What Is Diya Compensation And When Is It Applied?

Most Americans have probably never heard of “Diya,” but the word is used primarily in Islamic law and translates to something like “blood money” or “ransom.” That might sound somewhat dire or unforgiving, but the truth is that the Western civilization has a better known counterpart that serves the same purpose (which is to financially compensate those injured by another party through gross negligence). 

That’s what happens when someone in the United States makes a personal injury claim, but requests punitive damages. The case is built because one party has injured another party either physically or mentally and wants fair compensation. But punitive damages are only awarded when the judge determines that the negligence was so very gross that further punishment is the fairest and most just path forward. In this way, punitive damages and Diya are somewhat similar.

But they are also different.

Diya, for instance, is derived from religion. The Qur’an states: “It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless by mistake. He who hath killed a believer by mistake must set free a believing slave, and pay the diya to the family of the slain unless they remit it as a charity.” Diya is also described in the Hadith.

Unlike Western law, Islamic believers think of homicide or manslaughter as “civil” in nature. It’s not for the government of a state or country to implement punishment. It’s for the two parties involved in the civil dispute to sort it out for themselves using the natural order, i.e. Islamic law based on religious texts. Therefore, prosecution of such a crime falls to the injured party.

You might already understand the most obvious of differences between punitive law and Diya: one is controversial, the other is not. Diya is often associated with sharia law, but they are not technically the same. Sharia law still takes place in the court, whereas “Diya” is more like an out-of-court settlement between the two parties. Generally, “damages” associated with the “Diya” aren’t up for interpretation and have a fixed value dependent on a number of factors (a value which changes if one party is not Muslim).

Diya is still practiced in countries like Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Under this system, the family of a victim might request Diya (a settlement payment) instead of a state-sanctioned execution as punishment. In Saudi Arabia, however, the Diya can be collected after someone is murdered, but the judgment is made in sharia court.

Many human rights activists also take note that when Diya is calculated, discrimination becomes obvious. The price for a murdered man, for example, is much higher than the price for a murdered woman. Others have opposed the system based on the obvious flaw: it allows murderers to walk free after paying what amounts to little more than a fine.

Violence Across Delhi Fuels Anti-Muslim Sentiments In India

Sectarian tensions have been boiling throughout Indian cities for decades — and it seems like those sentiments are about to erupt in violence unlike anything the country has seen so far. One man couldn’t even make his way home from work without running into one Delhi battle royale. Kaushar Ali came across two groups of Hindu and Muslim followers who were blocking the street as they fought, throwing rocks and hurling curses.

Ali is Muslim, but he didn’t join the fray. Instead, he called on the police. Officers quickly arrived at the scene only to brutally assault him in the process of breaking up the mob. One of the men who they struck died after spending two nights in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

Ali described the confusion and barbarism he experienced at the scene. “The police were toying with us,” he said. 

Police said the opposite. According to officers on the scene, they “saved” Ali from the other protestors. And of course the violence shows no sign of abating even during the severity of the novel coronavirus outbreak that has put the whole of India on lockdown.

This is hardly the first time in modern history during which groups of people have turned to violence in order to have their voices heard, minority or otherwise. Surely, it isn’t the first time these groups have accused police of inciting even worse violence. The 1992 Los Angeles riots broke out shortly after the trial of four police officers accused of beating Rodney King — who was African American — to death. They were exonerated. For at least six days, there was widespread panic and violence in the city.

Even today, the group Black Lives Matter (BLM) has shown that police routinely get away with violence and murder perpetuated against minority groups.

Elsewhere, Muslims are also being victimized in China. Massive “re-education camps” have forced thousands — or even millions — of Muslims into a routine of psychological indoctrination that shows no sign of ending. Chinese government officials have downplayed reports regarding these camps or the torturous methods used during interrogations. 

Many human rights groups have accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi of helping to perpetuate the cycle of violence in Delhi by doing little to prevent the police under his command from stopping. There are no real consequences. 

“There’s a method to [Modi’s] madness,” says one Muslim activist, Umar Khalid. “The government wants to bring the entire Muslim community to their knees, to beg for their lives and beg for their livelihoods. You can read it in their books. They believe India’s Muslims should live in perpetual fear.”

Modi, of course, has done little more than tweet his opposition to the violence. 

 

Chinese Muslims May Be Forced Into Slave Labor For Nike And Apple

We’ve already discussed some of the treatment of Muslims in China to compare and contrast what it’s like to live in countries other than the United States. But reports out of China have given us cause to fear for those who live there. Chinese officials have responded to reports of Muslim interment with callous indifference more than anything else — but how will they respond to reports of slavery?

As shocking as such a statement is regarding the civilized world, it appears to be the truth.

The Chinese factory Qingdao Taekwang Shoes Co. is an enormous supplier for popular United States brand Nike — and in fact the supplier of popular Shox, Air Max, and more. Reports suggest that many Muslims who are currently working in the factories had no choice but to attend.

The Communist Party of China has been accused of placing those who identify as Muslim Uighurs into interment camps to “re-educate” them how to be Chinese. According to party officials, the vast majority of these individuals have “graduated” and are now living freely. But not everyone is sure that’s the case. It seems that part of their graduation — which is really just forced assimilation into Chinese culture — might be directed labor, which is little different from slavery in a first-world country.

Part of the justification provided for placing Muslims in these camps was the reduction of poverty. But one of the more obvious reasons is to increase the party’s control of its citizens.

An Uighur woman described her plight: “We can walk around, but we can’t go back [to Xinjiang] on our own.”

The program seems designed to create a cult-like atmosphere among the Muslim participants. Common messages adorning the workplaces say things like “stay loyal to the party.” When you hear something again and again, it has a psychological effect — and indeed, you begin to believe that’s what you should do or that something you know to be a lie is actually the truth. 

One vendor said, “Everyone knows they did not come here of their own free will. They were brought here.”

Another said, “The Uighurs had to come because they did not have an option. The government sent them here.”

But the worst part is that the apparently forced labor has benefitted at least 80 well-known brands operating all over the world. This information was provided by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (or ASPI), which is set to release a report on working conditions.

ASPI author Vicky Xiuzhong said, “The Chinese government is now exporting the punitive culture and ethos of Xinjiang’s ‘re-education camps’ to factories across China.”

Trump To Extend Racist Travel Ban Targeting Muslim Countries

The Trump administration has certainly made its mark upon our society, fragmenting whatever was left of the illusion that we can all get along with those who believe differently. Now, the country is as divided as ever. One of Trump’s most controversial moves was implementing the initial ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries — except for the ones his organizations did business with, of course. 

It was a move that didn’t make much sense if the goal was keeping America safe. It’s not difficult for citizens of the targeted countries to bounce around until they make it to the states, if ever they were a danger at all. And while radicals — foreign-born and domestic — will always be a danger, they don’t belong to any one religion. America has more domestic terrorism than any other country in the world, and no one blames Christianity for it.

Trump now plans to take the ban to an entirely new group of people: African immigrants.

According to Politico, many of the countries on the list are in Africa. They suspect that Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, and even Nigeria may be on the list. Why is the ban necessary?

Acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said, “We’re establishing criteria that all foreign governments must satisfy to assist DHS in vetting foreign nationals seeking to enter our country … For a small number of countries that lack either the will or the capability to adhere to these criteria, travel restrictions may become necessary to mitigate threats.”

The argument shows little in the way of sensibility, but it’s what they went with the last time they instituted a travel ban and had to fight to have it upheld in the Supreme Court, so they might as well try the same one again.

From 1975 to 2016, it seems no one who was born in any of the proposed countries has ever killed an American as an act of terror. That’s why the Wall Street Journal reported there might be a different reason. Many travelers from some of the targeted countries have a disproportionately high incidence of overstaying their visas. So chalk it up to the fight against immigration, maybe.

Center for America Progress expert Tom Jawetz argued that if the laws were targeting immigrants, it wasn’t fair to those who worked within the confines of the system. Why punish everyone just to prevent the few who might overstay from entering the country? The Atlantic suggests that there might be still another reason: the 2020 elections require someone new, because we’ve already taken care of Latinos and Muslims.

Muslim Whistleblower for China’s Humanitarian Crisis

Documents relating to the mass detention of Muslims in China were recently released by a whistleblower who revealed herself as Asiye Abdulaheb. The 46-year-old woman wants the world to know not only what is happening in those facilities, but also what she went through to get the word out: she reportedly received numerous death threats in the days before those documents were revealed by the journalists she had contacted.

She said, “I thought that this thing has to be made public. The Chinese police would definitely find us. The people in Dubai had told my ex-husband, ‘We know all about your matters. We have a lot of people in the Netherlands.’”

The documents describe in detail how Chinese authorities successfully constructed those camps. More than that, they show how the Chinese justified them.

In the U.S., whistleblowers actually stand to make quite a lot of money in certain cases. A qui tam whistleblower lawsuit occurs whenever a whistleblower is rewarded for monies lost by the United States government due to fraudulent activity. “Qui tam” is part of a popular latin saying: “qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur.” The entire phrase means: “he who brings an action for the king as well as for himself.” Whoever named this particular measure was a clever girl. 

This kind of whistleblowing is thanks to the False Claims Act (FCA), which allows a whistleblower (always protected under federal law) to report fraudulent misdeeds made against the government through simple civil action in court. If the qui tam whistleblower wins the lawsuit, they can be awarded up to 30 percent of the monies recovered. Those who commit fraud against the United States government usually go big or go home, so this is a potentially lucrative opportunity for a whistleblower.

But what about when the illegal activity is conducted by the government? In Abdulaheb’s case, there’s not much she can do to protect herself. Even in the U.S., where we have strict whistleblower laws (which are now coming into scrutiny alongside the investigation into President Trump), those laws are sometimes put aside in favor of “national security.” In China, she has no protection at all.

Abdulaheb did not reveal how she leaked 24 pages of sensitive Chinese documents, or who else was involved. She knows the Chinese are after that information. But she used to work for the Chinese government in Xinjiang, a province notorious for its role in the crackdown of certain Muslim populations.

She said that Chinese officials attempted to recruit her husband in an effort to uncover information on the links in the whistleblowing chain.

 

Persecution Of Muslims Skyrocketing All Over The World

Historically, various religious groups have had a difficult time — especially as they warred with one another in struggles for land or recognition. These days, Muslims have fared poorly after events like 9/11 or the election of Donald J. Trump. But sometimes it’s important to look outside of just the United States and ask ourselves how groups of people are faring elsewhere in the world. Turns out, Muslims are having a rough time right now.

For example, the Los Angeles Times recently reported a story “For Muslims in India, ‘entire neighborhoods have gone empty in fear.’”

The worst examples show Muslim students pretending to be Hindu in order to escape Indian police — a tactic that rarely works. One student, Banka, was present at Jamia Millia Islamia, a university in New Delhi where at least 100 others were injured when police resorted to extreme violence. The question is why.

Banka himself incurred a fractured nose and bruised eye. “I was broken,” he said. “I was telling them, ‘I may die. Please leave me here.’”

A new law regarding Indian citizenship has provoked the widespread unrest because opponents of the law believe it unfairly targets Muslims. Human rights groups have organized protests against the law — and against police, who have been specifically targeting libraries and universities like the aforementioned.

At the head of these allegations is none other than Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who has attempted to crack down on large public gatherings and protests, and even gone so far as to block internet access to impede the efforts of protesters. Worse than that, the reduced resources mean that it’s more difficult for protesters to report unlawful acts committed by the police.

Muslim citizens account for 14 percent of the population in India — or 182 million people, more than half that of America’s 330 million citizens. That’s a pretty big segment of the population to discriminate against.

Banka had only been present at the library for an interview, but was caught in the chaos of a nearby skirmish between protesters and police, who raided the library instead. 

“They broke everything and started beating us inhumanely,” Banka said. “It was unexpected. I have never seen people entering like this inside the campus — inside the library — and beating students.”

He saw a fellow student lying prostrate on the ground of the bathroom. “I thought he was dead,” Banka said. “It was a helpless situation. I couldn’t help him because I was also bleeding.”

These crackdowns are ongoing and show no signs of slowing down. Which means they could get much worse before they get any better.

TIME Reports On China’s Detention Camps

There’s a lot of debate over whether the United States should really be wading into another country’s political business — especially as our own anger boils because of Russian involvement in our own 2016 elections (and the unfounded conspiracy theories of Ukranian involvement). But China’s sometimes extremely violent protesters have become associated with democracy in China, and so it’s almost inevitable that the voice of the United States is heard.

This makes the here and now perhaps the best time to open up a discussion on Muslim internment camps currently operating in China’s western province of Xinjiang — and how they might compare to the “detention” camps along our own southern border, used to hold migrants flooding into the United States for longer than we legally have any right to hold them (by law).

TIME revealed that it gained access to China Cables, “a cache of classified government papers published by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on Sunday.”

According to those cables, the Muslim “camps must adhere to a strict regiment of total physical and mental control, a gruelling diet of political indoctrination, vice-like security protocols, strict secrecy and ‘labor skills training’ for longer-serving inmates.”

In a direct parallel to someone whose name you know so well, China’s government called the leaked cables “fake news.”

The same government had initially hid those camps from the international community. When the tide of evidence became so overwhelming that China’s government no longer found the coverup politically tenable, they admitted to their existence, describing them as training centers instead. China says the camps are aimed at the fight against terrorism.

But that’s not what those detained say. Orynbek Koksebek, a 39-year-old Chinese citizen, says he was arrested in November 2017, shortly before he was sent to one of the internment camps. His stories are harrowing at best and terrifying at worst. Koksebek says it was all about indoctrination through propaganda. The officers forced him to learn Chinese, interrogated, and tortured him.

During one such interrogation, “he was thrown into a hole in the ground, doused with cold water and severely beaten.” Eventually, he tried to commit suicide unsuccessfully.

Other inmates tell similar stories of torture, rape, and more.

Koksebek told TIME, “Whenever we saw a bird or a dog outside, we felt jealous of their freedom. Our fate felt endless.”

Postdoctoral research specialist for the Xinjiang crisis Darren Byler at the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder said, “I’ve seen numerous police reports that indicate a person was detained because they were part of a Quran Study Group.”

This situation shouldn’t be ignored, because it provides valuable insight into the slippery slope that President Trump has our country tumbling down. First immigrants are detained. Who’s next?

The History of Anti Muslim in Texas

Texas is all over the map when it comes to the treatment of Muslims, whose faith in the practices of Islam has hardly been scratched by the constant onslaught of negativity — especially when devout Muslim and Pakistani immigrant Salman Bhojani was elected to the Euless City Council last year. Sometimes xenophobia doesn’t work out as planned. Sometimes it only makes our very mistakenly perceived enemies all the stronger.

So how did Texas get to this point? Here’s some recent history of anti-Muslim behavior in Texas (and examples of why there’s light at the end of the tunnel).

  • Ex-FBI agent John Guandolo wrote up and taught a program called “Understanding the Jihadi Threat to America.” The obviously anti-Muslim activist tried to make a sales pitch to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), which subsequently shut down any chance for law enforcement to take part in the “training.”

    According to TCOLE director Kim Vickers: “I and my executive staff agree that not only was the material presented concerning in its overly broad characterization of an entire subset of the population, but it provided no training value for law enforcement attendees.”

    Separately, Vickers wrote that she nixed the course because it “paint[ed] an entire religion with an overly broad brush.”

  • Last year, a northern Texas council member, Tom Harrison, made a number of anti-Muslim posts on Facebook, asserting that President Trump should ban any Islamic education practices in the public school system.

    Subsequently, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and the rest of the council voted to publicly admonish Harrison for making the unwanted commentary. LaRosiliere said: “Mr. Harrison’s conduct is unbefitting a council member to serve our diverse community. I find this Facebook post abhorrent and believe this is a stain on our city and does not represent who we are.”

  • In 2017, a mosque in Victoria, Texas was burned to the ground by an arsonist who was later charged with a hate crime. Only two weeks earlier, Texas State Representative Kyle Bierdmann sent out a hate-charged poll to numerous Muslim organizations requesting information about their involvement with, or support for, the Muslim Brotherhood. Bierdmann said the survey would root out “radical Islamic terrorism in Texas.”

    Imam Yasir Fazaga of the Islamic Center of Brushy Creek said, “We feel betrayed and singled out and absolutely discriminated against — that’s not what we expect from our elected officials. The best way to overcome all this is to get to know one another. We will not be intimidated by this tactic.”

  • Earlier this year the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-DFW) requested that the Denton County Republican Party cancel one of John Guandolo’s extremist rallies and to ignore yet another of his “training” sessions, this one called “What is Islam & What Are Its Declared Objectives?”

This video highlights xenophobia, racism, and ethnic tensions present between home-grown militant groups and the Islamic faith. For mature viewers:

 

Here’s What Happens When You Tell A Religion’s Devout That They Have No Religion At All

President Trump embarked on a worldwide campaign for “religious freedom” early in his presidency, but that means different things to different people: especially if you’re talking to someone of the Islamic faith. It’s obvious that when Trump says “religious freedom” he’s applying it only to the religion that most of his followers are a part of — Christianity. Meanwhile some people are saying that Islam isn’t even a religion at all.

What does that mean? Why are they saying it?

At first it was primarily political. People like Pat Buchanan and Austin Rose, known for their ultra-conservative beliefs, wanted to distance themselves from Democrats and increase Republican chances of winning office during each cycle. It turns out slamming Islam just happened to help them meet that end.

What they’re doing is important because of what would happen should the United States government go down the path to eliminating Islam’s status as a religion. Not only would there be worldwide outrage, but Muslims would no longer be protected by religious freedom laws — you know, those funny pieces of legislation that were originally written to ensure you could pray to whichever god you like.

From there, it’s a slippery slope to eliminating the status of other religions or making it illegal for someone to practice a faith outside of “traditional” American lines of thinking.

Most of the explosive feelings that come about because of Islam are based on myths. One such myth says that Islam is a monolith. That means it’s more of a political or social structure than a religious one. That’s why we see so many bans on Sharia law around the country.

Lawyer Asma T. Uddin said, “The movement behind this uses a lot of the same language: that Sharia or Islamic religious law is actually just a political tool to take over the U.S. The way I see it is that this is just another way to say Islam is not a religion. In terms of the policy ramifications and legal ramifications, you see this happening in all the different states that are attempting to limit Muslim religious arbitration.”

That might sound complicated to some people who don’t really understand the daily struggles the average Muslim living in the United States will have to go through. No one should be very surprised that practicers of Islam are much less likely to win a religious freedom-related case in court than any other religious group in the country. But that’s the reality for most Muslims.

Republicans Might Be Covertly Squashing Political Involvement Of U.S. Muslims 

Ask United States Muslims how they feel about the country in which they live, and you will likely only receive one response: “I’m a patriot!” Even minority populations in the United States love our country: but many of them vote Democrat. Part of the reason is the difference between patriotism and nationalism. Another part of the reason is how they’re treated by their fellow citizens and the rights they enjoy — or the ones they do not.

But it turns out that another question they’re subtly asked nearly every day of their lives might actually have an unspoken effect. What question is that? It might sound familiar or it might not: “Which identity do you love more: your Islamic faith or your American citizenship?” It’s a question asked of Muslims all the time by Republicans, who are sometimes unable to understand that the two identities do not mutually exclude one another.

While that may be the case, the aforementioned effect the question has on the U.S. Muslim population is curious: it might reduce the amount of political involvement, engagement, and voter turnout of Muslim citizens. Why is that?

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out.

When Donald Trump was campaigning for the presidency in 2015, he said he “might” support a Muslilm registry for those living here. When he actually became president, he passed a new law preventing many Muslim travelers from entering the United States. He even activated plans to send out a newsletter of immigrant crimes committed against citizens — an action taken straight out of the Nazi Germany handbook for dictators. 

And then there are Trump’s activities today. He told four Democratic members of Congress — all of color — that they should “go back” home, even though three out of the four were born here, and all are American citizens. Two of the four are Muslims. 

Many have pointed out the underlying implication in Trump’s comments and actions is that Muslim Americans cannot be both Muslim and American at the same time. Is it true? Of course not. One identity has nothing to do with the other. Trump’s supporters seem to like the message, though. Since he began his campaign for the 2016 election, attacks against minorities have spiked. Our fearless leader’s messages are being heard — and they are literally resulting in the deaths of American citizens.

Is it so surprising that those citizens are less likely to present themselves as political instruments as a result of this constant onslaught? Probably not. And that might be exactly the point. If it’s not, then Republicans are doing an unbelievable job of achieving their goals inadvertently and through ignorance.

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