Inayat Omarji vividly remembers the worried reaction when he first looked into renovating the abandoned church in his neighborhood: “There’s a bearded young Muslim chap involved in a church! Whoops! He’s gonna turn it into a mosque!”
At the time, Omarji was head of the local council of mosques, but there already were three or four in his neighborhood in Bolton, England.
“What it needed is a place where people could meet, people can come to, people can socialize,” he says.
Omarji and other local Muslims decided to turn the church into a community center for everyone. That was ten years ago. Now, amid stories about religious friction and ethnic tensions, the transformation of All Souls Church provides a story of harmony and integration in one culturally diverse community. […]
Dr, Mehnaz M. Afridi, a scholar and observant Muslim, describes how a visit to Dachau in 2007 as a doctoral student became a defining moment in her professional (and I assume also in her personal) life:
Early in the summer of 2007, a doctoral student named Mehnaz M. Afridi traveled from her California home to a conference in southern Germany. Her official role was to deliver a paper on anti-Semitism in Egyptian literature, a rather loaded subject for a Muslim scholar. Seventy miles away, she had another appointment, and an even riskier agenda.
After the conference concluded, Ms. Afridi drove to the former concentration camp in Dachau, Germany. As she stood before the dun bricks of a crematorium, she prayed. “Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un,” she said in Arabic, meaning, “Surely we belong to God and to him shall we return.”
“I didn’t know that moment would be defining my role,” Dr. Afridi, 44, said a few weeks ago. “I didn’t even realize then that I was at a crossroads. People see the Holocaust and Islam as two separate things, but these stories of faith and catastrophe are not opposites. They are companions.”
Dr. Afridi has made these seeming irreconcilables into companions in her life’s work. An assistant professor of religion at Manhattan College, she teaches courses about both Islam and the Holocaust, and she is director of the college’s Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center. Her book “Shoah Through Muslim Eyes,” referring to an alternative term for the Holocaust, will be published in July, and she is a member of the ethics and religion committee of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. […]
As you can probably imagine, her stance has also made her a target in some circles, both Muslim and Jewish. Read the rest of her story to find out more:
Muslim Scholar, Looking to ‘Speak the Truth,’ Teaches the Holocaust and Islam
As I attempted to describe in several comments here and here, context makes a world of difference and is something that was sorely missing from Wood’s original article on ISIS, despite it’s detailed long-windedness.
The article below addresses that omission. It’s a bit long, but nowhere near the 10,000+ words of Wood’s original article which, to be quite honest, struck me as yet another example of intellectual Islamophobia—something not very different from “scientific” racism, IMO.
Since Monday, much has been said in print, radio, and television about Graeme Wood’s recent front-page feature piece for The Atlantic entitled “What ISIS Really Wants.” The article, which is lengthy and highly descriptive, and is essentially an exhaustive examination of the ideology that shores up the cruel vision, messages, and tactics of ISIS, the radical militant group currently terrorizing entire sections of the Middle East. But while the article was initially met with widespread praise, it has since become the subject of criticism and even condemnation from several groups, including Muslim academics, scholars of Islamic law, Muslim leaders and high-profile political pundits.
Critics have elucidated a slew of issues with the piece, but many are rooted in quotes by Bernard Haykel, a professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University who Wood quotes extensively to justify his claims. When ThinkProgress spoke with other scholars in Haykel’s field, however, at least one expressed surprise at his involvement with the piece, and indicated curiosity about the scholar’s thoughts on the final product.
With this in mind, ThinkProgress reached out to Haykel, who agreed to an interview to help dispel any misconception that he is trying to score “political” points, explaining, “my approach is a scholarly one and not motivated by an agenda.” He admitted that he had initially read Wood’s article quickly — “it’s a long piece,” he joked — and declined to directly address most of Wood’s claims other than to insist the piece was ultimately “[Wood’s] argument … not my argument.” Still, he didn’t shy away from expanding on some things the author left out or possibly misrepresented, and offered a revealing examination of what’s at stake when fighting ISIS. […]
From the author of the article:
Interesting reactions to my Atlantic/ISIS posts. Many Muslims and Islam scholars? Fans The author, conservatives, random dudes? Not so much
You can put this in the folder right next to the one labeled “Why don’t Muslims speak up—why aren’t they doing anything?” They are doing something, but they’re up against a wily, dedicated enemy with apparently abundant time & resources. They’re trying to figure out what works, as you’ll see if you read the entire article. Added emphasis is mine:
STERLING, Va. — Imam Mohamed Magid tries to stay in regular contact with the teenager who came to him a few months ago, at his family’s urging, to discuss how he was being wooed by online recruiters working for the Islamic State, the extremist group in Syria and Iraq.
But the imam, a scholar bursting with charm and authority, has struggled to compete. Though he has successfully intervened in the cases of five other young men, persuading them to abandon plans to fight overseas, the Islamic State’s recruiting efforts have become even more disturbing, he said, and nonstop.
“The recruiters wouldn’t leave him alone,” Imam Magid said of the young man he met with recently. “They were on social media with him at all hours, they tweet him at night, first thing in the morning. If I talk to him for an hour, they undo him in two hours.”
President Obama on Wednesday described the fight against violent extremism as a “generational challenge” that would require the cooperation of governments, religious leaders, educators and law enforcement. But even before he called on more than 60 nations to join the effort, the rise of the Islamic State and the attacks by homegrown terrorists in Paris, Ottawa, Copenhagen and Sydney, Australia, had jolted American Muslims into action. […]
A very interesting article—worth a read regardless of how good or bad your opinion of Malcolm X may be.
Ilyasah Shabazz is his daughter. She was two and a half years old, sitting next to her pregnant mother and three young sisters, when her father was assassinated before their eyes by members of the Nation of Islam. Thankfully, she remembers nothing of the terrifying events.
Even so, it may be more difficult for President Obama - who has rejected the false claim that he is a Muslim - to recognise Malcolm X, than Clinton or Nixon. Although Obama has talked about The Autobiography of Malcolm X inspiring him as a young man, it was a bust of Martin Luther King that he installed in the Oval Office.
If it is easier for the political establishment to embrace Martin Luther King’s doctrine than to look into the mirror of the consequences of racial oppression and justice held up to the world by Malcolm X, the political reality annoys Ilyasah: “Why can’t these people just have a backbone and invite Malcolm? I mean, what is the big deal? Put a bust up of Malcolm X. Let’s tell the truth about Malcolm X,” she says. […]
At the time of his death he was no longer Malcolm X, preaching to black urban ghettos, but Malcolm the global revolutionary, who had brought together an alliance of African and Middle Eastern leaders in support of his new Organization of Afro-American Unity, and who was intent on pressing his human rights claims against the US government at the United Nations.
It was an evolution lost on most of mainstream America, however, who remembered the man who once said, “The common enemy is the white man,” reminded black Americans that it was within their legal rights to buy a shotgun, and said president Kennedy’s assassination was a case of “chickens coming home to roost”. After his murder, The New York Times called him an “extraordinary and twisted man” who had turned his gifts to “evil purpose”, while TIME denounced him a demagogue whose “creed was violence”. […]
I was just reading an article at the NY Times titled “The Lies Heard Round the World” and noticed that it listed several non-U.S. fact checking sites.
We have PolitiFact and FactCheck. org, but sometimes we hear stuff (especially on Twitter) from other countries and have no way of verifying the info.
With that in mind, I decided it would be a good idea to go look them up. Obviously, I can’t vouch for them as I don’t fluently speak the languages of the non-English ones and I’m unfamiliar with their reliability, but perhaps others will come along and do so. I’ll note the language of each site next to its link.
Oh, before I list them there’s one more U.S. site I found: Conservative Fact Check. Yes, because you know how shameless the librul lamestream media is, especially with their toady fact checkers backing up all their hateful, godless lies:
CFC is dedicated to providing a conservative alternative to enormously liberal-biased fact checking sites like snopes. com, factcheck. org, and politifact. com.
It’s a familiar scenario: you receive a particularly juicy story about Obama in email and forward it to your friends. Then, somebody on your mailing list tries to ruin the fun by sending you a link from Snopes which declares your story to be false. What do you do if you know it’s true? […]
I didn’t really spend any time looking around the site, but I figured if nothing else it might be useful for looking up wingnut memes.
Now on to the list!
- FactCheckEU - English. Nice site, even has a handy map with a bunch of little markers. Seems very well organized.
- Pagella Politica - Italian. Not sure how useful this will be, but I included it anyway because... who knows? It may come in handy one day.
- Africa Check - English. This could be a very useful one and is related to Agence France-Presse through its AFP Foundation.
- Chequeado.com - Spanish. Based in Argentina.
- UyCheck.com - Spanish. Based in Uruguay, as far as I can tell.
Based on what I saw and using Google Translate, it seems like politicians sound pretty much the same the world over. Imagine that. //
I’m going to leave this here because all day Sunday & Monday the right-wing blogs were screeching & hyperventilating over this attack, assuming the perpetrator would be Muslim. Now that it has turned out to be a white guy? *crickets*
Since he’s neither a Muslim nor a recent convert, this act will likely be chalked up as an aberration by a lone wolf due to stress and/or mental illness, or something along those lines. The wingnuts might also look into his background and see if he has ever been a registered Democrat, but for the time being they seem intent on pointedly ignoring the story.
The MSM in general appears to have largely lost interest also.
I am SO sick of this crap.
GRAND HAVEN, MI - Matthew Lawrence Krueger, 33, has been charged with two felonies in connection with Sunday’s attack on the U.S. Coast Guard facility in Grand Haven.
Krueger was arraigned shortly after 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, about a half-hour after an Ottawa County judge signed an arrest warrant on charges of making a false report or threat of terrorism, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, and malicious destruction of personal property $1,000-$20,000, which carries a maximum five-year sentence. […]
Krueger looked solemn and answered the judge’s yes-or-no questions clearly. Krueger declined to make a statement on bond when invited to, and he asked the judge to appoint a public defender. Bunce appointed James Piper of Grand Haven. […]
It looks like this is probably the Michigan law he’s being charged under:
This article is from earlier in the week, published the same day that the video showing the murder of the Jordanian pilot, Muath al-Kasasbeh, was released by the Daesh thugs. I’m posting it here because it needs more exposure—something it’s highly unlikely to receive.
The next time someone tells you that Muslims don’t speak out against terrorism or aren’t doing whatever they can to combat the problem of radicalization here at home, please point them to this page.
You might also want to ask them this: If the U.S. government, with its vast resources—not to mention other countries who face terrorism every day, like Israel & many others in the Mideast—can’t figure out how to control these things, then how in the hell is the “Average Mohamed” expected to stop it? If they can come up with an answer that doesn’t involve ethnic cleansing, genocide, or the craven stripping of Muslims’ civil rights & liberties, then I’m sure many world leaders would gladly lend an ear.
There are two interviews with Mr. Ahmed after the except—the first is from USA Today and was included with the article; the second is from the AP.
This is the real counter-jihad, unlike the thinly disguised hate & bigotry peddled by extremists on both the right & left, which only exacerbates the problem by promoting mutual fear and suspicion.
MINNEAPOLIS — Mohamed Ahmed, a gas station manager who moonlights as an anti-terror propagandist, is ready to launch another strike against Islamic State terrorists.
He’s just waiting for his tax refund to do it.
Frustrated by a slick social media campaign on the Internet by the Islamic State that authorities say has helped lure dozens of young Muslim Americans to the fight in Iraq and Syria, Ahmed has already poured thousands of dollars of his own money over the last six months into producing a series of animated cartoon messages to rebut the extremist group’s messaging.
The growing push to address radicalization comes as the White House has tapped the Twin Cities along with Boston and Los Angeles to take part in a pilot program centered on preventing young Muslim Americans from being radicalized.
Communities aren’t waiting for direction from Washington.
In Minneapolis, imams from the city’s mosques have been holding regular dinner meetings with Andy Luger, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, over the last several months to plot the way forward for the emerging pilot program.
Just when I thought they’d sunk as far into the depths of depravity as possible:
Jordan has confirmed the death of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh after a video published online by Islamic State (IS) claimed to show him being burned alive.
The video shows a man standing in a cage and engulfed in flames. Intelligence officials are working to confirm it is genuine.
Jordan vowed “punishment and revenge”. […]
The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner says the new and horrific video is aimed at a world already shocked by the calculated cruelty of Islamic State’s actions,
Jordanian state TV reports that Lt Kasasbeh, 26, was killed a month ago - since when Jordan has continued attempts to secure his release. […]
Now I understand why Jordan was insisting on proof that he was alive.
There were family members who hoped Lt Kasasbeh would be treated with lenience because he was a Muslim, while others feared he would be harshly dealt with as an enemy pilot. And all along on both sides of the argument was the nagging fear that no proof of life was received, no photographs and no video.
The family’s reaction, of course, will be one of deep grief and distress. But in wider Jordanian society, there will be pressure for the government to hit back. An implicit threat to speed up the execution of IS prisoners in Jordanian jails, where some are already on death row, may now be carried out. […]
It’s good to be reminded how fortunate we are, how much we take for granted.
Sarah was born and raised in Hagadera refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya. Now 21, she has become a wife and mother without ever setting foot outside the camp.
“I feel like I am Somali,” she says, tenderly rocking her two-week-old daughter, Somaya. “My parents are Somali. I believe that someday Somalia will be peaceful and I will go there.”
Today, over 1 million Somalis remain displaced outside their country. With the crisis well into its third decade, UNHCR has launched a Global Initiative on Somali Refugees in a bid to find solutions. The aim is to empower Somali refugees so that, one day, they can return home and rebuild their nation.
“Now we are all educated,” says Sarah, proudly. “We have knowledge in all different areas. I think when we go back to Somalia we will develop the country, one way or another.”
Find more stories like this at tracks.unhcr.org
As awful as all that is, it appears that things might finally be looking up for Somalia after 25 years of government collapse, civil war, drought, piracy, and terrorism. See the articles below for more info.