‘Love Thy Neighbor?’

When a Muslim doctor arrived in a rural Midwestern town, “it felt right.” But that feeling began to change after the election of Donald Trump.

 The doctor was getting ready. Must look respectable, he told himself. Must be calm. He changed into a dark suit, blue shirt and tie and came down the wooden staircase of the stately Victorian house at Seventh and Pine that had always been occupied by the town’s most prominent citizens.

That was him: prominent citizen, town doctor, 42-year-old father of three, and as far as anyone knew, the first Muslim to ever live in Dawson, a farming town of 1,400 people in the rural western part of the state.

“Does this look okay?” Ayaz Virji asked his wife, Musarrat, 36.

In two hours, he was supposed to give his third lecture on Islam, and he was sure it would be his last. A local Lutheran pastor had talked him into giving the first one in Dawson three months before, when people had asked questions such as whether Muslims who kill in the name of the prophet Muhammad are rewarded in death with virgins, which had bothered him a bit. Two months later, he gave a second talk in a neighboring town, which had ended with several men calling him the antichrist.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

Conservatives claim Linda Sarsour called for holy war against Trump. Here’s what she really said.

Muslim American activist Linda Sarsour has fired back at critics for misrepresenting her use of the term “jihad” in her keynote address for the Islamic Society of North America earlier this month.

In the July 1 speech, Sarsour shared a story from Islamic scripture concerning a man who asked Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, about the “best form of jihad.” “And our beloved prophet … said to him, ‘A word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler or leader, that is the best form of jihad,’” Sarsour told the crowd.

Sarsour urged fellow Muslims to “stand up to those who oppress our communities,” as “we are struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad in the Middle East or on the other side of the world, but here in these United States of America.”

But after edited video of the event began to circulate online, Sarsour received a barrage of criticism and threats, a result of conservative media publications like Breitbart and the Daily Caller accusing her of encouraging fellow Muslims to incite a “holy war” against the Trump administration.

Even Donald Trump Jr. got involved, retweeting a Fox News story titled “Activist Linda Sarsour Calls for ‘Jihad’ Against Trump Administration,” adding, “Who in the @DNC will denounce this activist and democrat leader calling for Jihad [against] trump?”

Now Sarsour is pushing back against these critics. In a July 9 op-ed for the Washington Post, she writes that the term “jihad” has “been hijacked by Muslim extremists and right-wing extremists alike, leaving ordinary Muslims to defend our faith.”

“In my speech … I sent not a call to violence, but a call to speak truth to power and to commit to the struggle for racial and economic justice,” Sarsour explains. “Most disturbing about this recent defamation campaign is how it is focused on demonizing the legitimate yet widely misunderstood Islamic term I used, ‘jihad,’ which to a majority of Muslims and according to religious scholars means ‘struggle’ or ‘to strive for.’”

FULL ARTICLE FROM VOX

Trump’s travel ban and its culture of fear is a threat to us all

travelbanby LEVINE-RASKY AND GHAFFAR-SIDDIQUI

Cynthia Levine-Rasky and Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui are the Jewish and Muslim co-leaders of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, Toronto Circle.

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court vindicated Donald Trump and his coterie by overriding two earlier judicial rejections of a proposed law to control entrance into the United States by travellers from some Muslim-majority countries. Criticisms are plentiful. Journalists, human rights advocates, educators, lawyers, faith groups, and countless others have rightly identified the discriminatory nature of the executive order and its affront to democratic rights and freedoms that we believe distinguishes us from countries like those identified in the ban. Most of the opposition dwells on legalistic questions, parsing the language of the order, and speculating on how it will be implemented.

But there is more to the executive order than its language. Language is abstract; effects are real. What does it feel like to be the object of a travel ban?

On the one hand, details are everything. If you are an American foreign national with a visa from Iran, you get the green flag. If you have a green card and are traveling back to your job in the United States, you are in. If you are visiting family (except if it is your sick grandmother) in the United States, it’s no problem. If you are returning to university classes or if you are a guest lecturer at an American university, you are good to go. If you’re neither a tourist from Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen who wishes to see the Grand Canyon, nor a refugee who wishes to see safety in your lifetime, you should face no impediment. The details ensure your passage. Indeed, the executive order excludes only a limited number of people.

On the other hand, the details don’t matter. The ban, whatever its wording, affects all Muslims everywhere. It turns out that Mr. Trump’s decree against some Muslims from some countries for some period of time has a chilling effect on the quality of life for all Muslims in his country and elsewhere, and for an indeterminate period of time.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE GLOBE AND MAIL (CANADA)

 

Interfaith events excellent way to thwart senseless violence

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Guest columnist Zohaib Zafar is a graduate student at Cleveland State University and a member of the Muslim Writers Guild of America.

A few weeks ago, in the Portland train attacks, three people were stabbed after they tried protecting two teenage girls from a terrorist named Jeremy Christian. One of the two girls was Muslim and wore the hijab. Christian told the girls they were nothing and that they should kill themselves, and he also reportedly said, “Muslims should die.”

It took three days for any condemnation of this terrorist attack to be displayed on President Trump’s social media. Furthermore, Trump’s response was tweeted using the Twitter account that he inherited from President Obama and not his own account, thus he did not reach many of his supporters.

Trump is very quick to condemn terrorist attacks that Muslims perpetrate in the West, but when they are perpetrated by those who are not Muslim, the response is not immediate, and often there is no response at all. If Trump continues to do this, he will leave a legacy in which he was more committed to serving his political interests than the safety of Americans.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CLEVELAND.COM

WORLD TRUMP BAN: HOW TO HELP MUSLIMS AFFECTED BY TRAVEL BLACKLIST

trump-travel-banThe Supreme Court ruled Monday that Trump’s new travel ban—which bars citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for a period of 90 days—is allowed to restart Thursday.

Citizens from from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen must now prove they have a parent, sibling, or child in the United States in order to visit. Visas already issued will not be revoked.

The ban has been criticized by politicians, judges and foreign leaders of other countries. The Council of American-Islamic Relations, said the ban “ignores the Islamophobic origins of the policy and emboldens Islamophobes in the Trump administration.”

Journalists, students, workers or lecturers who have employment contracts in the United States are exempt from the ban. Existing visas have not been revoked, and there should be less chaos at airports this time.

During the last travel ban, immigration lawyers headed to airports to offer their services for free. Immigration lawyers who want to help can get in touch with the organizations below to offer their services free of charge once again. Anyone who needs help can contact the following organizations for legal advice.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NEWSWEEK 

From Manchester to Jerusalem: The Limits of Trump’s Terror Narrative

170523062901-donald-trump-responds-to-manchester-attack-super-teaseA few hundred yards from the office where I work, 22 people were murdered on Monday night by a suicide bomber. A further 64 people were injured, many of them seriously. Among the dead were children and teenagers, and their mums and dads who’d come to collect them from a pop concert at the Manchester Arena.

The victims came from across the north of England. It was the worst terrorist attack in the UK for 12 years and the concert had been deliberately chosen to gain international attention and kill as many young people, particularly girls, as possible. Colleagues from my office and their children were among the injured and the dead.

The suicide bomber, 22-year-old Salman Abedi ,was born and brought up in Manchester, his family had fled the Gaddafi regime in Libya in the 1990s and somehow he had become ‘radicalised’ into a destructive perversion of Islam that made him think murdering children was worthy of God’s blessing.

On Tuesday, on advice from my bosses, I worked from home. The area around our office was a ‘security zone’ in lock down. The city’s second biggest railway station, Victoria, was closed. Meanwhile, the body parts of those killed remained at the scene of the crime.

At home it was hard to concentrate on much. The news was about nothing but the bombing, and quite rightly the General Election campaign was suspended. Checking in with my work team it was clear how shaken and upset many of us were. The horror of indiscriminate terror was suddenly a part of our lives. We all knew the Manchester Arena. We knew people who were there the night before. There were friends of friends who were missing.

The narrative of terror

All around the world that day there was reaction to what had taken place. But it was Donald Trump, speaking in Jerusalem at the Israel Museum, who was determined to co-opt Manchester into his new narrative of terror.

“You’ve seen just a horrible thing going on…. Horrific, horrific injuries. Terrible.  Dozens of innocent people, beautiful young children savagely murdered in this heinous attack upon humanity.  I repeat again that we must drive out the terrorists and the extremists from our midst, obliterate this evil ideology, and protect and defend our citizens and people of the world. “

 

FULL ARTICLE FROM MONDOWEISS

What was Trump’s speech on Islam missing? American Muslims.

1060x600-93172dac1665d855104936ea9bdb1b0ePresident Trump, like his predecessors before him, has discovered the potent language of religious tolerance and interfaith unity when discussing Islam, as he demonstrated in his speech in Saudi Arabia to leaders of some 50 Muslim nations. But unlike previous presidents, he has not linked that rhetoric with recognition of the large, vibrant Muslim community in the United States.

As a historian who has studied efforts in the past to build acceptance of religious pluralism in the United States, I am concerned by Trump’s departure from historical precedent.

Can a message of tolerance to Islam abroad be persuasive without a corresponding affirmation of American Muslims at home?

In his widely anticipated remarks on Islam and terrorism,  Trump avoided many of the missteps his critics feared. He notably abandoned the harsh rhetoric that characterized descriptions of Islam during his 2016 campaign. Trump has set aside his insistence on the use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” He has also rejected the broad generalizations of Islam that marked his demand for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim immigration because their hatred was “beyond comprehension.”

With the exception of one apparent reference to “Islamic terror” — present in his spoken words but not in the written text of the speech — Trump struck a tolerant, inclusive tone. In his declaration that he was “not here to lecture” was the promise that the United States would not tell others “how to worship.”

More notable than the language of tolerance was Trump’s new emphasis on interfaith commonality. He declared the campaign against terrorism not “a battle between different faiths” but rather a fight that encompassed them all. He noted that a terrorist who “falsely invokes the name of God” should be considered “an insult to every person of faith.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST