Extremism

Remember how the Bush administration falsely claimed Saddam was working with Al Qaeda to justify an invasion of Iraq? Well, the Trump administration is doing the same again – this time with Iran and Al Qaeda (!) to try and justify a new war. Pls do read and share my latest op-ed for the New York Times:

Opinion | Is Trump Going to Lie Our Way Into War With Iran?

The current administration is borrowing tactics from the days before the invasion of Iraq. Let’s hope they don’t work this time.

Trump bombing ISIS ‘ten times harder’ will only make the ISIS terror threat to Americans much worse – my latest column for The Intercept on the fallout from the New York truck attack:

Donald Trump’s Vow to Hit ISIS “Ten Times Harder” Guarantees More Terrorism Against Americans

The truck attack in Manhattan underscores the cycle of violence fueled by U.S. bombing campaigns in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

STATEMENT BY Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe MUZ (Council of Islamic Scholars) on the Mufti Menk issue

We have been following with regret and dismay the news on social media regarding the ban imposed on our Senior Mufti, Dr Ismail Menk, by the authorities in Singapore, who allegedly claimed his preaching to be divisive and unfit for multi-cultural, multi-religious Singapore.

The allegations are based on an inaccurate perception of one of his lectures where they concluded that our Mufti prohibits greeting people of other faiths on their religious festivals such as saying Merry Christmas or Happy Diwali. This, according to them, is deemed divisive.

We would like to place on record that our Mufti has never prohibited greeting others during their festivals. However, he has maintained that the wording should be inclusive to ensure that it is agreeable to all. In his opinion, greetings such as Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Have a Good Day are fine.

To claim that his preaching is divisive because of this is unfortunate, unfair and seems to be done without understanding the middle ground he has always taught in this regard.

We are aware of a very short edited clip that was used to prove the allegation against our Mufti. The entire sermon was not heard. This, we believe is the reason why such a misguided decision was made.

Mufti Menk has been an asset to multi-cultural, multi-religious Zimbabwe where we have never seen any religious tension. Similarly, he has proven his value on the world stage and in similar settings.

Mufti Menk has played a pivotal role in the global war on extremism by maintaining a very balanced approach and educating the Muslims regarding their duty to respect people of other faiths and inclinations.

Among the Muslims too, Mufti Menk has been a breath of fresh air, strongly promoting the respect of other Muslim sects.

Guided by our Mufti, we serve on several interfaith boards working with members of most religious denominations and we enjoy the best relations.

Our Mufti has very good relations with leaders and people of other faiths.

Mufti Menk is himself a graduate of a Christian College in Harare and holds a doctorate of Social Guidance from a Christian University.

We place on record that he has never said it is “blasphemous” to greet others during their festivals. He teaches that everyone has the same right to celebrate their festivals, without any fear or restriction.

We urge those concerned to listen to some of his sermons in full and not an edited clip of a few minutes. These talks are available online. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or instagram to see the moderate path he has chosen.

We stand with our Mufti and are very proud of his achievements and guidance over the last two decades.

Yours sincerely

Shaikh Umar Phiri
President of MUZ

I was asked to weigh in on what needs reform in Islam as a reflection on the Protestant reformation. My answer was condensed and included in the piece below. Would love your thoughts!

Imam Omar Suleiman, founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, and Islamic Studies professor at Southern Methodist University:

“The Protestant Reformation revolved around Christians challenging papal authority and demanding their own direct access to religious texts. For that reason the event, and the word “reformation,” are seen through modern eyes as success — liberation from an oppressive religious institution. This is not how “reformation” is seen in the Muslim world.

Historically, rather than keeping power and knowledge to themselves, Islamic scholars shared both with the masses — facilitating education and the promotion of independent thinking, known in Islam as ijtihad. And while Islamic scholars have generally been strict regarding essential principles of the faith (such as belief in God, Mohammad as his messenger), peripheral issues (such as how economic transactions work) have always been considered matters of debate and discussion.

It’s only in the past century that this has changed dramatically, as the Muslim institutions that oversaw such decisions were violently dismantled by colonial powers prior to the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. That led, eventually, to groups like ISIS.

Today, for Muslims in America (and elsewhere), the term “reform” conjures not enlightenment but chaos and destruction by groups like ISIS who claim they are “reforming” Islam through their horrific actions.

In Islam, the reform we want is more of a revival of our faith’s traditional fundamental principles — equity, harmony, compassion — in the face of a modern aberration. Then the Muslim community can serve humanity according to the Prophetic example.”

Perspective | The Protestant Reformation was 500 years ago. What needs reform in American religion today?

To mark the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, The Washington Post asked faith leaders and readers: “What do you think needs reforming in the practice of religion in the United States today?”

We cannot turn our backs on our political prisoners. It’s happened too many times in our community where leaders and organizations were unjustly dealt with, only to find a community of silence rather than support. We can say their names and support their families. We can demand fair trials. We can stand for justice. And we can do all of this while unambiguously rejecting terrorism and whatever it is they may be accused of.

But if we turn our backs on others, we may find ourselves in the same situation one day.

“So who needs Islamic State when you have the NRA? That might sound hyperbolic but consider the numbers. By the morning after the Las Vegas shooting, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there had been 11,656 gun-related deaths in the United States in 2017. Among the dead were 545 children. And what’s the death toll from Isis-related terror attacks on US soil this year? Zero.” – my new column on mass shootings and the NRA for the New Statesman:

After Las Vegas, who needs to fear Isis when you have the NRA?

Like cars and French fries, guns are everywhere in the United States.

Terrorism

Baton Rouge Arrest White Male For Killing 2 Black Men and Attempted Murder On A Black Family

And there it is.

After letting him go twice, Baton Rouge Police just arrested this man for targeting and killing Black folk across the city and for the attempted murder of someone else.

http://therougecollection.net/therouge/baton-rouge-arrest-white-male-for-killing-2-black-men-and-attempted-murder-on-a-black-family/

The terror perpetrated against the Muslim #Rohingya of #Myanmar has reached levels of criminality that put the Muslim community and the nations of the world to shame. Their failure is the only explanation for this campaign of genocide to continue unabated.

The deafening silence surrounding this issue is but a manifestation of the hypocrisy of the both the civilised world and the Islamists and their political and human-rights proclamations.

Is the world waiting for the oppressed of Myanmar to be pushed to the brink and become terrorists, just as we witnessed in other countries from Palestine, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iraq, Syria to Yemen? Are they waiting for this to happen so the “Islamic” terrorism file can remain an exploitable factor in political scheming?

I make an appeal to everyone, and whatever is left of our humanity, to do what they can to help the Rohingya by donating to the UN Higher Commision on Refugees (UNHCR), educating people around you about the realities of the situation in Myanmar, and lastly, praying for them “And they have no one to relieve them except Allah.”

So despicable and heart breaking. It’s not ISIS. It’s thousands of innocent human beings, including children, being beheaded and burnt alive for being Muslim.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting calls of action regarding the Rohingya genocide. Spread awareness about their plight.

Myanmar army ‘beheading children and burning people alive’ according to eyewitnesses

Fears of mass atrocities against Rohingya civilians in Myanmar were growing after eyewitness accounts emerged of children being beheaded and people burned alive.

Still, today, we have hearts that are unable to let go of sectarianism and cannot but drift behind the very people who ignite it.

Sectarianism is a tribulation that is triggered by blind-sighted extremists from all sects.

Politicians from across the political spectrum play this ugly game and yet they have no loyalty nor any sincere affiliation to any one sect. They employ sectarian rhetoric to fulfill their own political ends.

God, guide my people, for they do not know.

Note: thank you to whoever drew this very poignant picture

Amazing like and share : )

Stephen McGown opens up about six years as al-Qaeda hostage and how he converted to Islam

A Briton held captive by al-Qaeda for six years has described how his conversion to Islam saved his life and insisted that he would retain his Muslim faith.

Stephen McGown, 42, who also holds South African citizenship, was kidnapped at gunpoint by extremists in Mali in 2011, with two tourists, from Sweden and the Netherlands.

McGown said although he had been well treated, he was distraught to have not be freed before his mother died.

ISIS fighters know nothing about Islam. Study after study shows religion to not be the main recruiting tool for this group and others like it.

Isis: UN study finds foreign fighters in Syria ‘lack basic understanding of Islam’

NewsUKHome News Isis: UN study finds foreign fighters in Syria ‘lack basic understanding of Islam’ Research shows economic factors and ‘lack of meaning’ in life makes warzone attractive Lizzie Dearden Home Affairs Correspondent Friday 4 August 2017 More than 850 people have left the UK to join Isis…

Looking forward to teaching this course at SMU for the first time this Fall. The Next SMU Course in Islamic Studies – Now Available:
The Islamic Seminary of America is pleased to announce our continuing collaboration with SMU, and the next course in Islamic Studies to be offered at the SMU Main Dallas Campus in the Fall of 2017:

Islam and the American Civil Rights Movement
Instructor: @[219543788065670:274:Omar Suleiman]
SMU Main Dallas Campus
3 Master’s Credit Hours

Examines Islam and important Muslim figures that helped shape the Civil Rights Movement to include orthodox Islam, the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X, H. Rap Brown and other Muslims that played an important role in crafting both the theory and practice of black activism. Students will also explore the current role of Islam and Muslims in the discussion of black empowerment. This course may be applied to the following curricular field concentrations: human rights and social justice; humanities; American studies.

Click Here to Download Syllabus: https://www.islamicseminary.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/SOSC-7383-Islam-and-the-American-Civil-Rights-Movement_Fall-2017_Omar-Suleiman-1.docx

Apply directly via SMU Admissions: http://www.smu.edu/Simmons/AreasOfStudy/GLS/MLS/Admission

Preferred Deadlines for Admission

The preferred deadlines for applications are May 1st for Summer admission, December 15th for Spring admission and July 1st for Fall admission. If you have missed one of our deadlines but are still interested in applying, call our office at: 214-768-4273 for information about a possible extension.

Examples of Additional Courses Offered in Upcoming Semesters:

The Islamic Civilization
Islamic Textual Criticism
Major Themes in Islamic Law
Human Rights in Islam
Terrorism, Torture, and International Law
The Impact of the Arab Spring on Israel and the Middle East
Islam, State and Society

PROGRAM OPTIONS
Certificate of Advanced Study (18 Credit Hours) – For those who already have a master’s degree but are interested in pursuing a specific concentration in a specific curricular field only.

Master of Liberal Studies (36 Credit Hours) – For those who pursue the full degree program.

Non-Degree Option (3-6 Credit Hours) – For students wanting to try the program may take 1-2 courses. Credits can be applied to the Certificate or Master’s programs.

185 people interested

Please do find out more about the case of these forgotten soldiers that fought for a cause that was none of their making!





Did you know that millions (yes, millions) of #Muslim soldiers and labourers from around the #world volunteered in #WW1?

..that #Jews, #Christians, #Muslims, #Sikhs, #Hindus, among others, of different sects, casts, nations and tribes, came together at a time of great upheaval, and specifically asked to be buried next to each other?

Regardless of one’s views about the #politics of #war, we should honour their unknown #sacrifice too.

But more relevant to today, with growing #xenophobia against #minorities and #refugees, and ‘#religious’ and far-right #extremism dividing #communities, it’s time to recognise the #diversity, and shared #heritage, in the #history of #Europe, to challenge those who seek to divide us.

www.MuslimsInWW1.com

Please like, follow, share and support.

Watch this space for regular updates with new information about the #FirstWorldWar, alongside a number of #educational initiatives.

If you’re involved in a school, community organisation or place of worship, and would like to know more, please get in touch.

#Educating the next generation to improve #social #cohesion is priceless.

This project is funded by public donations.

Media and all other enquiries to: info@muslimsinww1.com

Over the last few years the problem of Muslim fuelled terrorist ideologies has brought terror and strife to our communities and countries. The community of Islamic religious scholars and leaders stood up to this terror. Hundreds have survived assassination attempts, been placed on target lists, and paid the highest price to confront, challenge and reject the claims of these ideologies.

Just as we confronted the extremists within our midst, we ask the governments and religious leaders of the world to face up to another form of terrorist ideology. The problem of Zionist ideology is real and can no longer be ignored. We risk doing so at our own peril.

#StopZionistTerror


I’ll be discussing Islam, ISIS, blasphemy laws and Pakistani politics with Shaykh Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri on this week’s UpFront. Check out the preview clip.

Does the ISIL ideology have anything to do with Islam?

“They are enemies of humankind. They are enemies of Islam,” prominent Islamic scholar Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri tells Mehdi Hasan.

Full episode Friday, July 21 at 1930GMT.

We cannot ignore the atrocities of the Iraqi army and death militias. ISIS is not the only terrorist group in Iraq. A country with no infrastructure, bombed to the stone ages by imperial powers, is always ripe for this carnage.

Stream of floating bodies near Mosul raises fears of reprisals by Iraqi militias

Unidentified corpses are being fished out of the Tigris river, with human rights observers suggesting government forces are behind the deaths


Watch a short clip of me speaking in Sydney, Australia last week, at the Crescent Institute,on the subject of extremism and the importance of unity, of Muslims and non-Muslims sticking together in these dark times.

“If we want to defeat extremism of all types then we have to stick together. We have to stand together, be united and focus on what unites us, not sets us apart.”

For a chance to join Monday night’s live Q&A audience with Mehdi Hasan simply share this video with the hashtag #MehdiAtCI and like us on Facebook!

Hey Sydney folks, last chance to buy tickets for tonight’s speech and Q&A with me on ‘defeating extremism’:

Mehdi Hasan | Sydney

Defeating Extremism. Whether it’s religious extremism or extremism of the far right – what can we in the West do to halt the seemingly unstoppable wave of populism and violence sweeping the globe? Making the case for moderation and solidarity in an age of intolerance and disorder, and debunking plen…


Our sister Linda Sarsour is once again under attack by the Far Right. Apparently, her ‘crime’ is that she used the word ‘jihad’ at the ISNA convention.

Well, if its any help, may I suggest the Far Right take a look at my lecture at ISNA last year, where I publicly called for a ‘struggle’ as well, and used the Arabic term, and even asked for a loud takbīr at the end of it all!

I even asked the Far Right to go ahead and distort my speech, as they typically do, and told Fox News to take that 5-seconds out of context.

Sadly, looks like they took my requests, but applied it to our Sr. Linda’s speech instead!!

Distortion and hatred is what is to be expected from such bigots. In the end, Allah will protect the sincere and righteous – may Allah make us amongst them!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHKUSHA-_5U&t=53m

In this video Shaykh Dr Yasir Qadhi speaks about the rise and potential fall of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the war on terrorism, and the plight of…


So who’s coming to my Crescent Institute public events/speeches on ‘defeating extremism’ in Sydney and Melbourne next week? Tickets still available to purchase at the link below…

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) | Tuesday 11th July
Western Sydney University | Thursday 13th July

Due to unprecedented ticket demand, we have managed to secure larger rooms! A final (but limited) release of General Admission tickets is now available in both states.

Melbourne tickets: http://bit.ly/2qwwnaK
Sydney tickets: http://bit.ly/2r1JEfb

We are proud to have the support of GetUp! and Western Sydney University

Many of you are aware that I had a dialogue with James White, a Reformed Baptist minister who has achieved a solid reputation amongst many conservative Christians. (You can find the videos of the debates in the first comment).

What most of you are probably not aware is the severe online character assassination and smear campaigns that Mr White has had to endure from some of his fellow Christians, albeit of the Far Right sector of this country.

Why would any believing Christian be irritated at Minister White, who was allowed into our mosque, and who was very frank about his beliefs regarding Jesus, the Redemption, the Trinity and even the fact that he believes all of us are going to Hell!? (Listen to the entire two-part lecture to get the whole picture, and my response).

Well, apparently, these Far Right individuals truly believe that Muslims are so dangerous, so evil, so deadly, that the mere fact that Mr. White can sit with us, and essentially humanize us as people who believe in our faith, entails that Mr. White is in fact helping and abetting the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis, Al-Qaeda and other groups (albeit indirectly – he is, according to the analysis of such discerning self-professed intellectuals as Robert Spencer, a ‘useful idiot’).

A few points to make:

1 – For the record, I did not personally receive any negative comments from any Muslim for inviting Mr. White into our masjid (although I’m sure some Muslims online and in other parts of the world might object). From our side, we all understood the need to have a frank dialogue, and that I speak at a Church where most people had never met a Muslim, and Mr. White speak at our mosque in return.

2 – I cannot deny that one of the reasons any Muslim would talk about Islam in front of a non-Muslim audience is to demonstrate the beauty of Islam, and hope that some amongst them find in it the true message that Jesus himself preached. And I know full well that Mr. White’s intentions, which he has expressed explicitly, was to hope that some Muslims convert as they listen to him explain Christianity.

3- However, one of my overriding reasons to wish to speak at a conservative Church was quite simply to dispel the utterly nonsensical notion that the majority of Muslims somehow wish to overthrow the government and install Sharia law in America. The truly terrifying reality for all of us Muslims is the evil nature of the hatred that people like Spencer and people of his ilk perpetrate. That hatred, compounded with the fear-mongering of politicians and the false patriotism of a disgruntled group, whips up the popular support needed to pass such dastardly measures as the recent ban on Muslim immigrants from seven countries. If things persist and the situation deteriorates, that hatred will eventually be used to inflict violence and persecute our women and children and us, as the Japanese were here in America, and as other races and religions were at times of persecution in other lands.
I would be happy if any Christian who listened to my lecture converted. But if they choose not to convert, that’s their business to decide, and Allah’s to judge. It is not my duty to do anything more than speak.
Islamophobic bigots like Spencer have fabricated this myth of us Muslims (less than 1 % of this land!) having desires to subjugate the rest of the 99 % to our laws and religion. Sadly, many innocent Christians believe these lies, and Spencer continues to profit from that fear (See: http://www.thedailybeast.com/muslim-bashing-can-be-very-lucrative).

4- So, essentially, what terrifies Spencer and the Far Right bigots who falsely invoke the noble Prophet Jesus’ name as they spey hatred is to actually see two very committed people, a Baptist Minister and a Shaykh, agree to disagree, even as they harshly dismiss each other’s faiths and theologies, and argue exclusive salvation for their own faiths. That simple civility – the act of agreeing to disagree – is something that these individuals, wallowing in hate and lies and wanting the rest of us to do the same, simply cannot tolerate.

Hence, the vicious attack on Mr. White.

James, if you’re reading this, know that I strongly disagree with your views on Islam, and that it pains me deeply, because I genuinely care about you and like you, that you have such negative (and in my opinion incorrect) views about the Quran, and about our Prophet. Yet, that disagreement doesn’t stop me from having a genuine respect for your commitment and sincerity. And that is why I will defend you against your fellow Christians as they smear your name and accuse you of all types of falsehoods.

The real idiots are those who wish to provoke fear and whip up hatred between the two largest religions of the world. Disagree all you want, but live and let live. And if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, then as a Muslim let me tell you: you might want to start by practicing what he preached.