This is #AmericanMuslims’ reactions to the election of @realDonaldTrump


apex-masjidSomeone sent me a flyer from a masjid in Apex, North Carolina where the imam of that masjid addresses what should be the reaction of his group to the election of Donald Trump.  Contrary to what the average American may think about the presence of Muslims in this country, this cleric’s advise is full of calls to American civics, service and faith in the American process as well as in their religion.

It’s been a long, hard campaign and election season.  We’ve heard some incredibly divisive rhetoric, some of it aimed at us and some of it aimed at other minorities we call friends and allies.  Many of you have come to me and expressed your fears and sadness over the outcome of the elction.  Let me first say that as American Muslims, we should all respect the choice that has been made through our electoral process.  We should also continue to have a high level of self-esteem as we have always been good and loyal citizens of this country, not only out of respect for the laws and regulations of this country but because doing so is part of our faith.

The more I grow in this faith the more love and respect I have for our great Prophet and Messenger (prayer and peace be upon him); the more thankful to God I am for making me one of his followers in this time; and the better I understand God’s words, which are full of wisdom and mercy.  One of the verses of Quran that really inspires me is “Verily, you (the believers) have had in the Messenger of God a great example”.  It’s he who taught us courage, patience and trust in God.  It’s he who taught us to rely, in times of hardship and all times, only on God’ not anybody else. It’s he who taught us to be positive, no matter what the challenges are.  He also taught us that after making plans and taking necessary steps to achieve a certain goal, the final decision is still His.  It’s he who reported to us the verse of Quran in which Almighty God says “And perhaps you don’t appreciate something, while God would bring good through it”.

So I trust God.  And I ask that you do too, my fellow Muslims. I know it is hard given the divisive rhetoric we’ve heard throughout the campaign process.  But I ask you to walk with heads held high; we should not be pushed to hide our faith, our identity, nor our values.  This is not what our great prophet taught us to do.  Nor is it the principals that this Great Nation was founded on.  Our prophet taught us to face all kinds of challenges with courage, wisdom, pride and patience. Gentleness is the path of our great prophet so let us NOT find our path to equality and justice by drinking from the cup of bitterness.

Instead, here’s what we must do; we need to be more active civically, we need to get involved with volunteer organizations, we need to get out and meet our neighbors.  We need to get out of our “bubble” which finds us only socializing with those “like” us and show our neighbors and community who we are.  If you don’t leave the “bubble”, you cannot be upset when people stereotype you or fear you.  We need to be more active in the political process, meet our representatives and express our fears and challenges with them.  We need to work in tandem with government and our communities to form alliances and create a better world for everyone.

And to President Elect Trump—We will give you a chance.  Let not your Muslim citizens (nor any other minority) be your worst enemy.  Your worst enemies should be ignorance, poverty, inequality, crime, racism, discrimination and hate.

Two thousand sixteen is not an end, but a beginning.  Two thousand sixteen should be an opportunity to replace the fear, mistrust and suspicion that were infused in some American’s hears, with love, brotherhood and mercy.  Just like our Prophet taught us to do.  We’ve got a lot of work to do.  Let’s get started- Imam Khalid Shaku

Don’t let it be said you don’t know what Muslims are doing in this country.

And you thought this was over?


We haven’t even heard nor seen the worst of what happened to people imprisoned in AbuGhraib. Eric Fair, the author of the book, Consequence comes out four square against torture or enhanced interrogation saying they are one and the same.  You can find an interview with him here.  What he is saying is what you can find in the pages of Miscellany101 since day one of the war but in today’s political climate where presidential candidates are calling for torture in very explicit terms and not caring to even debate its illegality Fair’s book should be front and center in any public debate on foreign policy where the issue of torture is brought up.

However, there has always been a lingering suspicion that we what we were told only scratched the surface and this latest news piece confirms that.

According to a number of global mainstream media sources, the Pentagon is covering up a disturbing video that was never made public with the rest of the recent torture report.

… the appalling video was recorded at Abu Ghraib, the notorious US torture dungeon in Iraq that made headlines roughly a decade ago, when the inhumane tactics being used at the prison were exposed……While the video has remained under wraps thus far, Hersh says it is only a matter of time before it comes out.

Giving a speech at the ACLU last week after the senate torture report was initially released, Hersh gave some insight into what was on the Pentagon’s secret tape.

In the most revealing portion of his speech he said that:

“Debating about it, ummm … Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.”

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The new face of the #demonicGOP

 

joni ernst

ISIS Ideology Is Not True To Islam, And These Imams Are Fighting Back


Britain Imams
Using a twisted version of Islam, the militant group Islamic State, or ISIS, has pushed online campaigns to attract youth to its bloody crusade in Syria and Iraq. Now a group of British imams and scholars is looking to “reclaim the Internet” with a new magazine aimed at shifting the conversation and spreading a message of truth.

Haqiqah, meaning “the truth” or “the reality” in Arabic, is a digital magazine created by Islamic scholars with the purpose of educating young people about the realities of extremism, according to its backers at Imams Online. The goal, they say, is to “drown out” the voices perpetuating violence.ImamsOnline

“Someone has to reclaim that territory from ISIS, and that can only be imams: religious leaders who guide and nourish their community,” Qari Asim, senior editor at Imams Online, told the BBC. “But now that we live in a digital mobile world, some young people are not coming to the mosque so we must reach out to them -– and this is the Muslims’ contribution to combat radicalization on the net.”

More than 100 imams were reportedly present at the launch of the magazine in London Thursday night, including influential U.S. scholar Hamza Yusuf and Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, president of the Forum for Promoting Peace. One imam told BuzzFeed “Haqiqa would reach out to vulnerable people, who are often targeted by extremists on social media.”

ISIS-masjidCNN reports ISIS claims to have a $2 billion budget that it can use for the recruitment of youth around the globe, including funds for the production of videos and social media efforts. It’s been estimated there may be as many as 70,000 pro-ISIS accounts on Twitter alone, and according to The Independent some 700 British people have traveled to join the group in Syria.

The first issue of Haqiqah calls ISIS an “empty banner” and states that “interspersing the occasional out of context Qur’anic verse with hyperbolic arguments” doesn’t equate to legitimacy. This misconstruction, the magazine argues, is not Islam.

They are individuals who study Islam from a superficial point of view and emerge with their own ideas and imaginary interpretations, which often diverge greatly from established Islamic principles. We can see that many of the characteristics found in these young men and women are similar to those identified as the Khawarij (Extremist/Dissenters) by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). They have no grounding in Islamic sciences or jurisprudence and yet want to establish an ‘Islamic state’/‘Islamic System’. In the pursuit of their illintended aim, they are prepared to bulldoze the fundamental teachings of Islam.

Those in the wider Muslim community are optimistic about the effect a publication like Haqiqah can have.

“If this is part of community-led initiatives to counter ISIS, then it is exactly what’s needed,” Salam Al-Marayati, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, told The Huffington Post in an email Friday. “Governments and their military forces cannot bomb away ideas of violent extremism. Authentic and credible community voices can wash away the filth from the cult of death, bring the the light of life to lost souls, hoping to rehabilitate them so they don’t destroy themselves and their families.”

Taking the Muslim call to prayer across America


A First: Calling the Athaan In All 50 States- Jameel Syed

A First: Calling the Athaan In All 50 States- Jameel Syed

Written by Hena Zuberi, Muslim Link Staff Reporter

On April 3, 2015, one American Muslim will attempt to become the first  person to call the athan in all fifty states.

Called “Project Muaddhin” is the history making journey by Jameel Syed from Michigan. He intends to share the beauty of Islam, stopping to collect stories in each state, making the Adhan and delivering the Last Sermon of the Prophet Sallallahu ‘alyhi wa sallam at each stop.

“I made my intention to become the first Muaddhin (Caller of the Adhan) in history to make the Adhan in all fifty states across America. It’ll be a journey that gives the international Muslim community the opportunity to dictate the terms of their own narrative across the world. Instead of reacting to headlines, they’ll be creating their own by building a positive story around the community,” said Syed.

Starting from Farmington Hills, MI, Syed will stop and the ADAMS Center in Sterling, VA and Islamic Community Center of Laurel in Maryland on Friday, April 10, 2015. The Grand Canyon and Harry Potter World are also on the schedule.

This very American tradition of driving across the United States will be a world record, but for Syed it is also a spiritual journey to gain the pleasure of Allah.

“Through travel we get to know God better, it’s that simple. I have had some of my most spiritual moments staring out across a mountain range, a desert, lake, or even just humanity going about its daily existence,” says Syed. “Travel makes the familiar unfamiliar to us and in doing so we come to better appreciate God’s creation. Throughout the Qur’an verses ask man to reflect on what has been created on earth and in the heavens – what better way to do that than through travel?”

“I want to be a part of the legacy,” he said on his choice of reading the universal Farewell Sermon, which he says is the antidote to the many ills of society. It is a simple solution to a complex problem, said Syed. Project Muaddhin will also collect adhans of different muaddhins from each state and compile the journey into a documentary.

It’s a matter of telling our own stories, said Dr Malik Bella, Director of Islamic Studies at Oakland University, while endorsing Project Muaddhin. “The adhan- this message of Islam is for all people.”

Every home should have a designated muaddhin, recommends Syed, who wants to give this position the honor that it deserves. Many muaddins are the unsung heroes of their communities.
A father and committed husband, he will leave his family behind to travel the country telling the stories of American Muslims.  Syed is a marketing professional, a youth leader, and was the official muaddhin for the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in 2014. He credits his Islamic schoolteacher at the Michigan Islamic School, Isa Abdul Baseer, for taking him as a personal mission and taming his youthful hyperactivity. Baseer, who is active in the jamaat at-tabligh movement, taught him the benefits of calling people to worship.
His father, the late Dr Salam Abdus Syed who passed away in 2004, also inspires Syed.
The project is looking for 35 families to sponsor each day of their historic journey. For $500, families can choose a cause of their choice to be highlighted during the trip and on social media. For more information, email info@muaddhin.com and to follow the journey, go to Facebook.com/muaddhin or on Twitter/Instagram: @themuaddhin .

Pope Francis on Charlie Hebdo: ‘You cannot insult the faith of others’


popeFrancisPope Francis is not your normal Catholic Pope; born in Argentina he does not have the Eurocentric  world view that has surrounded the Roman Catholic Church for so many centuries and he comes from a refreshing place in theology that emphasizes a lot more of the things people have in common, regardless of their faith.  What he had to say regarding the Charlie Habdo cartoons is indicative of a view that certainly puts him at odds with most of punditry

Calling freedom of expression a “fundamental” human right, the pope outlined why he believes there are limits to that right. If someone “says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” he joked, according to an Associated Press translation. “It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

Despite joking about his mother, Francis also condemned violent retaliation. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion — that is, in the name of God,” the pope said. “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”

Francis was speaking in Italian aboard the papal plane, on the way from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. According to the National Catholic Reporter, the pope was responding to a question about freedom of speech and religion in general. But acknowledging that the reporter asking the question was French, Pope Francis indicated that his response applied specifically to the attacks. “Let’s go to Paris, let’s speak clearly,” he said, according to NCR.

“The Pope’s expression is in no way intended to be interpreted as a justification for the violence and terror that took place in Paris last week,” the Vatican press office said in a later statement, addressing Francis’s remarks. The statement adds, “the Pope’s free style of speech, especially in situations like the press conference must be taken a face value and not distorted or manipulated.”

“The Pope has spoken out clearly against the terror and violence that occurred in Paris and in other parts of the world,” the statement continues, “Violence begets violence.  Pope Francis has not advocated violence with his words on the flight.”

Days ago, Francis denounced the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the “deviant forms of religion” he said were behind them. “Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext,” he said, according to the AP.

There is no God fearing sincere believer who would say anything different than what the Pope has said or what has been written in the pages of Miscellany101 but in this writer’s opinion it’s also unrealistic to expect people would not feel resentment towards those who use satire as a weapon to dehumanize or devalue one’s religious beliefs. The Pope believes that people have a responsibility to their fellow citizens and that satire and freedom of speech has limits  and unbridled free speech also has consequences.  It is a mature position and it takes a certain amount of courage to embrace it.

More trouble at Shaikh Zayed masjid- Abu Dhabi


Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at sunrise

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at sunrise

Another American pop icon has gone and done it again, upsetting the sensitivities of Emiratis about their splendid mosque Shaikh Zayid mosque in Abu Dhabi.  The mosque or masjid is also the final resting place of the first leader of the United Arab Emirates, Shaikh Zayid bin al Nahyan the beloved leader of that country, which makes it even more special to the people of the UAE.  However, in an attempt to be a country of tolerance and acceptance the government of the UAE liberally allows people to visit the mosque; however, it seems too many of them of a western mentality take things a little too far according to some Emiratis. The latest one to raise their ire is Selena Gomez who raised her garments to expose her covered leg and uncovered ankle.

Selena Gomez caused fury online after posting this image on her Instagram account, showing her flashing her ankle while visiting Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque  DailyMail

Selena Gomez caused fury online after posting this image on her Instagram account, showing her flashing her ankle while visiting Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
DailyMail

To almost everyone in the west that kind of exposure is no big deal, but it wasn’t done in the West it was done in the UAE where the standard of behavior and conduct is different.  We’ve written about this problem before but perhaps it’s time to take things up a notch with regards to what Emiratis should do which is don’t allow tourism at any of their masajid. (plural of mosque) Non-Muslims should be allowed to visit them, during the times of prayer and properly escorted, but they should not be the “destination” of people who want to ogle and have their pictures taken there.  Mosques are places of worship and people should attend them with that solemnity in mind; if they are not worshippers but want to visit them they should be accompanied at all times by people who work for the government who are there to insure the visitors follow UAE protocol until they leave the premises.  You’ve heard it from me Emiratis; don’t complain when the next pop star comes and disrespects your way of life at the Shaikh Zayed mosque.