Somebody Needs to Tell The NY Times: Israel Has The Bomb

The New York Times has had plenty to say about Iran and nuclear ambitions recently—in op-eds, editorials and news stories; in reports on negotiating sessions and in articles about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coming speech to Congress, at which he will raise the alarm about Iran’s ability to produce a bomb.

In all these venues—opinion pieces and news accounts—one element of this story is taken for granted: A nuclear proficient Iran would be a threat and cannot be allowed. As Israeli politician Isaac Herzog wrote in a Times op-ed published this weekend, “If [Iran] goes nuclear, the Middle East will go nuclear, putting world peace itself in jeopardy.”

Yet, in spite of all the words devoted to this issue, a major piece of information is missing: The Middle East has already gone nuclear. Israel has had the bomb since 1967 and is counted as the world’s sixth nuclear state, with a stockpile of weaponry possibly equal to that of France and the United Kingdom.

As Netanyahu warns against nuclear research in Iran and the Times editorial board insists that Iran allow “even more aggressive inspections” by the International Atomic Energy Agency, there is no mention of the fact that Israel has refused to allow any inspections of its advanced nuclear program and refuses even to confirm that it exists.

There is no compelling reason to prevent the Times from writing about Israel’s nukes. The newspaper has already published at least one opinion piece urging more openness on the issue; similar commentary has appeared in other publications, such as The New Yorker; and academic groups have openly issued assessments of Israel’s program.

Israeli scholar Avner Cohen has published two books on the subject (The second is titled The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb.), and Israeli journalist Ari Shavit dedicated an entire chapter in his book, My Promised Land, to the creation of Israel’s nuclear facility. Shavit speaks with pride of this accomplishment and notes that his chapter won the approval of Israeli censors.

The Federation of American Scientists states that “the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is a ‘public secret’ by now due to the declassification of large numbers of formerly highly classified US government documents which show that the United States by 1975 was convinced that Israel had nuclear weapons.”

It is only left to determine just how many nuclear weapons Israel possesses and how it is capable of delivering them. The estimates vary from 80 (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists) to 300 weapons, which can be launched by land, air and sea.

In 2009 Israel and its nukes made the news when the general conference of the IAEA called on Israel to open its facilities to inspection. The Israeli delegate to the conference rejected the request, saying, “Israel will not cooperate in any matter with this resolution.”

In the face of all this, the Times recently published a lead editorial concerning “the protracted nuclear threat from Iran” and how best to contain it. The piece noted that “Iran’s major nuclear installations are already monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency and watched by the United States.”

But, the editorial insisted, this is not enough. Iran must also ratify “additional protocol” in order to “ensure materials are not diverted to a covert nuclear weapons program.”

A covert nuclear program is precisely what Israel has had since the 1950s, but the Times has nothing to say about it. Moreover, while Israel has refused to sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty or allow inspections of its program, Iran has done both. It is a signatory to the treaty and allows IAEA visits to its facilities.

Here is Israeli exceptionalism at its irrational worst. The Times has no problem pointing the finger at Iran, which has signed the treaty and allowed inspections, but it shields Israel, which has done neither and is already capable of launching nuclear weapons against its neighbors in the Middle East.

If it chose to report this issue fully, the Times could rely on expert analysis and testimony as evidence, and it could point to the precedence of publications which have “outed” the program in their writings. The information is readily available, but the newspaper prefers to say nothing.

At the least, the Times could say that Israel is “widely believed” to possess nuclear weapons, but it avoids even this construct. As long as Israel refuses to acknowledge its nuclear arsenal in public, The New York Times remains silent as well.

Readers are entitled to a fully informed treatment of the current debate over Iran and nuclear arms in the Middle East, but there is no sign that this will happen anytime soon. The newspaper places its obligations to journalism behind its loyalty to Israel, and readers are the losers in this game—once again.

Barbara Erickson

Filed under: Israel's Nukes Tagged: Ari Shavit, Avner Cohen, Iran, Israel, Israel's nukes, Media Bias, Netanyahu, New York Times, nuclear weapons

Saudi Arabia gives top prize to cleric who blames George Bush for 9/11

The Guardian World news: Islam - 1 March, 2015 - 23:48

Controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik awarded the King Faisal international prize for promoting Islam through his hugely popular Peace TV channel

An Indian television preacher who has called the 9/11 attacks an “inside job” received one of Saudi Arabia’s most prestigious prizes on Sunday, for “service to Islam”.

Zakir Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation in India, was one of five recipients of the King Faisal international prize from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman during a ceremony at a luxury Riyadh hotel.

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Like racism, Islamism can and will be beaten

The Guardian World news: Islam - 1 March, 2015 - 20:32

Maajid Nawaz is spot on with his claim that Britain can defeat the toxic ideology of Islamism in the same way as it defeated its twin sister, racism (To tackle extremism we need to first understand racism, 27 February). Racism and Islamism have a lot in common. Both are erected on fascist ideologies – the former on the superiority of race; the latter on the superiority of religion. In fact, Islamists are the Muslim equivalent of the BNP racists, except the former have a violent global agenda.

Britain fought racism by challenging it everywhere – universities, the National Health Service, media and other institutions. The strategy worked because the majority of British people have no stomach for such warped ideology. Since, as a recent BBC poll amply pointed out, there are more than enough Muslims who have no time for Islamism, the battle against it has to be fought by these Muslims – not for the sake of the British government, but for the sake of their own long-term survival – while leaving its violent offshoots to the government to deal with.
Randhir Singh Bains
Gants Hill, Essex

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Arun Kundnani: Islamophobia Is Just The Latest In A History of US Imperialism

Loon Watch - 1 March, 2015 - 19:10


Arun Kundnani is one of the most brilliant investigators and writers on the subject of the Counter Terrorism industry and Islamophobia.

A must read.

By Arun Kundnani, The National

The shooting of three American Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this month has focused attention on anti-Muslim hatred in the US.

There are strong reasons for thinking the suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, was motivated by anti-Muslim animosity to murder Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19. The FBI is now investigating the case as a possible hate crime, although initial reports stated the murder may have been about a dispute over parking.

In 2011, I spent a year travelling around the US investigating anti-Muslim prejudice. In a suburban restaurant in Houston, I saw a poster that perfectly captured the nature of the problem. The restaurant owner had used a photograph of a lynching in the early 20th century, featuring a tree, a dead body hanging from a branch and a crowd of white people in the foreground looking jubilant. In place of the black victim of the original image, the face of a stereotypical Arab was superimposed with the caption: “Let’s play cowboys and Iranians.”

It was a disturbing sight. In the same neighbourhood, I had heard stories of teenagers beaten up at school simply for being Arab, of harassment of mosque congregations and of death threats against Muslims aired on local radio stations. It was also disturbing because racist imagery appeared to be a perfectly normal way to decorate a restaurant. But the image was also revealing because it shows anti-Muslim sentiment in the US is part of a longer racial history.

The poster’s caption played on the phrase “cowboys and Indians” and was an implicit celebration of the genocide of America’s indigenous peoples by European settlers, the first act in the racial history of the US and one that continues to haunt an American culture obsessed with enemies at its frontiers.

Likewise, the use of a photo of a lynching ties its meaning to the history of racial segregation after the abolition of slavery, and the ways that violence was used to maintain white supremacy.

Anti-Muslim prejudice is the most recent layer in this history, a reworking and recycling of older logics of oppression. From this perspective, Islamophobia, like other forms of prejudice, should not be seen only as a problem of hate crimes committed by lone extremists. The acts of individual perpetrators can only be made sense of if they are seen as the product of a wider culture, in which glorifying racial violence is acceptable.

All empires require violence to sustain themselves, and the violence perpetrated overseas by imperial powers always flows back, in one form or another, to the “homeland.” In modern times, that violence also always takes on a racial character.

The British Empire relied upon racist ideology to maintain its authority, both domestically and in colonial settings, and particularly in the face of resistance to its rule. Blacks and Asians from the colonies who settled in Britain after the Second World War encountered the racism imperialism had fostered there, persisting long after the British Empire itself no longer existed.

Since the end of the Cold War, US foreign policy planners have regarded the Middle East as their most troublesome territory, where resistance seems to be especially strong against the US’s key regional ally, Israel. Large sections of the US political and cultural elite have turned to racial ways of explaining resistance to its authority. Rather than see the Palestinian movement, for example, as rooted in a struggle against military occupation and for human rights, it has been more convenient to think that Arabs are inherently fanatical. In other words, the problem is their culture, not our politics.

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OpenDemocracy: Why Britain won’t talk about crucial elements of Jihadi John’s story

Loon Watch - 1 March, 2015 - 18:47


The UK government security/media establishment is going after CAGE UK with everything it has, in the process exposing its own insecurities.

By Ben Hayes, OpenDemocracy

In “Suspect Community: People’s Experience of the Prevention of Terrorism Acts in Britain”, professor Paddy Hillyard produced what remains the world’s most detailed ethnographic study of the impact of repressive laws and state policies on what we now call “radicalisation”. That was 1993. Hillyard, a former chair of the National Council of Civil Liberties (now Liberty), had interviewed more than 100 people of Irish catholic descent and provided unequivocal evidence that their everyday treatment at the hands of the British state had boosted support for Irish republicanism, acted as a recruiting sergeant for the IRA and fuelled “the Troubles”. Of course it wasn’t the only “radicalising” factor: Bloody Sunday, a shoot-to-kill policy and state collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries also played their part. As of course did the violence, propaganda and popularity of organisations like the IRA.

We could learn a lot from people like Paddy Hillyard and the incremental moves toward truth and reconciliation in the north of Ireland. Instead, this valuable insight is being steadily exorcised from public debate – as are the similar experiences of Muslim communities at the hands of the British state.

Yesterday the identity of “Jihadi John”, the ISIS executioner-in-chief, was revealed to belong to British citizen Mohammed Emwazi. The human rights group CAGE – the only organisation in Britain who offers legal support to Muslims who have been interrogated or harassed by the security services (support which is readily available to most others questioned by the UK authorities) – produced a 3,000 word dossier detailing his treatment between 2009 and 2013. This included, inter alia, the surveillance of his movements, the interception of his telecommunications, the orchestration of his arrest in Tanzania and transfer to the Netherlands where he was interrogated by MI5, attempts to coerce him into becoming an MI5 informer, harassment of his family and fiancé, and the prevention of his resettlement in Kuwait – all in the absence of any formal allegation, charge or prospect of official recourse.

Since this occurred well before Mohammed Emwazi’s departure from the UK and appearance in Syria as “Jihadi John”, one might have thought our media duty bound to ask whether this and other encounters played any part in his decision to go there. Indeed the most revealing exchange, which should surely have been on the lips of any journalist worth their salt, is the following, spoken by MI5 agent “Nick”: “Listen Mohammed: You’ve got the whole world in front of you; you’re 21 years old; you just finished Uni – why don’t you work for us?” When Mohammed declines, he is told: “You’re going to have a lot of trouble… You’re going to be known… you’re going to be followed… life will be harder for you.”

Let us be clear that whatever else may have transpired since this exchange, here is a credible allegation of state-sanctioned blackmail of one of our citizens upon pain of having his life ruined by unaccountable security forces. When things like this happen to Muslims in Arab dictatorships, we talk about “secret police” and “fearsome security apparatuses”. When they happen here, we put our fingers in our ears and demand that Muslims “get over themselves” and condemn acts of terrorism.

And so it was that Kay Burley of Sky News duly began her interview with a CAGE spokesman by asking “What level of harassment by the security services here in the United Kingdom justifies beheadings?” – a plainly preposterous straw man argument that literally no-one was making. Liberal pin-up Jon Snow also glossed over the evidence produced by CAGE, before getting down to the most important business of the day: demanding that their spokespeople condemn terrorism, and seeking to belittle them when they question why this demand is only ever made of Muslims, or worse still, refuse to participate in the ridiculous spectacle.

Read the entire article…

Nigerian mob kills girl accused of being suicide bomber

The Guardian World news: Islam - 1 March, 2015 - 17:06

Teenager brutally beaten to death in north-east city of Bauchi after crowd at market reportedly find two bottles strapped to her body

A crowd has beaten to death a teenage girl accused of planning to be a suicide bomber and then set her body on fire, according to police and witnesses.

A second suspect, also a teenage girl, was arrested at Muda Lawal, the biggest market in the city of Bauchi.

Related: 'Seven-year-old girl' kills herself and five others in Nigeria suicide bombing

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A search for identity draws jihadis to the horrors of Isis | Kenan Malik

The Guardian World news: Islam - 1 March, 2015 - 03:04
They are as estranged from Muslim communities as they are from western societies

First it was Shamima Begum, Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana, three schoolgirls from Tower Hamlets who smuggled themselves to Syria during their half-term holiday. Then it was “Jihadi John”, the Islamic State executioner who was unmasked by the Washington Post last week as the Kuwaiti-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi.

The stories of the three schoolgirls and of Emwazi are very different. But the same questions are being asked of them. How did they get radicalised? And how can we stop it from happening again? These are questions being increasingly asked across Europe. A recent report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation suggests that there are now 4,000 European fighters with Isis, a figure that has doubled over the past year.

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Nations flourish when people enjoy a sense of belonging

The Guardian World news: Islam - 1 March, 2015 - 03:02
Liberal democracies can flourish only when people feel that for all their differences, they have a stake in the well-being of the country they call home

We don’t do religion well in public debate and we have certainly lost our way when it comes to Islam. Between the Muslim apologists crying out “Islamophobia!” every time there is an Islam-related story and those who see the growing Islamisation of Europe everywhere they go, there are multiple realities which simply get dismissed or ignored.

A recent poll by the BBC asking Muslim respondents about their loyalty to Britain created conflicting headlines pinned on that word “loyalty”. Statistics can be dangerous because they conceal as much as they reveal. There are no nuances in this poll, in which Muslims are singled out as a block of people who have a moral obligation to answer these questions.

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My meeting with Mohammed Emwazi’s friend as they sought a radical path

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 February, 2015 - 21:21
After the revelation of the Isis killer’s identity, the Observer’s Jamie Doward recalls another young man who was drawn to extremism but turned away

The first thing I noticed about Mohammed Ezzouek was his size, tiny, birdlike. The recoil from an AK-47 would knock him off his feet, I remember thinking. He was an unlikely fighter – something he repeatedly denied when questioned by the security services.

The second thing was his beard. Long, black and wispy, it had clearly taken months to grow and was central to his identity. The third was his trainers, Nike, almost box-fresh. This man is a walking contradiction, I thought. He spoke street slang while praising the prophet. He went to Somalia to live under a caliphate and here he was, talking to me in London, complaining about the difficulties getting a mobile phone contract. He refused to be photographed but, after coaxing, he started posing for the camera, albeit in an oblique way so that he could not be photographed head-on.

Related: Isis’s promise of certainty is what lures the likes of Mohammed Emwazi | Jonathan Freedland

Related: Isis killer Mohammed Emwazi had link to 2005 London bomb plot

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NBC: Northeast D.C. Mosque Vandalized Second Time in a Week

Loon Watch - 28 February, 2015 - 21:16


The FBI is now involved after a DC mosque was vandalized twice in less than a week.

The Ivy City Mosque in the 2000 block of Gallaudet Street NW was first ransacked Monday night. Mohammed Mobaidin, the director of the mosque, said the damage was minor. Police had decided it was not a hate crime, because another vandalism was reported nearby around the same time.

Another vandalism was reported late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning at the same mosque. According to Mobaidin, vandals ripped religious hangings from the walls and broke furniture; a picture of the sacred Kaaba was stolen.

“Now that this picture is missing, I’m beggining to think it could have been a hate crime. That picture has value to the Muslims,” Mobaidin said.

“Something is wrong there, detectives will give us answers,” Nihad Awad with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (sic.CAIR) said.

The mosque had been unlocked and open to the D.C. community for 17 years.

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Far-right Pegida eclipsed by its opponents at first UK demonstration

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 February, 2015 - 20:46
‘You’re not welcome here: get off our streets’ – Newcastle protestors’ message to anti-Islam marchers outnumbered by 3,000 to 400

A rally of thousands of anti-fascists, trade unionists and faith representatives dwarfed the first UK demonstration by a far-right group against the “Islamisation of Europe” on Saturday, forming a counter-protest at least four times as large.

Pegida UK held its first event in Newcastle, with some 400 supporters present in the city’s Bigg Market. The group, whose name translates as “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West”, was formed in Dresden last year and has held regular marches there. A demonstration in the German city in January drew 25,000, but it is thought that recent marches have mustered as few as 2,000.

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Rebuilding Community Trust: Consulting Tools to Drive Mosque Growth and Efficiency

Muslim Matters - 28 February, 2015 - 03:02

By Wadud Hassan

 A Study on the Islamic Center of Nashville

An edited version originally published in the Islamic Horizon Jan/Feb 2015 issue

Yusuf Islam also known as the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Cat Stevens, who came to perform in Nashville in the late 70s, was an inspiration behind Music City's first Islamic center— the Islamic Center of Nashville (ICN), the. After meeting with the city's then small Muslim community who used to do their Friday prayers at Vanderbilt University, he donated the seed money for the mosque.

ICN later became a space where the young and diverse Muslim community grew over the past three decades. In 1989, old house purchased in 1979 was demolished and replaced it with a purpose-built mosque.

The community witnessed an influx of Kurdish and Somali Muslim refugee community throughout the 90s. In 1995, ICN purchased a 10.6-acre lot in Bellevue—bout 10 miles from its original site—intending to build an Islamic school, community center and grander mosque. A significant Muslim residential community evolved around the site in anticipation. .

Nashville International Academy, a fully accredited Pre-K through Grade 7 Islamic School is located at the site;the original plan of building the mosque never materialized due to changes in the center's strategic priorities and its funding base. ICN is now moving forward along with plans for a gymnasium..

Nashville Muslims are a well-represented ethnically diverse community. Greater Nashville is home to more than 35,000 Muslims and five major mosques, and over 40 nationalities.As the community grew, many of the former ICN members established their own community centers around town and ICN has gone through a period of reinventing its role to serve the greater Nashville community.

Current Challenges at ICN

ICN has some 280 voting members, while some 600 people attend Jumuah prayers, and some 4,400 people attend the Eid prayers. The leadership is concerned that some smaller communities have larger daily congregation for the five daily prayers, especially Isha. Many community related conversations, educational lectures, socializing and networking happens in the evenings at most thriving mosques in the United States and ICN would like to see an improvement in this area. Ramadan is peak time for ICN as the mosque gets close to 200 people at Iftaar every day. However, the momentum is lost post-Ramadan. While some drop in the attendance is quite normal in most communities but ICN's drop level within a month of Ramadan needs a follow up on how to strategically engage the community in an enhanced way..

Some current ICN challenges:
  1. Spiritual Leadership and Community Engagement: The turnover of the last several imams, and the current void of spiritual leadership and educational programs warrant a search for a dynamic imam who can serve as the symbol of the new ICN.
  2. The Bellevue land development vs. the renovation of the current mosque: While the school is running, Bellevue residents still await a new masjid. Some believe that affluent funders who can afford to live close to the original 12th south property have sidelined the project. Many others feel the need to renovate the original and existing 12th south facility as the city's oldest and main Islamic center. They also feel that a lot of resources have already been poured into a part of town that is not as centrally located as the main center. This original centrally located 12th south property serves as a strategic location for public outreach.
  3. Expanding the donor base and securing adequate additional funding has always been a top priority. However, the mosque board needs to outline strategies on how much is needed on various projects or how to secure the funding needed to take the community to the next level.
  4. Youth Development & Engagement: In 2013, a few influential second generation Muslims, born and raised in Nashville, understanding the importance of connecting to the youth, encouraged ICN to hire a youth director. While many appreciate the youth work, others are concerned about financial limitations, as the mosque also needs a full time office/operations manager, and a full time imam.
  5. Women Involvement: Many of the founders understand the importance of fully engaging women in masjid affairs. Now a constitutional provision mandates at least one female member in the executive and trustees boards. However, many within the ICN leadership recognize that the women's voice in future planning and community leadership is still inadequate.
  6. Coordination and Relationship with other masjid Communities: ICN is the city's mother organization from which many of the other mosques have evolved. Over time the ties with the other mosques have weakened and no major coordinated projects, other than the Eid prayers held in various locations (which are coordinated by only two of the four major mosques) have been initiated lately.
  7. Supporting the sizable neighboring Muslim student population: The area's universities — Vanderbilt, Belmont, Lipscomb, and TSU have sizable Muslim student populations. Recently,a few key ICN members met with Vanderbilt's chaplain's office and the religious affairs committee to share the needs of the Muslims students and discuss potential collaboration to improve Vanderbilt Muslim Life on campus. The university encouraged ICN to sponsor a chaplain who will be provided a formal office and recognition. While no formal discussion has taken place at the board level, ICN sponsorship is crucial for Vanderbilt Muslim Life in serving the needs of some 500 Muslim students there.
The Way Forward for ICN

Last year, ICN elected its new board. However, before moving forward, they need to first understand the community's frustrations, needs, wants, and expectations.

Many premier nonprofit and religious institutions engages third party consultants on organizational strategy, an alternative consulting model where all the stakeholders are engaged in a consulting engagement known as the Whole System Discovery (WSD). Following this model, a masjid can assign a temporary and neutral volunteer committee with the desired skillset as the “third party consultant”.One of the major drawbacks of this model is that the actual community stakeholders cannot always be as objective as third party consultants, hence the forums can be a bit chaotic and the process can take a little longer in the beginning. However, this method makes sense for many American mosques to secure a greater community buy-in and the benefits will outweigh the challenges in the long run.

Following is a list of rationale why this method makes the perfect sense for a community like ICN:

  1. Leadership Transition: An oft-repeated mistake in American mosques is the lack of procedure when transitioning leadership. Much of the previous leadership's work is lost due to lack of an efficient system of knowledge sharing — hence, the face-to-face transition becomes paramount. Many new board members, coming into leadership being frustrated about a specific area of concern and are not always objective about setting priorities for the community. Therefore, objectivity will be crucial for a community like ICN and the entire community should be consulted to build trust, understand the public pulse, and to set priorities for the community accordingly.
  2. Trust: Five years ago, a dispute over an imam, led some key members to build another mosque in the suburbs. Also, and no election was held during this period (until last summer) due to a lengthy constitution review. These incidents have certainly contributed to polarization and doubts in the general membership. The Whole System Discovery will help rebuild trust by hearing all members out and empathizing with their concerns.
  3. Buy-In: The community votes the new board, and their agreement is paramount in making major decisions that can propel the organization forward. Involving them from the very beginning, therefore, guarantees a greater level of buy-in on critical decisions.
  4. Building on Positive Energy: A more involved community will help create enthusiasm necessary to harnessing all the talents and dedication of its resourceful membership pool.

While everyone may not attend all feedback and brainstorming sessions, ICN can use the WSD principle that everyone does not have to at these events as long as a large sample of all members can be present. The new board will have to strive to ensure representation from all key segments of the community (i.e. mosque attendees, community leaders, seniors, women, young professionals, preteens, adolescents, emerging adults, school parents/staff, all ethnic groups, nonprofits, various school of thoughts, focus groups, converts, new Americans) to harness the maximum benefit out of the Whole System process.

Executing the Whole System Discovery (WSD) process at ICN

Differences in status, power, title, and function disappear during the process. The leadership joins these proceedings as a full participant, and assigns a non-elected community member or the neutral committee as moderator.

There has to be complete transparency. The boards have to prepare a good analysis of the financials and other important data to be presented to the community.

Employees and elected officials have to be prepared to answer all questions. While this is not a forum for complaints, it is an event where all have questions, and all have answers.

The leadership and moderator agree in advance on how to redirect repeated and distracting noise to listen to and gather all genuine and constructive feedback.

Any non-participating past, or present leaders, employees, or community members surrender their right to complain or be heard.

The Executive Board can assign and rely on the neutral independent committee to analyze and triangulate all the feedback data to understand the whole picture.

Set strategic priorities. Grab the low hanging fruits immediately (i.e. issues that are important but easy to fix).

Keep the community in the loop at every step of the way.

Create project committees and empower them committees for the approving process (i.e. approving budget).

Share minutes from committee and board meetings on an ongoing basis.

Building on the newly generated community energy, all new ICN projects should be executed with a high level of transparency and community engagement. This usually is a huge challenge for most communities. While many community leaders do not know how to efficiently gather actionable community feedback, the few that do still struggle to keep the community engaged throughout the community projects' lifecycle. In the absence of communication and support building, community members, when approached for donations for these projects, often express skepticism. To avoid this major pitfall, ICN can employ the RACI model framework to ensure all stakeholders are properly engaged throughout every project lifecycle. The RACI matrix describes the level of participation and authority for all stakeholders, can help the community assign a manager or a committee for each project and keep track of all aspects of the process. This is what RACI stands for:

R               =               Execution responsibility. Stakeholder responsible for getting the work done, not necessarily a decision maker but drives the group to make timely decisions.

A               =               Approval authority. Final approval on accepting the outcome of this activity. Makes decisions.

C               =               Must be consulted. As work is performed this stakeholder contributes information. While he does not make decisions, but is asked for input prior to decisions.

I                =               Informed after a decision is made. Wants to stay updated on progress of this activity.

Wadud Hasan is a founding member of several non-profits in Dallas. Hestudies Leadership & Organizational Performance at Vanderbilt University and loves to support organizations on their strategy and growth. Contact:


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Quebec Judge Wouldn’t Hear Case Of Woman Wearing Hijab

Loon Watch - 27 February, 2015 - 23:50


As Sana Saeed put it “Justice isn’t blind in Quebec” not surprising given the climate in Quebec. This is similar to another court case a couple of year back in Georgia when a judge jailed Sabreen Abdulrahmaan to 10 days in prison for wearing a headscarf to court.

Quebec judge wouldn’t hear case of woman wearing hijab

Judge Eliana Marengo is heard telling Rania El-Alloul courtroom is a secular place in audio obtained by CBC

By Steve Rukavina, CBC News Posted: Feb 26, 2015 4:28 PM ET

A Quebec judge told a woman appearing in her Montreal courtroom she would not hear her case until she removed her hijab.

In an audio recording of the proceedings obtained by CBC News, Judge Eliana Marengo is heard telling Rania El-Alloul on Tuesday that the courtroom is a secular place and that she is not suitably dressed.

“Hats and sunglasses for example, are not allowed.  And I don’t see why scarves on the head would be either,” Marengo says in the recording.

“The same rules need to be applied to everyone. I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding.”

El-Alloul was in court to apply to get her car back after it was seized by Quebec’s automobile insurance board, the SAAQ.

‘The judge should have known better. It’s not the first time somebody walks into a courtroom with a religious dress’- Sameer Zuberi, Canadian Muslim Forum’

The car was seized after police stopped El-Alloul’s son for driving with a suspended licence. In such cases, the board keeps the car for a month. If someone wants it back sooner, they have to appear before a Court of Quebec judge to make a request. That’s what El-Alloul was trying to do Tuesday afternoon.

When El-Alloul first appeared before Marengo, the judge asked her why she had a scarf on her head. El-Alloul replied that it was because she is a Muslim. The judge then said she would take a 30-minute recess.

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France: Atheist Jailed For Using Grenades To Attack A French Mosque

Loon Watch - 27 February, 2015 - 23:02

The assailant said “I am a Republican, an atheist, and what happened at Charlie Hebdo infuriated me.” Keep in mind that people have been sent to jail for over a year for simply speaking yet he gets a year in jail for throwing grenades. How would the charges and media coverage be if the roles were reversed?

Will the media now ask (not that they should) moderate atheists to condemn this act of terrorism I won’t hold breath.

Pensioner jailed for attacking French mosque

© AFP | Police outside a mosque in Le Mans, western France, after the building came under attack on January 7, 2015

A French court has sentenced a 69-year-old man to prison for throwing plaster grenades and shooting at a mosque in western France. The man said he had acted in anger over a deadly attack by Islamist gunmen on satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The court on Wednesday sentenced Jacques Chaillou, a former psychiatric nurse with no criminal record, to three years in jail. He is expected to serve only the first year as the rest of his sentence is suspended.

Chaillou launched four plaster grenades and fired a rifle at the mosque in the city of Le Mans on the night of January 7, hours after two gunmen killed 12 people in a deadly rampage at Charlie Hebdo’s Paris offices. There were no casualties in the mosque attack.

Chaillou, who has been detained since his arrest in mid-January, told investigators he “doubted” there would have been anyone at the mosque at the time of the attack.

On Tuesday he told the court “he was not proud” and described being upset by the death of the Charlie Hebdo journalists. The pensioner said he had been drinking and his action was “spontaneous”.

“I am a Republican, an atheist, and what happened at Charlie Hebdo infuriated me. [The Charlie Hebdo attack] is a barrier to the independence of the press in our country,” he said.

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Dan Cali correctly captures the double standards of the way this would have been covered had it been a Muslim.

Muslim Day in Oklahoma stresses political engagement despite growing anti-Islamic sentiment

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 February, 2015 - 20:55

Amid rhetoric from protesters and some legislators, event at state capitol meant to engage state’s estimated 40,000 Muslims in community discussions

A group of supporters formed a makeshift greeting line to escort Muslims into the Oklahoma state capitol for Friday’s first-ever Muslim Day as a smaller group of protesters heckled participants as they arrived.

The event was hosted by the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations as a means to foster civic engagement among the state’s estimated 40,000 Muslims.

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France: Israeli Embassy and its PR Man “Elad Ratson” Threaten Bloggers with Bombing

Loon Watch - 27 February, 2015 - 20:32

By Emperor

The Israeli embassy in France and Elad Ratson, its Director of PR (Public Relations) has threatened websites and bloggers, among them, Al-Kanz, (a website that’s previously tipped us to Islamophobia in France) with a Gaza style bombing. (hat tip: MuslimMatters)

Elad Ratson’s LinkedIn Profile:


The image created by Israel embassy website ( and shared by its PR man:


By @EladRatson: “Islamists in France struck by a targeted Israeli strike”

Al-Kanz and its founder Fateh Kimouche have been targeted by many who want to see the website shut down. French blogger Oliver Pechter writes:

Hassen Chalghoumi, « moderate imam », with links to radical zionist organisations, has asked the Israeli government to take down his website (july 2013).

Frederic Haziza, journalist for the radical right wing Jewish « Radio J » radio station and French public TV station LCP, interviewing Jean-Christophe Cambadelis (leader of the socialist party) asked, earlier this month and in the aftermath of the killing that took place in a kosher store, how we should put an end to online « holocaust denying and antisemitic campaign » on the net, naming Al Kanz among the « bad guys » A crude lie : Al Kanz, let’s repeat it, has condemned clearly antisemitism and criticized those of his fellows that support bigot comedian Dieudonne M’Bala (2010, 2014). Nevertheless, Kanz « kept calm and carried on »

Pechter notes that the threats have continued and now you have Israel’s French Embassy getting involved in upping the ante., a website edited by the Israeli Embassy, wrote an article called « Islamists in France struck by a targeted missile from Israeli PR ». The so called missile is « symbolic » and refers to a stereotyped Hasbara video that was largely mocked on social networks these last days: « to which side do you belong ? ».

This is all in the backdrop of a new Hasbara (propaganda) campaign initiated by the Israeli Embassy in France that seeks to counter perceptions of Israel as uncool, murderous and suffocating of the Palestinians.

In doing so they think it is joyous to show a missile striking Gaza and creating a giant cloud of flames and debris, including no doubt human limbs and charred bodies.

This is a week when the Israeli Embassy in France launched on YouTube and Facebook a campaign entitled ” Whose side are you on? “against fundamentalism and Defence of Democracy (video shown at the end of article). Real missile targeted to Islamists but also anti-Semitic and anti-Zionists of all kinds, this Israeli communications campaign is a big hit. She made ​​the buzz on social networks and the numbers reflect this success. 78,994 views on YouTube 709,665 views and 1,748,480 people on Facebook Our article on this video has also become one of the most read and shared the month with more than 2600 shares…. (

The Israeli embassy and its spokesman think the usage of such imagery to make their point is going to win them sympathy and support. Somehow they have also translated the number of views and shares into a victory, even though most are the result of their video being parodied and lampooned.

According to Pechter the websites targeted are not all of the same stripe but Eldad and the Israeli Embassy wish to conflate them all together in an attempted delegitimization.

Among other websites (two far-right antisemitic websites and, most visited Muslim website, known for his opposition to Muslim Brotherhood), we can see Al Kanz logo broken in two. At first sight, the picture (Gaza attacked) is, at the same time disgusting and childish. But it has to be taken seriously in a country with already so many « tensions » as France.


After Al-Kanz called both the Embassy and Eldad Ratson out they removed the links from their social media but have not removed the article, nor have they apologized.

The article was promoted by the embassy on social networks. When it provoked a « twitter battle » between Al Kanz and Israeli PR director, they withdrew the links, but not the article. Nor did they apologize.

The embassy is also directly connected to France’s chapter of StandWithUs: is hosted by the « Ambassade d’Israël » (Israel’s embassy), as we said, and edited by Laurent (« Epelbaumas »), French leader of « Stand with us », in charge of « digital communication » at the Israeli ambassy. « Stand with us France », unlike its US branch, is a tiny organization. Its website have been hosted by the Israeli ambassy in the past,  a new illustration of the links between SWU and the Israeli FM.

Whois registar of « », another website edited by the Ambassy

Whois registar of
« », another website edited by the Ambassy

« Laurent », editorial director

« Laurent », editorial director

Interestingly after we tweeted @EldarRatson about his message of hate, he blocked us:


He wants you to know that despite happily posting articles with pics of indiscriminate bombing and then sharing them all over the media he is really cool and Israel is cool because he really loves sea life and coral reefs.

Mohammed Emwazi's university refuses to cancel hardline preacher talk

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 February, 2015 - 20:16

University of Westminster event to go ahead on Monday despite petition signed by 3,000 students to stop Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad ‘preaching hate on campus’

The London university attended by ‘Jihadi John’ militant Mohammed Emwazi has refused to bow to pressure from 3,000 students to cancel a talk by a controversial preacher accused of describing homosexuality as a “scourge” and “criminal act”.

The University of Westminster’s Islamic society was forced to postpone the event entitled ‘Who is Muhammad?” over security concerns on Thursday night after Emwazi was unmasked as ‘Jihadi John’.

The general thing is it’s not a crazy extremist university. Not at all. Everyone I know is condemning this Jihadi John

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Bangladeshis protest after atheist writer Avijit Roy hacked to death

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 February, 2015 - 19:35

Hundreds rally against fundamentalism in Dhaka as Islamists claim responsibility for murder of prominent US-Bangladeshi blogger

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Dhaka in protest at the murder of a prominent secular American blogger of Bangladeshi origin who was hacked to death with machetes after he allegedly received threats from Islamists.

Avijit Roy and his wife, Rafida Ahmed, were attacked on a crowded pavement as they were returning from a book fair at Dhaka University. Ahmed, who is also a blogger, lost a finger and remains under treatment at the Square hospital in Dhaka.

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India's Hindu BJP to share power in Jammu and Kashmir with Muslim PDP

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 February, 2015 - 18:29

Narendra Modi embraces Kashmiri Muslim Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as new state government takes power in Srinagar after December elections

The Indian prime minister’s Hindu nationalist party is preparing to enter government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in a ground-breaking political move that will see it form an alliance with a local party representing the alienated Muslim population.

Narendra Modi sealed the deal for his Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) on Friday in characteristic style by enthusiastically embracing Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the 79-year-old Kashmiri Muslim head of the People’s Democratic party (PDP).

Related: Narendra Modi’s remarks on religious tolerance spark national debate in India

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The dangerous folly of trying to divide France’s Jews and Muslims | Nabila Ramdani

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 February, 2015 - 16:31

The French Jewish leader Roger Cukierman is playing with fire in allying himself with Marine Le Pen’s National Front

Five teenagers were arrested last week in eastern France for desecrating more than 300 Jewish graves. In a shocking attack, tombstones were smashed up and swastikas daubed in red paint in a cemetery in the Bas-Rhin department, where 2,605 Alsatian Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the second world war. Less reported was that all of those caught were from traditional middle-class French families, and none had anything to do with Islam.

Roger Cukierman, a leading member of France’s Jewish community, would certainly not be interested in such inconvenient details. In an interview on Monday, the notoriously provocative head of the Crif (Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France) said: “We need to say things clearly: all acts of violence against Jews today are committed by young Muslims.” Though he offered the token qualification, “of course, it’s a tiny minority of the Muslim community”, Cukierman later used the term “Islamo-fascism”, and stated that Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National (FN) and a white Christian, was “blameless” when it came to antisemitism.

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