"Surely, those who believe, and the Jews and the Christians and the Sabians, whoever have faith with true hearts in Allah and in the Last-day and do good deeds, their reward is with their Lord, and there shall be no fear for them nor any grief." - Qur'an 2:62
Obey your country's laws, Marje Sistani urges Muslims in West by Mohamed Ali | MONTREAL, Canada Iraq's Al-Marje Al-Alaa Ali Sistani sent a message to Muslims in Western nations, urging them to obey the laws of the countries in which they live.The fatwa was delivered at a Montreal news conference of prominent Shia Muslims on behalf of Ayatullah Sayyed Ali As-Sistani "Muslims have undertaken to obey the laws of the country of their residence and thus they must be faithful to that undertaking," the statement read. It condemned all acts of violence and encouraged imams to keep a watchful eye on what's going on inside their mosques
CIP NOTE: To watch the video of executive director Schwartz’s commentary on Sufi Self-Defense, please LINK HERE. To see Schwartz alone go to minute 41.59. With many selams and thanks to Nina Shea and the Hudson Institute.
May 15, 2013, 12:00- 1:30 PM – Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C. Headquarters
Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom invites you to attend…
The Rise of Islamism: Its Impact on Religious Minorities
Wednesday, May 15 12:00 – 1:30 PM
Moderator Nina Shea, Hudson Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Religious Freedom, and our expert panel discussed Islamism’s impact on religious minorities and recommendations to strengthen the cause of religious freedom and cultural pluralism.
Panelists included former Pakistani Parliamentarian (2008-12) Farahnaz Ispahani; Professor of Iranian, Central Eurasian, and Islamic Studies at Indiana University Jamsheed K. Choksy; and Executive Director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism and author Stephen Schwartz.
Click here to view the full list of Upcoming Events.
Turkey has been swept by demonstrations against the Islamist regime of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan. The uprising, as it has become, began after police assaulted peaceful protestors opposed to the environmental degradation of Istanbul. By Monday, June 3 – the fourth day of clashes – the clamor against removal of trees from Gezi Park, adjoining the great city’s main Taksim Square, had also spread to the Turkish capital, Ankara, and the country’s symbol of its past urban diversity, Izmir. A civic action with an ecological message had become a mobilization of Turkey’s disaffected secular masses.
Police have fired tear gas at the growing crowds, numbering in the hundreds of thousands; the protestors have reacted in some places by setting up barricades and throwing stones. The police use of gas was especially prolific in the Beyoǧlu and Beşiktaş neighborhoods of Istanbul on June 1. Other citizens have taken to the balconies of their homes and apartment buildings, banging on empty pots to express their discontent with Erdoǧan. The people are chanting for the resignation of “dictator” Erdoǧan, and warning him, “Tayyip, see our strength.” Containers of building materials intended for the “reconstruction” of Gezi Park have been burned.
The Uyghur American Association (UAA) expresses unequivocal support for the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989. UAA calls upon the Chinese government to embrace democratic reforms and respect the rights of all Chinese citizens. Until the Chinese government provides a full and fair account of the events of June 4, there will be no foundation for the pursuit of freedom and democracy in China today.
“Xi Jinping and the new leadership of China need to wake up to the fact that without a public acknowledgement of the Chinese Communist Party’s responsibility for the killing of innocent students and workers on Tiananmen Square in June 1989, the Chinese government will never find genuine stability in the nation over which they rule. This also applies to the brutality it has shown to Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs who have also fallen victim to the guns of the Chinese authorities,” said UAA President Alim Seyoff in a statement from Washington, DC. “Heavy censorship in the media and online of terms associated with government suppression of legitimate protests in China can never whitewash the truth behind the events on June 4, 1989 in Beijing, February 5, 1997 in Ghulja, July 5, 2009 in Urumchi, in May 2011 in Southern Mongolia and March 2008 in Lhasa.”
Recently, many Muslim countries and Muslim minority communities have fallen back into conflict. The U.S., Britain and France have experienced new terrorist attacks, Turkey has seen spreading urban protests against its Islamist government, and horrific bloodshed continues in Syria.
In the Balkan republic of Kosova, with a Muslim majority around 80 percent, a different spirit is visible. On May 23, during a week of events promoting “tolerance and reconciliation,” the Kosovar Albanian government dedicated a monument of remembrance to the nearly-unknown place of Kosova in Jewish history.
The stone slab was erected within the gated courtyard facing the country’s parliament, in the capital, Prishtina. It reads, “This is the place where the last Synagogue [in] Kosova stood until 1963. This plaque is raised in memory of Kosova Jews that perished in Nazi camps during [the] Holocaust. [The] People of Kosova will never forget them.”
The Harabati Baba Bektashi Sufi shrine, Tetova, Macedonia, 2007.
Supporters of the Bektashi religious community, unregistered officially in Macedonia, have entered a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, charging that the state authorities deliberately obstructed their registration as an autonomous religious community. They challenge court decisions that rejected such registration on the grounds that there already exists in the country a religious group with the Bektashi title, and with the same doctrines as the official Islamic Religious Community. The Bektashi petitioners do not withdraw their claim to ownership of the Harabati Baba Teqe complex in Tetova, which they have maintained in recent years, although the property has been returned to the Islamic Community of Macedonia in the process of denationalization. The petitioners’ argument is based in the establishment of this important installation by the Bektashi Sufi order in 1538 for its specific needs and uses. Despite this, however, the state in the process of restitution gave the site to the official Islamic Community, leading to current litigation by the unregistered Bektashis. The Bektashis had been registered as a religious community, but later in the process of re-registration, which began in 2007, were denied it. It is known that the IC of Macedonia was most opposed to recognition of Bektashi autonomy, with the conflict in the background over ownership of the Harabati Baba Teqe in Tetova and similar shrines in cities, required by the Bektashis for performance of their religious rituals.
Clutching a placard protesting at a “Crusade against Muslims”, Michael Adebolajo was a striking figure. Dressed in immaculate white robes, the young man’s imposing physical presence made him stand out from the other protesters.
It was 2007 and Adebolajo was protesting outside Paddington Green police station in west London over the arrest of a fellow Muslim radical. Stern-faced but restrained, he appeared a study of peaceful radical protest. Adebolajo, 28, cut a similar figure when he and his friend Michael Adebowale, 22, were preaching in Woolwich High Street earlier this month. Indeed, of all the disturbing questions that have emerged following the horror of last week, one is particularly troubling. How could two men go from ranting outside pound shops to facing charges of murder and the attempted beheading of a soldier?
The barbaric act they are accused of is all the more shocking because of its seemingly random, almost spontaneous nature, an eruption of extreme violence using kitchen knives. Previous acts of terrorism involving liquid bombs on tubes and planes have required meticulous planning and the support of complex terrorist networks that stretch across continents. But, ostensibly, Adebolajo and Adebowale appeared to be “lone wolves”, outsiders who seemed to revel in their near 20 minutes of infamy, posing for the smartphone cameras while they waited for the arrival of police, certain of how their story was to end.
Destruction of the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi Sufi house in Qom, Iran, 2006.
Rising persecution of minority religious communities in Pakistan, Iran, and Syria – and other nations – is a serious threat to stability in those countries and their neighbors, a panel of specialists said at a Hudson Institute forum this week, showing how religious tensions can have larger political ramifications in hot spots around the world.
Sunni Muslims, for example, may use “Syria” as a rallying cry to recruit volunteers for al Qaeda and other terrorist movements if the dominant Alawite Shiite Muslims [sic] aligned with Syrian President Bashar Assad pursue the country’s brutal civil war, said Stephen Schwartz, a journalist and executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism.
“If the Alawites destroy Syria, the Sunnis will pay back the [Shiites] in blood, and the non-Muslims will be caught in the crossfire,” said Mr. Schwartz, a Sufi Muslim.
Mr. Schwartz listed numerous incidents of attacks on Sufis merely because they reject the notion of allowing Muslim clerics to hold political positions of authority. Iran is notably hard on the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi Sufis in that country, he said, provoking “riots and resistance” in response.
Destruction of the Abdallah Al-Shaab Mausoleum, Tripoli, Libya, August 25, 2012.
The following statement was released today, May 15, in connection with the Hudson Institute seminar, “Islamist Repression of Sufis and Other Religious Minorities,” held in Washington, DC. Information on the seminar is available here. Further signatures are welcomed and should be transmitted to CIP.
# # #
As scholars of religion, we appeal to the United Nations (UN), its Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and member states, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to undertake urgent action to end the current global wave of violence against the holy sites, shrines, and houses of worship of all religions.
In the most recent period, we note that Islamic Sufi shrines have been targeted for terror and vandalism in countries as diverse as India, Macedonia, Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and Mali. To cite the most prominent examples:
If the U.S. authorities are beset by questions about their capacity for the prevention – or lack thereof – of Islamist terrorism, similar questions need to be asked about the response to terror conspiracies in Britain.
In the U.S., the debate is fed by the continuing, controversial aftermath of the murder of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, including Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and three of his compatriots, last year, as well as by the recent bombings in Boston.
In Britain, two important legal proceedings have concluded, as announced at the end of April, in Birmingham and London. On April 26, three men, Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, were sentenced. They had planned a bombing attack to rival the atrocities of September 11, 2001 in the U.S. and the London metro assault of July 7, 2005. Naseer and Ali received 18 years in prison, and Ali was ordered to serve 15 years. Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali will also see the judgments against them supplemented by probation (“licence,” in British legal terminology).
The three headed a terrorist cell in which eight other participants were found guilty and face time behind bars, as well. Rahin Ahmed received 12 years, with a further five on probation; Ali’s elder brother, Bahader, was sentenced to six years, and Mohammed Rizwan and Mujahid Hussain to four.