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Showing posts from September, 2015

Islamophobia has a long history in US

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson's comments on Muslims in US political life made headlines, but scholar Khaled Beydoun says such comments don't happen in a vacuum - but rather are rooted in a legal tradition of suspicion towards Muslims.Earlier this month, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told US media he would "not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation," in response to a question about whether "Islam is consistent with the Constitution".Carson's statement galvanised defenders on the extreme right and prompted critical responses spanning from scorn to constitutional critique.But Carson's statement was neither an isolated nor novel attitude. In June, a poll by Gallup found 38% of Americans would not vote for a "well-qualified" Muslim presidential candidate.The root of his comments are found both in America's legal history and today's policing of Muslim communities."Islamophobia" is …

How One Man Laid the Groundwork for Today’s Crisis in the Middle East

The only person Henry Kissinger flattered more than President Richard Nixon was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran. In the early 1970s, the shah, sitting atop an enormous reserve of increasingly expensive oil and a key figure in Nixon and Kissinger’s move into the Middle East, wanted to be dealt with as a serious person. He expected his country to be treated with the same respect Washington showed other key Cold War allies like West Germany and Great Britain. As Nixon’s national security adviser and, after 1973, secretary of state, Kissinger’s job was to pump up the shah, to make him feel like he truly was the “king of kings.” Reading the diplomatic record, it’s hard not to imagine his weariness as he prepared for his sessions with Pahlavi, considering just what gestures and words would be needed to make it clear that his majesty truly mattered to Washington, that he was valued beyond compare. “Let’s see,” an aide who was helping Kissinger get ready for one such meeting said, “th…

The latest tragedy at Mecca highlights Saudi Arabia's core problem

The far deeper problem: a monarchy that rules Saudi Arabia without any airing of criticism of the regime or tradition of accountability. No one knows yet precisely why a stampede of pilgrims during the hajj in Saudi Arabia turned so deadly. The reports of 769 deaths and at least 934 wounded, with horrific images of bodies strewn about, as well as eyewitness accounts, suggest that panic ensued amid pushing and shoving, leading to the worst hajj disaster in 25 years. Granted, it was extremely hot, about 114 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pilgrims may have been easily thrown into uncertainty. But the responsibility for this catastrophe lies with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and a closed political system that cannot learn the lessons of previous failures. Sadly, the pain of a hajj stampede is not a new story. In 2006, 364 pilgrims died in a crush; in 1997, 340 died in a fire-related incident; another 270 perished in 1994; and in 1990, 1,426 pilgrims died in a stampede in an overcrowded tunnel…

Cover up of Tragedy at Mina on pretext of Will of God: Islam’s Tragic Fatalism

Earlier this month, on the Muslim holy day of Friday, a horrible accident took place in Mecca near Islam’s holiest site — the Kaaba. A huge crane fell on the mosque that encircles the cube-shaped shrine, killing 118 pilgrims and injuring almost 400. This tragedy was the deadliest crane collapse in modern history, and thus it begged for an investigation. Yet, in a highly religious country, the technicians that operated the crane, the Saudi Binladen Group, had an easy way out. One of them spoke to the press and simply said: “What happened was beyond the power of humans. It was an act of God.”To their credit, the Saudi authorities did not buy this argument. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud immediately suspended the company from work, ordered an investigation, and offered compensation for the families of victims. The investigators soon concluded that the company was responsible for the accident, because it did not “respect the rules of safety” and violated the manufacturers’ operating in…

Does the military still control Pakistan?

The army is hugely powerful in Pakistan
Some call it military rule by stealth. Others prefer to describe it as the generals and the politicians working harmoniously in the national interest. But however you look at it, there's no denying the Pakistan army's political power is growing.
It all dates back to the Peshawar school attack of 16 December 2014 when the Pakistani Taliban murdered 132 schoolboys.
Within days the civilian leadership had formulated a 20-point National Action Plan to confront the militants, curb their hate speeches, control their religious seminaries and cut their finances.
Aware that the civilian courts are generally reluctant to convict Jihadists, the parliament then passed a constitutional amendment to establish military courts.
The army then announced new "apex committees" that brought together senior politicians, bureaucrats, intelligence officials and military officers.As many as 50,000 suspected militants have been detained or arrested and …

20 Quotes That Will Inspire You To Truly Be Yourself

How often have you heard someone telling you to “just be yourself”? In reality, being ourself in a world that is constantly trying to make us everything but ourself is far from being an easy task. It is a tremendous endeavor!Our current society is playing on our insecurity to sell us products that will give us a false sense of belonging. It doesn’t sell us products, it sells us values like freedom, power, fame or beauty.However, do these products help you be yourself ? Ins’t being true to yourself the only real freedom and beauty of life?My sincere hope is that the following quotes will inspire to truly be yourself, not the person your parents, friends, colleagues or society want you to be. It is not easy, but it is definitely worthy.Here are the 20 that will inspire you to be truly yourself:1) Be Yourself, everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde2) I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. – Mahatma Gandhi3) I think the reward for conformity is that every…

Hajj crush: Saudi Arabia issues over 1,000 images suggesting death-toll rise

Saudi Arabia has given foreign diplomats over 1,000 photographs of the dead from last week’s hajj crush and stampede, Indian and Pakistani authorities said, in an indication of a significantly higher death toll than previously offered by the kingdom.Saudi officials could not be immediately reached for comment about the discrepancy surrounding the death toll of the disaster in Mina.Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, an MP from Pakistan’s governing PML-N political party who is leading his country’s response to the disaster, said Saudi officials gave diplomats “1,100 photos” of the dead. Chaudhry told journalists during a news conference broadcast nationwide on Monday night that the photos could be viewed at Saudi embassies and missions abroad.“This is the official figure of martyrs from Saudi officials given for the identification process,” Chaudhry said.Iranian women protest at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran. Photograph: Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua Press/Corbis
His comments echoed those of India ex…

Moderate Islam is the solution

Islam is being associated with the evil we witness around us. People in areas controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are pushed to flee and seek refuge from this evil that has befallen them. Islam has been hijacked by an evil group that speaks in the name of Muslims and dictates its religious interpretations on them.However, religions came for the good of everyone, and for the sake of expelling evil from people’s lives. Islam came as a mercy to people, and it was the persecuted - slaves, the poor and the vulnerable - who first converted to it after it became well-known for its justice.Political Islam
Islam has been politicized during the last three decades. The big transformation began with the Islamic revolution in Iran. It expanded after the concept of jihad was introduced in Afghanistan. It expanded further due to the use of religion as a political tool. At this point, extremists emerged and the status of moderates, who were the religious leaders of society, decli…

US at war with an imaginary Islam: Lies, propaganda and the real story of America and the Muslim world

American propaganda exaggerates the power and moral depravity of the Islamic enemy, in the service of our empireExcerpted from "One Islam, Many Muslim Worlds: Spirituality, Identity and Resistance Across Islamic Lands"The United States is at war with a very different, mythic Islam of its own making that has nothing at all to do with this Islam of the Qur’an. To make sense of that conjured threat, scholarly studies of Islam or Islamic movements are of no help at all. Even the examination of the real-world history and practice of empire has limited value, unless the perceived Islamic dimension is considered. The American imperial project cannot be brought into clear view without assessment of the distinctive rationale that the Islamist Imaginary provides. The task is not an easy one. The Islamist Imaginary has no simple and unitary existence. Rather, it is a complex amalgam that shapes both the delusions of empire and a conjured threat to imperial power into a co-evolving comp…

Makkah tragedy: Failure of the Custodian of the Holy Sites

The tent city at Mina, six miles east of Mecca, is a maze of 160,000 identical fiberglass cones — bright white, air-conditioned, and spread beyond sight over the Holy City’s eastern plains. Immediately to its west stand three pillars, known as the jamaraat, which represent Satan. As one of the final rituals of hajj, pilgrims symbolically stone the pillars, tossing pebbles to represent their rejection of sin.On Thursday morning, two opposite waves of pilgrims on their way to and from the stone-throwing ritual collided in the bottlenecked footpaths between the holy sites. In the ensuing chaos, hundreds suffocated or were trampled underfoot. As one pilgrim told the Associated Press: “I saw someone trip over someone in a wheelchair and several people tripping over him. People were climbing over one another just to breathe.” Saudi Arabia’s Civil Defense Directorate first reported 100 dead, then 220, then 310. By mid-morning, it became clear that the hajj, Islam’s holy pilgrimage, was facin…

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The Warrior Prophet

A recent Pew Research poll found that almost half of U.S. adults think that the Islamic religion is more likely to encourage violence than other religions, a figure that has almost doubled since 2002.  A clear majority of conservative Republicans (66%), white Evangelicals (60%), and Tea Baggers (67%) believe Islam is more violent than other religions, with a plurality of whites (44%) and older folks (42-46%) also thinking this.  (Of note is that blacks, Hispanics, and liberal Democrats are significantly less bigoted towards Islam.)  The idea that Islam is more violent than other religions–held most strongly by old white conservatives–is a key pillar to the edifice of Islamophobia.
Who was the most violent prophet in history? Most readers will immediately assume it was the Prophet Muhammad, thanks to a decades long wave of Islamophobia and a sustained campaign of anti-Muslim propaganda.   But here’s a tip: it wasn’t Muhammad.  Not by a long shot.  In fact, Moses had Muhammad beat by fa…