Majority Muslims

Let us be clear about this.

Chapel Hill Shooting was exactly the type of backlash that Muslims have been talking about. 

The same media pundits who want to send “condolences” now didn’t take heed then. They insisted upon their decontextualized “Je Suis Charlie” hashtag and portrayed us as uncooperative fanatics who get “offended” over “cartoons”, completely manipulating the abrasive nature of hate speech and how it remains just that - hate speech - regardless of its in writing, animated or verbal form. They contributed to a culture that maligns and pathologizes Muslims and Islam into a violent and unmanageable other that needs to be handled. 

Well, this is how a white supremacist decided to “handle” The Muslim Question that Americans have openly grappled with. Feel free to scoff at this irredeemable act of savagery, but it doesn’t happen without context and normalization. Islamophobia is a culture. Treating the death of Muslims, unearthing of Muslim majority regions, destabilization of entire nations as a requirement to combat “terrorism” has been the (white) American way and the basis of foreign policy in North/East Africa and West/South Asia for several years now.

You’re either a part of the solution, or the problem. Toss out false notions of individualism. We are a collective and each of our actions, words or lack thereof speaks volumes and reverberates effects. 

If you allow Islamophobic sentiments to continue unchecked and tolerate it in your vicinity, you’re an enabler. If you think there’s legitimacy in imperial occupations and believe “collateral damage” (ie. innocents dead) in drone wars is a sad, albeit necessary evil, you’re an enabler. If “terrorism” is a lexicon you only employ within the contexts of Muslims, you’re an enabler. If you honestly believe that hijab wearing women share one common narrative of oppression and do not allow them a chance at cultivating their own understanding and relationship to their faith and mode of dress, you’re an enabler.

There are countless instances in which Islamophobia, as a cultural, geopolitical and economical phenomenon can be and are proliferated. Unless you’re actively working towards dismantling it, within self and communally, you do not have the right to disassociate yourself from its devastating outcomes. 

"France isn't a racist/is a socialist country!"
  • France:*only forgave haiti's slave debt /after/ their economy was destroyed by a natural disaster leaving them without the means to make payments*
  • France:*still holds former african colonies in debt*
  • France:*monopolizes resource industries in those colonies, literally preventing the people who live in those countries from owning and profiting from the land and resources in them*
  • France:*has one of the world's largest armies which it employs second only to the us in the middle east in defense of oil assets*
  • France:*controlled the colonial government in south vietnam and committed many of the war crimes of the vietnam war to defend it*
  • France:*holds heavy influence over multiple (often muslim-majority) countries in the middle-east, south asia, and northern africa but has the gall to make muslims unwelcome /in france/*

Listen… The statement “not all Muslims are terrorists” is dumb and ugly. 1 because this implies a good majority of Muslims ARE terrorists and that there a few odd good ones. And 2 because terrorists are NOT Muslims. No matter what they claim. They do NOT follow Islam if they’re out there doing what they do. Thanks

It is said that Muslims believe in female genital mutilation, the surgical removal of all or part of a girl’s clitoris. Yet I have never, in my 41 years, had a conversation with someone who described themselves as Muslim and believed this practice to be anything other than a despicably inhuman abomination. Until I first read about it in a newspaper, probably in my 20s, I would have thought it impossible that such a ritual could even exist.

Similarly, many millions of Muslims apparently believe that women should have no role in politics. But many millions more have had no qualms electing women prime ministers in Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Indeed, this month’s Pakistani elections witnessed a record 448 women running for seats in the national and provincial assemblies.

Two of my great-grandparents sent all of their daughters to university. One of them, my grandmother, was the chairperson of the All Pakistan Women’s Association and dedicated her life to the advancement of women’s rights in the country. But among those descended from the same line are women who do not work and who refuse to meet men who are not their blood relatives. I have female relatives my age who cover their heads, others who wear mini-skirts, some who are university professors or run businesses, others who choose rarely to leave their homes. I suspect if you were to ask them their religion, all would say “Islam”. But if you were to use that term to define their politics, careers, or social values, you would struggle to come up with a coherent, unified view.
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Facts and Celluloid [4]

When it came to shooting the scene where Malcolm X goes on his pilgrimage to Mecca, Spike Lee had to fight to shoot on location. After a battle with Warner Bros. to put up the money, he then had to go ask permission from Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd.

The production was granted the admission of cameras. One major challenge remained: only Muslims can enter the holy city’s walls. To work around this, an all-Muslim second unit was hired to capture the footage. Spike Lee waited for them outside, and Malcolm X became the first non-documentary film to shoot in Mecca.

via Entertainment Weekly and IMDb

As a Muslim I firmly believe it’s my duty to protect Christians and Jews against extremists - even more so if they are minorities in Muslim majority countries. This is what Prophet Muhammad SAW taught me.

Turkey, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Iraq all victims of terrorism in one week.

A reminder that they are all Muslim majority countries and these great “Muslim” terrorists have killed Muslims in the holiest month of Ramadan when they should be fasting and worshipping God only.

You wouldn’t have heard about these victims because their lives aren’t as precious as the ones died in Paris, Brussels etc.

Drop your ignorance and understand what the media is trying to do!

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وجمعة مباركة للجميع

While these may be controversial & provocative, Muslims have no right to be offended by it. What’s offensive is that atheism is punishable with the death penalty in Saudi Arabia & many other Muslim-majority countries both in the middle east & outside of it. Not all Muslim-majority countries have the death penalty, but there are other punishments like prison, lashes, annulment of marriage, loss of child custody & family inheritance, seizure of property, loss of employment, & others.

Even if these laws didn’t exist, atheists still experience oppression from society. Most will not come out to their families for fear of being disowned, kicked out, or even worse, killed. If the apartheid laws weren’t bad enough, you still have to worry about how your family, friends, & neighbours will react to your lack of faith. So these pictures aren’t offensive, they’re resistance against oppression & apartheid. When you oppress a group of people so much & take away their right to live, expect the frustration to be released one way or another, even if it pisses off your oppressors.

While one can try to argue that the death penalty has nothing to do with Islam, the politicians & clerics who advocate the law use Sharia, verses from the Quran, & hadiths to support it. Only a tiny minority of clerics & fiqh experts oppose it, & they are constantly being accused of apostasy themselves.

Thirteen countries punish atheism with the death penalty. These are Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Qatar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, & Sudan. All are Muslim-majority & use Sharia to varying degrees, except for Nigeria but the death penalty only applies in certain Muslim-majority states in the north.

Until these laws no longer exist & atheists can finally live, Muslims have no right to be offended by legitimate resistance & our response to oppression.

Testimonies from Saudi atheists I personally know:

“It’s hell. Religion is always pushed down our throats. We’ve worked so hard to get rid of the brainwash we’ve been receiving all our lives just to put on a mask every fucking day in front of people. A socially acceptable mask. It’s like we’re in a zombie apocalypse & we’re disguising as zombies to not have our brains eaten. You MUST agree with them. You MUST wear that mask every fucking day of your life. You start to get less & less chances in life of taking that mask off & relaxing for a bit & the more you wear that mask the more painful it gets because that fucking mask is poisonous. But you wear it anyway because the alternative is getting killed.”

“The first thing I’d start with is how hard it is to live a double life. Religion & the place I’m living in are some of the reasons why I’m suffering from severe depression. Religion haunts me. I’m always having nightmares that I’ve been caught & will face beheading. My life is in danger 24/7.”

“In Saudi Arabia, god is your judge, jury, & executioner. God is not in the sky but on the ground in the form of long bearded men with evil in their eyes. God wanted me dead but now god can’t reach me (thanks to getting asylum). How godly of him.”

“Being an atheist single mother is terrifying. I’m always paranoid someone will find out & take my son away from me because I’m an “unfit mother”. It breaks my heart that I have to lie to him about god & religion because he’s too young to realize how dangerous speaking the truth is.”

“I can’t think of anything that would describe it better than hell. It’s way too risky to say anything.”

“I seriously don’t want to think about this shitty place we live in becuse I’m already depressed as fuck.”

Detained Shia Muslims Routinely Tortured in Bahrain

Ayat al Ghermezi, a 20 year old Bahraini Shia Muslim, was arrested for publicly reciting a poem that insulted the Al Khalifa royal family. She was then detained and tortured for weeks before being subjected to a military tribunal. In the first week of her detainment, she was blindfolded and beaten, electrocuted, and threatened with gang rape by the officers that arrested her. She was never allowed to call her family. 

An estimated 1000 Bahrainis were detained and tortured in relation to the 2011 uprising which demanded an expansion of human rights for Shia Muslims in Bahrain. The protest, barely covered by Western media, was one of the largest of its kind. 

Though Shia Muslims comprise the majority of the Bahraini Muslim population, their daily life is squelched by police brutality, deprival of human rights, and systematic discrimination. Shia Muslims are barred from purchasing property in many neighbourhoods, unable to attain government positions or jobs in the police force or army, and are denied citizenship in place of Pakistani and Saudi Arabian Sunni Muslims, whom receive expedited citizenship. 

The torture of Shia Muslims in Bahrain remains an enigmatically disturbing endemic. Reports of abductions, false imprisonment charges, and weeks of destabilizing, psychologically destructive torture have arisen from the families and lawyers of the mysteriously vanished Shia Bahrainis. 

According to the CS monitor, Shia Bahrainis have been abducted, stolen from, and then detained for weeks without trial or the opportunity to contact family members. Routine torture sessions such as, blindfolded beatings, electrocutions, sound torture and waterboarding occur for sometimes months at a time before the detainees are released. Many detainees remain missing from the grid altogether. 

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MENA people really seem to not give a crap about ethnic and religious minorities within their region tbh. A lot of them cry about Islamophobia in the West (and rightfully so) but don’t really care that many Muslim majority countries pretty much treat non-Muslim minorities as second-class citizens. How Coptic Christians get treated in Egypt, for example, is awful. There is growing religious intolerance and a rise of sectarian violence. Many moved to the west as a result. Armenians and Kurdish minorities face persecution in Turkey, and there are still many political prisoners. In Iraq, the Shia prime minister pretty much only cares about protecting his own sect and disregards everyone else. Many Iraqis are also really racist against Kurdish people and see them as inferior, and often uphold the stereotype that they have low IQ and are not intelligent enough to be able to even run their own country, so that is often used to say that the Kurdish shouldn’t have their own sovereignty. In Saudi Arabia, they literally do not allow churches there, even though it’s the land of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) - he clearly taught that Christians and their places of worship should be respected. Lets not even get started on the anti-Semitism, and how under the ba'ath Saddamist regime in Iraq, so many Iraqi Jews were displaced and forced to move to Isr**l. Today there are only four Iraqi Jews living in Iraq.

When all of this is said, MENA people tend to scream “This is Western propaganda!” No it isn’t, sit down.

i keep seeing that picture of the American flag hijabi circulating as “omg so amazing” i got feelings……

it’s bad enough in times like these the performance of patriotism & extolling of nationalist rhetoric by Muslim Americans gets turned up, oftentimes in ways that are reactionary out of fear (which is understandable)

but i don’t find it revolutionary or amazing or empowering or badass that someone who founded the Republican Muslim coalition would wear a hijab flag

if the non-muslim American majority had a more nuanced understanding of Muslim American women in the public political sphere they’d understand how anti-revolutionary it actually is. and how common folks like saba ahmed actually are

if more folks didn’t see hijabis through an epically orientalist lens they’d come to understand not all hijabis are down for liberation

they’d find there are plenty of Muslim Americans who buy into the nationalist/patriotic rhetoric & politics that fuel islamophobia

they’d find there are Muslim Americans more interested in securing their safety net within the status quo then they are liberation from it

bottom line, i need non-muslims who are labelling this as “revolutionary” to evaluate the gaze by which they look at hijabis/veiled women

cause the reactions say a lot about how the relationship between political, religious, & ethnic identities of Muslim women are perceived

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Sallah Portraits by Emmanuel Bobbie                                                                                                                                                                                            Muslims around the world celebrated Eid Ul Adha (feast of sacrifice) today. it is the second of two festivals celebrated by Muslims each year. Festivities like this are celebrated  in grand styles in Ghana, especially in the Muslim communities across the country. From clothing, food to parties, celebrants show off in expensive styles. Last year, I brought you photos of how it was celebrated in Nima, a major muslim community in Accra. This year, Photographer Emmanuel Bobbie AKA Bobpixel was in Nima to capture some exciting scenes of the festival. He took these amazing portraits of Women, Men and children in Nima who took part in the festival.