• From Eagle Scouts to prom queens, a different view of American Muslims

    Opinions May 18, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Christian Science Monitor. A new study from Georgetown’s Bridge Initiative, When Islamophobia Turns Violent, suggests that Islamophobia is getting worse. And, anti-Muslim political rhetoric during the United States presidential race isn’t making things better. In the face of rising Islamophobia, however, American Muslim teens have shown grit – and many of their peers have shown support – as they navigate the course of faith, identity, culture and politics.

  • NSA definitely working on maybe telling us how many Americans it spied on

    Opinions April 25, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Gizmodo. There’s a renewed effort among senators and civil liberties groups to make intelligence agencies cough up details on how exactly they’re spying on Americans who haven’t been suspected of a crime. That’s because Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the provision that allows US Intelligence agencies to target the communications of foreigners, is due to sunset at the end of next year. Now, maybe the NSA would have a tough time analyzing exactly how many Americans they spied on using Section 702 data. Fortunately, The Washington Post analyzed 160,000 emails and instant messages in 2014 swept up by Section 702 surveillance, so it really shouldn’t be too hard for a massive intelligence agency like the NSA. The Post found that 90 percent of these conversations involved individuals who were not Section 702 targets, and over 50 percent involved U.S. citizens or residents. That seems pretty messed up if you ask me.

  • Muslims on airplanes: why there’s nothing to fear

    Opinions April 21, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: The World Post. I can talk about the dozens of Muslims that have been wrongly removed from airplanes in the past, or how one Muslim American is a victim of a hate crime every three days, or how my Muslim mother is always “randomly” selected to be searched every single time she goes to an airport, but this isn’t about that. This is about putting an end to the unjustified fear that Islamophobia has caused Americans to have towards Muslims. As I read the stories of the countless humiliated Muslims who have been unjustly removed from airplanes as if we are nothing more than a walking dehumanized threat, my eyes fill with tears. More importantly, my mind is filled with questions: Why it is perfectly ok to say “God bless you” on an airplane but it becomes threatening if it’s said in Arabic? Why is a headscarved nun respected on a plane while a Muslim woman wearing the same exact covering is humiliated? Why is it that you can get as drunk and loud as you want on an airplane but Muslims can’t even quietly speak our native language?

  • Deadly drone decisions

    Opinions April 13, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Dan Simpson in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. America’s use of drones as a combat weapon will be called into question for anyone who sees the new movie “Eye in the Sky.” There is background to the conundrum that is not included in the film but nonetheless relevant. The first is that President Barack Obama has ordered or authorized the killing of at least eight American citizens by drone strike. These have included six men who could be considered terrorists, the young son of one of them and — we will assume accidentally — a 73-year-old American aid worker, Warren Weinstein, who was being held hostage in Pakistan. It is worth noting that these American killings of Americans were carried out entirely outside the due process of law guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution.

  • FBI’s “shared responsibility committees” to identify “radicalized” Muslims raise alarms

    Opinions April 9, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. The FBI’s plan to enlist community leaders in “Shared Responsibility Committees” all across the country with the goal of identifying “radicalized” individuals is raising alarm among civil rights activists. The Shared Responsibility Committees, known as SRCs, “are expanding the informant program under the guise of an intervention program, which it is not,” said Abed Ayoub, legal director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). The FBI’s ideas is to have social service workers, teachers, mental health professionals, religious figures, and others interdict young people they believe are on a path towards radicalization. As a recent HBO documentary showed, many of those arrested were young men who came to the FBI’s attention through their online activities and ended up facing lengthy jail sentences.

  • A better way to keep kids from joining ISIS: talk to them

    Opinions April 7, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: The Intercept. This encounter between a young man and Aziz, a respected figure in his community who made time for him, potentially helped stop another young person from joining an extremist group. It also highlights the promise of self-directed, grassroots efforts against violent groups at a time when Western governments are spending millions on controversial, often invasive “countering violent extremism” programs.

  • What happens after Guantanamo? A life of hell

    Opinions April 6, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Huffington Post. While Guantanamo Bay has housed 779 men, the number has now decreased to under 100. While this represents sort of a victory, many of the men have been released to third countries without support whether financial, psychosocial or otherwise. Guantanamo Bay is a physical prison, but leaves scars for those who have been released. Rather than trying to rectify the damage that has been done to their lives, media attention has focused largely on the conduct of prisoners in a vacuum. If we are to fully address the consequences that Guantanamo Bay has wrought onto prisoners, then it is important that we focus not only on prisoner release, but also prisoner rehabilitation, acknowledgement of wrongdoing and reparations. Only then, will prisoners be able to resume some semblance of a “normal” life.

  • Leading US presidential candidates normalize anti-Muslim sentiment

    Opinions April 4, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Mint Press News. In recent years, months, and weeks, we’ve witnessed what can best be described as a formulaic normalization of anti-Muslim sentiment expressed by leading political personalities, and candidates running for president of the United States of America. The specter of terrorism, embraced in part by the media’s stenographers of power, is not without consequences. In November, the Islamic Society of St. Petersburg in Florida received a threat on their voicemail that was so specific and so chilling that the FBI was called. Until Islamophobia is acknowledged, at the very least, as an extension of racist orientalist attitudes then there can be no resolution. And, in order to fight back against this wave of anti-Muslim violence, we must first accept this violence exists.

  • Flying while Muslim, family edition: Mom says airline’s “safety issues” had to do with “how we look”

    Opinions April 1, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Salon. Ever since 9/11, the threat of terror has become such a convenient excuse for straight up paranoia that it’s hard to tell what’s legitimate concern and what’s just everyday racism. And in few places is that more evident than up in the skies. This week, Illinois mother of three Eaman-Amy Saad Shebley went public with her story of how she says she and her husband and kids were kicked off a United flight to Washington D.C., “no reason other than how we look.” But is that what happened, or was it simple issue of seating safety? But when you consider that last fall a “Middle Eastern looking” guy got kicked off Spirit Air when “concerned” passengers saw him watching a movie on his phone, or that in January a Sikh mother claimed she was delayed from boarding a Delta flight because her breast pump alarmed a male traveler, I’d go ahead and ask if you hear a lot of stories like this involving white people.

  • The only difference between a Christian gunman and a Muslim terrorist is racism

    Opinions March 29, 2016 at 0 comments

    Source: Quartz. Yesterday, a man opened fire in the visitors center of the US Capitol. He drew his weapon and pointed it at officers, one of whom fired and struck the suspect before he could go any further. The media would later learn that the same man had shouted “I am a Prophet of God” from the balcony of the House of Representatives in 2015. Terrorism, right? Except the shooter’s name was Larry Dawson, and he’s not Muslim.