‘Our response to hate’: Muslim and Christians’ moving reaction after Britain First stormed bookshop accused of promoting jihad

uk shopDozens have spoken out in support of a bookshop invaded by members of far-right group Britain First, who accused the store of selling literature that promotes Islamic Jihad to children.

Footage published by Britain First showed leader Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen alongside ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson storming into the store.

They confront a volunteer working at the shop and accuse him of selling extremist literature, which he forcibly denies, Birmingham Mail reports.

The son of the owner of the store, who did not wish to be named, told the Mirror the ‘invasion’ by Britain First was due to an isolated incident where a book, Bringing Up Children in Islam – which was said to encourage parents to “keep alive in the children the spirit of jihad” – had been sent to the store as a sample and appeared for sale in error.

He said the book had been picked up and put on the shelves by accident,and was not meant to be put on sale. He insisted there were no other books like this in the store.

Christians and Muslims have spoken out in support of the store in Alum Rock, Birmingham, after seeing the footage posted online by Britain First when they confronted staff.

Britain First call themselves a Christian organisation – but their actions drew the ire of the community.

Posting on Twitter, councillor Mariam Khan wrote: “Amazing Easter Sunday spent visiting Islamic bookshops on Alum Rock Rd with Christian neighbours from local Church. Our response to hate.”

And social commentator Waheed Saleem said the West Midlands Police van was visible on the road after an “unwelcome visit” by Britain First.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE MIRROR (UK)

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Inside the anti-Muslim organization that has ties to the White House

ctl-islam-trump-cair-act-muslim-20170217-001Roy White wants to inform as many Americans as possible about the terrorists he sees in their midst.

The lean, 62-year-old Air Force veteran strode into the Texas State Capitol in late January wearing a charcoal-gray pinstripe suit and an American flag tie, with the mission of warning all 181 lawmakers about a Muslim group sponsoring a gathering of Texas Muslims at the Capitol the following day. Although the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) works to promote Muslim civil rights across America, White wanted to convince lawmakers that it is actually working to infiltrate the U.S. government and destroy American society from within.

“They’re jihadists wearing suits,” White said of CAIR and other Muslim organizations. “That’s a tough thing for us to wrap our heads around because we don’t feel threatened.”

White is the San Antonio chapter president of ACT for America, an organization that brands itself as “the nation’s largest grass-roots national security advocacy organization” and attacks what it sees as the creeping threat of sharia, or Islamic law, in the form of Muslim organizations, mosques, refugees and sympathetic politicians.

The group has found allies among a coterie of anti-Muslim organizations, speakers and Christian fundamentalists, as well as with some state lawmakers. Bill Zedler, a Texas Republican state representative, said during a recent forum supported by ACT that he fears political correctness is masking the real problem: “Regardless of whether it’s al-Qaida, or CAIR, or the Islamic State, they just have different methodology for the destruction of Western civilization.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE 

Jihadists Don’t Understand the Qur’an

QuranQasim Rashid is an attorney, author of Extremist, and national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.

An understanding of true Islam can help stop terrorist acts

This week’s Brussels attacks—like those in Ankara over the weekend, Paris in November and Kenya last April—are a scourge on humanity. They also represent the greatest possible misrepresentation of true Islam.

ISIS extremists and anti-Islam activists fundamentally ignore and misrepresent the Qur’an. It should come as no surprise that after suffering beatings for nearly a year as a ISIS hostage, freed French journalist Didier Francois reported:

There was never really discussion about texts or — it was not a religious discussion. It was a political discussion. It was more hammering what they were believing than teaching us about the Qur’an. Because it has nothing to do with the Qur’an. We didn’t even have the Qur’an; they didn’t want even to give us a Qur’an.

The Qur’an presents the most humanitarian and advanced rules of war that the world has ever known. Yet extremists and anti-Islam activists resort to cherry picking and censorship.

For example, extremists and anti-Islam activists often argue the “progression theory”—which suggests that because the Qur’an begins with peaceful verses and apparently ends with violent verses, Muslims, therefore “progressively” become violent to their neighbors. Unfortunately, this bizarre theory finds no merit either in the Qur’an or in Prophet Muhammad’s practical example.

During the first dozen years of Prophet Muhammad’s ministry in Mecca, Muslims faced brutal persecution, boycott and murder at the hands of Meccan society and government. Muhammad forbade any form of violence or retaliation—even in self-defense. Instead, he ordered Muslims to maintain patience and dialogue or to leave Mecca.

FULL ARTICLE FROM TIME MAGAZINE 

Jesus and Jihad: Reclaiming the Prophetic Heart of Christianity and Islam

CASCADE_TemplateWhat if all our stereotypical images of jihad are wrong?

Few words inspire more fear in Americans these days than jihad.

Its mere utterance conjures up images of car bombs exploding in crowded markets; Boeing 737s crashing into tall buildings; and flag burning, gun-toting bearded Arab men shouting, “allahu akbar” and “Death to America!” But what if all our stereotypical images of jihad are wrong, and when rightly understood, jihad turns out to be the perfect lens through which to understand the life and mission of Jesus?

Jesus and Jihad argues that in early Muslim sources jihad stood for the struggle to transform a violent and unjust pre-Islamic society into one characterized by greater levels of justice and peace. When rescued from his Christian pietistic misinterpretations, Jesus emerges as a highly prophetic figure of resistance to the injustices authorized by Roman imperial power

FULL ARTICLE FROM RNS 

Islamic State pulls down church crosses in northern Iraq as 200,000 flee

IraaqChurch2_2999347cIslamic State jihadists who took over large areas of northern Iraq overnight have forced thousands of Christians to flee and occupied churches, removing crosses and destroying manuscripts, Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako has said.

“(The Christians) have fled with nothing but their clothes, some of them on foot, to reach the Kurdistan region,” Patriarch Sako told AFP.

“This is a humanitarian disaster. The churches are occupied, their crosses were taken down,” said Sako. He added that up to 1,500 manuscripts were burnt.

“We’re just receiving the information right now. We’ve just heard that people over the last 24 hours have been extracted and the UN is mobilising resources to ensure that these people are assisted on arrival,” David Swanson, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told Reuters.

It is a “tragedy of immense proportions”, he said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE TELEGRAPH (UK)0808-iraq-ethnic_2999773a

Only in Egypt: Muslims defending churches, Christians protecting mosques!

Sawy Cultural WheelCairo, Egypt-After a long stressful day due to increasingly crazy events and ever changing news, I had to quickly return home before curfew,  which the government imposed to reduce the chances of Muslim Brotherhood violence in the streets.

As I entered my home,  I heard the bells of the nearby church ringing in a strange way.  Next came screams and the sound of many gunshots.  I t old my children to stay away from the balconies, and got ready to defend my family against any possible attack.

But my curiosity as a journalist kept on pushing me to get out and cover the story despite the risk because I know that journalists are most targeted by the Muslim Brotherhood gangs, even more so than police and army members, because they are present in an unmarked way with no badges or uniforms and work to uncover the facts of the Muslim Brotherhood to the public.  The Brotherhood have already killed a dozen journalists and wounded many others.

Heading fast to the nearby church,  I noticed many of my neighbors, both Muslims and Christians, carrying knives, sticks and like me, scurrying to the church where the sounds of gun shots had stopped.  I saw man with a serious wound to is arm as his brothers put him into a car to go to the closest hospital.

Getting to the church, I had expected to see a large number of dead and injured people, and worried that the church would be torched.  But thank God, I found only 3 wounded with minor injuries in the hand and the head, wounds that were the result of citizens fighting with Muslim Brotherhood members before people quickly converged on the church, forcing to Brotherhood to retreat and run away.

There were hundreds of Egyptians of all ages. All of them made it clear they were willing to kill Brotherhood members if they turned up again. About half of them were Muslims.  A few Salafists, too, came to be with us as they live in the same neighborhood and refuse to attack the church.  I heard a lot of dialogues between Christians and Muslims.  I felt the warmth of real cohesion and unity against the new danger, and knew that there is no difference between our needs and destiny because everyone was there to protect the House of God.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CANADA FREE PRESS

A New Perspective of ‘Jihad’ in Christianity and Islam

spiritual_devotion_thumbPoliticians and anti-Muslim activists frequently take to audiences and websites to criticize the term “jihad” as a form of Islamic supremacism, oppression, and violence. Muslim extremists, on the other hand, argue that “jihad” refers to a “holy war” against non-Muslims. Viewing the term “jihad” though these frameworks alone, however, would be playing into the hands of extremists who forego the other elements encompassed by the term “jihad.”

In Islam, “jihad” has several different components, which include personal struggles, such as the struggle against an addiction; social struggles, such as the struggle to become tolerant of others; and occasionally a military struggle, if and when necessary in self-defense. When asked, “What is the major jihad?” Muhammad replied: “The jihad of the self (struggle against the personal self).” Contrary to the rhetoric and misinformation about “jihad” in anti-Islam networks, Muhammad did not say that the violent struggle was the most important form of “jihad.”

The hype in America and abroad over “jihad” has brought me to consider the term through a Christian perspective. In this piece I seek to do two things — explore how forms of “jihad” are present in Christianity and pinpoint different ways of looking at “jihad” in Christian and Islamic texts. Doing so can help find common characteristics of “jihad” so that Christians and Muslims can build bridges of mutual understanding and tolerance.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST