Can Religion, Islam Specifically, Be Anti-Racist?

Apologetics is the “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.” As Muslims engage in public outreach efforts to reduce the impact of Islamophobia, one topic might be “racism” or “race-relations.” My fear is that such efforts might take the form of apologetics rather than a serious discussion to address the real impacts of racism among Muslims and non-Muslims, both in the United States and elsewhere. Continue reading

المطلوب إطلاق سراح مروان المظلوم في قضية الفحوص الشرجية #تونس

Amnesty International USA asked people to write to Tunisian officials asking them to release “Marwan,” a man who was convicted of same-sex conduct. “Marwan” is an alias. I found a column by Farhat Othman helpful. This is the body of the letter I wrote:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم و صلى الله على النبي الأمي محمد بن عبد الله و آله و سلم و السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

قال الله تعالى وإذا حكمتم بين الناس أن تحكموا بالعدل إن الله نعما يعظكم به إن الله كان سميعا بصيرا

فأرجو أن تصل إلىكم هذد الرسالة و أنتم بخير و صحة و عافية و أطلب منكم الإفراج فوراً بدون شروط عن الشاب الملقب بمروان المتهم بالمثلية و مسح سجله من تلك التهمة و إلغاء إدانته ثم إبطال الفصل 230 المجرِّم للمثلية.

كل ذلك ضروري لإرساء دولة القانون في تونس الحرة التي هي قدوة للشعوب العربية جميعا.

لكم الشكر و التقدير

Updated October 25, 2015: Minister of Justice expelled from cabinet, partly over his call to decriminalize same-sex behavior.

Amnesty International Appeal for KSA Prisoner of Conscience Ali Al-Nimr

I followed the Amnesty International USA instructions to appeal to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia not to execute political prisoner Ali Al-Nimr. I wrote a letter in Arabic to King Salman and Prince Mohammed bin Naif. You are welcome to download them and modify them as you see fit.

Here’s a copy of Amnesty International’s statement about the situation in Arabic.

One could just as easily say that about 70 percent to 75 percent of the people described as committing violent crimes, could also be described as generational victims of racist policies, like the ones Kelly and Bloomberg are promoting. One could just as easily say the vast majority of violent criminals in New York city hail from neighborhoods that have — over many generations — been the victims of a national wealth transfer, the remnants of which are with us even today.

We don’t say that. Writers and intellectuals on the Left would much rather talk about class. Same as it ever was. But this isn’t going away. We aren’t going away.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on the explicit racism of Stop and Frisk  (via theatlantic)

Introspection: Hypocritically Imposed on the Weak and Defeated, but Useful Nonetheless

Jalees Rehman claims that German introspection after World War II resulted in a better Germany, and that USA Muslims should adopt this introspection in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. An obstacle to introspection is “perpetual victimhood.” 

Citing psychological studies which showed that exposure to historical incidents of oppression of one’s group or nation led study participants to judge their own group’s misdeeds less harshly, Dr. Jalees Rehman suggests:

[I]t might be important to study whether Muslims who are continuously reminded of historical or ongoing collective victimization – being victims of “Islamophobia” or of military actions in Palestine, Kashmir or Chechnya – could promote a justification for violent acts

Obviously, there is a lot to admire about Germany since World War II. Although, in my mind, paying reparations to the colonialist state of Israel is not one of them.

Thinking on this further, it seems like only (defeated, anti-USA) Africans and supporters of the defeated nations of World War II are indicted as war criminals. USA-sponsored terrorists and assassins all over the world are regularly protected by United States courts and police. The best examples of these are the anti-Cuban terrorists and anti-Nicaraguan Contras. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are mostly celebrated in the USA.

But it’s not just the USA, obviously. Has Great Britain paid reparations to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for its colonial control? Has France paid reparations to Algeria for its direct rule?

But back to Dr. Jalees Rehman’s contention, namely that a more balanced view of historical injustice would lead to more introspection and that would be good for Muslims. And I say, yes, most certainly.

But the Boston Marathon bombings should not be foremost in the minds of the introspecting Muslims this week. How about the total disregard for worker safety in Bangladesh which has led to a factory fire and a building collapse, killing hundreds?

The top two candidates for introspection in the first decade of this millennium have to be the genocide in Dar Fur in Sudan and the lethality of sectarian violence in Iraq and Pakistan and elsewhere.

Twentieth century nominees would include the Pakistani civil war, the Iran-Iraq war, Sudan’s civil war, Algeria’s civil war and Afghanistan’s civil war.

Certainly the most essential topic of introspection for the next several decades must be gender roles.

So Muslims should do introspection, not because they are the only ones who need it or because they are the worst people or the most guilty, but because it is an essential step in moving forward.

My only caveat is that Muslims’ introspection should not be spurred by the demands of (partially White Supremacist) USA, but by evaluation of material injustices and moral harms.

Nor does introspection mean USA Muslims should accept second-class citizenship and cease defending themselves.

P.S. Dr. Jalees Rehman seems to have a problem with the term Islamophobia. I disagreed with him somewhat when he wrote about Occidentophobia, but that’s a topic for another time.