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How the U.S. ought to Have Responded to the Palestinian Statehood Bid




Although the United States has failed and will indeed continue to fail to conduct its foreign policy in a humane and morally consistent manner, the fact remains that America, with its tremendous wealth, power, and influence, is in a unique position to affect the lives of those whose livelihood has been undermined by legacies of the Colonial Era. Nevertheless, the United States will probably always favor the aggressor over the dispossessed. That is, the United States will, no matter what, remain involved in the Middle East in the following way: as long as the unprecedentedly strong US alliance with Israel stands, the US will continue to support Israel unconditionally. This is due to the ironic nature of the American liberal democratic system, which allows political coalitions with enough money and power (AIPAC[1] and the so-called “Armageddon Lobby”[2]) to considerably undermine both the liberality and the democracy of the system. Because this inordinate bias exists, policy experts and, indeed, ordinary voters should remain vigilant to ensure that the US at least does something for Palestine too.

Obama as a Leader

In a recent Foreign Policy article, Aaron David Miller argues that the Israel-Palestine issue is a “lose-lose” situation in which Obama is better off not getting involved. His position has the appearance of cogency; after all, isn’t the real aim of every president to get reelected? How can Obama be expected to desire anything else? “There’s no deal now that anyone can broker,” Miller remarks with resignation, “The president is right to protect his political flanks. This isn’t cheap or dirty politics: it’s smart.”[3] Cynically concluding that “Obama should veto [any proposed bid for Palestinian membership in the U.N.] and sleep well that night,” Miller aggressively— and inexplicably— supports the status quo of American politics as if it represented some value that is now under threat and must be protected. His whole argument devolves, predictably, upon this vanity when it is revealed that the reason for him taking this stance is his belief that “reelecting Obama next year [in order to avert a Republican victory]…should be the primary goal.” All the other reasons for supporting the veto — such as protection of “interests” or the ultimate inefficacy of the UN membership bid — are just platitudes. He gives no evidence that clearing the way for Palestine’s unilateral ambitions will harm US interests, and he seems not to recognize the fact that everyone is already aware that the US will veto the bid — Obama has promised it. The point of the Palestinian bid is to send a message, to oppose the status-quo.

Miller’s argument that the Palestinians are not fit to declare statehood because they lack unity around a single political party forces the Palestinians into a catch-22 scenario. They cannot declare statehood unless they are unified around a single political party, yet a (successful) declaration of statehood is the one thing that would truly bring Palestinians together. Miller’s assertion that “no Israeli government will be willing to make a deal with a partner thatdoesn’t control and silence all the guns of Palestine” reveals the degree to which the American consciousness is warped into thinking that Palestine is required to accept the partnership (read: overlordship) of Israel in navigating its path to statehood. Moreover, expecting a stateless people to be perfectly unified is unprecedented and unfair. Not only do the Palestinians occupy widely divergent geographical areas, but they also profess two different religions. Such is the ridiculous presumption of those who want either to prevent the State of Palestine from ever coming into existence or to prevent it from being anything more than a permanent ward of Israel and the West, only half real and devoid of dignity.

Miller is right to criticize Obama for inciting false hope in Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans alike. Much of Obama’s positions and rhetoric have proven to be as fragile and as empty as a balloon. This is precisely the reason why influential policy experts ought not to go as far as Miller would have them go to make sure Obama gets reelected. Even if Obama is the lesser of two evils in comparison to most of the potential Republican candidates, subordinating the Palestine question to partisan politics obscures the urgency of the real human tragedy taking place. Palestinians are trying to claim a right that was stolen from them sixty years ago, and all policy experts can talk about is “national interests,” which is, more often than not, just code for “Israeli [expansionist] interests.” But for those who are genuinely concerned about real, tangible US interests (to which maintaining a permanent alliance with Israel has absolutely nothing to offer[4]), a reversal of terms may provide a fitting admonishment: If the US were to aggressively pursue the creation of a Palestinian state, wouldn’t popular anti-Americanism in the Middle East all but disappear, thus easing relations with trade partners far more lucrative than Israel, a country deficient of oil? If the US loses an ally in Israel, won’t it gain one in Palestine?

The so-called “Do-Nothing Strategy” might be described with exactly the same wording Miller denies: cheap and dirty politics. Its cheapness lay in the fact that it prioritizes the exigencies of party politics over real human concerns. Whether or not Obama gets reelected next term should take a back seat to such a pressing humanitarian concern as reversing West Bank settlement and clearing the path toward Palestinian statehood. The office of the president no longer has independent significance anyway. The president frequently serves as a scapegoat for the country’s problems, but he has very little power or initiative to act independently to change the status-quo. There will never be another “great president” like those of the 18th and 19th centuries because each one, as soon as he enters office, is pressed with the necessity to conform to the demands of the most powerful lobbies. If Obama were a great president, he would be brave enough to act on the dictates of morality rather than in the interest of self-perpetuation. If he were a great president, he would, with his own hands, permanently ruin his chances of being reelected, and he would do so with zeal. George Washington, that first and greatest American president, established the honorable democratic tradition of term limits when he refused to run for a third reelection, despite the fact that his extraordinary level of popularity would have enabled him to crown himself king if he wished. He subordinated his own ambitions to a higher moral principle.

Obscurantism and cynicism are what allow the Israel-Palestine land dispute to continue — Obscurantism that diverts focus away from the Palestinian tragedy by focusing on nebulous phrases like “national interests” and “helping our allies.” The resignation inherent in the “Do Nothing Strategy” resembles the attitude taken by David Ben-Gurion, a Zionist ideologue and one of Israel’s founders:

Everybody sees the problem in the relations between the Jews and the [Palestinian] Arabs. But not everybody sees that there’s no solution to it. There is no solution! . . . The conflict between the interests of the Jews and the interests of the [Palestinian] Arabs in Palestine cannot be resolved by sophisms. I don’t know any Arabs who would agree to Palestine being ours—even if we learn Arabic . . .and I have no need to learn Arabic. On the other hand, I don’t see why ‘Mustafa’ should learn Hebrew. . . . There’s a national question here. We want the country to be ours. The Arabs want the country to be theirs.[5]

Resignation to the interminability of the dilemma of Israel and Palestine only buys time for the further expansion of settlements, and thus further diminishes the likelihood that the problem will ever be solved. Palestine deserves the right to make a unilateral bid for statehood. Israel hadn’t obtained bilateral agreement when it seized Palestinian land in 1948, so Israel is groundless in trying to make the Palestinians do so, especially considering that the Palestinians are just trying to take back what is rightfully theirs.

[1] Thus, in John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” London Review of Books 28 (2006):45, “AIPAC’s success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. … AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the myriad pro-Israel PACs. Those seen as hostile to Israel, on the other hand, can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to their political opponents. … The bottom line is that AIPAC, which is a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on the US Congress. Open debate about US policy towards Israel does not occur there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world.”

[2] See Rammy M. Haija, “The Armageddon Lobby: Dispensationalist Christian Zionism and the Shaping of US Policy Towards Israel-Palestine,” Holy Land Studies 5.1 (2006): 75-95. Haija briefly narrates the history of Christian Zionism and measures the impact of this movement on US policy relating to Israel-Palestine. He finds that despite the Armageddon Lobby’s success as a pro-Israel lobby, its influence is actually detrimental to the long-term peace and security of Israel  because of its “policy of deterring the procession of negotiations” (75).

[3] Aaron David Miller, “The Do-Nothing Strategy,”, last modified September 22, 2011,

[4] John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy,” 6.

[5] Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate (New York: Picador Press, 2001), 116.



  1. Avatar


    November 1, 2011 at 9:57 AM

    UNESCO has admitted Palestine as a state, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama administration has stopped UNESCO funding.

    • Avatar


      November 2, 2011 at 2:31 AM

      Assalamu ‘alaikum,
      brother i’m copying it….

    • Avatar


      November 3, 2011 at 8:07 PM

      Seems like Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize prematurely, but I may be wrong. Does anyone know any place where he helped establish peace?

  2. Avatar

    Mansoor Ansari

    November 1, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Those amongst the countries that voted NO should be held accountable especially those who talk spreading about democracy & human rights around the world and are waging war to do so.

    Aka : USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden.

    There were 14 “no” votes, 52 abstentions and 107 “yes” votes (there were also 20 Member States absent):

    No: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu.

    Abstentions: Albania, Andorra, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cook Islands, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Georgia, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Liberia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zambia.

    Yes: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Sant Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

    Absent: Antigua and Barbuda, Central African Republic, Comoros, Dominica, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Madagascar, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Confederated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Niue, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan.

  3. Avatar


    November 1, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    It’s a do-nothing strategy while Israel continues to build settlements in the West Bank. How can a viable Palestinian state be formed from a patch work swiss cheese array of lands?

  4. Avatar

    Raja Touseef

    November 2, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    Israel and hence the US Govt. is offended cos there is a possibility that now questions will be raised more often than not about the settlements. The settlements are in itself a spider web capturing Palestinians and the spider eats its prey as soon as its hungry or nobody is watching. I hope UN acknowledges Palestine next. Now they have disowned UNESCO, what are they going to do with the countries which voted for Palestine. Clearly they contradict with US methodology!

  5. Pingback: The Palestinian refugees: The real victims of Arab politics – Jerusalem Post | Live Newsline

  6. Avatar

    Cartoon Muslim

    November 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    I Almost forgot about that. How sad.

  7. Avatar


    November 4, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    Why won’t everyone just agree to return to the 1967 borders? The Palestinian Authority is already a state, so why keep pretending that it is not? If the Palestinian Authority has been undermined, it is primarily because the Gazans have thrown their support to Hamas, a group that will not accept peace with Israel.

  8. Avatar

    Dave the Christian

    November 27, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    “United States will probably always favor the aggressor over the dispossessed”.

    Oh really? Interesting perspective. Before Israel was a state, the Jews were dispossessed. They lived in Kibbutzes and were under attack by hostil neighbors. The LOYAL American people remember the day of 9/11 and who stood by us versus doing the “LaLaLaLa” thing in the streets and dancing. A picture is worth a thousand words.

    Radical Islamists love to hide behind the Israel/Palestinian issue. If Israel simply vanished, the radicals would still wage war against the U.S. because it is not an Islamic state. So, why should the U.S. abandon a friend to people who would commit another holocaust and then continue to wage was against it?

    The muslims should purge the radicals from their midst to gain credibility. Until then, they cannot be trusted.

    • Avatar

      Andrew Howie

      November 28, 2011 at 9:52 PM

      Do note that both sides (Israeli and Palestinian) have used “terrorist” tactics against civilians (for an Israeli example, cf. Baruch Goldstein and the 1994 mosque shooting) as well as “state-sponsored” violence against civilians (however you delineate these two concepts is up to you; the differences between the two are superficial–in any event, both are worthy of condemnation).

      If you would like to check out the balance of aggression, I recommend you take a look at this website:

      The Palestinian community in the Levant before the creation of the state of Israel welcomed the immigration of Jews from Europe–that is, until they saw how the world powers were working to undermine Palestinian rights by supporting a massive influx of European Jews that would displace the local population, while providing no guarantee that the Palestinians would be protected, and to allow the creation of a Jewish state on land that Arabs had called home for more than a millennium.

      “If Israel simply vanished, the radicals would still wage war against the U.S. because it is not an Islamic state.”

      If you read the writings and view the public pronouncements of radical Islamists, you will find that that this isn’t the case. No Islamist of any stripe has ever talked about turning the U.S. into an Islamic state. What they drag up time and time again is the U.S.’s foreign policy in places like Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. They want to stop villages from being bombed and children from being starved by UN sanctions, and stirred up by anger and passion they incorrectly reckon that violent activity against civilians is the right way forward. Their methods are what the mainstream Muslim community disagrees with. Hence, all properly educated scholars of Islam have condemned the 9/11 attack (and all other instances of the killing of innocent civilians).
      There’s actually a published edition of the pronouncements of Osama bin Laden called Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama bin Laden translated by Bruce Lawrence. The Muslim world

  9. Avatar

    Dave the Christian

    November 28, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Muslim Censor,

    You are a coward for removing my remarks. I should not be suprised – I see this pattern on other Muslim sites where I post to offer a counterpoint to typical anti-Western and anti-Christian dogma. You and your radical friends have fun in your Dark-ages fantasyland. Maybe, someday, a reformation will hit Islam and you will be brought into the 21st century…

    • Avatar

      Andrew Howie

      November 28, 2011 at 9:13 PM

      Dear Dave,
      Welcome to the Muslim Matters blog.
      All comments go through an approval process before they are posted. No one had gotten around to approving your comments yet–they were not deleted. There’s no reason to get so upset. Also, the MM rules prohibit name-calling, so kindly refrain from it in the future. Thank you!

  10. Avatar


    December 26, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Dear Andrew:

    I just wanted to let you know that I finally finished reading the book you recommended, Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling.” I have numerous criticisms about it, but my main criticism is that Kierkegaard appears to be a very intelligent person whose mind is trapped by trying to make sense out of what is senseless. Thank you for taking the time to read Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.” Happy New Year. I wish you the best.


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What Does Sharia Really Say About Abortion in Islam

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice, Islam recognizes the nuance.

Reem Shaikh



The following article on abortion is based on a research paper titled ‘The Rights of the Fetus in Islam’, at the Department of Sharia at Qatar University. My team and I presented it to multiple members of the faculty. It was approved by the Dean of the Islamic Studies College, an experienced and reputed Islamic authority.

In one swoop, liberal comedian Deven Green posing as her satirical character, Mrs. Betty Brown, “America’s best Christian”, demonized both Sharia law as well as how Islamic law treats abortion. Even in a debate about a law that has no Muslim protagonist in the middle of it, Islam is vilified because apparently, no problem in the world can occur without Islam being dragged into it.

It is important to clarify what Sharia is before discussing abortion. Sharia law is the set of rules and guidelines that Allah establishes as a way of life for Muslims. It is derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, which is interpreted and compiled by scholars based on their understandings (fiqh). Sharia takes into account what is in the best interest for individuals and society as a whole, and creates a system of life for Muslims, covering every aspect, such as worship, beliefs, ethics, transactions, etc.

Muslim life is governed by Sharia – a very personal imperative. For a Muslim living in secular lands, that is what Sharia is limited to – prayers, fasting, charity and private transactions such as not dealing with interest, marriage and divorce issues, etc. Criminal statutes are one small part of the larger Sharia but are subject to interpretation, and strictly in the realm of a Muslim country that governs by it.

With respect to abortion, the first question asked is:

“Do women have rights over their bodies or does the government have rights over women’s bodies?”

The answer to this question comes from a different perspective for Muslims. Part of Islamic faith is the belief that our bodies are an amanah from God. The Arabic word amanah literally means fulfilling or upholding trusts. When you add “al” as a prefix, or al-amanah, trust becomes “The Trust”, which has a broader Islamic meaning. It is the moral responsibility of fulfilling one’s obligations due to Allah and fulfilling one’s obligations due to other humans.

The body is one such amanah. Part of that amanah includes the rights that our bodies have over us, such as taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and mentally – these are part of a Muslim’s duty that is incumbent upon each individual.

While the Georgia and Alabama laws in the United States that make abortion illegal after the 6-week mark of pregnancy are being mockingly referred to as “Sharia Law” abortion, the fact is that the real Sharia allows much more leniency in the matter than these laws do.

First of all, it is important to be unambiguous about one general ruling: It is unanimously agreed by the scholars of Islam that abortion without a valid excuse after the soul has entered the fetus is prohibited entirely. The question then becomes, when exactly does the soul enter the fetus? Is it when there is a heartbeat? Is it related to simple timing? Most scholars rely on the timing factor because connecting a soul to a heartbeat itself is a question of opinion.

Web MD

The timing then is also a matter of ikhtilaf, or scholarly difference of opinion:

One Hundred and Twenty Days:

The majority of the traditional scholars, including the four madhahib, are united upon the view that the soul certainly is within the fetus after 120 days of pregnancy, or after the first trimester.

This view is shaped by  the following hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إن أحدكم يجمع خلقه في بطن أمه أربعين يوما ثم يكون في ذلك علقة مثل ذلك ثم يكون في ذلك مضغة مثل ذلك ثم يرسل الملك فينفخ فيه الروح..

“For every one of you, the components of his creation are gathered together in the mother’s womb for a period of forty days. Then he will remain for two more periods of the same length, after which the angel is sent and insufflates the spirit into him.”

Forty Days:

The exception to the above is that some scholars believe that the soul enters the fetus earlier, that is after the formation phase, which is around the 40 days mark of pregnancy.

This view is based on another hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Masood raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him):

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إذا مر بالنطفة إثنتان وأربعون ليلة بعث الله إليها ملكاً، فصوره، وخلق سمعها وبصرها وجلدها ولحمها وعظمها…

“If a drop of semen spent in the womb forty-two nights, Allah sends an angel to it who depicts it and creates its ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones.”

Between the two views, the more widespread and popular opinion is the former, which is that the soul enters the fetus at the 120 days (or 4 months) mark, as the second hadith implies the end of the formation period of the fetus rather than the soul entering it.

Even if one accepts that the soul enters the fetus at a certain timing mark, it does not mean that the soul-less fetus can be aborted at any time or for any reason. Here again, like most matters of Islamic jurisprudence, there is ikhtilaf of scholarly difference of opinion.

No Excuse Required:

The Hanafi madhhab is the most lenient, allowing abortion during the first trimester, even without an excuse.

Some of the later scholars from the Hanafi school consider it makruh or disliked if done without a valid reason, but the majority ruled it as allowed.

Only Under Extreme Risks:

The Malikis are the most strict in this matter; they do not allow abortion even if it is done in the first month of pregnancy unless there is an extreme risk to the mother’s health.

Other Views:

As for the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools of thought, there are multiple opinions within the schools themselves, some allowing abortion, some only allowing it in the presence of a valid excuse.

Valid excuses differ from scholar to scholar, but with a strong and clear reason, permissibility becomes more lenient. Such cases include forced pregnancy (caused by rape), reasons of health and other pressing reasons.

For example, consider a rape victim who becomes pregnant. There is hardly a more compelling reason (other than the health of the mother) where abortion should be permitted. A child born as a result in such circumstances will certainly be a reminder of pain and discomfort to the mother. Every time the woman sees this child, she will be reminded of the trauma of rape that she underwent, a trauma that is generally unmatched for a woman. Leaving aside the mother, the child himself or herself will lead a life of suffering and potentially neglect. He or she may be blamed for being born– certainly unjust but possible with his or her mother’s mindset. The woman may transfer her pain to the child, psychologically or physically because he or she is a reminder of her trauma. One of the principles of Sharia is to ward off the greater of two evils. One can certainly argue that in such a case where both mother and child are at risk of trauma and more injustice, then abortion may indeed be the lesser of the two.

The only case even more pressing than rape would be when a woman’s physical health is at risk due to the pregnancy. Where the risk is clear and sufficiently severe (that is can lead to some permanent serious health damage or even death) if the fetus remained in her uterus, then it is unanimously agreed that abortion is allowed no matter what the stage of pregnancy. This is because of the Islamic principle that necessities allow prohibitions. In this case, the necessity to save the life of the mother allows abortion, which may be otherwise prohibited.

This is the mercy of Sharia, as opposed to the popular culture image about it.

Furthermore, the principle of preventing the greater of two harms applies in this case, as the mother’s life is definite and secure, while the fetus’ is not.

Absolutely Unacceptable Reason for Abortion:

Another area of unanimous agreement is that abortion cannot be undertaken due to fear of poverty. The reason for this is that this mindset collides with having faith and trust in Allah. Allah reminds us in the Quran:

((وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا))

“And do not kill your children for fear of poverty, We provide for them and for you. Indeed, their killing is ever a great sin.” (Al-Israa, 31)

Ignorance is not an excuse, but it is an acceptable excuse when it comes to mocking Islam in today’s world. Islam is a balanced religion and aims to draw ease for its adherents. Most rulings concerning fiqh are not completely cut out black and white. Rather, Islamic rulings are reasonable and consider all possible factors and circumstances, and in many cases vary from person to person.

Abortion is not a simple option of being pro-life or pro-choice. These terms have become political tools rather than sensitive choices for women who ultimately suffer the consequences either way.

Life means a lot more than just having a heartbeat. Islam completely recognizes this. Thus, Islamic rulings pertaing to abortion are detailed and varied.

As a proud Muslim, I want my fellow Muslims to be confident of their religion particularly over sensitive issues such as abortion and women’s rights to choose for themselves keeping the Creator of Life in focus at all times.

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#Current Affairs

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

Hena Zuberi



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



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


A Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam Walk Into a Church in Dallas

At an interfaith panel discussion, three North Texas religious leaders promoted understanding and dialogue among Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Amid a vexed political and social climate, three religious leaders in North Texas—a priest, an imam, and a rabbi—proved it’s possible to come together in times of division. Source:

Muslim congregation writes letters of support to Dallas Jewish Community

The congregation, led by Imam Omar Suleiman, penned more than 150 cards and letters. source: WFAA News

Historic action: Muslims and Jews for Dreamers

“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

Source: Bend The Arc

Through Dialogue, Interfaith Leaders Hope North Texans Will Better Understand Each Other

“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

Source: Kera News


Conversations at The Carter Center: Harmonizing Religion and Human Rights 

Source: The Carter Center

Imam: After devastating New Zealand attack, we will not be deterred

My wife and I decided to take our kids to a synagogue in Dallas the night after the massacre at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh to grieve and show solidarity with the Jewish community. My 5-year-old played with kids his age while we mourned inside, resisting hate even unknowingly with his innocence…” Source: CNN


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