Connect with us

#Current Affairs

Texas Falls Victim to Terror

Support MuslimMatters 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.

Syrian boys, whose family fled their home in Idlib, walk to their tent, at a camp for displaced Syrians, in the village of Atmeh, Syria, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012

Syrian boys, whose family fled their home in Idlib, walk to their tent, at a camp for displaced Syrians, in the village of Atmeh, Syria, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012

Terror has taken over Texas.

Not with guns or bombs, but with fear and xenophobia.

Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, the state in which I live (sometimes to my embarrassment), sent President Obama a letter today informing him that the state of Texas will not accept any Syrian refugees, and he urges the President to stop his plans to accept Syrian refugees in this country.  He is joined in this refusal by the governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Illinois, and Michigan. The number of governors denying refugee settlement is growing (22 by some online reports).

I do not feel safer because Governor Abbott has closed our doors to Syrian refugees.

Rather, I feel vulnerable because this refusal reflects our government’s inability to find a way to keep us safe from terrorists, as the governor himself states.

I am ashamed that the fear engendered by the terror attacks in Paris has defeated us.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said in a statement that he will do “everything humanly possible to stop any plans from the Obama administration to put Syrian refugees in Mississippi.”  That almost sounds like a feeble call to war.

It is rhetoric that appeals to those who feel threatened by the ‘new’ others, who accuse the president of weakness.

I don’t consider these governors to be honorable men. They are cowards who are not inclined to use their intellect or resources to devise a plan for America to be safe and compassionate.  They don’t really care for the hungry and homeless of Syria any more than they care for the children who walk hundreds of miles across deserts alone to breach the Mexican border.

They prefer partisan talk and talk of states’ rights.

Laura Turner writes in the Religion News Service: “Syrian refugees need the aid and shelter of the global community, and Christians should be the first to answer the call for hospitality.” In a Christian-majority country, where is the hospitality of which she speaks?

Perhaps the governors’ refusal reflects their ignorance of current events in Syria, that many are fleeing the Assad regime, which commits atrocities against men, women and children daily. But Assad doesn’t violate buildings in Parisian neighborhoods; the Eiffel Tower cannot be lit with any color representing his victims.

And perhaps Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal chooses to ignore the possibility that his own parents, immigrants from Punjab, might have been refused entry to the United States were an ISIS-type entity operating in India and our elected officials closed our doors.

Adding to the mix are reports that the Syrian passport found at one of the attack sites was fake. A top EU official claims,

“Let me underline—the profile of the terrorists so far identified tells us this is an internal threat. It is all EU citizens so far. This can change with the hours, but so far it is quite clear it is an issue of internal domestic security,” High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini stated, following a gathering of EU foreign ministers.”

Are Americans not strong enough, smart enough, willing enough, to compassionately open our borders to the lost and vulnerable?  Or are we so fearful we hide from the enemy behind metaphorical walls?

The pedestal of the statue of Liberty contains these verses meant to honor all those who flee poverty and oppression:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Today at Lady Liberty’s feet rest the ghostly voices of drowned children, terrified mothers, fathers begging Christian Europeans for bread, for shelter, for warmth.

Will America allow terror to win?

[Update 11/17/15]: Following these refusals to admit Syrian refugees (now made by over half the nation’s governors), a number of media outlets and refugee services organizations have shared details about the rigorous process for approving refugee status. Here is one, from CNN. It’s worth noting one commentator’s logical point: that refugees can move into one of the states whose governors have pledged not to admit Syrian refugees.  That is because the approval process is a federal one.

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.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Keith

    November 17, 2015 at 3:02 AM

    One other thing all the terrorists who attacked Paris have in common is that they are all Islamic, there are no Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs or Hindus fighting with the Islamic state, why not?
    Yes there are muslims who are good people who do condemn the violence being carried out by the Islamic State, but I have not heard anyone challenging the theological arguments and verses from the Koran and Hadiths that they use to justify the violence. In fact I have been told by one Muslim that those verses do not exist at all and that I am lying. Why can I read them then?
    Why can’t Muslims debate what is in the Koran and what those verses of violence mean to the rest of the world, including Muslims who want to live in peace, as they are understood by a lot of Muslims. It may only be a minority but when ComRes conducted a poll for the BBC in May this year it showed that 24 percent of the Muslims in the UK believe it is acceptable to use violence against those who, they believe, have insulted YOUR prophet. Very nearly a quarter of all Muslims is not a tiny minority, especially when you consider that in the 1930’s the Nazi party only had 4 percent of the German population of Germany as members and by the start of WWII there were only 7 percent of Germans as members of the party. Think what that 24 percent minority can do to turn the rest of the world against Muslims.
    But all we hear from people like the author of this article is blame everyone else for Islams problems.

    • Avatar

      Ali Davoudi

      November 17, 2015 at 7:09 AM

      The holy Quran is a scripture that can be interpreted in a number of ways. Your claim that Muslims don’t refute the ISIS interpretation is a faulty one. Look for example at the “open letter to al Baghdadi”, a letter in which a number of prominent muslims, denounce the Islamic State and it’s self proclaimed leader.

      I think that every non-believer who is scared of Islam or Muslims should try to understand one simple thing:
      When the human mind creates an idea and chooses something to justify it with, that’s where the problem starts. One must indeed fear the individual who plans to do something terrible in the name of something or someone.
      To say that Islam has nothing to do with ISIS is wrong in my opinion. But, the thing is, ISIS or any group for that matter, could have chosen any number of religions or causes to justify their acts of war against innocents. The fact that they use Islam is what makes it so sad for the majority of Muslims.

      One more thing though.
      If it’s true what the media portrays about Islam and it’s followers. That Islam is a hateful religion, having the sole purpose of eradicating every non-muslim. That every muslim is secretly planning to kill non-believers and overthrow their governments.

      There are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and this number is growing every day.
      If a small group like ISIS is capable of so much death and chaos, what if all Muslims joined this cause? Wouldn’t it be just a matter of time before we took over the world?
      Or even if we didn’t take over.
      Wouldn’t there be more attacks in western countries? Kidnappings? Beheadings?

      The fact that this isn’t the case, shows that it’s a very small percentage of people who believe in violence against non-believers AND act upon it.

      • Avatar

        Truth

        November 19, 2015 at 2:26 AM

        Yes Ali Davoudi I agree. Muslims do dispute ISIS. However there is obviously a crisis of authority in Islam. Who is right and who is wrong? Islam cannot agree itself about itself. The clear solution is to simply Purge Quran and hadith of all violent verses
        Ali DavoudinI I disagree that any group or religion can justify their actions like ISIS. Take Buddhism and Christianity for example. Yes atrocities have occurred in Buddhist and Christian countries but they are much harder to justify by using their foundational scriptures. Take the New Testament for example. I challenge you or or any one to find even one directive to violence. You will Not find one. Nil. Zero. Contrast this with the Quran and hadith and you will find hundreds.
        You Say There are over 1.5 billion Muslims and If a small group like ISIS is capable of so much death and chaos, what if all Muslims joined this cause? Wouldn’t it be just a matter of time before we took over the world? There can be any number of reasons for this … I think you would agree however even if Muslims do not pick up bombs or guns many support arrogant notions of Islam just in their thinking. Look at the Turkish soccer crowd that booed during the one minute silence for the Paris victims. There is much in Muslim thinking and attitude that is antagonistic to the non Muslim world and the West in particular.
        Further more many Muslims are only Muslim in name. Many don’t even know the Quran and many who do are sane enough to not follow it.

    • Avatar

      Mustafa

      November 17, 2015 at 11:03 AM

      We don’t blame everyone else for Islams problems(it doesn’t have any) but we do blame you for your problems. Stop Western terrorism and imperialism in Muslim lands. It is regrettable that some extremist Muslims have decided to follow the terrorist ways of the West and assault innocent people and they are a group we are doing everything we can to eradicate.

      Hence, the majority of people fighting DAESH are themselves Muslims in Iraq and Syrian and Kurd lands.

      • Avatar

        Truth

        November 22, 2015 at 4:07 AM

        To Mustafa
        What garbage. Islam is pulling itself apart and you say islam dosnt have problems. Read the news. And cut your victim blame game of “western imperialism and terrorism”. It’s the same old Muslim blame game rather than facing up to its own failings. No doubt you think the US shouldn’t have gone into Afghanistan to defend itself.
        The West is far more open and honest about its mistakes than any Muslim nation. Look at the Muslim Turkish genocide of more than 1 Million non Muslim Armenians during WW1. And Turkey still refuses to admit it even happened let alone apologise.

    • Avatar

      Ruth Nasrullah

      November 20, 2015 at 3:58 PM

      Thanks for the comment, Keith. There are numerous articles on this site regarding the issue of Islam and violence.

  2. Avatar

    Asim

    November 17, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    Keith

    ” I have not heard anyone challenging the theological arguments and verses from the Koran and Hadiths that they use to justify the violence. ”

    All you have to do is a simple search to find many refutations of ISIS on religious grounds by many leading scholars.

    Please do a google search on refutations of ISIS by Yasir Qadhi, Waleed Basyouni, and Hamza Yusuf.

    You will find what you need.

    • Avatar

      Asim

      November 17, 2015 at 10:55 AM

      FYI…I tried to post direct links to some of these talks, but MM filters were not allowing me to post it.

    • Avatar

      Sean

      November 20, 2015 at 2:30 AM

      Yasir Qadhi is on record as saying that the lives and property of the mushrikoon are legally his in a state of jihad. Whether he disagrees with ISIS on the fine points of jihadist practice hardly matters to me. I regard anyone who says what he did as my sworn enemy.

      And how many Muslims agree with him? I no longer talk to any Muslim who is not willing to disavow the Koranic dictates towards non-Muslims. I am not going to pretend to have a civil discussion with someone who would dominate, enslave or kill me if only the circumstances were right.

      The reason there are not more beheadings and attacks in Western nations today is because we spend untold billions in exposing and foiling terrorist and extremist plots with a very sophisticated system of law enforcement and intelligence agencies. What we hear about is the tip of the iceberg. The money and effort we spend on Islamic terror detection is taken from the mouths of needy and vulnerable Americans.

  3. Avatar

    Aafia

    November 17, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    It is saddening that People blame our scripture out of ignorance.I eally pray to Allah to give hidaya to People who think that Quran contains ayah of violence.Quran strictly warns against making corruption on land.http://islamhashtag.com/why-islamic-terrorism-is-not-islamic-at-all/.You may find some verses which looks as if it is calling for violence but when you studt the context in which the verses were revealed you won’t feel the same.Sadly People pick up ayahs or part of ayahs to prove Islam as a violent religion but in reality Islam is nothing but Peace.

    • Avatar

      Truth

      November 19, 2015 at 2:29 AM

      Aafia
      you can talk about context all you like but the fact is the Quran and hadith are full of orders to violence. Also remember Mohamad was a War Lord. So to say that Islam is a religion op peace is historically and theologically wrong.
      Until the Quran and hadith are purged of all violent verses then Islam will continue to be inherently dangerous and violent.

  4. Avatar

    Wael Abdelgawad

    November 17, 2015 at 4:22 PM

    These sorts of refugees have always been on of the pillars of American strength. Many are highly qualified, and all are willing to work hard. People like this tend to appreciate American freedoms and democracy all the more because of the anarchy and dictatorship they fled. One famous descendant of a Syrian immigrant was Steve Jobs, who created one of the most dynamic and inventive companies in America.

    Will there be violent individuals among these refugees? No doubt, yes, just as there are violent individuals already here in our nation, including white supremacists and other home-grown whackjobs. But that’s not a reason to deny the need of innocent suffering people.

    • Avatar

      Truth

      November 19, 2015 at 2:28 AM

      Yes Wael Abdelgawad
      America is a country founded by immigrants. However im not aware of any time in US history where it has taken in a group conditioned in distrust or out rightly antagonistic to it like Muslims generally are. Muslims need to be honest and admit that Islam has a natural distrust to the non Islamic world. This began with Mohamad and the early Caliphs invasions of Roman Southern Europe and the Persian Empire.

      • Avatar

        Ruth Nasrullah

        November 20, 2015 at 4:08 PM

        Hello Truth. Throughout American history, Native Americans, black slaves and their descendants have been, and to some extent continue to be, the most distrustful and/or antagonistic groups within this country. Something to think about.

    • Avatar

      Faisal

      November 19, 2015 at 4:44 PM

      Why do you make such a strong assumption that there will be violent individuals among Syrian refugees?

    • Avatar

      Truth

      November 22, 2015 at 4:09 AM

      Hi Ruth
      regarding US distrust of Native Americans and black slaves. None of the above had the same organised fascist theology or philosophically that currently permeates Islam. As I said the Muslim natural distrust of the non Islamic world goes as far back as Mohamad and the early Caliphs invasions of Roman Southern Europe and the Persian Empire. My point about Sheikh Muhammad Ayed speech being a further case in point.

  5. Avatar

    Mohammed Khan

    November 18, 2015 at 1:03 AM

    An article posted just couple of days before on Muslim Matters explains what Islam truly calls for and why ISIS is not representative of Islam.
    http://muslimmatters.org/2015/11/15/isis-and-its-faulty-logic/

  6. Avatar

    Ruth Nasrullah

    November 18, 2015 at 12:46 PM

    The Washington Post wrote a well-reported article revealing that the terrorists’ ability to travel easily from Syria through Europe was created in part by poor border control of European countries. By contrast, the US does extensive vetting of applicants for refugee status, which includes investigation by DHS and FBI.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/the-mystery-surrounding-the-paris-bomber-with-a-fake-syrian-passport/2015/11/17/88adf3f4-8d53-11e5-934c-a369c80822c2_story.html?tid=pm_world_pop_b

    • Avatar

      Truth

      November 19, 2015 at 2:31 AM

      Ruth what you are over looking is that the majority of terrorist acts in Europe have been perpetrated by home grown second generation Muslim kids.

      • Avatar

        Ruth Nasrullah

        November 20, 2015 at 4:09 PM

        That has no bearing on the issue of Syrian refugees coming to the US.

    • Avatar

      Truth

      November 22, 2015 at 4:19 AM

      Hello Ruth
      I believe it does have bearing on Syrian refugees coming to the US if a similar a situation develops in the US as exists in Europe where second generation Muslim members of the country become philosophically opposed to their own country.

  7. Avatar

    Truth

    November 19, 2015 at 2:18 AM

    America is a country founded by immigrants. However im not aware of any time in US history where it has taken in a group conditioned in distrust or out rightly antagonistic to it like Muslims generally are. Muslims need to be honest and admit that Islam has a natural distrust to the non Islamic world. This began with Mohamad and the early Caliphs invasions of Roman Southern Europe and the Persian Empire.
    Ruth. You write “Rather, I feel vulnerable because this refusal reflects our government’s inability to find a way to keep us safe from terrorists…”But that’s just what the Governor is doing Ruth. Keeping his people safe by curbing Muslim immigration.
    You quote Laura Turner “In a Christian-majority country, where is the hospitality of which she speaks?” What you need to understand is that the Bible makes it clear the responsibility of the State is to wield the sword. That means it has the states responsibility to protect its people. Any Christian charity that is expressed is the responsibility of individual Christians – not the state.
    And in terms of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal perhaps you chooses to ignore the fact that the Punjab is predominantly Sihk. Without the same inherent violence found in the Quran and Hadith.

    • Avatar

      Ruth Nasrullah

      November 20, 2015 at 4:17 PM

      Please see my reply above to a similar comment you made regarding groups who distrust America.

      To say that the US is vulnerable to terrorist infiltration is a form of surrender. If we are courageous enough and smart enough to improve our vetting system, let’s hurry up and do it. If not, we are sending a message to our enemies that we’re just not capable of keeping them out.

      Today Indiana Gov. Pence “turned away” a Syrian refugee family slated for assignment in his state. As I have mentioned on social media, the irony lies in the fact that his state has some of the highest murder rates in the country. I’d rather have a refugee family in my own home than set foot in Gary.

      As for my reference to Gov. Jindal, the point is that in the scenario I mentioned his family would have been innocent victims of the evil of others.

      • Avatar

        Faisal

        November 20, 2015 at 10:32 PM

        The bottom line is that America should be taking in the highest number of Syrian refugees and doing much more to rid the region of ISIS. America is guilty of creating this whole mess and it’s time to step up and show the world some humanity for a change. Until then, America remains the biggest terrorist threat to the world.

      • Avatar

        Truth

        November 22, 2015 at 4:24 AM

        To say the US is vulnerable to terrorist infiltration is not surrender. It is a reality. But yes I agree. Lets improve the vetting system. Or perhaps[s another alternative would be for the US to preasure the wealthy Gulf countries to take refugees. They appear to have done very little for their bretheren. Or perhaps the US should help fund the camps in Turkey or Jordan In terms of the murder rate in Gary I believe you are unnecessarily complicating the issue and in terms of Gov Jindal your analogy was hypothetical and as such appears to have little practical application to this situation.
        As I said im not aware of any time in US history where it has taken in a group conditioned in distrust or out rightly antagonistic to it like Muslims generally are. Islam has a natural distrust to the non Islamic world. This began with Mohamad and the early Caliphs invasions of Roman Southern Europe and the Persian Empire.
        In regards to US distrust of Native Americans and black slaves none of the above had the same organised fascist theology or philosophically that currently permeates Islam.
        Look at the speech Sheikh Muhammad Ayed gave at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem where he encouraged Muslim refugees going to go Europe and breed as some kind of Islamist expansionist plan. You can Google it if you wish. I believe this kind of Islamist fascist thinking is more common than most Muslims would admit.

    • Avatar

      Truth

      November 22, 2015 at 4:28 AM

      Faisal
      The US did not create ISIS Faisal. It had some influence but the main reason for the ISIS problem lies with the failed “Arab Spring”, the Sunni Shiite divide and the inherent violence found in the Quran and hadith.
      If any thing the US needs preasure the wealthy Gulf countries to take refugees. They appear to have done very little for their brethren. Why is that ?

  8. Avatar

    Faisal

    November 19, 2015 at 3:25 PM

    Salaam sister,

    The real terrorists are ignorant fools like your governer and the like in the US who have no humanity. They don’t care about the Syrian refugees, the women and children who have seen and felt so much pain and suffering. Syria is in a state of civil war because of the abhorrent foreign policy of the US. How can you feel proud of such an ugly monster!?

    • Avatar

      Truth

      November 22, 2015 at 4:03 AM

      More of the Muslim blame game. Playing the victim card and not facing up to its own failings.

  9. Avatar

    Chantelle

    November 19, 2015 at 11:35 PM

    ISLAMIC STATE’s attacks are attacks on Muslims, too
    1. So-called “ISLAMIC STATE” did this! NOT the “Muslims.”
    France’s Muslim population between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000 (May census) are targeted right along with other French citizens.
    So-called “ISLAMIC STATE” operatives and “involved network” individuals total around fifteen hundred, who may have shown desire to leave for “controlled zones” of “ISLAMIC STATE JIHADIS”. 460 reached the region, but 210 came back (most likely disillusioned).
    2. So-called “ISLAMIC STATE” attacks everyone, everywhere – including Muslims.
    Muslims were not spared in cosmopolitan and integrated places under attack. So-called “ISLAMIC STATE” terrorists could care less they were injuring and killing Muslims right along with everyone else.
    3. France’s Muslims immediately spoke up against these (and other) attacks by “ISLAMIC STATE” terrorists.
    Charlie Hebdo and HyperCacher grocery store attacks in January were clearly the work of antagonists and instigators were actually in direct opposition to Quran and Islamic teachings.
    4. French Muslims Also Worry About Violence & Attacks.
    Muslims worry about threats, attacks and violence against Muslim in coming days. Mosques and Muslim school children under attacks already and increasing even before Paris attacks.
    In France this year, anyone who even looked like Northern African (all of Northern Africa are Muslims) have been slandered and even physically attacked.
    5. Refugees did NOT cause the problem – They were the TARGET too!
    Refugees have already risked everything, even death while escaping terrorism in their home land.
    Refugees are running from violence and fear of so-called “ISLAMIC STATE” (IS)! They fear the very source of the terrorism that we all fear.
    The possibility that one out of thousands running to safe countries might be a terrorist posing as a refugee – only adds to the serious threat these poor people experience in very strict investigations for identification by immigration authorities.
    6. REAL MUSLIMS Joined Others to Give Security and Shelter for Everyone
    Many Parisians including Muslims, used hashtag ‪#‎porteouverte‬ offering shelter and protection for anyone stranded on city streets, afraid or uncertain how to return safely.
    French civic spirit was demonstrated within Muslim hearts as well as Christians, Jews and other faiths.
    France approaches regional elections next month (December). Question: “Will French leaders echo this spirit of openness to all French population, including Muslims?”
    Or will they echo the likes of racism and prejudice, using so-called “ISLAMIC STATE” rhetoric and propaganda to promote further division, while offering justification for more violence to already unstable “Jihadist” mentality?
    What if we all take a break here, look into what REAL ISLAM is teaching, not media hype over so-called “ISLAMIC STATE” or “ISIS”? – Yusuf Estes
    More? http://www.ShareIslam.com (look for About Jihad)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Civil Rights

Podcast: The Unfinished Business of Martin Luther King | Imam Zaid Shakir

Support MuslimMatters 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.

Our Muslim community is one whose existence, contrary to popular misconception, is predicated on the establishment of peace.

I believe that we have been divinely prepared to take up the torch held aloft so courageously by Dr. King and dedicate ourselves to the completion of his work.Click To Tweet

– Imam Zaid Shakir

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.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

The New Scramble For Africa

Africa
Support MuslimMatters 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.

Africa is a blessed continent with resources and biodiversity that would impress anyone. Africa’s history in Islam (while neglected) played a major role, it was home to the first country to welcome the Muslims and allow them to practice freely. After the spread of Islam trough traders, regions across Africa became hubs for knowledge and trade. The richest man in history hailed from Africa and was Muslim, and his name was Mansa Musa. The riches of Africa have always sought after. People from all over the world have aimed to to do business or exploit the blessed continent. Unfortunately, the history of Africa is filled with strife, bloodshed, slavery, and holocausts. This rings true till today. The purpose of this article is not to dwell on the past, be it Arab influence or colonization. The events going on today needs out attention, we have ignored the struggles of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Africa long enough. 

The first major scramble for Africa was in the 19th century, when Europe carved it up like it was their property. The second was during the cold war, when East and West seek allegiances of newly independent African states. We are witnessing a third scramble that is less obvious, and more behind the scenes with “investments” and “wars”. It can be described as a cold war between China and America. 

African mines

Some see the resources they have like oil, chocolate, rare earth minerals, diamonds, etc. as a blessing (investors mostly), but to the people living through this every day it is a curse. Oil or mineral dependent countries in Africa suffer from enclave industrialization, limited diversity in their economy, and vulnerability to price shock. While this is happening, they see decay in their agriculture, manufacturing, and other trades. The continent is still traumatized by five centuries of exploitation. It is no easy obstacle to overcome. What we are seeing will only get worse as oil production is expected to peak in 2025, world scarcity will increase, and we will see more wars around oil. For the last decade, China has been using “soft power,” basically using money for leverage. This comes in the form of aid, trade, infrastructure projects, and loans. This is a plot to make them a superpower in the region. America, on the other hand, is doing what it has been doing since 1776, it is confronting Africa as a “battlefield,” basically running operations or anti-terrorism projects in dozens of countries that the American public is unaware of. 

One example is South Sudan, and the American campaign to split the Muslim country of Sudan to two. Before the split, China reportedly had invested $20 billion in Sudan. With American interventions occurring, China watched the events unfold. After the split the newly inaugurated president of South Sudan flew to China to secure an $8 billion investment. By 2013, China controlled 40% of their largest crude oil producers and was importing 77% of the country’s output. After unrest and bloodshed occurring in Libya, Mali, Sudan, etc, China has established a stronger effort with peacekeeping officers to protect their oil interest. As one superpower implements one tactic, another superpower follows its traditional method. Last year in Niger, American soldiers, including two commandos, were killed. This was surprising to me as I was unaware of American military operation in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world with Muslims making 98% of its population.

We have seen a dangerous rise of commandos in Africa. In 2006, under Bush, 1% of deployed commandos were in Africa, by 2011 under Obama it had risen to 3%. It does not stop there, before stepping down from office, in 2016, 16.5% of American commandos deployed were deployed in Africa.

In 2006, only 70 special ops were deployed across the continent, in 2014 we have 700 deployed special ops in Africa. “None of these special operations forces are intended to be engaged in direct combat operations,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert S. Karem. Despite this declaration, despite the deaths of soldiers in Niger, U.S. commandos keep finding themselves in situations that are indistinguishable from combat. 

In March of 2018, the New York Times released an article of 10 unreported attacks of American troops between 2015 and 2017. Despite these attacks and distrust towards the region, the Pentagon built a $100 million drone base in Agadez, Niger, regardless of the people’s concerns towards a base being built near their home. Our worldly desires is fueling this new scramble for Africa. Our need for resources, technology, and fuel comes at a cost. This cost manifests itself as the development of the rentier state (eventually developing into a kleptocracy across Africa, professional soldiers ruling the resource-rich lands or an expansion of the “war on terror”. 

Here are a few theoretical solutions, some are to be initiated by the government and some rely on people-power movements. The government needs to reduce corruption and that can be done through a menu of policies created to control and maintain corruption. Controlling corruption can be done through; changing the selections of national agents, modifying the rewards and punishments systems, and restructuring the relations between national agents and users to reduce monopolies. Another venue the government can explore is directly distributing resource revenues to the people. This is practiced in Alaska, and has been wildly successful. Finally, the government can invest the resource revenues in social development. Harnessing the revenues for human development to include education, healthcare, job training, and housing will lift up the urban and rural poor. 

The people can pressure the government to pursue any of those ideas mentioned. A power-people movement can look different depending on the need. One idea is that consumers in the West to boycott African minerals due to corruption and/or exploitation. This can develop into “smart boycotts” where we use internet hedge funds to attack corporations that exploit and feed into corruption. Developing campaigns like “blood diamonds” in the past have been proven effective to generate awareness and bring vital change. The same was done with the ivory, and now even China has laws making the product illegal.

People-power movements work and have helped locals rid of unwanted corporations in their region. Ken Saro-Wiwa, was a leader of the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta, he rallied against the abuses of the Nigerian military regime and the oil pollution created by multi-national companies, which resulted in a change of consciousness for the better. 

In his words: “Whether I live or die is immaterial. It is enough to know that there are people who commit time, money and energy to fight this one evil among so many others predominating worldwide. If they do not succeed today, they will succeed tomorrow.”

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.

Continue Reading

#Current Affairs

CAA – NRC Row: Why There Is More To It Than An Attack On Secular Ethos

indian economy caa
Support MuslimMatters 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.

‘Indian Muslims have nothing to fear. No one knows what CAA/NRC is all about. They are simply protesting because they are misled’, thus proclaimed a former classmate of mine who himself left India for brighter prospects during PM Narendra Modi’s regime but continues to believe in his promise of ‘acche din’ (good days).

Today the whole of India is divided over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which is to be followed by the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Thousands of students from India’s premier institutions like Jamia Milia Islamia, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, IITs and IIMs are thronging the streets to protest against the bigoted law.

The ripple effect has even reached top educational institutions across the world including Harvard, Oxford, Yale and MIT. From lawyers to celebrities to academicians, people across the world, belonging to different religions are raising their dissent against the law which is deemed to be against the secular fabric of the Indian Constitution.

What is this law all about?

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA) provides an accelerated path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhists, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities from three countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is an official record of all those who are legal Indian citizens. So far, such a database has only been created for the northeastern state of Assam which has been struggling with the issue of illegal immigration for a long time. In Assam 1.9 million people were effectively rendered stateless after NRC and were put into detention centers. Out of these 1.9 million, around 0.6 million are Muslim.

On November 20, Home Minister Amit Shah declared during a parliamentary session that the register would be extended to the entire country.

Why the uproar?

At first glance the CAA seems to be a harmless law, which the government claims was made to help those who are facing religious persecution. However, the question arises why only those suffering religious persecution? Millions of people are suffering persecution in the name of race, region or language in India’s neighboring countries.

Even if we talk about just religious persecution, why does the law only accommodate those from three neighboring countries? Rohingyas are suffering brutal persecution in Myanmar. Christians are suffering in Sri Lanka. Tibetans have been persecuted because of their beliefs.

Many people opine that the CAA is not problematic in itself. It becomes problematic when it’s seen in conjunction with NRC. When NRC is implemented, millions of people will be declared illegal due to lack of documents in a country where the masses live in villages and documentation is a complicated bureaucratic process with a high error rate. According Professor Shruti Rajagopalan, the State Of Aadhaar Report 2017-18 by IDinsight, covering 2,947 households, found that 8.8% of Aadhaar holders reported errors in their name, age, address or other information in their Aadhaar letter (Aadhaar is the identity number issued to Indian residents). In the NRC, a spelling mistake can deprive one of citizenship and 8.8% affects over 120 million people.

They will be rendered stateless and sent to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Out of these ‘illegals’, everyone but Muslims can seek accelerated citizenship under CAA.

The fact is that even if we view CAA alone, the very act of offering citizenship on the basis of religion goes against the fundamentals of secularism and equality as mentioned in the Indian constitution.

UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet has termed the CAA as “fundamentally discriminatory”.

In this context, it’s also relevant to understand the revolt that is happening in the north eastern state of Assam. While the rest of India is against CAA and NRC for exclusion of Muslims, the people of Assam are protesting against the inclusion of 1.3 million undocumented Non-Muslims, as identified in the NCR. According to them, if these foreigners are granted citizenship under CAA, they pose a threat to the language and culture of Assam.

Police brutality against protesters

Student fraternity across the world was shocked when students of Jamia Milia Islamia who were peacefully protesting against the CAA were brutally attacked by police forces. Police accused students of destroying public property and fired tear gas shells, beat them up mercilessly and even open fired at them. They barged into the library, mosque and even the women’s hostels without authorization.

Video footage shot by students and reviewed by Reuters show students, including women, hiding beneath desks in the library, cowering in restrooms, jumping over broken furniture in an attempt to flee. It was later verified that none of the students had anything to do with some of the buses that were set ablaze outside the campus.

Reports of even more horrific police brutality surfaced from Aligarh Muslim University. A student’s hand had to be amputated after a tear gas shell hit him and exploded. Hundreds of students were severely injured.

Section 144 of the Criminal Code which prohibits any gathering of 5 or more people has been imposed across the entire state of UP. Internet has been shut down in several parts.

Videos showing police destroying properties of innocent Muslims in UP have surfaced which the ‘Godi media’, a term coined for PM Modi’s lapdog media, refuses to acknowledge. Innocent youth are being dragged out of their homes and their properties are being seized on the accusation of destruction of public property. Death toll has crossed 22. Thousands are in custody.

It’s not surprising that Narendra Modi is being compared to Adolf Hitler.

India’s secular ethos

Religion based politics is nothing new in India, the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi issue and Gujarat riots being two of the most glaring examples.

However, in day to day life ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, Aapas mein sab bhai bhai’ (Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians are all brothers) has not just been a slogan but a way of life.

Muslims in India have held prominent positions in every sphere of life, be it arts, literature, sports or leadership and have been admired by Hindus and Muslims alike.

The current BJP government aims to change all of that with its RSS-inspired fascist ideology of Hindutva – Hindu nationalism andHindu rashtra’ (nation).

India’s faltering economy and dejected youth

One of the heartening aspects of the CAA/NRC uprising is that it is not being seen as just a Muslim struggle. It is rightly being seen as a struggle to uphold the secular ethos of the Constitution of India. However, there is more to this struggle which is being led by the youth of the country.

Underlying the CAA-NRC struggles is the country’s deep disappointment with PM Modi’s lofty promises of ‘acche din’ (good days) which gave the country a new hope . Among other things he promised to make India an economic superpower. Today the nation’s economy is in doldrums which has led to frustration and dejection in the youth.

IMF’s last forecast for India was 6.1% growth in 2019. This has slumped to 4.9%. Unemployment is at a 45-year high and industrial growth rate is negative.

One of the major reasons for the economic slowdown has been the government’s radical decision of demonetization in 2016 which sent the entire country in a turmoil and failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. Small businesses took a further hit with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

At a time when the government’s primary concern should have been the faltering economy, the government diverted the country’s attention to the Babri Masjid -Ram Janmabhoomi issue. As soon as that ended it announced the CAA and NRC, continuing its propaganda of Hindu nationalism as opposed to real issues faced by the nation.

At this critical junction the economy can be expected to take a further hit by the cost of the implementation of the CAA and NRC exercise.By conservative estimates, nationwide NRC will cost Indians a whopping 500 billion rupees in admin expenses alone. Add to it the massive cost of building and maintaining detention centers across the country and the nation looks set for an economic and logistical nightmare.

Today the educated youth of the country is voicing its frustration at the price the country has been paying due to the government’s fascist ideologies. They no longer want the world to know India for its age old mandir-masjid disputes, mob lynchings, communal riots, human rights violations, poverty or illiteracy.

The current uprising is not just against one particular law.The people, especially the youth of India are protesting for their rights to work together as one nation to take the country towards being an exemplary democracy and an economic superpower.

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.

Continue Reading

Trending