Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian president, has condemned deadly clashes at the Cairo headquarters of the Coptic Christian pope as “an attack against myself”, ordering a quick probe into the violence, a statement said.
“I consider any attack on the cathedral an attack against myself,” Morsi said on Sunday in a statement published by the official MENA news agency.
The probe follows clashes after a funeral for Copts slain in sectarian violence.
At least one person was reported killed and MENA said 17 people had been injured in fighting in Sunday’s violence.
Public television showed riot police firing tear gas to disperse the crowd.
In some of the worst sectarian violence for months on Friday, four Christians and one Muslim were killed in El Khusus,
north of Cairo, when members of both communities started shooting at each other.
The subcontinent of South Asia has inexorably been developing into a cauldron of violence ever since the origins of Islam in Arabia and its steady expansion to the east. Here it clashed with Hinduism a religion that was an antithesis of Islam and over the centuries this unhappy mix has been smoldering and has now reached a point where there is likely to be a furious conflagration. During the course of the history of this subcontinent there have been many watersheds, ever since the advent of Islam into this region. The first serious clashes took place in the hot plains of North India when the Muslim armies clashed with the Hindu Rajput rulers. After some fierce battles, the Hindu peoples settled under the kings of the Muslim Sultanates of the earlier dynasties of the Slave kings, until the Mughals stabilized a Caliphate in North India. The Mughals after Aurangzeb declined and the dynasty petered out.
When the British East India Company was ruling the country, there was a second watershed between Hindu and Muslim cultures. This was the Sepoy Mutiny, when the rigid Wahabi philosophy was brought to India by Muslims who went for the annual Haj pilgrimage. While Hindu and Muslim sepoys were involved in the Mutiny against the British, the Sikhs and the Gurkhas did not side with the mutineers. The revolt was crushed and the British Government then took over the reins of the Government. The medium of administration was Urdu during the reign of the Mughals. After the British Government took over the reins of government after the Sepoy Mutiny, they changed the medium of administration to English. This had a major impact on the domination of the Muslims in administration. It was the Hindus who took to English education and who also took advantage of the hundreds of Catholic Convents and Protestant Mission schools that were set up by the Proselytising Christian missionaries both Protestant and Catholic. In a couple of years, the Muslim community had declined in Government.
The third flashpoint in this story took place when the British had to divide India between a secular India and a Muslim Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association still has plenty of articles about ‘cults’ on its website, some with quotes attributed to Billy Graham personally. The site doesn’t name specific groups any more, but its definition continues to conflate groups characterised by a dysfunctional authoritarianism – which the popular understanding of ‘cults’ – with groups that simply hold religious views that have some association with Christianity but which the BGEA regards as unorthodox. That conflation explains why the now-deleted page where Mormonism was named as a cult also included Unitarianism on the list – and I very much doubt that a presidential election involving a Unitarian, almost certainly running as the Democrat candidate, would have given Franklin Graham any reason to think again about ‘calling people names’.
And as regards Islam, Graham Jnr is more than happy not only to fire off denunciatory adjectives, but to use the religion itself in his own arsenal of name-calling; as he explained in the run-up to the election:
‘I can’t say categorically [that Obama is not a Muslim] because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama,’ he said.
Renewed ethnic violence between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya in Burma’s western Rakhine state has left thousands displaced and driven them into already overcrowded camps near the state capital, the UN said on Saturday.
Victims of Myanmar’s latest explosion of Muslim-Buddhist violence fled Sunday to already packed displacement camps along the country’s western coast as a top U.N. official said the unrest has forced more than 22,000 people from their homes.
Boats carrying some of those fleeing arrived outside the state capital, Sittwe. They trudged to the nearby Thechaung camp, a place already home to thousands of Rohingya Muslims who took refuge there after a previous wave of violence in June.
“I fled my hometown Pauktaw on Friday because there is no security at all,” said 42-year-old fisherman Maung Myint, who arrived on a boat carrying 40 other people, including his wife and six children. “My house was burned to ashes and I have no money left.”
Another Muslim refugee said she fled her village, Kyaukphyu, on Thursday after attackers set her home on fire.
“We don’t feel safe,” said 40-year old Zainabi, a fish-seller who left with her two sons, aged 12 and 14. “I wish the violence would stop so we can live peacefully.
Human Rights Watch released dramatic satellite imagery of Kyaukphyu on Saturday showing a vast swath of the village in ashes. The destruction included more than 800 buildings and floating barges.
Last week, I met Paul Ryan at an apple farm.
My conversation with him was pretty brief:
I was wearing my traditional topi headcap and I have a fair amount of beard on me, so it was rather obvious that I was Muslim. Ryan was shaking hands and taking photos with people, and ahead of me were three college-age girls who chattered excitedly about him. When he saw me, he quickly forgot about the coeds and welcomed me with a smile and a handshake. I told him I was an American Muslim and he asked where my mosque was; I told him I was a member of the Dawoodi Bohra community and our closest masjid was in Willowbrook. He said he had heard of my community and asked where I lived, and I told him Madison - to his credit, his smile didn’t waver :) I told him I visit Chicago on weekends to visit my parents and then I invited him to visit our mosque, which he appreciated. After a few quick photos, I wished him the best of luck with his campaign.
As I note in my blog post at Patheos, I wanted Representative Ryan’s memory of our encounter to be positive, because like it or not, in that moment I didn’t just represent myself, but my Bohra community, the Muslim American community as a whole, and in fact probably Muslims and Islam in general.
Check out my full writeup for more details and some photos, and also my own regrets about not raising certain issues, such as the NYPD spying controversy and the Obama Administration’s drone policy, with him. These were absent during the VP debate a few days later, and even though I support Barack Obama, I think that exerting some pressure on these fronts via Ryan would have been a positive thing, as these are debates on issues we need to have.
My point in writing this up is basically to exhort my fellow Muslim Americans to engage the political process and be prepared (more so than I was). That’s the only real way we can make any kind of difference and have any influence at all.
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen called Friday for a ban on the wearing of Muslim veils and Jewish skullcaps in public, adding to religious tensions sparked by cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
In an interview with the newspaper Le Monde, Le Pen called for religious headwear to be banned “in stores, on public transport and on the streets.”
Asked whether the ban should apply to the Jewish skullcap, known as the kippah or yarmulke, as well as Muslim headwear, she said: “It is obvious that if the veil is banned, the kippah is banned in public as well.”
Le Pen, who shocked the French elite by winning almost 18% in the first round of this year’s presidential vote, also repeated calls for bans on public prayers, kosher and halal foods in schools and foreign government financing of mosques in France.
President Francois Hollande denounced her comments, saying: “Everything that tears people apart, opposes them and divides them is inappropriate, and we must apply the rules, the only rules that we know, the rules of the Republic and secularism.”
Jean-Francois Cope, who leads the right-wing UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, said Le Pen showed little understanding of France’s much-vaunted secular traditions.
It’s red vs red as Islamophobic xenophobia is plied as a religious wedge by the paleocon Tea Party factions vs the mainstream conservative factions in Red state Tennessee. The Andy Miller / Judd Matheny wing signs on for every xenophobic hate group driven initiative under the sun.
It’s getting tougher to be a Republican in some parts of the country while also fully accepting the practice of Islam.
In Tennessee, an incumbent in the U.S. House found herself on the defensive after being called soft on Shariah law, the code that guides Muslim beliefs and actions. And the state’s governor has been forced to explain why he hired a Muslim.
Lee Douglas, a dentist just south of Nashville and an anti-Shariah activist, points to the Muslim woman hired in Tennessee’s economic development office as evidence of an “infiltration” of Islam in government. Douglas helped draft a resolution criticizing the governor and Islam. A version of the document has been signed by a growing list of GOP executive committees, from rural counties to the state’s wealthiest.
“By stopping this now, we’re going to save ourselves a lot of difficulty in the future,” he says.
Republican Gov. Bill Haslam defends his Muslim staffer’s credentials and says she grew up in a small town. “This is somebody who is very Tennessee,” says the governor.
The fact that she’s a fellow Tennessean hasn’t silenced the critics.
And I’ll end with some sobering statistics for Perkins and his colleagues at Liberty Institute to contemplate:
The FBI reports on hate crimes every year, broken down by motivation. In 2010, the most recent year I could find, racism trumped religion as a motivating force, 48% to 19%.
Drill further and cries of religious hostility become even sillier. Among the 19% of hate crimes that were religion-motivated, 67% were committed against Jews. So only 1 out of 5 hate crimes had to do with religion, but even two-thirds of those were committed against a religious minority that comprises 2% of the population. Following Jews, are Muslims—also roughly 2% of the population—against whom 13% of religion-motivated hate crimes were committed. And then Catholics at 4%, followed by Protestants at 3%. In fact, at 9%, “other religions” suffered more attacks than Catholics and Protestants put together.
It’s also worth noting, as long as we’re discussing hate and hostility, that sexual orientation was the motivation for nearly the identical number of hate crimes as all religions put together.
U.S. President Barack Obama hosted an iftar dinner Friday at the White House, using to occasion to discuss some issues of interest to Muslims. Iftar is the meal ending a day of fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
The president offered a personal tribute to Huma Abedin, a top aide to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has been accused by a group of Republican lawmakers of having close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political organization promoting Islamic Sharia law.
President Obama said Abedin, who was seated near the president, is “an American patriot and an example of what we need in this country - more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit.”
Abedin has been the target of a small group of conservative Republican lawmakers, including former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, who have alleged Abedin is part of a Muslim conspiracy to influence U.S. foreign policy.
Why people want hate lobbies and out of state millionaires to own their congressional lobby is beyond me. Voters should smell a deep stink from those out of state deep pockets.
Since losing to Black in 2010, Zelenik has ratcheted up the anti-Islam rhetoric that defined her first campaign. After the election, she founded the Tennessee Freedom Council, a conservative Christian organization dedicated to, among other things, educating “citizens on the realities of Sharia” and stopping “the growth of Radical Islam.” Last November, TFC held its inaugural “Constitution or Sharia?” conference, which featured luminaries like David Yerushalmi (the architect of the national movement to ban Islamic law from being applied in state courts) and Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, who has accused anti-tax activist Grover Norquist of being allied with the Muslim Brotherhood. In May, Zelenik hosted the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who is most famous for saying “there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam’” and arguing Muhammad was a “terrorist.”
Having made her name fighting the Murfreesboro Islamic center, Zelenik founded a group dedicated to educating “citizens on the realities of Sharia.”
In 2011, two state legislators who have since endorsed Zelenik introduced a bill to define Islam as treasonous. The legislation, if passed, would have effectively prohibited Muslims from practicing their religion in the state. Earlier this month, a coalition of tea party groups and county Republican committees filed a formal complaint with the state’s Republican governor, Bill Haslem, for appointing a Muslim woman to helm a state agency.