Saturday, July 10, 2010

Words to Live By

A friend sent these sentiments my way, via a listserv of like minded individuals. Her words really resonated with me as I've tried to express them before, in explaining why I live my life as I do.

We have to live this life with courage-- seeking Him only-- not afraid of "the blame of blamers" (be they Muslim or non-Muslim) when we're standing for truth, so in that moment that we meet our Creator, we can say, "Ya Allah, I really tried."

So the question is, will we really be able to assert that we "really tried" when we meet our Creator?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Great Piece on Stoning by Reza Aslan

Without exception, zina must be proven in a court of law either by four clear and unambiguous confessions made in four separate meetings with a qualified judge, or by the attestation of four men of “blameless integrity” who must all profess to be direct eyewitnesses to the crime. (If four men are not available, three men and two women will suffice.) Where one finds four blameless men who happen to have simultaneously witnessed the very private act of sexual intercourse between two people is another matter.
. . .
Nevertheless, despite its illegitimacy as a Quran-mandated punishment and regardless of the many legal impediments embedded in Islamic law to deter its use—especially when the accuser himself can be punished if the accused is found innocent—the practice of stoning adulterers continues in a number of conservative Muslim countries. The vast majority of these stoning cases are undocumented because they occur in the most rural, poorest, and least-educated regions of the countries (though often with the tacit approval of the government).
Consequently, those like Ms. Ashtiani, who have been charged and “tried” by their village elders, are often totally unaware of their rights under Islamic law; indeed, the judges themselves are sometimes ignorant of the complexities of the law and the burden of proof required for conviction. Too often, this ignorance allows the zeal of the community to dictate guilt or innocence, which is why zina laws are so often used as a means of exploiting women (men are rarely convicted of adultery even though the crime, by definition, requires two people to commit). Jealous husbands have used the zina laws to punish their wives, while angry fathers have used the laws to castigate their daughters.
And while global support and outrage seems to have stopped the Iranian government from stoning the mother of two to death this time, there are too many women who can’t garner that sort of attention. Women you will probably never hear about until it is too late.

Full Piece: The Daily Beast

CAIR Advisory: U.S. Muslim Travelers Warned of 'Forced Exile'

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/9/10) -- CAIR today issued an advisory to American Muslims -- whether citizens, permanent residents or visa holders -- warning of the risk of "forced exile" when traveling overseas or attempting to return to the United States. Muslim travelers are urged to know their legal rights if they are placed on the so-called "no-fly list."

In the past few months, CAIR has received a number of reports of American Muslims stranded overseas when they are placed on the government's no-fly list. Those barred from returning to the United States report being denied proper legal representation, being subjected to FBI pressure tactics to give up the constitutionally-guaranteed right to remain silent, having their passports confiscated without due process, and being pressured to become informants for the FBI. These individuals have not been told why they were placed on the no-fly list or how to remove their names from the list.

SEE: Cases of American Muslims Barred from U.S.

U.S. Muslims Facing Problems in Return from Abroad (Wash. Post)

FBI agents have reportedly told a number of individuals that they face being stranded outside the United States longer, or forever, unless they give up their rights to legal representation or to refuse interrogations and polygraph tests. But even those who submitted to interrogations without an attorney or to the "lie detector" tests remain stranded.

CAIR cooperated with the ACLU on its recently-filed lawsuit challenging the lack of due process in placing travelers on the no-fly list.

SEE: ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging Unconstitutional 'No Fly List'

"We ask President Obama to review this disturbing new policy that denies American Muslims their constitutional rights and due process of law," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.

He said American Muslims strongly support law enforcement and the protection of our national security. And as Americans, we also value the civil rights of every individual. All Americans have the constitutional right to due process and to re-enter their own country.

If you know of any criminal activity, it is both your religious and civic duty to immediately report such activity to local and federal law enforcement agencies.

Know Your Rights if Placed on the No-Fly List:

[IMPORTANT NOTE: Before traveling overseas, obtain the cell phone number of an attorney who would be available for consultation if you are barred from returning to the United States. Contacting an attorney once you have been stopped or detained is much more difficult. Provide the attorney's contact information to those scheduled to pick you up at the airport.]

1) Understand that agreeing to an interview with FBI agents is strictly voluntary. You are not obligated under law to answer any questions from law enforcement officers. You must however provide them with a passport or other official identification.

2) You may choose to have an attorney accompany or represent you for any interview or questioning. CAIR strongly recommends that you consult with an attorney before being interviewed by law enforcement agents. CAIR may provide legal assistance or can refer you to an attorney.

3) Stay calm. Do not get into an argument with law enforcement officers.

4) Note that anything you say to an agent or officer can be used against you in a court of law, and that lying to an agent or officer is a criminal offense. Also note that an FBI agent is permitted to lie to you in the course of an interrogation.

5) Should you decide to speak to agents without an attorney despite the risks, note that you may set the conditions of the interview, including choosing when and where the interview is to take place, whether a third party such as a family member is present, which questions to answer, and refusing to sign any documents. You may cancel the interview at any time. Take detailed notes during any interview.

6) Be sure to get the names, agencies, badge numbers and business cards of ALL agents or officers. Similarly, make a note of the name, agency, contact information, and supervisor of any other government employees, including embassy staff.

7) Contact your attorney and CAIR to report the incident and to discuss your next legal steps. If you believe that your civil rights have been or are being violated, you may file a complaint with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and with the Department of State. CAIR can help you with this process.

8) To file a civil rights complaint with CAIR, please visit:

9) If you have Internet access, file a complaint with DHS TRIP by going to:

10) Have your spouse or other family members contact your elected representatives to seek assistance.


"FBI Interview: Knowing the Law Can Protect You," by Ahilan Arulanantham and Ranjana Natarajan. InFocus News, February 2007.

Video: "Got Rights: Protect Yourself and Your Family at Home and at the Airport,” by Muslim Advocates.

[Please note: The points outlined above are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Should you have any questions about this material or about a specific case, please consult with an attorney.]