‘Controversy’ Over the South Park Muhammad (SAW) Episode

From the news:

A derogatory article about Durga (a Hindu goddess) was published in the British newspaper- The Guardian. It has angered some Hindus. A Hindu website, the Hindutva Jagaran, has said this may lead to some blood being spilled. Protection is being arranged for editors and the publishers of The Guardian.

This piece makes it look as if the radical website that issued the threat is real and is newsworthy. The piece does not make it clear whether that is the case.

Anyway, the “news” above is fake.

It is to show what is wrong with the news coverage of the South Park episode. It begins with the report that allegedly a Muslim Website issued “death threat” to the South Park folks.

Fox news stops its coverage there, as expected. CNN continues and quotes my dear friend Aziz. That’s better, but as poll after poll has shown, Aziz’s view is far more representative than are the radical voices. Why report the radical voices first? It gives them undue attention, and a false sense of importance. In other words, it gives them motivation to seek more attention by actually committing a crime.

To get a representative voice, they could have approached CAIR, or ISNA or even their local Masjid. If the “revolution Muslim” reference is the only one covered, then that seems to be an important one. (I have never even come across this website before except through RT once. Never through my Muslim friends.) Of course that’s what Fox want to show. But what’s wrong with the others?

Fox news seemed to revel at the episode. God forbid, if one of the writers get killed, they get a double bonus. South Park is something they don’t like. Islam too.

It is true that most Muslims believe that the Prophet (SAW) should not be drawn, but drawing him will cause more annoyance than offense or anger. The reason Muslims were offended and angered by the Danish cartoon is not because it drew the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him), but rather because it portrayed him as a terrorist.

When the Muslims conquered Mecca, they forgave the persecuting Quraish. They destroyed all the idols that were there in the Kaaba, which was built (or rebuilt) by Abraham (AwS). However, there was a picture of prophet Jesus (AwS) and his mother Mary (may Allah be pleased with her), which the prophet carefully put away.

Muslims love and respect all the other prophets, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus (AwS). Whenever they are ridiculed, we are hurt too. The difference is, as Jesus (AwS) is “shared” between us and the Christians, so we do not feel we (Muslims)  are being picked on.

The episode of South Park in my opinion was not trying to offend. It was trying to engage/incorporate the Muslim faith into the dialogue the way they know how. That’s the problem. Americans do not understand other cultures, not even European ones, and do not attempt to understand them. They expect them to ‘know what we are talkin’ about.

It just does not work that way. You can’t converse in Bengali with a Chinese.

Personally, I did find the show a bit offensive. One, because it showed the Prophet (SAW) clad in a stupid teddy bear costume. Two, it made innumerate references relating Muhammad (SAW), Muslims and violence. (Three) nor is Muhammad (SAW) immune from criticism. Even Muslims believe that he was a fallible human. We just believe that overall he was an excellent person- an example for all humanity to learn from. We are open to sincere criticism, but we do not like him ridiculed.

So, in short, I am a somewhat offended by, and a bit dissatisfied with the show, but in no way angry with it. I urge my fellow Muslims to engage the larger society- including the media, and use this opportunity to create some positive atmosphere. I urge the media to talk to representative Muslim organizations, and emphasize that they are such, before talking about fringe groups.

Is political Islam a threat to the West?

Over at Goatmilk, there’s a review of the Doha debates about West and Islam

As the world witnesses Muslims frequently embracing “Islamic” political parties in the Middle East, many ominously foresee this trend as an inevitable threat to “the West.”

This contentious issue anchored last week’s prestigious Doha Debates moderated by veteran BBC journalist Tim Sebastian in Qatar, which hosts controversial topics in front of a diverse, engaged audience of 350 people. The motion “This House Believes that Political Islam is a Threat to the West” was defeated by 51% to 49% following a vote from the passionate audience, which included several members from the Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow conference who were invited to observe and participate.

In support of the motion, Maajid Nawaz, a former leader of the radical Hizb ut-Tahir who has since totally renounced his affiliations, stressed that Muslims and Islam are not inherently undemocratic or extremist, but rather the modern politicisation of Islam creates a dehumanising ideology soaked in separatism and violence. As he told me after the debate, “Political Islam is an ideology. They believe in exporting this divisive ideology to Muslims in the West… terrorists emerge from these parties. They don’t believe in our same democratic values.”

However, Shadi Hamid, a research fellow at Stanford University debating against the motion, disagreed: “With the exception of Hamas or Hizballah, every single mainstream Islamic party has renounced violence.”

Hamid’s debating partner, Sarah Joseph, Editor of the Muslim lifestyle magazine Emel, won over the audience by vocalizing her frustration at the nebulous and generalized definitions of “the West” and “political Islam.”

Meanwhile, Yahya Pallavicini, an Italian Imam and government adviser, argued for the motion lamenting the misuse of religion by Islamist political parties who selfishly hijack theology to “legitimise violence” and demonise women.

Reforming The Logic Of Islamic Movement

The Strategy And Logic of Reform

No Muslim can say that there is no need to reform the degraded and stagnant condition of the Ummah. We shall now, InshAllah, indicate the way by which the Ummah may achieve the incumbent reformation. At the outset it should be understood that the change, the revolution which, the Ummah has suffered is a spiritual ailment. Spiritual ailments like physical ailments have causes. It is common practice that in the case of curing a physical disease we must first aim to determine its causes then work to eliminate them so as to achieve health and well-being. Likewise, in the case of the ailment of the Ummah we apply the same logic used to work with physical ailments to the treatment of  spiritual diseases i.e., we aim to identify and then eliminate the causes of disease once eliminated, spiritual health and vigor will be established.

First Principles of Reform

The two essential principles of reformation that we ought employ in revitalizing the Ummah are:

1.) Proper diagnosis of the reality and condition of the Ummah so as to establish the causes of the diseases we suffer.
2.) Determine the ways and means of eliminating these causes.

Much more at Imam Webb’s site.

Dawah During Christmas!

Umar Lee

A lot of Muslims who converted from Christian families have the dilemma of not wanting to offend their families or see this day as the only opportunity to see all of their family in one place. Everyone does what they have to do; but at the end of the day Christmas is a celebration of shirk so not attending family Christmas celebrations is not a disrespect of your family, but rather upholding the Haqq of Tauheed. Like I told my grandmother I want the best for you and having a holiday for associating a partner with the Creator is not the best.

In this manner Christmas is a good time for dawah and in that sense it is a time when two things that are not popular for current Muslims to do in post 9-11 Muslim America; uphold the Truth and remain different and give dawah to Islam. As a young Muslims I can remember going out on dawah teams and every masjid having a department dedicated to the call to Islam.

And some fun at the City of Brass.

Ralph M. Coury’s Misguided Article

Prof. Ralph M. Coury essay from the latest Race & Class issue ( from Race & Class, Vol. 50, No. 3, 30-61 (2009) )is much better of if you read Dr. Aref Ali Nayed’s commentary instead [a must read, and it gives you an insight on the Islamic way how Muslims should engage dialogue with the People of the Book - Christians and Jews]. I don’t have time to elaborate, but Insha’Allah very soon. Here is a summary of Ralph M. Coury’s article, and you need password to log on to read full text [Link]:

Pope Benedict XVI’s comments about Islam at the University of Regensburg on 12 September 2006 are examined here in terms of the traditions of Orientalism on which he draws and the political functions that they serve. The Pope portrays Islam as tending to irrational violence, in contrast to a Christianity based on a rapprochement between faith and the spirit of Greek philosophical inquiry, a rapprochement that is taken to be the foundation of European identity. This article examines the falsehoods, misrepresentations and weaknesses of the Pope’s arguments and locates his understanding of Islam within broader intellectual patterns. It argues that his remarks reflect, more particularly, the specificities of his personal formation and the contemporary needs of the Roman Catholic Church.

Key Words: clash of civilisations • European identity • Islamophobia • Qur’an • Roman Catholic Church

Why You Should be an Honest Businessman/woman

At Chill Yo Islam Yo

Which leads me to my new topic, yes its about business. Not monkey business, it’s actually about why we should keep our honesty when dealing with customers and especially maintain our Islamic business ethics in our every business matters. I work in a retail store, we sell overpriced clothes for no reason to beat our customers in the head. For example, we have a $1,500 coat in our store, which attracts alot of window shoppers.  Anytime I sense a customer is ready to buy it, I advise them to not get it from my store and get it from saks fifth ave or something. Where you can actually save hundreds, automatically they are stunned.

They can’t understand why an employee in the store would show them so much honesty, I’m not trying to brag about my customer service, the point is treat others how you would want to be treated. Another girl  walked in ready to buy $300 jeans, I also redirected to another store to get a better deal and again she was staring at me like an alien. Calm down, I’m a citizen. But I realized when you break the norm for the right reasons, you are looked upon as as stranger, which in reality is quite disturbing. That shows how backwards we are.

Queen Rania on YouTube

Jordan’s queen Rania is trying something extraordinary. In March 2008, she started a YouTube channel which is described as- “dedicated to breaking down stereotypes about the Arab and Muslim worlds and to bridging the East-West divide, this is Queen Rania’s official YouTube Channel.” East refers to the Middle East, about which (perhaps along with all other parts of the East) misconceptions are rife in the West.

This video was released when she received YouTube Visionary Award.

Here is a link to her YouTube channel.

We wish her all the best in her endeavor.

Letter to a New Muslim

Abdussamad Clarke.

So you are a new Muslim, and you may be such even if you have a lineage of Muslim ancestors that stretches back for generations, for each person who genuinely discovers Islam, confirms it and determines to live by it is always new.

You are beginning to find your feet in this strangely topsy-turvey world that is Islam today and that is especially upside-down in our already upside-down world here in the West.
You are assailed on one hand by the serious squad and their differences, a topic we dealt with at some length in the first part of this letter. On the other hand, there is the assault of the celebrities, nasheed singers and the whole burgeoning ‘Islamic’ entertainment industry. Reading the early history of the Muslims, it is very hard to find a match for this strange new culture of pop Islam, or the exotic panoply of superstar scholars and lecturers who fill our screens and the platforms of our conferences.
How did we get from ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, to this endless procession of celebrities, expert scholars and orators? As you are a new Muslim, we dare to think that you might question all this, that you really yearn for the authentic, that you would like somehow to live and die in Islam, not merely trying to prove to the world that you are exactly the same as them in every way, except that you are ‘Islamic’. No, you have decided that you are a Muslim, and not merely ‘Islamic’, if I dare express your thoughts for you.

Read on.

Via Tip Us Off

[Image coutresy: The Jamoker]