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The Muslim Lords of CVE

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The main idea behind Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), is that there is a way to intelligently articulate a future “path” to something called “radicalization” by Muslims, and this can be stopped before crimes are committed.  The Intercept last month  exposed a secret study by one of the principal purveyors of CVE, the FBI, that there is no such thing.  It is important for Muslims to understand that CVE is not only damaging to the community, it is fraud.

The ISPU Debate

On Labor Day Weekend in Chicago, the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) hosted a debate at the annual ISNA Convention  on the Federal Government’s Muslim-only “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) initiative, if it was beneficial or harmful to “engage” with law enforcement on such programs.

Both Dr Muqtedar Khan and Kamran Bokhari, who spoke in favor of Muslim participation in CVE agreed there was no net-benefit in doing so, and yet despite this lack of net-benefit insisted that the Muslim community should do it anyway. The reasons to support CVE had to do with dealing with “extremism,” “radicalism,” and “anti-Americanism” that exist in the Muslim community.  Never mind that even if eliminating these things were laudable goals, (they are not) it is clear this is impossible to achieve through CVE.  Furthermore, attendees were told Muslims do not have a choice in the matter – either they choose to serve the government to help do away with these things or risk the government engaging with Islamophobes like Daniel Pipes to do this instead.

While all sides agreed CVE offers “no net-benefit,” there was no serious discussion of what the real benefits were and who within the community stands to benefit.  Sahar Aziz and Dawud Walid argued forcefully against CVE, citing the harms to individuals, families and the community as a whole, which was what they were supposed to do.

Despite clear indications most American Muslims who know about the issues – including the speakers who spoke in favor of CVE – appear to hold a negative opinion of it, the benefits may be powerful enough for the pro CVE side to prevail.  We need to understand what we are up against.

ISPU, the convener of the debate, unfortunately failed to question or disclose whether the two speakers favoring CVE personally benefit financially from the national security state. Neither of the speakers disclosed at the event what financial remuneration they receive from the Federal Government, foreign governments, think tanks and corporations with an interest in CVE, either directly or indirectly through their employers.

 The American Muslim Intellectual class sometimes serve as tools of imperial interests, as Dr. Hatam Bazian recently observed.  CVE is a great example of why this fact matters.

To his credit, Kamran , a former “extremist” who has since become an “expert” on “extremism” was at least up front in that he did not speak as a “Muslim activist,” but rather as a “professional” who deals with “extremism.” It is too communal a view, from his perspective, to consider things such as “benefit” or “harm”, but rather Muslims should adopt the government program targeting the Muslim community because it is the right thing to do, and because supporting CVE was somehow “logical.”

Muslims should do the right thing even if there is no financial benefit. Doing the right thing is inherently beneficial if you are Muslim. But is it really the right thing if a privileged few stand on the “benefit” side of the ledger while the most marginalized fall on the “harm” side? For the Muslim community, the benefit and harm should be subject to more scrutiny.  An early “Pilot Program” City, the Muslim community in the Los Angeles area had some early experience with CVE.  The community contemplated both benefit and harm.

The Southern California Muslim community was virtually united in opposition soon after February 2015 “CVE Summit” at the White House ended. That the Government’s CVE program in Los Angeles has been stuck in a ditch for nearly two years is no accident.  It took an organized effort, though keeping CVE out of our community continues to be an uphill struggle.  At an Imam teach-in in those early days and in many other public and private meetings on the subject, Muslim leaders and activists used a wide range of historical analogies or explanations for what it was. It was alternately or simultaneously “white supremacy” or “Cointelpro,” or portrayed as something like the Raj in India.

 

One Islamic Educator then said it was like “Braveheart” because it appeared the Federal Government was creating “lords,” a special class of official Muslim leaders.  CVE documents and prior experience with “Prevent” in the UK (to be renamed “Engage”) led to a similar conclusion: CVE will divide the Muslim community between the “engagers”- those who will do law enforcement’s bidding – and the non-engagers, which comprises of everyone who disagrees with the government’s preferred narrative about the Muslim community. The creation of “engagers” sometimes involved use of “astroturfing” by funding “Muslim leaders” that claimed to be independent, but upon further inspection, turned out to not be.  While I had written about an example of this in the United States, the British Human Rights Group CAGE found several in the United Kingdom. It is the nature of Astroturf groups to claim they are independent while in fact being severely compromised by financial rewards and government endorsement.

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The medieval British nobility did not merely “engage” with the King or act as a class of official sycophants; they were oppressors who oppressed primarily to benefit themselves. As Michelle Alexander points out in her book “The New Jim Crow,” all oppressive systems have people from within the targeted group that benefit from the oppression. This was the case in American slavery, South African Apartheid, the occupation of Palestine, and everywhere else where a group was oppressed. There are always people from within the targeted group who serve as apologists for the system, justifying the fraudulent frame of dangerousness of their own group and profiting from the popular narrative they help nurture and sustain.

Muqtedar Khan, Associate Professor at University of Delaware, who has been the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the US Government for his work dealing with Islam and Muslims, relied on what could only be described as nihilism when he argued for a program with no net-benefit and in a moment of candid confession admitted that CVE was “awful.” Khan implied all government programs were bad anyway.  He is wrong of course. The National Parks Service is an excellent government program, as are plenty of others.

Muslims, according to Khan, cannot afford to be seen as being “dissidents” and at one point compared the Muslim community to a watermelon and the government to a knife. Either you get cut falling on the knife, or you get cut with the knife falling on you. The Muslim community will be cut. Get over it.  Khan readily admitted the program would do nothing to prevent any harsh treatment of Muslims that is a daily part of life in the war on terror (a frequent and easily refuted talking point by some). All we can do is assist the government so that some of us may be respectable. Nobility is nothing if not respectable.

Muslims should disagree with Khan.  We should be a community of dissidents when policies are unjust, and advocates when policies are just. We enjoin the good and forbid the evil. This is not complicated.

Neither CVE opponents Dawud Walid and Sahar Aziz’s central arguments concerning the harmful effects of CVE on the Muslim community were seriously disputed. You can see the entire debate here. The conclusion that CVE is a loathsome program and should be defeated is not a difficult one, unless a leader or activist stands to gain financially, or in some other way that provides the badges of nobility.

Advocacy has been important nationally, and organizations such as CAIR (despite some unfortunate disarray), Muslim Advocates, Muslim Justice League and others did exactly that. One insight in Southern California added a step: CVE was not merely a government program, but a system where newly constituted Muslim nobility, deputized by law enforcement to push a harmful narrative of the Muslim community and divide it. Petitioning the King would not be enough. If you want to stop it in its tracks, you must challenge the legitimacy of the nobility created by the government.

In the Los Angeles area, we were fortunate. The Muslim community has been generally well organized with solid leadership. There was just one significant organization in Southern California that supported CVE. They were unusual in that they also previously supported the Egyptian coup by General Sisi and the religious and ethnic profiling by police in Los Angeles. Their support of CVE was in character and easy to dismiss. They were exposed as compromised, which helped diminish their pro-CVE advocacy. A unanimous vote by the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California against CVE sent a clear message to Law Enforcement and all government agencies: We will not violate our community’s trust. We will not be servants of the national security state. We will not accept the narrative that our children are more dangerous than non-Muslim children. We will not be the oppressors.

Stronger Watermelons

Either the Southern California Muslim community is made of stronger stuff than watermelon, or the knife has been unusually dull.

Unfortunately, other Muslim communities in the United States have not been so fortunate. For example, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), which serves as the regional council for Muslim groups in Chicago, developed its own CVE Program, funded by both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. Amazingly, it utilizes the “four stages of radicalization,” from the New York Police Department. This includes the notion that indicators of religiousness, such as giving up cigarettes, gambling or growing a beard can lead to terrorism. The concept was so obscene that the NYPD, after a lawsuit, agreed to remove the report “radicalization theory” comes from.  Yet, an organization of Mosques was somehow using this Islamophobic garbage as the basis for their program.

One speaker at the ISNA convention, in a panel unrelated to CVE, veered off his subject and spoke about his work with CIOGC in “deprogramming” Muslim youth as part of CVE. The narrative of Muslim leaders promoting CVE is to dehumanize Muslim youth and peddle Islamophobia by this portrayal of the future of our community as budding T-1000s, programmed killing machines in need of fixing. In exchange, Muslim leaders receive financial compensation and perhaps earn the respect of law enforcement and politicians.

The CIOGC move results in a community organization accepting government funds to act as a servant of law enforcement interests and against the interests of the most marginal within the Muslim community. Moreover, Muslim leaders are taking dictation from the government based on a fundamentally Islamophobic frame.  This is  perhaps an example of what Muhammad Ghilan recently referred to as the world’s largest Pavlovian experiment.  CIOGC is financially dependent on the fame of Muslims as inherently violent.  If they don’t perpetuate this frame, the money will stop.

As Dawud Walid pointed out recently, CVE programs are a particular danger to Imams, and participation in CVE represents a fundamental breach of trust. By obvious extension, it is a breach of trust for any Muslim leader to financially benefit from the exploitation and stigmatization of our community. This needs to stop.

In Greek legend, King Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia so his ships get some fair wind on the way to Troy. Are we as a Muslim community willing to sacrifice the most marginalized and defenseless among us to avoid being seen as a “dissident community,” so some of us can perhaps get that fair wind?

Ahmed Shaikh is a Southern California Attorney. He writes about inheritance, nonprofits and other legal issues affecting Muslims in the United States. His Islamic Inheritance website is www.islamicinheritance.com

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Avatar

    soraya

    October 19, 2016 at 5:04 PM

    Some of the violent extremism, beheading, crucifixtion is rooted in the text. Let’s put our house in order. Send a message to the extremists that these Surahs have no place today. We must stop claiming the innerency of the Quran.

    • Avatar

      Abdullah O

      October 19, 2016 at 6:20 PM

      May Allah humiliate you.

    • Avatar

      Abdullah

      October 19, 2016 at 7:07 PM

      Can you please give examples of surahs you would like removed?

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      October 19, 2016 at 10:06 PM

      Salaam Soraya,

      You said:
      <>

      I would argue that said extremism, etc is more the result of the de-contextualization (historically and textually) of said verses and not necessarily what said verses actually preach.

    • Avatar

      Hassan

      October 19, 2016 at 10:07 PM

      Salaam Soraya,

      You said:
      “some of the violent extremism, beheading, crucifixtion is rooted in the text”

      I would argue that said extremism, etc is more the result of the de-contextualization (historically and textually) of said verses and not necessarily what said verses actually preach.

    • Avatar

      Hue Man

      October 20, 2016 at 2:22 PM

      Its impossible to be Muslim and at the same time claim that the Quran has error. Its not the fault of Islam or Muslims that some people choose to interpret the Quran in their own way while ignoring 1400 years of scholarship. Whats odd is that the people who hold their very own opinion above that of the scholars tend to come to the same conclusions. Then they fall into two opposing camps. One that says all the scholars are wrong and no one is on the true path but them. One that says Islam is wrong or the quran is wrong. But what is most odd? Its that both these opposing views actually carry the same exact opinions of the Quran!

      So lets stay in the middle path, learn from the scholars, learn the meaning as intended to be understood. And lets not be arrogant in our personal opinions lest we fall into extremes.

    • Avatar

      Ash

      November 5, 2016 at 7:05 PM

      There is no violent extremism rooting in the Text…! And stop trying to pretend your Muslim, my Christian friend.

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      November 10, 2016 at 5:58 PM

      There were various classical scholars who rejected abrogation within the Quran. Such as Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd and Qadi Abdul Jabbar.

      Zaidi and Mu’tazila madhab rejected abrogation in the Quran.

      Abu Muslim Muhammad ibn Hajr al-Asfahani (d. 322/933) refuted the concept internal abrogation in the Quran.

      He used the following verse as evidence:

      (Quran 18:27) “AND CONVEY whatever has been revealed to you of the Sustainer’s Book. There is nothing that could alter His words and you can find no refuge other than with Him.”

      Abu Muslim concludes; Hence any abrogation, as could be interpreted in verse 2:106 relates to earlier divine messages and not to any part of the Qur’an itself.

      Also those who claim internal abrogation, strongly differ as to the number of verses being abrogated. Which proves that their concept is seriously flawed.

      Ironically Shah WaliuAllah only recognised five instances of abrogation. Even those five verses have been explained by scholars such as Muhammad Ghazali to show no abrogation but rather examples of specification or rulings for different situations.

      Relatively recent scholars who rejected abrogation in the Quran are; Sayyid Khah, Rashad Rida, Muhammad Ghazali and Muhammad Amin.

      Another point worthy of note is that there exists no verse from the Quran in which there is Ijma’a about its abrogation. In other words, for any scholar who claims that a particular verse has been abrogated, we can find other scholars who claim the same verse was not abrogated.

  2. Avatar

    Muqtedar Khan

    October 19, 2016 at 9:05 PM

    Salam. This article falsely claims that I have received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the State department. But I do want to ask the author to identify when I personally received any money from the State Department? Please mention the years, and I will be happy to share (only with the editors of this website) my tax returns. It is unIslamic to make such serious accusations about fellow Muslims. The editors also did not have the basic journalistic courtesy to check with me or verify facts before printing such false accusations.

    The author links to my CV. He is perhaps referring to a grant received by the University of Delaware (I was the Principle Investigator) to bring scholars from the Muslim World to address Americans and take American scholars to Egypt and KSA to speak to Muslims. This grant, also received by ISNA, was done to improve people to people contact between Muslims, an exercise in public diplomacy and has nothing to do with CVE.

    Besides CVE is a DHS initiative and not a State department initiative. This is a deliberate attempt to malign a Muslim who had nothing but the bet interests of the community at heart. You may disagree with my Ijtihad but speculating on motive is dirty.

    Hardcore Islamophobes are more honest than this article, see how they reported the same thing: http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/4782

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Shaikh

      October 19, 2016 at 9:51 PM

      Thank you for your comment Dr. Khan. You should read the article again. I said hundreds of thousands from the US Government, some of which is from the State Department, but that is not all. Your CV makes it clear you have benefited from government funds, including the Department of State and Department of Defense, both are agencies in the National Security establishment. For some reason you claim to be unaware that CVE is a major State Department priority. You can learn more about it at the State Department’s website https://www.state.gov/j/cve/

      I have no objection to you taking grants. However money influences behavior, this is well established. You have been dependent in large part on government funds and are advocating policies that are adverse to the interests of the Muslim community and by your own admission are “awful.” These are policies well respected civil rights organizations are fighting, and for good reason. My concern is that this should have been disclosed by ISPU and should have been part of the discussion.

      In many other environments, including the courts, conflicts of interests and financial ties that can cause bias are relevant. They should have been part of the discussion at the debate as well.

    • Avatar

      Ash

      November 5, 2016 at 7:03 PM

      You must be an American version of Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam foundation that we have here in the U.k…The Lord in Chief of CVE in the U.K.
      In the U.K. we have had toddlers investigated for reciting Bismillah, toddler investigated for drawing a picture of a Cucumber the teacher thought the child said he was drawing a “Cooker Bomb” another one investigated because he made a spelling mistake and wrote ” Terrarest House instead of the word “Terraced” House. The catalogue and buffoonery goes on and on! Witch hunts being carried out against Toddlers.

  3. Avatar

    Muqtedar Khan

    October 19, 2016 at 10:32 PM

    I am not aware of any DOD grant I have received. Please enlighten me. The State department grant was 2008 and done by 2009 and the idea of CVE is 2015. You do not mention that Sahar Aziz actually worked for DHS. She took a regular paycheck (her work like my grant had nothing to do with CVE) but atleast be “fair and balanced” :) US is my country and I am an American and like Human Khan who actually died fighting for this country, sone of us actually care for the safety of our country and believe in cooperating with our government specially since we voted for it (President Obama).

    BTW here are my views on CVE which were ignored. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/muqtedar-khan/countering-violent-extrem_1_b_9713132.html

    • Avatar

      Kobie Williams

      October 20, 2016 at 12:04 AM

      Allah says, “Then, you are those [same ones who are] killing one another and evicting a party of your people from their homes, cooperating against them in sin and aggression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their eviction was forbidden to you. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do. ” Quran [Baqarah 85]

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Shaikh

      October 20, 2016 at 12:39 AM

      Perhaps you were not aware an entity you received funds from was part of the DOD? Please run your funding sources though Google and perhaps you will gain the awareness you seek.

      Look, I have no beef with you. Do your thing. My concern is the integrity of Muslim leadership and disclosures of actual or potential conflicts. Sahar Aziz was advocating in the interests of the marginalized in the Muslim community and against the policy goals of her former employer, DHS. We are not really concerned about the conflict, rather her employment history enhances her qualifications to speak. Furthermore, unlike what happened in your situation, her experience with DHS WAS disclosed.

  4. Avatar

    Kobie Williams

    October 20, 2016 at 9:24 AM

    When I hear about Muslim organization and leaders who are directly or indirectly involved with CVE this ayah in the Quran comes to mind when Allah says, Allah says, “Then, you are those [same ones who are] killing one another and evicting a party of your people from their homes, cooperating against them in sin and aggression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their eviction was forbidden to you. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do ” Quran [Baqarah: 85]

    These leaders are selling the ummah of Muhammad (PBUH) up the river. They are wanting the life of this world in exchange for the hereafter. What a miserable price!
    Allah says, “Those are the ones who have bought the life of this world [in exchange] for the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be aided.” [Baqarah: 86]

  5. Avatar

    Guest

    October 20, 2016 at 2:30 PM

    You mean the verses that tell Muslims to defend themselves against non-Muslim aggressors? Like the verse below from the same Surah:

    “Would you not fight people who violated their treaties, tried to banish the messenger, and they are the ones who started the war in the first place. . . ?” [Quran 9:13]

    That’s what you find “troubling”?

    Also You obviously don’t know the context or meaning of what you’ve posted, which you probably cut and pasted it.

    There is no abrogation in the Quran. The Quran says:

    “Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt. The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. NOTHING SHALL ABROGATE HIS WORDS. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient. If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.” [Quran 6:114-116]

    The theory of abrogation was formulated centuries after Muhammad’s death by Sunni scholars like al-Shafi’i and ibn Qutaybah. Initially, abrogation was applied to resolve the contradictions between Sunni hadiths. But when Sunnis started applying it to resolve the numerous contradictions between their hadiths and the Quran, it caused quite a controversy.

    Needless to say, 7th century Muslims like Muhammad weren’t applying a theory that was formulated in the 9th century. That’s anachronistic.

    • Avatar

      Ash

      November 5, 2016 at 7:15 PM

      He is clearly an Islamaphobe who has cut/paste partial verses from Surahs… and thinks he is being clever by pretending to be muslim.

  6. Avatar

    Ahmad

    October 20, 2016 at 7:17 PM

    @ Muhammed A

    if you are a non-muslim or a murtad then stop trying to deceive us by using a Muslim name.

    Regarding Surah 9, verse 1 indicates that the mushriks broke the treaty with the Muslims. treachery and perjury was made manifest from the side of idolaters. Therfore Allah, the Exalted, instructed His Prophet (peace be upon him) to break their covenant, too.

    The Quran is clear and surah 9 shows clearly the context of the following verse

    “When the sacred months have passed, then kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them. Capture them. Besiege them. Lie in wait for them in each and every ambush but if they repent, and perform the prayers, and give zakat then leave their way free.” 9:5

    the previous verse clearly shows which pagans are being referred in order to fight. these pagans were militant and broke the treaty by supporting aggressive groups against the Muslims.

    i noticed that you completely ignored the whole context of the surah and thus ignoring which pagans are discussed in the verses. you are just simply following the Typical tactic of kuffar and have just copied their foolish arguments against the Quran.

    The reasons for the ayat about the mushriks are summarised in verse 13:

    “Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they did attack you first? Do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers.”

    The above verse proves that the surah was revealed in relation to times of war. Also the ayat proves that all the verses about fighting were revealed to command the believers to defend themselves against the militant mushriks who tried to kill or exile the Messenger.

    regarding the verse:

    “O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are filthy, so let them not approach al-Masjid al-Haram after this, their [final] year. And if you fear privation, Allah will enrich you from His bounty if He wills. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Wise.” 9:28

    The command was given since the mushriks do not have pure belief in Allah being the only God. hence the mushriks were spiritually unclean. Since Makkah is the spiritual centre of the Muslims and has the Kab’ah, it was necessary to keep it spiritually pure hence the prohibition of the mushriks to approach the Sacred Masjid.

    Maintaining the Masjid and its custodianship needs some conditions:

    From the point of belief, Faith in the Quran.

    From the point of practice, establishing prayers and paying alms are obligatory.

  7. Avatar

    Ahmad

    October 20, 2016 at 8:14 PM

    the verses about jihad such as:

    “Fight against those who do not obey Allah and do not believe in Allah or the Last Day and do not forbid what has been forbidden by Allah and His messenger even if they are of the People of the Book until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” 9:29

    need to be understood with the context of the surah which is:

    “Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they did attack you first? Do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers.” [Quran 9:16]

    Context of all the verses about jihad shows that fighting was ordained against those who were hostile to Muslims and who tried to exile the Messenger.

    verse 29 also proves besides militant mushriks who broke the treaty, there were also aggressive groups from people of the book. So the verse directs Believers to take jizya from them so that the defense for integrity and security is maintained and in return those who gave jizya will have protection.

    about the ayat; “Oh you who believe, fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you and let them find harshness in you.” 9:123

    verses 120 – 123 shows that the believers were intructed to be cautious and not go out of Madinah all at once since there were hostile disbelievers nearby. This is explained in the following ayat;

    And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious. [Quran 9:122]

    So all your pathetic arguments against Surah 9 have been refuted. your lies and misquotations out of context have been exposed.

    Regarding the ayat in surah 8:

    It is not for a prophet to have captives until he engages in strong fighting in the land. You desire the commodities of this world, but Allah desires [for you] the Hereafter. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. [Quran 8:67]

    The above verse gives a rule that captives should not be taken unless there has been fighting and the enemies have been defeated. The verse only allows taking captives in case of war and thus prohibits taking captives when there is no fighting. This is a very just and reasonable principle given in the Quran.

    Quran directs us to strive against oppression and thus verses about fighting were revealed.
    It is obvious that many verses of the Quran mention justice. (5:8)
    The Quran invites people to peace (2:208).
    War is permitted in self-defense so the oppressors are defeated and societies become safe and stable. (8:60)
    Quran promotes peace, while deterring the aggressive parties (60:8,9; 8:60).
    Quran stands for peace, honesty, kindness, and deterring from wrongdoing (3:110).

  8. Avatar

    Ahmad

    October 20, 2016 at 8:46 PM

    regarding the concept of abrogation,

    Quran explictly states that is has no contradictions so it is impossible for latter verses to abrogate earlier verses since no verses oppose one another.

    [4:83] Will they not, then, meditate upon the Qur’an? Had it been from anyone other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much disagreement.

    Regarding the ayat which is used to support abrogation in the Quran;

    Whatever Sign We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than that or the like thereof. Do you not know that Allah has the power to do all that He wills? [Quran 2:107]

    the signs mentioned in the above verse refers to the previous Revelations. It is pointed out that the previous Scriptures contained two kinds of commandments: (a) Those which, owing to changed conditions and to the universality of the new Revelation, required abrogation. (b) Those containing eternal truths which needed resuscitation so that people might be reminded of the forgotten truth. It was, thereof, necessary to abrogate certain portion of those Scriptures and bring in their place new ones, and also to restore the lost ones.

    Any reports which allege abrogation in the Quran should be rejected since it goes against the more authentic proof, the Quran. The Quran has been preserved as proven by many narrators and by carbon dated manuscripts. the hadith in sahih muslim Book 12, Hadith 156 should be investigated since its possible that abu musa was referring to a hadith which he used to recite and he forgot some of it. so what he referred to was not the Quran but a prophetic narration.

    There is no verse in the Qur’an which clashes with any other verse of the Book and which may therefore have to be regarded as abrogated. All parts of the Qur’an support and corroborate one another.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      October 21, 2016 at 9:03 PM

      people who put the Quran together were able to distinguish between hadith and Quran since the quran was recited in prayer. prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recited the Quran while leading the prayers so his companions could easily distinguish between Quran and hadith.

      Also the Prophet would tell his scribes to write the Quran and inform them which surah contains which verse. During the Prophet’s lifetime; the Quran was written on seperate sheets of leather or camel skin however it was not compiled into one mushaf since the Quran was still being revealed during his lifetime. But after the Prophet’s death, the revelation was complete and the Believers were able to compile the Quran in one mushaf.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      October 23, 2016 at 1:56 PM

      Quran explicilty states:

      “Alif.Laam.Raa. This is a book whose verses have been perfected.” 11:1
      “……the words of God are unchangeable” 10:64

      These Quranic verses state clearly that the Quran has been perfected and cannot be abrogated or changed.

      On topic of intoxicants, the Relation between the verses;

      “O you who believe! do not go near prayer when you are Intoxicated until you know (well) what you say.” (4:43) and

      “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.” (5:90)

      verse 4:43 simply states that an intoxicated person should not do salah. Hence the verse’s rulng still applies, the rule has not been cancelled at all therefore no abrogation. No where does the verse allow consumption of alcohol. The verse just gives a condition that a person must be sober for salah.

      regarding the different rations;

      O Prophet, urge the believers to battle. If there are among you twenty [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved because they are a people who do not understand.” (8:65) and the very next verse which states:

      “Now, Allah has lightened [the hardship] for you, and He knows that among you is weakness. So if there are from you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you a thousand, they will overcome two thousand by permission of Allah . And Allah is with the steadfast.” (8:66)

      verse 8:65 gives ideal standards which some can still follow. while the next verse 8:66 gives a concession to the weak. so again there is no clash. the ruling of both verses still apply.

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      October 27, 2016 at 9:50 PM

      regarding verse 2:106

      the substitution mentioned in 2:106 refers to previous scriptures since those books were forgotten and thus needed to be superseded. abrogation cannot refer to the Quran because:

      1. Quran says in 10:64 that the words in the Quran cannot be abrogated or changed.
      2. The words “cause to be forgotten” could not be applicable if the word ‘Ayah’ in verse 2:106 meant a verse in the Quran. How can a verse in the Quran become forgotten? For even if the verse was invalidated by another it will still be part of the Quran and thus could never be forgotten.
      3. The words “We replace it with its equal” would be meaningless if the word ‘Ayah’ in this verse meant a Quranic verse, simply because it would make no sense to invalidate one verse then replace it with one that is identical to it within the same book!

      thus its clear that verse 2:106 refers to the previous scriptures being abrogated and replaced by the Quran.

      As for 8:67

      it refers to taking prisoners only in case of war. it does not constitute a rebuke to Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) for letting the prisoners go due to several reasons:

      1. no previous commandment was given in the Quran to forbid ransom of prisoners therefore the prophet could not be rebuked for it
      2. the Prophet already took ransom for captives in nakhla prior to battle of badr and God did not rebuke him for that
      3. only two verses later in 8:69; God permits Muslims to take what they won in war

      it is onconceivable that God would rebuke the Prophet for accepting ransom and then at the same time allow war booty to be lawful.
      so verse 8:67 gives a rule that captives should only be taken after fighting.

      verse 9:29 gives permission to Muslims to defend themselves against hostile people of the book. Surah 9 gave persimssion to Muslims to fight those who have violated the peace treaty and killed people because of their belief. verse 9:29 needs to be understood with other verses;
      Quran encourages us to stand against aggressors on the side of peace and justice. (See 2:190,192,193,256; 4:91; 5:32; 8:19; 60:7-9). We are encouraged to work hard to establish peace (47:35; 8:56-61; 2:208).

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      October 29, 2016 at 11:07 PM

      Who exactly was oppressing Prophet Mohammad (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)?

      As regards the non-Muslims torturing the Muslims in Makkah at the beginning of the Prophet’s mission, then this is something confirmed without any doubt, as it was reported by many narrators and is well documented in seerah ibn ishaq.

      Also the makkan pagans tortured some of the Prophet’s followers such as khabbab, ammar ibn yasir and bilal. The pagans killed te parents of ammar. Abu Jahl speared old lady Samiya to death. Muslims bore their troubles patiently. They remained calm. Their faith in God and His Prophet was firm.

      It is this torture which was the cause of the first migration of the Muslims to Abyssinia and then the second migration to Al-Madeenah. In addition to this, Quraysh had plotted to kill the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) himself, and that was the cause of his migration (to Madeenah).

      in Madinah; the Prophet made a pact with the Jews and the other tribes of Medina. It was agreed that both non-Muslims and Muslims should live peacefully. Both should enjoy freedom of faith. Both would respect life and property. In all disputes the Prophet was to be Judge. Both agreed to defend Medina.

      The Makkan pagans failed to stop the Muslims emigrating to Madina which caused them rage. they changed their normal caravan routes and took to routes lying through areas around Medina and incited local tribes against Muslims. However no madani people responded to the pagans wish so the makkan pagans prepared for war. First a small party of Meccan pagans raided a place three miles outside the town which eventually triggered battle of badr.

      regarding khaybar; the Jews of Khaybar began hostilities. Efforts to make peace with them failed, which led to the conflict. it is worth noting that it was the jews of bani quraiza who broke the treaty and helped the pagan makkans to attack madina and that is why they were punished.

      regarding the battles by the Caliphs; the byzantine empire occupied northen arabia for centuries and thus the Muslims and arabs defended northen arabia and liberated it from the byzantine occupation. the sassanid empire was defeated since they occupied yemen for many years prior to the rashidun caliphate glory. So the semitic people defended semitic lands from two major empires.

      What good have Muslims brought to the world?

      some of the great contributions by the ummah:

      Development of algebra, trigonometry, and usage of arabic numerals.
      Muhammad bin Moosaa Al-Khawaarizmi developed algorithms and quadratic equations. Al-Khawarizmi’s work, in Latin translation, brought the Arabic numerals along with the mathematics to Europe, through Spain. The word “algorithm” is derived from his name.

      Two Muslim women, Fatima and Miriam al-Firhi, created the world’s first university, Al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, in 859.

      Ibn Khaldun is another one of the most important Muslim thinkers in history. Recognized as one of the greatest historians ever and the founder of sociological sciences.

      As far as geography was concerned, Muslim scientists established that the world was round in the 9th century CE, and the first map of the globe was made during the Caliphate of Ma’moon.

      Medicine is another crucial contribution to civilization made by Muslims in addition to education and the university system. In 872 in Cairo, Egypt, the Ahmad ibn Tulun hospital was created (first hospital with nurses and a training centre).

      surgeon named Al-Zahrawi, often called the “father of surgery,” wrote an illustrated encyclopedia that would ultimately be used as a guide to European surgeons for the next five hundred years. Al-Zarawhi’s surgical instruments, such as scalpels, bone saws, and forceps are still used by modern surgeons.

      Jabir Ibn Hayyan, the founder of modern chemistry, transformed alchemy into chemistry through distillation, or separating liquids through differences in their boiling points. In addition to developing the processes of crystallization, evaporation, and filtration, he also discovered sulphuric and nitric acid.

      Al-Razi the famous physician and scientist, (d. 932) was one of the greatest physicians in the world in the Middle Ages. He stressed empirical observation and clinical medicine.

      Ibn Sina (d. 1037) was perhaps the greatest physician until the modern era. His famous book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, remained a standard textbook even in Europe, for over 700 years.

      11th century Muslim scientist, Ibn al-Haytham, who developed the field of optics and described how the first cameras work. He was the first person to describe how the eye works. He carried out experiments with reflective materials and proved that the eye does not sense the environment with “sight rays,” as scientists had believed up until then. He also discovered that curved glass surfaces can be used for magnification.

      soap and shampoo was invented by Muslims.

      Although the first paper to write on was papyrus, a more superior type of paper, with better quailty, was produced by the Muslims, like the paper we know today. Also fountain pen was developed by Muslims.

      Many universal values are given in the Quran such as freedom of faith, no racism, proptection of minorities and upholding justice.

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      October 30, 2016 at 10:43 PM

      Ibn Sina was a Muslim since he believed in the Quran. No other peron can decide what he believd in.

      the question is why are you using a Muslim name on a muslim matter format.

      So what if many of the great contributers were Persian? Islam is based upon belief in the Quran which they believed in. It is not based upon one’s race or skin colour.

      Anyways Ibn al-Haytham was a famous arab scientist. He made significant contributions to the principles of optics, astronomy, mathematics, visual perception, and the scientific method.

      Another famous arab who contributed to humanity was Ibn al-Nafis a great physician mostly famous for being the first to describe the pulmonary circulation of the blood.

      What did the Prophet’s direct followers contribute to the world:

      Rashidun Caliphate introduced comprehensive welfare system to provide income for the needy, including the poor, elderly, orphans, widows, and the disabled.

      Rashidun caliphate was fundamentally based on justice and compassion. These are the central values of Islam that are expressed through a sincere belief in the existence of one God and by seeking to act in a way that is pleasing to Him. By singling Him out for worship and being conscious of one’s accountability.

      The Qur’an clearly states in this regard:

      “O you who believe, be steadfast in your devotion to God and bear witness impartially: do not let the hatred of others lead you away from justice, but adhere to justice, for that is closer to being God conscious. Be mindful of God: God is well acquainted with all that you do.” [Quran 5:8]

      The popular historian Karen Armstrong points out how these values established an unprecedented coexistence:

      “The Muslims had established a system that enabled Jews, Christians, and Muslims to live in Jerusalem together for the first time.” [history of Jerusalem]

      lets see what some famous thinkers had to say about the Prophet of Islam:

      Montgomery Watt (Scottish historian, and Emeritus Professor in Arabic and Islamic studies)

      “His readiness to undergo persecutions for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement – all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.” [W. Montgomery, Mohammad at Mecca, Oxford 1953, p. 52]

      George Bernard Shaw (Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics) stated

      “He must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness.” [The Genuine Islam]

      Michael H. Hart (professor of astronomy, physics and the history of science) wrote

      “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular level.” [The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History, New York, 1978, p. 33]

      Now to the many Islamic teachings which the world benefits from;

      esteems knowledge, education, and learning (35:28; 4:162; 9:122; 22:54; 27:40; 29:44,49).
      rejects intermediaries between God and people (2:48; 9:31-34).
      promotes consultation and representation in public affairs (42:38; 5:12).
      stands for accountability, and defiance of false authorities (6:164)
      prohibits bribery (2:118)
      promises justice for everyone, regardless of their creed or ethnicity (5:8).
      acknowledges the rights of citizens to publicly petition against injustices committed by individuals or government (4:148).
      encourages the distribution of wealth, economic freedom and social welfare (2:215, 59:7).
      recognizes and protects individual right’s to privacy (49:12).
      recognizes the right to the presumption of innocence and right to confront the accuser (49:12).
      provides protection for witnesses (2:282).
      does not hold innocent people responsible for the crimes of others (53:38).
      protects the right to personal property (2:85,188; 4:29; exception 24:29; 59:6-7).
      stands for peace, honesty, kindness, and deterring from wrongdoing (3:110).
      encourages charity and caring for the poor (6:141; 7:156).
      stands for the oppressed (4:75).

      “O you who believe, uphold justice and bear witness to God….” [Quran 4:135]

    • Avatar

      p4rv3zkh4n

      October 31, 2016 at 10:22 PM

      well you asked what Muslms have contributed to the world and I gave you a comprehensive list of scholars and scientists’ contributions. Then you reject that by saying most of them were not arabs, which is a bizarre argument since most Muslims are non-arabs. Muslims do not have to be Arabs since the religion is based upon belief in the Quran and not based upon ethnicity.

      Now when i gave you more proofs of successful muslim works, you change the topic by mentioning the contributions of non-muslims, which does not refute anything of what I said earlier. The list i gave refutes your pathetic allegation about Muslims doing nothing beneficial to the world. Unlike you, I don’t reject other people’s contribution simply because of their ethnicity or religion.

      now to your other allegation about Islam being spread by the sword. The historian De Lacy O’Leary stated in the book “Islam at the cross road” (Page 8): “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myth that historians have ever repeated.”

      As for Michael Hart, Muslims resort to quoting a Jewish author and other non-muslims for unbiased perspective. Nothing amusing about it whatsoever.

      Why not quote Winston Churchill? Because he was a racist, a coloniser and fascist.

      other notable contributions of Muslims:

      Al Hassar, a mathematician from Al-Maghreb, developed the modern symbolic mathematical notation for fractions, where the numerator and denominator are separated by a horizontal bar.

      In the field of technology, engineers such as Al-Jazari, who invented the crankshaft – an essential component in the steam engine and internal combustion engine

      The mechanical alarm clock was invented by Taqi al-Din.

      The question is why are you still using a Muslim name if you are so hateful of it. Clear hypocrisy shown there!

      Also what has the Islamophobes contributed to the world?

    • Avatar

      Ahmad

      November 3, 2016 at 9:35 PM

      Proper understanding of 16:101

      “When We substitute one Ayat (revelation) in place of another, and God is fully aware of what He reveals, they say, “You made this up”. Indeed most of them do not know.”

      The substitution spoken of here is concerned with one of two things:
      a- The substitution of one Scripture in place of another.
      This first meaning is given evidence to in the following verse:
      “Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures, and superseding them.” 5:48
      Here, the words “superseding them” confirm that the previous scripture were substituted with the Quran.

      b- The substitution of one law within one Scripture with another in a subsequent Scripture
      This second meaning is also given evidence to in the Quran where various issues that were prohibited to the previous people of the book were made lawful in the Quran.

      As an example, we are told in 2:187 that sexual intercourse between married couples during the nights of the fasting month was made lawful, while it was prohibited previously.
      We are also told in 6:146 that God prohibited for the Jews all animals with undivided hoofs; and of the cattle and sheep the fat was prohibited. These were made lawful in the Quran.

      This verse 16:101 does not speak about the substitution of one verse in the Quran with another.

      The evidence to that is given within the same verse (16:101):
      The key to the meaning of the verse lies in the words:
      ” …… they say, “You made this up”

      Here we must stop and ask, who is likely to tell the messenger “You made this up” ? and why? For sure it cannot be his followers, his followers are not likely to tell him “You have made it up”…………….it has to be those who do not believe in him, which focuses on the followers of previous scripture who feared that their scripture was in danger of being “substituted” with the Quran. In actual fact, till this day, the Jews and Christians accuse Muhammad that he fabricated the Quran himself!
      Once it is established that this verse speaks of the reaction and words of the disbelievers, then the next question would be : are they accusing Muhammad of substituting one verse in the Quran with another? The Jews and Christians do not care if one verse in the Quran is substituted for another, after all they do not believe in the whole book! They will not complain that one verse in the Quran is being substituted with another!

      However, if they fear that their Scripture is being substituted by the Quran, they will immediately accuse the messenger that the Scripture he brings (Quran) is not from God but that he “made it up” himself.

      The words “You have made it up” indeed stand as a true indicator from God Almighty that the substitution spoken of in this verse is not related to one within the Quran, but indeed a substitution between one scripture and another.
      As mentioned before, the substitution of the previous scripture with the Quran is confirmed in 5:48

      Also there has always been disgreement as to the number of verses abrogated by those who claim there is internal abrogation within the Quran. Which again refutes the abrogation theory within the Quran.

      all the examples you gave were explained and have been shown that they were examples of either exception to the general rule or specification or different rulings based upon various situations. None of the verses you quoted prove internal abrogation.

  9. Avatar

    Shiraz Canucki

    October 20, 2016 at 9:58 PM

    Salam Ahmad

    The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) also published the four point NYPD garbage theory in a booklet they published.

    Please check it out on their website, they are so proud of it:

    http://www.nccm.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/UAT-HANDBOOK-WEB-VERSION-SEPT-27-2014.pdf

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Shaikh

      October 20, 2016 at 11:06 PM

      Thank you for that information. I hope there are people willing to hold leadership accountable for malfeasance.

  10. Avatar

    Mohammed K

    October 21, 2016 at 12:50 PM

    Salam Br. Ahmed Shaikh,
    This is only about one paragraph you have included in your report concerning CIOGC. I have not read the rest of the report yet and hence not commenting on it.
    Regarding the CIOGC work, your information is 100% incorrect, except for the fact that CIOGC is working on some violent extremism aspects. The rest of your information regarding funding sources, topic areas we are working on, any relation to the NYPD report, etc. are 100% incorrect. I do not know what your sources of information are.
    You probably do not intend to be spreading false information, nevertheless, please consider the following hadith and consider publishing the correct information:

    Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, كَفَى بِالْمَرْءِ إِثْمًا أَنْ يُحَدِّثَ بِكُلِّ مَا سَمِعَ “It is enough sin for a person to speak everything that he hears.”
    Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4992
    Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to As-Suyuti

    • Avatar

      Ahmed Shaikh

      October 21, 2016 at 7:15 PM

      Is this Muhammad Kaiseruddin? If so you know you failed to return my call, same with Ms. Haleem. I have been sitting on this information about CIOGC’s program for almost a year now, though the information in my post has been confirmed to me by more than one person as well as documentary evidence. It is unfortunate that you did not read the article (nor did you presumably read the links I provided) that support what I discussed. Your organization is involved with CVE. You might as well own this fact and defend it if you can. I provided a link to a slide deck that is from CIOGC concerning the “Bystander program”- which is CIOGC’s CVE product. It contains a reference to the “four stages of radicalization.” This, to anyone know knows the subject, is discussing the discredited “radicalization theory” that came from the NYPD. If may be that you don’t know this history. However the mere fact that you don’t know these things does not make them untrue. You should know that you are pushing discredited junk science on a mostly trusting community.

      CIOGC’s program being funded by DHS does not necessarily mean you received funds directly, but rather people who helped develop the program were funded by DHS. The CVE grants have not been issued yet to non-profits, though I am informed CIOGC applied. CIOGC has stated that it has received money from the Department of Justice, and I linked to this as well.

      I invite you to return my phone call, perhaps we can clear everything up and I can update my post about your program with information you have provided. I do hope that I can update it with an announcement that you are scrapping your CVE program and will not involve your organization in anything that stigmatizes Muslim youth or assumes a presumption of dangerousness of Muslims not present with other population groups.

  11. Avatar

    a stupid brave beard....oops.....

    October 22, 2016 at 11:52 AM

    Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom.

    • Avatar

      Ash

      November 6, 2016 at 10:25 AM

      @Mohammed A the truth finally revealed … An evangelist pretending to be a Muslim cutting/pasting and regurgitating European colonial propaganda against Islam from Islamaphobe websites . Firstly all your propaganda was dismantled point by point by Shaykh Ahmed Deedat more then 30 years ago, that too with debates with your biggest Evangelists. In addition to that many of Your ex- Christian priests and preachers have dismantled your propaganda on The Deen show those interviews also available on youtube… atleast have the courage and conviction to be open about who you are , instead of making a rather poor attempt @ practicing deceit, and subterfuge.

  12. Avatar

    Ahmad

    November 12, 2016 at 6:16 PM

    God sent Jesus to bani Israil to revive the spirit of the Torah and to clear their misunderstandings. Also Jesus was sent as the Messiah to warn the misguided clerics of their hypocrisy since some preached what they didn’t practise. For example some rabbis forbade gambling to the people but they themselves practised it.

    Historically there were many sects in early Christianity who had a range of beliefs regarding Jesus. Early Christians who denied Jesus being God were persecuted by the Roman Authorities. From this point onwards the Trinitarian belief became widespread amongst Christians. There were various movements in early Christianity which denied the Trinity, among the more well known of them is Arianism.

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#Current Affairs

Zahra Billoo Responds To The Women’s March Inc. Voting Her Off The New Board

Zahra Billoo

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Women's March Board

Earlier tonight, I was voted off the Women’s March, Inc. national board. This followed an Islamophobic smear campaign led by the usual antagonists, who have long targeted me, my colleagues, and anyone else who dares speak out in support of Palestinian human rights and the right to self-determination.

The past 48 hours have been a spiral of bad news and smear efforts. Part of the smear campaign is motivated by opponents of the Women’s March, because the organization has traditionally challenged the status quo of power and white supremacy in our country. However, much of the campaign is driven by people who oppose me and my work challenging the occupation of Palestine, our country’s perpetuation of unjust and endless wars, and law enforcement operations targeting the American Muslim community.

The Women’s March, Inc. is an organization I once held dear. I spoke at the first march, spoke at regional marches every year after, spoke at the convention, participated in national actions including the original Kavanaugh protests, and worked to mobilize Muslim women for their efforts.

During the past few years right-wingers, from the President’s son to the Anti-Defamation League and troll armies, have targeted the Women’s March, Inc. For so long, I’ve admired their resilience in speaking truth to power, in working together, and in never cowering. Over and over again, the co-founders of Women’s March, Inc. put their lives on the line, winning power for all women in all of our diversity. The Women’s March, Inc. that voted me off its board tonight is one that no longer demonstrates the strength that inspired millions of women across the country.

To see and experience its new leaders caving to right-wing pressure, and casting aside a woman of color, a Muslim woman, a long-time advocate within the organization, without the willingness to make any efforts to learn and grow, breaks my heart. This isn’t about a lost seat, there will be many seats. The Women’s March, Inc. has drawn a line in the sand, one that will exclude many with my lived experiences and critiques. It has effectively said, we will work on some women’s rights at the expense of others.

To be clear, anti-semitism is indeed a growing and dangerous problem in our country, as is anti-Blackness, anti-immigrant sentiment, Islamophobia, ableism, sexism, and so much more. I condemn any form of bigotry unequivocally, but I also refuse to be silent as allegations of bigotry are weaponized against the most marginalized people, those who find sanctuary and hope in the articulation of truth.

In looking at the tweets in question, I acknowledge that I wrote passionately. While I may have phrased some of my content differently today, I stand by my words. I told the truth as my community and I have lived it, through the FBI’s targeting of my community, as I supported families who have lost loved ones because of US military actions, and as I learned from the horrific experiences of Palestinian life.

In attempting to heal and build in an expedited manner within Women’s March, Inc., I offered to meet with stakeholders to address their concerns and to work with my sisters on the new board to learn, heal, and build together. These efforts were rejected. And in rejecting these efforts, the new Women’s March, Inc. demonstrated that they lack the courage to exhibit allyship in the face of fire.

I came to Women’s March, Inc. to work. My body of work has included leading a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization for over a decade, growing it now more than six-fold. In my tenure, I have led the team that forced Abercrombie to change its discriminatory employment policies, have been arrested advocating for DACA, partnered with Jewish organizations including Bend the Arc and Jewish Voice for Peace to fight to protect our communities, and was one of the first lawyers to sue the President.

It is not my first time being the target of a smear campaign. The Women’s March, Inc., more than any place, is where I would have expected us to be able to have courageous conversations and dive deep into relationship-building work.

I am happy to have as many conversations as it takes to listen and learn and heal, but I will no longer be able to do that through Women’s March, Inc. This action today demonstrates that this organization’s new leadership is unable to be an ally during challenging times.

My beliefs drive my work, and I am not seeking accolades or positions of power. These past few days have been the greatest test of that. My integrity, my truth, and my strength comes from God and a place of deep conviction. I will continue my work as a civil rights lawyer and a faith-based activist, speaking out against the occupation of Palestine and settler-colonialism everywhere, challenging Islamophobia and all forms of racism and bigotry in the United States, and building with my community and our allies in our quest to be our most authentic and liberated selves.

Onward, God willing.

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#Current Affairs

The Duplicity of American Muslim Influencers And The ‘So-called Muslim Ban’

Dr Joseph Kaminski

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As we approach the beginning of another painful year of the full enforcement of Presidential Proclamation 9645 (a.k.a. ‘the Muslim ban’) that effectively bars citizens of several Muslim majority countries from entering into the United States, the silence remains deafening. As I expected, most of the world has conveniently forgotten about this policy, which thus far has separated over 3,000 American families from their spouses and other immediate relatives. In June 2019, the Brennan Center of Justice notes that: The ban has also kept at least 1,545 children from their American parents and 3,460 parents from their American sons and daughters. While silence and apathy from the general public on this matter is to be expected— after all, it is not their families who are impacted— what is particularly troubling is the response that is beginning to emerge from some corners of the American Muslim social landscape.

While most Muslims and Muslim groups have been vocal in their condemnation of Presidential Proclamation 9645, other prominent voices have not. Shadi Hamid sought to rationalize the executive order on technical grounds arguing that it was a legally plausible interpretation. Perhaps this is true, but some of the other points made by Hamid are quite questionable. For example, he curiously contends that:

The decision does not turn American Muslims like myself into “second-class citizens,” and to insist that it does will make it impossible for us to claim that we have actually become second-class citizens, if such a thing ever happens.

I don’t know— being forced to choose exile in order to remain with one’s family certainly does sound like being turned into a ‘second-class citizen’ to me. Perhaps the executive order does not turn Muslims like himself, as he notes, into second-class citizens, but it definitely does others, unless it is possible in Hamid’s mind to remain a first-class citizen barred from living with his own spouse and children for completely arbitrary reasons, like me. To be fair to Hamid, in the same article he does comment that the executive order is a morally questionable decision, noting that he is “still deeply uncomfortable with the Supreme Court’s ruling” and that “It contributes to the legitimization and mainstreaming of anti-Muslim bigotry.”

On the other hand, more recently others have shown open disdain for those who are angered about the ‘so-called Muslim ban.’ On June 6th, 2019, Abdullah bin Hamid Ali, a Senior Faculty Member at Zaytuna College, Islamic scholar and the founder of the Lamppost Education Initiative, rationalized the ban on spurious security grounds. He commented that,

The so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his potential. But, to be fair, a real Muslim ban would mean that no Muslim from any country should be allowed in the US. There are about 50 Muslim majority countries. Trump singled out only 7 of them, most of which are war torn and problem countries. So, it is unfair to claim that he was only motivated by a hatred for Islam and Muslims.

First, despite how redundant and unnecessary this point is to make again, one ought to be reminded that between 1975 and 2015, zero foreigners from the seven nations initially placed on the banned list (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) killed any Americans in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and zero Libyans or Syrians have ever even been convicted of planning a terrorist attack on U.S. soil during that same time period. I do not think these numbers have changed over the last 4 years either. If policy decisions are supposed to be made on sound empirical evidence and data, then there is even less justification for the ban.

Second, Bin Hamid Ali comments that ‘the so-called Muslim ban, of course, has us on edge about his [Trump’s] potential.’ Whoa… hold on; on edge about his potential? For the millions of people banned from entering the United States and the thousands of Muslim families connected to these millions of people, this ‘potential’ has been more than realized. To reduce the ‘so-called Muslim ban’ to just targeting ‘war torn and problem countries’ is to reduce our family members—our husbands, wives, and children—to (inaccurate) statistics and gross stereotypes. Are spouses from Syria or Yemen seeking to reunite with their legally recognized spouses or children any less deserving to be with their immediate family members because they hail from ‘problem countries’? How can one be concerned with stereotypes while saying something like this? Is this not the exact thing that Abdullah bin Hamid Ali seeks to avoid? Surely the Professor would not invoke such stereotypes to justify the racial profiling of black American citizens. What makes black non-Americans, Arabs, and Iranians any different when it comes to draconian immigration profiling? From a purely Islamic perspective, the answer is absolutely nothing.

More recently, Sherman Jackson, a leading Islamic intellectual figure at the University of Southern California, King Faisal Chair in Islamic Thought and Culture and Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity, also waded into this discussion. In his essay, he reframed the Muslim ban as a question of identity politics rather than basic human right, pitting Muslim immigrants against what he calls ‘blackamericans’ drawing some incredibly questionable, nativist, and bigoted conclusions. Jackson in a recent blog responding to critiques by Ali al-Arian about his own questionable affiliations with authoritarian Arab regimes comments:

Al-Arian mentions that,

“the Muslim American community seemed united at least in its opposition to the Trump administration.”  He and those who make up this alleged consensus are apparently offended by Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.  But a Blackamerican sister in Chicago once asked me rhetorically why she should support having Muslims come to this country who are only going to treat her like crap.

These are baffling comments to make about ‘Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.’ Jackson creates a strawman by bringing up an anecdotal story that offers a gross generalization that clearly has prejudiced undertones of certain Muslim immigrants. Most interesting, however is how self-defeating Jackson’s invocation of identity politics is considering the fact that a large number of the ‘blackamerican’ Muslims that he is concerned about themselves have relatives from Somalia and other countries impacted by the travel ban. As of 2017, there were just over 52,000 Americans with Somali ancestry in the state of Minnesota alone. Are Somali-Americans only worth our sympathy so long as they do not have Somali spouses? What Jackson and Bin Hamid Ali do not seem to understand is that these Muslim immigrants they speak disparagingly of, by in large, are coming on family unification related visas.

Other people with large online followings have praised the comments offered by Abdullah bin Hamid Ali and Sherman Jackson. The controversial administrator of the popular The Muslim Skeptic website, Daniel Haqiqatjou, in defense of Jackson’s comments, stated:

This is the first time I have seen a prominent figure downplay the issue. And I think Jackson’s assessment is exactly right: The average American Muslim doesn’t really care about this. There is no evidence to indicate that this policy has had a significant impact on the community as a whole. Travel to the US from those four countries affected by the ban was already extremely difficult in the Obama era.

What Haqiqatjou seems to not realize is that while travel from these countries was difficult, it was not as ‘extremely difficult’ as he erroneously claims it was. The US issued 7,727 visas to Iranian passport holders in 2016 prior to the ban. After the ban in 2018, that number dropped to 1,449. My own wife was issued a B1/B2 Tourist visa to meet my family in 2016 after approximately 40 days of administrative processing which is standard for US visa seekers who hold Iranian passports. On the other hand, she was rejected for the same B1/B2 Tourist visa in 2018 after a grueling 60+ day wait due to Presidential Proclamation 9645. At the behest of the Counselor Officer where we currently live, she was told to just finish the immigration process since this would put her in a better position to receive one of these nearly impossible to get waivers. She had her interview on November 19, 2018, and we are still awaiting the results of whatever these epic, non-transparent ‘extreme vetting’ procedures yield. Somehow despite my wife being perfectly fine to enter in 2016, three years later, we are entering the 10th month of waiting for one of these elusive waivers with no end time in sight, nor any guarantee that things will work out. Tell me how this is pretty much the same as things have always been?

What these commentators seem to not realize is that the United States immigration system is incredibly rigid. One cannot hop on a plane and say they want to immigrate with an empty wallet to start of Kebab shop in Queens. It seems as if many of these people that take umbrage at the prospects of legal immigration believe that the immigration rules of 2019 are the same as they were in 1819. In the end, it is important to once again reiterate that the Muslim immigrants Jackson, Bin Hamid Ali and others are disparaging are those who most likely are the family members of American Muslim citizens; by belittling the spouses and children of American Muslims, these people are belittling American Muslims themselves.

Neo-nationalism, tribalism, and identity politics of this sort are wholly antithetical to the Islamic enterprise. We have now reached the point where people who are considered authority figures within the American Islamic community are promoting nativism and identity politics at the expense of American Muslim families. Instead of trying to rationalize the ‘so-called Muslim Ban’ via appeals to nativist and nationalist rhetoric, influential Muslim leaders and internet influencers need to demonstrate empathy and compassion for the thousands of US Muslim families being torn apart by this indefinite Muslim ban that we all know will never end so long as Donald Trump remains president. In reality, they should be willing to fight tooth-and-nail for American Muslim families. These are the same people who regularly critique the decline of the family unit and the rise of single-parent households. Do they not see the hypocrisy in their positions of not defending those Muslim families that seek to stay together?

If these people are not willing to advocate on behalf of those of us suffering— some of us living in self-imposed exile in third party countries to remain with our spouses and children— the least they can do is to not downplay our suffering or even worse, turn it into a political football (Social Justice Warrior politics vs. traditional ‘real’ Islam). It seems clear that if liberal Muslim activists were not as outspoken on this matter, these more conservative voices would take a different perspective. With the exception of Shadi Hamid, the other aforementioned names have made efforts to constrain themselves firmly to the ‘traditional’ Muslim camp. There is no reason that this issue, which obviously transcends petty partisan Muslim politics, ought to symbolize one’s allegiance to any particular social movement or camp within contemporary Islamic civil society.

If these people want a ‘traditional’ justification for why Muslim families should not be separated, they ought to be reminded that one of al-Ghazali’s 5 essential principles of the Shari’a was related to the protection of lineage/family and honor (ḥifẓ al-nasl). Our spouses are not cannon fodder for such childish partisan politics. We will continue to protect our families and their honor regardless of how hostile the environment may become for us and regardless of who we have to name and shame in the process.

When I got married over a year prior to Donald Trump being elected President, I vowed that only Allah would separate me from my spouse. I intend on keeping that vow regardless of what consequences that decision may have.

Photo courtesy: Adam Cairns / The Columbus Dispatch

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Obituary of (Mawlana) Yusuf Sulayman Motala (1366/1946 – 1441/2019)

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier.

Dr. Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera

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Dar Al Uloom Bury, Yusuf Sulayman Motala

A master of hadith and Qur’an. A sufi, spiritual guide and teacher to thousands. A pioneer in the establishment of a religious education system. His death reverberated through hearts and across oceans. We are all mourning the loss of a luminary who guided us through increasingly difficult times.

Monday, September 9, turned out to be a day of profound anguish and sorrow for many around the world. In the early morning hours, news of the death of Mawlana* Yusuf Sulayman Motala, fondly known as “Hazrat” (his eminence) to those who were acquainted with him, spread. He had passed away on Sunday at 8:20 pm EST in Toronto, after suffering a heart attack two weeks earlier. (May the Almighty envelope him in His mercy)

His journey in this world had begun more than 70 years ago in the small village of Nani Naroli in Gujarat, India, where he was born on November 25, 1946 (1 Muharram 1366) into a family known for their piety.

His early studies were largely completed at Jami’a Husayniyya, one of the early seminaries of Gujarat, after which he travelled to Mazahir Ulum, the second oldest seminary of the Indian Sub-Continent, in Saharanpur, India, to complete his ‘alimiyya studies. What drew him to this seminary was the presence of one of the most influential and well-known contemporary spiritual guides, Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhlawi (d. 1402/1982), better known as “Hazrat Shaykh.” He had seen Mawlana Zakariyya only briefly at a train stop, but it was enough for him to understand the magnitude of his presence.

Mawlana Yusuf remained in Saharanpur for two years. Despite being younger than many of the other students of Shaykh Zakariya, the shaykh took a great liking to him. Shaykh Zakariya showered him with great attention and even deferred his retirement from teaching Sahih al-Bukhari so that Mawlana Yusuf could study it under his instruction. While in Saharanpur, Mawlana Yusuf also studied under a number of other great scholars, such as Mawlana Muhammad ‘Aqil (author of Al-Durr al-Mandud, an Urdu commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud and current head lecturer of Hadith at the same seminary), Shaykh Yunus Jownpuri (d. 1438/2017) the previous head lecturer of Hadith there), Mawlana As‘adullah Rampuri (d. 1399/1979) and Mufti Muzaffar Husayn (d. 1424/2003).

Upon completion of his studies, Mawlana Yusuf’s marriage was arranged to marry a young woman from the Limbada family that had migrated to the United Kingdom from Gujarat. In 1968, he relocated to the UK and accepted the position of imam at Masjid Zakariya, in Bolton. Although he longed to be in the company of his shaykh, he had explicit instructions to remain in the UK and focus his efforts on establishing a seminary for memorization of Qur’an and teaching of the ‘alimiyya program. The vision being set in motion was to train a generation of Muslims scholars that would educate and guide the growing Muslim community.

Establishing the first Muslim seminary, in the absence of any precedent, was a daunting task. The lack of support from the Muslim community, the lack of integration into the wider British community, and the lack of funds made it seem an impossible endeavour. And yet, Mawlana Yusuf never wavered in his commitment and diligently worked to make the dream of his teacher a reality. In 1973 he purchased the derelict Aitken Sanatorium in the village of Holcombe, near Bury, Lancashire. What had once been a hospice for people suffering from tuberculosis, would become one of the first fully-fledged higher-education Islamic institutes outside of the Indian-Subcontinent teaching the adapted-Nizami syllabus.

The years of struggle by Maulana Yusuf to fulfil this vision paid off handsomely. Today, after four decades, Darul Uloom Al Arabiyya Al Islamiyya, along with its several sister institutes, also founded by Mawlana Yusuf, such as the Jamiatul Imam Muhammad Zakariya seminary in Bradford for girls, have produced well over 2,000 British born (and other international students) male and female ‘alimiyya graduates – many of whom are working as scholars and serving communities across the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Portugal, the US, Canada, Barbados, Trinidad, Panama, Saudi Arabia, India and New Zealand. Besides these graduates, a countless number of individuals have memorized the Qur’an at these institutes. Moreover, many of the graduates of the Darul Uloom and its sister institutes have set up their own institutes, such as Jamiatul Ilm Wal Huda in Blackburn, Islamic Dawah Academy in Leicester, Jami’ah al-Kawthar in Lancaster, UK, and Darul Uloom Palmela in Portugal, to just mention a few of the larger ones. Within his lifetime, Mawlana Yusuf saw first-hand the fruit of his labours – witnessing his grand students (graduates from his students’ institutes) providing religious instruction and services to communities around the world in their local languages. What started as a relationship of love between a student and teacher, manifested into the transmission of knowledge across continents. In some countries, such as the UK and Portugal, one would be hard-pressed to find a Muslim who had not directly or indirectly benefited from him.

Mawlana Yusuf was a man with deep insights into the needs of Western contemporary society, one that was very different from the one he had grown up and trained in. With a view to contributing to mainstream society, Mawlana Yusuf encouraged his graduates to enter into further education both in post-graduate Islamic courses and western academia, and to diversify their fields of learning through courses at mainstream UK universities. As a result, many ‘alimiyya graduates of his institutes are trained in law, mainstream medicine, natural medicine and homeopathy, mental health, child protection, finance, IT, education, chaplaincy, psychology, philosophy, pharmacy, physics, journalism, engineering, architecture, calligraphy, typography, graphic design, optometry, social services, public health, even British Sign Language. His students also include several who have completed PhDs and lecture at universities. His vision was to train British-born (or other) Muslim scholars who would be well versed in contemporary thought and discipline along with their advanced Islamic learning, equipping them to better contribute to society.

Despite his commitment to the establishment of a public good, the shaykh was an immensely private person and avoided seeking accolade or attention. For many decades he refused invitations to attend conferences or talks around the country, choosing to focus on his students and his family, teaching the academic syllabus and infusing the hearts of many aspirants with the love of Allah through regular gatherings of remembrance (dhikr) and spiritual retreats (i’tikaf) in the way of his shaykh’s Chishti Sufi order.

During my entire stay with him at Darul Uloom (1985–1997), I can say with honesty that I did not come across a single student who spoke ill of him. He commanded such awe and respect that people would find it difficult to speak with him casually. And yet, for those who had the opportunity to converse with him, knew that he was the most compassionate, humble, and loving individual.

He was full of affection for his students and colleagues and had immense concern for the Muslim Ummah, especially in the West. He possessed unparalleled forbearance and self-composure. When he taught or gave a talk, he spoke in a subdued and measured tone, as though he was weighing every word, knowing the import it carried. He would sit, barely moving and without shifting his posture. Even after a surgical procedure for piles, he sat gracefully teaching us Sahih al-Bukhari. Despite the obvious pain, he never made an unpleasant expression or winced from the pain.

Anyone who has listened to his talks or read his books can bear testimony to two things: his immense love for the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his love for Shaykh Mawlana Muhammad Zakariya Kandhlawi (may Allah have mercy on him). It is probably hard to find a talk in which he did not speak of the two. His shaykh was no doubt his link to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in both his hadith and spiritual transmissions.

Over the last decade, he had retired from most of his teaching commitments (except Sahih al-Bukhari) and had reduced meeting with people other than his weekly dhikr gatherings. His time was spent with his family and young children and writing books. His written legacy comprises over 20 titles, mostly in Urdu but also a partial tafsir of the Qur’an in classical Arabic.

After the news of his heart attack on Sunday, August 25, and the subsequent effects to his brain, his well-wishers around the world completed hundreds of recitals of the Qur’an, several readings of the entire Sahih al-Bukhari, thousands of litanies and wirds of the formula of faith (kalima tayyiba), and gave charity in his name. However, Allah Most High willed otherwise and intended for him to depart this lowly abode to begin his journey to the next. He passed away two weeks later and reports state that approximately 4,000 people attended his funeral. Had his funeral been in the UK, the number of attendees would have multiplied several folds. But he had always shied away from large crowds and gatherings and maybe this was Allah Most High’s gift to him after his death. He was 75 (in Hijra years, and 72 in Gregorian) at the time of his death and leaves behind eight children and several grandchildren.

Mawlana Yusuf educated, inspired and nourished the minds and hearts of countless across the UK and beyond. May Allah Almighty bless him with the loftiest of abodes in the Gardens of Firdaws in the company of Allah’s beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) and grant all his family, students, and cherishers around the world beautiful patience.

Dr Mufti Abdur-Rahman Mangera
Whitethread Institute, London
(A fortunate graduate of Darul Uloom Bury, 1996–97)

*a learned Muslim scholar especially in India often used as a form of address

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