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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

5 Quick Things Americans Can Do For Uyghurs Today

Abu Ryan Dardir

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“I may die, but let it be known that my nation will continue their struggle so long the world continues to exist.” Kazakh leader Uthman Batur. He said these words as Chinese authorities executed him for resisting the communist occupation. Currently, China has, one million Uyghurs (Uighurs), Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities held in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) (East Turkistan) in northwestern China.

Their struggle surpasses the 10 or so years since we have become aware of it. Just like the Rohingya genocide, we waited till the last minute. We are always late and say, “Never Again.” It happens again and again.

In my lifetime, there have been horrendous genocides that could have been prevented to stopped. As a child, I remember Rwanda in the headlines, then a year later Bosnian genocide. Then we hear these demonic stories after the fact. I remember stories from survivors from Bosnia, and thinking to myself, “How are you here and functioning?”

Let us not be fooled to why this is happening now. It is related to economic advantages. The Chinese government’s present signature foreign policy initiative is the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that seeks to connect the PRC economically to the rest of the Eurasian continent through massive infrastructure projects that will stimulate international trade. The western and south-western components of the BRI require the XUAR to serve as a transportation and commercial hub to trade routes and pipelines that will join China with Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and the entirety of Europe. As a result, the XUAR has become an important strategic region for the Chinese, and the state views its indigenous populations as an obstacle to developing its vision for this future critical center of international commercial networks.1

The expansion of their trade route also ties in Iran hence the sanctions placed, but that’s a different report for a different time. China, of course, has defended their actions by claiming its an anti-terrorism plan. Getting reliable information is hard. China has made it a point to make things difficult for reporters. Yanan Wang, a China-based journalist from the Associated Press, has reported extensively on and from Xinjiang.

In a ceremony at Asia Society on Tuesday commemorating AP’s 2019 Osborn Elliott Award for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, Wang described the subtle ways government minders worked to thwart her reporting: “(Both of the times we went there we arrived at the airport, we had a welcoming committee from the local authorities. They’re always very polite and professional. They say that “you’ve arrived in Xinjiang and we’re here to assist you in your reporting. Tell us what you’re working on so we can help you.” They offer us drives in their car and plenty of hospitality.

Basically, from the moment we arrive, we’re followed by at least one car. There are a bunch of interesting scenarios that we came across. You can see that the local handlers are trying hard to be professional. They are members of the propaganda department, so they’re PR professionals. They don’t want to make it appear like it’s so stifling. At one point, we were taking photos, and someone suddenly appeared on the scene to say he was a “concerned citizen.” He said he’d seen us taking photos and that it was an infringement of his privacy rights. He had this long monologue about privacy rights and about how it wasn’t right for us to take photos of him without his knowledge. We asked him, “Well, where are you in these photos?” and he’d go through all of them. He said we had to delete all of them. He’d say, “This is my brother,” or “This is my place of work, you have to delete it.”

They had all of these interesting tactics to work around the idea that they were trying to obstruct our reporting and make it appear that someone who claims to be a concerned citizen.)”2

On top of that, locals that talk to journalist are punished, sometimes go missing.

I decided to do something this time around; I got in touch with an Uyghur community near my residence to see how an individual could help. It started at a Turkic restaurant, and from there, I have been involved in whatever capacity I am able. Through this effort, I got in touch with a Turkic professor in Turkey who has students stranded as they are cut off from contacting family back in Xinjiang. He helps them out financially; my family and friends help with what they can.

As Muslims in the West, there is no doubt we should act. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim).

How Can You Help Uyghurs

Here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Ask Congress to pass To pass S.178 & H.R.649 Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. Urge your senator and representative to support this cause. It has been introduced. This bill can help the Uyghur community to be treated like Tibetans (another region oppressed by China).

2. Stay informed. The mainstream media is not the place to get accurate information on the situation. Be skeptical of where the data is coming from, stick to reliable sources that are verified. As mentioned above, journalists find it difficult to report.

3. Donate to Uyghur Human Rights Organizations to end concentration camps: UHRP, Uyghur American Association  Donate to Awareness Campaigns: Save Uigur Campaign 

4. Boycott or reduce buying Made in China products

5. Follow these links for updated information: facebook.com/Uyghur-Human-Rights-Project-227634297289994/ and facebook.com/ChinaMuslims

This crisis is an ethnic cleansing for profit. These are dark days as we value profit over people.

1.Statement by Concerned Scholars on mass detentions | MCLC …. https://u.osu.edu/mclc/2018/11/27/statement-by-concerned-scholars-on-mass-detention s/

2.Why It’s So Difficult for Journalists To Report From …. https://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/why-its-so-difficult-journalists-report-xinjiang

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#Culture

Retire Aladdin To The Ends Of The Earth

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By Jinan Shbat

I grew up in an upper-middle-class suburb in Ohio, where I never felt different than the kids in my neighborhood. Sure, my siblings and I had odd-sounding names, and we spoke a second language. But to our neighbors and classmates, we were white, like them. However, that perception changed when I was 11-years-old, when a Disney cartoon movie named “Aladdin,” was released based off of a character created by a French orientalist at the height of Orientalism. At first, my siblings and I were excited because we thought Disney had made a movie that represented us. However, shortly after the movie came out, the questions began.

Are you from Agrabah?

Do you have a magic carpet? Are you going to be married off to someone your parents choose? Do you have outfits like Jasmine?” My head was swarming with all these questions, and I admit, I was intimidated. A little scared, too. I didn’t know how to answer them, and so I just shook my head and walked away.

My parents thought they were doing us a favor by buying the movie and have us watch it anytime other kids came over to play. This just created a larger divide between us, and soon my siblings and I were the “other.” It made me hyper-aware of my brown skin, my visiting foreign grandparents, and my weird-sounding name that no one could ever pronounce correctly. As I grew up, the movie and its racist, Orientalist tropes followed and haunted me. Anytime anyone found out I was Arab, they would ask, “oh, like Aladdin?” I didn’t know how to answer that. Was Aladdin Arab? South Asian, Persian? These were all different ethnicities, yet the movie seemed to be an amalgamation of them all, set in a fiction land I could not identify.

Why is Disney’s Aladdin Harmful?

It may not seem like a big deal to be misidentified in this way, but it is. And these stereotypes that have been present in Hollywood for decades are a huge disservice to our communities- all our communities- because when you misidentify a person’s culture, you are saying that all people of color are interchangeable— which is dehumanizing.

With the new release of the live action version, “Aladdin” is reinforcing the trauma and obstacles we have had to fight for the last 30+ years. The addition of a diversity consulting firm made Disney look good; it showed good faith on their part to receive feedback on the script to try and improve it.

However, issues remain with the original story itself, and no amount of consulting will change that.

Although the Aladdin remake was marked by controversy over Disney “brown-facing” its white cast, and despite original Aladdin’s racist history, last weekend Disney’s live-action version soared to $207.1 million globally. Money experts tell us that the remake success comes from the “power of nostalgia”- that is, the film’s ability to connect with feel-good memories.

The original production is the second highest grossing film project in Disney history. Last weekend, millions flocked to the remake in record numbers, despite critics’ negative and mixed reviews.

The accompanying Aladdin Jr. play is also a major concern, sales of which will skyrocket because of the film. Disney only recently removed the word ‘barbaric’ in its description of Arabs in the opening song. Many more problems abound, but Disney promises through its licensing company, Music Theatre International, to keep the concepts explored in the original production intact.

A Whole New World Needs Less Anti-Muslim Bigotry

From my perspective, as an organizer that fights a huge Islamophobia network in my daily work, it would be a disservice to my work and our community to sit by and allow racist, Islamophobic, orientalist tropes to make their way into our theaters, homes, and schools. What exactly is not a big deal in this movie? The depiction of Arabs and South Asians as one demographic, the storyline of forced marriage, power struggles, a black man playing a genie literally bound by chains to a lamp?

Hollywood’s history of Islamophobia needs to be rectified. There is a plethora of writers, actors and creative minds with alternative positive portrayals of Muslims, Arabs and South Asians. Our consumer appetite must shift to embrace authentic stories and images about people like me.

Aladdin is beyond repair; in its original form, it is problematic. No number of meetings with executives will fix the problems that are still prevalent. It should be retired, indefinitely, and put on the shelf with all the other racist caricatures from Hollywood history.

It’s our duty to speak out- and if you don’t believe we should, then you can choose to stay silent. I cannot.

Jinan Shbat is an organizer in Washington DC.

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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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