CAIR has received a request from a Pennsylvania correctional facility for 200 Qurans and 100 prayer rugs. Anyone who would like to sponsor the purchase of these items is asked make a secure online donation using your credit card. If you would rather mail you check, then please send it to:
Estimated cost for purchase and distribution of the items is $3,000. Any donation is welcome. Donations in excess of the actual cost will be used for similar activities. Checks should be made payable to "CAIR."
An enduring aftermath of Sept. 11 is the continued spotlight on Islam. Almost daily, self-declared experts dissect Islam in articles, commentaries, political prognostications, and, too often, the apocalyptic
scenario of a clash of civilizations. Some of these attempts at understanding Islam betray a shocking and simplistic method. Two fallacies -- one textual, the other sociological -- seem to predominate.
First are those whose analysis reflects their own cultural, historical or political prejudices. They utilize a crude, cut-and-paste analysis that uses Koranic texts self-servingly without concern for context. Verses
discussing the combative aspect of jihad figure prominently and demonstrate, we are told, Islam's dark side.
It is forgotten (or conveniently ignored) that one tenet of Islamic interpretation, as in Talmudic interpretation or Christian scriptures, is that a verse cannot be explained apart from its context. Verses on a given topic must be read together, holistically, for only then can their intent be gleaned. In Islamic law, rules pertaining to human interactions always have a rationale or understandable cause, which, if absent, renders the legal ruling inapplicable.
Take one oft-quoted verse: "Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them." It usually escapes mention that the intent behind legislating the combative aspect of the jihad here is self-defence. Specifically, this verse refers to a situation of war at the beginning of the seventh century, when the tribal elite in Arabia had persecuted the nascent Islamic community unrelentingly for 15 years, intent on eradicating it.
To read this verse as requiring that all non-Muslims are to be killed runs counter to verses that prohibit killing civilians or non-combatants, or to this important verse: "God does not forbid you with regard to those who do
not fight you or your faith nor drive you from your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them; for Allah loves those who are just" (Koran 60:8). It is worth noting that the Arabic word for "kind" in the verse,
birr, is used to express the affection and gentleness mandated to parents.
…History has recorded the full entitlements of citizenship granted by the Prophet to non-Muslims in treaties, the amnesty he gave to those who persecuted him, and his moral exhortations to maintain justice: "On the Day of Judgment, I will be the advocate of non-Muslim subjects who were oppressed" and "Observe scrupulously the protection accorded by me to non-Muslim subjects…"
…To be fair, there is sometimes another cause of misunderstanding: Muslims themselves. Too easily, some Muslims blame modernity for their own malaise, and all too often act contrary to the universal constants of
justice, moderation and mercy, which are the essential animating values of any Islamic individual or social action…
In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has begun calling dissenters and some journalists "terrorists," accusing his political opponents of trying to poison him with anthrax.
In Beijing, the Chinese government claims its longstanding oppression of Islamic minorities is helping the U.S. war on terror.
And in Russia, President Vladimir Putin has stepped up the military campaign in Chechnya, asserting that Muslim separatists are part of the global terror network targeted by the United States.
In the months since the United States launched its war on terrorism, governments around the world have used the campaign to justify human rights abuses, according to a new study by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based investigative and advocacy group.
"A lot of countries saw 9/11 as a wonderful opportunity to legitimize repressive practices in the name of America's cause," said Tom Malinowski, advocacy director for the Washington office of Human Rights Watch.
The group's 700-page annual report on human rights practices in 67 countries will be released today. The use of the anti-terror campaign as a veil for repression is the dominant theme…