Rabu, 04 Desember 2019

Di Negara Barat, Pertumbuhan Umat Islam Makin Meningkat

 Di Negara Barat, Pertumbuhan Umat Islam Makin Meningkat


Article-islami.blogspot.com-Ada beberapa hal yang menarik setelah penembakan di New Zealand yang terkenal sebagai negara paling damai. Ini membuktikan bahwa islamophobia masih ada disana atau di negara barat.

Hal tersebut disampaikan Diyah Puspitarini, Ketua Umum Pimpinan Pusat (PP) Nasyiatul Aisyiyah (NA) pada Diskusi Rutin Bulanan PP NA bertempat di Aula Gedung Muhammadiyah Jalan KH Ahmad Dahlan Yogyakarta, Jumat 29 Maret 2019.

"Islam mengalami peningkatan perkembangan di kawasan Amerika dan Eropa. Apakah ini ada relevansinya antara peningkatan jumlah umat Muslim dan Islamophobia," kata Diyah.
"Islam mengalami peningkatan perkembangan di kawasan Amerika dan Eropa. Apakah ini ada relevanasinya antara peningkatan jumlah umat Muslim dan Islamophobia," kata Diyah.
Diyah Puspitarini Ketua Umum Pimpinan Pusat PP Nasyiatul Aisyiyah NA pada Diskusi Rutin Bulanan PP NA bertempat di Aula Gedung Muhammadiyah Jalan KH Ahmad Dahlan Yogyakarta Foto md for ngopibarengid
Diyah Puspitarini, Ketua Umum Pimpinan Pusat (PP) Nasyiatul Aisyiyah (NA) pada Diskusi Rutin Bulanan PP NA bertempat di Aula Gedung Muhammadiyah Jalan KH Ahmad Dahlan Yogyakarta. (Foto: md for ngopibareng.id)
Sedangkan di Indonesia saat ini tidak ada Islamophobia tapi jumlah umat muslimnya menurun.

"Sekitar 74%. Dulu sempat 90% tapi mengalami penurunan. Apakah ini mengalami penurunan?," ungkapnya.

Menurut Diyah, penurunan itu mungkin terjadi akibatkan sekarang nama aliran boleh disebutkan sehingga memang Agamanya Islam namun masuk ke aliran tertentu sehingga mengurangi perhitungan.

Sementara itu Ari Kusuma Dosen Hubungan Internasional (HI) Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY) yang menjadi Pemateri Diskusi tersebut mengatakan penyebaran Islam di Inggris terjadi melalui pernikahan dan dakwah.

"Kerap kalau pas shalat Jumat itu banyak orang kulit putih yang bersyahadat, banyak juga imam yang menjelaskan Islam dan Qur'an seperti apa," ucapnya.

Berdasarkan sensus agama di Inggris tahun 2011 jumlah Muslim terus meningkat. Jumlahnya sekitar 2.706.066 muslim.

"Hampir di setiap kota yang saya kunjungi di United Kingdom (UK) itu ada masjidnya. Jumlah masjidnya juga terus tumbuh. Jadi luar biasa pertumbuhan Islam disana itu," jelasnya.

Ia juga menjelaskan, mencari makanan di UK juga termasuk mudah bahkan mereka menyediakan pojok-pojok halal di supermarket.

Pimpinan Cabang Istimewa Muhammadiyah (PCIM) UK juga banyak terlibat dalam kegiatan yang diselenggarakan Pemerintah Inggris. Pemerintah Inggris juga belajar dari Muhammadiyah yang memberi kesempatan kepada perempuan untuk membantu dalam dakwah dan kegiatan-kegiatan diluar rumah.

Ari juga menjelaskan pertumbuhan Muslim di negara Spanyol yang menyediakan banyak budaya lokal. Selain itu, memang agak sulit mencari makanan halal di Spanyol.

"Banyak peninggalan Islam yang ada di Spanyol yang juga saya temukan bangunan-bangunan yang mirip ada di Inggris," ungkapnya.

Berbicara Islam di Spanyol ini agak sulit karena masih ada ketakutan dari warga disana jika Islam bisa bangkit lagi dan menguasai peradaban.

"Menurut saya memang ada bekas
luka lama tersendiri para penduduk Spanyol terhadap Islam sehingga sekarang mereka lebih berhati-hati. Anak mudanya juga kebanyakan tidak beragama malah tidak percaya Tuhan sehingga ya mereka hanya memikirkan kebebasan," pungkasnya. (adi)



Link sum

Rabu, 27 November 2019

Jatuh Bangun Kekuasaan Islam di Eropa

Jejak kegemilangan dan warisan berharga masih terlihat hingga sekarang.

Selama beradab-abad Islam pernah berkuasa di Eropa. Jejak kegemilangan dan warisan berharga masih terlihat hingga sekarang.
Cendekiawan Muslim, Ibnu Khaldun, pernah menuliskan, jika Tuhan berkehendak memberangus peradaban, mereka akan diuji dengan seberapa jauh konsisten dan komitmen memegang nilai dan moralitas tersebut pada saat kemaksiatan merebak di mana-mana.
"Inilah yang terjadi terhadap runtuhnya peradaban Islam di Andalusia, Spanyol," tulis Ibn Khaldun.
Pada masa pemerintahan Bani Umayyah (661-750), perluasan wilayah kekuasaan khilafah Islamiyyah (lembaga pemerintahan dalam Islam) dilakukan ke timur, utara, dan barat. Perluasan ke utara dilakukan dengan menyerang wilayah Kekaisaran Bizantium.
Menurut Tufik Abdullah dalam bukunya yang berjudul Ensiklopedi Tematis Dunia Islam, dijelaskan Bani Umayyah juga memperluas wilayah kekuasaan ke Semenanjung Iberia (Andalusia atau Spanyol) yang dikuasai oleh Bangsa Gothia. Perebutan wilayah kekuasaan dipimpin oleh panglima perang Tariq bin Ziyad. Ia berhasil menaklukkan Kota Cordoba, Granada, dan Toledo yang merupakan ibu kota Visigoth.
Selanjutnya, Bani Umayyah berhasil menaklukkan Sevilla, Zaragoza, dan Barcelona. Daerah Aragon dan Castillia juga bertekuk lutut. Sesudah itu, menuju ke timur laut sampai pegunungan Pyrenia. Penaklukan terhenti karena Khalifah al-Walid memanggil pasukan pulang ke Damaskus.
Kekuasaan Umayyah yang didirikan oleh Mu'awiyah bin Abu Sufyan hanya mampu bertahan sekitar 90 tahun. Banyak faktor yang mengakibatkan kelemahan dan kejatuhan Bani Umayyah. Pertama, konflik berkepanjangan dalam keluarga besar Umayyah. Situasi semakin diperparah dengan naiknya beberapa khalifah yang lemah, boros, dan zalim. Hal ini menimbulkan rasa benci masyarakat dan ulama sehingga wibawa pemerintahan pusat semakin rusak.
Pada masa Dinasti Abbasiyah, Islam juga pernah berjaya di Eropa. Namun, menurut Finer, SE (1999-01-01) dalam The History of Government from the Earliest Times: Volume II, pada akhir abad kedelapan Dinasti Abbasiyah terasing dan dipaksa untuk menyerahkan kekuasaan atas al-Andalus (Spanyol) dan Maghreb (Maroko).
Kekuatan politik para khalifah sebagian besar berakhir dengan munculnya Buwaihi dan Turki Saljuk. Meskipun kepemimpinan Abbasiyah atas kerajaan Islam yang luas secara bertahap dikurangi menjadi fungsi agama seremonial, dinasti mempertahankan kontrol atas demesne Mesopotamia. Ibu kota Baghdad menjadi pusat ilmu pengetahuan, budaya, filsafat, dan penemuan selama masa kejayaan Islam.
Sementara itu, Marshal Hoghson ahli sejarah peradaban Islam dalam bukunya, The Venture of Islam, menyebutkan, keruntuhan Dinasti Abbasiyah dikarenakan adanya pergeseran orientasi watak peradaban yang berkembang di dunia Islam. Menurutnya, kecenderungan militerisme dan ekspansi wilayah kekuasaan muncul sebagai ciri utama peradaban Islam menyusul tampilnya supremasi politik bangsa Mongol dan Turki.

Memasuki era modern, Turki Ottoman menjadi kekuatan besar yang diperhitungkan dalam sejarah. Kekuasaannya meliputi sebagian Asia, Afrika, dan Eropa. Puncak kejayaan Ottoman berlangsung pada masa pemerintahan Sulaiman I (1520-1566). Setelah itu, semakin lemah karena pemberontakan internal dan kalah perang melawan bangsa Eropa.
Pada masa kekuasaan Kerajaan Utsmani, terjadi perluasan wilayah Islam hingga ke daratan Eropa. Bursa, kota di tepi Laut Marmara, dapat dikuasai oleh Utsman dan anaknya Orkhan pada 1324. Penduduk kota itu berduyun-duyun masuk agama Islam, Orkhan sebagai pengganti Utsman memindahkan ibu kota ke Bursa pada 1326 setelah Utsman meninggal.
Pada masa Orkhan, wilayah Ottoman bertambah lagi dengan masuknya wilayah Turkeman ke pangkuannya. Ia menundukkan Kota Nicaea (Iznik) pada 1331 dan Nicomedia (Izmit) 1337. Orkhan dapat menundukkan Karasi pada 1345 dan mengontrol wilayah antara Teluk Edremit dan Cyzicus yang dapat mencapai laut Marmara.
Sulaiman Putra Orkhan berhasil menaklukkan daratan Semenanjung Balkan. Pada 1361 atau pada masa Murad I, Adrianopel di daratan Eropa ditaklukkan lalu namanya diganti menjadi Edirne. Ia juga dapat menguasai Philppolis (Filibe), Macedonia (1387), Bulgaria Tengah, termasuk Monatsir (1382), Sofia (1385), dan Nish (1386).
Periode ekspansi Turki Utsmani ke wilayah Balkan dan Eropa Tengah sekitar abad ke-14 sampai abad ke-16. Pada periode ini, umat Islam meyebar ke Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Rumania, dan Yunani.
Ekspansi Ottoman di Eropa berakhir dengan kekalahan mereka dalam Perang Turki yang besar. Dalam Perjanjian Karlowitz (1699), Kekaisaran Ottoman kehilangan sebagian besar penaklukan di Eropa Tengah.
Menurut Avalanche Press, selama berabad-abad kekaisaran Ottoman secara bertahap kehilangan hampir semua wilayah Eropa, sampai keruntuhannya pada 1922.
Menurut Tufik Abdullah dalam Ensiklopedi Tematis Dunia Islam, keruntuhan Dinasti Ottoman di Eropa dimulai setelah masa pemerintahan Sulaiman I atau pada abad 15. Pada masa ini, kerajaan Utsmani hanya dapat bertahan dari serangan musuh dan hanya dapat meluaskan sedikit wilayah.
Ini dikarenakan kerajaan yang besar ini dipimpin oleh sultan yang lemah. Tidak seperti sultan-sultan sebelumnya. Kondisi ini dimanfaatkan oleh negara Eropa untuk melakukan ekspansi ke dunia Islam.
Banyak faktor yang menyebabkan mengalami kemunduran dan kehancuran. Antara lain, wilayahnya yang demikian luas sehingga sulit diatur dengan baik karena banyak masalah yang harus dipecahkan, timbulnya ketidakadilan, suburnya praktik kolusi serta sogokan dengan banyak hadiah, serta merajalelanya perampokan dan kejahatan.
Kemerosotan ekonomi juga menjadi faktor penyebab kemunduran Utsmani, yakni terkait biaya perang yang begitu mahal sehingga mengurangi keuangan negara. Peperangan yang berkepanjangan, antara lain, terjadi antara pasukan Ottoman dan Hungaria.
Kekalahan demi kekalahan dialami pasukan Utsmani yang telah letih berperang. Ditambah lagi, faktor kemanusiaan yang mengabaikan kesejahteraan rakyat karena para pejabat negara disibukkan dengan masalah perang sehingga kehidupan rakyat dilalaikan.
Kerusakan moral juga merambah istana dengan adanya pesta yang dilakukan dengan minuman keras dan para dayang yang mengitari para pembesar negara. Kelemahan kerjaan besar itu juga diakibatkan ikut campurnya para istri sultan dalam mengatur pemerintahan.
Stephen Lee dalam Aspects of European History: 1494-1789 menyebutkan, stagnasi dan penurunan kekaisaran Ottoman dikarenakan adanya kemerosotan dalam kepemimpinan Sultan yang tidak memiliki kemampuan dalam memimpin. Selain itu, pelaku pejabat istana yang terlibat korupsi, tamak, bermusuhan, dan berkhianat juga menjadi faktor penentu runtuhnya kekaisaran Ottoman. Lee melanjutkan, tumbuhnya kekuatan militer Eropa menjadi lebih kuat, juga menjadi penyebab kekalahan tentara Ottoman.
Jonathan Grant (1999) dalam jurnal yang berjudul "Rethinking The Ottoman 'Decline': Military Technology Diffusion in the Ottoman Empire, Fifteenth to Eighteenth Centuries" menyebutkan, runtuhnya kejayaan Turki Ottoman di Eropa juga disebabkan kondisi ekonomi negara yang sulit. Penyimpangan terjadi di mana-mana sehingga banyak rakyat miskin. Perang menyebabkan inflasi, perdagangan dunia pindah arah, dan memburuknya hukum serta ketertiban.

Selasa, 26 November 2019

The Life and Times of the Companion Suhaib ibn Sinan ar-Rumi

Three of the non-Arabs that accepted Islam in the very early days of the mission of Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, stand out.  They were Salman from Persia, Bilal ibn Rabah, whose heritage was Abyssinian, and Shuaib, known as the Roman.  These three men were among Prophet Muhammad’s close companions, they readily recognized Islam as the truth, and gave the fledgling religion a foretaste of the worldwide acceptance it would enjoy.  Prophet Muhammad is said to have predicted the spread of Islam by describing them as the forerunners of their respective ethnic groups; Suhaib from Romans, Bilal from the Abyssinians, and Salman from the Persians.   
Suhaib was the son of a man who ruled an outlying province of the Persian Empire in the area now known as Iraq.  He was, by all accounts, a fun-loving, well educated, and intelligent little boy.  One day, when attending a picnic with his mother and other women and children, their party was attacked by Byzantine raiders who captured many slaves.  The blonde blue-eyed little boy Suhaib spent his boyhood and youth being traded as a possession.  However, his owners all recognized his intelligence and his education continued.  He was soon fluent in Greek, the dominant language of the Eastern Roman Empire and had acquired excellent trading skills. 
Although Suhaib adopted the Byzantine customs and lifestyle he never felt completely at ease in the decadent empire and was later heard to remark that, "A society like this (Byzantine Empire) can only be purified with a deluge." In his young adulthood Suhaib found out of the Byzantine empire and arrived in Mecca as a skilled merchant.   The stories of his return to his homeland differ.  Some say that he escaped with a significant amount of wealth and started a trading partnership with Abdullah ibn Judan.  Others believe that he was eventually sold to Abdullah ibn Judan, who recognized his skills and emancipated him.  No matter what manner is correct Suhaib did prosper and become very rich.  However, the prevailing idolatry and depravity of Mecca overshadowed his success and brought him no peace of mind.  His search for meaning in his life eventually brought him to the House of Arqam.
In the beginning of Islam, the fledgling Muslims could not worship openly or comfortably.  Arqam’s house was selected as a place where they could meet, pray and learn about Islam.  The house could be entered and exited secretly and it was in a narrow street that could be seen from within. 
It is narrated that Ammar said, "I met Suhaib ibn Sinan at the doorstep of Arqam’s house when the Messenger of Allah was there.  I said, ‘What do you want?’ He asked me in turn, ‘and what do you want?’  I said I would like to speak with Prophet Mohammad and listen to his message.  He said that he would like to do the same.  Then we entered together the house and he (the Prophet) introduced us to Islam and we both accepted it.  We remained in the house for the rest of the day and left secretly in the darkness of the night."[1]
Thus, Suhaib began his journey of piety.   It was not an easy period for him.  He was without family or tribal support and his wealth and new status as a free person did not save him from the abuses and persecution suffered by many new Muslims at the hands of the Meccan elite.  When Prophet Muhammad began to encourage his followers to migrate to Medina, Suhaib was keen to be among them.  Due to his wealth, the Meccan elite tried to prevent him, to the extent that they had guards watching over him and trying to foil any escapes.  Eventually he resorted to subterfuge.
Suhaib pretended to have a stomachache and went in and out of his house as if needing to repeatedly answer the call of nature.  The guards joked about his condition, got bored and fell asleep.  Suhaib took the opportunity to arm himself with a sword and a bow and galloped away from Mecca on his horse.  The guards arose from their stupor and gave chase, trapping Suhaib on a hill.  He stood there threatening to kill them all, but quickly changed tactics and decided to offer them money to allow him to escape.  The guards took up that offer and he continued on to Medina. 
When Suhaib reached Quba, just outside Medina, Prophet Muhammad saw him approaching and said, "Your transaction has been fruitful, O Abu Yahya.  Your transaction has been fruitful." He repeated it three times.  Suhaib was overjoyed and said, "By God, no one has come before me to you, Messenger of God, only the angel Gabriel could have informed you about this."[2]
Suhaib was able to recoup the wealth he gave away to the guards and continued to be generous with his wealth, giving it away at every opportunity, even feeding the needy, the orphans or the captives.  Umar ibn al-Khattab once remarked, "Why are you nicknamed as Abu Yahya (father of John) when you don’t have a child? You say that you are an Arab when you are known as the Roman, and you feed people too much, I have seen you giving out so much food that you appear to be too extravagant." Suhaib replied that he once heard Prophet Muhammad say "The best of you is the one who gives out food."[3]
Years later after Prophet Muhammad’s death, when Umar was the leader of the Muslim nation, Suhaib learned that he (Umar) had been stabbed.  He was unable to control his anger and grief and ran to Umar’s side weeping.  "Alas! my brother, Alas! my friend!"  Even as he was dying Umar said, "O Suhaib! Are you weeping for me when the Prophet said, "The dead person is tormented by some of the weeping of his relatives?"[4]
Umar called six of his companions to decide among themselves who should succeed him.[5] He then assigned Suhaib to lead the Muslims in prayers and undertake the interim leadership of the Islamic nation.  Suhaib is known to have narrated more than thirty hadith and three of them can be found in Saheeh Muslim.
Suhaib ibn Sinan ar-Rumi died in Medina thirty-eight years after the migration, in 658 CE at approximately seventy years of age.  Sa'd ibn Abu Waqas lead his funeral prayer, and he is buried in Jannat al-Baqi, the first Islamic cemetery established in Medina. 

Rabu, 30 Oktober 2019

Berwisata Religi di Makam Godog Suci Garut



WISATA religi di makam godog Garut menjadi alternatif untuk para peziarah pada libur lebaran idul fitri.

Menjelang dan selama libur idul fitri, Garut selalu dipadati oleh para wisatawan. Baik mereka yang pulang kampung, atau hanya sekedar menikmati masa liburan.

Berbagai tempat wisata selalu dipadati dan menjadi incaran para wisatawan. Selain memiliki sejumlah tempat pariwisata yang terkenal, Garut juga memiliki sejumlah wisata religi yang bisa dijadikan alternatif bagi para wisatawan.

Salah satunya adalah Makam Godog, yang terletak di Karang pawitan. Jaraknya tidak jauh dari Garut kota, hanya sekitar 9 KM. Akses jalan  terbilang cukup bagus, meski terdapat beberapa bagian yang berlubang.

Makam godog merupakan salah satu makam keramat, sebab terdapat makam salah satu penyebar agama islam di pulau jawa yaitu Syekh Sunan Rohmat Suci atau Prabu kiansantang.




Menurut Asep Komar salah satu juru kunci makam tersebut, terdapat sembilan makam termasuk makam utama, yaitu makam Syekh sunan rohmat suci atau prabu kiansantang. “disini terdapat 9 makam, yang 1 itu merupakan makam syekh sunan rohmat suci dan yang 8 itu para sahabatnya," ujarnya.

Makam Godog sering kali banyak dikunjungi para peziarah, terlebih jika pada hari lebaran idul fitri. Sementara pada saat ramadan tidak sebanyak hari-hari biasa dan idul fitri.
"Untuk pengunjung disini, kebanyakan datang pada hari-hari biasa, sedangkan untuk bulan ramadan terbilang sedikit. Dan untuk hari raya idul fitri biasanya terjadi lonjakan sekitar H+2 mencapai 2000 peziarah bahkan lebih,” ujar Asep.

Selain itu pengunjung yang datang ke lokasi tersebut, tidak hanya warga lokal saja, tetapi juga banyak datang dari daerah luar Garut untuk berziarah dan berdoa. "Dari luar Garut juga banyak, seperti dari Jakarta, Bandung dan kota kota lainnya,” ujar Asep.

Di Makam Godog terdapat barang-barang pusaka yang disimpan di museum. Barang tersebut merupakan bekas peninggalan Syekh Sunan Rohmat Suci, yang hingga kini diabadikan dengan baik. “Di sini juga terdapat barang pusaka bekas peninggalan beliau, dan disimpan di museum. Setiap 14 Maulid selalu ada pencucian barang pusaka tersebut, itu dilaksakan setiap setahun sekali” ujar Asep.

Kisah perjalanan Prabu Kian Santang

Kampung Godog Garut dikenal sebagai tempat makam Prabu Kiansantang atau Syeikh Sunan Rohmat Suci, tokoh penyebar agama islam di kepulauan Jawa. Nama kampung ‘Godog’ sendiri berasal dari kisah perjalanan Prabu Kian Santang yang membawa pusaka dari Sayyidina Ali sewaktu dirinya ke tanah suci.



Saat dibekali pusaka, Sayyidina Ali mengatakan bahwa jika pusaka dalam peti tersebut bergoyang pada suatu tempat, maka tempat tersebutlah yang kelak menjadi tempat tinggal Prabu Kiansantang. Selama perjalanan dari beberapa tempat, peti pusaka tersebut sama sekali tidak bergoyang. Namun, ketika Prabu Kiansantang menginjakkan kaki di Gunung Suci (kawasan kampung godog), peti tersebut bergoyang.

Kejadian tentu menjadi pertanda atas perkataan dari Sayyidina Ali. Maka menetaplah Prabu Kiansantang di tempat tersebut, yang kini di kenal sebagai kampung Godog.
Nama Godog sendiri berasal dari bahasa Sunda Wiwitan yakni ‘Godeug’ alias bergoyang, yang ditujukan pada kejadian peti pusaka tersebut.

Informasi mengenai asal muasal Makam Godog didapat dari perbincangan dengan salah satu juru kunci Makam Godog, Asep Komar.

Dia mengatakan, sebelum Prabu Kiansantang tiba, kampung Godog ini masih berkeyakinan Sunda Wiwitan. Dengan keahlian mengkhitan sebagai metode meng-islamkan, keberadaan Prabu Kiansantang berpengaruh terhadap keyakinan penduduk setempat dalam memeluk agama islam.
“Beliau penyebar islam sepulau Jawa, sistemnya dengan nyepitan (khitan),” katanya ketika ditemui di makam Godog, pertengahan Juni 2017 lalu.

Bukti dari kegiatan khitan tersebut, ditemukan alat-alat khitan yang saat ini di simpan di tempat penyimpanan pusaka makam Godog (Kandaga) bersamaan dengan pusaka yang diberikan oleh Sayyidina Ali. Sampai saat ini tidak diketahui pusaka apa yang diberikan tersebut, lantaran Prabu Kiansantang sejak awal sudah mengubur pusaka tersebut.

Hanya alat alat bekas khitan saja yang diketahui, dan dirawat setiap satu tahun sekali yakni setiap tanggal 14 bulan Maulud. Begitu pun dengan makam Prabu Kiansantang yang berada dalam satu ruangan, hanya dibuka satu tahun sekali diwaktu yang sama.

“Alat alat tersebut hanya sebagai pajangan, tiap tanggal 14 (Maulud) di cuci, istilahnya di pupusti (dijaga sebaik mungkin), tiap tahun dibersihkan oleh semua juru kunci disini.” Kata Asep. (Rohmah Nashruddin/Muhamad Insan Kamil)***
Sumber Artikel





Selasa, 29 Oktober 2019

Your letters: Kudos and a question for column on Muslim hero


It takes a superhuman feat for a Black Muslim migrant to be deemed worthy, Online, May 29
The headline on Shree Paradkar’s column tells me all I need to know about her: that she is a right-thinking, honest and brave woman to mention that the hero is a Muslim.

Most media have avoided mentioning he is a Muslim, but I am sure they would have highlighted his Muslim identity if he were alleged to be a terrorist.

I am a fan of the amazing Indian writer, Arundhati Roy, and now I hold Shree Paradkar in the same high esteem.

Meer Sahib, London, Ont.

Shree Paradkar is right: It’s not enough for a Black man, in this case a Black Muslim man, to be human. He had to be superhuman to be considered worthy of simply existing in France. Not a single media outlet that I came across has mentioned Mamoudou Gassama’s faith.

Muslims only get undivided attention and unlimited coverage when they are accused of creating mischief. Even when they are exonerated from the mischief, it becomes unworthy to report.

But the good things they do, the lives they save, whether in hospital operating rooms or climbing buildings like Spider-Man, faith is buried in the sand. It is as if would contradict the version the media tries to promote and sell that Muslims are always prone to do bad things.

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Kudos to Paradkar for raising an issue that makes many media outlets uncomfortable to even mention, let alone discuss. This is why the Star and its columnists have attained the respect they deserve.

There many similar stories of Muslims’ contributions but, unfortunately, there are few honest journalists like Paradkar with a sense of integrity to cover them.
Abubakar N. Kasim, Toronto

Shree Paradkar makes some valid comments, but omits others. Ideally, every country should embrace a policy that smooths the way for refugees to become full citizens. But Canada, the U.S. and other New World countries are accustomed to immigration; they were built on it. France and the old countries of Europe are not. Rightly or wrongly, they fear that immigrants will dilute their millennia-old cultures, so they tend to be more selective.

So yes, Mamoudou Gassama was Black and Muslim. But that just happens to be where the refugees are coming from. Is Ms. Paradkar absolutely certain the situation would not have been the same had he been white and Christian, but still a refugee?

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Minggu, 27 Oktober 2019

The forgotten Muslim heroes of WWI



Engraved with Islamic inscriptions, the headstones of 576 Muslim soldiers stand in ranks facing Mecca at Notre Dame de Lorette, the biggest of France’s many war cemeteries.
Each one is also inscribed with the words “Mort Pour La France” – died for France – like the massed crosses of their Christian comrades in this 62-acre memorial containing the remains of over 40,000 soldiers. Today it is a lonely place of birdsong and rustling trees overlooking the slag heaps of the Artois mining region but it was once one of the bloodiest battlefields of the First World War.
The Muslim graves have lain mostly forgotten for almost a century, save on three occasions in the last decades when their graves were desecrated with anti-Muslim graffiti. The sacrifices made by these soldiers and their 2.5 million fellow Muslims who fought for France, the British empire and Russia has been largely ignored, especially in comparison with the exhaustive accounts of Western troops in poems, diaries and histories.

Muslim headstones from the First World War in Notre Dame de Lorette French national cemetery. In the background are Christian headstones. David Crossland / The National
Luc Ferrier, the Belgian founder and chairman of the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation, is battling to change that.
He is convinced that without Muslim troops and labourers, the Allies would have lost the war. Raising public awareness of their contribution could help counter anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe, and give immigrant communities a stronger sense of belonging, he told The National.
“This project is contradicting the myth that Muslims have not played a positive role in Europe or in modern history,” he said.
“By adding a wealth of authentic documented evidence portraying Muslims positively, we can counter Islamophobia, as well as the divisive ‘clash of civilisations’ narrative which both the far-right and ‘religious’ extremists rely on to further their narrow aims.”
The last four years have seen intense commemoration of the war’s centenary, which will culminate in ceremonies marking the armistice on November 11.
Paradoxically, the remembrance has coincided with a rise in the kind of nationalism that spawned the “war to end all wars.” Right-wing populists across Europe are targeting immigrants but also the European Union, set up in the wake of the Second World War to bring lasting peace to the ravaged continent.



Mr Ferrier, a 55-year-old former executive in the aeronautical industry who is not Muslim, set up the foundation in 2012 after discovering the diaries of his great-grandfather, a soldier in the First World War. “I was impressed by the enormous respect he had for his Muslim brothers in arms from all these continents, while he himself was a very devout Christian,” he said.
When he tried to learn more, he found there was a dearth of literature on Muslim troops. The foundation has encouraged broader research into the topic. He has addressed conferences and secured the support of researchers worldwide who helped unearth and translate historical documents. His book, The Unknown Fallen, contains stories and photos that convey the global Muslim contribution in the war.

The memorial to the French-Moroccan division at Vimy Ridge, northern France. David Crossland / The National
Researchers have unearthed accounts of comradeship that saw priests, imams and rabbis learn each other’s burial ceremonies and prayers so that they could lay the dead of all faiths to rest on the battlefield. Stories have surfaced of North African Muslims saving the lives of European soldiers using herbal medicines when field medical supplies ran out.
After German troops marched into France in August 1914 and got close enough to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, the French hastily summoned soldiers from French North Africa — Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia — while the British called troops from across its empire including India.
They cut dashing figures arriving in Marseille in their fezzes, turbans and brightly coloured uniforms, and crowds welcomed them as saviours. They were quickly dispatched to the front.
Troops from the British Indian Army, consisting of Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus with Muslims making up around a third, were in the thick of the fighting almost from the start. Arriving before troops from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, they reinforced exhausted British troops just in time to stop the German army breaking through to ports on the English channel in the First Battle of Ypres in 1914.
They were volunteers, trained and experienced soldiers, but like Western troops they were unprepared for the inferno of shells, machine guns, poison gas and rat-infested trenches they were thrown into.
“Just like a turnip is cut to pieces, so a man is blown to bits by the explosion of a shell,” wrote a Pathan soldier from northern India. “All those who came with me have ceased to exist … In taking a hundred yards of trench it is like the destruction of the world.”
But they didn’t buckle in the face of gas, freezing weather and the best-equipped army in the world, and quickly gained the admiration of European officers and men.
“It was known that Muslims troops attacked fiercely,” said Mr Ferrier. “Western troops had an ambiguous feeling when they showed up; they were happy to have them on their side but it was also a sign that an attack was on the way.”

Indian troops serving with the British Army pray outside the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, Surrey, during the Muslim festival of Baqrid, or Eid al-Adha, (Festival of Sacrifice), circa 1916. (Photo by FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
In this merciless war, they saw their comrades gassed and bayoneted to death. Yet the British and French were struck by how humanely Muslim troops treated prisoners of war. Asked why, they referred to Islamic teaching that prisoners must be fed in a dignified manner.
They won medals for their courage, and the British, masters of propaganda, ensured that photos of King George V, Emperor of India, pinning medals on their chests were circulated around India to encourage more men to volunteer.
Recipients included Sepoy Khudadad Khan of the 129th Baluchis, who won Britain’s highest military award, the Victoria Cross, at the Belgian village of Hollebeke near Ypres on October 31, 1914 for preventing a German breakthrough by continuing to fire his machine gun after all his comrades had been killed and he had been wounded.
He was the first South Asian to win the VC, and Indian forces won around a dozen more during more the war. Some 1.5 million men from what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar fought on the Western front, in Africa, the Middle East and Gallipoli.
Officers made efforts to provide troops with halal food and there was a high death rate among Indian cooks who advanced dangerously close to German shells to serve the men chapatis and hot curry.
The cold was as bitter an enemy as the Germans and the incessant, freezing rain in the autumn of 1914 brought wistful memories of the monsoon that gave relief from the summer heat back home, so far away. There was no home leave. Going back all the way to India was too expensive, the troops were told.

“They suffered from frostbite and exposure, causing them to lose fingers," said Mr Ferrier. "The trenches did little to provide shelter or warmth from the extreme low temperatures, especially at night, when even clothes and blankets froze solid.”
His foundation approached Britain’s Anglia Tours, which has experience in running guided visits to First World War sites, to help organise bespoke visits to the battlefields and memorial sites where Muslims fought.

Rabu, 17 Oktober 2018

Mosques in Germany: Statistics hard to come


Exactly how many mosque buildings, and how many mosque associations, are there in Germany? No one in the country knows for sure.
Ever since the opening of a Turkish state-financed mosque in Cologne, Islamic houses of prayer have been a frequent topic of discussion in Germany. In a country and city with a large Turkish minority, many people see the public presence of these buildings in Cologne as a display of power by the Turkish state.
There are only estimates of how many mosques, houses of worship, and mosque associations there are in Germany. This has, according to Islam scholar Michael Blume, a simple, legal reason behind it. "According to the German constitution, there is no registration requirement for religious associations," he said. "That means: as long as a religious community or religious association isn't a public body, it isn't registered."
Mosques, just like temples

That's also why, according to Blume, no one knows exactly how many Buddhist temples there are in Germany. Mosques in Germany register according to laws governing the formation of associations. And it's up to them whether they are affiliated with a larger umbrella association of mosques or are completely independent.
Read more: Open Day at the mosque: 'Everyone must contribute'
On the other hand are the mainstream churches. They are listed in the Federal Statistical Office's comprehensive "Yearbook," as are Jewish communities. Churches and Jewish congregations in Germany have agreements with the state governed by constitutional laws on church-state relations. By contrast, the statistical yearbook lacks categories such as "Islam," "Mosque" or "Muslims."
2,500, 2,600, 2,700
Some figures on mosques in the country do exist. The Central Council of Muslims in Germany announced in early October that there are roughly 2,500 mosques. Many of them are tucked away from the street in courtyards, around 900 would be recognizable as mosques to passersby. The lack of exact figures is explained in part by the fact that Islam is much less hierarchically organized than other monotheistic religions. A few friends can simply set up a prayer room together — or, as in Berlin, a feminist lawyer can set up her own "liberal mosque."
Up until May of this year, researchers at Germany's Parliament, the Bundestag, had been investigating the "financing of mosques and 'mosque associations,'" and had similar issues ascertaining concrete numbers.
Read more: Germany tolerant of LGBT neighbors, but not Muslim ones
"Estimates suggest that between 2,600 and 2,700 Muslim places of worship, of various arrangements, exist," Blume said. However, he cautioned, few would be perceived as "mosques in the traditional sense." Only the new, larger and more public buildings are adorned in "neo-Ottoman to a post-modern glass and concrete architecture," Blume explained. The vast majority of the community buildings, sometimes referred to as "courtyard mosques," are located in courtyards, industrial districts and converted factory buildings.
According to the Bundestag researchers, Germany is home to "at least 2,350 to 2,750 mosque congregations or associations," serving between 4.4 and 4.7 million "Muslims of different faiths, denominations, ethnic groups and political views." Only a minority — between 15 and 30 percent — of Muslims belong to a congregation or association.
"We do not even know exactly how many Muslims there are, because it is not recorded," said Blume, who published the book Islam in Crisis in 2017. "We know roughly the number of people of Muslim background who come from Muslim-majority countries, but a portion of that figure — a growing portion of it — say: 'Me, I am not religious at all, I have nothing at all to do with religion.' There are others who say: 'Yes, I am Muslim, but I don't belong to a congregation or association.' And only a very small portion of them join religious associations, which then found mosques."
International connections
Many new publicly visible mosques in Germany tend to be financed from abroad, be it from Turkey — the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, or DITIB, claims to represent more than 960 formally independent associations — or from Saudi Arabia.
Read more: What you need to know about DITIB mosque association
"The big problem of Islamic congregations is that they do not have enough money," said Blume. "Because very few Muslims see themselves as members of mosque congregations."
It might be possible to raise enough donations to fund the construction of a small mosque, he explained, but it is less clear how one should find money to pay the imams and the youth ministry. "And that's why the Turkish state is so strong," within Germany's Muslim community, said Blume, because it pays the imams.
The German Islam Conference is due to meet this autumn, for the first time since the 2017 national elections. An agreement on better statistical data could well be a topic of conversation.
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Author: Christoph Strack