Zahid: UK wants to learn from Malaysia’s successful rehab model for militants

The United Kingdom has shown interest in tapping into Malaysia’s model for the deradicalisation of militants and religious groups, which has a 95 per cent success rate, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said.

Zahid, who is also the home minister, was reported saying by local daily Utusan Malaysia that the UK also plans to send its officers to visit Malaysia’s militant rehabilitation centre.

“The UK has different backgrounds and they are interested in our model because as an Islamic country, we have more experience and knowledge in facing these militant and radical groups,” he was quoted saying yesterday in London during a four-day working visit focusing on security, terrorism and immigration issues.

Zahid said Malaysia’s deradicalisation programme, which was carried out since 1948 to counter the threats posed by communists then, has been further refined following new counter-terrorism experiences to its current mode with 18 fields.

This programme involves the police, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), the Prisons Department of Malaysia, Muslim non-governmental organisations, Islamic scholars from institutions of higher learning and pondok (Islamic schools) that have the skill “to correct wrong faith”, Zahid said.

The deputy prime minister said the US, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and all Asean member countries have also expressed commitment to learn from Malaysia’s model of rehabilitating militants.

Zahid was also reported saying that he had agreed with the UK security agency to use the word Daesh instead of Islamic State (IS) to describe the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq, as the IS term gave the wrong impression of Islam which does not carry teachings for its followers to be terrorists.

“I also ask the media to use the Daesh term to replace IS terrorists,” he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was recently reported telling the United Nations in New York that Malaysia was leading the Asian region in combating terrorism, including the spreading of IS beliefs.

Paris terror attacks: We Muslims must hunt down these monsters who make a mockery of our religion

Twelve years ago, I converted to Islam to marry a Tunisian. It was a purely formal conversion. I remained fundamentally agnostic until 20 months ago, I experienced a spiritual revelation, started to believe in God and to practise my religion of adoption.

We must take the lead in fighting and hunting down extremists, not just beside, but ahead of, our Christian, and Jewish brothers and sisters.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this year, I felt it was my duty as a concerned Muslim citizen to express my outrage at having my religion hijacked by mindless thugs.

With several French Muslim theologians and intellectuals, we launched the “Khlass le silence!” (“Enough with the silence!”) movement, which called on French Muslims to take the lead in the struggle against the monsters who make a sordid mockery of our religion.

Despite the emotion felt throughout France and the French Muslim community, our appeal fell largely on deaf ears.

Less than a month later I teamed up with Anwar Ibrahim, the charismatic leader of Malaysia’s opposition; the Palestinian-Austrian theologian Adnan Ibrahim; and a number of other authoritative Muslim figures from all around the world.

In pictures: A night of carnage in France’s capital

Together, we argued that while our natural instinct as Muslims to distance ourselves from the jihadists, saying that the latter have “nothing to do with Islam”, was understandable, it was dubious intellectually and altogether irresponsible to keep our reaction at that.

The last serious attempt at launching a movement of Islamic reform, led by the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh at the turn of the 20th century, ended up in failure and gave way to the creation of the Muslim brotherhood.

To overcome the state of denial described above and the moral decadence that is affecting many of us, nothing less than a new movement of Islamic reform is needed.

Despite some welcome marks of support, our calls continued to go unheeded. Our initiative was attacked or ridiculed by many in the French Muslim community and we were soon branded apostates by Islamic State (my picture appeared along with death threats in their French language propaganda magazine Dar al Islam).

Not a single Muslim leader came to our defence in France when that happened, and barely a thousand of our fellow Muslims manifested their support for our initiative.

On this ignominious day, the time has come for me to repeat with a greater sense of urgency still what my cosignatories and I said earlier this year:

“My dear Muslim brothers and sisters, it is time to make our voices heard: we must rise up massively and tell the barbarians who ordered, executed or condoned the acts of mass murder just committed in Paris that from now on we will take the lead in fighting and hunting them down, not just beside, but ahead of, our Christian, Jewish, or agnostic brothers and sisters.

“We must do so because Muslims are the extremists’ first victims and because we have mustered the courage to take our responsibilities and launch a massive, global movement for Islamic reform.

“If we do not, we must accept that these monsters represent Islam (and us) in the face of the entire world. With obvious consequences in many an forthcoming European election. The choice is ours.”

Sisters in Islam co-founder gets France’s highest award

March 7, 2014

 

Advocacy group Sisters in Islam (SIS) co-founder Zainah Anwar, from Malaysia, who will be conferred the French government’s highest award, the Legion of Honour, regards it as a recognition of the advocacy group’s courage in standing up for its cause.

“It is also a recognition that a group like ours is regarded by many nationally and internationally as a model of what the leadership should be in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Malaysia.

“We should be coming together to share the nation and not look at it as one winning over the other,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

French Ambassador to Malaysia, Martine Dorance, will confer the honour on Zainah. The order, created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, rewards men and women, French and foreigners, for their distinguished merits and the exemplary services rendered to causes supported by France.

Sisters in Islam’s main cause is to promote an understanding of Islam that recognises the principles of justice, equality, freedom and dignity within a democratic nation state. “International recognition of Zainah’s work is also a testament to the moral courage and commitment it takes to challenge injustices, particularly those committed in the name of religion,” said Suri Kempe, the programme manager for SIS.

 

Judge rules in favor of Muslim woman on no-fly list

January 16, 2014

 

A Muslim woman now living in Malaysia struck a blow to the U.S. government’s “no-fly list” when a federal judge ruled Tuesday (Jan. 14) that the government violated her due process rights by putting her on the list without telling her why.

Muslims and civil rights advocates say the no-fly list disproportionately targets Muslims, and they hope the ruling will force the government to become more transparent about the highly secretive program.

The lawsuit, filed by San Jose-based McManis-Faulkner in 2006 on behalf of the mother of four children and PhD student at Stanford University, alleged that the government violated Dr. Ibrahim’s due process rights when it placed her on the “no-fly” list. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled that Ibrahim had standing to challenge the government’s actions, ordered the government to correct Ibrahim’s position on the “no-fly” list and to disclose to her what is her current status on the “no-fly” list.

The lawsuit is the oldest of three currently being litigated to challenge the government’s secretive “no-fly” list, which effectively bars individuals the government often mistakenly believes to pose a security threat from flying. The Obama administration vehemently opposed Ibrahim’s lawsuit, sought to keep the December trial secret and is currently requesting that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals keep the ruling sealed.

“Judge Alsup’s ruling affirms that basic notions of transparency and accountability apply to even the U.S. government’s ‘no-fly’ list. We welcome this ruling and look forward to further clarity as to how one can navigate the maze created by the ‘no-fly’ list and other similar listings,” said AAAJ–ALC staff attorney Nasrina Bargzie.

“Each year our offices hear from hundreds of individuals who are visited by the FBI and face related travel issues,” said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Many have lost hope about clearing their names, but this case will renew our collective desire to continue forward with the courts on our side.”

Under the guidelines, people who have been stopped from boarding flights may file an inquiry with the Department of Homeland Security, but responses do not include information about whether the person is on the no-fly list, according to the ACLU. The only way to find out whether a person has been removed from the no-fly list is to buy a ticket and try to board a flight.
RNS.com: http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01/16/judge-rules-favor-muslim-woman-fly-list/
CAIR.com: http://cair.com/press-center/press-releases/12322-civil-rights-groups-welcome-legal-victory-against-no-fly-list.html

Trial begins in legal challenge to no-fly list

December 2, 2013

 

SAN FRANCISCO — An eight-year legal odyssey by a Malaysian university professor to clear her name from the U.S. government’s no-fly list went to trial on Monday in federal court in San Francisco.

Rahinah Ibrahim claims she was mistakenly placed on the list because of her national origin and Muslim faith. She has fought in court since her arrest at San Francisco International Airport in January 2005 to clear her name.

Several similar lawsuits are pending across the nation, but Ibrahim’s legal challenge appears to be the first to go to trial.

Unlike a typical U.S. trial, where details important and mundane are disclosed in the name of justice, Ibrahim’s legal challenge has run head-on into the U.S. government’s state secret privilege that allows it to decline to disclose vital evidence if prosecutors can show a threat to national security.

Ibrahim’s lawyer is barred by court orders and national security provisions from delving too deeply into the inner-workings of the government administration of its suspected lists of terrorists.

Ibrahim, 48, lives in Malaysia with her husband and four children and is dean of the architecture and engineering school at the University of Malaysia.

Ibrahim said her trouble with the government began on Dec. 23, 2004, when two FBI agents showed up at her home near Stanford University, where she was pursuing a doctoral degree in architecture. She said the agents told her Malaysia was blacklisted by the U.S. government and they asked her if she had heard of the Malaysia-based terror organization Jemaah Islamiyah.

Ibrahim said she replied that she knew of the group only through news accounts. She said she was also asked about her involvement with the Muslim community in the San Francisco Bay Area and told the agents where she and her family worshipped.

Federal prosecutor Lily Farel told the judge the government could not respond to any of Ibrahim’s claims because of national security interests.

The U.S. government has refused to disclose how many people are on its no-fly list. The list is drawn from the U.S. National Counter-Terrorism Center list of suspected terrorists that authorities said contained 875,000 names as of May.

 

Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/trial-begins-in-legal-challenge-to-no-fly-list/2013/12/02/aa98d9f2-5baa-11e3-801f-1f90bf692c9b_story.html

White Muslim convert planned to steal bodyguard’s gun and murder Prince Harry for having ‘blood on his hands’

Ashraf Islam, 31, formerly known as Mark Townley, confessed to police he had “advanced plans” to kill the Prince the day after he was arrested in May. Belfast-born Islam was held the day after Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich, and said the fourth in line to the throne “had blood on his hands” after two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

 

At a sentencing hearing at Isleworth Crown Court, Lynne Townley, prosecuting, said Islam told an officer he had spent time watching soldiers on Horse Guards Parade “and planned to disarm an officer whilst disguised as a tourist rather than bringing a gun into London”.

 

After analysing his laptop police discovered a number of internet searches showing Islam had been researching Prince Harry’s protection team, where he lived, his royal engagements and his whereabouts.

 

A video found on the computer showed him making threats to kill Prince Harry to camera whilst he was in Malaysia.

 

Sentencing was adjourned until November 1 for an assessment of Islam’s mental health to be carried out.

Ramadan, Giorgio Armani launches a chocolate dedicated to Muslims

Chocolates dedicated to Muslims: Giorgio Armani launches an Armani/ Dolci chocolate. The pralines – which will be called Ramadan – will be free of alcohol derivatives. The shell is milk chocolate and will be filled with fresh fruit and honey. The chocolates will be decorated with emerald green sugar designs.

The new product has arrived in stores in Kuwait City, Dubai, Bahrain, Doha and Malaysia, but will also be in stores in Milan and New York. Ramadan (the month of fasting during the day) in 2013 falls from July 9 to August 8. The special chocolate will be on sale until the end of August.

3 Simple Charts That Explain What Muslims Believe

The Pew Forum recently released a 226-page report exploring opinions and beliefs from Muslim communities around the world. The survey, which was conducted through more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in more than 80 languages, delves into the Muslim world’s insights on everything from Sharia law to alcohol consumption. The findings were simple: Just as all religions, Islam is subjective in many ways and the few who interpret it in a radical and dangerous way are in no way indicative of the overwhelming majority who don’t.

 

The first finding — and one that intrigues the Western world the most — is that the majority of Muslims want to implement sharia law, but almost no one was in consensus as to what exactly sharia means.

Support for sharia is highest in Afghanistan, where 99% of the people support sharia. The Palestinian territories, Malaysia, Niger, and Pakistan follow Afghanistan, also holding a high preference for sharia law. Central Asia and Europe, on the other hand, rank amongst the lowest for support for sharia.

But, before all the Islamophobes get up in arms about how Sharia law is taking over the world, Pew notes that there is little agreement even within the Muslim world as to what Sharia law actually is. There is a major split, for example, amongst Muslims as to whether or not corporal punishment is acceptable — religiously, legally and socially – for issues such as adultery, divorce, and thievery. And the reason for that is simple. As Wajahat Ali explains in his article,Understanding Sharia Law, Sharia is neither static nor is it easily defined.

It is open to interpretation in terms of serving as a moral compass, and is largely concerned with religious duties such as praying and fasting, and, most importantly, ensures a welfare state. Because of this, he says, “Any observant Muslim would consider him or herself a sharia adherent. It is impossible to find a Muslim who practices any ritual and does not believe himself or herself to be complying with Sharia.”

 

In the end, it is clear that Islam is practiced differently with different cultural contexts throughout the world — a clear indication that, just as with all religions, Islam is subjective and can be interpreted very differently by everyone.

Malaysia charges Borders manager with selling Canadian’s banned book on Islam

News Agencies – June 19, 2012

 

A Borders bookstore manager in Malaysia has been charged with distributing a Canadian writer’s book that was banned as being against Islam. The government in the Muslim-majority country regularly bans books it considers threats to religious stability. “Allah, Liberty and Love” was banned in late May. The website for author Irshad Manji says it is about “how to reconcile faith and freedom in a world seething with repressive dogmas.” Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz could face a two-year prison sentence and fine if convicted of the charge that was filed Tuesday.