Lupe Fiasco on His New Album, Romney vs. Obama, ‘Muslim Rage’ & More

Lupe Fiasco has no filter. It’s pretty damn refreshing in an industry bursting at the seams with image-conscious rappers and manufactured pop divas. A practicing Muslim, he’s called President Obama “a terrorist,” does not vote in U.S. elections, was a regular fixture at Occupy Wall Street, and had an infamous on-air tussle with the irascible Bill O’Reilly.

The artist formerly known as Wasalu Muhammad Jaco sat down with The Daily Beast for an in-depth interview to promote his new album, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1. Released on Sept. 25, it’s his fourth studio LP and an anticipated follow-up to last year’s Lasers, which made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. Pt. II, meanwhile, will see the light of day in early 2013.

Food & Liquor II is equal parts searing indictment of American politics, urban history lesson, and demystification of hip-hop culture. On the standout track “Lamborghini Angels,” the rapper riffs on everything from MK-Ultra programming and pedophilia in the Catholic Church to human-rights abuses during the war in Afghanistan.

“This is Lupe’s history,” he says with a grin. “It came from America. Howard Zinn is definitely the inspiration for it. Zinn was the person who gave you an alternative view of American history, and people beat the shit out of him for it. It took decades for people to grasp it.”

Born a Sunni Muslim, Lupe says he fully embraced Islam when his cousin, who had just converted, moved in with the family when he was 13.

“I’ve always felt I’m going to be Muslim till the day I die because I fully understand it and have never wanted to be anything else,” he says.

The subject eventually turns to Innocence of Muslims, the incendiary, anti-Islam amateur film that’s helped fuel rioting in the Middle East. Says Lupe: “They should fight for the dude’s right to make that movie. Unfortunately, we also live in a world with everyone else. America is not its own planet. You can say whatever you want, but have some class.” He adds, “It’s a provocation, but I think that at the same time, the Muslim world is taking it a little too seriously. If you want to battle and protest against it, this is the opportunity to talk about all the great things the Prophet Muhammad has done and the ways he’s inspired people.”

Muslim reactions continue against the anti-Islamic movie

6 October 2012

 

Muslim groups in the UK continue to protest against the provocative movie. In Bolton, hundreds of Muslims marched on Friday to protest the movie. The march was jointly co-ordinated by the Bolton Muslim Action Committee (BMAC) and the Naqshbandia Aslamiya Foundation.

 

Imam Muhammad Arshad al-Misbahi, of Manchester Central Mosque, described the film as “against Islam, against the messenger of Islam, and against the teachings of Islam” and he said “I have four children. My parents are both alive. But I am here to say I love my prophet more than I love my children. I love my prophet more than I love my own self.”

 

Earlier, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, the leader of a Sufi group called Minhaj-ul-Quran, strongly condemned the movie in the statement of the organization. The statement said “The making of blasphemous films and subsequent publication of obnoxious cartoons is not only a step aimed at hurting the emotions of 1.5 billion Muslims in the world but also a heinous conspiracy to damage global peace and harmony.”

 

The group also reportedly planned to hold a demo in London against the movie.

Six banks attacked in retaliation for an anti-Islam video

Six major American banks were hit in a wave of computer attacks last week, by a group claiming Middle Eastern ties, that caused Internet blackouts and delays in online banking.

Frustrated customers of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and PNC, who could not get access to their accounts or pay bills online, were upset because the banks had not explained clearly what was going on.

A hacker group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters — a reference to Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, a Muslim holy man who fought against European forces and Jewish settlers in the Middle East in the 1920s and 1930s — took credit for the attacks in online posts.

The group said it had attacked the banks in retaliation for an anti-Islam video that mocks the Prophet Muhammad. It also pledged to continue to attack American credit and financial institutions daily, and possibly institutions in France, Israel and Britain, until the video is taken offline. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were also targeted.

Last week, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said in an interview on C-Span that he believed Iran’s government had sponsored the attacks in retaliation for Western economic sanctions. The hacker group rejected that claim. In an online post, it said the attacks had not been sponsored by a country and that its members “strongly reject the American officials’ insidious attempts to deceive public opinion.”

Such attacks are fairly common and generally don’t compromise sensitive data or do any lasting damage. Still, they can be a huge headache for companies that rely on their websites to interact with customers.

The hackers maintained that they were retaliating for the online video. “Insult to the prophet is not acceptable, especially when it is the last Prophet Muhammad,” they wrote.

France boosts embassy security over Muhammad cartoon

News Agencies – September 19, 2012

 

The French government stepped up security at its embassies across the Muslim world after a French satirical weekly published vulgar caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, inflaming global tensions over a movie insulting to Islam.

The move by the provocative weekly Charlie Hebdo followed days of violent protests from Asia to Africa against the U.S.-produced film Innocence of Muslims and turned France into a potential target of Muslim rage. Up to now, American government sites have drawn the most ire.

The French government ordered embassies and schools abroad to close on Friday, the Muslim holy day, as a precautionary measure in about 20 countries, according to the foreign affairs ministry. It ordered the immediate closure of the French Embassy and the French school in Tunisia, which saw deadly film-related protests at the U.S. Embassy last Friday.

The principle of freedom of expression “must not be infringed,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said, speaking on France Inter radio. But he added: “Is it pertinent, intelligent, in this context to pour oil on the fire? The answer is no.”

“This is a disgraceful and hateful, useless and stupid provocation,” said Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Grand Paris Mosque. “We are not Pavlov’s animals to react at each insult.”

Reaction to Anti-Muslim movie in Germany

September 24

 

A large number of demonstrators has gathered in the streets of several German cities last weekend. Approximately 1000 Muslims have protested against the public show of the “Muhammad movie”, which was perceived as a religious insult. Last week, the right-wing extremist party Pro Germany had announced their intention to show the movie in a cinema in Berlin.

 

Reactions from representatives of Muslim communities in Germany were different, but mostly called for a peaceful discussion on the topic.

 

Aiman Mazyek, the chairman of the Central Council for Muslims in Germany declared that he would not want the video to be banned. The video, which pictures the prophet Muhammad in offensive terms, “only aims at creating hatred and conflict”, he declared. Instead, he said, it is necessary to avoid that and he therefore called for public peace and tolerance. Mazyek called Muslims to stay calm and not to react to the provocation of Pro Germany. He added that the violent protests in the Muslim world are not representative, and do not follow the norms of Islam.

 

Also Lamya Kaddo, the chairwoman of the Liberal-Islamic league, is against the ban of the movie. In her opinion, sensitive topics such as this one should not become a taboo. To do this, she declared, would not be constructive, but actually lead to an increase of diffidence and hostility towards Muslims.

 

The Imam Halima Krausen, one of the few female Imams in Germany, has criticized the video as an insult against a religious group. At the same time Krausen, who is also a theologist, declared that violence could not be approved as a just reaction. As a result, she expects an increase of Islamophobia in Germany, as people would not differentiate between regular, ordinary, Muslim citizens and radical Islamists.

 

The Islam expert Rauf Ceylan also disagreed with the proposal to ban the movie. In his words, this would only upgrade its status and increase its importance.

 

A more critical position was expressed by Ali Kizilkaya, the speaker of the coordination council of Muslims in Germany. He defined the movie as “deep insult”, which would not be justified by freedom of expression.

 

Protest in favor of Muhammad in Barcelona

21 September 2012

 

Some 800 Muslims, mostly of Pakistani origin, protested in the streets of Barcelona for the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, the two-hour American film that parodies the life of Muhammad.

Under the slogan “We want more the prophet Muhammad than our lives, parents and children”, the march started at the Arc de Triomf and ended in the Ciutadella Park, with a prayer.

The Imam of Madrid about the cartoons: We demand respect for the King; and the Muslims to Muhammad

19 september 2012

Riay Tatary, president of the Union of Islamic Communities, accused of “deliberate provocation” the different publishing of Muhammad’s cartoons.
The Imam of Madrid condemns the “acts of violence that are happening in the Arab world” because they are “neither justified nor do they lead to anything good.”

“In the Spanish Constitution, says that the King is inviolable and that His figure is out of range of any defamation. We demand respect for our King for the same reason that Muslims demand it for Muhammad” “.
“I condemn the violent reactions and deaths that have occurred.”

Cultural Clash Fuels Muslims Raging at Film

CAIRO — Stepping from the cloud of tear gas in front of the American Embassy here, Khaled Ali repeated the urgent question that he said justified last week’s violent protests at United States outposts around the Muslim world.

“We never insult any prophet — not Moses, not Jesus — so why can’t we demand that Muhammad be respected?” Mr. Ali, a 39-year-old textile worker said, holding up a handwritten sign in English that read “Shut Up America.” “Obama is the president, so he should have to apologize!”

When the protests against an American-made online video mocking the Prophet Muhammad exploded in about 20 countries, the source of the rage was more than just religious sensitivity, political demagogy or resentment of Washington, protesters and their sympathizers here said. It was also a demand that many of them described with the word “freedom,” although in a context very different from the term’s use in the individualistic West: the right of a community, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish, to be free from grave insult to its identity and values.

In a context where insults to religion are crimes and the state has tightly controlled almost all media, many in Egypt, like other Arab countries, sometimes find it hard to understand that the American government feels limited by its free speech rules from silencing even the most noxious religious bigot.

Some commentators said they regretted that the violence here and around the region had overshadowed the underlying argument against the offensive video. “Our performance came out like that of a failed lawyer in a no-lose case,” Wael Kandil, an editor of the newspaper Sharouq, wrote in a column on Sunday. “We served our opponents something that made them drop the main issue and take us to the margins — this is what we accomplished with our bad performance.”

Toronto group hopes to screen anti-Islam film in name of tolerance

News Agencies – September 14, 2012

 

A group in Toronto says it wants to screen a controversial film that depicts the prophet Muhammad as a womanizer and a madman. Canadian Hindu Advocacy spokesman Ron Banerjee says he doesn’t yet have a location for a screening. Excerpts from the movie enraged Islamic protesters in Egypt, Libya and Yemen over its portrayal of Muhammad. Banerjee says they’ll also show snippets from other movies that are offensive to Christians and Hindus. He calls it a way of fighting intolerance.

The Imam of Terrassa and the anti-Islamic film

14 September 2012
The Imam of the Grand Mosque in Catalunya, the Badr de Terrassa Mosque, Mr. Taoufik Cheddadai in his Jutba (sermon) on Friday considered that the production and dissemination of the anti-Islamic film that denigrates the Prophet and Messenger Muhammad has obviously been an insult to the entire Muslim world, in the figure of the great Prophet of Islam, Mohammad. The Imam has said that the film has deeply affected the feelings of all Muslims, and called the projection of the film as a “deplorable action that incites hate.”