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Pulitzer Prize Winner Andrea Elliot Speaks on Rising anti-Muslim Sentiment

1 April 2011 General 7 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

By Michael Shammas
March 31, 2011

American Muslims are facing increasing amounts of public distrust and hate speech, said Andrea Elliott, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times.

Elliott gave a lecture titled “Islam in a Post-9/11 America” in the Sanford School of Public Policy Wednesday afternoon to discuss the challenges Muslims face assimilating into American society. She stressed that some Americans are starting to believe that terrorism and Islam are synonymous, even though Muslims have fought for, and even died in the service of, the United States.

“The perpetrators of [the 9/11] attacks were of course not Muslim-American,” she said. “And even though some of their victims were, and even though thousands of American Muslims later served in the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, this episode left many Muslims feeling they have lost their face in America to… fear and suspicion.”

The event was sponsored by the Duke Islamic Studies Center, the Duke University Middle East Studies Center and the Sanford Institute’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. After lecturing for nearly an hour, Elliott spent approximately 15 minutes taking questions from students and faculty in attendance.

Although 10 years have passed since the Sept. 11 attacks, Elliott said the amount of anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States has actually increased in the past few years. In August, a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that only 30 percent of Americans held a favorable view of Islam. Five years earlier, the statistic was 41 percent. The poll’s results are reflective of recent events, Elliot noted.

“Just last year we’ve seen the fight over the Islamic center near ground zero, the spread of grass-roots opposition to the use of Shariah [Islamic law] and the buildings of mosques elsewhere in the country and the recent congressional hearings focused on Muslims,” Elliott said.

The media has largely been blamed for this resurgence in negative sentiment, with critics asserting that too much of the media’s coverage has focused on terrorism, she said. But people who solely blame the media are ignoring other factors at work such as “the tone set by the Bush administration” and the immediate reaction to the 9/11 attacks, which gave Americans a “frenzied crash course” on the religion, Elliot added.

“[After 9/11], the press was scrambling to make sense of the attacks and a fringe interpretation of Islam [held by the hijackers] was at the center of the story,” she said. “[But] Islam in most of its vast complexity was a subject that most journalists, like most Americans, knew almost nothing about.”

Elliott spent the rest of her lecture discussing what she has learned about Islam from her own work. She described her experience reporting on the life of an imam in New York City—a three-part series called “An Imam in America” for which she won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize—and the forced resignation of Debbie Almontaser. Almontaser was a Muslim who created the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the first English-Arabic public school focusing on the study of Arabic language and culture, only to be accused of radicalizing her students by a recently-formed group called “Stop the Madrassa.” The accusations were baseless, Elliott said, but Almontaser was forced out and replaced by a “Jewish principal who spoke no Arabic.”

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7 Comments »

  1. ALLAH IN THE QURAN INSTRUCTS MUSLIMS TO FORCEFULLY CONVERT NON MUSLIMS TO ISLAM AND KILL AND OPPRESS THOSE WHO RESIST CONVERSION

    Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

    Quran (9:111) – “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: apromise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.”

    Quran (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

    Quraan (9:5). “fight and slay the pagans (or infidels or unbelievers) wherever you find them?”

    Quran (9:41) – “Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah! That is best for you if ye but knew.”

    Quran (9:73) – “O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.”

    Quran (9:88) – “But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.”

    Quran (66:9) – “O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.”

    Quran (61:9): “He it is who has sent His Messenger (Mohammed) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam) to make it victorious over all religions even though the infidels may resist.”

    Quran (2:191-193) – “And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution [of Muslims] is worse than slaughter [of non-believers]…and fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah.”

    Quran (2:244) – “Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.”

    Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

    Quran (25:52) – “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness…”

    Quran (47:3-4) – “Those who reject Allah follow vanities, while those who believe follow the truth from their lord. Thus does Allah set forth form men their lessons by similtudes. Therefore when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners,” Etc etc.

  2. sorry maybe you should read those chapters in their entirity , Islam is not a “high lighter” religion.

  3. Mate, if you quote ANYONE out of context, you can make it sound ANYTHING you WANT! Understand the context and post it with the context. Understanding and not hatred brings peace for ALL.

  4. will and or kevin, please share the content we need to know. (sorry i left my copy of “understanding the koran” at work)i think most of the 9th book quotes are dealing with one or all of the first three battles (badr, uhud and trench) with the Quraish. i’ve been told that verse 9:5 is actually a command to the angels, because muslims believe god sent them to fight in the battle of badr? but i have read the entire 24th surah “the light”. here’s how it begins and nothing ever says, just kidding about lashing people.

    ”A SURAN [this is] which We have bestowed from on high, and which We have laid down in plain terms;(footnote 1) and in it have We bestowed from on high messages which are clear [in themselves], so that you might keep [them] in mind. { verse 1 }

    AS FOR the adulteress and adulterer(2) – flog each of them with a hundred stripes, and let not compassion for them keep you from [carrying out] this law of God, if you [truly] believe in God and the Last Day; and let a group of believers witness their chastisement.(3){2}

    i.e., “the injunctions whereof We have made self-evident by virtue of their wording”: thus, according to Bukhari (Kitab at-Tafsir), Abd Allah ibn Abbas explains the expression faradnaha in the context (cf. fath al-Bari VIII, 361). The same explanation, also on the authority of Ibn Abbas, is advanced by Tabari. It would seem that the special stress on God’s having laid down this surah “in plain terms” is connected with the gravity of the injunctions spelt out in the sequence: in other words, it implies a solemn warning against any attempt at widening or-defining those injunctions by means of deductions, inferences or any other considerations unconnected with the plain wording of the Qur an.
    The term zina signifies voluntary sexual intercourse between a man and a woman not married to one another, irrespective of whether one or both of them are married to other persons ornot: hence, it does not – in contrast with usage prevalent in most Western languages – differentiate between the concepts of “adultery” (i.e., sexual intercourse of a married man with a woman other than his wife, or a married woman with a man other than her husband) and “fornication” (i.e. sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons) For the sake of simplicity I am rendering zina throughout as “adultery”, and the person guilty as “adulterer” or “adulteress”, respectively.

  5. sorry looks like my footnote #s didn’t paste. the second footnote starts with the sentence The term zina….

  6. looks like the muslims in bangladesh just highlight islam too. but than again maybe they aren’t taking anything out context. the koran holds women as half to men throughout. so if the koran is “divine writ”, the propesters are the rightous ones? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12950866
    [4.11] Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females; then if they are more than two females, they shall have two-thirds of what the deceased has left, and if there is one, she shall have the half; and as for his parents, each of them shall have the sixth of what he has left if he has a child, but if he has no child and (only) his two parents inherit him, then his mother shall have the third; but if he has brothers, then his mother shall have the sixth after (the payment of) a bequest he may have bequeathed or a debt; your parents and your children, you know not which of them is the nearer to you in usefulness; this is an ordinance from Allah: Surely Allah is Knowing, Wise.

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