• Is America on the brink of returning to torture?

    Editorials March 13, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Los Angeles Times. Donald Trump has declared his intentions: He wants to make America torture again. He’s said that as president he would use waterboarding “and worse” on terrorists and “take out” their families. We might expect such rhetoric from a candidate so politically inexperienced and prone to bullying, but what is more alarming is how little distinguishes his torture enthusiasm from that of the other leading Republican candidates, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

  • US election 2016: What does ‘Islam’ think of America?

    Editorials March 13, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Mohamed Madi in BBC News. “Islam hates us,” Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said in a CNN interview on Friday. No major polling agency has yet asked whether respondents “hate” America. However, several have measured broad sentiment among the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. The Pew Research Centre, which surveys global attitudes, said anti-Americanism was strong around the word around the time of the US invasion of Iraq. However, currently there is little evidence of profound anti-American sentiment except for in a handful of countries, it says. Bruce Stokes, director of global economic attitudes at Pew, says sentiment towards the US varies widely between Muslim-majority countries. “We tend to see more negative sentiment among Muslims in the Middle East, such as those from Egypt and Jordan,” he says. Dalia Mogahed, co-author of Who Speaks for Islam?, say religion is not the key driver of anti-American sentiment in Muslim-majority countries. “It’s nothing to do with religion and everything to do with policy,” she says.

  • The presumption of innocence doesn’t apply to my child

    Editorials January 21, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: The Washington Post. I leave work early every day. I race to pick up my daughter from her high school promptly at 5 p.m. I’m never late — not even by a minute. I want to be at the door of the school before she emerges out into the U Street District. That D.C. neighborhood isn’t particularly dangerous, but my child and her classmates are presumed to be. They are children of color and their innocence is not presumed. There is no room for childish mistakes for them. There is no carefree lingering with a group of peers on the street corner outside the school. There is no mischief-making running down the street after one another. The cops are there, watching. One slip-up could mean handcuffs or worse.

  • The logic of the police state: waking up to the darkness in US policing

    Editorials December 21, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Truthout. In May, a Wall Street Journal op-ed warned of a “new nationwide crime wave” thanks to “intense agitation against American police departments” over the previous year. According to these figures and others like them, lawlessness has been sweeping the nation as the so-called Ferguson effect spreads. Beyond the storm of commentary and criticism, however, quite a different reality presents itself. In the simplest terms, there is no war on the police. Violent attacks against police officers remain at historic lows, even though approximately 1,000 people have been killed by the police this year nationwide.

  • First, Donald Trump came for the Muslims

    Editorials November 23, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Daily Beast. I have never truly feared for the well-being of my family or friends because of the words uttered by an American politician. But that has changed after Donald Trump’s comments over the past few days about Muslims. During his rally Saturday deep in the heart of Dixie, Trump told the crowd of thousands in no uncertain terms what Muslims could expect if he leads our nation. “Just to set it clear,” Trump stated, pausing slightly for dramatic effect. A sternness then came over his face as he declared emphatically: “I want surveillance of these people.” Trump then implored the crowd to cheer for his plan that would strip the constitutional rights of a minority group in America with the call, “Are you ready for this? Are you ready?” And on cue, thousands in the crowd cheered as their leader beckoned. Then something else happened at the event that should give all Americans pause. In this sea of adoring Trump fans stood a black man by the name of Mercutio Southall Jr., a well known local activist. Southall had been shouting “Black Lives Matters,” which had so upset Trump supporters that some began to assault him.

  • US governors are wrong: Syrian refugees are no threat to national security

    Editorials November 16, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Quartz. Following a series of terrorist attacks on Paris, which has so far left 129 dead, a number of US state governors have vowed to block Syrian refugees from settling within the borders of their states. Most attempted to downplay any notions of racial or faith-based prejudice. But putting aside the logistics for a second, these types of harmful overreactions exaggerate stereotypes, exacerbate interfaith and interracial tensions, and, above all, denies safe haven to the Islamic State’s principal targets: actual Syrians. It is painfully obvious that very few, if any Syrians seeking resettlement in the United States (or frankly any reasonably safe country that will have them) are terrorists or potential terrorists. Politics are not a priority for these refugees. Surviving is.

  • Donald Trump is getting back into the Islamophobia business: The racist conspiracy theory he refused to disown

    Editorials September 18, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Salon. Last night, Trump entertained notions about “terrorist training camps” in America. While Trump’s spokesman claimed that he was talking about looking into these alleged terrorist training camps, many of us who heard that question understood the man to be asking “when are we going to get rid of Muslims.” With Trump talking about rounding up 12 million people and deporting them, including American children, it’s not hard to imagine that his more unhinged supporters would think that the King of the Birthers might be on board for a little ethnic cleansing of Muslims as well. His answer undoubtedly cemented their faith that this is a man who was willing to consider it.

  • The truth of ‘Black Lives Matter’

    Editorials September 3, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The New York Times. The “Black Lives Matter” movement focuses on the fact that black citizens have long been far more likely than whites to die at the hands of the police, and is of a piece with this history. Demonstrators who chant the phrase are making the same declaration that voting rights and civil rights activists made a half-century ago. They are not asserting that black lives are more precious than white lives. They are underlining an indisputable fact — that the lives of black citizens in this country historically have not mattered, and have been discounted and devalued. People who are unacquainted with this history are understandably uncomfortable with the language of the movement. But politicians who know better and seek to strip this issue of its racial content and context are acting in bad faith. They are trying to cover up an unpleasant truth and asking the country to collude with them.

  • Year one of Black Lives Matter

    Editorials August 5, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: Socialist Worker. On August 9, 2014, Mike Brown was shot down by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson, and his lifeless body was left uncovered for four-and-a-half hours–to broil on a summer street and be seen by little kids and everyone else in the predominantly Black neighborhood. The murder sparked days and nights of furious protest. In the year since, so much has changed–and not nearly enough has changed. The rebellion in Ferguson didn’t stop the list of names of people murdered by police–on the contrary, it seemed to roll on ever more relentlessly: Eric Garner. John Crawford. Akai Gurley. Tamir Rice. Tony Robinson. Freddie Gray. Sandra Bland. But Ferguson did vastly increase public awareness of those names. And it put the country on notice that Black people suffering from America’s age-old racist violence in the 21st century were no longer going to be appeased by having a few Black faces in high places–even the White House.

  • Don’t just call the police to stop young men from joining Isis. Call their mothers

    Editorials July 31, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Guardian. The voice of Muslim mothers’ is conspicuously absent from the public discourse about preventing radicalization in the Muslim-American community. When recognized and empowered, they can play a robust role in protecting their families and communities, a role enshrined in the Islamic tradition. Communities must further develop community-led prevention intervention, and rehabilitation capacities, which allow young persons to get the help and, where possible, avoid lengthy prison sentences. This would allow mothers to see law enforcement as allies in keeping their teenagers safe. A mother who fears that her outreach will attract an agent provocateur is unlikely to ask for help. Mosque leaders who fear spies in their midst avoid openly discussing worrisome behavior among the congregants, lest they inadvertently identify easy targets for government surveillance. These mothers, and their communities, need to be able to trust that reaching out to law enforcement will help ensure safety for their loved ones and their community.