Posted tagged ‘Discrimination against Muslims’

White House “Champion” Blasts Muslims Who Talk to Any Pro-Israel Jews

December 7, 2016

White House “Champion” Blasts Muslims Who Talk to Any Pro-Israel Jews, Investigative Project on Terrorism, December 7, 2016


Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour took to Twitter Nov. 22 with a quick, venting post: “You know what I can’t stand? Bitter people. That’s all.”

Sarsour spoke at the annual American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) conference three days later. Evidently, she can’t stand herself.

Sarsour, who describes herself as a “racial justice and civil rights activist,” lashed out at Jews who extended a hand of friendship and solidarity over concerns that increasing hostility toward Muslims in America might lead to draconian government action. And she lashed out at fellow Muslims who accepted the gesture and joined in a new inter-faith dialogue.

Why the bitterness?

The Jews at issue support the state of Israel, support its existence and its vitality. Sarsour wants none of that.

“We have limits to the type of friendships that we’re looking for right now,” Sarsour told the AMP conference, “and I want to be friends with those whom I know have been steadfast, courageous, have been standing up and protecting their own communities, those who have taken the risk to stand up and say – we are with the Palestinian people, we unequivocally support BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctioning Israel] when it comes to Palestinian human rights and have been attacked viciously by the very people who are telling you that they’re about to stand on the front line of the Muslim registry program. No thank you, sisters and brothers.”

It’s a message that fit right in at the AMP conference. AMP claims its “sole purpose is to educate the American public and media about issues related to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage.” But in practice, the group has defended Hamas and its leaders admit they seek “to challenge the legitimacy of the State of Israel.”


Sarsour, a media darling honored by the Obama White House as a “Champion of Change” and a high-profile surrogate for Bernie Sanders‘ failed Democratic presidential nomination campaign, seems to strike a different tone in public appearances. Her biography says she is “most known for her intersectional coalition work and building bridges across issues, racial, ethnic and faith communities.” That clearly wasn’t her intent at the AMP conference.

She acknowledges there’s a rift among Islamists about how hard a line to draw in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet she was intent on pouring gasoline on the fire.

The “cracks in our community” are so wide, she said, they’re visible to “right-wing Zionists, Islamophobes, white supremacists.”

“They know where we’re divided. They know that we’re segregated,” she said. “So they, we could easily be targeted when we’re a fragmented community. But if we were a strong, united, steadfast community that stood up for each other first and foremost, you’d better believe that no opposition would ever be trying to take us down, because we’d be too big, too strong and too united.”

Some of her comments likely were directed at Anti-Defamation League chief Jonathan Greenblatt. Should a Trump administration create a registry for Muslims, an idea that does not seem to be on the table, Greenblatt recently pledged that “this proud Jew will register as Muslim.”

Sarsour not only rebuked the gesture, she cast Muslims who might respond more positively as sellouts of the Palestinian cause. Cooperation and solidarity gestures should only be reserved for those who share the depth of her hatred toward Israel, she said.

“I am tired of Muslims working towards acceptance and not respect of our communities. And I’m also tired of the Muslims willing to sell Palestine just for a little acceptance and nod from the white man and white power in these United States of America,” Sarsour said.

1902Sarsour, in the red hijab, poses with others at the White House Eid celebration.

Despite this extreme stance, Sarsour is a rising star among American Islamist activists. She has been welcomed to the White House at least 10 times during President Obama’s tenure, most recently in July for a celebration of the Muslim Eid holiday. Last year, a glowing New York Times profile described her as “a Brooklyn Homegirl in a Hijab.”

“But the most apparent thing about her voice is that it is exceedingly Brooklyn,” the story said. “She says ‘swag’ instead of ‘charisma.’ (‘Mr. B. has swag …) She calls her father, a Palestinian immigrant in his 60s, ‘Pops.’ Like the actress Rosie Perez in a hijab, Ms. Sarsour has perfected her delivery of the head-swaying ‘Oh no you dih-int’ and pronounces the word ‘Latino’ like, well, a Latino.”

Sarsour also says “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and all-but accused the CIA of faking an attempted terrorist attack.

Those statements didn’t make the Times profile. And they didn’t prompt the Obama administration to reconsider the wisdom of elevating Sarsour’s clout with repeated White House access.

In February, just over a year after terrorists massacred the staff at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, saying they “avenged the Prophet,” Sarsour told a Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR) banquet in Chicago that she would not stand with the victims. The magazine was “a bigot and a racist” for publishing caricatures of Islam’s prophet Muhammad, she said. The images served to “vilify my faith, dehumanize my community [and] demoralize my prophet.”

Building off Sarsour’s rejection of anyone who breaks bread with Zionists, former AMP New York President Raja Abdulhaq defined the BDS movement – not as a tool to lead to peaceful negotiations – but as way to break Israel into total surrender.

“The rights are non-negotiable. And that’s the whole point of BDS, is that we demand, we want to apply pressure,” Abdulhaq said, “not sit down in a negotiated setting and figure out what you can give up so that I can give up something in return, because what you’re essentially doing is you’re asking the other side – give up your illegality, stop your illegality and I will give up my rights. What kind of negotiation is that? No, I demand my rights, and you stop your illegality. And that’s the whole basis of BDS.”

Among the non-negotiable “rights” Abdulhaq says AMP and the BDS movement insist upon is the so-called “right of return” for Palestinians. That would lead to a huge influx of Palestinians into Israel, swamping the country demographically and ending its existence as a Jewish homeland.

That’s just fine with conference speaker Lamis Deek, an attorney and board memberfor CAIR’s New York chapter. She repeatedly described Israelis as “serial killers” intent on ethnic cleansing.

“There is a serial killer in our home,” Deek said. “And what do you do when you are confronted with a serial killer, right? You protect yourself. You protect your family. You scream for help. And you expect that when you scream for help from a serial killer everybody is gonna come to your aid, they’re gonna come protect and defend you. Right? You don’t expect somebody to intervene on behalf of the serial killer … and say ‘the serial killer has some rights, let us tell you about the rights the serial killer has’ as he begins to kill you. Right?”

Like Sarsour, Deek expressed frustration at Muslims who accept other viewpoints.

“Nothing has set back the Palestinian movement in the U.S. more than demands by people who want to work and focus their efforts on [Washington] D.C., by their demands that we tame our demands for Palestine,” she said.

Dawud Walid, CAIR’s Michigan director, echoed the message about Muslim groups who appear too accommodating. “If these organizations claim to represent the Muslim community,” he said, “then when we see them doing things that go outside of the mainstream of the (UI word) of our community, we need to hold them accountable, and if they continue to step outside of the boundaries, then we should withdraw our support and make that very public.”

Walid has acknowledged that his employer, which works hard to project an image as a civil rights organization, really sees itself as “defenders of the Palestinian struggle.”

Deek, meanwhile, spoke of the harm done to the Palestinian cause by the U.S.-brokered Oslo Accords. While that initiative may have given Palestinians autonomy, it came at the cost of unity, she said.

It’s not clear what she means. But, since 2006, the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has governed the West Bank while Hamas controls Gaza.

Oslo also made it more difficult to engage in terrorism – what Deek calls “armed resistance.”

“Now armed resistance, self-defense, has been the only direct challenge to Zionist colonial expansion. Nothing else is a direct challenge,” she told the AMP conference. “Everything else is an indirect challenge, right? Pressure – economic pressure, diplomatic pressure. So this national united Palestinian body was able – by supporting the resistance – was able to be part of directly impacting and influencing Zionist policy.”

Advocating more Palestinian violence is consistent for an AMP gathering. The organization’s message never mentions peaceful co-existence. An Investigative Project on Terrorism investigation found connections between at least five AMP officials and speakers and the defunct Hamas support network called the “Palestine Committee.”

During the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, AMP’s then-National Campus Coordinator Taher Herzallah posted images of wounded Israelis, calling them “The most beautiful site (sic) in my eyes.” He defended indiscriminate Hamas rocket fire at Israeli civilian communities as “an audible cry for help” and “an act of resistance.”

Two clear messages emerged from the AMP conference. “Resistance” is better than renouncing violence and seeking peace. All Muslims who might disagree, even if they see eye-to-eye on other issues, are no longer welcome.

These extreme stands came from speakers who enjoy prominent political profiles and high-level contacts.

Sarsour is right about one thing. There is a rift in her community. She and her AMP panelists are the ones widening it.

These Five Muslim Countries Discriminate Against Muslims

November 24, 2016

These Five Muslim Countries Discriminate Against Muslims, Clarion Project, November 24, 2016

Here are five Muslim countries with laws that discriminate against minority sects of Islam:

saudi-arabia-king-salman-ip_2King Salman of Saudi Arabia. (Photo: © Reuters)

Many of the countries which carry out religious discrimination against Muslims are themselves Muslim countries with an Islamic system of government. Here are five of the worst offenders.

1 Iran

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ruled by a concept called Velayat e-Faqih, or “guardianship of the Jurist” in which political power is vested in the hands of a clerical establishment headed by the Supreme Leader. It calls its revolution “Islamic” and claims to have a government that safeguards religion.

Yet, despite this Islamic claim to legitimacy, Iran has repressive laws that restrict the religious rights of Muslims. Ja’afari Shiite Islam is the official state religion and all law is in accordance with the doctrines of that sect. Although the constitution states the Sunni schools of thought must be “accorded full respect,” Sunnis complain of discrimination at the hands of the regime. In 2015, “Security officials continued to raid and demolish existing prayer sites belonging to Sunnis” according to the United States Institute for Peace and “the government reportedly barred the construction of new Sunni mosques.”

Sunnis make up 10% of Iran’s population, but they say they are denied government jobs and are treated as second class citizens. Although there are one million Sunnis in the Iranian capital Tehran, Sunnis complain there is no Sunni mosque in the city, a charge which Islamic Republic media outlets deny, with one website claiming there are nine.

This year Iran, after a dispute with Sunni rival Saudi Arabia, banned Iranian pilgrims from going on the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, which takes place annually in September. This year, one million Iranian pilgrims instead marked the festival of Arafat Day in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, Iraq, during the same time as the Hajj.

2 Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, one of the last left in the world, in which the House of Saud rule in accordance with the austere and puritanical sect of Islam  known as Wahhabism, named after the sect’s founder Mohammed Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab (1703-1792).

Ibn Saud, the founder of the House of Saud made a deal with al-Wahhab that the former would control political life and the latter religious life in Saud’s domains, a deal which was continued through the generations of both families to this day. Legally speaking, the Quran and the Sunna (the oral tradition of Islam) are the country’s constitution.

All other forms of Islam are persecuted in Saudi Arabia. “Shia clerics and activists who advocated for equal treatment of Shia Muslims were arrested, and at least one Shia cleric awaited execution after being convicted on charges of ‘violent opposition’ to the government,” according to the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report for Saudi Arabia (2015).

Shiites, who make up 10-15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population are kept from representation on the country’s religious councils.

Since Wahhabis do not celebrate the holiday of Mawlid, the commemoration of Mohammed’s birthday, or visit to the tombs of Islamic saints, Saudi Arabia strictly prohibits all other Muslims to do so as well.

Shiites are also often forced to use the Sunni call to prayer rather than their own one and complain of socio-economic discrimination as a result of their faith.

3 Brunei

Brunei is a small monarchy on the island of Borneo ruled in accordance with a mixture of the Sha’afi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence and a civil law code. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the King, introduced sharia law’s harsh hudud punishments in 2014.

Legally the country affords other sects the right to worship in peace. However, in practice, there are restrictions on non-Sha’afi sects. All religious (and non-religious) organizations are forced to register and provide the state with a full list of their members. Participation in an unregistered organization, such as a religious group, is prohibited and punishable by a fine.

Schools, including private schools, are prohibited from teaching any religion other than Sha’afi Islam. All Friday sermons in the country are pre-approved; uniform sermons are drafted by the ministry of religious affairs and delivered by registered imams.

4 Bahrain

Bahrain is a small island in the Persian Gulf where a Sunni monarchy rules over and oppresses a Shiite majority population. The country is dominated politically, economically and militarily by Saudi Arabia. In 2011, Saudi Arabia came to the aid of the beleaguered Bahraini government and marched troops into the country to violently quell protests.

Shiites in Bahrain are subject to a myriad of restrictions. “Shias are clearly being targeted on the basis of their religion,” a group of human rights experts working for the UN stated in August 2016.

“Recently, we witnessed the dissolution of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, the shutting of faith-based organizations, restrictions on the practice of religious rites, on Friday prayers and peaceful assemblies, restrictions on movement, restricted access to the Internet and a ban on Shia religious leaders from preaching.”

All religious groups must obtain a permit to operate in Bahrain, which can be revoked at the discretion of the state.

5 Pakistan

Pakistan was founded as an Islamic republic to provide a state for Muslims in South Asia after the end of the British Raj (the British Empire’s rule of India). It was intended to be a secular state which provides a political haven for those with a Muslim identity, rather than a theocratic state. Legally, it is still a secular country.

However, there are a number of restrictions. Ahmadiyya Muslims are not recognized as Muslims in Pakistan. Their heterodox sect, which numbers an estimated 14 million worldwide and is concentrated heavily in Pakistan, believers that their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, is the resurrection of Jesus and the promised Mahdi who will save Islam. This belief is regarded as heretical by other Muslim sects.

Ahmadis are legally prohibited from calling themselves Muslims, from worshipping in ordinary mosques and from preaching their faith. Anti-Ahmadi propaganda is widely disseminated with the backing of the state.

As a consequence, Ahmadis face routine discrimination and physical violence, and there have been many murders of Ahmadi Muslims for their faith in Pakistan.