Faheem Younus

Faheem Younus

The writer is clinical associate professor at University of Maryland School of Medicine, USA. The author can be followed @Faheem twitter.com/#!/FaheemYounus

Why there is no moral reason for the US to attack Syria

American inconsistency on the use of chemical weapons makes it difficult to convince a bunch of teenagers — much less the US Congress Mr Obama, you and I having a similar challenge: selling a military strike against Syria as a “moral imperative.” But we have different audiences. Your constituents come from all parts of the country; mine from different parts of the world. Yours are driven by myriad interests; mine are simply seeking justice. Yours are young and old; mine are mostly teenagers. You call yours, “the US Congress.” I call mine “the Younus family.” Mr Obama, my nephews and nieces, who live ...

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Dear CNN: Lailat al-Qadr is not a ‘security risk’

I was putting my shoes on, leaving for my evening prayers, when my phone buzzed with a text: “Saw a CNN byline linking ‘Night of Power’ to the recent terror alert. Talk of sensationalism.” You know how it goes. The story was largely accurate – prompted by fears of a terrorist attack, in an unprecedented move on Sunday; the US closed 21 embassies  across the Middle East and North Africa. Add a strategically implanted – and inaccurate -analysis by CNN’s Peter Bergen, who alleged that Sunday was the “Night of Destiny”, making it an auspicious occasion for al-Qaeda extremists to die. Social media dies for ...

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Who will end the anti-Muslim discrimination: The White House or the “Right” House?

This is the story of two Washington Iftar dinners. First, the Israeli Ambassador, Michael Oren, invited Muslim leaders to a diplomatic Iftar dinner last week and Imam Antepli of Duke University wondered aloud if the event was meaningful. Then the Obama administration invited Muslim leaders to the White House Iftar dinner and Omid Saifi, the Islamic studies professor from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, called to boycott it. It’s obvious that we, the American Muslims, are struggling to identify the right posture: Boycott, and you sever a diplomatic tie; attend, and you are seen as the “enemy’s” ally. While I empathise with the demands laid out ...

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Another Ahmadi venture under fire: When will we learn?

Teacher to Akram and Aslam: You both failed the test because you were late for class. Why were you late? Akram: Sir, I was busy looking for my atthani which I lost on my way to school today. Teacher: What is your reason Aslam? Aslam: (Sheepishly): Sorry sir, but I was standing on top of his atthani, hiding it. Reading such knock-knock jokes on the last page of The Lahore is one of my fondest memories of growing up in Lahore. At the age of ten, honestly, I could not comprehend the literary, cultural and political content of the magazine. So of course, I was surprised to read that such an innocuous magazine ...

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Whose Islam is it anyway?

Billa was his nick name. An uneducated Christian boy, who used to clean sewer lines, remove garbage, and on a good day, play cricket with us on the streets of Lahore. I fondly remember how he could hit the ball out of the park and make the team proud. But my life in Pakistan was rife with contradictions. At jumma prayers, the team heard Islamic stories of equal treatment of non-Muslims and a few hours later, despite taking a bath, Billa would dare not shake hands with us, let alone eat on the same dinner table. Thanks to cricket ...

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Why ban cousin marriages in America?

Cousin marriages – while common in Muslim societies – are a big taboo in the US. In fact, 25 US states actually ban such marriages. And the Muslim youth, inadvertently, is buying into this idea. On the contrary, acceptance for same-sex marriage is gaining such popularity that President Obama invoked gay rights in his inaugural address. My advice; never go to a barber shop in America while you are still mulling over such controversial topics because your mind may sputter a question like, “Why do we smother the discussion on the topic of first cousin marriages?” And you may get a response like, “Well, you don’t have to be an Einstein to know ...

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Longing for an Arab-Israeli spring

Plato may have inadvertently summed up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 2,500 years ago when he is thought to have declared: “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” The cyclical bloodshed in the Arab-Israeli conflict is a direct consequence of the rigid postures of the jaded and faded leaders on both sides. On one end, we have the Palestinian codgers – with thick accents and thin visions – vowing for the annihilation of the Zionists. They know it’s impossible. And on the other are the ...

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Violent protests: Islam taught us better

Sir, it was 1995, North Medical Ward of Lahore’s Mayo Hospital, where you famously said in your English-Punjabi accent, “Putter ji, batti uthay balo, jithay hanaira howay” (Son, light a candle where it’s dark). You didn’t want your students to go abroad after completing medical school. You wondered what difference we will make in America, where, compared to Pakistan, there were abundant doctors; where there was so much light. I left, however, as I had no choice, sir. Yet you had a point ─ a point that haunted me whenever I earned a new degree, another publication, or an accolade. For years, the ...

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Don’t throw acid on the face of Islam!

I bet you didn’t know these two recent stories: A 49-year old female in New York suffered burns on more than 50 percent of her body because her father poured acid on her face and body. A 29-year-old female in Montreal suffered burns on more than 70 percent of her body. Why? Her boyfriend doused acid on her face during a fit of anger, literally melting her skin away. You didn’t know these stories because acid attacks are pigeonholed as a ‘Muslim problem’. And in these cases, neither the victims, nor the assailants, were Muslims. It is suggested that 99.9 percent of such attacks occur in the Muslim culture. Check out ...

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Not all Republicans are Islamophobes but all Islamophobes are Republicans

The straw man of the famous post-Sept. 11 slogan, “Not every Muslim is a terrorist but every terrorist is a Muslim” was debunked by a 2005 FBI report. It showed that only six percent of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil from 1980 to 2005 were carried out by extremists calling themselves Muslims. But one group has sustained the Islamophobic rhetoric, nonetheless. So I wonder if Muslims would rally outside the Republican National Convention this week carrying a banner stating, “Not all Republicans are Islamophobes but all Islamophobes are Republicans” Trust me. The data supports it. A new poll conducted by the Arab American Institute asked the attitudes of voters, ...

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