Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Supporting Muslim Brothers: How Some Leftists Betray the Muslim Left

Wake Up US Left....!

One of the first concern a Third World leftist to observe within the US Left movement is their misunderstanding of the political map of immigrants and refugees world in the US. To the contrary, a leftist from that part of the globe is always aware of the political/religious map of the US even before they land here. 

What frustrate liberal Muslims from these categories, Refugee and Immigrant, is how a large sector of the US Left is siding with the conservative Muslims and not the Liberals. The Liberals left their countries mainly because persecution by conservative policies that forced on them by conservative political religious/groups like Muslim Brothers (see logo above) and their affiliates in the Untied States

However, they see their supposedly allies in the US are taking the side of their perpetrators. This was clear during massive peace movement against the war in Iraq back in 2003, where Left orgs sided with or preferred to deal with conservative right-wing Muslim groups like Council on American–Islamic Relations North American Islamic TrustIslamic Society of North AmericaMuslim American Society, etc.    

Liberal Muslim activists and Orgs (such as Muslims for Progressive Values and its predecessor PMU) were usually coming second for the US Left. This is mainly because some of the conservative Muslim groups were not happy with advocated liberal ideas of the Muslim Left that were calling for a different interpretation of the Holy Book of Quran (such as Asra Nomani). 

A liberal immigrant/refugee manage to read the political map very clearly. He/she easily identifies the right wing groups (political and religious) and publicly criticizes them with no fear. We attack Rush Limbaugh  even he airs lot of materials against Muslim Brothers in Egypt or Sudan, for example.   Why not the US Liberals (well, some to be accurate) don't see how wrong they are betraying their comrades in the Third World? 

My Enemy's Enemy should not be my Friend !

I discussed this concern with many Leftists in Philly and Amherst and most of the time they don't get it !
Is this difficult to understand?! You understand what are these conservatives are doing to liberal muslims back in countries they are in control? Fo God sake they are killing people for having liberal views you enjoy here and consider your basic right !!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Yes, We Can Make Islam a Contemporary Religion !

It's time to reclaim Islam from the fanatics. Here's how

Can my religion be reconciled with free expression? The answer is yes

Irshad Manji
Source: The Spectator

I am not a moderate Muslim, I am a reformist. Rooting out corrupt practices can never be an act of mere moderation. Restoring integrity, or wholeness, is always a radical act. It transcends notions of left and right, emphasising the need to think independently. In Islam, independent thought has a strong history, not that you’d know it from the news about bombings, beheadings and bloodshed. ‘Jihad’ has become part of the West’s vocabulary and with good reason. But there is a lesser-known term in Islam — one that has the capacity to change the world for good.
The idea is ‘ijtihad’, Islam’s tradition of questioning and reinterpreting. And it is absolutely fundamental to the spirit of the Qur’an. Islam’s scripture contains three times as many passages urging Muslims to think and rethink than verses promoting blind worship.
That’s nice in theory, but what about in fact? In the Islam of a millennium ago, ijtihad flourished. It was no coincidence that Islamic civilisation led the world in curiosity, creativity and ingenuity. But then the sun set on Islam’s golden age. Invaders from North Africa pillaged the pluralism of Muslim Spain. From Cordoba to Baghdad, much of the Islamic empire lapsed into defensiveness. Out of 135 schools of Sunni thought, just four survived. The gates of ijtihadnarrowed and in some places closed, legitimising rigid readings of the Qur’an. To this day, Muslims still struggle with the idea of independent thought.
But a new generation of Muslims are pushing the boundaries. In growing numbers, we are speaking our truths to self-appointed authorities, be they our parents or their imams. I can attest to this because young Muslims have been sharing their stories with me since I wrote my book, The Trouble with Islam Today. It was published ten years ago, with the predictable noise from offended Muslims drowning out the support from many others.
Those others, often the children of conservatives, wrote to me about their desperation for a Muslim community that accepts their interfaith relationships. In 2007, I used my blog to publish a blessing of Muslim-Christian love, written in English by a scholarly imam who reinterpreted the Qur’an. It was downloaded so often that I had it translated into 20 more languages.
Last year, Al Jazeera aired an intense debate about Muslim reform between me and the British commentator Mehdi Hasan. Hate mail followed. So did love bombs. But I did not receive any death threats. To be sure, the reality remains that those who shatter age-old taboos within Islam do have to fear for their lives. While it is true that every religion has its extremists, in no other religion do mainstream believers routinely shrug off the murder of dissenters. This is a life-and-death difference. All the more reason for ijtihad to be revived in the 21st century.
Nowhere does the necessity of ijtihad seem more urgent than in the wars over freedom of expression. One might say that the UK led the way. More than 25 years ago, a puny hive of British Muslims demanded the death of novelist Salman Rushdie even before Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued his infamous fatwa.
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Earlier this year, I watched the British brouhaha over my friend Maajid Nawaz, the prospective Liberal Democrat candidate for Kilburn and co-founder of the counter-extremism outfit Quilliam. Nawaz had tweeted a cartoon called Jesus and Mo. Jesus to Mo: ‘Hey!’ Mo: ‘How ya doing?’ The end. That was it. Two top-tier prophets swapping props.
The problem for some Muslims is that, according to tradition, Muhammad cannot be depicted in image lest he become an object of worship. But by insisting that he cannot be drawn under any circumstances, these Muslims make the prophet off-limits to anyone who does not believe as they do. They thus turn Mo into, well, an object of worship. It leaves a lot of us wondering what, if anything, has been learned since the Danish cartoons fiasco eight years ago.
Then, you will recall, a handful of journalists, politicians, diplomats and mullahs in Denmark engineered an epic cultural crisis. Months earlier, the newspaper Jyllands-Posten had published images that supposedly mocked the Prophet Muhammad. Even after the paper apologised, the controversy grew. In different parts of the world, Muslims who rioted against Danish insensitivity silenced the more reasonable voices within their faith.
At the time, I received a lot of emails, mostly from young Muslims. ‘I am even more offended by the riots than by the cartoons!’ exclaimed Mahmood, a student whose reaction typified many others’. Fed up with one upheaval after another, the Muslims who contacted me channelled their frustration into an urgent sense that Muslims need to reform ourselves.
The question is simple: can Islam be reconciled with free expression? The answer is yes. The Qur’an points out that there will always be nonbelievers and that it is for God, not for Muslims, to deal with them: ‘The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills — let him believe; and whoever wills — let him disbelieve.’ (18:29). Moreover, the Qur’an states that there should ‘no compulsion in religion’. (2:256). Nobody should be forced to treat tradition as untouchable, including traditions that result in the messed-up Muslim habit of equating our very human prophet with an inviolable idol. Monotheists are to revere one God, not one of God’s emissaries. That is why humility requires people of faith to lampoon themselves, and each other, once in a while.
I can hear the reaction already: as a reformist, I am cherry-picking verses from the Qur’an. Given that the call for reflection suffuses the Qur’an, I am on terra firma in highlighting such little-known verses. It is my detractors who select on the shaky grounds of their own politics. After all, they ignore progressive Qur’anic passages, another one being about the liberty to choose one’s faith: ‘Unto you your religion, unto me my religion’ (109:6). While serving as grand mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Gomaa quoted it to conclude that if a Muslim leaves Islam, no power in this earthly realm has the right to punish him or her. The verdict shocked Muslims in Egypt and beyond. Cultural conditioning dies hard.
That raises a new question. When Islam’s beloved messenger is satirised, should Muslims sit there and take it? Our scripture recommends that we cordially walk away from those who ridicule the faith. It also advises that we remain open towards the offenders. Pack up in peace, then pick up the conversation once the dust settles. Granted, this is not Socrates’ approach to dialogue — relentless, remorseless cross-examination — but neither does there have to be the unctuous exchange of platitudes that so often passes for interfaith dialogue.
During the Danish firestorm, the Muslims who contacted me demonstrated that we do not think uniformly. Some even challenged me to plaster the cartoons on my own website. After much consideration (as encouraged by the Qur’an), I posted links to all the caricatures. Among them were sketches depicting Muhammad as a paedophile and as a pig — images which had been fabricated by ultra-conservative Danish imams who falsely attributed them to Jyllands-Posten.
Hours after I uploaded the links, several readers emailed me in trepidation. Lise, a woman from Quebec, captured the sense of fear. ‘I am very happy that Canada does not publish these caricatures,’ she said. ‘We do not need the Islamic reaction.’ I agree. We do not need the Islamic reaction. We need diverse Islamic reactions: applause, revulsion, dismissal, embarrassment, nonviolent protest and peals of laughter.
The time has come for more of us, Muslim and non-Muslim, to hold the would-be censors to account by demonstrating moral courage. During my book tours, a pattern has emerged: on the campuses of western universities, good-hearted people whisper that they support my mission to reconcile Islam and freedom. Muslims fear community disapproval. Non-Muslims are terrified of being labelled bigots. Meanwhile, the Islam-supremacists who attend my lectures feel they have every right to champion their authoritarian interpretations of the Qur’an. The loathers of freedom appreciate their own freedom enough to deploy it to stifle the freedom of everyone else.
My call for moral courage is not about confrontation, but conversation. Ed Husain, the former jihadist who co-founded Quilliam, says he became radicalised in part by British society’s low expectations of him as a young Muslim. ‘Nobody ever said: you’re equal to us, you’re one of us, we’ll hold you to the same standards,’ he explains. ‘Nobody had the courage to stand up for liberal democracy without qualms. When people like us were holding events against women and gay people, where were our college principals and teachers?’
Those educators would only have needed to cite chapter 3, verse 7 of the Qur’an. It states that God and God alone knows the full truth of how the Qur’an ought to be interpreted. (The genius of this verse soon dawns on those who try refuting it with their seemingly superior knowledge.) Suppose the defenders of liberal democracy took five seconds to scrawl ‘Qur’an 3:7’ on pieces of paper and calmly handed them to the Islamists in their midst? No doubt, any such gesture will be greeted with the cry of ‘Islamophobe!’ You can set your clock to it. The obvious response to that is: ‘Why does encouraging dialogue make me an Islamophobe? Would I not be keeping my distance — out of fear — if I were phobic?’ Conversations start with searching questions.
This brings me to sound one cautionary note. Islamophobia does exist, and it infuriates me that some who wish to wipe Islam off the map actually believe that their agenda helps reformist Muslims. It does not. By defining Islam in the same dogmatic terms as Muslim extremists do, Islamophobes gift those extremists with the authority to decide what Islam must be. In which case, Islam-haters are the allies of Islam-supremacists — not of reformists.
For me, embracing freedom is an act of faith. Recognising the Almighty’s infinite wisdom means acknowledging my limited human wisdom. As a monotheist, I am not God. Nor am I entitled to behave as God. Hence my duty to let a thousand nonviolent flowers bloom. In short, to devote myself to Allah is to love liberty.
Irshad Manji is founder of the Moral Courage Project at New York University. She is the author most recently of Allah, Liberty and Love.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Haja Zeinab: Islam is Peace.

Haja/Zeinab Omer

"I was raised in a community very tolerant and very diverse in the 1920s in Cairo. In one building, we lived Muslims, Christians, and Hews together. As neighbors, we used to baby sit each others kids and feed them. We shared food during each religious Holidays. Islam, like all other religions meant peace and tolerance. That was and is my religion. period."

Haja/Zeinab O. Elzebair (84 years), went to Haj, Pilgrimage, four times in Mecca. She is a strong believer in the peace message of Islam and any religion.
She gave a very moving speech at the Human Rights day Forum in Amherst, MA on Dec 9th, 2012.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Human Rights Challenges in the Muslim World

A perfect timing to discuss this major concern for human rights defenders in countries ruled by draconian religious laws.
What a better example than Iran?
Human Rights Challenges in the Muslim World: The Case of Iran”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

No to the Salfai Shari'a Laws

from the website of www.alfikra.org
الدعوة لطريق محمد وتطوير التشريع
دعا الاستاذ محمود  الى تقليد النبى محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم كمنهاج للسلوك الدينى بهدف توحيد القوى المودعة فى الانسان ، من قلب وعقل وجسد ، والتى وزعها الخوف الموروث والمكتسب ، ثم الى تطوير التشريع الاسلامى بالانتقال من الآيات المدنية التى قامت عليها بعض صور الشريعة ، الى الآيات المكية التى نسخت فى ذلك الوقت لعدم تهيؤ المجتمع لها ، حيث الدعوة الى الديمقراطية والاشتركية والمساواة الاجتماعية ، المدخرة فى أصول الدين ، وقد بسط الاستاذ محمود فكرته فى آفاقها الدينية والسياسية والمعرفية بعلمٍ واسعٍ ، وحجةٍ ناصعةٍ ، وصبرٍ على سوء الفهم وسوء التخريج وسوء القصد الذى قوبلت به فكرته من معارضيها ، حتى ذهب يقينه بفكرته واخلاصه لها ، والتزامه ايّاها فى اجمال حياته وتفصيلها، مثلا فريداً فى الدعاة والدعوات
المساواة الاجتماعية وحقوق النساء
كان موضوع المرأة من اهم المواضيع التى عالجها الاستاذ محمود فى فكرته ، حيث دعا الى تطوير التشريع فيما يختص بشريعة الأحوال الشخصية ، والى وضع المرأة من حيث التشريع فى موضعها الصحيح ، بعد أن تعلمت وتسنمت الوظائف الرفيعة ، متجاوزا بذلك القصور الفكرى الذى ظل ملازما للفكر الاسلامى السلفى تجاه وضع المرأة فى التشريع الدينى ، ومتجاوزا دعوات تحرير المرأة التى هدفت لمحاكاة الغرب، ومقدما فهما جديدا مستمداً من اصول الدين ، يقوم على مساواة الرجال والنساء أمام القانون وفى النظام الاجتماعى ، انطلاقا من فكرة تطوير التشريع الاسلامى ، واستلهاماً أكبر لغرض الدين فى الحياة الحرة الكريمة للنساء والرجال على قدم المساواة. وقد كان أكبر تجسيد لدعوة الاستاذ محمود الى تطوير وضع المرأة الدينى هو المرأة الجمهورية نفسها ، فقد دخلت تلميذات الاستاذ محمود من الجمهوريات التاريخ كأول طليعة من النساء تخرج للدعوة الى الدين بصورة جماعية ومنظمة ، فى ظاهرة فريدة ظللتها قوة الفكر وسداد السيرة وسمو الخلق

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Persecution of Baha'is continued in Iran

Source: * This article has been updated to reflect new information on the number of arrests in connection with the BIHE raids.

GENEVA — A coordinated series of raids have been carried out on the homes of several Iranian Baha’is, active in a community initiative to provide a higher education program for young members who are barred from university.

Reports indicate that raids took place on Saturday 21 May on as many as 30 homes in Tehran, Karaj, Isfahan, and Shiraz. It is now understood that some 14 Baha’is have been arrested.

“All of the targets were homes of individuals closely involved with the operations of the Baha’i Institute for Higher Education,” said Diane Ala’i, representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva.

The Baha’i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) was established in 1987 as a community initiative to meet the educational needs of young Baha’is who have been systematically denied access to higher education by the Iranian government. The BIHE has been described by the New York Times as “an elaborate act of communal self-preservation.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Cruelty of Sharia Law

From Facts & ArtsThe Cruelty of Sharia Law is Not a Western Perception but an Islamic Reality by Tawfik Hamid

Dr. Tawfik Hamid (aka Tarek Abdelhamid), is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and one time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of a terrorist Islamic organization JI with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaherri who became later on the second in command of Al-Qaeda. Dr. Hamid is currently a Senior Fellow and Chair of the study of Islamic Radicalism at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

President Barack Obama's adviser on Muslim affairs, Dalia Mogahed, has provoked controversy by appearing on a British television show hosted by a member of an extremist group to talk about Sharia law, the Daily Telegraph reported on October 8, 2009.

Ms. Mogahed, an appointee to the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said the Western view of Sharia is "oversimplified," and that the majority of Muslim women around the world associate Sharia with "gender justice."

The White House adviser made the remarks on a London-based TV discussion programme hosted by Ibtihal Bsis, a member of the extremist Hizb ut Tahrir party.

Hizb ut Tahrir believes in the non-violent destruction of Western democracy and the creation of a global Islamic state under Sharia law.

Mogahed said: "I think the reason so many women support Sharia is because they have a very different understanding of sharia than the common perception in Western media". Her views on this matter are similar to the conclusions that she made of her survey in the Muslim world which she summarized in her 2007 book Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, co-authored with John L. Esposito.

What matters in this story is not that Mogahed's comments were said to a Hizb ut Tahrir member, but rather the lack of factual reality about Sharia law contained in her statements and conclusions.

At the theoretical level, Sharia books teach and instruct the followers of Islam to implement cruel and inhumane treatment for women, such as beating wives and stoning them for committing adultery. Endorsements of polygamy and underage marriage are also established teachings of Sharia Law. These concepts, which clearly discriminate against women, are unchallenged in the mainstream Sharia books.

It would have been much better if Dalia Mogahed, instead of blaming Sharia cruelty on Western perception, had mentioned to the audience the name of even a single approved Sharia book that stands clearly against these inhumane teachings.

In Mogahed's survey, female Muslim respondents might well have said that Sharia represents justice simply because criticizing Sharia Law can create major trouble for these women in their societies. In addition, based on traditional ways of teaching Islam, denying a well established and approved Islamic law (called in Sharia: "Maaloom Mina Al-Deen Bil Darura,") such as any of the former laws, makes the critic an "apostate," who deserves to be killed by the Muslim society and who will then "go to hell to be tortured forever". Such a fear of punishment can impede an honest critique of Sharia law in the Muslim world, thereby casting doubt on the accuracy of the conclusions driven from the survey.

Asking a Muslim living in a Muslim society about his views about Sharia is like asking a German living under the Nazis or a Russian during Stalin's era about their views regarding Nazism or communism, respectively. Can we expect to receive honest answers to such questions? The fear of punishment for criticizing the system can completely override people's free will and impede their ability to give honest responses.

When I was young and living in the Muslim world we used to brag that Islam is the ONLY religion that gives women their rights, and that polygamy, beating women, and stoning them for adultery represents wisdom that is beyond our human comprehension. Our fear of criticizing such teachings or interpretations prevented us from being able to give an unbiased evaluation of Sharia law.The research of Ms. Mogahed should have sought to eliminate this element of fear or to use indirect evaluation methods; given that she did not, it is hard to draw reliable conclusions from of her research. There is no single piece of evidence in Mogahed's book that suggests that the fear factor was considered in the evaluation process or that her statistics were corrected for this bias.

It is also important to note that the questions that were asked of Muslim women as described in this book were rather non-specific; thus, it is difficult to use them to give an accurate evaluation of Sharia. For example, there is no single question in the above mentioned book that asks specifically about the violent edicts of Sharia law.

It can be extremely inaccurate to evaluate the reality of Sharia by simply doing a questionnaire asking for the views of Muslims about it. As an analogy, what if we asked Bin Laden about Sharia law? He would likely tell us that "it represents justice." In his view, the killing of infidels is justice! The same concept applies to Ms. Mogahed's questionnaire.

For example, when Muslim women in the survey say that Sharia represents justice, this does not necessarily mean that those women consider beating women, polygamy, or stoning for sexual misconduct to be forms of injustice. The questions should have been tailored to ask about specific laws such as beating or stoning of women, rather than general points.

Furthermore, at the practical level, all the current systems that implement Sharia Law-such as those in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and Pakistan, and parts of Somalia-legalize the above-mentioned barbaric teachings against women. It would have been better if, instead of trying to convince her Western audience that Sharia law is fair to women, Ms. Mogahed had given the audience one single example of a country that applies Sharia law and at the same time forbids polygamy, beating of women, or stoning. In fact, the Muslim countries that do not legally discriminate against women or justify cruelty to them, such as Turkey and Tunisia, are only those countries that refuses to implement Sharia Law, relying instead on secular laws.

To conclude, if all approved Islamic Sharia books and all the systems that apply Sharia accept or practice the previously mentioned barbaric treatment of women, then how come Ms. Mugahed is trying to sell the idea that Sharia law is fair to women? As mentioned earlier, the view of some Muslim women that Sharia law represents justice could stem from extreme fear of criticizing an Islamic law, or it may represent a form of cultural pride that prevents many Muslims from openly criticizing their traditional teachings. If all Muslim women were to say that Sharia Law is just in its treatment of women, this would not make it true, as the terrorists would also claim that Sharia law legalizing fighting infidels to subjugate them to Islam is a just law. Some people's perceptions about Sharia Law do not change its fundamental nature. The only way to change the Western perception about Sharia is to change its reality.