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Family of Abdul Numan Haider have been sent death threats, police say

The Guardian World news: Islam - 30 September, 2014 - 06:33

Police condemn threats and say family of teenager shot dead by police in Melbourne must be left alone to grieve

The family of a teenager shot dead by police in Melbourne last week have received death threats, police said on Tuesday.

The parents of Abdul Numan Haider, who stabbed two officers outside Endeavour Hills police station last week before he was shot, were threatened over the weekend. Haider,18, was being investigated by a terrorism task force, and had had his passport cancelled.

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Hassan’s Tale, Part 16 – Kidnapped

Muslim Matters - 30 September, 2014 - 05:05

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15

See the Story Index for a chronological guide to all the stories.

I began pulling treasures from the safe one by one. There was an envelope that contained loose diamonds – large ones that sparkled brilliantly even in the low light of the cottage. A leather case contained plastic sleeves that held gold coins, including South African Krugerrands, Swiss Francs and Canadian Maple Leaf coins – all pure gold. A separate box contained actual gold ingots in fifty gram weights.

A small cardboard box contained five carved figurines cushioned by foam pellets. Each was about the height of my hand. They were made either from ivory or bone – I couldn't tell – and depicted various historical figures that might have been Maronite saints. The only one I recognized was Saint Maron himself. I examined the Saint Maron figurine. On the bottom, in tiny Arabic script, were the words, “Khaleel Haddad. 1502.” I realized that I was looking at an artwork created by one of my own ancestors over six hundred years ago.

I was stunned. These assorted treasures must be worth a small fortune. Where had they come from? Were they my father's share of the Haddad family fortune? Had he already been wealthy when he left Lebanon? But then why did he live so simply, running a gas station while mom sold purses through the mail? Was he in hiding? Or hiding his assets from the government?

I shook my head, having no answers to these questions.

Aside from the treasures, there were four more things in the safe: a photo album, an envelope containing documents, a blue canvas-bound journal, and at the very bottom, a battered black briefcase with a combination lock. I tried the latches on the briefcase, but it was locked. Great. Yet another combination to figure out.

I examined the photo album. It contained exactly what I had hoped for: family photos of me, Charlie, our parents, and some of our relatives in Lebanon. Gold and diamonds were fine, but this was the true treasure.

There were photos of me and Charlie playing, including one of me, dripping wet, and chasing Charlie in the backyard. I stared at it for a second, then I remembered and smiled. I'd been practicing forms in the backyard when Charlie had sneaked up behind me and dumped a bucket of ice water on my head.

There were photos of my school graduations and belt promotions, and Charlie's as well; all of us at Swensen's, eating ice cream; family outings to the beach, and even photos of my aquarium and the beautiful tropical fish I had nurtured so carefully. The funny thing was that we'd had a family photo album. I remembered browsing it on summer afternoons, with Charlie fighting me for control over it. And I remembered seeing many of these scenes, but not these particular photos. Apparently every time we'd developed a roll of photos my father had divided them in two. One group went into the family album, and the rest into this secret album. As if he had known that the other might not survive.

I stared at each photo for long minutes. It had been so long since I had seen my parents' faces. My father, with the laugh lines around his eyes, always using a cane to walk. My mother, with the serious grooves alongside her mouth, mitigating her movie-star beauty. I felt a combination of wonder and heartbreak. Sitting here, looking at her face in the photos, I wanted so badly to see her again. I would hug her as tightly as I could, and tell her that I was okay, and that I was so sorry about Charlie.

I put the album aside and took a deep breath. I picked up the envelope full of documents and emptied it on the kitchen table. It contained papers that one might expect to find in any homeowner's safe, with a twist. Interestingly, there were two sets of identity documents for my entire family, one under the name Haddad, and another under our assumed name of Ibrahim. There were birth certificates for myself and Charlie, old passports, and social security cards, though the latter were under the name of Ibrahim only.

Two property ownership deeds were clipped together. The first was the deed of ownership of the house, indicating that the house had been paid for in cash. I'd always assumed that my parents had taken out a mortgage like everyone else, but obviously with the kind of savings my father had possessed, that would not have been necessary. For the first time, it occurred to me to wonder what had become of the house after my parents' deaths. Who had taken ownership of it? Who had profited? I shrugged. The Porters owned it now, and that was fine with me.

The second property deed bore the name of an entity I had never heard of – Red Day Incorporated. The deed was for a section of land in Riverside County, zoned for industrial use. I puzzled over that for a minute, until I realized that it was the abandoned rail yard where my mother had taught me to shoot. So my father had known about that all along. Or my mother had told him at the end, after they reconciled. But what was Red Day?

That question was solved as I sorted through the papers. I found incorporation documents for Red Day. It was a foundation based in the Cayman Islands. The officers were listed as – to my surprise – my entire family, under our surname Ibrahim.

I was not about to revive my old identity in order to access the foundation, but I did want to know if the property still belonged to Red Day. If the property taxes had not been paid, the state of California would have repossessed the land and re-sold it. I was thinking about my mother's guns. If they were discovered it could lead to a police investigation. Or perhaps they'd been discovered long ago and the case was filed away in a cold-case box in a police warehouse. It might be better to leave it alone.

I was tired of examining documents, but there was only one left. It was an account statement from an Austrian bank called Volks Group. No name on the documents. Only a long account number, a series of alphanumerical characters handwritten by my father, and a phrase:  “Share the house.” It was a numbered account. I'd heard of these from a guy I knew in El Reno who'd been sentenced to thirty years for his role in the savings and loan scandal. All you needed was the account number, the access code and the code phrase, and you could access the account and wire money out. Even the bank employees did not know who had opened the account.

The opening balance, according to the documents, was fifty million Austrian schillings. I had no idea how much that equaled in dollars. It could be a thousand dollars or enough to buy a small country, for all I knew.

I'd saved the blue canvas-bound journal for last because I knew what it was. I'd seen my father writing in journals like this many times, and I'd sneaked a peek over his shoulder occasionally. If this was like the others, it was a combination of diary, poetry and philosophical musings.

I opened it randomly. Printed on the page in my father's neat handwriting was a poem:

Water in the Well

There will always be water

in the well for you,

even when my lips are parched.

There will be an ark

when the troubles rise

and you don't know where to stand.

There will be strong hands

to lift you, and smiles,

and a heart split wide,

with the sea

rising and falling inside.

There will be rain

from a clear sky.

There will be water in the well

for you, my love.

 

Kamal Ibrahim, 1980

I read it three times, soaking up the words. It was written for my mother, no doubt. My father had loved her so much.

With trembling hands, I leafed through the journal. I found diary entries, more poems, and thoughts on non-violence, sincerity, defeating racism, the meaning of justice, and more. As I neared the end I saw something that made me go utterly still. My father had written me a letter. It was dated only a few weeks before his death. I'm paraphrasing, but this is more or less what it said:

 

My beloved son Simon,

It's my hope that you have discovered this journal late in life, along with the others that I have yet to write. I hope that I lived a long and fruitful life, and that you and I came to know each other as men.

I am proud of you. Sometimes I watch you when you don't notice. I observe you teaching a junior student in Hapkido class, playing with Charlie, or tending to your fish, and I see a boy with a huge heart, boy brimming with love and faith in himself and the world. Watching you is like seeing a piece of my soul, grown into a new person. I love you. And I know your mother feels the same.

Your mother and I sometimes disagree, but she is my angel. Everything she does stems from her deep love for her family. I pray that when you grow up, you find a woman as fiercely protective and loyal as she. That's no easy task.

There are two great challenges in life, Simon. The first is life itself – the blows it deals you, the setbacks, the hurricanes that knock you off your feet, no matter how strong you are. The way people can betray and disappoint you. Lost love. Sickness. Death.

My plan has always been to wait until you are eighteen to explain the family history. So by now you know. I chose the name Ibrahim for our family because the Prophet Ibrahim was the father of us all.

Being a descendant of Antoine Haddad carries a burden of guilt, shame and fear. Aside from that, we each carry our regrets like anchor weights on our hearts. We have our private shames, moments of failure, and times when we lost control and said or did something we shouldn't have.

This brings me to the second great challenge in life, which is forgiveness.

Simon, I don't worry about your ability to weather the storms of life. You are a fighter. You're stronger than me; stronger than your mother, even. You're a superhero in the making, son. I see it.

True strength, though, lies in forgiveness. Whatever anger you harbor against others, let it go. Anger and resentment make us brittle and cynical, and narrow our vision, making our world small. We become bitter and quick to judge. These negative emotions are poisons that kill us day by day, from the inside out.

Forgiveness opens the lungs and lets us breathe. It releases our hearts to beat freely, and lets the weight fall from our backs.

I know that this is easy to say and hard to do, but we must search our hearts for every vestige of bitterness and resentment, and forgive.

Ask God Almighty for forgiveness for anything you've done that you regret, then, let it go. Others have erred against you because they are human; you have harmed others because you are human. Breathe in and out, and let your regrets escape with each breath. Do this as often as you need.

Forgive me Simon, for any way in which I've hurt you, embarrassed you or let you down. Forgive your mother. She's not perfect, but by now you know that no one is. Forgive your brother. Brothers fight sometimes, but you are Charlie's hero. Forgive your wife, if you have one, and your children. When families forgive each other it creates a safe, peaceful space. That peace ripples out into society, touching everyone we encounter. By that means we change the world.

This last one is hard. Being a Haddad means having enemies by default. People will hate and fear you because of your name. I'm asking you to forgive the ones who denounce and injure you. Do it not for their sake but for your own heart, and for God.

Simon, be gentle with yourself and others. The world is bursting with hatred, divisions, and suffering. It is torn by war and conflict. Let us change this by starting with ourselves. Go into the world today and be gentle, and forgive, because when you forgive, you live.

Love,

Your father,

Kamal Ibrahim

 

The post Hassan’s Tale, Part 16 – Kidnapped appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Hajj: A Culmination of a Lifetime’s Work

Muslim Matters - 30 September, 2014 - 05:00

Ḥajj is the journey of a lifetime. This popular statement has become somewhat of a cliché. There was a time when people would save for a lifetime to fulfil this dream and ambition, and for many it remained unrealised. This is still the case for people in many parts of the world. Along with this, for many people Ḥajj is not necessarily that turning point in life, not all people will necessarily become more religious post Ḥajj, and yet for others it is more a status symbol and a prestigious title; Ḥaji.[1]

I do not mean by the above that people no longer value Ḥajj or take it seriously. On the contrary, they do. Yet even for these people, Ḥajj often has a limited effect which wears off after a while. This is perhaps because in this fast paced world where we are accustomed to life in clicks and swipes (smartphones, tablets etc.), we expect that Ḥajj will solve all our 'piety' needs like a pill. What we fail to realise is that in order for Ḥajj to be a catalyst for change and a turning point, it has to be something into which we put much effort and work, often years worth.

You may well ask here, what I mean by all this? It is interesting to note that there are two Prophets who are closely related to the Ḥajj and from whom the rites of pilgrimage are taken. The first is the Prophet Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him)[2] and the other is our Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). When studying both of their lives, we see that for them the Ḥajj was the culmination of a lifetimes work, effort, sacrifice and achievements, and not just something which happened after a few weeks or months. Let us analyse this in more detail.

It is said that the Prophet Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was born in Babylon where he grew up in a society prevalent with paganism and idolatry. According to some historians, his father Āzar, used to make and sell idols for a living. The Prophet Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) being upon the natural way of tawḥīd shunned the practices of his people. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) throughout the Qur'an chronicles the different challenges Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) faced.

First, he approached his father, and with utmost respect and wisdom gently exhorted him to leave the worship of idols. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions this in Sūrah Maryam, verse 41 onwards, “And mention in the Book Ibrāhīm. Indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet. When he said to his father, 'O my father, why do you worship that which does not hear and does not see and will not benefit you at all?'”[3] Despite his numerous pleas to his father, his petitions fell on deaf ears. Instead his father responded, “[His father] said, 'Have you no desire for my gods, O Ibrāhīm? If you do not desist, I will surely stone you, so avoid me a prolonged time.'”[4] Thus, Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) faced his first challenge; being disowned by his own father.

Undeterred, Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) continued with his mission of Islam by next calling his people to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), and when they rejected his call he waited to show them the futility of their beliefs. We then have the famous story of the smashing of the idols. “So he made them into fragments, except a large one among them, that they might return to it”[5] When Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was brought before his people for questioning, he answered, “He said, 'Rather, this – the largest of them – did it, so ask them, if they should [be able to] speak.'”[6] Despite attesting to the inherent weaknesses of their gods, his people remained obstinate in their beliefs, instead choosing to cast Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) into a raging pyre. “Allah said, 'O fire, be coolness and safety upon Ibrāhīm.'”[7] Thus, Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was not only disowned by his father but was then exiled from his land.

Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) next travelled to another land, the Levant according to some historians and came across the celestial worshippers. He then engaged in a debate with them using logic just as he had done with his father and his people. “And thus did We show Ibrāhīm the realm of the heavens and the earth that he would be among the certain.”[8] Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) mentioned to these people the futility of worshipping the stars, moon or sun as each one cannot control when it is visible or invisible to the naked eye, let alone anything more substantial. Instead he proclaimed, “Indeed, I have turned my face toward He who created the heavens and the earth, inclining toward truth, and I am not of those who associate others with Allah.”[9]

As such, the Prophet Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) moved from challenge to challenge including facing the tyrant ruler of his time, Nimrūd. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) finally bestowed upon Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) the son he craved for so long in old age. Yet shortly after this, Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was commanded to take his wife and newborn son to the barren desert land of Mecca and leave them there. A land in which there was no food, water, shelter or people. It was not even on a normal travelling route whereby people would pass from time to time. Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) obeyed the command of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), sacrificing for His sake. An almost impossible task to perform under any circumstances, but such is the strength of Ibrāhīm's faith.

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) provided for Ismāʻīl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) and his mother, and a group of people came upon them and settled there. Mecca grew into a town and the baby Ismāʻīl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) grew into a boy. His father, Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) returned this time having seen a dream in which he is slaughtering him. “And when he reached with him [the age of] exertion, he said, 'O my son, indeed I have seen in a dream that I [must] sacrifice you, so see what you think.' He said, 'O my father, do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah wills, of the steadfast.'”[10] Once again, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) rewarded Ibrāhīm's submission by replacing Ismāʻīl with a ram. These are just some of the challenges that Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) encountered in his life's journey.

Years pass and by now Ismāʻīl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) had grown into a man. Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) returns once more, now in very old age, with the command to raise the foundations of the Ka'bah. He asks Ismāʻīl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) for his help. “And [mention] when Ibrāhīm was raising the foundations of the House and Ismāʻīl, [saying], 'Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.'”[11]

Thus the culmination of a lifetime of achievement, sacrifice and submission to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) was the building of the Ka'bah. Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) was then ordered to proclaim the Ḥajj.

Our own Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) received revelation in the Cave of Ḥirā'. He was then ordered to call his family to Islam, “And warn, your closest kindred.”[12] After this, he stood on the Mount of Ṣafā and openly invited his tribesmen to Islam. This then began a series of attacks, assassination attempts and wars.

The Companions (ranhum) were oppressed, some were tortured, others were killed, others were split from their spouses and children and yet others were stripped of their possessions. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) himself was attacked, spat at and the entrails of camels placed on his back. He was mocked, ridiculed and assassination attempts were made. The Muslims suffered economic sanctions and underwent much difficulty.

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) lost his uncle Abū Ṭālib, his wife Khadījah, two daughters and all of his sons during his lifetime. His other uncle, Ḥamzah was martyred. The Muslims fought a number of battles and many other smaller skirmishes. He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was poisoned, lived with very few material possessions and weeks would pass by in his house without a fire being lit.

To expand on the biography of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) here would take too long. It can perhaps be best summarised in the following narration on the authority of our mother, ʻĀ'ishah (ranha) who asked the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), “O Messenger of Allah, has there ever come upon you a day more difficult than Uḥud?” He ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) replied, “I have faced many things from your people, but the most difficult day was the day of 'Aqabah, when I went to the people of Ibn 'Abd Layl ibn 'Abd Kilāl.[13] They did not respond to my call so I left feeling distraught until I reached Qarn al-Thaʻālib without realising. I raised my head and there was a cloud above me. I looked and saw Jibrīl who called me. He said, 'Indeed Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has heard the response of your people and what they said, and He has sent the angel of the mountains so you may command him as you please.' The angel of the mountains gave salāms to me and said, 'O Muhammad, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has heard the response of your people and what they said, and I am the angel of the mountains. Your Lord has sent me to you so that you may command me. What do you command? If you wish, I will crush them between the two mountains.' The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, 'Rather I hope that Allah will extract from them those who will worship Him alone and not associate anyone with Him.'”[14]

Thus, as a result of the Prophet's ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) faith and trust in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), his patience, determination, sacrifice, mercy and good character these same people of Ṭā'if would accept Islam in his lifetime, just as the Makkans accepted Islam after the Conquest of Mecca. After over twenty years of striving for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) performed his first and only Ḥajj, telling the people, “Perhaps I will not meet you again after this year.”[15] Similar to the life of the Prophet Ibrāhīm 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), Ḥajj was once again the culmination of a lifetime's work.

Upon reflecting on the life of these two great Prophets of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and when the Ḥajj occurred in their lifetimes, we realise that in order for us to get the most out of Ḥajj we need to put in just as much. Ḥajj cannot simply be about those two or three weeks in Saudi Arabia, but our preparation must start as many weeks, months and if possible years before our actual pilgrimage.

Let us reflect on the lives of these two Prophets, contemplate on the magnitude of this great pillar of Islam and prepare ourselves for that honour of being the guests of Allah so that our Ḥajj is truly a journey of a lifetime.

 

 

 

[1] I realise that these statements are somewhat sweeping generalisations but I would opine that this is still the case for many Muslims, although I recognise that there are many for whom this is not the case.

[2] His son, Ismāʻīl 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him) is included with him.

[3] 19:41-42.

[4] 19:46.

[5] 21:58.

[6] 21:63.

[7] 21:69.

[8] 6:75.

[9] 6:79.

[10] 37:102.

[11] 2:127.

[12] 26:214.

[13] This is the name of the tribe of the people of Ṭā'if who stoned the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) when he went to preach Islam to them.

[14] Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, no. 1795.

[15] Sunan al-Nasā'ī & Sunan Ibn Mājah.

The post Hajj: A Culmination of a Lifetime’s Work appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Michele Bachmann to Obama: Islam is the problem and you need to ‘declare war on it’

Loon Watch - 29 September, 2014 - 21:48

michele-bachmann-at-value-voters-summit-800x430

Can you believe Rep. Keith Ellison has to deal with these people?

By Scott Kaufman, Raw Story

At the 2014 Value Voters Summit, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann (R) claimed that there is no such thing as “moderate” Islam, and that President Barack Obama failed the American people by deciding not to declare war on it.

Speaking of her appointment to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, she claimed that she “had a front-row seat to a world set on fire,” she said, “from Islamic jihad. And what we’ve seen is one disaster after another for the Obama-Clinton policy team.”

“In their fantasy world, being a smaller, diminished, less-powerful United States is somehow supposed to bring about global tranquility.

“Well, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, we want our 1980s foreign policy back!” she shouted. “Peace through strength! Peace through strength! We don’t want your failed ‘Russian reset’! We don’t want four Americans dead in Benghazi!”

“Nothing will change the world more than your foolish lifting of sanctions on Iran as they are racing to complete nuclear weapons — and they will,” she said to Obama, “if you stay the course.”

“Unbelievably, we have the first anti-Israel president in American history,” Bachmann said, continuing to address the absent Obama. “That’s your legacy!”

“It’s no wonder Hillary Clinton couldn’t think of an answer when asked on her book tour to name her greatest accomplishment as Secretary of State,” she continued. “Well I have one — permanent retirement!”

“Quite simply, because she basically fails to inspire confidence in just about anything, and don’t forget — she’ll be Barack Obama’s third and fourth term as president.”

Bachmann bemoaned “the rise of radical Islamic jihad — though that’s redundant,” she said, conflating all forms of Islam with its most radical elements, much like Oklahoma state senator Mike Bennett did last week.

She claimed that Muslims are engaged in “spiritual warfare, and that what we must do is defeat Islamic jihad. Sadly, our president has the wrong prescription. He even fails to acknowledge their motivations for bringing out jihad.”

“Yes, Mr. President, it is about Islam!” she said as the audience applauded wildly.

“And I believe if you have an evil of an order of this magnitude, you take it seriously. You declare war on it, you don’t dance around it. Just like the Islamic State has declared war on the United States of America.”

“You kill their leader,” she continued, “you kill their councils, you kill their army until they wave the white flag of surrender. That’s how you win a war!”

“We’re going to have to answer to the next generation — why we failed to defeat the totalitarian evil of our day.”

“Here is the ugly truth” about moderate Muslims like the Syrian rebels the president considered arming, she added.

“They will never be vetted. And they certainly aren’t all moderates. Nearly half of the Syrian rebels we trained have already taken up the cause of Islamic jihad. Half! So why in the world are we giving them American weapons?”

Her entire speech can be viewed on the Values Voter Summit feed via YouTube below.

Arkansas Firing Range: “No Muslims Allowed”

Loon Watch - 29 September, 2014 - 21:40

jan-morgan

Something tells me Jan Morgan craves attention. Apparently, every nobody has received unverifiable “death threats.” Why hasn’t she informed the police if that is the case?

In an act that will no doubt result in lawsuits, The Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range in Hot Springs, Arkansas, has declared itself a “Muslim free zone” due to concerns over domestic Islamic terrorism. The ban was announced yesterday by range owner Jan Morgan in an article posted to her web site where she cites ten points justifying her position.

Among the points cited are prior attacks in the United States that the federal government refuses to classify as terrorism, including the Fort Hood attack, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the last week’s Oklahoma City beheading. Morgan has also received death threats in the past for her writing about Islam.

Dead pig left outside French mosque

Loon Watch - 29 September, 2014 - 21:08

Pontarlier-mosque-desecration

via. IslamophobiaWatch

The mosque at Pontarlier in Franche-Comté in eastern France was subjected to an attack on Monday, when a dead pig was left outside the building.

Le Nouvel Observateur reported that Tahar Belhadj, president of the regional federation of the Great Mosque of Paris, had condemned this deliberate desecration of a place of worship and denounced the “chronic Islamophobia” at work in Franche-Comté.

Mosques in the Franche-Comté capital of Besançon were repeatedly targeted with racist, fascist and Zionist graffiti last year – in February, August and November – and in December a pig’s head and pig’s ears were left outside a mosque.

See also “Pontarlier: Un porc jeté devant la Mosquée”, Islam & Info, 22 September 2014

And “Le cochon, outil de profanation préféré des islamophobes”, Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France, 23 September 2014

Schoolgirl jihadis: the female Islamists leaving home to join Isis fighters

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 September, 2014 - 20:52

Hundreds of girls and women are going missing in the west, reappearing in Iraq and Syria to bear children for the caliphate

Hundreds of young women and girls are leaving their homes in western countries to join Islamic fighters in the Middle East, causing increasing concern among counter-terrorism investigators.

Girls as young as 14 or 15 are travelling mainly to Syria to marry jihadis, bear their children and join communities of fighters, with a small number taking up arms. Many are recruited via social media.

Continue reading...

Guardian Live: Hatreds Old and New as it happened

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 September, 2014 - 17:21

Should Britains Muslims and Jews feel constrained by the events in the Middle East? Are Islamophobia and antisemitism at all time highs? The Guardians Jonathan Freedland and the Huffington Post UKs Mehdi Hasan came together to talk about the current atmosphere in the public sphere and what each community needs to do to be heard

Just weeks after the latest direct conflict between Israel and Gaza dominated headlines, The Guardian and The Huffington Post UK brought together Jonathan Freedland and Mehdi Hasan - two of Britains leading commentators to talk about the current atmosphere between British Muslims and Jews; their relationship prone to be held hostage to events happening in the Middle East.

Mehdi Hasan wrote for the Guardians Comment is Free section until he left his role as a senior editor the New Statesmen to become political editor of the Huffington Post UK in 2012. In his final article, he wrote about British Muslims feeling alienated from participating on the public stage because of the prejudice Muslim commentators, like himself, encountered:

I used to encourage Muslim students to get involved in the media or in politics, but I now find it much harder to do so. Why would I want anyone else to go through what Ive gone through? Believe me, Muslims arent endowed thicker skins than non-Muslims.

Each time I come across the kind of abuse he cites I mentally replace the word Islam with Judaism and Muslim with Jew. I know how I would feel if I was bombarded with long screeds denouncing Jewish faith and customs as sinister, alien, backward or bonkers, just as I know how I would feel if I were told Jews need to change their ways if they are to be accepted into polite society... So yes, Im glad to stand with Mehdi Hasan, even when we dont see eye to eye.

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Blasphemy laws are deadly serious we must stand up for Mohammed Asghar | Frankie Boyle

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 September, 2014 - 14:27
A 70-year-old Briton suffering from paranoid schizophrenia is facing a death sentence in Pakistan. This is no joke

It is part of my job description to be offensive. I can, if I wish, make a joke hoping that Alex Salmond, now he is at the end of his political life, lays 20,000 fish eggs and dies. I can make a joke pointing out that David Cameron told off Sri Lanka for human rights abuses committed with weapons Britain sold it like Ronald McDonald calling you a fat bastard.

The most I risk from saying such things is alienating a stranger. The same cannot be said of Mohammed Asghar. He is 70, and suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and admitted to a psychiatric hospital in Edinburgh. When they discharged him he went to Pakistan, perhaps to escape what he thought were the undue restrictions on his liberty. Before he had been there long four years ago now, in 2010 he was facing a death sentence for blasphemy.

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Book Review: Sin is a Puppy that Follows You Home

Muslimah Media Watch - 29 September, 2014 - 07:00
Reading Hajiya Balaraba Ramat Yakubu’s Sin is a Puppy That Follows You Home was to me like watching a Nigerian movie, in particular one on Africa Magic Hausa, a channel devoted to Hausa language movies. I could picture popular actors and actresses in the roles of different characters and imagined them bringing these roles to [Read More...]

Living with the Enemy? No, they're just an average Muslim couple | Jazz Twemlow

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 September, 2014 - 02:50

Railing against everyday Muslims for the crimes of extremists is like screaming at kids kicking a ball because of your (justifiable) hatred of Fifa, as one SBS program shows

Are you terrified? I am. I just punched a moth because I thought it might have been a terrorist in moth costume. Are you scared? Its now become easier for me to point out the few square millimetres of my trousers that havent been pebble-dashed by the excrement this government has been conjuring forth.

With the high terror alert, and increasingly draconian security laws, this has become the uniform of Team Australia: The Excremental Pantaloons of Fear (or was that a Harry Potter book?). The only way George Brandis could make the coalition any scarier would be to hire a clown in running make-up to sit in on parliamentary sessions. A clown played by John Malkovich.

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Australia and the veil: burqa-clad Muslim women feel fearful for their own safety | Zeinab Zein

The Guardian World news: Islam - 29 September, 2014 - 02:10

My research into the everyday citizenship experiences of burqa-clad Muslim women revealed a widespread sense of personal insecurity and societal disempowerment

There has been a recent hash out of an old debate about whether Australia should ban Muslim women from observing Islamic practices of face veiling. The burqa, a head-to-toe whole body covering, has elicited calls for an outright ban in public places.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the act of wearing the burqa was publicly declared as un-Australian by a number of politicians and public commentators such as Fred Nile, Michaelia Cash and Michael Smith. These politicians and public commentators sought to align face veiling with the oppression of women and national security, based on claims it could be used for hiding weapons and devices that posed a risk to public safety.

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MuslimKidsMatter | My Identity

Muslim Matters - 28 September, 2014 - 16:50

My Identity

by Madihah Hasan

m_leadership_identity

I write this post as a reminder to myself first and foremost and then to you as Allah SWT says, “And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.”

I am a Muslim. But what does that mean? What does it entail? Is it just a label? Is it just something that I've ticked on a personal form every once in while? Or is it my identity? Is it who I am? Does it make me?

Living in a non-Muslim country can often cause us to forget our roots and our true identity. We may begin to lose it and forge a new one in order to conform to society's standards of how we should act and what we should wear, all the while forgetting that being a Muslim means we already have a set of rules regarding these things. Islam is not just a set of rules however, as it is holistic and governs every part of our lives, from the way we eat to the way we talk. Islam encompasses everything and yet we forget this and adopt a new set of rules and guidelines on how to live, ones which are determined by what society wants and not our Creator: Allah SWT.

But does losing our identity bring us happiness? Does it fill us? The answer is no; it just leaves us empty.  Being a Muslim means to submit your entire self to Allah SWT. The One who fashioned you, created you and made you who you are. But maybe we forgot this. We have the greatest gift ever being born Muslim yet how many of us are actually Muslim by nature and not just by name? All of us are guilty of choosing what others want instead of what Allah SWT has ordered us to; however we still have time to repent and turn back.

We don't have to submit to this dunya with its false lies and its false glitter because we can submit to Allah SWT and get the gold of Jannah.  When will we realize that this world has nothing to offer but temporary and well-disguised 'happiness'? This happiness is not real. It's fleeting and when it leaves, it leaves us so cold and alone, trapped in the darkening sadness of being away from Allah SWT.

But why can't we enjoy this dunya and just live for this world? Isn't that the purpose of our life? If not, then what is our purpose? If we answer this question then in sha Allah we no longer have to walk upon this Earth feeling as though we will forever remain lost and in a state of confusion. We can break free from the shackles of dunya.  We can be happy once more.

Allah SWT says in the Qur'an, “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.”

And that is it. That is why you and I are here. We are here to worship Allah SWT and please Him SWT with everything we do. We were all created to know and love Allah SWT and our job in this world is to get closer to Him SWT through righteous actions. These righteous actions do not just consist of praying and fasting and the other 5 five pillars but rather any act that is done to please Allah SWT is an act of worship. This means that even cleaning up around the house is a good deed if done for the right reasons!

So now we know why we're here, then everything else becomes simple. If our purpose is to worship the one true God then choosing Him SWT over dunya should be easy because we realize that we were sent here to fulfill our purpose and not waste our time playing.

However Shaytaan is not going to let us get away that easily. He's not going to let us just live a sin free life. Now his whispers will really intensify and he will try to get us off the right path. He will attack us from every way and in any shape or form, but remember, the only power he has over us is the power we give him.  So be wary of his tricks and his ways. Always ask Allah SWT to guide and help you against his whispers.

As for practical ways to retain your Muslim identity, firstly keep righteous company. Personally it was only due to the righteous sisters who I met that helped me to be more committed to my deen and strive to get closer to Allah SWT. They encouraged me to be a better Muslim and they helped me to realize that my purpose on this dunya isn't to just have “fun” but rather it's to please Allah SWT. So find friends who remind you of Allah SWT and who will help you in your deen for they are priceless and really will impact your life for the better in sha Allah. Another way is to listen to lectures by Shuyukh whether it be on Youtube or actually attending halaqahs at your local mosque.  This will help to increase your knowledge on Islam and thus enable you to implement the commands of Allah STW and the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammed SAW. This then allows no room for your personality or habits to become ruined by society's ever changing definitions of what is right and wrong.

In sha Allah this benefited you and me as we are all striving and struggling as youth to hold onto our identities as Muslims and not allow society to change us.  It is not easy but Allah SWT is with us and so we should never despair or feel hopeless. May Allah SWT make it easy for us all.  ameen.

About the Author:

Madihah is a 16-year-old girl in her first year of college in the UK.  She enjoys writing and wants to take writing seriously to benefit others in a larger way.  She currently blogs at  ummhudaifah.wordpress.com where she writes articles, stories, and poems.  

(Attention, writers!  Muslim Kids Matter is a regular feature at Muslim Matters.  New articles for kids are posted every other Sunday.  You're welcome to send in your entries to muslimkidsmatter@muslimmatters.org.)

The post MuslimKidsMatter | My Identity appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

Isis and Syria: Western hypocrisies have been driving support for extremism | Nick Cohen

The Guardian World news: Islam - 28 September, 2014 - 00:05
Western foreign policy is only shoring up the Syrian leaders brutal regime

After the military corrupted the English language with collateral damage, Id like to introduce the equally dainty and equally misleading collateral benefit. I hope you like the smooth way the euphemism oozes from the lips; the imperceptible subtlety with which it shuffles off responsibility.

The phrase implies, without being so crude as to say so out loud, that the west does not intend mass murderers to benefit from its wars any more than it intends civilians to die in its airstrikes. If when the accountants of violence make their reckoning, the dictators are as triumphant as the civilians are dead, that is no concern of ours.

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Niqab in Camden: where are the Muslim voices?

Indigo Jo Blogs - 27 September, 2014 - 17:20

Picture of a white woman wearing a white headscarf and separate face-covering, with an embroidered 'border' under the eyes.The niqab is not just a fashion statement | @guardianletters | World news | The Guardian

These two letters appeared in today’s Guardian in response to an article in yesterday’s edition by Gaby Hinsliff, a former politics editor at the Observer, which argued that people who wear unusual or disapproved-of clothing, including niqaab, should not be denied an education even if banning niqaab could be justified in other contexts. The second letter raises the issue that the veil could make it difficult for deaf fellow students or teachers to interact with this girl; the first is just the standard, uninformed white woman’s opinion about what the niqab ‘represents’:

However, she wilfully ignores what it means to cover schoolgirls’ faces: the face-veil is no more just “a scrap of fabric” than a gag is, it is an iconic manifestation of an ideology which holds that women’s faces are analogous to their genitals as a source of shame which must be hidden from all men other than their husbands.

If it is a fashion choice, it is that of Isis, the Taliban, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab, who – along with our Saudi allies – brutally enforce this particular deletion of women from public life. Tolerating misogyny is one thing, but it is depressing that a certain patronising mindset seems to cover its own liberal face so it cannot see and challenge it.

Neither of the names below these letters are Muslim ones. It appears that when it comes to discussing a young Muslim woman’s education, their voices should not be heard. It is the same every time this ‘controversy’ arises, and when there is purportedly a Muslim woman’s opinion offered, it is almost always a secular one, often a “Muslim in name only” (e.g. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown). Experiences of niqab are often by women who “tried it on” for a few weeks and reported that it was a hellish experience, particularly because they experienced more public hostility than they usually do (the connection between this and attempts to ban it, and the erasure of Muslim women’s voices from the discussion, is never made). A few years ago, the Guardian printed interviews ([1], [2]) with a teacher in Loughborough, Rahmanara Chowdhury, who wore niqab (and taught “interpersonal skills, teamwork, personal development” to teenagers), but such opportunities for real Muslim women to speak are rare. A few years ago I published an interview with a young woman I knew who had worn niqab to school in Canada from age 17 (although she has since stopped wearing the niqab); you can find that here. I personally knew a young woman who wore niqab at my sixth form college in the early 1990s; she attended some of the same classes as me and was in my tutor group. Her attire did not cause any trouble or inconvenience to anyone and it did not seem to hinder her from participating in classroom discussions, etc.

The niqab has nothing to do with any ‘ideology’; it has to do with Islam, and forms of it have been found in Muslim societies since the beginning, although the niqab worn today was probably invented more recently (and is a lot more practical than wrapping a large head-wrap around one’s face). Calling something an ‘ideology’, of course, makes it sound less legitimate and more threatening, a practice popularised by the likes of Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz. It does not “hold that women’s faces are analagous to their genitals”; even according to the opinion that holds that women covering their faces in public is mandatory, women can show their faces to other women and to close family members. (Others hold that they can actually show their faces to other men, but not show them in public mixed situations.) Neither men nor women are allowed to show their genitals to anyone except their spouses, or to medical staff when necessary.

The comparison with ISIS etc is also ridiculous. The Taliban, as is well-known, enforced the Afghan burqa, which bears no resemblance to the niqab and which is almost unknown among Muslim women anywhere beyond Afghanistan and neighbouring parts of Pakistan. Boko Haram kidnap girls and kill boys; ISIS murder peaceful people so as to provoke a war. The vast majority of women who wear the niqab in the UK and elsewhere are in no way connected to any of these groups. In fact, not all the jihadist preachers who have been active in the UK have said that niqab is compulsory, while some who opposed al-Qa’ida and related violence have said it is. Women in many countries where niqab is normal go to school and college, work, run businesses, drive and vote (with the obvious exception of Saudi Arabia).

As for the concern for deaf students or teachers in the college, it is not known whether there are any deaf people in her classes and if there are, it is possible that she may agree to take it off if they cannot communicate with her any other way. (The same was the reason why Jack Straw asked a woman to take her niqab off during a constituency surgery, but this detail got lost in the controversy which led to an explosion of hostility against women who wear the niqab; it has since become quite rare outside a couple of ‘safe’ Muslim areas such as Whitechapel. I have not seen one in Kingston for years; it was common among Muslim students when I briefly studied there in the early 2000s.) It is a red herring which has been raised as an excuse, and I have not heard of campaigners for deaf people’s rights, or disability campaigners in general, make any issue of this. If you are not deaf, you can still hear what she is saying — you just have to listen. It is disappointing that a newspaper which is aimed at educated and intelligent people, with a cover price to match, prints ill-informed and prejudiced drivel like this and silences the people affected. Women should not be paying the price for acts of terrorism perpetrated by a minority of male Muslim extremists; the niqab has never been proven to be a factor in any terrorist incident here.

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Man, 21, charged over entering Islamic school armed with knife

The Guardian World news: Islam - 27 September, 2014 - 01:05

Police say accused went to Campbelltown police station on Saturday morning and was arrested

A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged after allegedly walking into an Islamic school armed with a knife in Sydneys south-west.

The man allegedly entered Al-Faisal College in Minto just after 2pm on Thursday, asked if it was a Muslim school and spoke to a female teacher before leaving.

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Muslim leaders fear anti-Islam violence could escalate to Cronulla-style riot

Loon Watch - 27 September, 2014 - 00:17

Australia-anti-Muslim-backlash

via. IslamophobiaWatch

Mounting incidents of anti-Muslim violence in Sydney will ignite a Cronulla-style riot if authorities don’t step in to quell tensions, Muslim leaders have warned. Community members have begun keeping logs of Islamophobic incidents and say some people are resorting to vigilante-style justice in the wake of counter-terrorism raids in Sydney and the fatal shooting of a terror suspect in Melbourne.

On Friday, police released CCTV footage of a man who they believe stormed into an Islamic school in Sydney’s south-west and threatened children with a knife the length of his forearm. Parents at Al-Faisal College in Minto said police swarmed to the school on Thursday afternoon after the man walked in, waving the knife around and asking if it was a Muslim school.

The incident came as police dropped their investigation into a separate assault claim by an Australian Defence Force member. The 41-year-old naval officer claimed on Thursday he had been assaulted by two Middle Eastern men outside his Bella Vista home at 6.30am but police deemed the report to be false. Defence force chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin issued an apology for the incident, particularly to the Middle Eastern community, for “any angst this has caused”.

Mariam Veiszadeh, who has launched Islamophobia Register Australia, said there had been a “surge in Islamophobic incidents” in Sydney. She said she has been urging police to act on the incidents before one erupts into large-scale violence. Community activist Rebecca Kay has also been keeping a log of violence such as cars being vandalised and people being abused in the street.

Ahmed Kilani, editor of the Muslim Village website, said community leaders met with state and federal police on Wednesday to warn them the atmosphere in Sydney was reaching boiling point. He said many people in the Muslim community were adopting a vigilante-style response. “The temperature is rising very quickly,” Mr Kilani said. “The fear is that something could very easily ignite an event like the Cronulla riots.”

Tensions are also rising in other states following counter-terrorism raids in Brisbane and the shooting of 18-year-old Numan Haider by police in Melbourne. In Brisbane, a man was charged on Friday after telling a Muslim woman to “go back to your country” and an Islamic centre was allegedly sprayed with menacing graffiti.

Sydney Morning Herald, 26 September 2014

See also “Refugees threatened at Syd soccer training”, The Australian, 26 September 2014

And “Anti-Islamic teens threaten to behead Gold Coast man they mistook for a Muslim”, myGC, 26 September 2014

Brisbane mosque graffiti (2)

Brighton mosque laments deaths of two teenagers turned jihadis in Syria

The Guardian World news: Islam - 26 September, 2014 - 20:43
Ibrahim Kamara, 19, died just months after Abdullah Deghayes, casting an unwelcome spotlight on the local Muslim community

Mothers in colourful headscarves shoo their children inside al-Medinah mosque as the call to prayer flows from a window above, while men enter via an adjacent entrance.

Worshippers at the mosque, on a hill overlooking the sea in Brighton, are shocked and saddened by the death of Ibrahim Kamara, a regular here until a few months ago.

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Protection From All Evil

Muslim Matters - 26 September, 2014 - 20:22

As-salaamu alaykum,

One of my great teachers, Shaykh Waleed Basyouni (may Allah protect him) and his friend were spending some time reading Qur'an over someone who was possessed with jinn. Subsequently, by the will of Allah, the brother who was possessed had been cured. As the three of them were walking, Shaykh Waleed suddenly said that he heard a lash, as if someone was struck with a whip, and the brother who had been possessed jumped a few steps forward. Shaykh Waleed immediately rushed to the brother and uncovered his back. He found a mark on his back due to the hit that he heard. (Note that the brother had been with the Shaykh for at least the last 24 hours, which allowed Shaykh Waleed to confirm that this mark was due to the hit he just heard.)

The Shaykh had recognized how angry the jinn was after the man was freed from them and later on as the brother was possessed once again and Shaykh Waleed continued to recite Qur'an on the brother, he spoke to the jinn and asked if it was them who had struck the brother on his back. The jinn said yes and when the Shaykh asked why, the jinn responded with a strange voice stating that he hated the man and was so angry. The Shaykh asked the jinn why he did not hit him and his friend Adel as they had been nearby. The jinn replied that he had wished to do the same to them but was unable to because the Shoyoukh had said a du'a for protection during the day, which made the jinn unable to reach or harm them.

Subhana Allah. What was the du'a?

I was blessed to see Shaykh Waleed Basyouni after and he told me the du'a'a that he had read and that helped protect him by the will of Allah. This is what he said –

Rasoola Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught us to recite several du'a'as and supplications, whereby we can gain the protection of Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala from all evil. He said in this authentic hadith in Saheeh ibn Majah:

“There is no person who says, in the morning and evening of every day: (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ) In the name of Allah (الَّذِي لاَ يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَىْءٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاءِ) with Whose Name nothing on earth or in heaven harms (وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ) and He is the All-Seeing the All-Knowing (ثَلاَثَ مَرَّاتٍ) 3 times (فَيَضُرَّهُ شَىْءٌ) and is then harmed by anything.”

Allahu akbar!

Remember to recite this 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening for protection from all evil.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي لاَ يَضُرُّ مَعَ اسْمِهِ شَىْءٌ فِي الأَرْضِ وَلاَ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

Bismillaahil-lathi la yaDorro ma'asmehe shay'on feel-ArDe wala fees-samaa' wa who-wa As-samee'o Al-Aleem.

Do your best to share this with your friends and family. May Allah bless you and protect you.

Your Brother Majed Mahmoud

The post Protection From All Evil appeared first on MuslimMatters.org.

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