Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cracks in the Islamist Curtain - Is the Religion of Peace finally beginning to boil over?


"Criticism of Islam is coming at them from every direction, putting Muslim clerics in a quagmire unable to honestly answer questions. Muslim scholars were never trained to answer questions critical of Islam or engage in hostile debate."

From an interview with Nonie Darwish, the co-founder of FormerMuslimsUnited.com and the author of Cruel and Usual Punishment:-

FP: Nonie Darwish, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

I would like to talk to you today a bit about the Muslim voices for change that are increasing through the Islamic world. There is an unprecedented defiance taking place behind the Islamic Curtain.

Can you tell us what is transpiring?

Darwish: As you know, Jamie, I lived for 30 years in the cocoon of the Muslim world and I can see a huge change going on inside the Muslim world. More and more people are challenging the status quo.

After 9/11 and with constant recurring explosive Islamic terrorism, it has become harder for the Muslim establishment to keep the lid on Muslims questioning their system, religion and holy wars. Criticism of Islam is coming at them from every direction, putting Muslim clerics in a quagmire unable to honestly answer questions. Muslim scholars were never trained to answer questions critical of Islam or engage in hostile debate. But now, suddenly, they are challenged to the core like never before, not by Western critics, but by brave hosts of Arabic language shows from unidentified locations in the West and hosted by former Muslims and/or Egyptian Christian Copts.

Father Zakareya Botros rocks the Arab world with his show "Howard Al Hak" or "Honest Debate" when callers from various parts of the Muslim world call in renouncing Islam. Former Muslim turned Christian, Rachid Hmami, originally from Morocco, has a popular show "Fil Samim", or "from the core". Hmami, who is the son of a Muslim cleric, is eloquent, respectful with a calm and peaceful demeanor -- a characteristic in sharp contrast to the angry loud and cursing image of many Muslim clerics.

The Muslim leadership is suddenly under a lot of pressure to answer taboo questions rarely ever asked before; taboo topics such as questioning the validity of the Qur'an, the life and marriage of Mohammad, his violent wars and assassinations, the fact that there is no minimum age for marriage of women in Islam and about ridiculous Fatwas regarding breast feeding of adult males by Muslim women and Muhammad's urine as a cure. Muslim callers to these Arabic shows have proved beyond doubt how many Muslims have no clue as to what is written in their scriptures and religious laws.

Many Muslims are demanding answers from their religious leaders and for them to vigorously defend such criticism of Islam. However, not one Muslim cleric has answered the questions on people's minds. Their response is more yelling, threatening, hate speech, paranoid accusations and propaganda of misinformation. This led Hmami and Father Zakaria, for instance, to personally challenge Muslim leaders to a debate. A well-known Muslim cleric was exposed to have lied when he accepted the challenge to debate on TV, but privately, on recorded phone call with Hmami, the Muslim cleric was evasive, lied and declined the invitation to the debate, giving ridiculous excuses.

FP: Where do we stand with the apostate issue?

Darwish: For the first time in Egyptian Islamic history, a number of apostates have come out publicly demanding their right choose to leave Islam and practice Christianity. Their demand was legally rejected and fatwas of death issued against them. Maher al-Gohari, Mohammed Higazi, and prominent feminist attorney Naglaa Al Imam, are among a few courageous ones. From the number of callers to the shows who claim they left Islam, I believe the number of apostates inside the Muslim world to be significant but are mostly silent. The main power of Islam and its clerics lie in the Muslim death sentence for apostasy and blasphemy. A number of apostates living in the West have greatly impacted the Muslim world. Among those are Wafa Sultan, the Italian/Egyptian Magdi Allam who was baptized by the Pope, Ibn Warraq and myself, and many others such as several former graduates of the Islamic Al Azhar University living today in the West.

I have received a recently released Arabic poem claimed to have been written by Taha Hussein, the prominent Egyptian father of Arabic literature 1889-1973. The highly intellectual and well written poem is extremely critical of the God of Islam and admits the apostasy of its writer. Hussein was once prosecuted with the accusation of insulting Islam. Challenges to Islam are coming from intellectuals, artists and journalists across the Muslim world, such as the Egyptian Sayed El Qemany; they must walk a fine line lest they get accused of apostasy or blasphemy.

While this trend challenging Islam is significant when compared to recent history, we must caution from being over optimistic for a reformation in Islam since the new trend is still in its infancy and has not yet established itself legitimately to become part of the mainstream. The reaction to such a challenge is intense and often violently lashing out in the form of acts of threat and terror. Some Muslim people of influence have admitted recently that terrorism is a Muslim commandment. On January of 2006, a member of Egyptian Parliament, "Ragab Hilal Hamida', said from the floor of the Egyptian Parliament that "the Quran directly commands us to commit terrorism, so why are we afraid of it?"

Continue>>>>>>>here

Friday, January 22, 2010

Islam’s war against others

Few Dhivehi today know that for hundreds of years their ancestors took refuge in the wisdom of a certain Gautama Siddartha, the Buddha.

Most Dhivehis do not know that their ancient script - dives akuru was replaced with thaana, a writing system created using Arabic numeral.
Today there is no Dhivehi who can read, write or understand their old alphabet.

"The Islamic conquerors took everything from the newly conquered: money, language, culture, traditions, wives, children, values. Everything. The nature of Islam is that it replaces cultures wherever it gets a foothold."


Read the following from: Clifford May, The Dickinson Press

In 2001, the monumental sixth century Buddhas of Bamiyan were dynamited on orders from Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. The United States and other Western governments issued protests. Afghanistan’s Islamist rulers shrugged them off.

In 2010, Al-Kifl, the tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel, near Baghdad, is being desecrated. On the tomb are inscriptions in Hebrew and an ark in which a Torah was displayed centuries ago. Iraq’s Antiquities and Heritage Authority, under pressure from Islamists, is erasing the Hebrew words, removing the Hebrew ornaments and planning to build a mosque on top of the grave.

So far, we’re hearing protests from almost no one. But this is not just another “Where is the outrage?” story. The larger and more alarming trend is that in a growing number of Muslim-majority countries a war is being waged against non-Muslim minorities.

Where non-Muslim minorities already have been “cleansed” — as in Afghanistan and Iraq — the attacks are against their memory. Ethnic minorities also are being targeted: The genocidal conflict against the black Muslims of Darfur is only the most infamous example.

Connect these dots: In Nigeria this week, Muslim youths set fire to a church, killing more than two dozen Christian worshippers. In Egypt, Coptic Christians have been suffering increased persecution including, this month, a drive-by shooting outside a church in which seven people were murdered. In Pakistan, Christian churches were bombed over Christmas. In Turkey, authorities have been closing Christian churches, monasteries and schools. Recently, churches in Malaysia have been attacked, too, provoked by this grievance: Christians inside the churches were referring to God as “Allah.” How dare infidels use the same name for the Almighty as do Muslims!

Many Muslims, no doubt, disapprove of the persecution of non-Muslims. But in most Muslim-majority countries, any Muslim openly opposing the Islamists risks being branded an apostate. And under the Islamist interpretation of Sharia, Islamic law, apostates deserve death.

Not so long ago, the Broader Middle East was a diverse region. Lebanon had a Christian majority for centuries but that ended around 1990 — the result of years of civil war among the country’s religious and ethnic communities. The Christian population of Turkey has diminished substantially in recent years. Islamists have driven Christians out of Bethlehem and other parts of the West Bank; almost all Christians have fled Gaza since Hamas’ takeover.

There were Jewish communities throughout the Middle East for millennia. The Jews of Iran trace their history back 2,700 years but about eight out of 10 Iranian Jews have emigrated since the 1979 Islamist Revolution; only about 40,000 remain.

The Jews of what is now Saudi Arabia were wiped out shortly after Mohammad and his followers established a new religion and began to build a new empire in the 7th century A.D. But Jewish communities survived elsewhere until after World War II when Jews were forced to abandon their homes in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and other countries. In many cases they were driven out by Muslims furious over the establishment of the modern state of Israel. But how odd is it to protest the creation of a safe haven and homeland for Jews by making your own Jewish citizens homeless and stateless?

In 1947, Pakistan also was founded as a safe haven — for Indian Muslims. The country’s founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was determined that Pakistan would be tolerant of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees and others — as much as 20 percent of the population at independence. It hasn’t worked out that way and, as a result, non-Muslim minorities today constitute only about 3 percent of Pakistan’s population.

When the dots are connected, the picture that emerges is not pretty: An “Islamic world” in which terrorists are regarded often with lenience, sometimes with respect and occasionally with reverence, while minority groups face increasing intolerance, persecution and “cleansing,” where even their histories are erased. And we in the West are too polite, too “politically correct,” and perhaps too cowardly to say much about it.

— May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism. E-mail him at cliff@defenddemocracy.org.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pakistan: Muslim Parties Object to Ban on Sexual Harassment of Women...

Muslim leaders say such a law was a "violation of the fundamental norms of Islam" and would promote “vulgarity among women”..

Islamabad, Jan.21 (ANI): The Pakistan National Assembly has passed a bill to amend the existing law against sexual harassment of women at workplace.

The new amendment bill, which was moved in the Lower House by Law Minister Babar Awan, seeks to insert a new offence in the Pakistan Penal Code to provide for punishment over sexual harassment at workplaces.

The amendment, which has now been sent to the Upper House for approval, also seeks to make the offence punishable with imprisonment extending upto three years or a fine of up to 500,000 rupees, or both.

The amendment was supported by all political parties in the house apart from religious parties, The Daily Times reported.

JUI Senators Mohammad Khan Shirani, Ghafoor Haideri, Gul Naseeb Khan along with members of the Jamaat-e Islam (JI) objected to the bill, saying that it was a violation of the fundamental norms of Islam and the constitution.

They said that such a law would promote “vulgarity among women”, and proposed sending the bill to the Council of Islamic Ideology for further review. (ANI)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Saudi Arabia: 80-year-old man marries 11-year-old girl

"There is no law that prohibits the marriage of a girl under 18," says the randy old goat, and he's right. After all, Muhammad did it:

"The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with 'Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)." -- Bukhari 7.62.88

It seems likely that this is the same case as the one we reported about here, although it could conceivably be a similar but different case of child marriage. "Saudi activists outraged as man marries 11 yr old," from Al-Arabiya, January 17 (thanks to Sr. Soph):

DUBAI (Al Arabiya) News of a Saudi octogenarian marrying an eleven-year-old girl has outraged human rights activists amid calls on the government to regulate the marriage of underage girls, local media reported Saturday.

The Saudi National Human Rights Commission formed a committee to investigate the marriage, which activists consider a flagrant violation of human and children rights, the Saudi newspaper al-Riyadh said.

The marriage registrar, who was widely criticized since he agreed to seal the marriage contract knowing the girl's age, absolved himself of any blame.

"There is no law that prohibits the marriage of a girl under 18," he told the paper. "Plus, I summoned the girl and she declared her consent and signed the contract."...

The father, who took 85,000 riyals (more than $22,000) in dowry, defended his decision to marry off his 11-year-old daughter even though his wife vehemently objected.

"I don't care about her age," he told the paper. "Her health and her body build make her fit for marriage. I also don't care what her mother thinks."

Of course not. Why should he?

The father added that marriage at such an early age has been a custom in the Saudi society for a very long time and that he saw no reason why it should be a problem now.

"This is a very old custom and there is nothing wrong with it whether religiously or socially."...

As for the bride, she just called for help as she burst into tears.

"Save me. I don't want him," she cried.

With thanks to Jihad Watch

Friday, January 15, 2010

Indian workers sold like cattle in Saudi Arabia

``Indian labour is sold in Saudi like cattle and thousands of Indians from UP and Bengal are suffering there. They are helpless without their passports,'' said Habib. ``My agent (Imran) got an assignment to provide 50 labourers from India. We were recruited and sent in groups of five, 10 and 20. After landing, I was made to work in Jeddah for a month. I grazed goats during the day and worked as a cleaner at the airport in the evenings. I worked for 14-18 hours a day. Thereafter, I was sold to a `khafil' or agent in Medina who required 500 people. In Medina, I worked for over 15 hours daily. I wept and wondered how my family was doing back home,'' he said.

``My father passed away two years back and my mother is ill and needs medication. I just want to get back home. I hope my case will be seen with empathy. Who will feed my children if I am put behind bars?'' he asked.


Continue here at the Times of India

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Moderation and Extremism in Islam

Submitting to Islam is like contracting a virus; some people go through the full blown disease while others, called carriers, harbour the virus without showing any signs of the illness.

"Moderation and Extremism exist in all religious convictions and beliefs including Islam with all its sects. The extent of Islamic extremism varies from time to time and from one place to another. Until a few decades ago the Arabs were largely moderate Muslims, but this picture has changed dramatically in the last ten or fifteen years as extremism started to rule. This change is the fruit of the political shift of power that took place in the Middle East in the 1970s which brought Saudi Arabia, with its oil wealth and wahhabi commitment, to the leadership of the Arab world instead of Egypt (1).
The pattern of spread of Islamic extremism has been that it affects mainly the younger generation. However, the older generation has not been spared, and it is striking that even secular Arabs sometimes move towards Islamic extremism, after spending decades of their lives as non-practicing Muslims. It is noteworthy that this shift between moderation and extremism is a one-way traffic; moderates can become extremists but extremists do not become moderates. This observation becomes even more significant when we remember that extremists may occasionally leave Islam altogether, but they never move back to moderation. From these observations we may conclude that moderation in Islam is only a temporary phase towards extremism, which is the ultimate stage of true Islam, the Islam preached, practiced and enforced by Mohammed.

Submitting to Islam is like contracting a virus; some people go through the full blown disease while others, called carriers, harbour the virus without showing any signs of the illness.

Some people who submit to Islam become fully practicing Muslims, the west calls them extremists, while others may go for years without practicing any of its rituals although they still believe that Islam is divine. Just like the virus carriers, this group of believers live normal modern lives and look civilized. In the Islamic circles, they are called ‘Muslims by name’ because they are not keen on the Islamic rituals and hardly ever read the Quran or other Islamic books. Indeed their knowledge about Islam is very shallow, which explains why they are moderates. We may surmise that a moderate Muslim is really an ignorant Muslim, who knows little about Islam. In this sense, there is little difference between a moderate Muslim and a non-Muslim, which is why the true Muslims, termed ‘extremists’ in the western society, often target these moderate Muslims for annihilation. "
>>>Continue reading here at Australian Islamist Monitor

Monday, January 11, 2010

Religious police detain dozens of beardless men

"The clean-shaven men, mostly students in their twenties, were picked up during a raid on Thursday evening for violating a decree made by the Shebab administration in December ordering all men to grow a beard.

"Our units in charge of enforcing good religious practice arrested dozens of residents for shaving their beards, which is banned by the regional Islamic state," local police commander Sheikh Abu Hureyra Abdurahman told reporters."

Maldives Minister of Islamic Affairs with Islamic religious beard

""They will remain in jail for three days as a punishment for violating Islamic culture, they will be released after that," the police chief said."

source

Monday, January 04, 2010

Gay Pakistani Granted Asylum, Was Told He 'Insulted Islam'...

“My family and relatives were my enemy. They said I was insulting my family, Islam and my country and threatened that they would report me to police.”

A South Korean court said on Sunday it had ruled in favour of a gay Pakistani man who sought refugee status on the basis that he faced persecution back home, Yonhap news agency reported.

The Seoul Administrative Court said it had overturned a decision by the justice ministry to deny refugee status to the man, whose name and age were withheld.

The court cited a “high likelihood that the plaintiff will be subject to persecution” if repatriated to Pakistan, where homosexuality can be punished.

The man applied for refugee status citing his sexual orientation early last year, having arrived in South Korea in 1996.

“My life, as a homosexual, was in danger in my country,” Yonhap quoted him as saying.

“My family and relatives were my enemy. They said I was insulting my family, Islam and my country and threatened that they would report me to police.”

From DAWN