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Palestine Solidarity Actions This Weekend #StopGazaMassacre #IStandWithGaza

By Andrew Day
In Solidarity with the residences of the the Gaza Strip: the world largest open air prison. There are protests worldwide scheduled over the next days against the occupation of Palestinian land and Israeli bombardment resulting in the deaths of innocent civilians, many of which are women and children.
We encourage you to send photos of solidarity to this Facebook page; https://m.facebook.com/events/310137309145499?ref=m_notif&notif_t=plan_mall_activity&actorid=1551053902 holding #IStandWithGaza and / or #StopGazaMassacre placards to show worldwide support for the people of Gaza and for those demonstrating in all countries.
You can also post your photos on twitter using the #IStandWithGaza and #StopGazaMassacre hashtags in your tweet.
photo1

The following is a list of demonstrations being held over the next few days complied by Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network:

Boston, MA
Friday, July 11
12:00 PM
Israeli Consulate, 20 Park Plaza Suite 1020, Boston, MA
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/275932199257278/

Boston, MA
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM (continuation of above)
Copley Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1440066059587973/

Toronto, Canada
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
Royal Ontario Museum, Bloor and Avenue, Toronto (Across from Israeli Consulate)
Organized by Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/594819810634425/

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Washington, DC
Friday, July 11
3:00 PM
Israeli Embassy, 3514 International Drive NW
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/592811077505426/

Greenville, North Carolina
Friday, July 11
2:00 PM
1303 Evens St, Greenville, NC

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Friday, July 11
5:00 PM
Waterloo Public Square, 75 King Street South, Waterloo
Sponsored by U Waterloo Students for Palestinian Rights
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/653186291424675/

Albuquerque, NM, USA
Friday, July 11
4:30 PM
Menaul and Louisians, Albuquerque
Organized by Students for Justice in Palestine
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1434655206819887/

Anaheim, California, US
Friday, July 11
2:00 PM
Brookhurst and Ball Streets
More info: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204240196383206&set=p.10204240196383206&type=1&theater

Philadelphia, PA
Friday, July 11
4:00 PM
Israeli Consulate, 1880 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/688939184475596/

Pittsburgh, PA, US
Friday, July 11
7:00 PM
3960 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh (Hillman Library)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/731260083599270/

Nashville, TN, US
Friday, July 11
4:00 PM
Centennial Park, West End Ave Entrance
More info: Lynnx@comcast.net

San Diego, CA, USA
Friday, July 11
4:00 PM
880 Front Street, San Diego
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1440174092925812/

St. Paul, Minnesota, US
Friday July 11
4:30-5:30
Snelling and Summit Aves.
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/256683651204976/

New York City, NY, US
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
Union Square, south side, near Broadway
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1524855184392511/

Tampa, FL, USA
Friday, July 11
4:30 PM
Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse, 801 N. Florida Avenue
More info: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203831880293363&set=a.1553685037978.2074223.1110720026&type=1&theater

London, ON, Canada
Friday, July 11
4:30 PM
Victoria Park
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/759801407403864

London, UK
Friday, July 11
3:00 PM
G4S Headquarters, 105 Victoria Street, London
Organized by Inminds
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1525494837679446/

London, UK
Friday, July 11
5:30 PM
Embassy of Israel, London (Nearest tube: High Street Kensington)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152124765002890&set=a.10150430348142890.356598.188528597889&type=3&permPage=1

Leicester, UK
Friday, July 11
5:30 PM
Outside clock tower, Leicester city centre

Bristol, UK
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
BBC, Whiteladies Road, Bristol
More info: http://www.facebook.com/bristol.psc

Athens, Greece
Friday, July 11
7:00 PM
Israeli Embassy, Marathonodromon 1
Called by Palestinian Community in Greece
More info: http://www.clevernews.gr/diamartiria-exo-apo-tin-israilini-presvia-diorganoni-palestiniaki-parikia-ellados/

Uccle, Belgium
Friday, July 11
12:30 PM
40 avenue de l’Observatoire a Uccle, Sterrenwachtlaan 40 Ukkel
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1431724417108132/

Bogota, Colombia
Friday, July 11
5:00 PM
Embajada de Israel/Embassy of Israel in Colombia (Cra.7 Cll.32, Bogota)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/920799497945895/

Amman, Jordan
Friday, July 11
1:00 PM
Al Kalouti Mosque , Rabyeh
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/791980534179706/?ref=22

Bonn, Germany
Friday, July 11 
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Münsterplatz, Bonn
Organized by the BDS-Group Bonn
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/473127226158134/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
City Hall, Calgary
Sponsored by Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights and Justice for Palestinians
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1505147226381900/

La Paz, Bolivia
Friday, July 11
12:00 PM
Venezuela Square (en el Prado)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1511607425717888/

Birmingham, UK
Friday, July 11
5:30 PM
Outside Waterstones, High Street, near the Bull Ring, Birmingham City Centre
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/359918157493535/

Geneva, Switzerland
Friday, July 11
4:00 PM
Place des Nations, Geneva

Rome, Italy
Friday, July 11
6:00 PM
Largo Corrado Ricci, Rome
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1432787490334843/

Pretoria, South Africa
Friday, July 11
1:30 PM
Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Union Bldg
Government Ave, Pretoria Central, Pretoria 0002
Called by BDS South Africa
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1444600715801889/

Brisbane, Australia
Friday, July 11
4:30 PM
King George Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1472994132943276/

Ottawa, Canada (unceded Algonquin territory)
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Human Rights Monument (Elgin/Lisgar), then march at 3:30 PM to Parliament Hill
Sponsored by Students Against Israeli Apartheid
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/831288953562676/

Fort Worth, TX, US
Saturday, July 12
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Tarrant County Courthouse, 100 W. Weatherford St, Arlington, TX
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/460593830751274/

Houston, TX, US
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Corner of Wesleyan and Norfolk Sts (near Hwy 59)

Portland, OR, US
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM
Pioneer Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1442858732642715/

San Francisco, CA, US
Saturday, July 12
12:00 PM
Justin Herman Plaza, 1 Market Street, SF
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/253445234779542/

Racine, Wisconsin, US
Saturday, July 12
10:00 AM
Northwest Corner, Intersection of Highways 20 and 31
More info: elenak38@yahoo.com

Indianapolis, IN, US
Saturday, July 12
6:00-7:00pm
at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, corner of East Georgia and South Pennsylvania Sts
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1487095548193994/

Columbia, South Carolina, US
Saturday, July 12
10:45 AM – 12 Noon
SC State House, 1100 Gervais Street, Columbia
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/297558200415934/

Atlanta, Georgia, US
Saturday, July 12
12:30 PM
Woodruff Park, 91 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/719731104729113/

Manchester, UK
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Picadilly Gardens, move to BBC Headquarters in Salford Media City
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/302299863277339/?fref=ts
https://www.facebook.com/events/1452793838310263/?fref=ts

Brighton, UK
Saturday, July 12
11.00am – 1.00pm
War Memorial, Old Steine, Brighton
More info: http://www.brightonpalestinecampaign.org

Frome, UK
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM
Outside Oxfam, Frome Town Centre

Cambridge, UK
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM
Guildhall, Cambridge market square

Bristol, UK
Saturday, July 12
12:00 noon
Sainsbury, Triangle Clifton
More info: https://www.facebook.com/bristol.psc

Sheffield, UK
Saturday, July 12
12:00 PM
Town Hall, Sheffield

Leeds, UK
Saturday, July 12
12:00 PM
Dortmund Square, The Headrow
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/271564033049869/

Glasgow, Scotland
Saturday, July 12
1:00 PM
Buchanan and Gordon Streets, Glasgow City Centre
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/660035234091215/

Cardiff, UK
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Nye Bevan Statue, Queen Street, Cardiff

Halifax, UK
Saturday, July 12
2:30 PM
Outside Central Library on Northgate

Perth, Australia
Saturday, July 12
11:00AM
Murray St Mall, Perth CBD
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/681626315250143/

Montreal, Quebec
Saturday, July 12
5:30 PM
Metro Guy-Concordia, Montreal
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/254851571380699/

Stockholm, Sweden
Saturday, July 12
1:30 PM
Mynttorget, Stockholm
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/337504023074027/?ref=22

Uppsala, Sweden
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Med samling i Slottsbacken
More info: https://www.facebook.com/palestinagrupperna

Göteborg, Sweden
Saturday, July 12
1:30 PM
Gustav Adolfs Torg
More info: https://www.facebook.com/palestinagrupperna

Umeå, Sweden
Saturday, July 12

1:00 PM
Rådhustorget, Umeå

Santiago, Chile
Saturday, July 12
12:00 PM
Paseo Ahumada, Santiago
More info: https://twitter.com/UnadikumChile/status/486596522293751808/photo/1

Melbourne, Australia
Saturday, July 12
1:00 PM
Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne
Initiated by Students for Palestine Victoria and Socialist Alternative
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1429660373980889/

The Hague, Netherlands
Saturday, July 12
1:30 PM
Vredespaleis, Carnegieplein 2
2517 KJ Den Haag

Lyon, France
Saturday, July 12
3:00 PM
Place de la Republique, Lyon

Montauban, France
Saturday, July 12
11:00 AM
Prefecture of Montauban
More info: http://www.france-palestine.org/Rassemblement-pour-la-Palestine,23866

Marseille, France
Saturday, July 12
4:00 PM
Angle Canebiere Belsunce
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/680204138700280/

Nantes, France
Saturday, July 12
3:00 PM
Croisement cours des 50 otages / rue de la Barillerie
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/680204138700280/

Strasbourg, France
Saturday, July 12
4:00 PM
place Kléber
More info: http://la-feuille-de-chou.fr/archives/69487

Montpellier, France
Saturday, July 12
3:30 PM
Place de la comedie, Montpellier
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/680204138700280/

Chico, CA, US
Saturday, July 12
12:30 – 1:30 PM
3rd & Main Streets, Chico, CA
Sponsored by the Chico Peace and Justice Center, the Chico Peace Vigil and Chico Palestine Action Group.
More info: contact CPJC at 893-9078, http://chico-peace.org/ or 893-3530

Gijón, Spain
Saturday, July 12
8:00 PM
Delante de la Carpa Central de la Semana Negra
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1439195829693266/

Dublin, Ireland
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Spire, O’Connell Street
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/791296720902503/

Limerick, Ireland
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Thomas St., Limerick
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/264087167114518/

Cork, Ireland
Saturday, July 12
2:00 PM
Daunt Square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/818439651513301/

Parma, Italy
Saturday, July 12
7:00 PM
Portici dell’Ospedale Vecchio, via d’Azeglio
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/299242113570650/

Dallas, TX, US
Sunday, July 13
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Grassy Knoll Kennedy Memorial Plaza, 646 Main Street, Dallas, TX
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/460593830751274/

Toledo, Ohio, US
Sunday, July 13
5:00 PM
West Central Ave and Secor Road

Quebec City, Quebec
Sunday, July 13
1:00 PM
Assemblee Nationale du Quebec, 1045 rue des Parlementaires, Quebec
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/685736318147306/

Antwerp, Belgium
Sunday, July 13
1:00 PM
Kerkplein, Antwerp
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1425013207786458/

Edinburgh, Scotland
Sunday, July 13
3:00 PM
Scottish Parliament, Hollyrood
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1449326921990561/

Sydney, Australia
Sunday, July 13
1:00 PM
Sydney Town Hall, 483 George St, Sydney
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/678776442175783/

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US
Monday July 14
4:30-6:00 pm
Mayday Plaza, 301 Cedar Ave , Minneapolis
Organized by MN Coalition for Palestinian Rights

Honolulu, Hawa’ii
Tuesday, July 15
4:00 PM
Corner of Ala Moana and Atkinson Boulevards
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1509331439279726/

Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Tuesday, July 15
5:30 PM
Grey’s Monument, Blackett Street
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/672038099551306/

Glasgow, Scotland
Wednesday, July 16
7:30 PM
Glasgow City Chambers
Called by CNEScotland Youth

Elche, Spain
Wednesday, July 16
11:00 AM
Semaine suivante
Plaza de Baix Elche (Ayuntamiento de Elche)

Spokane, Washington
Thursday, July 17
5:15 PM
Fountain in Riverfront Park, then marching to offices of Sen. Murray and Rep. McMorris Rodgers
Organized by Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1534815283401011/

Buffalo, NY, US
Friday, July 18
3:00 PM
City Hall
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1434715530140132/

Wellington, New Zealand
Friday, July 18
12.30PM
Embassy of Israel – Baileys Building, 36 Brandon Street (off Lambton Quay)
Initiated by SJP (Victoria University), International Socialists
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1445924692327106/?fref=ts

Brussels, Belgium
Saturday, July 19
1:00 PM
Brussels North Station (Bruxelles Gare Du Nord)
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1463001090609321/

Columbus, OH, US
Saturday, July 19
11:00 AM
Holiday Inn Columbus Downtown Capitol Square, 175 East Town Street, Columbus
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1438632039756373/

Auckland, New Zealand
Saturday, July 19
2:00 PM
Aotea square
More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/170471706456396/

Houston, TX, US
Friday, July 25
3:30 PM
Corner of Westheimer and Post Oak, Houston, TX

New York City, US
Friday, July 25
4:30 PM
Times Square, Corner of 42nd and 7th
More info: https://m.facebook.com/events/743760239016219/?ref=22

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Friday, July 25
6:00 PM
Alberta Legislative Grounds, 10820 98 Ave, Edmonton

Keep updated about protests with Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network and UFree Ntework

UFree Network to support the rights of Palestinian political prisoners and detainees joins Samidoun a Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network for its call to shed light on the current Israeli violations across the Palestinian occupied territories to organise protests around the world to respond to the ongoing Israeli assaults on Palestine and the Palestinian people, including the murders of Palestinians (including 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, murdered brutally by Israeli settlers).
 
Over 900 Palestinians detained in West Bank and Jerusalem including 11 MPs and dozens of ex-detainees were detained so far since Israel started its arbitrary mass arrest campaign throughout occupied West Bank on Thursday evening 12th June 2014. 
 
Over the past 4 days, Israeli occupation forces have been bombing the Gaza Strip, killing of over 70 Palestinian civilians, over 500 injured and 350 houses destroyed so far.
 
Please add any protests taking place in your city/country

Support Our Dawah for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    heningsept

    July 10, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Friday, July 11
    1:00 PM
    Bundaran HI, Jakarta
    More info: @InfoKNRP, pic.twitter.com/aSj5bV8UDY

    Jakarta, Indonesia
    Sunday, July 13
    8:00 AM
    Bundaran HI, Jakarta
    More info: @onedayonejuz, pic.twitter.com/UE1AmEiaXD

  2. Avatar

    Kenta nilsson

    July 11, 2014 at 1:14 AM

    What about stop attacking Israel?

    • Avatar

      Mustaffa

      July 11, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Where is the Ummah. I have finally lost respect for any so called Islamic states in the world. How can you let them take Palestine and then slowly destroy our brothers, sisters, and children. Why not stand against the enemy and the people who follow them. Not terrorism but annihilation at the head.
      May Allah make things easy for Muslims in this world. Let your will be done. Ameen

    • Avatar

      Jon Solis

      July 14, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      Hamas realizes it cannot defeat Israel. So what then is their strategy? They throw unaimed rockets at Israel hoping to inflict terror and perhaps they actually get lucky and hit a target either military or civilian. They launch these rockets and store them as close as possible to civilian areas so that when Israel counterattacks, the proportion of civilian to military casualties will be as high as possible. They then cry to the international community hoping that they will put pressure on Israel to give up their counterattack. Meanwhile, they reject any call for a cease fire and will only begin to consider it when one of their rockets actually hit something so they can then call it quits and try to claim a moral victory. This time, they have miscalculated, as the rest of the world has seen this enough times that they are just getting sick of it all. The rest of the world will pretend it doesn’t see anything and let Israel do whatever it wants. It is hard to feel sympathy for the Gazan Palestinians because they elected these idiots to power knowing exactly what they were going to do. Now they are going to pay the price for the stupidity of their elected leaders.

  3. Pingback: MO Monthly Round-up: June-July | Muslimas' Oasis

  4. Avatar

    Saliha

    July 11, 2014 at 2:04 PM

    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Thursday, July 17th
    7:00 PM
    125 South State Street (in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building)

  5. Avatar

    Monica

    July 18, 2014 at 12:48 PM

    Is there a protest In Manchester , Piccadilly gardens on the 19th of July

  6. Pingback: Palestine « Human Rights Foundation

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#Current Affairs

Will The Real Aya Sofia Please Stand Up?

They say history is the biography of great men and women. Well, history is also the story of great buildings. This case is rarely more painfully obvious than when it comes to identity of The Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofia (“the Holy Wisdom”).

Church, Mosque, Museum: the Aya Sofia has lived under many guises over the years and each transformation came hand-in-hand with momentous political change. This year, it was no different.

By reverting to the previous designation of Aya Sofia into a mosque, the Turkish courts have set off a firestorm of controversy across the world. It is understandable that faithful Christians would object. The sense of loss they must feel is the same feeling that many Muslims get when they see the Grand Mosque of Cordoba’s conversion into a cathedral. However, what is confusing is that some Muslims are also conflicted – or even downright hostile – to the idea of the Aya Sofia being used as a mosque.

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Why are they upset? Is there weight to their feeling that this was an act that was against the laws and spirit of Islam? How true is it that this was pure political theatre?

A summary of the arguments are detailed below as each point reveals a great deal about us as Muslims today and our current mentality:

The Vatican – a clear example of Museum and Church buildings in one

1. “It should just remain a museum…”

The Aya Sofia IS remaining a museum. The ruling states and the government echoes that it is a mosque and museum but, unfortunately, if you read the headlines you will be given the impression that the museum is being destroyed. This is not the case.

The world is full of buildings with dual functions. The White House is the seat of government and the residence of the President. The Vatican is a museum, a church and the home of the Pope. St Paul’s Cathedral is a tourist attraction as well as functioning church. If Muslims alone were somehow exempt from the ability to combine museum and mosque in one building, then that would be very strange indeed. Yet that is exactly what opponents of the mosque designation are saying.

What opponents for the reversion of the building are arguing for is not for the preservation of the museum – in fact, it will be more accessible than ever by becoming free and open till the late evening – but for the prevention of worship in a building that was built and intended for that very purpose.

2. “It was illegal to turn it into a mosque in the first place…”

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: many Muslims quote the example of Umar (R) and his treatment of the Church of The Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. In fact, this is the number one excuse used by many so-called Muslim intellectuals who lazily have projected their own biases on to our pious predecessors. They say, not without a little pious sanctimony, that Umar (R) exemplified that Islam is not a triumphalist religion and – though he could have converted the church into a mosque – he chose not to.

For most of history, it was common practice that any conquering army gained full ownership of the conquered lands. Islamic law was actually quite progressive in this regard, stipulating that property in surrendered lands would remain with their owners and not the conquerors. It was only if a land was taken without surrender, according to Imam Al Qurtubi amongst others, should their properties be forfeit. Jerusalem surrendered and Damascus surrendered. Constantinople – despite multiple attempts requesting it to do so – did not. Therefore, Islamically and according to the norms of the time, the conversion of the Church into a mosque was legal.

This is highlighted by the case of a district of Constantinople called Psamatya (present day Koca Mustafa Pasha) whose residents surrendered to Muhammad Fatih separately. The area had the highest density of extant churches, since none were touched or taken over.

Muhammad Fatih and The Patriarch Genaddios discussing the patriarchate

3. “But it has been a museum for so long now, so why turn it back?”

Some sources say that they have found evidence of the Church being purchased by Muhammad Fatih with his own money. The evidence has yet to be verified by external sources although it is accepted by the Turkish authorities, but even if you withhold it, the established status of the entire complex as a Waqf (Islamic endowment) is definitive. Waqfs cannot be unilaterally taken over or converted to another use.

The reality is that the conversion of the Aya Sofia from mosque to museum was a highly contentious decision taken in a manner that went against the then legal, moral and spiritual standards. It was a state sanctioned action to satisfy a political objective of the hyper-secular post-war Government. This was an injustice and it is not a good look to say that an injustice should be allowed to continue because it has been there for over eight decades.

4. “We don’t need more mosques in Istanbul…”

Would anyone think it reasonable if their local mosque was taken over unilaterally by the Government and then, when they ask for it back, they are brushed off by officials saying, “there are lots of mosques in the city and many are half empty: we are keeping this one.” Of course not. So, if it is not good enough for you, why should it be good enough for anyone else? In fact, this was the argument used by the RSS in taking over the Barbari mosque in India.

A mosque is not a property like every other. It is owned by Allah and not something we are allowed to rationalise or barter away. Allah has no need for even one mosque, but that does not mean we should stop building them or start giving them away. To go by the utilitarian argument, then anything that is not in full use by its owner is fair game for someone else to usurp. We would never accept this for our possessions so how can we accept it for something that does not belong to us?

The hadith about the conquest of Constantinople and praising Muhammad Fatih

5. “This is all a politically motivated…”

Every decision in a public sphere is political, or can be construed to be political, in some way. Building the Aya Sofia into a magnificent cathedral was a political decision by Justinian. Turning it into a mosque upon conquest was also a political decision by Muhammad Fatih. Stopping prayers in the mosque and converting it into a museum was a political decision by Mustafa Kemal. And now, returning the building to use as a mosque and museum is also a political decision by the current Turkish state.

The question is not whether it is a political act to convert the building: it will always have a political dimension. The question is whether you like the politics of someone who was praised by the Prophet ﷺ in a hadith and turned it into a mosque (Muhammad Fatih) or someone who insulted that same Prophet ﷺ as an “immoral Arab” and turned it into a museum (Mustafa Kemal.)

Pick a side.

The Grand Cathedral of Cordoba – formally the Grand Mosque

6. “This will hurt the feelings of non-Muslims and make us look bad.”

This is perhaps the only real argument of them all that has any weight to it. All the previous arguments are intellectual (and less than intellectual) smokescreens for the desire to not hurt the feelings of others – especially when we need all the friends we can get. This is understandable given our current geopolitical situation. This is also why you are more likely to find those Muslims living as minorities objecting to the change of status, reflecting their own precarious situations in their respective countries.

However, if looking at it objectively, we see that this argument also has limitations. Muslims are equally if not more hurt at the ethnic cleansing that took place in Andalusia. Does that mean we get the Al-Hambra or the Cordoba Mosque back? What about the Parthenon – since that used to be a mosque – conquered by the same Muhammad Fatih? What about the Kremlin, where St Basil’s Basilica was made from bricks of a Tatar mosque? And can we have the Philippines back while we are all trying to not offend each other?

Making decisions such as these on the highly subjective grounds of causing offence is not only impractical, but untenable. Many expressions of Islamic faith outside a narrow paradigm of what is palatable to specific audiences, can be seen as offensive to some. If we were to make decisions based first and foremost to protect the comfort of others, you would end up with a set of groundless rituals rather than a faith. It is the equivalent of changing your name to Bob instead of Muhammad since you were worried that even Mo was too exotic. Sometimes, the proper practice of our faith and upholding of our cultural and historical traditions will upset others not because what we are doing is deliberately offensive or wrong, but because we have different values and different standards.

Conclusion

What is most upsetting about the change of use for the Aya Sofia is the double standard at play. Athens has not even one mosque whilst Istanbul has hundreds of churches and synagogues: yet the Greeks are calling the Turks intolerant. The Roman Catholics plundered the Aya Sofia of all treasures and took them to St Marks church in Venice (where they still are to this day): yet it is the Pope that says that he is distressed at the Muslims – who preserved the Byzantine inheritance- for turning it into a mosque and Catholic churches calling for a day of mourning.

All the commentators calling for it to not be converted back into a mosque are also correspondingly mute regarding the Granada Cathedral built on site of a mosque, or the Barbri Mosque turned temple in India, or the Al Ahmar Mosque turned into a bar in Palestine.

But this is human nature and they will shoot their shot. Nonetheless, as Muslims, if we are against the reversion of the Aya Sofia to be a mosque again, then we really need to take a long hard look at ourselves. Just as Muhammad Fatih conquered Constantinople, we need to conquer our own ignorance, our own inferiority complex and our own insecurities.

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#Current Affairs

Oped: The Treachery Of Spreading Bosnia Genocide Denial In The Muslim Community

The expanding train of the Srebrenica genocide deniers includes the Nobel laureate Peter Handke, an academic Noam Chomsky, the Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, as well as almost all Serbian politicians in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. One name in this group weirdly stands out: “Sheikh” Imran Hosein. A traditionally trained Muslim cleric from Trinidad and Tobago, Hosein has carved his niche mostly with highly speculative interpretations of Islamic apocalyptic texts. He has a global following with more than 200 hundred thousand subscribers to his YouTube channel, and his videos are viewed by hundreds of thousands. He has written tens of books in English, some of which had been translated into major world languages. His denial of the Srebrenica genocide may seem outlandish, coming from a Muslim scholar, but a close inspection of his works reveals ideas that are as disturbing as they are misleading.

Much of Hosain’s output centers around interpreting the apocalyptic texts from the Qur’an and Sunnah on the “end of times” (akhir al-zaman). As in other major religious traditions, these texts are highly allegorical in nature and nobody can claim with certainty their true meaning – nobody, except Imran Hosein. He habitually dismisses those who disagree with his unwarranted conclusions by accusing them of not thinking properly. A Scottish Muslim scholar, Dr. Sohaib Saeed, also wrote about this tendency.

In his interpretations, the Dajjal (“anti-Christ”) is American-Zionist alliance (the West or the NATO), the Ottomans were oppressors of the Orthodox Christians who are, in turn, rightfully hating Islam and Muslims, Sultan Mehmed Fatih was acting on “satanic design” when he conquered Constantinople, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were a false flag operation carried out by the Mossad and its allies, and – yes! – the genocide did not take place in Srebrenica. Such conspiratorial thinking is clearly wrong but is particularly dangerous when dressed in the garb of religious certainty. 

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Hosain frequently presents his opinions as the “Islamic” view of things. His methodology consists of mixing widely accepted Muslim beliefs with his own stretched interpretations. The wider audience may not be as well versed in Islamic logic of interpretation so they may not be able to distinguish between legitimate Muslim beliefs and Hosain’s own warped imagination. In one of his fantastic interpretations, which has much in common with the Christian apocalypticism, the Great War that is nuclear in nature is coming and the Muslims need to align with Russia against the American-Zionist alliance. He sees the struggle in Syria as part of a wider apocalyptic unfolding in which Assad and Putin are playing a positive role. He stretches the Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings to read into them fanciful and extravagant interpretations that are not supported by any established Islamic authority.

Hosain does not deny that a terrible massacre happened in Srebrenica. He, however, denies it was a genocide, contradicting thus numerous legal verdicts by international courts and tribunals. Established by the United Nations’ Security Council, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) delivered a verdict of genocide in 2001 in the case of the Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstić. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague confirmed, in 2007, that genocide took place in Srebrenica. In 2010, two more Bosnian Serb officers were found guilty of committing genocide in Bosnia. The butcher of Srebrenica, Ratko Mladić, was found guilty of genocide in 2017.

In spite of this, and displaying his ignorance on nature and definition of genocide, Hosain stated in an interview with the Serbian media, “Srebrenica was not a genocide. That would mean the whole Serbian people wanted to destroy the whole Muslim people. That never happened.” In a meandering and offensive video “message to Bosnian Muslims” in which he frequently digressed to talking about the end of times, Hosain explained that Srebrenica was not a genocide and that Muslims of Bosnia needed to form an alliance with the Orthodox Serbs. He is oblivious to the fact that the problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the former Yugoslavia stem not from the Bosniaks’ purported unwillingness to form an alliance with the Serbs, but from the aggressive Greater Serbia ideology which had caused misery and destruction in Bosnia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Kosovo. 

Hosein’s views are, of course, welcome in Serbia and in Republika Srpska (Serb-dominated entity within Bosnia), where almost all politicians habitually deny that genocide took place in Srebrenica. He had been interviewed multiple times on Serbian television, where he spewed his views of the Ottoman occupation and crimes against the Serbs, the need to form an alliance between Muslims and Russia, and that Srebrenica was not a genocide. His website contains only one entry on Srebrenica: a long “exposé” that claims no genocide took place in Srebrenica. Authored by two Serbs, Stefan Karganović and Aleksandar Pavić, the special report is a hodge-podge of conspiracy theories, anti-globalization and anti-West views. Karganović, who received more than a million dollars over a six year period from the government of the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska for lobbying efforts in Washington, was recently convicted by the Basic Court in Banja Luka on tax evasion and defamation. The Court issued a warrant for Karganović’s arrest but he is still on the loose. 

True conspirators of the Srebrenica killings, according to Hosain, are not the Serbian political and military leaders, and soldiers who executed Srebrenica’s Muslims. The conspirators are unnamed but it does not take much to understand that he believes that the massacres were ultimately orchestrated by the West, CIA, and NATO. Hosain even stated on the Serbian TV that if people who knew the truth were to come forward they would be executed to hide what really happened. Such opinions are bound to add to an already unbearable pain that many survivors of the Srebrenica genocide are experiencing. It is even more painful when Bosniak victims – who were killed because they were Muslims – are being belittled by an “Islamic” scholar who seems to be more interested in giving comfort to those who actually perpetrated the heinous crime of genocide than in recognizing the victims’ pain. These views are, of course, welcome in Serbia, Russia, and Greece.

It is not difficult to see why Hosain’s views would be popular in today’s day and age where misinformation and fake news are propagated even by the world leaders who should know better. A conspiratorial mindset, mistrust of established facts, undermining of international institutions – these are all hallmarks of the post-truth age. In another time, Imran Hosain would be easily exposed for what he truly is: a charlatan who claims religious expertise. Today, however, his opinions are amplified by social media and by the people who already question science and established facts. For these reasons, he needs to be unmasked to safeguard the very religious foundations which he claims to uphold but ultimately undermines. 

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#Life

Staying Emotionally Connected While Social Distancing

Sending food to our neighbors like most Muslim households, is a norm in ours too. As usual, I was about to plate some up for our neighbors Steve and Annette the other day, when suddenly  a gush of uncertainty pricked me, and I wasn’t so sure anymore. I was pounded by so many thoughts: “Would they, like, mind?” “What if they’re reluctant, and think it’s against the whole ‘social distancing’ rule?” “What if I accidentally transfer germs?” “What if they think the virus can transmit through our containers?” Recognizing that I was becoming anxious and giving into cognitive distortions, I simply decided to ask.

I called Steve and said, “Can I bring some food over and leave it by your front door? I’m not sure whether it’s okay or not.” His voice was brimming with gratitude, “Sure!” he responded. “We were just sitting here in the garden wondering whether we should take out leftovers from the fridge or not. So your hot food will be more than welcome.” His warm and welcoming voice washed away my fear and uncertainty, and I felt grounded again.

Maintaining physical distancing doesn’t mean social and emotional detachment. We have to remember that when there is anxiety and uncertainty, what most people need is exactly the opposite of social distancing; we crave solidarity, mutual support, and a sense of strength in togetherness. Social closeness, even from a distance, is definitely good medicine and is much needed these days. If we can’t open our doors, we definitely can open our hearts to people.

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Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) says:

إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا 

“Verily, with hardship there is relief.” [Surah Ash-Sharh;6]

Alhumdulillah, it seems that physical separation has allowed us to have more meaningful connections, both, with others as well as our own selves. People are finding purpose, satisfaction and relief in turning some of their time and energy towards others, even though interactions are increasingly online or on the phone and from a distance. The qualities of connection these days seems to be purposeful and  entrenched with gratitude, kindness, and compassion; ingredients which were always there, but due to the ‘touch and go’ mind set, many of us were conditioned to make it more of a touch-base exercise rather than meaningful interaction.

In this COVID-19 era of communal care, we have found alternative ways of creating meaningful connections with people. The same telephones and technology can now give families an extremely useful platform to connect and socialize. It is a blessing that we have the means to connect, as we know that social isolation and loneliness isn’t just emotionally destructive, but also physically so, with some research suggesting loneliness to be as lethal as smoking 15 cigarettes per day.

Keeping physically isolated is the right response to the coronavirus pandemic, but we need the exact opposite in response to the loneliness epidemic. So how can we cultivate social well-being while avoiding infection at the same time?

This pandemic is actually offering us an opportunity to deepen and nurture our relationships rather than focusing on broadening them, which unfortunately has been like a disease of the heart where many of us want to have more fake friends, likes, and followers on social platforms. This is an opportunity to fix our unhealthy attachment with our phones and social media. This is an opportunity to harness the beast, to tame it, and then become in charge so that the balance can be restored.

So, investing in checking up on people through our phones, and using virtual meet up platforms like Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, etc. to connect with larger family groups to get a sense of meeting virtually is useful, and people find immense joy in seeing their children and grandchildren via these mediums. This is also a time to teach our technology-phobic elders how to use some of these user-friendly apps. We have to be mindful of others’ well-being too, and not let this uncertainty destroy our innate (fitri) natural disposition. Kindness and connection has a universal language, and we can’t let fear dominate us.

The concept that “good fences make good neighbors” isn’t true. We can follow social distancing rules, but also go that extra mile to make sure people around us as okay. Small acts of kindness definitely go a long way. Whether Steve and Anette know it or not, I know that neighbors hold a special status in Islam.

“The best companion to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the best to his companions, and the best neighbor to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) is the best to his neighbors.” [Tirmidhi]

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