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Bloomberg Blames International Terrorists who Hate “Our Freedoms” for Times Square Car Bomb

Amad Abu Reem

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Alhamdulillah (thank God), an act of terrorism with potential of causing significant harm in New York has been averted. A crude car-bomb was planted in a SUV parked in the bustling New York Times Square. This square is at the heart of New York, and is part of the city that especially never sleeps.

While significant harm has been averted on the ground, our elected leaders continue to harm American interests with premature conclusions. It does seem that they just haven’t learned from history. Amazing, and then not so surprising, that  Mayor George W. Bloomberg is already blaming “international terrorists”, who “hate our freedoms” for the failed act of terrorism. Of course he cannot already know who is behind the plot, but as the security expert stated (in an interview with Al Jazeera -story below), this line appears to take a pretty much no-regrets position, with politicians using it for their “own political advantage to accuse the Islamic militants even if it turned out that they have nothing to do with it”.

The plot, Bloomberg admits, was “amateurish” as has been every “plot” thus far in America, thank God. Why Bloomberg thinks that well-trained “international terrorists” could be amateurish escapes me; rather, such plots may point more to local extremists, who could be either the J-types or could be the white-supremacist-types.

More than a year ago, the Department of Homeland security warned about a rise in “rightwing extremist activity”, especially under tough economic times. With a non-white in the Presidential seat, one can only imagine white supremacist anger at this time. So why should that possibility be immediately excluded, Mr. Bloomberg? In fact, if there is anyone who hates our freedoms, it is the white supremacists who hate non-whites’ freedom!

Of course, the entire premise of “our freedoms” being a cause (let alone primary cause) for terrorism is entirely bogus. Most j-types don’t really care for our “freedoms”; a lot of them actually had and left these “freedoms” on their own accord. Rather, their hate is driven by America’s foreign policies. Of course, Bloomberg won’t say that, because that indirectly makes Israel complicit. As the military chiefs have finally come out said it, Israel’s policies are indeed one of the biggest factors for anti-Americanism.

So, if it is indeed “international terrorists”, Mr. W-wannabe, it is not for freedoms, but rather for our policies and the policies of Israel. Not that this fact excuses the terrorists for their treachery, but lets at least get the causes right, so we can do something about the consequences.

We hope and pray of course that no Muslims were involved. If they were, then let’s brace for another media pounding, with cheer-leading provided by the Islamophobic right-wingers, the ziocons & the neocons. In any case, Muslim organizations should assume the worst-case scenario, and start preparing for a response.

Car bomb found in New York square

A car bomb has been found in New York City’s Time Square, prompting US police to evacuate thousands of people from the area.

Police said the explosive device, discovered in a four-wheel-drive vehicle on Saturday evening, consisted of propane tanks, fireworks, petrol containers, wires and two clocks.

Michael Bloomberg, the city’s mayor, said the bomb, which failed to go off, was homemade and “looked amateurish”.

“We are very lucky. Thanks to alert New Yorkers and professional police officers, we avoided what could have been a very deadly event,” he said.

Bloomberg also said that “we have no idea who did this and why”.

Bomb-squad staff were deployed in busy square in the heart of Manhattan late on Saturday and police shut down several streets after a street vendor alerted police of “an unoccupied suspicious vehicle”.

Bloomberg said the police then observed that the car had smoke emerging from vents near the back seat and smelled of gun powder. There were reports of a small flash and popping sounds also coming from the car.

Nearby life normal

Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey, reporting from Manhattan, said that while the square was shut down, life was going on as usual in areas nearby.

“New Yorkers have lived through many scares,” she said.

“The [four-wheel vehicle] was a Nissan Pathfinder with licence plates from the state of Connecticut.

“The plates were actually traced and found to belong to another vehicle so obviously investigation is still going on.”

The purpose of the bomb was to create “a significant amount of fire,” Raymond Kelly, the city police commissioner, said.

He said that after an examination by bomb squad experts, the vehicle will be moved to a police location.

“The vehicle will be examined for DNA and fingerprint evidence.”

Terrorists blamed

In his press conference, Mayor Bloomberg said that “terrorists around the world”, who want to take “freedoms” away from the Americans, always focus on the symbol of those freedoms – New York City.

Riad Kahwaji, a security analyst from the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai, said it was “premature” to accuse international terrorists.

“We shouldn’t jump into conclusions here,” he told Al Jazeera.

“We have a precedent here, back in the 1990s, of the attack on the FBI building in Oklahoma city. People immediately accused Islamic militants and it turned out [the culprit] was one of the right-wing fundamentalists from inside the US.

“Right now, the big bogeyman is al-Qaeda, the Islamic terrorists. … For the US, it’s always safe and good for their own political advantage to accuse the Islamic militants even if it turned out that they have nothing to do with it.”

A statement issued by the White House said the New York police department had done “excellent work” in responding to the incident.

Unconfirmed reports said someone had been seen running from the car.

The vehicle had been parked close to a theatre on the corner of 45th Street and Seventh Avenue showing a production of The Lion King.

Times Square is one of the city’s most high-profile attractions and police are deployed there in large numbers.

In December they closed the area while inspecting a van at first feared to contain a bomb, but which turned out to be carrying nothing dangerous.

[Source: Al Jazeera]

Imad Shaykh is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Imad is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Zalyotchik

    May 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    I didn’t see Bloomberg say that. I think that quote is made up.

    • Amad

      Amad

      May 2, 2010 at 12:35 PM

      You thought wrong. Here it is quoted in Bloomberg.com, tough to beat that as a source! :)

      “Terrorists around the world who feel threatened by the freedoms that we have always focus on those symbols of freedoms and that is New York City,” said Bloomberg

      [Source: Bloomberg.com]

      Al Jazeera would not put its world-class reporting and credibility at stake by making up such a quote.

  2. Avatar

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee

    May 2, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    The “Pakistani Taliban” allegedly have released a video claiming responsibility for an attack on the U.S. The video doesn’t mention the specifics of this incident and the “Pakistani Taliban” have falsely claimed responsibility for previous incidents of violence in the U.S.

    Still, the media has already run with headlines of Pakistani Taliban claiming responsibility for this attempted attack.

  3. Avatar

    Yousuf

    May 2, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    I have heard of A-type personalities. What is J-type?

    • Avatar

      amad

      May 3, 2010 at 12:48 AM

      jihadi types :)

  4. Avatar

    Brother

    May 2, 2010 at 10:12 PM

    Maybe Bloomberg has knowledge the rest of us don’t and it was in fact international terrorists (I’d like to know how he got that knowledge in that case). However, if he doesn’t, and the culprit turns out not to be related somehow to Islam, then Muslim groups should absolutely demand an explanation in the same public manner where he made his comments.

    Worst case here is that Bloomberg made a stereotypical comment, and the stereotype is re-enforced in the minds of people after the culprit(s) are positively identified.

    • Avatar

      amad

      May 3, 2010 at 12:49 AM

      Accountability for such statements usually comes from the media… but our media is more than happy to swallow such “errors” because its only the mooslims.

  5. Avatar

    Uthman

    May 3, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    this just in

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8657606.stm

    what was it that bloomberg was blabbering about?

    • Avatar

      amad

      May 3, 2010 at 2:01 AM

      It sounded good… He wanted a guiliani-bush image. But I doubt the media will raise an issue on his “blabbering”… no accountability.

  6. Avatar

    Shafkat

    May 3, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    Here is the actual report :

    GORDON DUFF: TIMES SQUARE BOMB HOAX, ISRAELI INTEL GROUP SHOWS IT’S HAND

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/05/02/gordon-duff-time-square-bomb-hoax-israeli-intel-group-shows-its-hand/

    Ma asalaam

    Shafkat

    • Avatar

      waleed

      May 3, 2010 at 3:21 PM

      Maybe things aren’t he way they seem….
      May Allah bring the zionists to justice. Ameen

  7. Avatar

    Baasel

    May 4, 2010 at 1:00 AM

    Asalamu Alaykum.

    Some smoke comes out of a black jeep….and it’s all over world news.

    27 Afghans are killed in a NATO air strike on February 28, 2010….no one cares….no one remembers….

    I applaud MM from rebuking the Mayor of NY and his ridiculous comments, but at the same time, you’re also giving this incident attention, and attention that it doesn’t actually deserve.

    Do you know who actually deserves an article on MM? Those 27 Afghans, the 8 Afghan children killed on December 28, 2009, and the 3 Afghan women killed in February, who deaths were only brought to attention in April 2010, after NATO tried to cover it up….

    Jazak’Allah Khair.

    • Avatar

      amad

      May 4, 2010 at 1:16 AM

      It will get a lot of attention, whether we posted this or not, esp. since now they have arrested a Pakistani-American for it. It affects Muslims in America, something that may be difficult to understand for people who don’t live our reality.

      • Avatar

        Baasel

        May 4, 2010 at 9:51 PM

        Amid a popular “American” tourist destination, a small amount of smoke emerges from the back of a black S.U.V…the world is made to hear about it.

        Go back only two months, February 28, 2010, NATO kills 27 Afghans during a military offensive. The attack includes women and children.

        *Snipped*

        – You have had an opportunity to make this case in an earlier comment, which I let go. If everytime we have a post on afghani deaths, and someone kept throwing 9/11 on our face, I don’t think we’d appreciate it. The two situations are both wrong. When we talk about American foreign policy blunders, you are welcome to make your comments there. But this is off-topic to it. -Amad

  8. Avatar

    amad

    May 4, 2010 at 1:36 AM

    We hope and pray of course that no Muslims were involved. If they were, then let’s brace for another media pounding, with cheer-leading provided by the Islamophobic right-wingers, the ziocons & the neocons. In any case, Muslim organizations should assume the worst-case scenario, and start preparing for a response.

    I guess our fear has come true. Seems that some knucklehead Muslim, a naturalized American of Pakistani origin, Faisal Shahzad, is allegedly the key suspect. Apparently, he tried to scratch the VIN off the side of the road, but forgot that the engine has it too! Furthermore, he may have bought the car via Craigslist, using his REAL NAME in his email for the transaction… talk about “terrorism expertise” [See this article]!! Seems like he may be another fool, convinced by the J-types, that doing “something” is our duty!

    Wallahualam, let’s see how this plays out… but it isn’t looking too good for Muslim Americans, once again.

    If this is true, then another wake up call for Muslim scholars in the West, who continue to NOT tackle this issue and refute these extremists theologically on the turf they abuse, and yes I am calling out our own MM, almaghrib, kawthar shayookh. How long will you wait? *

    *NOTE: some people have misunderstood this comment to mean that the shayookh have not condemned or spoken out against radicalism. That is absolutely not what I meant. In fact, you can find their comments, posts and audio right here on MM where they speak out against it. So, the proof is in the pudding. My point was different, and much more nuanced. It was that we need a treatise that addresses the out-of-context textual proofs thrown around by the extremists, not to show off for non-Muslims, but rather to prevent a minority of Muslims who are neither here nor there, from being influenced by the wrong crowd. This would require a series of posts covering such subjects as wala wal bara, the true jihad, refuting radical ideas, etc. Perhaps all this has been done, perhaps in Arabic, I don’t know. If that is the case, then we just need to do a better job in collecting and disseminating it inshallah.

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      May 4, 2010 at 10:48 AM

      If this is true, then another wake up call for Muslim scholars in the West, who continue to NOT tackle this issue and refute these extremists theologically on the turf they abuse, and yes I am calling out our own MM, almaghrib, kawthar shayookh. How long will you wait?

      I have seen condemnation all the time, what specifics they could talk about to tackle this issue?

      • Avatar

        another white brother

        May 4, 2010 at 11:17 AM

        Frankly, all I see is condemnation. Not fact checking.

      • Amad

        Amad

        May 4, 2010 at 2:59 PM

        Hassan, there are 2 issues related to this situation.

        Issue-1 is the cause and effect paradigm. Even the US military chiefs, as I linked to, are finally admitting that Israeli policies and by proxy America’s policies is putting our troops in harm’s ways. There is a significant blow-back happening, and it is related to America’s wars in Afghanistan/Iraq AND Israel’s occupation. People are genuinely angry. You will find America’s favorability ratings in the Muslim world in the teens probably. That’s bad, really bad. And there is good reason for it. Obama’s rhetoric is a welcome change, and I firmly believe that rhetoric has to come first, in order to make way for action. Everything is about selling ideas. We saw this with healthcare. Lots of talk, then finally action. HOWEVER, until that action comes, nothing has changed for people on the ground in the Muslim world and even for Muslims in the West. So, hatred will not be abated. With hatred comes politically-charged extremism in religious garbs. And finally, a small percent of this extremism will end up taking HARAM action. This results in more Islamophobia, more anti-Muslim action, and it is all a vicious cycle.

        Which brings me to Issue-2. The “cause” is there and will continue to be there for the near future. I don’t see the ground reality changing for some time, until the administration can be in a position to over-rule the Lobby-funded Congress. So, assuming the “cause” stays, how do you channel the “effect”, the anger, into positive channels or at the least into non-destructive channels. And this implies someone doesn’t commit an injustice in return for an injustice. This is where our religious scholars come in. There has to be an anti-radicalism program, a “tutorial” of sort targeted at the youth. So that they are vaccinated against extreme destructive messages. Not that they should stop feeling a real sense of pain and hurt for the Ummah. Not at all, that’s the normal Muslim reaction. If you don’t feel it, then you have a serious problem.
        But rather they channel that energy (anger) into something positive. If not positive, they at least don’t do something stupid and Islamically forbidden, as we saw in the attempts of Farouq, and allegedly Faisal.

        I want to expand on this further in a post… hope I get some time for it. The problem is that many of our energetic youth who are past “rectification” cannot distinguish between 1 & 2, and they love to flame that conversation wherever it takes place. So, that scares people too… but alhamdulilah for my thick skin that still allows me to continue taking hits :)

        Hope this helps to see what I was talking about.

        • Avatar

          suhail

          May 4, 2010 at 4:36 PM

          You really believe in Obama don’t you Amad. You are in for a big surprise there. Allah has already said to us that the Kuffar will never be our friends what ever we do unless we renounce our religion. So either Allah did not knew what is going on or we are just too much depending on kuffar for our own lack of actions.

          This whole thing of blowing cars and stuff in US is totally idiotic and harmful to the muslims and nobody can argue in its favor. But we also cannot fool ourselves with depending on President of the US who is Kuffar to help us out in the situation we are in. The solution lies within us and with us. If we do not get back to Allah and hold onto his ropes nobody is going to save us and Allah will replace us with somebody who are willing to go an extra mile for his deen.

          Remember we need Allah and his deen not vice versa. Allah is not in need of us we are in need of him. And the whole point of getting back to Allah is to please him with our actions and intents. Getting rulership etc. are a side product of not the main goal of a muslim anyways. Waiting on Obama to change his policies is like shooting in our own foot.

          • Amad

            Amad

            May 5, 2010 at 1:16 AM

            Suhail, what if I took your entire comment, extracted your anti-Obama rhetoric and then went on a tear about how that is wrong, while ignoring the essence of your comment? How would that make you feel?

            Your dichotomous world will start coming apart if you just think about how many times you yourself have hoped in a “kafir” professor for better grades, or a “kafir” boss for a promotion. What about the Prophet(S)’s hope in Najashi that he would give refuge to the Muslims (otherwise he would never send them). If he thought like you in a black and white world of Muslims and kuffar, then do you think he would have done that? In fact, the Qur’an also refutes you, “And you will find that the closest people in friendship to the believers are those who say, ;We are Christian.'” [5:82], and it is not contradictory to other verses of not taking them as awliya. That is why we cannot rely on our understanding of verses to come up with conclusions. The reality of the world is very different from what you make it appear, and you yourself don’t live in that reality… it’s easy to say things online than to practically implement them.

            Our ultimate hope is always in Allah. We can have hope in humans, regardless of religion, but we can only have tawakul in Allah. And this is not the post to argue about this tangent further.

            Now go back and read my comment again. My point was clear. I have some hope in Obama being better than his predecessor and eventually doing something positive on the ground. BUT, I said that we don’t know how long this will take, IF it even happens. So, we CANNOT wait for that, we must move to the Issue#2, and do what we can assuming nothing changes.

          • Avatar

            suhail

            May 5, 2010 at 2:04 PM

            I could not reply to your comment brother so i will do so here.

            There are 2 fallacy in your argument here brother.

            1) You can not compare Obama and Najashi. Comparing them is like comparing blueberrys and watermelon. First of all Prophet(SAW) was guided by Allah(SWT) to choose Najashi otherwise Prophet(SAW) have never known Najashi personally. Secondly Najashi was not at war with muslims. If you really want to compare Obama to than take the leaders from Quraysh as they were at war with the muslims.

            2) I never made world black and white. That is your own deduction from my comments. I have already said on this very website that we can always cooperate with the Kuffar in good and trade with them etc. This is what the Islamic scholarship have said over the last 1400 years of our history. What i am opposed to and most of the scholars of Islam will testify to that is we cannot take the Kuffar as our Awliya. They cannot be our friends in the sense that we depend on them on our needs. We depend solely on Allah(SWT). Yes we can use there help, help them in stuff and all the other wonderful things but the sole power to grant anything belongs solely to Allah.

            This thing does not change with time or reality since Allah will not cease to be Allah. He is the lord of all the worlds and our creator which is not going to cease.

            Even if my teacher wanted to give me an A+ he would not do so until Allah(SWT) permits it. So the sole authority of any decision is from Allah(SWT). We work hard and then rely on Allah(SWT). That is simple Aqeedah 101.

            I think you read my arguments with tinted lenses brother so read it with an open heart and hopefully you will see what i am saying.

    • Avatar

      Uthman

      May 4, 2010 at 4:12 PM

      I have said it so many times and I will say it again. We need a class on Jihad in Islam and what the Shari3ah says. This is the only way we can get rid of “terrorism”. We cannot just go to some conference and the speaker delivers a talk on terrorism for one hour and we come back with one side of the story. Why is it hard to have a class on this subject? It is afterall our religion and by the First Amendment we are allowed to practice our religion.

      So what is indeed stopping us from confronting the issue head on? It will be good dawah as well. Imagine how many non-muslims would come to such a class.

      We can even eradicate terrorism with this. I think its a great idea. wallah u a3lam!

  9. Avatar

    Sir Magpie De Crow

    May 4, 2010 at 5:34 AM

    Just seeing the incoming reports on Faisal. Gee… another plot linked to Pakistan. Again. I’m sorry, but Pakistan in my opinion is increasingly becoming the “Groundhog’s Day” of international extremism.

  10. Pingback: Jules Crittenden » Let The Self-Recriminations Begin!

  11. Avatar

    akhan

    May 4, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    ahhh another headache

  12. Dr. Ali Shehata

    Dr. Ali Shehata

    May 4, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    Salaam alaikum Amad and others,

    If this is true, then another wake up call for Muslim scholars in the West, who continue to NOT tackle this issue and refute these extremists theologically on the turf they abuse, and yes I am calling out our own MM, almaghrib, kawthar shayookh. How long will you wait?

    I am a little disappointed in your statement. Even though I am a relative unknown among other da’ees in the Western Muslim community, I personally have addressed this issue in at least ten dedicated University and Community oriented programs in at least 5 different states in the past 2-3 years. Moreover, I have addressed this issue in detail in every official al-Maghrib seminar I have given, with a nearly 90 minute discussion on this matter in the last course. I also addressed the issue in my book Demystifying Islam and in a lengthy YouTube condemnation of al-Qaeda and its adherents.

    While I am not knowledgeable of many teachers in al-Maghrib and al-Kawthar, I do know that Sh. Waleed Basyouni, Yasir Qadhi and Yaser Birjas addressed this issue in a detailed session at the last IlmFest from what I have been told (was not there). Furthermore, Sh. Waleed has written a very detailed and evidence filled book on Combating the Extremist Mentality which I have been involved in translating for him for over the past one year. I know that he has also addressed this issue in numerous dedicated programs as well as teaching us as students when I lived in Houston 6 years ago when he taught the Commentary to Sahih al-Bukhari’s Chapter on Fitan (Kitaabul-Fitan). And I have no doubt that others in the Western Muslim community have done everything possible to uproot this problem in their own communities.

    Islam has nearly 1.5 billion adherents and is estimated to have between 6-8 million adherents in the US. The number of people involved in Extremism is but an extremely small fraction of this huge number and just because someone does something stupid it does not mean that we are not doing our job of conveying the knowledge. Look at those who follow Anwar al-Awlaki’s teachings of extremist thought – they too have access to all of our rebuttals and they are not satisfied because their emotions are raging and it is these emotions that blind their intellects and make it difficult for anyone – East or West – to stop them.

    I would humbly ask that we stop giving credence to the media’s impression that “Muslims are not condemning or educating”. This is a false and baseless claim and it hurts the efforts that we make on a continual basis.

    Dr. Ali Shehata

    • Amad

      Amad

      May 5, 2010 at 12:39 AM

      salam
      Dr. Ali, first of all, I am sorry if I have spoken out of my league.

      I don’t disagree that the shayookh have spoken. I have heard some of the tapes. I never said they have not condemned. That has definitely happened, and I would like to make sure any external parties reading this don’t misunderstand me. I know all Muslim organizations are also condemning as well. But I don’t necessarily agree that the education has been done on the scale it needs to be… and perhaps it is an issue of resources. Very limited number of du’at/scholars in the West who are facing a multitude of issues, from social issues to political issues.

      I am glad to see that alhamdulilah, we are tackling the issue of extremism in depth as well. But unfortunately, it cannot be limited to groups of Almaghrib students. Most of us don’t have that opportunity. It needs wider dissemination, which means taking the discussion to “their turf”, which right now is the internet, whether we like it or not. What percent of these guys will actually go to an Almaghrib seminar?

      For those who have followed discussions on MM, we have been almost begging for a long time for a lengthy treatise to be done on this issue. Every time we post a condemnation, whether from shayookh or bloggers, the same theme arises again… “same old condemnations, where is the textual references and refutations?” I have taken the brunt of these (sometimes vicious) retorts. My statement, may Allah forgive me for my mistakes if it is one, stems out of frustration of this process.

      If the detailed refutation has been done, can we talk about how to bring it forward?

  13. Avatar

    L Mirza

    May 5, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    This is bad. And this guy is the son of ex Air Chief MArshall of Pakistani Air force, belonging to a very rich family.

    Figure out guys!

    The only consolation for Muslims in this case is that the stupid guy’s bombs did not explode. Just imagine if that had happened! All of us will be in house arrest here!

    Amad is right; it is time to keepa way and condemn; otherwise we are all traitors to our adopted country

  14. Avatar

    Hassan

    May 5, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    I am sure no media is mentioning that muslim guy first spotted the car:

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/5/5/863762/-A-Muslim-Saves-The-Day-In-New-York

    • Avatar

      Sayf

      May 5, 2010 at 12:17 PM

      That’s so big it should be in the article, good catch bro.

  15. Avatar

    Shafkat

    May 5, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    As salaam alykum,

    Do not come to any conclusions till you have read this latest report:

    May 5, 2010

    Gordon Duff

    TIMES SQUARE ” FIZZLER” ISRAEL’S CROTCH BOMBER REDUX

    GOP and Fox News Campaign Continues to Stamp The Israeli Brand On Time Square Bomber More Airport Magic….

    Watching the news on the arrest of the Time Square bomber, or as we will call him, “the Time Square Fizzler,” and the flood of political attacks on the president and news reports condemning Pakistan and Islam make it all clear as a bell. The ‘highly trained’ terrorist, supposedly schooled in explosives and ‘secret agent stuff’ is another patsy. Think “Mumbai” and the recent trial. All our suspect could say, over and over, knowing he is doomed is that he was ‘set up.’

    Watch and learn…..

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/05/05/gordon-duff-time-square-fizzler-israels-crotch-bomber-redeux/

  16. Avatar

    Sir Magpie De Crow

    May 5, 2010 at 11:57 PM

    To Shafkat:

    So despite numerous reports in which the “suspect” admits guilt, the physical evidence and paper trail leading back to his ownership of the vehicle, or a new report that he has waved legal representation which allows him to spill his collective beans… you are still saying there is insufficient evidence to even think he is responsible.

    “It’s a set up!” “He was framed!” “It’s a conspiracy!” “The Zionists did it”. Etc.

    Based on the reports I have read I can only conclude that his own stupidity was the thing that set him up. I have been far more impressed by the leading indicators of Faisal’s guilt in this episode than the so-called evidence I have read in other stories.

    Here is one such example: Eight members of a Christian family burned alive in Pakistan for supposedly defiling a copy of the Koran in late 2009. And what was the overwhelming evidence in the case of such an egregious act?… rumors. No forensics, no believable eyewitness accounts and no admissions of guilt… just rumor.

    That’s all it took to sentence eight “kaffirs” to a death most unkind. I think I can promise you that Faisal Shahzad will receive a far more merciful and fair sentence should he be convicted in American courts. Perhaps your high standards of evidence requires something on the order of two suicidal idiots driving a flaming SUV into a Glasgow airport on live television.

    So in conclusion Shafkat, I know you may find my next comment may not be “halal” but I will say it anyways… Your assertions on this story are complete and utter hogwash.

    • Avatar

      Sayf

      May 6, 2010 at 12:22 AM

      I’m not going to enter the discussion on the NY case, I just wanted to point out one thing:

      Here is one such example: Eight members of a Christian family burned alive in Pakistan for supposedly defiling a copy of the Koran in late 2009. And what was the overwhelming evidence in the case of such an egregious act?… rumors. No forensics, no believable eyewitness accounts and no admissions of guilt… just rumor.

      That was an unnecessary addition, I don’t think anyone here would see the above statement as Islamic justice.

    • Amad

      Amad

      May 6, 2010 at 12:52 AM

      You couldn’t hide your Islamophobia, could you??

      You know the story he quoted was from a military veteran, who was NOT a Muslim. What nice anti-Christian story will you throw to counter that?

      It was sufficient for you to state your distaste for the story, which I agree is hogwash, rather than highlighting an incident that has nothing to do with Islam. You remember the Christian woman who drowned her children alive? What was the children’s guilt. Unrelated examples don’t help your case, they just highlight your own prejudices. And you cannot defeat bigotry with more bigotry.

  17. Avatar

    atheistdebater

    May 6, 2010 at 12:28 AM

    The author was blaming Jews for the attempted bombing in Times Square? Does Muslim scapegoating of Jews know no shame? Why did MM give this hate-blinded author a pulpit? I was not at all surprised to find-out the perpetrator was Pakistani Muslim. If it had turned-out the perpetrator was a Jew from Tel Aviv, on the other hand, I would have been floored.

    This terrorist promised allegience to our country when he became a citizen last year. He then tried to kill innocent Americans just a year later. Do terrorists have no shame?

    I know this website does not welcome those challenging Islam as an ideology. Somebody please tell me where I can go to debate Muslims who are not afraid to debate kaffirs.

    • Avatar

      Sayf

      May 6, 2010 at 12:36 AM

      Are you talking about the article? I think you should read it again lol.

      If you’re looking for a place to debate:
      http://www.islamic-life.com/forums/atheism-agnosticism
      It should give the mods here a break from handling comments not about the articles.

      • Avatar

        atheistdebater

        May 6, 2010 at 12:52 AM

        Thank you, Sayf. I have opened an account on Islamic-Life.com. I so look forward to the debating. If anyone wants to debate me, I will be on that website.

        Hi, Amad. I hope you are well. Don’t worry, I won’t be staying long.

    • Amad

      Amad

      May 6, 2010 at 12:49 AM

      Hello, which author are you referring to??

      If you are referring to Shafkat’s comment, he linked to some military veteran who is making assertions of some zionist conspiracy. I agree that veteran’s story is a non-story, just another conspiracy angle, that doesn’t deserve much attention. Pure BS in my personal opinion.

      I would like you to refrain from making outlandish accusations of antisemitism. Shafkat and the veteran are talking about zionist/Israeli involvement. As nonsensical as it sounds in this case, Zionism or anti-Islam sentiments is NOT equal to anti-Jew sentiments.

      Just to make it clear, we recently deleted comments from some guy who made direct ant-Jewish comments, and it wasn’t the first time. We will not allow any sort of racist or antisemitic comments on this site.

      As for your questions, “do terrorists have no shame”… indeed, they are shameless animals. Most Muslims have NO love lost for them. The problem you get is that conspiracies get in the way. Muslims have a hard time believing that other Muslims can intend such heinous acts. I hope you see the difference.

  18. Avatar

    madam

    May 6, 2010 at 7:58 AM

    Muslim Matters lets do something, lets reach out to those who aren’t practicing Islam first before the terror groups do. What I find is that, all these people who have not been practicing Islam, they can get easily influenced with all the passions of fighting and dying in the name of Allah. But have they even thought for a second that we have more function and purpose living in the name of Allah s.w.t?? I don’t get why these people feel that they are the so called “chosen” ones who can take a short cut to heaven by just killing another being. ANother being, who is just another nut case, following another ideology blindly.

    Why can’t these people just be like the rest of us, fighting to make banking halal for the muslim masses, working very hard to educate our young Muslim children so they can help to make the world a better place, instead of having to fight and kill one another? Why can’t these people just join the thousands of doctors and nurses like the doctors and nurses of Mercy Relief fighting to save lives in the face of unprecedented turmoil?

    Being a everyday Muslim is not easy you know. You still have to deal with the everyday challenges and do it in the name of Allah. You still have to earn a halal living, raise kids, take care of the family, work for your community, and perform your religious duties, clear your debts, give to charity, observe your behavior, character, your knowledge, your deen. And that is a lifetime thing. We are as Muslim and as observant as every other Taliban or Al Qaeda fighter claims to be. We have a lifetime jihad to deal with. And we have the future to care for.

    All these Muslim countries, if they are having problems, they must deal with it themselves, if you are willing to renounce your citizenship, and fight for the name of that country’s agenda, then so be it. You cannot put your country, your countrymen at risk just because you believe in certain things. And then, expect that the country that you have betrayed to protect your rights.

    It may be unfair because we see those who live under tyranny as our brothers and sisters. We have our affliations and connections because we are brothers and sisters in faith. But there is soo many ways to help. So many other ways to help. For every one brother who thinks they are doing their brother or sister in Islam a favour by fighting with these terrorist groups. There are a thousand more, “fighting” through peaceful means. through diplomacy, education, medicine, infrastructure development, and just because “We” chose non violence. It doesn’t make us any less of a Muslim. In fact I dare say that it makes us even better muslims because at least we are in a better position, to speak from a humanitarian stance.

  19. Avatar

    Shafkat

    May 6, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    As salaam alykum,

    Here is a similar version from Salman in Canada who questions the validity of the so called ‘ video evidence’ …

    Shafkat

    -snipped-

    -We are done with conspiracy theories. -Editor

  20. Avatar

    Shafkat

    May 6, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    As salaam alykum,

    Fine.. accepted.

    But I am SCARED… and have every right to be .. I certainly want to know what we are up against …
    especially when I read this:

    “Our race is the Master Race. We are divine gods on this planet. We are as different from the inferior races as they are from insects. In fact, compared to our race, other races are beasts and animals, cattle at best. Other races are considered as human excrement. Our destiny is to rule over the inferior races. Our earthly kingdom will be ruled by our leader with a rod of iron. The masses will lick our feet and serve us as our slaves.” — Menachem Begin – Israeli Prime Minister 1977-1983

    ma asalaam

    Shafkat

    • Avatar

      Akman

      May 6, 2010 at 9:47 AM

      I think your post have some level of truth

  21. Avatar

    Akman

    May 6, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    I apologies for my commets i posted yesterday if they were offensive to the readers of MM.
    ref: Gorodon Duff

    I wish to illustrate, that if you read the BIO of our Prophet (PBUH) you will see many struggles
    he had to face from the actions of the ????? — similar case is present of ISA ali Salam (PBUH)
    even before that… look into what Musa Ali Salam ((PBUH) had to deal with.

    Even then they still fall into the category of the “believers” because most are good … a few with high power are the bad apples. We as Muslims are required to treat the “beleivers” as brothers…but stand firm against falsehood. Yet, even some Hypocrits claiming to be Muslims have joined the Bad appled for power, greed etc..

    As far as im concerned….The fellow in this story is 100% gulity… but we need to ask who is at the top it all. Who is placing these folks into these positions … what is the real motive. Need to locate the Head of the Snake.

    Again, my apologies to you and MM readers for my past post…and even for this one… if offends you.

    Kind Regards

  22. Avatar

    Muslimah

    May 6, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Here’s another report on the fact that a Muslim Immigrant from Senegal was the first person to spot the smoking car. Unfortunately, no major news organization recognized this.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/5/6/muslim_vendor_gets_no_credit_in

    • Avatar

      akman

      May 7, 2010 at 9:01 AM

      Assalam Alaikum and Good Morning

      Informing the public of postive efforts by the Muslim Umma — probably doesnt sell papers.

      AND pls dont say that my comment is related to a conspiracy or something… ITS a FACT.

      anyways… have a wonderful Friday…

      w/salam

  23. Avatar

    Nassim Ally Osman

    February 25, 2012 at 5:38 AM

    i just wrote in a post on fb that i am very skeptical of all the hype & spin about Islamic Banking, Finance etc
    For me Islamic Banking sounds something like Islamic casinos.

    A bank is an institution created purposely by the capitalist system to make the poor poorer  and enrich the rich.
     
    So how can it be Islamic.

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#Current Affairs

Sri Lankan Muslims To Fast In Solidarity With Fellow Christians

Raashid Riza

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On Sunday morning Sri Lankan Christians went to their local churches for Easter services, as they have done for centuries. Easter is a special occasion for Christian families in ethnically diverse Sri Lanka. A time for families to gather to worship in their churches, and then to enjoy their festivities. Many went to their local church on Sunday morning to be followed by a traditional family breakfast at home or a local restaurant.

It would have been like any other Easter Sunday for prominent mother-daughter television duo, Shanthaa Mayadunne and Nisanga Mayadunne. Except that it wasn’t.

Nisanga Mayadunne posted a family photograph on Facebook at 8.47 AM with the title “Easter breakfast with family” and had tagged the location, the Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo. Little would she have known that hitting ‘post’ would be among the last things she would do in this earthly abode. Minutes later a bomb exploded at the Shangri-La, killing her and her mother.

In more than a half a dozen coordinated bomb blasts on Sunday, 360 people have been confirmed dead, with the number expected to most likely rise. Among the dead are children who have lost parents and mothers & fathers whose families will never be together again.

Many could not get past the church service. A friend remembers the service is usually so long that the men sometimes go outside to get some fresh air, with women and children remaining inside – painting a vivid and harrowing picture of the children who may have been within the hall.

Perpetrators of these heinous crimes against their own faith, and against humanity have been identified as radicalised Muslim youth, claiming to be part of a hitherto little-known organisation. Community leaders claim with much pain of how authorities were alerted years ago to the criminal intent of these specific youth.

Mainstream Muslims have in fact been at the forefront not just locally, but also internationally in the fight against extremism within Muslim communities. This is why Sri Lankan Muslims are especially shaken by what has taken place when men who have stolen their identity commit acts of terror in their name. Sri Lankan Muslims and Catholics have not been in conflict in the past, adding to a palimpsest of reasons that make this attack all the more puzzling to experts. Many here are bewildered as to what strategic objective these terrorists sought to achieve.

Sri Lankan Muslims Take Lead

Sri Lankan Muslims, a numerical minority, though a well-integrated native community in Sri Lanka’s colourful social fabric, seek to take lead in helping to alleviate the suffering currently plaguing our nation.

Promoting love alone will not foster good sustainable communal relationships – unless it is accompanied by tangible systemic interventions that address communal trigger points that could contribute to ethnic or religious tensions. Terror in all its forms must be tackled in due measure by law enforcement authorities.

However, showing love, empathy and kindness is as good a starting point in a national crisis as any.

Sri Lankan Muslims have called to fast tomorrow (Thursday) in solidarity with their fellow Christian and non-Christian friends who have died or are undergoing unbearable pain, trauma, and suffering.  Terror at its heart seeks to divide, to create phases of grief that ferments to anger, and for this anger to unleash cycles of violence that usurps the lives of innocent men, women, and children. Instead of letting terror take its course, Sri Lankans are aspiring to come together, to not let terror have its way.

Together with my fellow Sri Lankan Muslims, I will be fasting tomorrow from dawn to dusk. I will be foregoing any food and drink during this period.

It occurs to many of us that it is unconscientious to have regular days on these painful days when we know of so many other Sri Lankans who have had their lives obliterated by the despicable atrocities committed by terrorists last Sunday. Fasting is a special act of worship done by Muslims, it is a time and state in which prayers are answered. It is a state in which it is incumbent upon us to be more charitable, with our time, warmth and whatever we could share.

I will be fasting and praying tomorrow, to ease the pain and suffering of those affected.

I will be praying for a peaceful Sri Lanka, where our children – all our children, of all faiths – can walk the streets without fear and have the freedom to worship in peace.

I will be fasting tomorrow for my Sri Lanka. I urge you to do the same.

Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ. Surah Maidah

Raashid Riza is a Sri Lankan Muslim, the Politics & Society Editor of The Platform. He blogs here and tweets on @aufidius.

 

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#Current Affairs

White Activism Is Crucial In The Wake of Right-Wing Terrorism

Laura El Alam

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The vicious terrorist attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15 were a punch to the gut for peace-loving people all over the world.  Only the most heartless of individuals could feel nonchalant about 70 innocent children, women, and men being killed or maimed mercilessly as they prayed. However, even a brief glimpse at comments on social media confirms that among the outpouring of sadness and shock, there are, indeed, numerous sick individuals who glory in Brenton Tarrant’s deliberately evil actions. White supremacy, in all its horrific manifestations, is clearly alive and well.  

In an enlightening article in The Washington Post, R. Joseph Parrott explains,  “Recently, global white supremacy has been making a comeback, attracting adherents by stoking a new unease with changing demographics, using an expanded rhetoric of deluge and cultivating nostalgia for a time when various white governments ruled the world (and local cities). At the fringes, longing for lost white regimes forged a new global iconography of supremacy.”

“Modern white supremacy is an international threat that knows no borders, being exported and globalized like never before,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. “The hatred that led to violence in Pittsburgh and Charlottesville is finding new adherents around the world. Indeed, it appears that this attack was not just focused on New Zealand; it was intended to have a global impact.” (link)

Many people want to sweep this terrifying reality under the rug, among them the U.S. President.  Asked by a reporter if he saw an increase globally in the threat of white nationalism, Trump replied, “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

However, experts in his own country disagree.  A March 17 article in NBC News claims that, “The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned in a 2017 intelligence bulletin that white supremacist groups had carried out more attacks in the U.S. than any other domestic extremist group over the past 16 years. And officials believe they are likely to carry out more.”

Although they may be unaware of — or in denial about –the growing influence of white supremacist ideology, the vast majority of white people do not support violent acts of terrorism.  However, many of them are surprisingly, hurtfully silent when acts of terrorism are committed by non-Muslims, with Muslims as the victims.

When a shooter yells “Allahu akbar” before killing innocent people, public furor is obvious and palpable.  “Terror attacks by Muslims receive 375% more press attention,” states a headline in The Guardian, citing a study by the University of Alabama. The perpetrator is often portrayed as a “maniac” and a representative of an inherently violent faith. In the wake of an attack committed by a Muslim, everyone from politicians to religious leaders to news anchors calls on Muslim individuals and organizations to disavow terrorism.  However, when white men kill Muslims en masse, there is significantly less outrage.  People try to make sense of the shooters’ vile actions, looking into their past for trauma, mental illness, or addiction that will somehow explain why they did what they did.  Various news outlets humanized Brenton Tarrant with bold headlines that labeled him an “angelic boy who grew into an evil far-right mass killer,” an “ordinary white man,” “obsessed with video games,” and even “badly picked on as a child because he was chubby.”  Those descriptions, which evoke sympathy rather than revulsion, are reserved for white mass murderers.

The media’s spin on terrorist acts shapes public reaction.  Six days after the Christchurch attacks, millions were not currently taking to the streets to protest right-wing extremism.  World leaders are not linking arms in a dramatic march against white supremacist terrorism.  And no one is demanding that white men, in general, disavow terrorism.

But that would be unreasonable, right? To expect all white men to condemn the vile actions of an individual they don’t even know?  Unreasonable though it may be, such expectations are placed on Muslims all the time.

As a white woman, I am here to argue that white people — and most of all white-led institutions — are exactly the ones who need to speak up now, loudly and clearly condemning right-wing terrorism, disavowing white supremacy, and showing support of Muslims generally.  We need to do this even if we firmly believe we’re not part of the problem. We need to do this even if our first reaction is to feel defensive (“But I’m not a bigot!”), or if discussing race is uncomfortable to us. We need to do it even if we are Muslims who fully comprehend that our beloved Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said,  “There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab. Neither is the white superior over the black, nor is the black superior over the white — except by piety.”

While we might not hold hatred in our hearts individually, we do hold the power, institutionally.  If we truly care about people of color, peace, and justice, we must put our fragile egos aside and avoid “not me-ism.”  The fact is, if we have white skin, we have grown up in a world that favors us in innumerable ways, both big and small. Those of us with privilege, position, and authority are the very ones who have the greatest responsibility to make major changes to society. Sadly, sometimes it takes a white person to make other white people listen and change.

White religious leaders, politicians, and other people with influence and power need to speak up and condemn the New Zealand attacks publically and unequivocally, even if we do not consider ourselves remotely affiliated with right-wing extremists or murderous bigots.  Living our comfortable lives, refusing to discuss or challenge institutionalized racism, xenophobia, and rampant Islamophobia, and accepting the status quo are all a tacit approval of the toxic reality that we live in.  

Institutional power is the backbone of racism.  Throughout history, governments and religious institutions have enforced racist legislation, segregation, xenophobic policies, and the notion that white people are inherently superior to people of color.  These institutions continue to be controlled by white people, and if white leaders and white individuals truly believe in justice for all, we must do much more than “be a nice person.” We must use our influence to change the system and to challenge injustice.  

White ministers need to decry racial violence and anti-immigrant sentiment from their pulpits, making it abundantly clear that their religion does not advocate racism, xenophobia, or Islamophobia. They must condemn Brenton Tarrant’s abhorrent actions in clear terms, in case any member of their flock sees him as some sort of hero.  Politicians and other leaders need to humanize and defend Muslims while expressing zero tolerance for extremists who threaten the lives or peace of their fellow citizens — all citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs, immigration status, or ethnicity.  New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is an excellent role model for world leaders; she has handled her nation’s tragedy with beautiful compassion, wisdom, and crystal clear condemnation of the attacker and his motives.  Similarly, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau demonstrated superb leadership and a humane, loving response to the victims in Christchurch (and Muslims in general) in his recent address to the House of Commons.  

Indeed, when they put their mind to it, people can make quite an impactful statement against extremist violence.  In January 2015 when Muslim gunmen killed 17 people in Paris, there was an immediate global reaction. The phrase “Je suis Charlie” trended on social media and in fact became one of the most popular hashtags in the history of Twitter.  Approximately 3.4 million people marched in anti-terrorism rallies throughout France, and 40 world leaders — most of whom were white — marched alongside a crowd of over 1 million in Paris.  

While several political and religious leaders have made public statements condemning the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, there is much less activism on the streets and even on social media following this particular atrocity.  Many Muslims who expected words of solidarity, unity, or comfort from non-Muslim family or friends were disappointed by the general lack of interest, even after a mosque was burned in California with a note left in homage to New Zealand.

In a public Facebook post, Shibli Zaman of Texas echoed many Muslims’ feelings when he wrote, “One of the most astonishing things to me that I did not expect — but, in hindsight, realize that I probably should have — is how few of my non-Muslim friends have reached out to me to express condolences and sorrow.” His post concluded, “But I have learned that practically none of my non-Muslim friends care.”

Ladan Rashidi of California posted, simply, “The Silence.  Your silence is deafening. And hurtful.” Although her words were brief and potentially enigmatic, her Muslim Facebook friends instantly understood what she was talking about and commiserated with her.   

Why do words and actions matter so much in the wake of a tragedy?  

Because they have the power to heal and to unite. Muslims feel shattered right now, and the lack of widespread compassion or global activism only heightens the feeling that we are unwanted and “other.”  If 50 innocent Muslims die from terrorism, and the incident does not spark universal outrage, but one Muslim pulls the trigger and the whole world erupts in indignation, then what is that saying about society’s perception of the value of Muslim lives?

To the compassionate non-Muslims who have delivered flowers, supportive messages, and condolences to the Muslim community in New Zealand and elsewhere, I thank you sincerely. You renew our hope in humanity.

To the white people who care enough to acknowledge their privilege and use it to the best of their ability to bring about justice and peace, I salute you.  Please persevere in your noble goals. Please continue to learn about institutionalized racism and attempt to make positive changes. Do not shy away from discussions about race and do not doubt or silence people of color when they explain their feelings.  Our discomfort, our defensiveness, and our professed “colorblindness” should not dominate the conversation every time we hear the word “racism.” We should listen more than speak and put our egos to the side. I am still learning to do this, and while it is not easy, it is crucial to true understanding and transformation.

To the rest of you who have remained silent, for whatever reason:  I ask you to look inside yourself and think about whether you are really satisfied with a system that values some human lives so highly over others.  If you are not a white supremacist, nor a bigot, nor a racist — if you truly oppose these ideologies — then you must do more than remain in your comfortable bubble.  Speak up. Spread love. Fix problems on whatever level you can, to the best of your ability. If you are in a leadership position, the weight on your shoulders is heavy; do not shirk your duty.  To be passive, selfish, apathetic, or lazy is to enable hatred to thrive, and then, whether you intended to or not, you are on the side of the extremists. Which side are you on? Decide and act.

“A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case, he is justly accountable to them for their injury.”  — John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.  

For the past decade, writer Laura El Alam has been a regular contributor to SISTERS Magazine, Al Jumuah, and About Islam.  Her articles frequently tackle issues like Muslim American identity, women’s rights in Islam, support of converts/reverts, and racism.  A graduate of Grinnell College, she currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband and five children. Laura recently started a Facebook page, The Common Sense Convert, to support Muslim women, particularly those who are new to the deen.

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#Islam

Spiritually Processing What Happened In New Zealand A Few Days Later

Shaykh Furhan Zubairi

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It feels like we’re living in the times that were described by the Prophet in a number of different narrations. The Prophet said, “A time will come upon people when a person practicing his religion with patience will be like one holding on to a burning ember.”

 عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِمَالِكٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ يَأْتِي عَلَى النَّاسِ زَمَانٌ الصَّابِرُ فِيهِمْ عَلَىدِينِهِ كَالْقَابِضِ عَلَى الْجَمْر

Just like holding on to a burning ember is very difficult, it causes physical pain, holding on to our religion will also be very difficult. It will lead to hardships and difficulties. It seems as if every other week we’re dealing with some type of tragedy, some type of crisis. And each one seems to be bigger and worse than the last. As Anas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) told those who were complaining about the trials and difficulties they were facing at the hands of Hajjāj ibn Yusuf, “There is no year, except that the one that is after it will be more evil than it, until you meet your Lord. I heard this from your Prophet .”

 “‏ مَا مِنْ عَامٍ إِلاَّالَّذِي بَعْدَهُ شَرٌّ مِنْهُ حَتَّى تَلْقَوْا رَبَّكُمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ سَمِعْتُ هَذَا مِنْ نَبِيِّكُمْ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.

Similarly, the Prophet told us that we will face trial after trial, difficulty after difficulty. The Prophet said that near the end of times the Ummah will be faced with trials and difficulties that it will dislike. Then he said, “There will be tremendous trials one after the other, each making the previous one dwindle into insignificance. When they would be afflicted with a trial, the believer would say: This is going to bring about my destruction. When at (the trial) is over, they would be afflicted with another trial, and the believer would say: This surely is going to be my end.”

· وَتَجِيءُ فِتْنَةٌ فَيُرَقِّقُ بَعْضُهَا بَعْضًا وَتَجِيءُالْفِتْنَةُ فَيَقُولُ الْمُؤْمِنُ هَذِهِ مُهْلِكَتِي ‏.‏ ثُمَّ تَنْكَشِفُوَتَجِيءُ الْفِتْنَةُ فَيَقُولُ الْمُؤْمِنُ هَذِهِ هَذِهِ ‏.‏

This week, the Muslim ummah was faced with another devastating trial. Two separate mosques were attacked by a right-wing extremist in New Zealand during Friday prayer. According to the latest report approximately 49 god-conscious, mosque-going Muslims were massacred in cold bold. This is an absolute act of senseless violence. They were killed in the masjid simply because they believed in the kalima la ilaha illa Allah… There’s absolutely no mistake that this was a cowardly act of terrorism. May Allah grant all the deceased the highest ranks in Jannah and may He give patience and strength to their families.

This is a result of years of unchecked and unfiltered hate speech, xenophobia, Islamophobia, prejudice, and racism that has been propagated through the mainstream media. All of us know that the mainstream media, whether its CNN, BCC, or Fox News, portrays Islam and Muslims in the most negative light possible. There’s a whole well-funded industry of Islamophobia and propaganda dedicated to tarnishing the image of Islam and Muslims in the average person’s mind. They’ve created an environment where the word Islam has negative associations. To an extent that when someone hears the word Islam, they automatically think of violence, terror, bombings and the enemy.

Although the perpetrator himself carried out the massacre in cold blood, I can’t help but place blame on all those who demonize Islam and Muslims. Part of the blame rests with those politicians who use fear-mongering, hate and prejudice to paint Muslims as the “other” just to win votes. They say outlandish things like Muslims are colonizing and invading our countries. That they want to take over and impose Sharia Law. They introduce anti-Sharia bills to create more fear. Part of the blame goes to these obnoxious, loud-mouthed, bigoted pundits, like Bill Maher and his likes, who constantly spew inflammatory rhetoric from their influential platforms. Part of the blame goes to people like Lauren Southern, Tommy Robinson, Richard Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Frank Gaffney who are openly prejudiced towards Islam and try to create a sense of hate and fear in their viewer’s hearts. They openly speak of something they call “the Muslim problem”. Part of the blame goes to all these other bigots who use their influence to preach against Islam. There are so much bigotry and fear-mongering that at times it seems overwhelming. There’s so much bias, hate, and prejudice that sometimes we feel stuck. And it’s this rhetoric, this hate, this prejudice and bigotry that has created an environment that would allow for something like this to happen. Senseless acts of violence like this don’t happen in a vacuum. There are circumstances that are created that allow them to take place.

This tragic incident really hit home for a lot of us. Part of the reason is that Muslims living as minorities can actually relate to it. It feels real. It is real. The individuals killed in the masjid could’ve been any one of us. It could’ve been any one of our family members and that’s a scary thought. Whenever we see Muslims in pain, struggling, dealing with death and loss we’re supposed to feel that pain as well. As the Prophet said, “The believers are like a single body. If the eye hurts the entire body feels the pain. If the head hurts the entire body feels that pain.” All of us are feeling that pain. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of pain the parents and the families are feeling right now.

How do we channel this pain?

How do we deal with it? What are we supposed to do? One thing that we can definitely take solace in is the fact that the Prophet , the last and final messenger, our role model also felt that pain. He experiences similar trials and hardships. There was a very powerful anti-Islam, anti-Muslim sentiment among the people of Makkah. The Prophet himself was attacked both verbally and physically. He dealt with the pain of rejection, prejudice, bigotry, and hatred. He had to deal with the pain of seeing some of his closest companions tortured, beaten, persecuted, and even killed. Yasir, his wife Sumayyah and their son ‘Ammar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) faced painful persecution at the hands of Quraish. Yasir raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) died as a result of his persecution and his wife was killed by Abu Jahl just because they were Muslim. They were made to feel this pain, to go through these trials, difficulties and struggle to make them stronger. To develop their faith, personality, and character. This pain didn’t cause them to give in to fear; it didn’t make them scared. Rather, it made them stronger.

In multiple places throughout the Quran Allah teaches the Prophet how to deal with this pain. How to derive strength from these trials and hardships. When the people of Quraish rejected him when they called him a liar, a magician, a sorcerer and a madman Allah told him, “So be patient, [O Muhammad]. Indeed, the promise of Allah is Truth. And ask forgiveness for your sin and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord in the evening and the morning.” Allah told him to seek strength through patience and prayer.

To focus on his relationship with Allah . Allah told him something similar in Surah Taha, “So be patient over what they say and exalt [Allah] with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting; and during periods of the night[exalt Him] and at the ends of the day, that you may be satisfied.”

These are the same words of advice that Allah gives to us as believers, “O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” The true strength of believers has never been through financial or physical means. Their true power has always come through their spiritual strength. These incidents are meant to push us closer to Allah , to unite us, to strengthen our faith, and make us more dedicated to our religion.

These are wake up calls. Allah is literally shaking us and telling us to come back to him. It’s time to come back. That’s the only true way of changing our situation.

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