The Islamophobia Industry

Islamophobia is a real problem that needs to be considered in the same light as racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism, says Nathan Lean, the author of ‘The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims’

What is Islamophobia? Who is promoting it? And, how is it a poisonous force in the world today? Nathan Lean answers these questions in his excellent new book, The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims (Pluto Books/Macmillan, 2012).

Nathan Lean is Editor-in-Chief of Aslan Media, one of the best American sources for news, commentary, and analysis of issues in the Middle East. He is the co-author of Iran, Israel, and the United States: Regime Security vs Political Legitimacy (Praeger, 2011). Lean earned his Master’s degree in International Studies at East Carolina University in Greenville, in the US state of North Carolina. He is currently in graduate school at Georgetown University’s Center for Arab American Studies in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service in Washington DC.

In The Islamophobia Industry, Lean illuminates the shadowy underworld inhabited by bigots united against Muslims and Islam. It is a meticulous investigation of the disturbing global phenomenon of ‘Islamophobia’. His book will shape our understanding of this subject for a long time to come. Lean discusses his new book in this exclusive interview.

What was the inspiration for your new book?

I was interested in the way in which the controversy over the Park51 Islamic Community Center, dubbed by ‘Islamophobes’ as the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’, mushroomed into a national hysteria almost overnight.

It occurred to me that the people heralding the opposition to Park51 were the same people behind the push for anti-sharia laws, the scare over the Muslim Brotherhood, and the virulent and nasty protests over the construction of mosques from California to Tennessee. I saw that there were dots that needed to be connected, and that this tight-knit, well-funded network needed to be exposed.

Who are the captains of the Islamophobia industry?

There are several. But two in particular have had more influence than other, at least as of late: Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. These are two American bloggers who prey on Muslims and who use the power of the Internet to drum up hate.

Spencer and Geller were not only the leaders of the Park51 protest, but their lawyer authored the blueprint legislation for the anti-Sharia bills circulated throughout American legislatures. Recently, their metro ads in New York and California were met with backlash, and now we know that they are both connected to the filmmaker and producer of the anti-Muslim flick Innocence of Muslims that set off protests in the Middle East. Both Spencer and Geller were listed as inspirations by

Anders Breivik, the Norway killer who, in July of 2010, murdered 77 youth that he blamed for the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe.

How profitable is their industry?

The Islamophobia industry is very profitable. We know, thanks to the Center for American Progress, that over the past decade, seven different organisations have funnelled US$42mn to groups that support the work of these Islamophobes. But that’s not all.

Millions of dollars have also come from other sources, individuals who donate substantially to these projects, wealthy Israelis connected to or living in the Occupied Territories, and sadly, much money has come via political donations that are made to candidates who take up a particular anti-Muslim platform.

Beyond just donations, though, the key players in this industry have created careers peddling this type of hate – careers that bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries each year. They sell books, have provided training for law enforcement officials, and charge astronomical fees for speaking engagements.

How deep is Islamophobia in America?

Islamophobia in America is a real problem. Polls show that today, nearly half of all Americans report that Muslims make them feel ‘uncomfortable’. Mosque burnings, assaults, Congressional witch-hunts and hearings, racial and ethnic profiling, illegal surveillance programmes – all of these things are evidence of a social cancer that is festering within our society.

Violence carried out by Muslims inside the US is at extremely low levels. Between 2001 and 2010, 33 terrorist attacks were successfully carried out. Certainly that’s 33 too many, but compare that to the 150,000 murders that took place in the same period of time and a clearer picture emerges about where – and who – the real threat is.

How has Islamophobia infected Europe?

Islamophobia has affected Europe so greatly because it has been institutionalised. In essence, what you have is a cadre of state governments that officially adopt policies discriminatory to Muslims. In Belgium, citizens were paid money to go around town and capture women wearing burqas – which were banned – and report them to the police.

It sounds too absurd to be true.

There is also a growing and dangerous right-wing nationalism in Europe that, in addition to being neo-Nazis and supporting only the advancement of the white race, have zeroed in on Muslims. The English Defence League (EDL) is a classic example of one such football hooligan group.

They storm the streets of various cities, beat up Muslims, break into restaurants and, with their fists pumped and their jugular veins popping from their necks, proclaim that Europe won’t tolerate the infiltration of ‘outsiders’. That is what’s happening in Europe.

What is the antidote to Islamophobia?

First, relationships. Then, more speech. Getting to know Muslims – neighbours, co-workers, etc – and developing friendships with them is a positive step in this direction. That doesn’t mean that we work to change their ideas, nor does it mean that they change ours. We have to move the Overton window to a place that excludes the rhetoric of the Islamophobes in our society and emphasises our common humanity.

What that means is agreeing, as a society, that Islamophobia is first a real problem that needs to be considered in the same light as racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, etc. We can accomplish that by constantly dragging the people who spout anti-Muslim sentiment out into the light and exposing their hate.

We must also reject that hate, not just in private but vocally – in op-eds, in articles, in the media, in church pulpits, in schools and universities, in workplaces. It’s not an easy task. But I am certain that one day, the Islamophobes will be swept under the rug of history along with the other racists in our society whose rhetoric was at one time acceptable, but now is considered disgusting and taboo.

How can all of us challenge Islamophobia in our own communities?

By not being afraid to speak out every time we witness an injustice. By getting involved in interfaith groups. By learning about Islam and getting to know our Muslim neighbours. An important part of this is using the word ‘Islamophobia’. If it doesn’t have a name, it doesn’t exist.

And when we reach a point in our society where we begin to describe this illness with consistent terminology, we will reach a real tipping point. Think about it – we have ‘anti-Semites’ and ‘racists’ and  no one wants to be labelled as one of those. Everyone knows that these are bad things. The same must be true about Islamophobia and the Islamophobes that seek to fracture our society.

[Joseph Richard Preville is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia]

http://www.muscatdaily.com/Archive/Opinion/The-Islamophobia-Industry-1uu2

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FBI training ‘critical of Islam’

An FBI review of agent training material critical of Islam uncovered 876 offensive or inaccurate pages that had been used in 392 presentations, including a PowerPoint slide that said the bureau can sometimes bend or suspend the law.

The bureau has not released the material, but Democratic senator Dick Durbin of Illinois described a few pages of it in a letter asking FBI Director Robert Mueller to institute five changes so that inappropriate FBI training on Islam does not happen again.

The FBI has now confirmed the number of inaccurate or offensive pages and presentations. The bureau also said the documents that are either offensive or inaccurate have been taken out of training presentations.

Every trainer was identified and interviewed by an FBI inspection team and the team determined that the problems were performance-related – poor judgment or inadequate training, rather than intentional misconduct, said FBI spokesman Michael Kortan.

As a result, instructors were counselled and in some cases removed from training positions.

Mr Durbin said he is disturbed that the FBI does not plan to produce a written report on the six-month review. He said he wants the agents who received the bad training to be retained.

It began last September after the online publication Wired.com reported that the FBI had discontinued a lecture in which the instructor told agent trainees in Virginia that the more devout a Muslim is, the more likely he is to be violent. The analyst subsequently gave a similar lecture at an FBI-sponsored public-private partnership in New York City.

Mr Kortan declined to address the issue of retraining. Out of 160,000 pages of training material reviewed, just 876 pages – fewer than 1% – were “inconsistent with the FBI’s core values,” said Mr Kortan. “We strongly disagree that the analysts being trained were led to believe that we actually bend or suspend the law in any way. The one reference used in the slide was poorly described.”

The trainer using the PowerPoint slide, the FBI said, was simply short-handing the additional legal authority law enforcement officials have in counterterrorism investigations through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the criminal code. The PowerPoint slide, which was in a section on Muslims, said that “under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law and impinge on freedoms of others.”

Mr Kortan said: “Mistakes were made, and we are correcting those mistakes. Through this review process, we recognised that we lacked a centralised process to ensure all training materials were reviewed and validated. We are addressing that gap so this does not happen again.”

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/fbi-training-critical-of-islam-16138681.html?r=RSS

Short link: http://wp.me/p1dL2Q-hS

The despicable act of Quràn burning by US Soldiers in Afghanistan

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Afghans, who see the Quràn burnings as an illustration of what they perceive as foreign disrespect for their culture and religion. They are demanding not just apologies, but a local trial and the death penalty for the Koran burners.


By S. M. Hali
Tensions continue to run extremely high in Afghanistan after the deliberate act of desecrating the Holy Quràn by US troops. More than 30 people have been killed in clashes since it emerged that copies of the Muslim holy book and other religious materials had been thrown into a fire pit used to burn garbage at Bagram Air Field, a large US base north of Kabul. The despicable act left the Afghans stunned; in a frenzy of rage, they resorted to rioting and arson. The US quest for winning over the hearts and minds of the Afghan people suffered a major setback due to the unfortunate incident.
Perhaps there is lack of understanding of the deep sentiments of the Afghan Muslims and the reverence they hold the Holy Scriptures in. Ordinary Afghans, even if they are illiterate, keep their personal copies of the Holy Quràn wrapped in covers and pace them at a high and safe place in their houses to preserve the sanctity of the Holy Book. The act of US troops callously disregarding the holiness of the Book and dumping the pages in the incinerator pit broke the hearts of the devout Afghans. The news of the desecration of the Holy Quràn spread like wildfire and the relations between the local Afghans and the US troops became tense and the violence became widespread. The incident swiftly spiraled out of control leaving dozens of people dead, including four US troops killed by their Afghan counterparts.
Meanwhile, Afghan authorities launched a manhunt across the country for a driver they suspect in the killing of two US military advisers who were shot to death at an Afghan ministry. International advisers working at Afghan ministries were recalled out of fears of another attack. In Kunduz province, thousands of demonstrators started out protesting peacefully but then the group turned violent as they tried to enter the district’s largest city. People in the crowd fired on police and threw grenades at a US base on the city outskirts, while seven NATO troops were wounded and one protester was killed when troops fired out from the US base. A car bomb claimed nine lives outside Jalalabad airport.
President Obama and other US officials have apologized for the burnings, which they said were a mistake. But their apologies have failed to quell the anger of Afghans, who see the Quràn burnings as an illustration of what they perceive as foreign disrespect for their culture and religion. They are demanding not just apologies, but a local trial and the death penalty for the Koran burners. Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has condemned the incident, renewed his calls for calm in a televised address to the nation lest the enemy exploits the situation.
To throw salt in the wound, Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich demanded a formal apology from the Afghans for killing US soldiers. The incident has provided more fodder to the Taliban, who have proved more than a match for the US troops. They are likely to exploit the heinous incident to their advantage and further inflame the Afghan angst. In a year of Presidential election in the USA, Obama is facing a multitude of problems. A major challenge for the Obama administration was recuperation of the economic setbacks inherited from George W. Bush. Obama tried to turn around the economic meltdown by attempting to take people into confidence by bringing a new law on signing economic stimulus plan to expand state health insurance program and enhancing bank systems, but his critics focused on a different issue, taking a narrow view of Obama’s policy announcing plans for the closure of the Guantanamo prison in Cuba, incarcerating the so called Taliban and Al-Qaeda elements. The imprisoned suspects were shifted to Kandahar and Bagram bases Jail which later on proved far worse than the Guantanamo Bay prison. Consequently Washington decided to deploy additional US troops in Afghanistan to meet the growing threat from the Taliban. The US defence planners’ assessment of the threat was inadequate in the face of guerrilla tactics and hit and run strategy of the Taliban, which took a heavy toll of the US and NATO troops. Despite the troops’ surge and much hyped Marjah and Kandahar operations, which failed to achieve the desired results, the Obama administration, which had announced a drawdown of the US troops from Afghanistan by 2014, decided to engage the Taliban in a dialogue for peace.
The peace talks too have undergone numerous ups and down. The instances of Taliban imposters making away with “reconciliation money” and the cold blooded assassination of former Afghan President and head of the peace and reconciliation committee, Burhanuddin Rabbani are still fresh in the minds to make US administration wince with discomfort. Ultimately, the process has gone underway, with the US providing tacit approval to the Taliban setting up an office at Doha, Qatar and meeting with selected representatives.
The more than ten years’ US war campaign in Afghanistan, which has become the longest in American history has taken a major toll of not only US economy but also of the morale and mental health of US soldiers. Frayed nerves and psychologically battered US troops have committed unthinkable crimes in Afghanistan. The transgressions of the US Kill Teams, the urinating over Afghan dead bodies by US Marines, abusing Afghan children, the reprehensible nigh raids and indiscriminate moral turpitude of US soldiers have left a dark smear on the US image. The much publicized case of the US diplomat, who resigned in 2009, condemning the war in Afghanistan, stating that the war in Afghanistan was aimed to occupy its natural resources did not help matters. The US drone attacks continue to take a large toll of civilian life and further alienate the US. In face of domestic protests in USA, Obama is likely to expedite the drawdown of US troops. Eleven years in, if US forces are still burning Quràns in a deeply religious Muslim country, it’s way too late and they should leave posthaste.

http://www.opinion-maker.org/2012/03/the-despicable-act-of-quran-burning/#

Also see >>>>> http://wp.me/P1dL2Q-h

5 Ridiculous Things you Probably Believe About Islam

A very funny and enlightening piece from Cracked.com. While some things are a bit simplified much of it is on point and there are a few new interesting facts that aren’t well known.
A conservative commentator recently made headlines by claiming 10 percent of all of the world’s Muslims are terrorists. An amazing claim, considering that equals 150 million terrorists and if each were to pull off an attack killing just 40 people, they could exterminate all non-Muslim life on earth.Either they’re not all that dedicated to terrorism, or the claim is utter insanity. [By Jacopo della Quercia; http://www.cracked.com%5D

Well, if there’s one thing everyone thinks of when they hear “Cracked.com” it’s “friend of Islam.” Which is why we feel compelled to clarify a few misconceptions for our readers. Also, there is no way this article will ever come back to haunt us in any way.
#5.
If You’re a Muslim Woman, You Have to Wear the Veil
For millions of people in the West, when you say “Islam,” the first mental image that pops into mind is this:

A two-person Scotch-garded version would sell like hotcakes.
A woman covered head to toe in a burqa. The truth is, if you could suddenly gather all of the Muslim women on the planet into one giant room and had to throw a football to someone wearing a burqa, it’d be next to impossible to complete that pass.
But the whole hide-them-under-a-veil thing must be pretty big among Muslim communities, otherwise Europe wouldn’t be all in in a dither over the things, pushing for bans and whatnot. Right?

Look at them there, plotting new ways to drive super-slow in the HOV lane.
After all, we all know that Islam hates women — the fact that Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that actually prohibits women from driving, or that only predominantly Muslim countries still usedeath by stoning as a punishment for adultery, proves it, right?
But Actually…
Thinking that all Muslim women have to dress like this…

Muslim women
…is like thinking that all Christian women have to dress like this:

Christian sects
That photo is from one of several small Christian sects that require women to dress like it’s Little House on the Prairie.
So for instance, in France they have about 3 million Muslim women. French police decided to figure out how many of them wore burqas and/or niqabs and found the number to be … 367.

Then again, these were French police.
Not 367,000, but 367, a number so small that from a statistical point of view, it’s barely enough to register as a margin of error. As for the rest of Europe, the numbers are even more disastrous for the burqa business (for instance, Belgium has 500,000 Muslims, a couple dozen wear the burqa).
Yes, there are Middle Eastern countries where the veils are required by law (namely Iran and Saudi Arabia) and combined those countries have less than 5 percent of the world’s Muslims. There are actually more Muslim countries that outright ban the wearing of the veils than there are that require them. They can do that because wearing a veil is not required in Islam but is more of a custom, depending on where you live and who’s in charge.

Much like hot pants.
Hey, speaking of which, try this number on for size: Of the five most populous Muslim-majority nations, four of them have elected female heads of state.
So there’s a fantastic chance that in 2012, Sarah Palin will be campaigning for an achievement that Muslim ladies have already accomplished.

We bet Megawati Sukarnoputri knows the United States doesn’t have a Department of Law.
#4. Our Founding Fathers Would Never Have Tolerated This Muslim Nonsense!
It’s easy to stand on a soapbox and publicly bluster about what you think the Founding Fathers would think about the godless, multicultural United States today. After all, these were Christian, God-fearing men, damn it. They certainly wouldn’t put up with all this tolerance for these terrorist religions.

Thomas Jefferson, moments before leaping into the air on a giant eagle and drop-kicking Saladin.
It’s a good thing some Americans are standing up for good old-fashioned American values andpassing laws to prohibit Islamic law from taking over the U.S., because that’s totally around the corner! Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson is smiling in his grave!
But actually…
Even if they were staunch Christians (or deists, whatever), plenty of the Founding Fathers had a healthy admiration for the Muslim faith. Thomas Jefferson, for example, taught himself Arabic using his own copy of the Quran and hosted the first White House Iftar during Ramadan.

Jefferson believed in celebrating the deliciousness of all world religions.
John Adams hailed the Islamic prophet Muhammad as one of the great “inquirers after truth.” Benjamin Rush, who was so Christian he wanted a Bible in every school, also said he would rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammad “inculcated upon our youth” than see them growdeprived “of a system of religious principles.” Benjamin Franklin once declared: “Even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.” Even George Washington personally welcomed Muslims to come work for him at Mount Vernon.
So, why all this Founding Father/Muslim love? Probably because Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah of Morocco was the first world figure to recognize the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain in 1777. Another reason was that the Founding Fathers were smart enough to distinguish between terrorists and everybody else on the whole damn planet, as demonstrated in the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797. It was in this agreement that the U.S. declared: “The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Mussulmen [Moslems].

Another possible translation.
#3.“Muslim” Equals “Arab”
Remember that crazy lady with the Einstein hair who asked John McCain if Barack Obama was anArab? No? Well, let us refresh your memory:

The instant John McCain realized that he would never, ever be president.
We’re willing to bet there’s more than a 20 percent chance this woman meant to say “Muslim” but accidentally said “Arab” because same thing, right? And even if you’re not in the tea party camp, where you’re convinced “Arab” and “Muslim” are interchangeable, you’ve probably operated under a similar assumption: that non-Jewish Middle Eastern people are Muslim and that most Muslims live in the Middle East.
But actually…
Only about 20 percent of the entire world’s Muslim population is Arab or North African. For comparison, about 22 percent of the global Christian population is African, yet when somebody says “Christian,” you don’t immediately picture a dude from Africa. Equating “Muslim” with “Arab” makes just as much sense.

That’d be like associating “Kansas” with “hate-filled douchebags”.
While we in the West have been conditioned to associate Islam with the Middle East, a whopping61.9 percent of all Muslims — aka a supermajority — don’t live in the Middle East at all; most Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region. Indonesia alone is home to more than 200 million Muslims, and the Indian subcontinent has roughly a half-billionMuslims.
It works the other way, too. For example, if you think being Arab guarantees you being Muslim these days, well, we are sorry to disappoint. As much as 10 percent of the world’s Arab population is Christian (that’s more than 14 million people). That means there are 1 million more Arab Christians than, oh, we don’t know … the world’s entire Jewish population..
#2. Western Cultures Are Far More Humane Than the Bloodthirsty Muslims
Even before the whole terrorism thing, Islam had a reputation in the West for violence. Part of it has to do with how abruptly Islam was all up in everyone’s face. For instance, while Hinduism took about 1,000 years to spread through India, and Christianity took about 400 years to go from persecuted cult to the state religion of the Roman Empire, Islam went from one guy’s epiphany to the dominant political and religious force in the Middle East and North Africa in about 100 years.
So a lot of people have reached the conclusion that the religion spread like holy wildfire for one reason: the sword. The next logical leap from this viewpoint is that as a people, Muslims must be violent and barbaric conquerors. Even before 9/11, you saw this portrayal in popular culture all the time:

Aladdin
But actually…
Muhammad laid out some pretty progressive rules of warfare, and medieval Muslims out-niced the Christians in battle by a landslide. Especially since Muhammad personally issued “a distinct code of conduct among Islamic warriors” that included:
  • No killing of women, children or innocents — these might include hermits, monks or other religious leaders who were deemed noncombatants;
  • No wanton killing of livestock or other animals;
  • No burning or destruction of trees and orchards; and
  • No destruction of wells.

And no kicking with cleats on, Jeremy.
In short, Muhammad wanted his armies to fight like freaking hippies. During the freaking Dark Ages.And they did.
But the biggest territorial gains were made after Muhammad’s death, right? Maybe that was when Islam earned its bloodthirsty reputation? Not exactly. His successor codified the existing rules and made them the standard for his army. Which probably explains why the Muslim army conquering Europe “exhibited a degree of toleration which puts many Christian nations to shame,” in the words of one expert.

Plus, they built all sorts of nifty buildings.
So while Christian crusaders were beheading enemies and tossing their heads like oversized hacky sacks, their Muslim counterparts had a whole honor code that led them to feed the armies of their defeated enemies.
#1. Islam Is Stuck in the Dark Ages
There are really three big negative stereotypes about Islam — that it hates women, that it’s violent and that it hates any kind of scientific progress. We’ve covered the first two already, but how can you argue against the third? Their governments are based on ancient religious texts! And what diseases has Iran cured?

You guys could at least take out herpes or something.
But actually…
In the same way that not all Christians are Young Earth Creationists, plenty of modern Muslims see room for interpretation in the Quran. In fact, 45 percent of American Muslims in one poll said they see evolution as “the best explanation for the origin of human life on Earth,” which isn’t so shabby, considering only 24 percent of evangelical Christians believed the same. The percentage of Muslims embracing the scientific explanation for the origin of life was about the same as Americans as a whole (48 percent).

If they only knew how to communicate their views like we do …
And historically, they have a hell of a track record. Science and math as we know it wouldn’t even existwithout Islam. The Islamic Golden Age caused a revolution in virtually every field of human thought, during which they freaking invented algebra — and advanced everything from geography and exploration to the arts, architecture, philosophy, urban development, medicine and health.
The Muslims actually came pretty damn close to sharing all this brilliance with the truly ass-backward kingdoms of Christian Europe, since the Islamic caliphates blanketed every country they conquered with schools, libraries, public works and the most comprehensive system of social welfare on the planet. In fact, the case has been made that if the caliphates succeeded in conquering all of Europe an Italian Renaissance would have been unnecessary.

It would have saved us all a lot of dong-staring, too.
So, there’s that.
All right. Now we look forward to a completely civil and logical group of article comments.
For an astute analysis of all the arguments you’re about to read in the comment section, check out 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can (And Must) Agree On.
And stop by Linkstorm because spending as much time on the Internet is totally healthy for you.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create aninfograpic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!
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8 Comments »

  • great article – it was freaking hilarious. im not sure it will convince anyone tho. it was so snarkastic, in fact, that im not sure ur target audience, uber-fundamentalist christian islamophobes will continue reading past the 1st few paragraphs. chances r, they’ll tell themselves that there is no evidence 2 support ur claims and that u r’nt willing 2 listen 2 ne1 else’s opinions. if u would simply list the facts and prove and them 1 at a time, sans snark, and provide a place 4 clean discussion, u will convice mor people mor efficiently.
  • This was awesome and informative. As usual. Thanks cracked!
  • might also mention that the word “Islam” has the same Aramaic root as the Hebrew word “Shalom” and it means PEACE!! also oops arent those two culures an AWFUL lot alike, what with having the same original languge and the same holy book fo the first few thousand pages, and the same “no anthropomorphic representations of God” thing, and aren’t orthodox Jewish women required to cover their hair in public for much the same reason their Muslim counterparts wear a veil(saving their beauty for their hubby) in other words Islam isn’t even a big scary thing, it’s just another natural evolution of Middle Eastern Monotheism, just like Xtianity and Judaism, and the real reason for all the hype is fear of competition (ie it only took the Muslims 100 years to do what took Xtianity 700) blaming international terrorism(which is in truth largely a product of U.S. and European foreign and economc policies) on Islam is just like the mideival Xtians blaming Jews for the plague! (btw the first sytem of social welfare was instituted by king Ashoka, a devout Buddhist, in India several hundred years before Mohamed was a gleam in his fathers eye, or possibly tear in his mother’s burka;)
  • What does it mean when CRACKED is more reasonable and factual than a major political faction in America?
  • Well written, well spoken and very entertaining. Many blessings, whatever your beliefs for a peaceful new year!
  • WHY DO WE CALL RELIGION=MAZHAB AS ISLAM?DEEN=JUDGEMENT OF GOD.THE BOOK OF GOD IS DEEN NOT RELIGIONS OF CIVILIZATIONS.MAZHAB IS STUCK IN BURQA,HIJAB,SCARVE AND BEARD NOT DEEN.WE ALL FALL PREY TO THE CLERGY OF ALL RELIGIONS THAT DEEN FORBIDS.9:31.9:34.MAZHAB.2:170.DEEN.7:3.

    JIHAD OF GOD IS FOUGHT BY THE BOOK OF GOD NOT VIOLENCE OR MURDER THAT GOD FORBIDS.25:52.

    DEEN GIVES US THE FREEDOM TO ENJOY THE BLESSINGS OF GOD.

    MAZHAB=RELIGION’S CLERGY MAKES YOU DANCE ON THE TUNE OF MAZHAB WHO LEADS US AS A HERD BY BECOMING OUR SHEPHERD.

  • Amazing article… Kudos on that!
    However i would just like to clarify one fact, I am a Muslim and I believe it is compulsory to wear the hijab. Anything that will unnecessarily attract the opposite gender should be covered. Unless the male is a relative or husband.
    Other than that, great job!
Well written and very true. I’m a young, progressive, modern Muslim woman living in Los Angeles. I know many Arab-American Muslim actors and standup comedians who are breaking the typical stereotype, although it took many years of being casted for roles like “terrorist #3″ and “cab driver.” Thank you for speaking up and sharing your thoughts in a creative manner which will hopefully open the eyes of the ignorant. When someone is ignorant, you can give them knowledge…but when their just flat out stupid, there’s no hope…

“Terrorists in Love: The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals,” by Ken Ballen

By Dina Temple-Raston;
In early November, I was among a small group of journalists who traveled to the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the arraignment of a terrorism suspect named Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. He is the accused mastermind of the U.S.S. Cole attack in Yemen in 2000. After his capture in 2002, al-Nashiri spent four years in a CIA black site, where he was waterboarded and subjected to mock executions. From there, he was sent to Guantanamo Bay. For more than nine years, the only people who saw him were his guards, intelligence officers and his lawyers. So when we arrived for his arraignment, many of us simply wanted to lay eyes on a man who had survived that history.
Ever since the 9/11 attacks, suspected terrorists have become like characters in a novel — larger than life. And that’s part of the reason why, when al-Nashiri strode into the GITMO courtroom, many of us were surprised to see him take human shape. Speaking to his lawyers and the judge, he seemed so unexceptional. At one point he even turned and waved to the gallery. (One of his lawyers told me later that al-Nashiri was told, in no uncertain terms, never do to that again.) The al-Nashiri arraignment was a reminder that most terrorism suspects are ordinary men who swerve violently from expectation.
’Terrorists in Love: The Real Lives of Islamic Radicals’ by Ken Ballen
That’s the message in a new book, “Terrorists in Love.” Written by former federal prosecutor Ken Ballen, it tracks the quotidian events that can lead sensitive young men to violent jihad. Ballen is now president of a Washington-based nonprofit organization called Terror Free Tomorrow, which tries to understand why extremists embrace terrorism. He interviewed more than a hundred Islamic radicals over several years to pin down what turned them from pious young men to religious warriors. About half the interviews took place at a rehabilitation center for violent fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia; the other half were in Pakistan and Indonesia. The result is an unusual atlas of extremism — a riveting, behind-the-scenes look at the events that turned six young Muslims into terrorists.
The book opens with the heart-wrenching story of Ahmad al-Shayea, a suicide bomber who, in many ways, has been to heaven and back. On Christmas Day 2004, he became the first suicide bomber in Iraq to survive an attack. Ballen’s description of what was left of Ahmad after a suicide bombing is haunting. “His nose curved to a straight hooked point, like a ski jump. The fingers on his right hand ended in a stump that resembled melted candle wax, while his left-hand fingers were twisted like the roots of the miswak stick jihadis regularly chew in imitation of the Prophet Muhammad. . . . His fingernails were little more than yellowed brown stumps, the color of toes infected with athlete’s foot.”
Ahmad joined the fight because he was having difficulty with an abusive father. Looking for a place where he would be appreciated, Ahmad decided to join fellow Muslims fighting American forces in Iraq. But that, too, proved to be a negative experience. He waited months for a mission. Shuffled from one safe house to another, he was never trained for anything. He was allowed to hold a Kalashnikov, but not to fire one. Finally, he was asked to take a tanker truck into a wealthy neighborhood in Baghdad with two other men. He was told that he simply needed to drive the truck to a designated place and park it. On the way to Baghdad, the men teased Ahmad good-naturedly and talked to him like a brother. Ahmad said that for the first time, he began to feel he was part of something. Then, just a thousand yards from where they were supposed to park the truck, the two other men jumped out and shouted at Ahmad to pull the tanker up to the concrete blocks.

Religio-mania

So much is said and written about Islamophobia. It’s a tendency found in some non-Muslims, especially in the West, who question and discriminate against ‘Muslim attire’ and beliefs. But those who speak the loudest against Islamophobia have very little to say about a social illness that is haunting their own societies: religiomania.

I would like to describe it as an unhealthy obsession with religion that is carelessly used to not only inflict bodily harm on those considered to be infidels or ‘bad’ Muslims, but to also use it as an excuse to rob, lie, cheat and attempt to maintain manipulated dominance over those considered religiously flawed and inferior. It is also used to describe one’s own professional, social and political shortcomings as something that is due to the intrigues of those who are against Muslims.

Religiomania also constitutes a myopic fixation to preach; it engulfs many from the generic maulvis to those belonging to large outfits like the Tableeghi Jamat and Dawat-i-Islami, the ever-growing number of Islamic televangelists, and all the way to those who just can’t help but roll out numerous emails and text messages on the subject on a daily bases. Growing up in an era in which the whole myth about Islam being in danger has reached a new, unprecedented peak, many Pakistanis’ fixation with religion has at times seen this obsession turn into a rather disruptive allergy.

Even the most educated men and women suddenly become allergic to recognising some obvious truths about what we as a nation and polity have ended up doing in the name of faith and morality. We will wail, moan and whine about Islamophobia in the West, but keep mum over the discrimination and hatred that take place by Muslims against other religions as well as between and within Muslim sects in this country.

This mania has generated a childlike stubbornness in which all avenues of reason and rationality are purposefully blocked. By doing this we are convinced we are dutifully defending our faith, even if this means actually becoming apologists and defenders of the most destructive and inhuman expressions of religious extremism. An extremism of our own making.

Religiomania also includes literally wearing one’s religion loudly and for all to see as if otherwise God won’t be able to judge our religiosity. Take the example of the way many Pakistanis reacted to the niqab ban in France. Some women who use burqa or hijab say they feel liberated. In our media we hear their voices loud and clear, but never of the other side who suggests that a woman who observes hijab/ burqa/ niqab may as well be submitting to the historical Arab tribal male-driven tradition of claiming control over women.

Various Muslim women authors and thinkers believe that the observance of veil remains a dictate of Muslim men. They say that the practice is an outcome of laws and social mores constructed over the last many centuries by judges, ulema and lawmakers who were all men. Muslim women who do not use the veil are right to demand that if some of their sisters in France are so agitated by the veil ban, then they should be equally agitated by the act of enforcing women to wear a veil, a burqa or a chador in countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and some parts of Pakistan. It’s only fair, if this really is a matter of the freedom of expression.

While we busy ourselves in discussing the veil issue in France, bemoaning the discrimination faced by Muslim women there who observe the veil, we conveniently forget that in many Muslim countries, women who believe that modesty is a state of mind and can be demonstrated without veiling are coming under increasing pressure. Much of this pressure, of course, is coming from men.

Yet, unveiled women also face a telling pressure from the ever-increasing numbers of veiled women or from even those who wear hijab. This begs the question: Is it really liberation that a woman feels behind a veil, or is this liberation only about liberating oneself from that awkward thought of ever daring to challenge male-dominated interpretations of a woman’s modesty?

In a male-dominated society driven by religiomania such a question can land a woman in trouble, so many may as well submit to the male idea about morality and explain it away as an expression of faith and identity instead of a cop-out. It’s just a question.
By Nadeem F. Paracha, http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/08/smokers-corner-religiomania.html

Muslim Non Muslim Relationship, Hostile or Peaceful? Qur’an and Bible Answers

The common misconception that; “The Muslims are commanded by Qur’an to be hostile with the non Muslims”, is far from truth. On the contrary Qur’an urges the Muslims to keep normal relationship with non Muslims based upon, “Equity, Kindness and Love” [Qur’an;60:7-9]. The Christians and Jews being ‘people of scripture’ are accorded special status, to the extent that Muslims are allowed to eat their food [kosher] and marry their chaste women, what else could be the level of intimacy! Muslims are urged to resist oppression and fight in self defense with those who expel or aid in expelling them from their homes due to their faith and belief. Those non Muslims who do not indulge in such an activity against them are to be treated with kindness and equity [Qur’an:22:39-40]. The actual cause of antagonism with non Muslims is not their disbelief but their hostility to Islam and their tyrannical treatment of the followers of Islam. The Muslims, therefore, should distinguish between the hostile disbeliever and the non-hostile disbeliever, and should treat those disbelievers well who have never treated them evilly.  Unfortunately extremists on both sides, misquote the Qur’anic verses out of context to support their own ideas and concepts and use it for malicious propagandas. Equitable treatment of non Muslims in Muslim Spain, Palestine, Ottoman Caliphate, Muslim rule in India and elsewhere is living testimony to the fact. Muslim history does not have any example comparable to Spanish inquisition and ethnic cleansing, but some isolated distortion of history. Though use of power is permissible for self defense or for freedom of oppressed people under tyrant rulers, however it was also used for imperial aspirations, a part of historic process. The events like Crusades took place upon instigation of over ambitious clergy, which if allowed to be repeated would result in bloodshed as in past. Non Muslims have been playing important role in development of Muslim empires. If they could mutually coexist in peace in the past, why not now?

Even Jesus Christ accords highest priority to good relations and fair treatment to others while summing up the teachings of entire Bible [as known now] in one verse: “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. The modern communications have made this world as a ‘Global Village’, nations all across world are closer like neighbors. All the three major scriptures are unanimous on the good treatment of neighbors [Qur’an;4:36, Al-Tirmidhi Hadith,11, 1334, Talmud, Shabbat 31:a, Matthew 22:39-40,7:12, Luke;6:31, similarly Leviticus 19:18].

Hence why practice violence and extremis on the name of religion while the Holy Scriptures do not sanction it. Let’s remove the mist of selfishness and strive for world peace.  Still there is much needs to be explained and many questions to be answered below….

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