Islam News

The not-so-great Islamist menace,

January 10th 2011
Terrorist plots against Europe are on the decline, statistics show, and the majority are not coming from Muslims If someone mentioned terrorism in Europe, you would probably have an idea about the size of the threat and who's responsible. It's big, you [...]
Iraq's Christian community hit by new wave of attacks
11/11/2010 - Suspected Islamist militants detonated 11 bombs in Christian suburbs across the Iraqi capital, striking indiscriminately at shops and homes owned [...]
Why Park51 is much more than the "mosque at Ground Zero"
08/11/2010 - It's easier to say what the "mosque at Ground Zero" is not, than what it is. It's not a mosque, [...]
Arab Media: Tea Party Is Anti-Islam
03/11/2010 - Narrative: The Tea Party is racist, extremist and anti-Islam, but part of a wider conservative resurgence in US politics Coverage: For [...]
Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear
25/10/2010 - Steven Emerson has 3,390,000 reasons to fear Muslims. That's how many dollars Emerson's for-profit company — Washington-based SAE Productions — collected [...]

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This Topic's AUTHORS
TAUFIQ RAHIM | Political Analyst / Blogger
Fundamentally, the bar for Muslim societies is set far too low. Why should not Muslim-majority countries be judged at the same standard as the United States or other nations in Western Europe? Of course, people like Geert Wilders, the Dutch far-right leader, are extreme. Assuredly, there is discrimination against Muslims in parts of the U.S. Nevertheless, it would hardly compare to the violence, subjugation, and marginalization of many religious minorities in Muslim countries. While there are exceptions to this trend, they should not obfuscate the need for honest introspection within the umma. The question is, who will provoke this introspection, Western governments or Muslims themselves.
YAZAN BADRAN | Blogger and commentator
Modern day states of Saudi Arabia and Israel are just two examples of different levels of theological tyranny. The fact that the oppressive nature of a theological state is easy to quantify and describe vis-à-vis its disenfranchised minorities should not lead us to think that the majority is better off. The struggle for political, and eventually, human, emancipation in our societies must not be dictated, divided and hijacked by a contemporary sense of racism, but rather be professed as such: a struggle for a universal emancipation, a struggle for a state of citizens with universal rights rather than a collective of majorities and minorities each with its own set of archaic "rights"
NABIL BEITINJANEH | International Consultant
Many societies have fell prey to conformism, shortsightedness and dogmatism. The gap between the political class and society in general continues to grow. Trust continues to be eroded between the different classes, segments and minorities with different societies. A doctrinaire and exclusionary approach is advocated with little possibility for discussion and debate. Those who are disenfranchised and discriminated against, including religious minorities, typically react in a number of ways that lead to further losses. They might reduce their contribution to society or they might migrate to other places in which they have better opportunities.
AYMAN HAKKI | Prof. Plastic Surgery Georgetown U.
Much has been written of Saladin's treatment of Christian and Jews, so I won't rehash it for you. Yet very few know that his actions were not a product of his unique world view; it was accepted Islamic dogma and this may explain Islam’s astonishing acceptance amongst the people its armies conquered. Things began to change around the time of the Fatwa of Ibn Taymieh, when anti-foreigner groups started to subvert Islamic universalism. Prior to that time Islam was magnificent in its inclusiveness. Muhideen Ibn Arabi was the Grand Sheik of Islam in the 12th century. He is buried in Damascus in the small beautiful district of Ṣaliḥiyya. He once wrote; "My heart has adopted every shape; it has become a pasture for a gazelles, and a convent for Christian monks. A temple for idols, and a pilgrim’s Ka'ba, the tables of a Torah, and the pages of a Koran. I follow the religion of Love." These were the words of the highest authority on Islam at the time, so we can put to rest allegations that Islam is inherently intolerant of Christians and Jews, and less "Love" driven than Jesus’ message.
ABUFARES TARTOUSSI | Blogger and Urban Planner
Ironically, the three theocracies [Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States] are buddies. The Bush-stained United States considers Saudi Arabia as one of its preferred moderate allies in the region. A country with one of the worst human rights records, as far as women and religious minorities are concerned, is praised as moderate by the world’s leading democracy. Saudi Arabia is among Israel’s top supporters and the fact that neither admit it openly is irrelevant. Let’s not forget that the Saudis sided with Israel against what they considered a Shiite Hizb Allah in 2006. Israel controls most Christian congressmen in the United States while obstructing Palestinian Christians from celebrating Christmas in their own Church of Nativity. Israel is the first line of defense against any aggression, local or foreign, which might threaten the Saudi Royals. An empowered religious society, one which is not reined in by explicit secular laws is repressive of all freedoms and liberties of any individual or group with the slightest inclination of dissent or deviation. My answer is an unequivocal No! All contemporary religious societies are not tolerant of religious minorities.
GHASSAN KARAM | Professor Economics
The principle of justice and reciprocity is as seminal to Islam as it is to other cultures and we choose to neglect it at our peril. This is not the place to describe in full details the practices in separate countries against non Moslems.But it should be clear that when we close our eyes on discriminatory practices by our neighbours and friends then that amounts to an acquiescence in these wrongful and hurtful practices. The Arab world has paid dearly for the inequities that its non Moslem population is subjected to. Why is it not evident that the time of the dhimmis is gone forever and that if we consider ourselves to be part of this global community then no one has the right to deny any other person the right to self expression and the freedom of thought and religious belief. Why can we not see that when we discriminate against others then we automatically give up our right to complain when others discriminate against our fellow co religionists? Saudi Arabia could not possibly object to a rule preventing school girls from wearing a Moslem headdress when a non Moslem is not allowed to practice her religion openly in the kingdom.
TAREK BARAKAT | Blogger and commentator
Islam constitutes a challenge because it is more specific than other religions, with clear laws that define how one should live their lives on a daily basis while other religions are more philosophical and generalistic in their teaching. Also Islam's Ulama have much to answer to on very fundamental dilemmas stemming from contradictions in Islamic text and/or interpretations, such as clarifying the violence towards infidels in Islamic holy text, the place of women in society, the fatwas which spew hate and bigotry towards other sects and religions and the failure to shut them down effectively, etc. It is one thing to say God will punish non-believers in the afterlife and another for Muslims to take it upon themselves to do it on God's behalf. It is this lack of theological evolution in Islam that I believe is where many Muslim societies have clearly taken steps backwards in nation building and placed them at bottom of religious tolerance lists. Saudi Arabia along with a few other Arabian Gulf nations and Afghanistan are prime examples of what is damaging Islam's international image in today's world. Countries where corrupt political systems have created failed societies while claiming it to be based on the law of God
WASSIM AL-ADEL | Blogger and commentator
In fact, the reality is that it is not Muslim-majority states that have been the greatest threats to the minorities that exist within them, but Western European and North American political and military interventions. The sectarian strife that afflicts Lebanon today is a direct result of a conscious effort by French mandate forces to create a Christian dominated future ally in the region. Iraq itself never had al-Qaeda prior to the American invasion and occupation, and in fact al Qaeda itself would never have existed were it not for covert American funding in Afghanistan against the Russians. Furthermore, the strife of that war gave birth to the Taliban, who are today poised to wrest control of Afghanistan yet again. The Israeli state itself, a product of European Jewish nationalism, was a catastrophe for ancient Jewish communities from Morocco to Baghdad; however, aaliyah to the newly formed Jewish state was actively encouraged regardless of the destruction of those communities. Again, Western European diplomatic manoeuvring offered the backdrop for this historical travesty.