A Ribbon of Mercy

Muslim Matters - 18 November, 2015 - 18:16

Drama Mama

I believe in the divine plan. I do. I have read up on Islamic eschatology. I know that the current climate of strife and warfare and persecution of Muslims is a central part of the narrative around the end of times. For all that to happen, I believe all this has to happen. I believe in His wisdom and His mercy. I believe, ultimately, justice will prevail.

And so, no, I'm not feeling hopeless. I don't belong to the caravan of despair. But, sitting in my little corner of the universe, caring for my three children, as the news comes in from all quarters, I am feeling many other things. Confused. Frustrated. Grieving. Overwhelmed. Lonely.

I know Allah is ever Watchful, ever Present. He is watching all this unfold but the controlly human part of me kind of sometimes wishes He would let me in on the Plan. It's lonely not knowing what's going to happen next. “Come on!” I think indignantly…only to be immediately awash with shame, “I'm sorry. Thank you, thank you. Forgive me.”

Every morning, as soon as I wake up I check alternative sources of news to bring myself up to speed with  Syria. And Palestine. Kashmir. Paris. The list is endless but I can't bring myself not to know. I can't look away. I look and then I am struck with the urge to do something, anything. But what is a non-activist, non-scholar, stay at home mom like me to do?

During lighter moments, I consider going on a total sugar detox because it seems like a nice little exercise in self discipline, just the kind of thing a young mother living in Dubai should be engaging in to deal with the anarchy overtaking mankind, but then I realize that it's the chocolate that gets me through the day and I need to get through the day. The two little Kisses I eat with my afternoon coffee.

Little pleasures, little rituals, little comforts, little mercies, so necessary for survival.

Do you remember in that film The Last Samurai, how Tom Cruise was so impressed with the disciplined immersion the Japanese gave to their every task. So that making tea was a ceremony. Writing out the alphabet was a solemn affair. It was because when you are so immersed in carrying out a ritual, you comfort yourself and you lose yourself. I thought of that this morning as I spent an inordinate amount of time decorating the children's French toasts with strawberries and whipped cream. This was after reading an update on Paris and feeling frustrated that yet another nuclear-bomb proof passport had been discovered. French toasts felt appropriate…they are the closest I get to honoring France and they aren't even french. Yikes.

Such is the state of mind then: Muddled.

But, you know what I like? I like that we can be muddled! We can be ridiculously expansive and shamelessly small in our conversations with Him. So that I can plead for the betterment of humanity and in the next breath pray that I not get any more chin hairs. I like that there is no enforced hierarchy in the expression of our desires. We are free to be as random and lost and confused as we want. Furthermore, I like that being totally random and lost and confused is a God-approved state to be in.
Confusion and not understanding what's going on is part of the package called mankind. God has said this to us so often, one could be forgiven for imagining His loving exasperation: I know. You do not know. I'm All Wise. You are most certainly not. I'm the Best Planner. You are not. In a nutshell: You just won't get it so don't try.

See? God-approved confusion.

But, even if you're totally lost and confused or BECAUSE you're totally lost and confused, there's plenty to do:

Take care of yourself.  Self-care is God-ordered and God-approved. Thread little ribbons of mercy through the holes of your day. Take a walk under the open sky. Use fresh bedsheets as frequently as possible. Read. Smile when you make eye contact with someone. Make eye contact. Hug people you like, and hug them properly. Buy a box of raspberries and eat it all in one go. Say the word “home” at least once a day. Go without saying the word “tired” for a whole day. Rub peppermint cream on your feet. Laugh. Breathe properly cuz that will revive you. Say thank you. That's just good manners. Remove your chin hair. That's just good sense.

Take care of others. Hold the door open. Pick up the litter. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you. Send a box of cupcakes just because. Put your phone down and really listen. Extend a hand. Offer a ride. Go out of your way. Say sorry. Forgive. Try to understand. See the effort. Celebrate the journey. Help.


Eleven years ago, when my niece was just learning to walk, she would tightly grip the hands of her parents on both sides of her and stumble forward as best as she could. In a few days, she graduated to holding on to their pinkies. After that, she only needed to hold someone on the one side and her other hand swung free. Soon, we began to suspect that she could walk all by herself, so steady was she on her feet, but she refused to try and promptly sat down if we took away the security finger. My sister, in an effort to bring a little distance between her and her need for an outward source of stability took a 10 inch piece of ribbon. The idea was that the baby would hold one end of the ribbon, Mumma would hold the other end and provide support as needed. My niece took to the idea and continued to try to walk. Soon, we took a longer piece of ribbon, putting more distance between us and her, meaning she was increasingly walking using her own balance. (she was the first grandchild, so yes, we were all quite invested in these little things of her babydom). Then we took longer and longer pieces. Eventually, the ribbon was long enough that it was trailing on the ground and so focussed was my little niece on carefully studying the ribbon as she walked, that my sister let her end drop. And to our delight, my niece walked across the whole length of our home by her very own self, solemnly clutching the ribbon that was “helping” her to walk.

I love this story. I love how it's a perfect metaphor for the little mercies we need to give ourselves and each other. How a little mercy can mean the difference between walking and not walking on our paths. Between courage and fear. Between hope and hopelessness.

The philosopher Ram Das said that we are all here on this Earth to walk each other home. If global or local circumstances are leaving you feeling lost and confused, remember that you are not alone, everyone else is just as lost and confused. Give yourself a 10 inch piece of ribbon. Give someone else a 10 inch piece of ribbon. Walk yourself home. Walk them home.

Kindness is also, and always, God-approved.

Everything that's happening is happening because of His wisdom, we know that, but because we're humans we're still going to need to take every little bit of His mercy along with us to cope. Which is maybe what He's trying to open our eyes to anyways. Little mercies, everywhere. Everywhere. All the time. Everywhere.

Senegal bans burqa to stop terrorists disguising in Islamic dress

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 November, 2015 - 12:38

West African country follows Chad and Cameroon in banning full-body cloak, saying decision is question of national security

Senegal has banned women from wearing the burqa, amid rising fears of Islamic extremism in the west African country.

The interior minister, Abdoulaye Daouda, said women would no longer be allowed to wear the Islamic dress, which leaves only the eyes exposed. Daouda said the decision was a question of national security and was designed to prevent terrorists from using the burqa as a disguise.

Related: Chad suicide bomber kills 15 people in market and injures 80

Continue reading...

Essay Formulating Guide: From Dilemma Formula Essay to 5 Paragraph Essay

Islamicate - 18 November, 2015 - 12:09

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Quantico’s Bait and Switch

Muslimah Media Watch - 18 November, 2015 - 11:55
This post was written by guest contributor, Fatin Marini (@FatinMarini1) When my blog, “Has Quantico got positive Muslim female roles covered?” was published, the response was overwhelmingly positive. For some who hadn’t seen the show yet, the positive portrayal of a Muslim woman as an FBI agent intrigued them enough that they were excited to give [Read More...]

Literature Dissertation Stories

Islamicate - 18 November, 2015 - 11:03

For anyone, it is simple to help you look at strategies in relation to a magazine that is certainly around him, but it has been identified that people very often look for it easier to talk about other people’s ideas on ebooks as opposed to their very own. A literature dissertation is based on the idea of seeking to contextualize motifs, strategies and pursuits who have grabbed the reader’s interests and starting their more intense interpretation by way of the move of your energy within just and outdoor societies. Literature encompasses the minds and thinkings of writers beginning from matters on philosophy, faith based priorities, sociology, academics and mindset. A editor has the capacity to publish on any matter, even so to be able build a written and published element exceptional it truly is fundamental to opt for a theme which not alone hobbies but also problems the writer to continue beyond the realms placed before him. In an effort to deliver some instruction when picking your matter for those literature and vernacular dissertation, you will see a directory of subject matter that had been found coming from the seventeenth till the twentieth century which include literature for young people, which are often consulted for reading activities .

17th and Eighteenth century Literature Dissertation Concepts

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Ouroboros, Parts 8 & 9 – The Man Who Might Have Been

Muslim Matters - 18 November, 2015 - 07:56

Ouroboros, by Wael Abdelgawad

See the Story Index for a chronological guide to the previous stories.

Previous chapters of this story: Ouroboros Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Author's note: Because part 8 is short, and because some readers are growing anxious – :-) – I've decided to publish parts 8 and 9 together as one post. Note that this post is divided into three pages. This is a one-time deal, however. Subsequent chapters are longer than usual so we'll go back to one at a time next week insha'Allah.

Ouroboros, Part 8 – The Man Who Might Have Been

March 23, 2010 – 5:30 am
West Oakland BART Station

Jamilah crawled to Hassan's prone form and shook him. “Hassan, get up. Wake up, wake up.” There was no response, not even a flicker of his eyelids. Glancing up, she saw the Crow approaching slowly but deliberately, gun in hand. He was still some thirty feet away, though Jamilah had no doubt he could shoot them both from that distance if he wished.

To her surprise, the station agent groaned in pain and rose to his feet, clutching a bloody shoulder.

“Help us!” Jamilah cried, but the man looked up, saw the Crow approaching, and ran toward the escalator to the elevated platform.

Jamilah had no thought of fleeing. Even if she had not been badly wounded, she would never abandon Hassan. What was it that Layth had recited back in the apartment? O you who have believed, when you meet those who disbelieve advancing for battle, do not turn to them your backs in flight. Just as Layth had done, she would face the threat head on.

But what could she do? The Crow was a trained killer with a gun, while she was a university student, wounded, unarmed – wait! She had completely forgotten the gun. The Sig Sauer, Hassan had called it. She lifted up the back of his shirt and snatched it out of his waistband. The weapon was warm from his body heat and streaked with blood. It felt heavy in her hand.

She did not hesitate. Hassan may have taken a vow, but she had not. She drew the gun, aimed at the Crow, and fired.

The weapon recoiled powerfully and struck her in the face, opening a cut on her forehead and knocking her to the ground. Dazed, she came back up to one knee. Hassan lay still insensate on the ground beside her. She wiped the blood from her brow before it could run into her eyes, held the gun firmly with two hands and braced herself. She aimed carefully and pulled the trigger. She missed. She fired again, and again, to no effect. She couldn't understand it. The Crow moved in a way she had never seen, presenting the slimmest possible profile, constantly changing angles, leaning, tilting, and coming closer the whole time. Every time she took a bead on him and fired, he wasn't there anymore.

Finally one of her shots struck home! The Crow stumbled backward and fell, dropping his weapon. Jamilah aimed carefully and fired again, intending to finish him off, but the gun only clicked dryly when she pressed the trigger. It was out of bullets.

The Crow stirred. The maniac would not die – why wouldn't he die? As Jamilah watched, the Crow searched for his weapon, found it, and raised his head. His eyes settled on Jamilah like a pair of green lasers.

Jamilah felt a rumble from the ground and heard a high-pitched fluting call. Was it another earthquake? No, the ground was vibrating, not heaving. Her ears still rang from the noise of the shots she'd fired, but as the sound grew louder, it hit her: the train! The BART train was approaching.

If she could get Hassan to the train… It was a slim chance, but she would not sit here and let him be killed. Not as long as she had breath in her body.

She struggled to her feet. Grasping Hassan's arm, her body shaking from pain, exhaustion and effort, she dragged Hassan's limp form across the station. His body left a streak of blood on the station's white floor tiles. Ignoring the turnstiles, she used her back to push open the handicapped gate as she backed through it and dragged Hassan after her.

She looked around wildly. She could not drag him up the escalator. He might be injured by the steps or caught in the gap… The elevator! It wasn't far. She managed to get Hassan into it, and pressed the button for the second level. As the elevator rose she fell to one knee and put a hand on the ground, gasping for breath. Her muscles trembled. She spoke to Allah silently: O Allah, I don't have the words. I don't have knowledge. But you know I believe in you. My heart is with you, and I need your help.

At the upper level, she pulled Hassan onto the platform. The train was stopped beside the platform, waiting for passengers to board. Digital signs flashed, and a recorded voice announced, “Four car San Francisco train. This is a four car San Francisco train.” Passengers inside the train were gathered at the windows, staring out at a scene on the platform.

A knot of early commuters stood around the station agent, who was sprawled on a bench, holding a small towel to his shoulder. The commuters had not noticed Jamilah and Hassan. A few were on their phones, perhaps calling the police or recording videos.

San Francisco bound train departs West Oakland BART stationLooking out over the dark streets of West Oakland, Jamilah spotted blue and red lights flashing a few blocks away. The police and ambulances were coming. If she waited here, Hassan would receive treatment soon. On the other hand, the trip to the Embarcadero station in San Francisco would take at least fifteen minutes, with no intervening stops and no chance of help, because the train passed beneath the waters of the bay to get to SF. The delay could kill Hassan, and maybe her too.

If she stayed, however, the Crow would kill them both. The psycho was probably marching up the escalator right now, with evil in his heart and death in his eyes.

She had to get Hassan onto the train. “Help me!” she shrieked. One of the women who'd been assisting the station agent screamed, and all of them flinched. A man wearing a bicycle helmet and a reflective vest, his trouser legs secured to his ankles with rubber bands, scurried over to her.

“Is he dead?” He stared at Hassan's unmoving form.

“Help me get him on the train.” Jamilah's commanding tone brooked no disagreement. The man grasped Hassan under his arms.

“I… I can't lift him,” the man grunted. “Shouldn't you stay here? We've already called 911. An ambulance -”

“Drag him!” Jamilah shouted. Realizing that it would do no good to appear hysterical, she brought her volume down and spoke with intensity. “The man who did this will be here any second. Help me, or get out of the way.”

Together they managed to drag Hassan onto the train. Jamilah collapsed onto the floor of the BART car beside Hassan and curled into a fetal position, clutching her belly. She heard exclamations of surprise and fear from the passengers on the car.

“Doors closing,” the voice announced. “Please stand back.” It was a pleasant, female voice, though clearly robotic, and was used in all the BART stations. Jamilah had sometimes imagined that the voice belonged to a plump middle-aged women who baked pies and served them in her kitchen, saying – in that same robotic voice – “Now serving four chicken pot pies. Please sit down.”

Now, lying on the floor of the car, she heard someone moaning in pain, then realized it was herself. She didn't know how much more she could take.

The train began to move, swaying gently. No doubt a human conductor would have halted the train in response to the emergency at the station, but these early morning trains were automated – a little factoid she'd picked up from one of Mo's occasional discourses on all things transportation.

Someone screamed. Jamilah opened her eyes to see the Crow standing above her, blood staining his hip and his left shoulder as well. Somehow he kept his balance as the train picked up speed and rocked back and forth. Behind him, the other passengers were backing away, hurrying to the opposite end of the car then stepping through the door into the adjacent car.

The Crow pointed his gun at Jamilah's head. “That's a good look for you,” the Crow said. “Curled at my feet like a slave.” He nodded to Hassan. “Is he dead?”

Jamilah climbed to her feet, one hand squeezing her wounded belly tightly. The Crow placed the hot barrel of the gun against her forehead, but she smacked it away defiantly.

“What he is or is not is none of your business. Go back where you came from. They call you the Crow? Fly away!”

The Crow's mouth twitched in a thin, cruel smile. “What was he babbling about back there? Do you know?”

“Go!” She put a bloody hand on the Crow's chest and shoved as hard as she could. He stepped back, a look of angry surprise on his face. Off balanced by her own shove, Jamilah seized one of the vertical metal poles positioned along the length of the car. The train was underground now, racing faster, dropping deep beneath the waters of the bay. Jamilah felt the pressure building in her ears. Outside the windows, lights stationed on the inside of the tunnel flashed past.

“How dare you put your hands on me?” The Crow's eyes narrowed. “If you had an inkling of who I am…” He pointed his gun at Hassan, but his eyes stayed on Jamilah.

She stepped between the Crow and Hassan and jabbed the assassin in the chest with a stiff finger. She didn't know why he didn't simply kill them both, but she was not afraid any longer. If she died then she would die protecting Hassan, and would meet Allah without shame. She marshalled her breath and put all the force and resolution she possessed in her next words: “You – will – not – hurt – this – man! He's worth more in one finger than a million of you. There is nothing for you here. Go away!”

“It's alright, Jamilah.” She'd not thought Hassan was even conscious, and was shocked to see that he had somehow risen to his feet behind her. His face was crimson and blue with blood and bruises, his left eye swollen shut. Where his skin showed beneath the blood stains, it was pale as salt. He stepped forward awkwardly, dragging his injured leg behind him, and stood beside Jamilah, gripping another of the metal poles with both hands, practically hanging from it. “Let me talk to him,” he said gently. “It's alright.”

Hassan turned to the Crow. Jamilah saw that Hassan's eyes were shining, not with tears of pain or anguish, but with – it seemed to her – compassion and love.

“Why do you not know who you are?” said Hassan. “What did they do to you?”

The Crow's glacial expression did not change, nor did the contempt in his voice disappear, but he did not shoot Hassan, or make threats. With his gun still pointed at Hassan, he answered the question.

“I am a Kopis. We have no past. Emotional entanglements weaken a man. We are unencumbered.”

“You don't remember your parents, or your childhood?”

“Irrelevant! We do not dwell on such things. We serve the Kataeb and the house of Haddad.”

“I am a Haddad.”

“I was not aware of that until tonight. It is said you are a traitor. You converted to Islam, yes?” The Crow sneered. “Treason runs in your family. Your father was a traitor as well.”

Jamilah saw Hassan's expression waver, as if he'd been struck a blow to the heart, but his voice, when he spoke, was firm: “Kamal Haddad was a hero and a wonderful man. I am proud to call him father, as you should be. Your name is Charles Nader Haddad. You're my brother.”

The Crow flinched as if Hassan had struck him across the face, but the loss of control was fleeting. His face grew hard as granite once again. “Lies!” With his left hand he rubbed his chest, as if troubled by heartburn.

Hassan tipped his head slightly and regarded the Crow. “Lift up your right shirt sleeve.”


Hassan shrugged slightly. “A hunch.” He swayed on his feet suddenly and would have fallen, but Jamilah caught his arm. She could not hold him up, however. The strength seemed to have gone out of his legs, and she herself was in too much pain to help. She steadied him while he lowered himself to one knee.

Ouroboros tattoo

“His upper arm was tattooed with the image of a serpent eating its own tail.”

The Crow watched this scene without emotion. With his gun still trained on Hassan, he lifted his sleeve. His upper arm was tattooed with the image of a serpentine dragon eating its own tail.

“May I ask where you got that tattoo?”

The Crow lifted his chin, looking down his nose at Hassan. “It was given to me when I was a young man in training. It is a special mark of distinction, due to my excellent performance in languages and combat.”

Moving slowly, Hassan pulled up his own sleeve. “The Ouroboros,” he said. “This is Boulos' idea of an inside joke. Sarkis had one too. We Haddads destroy each other – or Boulos kills us as he killed our father and Uncle Sami – and he is left alone, with no one to contest him for control of Lebanon.”

“A coincidence.”

Jamilah saw the wintry callousness in the Crow's expression and knew that Hassan was losing him with this talk of tattoos and plots. She was still not convinced that this man was indeed Charlie, but if he was then Hassan would not reach him this way. He had to connect with him personally. He had to make him remember.

She almost said something to Hassan, but held her tongue. Hassan was trying to mix a delicate and dangerous medicine to soothe decades of pain and loss. One wrong word and it would explode. At any moment the Crow might grow tired of talking and kill them both. That was, after all, what he had come here to do.

Hassan must have seen it too, because his tone softened. “Do you know why you rub your chest that way?”

The Crow stopped rubbing his chest and dropped his hand. “An affectation. So what?”

“You were asthmatic as a child. You carried an inhaler everywhere. Baba used to sit you on his knee and rub your chest just like that, do you remember? He'd kiss your cheek and tell you Joha stories, and it always worked. You'd calm down and breathe easy. You loved him so much. He was wounded in Beirut and he walked with a limp. Anytime he tried to stand you'd say, 'Wait!' and you'd run to get his cane.”

The Crow said nothing. Hassan put a hand on the ground and lowered himself to a sitting position, his legs splayed out before him like a child. His head wobbled to one side and the other with the rocking of the train.

He was dying before Jamilah's eyes. She didn't know how much longer he could last. As for Jamilah herself, she sweated and trembled with pain, barely staying on her feet. She began to recite Surat-al-asr to herself, not knowing what other du'a' to use. “By the time. Surely humankind is in loss; Except those who believe, and do righteous deeds, and strive together for truth, and strive together for patience.”

Patience. Endurance. Don't surrender to the pain. Stay together. Stay on your feet, for Hassan's sake.

“Our mother,” Hassan continued weakly, stopping frequently now to catch his breath. “It's amazing. You look… just like her. Her name was Evelyn. Slender, with… green eyes and blonde hair, like you. So beautiful… Baba used to say she was a movie star… you thought she really was. Mom was… confused. Do you remember how she always… got lost… when driving? She used to make animal pancakes for breakfast… dinosaurs for you, fish for me… blueberries for eyes. Taught you to dance… the debke. She had a business selling purses through the mail, and… you used to help her label the packages…”

“Stop,” the Crow said quietly.

“Do you remember my fish tank? The blue streak cleaner… the six line wrasse… such beautiful fish… after our parents died and we were taken to Lebanon… Boulos had a dog. You… loved that dog. Played every day. Name… Sarookh.”

“I said STOP!” the Crow bellowed. “None of that matters! That is someone else's life! You are lying!” His cool, unruffled expression was gone, replaced by reddening cheeks and ruffled brows. He looked confused and angry, like a young man who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He adjusted the aim of his gun slightly, and Jamilah thought he might shoot Hassan out of simple anger. She tensed her legs to throw herself at him, but her body would not obey her commands. All it gave her in return was pain. She'd been hollowed out.

“Cowabunga!” Hassan raised a fist in the air for a moment, then lowered it.

The Crow stared at him. “What did you say?”

Hassan smiled. With his deathly pale pallor, it looked like a mortuary smile. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… you were crazy about them… Michaelangelo… you used to drive me batty… leaping out… cowabunga! Scaring me… that's how you got… the scar on your forehead… playing with nunchucks like Michael… angelo.”

Something flickered across the Crow's face as he touched his own forehead with a finger. A look of pain, Jamilah thought. An instant of anguished recollection.

“I loved you, Charlie… you helped me so much… I was messed up after our parents' deaths… I didn't talk, remember? You and Tant Gala… were the only ones -”

“You never came for me!” The Crow's face turned beet red. His chin trembled, and tears glistened in his eyes. The change in his expression was shocking. It was as if he had transformed in an instant into a frightened, angry child. His outstretched arm trembled, the gun shaking in his hand. His voice became pleading and accusatory. “Where were you, Simon? I thought you would come for me. They did things to me. No one came!”

Jamilah stared at the Crow, stunned. He truly was Hassan's brother. He was Charlie.

Hassan's voice was hoarse with sadness and regret, but he remained in control. “I didn't know… Boulos told us… you were dead… I swear… I would have moved… the earth itself… I would have fought… would have found you… I love you, Charlie.” Hassan's voice finally broke, and he began to weep. “I love you so much. I don't care… what you've done. I -”

“You don't know what I've done.” The little boy was gone. The Crow's features were once again hard as Mount Lebanon and cold as snow. His arm no longer trembled. The gun pointed at Hassan's forehead, steady as a cedar tree.”You cannot imagine what I have become.”

Jamilah sensed that the Crow was very close to killing Hassan and herself. Somehow she found the strength to move her feet. She did not attack the Crow – that was impossible. She took a few shuffling steps and positioned herself in front of Hassan, facing the Crow. Let the assassin take out his fury on her. Let him kill her. Not Hassan. She said the shahadah to herself. She would die on her feet.

Hassan slumped to the ground, lying on his side. “It doesn't matter, Charlie,” he said from behind Jamilah. “Come… into Islam… with me. Say… La ilaha il-Allah. Your soul… will be pure… you're already… changing… didn't kill me… didn't kill Jamilah… not too late.”

Hassan's eyes closed and his body became still. He was unconscious again, or dead – Jamilah did not know which. She stood rooted to her spot in spite of the pain. If Hassan could not stand, she would stand for him.

The Crow gazed down at Hassan, ignoring Jamilah altogether. When he spoke, his voice was altogether different. Jamilah tore her eyes away from Hassan and regarded the assassin. The cold, cruel mien was gone again, replaced this time by an expression that might have been regret, even love. He looked altogether human. This, Jamilah thought, is what he would look like if he had never gone missing, never been perverted into something evil. This is the grown-up Charlie who might have been.

“You are wrong, Simon,” Charlie said softly. “It is far too late for me.” His gaze shifted to Jamilah. “Do not pity me,” he said softly. “That would be intolerable.” The Crow – Charlie Haddad, Hassan's little brother – put the gun to his own head.

Jamilah realized what the Crow meant to do. As much as she personally wanted to let him kill himself, so that she and Hassan would be free of this monster once and for all, she could not. It would destroy Hassan.

There was no time to consider her next choice. Her legs were devoid of strength. She could make no movement toward the Crow. She could, however, allow herself to fall, and she did, collapsing forward into the Crow as he pulled the trigger.

The crack of the gun was deafening. Blood sprayed into Jamilah's eyes, momentarily blinding her. She screamed as she fell on top of the Crow then tumbled off, her knee striking one of the metal support poles. She had failed to stop the Crow from shooting himself, but she might have prevented his death. She did not know. He lay unmoving on the floor of the car, his face obscured by blood, unconscious.

Pain hit her like an avalanche. Now that the immediate threat of death was removed, she had no strength left to fight the pain and horror. She groaned loudly and crumpled to the ground, clutching her belly with both hands. The world went dark. She was aware only of the agony, the motion of the train beneath her, and the noise as they rumbled through the tunnel deep underground.

Dying is like being born, she thought. Pain, pressure, and motion. I'm going back where I came from. Souls are troops collected together. Her last thought was a prayer: Let him live, Ya Allah. And if not, then let me find him in Jannah.”

Jacqui Lambie says grand mufti should be forced to wear ankle monitor

The Guardian World news: Islam - 18 November, 2015 - 00:25

Ibrahim Abu Mohamed has mixed allegiances, senator claims, arguing that new citizens should swear to uphold Australian law rather than ‘terrorist’ sharia

The grand mufti of Australia should be monitored using an electronic anklet, and incoming Syrian refugees should be subjected to tougher security tests, the independent senator Jacqui Lambie has said.

Lambie told ABC radio on Wednesday morning that new citizens should be made to swear to uphold Australian law rather than sharia.

Related: Australia's imams council denies grand mufti justified Paris attacks

Related: Syrian family arrives in Perth and thanks Australia 'for chance at happiness'

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Assault of Muslim woman in Toronto seems 'motivated by hate', police say

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2015 - 22:31
  • Woman treated for injuries after being beaten and robbed by two men Monday
  • Incident occurred days after Ontario mosque set ablaze following Paris attacks

Canadian police have said that the assault and robbery of a Muslim woman in Toronto appears to have been “motivated by hate”.

Police said two men beat the woman up Monday while she was heading to pick up her son from school.

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What Can We Do as Muslims in Wake of #ParisAttacks?

altmuslim - 17 November, 2015 - 21:18
By Saud Inam Yes, we are all frustrated. We feel sorrow. We feel pain. We’ve been here before time after time. A violent act occurs in the name of Islam, and we’re expected to condemn or apologize and the same cycle of Islamophobia occurs again. We get angry, we get frustrated and have a storm [Read More...]

Australia's imams council denies grand mufti justified Paris attacks

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2015 - 20:52

After criticism from Coalition MPs of mufti’s response to Paris, council issues a new statement saying there is ‘no justification’ for taking innocent lives

The Australian National Imams Council has hit back at suggestions the grand mufti of Australia did not condemn the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris strongly enough.

Related: Australia’s grand mufti criticised by Coalition over Paris attack comments

Breaking: Press Release from the Grand #Mufti clarifying his statement re #ParisAttacks

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Deep roots of Islamic State’s murderous fanaticism | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2015 - 20:36

David Shariatmadari (Opinion, 16 November) keys into a fundamental fact of this outrageous terror campaign: “Isis hates civilisation wherever it sees it, not just in the west.” It’s vital to vibrantly sustain that notion, to ensure the prevention of any widespread negative tendency towards to all things Islam. Most Muslim people, who live true to authentic Qur’an idealism, would vigorously condemn and dissociate themselves from this tragically distorted ideological anarchy, enacted viciously in the name of a noble spiritual tradition.

But disaffected fanaticism surely has its roots in many manipulative socioeconomic and erstwhile colonial travesties, stretching back through not only decades but centuries. While this may not be the optimal time to ponder this history, it’s crucial in the medium to longer term to appraise this selfsame backdrop, to stand any chance of a sustainable, equitable resolution.

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Britain is in no position to criticise the French state | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2015 - 20:36

Yet another unsympathetic and, frankly, wrong interpretation of laïcité, which never seems to get beyond the single issue of the headscarf – a not uncontroversial matter even within Islam (Paris, je t’aime, G2, 17 November). The French constitution expressly defends the right of religious practice and, implicitly, the right of individual conscience in the face of so-called religious or other communities; a form of governance that excludes religious privilege. According to what inclusive model do we presume to criticise the French state? The ability of faith groups to enforce the closure of plays and exhibitions? The faith-determined refusal of the Northern Ireland administration to implement laws on abortion and same-sex marriage operating in the rest of the UK?
Henry Phillips

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The Guardian view on defeating Isis: winning hearts and minds | Editorial

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2015 - 20:27
The terrorists want to divide by fear. The best defence is to build solidarity by expanding our common home

Violent jihad predates 9/11 and it will outlast Islamic State, as Isis now dwarfs al-Qaida. Even if inflicting military defeat on such a shifting target can be done, it would not end violent extremism. As the pool of potential jihadis, newly trained in techniques of terror in the training camps of the self-declared caliphate, grows more numerous, the question of how to shrink its operating space becomes increasingly important. This is not a question of drones and bombs, but of hearts and minds.

Like all jihadi terror movements, Isis seeks to foment division, to sort the world into supporters and the rest. This is a violent campaign of disruption intended to destroy multiculturalism wherever it exists. With fear and terror Isis intends to sow mistrust and hatred between communities.

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MPs criticise Cage for being slow to condemn Paris attacks

The Guardian World news: Islam - 17 November, 2015 - 19:42

Select committee chairman Keith Vaz says campaign group was ‘deeply misguided’ to have missed chance to put things right

The chairman of parliament’s home affairs select committee has criticised Cage, the group which campaigns on behalf of communities affected by the war on terrorism, for failing to condemn the attacks in Paris “until they attended parliament”.

After an hour of pointed questioning by MPs, Keith Vaz, the Labour chair of the committee, told Adnan Siddiqui, the group’s director, that it was “deeply misguided not to have issued [a condemnation] about Paris”.

Related: Charities can fund Cage campaign group, commission agrees

Related: Boris Johnson tells Cage research director to defend victims of Isis

Related: 'Extremist is the secular word for heretic': the Hizb ut-Tahrir leader who insists on his right to speak

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