By: Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad
In Aug 2011, Associated Press journalists Chris Hawley, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Matt Apuzzo began publishing a series of detailed reports exposing a decades long secret surveillance program. This program was engineered by the NYPD (with assistance from the CIA) to gather intelligence on entire Muslim communities. Operating under the auspices of the “Demographic Unit”, law enforcement spied on American Muslim citizens all along the Northeastern seaboard— from New Haven, CT to Philadelphia, PA. The extent and reach of this suspicion-less spying extended far beyond the boundaries of New York City; with local officials and police departments seemingly unaware that the NYPD was conducting such far-reaching clandestine activity outside of its jurisdiction.
This series of Associated Reports revealed the surreal and sordid details of a program that read more like a Hollywood Spy/Crime drama- filled with informants, undercover police officers (“rakers and mosque crawlers”), monitoring of masjids, bookstores, homes, cafés, halal meat markets, and other businesses. Muslim Students’ Associationswere also targeted for surveillance –including Yale MSA, City College of New York, Rutgers New Brunswick and UPenn MSA. NYPD informants infiltrated MSA student meetings, chat rooms, online forums and group outings. Based on information obtained by the Associated Press “Student groups were of particular interest to the NYPD because they attract young Muslim men, a demographic that terrorist groups frequently draw from. Police worried about which Muslim scholars were influencing these students and feared that extracurricular activities such as paintball outings could be used as terrorist training.”
In Episode 5 of ‘100 Muslims, 1 Question’ we asked this question to a few American Muslims and these are their responses. “What is your favorite food?”
In Episode 4 of ‘100 Muslims, 1 Question’ we asked this question to a few American Muslims and these are their responses. “What do you struggle with?”
In Episode 3 of ‘100 Muslims, 1 Question’ we asked this question to a few American Muslims and these are their responses.
In Episode 2 of ‘100 Muslims, 1 Question’ we asked some American Muslims about their aspirations and memories of Hajj. These are their responses.
In the first episode of ‘100 Muslims, 1 Question’ we asked American Muslims from all walks of life what is their favorite Name of Allah SWT. These are their responses.
By: Hamza Andreas Tzortzis
The inimitability and Divine authorship of the Qur’an
(for Non-Arabs or non-experts of the Arabic language)
Most of what we know is based on the say so of others. This holds true for facts that we would never deny. For many of us these truths include the existence of Amazonian Indian tribes, photosynthesis, ultraviolet radiation, and bacteria. Let me elaborate further by using your mother as an example. How would you prove to me – a perfect stranger – that your mother did in fact give birth to you? As bizarre as this question sounds, it will help clarify a very important yet underrated source of knowledge. Some might say “my mother told me so”, “I have a birth certificate”, “my father told me, he was there”, or “I have checked my mother’s hospital records”. These responses are not unfounded, however they are based on the statements of other people. Sceptical minds may not be satisfied. They may try and salvage an empirical basis for their conviction by using the ‘DNA card’ or by referring to video footage. The conviction that your mother is who she says she is, isn’t based on a DNA home test kit. The reality is that most of us have not taken a DNA test. It is also not based on video footage as you still have to rely on the say so of others to claim that the baby is actually you. So how and why are we so sure? This, admittedly quirky example, brings to light an important source of knowledge, testimony.