UnChristian & Unpatriotic

November 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Dr. A S Nakadar, TMO CEO and Publisher

PglobeOn 11-11-11, the Ford Field in Detroit witnessed a highly publicized bigoted event.  The venue, Ford Field is where the Detroit Lions play and the area is near Dearborn that has a large Muslim population.

The organizer of this event was “TheCall” organization; a relatively unknown organization that has been in existence for about a decade. It claims to tackle issues such as economy, racial strife, same sex relationship, abortion and other such issues. But to many it appeared that the objective of this event was to gain cheap publicity by bashing Muslims and Islam. The organizers had said in their statements that they wanted to raise concerns against the growing Islamic popularity and Islamic renaissance in USA.

They heavily promoted their Detroit event on their website. According to “The Christian Post” they called it, “The Rising Tide of the Islamic Movement.” But after receiving complaints, perhaps, about the factuality and the phrase giving legitimacy to the prevailing situation, TheCall dropped the phrase from its web site.

The Pentecostal Minister, Engle, had announced that the program would start on Friday night (11-11-11) and would end the next day, Saturday morning. Their announcement also touted that they expected a crowd of more than 50,000. But most reports suggest the program was a flop in attendance. The stadium mostly remained empty and according to some reports the attendance was about less than tenth of their predicted number.

The reason given for the night vigil and night prayer, according to “The Christian Post”, quoting their minister Engler, “You got to pray all night long because it’s when the Muslims sleep.”

Looking at the thin attendance, he found out that Christians and others sleep during those hours too. 

Earlier this week and prior to the event, a group of Christian pastors gathered in Grand Circus Park, near the Ford Field venue, to denounce Lou Engle’s “The Call Detroit” rally at Ford Field as “un-Christian, “un-American,” and “idolatrous.”

This group counts Islam among the ills facing the nation. Some Muslims answered this by saying, “their heads needs to be examined” while others said, “I bet you they will say “Occupy Wall Street” movement is Muslim inspired;” others from the group said “I wish to bring to their attention the Muslim contribution to this great nation.” He went on to say: “More than 50% of the Muslims income bracket was over $50,000 as compared to nationwide average income of $47,000 and nearly 60% Muslims are college graduates as compared to 27% as a whole.”

The statement emphasized the great contributions Muslims have made in practically all fields, be it social, military, political, economic, medical, engineering, business, technology and you name it.

Most in the group agreed that we were here to strengthen the country. We want to see communities unified, and not divided. The action of “TheCall” group is divisive and needs to be condemned in strongest terms.

A true American would surely know that pluralism is the Achilles Heel of our society’s foundation.

Today our biggest concern and the concern of all of us should be the challenges that our pluralistic society and our country face.

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Erdoğan Offers ‘Arab Spring’ Neo-Laicism

September 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Daily News

TUNIS

2011-09-16T144830Z_1057611084_GM1E79G1N2G01_RTRMADP_3_LIBYA

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdel Jalil wave to people during a rally at Martyrs’ Square in Tripoli September 16, 2011. 

REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

Following criticism in Egypt, the Turkish PM repeats his support for secular governments where he says all religious groups are treated equally

Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan (L) draws intense interest during his visit to a covered bazaar in the Tunisian capital, Tunis. AA photo Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday repeated his controversial call for uprising-hit Arab countries to adopt “secular states,” following Turkey’s model.

“Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state of law. As for secularism, a secular state has an equal distance to all religious groups, including Muslim, Christian, Jewish and atheist people,”
Erdoğan said during a visit to Tunis, the place where the wave of pro-democracy revolts sweeping the Middle East and North Africa began late last year.

“Tunisia will prove to the whole world that Islam and democracy can co-exist. Turkey with its predominantly Muslim population has achieved it,” Erdoğan said. His administration is seen by many as a model for post-revolution Arab countries, though Islamic groups in Egypt were split over his pro-secularism remarks there.

“On the subject of secularism, this is not secularism in the Anglo-Saxon or Western sense; a person is not secular, the state is secular,” Erdoğan said, describing Turkey as democratic and secular. “A Muslim can govern a secular state in a successful way. In Turkey, 99 percent of the population is Muslim, and it did not pose any problem.

You can do the same here.”

Erdoğan traveled to Tunisia following a rapturous welcome in Cairo and issued the kind of trademark warning to Israel that has earned him hero status on his “Arab Spring tour.”

“Israel will no longer be able to do what it wants in the Mediterranean and you’ll be seeing Turkish warships in this sea,” the Turkish prime minister said after meeting with his Tunisian counterpart, Beji Caid Essebsi, on the third day of his visit to North Africa.

Erdoğan reiterated his insistence on an Israeli apology for last year’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists dead.

“Relations with Israel cannot normalize if Israel does not apologize for the flotilla raid, compensate the martyrs’ families and lift the blockade on Gaza,” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey would assure protection for Turkish vessels bound for Gaza or elsewhere in international waters. “Israel cannot do whatever it wants in the eastern Mediterranean. It will see our determination. Our frigates, our assault boats will be there.”

Erdoğan’s visit marks “the willingness to strengthen brotherly relations and cooperation between Tunisia and Turkey,” the Tunisian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was one of the first top foreign officials to visit Tunisia in February and is also among the Turkish ministers accompanying Erdoğan on his visit. Davutoğlu signed a friendship and cooperation agreement with his Tunisian counterpart, Mouldi Kefi, in Tunisia on Thursday.

Accompanied by a delegation of ministers and businessmen, Erdoğan arrived late Wednesday at the Tunis international airport, where he was welcomed by Prime Minister Essebsi.

Around 4,000 people waving Turkish and Palestinian flags had also gathered at the airport under heavy security to show their support for the man who has become one of the region’s most popular leaders.

Erdoğan is due in Libya on Friday for the final leg of his tour. The transitional administration there has also said that Islam would be the main source of legislation in the new Libya.

* Compiled from AFP, AP, Reuters and AA stories by the Daily News staff.a

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Telling Muslim Women What Not to Wear

April 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Kari Ansari

France has now officially outlawed the Islamic niqab or burqa in public. French President Sarkozy said in 2009, “The issue of the burqa is not a religious issue, it is a question of freedom and of women’s dignity … The burqa is not a religious sign; it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women. I want to say solemnly that it will not be welcome on our territory.”

This statement by Sarkozy isn’t going to save any Muslim woman’s self-respect or free her from her oppressor by forcing her indoors and out of public life. If a woman is being forced to wear the burqa or niqab by a dictatorial husband or father, the French have just made it more difficult for her to break free from her oppressor. However, most Muslim women choose to wear the niqab of their own free will, and with this ban France has just pushed another segment of their Muslim population further from the mainstream. France outlawed the hijab, or the simple headscarf in public schools and institutions in 2004, and it has forced girls who want an education to either compromise their religious values, or compromise their academic and professional future. Where’s the liberté in that?

A small minority of Muslim women in certain parts of the world wear what is known as the abaya (black cloak) and the niqab (face veil). It is known as a burqa in South and Central Asia and seen most often as the blue full-body veil worn by Afghan women. This form of covering is the manifestation of the strictest interpretation of modesty in Islam. Women who choose this practice consider themselves seriously observant Muslims and believe this form of dress allows them to move about the outside world while protecting their dignity.

People get nervous around these women. I have often heard the refrain, “You need to see a person’s face to judge their character.” I disagree based on my own experience with Muslim women who wear the niqab. I have always known them as highly disciplined, and solid in their faith convictions despite society’s derision. They believe in keeping their physical attributes out of the public conversation by covering. While I don’t subscribe to this strict interpretation of Islamic modesty, I respect the woman who does.

Case in point: I had been corresponding with a young woman in regard to a part-time position on the behalf of one of my clients. The job would include conducting various marketing events within her local Muslim community. Because she lives in another city, I had no chance to meet her until this weekend when I traveled there. Because I am familiar with this city’s Muslim community, I was not surprised to meet her wearing a black abaya and black headscarf. She and I had coffee in a café, and as the interview progressed she proved to be everything her emails and our previous phone conversations led me to believe about her without the benefit of a face-to-face meeting. She is an extremely enthusiastic and professional young woman filled with exciting ideas for marketing my client’s product. Toward the end of the conversation she mentioned that she usually wore the niqab face veil but she decided that she would not don it for our meeting in case I would be uncomfortable. I told her I wouldn’t have been bothered by it in the least. I felt sorry she had come out without her veil on my account — but to be fair, she didn’t know me. While she knew that I’m also a Muslim, she couldn’t be sure I wouldn’t discriminate against her on behalf of my client. After I assured her that her faith practices are her own business, and that my client has great respect for Muslims, she visibly relaxed and we continued our conversation.

Her character, personality and professionalism were evident long before I saw her clothing, or her face. In her American city she happily moves about her neighborhood dressed the way the French have now outlawed. She told me the Muslims are an integral part of her city’s greater community, and she is very comfortable wherever she goes in her graceful, black garments. I will recommend that my client hire this young woman; I’m completely confident that she is going to far exceed the expectations we had for this position.

As I’ve written before, if you strip a woman of what she feels is her dignity, you’ll have a lot of indignant women. We all know American women can become pretty indignant if someone tells us what not to wear.

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Iran Summons German Envoy for ‘Veil Martyr’

July 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Flag-Pins-Iran-Germany

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the German Ambassador to Tehran over the brutal murder of a Muslim Egyptian woman in a Dresden court.

Herbert Honsowitz was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry to hear the strong objection of the Islamic Republic to the brutal murder of Marwa el-Sherbini.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi on Thursday condemned el-Sherbini’s murder as a despicable act in violation of “all human rights and values.”

El-Sherbini, dubbed the “veil martyr,” was involved in a court case against her neighbor, Axel W., who was found guilty last November of insulting and abusing the woman, calling her a “terrorist.”

She was set to testify against Axel W. when he stabbed her 18 times inside the Dresden court in front of her 3-year-old son.

El-Sherbini’s husband, Elvi Ali Okaz, came to her aid but was also stabbed by the neighbor and shot in the leg by a security guard who initially mistook him for the attacker, German prosecutors said. He is now in critical condition in a German hospital.

Pointing to the German government’s delayed response to the incident, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that it was Berlin’s responsibility to ensure the rights and security of minorities, especially Muslims, living in Germany.

The Muslim population of Dresden condemned el-Sherbini’s killing, expressing concern about the consequences of such terrorist attacks against Muslims.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry also blamed Western countries for their “double-standard” and “news boycott” regarding the case.

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CHINA: Uighur Uprising

July 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Riot in Urumqi: At least three people were killed and more than 20 injured after an ethnic minority clashed with police in China’s far north-western province of Xinjiang. The disturbances come after a year of rising tensions between the dominant Han Chinese authorities and the Uighur ethnic minority. The clashes in Urumqi on Sunday night between police and a 3,000-strong crowd from the Uighur Muslim ethnic minority left burned-out cars and buses and several smashed shop-fronts. — Peter Foster in Beijing

Travellers in today’s China are often surprised to discover that the country has a sizeable Muslim population. According to the Chinese government, there are more than 20 million Muslims who live in all parts of the country. Others say the number may even be higher. Many Chinese towns have mosques. The call to prayer can be heard on Fridays from Beijing to Yunnan in the south, and especially in the oases of arid Xinjiang in the far northwest. But there are subtle differences among the communities that follow Islam in China — cultural, linguistic and nationalist nuances that formed over centuries of an often-troubled history. Muslims have lived in the Middle Kingdom from just after the death of the Prophet Muhammad in 632 AD. – Backgrounder, CBC News

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Muslims of Tibet

May 29, 2008 by · 1 Comment 

Courtesy Hasni Essa, Peace and Pluralism

Masood Butt is a Tibetan, living in India. But, unlike most other Tibetans in exile, who are Buddhists, Butt is a Muslim. However, apart from his faith, there is little else to distinguish Butt from other Tibetans. He follows Tibetan customs, speaks the language fluently and regards the Dalai Lama as his leader. Yet, Butt’s community – the Tibetan Muslims – are little known in India, even though they have shared with their Buddhist brethren, the plight of leaving their homeland. And they have been living in India for the last 50 years. “Like other Tibetans, our community, too has faced tough times and undergone great mental and physical strain,” says Butt, who now works with the Dalai Lama’s office in Dharamsala.

The story of the Tibetan Muslims is that of a unique community, that has blended different cultural strains to forge a distinct identity, that has been kept alive even in the face of adversity. What is interesting to know is that Islam arrived almost a 1000 years ago in Tibet – a region that has always been synonymous with a monolithic Buddhist culture. How the first Muslim settlers reached Tibet is an interesting tale. Sometime in the 12th century, it is believed, a group of Muslim traders from Kashmir and Ladakh came to Tibet as merchants. Many of these traders settled in Tibet and married Tibetan women, who later converted to the religion of their husbands. Author Thomas Arnold, in his book, The Preaching of Islam says that gradually, marriages and social interactions led to an increase in the Tibetan Muslim population until a sizable community came up around Lhasa, Tibet’s capital.

“The Tibetan government allowed the Muslims freedom to handle their own affairs, without any interference. This enabled the community to retain their identity, while at the same time absorbing traditional Tibetan social and cultural traditions,” says Butt. The Tibetan Muslims followed the occupation of their ancestors and were mainly traders, who owned successful businesses. The community also contributed to Tibetan society and culture in many ways. For instance, the first cinema hall in Tibet was started by a Tibetan Muslim businessman. Also, Nangma – a popular classical music form of Tibet, is believed to have been brought to Tibet by the Muslims. In fact, the word ‘Nangma’ is said to be derived from the Urdu word, ‘Naghma’, which means song. “These high-pitched lilting songs, developed in Tibet around the turn of the century, were a craze in Lhasa, with musical hits by Acha Izzat, Bhai Akbar-la and Oulam Mehdi on the lips of almost everyone,” says Butt.

Many Tibetan scholars have commented on how religions as diverse as Islam and Buddhism could co-exist in peace in a traditional society such as that of Tibet. The credit for this, some feel, goes to religious leaders like the Dalai Lama, who took the lead in fostering this spirit of brotherhood. For instance, a history of the Tibetan Muslim community published some years ago relates how during the 17th century, the fifth Dalai Lama readily agreed to give the Muslims land within Lhasa for building a mosque.

The story goes that when a delegation of Muslims approached the fifth Dalai Lama for space for a mosque and a burial ground for their community, the Dalai Lama shot an arrow, with the promise that the place where the arrow fell would belong to the Muslim community. The place later came to be known as Gyangda Linka or the park of the distant arrow. Tibetan Muslims also enjoyed other special privileges in Tibet. For instance, they were exempted from the ‘no meat rule’ when such a restriction was imposed in the rest of Tibet, during the holy Buddhist months. Besides, their commercial enterprises were exempted from taxation.

All these special privileges, however were withdrawn, soon after the Chinese occupied Tibet in 1959. Most of the Tibetan Muslims, consequently, opted to leave rather than live under the Chinese occupation. Those who were able to cross over to India, settled in the border towns of Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Gangtok. Later, the community gradually started moving to Kashmir – the land from where their ancestors had gone to Tibet in the 12th century. In fact, the move to Kashmir was significant, says Butt. Even in Tibet, the Muslims were identified as Kashmiris, since Kashmir was known to Tibetans as Khache Yul and Tibetan Muslims were referred to as Khache. Thus, their status was that of a foreigner, even when they were in Tibet.

On the basis of their Kashmiri ancestry, the Tibetan Muslim families who came back to Kashmir after 1959, were given Indian citizenship. Many of these families are still living in Srinagar, while a few have migrated to Nepal and the Gulf countries. Today, there are around 250 families of Tibetan Muslims in Srinagar, mostly in the Hawal and Idgah areas. A number of these families are engaged in fine embroidery work of Kashmiri carpets, while others have set up their own businesses, says Nasir Qazi of the Tibetan Muslim Youth Federation – a body that works for the welfare of the community. The community remains a close-knit one and, for many of them, Tibet remains an emotive issue. Recently for instance, the Tibetan Muslim Youth Federation took out a peace march in Srinagar to show solidarity with the Dalai Lama’s views on granting of autonomous status to Tibet.

And, in case a solution is found, would they like to go back to Tibet? “Maybe not for settling down, since most of us have been born and brought up in India,” says Qazi. “But once, I would definitely like to go there – to visit the Potala palace, the landscape that we have heard so much about and to see for myself the land where our forefathers lived.”

 

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