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Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

The Anti-Progressive Position on Hijab

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Whether in Islamic theocracies or places with visible minority Muslim populations, from China to the United Kingdom, the hijab twists conservatives and liberals in their support or opposition to dress normally associated with fundamental religion. We see bullies “rip off”hijabs; one such incident recently took place in New York City. On the other extreme, groups like the Taliban declare, “wear hijab or be disfigured.” And they carry out such threats. Nushin Arbabzadah summed up this contrast in The New York Timesmore:

Written by Caleb Powell

October 31, 2016 at 8:57 am

Posted in Hijab, Islam

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How Do Americans View Eidul Azha?

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This year, a controversy surrounded the arrival of Eidul Azha, the second most important holiday in Islam, involving the holiday’s date, as the Express Tribune reported: American Muslims on edge as Eidul Azha looks set to fall on September 11th.

Muslims abroad, especially in the United States, faced the prospect that celebration would coincide with a day of mourning of those killed at the World Trade Centres. As a result, some Muslim leaders prepared for tension between their community and anti-Muslim bigots. In the New York Times, Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said…(continue)


Written by Caleb Powell

September 24, 2016 at 9:09 am

Posted in Express Tribune, Islam

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Guest Post by Waseem Altaf: The Condemned

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The Condemned

Sabeen Mahmud was a human rights activist. Human rights activists are respected in countries ruled by “non-believers.” But since she was involved in human rights activism in a country where perhaps it was not required, she was murdered by the “believers!”

Doctor Mehdi Ali Qamar belonged to a minority community who came all the way from the US and was voluntarily giving treatment to his poor countrymen. Minorities generally enjoy equal rights in countries ruled by “non-believers.” But since he was from a minority community working in a country where perhaps minorities have no right to be treated as humans, he was murdered by the “believers.”

Alisha was a transgender from Peshawar. A transgender generally enjoys equal rights in countries ruled by “non-believers.” But since she was living in a country where perhaps transgenders have no right to live, she was murdered by the “believers.”

Saleem Shahzad was a bold journalist. Bold journalists are generally held in high esteem in countries governed by “non-believers” But since he was working in a country where perhaps bold journalism is not required, he was murdered by the “believers.”

Doctor Shabbir Hussain Shah was a liberal professor at the University of Gujrat. Liberal and progressive thought is greatly appreciated in countries governed by “non-believers.” But since he was promoting his liberal thoughts in a country where perhaps liberalism is not required, he was murdered by the “believers.”

Amjad Sabri was a renowned artiste. Artistes are highly revered in countries ruled by the “non-believers” But since he was performing in a country where perhaps art is not required, he was murdered by the “believers.”

–  Waseem Altaf

Women Can Have the Niqab OR Equality, not Both

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Reason Niqab

Niqab:  My take at on the niqab:  “…The notion that niqab offers women freedom or power should be excoriated for the delusion that it is…” more here. One thing I didn’t address, though, is the overlap between covering and polygamy, but the two are connected, as the posts below show.

Nine Things Saudi Women Still Can’t Do – Express Tribune
The Saudis Pathetic Step Forward for Women – Qanta A. Ahmed
As a Muslim I Think Canada Should Ban the Niqab and Burka in Public – Raheel Raza
Banning the Burka and Niqab – Jerry Coyne w/Maryam Namazie

And heartbreaking words from Niqab wearers:
My Husband Married in Secret – “How do I survive this?” One story from Polygamy 911 (A blog by Fiona for women who suffer from polygamy)

Niqab AND Polygamy Promote Inequality – My Niqab Is My Beauty – “I’ve decided I’m going to take another wife!”


These are the words that sent my world into a tailspin. I never thought I would feel the way I do if I heard my husband say those words. For nearly 4 months now, I’ve been unable to get past the pain and betrayal those words have caused in me. A man I loved with everything inside of me, now appears like an enemy to me. At times, I can rationalize with myself and know that the feelings of resentment, abandonment, and betrayal are unjustified, but most of the time, I am swallowed by grief. Most of the time I cry, and get lost inside my own head, and overthink every word and action of his. To make matters worse, I’m almost 5 months pregnant and I can’t help but think how my stress and grief are affecting my baby, but that just makes me more angry with my husband for putting me in this situation at such an emotional time. I love my husband and nothing can take away from the fact that he’s a good husband and father, but I feel he’s no longer mine and it kills me.

On the other hand, this whole situation has brought me closer to my Lord. I have cried and cried and begged Allah to help me bear this. I listen to Qur’an, trying to push the anger and sadness away. I don’t even know how many times I’ve had to say ” I complain of my grief and sorrow only to Allah” to comfort myself. I don’t know what else to do but turn to my Lord and place things in His Hands.

I don’t say all this to bash my husband because at the end of the day, it is his right. But it being his right doesn’t make it any less painful. –


And:  Dear Angelina Jolie – “Hello from Karachi…One of the fights we are still fighting is the right to dress as we choose…”


Written by Caleb Powell

December 20, 2015 at 7:41 am

Reformer vs. Regressive: Ali A. Rizvi vs. C.J. Werleman

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Ali A. Rizvi vs. C. J. Werleman


Reformer vs. Regressive

The Rizvi/Werleman clash exemplifies this dialectic:  reformed Islam vs. regressive Islam. At crux is the idea of cultural superiority or ethnic superiority. You cannot believe in both. You either believe cultures are equal but human subgroups are not (this makes you a bigot). OR:  you believe that humans deserve equal treatment but cultures do not (this makes you a humanist).

Example:  See Sarah Haider vs. Reza Aslan. Cultures that believe women/minorities (ethnic and religious)/homosexuals are inferior are, in fact, inferior to cultures that think women/minorities (ethnic and religious)/homosexuals deserve equal rights. The Reformer pushes humanism, the Regressive protects bigotry.

C J WerlemanReformer:  One standard, believes humans deserve equal treatment but cultures don’t, objectively looks at religious texts; thinks South Asians, Africans, & Middle Easterners want equal rights, progress, and are able to enjoy and utilize free speech, including criticism.

Regressive:  Two standards, believes cultures deserve equal treatment but humans don’t, selectively looks at religious texts; thinks South Asians, Africans, & Middle Easterners cannot handle equal rights or criticism.

Here are some past, present, and future battlers in this competition of ideas:

Reformer                                 VS.                                    Regressive
Raif Badawi
(imprisoned)                                                            Ben Affleck

Karima Bennoune (father assassinated)                                        Reza Aslan
Bassem Eid                                                                               Max Blumenthal
Mona Eltahawy                                                                        Glenn Greenwald
Sarah Haider                                                                                 Mehdi Hasan
Pervez Hoodbhoy                                                                  Ibrahim Hooper
Waleed Al Husseini                                                                     Nathan Lean
Kenan Malik                                                                           Dean Obeidallah
Irshad Manji                                                                                         Mo Ansar
Faisal Saeed al Mutar                                                            Murtaza Hussain
Maajid Nawaz
                                                                              Rula Jebreal
Asra Nomani                                                                             Linda Sarsour
Raheel Raza                                                                 David Shariatmadari
Ali A . Rizvi                                                                         C.J. Werleman
Ziauddin Sardar                                                                     Cenk Uygur
Malala Yousafzai                                                                 Sayeeda Warsi
Bassem Youssef                                                                     Harris Zafar

For more on reformers and regressives, check out:
Who’s Who in Islam
Muslim Group Calls Out PC Culture for Being too Afraid to Take Down Islamic Extremism
The Regressive Shuffle – Connor McKenna
2015 – Rise of the Regressive
Time for Self-Examination – WaPost

Written by Caleb Powell

December 10, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Why the US should welcome Syrian refugees without prejudice

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Syrian Refugees

I wrote about Syrian refugees at The Express Tribune Blogs. Friends who are/were refugees/immigrants, like Ali A. Rizvi & Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, support secularism and diversity. Their voices add to the cultures of Canada and the United States. To assume that 10,000 Syrians are unable to criticize religion, and will blindly follow fundamentalist ideology, is ridiculous. Most will take advantage of their new freedoms.

Here’s my take, Why the US should welcome Syrian refugees without prejudice:

“A meme circulating the internet these days goes,

“Before you condemn Syrian refugees, make sure you never said ‘All Lives Matter’.”

The irony is clear. The fate of Syrian refugees fleeing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been put in limbo in the aftermath of the November 13th terrorist attacks in Paris, as seen by an increase in the US of anti-refugee rhetoric…(more)”

Also, other blogs at ET worth reading by and :
Why Muslims should empathise with Islamophobia
#ParisAttacks: Blaming the refugees for the attacks on France is like blaming the victim for escaping the abuser





Written by Caleb Powell

November 27, 2015 at 3:23 am

Sarah Haider on Reza Aslan: “Reza Aslan lies about Islam and gets away with it.”

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Sarah Hdr

aslan_the_liarSarah Haider hopefully will be a leading voice of ex-Muslims, joining Ali A. Rizvi and others. CNN should have her take on Aslan.

“(in) Indonesia, women are absolutely 100 percent equal to men.” – Reza Aslan

“…there is record of FGM common in Asian countries like Indonesia (study) and Malaysia.” – Sarah Haider

Further reading, Haider, at Patheos, her Reza Aslan Is Wrong About Islam and This Is Why, with over 2,700 comments. She produces rebuttals with research, and as she likes to say, the reader is free to “fact check the fact check.”

Also:  Reza claims that Indonesia gives women “100%” equal rights.
Indonesian women whipped under Shariah
The Fantasy World of Reza Aslan
Reza Aslan Cannot Be Trusted – David Pakman Show

Written by Caleb Powell

September 15, 2015 at 8:52 am

Posted in Islam

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