A State of Fasting, A Lowering of Our Nafs

altmuslim - 1 July, 2016 - 00:29
This is Day 25 of the #30Days30Writers 2016 Ramadan series. By Kabir Helminski Ramadan has so many dimensions: purification, sacrifice, community, the still and subtle emptiness of the heart. It reorients us in so many ways. Ramadan is less something that we do, than a force field we enter and are transformed by. But it [Read More...]

Shariah High Court Appoints First Women Judges In Malaysia

Loon Watch - 30 June, 2016 - 17:44


When most think of Shariah they have a simplistic understanding of it as a misogynistic law system that oppresses women and minorities. Little do they know of the egalitarian and compassionate spirit that is supposed to underpin its logic. It looks like in Malaysia strides are being made to resurrect that original ethos.

via. The Malay Mail Online

SHAH ALAM, June 27 — Two women judges from Selangor have been appointed to the Shariah High Court, a first in Malaysia, the Star Online reported

Noor Huda Roslan, 40, and Nenney Shuhaidah Shamsuddin, 41, received their appointment letters from the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah during a ceremony at the Istana Bukit Kayangan.

According to the news portal, the Shariah chief judge Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said the appointments showed the Sultan’s concern about Shariah Court matters.

Dr Mohd Na’im added that the appointments had nothing to do with gender, and the two women were qualified for the job.

Seven other women were made Shariah Lower Court judges.

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Gregoire Moutaux: Frenchman Planned Mass Terrorist Attacks

Loon Watch - 30 June, 2016 - 16:22

Gregoire Moutaux


via. BBC

A Frenchman detained last month with a large cache of arms was planning mass attacks during the Euro 2016 football tournament, which starts on Friday, Ukrainian officials say.

The man, identified by French media as Gregoire Moutaux, 25, was arrested on the Ukrainian border with Poland.

Intelligence chief Vasyl Hrytsak said the man had planned 15 attacks and was driven by ultra-nationalist views.

He had amassed guns, detonators and 125kg of TNT, Mr Hrytsak said.

Mr Hrytsak listed bridges, motorways, a mosque and a synagogue among the suspect’s potential targets. He was being prosecuted for arms smuggling and terrorism, he said.

His home in north-east France has been searched by police, who – according to media reports – found a T-shirt bearing far-right insignia. The Ukrainians say he was motivated by hatred of immigration and globalisation.

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My Most Memorable Ramadan: An Ode to My Mother

altmuslim - 30 June, 2016 - 01:09
This is Day 24 of the #30Days30Writers 2016 Ramadan series. By Aisha Rahman Strangely, the most impactful Ramadan of my life was one that I did not live through. Several months ago a friend of mine shared an article with me about how pain, trauma and other strong emotions can be passed along from one [Read More...]

BNP Posts Jo Cox ‘Muslim’ Slur As Racist Attacks Soar

Loon Watch - 29 June, 2016 - 21:51



via. The Yorkshire Post

The far-right British National Party has posted leaflets to people living near the West Yorkshire town where Labour MP Jo Cox was killed, accusing her of taking “misguided action” by “helping Muslims”, the Commons has heard.

Labour’s Paula Sherriff said the “horrendous” leaflets, which had gone to her constituents in Dewsbury, said Mrs Cox was wrong to help people who may go on to join Islamic State, also known as Isis.

Mrs Cox was shot and stabbed in Birstall on June 16, a week before the EU referendum.

Former BNP member Jack Buckby is to contest the by-election in the Batley and Spen constituency Mrs Cox represented, despite commitments from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Ukip not to field a candidate.

Home Office Minister Karen Bradley committed to meeting Ms Sherriff to discuss the “utterly unacceptable” leaflets and to look at what “specific action” can be taken against the BNP.

Reports of hate crime have soared by 57% in the wake of the Brexit vote, according to the National Police Chiefs Council.

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The NY Times: IDF’s Order on Shooting Captured Comrades, All a “Mistake”

In an evasive and misleading New York Times story today, Isabel Kershner attempts to explain away a notorious Israeli army directive that has allowed troops to kill one of their own rather than allow for his capture.

 This procedure, known as the “Hannibal directive,” has been in play since the 1980s and has accounted for the deaths of an unknown number of Israeli soldiers who found themselves in enemy hands. Kershner, however, would have us believe that the directive was not intended as a license to kill and that the deaths have been the result of a misunderstanding.

 Readers of the Times must look elsewhere for a clear exposition of the notorious procedure. Journalist Richard Silverstein and Ruth Margalit of The New Yorker have both written well-documented analyses of the directive. In effect, Margarit concludes, Israel has been “signalling to the military that a dead soldier is preferable to a captive one.”

 Silverstein has now taken aim at today’s story in the Times. His piece critiques the claims set forth by Kershner and provides the straightforward account of the Hannibal directive missing in the newspapers pages.

 Silverstein’s Tikum Olam blog post follows here:

IDF Chief Abandons Hannibal Directive Which Approved Killing Captive Israeli Soldiers

June 29, 2016

Richard Silverstein

This news came like a lightning bolt: after three decades the IDF has finally abandoned a military directive which approved the outright murder of Israeli soldiers who were captured by the enemy during wartime.  The Hannibal Procedure, as it’s called, in addition invokes massive firepower to destroy the territory to which the captors have fled with their captive.  That is how Black Friday came about during Operation Protective Edge: after the capture of Hadar Goldin, Israel shelled the neighborhood to which the captors fled.  They also shelled the hospital to which the captors might’ve taken themselves and Goldin if any of them were wounded.  In the ensuring slaughter, at least 150 Palestinians were killed.  Amnesty International has called this massacre a likely war crime.

As I’ve written here and elsewhere, the reasons for Hannibal are complex.  But they boil down to an almost pathological aversion to exchanged convicted Palestinian militants for dead or living captured Israeli soldiers.  For decades, the IDF and Israeli society adopted the approach also observed by the U.S. military: leave no man behind.  So when an Israeli was captured Israel did everything possible to free him including negotiating prisoner exchanges.

But as Israeli politics drifted farther and farther rightward, nationalist diehards began objecting vociferously to freeing “terrorists” with “blood on their hands.”  In other words, Palestinians convicted of killing Israelis in terror attacks.  When faced with the prospect of abandoning the long-cherished traditional belief that redeeming captives was one of the greatest mitzvot (“religious commandments”), Israelis preferred to do so rather than face the shame of releasing Arab terrorists.

This is a further example of the cheapening of the value of life in Israeli society.  A willingness to sacrifice the life of the individual in order to protect the honor of the nation.

After Gilad Shalit’s release, which won the corresponding release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, the Netanyahu government appeared to make a decisive break with the past.  Palestinian prisoners would no longer be exchanged for Israelis.  That’s one of the reasons Israel has refused to bargain for the release of two Israeli citizens held for several years in Gaza (along with the bodies of two soldiers killed during Operation Protective Edge).

But even more critically, it explains why the Hannibal Procedure became standard operating procedure during Protective Edge.  It was invoked at least twice: in the case of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, who are the two whose bodies are held by Hamas.

Though Israeli and foreign media focus rightly on the barbarity of the massacre that followed Hadar Goldin’s capture, they entirely ignore the equally disturbing murder of Israeli soldiers by their own comrades.  That’s why you’ll find Amos Harel falsely portraying Hannibal in his Haaretz report (note below he also misidentifies the Israeli combatants as “kidnapped” rather than captured prisoners):

The order calls for soldiers to thwart captivity even at the expense of a fellow trooper’s life.

“…The procedure requires soldiers to try and [sic] thwart being captured even if doing so – for instance, by shooting at the abductors – might endanger the captured soldier’s life.  Though the procedure doesn’t permit soldiers to intentionally kill a kidnapped comrade, many officers and soldiers in the field have interpreted it in this way.”

Isabel Kershner in her NY Times report also euphemistically calls Hannibal the use of “maximum force to foil captures.”  It “foils captures” in the same sense that American soldiers said in Vietnam: “to pacify the village we had to destroy it.”

She also calls Hannibal “the use of maximum force to prevent the capture of Israeli soldiers, even at the risk of harming them.”  Note how she tiptoes around the fact that the goal of Hannibal is not just to “risk harm,” but to actually end the possibility the soldier will live and later be used as bait in a prisoner exchange.

In this passage, she claims outright, offering no supporting evidence that:

“The procedure does not allow for the intentional killing of soldiers to prevent their            capture, or for action that would lead to the certain death of captive soldiers, although many soldiers and commanders are said to have interpreted it that way.”

Note how she explains away the certain death of most of the Hannibal victims by saying IDF subordinates misinterpreted the Procedure.  The problem with this explanation is that the IDF is a professional army in which there is a strict command and control process.  Subordinates don’t improvise when it comes the lives of their comrades.  The notion that rogue soldiers take the law into their own hands and kill their fellow soldiers is preposterous.

My own Israeli security sources and Israeli journalists like Ronen Bergman have explicitly contradicted her.  Yet she and willing stenographers like Harel continue spreading the comforting lies about Hannibal.

The chief of staff is dumping Hannibal as a precursor to a report by the State controller, which will review IDF conduct in Israel’s 2016 war on Gaza.  In his report, a draft of which has been publicly released, the controller recommends abandoning Hannibal because of the likelihood it contravenes international law.  He is referring to the massive firepower the IDF brings to bear against entire neighborhoods as happened on Black Friday.

But this official analysis doesn’t even deal with the essential depravity of Israeli troops killing their own in order to avoid the future prospect that Israel may have to trade Palestinian prisoners to get the soldier or his body returned.




Filed under: Hannibal Directive Tagged: Gaza, Hannibal Directive, Israel, Israeli army, New York Times, New Yorker, Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam

Australia: Mosque Attacked in “act of hate”

Loon Watch - 29 June, 2016 - 20:35


A mosque was attacked in Perth, Australia and a favorite slogan of Islamophobes everywhere, “F*** Islam,”  was tagged onto the mosque.

via. CNN

Cars were set alight at a Western Australian mosque on Tuesday night as children prayed just meters away in what a local imam described as an “act of hate.”

Vandals also scrawled “F*** Islam” on a wall outside the mosque in Thornlie, Perth, which is adjacent to the Australian Islamic College. Hundreds of local Muslims had gathered there for evening prayers.

Western Australian police confirmed four cars were set on fire using an accelerant. One of the vehicles had been completely destroyed in the blaze.

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Incidents of anti-Muslim abuse up by 326% in 2015, says Tell MAMA

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 June, 2016 - 07:00

Monitoring group’s report paints picture of an explosion of anti-Muslim hate, with women disproportionately targeted by mostly teen perpetrators

Incidents of anti-Muslim abuse and attacks in public areas of the UK rose by 326% in 2015, with women disproportionately targeted by mostly teenage perpetrators, according to a new report from the monitoring group Tell MAMA.

More than one in 10 of all incidents reported to the organisation took place in educational establishments, with public transport in city centres another cluster area.

Related: UK faith leaders unite in condemning post-referendum rise in xenophobic abuse

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I welcome media scrutiny of homophobia – but it is hardly exclusive to Muslims

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 June, 2016 - 04:24

News Corp publications should be applauded for calling out homophobia but it is blatant hypocrisy to single it out among Muslims and ignore it elsewhere

In the week following the prime minister’s Iftar dinner, the News Corp media published several articles condemning prominent Australian Muslims for homophobic statements they’ve made in the past. Campaigns against homophobia have faced ongoing challenges in Australia, with venom and animosity directed at LGBTI communities from all ends of the spectrum.

For example, Lyle Shelton, from the Australian Christian Lobby, likened gay marriage to “unthinkable” Nazi atrocities. Senator Bob Day of the Family First Party believes the anti-bullying program Safe Schools is a “gay lifestyle promotion program”; Wendy Francis, also of Family First, has declared that, “… children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse. Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse.”

Related: Malcolm Turnbull regrets inviting homophobic sheikh to Iftar dinner

Related: Morrison and Bernardi's claims of victimhood are clever. But they're also dishonest | Jason Wilson

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Firefighters battle blaze after car set alight outside Perth mosque – video

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 June, 2016 - 02:20

Firefighters work to douse a car set ablaze outside a mosque in Perth on Tuesday night, as hundreds of worshippers attended a prayer service just metres away. The car exploded shortly after 8pm in the alleyway alongside the Australian Islamic College in Perth’s southern suburbs. Anti-Islamic graffiti was also sprayed on a wall beside the vehicle

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Suspected car bomb detonated outside Perth mosque as hundreds pray inside

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 June, 2016 - 23:06

No one injured in attack, which included anti-Islamic graffiti being sprayed on the fence outside the mosque in Thornlie in Perth’s southern suburbs

A suspected car bomb was detonated outside a Perth mosque on Tuesday night as hundreds of worshippers attended a prayer service inside.

No one inside the Thornlie Mosque was injured when the white 4WD exploded shortly after 8pm outside the Thornlie mosque, near the Australian Islamic College in Perth’s southern suburbs.

Perth Mosque Explosion - pictures of a car bomb which was detonated outside a place of Islamic worship in WA. #sun7

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Mayor and Muslim| From Sadiq Khan To Naheed Nenshi

Muslim Matters - 28 June, 2016 - 22:50

It is not very often that the word Muslim is juxtaposed to something positive in global news. Sadiq Khan's election as the first Muslim mayor of London was one of those refreshingly rare occasions earlier last month. Despite being the underdog in the race, Khan's commanding victory represents a significant milestone not only for British Muslims but for Western Muslims in general.

Perhaps the most uplifting story in this election process was that it was yet another decisive rejection of the politics of fear. Khan's right-wing opponents tried their utmost to use his religious identity against him. They accused him of being linked to religious extremists and tried to undermine his issue-based campaign; even Prime Minister Cameron sunk to a new low and participated in the character assault. Londoners, however, failed to fall prey to these dirty tricks and entrusted Khan with the stewardship of their city.

Sleazy tactics that rely on demonizing Muslims have been repeatedly tested by right-wing groups in a number of Western nations. While these tactics have succeeded in riling up vocal support from small segment of the population, they have been repeatedly rejected by a plurality of voters in a general election.

The most recent examples are from Canada where former Prime Minister Stephen Harper along with his cronies ran an ugly national campaign that was centered on spreading fear of Muslims. From propositions to ban the niqab to initiatives about reporting “barbaric cultural practices”, the Tories played every trick in the anti-Muslim playbook. Despite these efforts, Canadians by and large rejected this message and handed a majority to Harper's arch-nemesis, Justin Trudeau. Similarly, in Quebec, the Parti Québécois ran a divisive campaign promoting a new set of laws that would prohibit Muslims from wearing religious garb in public. They too were rejected by voters and suffered heavy losses on election night.

Khan London

Sadiq Khan's victory only solidifies an emergent trend of Muslims who have succeeded in taking public office in Western democracies. Khan won't be the first Muslim mayor of a major metropolitan city. Calgary's Naheed Nenshi has been the mayor of the city since 2010 after he took office as a result of a major youth-driven grass roots campaign dubbed the 'Purple Revolution'. Nenshi remains the most popular politicians in the country thanks to his upbeat personality, progressive policies and transparent track record of outstanding public service.

Similarly, Rotterdam's Ahmed Aboutaleb has been mayor of Rotterdam since 2009. Born in Morocco, Aboutaleb immigrated with his parents to the Netherlands at the age of fifteen. He was the first Muslim immigrant to take leadership of the city and despite initial skepticism, he has maintained the post ever since. Aboutaleb has played a particularly important role in allaying fears with the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of political violence in Europe.


In addition to municipal politics, Muslim politicians have done well at the federal level as well. In the US, Keith Ellison is the most notable example who has been a congressman since 2007 and has advocated unapologetically for American Muslims. Several examples can be noted from commonwealth nations and Europe as well. Most recent highlights would have to be Maryam Monsef, the first Canadian Muslim woman to be a cabinet minister, and Humza Yousef who became the first Muslim minister elected to Scotland's parliament at only age 25.

What is perhaps more promising is the fact that most of these Muslims have taken office in areas predominated by people of other faiths. Naheed Nenshi became mayor in a city located in the heart of Canada's Christian conservatism. Sadiq Khan certainly benefited from London's large Muslim community which makes up 12% of the population; but he couldn't have landed victory without winning support from the other exceedingly diverse groups that make up the metropolitan city. Similarly, Keith Ellison represents an area of Minnesota which is predominantly white and Christian, as does Maryam Monsef who hails from the small city of Peterborough, Ontario.

1297205498851_ORIGINALSuccess of individuals like Khan and Nenshi can be seen as positive hints for what lies ahead. For starters it is a step toward enfranchising young Muslims who have borne the brunt of the post-9/11 Muslim scapegoating. It also flies in the face of the parochial narrative of 'Islam vs. the West' sold to us for the past two decade by extremists from both Muslim and non-Muslim factions alike.

The triumph of these leaders, even with an unfavorable skin colour and faith, should help inspire a generation of Muslims youth to be engaged in their communities. The multifaceted identities they embody are a far cry from the binary vision set forth by the fundamentalists who fail to reconcile the unique identities of Muslim minorities living in secular democracies; it challenges the false narratives about the inability of Muslims to become fully enfranchised citizens in the West.

This phenomenon is also a clear refutation of the critics of multiculturalism, such as PM David Cameron, who claim that the strategy has failed. On the contrary, it can be argued that multiculturalism is the only way forward in our diverse societies. The alternative to multiculturalism is French-style nationalism which has largely struggled to empower young Muslims to become fully enfranchised in their communities; this approach has only lead to ghettoization of European Muslims. It is only through a multiculturalism which organically embraces Muslims into a nation's social fabric that we might hope to create healthy societies free from the mires of fear, isolationism and hate.

The recent passing away of Muhammad Ali serves as poignant reminder to the world, and especially to America, about the fruits that the Islamic tradition has to offer. Ali was a fighter who was bold enough to believe in himself, often rather brashly, despite the oppressive power structures that surrounded him. He was proud of his black and Muslim heritage, and was successful because of his affiliation to those traditions – not in spite of them.

There may be hundreds of Muhammad Ali's out there who might not have the gift of being able to see past the prejudices that hinder them from realizing their full potential. If the world wants to see another Muhammad Ali, it is pertinent that we extend the same trust, love and respect to this burgeoning new generation of Muslim leaders who will be marking their places in history in the years to come.


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