Muslims and Islamophobia
The trigger for the riots in the Parisian suburb of Trappes last weekendwas a relatively ordinary one: the local police stopped a young woman for wearing the full veil in public. Ordinary, that is, since the inception, in April 2011, of Law 2010-1192 of 11 October 2010 prohibiting the concealment of the face in public space, according to which the wearing of this type of garment can lead to a fine of €150 (£129) and a "community rehabilitation programme" in the form of mandatory citizenship classes…..
Muslim women and their clothes, their relationships with men and their place in British society are written and talked about and discussed and debated to death - but rarely are Muslim women included in those discussions themselves. That’s why I contacted five Muslim women who have experienced varying degrees of anti-Muslim incidents to find out how it has affected them….
Arzu Kaya Uranli
On the other hand, I wonder why we haven't had anything about the white supremacist threat. According to the non-partisan think tank New America Foundation, since 9/11 there have been twice as many domestic terrorist attacks by right-wing extremists (eight) as by jihadists (four). Somehow, since 9/11, the word "terrorism" in the U.S. will usually call to mind links with al-Qaeda, while white supremacists and other right-wing militants are often ignored by the public....
Since 9/11, American law enforcement has taken a disproportionate interest in American Muslims across the country, seeing a whole community as a national security threat, particularly in California and New York City. But here's the thing: the facts that have been piling up ever since that date don't support such suspicion. Not at all…….
Sadly, whether it’s Muslim minarets or the notion of Islamic banking, any concept even remotely connected to Islam and Muslims seems to elicit a completely irrational fear....
I guess that they'll be used on people who "look Muslim". Because this is the latest danger: looking Muslim. Once, we used to joke about the difficulties of "flying while Muslim", referring to the additional security checks and border control that Muslims routinely face, along with dirty looks from fellow passengers…..
Well, the bus ads saga continues and with it, the disappointment and the damage of trust with the FBI grows. It appears that the FBI is unable or unwilling to get us a straight story and it also appears that the FBI is working hard to divide Muslim up so that one group’s lack of dissent can be used against another group’s vigorous dissent….
For years it was believed that Muslims would enter what is known as “demographic transition”, with European Muslim birth rates falling to native European levels. But that demographic transition has not happened. In Britain, for example, the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities continue to have significantly higher birth rates than the national average, even after more than 50 years in the country….
"I don't really want to go out now," Rizwan Ali says anxiously. "If I needed something I used to just go to the shops, but I've been staying in." On 24 May the father of four had been to Friday prayers at his local mosque. On his way home he popped into Pound Stretcher to look at gardening equipment. As he browsed he noticed another customer staring at him. "He was looking at me, as though I had done something," Ali (not his real name), explains. "Then he started shouting: 'You are a Muslim, you are a soldier killer.' I was shocked and scared...
Islamophobia, in all its guises, seeks to minimise the importance of the individual and maximise the importance of the group. Yet our instinctive stance ought to be one of suspicion towards such endeavours. For individuals are undeniably real. Groups, on the other hand, are assertions of opinion....
Jizya is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state's non-Muslim citizens, who meet certain criteria) that infidels must pay to Muslims, or the one who says that Islam will one day dominate the West, they all prove the folly of not facing the facts. As long as that folly is shared in a bipartisan fashion, the prospects for peace in the world will remain bleak. ....
And that sums it up. Islam is a religion, and you cannot have an atheistic Islam. But many atheists from Muslim families and Muslim communities identify with the cultural aspects of their Muslim heritage and history, as do atheists with Christian or Jewish heritage. Progressive Muslims, particularly in the West, may want to consider coalescing around a sense of community.....
It will overlap onto all Muslims. Stating that 99 per cent of Muslims are not terrorists is irrelevant. The one per cent is the percentage that is used to do all the work for Islamophobia. It translates into suggesting that any of the 99 could potentially be that one terrorist. It takes little stretch of logic then to suggest that all should be treated as such....
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
A violent display of intolerance towards sectarian and religious minorities along with terrorism directed at non-Muslim neighbours continues to plague several Muslim countries. For instance, hundreds of Shias have been killed recently in Pakistan. Hindu girls continue to be abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. Taliban’s war on girls’ education continues. Indian city of Hyderabad was recently attacked. Despite a ban on his organization and a 10 million dollar US bounty on his head, Hafiz Saeed continues to strut around the country and taunt the world.
Rights violations are reported from all over the Muslim world, from Indonesia to Tunisia. A fascist ideology is seeking to forcibly convert the world to its version of Islam. An intra-Islam clash of civilisations appears to be going on. Some Muslims are resisting a determined attempt to colonise their minds. From Bangladesh and India to Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, etc. We can see Sufi Ulema loudly denouncing Islamo-fascism, exclusivism, supremacism and jihadism.
But the mainstream moderate Muslim majority and their governments continue to remain largely silent onlookers. What message do we Muslims give to the world community by keeping quiet on such humiliation to Islam? Will the world community be wrong in deducing that all Muslims believe that the Taliban, the products of petrodollar-funded Deobandi-Wahhabi-Salafi madrasas, are correct in their understanding of Islam? That Islam does indeed stand for forcibly converting the world to its point of view? That Salafi-Wahhabism is the real Islam? That Taliban truly represent the larger world Muslim community? And if that is the case why should the fear of Islam not grow in the world? Why should we complain of Islamophobia?
Regardless of what interpretation of Islam a Muslim state follows, however, it should NOT be allowed to impose its ideology on its citizens. It is incumbent on the world community to make sure that all signatories to the UN Charter and its various covenants implement its provisions in letter and spirit.
I know it for a fact that the larger Muslim community does not subscribe to the Talibani, Jihadi, Salafi –Wahhabi-Takfiri ideology that accuses overwhelming majority of Muslims of apostasy and considers them wajibul Qatl (deserving death). But are we not creating just this impression by staying silent when such blood-curdling threats are given and then carried out? Do we have any ground to blame the Christian fundamentalist, Zionist, or Hindu Islamophobes for spreading the fear of Islam? Are we not doing that ourselves?....
This is a key difference for "new atheists." To us, the fight against religious ideology isn't a struggle against human rights but a struggle for them. Human beings have rights and are entitled to respect. Books and beliefs don't and aren't. Instead of judging these religions by the actions of a few, we judge them more objectively: by the contents of their sacred texts…
Zain Ul Abedin Qasmani
Unfortunately, since the past couple of years, many of you may have noticed that Pakistan is being portrayed as the ‘bad guy’ in many videogames. This negatively impacts many people who will come to believe with certainty that Pakistan is an enemy state, worthy of only hate. Imagine the thoughts of a child playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II, trying to kill the ‘villain’ hiding in the ‘terrorist country’ of Pakistan. Insinuating that Pakistan is a ‘terrorist country’ plants the seed of hatred in a child’s mind from his/her early years....
Andrew Zak Williams
“Critics of the New Atheists are free to take issue with their tone, but to dismiss them without addressing the substance of their arguments constitutes an implicit admission that they just might have a point.” You can see his point. Plenty of Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Anglicans surely feel aggrieved when their god is put under the microscope and found to be the product of unintelligent design....
Perhaps a mosque could invite a known anti-Semite from the Muslim lunatic fringe to speak on the dangers of Halakha to the American legal system, or perhaps the viciousness of kosher slaughter. This should not be considered confrontational or hostile to Muslims as long as the group arranging the program publishes a statement saying: “We reject the categorizing of any religious majority based on the actions of a minority. …. We do, though, believe that it is appropriate to speak about the actions of that minority.”...
I do, however, absolutely agree with the general argument made in both columns that the New Atheists have flirted with and at times vigorously embraced irrational anti-Muslim animus. I repeatedly offered to post Harris' email to me and then tweet it so that anyone inclined to do so could read his response to those columns and make up their own minds. Once he requested that I do so, I posted our exchange here....
"Sharia law" and "Islamophobia “are popping up more often these days, but are they still largely undefined to most Americans? While the horrible hostage violence in Algeria last week was brief, it received considerable attention from the media. But the Algerian situation was an offshoot of on-going strife in Mali which has been raging for nearly a year with virtually no attention….
America's Middle East policy has been enthusiastically endorsed. Not at the UN or Arab League, however, but by the powerbrokers of Hollywood. At the Golden Globes, there were gongs for a heroically bearded CIA spook saving hostages and American face in Iran (the film Argo); a heroically struggling agent tracking down Bin Laden (Zero Dark Thirty) and heroically flawed CIA operatives protecting America from mindless, perpetual terror (TV series Homeland).
What is interesting about the prevalence of Islamophobic crime as of late is that, to some extent, it hasn't even been directed at Muslims. And when the perpetrators of this sort of crime are confronted with the fact that the brown person they murdered or assaulted didn't represent the ideology they thought they were combating, they rush to justify their attack.
As Muslims we should identify ourselves with the culture and land we associate with. Islam also teaches this but unfortunately Islam's true liberal teachings are not being told to us by our traditional Islamic organizations in the West that are in the hands of mainly Islamists.
Islam can only be understood on their terms, they say. And their terms are violent and intemperate. Their strict literalism, inability to grasp context, gross and frequent generalizations, and mind-blowing a historicism make them into radicals, only on the opposite side of a chasm into which both have thrown decency, history, common sense, and reality. In place of analysis, they offer us a Xerox machine.
Sohail Arshad, New Age Islam
Recently Shariah Law again came into focus in the UK, for wrong reasons though. A British Court granted divorce to an Iranian born lady Aghdas Bidaki against her husband who had a temporary marriage (mutah nikah) with a British lady 20 years junior to him and has two children from her. The 62 year old millionaire property dealer Houshang Jaffri had refused to give divorce saying Shariah permitted him to have four permanent marriages and as many temporary marriages or mutah nikah as he wished. However, the Bristol Country Court adjudicated that his behaviour was unreasonable.