Category Archives: Islam

How will Muslim Nominee Protect Other Faiths?

Christianity Daily  11/21/2021

A Colorado-based group promoting religious freedom asked President Joe Biden’s Muslim nominee, Rashad Hussain, how will he and the administration protect other faiths and their rights.

WND said JihadWatch, through its director Robert Spencer, highlighted the 7-page open letter sent by Save The Persecuted Christians Coalition to Hussain questionimg his capacity to be truthful to his role as an “Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom” even to other religions, especially those being persecuted by Muslims.

The coalition is comprised of 124 American Christians and Jews that aims “to engage public officials and spread news of persecution” at the grassroots.

“He is, by all accounts, a devout Muslim. As Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, will he speak out and act for the religious freedom of non-Muslims in Shariah states who are discriminated against according to Shariah provisions? The establishment media will never ask him. So Save the Persecuted Christians has done so,” Spencer said.

The open letter pointed out some unaddressed areas on Hussain’s nomination to the post of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. The coalition raised the said areas out of its desire that clarity be made on the matter prior to Hussain receiving the United States Senate’s vote on his nomination.

Save The Persecuted Christians’ letter pointed out that one of the areas that were not addressed was Hussain’s beliefs on “certain tenets of Islamic Law.” One of the said tenets pertain to Islam having a “supremacist position” over other religions. This tenet compels Muslims adherance to the treatment of “infidels” or those who are non-Muslims as “inferior” to them such that they have limited rights and are subject to “severe punishment.”

Another tenet involves considering converts as “apostates” subject to death penalty. While another considers Muslims with a different interpretation of Islam as “apostates” who are similarly subjected to the same punishment as converts.

“As a committed Muslim, in the execution of your office as AAL, will you be able to consider members of all faiths or of no faith equally worthy of U.S. protection from persecution by state and non-state actors?” Save The Persecuted Christians said.

“In light of differences in the understanding of personal rights and freedoms under Sharia rules versus those protected under international laws concerning human rights and religious freedom, what standard would you advocate for when issues arise affecting the freedom of non-Muslims to practice their faith–especially in Muslim-majority nations–if confirmed as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom?” they added.

The letter also sought clarity in 17 other areas on Hussein’s history, ideologies, and statements, such as using the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as his guide in implementing his role. The coalition said that this differs significantly” from the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights that was used by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to which Hussein was appointed to by former President Barack Obama as a Special Envoy.

The difference lies in the “legal and practical implications of its caveat that all human rights are to be observed only to the extent they are consistent with Sharia,” which is the Arabic name for the Islamic Law.

The coalition particularly cited that as OIC Special Envoy, Hussein was one of those who promoted a false narrative that a jihadist attack in Benghazi was “spontaneous” instead of it being “murderous and pre-planned.” The said attack actually led to the death of a U.S. Ambassador to Lydia among others. The coalition asked Hussein if he still holds the same position today.

The group also cited several instances that Hussein acted against justice by defending Muslims even though it was not the truth such as silencing those who spoke against persecution done by Islamic groups as “Islamophobic” during his stint as OIC Special Envoy.

https://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/13874/20211109/group-promoting-religious-freedom-asks-biden-administration-how-muslim-nominee-will-protect-other-faiths.htm

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Why Afghan women are fighting back – UnHerd

UnHerd by Ayaan Hirsi Ali  9/11/2021

I was a defiant little girl. One afternoon, I came home with my nails painted — a grave sin. My mother took one look and told me to get the filth off of my nails before she chopped off each finger.

My mother could be fierce and she punished me frequently, but even then I knew that her threat was bluster. She might smack me, but she wasn’t going to take off any digits.

Empty threats are used as leverage to entice certain behaviour. But what if the threats are real? For the girls living under Taliban control in Afghanistan, threats are not theatre: they are promises. Even for transgressions as small as painting their fingernails, they face real consequences.

Saturday marks 20 years since the fall of the World Trade Center, a day that brought unimaginable devastation, heartbreak and loss to America. But if there was one glimmer of hope that came from that tragic moment, it was for the women and girls of Afghanistan. After 9/11, and the conflict that followed, a level of freedom unknown to previous generations came to their country.

I remember watching the planes crash on television. I was at work in the Netherlands at the time, and sat, horrified, with my colleagues. As we watched, we wondered how the world’s superpower would respond to such an evil attack on the American homeland. They certainly had the power, resources and reason to go and obliterate their newfound enemy. Sitting there, we could never have guessed that this tragedy would end up bringing more rights and freedoms to women in Afghanistan.

The United States could have gone into Afghanistan, taken its revenge and left. President Biden’s continual defence over the past weeks has been that he was following the original plan. “We went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago with clear goals: get those who attacked us on September 11th, 2001, and make sure al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again.”

But this is not where the legacy of 9/11 ends. It was not all necessary revenge and retaliation. Instead, we offered to help rebuild and provide hope to those who had not had it before. Together with our Afghan allies, we built a more inclusive society for women and girls, in the belief that precisely this kind of modernisation would reduce the danger of a Taliban restoration.

As Adam Tooze explains in his brilliant Substack, from 2003 to 2018, the number of women enrolled in university rose from 7,200 to 49,000. Female life expectancy increased by almost 10 years from 2001-2019. “Whereas in 2000,” Tooze explains, “Afghan men lived longer than women, now Afghanistan has the normal pattern of women outliving their menfolk.” Rates of literacy among females more than doubled between 2000-2018.

A generation of girls was raised without knowing life under Taliban control. And they soared. In 2017, an all-girls robotics team was founded, known as the Afghan Dreamers, who went on to win the Entrepreneurial Challenge at the Robotex festival in Estonia. In 2008, Afghanistan saw its first female mayor, Azra Jafari, in the town of Nili. And she was just the first of many females to hold political positions, including Salima Mazari, Zarifa Ghanfari, and Fawzia Koofi. Women made up 40% of the most recent class of graduates from the American University of Afghanistan. They have their own all-female orchestra. Female entrepreneurs invested $77 million over 18 years, resulting in 77,000 jobs. Their rights were promoted by the 2004 Afghanistan Constitution in Article 44, stating that “the state shall devise and implement effective programs to create and foster balanced education for women”.

Their successes were awe-inspiring. They were also a source of pride for Americans. They were, in part, America’s girls — girls raised to know a certain level of freedom, with their rights secure and protected, thanks to the U.S.-led intervention prompted by 9/11.

In 2002, the United Nations Development Programme produced the Arab Human Development Report, aimed at providing a path for growth and opportunity in the Arab world. The report concluded that three factors contribute to the constraints of human development in the Arab world: “freedom, empowerment of women, and knowledge”. Individuals needed to be educated beyond religious ideology, their human rights respected and women’s rights expanded. And for the last 20 years, the United States has supported women and these goals through the US Agency for International Development and State Department-funded programmes, as well as encouraging women’s participation in government and the private sector.

But now women’s rights are being ripped away. Biden’s betrayal reverberates sharply across the country. He offered a false dichotomy to the American people: either pull all troops out or go back to fighting an “endless war”. Pulling out the remaining US troops initiated the swift collapse of the Afghan government, will result in Afghanistan returning to a terrorist safe haven and removed the shield protecting women’s rights in the country. Surely this is not the legacy that Americans want to leave behind on the 20th anniversary of 9/11?

The effects of Taliban control are already being felt by women. The Taliban have announced that women must cover their faces to attend university and genders must segregate, both in class and while entering and exiting the building. They are banned from sports, considered by the Taliban’s cultural commission as “neither appropriate nor necessary” for women. Women can no longer hold ministerial positions. There are no women included in the new administration. Some are being told not to go to work, allegedly a temporary change while the Taliban draw up new “women related procedures”. They face real violence if they disobey. Those speaking out against the Taliban are being deemed “agents of America” and accused of “not being true Muslims”. They are being erased from the public square. And the Taliban haven’t been in control for a full month yet.

What will happen to America’s Afghan girls? The ones born and raised since 2001. The girls inspired by the allure of freedom, liberalism, and chasing their own dreams. Those who have, until now, not known the crushing burdens and barriers of life under the Taliban. What will become of the defiant girls, who speak up for their rights? The ones who question the religious fundamentalism of the Taliban?

Many will suffer severe punishments. Violence will be unleashed against them in a magnitude that those in the West do not comprehend. Body parts will be chopped off. Sexual harassment, rapes, honour violence and murders will become the norm.

But, unlike before, this time is different. The women of Afghanistan will fight back. They’ve already begun. Protests are erupting across the country. Women of all ages are standing firm against the Taliban. In Kabul, women attempted to march to the presidential palace, “demanding the right to work and to be included in government”. They were attacked for it, with videos and photos revealing the bloody violence they faced at the hands of the Taliban. At a subsequent protest in Kabul, one woman stated: “We don’t care if they beat us or even shoot us. We want to defend our rights. We will continue our protests even if we get killed.”

At another protest in Herat, calling for girls’ education, one of the organisers, Basira Taheri, explained: “The women of this land are informed and educated. We are not afraid, we are united.” Pashtana Durrani, the Executive Director of Learn Afghanistan, a bulwark for Afghan women’s rights, said; “We are going to make sure [girls] get to go to school, they get to go to work. If not on the terms that we want in public, we’re going to make it happen anyways.”

As the saying, often attributed to Thomas Carlyle, goes: “Once the mind has been expanded by a big idea, it will never go back to its original state.” The Taliban cannot undo the last 20 years. These women and girls are refusing to submit to a new Dark Age. That glimmer of hope, sparked after 9/11, has not been extinguished. Even with the Taliban in control, America’s girls aren’t going to give up.

And now the world is watching. Before 9/11, the atrocities committed by the Taliban on the women of Afghanistan received very little coverage in the West. Now, everyone knows names like Malala and Bibi Aisha. And we will come to know more names, like Basira Taheri’s, as we cheer them on. Two decades on, these women may be the most enduring achievement of the American intervention that followed 9/11.

They are defiant. And, as a former defiant girl, I can say with conviction that they can’t beat or cut that defiance out of you.

https://unherd.com/2021/09/why-afghan-women-are-fighting-back/?tl_inbound=1&tl_groups[0]=18743&tl_period_type=3&mc_cid=78f7b10c38&mc_eid=0ff3e7ea29

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‘Nobody can hurt me’ | WORLD News Group

Well, President Trump? How big are your cajones?
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On the night before her final hearing before Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Asia Bibi had a dream. “I saw in a dream that all the doors of the prison are open,” she described, “and I’m worrying that if the jail superintendent comes she will be very furious.”

Hope can burn from the faintest wick. For Bibi the dream was a fresh fire. A field worker who does not read and a mother of five, Bibi is in her late 40s or early 50s and has been jailed since 2009. From a dispute with two Muslim women, who alleged she blasphemed Islam after one asked Bibi to bring her water, she has been on death row.

Her children, including one who is mentally handicapped, have grown up without her. Pakistan has had four prime ministers while Bibi has been behind bars. And multiple courts upheld a death-by-hanging sentence in her case, which has been pending before Pakistan’s Supreme Court since July 2015.

But on the eve of an expected ruling in October, she told her attorney, Saiful Malook, “From my dream I am very, very certain that my appeal is going to be accepted and I am going to be free.” Then she said, “I have such a full faith in God that I have [a] strong feeling that nobody can hurt me.”

To Malook, Bibi said, “I assure you, sir, you also don’t worry.”

The following day the Supreme Court ruled in her favor, saying she had been accused falsely and ordering her freed, but her ordeal was far from over. Islamic hard-liners sparked widespread protests, shutting down roads and services. Bibi was not guilty, but not free, and clearly needed to leave the country. On Nov. 7 authorities reportedly flew Bibi from the detention center in Punjab to Islamabad, where she remained in an undisclosed location. The government caved to the hard-liners, agreeing to review the Supreme Court’s decision for technical issues.

Malook told the story of Bibi’s dream at a church in the Netherlands, where he was forced to seek temporary shelter after threats against his own life. For offering to shelter him, the Netherlands faces threats too: On Nov. 13 Dutch officials had to close their embassy in Islamabad and withdraw staff over threats against Dutch diplomats.

The case already has become a watershed moment for Pakistan and the Muslim world, something like the 1979 Revolution in Iran. Hard-liners threaten Christians using the blasphemy laws, while their tactics threaten Pakistan’s democratic government. Two leading statesmen—Muslim Salman Taseer and Christian Shahbaz Bhatti—were assassinated in 2011 for defending Bibi.

The only thing more astonishing than the bravery and faith of Asia Bibi in the face of so much hatred and violence is the cowardice and retreat of nations more powerful than Pakistan. The United Kingdom granted shelter to those calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie and has allowed rallies parading the Hezbollah flag, but British leaders stayed silent on Bibi’s future.

The United States took in the very publicly threatened Russian Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Chinese democracy movement leader Wei Jingsheng, yet made no offer of asylum for Bibi. Privately U.S. officials say the situation is too sensitive to talk about, but while they remain silent the hard-liners are winning.

Besides wanting to kill Asia Bibi, Pakistan’s Islamist parties and their mullahs want to silence Western powers through fear and intimidation. They want to threaten violence in such a way that they get their way. Until Bibi is fully freed, they have made a sham of Pakistan’s rule of law and its court system. Unless the traditional protectors of freedom step forward in a public and profound way to offer safe passage, it will appear the greatest powers in the world can be lassoed by a jihadist-ruled street.

Weeks after a brave verdict, few are looking brave beside the farm worker and mother, Asia Bibi herself. Attorney Malook told the Dutch congregation: “I have not seen such a strong woman in my life, nor in any book story, who is behind the bars for more than nine years … and still can be so strong.”

https://world.wng.org/2018/11/nobody_can_hurt_me

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The Truth About Muhammad Ali and the Draft

My bet? That you’ve never heard this before…
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WSJ 4/28/2017 By Paul Beston

On April 28, 1967, Muhammad Ali—then still known to many by his birth name, Cassius Clay—reported to Local Board No. 61 in Houston for induction into the U.S. armed forces. The 25-year-old heavyweight champion spent the morning filling out forms and receiving a physical exam. In the afternoon, when his name was called, he did not step forward. He wrote down his reason: “I refuse to be inducted into the armed forces of the United States because I claim to be exempt as a minister of the religion of Islam.” He meant the Nation of Islam, the black separatist organization headed by Elijah Muhammad, also known as the Messenger.

Ali was swiftly convicted of draft evasion, a felony. Remaining free while his lawyers pursued appeals, he became a generational flashpoint—a reliable gauge of political views on the Vietnam War.

For every athlete who wishes to “make a statement” today, and plenty do, no exemplar looms larger than Ali. He paid a steep price for his stand: Spurning due process, boxing commissions stripped him of his title and banned him from the sport for 3½ years. This meant losing millions of dollars in the prime of his career.

In 1971 the Supreme Court overturned his conviction. Since then he has become a venerated figure, thanks to his greatness in the ring, the magnetic force of his personality, the broadly accepted narrative about the folly of Vietnam, and the liberalization of American culture. His death last June prompted a weeklong commemoration, with funeral ceremonies befitting a head of state. Ali, we were told, had been right all along in his principled opposition to the war.

The truth, though hard to make out under the thick moss of mythology, is that Ali refused induction not out of principle but from fear of disobeying Elijah Muhammad, who had stipulated that the champ not serve in a “white man’s war.” (Muhammad had done jail time himself for resisting the draft during World War II.) “You just don’t buck Mr. Muhammad and get away with it,” Ali said, and he saw what happened to people who tried. Malcolm X, who had been close to Ali, was assassinated in February 1965. After Ali’s former press secretary told the FBI that he had information about Malcolm’s killers, he too was found dead. Other dissidents simply disappeared.

Ali got the message. In March 1967, a month before his appearance at the draft board, Ali told his boxing idol, Sugar Ray Robinson, he couldn’t join the army.

“Elijah Muhammad told me that I can’t go,” Ali said.

“You’ve got to go,” Robinson replied.

“I’m afraid, Ray,” Ali said. “I’m real afraid.” He had tears in his eyes.

“If you ask me,” Robinson said later, “he wasn’t afraid of jail. He was afraid of being killed by the Muslims.”

Nearly a decade later, Ali told reporter Dave Kindred: “I would have gotten out of [the Nation of Islam] a long time ago, but you saw what they did to Malcolm X. . . . I can’t leave the Muslims. They’d shoot me, too.”

It speaks volumes that Ali was more willing to face jail time than the Messenger’s wrath, especially since, by his own admission, the government had offered him “all kinds of deals.” Military brass neither wanted him in combat nor wished to see him become a draft resister. He would have served in a ceremonial capacity, as Joe Louis had in World War II, visiting and entertaining troops. The federal prosecutor who handled the case sensed that Ali was ready to sign up for a noncombat role, but that “some of his advisers wanted to make a martyr out of him.” They succeeded.

It is not the only irony of Ali’s life that his submission to Elijah Muhammad’s authority somehow transformed him into a hero of freethinking and moral conscience. Yet he deserves credit for handling himself with magnanimity and élan. The fairminded can sympathize with his quandary: searching for meaning in segregated America, he found the wrong answers, and discovered his mistake only when it was too late.

Had Ali chosen more wisely, he might have become a unifier, like Louis, whose entire career, especially his service in the Army, brought Americans together. By contrast, Ali’s refusal to serve helped deepen America’s racial and political divisions. He hurt himself and achieved no social good in doing so. His retroactive canonization doesn’t change these stubborn realities.

Understanding the Ali story in this way, one feels less inclined to celebration than to sorrow. It is commonplace to see the tragedy of Muhammad Ali’s life as coming in its second half, when he was stricken with Parkinson’s. The defining tragedy came earlier. That the events in Houston are now so broadly acclaimed— and distorted—suggests that the tragedy is not his alone, but ours.

Mr. Beston is managing editor of City Journal. His book, “The Boxing Kings: When American Heavyweights Ruled the Ring,” will be published in September.

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