Egyptians respond to ISIS church bombings: ‘Your terrorism brings us together’

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(CNN) Egyptians of different faiths rallied together on Sunday in defiance of ISIS, after the group claimed responsibility for two Coptic Christian church bombings hundreds of miles apart.

The attacks left at least 43 dead and dozens more injured, amid grim scenes of hollowed-out churches, with body parts and blood scattered among the debris.
Outraged Egyptians posted messages of solidarity with members of the embattled religious minority on social media, using a hashtag that translates to “your terrorism brings us together.”
On Sunday night, protesters gathered outside Alexandria’s St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral to condemn the attacks, criticize the government’s response to persecution of Copts and demand the resignation of the interior minister.
Egypt church attacks
  • ISIS claims responsibility for church attacks
  • Egyptians respond to ISIS church bombings: ‘Your terrorism brings us together’
Sunday’s bombings came nearly four months after a suicide bomber killed 23 people in a Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo. Copts, who make up about 10% of Egypt’s 91 million residents, have been the target of increased persecution and discrimination since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011.
Despite tensions between the groups, the country’s Muslim community has frequently shown support for Christians following acts of violence. Images on social media showed Muslims gathering inside mosques Sunday to donate blood for victims.

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

A Medieval Antidote to ISIS

21akyol-master768ISTANBUL — THE recent massacres in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., demonstrated, once again, the so-called Islamic State’s ability to win over disaffected Muslims. Using a mixture of textual literalism and self-righteous certainty, the extremist group is able to persuade young men and women from Pakistan to Belgium to pledge allegiance to it and commit violence in its name.

This is why the Islamic State’s religious ideology needs to be taken seriously. While it’s wrong to claim that the group’s thinking represents mainstream Islam, as Islamophobes so often do, it’s also wrong to pretend that the Islamic State has “nothing to do with Islam,” as many Islamophobia-wary Muslims like to say. Indeed, jihadist leaders are steeped in Islamic thought and teachings, even if they use their knowledge to perverse and brutal ends.

A good place to start understanding the Islamic State’s doctrine is by reading Dabiq, the digital English-language magazine that the group puts out every month. One of the most striking pieces I have seen in it was an 18-page article in March titled “Irja’: The Most Dangerous Bid’ah,” or heresy.

Unless you have some knowledge of medieval Islamic theology you probably have no idea what irja means. The word translates literally as “postponing.” It was a theological principle put forward by some Muslim scholars during the very first century of Islam. At the time, the Muslim world was going through a major civil war, as proto-Sunnis and proto-Shiites fought for power, and a third group called Khawarij (dissenters) were excommunicating and slaughtering both sides. In the face of this bloody chaos, the proponents of irja said that the burning question of who is a true Muslim should be “postponed” until the afterlife. Even a Muslim who abandoned all religious practice and committed many sins, they reasoned, could not be denounced as an “apostate.” Faith was a matter of the heart, something only God — not other human beings — could evaluate.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES 

Muslim Americans Express Disappointment Over Debate Rhetoric Tying Muslims to Terrorism

During Sunday night’s presidential debate, Gorbah Hamed, a Muslim woman who was part of the debate’s night’s “uncommitted” audience, asked both presidential candidates how they would help Muslim Americans deal with the rise of Islamophobia.

“There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, and I’m one of them,” Hamed said, addressing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. “You’ve mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled as a threat to the country after the election is over?”

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Trump began his response by acknowledging Islamophobia, calling it “a shame,” and argued that Muslims must do better to “report when they see something going on.”

“When they see hatred going on, they have to report it. As an example, in San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people. Horribly wounded. They’ll never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them,” Trump said.

FULL ARTICLE FROM NBC NEWS

Demonizing American Muslims won’t solve the terrorism problem

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The bombs planted in New York and New Jersey on Sunday appear to have been the work of a radicalized Muslim man whose behavior and international travel followed familiar patterns.

Some prominent American political figures suggest that the way to deal with people like Ahmad Khan Rahami is to seal up our borders, isolate and profile members of domestic Muslim communities, and impose bans on all people traveling from nations where radicalized Muslims have operated previously.

Such responses appeal to the worst xenophobic tendencies among us, but they won’t solve the terrorism problem. In fact, they are certain to make it worse.

 U.S. law enforcers at all levels depend on the cooperation of Muslim communities for intelligence about individuals who pose security threats. Police and FBI investigators cannot be everywhere. The people most attuned to what’s happening in their neighborhoods are the ones who worship at mosques, attend school and interact daily with potentially radicalized individuals.

Many serve as informants, and they do so in secret specifically because their lives could be in jeopardy if their status became known to the individuals under surveillance. Because it’s happening in secret, non-Muslim Americans have little appreciation for the reality.

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE ST LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

World Nobel laureate: Don’t ‘muddle up’ terrorism with Islam

20101009_nobel_ss-slide-76EY-superJumboUNITED NATIONS — Nobel Peace Prize winner Wided Bouchamaoui urged people everywhere on Thursday not to “muddle up” terrorism with Islam.

The Tunisian businesswoman, who co-founded the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet which won the 2015 peace prize, said Muslims who practice their faith calmly and respectfully are “victims of a semantic problem” when “terrorists” are described as “Islamic terrorists.”

“I think we should call a spade a spade,” Bouchamaoui told the U.N. General Assembly’s high-level forum on The Culture of Peace. “A terrorist is a killer, a murderer, a criminal and I would even say an imposter who is manipulating Islam.”

The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was cited by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for making a “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia” after the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.

Bouchamaoui said Tunisia is still considered “the exception” to the Arab Spring because it has been able to avoid conflict and to promote dialogue and compromise. It has also been able to promote democracy and is taking steps to counter “terrorism,” she said.

But after deadly attacks in Tunisia and elsewhere carried out by extremists, she said “it is absolutely crucial to review and reconsider the solutions the international community can provide to the complex issue of terrorism in order to stem as best as possible the evil.”

Beyond the victims who are often civilians, Bouchamaoui said “terrorism seeks to strike public opinion, to intimidate it by instilling a climate of fear and terror — and they have achieved this in some places.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM THE WASHINGTON POST 

Christians, Muslims unite against terrorism, weapons of mass destruction

pope-francis-with-sheikh-ahmed-el-tayebAt a time when religion seems to be one of the causes of division in the world, it is always good to hear news about how people from different faiths are uniting for a common cause.

American Catholic bishops joined hands with Shia Muslim religious leaders as they recently released a joint statement condemning terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

The joint declaration, entitled “Gathered In The Name of God,” highlighted how both religions value life and aspire for peace. It was signed by Catholic Church officials such as Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington and Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace.

“Christianity and Islam share a commitment to love and respect for the life, dignity, and welfare of all members of the human community,” the religious leaders said in the joint declaration, as quoted by The Catholic News Agency.

“Peaceful coexistence is built on equity and justice. We call upon all to work toward developing a culture of encounter, tolerance, dialogue, and peace that respects the religious traditions of others,” they said.

The declaration also rejected “all acts of terrorism” and destructive weapons, encouraging countries around the world to shun these forms of warfare.

“Together we are working for a world without weapons of mass destruction. We call on all nations to reject acquiring such weapons and call on those who possess them to rid themselves of these indiscriminate weapons, including chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons,” the document stated.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIAN TODAY