Quebec Mosque Attack Forces Canadians to Confront a Strain of Intolerance

QUEBEC — In a world often hostile to migration, Canada has stood out, welcoming thousands of refugees fleeing war and seeking a haven. It has been a feel-good time for Canada, proud of its national tolerance.

On Sunday, that was upended when a man walked into a mosque and started shooting, killing six people and wounding eight. The man accused of being the gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette, was charged with six counts of murder on Monday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it an act of terrorism, and there was a collective outpouring of remorse and empathy. But the attack also forced Canadians to confront a growing intolerance and extremism that has taken root particularly among some people in this French-speaking corner of the country.

“Certainly Islamophobia has been increasing for some time,” Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, said by telephone from Montreal.

But he said the attack was nonetheless shocking. “It is overwhelming, unthinkable,” he said.

Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on Gay Muslims; Scholars Issue Statement

“We, as American Muslims, follow the openhearted and inclusive Islam of Muhammad Ali and completely reject the hatred, provincialism, and intolerance of those who trample upon the rights of others, besmirching and defiling the name of Islam.”
On June 13, 2016, Muslim leaders across North America signed the Orlando Statement. Signatories include, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Abdullah Bin Bayyah, and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
You can read the statement, in full, at the Orlando Statement website.
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf gave a brief interview addressing several difficult issues. We reproduce it below with thanks to CNN.

Politics and Prejudice: Countering Islamophobia in the 2016 Presidential Race

If the last two elections are any indication, candidates in the 2016 presidential race may be tempted to engage in Muslim-bashing – playing off national security anxieties and fostering racial and religious animus – to win the vote. But anti-Muslim bigotry comes at a high cost to American Muslims, to America’s international stature, and increasingly, to the political careers of those who fuel it.
It was not long ago that American Muslim children watched leaders “accuse” President Obama of being a Muslim, as if there is something inherently wrong with the world’s second largest religion or its 1.5 billion adherents.
Since then, a number of U.S. elected officials continue to contribute to the prevailing climate of intolerance and discrimination confronting American Muslims.

Dutch Muslims speak out: #notmyislam

Dutch Muslims have initiated a Facebook project to reclaim what they perceive as true Islam in the aftermath of the recent attacks in France. The project is called “#nietmijnislam”, which means “not my Islam”.  The initiators of the project encourage Muslims to post videos in which they explain why the attacks in Paris do not represent their Islam. The page was liked by almost 30.000 people. (Image: Nietmijnislam/Facebook)
Dutch Muslims have initiated a Facebook project to reclaim what they perceive as true Islam in the aftermath of the recent attacks in France. The project is called “#nietmijnislam”, which means “not my Islam”. The initiators of the project encourage Muslims to post videos in which they explain why the attacks in Paris do not represent their Islam. The page was liked by almost 30.000 people. (Image: Contemporary Bart (Artist)/Nietmijnislam/Facebook)

Dutch Muslims have initiated a Facebook project to reclaim what they perceive as true Islam in the aftermath of the recent attacks in France. The project is called “#nietmijnislam”, which means “not my Islam”. The initiators of the project encourage Muslims to post videos in which they explain why the attacks in Paris do not represent their Islam. The page was liked by almost 30.000 people.

In a statement on the page the initiators write (among other things): “Enough is enough. We have gotten enough of those who have hijacked our religion of peace. Of those who mutilate our religion of harmony with their extreme ideas and interpretations. Those who threaten and hurt us, Muslims and non-Muslims, because we refuse to live like them. These persons and groups claim that their violent deeds are justified by Islam. That dangerous and erroneous interpretation of Islam expresses itself in intolerance, force, and violence.”

“We speak out against the ideas and deeds of extremists who commit these act in name of our Islam. We do this because it is our responsibility to protect our religion agains those who misuse and violate Islam. We refuse to be associated with the murderers who claim that their horrifying deeds must be done in name of Islam. To them we cry out: ‘This is not my Islam.’”

The full statement can be read here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nietmijnislam/429679170522852

Anti-Islam Banner in front of Mosque

January 17, 2014

Anti-Islam banner infront of mosque

“The mosque brings nothing good… just rapists and terrorists” read a banner that appeared last night near the entrance of one of the mosques in Civitanova Marche. The banner expressed religious intolerance towards Islam. The message appeared overnight and was removed in the early morning. A member of the Facebook group Speaker’s Corner had posted the picture and many of the group’s members have expressed outrage, no one has claimed to have created the banner. This event harks back to an earlier event in 2009 when the Mosque of Virgilio Street was also vandalized.

 

Cronache macerata: http://www.cronachemaceratesi.it/2014/01/17/striscione-anti-islam-di-fronte-alla-moschea/421450/

Beauty Pageants Draw Social Media Critics

“Miss America victory marred by racist slurs.” — Time, Sept. 16

Not since so-called “bra-burning” protests upended the 1968 Miss America contest have beauty pageants attracted so much controversy.

 

Last Sunday, the Miss America pageant crowned a 24-year-old of Indian descent, Nina Davuluri from Syracuse, which was seen as a sign of cultural progress until racist messages popped up on Twitter.

 

Those who had written off pageants as anachronisms of the tail-fin era suddenly found that the swimsuit-in-heels rituals were back in the cultural-wars cross-fire.

 

In the case of Miss America, no sooner had the glimmering crown been placed on Ms. Davuluri than the furor erupted.

 

 

 

 

“Congratulations Al Qaeda,” tweeted one user, @Blayne_MkItRain (the account has since been deleted). “Our Miss America is one of you.”

 

Bloggers were quickly compiling lists of the most inflammatory tweets, including a Buzzfeed listicle that generated more than five million views.

 

“Idiot racists got so mad, they started mixing up Indian, Indian-American, Arab, Muslim, and everything in between,” wrote Laura Beck on Jezebel, summarizing a collection of hate-tweets that she included in her post. “It’s (literarily) a most impressive display of dumb mixed with intolerance and even more stupidity.”

 

The cultural relevance of pageants, it seems, only spikes whenever they can be dragged through the mud.

 

All the chatter on blogs and social media did not seem to hurt the show’s popularity. According to Nielsen, the ABC broadcast of the pageant, which crowned the winner for 2014, had its best ratings in nearly decade: it drew an average of 8.6 million viewers, a 21 percent increase compared with the contest for 2013, which was in January.

CAIR Joins 50th Anniversary March on Washington Rally

In one of his most famous statements, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

On the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, it is time to reflect on Dr. King’s words and examine where we stand as a nation on the issues of justice and mutual understanding.

The opening service Wednesday included Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, Sikh, and other Christian faith leaders celebrating King’s legacy.

Other speakers are the Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the National Cathedral; Catholic Archbishop Donald Wuerl (wurl) of Washington; Rabbi Achonfeld of the Rabbinical Assembly; Imam Mohamed Magid of the Islamic Society of North America and others.

Dr. King’s struggle for justice must be carried on by Americans of all faiths and backgrounds, because that is what he taught and demonstrated through his life’s work.

Fifty years after the “I have a dream” speech, stubborn remnants of racism and bigotry linger in the forms of voter suppression campaigns, racial and religious profiling and the targeting of undocumented immigrants.

Dr. King’s dream is deferred every time an American is discriminated against, profiled or mistreated because of the color of their skin, their faith, their gender, or their legal status.

Bigotry is also rearing its ugly head in a relatively new form, that of Islamophobia, the hatred of Islam and Muslims.

Islamophobia — whether expressed in the form of unconstitutional anti-Islam bills introduced in state legislatures nationwide or spewed by anti-Muslim hate bloggers — is just the latest manifestation of the same intolerance faced by Dr. King and other civil rights leaders of his time.

Like other forms of intolerance, Islamophobia is a threat to our nation’s values and to the social tapestry that continues to draw people to our shores from every nation on earth.

As American Muslims join coalitions in defense of their rights and the rights of Americans of all backgrounds, we must learn from the words and experiences of Dr. King.

 

NC Muslims hope Gov. Pat McCrory vetoes anti-Shariah bill

North Carolina Muslims hope they can persuade Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, to veto a bill that prohibits state judges from considering “foreign law.”
“It’s going to be tough,” said Rose Hamid of Charlotte. “But I do believe there is a chance.”
Muslims across the state oppose the bill they think is motivated by intolerance and may potentially infringe on other religious groups. Bills against judicial consideration of “foreign laws” are believed to really be opposing Shariah, or Islamic law.
If McCrory signs the bill, North Carolina would become the seventh state to have an anti-Shariah law, joining Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. In May, Alabama lawmakers approved a like-minded constitutional amendment that state voters will consider in 2014.
Dozens of anti-Shariah law bills have been proposed in roughly 30 states in the last few years, and Muslim Americans expect many more bills in the years to come. “It’s not a trend that’s going away,” said Saylor.

Measuring Prejudices

June 4, 2012

 

Attitudes towards Islam are being explored. A study on the public’s attitudes regarding Islam has been started in the wake of a mosque building project in Luleå (a capital of one of the northernmost districts in Sweden).

 

The idea has been to examine people’s opinions concerning Islam. This is an attempt to build better understanding regarding the Muslim community in the district, which could help the authorities to identify the different (Muslim) community needs. The study has been initiated by the adult educational association – Sensus and Norrbotten County Islamic Center (NiC). “We know from the experience in other parts of the country that racism and intolerance increase with building of mosques. We are therefore initiating some preventive effort by mapping the community’s needs by collecting knowledge (about social attitudes)”, says Anna Waara, a project leader at Sensus. The study should be completed within six months and it will hopefully lead to a longer (research) project thereafter.

Signed: Catharina Isberg

At a United Nations conference this week, free speech is in the cross hairs.

Op-Ed: Criminalizing intolerance

This week in Washington, the United States is hosting an international conference obliquely titled “Expert Meeting on Implementing the U.N. Human Rights Resolution 16/18.” The impenetrable title conceals the disturbing agenda: to establish international standards for, among other things, criminalizing “intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of … religion and belief.” The unstated enemy of religion in this conference is free speech, and the Obama administration is facilitating efforts by Muslim countries to “deter” some speech in the name of human rights.

This year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton invited nations to come to implement the resolution and “to build those muscles” needed “to avoid a return to the old patterns of division.” Those “old patterns” include instances in which writers and cartoonists became the targets of protests by religious groups. The most famous such incident occurred in 2005 when a Danish newspaper published cartoons mocking the prophet Muhammad. The result were worldwide protests in which Muslims reportedly killed more than 100 people — a curious way to demonstrate religious tolerance. While Western governments reaffirmed the right of people to free speech after the riots, they quietly moved toward greater prosecution of anti-religious speech under laws prohibiting hate speech and discrimination.

The OIC members have long sought to elevate religious dogma over individual rights. In 1990, members adopted the Cairo Declaration, which rejected core provisions of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and affirmed that free speech and other rights must be consistent with “the principles of the sharia,” or Islamic law. The biggest victory of the OIC came in 2009 when the Obama administration joined in condemning speech containing “negative racial and religious stereotyping” and asked states to “take effective measures” to combat incidents, including those of “religious intolerance.” Then, in March, the U.S. supported Resolution 16/18’s call for states to “criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.” It also “condemns” statements that advocate “hostility” toward religion.