Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 2011
Islmophobia in the US:
Pushed by Bachmann, West, Gaffney, Yerushalmi,
August 1, 2011
Allen West to Host Screening of Anti-Islam Film
Anti-Islam Activist Advises Michele Bachmann
Pamela Geller Attacks Victims of Oslo Terrorist
Islamophobic 'Clash' Thinking Has Consequences
Emotional Scars on Slashed NY Muslim Cabdriver
South Asians Battle Lingering Stereotypes from 9/11
CAIR-MI: Heat a Worry as Ramadan Fast Begins
President Obama Marks Ramadan
Muslim Women Work Out Religiously
U.S. Mosques Seek Special Ramadan Voices
Chicago Muslims Go Green for Ramadan
HADITH OF THE DAY: THE GATES OF HEAVEN ARE OPENED DURING RAMADAN - TOP
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Ramadan, a blessed month, has come to you during which God has made it obligatory for you to fast. In it, the gates of Heaven are opened [and] the gates of hell are locked. ... He who is deprived of its good has indeed suffered deprivation."
Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 611
The Prophet also said: "Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan with faith, and seeks God's pleasure and reward, will have his previous sins forgiven."
Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 109
ALLEN WEST HOSTS CONGRESS SCREENING OF ANTI-ISLAM 9/11 NYC MOSQUE FILM - TOP David Badash, New Civil Rights Movement, 8/1/11
Rep. Allen West (R-FL) will host a screening of a forty-five minute anti-Islam film about 9/11 and the efforts of the anti-Muslim community to stop the building of the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque." The makers of the film, the Christian Action Network (CAN), have been refused a permit by the City of New York to allow the film to be screened in public parks. CAN, and the American Center for Law & Justice, are now threatening a lawsuit against New York City. (More)
ANTI-ISLAM ACTIVIST ADVISES MICHELE BACHMANN ON FOREIGN POLICY - TOP Tim Murphy, Mother Jones, 8/1/2011
Lost amid the last-second push to pass the "sugar-coated satan sandwich" that is the debt ceiling deal, Eli Lake has an interesting piece over at The New Republic exploring the Republican party's collapsing foreign policy consensus. The good news? The cocky, rigid neoconservatism that defined the last decade is less influential now. But that doesn't mean it's being replaced by anything more, well, sane. Here's Lake:
When I started asking around about Bachmann's foreign policy ideas, I heard the same thing from multiple people: that I should talk to Frank Gaffney. Gaffney himself stressed that he had no formal relationship with Bachmann as an adviser. But he did say that he had contact with several of the GOP candidates. And, of Bachmann, he said this: "She is a friend and a person I admire. I hope she is getting the best counsel she can." He added, "We are a resource she has tapped, I'm assuming among many others." When I asked him whether Bachmann had been briefed on the Team B II Report, he replied, "We've spent hours, over several days with her. I think she's got the bulk of what we would tell her in one of the more formal presentations."
Bachmann's connection to the Team B II Report -- and her conviction that sharia law is a threat to the United States -- helps explain some of the key places that she splits from the neoconservatives. To most neocons, the Arab Spring was good news, because it meant the potential spread of democracy in the Muslim world. But the Team B II crowd was pessimistic. "Ever since 2003, when the thrust of the War On Terror stopped being the defeat of America's enemies and decisively shifted to nation-building, we have insisted -- against history, law, language, and logic -- that Islamic culture is perfectly compatible with and hospitable to Western-style democracy," McCarthy has written. "It is not, it never has been, and it never will be."
Gaffney, for the unfamiliar, is a former Ronald Reagan Pentagon official who has become one of the leaders of the right-wing anti-Islam crusade. Team B II was an ad hoc group formed by his Center for Security Policy which last year produced report, Shariah: The Threat to America, on the existential threat posed by radical jihadis in the United States government. (More)
THE MAN BEHIND THE ANTI-SHARIA STATE LAW PUSH - TOP Liz Goodwin, Yahoo News, 8/1/2011
The New York Times' Andrea Elliot tracked down the man behind a spate of state laws banning the use of sharia, or Islamic law, in U.S. courthouses.
Fifty-six year-old David Yerushalmi, a Hasidic Jewish lawyer living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, worked with conservative political activists in drafting the model legislation that Oklahoma, Tennessee and Louisiana have enacted to ban sharia.
Yerushalmi represents the controversial "Atlas Shrugs" blogger Pamela Geller, and received funding from Frank Gaffney, who runs the blog "Jihad Watch" and the think tank the Center for Security Policy. Yerushalmi authored Gaffney's report, "Shariah: The Threat to America," that sparked conservative interest in the topic, and is also the Center for Security Policy's chief counsel. (More)
PAMELA GELLER ATTACKS VICTIMS OF OSLO TERRORIST - TOP Charles Johnson, Little Green Footballs, 7/31/2011
After spending a few days mouthing the expected rote denunciations of Oslo terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, Pamela Geller was clearly chafing at the bit to get back to her usual fare, and today she did just that by attacking Breivik's victims: SUMMER CAMP? ANTISEMITIC INDOCTRINATION TRAINING CENTER!!!!!! - Atlas Shrugs.
She agrees with Breivik's assessment of the camp, wholeheartedly. According to Geller, the children at the camp were being indoctrinated with "a pro-Islamic agenda," and the "jihad-loving media" are hiding it from true patriots like her.
She's careful to mouth more platitudes about deploring any kind of violence -- except "self defense" -- but then makes the same argument Breivik made: that the camp was turning out enemies of Western civilization.
If you follow Geller's argument to its sickening logical conclusion, it leads directly to Anders Behring Breivik. (More)
ISLAMOPHOBIC 'CLASH' THINKING HAS CONSEQUENCES - TOP David H. Schanzer, News Observer, 7/31/2011
DURHAM -- For years, a group of American authors, bloggers, pundits and activists have mischaracterized our conflict with al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations as part of a broader "clash of civilizations" between Muslims and Western society.
This clash, they claim, is not just about preventing terrorist attacks, but about stopping a global Islamic movement that threatens the very foundations of Judeo-Christian society.
The consequences of this way of thinking have come to roost in the Norwegian tragedy. The accused killer, Anders Behring Breivik, endorsed their world view. Indeed, the footprints of their thinking are all over his manifesto.
This clash of civilizations ideology, as espoused by self-proclaimed "counterjihadists," needs to be strongly confronted here at home before more damage is done. These propagandists explicitly reject the idea that al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations are fringe movements motivated by a faulty interpretation of Islam. Rather, they assert in the jihadwatch blog and books with titles like "They Must Be Stopped" that this violence flows directly from the holy texts of Islam.
Global Islam, they assert, is inherently aggressive, anti-Christian and committed to world domination. The "counterjihadists" believe it is their calling to save the world from this dire threat.
While it is true that the "counterjihadists" do not call for violence as a means to further their goals, there can be little doubt, as terrorism expert Marc Sageman has said, that "their writings are the infrastructure from which Breivik emerged." (More)
EMOTIONAL SCARS ON SLASHED NY MUSLIM CABDRIVER - TOP Kevin Purdy and Candice M. Giove, New York Post, 7/31/2011
It's completely un-fare: The cabby stabbed last summer by a drunken college student barking anti-Muslim epithets has lost his livelihood and fled the city he loved, The Post has learned.
"Oh, our lives are a big mess," the taxi driver's wife, Hariza Sharif, told The Post. "Everything's upside down. He hasn't been able to find work."
It's been almost a year since college senior Michael Enright, now 22, entered Ahmed Sharif's cab and shouted, "This is your checkpoint!" as he slit the driver's throat and arms.
Now the father of four is unemployed and penniless in Buffalo.
"I drive a taxi here sometimes," Ahmed told The Post.
But the memory of the brutal attack resurfaces whenever a passenger opens the door. (More)
SOUTH ASIANS BATTLE LINGERING STEREOTYPES FROM 9/11 - TOP Richard Cowen, North Jersey.com, 7/31/2011
JERSEY CITY -- Nearly a decade has passed since terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and severely damaged the Pentagon, but many South Asian immigrants say they're still living with the lingering effects of racism and anti-Islamic fervor unleashed by the attacks.
Although as a group they are richly diverse, the Sikh, Hindus and Muslims who gathered at St. Peter's College on Saturday all told stories about how America changed drastically after Sept. 11, 2001. And it wasn't for the better.
The three-hour conference, titled "An America for All of Us," was organized by South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a non-profit that is holding a series of discussions around the country in preparation for the 10-year commemoration of 9/11. About 50 people attended Saturday's event, which was broken down into three panel discussions featuring community activists and political leaders. (More)
CAIR-MI: HEAT A WORRY AS RAMADAN FAST BEGINS - TOP Oralandar Brand-Williams, The Detroit News, 8/1/2011
DEARBORN -- Islam's holiest month, Ramadan, begins today amid one of the hottest summers in years, prompting precautions among Muslims who fast from dawn to dusk.
"We're expecting record heat this year," said Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan and assistant imam at Masjid Wali Muhammad mosque on Detroit's west side.
Ramadan falls at different times each year because the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle. The observance -- known as the "blessed month" -- is marked by prayers, works of charity and abstinence from food, tobacco, sex and liquids during the day.
"We'll be going 17 hours without food or water," said Walid.
The owner of a California-based company that markets the "Ramadan Fasting Tablet," made of herbs to curb hunger pangs, says the heat has put his product in short supply. "We sold out (last week) because of the weather," said Sam Ez. (More)
PRESIDENT OBAMA MARKS RAMADAN - TOP Alexander Mooney, CNN, 8/1/2011
President Obama Monday is marking the beginning of Ramadan, the month-long Muslim holiday of fasting and reflection.
In a statement issued by the White House, the president said, "Times like this remind us of the lesson of all great faiths, including Islam -- that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us."
He also said he will be hosting an iftar dinner at the White House, an event he hosted last year as well. (More)
MUSLIM WOMEN WORK OUT RELIGIOUSLY - TOP Mary Sanchez, The Kansas City Star, 7/31/2011
You have to get past what's strikingly different about Mariam Nawas to grasp how similar she is to other young women her age.
Drive through downtown in the early evening and you might see the 22-year-old running. She'll be the one gutting it up the Gillham Road hill near Crown Center or striding down Grand Boulevard, Cake or Third Eye Blind blasting on her iPod.
The approximately six-mile run would be grueling for many people. But with her head covered in a hijab, her arms in a long-sleeve T-shirt and her legs in warmup pants?
In this summer's heat?
"It's a release," the fifth-year medical student said. "It's a part of my day that I look the most forward to."
And her attire? She acknowledges it's a bit of an added challenge in the recent 100-degree weather, pavement steamed all day by the sun. But having grown up Muslim, she can't imagine what it would feel like to run less encumbered.
In some ways, it frees her. She's certainly not overly concerned with how her body appears to others. (More)
TO LEAD RAMADAN PRAYERS, U.S. MOSQUES SEEK SPECIAL VOICES - TOP Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, 7/30/2011
With Muslims coming to worship night after night during Ramadan, mosques aiming to enthrall their biggest crowds of the year look to one person in particular: their reciter.
His is the voice chanting the Koran, leading worshipers in prayer. And during the month of Ramadan, which begins at sunset Sunday, the special late-night prayers last two hours, which makes a beautiful singing voice and a powerful sense of soulfulness especially important.
The Koran emphasizes the value of a sweet voice, said Hatim Yousef, one of the reciters at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) in Sterling, where 3,000 people come each night of Ramadan to the mosque's seven branches.
"The Ramadan prayers are long, so it makes it that much nicer," he said.
Even Muslims who tend to be less observant usually come to mosque at some point during Ramadan, a month when Islam teaches that the power of prayers and good deeds are amplified. It's believed to be the time when the Koran was revealed. But many American Muslims don't understand Arabic, and Islam teaches that the poem-like Koran is only truly understood in that language. So the reciter's transmission is essential. (More)
CHICAGO MUSLIMS GO GREEN FOR RAMADAN - TOP Erin Meyer, The Chicago Tribune, 8/1/2011
As Chicago-area Muslims begin the fast of Ramadan Monday, religious leaders are calling on the faithful to keep two causes in their prayers: the health of the planet and the people of Somalia who have been devastated by environmental crisis.
In partnership with aid organizations and a coalition of groups that provide support for African immigrants and refugees, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago hopes to raise awareness and charitable donations for drought-ridden Somalia during the obligatory fast.
"Everyone is aware and concerned about war and global warming, drought and water shortage," said Zaher Sahloul, chairman of the Islamic council. "But we need to change the behavior of our communities ... and link it to the practice of fasting." (More)
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