Haneen Zoabi is right. Mosques must be under scrutiny. Everywhere… and it’s Muslims themselves who must do the task.

For Zoabi this is an issue close to her heart; it stokes the fire in her belly. She posted a status on Facebook in which she asked who are those “barbarians” who are terrorizing the lives of residents with their violence and their weapons. Zoabi wrote of social terrorism against women, and women’s freedom of movement, expression and conduct.

Ostensibly, her comments were both just and on point — the phenomenon of Arab towns being ruled by a handful of armed violent criminals is a painful affliction in our community. Just yesterday a resident of Jaljulya was murdered by gunfire. Last week a school principal was shot and severely wounded in Kuseife. But Zoabi’s post went on to analyze the situation of religious coercion and incitement against both women and men who offer a different voice. And more significantly — Zoabi hinted at a link between clerics and extremists who seek control through violence and firearms. She added a clause in which she demanded that all the political movements, including the Islamic Movement must enhance their “social control” of clerics and imams in Arab towns and villages. They need to supervise what is said in the said in mosques on Fridays. “There are some people who think it is their own fiefdom,” wrote Zoabi.

Naturally, this statement angered many people who mobilized to defend Islam, the clerics and the Islamic Movement, whose members had condemned the shooting of the women’s marathon organizer and, alongside all the Joint List Knesset members, supported her.

From here on, the lively discussion very quickly became stormy and heated. Serious accusations of incitement, slander and “disturbing the peace” were hurled at Zoabi. This was the trigger for Photoshop wizards who rushed to fabricate shocking images of the MK. In one of them, Zoabi’s shaved head was superimposed on an orange-clad man’s body, next to whom there was a black-draped ISIS fighter! (Does that methodology remind us of anything?). This picture repulsed me, sending shivers up my spine in a way that I had never felt before; I felt as if the horrors of Islamic State are closer to me than ever before. Look at just how far the extreme right’s campaign of fear and incitement has permeated our community. For these were the same images used by the extreme right in its campaign to anoint Zoabi as the enemy of the people. And, of course, the sight of ISIS’ crimes, which are all over the Internet, govern our consciousness, crossing all boundaries or red lines of morality and law — of what is legitimate and what is permissible within the limits of freedom of expression.

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This time Haneen Zoabi went too far | +972 Magazine.

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This is what happens when you prevent those among Palestinians who follow the rules to reach any right, legal solution.  

You simply tell their people that they are not the ones to follow. They lose respect for them.

And they look toward those who are succeeding everywhere. 

Not a game I’d like to play, to be honest.

It’s simply too stupid, even for someone who awaits the Armageddon.

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Mona Eltahawy keeps making me like her…

Looking at the state of Libya and Syria today, post-Arab Spring, do you ever wonder if this was worth it?

No. I often compare Egypt to a house in which every window and door has been closed shut for the past 60 to 65 years. The revolution basically opened a window in that house. And you can imagine the stench that comes out after all those years. It’s horrible, and your first instinct is to close it because it stinks. But the only way to get the smell out is to continue to open all the windows.

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Mona Eltahawy Doesn’t Need to Be Rescued – NYTimes.com.

Prison-Protest

Still… let’s be fair!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/book-reviews/why-mona-eltahawys-provocative-new-book-headscarves-and-hymens-falls-short-in-its-goal-to-change-the-arab-world/article24009841/

Hijab for men… are imams paving the road for a He-jab?

Parallel with this is an international situation where many Muslims – rightly or wrongly – feel they are under siege from the west and respond to it, as a form of self-defence, through a re-assertion of supposedly traditional “Islamic values”. In reality, some of these values may not be as traditional as people imagine but they tend to be highly visible, and strict enforcement of male and female hijab is one of them.

In communities that feel themselves under threat, this might be called “solidarity hijab” – the sartorial equivalent of patriotic flag-waving – where anyone who doesn’t conform is regarded as betraying the cause.

A variation on this, and usually more voluntary in nature, is hijab as a way of asserting identity. It can be found in areas where Muslims form a minority, and so the niqab – a highly practical form of dress if you’re caught in a desert sandstorm – turns into a religious/political statement when worn on the streets of Britain. It happens in Muslim countries too, though. Saudi salafis, for example, use “indentity hijab” to distinguish themselves from other Muslims and in countries where political dissent is restricted styles of dress become an important way of expressing opposition to the government.

Despite the invocations of Islamic tradition, all this seems far removed from the original concept of hijab: that Muslims should simply assume a modest appearance. In extreme cases, it also reflects an extraordinarily superficial approach to religion where there’s more concern over a man who is “improperly” dressed than a one who takes bribes at work and beats his wife at home.

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Hijab for men | Comment is free | The Guardian.

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Really?… well… it’s not what is shown in the pic above (Made by Boushra Al-Muttawakil) but I am sure someone, sometime, thought:

“If we convinced women to get through this freely… why not trying it on men?”

Because control is everything ladies and sirs!

The habit does not make the sport!

Just like a hologram that changes as one ever so slightly turns the angle by which she is looking, I saw a different side of these Saudi Arabian women than the oppressed females who are constantly being portrayed in the media.

These women are incredibly intelligent. While their education might be segregated after a certain age, most of the girls will not only complete high school, but many will go on to partake in the largest scholarship program in the world and study abroad at various universities. One of the most fascinating lunches we had was with a roundtable of women ranging from the first female lawyer to entrepreneurs, and from a filmmaker to a coach. The ladies we met were incredibly inspiring not only because of their intelligence, but also their determination, resourcefulness and resolve.

They recognize that the road to progress is paved with passion as well as patience, and they are relentless in their pursuit to push forward.Courtesy Ruth RileyThe Saudi players’ eagerness to learn more about basketball left a lasting impression on Ruth Riley.Besides the incredible hospitality that was shown to us everywhere we went, there was another common theme at all of our clinics. Regardless of age, we found that all the players were extremely excited to absorb anything we could teach them.

It would be unrealistic for us to have an expectation of a high talent level in a society that does not openly accept — let alone promote — female sports.

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Ruth Riley Sees Complex Picture

For Saudi Arabian Women.

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The habit does not make the monk, they say. For the good and the bad.

That is… an abaya and a veil won’t make anyone a worst person… nor a better one. 

And same as this… not wearing covers won’t make you free. 

Same as wearing them won’t liberate you. 

Daesh Caliphate: The irresistible attraction to the abyss…

Adèle, the fifteen-year-old daughter of a professional couple in Paris who joins Jabhat al-Nusra after an online conversion by her handler “Brother Mustafa.” In a farewell note to her mother she leaves behind, Adèle writes:

My own darling Mamaman (Mamaman à moi)

…Its because I love you that that I have gone.

When you read these lines I’ll be far away.

I will be in the Promised Land, the Sham, in safe hands.

Because its there that I have to die to go to Paradise.

… I have been chosen and I have been guided.

And I know what you do not know: we’re all going to die,

punished by the wrath of God.

It’s the end of the world, Mamaman.

There is too much misery, too much injustice…

And everyone will end up in hell.

Except for those who have fought with the last Imam in the Sham,

Except for us.

Adèle’s family does not know exactly how she first became drawn to Islam. But as with so many other young recruits from Europe, the Internet seems to have played a crucial part. On Adèle’s computer, they discover pictures of her in a black niqab, as well as a record of her online conversion and rapid indoctrination by Brother Mustapha, in a hidden Facebook account in which she calls herself Oum Hawwa (“Mother of Eve”).

Her conversion appears to have been influenced by the sudden death of Cathy, her much-loved aunt, from an aneurysm at the age of forty. In the Facebook dialogue, Mustapha consoles her about her loss and asks: “Have you reflected on what I explained?”

“Yes, thanks be to God, my spirit is clearer. God called aunt Cathy back to bring me closer to Him. He did this so I would see the Signs that the ignorant don’t hear.”

“This is how He tests us,” says Mustapha. “ Everything is written—there is always an underlying meaning. Allah wanted you to learn. But He must send you a trigger so you can leave the ignorance in which you have been kept up till now. Your reasoning is merely human. Allah reasons as Master of the Universe.…”

As Adèle’s engagement strengthens, Mustapha becomes more strident, moving into grooming mode:

When I tell you to call me you must call me. I want you pious and submissive to Allah and to me. I can’t wait to see your two little eyes beneath the niqab.

The story ends tragically: in Syria, the girl is briefly married to Omar, a jihadi chosen by the Emir of her group. Then one day Adèle’s parents receive a text from Adèle’s cellphone: “Oum Hawwa died today. She was not chosen by God. She didn’t die a martyr: just a stray bullet. May you hope she doesn’t go to hell.”

In the hope of retrieving her daughter, Adèle’s mother, Sophie, receives help from Samy, a practicing French Muslim. He has just come back from Syria after failing to rescue his own fourteen-year-old younger brother, Hocine, who also joined al-Nusra. Samy explains the all-embracing ideology that drives the jihadists. After being kidnapped in Northern Syria, Samy had been brought before a leader of the French division of al-Nusra. “There were young French boys everywhere. An entire town of French recruits,” Samy recalls. He is told that the Syrian jihad and the restoration of the caliphate is a prelude to the final battle at the End of Time. He is warned not to listen to the Salafists (orthodox believers) who claim that waging jihad is subject to certain limitations. “God has chosen us! We have the Truth! You’re either with us or you’re a traitor,” he is told, in a phrase that echoes George W. Bush. “Only those who fight with the Mahdi”—the Muslim messiah, who will restore the caliphate—“will enter paradise.”

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Lure of the Caliphate by Malise Ruthven

| NYRblog |

The New York Review of Books.

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Also in Islam, there are people learning that the dress does not make one a monk…

I’m steadfast in my belief that exploring and wandering are the reasons I know I am Muslim. Learning about Buddhism brought me closer to Islam because it taught me what surrendering means, a lesson none of my Islamic studies teachers have been able to teach me even though that’s literally what Islam means. My Islamic studies teachers taught me how to how to obsess about the mundane—about all the things I’m doing incorrectly and therefore my prayers will not be accepted. They taught me guilt. They taught me fear. They taught me that being a good Muslim is difficult. I never quite rejected Islam, I just took a break from going through the motions of prayer out of guilt. I wanted to see if I could be compelled to return to my prayer rug. I did. I returned when I felt like my life was empty without worship. I prayed out of gratitude. I prayed and it gave me solace. Ablution became less about splashing water over various parts of my body and felt more like a daily cleanse. A baptism. I stopped obsessing about the small things and my new mantra was “Al-‘amal bil niyat,” which means actions are dependent on their intentions. My other mantra was “Al deen yusr,” which translates to religion is ease. Exploring and wandering gave me the tools I needed to critically look at the hypocrisy of the ‘ulama’a (Islamic elites/scholars/clerics). I realized that I did not have to practice my religion from the point of view of a largely misogynistic group of people. Two years ago, I denounced most hadith (prophetic traditions and sayings), fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and tafseer (interpretation) because these three things, all of which play a huge part in how Islam is practiced today, are filtered through the perspective of Muslims born into normalized extreme patriarchy.

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Practicing Islam in Short Shorts.

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(SO OF COURSE, DON’T FORGET… IF YOU ARE IN SPAIN OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY OF “THE WEST”… YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BEHAVE ACCORDING TO THESE SAME WAYS THAT YOU REQUEST FROM US IN YOUR HOMELANDS)

This catholic learnt long ago that the outside does never make the believer… because we don’t believe outside.

We believe within.

Humans, I mean, not only Catholics…

God can’t be exclusive ruler of a single exclusive club. I also learnt that. Long ago.  

So don’t be fast to judge people’s relation with God, because you can only access to the outside, and there is not where we and God meet, hence… as far as you won’t get access to men’s spirits, the power to condemn or save human souls will NEVER be in your hands.

Never.

Rest in Peace, all those dreamers in Middle East… and stand up in peace, all those still to come.

A few days before her assassination, Shaima tweeted: “Living in this country has become painful and cold…I hope that its soil is vaster… and the bosom of its ground broader than its sky.”
The Ministry of Interior acquitted itself, as it does often, saying that professional elements infiltrated the march and killed Shaima. According to the autopsy report and eyewitnesses who were standing next to Shaima, a soldier fired a barrage of shotgun shells at her from a distance of eight meters. The authorities hate the voices of the January youths, who say that “the Interior Ministry are thugs.”

Sabbagh fell in Talaat Harb Square. She was with her leftist comrades from the Socialist People’s Alliance Party (SPAP). They were walking peacefully toward Tahrir Square, singing and chanting: “Living – freedom – social justice.”

None of the goals of the January 25 Revolution have been achieved. They were consumed and digested by the old dictators.

Even carrying flowers on the anniversary of those who passed away in Tahrir Square in 2011 is forbidden to Shaima and her companions, disappointed with the comments of passersby, who watched and said critically: “Enough revolution and destruction, shame on you.”

In Egypt, Tyrants Fear Roses and Songs:

A Eulogy for Shamia Sabbagh 

Al Akhbar English.

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Let’s not forget as well, that only a day before, Egyptian student Sondos Abu Bakr was killed, in a nearly identical manner to Shaimaa, after security forces started shooting at a demonstration she was attending in the city of Alexandria. Sondos was only 17.

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The weapon and method used to kill both women was the same, and so were the culprits yet the coverage of both incidents could not have been more different. The killing of Sondos, once confirmed, received little to no coverage, whether on social media or on news outlets. There were no condemnations or special tributes, no major articles or investigations. I can’t help but think, had Sondos been protesting under a different (read “liberal”) banner, her death would have received more sympathy and certainly more coverage. It’s true that that the killing of Shaimaa was more well-documented than that of Sondos, and it’s also true that it took place in an area and time of great significance to the Egyptian revolution… but does that really justify the disparity in coverage?

I am not here to “compare” deaths or claim that the killing of one was more outrageous than the other. That would frankly be quite repulsive and counter-productive. I am simply trying to point out the sheer hypocrisy in our principles and stances that deem some lives more worthy of mourning than others. The fact of the matter is that the majority of people only started caring about the death of “Islamist” Sondos when it was linked to the death of “liberal” Shaimaa. Sondos was just an afterthought.

Via:

MuslimGirl.net

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Yesterday Sondos, today Shaima.

And still the world watches on #Jan25#Egypt#KilledByCops