Muslims and Islamophobia
Many readers took issue with the pejorative term "knuckle draggers" that I used to describe those who protested against Hassan Shibly, who spoke about Islam at Steinbrenner High School. Never mind the protestors have slandered Shibly by calling him a terrorist — I'm sure he'd swap that term for knuckle dragger. I have spoken with Shibly several times, and I have researched the facts surrounding the government's labeling of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Shibly leads its local office) and the Islamic Society of North America, and do not believe that he or either of those groups support terrorism….
The number of Muslims living in Madison County may be small, but they represent 20 percent of the world population. Beshir says it only makes sense to learn more about this faith shared by millions of people. "What we believe in doesn't need to be agreed upon by everybody else, but it will help for the majority to know more about the minority," he says. Through greater knowledge, he hopes will come greater understanding and acceptance…..
General Martin Dempsey speaks during a briefing at the Pentagon
The Pentagon suspended the course in late April when a student objected to the material. The FBI also changed some agent training last year after discovering that it, too, was critical of Islam. The teaching in the military course was counter to repeated assertions by US officials over the past decade that America is at war against Islamic extremists, not the religion itself.
"They hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit," the instructor, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley, said in a presentation last July for the course at Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk,Virginia. The college, for professional military members, teaches mid-level officers and government civilians on subjects related to planning and executing war.
Dooley also presumed, for the purposes of his theoretical war plan, that the Geneva conventions that set standards of armed conflict, are "no longer relevant". He adds: "This would leave open the option once again of taking war to a civilian population wherever necessary (the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki being applicable to the Mecca and Medina destruction decision point)."...
Islamophobia is an ideological phenomenon that has taken place across Europe -- in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Great Britain and elsewhere -- and has become the core belief uniting right-wing groups. The Salafists, for their part, constitute a small group in Germany. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the country's domestic intelligence agency, estimates that there are only about 1,000 militant Salafists in the country. "In contrast to the right-wing extremists, the Salafists profess not to have a political agenda," Miliopoulos says. "Rather, they seek a manifestation of Islam in the world according to their own -- purely spiritual -- vision. From the point of view of our society, however, that can lead to violent Islamism, and as such is very political."....
As France prepares for a new chapter in its political and social history, with the decisive victory of François Hollande of Socialist party, Helene Irving from the At Home in Europe project spoke to people in France working on issues of social inclusion about the significance of what has passed to date and what the future may hold.
What role do you believe xenophobia, the fear of foreigners or outsiders, has played in the French presidential election campaign so far?
Marwan Muhammad, the spokesperson for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France: The campaign for the presidential election has been mostly focused on immigration and xenophobic issues. The Front National has been asking questions and the other parties have just had to answer the questions in a different manner, but they have all been following the Front National’s political agenda. So, of course it gives them a future advantage … there is no unemployment problem anymore, there is no housing problem, there is no social problem in the country because everyone’s attention is focused on phenomena such as the halal meat business, the presence of immigrants in the country and the place of Muslims and Islam in France nowadays. …
Programme Host: Are Non-Muslims allowed to preach their religion and to build their
places of worship in an Islamic State? If yes, then why building of Churches
are not allowed in Saudi Arabia whereas Muslims are building their Mosques in
London and Paris?
Dr. Zakir Naik’s Answer: In some Islamic Countries – for example Saudi Arabia propagation of
other religions is prohibited. Even construction of any place of worship is
also prohibited. So many Non-Muslims ask that when we allow Muslims to preach
and build their Mosques in our countries then why we are not allowed to do so
in these Muslim countries? In my reply, I ask the Non-Muslims that suppose you
are a principal of a school and you intend to select a math teacher.
Three candidates come and you ask them what
will be the total of 2+2? The first replies that 2+2=3 and the second one
answers that 2+2=4. And the third one answers that 2+2=6. Now I ask these
non-Muslims that will they allow the candidates to teach in their school who
says that 2+2=3 or that 2+2=6? They say that no. I ask why? They say because he
does not have the correct knowledge of mathematics.
The FBI has employed informants ever since its inception as the Bureau of Investigation in 1908. In 1961 director J. Edgar Hoover established the Top Echelon Criminal Informant Program, in which FBI field offices were instructed to develop live sources in the “organized hoodlum element.” By 1975 the Church Committee found that the bureau was employing more than 1,500 domestic informants....
Farrukh Dhondy is a British writer, playwright and activist of Indian Parsi descent
Whether God inspired, or ideologically motivated, the murders perpetrated by Hitler, Breivik, Al Qaeda and ideologies of religious separation and slaughter, he didn’t do a good job of providing them with a strategy. Any idiot can see that the bombing of the World Trade Centre or the killing of innocent people on the London Underground will contribute not an iota to the fall of Western civilisation. This is just self-indulgent murder. …
Muslims view all the above initiatives as alarming developments and call them war against Islam launched in the West. But in reality, these notions are completely baseless. No doubt, attacks on madrasas and masjids are an outcome of Islamophobia, but these are the handiworks of a handful of misguided individuals, not of any government. I suggest all Muslims pay warm welcome to the initiatives taken by France, Belgium, Italy and Holland, because these are bound to help Islam in Europe to cope with the circumstances and keep pace with the times. Muslim imams are generally unacquainted with the local languages and culture of western countries, then how do we expect the West to become familiar with peaceful Islam? ... Therefore, we should rise above the negativity about the French and Dutch initiatives just as most Dutch Muslims have welcomed them with open arms. As for the arrest and deportation of a few Imams in Europe, we should not forget that such Imams propagating hatred and violence will be arrested in Muslim countries as well. Those people who constantly encourage violence are merely serving their vested interests, they may claim to believe in their religion but they do not follow it properly....
Adam Serwer is a reporter at the Washington, DC, bureau of Mother Jones
"We are not here to criticize the NYPD," declared Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD), who was joined by House Homeland Security chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.), "but rather to thank them for doing the work that we as Muslims should be doing, which is monitoring extremism, following extremism, and helping counter the ideologies that create radicalization in our communities." …
Hem Borker is pursuing her D.Phil in Education at the University of Oxford
However their narratives echoed the contesting dilemmas many faced on account of “being Muslim”; dilemmas which illustrate the manner in which the increasing communalisation of social space subtly limits choices or renders them non-existent in something as fundamental as education. “We want schools that do not discriminate against our children.”…
Ed West is a journalist and social commentator
Islamism is political; it attracts angry, extreme, violent young men from the immigrant underclass who find others willing to justify their thirst for violence, by using holy texts. Merah’s justification – “you killed my brothers, I kill you” – is not words of faith but naked tribalism. Most people oppose large-scale immigration from countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Somalia not because of Islam but because the newcomers are alien to them and their arrival disrupt their neighbourhood and life. …
Yet the existence of Muslims who use accusations of Islamophobia as a political ploy to shut down dissent within Muslim communities does not make the reality of Islamophobia irrelevant. After all, anti-Semitism is no less real just because it has been exploited as a smear with which to silence critics of Israel. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have always engaged critically and creatively with the Islamic tradition, both reverently and irreverently. …
and alienated, Merah had served two years in a juvenile prison for robbery. Was
he rejected by French society because of his Algerian background? In executing
his attacks, Merah did everything by the jihadist textbook. He made sure he
would die a martyr's death that would be witnessed on television screens around
the world. He murdered with a video camera strapped to his body, making him
star and director of his own epic. …
Muslim assaults an atheist for mocking Mohammed, and a Muslim judge dismisses
the charges and berates the victim -- and it all happens here in America. Yet
there is something inherently disturbing about a public official chastising a
citizen for engaging in constitutionally protected expression, however
obnoxious. It is especially troubling when it's a matter of criticizing or even
lampooning religion, an area in which free speech has so often been trampled. …
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
... But despite all these depressing developments, the Muslim world shows no signs of introspection. We continue to wallow in victimhood. Conspiracy theories abound. Denial continues. Even 9/11 is not yet accepted generally as the handiwork of Al-Qaeda. We Muslims could have utilised the killing of Osama bin Laden as an occasion for making a new beginning. But not only in Islamist Pakistan, even in secular, multicultural India had some Muslims offered funeral prayers in absentia for the world’s chief terrorist. A War within Islam is clearly going on but we mainstream Muslims ourselves don’t seem to realise its grave consequences. I want to take this opportunity, Madam President, to appeal to all the Muslim countries represented in this august forum, to take this war within Islam seriously and devise strategies to win this war for mainstream peaceful Islam.
That we Muslims continue to be in complete denial of our situation cannot be in doubt. We just do not seem to recognise the danger inherent in allowing Petrodollar-funded Islamist groups taking over our mosques and mardrasas. -- Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam.com, addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 18th session in Geneva on 23rd September 2011.
Erick Stakelbeck CBN News Terrorism Analyst
"On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four passenger planes, crashing two of them into New York City's World Trade Center and the third into the Pentagon. The devastation and loss of so many lives made the United States firmly resolved to rid the world of terrorism."…
The fear factor
Islam has, through the ages, been variously denounced as a heresy, as fanaticism, as a religion of cruelty and other not very pleasant things. The people who called it a heresy were not labelled Islamophobic. They were usually called theologians. It was when Muslims began to live as minorities in western countries in recent times that their religion was vilified or held responsible for some practice disapproved by the majority that the misleading term became current. …
For many in our society, incidents like Muslims requesting a building permit, the violent behaviour of an individual Muslim, or even a political campaign like the one we have this year unfortunately trigger greater amounts of fear of Islam and Muslims. The media and politicians, for limited popular gain, rush to denounce Sharia ...
Need for a Major Paradigm shift in Mosque proceedings/sub-culture in America to forestall any potentially catastrophic fallout of Islamophobia, and for Americanization of the minority Muslim community. A 12 point agenda for serious consideration by the board of all mosques and Islamic centers and the whole spectrum of Muslim community leaders in America -- Muhammad Yunus, NewAgeIslam.com
Like Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Sikhs and secularists, some Muslims have undoubtedly been violent and intolerant, but the new exhibition at the British Museum – Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam – is a timely reminder that this is not the whole story. The hajj is one of the five essential practices of Islam; when they make the pilgrimage to Mecca, Muslims ritually act out the central principles of their faith. Equating religion with "belief" is a modern western aberration. Like swimming or driving, religious knowledge is practically acquired. You learn only by doing. The ancient rituals of the hajj, which Arabs performed for centuries before Islam, have helped pilgrims to form habits of heart and mind that – pace the western stereotype – are non-violent and inclusive. -- Karen Armstrong
It is unfortunate that the Oklahomans were misled by the politicians to believe that Muslims were demanding Sharia law and that it was dangerous and must be gutted. They trusted their representatives and passed the referendum to ban Oklahoma courts from considering Islamic law to resolve personal matters between individuals. When a conflict arises between family members, before you sue each other, you seek guidance from other family members, friends, church and the counselors. If you don't find a solution, you go to the court as a last resort. The court may appoint a mediator if the parties are willing to abide by the decisions or simply take it up with the bench or the jury. -- Mike Ghouse
So much is said and written about Islamophobia. It’s a tendency found in some non-Muslims, especially in the West, who question and discriminate against ‘Muslim attire’ and beliefs. But those who speak the loudest against Islamophobia have very little to say about a social illness that is haunting their own societies: religiomania. Religiomania also constitutes a myopic fixation to preach; it engulfs many from the generic Maulvis to those belonging to large outfits like the Tableeghi Jamaat and Dawat-i-Islami, the ever-growing number of Islamic televangelists, and all the way to those who just can’t help but roll out numerous emails and text messages on the subject on a daily bases. We will wail, moan and whine about Islamophobia in the West, but keep mum over the discrimination and hatred that take place by Muslims against other religions as well as between and within Muslim sects in this country. -- Nadeem F. Paracha
In a recent article remembering slain governor of Pakistani Punjab Salman Taseer, Pakistani intellectual Pervez Hoodbhoy writes: To understand the kind of psychological conditioning that has turned us into nasty brutes, cruel both to ourselves and to others, I suggest that the reader sample some of the Friday khutbas (sermons) delivered across the country’s estimated 250,000 mosques. It is surely impossible to hear all khutbas, but a few hundred ones have been recorded on tape by researchers, transcribed into Urdu, translated into English, and categorised by subject at www.mashalbooks.org. Since there was no conscious bias in selecting the mosques, they can be reasonably assumed to be representative examples. Often using abusive language, the mullahs excoriate their enemies: America, India, Israel, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Shias, and Qadianis. Before appreciative crowds, they breathe fire against the enemies of Islam and modernity. Music is condemned to be evil, together with life insurance and bank interest. In frenzied speeches they put women at the centre of all ills, demand that they be confined to the home, covered in purdah, and forbidden to use lipstick or go to beauty parlours. But the harshest words are reserved for the countless “deviant” Muslims.
New Age Islam presents one such Friday sermon, one of the 2,50,000 delivered every Friday from mosques in Pakistan and amplified through loud speakers to grateful listeners, in English and Urdu and with a link to the audio courtesy Mashal Books.
Muslims from all over the world face the worst of treatments in America. Each one of them is a potential terrorist in the eyes of security officials. It seems that the primary reason for insulting Abdul Kalam is that he is a Muslim — and what he went through Shah Rukh Khan also had to face a couple of years ago. He had to take off his jacket and shoes even when he was India’s president. While Muslims bear the brunt, others from our part of the world are also treated brusquely. Even Hardeep Singh Puri, our ambassador to the UN, had to go through the body search and what not. -- Kuldip Nayar