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Anti-Muslim Bigotry

Muslims in Japan are Another Kind of Rumor Victims

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Taken from http://shingetsublog.jugem.jp/?eid=88

By Makiko Segawa

SNA (Tokyo) — Readers of Japanese newspapers in recent months would have difficulty avoiding the term fuhyo higai, which means something like “damage caused by rumors.” This term is now deeply associated with the people of Fukushima Prefecture who have suffered a number of blows to their economic prosperity as an indirect result of the nuclear disaster. But could not the term fuhyo higai be applied with equal relevance to the condition of parts of the Muslim community of Japan?

The livelihoods of some Japan-based Muslims have been negatively impacted by the leak last October of the internal documents of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department which alleged that the Muslim community was a potential source of “homegrown terrorism” and even identified particular individuals as probable terrorists.

It is in response to this episode of fuhyo higai that fourteen Japan-based Muslims, including some of Japanese nationality, filed last Monday a lawsuit against the Tokyo metropolitan and national government, claiming that police anti-terrorism investigations were conducted in an illegitimate fashion that abused their human rights.

The plaintiffs are requesting a total 154 million yen―or 11 million yen each―in compensation.  The leaked documents contained very specific information about a number of Muslim individuals, including passport numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, names of their family members, and all sorts of other sensitive personal information.

The documents made clear that some of these individuals were secretly investigated at the request of the FBI, implying that US counter-terrorism policies had provided the motivation for the Japanese police to put some foreign residents and even Japanese citizens under surveillance.  Kazuyuki Azusawa, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, observes, “The police are at anytime capable of accessing personal banking accounts for investigations without judicial warrants.”

According to Azusawa, the police have identified and maintain a database on about 98% of the Muslims who reside in Japan, meaning that one’s religious identity alone is being used as a marker for deciding which people are potential terrorists in Japanese society.

For those individuals whose personal information was leaked last October, the “damage” of being fuhyo higai is more than theoretical.

Azusawa reveals that one Muslim was dismissed from the company he had worked for after the leaked documents declared him a terrorist suspect. Another man who owns a small business suffered a major drop in the number of his customers.

Moreover, Azusawa indicates that many of them are now unable to go back to their mother countries since they are afraid that intelligence agencies abroad may take seriously the allegations found in Japanese police documents.

Both the plaintiffs and their lawyers note that the Metropolitan Police Department has not apologized for any aspect of their investigations, nor the damage it may have done to innocent people.  The SNA contacted the Metropolitan Police Department for their comments on the case, but the spokesman said only that he could not discuss any matter that was under litigation.  Not all observers are dissatisfied with the police activities.

Kenjiro Kato, a military analyst, told the SNA: “I do not think police investigation was inhuman when compared to what goes on in Islamic countries where forced labor and torture are being conducted. Japan is one of the most comfortable states for Muslims to live in and there is little bias toward them.” Kato also revealed the interesting fact that a police acquaintance told him in 2005 that they were following Muslims from a certain Tokyo area mosque, not because they really believed there were terrorist suspects at the location, but only as a training exercise to brush up their professional skills in trailing people unnoticed.

Whatever the truth may be―that the police are seriously worried about terrorism, or whether they are merely cooperating with FBI requests, or whether they just want to slink around in the shadows and practice how to follow people―the damage they have done to some Muslim individuals appears to be real, and it raises questions about the police use of state power within Japanese society.

Makiko Segawa is a staff writer at the Shingetsu News Agency.

Shingetsu News Agency

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    F

    June 9, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Sad to hear this. May Allah (swt) make it easy on the Muslims in Japan.

  2. Avatar

    UmmSarah

    June 9, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Moreover, Azusawa indicates that many of them are now unable to go back to their mother countries since they are afraid that intelligence agencies abroad may take seriously the allegations found in Japanese police documents

    So are the suspects Japanese natives or immigrants to Japan?

  3. Avatar

    HaseebJ

    June 9, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    So the Japanese police were training to be ninjas and using stealth mode against Muslims?

    “Kato also revealed the interesting fact that a police acquaintance told him in 2005 that they were following Muslims from a certain Tokyo area mosque, not because they really believed there were terrorist suspects at the location, but only as a training exercise to brush up their professional skills in trailing people unnoticed.”

    • Avatar

      Sofea

      June 11, 2011 at 3:09 AM

      lol…the “Meiji Era” is coming back! With swords and stealth. XD

  4. Avatar

    Carlos

    June 10, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    This was not an intentional publication, this was a leak. Only if the leak could be proven to be intentional would the plaintiffs have any potential recourse.

    The article says the internal documents alleged that the Japanese Muslim community is a potential source of homegrown terrorism. That is true, is it not? Can anyone seriously argue against the known fact that some extreme Islamic ideological subsets have been instrumental in encouraging terrorism or the support of terrorism all around the world?

    If any innocent people were adversely affected by any intentional illegal or unfair actions by Japanese police officials, those officials should be held accountable. But if the police officials were just doing their jobs in a fair and legal manner, keeping the Japanese public safe, let them do their jobs unhindered.

  5. Avatar

    youcef

    June 14, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
    Thanks for the tip
    youcef

  6. Avatar

    Omar

    June 15, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Till when will most Muslims countries be backward hubs of human rights violations and corruption, where even Muslims themselves are not free? We have lost our ‘izza (honour), our own home countries are in shambles and we are left begging at the doors of others. Among them are those who take our rights, and simply point to our countries and say “Thank God you’re not there”.

    The solution lies in the future of Muslim countries, they have to be strong, developed, and give to the world, rather than consume. We need our ‘izza and selfconfidence back.

    • Avatar

      be

      June 17, 2011 at 1:14 PM

      Ameen!!

  7. Avatar

    priyanjith

    December 24, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    well preplan.muslims has become a big problem to peace of the world.japan is still peace full country as you have taken correct mesures to control muslims.do not give single visa

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#Current Affairs

Faith Community Stands With Peace And Justice Leader Imam Omar Suleiman During Right Wing Attacks

Hena Zuberi

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In a follow up to the right-wing media platforms attack on Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists, as well as criticism of Israel policies, Faith Forward Dallas issued a statement.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanksgiving Square – Faith Leaders United for Peace and Justice is a Texas-based interfaith organization that has worked on many initiatives with Imam Omar Suleiman.

The statement reads:

“Imam Omar Suleiman a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice!!!!!

Time after time in our city, in the United States and around the world, Imam Omar Suleiman has been a spiritual and moral voice for peace with justice. When others seek to divide, he calls for unity. Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square works to unite faith leaders for justice and compassion. Imam Suleiman has been a trusted leader among us. In the wake of his beautiful prayer to open the House of Representatives on May 9, he has received threats of violence and words of vilification when instead he should have our praise and prayers. We call upon people of good will everywhere to tone down the rhetoric, to replace hate with love, and to build bridges toward the common good.

Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square”

Commenters on the Faith Forward Dallas statement have left comments of support.

The group has invited locals and other leaders to endorse and share the statement. “Endorsed! I love and fully you Imam Omar Suleiman!” wrote Karen Weldes Fry, Spiritual Director at Center of Spiritual Learning in Dallas (CSLDallas), commenting on the statement.

Some commentators do not understand the manufactured controversy.  Heather Mustain writes, “What people are writing is so vile. They obviously didn’t even listen to his prayer!” Imam  Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives on May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas, TX.

“I’m grateful for the faith leaders with whom I’ve built relationships with and served with for years that have shown full support throughout this process. Together we’ve stood with one another in solidarity in the face of bigotry, and in the support of others in any form of pain. We will not let these dark forces divide us,” said Imam Omar Suleiman in response to the outpouring of love from the people he has worked with on the ground, building on peace, love, and justice.

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#Current Affairs

#UnitedForOmar – Imam Omar Suleiman Smeared by Right-Wing News After Opening Prayer at US House of Representatives

Zeba Khan

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Sh. Omar Suleiman delivered the opening prayer in the US House of Representatives yesterday, May, 9th, 2019  at the invitation of Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D) of Dallas.

Immediately since, right wing media platforms have begun spreading negative coverage of the Imam Omar Suleiman – calling him anti-semitic, a common tactic used to discredit both Muslim activists as well as criticism of Israel policies.

News outlets citing the criticism have pointed to a post from The Investigative Project on Terrorism or ITP, as the source. The  ITP was founded by and directed by noted Islamophobe Steven Emerson. Emerson’s history of hate speech has been documented for over two decades.

Since then, the story has been carried forward by multiple press outlets.

The immediate consequence of this has been the direction of online hate towards what has been Imam Omar Suleiman’s long history of preaching unity in the US socio-political sphere.

“Since my invocation I’ve been inundated with hate articles, threats, and other tactics of intimidation to silence me over a prayer for unity,” Imam Omar Suleiman says. “These attacks are in bad faith and meant to again send a message to the Muslim community that we are not welcome to assert ourselves in any meaningful space or way.”

MuslimMatters is proud to stand by Imam Omar Suleiman, and we invite our readers to share the evidence that counters the accusations against him of anti-semitism, bigotry, and hate. We would also encourage you to reach out, support, and amplify voices of support like Representative E.B.Johnson, and Representative Colin Allred.

You can help counter the false narrative, simply by sharing evidence of Imam Omar Suleiman’s work. It speaks for itself, and you can share it at the hashtag #UnitedForOmar

JazakAllahuKheiran


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“We must recognize that the white supremacy that threatens the black and Latino communities, is the same white supremacy that spurs Islamophobia and antisemitism,” -Imam Omar Suleiman

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“When any community is targeted, they need to see a united faith voice — that all communities come together and express complete rejection of anything that would pit our society against one another more than it already is.” -Imam Omar Suleiman

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#Current Affairs

From Sri Lanka – The Niqab Ban and The Politics of Distraction

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This article was originally published on Groundviews

 

As of last Monday, Sri Lanka is taking a seat at the table next to a list of 13 other countries from across the world who have passed legislation banning the niqab or face veil.

Amidst incensed murmurs from certain parliamentarians, and following a discussion with the country’s main Islamic theological body, the All Ceylon Jammiatul Ulema (ACJU), the President’s office has announced that ‘any garment or item which obstructs the identification of a person’s face would be barred.’ Sri Lanka has been under emergency regulations following the Easter Sunday attacks which killed over 250 people. The ban will hold until emergency regulations are lifted.

Ever since the identification of the all-male terrorists behind the massacre as members of militant group ISIS, Muslim women -for some inexplicable reason- were to bear the hardest brunt. Instances of headscarved Muslim women being refused entry at various supermarkets and prominent establishments, was followed by the usual scaremongering via alarmist infographics doing the rounds yet again ‘educating’ the public of the differences between the burqa, hijab, and chador.

A victory indeed for both anti-Muslim voices, as well as to many within the Muslim community seeking to audibly amputate themselves from a supposedly dated form of Islam – one that they claim has no bearing to inherent Sri Lankan Muslim identity.  A view that discards the notion that any religious or ethnic identity is fluid, in flux, and subject to constant evolution.

The grand slam however is primarily for the current political establishment, members of whom are probably high-fiving each other as a result of this kneejerk symbol-politics manoeuvre on having supposedly successfully placated the public of their fears of homegrown terrorism. A move that bleeds hypocrisy for it comes at the cost of subliminally ‘othering’ an already marginalized segment of a minority community, while at the same time PSA’ing for peace and coexistence in this time of crisis.

What is most insulting to the intelligence of our society however, is that amidst all this brouhaha, only few have questioned the actual relevance of this new ban to the current state of our security affairs.

No eye witness report nor CCTV footage showed that any of the suicide bombers from any of the coordinated attacks across the country were on that day wearing the niqab/burqa/chador at the time of inflicting their terror. The men were in fact dressed in men’s attire, with faces completely exposed. It might serve to add here also that they weren’t dressed in traditional Muslim man garb either.

How then did the face veiling Muslim woman get pushed under the bus as the most identifiable sign of radicalism?

It is obvious that the government was cornered into passing this legislation, as was the ACJU too in having to support this move. While all communities have only their praises to sing for the exceptional work of the security forces in tracking down the attackers within only just hours, the country’s elected leadership was in dire need of respite following what many experts claim was a massive intelligence failure, a blunder involving the wrongful identification of a terror suspect, and incompetence in the handling of events overall. A distraction was desperately required. Something needed to give, and it just so happened that the niqab-donning Muslim woman was the easiest scapegoat.

To an outsider unfamiliar with Muslim religious symbolism, the face-veil can come across as alien, even unnerving. And while our first instinct is to otherize in an attempt to help deal with the discomfort of dealing with any unknown, a woman out in the street in a niqab is -for as long as anyone can remember- most certainly not an oddity that has compelled anyone to stop and recite their final rites.

The misguided belief that the face veil is a marker of extremism isn’t and hasn’t ever been based on any empirical research. If studies were to be carried out, results would show that Muslim women in general -let alone those with a face cover- have a little role to play, if any, for acts of terror committed in all the countries that have banned them.

Contrarily, there is a clear proven relationship between terrorist attacks and increases in recorded Islamophobic incidents against Muslims, with women being disproportionately targeted. One can then dare infer that being visibly Muslim carries a greater risk to oneself, than to the people around them.

The niqab ban has been put in place as a security measure they say – a flexing of muscles towards any semblance of radicalization that will deter any future acts of terror in the country. Naturally, the perpetuating of this ideological hegemony is doing Muslim women no favors. If anything, the ban is a wholly counterproductive one, in that it ostracizes an already marginalized segment of a minority community – a sliver of a percentage out of the 10% that is the country’s Muslim population.

If -as commonly believed- veiled Muslim women are being hopelessly persecuted, the ban will serve only to increasingly confine these women to their homes, under the control of the men accused of governing their lives, and further disconnected from being able to assimilate with society. Even more dangerous, there are studies which prove that having to live in an environment that is aggressively policed on the basis of belief is more likely to harbour radicalization.

Absurdity of the non-connection of the attacks with the niqab ban aside, this in itself should be a war cry for secular feminists advocating for everyone’s basic right to the civil freedoms of a liberal society. Where now are the proponents and ambassadors so wholly soaked in the ‘Muslim woman saviour complex?’ A segment of Muslim women has been forbidden from wearing what they feel best represents their Sri Lankan Muslim identity. They were not consulted before this legislation was passed, nor were they given the chance to show their willingness to cooperate on instances where identification was required.

Ludicrously, discourses surrounding veiled Muslim women are paradoxically lobbed back and forth according to the convenience of the times. In times of world peace, they are oppressed and subservient to patriarchal whims and fancies, while in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack there are hostile and threatening, capable of devising all kinds of evil. They are either victims of violence or the perpetrators of it.

This age-old preoccupation with Muslim women’s attire is in actuality a gross conflation of conservatism with extremism. In claiming that a strip of cloth holds the answer to combatting a severe global threat is trivialising the greater issues at hand. If there was a direct correlation between the attacks and veiled individuals, legislation forbidding the covering of the face in public would be wholly justified. But there is none.

Muslim women shouldn’t be faulted for the cracks in the state’s china. In not being able to answer the hard questions of accountability, lapses in acting on available intelligence, and general good governance, those at the top should leave well alone and consider hiding their faces instead.

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