Karima Bennoune shares four powerful stories of real people fighting against fundamentalism in their own communities — refusing to allow the faith they love to become a tool for crime, attacks and murder. These personal stories humanize one of the most overlooked human-rights struggles in the world.
This kind of thing would probably go unnoticed, unreported and unchecked in Qatar when perpetrated by Qataris but here in the UK it goes to an Employment Tribunal. Thankfully, in civilised countries, the perps are tried for wrongful dismissal and racist behaviour.
A British receptionist was allegedly called a “black slave” and hit by a senior official at the Qatari Embassy in London in a sustained campaign of racial bullying.
Mohamoud Ahmed, 73, was employed at the gas-rich Gulf state’s embassy in Mayfair for almost 20 years and also acted as a security guard.
Somali-born Mr Ahmed, who has lived in the UK for more than 40 years and is a British citizen, claims he was referred to in Arabic as a “donkey” and a “dog” by the head of the embassy’s medical department Abdullah Al-Ansari.
Tell MAMA UK, the public service for measuring and monitoring anti-Muslim bigotry has published a clarification statement which proves what an excellent organisation it is. I’m taking the liberty to reproduce it here:
It goes without saying that we at TELL MAMA think anti-Muslim prejudice is a very serious issue. We have seen the impacts on victims of anti-Muslim prejudice first hand and particularly on women and young people. We therefore take all reports of anti-Muslim prejudice very seriously. We also do our very best on the limited resources that we have, to offer the right kind of support for those who have suffered from discrimination on the basis of their faith. However, our work is currently not being helped by those who seek to abuse this social issue for their own political or egotistical ends.
Sectarianism happens to be all the rage in the Arab world at the moment. Today and as it has been for the last 1,400 years.
Now we have British Muslim kids, radicalised on a diet of on-line and in-mosque hate speakers, flocking to Syria in their hundreds to join forces with ISIS to kill Syrian and Iraqi Muslims in their own lands as part of a Jihad to establish an exclusively Sunni caliphate.
And here in the video is an Iraqi politician exposing the deep-set cracks in so-called Pan-Arab unity and the future of peaceful coexistence of Sunni and Shia in Iraq.
We can coexist and resolve disagreements peacefully With the Shiites on the other hand I cannot resolve matters peacefully The past eleven years have provided sufficient proof of that.
Personally I care about Mosul more than I care about Palestine, Saudi Arabia or Egypt. This is only natural. I love my son more than I love yours. I love myself more than I love you
Banned in 7 countries for being a Muslim!
The Bangladesh authorities’ have expelled the Qatar-based, Jamaican-born “Salafi revert”, Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips. Held up as a “Sheikh”, Philips has a huge on-line following and has already been banned from the US, Britain, Germany, Ireland and Kenya.
On June 24, Dr Philips was scheduled to deliver a lecture on “Allah” at the United International University Auditorium at Satmasjid Road, Dhanmondi.
“Bilal Philips cannot deliver such lectures as he came on tourist visa”, said a senior police officer of special branch who wished to remain anonymous.
The officer who is responsible for giving arrival clearance to the foreign visitors did not comment on how or why Dr Philips got a visa in the first place.
By Leesa Gazi
Writer, Actor & Founder Member of Komola Collective
It is claimed that nearly 200,000 — 400,000 women and girls were systematically raped and tortured by the Pakistani Army as a war strategy in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.
In 2010, I filmed 21 of these Birangona women’s first-hand accounts at a centre near Dhaka. Birangona means ‘Brave Woman’.
After the interview one woman said, ” what’s the point of telling these stories? Nothing happens.’ And it is true nothing has happened because no one wants to tell their stories.
Post-war Bangladeshi society and successive governments haven’t been able to figure out what to do with them. Although the first leader of Bangladesh tried to rehabilitate these women by giving them the name ‘Birangona’ as a mark of respect and recognition, society rejected them anyway and denied their existence. They were forgotten and so were their stories.
Ex-Muslims and progressive Muslim secularists face the double-bind of being attacked by right-wing Islamists and other Islamic supremacists, who will refer them to as traitors to their religious identity and dangle the crime and punishment of apostasy over their heads. While at the same time they are attacked by dead-ender bigots for being “cultural Muslims” and face the risk of having their positions appropriated by the right wing and anti-Muslim bigots.
A superb interview (in VICE magazine) of Hiba Kisht aka Marwa Berro addresses this question.
VICE: As with many endeavours that progressive Muslims or ex-Muslims might engage in, there is always the possibility that it might be used to advance a right-wing agenda or even promote outright anti-Muslim bigotry in the US and abroad. What are your thoughts on this?
The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict which took place at ExCel London has just ended this afternoon. A silent protest at the Summit, jointly organised by Komola Collective and the ICSF, highlighted the plight of the silenced birangona women, whose stories could not be shared in the official programme of the “Summit” on sexual violence in London. They posed this single question as the fulcrum of their silent protest:
Where Are Bangladesh’s Rape Survivors At This Summit?
Silent demand for an answer to an obvious question
In the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971, more than 200,000 women and girls were systematically raped and tortured by the Pakistani Army and their local collaborators as part of the Pakistani Army’s war strategy. They are the Birangona Women. These women were then ignored by a society where rape is considered to be a source of shame for the victims. So the plight of these women goes untold.
This news is the top story of the moment with coverage in all newspapers leading with the Telegraph.
The most eye-opening aspect of the story is that this is not a takeover by hardline nutters, such as the Hiz-ut-Tahrir. This has been shown to be a strategy by those fluffy, harmless “community activists” from the Muslim Council of Britain. Using stealth tactics and intimidation to force out quality non-Muslim staff and bringing in “experts” such as Ibrahim Hewett, chairman of Interpal, to teach students about the Islamic obligation to stone adulterers and to severely punish fornicators and those who practice the “grave sin” of sodomy.
One school on the list has confirmed that it had been targeted. In a message to parents, Adderley said several head teachers had informed the authorities of “malicious and targeted campaigns to remove them” and that attempts have been made “to destabilise the school by a very small but well organised group of individuals”.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
In January, a report by the nondenominational Christian nonprofit organization Open Doors documented the 10 most oppressive countries for Christians; nine were Muslim-majority states noted for Islamic extremism, and the 10th was North Korea. These tyrannical regimes uphold archaic blasphemy and defamation-of-religion laws under the guise of protecting religious expression. In truth, these measures amount to systematic repression of non-Islamic groups.
Last year in Saudi Arabia, two men were prosecuted for the “crime” of converting a woman to Christianity and helping her flee the Islamic kingdom. According to the Saudi Gazette, one of the men, a Lebanese, was sentenced to six years in prison and 300 lashes, and the other man, a Saudi, was sentenced to two years and 200 lashes. Those are relatively mild sentences in Saudi Arabia, where conversion to another religion is punishable by death.