Analysis, Side Feature

Views on the News – 3 Nov 2018


  • 40% of Americans say Islam is Incompatible with US Values
  • Khashoggi Murder: Saudi Prince said He was Dangerous Islamist
  • Anti-blasphemy Protests Spread across Pakistan
  • Pakistan Releases Blasphemer as Attempted Gesture to Hypocritical Western Public Opinion
  • Taliban Control of Afghanistan Increasing according to US Inspector
  • Record US Trade Deficit with China despite Tariffs

40% of Americans say Islam is Incompatible with US Values

Over 40 percent of non-Muslim residents of the United States believe Islam is not compatible with American values, according to a study co-conducted by the New America foundation and the American Muslim Initiative announced Thursday. According to the survey’s findings, 56 percent of individuals in the US thought Islam was compatible with American values while 42 percent said the religion is incompatible. A large majority – 74 percent – acknowledged Muslims face “a lot” of bigotry while 56 percent expressed concern about the spread of extremism in American-Muslim communities. The survey found Republicans were significantly more likely to view Islam and Muslim Americans negatively, with over 70 percent thinking Islam “incompatible with American values.” 56 percent of Republicans expressed concern should a mosque hypothetically be built in their neighborhood. The researchers also found that just under half of respondents personally knew a Muslim. However, knowing a Muslim personally does not necessarily correlate with positive views on Islam, a senior fellow at the New America foundation, Robert McKenzie warned in a statement to Al-Jazeera. A month ago the Muslim Advocates civil rights group published findings documenting 80 instances of “clear anti-Muslim rhetoric” espoused by candidates running for political office in the US in 2017 and 2018. 64 percent of the candidates documented had received a presidential endorsement or were running as incumbents. The last week in the US has seen a spike in violence stemming from far-right movements and rhetoric — 11 Jewish worshippers were murdered in a shooting attack in Pittsburgh, suspected pipe bombs sent to Trump critics around the country, and two African-Americans killed in a hate-motivated attack in Kentucky. “Many people who hate Muslims, hate Jews as well,” Walter Ruby of the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum told Al-Jazeera. “I absolutely think the rhetoric that’s come from President Trump and others has contributed,” Ruby added. “I don’t want to entirely blame Trump but this movement of hate has coalesced around him, which certainly helped orchestrate,” he said. “It’s become a very dangerous situation.” [Source: i24News]

The results are not surprising given Trump’s frequent vitriol against Islam. In fact the only surprise is that the figure is not higher.


Khashoggi Murder: Saudi Prince Said He Was Dangerous Islamist

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the US he considered murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi to be a dangerous Islamist, media reports say. Prince Mohammed’s reported phone call to the White House came before Saudi Arabia admitted he had been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia has denied the reports in the Washington Post and New York Times. A Saudi national and well-known critic of Saudi rulers, Khashoggi was killed and his body dismembered on 2 October.  His remains have not yet been found. On Friday, Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkey’s president, told Hurriyet Newspaper officials believed that Khashoggi’s body “wasn’t just cut up”, but that the murderers “got rid of the body by dissolving it”. His fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, has called on world leaders to “bring the perpetrators to justice”, in an editorial for the Guardian and other newspapers. Saudi Arabia denies its royal family was involved and says it is “determined to find out all the facts”. Late last month, Prince Mohammed said that “the crime was painful to all Saudis”. [Source: The BBC]

The Saudi narrative over Khashoggi’s death has changed several times. Now the crown prince looking to justify the gruesome murder is peddling the story that Khashoggi was a dangerous Islamist. Well if that were the case then perhaps the crown prince would like to explain why he was embraced by the Western media?


Anti-blasphemy Protests Spread across Pakistan

Thousands of Islamist protesters have brought Pakistan to a standstill, burning rickshaws, cars and lorries to protest against the acquittal of a Christian woman who spent eight years on death row on false charges of blasphemy. Traffic jams held up ambulances and forced mothers to feed their babies by the side of the road, while authorities shut schools across most of the country. Footage from the protests shows anti-blasphemy campaigners clubbing and throwing shoes at posters of Pakistan’s chief justice and the new prime minister, Imran Khan, who on Wednesday night threatened a fierce government response if protesters did not disperse. “We are ready to sacrifice our lives for this noble cause,” one told the Guardian, “and have rejected whatever rubbish the prime minister said in his speech”. The landmark release of Asia Bibi, a 47-year-old farm labourer, has pitched the state into the latest of several battles with supporters of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a rabid, fast-growing political party that exists solely to punish blasphemers. Asia was charged with insulting the Prophet Muhammad after she drank from a cup of water before passing it to Muslim fruit-pickers. Police have so far shied away from arresting protesters and the powerful armed forces, which often appear to align with Islamists, have yet to issue a statement, despite TLP leaders daring to call for mutiny in its ranks. On Thursday, rightwing religious organisations, including Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), a charity founded by UN-designated terrorist Hafiz Saeed, and the Jamaat-Ulema-e-Islam, announced that they would join the TLP protest on Friday, in what could become an unmanageable conflagration. The new government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) appeared to backtrack on Thursday evening, sending a five-member negotiating team to meet Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of the TLP. Government officials released contradictory statements on whether they had placed Asia on the exit control list, which would prevent her fleeing the country. In public speeches, Rizvi has said his only demand is that the mother-of-five be put to death, the punishment for blasphemy under Pakistan’s penal code. “Our sit-in will go on until the government accepts our demand,” he told the Guardian in a phone interview, denying reports that the sit-in would soon be over. [Source: The Guardian]

The protests are driven by the apparent capitulation of Khan’s government to let Bibi go at the behest of foreign powers and their conditions for loans.


Pakistan Releases Blasphemer as Attempted Gesture to Hypocritical Western Public Opinion

The new government of Imran Khan had hoped that the court release of the blasphemer Asia Noreen would placate Western public opinion but Western media has responded only with anger after seeing the response of Muslims in Pakistan to her release. According to the New York Times:

After spending eight years on death row, Asia Bibi, a Christian, was acquitted by Pakistan’s Supreme Court this week. For many here it seemed like a good day. The country’s highest court had finally delivered justice and released a woman whose life has already been destroyed by years in solitary confinement. The court decision quoted Islamic scriptures, bits of letters by the Prophet Muhammad and a smattering of Shakespeare. A great wrong was righted.

And that’s why Pakistan’s new religious right, which has rebranded itself as the protector of the Prophet’s honor, has threatened to bring the country to a halt.

Posters were put up with fatwas against the judges who had issued the Bibi decision. The judges’ guards and cooks were urged to kill them before evening; anyone who did would earn great rewards in the afterlife. Pakistani conservatives, emboldened by gains in the general election this summer, goaded the generals into rebelling against the army chief, whom they accused of being an Ahmadi, a persecuted religious minority. They called Prime Minister Imran Khan a “Jew child.”

Khan, in an impromptu address to the nation, seemed appalled at the language and the implication: He said his government had already done more than any other for Islam and warned protesters not to take on the state. But the mobs will settle for nothing short of Bibi’s public hanging.

Until just a few decades back, it was standard for countries to have laws against blasphemy and many non-Muslim countries still have them. In this week, the European court upheld an Austrian law against blasphemy while Ireland voted to remove a reference to blasphemy that until now exists in its constitution. According to DW:

The Strasbourg-based ECHR ruled that Austrian courts carefully balanced the applicant’s “right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.”

The ECHR judgement has itself come under considerable attack in the West. Unfortunately, the Western concept of Freedom means something very different from toleration. Only Islam truly practised toleration for others, going as far as to permit parallel legislation for non-Muslim communities to maintain their own distinctive lifestyles while remaining part of Islamic society. A key requirement of this multiculturalist approach is that the beliefs of others are not insulted. Allah (swt) says in the Noble Quran: وَلاَ تَسُبُّواْ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللّهِ فَيَسُبُّواْ اللّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ كَذَلِكَ زَيَّنَّا لِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ عَمَلَهُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَى رَبِّهِم مَّرْجِعُهُمْ فَيُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ “And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do.” [al-An’am 108]


Taliban Control of Afghanistan Increasing according to US Inspector

According to CNN:

The Taliban have strengthened their grip in Afghanistan over the past three years, according to a new report released by the US government’s own ombudsman of the war.

In its quarterly report for the US Congress, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said, “The Taliban now controls more territory than at any time since 2001.”

The Afghan government currently controls or influences only 55.5% of the country’s districts, marking the lowest level recorded since SIGAR began tracking district control in November 2015.

However, other estimates put Taliban control in the majority. The only reason that the foreign disbeliever continues to occupy Muslim lands is the cooperation he receives from Muslim governments that prevent their armies from ejecting him. If the foreign occupation is unable to defeat mere Muslim groups then how would they defeat the professionally-trained armies of Muslims, particularly if they were to unite under a unified Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate) State on the method of the Prophet ﷺ?


Record US Trade Deficit with China despite Tariffs

According to the Huffington Post:

President Donald Trump’s steep tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese products don’t seem to be particularly effective at re-balancing trade. America’s trade deficit with China hit a record high in September, according to figures reported Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

The deficit in goods and services trade with China increased to $40.2 billion for the month, the highest ever.

In addition, America’s overall foreign trade deficit in goods and services from all countries increased 1.3 percent from August to hit $54 billion for September — hitting a seven-month high. The deficit for goods alone hit an all-time high at $218 billion, reported CNBC.

The U.S. is on track to post its biggest foreign trade deficit in a decade, Market Watch reported.

Western countries do not fail to reprimand others for trade deficits or adoption of tariffs but these same Western countries themselves ignore all such advice when devising their own policies.

Capitalist economic thinking, as studied in universities, is designed to open world wealth, resources and markets to Western exploitation. Muslims will never escape their economic malaise until they reject Capitalist economics and return to the implementation of the Islamic economic system that enabled the Islamic Khilafah to be the sole global superpower for a millennium.