Not a word does one utter, except that there is an angel watching, ready to record it. --Qur'an 50:18

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Muslims who saved Jews from Holocaust Honored

When the German Nazi army occupied Albania it wasn’t long before the Albanians were ordered to surrender their Jewish citizens. That prompted a massive movement among Albanians from top officials to grassroots villagers to shelter Jews. Most of those engaged in the movement were Muslims. Hospitality is a deeply held value for Albanians, so they went to great lengths and took personal risks to shield the Jews from the Nazis. Non-Jewish Albanians would steal identity cards from police stations for Jews to use. The Albanian underground threatened to execute anyone who turned a Jew in to the Nazis. Jews from Serbia, Austria and Greece found refuge in Albania.

As astonishing as this may sound: Not a single Jew from Albania ended up in the concentration camps.

Dr. Anna Kohen, speaking at a Holocaust remembrance in New York City talked about her family fleeing to a mountain village. They all took Muslim names. She said, “Everyone in the village knew they were Jews, but not one person betrayed them.” Her family’s story was repeated again and again throughout Albania.

Sulo Mecaj, a farmer from the village of Kruja who sheltered 10 Jews in his attic, was asked what would happen if the Nazis burned down his house with the Jews inside. “My son will go into the attic with the Jews and suffer their fate.” At the end of World War II there were more Jews living in Albania than at the start of the war, the only country in Europe where this happened.

Faith as well as culture played a major role in this life-and-death hospitality. Shyqyri Myrto helped Josef Jakoel and his sister Eriketa evade Germans going house to house searching for them. He said, “Our Muslim religion says we must help someone who is in danger in difficult times.”

Albanian protectors of the Jews were named on the “Rescuer’s Wall” at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in 1995. Albanian Muslim names are inscribed at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem among others as the “Righteous Among the Nations.”   »»» Informed Comment

Do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbor who is near, the neighbor who is a stranger. (Qur’an 4:36)

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Passenger says Muslims protected Christians in Islamist attack on Kenyan bus

Somali radical Shabaab Islamist militants sprayed a Kenyan bus with bullets on Monday, killing two people, but a passenger said he and fellow Muslims defied demands from the attackers to help identify Christians traveling with them.

The attack took place in Mandera, in northeast Kenya. A year ago, al Shabaab gunmen stormed a Nairobi-bound bus in the same area and killed 28 non-Muslim passengers execution-style.

Abdi Mohamud Abdi, a Muslim who was among the passengers in Monday’s incident, told Reuters that more than 10 al Shabaab militants boarded the bus and ordered the Muslim passengers to split away from the Christians, but they refused.

“We even gave some non-Muslims our religious attire to wear in the bus so that they would not be identified easily. We stuck together tightly,” he said.

“The militants threatened to shoot us but we still refused and protected our brothers and sisters. Finally they gave up and left but warned that they would be back,” he said.

In previous attacks, al Shabaab has often killed both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Julius Otieno, the deputy county commissioner, confirmed the account, saying that the militants “were trying to identify who were Muslims and who were not,” and that the Muslim passengers had refused to help.   »»» Reuters

According to the Qur’an:

“Christ Jesus the son of Mary is a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him….” 4:171

“The nearest in love to the believers (Muslims) those who say: “We are Christians.” That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.” 5:82

“And for their prayer Allah rewards them with gardens, with rivers flowing underneath,– their eternal home. Such is the recompense of those who do good.” 5:85

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‘Off the Charts’ Violence against Muslims Ravaging US Communities

From an attack on a hijab-wearing sixth grader in the Bronx to the arson of a mosque near Palm Springs, reports of hate crimes targeting Muslims are more than troubling anecdotes, but rather, reflect a measurable nationwide rise in Islamophobic violence, according to two separate studies released this week.

Researchers with the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University (CSU) found that anti-Muslim hate crimes have tripled in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.

According to The New York Times, which obtained the study ahead of its public release, there has been an average of 12.6 “suspected hate crimes” against U.S. Muslims per month for the past several years. But since the Paris attacks in mid-November, that monthly number has climbed to 38 attacks that are “anti-Islamic in nature.”

Such crimes include arson and vandalism of mosques, shootings, and death threats.

“We are seeing an unbelievably toxic, anti-Muslim environment in our society that is being encouraged and exploited by public figures like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, and others.”
—Ibrahim Hooper, Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“The terrorist attacks, coupled with the ubiquity of these anti-Muslim stereotypes seeping into the mainstream, have emboldened people to act upon this fear and anger,” CSU researcher Brian Levin told Times reporter Eric Lichtblau.

While the researchers said the attacks have not quite reached the levels seen in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 attacks, they identified similarities in the climate, including attacks on Sikh people falsely believed to be Muslim.   »»» Informed Comment

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The Muslims who shaped America – from brain surgeons to rappers

What have Muslims ever done for America? If your sole source of information were Donald Trump, you’d think that the answer was not much – apart from murdering its citizens and trying to destroy its values. The Republican presidential hopeful has called for a halt to Muslims entering the US until American authorities “can figure out” Muslim attitudes to the US in the wake of last week’s killings in San Bernardino. If only, you might well think, Scotland had had the same thought about Trump before he was allowed in to blight Aberdeenshire with another of his golf resorts.

What Trump doesn’t seem to grasp is his own country’s history, and how many American achievements worth celebrating are the work of the kind of people – Muslims – he wants to keep out.

Here, then, is a guide to some of the things Muslims have done for the US. It’s not an exhaustive list – but it’s still more impressive than what Trump has done for his homeland.

Muslims were part of the US from its very beginnings. Among those who served under the command of chief of the continental army, General George Washington, in the war against British colonialism were Bampett Muhammad, who fought for the Virginia Line between the years 1775 and 1783, and Yusuf Ben Ali, who was a North African Arab. Some have claimed that Peter Buckminster, who fired the gun that killed British Major General John Pitcairn at the battle of Bunker Hill, and later went on to serve in the Battle of Saratoga and the battle of Stony Point, was a Muslim American. This may be so, but the chief ground for the claim is that Buckminster later changed his surname to Salem or Salaam, the Arabic word for peace. But clearly, Washington, later America’s first president, didn’t have a problem with Muslims serving in his army. By giving these Muslims the honour of serving America, Washington made it clear that a person did not have to be of a certain religion or have a particular ethnic background to be an American patriot. Trump seems to want to overturn that venerable American principle.

The largely Muslim kingdom of Morocco, incidentally, was the first country to recognise the US. In 1786, the two countries signed a treaty of peace and friendship that is still in effect today, the longest unbroken treaty of its kind in history.

The US wouldn’t look the way it does if it weren’t for a Muslim, Fazlur Rahman Khan. The Dhaka-born Bangladeshi-American was known as the “Einstein of structural engineering”. He pioneered a new structural system of frame tubes that revolutionised the building of skyscrapers. That system consisted of, as he once described it, “three, four, or possibly more frames, braced frames, or shear walls, joined at or near their edges to form a vertical tube-like structural system capable of resisting lateral forces in any direction by cantilevering from the foundation”.

The result was a new generation of skyscrapers that reduced the amount of steel necessary in construction and changed the look of American cityscapes.

Shahid Khan is the personification of the American dream. The Pakistan-born billionaire arrived in the US aged 16 on a one-way trip to the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. “Within 24 hours, I had already experienced the American dream,” Khan said, by which he meant he found a job for $1.20 an hour washing dishes — more than the vast majority of the people back in Pakistan earned at the time. He started a car-parts business after university. Now, the 65-year-old – best known in the UK for owning Fulham FC – is the head of the $4.9bn (in sales terms) auto-parts company Flex-N-Gate, the 360th richest person on the planet and three years ago Forbes magazine put him on its cover as the face of the American dream.

Huma Abedin may be America’s most powerful Muslim woman. The 39-year-old Kalamazoo-born political staffer is a long-time aide to Hillary Clinton and was her deputy chief of staff at the State Department. She currently serves as vice chairwoman of Clinton’s 2016 campaign for president. But can she be trusted? In 2012 five Republican Congress members wrote to the State Department inspector general and claimed that she had “immediate family connections to foreign extremist organisations”. The claims were refuted and the allegations dismissed by the Washington Post as “paranoid”, a “baseless attack” and a “smear”. Republicans baselessly smearing Muslims? At least Donald Trump is around in 2015 to stand up against that kind of thing.
Treating the sick

Without Ayub Ommaya lots of people, some of them American, would be dead or suffering appalling pain. In 1963, the Pakistani-born Muslim neurosurgeon invented an intraventricular catheter system that can be used for the aspiration of cerebrospinal fluid or the delivery of drugs. What that means is that a soft, plastic, dome-shaped device is placed under the scalp. This so-called Ommaya Reservoir is then connected to a catheter that is placed into your brain. The reservoir is used to provide chemotherapy directly to the site for brain tumours. He also developed the first coma score for classification of traumatic brain injury and developed, too, the US’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which, as part of its mission, focuses on traumatic brain injury.
Giving hip-hop its greatest MC

For many music fans of the 80s and 90s, hip-hop was the first, thrilling, exposure to Muslim culture and the religion of Islam. After the early days of breakdancing and braggadocio, it found room for a spiritual and religious element. The range of Muslim rappers spans the obvious – Yasiin Bey (the Artist Formerly Known As Mos Def) – and the superficially unlikely – T-Pain, taking in such luminaries as Nas, Andre 3000, Lupe Fiasco, Ice Cube and Busta Rhymes.

The expression of Muslim belief through hip-hop has frequently been mediated through fringe groups such as the Nation of Islam and the Five-Percent Nation, and the language they use has bled into the rap argot. A lot of this is down to Rakim, perhaps the first and most prominent Muslim rapper to speak openly about his faith. As one half of Eric B & Rakim, the man known to his mum as William Griffin – but to fans as Rakim Allah – dropped frequent allusions to Muslim religion and culture into songs that quickly propelled him to the top of the MC list. While artists such as Jay-Z and the Notorious BIG went on to wider fame and bigger sales, Rakim is still regarded in many quarters as the greatest rapper in history. His unique flow and gravitas helped to usher in the brilliant “Afrocentric” era of hip-hop in the late 80s, and allowed more Muslims to profess their faith on record.

Established classic rap albums like KMD’s Mr Hood (1991) and Brand Nubian’s One for All (1990) were made possible by this strain of Muslim influence. There’s an often jarring disconnect between songs about dealing dope and love of Allah on releases by such influential artists as Scarface and the Jacka, and modern mainstream hip-hop is markedly less vocal about Islam. But perhaps that’s because its deep, important impact on the music and culture is so long-standing and obvious that it no longer needs saying out loud. Andrew Emery
Inventing the ice-cream cone

Picture the scene. It’s the 1904 St Louis Worlds Fair. An ice-cream vendor has run short of dishes. I predict a riot. How are God-fearing Americans supposed to eat their ice-creams now? Lick them from cupped hands like animals or something? That’s not America. That isn’t even Italy. Thankfully, at the next booth is a Syrian Muslim immigrant. Ernest Hamwi is selling something called zalabia, a waffle-like confection. He rolls a waffle into a conical shape to contain the ice-cream, thus inventing the world’s first edible cone. But not the last. Business acumen and community spirit rolled up into a delicious proposition: how could you refuse that, America? Nowadays incidentally, the zalabia is so integrated into American society that Martha Stewart has a recipe for it.

Trump tweeted the following earlier this week: “Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who?” One of those sports heroes is, Mr Trump, someone you’ve met before. Here are some clues. He was known as the Louisville Lip. He was three times World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Oh yes, and in 1965 he changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and later gave interviews explaining his perspective on his new faith. Now you remember. He’s the same guy you met in 2007 when he presented you with a Muhammad Ali award. In May, you posted a photo on Facebook posing with the great Muslim sporting hero and claimed then that he was your friend.

President Obama was making a point after the San Bernadino shootings. “Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbours, our coworkers, our sports heroes. And yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defence of our country,” he said, speaking from the Oval Office. “We have to remember that.” Here are some more sports heroes he might have meant. Basketball icons Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the latter perhaps the greatest NBA star after Michael Jordan. Hakeem Olajuwon, 52, Hall of Fame NBA centre. Oh yes, and Mike Tyson, who set the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles aged 20.
Promoting diplomacy

Farah Pandith worked in the George W Bush administration at the National Security Council as a director for Middle East Initiatives and then in the Department of State as adviser on Muslim engagement in Europe. In 2009 she became Hillary Clinton’s envoy to the world’s Islamic communities. She argues that Islamic State is exploiting a crisis of identity for young Muslims. “Muslim millennials are growing up in a post-9/11 world and are asking questions about culture versus religion, being modern and Muslim. The people who are answering their identity crisis questions are not parents or family or community voices that in the past may have helped young people navigate their identity. Instead, they’re going online to Sheikh Google. The loudest voices are those of the extremists that know how to shape the way young people see everything.”

Ahmed Zewail won the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 1999, becoming thereby the first Egyptian-born scientist to do so. He is known as the “father of femtochemistry” and for doing pioneering work in the observation of rapid molecular transformations. Zewail, now 69, has spent most of his life in the US where he is now professor of chemistry and physics at Caltech and director of the physical biology center. He joined President Barack Obama’s presidential council of advisers on science and technology (PCAST), an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers to advise the president and vice president and formulate policy in the areas of science, technology, and innovation in 2011. When he joined PCAST the White House hailed this Muslim Egyptian-American as one who is “widely respected not only for his science but also for his efforts in the Middle East as a voice of reason”. Postage stamps have been issued to honour his contributions to science and humanity.   »»» The Guardian (U.K.)

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Morocco’s Sociologist Fatima Mernissi Dies at 75

One of Morocco’s most celebrated feminist writers and sociologists passed away aged 75, on Monday.

Born in 1940, in Fes, Fatima Mernissi became known for her significant contributions in the literary field through which she focused on reconciling traditional Islam with progressive feminism.

The author of classics such as Beyond the Veil, The Veil and the Male Elite, Islam and Democracy and countless more publications, the campaigner for women’s rights gained international attention for her work on Islam and women.

She studied political science at Sorbonne University in Paris and earned her doctorate in sociology in 1974 at Brandeis University, after which she returned to her native Morocco. At Rabat’s Mohammed V university, she taught methodology, family sociology and psychosociology at the Faculté des Lettres.   »»» tabsir.net

We belong to God, and we return to him.

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Fear of Muslims Is Strong Predictor of Support for Trump

Public opinion surveyed in the weeks before the San Bernardino, Calif., attack show that those voters who believe Muslims are dangerous have especially favourable views of Donald Trump.

What is somewhat more surprising is how Republican voters have efficiently sorted themselves on this issue among the many Republican candidates running for the nomination. Even before Mr. Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim entry into the United States, his supporters were in favor of the move. His call is unlikely to offend his strongest supporters, and in fact may have been an appeal to the pre-existing attitudes of his core constituency.   »»» The New York Times

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Seven Myths about Muslims

1. Not all Muslims are Arabs

In fact, according to the most acknowledged statistics, the number of Muslims around the world amounts to an estimated 1.56 billion people, compared to estimated 2.2 billion Christians and 14 million Jews.

Of this total, Arab countries are home to around 380 million people, that is only about 24 per cent of all Muslims.

2. Not all Arabs are Muslims

While Islam is the religion of the majority of Arab population, not all Arabs are Muslims.

In fact, it is estimated that Christians represent between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of the Arab combined population. Therefore, Arab Muslims amount to just around one-fifth of all the world’s Muslims.

Arab Christians are concentrated mainly in the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon and Egypt, where they represent up to 13 per cent of the total population amounting to 95 million inhabitants according to last year’s census.

It is also estimated that there are more Muslims in the United Kingdom than in Lebanon, and more Muslims in China than in Syria.

3. Major Muslim countries are Arab

According to the U.S-based Pew Research Center, the percentage of major religious groups in 2012 was: Christianity 31.5 per cent; Islam 23.2 per cent; Hinduism 15.0 per cent, and Buddhism 7.1 per cent of the world’s total population.

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center estimated that in 2010 there were 49 Muslim-majority countries.

South and Southeast Asia would account for around 62 per cent of the world’s Muslims.

According to these estimates, the largest Muslim population in a single country lives in Indonesia, which is home to 12.7 per cent of all world’s Muslims.

Pakistan (with 11.0 per cent of all Muslims) is the second largest Muslim-majority nation, followed by India (10.9 per cent), and Bangladesh (9.2 per cent).

The Pew Research Center estimates that about 20 per cent of Muslims live in Arab countries, and that two non-Arab countries – Turkey and Iran – are the largest Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East.

In short, a large number of Muslim majority countries are not Arabs. This is the case of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey.

4. Muslims do not have their own God

“Allah” is the Arabic word for God. It is the word used by Arabic-speaking Christians and is related to the Hebrew words “Elohim” and “Eloha” which are used in the Jewish scripture. in his native language, Aramaic, Jesus called God “Eleha”

In addition, Islam does not at all deny the existence of Christianity or Christ. And it does fully recognise and pay due respect to the Torah and the Gospels.

The main difference is that Islam considers Christ as God’s closest and most beloved “prophet,” not his son.

5. Islamic “traditions”

Islam landed in the 7th century in the Gulf or Arab Peninsula deserts. There, both men and women used to cover their faces and heads to protect themselves from the strong heat and sand storms. It is not, therefore, a purely Islam religious imposition.

Meanwhile, in the Arab deserts, populations used to have nomadic life, with men travelling in caravans, while women and the elderly would handle the daily life of their families.

Female genital modifications are found in a minority of Islamic societies and are also found in some Christian societies and many African tribal societies. In all cases, they are cultural, not religious in origin.

Likewise other major monotheistic religions, a number of Muslim leaders have used faith to increase their influence and power. This is fundamentally why so many “new traditions” have been gradually imposed on Muslims. This is the case, for example, of denying the right of women to education.

As with other major monotheistic religions, some Muslim leaders used their ever growing powers to promote inhuman, brutal actions. This is the case of “ radical jihad” fundamentalists, like Daesh (ISIL), Boko Haram, and al-Qaeda–which have been denounced by orthodox Muslims as heretical groups.

This has not been an exclusive case of Muslims along the history of humankind. Just remember the Spanish-Portuguese invasion of Latin America, where indigenous populations were exterminated and Christianity imposed by the sword, for the sake of the glory of Kings, Emperors… and Popes.

6. The unfinished wars between the West and Islam (and vice-versa)

There is a growing belief among some Arab and Muslim academicians that the ongoing violent conflicts between Muslims and the West (and vice-versa) are due to the “unfinished” war between the Christian West and the Islamic Ottoman Empire, in spite of the fact that the latter was dismantled in the early 1920s.

This theory is used to explain the successive wars in the Balkans and the Middle East, for instance. The latter conflicts, in fact, are the result of the Western colonization and occupation of the Middle East.

7. The “religion” of oil

It has become too common to say that oil producers are predominantly Arabs and Muslims. This is not accurate.

To start with, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in (the under British mandate) Baghdad, Iraq, in 1960 by five countries: Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. These were later joined by Qatar (1961), Indonesia (1962), Libya (1962), the United Arab Emirates (1967), Algeria (1969), Nigeria (1971), Ecuador (1973), Gabon (1975) and Angola (2007).

And here you are: OPEC full membership includes: Ecuador, Venezuela, Nigeria, Gabon and Angola. None of these is either Arab or Muslim. They are all Christian states. As for Iran and Indonesia, these are Muslim countries, but not Arab.

Then you have other major oil and gas producers and exporters outside the OPEC ranks: the United States [which produces more oil (13,973,000 barrels per day) than Saudi Arabia (11,624,000)]; Russia (10,853,000); China (4,572,000); Canada (4,383,000, more than United Arab Emirates or Iran or Iraq); Norway (1,904,000, more than Algeria) and Mexico, among others.

Again, none of these oil producers is Arab or Muslim.   »»» Informed Comment

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Terrorism and the Other Religions | Informed Comment

Contrary to what is alleged by bigots, Muslims are not more violent than people of other religions. Murder rates in most of the Muslim world are very low compared to the United States.

As for political violence, people of Christian heritage in the twentieth century polished off tens of millions of people in the two world wars and colonial repression. This massive carnage did not occur because European Christians are worse than or different from other human beings, but because they were the first to industrialize war and pursue a national model. Sometimes it is argued that they did not act in the name of religion but of nationalism. But, really, how naive. Religion and nationalism are closely intertwined. The British monarch is the head of the Church of England, and that still meant something in the first half of the twentieth century, at least. The Swedish church is a national church. Spain? Was it really unconnected to Catholicism? Did the Church and Francisco Franco’s feelings toward it play no role in the Civil War? And what’s sauce for the goose: much Muslim violence is driven by forms of modern nationalism, too.

I figure that Muslims killed no more than 2 million people or so in political violence in the entire twentieth century, and that mainly in the Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988 and the Soviet and post-Soviet wars in Afghanistan, for which Europeans bear some blame (the secular nationalist Young Turks also committed genocide against the Armenians during an invasion of eastern Anatolia by Russia).

Compare that to the Christian European tally of at least 100 million (16 million in WW I, 60 million in WW II – though some of those were attributable to Buddhists in Asia – and millions more in colonial wars.)

20e century deaths by religion

Belgium– yes, the Belgium of strawberry beer and quaint Gravensteen castle – conquered the Congo and is estimated to have killed off half of its inhabitants over time, some 8 million people at least.

Between 1916-1930 Tsarist Russian and then Soviet forces — facing the revolt of Central Asians trying to throw off Christian (and then Marxist), European rule — killed an estimated 1.5 million people. Two boys brought up in or born in one of those territories (Kyrgyzstan) just killed 4 people and wounded others critically. That is horrible, but no one, whether in Russia or in Europe or in North America has the slightest idea that Central Asians were mass-murdered during WW I and before and after, and looted of much of their wealth. Russia when it brutally conquered and ruled the Caucasus and Central Asia was an Eastern Orthodox, Christian empire (and seems to be reemerging as one!).

Then, between half a million and a million Algerians died in that country’s war of independence from France, 1954-1962, at a time when the population was only 11 million!

I could go on and on. Everywhere you dig in European colonialism in Afro-Asia, there are bodies. Lots of bodies.

As for religious terrorism, that too is universal. Admittedly, some groups deploy terrorism as a tactic more at some times than others. Zionists in British Mandate Palestine were active terrorists in the 1940s, from a British point of view, and in the period 1965-1980, the FBI considered the Jewish Defense League among the most active US terrorist groups. (Members at one point plotted to assassinate Rep. Dareell Issa (R-CA) because of his Lebanese heritage.) Now that Jewish nationalists are largely getting their way, terrorism has declined among them. But it would likely reemerge if they stopped getting their way. In fact, one of the arguments Israeli politicians give for allowing Israeli squatters to keep the Palestinian land in the West Bank that they have usurped is that attempting to move them back out would produce violence. I.e., the settlers not only actually terrorize the Palestinians, but they form a terrorism threat for Israel proper (as assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin discovered).

Even more recently, it is difficult for me to see much of a difference between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Baruch Goldstein, perpetrator of the Hebron massacre.

Or there was the cold-blooded bombing of the Ajmer shrine in India by Bhavesh Patel and a gang of Hindu nationalists. Chillingly, they were disturbed when a second bomb they had set did not go off, so that they did not wreak as much havoc as they would have liked. Ajmer is an ecumenical Sufi shrine also visited by Hindus, and these bigots wanted to stop such open-minded sharing of spiritual spaces because they hate Muslims.

Buddhists have committed a lot of terrorism and other violence as well. Many in the Zen orders in Japan supported militarism in the first half of the twentieth century, for which their leaders later apologized. And, you had Inoue Shiro’s assassination campaign in 1930s Japan. Nowadays militant Buddhist monks in Burma/ Myanmar are urging on an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya Muslims.

As for Christianity, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda initiated hostilities that displaced two million people. Although it is an African cult, it is Christian in origin and the result of Western Christian missionaries preaching in Africa. If Saudi Wahhabi preachers can be in part blamed for the Taliban, why do Christian missionaries skate when we consider the blowback from their pupils?

Despite the very large number of European Muslims, in 2007-2009 less than 1 percent of terrorist acts in that continent were committed by people from that community.

Terrorism is a tactic of extremists within each religion, and within secular religions of Marxism or nationalism. No religion, including Islam, preaches indiscriminate violence against innocents.

It takes a peculiar sort of blindness to see Christians of European heritage as “nice” and Muslims and inherently violent, given the twentieth century death toll I mentioned above. Human beings are human beings and the species is too young and too interconnected to have differentiated much from group to group. People resort to violence out of ambition or grievance, and the more powerful they are, the more violence they seem to commit. The good news is that the number of wars is declining over time, and World War II, the biggest charnel house in history, hasn’t been repeated.   »»» Informed Comment

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Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

1. Terrorism or hirabah is forbidden in Islamic law, which groups it with brigandage, highway robbery and extortion rackets– any illicit use of fear and coercion in public spaces for money or power. The principle of forbidding the spreading of terror in the land is based on the Qur’an (Surah al-Ma’ida 5:33–34). Prominent [pdf] Muslim legal scholar Sherman Jackson writes, “The Spanish Maliki jurist Ibn `Abd al-Barr (d. 464/ 1070)) defines the agent of hiraba as ‘Anyone who disturbs free passage in the streets and renders them unsafe to travel, striving to spread corruption in the land by taking money, killing people or violating what God has made it unlawful to violate is guilty of hirabah . . .”

Whosoever killed a person...It shall be as if he had killed all mankind. --Qur'an 5.33

2. Terrorism is above all murder. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an. 5:53 says, “… whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.” Qur’an 6:151 says, “and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.” (i.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted).

3. If the motive for terrorism is religious, it is impermissible in Islamic law. It is forbidden to attempt to impose Islam on other people. The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right way has become distinct from error.” (-The Cow, 2:256). Note that this verse was revealed in Medina in 622 AD or after and was never abrogated by any other verse of the Quran. Islam’s holy book forbids coercing people into adopting any religion. They have to willingly choose it.

4. Islamic law forbids aggressive warfare. The Quran says, “But if the enemies incline towards peace, do you also incline towards peace. And trust in God! For He is the one who hears and knows all things.” (8:61) The Quran chapter “The Cow,” 2:190, says, “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.”

5. In the Islamic law of war, not just any civil engineer can declare or launch a war. It is the prerogative of the duly constituted leader of the Muslim community that engages in the war. Qur’an 4:59 says “Obey God and the Messenger and those in authority among you.” Nowadays that would be the president or prime minister of the state, as advised by the mufti or national jurisconsult.

6. The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden. According to Sunni tradition, ‘Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first Caliph, gave these instructions to his armies: “I instruct you in ten matters: Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm; do not cut down fruit-bearing trees; do not destroy any town . . . ” (Malik’s Muwatta’, “Kitab al-Jihad.”)

7. Sneak attacks are forbidden. Muslim commanders must give the enemy fair warning that war is imminent. The Prophet Muhammad at one point gave 4 months notice (Q. 9:5).

8. The Prophet Muhammad counseled doing good to those who harm you and is said to have commanded, “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.” (Al-Tirmidhi). It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: It was said: O Messenger of God, pray against the idolaters! He said: “I was not sent to pronounce curses, rather I was sent as a mercy.” (Narrated by Muslim [2599])

9. The Qur’an demands of believers that they exercise justice toward people even where they have reason to be angry with them: “And do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.”[5:8]

10. The Qur’an assures Christians and Jews of paradise if they believe and do good works, and commends Christians as the best friends of Muslims. I wrote elsewhere, “Dangerous falsehoods are being promulgated to the American public. The Quran does not preach violence against Christians.

Quran 5:69: “Surely they who believe, and the Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabeaans, whosover believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness–-their reward waits them with their Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither shall they despair.”

In other words, the Quran promises Christians and Jews along with Muslims that if they have faith and works, they need have no fear in the afterlife. It is not saying that non-Muslims go to hell– quite the opposite.

When speaking of the 7th-century situation in the Muslim city-state of Medina, which was at war with pagan Mecca, the Quran notes that the polytheists and some Arabian Jewish tribes were opposed to Islam, but then goes on to say:

Qur’an 5:82. ” . . . and you will find the nearest in love to the believers [Muslims] those who say: ‘We are Christians.’ That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.”

So the Quran not only does not urge Muslims to commit violence against Christians, it calls them “nearest in love” to the Muslims! The reason given is their piety, their ability to produce holy persons dedicated to God, and their lack of overweening pride.   »»» Informed Comment

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Paris attackers cannot speak for Muslims Indian group

An Indian Muslim women’s group on Saturday denounced terrorists for killing innocents in Paris in the name of Islam, saying “they are criminals and should be treated as criminals“.

“We decry the terrorists who at the Bataclan concert venue were heard crying out ‘Allahu Akbar’ as they went about killing people,” the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan said in a statement.

“We condemn them outright for carrying out such inhuman and criminal acts in the name of Allah.

“We want to state clearly and emphatically that these terrorists have no business to speak in the name of Allah or on behalf of fellow Muslims.

“They are criminals and should be treated as criminals in any society,” said the statement signed by co-founders Noorjehan Safia Niaz and Zakia Soman.

The terrorists, the statement said, “have only brought about misery, suffering and shame to fellow Muslims and to humankind.

“We urge all Indian Muslims as well as Muslims the world over to stand up in solidarity with the French victims and against those resorting to such dastardly acts in the name of our religion.”

Eight terrorists — all of whom were later killed — unleashed mayhem in Paris on Friday night, killing over 150 people and injuring over 200, some 80 of them critically, in multiple terror attacks.   »»» IANS

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