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.
China this month banned a series of Islamic names – including “Mohammad” and “Jihad” – in an attempt to help “curb” the “religious fervor” that has become prevalent in the Communist country’s western region of Xinjiang.
Austria´s left leaning President Alexander Van Der Bellen was elected in December of 2016 and is already heating up his country.
Yesterday in a debate he declared: “It’s the right of every woman to dress how she wants, this is my opinion on this matter”. VDB continues to talk about the rising “Islamophobia” when he came to the conclusion that “because of this indeed spreading Islamophobia, will come the day when we have to ask every woman to wear a headscarf”
He then pauses and repeats himself by saying “every” to make his point clear.
His contradiction to his first point, when he talked about every women´s right to wear what she wants, caused huge controversy.
With France’s first round of voting complete, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is among the final two contenders for the presidency, along with centrist Emmanuel Macron. Given how often Le Pen invoked the specter of Islamic fundamentalism throughout her campaign, one might expect French Muslims to be worried about the potential for her to win the May 7 runoff.
But Tareq Oubrou, the popular imam of Bordeaux’s Grand Mosque and a prominent theologian, told me he is not concerned. Nor does he blame those elements in French society that harbor fears of Islam. The morning after the results were announced, he spoke about “legitimate fears” among the French, and seemed to put the burden on Muslims to make Islam more compatible with France and its strong flavor of state secularism, known as laïcité.
Oubrou, who was born in Morocco, is a leading advocate of progressive Islam. Beloved among France’s political elite, he preaches in French as well as in Arabic, critiques the veil or headscarf, insists that Islam is compatible with French ideals at the deepest level, and shrugs off the death threats he gets from radicals.
“It’s religion’s job to institute reform and to respect the laws of the republic,” Oubrou told me, before going on to explain how he and other imams are working to create a new French Islam. This reformed religion, complete with what he calls a “preventive theology,” is meant to be, if not terrorist-proof, at least resistant to being coopted by fundamentalists. Our conversation, which I translated from the French, has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
…Samuel: In your opinion, what should France’s Muslim leaders be doing to fight radicalization? Oubrou: We need to pay attention to the training of imams. The terrorist acts have been a shock for imams, and they are starting to take this very seriously. There’s already an intense crisis of conscience: We can’t let our children keep getting seduced online and elsewhere, we have to make an effort to prevent radicalization. Many imams are trying to better explain the Islamic texts that the terrorists use to recruit youth. They’re mobilizing to respond to these interpretations. There’s a theological response underway. Samuel: Do you think most French people know that imams are fighting this way? Oubrou: They have no idea. Because there’s no information. Mass media only covers things that aren’t working. And we all know how politicians exploit and aggravate problems so they can propose the solution.Samuel: How are you personally working to make Islam more compatible with the secular values of France?
Oubrou: I myself am working on [an intellectual framework that I call] “the sharia of the minority”—how to adapt Islam, theologically speaking. Muslim theology in France must do the work of acculturating Islam, adapting it to French culture. It’s possible to simplify Islam and preserve what’s important to the Muslim tradition and respect French law and culture. There are a number of Muslims working on a theology of adaptation, to adapt Islam to the West in general and to France in particular.
I am also working on a “preventive theology”—how to elaborate a religious discourse that won’t lend itself to terrorism or fundamentalism.
Samuel: Would it be fair to call your project a reformation?
Oubrou: Yes, it’s a reformation. But it’s always been like this: Every time Islam found itself in a new historical context, it adapted. All religions adapt. Why not Islam?
We need to take into consideration how long it takes to integrate, though. It doesn’t happen in an instant. Islam is a religion that has only relatively recently established itself in France. Simply adapting the theology won’t make people adapt—you need time, too.