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Books and Documents

Muslims and Islamophobia

Of course, everyone knows that most terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe).  Everyone also knows that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, and this is a Christian nation, which everyone knows the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards shariah law.  The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong.

Islamophobia truly does not represent American values, and it doesn’t make us any safer.  I pray that the voices of dialogue and reason prevail and drown out the voices that would tear us apart.  By burning bridges with American Muslims we make me and my family, and all other Americans, less safe.  It seems that any time a crime is committed by someone who is a Muslim, the rhetoric becomes more hysterical, and I really do wonder at what point American Muslims need to be afraid for our safety.  I’m waiting to see some strong statements against this sort of religion baiting by interfaith groups. -- Sheila Musaji

A Liminal Presence: Sikhs In America
Vinay Lal
It is of course Muslims, not Sikhs, who are today viewed as the undesirable hordes who have invaded America. There is something grotesque in the argument that the shooting of the Sikhs at the Oak Creek Gurdwara was a 'tragic mistake' : if it was a 'mistake', a deviation from the right path, how could it have been any better to have killed Muslims? The Oak Creek shooting raises so many profound questions, beyond those that have been raised about America's endless fascination with guns, the influence that the National Rifle Association exercises in American politics, and the country's subcultures of white supremacy.

 

Most Western analysts dogmatically deny that the Koran teaches violence and supremacism. Yet Muslims who believe this comprise a global movement, active from Indonesia to Nigeria and extending into Europe and North America, that is dedicated to waging war against "unbelievers" - that is, non-Muslims - and subjugating them as inferiors under the rule of Islamic law. This movement sees in the Koran its divine mandate to wage that war. In March 2009, five Muslims accused of helping plot the September 11 attacks, including the notorious Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, wrote an "Islamic Response to the Government's Nine Accusations."

In it they quote the Koran to justify their jihad war against the American Infidels. "In God's book," asserts the letter, "he ordered us to fight you everywhere we find you, even if you were inside the holiest of all holy cities, The Mosque in Mecca, and the holy city of Mecca, and even during sacred months.

 In God's book, verse 9 [actually verse 5], Al-Tawbah [the Koran's 9th chapter]: Then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, and besiege them and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush."

Osama bin Laden's communiqués have also quoted the Koran copiously. In his 1996 "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places," he quotes seven Koran verses: 3:145; 47:4-6; 2:154; 9:14; 47:19; 8:72; and the notorious "Verse of the Sword," 9:5.[i] Bin Laden began his October 6, 2002, letter to the American people with two Koran quotations, both of a martial bent: "Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged and surely, Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory" (22:39) and "Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (anything worshipped other than Allah e.g. Satan).  So fight you against the friends of Satan; ever feeble is indeed the plot of Satan" (4:76)." ...

Anyone who thinks that an agnostic such as I, or a Christian Arab-American for that matter (unless they are a Bible-thumping evangelical, perhaps, and probably not even then), are somehow immune from or even less affected by Islamophobia, anti-Arab defamation or discrimination on the basis of religious bigotry or ethnicity doesn't understand how these things work in the contemporary United States. I don't think there are very many people in the Arab-American community who have been called an Islamist, a jihadist, a supporter of terrorism, anti-American, radical, extremist, an anti-Semite, etc., more than I have been, or in a more public way. Most if not all of the people who have called me this in, for example, major newspapers, or on major television programs, have known very well that not only am I not any of those things, but that I am both agnostic in my religious opinions and secular in my political orientation. It doesn't matter one bit, of course, since it is our identity and our community, and not our actual opinions or activities, that are often under attack. -- Hussein Ibish

I would like to touch upon yet another important aspect of Islamophobia, the securitization of Islam and Muslims, especially after Sept. 11 and other tragic terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere. Islam and Muslims are usually singled out in the media and in political discourse which leads to the emergence of a sense of threat and fear. Muslims in Europe and elsewhere are viewed with suspicion because their beliefs are easily associated with violence and terrorism. The securitization of Islam erects a huge social barrier between Muslims and their European neighbours. The perceived Islamic threat leads to the profiling of Muslims, the restriction of civil liberties and the alienation of Muslims from the wider society through their withdrawal to a communitarian lifestyle. -- Talip Küçükcan

 

America and the West are doomed to failure in this war unless they stand up and identify the real enemy: Islam… If you want to understand the nature of the enemy we face, visualize a tapestry of snakes. They slither and they hiss, and they would eat each other alive, but they will unite in a hideous mass to achieve their common goal of imposing Islam on the world. Gabriel vehemently denies that there can be such a thing as a moderate Muslim, only a “non-practicing” one: I call it a practicing Muslim and a non-practicing Muslim. I think it is a better description than “moderate” and “radical.” A practicing Muslim goes to mosque, prays five times a day, doesn't drink, believes God gave him women to be his property - to beat, to stone to death… He believes Christians and Jews are apes and pigs because they are cursed by Allah. He believes it is his duty to declare war on the infidels because they are Allah's enemies. That is a practicing Muslim. -- Hussein Ibish

 

This controversy started when two Muslim students of M.B.A fell in love with two Hindu girls studying in the same college in Trivandrum. The evolution of such delicate emotional relationships over time among college students is no bolt from the blue, but in this case its consequences were atrocious. This affair led to the expulsion of the Muslim students on the ground of creating trouble in college premises. This intimate relationship continued even after leaving the college, ultimately the girls left their parents’ house to live with their lovers, which commonly happens in Indian society. As usual, the Hindutva parties raised a lot of hue and cry by accusing inter-religion love-marriages as a part of an international Jihadi conspiracy to use the Hindu girls for anti-national terrorist activities. -- Shakeel Shamshi (Translated from Urdu by Raihan Nezami)

 

 

Muslims are already "conquering Europe's cities, street by street". So what if Muslims account for only 3% to 4% of the EU's total population of 493 million?

Since the 1970s, by a second generation of Muslims born in Europe, many of them with bleaker prospects of employment than their parents. Today, about 15-16 million Muslims from families of immigrant origin live in the EU, mostly in the cities. Surveys and opinion polls, including a recent one by Gallup, repeatedly reveal the average European Muslim to be poor, socially conservative, and unhappy about discrimination, but generally content, hopeful about their children - who attend non-religious schools - and eager, like their non-Muslim peers, to get on with their lives. Initially high, sbirth-rates among Muslim communities across Europe are falling as more men and women become literate. Exposure to secular modernity has also weaned many of these immigrants away from traditional faith: only 5% of Muslims in France regularly attend mosques, and elsewhere, too, non-observant "cultural Muslims" predominate. -- Pankaj Mishra

 

The chief Justice of London's Sharia Court made this chilling statement: If Sharia is implemented then you can turn this country into a haven of peace...Once a thief's hand is cut off, nobody is going to steal. Once an adulterer is stoned, nobody is going to commit this crime at all. This is why we say we want to offer it to British society.

Statements like this have not stopped prominent British figures from endorsing Sharia.  The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Protestant equivalent of the Pope, called Sharia "unavoidable." Under Sharia, non-Muslims are forbidden to even criticize Islam.  This is significant, considering that a Policy Exchange Poll found that forty percent of British Muslims prefer to be governed by Sharia.  Thirty-six percent believe that "apostates" from Islam should be punished by death.  A Guardian Poll indicates that a sizeable number of British Muslims favour terrorist attacks on the United States and even England. [1] -- John Griffing

 

Are these simply isolated events? Or is Europe in the grip of a new wave of Islamophobia?

First, the books described by writer and critic Pankaj Mishra in a long polemical article in The Guardian as works of "Eurabia-mongers" who believe that Europe is about to be "over-run" by Muslims with at least one American writer claiming that they are already "conquering Europe's cities, street by street." A common theme running through these books is that Europe's 53 million-strong Muslim population is a "demographic time-bomb" which needs to be defused immediately if the continent does not want to end up as "Eurabia." The solution is simple if stark: keep Muslims out of Europe and, if necessary, throw them out. Some of the suggestions on how to deal with the Muslim "problem" amount to ethnic cleansing. -- Hasan Suroor

 

Today, a series of recent tragic developments have given Islam a bad name, causing many people to imagine that Muslims as a whole are bad people who have no respect whatsoever for human life and peace. It is true that behind these developments as well as the mounting anti-Islamic sentiments the world over are the hands of sinister politicians, personal interests, international politics and so on. Yet, simply to state the problem is not to solve it. We must recognize that many people now see Muslims as their enemies, and that Islamophobia, based on erroneous claims, has rapidly escalated throughout the world. These are among the various problems that we are now suddenly afflicted with, and we must seriously consider possible solutions to them. -- Khatib-e Akbar’ Maulvi Mirza Muhammad Athar (Translated from Urdu by Yoginder Sikand)

In the last few years, Islam, Islamism and political Islam have become new brands of academic and policy interests in western countries. Well-funded government think tanks in Europe and the US are drawing upon academics as well as representatives from their local Muslim communities in an attempt to dissect, distinguish and sanitize the politics from Islam. Presumably this is a means of dealing with global faith-based violence. It's a useful political tactic for western governments to appear to be 'doing something' other than fearing, arresting or bombing suspect terrorists. It also helps them avoid accusations of being Islamophobic. However, the process of research and offering courses on the subject is an exercise that is sometimes interesting, other times amusing and often disturbing. -- Afiya Shehrbano

 

Georgia Judge Jails Muslim Woman Over Head Scarf

Atlanta - A Muslim woman arrested for refusing to take off her head scarf at a courthouse security checkpoint said Wednesday that she felt her human and civil rights were violated. A judge ordered Lisa Valentine, 40, to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court, said police in Douglasville, a city of about 20,000 people on Atlanta's west suburban outskirts.

Members of the local Islamic community told The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) that there have been at least two previous incidents involving Muslims being prevented from wearing religious attire in court.

One local Muslim woman reported to CAIR that she and her 14-year-old daughter were barred from the same judge's courtroom last week because they were wearing Islamic scarves.

 

Muslim scholars from South Asia have a particularly important role to play today in countering Islamophobia, because, unlike in several countries in the Arab world, there is much greater intellectual freedom in this region, says Maulana Waris Mazhari.

But first, Fear of Islam? You Betcha! An example of Islamophobia rampant in the West! A viewpoint article by Ruth S. King, a columnist for OUTPOST, the publication of Americans for a Safe Israel: “A full page ad in the New York Times of November 11th heralded November 21-23 as a “Week of Twinning” when Canadian and American synagogues and their respective rabbis and an equal number of mosques and mullahs will “join together to confront Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in their respective communities.” This interfaith confab will be under the auspices of good old King Abdullah bin Aziz of Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world which funds, promotes and teaches terrorism and fanatical hatred of all “infidels” and is the locus of all but two of the terrorists who perpetrated 9/11…”

Instead of getting angry, we Muslims need to ask: does this Islamophobic ranting have any basis in reality? Is there something we can ourselves do to remedy the situation? Of one thing I am certain that anti-Semitic cartoons like the one published by a UAE paper - link below - are certainly not going to help.

Editor

 

Turkey's Islamist-rooted ruling party narrowly escaped being outlawed yesterday for undermining secularism as the country's top court decided to punish it by cutting state funds to it by half.

 The ruling appeared to be a compromise solution to political tensions that have polarised Turkey. It also avoided serious turmoil that a ban could have unleashed, while warning the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to toe the line.

 

A U.S.-based Muslim group has stirred controversy in New York with its plan to launch in September a campaign promoting Islam in advertisements on the New York City subway. 

The campaign coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as well as the seventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. 

"You deserve to know," the ads posted in subway cars will read, offering the tagline and contact information for the Islamic Circle of North America as a response to "questions" about the Prophet Mohammed and Islam. 

The group is paying the Metropolitan Transit Authority 48,000 dollars to run the ads.

 

The cover of The New Yorker magazine depicts a turban-wearing Barack Obama fist-bumping his machine-gun-toting wife Michelle as they stand in the Oval Office. In the background, hangs a portrait of Osama Bin Laden above the fireplace with an American flag burning inside.

Get it?

The satirical cover harpooning the stereotypes and more insidious accusations against the Democratic presidential nominee hasn’t prompted any laughs from the Obama campaign, which a spokesman called “tasteless and offensive,” an opinion seconded by John McCain’s campaign. Barbara Ferguson of Arab News reports.

 
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NEW COMMENTS

  • For Hats Off this is just another opportunity to say something hateful about Muslims! The guy is obsessed with anti-Muslim hatered.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • never mind taxila. or konark. The holy cow of monumentality - taj mahal.
    ( By hats off! )
  • Excellent article. Changed my ignorant mindset. May this idea spread to all the muslims of the world.
    ( By Sahil Raza )
  • Dear sister Teresa, Thanks for this meaningful review. I hope this review will encourage both serious readers and peace....
    ( By SAJID ANWAR )
  • The Crown Prince is only strengthening the monarchy and consolidating the anti-Iran front. He....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Taj Mahal's deterioration is symbolic of a paradigmatic shift in our values.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This is so dumb really Turks, Arabs and Persians are not...
    ( By What? )
  • Dear Sister Teresa, You have wonderfully given the gist of the book and created curiosity among the readers ....
    ( By Rajat Malhotra )
  • An anti-reform AIMPLB gives Islam a bad name and is like a curse on the Muslim community. We need new leadership.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • ully agree with this press bulletin. Indian Muslims must reject the leadership of such regressive clerics.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Ghaus Sb says: “The way you are speaking in your comment shows you are not a Muslim.” From what I say, he can....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Ghaus Sb says: Those who say, fitna means “shirk” and opine that the early Muslims fought to end fitna” must have meant “to end that ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Good article. The is only One G-d and Muhammad was the final messenger and prophet of G-d. As I write this, G-d is known ...
    ( By Lenny SB )
  • Please read my article on subject of "there is no compulsion in Religion...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Related article...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sb, Please read my comment again and again. You did not get my comment. I did not say both...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Arbitration is of two kinds - binding and non-binding. When the parties choose binding arbitration, the decision of the arbitrator is binding on the parties ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • All right thinking Muslims must welcome such a course. Academic independence of the Universities must be protected and respected. There ....
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • Referring to your comment: 7/18/2018 5:04:08 AM, to you both views are valid and fitna could mean “shirk or polytheism” also. The Quran clearly commands ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • What do I mean by acceptance? Read the Quran carefully. There isn’t any verse that calls for tolerance of the peaceful rejecter of Islam. There ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The title question sums up the matter of the article. The answer is the course will discuss in detail how Muslim clerics and fundamentalists misinterpret ...
    ( By arshad )
  • Site Web Israel and Myanmar give more rights to muslims, than muslims give rights to Kafirs,...
    ( By Shan Barani )
  • Good article. The is only One G-d and Muhammad was the final messenger and prophet of G-d. As I write,..
    ( By Lenny SB (Shivarsi) )
  • I fully agree with Faizur Rahman sahib. Such "courts" should be called "Arbitration centers.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • A course on "Uses of religions to gain political power" would be entirely appropriate. By the way, Obama refused to use the label "Islamic....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • بہت بہت شکریہ جناب! اللہ عز و جل آپ کے مبارک کلمات کو مستجاب کرے۔ آمین بجاہ سید المرسلین صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم
    ( By misbahul Huda quadri )
  • fve questions
    ( By hats off! )
  • بہت عمدہ ۔ اللہ تعالی ہم مسلمانوں کو صوفیائے کرام کے نہج پر شریعت و طریقت کو سمجھنے اور اس پر عمل کرنے ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Mushrik and muwahhid, Muslims and non-Muslims all equally need to adopt the path of tolerance. One sided tolerance is not helpful. This point should also ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sb, Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Az-Zuhri informed him from Urwah bin Az-Zubayr and other scholars that (until there is no more fitnah) the Fitnah ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • An excellent read that contextualises many pertinent issues connected to Muslims and Islam! Your angle ....
    ( By Meera )
  • Naseer sb, Can you suggest me how many books have you read on theology? From your comments it appears you have been inspired by orientalist ...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Naseer sahib, What is theology? Why do you use theology in general term? In your comment you meant that those who follow theology are following ....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Before I say anything further, could you please explain your questions? What do you mean by acceptance?....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصدیقی )
  • Tolerance in Muslim society earlier was because of low level of outward piety. Intolerance grows as the level of outward piety grows. Outward piety is ...
    ( By Naseer Ahmed )
  • The Muslim nation (with the exception of one or two Muslim countries) as a whole has been blind and deaf to the above advice and ...
    ( By Rashid Samnakay )
  • I fully agree with Rashid sahib.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • At this rate Hats Off may soon get some insight into his unquenchable hatred of Muslims.
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • This is the time when the anti-Muslim hate propaganda of the BJP/RSS is at full blast to cover up for the absence of any acchhe ...
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )
  • Excellent book review! As the reviewer says, "secularism cannot be used as a pretext to ignore discrimination on grounds....
    ( By Ghulam Mohiyuddin )