Muslim women do not need saving

The murder of the young Muslim girl wearing a hijab in Sterling, Virginia once again brings up the relationship between the war & hate mongering of Islamophobia, religious freedom, & women’s rights. Nothing causes more vituperation on my wall than defense of the veil. That’s because of the deadly, toxic amalgam of hating on Muslims & on women.

Islamophobia combined with misogyny has made the veil a trigger evoking & stroking social hatred & intolerance. On the contrary, when I was a Catholic nun, our habits were held in highest esteem.

So let me re-post this marvelous piece by feminists Heba Ahmed & Afreen Firdaus Idrees so that those who understand this may better arm ourselves & that those who don’t will get on the stick & come to terms with the issue. It’s so elementary to democracy, feminism, justice.

What’s not to respect about Imam Mohammed Mahmoud at the Finsbury Park mosque telling people to back off from throttling the terrorist who drove a van into worshippers?

The way media reports it, the Imam was a stellar figure but the worshippers who were throttling him were a mob. This was a high-adrenalin moment. If a few punches were thrown to keep him from escaping after killing someone & injuring several others, that does not constitute a mob in the act of murder, even if there was some over-reaction. Wouldn’t we all like to take a swing at him?

Protests against Philando Castile verdict in St. Paul, Minnesota

Shame on Minnesota protester (REUTERS:Eric Miller) June 20 2017

A young woman in St. Paul, Minnesota protesting the innocent verdict in the killing of Philando Castile by Jeronimo Yanez, the police officer who stopped him for a traffic stop.

There is nothing in the past of Yanez to foretell such a racist assault. He was raised in South St. Paul, a working class suburb known primarily for stockyards until they were closed in 2008. His father, Jesus, was a long-time tutor in the South St. Paul school district helping students learn English. Yanez, a Latino, had a degree in criminal justice, was highly trained, well-respected, & had been on the police force for about 4 years at the time of the incident last July.

South St. Paul is over 85% white with a Latino population of 12% & a Black population of about 4%. He lives in the suburb of Vadnais Heights which has the same percentage of white & Black residents & even fewer Latinos. No surprise, he worked for the police department in St. Anthony, a suburb with the same ethnic composition. It’s likely Yanez was afraid of Blacks & had relatively little contact with them outside of law enforcement situations. This would be a classic “driving while Black” incident.

He was tried in Ramsey County District court & prosecuted by the county attorney. It would be interesting to check out the composition of the jury who acquitted him on manslaughter charges. That means killing someone in circumstances not amounting to murder with malice aforethought. The video live streamed by Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds who was present in the car during the shooting has Yanez dead to rights for manslaughter. He was even found not guilty on two charges of reckless discharge of a firearm. It would be very interesting, probably damning, to read how the prosecutor handled the case, from the selection of jurors to the presentation of evidence & arguments.

Our fullest solidarity with protesters in St. Paul.


(Photo by Eric Miller/Reuters)

Saudi-led, US & UK-backed carpet bombing in Yemen to destroy revolution against autocracy

Yemen bomb site ( © REUTERS:Naif Rahma) June 20 2017

This man is walking through the site of a Saudi-led air strike on a car repair workshop in Saada, Yemen.

According to the propaganda, the US & UK-backed Saudi coalition of monarchies & military juntas has been carpet bombing Yemen for over two years to bring democracy & fight terrorism. How bombing car lots, funeral wakes, wedding parties, schools, mosques, hospitals, & residences serves the purpose of fighting terrorism is a mystery wrapped in a big fat lie.

The real purpose of this siege is to bomb to smithereens every vestige of the 2011 revolution in Yemen against autocracy exactly as in Syria. Saudi Arabia plays a pivotal role in that counter-revolution–militarily in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, & politically in Egypt & elsewhere. It is not an exaggeration to say the Saudi monarchy plays a more important role as a bulwark against democracy in the Middle East than Israel has always played. That new high-tech surveillance institute the Saudis launched during Trump’s visit is not to battle ISIS but to maintain tyranny in Saudi Arabia & throughout the Middle East.

Our fullest solidarity with the people of Yemen & highest hopes for an Arab Spring In Saudi Arabia.

(Photo by Naif Rahma/Reuters)

Murder of Muslim teen in Sterling, Virginia not a case of road rage but of hating on Muslims

Nabra 17-year-old, Sterling, VA June 20 2017

On Sunday morning in Sterling, Virginia, two men with baseball bats emerged from a car & began attacking a group of young Muslims walking to their mosque. The group fled for safety & when they reassembled saw 17-year-old Nabra was missing. Police later found Nabra’s body in a pond, beaten to death with a baseball bat.

A 22-year-old man was arrested & charged with murder & although two men were involved in the attack, police say they are not looking for the second suspect. Why?

Police officials assure us it was an incident of road rage & that they’ve “not gotten any indication that this was motivated by hate or bias.” Actually, there’s no evidence it was an incident of road rage. In today’s political environment, it is borderline derangement to claim an attack on a young woman wearing a hijab had nothing to do with Islamophobia. And of course it had everything to do with misogyny, a primary element in hating on Muslims.

The man arrested for her murder was an undocumented immigrant. Despite the hateful rhetoric of xenophobes & Trump, immigrants have a considerably lower felony crime rate than native citizens, according to several studies going back nearly 100 years. This guy, if it is proven in a court that he committed the crime, was a loser.

May Nabra Rest In Peace. May we not rest in peace until we stand down the rising tide of hating on Muslims & targeting them for violence.

(Photo is Nabra)

UN-sponsored International Refugee Day 2017

Refugee kids by Frederic Noy:Cosmos tweeted my MSF Sea June 20 2017

Today is UN-sponsored International Refugee Day. According to MSF Sea: “In 2017 more than 65,600,000 #people are displaced worldwide. Just 77,018 have arrived in #Europe. Where is the real #refugee crisis?”

Until solidarity with refugees resolves those multiple crises, every day is Refugee Day. It is not just a ceremonial event but a red alert for action.

Immigration & asylum are human rights. Open the borders.

(Photo by Frederic Noy/Cosmos tweeted by MSF Sea)

US shoots down first Syrian war plane since entering Syrian air war in 2014

Yesterday, the US shot down a Syrian warplane for the first time since it entered the air war in 2014. They claim the Syrian plane bombed too close to US-coalition ground troops in the siege on Raqqa. Syrian & Russian warplanes are also involved in the siege.

Maybe the Hands Off Syria crowd can explain why, if the US is on a regime-change mission, this is the first time the US has taken down a Syrian plane?

Truth is, there are better ways to fight ISIS than to bomb civilians, including with white phosphorous. The only principled demand for the international antiwar movement to make is the immediate cessation of Syria, Russian, & US bombing of civilians & the immediate, unconditional withdrawal of US & all foreign military operations in Syria.

Does anybody understand the Otto Warmbier case? It doesn’t make me want to bomb North Koreans but it is absolutely monstrous that the regime would send a young man home in a coma for a harmless prank.