16 September 2014 | By Andrew Potts

South Africa is to get its first gender-equal, non-sectarian, LGBTI welcoming and interracial mosque, with its doors to open to the public this Friday.

The so-called ‘Open Mosque’ will see men and women worship side by side and will welcome both Sunni and Shia Muslims.

In a move that has been controversial with more traditional Muslims, the mosque will allow women to lead prayers when there are men present and marry interfaith couples without both converting to Islam.

The Open Mosque’s founder Dr Taj Hargey, an imam and professor of Islamic Studies and African history at Oxford University, has also said that openly LGBTI people will be welcome at the mosque – while stopping short of condoning same-sex activity.

‘I do not endorse homosexual living, but I do not condemn them as people,’ Dr Hargey said, according to the Cape Times.

‘We will … welcome gay people and discuss topical subjects like sexuality, politics and others.’

Dr Targey, who was raised in Cape Town and has returned to his hometown to establish the mosque, said that he hoped to spark a ‘religious revolution’ when it came to gender equality and acceptance among Muslims in the Western Cape region.

‘The women will no longer make samoosas [sic] – they will make the decisions,’ he said.

However some have accused Dr Hargey of trying to establish a ‘gay mosque.’

Hargey said this was the result of confusion because the Open Mosque is situated on the same street as the headquarters of LGBTI affirming Muslim group Inner Circle.

Hargey, who is married to a Christian woman, said he was prepared to sue anyone who labelled him a ‘heretic’ or accused him of being a ‘homosexual’ over his plans for the mosque.

‘It is all lies. It is libel and I will take legal action against those spreading these lies,’ he said.

South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has been highly critical of the plans for the Open Mosque and has promised to launch an investigation into it to make sure it conforms with Islamic teachings.

‘I guess the Muslim clergy is not pleased with an independent new mosque that will challenge their authority,’ he said, ‘I preach an Islam that is enlightened, erudite and egalitarian.’

South Africa is to get its first gender-equal, non-sectarian, LGBTI welcoming and interracial mosque, with its doors to open to the public this Friday.

The so-called ‘Open Mosque’ will see men and women worship side by side and will welcome both Sunni and Shia Muslims.

In a move that has been controversial with more traditional Muslims, the mosque will allow women to lead prayers when there are men present and marry interfaith couples without both converting to Islam.

The Open Mosque’s founder Dr Taj Hargey, an imam and professor of Islamic Studies and African history at Oxford University, has also said that openly LGBTI people will be welcome at the mosque – while stopping short of condoning same-sex activity.

‘I do not endorse homosexual living, but I do not condemn them as people,’ Dr Hargey said, according to the Cape Times.

‘We will … welcome gay people and discuss topical subjects like sexuality, politics and others.’

Dr Targey, who was raised in Cape Town and has returned to his hometown to establish the mosque, said that he hoped to spark a ‘religious revolution’ when it came to gender equality and acceptance among Muslims in the Western Cape region.

‘The women will no longer make samoosas [sic] – they will make the decisions,’ he said.

However some have accused Dr Hargey of trying to establish a ‘gay mosque.’

Hargey said this was the result of confusion because the Open Mosque is situated on the same street as the headquarters of LGBTI affirming Muslim group Inner Circle.

Hargey, who is married to a Christian woman, said he was prepared to sue anyone who labelled him a ‘heretic’ or accused him of being a ‘homosexual’ over his plans for the mosque.

‘It is all lies. It is libel and I will take legal action against those spreading these lies,’ he said.

South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has been highly critical of the plans for the Open Mosque and has promised to launch an investigation into it to make sure it conforms with Islamic teachings.

‘I guess the Muslim clergy is not pleased with an independent new mosque that will challenge their authority,’ he said, ‘I preach an Islam that is enlightened, erudite and egalitarian.’

anonymous said:

What do you think ruined the gulf?

1) when leaders allowed British influence to create a sectarian divide in the countries
2) when leaders sold their land, natural resources, and people to America
3) when leaders introduced fundamentalism and religious extremism
4) when leaders decided they’d rather deal with Israel than Iran
5) when leaders decided that speaking against the ruler is a sin and can be punishable by both religious law and the judiciary system
6) when governments instilled scholars to brainwash their citizens into thinking that governments are infallible and god-sent
7) when some leaders decided that women should be tokens and not necessarily decision makers
8) when governments decided to favor the old and uneducated, rather than the young and willing
9) when leaders decided that it’s fine to steal from the country’s land, money, and natural resources
10) when they allowed America to create navy bases
11) when governments stopped spending a lot of money on education
12) when leaders decided that they’d rather die in office while oppressing millions than grant people freedom and democracy :)

Walking to the shop, quite high, just very casually reach up and take off my Yes badge. Don’t need any sectarian trouble on this journey

Iraq death toll tops 700 in February

The United Nations said Saturday that violence across Iraq in February killed 703 people, a death toll higher than the same month last year, as the country faces a rising wave of attacks rivaling the sectarian bloodshed that followed the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

The figure, issued by the U.N.’s mission to Iraq, comes close to January’s death toll of 733, showinga surge of violence that began 10 months ago with a government crackdown on a Sunni protest camp is not receding. And, as a new month began, attacks Saturday killed at least five people and wounded 14, authorities said.

Attacks in February killed 564 civilians and 139 security force members in February, the U.N. said. The violence wounded 1,381, the vast majority civilians, it said. The numbers far surpass those of February 2013, when attacks killed 418 civilians and wounded 704.

Read more

(Photo: Azhar Shallal/AFP/Getty Images)

Attaching yourself obsessively to a single group/school/scholar shackles your mind, causes your heart to develop hatred for other Muslims, forbids you from benefiting from the various scholars of this Ummah, and does away with your impartiality in discussing issues. Stick to the rope of Allah and do not be divided.
—  Shaykh Omar Suleiman
From the collection: Shaykh Omar Suleiman Quotes
Originally found on: believers-journey

A lot of people on both Twitter and Tumblr have become so sectarian when it comes to current conflicts today, they are directly part of the problem and in no way shape or form, should ever voice your opinion on the Syrian or Iraqi conflict today. To simply label these conflicts as a Sunni/Shia problem, is to simply label the Cold War as a war of ideologies. No respectable historian would ever say the Cold War was simply due to communism/capitalism, which is why you cannot label the Syrian conflict as that. Which is why you can not label ISIS groups as those who “fight for” Sunnism. What is happening is far more deep-rooted and troubling. What we are seeing is neocolonialism at its very finest, doing anything possible to take down the last line of defence within the Middle East.

They exploded in my grandmother’s neighborhood of Bir Hassan, one street down from her apartment building. My mother’s appetite fizzled, along with her birthday euphoria. “I can’t wait to leave this country,” she told me later, when I frantically called after coming across the news on a Facebook feed otherwise crowded with articles about Miley Cyrus’ toes, tongue or tailbone.

She left the breakfast table empty-stomached, packed her bags, and arrived at the airport two hours before her flight’s check-in counter opened. My mother’s birthday was spent mourning lives wasted. Contemplating the what-ifs that could have easily been, had the bomb taken place twelve hours earlier when she was standing near that now traumatized spot; absorbing the guilt as she succumbed selfishly but humanly to the joy of what thankfully wasn’t. (via the things we do for love: meditations on a second bombing | THE STATE)

Holy Cross Controversy (2001)

Around this time 13 years ago, a ‘picket’ began in the Ardoyne area of Belfast. It started when Catholic girls going to Holy Cross Primary School came under attack, as they had to pass through a Protestant area to get to their school. Hundreds of Protestant ‘protesters’ tried to stop the schoolchildren and their parents from walking to school through their area. Some protesters shouted sectarian abuse and threw stones, bricks, fireworks, blast bombs and even urine-filled balloons at the schoolchildren and their parents. Hundreds of riot police, backed up by British soldiers, were forced to escort them through the protest each day. Death threats were made against the parents and school staff by a loyalist paramilitary group called the Red Hand Defenders. It eventually ended in November when loyalists agreed to suspend the protest.

image

image

Could Ukraine be another Bosnia?

“You just don’t in the 21st century behave in a 19th-century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped-up pretext,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shortly after tens of thousands of Russian troops invaded Crimea under the auspices of protecting their Russian compatriots in the region.

But another interpretation is that Putin’s seemingly indecipherable strategy for dealing with the strategic setback Russian suffered when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown draws inspiration from a much more recent era — the 1990s — in a volatile, ethnically divided country once, but no longer in Russia’s sphere of influence: Bosnia and Herzegovina. The bloody and chaotic process by which the former Yugoslav republic separated from Belgrade may hold clues to Russia’s intentions in Crimea and the wider Ukraine.

Continue reading

(Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Christ Does Not Have To Be In Christmas (Poem by Rakuli)

image

A week before Christmas in a house by the sea
A group are enjoying the season
Some came for religion, some came for peace
All in attendance have reasons

Rabbis and priests, christians and jews
Share laughter and wine with agnostics
Muslims and hindus, zen buddhists too
Have water; the eggnog is caustic

Atheists, druids, shamans and leaders
Play poker, while sipping on whisky
Pagans stand back and scull cups of mead
As betting begins to get risky

There are catholic gays, one monk is trans-gender
There are priestesses bi, pan and straight
Some have come sober, some for the bender
But not one of them holds any hate

If any looked up and had mind to inquire
There would not be two mindsets the same
But they are all happy and have no desire
So continue enjoying the games

To the house by the sea comes one wandering soul
It has a religion and preference
It sees all who play and then starts to scold
Believing that there should be deference

“You can’t mingle with jews, be both catholic and gay.
Pagans and druids? You’re warring.
We don’t all have Christmas, it’s not right to say it
Your use of that word is abhorrent.

“We shouldn’t be forced to honour a date
That doesn’t match all our beliefs
I refuse to go on or to celebrate
Until my beliefs get some relief.”

“Oh wandering soul, you don’t understand,”
All in the house say in unison
“We just respect the beliefs of our friends
And think arguing is a touch ignorant.”

“I don’t understand, you still call it Christmas,”
The wandering soul says, bemused
“That’s just the most used name, but I’m all forgiveness,”
A rabbi chimes, quite amused

“So you don’t mind that your holy days
Are lost in the minds of the masses?”
A druid stands up to kindly say
“If it’s not lost in my mind, it’s no matter.”

The wandering soul looks at all of the faces
Not one even nearly the same
Belief to the side, they had come from far places
“May— may I join in your games?”

A week before Christmas, or Hanukkah or Solstice
In a small house that sits near the sea
Assembled dear friends who believed that justice
Was achieved by just letting be 

*****************************************************************************************

Copyright 2013 by Luke Dingle, aka Rakuli

Image: Bluwi

7

((you’ve seen @beetasays twitter! Anyways, here is Safavid Iran offering Ottoman Turkey some “hospitality” in an unspecified year between 1605 and 1618 CE, a time of peace.

This type of rhetoric was not uncommon in the context of the Ottoman empire and Safavid Iran’s dynamics in the religious realm. Though in this proverb, the condemnation even extends towards Iran’s linguistic ubiquity. Persian held a different esteem from Ottoman Turkish, being associated with mysticism, poetry, and cultural prestige. It was used as the lingua franca in Mughal India’s royal court and court culture and as the official language of administration in Transoxiana. Promotion of Ottoman Sunni orthodoxy versus the early Safavid extremism became touted in times of war, which neither the Ottomans or Safavids were lacking between them. The beginning of competing religious views between these two regional powerhouses lies in the emergence of Shah Ishmail and the Qizilbash in 1500/01 CE. Shah Ishmail’s rapid, decisive conquests incited religious and territorial anxiety among the Mamluks, the Ottoman empire, and the Shaybanid Uzbeks. Shah Ishmail is often labeled simply as ‘Shia’, however, it is more accurate to define his ideology as a mixture of radical interpretations of the Ismaili school and some aspects of gnostic thought, “albeit with some loose, allusive connections to the Shia mainstream.” Shah Ishmail’s political legitimacy was based in the belief, collectively held by his militant and devout followers such as the Qizilbash, that he was a divine leader [This aspect of Safavid rule would die with Shah Ishmail, as his successor, Tahmasp the I, denounced the divine character of the Shah, thus beginning the gradual shift towards Twelver Shiism. Though this transition did not quell religious tension, as even into Shah Abbas the I’s reign in the 17th century, Ottomans continued to refer to Safavid Iran as a heretic state]. Stories of anti-Sunnism, massacres of Sunnis [the truthfulness of these stories is debated, were allegedly told by dissident Iranian Sunnis], and the act of sabb [vilifying of the ‘Rightly Guided’ Caliphs of Sunni orthodoxy. In context of Safavid practice, it is addressed in the various Ottoman-Safavid peace treaties] by the Safavids alarmed Iran’s neighbors. For the Ottomans, reactions were especially visceral and their objections to Shah Ishmail’s empire resulted in pejoratives such as “rafidhi/rafezi/ravafiz” [meaning heretic] and the “Qizilbash state”. The Mamluks, however, carried out regular exchange of emissaries with the Safavids, offering gifts and entertaining them as guests, though conscious of the perceived Safavid threat. Shah Ishmail’s symbolic gifts for Qansawh Al-Ghuri, the Mamluk sultan, were a prayer carpet and a Qur’an. These two items acted as a means to “emphasize that the Safavid government was Muslim and a performer of prayer” and refute the Ottoman accusations of heresy. Selim the I wrote a response to the Mamluk Sultan’s letter [that suggested the Ottomans and Safavids compromise in 1516]: “My war with Ardabil Ughili [Shah Ishmail] is for religion, not kingdom. If I intended to conquer territories, Europe would be nearer and better than ruined Iran. As long as Ardabil Ughili does not repent, change his atheistic ways…content himself with Bayazid and ignore other lands, I will never compromise” [translation in Rasool Jafarian’s “The Political Relations of Shah Esma’il I with the Mamluk Government, 1501-16/907-22” used]. Though Selim the I suggested his goal was to eliminate the Safavids, this was used as a pretext to disguise his true intentions of annexing Mamluk territory, which he accomplished in August 24th, 1516.

The Battle of Chalderan occurred in 1514, west of Tabriz, between Ottoman and Safavid forces [personally led by Shah Ishmail]. Selim the I wrote a letter to Shah Ishmail before the battle and states: “You no longer uphold the commandments and prohibitions of the Divine Law..Indeed, as both the fatwas of distinguished ulama who base their opinion on reason and tradition alike and the consensus of the Sunni community agree that the ancient obligation of extirpation, extermination, and expulsion of evil innovation must be the aim of our exalted aspiration…” [translation in Ernest Tucker’s “From Rhetoric of War to Realities of Peace: The Evolution of Ottoman-Iranian Diplomacy Through the Safavid Era” used]. The Battle of Chalderan ended in the devastating Safavid defeat by the Ottomans, due to the fact that the Safavid arsenal consisted of swords and spears while the Ottomans wielded advanced artillery [This would be rectified during Shah Abbas the I’s reign, when he appointed two Englishmen, Anthony and Robert Sherley, as military advisers to modernize his army]. This was a psychological blow to Shah Ishmail, effectively shaking his image as divine ruler, and caused him to withdraw from personally participating in future battles. This, in turn, led to a political crisis in Iran.

The Battle of Sufiyan occurred in in 1605, in Sufiyan, Iran. The Ottoman Chronicler Ibrahim Pecevi says of the Ottomans’ defeat by Shah Abbas the I in the Tarikh-i Pecevi: “In short, it was a shameful defeat such as the Ottoman Empire had ever seen. May God Most High never let it happen again! Amen” [translation in Colin Imber’s “The Battle of Sufiyan, 1605: A Symptom of Ottoman Military Decline?” used]. Before Sufiyan, The Ottomans were already fighting a two-front war, with conflicts versus the Hapsburg in Hungary and with the Jelali rebels in Anatolia. The Ottoman empire could not afford to fight on a third front, and Shah Abbas succeeded in retaking Tabriz and other areas in 1603/4. Still, Safavid artillery and their form of siege warfare were outdated in comparison to the Ottomans. However, what did allow the Safavids to defeat the Ottomans was Shah Abbas the I’s skills as a commander, as he was “adept at learning lessons from the enemy, exploiting opportunities, and maintaining the morale of his men”.

Note: It must be remembered that while I focus here on the religious aspect of the Ottoman-Safavid relationship, it was not the main component of said relationship. These religious tensions were no doubt a backdrop to their relationship, convenient for war rhetoric, but it would be overstating its role to suggest religion was the primary source of the rivalry. The Ottoman-Safavid war campaigns were ultimately results of territory/border disputes and regional empire politics, not religion. Outside of these wars, both empires engaged with each other economically through trade and sent emissaries. Also note that Islam is not monolithic, is composed of numerous schools of law and interpretations, and both sects have large and localized branches.))

ok let me be clear: the primary cause of sectarianism in the middle east is the regimes. more than anyone else, they are responsible for the environment that creates suspicion, bigotry, and discrimination against religious minorities. 

this isn’t some ideological point that i believe because that’s how i make sense of the world. no, this is based on the very actions of the regimes themselves. for example, when mubarak was in power, he always allowed the salafists and islamists to hold rallies in support of coptic christian women who supposedly had converted to islam. these political rallies were some of the largest that were seen up until that point, amassing thousands of participants. the regime used this spectacle to a) allow the salafists/islamists to vent and b) point out to the christians the only alternative to the regime was a group of people who wanted to take their women and make them muslims. that’s just one example.

you also have de jure policies that separate christians and muslims, forcing them to think of themselves as wholly separate communities whose interests are at odds. for example, conversion from islam to another religion is a punishable offense across the middle east, while conversion into islam is completely legal. so this creates a situation where many christians don’t want their children to interact with muslims as much. because what if two of them fall in love and want to marry? the christian has to convert by law, and an already small community gets smaller.

none of this means that there isn’t sectarianism in the population itself, among both christians and muslims. however, there is no power structure that translates the sectarianism into oppression of muslims as muslims. there are no laws that prevent muslims from serving in the highest political positions of the country, nor are their social customs that require muslims to hide aspects of their personal identity from the public.

this is why the ikhwan’s sectarianism is important. and why it became more important when they came into power. before the election of the parliament and the presidency, they had their own political program, which among other things stated that islam is the source of the law and that only a muslim may be president of egypt. so sectarianism is not an outlier opinion within the islamist political movement. it’s very much at the center of their policies. 

i can’t speak for anyone else, but when i criticize the ikhwan for their sectarianism, it isn’t because i think the regimes are any better. not at all. but just because the regime is the worse of the two, it doesn’t mean that the ikhwan’s flaws should be ignored. they, too, are part of the problem.

Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video