Thursday, February 26, 2009

Qur’anic genesis of humankind

The Qur’anic genesis of humankind
T.O. Shanavas. MD

The Author of “Creation And/Or Evolution An Islamic Perspective.” [ISBN: 1-4134-6591-1]

Most Muslims, if asked about Adam and Eve (Hawwa), will state that they were the very first of humankind on the face of the earth and that every human being of the past and current age is a genetic descendant of this primordial couple. But this belief crumbles under scientific scrutiny.

Genetic bottleneck is the scientific term for a natural event that causes reduction in the genetic diversity of a living population. When a population is limited to a single sub-species it lacks diversity and a significant percentage of that population fails to thrive due to disease, environmental challenges and reproductive failures. Without a diverse gene pool, the viability of such a population is reduced by 50% or greater. Eventually, this continuing deterioration of species vigor leads to its extinction. Small and isolated species populations are known to suffer dire consequences when there is a lack of genetic diversity.

Detrimental genetic diseases are very common in small interbred populations. For example, among an isolated group of South African Muslims, the prevalence of a genetic disease cleidocranial dysostosis, an inherited disorder of bone development, is traced to a common ancestor; a religious and cultural leader of Chinese descent. A genetic vulnerability of this nature coupled with a lack of genetic diversity can lead to the extinction of such a population. The smaller the population, the greater the probability it would disappear.

The smallest possible population of human species is two people where naturally genetic variation is extremely limited. Therefore, the consideration that the proliferation of the human species could have resulted from only two ancestors, such as Adam and Eve, is not plausible by scientific criteria. The human species would have become extinct due to the extreme population bottleneck. So where then do Adam and Eve fit in the evolutionary history of our species? In order to determine where Adam and Eve are situated within the genesis of mankind, we need to apply proper Arabic grammar to the relevant Qur’anic verses 2:35-36.

In many languages, verbs are conjugated in relation to the number of individuals to which the action applies. In English, every noun is either singular or plural (two or more in number). Every verb is modified to comply with a singular or plural noun or pronoun. Unlike English, Arabic has singular, dual and plural forms of pronouns, nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. The singular form is used when referring to one person or thing, the dual refers to two people or two things and the plural form for more than two people or things.

Now let us look at the verse 2:35-36 that narrates the Divine command calling for the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the “Garden.”

And We said: وَقُلْنَا
O! Adam (singular) يَا آدَمُ
You dwell (singular) اسْكُنْ
You (singular) أَنتَ
and your mate (singular) وَزَوْجُكَ
in the garden الْجَنَّةَ
and you two eat (singular) وَكُلا
from it مِنْهَا

eat freely as رَغَداً حَيْثُ
you two wish (dual) شِئْتُمَا
and you two approach not (dual) وَلاَ تَقْرَبَا
this tree هَـذِهِ الشَّجَرَةَ
lest you two become (dual) فَتَكُونَا
transgressors. مِنَ الْظَّالِمِينَ
Then Satan made them to slip (dual) فَأَزَلَّهُمَا الشَّيْطَانُ
from it عَنْهَا
and send the two out (dual) فَأَخْرَجَهُمَا
from that (State) the two (dual) مِمَّا كَانَا
were in. (dual) فِيهِ
And We (God) said: وَقُلْنَا
‘Get you down.’ (more than two plural) اهْبِطُواْ
Some of you (more than two plural) بَعْضُكُمْ
are enemies to others; (more than two plural) لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ وَلَكُمْ
and you have (more than two) plural) وَلَكُمْ
in the earth a habitation فِي الأَرْضِ مُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمَتَاعٌ إِلَى حِينٍ
and sustenance for a while.

Verse 2:35 begins with a singular noun and pronoun, indicating Adam; then changes to a dual pronoun, referring to both Adam and Eve. The Arabic verb used in the Divine command “to get out” of the “Garden” in verse 36 after the violation of the Divine guidance is conjugated however not with the dual form but with the extended plural indicating more than two subjects. Such grammatical construction of the verse indicates that the order to “get down” was made not to Adam and Eve alone but to a group of people. Muslim scholars have interpreted this in two different ways. One is that the command in plural, “get you down” (اهْبِطُواْ), is directed to a group consisting of Adam, Eve, and Satan. The second proposes that the command is given to a group consisting of Adam, Eve, and their future descendants. Both of these interpretations invariably lead us to a genetically unviable bottleneck that would have predisposed early humanity to extinction.

As the interpretations of the early Muslim scholars do not find credence within a realistic biological model, I offer a third interpretation. This interpretation is compatible with the scientific demands.

As Adam and Eve are addressed while in the Garden as “you” in the dual grammatical format, the primordial pair may be perceived as residing still within the realm of the spiritual Celestial Garden. In this un-manifest state, the Adam and Eve of spirit are not the DNA based biological parents of the human species, but the archetypal spiritual predecessors of mankind. The creation of the human from a “single soul” (unity) and “from it … its mate (duality)” refers to the creation of the primordial human soul and its progression into a dyad in the generation of the Adam and Eve of spirit, not yet clothed in the garment of biological flesh. Yet, upon noting that in Qur’anic verse 2:31, Adam is given knowledge, we conclude that he is nevertheless deemed a Prophet to the first generation of mankind, in accordance with the Qur’an. “Then He gave Adam knowledge of the nature and reality of all things and everything...” [Qur’an 2:31]. For every people there is a messenger… [Qur’an 10:47]. Adam, being a Prophet, must have contemporary human beings to whom he was supposed to convey the Divine message. I propose that the reason for the use of the two or more plural form (اهْبِطُواْ) in verse 2:36 is that there were other human beings along with Adam and Eve when they were expelled from their paradisiacal abode. And as these beings took on the garment of flesh in the earthly realm, the world was peopled with the rich genetic diversity we have today.

Was Prophet Adam (pbuh) created on the earth or heaven? The following verse guide us to answer the question. After God presented Adam to the Angels, He said to Adam: “There is therein (enough provision) for thee not to go hungry nor to go naked, nor to suffer from thirst, nor from the sun’s heat (ﻲﺣﻀ).” (Qur’an 20:118-119). God provided Adam and Eve with food, water, and shelter to protect them from the heat of the sun. From among the billions of stars in our universe, why would the Qur’an mention the sun’s heat if the garden was Paradise? Moreover, in every context, the word ﻲﺣﻀ (daha) or its derivatives are used in the Qur’an only in situations related to the sun. Thus, the Garden of the Forbidden Tree must have been within the solar system in order for it to be affected by the heat of the sun, which could be felt only on planets close to it. All other planets in the solar system are either too cold or hot for humans to live on. Therefore, Adam was raised among the early people of the earth to deliver Divine message.
The following verse describes the evolutionary creation of human species. “He created (khalaqa) you in successive stages” (Qur’an: 71:14).
Four hundred years before Charles Darwin, Ibn Khaldun, the most famous Muslim historiographer and social scientist, summarized the divine creation of human species by evolution in his Muqaddimah [An Introduction to History].
He states:
“One should then look at the world of creation. It started out from the minerals and progressed, in an ingenious, gradual manner to plants and animals. The last stage of minerals is connected with the first stage of plants, such as herbs, and seedless plants. The last stage of plants such as palms and vines is connected with the first stage of animals, such as snails and shellfish which have only the power to touch.
The word ‘connection’ with regard to these created things means that the last stage of each group is fully prepared to become the first stage of the next group. The animal world then widens, its species become numerous, and, in a gradual process of creation, it finally leads to man, who is able to think and reflect. The higher stage of man is reached from the world of monkeys, in which both sagacity and perception are found, but which has not reached the stage of actual reflection and thinking. At this point we come to the first stage of man (after the world of monkeys). This is as far as our (physical) observation extends.”
[Khaldun, Ibn. The Muqaddimah, trans. by Franz Rosenthal, Vol. 1, p. 195.]
Note - there are not many articles on evolution from a Muslim perspective. Dr. Shanavas has written the above and I have written - and Imam Zia Shaikh is about to write one.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saudi Arabia - A change in the making

Saudi Arabia; a change in the making

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was perhaps the first head of a government, who was secure enough to initiate the Madinah pact, one of the first Pluralist documents in the history of mankind that respected and accepted God's intentional diversity to remain intact.I sincerely hope, that the Saudi King will pave the way to make the land of the prophet to once again become a beacon of pluralism, that Islam was and I pray that God help the King achieve it. Amen.


Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Pluralism, interfaith, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television networks discussing these and the civic issues. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at

Pluralistic Societies, Saudi Arabia, World Muslim Congress, foundation for pluralism, Pluralist, Mike Ghouse Pluralist

Saudi Arabia - A change in making

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was perhaps the first head of a government, who was secure enough to initiate the Madinah pact, one of the first Pluralist documents in the history of mankind that respected and accepted God's intentional diversity to remain intact.

The society was pluralistic during his time, and a hundred years later pluralism vanished and was vanquished giving root to the mono-religious society. The nature of Islam and the writings after that time lost the universal message, the writigns were not reflective of the society that Prophet Muhammad envisioned.

I sincerely hope, that the Saudi King will pave the way to make the land of the prophet to once again become a beacon of pluralism, that Islam was and I pray that God help the King achieve it. Amen.


Mike Ghouse

Does Qur'aan incite Violence - II

Does Qur'aan incite Violence -II

Qur’aan does not incite violence; those who are violence prone believe that it is, as their mind set is based on fear and violence. It is the propaganda of Neocons; those who are insecure about their extremist values, worry about similar people in other groups. Neocons are extremist literalists like the Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus. They are all mirror images of each other.

Religion, yes, and every religion allays fears of the unknown, mitigates the apprehensions, gives hopes and brings a balance to an individual and what surrounds him; people and the environment.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Pluralism, interfaith, terrorism, peace, Islam, Multiculturism and India. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television networks discussing these and the civic issues. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at


Is Qur'aan perfect?

Is Qur'aan Perfect?

It is the true and final word of God for the Muslims who believe in it, it is not for the Christians, Hindus, Jews or others who are not familiar with it. However, if one sincerely understands the Qur'aan, he or she will find the essence of Justice, fairness; truth and peace resonate in Qur'aan as they may find it in their own scriptures.

Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer on Pluralism, interfaith, terrorism, peace, Islam, Multiculturism and India. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television networks discussing these and the civic issues. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Women Friendly Mosques

Don't miss this conference listed below.

It is good to see inclusion of the topic "Developing Women and Youth Friendly Mosques"

However, I did not see any women speaker names in this program; and I know it is an oversight, and hope it is. We need to make a conscious effort to be inclusive, at least in the USA. Women need to make sure nothing will be done without their partnership.

Asra Nomani, Dr. Amina Wadud and several other women have gone through the painful process of standing out and calling for the change. As men, several of us have condemned those demeaning shameless demonstrations against these women. One of them condemned them to hell - as if the Master of the day of Judgment had turned over his role to them. The men should know that, they recite the Maliki yomiddin phrase at least 50 times a day from Sura Fateha and that they cannot condemn anyone to hell, it is God's business.

I would suggest women who have the resources to be there, to please be there.

Mike Ghouse
World Muslim Congress

The American Muslim Studies Program (AMSP) at the

The American Mosque in the 21st Century

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU), Georgetown University, cordially invites you to attend: A ONE DAY CONFERENCE ON

Georgetown University --- Copley Formal Lounge

37th & O St., NW – Washington, DC 20057

Thursday, February 19, 2009 -- 9 AM – 5 PM

Since the early twentieth century, the Muslim communities in the USA have been establishing mosques in various parts of the country. With the passage of time, these mosques have assumed new functions and roles. They have been transformed from places of worship to community centers, to schools, and finally to forums for Muslims' involvement in public policy issues. They have also become the backbone of the fundraising drives of the American Muslims for local and international projects. In a post-9/11 era, however, mosques and Islamic centers have received extra attention, and sometimes scrutiny, from law enforcement agencies, media personnel and policy makers. The question is how these mosques and Islamic centers can be equipped to face the new challenges and demands of the 21st century? A group of academics, architects and religious scholars will address these issues.

The Conference is FREE and open to the public. However, seating is limited.

Please register before February 15, 2009 at:

Contact: Adam Holmes at or 202-687-8375. For more info, visit:

Cosponsored by Helping Hand for Relief and Development

08:45 AM: Registration/Coffee
09:15 AM: Introductory Remarks by John Voll and Zahid Bukhari, Georgetown University
09:30 AM: Panel 1 – Mosque, Community and Society

Sulayman Nyang, Howard University, "Mosque and Society"
Imam Mohamed Magid, ADAMS Center, "Mosques and American Religious Landscape"
Ihsan Bagby, University of Kentucky, "Statistical Overview of the American Mosques"
Khalid Blankinship, Temple University, "Historical Footprints of the American Mosques"

Chair: Iqbal Unus, Fairfax Institute

11:15 AM: Break
11:30 AM: Keynote Speaker, Muzammil Siddiqi, Islamic Center of Orange County, CA, "American Mosques: Future Trends'
12:30 PM: Break for Lunch and Zuhr Prayer
01:30 PM: Panel 2 – Space, Design and Function

Riad Ali, MuslimGuide.Com, "Evolution of the American Mosques: Space and Functionality"

Mazen Ayoubi, AIC, "Designing the American Mosques; Balancing Tradition with Modernity"

Christopher McCoy, McCoy Architects, "Mosque and Church in a Neighborhood: A Comparative Perspective"

Imam Khalid Griggs, Community Mosque, "Urban and Suburban Experiences of American Mosques"

Chair: Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Georgetown University

03:15 PM: Panel 3 – Education and Empowerment

Altaf Husain, Howard University, "Developing Women and Youth Friendly Mosques"

Imam Amir Mukhtar Faezi, Baitul Ilm Academy, "Educating the Community: Problems and Prospects"

Louay Safi, ILDC, "Effective Leadership and Good Governance"

Imam Johary Abdul Malik, Darul Hijra, "Making Mosques Financially Sustainable"

Chair: Imam Yahya Hendi, Georgetown University

05:00 PM: Closing Remarks by Sulayman Nyang, Howard University

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Our Mission, Eboo Patel, Rashad Hussain


A few good news items for Muslims to rejoice, while the Gaza tragedy continues

1. The Mission of World Muslim Congress
2. Obama appoints Ebrahim (Eboo) Patel to his inter faith council
3. Rashad Hussain to be Deputy Associate Counsel to President Obama
4. Sania Mirza first Indian woman to capture Grand Slam title

Mike Ghouse

Our Mission
To be a Muslim is to be a peace maker, one who constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful co-existence of humanity. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; Life and Matter.

We are driven by the Qur'an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: "O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah Knows and is Aware."

Our Mission
Our Mission is to work for a world of co-existence through inclusiveness and participation. As a member of diverse family of faiths, our efforts will be directed towards justice and equity to attain peace for the humankind with a firm grounding in commonly held values. We cannot have advantages at the cost of others. Such benefits are temporary and deleterious to lasting peace. We believe what is good for Muslims has got to be good for the world, and vice versa, to sustain it.

Indeed we aspire to promote goodwill amongst people of different affiliations, regardless of their faith, gender, race, nationality, culture or any other uniqueness blessed by the creator.

Our short term goal is to understand different faiths and let the values of Islam be understood as well. So we may know one another.

Our Long term goal is simply to bring the realization that the purpose of all religions is to bring peace and tranquility to an individual and further create balanced relationships between the individual, society and the environment. Learning about other faiths need not imply infidelity, but rather the search will enrich one's own faith, it reaffirms the idea that the intent of every faith is to "fix" the individual as an active working and participating spoke in the wheel of life. Most people get it and a few don't.

Islam defined

The essence of Islam: Justice for every human being under one Creator (Universe is the only creation we know). The Qur'aan starts with the word "God of Universe" (not necessarily Muslims) and ends with "Humankind" (and again not Muslims). As such it is understood that God, the cause behind creation of life and matter belongs to all of us. No one owns him (her or it) nor does one group has an exclusive favors over the other. The creator will offer equal opportunities to all and will not sign a deal behind one's back with the other.

Obama appoints Ebrahim (Eboo) Patel to his inter faith council

Washington: The US President, Barack Obama, on Thursday appointed an Indian American to his new advisory council on inter faith relationships.

Eboo S Patel, founder and executive director of the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Corps, would be a member of the President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The council announced Thursday it would have 25 members, who will be appointed for a one-year term. However, fifteen members to the council were announced today.

The announcement came after Obama signed an executive order establishing the new faith-based council.

This office will work on behalf of Americans committed to improving their communities, no matter their religious or political beliefs, Obama said.

Joshua DuBois, a former associate pastor and advisor to Obama in his US Senate office and campaign Director of Religious Affairs, would lead this office.

"Joshua understands the issues at stake, knows the people involved and will be able to bring everyone together from both the secular and faith-based communities and from academia and politics around our common goals," he said.

EBOO PATEL, Founder and Executive Director

Eboo Patel is the founder and Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international nonprofit working to build mutual respect and pluralism among religiously diverse young people by empowering them to work together to serve others. He is the author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. Eboo holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. He writes "The Faith Divide", a featured blog on religion for The Washington Post and has also written for the Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, the Chicago Tribune, The Clinton Journal, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, The Journal of College and Character and National Public Radio. Eboo serves on the Religious Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Committee of the Aga Khan Foundation USA, the Advisory Board of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center, and the National Board of the YMCA. He has spoken at the TED Conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and at universities around the world. Eboo is an Ashoka Fellow, part of a select group of social entrepreneurs whose ideas are changing the world; was named by Islamica Magazine as one of ten young Muslim visionaries shaping Islam in America; was chosen by Harvard's Kennedy School Review as one of five future policy leaders to watch; and was given an honorary doctorate from Washington and Jefferson College.

"…we cannot make the world safe for democracy unless we also make the world safe for diversity" - His Highness Aga Khan, May 15, 2006

Sania first Indian woman to capture Grand Slam title

Sania Mirza on Sunday became the first Indian woman to capture a Grand Slam title after winning the Australian Open mixed doubles trophy with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi. The Indian wild card pair crushed Andy Ram of Isreal and Nathalie Dechy of France 6-3, 6-1 in just 55 minutes at Melbourne.

This victory came a day after India had found a new singles Open champion in Yuki Bhambri, who lifted the junior title, thus capping the country's campaign at the first Grand Slam of the year on a high note.

It was Sania and Bhupathi's first Grand Slam title together. They had ended runners-up last year. The win also gave Bhupathi his seventh title in mixed doubles overall and second at the Australian Open, following his 2006 triumph with Martina Hingis.
Australian Open triumph would boost Indian tennis: Sania

Amanpreet Singh

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) The feeling of creating history has started to sink in and Sania Mirza, who today became the first Indian woman Grand Slam winner, says the way the new season has started, Indian tennis is definitely in for some good time ahead.

The 22-year-old Hyderabadi ace said she is not only "enjoying" the moment of but also hoping that this feat of her, together with Mahesh Bhupathi, will further provide fillip to the game in the country.

"It took a few minutes to believe (that I have won my first Grand Slam title). It's great to be a Grand Slam winner. I am at the airport and enjoying the moment. It's a dream come true," Sania told PTI from Melbourne as she prepared to flying home back.

Sania reckoned the last few weeks have been amazing for Indian tennis and it all started with the rise of Somdev Devavrman who reached final of Chennai Open.

"Of course it was a great start with Somdev, then Yuki won yesterday and we won today. It's great to beginning to the year and I hope Indian tennis gets more fillip from these feats," she said.

Sania looked much more impressive this year and she combined excellently with Bhupathi throughout the tournament. Asked if that was the reason behind their success, the tennis ace said, "We have always complemented each other's game. Last year also we had reached the finals and it's not a joke to reach that level.

"But yes, my game has improved and I am much better physically and it always helps," she said. PTI

Rashad Hussain to be Deputy Associate Counsel to President Obama

As-Salaam Alaikum

I just came to know that Rashad is our home town kid, right here from Plano,TX. He is the son of Br. Akbar Hussian. Rashad's mother is a very well known doctor in our community, Dr. Rokeyya Hussain.

Ayaz Malik

President has named Rashad Hussain to be Deputy Associate Counsel to the President. Mr. Hussain recently served as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to that, he was as a Law Clerk to Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hussain served as a legislative assistant on the House Judiciary Committee, where he reviewed legislation such as the USA Patriot Act. Mr. Hussain earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his Master’s degree in Public Administration and in Arabic & Islamic Studies from Harvard University, and his J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal

Evolutionary Creation - 2009 Evolution Week

Evolutionary Creation - 2009 Evolution Week

Several Abrahimic Religious leaders 'assume' that evolution is in conflict with creationism. It frightens them about the unknown; which is human. They have an unquestionable need to believe that what they know is the final word of God; a different point of view is anathema to them. The non-Abrahimic faith followers need not gloat; a new idea is usually an abomination to someone or the other including some of them. Whether you are a believer in a God, or several or no God, you would still find a new idea bring insecurity, like some one has pulled the rug from under you and you are out of your comfort zone.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Obama speaks at prayer breakfast

Obama speaks at prayer breakfast

The world is going in the right direction now, this is what God wanted all of us to do, to mitigate conflicts, nurture goodwill, accept each one's uniqueness and co-exist in peace. Following Jesus means that, submitting to Allah's will means that, surrendering to Krishna means that and every faith subscribes to this this idea.

My prayers for Obama to live a long life and be the catalyst for a positive inclusive change. Amen
Mike Ghouse


Remarks of President Barack Obama
National Prayer Breakfast
Thursday, February 5th, 2009
Washington, DC

Good morning. I want to thank the Co-Chairs of this breakfast, Representatives Heath Shuler and Vernon Ehlers. I’d also like to thank Tony Blair for coming today, as well as our Vice President, Joe Biden, members of my Cabinet, members of Congress, clergy, friends, and dignitaries from across the world.

Michelle and I are honored to join you in prayer this morning. I know this breakfast has a long history in Washington, and faith has always been a guiding force in our family’s life, so we feel very much at home and look forward to keeping this tradition alive during our time here.

It’s a tradition that I’m told actually began many years ago in the city of Seattle. It was the height of the Great Depression, and most people found themselves out of work. Many fell into poverty. Some lost everything.

The leaders of the community did all that they could for those who were suffering in their midst. And then they decided to do something more: they prayed. It didn’t matter what party or religious affiliation to which they belonged. They simply gathered one morning as brothers and sisters to share a meal and talk with God.

These breakfasts soon sprouted up throughout Seattle, and quickly spread to cities and towns across America, eventually making their way to Washington. A short time after President Eisenhower asked a group of Senators if he could join their prayer breakfast, it became a national event. And today, as I see presidents and dignitaries here from every corner of the globe, it strikes me that this is one of the rare occasions that still brings much of the world together in a moment of peace and goodwill.

I raise this history because far too often, we have seen faith wielded as a tool to divide us from one another – as an excuse for prejudice and intolerance. Wars have been waged. Innocents have been slaughtered. For centuries, entire religions have been persecuted, all in the name of perceived righteousness.

There is no doubt that the very nature of faith means that some of our beliefs will never be the same. We read from different texts. We follow different edicts. We subscribe to different accounts of how we came to be here and where we’re going next – and some subscribe to no faith at all.

But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.

We know too that whatever our differences, there is one law that binds all great religions together. Jesus told us to "love thy neighbor as thyself." The Torah commands, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow." In Islam, there is a hadith that reads "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." And the same is true for Buddhists and Hindus; for followers of Confucius and for humanists. It is, of course, the Golden Rule – the call to love one another; to understand one another; to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth.

It is an ancient rule; a simple rule; but also one of the most challenging. For it asks each of us to take some measure of responsibility for the well-being of people we may not know or worship with or agree with on every issue. Sometimes, it asks us to reconcile with bitter enemies or resolve ancient hatreds. And that requires a living, breathing, active faith. It requires us not only to believe, but to do – to give something of ourselves for the benefit of others and the betterment of our world.

In this way, the particular faith that motivates each of us can promote a greater good for all of us. Instead of driving us apart, our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife and rebuild what has broken; to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. This is not only our call as people of faith, but our duty as citizens of America, and it will be the purpose of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships that I’m announcing later today.

The goal of this office will not be to favor one religious group over another – or even religious groups over secular groups. It will simply be to work on behalf of those organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities, and to do so without blurring the line that our founders wisely drew between church and state. This work is important, because whether it’s a secular group advising families facing foreclosure or faith-based groups providing job-training to those who need work, few are closer to what’s happening on our streets and in our neighborhoods than these organizations. People trust them. Communities rely on them. And we will help them.

We will also reach out to leaders and scholars around the world to foster a more productive and peaceful dialogue on faith. I don’t expect divisions to disappear overnight, nor do I believe that long-held views and conflicts will suddenly vanish. But I do believe that if we can talk to one another openly and honestly, then perhaps old rifts will start to mend and new partnerships will begin to emerge. In a world that grows smaller by the day, perhaps we can begin to crowd out the destructive forces of zealotry and make room for the healing power of understanding.

This is my hope. This is my prayer.

I believe this good is possible because my faith teaches me that all is possible, but I also believe because of what I have seen and what I have lived.

I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion, even as she was the kindest, most spiritual person I’ve ever known. She was the one who taught me as a child to love, and to understand, and to do unto others as I would want done.

I didn’t become a Christian until many years later, when I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college. It happened not because of indoctrination or a sudden revelation, but because I spent month after month working with church folks who simply wanted to help neighbors who were down on their luck – no matter what they looked like, or where they came from, or who they prayed to. It was on those streets, in those neighborhoods, that I first heard God’s spirit beckon me. It was there that I felt called to a higher purpose – His purpose.

In different ways and different forms, it is that spirit and sense of purpose that drew friends and neighbors to that first prayer breakfast in Seattle all those years ago, during another trying time for our nation. It is what led friends and neighbors from so many faiths and nations here today. We come to break bread and give thanks and seek guidance, but also to rededicate ourselves to the mission of love and service that lies at the heart of all humanity. As St. Augustine once said, "Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you."

So let us pray together on this February morning, but let us also work together in all the days and months ahead. For it is only through common struggle and common effort, as brothers and sisters, that we fulfill our highest purpose as beloved children of God. I ask you to join me in that effort, and I also ask that you pray for me, for my family, and for the continued perfection of our union. Thank you.

Rabbi initiates Muslim-Jewish teamwork

Peace is the responsibility of every one, every one needs to pitch in and work for a world of co-existence and hope. I am pleased to read this initiative.

Mike Ghouse

February 6th, 2009
Rabbi wants to bring U.S. Muslim-Jewish teamwork to Europe
Post a commentPosted by: Keith Weir

Rabbi Marc Schneier, a New York Jewish leader who has helped to build bridges with American Muslims, is planning to bring his campaign to Europe to help ease the anger fed by bloodshed in Gaza. “In the light of the recent conflict in Gaza, Jewish-Muslim tensions have been exacerbated,” Schneier, vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, told Reuters during a recent visit to London. “We have seen a rise, I would say an exponential growth in anti-Semitic attacks, rhetoric coming from the Muslim world. We cannot allow for Islamic fundamentalism to grow.”

(Photo: Rabbi Marc Schneier/FFEU)
Schneier helped to bring together thousands of Jews and Muslims across America last November in an initiative in which 50 mosques were twinned with 50 synagogues over a weekend. Jews and Muslims worked together in community projects, formed study groups and got a better understanding of each other’s faith. They publicised this in the short video below and a full-page ad in the New York Times available here in PDF.

An eloquent and persuasive speaker, Schneier has advocated closer links between Jewish and Afro-American communities through the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, where he has worked with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

Schneier feels there is a need for action at the grass-roots level to help heal the rift between Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe. He is planning to repeat his ”Weekend of Twinning” this November and wants to extend it to Britain from North America. “Jewish-Muslim relations are a great concern here in Europe, so we wanted to bring this programme across the Atlantic,” he said.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews told me they were very interested in the project and wanted to develop it here, building on their own linking programme. However, the climate is not easy. Israel’s invasion of Gaza in which more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed has sparked fresh tensions between the two groups in Europe.

An umbrella group of French Jewish groups last week asked French President Nicolas Sarkozy to ensure that authorities do more to stem a rise in anti-Jewish crime. Britain has also seen protests over Israel’s campaign.

(Photo: Pro-Palestinian protesters in Paris, 24 Jan 2009/Gonzalo Fuentes)
Schneier dismissed concerns that members of close-knit Muslim communities in European countries such as Britain and France would be harder to reach than their counterparts in the United States, who tend to be better integrated into U.S. life.

“The challenge here is more of a language barrier than a social or cultural barrier. What we did in North America wasn’t an easy task either. There was much hesitation on both sides,” he said. “I see around the world there are pockets of moderation emerging within Islam. We cannot spurn the hands of the moderates in the Muslim world.”

Schneier’s initiative seems to be working in the United States, but can it be transplanted to Europe? We’d like to hear your comments here.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Religion-Alliance against Commercialisation

Building an All-Religion-Alliance against Commercialisation of Human Susceptibilities
By Dr Javed Jamil

Mike Ghouse: It is an excellent piece on the subject of “religions coming together against exploitation of human susceptibilities”. This is one of your best pieces I have read. I am pleased to see the trend of acknowledgement of all faiths; it is still a newer idea in the last century, but an old practice that existed during the times of the prophet.

We at World Muslim Congress are committed to a major paradigm shift in how religious-civic organizations will be run in the future.

The world has indeed become a global community. Everyone is a neighbor to everyone else; we aspire to nurture the concept of good neighborliness in the world. Our advisory board will be represented by individuals from every faith. It is time for us to be equal citizens of one world, our home. This is a major paradigm shift in how the religious organizations would be conducting their business in the coming years.

There are a few notes that are exclusive such as that only Islam has laid out the instructions for day to day living… it is subtle, but people who are sensitive to “that mine is the most complete, oldest, wisest,…” will sense the arrogance in it. Islam is beautiful to me and it works for me, you and the Muslims, just as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and other faiths work for them. This idea of arrogance is the root cause of conflict and the scholars need to visit this thought, is claiming Islam to be the superior religion arrogance? What if each faith claims it? What makes you believe that your word is superior to others? None, except your faith… in which case it is their faith. Islam is about peace, peace comes from removing conflicts and one of the causes of conflict is arrogance.

Javed, all religions work for the people, if they simply follow it. In case of Israel and Palestine, the Qur’aan and Torah both say “Saving a life is like saving the whole humanity” neither Jews nor Muslims practice their religion. It is human be evil, and it is human to be good. We just need to follow the religion, whichever one we follow.

Mike Ghouse

Building an All-Religion-Alliance against Commercialisation of Human Susceptibilities
By Dr Javed Jamil
Executive Chairman, International Centre for Applied Islamics

There has been an outcry in recent times with people trying to present religion as a destabilising force. The truth however is that it is not the religion but the economic fundamentalism, its tirade against religion and its attempt to marginalize religion, which is primarily responsible for much of the chaos in the present world. It is in this context that the need of forging an alliance of all religions is there. But the question arises: Should this unity of religions be only aimed at having more cordial relations among the people of different faiths, or should it be directed at a larger objective?

Throughout the history, religion has played a significant role in the individual and social affairs of human beings. For most of the people that flourished in different regions of the planet earth and in different eras, faith has been a sine qua non for their existence. In spite of the fact that religion has more often than not been defiled or contaminated by the self seeking clerics, it has earnestly and relentlessly endeavored to discipline life by erecting the ethical fence around it. It has almost been a periodical phenomenon that the prophets and sages arrived with sublime messages of highest virtues, and no sooner did they depart, their followers successively adulterated those with immoralities and indecencies. Yet, it is an irrefutable truth that it is mainly owing to the strong influences on human minds and hearts wielded by religion that truth, honesty, sacrifice for others, justice and mercy have always been regarded as commendable virtues in society, even if the constituent members of society have not, generally, put them into practice.
What is, indisputably, commendable is that religion assisted mankind in overcoming dilemma of routine life at a time when it was not advanced enough to, objectively, discriminate between the right and wrong. In the midst of all-pervading gloom, the solitary torch of religion shone; whoever had the eyes that could observe it, darkness made exit from his life.
The faiths that have been dominant in the world during last few millennia - Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Buddhism, Jainism. Christianity, Islam and Sikhism -- all have, without exception, magnified moral values.

No religion preaches falsehood, dishonesty, cheating, bribery, hatred, violence, adultery and fornication. Each of them eschews, albeit in varying degrees, this-worldliness; Jainism and Buddhism, altogether, condemn this life; Christianity promotes celibacy; and Islam, while permitting necessities and enjoyment of life within prescribed limits, promotes love for other-worldliness. Religion aims at achieving peace, and gives less importance to material gains. This principle applies to all religions, and this is what annoys most the economic fundamentalists; for promotion of materialism reigns supreme in their scheme of things. Their plan cannot succeed, unless people became least entangled in moral dilemma, and the love of this worldliness ravishes that of the other-worldliness; if honesty rules the roost in their life, sex outside the ambit of marriage is considered immoral and illegal, self-sacrifice lords over their hearts and minds, and deceit and falsehood haunt their conscience, how would they be persuaded to "enjoy" the "comforts of life" (without unduly caring for right and wrong) that the merchants seek to market with great fanfare.

It first happened in West where the business moguls, involved in rapid industrialization, realised the compelling need to marginalise religion, Christianity was their obvious target; they sought to minimise its influence in affairs of the state in Europe. It had played a vital role in the crusade. The bishops enjoyed unchallenged authority and respect in society that helped them in exerting pressures on the rulers. The kings, too, needed a moral boost for themselves, and some of them feared God. They were therefore usually reluctant to earn displeasure of the religious patriarchs; for any disturbance to their equation with them could loosen the rulers¢ grip on the masses; the danger of sedition constantly hovered over them.

But, with the growing fortunes of the industrialists, the monarchs were now better placed to back a campaign for the separation of Church and Establishment, a demand that had been voiced even in the past, but without much of a success. The time was ripe to push ahead as the rulers and the industrialists could now act in tandem. The rift between this-worldliness and otherworldliness, led to the coinage of the concept of secularism. Secularism, as a movement, began at the time of Renaissance, and aimed at redirecting society from otherworldliness to this-worldliness. It was presented as an ideology that exhibited the development of humanism and the growth of man’s interest in human cultural achievements. It has been in progress during the entire course of modern history, and the critics have rightly viewed it as primarily anti-Christian and anti-religion.

The clerics resisted the move, but their efforts to stall the march of economic fundamentalism in the garb of secularism proved futile. A number of theologians in the second half of the twentieth century made a vain attempt to reconcile Christianity with the demands of the modern life by proposing Secular Christianity meaning that man should find in the secular world the opportunity to promote Christian values. Little they realised that the secular movement was in fact directed against these very values, and not against the rituals of that religion. Secularism showed tremendous progress in Christian countries, because Christianity did not have an elaborate code of human actions; it had to face greater resistance in Islamic states as there had been a strong belief among Muslims that Islam was not just a set of rituals, but had an elaborate system for all affairs of the world. Thus secularism achieved the remarkable feat of "emancipating" the state from the "clutches" of religion. One European country after the other started adopting secularism The economic fundamentalists had won a major battle.

The estrangement of Church and Establishment was only one step, though extremely crucial, towards the goal the economic fundamentalist had set for them. They envisaged complete marginalization of religion, and the values it stood for, in the social lives of men and women; for though the state could be persuaded to adopt an irreligious approach in socioeconomic matters, the ultimate success lay in the creation of demands for the industrial products. To multiply demands, materialism required glorification, and for the rise of materialism, religion was the greatest obstacle. This realization was responsible for the sustained tirade against the clergy, and against whatever religion championed for. The problem however was that the faith lorded over the hearts and minds of people. An outright condemnation of the oracles of religion was attended with dangerous possibilities. It could prove counterproductive, as the masses might have reacted outrageously.

The clergy might have issued edicts declaring these activities blasphemous, and hardly any member of society had the audacity to face charges of blasphemy or apostasy. His faith in God and scriptures was not weak enough to permit this; he could also face ostracism. It was therefore considered strategically more expedient and less risky to campaign for privatisation of religion rather than exhibiting contempt for it. It was pleaded that faith was an absolutely personal matter, and men and women might engage in as many rituals as they liked; but, in other arenas, particularly the social, economic and political, the involvement of religion must be shunned, and those mixing the two must be condemned, and if needed, adequately punished.

As already stated, campaigns against religion were more successful in Christian countries. In Islamic countries, such movements, spearheaded by the westernised elements, had to face stiffer resistance, for unlike Christianity, Islam had laid down instructions even for social, economic and political spheres of life. Furthermore, Muslims have shown greater faith in their religion than the followers of other contemporary faiths. Slightest deviation from Shariah usually invited trouble. Even the rulers in Islamic countries, though they might be having little piety in themselves, applied Islamic principles in the matters related to law and economics. These difficulties however would not deter the antagonists of religion. A virulent propaganda began against the family and social doctrines of "the religion of Muhammed". These started producing results, at least temporarily. The masses in some Muslim countries, especially the elite, were dazed by the pompousness of the Western life. The indifference towards religion grew relatively more in those Muslim countries that had spells of French or British rule, or where communism had enraptured imaginations of some segments of society. The outstanding advancement of science, and the secular apparel the scientific education was provided with, promoted an atheistic temperament.

A section of the Muslim intelligentsia started believing that God was non-existent, and there was no role of religion whatsoever in the modern world. The high voltage propaganda by the traducers of Islam gained some successes in creating confusion in the minds of the educated Muslims about the adequacy of Islamic principles for growth and development. Whoever harangued in favour of the religion was labeled obscurantist, retrogressive or retrograde; whoever advocated allegiance to the Islamic way of life was mocked decided, or ridiculed as fundamentalist or extremist. The anti-religion fervour of the westernist and leftist elements grew in intensity owing to the fact that the traditional scholars of Islam proved unequal to the task of defending the faith by presenting it in a jargon not understood by the modern man. They usually stuck to the interpretation of Qur'an and Sunnah by a handful of jurists, which often deviated from the original spirit of the sources, and they explained them only in accordance with the knowledge the contemporary world possessed about the facts of life.

The growth of Secularism in India was on a different pedestal altogether. Unlike West and Islamic countries like Turkey and Egypt, it was not primarily aimed at the negation of religion; it was more a product of the plural nature of Indian society that was composed of several religious groups and sects, many of which have considerably large population in the country. Nor secularism in India chose to deny after-life. In contrast, it developed as an ideology of the state that gives due respect to all religions, but will not have any religion of its own. A secular person in India need not be anti-religion or non-religious. He may in fact be a devout practitioner of the rituals and values preached by religion. His secular credentials become disputable only when he, by speech or action, shows disregard for the other religious communities, or spreads hatred against them. Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Maulana Mohd. Ali Johar, Pt. J.B.Pant -- all these political stalwarts were either devout Hindus or devoted Muslims, and still secular to the fore. The opposite of 'secular' in India has not been, as in the west, sacred but communal.

The unfortunate feature of the whole history of the decline of religion in most parts of the world, especially as a dominant social force, was that the protagonists of all the religions assumed an outright defensive posture. Their defence of religion was generally weak and ineffective, as they attempted to use the same criteria as their detractors had, after a meticulous thinking, laid down for examining religious beliefs and practices. They often turned apologetic in their arguments. This position has shown indication of change in many Islamic countries during last few decades as an outcome of the realisation in the educated class of their folly in blindly pursuing western life styles, rejuvenated interest in Islam of Muslim experts in modern subjects and the growing dissatisfaction of the masses with the modern legal, political, economic and social systems.

The modern Islamists have discovered more rationale in their religion than the emerging order. They have gradually turned the table in several Muslim countries on their opponents. The whole Islamic world is now witnessing revival of faith. Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Algeria, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Malaysia -- in fact, almost every Muslim country that had, at one time or the other in the last century became westernised in varying degrees is back on the path towards the establishment of a completely or partially theocratic state. Christianity, Buddhism, Hiduism and Sikhism have also displayed signs of palingenesis in specific areas. But still, most of the religionists, including the Islamists, tend not to be aggressive in their approach, and often exhibit sectarian bias. Instead of focusing on the faults and discrepancies of the new dispensations that are numerous, they continue to dissipate their energies in erecting defences around their faiths. By the time, they defeat the mischievous propaganda unleashed against one principle or practice, the opponents, supported by the economic fundamentalists, open another front. The ideological war goes on unabated; but, this is still being fought in the domains of religion; religionists have forgotten that, for ultimate triumph, the battle-line is to be pushed into the domain of enemy.

Though the virtues like probity, self esteem, patience, endurance and truthfulness are also unwelcome, what particularly annoys the economic fundamentalists is insistence in religion on taboos. The practices forbidden by different religions are obviously such as tend to lure, mesmerise and addict the humans; these cause temporary pleasures, that may sooner or later be followed by undesirable effects, often severe on person, family and society. The very fact that they had to be prohibited indicated the culpability of the people for them; they rapidly transform their users or practitioners into physical or psychological dependants. Every religion has its prohibitions. Many of them are common with other religions. Christianity shuns sexual waywardness; Jainism and Buddhism forbid meat, alcohol and adultery; Hinduism and Christianity are not too sure about alcohol.

In Islam, prohibitions have taken a more elaborate form, and cover all aspects of life; taking of alcohol pork and blood are not allowed and gambling, hoarding, usury, adultery, fornication, murder, theft and bribery are expressly unlawful. It can easily be seen that the habits and practices, prescribed by different religions, can produce serious ailments and social tensions. But, the economic fundamentalists had little concern for the welfare of the individual or society. They could foresee extraordinary scope, once the outlets are open in these taboos, for their commercial aggrandizement. It would however not be easy till religion retained a central position in society. The privatization of religion, was therefore, a compelling necessity for them.

The outgeneraling of religion along with its dos and don'ts in society ensured smooth sailing in future for the big business. They were now on a robust platform to bring about rapid onset of huge transformation in social values. These changes had absolutely nothing to do with the well being of society, and were aimed only at utilizing human temptations for the geometrical multiplication of wealth.

Time has now come when the religionists belonging to all religions need to be emphatic about the true aims of religion. They must recognize the fact that the anti-religion economic forces have successfully turned one religion against another. Religions seem to be fighting one another instead of fighting their common enemy: Irreligion and the dominance of the ideology of economic fundamentalism in the affairs of life. The people today are merely interested in the rituals of the religion without inculcating the morality, honesty, integrity, perseverance, patience, purity and God¢s fear and love in their minds and without waging a fight against the social vices. The market forces are commercializing human susceptibilities in a big way. Beaches, Casinos, Bars, Nightclubs, Nude women, prostitution, etc have become symbols of freedom. Foetuses are being killed in the name of Women¢s rights, criminals are being protected in the name of human rights. Everybody talks of Rights. Nobody talks of Duties and Fundamental Prohibitions, without which a peaceful society cannot develop. While all religions are to unite, the primary duty lies with four big religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Christianity, Judaism and Islam need to work together in West, and Hinduism and Islam need to initiate the movement in India taking Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jainis along with them.

Lifting the Veil on the Niqab

Lifting the Veil on the Niqab

The following article on the subject is fairly well written.

Agree with most of what Tarek has said, but if a woman wants to wear the Hijab or Niqab (face mask), let her, it is her life and her body; she should have complete freedom to choose. Its time to think in terms of freedom, and not fall into the trap that wearing Niqab is oppression or regression. Why does one have to conform? It is about what she wants to cover or uncover, let the issue be a pro-choice.

One comment I have heard that makes a lot of sense is “if she had told the court that she is not comfortable with the open face in presence of media or such..." it would have been more acceptable as opposed to referencing to religion. Then we have two choices - some Muslims think it is religious, most others don't... should it not be a woman's choice?

My late wife never wore any Hijab, except the covering at the Mosque... one day she said she is going to wear the Burqa... that stopped me in my tracts and resisted my own resistance to it. Who am I to "tell" her what to wear or not?

Mike Ghouse


February 5, 2009

Lifting the Veil on the Niqab

There is no requirement in Islam to cover one's face -- the niqab is the epitome of male control over Muslim women

By Tarek Fatah,

The Ottawa Citizen

Barely a week goes by when my religion, Islam, does not face a fresh round of scrutiny. If it is not a suicide bomber blowing himself up in an Iraqi mosque screaming "Allah O Akbar," it is news that an imam in Malaysia has declared the practice of Yoga sinful. If it is not a Toronto imam defending suicide bombing on TVO, a Muslim woman writes a column in a Canadian daily, advocating the introduction of Shariah law in Canada.

But the one topic that rears its head in almost predictable cycles is the subject of a Muslim woman's supposed Islamic attire. Whether it is swimming pools or polling booths there is no escape from the repeated controversies surrounding the face mask, better known as the niqab, or the burqa.

The latest incarnation of the niqab controversy surfaced this week when a Toronto judge ordered a Muslim woman to take off her niqab when she testified in a case of sexual assault.

The woman invoked Islam as the reason why she wanted to give testimony while wearing a face mask. She told the judge, "It's a respect issue, one of modesty," adding Islam considers her niqab as her "honour." Her explanations were rejected by the judge who determined that the woman's "religious belief" was not that strong and that in his opinion the woman was asking to wear the niqab as "a matter of comfort."

But all of these arguments are premised on the acceptance of the myth that a face mask for women is Islamic religious attire.


There is no requirement in Islam for Muslim women to cover their faces. The niqab is the epitome of male control over women. It is a product of Saudi Arabia and its distortion of Islam to suit its Wahabbi agenda, which is creeping into Canada .

If there is any doubt that the niqab is not required by Islam, take at look at the holiest place for Muslims -- the grand mosque in Mecca , the Ka'aba. For over 1,400 years Muslim men and women have prayed in what we believe is the House of God and for all these centuries women have been explicitly forbidden from covering their faces.

For the better part of the 20th century, Muslim reformists, from Egypt to India , campaigned against this terrible tribal custom imposed by Wahabbi Islam. My mother's generation threw off their burqas when Muslim countries gained their independence after the Second World War. Millions of women encouraged by their husbands, fathers and sons, shed this oppressive attire as the first step in embracing gender equality.

But while the rest of the world moves toward the goal of gender equality, right here, under our very noses, Islamists are pushing back the clock, convincing educated Muslim women they are sexual objects and a source of sin.

It will be difficult to pinpoint what went wrong, but most of Canada 's growth in niqabi women can be traced to one development in 2004, when a radical Pakistani female scholar by the name of Farhat Hashmi came to Canada on a visitor's visa, to establish the Al-Huda Islamic Institute for women.

Maclean's magazine reported in July 2006 that she had "established a school where she lectures to mostly young, middle-class women from mainstream Muslim families, not only from across the country but also from the U.S. and as far away as Australia ."

In October 2005, the Globe and Mail ran a story on Dr. Hashmi quoting a 20-year-old Muslim woman as saying, "I agree with Dr. Hashmi that women should stay at home and look after their families." This student was so impressed with Dr. Hashmi's sermons that she convinced 10 of her friends to enrol in the course that involved wearing the niqab, leaving the work force and embracing polygamy.

In the Globe piece, 18-year-old Sadaf Mahmood defended polygamy and the burqa saying: "There are more women than men in this world. Who will take care of these women? It is better for a man to do things legally by taking a second wife, rather than having an affair."

While the rest of Canada sleeps, the Islamist agenda, funded by the Saudis and inspired by the Iranians, continues to make its presence felt. The vast majority of Muslims look on in shock, unable to understand why this country would tolerate the oppression of women in the name of religion and multiculturalism.

The woman who was denied her burqa in court is a victim. She is merely a puppet in the hands of those who wish to keep women in their place. First she suffered the trauma of the alleged sexual assault, which was then compounded by the controversy about her niqab. She could have asked the judge to not let her face her alleged attackers, and that would have been a fair request.
But when she invoked Islam and said hiding her face would be an act of religiosity, she became a voice not for justice, but for those who wish to sneak Shariah law into our judicial system. This should be stopped.


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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.