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

Indefinite detention for advocating jihadi violence

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

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Academia, anthropology, Fashion, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, Sunni, Terrorism, University

Prayer bumps, Muslim haters, and the danger of scientific popularization

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

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anthropology, Censorship, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Genocide, Islam, Islamophobia, Journalism, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Religion, Riots, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Sunni

Burma, ethno-Buddhism, racism and religious persecution

I have written before about Burma (Myanmar) and its persecuted Rohingya population as well as the lack of interest both in the ASEAN countries as well as in the western mass media (see The other, invisible suffering of Burma, Rohingya Odyssey: a silent cultural genocide?, Rohingya Muslims and injustice: a security issue, Rohingyas: not solely a political problem, Selling lives: Rohingyas face deportation from Bangladesh). Since June, Burma and its Rohingya Muslim population have attracted a wider mass media presence. On May 28, in a village in the central part of Rakhine State, three Muslim members of the Rohingya ethnic group allegedly raped and killed a Buddhist woman. Retaliation did not take long and on June 3, a group of Arakan attacked a bus carrying Rohingya in southern Rakhine and 10 people were killed. Continue reading

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anthropology, Islam, Islam in Europe, Politics, Religion, Research, South Asia, Sunni

An Islam lost in transition? Emotions, piousness and lack of intellectual genealogy

Today I have have found several messages in my email referring to a youtube video that is going viral among Muslims. The video  shows a Muslim student  praying  publicly during his graduation ceremony at WSU (Washington State University). The public appeared oblivious to what may be perceived as a  ‘strange’ performance by anyone unfamiliar with the Islamic style of prayer. By contrast, many Muslims have praised this action as being a courageous display of faith. Also, in the messages,  you can read the list of “miracles’  that accompany such act of devotion: ‘he was not noticed, he may have been invisible’;  ‘the people did not clap their hands until the end of the prayer’; ‘the  direction of the Qiblah and the stage were the same’ (but was it?). Continue reading

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Afghanistan, anthropology, Ethnic Minorities, Iraq, Islam, jihad, Lebanon, Middle East, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Religion, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Sunni, Terrorism, War, War on Terror

Shi’a Muslims: halal meat?

Recently, those who have been following the news may have noticed an increase of terrorist attacks and the general persecution of Shi’a Muslims, particularly within Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and recently Palestine together with less reported, but still significant, events in Indonesia and Malaysia, among other Sunni majority countries. In the case of Pakistan, 3,700 civilians, mostly Shi’as, have been killed and another 7,700 wounded in sectarian violence since 1989. In Afghanistan, Bahrain, and Iraq, several thousand Shi’as have been ruthlessly murdered in sectarian violence (see South Asia Terrorism Portal). There is no doubt that, in the last decade alone, Shi’a civilians have been massacred within Sunni majority countries. Hence it is legitimate to ask whether Shi’a Muslims may have become, in a sense, ‘halal meat’. Continue reading

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Afghanistan, America, anthropology, bin-Laden, democracy, Europe, Freedom, Iraq, Islam, Italy, jihad, Journalism, Muslims, Politics, Refugees, Sunni, Terrorism, The UK, War, War on Terror

Repeating the same mistakes? The Libyan revolution, tribes and the risk of Afghanistization

A tiger cannot change its stripes, nor a leopard its spots, so too have the US, UK, France and Italy appeared to have not learnt very much from previous disastrous interventions within Muslim societies and nations. The revolution in Libya is more complex than a majority of mass media reports, both in the US and Europe, suggest. After an attentive survey of newspaper articles and online news, I can affirm that the public may not be fully informed of the reality in Libya and the dark side of one of the most complex ‘Arab Spring’ revolts.  Continue reading

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anthropology, Gender, Islam, Muslim family, Muslims, Politics, Research, sociology, South Asia, Sunni

When piety kills: power, religious performance and inhumanity, the case of Hena Akhter

That body is of 14-year-old Bangladeshi girl, Hena Akhter. Her story has distracted the western mass media from the still very confused situation in Libya. Hena Akhter was sentenced to receive 101 lashes to be delivered with extreme force after a village court implemented the fatwa of the local imam, whom decided that she had committed fornication with her much older married cousin. She died a week later from the injuries. The story is a script seen too many times in rural Bangladesh, at least since 1991 when Bangladeshi villages increased these extra-juridical sentences (Riaz 2005). Continue reading

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