Category Archives: Editorials
By Noor Salahuddin
In order to answer that question, one has to explore what democracy means.
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, democracy is defined as: “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.”
So, for Pakistan to truly be a democracy, it 1) has to have supreme power vested in the people, or the majority, and 2) have periodic free elections.
A centuries-old Jihad: Women of the Abrahamic faith traditions strive for justice and fight sexism in religion
Weeks before Easter Sunday of 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina was elected to be the 266th Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, is the first non-European man to lead the Catholic Church- the world’s largest Christian denomination amounting to over 1.1 billion people and constituting about a sixth of the global population. Among the church’s faithful, there are over hundreds of thousands nuns and women laity throughout the world.
You don’t have to go far to find harmful stereotypes of Muslims and Arabs in the mainstream media. In fact, there is a name for those stereotypes—billionaires, bombers, and belly dancers—known as the “three B syndrome,” coined by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, author of 100 Years of Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim Stereotyping. In addition, these images have been excessively saturated over the years in American culture and media, especially in post-9/11 America. As Qumsiyeh explains, the U.S. needs a “demonstrable enemy who will not go away,” and Muslims and Arabs have consistently been that enemy.
On Sunday May 5th, Israel carried out an airstrike against targets in the suburbs of Damascus, including the Scientific Studies and Research Centre, which is responsible for Syria’s biological, chemical weapons. Other targets included bases for Syria’s elite Republican Guard and storehouses of long-range missiles.
Every semester, students are asked to fill out course evaluations in which they give their professors feedback on their teaching and the course in general. This last semester, I took a class on the Christian Tradition, and on the very first day of class, my professor told us something that I later heard students say over and over again. He said that the number one comment that he gets on his course evaluations is that, as necessary as it is to learn about Christianity, students desire to learn about other religions. The Christian Tradition is a mandatory class in my academic program, and while all of my classmates, the majority of whom are Christians, were complaining about the class, I was jealous that they got to learn about their own tradition, while I was struggling to restructure my cognitive framework to allow a different and distinct tradition into my mind. Why? Because I have no access to a class about Islam at my university.
Professor Amitai Etzioni of The George Washington University recently published an op-ed piece questioning the veracity of the MyJihad Campaign. By now, many are familiar with this groundbreaking campaign, but for those who are not, MyJihad is a public awareness effort designed to educate people – non-Muslim and Muslim alike – on the nuances of the term ‘jihad’ and its largely spiritual character. The necessity of such a campaign is clear; the term ‘jihad’ has been the centerpiece of an anti-Muslim, pro-war discourse. Over the last twelve years, wherever public discussion on ‘jihad’ or ‘jihad and Islam’ has taken place, much of it has been hawkish – leading the public to ascend to disastrous conclusions, like in 2003, when 70% of the American public thought Iraq had something to do with 9 -11. Those who supported the MyJihad campaign argue that it is a healthy contribution to the public discourse, broadening our perspective on Islam and arming the public against over-zealous hawks that still use Islam as an excuse to go to war.
Last week, Amitai Etzioni published an article in the Huffington Post critiquing the #MyJihad ad campaign, a series of ads that aim to reclaim the Arabic word jihad and have been posted on buses and in metro stations across Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco.
Etzioni made some critical points in his article by demonstrating that Islam is no more violent than any other major religion. By highlighting the comparable violence embedded in the religious texts of other major religions like Christianity and Judaism, he helps readers understand that Islam has been unfairly framed as a particularly violent religion as opposed to a religion that, like most others, condones physical fighting under certain circumstances.
Why, when most people think of terrorists, do they assume Ahmed, Mohammed, and Nader and not Aaron, Michael, or Nathan? Not every terrorist is of Arab descent or even a Muslim, but to many people in America, if you have a foreign sounding name that could be Middle Eastern, you are automatically thought of as being a “potential terrorist.” Too many Americans continue to perceive Arabs and/or Muslims as terrorists, therefore causing severe injustice to the entire group.
There is a widespread misconception that “racism lives in the heart of particularly evil individuals, as opposed to the heart of a democratic society;” this mentality is “reinforcing to anyone who might, from time to time, find their tongue sprinting ahead of their discretion”. There are instances every day where people are profiled, and treated in a particular way because of their race.