Marvel Studios Casts Its First Ever Muslim Lead

While this is a great headline – a huge movie studio casts a Muslim actor as the star of a film, the fact that the actor is Muslim has nothing to do with anything at all. Mahershala Ali, an academy award-winning actor for his role in Moonlight was cast as the character Blade in the reboot of the franchise.

The character of Blade is not Muslim, so casting a Muslim actor is on the same level as casting a Jewish or Christian actor. Mahershala Ali was not casted because he was Muslim and Marvel is trying to fill some hole in their diversity line-up. He was cast because he is PHENOMENAL ACTOR! The fact that he is Muslim has nothing to do with his Academy Award win or other breakout performances. It is simply because he is a great actor.

Ali is however very proud of his Muslim identity, and often shared his experience of converting and the struggles of living not only as an African American in The United States but also living as a Muslim African-American. He has gone on the record that since the characters that he is playing are not Muslim that this is a true representation for the Muslim community – that they are just normal ordinary people. In the past, the superhero genre usually reserves Muslims to be the villain i.e Faran Tahir’s role in Iron Man or Aasif Mandvi’s appearance in Spider-Man 2.

This is not the first time that Ali has been playing a role in a Marvel property. He was featured on the Marvel & Netflix show Luke Cage in Season One playing the gangster of Harlem Cottonmouth. The fact that he was a Muslim didn’t play into his villainous nature like the other who came before him.

Please note: While Blade is a Marvel property – Blade will not be part of the MCU. 

Also, I don’t know why this is such a big deal considering the original Blade, Wesley Snipes, was also a Muslim.

Violence Against The Islamic Community In 2019: The Trump Effect

It’s no secret that attacks against members of many minority communities exploded during Trump’s 2016 campaign and have continued to rise ever since. Muslims, Hispanics, and transgender women are all among the most likely to be attacked, but why? It’s not just outright discrimination. Trump is willing to twist the words of the most respected members of the community to get what he wants.

When Representative Ilhan Omar made a speech in which she used the words “some people did something,” Trump retweeted a video that pasted the out of context soundbite alongside images of the 9/11 attacks. When the president of the United States uses a social media platform to take another person’s words out of context, it equates to an “incitement to violence,” which is exactly what former Texas Representative and Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination Beto O’ Rourke called it.

When a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand left 49 people dead at two mosques, Trump unsurprisingly tweeted a Breitbart article. For those not in the know, Breitbart is a far-right website that uses words like “rapefugees” to express its readily apparent Islamophobia. If ever there was fake news, it’s Breitbart: they even manage to far surpass the level of deceit inherent in Fox News.

Of course, Trump has a long history of lying to the American public for no reason:

  • He told us that Barack Obama was Muslim.
  • When a supporter asked him how they would get rid of Muslims in the run-up to his 2016 election, he replied that they would “be looking at a lot of different things.”
  • In November 2015 he suggested that we should be spying on Mosques when he was a guest on “Morning Joe.”
  • He suggested he would implement a new database to keep track of Muslims who live in the country.
  • He said that “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrated the 9/11 attack from their homes in New Jersey.
  • In 2015 he outright suggested that all Muslims be banned from immigrating or entering the United States.
  • He said that “Islam hates us.”

The list goes on and one, but one thing is pretty clear: Trump is either a compulsive liar or a complete idiot with no real understanding of how the world really works, or what its people really want. Who would be surprised to find out that it might be a little bit of both? Is Trump someone we can really trust

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, there has been an across-the-board 17 percent increase in recorded hate crimes and incidents involving racial bias from 2016 to 2017. The FBI confirmed those numbers. At this point the best way to address this enormous rise in hate-motivated crime is voting the highest bigot in all the land out of office. 

How The New Zealand Mosque Attack Affects Muslims Everywhere

This past Friday, a white supremacist killed 50 people and injured dozens more in a terrorist attack at a New Zealand mosque. The only shocking news about this story is that it happened in New Zealand and in the United States.

It is a sad state of affairs when Muslim children become desensitized to situations like this. Since September 11th, the current Muslim generation is used to the anti-Muslim rhetoric. For most, if not all of their lives, The United States has been involved in undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Elected officials have even gone on so far as to call wearing a hijab unpatriotic. Mass violence in the United States has almost become commonplace on top of the increase in hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities.

A recent survey from the Pew Research Center indicated that 66% of Muslim Americans felt that other Americans didn’t think they were considered American. Parents reported that bullying in school towards Muslim children has doubled in rate than bullying towards other religions. It is important to also know that most Muslim Americans are part of a younger demographic – between the ages of 18 to 29 – who have lived their entire life feeling demonized. Many of them also belong to other minority groups – blacks, queer or undocumented. All of which are threatened by white supremacists.

The only hope is that these young Muslims have developed a thick skin, but they shouldn’t have to. Just because they are Muslim does not mean they are any different than you and me, yet they live in a world that hates them just because of the religion that they choose to practice. Everyone should be allowed to be who they are without the fear of violence against them. Unfortunately, we live in a country that doesn’t believe in these ideals and rather harbor fear against things that are different than learn to accept something that’s new.

Muslim Detainees Accuse ICE Of Interfering With Religious Practices

The following information was brought to us by our good friends at cejalawfirmtx.com.

According to a federal lawsuit was filed yesterday, immigration officials at a Florida detention are being accused of preventing Muslims from praying and having access to the Quran.

Five Somali men, who originally came to the United States during a Civil War in their home country, claim in the suit that the staff of the Glades County Detention Center refused to give them religious materials for weeks after they arrived. Religious materials included copies of the Quran, prayer rugs and head coverings. The suit also claimed that meals were served to them with food that they could not eat because it violated their religious belief.

The 35-page complaint stated that other ICE detention centers make accommodations for Muslim inmates. Qurans were eventually provided but only in English. A former detainee gifts rugs to the inmates but they were only provided to the Muslim men on Fridays. According to Islam, it’s mandatory to pray 5 times a day.

The Somali men, who range in age from 26 to 47, were part of a larger group of 90 Somalis who were detained and who were going to be departed in December 2017. However, the flight had to return to the United States after the flight crew could not finish the trip. This flight has also been involved in a federal lawsuit where passengers claimed they were shackled and not provided access to a restroom. The suit also claimed that passengers were beaten.

This lawsuit shines a light on ICE’s inability to provide proper supervision to all its detention centers especially the smaller ones such as Glades County Detention Center. This flaw in our immigration detention system allows detainee’s justified or not to have their rights violated. Even in the toughest of federal prisons many notorious criminals are entitled to their religious freedom.

The Effect Of Donald Trump Extremism On Muslim Americans

Sometimes it’s difficult for us to determine the scope of the consequences that result from our actions–or someone else’s. The current presidential administration has made no secret of its distaste for the Islamic faith in addition to immigration in general. With a base made up of far-right wing nut Republicans, what effect is the Trump extremism having on Muslim Americans who have lived here all their lives? It’s a combination of good and bad.

Trump (in)famously declared that he thinks “Islam hates us” during his 2016 presidential campaign when asked if Islam is engaged in war with the western world. He claimed that Muslims are rapists. What it really boils down to is his and his supporters’ belief that America is for white people only. When confronted with white supremacists in Charlottesville, Trump implied that they were “very fine people.” He proceeded to tweet and retweet videos made by nationalistic political organizations with a knack for spewing hate at Muslims.

Not surprisingly, members of these same crazed right wing groups carried out a whopping 71 percent of extremist-related murders here at home. Right wing groups. Not Muslims. White supremacy was directly tied to over half of all extremist-related murders last year. It might as well be Trump policy, because he and his supporters are certainly responsible for it. They should be held accountable as well.

His words have had predictable consequences for the Muslims here at home, most of whom have faced an increased rate of harassment and racially motivated violence ever since. This type of violence skyrocketed about 45 percent during 2017. Naturally, these people are incapable of discriminating only against their targeted group. They’ve mistakenly identified South Asians, Sikhs, Hindus, and other Arabs as belonging to the Islamic faith during their deranged attacks. We haven’t seen levels of violence this high since the year after 9/11.

The silver lining?

This wave of extremism has also led to more Muslim-American candidates, who are fighting tooth and nail alongside many other like-minded individuals to take back this country’s values. There are more educators and women and varied ethnicities and religious backgrounds in the mix, too. Not only that, but the number of registered voters in these demographics is climbing substantially, and so is the financial situation thanks to donors. The tide is shifting to swallow the right wing. It’s about time.

Everything You Didn’t Know About Muslims In America

Did you know there are about seven million Muslims living in America today? They make up about two percent of our total population and have had an enormous impact on the way we run our society, but we treat them like garbage–as if they don’t belong, and as if they don’t matter at all. Those living in the United States make up only a small fraction of the 1.6 billion who live across the globe. Here are a few things you probably didn’t know about the Islamic faith in America.

  1. The word Islam is derived from another Arabic word, “salaam.” Guess what it means? Peace. Much like Christianity or Judaism, those who practice Islam are taught first and foremost the benefits of a pacifist lifestyle. Much like Christianity, there is only a small percentage who twist the words of the Muslim prophet in a way that could be construed as an excuse to commit violence. Peace is an Islamic principle, however.
  2. The Muslims represent a very vocal community in America. They’re politically active, and continue to hold or strive to hold office in the towns where they’re needed the most. A number of noteworthy scientists come from backgrounds of the Islamic faith.
  3. Many of us recognize that Christopher Columbus was far from the first person to “discover” the Americas (even though he never stepped foot on the mainland himself, he was our guy, and so our ancestors gave him all the credit). Those who know more about the first explorers likely believe it was the vikings who crossed first, but there is a significant treasure trove of evidence that points to early Islamic travels to and from the Americas long before in the eighth or ninth centuries AD.
  4. The Muslims who live here as our friends and neighbors worship at over 2,000 mosques spread across the country, the majority of which are split between New York and California. If a Muslim man or woman is active within their local mosque, the likelihood that he or she is more active in community affairs, volunteer work, and good will is greatly increased.
  5. The Pentagon admits that over 5,800 Muslims serve in our armed forces, although this number represents only the ones who choose to release their identity. The number might be far greater.

When And Where Have Muslims Been Most Persecuted?

The history of Muslim persecution is long and varied, and it started when the religion was still young. The First Crusade began in 1095 in order to recapture Jerusalem, which was held by those of Islamic faith. Christians and Muslims were essentially at war with one another already, especially since the Fatimid Caliph turned the Constantine Church of the Holy Sepulcher into rubble decades earlier, along with hundreds of other sites sacred to those of Christian faith.

When the Crusaders took Jerusalem by storm, they butchered everyone. They almost completely cleared the city of human life, slaughtering Jews and Muslims without hesitation. They burned down synagogues and mosques with worshippers still inside. It never really got better.

The Japanese enacted a killing policy during the Second Sino-Japanese war. They destroyed hundreds of mosques. During the Nanking Massacre (or the Rape of Nanking), Japanese troops indiscriminately murdered and raped residents of Nanking, which was the capital of the Republic of China. It began on December 13, 1937, and lasted for six weeks. There may have been hundreds of thousands of citizens who were affected by this atrocity.

A mosque in Nanking was discovered filled with the dead. After the massacre had ended, the survivors buried the bodies in proper Islamic fashion.

After 9/11, hate crimes perpetrated in the United States took a turn for the worst. There were 354 hate crimes recorded in the year 2000. Even though 9/11 occurred late in the year, it still left time for the number of crimes to skyrocket to 1,501. There have been a number of violent attacks and murders ever since.

There is an increasing number of tensions in mainland China. Islamic-style beards, clothing, and headwear have been banned on public transportation in Karamay. Some styles of dress have been banned in Xinjiang province. Members of the Communist party are banned from partaking in sacred Ramadan fasting. Around 120,000 Muslims were taken to “re-education camps” (detention camps) in order to force these individuals to adjust their thinking. Other media reports have estimated the number stands at around a million people taken so far.

What Exactly Is A Talaq Divorce For Muslim Men?

Islamic divorces can take a number of different forms, according to New Jersey Employment Attorneys Lenzo & Reis. Some of them are initiated by the relationship’s husband. Others are initiated by the union’s wife. Divorce in Islam is typically broken down into four legal categories. The first three are oaths, judicial divorce, and khul’ (mutual divorce). The fourth kind is known as talaq, which translates as repudiation.

The theories and practices of divorce across the Islamic world and history vary based on both time and place. Sharia typically governed the rules of divorce, although various legal schools had differing interpretations among Islamic jurisprudence. Historical practices were also known to diverge from existing legal theories. More modern interpretations codified things like personal and family status, and in many regions or nations, the control over divorce standards began shifting away from religious jurists towards state governments.

Triple Talaq is also known as instant divorce, called talaq-e-biddat, or irrevocable divorce, named talaq-e-mughallazah. This form of Muslim divorce was used in India, in particular by followers of the Hanafi Sunni Islamic schools of thought and jurisprudence. It allowed any Muslim man to divorce their wife legally.

The legal status and practiced use of Triple Talaq in the nation of India served as a tremendous source of debate and controversy. Muslim men could divorce their wives by simply stating the word talaq three consecutive times, traditionally spoken to their face. However, they could also just text it, email it, or message on social media. Marriages were ending without warning or recourse on Facebook. Quite a few wound up questioning the practice, making arguments revolving around secularism, human rights, gender equality, and justice. Both the executive government and supreme court of the nation got involved. The court eventually decided that the concept of instant triple talaq was not constitutional. The panel had five judges, three of which agreed that the practice was not in line with the constitution. The other two argued that the practice was technically constitutional, but at the same time requested the government ban the practice through a new law.

The personal laws of India’s Muslim community are often a source of cultural, societal, and political conflict on the subcontinent. While Muslims account for only 14 percent of the nation’s population, the fact that there 1.3 billion citizens there means there are nearly two hundred million Muslims in the country. Some Muslim law is covered by the Shariat Application Act, but that was passed in India a full decade prior to the nation getting its independence from Britain in 1947. However, Indian nationals, including those that are Muslim, can choose to marry instead under the secular-oriented Special Marriage Act that the Indian parliament enacted in 1954.

US Might Sanction China Over Treatment of Muslims

Let’s think about this for two seconds. The United States who is clearly anti-Muslim and created a Muslim travel ban is going to impose sanctions on China for their Muslim detention camps. It’s good to know that this is the line that the United States draws (except during WW2 when America did the same thing to Japanese Americans).

This is clearly a humanitarian issue and it’s great that The United States is willing to take necessary action, however, I find the entire thing extremely hypocritical. But at the end of the day America is doing the right thing, right? Currently, we have a delicate balance with China and North Korea about trade and nuclear programs respectively. The sanctions would be on Chinese officials and include things like withholding visas and controlling technological exports that are used for the internment camps.

Humanitarians and legal right scholars have reported that the mass detainment of the Uighur Muslims is considered one of the highest human rights abuse in the Country in decades. When President Xi Jinping took control of China in 2012, the country became under authoritarian rule and oppressed many other ethnic groups such as the Uighurs and the Tibetans. Human Rights Watch said that the scope and scale of the human rights violations have not been seen in China since the Cultural Revolution between 1966-1976.

The internment camps force Chinese Muslims to attend classes, denounce Islam, study Chinese culture and pledge allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party. Detainees who have been release claim that Chinese officials also torture to provide “transformation through education.”

The United States might do the moral thing and impose sanctions based on the Global Magnitsky Act which states you can force sanctions on countries who have gross human rights violations. While there needs to be something done to stop this cruel genocide, starting WW3 might not be the best answer. Only time will tell how involved The United States will get.

Could There Be A Muslim Woman In Congress?

In Detroit, Michigan, for over 50 years Republican John Conyers held a House of Representative seat. He resigned last year after sexual harassment allegations.

On Tuesday, August 7th, District 13 had a primary election. Not one Republican ran in the race. Democrats elected Rashida Tlaib, 42-year-old Detroit native. Not only did she clinch the Democratic nomination, she also won the right to run opposed, meaning in November’s election she is guaranteed to win and will be serving her full two-year term starting in January of 2019.

Rashida is not nervous about being the first. She is the eldest of 14 siblings, the first one in her family to earn their high school, college and law degree as well as being the first Muslim Woman to be elected to Michigan’s legislature.

There are other Muslim Woman running for Congress but their primary elections have not yet occurred nor are they guaranteed to win even if they do win their primary. But there could be Muslim Woman congress members in Minnesota, Arizona, and Massachusetts as well.

There have been Mulsim Men in Congress, Republican Keith Ellison of Minnesota was the first. But both of these men are African-American. Tlaib would have another first distinction as being the first Arab Muslim to be in Congress.

What is interesting to note is that District 13 only has about 5% of their voters who identify as Arab American. She won her district due to her politics and her reputation as a state lawmaker. She is known as an environmental activist and a vocal critic of Trump. On her campaign trail, she indicated that she’s push for the President’s impeachment.

What makes Tlaib stand out is her ability to stay true to her self in adversity which might come in handy if the mid-term elections do not go as Democratic as people think. For more information visit website.