Pro-Israel Muslims seek alternative to radical Islam as a means for peace

Tawfik Hamid is a former member of the Jamal Islamiyah terrorist organization. Thirty years ago, he broke from its grip to move to the U.S. and begin a fight against radical Islam. Recently, he founded the International Center for Countering Radicalism (IC4CR.org). He told JNS.org he believes radicalism needs to be fought on multiple fronts. 

First, he said, more accessible modern and peaceful interpretations of the Quran are needed. Next, accurate information is required; hate, said Hamid, is often based on misinformation that is being taught Islamic schools and mosques. 

Additionally, Hamid said, the world should use behavior modification techniques, like having “more negative reinforcements to stop them from doing terror acts.”

Terrorist organizations deprive their followers of anything beautiful, such as color, art, music, fashion, etc. Over time, Hamid explained, the followers become unable to appreciate beauty, and this makes them more receptive to “extremely ugly things.”

“It is like if someone destroys the receptors on their tongue, they cannot distinguish between good and bad tasting things,” said Hamid. “This is what happens. We need to reintroduce the beauty.”

Ahmed, Hamid, and Jasser said they are frustrated by the international media, which offers sensational sound bites and ignores the full picture. 

“Many people look at what is happening in Gaza as if Israel is the aggressor. But when you think deeply, Egypt offered a cease-fire and Israel immediately accepted it. It was supposed to start on July 5 at 9 a.m. Hamas refused the cease-fire. The full responsibility for any killings after July 5 lies with Hamas,” Hamid said.

He added that Hamas accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing of Muslims, and the U.S. of being anti-Islam. But he said what is not reported is the number of mosques that exist in both Israel and America.

“If this was the case, if they were anti-Islam, why would they allow these mosques and Islamic schools to be built? Compare the numbers to the synagogues and churches in the Muslim world—there, these places are being destroyed,” said Hamid, who noted that anti-Semitism in the Arab world has been on the rise over the past decade. Jasser suggested that anti-Semitism might be as high as 90 percent among Arab nations.

A recent Pew Research Center study of Muslim world perceptions of Hamas found that support for the terrorist organization in general was on the decline. But Jasser said the study should be taken with a grain of salt.

“This is no silver lining unless we find an alternative to Hamas—not just we [as] Muslims, but the West. President [Barack] Obama has been missing in action, and if a vacuum is created it will be filled with Arabism or Islamism,” said Jasser.

“This is the beginning of change, but Arabs that think like I do, they are very few,” Hamid saod. “That does not mean these views could not one day dominate, but they need to be empowered.”

Hamid’s www.facebook.com/ModernQuranInterpretation webpage has 2 million “likes.” He surmises that 10 years ago, that number would have been only 200.

“If we can support this momentum, it can change,” he said.

For now, though, Operation Protective Edge continues, and in the end, Israelis and Palestinians, are likely both to lose, said Ahmed.

“Israel is fighting an impossible battle, on one front with nihilist political Islamists who willingly lead their populations to slaughter in the interest of religionized war for fictionalized spiritual gain rather than true political solution,” she said. “An on another front, waging other battles with an international media reflecting an increasingly ignored and biased public opinion.”

Ahmed added, “The sooner media commentary can be broadened to explain political Islamism, diplomatic and political powers globally can begin to plan the true long-term freedom of the Palestinians… a lasting liberation from the stranglehold of Hamas’s political Islamism.” 

Maayan Jaffe is a freelance writer in Overland Park, Kan. Reach her at maayanjaffe@icloud.com, or follow her on Twitter, @MaayanJaffe.

Download this story in Microsoft Word format here.

Article source: http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2014/7/28/y2b0jv9smdryi93nscs4pmz3arib2w

President Obama’s Ramadan slap at Muslims

Opinion by Salam Al-Marayati, special to CNN

(CNN) – Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all met with American Muslims, as they did with most other religious groups.

President Barack Obama, under advice from his aides that association with Muslims is politically damaging, has yet to invite American Muslim organizations and leaders into the Oval Office for substantive discussions on domestic and international policies.

Yes, Muslims from all over the country accepted a White House invitation to attend the Iftar dinner earlier this month with the President to break our fast, to break bread, and to build bridges of understanding.

In Ramadan, a month for spiritual replenishment in the Islamic calendar, an estimated 1.5 billion Muslims around the world perform an obligatory fast from predawn to sunset for the purpose of purifying one’s soul through prayer and self-sacrifice.

But instead of feeling spiritually uplifted and civically engaged by attending an Islamic celebration in the White House, the Muslim guests were shocked and dismayed when they heard the President say, “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

For Muslims, that talking point is code for whitewashing decades of atrocities committed against the people of Gaza: the kids killed on the Gaza Beach, the civilians bombed in the most densely populated cage in the world, and the attacking of civilians who resort to donkey carts for transportation.

Obama began his presidency conveying aspirations of bridging the divide between the United States and the Muslim world. He needs American Muslims to be a part of that mission. Instead he has continued the unfortunate legacy of excluding of anyone who supports Palestine.

Palestine is a dirty word in Washington and criticizing Israel’s policies toward Palestinians is a political taboo.

We can talk about Darfur, Nigeria, Sudan, Pakistan, Iran and every Arab country. We can criticize all of them, along with Russia and China, and call for sanctions on human rights violators. But bringing up Israel’s atrocities in the West Bank or Gaza is met with denial and disgust, generating millions of disaffected Americans in the process.

There is more tolerance in Israel for critiquing the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza than there is inside the Beltway.

America is our home, and Barack Obama is our president. It is our duty to express our disenchantment and to demand change when the leader of our country is wrong.

The President must acknowledge that we, the American people, are funding the siege of Gaza. The whole world knows that America is giving political cover for the military occupation of Palestinians.

It is time to tell America the truth of our complicity in robbing Palestinians of their human dignity.

Terrorism is evil, and we will continue to partner with the President in countering the rhetoric of ideological religious extremism and to end the scourge of terrorism, not for political gain but out of our sacred duty.

Now, the President needs to acknowledge that occupation is evil, and it is time he recognizes those engaged in nonviolent resistance against the occupation. They are those who live every day through checkpoints, blockades, home demolitions and expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Call it an internment camp, a prison Gaza has become unlivable.

The President must also face a reality: Not a single Muslim serves as a senior policy adviser in the White House or as an under secretary in the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, State or Defense.

There is no Middle East envoy of Muslim background. The President has yet to name a Muslim as ambassador to any of the 50 Muslim-majority countries.

The White House Ramadan dinner cannot be the quota for engagement or enfranchisement.

We cannot give Obama a pass because he has said the right things in regard to his respect for Islam, nor can we release him from accountability out of fear of Republicans.

Muslims represent 4 million to 6 million Americans and include practically every race and socioeconomic level in the United States. They vote and contribute, and they helped Obama win the presidency.

But Obama has gone so far in proving he’s not Muslim that he has excluded Muslims from vital national conversations. We’ll continue to engage his administration to correct this egregious breach of public trust.

We demand that he fulfill his promise for change and be the president we voted for. Otherwise, America will be less American.

Salam Al-Marayati is president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. The views expressed in this column belong to Al-Marayati. 

Article source: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/07/28/obamas-ramadan-slap-at-muslims/

Eid Al-Fitr 2014: Date for This Year Announced After Shawwal New Moon Sighting

Eid Al-Fitr falls on Monday, July 28, in many countries.

The date was announced after sightings of the Shawwal moon, or the new moon.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries that have announced that Eid al-Fitr will begin on Monday, reported Al Arabiya.

“Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr to mark the culmination of Ramadan, while determining the exact date depends on observing the Shawwal moon. The moon sighting committee in Saudi Arabia met on Sunday to observe the moon,” it said.

“Most of the Arab, European, American and Canadian Muslims celebrate the holy month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr on the same dates as Saudi Arabia.”

Eid al-Fitr involves Muslims waking up early and praying at an outdoor prayer ground or a mosque, according to Time and Date.

Many Muslims dress up for the occasion while decorating their homes and later feasting with friends, family members, and others.

“Eid al-Fitr is a joyous occasion but its underlying purpose is to praise God and give thanks to him, according to Islamic belief,” it says.

See an Associated Press story below.

Holy month of Ramadan is a big boon for retailers 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates–Glitzy billboards in the Middle East and postage stamps in the U.S. Advertisements for lingerie and sales on modest skirts. Lavish buffets and cellphone apps.

Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month, is a boon for retailers in the Middle East, South Asia and beyond. And while some Muslims welcome it as a positive sign, others see it as commercialization of a sacred time of year.

Intended to be a monthlong spiritual cleansing, Ramadan — which ends this weekend — is an exercise in self-restraint that commands Muslims to abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset.

But for businesses, from California to Cairo, Dubai to Dhaka, Ramadan is also a time to sell.

U.S. fashion house DKNY launched a Ramadan collection aimed at wealthy Arab shoppers. The collection was carried in DKNY outlets throughout the Gulf.

Tamara Al Gabbani, a model and stylist for the collection, said she is glad DKNY took a risk with the modest outfits that include loose skirts and dresses.

“I think it is really, really important the world come together as one and the fact that an American, New York-based brand is coming to us and saying, ‘Hey, we acknowledge this beautiful time of year that you have, and we have made this just for you.’ I love that,” she said.

In this Tuesday, July 22, 2014 photo, an Arab man passes by a fashion store decorated for the holy month of Ramadan in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. From Cairo to Dubai, local designers create everything from special Ramadan-themed purses and kaftans to towels, candles and tablecloths. For some, the stylish accessories help create a festive atmosphere unique to Ramadan, but for others it is a sign of the growing commercialization of Islam’s holiest month. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Al Gabbani also has a clothing line that caters to Gulf Arab women. More than 50 elaborately designed kaftans, which cost up to $550, sold out in the first week of Ramadan.

A Macy’s department store in California welcomed Muslim shoppers with a display at the entrance that said “Happy Ramadan.” The U.S. Postal Service issues special commemorative stamps for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day celebration that marks the end of Ramadan.

Google has gotten in on the action with a special Ramadan portal featuring photos of people around the world breaking their fast at sunset, as well as popular recipes. Several cellphone companies offer Ramadan apps to help people track their prayer and acts of worship.

A marketing study released by the American Muslim Consumer Consortium in conjunction with DinarStandard found that of the 2 billion Muslims worldwide, approximately 9 million are in North America and 60 million are in Europe.

According to AMCC co-founder Sabiha Ansari, Muslim spending power in the U.S. is measured at more than $100 billion. She said she knew of at least one Starbucks in the U.S. that stayed open later during Ramadan for customers fasting during the day.

“We’re hoping it’s the start for other retailers to recognize Muslims as a group that is a strong economic force,” she said. “American Muslims are educated, trendy and economically well-off. They want to integrate the values of their faith with the values of being an American, and this can be a very positive aspect.”

Ramadan is meant to be challenging to the mind, body and spirit. Many Muslims are concerned that Ramadan’s aim to draw worshippers away from indulging in the material world is being eroded.

Many took to Twitter to express their confusion over a lingerie ad in a mall in Durban, South Africa, that featured a model looking seductively at the camera. Only her bra strap and shoulder show, with the rest of her décolletage blacked out under the words “Ramadan Kareem,” or “Happy Ramadan,” written in gold.

The biggest commercialization of Ramadan is concentrated in countries where Muslims are in the majority. The streets of major cities in the Middle East and South Asia are filled with billboards about Ramadan. One McDonald’s ad in Islamabad shows a mosque calling on people to “Dine Divine.”

Carmudi, a website for buying and selling cars, said it is offering a variety of deals for residents of the United Arab Emirates “to celebrate the holy spirit of the season. So dig into your pockets.”

Luxury brand Montblanc urged customers to “celebrate Ramadan in its true spirit with an exciting range of gifts.”

The trendy Sauce boutique in the Emirates sells bejeweled Ramadan-themed purses. One evening clutch cleverly takes the shape of a can of fava beans, or ful — a staple of pre-dawn meals.

Another Dubai boutique has Ramadan-inspired T-shirts that cheekily say “Bad Girl Gone Good.”

Cairo supermarkets also carry Ramadan-themed towels and a range of lanterns, or fawanees, used to decorate the home.

This year’s Ramadan comes at an especially difficult time for millions in the Middle East. Wars are raging in the Gaza Strip, Syria and Iraq, and people are struggling to make ends meet across much of the Muslim world.

In Bangladesh, where annual per capita income is just $1,190 — among the lowest in the world — upscale buffets during Ramadan can run up to $80 per person. That cost is wildly out of reach for most in the Muslim-majority country of 160 million.

“So many parties are around daily as if we are born to eat and eat,” complained Sabina Yasmine, an insurance agent in Bangladesh. “People get crazy during Ramadan.”

That sentiment was echoed in Cairo, where 24-year-old Rouchane el-Rashidi was dining with friends. She says a lot of people are losing touch with the meaning behind the month.

“It’s a fact that Ramadan now is more about outings, where we go for iftar and sohour instead of focusing on religion,” she said, referring to the sunset and pre-dawn meals.

Glitzy Arabian Nights-inspired tents have become a staple of Ramadan across the Gulf, with hotel buffets offering fountains of hummus and pyramids of deserts.

Fozeya Ibrahim Al Mahmoud of Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency said people are supposed to consume and waste less in Ramadan, but the opposite seems to be happening. Of the total waste produced during the entire year in the small country, 39 percent is of organic materials. During Ramadan, however, the percentage of organic waste rises to 55 percent, he said.

Abdur Rashid, who heads a mosque in Bangladesh, said such consumption does not represent the tenets of his faith.

“Islam has not taught us this,” he said.

Scholars also are disturbed by the proliferation of evening TV shows during Ramadan. In Pakistan, live game shows give away gifts promoting their sponsors. In the Arab world, soap operas starring Egypt’s top actors rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising.

Sheik Abdullah Roshdi, who heads a Cairo mosque, said Ramadan should heighten feelings of patience, empathy and compassion for others. He said people should be spending their time doing acts of charity, and remove themselves from that which is unnecessary to attain the ultimate prize of heaven in the afterlife.

“Now the month of Ramadan has been transformed from a season of spiritual ascension … into following desires and luxuries, and we totally oppose this,” he said.

Article source: http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/817526-eid-al-fitr-2014-date-for-this-year-announced-after-shawwal-new-moon-spotted/

Muslims in India boycott Coke and Pepsi in silent protest against Gaza attacks

NEW DELHI // A group of Muslim restaurant owners in Mumbai has boycotted American colas such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, in protest against United States support of Israel during its recent attacks on the Gaza Strip.

The restaurateurs belong to the Chiliya community of Muslims, whose origins lie in the state of Gujarat and who run hundreds of eateries in Mumbai.

“We have taken a collective decision to boycott these products as a silent protest to the bombings that are killing so many innocent people, including children,” Omaer Sheikh, managing director of the Shalimar hotel, in Mumbai’s Muslim-dominated Bhendi Bazaar neighbourhood, told the Mumbai Mirror newspaper last week. “We will continue this protest until the bombings are stopped.”

The decision was taken on July 16 by members of the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (IHAR). More than a hundred members met at the Shalimar Hotel to find a way of protesting Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

“We’re going to keep the boycott going until the bombings stop,” Rashid Hakim, the owner of a restaurant called Noor Mohammadi, also in Bhendi Bazaar, told The National on Saturday. “We just want to do our bit to ensure that there’s a return to humanity in that region.”

After the boycott began, his customers frequently asked him and his waiters about the lack of Coke and Pepsi, Mr Hakim said.

In response, he has installed a giant banner above the door of Noor Mohammadi, announcing the reasoning behind his decision.

Instead of colas, the restaurants resolved to serve fruit juices and jal jeera, a peppery, cumin-laced drink that aids digestion, particularly after fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

But Arvind Shetty, the chairman of the Mumbai-based IHAR, emphasised that his organisation was not officially backing the boycott.

“The members who are behind this form perhaps three per cent of our total community,” Mr Shetty said. “They did request us to support their boycott. But we didn’t agree.”

Mr Shetty explained that his organisation was reluctant to take stances on religious issues. “Morally, of course, we condemn the killing of innocent people,” he said. “But in this particular case, the restaurants are acting on their own.”

ssubramanian@thenational.ae

Article source: http://www.thenational.ae/world/south-asia/muslims-in-india-boycott-coke-and-pepsi-in-silent-protest-against-gaza-attacks

Jews don’t behave like Muslims


Twitter

By Tabitha Korol

Lorna Salzman, author of “Jews Behaving Like Muslims,” featured in the New English Review, claims “Zionists and observant Jews” complain like Muslims regarding The Death of Klinghoffer, an “opera” to be produced at the Met. Salzman, evidently an anti-Zionist and self-hating Jew, disregarded the spirit of the complaints. Rather, she uses moral relativism (trickery) to equate disparate events and reactions, villains with victims. The two cultures are disparate. (Observant) Jews don’t behave like Muslims.

She knows that Islam, the harshest death cult on the planet, metes out severe punishment for minor behavioral infractions to maintain total control over its people – antithetical to Jewish law. She understands that Islamists invented Islamophobia to quash free speech and hide Islamic history and current activities from the masses – not so in Judaism. She grasps that the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was formed to enforce the prohibitions – Jews have no such organization. Salzman can research the hundreds of millions converted, enslaved, or slaughtered under Islamic law – unheard of among the Jews. She knows that the purpose of jihad is to establish sharia law over all the world. Jews do not impose Judaism on others. Jews don’t behave like Muslims.

The opera’s producers provided the murderous terrorists with justification for their evil and expunged the humanity from their victim. The conscientious Jewish community is trying to prevent a libelous, fabricated interpretation of an historic event from poisoning the minds of naïve viewers. Salzman is discombobulated.

Similarly, Salzman has rewritten the death of Rachel Corrie, again blaming “Zionists and observant Jews” for objecting to a performance that distorts the truth, without researching evidence that is a matter of record. Therefore, I will lay bare the proof that she ignored.

    Contrary to Salzman’s claim, Rachel Corrie, an American student, was not killed by a tank; this was not a battlefield. She was killed in an area where an earth-moving bulldozer was operated by a worker who sits high off the ground, in a cage with limited visual range. It would be obvious to even the most naïve that this was a hard-hat area, restricted to a labor force.

    Why was Corrie in Rafah, in Gaza during the Second Intifada? Why should any American student have been in Gaza around construction equipment? After intense investigation, it was learned that Corrie was a frequent activist and a member of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), who took a year off to join in Palestinian unity. She was one of seven who acted as human shields to impede IDF-led bulldozer demolition of illegal housing on the border between Egypt and the Rafah refugee camp, in order to destroy guerilla hideouts and tunnels used for smuggling weapons to kill Israeli citizens. However, on this day, the IDF was conducting only routine terrain leveling and debris clearing. The investigation revealed Corrie was standing behind the debris, an area out of visual range by any driver from his elevated protective cage, and was pushed over with the debris by the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer. Corrie’s autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was falling debris, and not from the tractor’s rolling over her.

    Rachel Corrie was “a rabidly anti-American and insidious opponent of the Jewish state,” stated attorney and former prosecutor Ari Lieberman, in Frontpage Magazine. He described photographs in which this woman, consumed with hate of America, the West, Israel and the Jews, was shrouded in black Islamist clothing in the midst of an Islamist demonstration. The illegal and traitorous conduct of Rachel Corrie and her fellow activists was directly responsible for the successful smuggling of explosives from Egypt into Gaza – explosives that were later used to kill children in southern Israel, six of whom had been named Rachel.

    The query of why her friends did not reach out to save her resulted in the discovery of the experiences of other female activists – that in all likelihood, Corrie was one of many female activists who are used by Palestinians for their sexual gratification – routinely harassed and raped not unlike the “comfort women” of the Japanese during World War II. Rabid anti-Zionist Norman Finkelstein also confirmed that female internationals serve as comfort women for Palestinians. Jews don’t behave like Muslims. Therefore, it is possible that Corrie was raped, betrayed by her fellow activists to maintain silence, and depressed enough to act irresponsibly in front of the bulldozer.

Returning to the Klinghoffer opera, Lorna Salzman wasted no time referencing the Met’s financial woes and its need of donor money from “wealthy Jews.” Why not add “successful and wealthy Jews,” although Jews, in general, have long been known for their participation in the arts (consider the names Jan Pierce, Beverly Sills, Richard Tucker, Robert Merrill, Rise Stevens, and more), and their strong financial support, both of which are legendary and disproportionate to their number. Jewish commitment and generosity are also known in medicine, science, education, technology, and their bounteous spirit is evident when Israel is among the first responders to victims of disasters. Muslims don’t behave like Jews.

The Hebrew word, tzedakah, meaning justice and righteousness, aptly describes the Jewish obligation to contribute to the welfare of others. However, in Judaism, the benevolence is considered an obligation rather than a mere act of goodwill. Do the Salzmans not share their good fortune with others?

    The Arabic word, zakat, one of the Five Pillars of Faith, allows for alms giving by Muslims based on accumulated wealth and is obligatory for all who are able. However, it is designed to ease economic hardship for other Muslims and eliminate equality for followers of Islam – only. Muslims don’t behave like Jews.

Lorna Salzman appears to be psychologically damaged, bearing a deep resentment of her heritage. How else might we comprehend her belief that the authors were not expressing their own views, but those of the killers – jihadists who are taught to hate Jews, Christians, and Western civilization from toddlerhood on. Had the Muslims been as compassionate as she insists, they could not have killed a defenseless, aged stroke victim.

Islamic jihad cannot be assuaged. It began in the 7th century and it is eternal until Muslims refute their Qur’an’s directives to enslave, murder, and plunder with the end purpose of establishing a caliphate over the world.

    [Muslim 001,0031] Mohammed: “I have been ordered to wage war against mankind until they accept that there is no god but Allah and that they believe I am His prophet and accept all revelations spoken through me. When they do these things I will protect their lives and property unless otherwise justified by Sharia, in which case their fate lies in Allah’s hands.”

The opera’s purpose is to promote the Islamic narrative – to hate the Jews and to temper our acceptance of Islamic violence and sharia law. The sooner we grasp the Islamic ideology and methodologies, the sooner we might save our country and civilization. Muslims are not like Jews.

© Tabitha Korol

Article source: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/korol/140727

Boko Haram, And The Threat Of Islamic Extremism In Africa By Leo Igwe

Leo Igwe


Today, there is a growing threat of religious fundamentalism in many parts of the globe. Worldly organizations driven by otherworldly agenda are on a rampage-waging ‘holy wars,’ killing, maiming, kidnapping, raping in furtherance of their destructive and divine vision of this world. The forces of the dark age are trying to push back the tide of enlightenment and intellectual awakening on many fronts.
 
No incident has brought this fanatical rage closer to the minds and memories of Americans more than the September 11 attacks. This attack by Islamic militants was an awakening experience. It changed the face of America. It changed the discourse of Islam, of religion here in the US.
 
Following the attack on September 11, a debate started here in the US, the debate on Islam and the West, not on Islam and Christianity, not on the Middle East and the West, but the debate on how to improve the relationship between the religion of Islam and parts of the world where millions of people profess and practise the faith. I mean what kind of debate is that? Instead of focusing on how to tackle the global Islamist agenda, resources have been expended rebranding the acts of Islamic terrorists and framing the violence ofSeptember 11, and similar acts of bigotry in London, Madrid as ‘a clash of civilization,’ a clash of civilization? Due to this mischaracterization, capitulations and concessions have been made. Freedom of thought and expression, critical evaluation of Islamic teachings and other values of enlightenment have been compromised.
 
But has this concession delivered the goods of tolerance and peaceful coexistence of human beings around the globe? Has it resulted to fewer acts of fanaticism? Has it restrained jihadists? Not at all. Instead, it has emboldened muslim extremists and their theocratic allies everywhere by canonizing their acts of criminality, and barbarism.

Before our very eyes, Pakistan and other OIC countries sponsored a resolution at the UN seeking a global ban on defamation of religion and Islamophobia, forgetting that religions have emerged and grown by defaming one another and by replacing a set of phobia with another.
 
They tend to forget that one of the greatest challenges we face today is how to tackle Islam based the phobia for human rights of unbelievers, of women and gay people, phobia for a secular society and separation of mosque and state, phobia for free inquiry, freedom of thought and expression including freedom to blaspheme, freedom to renounce Islam and freedom to cartoon anybody including the prophets.

We have witnessed attempts to foist on the world an international blasphemy law, a legitimization of Islam based phobia, and criminalization of criticism of religion. OIC countries have been campaigning vigorously to get non muslims to consider worthy of respect claims which we do not find worthy of believing in.
 
Unfortunately, there are people in the US who think that the rising wave of Islamic militancy has nothing to do Islam or with the indoctrination and brainwashing going on in places like Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia. They argue that Islamic terrorism has nothing to do with the teachings and interpretations of the Quran or the Hadith and other messages of hatred and intolerance being propagated by Imams, Ulema, Mullah, and Sheikhs in mosques and the madrassas ‘schools.’
There are some Americans who really think that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism is a reaction to America’s foreign policy, America’s foreign policy?
 
We have seen the same argument rehearsed in explaining the menace of Boko Haram in Nigeria.  And I want to let you know why this argument is deeply flawed. Some people have blamed the vicious attacks by these militants on the marginalization of Northern Nigeria over the years, the poverty in the region, the coming to power of President Goodluck Jonathan or the neglect of the region by his government. But they have failed to point out the jihadist roots of the crisis.
They have largely ignored that the violent campaign of Boko Haram is linked to the way Islamic religion has been translated and appropriated over the centuries. That the jihadist campaign of Boko Haram is not new to the history of Nigeria and the history of Islam.
So unless we acknowledge and address the jihadist roots of Boko Haram recruitment, mobilization and idealization, a containment of Islamic militancy is not in sight. Why do I say so?
 
Jihadist Islam in the classrooms
 
It may interest you to know that as part of the English lessons in primary schools, Nigerian pupils  are expected read a text on a jihadist character called Gandoki. I read this text when I was in the primary school, and many generations of Nigerian kids have read it. This text is meant to ‘inspire children.’ The text glorifies jihadist Islam and religious violence. The main character, Gandoki tells children ‘who came to him to listen and learn’ from him how he waged war against ”unbelievers”, that is those who do not profess Islam.
Gandoki gave an ultimatum to unbelievers ”If you follow Islam, I will set you free if you do not follow Islam I will cut off your heads”.
And as part of the questions, the pupils are asked: ”What did Gandoki say would happen to them if they did not follow Islam?”. And the pupils are expected to answer: ”He would cut off their heads”. Gandoki went on to narrate how he killed those who did not pray to God -that is the God of Islam.

After reading these stories in schools, some of the pupils go to Koranic learning centers where they memorize similar verses that sanctify violence and bloodletting.

My question is this: What kind of ‘morals’ do we expect these children to imbibe when they are exposed to these hateful messages at a very tender age? How can persons whose minds are poisoned with stories like that of Gandoki grow up to be tolerant of unbelievers and of other people with religious and non-religious views?

Some years ago, humanists in Nigeria campaigned for the removal of this text. But our petitions to the publishers and policy makers fell on deaf ears.
 
Jihadist Islam in Pre-Independent Nigeria

Jihadist Islam predates Nigeria’s independence. A ‘famous’ Islamic figure in Nigeria is Sheikh Usman dan Fodio. Usman dan Fodio is highly respected among muslims in the country. Many of them regard him as a role model. In fact, one of Nigeria’s Universities is named after him. Dan Fodio was a muslim teacher, preacher and jihadist who lived in the Hausa state of Gobir. He fell out with local authorities including his former student who later became the ruler of Gobir, Yunfa, due to his ‘reformist’ views and opposition to the violations of sharia. He was forced into exile. From exile, he launched a jihad. Does that action sound familiar? Does it sound like something which Prophet Muhammed also did? Dan Fodio Jihadists overran Gobir and killed the ruler, Yunfa. The jihad swept across most parts of what constitutes the present day Northern Nigeria. It led to the establishment of the Sokoto caliphate, with dan Fodio’s son, Mohammed Bello as the first Sultan.
 
Jihadist Islam in Post-Independent Nigeria
At Independence, Nigeria inherited a northern region dominated by political Islam  and an unfinished jihad characterized by competing views of politics and sharia. While some muslim clerics have communicated their so called reformist ideas and opposition through preaching only, others like Uthman dan Fodio have at a point taken up arms against ‘unislamic’ governments and authorities or anyone opposed to their preachings in order to press home their demands for an Islamic state or a stricter enforcement of sharia. One of such preachers was Mohammed Marwa. Mohammed Marwa founded the Maitatsine sect.

Like dan Fodio, Marwa was a self-acclaimed Mujaddid- an Islamic reformer. He built some followership through his preaching and later launched a jihad in the 80s against local state authorities. The armed struggle led to the death of over 4000 people. Jihadist Islam in Nigeria has found expression not only in reformist movements, but also in violent protest and reactions by muslim militants to any event or program which they consider a violation of sharia Hundreds of people died in a violent protest staged by muslims against the visit of an American evangelist Reinhardt Bonnke to Kano in 1991. Many Nigerians were killed when muslim militants protested the staging of Miss World Beauty Contest in Nigeria.

Muslim fanatics beheaded a Christian Igbo trader Gideon Akaluka. He was accused of desecrating the Koran in December 1994. They severed his head while he was in police custody, spiked and paraded it on the streets of Kano. A similar fate befell a Christian female teacher in 2007, muslim students chanting Allah Akbar lynched their own teacher for allegedly desecrating the Koran.

Shortly after Nigeria’s return to civil democratic rule in 1999, Islamic theocrats imposed sharia law on the muslim majority states in defiance of the nation’s constitution. Opposition to the process sparked violent clashes between Christians and muslims in Northern Nigeria. Thousands of Nigerians lost their lives to sharia riots and the cycle of violence orchestrated by state and non-state jihadist groups.

But one Mujaddid was unimpressed with the way sharia was being implemented.

That was Muhammed Yusuf. Yusuf used his preaching to build the followership of Boko Haram. He rallied people against western education. In 2009, Yusuf was killed in police custody and his group took up arms against the state in furtherance of the campaign to impose a stricter regime of sharia and establish an Islamic state. Through its local support and international network, the group has launched several attacks, raids, suicide bombing and killings and kidnappings in many parts of northern Nigeria including the capital Abuja.
French forces halted the move by Islamists in Mali to overrun the country and turn it into an Islamic state. Islamic militant group, Al Shabab is waging similar campaigns in East Africa. The Islamic state of Sudan sentenced a Christian woman to death for apostasy in what is clearly a case of a state-sponsored jihad against the human rights of women and gender equality. A family member came out and openly supported the execution of Meriam Ibrahim on the ground that it was a way to avoid incurring the ‘wrath of Allah’!

Sudan has made it clear that there is no freedom of religion in the country thanks to the sharia that is in force in the country. Profession of Islam is not by choice but by force-by force of paternity not maternity. That means if one’s father is a muslim; then the person is a muslim willy nilly.

Once a person is born a muslim, he, or she remains a muslim. The person cannot change his or her religion. This rule applies specifically to the muslim faith. Converting to Islam presents no problem for the theocrats in Sudan. Renouncing Islam is apostasy, and apostasy is punishable by death.

A new dark age looms in Africa and many parts of the globe. The forces of jihad, theocracy, nihilistic ideologies, religious tyranny are holding many societies hostage. Should we stand by and allow those drunk with religious fantasies to destroy our world?

The world looks up to atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, skeptics and secularists to muster the Promethean courage and help bring the light of reason to humanity. We must once again rise to this challenge of loosening the grip of religious dogma on the minds, morality, law, education, politics and human rights of people across the globe. 

Article source: http://saharareporters.com/2014/07/27/boko-haram-and-threat-islamic-extremism-africa-leo-igwe

Hannity skewers CAIR for giving Hamas free ride

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger

Sean Hannity, left, and Yousef Munayer, right

WASHINGTON – When the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, demanded the U.S. government denounce Israel for its response to rocket attacks from Hamas, Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity insisted Yousef Munayer, executive director of the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development, answer whether Hamas is a terrorist group.

“Is Hamas a terrorist organization?” Hannity asked Munayyer repeatedly.

He refused to answer the question.

“I’m asking a question,” Hannity repeated. “Is Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel, is that a terrorist organization? That’s a yes or no question.”

“The United States certainly considers Hamas a terrorist organization; we all know that,” he said.

“Is Hamas a terrorist organization? What part of this can’t you get through your thick head?” Hannity pressed.

At the end of the exchange, Munayyer asked if he would “get to say anything in this conversation.”

Hannity responded, “You had your chance, you didn’t say Hamas is a terrorist organization. Goodbye.”

Watch the heated exchange below:

CAIR and its Muslim Brotherhood network of organizations would be hard-pressed to call Hamas a terrorist group.

Back in 2009, a U.S. federal judge determined that CAIR and Hamas are, for all intents and purposes, one in the same.

According to the federal court ruling, the Washington-based CAIR had been involved in “a conspiracy to support Hamas,” a federally designated terrorist group that has murdered at least 17 Americans and injured more than 100 U.S. citizens.

The 20-page order, signed by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis, cites “ample evidence” that CAIR participated in a “criminal conspiracy” led by the Holy Land Foundation, Hamas’s main fundraising arm in the U.S. As a result, the judge refused CAIR’s request to strike its name from documents listing it as an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.

“The four pieces of evidence the government relies on do create at least a prima facie case as to CAIR’s involvement in a conspiracy to support Hamas,” Solis wrote in his July 2009 ruling.

The evidence includes documents introduced by the government showing CAIR and its founding chairman Omar Ahmad have operated as key members of Hamas’ U.S. wing, known as the “Palestine Committee.” In addition, FBI wiretaps and agent testimony have placed both Ahmad and CAIR’s acting executive director – Nihad Awad – at a secret meeting last decade with Hamas leaders in Philadelphia. Meeting in a hotel room, participants hatched a scheme to disguise payments to Hamas suicide bombers and their families as charity.

“The attendees agreed not to mention the word Hamas but to refer to Hamas as ‘Samah,’ which is Hamas spelled backwards,” Solis said. “The Philadelphia conference essentially laid out the path that the Palestine Committee would take to accomplish its goal of supporting Hamas in the future.”

During the meeting – which was organized and led by CAIR founding chairman Omar Ahmad – the Hamas operatives agreed to form CAIR as an outwardly benign front group skilled in media manipulation.

“They did not want to be viewed as being aligned with terrorist groups,” he said.

The government’s evidence undermines CAIR’s public face as a “civil-rights advocacy organization,” while corroborating the findings of the bestselling book, “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America.” The book, shunned by the media, chronicles the undercover investigation of P. David Gaubatz and his son, who interned at CAIR’s national headquarters.

CAIR has sued the Gaubatzes for trespassing, but has not denied any of the book’s explosive findings tying CAIR closer to terrorism.

CAIR maintains it is simply a Muslim-rights group, but the Justice Department says it is a front group not only for Hamas, but for its parent the radical Muslim Brotherhood – a worldwide jihadist movement that prosecutors say has a secret plan to impose Shariah law on the U.S. CAIR has continued to be invited to air its views as a “Muslim civil rights group” on U.S. media despite the ruling.

Earlier this year, in the Gaubatz case, D.C. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denied a motion by CAIR for summary judgment in the case, which would resolve it based on its merits, without a full trial. She also ordered that the defendants’ motion for summary judgment be granted in part and denied in part.

CAIR filed suit in 2009 against former federal investigator Dave Gaubatz and his son, Chris Gaubatz, after the two carried out an undercover investigation of the Islamic group. The Washington, D.C., think tank Center for Security Policy and three of its employees were later added to the suit for their part in commissioning a documentary about CAIR, along with attorney David Yerushalmi and his non-profit group SANE, which campaigns against the advance of Islamic law, or Shariah.

Fight back against CAIR’s attack on First Amendment by making a contribution to WND’s “Legal Defense Fund.” Donations of $25 or more entitle you to free copy of “Muslim Mafia” – the book so devastating to CAIR the group is trying to ban it.

CAIR alleges it suffered damage after the younger Gaubatz, posing as an intern, obtained access to some 12,000 pages of CAIR internal documents under false pretenses and made recordings of officials and employees without consent.

WND has previously reported on CAIR’s extensive ties to terrorism and extremism. Although CAIR is a nonprofit organization, it does not disclose complete directories of its staff or advisory boards and even refuses to make its federal tax filings readily available to the public. But a review of federal criminal court documents, past IRS 990 tax records and Federal Election Commission records detailing donor occupations reveals that Washington-based CAIR has been associated with a disturbing number of convicted terrorists or felons in terrorism probes, as well as suspected terrorists and active targets of terrorism investigations.

“Their offices have been a turnstile for terrorists and their supporters,” said one FBI veteran familiar with recent and ongoing cases involving CAIR officials.

WND has reported that at least 14 CAIR officials have been indicted or convicted in U.S. terror investigations.

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger

Article source: http://www.wnd.com/2014/07/hannity-skewers-cair-for-giving-hamas-free-ride/

Protesters across Muslim world denounce Israel in al-Quds Day rallies

Demonstrations took place across the Muslim world on Friday in support of the Palestinians and in protest of Israel and its ongoing campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In Iran, rallies took place in Tehran and more than 700 towns and cities across the country during marches marking annual “al-Quds Day” or Jerusalem Day, which was launched in 1979 by the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomenei to show support for Palestinians and opposition to Israel.

“The Islamic world must in unison declare this day one of anger, hatred, unity and resistance against Israel,” AFP quoted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as saying at the demonstration in his country’s capital.

Portesters carried carried placards emblazoned with the slogans “Death to Israel” and “Death to America,” AFP reported.

Thousands of Shi’ite Muslims marched in Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi on Friday to mark al-Quds Day and express solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Similar rallies were held in other cities across Pakistan.

In Karachi, about 5,000 men, women and children marched over US and Israeli flags spread out on the street chanting: “Down with Israel,” “Down with America.”

Mirza Yousuf, who led the rally, denounced the Israelis offensive in Gaza, in which more than 800 Palestinians have reportedly died.

“Muslims should wake up, specially the Muslim rulers who are showing impassiveness and cowardice. If these Muslims get united then Israel is nothing before them. If Muslims get united they can liberate Jerusalem and they can get the rights of Palestinians,” Yousuf said.

The march took place as Israel’s offensive on Gaza entered its 18th day.

In Jordan, men, women and children marched in downtown Amman to show solidarity with Gazans.

Protesters criticized the Israeli action.

“Shame on the ones who are besieging Gaza and they keep on besieging the strip and they open the doors to their media to affect negatively on the resistance and gloat over the martyrs and wounded Gazans to break the resistance force and the resistance of Palestinians,” said Hamza Mansour, secretary-general of Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Islamic Front.

Al-Quds day is marked across the Islamic world on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.

A rally in Berlin of some 1,200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators and an estimated 700 counter-demonstrators supporting Israel remained peaceful on Friday, according to German police.

Chanting “freedom for Palestine, freedom for Gaza,” Palestinian supporters marched on the German capital’s Kurfuerstendamm shopping boulevard which had been closed off to traffic.

“Gaza is burning, Gaza is being destroyed,” said the German organizer of the annual rally.


Please LIKE our Facebook page – it makes us stronger:

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/International/Muslim-world-denounces-Israel-in-annual-al-Quds-Day-rallies-368961

Protesters across Muslim world denounce Israel in al-Quds Day rallies

Demonstrations took place across the Muslim world on Friday in support of the Palestinians and in protest of Israel and its ongoing campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In Iran, rallies took place in Tehran and more than 700 towns and cities across the country during marches marking annual “al-Quds Day” or Jerusalem Day, which was launched in 1979 by the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomenei to show support for Palestinians and opposition to Israel.

“The Islamic world must in unison declare this day one of anger, hatred, unity and resistance against Israel,” AFP quoted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as saying at the demonstration in his country’s capital.

Portesters carried carried placards emblazoned with the slogans “Death to Israel” and “Death to America,” AFP reported.

Thousands of Shi’ite Muslims marched in Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi on Friday to mark al-Quds Day and express solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Similar rallies were held in other cities across Pakistan.

In Karachi, about 5,000 men, women and children marched over US and Israeli flags spread out on the street chanting: “Down with Israel,” “Down with America.”

Mirza Yousuf, who led the rally, denounced the Israelis offensive in Gaza, in which more than 800 Palestinians have reportedly died.

“Muslims should wake up, specially the Muslim rulers who are showing impassiveness and cowardice. If these Muslims get united then Israel is nothing before them. If Muslims get united they can liberate Jerusalem and they can get the rights of Palestinians,” Yousuf said.

The march took place as Israel’s offensive on Gaza entered its 18th day.

In Jordan, men, women and children marched in downtown Amman to show solidarity with Gazans.

Protesters criticized the Israeli action.

“Shame on the ones who are besieging Gaza and they keep on besieging the strip and they open the doors to their media to affect negatively on the resistance and gloat over the martyrs and wounded Gazans to break the resistance force and the resistance of Palestinians,” said Hamza Mansour, secretary-general of Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Islamic Front.

Al-Quds day is marked across the Islamic world on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.

A rally in Berlin of some 1,200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators and an estimated 700 counter-demonstrators supporting Israel remained peaceful on Friday, according to German police.

Chanting “freedom for Palestine, freedom for Gaza,” Palestinian supporters marched on the German capital’s Kurfuerstendamm shopping boulevard which had been closed off to traffic.

“Gaza is burning, Gaza is being destroyed,” said the German organizer of the annual rally.


Please LIKE our Facebook page – it makes us stronger:

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/International/Muslim-world-denounces-Israel-in-annual-al-Quds-Day-rallies-368961

Islam in the US: Latino Muslims Are One of The Fastest Growing Populations in …

Latino Muslims have been dubbed one of the fastest growing segments of Islam in the U.S., according to PBS.

The Hispanic population and the Muslim population are each a fast-growing segment of the U.S. population, according to Reuters. There were about 2.6 million Muslims in 2012, and about 17 percent of the U.S. population was Hispanic.

Since then the numbers have grown, and the number of converts to Islam as well.

Share This Story

One Mexican woman told the Huffington Post in 2012 that she converted in 1983.

Marta Khadija, president of La Asociacion Latino Musalmana de America (LAMLA, the Latino Muslim Association of America), said she was unhappy with her spiritual life and felt her first experience in a mosque gave her peace.

“My mother thought I had joined some sort of cult,” Khadija told the Huffing Post. “I kept my culture. I didn’t adopt any dress from the Middle East.”

The latest number of Latino Muslims is estimated at about 250,000, according to PBS. The Islamic Circle of North America reports a majority of them are women.

A public radio station in Miami, WLRN, reported in 2013 that a similar conversion rate was seen in the 1960s with African Americans.

The two regions of the world, Spain and Africa, have a long-standing history with the Arab world.

“Our language is nurtured by more than 4,000 words that come from Arabic,” Wilfredo Ruiz, a Puerto Rican-born Muslim and a lawyer for the South Florida chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations told WLRN. “It’s like rediscovering your past. That area of our past has been hidden from us.”

Arab Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years during the Middle Ages and made the Iberian Peninsula one of the most advanced civilizations of its time, according to WLRN.

These individuals and their descendants, the Moors, ruled from the 11th to 17th centuries and settled as refugees in northern Africa.

And despite the conversions, the two religions are known to have strong overlaps in beliefs and context.

“ Islam, what brings to most of the people is peace. People feel at peace first with themselves, of who they are and their way they have chosen, and a peace knowing what is, what is the purpose of life? ” Ruiz told PBS.

Article source: http://www.latinpost.com/articles/18021/20140726/latino-muslims-are-one-of-the-fastest-growing-populations-in-the-u-s.htm