Moozweek: A weekly round-up of news about Islam and Muslims in America and abroad.
A Shiite scholar details his CBP detainment
What’s the scariest part about being detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agents? “It is the anonymity of your accusers and the total power ‘it’ or ‘they’ have over your being,” wrote Hamid Dabashi, an Iranian studies professor from Columbia University, who was detained by CBP agents in South Korea while boarding a plane to New York, and details the experience in a disconcerting piece for AlJazeera.com. And how do you challenge this discriminatory behavior against Muslims? “Public awareness is the single most important course of action for us,” writes Dabashi, who most recently authored “Shiism: A Religion of Protest.”
Court date set for Stanford grad who wants off “no-fly” list
Since being barred from returning to the United States in 2005 when she was a student at Stanford, Rahina Ibrahim of Malaysia has wanted to know why her name was on the federal government’s “no-fly” list. Ibrahim, who is now 48 and finished her Stanford degree abroad, will finally get her day in court on December 2, and face off against federal lawyers in an effort to get her name taken of the list. Ibrahim said the government never explained her inclusion on the list, and wants to have it removed so she can travel to the U.S. again, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Connecticut’s first Muslim mayor sworn in
While it certainly is noteworthy that M. Saud Anwar, the newly sworn-in mayor of South Windsor, Conn., is the first Muslim mayor in Connecticut, its perhaps even more noteworthy that his faith was not an issue in the campaign. For people who who want to see Muslims in civic life as something normal and not unusual, that’s good news.
Tweet leads to prison time
Human Rights Watch is calling on Kuwait authorities to drop charges against blogger Musab Shamsah, who on Nov. 18 was sentenced to five years in prison for a tweet mocking the role of imams in Islam. “Don’t Kuwaiti police, judges, and lawyers have anything more important to do than prosecute Kuwaitis engaged in religious debates,” asked Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East Director of Human Rights Watch.
No U.S. apology for civilian deaths in Afghanistan
The United States and Afghanistan have agreed to terms on a Status of Forces Agreement which will govern relations through 2024 between the Afghan government and U.S. forces who will remain in Afghanistan after most troops pull out next year. According to an NBC News report, the new agreement says the U.S. will continue to train and equip Afghan forces, maintain a few armed outposts, but not engage in any combat activity unless mutually agreed upon by both sides. But the agreement still needs to be approved by the American and Afghan presidents. President Karzai announced Thursday he does not want the agreement to go into effect until after national elections in April 2014. The U.S. wants the agreement implemented as soon as possible.
Amid all this wrangling was an Afghan request that the U.S. government apologize for the civilians killed during the war. “The idea was to indeed mention that there were mistakes made…and that Afghans suffered, and that we understand the pain and therefore we give assurances and make sure those mistakes are not repeated,” said Aimail Faizi, a Karzai spokesman.
Norwegian mass murderer gets a Twitter fan
A new Twitter account lauding Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing extremist who was inspired by JihadWatch.com creator Robert Spencer, is causing concern in Norway. The Twitter account, NegerJeger, features a painting of Breivik in a knight’s armor spraying a machine gun at fleeing African and Muslim children. The account tweets racist messages about Muslims and people of color. Breivik killed 77 people, mostly immigrants and members of the left-of-center Norwegian Labor Party, in a bombing and gun attack in 2011.
A New York interfaith moment in Vienna
Who says interfaith get-togethers are just talk? When Rabbi Marc Schneier of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, visited Vienna on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, he learned that Austrian Muslims were distressingly uninformed about the Holocaust and asked the Islamic community’s leader, Fuat Sanac, if he would allow Jews to do educational programs about the Holocaust for the country’s Muslims. To Schneier’s surprise, Sanac said yes.
Domes, records, and the mother tree
You may already know that, almost 80 years ago, California rescued the iconic medjool date of Morocco, where disease had threatened it with extinction. But did you also know that California is home to a rare pistachio tree imported there from Iran in 1957? The newest issue of Saudi Aramco World – one of the most interesting magazines you probably never heard of – has a fascinating story about what has since developed into a billion-dollar agricultural industry, and the hunt for the “mother tree” that spawned it. The high quality, photo-rich magazine, which you can subscribe to for free, yes free, also has interesting reads about Atalntic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, pearling towns along the Gulf Peninsula, and a beautiful 2014 calendar featuring colorful photos of done interiors.