement, outlined below:

'Family courts are losing their authority because so many people take no notice of their judgments. Around 5,000 new cases a year come before the family courts in which parents – almost always mothers – defy orders to let the other parent have contact. Judges are extremely reluctant to jail such mothers because of the damaging effects on the children, so many continue to get away with it.'

This abuse is rife among all communities in Britain and the unfortunate consequences of a fatherless society are undeniably visible. As a result, we see the proliferation of groups like Fathers for Justice and Families need Fathers, advocating the rights of fathers who no longer reside with their children. A recent report appeared in the Sunday Express [1], where it had been found that since June 2003, 8,515 non-resident parents have committed suicide due to the distress of not seeing their children. The study found that 94.8 per cent of the deaths involved a male non-resident parent.

It is a fundamental right of the child to have access to both parents, and likewise both parents have a natural right over the child that they have given birth to. Thus, rationally speaking, by default there are no grounds to exclude either parent from having access to their children. This separation is justified under some exceptional circumstances, for example, if one of the parents poses a genuine threat to the children and/or displays violent and harmful conduct at home (domestic or sexual abuse and violence). If such cases are backed with evidence and/or a court order, then temporary separation of that parent from the children has merit whilst a permanent solution is being sought.

The Muslim community of Britain has not been immune to this situation, where some mothers and fathers sever all ties between the children and either of the former parent. This runs contrary to basic Islamic values, teachings and culture. All Muslim societies have evolved through family units, and where there is a breakdown, the practice of imposing any sort of separation between children and parents or any other family members has traditionally been unknown. It should be self-evident that imposing separation between a child and any relative is an unnatural and unkind act, as ugly as the pre-Islamic custom of burying female children alive (imposing a permanent separation), which was carried out in Pagan Arab society, and was swiftly abolished by Islam.

Despite this, the problem is rife within some Muslim communities, and is frequently carried out even by those professing to be practising Muslim parents. This is partly because this issue has not been explicitly pronounced as unlawful under Islamic law, unlike, for instance, the consumption of alcohol and pork.

Even before we seek textual evidence, its prohibited status under Islamic law is obvious, because it runs to contrary to human nature. The most basic human social structure is the family unit, and the father-child and mother-child relationships are a fundamental part of this. To destroy that is like waging war on society, and those who attempt to destroy society by violent acts are given the severest punishment under the law.

All Islamic scholars agree that this severing of the bond, regardless of whether it is done voluntarily by an irresponsible parent, imposed by the mother or the father, is a cardinal sin. The prohibition of, and warnings against taking such action are very emphatic and Islamic teaching clearly states that the consequence is prevention from entering Paradise on the Day of Judgment. The first evidence from the primary source of Qur'an clearly states this.

“Would you then, if you were given the authority, do mischief in the land, and cut off your ties of kinship?”   (Qur'an 41:21)

The above is corroborated by many Hadiths. For example, Imams Bukhari and Muslim have collected the following saying of the Prophetṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him):

“One will not enter paradise if he/she cuts off relations with relatives.”

Another Hadith also collected by Bukhari and Muslim and narrated by Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) states:

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Do not turn away from your fathers, for he who turns away from his father, will be guilty of committing an act of disbelief.”

This prohibits severing of the bond with members of immediate family, and most specifically one's father. Scholars are in agreement that this is the case whether one turns away from one's own father or forces others to be separated from their fathers.

Also, the Islamic obligation on both the father and the mother to raise the children is well established; hence, the imposed separation of children from either the father or mother is clearly prohibited. If children willingly cut themselves off from their parents then they are committing a grave sin. Likewise, if someone else is preventing children from forming a close relationship with their parents, that person is also considered blameworthy.

Parents should be aware of the religious, moral and spiritual consequence of severing family ties in the sight of God. Unfortunately, it is all too common for either parent to deny the right of access to their children solely because of their personal feud. Perhaps they gain some temporary emotional satisfaction from doing this at the expense of their own children, but the long term consequences are detrimental to their worldly life and after-life, and any Muslim who is engaged in such actions should think very carefully before continuing on such a path of emotional abuse and harm.

Signed:

Sheikh Abdul Qayyum, East London Mosque

Dr Sh Suhaib Hasan, Islamic Shari'ah Council, Leyton

Sheikh Mawlana Muhammad Shahid Raza (Leicester Central Mosque)

Mufti Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf, www.zamzamacademy.com

Imam Qari Asim Muhammad, Mecca masjid, Leeds

Sheikh Khalifa Ezzat, London Central Mosque

Shaykh Dr Muhammad Umar Al-Qadri, Al Mustafa Islamic Centre, Ireland

Dr Abdul Kalam Azad, Adam Academy, London

Sheikh Fahimul Anam, Beacon Institute

Imam Abdullah Hasan, Imams Against Domestic Abuse (IADA)

Imam Abdul Wahhab, Plashet Grove masjid, London

Dr Kamal Abu Zahra, Ad-Duha Institute

Imam Irfan Chishti – Rochdale Council of Mosques

Imam Ghulam Moyhuddin, Ashton Central Mosque

Imam Yusuf Rios, Shaukani Institute, USA

Sheikh Muhammad Sa'di, European College of Islamic Studies, Birmingham

Sheikha Selina Begum Ali – Oak Education for Children

Notes

[1] (http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/550037/Family-separation-fatal-toll-absent-parent-die-earlier)

The post The Islamic Ruling on Denying a Parent Access to Children from Scholars in UK appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

What now for Europe’s Jews after Copenhagen and Paris? | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 February, 2015 - 19:12

On 18 November 2014, four rabbis and a policeman were gunned down in Jerusalem. On 21 January 2015, 11 people were stabbed on a bus in Israel. After those attacks, the media did not advance a theory that antisemitism was rife in Israel. In April 2014, a lone neonazi gunman killed four people outside a Jewish community centre in Kansas. The media did not identify America as being in the grip of an outbreak of antisemitism.

Yet when criminals in Europe kill Jews (Report, 17 February), among others, there is an outcry about the return of antisemitism to the European continent. Clearly there are dangers, but the Jewish population is ill served by exaggerated talk of a rise in antisemitism. It is easy to target Europe because of its past history and because of latent fears about radicalised jihadists. The impact of this talk is to create fear, which is the ultimate enemy of rational thinking. We need to recognise that there is no mass anti-Jewish movement in Europe. On the contrary, Jews are well supported by the powers that be. The best antidote to the fear generated is joint cooperation between minority communities leading to a growth in trust, and recognition in the media of the diverse nature of Jewish opinion, whether it is about antisemitism, or about the nature of the Israeli state and its policies.
Diana Neslen
Ilford, Essex

While there is room for satire ridiculing vices and absurdities, it depends on the targets understanding its references

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Chapel Hill 'hate crime' response criticised by Muslim lawmaker

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 February, 2015 - 17:51

Keith Ellison rebukes US terrorism strategy to counter violent extremism and calls for hate crime prosecution in murder of three students in North Carolina

Washington’s first Muslim congressman has publicly rebuked the Obama administration’s terrorism strategy during a White House summit on countering violent extremism, warning that recent moves to prevent money transfers to Somalia risked radicalising its large expatriate community in the US.

Keith Ellison, who represents a Minnesota district with the highest Muslim population in the US, also criticised the response to the murder of three students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, arguing that a failure to prosecute hate crimes fuelled the narrative that America was at war with Islam.

Related: The careless, astonishing cruelty of Barack Obama’s government | George Monbiot

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Kyrgyzstan detains imam for 'encouraging followers to fight for Isis'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 February, 2015 - 14:05

A prominent Kyrgyz imam and government critic has been detained for ‘making extremist statements’ – charges his supporters say are politically motivated. EurasiaNet.org reports

On Fridays, Al-Sarahsiy Mosque is usually packed with thousands of worshippers from across southern Kyrgyzstan.

They come to Kara-Suu – a town of 20,000 – to listen to the sermons of Rashot Kamalov, the mosque’s charismatic imam, who is respected for criticising brutal and corrupt officials, society’s moral decline and western pop culture.

Is it illegal to talk about a caliphate now?

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Iran supreme leader: American Sniper made to 'harass and offend the Muslims'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 February, 2015 - 08:58

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reportedly calls Clint Eastwood’s film ‘propaganda against Muslims’, while head of American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee calls movie a ‘turning point’

Iran’s supreme leader has criticised the Oscar-nominated Iraq war biopic American Sniper for encouraging attacks on Muslims.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comments during a meeting with representatives of the Islamic Republic’s religious minorities in parliament three weeks ago, according to the the state-run IRAN Farsi newspaper yesterday. He also reportedly said he had not seen Clint Eastwood’s film but had heard about its plot.

Related: American Sniper's record-breaking box office: who saw it, where and why

Related: American Sniper: anti-Muslim threats skyrocket in wake of film's release

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Walking Away from Suicide – Part 3 of 3

Muslim Matters - 18 February, 2015 - 04:34

This is Part 3 of a 3 part series. See Part 1 and Part 2 here.

By Muhammad Zafar

Part 3: Thank You Allah for All my Problems

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Verily, the hearts of all the children of Adam are between the two fingers of Allah. He turns them wherever He wills.” Then he said, “O Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts towards Your obedience.” (Sahih Muslim)

Alhamdulilah, things started to slowly improve after that. I didn't have an epiphany, but I did start to improve slowly. I would learn a lesson one day and then a couple of weeks or months later learn something else. There wasn't a miracle that came and changed things, it wasn't something that simple either.

The bottom line was: Things didn't really improve…I improved.

I felt like I really started to mature. I didn't care much for failure anymore. I started to look at things differently. I became more and more independent, started to spend time with friends and started to  get into the things that interested me. I stopped comparing myself to others and just worried about the things that would benefit me. I would start to go out of my way to please friends, family, brothers at the Mosque and even strangers (for Allah) and in a short time I started to feel better.

My sister once sat down and told me, “I think there were a lot of people telling you what to do” – it was her way of apologizing. I just smiled when I heard that and told her, “It's in the past.”

Thinking Positively

I started to think more positively about Allah, how short-sighted I had been, subhanAllah! The more positively I thought about Allah, the more  I started to understand things clearly.

The odd thing was, not much had changed from before. My problems were still there, but my mind wasn't occupied with them as much anymore. The biggest difference now was I didn't care as much. I wanted to read on things which interested me, I wanted to listen to lectures, I wanted to spend time with my sisters and their kids, I wanted to spend time with friends, I wanted to sit down and converse with my mom – and I wanted to do it so that Allah would be more pleased with me. The more I did it, and the more I went out of my way to do it, the more felt my life became balanced. That balance brought me not happiness, but contentment.

I couldn't make sense of it. I didn't make it large. I didn't acquire this world's riches, I didn't become famous, I didn't even accomplish much. Yet I felt like I was where I wanted to be or heading to where I wanted to go. It is what has led me to strongly and whole-heartedly believe that tranquility and happiness isn't in money, respect from people, one's job or education – it's in thinking more and more upon what will make Allah pleased with you.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the Best Teacher/Guide/Helper/Caregiver

namesofallahPeople could say what they wanted about where I worked – I enjoyed it and was relaxed, so why would their opinions matter? My family friends could look down on me if they wanted – but would their approval or disapproval change my connection with Allah?

I felt at peace with who I was. I didn't feel I needed to be accepted by others. I just had to be confident in who I was. The iman that entered my heart gave me the confidence I never thought existed. It helped me to speak up when, at one point, I never thought I could. I started to expect less and less from others and more and more from Allah. I stopped freaking out at mishaps. My anger at the world turned to forgiveness. I just started to let things go. I was in control of my emotions now, they weren't in control of me. So I did what I really should have done long ago, I started to thank Allah for all the tough times I had.

I stopped forcing things on myself and started to live a more relaxed life. Now I wanted to study. I realized how much interest I always had in history and decided to pursue a degree in it. For the first time in my life I felt confident I could actually do it. It didn't feel impossible to me anymore.

And when I felt content despite not seeing any difference in my life, my fear of failure went away. Today I am working and doing very well in my studies but, more importantly, able to live and breathe in peace.

What would I say to a Muslim who wanted to commit suicide? Simple. A reminder of a hadith from the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) who 3 days before his death said:

Let none of you die unless he has good expectations from Allah. [Sahih Muslim]

Every person owes it to themselves to search for all the good Allah has placed within the trials of their lives. The only way to unveil the good hidden within hardships is to think positively about Allah. One would commit the greatest injustice to himself dying with bad expectations of Allah.

Twice in my life I considered taking my life. Truth be told, I would love to meet Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) as soon as possible, but I'll let Him decide when He wants that to be. I just know I have a lot of work that needs to be done in the meantime.

The post Walking Away from Suicide – Part 3 of 3 appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Chapel Hill Murders: Between A Simplistic Media And Human Complexity

Loon Watch - 17 February, 2015 - 22:06

via. Inagist

via. Inagist

By Garibaldi

The shock I felt following the execution style killings of Chapel Hill students Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu Salha and Razan Abu Salha has made it hard to write. These murders represent a low point: murders upon murders have left my heart paralyzed and I know I am not the only one, many of us feel this way. I question how much we are doing here and how much we have accomplished on Loonwatch.

Every week, more than ever, we seem to be hurled from one crisis to the next: the destruction of Gaza and thousands of its innocent lives, attacks on a Kosher market in Paris, a satirical/Islamophobic tabloid, the burning alive of a Jordanian pilot, the burning alive of a teenage Yemeni boy in a US drone attack, attacks on a Synagogue in Copenhagen, impending war in Iraq, the murders at Chapel Hill, the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians, and the many untold murders taking place everyday in our cities, along the US-Mexico border, in Central Africa, Nigeria, South Sudan and many other places I am unable to recount in this short space.

Media Hypocrisy and Double Standards

These events however do highlight the double standards and hypocrisy of media reporting, in which some lives matter more than others and many facts that matter are either ignored or conveniently dismissed.

Interestingly, Russell Brand, a sort of jester-philosopher, has proven to be far more engaging and nuanced in his breakdown of the media through his YouTube channel, Trews News, than most of what passes today for media criticism.

In his most recent episode of Trews News, Brand deconstructs media coverage of Chapel Hill by comparing it with attacks in Denmark:

Chapel Hill Vs. Copenhagen: Which is terrorism? Russell Brand, The Trews (E257)

He points out the reinforcement in the media of narratives about Muslims as dangerous terrorists and Islam as the culprit of evil ideas that along with its votaries are the chief threats to “Western values.” This is in contrast to the way Craig Hicks was depicted, a man who we were immediately told (after an initial media silence on the story until Twitter users picked it up) was simply motivated by some strange and inexplicable rage over a parking space.

A lot of ink was spilled to indicate how gentle he was, how he supported gay rights, religious freedom and even loved puppies. His atheism/anti-theism many have argued was inconsequential and not a factor in his killings. Care was taken to say and repeat, ad nauseum, that either this had nothing to do with religion or, in fact, there was something else behind the reason why Hicks just went ‘haywire’ and murdered his Muslim neighbors: perhaps he was radicalized by a movie or he was just a gun nut.

The Simplistic vs. the Complex: The Case of Bill Maher on Muslim Americans

This brings me to my point: when non-Muslims, specifically Whites carry out murders such as these, media coverage tends to look beyond superficiality and digs into complexity. Muslim perpetrators (and often victims as well) of violence are denied this complexity; Islam/Islamism/Muslim cultures are simply to blame.

Take one instructional example that parallels in many ways the events in Chapel Hill. When Bridges TV owner Muzzammil Hassan killed his wife, Bill Maher had a whole segment about the murder on Real Time.

Hassan, gruesomely killed his wife by murdering her with what Maher described in racialized tones as a “scimitar.” Maher, would repeat the line about the scimitar again during the segment and also did a cartoonish ‘Arab’ accent (even though Hassan was Pakistani-American), while swinging an imagined sword in the air in a mock imitation of Hasan killing his wife (all for cheap laughs).

To drive the points home that this was a unique Islamic murder, a degree worse than murders perpetrated by “red-blooded White American males,” and that there are no trustworthy Muslim Americans he had Islamophobe Brigitte Gabriel on the show as a special guest:

Bill Maher: He [Hasan] ran a TV station specifically to highlight how Moslems are being misconstrued in the public eye [audience laughter]…(laughs)…and then he cuts her head off with a sword…(laughs)…and so I wanted to have this lady come on and comment on this. I read about her many times, she is the founder of ACT! For America and author of They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam And How We Can Do It. Please Welcome Brigitte Gabriel. [applause].”

Now this scares people because people think here’s a guy living in America 25 years, he’s assimilated, we can trust him and then he takes a giant sword off the wall and cuts his wife’s head off.
(emphasis mine)

Maher implies here that Muslims, even those who you may know and are living exemplary lives, are untrustworthy, to be feared and a fifth column.

Now enter Gabriel to jump all over Maher’s offering:

Brigitte Gabriel: That’s right…[audience laughter]…and then he is touted as the exemplatory moderate Moslem who actually started Bridges TV which is an Islamic television to clean up the image of Islam. And what does he do? He beheads his wife, calls the police bragging about how he cut her head off and the police shows up and there’s the lady laying on the floor, in the TV station that they founded together and her head is next to her body and this guy did it in the name of honor. This is what we call a moderate Muslim businessman in the United States, it’s frightening. [audience hoots] (emphasis mine)

Maher: Well say what you really think…[audience laughter]

Gabriel: You can’t even make this stuff up.

Maher: I know.

Gabriel on Maher's Real Time.

Gabriel on Maher’s Real Time.

Be afraid, be afraid of Muslims anywhere and everywhere we are being told. They cannot be trusted. I wonder if that crossed Craig Hicks mind while he plotted and planned the murder of his Muslim neighbors?

Next, Maher asks the obvious question, why is this murder different than other instances of domestic violence?

Maher: Let me ask you the other question: C’mon there are red-blooded White Americans who strangle their wives and OJ killed his wife with a knife, it wasn’t a giant sword, you know. What about the argument that this is just bigotry towards the Moslems to extrapolate all of this from this incident?

Gabriel: No, it’s very different and I have to make it very clear that I do come from the Middle East, I am an Arabic woman from Lebanon and this is strictly an Islamic practice and here’s the difference: when Westerners in the West kill their wives they usually kill their wife and run away, they try to hide the problem, they try to lie, they try to hide the evidence, [audience laughter] they do not call the police and brag about how they killed her. [audience laughter] You know there’s a major difference there. [audience applause] (emphasis mine)

Maher is asking Gabriel to give some reasons to justify the preset conclusion that they have already made regarding the murder; that it is “Islamic.” First, I’d like to point out that it’s quite funny to hear Gabriel say she is an “Arabic woman” when she has repeated in the past that Arabs are “barbarians” who “have no soul.” I guess when it is beneficial, why not be Arab, especially if it will give you supposed credibility to bash Arabs and Muslims.

In any case, we are to believe that this is an “Islamic murder” and worse than when non-Muslims kill because the guy allegedly bragged about it! This is so idiotic that even Maher has to make the obvious quip that well, it doesn’t make much of a difference to a dead wife.

Maher: [laugheter] But that doesn’t make that much of a difference to the wife…[laughter]…[applause]…You think he had that scimitar up on the wall just as a conversation piece?…[laughter]…(Ay-rab voice)“I keep it up there to remind me how far we come.” And then one day the wifey went too far, and he went: ‘bitch you are (makes sword cutting motion)’…and cut her head off.

Although, Maher makes this slight joke, he is still all in on leading the racist, anti-Arab, Islamophobic train of hate that imputes Hassan’s actions as a consequence of Islam and Muslim culture.

Next, Gabriel in her quintessential ditzy fashion tears down all her earlier claims that this was an “Islam” inspired murder by contradicting her assertion that Hassan was (her words) “an exemplatory moderate Muslim.”

In fact, he had a serial history of domestic abuse, as she herself acknowledges.:

Gabriel: Yea…off with her head. Listen this is a premeditated, calculated murder. She has reported many times domestic abuse and remember this is his third wife and the other two left him because of domestic abuse because he was beating them. This lady wanted to leave him because she was fearing for her life and finally he killed her and it’s a tragedy and I thank you for bringing it to light because no one in the mainstream media is covering the story.

Maher: I know. You start a TV station to highlight how moderate the Moslems are and you make one mistake. [laughter]

Maher, caps the surreal segment with a buffoonish reassertion of the theme that in his back-and-forth with Gabriel he’s been driving home from the beginning: “Moslems” by definition cannot be trusted.

Not only is this rhetoric the type that shapes Western cultural attitudes (Real Time has millions of viewers worldwide), it contributes to an environment where Muslim lives are dehumanized, suspect and not worthy of the same respect as other citizens. It is no wonder that behaviors such as hate crimes, discriminatory laws and police practices, as well as invasions of whole nations are normative and accepted.

It also highlights how simplistic answers and mono-causal reasons (Islam/Muslim culture) are forwarded when Muslims are involved in violence: whether it is domestic violence related, as in the case of Hassan, or the shootings perpetrated in Denmark by Omar El-Hussein, a young man who had a history of violence.

Man Kills Three Muslim Students At University Of North CarolinaIt is not surprising that the week of the Chapel Hill murders, Bill Maher made no mention of them on his program. No doubt he was uncomfortable, maybe in the back of his head he just couldn’t compute how an avowed anti-theist and self-proclaimed militant atheist (much like himself) could commit these grisly and horrid murders.

Why didn’t he, as he did with Hassan’s murder, impute Hicks’ faith based beliefs? Couldn’t he do a segment about how Hicks was an “exemplatory” citizen for 55 years of his life and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, he took those “conversation pieces” (dozens of guns) down and for some inexplicable (insert: anti-theism) reason used them to murder his neighbors?

No, he can’t because it doesn’t jibe with his belief in muscular “9/11 liberalism” and his confident hatred of Islam as the “worst of the worst.” He can’t because he won’t countenance his particular sect, New-Atheism, being twisted in this manner. Maybe, it also makes him uncomfortable because it highlights the fact that human beings are not simplistic beings but complex and that maybe there are many reasons and factors driving them to do good and horrible things.

Hizb ut-Tahrir braces ahead of Abbott's promised security clampdown

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 February, 2015 - 22:00

Group is looking to distance itself from Salafi jihadists and members thinking of clearing innocuous objects such tools, knives and books from their homes

Members of Hizb ut-Tahrir are preparing for intense scrutiny by security agencies ahead of Tony Abbott’s announcement on Monday of new security legislation to crack down on the group.

The prime minister has signalled that “Hizb ut-Tahrir and others who nurture extremism in our suburbs” are in the sights of the government, but has not confirmed whether he will go as far as banning the group.

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NY Times Snubs David Carr’s Gaza Expose

In all its many tributes to media critic David Carr, who died last week, The New York Times has praised his style, honesty and courage and held to light the dramatic arc of his life, but the paper has failed to mention one of his finest moments as a newsman: the day he called out the Israeli military for targeting and killing journalists.

Carr’s column, “Using War as Cover to Target Journalists,” appeared on Nov. 25, 2012, five days after Israeli missiles killed three newsmen traveling in marked cars in Gaza. Carr wrote, “Rather than suggesting it was a mistake, or denying responsibility, an Israeli Defense Forces spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, told The Associated Press, ‘The targets are people who have relevance to terror activity.’”

He followed this with a terse comment: “So it has come to this: killing members of the news media can be justified by a phrase as amorphous as ‘relevance to terror activity.’”

Carr also noted that Israel had earlier struck two buildings housing “journalists and production personnel from a variety of local and international news media outlets,” and he reported the outraged protests from Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders over the killings.

All of this should have appeared in the Times news section, but Jodi Rudoren’s article the day of the strikes obscured the reality of what took place. She summed up one of the strikes in these words: “Just before 6 p.m., two camera operators for Hamas’s Al Aqsa Television network were burned to death when a bomb exploded their car on Al Shifa Street at the edge of the Beach Refuge Camp.”

Rudoren introduces this fact far into her story and she omits the death of a third journalist, also killed in a targeted strike that day. In her telling, Israeli forces had no responsibility for their deaths: It was simply that “a bomb exploded their car.”

It was not until Carr’s column appeared days later that readers were fully informed of Israel’s culpability. The difference was obvious to those members of the Israel lobby who monitor the news. They were silent following Rudoren’s story, but immediately after Carr’s column appeared the lobby responded—with letters to the editor and attacks in Zionist media, all of them saying the victims were terrorists, not really journalists.

The contrast is telling. Rudoren’s story shielded Israel; Carr’s column brought Israeli breaches of international law to public notice, and so he took the heat.

David Carr was doing the work that the Jerusalem bureau should have done, and his truth telling undermined the Times’ claim of neutrality, especially in regards to Israeli actions in Palestine. Along with his many other achievements, he should be remembered for this.

Barbara Erickson


Filed under: David Carr Tagged: Censorship, David Carr, Gaza, Human Rights Watch, Israel, New York Times, Palestine, Reporters Without Borders

Time to Organize for Our American Family Says Ohio Muslim Leader

Muslim Matters - 17 February, 2015 - 19:39

Note: This piece was written for Columbus Dispatch, but they have refused to publish it, because “police have not yet found any evidence that the horrifying murders in North Carolina were the result of anti-Muslim bias or extremist ideology.” Muslimmatters is publishing it, because Muslim voices matter.
These are some very painful days for our American family. We lost four of our most promising children to violent extremism and hate last week. Kayla Mueller, 26; Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; Yusor Muhammad Abu-Salha, 21; and Razan Muhammad Abu-Salha, 19.

As we mourn and celebrate their lives, it's time for us to organize ourselves as one family to eradicate the violent extremism harbored and funded by evil forces within our country and abroad.

The humanitarian aid worker Kayla was captured by ISIS in Syria in 2013 and was confirmed dead on Friday, February 6th. Whereas, Deah, Yusor and Razan, three Muslim students, were shot to death in their home by a neighbor near the campus of UNC Chapel Hill, NC, on February 10th, 2015.

These four individuals represent what is the best about America. They were outstanding, caring, vibrant, beloved, bright young Americans working at home and abroad selflessly to ease other people's pain and to make this world a better place for everyone. They shared the same values, passion and even the mission of helping Syrian refugees.

Their death is a loss not just for their immediate families or communities, but it is a loss for our larger American family. It's a loss for the entire world and the humanity.

Last week, we have been robbed not only by ISIS and Al-Qa'ida, but also by all of those who are spreading hate and violent extremism against any faith or group of people including Islam and Muslims. We've been reminded that the terrorists come from all kinds of backgrounds, ideological labels, and ethnicities. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center's recent report on “Lone Wolf” and Leaderless homegrown terrorism, “more people have been killed in America by non-Islamic domestic terrorists than [jihadists].”

In this time of pain, we must unite and come up with a strategy that would protect our family from future losses like this one. We must remember that hate and violence have no faith, ethnicity or race, but we can defeat them with our faith and unity. We must rely on our interfaith strength, our diversity and our common will to uphold peace and justice. Our guiding principle must always be our constitution that guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.

This week, the White House is hosting an international summit to address the possible rise in violent extremism within American Muslim community due to ISIS propaganda online and overseas. In the light of Chapel Hill shooting, we must call upon the president to broaden the scope of this summit. We must include people of all faith and ethnic backgrounds in this dialogue so we can create a comprehensive plan that will protect all Americans including Muslims like Deah, Yusor and Razan.

At local and regional levels also, we must call upon elected officials, community leaders, and all other stake holders to organize as one body to address the violent extremism of all kinds and forms.

Kayla, Deah, Yusor and Razan, have made us proud of themselves. Let's make sure that we take the right steps to make them proud of us, their American family.

God bless America. Long live the inspiring legacies of Kayla, Deah, Yusor, and Razan.

Zerqa Abid

President, MY Project USA

Zerqa Abid is a mother, a social/political activist, a community organizer, a campaign consultant and a small-business owner.

In 2009, she helped founding Project Sakinah, a national initiative to address family violence within American Muslim community.

She is also a founding member and the President of Muslims for Ohio PAC, a political organization of Muslims in Ohio. She is a member of Hilliard Education Advisory Council. She is the PTO President of the Hilliard Weaver Middle School. She is a member of Hilliard Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association as well.

Abid is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of North Carolina State University.

 

The post Time to Organize for Our American Family Says Ohio Muslim Leader appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Review: 100 Days of UKIP

Indigo Jo Blogs - 17 February, 2015 - 18:18

Picture of Deepa Kaur (Priyanga Burford), a young South Asian woman wearing a black suit and blue scarf round her neck, shaking hands with a white female constituentUKIP: The First 100 Days (Channel 4; viewable for next 29 days in UK only)

Last night, Channel 4 screened a programme which imagined what the first 100 days of a UKIP government would be like if it won the election outright this coming May. It follows a Sikh woman elected as a UKIP MP in Romford in Essex (on the eastern fringe of London); she is apparently the party’s first Asian MP and much is made of her background and the friction this causes with other members of her family. It uses a lot of archive footage showing real statements by various UKIP candidates and councillors, some of which in this programme had become MPs or even ministers, and ends with the MP losing out on political promotion after siding with her own community after they are disproportionately hit by a UKIP immigration clampdown. (More: TiiRoaC.)

Naturally, the first thing that was announced after they won the election was an exit from the EU, which caused the FTSE 100 index and the Pound to drop hugely. A week or so later, Airbus announced that it was pulling out of the UK as a result, and a company in Romford which supplied parts to Airbus also closed down. The new MP, Deepa Kaur, who had been giving walking tours of Romford’s markets and receiving very approving responses from local white market traders, suddenly had to deal with angry former aircraft parts workers and a brick was thrown through her constituency office’s windows. When workers told her that it was all down to the government’s policy, she tried to blame the ‘cynical’ company. Her own brother lost his job at the factory, and when he took her to task, she responded that she had tried to help ‘real’ workers who had wives and children, when he was still living with his parents.

Next, UKIP announce that they are going to launch a clampdown on illegal immigration, claiming that much of the crime in the UK was perpetrated by Romanians, and Deepa gave a speech in which she said that immigrants who wanted to contribute and abide by ‘our’ values were welcome, but those who wanted to go against them and “steal our welfare” had to be sent home. This led to a series of raids against various businesses and policemen and immigration officers were seen bursting into properties and dragging people out into the streets and bundling them into vans. This leads to demonstrations in the streets, both from left-wing groups supported by unions who chant “racist scum”, and also from the EDL and a small group who call their opponents “commies”, something I’ve not heard on demonstrations here in years. Eventually it gets violent as one of the groups breaks through the police barriers.

After a visit to a Women’s Institute in Romford, a white lady challenges Deepa about how raids are carried out without warrants and disproportionately target “brown-skinned” people. She asks Deepa if she has ever seen one of these raids and Deepa responds that she has not, but it is being arranged for her to go on a raid, which satisfies the woman. During the incident, an Asian man is injured but is himself charged with assaulting an immigration officer and held in custody. This leads to heightened demonstrations and more aggressive challenges from Deepa’s brother. UKIP have declared a new Bank Holiday, a “festival of Britain” day to take place 100 days after they take power, and street parties are held across the country to “celebrate” Britain (and distract from the economic crash caused by the withdrawal from the EU).

Deepa participates in one of these events and her brother, wearing a T-shirt supporting the young man injured in the immigration raid, is in the background; Deepa tells him to “go home” but he does not (I am surprised he did not respond “to where, India?” or “this is my country” or something like that). At this point she is being prepared for promotion to a ministerial position after three UKIP ministers resign or are sacked after their racist remarks are made public. However, at the meeting she tells people that the man injured in the raid was innocent and that she intends to make a statement to the police to that effect. She also agrees that the raids were disproportionate and that Britain was really better than that. As a result, she “rules herself out” for promotion, but secures the release of the young man, and a reporter says that tensions had calmed as a result.

The programme was shot from the point of view of some Channel 4 journalists who follow Deepa round for her first 100 days as an MP, and occasionally we see the police or UKIP telling the film crew to get back or turn the cameras off. The fundamental premises of the programme are, I suspect, sound — that a UKIP government will launch a crackdown on immigration and make a show of contempt towards ‘political correctness’ in their way of operating, and that pulling out of the EU would lead to businesses pulling out. However, I very much doubt that a UKIP government (or any government) could take an action that directly led to thousands, or even millions, of jobs being lost overnight and then be able to distract from it by holding street parties or even clamping down on immigrants, illegal or otherwise. Bear in mind that even a “landslide” election victory in terms of Parliamentary seats is usually only generated by a percentage of the votes in the upper 40s; the majority of people would still have voted against them, and the result would have been enormous unrest. No talk was heard of the Scottish independence cause being resurrected, which it would have been.

I question the point of making the programme at all, given that a pure UKIP government is simply not going to happen: there are too few people in the party with any credibility and too many who have made stupid gaffes showing their ignorance, bigotry and quite unfashionable views about matters like the status of women. A more likely prospect is a Tory/UKIP coalition, which would lead to at the very least a referendum on exiting the EU. Only one likely effect of ‘Brexit’ was mentioned — the pull-out of major manufacturers — although the others would likely have only become apparent after it happened, such as increased difficulty and delay in travelling and transporting goods into and out of the country, which would be well after 100 days. Still, it’s a break from the relentless over-exposure of UKIP in the media, the making a statesman of Farage; the most likely UKIP government is a government of inept clowns which quickly brings disaster.

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'Being a Muslim in the south is great, until you turn on the news'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 February, 2015 - 16:10

The deaths of three Muslim students in North Carolina and a wave of negative stories about Islam has made life tough for Muslims in the south. Wajahat Ali talks to Muslim southerners determined not to be beaten by bigotry

Last Thursday, 5,000 people came from all over America to an athletic field at North Carolina State University to attend the Islamic funeral prayers of Deah Barakat, 23, his wife of six weeks, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan, 19. The trio were killed by Craig Stephen Hicks, a self-described “gun-toting” atheist whose ex-wife said showed “no compassion at all” for other people.

The caskets were taken to a Muslim cemetery in Raleigh. Per religious custom, Muslim men took turns unburdening the family’s pain, lending their shoulders to carry the caskets to their burial ground. They finalized the process by contributing three fists of dirt and soil to fill the grave, reciting chapter 20, verse 55 from the Qur’an: “From the earth we created you, and into it we will return you, and from it we will extract you another time.”

Continue reading...

FBI investigates vandalism at Muslim school in Rhode Island

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 February, 2015 - 14:18

School officials say entrance was tagged with orange graffiti that read ‘Now this is a hate crime’ and contained offensive references to Muhammad

The FBI is investigating the source of offensive graffiti at the Islamic School of Rhode Island in West Warwick.

The agency’s Boston division announced on Monday it has begun a civil rights investigation into the vandalism on Saturday night.

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Obama wants to 'counter violent extremism'. He should look beyond Muslims | Deepa Iyer and Linda Sarsour

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 February, 2015 - 11:15

After so many hate crimes against Muslim Americans, why is our government focusing exclusively on Muslim communities as the problem?

On Tuesday, the White House will convene a national summit on combatting violent extremism – but, despite a plethora of attacks by domestic right-wing extremists and the increase in white supremacist hate groups, no one expects that to be on the agenda.

Just a week ago, Craig Hicks, an apparently militant anti-theist murdered three American Muslim college students in Chapel Hill; the FBI and local law enforcement have opened an inquiry into the possibility that it was a hate crime. In August 2012, Wade Michael Page, an avowed white supremacist, stormed into the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin outside Milwaukee and killed six people. Page died, but Attorney General Holder made it clear that the community had endured an act of terrorism and hatred at Page’s hands. Frazier Glenn Miller Jr, a neo-Nazi who founded the White Patriot Party, allegedly killed three people at a Jewish retirement community in Overland Park, Kansas on 13 April 2014. He awaits trial for murder.

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White House resists calls to focus on Islamist terrorism at three-day extremism summit

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 February, 2015 - 11:00

White House officials are downplaying calls to focus on Islamist terrorism in a three-day summit aimed at preventing violent extremism, insisting that recent attacks should not lead to stereotyping of certain communities as higher risk.

The international conference, which begins on Tuesday in Washington and will seek ways of deterring home-grown terrorism, has been criticised by Republicans for failing to single out Islamist extremism for particular scrutiny despite having been convened by Barack Obama in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and coming amid concern over radicalisation by the Islamic State, or Isis, and just days after a terrorist attack in Denmark.

Related: Anti-terrorism summit reinforces 'fear and hate' towards Muslims, critics warn

Related: Isis war to extend far beyond Iraq and Syria under Obama's proposed plan

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Isis orders women in Iraq and Syria to wear double-layered veil and gloves

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 February, 2015 - 07:00

Strict dress code imposed in areas controlled by Islamic State with punishments of fines or beatings for those who do not comply with the rules

Women living under Islamic State’s control in Iraq and Syria are facing increasingly harsh restrictions on movement and dress, which are rigorously enforced by religious police and are leading to resentment and despair among moderate Muslims.

Residents of Mosul, Raqqa and Deir el-Zour have told the Guardian in interviews conducted by phone and Skype that women are forced to be accompanied by a male guardian, known as a mahram, at all times, and are compelled to wear double-layered veils, loose abayas and gloves.

I was shocked to see that women in labour were denied access to the hospital unless they put veils on

I was fined $1,500 and got 10 lashes on the bottom of my feet

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It is Violent Extremism, Not Islamic Extremism

altmuslim - 16 February, 2015 - 21:57
By Junaid M. Afeef President Obama’s remarks at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast — particularly that those who commit acts of terror in the name of Islam are in fact betraying it — are timely if not overdue. Muslims in America, particularly youth, deserve to hear the president speaking accurately about Islam at a time [Read More...]

Fear, Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Network’s Efforts To Manufacture Hate in America

Loon Watch - 16 February, 2015 - 20:57

Islamophobia_Fear_Inc

An 87 page follow up report/study to the original Fear, Inc. report that outed the funding of the Islamophobia network.

via.Center For American Progress

By Matthew Duss, Yasmine Taeb, Ken Gude, Ken Sofer

In 2011, the Center for American Progress published “Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” in order to identify and expose the organizations, scholars, pundits, and activists comprising a tightly linked network that spread misinformation and hateful propaganda about American Muslims and Islam. The report found that seven charitable foundations spent $42.6 million between 2001 and 2009 to support the spread of anti-Muslim rhetoric. The efforts of a small cadre of funders and misinformation experts were amplified by an echo chamber of the religious right, conservative media, grassroots organizations, and politicians who sought to introduce a fringe perspective on American Muslims into the public discourse.Watch this video to learn about the Fear, Inc. interactive websiteIn the three years since “Fear, Inc.” shined a light on the Islamophobia network and exposed the network’s key members, a number of them have been marginalized by the mainstream media and politicians. For example, the American Conservative Union publically reprimanded misinformation expert Frank Gaffney and made it clear that he is no longer welcome at their annual Conservative Political Action Conference. Conservative politicians from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney have pushed back against the “sinister accusations” of the Islamophobia network. And the anti-Muslim caucus in Congress took a huge hit by losing some of its loudest members, such as Reps. Allen West (R-FL) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

Although the American public largely dismisses such prejudiced views, the Islamophobia network’s efforts to target American Muslim communities remain significant and continue to erode America’s core values of religious pluralism, civil rights, and social inclusion. The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, offers the Islamophobia network a new opportunity to leverage unrelated geopolitical events in order to create a caricature of Islam, foment public anxiety, and push discriminatory policies against American Muslims. The Islamophobia network’s new effort to equate mainstream American Muslims with the perverted brand of Islam promoted by ISIS is a reminder of the ongoing vigilance needed to push back against the anti-Muslim fringe.

This report examines several key elements of the Islamophobia network, including:

  • The civilization jihad narrative and theories of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government
  • The Islamophobia network’s influence among the religious right and faith groups combating anti-Muslim sentiment
  • The impact of the Islamophobia network on law-enforcement training
  • The response to the Boston Marathon bombing and the narrative of Islamic extremism
  • Politically motivated Islamophobia and pushback by mainstream conservatives

The first “Fear, Inc.” report sought to expose elements of the Islamophobia network by giving the mainstream public the information it needed to refute the claims and distortions made by the network’s misinformation experts. This report identifies the Islamophobia network’s ongoing efforts to promote policies that violate and contradict core American values and interests. The defense of these core values remains ongoing. As this report demonstrates, it only takes one individual with disproportionate influence to negatively affect the treatment of an entire group of American citizens.

Read the entire article…

Full Fear, Inc. 2.0 report

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