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The Case of the Swiss Minarets (as Switzerland votes to ban minarets)

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Switzerland. The very name evokes images of almost heavenly beauty – idyllic enclaves of pristinely pure lakes surrounded by magnificent lush snow-peaked mountains, dotted with honeymoon-enticing chalets nestled within forests of pine furs towering to the skies. Beautiful, scenic Switzerland – it deserves its status as being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, and its cities are regularly ranked as being amongst the highest in terms of quality of life, in the entire world.

Masjid in Switzerland

Masjid in Switzerland

Of course, Switzerland does have a darker side. It has also established its reputation as being one of the most notorious financial centers for money laundering, especially for international drug dealers and mafia lords. Its unique secrecy rules in the banking industry allow even nonresidents to conduct business through offshore entities and intermediaries, providing an almost complete blanket of anonymity.  Apart from the notoriety of Swiss banks, the Swiss do have their own unique set of problems as well. A particularly troubling issue is the preponderance of alcoholics amongst Swiss youth. A survey conducted by a government agency revealed that almost 50 per cent of 13-year-olds in Switzerland had consumed alcohol in the month before the representative survey was made, and another survey revealed that 14 per cent of 13-year-olds get drunk at least once a month.[1] Switzerland also has one of the highest suicide rates per capita in the Western world (especially amongst young teenagers and the elderly), and a very serious drug problem. Not only is it a direct transit country for  the export of cocaine, heroin, and other synthetics, it also has a healthy domestic cannabis cultivation, and one of the highest rates of drug offences in the world (a staggering 50 % of the population – contrast this with America, which has an average almost ten times less than that of Switzerland).[2]

Minaret from Mahmud Mosque in Switzerland

Minaret from Mahmud Mosque in Switzerland

It is, therefore, quite surprising that of all things bothering the Swiss, the last thing one would have imagined is the building of mosque minarets. Yet, earlier today, a referendum was passed that expressly forbids the building of minarets. The referendum passed with a 57 % majority vote, and 22 out of 26 cantons (Swiss provinces) voted in favor of it. Over 55 % of the population voted in this referendum (to put this figure in perspective, that’s around 4.3 million voters).

One would expect, with such a large number of people voting, that the skylines of Zurich were perhaps being threatened with ominous minarets poking up at every street corner.  Maybe the beauty of the chalets nestled in the Swiss alps was being marred with the presence of mosques suddenly appearing on the back of Swiss postcards. After all, for 4.3 million people to be motivated for an election, surely some huge quantity of minarets would have to exist.

It is, therefore, almost surreal to discover that in the entire country of Switzerland, there are a grand total of four minarets. Each of these minarets is found in a separate province altogether. Thus, 99.9 % of cities and towns across the country don’t even have a single minaret, and only four cities can boast one minaret each.  That works out to about one minaret per four thousand square miles of Swiss soil (Muslims themselves are less than 5 % of the entire population in Switzerland).

So then, why all the fuss?

Minaret in Wangen bei Olten (Switzerland)

Minaret in Wangen bei Olten (Switzerland)

The minaret-furor all began in 2005, when a small mosque in the almost unheard of municipality of Wangen bei Olten wished to construct a 6-meter minaret as part of the mosque structure. Local residents, quite clearly motivated by racist views, objected. Initially, the city council agreed, but over the course of the next few years, the mosque fought back through the legal system, eventually taking this issue up to the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland, who sided with the mosque authorities and stated that building a minaret was within their legal rights. Therefore, in July of this year (2009), the mosque was finally built with the minaret in place.

However, in Switzerland, a ruling from the Supreme Court can still be challenged. Switzerland has a highly unusual form of democracy. It is characterized by an excessive degree of federalism and a gratuitous reliance on people referendums. The citizens themselves may directly appeal to revoke a federal or Supreme court law, and they may also directly petition the government to institute a law of their own. The Swiss system of direct democracy gives every member of the electorate the chance to wield influence. The federal constitutional initiative allows citizens to put a constitutional amendment to a national vote, provided that they can get 100,000 voters to sign the proposed amendment within eighteen months of its initial advertising.

Therefore, because of this minaret controversy, a number of right-wing conservative parties lobbied the people directly in order to achieve the hundred thousand signatories needed in order to institute this national referendum. One of the main advertising posters used to provoke the masses featured a silhouette of an ominous-looking woman in full niqab against a backdrop of seven black minarets shaped as missiles rising from a colorful Swiss-flag.

Advertisement used by Swiss Right-Wing Conservatives

Advertisement used by Swiss Right-Wing Conservatives

Unlike the ban on niqabs and hijbas in neighboring France, which at least attempts to portray the ban as being one on all religious symbols (hence Sikh turbans and Jewish yarmulkes are also technically included), the Swiss referendum was quite blatant in its selective targeting of Muslim mosques. The proposition, which will now be added into Article 72 (Section 3) of the Swiss Federal Constitution, reads: “The building of minarets is prohibited.” Notice, not ‘The building of overt religious public icons…,’ or even ‘The building of symbols of non-Christian public houses of worship…,‘ but rather, quite bluntly, ‘ The building of minarets…’

What makes this bad situation even more worrisome is the fact that such an overtly xenophobic and racist attitude finds so much support in an otherwise neutral country. If this vote had occurred in, say, Denmark, one would not be surprised, after the Danish cartoon controversies and the reaction in the Muslim world, to find a majority of Danes voting for such a referendum. But, of all places, Switzerland? Muslims worriedly and rightly ask: If these negative attitudes are so popular in Switzerland, what does that augur for other European countries?

Already, right-wing parties across Europe are salivating at the news of this ‘victory’. The leader of the radical-right Austrian Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Strache, hailed the passage of the Swiss referendum and expressed his delight at the result, and his eagerness to emulate the Swiss example in his own country. Marine Le Pen, vice-president of France’s National Front, congratulated the Swiss for having demonstrated their attachment to their “national identity, their countryside and their culture”, despite calls from the “elites” not to vote in favor of the ban. In Italy, Roberto Calderoli, Berlusconi’s Reform Minister, announced that a clear sign had come from Switzerland: “Yes to church towers, no to minarets” and said that Switzerland should be a model for Italy in this respect.

Perhaps this fear is exacerbated by Europe’s extremely low birth rate (in 2005, Switzerland ranked a miserable 177 out of 195 countries in the world, with an average of 9.6 births per 1000 people), coupled in recent decades with a rise of Muslim immigrants. Perhaps there is also an element of simple, old-fashioned racism against non-whites (however, in Switzerland, most Muslims immigrants are mainly from the former Yugoslavia and Turkey, and are thus white in skin color as well).

But these facts alone cannot explain such xenophobia. Ten years ago, it would have been impossible to even imagine such a referendum being given a shred of respectability, much less actually pass in a nation-wide vote. Rather, one must confront the stark reality that such extreme xenophobia, manifested in the alarmingly fast rise in popularity of all right-wing parties across Europe (and even America), occurs in the backdrop of 9/11 and the ‘War on Terror’. Increasingly, Islam and Muslims are in the daily news, typically associated with acts of violence and terrorism. The average American and European, who has little interaction with Islam and Muslims, is feeling increasingly troubled by the presence of – as they perceive it – highly-volatile potential fifth-column ‘Islamists’ within their midst. In order to counteract whatever miniscule influence or presence these Muslims have (in most Western countries, Muslims do not even number 5 % of the population), Western nations are ever-eager to demolish the very civil liberties and freedoms that they themselves struggled for centuries to establish. As one right-wing pundit wrote in recent book, these liberties (according to him) were established by Christians to accommodate people from a similar religious and ethnic background – they were not meant to be applied to peoples from radically different ethnicities and religions than those that Europe has been accustomed to for the last five centuries.

In other words, these liberties are afforded only to the peoples of ‘civilized’ nations – those who have reached the pinnacle of humanity.  Muslims, being somehow different and inherently inclined to terror, are simply inferior, uncivilized peoples, and hence do not warrant such liberties. ‘Giving them such liberties would mean the end of such liberties for us‘ is the basic assumption. While few verbalize it so bluntly, it is in fact this sentiment that underlies such an attitude.

The real threat that ‘Moozlem terrorists’ pose to the West, therefore, is not in the survival of its physical lands, but in the survival of its own values and freedoms that it has struggled so long to secure. In an attempt to stem an alleged ‘Islamization’ of Europe that would supposedly endanger European values and liberties, Europe appears ready to discard those very values and liberties. In the name of protecting freedom, Europe is prepared to lose it. Even as they create the imaginary monster of the ‘Islamist’, they fail to look in the mirror and see the monster that is themselves.

Fallen Minaret in Bosnia

Fallen Minaret in Bosnia

How cherished and universal Western freedoms and values really are is a question that the West itself will have to answer. What happens to these values and freedoms in the next few years will be critical in the formulation of a new Western identity: one that will either be universal and inclusive, or selective and exclusive. And while Western Muslims would welcome being included in that identity, being so minuscule in number, they can only do so much to help in that conversation.

The direct question arises for us is: what, then, are we to do as Western Muslims in the face of such bitter hatred. Various segments of Muslims inevitably react along their stereotypical party lines. A very rough (and definitely not exhaustive) sketch of those lines can be formulated as follows:

1) Quietist isolationists further withdraw into their imaginary bubbles. Typically, talk of the ever-utopic hijra to Muslim lands ensues, and Muslims of other inclinations are shown a condescending ‘I-told-you-so’ look, while ominous threats of ‘another Bosnia’ are whispered in private gatherings. The woes that befall us, we are reminded, are due to our own sins, hence the only solution to our problems is to better ourselves and become practicing Muslims again.

2) Militant confrontationalists add more fuel to their already fiery imagination as they resume beating their war-drums and thumping their chests. Fellow Muslims are once again reminded that the hatred of the kuffar knows no bounds, that this is just the beginning of much more to come, and that Muslims must prepare for the inevitable Grand Armageddon between the forces of good and the forces of evil. A recitation of a litany of Western evils against the Muslim world invariably ensues, starting with the woes of Palestine and including, but not limited to, Abu Ghuraib, Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Iraq and others.  The list is indeed dismally long.

3) Politically active and media-savvy Muslims start writing articles and sending out press releases in order to increase public awareness about the issue. A hue and cry is raised about the travesty of human rights, the prejudice and double-standards shown to Muslims in a supposedly liberal and free society, and the woeful lot of law-abiding loyal Muslims around the Western world. Grandiose articles are written reminding us of the benefits medieval Muslims had gifted, from the ‘Middle Ages’ onwards, to their culturally backward neighbors of Europe. We are told, ad infinitum, that once upon a time, Arabic was the lingua franca of the intellectual world, that Muslims invented the astrolabe, formulated algebra, discovered zero, documented the flow of blood, navigated the globe, preserved the works of Plato and Aristotle, sparked the Renaissance, and otherwise saved Europe in many unbeknownst and unrecognized manners. Surely the least we can get in return is the right to build minarets?

Swiss Vote Poster

Swiss Vote Poster

4) Religiously conservative Muslims who don’t fit neatly into any of the previous categories increase in their bewilderment of what exactly to do. As they scratch their heads wondering what step to take next, many amongst them opt to join one of the three aforementioned categories, whereas others increase in their commitment to Islam, studying the religion and increasing their awareness of the tradition.  Daily events around the globe only increase their commitment to the faith, even as it perplexes them with regards to real-life solution. They realize they should do something – they just don’t know what exactly to do.

5) Everyone else. Unclassifiable, uncommitted, non-practicing Muslims who go about their daily lives, completely oblivious to the changes happening around the world and unconcerned about transformations in the political and intellectual currents of the world. Sadly, this category forms the bulk of the Ummah.

I mean no offense to any of the above categories (with the possible exception of the last).  A decade ago, I myself would have clearly identified with the first group. But the fact of the matter is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Perhaps there is an element of truth in more than one of the above categories. This problem is a global phenomenon, and it is beyond the scope of one individual or a few individuals to single-handedly change the tides.  All too often, we seem to aggrandize our own version of the solution whilst belittling what others do. The more conservative Muslims typically mock the more secular-minded ones who are at the forefront of media battles and television interviews, while the more progressive Muslims feel frustrated that the bulk of conservative Muslims seem to make the situation worse by being so apolitical and religiously focused.

We need a sound basis of spirituality and true commitment to our faith, manifested in rituals and worship, in order to accomplish anything. But we also need a healthy dose of reality, of real-life, pragmatic steps to take to ensure our rights to live as Muslims  in Western lands. Of course the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam emphasized theology and spirituality, but he also took worldly steps in order to achieve his goals.

What happened today with the Swiss vote to ban minarets is indeed sad. If one wishes to moan and groan, there is plenty to moan and groan about. But at the same time, there is much to be optimistic about as well. The Swiss government as a whole has expressed deep concerns about this referendum. Many news agencies and political commentators are calling this exactly what it is: an alarming indication of the rise of Islamophobia across Europe. A few have remarked on the impossibility of any such law being passed against Jews or other minority religions, and just people of all faiths and backgrounds are realizing the need to work together in order to better the situation.

Farhad Afshar, president of the Coordination of Islamic Organizations in Switzerland, best summarized the effect this law would have amongst Muslims when he said: “The most painful thing for us is not the ban on minarets, but the symbol sent by this vote. Muslims do not feel accepted as a religious community.”

The West needs to ask itself: what will be the effect of disenfranchising a group of its own people by treating them differently than other groups? This is not the first time racism and bigotry has been allowed to grow. Surely there are enough examples and parallels that can be invoked here. Does the West wish to continue down this path once again?

And we, as Muslims residing in the West, will have to rise up to the challenge, doing what we can in order to ensure that our children after us can retain their faith and religious identity. One aspect of that struggle will have to be spiritual. Maintaining one’s faith in an ever-hostile world is not easy. Another aspect will have to be theological. Medieval, simplistic notions of dar al-Islam and dar al-harb will have to be modified and updated in light of current socio-political realities. Yet another will have to be practical. We must struggle to humanize ourselves to the larger society around us if we wish to continue living in their midst.

Every era of Muslims had their own struggles and issues that they had to deal with. Our era, and in particular our situation as Western Muslims, does indeed present a unique set of problems and an unusual set of circumstances that we are forced to deal with. But deal with it we must, and in order to deal with it effectively we need the collective talent and resources of diverse groups of people within our Ummah. Not just scholars and ulama. The entire Muslim Ummah. Lawyers, social activists, political activists, media representatives, community leaders, academics, and most importantly, each and every Muslim and Muslimah, who, by virtue of circumstance, becomes an immediate and direct ambassador of our faith to the larger world.

All that we can do is strive in whatever capacity we can for a better world, and the more we strive to make this world a better place, the better Allah will make this world and the next for us.


[1]http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/front/Drinking_among_youth_remains_a_big_problem.html?siteSect=105&sid=10572660&rss=true&ty=st (last accessed 11/29/09)

[2] http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_dru_off-crime-drug-offences (last accessed 11/29/09)

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Sh. Dr. Yasir Qadhi is someone that believes that one's life should be judged by more than just academic degrees and scholastic accomplishments. Friends and foe alike acknowledge that one of his main weaknesses is ice-cream, which he seems to enjoy with a rather sinister passion. The highlight of his day is twirling his little girl (a.k.a. "my little princess") round and round in the air and watching her squeal with joy. A few tid-bits from his mundane life: Sh. Yasir has a Bachelors in Hadith and a Masters in Theology from Islamic University of Madinah, and a PhD in Islamic Studies from Yale University. He is an instructor and Dean of Academic Affairs at AlMaghrib, and the Resident Scholar of the Memphis Islamic Center.

136 Comments

136 Comments

  1. Avatar

    iMuslim

    November 30, 2009 at 5:24 AM

    I was really shocked to see the headlines on the news when I came home yesterday. I didn’t even know Switzerland had many Muslims. Why is it that I only learn that such-n-such a place has a significant Muslim population, after a reported incident of Islamophobia and/or terrorism? Not good.

    I really hate those campaign posters… Pure racism. More evidence that the human race is no more ‘enlightened’ than it was since first being established on the Earth. In fact, Adam ‘alayhis salam would wipe the floor with these guys, being rightly guided and a Prophet of Allah.

    Seriously, grow up Switzerland. You’re coming across as a bunch of babies right now… “Oooh minarets scare me! I want my mommy!”.

    Sigh.

    Are minarets even required on a masjid? I doubt the Swiss Muslims are allowed to make the athaan publically in such places, so what practical purpose would they serve? Sometimes we choose the absolutely wrong battles to fight, not thinking long term. It is more important to build modest masjids FULL STOP than to fight to add a traditional architectural feature.

    It is even more important to be on good term with our neighbours. Considering that the entire Earth is a masallah, we are not short on places to pray. What we are short of is neighbourly love and cooperation.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t assert ourselves, but if the neighbours of the original mosque project were offended by something as benign as a minaret, that should signal alarm bells to the Muslim community, and lead to the decision: “let’s talk to our neighbours, and address their fears”. Not: “let’s fight this in the courts, and risk the problem going national”.

    Maybe they did, and maybe their efforts failed… but making friends takes time. Again, is fighting to build minarets the right way to go?

    The whole issue has become farcical. It has made a mockery of the Muslim community, the Swiss nation, and their system of rule. There are no winners in this fight.

    • Avatar

      iMuslim

      November 30, 2009 at 5:37 AM

      I’m not sure what kind of Muslim that makes me… I just think there are more important things for Muslims to fight for, like social justice, and the right to pray at all. If this was a legal battle to build mosques, or wear hijab – i.e., matters fundamental to our deen – my response would be very different. Right now, I just think the minaret case is a waste of the court’s time.

      The only good this whole incident has served is to highlight how easy it is for a seemingly ‘neutral’ nation to turn on its own inhabitants in such a short space of time. It should be a wake up call for everyone. But I’m sure it’ll soon be forgotten with the next ‘big story’.

      • Avatar

        MW_M

        November 30, 2009 at 8:34 AM

        It’s not the minarets in and of themselves, it’s the clear message which this sends.

        “The most painful thing for us is not the ban on minarets, but the symbol sent by this vote. Muslims do not feel accepted as a religious community”

        Saying, “at least we can still pray, fast, etc.” is accepting being a second class citizen in a county which purports to give equal rights to all.

        • Avatar

          iMuslim

          November 30, 2009 at 8:46 AM

          I didn’t say that. I said: pick your battles wisely. It’s an age old proverb that the Prophet Muhammad, sallalau ‘alayhi wa salam, lived by, both during the Makkan and Medinian period. E.g., he had the power to fight and expel the hypocrites in Medina, but he chose not to, because he knew the wider negative impact of such a campaign. He could have restored the kab’a to its original foundations, but he knew the new Muslims of Makkah would not be able to handle it.

          Give up the minarets, and spend your time and money establishing meaningful change for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. That includes civil rights for all.

          And why does the argument over civil rights have to be about “take, take, take” anyway? Muslims cannot afford to be so focussed on themselves alone. That’s not what we’re about.

          Sacrifice for the greater good is part of what makes a people noble. And traditionally, Muslims have been the noblest in that regard. We’re proud of that aspect of our history.

          We can let the minarets fall, but we should never let that beautiful tradition crumble.

          • Avatar

            Swarth Moor

            November 30, 2009 at 11:05 AM

            iMuslim,

            i agree with what you are saying in principle: the battles need to be fought wisely. And as signficant as the “battles” is the need for Muslims to educate their non-Muslim neighbors about the Deen. One other point: you need to be careful with phrases like, “civil rights for all,” because that can mean all kinds of things (especially, in utterly secularized Western Europe), such as, two guys having the alleged “right” to get “married,” the legalization of marijuana (and other drugs), etc.

          • Avatar

            MW_M

            November 30, 2009 at 4:20 PM

            Exactly, my point is that this is an important issue, even though it seems trivial. The minarets are a symbol that Muslims have the same rights as everyone else. Once that is constitutionally\ demolished, it’s just downhill with one right after another being stripped away. This isn’t a trivial issue at all, and choosing a battle wisely means protesting against this with all of our effort.

      • Avatar

        Douglas Kelly

        December 1, 2009 at 12:34 AM

        Ameen!!!

    • Avatar

      Harsh

      November 30, 2009 at 3:47 PM

      I believe Muslim world is overreating to the issue without looking at what kind of laws exist in Islamic countries generally . Below are some examples :

      a) Saudi Arabia – No person can practice any religion other than Islam (forget building of Temples or Christanity.) Even if you make a temple within your house and police comes to know about it – it would be rmeoved.
      b) Maldives – No person other than a muslim can be a citizen of the country!!! (and this change was made in constitution in 2008!)
      c) Libya – Again curb on religious freedon – No person is allowed to convert a muslim however a non muslim needs to convert to Islam if he needs to marry a Muslim girl!!
      d) Afghanistan – Again if a Hindu or Christian wants to spread his religion – it is illegal to convert a Muslim.

      The list is long. Practically restrictions exist in many other Islamic countries like Pakistan/Indonesia/Iran etc..

      Should not Islamic world first address these laws before crying foul for a similiar law by Switzerland.

      • Avatar

        Dawud Israel

        November 30, 2009 at 5:27 PM

        Its about the Europeans holding to their standards for secularism they have professed- Muslims have made no real promise to any secularism in the countries you mentioned, so its a mute subject.

        • Avatar

          Umm Bilqis

          December 1, 2009 at 4:19 AM

          These are the standards of secularism, and it is kind of like shifting sand.

          You think you know the standard and then bump, you find out over 50% of the ‘human/civil rights’ oriented westerners have a new standard just for you!

          So we Muslims in the west have to learn how to dance the western dance.
          A pity since many have studied their standards just to see them tossed out, like garbage.

          That is why it is better to stand up for principles, because they can be a better basis for dealing with others. Do not support states, nations, tribes etc. Support Justice, fairness, decency, what is moral, and what is right. It is then easier to pin point the trouble makers.
          In regards to the minaret issue, it is perplexing and seems like another red herring issue.
          My solution is to calmly ask for fairness in the political backrooms and then change the issue of the protest to a worthier cause such as the death of 400 children in Gaza not even a year ago, mainly from white phosphorous or to any such atrocity.
          In essence draw the media attention to a worthier cause.

        • Avatar

          Hester

          December 31, 2009 at 12:09 AM

          Oh, so only those who profess to uphold secularism should be expected to allow the right to freely practice and express one’s religion? Very interesting.

  2. Avatar

    Muslim Apple

    November 30, 2009 at 6:13 AM

    Excellent article. I take this situation as a wakeup call for myself within my own community and spheres of influence that if my neighbors, friends, coworkers, classmates, and others are afraid of me or afraid of Islam that I have not lived the life of a Muslim to convey the message. Even though we will never be able to please everyone but if half on those concerned enough to vote feel comfortable passing measures like this or other ones, we haven’t done our job effectively.

  3. Avatar

    fa

    November 30, 2009 at 6:53 AM

    assalamu alaykum imuslim i dont think its a waste of time. it starts with minarets, then it will building of mosques, then hijab then right to pray, to be muslim.

    • Avatar

      iMuslim

      November 30, 2009 at 9:05 AM

      Wa ‘alaykum salam wa rahmatullah

      My point is, if Muslims stopped thinking so much about their own rights and freedoms, following the path of the individualistic societies that we inhabit, then maybe our neighbours would be helping us to build the mosques, with minarets that would put the Blue Mosque to shame.

      This issue points just as much towards the growing selfishness of our own community, as to the growing resentment of European society towards us.

      The case of the minaret ban has clearly become an important issue now it has reached the national stage. But it need not have reached this stage at all, if the initial problem had been resolved locally. In fact, bridges may have been built across communities, ensuring a more harmonious society.

      Please don’t think I don’t care for our masajid. Rather, I just want us to think past the issue of our own ‘rights’.

      Minarets are not fundamental to the deen; I’m not even sure they’re a part of it in a legalistic sense, i.e., a building could still be considered a masjid without one (please someone educate me if I’m wrong here).

      In that sense, we’re not fighting for Islam, but rather, fighting for the sake of attaining the illusionary status of equality in citizenship. We’re losing sight of the goal, IMO.

      There is so much more to say, but I feel that I am taking over this thread, so I’ll end with “Allah knows best”. I know that I certainly don’t. :)

  4. Avatar

    hUddi

    November 30, 2009 at 7:10 AM

    “And the disbelievers planned, but Allah planned. And Allah is the best of planners” (3:54).

  5. Avatar

    hUddi

    November 30, 2009 at 7:11 AM

    i agree with fa, good point

  6. Avatar

    Cass

    November 30, 2009 at 7:32 AM

    i’m swiss, i’m christian, and i’m gutted, disgusted, ashamed and very sorry. it’s not a day to be proud to be swiss. i don’t understand how so many people can be so stupid, intolerant and overanxious, and why they follow those ridiculous, false, fear-inducing arguments.

    • Avatar

      kareemah

      November 30, 2009 at 9:57 AM

      Dear Cass:

      Thank you for your heartfelt response. As an American and a Muslim, adults and children in our schools of all ages still study and reflect on parts of our painful American history of slavery and abuse to various populations throughout our history – native americans, and various European immigrant groups – such as with my own family’s ethnic origin, Irish, who were prevented jobs because of their Catholic faith, Chinese/Asian immigrants in the building of the west, Japanese Americans in WW II, and on to today.

      Perhaps you can help others to learn and reflect about the positive aspects of Islam such the five main pillars and the basic beliefs of Islam, and see the common prophetic history we share. Surely, the Muslims that strove with their time and money to build the mosques of Switzerland, intended this act for the pure worship of one God and to come together as a community to improve that worship and their society.

      The prescence of the Muslim community which values a healthy lifestyle for the body (no alcohol and drugs, modesty, relationships inside of marrige only and protection of the family unit) as well as a spiritual emphasis is an overlooked asset in Switzerland for which you and other like minded Christians can ally with to address societal issues that affect us all.

      Again thank you for your effort to speak up!

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      November 30, 2009 at 10:17 AM

      Cass,

      Thanks for your response.

      We should remember that this vote does not represent the Swiss people. Even if a majority of those who showed up voted FOR it, a large percentage of the population did not participate in this vote (45 % of the population). And we can assume that only those strongly motivated for such an issue would participate. Therefore, if the population of the entire country were to have voted, it is highly probable that the ban would not have passed.

      Yasir

      • Avatar

        Uthman

        November 30, 2009 at 1:36 PM

        JazakAllah khair Shaykh for the article and comments.

        For most of the muslims it is hard to talk to the other “group” of Muslims let alone participate with them on a unified platform. Its just hard to imagine aligning with someone who has a fundamental difference with you especially when that difference is theological. Maybe its the way we are raised. Maybe its the way we have learned the deen. My point is how does one overcome such negativity as one may call it. Living in the West with all these issues and bigotry popping up radically, how does one go about his/her daily life without saying to oneself, I must leave because I am not welcome here or should I just put up with it silently? If I don’t put up with silently and speak out I could get in more trouble and further escalate the situation then it already is. We are living the reality everyday in our lives.

        Time is of the essence. Never before have I witnessed such racism and hate mongering attitude towards Muslims then now. It is not only difficult living in Western lands but in some Muslim lands as well. One cannot live in a utopia as you mentioned. But with reality how does one cope. Paradoxically, how can we be committed to our religion without compromising our religion? How can we be socially relevant to our societies and communities while not going beyond what is required of us as a Muslim?

        In the last comment you mentioned that progressives and conservatives join hands. If by progressives you mean people like Dr. Amina Wadud then I don’t think many muslims will be up for it. Even though we share a common problem that we are solving but it will cause more arguments then solve the situation. If by progressives you mean people who want to engage in say media relations and having sound knowledge of the deen then how would we prepare such youth. The institutions to incubate such people are non-existent and then must be formed very aggressively. But will this be of help? Only time will tell. One thing is for certain we are no longer welcome in Europe as the foundations for anti-Islamic style of governance have been solidified and are now raising their ugly heads. And Allah Knows Best how they will culminate.

        All we can do is strive in this climate. Wallah u musta3an

    • Avatar

      nwhitman

      November 30, 2009 at 1:12 PM

      As an American Christian I was shocked to hear about this result. I want to insist that one should be careful about extrapolating from one off-year direct democracy vote in a small nation to some fatal incoherence in western civilization. Please don’t assume the worst about people’s views and intentions. I realize this is easy for me to say.

      Also, it honestly is true that this kind of ban could never happen these days in the USA.

  7. Avatar

    muslimengineer

    November 30, 2009 at 7:33 AM

    Mashallah great post ya Sheikh. May Allah bless you with more and more knowledge about all aspects of the deen – be it theological, practical, mobilizing people to do good etc. We all need to be positive in our approach in dealing with issues like these and to make sure we don’t spawn hatred amongst ourselves or amongst our non-believing neighbors.

    May Allah guide us to follow the Right Path. Aameen

  8. Avatar

    UmA

    November 30, 2009 at 7:43 AM

    Nice juxtaposition of the church steeple and minaret in the photo.

    Hijabs, beards, prayers all make us a very visible people: I think we just need to do better outreach, like the Muslim women who reached out to the Herouxville community in Quebec :

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2007/02/13/qc-herouxville20070213.html#skip300x250

  9. Avatar

    iMuslim

    November 30, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    Btw, before I leave, I think this is another good article on the subject, that is worth reading…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/nov/29/swiss-vote-ban-minarets-fear

    • Avatar

      Habeeb

      November 30, 2009 at 11:27 AM

      Assalam aleikum,

      after reading your comments above, and then skimming through Tariq Ramadan’s article, it seems that this is more to this than just minarets, allahualim.

      There are only four minarets in Switzerland, so why is it that it is there that this initiative has been launched? My country, like many in Europe, is facing a national reaction to the new visibility of European Muslims. The minarets are but a pretext – the UDC wanted first to launch a campaign against the traditional Islamic methods of slaughtering animals but were afraid of testing the sensitivity of Swiss Jews, and instead turned their sights on the minaret as a suitable symbol.

      UDC is the Union Démocratique du Centre, which urged people to vote yes to the referendum, according to Tariq Ramadan’s article.

  10. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    November 30, 2009 at 9:38 AM

    Thank you for your comment Cass.

    While I am skeptical of political and media activism, as we all know in these countries there are many people of good will who oppose such racist and anti-Muslim hatemongering. We should reach out to such people to form alliances for good and resist any reactionary temptation to label all Swiss or all Europeans or all Americans or all Christians with this or that attitude. It is not just and it is not true.

  11. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    November 30, 2009 at 9:52 AM

    Jazzak Allaahu Khayr for this post Shaykh.

    Of course the high degree of federalism present in the Swiss system is largely the result of a history of warfare between Catholics and Protestants. As we talk about ideas like “western freedoms” and “western ideals of freedom of religion” it is sometimes easy for us to lose sight of the real history of religion and politics in Europe or the “West.” Many of us as Muslims are not really aware of the complexity of that history and of its effects on today, and we resort to shorthand summaries that may not be accurate. This will undoubtedly be part of that general effort of the ummah to respond to contemporary challenges. Let us commit ourselves to doing that.

    Actually, a certain part of the skepticism I expressed above for political and media activism is what I often see as a process whereby aspects of complexity in the issues we face and of the societies in which we live are put through the grinder of activism and what comes out on the other end are often self-justifying cliches more than real well thought out solutions.

    I look forward to a good discussion on this piece inshAllaah. It is specifically the challenges that you raise in the conclusion of the post that I hope Muslim Matters can be a part of addressing. (To do so, I think we need to move more towards intellectual and academic understanding while resisting the urge to jump into activism..but I definitely agree that there may be truths and strengths in all the above approaches and we should keep the discussion going.)

  12. Avatar

    Kashif

    November 30, 2009 at 9:55 AM

    Sh. Yasir, jazakallahu khair for this article. You hit on many good points, but I am sorry to say that I find it to be lacking in substantive answers. I would consider myself to be in category #4 and the reason that this group of Muslims exists points to the failure of our leadership. I don’t mean you specifically by that, though i will illustrate using your comments.

    Many of us, being “religiously conservative” ALREADY know that “We need a sound basis of spirituality and true commitment to our faith…”. On the one hand you are saying that the old way is “simplistic” but on the other you give no clear alternative.

    “Medieval, simplistic notions of dar al-Islam and dar al-harb will have to be modified and updated in light of current socio-political realities”

    OK, but by whom? WHO is going to modify centuries of scholarship? Who is to decide what gets thrown out? How is it going to be decided? Many modernists have been calling for the above for years and call for outright secularism. Where do we draw the line? Who is going to draw the line? Are we moving toward a time where our religion is simply personal and restricted to the walls of the masjid?

    From someone such as yourself, who has significantly more Islamic training than many of the readers of this blog, I think we need a bit more detailed and direct solution. Instead we are hearing platitudes. You wrote:

    “we also need a healthy dose of reality, of real-life, pragmatic steps to take to ensure our rights to live as Muslims in Western lands.”

    Great! But WHAT are those pragmatic steps? As someone in the leadership, can you spell it out for us?

    “Our era, and in particular our situation as Western Muslims, does indeed present a unique set of problems and an unusual set of circumstances that we are forced to deal with”

    Again, you ask the obvious questions that everyone knows, but provide no answers?

    Rather than speak in platitudes, the scholars and religious leaders must lead and provide clarity. Isn’t that the reason they studied the Islamic sciences?

    And finally, you write:

    “All that we can do is strive in whatever capacity we can for a better world, and the more we strive to make this world a better place, the better Allah will make this world and the next for us.”

    As you know Shaykh, in order for a deed to be accepted by our Lord, we must not only have pure intentions, but it must be upon the Sunnah of the Messenger sallallahu alaihi wa sallam. It is not good enough for us to just “make the world a better place”. What are we calling a “better place”. And in this “better place”, what sets Islam apart from all other religions? Is it feel good stuff like food drives which everyone agrees is good yet at the same time is accompanied by an abandonment of our principles? Please be clear Shaykh.

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      November 30, 2009 at 10:07 AM

      Salaam Alaikum

      You’re absolutely correct Kashif.

      And I’m afraid that no one scholar can or even should decide this for us. The classification of lands (into two, three, four or more), and many of the fiqh rulings that are applicable to each, is something that is not explicitly mentioned in the Sacred Texts. Rather, it was a classification that medieval scholars derived based upon their circumstances. One of the theological premises that militant groups use to justify their actions is their direct importation of quotes and rulings from these medieval textbooks in order to apply in our times. But the world has radically changed, and it is no longer feasible or even realistic to call a Western land ‘dar al-harb’.

      Also, answers to your questions will be very specific to the one asking them. What *you* can do might be very different than what other Muslims of your masjid can do.

      Lastly, one of the points that I mentioned in the article was that its about time Muslims realize that scholars, duaats, and preachers are not the sole source of guidance in such matters. For sure, it is such authorities who will provide general guidelines of what is allowed and what isn’t. But we also need help from experts in other fields. Scholars of the Islamic tradition are simply not the most knowledgeable authorities when it comes to, say, media relations.

      What needs to happen is a discussion amongst many different types of Muslims. For this battle, ‘conservatives’ and ‘progressives’ do need to join hands and see what each has to offer. Perhaps one of the positives of such racism and bigotry will be a little more cooperation amongst different groups of Muslims, because in the end of the day, we’re all in this together.

      Yasir

      • Avatar

        Douglas Kelly

        December 1, 2009 at 12:45 AM

        My sentiments exactly, Shaykh! I believe that this, like any other crisis in our community anywhere around the world, is a test from Allah (swt). A test of our capacity to come together as one Ummah, united in belief.

        Allah (swt) knows best.

      • Avatar

        MUA

        December 1, 2009 at 12:03 PM

        In regards to the discussion on dar al-harb/dar al-Islam. I can understand how this model is not applicable to our reality today. But being perfectly consistent, I think you would also have to acknowledge that Muslim-majority lands cannot be considered dar al-Islam just as you maintain Western lands cannot aptly be described as dar al-harb. The bigger question, which is usually overlooked, is whether that original model was the result of scholarship not simply ascertaining the medieval reality they lived in, but rather was grounded in the normative traditions and sources. I think it’s absurd to argue that Mawardi, Shaybani, Ghazzali, Juwayni, Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Qayim were simply using that term to describe the reality around them, rather they constructed the model based on what they could ascertain as God’s command and law from the sources of sharia and then descriptively applied it to the condition in which they lived which was in consonnance with their normative views (at least in terms of this general dichotomy), so it had real meaning. The question for us is whether self-determination as implied in that model is a necessary condition for us to live Islam and express Islam on our terms. For those who keep insisting on replacing this model with something else (a call originally promulgated by orientalists), for the 100+ years this call has been made, we have yet to see an alternative model, even in a basic form. It seems to me this is an exercise in futility.

      • Avatar

        abu Rumay-s.a.

        December 3, 2009 at 1:33 PM

        Respected Shaikh:
        Thanks for the article. While experts are needed in technological and scientific fields, isnt this issue directly related to the issues of the deen? Aren’t the scholars who are more in tune with current affairs (and laws of that country) responsible to advise the Muslims in such cases… I mean the prophet let the companions choose the affairs of their agriculture, but how about in other instances relating to the religion and living in other lands? From my limited knowledge, I recall that once he taught the leaders of a certain tribe or people, they would go back and serve as leaders of their respective communities and would make decesions based on their knowledge and they would seek the prophet’s counsel otherwise…?? Please correct me if I am wrong…do you think what would be applicable in these circumstances?

        Second, I would definetly agree that discussions have to take place with other Muslim groups, I would even extend that to the “objective” non-Muslim groups. Here, wouldnt it be prudent for orgs such as CAIR, ISNA to take the lead since they are essentially leading in this field with knowledge in both spheres. I don’t know what benefit would come out of calling out to the “progressives” since their agenda is in a totally opposite direction..I think events such as the Doha debates suffices the outreach to those groups..(smile)…??

        Allah ta`ala knows best…

  13. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    November 30, 2009 at 9:57 AM

    It is good to see that the Catholic Church has reaffirmed its opposition to this ban.

    The largest religious group in Switzerland (42 percent according to wikipedia) is Roman Catholic.

  14. Avatar

    Swarth Moor

    November 30, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Just a general point regarding semantics:

    Being anti-Islam/anti-Muslim is not RACIST. It is an example of religious BIGOTRY. The article itself says that the majority of the Muslims in Switzerland are themselves EUROPEAN (and “white”). Islam is, afterall, not a race based doctrine. Believing in the Creator properly and believing in ALL the Prophets is not a matter related to ethnicity, race, or national origin, per se. Posing this as a “racial” issue is only going to all the more put (some) xenophobic Europeans on the defensive. However, explaining to non-Muslim Europeans that Islam is ANTI-RACIST/ANTI-ETHNOSUPREMACIST (unlike, Judaism, for instance) may actually be a useful point to make in da`wah (although, it would probably be prudent to leave the Jewish part out–or else you might find yourself in jail for commiting an alleged hate crime).

  15. Avatar

    greentea

    November 30, 2009 at 11:40 AM

    May be the politicians got a fatwa blessing from Al Azhar before starting such a malefic campaign.

    I wonder what if anything will the new EU president say on this matter.

  16. Avatar

    hayat

    November 30, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    aselamu alikum all
    leaving in switzerland i felt so sad about this , any way machalahu kan, it is not only about minrat it is about the post i mean the advertise every morninig going to work or school looking this picture made me sick while whearing hijjab and passing by that post was hard. and inchalla tomorrow we will have Demonstration at 17 ocloc. and the hole story is not about mesjed they are scar because of muslim population in swiss the fastest growing religun in swiss lots of suiss became converted in daily bases i can see them at mosqe and the government afraid of that and provoc muslim so that they want us to be afraid but no matter how long is night day will come and who can imagen there will be black presdent in whit house so and for future belive it there will be mulsim poleticain and everything will change by allha power. it is dunya any way. may allha make muslims happy hear after. this life is our exam pain and suffering .
    Suite au résultat de la votation contre la construction des minarets, le MLCR vous invite à la qui débutera à l’esplanade de la Cathédrale de Lausanne et qui se terminera devant la Mosquée. Cette manifestation aura lieu:

    allhau aelem

    Mardi 1er décembre 2009 à 17 heures 30

    • Avatar

      Umme Ammaarah

      November 30, 2009 at 1:08 PM

      walaikum-assalaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu…

      may Allah make it easier for us all to practise our deen and keep us steadfast. May Allah Ta’Ala give strength and hope to all our Swiss muslim brothers and sisters and guide everyone to the straight path.

  17. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    November 30, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    Swarth Moor,

    Anti-Islamic or anti-Muslim prejudice can be a form of racism if it arises out of or coincides with an association in the minds of the prejudiced people of Islam with a different “race” or with foreignness or otherness of some kind.

    The whole concept of race is a socal construct anyways which will change over time and from place to place.

    Of course Islam is not a race based worldview and it is good to point this out if people are somehow misinformed about this.

    • Avatar

      Swarth Moor

      November 30, 2009 at 8:41 PM

      Abu Noor,

      I am not trying to nitpick but the article said that most of the Muslims in Switzerland are themselves [white] Europeans. Hence, there is no justification to call it “racial” discrimination, unless Eastern Europeans belong to another “race.” I’m with you on the fluidity of race/identity, but i think it is important to flesh these issues out for non-Muslims. You had, for instance, in the Balkans, what the media called “ethnic cleansing” against the Muslims there. But again, Islam is not like Judaism–it is not a religion based upon ethnic/racial identity. A Serb can be a Muslim as readily as a Somali or a Moroccan. Likewise, the media portrays the carnage in Sudan as “Arab” versus “black African.” You have many ignorant Americans thinking that folks who look like Saddam Hussein and Abdullah II (of Jordan) are invading and attacking helpless black folks in Africa. The reality is that EVERYONE (practically speaking) in Sudan is “black”–by Western standards–afterall, that’s the meaning of the nation’s name.

      I think it is important that Muslims attack European notions of race–and show how frivolous they often are. It can be very important for da`wah (shoot, we still have to explain to these Fox watching citizens of the idiocracy that Islam is not an “Arab” religion–or for some a “black” religion). And it can also be cathartic for Muslims, for many of us are carrying around all sorts of racist/tribalist junk in our hearts.

      With Allah is the success.

  18. Avatar

    Umme Ammaarah

    November 30, 2009 at 1:22 PM

    assalamu-alaikum Sheikh Yasir… JazakAllahu khair for the wonderful article.

    Everyone who’s scared of ‘izlamists/mozlems’ uses whatever means they have to suppress/repress any and all activities, symbols associated with Islam. Ofcourse this partly stems from their ignorance of what Islam is all about. Ofcourse it is our duty to increase our Da’wah work, but do you think it can be justified in such cases to boycott them economically? Do you think it would be a means to show our solidarity and send across the message that we’re not going to take everything lying down? Do you think it could perhaps be a non-violent means of protest from our side, maybe something like Gandhi’s Dandi Salt March? Or would it serve to further alienate our muslim brothers and sisters already at the receiving end of this bigotry? I know you’re not going to call for a boycott/such, but can we have a discussion about the ways in which it would be fruitful to respond in such cases?

    I agree with iMuslim that maybe this shouldn’t be our biggest concern and take heart in the fact that it was ONLY 52% of the people that actually voted, but then it could just be the first domino.

  19. Pingback: Indigo Jo Blogs — The Swiss minaret law and its implications

  20. Avatar

    hUddi

    November 30, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    They allow similar structures to be built for churches and synagogues I assume, correct?

  21. Avatar

    hUddi

    November 30, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    Does this ruling apply to those too (prob. not I assume)?

  22. Avatar

    Huddi

    November 30, 2009 at 3:49 PM

    ps: I love the Islamic Relief banner on top, with the two minarets, LOL, I’m actually wearing an Islamic Relief shirt right now, randomly.

  23. Avatar

    Jeff

    November 30, 2009 at 4:08 PM

    I was astonished when I heard this on the news. Today I have been reading about it on many different websites and what astonishes me even more is the hatred and bigotry directed towards Muslims from all the people commenting on the story. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, the western media has done an admirable job of poisoning people’s minds against Islam.
    I am ashamed to say I may even have felt the same way if something hadn’t happened to me two years ago. I met an actual Muslim. Since then I have made many Muslim friends. I may not agree with all aspects of Islam, but all the Muslims I have met are kind, decent, hardworking people.
    This new law is an affront to any Western country that preaches freedom of religion.
    People are pointing out that Saudia Arabia doesnt allow churches as an excuse for this law. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think Saudia Arabia is a democracy. Do Western countries want to be like Saudia Arabia?
    I was recently in Turkey. There are many churches and temples there. And for the most part Christians and Muslims live peaceably side by side.
    The Swiss have lost my respect. I hope the good people there wake up and take care of this injustice.

    • Avatar

      masmanz

      November 30, 2009 at 7:51 PM

      Thanks for your post Jeff, I too am disgusted by this vote and you are right about the contribution of the media to this atmosphere of anti-Muslim bigotry. I looked at many blogs and was surprised to see so many people cheering the decision. It is regretable that the era of religious freedom and tolerance in the West is apparently coming to an end. Those responsible for spreading the bigotry will soon regret the unintented consequence when they themselves will become a target of the monstor they have created.

  24. Avatar

    Muhammad

    November 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Many good points made by Sh. Yasir. However, I will disagree with his premise, unsupported by evidence, that there is no dar al-islam or dar al-harb today. The hatred that disbelievers have for Islam is mentioned repeatedly in the Quran, as Sh Yasir is well-aware of. Hence, to call these issues medieval and simplistic notions is downright misleading, if not intellectual dishonesty.

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      November 30, 2009 at 4:56 PM

      Salam

      Muhammad, are you aware of the fiqh rulings pertaining to Dar al-Harb? I think you are mixing apples and oranges.

      Dar al-harb is not defined by the hatred of a people to Islam. Yes, that hatred exists. Yes, the Quran mentions that groups of non-Muslims will always hate Islam.

      However, I am stating that many of the rulings that we find in medieval text-books pertaining to ‘dar al-harb’ cannot be applied in Switzerland, America and England. If you studied some of those rulings, I’m sure you would concur.

      Insha Allah I plan to write an article regarding the types of lands from an Islamic perspective. Many modern scholars are calling for a re-evaluation of the classical and medieval categorization.

      This is not a call to reevaluate everything. If you listen to my talks, you’ll know that I have critiqued ‘progressive Islam’ many times. Some things need reevaluation, others don’t. Anything clearly found in the Quran and Sunnah is obviously sacred. Human interpretation, especially an interpretation based upon geopolitical realities, is not.

      Yasir

  25. Avatar

    U.K

    November 30, 2009 at 5:44 PM

    Salam,

    1. What is the criteria for judging a certain geographical area to be a ‘Land of Islam’, in the Islamic traditional/classic sense?
    2. Based on these criteria, how can we assess a certain country (the UK, U.S as examples here) to being close to a ‘Land of Islam’?

    Classic Definitions

    I carried out a survey on the concept of the ‘Land of Islam’ (dar al-islam) in a large number of classic and contemporary sources of the Islamic law known to us today, which includes various Sunni, Shia, and Ibadi Schools of Law. The results of the survey reveal some interesting facts and popular misconceptions.

    First of all, the two current popular criteria that define whether or not a country is ‘Islamic’ or part of the ‘Land of Islam’ are not supported by any school of Islamic law!

    The first criteria is ‘having a 50% +1 majority of Muslims’, regardless of whether the constitution states that it is a ‘secular country’, such as Turkey and Malaysia, whether the head of state is non-Muslim, such as Lebanon, or whether the Islamic rituals and acts of worship are not generally practiced, such as a number of former Soviet Union States. In fact, classic judicial sources clearly state that the issue of Muslims being a majority or a minority in a certain country is irrelevant to a land being a ‘Land of Islam’, and some other criteria are suggested instead.[1]

    The other popular criteria, which was recently applied to a rural region of tribal Pakistan in an attempt to get it out of the ‘Land of War’ zone (!), is the application of the ‘Islamic’ criminal law (or hudud). However, I also did not find any explicit mention in any school of law that relates the ‘Islamicity of a state’ or the concept of the ‘Land of Islam’ specifically to the hudud.

    The question now is: What are the classic criteria for a ‘Land of Islam’?

    The results of the survey could be summarised in the following five criteria.

    1. A land where Islamic rules (ahkam al-islam) apply.[2]
    2. A land where a Muslim ruler has control (isteela’) over its affairs.[3]
    3. A land of security (al-amn).[4]
    4. A land where the practicing of public acts of worship (sha`a’ir al-islam) is allowed.[5]
    5. A ‘Land of Justice’ (dar al-`adl).[6]

    The following is a brief analysis of each of these concepts and their implications.

    The ‘Land of Islamic Rulings’

    A popular definition of the Land of Islam in classic sources is, ‘the land where the Islamic rulings apply’.[7] The question is: What are these ‘Islamic rulings’?

    I have detailed elsewhere[8] that a statute could be labelled ‘Islamic’ if it has two conditions:

    1. The legal philosophy and purpose is to achieve the purpose and higher objectives of the Islamic Law (maqasid al-shari`ah) such as justice, freedom of choice, orderliness, and the preservation of faith/religion, soul/life, lineage/family, mind/intellect, dignity/honour, and wealth/ property.[9]

    2. Statutes shall not go against any fixed Islamic ruling. Defining what is ‘fixed’ and what is ‘variable’ is a complex question that I also attempted to answer elsewhere.[10]

    But in any case, given that the concept of law, in the qanun (legal statutes) sense, was not known in the Muslim-majority countries until late nineteenth century,[11] it is safe to assume that the ‘application of the Shariah in the legal system’, or ‘Shariah-compliant laws’, were definitely not part of the ‘Land of Islam’ classic interpretation. These concepts have a ‘post-colonial’ context, the analysis of which is beyond the scope of this article.

    Thus, the ‘Islamic ruling’ (ahkam al-islam) were explained in several other senses, which the rest of this article will attempt to explain.

    The ‘Land of a Muslim Ruler’

    To have a Muslim ruler in ‘control’ (isteela’) over the affairs of a certain land is a criterion that some classic and contemporary scholars used for judging that a certain land is indeed a ‘Land of Islam’.[12] Al-Mawardi, for example, explicitly mentions that ‘when Muslims reside in and control a certain land, it becomes a Land of Islam’.[13]

    However, this criterion is subject to a number of conditions to be valid, prime of which is the ability of Muslims to practice their religious obligations, a public feeling of security, and the application of justice. A Muslim ruler who fails to observe or work towards these obligations jeopardises the status of ‘Land of Islam’ of his jurisdiction. Sheikh Rashid Reda summarizes related opinions as follows:

    Indeed, many countries that are governed by Muslim leaders are countries where one is forced against practicing his/her religion and cannot reveal everything he/she believes in or fulfils his/her practical Islamic obligations, especially enjoying good, forbidden evil, and the ability to criticise rulings that go against the Law. This land, according to some scholars, is a ‘Land of War’.

    Thus, the existence of enough security and freedom to allow Muslims to practice religion is, juridically speaking, more essential than the religion of the ruler.

    The ‘Land of Security’

    In fact, a number of Imams stated that security is the purpose (maqsud) of the Land of Islam versus Land of War classification, to start with, and not ‘Islam’ versus ‘non-Islam’ per se.

    For example, Imam Abu Hanifa states:

    The purpose (maqsud) of calling a certain land a ‘Land of Islam’ or a ‘land of disbelief (kufr)’ is not Islam versus kufr. It is security versus insecurity.[14]

    Mecca itself – according to Imam al-Bayhaqi for example – became a ‘Land of Islam’ after its ‘conquest’ only because of its newly found sense of security. He writes:

    Mecca became a ‘Land of Islam’ and ‘land of security’ after its conquest because no one there was forced against his/her religion. Any other land is likewise if it acquires the same kind of security.[15]

    It is clear from the classic definitions too that security itself is means to the end of freedom to practice the Islamic ‘public acts of worship’ (Arabic: sha`a’ir al-islam). Several scholars mentioned that a Muslims who have enough security and freedom to practice sha`a’ir al-islam actually live in a ‘Land of Islam’, even if they were minority. Al-Qummi Al-Naisaburi explains:

    Muslims, even a minority, are prevailing over non-Muslims, even if they were a majority, if they are not prevented from practicing the public Islamic acts of worship (sha`a’ir al-islam).[16]

    The next section elaborates on the Islamic public acts of worship, which appear to form a more basic criterion for judging a land to be a ‘Land of Islam’.

    The ‘Land of Freedom to practice Islam’

    The majority of scholars and schools of Islamic law find this criterion to be the ‘true sign’ for a land to be a ‘Land of Islam’. Many of them refer to prophetic traditions that are interpreted to mean just that, such as related prophetic sayings about the importance of certain identifying acts, such as group prayers in the mosque, the call for prayer (azan), pilgrimage, the celebration of Eid,and so on. Al-Mawardi writes:

    The public acts of worship (sha`a’ir) of Islam such as group prayers in mosques and call for prayers are the criteria by which the Prophet, peace be upon him, differentiated between the Land of Islam and the Land of Disbelief. [17]

    Al-Razi writes:

    If the Islamic acts of worship are evident in streets and public places, this certainly entails that Islam is dominant.[18]

    Ibn Taymiyah writes:

    The public acts of worship (sh`a’ir) of Islam are the true signs that a certain land is a Land of Islam.[19]

    The ‘public acts of worship’ are defined to include a variety of Islamic rituals, such as the five prayers,[20] fasting in Ramadan,[21] giving zakah charity,[22] pilgrimage,[23] ablution,[24] Eid prayers,[25] reading the Quran,[26] sacrificing animals to feed the poor,[27] building mosques,[28] greeting people with ‘peace be upon you’,[29] and charitable endowments (awaqaf).[30]

    But if we – objectively – assess various countries around the world based on Muslims’ freedom to practice the above specific Islamic acts of worship, and create some sort of ‘index’ for them, we will quickly realise that many European countries – including the UK – would score perhaps much higher than many Muslim-majority countries in that index.

    The ‘Land of Justice’

    This criterion, the achievement of justice, is so central in the Islamic in the Islamic concept of ‘Land of Islam’ to the extent that the ‘land of justice’ term interchangeably with the ‘Land of Islam’ term in numerous sources. [31]

    Justice is the basis of all of the above criteria, according to Islamic jurists, and hence more fundamental in the Islamic principles and purposes. Thus, an ‘Islamic leadership’ that is not based on justice and is based on ‘ethnic solidarity’ (‘asabiyyah) does not constitute a valid condition for the ‘Land of Islam’. Rashid Reda, for example, writes:

    The land of justice, which is the Land of Islam, is a land that has a true leader who establishes justice. This is contrary to the ‘land of injustice and aggression’, in which governorship is based on some Muslims’ ‘ethnic solidarity’ (`asabiyyah), regardless of the establishment of the Islamic rulings.[32]

    Al-Mawardi also stresses the importance of ‘competence’ and a ‘good character’ of the leader in the ‘Land of Justice’. He writes:

    People who are qualified to make decisions in the Land of Justice should choose a leader who possesses a good character and competent.[33]

    Ibn Taymiyah holds the ‘achievement of justice’ in a state as most fundamental and deserving of God’s support, even for a ‘nation of disbelievers’. He writes:

    In this life, people’s situations uphold when justice prevails in their society even if they fall into various kinds of sins. However, people’s situations do not uphold when injustice and lack of rights prevail in their society. That is why the saying goes: God upholds a state established on justice, even if it were a nation of disbelievers, and would not uphold a state established on injustice, even if it were a nation of Muslims. The other saying goes: This world lives with justice and disbelief, and does not live with injustice and Islam. The Prophet, peace be upon him, had said: ‘No sin has a faster Divine punishment than the sin of injustice …’. Thus, people of injustice fail in this life, even if they were to be forgiven in the hereafter. This is because justice is the universal law of things.[34]

    Discussion

    The ‘Land of Islam’ versus the ‘Land of War/Disbelief’, ‘good ruler’ versus ‘evil ruler’, ‘security’ versus ‘insecurity’, ‘freedom in practicing Islam’ versus ‘no freedom in practicing Islam’, and ‘justice’ versus ‘injustice’, are all false dichotomies!

    All of the above black-and-white classifications of the world are almost never true, and a more realistic and ‘logical’ classification looks at not only the gray levels in between the black and white extremes, but various colours as well. In other words, the achievement of all the above criteria especially the three most fundamental, namely, security, freedom of practicing religion, and justice is relative, whether in Muslim-majority or Muslim-minority societies.

    Thus, and regardless of popular opinions, the country that is juridically worthy of being a ‘Land of Islam’, ‘Land of Security’, or ‘Land of Justice’ is the country that achieves a relatively high score on the criteria that are detailed above.

    The above judgement obviously requires a comprehensive and realistic survey of various countries in order to create a ‘ranking’ of some sort. However, being in the context of UK, a rough but very reasonable assessment of how the UK meets all of the above criteria gives it a relatively high score on the ‘Land of Islam’ scale!

    [1] For example: Al-Qummi Al-Naisaburi, Nizamuddin (d. 728 h). Tafsir Ghara’ib al-Qur’an, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1996, vol.3, p.459, and Al-Bayhaqi, Ahmad Ibn Al-Hussein (d. 458 h). Sunan al-Bayhaqi al-Kubra, Dar al-Bazz, Mecca, 1994, vol.9, p.16.
    [2] For example: Ibn Al-Qayyim, Shamsuddin (d. 751 h). Ahkam Ahl al-Dhimmah, Ramady/Ibn Hazm, Beirut, 1997, vol.2, p.728, Reda, Rashid. Fatawa, Compiled by: Salahuddin Al-Munajjid and Yusuf Khouri, Dar al-Kitab-al-Jadeed, Beirut, 1390 h, Al-Qummi Al-Naisaburi, Tafsir Ghara’ib al-Qur’an, vol.3, p.459, Al-Sarakhsi, Shamsuddin (d. 483 h). Dar Al-Marifa, Beirut, without date, vol.9, p. 182, and Al-Yunini, Qutbuddin (d. 726 h). Dhail Mir’at al-Zaman, Al-Turath, Amman, without date, vol.2, p.58.
    [3] For example: Al-Mawardi, Ali Ibn Mohammad (d. 450 h) Al-Hawi al-Kabeer fi Fiqh Madhab al-Imam al-Shafie, Dar al-Kutub, Beirut, 1999, vol.14, p.267, Reda, Fatawa, Reda, Rashid. Al-Khilafah, Al-Zahraa, Cairo, without date, p.50, Al-Mawardi, Ali Ibn Mohammad (d. 450 h). Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyah wal-Wilayat al-Diniyah, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1985, vol..1, p.22, Al-Mawsili, Abdullah (d. 683 h). Al-Ikhtiyan, Dar al-Kutub Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 2005, vol.4, p.178, and Al-Qummi Al-Naisaburi, vol.3, p.459.
    [4] For example: Al-Bayhaqi, vol.9, p.16, Al-Kasani, Alauddin(d. 587 h). Bada’i` al-Sana’i` fi Tartib al-Shara’i`, Dar al-Kitab al-`Arabi, Beirut, 1982, vol.7, p.131, Al-Sarakhsi, vol.9, p. 182.
    [5] For example: Ibn Taymiyah, Ahmad (d. 728 h). Al-Nubuwat, Al-Matba`ah Al-Salafiyah, Cairo, 1386 h, vol.1, p.197, Al-Razi, Mohammad Ibn Omar (d. 606 h). Al-Mahsul, Jamiat Al-Imam, Riyad, 1400 h, vol.4. p.43, Al-Mawardi, Ali Ibn Mohammad (d. 450 h). Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyah wal-Wilayat al-Diniyah, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1985, vol..1, p.275, Al-Nasa’i, Ahmad, (d. 303 h). Al-Jum`ah, Al-Turath, Amman, without date, p.10, Al-Kalabadhi Al-Bukhari, Abu-Bakr (d. 384 h). Bahr al-Fawa’id, Dar Al-Kutub Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1999, vol.1, p.130, Al-Mawardi, Ali Ibn Mohammad (d. 450 h) Al-Hawi al-Kabeer fi Fiqh Madhab al-Imam al-Shafie, Dar al-Kutub, Beirut, 1999, vol.2, p.48, Ibn Al-Arabi, Abu BAkr (d 543 h). Ahkam al-Quran, Dar al-Fikr, Lebanon, vol.1, p.368, Ibn Al-Arabi, Abu BAkr (d 543 h). Ahkam al-Quran, Dar al-Fikr, Lebanon, vol.1, p.530, Al-Kasani, Alauddin(d. 587 h). Bada’i` al-Sana’i` fi Tartib al-Shara’i`, Dar al-Kitab al-`Arabi, Beirut, 1982, vol.7, p.113, Al-Razi, Mohammad Ibn Omar (d. 604 h). Al-Tafsir Al-Kabeer, Dar Al-Kutub Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, vol.32, p.108, Al-Mawsili, Abdullah (d. 683 h). Al-Ikhtiyan, Dar al-Kutub Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 2005, vol.4, p.178, Al-Yunini, Qutbuddin (d. 726 h). Dhail Mir’at al-Zaman, Al-Turath, Amman, without date, vol.2, p.58, Ibn Taymiyah, Ahmad (d. 728 h). Kutub wa Rasa’il wa Fatawa, Maktabat Ibn Taymiyah, without date, vol.23, p.146, and Ibn Taymiyah, Kutub wa Rasa’il wa Fatawa, Maktabat Ibn Taymiyah, vol.28, p.408.
    [6] For example: Ibn Taymiyah, Ahmad (d. 728 h). Kutub wa Rasa’il wa Fatawa, Maktabat Ibn Taymiyah, without date, vol.28, p.146, Reda, Al-Khilafah, p.50, 62, Al-Mawardi, Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyah, vol.1, p.22, Al-Sarakhsi, Shamsuddin (d. 483 h). Al-Usul, Dar Al-Marifa, Beirut, without date, vol.9, p. 182, Al-Kasani, Alauddin(d. 587 h). Bada’i` al-Sana’i` fi Tartib al-Shara’i`, Dar al-Kitab al-`Arabi, Beirut, 1982, vol.7, p.80, Ibn Qudamah, Abdullah Al-Maqdisi (d. 620 h). Al-Mughni fi Fiqh al-Imam Ahmad, Dar Al-Fikr, Beirut, 1405 h, vol.9, p.14, Al-Nawawi, Muhammad (d. 676 h). Rawdat al-Talibin wa `Umdat al-Muftim, Al-Maktab Al-Islami, Beirut, 1405 h, vol.10, p.49, Al-Zar`i, Mohmmad Ibn Abu Bakr (d. 751h). Al-Jawab al-Kafi Liman Sa`al `an al-Dawa’ al-Shafi, Dar al-Kutub Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1405 h, vol.1, p.101, Ibn Abidin, Mohammad (d. 1252 h). Hashiyat Raddul-Mukhtar, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 2000, vol.4, p.45, Al-Alusi, Shihabuddin (d 1270 h). Ruh al-Ma`ani fi Tafsir al-Quran al-`Adheem, Dar Ihyaa al-Turath al-`Arabi, Beirut, without date, vol.18, p.91, Nizam, al-Sheikh. Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyah, Dar al-Fikr, 1991, vol.2, p.179, Reda, Rashid. Al-Khilafah, Al-Zahraa, Cairo, without date, p.50.
    [7] For example: ref 1, 4, 5, 12, 32. Ibn Al-Qayyim, Ahkam Ahl al-Dhimmah, vol.2, p.728, Reda, Fatawa, Al-Qummi Al-Naisaburi, vol.3, p.459, Al-Sarakhsi, vol.9, p. 182, and Al-Yunini, Dhail Mir’at al-Zaman, vol.2, p.58.
    [8] J. Auda, ‘What is a ‘Shariah-compliant’ law?’, The Islamic law and its Application Seminar, Doha Legal Forum, May 29-31, 2009, Qatar.
    [9] J. Auda, Maqasid al-Shariah as Philosophy of Islamic Law: A Systems Approach, International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), London, 2008.
    [10] J. Auda, Fiqh al-Maqasid, International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Virginia, 2006.
    [11] Rashid Reda, ‘Mujmal Al-Ahwal Al-Siyasiyah,’ al-˒Urwah al-Wuthqa, Feb. 29th, 1898 CE.
    [12] For example: Al-Mawardi, Al-Hawi al-Kabeer, vol.14, p.267, Reda, Fatawa, Al-Qummi Al-Naisaburi, vol.3, p.459, and Al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Bayhaqi, vol.9, p.16.
    [13] Al-Mawardi, Al-Hawi al-Kabeer, vol.14, p.267.
    [14] Al-Kasani, Bada’i` al-Sana’i`, vol.7, p.131.
    [15] Al-Bayhaqi, Sunan al-Bayhaqi, vol.9, p.16.
    [16] Al-Qummi Al-Naisaburi, Tafsir Ghara’ib al-Qur’an, vol.3, p.459.
    [17] Al-Mawardi, Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyah, vol.1, p.275.
    [18] Al-Razi, Al-Mahsul, vol.4, p.43.
    [19] Ibn Taymiyah, Al-Nubuwat, vol.1, p.197.
    [20] Al-Mawardi, Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyah, vol.1, p.275, Ibn Al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Quran, vol.1, p.368, 530, Al-Razi, Al-Tafsir, vol.32, p.108, and Ibn Taymiyah, Kutub wa Rasa’il, vol.28, p.408.
    [21] Ibn Al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Quran, vol.1, p.530.
    [22] Al-Razi, Al-Tafsir, vol.32, p.108.
    [23] Al-Kalabadhi Al-Bukhari, Bahr al-Fawa’id, vol.1, p.130.
    [24] Ibid.
    [25] Al-Mawardi, Al-Hawi al-Kabeer, vol.2, p.48.
    [26] Ibn Al-Arabi, Ahkam al-Quran, vol.1, p.368, and Ibn Taymiyah, Kutub wa Rasa’il, vol.28, p.408.
    [27] Ibid., vol.23, p.146.
    [28] Ibid., vol.28, p.408, and Al-Yunini, Dhail Mir’at al-Zaman, vol.2, p.58.
    [29] Al-Kasani, Bada’i` al-Sana’i`, vol.7, p.113.
    [30] Al-Yunini, Dhail Mir’at al-Zaman, vol.2, p.58.
    [31] For example: Ibn Taymiyah, Kutub wa Rasa’il, vol.28, p.146, Reda, Al-Khilafah, p.50, 62, Al-Mawardi, Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyah, vol.1, p.22, Al-Sarakhsi, al-Usul, vol.9, p. 182, Al-Kasani, Bada’i` al-Sana’i`, vol.7, p.80, Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, vol.9, p.14, Al-Nawawi, Rawdat al-Talibin, vol.10, p.49, Al-Zar`i, Al-Jawab al-Kafi, vol.1, p.101, Ibn Abidin, Hashiyat Raddul-Mukhtar, vol.4, p.45, Al-Alusi, Ruh al-Ma`ani, vol.18, p.91, Nizam, Al-Fatawa al-Hindiyah, vol.2, p.179, and Reda, Al-Khilafah, p.50.
    [32] Reda, Ibid.
    [33] Al-Mawardi, Ibid.
    [34] Ibn Taymiyah, Ibid.

    • Avatar

      Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

      November 30, 2009 at 6:20 PM

      You should indicate the author of this. Is it Jasser Auda?

    • Avatar

      radiant-path

      December 2, 2009 at 6:06 AM

      Who is the author of this article ?

  26. Avatar

    Dawud Israel

    November 30, 2009 at 5:49 PM

    So I take it they’ll be tearing down those mosques soon? I wonder what the attendance rate at the mosques in Switzerland is…maybe we’ve lost those buildings because of our “empty mosque” phenomenon?

    Emir Abdul-Qadir al-Jazairi said: In tansurallah yansurukum- If you give victory to God, He’ll give victory to you.
    And he also stated the reverse applies- if you forsake God, He will manifest Himself as One who forsakes you (khadhil).

    Great piece Shaykh Yasir. I would like to see you push your fellow AlMaghrib instructors as well as the other teachers to dive into non-religious non-fiction books more. Many times, the teachers come off as clueless, illiterate and uneducated with how the world works. Encourage them to read works in sociology, political science, psychology- the humanities (not money-oriented stuff like NLP or Engineering etc). I’ve heard many times from Islamic speakers, “We need more lawyers, counselors, academics, activists, etc,” but if Shaykh Yasir isn’t talking about things like Labeling Theory or Relative Deprivation theory- why are his students going to go and read about that? So I strongly advise you push for more non-religious education among scholars and provide that integrative model of understanding the world and making Islam fit in and play a key roles, because it seems to me that is whats really lacking and to be honest its kind of embarrassing.

    Perhaps those sorts of moves will make Muslims better prepared for situations such as this one and help us move forward with courage, and not fear?

    Jazaka Allahu khayran.

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      November 30, 2009 at 7:12 PM

      Dawud,

      While it would be great if all students of knowledge/scholars could spout forth the latest advancements in the humanities, the fact of the matter is that it is enough of a specialization to study the ‘Islamic science’ (which itself is a term that encompasses dozens of specializations). Just as it is very rare to find a lawyer who’s a doctor, it will also be rare to find an alim who’s a political analyst.

      Still, “that which cannot be obtained in its entirety should not be abandoned in its entirety as we”, as the Arabs say. Therefore, it is necessary that scholars, especially those residing in the West, do try to learn some of the more important secular sciences, and in particular those that relate to their situation in the West.

      One thing that others can do to help people like us out is to recommend specific readings and works, or perhaps even summarize the more important works in the field. Some of you specialize in these things. Share the love! :)

  27. Avatar

    Muhammad

    November 30, 2009 at 5:50 PM

    Salam,

    Jazakallah Sh Yasir for your explanation. However, saying that only the Quran and Sunnah are sacrosanct is erroneous, since they need to be interpreted according to the understanding of the first 3 blessed generations, the pious predecessors. There is a very fine line between calling for selective re-evalauation and the wholesome rejection of Islam as manifested by the neo-Mutazlia aka progressives. Also, as you yourself mentioned elsewhere, ijmaa of the Ummah is also sacrosanct.

  28. Avatar

    Noor Syed

    November 30, 2009 at 6:21 PM

    I’m gonna miss those gourmet Swiss chocolates:(

  29. Avatar

    Abdullah Hasan

    November 30, 2009 at 6:32 PM

    JazzakAllah khair,

    May Allah accept your efforts and give you courage.

    Wassalam

  30. Avatar

    Abdullah Hasan

    November 30, 2009 at 6:35 PM

    JazzakAllah khair,

    Looking forward to your piece on the concept of dar al Islam and dar al harb. May Allah accept your efforts and give you courage.

    Wassalam

  31. Avatar

    Yousef

    November 30, 2009 at 11:01 PM

    Will Saudi Arabia allow the construction of non-muslim religous buildings to show how Islam is tolerant?

    I doubt it. The Middle East is the birthplace of Christianity, yet Christianity has been under decline [and persecution] since the 8th century in Islamic countries, especially those guided by sharia, like Saudi Arabia.

    I find it ironic that muslims are complaining about a ban on minarets in Switzerland while not raising even one voice to speak out against the subjugation and persecution of non-muslims under sharia [that still exists today].

    I guess you reap what you sew.

    Reminds me of the UK muslims with signs reading “Freedom go to hell”.

    Hopefully this will set a trend for the rest of the non-muslim countries to follow.

    Why hasn’t Yasir written any articles to call for Saudi Arabia to allow non-muslims to build places of worship?

    Unless he has written on the subject of Saudi Arabia letting non-muslims build houses of worship, if so I will apologize.

    Its ok for muslims to persecute non-muslims in Yasir’s eyes. His outrage lies with anyone who wants to restrict Islam in any way, shape or form. Too bad we don’t see the same standard being applied to muslims and non-muslim sanctions by Yasir.

    • Avatar

      Uthman

      December 1, 2009 at 12:22 AM

      When the Vatican allows a masjid to be constructed next to St. Peter’s Basilica or in the Vatican, just maybe we can have a talk about why Saudi Arabia will not allow other faiths places of worship to be built in that land.

      Until then, show some respect.

      • Avatar

        Aspen

        December 2, 2009 at 2:36 PM

        The Vatican is opposed to this new Swiss ban on minarets:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/switzerland/6691134/Swiss-minaret-ban-condemned-by-Vatican.html

        In fact, there are many mosques in Italy, and a very large one very close to St. Peters.

        The Vatican, at least, practices what it preaches on religious freedom.

        • Avatar

          Abu Rumaisa

          December 3, 2009 at 4:34 PM

          Italy & Vatican are not the same country.

          Saudi Arabia doesn’t claim to allow freedom of religion or follower of secular laws. Europe does or it does matter that Europe stay true to the principles it claims to uphold.

          • Avatar

            Hester

            December 31, 2009 at 12:39 AM

            What utter nonsense! Because a country does not CLAIM to allow freedom of religion, they should be given a pass when they persecute and restrict non-Muslims? This is always the response when this topic is brought up. It seems to me that you only care about Muslim rights. Perhaps that is at the root of the fear beginning to grab hold in Europe? Freedom of religion is and must be a universal right. If you do not believe that and skirt around with fancy verbal footwork so you can avoid taking a stand on the oppression of non- Muslims in the land of Islam, then you have no one to blame but yourselves for the distrust.
            I see and read about Christians who consistently come to the defense of Muslim rights, but I rarely see Muslims doing the same for non-Muslims.

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 1, 2009 at 12:43 AM

      See this short and sweet response:
      http://muslimmatters.org/2009/11/30/the-case-of-the-swiss-minarets/#comment-54397

      In general, your comment is a just a red herring that deflects from the real question at hand.

      Are you telling me that every time a black man in America asks for his rights, you will tell him to go fix Africa first? Or if a Jew demands his rights to do X, we’ll tell him to go fix Israel’s apartheid system first? I am sure you get the point.

      (1) The issue relates to Muslims residing in the West, many who were born and raised in the West, others who are naturalized citizens, yet others who consider it their home as residents. What happens in the East is neither under their control nor really their problem

      (2) Every citizen of these nations is promised freedom of religion, freedom of speech and other “golden attributes” of democracy. This same democracy is being shoved down Iraq’s and Afghanistan’s throats with the promise of the same “enlightenment”. Okay then. For those Muslims who have always lived in the West for generations and for others bought this promise, let these nations of the West cough it up. Freedom for ALL, not just for the majority.

      (3) While the West provides a comfortable life to Muslims (not all, but many), the cream of the Muslims crop moved to the West, including some of the brightest minds contribute to the welfare of their host nations. Xenophobes ALWAYS forget the contribution of the emigrants.

      (4) Let us not forget that many who did emigrate to the Europe did so because of Europe’s own imperialism and interference in Muslim countries, to the point that these nations felt bad enough for screwing up these countries. Now they are allowing some Muslims to enjoy part of what they have stolen from Muslim homelands.

      In summary, let’s quit the red herring. We are not talking about Saudi, Pakistan, etc. We are talking about a “democratic” nation that promises its social benefits to all its citizens. This is a question of broken promises and bigotry. And those who point to other nations are actually only internalizing their own prejudice and Islamophobia (mixed with xenophobia) as well.

      • Avatar

        dan

        December 1, 2009 at 6:31 PM

        Amad, he has a point. btw, why didn’t you make a post condemning what Muslims did to the 6 Christians in Pakistan by burning them alive in Gojira? If you make posts condemning terrorists for attacking the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan, then why not point out how Christians are close to being wiped out in a lot of Muslim countries? Christians in Iraq are about to be extinct but for some reason it doesn’t bother a lot of Muslims. If you make posts documenting the oppression of Muslims in Burma, China, Chechnya, Iraq, etc., then it is fair that you should also highlight the dismal record of religious freedom in Muslim countries, such as the fact that Iraqi Christians are forced to flee their ancestral home because of Muslim extremists who are constantly regarded as “mujahideen” by naive Salafis living in the West. When people who profess the same amount of belief in conservative Islam as you do, who resort to beheading Christian girls in Indonesia, dump their severed heads in plastic bags, and hold them up as “Ramadan trophies”, while turning a blind eye to atrocity, you expect others to take your site seriously?

        Ask yourself why non-Muslims from Muslim countries tend to hate Muslims. I’m also Pakistani and I have first-hand experience with Pakistani Christians and their extreme disdain for Muslims because of how Pakistani Muslims treated them. Just look at the Sikh who is being used as a pawn by the BNP for proof. This is where Islamophobes tap into the sentiments of these people and use them to demonize Muslims even more. Ever tried reaching out to them?

        Islam is not about persecuting religious minorities, and centuries of rule from varying Islamic empires have protected and fostered religious freedom. Now Christians and other minorities are fleeing Muslim countries to the extremist rhetoric espoused by radicals who want to wipe out all non-Muslims from their countries. Time to put our money where our mouth is and practice what we preach as well. We have as much to work on as the European states who claim to be upholding religious freedom while allowing fascist goons to abrogate the rights of Muslims. It’s a two-way street.

    • Avatar

      Swarth Moor

      December 1, 2009 at 9:44 AM

      Yousef,

      The Saudi regime is extremely corrupt–but it does do some good things. It is the job of the Muslim state to protect the Muslims (and non-Muslims living under such a state). It would not be protecting Muslims to allow people to propagate the cursing of God and the slandering of the Prophets; hence, the Islamic state forbids the propagation of blasphemy. That’s a good thing–afterall, there is no sin that has greater consequences than kufr (disbelief).

      Regarding the non-Muslims in Shari`ah states (there is no such genuine state today), the non-Muslims are encouraged to fix themselves–that is, renounce their kufr, and declare the Declaration of Faith (Nothing is worthy of worship except Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah) and embrace Islam. The problem here is that you have a misunderstanding about what entails justice: justice is not treating everyone equally (even Aristotle said: “There is no greater injustie than trying to make unequals equal.”), but justice is to abide by the Laws of God. To allow people to build buildings dedicated to disbelief in Arabia would be unjust, for it violates the Laws that Allah has revealed. Conversely, the secular regimes have no right to prevent the propagation of the Religion of Allah. Afterall, one does not have the right to do wrong.

      Also, regarding the European secular regimes, they pride themselves on “freedom”–even the alleged “freedom” to disobey and disbelieve in Allah. Allah did not give us the right to disobey Him (no gender intended). Muslims are merely showing the confusion and hypocrisy of secualrism. The secularists don’t believe in the very values they promote. Muslims don’t believe in secularism in the first place, but by secular law, Muslims can’t be denied rights that other religions have.

      With Allah is the success.

      • Avatar

        dan

        December 1, 2009 at 6:38 PM

        On another note, I don’t know why Muslims continue to migrate to Europe when the anti-Islamic climate continues to worsen. Why do they choose to live in a country where they are not well liked? Plus, if they refuse to participate in the political system and continue to live with daydream aspirations of a “khalifah” rising from the ashes of 1924, then it is not smart for them to migrate there and says a lot about their true convictions. Is it material gain that they are more concerned about or their adherence to the deen? If the latter, then they would have stayed where they were prior to migrating.

        I’m sorry to say this Amad, but Muslims in Europe have a lot of work to do. They have their fair share to blame and acting like a victim isn’t going to get them anywhere. Claiming that the entire Western world is at war with Islam while living in these same countries that offer them generous benefits proves their hypocrisy well. There’s no point in moving to the West, only to try to turn it into another Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan under the Taliban. If these people want a Taliban-style government, then go move to a Muslim country that offers something close to it.

        • Avatar

          Rifai

          December 1, 2009 at 9:27 PM

          Can u provide specific examples of Muslims in the west trying ,as you state, – “to turn it into another Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan under the Taliban”?
          Or is it that this is just an imperative that Muslims are doing this and so not even worth being questioned?

          • Avatar

            dan

            December 2, 2009 at 12:01 AM

            Rifai, al-Muhajiroun’s activities in England and RevolutionMuslim’s activities in NYC are all the proof you need.

            Honestly, there’s no point if you’re a conservative Muslim to move to a country that is the complete opposite of where you’re coming from. So I can’t really be sympathetic to a segment of European Muslims that continues to act like victims when they could simply move back to their country of origin if they feel victimized. This may sound harsh but that’s the truth. The fact is that there are a lot of stereotypes perpetuated by the Muslim communities in Europe like in the UK, France, the Netherlands, etc. that are very negative and fuel anti-Islamic sentiment. It’s a two-way street in my opinion. It is very easy to accuse all Europeans of being bigots while ignoring the bigotry that is common with a segment of European Muslims (namely against Shi’as, Jews, Christians, Barelwis, etc.).

        • Avatar

          Swarth Moor

          December 1, 2009 at 11:58 PM

          Dan,

          Muslims clearly have A LOT of problems–but we are also ostensibly in the incipient stage of an Islamic global renaissance. The “West” on the other hand, is clearly a dying civilization. It has lost its vigor, its manliness, its willingness to make sacrifices to save its civilization. It’s gotten to the point that the European doesn’t even feel that his values are worth being transmitted to the next generation. That is, he (and definitely she) doesn’t want to have children to carry on their culture and civilization. Add to that, the emasculation of the white male, so-called political correctness, general disintegration of the family, feminism on roids, and the virulent spread of homosexuality, and you have, as Pat calls it, the “Death of the West.”

          Of course, Muslims suffer from a lot of problems, as i said, but the underlying value system and structure exist in Islam to resist what is happening to the “West.” Above all, Muslims have idealism. It’s just a matter of Muslims “waking up,” learning their religion and having the courage to trust in God. In the case of the “West” its decline is simply a natural progression (and devolution) of its values: arrogance, greed, materialism, self-absorption and hedonism can’t build a lasting civilization. The West has nothing to “wake up” to, for it is getting closer and closer to realizing its self-destructive ideals–and it is only making Westerners feel more alienated and fractured. What else can be expected from a people who don’t believe in the Creator or an afterlife?

          This (the European anti-Islamic bigotry movement) is about the last “hope” the Euros have to help them unite–a European nationalist (read: weakly cloaked white supremacist) ideology. It reflects the deep insecurities and complexes of white (Western non-Muslim) male psychology. He simply can’t live/compete in a globalized world and preserve his racial identity, which forms the core of who/what he historically is.

          I think if the Muslims spent a little more time objectively analyzing the West, we wouldn’t be so infatuated or intimidated by it–or getting too hung up on this minaret issue. You have some scared insecure white guys who fear their daughters will have kids with names, like “Ahmad” and “Khadijah”–they see their civilization coming to an end, and they don’t know what to do, so they think that banning a piece of architecture is going to save their grandkids from being named Ruqayyah and Muhammad. This simply indicates how weak and desperate they are. Thirty years ago, no one would have thought that the empire of European communism would just crumble (almost without a shot fired). Similarly, thirty years ago, the Europeans felt no threat from a Muslim emigration and an altering of the European way of life. Civilizations and national borders come and go. We are witnessing that today, and Muslims need to prepare for it.

          • Avatar

            dan

            December 2, 2009 at 12:11 AM

            Swarth Moor, the crux of the issue for me is this: how can Muslims in the West, who constantly invoke oppression of our brothers in China, Chechnya, Burma, etc., complain about this, while continuing to ignore how non-Muslims are constantly treated in certain Muslim countries? The Swiss, with this measure, now lost the moral upper hand in lecturing other countries about religious freedom. Muslims have yet acquired the moral upper hand to lecture others about religious freedom considering the dismal state of religious freedom in Muslim countries these days. And just like how you state (or someone else might have) that they profess to protect freedom, Muslims also have a duty to uphold religious freedom within Islam by ensuring the protection of non-Muslims living in these lands. When an Archbishop is kidnapped and found shot in Iraq, yeah I think Muslims should have spoke out immediately on that.

            And please don’t tell me that “Shariah” will ensure their protection when we all have seen how certain individuals with their distorted version of “Shariah” behave, namely the Taliban with their decision to torch the homes of Sikhs who refused to pay jizya, or slaughtering Shi’a Hazaras under their rule, or bombing churches in Iraq and Gaza. The days of benevolent Islamic empires of the past such as the Abbasids, the Ottomans, and the Safavids are long gone, I’m afraid…hence why I am skeptical on people who advocate ‘Shariah’ which in their view, may be different from what others view it. My view of Islamic law is much, much different from the Tailban, that’s for sure.

          • Avatar

            Swarth Moor

            December 2, 2009 at 8:33 AM

            Dan,

            This phrase “religious freedom” is a dangerous one (for its ambiguity). Historically, Muslims have tolerated (and i don’t mean “tolerance” in the so-called PC sense) Ahlul-Kitaab. But they were clearly not given equal legal status (of course, they could always change that by merely abandoning their absurd beliefs/kufr and becoming Muslim). So in the best case scenario, the legal status of the dhimmis in the Islamic state would be utterly unacceptable by the standards of contemporary usurious corporate consumer secularism. But then for Muslims, usurious corporate consumer secularism isn’t the standard by which we judge matters.

            The problem is twofold: one is that the people advocating Shari`ah are they themselves often very ignorant about Islamic jurisprudence. Their hearts, so to speak, are in the right place (they wish to live according to Islam in a state governed by Islam–no God-fearing Muslim opposes that), but they don’t have the tools (knowledge) to do so. Two, and this is the point you are speaking about is that those trying to implement the Shari`ah lack wisdom (besides knowledge); they lack a good PR (public relations) staff; they lack compassion and humaneness. (You ain’t gotta bust a cap in a bishop–it’s not going to help the Muslims (and it certainly didn’t help that bishop)). Consequently, not only do these guys do things that violate the letter of the Sacred Law, they do things that are outright stupid and violate the spirit of the Sacred Law.

            Lastly, i think (from what i get from the corporate run media) the problem is that those who advocate the Shari`ah (like Taliban, folks in Nigeria, Chechniyya etc.) is that they understand they are under attack. The usurious secular regimes clearly don’t want a state–even a wise and benevolent one–governed by Shari`ah. Shari`ah is utterly intolerable to the principles driving usurious corporate consumer secularism. There is clearly a war against Islam when Muslims are not allowed to govern themselves by their own Laws (even in their own nations). The “Shari`ahist” at least understand this, and this is why (in addition to their ignorance) they engage in stupid reactionary behavior. This war against Islam is a struggle that has been going on for centuries. Muslims need to be patient and forebearing; Muslims need to learn their Deen; Muslims need to be diligently involved in da`wah; Muslims need to see to it that we don’t get swept away by whatever ideology happens to be trendy on any given day in the secular West. Like was said above, i think that we are witnessing the Ummah come out of its slumber, and in-shaa’ Allah, if we are around, we will see this world undergo some momentous transformations.

            With Allah is the success.

          • Avatar

            dan

            December 2, 2009 at 9:39 AM

            SM, who are you to claim that their beliefs are absurd? Didn’t Allah swt tell us not to mock their gods, lest they mock ours? Why can’t you simply respect their beliefs? Don’t cry about religious freedom in the West when you will not respect their beliefs. This is the problem I have with ‘conservative’ Muslims and the intolerance they practice. They want to have their cake and eat it, but sorry it doesn’t work that way. And yes, when Muslim extremists continue to bomb Christians, behead Christian girls and hang their severed heads as trophies, or burning Christians alive in mob mentality (without any hints of outrage from people on here), then I do believe that Muslims in the West should not lecture anyone about religious freedom.

            And let me guess, are you also living in the secular West? If so then I suppose it would be a better idea to pack your bags and move to a place where you are able to practice your faith and impose your worldview on others, such as Saudi Arabia or Aceh? It would do more good than whining about how the West is kufr yet you don’t do anything about it.

            As for the groups you mentioned that supposedly “feel attacked”, is that why the Taliban continue to blockade the Pakistan town of Parachinar and beheading Shi’ite drivers because they are “kaffir”? Is that why Chechens took a school hostage in a place where they had nothing to do with their oppression? Is that why the Taliban killed tens of thousands of Shi’a Hazaras because of their faith and appearance? Are they feeling attacked by the people they target? What about the Sikhs in Orakzai who had their homes ransacked because they were unable to pay jizya? Or the Iraqi Christians who are forced to convert to Islam by these takfiri extremists?

            I think what you are afraid of when it comes to religious freedom is that you don’t want Muslims to convert to other faiths. If they want to convert, that’s their own right and you nor anyone else on this site have any right to stop them.

        • Avatar

          Swarth Moor

          December 2, 2009 at 3:44 PM

          Dan,

          I think you are having a hard time understanding what a Muslim is. A Muslim is a person who believes in Allah (correctly), and he/she believes in what Allah revealed unto His Prophet Muhammad. That means SUBMITTING to all that which the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) conveyed from Allah (whether or not it fashionable with secularist ideology on any given day). Muslims don’t respect kufr. The Qur’an says not to mock their kufr, not because it doesn’t deserve to be belittled, but so that they (the kuffaar) don’t add more blasphemy to their kufr by mocking Allah. It doesn’t mean that exposing and refuting the foolishness disbelief is a bad thing–and the scholars did that extensively.

          Regarding doing something about the kufr in the West, well, that is why i am involved in the da`wah. Praise Allah, i work in educating people about Islam. Much of your jargon, Dan, is merely an adaptation of secular humanist rhetoric. You need to understand that a Muslim does not evaluate the world thru the hypocritical, invalid, and absurd viewpoint of secularism. Instead, Muslims analyze, critique, and expose the farce of secularism–we don’t embrace it. Afterall, the core of secularism is atheism/kufr and the rejection of Sacred Law.

          What you are talking about has nothing to do with the principles of Islam. Muslims don’t believe in Western notions of “equality;” Muslims don’t believe in Western notions of “freedom” (and in reality the secularist don’t believe in “equality” and “freedom”–they merely use such terms/slogans to sedate the masses of the idocracy.) Muslims don’t believe people have the right to apostate from Islam. Your points hae no weight according to the Religion.

          Muslims don’t believe that one has the right to disobey Allah. Hence, we order what is right and forbid what is evil. That’s a fundamental principle in the Deen. Ordering al-ma`ruf and forbidding al-munkar is done because the Muslims should love and care for one another and not want them to fall into sins that would lead to their torture in the Hereafter. So, of course, one does not want to see his fellow Muslims fall into the very worst of sins–namely, disbelief. (Before you have a hissy fit, Dan, another principle in ordering the good and forbidding the evil is that it must be done with wisdom, so that in trying to change an evil, it doesn’t lead to a greater one.)

          Regarding leaving the States, well, if Muslims are not here teaching and calling others to Islam, then who would–Irshad Manji, Ayana Hirsi, Michael Savage (i.e., Michael Weiner)?!? Furthermore, the usurious corporate secularists export and forcibly impose their way of life abroad upon Muslims (so much for respect for national integrity, as they say). Tell the usurious corporate powers to leave the Muslim countries alone, and i’ll give more consideration to gittin’ up out of here.

          A lot of your stuff is just red herrings and alarmist talk (i suggest staying away from FOX). A Muslim has the right to believe in Allah and His Messenger. He (or she) has the right to believe such whether or not the regime accepts one to hold such beliefs. Believing in Islam–that is, believing in what the Prophet conveyed from Allah–and not believing in the underlying values of secularism–does not mean that one supports terrorism. That’s what’s called a false dilemma. In-sha’ Allah, Muslims will learn their Religion, preseverve their identity and values, have babies, and call non-Muslims to the Religion of Truth and Salvation. This is the way, God-willing, that Muslims can transform this dying civilization.

          With Allah is the success.

          • Avatar

            Fatima

            December 6, 2009 at 8:25 PM

            Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakathu

            Of all the discussive opinions given here on the swiss minaret ban and how muslims need
            to react to it,I find Swarth Moor’s reactions that requires our attention.
            Yes,encouraging the kuffar to leave their kufr is the goal of our dawaah.And definitely mocking the
            non-muslims will never set the tone for them to even start thinking of the reasons why they need to
            see Islam in positive light,bacause people like SM already have created a scenario where they have
            made the non-muslims start feeling discriminated upon by muslims
            You cannot throw egg on somebody’s face and then turn around and invite them over for dawaah!
            By disrespecting their places of worship and saying they have no right to build them,is against
            the Sunnah and the ways of the righteous caliphs.Do you think jews and christians in the
            Middle-East would have chosen to live there since the time of the Prophet(saw) if they were not allowed
            to build their churches and synagogues,and if they could not practise their religion?Of course not!
            The Prophet(saw) gave us a unique gesture when he did not enter a church just so that muslims
            would not later use the excuse that he was in there to convert it into a masjid.Umar Ibn Al Khattab(ra) entered Jerusalem but did not prohibit building of churches or the jews to practise their religion.The non-muslims paid a Jizya tax so that they did not have to do war time duty and thus could get military protection
            ,while most Muslims had to do it almost compulsorily during the 4 Caliphs’s time.
            And you say non-muslims were second class citizens in the caliphate?? What ignorance
            and what injustice you do to to the rule of righteous caliphs ! That they strove to give rights to every c
            itizen in their land in the most minute ways!
            and this is what SM has to say – non-muslims deserve no equal rights and they are second class?

            Where in the QUran or Sunnah,SM,do you hear that there is no legal status for non-muslims?
            There is so much you have to learn from the Sunnah on how to behave with non-muslims.And it all
            starts with respect.Respect for their decisions and way of life, and then they will notice your efforts
            are to guid them to the right decision(to accept islam). Otherwise,you think a convert would like first class
            status and see their non-muslim families persecuted,as done in Pakistan and Malaysia and Indonesia,forget the Middle-Eastern muslim majority countries.
            The Prophet(saw) INVITED the non-muslism to Islam,there is no coercion and no derision,no
            disdain.Just because he allowed the Jews and Christians,to practice their faith,have their own
            religious laws and have a level playing field in trade,agriculture,business,entailing social services
            etc.did not make him as somebody who approved of their way of life,but giving them as much right
            to live with dignity shows his acceptance of Allah’s Will that this earth is for them too ,
            this Sunnah of his so exemplary – and he would never distinguish about handing justice to whether
            the victim was non-muslim or muslim – After all,Allah(swt) says in the Quran – killing a human unjustly
            is equivalent to killing entire mankind.Allah never differentiated in how justice is given between
            muslims and non-muslims.A crime is a crime,whoever be the victim or the perpetrator.
            Islam’s greatest promise for this world,is in ushering unwavering justice and the peace that will consequently be found.By denying the right to live,practice faith,socialize and trade to non-muslims,muslims
            have done great great disservice to their religion.
            There has to be a clean-house among muslims.If you turn a blind eye to the extremists beheading
            christians,then someday justice would catch up with you and make you pay for it.Islam guarantees
            justice to all.Mercy and Forgiveness for the believers alone is a component for the next world.
            And that is why as Muslims we long for the Akhirah more,because that is a special prize for
            the believers alone.And that is why we need patience and constancy in this world,not only
            to defend ourselve,but also not to go against Allah’s Will and doing injustice to innocent non-muslim civilians.

            The problem today is most muslims in western countries are from countries like Pakistan and
            Sudan,where non-muslims are treated so badly.These muslims do not want to and do not
            care at all ,even think it as a islamic deed, about establishing,
            basic human rights and justice there for non-muslims.They are not cut off from their previous lands,
            they just feel ‘I dont care’ when it comes to others rights.
            Muslims in Europe and America must raise their voice to condemn the violent acts by extremists
            in their muslim-majority lands,do Dawaah to those ignorant violent extremists who have hijacked
            Islam and done a great disservice to Islam thus.Teach the wrongly guided muslims to the right path too,that is a greater cause in Islam, to call to our own misguided extremist brothers and condemn their
            unislamic violence and remind them what the Quran says about how to give security to civilian non-muslims.
            The Prophet(saw) and the righteous caliphs never turned a blind eye to that aspect.It requires
            true courage and conviction in Islam to do that actually.
            Otherwise,the Khwarijites would have ruled the roost as they protrayed themselves as greatly practicing muslims,but their war mongering and mindless violence clearly made Hadrat Ali(ra) have no
            hesitation to take steps to wipe them out,to the extent of even burning them.
            For as Muslims,we need to do a clean house first.As the Quran says – even if your own father,sons
            or brothers do injustice,you should then be willing to fight against them.That is the real test of how
            we adhere to the principle of justice,for there will be no peace for muslims if they are unjust to others

            Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah,
            Fatima

          • Avatar

            Swarth Moor

            December 7, 2009 at 9:43 AM

            Fatima,

            You are saying things that are not true. One problem here is that we are not allowed to lie about the Deen to make it more appealing to non-Muslims. Two, it is essential that Muslims understand the limits of what can be said in what some call “inter-faith” dialogues. Otherwise, again, the person will end up belying the Deen–and belying the Religion is kufr.

            Under an Islamic state the Jew/Christian are discriminated against. That’s a fact that everyone agrees with. They are called Ahludh-Dhimmi. They are identified by their clothing; the men being unable to wield arms, they have to sit on their riding animals side saddle,etc. This is done to humiliate them–and to encourage them to save themselves from being condemned to Hell forever; hence, they are encouraged to embrace Islam and leave their kufr.

            Among the rulings pertaining to the dhimmi is they are NOT allowed to build new houses of kufr dedicated to their shirk. They are also NOT allowed to reapir the one’s they have. Those who pay the jiziyyah, however, are allowed to keep their houses of (invalid) worship. The Christians are not allowed to ring the bells of their churches or to propagate their kufr. They clearly live in a subordinate position to the Muslims (again, the dhimmi can fix himself simply by embracing Islam). The only rights that a human being has are the rights that Allah has given them. Equality between the Muslim and the kaafir is not one of those rights.

            Another problem here is that when people take this apologist position and try to make Islam look like some sort of hippy religion is that any non-Muslim who cares to do ten minutes of research can see that the apologists are outright lying or simply ignorant of Islam. It’s enough to read 9:29–or the NUMEROUS Verses that insult and belittle the disbelievers–to discredit the apologists.

            Da`wah needs to be done so that it is appealing to non-Muslims… and WITHOUT BELYING THE RELIGION. A greater immediate concern, however, is the danger of this apologist ideology infecting people who are already are (or were) Muslims. Before effective collective da`wah efforts can be made, the Muslims themselves need to know how to convey the Deen WITHOUT DISTORTING IT. Some issues are VERY sensitive for non-Muslims. They need to be dealt with accordingly. At the same time, Muslims do not want to give kaafirs (or ignorant Muslims) the impression that their kufr is “respectable” or valid or anything like that. At the same time, Muslims can live amongst non-Muslims, be kind and considerate with them–without deeming the kaafir to be equal to them.

            With Allah is the success.

  32. Pingback: Muslimas Oasis  |  Discrimination

  33. Avatar

    Sumayah Hassan

    December 1, 2009 at 5:12 AM

    Asa,

    JAK for the article. May Allah SWT reward your efforts.

    One note is that there is a clear concept of labeling Muslims in this that I don’t like.

    Were talking all this brave talk about the ummah and the Muslims and others mistreating us, when we are willing to label and divide ourselves. I don’t think its healthy to say there are Muslims that can be classified and others that don’t fit into any category. Its just reinforcing the division that has been imposed upon us, when Muslims are labeled, they are highlight differences and its every category for himself.

    We are one Ummah. People will have to stand before Allah SWT for what they do, say and how they act.

    You’re a liberal, he’s a salafi, she’s a sufi and we’re divided.

    Just my thoughts, Wallahu A’alam.

  34. Avatar

    Cookie

    December 1, 2009 at 8:26 AM

    Assalam-oalaikum.

    Amazing article mashAllah! It was very inspiring and definitely a wakeup call on many fronts. I am looking forward to making changes in my society as well. Also, I completely agree with iMuslim’s views there… very wise and gives us totally different point of view that could become a possible solution to the problem.

  35. Avatar

    Asim K

    December 1, 2009 at 9:24 AM

    Excellent analysis by Tariq Ramadan, on why this is NOT simply a vote against minarets, but against Muslims: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/nov/29/swiss-vote-ban-minarets-fear

  36. Avatar

    flix

    December 1, 2009 at 9:44 AM

    I am Swiss, right now living abroad for some months. To tell you the truth, I’m ashamed of the outcome of this referendum. I’m also ashamed of the doings of the ultra rightwing party SVP. I’m also ashamed of this intollerant xenophobic behaviour of the Swiss. On the other hand: which country can boast such direct a democracy where peole can vote on issues such as the budget, taxes, even if you want an army or not. This does not mean that a democratically reached decision is always ethically right. As was stated above: if other countries had the possibility to take an emotional vote such as on their neighbouring countries, taxes, police, army, hospitals, cemetaries etc as the Swiss have then I think there might also be shocking results sometimes. (eg,. imagine the Turks could go to the polls saying something about the Greeks or vice versa!!!)Just think of this: these are not just opinion polls for the government to have an idea what the peopel are thinking, the outcome is, as disastrous as it is now in this case, it is binding. So let’s hope the European council will overthrow this horrible outcome. On the other hand it also shows that if a party has the financial background as the SVP has, you can nowadays manipulate and indoctrinate a whole country. We Europeans had been taught how to do so 70 years ago and sadly enough the SVP is succeding again with the same patterns and methods and posters. When you listen to some of the leading figures of that party vou can also find rethoric parallels to that past. Yes, be aware, Swiss! As history shows: democracy has its limits on emotional issues like religion, race, death penalty etc.

    • Avatar

      TheAlexandrian

      December 1, 2009 at 11:15 AM

      Flix-

      Well put, all around. Here are some of my thoughts.

      On Politics

      From Plato, to John Stuart Mill, on through to political choice theorists in our own time, philosophers and social scientists have continuously warned of the tyranny of majority rule. In the context of direct democracy, this danger is all the more acute (for whatever benefits this system of government may otherwise have).

      On the SVP

      This insidious group is fast becoming, as I heard one commentator recently put it, a giant amongst pygmies. Their influence is evident from the fact that they were able to push their agenda when virtually no one thought that they had a chance of succeeding. Their rhetoric is indeed eerily familiar, but I still have faith that most of the Swiss populace (actually, perhaps even more so because of this vote) can see their simplistic jingoism.

      On Switzerland

      This vote clearly hurt the Swiss national brand, especially when coupled with the still on-going controversies of UBS and Polanski. Moreover, it has arguably (and unfortunately) made the country less secure. Hard as I try, I can’t think of any benefit that can stem from this referendum, aside from highlighting the fruitlessness of such measures. From all that I have read so far, I imagine that this incident will not be a precursor to other, more hostile laws across Europe, but will rather be a wake up call to those sympathetic to the ultra-conservative cause that they are better served by working with instead of against their Muslim neighbors. Here’s hoping, inshAllah

  37. Avatar

    Zuhayr

    December 1, 2009 at 9:58 AM

    Let them ban the minaret, it’s not a part of Islam anyway.

  38. Pingback: The Swiss Minaret Ban

  39. Avatar

    Abdullah M

    December 1, 2009 at 10:33 AM

    Well well well… Islamophobia has finally arrived (officially) in a nation known for its neutrality and tolerance. This is not surprising as there is a pre-meditated and concerted effort within Europe to bludgeon Islam and anything that symbolises Islam from the public view. Fortunately for the Muslims, demographics is on their side and with 28 million Muslims approx in Europe, it is difficult to see how these Islamophobic regimes deal with the “Muslim Problem” without resorting to another holocaust.

    Ironically, these same bigots to want to purge Islam from their communities are left scratching their heads and asking “why do they hate us?”

  40. Avatar

    zaki

    December 1, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    The swiss government expects us to believe that this vote is not a rejection of Muslim culture and religion. Do they think that 1.5 billion people in the world are stupid!?

    I have my own theory… I think the whole issue related to the vote was hatched by the EU in order to provoke a response from the Muslim world. Interesting to see how the French (who are trying to ban the niqab) have come to the ‘support’ of the Muslims and asked the Swiss government to rethink on the ban! Are they trying to win favours with the Muslim world?

    Such irony and hypocrisy is pitiful is not down right arrogant! The best way for the Muslims to fight such Islamophobic sentiments (which are running in through the hearts of Euro governments) is to voice their opposition in a non-violent manner and raise the awareness of Islam amongst the non-Muslim masses they are living with.

    Let us Muslims raise the “minaret of Imaan” in our hearts so that its sound propagates through the veins of society. Let us be the change we want to see around us without playing their game.

  41. Avatar

    Fatima

    December 1, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said, “I have been granted five things which were not granted to any other prophet before me: (one of them) The whole earth has been made a Masjid, and pure for me, so whenever the time of prayer comes for anyone of you, he should pray wherever he is.”

    There was no minarets constructed in the times of our prophet. They were constructed only after 80 years after prophet’s ( saws ) death. So why should we build fuss over them being banned? If we’re fussing over the hatred they might want to display against Islam, then be it. Is it not better was us to consider issues more significant than these and ignore the hatred? Sometimes pretending that nobody hates you makes us optimistic!

    These days muslims choose to mind their own business. I am not one among them. I think non muslims are helping the world to read more about islam by creating ban on things muslims consider important ( eg: hijaab, minarets on masajid ). They’re doing our job ( increasing awareness about islam internationally) although, by wrong means! :D

    Banning on minarets has become international news. Am sure our response to this with peace will drive people toward islam inshaAllah bi’iznillah!

    Such news in media about hatred toward islam, remind me of sh. yasir’s lecture ”piece of puzzle” where in he said every thing is a test and we become purer by passing each one of them as it is commanded by Allah swt. That lectures sums up what we’re supposed to do in times like these. May Allah make it easy! ameen!

    Thanks for reading!
    Salamun alaykum!

  42. Avatar

    Mezba

    December 1, 2009 at 12:05 PM

    As an MBA, I thought of analysing this problem of minarets in Switzerland using the traditional business school approach, and have come up with a business plan.

    http://mezba.blogspot.com/2009/12/mba-analysis-of-swiss-minaret-ban.html

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 1, 2009 at 12:56 PM

      Mezba,
      I like your approach.

      As a fellow-MBA’er, I can’t help but offer a bit of critique. liked your SWOT analysis for the growth/integration of Muslim communities in Switzerland (or really any other part of the West). Although I just don’t think the Porter analysis fits the billing. Porter is quite specifically business-oriented and is related to the attractiveness of an industry and when forces drive it to zero economic profit.

      • Avatar

        Mezba

        December 1, 2009 at 1:10 PM

        Amad,

        Another criticism I got when I showed this to someone is that I overestimated the Swiss tolerance!

        I think my purpose for the 5 Force was to show that the Muslim community in Switzerland face various forces from all sides, and to avoid being a zero profit firm (for lack of a better word) they must deal with the forces.

        Of course there’s other parts of the action plan I omitted that are of a more religious nature (like praying to Allah).

        In my opinion, change has to be from both sides. :-)

  43. Avatar

    Hicham Maged

    December 1, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    I am glad for reading this insightful post, macha’allah brother Yasir Qadhi.

    My surprise is for the vote’s results not the far-right wing movements themselves, so Farhad Afshar’s words that you quote have summarise the situation: “The most painful thing for us is not the ban on minarets, but the symbol sent by this vote. Muslims do not feel accepted as a religious community.”

    I agree with you that Muslims should rise up for challenges in the 21st century that are different from those of previous era.

    May Allah guide us always to the right and righteous path, Amen!

  44. Avatar

    Janie

    December 1, 2009 at 5:16 PM

    I do wish people would stop throwing about the race card. This has nothing too do with race, nothing at all. As the post author points out, Muslims can come from any race. This is not a racial issue, it’s a cultural one.

    Personally, I have no time for any religion. Christianity doesn’t irritate me because I’m biased against whites, but because its cultural mythology is idiotic and dangerous. Islam doesn’t irritate me because I’m biased against people of Middle Eastern descent, but because its cultural mythology is idiotic and dangerous. Judaism doesn’t bother me because I’m anti-Semitic, it bothers me because its cultural mythology is idiotic and dangerous. I could go on, but I trust you sense the theme.

    You can make an argument on either side of culture as to whether the Swiss were right or wrong to vote the way that they did, but this web-wide insistence that race is the motivating factor is a straw man.

    (Sorry for the rant: this is the nth blog in a row that I’ve seen playing the race card, and the straw broke the camel’s back when it came to responding.)

    • Avatar

      Rifai

      December 1, 2009 at 9:35 PM

      Im fairly certain that the ramifications of pretty much any ideology you yourself may follow can be aptly be termed as idiotic and dangerous.I see that trend as well.
      To contend that xenophobic tendencies played no part whatsoever in this decision is just being rather simplistic.However, it does appear true that the flimsy rationale for this decision is couched in language that implicates only Islam and not any race in particular.

  45. Avatar

    Brandi

    December 1, 2009 at 8:22 PM

    On behalf of non-muslims, I want to apologize. This was horrible, and although I am not Swiss (but American), I am truly horrified.

    I am sorry. I hope that actions of this nature do not sever the relationship that we all must strive to maintain, as neighbors.

    If this happened to me, it would be hard to not harbor resentment… I hope that enough Christians and other non-muslims convince you that we do not all feel this way.

    • Avatar

      Abd- Allah

      December 2, 2009 at 8:18 PM

      You don’t have to apologize Brandi, muslims are smart enough to not blame all the non-muslims for the actions of a few.

  46. Avatar

    Stinger

    December 1, 2009 at 11:10 PM

    Salaam,

    After reading the article, I would like to thank the author for speaking about such a relevant issue. I come from an International Affairs background and I would recommend for any scholar to read books from Tarik Ramadan who’s an expert in dialogue building between Western Muslims and non-Muslims. I am not here to hate on the Swiss, though I completely disagree with their vote. What I will do is recommend that Muslims look within themselves and ask whether they have done their best to play a positive role in society.

    Could this vote have occurred because right-wing parties were more visible and stoked unsubstantiated fear in society? Did the Swiss Muslims try their best at outreach and active participation in making their communities a better place? This may or may not be the case, what we do know is that we need to do our job a lot better. Various surveys have shown that non-Muslims who know a Muslim especially as a friend or acquaintance have a much more favorable view of Islam and Muslims. No matter what happens in the future we need to absolutely make sure we are the best people we can be. Islam places major emphasis on being good to our neighbors, we need to be hospitable and show our neighbors that we want to participate in creating safer, healthier communities in which everyone can benefit. We should be kind to our neighbors and show them that we’re good, law abiding, and loving people.

    Let’s remember the example of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and how he was known as one of the most trustworthy and wise men of the time. People, Muslims and non-Muslims, would turn to him when they had problems and he would try his best to help them. Let us ask ourselves, are we following this example in our daily lives? Do our neighbors think highly of us and appreciate that we live besides them? Are we known as the problem solvers and among the most compassionate people in our neighborhoods? Inshallah, I hope that we are striving to do so, we need to take every opportunity available to show our co-workers, class-mates, friends, and strangers that we are the most compassionate, kind, and loving people in our respectful nations. Only then will we be doing true justice to Islam and Inshallah, once people visibly see true Muslims they will never be persuaded by bigots and those promoting hatred in the world.

  47. Avatar

    MSD

    December 1, 2009 at 11:34 PM

    Salaams to all,

    Great article, great discussion! thank you Sheikh.

    Stinger, I completely agree!

    Sumayah,

    Divided, or just diverse? There is a line between diversity and divisiveness that we can too quickly cross over. Yes, there are differences of thought and approach within the Ummah, but that’s o.k. with me — and , moreover, it’s the reality. I think trying to portray the ummah as one cohesive whole a) isn’t accurate and b) doesn’t help in the long run if we try to sweep the full range of Islamic views under the rug to present a unified picture that doesnt really exist to non-Muslims. There is a line between diversity and divisiveness, but if we can’t tolerate diversity within the ummah, how can we set an example of “Islam is a tolerant religion” when we can barely manage it amongst our own?

    Umme Ammaarah, Kashif, you each ask, in your own way, what can we do?

    Uthman also asks , “What would be a fruitful response? Paradoxically, how can we be committed to our religion without compromising our religion? How can we be socially relevant to our societies and communities while not going beyond what is required of us as a Muslim?”

    This is something I’ve been thinking on very heavily the past few weeks or so. I’m optimistic, because I’m not alone in the conclusion I’m coming to.

    A big part of the answers lie in the very comments on this article:

    iMuslim says, “I’m not saying we shouldn’t assert ourselves, but if the neighbours of the original mosque project were offended by something as benign as a minaret, that should signal alarm bells to the Muslim community, and lead to the decision: “let’s talk to our neighbours, and address their fears”. Not: “let’s fight this in the courts, and risk the problem going national”.”

    Muslim Apple says, “I take this situation as a wakeup call for myself within my own community and spheres of influence that if my neighbors, friends, coworkers, classmates, and others are afraid of me or afraid of Islam that I have not lived the life of a Muslim to convey the message. Even though we will never be able to please everyone but if half on those concerned enough to vote feel comfortable passing measures like this or other ones, we haven’t done our job effectively.”

    Jeff says, “I am ashamed to say I may even have felt the same way if something hadn’t happened to me two years ago. I met an actual Muslim. Since then I have made many Muslim friends. I may not agree with all aspects of Islam, but all the Muslims I have met are kind, decent, hardworking people.”

    see Stinger’s post, too.

    We have been separatist and isolationist for far too long, and now to our own detriment. We must begin engaging with our community as citizens first, Muslims second. I know that seems uncomfortable on the surface, and understand I’m not advocating we deny our faith or go into hiding — in fact i’m proposing we need to be more visible… but visible as citizens who happen to be Muslim.

    We need to stop being defensive Muslims and start becoming concerned civic participants.

    We need to understand that the Muslim ummah is not the only ummah we are a part of.

    How to do this?

    A) Get involved locally; town hall, PTA, school board, neighborhood association, etc. Find a civic cause and get involved. Invite your neighbors for dinner. Join a gym. Join any kind of recreational or social group, be it bird watchers, chess club, green causes, Democrats, Republicans, whatever. The key is to connect outside of our sphere, human to human, person to person, townsfolk to townsfolk.

    B) If you’re a Muslim blogger (and i’m one of em!): Please: take a long hiatus from blogging about Muslim issues that — let’s be honest here and call a spade a spade — are pretty much only read and discussed by other Muslim bloggers blogging about Muslim issues.

    Start a separate blog or section about what’s happening in your community. Link with other community bloggers, comment on their blogs, on your city newspaper or tv station sites. At some well established point, you can discreetly link to your Muslim blog and resume it, but take time to add your voice about your community.

    (In truth, I don’t think Muslim bloggers are up for the challenge of a temporary vacation from the Islamosphere, but at least we add these other steps concurrently if we can’t fully give it up:) )

    I think these kinds of steps are crucial.

    If we’re not known as fellow citizens fully participating in and concerned about our community, then the only Muslims our community will ever know about are the Muslims that make the news when they do senseless violent acts.

    Our isolationism has ensured that our communities know no other kind of Muslim.

    • Amad

      Amad

      December 2, 2009 at 2:19 AM

      good comment mashallah

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      December 2, 2009 at 6:44 AM

      Very well said. I strongly believe that humanizing ourselves is the best and most effective means of stopping such senseless xenophobia.

      It is not the *only* means, but it is the most practical and realistic for each and every Muslim to do.

  48. Avatar

    Stinger

    December 1, 2009 at 11:37 PM

    In part two of my response I’d like to go over a few issues. To Yusef, dan and others asking about Saudi Arabia, other Muslim nations and why other religious places of worship aren’t allowed there. We need to clarify a few things here, first of all Saudi Arabia is the only Muslim nation which has this practice, even then they allow places of worship for migrant workers. There are Churches, Synagogues, Buddhist Temples, Sikh and Hindu places of worship in almost every Muslim nation. I found a church in a rural Pakistani village, it would be inaccurate to make such blanket statements.

    We need to investigate why there may be some animosity towards non-Muslim minorities in Muslim nations, mainly from extremist elements. Most of this animosity took form after the Iraq, Afghanistan invasions which have polarized the world. If you want to compare this with Europe, imagine what would happen if a major Muslim power invaded Germany and Poland, would there not be a major backlash on Muslim minorities in the region. In my view, mistreatment of minorities is rooted in ignorance and the official governments in the vast majority of nations would never make it state policy to persecute non-Muslims. Jews and Christians have been living in Muslim nations for centuries without any problems and in fact many privileges. I remember that on Christmas in Pakistan, there was a full television special on the main state channel in which Christian Pakistanis spoke about the significance of their holiday and how it’s celebrated in their nation. With few exceptions, the media in these nations is much more sensitive when speaking about other faiths, unlike what we’ve unfortunately witnessed in the West.

    In short there is a centuries old culture of tolerance towards non-Muslim minorities which strongly contrasts with Europe’s track record. The only exception to this has been during recent extreme political turmoil such as when Israel was created and thousands of Jews began migrating there. Finally, I want to add that it is mainly Western oil importers who have allowed the Saudi regime to thrive, without strong British-US backing this regime would not have been possible. Using Saudi proves to be a flawed argument and equating Switzerland to Saudi is disturbing at the least, two wrongs don’t make a right and last time I checked Saudi isn’t a direct democracy.

  49. Avatar

    zaki

    December 2, 2009 at 1:13 AM

    We know that minarets are not an obligation, nor are they practical in many communities. However the point is not about their relevancy but one of symbolism; minarets symbolise Muslim societies and it is this aspect of the ban that we need to understand.

    I hear that there is a possibility of the ban being over-turned in Switzerland, perhaps this has been a PR ploy all along. Ban a part of Muslim heritage and then work to over-turn it, in return they would possibly want concessions or compromises.

    Nothing should be ruled out in an increasingly Islamophobic Europe.

    • Avatar

      Umm Bilqis

      December 2, 2009 at 3:45 AM

      Islamophobia is well on the way in some countries in Europe and if the Swiss have begun on this path remember it is only a beginning. Someone commented that they were glad the U.S had not reached that stage, sadly they have bypassed it and have done worst i.e human rights abuses.

      It is good to study history since it tends to repeat itself.

      Perhaps we should study the history of what happened to the Jews in Europe in Hitler’s early years and we can watch how they progressively took away their rights and then negated them. Will the west follow this path again or will it be never again as in Nuremberg? Keeping in mind that it has happened abroad against the most helpless countries.
      More importantly what will be your stance? Will it be one of woeful ignorance and thereby aid aggression?
      Or will you speak up for yourself and others who don’t have a voice and sometimes literally don’t speak the language? Many came because the U.N brought them over from a camp overseas.
      Thought some in here might like to watch this video on the link between secular thought and present day problems against Islam.
      The guy is not a Muslim to my knowledge but he has a sense of justice, morality decency and other such necessary principles.
      Gilad Atzmon: The enlightenment is nothing but self love.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4e7Iq__yis&NR=1

  50. Avatar

    Anti-secularism

    December 2, 2009 at 1:48 AM

    After allowing eating rennin derived from Pigs, here Sh. Yasir is mocking islamic previous scholarship by using the word “medieval”.

    1- Allowing eating rennin derived from Pigs is an innovation that is against consensus. There is a consensus that cheese cannot be eaten if rennin is from Pigs.
    Let alone mocking people who told him that they will leave eating these doubtful things by telling them that they should have wara’ in something more important!!!

    2- Do you think that dividing the world into Dar Islam and Dar Kufr was not based on sacred text?? What does this imply about scholars who agreed on this definition with no single one of them going against this partition?? Isn’t this another consensus of previous scholars that you are going against?

    • Avatar

      Siraaj

      December 2, 2009 at 2:27 AM

      To solve this issue, someone needs to simply stand up and say, “Here is one possible solution I have to our problems, who wants to help?” and then do an amazing job on that thing that they can work.

      Siraaj

    • Avatar

      Yasir Qadhi

      December 2, 2009 at 6:41 AM

      I seek Allah’s refuge from ever mocking our tradition. The word ‘medieval’ is simply being used an adjective that describes a time-frame and era, ‘of or pertaining to the Middle Ages’.

      Anyone who assumes something negative from this adjective has, with all respect to him, obviously never attended any of my classes or read any of my works, otherwise it would not be possible to misunderstand this simple adjective in the context of my own methodology and writings.

      As for wanting to modify such understandings of world-arenas, or critiquing the rennet position that I derived, these are scholarly positions held by people far greater than myself. I just happen to champion them in English. These are scholarly opinions that require scholars or students of knowledge to debate with. Others who have not trained in the Islamic sciences should simply follow an authority they respect and leave it at that.

      Yasir

      • Avatar

        Anti-secularism

        December 2, 2009 at 8:11 AM

        I totally agree with your premises and your general methodological guidelines. What I am arguing is that in real practice, one can sometimes fall in the trap of initiating a new fiqhi position in an issue which was settled among scholars long time ago when nothing new has been changed in our own life nowadays to necessitate that. The rennin issue is a perfect example of that. Thousand years ago, cheese used to be manufactured in the same exact way as nowadays, there is no proof whatsoever that long time ago people used to use larger amounts of rennet in the cheese than what we use nowadays. However, absolutely NONE of the previous scholars has agreed that such a very very small amount of rennet is fine if it is derived from pigs. According to the premises of the current respected modern scholars that I think you highly appreciate and respect, one cannot inititiate an opinion in an issue when such opinion did not exist at the time of the salaf, unless there is a change in the situation of the world nowadays which did not exist back then. However, there is no change in the main principle of manufacture of cheese from rennet than before (other than perhaps quicker more sophisticated technologies). If positions held by current contemporary scholars goes against the premises that these same exact scholars taught us, then I would say we should not follow these positions.
        The same exact trap can be clearly seen in an issue like Dar Islam and Dar Kufr. In medieval times, there were muslims and non muslims, countries ruled by islam and countries not rules by islam, countries rules by islam and have non muslims living in and countries not ruled by islam and have muslims living in. Scholars of the past have derived these Ahkam from their overall knowledge of Sharia, and it was not just a couple of scholars who held this opinion. It was much more than that. How can all these scholars be wrong? Is there an evidence that this was a controversial issue back then?? and if not, is anyone permitted to go against that nowadays by simply stating that life has changed?

        • Avatar

          Ibn Abid

          December 14, 2009 at 5:32 PM

          Please only try to “debate” with someone far superior than you in knowledge if you qualify. A list of your qualifications/degrees/writings would be appreciated else your assumptions of facts will not be taken seriously.

          • Avatar

            Abd- Allah

            December 15, 2009 at 7:10 AM

            Brother Ibn Abid, I have not read what the brother have said, so I do not say this in his defense nor in agreement with what he has said since I haven’t read it, however, the notion that someone needs “qualifications/degrees/writings” for us to take what he says seriously is flawed, for the truth can be with anyone. It is this which really stands between us and following the truth. We shouldn’t look at who is talking, but rather at what is being said and if it is true or not and in accordance with Islam. Many of the great scholars of the past and of recent times have made statements to emphasize that one must accept the truth regardless of who said it and how many “qualifications/degrees/writings” he might have, even if he has none. Now the brother could be totally wrong in what he said, however, if he is wrong it is because he is wrong and not because he lacks in “qualifications/degrees/writings”… Similarly, Sh. Yasir also could be wrong, even if he has a lot of “qualifications/degrees/writings”… So my point is not to use a person’s “qualifications/degrees/writings” as a measure of how right or wrong what he says is.

            Allah knows best.

  51. Avatar

    Faraz Omar

    December 2, 2009 at 11:14 PM

    From one angle, the growing hostility shows Muslims are doing something right. How is it otherwise that the Prophetic call be made without creating any ripples in society? If everything were cool and smooth, then that means the job was not being done.

    Every time the messengers called their people to the truth, they were met with opposition and hostility.

    Muslims must understand the reality: We have chose to stick on to the truth — Islam, the religion of God. Upholding that truth will not be easy. We will meet with challenges, confrontations and oppositions. What will be required is the strength of eemaan and patience.

    I don’t dispute with other comments on how Muslims should tackle this issue and finding solutions — like reaching out to common people, media, hijra etc. But all this should be done while keeping the above in mind.

    One of the biggest lacking we Muslims have is a Muslim state. We don’t have a Muslim state that accepts Muslims from around the world, and whose criteria for handing out its passport is only Islam. With Islam at its foundation, easy immigration laws, and good governance, the Muslim world I’m sure would have been a well-developed and competent force today.

    Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist.

  52. Avatar

    cinna

    December 3, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    i think since minarets are not allowed we should create our own mini-minarets. when it is time for the daily 5 times prayer we should program our ipod, mp3 players, pc, walkman and other sound emitting eletrical devices to play the athan. not loud and obnoxiously that the police have to intervene, but just loud enough to be heard by the person standing close by. pull down the windows of your car and play athan at the stop light. minarets may be ban but we can still listen to the athan…

  53. Avatar

    Yasir Qadhi

    December 3, 2009 at 1:52 PM

    Must read analysis on the issue by a Swiss-based religious studies Institute:

    http://religion.info/english/articles/article_455.shtml

    Also, check out one of the videos that the right-wing party used:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjz1IRiE9Xs&feature=related

  54. Avatar

    iqra

    December 8, 2009 at 4:02 AM

    The word on the swiss poster used is “ISLAMISIERUNG”, which means the prosess of ” islam- izing” or PROSESS of SPREADING THE ISLAM. The ending in the German Language : ” -sierung” stands for implementing something with purpose.

    How can the construction of a minarett mange such a complex prosess of spreading the religion? Aren’t symbols of relgion, like churches in south america, not only a sign of their prosperity in a country ? So the question arrises, that is the minarett the cause of “ISLAMISIERUNG” or just an arcitectual feature, which shows the prosperity of Islam in europe. So if the swiss are talking about protection against “ISLAMISIERUNG” , aren’t they talking actually about protection against Moslems or ISLAM ?

    We have got here in Germany open discussions on the fact that churches are getting emptier and mosques are filling up. Their is a fear in the western society that the religion of Islam per se is entering europe. To stop the building of minarets is just one expression after the hijab discussion , to make an effort to stop this development.

    Maybe stopping mosques will be soon another issue, but I doubt that they can achieve their goal of stopping the spread of this religion.

  55. Avatar

    Erdogan

    December 8, 2009 at 7:15 PM

    Salam,

    As a Turkish Muslim living in the Netherlands, I would like to comment on two things. One poster argued that following the Qur’an and Sunnah alone is not enough, and that we must follow early scholars, or the “first three generations” as he claimed. I oppose this false notion, those early scholars were not infallible. I would appreciate if dear brother Yasir Qadhi commented, or perhaps writes an article about this important issue.

    Secondly, one poster (sadly) argued that Allah does not allow people to disobey or disbelieve. This is untrue; people are allowed to disbelieve, but will face the consequences in the Hereafter. Also, he said that people don’t have the right to apostate from Islam, which is also wrong. There is a verse in the Qur’an criticizing hypocrites; those who turn away from Islam, then come back to Islam, then turn away again. It obviously does not call for the death penalty. People are allowed to believe and disbelieve as often as they please….

    Unfortunately, it is this intolerant attitude that is not very helpful these days. While I’m extremely critical of western bigots and Islam haters, I will not hesitate to criticize my Muslim brothers and sisters who unfortunately don’t seem to know that Islam allows kufr. You cannot force people to accept Islam, this is not even debatable…

    Salam

  56. Avatar

    Swarth Moor

    December 9, 2009 at 9:47 AM

    Erdogan,

    Who compiled the Hadiths of the Prophet? For that matter, who wrote the Qur’an down and coallated it (into a single book)? … And how do YOU know that? It’s enough that the Prophet said: “The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets,” to demonstrate the need to follow traditional Islamic scholarship. If we don’t follow scholarship, all sorts of ignoramuses will make up their own opinions about the Religion of Allah (like on many blogs).

    Regarding disbelief, first, one must understand that Allah is the Creator of EVERYTHING–whether it is good, evil, eemaan or kufr. Allah has WILLED both the good and evil; Allah has only ORDERED us to do the good. There is no Verse in the Qur’an that orders people to commit kufr. To the contrary, the Qur’an commands people to BELIEVE in Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). Regarding apostasy, you said you claim to believe in the Sunnah (Hadith). The Prophet said:

    “Man baddala deenuhu faqtluh.”

    That is, “Kill whoever leaves Islam.” (Bukhari related) This is what the Prophet said. Muslims don’t apologize about it–and we are not going to change our Deen b/c the secularists at the UN don’t like it.

    This is the problem here: folks have adopted these apologists ideologies and cannot effectively argue for Islam within the religious paradigm. Instead, they feel this neurotic need to keep trying to justify Islam according to the standards of contemporary corporate consumer secularsim. Lastly, again because you are using secular consumerism as your default system of standards, you make intolerance look like a bad thing. INTOLERANCE IS A GREAT THING!!! It is GREAT to be intolerant of evil, of drunkeness, of gambling, of homosexuality, of lewdness, of usury, of satanism, of kufr in general. At the same time we can, because we don’t live in an Islamic state, “tolerate” (as in, endure and bear with) the deviant behaviors of those around us (and not go “ballistic” on these folks for openly defying Allah). That’s not the same as giving people the impression that the Muslims are going to get all kumabaya and attend a homo-parade in San Francisco, because we don’t want to be seen as “intolerant” by the larger kaafir society.

    • Avatar

      atheistdebater

      December 10, 2009 at 11:49 PM

      There you have it, folks . . .

      “Kill whoever leaves Islam.”

      If that alleged order from Mohammad does not make you question the soundness of Islam, or at least of that particular piece of Islam, what will?

      Swarth Moor says he does not have a problem with that instruction from the prophet? Do you? Do you have a better way of explaining that command? If so, please share. Be warned, however, that Swarth Moor will consider you to be apologizing for Islam, and might even criticize your opinions using CAPITAL LETTERS and lots of EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!

      Swarth Moor is an angry and potentially dangerous person. Reading his rants reminds me of listening to the Michael Savage radio program. Ironic, isn’t it?

      • Avatar

        Abd- Allah

        December 11, 2009 at 6:43 AM

        “Kill whoever leaves Islam.”

        atheistdebater, you are not Muslim, so when (IF) you ever become Muslim, then worry about this issue. A person has to be Muslim to begin with to be able to leave Islam, so this doesn’t apply to non-Muslims. This is simply none of your business! If Muslims don’t have a problem with this, then why should you ?!

        • Amad

          Amad

          December 11, 2009 at 8:02 AM

          Since this is unrelated to the post’s topic, any further comments on this particular issue will simply be removed.

          • Avatar

            Swarth Moor

            December 11, 2009 at 1:34 PM

            Amad,

            The question regarding the minarets and secularism and the rules pertaining to apostasy are not mutually exclusive. Many people who identify as Muslims are embracing secular reasoning (and trying to argue for and defend Islam within a secular paradigm) without, perhaps, understanding the full ramifications. If Muslims accept the principles of current secularsim, well then, they have to accept homosexual marriages. Muslims cannot argue for minarets in Europe based upon the principle of what the West calls “free of religion.” Muslims can show the INCONSISTENCIES of the West’s claim to be for (alleged) freedom of religion, while at the same time not claiming that Islam promotes such an ideology. Many folks don’t seem to be able to understand this distinction.

            Similarly, Muslims have to recognize the fact that the secularists will NEVER accept certain aspects of Islam, such as, “salvitic exclusivity” (3:19), or clear cut gender discriminatory laws (again, like intolerance, “discrimination” isn’t inherently a bad thing), or anti-sodomite/lesbian values, or dhimmitude, or punishment for apostasy. Muslims just have to get over it–the secularists ain’t gonna be givin’ devout Muslims/Islamic Law any love. Furthermore, any student of anti-Islamic bigotry can readily find out these Shari`ah issues with the web. So what Muslims need to do is intellectually dismantle the edifice of secularism and show that the entire ideology does not (even by its own claims) benefit people after they die, and that it is internally inconsistent with its own claims, as well as, of course, it opposes what Allah revealed. So the minarets issue is part of a larger issue related to secularism and Islam, and Muslims need to be intellectually equiped to deal with this.

  57. Avatar

    Erdogan

    December 11, 2009 at 2:17 AM

    There is no death punishment for apostasy in Islam.

    Dr Khalid Zaheer explains:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vmrr1ICtJo

  58. Avatar

    Erdogan

    December 11, 2009 at 2:43 AM

    If Muslims left Islam in a society that punishes them with death, they would simply not reveal the fact that they had left their religion, and nobody would ever know. They would pretend to be Muslims in order to not be killed. This is absurd. However, if you leave Islam and become an enemy of the state – and side with the enemies of Islam – then you can receive the death penalty. This happened throughout history.

  59. Avatar

    Ahmed

    December 14, 2009 at 1:53 AM

    Asalamu Alaykom Sheikh Yasir,

    Would it be possible to get your email so that I could ask you a personal question?

    Jazak Allahu Khair

    Salam
    Ahmed

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  62. Avatar

    Ibn Mikdad

    January 31, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu

    Great news: Member of the Swiss Political Party that Pushed for Minaret Ban Converts to Islam

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Member-of-the-Swiss-Politi-by-Jason-Hamza-van-Bo-091204-506.html

    Spread the word. Wassalaam.

  63. Avatar

    Student

    February 1, 2010 at 6:49 AM

  64. Avatar

    sabirah

    February 4, 2010 at 2:24 AM

    salam
    I just read in the German news that the same party that pushed for the ban of Minarets are starting a campaign against the extensive use of the highgerman language in the swiss language (the three main languages there are german/romanic, french and italian) and also want to prevent more Germans working and living in Switzerland. Wonder what’s next – blue jeans and potatoes??

  65. Avatar

    Nabeel

    February 7, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    This is a picture of the house of Swiss Chocolatier Phillipe Suchard built in 1865. The irony!

    • Avatar

      Nabeel

      February 7, 2010 at 2:12 PM

  66. Avatar

    Muhammad Saeed Babar

    February 11, 2010 at 6:42 AM

    In my opinion this has been explained in Aya 120 of Sura Al-Baqara

    “Never will the Jews or the Christians be satisfied with thee unless thou follow their form of religion. Say: “The guidance of Allah that is the (only) guidance.” Wert thou to follow their desires after the knowledge which hath reached thee then wouldst thou find neither protector nor helper against Allah. “

  67. Avatar

    Carl

    February 11, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    This minaret ban certainly sounds very distressing. Apparently minarets play an important role in Islamic life. Could somebody explain to me exactly what minarets are used for? Which vital function they perform in Islam?

    • Avatar

      Umm Bilqis

      February 11, 2010 at 10:36 PM

      Carl it is the indication of rising Islamophobia that is unsettling, not so much as the minaret and its function.

  68. Avatar

    Muhammad Saeed Babar

    February 11, 2010 at 11:39 PM

    What is happening to us – Muslims – is because we have forgotten the Quran. We only pay lip service to rules and regulations laid down in it for our guidance in this world and hereafter. Here is a very relevant passage from Quran.

    “Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home): unto all (in faith) hath Allah promised good: but those who strive and fight hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward.” Aya 95 of Sura An-Nisaa

    “When angels take the souls of those who die in sin against their souls they say: “In what (plight) were ye?” They reply: “Weak and oppressed were we in the earth.” They say: “Was not the earth of Allah spacious enough for you to move yourselves away (from evil)?” Such men will find their abode in Hell what an evil refuge!” Aya 97 of Sura An-Nisaa

    “He who forsakes his home in the cause of Allah finds in the earth many a refuge wide and spacious: should he die as a refugee from home for Allah and his Apostle his reward becomes due and sure with Allah: and Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.” Aya 100 of Sura An-Nisaa

  69. Avatar

    Carl

    February 12, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    I think it’s important to point out that tolerance is a scarce commodity. It’s not something that should be demanded in unlimited quantities. Just because a law grants you a right does not mean it’s to your advantage to do so at the very first opportunity. Perhaps exercising a given legal advantage (right) at a given moment will be canceled out by some countermeasure in the political sphere.

    I think that is a good description of the Swiss minaret debacle. I grant it was a mean-spirited gesture of the Swiss to ban minarets, but actually the whole issue was brought up in the first place by Moslem residents of Switzerland who rashly insisted on the fulfillment of their legal right to demand something completely unnecessary, namely a minaret. Of course the Swiss judicial system, which is innocent of any bias (I mean it) eventually found in favor of the minaret. However it was a rather delicate moment in Moslem-Western relations, so the legal dispute touched off a wave of nationalist sentiment that said, so to speak: “Congratulations! You got your minaret. Enjoy it, because there aren’t going to be any more,” and simply changed the rules so that now nobody is entitled to a minaret any more.

    Without having researched the issue, it seems to me that this incident implies, among other things, that Muslim minorities should be better organized, so they can deal with issues at a national level, instead of, as obviously happened here, a single local Islamic community deciding to go to court and thus altering European history. The decision whether or not to appeal the local authority’s minaret ban should have been made centrally by some national, or even Europe-wide, Islamic organization. An organization broad enough to be guided by an overall strategic picture instead of by personal whims, and staffed with competent political scientists who are able to estimate the political consequences of some legal action.

    But then again, it may just be because Switzerland is so decentralized that a nationwide Islamic organization would have nobody to negotiate with. There’s no main switch.

    It’s not the first time I’ve seen politically inept Moslems in action. One conclusion that stuck in my mind after reading a history of the Palestine conflict is that Arab political leadership was lousy. For decades on end the Palestinians fruitlessly pursued maximalist agendas, unguided by any clear strategy of how to hold on to their land. Until one day they lost it.

    • Avatar

      Umm Bilqis

      February 14, 2010 at 2:36 AM

      Carl>> Video On Islamophobia
      Thought you might to see the stop the war coalition in U.K.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzOotCGVHkw
      Political ineptness is not a problem of Muslims only but of different people in U.S and Europe as well as the rest of the world who don’t know their priorities.

  70. Avatar

    Carl

    February 13, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    and …. I forgot to add, those minaret devotees in Basel played right into the hands of some crooked right-wing political party that needed an issue pronto, so they could hypercharge chauvvinistic Swiss farmers and win the next election. Congratulations!

  71. Avatar

    Muhammad Saeed Babar

    February 19, 2010 at 1:17 AM

    “Suddenly the hatred of the petrodollar days is back,” he said. A gruff, burly man who was a partner at Price Waterhouse before coming to DMI, his voice rises as he explains that jihad can also mean a nonviolent struggle for a pure, legitimate end. He added: “Rarely in the Western media do I read anything about our food, our culture, our painting or our poetry. I just read how bad we are as Muslims.”

  72. Pingback: Reclaiming The Perceptions Of Muslims, pt. 4 – Analyse Your Press Release; Serving Non-Muslims | MuslimMatters.org

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#Current Affairs

CAA – NRC Row: Why There Is More To It Than An Attack On Secular Ethos

indian economy caa
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‘Indian Muslims have nothing to fear. No one knows what CAA/NRC is all about. They are simply protesting because they are misled’, thus proclaimed a former classmate of mine who himself left India for brighter prospects during PM Narendra Modi’s regime but continues to believe in his promise of ‘acche din’ (good days).

Today the whole of India is divided over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which is to be followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Thousands of students from India’s premier institutions like Jamia Milia Islamia, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, IITs and IIMs are thronging the streets to protest against the bigoted law.

The ripple effect has even reached top educational institutions across the world including Harvard, Oxford, Yale and MIT. From lawyers to celebrities to academicians, people across the world, belonging to different religions are raising their dissent against the law which is deemed to be against the secular fabric of the Indian Constitution.

What is this law all about?

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) provides an accelerated path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhists, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities from three countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is an official record of all those who are legal Indian citizens. So far, such a database has only been created for the northeastern state of Assam which has been struggling with the issue of illegal immigration for a long time. In Assam 1.9 million people were effectively rendered stateless after NRC and were put into detention centers. Out of these 1.9 million, around 0.6 million are Muslim.

On November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah declared during a parliamentary session that the register would be extended to the entire country.

Why the uproar?

At first glance the CAA seems to be a harmless law, which the government claims was made to help those who are facing religious persecution. However, the question arises why only those suffering religious persecution? Millions of people are suffering persecution in the name of race, region or language in India’s neighboring countries.

Even if we talk about just religious persecution, why does the law only accommodate those from three neighboring countries? Rohingyas are suffering brutal persecution in Myanmar. Christians are suffering in Sri Lanka. Tibetans have been persecuted because of their beliefs.

Many people opine that the CAA is not problematic in itself. It becomes problematic when it’s seen in conjunction with NRC. When NRC is implemented, millions of people will be declared illegal due to lack of documents in a country where the masses live in villages and documentation is a complicated bureaucratic process with a high error rate. According Professor Shruti Rajagopalan, the State Of Aadhaar Report 2017-18 by IDinsight, covering 2,947 households, found that 8.8% of Aadhaar holders reported errors in their name, age, address or other information in their Aadhaar letter (Aadhaar is the identity number issued to Indian residents). In the NRC, a spelling mistake can deprive one of citizenship and 8.8% affects over 120 million people.

They will be rendered stateless and sent to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Out of these ‘illegals’, everyone but Muslims can seek accelerated citizenship under CAA.

The fact is that even if we view CAA alone, the very act of offering citizenship on the basis of religion goes against the fundamentals of secularism and equality as mentioned in the Indian constitution.

UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet has termed the CAA as “fundamentally discriminatory”.

In this context, it’s also relevant to understand the revolt that is happening in the north eastern state of Assam. While the rest of India is against CAA and NRC for exclusion of Muslims, the people of Assam are protesting against the inclusion of 1.3 million undocumented Non-Muslims, as identified in the NCR. According to them, if these foreigners are granted citizenship under CAA, they pose a threat to the language and culture of Assam.

Police brutality against protesters

Student fraternity across the world was shocked when students of Jamia Milia Islamia who were peacefully protesting against the CAA were brutally attacked by police forces. Police accused students of destroying public property and fired tear gas shells, beat them up mercilessly and even open fired at them. They barged into the library, mosque and even the women’s hostels without authorization.

Video footage shot by students and reviewed by Reuters show students, including women, hiding beneath desks in the library, cowering in restrooms, jumping over broken furniture in an attempt to flee. It was later verified that none of the students had anything to do with some of the buses that were set ablaze outside the campus.

Reports of even more horrific police brutality surfaced from Aligarh Muslim University. A student’s hand had to be amputated after a tear gas shell hit him and exploded. Hundreds of students were severely injured.

Section 144 of the Criminal Code which prohibits any gathering of 5 or more people has been imposed across the entire state of UP. Internet has been shut down in several parts.

Videos showing police destroying properties of innocent Muslims in UP have surfaced which the ‘Godi media’, a term coined for PM Modi’s lapdog media, refuses to acknowledge. Innocent youth are being dragged out of their homes and their properties are being seized on the accusation of destruction of public property. Death toll has crossed 22. Thousands are in custody.

It’s not surprising that Narendra Modi is being compared to Adolf Hitler.

India’s secular ethos

Religion based politics is nothing new in India, the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue and Gujarat riots being two of the most glaring examples.

However, in day to day life ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, Aapas mein sab bhai bhai’ (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians are all brothers) has not just been a slogan but a way of life.

Muslims in India have held prominent positions in every sphere of life, be it arts, literature, sports or leadership and have been admired by Hindus and Muslims alike.

The current BJP government aims to change all of that with its RSS-inspired fascist ideology of Hindutva – Hindu nationalism andHindu rashtra’ (nation).

India’s faltering economy and dejected youth

One of the heartening aspects of the CAA/NRC uprising is that it is not being seen as just a Muslim struggle. It is rightly being seen as a struggle to uphold the secular ethos of the Constitution of India. However, there is more to this struggle which is being led by the youth of the country.

Underlying the CAA-NRC struggles is the country’s deep disappointment with PM Modi’s lofty promises of ‘acche din’ (good days) which gave the country a new hope . Among other things he promised to make India an economic superpower. Today the nation’s economy is in doldrums which has led to frustration and dejection in the youth.

IMF’s last forecast for India was 6.1% growth in 2019. This has slumped to 4.9%. Unemployment is at a 45-year high and industrial growth rate is negative.

One of the major reasons for the economic slowdown has been the government’s radical decision of demonetization in 2016 which sent the entire country in a turmoil and failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. Small businesses took a further hit with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

At a time when the government’s primary concern should have been the faltering economy, the government diverted the country’s attention to the Babri Masjid -Ram Janmabhoomi issue. As soon as that ended it announced the CAA and NRC, continuing its propaganda of Hindu nationalism as opposed to real issues faced by the nation.

At this critical junction the economy can be expected to take a further hit by the cost of the implementation of the CAA and NRC exercise.By conservative estimates, nationwide NRC will cost Indians a whopping 500 billion rupees in admin expenses alone. Add to it the massive cost of building and maintaining detention centers across the country and the nation looks set for an economic and logistical nightmare.

Today the educated youth of the country is voicing its frustration at the price the country has been paying due to the government’s fascist ideologies. They no longer want the world to know India for its age old mandir-masjid disputes, mob lynchings, communal riots, human rights violations, poverty or illiteracy.

The current uprising is not just against one particular law.The people, especially the youth of India are protesting for their rights to work together as one nation to take the country towards being an exemplary democracy and an economic superpower.

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#Current Affairs

Strengthen Civic Roots In Society To Be A Force For Good

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For believers the traditions and teachings of the Prophets (blessings on them), particularly Muhammad (peace be upon him), are paramount. Each Prophet of God belonged to a community that is termed as their Qawm in the Qur’an. Prophet Lut (Lot) was born in Iraq, but settled in Trans-Jordan and then became part of the people, Qawm of Lut, in his new-found home. All the Prophets addressed those around them as ‘Ya Qawmi’ (O, my people) while inviting them to the religion of submission, Islam. Those who accepted the Prophets’ message became part of their Ummah. So, individuals from any ethnicity or community could become part of the Ummah – such as the Ummah of Prophet Muhammad.

Believers thus have dual obligations: a) towards their own Qawm (country), and b) towards their Ummah (religious companions). As God’s grateful servants, Muslims should strive to give their best to both their Qawm and Ummah with their ability, time and skillset. It is imperative for practising and active Muslims to carry out Islah (improvement of character, etc) of people in their Ummah and be a witness of Islam to non-Muslims in their Qawm and beyond. This in effect is their service to humanity and to please their Creator. With this basic understanding of the concept, every Muslim should prioritise his or her activities and try their utmost to serve human beings with honesty, integrity, and competence. Finding excuses or adopting escapism can bring harm in this world and a penalty in the Hereafter.

Like many other parts of the world, Britain is going through a phase lacking in ethical and competent leadership. People are confused, frustrated and worried; some are angry. Nativist (White) nationalism in many western countries, with a dislike or even hatred of minority immigrant people (particularly Muslims and Jews), is on the rise. This is exacerbated through lowering religious literacy, widespread mistrust and an increase in hateful rhetoric being spread on social media. As people’s patience and tolerance levels continue to erode, this can bring unknown adverse consequences.

The positive side is that civil society groups with a sense of justice are still robust in most developed countries. While there seem to be many Muslims who love to remain in the comfort zone of their bubbles, a growing number of Muslims, particularly the youth, are also effectively contributing towards the common good of all.

As social divisions are widening, a battle for common sense and sanity continues. The choice of Muslims (particularly those that are socially active), as to whether they would proactively engage in grass-root civic works or social justice issues along with others, has never been more acute. Genuine steps should be taken to understand the dynamics of mainstream society and improve their social engagement skills.

From history, we learn that during better times, Muslims proactively endeavoured to be a force for good wherever they went. Their urge for interaction with their neighbours and exemplary personal characters sowed the seeds of bridge-building between people of all backgrounds. No material barrier could divert their urge for service to their Qawm and their Ummah. . This must be replicated and amplified.

Although Muslims are some way away from these ideals, focusing on two key areas can and should strengthen their activities in the towns and cities they have chosen as their home. This is vital to promote a tolerant society and establish civic roots. Indifference and frustration are not a solution.

Muslim individuals and families

  1. Muslims must develop a reading and thinking habit in order to prioritise their tasks in life, including the focus of their activism. They should, according to their ability and available opportunities, endeavour to contribute to the Qawm and Ummah. This should in start in their neighbourhoods and workplaces. There are many sayings of the Prophet Muhammad on one’s obligations to their neighbour; one that stands out – Gabriel kept advising me to be good to my neighbour so much that I thought he would ask that he (neighbour) should inherit me) – Sahih Al-Bukhari.
  2. They must invest in their new generation and build a future leadership based on ethics and professionalism to confidently interact and engage with the mainstream society, whilst holding firm to Islamic roots and core practices.
  3. Their Islah and dawah should be professionalised, effective and amplified; their outreach should be beyond their tribal/ethnic/sectarian boundaries.
  4. They should jettison any doubts, avoid escapism and focus where and how they can contribute. If they think they can best serve the Ummah’s cause abroad, they should do this by all means. But if they focus on contributing to Britain:
    • They must develop their mind-set and learn how to work with the mainstream society to normalise the Muslim presence in an often hostile environment.
    • They should work with indigenous/European Muslims or those who have already gained valuable experience here.
    • They should be better-equipped with knowledge and skills, especially in political and media literacy, to address the mainstream media where needed.

Muslim bodies and institutions

  • Muslim bodies and institutions such as mosques have unique responsibilities to bring communities together, provide a positive environment for young Muslims to flourish and help the community to link, liaise and interact with the wider society.
  • By trying to replicate the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah, they should try to make mosques real hubs of social and spiritual life and not just beautiful buildings. They should invest more in young people, particularly those with professional backgrounds. They should not forget what happened to many places where the Muslim presence was thought to be deep-rooted such as Spain.
  • It is appreciated that first-generation Muslims had to establish organisations with people of their own ethnic/geographical backgrounds. While there may still be a need for this for some sections of the community, in a post-7/7 Britain Muslim institutions must open up for others qualitatively and their workers should be able to work with all. History tells us that living in your own comfort zone will lead to isolation.
  • Muslim bodies, in their current situation, must have a practical 5-10 year plan to bring new blood and change organisational dynamics. Younger, talented, dedicated and confident leadership with deep-rooted Islamic ideals is now desperately needed.
  • Muslim bodies must also have a 5-10 year plan to encourage young Muslims within their spheres to choose careers that can take the community to the next level. Our community needs nationally recognised leaders from practicing Muslims in areas such as university academia, policymaking, politics, print and electronic journalism, etc.

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#Current Affairs

SaveUighur Urges Muslim Community To Support Black Friday Boycott Of “Made in China” Clothing

Cotton made in China
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SaveUighur.org is urging Masjids and Islamic organizations to call for a Black Friday/Cyber Monday boycott of any clothing made in China this week.

Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, is the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States, with retailers offering deals and discounts in stores and online.

China is currently engaged in a campaign of cultural genocide and forced assimilation of its Uighur Muslim community in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) in northwest China.

SaveUighur.org is a campaign to raise awareness about this human rights tragedy.

Clothing is specifically being targeted for boycott because experts say 80% of cotton used in Chinese clothing comes from East Turkestan, where forced labor is routinely used. As well, 30% of all U.S. clothing comes from China.

“Americans must send a message to the Chinese government that its horrific abuse of Uighurs will not be tolerated,” said Aydin Anwar, an Uighur-American activist with SaveUighur.org. “We must avoid buying clothing made in China because it would mean tacit approval of the Chinese government’s genocide of Uighurs. Boycotting products made in the country will send a strong message.”

Since April 2017, the Chinese government has thrown about 800,000 to two million Uighurs and other Muslims into the largest concentration camps since those of Nazi Germany during World War II. Prisoners have been subjected to torture, gang rape, and medical experimentation. It has also forcibly separated families, sending children to state-run child welfare institutions and boarding schools without access to their parents, and without parental consent.

Outside of the camps, Uighurs are subjected to strict surveillance of all communication within and outside of China, and spies are sent to live in Uighur homes.

SaveUighur.org is calling for the Muslim community to support this campaign and to encourage family, friends, and followers on social media to do the same using hashtags like #SaveUighur #BoycottMadeInChina #boycottchina #china #uighurs #uighur #FastFromChina

(1) Take a picture of the Made In China item.

(2) Write a message saying you are NOT buying it since it comes from China.

(3) Mention you are supporting the people of East Turkestan. Tag the manufacturer and shop, if possible.

(4) Use the hashtags #SaveUighur #BoycottMadeInChina #boycottchina #china #uighurs #uighur #FreeEastTurkestan

For more information about the campaign, please visit SaveUighur.org

CONTACT: Aydin Anwar, C: 571-344-3885

“We must avoid buying clothing made in China because it would mean tacit approval of the Chinese government's genocide of Uighurs. Boycotting products made in the country will send a strong message.”Click To Tweet
SaveUighur.org is calling for the Muslim community to boycott Made in China clothing, using hashtags like #SaveUighur #BoycottMadeInChina #boycottchina #china #uyghur #uighur #FastFromChina Click To Tweet
(1) Take a picture of the Made In China item. (2) Write a message saying you are NOT buying it since it comes from China. (3) Mention you are supporting the people of East Turkestan. Tag the manufacturer and shop, if possible. (4) Use the hashtags #SaveUighur #BoycottMadeInChina #boycottchina #china #uighurs #uighur #FreeEastTurkestan For more information about the campaign, please visit SaveUighur.orgClick To Tweet

 

“The South China Morning Post reports that U.S.-based scholars and experts spoke before legislators about how Uighurs who have been forcibly held in detention centers have been put to work in factory jobs. Companies that used these factories staffed by Uighurs and other Turkic minorities would receive government subsidies for each individual trained and employed, along with shipping subsidies. This cheap labor along with the government subsidies would result in very low manufacturing costs, “undercutting global prices,” according to testimony presented at the hearing by the Center of Strategic and International Studies. This could turn Xinjiang into a hub for low-cost manufacturing.

According to reliable sources such as the agricultural research company Gro Intelligence, a vast cotton-producing industry has been developed in Xinjiang which supplies 80 percent of the country’s total cotton output. This would mean that any cotton clothing sourced from China would be suspect of containing cotton grown using slave labor.

Furthermore, the Chinese Communist Party is transferring Uighur and other Turkic people to other parts of China forcibly, so the task of tracking forced labor of Uighur is no longer limited to Xinjiang (East Turkestan) but to the rest of the country, making it virtually impossible to track the forced labor of prisoners. How can third-party auditors ensure that the workers in these factories are not Uighurs removed from Xinjiang (East Turkestan)?”

Open Letter to Costco On Chinese Products Made by Forced Labor

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