Justice For Muslims: 3 Muslim students killed, media silence, and list of Anti-Muslim hate since 2001

On Tuesday Feb 10, 2015, three Muslim students were shot and killed in cold blood. Unconfirmed reports indicate that they were killed with gunshots to the head, execution style.

Rest in paradise:
Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23
Yusor Mohammad, 21
Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19

chapel hill shootings

Things like this are always hard to swallow. But can it really come as such a surprise to the Muslim communities within the United States? We’ve been increasingly harassed since Sept. 11, 2001 and though we’ve voiced our concerns of safety repeatedly, we’ve been outvoiced by ever rampant right-wing anti-Islam groups. We’ve been outvoiced by a media that relentlessly attacks and dehumanizes Muslims. Is it really a surprise that our voices are yet again ignored in the wake of the murders of the 3 beautiful Muslims pictured above?

Our communities and Muslims all over are not terrified for just any old reason. It’s because attacks, murders, threats against us have been made, repeatedly, that we genuinely fear for our lives. Today is no different.

Anti-Muslim Incidents Since 2001:
Sept. 15, 2001 – Mesa, Arizona
Balbir Singh Sodhi, a 49-year-old Sikh and native of India, was fatally shot outside his gas station by Frank Silva Roque, who mistakenly believed Sodhi was Muslim. Roque then allegedly fired shots at a man of Lebanese descent working at another gas station, and at an Afghan family’s residence. Read More »

How far will men go to control women(‘s reproductive rights)?

It seems like there’s one thing many parts of the world have in common, regardless of country, wealth, religion, or race: women’s conduct.

A woman’s conduct from the way she dresses to what she’s allowed to do with her body; the ongoing trend of the centuries is policing a woman and her decisions.

Just a few weeks ago, a Texas law mandating hospital grade surgical tools at abortion clinics was upheld by a federal appellate court, forcing 13 abortion clinics to close down immediately. Many argued that “requiring abortion clinics to meet the same architectural, plumbing, staffing, training and other requirements that apply to surgical centers was costly and unnecessary.

The closing of abortion clinics under this provision of the harsh Texan law isn’t for the well-being of women as it is disguised to present, rather it’s a loophole that directly places strain on a woman’s right to choose whether she wants to have an abortion. Attempting to make these clinics “safer” by requiring a list of things the clinic has to meet does not make women safer, in actuality, it puts women’s health at risk.

From Texan laws that hope to make abortion something of the past (but, what about Roe v. Wade?!) to societal pressures on women’s dress, women are always at the forefront of things, important things, being decided for them. If not directly, certainly pressurized indirectly.

Societal pressures and norms in America pushes many women to extremes in dealing with those pressures. From the beauty industry to the diet industry, women are the targets of corporate manipulation who play on the insecurities of women in hopes of gaining profit.

“Lose 10 pounds in a week!”
“How to get the perfect body!”

This ends up becoming a culture, a booming one at that, that emulates the already passive-aggressive attacks on women’s bodies. This passive-aggression in magazines has morphed into something much larger. It’s okay to critique a woman’s body and her dress (Fashion Police, anyone?), it’s okay for men to harass a woman on the street because it isn’t the man’s fault, oh God no, it’s the woman’s fault for how she’s dressed.

Too much skin and it’s provocative, whispers of “she’s a slut”; too little skin and it’s ghastly, whispers of “she’s prude.”

This acceptance of clothing dictating how valuable a woman is plays a large part in rape culture, or the deliberate normalization of rape that ends up blaming the woman (even a little girl) instead of the male rapist. I can’t count the amount of times a rape case has questioned the woman, asking things like, “well, what was she wearing” or “why was she there after dark”, etc.

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Why the catcalling video of a woman without hijab and then with hijab made me cringe

You may have seen it by now, this version of a street harassment video that features a woman walking the streets of NYC without hijab, a Muslim head-covering, for five hours and then doing the same thing with hijab.

 

The results of the first five hours were sadly reminiscent of the catcalling video that made headlines a few weeks ago (though that video is problematic as well, they heavily edited out the white perpetrators).

My natural reaction to the first segment of the video was disgust at all the men who incessantly catcalled the actress in the video. It was vile, unnerving, and downright disgusting. In this video, similar to the one’s prior, the woman was also followed for a certain amount of time as well. I can’t think of how much personal safety is put at risk for women everyday, just to get through the day without causing a big “problem.”

For the second part of the video, I didn’t know what to expect. As it was shown that the actress was now going to walk the streets of NYC with hijab and an abaya (loose fitting traditional dress worn by some Muslim and Arab women), I thought to myself, “she’ll probably get comments about her covering or that she’s Muslim too, on top of sexual harassment.” After all, NYC is in its post-9/11 world. But wow, was I wrong.

For five hours, not one word was uttered to her by the plethora of men that she walked by on the busy streets of NYC. Not one. I found this entirely hard to believe and not at all in alignment to the many stories I’ve heard from hijabi friends and their experience walking around NYC.

About halfway through this part, I felt entirely uneasy and cringed at the implications of the latter part of the video. It was making a strong tie to hijab being a deterrent to street harassment. It was making hijab this savior of avoiding unwanted male attention. I cringed even more as I realized Muslims would use this video as some type of *proof* that wearing the hijab is equivalent to being a protector of sexual harassment when it isn’t the reality at all.

Muslim women in hijab are not protected from unwanted male attention. It’s terribly dangerous to apply the concept that a simple change in clothing or dress will ultimately stop men from harassing. What a woman wears,

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“Why do they hate us?”: A (growing) list of US CIA interventions since WWII

In college, I was introduced to the side of United States history that is not taught in the public school systems. And I quickly realized why it wasn’t – it was a gruesome history of 20th century conquest, promoting democracy and rights publicly, while supporting dictators and having a hand in killing thousands privately.

Since the end of World War II, the United States has meddled in the affairs of other countries repeatedly and without remorse. U.S. interests have continuously triumphed all concern for what the people in each country wanted, completely disregarding the humanitarian crimes that were committed in the process.

From supporting totalitarian governments to overthrowing democratically elected ones, the U.S. has showed no mercy in attaining their own objectives.

It was surprising to learn all of this, to say the least. It was also information that I hoped every single American citizen would be aware of, to not only give background information to present hostilities, but also the beginnings of the age old American question, “Why do they hate us?”

Why do they hate us?

While it might not be a straightforward answer, the very basics can be covered in a simple list of U.S. CIA interventions since WWII. Notice how a few countries show up on the list after every couple of years. I hope to expand on some of these, especially the ones I consider to be the most controversial, in later posts.

All countries marked with an asterisk (*) signify that the government was overthrown. Any country with years in parentheses after it signifies a declared war.Read More »

NSA surveillance on Muslims: We have become guilty of something simply because we are Muslim and American

It’s hard for me to sit back and witness the utter disappointing state of US politics when it comes to Muslims and Muslim countries.

I was born and raised in New Jersey, I love a good bagel, and defend my NJ shores against the stereotyping of the “Jersey Shore” fist-pumping shenanigans. I love NJ. And to an extent, I love America.

America was the country my Afghan family found refuge in. They left Afghanistan at the brink of the Soviet War, fleeing to Pakistan for a short time before gaining entrance into the US in the late 1980s.

America is the country I waved a red, white, and blue flag every year as I stared into the sky in awe of the fireworks and how they majestically lit up the darkened sky for a few seconds. It is the only home I know, with childhood memories in almost every part of the same neighborhood I have lived in all of my life.

Then came 2001. As I looked at the TV of live images of the beautiful towers I had just visited only a few years prior, a sense of confusion came over in my 10 year-old self. What happened? Why did this happen?

I did not understand what had happened any more than my classmates who pointed out I was Muslim and a ‘terrorist’ by association. I remember seeing Afghanistan at the front page of this ‘war on terror’ term that President George W. Bush famously coined.

When I asked my dad why Afghanistan was in the news, I remember him giving a long sigh finally telling me, “There are a lot of bad people…it’s complicated.”
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Gaza Under Attack: How the Abu Khdeir cousins displayed US hypocrisy

Playing the victim role has been perfected by Israel, aided by none other than the US itself. For a country to systematically break international law by illegally obtaining Palestinian land for decades, and yet still claim to be the victim in the entire ordeal really takes a sense of delusion that could quite possibly surpass the US’.

But really, both countries possess a sense of delusion to continue believing, to this day, that Israel has done no wrong. President Obama’s recent op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz is a testament to this. He has reiterated the US’ decades long support for apartheid Israel, championing peace for the “democratic future for the Jewish state of Israel”, and boasting as Israel’s oldest and strongest friend.

We know, Mr. President. We know that the US funding of Israel has killed thousands. We know that innocent Palestinian children have been murdered by Israel’s oldest and strongest friend. We know it. We see it. We hear it. But what the rest of the world plainly sees, is ignored by the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner.Read More »