Bill Shorten condemns violence at Reclaim Australia and counter protests

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 April, 2015 - 01:39

Clashes between ‘anti-Islamisation’ and anti-racism groups in Melbourne and Hobart led to four arrests and several people needing medical treatment

The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, has condemned violence at protests on Saturday. Violence erupted at rival rallies, particularly in Melbourne, as anti-Islamisation and anti-racism groups clashed.

“There’s no place for violence in any protests or any expressions of freedom of speech,” Shorten told the Nine Network on Sunday.

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Diversity and immigration are not the problem. Political courage is… | Kenan Malik

The Guardian World news: Islam - 5 April, 2015 - 00:05
Last week, nine British Muslims were arrested on the Syrian border as Nigel Farage tapped into his constituency’s unease about modern Britain. We need our leaders to respond to this unease with reason – and a positive vision

Two events last week, some 2,000 miles apart, captured the fraught character of the current debate about multicultural Britain. On Wednesday, nine Britons from Rochdale were stopped in Turkey, apparently as they tried to cross the border into Syria. One was the son of a local Labour councillor Shakil Ahmed, who said he was “shocked” to hear of the arrests. “My son,” he added, “is a good Muslim and his loyalties belong to Britain, so I don’t understand what he’s doing there.”

The next evening in Salford, a hop and a skip from Rochdale, came the general election leaders’ TV debate. Nigel Farage elicited outrage by blaming foreigners for seemingly all Britain’s social ills. But while his claims about “health tourism” and foreigners with HIV undermining the NHS might have enraged liberals, they seemed to play well to his core constituency. While many despise what they regard as racism, others applaud the Ukip leader for, as they see it, speaking the truth.

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Activists Call China’s Jailing Of Muslim Over Beard And His Wife For Wearing A Veil ‘Absurd’

Loon Watch - 4 April, 2015 - 20:19

headlineImage.adapt.1460.high.xinjiang_beard_china_0330.1427733150160 Sam Harris must be proud.

Activists call China’s jailing of Muslim over beard ‘absurd’

The man’s wife was reportedly sentenced to two years for wearing a veil

March 30, 2015 10:54AM ET

A six-year prison sentence reportedly given to a man in China’s traditionally Muslim Xinjiang region for growing a beard was “absurd,” an overseas advocacy group said.

The sentence comes as Beijing continues its crackdown on visible signs of Muslim religious observance among the country’s Uighur ethnic minority. Chinese authorities have warned of a violent separatist movement among Uighurs, but international rights activists have broadly criticized China’s treatment of the group. Hours after Chinese state media reported the man’s sentencing on Sunday, the incident was reported in the international media as another example of China’s repression of Uighur religious freedom. Accounts of the sentencing online on Chinese state media have since disappeared.

Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress advocacy organization, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday that the Chinese media reports of the punishment were “typical of the political persecution” faced by Uighurs.

“This is a case that would not happen in any other country in the world,” Raxit said in a statement. “It is unacceptable and absurd. It exposes China’s hostile attitude and crisis of governance.”

“If a Chinese person grows a beard, it is a personal fashion he is allowed to choose freely. If a Uighur grows a beard, he is a religious extremist,” he added.

On Sunday, the state-owned newspaper China Youth Daily reported that a court in the Xinjiang city of Kashgar sentenced a 38-year-old Uighur man to six years in jail for growing a beard, while his wife was given two years for veiling herself.

The man “had started growing his beard in 2010″ and his wife “wore a veil hiding her face and a burqa,” the paper said. Both practices are discouraged by local authorities.

The couple were found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” a vague accusation regularly used in the Chinese judicial system against dissidents

An employee of Kashgar’s propaganda department declined to confirm the report Monday, telling AFP, “I know nothing about this.”

Chinese state media later appeared to retract its own accounts of the sentencing, after the story was picked up by international English-language media Monday, in an apparent attempt to prevent further criticism of China’s human rights record. The China Youth Daily report and several other articles on the case had been deleted from mainland news sites hours after an article on The Washington Post publicized the incident.

The initial accounts spurred debate among users of China’s popular online social networks.

Some said the punishment was an appropriate way to guard against extremism. “Anyone dressed that way is a terrorist, not a Muslim!” wrote one user on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

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Israeli Spin Trumps Ethics in The NY Times

Marathon runners gathered in Bethlehem recently to run loops through the walled-in city, aiming to make a point: Israel’s separation barrier has cut the city off from the rest of the West Bank and confined its residents inside a prison wall. The New York Times was on hand to observe and report, but the result was something less than an honest view of the scene.

The event was named “The Right to Movement: Palestine Marathon,” and reporter Diaa Hadid tells us that it took place in Bethlehem in order “to draw attention to the constraints Palestinians say they face in their daily lives.”

Note her use of the phrase “Palestinians say they face.” This is a familiar construction in the Times. Palestinians suffer from undeniable rights abuses under the Israeli occupation, but this cannot be stated outright. Times stories tend to reduce these facts to “claims,” issues that readers can dismiss as the grumblings of Israel’s adversaries.

Thus we also read in the marathon story that “Bethlehem is a postcard-perfect location to display Palestinian grievances.” With the single word “grievances” oppressive policies are dismissed as mere complaints.

This is not the case when it comes to the Israeli side of the narrative. Hadid writes, “Israel built the barrier in response to a wave of suicide bombings during the Second Intifada. Palestinians see it more as a land grab because it frequently dips into the West Bank swallowing what they see as their traditional lands.”

So Israel’s stated rationale for building the barrier is taken at face value, as a “response” pure and simple. But it is a different situation for the Palestinians: Once again we have their problems framed as a point of view, something they “see more as” a land grab. And the territory in question is no longer theirs; it has become “what they see as their traditional lands.”

Any story that deals so directly with the Separation Wall should remind readers of these facts: The International Court of Justice has declared the barrier to be illegal under international law, and 85 percent of the planned route runs within the West Bank not on the boundary with Israel. (Thus, when Hadid writes that the wall “dips into” Palestinian territory, she is minimizing the actual state of affairs.)

In its 2004 14-to-1 decision the ICJ declared that the wall was not necessary for Israel’s security and that it should be dismantled and reparations made for the extensive damage it had caused. Israel rejected to ICJ’s findings and continues to build on Palestinian land, cutting off farmers from their fields and dividing families and communities.

Israeli officials like to say that the wall has prevented suicide bombings, but the fact is that Hamas on its own abandoned the tactic in 2006. It was not the wall that stopped the bombings; it was the decision by Hamas.

In fact, the wall has never been an impermeable barrier. It has failed to keep out some 15,000 to 30,000 Palestinians from the West Bank who work illegally inside Israel and is obviously no obstacle to would-be bombers.

It is also worth noting that suicide bombings ended when the wall was only partially completed, and now, long after the threat ended, Israel continues to build, citing a rationale that no longer applies.

Nevertheless, in the Times story the wall is a “response” to bombings, while the abuses of the occupation, clearly revealed under the adjudication of international law, have become nothing more than claims. In the newspaper of record readers are shortchanged once again as Israeli spin trumps the demands of ethical journalism.

Barbara Erickson

Filed under: Israeli Spin in New York Times Tagged: Bethlehem, Israel, Media Bias, New York Times, Palestine, Palestine Marathon, West Bank

Reclaim Australia rallies: tensions flare in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

The Guardian World news: Islam - 4 April, 2015 - 04:43

Pauline Hanson tells the Brisbane anti-Islam rally she is not a racist, as protests and counter-protests in Melbourne and Sydney trigger scuffles and police intervention

Mounted police were forced to form a barrier between Reclaim Australia and Socialist Alliance protesters at opposing rallies in Melbourne.

Tensions among crowds led to scuffles and paramedics were treating several injured people.

Related: Anti-Islamic group Reclaim Australia plans 16 rallies across the country

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Far-right groups and Islamists face off outside London mosque

The Guardian World news: Islam - 3 April, 2015 - 19:51

Supporters of Britain First and EDL gather to oppose radical Islamist Anjem Choudary, whose group handed out leaflets urging Muslims not to vote

Opposing sides from Britain’s extremist fringes have been kept apart by police amid tense scenes as thousands of Muslims emerged from one of Britain’s largest mosques after Friday prayers.

Passersby and tourists had watched with bemusement and alarm earlier on Friday as dozens of supporters of Britain First – a nationalist group that has been seeking to displace the British National party (BNP) as the standard bearer of the UK far right – marched through central London brandishing large St George and union flags.

Britain First March to central London mosque. Edl already there (one chants "Britain First off our streets")

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Leaders’ debate: my impressions

Indigo Jo Blogs - 3 April, 2015 - 19:06

 Bongo-bongo Land, sluts half price".Last night there was a big debate featuring the leaders of the seven major political parties in next month’s elections (Labour, Tories, Lib Dems, Greens, UKIP, Plaid Cymru and the SNP). I was driving, so listened to the debate on BBC Radio 5 Live rather than watching it on the TV. The debates all started with questions from the floor, and covered major areas such as welfare, the economy, immigration, the NHS and education. Perhaps I missed out on a lot by not seeing it on TV, but I didn’t believe any of the leaders were particularly impressive and this includes the women, contrary to some of the opinions I heard in the debates afterwards and the opinion polls on the front of some of the papers, especially the Tory papers. (I thought the Times’s poll was aimed at scaring the Tories into action on immigration rather than reflecting reality or promoting UKIP.) You can listen to 5 Live’s broadcast here and watch the ITV version on their website here in the UK.

I was most disappointed that the Tories’ claims about the last government’s economic record went unchallenged. The fact is that nobody accused them of wild taxing, borrowing and spending until the present government came to power after Labour had borrowed extensively to bail out banks following the collapse of some of them in 2008. We did not have a substantial deficit until that point, but neither did we have a particularly generous welfare state. We did not have many council homes built to replace those sold off in the 1980s; we did not have state-funded major infrastructure projects, with rail links and much-needed road improvements taking ages to approve, and most of the new hospitals were built using Private Finance Initiatives, with the private sector having to be paid back out of the health budget and those repayments taking priority over actual healthcare spending. Labour could have taken two other courses of action in 2008; either nationalise the banks without compensation or let them collapse, resulting in hundreds of thousands of people losing their money.

Labour spent the 90s trying to crush left-wing resistance to Blair’s reforms, telling their critics they were dinosaurs, that they were helping the Tories and helping to make sure Labour remained in opposition, and so on. They used tricks to make sure right-wingers favoured by the leadership were selected as parliamentary candidates, even exploiting union block votes where they still existed, and expelled members not only for standing against their candidates, but even for publicly suggesting that people vote for other than their candidate. Yet now that a Tory-led government has hacked away at even what they left in place last time, Labour are unwilling to defend their record and to challenge the terms of debate laid down by the Tories and their corporate media.

The major revelation from the debate was from Nigel Farage. He revealed himself to be a one-trick pony, as all his answers tried to divert the discussion onto immigration or the EU. The worst incident was where, during the section on the NHS, he brought up the cost of “health tourism” and of giving free anti-retroviral drugs to anyone with HIV in this country, regardless of immigration status. This actually has some benefit to the British public as it means the recipient, if they take the medication, is at less risk of spreading the virus, either to their sexual partners or their children, which none of the other leaders challenged him on. He claimed we could re-orient British foreign policy to forge greater links with the Commonwealth, as if those countries were motherless children, and Canada and Australia had not forged their own links with neighbouring countries in the Americas and Asia since the end of the British Empire, and as if any of those countries were a mere 26 miles from our shores. He sounded like one of those bores who has a pet interest and always tries to divert discussion onto it, even butting into other people’s conversations. He also reminded me a bit of the BNP in the mid-2000s, who stood for local and mayoral elections and offered policies on immigration which they could not deliver as local councillors or mayors. As it’s a given that UKIP will not be the biggest party in the next Parliament, his attitude would have struck some as defeatist.

Farage probably impressed some viewers and listeners because his voice cut through everyone else’s. All the others reinforced every stereotype you can think of: shouty women and old-boyish, samey, dull men (I can never tell Clegg and Cameron apart when I hear them on the radio), and all often shouting over each other and none of them saying anything particularly earth-shattering, but Farage at least sounded calm and cogent. However, what he used that voice for was to blame foreigners again and again like a dinner party bore. The debates make no real difference to my vote, as I live in a Lib Dem constituency where they are the only challenge to the Tories, and the media will always say somebody “won” because it suits their agenda and allows them to manufacture a story. If you were impressed by Farage, then please remember that he had nothing to say about any other issue besides immigration and the EU. Do you know what he would do once we were out of the EU, and what he would do if he failed to deliver, perhaps because of a failure (from his perspective) of an In/Out referendum?

Possibly Related Posts:

Friday Links

Muslimah Media Watch - 3 April, 2015 - 10:30
Tajik state television has aired a documentary that alleges that prostitutes in the country have been wearing Islamic veils to earn more money.   Once a month, Muslim women gather in a bright open space inside a brick building near downtown Los Angeles. They come for jumu’ah or Friday prayer. This “all women’s mosque” has [Read More...]

Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Steve King Invite Dutch Fascist Geert Wilders

Loon Watch - 2 April, 2015 - 19:56

 Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

“Under his wing”: Geert Wilders & Robert Spencer

Geert Wilders is on his way to the US again, this time at the invitation of two US congressmen. He will also be awarding a prize at Pamela Geller and Deacon Robert Spencer’s “Draw Muhammad” contest in Texas. (h/t: WaltervanderCruijsen)

On Wednesday April 29th, he will speak at a reception offered to him by Congressman Louie Gohmert (R, TX).

That same day, he speaks at the invitation of Congressman Steve King (R, IA) at the breakfast meeting of members of the US Congress belonging to the renowned Conservative Opportunity Society, a group founded in 1984 by Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Wilders: “I feel deeply honored by the invitations. In my speeches I will warn my American colleagues of the dangers of Islamization.”

After his visit to Washington, Geert Wilders travels to Garland, Texas, where on May 3rd he will give a speech and award a prize of $10,000 for the best Muhammad cartoon.

Muslim population in Europe to reach 10% by 2050, new forecast shows

The Guardian World news: Islam - 2 April, 2015 - 15:01

Pew Research study predicts that America’s Muslim population will grow to 2.1% by 2050, and Muslims will exceed Christians worldwide by 2070

Muslims will nearly double their numbers in Europe – to more than 10% – by 2050 and will outnumber Christians worldwide by 2070, according to a new forecast of the growth of religions around the world.

The report, by Pew Research Center, also predicts that Muslims will become the second-largest religious group in the US – at 2.1% – by 2050.

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There Once was a Lad who Couldn’t Lower His Gaze

Muslim Matters - 2 April, 2015 - 05:00

There once was a lad who couldn't lower his gaze,

Distraught and disappointed he tried many ways,

Finally he decided to go to a shaykh well known,

And ask him advice for his desperation had grown


The shaykh said to him, indeed but you've come to ask

About something great, first though I have a task,

I have a friend of mine, on the other side of town,

And I have a daily gift I give him before every sun down


It was a bowl of milk, almost filled to the top,

He said take this here bowl, and don't spill a drop!

I am sending with you a friend with great vision

To make sure that you make no mistakes in your mission!


The lad began to walk with the bowl in his hands,

Wishing them steady, he dared not break a command,

For every step that he took, his guide watched with pierced eyes

As if waiting for any mistake to arise


When his task was over he return to the sage

And said, the task is done, now show me the way!

He said, 'you have done well but first let me see,

Did you happen to see the house with the gigantic tree?


The lad said, no, I'm sorry, I was not aware,

Well, you passed my uncle's street, did you see him there?

The lad said, no I did not see an uncle or tree,

The milk would have spilled if I looked upward you see!


And I was so nervous because your friend did not blink,

So I watched every step, and that's all I could think!

The Shaykh smiled and said, leave now, for this task

Has answered the question you had wished to ask


The milk that you carried with focus throughout

Was your book of deeds, much more important no doubt,

If you were nervous by one who records your every mistake

Know that there are angels who write, if such allowance you make


Life is a similar journey, but to a different address

So be gone, and focus young lad, I wish you the best!

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American Crime Episode 4 Recap

Muslimah Media Watch - 1 April, 2015 - 13:23
Azra continues her review of the TV show American Crime. Read her earlier review here.  (Spoiler alerts ahead!) American Crime settled into a more police-procedural tone last week, as Carter attended his bail hearing. We get to know more about Aliyah this episode, as she devotes herself to helping her brother. They continue their strained, [Read More...]

Theresa May and the Mystery of the Missing Pledge About Hate Crimes Against Muslims

Inayat's Corner - 1 April, 2015 - 10:30


Last Monday (23rd March 2015), the Home Secretary, Theresa May, delivered an important speech outlining the government’s counter-extremism strategy.

The full speech contained quite a few passages I would normally take issue with, but it also contained a crucially important sentence that was very welcome news indeed. The Home Secretary said:

“We will require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crime.”

This is something that many Muslim organisations including MEND and the Muslim Council of Britain have been calling for, for a number of years now in order that we might obtain an accurate picture of what is happening across the country and develop a more comprehensive strategy to tackle anti-Muslim prejudice.

But wait…what is this? A look at the same speech today finds that the passage above no longer appears in the speech on the official government website. How very bizarre and indeed how unsettling. What could be the explanation?

I have written to the Home Secretary as follows:

Dear Home Secretary,

I read the transcript of your speech “A Stronger Britain, Built On Our Values” as it appeared on the official government website ( last week with great interest.

I was particularly impressed by the following passage in your speech:

“We will require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crime.”

Muslim communities have long been asking to be treated equally in respect of hate crimes. Just as police forces currently record anti-semitic hate crimes as a separate category, we have looked to our government to ensure that the police also record anti-Muslim hate crimes too so that we can have an accurate picture of what is happening in our communities across our country where we are hearing reports of regular attacks against Muslim individuals and on our places of worship and even on our cemeteries.

You can imagine my disappointment today when I re-read your speech and found that your commitment to require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes no longer appeared there.

This disappearance is very puzzling as this passage certainly appeared in your speech as published on the government website just last week.

Home Secretary, in your speech, you said that your government’s counter-extremism strategy “aims to tackle the whole spectrum of extremism, violent and non-violent, ideological and non-ideological, Islamist and neo-Nazi – hate and fear in all their forms.”

By seemingly back-tracking on the commitment to require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes I am afraid many will quite rightly wonder just how serious the government really is about tackling “the whole spectrum” of hate and fear.

I hope you will take this opportunity to re-assure British Muslims that you consider anti-Muslim crimes to be just as unacceptable as anti-semitic crimes and that police forces will indeed now be required to keep accurate records of all such incidents.

Yours faithfully,
Inayat Bunglawala



Living off the Land- Urban Farming

Muslim Matters - 1 April, 2015 - 05:00

You see him selling outside your masjid after Jumu‘ah—artisan goat cheese, yogurt, goats milk and fresh, free range organic eggs.

Matt Jose is an urban farmer; his phone doesn't ring— it bleats and brays. He drives a truck with an exquisite deer skull strapped to the hood. He shows me the natural engraving on the skull, finding beauty in the bizarre. Down the dirt road with neat wooden signs showcasing the art of manliness characteristics —respect, honor,discipline—a table with small pumpkins marks the turn into MSLYS Farm. Jose, also known as Muhsin, raises goats, Catalina sheep, brooder chickens, turkeys and ducks at his farm.

A counselor for the 140 acre youth training center Our House in Brookeville, MD, Jose cleared the land himself, initially as a way to rid the youth home property of invasive weeds, as mandated by the Maryland weed control program. The MSLYS farm, named after the first initials of his family, started in 2010. Jose scraped money together  and acquired goats, lambs, chickens, ducks, and rabbits.

Goatscaping is an environmentally friendly way of clearing up land, not to mention a Sunnah. Goats can clear vegetation from hard-to-reach places, and they'll eat the seeds that pesticides and mowing leave behind, preventing vegetation from coming back next year, and can help keep herbicides out of area land and waterways. The lambs really like pine bark, this area is good grazing for them, goat eat the foliage above and lambs graze low, he shares. It's such a good idea, even Google goatscapes.

He realized that this was a clean and healthy way to help feed his family. Raising chickens is good for the whole family as you see the food cycle, you can feed your kitchen scraps to the chickens and eat their eggs. “Many of our children are detached from their food. What you eat is what your chickens will eat,” says Jose. The shell of the free range eggs are much lighter and the yolk is bright orange; some eggs are green or blue in color and they melt in your mouth in goodness. In the future, Jose hopes to sell beginners broods of hens for backyard chicken coops.

He also hunts deer on the land. “My kids are involved, they help skin the deer.” I ordered a venison leg from him and it made such a succulent roast.

“Can I show Zahrah my BB gun,” asks his daughter, 8-year-old Lina, a spunky little girl who clucks at her younger brother, Yusuf, for disturbing the hen hiding under a nesting on her eggs. If she walks away from her eggs, then they won't hatch.

Tending to the farm, Jose realized that it would be invaluable to help educate people the same way he had been taught, then in turn make it possible to teach others.Along with Goatscaping, the thought of making it possible to show people the minimum necessary skills required in order to farm on their own. Jose hopes to do this by offering courses to educate adults and children about farming and creating a network for small farming and teaching people invaluable skills for our children's future.

His passion is helping abandoned, neglected, often homeless, teenage boys 16-21 year old from all around  Maryland and District of Columbia who live at Our House. Some of them are Muslim. The youth learn life skills at Our House. They get paid for the work they do here, so when they leave they have some savings. The youth do community service work every Saturday. They helped build the building on MYSLS Farm from recycled wood and metal. After years of neglect and abuse these boys are getting a second chance is life. The biggest issue to to get them to believe in themselves. Some boys train to become chefs, other work on construction; Jose teaches them about farming. “When they are with the animals, they soften up; they become different,” he says about the youth at Our House.

As he turns the venison he is cooking on the foil tray, he says that he has been there. He knows what these boys are going through because he was like one of them until he turned his life around.

A troubled youth from inner city DC, Jose was never exposed to animals. He changed at 19; spiritually seeking, not knowing, and then seven years later he took shahadah. “I wouldn't change it for the world, it made me empathetic,” says Jose. Now a father of 3 children, Jose and his wife homeschool their children, switching night duties (his wife is a nurse) so one parent can stay with the children during the day while they other catches up on sleep. The children twirl on the tire swing, nap on the hammock and chase chickens, while Jose tends to his herds.  The fence are powered by solar panels. He just installed running water. A pump, under a covered tarp, pumps out the freshest spring water this side of the Mississippi. So far the farm do not have electricity. He takes the milk home and makes the cheese at home. That takes a long time, he sighs with satisfaction.

The simple meal of eggs, tofu sausages, dried venison, and potatoes cooked over the open flame on a foil tray, and served with minimal fanfare keeps his kids and mine filled, licking their fingers, while he shows us around the farm.

The red barn on site was built with grant money. It doesn't have a foundation. Jose hopes to continue providing select meats, and halal, cage free all natural chicken.  He envisions a commercial kitchen where he and other instructors can offer classes. He teaches the Our House boys animal husbandry and plans to offer similar classes to schools, scout troops, summer camps.  Perhaps a petting zoo will grace the farm in coming years. Big dreams and simple prayers, a groove of fig and other exotic trees are on his wish list.

You can hear yourself think, there is peace of mind. The young men learn lessons about predators and parasites, and how to keep the sheep safe. How a herd can stay together and , away from outside, negative influences. If a chicken wanders, the hawks will get it, same way is with each other, Jose teaches the young men.

“I know Allah blessed me with this opportunity. I know where my food comes from, how fresh it is, it is really humbling,” he says. Attached to his community, Jose really wanted to give back.

A young father drives up with his 5-year-old son to feed the lamb they brought for the Eid sacrifice.  A local imam stops by with his wife to choose an animal. Jose shows them the high quality feed that he gives the herd, the area where he will gently harvest the animals, with mercy and humility, praying to the Creator.

“I will harvest them on Eid al-Adha,” he says. Jose has raised the kids and lambs, delivered them and can't bear to use the word slaughter for his animals. I asked Jose about the Mercy Slaughter House video (below) and he says he is not at 'that' level…yet.

Everyone will gather on Eid day for a BBQ. A jungle gym lays in pieces, waiting for some brothers from the masjid to help Jose put it together before Eid day, so families can enjoy themselves. Jose and his wife Sana like to open up the farm for anyone who doesn't have a family to visit on Eid day, they don't need to buy an animal from him. “I didn't have anyone [for Eid] for years and it can get really lonely,” says Matt.

The big ram, Big Boy, sticks his head through the recycled metal fence, he is selling for $600, too pricey for many but for his size and breed, the farm cannot sell him for a lower price. Price is high this year, he gives Big Boy a fatherly swipe. He does zabiha and also offers the service of transporting and delivering the meat to the needy. Anyone looking for a clean, all natural farm with succulent, quality meat where the animals are taken care of ethically according to guideline set by the Prophetic Tradition should book their next Eid with MSLYS Farm.

You can always make a change, as the boys at our House know really well.

To reach MSLYS Farm call (202) 494-2386

19715 Zion Rd., Brookeville, MD 20832.

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To Ayaan Hirsi Ali – The Problem is Not with Islam, but with the Author

altmuslim - 31 March, 2015 - 22:47
By Zainab Chaudry Authors who publish books generally want to sell them. Well, what sells better then timely, dramatized sensationalism with a personal angle, which reinforces readers’ latent fears and beliefs? After reading Somali-born author and anti-Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s disturbingly deceptive new book, Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, I can confidently [Read More...]

The Ugly Reality of the Occupation: Censored in The NY Times

Israel has been the big story in The New York Times this month, with lead stories, front page photos and endless commentary. Reporters and pundits have looked at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress and his election win from every angle. What could be left to say? What more would you want to know?

In fact, there is much that the Times is not telling you. For instance, that Israeli security forces killed two Palestinians this month and that the United Nations released a report showing that Israel killed more Palestinians in 2014 than in any year since the 1967 war.

Times reporters failed to cover these events, and they continued, as always, to neglect the ongoing harassment of Palestinians, the daily incidents that underscore the brutality of the occupation—home demolitions, the destruction of crops and orchards and the use of lethal and non-lethal weapons to threaten and injure protesters.

The first to die from Israeli fire this month was a Gaza fisherman, Tawfiq Abu Riyala, 32, who was shot in the abdomen March 7 as his boat sailed within the six-mile limit set by the terms of the August 2014 ceasefire. Riyala, who had created an artificial reef to attract fish within the allowable offshore limit, was featured in news accounts after his death.

The second victim was Ali Mahmoud Safi, 20, of Al Jalazun refugee camp, shot in the chest during a demonstration near Ramallah March 18; he died a week later. A third man died March 1 in Gaza from unexploded remnants left from the Israeli attacks last summer. He was gathering sand from a destroyed building to use in rebuilding his home.

The recent UN report, “Fragmented Lives,” sums up the effects of the occupation on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It states: “Palestinians across the [occupied Palestinian territories] continue to be subject to threats to their lives, physical safety and liberty from conflict-related violence, and from policies and practices related to the Israeli occupation, including settlers violence. 2014 witnessed the highest civilian death toll since 1967 due to the July-August hostilities in Gaza and a significant increase in Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank.”

This report was released last week and is eminently newsworthy, but it has received no attention from the Times. Likewise, the systemic problems alluded to in the report—settler violence and policies and practices related to the occupation—rarely make the pages of the newspaper.

Readers would have to visit alternative news outlets or the weekly reports out of the United Nations to discover the information denied them in the Times. During this past month, they would have found the following took place during the four weeks from Feb. 24 to March 23 (see UN weekly reports here):

  • 81 homes and other buildings in the West Bank were demolished by Israel, leaving 93 people displaced.
  •  170 Palestinians were injured by Israeli security forces in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
  • In 98 incidents Israeli security forces fired on Palestinians near land and sea boundaries in the Gaza Strip. In addition to the fisherman killed on March 7, two other fishermen were injured and six were detained during these attacks.
  • 991 olive trees were destroyed by settlers and Israeli security forces in the West Bank. On March 29 settlers destroyed another 1,200 trees near Hebron.
  • Settlers set fire to a mosque near Bethlehem and a Greek Orthodox church in East Jerusalem.

The demolitions, injuries and settler vandalism are weekly events in the occupied territories. The Times, however, has consistently ignored them, even when settlers destroy 1,200 trees in a single attack.

The newspaper turns away from the facts on the ground and the legitimate grievances of Palestinians under Israeli rule. It prefers to focus on Israeli politics and the analyses of Israeli pundits, avoiding the ugly realities of the decades-long occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.

Barbara Erickson

[For a close-up view of life under occupation, see a photo essay of one week in Hebron here.]

Filed under: New York Times censorship Tagged: Gaza, Israeli occupation, media censorship, New York Times, Palestine, UN OCHA oPt, West Bank


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