I have lived in Northern Ireland (NI) for nearly five years; I conducted research, and despite that I was researching the Muslim community, through some NI friends I had access to that complex society, including the complex paramilitary reality. Indeed, it was so complex that when a friend and I wanted to start a university student’s netzine and selected an acronym as a name for it, we were informed that we had to think of a better name, since those few letters represented a not very well known but still active paramilitary group. The Northern Irish conflict, despite being prominently political, has religious connotations; Catholic Nationalists and Protestant Unionists have fought each other since the UK partitioned the island. This conflict became later known as “The Troubles”.
History is never neutral and recent history even less so, but when I asked about how the NI Loyalist paramilitary groups started, my Protestant informants told me that they started emerging in the 1960s as vigilante groups to protect Protestant neighbourhoods from attacks. They then developed into terrorist organisations opposed to a united Ireland.
So, you might ask, what has this to do with Australia and the current terrorist threat? Continue reading
Posted in anthropology, Australia, democracy, Muslims, Politcis, Religion, Terrorism
- Tagged Abott, Australia, Australian Defence League, Daesh, HT, IRA, NI, Northern Ireland, paramilitary, Q-Society, Sydney Sage, Terrorism, troubles
The Sydney Morning Herald contacted me for a comment on former judge Anthony Whealy’s suggestion to imprison terrorists and terrorist advocates indefinitely till proven de-radicalised. A short quote from my interview can be read here. Yet I wish to explain my strong objection, as a scholar whom knows well the process of radicalisation within prison, against that advice. Continue reading
Posted in anthropology, Australia, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Immigration, Islam, Islamophobia, jihad, Journalism, marranci, Middle East, Muslims, Politics, Prison, Refugees, Religion, Research, sociology, Sunni, Terrorism, War on Terror
- Tagged Al-Qaeda, Anthony Whealy, anthropology, Australia, criminology, Daesh, detantion, Guantanamo, indefinite detention, IS, Islam, marranci, Muslims, penal system, Prison, prison and terrorism, rehabilitation, Sydney Morning Herald, Terrorism
The debate, particularly in Australia, about whether Muslims should apologise or not for the acts of terrorism of some individuals whom are identified or identify themselves as Muslims, is in full spin. Recently a Twitter hashtag was developed where Muslims started to apologise for everything you may imagine. Some, during conversations with me, expressed their strong viewpoints:
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Posted in anthropology, Australia, Cartoons, Censorship, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Immigration, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, jihad, Journalism, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Race, Religion, Research, Satire, sociology, Terrorism, The UK, Uk government, War on Terror
- Tagged apology, Australia, Charlie Hebdo, France, Islamophobia, Middle East, Muslim religion, Muslims, non-Muslims, Rupert Murdoch, Shi'a, Sunni, Sydney, Terrorism, The UK, Tony Abbot, West, western Muslims
Yesterday, the British Parliament debated the ban of a garment, something that the British Parliament had not discussed since Victorian times. This time it was not the length of skirts or sleeves that the honorable parliamentarians addressed, but rather the well known (but rarely seen in western cities) burqa; banned in France, threatened in the rest of Europe, and now also under threat in the UK.
As other attempts, however, yesterday’s debate failed in imposing a burqa ban in the UK, and as the minister confirmed, Great Britain will not follow France.
The burqa is not an Islamic fashion per-se, but rather a tradition not opposed by Islamic teaching, which is probably the best way to present it. Covering the face, and in particular the mouth, has a geographical and environmental genealogy (such as the protection of skin and eyes from the dust and sand of, for instance, the Afghan desert). If such a garment is anything in Islam, it is a scholarly theological diatribe, with some sheikhs ready to wrap a baby in it, and others stating that it is not Islamic dress per-se. Continue reading
Posted in anthropology, Australia, BBC, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Fashion, Freedom, Gender, Immigration, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslim family, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Research, sociology, Uk government
- Tagged Australia, burka, cloth, controversial, dress, France, Freedom, Human Rights, Muslim women, Parlament, Religion, The UK
Think Tanks, often linked to a party in the nation’s political system, are becoming increasingly popular (particularly in the US and the UK), receive funds, and produce very easily digestible research, ready-made for the rushed politician. Think Tanks do not have to adhere to the same quality standards that university research has to or, when they are supposed to meet similar standards, there is no effective means of monitoring it. Ethical issues, ethical conduct of research and often methodology remains unexplained in reports written to impress more than explain complex issues. In an era where simplification often resembles “The Complete Idiot’s” guides, Think Tanks provide a fast, public friendly, easy to use policy support for difficult decisions.
Posted in Academia, anthropology, Australia, Ethics, Islam, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, Terrorism, University, War on Terror
- Tagged Australia, Future Directions International, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Hizb-ut-Tahrir in Australia, HT, HUT, Mirza Sadaqat, Quilliam Foundation, Research quality, Think Tank, UK, US
The debate concerning Islam and Muslims in the US is a very heated one – sometimes beyond metaphors. The fear that Sharia will rule in the land of the free is a strong one, so much so that there has been more than one attempt to legally ban ‘sharia’. Newt Gingrich, former House speaker who led the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994, exclaimed
Stealth jihadis use political, cultural, societal, religious, intellectual tools as a way to “replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Sharia
The list of American anti-Muslim politicians, commentators and pundits is long and often all linked to the Christian Republican right. The most quoted are Ann Coulter, whom invited a Muslim student to take a camel instead of a plane, Fox News personality Sean Hannity, whom drew a parallel between Islam and Nazism, Glenn Beck, Daniel Pipes , as well as showbiz personalities such as the well known “Jihad watcher” and the “femme fatal” of fear mongering, author of “Stop the Islamization of America“. Continue reading
Posted in America, anthropology, Bush, David Horowitz, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, Robert Spencer, sociology, Terrorism, War on Terror
- Tagged American Muslims, fear, Human Rights, Islam, Muslim hate, sharia, showbiz personalities, statistic, Taqiyya, xenophobia
Recently I came across a short article titled: The Muslim ‘prayer bump’ and Traumatic Brain Injury. Since I am interested in both religion as well as neuroscience, I eagerly read the short post. To my disappointment, I had to conclude that this was another, yet more sophisticated and insidious, attempt to demonstrate that Islam has horrible consequences for practising individuals. The gist of the article is as follows. Muslims pray five times per day, and as part of the Muslim prayer (salah), the Muslim prostrates and touches the ground with his or her forehead and nose (sujud). The article proceeds to inform the reader that in doing so, millions of Muslims develop what, in Islamic jargon, is called zebibah (Arabic for raisin), or a prayer bump. In other words, the repeated pressure of the head on the prayer mat will produce a discolouration of the skin in the area of contact, and in some cases, apparently, provoking a ‘bump’. Continue reading
Posted in Academia, anthropology, Fashion, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, Sunni, Terrorism, University
- Tagged Egypt, muslim prayer, neuroscience, neurotrauma, pious Muslims. fanaticism. Shi'ia, prayer, prayer bump, Religion, salah, sujud, traumatic brain injury, zebibah