Archives for posts with tag: Muslims
In Majority-Muslim Bosnia & Herzegovina, a Small Jewish Community Still Thrives shares a message of hope coming from Bosnia & Herzegovina. We are all Americans – Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, etc. and should also be reminded of the Global Citizen in all of us.


Muhammad ‪#‎Ali‬‘s Humility, My Greatest Lesson

By, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey
Muhammad Ali observed, correctly: “It’s not the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out. It’s the pebble in your shoe.” The pebble is within us as is the desire to overcome the mountain. (–Read MORE –)

By, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey via “Huffington Post”
The best apology is to look frankly into the eyes of Srebrenica survivors and apologize but also offer all of BiH the welcome to the Euro-Atlantic family, for real.

Does Any Celebrity Amplify Cry of Rohingya?
Matt Dillon’s stepping into the vacuum is more than ever welcome as means to bring more attention to the desperate plight of the Rohingya, but also to emphasize that human rights are for all & a concern for all of us as global citizens when others are abused, especially with apparent impunity.


“I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the Twin Towers I’ve been beating them up,” was the rationale of woman who shoved a man to his death. Sunando Sen, the man killed, was apparently Hindu, and it is not explained what Hindus or for that matter the overwhelming majority of Muslims have to do with the terror attacks of 9/11. It appears the victim just looked Muslim, as he was from the Indian subcontinent originally. This last summer a gunman attacked a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin apparently harboring a similar hate towards Muslims. Sikhs wearing turbans was enough of a connection for this murderer.

The issue is not whether these pathetic murderers knew whom they were murdering. Rather, it reveals that they believed that claiming to kill Muslims as revenge for 9/11 would somehow transform them into heroes or at least make their actions more sympathetic to US law enforcement and public at large. More sophisticated haters may not be so blunt but nonetheless transparent. Several US soldiers have been accused of horrendous crimes including Staff Sergeant Robert Bales murdering a family, mostly young children/toddlers. Others have been accused of urinating upon dead “enemies.” The drone wars are executed in high secrecy, but the victims frequently have included children. As no official accountability for such decisions to strike is available for public or apparently judicial review, it is not possible to evaluate if decisions from commander to drone pilots and gunners are rationalized by real threats or simply prejudice and stereotypes.

Dehumanization has been an infectious by-product of conflict before 9/11. The spate of hate crimes directed at Muslims but affecting many who also appear to be Muslim may be indicative in what it reveals in the eyes of US societies most ignorant and/or mentally troubled – going after Muslims can be rationalized by patriotism and revenge for 9/11. After all, US Congresswoman and Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann along with more than a few colleagues has promoted special criteria for Muslim Americans to hold Government jobs. Some simply advocate that any observant Muslim should not be eligible for a Cabinet level position. The New York police have maintained extensive spying programs on mosques and Islamic related institutions – public denials in the face of evidence to the contrary indicate both bias contrary to American values and the willingness by highest law enforcement to engage in duplicity and perhaps illegality all rationalized by security concerns with 9/11 as backdrop.

To even the most ignorant of society, the message is clear, even beyond the official memo for public consumption. The bias goes beyond Muslims and takes on those who are viewed as different in many private and political discussions. Xenophobia is rising even as illegal immigration has dropped and the US economy and innovation also seeks the hardworking and creative from all countries. Every American has been an immigrant to someone else’s land, except the Native American. The debate around the then proposed “mosque near Ground-Zero” though allowed the venom to seep into the open under the cover of patriotism and/or sanctity.

From the recent murders of school children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown to the Oklahoma City Federal Building, bombings evidence that most terror crimes in the US are domestic born. Nonetheless, there is a tendency to blame the outsider for everything from crime to unemployment to breakdown in America’s social fabric. Such focus on the then perceived outsider as curse and problem has been a persistent scapegoat particularly for authority seeking ever more control over minds and actions – see Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union to former Yugoslavia to Iran. However, more open and democratic societies are not immune either. Perhaps the rage and murder directed by the most ignorant in the name of patriotism and/or revenge evidence that the underlying message is not so subtle, innocuous or consistent with true American values of tolerance and social, creative, political and economic prosperity via diversity.

Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey

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PHOTO Courtesy of


With US Presidential Election results dominating the headlines and information of displaced and suffering from Hurricane Sandy in mainstream US media, it was refreshing to see that another internally displaced group, Myanmar’s Rohingya, was featured in today’s New York Times article, “Charity Says Threats Foil Medical Aid in Myanmar.”

This past week has been a difficult one for many of us in New York and New Jersey as we battle out from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Personally, I know friends from both Staten Island and New Jersey who have lost their homes and all their possessions. I cannot imagine the displaced in another world where their fellow countrymen and government officials find distaste in the color of their skin.

Rakhine State, which borders Bangladesh, is an impoverished area of Myanmar, that is home to the ethnic Muslim Rohingya minority who are reviled by many in Myanmar and by the majority in Rakine State.  In June, a Buddhist girl was raped and murdered, resulting in now over 100,000 Muslims fleeing their homes to refugee camps. Another ethnic group, the Kaman Muslims, have also been forced from their homes. There is severe malnutrition in these camps, and malaria is widespread. Other groups not displaced are still cut off from healthcare, and there is fear violence could escalate to other areas of Myanmar.

Unfortunately, today’s news for the Rohingya worsens. Doctors Without Borders has been thwarted from delivering relief assistance to the Muslim Rohingya by radical Buddhist groups. Intense sectarian violence is pervading Rakhine State, and people are in urgent need of medical assistance from wounds sustained in the violence. Doctors Without Borders personnel fear for their own personal safety and have received direct threats for treating the Muslims.

“I’ve never experienced this degree of intolerance,” Joe Belliveau, the operations manager for Doctors Without Borders, said by telephone. “What we really need is for people to understand that giving medical aid is not a political act.”

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, there has been widespread deployment of Myanmar security forces to Rakhine State. The displaced fear the vacuum when troops leave the unstable area.

In yesterday’s news from UN News Centre, the United Nations food relief agency World Food Programme (WFP)  distributed food to more than 27,000 in Rakhine State. Said its spokesperson, Elisabeth Byrs, food will be delivered directly to refugee camp communities, dispatched primarily by boat for logistics practicality.

At least 89 people have been killed and 35,000 displaced since the upsurge of inter-communal violence a fortnight ago. More than 5,300 houses and religious buildings have been destroyed, according to UN estimates.

At the news briefing, Ms. Byrs also noted that WFP urgently requires $11 million to cover the food needs of 100,000 displaced people for the next six months, as well as to ensure food can be purchased now and delivered in time.

Without a strong, immediate donor response, WFP would be forced to start cutting rations to the displaced by December, she stressed, adding that the agency will continue to work closely with the Myanmar authorities and local governments to ensure access to the most vulnerable populations.

President Thein Sein faces many challenges, leading a country out of military dictatorship and a repressive grip on its minorities, including both Muslim and Christian ethnic groups.  Several years ago, Myanmar’s Ambassador to Singapore was quoted as describing the Rohingya as “ugly as ogres,” that they didn’t look anything like Burmese, being darker.  I ask you to take a look at the picture of children in the Thea Chaung IDP Camp in Rakhine State provided by OCHA. All I see are incredibly beautiful children that should capture the world’s attention, respect, and love.

Susan Sacirbey

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Blog Report: CHARGE OF TERRORIST TO JUSTIFY ALL? By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey
If you want to indict your enemy for blasphemy & sentence them to death or at least banishment from human rights, then accuse them of terrorism. Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister & sometimes Foreign Minister, Walid Al-Moualem, took platform of UN General Assembly to accuse opposition as a whole of terrorism.

“Deliberate & obnoxious acts of this type should be deprived of the oxygen of publicity,” according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay. “Given what happened last week, & fact people are being killed, Charlie Hebdo is doubly irresponsible to publish these cartoons. We agree with Ms. Pillay that best strategy is to ignore such fringe products.

Blog Report: DOES US OWE APOLOGY TO MUSLIMS? By Ambassador Mo
At least not over a cheap, base film produced by a hateful Christian pastor based in Florida. As a film critic, one might ban the film, but US tradition is to maximize free speech. I would as a Muslim find it troubling if US Government encroached any further into limiting free speech after recent efforts to silence WikiLeaks or prosecute persons under theory of material support for terrorism.


Most stories about Jews & Muslims seem to either start about “conflict” or end with punch-line to a joke. So it is a good story especially as Ramadan ends & Eid begins to hear/see a story that defines shared humanity, giving, appreciation, & what best exhibits mutual respect but also for Supreme Being. –MORE–