I am sure you are all following the controversy around the NYPD's use of a hateful, anti-Muslim film, The Third Jihad, to train close to 1500 officers. As a member of the Muslim American community, and a member of the broad based coalition calling for the resignation of Raymond Kelly and Paul Browne, I would like to give you some context and paint a larger picture that hasn't been captured through the media or through conversations that currently exist on line and in the broader New York City.
Everyone in this multicultural valley would get something out of this year's works by American Muslim women: "The Butterfly Mosque," a lyrical memoir by G. Willow Wilson, and "The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and That Veil Thing," by native Californian Sumbul Ali-Karamali. Even if you don't read them, come to a discussion.
This is the first empirical study to ask North American Muslims what shari’a means to them in their everyday lives. The study demonstrates that the present “moral panic” over shari’a and its alleged impact on American legal and social culture is wildly overblown. Based on the study, for most American Muslims shari’a represents a private system of morality and identity, primarily focused on marriage and divorce rituals. None of the American Muslims interviewed for this study expected American courts to enforce shari’a. Just like other Americans, they will access the courts for adjudication according to American family law if they cannot make a private agreement (relating to divorce) that meets their needs and values.
A fairly, good common sense article on the integration conundrum many European nations are facing. My only gripe, the intimation that it's only Muslim youth who rebel against excessive policing and securitization of their communities.
only by strengthening the democratic rights of Muslim citizens to form associations, join political parties and engage in other aspects of civic life can Europe integrate immigrants and give full meaning to the abstract promise of religious liberty.
Near the corner of Westchester Avenue and Pugsley Street in Parkchester, just off the elevated tracks of the No. 6 train, Yaakov Wayne Baumann stood outside a graffiti-covered storefront on a chilly Saturday morning. Suited up in a black overcoat with a matching wide-brimmed black fedora, the thickly bearded 42-year-old chatted with elderly congregants as they entered the building for Shabbat service.
The only unusual detail: This synagogue is a mosque.
Or rather, it’s housed inside a mosque. That’s right: Members of the Chabad of East Bronx, an ultra-Orthodox synagogue, worship in the Islamic Cultural Center of North America, which is home to the Al-Iman mosque.
Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, home to an estimated 35,000 Arabs, is the largest Arab-American community outside of Michigan and California. That number is an estimate because no one in government has been able to count. “The community doesn’t like to fill out forms, and for good reason,” a staffer at the Arab-American Association of New York, in Bay Ridge, told me, referring to the recent revelation that the NYPD targeted Muslims for surveillance. Over the next two months, however, the Arabs of Bay Ridge will submit to their first-ever community census. It won’t be conducted by the city, but by the Arab-American Association of New York, the only support organization in the neighborhood that doesn’t take government money, leaving it free to serve undocumented immigrants, a major part of its base, and provide services demanded by its constituents rather than city bureaucrats.
The executive director of the organization is Linda Sarsour, 31, a Palestinian-American mother of three who wears the hijab and plans to become the first Arab-American on the New York City Council when she runs in 2017, after the local seat opens up. Sarsour, who took over the organization in 2005 and has raised its profile tremendously—she was honored in December as one of 10 Champions of Change by the White House—travels a lot on behalf of the association. The young woman who runs the association day to day, juggling budget memos, the census, and calls from the BBC is all of 24 years old. Her name is Jennie Goldstein, and she is a Jew from the Upper West Side.
Bharat Choudhary has seen the power of religious hatred up close. After the 2002 sectarian riots in Gujarat State, India, Mr. Choudhary counseled victims who had been paralyzed or raped during the violence.
His clients were Muslims. Mr. Choudhary is Hindu.
“My job was to talk with them, to counsel them and try to convince them that everything was going to be fine, even though I knew that nothing was going to be fine with their life anymore,” he said. “That always stayed with me.”
He was painfully reminded of that a few years later while studying photojournalism in Columbia, Mo. Once while walking home from class, two white men in a pickup truck tailed him. As the truck drove past him, they hurled insults, shouting “Osama! Osama!” The truck made a U-turn and stopped in front of him. The barrage of insults continued.
The provocation? “I was brown and had a beard at that time,” Mr. Choudhary said.
The jarring encounter would prove fortuitous, becoming the topic for his masters project, photographing young Muslims who were born in the United States. He admits that at first, he didn’t know much about them.