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Archive for category ISLAM=PEACE & BROTHERHOOD AMONG MANKIND

I didn’t realize how often Muslims get kicked off planes, until it happened to me Niala Mohammad, The Guardian

I didn’t realize how often Muslims get kicked off planes until it happened to me

A humiliating experience opened my eyes to discrimination that has become common in post-9/11 America under the pretext of safety and security

 
 
My friend and I were removed from an American Airlines flight for requesting water and asking why we were still aboard an idling plane.
My friend and I were removed from an American Airlines flight for requesting water and asking why we were still aboard an idling plane. Photograph: Courtesy of Niala Mohammad

A recent news report documented the removal of two Muslim women working for the federal government from an American Airline flight. On its surface, the airline staff appeared to be upholding safety regulations, but in reality, they were engaging in discriminatory practices. I know this to be true because I was one of the two women. We were removed from the plane for doing nothing more than requesting water and asking why we were still aboard an idling plane for more than five hours.

Although the incident was humiliating it was also eye-opening. Until it happened to me, neither my friend nor I had realised how common this trend had become. Passengers are removed from an aircraft for benign reasons such as asking for a beverage, a child harness, speaking a foreign language, changing or upgrading seats, taking pictures, making videos, or questioning a long delay. It isn’t just about what happened to me – increasingly Muslims are a part of a cycle of discrimination that targets them due to their appearance.

American Airlines states that they prohibit “discrimination of any kind” and ensure that their “policies require that we treat all our customers in a fair and courteous manner and discrimination due to race, ethnicity, religion, or skin colour is not tolerated”. However, this was not reflected in the treatment that I and other passengers received.

Shan Anand, a young, turbaned, Sikh man along with three of his Muslim friends were removed from an American Airlines flight travelling from Toronto to New York earlier this year. When I asked Shan why he thought he and his friends were removed from the flight he said: “We know why it happened, right? There were four of us, three are Muslim and I am Sikh.” When Shan and his friends asked American Airlines why they were removed, they were told: “There were inconsistencies of their behaviour travelling as a group.” But the explanation made no sense to Shan – he was travelling in a group of six with two Latinos, three South Asians and one Arab, yet only the South Asians and Arab were removed. Shan and his travel companions were told that “the crew felt unsafe”.

“Unsafe”: a trigger word commonly used as an excuse by airlines under the pretext of ensuring safety and security post-9/11. Nearly all Muslims have at some point been subject to secondary security screening selection, but being thrown off a plane was an entirely new level of humiliation for me.

Measuring discrimination

Khurram Ali, the former civil rights director for the Council on American-Islamic Relation’s (CAIR’s) New Jersey chapter, explains that the pilot of an aircraft is given a list of those passengers that are marked with the infamous SSSS on their boarding pass. The SSSS or *S* indicates someone needs to be scrutinised a bit further by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). And although it is unknown if airline attendants have access to the names labelled SSSS by TSA on domestic flights, they do have access to their respective airline computer reservation system, which details passenger name and detailed information.

Although there is no published criteria used to select passengers for “random selection” or “suspicion”, Ali says: “It is happening to more and more people who are considered visibly Muslim.” Ali documented 27 airline discrimination complaint cases with three of those being “pulled off” or airline removal cases for CAIR’s New Jersey chapter during his short tenure. But as he pointed out, those numbers come nowhere near the amount being documented by CAIR on a national level.

CAIR has been fairly thorough in its documentation of discrimination against American Muslims, however, it is still in the process of aggregating data regarding Muslim airline passengers being “pulled off” planes. Corey Saylor, CAIR’s director of the department to monitor and combat Islamophobia, acknowledged that they “are seeing more airline cases”. But in regards to statistics, Saylor stated: “We do not have stats as of yet. We are working on it.”

The only cases the public is aware of are those documented in the media. I counted nine airline passenger removal cases involving American Muslims published in the media over the past 13 months. But if that isn’t indicative enough, just look at trending hashtags on social media like #FlyingWhileMuslim to understand and confirm the reality of rising discrimination.

The official reasons for removal of these passengers are all in relation to safety and security concerns. But there is no mistaking this trend toward discrimination of Muslims.. Here are a few examples:

  • Mohamed Ahmed Radwan made the flight attendant feel “uncomfortable” when he asked her why she called him out over the public tannoy with the words I will be watching you”. (American Airlines, December 2015)
  • Shan Anand (quoted above), a turbaned Sikh man, and three of his Muslim friends were removed for making the airline attendant and captain “feel uneasy” after they upgraded their seats. (American Airlines, December 2015)
  • Khairuldeen Makhzoom, a Berkley student, was removed after he was heard saying the phrase “inshallah” in Arabic at the end of a telephone conversation. (Southwest Airlines, December 2015)
  • Hakima Abdulle, a hijabi woman, made her aircraft flight attendant “feel uncomfortable” after switching seats with another passenger. (Southwest Airlines, April 2016)
  • Mohamad and Eaman Shebley (also hijabi) along with their three children were removed from their flight due to a “safety of flight issue” after asking for a child harness for their toddler. (United Airlines, April 2016)
  • Nazia (hijabi) and Faisal Ali, a young couple, were removed for making the flight crew feel “uneasy” because her husband was sweating, saying Allah and texting. (Delta Airlines, July 2016)

Many instances have gone undocumented due to fear of victims being further targeted, labelled troublemakers and being put on a “no-fly” list. The silent acceptance of these incidents has enabled airlines to dismiss the arbitrary treatment of select passengers as compliance with airline security regulations post-9/11. This policy is not effective and ultimately makes Americans feel marginalised in our own country.

Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, or Mark for those that have trouble pronouncing his name, recalls his experience with Southwest Airlines as “tearful and humiliating”. Makhzoomi came to America after his father was executed in Iraq by Saddam Hussain: “I experienced dictatorship in Iraq and now I am experiencing it in the freest country in the world.”

The discrimination Khairuldeen faced in Oakland, California, was anything but subtle. Khairuldeen detailed how he was removed from the aircraft, questioned by airline representatives and security, cornered against a wall, searched, sniffed by dogs in public and later interrogated privately by the FBI. Southwest Airlines representative and the authorities that removed him from the plane berated him for having spoken Arabic aboard the aircraft. Khairuldeen recalled the Southwest Airlines representative, stating: “Why would you speak that language knowing the environment in an airport?”

Khairuldeen said: “I was excited because we were talking about my upcoming graduation from UC Berkley, saying ‘inshallah’. You know, we use this word 30 to 40 times in any given conversation.” The rest of Khairuldeen’s conversation revolved around what they served for dinner at an event he attended which hosted the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon. “I was telling my uncle that they served us chicken, mash potatoes and spinach for dinner at the event,” said Makhzoomi. Yet the authorities that escorted him and claimed to understand Arabic, accused him of “discussing martyrdom” in his telephone conversation.

An atmosphere of fear

Cenk Uygur, political commentator and co-founder of the Young Turks, believes that this issue goes beyond discrimination towards Muslims in particular. Uygur was also kicked off of an American Airlines flight but he doesn’t believe it was because of religion. “Was it religious? In my case, I don’t think it was racially motivated.” Uygur believes that the root of the matter boils down to power and compared airline attendant behaviour toward Muslims since 9/11 to police officers abusing their authority and using excessive force on African Americans. “After 9/11 airlines/flight attendants have taken up the ‘I can do whatever I want attitude’ in the name of security,” Uygur says. “In my opinion, the core of the problem is flight attendants are given unlimited power and they tend to abuse it. They tend to use their power on those they perceive to be powerless. And unfortunately, in America, the darker the skin colour the more powerless you are. And many Muslims tend to fit in that category.”

He adds: “By the way, it’s much harder on women because they are more visibly Muslim and they often bear the brunt of the burden of Islamophobia or discrimination.

“Donald Trump has given people permission to be Islamophobic and told them that it’s okay to discriminate against Muslims. Trump basically says, ‘If I become president I will systematically discriminate against them [Muslims],’” Uygur says.

Likewise, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi attributed the recent rise in discrimination towards Muslims to Donald Trump, saying, “Trump is using ‘Islamophobia’ to rise to political power.”

Trump’s statements have fostered and further instigated an atmosphere of fear and prejudice towards the estimated 6-7 million Muslims in America.

I’m an American and being labelled a safety threat is unacceptable in a country founded on tolerance and freedom.

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RADKO, EX-ATHEIST, CZECH (PART 1 OF 2): ATHEISM TO CHRISTIANITY

RADKO, EX-ATHEIST, CZECH (PART 1 OF 2): ATHEISM TO CHRISTIANITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RADKO, EX-ATHEIST, CZECH (PART 1 OF 2): 

 A hardcore atheist becomes attracted to Christianity, but after a while finds crucial questions left unanswered.
 Stories of New Muslims Men
By Radko

 
 
 
I once knew an atheist who claimed he’d never believed in God’s existence.  In his view, believers were supposed to be people of weak character who felt the necessity to find a crutch for their inability and laziness, so they attended church.  He felt agitated if, when the debating religion, he could not persuade the opponent with his arguments.  He despised believers in an almost hysterical way.  He had, however, a very good friend who believed in God.  They agreed to refrain from discussing religion whenever together.

One day this man, probably in a rare moment of weakness, accepted the invitation of his friend to visit his church.  To himself, he laughed at the thought of speaking out in the middle of mass and laughing and pointing his finger at the believers from the pulpit.  However, as we know, God works in mysterious ways.  He went to church, stood in the back benches, and stared at the people praying.

The mass service started and he gave all of them a sarcastic glance.  Then the sermon began, lasting about 15 minutes.  Suddenly, in the middle of the sermon, tears welled in his eyes.  A strange feeling of joy and happiness washed away his animosity, a feeling that engulfed his entire body.  After mass, the two friends left together.  They were silent until the moment they were to part ways, when he asked his friend whether they could go to church together again.  They agreed to go again the next day.

It’s possible some of you might have guessed that I was that stubborn atheist.  I had felt nothing but contempt and hatred towards people of faith.  But after that sermon in 1989, when the priest discussed how we should not judge others if we don’t want to be judged, my life suddenly took a dramatic turn.

I started attending church services regularly and was thirsty for any information on God and Jesus Christ.  I took part in meetings with Christian youngsters where we exchanged our spiritual experiences.  I felt resurrected.  Suddenly I felt the need to be in the company of believers.  I needed to make up for the past 18 years.

I was brought up in an atheist family, who except for having me baptized, did not exercise any attempt to guide my spiritual development.  I remember being in sixth grade when a comrade was sent by the Communist Party to explain to us why God does not exist.  I remember myself absorbing his every word.  In my case, I needed no convincing.  I believed everything he said.  His arrogance, contempt, and hatred towards believers became mine.  But now I had to make up for all those years.

I met with a priest and others who guided me in this new direction.  I was full of so many questions, to which they responded.  Later I was to realize a big mistake: I accepted everything without contemplation or reflection.  I could say that they explained things to me in a ‘take-it-as-is’ manner, but that would not be fair to them.  It was, in fact, my mistake.  I didn’t reflect upon their words, nor did I think critically.  This would cause me a lot of complications later.  In retrospect, I believe an important factor that influenced my behavior was age.  I was too young to properly comprehend matters so serious and complicated as faith.

I wished to become a good Christian, and God knows I tried very hard.  Yet over time, I could not reconcile the contradictions found in the Bible, such as the divine nature of Prophet Jesus and the concept of inherited sin.  Priests tried to respond to my questions, but eventually, their patience began to run thin.  I was told that such matters should be accepted on faith, and that these questions were a waste of time and would only serve to distance me from God.  Till this day, I recall myself quarreling with a spiritual leader, an event that restarted my self-destructive tendencies.  Maybe I wasn’t right after all.  I was young.

How I Became Muslim
My path toward Islam wasn’t easy at all.  You may think that since I was disappointed with Christianity, I would have immediately accepted Islam as my faith.  This could have been very simple, but all I knew about Islam at the time were things like Muslims refer to God as Allah, they read the Quran instead of the Bible, and they worship somebody called Muhammad.  Also, I think I was not yet ready to accept Islam.

So I withdrew from the church community and claimed to be a soloist Christian.  I found out, however, that even though I didn’t miss the community of believers or church, God was ‘settled’ so deep in my heart that I couldn’t let Him go.  I didn’t even try.  Quite the opposite.  I felt happy to have God around and hoped He was on my side.

Later I began to engage in one stupidity after another, living a life of luxury and lust.  I did not realize that such a road would lead me away from God and towards hell.  A friend of mine says that you need to hit rock bottom in order to feel the ground beneath your feet.  This is exactly what happened to me.  I fell really deep.  I can just imagine how Satan must have been waiting for me with open arms, but God did not give up on me and gave me another chance.

 

Reference

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5 Reasons You Should Recite Surah Rehman Daily by Maham Rizwan,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 5 Reasons You Should Recite Surah Rehman Daily

by

Maham Rizwan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surah Rehman is one of the most beneficial surahs of the Holy Quran. It comes with the solution to many diseases. In a way, it brings healing balm for you not just physically but emotionally; it is a great source of emotional healing.

This surah consists of seventy-eight verses in total. It is not very lengthy and is easy to memorize. According to the well-known Hazrat Imam Jaffar (As), you get very high rewards if you make a habit of reciting Surah Rehman every day after offering your Fajr salah.

It is also known as Surah-Ar-Rehman.

 

  • General benefits of recitation of Surah Rehman

This particular Surah eliminates pietism from the heart of a living being. In the event that it is recounted before the evening, it is said that an angel will protect the person recited it until nightfall and on the off chance that you recite it after the Maghrib, so your Creator will send a heavenly attendant to monitor you until you are awake.

In the case, you write Surah Rehman on the dividers of your home so that it will keep a wide range of family issues away.

 

  • Surah Rehman in Death

Additionally, Hazrat Imam Jaffar (AS) said that whoever discusses this specific Surah and bites the dust is viewed as a saint. What else do you need from the Quran? This surah will protect you in your death as well and will make it all easy for you.

 

  • Eye Disease

An amazing thing about this Surah is that it cures all your eye afflictions. Even people who suffer from eyesight issues must recite this Surah daily, and they will see the difference with the help of Allah.

 

  • Surah Rehman for Marriage

It is said that if you recite this Surah every day for twenty-one days for yourself or your daughter, sister, anyone who wants to get married, Allah will have mercy and with the help of the Almighty, you will get married. You must read this Surah with reciting the Darood-e-Pak before and after Surah Rehman.

 

  • Surah Rehman for Patients

This Surah is the arrangement of all issues and illnesses that include diseases like depression, hypertension, diabetes, and some very serious issues like cancer. We allude to recount the Surah Rehman treatment to control the psychic issues like anxiety and depression, more often than not with the end goal of enhancing ordinary working.

Each and every chronic disease can be cured with the help of Surah Rehman. If an ill person listens to this surah, it is more than treatment for him, and with the mercy of Allah Almighty, he will be cured in no time.

Always remember that the Creator of the universe Allah, only he can take decisions of life and death and no one can cure you of any disease but Allah.

 

  • Therapy for the Soul

If a man listens to Surah Rehman daily, it mends the injuries of his spirit. It will make you all fresh and will make you feel great about yourself.

 

Make this your routine, recite Surah Rehman daily and have a good time in the world and hereafter.

About the Author:

Maham Rizwan is a writer and copywriter who has worked with New York Times bestselling authors and personal development organizations such as Productive Muslim and Mindvalley. She regularly blogs at http://quranacademy.io/

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Your fatwa does not apply here | Karima Bennoune | TEDxExeter

Your fatwa does not apply here | Karima Bennoune | TEDxExeter

Published on May 5, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. One day, Karima Bennoune found herself wondering whether she could protect her father with a paring knife. She tells the stories of individual Muslims struggling against fundamentalism and terrorism.

Karima Bennoune is a professor of international law at the University of California–Davis School of Law. She grew up in Algeria and the United States and now lives in northern California.

She has published widely in many leading academic journals, as well as in the Guardian, The New York Times, Comment is Free, the website of Al Jazeera English, The Nation. The topic of her most recent publication ‘Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here’ is a very personal one for her. Her father Mahfoud Bennoune was an outspoken professor at the University of Algiers, and faced death threats during the 1990s, but continued speaking out against fundamentalism and terrorism. In writing this book, Karima set out to meet people who are today doing what her father did back then, to try to garner for them greater international support than Algerian democrats received during the 1990s.

She has served as a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law and on the board of directors of Amnesty International USA. Currently, she sits on the Board of the Network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws. She has also been a consultant on human rights issues for the International Council on Human Rights Policy, the Soros Foundation, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, and for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Her human rights field missions have included Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Korea, southern Thailand, and Tunisia.

She traveled to Algeria in February 2011 to serve as an observer at pro-democracy protests with the support of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, writing a series of articles about these events for the Guardian. In October 2011, she volunteered as an election observer during the Tunisian constituent assembly elections with Gender Concerns International.

At TEDxExeter 2014 our speakers and performers connected us with other worlds. Our talks exposed corruption in big business, shared effective approaches to tackling social inequality and gave a voice to those whose human rights are under threat. We explored the impact of fast changing technologies on all our lives. We journeyed through fire and forest to frozen landscapes. We were challenged to consider worlds of extremes, cutting edge controversies and risky opportunities.
Video Production Chromatrope (http://chromatrope.co.uk/)
Production Manager Andy Robertson (http://www.youtube.com/familygamertv)

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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Muslim Americans Widely Seen As Victims Of Discrimination By Matt Sledge in Huffington Post USA,

ASSOCIATED PRESS
 

Muslim Americans are widely seen as victims of discrimination, but also viewed by a slim majority as members of a religion that encourages violence, according to an Economist/YouGov poll released Friday. Americans who know a Muslim, meanwhile, are more likely to view adherents of the religion favorably.

Those results come in the midst of a spate of either suspected or confirmed anti-Muslim hate crimes. The shooting of three Muslims in Chapel Hill on Feb. 10 by a killer with murky motives crystallized the moment of fear.

A full 73 percent of Americans believe Muslims face a great deal or a fair amount of discrimination. That total outstrips both African-Americans, whom 63 percent of Americans see as victims of bias, and Mexican-Americans, who are viewed as targets of discrimination by 60 percent.

The general feeling that discrimination exists is further underlined by questions about the motives of alleged Chapel Hill shooter Craig Stephen Hicks. Police initially said the killings appeared to have stemmed from a parking dispute, but also added that they were looking into whether religion was a factor. Authorities have not charged Hicks with a hate crime. However, 45 percent of Americans said Hicks should be charged with a hate crime, compared with 18 percent who believe he should not.

Those supportive-sounding numbers are offset by Americans’ other views on Muslims. Many Americans seem to have adopted the views of Bill Maher and Mike Huckabee.

A majority — 52 percent — of Americans said Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence. Suspicion of Islam was much higher among Republicans (74 percent) than Democrats (41 percent).

“There’s just a lack of access to Muslims, and because of this lack of real-world contact, a number of conservative media sources have biased opinions,” said Robert McCaw, government affairs manager for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Theologically Islam is no more violent or less violent than Christianity or any other monotheistic religion,” he said. “I think one stereotype is true: that Muslims are being highly discriminated against. So that’s an experience which people have experienced firsthand.”

Knowing a Muslim does seem to alter a person’s impression of members of the religion. A majority (53 percent) of Americans who personally know a Muslim disagree with the idea that the religion is more likely to encourage violence. Americans who know Muslims are also significantly more likely to view them as patriotic.

The Economist/YouGov online poll surveyed 1,000 respondents from Feb. 14 to 16 with a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Courtesy: URL: Huffington Post

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Chapel Hill Shooting

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