A new Pew Research Center survey of Muslims around the globe finds that most adherents of the world’s second-largest religion are deeply committed to their faith and want its teachings to shape not only their personal lives but also their societies and politics. In all but a handful of the 39 countries surveyed, a majority of Muslims say that Islam is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven and that belief in God is necessary to be a moral person. Many also think that their religious leaders should have at least some influence over political matters. And many express a desire for sharia - traditional Islamic law - to be recognized as the official law of their country.
The percentage of Muslims who say they want sharia to be “the official law of the land” varies widely around the world, from fewer than one-in-ten in Azerbaijan (8%) to near unanimity in Afghanistan (99%). But solid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia favor the establishment of sharia, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories.
At the same time, the survey finds that even in many countries where there is strong backing for sharia, most Muslims favor religious freedom for people of other faiths. In Pakistan, for example, three-quarters of Muslims say that non-Muslims are very free to practice their religion, and fully 96% of those who share this assessment say it is “a good thing.” Yet 84% of Pakistani Muslims favor enshrining sharia as official law. These seemingly divergent views are possible partly because most supporters of sharia in Pakistan - as in many other countries - think Islamic law should apply only to Muslims. Moreover, Muslims around the globe have differing understandings of what sharia means in practice.
Eagle Forum founder and Joseph McCarthy admirer Phyllis Schlafly is using the Boston marathon bombings as an excuse to push for the reinstatement of the notorious House Committee on Un-American Activities.
“It would be useful to reinstate the House Committee on Un-American Activities,” Schlafly wrote in a column yesterday, “so we can have a look at those in our midst who may be jihadists, dupes of violent Muslim indoctrination, or (in old Communist lingo) fellow travelers or useful idiots.”
In her column, which she titled, “Are You American 1st or Muslim 1st?,” Schlafly further argues that while it is okay to be a Christian first and American second, Muslims who put faith first should not be allowed in the country.
The Boston bombing crime shows that comprehensive immigration reform should not be only a southern border problem or even just a problem of illegal aliens. It’s also a problem of foreigners who are admitted legally but should never have been admitted, and of others admitted legally on a visa but are not tracked to make sure they depart when their visitor’s time expires, as U.S. law requires.
For starters, why would our government have admitted the Tsarnaev family whose son was named Tamerlan? That should have been a red alert because that is the name of one of the world’s notorious mass murderers, a 14th-century Central Asian warlord named Tamerlan, who killed about 17 million people.
It’s long overdue for Congress to have a series of hearings on the loopholes, broken promises and disobeyed laws involving both legal and illegal entry into the United States. It would be useful to reinstate the House Committee on Un-American Activities so we can have a look at those in our midst who may be jihadists, dupes of violent Muslim indoctrination, or (in old Communist lingo) fellow travelers or useful idiots.
There is plenty of evidence that legal and illegal immigrants of various nationalities, in contravention of our citizenship pledge, retain their loyalty to the land they came from. Brian Fishman, who studies terrorism at the New America Foundation in Washington, says, “I think there’s often a sense of divided loyalties in these cases where Americans turn to violent jihad - are you American first or are you Muslim first?”
Our government should investigate thoroughly and reject those who do not want to become Americans, obey our Constitution and laws, speak our language, and salute our flag. And they have to accept the rule that disputes in our courts must be decided according to U.S. law, not any foreign law.
Schlafly’s argument is reminiscent of an incoherent answer that Pat Robertson gave last year to a 700 Club viewer who asked him why he criticized Muslims who put their faith ahead of their nationality when he does the same. Robertson claimed that Muslims are different from Christians because they are “under control of a foreign power.”
TORONTO - Muslims want a safe Canada, too.
That’s what Muhammad Robert Heft, a Muslim community leader in Scarborough, wants his fellow Torontonians to know as the RCMP arrested a Muslim man in the GTA for allegedly plotting a rail attack that would have taken innocent lives. Not only do Muslims in the city condemn the attack, they turned over information in a bid to help foil it.
“There is going to be backlash,” he said, alluding to those who will blame the Muslim community. “But I want to reiterate. Who was the one who tipped the RCMP off? It was our community.”
Heft said Muslim leaders are often criticized for not speaking up or not turning over information about radicalized community members. They are cooperating, he said.
“We have to be on the front lines,” he said. “To either nip it in the bud in the very beginning or co-operate with authorities so they can be brought to justice.”
Heft himself runs an out-reach program for youth who are at risk of being radicalized.
Last month more than 40 people died in violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the central Burmese town of Meiktila. The BBC’s South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head looks at the causes of the violence.
At first sight it appears that Meiktila has been hit by a natural disaster. Entire neighbourhoods have been levelled, homes of brick and cement smashed to rubble.
Then you notice holes pounded into the walls that are still standing, clearly made by human hands. It was anger, not nature, that wreaked this destruction.
The families and shop-owners that occupied these buildings have disappeared. The only people are the scavengers, salvaging anything of value left in the ruins.
A Muslim community that dates back many generations has been wiped out.
Just outside the town centre people stop to look at a blackened patch of ground. This is where at least 20 Muslim boys were taken, from a madrassa, and hacked to death, their bodies soaked in petrol and set alight. Fragments of charred bones still lie in the ashes, beside discarded shoes.
On the surface Meiktila seems calm and orderly. Soldiers, who are supposed to be less visible in the new Burma, are back on the streets. A night-time curfew is being enforced.
But the events in March have shaken Meiktila’s member of parliament.
Win Htein is a man of proven courage, who spent 20 years in appalling conditions in prison because of his loyalty to Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. The former army captain has seen plenty of violence, but he still shakes his head in disbelief at what he witnessed last month.
“I saw eight boys killed in front of me. I tried to stop the crowd, I told them to go home. But they threatened me, and the police pulled me away.
It’s a sad reality that we can expect most Muslims to continue focusing on cartoons and YouTube videos whilst Islam’s cultural heritage is systemically wiped out
To put it mildly, many Muslims can be highly sensitive when it comes to matter of faith. Perceived attempts to attack, mock, insult or denigrate symbols of Islam are not viewed in favourable terms and can even be met with lethal force.
It is, therefore, quite shocking to observe stunned silence in the face of the systematic obliteration of Islam’s cultural heritage in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina by the Saudi regime.
A report by Jerome Taylor, that appeared in the Independent last Friday, stated:
The Washington-based Gulf Institute estimates that 95 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old buildings have been demolished in the past two decades alone. Dozens of key historical sites dating back to the birth of Islam have already been lost and there is a scramble among archaeologists and academics to try and encourage the authorities to preserve what little remains.
The holy cities of Mecca and Medina are increasingly beginning to resemble Chicago and Las Vegas rather than quaint Arab towns in which one can envisage what life was like in the times of the Prophet of Islam. Cultural heritage sites are being bulldozed in order to make way for glitzy shopping centres, 5 star hotels, trendy apartment blocks and bland sky scrapers. In fact, when I was last in Medina, the place was starting to resemble Milton Keynes
The Saudi regime benefits enormously from the millions of Muslim pilgrims that descend upon the holy cities each year. Visitor numbers are increasing year on year and expected to rise to 20 million a year in 2020. From a business point of view this is a dream come true. Increasingly wealthy visitors from neighbouring Gulf States have the potential to transform the holy cities into a gold mine, but that is only half the good news.
How pathetic. This makes me so angry I could just spit.
First some background: The Times of India provides some info on the Reverend’s history and his motivation for offering to share his church’s space with his Muslim neighbors:
Reverend opens church doors for Muslims
…”Secular India taught me to look at every religion with equal respect. My inheritance and the celebration of religions in India where Hindu, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims celebrate and live side by side, irrespective of colour or creed was a significant factor for my growth,” Rev Poobalan told TOI in an exclusive interview from Aberdeen.
Rev Poobalan is now working towards turning the garden that divides the church and the mosque into “a paradise for people of different religions to pray in quiet and peace.”Rev Poobalan told TOI “The church and the mosque are next to each other. One bitterly cold day, I saw Muslims praying in the open with their bare hands and frozen feet. I could almost see their breaths. I thought to myself that this is wrong. I took permission from my church council to ask Muslims to come and pray inside a part of the church which does not get used on Fridays. Initially, the Islamic community was hesitant. But the number of Muslim worshippers started to gradually increase and now it’s common.”
Poobalan’s father was part of the chaplency in CMC Vellore hospital. “I grew up seeing people from all religions walk into the chapel to light a candle and pray. It taught me that prayer transcends religion and everyone actually prays to a single God.” […]
Rev Poobalan is now working towards turning the garden that divides the church and the mosque into “a paradise for people of different religions to pray in quiet and peace.” […]
Video: Here’s a report from STV News in Scotland. (It’s not embeddable, sorry.)
Before I move on to the article about the despicable trolls, here’s the church’s website and Facebook—perhaps the decent people out there, regardless of whether or not they’re “believers”, can take a few moments to send the Reverend some words of encouragement & thanks to counteract all the hate being directed at him. I left Facebook a long time ago, but I intend to email him as soon as I finish this Page because he doubtless could use some kindness right about now. Now, sadly, on to the haters:
Internet ‘trolls’ target priest who allows Muslims to pray in church
A priest who has allowed Muslims to pray in his church has been hit by a barrage of abuse by internet “trolls”.
St John’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen became the first church in the UK to share their building with Muslims after Rev Isaac Poobalan saw members of a neighbouring mosque praying outside in the snow because of a lack of space.
Hundred of Muslims now pray in the church’s main hall and chapel every week, but the news has not been well received by some Christians, who have taken to the church’s Facebook page to blast the decision.
One user said that the church were “sharing Christ’s table with Satan” before others another predicted a “flood” of Muslims moving to Aberdeen to convert the church into a mosque and said Mr Poobalan needed to be given the “boot” before it was too late. […]
Mr Poobalan said he would not sever his relationship with the nearby Crown Street Mosque.
He said: “I keep seeing these Facebook comments coming up on my email account, but I will not back down. We have developed a relationship with the mosque and we will not be breaking that up. […]
Update: Unfortunately, I decided to temporarily suspend this Page a couple of days after it was published because, as our own wrenchwench eloquently put it in her comment #60 below, it quickly began to mirror what happened with the good Rev. Poobalan, albeit on a much smaller scale. Now that the commenting window has closed, I’m reinstating it now in the hope that others—regardless of their religion or lack of it—will come along and take away something positive from it.
Far-right extremists are responsible for more than half of all attacks on Muslims, with women increasingly targeted in more than half of all Islamophobic hatred, a survey has found.
More than 600 attacks on Muslims were reported since March 2012, from a five-year-old child who was hit by a car to an 89-year-old pensioner, according to the UK’s official anti-Muslim violence helpline and charity Tell MAMA.
In one incident in Nottinghamshire, a family was forced from its home, after they had a pork-wrapped wooden cross placed outside their home, their mother abused in the street and smoke blown into the face of a child by an elderly man, after moving into a middle-class Nottinghamshire village.
A Muslim woman leaves the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden
The majority of those physically attacked on the street, harassed or intimidated were Muslim women, 58% of incidents.
“In one such case reported to us,” Fiyaz Mughal, co-ordinator of Tell MAMA and director of Faith Matters said, “a pregnant woman and her husband were assaulted, leaving their children in terror”.
In another, a ﬁve-year-old girl, walking with her mother in Islamic dress, was knocked down in a hit-and-run incident by a car. The report said: “Although the mother was screaming, no-one came to see if she needed help even though there were plenty of people passing by in cars.
The Struggle for Jihad
By Poh Si Teng
March 6, 2013
Two opposing groups battle to define the word jihad on public buses and subways.
CHICAGO — There is an advertising war being fought here — not over soda or car brands but over the true meaning of the word “jihad.”
Backing a continuing effort that has featured billboards on the sides of Chicago buses, the local chapter of a national Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, has been promoting a nonviolent meaning of the word — “to struggle” — that applies to everyday life.
Supporters say jihad is a spiritual concept that has been misused by extremists and inaccurately linked to terrorism, and they are determined to reclaim that definition with the ad campaign, called My Jihad.
The truth sometimes hurts; that is why the Palestinian Authority has been working hard to prevent the outside world from hearing about many occurrences that reflect negatively on its leaders or people.
In recent years, the Palestinian Authority leadership, often with the help of the mainstream media in the US and EU, has been successful in its effort to divert all attention only toward Israel.
Following are examples of some of the inconvenient truths that the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank do not want others to know about:
- Over 100 senior PLO and Fatah officials hold Israeli-issued VIP cards that grant them various privileges denied to most Palestinians. Among these privileges is the freedom to enter Israel and travel abroad at any time they wish. This privileging has existed since the signing of the Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993.
- Out of the 600 Christians from the Gaza Strip who arrived in the West Bank in the past two weeks to celebrate Christmas, dozens have asked to move to Israel because they no longer feel comfortable living under the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
- Dozens of Christian families from east Jerusalem have moved to Jewish neighborhoods in the the city because they too no longer feel comfortable living among Muslims.
- Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank continue to summon and arrest political opponents, journalists and bloggers who dare to criticize the Palestinian leadership.
Read the rest HERE (source).
But regardless of whether certain mental defects incline a person to Islam or whether after adopting Islam parts of your brain shut down (think zombie virus from The Walking Dead’s first season), the output is the same. If a Qur’anic verse seems to sanction violence, Muslims have no choice but to act on it. There is just one problem with this way of interpreting all of Islam.
Only a puny minority of Muslims acts in a violent manner, while the huge majority does not, though both are reading the same book. If Muslims don’t act in similar ways, the problem isn’t the Islamophobe’s interpretation of Islam, it’s anything else—perhaps the Muslims are practicing taqiyya! Or, perhaps, the Muslims don’t understand their religion.
Islamophobes resolve the challenges posed by reality by dismissing it. Hence, they’ll say things like “most Muslims don’t understand Islam.” This was the rebuttal Ayaan Hirsi Ali used against Zeba Khan during their Intelligence Squared debate on Islam. In her opening statement, Khan argued that her parents stressed tolerance as an Islamic value; Hirsi Ali responded that while that was very nice, it wasn’t Islam.
Islam has one interpretation: theirs. Which happens to be—by chance, of course—the same interpretation extremists offer. Leave aside for a moment the conclusions and consider the methods by which Islamophobes get there. Were Islamophobes Muslim, they would be the Muslims they warn us about.