In 1894, the Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid II decided to present his empire’s highest civilian order to Muhammad Shitta, a Nigerian Muslim entrepreneur from Lagos. Shitta earned the honor by sponsoring the construction of mosque in Lagos. This was a time during which European missionaries, who had followed Europe’s colonial powers in their “Scramble for Africa” in recent years, were very active in trying to spread Christianity in West Africa. Perhaps the sultan wanted to challenge this activity; maybe he also wanted to spread the influence of the struggling Ottoman Empire in faraway Muslim communities. However, the sultan wasn’t personally able to go to present the honor to Shitta; but who could go to Nigeria on the sultan’s behalf to do so?
The sultan chose W.H. Abdullah Quilliam, a British convert to Islam. After embracing Islam in the late 1880s, Quilliam had played a leading role in organizing the small Muslim community in Britain. Within a few years of embracing Islam and travelling in North Africa, Quilliam had earned the title of ‘alim (Islamic scholar) from the very prestigious University of al-Qarawiyyin. He had also earned the admiration of the Ottoman sultan, who (as the nominal caliph of the Muslims) had named Quilliam the leader of the British Muslims.
Responding to the sultan’s request, on June 6, 1894, Quilliam departed from Liverpool, England to begin his journey to Lagos. On the way he stopped at the Canary Islands, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Gold Coast before finally arriving in Nigeria. He was guided along the way by West African contacts he had made through his role as a Muslim journalist and leader in Britain; the influence of the British Empire at the time had made Quilliam something of a celebrity among Muslims around the world. Continue reading
Muslims in China are being rounded up and forced into political education camps that resemble the prisons ubiquitous in the country during the repressive Maoist era, according to reports.
More than 100,000 Uyghur Muslims are estimated to be detained in so-called “re-education” centers in China’s Western Xinjiang region, according to human rights groups. Tens of thousands of people are allegedly detained in the city of Kashgar alone. The facilities are reportedly squalid and overcrowded, and inmates are forced to sing songs praising the Chinese Communist Party and renounce their religious beliefs.
“We are deeply troubled by the astonishing numbers of Uighur reportedly detained in these camps. Nearly every Uyghur family in exile has heard of a family member who has disappeared into one of these ‘re-education’ centers,” Peter Irwin, a representative of the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress, told Newsweek. Continue reading
(Pic via Radio Free Asia)
Published by CJ Werleman Independent, a crowdfunded investigative journalism project that seeks to expose and end Western injustices against Muslims. Please SUPPORT his fight against injustice by clicking here.
China is carrying out a systematic campaign to ethnically cleanse up to 15 million Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, or rather what was East Turkistan until China began occupying and colonizing the region in 1949.
Moreover, China is sparing no effort to eradicate any memory or proof of Uyghur Muslim life. It is truly the stuff of dystopian nightmares, or a reenactment of the worst genocides carried out in the previous century. The handful of personal accounts that trickle out from behind China’s total control of the Internet and the media invoke memor
ies of the Communist state’s darkest days?—?the period of the “Cultural revolution,” when religious people and sites were wiped from the country’s landscape.
For much of the 1970s and 80s, however, an increasingly open China softened its stance towards its religious and ethnic minorities, but this relative “openness” provided the space for minorities to express their economic, political, and religious grievances. When Uyghur Muslims renewed calls for a return to their independence, a status they enjoyed briefly as a sovereign state in the 1940, then known as the East Turkistan Republic, and as former neighboring Soviet states realized independence, China, fearing a growing separatist movement on its western frontier, began its crackdown on Xinjiang in the late 1990s. Continue reading
France has experienced a moment of political and media madness following the Harvey Weinstein affair. And all the ingredients are there for more of the same: disproportionate comments triggered by a cartoon in Charlie Hebdo of Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan (accused of rape); Twitter providing the ideal tool for reacting without thinking and starting the fire; religion-related issues providing fuel for it; grandstanding by a discredited politician (ex-prime minister Manuel Valls) who thinks a wholesale attack on Muslims will revive his political career. And to top it all, the now established rule that every subject, even the sexual harassment of American women, will eventually come round to the question of Muslims in the French Republic. Continue reading
This morning, former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his efforts with Jared Kushner to torpedo a United Nations Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements. These included lobbying the Russian ambassador to help in this campaign by delaying or cancelling a vote on the matter. Earlier today, I published a new column in Middle East Eye (MEE) which outlined the case against Kushner.
Here’s how the Times laid out the context: Continue reading
During last few days, I met with two old friends: Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin.
Well, the term “friends” may not quite be appropriate. Certainly, Arafat called me “my friend” in a recorded message for my 70th birthday, but Rabin called nobody “friend”. That was not his character.
I am glad that I knew both from close up. Without them, my life would have been poorer.
I don’t think I ever met two more different people than these two. Continue reading
The Saudis may be holding the Lebanese Prime Minister hostage but their apparent plan to topple the Beirut government has gloriously backfired. Far from breaking up the cabinet and throwing Hezbollah’s ministers to the wolves, the Lebanese nation has suddenly woken up to what it’s like to be united – against the Saudis. The Lebanese government has announced that it does not accept the resignation statement which Saad Hariri was obliged to make in Riyadh, and overnight hashtags have appeared on several Beirut streets saying “kul na Saad” – “We are all Saad”. Even the Sunni Muslims of Lebanon are furious at their Sunni counterparts in Saudi Arabia. Continue reading