Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Human Rights Watch: After Liberation Came Destruction Iraqi Militias and the Aftermath of Amerli (March 18, 2015)

This 31-page report documents, through field visits, analysis of satellite imagery, interviews with victims and witnesses, and review of photo and video evidence, that militias looted property of Sunni civilians who had fled fighting, burned their homes and businesses, and destroyed at least two entire villages. The actions violated the laws of war. Human Rights Watch also documented the abduction of 11 men during the operation, in September and October.
via Democracy Now

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Support the Lamppost Education Initiative

Lamppost Education Initiative (Lamppost) is a non-profit educational effort that prides itself on contextualizing and grounding the teachings of Islam in America while maintaining the integrity of its historical message. Our mission is to facilitate access to the unique intellectual contributions of a select number of Muslim American scholars, inspire spiritual and social transformation, and empower through education.

Check out the Lamppost Website and support their work here.

Dr. Yasir Qadhi on NPR on ISIS, American foreign policy and Wood's article

I was interviewed alongside Graeme Wood, the author of The Atlantic article, 'What ISIS Really Wants'. The interview will be broadcast on NPR stations tomorrow, but it's already online here. Overall I was satisfied with the interview and felt that I got my main points across.  
The thrust of the interview (for those who can't listen to it) was that Graeme's article almost completely sidelines the main cause of the rise of ISIS, and that is the utterly destructive American foreign policy in the region. For over 35 years, America has been directly meddling in that region, by supporting and deposing dictators, going to war twice, imposing sanctions that killed millions, installing puppet regimes that allowed for sectarian massacres, dropping hundred of thousands of tons of bombs over the last decade and a half, and the list goes on and on.  
But rather than concentrate on those issues, Mr. Wood's article concentrates on 'Islamic laws' and how ISIS is so 'Islamic'.  
Had it not been for the barbarity of the American invasions and sanctions, regular, ordinary Muslims would not have resorted to or believed in the barbarity of ISIS. This is not a justification of ISIS - it is a call of accountability for the role that America itself played in the direction creation of the causes that allowed ISIS to come forth.
-Public post on Yasir Qadhi fb page, March 21st, 2015, 7:49 AM.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

UAE: Abuses at NYU, Louvre, Guggenheim Project

Zaytuna College recognized as first accredited Muslim college in the US

Dr. Hatem Bazian on the UAE's ‘Terrorist’ Designation Game: A Tool to Consolidate Power and Saving Islam from Islam” (Dec. 2014)

Invest in People, Not Prisons - Video recording of a discussion with Imam Zaid Shakir, Ustadh Yusef Wiley, and others

Dr. Hatem Bazian: A Discourse on the Colonized Muslim Subject

The Intercept: How the FBI Created a Terrorist

In these cases, the FBI says paid informants and undercover agents are foiling attacks before they occur. But the evidence suggests — and a recent Human Rights Watch report on the subject illustrates — that the FBI isn’t always nabbing would-be terrorists so much as setting up mentally ill or economically desperate people to commit crimes they could never have accomplished on their own.

See: "Illusions of Justice: Human Right Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions" (2014) published by the Human Rights Watch at Columbia Law School.

Some history of oil rich states

Sometimes, it may be useful to back up from the current moment to gain some perspective...This is a selection from Columbia history professor Rashid Khalidi's 2004 Resurrecting Empire:
Needless to say, none of the oil-producing states in the Middle East that enjoyed these enhanced revenues was a democracy, although as we have seen, some of them, like Iraq, Iran, Bahrain, and Kuwait, had once been at least aspiring democracies, with some of the trappings of constitutionalism. They ranged from Algeria under the sclerotic one-party rule of the FLN from after liberation up to the present, to Libya under the erratic, absolute dictatorship of Qaddafi, to Saudi Arabia, Iran under the shah, and the other entrenched Gulf family autocracies -- or kleptocracies, according to some--where the ruling family in effect owned the state and its resources, to the brutal Ba'thist dictatorship in Iraq. Far from encouraging change, the increased flow of oil revenues to these authoritarian states reinforced what have historically been among the worst tendencies in Middle Eastern societies: toward the absolute power of the ruler, toward the strengthening of the state at the expense of society, and toward supporting the dependency of citizens on the state. Worse, all of this took place in states that were in many cases deeply dependent on the West to support them against their local rivals and protect them against their peoples, while others were until 1991 aligned with the Soviet Union, which was only too happy to supply them with expensive weapons that they could pay for with their newly acquired hard currency. 
The end results were eminently predictable. Instead of this flood of oil money going mainly toward human or infrastructural development, it ended up supporting a vast system of patronage and corruption that upheld the dominant elites whether in allegedly "socialist," and "progressive" states like Algeria, Libya, and Iraq or in the conservative monarchies of the Gulf. Popular acquiescence in a nonrepresentative, politically repressive system was purchased by these elites with marginal improvements in the quality of life for the masses, and so inefficient that there were no such improvements. Meanwhile, the elites appropriated for themselves a considerable proportion of the new surplus, raising conspicuous consumption to new heights and becoming an international byword for noveau rich vulgarity and profligate waste. What was not used for these purposes was squandered on expensive weapons systems that were either never used and rusted in the desert...or were utilized in brutal regional conflicts that served as a distraction from the serious, unmet challenges of societal development.
-Rashid Khalidi, Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2004/5), 114-5.