Shariah’s Winding Path Into Modernity

14akyol-inyt-master768-v2In June, Americans in about two dozen cities joined a “March Against Sharia.” For these protesters, the Arabic term is a code word for the oppression of women and men in the name of God — horrors like stoning and beheading. Since such brutalities do indeed happen in the name of Shariah, they may have had a point. But there were also points that they missed.

In Arabic, “Shariah” literally means “the way.” More specifically, it refers to the body of Islamic rules that Muslims see as God’s will — based either on the Quran or on the Prophet Muhammad’s reported words and deeds. It is conceptually impossible, therefore, for a Muslim who is serious about his faith to condemn Shariah. But the implementation of Shariah, which is called “fiqh,” or jurisprudence, is open to interpretation and discussion.

Much of Shariah is about personal observance: A good Muslim should pray five times a day while turned toward Mecca, for example, or should fast daily throughout Ramadan. Of course, there is no problem with these acts of personal piety — unless they are coerced. They should be welcome in any society with religious liberty.

However, a part of Shariah is about public law, including the penal code. And there are clear conflicts here with modern standards of human rights. First, Shariah lays out corporal punishments, such as chopping off hands, stoning, flogging and beheading. The Islamic legal code also proscribes crimes like apostasy, blasphemy and extramarital sex — none of which can be a crime at all in any liberal society.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

The Only Muslims Hollywood Likes Are The ‘Secular’ Ones

the big sickThere’s a phrase that’s become common in the reviews and write-ups of The Big Sick, a romantic comedy that debuted in theaters in late-June: “culture clash.” The film, which was produced by Judd Apatow, stars Pakistani-American actor Kumail Nanjiani. It’s Nanjiani’s first lead acting role, and the movie — which is based on his real-life romance with white American screenwriter Emily V. Gordon — documents their courtship, and his efforts to reconcile their relationship with the expectations of his parents, who continuously try to set him up with “young, single Pakistani girls.” This is where the tension of the plot lies: between Nanjiani and his family, between a white girl and his Pakistani heritage. When Gordon suddenly falls sick and is hospitalized, Nanjiani is compelled to choose between the two.

Early on, the film sets up an obvious narrative conflict. On one side, we have Emily, played by a blonde Zoe Kazan, and her parents, Beth (Holly Hunter) and Terry (Ray Romano). Nanjiani meets Gordon at a comedy club, on what is ostensibly a one-night stand that turns into something more. Her parents, who show up when Emily gets sick, are flawed but well-meaning; their shortcomings are eclipsed only by the obvious love and affection they have for their daughter.

On the other side, we have Nanjiani, son of Pakistani Muslim immigrants, Azmat and Sharmeen, played by Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff. The two characters embody every stereotype conceivable about brown Muslim parents: overbearing, disappointed in their American offspring, eager to get their hapless son married to the nearest single brown young woman. Nanjiani’s parents appear almost exclusively in scenes where they invite young women to family dinners in the hopes he might fall in love with them. These young women appear, too, with no backstory or very little dialogue, clinging hopelessly to an antiquated tradition. How silly these women are — not like Nanjiani, who is enlightened enough to pursue a white woman. In one critical scene in the film, as he’s arguing with Emily about the viability of their relationship, he yells, “I’m battling a 1,400-year-old culture!”

FULL ARTICLE FROM GOOD

This American Muslim Is Actually Seeking Out People Who Fear Him

5956be412100003400fc4f1eAs an American Muslim journalist, Aymann Ismail is used to receiving hateful messages online and in person about his religion.

Ismail, a video producer and editor for Slate, says that people have told him to his face that Islam is evil. When an act of terror is carried out by a Muslim abroad, the 27-year-old from Newark, New Jersey, said he’s often called upon to defend his faith.

If there’s one thing he’s learned from all these interactions, it’s that many Americans seem to be reacting in fear.

In an article for Slate, he writes, “I’ve come to believe that many Americans are motivated by fear. Fear that I’ll force women to cover themselves. Fear that they’ll be subject to Sharia law. Fear that I’d kill if given the chance.”

On Thursday, Ismail and fellow Slate video producer Jeffrey Bloomer debuted a new video series exploring Islam in America. In “Who’s Afraid of Aymann Ismail?,” Ismail actually seeks out anti-Muslim activists who are convinced that Islam is a religion that should be feared.

At the same time, Ismail turns a critical lens on American Muslims’ cultural practices  ― such as how Muslim communities treat queer people.

FULL ARTICLE FROM HUFFINGTON POST 

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 

Opinion: ISIS doesn’t represent Muslims, is real enemy of Islam

514295701By targeting Islam and Muslims in the name of terrorism, we indeed provide the terrorists what they want – religious legitimacy.

Two months after Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) renamed itself as ‘Islamic State’ and declared Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as its caliph in June 2014, the terror outfit carried out a chain of gruesome murders with the beheading of US journalist James Foley. Later, American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff and English aid worker David Haines too were beheaded in similar fashion. These acts of modern-day savagery stunned the world. In the past two years, ISIS has killed over 1,200 people outside Iraq and Syria.

A series of heinous acts by the ISIS in the name of Islam has put the world’s second largest and fastest-growing religion under global spotlight. Despite the fact that most of Muslims dislike and detest the ideology of the terror outfit according to a study by Pew Research Center conducted in 2015, the negative perception of Islam has touched an alarming level in the post-9/11 world. Every terror attack by the ISIS further fuels the existing trend of Islamophobia

FULL ARTICLE FROM INDIA.COM

Faith Perspectives: Dispelling myths about American Muslims

542ef5f73eefa.imageI have been in America for the last 37 years.

Initially when people learned I’m Muslim it would trigger curiosity about Islam and eastern cultures. Sometimes I would encounter misinformation in the mainstream media, but mostly Muslims in America were under the radar.

Since 9/11, I’ve found more interest in learning about Islam and at the same time seen spike in misinformation and hate groups. Myths are behind the misunderstanding. I’d like to tackle a few of those here:

Myth: Muslims are relatively newcomers in America. • Historians trace first Muslims in America towards the end of 15th century. African-American Muslims, who have been here for centuries, make about quarter of the total U.S. Muslim population. A recent estimate in 2016 placed the nation’s Muslim population at over 3.3 million.

Most of the American Muslims who immigrated in last century probably came from
South Asia, Middle East, and Africa in 1960s, when The Hart-Celler Act of 1965 was enacted. This law changed the immigration policies from being nation-based formula to one that lifted restrictions against immigrants from Asia and Africa. It gave priority for relatives of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.566b29e21fd78.image

It also gave preference to professionals and other skilled workers. Most of Muslims came here for the same reason that brought the majority of non-Muslim Americans: opportunity.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ST LOUIS POST DISPATCH 

Who says Muslims never condemn violence?

trtworld-nid-329396-fid-366658Heraa Hashmi, a Muslim American teenager, was sick of stereotypes of Muslims being passive in the face of acts of violence carried out in the name of their religion.

Last November, the 19-year-old, who is a student of molecular biology at the University of Colorado Boulder, was so irritated that she shared a list on Twitter of every instance she could find of Muslims condemning attacks. Since then her tweet has been shared over 18,000 times and won international attention.

classmate: why dont muslims condemn things
me: *goes home makes 712 page long list of Muslims Condemning Things with sources*
me: fight me pic.twitter.com/sDhwUMIAK1

Hashmi speaks with TRT World about what she hoped to achieve, and how she feels about the place of Muslim women in US society.

What led you to compile a 712-page document of Muslims condemning stuff and post it on Twitter?

HERAA HASHMI: It all started from an argument that I had in class. This was a history class and we were discussing violence as it pertains to religion and, obviously, the topic of terrorism and Islam came up. There was a student who believed that Muslims were inherently not peaceful and that we supported terrorist attacks and we remained silent in those times, because we supported the terrorists. And I said that’s not true, we are always speaking to our communities about how it’s wrong. He didn’t believe me, so I went home very frustrated.

FULL ARTICLE FROM TRTWORLD