English Band Quraan Quraan Spreads Music to Bring Peace to Europe-Denounce ‘No Go Zones’

 ENTERTAINMENT  Comments Off on English Band Quraan Quraan Spreads Music to Bring Peace to Europe-Denounce ‘No Go Zones’
Jan 222015
 

English Band Quraan Quraan Spreads Music to Bring Peace to Europe-Denounce ‘No Go Zones’

By Zahra Ahmed

@theokranews

Quraan QuraanLondon—In the wake of the most recent violence in France, which has led some to falsely accuse the religion of Islam as the catalyst to international terrorism, a group of young Muslims has decided to fight back through the use of music and harmony. England’s new sensation, Quraan Quraan is sending a message through their melodic new indie wave sound that Islam is not the problem, but isolated lunatics are the main drivers of destruction.

Quraan Quraan (pronounced Qur-aan Qur-aan)who hails from Birmingham, decided to form the group almost a year ago, after witnessing social unrest particularly within London’s Muslim communities due to accusations from right-wing activists such as Tim Ablitt of the English Defense League and atheist Richard Dawkins of spreading sharia law and bloodshed. The rock trio stated that while they avoid intense confrontations against those who oppose the viability of Islam, propaganda machines which create any form of racism and discrimination have to be stopped. Quraan Quraan referred to recent remarks from Louisiana Governor and fellow coconut Bobby Jindal on alleged ‘No Go Zones’ in which Muslim neighborhoods were autonomously governing themselves, as a massive lie and smear campaign towards Islam in the West.

“We’re using music to spread the word to the masses that we’re cool people and we don’t support any type of attacks on anyone from anyone,” said drummer and song-writer Haithum Al-Mansouri. “We want everyone to get along and we’re dedicating our songs for peace.” Quraan Quraan came up with the name from the love they had for legendary band Duran Duran (who ironically are also from Birmingham), and allegedly not from the Imam at their local mosque who had a speech impediment by repeating certain words twice.

While music has been considered forbidden in Islam by many scholars, most Muslims with brains and common sense have supported it for many years. The evolution of upcoming Muslim bands in the genres of jazz, hip-hop and rock music became inevitable with the rise of Hall of Fame musical artists, Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam. Quraan Quraan feels they are continuing on the tradition of artists such as Peter Gabriel, U2 and Paul Simon by conveying social issues and advocating peace through their music.

“We’re certainly not the first band to cry out for justice,” said Waleed Amjad, 27, bassist for the band who begins their European tour next week in Berlin. “But we’re going to make sure that Muslims get their voices heard through our songs.” Their debut song “Hungry for Al-Mulk” is set to release on January 30th.

 

Ben Affleck Converts to Islam after Maher Debate According to Reports

 ENTERTAINMENT, RELIGION  Comments Off on Ben Affleck Converts to Islam after Maher Debate According to Reports
Oct 092014
 

Ben Affleck Converts to Islam after Maher Debate According to Reports

By Taaraz ‘TJ’ Zakhif

@TheOkranews

#Gonegirl

AP REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER A ENT USA CABoston (MA)—Reports actor and director Ben Affleck has converted to Islam generated uncanny social media applause and rave throughout the Muslim community despite no confirmation from a credible source.

Affleck, who last week went head to head on the topic of Islam and extremism with comedian, critic and all-around Islam hater Bill Maher on his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher, never acknowledged himself as a Muslim. But by sporting a scruffy beard and using frequent hand gestures to make a point as is common in many Middle Eastern countries, rumors quickly swirled the 42 year-old celebrity had taken a new leap of faith. Muslims organizations took little time in proclaiming the exciting but unsubstantiated news.

“We are so thrilled Ben has decided to become a Muslim!” said ISNA public relations manager Talha Badwani. “Bill thought he was going to pull a fast one on our brother, but Hadrat Affleck kept them in check. How you like me now?!”

The Affleck-Maher debate has become the latest trend streaming through the Internet. Intense  coverage complimented with thousands of comments have been posted on a myriad of media outlets reacting to Maher’s fiery negative rhetoric on Islam which did not subscribe to his liberal platform . Affleck refuted passionately and sharply towards Maher’s remarks as well as other guest and critic Sam Harris, who called Islam “the motherlode of bad ideas.”

“What is your solution? To condemn Islam?” Affleck later questioned Maher and Harris, atheists known for ridiculing religion, but particular fondness of verbally abusing a religion of over 1 billion followers. For many Muslims, Affleck echoed a voice of reason which somehow snowballed into gossip of his conversion ad swiftly made its ways from community centers to mosques throughout the country.

“We’re pretty sure he became a Muslim as of last week,” said Imam Feisal Ataullah of the Islamic Center of North Texas in Richardson, TX. “70% of the non-Muslims who speak with such emotion are always a Muslim.”  While that made no sense, Affleck, who starred in such movies as The Town, Argo and Good Will Hunting for which he won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay had also studied Middle Eastern affairs at Occidental College. To Ataullah the trivial knowledge of his education was just the cherry on top in his assumption Affleck had turned to Islam.  “Yeah I know he hasn’t taken the shahada (Islamic creed declaring the belief in one God), but come on, he’s so damn close!”

At least one news service wasted no time in declaring Affleck a Muslim. On the October 7th edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy and guest Dr. Zuhdi Jasser accused Affleck for “for arguing against charges that Islam is uniquely prone to violence and extremism,” referring to him as “Imam Ben Affleck.” As Jasser, a cardiologist, founder of the American Islamic forum for Democracy and a terrific asshole despised by the Muslim community wanted to denigrate Affleck, he ironically added more gasoline to the Affleck conversion suspicions which to some made it official.

“Never in a thousand years would I ever believe Fox,” said Maher Siyaf, Director of Outreach Development for Orange County Islamic Foundation.  “But this is too juicy to not believe. We love you Ben!”

Affleck’s publicist Ken Sunshine has denied any truth to the rumors of him becoming a Muslim, calling it yet another stunt by social media to rile society into more controversy. But he also didn’t deny another report which claims Affleck will be opening for Cat Stevens on his Winter tour later this year. Sunshine stated Affleck hasn’t made a decision.

Breaking News: Tariq Ramadan agrees to attend ISNA Convention pending changes

 POLITICS, RELIGION  Comments Off on Breaking News: Tariq Ramadan agrees to attend ISNA Convention pending changes
Aug 282014
 

Breaking News: Tariq Ramadan agrees to attend ISNA Convention pending changes

Tariq Ramadan in TV debate on minarets in SwitzerlandLast month, Dr. Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Islamic scholar and leader from Switzerland, surprised Muslims in North America with a public announcement. In an open letter, he noted that he would not attend either the ISNA or RIS Conventions this year due to concerns he had with each organization. Dr. Ramadan explained his positions in the form of a public letter. ISNA responded back to his concerns, which focused  mostly on their stances on domestic and foreign policy. It was rumored that there might be discussions between the two parties to reconcile these, as well as several other smaller issues, that bothered Dr. Ramadan about ISNA. Using it’s extensive global resources, the Okra staff has obtained private correspondence between both sides. Dr. Ramadan has agreed to attend this year’s convention pending certain conditions. Below is an excerpt:

Change Themes.  Let’s start with your convention theme. Do you guys really think anyone pays attention to this stuff?  I’ll give $100 right now to anyone who can name the last five years themes without searching. Look, the conference is identical every year. Why make up an illusion like people are changing the world every time they register for the ISNA Convention? Keep it real. Here’s a suggestion. If you want to make it dramatic, just use Roman Numerals like the Super Bowl. ISNA XIV. Classy.

Better Entertainment. Hey, I’m all for good, clean fun, but it doesn’t have to be lame.  Some of the comedians keep saying the same jokes every year, and they weren’t funny to begin with. Does “how many ways to say Assalamu Alaikum” sound funny to you?  As for the music, does everyone have to sing corny songs about Islam? Can’t we just enjoy quality music by Muslim performers that’s relatively wholesome?  I like the way my man, Cat, I mean Yousef Islam does it. “Peace Train” was sweet.

Better Questions. I have always valued sharing knowledge with those who pursue it. Yet, when I go to ISNA—actually Muslim event in America—I get strange vibes…like Muslims think I’m a rock star.  Groupies want photo ops to post on Facebook to say they know me. And then there are “The Poets” who gather after speeches amongst a small crowd of people to greet me. They pose as if to ask a question, but all they’re doing is trying to impress me and the crowd with some deep, fancy-worded, overly philosophical, abstract remark, which says nothing…except how deep they are. All they’re really showing is that they’re vain and must have recently studied for the SAT’s, based on their choice of obscure words. Lastly, there are the Seekers who want me to provide them with answers to all of life’s questions. Look, I’m happy to discuss geo-political issues and address some aspects of spirituality. But I’m not the Messiah and there’s no reason to hang onto every word.  Sometimes, I feel like making up stuff with random words—like Steve Martin in “Leap of Faith”—just to see how far it goes. I’d like personal assistants who can screen out all of the above. And Muslim Americans need to cut the hero worship. Creepy!

Follow Up Calls: You know, a lot of claims are made in these conferences. At seminars, workshops. and main events. By speakers, as well as some in the audience who gather after the program ends. So how many do anything after they get home? Is going to ISNA itself their idea of Islamic work or do they learn and apply things. I’d like follow up calls. Anyone who boasts about all the things they’re going to do should be on this list.

My Original Concerns. All the things I wrote about ISNA’s stances and being silent on critical issues are serious concerns. I appreciate the efforts you’ve made since my remarks. There’s still a lot more to do and we can discuss these…but I’ll work with you.