Friday, August 31, 2007
I like the color orange. It has this vibrancy that brings out emotions of joy, happiness, life and living. The way Orange makes me feel attracts me to the color even more. I prefer subdued hues, but orange is one of those colors that just attracts attention. Imagine had Arabic not influenced European culture the way it had we would be referring to Orange as geoluhread- roughly translated as "in between yellow and red."
(CW)Orange also represents Hinduism in India and Sri Lanka, the Dutch have it as a state color and here in the United States Orange is a familiar sight because we always seem to be on Orange State of Alert from the Department of Homeland (in)Security(CW) that is every time Chertoff has bowl movements.
There I go again, honestly, I promised I would refrain from being politically conscience, that now on my blog would be neutral and totally free from anything social or political. I mean (CW) Mr. CAIR-Watch had won his battle against me (CW). Kaufman scared the bejibbers out of me and I was going to lay low.
My dear friends who contacted me and provided me with advise on dealing with this situation, I am sorry to let you down. I know you all meant well. But you have to understand that THIS IS WHO I AM.
If Joe Kaufman and his Nazi ilk can carry out a smear campaign against me and other Muslims to marginalize and scare them into silence what do you think he thinks of Muslim who are neutral and silent already? He has nothing but despise and hatred for all Muslims. It was Kaufman that stated there are no Moderate American Muslims. So you think he will rest easy when all those who dare to speak out against his hatred stop doing so?
Listen we are not guests in this country. We are AMERICANS. It is time we start acting like Americans. We have nothing that bars us from melding our two identities together- we are American Muslims and lets act like it.
I understand your concern when you say that he is trying to manage a certain type of response and that I should not give him that opportunity. That in the emotional state that such a smear campaign might bring about I should lay low and play it safe.
There is no playing it safe. Me laying low is not being safe, its playing with matches surrounded by tons of hay in a barnyard 100 miles away from water. That is the danger of being silent. Muslims are on the cusp of history and we must not allow ourselves to be judged in future as being silent when the times demanded that we stand up for our rights and our liberties for all Americans, in the face of a country griped with hysteria willing to sacrifice the very freedoms and rights that make this place so great because of a few narrow minded extremists. We must not stand on the sidelines or else we will do a great injustice to all Americans.
This is our test, it is our burden and we are not alone. This is not us against everyone. This is America against those who breed fear, hate and extremism- in this case it is the likes of Kaufman.
As some of you may be aware, we learned late last week that the Transportation Security Administration has changed its airport screening procedures as of August 4, 2007. The sudden change in policy includes, as we understand it, mandatory secondary screening for all travelers wearing any form of headgear - including religious headdress. In addition, secondary screenings of religious headdress are now permitted even if a passenger has already been cleared by a metal detector.
Millions of Sikh, Muslim, South Asian, and Jewish passengers worldwide will be affected by the new process. Still, the TSA not only sprung this on our communities without warning, but now refuses to inform the public of what the new policy entails, on the grounds of security concerns. It took Sikh Coalition staff members almost 36 hours simply to get a confirmation that the policy had indeed been changed, let alone details of the new procedure.
To ensure that our community was not taken by surprise, as we were last week, the Sikh Coalition sent out the attached advisory to our listserv this weekend. We have also included guidelines on what people can do if they are asked to submit to a heightened search of their turbans / religious headdress. As discussed in the advisory, we hope to have more information on this issue in the coming days, and certainly before the end of this week.
Once we have had a chance to review any information we receive from the TSA/DHS, we may be calling on all of you to join us in fighting this policy change. We will let you know as soon as possible what that might entail. In the meantime, should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 212.655.3095 (ext. 84).
Advocacy Director / Staff Attorney
The Sikh Coalition
Anne Remley, left, and Linda Wotring, both of Ann Arbor, stand out in front of the People's Food Co-op on Fourth Avenue in Ann Arbor, with a photograph of two Palestinian women sitting a pile of rubble that once was their home. The pair are heading a group from Ann Arbor called B.I.G., Boycott Israeli Goods.
It all started last winter when a few shoppers noticed some Israeli couscous for sale.
They formed a group called Boycott Israeli Goods, stood outside the co-op and collected about 600 signatures of co-op members who believe the issue should be put to a vote. That was enough to force a referendum on the issue among the nearly 6,000 members.
BIG member Anne Remley said the campaign highlights the need to show resistance to Israel's military occupation of Palestinian land.
"We are inviting the members of the co-op to stand up for Palestinian human rights and to send that message to the government of Israel from the well-informed, ethical, caring people who tend to be co-op members," said Remley, a co-op member for 36 years.
An inspiring example of a grass-roots boycott movement against the illegal Israeli occupation in Palestine. Collectively, such small efforts make a big difference.
Above all, it's good to know that despite all the Zionist propaganda in the US, average Americans are catching on to the worldwide BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against the Apartheid State of Israel.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
"The outbreak is among the most serious signs yet that Iraqi health and social services are breaking down as the number of those living in camps and poor housing increases after people flee their homes. "The disease is spreading very fast," Dr. Juan Abdallah, a senior official in Kurdistan's health ministry, told a UN agency. "It's the first outbreak of its kind here in the past few decades."Read the rest of the story here: http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article2914413.ece
"There is a shortage of medicines to control the disease and the focal point [the source of the disease] hasn't been identified yet," Dr. Dirar Iyad of Sulaimaniyeh General Hospital told the UN News agency Irin. Ten people have already died and he expects more deaths to occur "over the next couple of days as victims are already in an advanced stage of illness."
Mr. Abraham H. Foxman, National Director
605 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10158-3560
Dear Mr. Lewy and Mr. Foxman:
On August 14 and 21, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued press releases that repeat its past defamatory assertions about the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), smearing the good name of an organization with a proud history of standing for justice and mutual understanding.
It is unfortunate that the ADL would employ rhetorical tactics that are used routinely by anti-Semites. These tactics raise questions about the sincerity of the ADL's stated mission to "secure justice and fair treatment to all citizens alike."
How can the ADL ensure fair treatment of fellow Americans if it demonizes and smears one of the leading Muslim organizations advocating for equal rights in our society? How can the ADL assure justice when it attempts to muzzle the First Amendment rights of American Muslims by smearing them for simply seeking to ensure that a leading Muslim charity receives a fair trial?
Your August 21, 2007, press release stated: "If CAIR truly repudiates acts of terror and murder, we would welcome a simple declaratory statement that no cause, no matter how just it may be, justifies the use of suicide killers, rockets or other means to target civilians."
Long before your demands for such a statement, CAIR had acted numerous times out of the convictions of our faith to condemn terrorism. Our condemnations against terrorism pre-date September 11, 2001.
A little research would have revealed a CAIR-coordinated 2005 fatwa, or Islamic juristic opinion, that states in part: "All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam. It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence. It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians."
Also, our 2004 " Not in the Name of Islam" online petition states: "No injustice done to Muslims can ever justify the massacre of innocent people, and no act of terror will ever serve the cause of Islam."
We have consistently and persistently distanced Islam and American Muslims from terrorism and religious extremism. But the ADL has chosen to ignore all of our previous statements, choosing instead to make spurious claims about our motives and intent.
The ADL has profound misconceptions about CAIR. This is not surprising, given that ADL leaders have not met any of our national officers, nor have they had any interaction with our many local offices.
Contrary to the ADL's false assertions, CAIR is a mainstream American Muslim institution made up of ordinary people who serve our nation each day with distinction and pride.
Among our diverse leadership you will find doctors, engineers, teachers, businesspeople, homemakers, and public officials. Among our staff, you will find many whose families have called America home for generations. CAIR is rooted in the American experience of pluralism and is respected by the American Muslim community.
We ask that you visit our national office or a CAIR chapter, or spend time with us at any one of our many public events. Interact in a positive way with our officers, volunteers and supporters, and then judge what CAIR is all about. Use facts, not the propaganda or guilt by association that is so prevalent on the numerous Islamophobic websites that are anathema to our civilized society.
Read on our website a document titled "Demystifying the Urban Legends About CAIR" ( http://www.cair.com/urbanlegends.pdf) to find our answers to the many myths propagated by Muslim-bashers, many of whom profit from their insidious propaganda.
The ADL's press releases make a preposterous assertion that CAIR "can never be fully accepted in the Jewish community." CAIR is proud of its work and associations with many in the Jewish community and with many American Jewish organizations.
After speaking at a CAIR dinner, Shalom Center Director Rabbi Arthur Waskow (described by the Jewish Forward as one of the fifty most influential American Jews today) wrote: "Far from showing irreparable conflict between the Jewish community and CAIR, in fact the dinner showed that a seriously peace-committed part of the Jewish community can work with a seriously peace-committed part of the Muslim community, despite the existence of some violence-supportive people in both communities. That is the truthful and the important story."
Rabbi Jeff Sultar of Mishkan Shalom in Pennsylvania said: "We are inspired by the interfaith work that CAIR does, which serves to make all communities of faith stronger, and helps to address a serious gap in the understanding of Islam in the United States. As co-descendants of the legacy of Abraham, we fully support CAIR in its efforts to bring our shared values to the wider community... CAIR is doing the same kind of civil rights work and public education that Jewish communities had to do in the United States when the first wave of immigrants faced ignorance, intolerance and discrimination, and so we understand and support their efforts."
In the past, the ADL has been chastised by a federal judge for unfairly accusing others of anti-Semitism and settled a lawsuit for spying on Arab-Americans.
These are serious indiscretions on the part of the ADL. But that is not all; we have several other concerns and questions about the ADL, which we hope you will take the time to answer, much the same way we responded to your questions:
1. Ayaan Hirsi Ali has made polemical attacks against the teachings of Islam and the noble personality of Prophet Muhammad. Her writings and views reflect extreme ignorance about Islam, which is quite natural given her lack of scholarship about the faith. What was the motive behind and purpose of the ADL hosting such a personality?
2. Has the ADL ever issued a statement criticizing illegal settlement activities by Israel or condemning the results of Israel's brutal occupation policies so well documented in President Carter's book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid"?
3. Why did the ADL not criticize Israel's deliberate destruction of the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon or the killing of hundreds of Lebanese civilians using American weapons paid for with American taxpayer dollars?
4. Why, unlike CAIR, did the ADL not call for a cease-fire in Lebanon that would have prevented death and destruction on both sides?
If the ADL stops promoting noted Islamophobes and affirms the right of Americans to criticize the policies of any foreign country, including but not limited to Israel, without being demonized, then CAIR will welcome any opportunity to enter into dialogue. Such a move would allow us to explore ways in which we can work together to end discrimination and secure justice for all Americans.
The holy months of Ramadan and Tishrei will once again coincide this year. Let us use the holiness of these sacred months to enter into dialogue intended to raise Jewish and Muslim voices in America for the cause of peace and justice in the Middle East for all people of the region.
We await your response.
Parvez Ahmed, Ph.D.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I do not know what to make out of the video, besides that I was just laughing my head off at it. I am sure there is some truth in the parody. Props to Omar the Servite (LOL)
Monday, August 27, 2007
I realized that Muslamics got the Times Online Faith Central recognition for being a Readers Choice.
Which is great considering that we have not been around for that long, that our posts are limited due to the fact that all of us are either a) students, b) young professionals in demanding jobs, c) totally overworked and stressed out and finally d) think we can change the world overnight and get frustrated when our mom's tell us that we can't stay out past 11 pm because she gets worried about us and all the drunk drivers out there! Yes, I think that covers many of our sensibilities.
But look, Faith Central also gave recognition to Muslim Matters which is an amazing site to catch some of the buzz going on within the Muslim community! In fact, my friend over at the God Blog got recognized as well!
Is the Islamophobes choice to pick on a person a compliment? Is it a reminder of the importance of maintaining humility? Maybe it is an indication that your activism is on the right track. Better yet maybe it means you're not yet influential enough for them to think twice about picking on you. Or is it just because they like the pictures of you that are available online?
I don't know.
But nonetheless Mabroook to our very own Affad. Shaikh. Masha'Allah his work has caught the attention of the hate mongering folks at CAIR Watch.
Interesting story of a Bosnian woman and her fight to regain her land (excerpts below). However, it is also much more than that. It is also a story about governments taking responsibility and giving people back their rights. You cannot ask victims of oppression and occupation to just forgive, forget, and move on. The wrongs must be acknowledged and corrected, as much as possible, for the healing to begin.
Fata Orlovic's house is easy to find in the village of Konjevic Polje. It is the one with a large Serbian Orthodox church built in its front garden.
"I want them to remove the church and I want soil back on this plot of land," she tells me, furiously motioning towards what would have been her front garden.
Like many Muslims in the hills of eastern Bosnia, she was ethnically cleansed from the village during the war in the early 1990s.
When she returned to Konjevic Polje in 2000, she was outraged to find the church had been built on her land.
"If she doesn't get the church off her land you will never have a society that is governed by the rule of law," explains James Rodehaver, human rights director for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Sarajevo.
"It would mean a constant process of dealing with political crises and changes of political will. The legacy of the war would never be resolved."
Only the more nationalist Serbs still oppose Fata, and the government of the Bosnian Serb half of the country has said it will help find a solution.
"It doesn't bother me that it's a church," Fata explains. "It's where they worship and that is fine. I respect churches as much as mosques.
"But if they want a church they should just put it on their own land instead of mine. I respect all nations and religions, but I can't respect people building on my land."
Read on at BBC News
Saturday, August 25, 2007
I definately agree with John Pilger, the boycott movement against the Apartheid state of Israel is on a roll, and is not looking back.
Excerpts of his recent article below (I recommend reading the whole article):
And yet, what Nelson Mandela has called "the greatest moral issue of the age" refuses to be buried in the dust. For every BBC voice that strains to equate occupier with occupied, thief with victim, for every swarm of emails from the fanatics of Zion to those who invert the lies and describe the Israeli state's commitment to the destruction of Palestine, the truth is more powerful now than ever. Documentation of the violent expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 is voluminous.
The ethnic cleansing of Palestine is as much America's crusade as Israel's. On 16 August, the Bush administration announced an unprecedented $30bn military "aid package" for Israel, the world's fourth biggest military power, an air power greater than Britain, a nuclear power greater than France. No other country on earth enjoys such immunity, allowing it to act without sanction, as Israel. No other country has such a record of lawlessness: not one of the world's tyrannies comes close. International treaties, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, ratified by Iran, are ignored by Israel. There is nothing like it in UN history.
But something is changing. Perhaps last summer's panoramic horror beamed from Lebanon on to the world's TV screens provided the catalyst. Or perhaps cynicism of Bush and Blair and the incessant use of the inanity, "terror", together with the day-by-day dissemination of a fabricated insecurity in all our lives, has finally brought the attention of the international community outside the rogue states, Britain and the US, back to one of its principal sources, Israel.
The swell of a boycott is growing inexorably, as if an important marker has been passed, reminiscent of the boycotts that led to sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Both Mandela and Desmond Tutu have drawn this parallel; so has South African cabinet minister Ronnie Kasrils and other illustrious Jewish members of the liberation struggle. In Britain, an often Jewish-led academic campaign against Israel's "methodical destruction of [the Palestinian] education system" can be translated by those of us who have reported from the occupied territories into the arbitrary closure of Palestinian universities, the harassment and humiliation of students at checkpoints and the shooting and killing of Palestinian children on their way to school.
Read on at newstateman.com
Friday, August 24, 2007
It may quite possibly happen therefore that you may read the Qur'an endlessly, turn its pages laboriously, recite its words beautifully, study it most scholarly, and still fail to make an encounter with it that enriches and transforms your whole person. For, all those who read the Qur'an do not profit from it as they should. Some remain unblessed; some are even cursed.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
An excellent article on the Pentagon's support of Evangelical brain washing of US troops (props to the LA Times for publishing it). The article is co-authored by Michael Weinstein and Reza Aslan (author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam - a book which I'm still trying to find the chance to read). Excerpts below:
Maybe what the war in Iraq needs is not more troops but more religion. At least that's the message the Department of Defense seems to be sending.
Last week, after an investigation spurred by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Pentagon abruptly announced that it would not be delivering "freedom packages" to our soldiers in Iraq, as it had originally intended.
What were the packages to contain? Not body armor or home-baked cookies. Rather, they held Bibles, proselytizing material in English and Arabic and the apocalyptic computer game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" (derived from the series of post-Rapture novels), in which "soldiers for Christ" hunt down enemies who look suspiciously like U.N. peacekeepers.
The packages were put together by a fundamentalist Christian ministry called Operation Straight Up, or OSU. Headed by former kickboxer Jonathan Spinks, OSU is an official member of the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program. The group has staged a number of Christian-themed shows at military bases, featuring athletes, strongmen and actor-turned-evangelist Stephen Baldwin. But thanks in part to the support of the Pentagon, Operation Straight Up has now begun focusing on Iraq, where, according to its website (on pages taken down last week), it planned an entertainment tour called the "Military Crusade."
Apparently the wonks at the Pentagon forgot that Muslims tend to bristle at the word "crusade" and thought that what the Iraq war lacked was a dose of end-times theology.
American military and political officials must, at the very least, have the foresight not to promote crusade rhetoric in the midst of an already religion-tinged war. Many of our enemies in the Mideast already believe that the world is locked in a contest between Christianity and Islam. Why are our military officials validating this ludicrous claim with their own fiery religious rhetoric?
Read on at latimes.com
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Thanks to the people who showed this to me. Also what can you do? I mean lets get the draft going, and draft all the College Republicans first, even if they are medically exempt from military service. Lets Draft them first and send them over, maybe strap bombs on them and toss them out of the B-52's over Tehran? Will that work?
Monday, August 20, 2007
Bishop Martinus "Tiny" Muskens told Dutch television reporters this week that God did not care what he was called and suggested that people of all faiths refer to God as Allah to generate greater understanding and acceptance of Muslims.
He said Christians use the Arabic word for God in Muslim countries just as Spanish speakers call God "Dios" and German speakers pray to "Gott." While serving as a priest in Indonesia, where the primary language is Arabic, Muskens said he used the word "Allah" when celebrating mass.
"Allah is a very beautiful word for God," he said. "Shouldn't we all say that from now on we will name God Allah? ...What does God care what we call him? It is our problem."
Read on at ChicagoTribune.com
Upon arriving to the US, I was amazed at the number of people who did not know what the word "Allah" meant. Even worse, so many people had a completely wrong understanding of the term.
Although I do prefer the word "Allah" to "God", partly because the the first unlike the latter cannot be made plural nor can it be given a gender, and is thus more befitting of His Majesty, I still usually use the word "God" when communicating with non-Muslims in English because I think it really helps break down walls and stereotypes.
Thank you Bishop Muskens for taking the initiative to clarify. I hope your message is heard.
Friday, August 17, 2007
A Student’s Guide to Hosting Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week
October 22-26, 2007
The purpose of this protest is as simple as it is crucial: to confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat. Nothing could be more politically incorrect than to point this out. But nothing could be more important for American students to hear. In the face of the greatest danger Americans have ever confronted, the academic left has mobilized to create sympathy for the enemy and to fight anyone who rallies Americans to defend themselves. According to the academic left, anyone who links Islamic radicalism to the war on terror is an "Islamophobe." According to the academic left, the Islamo-fascists hate us not because we are tolerant and free, but because we are "oppressors."
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is a national effort to oppose these lies and to rally American students to defend their country.
Schools to date at which the David Horowitz Freedom Center will be organizing Islamo-Fascism Awareness Weeks
1. Penn State
2. Temple University
3. Pace University
4. Arizona State University
5. UC Berkeley
6. George Mason University
7. Columbia University
8. Emory University
9. Georgia Tech University
11. Dartmouth University
16. Depaul University
39. Cal State Northridge
109. Cal State Fullerton
and a full list of schools, visit: "Terrorism" Awareness
Thursday, August 16, 2007
"Know, dear son, that days are but hours, and hours are but breaths, and every soul is a container, hence let not any breath pass without any benefit, such as on the Day of Judgment you find an empty container and feel regret! Be aware of every hour and how it passes, and only spend it in the best possible way; do not neglect yourself, but render it accustomed to the noblest and best of actions, and send to your grave that which will please you when you arrive to it."
This world is transitory and our life therein but a moment borrowed, our breaths numbered, yet our indifference reckless. [Abu Bakr al Siddiq]
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
CARE, one of the world's biggest charities, is walking away from about $45 million a year in federal funding, saying American food aid is not only plagued with inefficiencies, but may hurt some of the very poor people it aims to help.
Its decision, which has deeply divided the world of food aid, is focused on the practice of selling tons of American farm products in African countries that in some cases compete with the crops of struggling local farmers.
"If someone wants to help you, they shouldn't do it by destroying the very thing that they're trying to promote," said George Odo, a CARE official who grew disillusioned with the practice while supervising the sale of American wheat and vegetable oil in Nairobi.
Under the system, the U.S. government buys the goods from American agribusiness, ships them overseas on mostly American-flagged carriers and then donates the goods to the aid groups. The groups sell the products in poor countries and use the money to fund their anti-poverty programs there.
"What's happened to humanitarian organizations over the years is that a lot of us have become contractors on behalf of the government," said Odo of CARE. "That's sad but true. It compromised our ability to speak up when things went wrong."
Read on at International Herald Tribune
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
MECCA, Saudi Arabia - These days it's easier to find a Cinnabon in Mecca than the house where the Prophet Muhammad was born.
The ancient sites in Islam's holiest city are under attack from both money and extreme religion. Developers are building giant glass and marble towers that loom over the revered Kaaba which millions of Muslims face in their daily prayers. At the same time, religious zealots continue to work, as they have for decades, to destroy landmarks that they say encourage the worship of idols instead of God.
As a result, some complain that the kingdom's Islamic austerity and oil-stoked capitalism are robbing this city of its history.
"To me, Mecca is not a city. It is a sanctuary. It is a place of diversity and tolerance. ... Unfortunately it isn't anymore," said Sami Angawi, a Saudi architect who has devoted his life to preserving what remains of the area's history. "Every day you come and see the buildings becoming bigger and bigger and higher and higher."
Abraj al-Bait is a complex of seven towers, some of them still under construction, rising only yards from the Kaaba, the cube-like black shrine at the center of Muslim worship in Mecca. "Be a neighbor to the Prophet," promises an Arabic-language newspaper ad for apartments there.
I was puzzled by the news story of a women who wears niqab not being able to find a job. While the right of a women to wear the Hijab- or the Niqab- is not in question; what I find troubling is the idea of a Niqabi feeling that she must work. I thought the Niqab was a total division of the women from her surrounding, that she wanted absolute control of who and how she is seen.
I see a Niqabi and truth be told, I see a bundle of cloth. I am sure there is some one behind it, but I do not see more then the religious statement that is being made. That is fine. Because the implication is that she is a devout Muslim sister. There are other ways to make money, if that is what she would like, then there are other ways:
"No one takes women with niqab in the retail sector," said Obeid who unsuccessfully applied for jobs at two retail outlets. She is now looking for back office administrative jobs where she believes she may have more chance of being employed.
Many devout women in the conservative Arabian Peninsula wear the niqab, but most Muslim clerics say women are only required to wear a head scarf.
I certainly do not see the niqab in that light, but again my question is why do women wearing the niqab feel obliged to seek employment in a mixed setting? That goes against the logic of the Niqab and it forces other people into a very peculiar position that is uneasy, tense and in my eyes unjust.
For some wealthy women in niqab, investing in the Dubai stock exchange has proven to be an alternative to a steady job.
"In the bourse, I am free. I can come to the market whenever I want and I have time to take care of my family," said Om Omar, who could not get a steady job. She said her friends, other housewives, invest large sums in the stock market.
"People think that if you wear the niqab you are stupid or narrow-minded," Om Omar said. "Wearing the niqab is a form of personal freedom. It's my choice."
Monday, August 13, 2007
Saudi Arabia makes first music video
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The first clip to be fully produced in Saudi Arabia has a message of a different kind: You can be cool and devout.
The video is unusual because it was made in a country where the religious establishment considers music un-Islamic and bans it in public places. And the main cast includes a Saudi woman, something rare in a work produced inside the kingdom.
But in a sign of Saudi impatience with the restrictions, "Malak Ghair Allah" or "You Only Have God to Count On" was a hit when it was launched at a popular mall in the western seaport of Jiddah last week. Hundreds of people showed up to watch it on a giant screen in the mall's main hall.
"You Only Have God to Count On" uses upbeat music to tell the story of a successful man who had strayed from the path of true Islam. He smokes, flirts with women even though he's engaged and doesn't join his colleagues at work in performing the five daily Muslim prayers.
Things slowly start to go bad: He has a flat tire and problems at work and his fiancee leaves him when she sees him talking to another woman. He then has a serious accident while recklessly driving his motorcycle. After he recovers, the man starts to pray, stops smoking, wins back his fiancee and excels at work.
"I wanted the youths to understand that it's not the looks that count. It's what inside that matters," al-Khatib said.
"The video also has this message: Don't give up and think, 'I sinned, therefore I'm going to hell,'" the director added. "Think that there's a God and he is always there to help you."
Friday, August 10, 2007
A Dutch member of parliament has called for the Quran to be banned in the Netherlands, describing it as a "fascist book" which calls on people to kill non-believers and rape women.
In his letter, Wilders compares the Muslim holy book to Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler's autobiography, and said the Quran has "no place in our constitutional state".
"I have been saying this for years: there is no such thing as a moderate Islam," Wilders wrote.
"I am fed up with Islam in the Netherlands: no more Muslim immigrants allowed. I am fed up with the worship of Allah and Muhammad in the Netherlands: no more mosques," his letter concluded.
What was the reaction of the Dutch Muslim community?
But Ayhan Tonca, chairman of the Dutch Muslim Contact Group argues that Mr Wilders should be ignored.
”This is a ridiculous idea. There is not much news at the moment so he is trying to create some,”he said.
Thankfully, the Dutch government's response was swift and firm:
The Dutch government swiftly condemned Wilders’ remarks as damaging for community relations in the Netherlands, and said the proposal was unworthy of consideration.
“It has to be perfectly clear that banning the Holy Quran in the Netherlands is not up for discussion for this government and will not be up for dicussion in future. We have freedom of religion here,” Integration Minister Ella Vogelaar said in a statement.
Vogelaar described Wilders’ call as “an insult to the majority of Muslims in the Netherlands and abroad who reject calls to hate and violence.”
It's scary how much hate, mistrust, and fear ignorance and racism can create.
Today, at over 138 million, Muslims constitute over 13% of India 's billion-strong population, and in sheer numbers are exceeded only by Indonesia's and Pakistan's Muslim community.
The community continues to have a paltry representation in the bureaucracy and police - 3% in the powerful Indian Civil Service, 1.8% in foreign service and only 4% in the Indian Police Service. And Muslims account for only 7.8% of the people working in the judiciary.
Indian Muslims are also largely illiterate and poor.
They are also poor - 31% of Muslims are below the country's poverty line, just a notch above the lowest castes and tribes who remain the poorest of the poor.
So why has the lot of Indian Muslims remained miserable after six decades of independence?
For one, it is the sheer apathy and ineptitude of the Indian state which has failed to provide equality of opportunity in health, education and employment.
This has hurt the poor - including the Muslim poor who comprise the majority of the community - most.
There is also the relatively recent trend of political bias against the community when Hindu nationalist governments have ruled in Delhi and the states.
Also, the lack of credible middle class leadership among the Muslims has hobbled the community's vision and progress.
Consequently, rabble rousers claiming to represent the community have thrust themselves to the fore.
But the failure to throw up credible leaders has meant low community participation in the political processes and government - of the 543 MPs in India's lower house of parliament, only 36 are Muslims.
The plight of Indian Muslims also has a lot to do with the appalling quality of governance, unequal social order and lack of equality of opportunity in northern India where most of the community lives.
I know very little about the Muslim community in India, so this article was an eye-opener for me. It is disheartening to know that there is a "lack of middle class leaderpship among the Muslims" in India, but I guess that makes the Indian Muslim community just like most other Muslim communities around the world (whether minority or majority).
This is even more reason for Muslims to take the first step, educate and involve themselves, and put their faith in action. Only then can we demand respect from the rest of the world.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Here is a clip of Mubaraka talking about her recent visit to the show where she talks about being a Muslim. I have not found the youtube clip of the show, this is in fact Mubaraka talking about how she got on to the show. She did an excellent JOB and I love the fact that she took this initiative.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
This American Muslims thoughts on the Turkish election.
This American Muslims thoughts on the Turkish election.
Nor do we have much in the way of democracy building in the Occupied Territories, where effectively we have destroyed the possibility of a Palestinian state, into three pieces- Gaza, West Bank and millions of refugees- by our refusal to take into account the will of the people, instead we have effectively stamped the will of the Palestinian people with a radioactive sticker.
Where does democracy stand? Well, the results in
Unfortunately in the past what we have seen is the unraveling of Middle Eastern countries because of the legitimate win or illegitimate stuffing of ballots by Western supported political parties against popular Islamic (Muslim) oriented parties.
The reason Al-Qeada has any message that is viable is because there is no access to Muslims in their countries to express the pent up frustration of lack of representation, growth and access to common, basic needs as well as rights. Al-Qaeda’s message is that Democracy, in any form, has no place in Islam and that political parties under Islamic sway carry no pull. These parties are thus just tools to appease the masses.
The Hamas win as well as the AKP election are examples that Al-Qaeda’s world view is not shared by all. If the West takes into account that part of the Al-Qaeda’s appeal is the lack of access to power and development then we are one step closer to understanding how Al-Qaeda can gain recruits. Now it is time for Muslims to really step up to the plate and recognizes that political involvement is possible, that it is viable.
This will discredit and undermine the Al-Qaeda worldview, but it will take more then just political involvement, it will also take campaigns to reduce illetracy, to decrease unemployment and to bring in development- and it will take an investment in cultivating religious understanding so that those who skew Islam to fit their agenda's (even though governments can skew Islam to fit their agenda's as well) are not able to access a population that is marginalized and illiterate when it comes to religious practice and principles.
What other movements and parties need to understand is best stated in this article:
Islamic movements and states must realize that what happened in Turkey has created a platform for measurement and a test for merit. The Islamic world will not be measured against a ceiling that stands lower than the Turkish level. Based on that, everything below that threshold is deemed aberrant and unacceptable.There is a lot of work yet to be done, but Democracy, Muslim style is still possible.
Monday, August 6, 2007
Muslims Welcome GOP Rejection of Threat to Attack Mecca
CAIR calls on Rep. Tancredo to retract, apologize for 'extreme' remarks
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 8/6/2007) - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed remarks by several Republican presidential candidates repudiating threats made by fellow White House hopeful Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) to attack Islamic holy sites.
The Washington-based Islamic civil rights and advocacy group also called on Tancredo to retract and apologize for remarks he made last week advocating threats to bomb the holy cities of Mecca and Medina as part of his proposed anti-terror policy.
SEE: Attacking Mecca Effective, Tancredo Says (AP)
SEE ALSO: Tancredo Defends Threat to Bomb Muslim Holy Sites (CNN)
In a statement issued today, CAIR said:
"The Republican candidates and the Department of State are correct in rejecting threatened attacks on Islamic holy sites as a deterrent to terrorists.
"Representative Tancredo's extreme and counterproductive proposal to threaten Mecca and Medina fails any reasonable test for strategic viability. It only serves to further damage our nation's interests and image in the Muslim world and will inevitably be used as rhetorical fodder by extremists.
"America's relationship with Islam and Muslims worldwide will be a central issue for the administration of our next president, whoever that may be.
"We call on Representative Tancredo to retract his inflammatory statements and to apologize for fanning the flames of international mistrust and hostility. We also urge every other presidential candidate to state how her or his leadership would win back the international support, particularly in the Islamic world, that America has lost in recent years."
During a Republican presidential debate in Iowa over the weekend, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson said, "I sincerely believe that bombing religious artifacts and religious holy sites would do nothing but unify 1 billion Muslims against us."
After the debate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said the idea is "appalling." Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) also said, "I wouldn't follow that."
SEE: GOP Candidates Go On Attack Over Bombing Remark (Rocky Mountain News)
Earlier in the week, Tom Casey, a deputy spokesperson for the State Department, said: "It is absolutely outrageous and reprehensible for anyone to suggest attacks on holy sites, whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish or those of any other religion." Casey called Tancredo's proposal "absolutely crazy."
SEE: Candidates' Remarks Bomb with State Department Officials (AP)
From The Cat's Blog
Today ZNet offered its progressive readers two interesting articles; one by Cindy Sheehan and the other one by Amy Goodman. Good articles. They make sense and light important aspects of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I can only hope that people reading these two articles can also remember (better: guess) that there are 1 million Iraqi killed by this illegal, immoral war of aggression and a country completely destroyed.
The same with Afghanistan, where, day after day, the US and its allies keep slaughtering children, women, innocent people and these heroic actions of our boys and girls go unreported by mainstream media but also by many among the so-called alternative ones. Meanwhile what is called the anti-war movement’s policy makers close their eyes on that front, the just war.
What is called the "anti-war movement" doesn’t even consider to use the word “resistance” while we are presented, day after day, with the compassionate side of patriotism. As US peace movement’ spokesperson (by the way, by whom and when she was elected?) Phyllis Bennis recently wrote, “I don't think we gain strength by making sympathy with resistance fighters a demand of our movement.”
But that sympathy is always granted to the mass murderers, our troops.
Read on here
"Do you ever find yourself having a difficult time searching for an amazing lecture you heard on YouTube or Google Video? Did you remember the speaker but forgot the title of the speech they gave? Well have no fear, because Halal Tube is here! (Yeah that was corny, I know.)"
This website is just starting but it already has a whole bunch of Islamic lectures by amazing scholars: everyone from Anwar Al Awlaki to Zakir Naik.
Check it out!
Friday, August 3, 2007
By Richard Becker, Western Regional Coordinator, ANSWER Coalition
Friday, August 3, 2007
A crime against humanity committed by the occupying power
For the past 24 hours, Baghdad has had virtually no running water.
Major parts of the city of six million people have lacked running water for six days, while daily high temperatures have ranged from 115 to 120 degrees. The tiny amount of water dripping through the pipes is causing many of those who must drink it to suffer acute intestinal illness.
According to reports, not enough electricity is available to run Baghdad’s water pumps. This in a country with vast energy resources.
Corporate media outlets—to the extent they have reported this horrific and mind-boggling story at all—have treated it as a failure on the part of Iraqis.
In reality, it is an appalling war crime committed by the occupying power, the U.S. military. It threatens the lives of tens of thousands of people in the short term and unthinkable numbers of people unless it is rectified immediately.
According to Article 55 of Geneva Conventions (1949) to which the U.S. government is a signatory: "To the fullest extent of the means available to it the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate."
Article 59 states: "If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal."
To say that a huge city deprived of running water is "inadequately supplied" would rank as one of the great understatements of human history.
Of course, the shortage of water—the most vital of all necessities—does not extend to the U.S. personnel and contractors occupying Iraq.
The U.S. government tries to relieve itself of its obligations by pretending that Iraq’s "sovereignty" was restored in June 2004. But that is just another hoax.
Since its illegal invasion and conquest of Iraq in the spring of 2003, the real state power in the country has been the U.S. military.
This latest catastrophe to afflict the Iraqi people is another poisonous fruit of imperialist occupation. Not even in the worst times during the U.S. blockade of Iraq from 1990-2003, did such a disaster occur.
The U.S. regime in Iraq must provide the people of Baghdad with relief in the short-term to avert unprecedented disaster. The U.S. occupation must come to an immediate end. The officials responsible for the terrible crimes committed against the Iraqi people must be held accountable. The U.S. government owes Iraq vast reparations for the death and destruction imposed on that society by an illegal war of aggression.
Endorse ANSWER DC and LA antiwar protests here
Endorse ANSWER Week of Student Resistance here
"Number 8 Brougham Terrace in Liverpool is a derelict semi-detached house. Its whitewashed facade is filthy, its front door scratched and swollen and its rear gates are covered in graffiti. Pigeons have made the roof their home. The condition of the interior is even worse. Large, orange rings of dry-rot fungus cling to the walls. Pieces of the roof are scattered across the floor.
There is little to suggest that No 8 Brougham Terrace is anything special. But underneath the dust and the mould is a building of extraordinary historical and social significance. This was Britain's first true mosque.
And following years of neglect, it could finally be about to receive the restoration treatment that, given its place in the nation's history, it surely deserves. The Bishop of Liverpool has called for action. The Saudi and Kuwait governments are interested in helping to fund a project that would cost £2.4m.
With Liverpool gearing up to be European Capital of Culture next year, the plight of the forgotten mosque is attracting attention again. That, in turn, has shed light on the astonishing character who founded it on Christmas Day 1889.
William Quilliam was a solicitor. But in late 19th century Britain there was no other solicitor quite like him. He is said to have appeared in court wearing Turkish ceremonial dress. Others claim he travelled through Liverpool on a white Arab horse, or that he was descended from a first lieutenant who fought with Nelson at Trafalgar.
Such stories may well be apocryphal, yet Quilliam was a man whose life needs no embellishing. Few religious figures have championed their faith the way the man who became Sheikh Abdullah Quilliam did. He did so despite often facing hostility from his own countrymen. He was made the Sheikh of Britain by the last Ottoman emperor, converted hundreds to his religion, and was honoured by the Sultan of Morocco, the Shah of Persia and the Sultan of Afghanistan. The mosque at 8 Brougham Terrace was his crowning achievement."
Read on here.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
A problem that we face now in the West in the House of Islam is the rise of a liberal current clothed in an Islamic discourse that pretends to be a da’wah to ijithad and revival. This da’wah, which has emerged in the West affirms “the Aims Of The Shar’iah” but has done so at the expense of textual support and without the support of a wholstic methodology that surveys Islamic texts globally. They are reading the source texts piecemeal and dismiss being informed by scholarly legal methodology [Usul al-Fiqh] and tradition [scholarly experience.
This is why they raise issues that are non-starters they bring up issues about polygamy, womens’ rights, Islamic criminal law etc. in the name of a more humanistic read of Islam and according to the claim of being more in line with the spirit of the Qur’an. Not all that is said is problematic but this current would do well to first initiate itself in rigorous scholarly methodology rather than in sensationalist events and the discipline of debate.
The liberal discourse because it opened itself up to the philosophy of postmodernism that is the likes of Derrida, and Foucault and the school of Hermeneutics and literary criticism and other currents that claim to be tools of textual interpretation, would have the Muslim submit to cultural relativity prior to a thorough read of Islamic sources and literature [tradition].
The key here is not to engage the debate as it is a tool of mass distraction, the key is to focus on:
b.] To master Maqasid ash-Shar’iah studies to the degree we can
c.] To Learn how the sources of Islam well, both: The Qur’an, Sunnah and tradition in light of maqasid studies [ta’lil [wisdom, reasons, underlying purposes of Shar’iah and ta’dlil [textual evidence].
I tried looking for a good article about the original Mu`tazila to link to but could not find a decent one, sorry. Still, I think it's interesting the comparison Ust. Abdul Hussein draws between the "liberal da`wah" (a.k.a. progressive Muslim movement) and the Mu`tazila school of thought. Actually, I think the comparison gives the current "liberal dawah" movement too much credit, because in many cases I find that that movement comes nowhere close to forming a cohesive school of thought.
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, a 63-year-old once known as H. Rap Brown, was transferred after state officials decided his high profile status presented "unique issues" that the prison system could no longer handle, said spokeswoman Yolanda Thompson.
"No specific incident served as a trigger," said Thompson. "We assess our inmate population daily, and we assess the needs of our inmates. This is an ongoing case, involving the best interest of our overall population. And he's a very high-profile inmate."
Read the whole story at Jacksonville.com
For the some insight to on the whole Imam Jamil case/fiasco, check out this post.
I was not even aware of this, but a Capcom video game contained "Allah Akbar" repeatedly as a phrase in the game. CAIR had worked on bringing this to the companies attention after it had received complaints from numerous community members.
The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has announced that Capcom has removed what CAIR calls a "common Islamic phrase" from Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure on the Wii. The phrase's removal comes following complaints from CAIR and others.
I guess as a Muslim a few things come to mind that need to be asked, because I personally would not have an issue with the inclusion of the phrase "Allah Akbar" For instance:
- Does the character say this when he accomplishes something great? Because normally this term is used when something good happens or when you find out something bad, so you say "God is Great" giving glory to God's greatness rather then to your own or lack there of.
- Is this happening in a song or some sort of dance? If so then maybe I do have a problem with it but to be honest Allah is like God and you hear that phrase all over the place in Arabic songs.
- What is the context? That will be critical in figuring out if I as an American Muslim have an issue with it- is it like Nike where they put the Arabic script on the shoe for the word that spelt out "God"- if its something like that then yes we have an issue.
I found this email posted on Nintendo's website that really seemed to sum up my thoughts on the issue:
As an avid Wii gamer, and point and click enthusiast, I was checking out this gametrailer vid of some of the new Zack and Wiki gameplay. Though I´m agnostic, I grew up in a Muslim family and visited Pakistan a number of times. Therefore, I can safely say that both 20 and 44 seconds into this clip, you can hear the island savages called into prayer with a sound clip of a Muslim call to prayer, “Allahou Akbar”, and then mimic the way of prayer.
Strange and slightly horrifying, I really hope that it is a temporary placeholder for an other sound. Even so, why was it there in the first place?
Then I found the video, so its time to take a look for yourself how its used:
After watching that, I am quite happy that they removed it. For the following reasons:
- The game looks like its sucks;
- The fact that its being used to depict something foreign and alien and when there is some sort of "Native American" rain dance- which in itself feeds off of two cultures belittling both at one time;
- Its not even used in an appropriate manner to say that what it means in Arabic and how its being used don't even match up so it serves really no purpose except to create or further the alien-ness of the situation.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
I oppose the proposed ten-year agreement between the United States and Apartheid Israel for $30 billion in U.S. military aid to Apartheid Israel. This military aid package, amounting to $3 billion per year, represents a 25% increase over the current U.S. annual military aid appropriation to Apartheid Israel of $2.4 billion. Apartheid Israel is already the largest recipient of U.S. military aid before the proposed increase.
Rather than increasing military aid, the United States should sanction Apartheid Israel by cutting off military aid to it for its continued violations of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and U.S. Foreign Assistance Acts.
The U.S. Arms Export Control Act prohibits foreign countries from using U.S. weapons against civilians or civilian infrastructure and limits their use to 'legitimate self-defense' or for 'internal security.' The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act states that 'no assistance may be provided under this part [of the law] to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights'.
Rather than use U.S. military aid for 'legitimate self-defense' or 'internal security,' Apartheid Israel relies upon it to prosecute its illegal 40-year old foreign military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip as well as it's altogether illegitimate existence. 'Gross violations of internationally recognized human rights' against Palestinians living under Apartheid Israel’s illegal military occupation have been well-documented by numerous Palestinian, 'Israeli,' U.S., and international human rights organizations, as well as by the U.S. government.
I urge you to take action to uphold the laws of the United States and hold Apartheid Israel accountable for its violations of U.S. law rather than provide it with additional military aid.
Thanking you in advance,
San Francisco, CA