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Germany: Rise of Xenophobic AfD Party Worries Jewish And Muslim Groups

Loon Watch - 2 September, 2016 - 20:59

Alternative_fur_Deutschland

The rise of far right party, AfD, in Germany, well known for its explicitly Islamophobic agenda is worrying minority groups who are particularly targeted by the group’s agenda.

via. Huffington Post

Opinion polls suggest that the populist Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, will shine in the upcoming state elections ― in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on Sept. 4 and in Berlin two weeks later ― which is provoking anxiety among members of Germany’s Muslim and Jewish communities.

The AfD was founded in 2013 as a hardline Eurosceptic party, but has now shifted towards an anti-immigration agenda. Its popularity has soared in recent months, in tandem with growing security concerns and agitation over the integration of the more than 1 million — mostly Muslim — migrants that have arrived in Germany last year.

Earlier this year, AfD approved a manifesto that states “Islam is not a part of Germany,” and proposes a ban on the call to prayer and face veils in public places.

“Orthodox Islam, which does not respect our legal system, or even challenges it, and which claims dominance as the only valid religion, is not compatible with our legal system or with our culture,” the party’s manifesto said.

Muslims, however, are not the only group threatened by the rise of the populist party.

“The Jewish community in Germany is following the rise of the AfD with concern,” Josef Schuster, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, told HuffPost Germany. “They’re spreading fear and prejudice, thereby endangering the cohesion of our society.”

In addition to exhibiting “serious intolerance for Muslims and other minorities in our country,” Schuster says, the party’s platform is “against Jewish life.”

AfD’s draft manifesto published on April 30, 2016, referred to the circumcision of boys as “serious violations of fundamental rights,” a position that Israeli daily Haaretz said is “easily viewed as targeting the Jewish community.”

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Hate Site Daily Caller Blames ‘Commie-Muzzie’ Girlfriend For Colin Kaepernick Protest

Loon Watch - 2 September, 2016 - 19:59

Kaepernick_anthem

A lot has been written on the reaction to San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest the national anthem. Some have noted the hypocrisy of those who praised Muhammad Ali after he passed away for taking a stand but now castigate Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and oppressive racism.

Other writer’s have compared Kaepernick’s protest against the national anthem with the price paid by retired Muslim NBA star, Mahmoud Abdur Rauf, who protested the national anthem in the 90’s and was hounded out of the league and also had his house firebombed.

The right-wing Daily Caller on the other hand decided to entertain the idea of whether or not Kaepernick’s Muslim girlfriend, Nessa Diab, described as a “Communist-Sympathizing Muslim” was responsible for Kaepernick’s protest. Essentially, erasing Kaepernick’s agency and trying to render his personal decision to critique US racism and oppression, as not originating with him but the Islamophobic boogeyman of ‘Leftist-Mooslim’ conspiracy.

By David Hookstead

A recent report indicates that Colin Kaepernick’s Muslim girlfriend Nessa Diab was behind his decision to not stand during the national anthem.

The report from sports gossip blog Terez Owens states, “As the entire world knows by now, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem in Friday’s pre-season game against Green Bay because he was protesting ‘black oppression’ in the United States. We’re now hearing that it was actually his girlfriend Nessa’s idea for Colin to protest. Colin and his girlfriend, Nessa Diab, an MTV DJ, are still planning an Islamic-style wedding.”

Disgraced, former US Congressman Joe Walsh was more explicit in connecting Kaepernick’s protest to Islam, declaring:

Walsh_Kaepernick

Hate Group ACT! For America Conference Featuring Top Trump Adviser Michael Flynn

Loon Watch - 2 September, 2016 - 19:18

Michael_T_Flynn_Drones

Lt.Gen Michael Flynn, a top adviser to the Donald Trump campaign believes that Islam is a “cancer” and that it is actually a political system that “hides behind a religion.” These concepts are straight out of the Islamophobia movement’s talking points. So it isn’t surprising that Flynn will be a featured speaker at the ACT! For America national conference.

ACT will also hold a “legislative briefing” on Capitol Hill during its national conference. CAIR, the largest Muslim civil rights organization in America is calling on Congress to reject the group’s Islamophobic agenda.

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Women’s liberation and the French burkini ban | Letters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 2 September, 2016 - 18:36

Following on from Natalie Nougayrède’s article (The burkini ban ruling is a start, 26 August), it is worth considering that, when it comes to Muslim women’s dress, the French state has historically regrouped after rulings by the Conseil d’Etat, the highest administrative court.

The 2004 ban on religious symbols in schools, which primarily affects Muslim wearers of headscarves, came after the Conseil d’Etat found in favour of individual schoolgirls expelled from school for wearing headscarves in 1989.

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Islam Karimov obituary

The Guardian World news: Islam - 2 September, 2016 - 17:55

Tyrannical president of Uzbekistan who received support from the west

Islam Karimov, who has died after a brain haemorrhage aged 78, ruled the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan from 1989, first as head of the republic’s Communist party and, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, as the newly independent country’s first president.

Karimov’s desire to build a secular state and oppose Islamism lent him an allure in the west, which for long periods seemed happy to overlook his appalling human rights record and his steadfast refusal to embrace democratic reform. Following 9/11, Uzbekistan’s proximity to Afghanistan made him a key strategic ally in the US-led “war on terror”, and helped to attract significant economic and military support from the west, despite the tyrannical nature of Karimov’s leadership.

Related: Uzbekistan plunged into uncertainty by death of dictator Islam Karimov

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Burkini ban suspended by Nice court, dismissing claim of public order risk

The Guardian World news: Islam - 2 September, 2016 - 02:19

Court in French Riviera city says concerns in wake of Bastille Day truck attack are insufficient to justify ban

A Nice court finally suspended the burkini ban on Thursday after city authorities had defied a ruling by the country’s highest administrative court.

Judges in Nice said the terror attack on 14 July in the French Riviera resort city gave insufficient grounds to justify such a ban.

Related: Why we wear the burkini: five women on dressing modestly at the beach

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Cory Bernardi is more dangerous than One Nation – his party is in power | Jason Wilson

The Guardian World news: Islam - 2 September, 2016 - 02:06

The real damage done by extremism often comes, not from far-right groups, but from the influence they are able to exert on the mainstream right

On his own account, Cory Bernardi has had a good week. Having assembled a coalition of rightwing Liberals, even more rightwing crossbenchers, and Derryn Hinch to try to force changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, he feels that his crusade is poised for victory.

He told the Australian this week that before the election, watering down Section 18C of the act was supported by “only a few of the crazy rightwingers like myself”. Now he has 20 senators on side.

Related: Ousting of Abbott left taxpayers with $60,000 bill for cancelled US trip

Related: The rhetoric used by critics of the 'halal racket' will be familiar to Jews | Jeff Sparrow

This hardcore who backed Abbott, and who still back Abbott, have become a win-at-all-costs grouping. In a sense the Coalition has become unmanageable. I don’t see a simple, peaceful way out of this. Unless the right get what they want every time, they will not stop the fight.

Related: Malcolm Turnbull wants to diagnose rightwing populism? He should look to his own party | Jason Wilson

The danger associated with rightwing populism comes not from its real or potential bids for power, or even from its day-to-day violence and bigotry, but from its interactions with other political forces and the government.

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Muslim women may wear veil 'to allow them to integrate more'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 1 September, 2016 - 17:29

Study finds that religious women may choose to wear veil to mix with non-Muslims while keeping reputation for piety

Young, highly educated Muslim women who live in modern, urban environments may be choosing to wear the veil because it enables them to mix with non-Muslim friends, work outside the home and interact with strangers, according to the first empirical study into why wearing the veil increases alongside modernisation.

Attempts to force Muslim women to stop wearing the veil might, therefore, be counterproductive by depriving them of the choice and opportunity to integrate: if women cannot signal their piety through wearing a veil, they might choose or be forced to stay at home, concludes the study, published in the Oxford University Press’s European Social Review.

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'The beach is a human right': burkinis, black people and the threat of 'other'

The Guardian World news: Islam - 31 August, 2016 - 13:00

The forcible removal of a Muslim woman’s swimwear in France evokes the 1960 Biloxi ‘wade-ins’ and the beach as a site of conflict over bodies and identity

Five thousand miles from the shores of southern France, a small sign stands on a beach in Mississippi.

The marker is titled “civil rights wade-ins” and gives a mild and bloodless description of violence on the sand. “On April 24, 1960,” it reads, “several citizens, both white and black, were injured and arrested including the leader of the wade-ins, Dr Gilbert Mason Sr.”

Related: The burkini ban: what it really means when we criminalise clothes

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Jokowi’s Islamist challenge: curbing terrorism and religious intolerance | Melissa Crouch

The Guardian World news: Islam - 31 August, 2016 - 07:57

An attempted bomb attack in Indonesia last weekend was allegedly linked to Isis but it represents a growing number of attacks on minorities since 1998

In Indonesia, an attempted bomb attack on a church on Sunday has again left religious minorities deeply shaken.

Allegedly linked to Islamic State (Isis), the attack by a lone man may be more symptomatic of historic trends in terrorism against minorities in Indonesia.

Related: Man armed with suicide bomb and axe attacks church in Indonesia

Related: British and Australian suspects reconstruct death of Bali police officer

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The American Muslim Community Is Inextricably Linked To Kaepernick’s Protest

Muslim Matters - 31 August, 2016 - 03:51

Ummah Sports

The American Muslim community has become inextricably linked to the most controversial sports story of 2016.

Before an NFL preseason game in Santa Clara, Calif., on August 26, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to sit down rather than stand up for the traditional pregame playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Kaepernick, 28, explained afterward that his silent and entirely peaceful protest was made on the grounds that the United States of America's national anthem and its flag represent a country that “oppresses Black people and people of color.”

Protests similar to Kaepernick's involving the U.S. flag and/or the national anthem have, deservedly or not, become commonly associated with Islam.

Case in point: Soon after the Kaepernick story made national headlines, a friend of mine actually asked me if Kaepernick is Muslim. As far as I know, he is not. (I do know that Kaepernick has several Bible verses tattooed on his body.)

But then about a day later, rumors began to surface that Kaepernick is in the process of converting to Islam and that his protest was perhaps influenced by his Muslim fiancee, MTV personality Nessa Diab. As I write this column, those rumors are still just rumors.

While a refusal to stand for the anthem and salute the flag conveniently fits into every Islamophobic narrative that Muslims hate America, hate Americans and hate American freedom, it is not an entirely baseless association. After all, two of the most recent and most infamous incidents in which a high-profile athlete drew the ire of angry American “patriots” over the national anthem both involved Muslim NBA players.

In 2014, Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters was quoted by a reporter that he had stayed in the locker room one night during the pregame playing of the anthem “because of my religion.” Until that moment, it was not known publicly that Waiters is Muslim.

After a few days of social media outrage and a lot of hand-wringing at NBA headquarters, it was revealed that Waiters and the reporter had a miscommunication. Waiters (who now plays for the Miami Heat) was not actively refusing to stand for the anthem; he was just late coming out of the locker room because he was praying. The near-controversy quickly faded into a footnote.

There was no such miscommunication in 1996, however, when Denver Nuggets point guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf began sitting out the pregame anthem. Abdul-Rauf, who was very public about his conversion to Islam, said that due to his religious beliefs he could not stand for the anthem and salute the flag.

Social media wasn't a thing back then, but hate mail and death threats were as real as ever, and Abdul-Rauf received plenty of both.

The NBA suspended Abdul-Rauf for one game before he agreed to a compromise. He would stand for the anthem but he would pray during it. While short-lived, the controversy didn't go away as easily. Abdul-Rauf's NBA career seemed to go downhill from that moment, and while he ended up playing for many years overseas, to this day it is widely believed that Abdul-Rauf was blackballed by the NBA for his actions.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick

How the Kaepernick story ends is yet to be seen.

But it is clear that the American Muslim community is going along for the ride whether it wants to or not. Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has written a column about Kaepernick and the complicated subject of patriotism.

The Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan has publicly pledged support for Kaepernick.

And to no one's surprise, the most famous Muslim individual in U.S. history has become posthumously linked to the Kaepernick story. That individual is Muhammad Ali.

In today's social and political climate, where athlete activism looks a lot different than it did during the Civil Rights Movement, some are already describing Kaepernick as a 2016 version of Ali — the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who was not only known for taking controversial stances against American tradition, but also for shining a light on America's ugly racist past and present.

When Ali passed away earlier this year on June 3, many of the tributes that followed reminded us what it means for an influential individual to use their name and their fame for a greater cause.

Less than three months after Ali's death, another athlete has become public enemy No. 1 with a certain segment of society for taking a stance not unlike one Ali may have taken in his day.

It has been pointed out almost ad nauseam the hypocrisy and/or ignorance of those who praised Ali as a hero but not treat Kaepernick as a pariah. It has also been pointed out that those who are angry at Kaepernick need to then re-consider their feelings about late baseball legend and American icon Jackie Robinson, who wrote in his autobiography, “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world. In 1972, in 1947, at my birth in 1919, I know that I never had it made.”

Colin Kaepernick's National Anthem Protest Is The American Way

Another seemingly obvious truth that Kaepernick's critics can't seem to grasp is this: If their beloved “forefathers” of the U.S. possessed the same passivity and blind allegiance to authority that they want from men like Kaepernick, the American Revolution never would have happened. The country they know and love might still be essentially a British colony.

America was built on the refusal of the oppressed to bow to their oppressors. Things just look a lot different when you used to be on one side but now find yourself on the other.

The likely reality is that Kaepernick will land somewhere between Abdul-Rauf and Ali in the history pages of athlete activism.

Because the NFL is such a massive media and marketing giant, anything its players do tends to garner more attention than the actions of athletes in other sports. An NFL quarterback taking a controversial political stance is going to have more impact than an NBA point guard doing the same.

And because we are in the social media and the “hot take” journalism era, and because America is in such a volatile period politically and socially in regards to race, Kaepernick's actions will ring louder than those of Abdul-Rauf.

At the same time, Kaepernick is not going to be Ali. There will likely never be another Ali, who sacrificed his freedom to challenge the status quo at a time when he held status as the biggest sports superstar in the world.

But Kaepernick doesn't have to be Ali.

By sitting down, Kaepernick is standing up for something more powerful than a song and heavier than a piece of cloth.

It may cost him his job. It may cost him millions of dollars he could've earned in NFL salary and endorsements. It will most certainly cost him the peace of mind that comes with being the kind of assimilated, compliant and politically diplomatic figure many Americans would like their athletes — as well as minorities and other members of oppressed classes — to be. A lot of people can't handle being confronted with harsh truths about that which they hold dear, whether it is their family or their values or their country.

If one preseason game in Santa Clara marked the beginning of the end of Kaepernick's NFL career, then it also marks the beginning of the most American thing he's ever done on the stage that being an NFL player affords him.

Because even if it takes place beyond the scope of glory, the truth is marching on.

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