Op-Eds

  • Director Lyric Cabral talks exposing FBI counter-terrorism strategy in Sundance-winning doc ‘(T)ERROR’

    Blogs February 25, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Shadow and Act. This marks the first time a counterterrorism operation has been captured on screen, in real time, and it’s thrilling, stuff. It’s also, for lack of a better word, terrifying. . . . To date, 500 people have been charged with terrorism related crimes since 9/11, 30% of those cases involving an informant-driven sting operation. As an example of how these sting operations operate, “(T)ERROR” is a sobering portrait of a system that may be in dire need of reform and regulation in order to actually work. In the end, there are many questions, but one definitive answer: both sides of the coin, both the Saeeds and the Khalifahs, are essentially disposable pawns in an increasingly complex and convoluted war on terror.

     
  • What is “Islamic”? A Muslim response to ISIS and The Atlantic

    Source: Muslim Matters. Graeme Wood’s “What ISIS Really Wants,” published in the March 2015 edition of The Atlantic, has quickly become the most widely read article on the militant group. Indeed, it is becoming the most read article ever published by The Atlantic. Popular as it is, Wood’s essay is deeply flawed and alarmingly tone-deaf – dangerously so. . . . By characterizing ISIS as Islamic, Wood and Haykel in effect, if not intent, attribute cruel beheadings, wanton massacre, and all other manner of savagery to Islam. . . .Of course, their attributions are factually incorrect and conceptually confused as we will discuss below. But their mistakes are especially egregious given the current climate of anti-Muslim bigotry. In light of the recent hate crimes directed towards the American and European Muslim communities, Wood’s piece is tantamount to shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre and, therefore, deserves a thorough rebuttal, if nothing else.

     
  • The Atlantic ignores Muslim intellectuals, defines “true Islam” as ISIS

    Opinions February 20, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. Despite what its many critics (including President Obama) will tell you, the Islamic State is indeed Islamic, and actually very Islamic, according to ISIS itself — and also according to The Atlantic, which endorsed the group’s narrative in a widely circulated essay published this week entitled “What ISIS Really Wants.” In the piece, author Graeme Wood makes the case that the militant group — whose actions have sparked protests and widespread revulsion around the world — represents a highly authentic version of Islam. . . . While the author notes that the overwhelming majority of Muslims do not share the views of Islamic State, and indeed see the group as un-Islamic, he denies that their version of the religion is more genuine. . . . While Wood is correct to push back against the flawed notion that Islamic State has absolutely no relation to Islam, he neglects to engage the predominant view that the group embodies one of the heretical versions of the religion that have cropped up periodically throughout history. The end result is a 10,000-word exercise in confirmation bias. If the Islamic State is indeed, as Wood claims, “very Islamic,” his essay makes an unconvincing case of it to anyone familiar with the historical and religious context in which the group has arisen.

     
  • Law alone can’t dismantle Islamophobia

    Opinions February 20, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: AlJazeera America. Without systemic solutions and practices that challenge and change the culture and climate of hostility toward Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities, efforts to counter hate violence through only legal solutions will not stick…Fostering a climate based on mutual understanding and respect of the multiracial communities we are fast becoming in America will take vigilance from each of us. It starts with a better understanding of one another’s stories, histories and experiences, with the intention of finding common threads and identifying one another’s humanity. Civic, faith, education and business leaders, in partnership with artists and cultural bridge builders, can create spaces and opportunities that allow people to engage in dialogue with one another. We can learn from movements such as #BlackLivesMatter that have allowed us to have honest national conversations about how people of color experience violence and discrimination.

     
  • The real heroes of the War on Terror: 6 brave Americans who defied Bush’s torture doctrine

    Blogs February 11, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Salon. Why was it again that, as President Obama said, “we tortured some folks” after the 9/11 attacks? Oh, right, because we were terrified. Because everyone knows that being afraid gives you moral license to do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe. That’s why we don’t shame or punish those who were too scared to imagine doing anything else. We honor and revere them. . . . Wouldn’t anyone do what these men did, if they, too, were frightened out of their wits? Actually, no. In fact, the sad, ugly story of the U.S. response to the criminal acts of 9/11 is brightened by a number of people who have displayed genuine courage in saying no to and turning their backs on torture. Their choices prove that Bush, Cheney, & Co. could have said no as well.

     
  • Chapel Hill shooting and western media bigotry

    Opinions February 11, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Aljazeera. Many scholars – including Edward Said, Elizabeth Poole, Kai Hafez, Milly Williamson, Karim Karim, Teun Van Dijk, Kimberly Powell, and Dina Ibrahim, among others – have carried out academic studies examining western news coverage of Islam and Muslims. Results suggest that Muslims are often portrayed in western news media as violent, backwards, fundamentalist and as threats to western civilisation. Western news coverage rarely highlights Islam except to show its possible relation to some atrocity, and Muslims are rarely mentioned in the context of news that is positive or benign. Other studies show inconsistent coverage of violent global and regional conflicts. When Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims are killed by Muslims, Islam is identified as playing a direct role. When Muslims are killed by Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims, however, the religious identity of the violent perpetrators is downplayed or ignored.

     
  • The most common type of American terrorist Is a white man with a weapon and a grudge

    Opinions February 11, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Nation. Yesterday, an outspoken white atheist murdered three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We don’t yet know for sure whether this was a hate crime or whether the killer, Craig Stephen Hicks, had some other motivation; police have said the crime may have grown out of a dispute over parking. We do know that had Hicks been a Muslim and his victims atheists, few would be waiting for all the facts to come in before declaring him a terrorist. We know that there would be the usual calls for other Muslims to condemn the killings, coupled with the usual failure to take note of the many Muslims who did. And we know that demands for Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins to distance themselves from Hicks are largely facetious, because no one really blames them. Violence perpetrated by Muslims is almost always seen as part of a global conspiracy, whereas white men like Hicks are usually seen as isolated psychopaths.

     
  • American Sniper and the Muslim ‘savage’

    Source: Huffington Post. I know, I know. It’s just a movie. But that’s why I take it so seriously. Movies have the power to shape and frankly distort the way we view the world, particularly those elements of the world that fall beyond our everyday experience. Keep in mind that the only Muslims many non-Muslim Americans “know” are the ones they see on a movie screen. When you add Eastwood’s film to the hundreds upon hundreds of films that rely on racist, Orientalist stereotypes, from Old Ironsides (1926) to Rules of Engagement (2000) to Zero Dark Thirty (2012), it becomes difficult for many moviegoers to see these characters as fictional caricatures. The Muslim enemy onscreen is simply assumed to be the mirror image of the Muslim enemy off-screen.

     
  • Muslims Infiltrate the White House! Me included!

    Op-Eds, Opinions February 8, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Daily Beast. I can’t believe it but Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann were right after all. Muslims have infiltrated the White House—and at the highest levels. Sharia law can’t be far behind, so I hope you like turkey bacon and non-alcoholic beer because that’s all you will be getting once these Muslims have their say. What am I talking about? Well, on Wednesday, I was one of 15 Muslim-American leaders to attend a one-hour meeting with President Obama at the White House. . . My next comment echoed the sentiment we heard often in the meeting. In fact, it was clearly the No. 1 issue raised: The alarming rise in anti-Muslim bigotry in America. . . . My point was that while bigotry from certain Republicans is nothing new, I’m alarmed about the Democratic response to these comments. What is the Democrats’ response, you ask? Simple: silence.

     
  • Lone wolf terrorists are exceedingly rare, so why does everyone keep talking about them?

    Source: Tom Dispatch. “The lone wolf is the new nightmare,” wrote Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer recently, and the conservative pundit wasn’t alone in thinking so. You could multiply such statements many times over. There’s only one problem with the rising crescendo of alarm about lone wolves: most of it simply isn’t true. There’s nothing new about the “threat” and the concept is notoriously unreliable, as well as selectively used. (These days, “lone wolf” has largely become a stand-in for “Islamic terrorist,” though the category itself is not bound to any specific ideological type.) Worst of all, its recent highlighting paves the way for the heightening of abusive and counterproductive police and national security practices, including the infiltration of minority and activist communities and elaborate sting operations that ensnare the vulnerable.