This week, a delegation of more than 100 representatives from Malaysia’s tourism sector were in Dubai, making a case for tourists from the Gulf countries to make Malaysia a primary travel destination.
Presenting at the Arab Travel and Tourism Market, the Malaysian Minister of Tourism encouraged governments and companies in the region to work with Malaysian tourism entities to create promotional programs touting Malaysia as a must-see locale, The Independent Recorder reported earlier this week.
They didn’t have to push hard to do so. Malaysia is not only a Muslim-friendly destination, but one that beckons to travelers from all over the world.
Last year, Malaysia was named a leading destination at the World Travel Awards Asia and Australasia, and visitor arrivals to Malaysia have been increasing, as the country received 26.8 million tourists in 2016 as compared to 25.7 million tourists in 2015, according to a December 2016 New Strait Times report.
When most people travel Malaysia, they think of Kuala Lumpur, which hosts roughly 11-12 million arrivals per year, or Malacca, which welcomed about 12.7 million arrivals last year, according to their respective tourism boards. That means just under half of the 26.8 million people visiting Malaysia decide to visit these two tourist hot spots. Even Penang is high up on the list accepting roughly 6-7 million visitors each year.
Instead, consider escaping to the less-traveled Borneo island, which plays home to the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah. Sabah, in comparison, received 3.42 million visitors last year, or about 12% of the tourists visiting Malaysia, according to the Sabah Tourism Board.
Here, against the backdrop of the South China Sea and the lure of equatorial jungles, you’ll find a thriving seaside city on one side – which is increasingly becoming an industrial center – and a teeming mountainside rainforest on another.
I had the opportunity to visit Sabah for a short stopover on the way back from India in January 2013 before resuming spring semester of business school. With only two days to tour Sabah’s state capital of Kota Kinabalu, we were still able to see a lot by sticking with group tours to make the most efficient use of our time. If you only have a couple days in the “land below the wind” here are some places you’ll want to check out.
Day 1 – Tour the City
Sabah State Museum & Heritage Village
I know most people don’t like to visit museums while traveling because there are certainly many more interesting and unique things to see when you’re in a foreign land, but I actually enjoy at least one museum visit at the start of a trip because I think it provides good historical and cultural context for the sites you will visit during the rest of your stay.
Sabah’s state museum and heritage village does just that, with collections illustrating the ethnographic, zoological, and archaeological development of the region, with special exhibits devoted to ceramics and the Islamic Civilization.
Sabah State Mosque (Masjid Negeri Sabah)
As you’ll quickly learn from a visit to the state museum, roughly 60% of Malaysia’s population is Muslim, so it’s no surprise to see numerous mosques throughout the country, and Sabah is no exception. Even in hotel rooms throughout Malaysia in general, green arrows on the floor or ceiling indicate the direction of Mecca to assist faithful Muslims in their daily prayers.
The Sabah State Mosque, designed by architects from Malaysia, Italy and Egypt, is located at the heart of the city’s capital, Kota Kinabalu, and can accommodate up to 5,000 worshippers, including a separate balcony that can hold up to 500 female worshippers. Its exterior towers are gilded in a golden band of Quranic scriptures, while inside, its walls and floors are adorned with mosaic and marble tilework, according to the Islamic Tourism Board.
Though we did not go inside because we were not dressed appropriately, the mosque does offer tours to non-Muslims as long as tourists do not visit during prayer times and are modestly dressed.
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
Banked by a reflective man-made pool, the mosque appears to float, giving it a dreamlike appearance under both the brilliance of the midday sun as well asthe shadow of night when it is illuminated.
Its exterior is the main attraction, as there isn’t much to see inside, though as in the case of the state mosque, visitors can tour during non-prayer hours and if clothed properly, according to Lonely Planet.
Signal Hill Observatory
Atkinson Clock Tower
On the way to Signal Hill Observatory, you can stop at his unique structure, the oldest in Kota Kinabalu, which once served as a beacon for ships during the days of British colonization. Today, it is one of three structures that remains following World War II, when the region was blasted with air raids. The clock in the tower continues to run, according to the Sabah Tourism Board.
Day 2 – Tour the Kinabalu Mountainside
Kinabalu National Park
You’ll need a full day to tour Kinabalu National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At 4,095 meters, Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea, according to the UNESCO website. There are certainly many hiking trails trekkers can follow to hike to the top. But again, given the short timeframe and since we were traveling with a small child (my niece), we went with a group tour to get the most out of our visit to the park.
Ther’s more to the park than the mountain, though it does command most tourist attention. Bus tours typically take more than two hours to get into the park and make stops along the way to the platform where one can catch picturesque views of the summit. Tour groups include a stop for lunch at resthouse on the way. I was surprised by the decent vegetarian food available even at such a remote location.
Being a cloudy day, the peak of the mountain was shrouded in mist.
There is no shortage of flora in the lowlands of the mountain, where you can visit the “Mountain Garden”, or Taman Botani botanical gardens. This garden reminded me very much of the botanical gardens in Fiji mainly because of its location and not so much because of its size or variety. The gardens in Fiji seemed more impressive to me, but that could just be because it seemed as if there were a wider array of flowers in bloom at the time.
Here at Kinabalu, the gardens boast more than 2,000 varieties of flowering plants, according to Sabah Parks.
Poring Hot Springs
This family-friendly hot springs are not like the traditional springs you visit in other places where the pool is natural with algae-covered rocks. Instead, picture a spa resort nestled into the verdant hillside and where the steaming pools resemble the tiled or concrete public baths of of Western classical civilizations. They are sourced by the hot water from the springs, but it is not the natural milieu one might expect. Huts situated along the manmade pools provide shade for families visiting.
If public baths aren’t your thing, the hot springs also offers private rooms, but these, too, are concrete pools fed by the sulphurous water of the hot springs.
One thing I wish we had done, which we did not have time for, was visiting the Sepilok nature preserve where you can see orangutans. In fact, given a longer stay, I would have liked to explore more of the natural attractions, such as hiking the trails of Kinabalu or the snorkeling along the coast of Sabah’s honeyed beaches. I suppose I’ll save those adventures for another time.
Troops of the Nigerian army recorded a big success on Thursday after neutralizing 15 Boko Haram elements in Northern Nigeria. The soldiers recovered huge weapons and artillery from the terrorists. The raid was carried out in Sambisa forest, Borno state.
The troops killed 15 of the terrorists, destroying 1 vehicle bound improvised explosive device (VBIED), belonging to the terrorists and they recovered three mortar tubes, one PKM Gun, one G3 rifle, one Buffalo Gun truck mounted with Long Barrel Shilka gun, two general purpose machine gun, AK-47 rifles and two FN rifles.
Victor Ezugwu, acting general officer commanding (GOC) 7 Division of the Nigerian army, praised the soldiers for “delivering a devastating deep punch to Boko Haram terrorists leading to the capture of large quantities of terrorists’ equipment”.
He further stated;
“The troops’ resilience paid off with heavy battering of Boko Haram terrorists leading to the terrorist sustaining huge casualties in fighters and equipment. The terrorists paid dearly as the troops neutralized 15 of them and wounded several others,”.
He urged the soldiers to remain steadfast in the fight against Insurgency in the north until all the remnants of Boko Haram are ‘flushed out’.
When I was 19-years old I had a chance encounter with an Armenian Muslim. The man, who was originally from Afghanistan, was rather strange. The first thing about him that had me curious was that he did not think the Koran to be a holy book; he also thought the so-called prophet Muhammed was a deceiver. He told me that there was no reason to rely on prophets for divine revelations as humans are able to directly communicate with the angels if they know how.
From him I learned that Islam had pre-dated Muhammed and the Koran by thousands of years and that it had remained an oral tradition and secret for generations among select Persian and Arab tribes. He also told me that the infamous Muhammed tricked one of these tribes into teaching him many of those secrets and that Muhammed in turn corrupted the information which he had been given and claimed it as his own.
The mysterious man turned out to be a tribal leader and he told me that I had a great destiny and that the Archangel Melek Taus desired to use me to defeat modern, radical Islam. He told me he had received a vision that he was to give me the Black Doctrines of Islam which had been given to the ancient Black Arabs upon the Black Mountain and that through this knowledge I would one day be able to expose the Koran as a fraud and assist in saving the world from the degenerate followers of the evil false prophet Muhammed.
The man, who I call the Black Chief, bestowed upon me a blessing that made me a spiritual brother of Yazdânism. He made me swear an oath that I would worship the fallen angels for the rest of my earthly existence and that if the day should come I would openly embrace the Gates of Hell as my eternal abode for the sake of my Beloved (the Queen of Sheba in my case). This I agreed to.
I ended up being fully initiated into this antinomian Indo-European cult on Mount Shasta by the Black Chief. It began with the ritual consumption of a very strong entheogen and then I was introduced to a rather supernatural looking Arab woman in her mid-50s. At this point I was told that this woman was one of my many spiritual wives and that to be fully accepted by the fallen angels and Lord Shaitan that I would have to copulate with her—which I did.
The Black Chief later laid his hands upon my head with great force and I was reminded of my days as a child in the Pentecostal church. My eyes were being painfully pushed on by the Black Chief as he recited some mantra which I did not understand but I assumed was in Old Arabic.
When I woke up on Mount Shasta after being unconscious the Black Chief was standing over me reading the Black Book of the Yazidi from memory.
When the Armenian spoke the words of the Black Book to me in Old Arabic I felt a seething force of electromagnetic energy run through me and I knew that I had become more than the sum of all my parts. There was something beyond me—a Black Sun—and I immediately realized that this was the same ancient god that the Mesoamericans knew as Quetzalcoatl. I too had penetrated the secrets of the Underworld and like Orpheus before me I too was able to tame the spirits who resided there. The Initiation had of course involved ritual consumption of an entheogen, as previously stated—but none of these things mentioned were out of the ordinary for me as a spirit seeker. No, what was strange was something else entirely different.
Because hovering above us were the fallen angels.
Asalaam Alikym Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
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Irish man and British woman in their 20s questioned by gardaí investigating Islamic extremism.
Gardaí are Thurday evening continuing to question a couple arrested in Waterford as part of an investigation into Irish links with international Islamic extremist groups.
The couple, who are both in their 20s, were arrested by gardaí at a rented flat in Waterford city at around 10am on Thursday morning.
The man, who is Irish and from Waterford, and the woman, who is British, were arrested on suspicion of having committed offences under the Criminal Justice Terrorist Offence Act 2005.
Gardaí suspect that the couple may have been involved in facilitating terrorist offences abroad. The legislation allows for the prosecution of a suspect for offences outside as well as inside the State.
It is understood the arrests follow a lengthy intelligence led operation involving gardaí from the specialist Crime and Security Branch based in Dublin as well as local officers in Waterford city. It is understood gardai have also liaised closely with a number of overseas security agencies including those in the UK charged with monitoring the activities of Islamic extremists.
The Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati (ICGC) is an important center of Islamic culture, learning and faith in our region. Established in 1995, it is much more than a place to worship. Much work is being done to strengthen inter-cultural dialog and understanding in our area. It is also a place for the Muslim community to gather for friendship, prayer and support. Learn more! Islamic Center
“Pope Francis…oozes enthusiasm for every religion except his own.
“At the top of his list of favorite religions is the Church’s fiercest adversary — Islam.
“He often sounds more like a spokesman for CAIR than a Catholic pope.”
by Christopher A. Ferrara
April 27, 2017
Let us face reality: Incredibly enough, the world’s foremost defender of Islam is not the Grand Mufti of wherever, but the current occupant of the Chair of Peter. George Neumayr summarizes this epochal embarrassment for the Church with his usual pungency: “As the prototypical progressive Jesuit, Pope Francis prides himself on his ‘ecumenism.’ He oozes enthusiasm for every religion except his own. At the top of his list of favorite religions is the Church’s fiercest adversary — Islam. He often sounds more like a spokesman for CAIR than a Catholic pope.”
Now we are informed that the Pope will travel to Egypt, as Reuters reports, “to try to strengthen relations with the 1,000-year-old Azhar center that were cut by the Muslim side in 2011 over what it said were repeated insults of Islam by Francis’s predecessor, Pope Benedict.”
What insults? Nothing more than Benedict’s entirely justified condemnation of Islamic terrorism after Muslim fanatics massacred 21 people in an Egyptian church in 2011, after which, as Robert Spencer notes, the Al-Azhar center, “the world’s most prestigious Sunni Muslim institution, reacted angrily, breaking off dialogue with the Vatican and accusing the pope of interference in internal Egyptian affairs. In a statement, Al-Azhar denounced the pope’s ‘repeated negative references to Islam and his claims that Muslims persecute those living among them in the Middle East.’”
Wherever did Pope Benedict get the idea that Muslims persecute Christians living among them in the Middle East? Perhaps it was through the use of his reason, aided by the senses, otherwise known as the encounter with reality. But the encounter with reality has been suspended in the case of Pope Bergoglio, who refuses to see or hear any evil in Islam or in the semi-barbaric social orders of Islamic countries.
Consider the case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Catholic wife and mother imprisoned since 2009 under a death sentence for the alleged crime of “blasphemy” against “the Prophet.” Pope Benedict publicly called for her release — another of his “insults” of Islam — whereas Pope Bergoglio has refused to do so, evidently wishing to avoid giving offense to Pakistan’s “moderate” Islamic government.
And in what did Asia Bibi’s supposed “blasphemy” consist? As she testified, one day, eight years ago, while picking fruit in the hot sun to earn a few rupees for her struggling family, she dared to drink water from the same cup she then offered to a Muslim co-worker. A nearby Muslim harridan screeched that Bibi, being a Christian, had “dirtied” the water by drinking it and that it had thus become haram, meaning forbidden by God.
Bibi replied: “I think Jesus would see it differently from Mohammed.” And so her nightmare began: she had “insulted the Prophet.” Before the day was over she was in jail, and ultimately was sentenced to death. The case has since wended its way to Pakistan’s highest court, which, while suspending the ludicrous death sentence pending its decision, has just refused to accelerate her hearing. From Francis, however, not a word of public protest, even though world leaders as well as his own predecessor have called for her release.
Strengthening relations with Islam? What relations? Pope Bergoglio refuses to see that there can be, and always has been, only one relation between Christianity and the religion Muhammad invented: that of opposition — the opposition of truth to error, of the light of the Gospel to what Pope Pius XI called “the darkness of Islam,” of Christ the King to the false prophet in whose name countless Christians have been slaughtered.
Yet Pope Bergoglio refuses to attribute the Muslim persecution of Christians to their false religion, whose very tenets dictated the death sentence for Asia Bibi. She languishes in prison while Pope Bergoglio goes to Egypt — where the penalty for apostasy from Islam is death — to “strengthen relations” with representatives of a religion whose entire history is one of hostility to Christ and His Church. This unbelievable situation exemplifies what Cardinal Ciappi meant when he revealed that “In the Third Secret, it is foretold, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”
Terrace gardens are an excellent option when living in an urban environment and we have a roof terrace with nice bright sunshine so we are planting some succulents and vegetables. For the traditional Muslim home without an interior garden courtyard the terrace is an idea place to have a garden. We hope to repeat this activity throughout the year depending on the season.
We began by preparing the planters and the soil.
Then we transplanted some succulents.
Then we planted a few vegetable seeds.
We reminded the children to say Bissmillah when they planted their seeds in the soil to help them grow and then they added water.
Please share your ideas for gardening with short Muslims.
We are delighted to announce the publication of Allameh M. T. Ja’fari’s book titled “Universal Human Rights – A Comparative Research.”
As you may already know, Muhammad Taqi Ja’fari is a well-known scholar. He has written 41 books in addition to his 15-volume interpretation of Rumi’s, Mathnavi, and a 27-volume translation and interpretation of the Nahj-ul-balaqah. Continue Reading…
In preparation to delve into teaching Islam I did some reading specifically focusing on women in Islam because that always seems to be of great interest to my largely female Humanities classes. The first book I picked up, Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arab by Jean Sasson, was so incredibly eye-opening. I read this book in 3 days and couldn’t tear my eyes off the page!
Many people are vaguely familiar of the strict rules of Saudi Arabia but I had no idea about the intricacies of life there. This book is written from the perspective of one of the hundreds of princess in Saudi Arabia but it does glimpse into the lives of other women in the country. Sultana, the women the biography is about, is honest and frank about her county, religion, and herself. This book also has guided reading questions that make it great for the classroom.
There are currently three other books in the series (haven’t read them yet):
Great book that will, at times, make you extremely angry at the historical injustice of the world against women and girls.
P.S. The topics presented in this book connect extremely well to the AP Art History image Rebellious Silence from the series Women of Allah by Shirin Neshat.
Something profound and seismic is happening in the way Western societies understand terrorism, and jihadi radicalization in particular.
Until now, the terms of the debate were set by two master narratives about terrorists, usefully categorized in an Atlantic article published just over 30 years ago by the Irish intellectual Conor Cruise O’Brien as the “hysterical stereotype” and the “sentimental stereotype.” The former saw terrorism as a form of pathology perpetrated by “‘disgruntled abnormal[s]’ given to ‘mindless violence,’” whereas the latter characterized it as a form of political resistance mounted by “misguided idealist[s] … driven to violence by political or social injustice or both.”
In the years since the publication of O’Brien’s article, however, these two narratives have gradually lost their intellectual and cultural prominence, thanks in part to the enormous impact of Hannah Arendt’s thinking on the “banality of evil” and the enormity of the 9/11 attacks, which, as terrorism scholar Peter Neumann observed, made it “very difficult to talk about the ‘roots of terrorism,’” still less to sentimentalize terrorists. In their place a very different paradigm has emerged, driven by efforts to rethink the problem of terrorism in response to the rise of al Qaeda and, more recently, the Islamic State. At the center of this paradigm is the notion of the terrorist as an infantilized “other”: a marginal person whose outstanding characteristic is vulnerability. You might call it the “snowflake theory of terrorism.”
This view is clearly an advance on seeing terrorists as either crazed fanatics or warriors for justice, but its paternalistic implications are just as dangerous as those implicit in the two paradigms it displaced.
The explanatory rhetoric of the snowflake theory of terrorism could not be more different from that of the earlier two paradigms. Far from being a symptom of psychological dysfunction or political injustice, terrorism, in this new reframing, is redefined as a “risk,” borne mainly by the would-be perpetrators of terrorism rather than the would-be victims of future terrorist atrocities. Far from seeing terrorists as perpetrators of violence for political ends, this theory recasts them as victims of “extreme” ideas propagated by manipulative “groomers.” Nearly always, the terrorism or “risk” in question is the contaminant of jihadi-based terrorism, although the proponents of this paradigm commonly insist that it also applies to other forms of terrorism, including that of the far right.
These explanatory tropes and motifs underpin the prevailing ideology of “countering violent extremism” in both Europe and North America. In Britain, for example, the 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act makes it perfectly clear that terrorism is a “risk” to which people can be “drawn into.” It’s now a legal requirement for specified authorities, including schools, colleges, universities, and child care services, to conduct risk assessments to identify individuals “vulnerable to radicalization.” In a 21-page document, which provides statutory guidance for the relevant authorities listed in the 2015 act, the word “risk” appears 67 times. In all cases, the risk in question relates to the “risk of individuals being drawn into terrorism.” The word “vulnerable,” in the context of “vulnerable to radicalization,” appears 13 times.
In his remarks at the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism in September 2015, President Barack Obama similarly used the language of safeguarding in reference to radicalization. “And finally,” he said, “we recognize that our best partners in protecting vulnerable people from succumbing to violent extremist ideologies are the communities themselves — families, friends, neighbors, clerics, faith leaders who love and care for these young people.”
The same tone of paternal care informs a lot of media commentary on Western members of the Islamic State, who, it is claimed, were “brainwashed” or “groomed” by recruiters into joining the group. Referring to the three East London schoolgirls who absconded to Syria in February 2015, Sara Khan, the founder and co-director of the anti-extremism NGO Inspire, wrote in the Independent that “they were groomed,” adding, “Just like child abusers groom their victims online and persuade them to leave their homes and meet them, male jihadists contact women through social media and online chatrooms, and build trust with them over time.” Hayley Richardson, in Newsweek, similarly insisted that “ISIL are using similar online grooming tactics to pedophiles to lure Western girls to their cause.” In 2015, the New York Times ran a feature on a lonely and mentally unstable young woman from rural Washington who had been befriended online by Islamic State supporters and “flirted” with the idea of going to Syria. Despite the idiosyncrasies of her case — the only Muslims she knew were those she had met online — and the fact that she had never set foot in Islamic State territory in Syria and Iraq, the Times asserted that her story may “provide clues about how ISIL recruits new members around the world.”
Or consider journalist Kurt Eichenwald’s recent article for Newsweek, titled, “How Donald Trump Is Fueling ISIS.” According to Eichenwald, the president’s rhetoric and policies send “a new message … that reinforces the jihadi extremists’ propaganda and increases the likelihood that more Americans will die in attacks.” Imagining the response of Western Muslims to Trump’s use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” he writes, “The emotional reaction of Muslims who are torn about whether to fight against the West would be strong.”
“ISIS could not have asked for more,” he continued, ventriloquizing this time for the terrorist group that the world’s vast majority of Muslims condemns. “If such words can anger an ally as important as the Turkish president,” referring to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rejoinder to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s use of the term “Islamist terror,” “what impact does it have on ordinary Muslims being bombarded with the ISIS message that they are in a fight to save Islam?”
This image of the terrorist as an infantilized and emotionally immature “other,” acutely sensitive to the slightest linguistic slur or trigger, reflects a deeper structural shift in the culture of contemporary Western societies, where, since at least the early 2000s, the language of risk and protection has come to inform and shape a growing number of social practices and organizations involving adults. This language finds its most ostentatious — and, of late, infamous — expression on college campuses, including the one I’m writing this from.
The idea that terrorism is a “risk” to “vulnerable” Muslims has at least three unfortunate social consequences. First, as former U.S. Ambassador Alberto Fernandez recently remarked, it is profoundly demeaning. It portrays Muslims, according to Fernandez, “as if they are easily swayed yet dangerous children susceptible to becoming terrorists because of immigration policy or harsh words that supposedly hurt their feelings.” It has also given rise to the pernicious argument that this group should be protected from words and ideas that risk offending their presumed religious beliefs or affiliations, for fear that not doing so will “push” them toward jihadi groups. Just as the safeguarding movement on U.S. campuses presumes, in the words of Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, “an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate psyche,” so does the radicalization discourse presume an extraordinary fragility of the psyche of Western Muslims. Far from protecting Muslims, “safeguarding” exposes them to what the Pakistani-Canadian writer Ali A. Rizvi describes as “the racism of lowered expectations.”
Second, it depoliticizes jihadis and their would-be emulators by denying their agency as political actors, whose embrace of jihadi rhetoric and violence is predicated on reason as much as emotion. To reframe the Islamic State as a “risk” to “vulnerable” Muslims is to deny its potent intellectual challenge, and how its dual-message of Western moral degradation and Islamic authenticity can speak to even the most resilient and precocious of Muslims. Of course, stupid and naive people have joined or attempted to join the Islamic State, but many more have been highly intelligent and politically engaged, demonstrating great resilience and bravery by making it to Islamic State-controlled territory in Syria and Iraq.
Third, the recategorization of terrorism as a “risk” to impressionable Muslims inverts the perpetrator-victim relationship, whereby the former is transformed into the latter. It’s like saying domestic violence is a “risk” to the person who beats his wife. But, of course, like domestic violence, terrorism is a risk primarily borne by those who are on the receiving end of it (most of whom are Muslim). It is pernicious to argue for greater protections for Muslims against inflammatory speech from a counterterrorism perspective in the same way that it would be pernicious to argue that potential wife beaters should be shielded from slights directed at them from their wives. And it should go without saying that hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric targeted at Muslims is wrong precisely because it is hateful and dehumanizing, and not because, according to some engrained, neo-orientalist expectation, Muslims will lash out violently and indiscriminately against those who espouse this rhetoric or are somehow tenuously connected to it.
Terrorism is a form of political violence, and those who engage in it must be taken seriously as autonomous moral agents. No doubt the Islamic State has captivated the imaginations of many young Western Muslims, and it can hardly be disputed that the number of young people involved in Islamic State-related terrorist plots in the West has risen in the past few years. In a recent study, Robin Simcox found that from September 2014 to December 2016 there were 34 Islamic State terror plots or alleged plots in the West involving 44 preteen and teenage participants.
Yet the number of young people involved in terrorism should not be exaggerated. In a 2015 report on Western defectors to the Islamic State and other Sunni jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq, the journalist Peter Bergen and his colleagues found that the average age of the 474 individuals in their dataset was 24. This is young for an adult but is clearly beyond adolescence. In another study, carried out the same year, Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes reported that of the 71 individuals charged with Islamic State-related activities in the United States since March 2014, the average age was 26. Moreover, the total number of teenagers involved in Islamic State-related terror plots and defections to jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq is still minuscule and does not remotely justify the reframing of terrorism as a child protection issue, still less the mass thought-policing of Muslim communities, where many young people are suspected of harboring “extreme” ideas. In Britain, of the 3,955 people referred to the government’s deradicalization program in 2015, 415 were 10 years old or under, while 1,424 were between 11 and 15. The ideology behind this program and the broader radicalization discourse on which it draws justify these stigmatizing interventions as “safeguarding” the very individuals they stigmatize.
Even among the small number of young people involved in terrorist plots or terrorist groups, it needs to be acknowledged that, as the sociologist Frank Furedi has observed, “it is not the ‘vulnerable’ but often the more idealistic and intellectually curious who are attracted to extremist ideas.” And this means taking them and their ideas seriously and not treating them as the whitest of “snowflakes” in need of protection.
Photo credit: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images
Question: Especially in an era of fake news, since was stating the facts bad?
Answer: Apparently, when it puts minorities and other favorite interest groups of liberals are mentioned (especially if put in a bad light).
Anyways, I found this article on the Aussie Conservative blog about a French mayor being fined for merely stating a fact about the demographics of his city’s schools. Enjoy!
It’s Jumu’ah! The most blessed day of the week.
Below are some of the Aadaab of Jumu’ah we can follow to try and maximise the rewards inshallah.
The Prophet Muhammad () said: “Any man who performs Ghusl on Friday, perfumes himself if he has perfume, wears the best of his clothes, then goes to the Masjid and offers as many prayers as he wishes while not harming anybody, then listens quietly while the Imaam speaks until he offers the prayer, will have all his sins between that Friday and the next forgiven.” [Al-Bukhaari].
On one Friday, the Prophet Muhammad () said: “O Muslims! Allah Ta’ala has made this day a day of Eid. So have a bath on this day, whoever has perfume should apply it, and use the Miswaak.” [Ibn Majah]
“O you who believe (Muslims)! When the call is proclaimed for the Salah (prayer) on Friday (Jumu‘ah prayer), come to the remembrance of Allah [Jumu‘ah religious talk (Khutbah) and Salah (prayer)] and leave off business (and every other thing). That is better for you if you did but know!” [Surah Al-Jumu’ah 62:9]
The Prophet Muhammad () said: “On the day of Jumu’ah, the angels stand at the entrance of that Masjid in which Salaat al-Jumu’ah is to be offered. They write down the name of the person who enters the Masjid first, and thereafter the name of the person who follows, and they continue doing this. The person who entered first will receive the reward of sacrificing a camel in the path of Allah; the one who followed him will get the reward of sacrificing a cow, thereafter a chicken, thereafter the reward of giving an egg as charity in the path of Allah. Once the khutbah commences, the angels close the register and begin listening to the khutbah. ” [Bukhari and Muslim]
The Prophet Muhammad () said: “Whoever does Ghusl on Friday and causes (his wife) to do Ghusl, and sets out early, and comes close to the Imaam and listens and keeps quiet, for every step he takes he will have the reward of fasting and praying qiyaam for one year.” [Tirmidhi]
“Whoever recites Surat al-Kahf on Friday, a light shall shine forth for him between the two Fridays.” [Ibn Hajar]
The Prophet Muhammad () said: “Recite Durood upon me in abundance on the day of Jumu’ah since they are presented to me.” [Ibn Majah]
The Prophet Muhammad () said: “There is such an hour on Friday that if any Muslim makes dua in it, his dua will definitely be accepted.” [Bukhari, Muslim]
May Allah keep us guided and on the straight path and give us the ability to act upon all of these deeds and Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (). Ameen.