Saturday, March 15, 2008


Ingrid Mattson, PhD
The Islamic Society of North America

Geert Wilders is a Dutch politician who broke with a mainstream national party to form his own extreme-right, anti-immigrant platform. Wilders has directed most of his hatred in recent years at Muslims. Wilders has called for the Qur’an to be banned and in the last few months has been promoting his “documentary” attacking the Qur’an. Wilders has intimated that the documentary will show a copy of the Qur’an being desecrated or destroyed.

Geert Wilders wants the Qur’an to be banned. Many Muslims want Wilders’ film to be banned. Wilders wants Muslims out of “his country” and to be denied the rights of other citizens to practice their faith. No doubt, many Dutch Muslims wish that Wilders would just go away (and Wilders has received threats of violence from some). Neither Wilders nor these Muslims will (or should) get what they want. Now what?

Many have looked to this situation only through the lense of the law. News articles have focused on threats made to Wilders’ life and the calls to ban his film. Of course, the threats are unacceptable and criminal. Wilders should be afforded the full protection of the law and those threatening violence against his person should be prosecuted.

As for the right of freedom of speech, Wilders’ film should be treated like other statements within Dutch law. The Netherlands, like most other countries, has certain restrictions on speech that is defamatory, libelous or insults a group of people based on their race or religion. The Dutch Prime Minister has publicly stated that if the film, once released, is judged to have violated the law, then his government has the duty to enforce their legislation. This treatment of Dutch Muslims as equal citizens under the law shows to the Muslim world that the Netherlands is not an enemy to Islam.

My plea is that we also need to look at this issue more broadly so we can find better ways of living together in a world in which there will always be people whose views and beliefs we find odd or even obnoxious. We should not justify or excuse extremism of any kind, whether they are racist and hateful attacks on the Muslim community or vigilante violence by Muslims against those who make such statements. What we should try to understand is why some otherwise ordinary people feel caught in the middle, and are sometimes attracted, in part, to the emotional appeals of the extremists.


History of Religion

How has the geography of religion evolved over the centuries, and where has it sparked wars? Our map gives us a brief history of the world's most well-known religions: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Selected periods of inter-religious bloodshed are also highlighted. Want to see 5,000 years of religion in 90 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!

More here

Imperial History

Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history? Pretty much everyone. Egyptians, Turks, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Persians, Europeans...the list goes on. Who will control the Middle East today? That is a much bigger question.

More here

March of Democracy

Where has democracy dominated and where has it retreated? This map gives us a visual ballet of democracy's march across history as the most popular form of government. From the first ancient republics to the rise of self-governing nations, see the history of democracy: 4,000 years in 90 seconds...!

More here

Muslims nations: Defame Islam, get sued!

Muslims nations: Defame Islam, get sued?
By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press Writer

DAKAR, Senegal - The Muslim world has created a battle plan to defend its religion from political cartoonists and bigots. Concerned about what they see as a rise in the defamation of Islam, leaders of the world's Muslim nations are considering taking legal action against those that slight their religion or its sacred symbols. It was a key issue during a two-day summit that ended Friday in this western Africa capital.

The Muslim leaders are attempting to demand redress from nations like Denmark, which allowed the publication of cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 and again last month, to the fury of the Muslim world.Though the legal measures being considered have not been spelled out, the idea pits many Muslims against principles of freedom of speech enshrined in the constitutions of numerous Western governments.

"I don't think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy," said Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. "There can be no freedom without limits." Delegates were given a voluminous report by the OIC that recorded anti-Islamic speech and actions from around the world. The report concludes that Islam is under attack and that a defense must be mounted.

read more here

Friday, March 07, 2008

مسلمانوں کو ہدف بنانے کے الزام میں کوئی صداقت نہیں: ہوم لینڈ سیکیورٹی

مسلمانوں کو ہدف بنانے کے الزام میں کوئی صداقت نہیں: ہوم لینڈ سیکیورٹی
عمران صدیقی
وائس آف امریکہ
March 7, 2008

اس رپورٹ کی ویڈیو

امریکہ کے ہوم لینڈ سیکیورٹی کے محکمے کے پانچ سال مکمل ہوگئے ہیں۔ وسیع تر اختیار کے حامل اس ادارے کا قیام امریکہ پر ستمبر 2001 کے دہشت گرد حملوں کے بعد عمل میں لایا گیا تھا۔ ہوم لینڈ سیکیورٹی کےبارے میں ایک عمومی رائے یہ ہے کہ یہ ایک سخت گیر ادارہ ہے جو دوسرے ممالک سے امریکہ آنے والے افراد ، بالخصوص مسلمانوں کو اپنا ہدف بناتا ہے اور انہیں طرح طرح سے پریشان کرتاہے۔ کئی ناقدین ہوم لینڈ سیکیورٹی کے رویے اور طریقہ کار پر نکتہ چینی کرتے رہتے ہیں۔

ہوم لینڈ سیکیورٹی نے اپنے بارے میں رائے بہتر بنانے ، حقائق کے اظہار اورشہری حقوق اور آزادیوں کے تحفظ کے لیےادارے کے اندر ایک شعبہ قائم کیا ہے۔ ڈین سدر لینڈ اور شارق ظفر اس شعبے سے وابستہ ہیں۔

ہوم لینڈ سیکیورٹی کی پانچویں سالگرہ پر وائس آف امریکہ سے گفتگو کرتے ہوئے انہوں نے اس الزام کی نفی کی کہ یہ ادارہ امریکہ آنے والے مسلمانوں کو بلاوجہ تنگ اور پریشان کرتا ہے۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ ہوم لینڈ سیکیورٹی ملک کی حفاظت اور اسے دہشت گردوں سے محفوظ رکھنے کے اقدامات کے ساتھ ساتھ ان افراد کے شہری حقوق اور آزادیوں کا بھی پورا تحفظ کرتا ہے جوملکی قوانین پر عمل کرتے ہیں ۔

سدر لینڈ اور شارق ظفر کا کہنا تھا کہ ہوم لینڈ سیکیورٹی کا ادارہ صرف دہشت گردی کی روک تھام کے لیے ہی کام نہیں کررہا بلکہ وہ قدرتی اور موسمی آفات میں شہریوں کی مدد بھی کرتا ہے۔

Original article

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Omar and Kishan

Omar Waqar a Pakistani American rock musician and Kishan an Indian American Tabla player are using the power of their music to break barriers of race culture and traditions. They say music is the best language to speak in, people understand it no matter where they're from.

The future of independent Media in Pakistan

What are the ground realities in Pakistan as far as the media situation is concerned? In the midst of the crackdown on Pakistani media industry by President Pervez Musharraf what is the future of independent media and investigative reporting in Pakistan? A panel of top-notch journalists from Pakistan and the United States try to sketch a future outlook and answer these complex questions at a panel discussion organized by National Endowment for Democracy.
Imran Siddiqui reports.

Umar Lee - blogging in to the future

Former boxer, an American "revert" to Islam and St. Louis native Umar Lee has a message to spread. As one of the top Muslim bloggers in America, Umar is reaching out to the Muslims and people of other faiths in America and across the world via the Internet, exploring the many facets of Muslim life in the U.S. His message is of peace and brotherhood

Journeyman part 2 - the Mentees

Every child needs a mentor in his or her life. It can be a dad, a mother, a friend or even somebody that you don't know very well. But what are the effects of positive mentoring on a teenager's psychological
development? How do mentees respond to the mentors in their lives? We caught up with some previously troubled teenagers who went through the mentoring program at Boys 2 Men Mentoring in D.C. and discussed the changes they went through once the program was completed. Most of these teenagers had tough lives but are now positively contributing to society.

Journeyman - the power of mentors' part 1

Watch the full interview cuts on Humanity TV

This is a 2-part series highlighting the film Journeyman, a film about the power of mentors and mentees in America. Journeyman is directed by a filmmaker from Minnesota, Charlie Borden, who believes that our youth,
both girls and boys, need guidance to be able to differentiate between right and wrong and find the correct path for themselves with the help of their mentors. This is especially true in today's society where children are spending about 40 hours per week in front of their TV screens and
about 35 minutes per week with their moms and dads. It is highly imperative that men step up to the challenge of providing a guiding light to the lost teens of our society. Part 1 concentrates on the film
Journey Man, the director and the vision behind the subject matter of mentoring. The 2nd part takes us through the minds of the mentors and their mentees and how these troubled teens were able to bring a positive change in their lives and in the lives of others.

Film clips courtesy Charlie Borden and
Watch the full interview cuts on Humanity TV

John McCain and the new allegations

What do the people in downtown DC say about the New York Times story alleging Republican Presidential hopeful Senator John McCain had a romantic relationship with a lobbyist Vicky Iseman. Some say, who cares about what happened 8 years ago.

Leaderless Jihad

Perspectives on New America foundation's book discussion on "Leaderless Jihad," by author Marc Sageman. The book looks at Jihad in the 21st Century. Peter Bergen, senior fellow at NAF and CNN terrorism analyst was the host of the event. Marc Sageman presents valuable insights in to the ever changing dynamics of global terrorism and who is behind it. Marc suggests that now, Alqaida is no longer calling the shots, but kids, who are wanna be heroes.

Rock the vote

A recent "rock the vote" poll confirmed that young voters are energized and engaged in the 2008 elections like never before and are standing close to the issues most important to them, which are; the economy, health care, college affordability as well as the war in Iraq. As Imran Siddiqui explains the poll shows a strong and positive attitude toward this election cycle where an overwhelming majority, a massive 89% believe that they have the power to change the country.

Imran Siddiqui's Facebook profile