سـنكون قنديـلاً في سواد الر

We will be light in dark days.

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Dalai Lama urgers Buddhists to halt Muslim violence. 

LEH: The Dalai Lama Sunday reiterated his plea to Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to halt violence against Muslims, in a speech to tens of thousands of devotees to mark his 79th birthday.

In front of the massive crowd that included Hollywood film star Richard Gere in northern India, the Dalai Lama said the violence in both Buddhist-majority countries targeting religious minority Muslims was unacceptable.

“I urge the Buddhists in these countries to imagine an image of Buddha before they commit such a crime,” Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader said on the outskirts of Leh, high in the Himalayas.

“Buddha preaches love and compassion. If the Buddha is there, he will protect the Muslims whom the Buddhists are attacking,” the leader, who fled Tibet for India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, said.

The Dalai Lama also expressed shock at a wave of deadly violence by Sunni militants against fellow Muslims, although he did not refer specifically to Iraq, where such militants have overrun swathes of five provinces north and west of Baghdad.

Gere greeted the Dalai Lama on stage, shaking his hand and praising the leader on behalf of several thousand foreign devotees who had gathered for the speech.

Inter-communal violence in Myanmar has overshadowed widely-praised political reforms since erupting in 2012. It has largely targeted Muslims, leaving at least 250 people dead.

Last month in Sri Lanka, four people were killed and hundreds of shops and homes damaged in the island’s worst religious violence in recent decades.

The Dalai Lama celebrated his birthday at his residence on the outskirts of Leh in Ladakh, a mainly Buddhist region.

He was in Ladakh to confer Kalachakra, a Buddhist process that empowers tens of thousands of his disciples to attain enlightenment.

Two years ago, the Nobel Peace Prize winner announced that he was retiring from political duties and upgraded the role of prime minister of the Tibetan exile community.

He devolved power in an attempt to lessen his own totemic status and secure the movement’s future after his death.

But he is still the most powerful rallying point for Tibetans, both in exile and in their homeland, and remains the universally recognised face of the movement.

The leader supports “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet within China rather than outright independence. But China accuses the Dalai Lama of covertly campaigning for Tibet’s independence, and calls him a “splittist”.

Dalai Lama urgers Buddhists to halt Muslim violence.

LEH: The Dalai Lama Sunday reiterated his plea to Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to halt violence against Muslims, in a speech to tens of thousands of devotees to mark his 79th birthday.

In front of the massive crowd that included Hollywood film star Richard Gere in northern India, the Dalai Lama said the violence in both Buddhist-majority countries targeting religious minority Muslims was unacceptable.

“I urge the Buddhists in these countries to imagine an image of Buddha before they commit such a crime,” Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader said on the outskirts of Leh, high in the Himalayas.

“Buddha preaches love and compassion. If the Buddha is there, he will protect the Muslims whom the Buddhists are attacking,” the leader, who fled Tibet for India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, said.

The Dalai Lama also expressed shock at a wave of deadly violence by Sunni militants against fellow Muslims, although he did not refer specifically to Iraq, where such militants have overrun swathes of five provinces north and west of Baghdad.

Gere greeted the Dalai Lama on stage, shaking his hand and praising the leader on behalf of several thousand foreign devotees who had gathered for the speech.

Inter-communal violence in Myanmar has overshadowed widely-praised political reforms since erupting in 2012. It has largely targeted Muslims, leaving at least 250 people dead.

Last month in Sri Lanka, four people were killed and hundreds of shops and homes damaged in the island’s worst religious violence in recent decades.

The Dalai Lama celebrated his birthday at his residence on the outskirts of Leh in Ladakh, a mainly Buddhist region.

He was in Ladakh to confer Kalachakra, a Buddhist process that empowers tens of thousands of his disciples to attain enlightenment.

Two years ago, the Nobel Peace Prize winner announced that he was retiring from political duties and upgraded the role of prime minister of the Tibetan exile community.

He devolved power in an attempt to lessen his own totemic status and secure the movement’s future after his death.

But he is still the most powerful rallying point for Tibetans, both in exile and in their homeland, and remains the universally recognised face of the movement.

The leader supports “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet within China rather than outright independence. But China accuses the Dalai Lama of covertly campaigning for Tibet’s independence, and calls him a “splittist”.

(Source: )

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Faking Cultural Literacy.

LOS ANGELES — I CAN’T help it. Every few weeks, my wife mentions the latest book her book club is reading, and no matter what it is, whether I’ve read it or not, I offer an opinion of the work, based entirely on … what, exactly? Often, these are books I’ve not even read a review or essay about, yet I freely hold forth on the grandiosity of Cheryl Strayed or the restrained sentimentality of Edwidge Danticat. These data motes are gleaned, apparently, from the ether — or, more realistically, from various social media feeds.

What was Solange Knowles’s elevator attack on Jay-Z about? I didn’t watch the security-camera video on TMZ — it would have taken too long — but I scrolled through enough chatter to know that Solange had scrubbed her Instagram feed of photos of her sister, Beyoncé. How about this season of “Game of Thrones” and that nonconsensual intercourse in the crypt? I don’t watch the show, but I’ve scanned the recaps on Vulture.com, and I am prepared to argue that this was deeply offensive. Is Pope Francis a postmodern pontiff? I’ve never listened to one of his homilies nor watched his recent “60 Minutes” appearance, but I’ve seen plenty of his @Pontifex tweets retweeted, so I’m ready to say his position on inequality and social justice is remarkably progressive.

It’s never been so easy to pretend to know so much without actually knowing anything. We pick topical, relevant bits from Facebook, Twitter or emailed news alerts, and then regurgitate them. Instead of watching “Mad Men” or the Super Bowl or the Oscars or a presidential debate, you can simply scroll through someone else’s live-tweeting of it, or read the recaps the next day. Our cultural canon is becoming determined by whatever gets the most clicks.

In his 1987 book “Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know,” E. D. Hirsch Jr. listed 5,000 essential concepts and names — 1066, Babbitt, Pickwickian — that educated people should be familiar with. (Or at least that’s what I believe he wrote, not having actually read the book.) Mr. Hirsch’s book, along with its contemporary “The Closing of the American Mind” by Allan Bloom, made the point that cultural literacy — Mr. Bloom’s canon — was the bedrock of our agreed-upon values.

NPR’s April Fools’ Day web story “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?” went viral on Facebook, where pranksters in on the joke linked to the piece and others then argued that they do too read and indignantly shared the link with exhortations to “read the story!” without actually clicking on it themselves to see that the only content was the revelation that the whole thing was a prank: “We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let’s see what people have to say about this ‘story.’ ”

According to a recent survey by the American Press Institute, nearly six in 10 Americans acknowledge that they do nothing more than read news headlines — and I know this only because I skimmed a Washington Post headline about the survey. After we’ve skimmed, we share. Commenters frequently start their posts with TL;DR — short for Too Long; Didn’t Read — and then proceed to offer an opinion on the subject at hand anyway. As Tony Haile, the chief executive of the web traffic analytics company Chartbeat, recently put it, “We’ve found effectively no correlation between social shares and people actually reading.” (He tweeted that.)

 It’s not lying, exactly, when we nod knowingly at a cocktail party or over drinks when a colleague mentions a movie or book that we have not actually seen or read, nor even read a review of. There is a very good chance that our conversational partner may herself be simply repeating the mordant observations of someone in her timeline or feed. The entire in-person exchange is built from a few factoids netted in the course of a day’s scanning of iPhone apps. Who wants to be the Luddite who slows everything down by admitting he has never actually read a Malcolm Gladwell book and maybe doesn’t exactly understand what is meant by the term “Gladwellian” — though he occasionally uses it himself?

Whenever anyone, anywhere, mentions anything, we must pretend to know about it. Data has become our currency. (And in the case of Bitcoin, a classic example of something that we all talk about but nobody actually seems to understand, I mean that literally.)

Those of us in the business of gathering, dispensing and otherwise trafficking in information may be among the worst offenders. Recently I was on the phone with an editor who mentioned a piece by a prominent author. I claimed I had read the story. It was only later in the conversation that it became clear to me that the article had not yet been published and I could not possibly have read it. By then we had moved on to discussing a possible article on a California politician caught in a rather complicated scandal. Neither of us could come up with his first name. Did that prevent us from talking pseudo-knowledgably about the pros and cons of the potential story? Absolutely not.

It’s understandable that one party or even both parties in a conversation may have only the faintest idea of what is being talked about. We’re all very busy — busier, if I believe the harried responses (when there are any at all) to most emails I send, than any previous generation. And because we spend so much time staring at our phones and screens, texting and tweeting about how busy we are, we no longer have the time to consume any primary material. We rely instead on the casual observations of our “friends” or the people we “follow” or, well, who, actually?

Who decides what we know, what opinions we see, what ideas we are repurposing as our own observations? Algorithms, apparently, as Google, Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media postindustrial complex rely on these complicated mathematical tools to determine what we are actually reading and seeing and buying.

We have outsourced our opinions to this loop of data that will allow us to hold steady at a dinner party, though while you and I are ostensibly talking about “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” what we are actually doing, since neither of us has seen it, is comparing social media feeds. Does anyone anywhere ever admit that he or she is completely lost in the conversation? No. We nod and say, “I’ve heard the name,” or “It sounds very familiar,” which usually means we are totally unfamiliar with the subject at hand.

THERE was a time when we knew where we were getting our ideas. In my eighth grade English class, we were assigned “A Tale of Two Cities,” and lest we enjoy the novel, we were instructed to read Charles Dickens’s classic with an eye toward tracking the symbolism in the text. One afternoon while I was in the library, struggling to find symbols, I ran into a few of my classmates, who removed from their pockets folded yellow and black pamphlets that read “Cliffs Notes” and beneath that the title of Dickens’s nonovel in block letters. That “study guide” was a revelation.Continue reading the main story Write A Comment

Here were the plot, the characters, even the symbols, all laid out in paragraphs and bullet points. I read the Cliffs Notes in one night, and wrote my B paper without finishing the novel. The lesson was not to immerse and get lost in the actual cultural document itself but to mine it for any valuable ore and minerals — data, factoids, what you need to know — and then trade them on the open market.

With the advent of each new technology — movable type, radio, television, the Internet — there have been laments that the end is nigh for illuminated manuscripts, for books, magazines and newspapers. What is different now is the ubiquity of the technology that is replacing every old medium.

The information is everywhere, a constant feed in our hands, in our pockets, on our desktops, our cars, even in the cloud. The data stream can’t be shut off. It pours into our lives a rising tide of words, facts, jokes, GIFs, gossip and commentary that threatens to drown us. Perhaps it is this fear of submersion that is behind this insistence that we’ve seen, we’ve read, we know. It’s a none-too-convincing assertion that we are still afloat. So here we are, desperately paddling, making observations about pop culture memes, because to admit that we’ve fallen behind, that we don’t know what anyone is talking about, that we have nothing to say about each passing blip on the screen, is to be dead.

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It’s never been so easy to pretend to know so much without actually knowing anything. We pick topical, relevant bits from Facebook, Twitter or emailed news alerts, and then regurgitate them. Instead of watching “Mad Men” or the Super Bowl or the Oscars or a presidential debate, you can simply scroll through someone else’s live-tweeting of it, or read the recaps the next day. Our cultural canon is becoming determined by whatever gets the most clicks.
Faking Cultural Literacy.

Filed under new york times

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Anthony Bourdain: The World Has Robbed Palestinians ‘of Their Basic Humanity’

Players of the Palestinian national soccer team prepare for a match against the Jordanian national team in Aram, West Bank. (AP/Tara Todras-Whitehill)

I like Anthony Bourdain but only watch his weekly TV series, past and present, when I see he’s visiting one of my areas of interest. So, yes, I did catch that excellent episode of his Parts Unknown on Israel and Palestine last September. And now he’s won a top “Courage and Conscience” award from MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Council) for it.

Here’s a fine review with two clips from the show, as he travels from the Wailing Wall to Gaza to an Israeli settlement. Bourdain, by the way, was born half-Jewish.

Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!

Posted below: his brief, heartfelt, acceptance speech on humanity and the Palestinians. Excerpt:

We show regular people doing everyday things–cooking and enjoying meals… It is a measure, I guess, of how twisted and shallow our depiction of the people is that these images come as a shock to so many. The world has visited many terrible things on the Palestinian people, none more shameful than robbing them of their basic humanity.

Greg Mitchell blogs daily, sometimes hourly, at his Pressing Issues.

Filed under Palestine anthony bourdain

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Why I Don’t Need a Makeup Tutorial to Teach Me How to Wear a Hijab

When I first started wearing hijab, my mother would pin it for me every day—a square scarf that she’d fold into a triangle, pin under my chin, and whose ends I would then tie into a little knot on my chest. I’d go to school (where my sister and I were the only girls in hijab) like that, thinking that I looked pretty good, especially if I was wearing a particular blue silky scarf that made 5th-grade me feel glamorous. There were other aspects of my wardrobe that I wished I could change at 10 years old (namely the many denim shirts with flower decals that my mother loved buying me so much)—but I can’t recall feeling inferior to anyone because of my hijab style (or lack thereof, really) at that point in my life.

Fast forward 15 years. My fashion sense has developed considerably, and my hijab has gone through various style-phases, but it’s still there on my head, though it’s now more often secured with 3 pins instead of 1. But when I see images and videos of hijabis who teach others online how to wear this piece of cloth, now I feel somewhat inadequate. I had never considered that not being amongst many others who wore hijab during my youth could have had its benefits. But perhaps it allowed me to define for myself what my hijab should look like. I wonder how my formative pre-teen and teen years, as well as my concept of hijab, would have been different had I had access to hijab and makeup tutorials when I first started out—or, more importantly, had there been girls around me who followed them. I was content with my cotton scarves and bubble gum lip balm. But if I was 10 years old today, I think I’d be draping necklaces on my head and yearning for red lips.

I had the opportunity to grow into my hijab, to have it contribute to my own personal style and sense of individuality—and I believe that that is a right that every woman has. The requirements of hijab are a foundation around which women of different cultures, ages, and circumstances can work. As long as everything that needs to be covered is properly covered, one cannot call another woman’s hijab incorrect simply because it is different from her own.

But there is a key difference between shaping my hijab around the standards laid out in the Islamic tradition and styling my hijab around the standards laid out by society. The desire to conform is something real and it’s something that I fight against almost on a daily basis. What I was shocked to experience was feeling the need to continue that internal fight while around other Muslim women. I think the woman in a flowy tunic with white skinny jeans and stiletto heels looks beautiful, and the woman with red lipstick against a black hijab is striking, but I know that certain elements of their style are not ones that I can mimic with a clear conscience. And so the battle against myself and the beauty norms that I see around me, but that I choose not to adopt in an effort to please God, has permeated even my safe space.

I recently came across a video tutorial on “hijabi makeup”—how to dress up your face in order to make it stand out from the background of your hijab. There are tutorials on how to style your hijab with matching makeup for holiday celebrations, tutorials on “everyday makeup” for hijabis as though we can’t step outside without properly pink cheeks, ones for hijabis with blue eyes vs. brown eyes. The conversation still exists on the oxymoron of hijab with makeup, but each Islamic conference that I attend shows me that the norm is swiftly moving away from clean faces.

The fact that mainstream messages regarding women’s beauty standards have permeated into Muslim fashion is a testament to the rapid growth and development of our community, but also something that each Muslim woman should take the time to notice and consider on an individual level. I have to remind myself on an almost daily basis about the spirit behind my hijab. I style it and match it, but remind myself that it is not an accessory. It is a form of worship to my Creator that I get to show to the world every minute that I’m outside. And so I try to guard my hijab as I do any other form of worship. As its purpose is submission to God, I try to ensure that I am not simultaneously “submitting” to anyone else’s code of dress while wearing my hijab.

There is a difference between looking presentable and looking like a presentation. I know that any hijab will turn heads, but I am careful in ensuring that the one who turns will have nothing to see when he/she takes a second look. Stiletto heels, red lipstick, smoky eyes, jewels on my forehead—all of these will hold a stranger’s gaze on me and, for that reason, work directly against the spirit of the cloth on my head.

I find it to be a mercy that God revealed in the Qur’an that the believing women must “not reveal their beauty except that which [naturally] appears thereof” [Ch. The Light: verse 31]. We were created beautiful as humans, and certain manifestations of that cannot be hidden—and God is telling us that when they’re natural, that is normal. But when we place them there to beautify and accentuate, then they’re no longer natural, and that should not be part of our normal.

In conversations about hijab, the question arises of whether one has the right to deem another’s choices right or wrong. While our focus is on ourselves, it is natural for us to compare ourselves to others and to participate in an exchange of ideas on an experience that we share. For that reason, every woman has a place in the discussion, and we welcome its continuation in the comments below.

 Source-

Filed under hijab society fashion islam

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Hitler’s face to appear on side of 20 buses for a month in Washington D.C. as part of controversial anti-Islamic ad campaign.

  • The group behind the campaign is the American Freedom Defence Initiative
  • Say they are concerned by ‘global jihad and Islamic supremacism’
  • Have called for an end to U.S. foreign aid to Islamic countries
  • Used the picture of Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini in the ad
  • Council of American Islamic Relations is considering response to campaign

By Jennifer Newton

A controversial anti-Islamic ad campaign will appear on the side of buses in Washington D.C. featuring the face of Adolf Hitler.

The advert will be on 20 metro buses and depict a meeting between the leader of Nazi Germany and anti-Jewish Islamic leader Haj Amin al -Husseini during World War II.

The group behind the campaign, the American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI), say they are concerned by the ‘global jihad and Islamic supremacism’, with the ads calling for an end to U.S. foreign aid to Islamic countries.

image

The caption by the side of the contentious picture of Hitler reads: ‘Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran. Two-thirds of all US aid goes to Islamic countries. Stop Racism. End all aid to Islamic countries.’

 The head of the AFDI, Pamela Geller says the ads are in response to previous adverts, which featured on the city’s metro buses by the American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), that were anti-Jewish.

She told the International Business Times: ‘My intent is leapfrog over a media that is not even-handed, that is advancing the propaganda against the Jewish state.’

The blogger also adds that she has wide ranging support for the ad, which will run for four weeks and says she has provided information that show the claims in the adverts are true.

It is expected that the ad will start running on D.C. metro buses this week.

However, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has hit out the controversial campaign.

Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of CAIR told WJLA: ‘This is a propaganda campaign designed to incite hatred against American Muslims, and this campaign has been based on false information, taking things out of context from the Quran.’

The organisation says it is considering the possibility of a response ad, and is offering free copies of the Quran.

Filed under pamela geller islamaphobia

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50 Actual Facts That Challenge What You’ve Been Told About Muslims.

Muslims. 

If you’re Pamela GellerBill Maher or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, then you’re most likely obsessed with stereotyping them, stirring fears about them and making blanket statements about a rather large and varied group of people.

And if you look to the mainstream media, it might be easy to see why this oversimplified version of Islam persists: Particularly after 9/11, Islam is usually coupled in coverage with references to terror attacks and political groups, as well as ridiculous calls on Muslims to apologize for terror attacks (as if there’s a spokesperson). 

While terrorism in the name of Islam is an unfortunate reality of today’s world, it is ignorant to paint all Muslims — more than one billion people — with the same brush. 

Muslims come from all walks of life all over the world and perhaps it is time to understand what that really looks like. Here are 50 facts about Muslims today that show that it’s not just offensive but also inaccurate to assume that all Muslims are the same. 

1. Worldwide, there are 1.6 billion Muslims. That number is expected to increase by 35% in the next 16 years, rising to 2.2 billion in 2030.

Image Credit: AP

2. Sixty-two percent of the world’s Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region and only 20% live in the Middle East and North Africa.

3. Even though Indonesia boasts the world’s largest population of Muslims right now, Pakistan is expected to surpass that number in the coming years.

4. Most Muslims aren’t actually Arab. In fact, fewer than 15% of the world’s Muslims are Arab.

5. America comes in 84th place in a global ranking of women elected to government cabinet positions. It comes after Muslim-majority nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

6. Edible Arrangements, with close to 1,200 locations worldwide, was founded by Tariq Farid, a Muslim American entrepreneur.

7. The fastest-growing religion in Ireland is Islam.

8. Malaysian pop star Yuna has garnered fans from across the globe and the talented singer is taking the U.S. music industry by storm.

9. Zaytuna College is the first liberal arts college built on Islamic principles and it’s located in Berkeley, Calif. Its first-ever class just graduated.

10. The world’s youngest female president, Atifete Jahjaga, is the current leader of Kosovo and her country’s first female Muslim president.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

11. A counterpart to the Miss World pageant, Miss World Muslimah, held annually, judges participants from around the world on piety, smarts, health, beauty and ability to be role models. Last year, a contestant from Nigeria won.

12. Many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those invented in the 10th century by a Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi.

13. The first Muslim to reach outer space, in 1985, shattered a few stereotypes: He was a Saudi sultan.

14. In 2006, the first Muslim woman made it to space — and she was the first Iranian female space tourist.

15. Laleh Baktiar wanted to clear up gender misconceptions that appeared in previous translations of the Quran, so in 2007 she became the first woman to translate the Quran into English.

16. At 20 years old, Iqbal Al Assaad is the youngest medical doctor. She graduated from high school at 12.

17. The Sears (now Willis) Tower in Chicago was designed by a Muslim American architect.

Image Credit: AP

18. In the UK, Muslims are the country’s top charitable donors.

19. In fact, Muslims give the most out of the world’s religions.

20. Bollywood’s biggest maestro, A.R. Rahman, converted to Islam in 2006.

21. The pioneer behind microcredit and microfinance, Muhammad Yunus, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize that year too.

22. Muslims are Happy in the UK, Gaza, Istanbul, Lebanon, Egypt and Sudan.

23. The name “Muhammad” is the most common name in the world.

24. Shirin Ebadi, Iran’s first female Chief Justice, was the first Muslim woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Image Credit: AP 

25. Some researchers argue that Muslims came to the Americas before Christopher Columbus, in the 700s.

26. The world’s second-largest Muslim congregation is the Bishwa Ijtema, which gathers in Bangladesh. The largest is the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Image Credit: AP

27. America’s most popular food cart in 2013, with almost 50,000 Foursquare check-ins, is The Halal Guys in New York City.

28. The global Muslim fashion industry is estimated to be worth $96 billion dollars.

29. This has meant a surge in Muslim female designers and entrepreneurs globally have ensured a thriving hijab (Muslim headscarf) fashion market.

Image Credit: AP

30. The show Little Mosque on the Prairie was the first to show a balanced representation of a dysfunctional Muslim community in Canada. We’re still waiting on a similar show in the U.S.

31. There’s an increasing market for meat that’s both halal and organic

32. UMMA Clinic, the first Muslim-American-founded community-based clinic in the U.S., provides health care and treatment to all and was started by medical students.

33. Muslim women from countries like the U.S. and Bahrain have competed in the Olympics, taking part in competitions like tennis, fencing, taekwondo and archery.

Image Credit: AP

34. Dr. Oz not only has our hearts with his medical advice, but he’s a Turkish-American Muslim too.

35. Shaquille O’Neal announced he was going on the Muslim pilgrimage in 2010.

36. And let’s not forget Akon or T-Pain, who came from Muslim families.

37. Coffee was a Muslim invention.

38. So was the modern check.

39. The thing that makes selfies possible was invented by Muslims, too.

40. Albania is the only European country whose population is more than 90% Muslim.

41. Pakistani youth decided to break a Guinness world record in 2014 by forming the world’s largest human national flag. By official count, 28,597 people showed up to take part.

Image Credit: Getty Images

42. Muslims have been living in China for the last 1,400 years. They live in every region of the country.

43. Amid distrust for Muslims and Islam, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington argued that America should be open to Muslim citizens, office-holders and even presidents.

44. The new Ms. Marvel is a Pakistani-American teenager from New Jersey — and she isn’t afraid of her identity.

Image Credit: AP

45. Hijab isn’t something all Muslim women wear and it certainly doesn’t define them.

46. Everyone’s favorite singalong, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, includes the word “Bismillah”, Arabic for “In the Name of God.”

47. Ten percent of all American doctors are Muslim. That’s beside the fact that the hospital is the invention of Muslim-majority nation Egypt.

48. Ann Osman is the first female Muslim pro MMA fighter.

49. In China, the oldest all-female mosque has existed for the last thousand years — and the leader is a woman too.

50. This should be obvious by now: Muslims aren’t monolithic.

Correction, 05/20/2014:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that Freddie Mercury was Indian Muslim. Mercury was actually Indian Parsi, a Zoroastrian group that fled 10th century Iran to practice their religion freely.

Correction, 05/21/2014:

An earlier version of this article said that Edible Arrangements has 74 locations in the U.S. In actuality the company has almost 1,200 stores worldwide.

By Laila Alawa  May 20, 2014

Filed under muslim stereotypes

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Boko Haram does not represent Islam. The media is mistaken by saying "Islamists" because that means ‘a person who practises Islam’ like Chemist from Chemistry or Biologist from Biology. They (Boko Haram) are either people driven to an insane frenzy or paid agents causing a bad image for Islam and destabilizing the country. Either way Islam and true Muslims should in no way be stigmatized or scorned.
Shaikh Abdullah Hakim Quick.

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Dear Americans, Your Hashtags Won’t #BringBackOurGirls. You Might Actually Be Making Things Worse.

image

Simple question. Are you Nigerian? Do you have constitutional rights accorded to Nigerians to participate in their democratic process? If not, I have news you. You can’t do anything about the girls missing in Nigeria. You can’t. Your insistence on urging American power, specifically American military power, to address this issue will ultimately hurt the people of Nigeria.

It heartens me that you’ve taken up the mantle of spreading “awareness” about the 200+ girls who were abducted from their school in Chibok; it heartens me that you’ve heard the cries of mothers and fathers who go yet another day without their child. It’s nice that you care.

Here’s the thing though, when you pressure Western powers, particularly the American government to get involved in African affairs  and when you champion military intervention, you become part of a much larger problem. You become a complicit participant in a military expansionist agenda on the continent of Africa. This is not good.

You might not know this, but the United States military loves your hashtags because it gives them legitimacy to encroach and grow their military presence in Africa. AFRICOM (United States Africa Command), the military body that is responsible for overseeing US military operations across Africa, gained much from #KONY2012 and will now gain even more from #BringBackOurGirls.

Last year, before President Obama visited several countries in Africa, I wrote about how the U.S. military is expanding its role in Africa. In 2013 alone, AFRICOM carried out a total of 546 “military activities,” which is an average of one and half military missions a day. While we don’t know much about the purpose of these activities, keep in mind that AFRICOM’s mission is to “advance U.S. national security interests.”

And advancing they are. According to one report, in 2013, American troops entered and advanced American interests in Niger, Uganda, Ghana, Malawi, Burundi, Mauritania, South Africa, Chad, Togo, Cameroon, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Sudan.

Overall, the U.S. military conducted 128 separate “military activities” in 28 African countries in 2013. These are in conjunction to U.S. led drone operations which are occurring in Northern Nigeria  and  Somalia. There are also counter-terrorism outposts in Djibouti and Niger and covert bases in Ethiopia and the Seychelles which are serving as launching pads for the U.S. military to carry out surveillance and armed drone strikes.

Although most of these activities are covert, we do know that the U.S. military has had a destabilizing effect in a few countries. For example, a New York Times article confirmed that the man who overthrew the elected Malian government in 2012 was trained and mentored by the United States between 2004 and 2010. Further, a U.S. trained battalion in the Democratic Republic of Congo was denounced by the United Nations for committing mass rapes.

Now the United States is gaining more ground in Africa by sending military advisors and drones, sorry, I mean security personnel and assets to Nigeria to assist the Nigerian military, who by the way, have a history of committing mass atrocities against the Nigerian people.

Knowing this, you can understand my apprehension for President Obama’s decision. As the Nigerian-American writer Teju Cole said yesterday, the involvement of the U.S. government and military will only lead to more militarism, less oversight, and less democracy.

Also, the last time military advisors were sent to Africa, they didn’t do much good. Remember #KONY2012?  When President Obama sent 100 combat-equipped troops  to capture or kill Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony in Central Africa?  Well, they haven’t found him and although they momentarily stopped looking, President Obama sent more troops in March 2014 who now roam Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Consequently, your calls for the United States to get involved in this crisis undermines the democratic process in Nigeria and co-opts the growing movement against the inept and kleptocratic Jonathan administration. It was Nigerians who took their good for nothing President to task and challenged him to address the plight of the missing girls. It is in their hands to seek justice for these girls and to ensure that the Nigerian government is held accountable. Your emphasis on U.S. action does more harm to the people you are supposedly trying to help and it only expands and sustain U.S. military might.

If you must do something, learn more about the amazing activists and journalists like this one, this one, and this one just to name a few, who have risked arrests and their lives as they challenge the Nigerian government to do better for its people within the democratic process.  If you must tweet, tweet to support and embolden them, don’t direct your calls to action to the United States government who seeks to only embolden American militarism. Don’t join the American government and military in co-opting this movement started and sustained by Nigerians.

Jumoke is a Nigerian-American. She is the co-founder and co-editor of compareafrique.com. Seeing Nigerians of all tribes and religious affiliation together in her hometown of Oshogbo, in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and elsewhere protesting and controlling the destiny of their nation fuels her to do more and be better.  She dreams about handing down a festival of slaps to President Goodluck Jonathan and Patience Jonathan. 

(source)

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