Getting My Feet Back on the Ground; Good New: I am Eligible for Another Booster; The Southern Poverty Law Center Explores the Enduring Effects of 9/11; Publisher’s Notes in My Quran Explain The True Picture of the Islamic Faith; An Instagram Reel Brought the Thinking of Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Which Was Brilliantly Relevant; Tickle Your Funny Bone Described: Two Cartoons to Bring Cheer.

The terror of the Saskatchewan mass murders and then the death of Queen Elizabeth II has been electrifying, well for me anyway. A number of issues got lost, were not addressed or even considered during the week of September 3-10. But now, on September 12, 2020 having written a blog describing a day of mourning I am getting my feet back on the ground. Having your feet back on the ground is to become established in a new situation or become re-established in an old one.

So went back to the practice of reading the morning news to find good news. The Omicron resistant vaccine is coming to Canada and people are eligible if they have had a prior booster vaccine at least three months before. I was finally able to get my second vaccine when I returned to Canada in May. I was unable to get the second booster in the UAE because I did not have an Emirati ID – which was absolutely ridiculous as Prince William when on a visit to the UAE viewed a storage facility for vaccines where there were millions of doses. An Emerita ID is essential for EVERYTHING in the UAE. To achieve one you have to turn all of your money over to the country’s banks which are owned by the Royals, both high and low ranking Royals.
Oh well, I escaped with no Emeriti ID, paid hefty fines but at least my savings and pension is intact. Hearing about the requirements for the next booster means I escaped with no visible harm and I am slowly recovering from the psychological wounds of being oppressed.

But back to the reestablishment of my old routine. A timely blog commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 was neither prepared, nor read by you. I was a day late and a dollar short when it came to that. But here it comes. The following information was found on a rather unlikely web site, a brilliantly informative one: the  Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia are nothing new in the United States.
But prior to 9/11, there was never much of an organized movement, certainly not as compared to other types of hate groups, such as neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
That all changed in the years after 9/11, when a cottage industry of disinformation peddlers was built virtually from the ground up. Led by activists such as Robert Spencer, its goal was to poison any debate about the religion of Islam and depict Muslims as fundamentally dangerous to Americans.
Spencer, who has spent much of his life writing books and articles demonizing Muslims and their faith, directs Jihad Watch, a Muslim-bashing website launched by the David Horowitz Freedom Center just two years after 9/11. He insists, despite his lack of academic training in Islam, that the religion is inherently violent and that extremists who commit acts of terror are simply following its most authentic version.
As Spencer pushed out his diatribes, other anti-Muslim activists began to arise., Brigitte Gabriel established  ACT, named a hate group which launched lies. It disparages Islam and promotes Islamophobic legislation at the state and national levels. This an example:
“Islam has created and unleashed an uncontrollable wave of hatred and rage on the world, and we must brace ourselves for the consequences.” Gabriel used her former ties with Pat Robertson to develop ties with politicians and became the USA’s largest anti-Muslim group claiming to have a million members. Then it got more powerful during the Obama era that they became more ‘sophisticated’ and better funded with Pamela Geller’s anti-Muslim podcast Atlas Shrugs. In the meantime the number of anti-Muslim hate groups across the USA soared. To 114.”
As if that were not bad enough, then along came Trump. He used inaccurate data from a shoddy unlined survey to justify his call for s shutdown of Muslims entering the US and claimed that Muslims had a “great hatred” of America and that “our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.” As president, Trump placed men in high power positions who were fmembers and lost friends of anti Muslim groups, for example Mike Pomep CIA director, Michael Flynn national security advisor, Sebastian Gorka Within the first week of office Trump banned entry to the US by travelers from seven Muslim countries, along with all refuges. Many multiple legal challenges caused him to issue two more visions, the final upheld by US Supreme Court in 2018. Finally it was rescinded by President Biden on his first day in office.
The article ends: “Clearly, extremists like Gabriel will continue to spread anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry and conspiracy theories in the months and years ahead – and the SPLC will continue to expose their hate. “

What does the Quran say about this issue? My Quran, the one given to me at the Muslim Heritage Festival does speak to this in the Publisher’s Notes.

It asks this question. Does Jihad Equal Terrorism?  It answers thus;
Life in Islam. The Quran (5:432) states, “Whoever takes a life it will be that they killed all of humanity, and whoever saves a life, it will be as if they saved all of humanity.” Those that manipulate verses from the Quran by taking out of content to justify violence against innocents contradict the Quran’s call for tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Islam is unequivocally against terrorism. (See 5.33)

Jihad means to strive for a better, more righteous life. The major jihad is to overcome one’s desires such as greed. Prophet Mohammed says the highest form of jihad is to speak a word of truth in the presence of a tyrant. “ “Kindness to parents is a form of jihad. And “Charity to widows and children is a form of jihad.” The minor jihad is fighting in self-defense. The Prophet said the etiquettes of fighting as as follows: “Do not ask God to meet your enemies in battle” and “Do not start a war, if you must fight strike only at those combatants who attacked you. Do not attack women, children, the elderly, or those retreating to their place of worship Do not cut down trees or kill animals.”

We have to keep in mind that all violent passages in the Quran (including verses in chapels 2,8,9, 47, and 48) strictly concern conflicts between early Muslims and the pagans of Mecca over 1400 years ago. As such, all passages should be understood in their historical context. In Islam, fighting is allowed against aggressors regardless of their faith. Fighting against innocents is prohibited regardless of their faith. Overall, violent passages in the Quran talk about one of three things. Fighting back in self defense.
        Making peace if attackers cease.
                     Or resuming the fight if a truce is violated.

The next question posed in the Publisher’s Notes is: “What is the Origin of Religious Violence?

“No religion condone the killing of innocents, but some people manipulate religion to justify acts of violence. So, even if Islam and other faiths have never existed, humans would have come up with other excuses to fight for domination. We have seen notorious anti-religion, secularist ideologists, like those championed by Mao and Stalin (the top mass murderers in modern history) which were responsible for seventy million deaths in the 20th century. Most victims of violence in the Muslim world are Muslims who are either killed by unjustified wars, suicide bombs or drone attacks. Over the last few decades, hundreds of thousands have been killed,- most of them civilians – and many others wounded or displaced. Justice, dignity, and education, some of the most fundamental aspects of human rights, are the key to peace and prosperity anywhere in the world.”

This morning an Instagram reel by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf appeared, brought  to my attention, in a most timely manner as I was writing this blog. He said: ”The one thing about the Muslims is that they never had a  racism that prevented them from eating or worshipping together never had that. and that is true today. There is ignorance and one of the most beautiful Hadiths is when a racial slur was pronounced in His presence. The Prophet responded id did not say he was a racist, he said: You are a man who still has ignorance in him”  I did respond: That is so important. In ordinary parlance it is the belief that once a racist, always a racist. This gives hope. We are led to believe that racism can never be cured.

I received a like for that comment. Later used trusty Google to find about more about Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Wikipedia most useful as usual. He was born in Walla Walla, Washington which I find amusing. somehow. I guess we all have to have humble origins, goodness knows I do as I was born in Saskatchewan. Google him yourself and you shall see that he is most impressive. Of 9/11 he said, condemning the attacks but also stated: “Islam was hijacked…on that plane as an innocent victim” That really does say it all.

Now that on that hopeful note I shall conclude. But faithful readers are starved for a bit of humor. Fear not tomorrow’s blog promises to bring you laughter. But just to tickle your funny bone I shall include two cartoons from the magazine section of The New Yorker. I particularly love the one about pigeons.

Tickle your funny bone is an idiom meaning to amuse; to make someone laugh, to be humorous to someone. Used in a sentence: I thought these cartoons might be just the sort of thing that would tickle your funny bone. This as well. Where is your funny bone? “Funny you should ask. It turns out that your funny bone isn’t a bone. It’s actually a nerve — one that starts in your spine and travels from your neck, through your elbow and to your fingers (your pinky and ring fingers, to be exact). It’s called the ulnar nerve.”

People sometimes say of me:
They: You’ve got a lot of nerve.
Me: Thank you. I regard that as a compliment.

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