Anti-Muslim Ads in Subways

This column by Rabbi Rick Jacobs in NYT

“Two weeks ago, on the morning of Sept. 11, I noticed a woman wearing a traditional Muslim head covering on the packed platform of the train station in Scarsdale, N.Y. Her attention was focused on a billboard ad that announced “19,250 deadly Islamic attacks since 9/11/01” and pre-empted those who might dispute that claim with the refrain: “It’s not Islamophobia, it’s Islamorealism.” I could only imagine what she was feeling.”

“This fall, when religious hate speech appears in public places, when several mosques across the nation have been desecrated and burned, when Sikhs have been murdered, it is time for our nation to raise our voices in repudiation of all manner of hate mongering.”

“This Yom Kippur, we will once again read these words from Deuteronomy 11:26: “See, this day I set before you blessing and curse.” Those same choices are before us today. Let us, as a nation, reject the curse of hatred and instead choose the blessings of faith, acceptance, understanding and respect for all.”

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America’s Inevitable Retreat From the Middle East


By Pankraj Mishra

( shared by F.Sheikh)

In this analytical article in NYT the author describes the declining power and influence of America in Asia and Middle east-and root of anger in Muslims. It is a worth reading article.

“Given its long history of complicity with dictators in the region, from the shah of Iran to Saddam Hussein and Hosni Mubarak, the United States faces a huge deficit of trust. The belief that this deep-seated suspicion can be overcome by a few soothing presidential speeches betrays only more condescending ignorance of the so-called Arab mind, which until recently was believed to be receptive only to brute force.”

“It is not just extremist Salafis who think Americans always have malevolent intentions: the Egyptian anti-Islamist demonstrators who pelted Hillary Rodham Clinton’s motorcade in Alexandria with rotten eggs in July were convinced that America was making shady deals with the Muslim Brotherhood. And few people in the Muslim world have missed the Israeli prime minister’s blatant manipulation of American politics for the sake of a pre-emptive assault on Iran.”

“Although it’s politically unpalatable to mention it during an election campaign, the case for a strategic American retreat from the Middle East and Afghanistan has rarely been more compelling. It’s especially strong as growing energy independence reduces America’s burden for policing the region, and its supposed ally, Israel, shows alarming signs of turning into a loose cannon.”

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Quran Forbids To Hunt Abuser of Prophet (6:108)

Blasphemy (Abusing the Prophet)
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
 ( Shared by Azeem Farooki)
The Quran is the most authentic source of Islam. The Quran clearly states which actions are crimes and specifies what kind of punishments are to be meted out for them. 
One notable example is what is called ‘qazaf’. The following is the verse of the Quran in this regard: “Those who defame chaste women, but cannot produce four witnesses, shall be given eighty lashes.” (24:4)
We learn from this verse of the Quran that if a pious woman is defamed without any proof, such a person, in the eyes of the Quran, becomes a criminal who deserves physical punishment by a court of law. When the Quran mentions this crime, it also mentions the specific punishment along with it.
Now let us look into this matter from another aspect. The Quran states that since ancient times God has sent prophets in succession to every town and every community. It says, moreover, that the contemporaries of all of these prophets adopted the same negative attitude — but with far greater intensity — as has been mentioned in the Quran with regard to chaste women. For instance, the Quran says: “Alas for human beings! They ridicule every messenger that comes to them.” (36:30)
There are more than two hundred verses of this nature, which reveal that the contemporaries of the Prophet repeatedly perpetrated the same act which is now called ‘abuse of the Prophet’ or ‘using abusive language about the Prophet’. Prophets down the ages have been mocked and abused by their contemporaries (36:30), some of the epithets cited in the Quran being “a liar” (40:24), “possessed” (15:6), “a fabricator” (16:101), “a foolish man” (7:66). The Quran mentions these words of abuse used by prophets’ contemporaries but nowhere does the Quran prescribe the punishment of lashes, or death or any such deterrent punishment.
This clearly shows that ‘abuse of the Prophet’ is not a subject of punishment, but is rather a subject of dawah. That is, one who is guilty of abusing the Prophet should not have corporal punishment meted out to him: he should rather be given sound arguments in order that his mind may be addressed. In other words, peaceful persuasion should be used to reform the person concerned rather than attempting to kill him.
There is a verse in the Quran to this effect: “God knows all that is in their hearts; so ignore what they say, admonish them and speak to them in such terms as will address their minds.”(4:63)
This verse means that those who adopt a negative stance towards the Prophet will be judged by God, who knows the innermost recesses of their hearts. The responsibility of the Prophet and his followers is to observe the policy of avoidance, and, wishing well, convey the message of God to them in such a manner that their minds might be properly addressed.
This case is made out in the Chapter entitled Al-Ghashiya: “Do they never reflect on the camels and how they were created, and on the sky, how it is raised aloft, and on the mountains, how they are firmly set up, and on the earth, how it is spread out? So, exhort them; your task is only to exhort, you are not their keeper. But whoever turns back and denies the truth, will be punished by God with the greatest punishment. Certainly, it is to Us that they will return.” (88:17-26)
These verses of the Quran tell us about what approach the Prophet was required to adopt. This approach was that people should be addressed by arguments. Attempts should be made to satisfy them rationally as to the veracity of the religion. And notwithstanding any negative reaction on the part of those addressed, this same positive style of dawah (conveying the message of God to people) has to be adhered to. It is not the task of the dayee to assume the role of a keeperSo far as punishment and reward are concerned, that is a subject wholly in the domain of God. God will gather together everyone on the Day of Resurrection and then, according to their deeds, will reward or punish them.
Another important aspect of this matter is that at no point in the Quran is it stated that anyone who uses abusive language about the Prophet should be stopped from doing so, and in case he continues to do so he should be awarded severe punishment. On the contrary, the Quran commands the believer not to use abusive language directed against opponents: “But do not revile those [beings] whom they invoke instead of God, lest they, in their hostility, revile God and out of ignorance.” (6:108)
This verse of the Quran makes it plain that it is not the task of the believers to establish media watch offices and hunt for anyone involved in acts of defamation of the Prophet, and then plan for their killing, whatever the cost. On the contrary, the Quran enjoins believers to sedulously refrain from indulging in such acts as may provoke people to retaliate by abusing Islam and the Prophet. This injunction of the Quran makes it clear that this responsibility devolves upon the believers, rather than that others be held responsible and demands made for them to be punished.
Looked at from this angle, the stance of present-day Muslims goes totally against the teachings of the Quran. Whenever anyone — in their judgement — commits an act of ‘abuse of the Prophet’, in speech or in writing, they instantly get provoked and their response is to start leading processions through  the streets, which often turn violent, and then they demand that all those who insult the Prophet be beheaded.
All those who initiate such provocative processions and demand the killing of supposed ‘abusers of the Prophet’, are instead themselves the greatest culprits when it comes to abuse of the Prophet. Their violent conduct has resulted in the public being lead into believing that Islam is a religion of a pre-civilized era, that it imposes a ban on free thinking, that it is a religion which believes in thought crime, and that it is a religion of violence, etc.
It is Muslims themselves who are entirely responsible for the formation of this negative image of Islam. Distorting the image of Islam in this way is, indeed, the greatest of all crimes. 

Center for Peace and Spirituality – USA

West’s Hypersensitivity to Anti-Semitism

By Fayyaz Sheikh

Violence has no justification even when protesting against a hate speech or offensive material. A hate speech or offensive material against any sector or group is wrong and deserve condemnation.

But if we are talking about hypersensitivity about hate and offensive material, Muslims cannot beat Western‘s hypersensitivities to anti-Semitism and their efforts to silence such voices. This sensitivity extends  to criticism of Israel. It is often labeled as anti-Semitism to choke off such discussion, and freedom of speech  takes a back seat.

A recent little noticed dust-up in the media highlights the hypersensitivity to Anti-Semitism and criticism of Israel.  Maureen Dowd of NYT, wrote a column on September 15, 2012, called ‘Neocons Slither Back’. It was  critical of Neocons, especially Mr. Senor, and Israel. She writes:

“After 9/11, the neocons captured one Republican president who was naïve about the world. Now, amid contagious Arab rage sparked on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, they have captured another would-be Republican president and vice president, both jejeune about the world. “

“Senor is emblematic of how much trouble America blundered into in the Middle East — trillions wasted, so many lives and limbs lost — because of how little we fathom the culture and sectarian politics. We’re still stumbling in the dark. We not only don’t know who our allies and enemies are, we don’t know who our allies’ and enemies’ allies and enemies are. “

“As the spokesman for Paul Bremer during the Iraq occupation, Senor helped perpetrate one of the biggest foreign policy bungles in American history. The clueless desert viceroys summarily disbanded the Iraqi Army, forced de-Baathification, stood frozen in denial as thugs looted ministries and museums, deluded themselves about the growing insurgency, and misled reporters with their Panglossian scenarios of progress.

“Off the record, Paris is burning,” Senor told a group of reporters a year into the war. “On the record, security and stability are returning to Iraq.”

The article did not fit well with some protector of freedom of speech, so they labeled it as anti-Semitism and went on attack.

Jonathan Tobin writes in Commentary, After all these years of endlessly repeating the same tired tropes on the New York Times op-ed page, taking Maureen Dowd’s columns seriously requires a suspension of disbelief that is normally only needed to watch science fiction. But though the Queen of Snark lacks the credibility to discuss virtually any issue in an intelligent manner, she does have a knack for picking up on whatever hateful viruses are circulating through the circulatory system of our body politic.”

“Dowd’s column marks yet another step down into the pit of hate-mongering that has become all too common at the Times,”

Jeffrey Goldberg, the Atlantic columnist and leading journalist on Israeli issues,writes: “Maureen may not know this, but she is peddling an old stereotype, that gentile leaders are dolts unable to resist the machinations and manipulations of clever and snake-like Jews”

“This sinister stereotype became a major theme in the discussion of the Iraq war, when critics charged that Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, among other Jewish neoconservatives, were actually in charge of Bush Administration foreign policy. This charge relegated George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleeza Rice, Colin Powell, Stephen Hadley and the other Christians who actually set policy to the status of puppets.”

Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations,  Twitter “Dowd’s use of anti-Semitic imagery is awful.

“The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper writes : New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, last seen calling Goldman Sachs “blood-sucking,” is back with more anti-Semitic stereotypes in her latest column, which runs under the headline “Neocons Slither Back.”

“Ryan was moving his mouth, but the voice was the neocon puppet master Dan Senor,” Ms. Dowd writes. The display type in the newspaper reads: “Look who’s pulling the strings of Marionette Mitt and Puppet Paul.” …
This is disturbing on many levels. …

[D]epictions of Jews as snakes or puppeteers are classical anti-Semitic images, right up there with blood-sucking. The snake image has roots in the Christian Bible; the puppet-master goes back at least to Nazi Germany, and when Glenn Beck used it to talk about George Soros, who, unlike Dan Senor, has actually been hostile to Israel, the left was all over him for it.”

Some journalists came to the defense of Maureen Dowd and worte;

Andrew Sullivan of The Daily Beast; The usual would-be policeman of Washington’s discourse on all things to do with Israel, Jeffrey Goldberg, takes a break from the Jewish holidays to consign yet another member of the thinking classes to the ranks of “something much darker.” Dowd wrote a column in which she noted how Greater Israel fanatics run the Romney campaign’s foreign policy (which they do), and their neoconservative bubble is part of what explains Romney’s nasty and divisive attempt last week to politicize the recent flare-up of violent anti-Americanism in the Middle East.

You are not allowed to say this in Washington without being accused of anti-Semitism. Let me repeat: you can not write this. If you are a columnist and blogger, like, say, Tom Friedman or yours truly, the consequences are an immediate accusation that you are another Hitler:

On the right, The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper called it “outrageous,” while Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin described it as “particularly creepy.” “Dowd’s column marks yet another step down into the pit of hate-mongering that has become all too common at the Times,” Tobin wrote.

Even if it is the obvious truth. Greater Israel neoconservatives dominate the Romney foreign policy and Senor is chief among them. As Kevin Drum notes:

Salon’s Andrew Leonard:The anti-Semitic charges come with a heaping dose of “doth protest too much” defensiveness. Any reasonable person familiar with the foreign policy disasters perpetrated by the neoconservatives who led George W. Bush to debacle piled upon debacle is right to be horrified by their clear influence upon Mitt Romney. The fact that many of them were Jewish (a point never mentioned or even implied in Dowd’s column) is irrelevant. What’s astonishing is that they’re back.

What’s also amazing is how bad the reading comprehension skills of the critics turn out to be. The only reference to the word “slither” in Dowd’s column is as part of a quote from the crown prince of the neocons — Paul Wolfowitz!

Kevin Drums of Mother Jones: There’s nothing anti-Semitic in Dowd’s column. She just doesn’t like neocons, and she doesn’t like the fact that so many of the neocons responsible for the Iraq debacle are now advisors to Mitt Romney’s campaign. Pretending that this makes her guilty of hate-mongering toward Jews is reprehensible.

M.J. Rosenberg of Huff Post:” It’s come full circle. The neocons are now using classic anti-semitic tropes to attack Maureen Dowd for criticizing Romney adviser Dan Senor and the other neocons who are in charge of the Romney campaign’s foreign policy apparatus. See this in Commentary, typical of the anti-Dowd onslaught.

Saying that attacking neoconservatism is anti-Semitic is like saying that attacking the neo-fascist Opus Dei movement is an attack on all Catholics. Or that attacking the Muslim Brotherhood is an attack on Islam. Or that an attack on the Nation Of Islam is an attack on all African-Americans.

It is worse than that. The neoconservatives now savaging Maureen Dowd are saying that an attack on Jewish individuals who do bad things is anti-Semitic. They are foaming at the mouth because she singles out Dan Senor, Romney’s Middle East brain trust, for particular scorn.”

Muslim Bashing by Pankraj Mishra.

Pankaj Mishra writes about Muslims in an old article “Islamismism” in New Yorker:

“Oriana Fallaci, who memorably claimed that Muslims “breed like rats” in Europe”.

If such a derogatory and insulting slur was said about any other religious sector, will New Yorker publish it?

Freedom of speech should protect even a hate speech but Holocaust denial and display of Nazi symbols is illegal in a number of European countries.

In the last few days we have beaten the drum that the freedom of speech should protect even a hate speech with no exceptions, but in practice West  has exceptions to this rule.

Fayyaz Sheikh

Sources; Politico, NYT, Huff Post, Commentary, Mother Jones, The Weekly Standard, New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Daily Beast, Salon