The Most Beautiful Eid Picture of 2016

Loon Watch - 8 July, 2016 - 18:53

A belated Eid Mubarak to all those celebrating!

Sunnis and Shias came together for the Eid prayer in Karradah, Baghdad where a horrific car bombing killed nearly 300 Iraqis. This was a show of unity and defiance against those who wish to fan the flames of sectarianism, and it is beautiful.

via. Asad Dandia who writes: “Sunni and Shia Muslims offering Eid prayers side-by-side in Karradah, Baghdad, at the site of this week’s car bombing attack. What a profound act of unity, solidarity, and resilience.” (h/t: Harun)


Jeremy Corbyn Vs. War Criminal Tony Blair

Loon Watch - 7 July, 2016 - 23:28


A must watch video on the difference between Jeremy Corbyn and the war criminal Tony Blair. One is being hounded out of the Labour party while the other is feted by think tanks, politicos and makes millions in the service of dictatorship, hate and violence. Guess who it is?

Surveillance of Japan’s Muslims

Loon Watch - 7 July, 2016 - 19:25

Junko Hayashi is the lawyer for plaintiffs who challenged police surveillance of Japan's Muslim community [Ian Munroe/Al Jazeera]

Junko Hayashi is the lawyer for plaintiffs who challenged police surveillance of Japan’s Muslim community [Ian Munroe/Al Jazeera]

Y tu Japan?

Edward Snowden commenting on this stated, “People of the Islamic faith are more likely to be targeted … despite not having any criminal activities or associations or anything like that in their background, simply because people are afraid.” Snowden also mentioned that the last terrorist attack in Japan was not by Muslims.

By Ian Munroe, via. AlJazeera English

Tokyo, Japan – Mohamed Fujita used to host religious study groups at his home that were open to all Muslims. But today he’s afraid to invite strangers, in case they’re police informants.

Extensive surveillance has put many people of his faith on edge, he says, sowing mistrust.

A native of Japan who converted to Islam more than two decades ago, Fujita was one of 17 plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenged blanket monitoring of the country’s followers of Islam. His name has been changed in this story to protect his identity, after police documents labelling him a possible security threat were leaked online.

Fujita’s wife first noticed the couple was being followed by law enforcement in the early 2000s. He says he would go out of his way to cooperate with officers when they would occasionally approach him. But they eventually asked that he report on other members of his mosque and he refused.

Then came the leak in 2010 of 114 police files, which revealed religious profiling of Muslims across Japan. The documents included resumé-like pages listing a host of personal information, including an individual’s name, physical description, personal relationships and the mosque they attended, along with a section titled “suspicions”.

A skyline view of a mosque in Japan’s capital, Tokyo [Ian Munroe/Al Jazeera]

The files also showed by the time the 2008 G8 summit was held in Hokkaido, northern Japan, at least 72,000 residents from Organisation of Islamic Conference countries had been profiled – including about 1,600 public school students in and around Tokyo.

Police in the capital had also been surveilling places of worship, halal restaurants, and “Islam-related” organisations, the documents showed.

Within a few weeks of the leak, the data had been downloaded from a file-sharing website more than 10,000 times in more than 20 countries.

Fujita and the other plaintiffs, many of whom were originally from Middle Eastern or North African countries, sued in the hope the courts would deem the police practices illegal. Their lawyers said police had violated their constitutional rights to privacy, equal treatment, and religious freedom.

After two appeals, the Supreme Court dismissed the case on May 31.

The justices concurred with a lower court that the plaintiffs deserved a total of ¥90 million ($880,000) in compensation because the leak violated their privacy. But they did not weigh in on the police profiling or surveillance practices, which a lower court ruling had upheld as “necessary and inevitable” to guard against the threat of international terrorism.

“We were told we don’t have a constitutional case,” says Junko Hayashi, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “We’re still trying to figure out, how is it not constitutional?”

Law enforcement mostly ignored the case. One of the few public statements they made came at a United Nations human rights committee hearing on the matter in 2014. An official from the National Police Agency said “details of information-gathering activities to prevent future terrorism could not be disclosed”, but that “police collected information according to the law”, according to UN records.

Some have defended the surveillance of Muslims, including Naofumi Miyasaka, a professor at the National Defense Academy of Japan. He describes the data leak as “the biggest failure in the history of Japan’s counterterrorism” because it would have hurt the ability of law enforcement to gather intelligence on potential threats through “mutual trust and cooperation between police and informants”.

The Supreme Court decision generated few headlines and little public debate in Japan. Local media outlets had covered the legal proceedings by focusing on the leak of information, tiptoeing around the police surveillance issue.

Continue reading …

Alternet: Why I Confronted Top European Liberal Politicians On Their Role In Mainstreaming Islamophobia

Loon Watch - 7 July, 2016 - 19:06


An important read by the director of CCiF, Yasser Louati on his confrontation with political and national figures who have advanced Islamophobic narratives and agendas in the guise of liberalism. Such interventions of speaking truth to power are vital and must be shared widely.:

By Yasser Louati, via. Alternet

What might have been another mundane public relations event with foreign government officials ended up in a heated debate between the audience and three figures who have played an influential role in shaping the political atmosphere in Western Europe and the Middle East.

Despite having been invited to speak on Europe’s dangerous trend of Islamophobia, Straw set the tone by wondering why Muslims were not loud enough in condemning 9/11 or bold enough to address global terrorism — ignoring all the blanket condemnations French media either did not report or omitted from their coverage. Addressing the growing refugee crisis in Europe and the rise of anti-migrant attitudes in his country, Kouchner staunchly refused to hold France’s successive administrations responsible for the numerous laws and measures specifically targeting French Muslim citizens. In return, Kouchner expressed his satisfaction at laws limiting the garb Muslims are allowed to wear in public spaces because, according to him, “freed Muslim girls and women from the oppression of their brothers, fathers, and husbands”.

Though Spain’s Zapatero denied the existence of Islamophobic attacks in his country, he distinguished himself by refusing to draw a direct link between Islam and terrorism and called for widespread efforts to tackle anti-Muslim sentiment through education and dialogue.

Continue Reading…

The persecution of the Ahmadis must not be allowed to spread | Giles Fraser: Loose canon

The Guardian World news: Islam - 7 July, 2016 - 17:46
Driven out of Pakistan, the Muslim Ahmadiyya community now have their global headquarters in the UK. They deserve our protection and respect

In June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself caliph of an Islamic State – a bit like making himself pope without asking anyone else. Most Sunni theologians thought it ridiculous. For the Shia it was an impossibility. The term caliph comes from the Arabic word for successor – variously interpreted as successor to the messenger of God or successor chosen by God. Sunni Muslims believe that the caliph should be elected, Shia Muslims that that he should be a biological descendent of the prophet Muhammad. The theological divisions between Sunni and Shia, reignited in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, began as a dispute over succession. And however much the disastrous invasion of Iraq exacerbated these divisions, it’s worth remembering that it didn’t create them. The first Muslim civil war erupted within 25 years of the prophet’s death, a number of the early caliphs having been assassinated by rivals.

So the subject of who gets called a caliph is dangerous stuff. Which is why it might come as a surprise to learn that tens of millions of Muslims look to the genteel south-west London suburbs as the home of their caliph, the decidedly genial His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. This caliph does not operate out of the dust and heat of the Middle East. A former agriculturalist and keen gardener, his message is consistently one of peace. Of course he is heavily guarded – one of his predecessors was stabbed in the neck during prayers – but, as little boys stood around and literally saluted him, the caliph was happy to pass the time of day with a Christian stranger like me, invited to share in the breaking of the Ramadan fast. And he had a twinkle in his eye that suggested a mischievous sense of humour. Nice man, I thought.

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Celebrating Eid: 'As a conflicted Muslim, this day doesn't come easily'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 July, 2016 - 17:20

At the end of a Ramadan marred by violence, Fahima Haque reflects on how her relationship with Islam has shifted from active rejection to thoughtful resilience

Growing up, whenever a classmate would shout “fucking Hindu” at me, I was devastated. It felt like no one could see me, that all they could see was yet another brown person. I was lumped into some incorrect category driven by ignorance. Then, September 11 happened and I realized how different it was to be the subject of active hate.

As far as insults went, “Hindu” was inaccurate and ignorant. But being asked if my family were terrorists or being told to “go back to where I came from” cut right through me.

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'We’re still more united than disunited': thousands celebrate Eid in Birmingham

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 July, 2016 - 15:52

Organisers delighted with turnout for largest event of its kind in Europe, but among crowd there is also some anxiety

At the lost children’s tent in Small Heath park in Birmingham, Sunny Araf was reaching for his microphone every few minutes.

“We have a small boy, dressed in very distinctive red trousers and top, about two years old … A mum is looking for her toddler. He has brown shoes … Maryam, aged six, has lost her parents …”

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Syrian army declares 72-hour ceasefire amid Eid al-Fitr festival

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 July, 2016 - 14:26

Statement does not specify whether truce applies to action against Islamic extremists but US secretary of state welcomes move

The Syrian army said it was observing a 72-hour ceasefire across the country coinciding with the festival marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“A ‘regime of silence’ is applied across all territory of the Syrian Arab Republic for 72 hours from 1am on 6 July to midnight on 8 July,” the army said on Wednesday in a statement republished by official media.

Related: Some Syrian opposition groups as vicious as Assad, says Amnesty

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Muslims report discrimination in prisons as fear of ‘extremism’ grows | David Batty

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 July, 2016 - 07:29

Inmates who practise their Islamic faith in jail are being targeted as suspicious, new research finds

Over the past year a spate of headlines has warned of the threat of Islamist extremism infecting the prison system, with claims by senior politicians that high security jails have become terrorist training camps. However, new research has found no evidence to support this, and warns that a preoccupation with radicalisation is warping perceptions of prisoners’ behaviour and relationships. Similarly, ex-offenders contend that institutional Islamophobia results in prison officers perceiving Muslim prisoners who adhere to their faith as inherently suspicious.

Related: Prevent strategy 'could end up promoting extremism'

We grow our beards in prison because it’s a mission to get your hands on a razor

Related: Police log fivefold rise in race-hate complaints since Brexit result

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Three lesson ideas for teaching your class about Eid al-Fitr

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 July, 2016 - 07:00

From baking Eid cookies to Skype chats with other classrooms who are celebrating, there are many ways to bring the festival to life for your students

As fasting in the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close, some 1.6 billion Muslim people around the world will celebrate Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday 6 July 2016.

When translated from the Arabic, Eid al-Fitr means “festival of breaking the fast” and traditionally lasts up to three days.

Related: Ramadan – news and resources round up

Related: Religious education - should students have more choice?

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The Pauline Hanson resurgence: as a Muslim, I'm surprised it took so long | Mehreen Faruqi

The Guardian World news: Islam - 6 July, 2016 - 02:45

Racist and Islamophobic behaviours can no longer be written off as a fringe part of Australian life, or simply Muslims being oversensitive

As around half a million Muslims across Australia celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, we are confronted with the reality that the first ever explicitly anti-Muslim party MPs are set to be elected to federal parliament.

Recriminations were strong on Sunday morning as many Australians woke up to the shock news that Pauline Hanson’s One Nation was on track to be elected to the Senate, possibly with more than one seat. Questions were coming thick and fast. Did Australians drop the ball? Was this a fluke of preference flows that lead to another quirky electoral outcome? This was an embarrassment, but surely it is not symptomatic of how many Australians think and feel?

Related: Pauline Hanson's back, and the disaffection genie is well and truly out of the bottle | Katharine Murphy

Related: Pauline Hanson takes centre stage again but this time we should listen not lampoon | Margo Kingston

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Why Muslims around the world made my tweet go viral | Xeni Jardin

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 July, 2016 - 20:49

By pushing back against the idea that Isis represent Islam, I earned the gratitude of thousands of Twitter users who’ve grown used to abuse from non-Muslims

We never know what will become of our ideas when we release them into the world. I learned this in a new way, when one of my tweets about Isis and Islam went viral on “Muslim Twitter”. The volume of response from Muslim men and women around the world (35,000 retweets and counting) isn’t what’s blowing my mind today, as I watch the tweet take on new lives of its own as it spreads. What’s awe-inspiring is what these ordinary people are saying, and what we can all learn from it.

Last Friday night just before I tucked into bed before the holiday weekend, I did something I do dozens of times a day: I tweeted a random thought that popped into my head.

Dude ISIS is bombing Muslim people in Muslim communities during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan how is ISIS Muslim no they're psychopaths

@xeni this is the first time I see anyone talking about Islam positive and he's not Muslim #Respect

Thank you @xeni for being our voice in the time of sadness. We all belong to a big Human family. ♥ ♥

@xeni Thank you for denouncing ISIS and clearly distinguishing who they are.

@xeni i love you for this. I wish more people thought like you and saw reality

@xeni Thank you for your candidness and logical words, wise people like you are sending out a message of peace ❤️

@realDonaldTrump read this and use ur brain properly.

@xeni happy 4th to you too God bless America home of the free ❤️

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