About Me

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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Sunday, December 30, 2007

If Muslims Are So Terrible, Why The Need To Make Up So Many Lies?

If Muslims Are So Terrible, Why The Need To Make Up So Many Lies?

by Sheila Musaji

Yesterday I came across two articles that really brought home to me how much of what is printed about Islam and Muslims has no basis in fact, and how difficult it is to make any dent in the general negative attitudes such articles generate.

Dhimmi Watch had an article “UK: Nurses ordered to drop everything and turn Muslims’ beds toward Mecca five times daily” in which they pointed their readers to the original article about this “issue” from the British paper The Daily Express. This was totally untrue as reported by more than one source.

Another article “United States Stamp Honoring the Muslim religion” claims that “There is a Muslim sword through the 41-cents mark on the stamp, because the Muslims do not recognize the unholy money of America and the only way they would allow a stamp honoring their religion is to put a Muslim sword through the US monitory symbol the 41-cents marking.” This one is simple to check, just look at one of the Eid stamps. There is no mark at all through the 41 cent marking, and no sword anywhere on the stamp. Although, every year someone comes up with something new to denigrate the fact that such a stamp exists.

The same article about the Eid stamp also makes another claim that is often repeated: “Remember the Muslim Assassin Sirhan Sirhan in 1968 who still lives after depriving us of Bobbie Kennedy”. Again, any brief fact check would show that Sirhan was a Palestinian Christian.

Bernard Lewis’ claimed that Iran would attack the U.S. and/or Israel with nuclear weapons on August 22, 2006. This Nuclear Apocalypse turned out to be milder than expected, and in fact never happened.

Many articles make the claim that all terrorists are Muslims - and this has been repeated so often that most people simply accept that it must be true. Again, a little research will show that this is not true.

Another of these ubiquitous claims is that Muslims don’t speak up against terrorism or violence. The American Muslim has devoted a whole section to debunking this nonsense.

Lots of other things never happened, or are simply not true. Arabs didn’t celebrate 9/11 at a Dunkin Donuts in New Jersey. Budweiser did not pull all its product from the shelves of a convenience store where there was celebration of the terrorist attacks - this never happened. An American Missionary in Africa didn’t face possible murder charges and hanging because of a traffic accident. There is no verse of the Qur’an on “The Wrath of the Eagle”. The supposed bomb threat made by an Arizona student that led to an evacuation of the school was a hoax by non-Muslim students. The story that Iran was considering forcing Jews to wear a yellow star appeared in several publications and it was totally false. The slaying of the New Jersey Coptic family was falsely charged to Muslims. The story about the British banks banning piggy banks so as not to offend Muslims never happened. Muslims are not more likely to support terrorism and violence than Christians or Jews. Muslims did not destroy the Library of Alexandria.

The fact that these “news stories” and articles are simply wrong doesn’t change the fact that they are “out there” and that they will be read and believed by many of the same folks who believe the supermarket tabloids. They will be forwarded or passed on, and commented on, and the stories will grow and more and more people will accept them as “facts”.

When Muslims are charged with something the word Islam or Muslim is attached to whatever crime they are accused of, and the story makes the front page headlines, when they are found not guilty or innocent, that goes somewhere on the back pages in small print.

The comments left on internet sites by the readers of these sorts of articles show the sort of response this sort of propoganda provokes. What I don’t understand is who gains by such demonization of an entire faith.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Urban Legend on Islam: Universities removed the Holocaust from its school curriculum to please Muslims

Here is a new response to a common urban legend on Islam. I earlier wrote about this dangerous phenomenon.

I received the following email yesterday.

From: jpwood1@comcast.net
Sent: Monday, December 24, 2007 5:37 AM
Subject: Fwd: HISTORY

This week, the UK removed the Holocaust from it's school curriculum because it "offended" the Muslim population because they say it never occurred.

This is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easy each country is giving into it.

It is now more than 60 years since the 2nd. World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, starved, burned and humiliated while German and Russian people looked the other way!

Now more than ever, with Iran among others, claiming the Holocaust to be a myth, it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide! Be a link in the memorial chain and help distribute this around the world .

Don't just delete this, it will only take a minute to pass it on...


A modified version of this email is in circulation too in which it claims that the University of Kentucky has removed the Holocaust from its curriculum.

Here is the response that I sent to the sender:

Greetings of peace,

It is important to verify the accuracy of such divisive emails before sending them out.
Please read how this email is false.

For the record, many millions of Muslims also perished during WWII, a war that was mainly between European, supposedly Christian countries (with the exception of Japan) and not with Muslim countries. Many Muslims risked their lives to save Jews from being killed by the Nazis (read: http://www.sptimes.com/2007/11/04/Worldandnation/Exhibition_honors_Mus.shtml ).

Additionally, the Holocaust denial, as well as anti-Semitism, started in Europe among people who falsely claimed to be Christian. It was not part of the Muslim culture. Moreover, in case you forgot, the Holocaust itself was an atrocity committed by Europeans who also falsely claimed to be Christian. In recent years, due to the political tension caused by the Middle East conflict and Israel's mistreatment of the Palestinians, some Muslims have unfortunately adopted some of the European anti-Semitic language. Such a practice was and continues to be rejected by the overwhelming majority of Muslims. Racism is strictly forbidden in Islam. Moreover, Judaism and Jews are not responsible for the actions of Israel any more than Muslims can be held responsible for the actions of Al-Qaeda. In fact, both, mainstream Muslims and Jews have respectively spoken against the misuse of the names of Islam and Judaism by such groups, individuals, and entities.

Read my past commentary on Muslims who deny the Holocaust.
Denying the Holocaust is immoral and un-Islamic http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/12/denying-holocaust-is-immoral-and-un.html

Another good piece to read by a leading American Muslim scholar is:
Holocaust Denial Undermines Islam http://www.tikkun.org/magazine/tik0708/frontpage/denial

Thank you and happy new year to you and your families.

Urban Legends on Islam: the dehumanizing and demonizing of Muslims

Every few days, I receive emails from some "patriotic" Americans asking recipients to forward that message to as many friends as possible in order to "awaken" Americans to the "threat" of Muslims.

Such messages almost always contain some false urban legend to prove that Muslims are some sort of human monsters who engage in atrocious behavior. The purpose of such bigoted messages is to dehumanize Muslims and justify (or even promote) hatred and violence against them. It is tempting to ignore such messages, but we learned from history that the emotional charging of a populace, using false charges and rumors, lead to lynching of Blacks in America, the Holocaust against Jews in Europe, and the genocide of Muslims in Bosnia, among many other examples.

I have earlier responded to one such "urban legend" falsely claiming the presence of a verse about 9/11 in the Qur'an.

In the near future, I will respond to other ones that keep making the email rounds.

Friday, December 21, 2007

What's a "religious" holiday after all?

At a time when Muslim, Christians and Jews celebrate their respective holidays, it is important to reflect on the true meaning of being religious.

Being religious was never meant to be divided or separated from others. It was not meant to look down at others. It was certainly not meant to free us from our responsibilities toward our Creator and toward others. The best example of how religion was truly applied into life is witnessed in the lives of Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, Abraham (may the peace of Allah/God be upon them).

Those Prophets understood being religious as a call to love Allah wholeheartedly, worship none but Him, and care for His creation.

It is to care for fellow people, for animals, environment, and our Earth.

It is to promote goodness, fairness, mercy, and ethics, in our societies, selflessly.

It is to speak and act against injustice, oppression, poverty, human suffering, and all forms of abuse.

It is to love for others what we love for ourselves.

It is to practice what we preach others to do and avoid hypocrisy.

It is to remember that this Life we now live is not but a temporary transition to an eternal Hereafter where each one of us will be held accountable for the actions we undertook in this Life. Shouldn't we all be in the best of our behavior then?

The start of a new Gregorian and Hijri year, in few days, is a great opportunity to renew our commitment to being truly "religious", from the inside and not merely from the outside. I invite you to join me in making a resolution to "religiously" follow the example of Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, and Abraham. Let's make next year a "religious" year for us and all the people and communities we serve.

Eid Mubarak and Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 07, 2007

"Teddy" Parents Speak out

By Ismail Kamal Kushkush, IOL Correspondent

KHARTOUM — Now that the dust has settled, some parents are speaking out to set the record straight about the controversy of the "Mohamed" teddy bear.

"We want to clarify things. We are the stakeholders as parents," Isam Abu Hasabu, the chair of the private Unity High School's Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), told IslamOnline.net.

"Not one parent complained about Ms. (Gillian)Gibbons," he maintained.

Gibbons, a British female teacher, decided to give a name to a teddy-bear that would be used for a class-project.

Her class's 6-7 year-olds chose the name Mohamed, it being the name of more than one student in the classroom.

The teacher then sent letters to the parents informing them about the project in September.
Sudan reportedly launched legal action against Gibbons on the grounds that parents accused her of insulting Islam.

"No family complained," insisted Abdel Mahmoud al-Koronky, another student parent.

"Gibbons' mistake was that she gave the letters to the students [directly]; not to the school-director, who would have revised or refused it," he said.

IOL has learned that investigations are now focusing on a school employee, Sara Al-Khawadh, who passed a letter of complaint against Gibbons to the State of Khartoum's Ministry of Education.

Khawadh has been sacked from the school.

Gibbons, a mother of two, was initially sentenced to fifteen days in prison, but was pardoned by President Omar Al-Bashir thanks to the good offices of two British Muslim peers.


Some parents also blamed cultural differences for the teddy bear controversy.

The parents blamed the fuss on anti-West sentiments running high in the Arab-African Muslim country.

"People did not quietly review what actually happened," said Koronky.

"She behaved innocently. If she had a secret agenda, she would have not sent letters to the parents," he reasoned.

"She apologized. Did anyone split her heart to know her [real] intentions?"

Koronky said anti-West sentiments have been extra-tense, citing the Danish cartoons lampooning the Prophet and what many in Sudan believe to be mis-portrayal of the Darfur crisis in the West.

"Some in the pubic opinion wanted to settle scores with British foreign policy," believes the former diplomat, who once served in London.

British Prime Minister Jordon Brown has recently warned Khartoum of tougher sanctions over the Darfur conflict.

Koronky was himself the subject of widely media-covered accusations of holding a "slave-girl" in his London residence.

"I support the teacher out of my religious ethics. I was once attacked by the Christian Right in Britain."

He was later cleared of the accusations.

Some parents also blamed cultural differences for the teddy bear controversy.

"This was a mistake because of different culture values," said Abu Hasabu, the PTA chair.

"This teacher was new. She came with an idea that some educational practices would be acceptable."

Koronky agrees with the cultural difference argument.

"The symbol of an animal is different from culture to culture," he notes.

"Teddy-bears are viewed as 'friendly' in the West. But a bear here is seen a wild and beastly."