Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Pope pushing a Clash of Civilization

Last year on my blog I wrote about the Pope and my thoughts on his comments last year. I think that given the current statements about to be released regarding a conversation a Pope had regarding the "Islamization of Europe" and the threat that Muslims pose to a Christian Europe, I can see that the current Pope is only living up to the rise of extremism that all religions face these days. Its just now instituationally recognized with the appointment of this Pope.

Pope Benedict XVI's private secretary warned of the Islamization of Europe and stressed the need for the continent's Christian roots not to be ignored, in comments released Thursday.

"Attempts to Islamize the west cannot be denied," Monsignor Georg Gaenswein was quoted as saying in an advance copy of the weekly Sueddeutsche Magazin to be published Friday.

"The danger for the identity of Europe that is connected with it should not be ignored out of a wrongly understood respectfulness," the magazine quoted him as saying.

That is the problem. Europe had no issue spreading its culture across the world, but when it comes to the cross fertilization of European culture there seems to be a FEAR. I laugh at the backwardness of people who are so close minded and narrow. It reminds me of people yelling and screaming "Death to America"- yet they are willing to reap the economic benifits that America has to offer. This is a not a good development from a Pope who has already positioned himself opposed to another World Religion.

Monday, July 30, 2007

An American Muslim in the UK


As I finished packing for my trip to England, I was resigned to the idea that the airport would most likely not be a pleasant place to begin my journey - I knew there would be the requisite suspicious looks, "random checks" and blatant fear and/or hostility on some of the fellow passengers' faces. It was a pessimistic perspective to take when beginning my vacation, I knew, but as someone that travels every year, I was used to the atmosphere.

When we stopped over in Seattle for a few hours, it was a surprise - a happy one - to see the many Muslims working at the airport. Their friendly, cheerful faces made the stop-over pass quickly, as I felt a sense of ease amongst people who understood what flying while Muslim felt like.

Arriving in Manchester was like stepping into another world, however. Muslims everywhere. Not only were hijabs common, but I saw people walking around in thobes, jilbabs and niqaabs - at the airport! And once you stepped outside...

It was a whole new experience. You truly don't realize the tension of living as a visible Muslim in America until you come to a country where you blend in. You're just one of the crowd - normal. When you go to the grocery store, the cashier does not look at you with curiosity or forced joviality - oftentimes the cashier is Muslim! As you walk along the street, you do not have people look at you strangely or worry about how you act because you'll be seen as a representative of Islam.

Rather, there is this sense of pure freedom in being boringly average. It's lovely, because you don't have to put on a public facade. There are no worries about people reacting to you negatively, just because of the way you dress - what you represent.

You are able to be yourself.

It's a heady feeling.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blair 'will fail unless he talks to Hamas'

The following article is actually something I will be referencing in a piece I am working on regarding the importance of the Turkish election victory of the "Islamist leaning" AKP. RUN WHITE FOLKS RUN, the ISLAMISTS are on the way- just kidding. Seriously it's nothing like that. We like democracy too. No seriously, I love living in America, and I love the freedoms we have. Why don't you believe me, okay, no you do not have to be skeptical, you will like what I have to say. Please do not judge me because I am a Muslim, brown and, okay, its true I am naturalized, not a born American.


By Tim Shipman in Washington, Sunday Telegraph

Last Updated: 11:56pm BST 21/07/2007

Tony Blair's effort to revive the Middle East peace process will be doomed unless the West begins talking to the militant group Hamas, according to the man expected to advise the former prime minister.


Daniel Levy: Blair 'will fail unless he talks to Hamas'
Daniel Levy thinks Hamas could find a way of accepting the reality of Israel

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Daniel Levy warned that al-Qaeda could win new supporters among disaffected Palestinians unless Hamas - regarded by Israel, America and other western countries as a terrorist group - is allowed "inside the tent".

Mr Levy, 39, a former Israeli peace negotiator and the son of Mr Blair's former Middle East envoy, Lord Levy, said the West's effort to bolster the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, could not work if it ignored Hamas's control of Gaza, part of the Palestinian territory.

He claimed that Mr Blair's record in Northern Ireland meant he understood the need to talk to extremists.

"For any process to have sustainability, legitimacy, and to guarantee security, it will have to be inclusive, not divisive, and to bring in Hamas over time," he said. "Mr Blair, with his Northern Ireland experience, may understand this better than most."


This week Mr Blair will make his first trip to the region since he was appointed envoy by the Quartet of powers - America, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia - who are overseeing the peace process.

Announcing plans for a new Middle East peace summit, President Bush last week called on Hamas to renounce violence and recognise Israel, and repeated his refusal to deal with it until it did so.

But Mr Levy, director of the Prospects for Peace Initiative at The Century Foundation, a Washington think-tank, said Mr Bush's stance was "bound not to produce results". Instead, he said, America must "try and construct a process where Hamas are inside the tent".

He said the decision to shun the group was a "misguided" gift to al-Qaeda recruiters. "Al-Qaeda accused Hamas of selling out when they decided to run for election," he said.

"The al-Qaeda position is that this electoral process is a western colonial implant, an abomination to Islam. Hamas goes in, wins and sees this boycott slapped on it. Al-Qaeda said, 'See, you played by their rules and you paid the price.' "

Mr Levy said America would be better off emulating its policy in Iraq, where its soldiers are working against al-Qaeda with Sunni insurgents "who were shooting Americans two months ago".

Calling Hamas a potential "bulwark against al-Qaeda", he said he thought Hamas could find a way of accepting the reality of Israel. "We don't need them to be Zionists," he said.

Mr Levy spoke out amid growing doubts about Mr Blair's mandate. Last week Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, said that America alone would lead on the "political track", leaving Mr Blair to focus on building up the Palestinian economy and institutions.

Mr Levy made clear that as yet he has "had no conversation" with Mr Blair since he left Downing Street, and would not act as a formal adviser. But a spokesman for Mr Blair said that he did expect to talk to Mr Levy about the Middle East in the future.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Frank talk from Muslim Sex Therapist
Cairo-based Heba Kotb tackles sensitive issues within the framework of Islam.

By Jeffrey Fleishman, Times Staff WriterJuly 29, 2007


CAIRO — In the delicate realm where the Koran meets human desire, Heba Kotb, a Muslim sex therapist in a ruffled gold head scarf, has strong opinions on vibrators, foreplay, premature you-know-what and why more men can't seem to locate the G-spot.


An hour in her clinic, where some women wear black abayas that reveal only their eyes, is a liberating venture into a culture that has traditionally relegated talk of sex to a family whisper. Demure she may appear, but Kotb's voice is strong and unapologetically public. The Koran, she said, forbids sex outside marriage, but within that union carnal satisfaction is a requisite for happiness."


I deal with pleasure, desire, orgasms, masturbation, sexual frequency and erection problems," said Kotb, whose TV show, "Big Talk," is popular across the Arab world. "Neither the Koran nor the Sunna, however, address masturbation. My advice is that it's OK to masturbate, but only if you need it badly. Masturbation has become more prevalent here because sex is forbidden outside marriage.


"In a society in which male clerics issue fatwas, or religious edicts or opinions, addressing all layers of family life, a feminine voice on something as intimate as sex has made Kotb a celebrity and a cultural revolutionary.


Some conservative clerics accuse Kotb of catering to sinners and Western-influenced permissiveness, but, overall, there has been little outcry about her frankness. Kotb's advice on sex is meticulously framed within the context of matrimony, which she says is a gift from God."


Everyone is searching for better sex, but people aren't having the best sex," she said. "Sex within Islam is the best. It covers the man's rights and the woman's rights. Islam is the ultimate sexuality. It's beyond the stereotypes of Islamic oppression. I'm replacing that template. I'm replacing the stereotypes."


Kotb's interest in the subject arose from conversations with sex offenders while working on her forensic medicine degree at Cairo University. She later studied sexology and philosophy at Maimonides University in Florida; her dissertation was titled Sexuality in Islam. She wrote advice columns for newspapers, including one called "Behind Closed Doors." In 2006, she started her own late-night TV talk show on the private Egyptian satellite channel El Mehwar."


I thought about the core of sexuality and religion," she said. "How many relationships could I save knowing about this? At first, there was a state of shock over the TV show. Gradually it was accepted, and today people love it. I think, outside of the sex act, people have little idea about their own sexuality. Five years ago, I'd see two or three patients a week. Today, I'm booked three months ahead."


Kotb has a lively face bordered by a hijab. She wears rings and bracelets; her cellphone hums incessantly, and she seems comfortable with her high profile. She blends science and anatomy charts with the Koran and the Sunna, teachings based on the life of the prophet Muhammad, who, Kotb noted, tended dutifully to his wives.


Kotb advises her listeners that every sexual encounter outside marriage leaves an indelible mark, and that the accumulation of those marks can destroy a relationship and push one further from God. But her larger aim is to help Muslims overcome sexual ignorance by showing them that scripture from centuries ago is relevant to today's preferences and inhibitions.


"It's hard for people to confess that they have no idea about sex, especially men — they think they're Valentinos," Kotb said, referring to those unschooled in the intricacies of the multiple orgasm. "Sometimes men believe they know everything, and some are, in fact, lying."


To add religious legitimacy to her show, Kotb invites young preachers to answer questions from viewers. Many are part of a movement that emerged in the 1990s that offers a less conventional interpretation of Islamic theology. On one program, Kotb and Sheik Khaled Abdullah discussed the misconception that sex is forbidden during the holy month of Ramadan."There is no correlation between how faithful you are to God and how much you avoid having sex in Ramadan," Kotb said.


Abdullah added: "Whenever you feel you need [to have sex] with your wife or whenever your wife feels the same according to God's rule, you can exercise this right and you will be rewarded for that … as long as you do it between sunset and dawn prayers."


Economics is also a factor in a nation where widespread poverty delays or prevents many couples from marrying. This, along with the increasing Western influence, most notably from risque music videos on satellite TV, is nudging more Egyptians into sex outside marriage.




jeffrey.fleishman@latimes.com--Special correspondent Noha El Hennawy contributed to this report.

Mumia Abu-Jamal: Gathering of the Tribe

[col. writ. 6/19/07] (c) '07 Mumia Abu-Jamal


Ona Move! LLJA!


For what do we gather -- we youths and elders -- if not to try to find some clue to how to remake this world that is obviously going wrong?


Why gather, unless there is at least some hope that some words, some key, some insight may be gained that will glow like the proverbial light bulb over the head of the guy in the comics? But -- as an elder who was a revolutionary before he was 15, please lend your ear to my thoughts. I wish to share with you some ideas that I've always shared with young folks. I try to remind them that Huey P. Newton, who founded the Black Panther Party, did so at the tender age of 24. Twenty-four years old!His friend and co-founder, Bobby Seale, was only a few years older.


I say this to remind you, especially young people, of what young folks are capable of, when they put their minds and hearts to it. Huey didn't ask Martin Luther King, Jr. for permission. He didn't ask Malcolm X for his OK.Like most young people of his time, he talked to other young folks, and before you know it, a dozen young brothas and sistas were with him, trying to build the Party from scratch.


What's my point?Am I suggesting that this was/is easy? Or that, if Huey could do it, you could too?No. It would be dishonest of me, and dangerous for you, to do that.It's important to remember that old adage by Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."It's important for you to learn mistakes of the past, so that you can side-step them in the future.


Among the Ashanti people in West Africa, the following proverb is used: " A wise man who ceases to learn ceases to be wise."Study. Study. Seriously study our people's history of resistance, so that you can remake this world {that is} on the brink of chaos.Huey P. Newton studied the works of Malcolm X; he studied anti-Imperialist movements in Cuba, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. He studied the writings of Mao, of Che, of Kwame Nkrumah and beyond.Then he put his studies into practice.


The great Frantz Fanon, a revolutionary psychiatrist who helped {in} the Algerian Revolution said, "Every generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, and fulfill it or betray it."That is your task. It can't be handed to you like a ticket.It must emerge from the inner recesses of the soul, from the red embers of collective and personal history.You must own it, and make it yours, by seizing the stage of history - by taking it.For, as elders return to their ancestors, the earth becomes the inheritance of the living.The challenge is great; the threats are daunting; but the promise of freedom, of true liberation couldn't be sweeter.


Thank you! Ona Move!From Life's Row, this Mumia Abu-Jamal


*******

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political prisoner in the United States, with what could be the final decision on his legal appeals possibly coming down this summer. That decision could give Mumia his freedom, a new trial, life in prison, or execution. It is time to turn up the heat against this injustice.


Free Mumia!

Celebrating 600 years of Islam in Europe



AP Press; SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Bosnian Muslims celebrate 600 years of Islam in their nation Saturday with a concert of spiritual music, a prayer for peace, and a gentle reminder to Europe: not all of the continent's Muslims are of immigrant origin.

"Recently we have noticed that Europe is obsessed by the immigrant Muslims from the East," said Mustafa Ceric, head of the Bosnia Islamic Community, the official institution of Bosnia's Muslims. "This is an opportunity to remind that there are indigenous Muslims in Europe."

"By celebrating 600 years of Islam here we want to naturalize Islam in Europe," he said, adding that Bosnia's Muslims have illustrated how Islam can be harmonized with a European way of life.


Read on here

Caption: Two Bosnian women on their way to Friday prayers

Friday, July 27, 2007

Iraq on My Mind


"Having spent a fair amount of time in occupied Iraq, I now find living in the United States nothing short of a schizophrenic experience. Life in Iraq was traumatizing. It was impossible to be there and not be affected by apocalyptic levels of violence and suffering, unimaginable in this country.

But here's the weird thing: One long, comfortable plane ride later and you're in Disneyland, or so it feels on returning to the United States. Sometimes it seems as if I'm in a bubble here that's only moments away from popping. I find myself perpetually amazed at the heights of consumerism and the vigorous pursuit of creature comforts that are the essence of everyday life in this country -- and once defined my own life as well.

Here, for most Americans, you can choose to ignore what our government is doing in Iraq. It's as simple as choosing to go to a website other than this one.

The longer the occupation of Iraq continues, the more conscious I grow of the disparity, the utter disjuncture, between our two worlds.

In January 2004, I traveled through villages and cities south of Baghdad investigating the Bechtel Corporation's performance in fulfilling contractual obligations to restore the water supply in the region. In one village outside of Najaf, I looked on in disbelief as women and children collected water from the bottom of a dirt hole. I was told that, during the daily two-hour period when the power supply was on, a broken pipe at the bottom of the hole brought in "water." This was, in fact, the primary water source for the whole village. Eight village children, I learned, had died trying to cross a nearby highway to obtain potable water from a local factory.

In Iraq things have grown exponentially worse since then. Recently, the World Health Organization announced that 70% of Iraqis do not have access to clean water and 80% "lack effective sanitation."

In the United States I step away from my desk, walk into the kitchen, turn on the tap, and watch as clear, cool water fills my glass. I drink it without once thinking about whether it contains a waterborne disease or will cause kidney stones, diarrhea, cholera, or nausea. But there's no way I can stop myself from thinking about what was -- and probably still is -- in that literal water hole near Najaf."


Read on Dahr Jamail's article at TomDispatch.com. Jamail goes on to quote emails from his friends in Iraq which offer sobering insight into their daily lives.

Living a comfortable life in a rich city in the Middle East not far away from Iraq, I can definately relate to Jamail's schizophrenia.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bush Executive Order: Criminalizing the Antiwar Movement


By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky


Global Research, July 20, 2007


The Executive Order entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq" provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of whoever opposes the US led war.

A presidential Executive Order issued on July 17th, repeals with the stroke of a pen the right to dissent and to oppose the Pentagon's military agenda in Iraq.

The Executive Order entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq" provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of "certain persons" who oppose the US led war in Iraq:
"I have issued an Executive Order blocking property of persons determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people."

In substance, under this executive order, opposing the war becomes an illegal act.

The Executive Order criminalizes the antiwar movement. It is intended to "blocking property" of US citizens and organizations actively involved in the peace movement. It allows the Department of Defense to interfere in financial affairs and instruct the Treasury to "block the property" and/or confiscate/ freeze the assets of "Certain Persons" involved in antiwar activities.

It targets those "Certain Persons" in America, including civil society organizatioins, who oppose the Bush Administration's "peace and stability" program in Iraq, characterized, in plain English, by an illegal occupation and the continued killing of innocent civilians.

The Executive Order also targets those "Certain Persons" who are "undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction", or who, again in plain English, are opposed to the confiscation and privatization of Iraq's oil resources, on behalf of the Anglo-American oil giants. The order is also intended for anybody who opposes Bush's program of "political reform in Iraq", in other words, who questions the legitimacy of an Iraqi "government" installed by the occupation forces.

Moreover, those persons or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), who provide bona fide humanitarian aid to Iraqi civilians, and who are not approved by the US Military or its lackeys in the US sponsored Iraqi puppet government are also liable to have their financial assets confiscated.

The executive order violates the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the US Constitution. It repeals one of the fundamental tenets of US democracy, which is the right to free expression and dissent.

The order has not been the object of discussion in the US Congress. So far, it has not been addressed by the US antiwar movement, in terms of a formal statement. Apart from a bland Associated Press wire report, which presents the executive order as "an authority to use financial sanctions", there has been no media coverage or commentary of a presidential decision which strikes at the heart of the US Constitution.

Broader implications
The criminalization of the State is when the sitting President and Vice President use and abuse their authority through executive orders, presidential directives or otherwise to define "who are the criminals" when in fact they they are the criminals. This latest executive order criminalizes the peace movement. It must be viewed in relation to various pieces of "anti-terrorist" legislation, the gamut of presidential and national security directives, etc., which are ultimately geared towards repealing constitutional government and installing martial law in the event of a "national emergency".

The war criminals in high office are intent upon repressing all forms of dissent which question the legitimacy of the war in Iraq. The executive order combined with the existing anti-terrorist legislation is eventually intended to be used against the anti-war and civil rights movements.

It can be used to seize the assets of antiwar groups in America as well as block the property and activities of non-governmental humanitarian organizations providing relief in Iraq, seizing the assets of alternative media involved in reporting the truth regarding the US-led war, etc.

In May 2007, Bush issued a major presidential National Security Directive (National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive NSPD 51/HSPD 20), which would suspend constitutional government and instate broad dictatorial powers under martial law in the case of a "Catastrophic Emergency" (e.g. Second 9/11 terrorist attack).

On July 11, 2007 the CIA published its "National Intelligence Estimate" which pointed to an imminent Al Qaeda attack on America, a second 9/11 which, according to the terms of NSPD 51, would immediately be followed by the suspension of constitutional government and the instatement of martial law under the authority of the president and the vice-president. (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, Bush Directive for a "Catastrophic Emergency" in America: Building a Justification for Waging War on Iran? June 2007)



Read the rest of the article here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6377

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dave Chappelle: Muslim?

If you're in the skeptics camp on this question, the story below provides some food for thought.

"Allah Made Me Funny - The Official Muslim Comedy Tour" which features three of America's top Muslim comics including Preacher Moss, Azhar Usman and Mohammed Amer will be made into a feature-length concert film that will showcase the comics' on-stage performances and shine a spotlight on their lives, announced Dave Chappelle, the project's executive producer.


Read on at: Earth Times

Hypocrisy of US and Canadian University Presidents Condemning Academic Boycott



In the last few weeks, university presidents across the US and Canada have rushed to issue statements about the proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the British University and College Union. They view this boycott as a serious violation of academic freedom. Yet, given the general failure of these leaders to comment on any number of infringements of academic freedom that have occurred in recent years, including those close to home in the form of the politically-motivated denial of tenure to Norman Finkelstein and the colleague, Mehrene Larudee, who very publicly supported him, the harassment of Columbia University professors Joseph Massad and Rashid Khalidi, and the intimidation of faculty by Campuswatch, one might be excused for concluding that university presidents prefer to remain above the political fray and reserve their office for grave and important but non-controversial pronouncements on tsunamis. But now, even in the midst of the hot and hazy summer recess, university presidents have mobilized their most imposing academic rhetoric in expressing solidarity with Israeli academics and upholding the rights of all to engage in "an open exchange of ideas" and "freedom of association."

What is perhaps most perplexing about this trend is its entirely virtual nature, for in fact no one's freedom has been violated by the boycott yet under discussion. Nevertheless, university presidents are preparing in advance for what could be an "attack ... [on] all universities at their core mission" (Gilles Patry, University of Ottawa) and a "threat ... [to] the moral foundation of each and every university" (Amy Guttman, University of Pennsylvania). [1] University of Virginia President John Casteen compares the proposed boycott to "the conduct of the most vicious political movements and governments of the 20th century." Yet, surely they must realize that Palestinians have for many decades suffered a multitude of assaults on their universities and schools by the Israeli occupying forces. Surely if university presidents are up in arms over a proposed boycott of Israeli academics, they must have something to say about the shutting down of universities, jailing and shooting of students and faculty, daily impeding of students and faculty from getting to classes, denial of student permits to attend universities, and revoking of visas to visiting scholars and researchers that characterizes academic life in Palestine. If a boycott of academic institutions is considered unfair, what does one call the methodical destruction of an educational system?

Read on at Electronic Intifada

Here for my reply to Chancellor Drake's message condemning the academic boycott (jazaks 'Nabulsi' for posting). I emailed it to the Chancellor last month but never got a reply.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The New Swim Gear for Women?


I honestly find it a bit difficult to understand how one can be "playing games with Allah" if one is trying to enjoy God's earth in the most respectful manner of maintaining the modesty that is prescribed? I think this strain of thought is really about Gender roles prescribed by culture then it is about Religion. Religion- Islam at least- is not a means to restrict your life so that you exist in a mud hut, its about being able to do things- live- in the way prescribed by God. That might mean coming up with ways to best regulate that in a given environment- like water sports.

So when I hear about women and the gender wars that it creates I cringe because many Muslims use CULTURE to present religious doctrine. I agree with my fellow blogger Naveed- it don't matter whether you cover or not but the fact is its about how you go about trying to live your life with God in mind- these sisters who created this swim wear are doing Muslims a GREAT service!

I agree with the Imam in the article- can we please discuss ways to make it so that those who are the activist are the leaders, unlike how things are these days, where men who sit at home, complain and do not bother to be involved with the Mosques run the Mosque's. This attitude of leadership for the sake of funds provided is suffocating our community and its wiping its potential growth. That is the issue. Lets allow sisters to enjoy the creation of God, and please brothers shut up or put up something more then just talk- maybe they can create women only indoor pools and lakes and beaches or islands?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Can A Women Lead A Purely Female Congregation?



Various Opinions from the Imams of the 4 schools of thought:


Imam Abu Hanifah: If a lady leads the salāh of a purely female congregation, then salāh will be correct. It is however makrooh tahrimi for women to form their own congregation.

(Hidayah vl.1,pg.305; Bada'i-us Sanai vl.1,pg.157)

Imam Malik: A lady can in no circumstance be the Imam even if the congregation be entirely female. The salāh of even a lady behind a female imām is invalid.

(Bulghatus Salik vl.1, pg.146; Ashalul Madarik, vl.1,pg.241)

Imam Shafi`i: A lady can be the imam of a purely female congregation. In fact it is mustahab for them to form their own congregation.

(Al Mughni vl.12,pg.199; Bada-i vl.1,pg. 157)

Imam Ahmad: The salāh of a lady behind a lady imām is permissible. There is however difference of opinion regarding women forming their own congregation (behind a female imam).

(Al Mughni l.12, pg.199)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"Losing my Jihadism"


Check out this article in The Washington Post by Mansour al-Nogaidan on his spiritual journey (excerpts below):


It's time for Muslims to question our leaders and their strict teachings, to reach our own understanding of the prophet's words and to call for a bold renewal of our faith as a faith of goodwill, of peace and of light.

I didn't always think this way. Once, I was one of the extremists who clung to literal interpretations of Islam and tried to force them on others. I was a jihadist.

I grew up in Saudi Arabia. When I was 16, I found myself assailed by doubts about the existence of God. I prayed to God to give me the strength to overcome them. I made a deal with Him: I would give up everything, devote myself to Him and live the way the prophet Muhammad and his companions had lived 1,400 years ago if He would rid me of my doubts.

I joined a hard-line Salafi group. I abandoned modern life and lived in a mud hut, apart from my family. Viewing modern education as corrupt and immoral, I joined a circle of scholars who taught the Islamic sciences in the classical way, just as they had been taught 1,200 years ago.

My involvement with this group led me to violence, and landed me in prison. In 1991, I took part in firebombing video stores in Riyadh and a women's center in my home town of Buraidah, seeing them as symbols of sin in a society that was marching rapidly toward modernization.

By the time I turned 26, much of the turmoil in me had abated, and I made my peace with God. At the same time, my eyes were opened to the hypocrisy of so many who held themselves out as Muslim role models. I saw Islamic judges ignoring the marks of torture borne by my prison comrades. I learned of Islamic teachers who molested their students. I heard devout Muslims who never missed the five daily prayers lying with ease to people who did not share their extremist beliefs.


Read on here

Of course, every 'religious' group has its own share of corrupt and hypocritical leaders. Check out this story which appeared in the LA Times recently (slightly different ending than the first one though).

AlhamdulilAllah, I'm so glad the brother figured out that Islam and attacks against the innocent don't go together. I'm sure his journey was not an easy one, and one which took a lot of courage. However, I don't like the whole "modern" vs. 'traditional' Islam idea. Who said that the Islam revealed 1400 years ago called for isolation and promoted the killing of innocent Jews and Christians? To the contrary; for example:

"Allah forbids you not, with regards to those who fight you not for (your) faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just." [The Holy Quran, chapter 60, verse 8]

Yes, we do need strong, pragmatic, charismatic and more importantly knowledgeable and wise Muslim scholars and preachers who can connect with the masses and challenge corrupt leaders and twisted ideologies. We need them, not to "reconcile us with the wider world", but to first reconcile us with the faith we claim to practise. Once that happens, we will not only be 'ideal' Muslims, but 'ideal' global citizens.

We , the global Muslim community, need revivers not reformers. I believe we already blessed to have some great scholars and 'preachers' around: Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi and Amr Khaled are the first that come to my mind of each category. AlhamdulilAllah, individuals like those have helped our ummah come a long way in the past ten years, and insha'Allah the coming ten years will witness an even stronger growth with Muslims figuring out how to truly put their faith in action to benefit themselves and the people around them, wherever they may be.

By the way, anyone know anything about the Ibn Taymiyya story al-Nogaidan mentions?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter Tells the Truth

So we finally get the final book and here are some excerpts. But before you read on, my friend over at THE GOD BLOG did a great little number on this a-theological perspective the book has. Unfortunately many in the Muslim community condemn the book for its emphasis on black magic and demoniac devices- I for one think it is great to get kids imagination running, but most of all reading, and then finally a GREAT way to make some bucks. Read on:

You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" or "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" or "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" or "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" or "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" or "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" but if not, that ain't no matter because even if you were drifting down the Mississippi on a raft you couldn't hardly avoid seeing the movies that have grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide (not counting DVD sales).

Those Harry Potter stories were made by Ms. J.K. Rowling and she told a pack of lies, mainly. For one thing, I don't have a lightning bolt shaped scar on my forehead from when an evil wizard attacked my family. That's a tattoo. And it's not a lightning bolt, it's a very classy drawing of a naked chick and a snake on a cross.

And then your learn:

See, the thing people don't realize is that Rowling is just a bitter old woman with an agenda against a rival school. She isn't a single mother in Scotland. Hell, J.K. Rowling isn't even her real name. It's a pseudonym. Her real name is Myra Fleener and she's the principal at the high school in Hickory, Indiana, where I was sent to live with the Dursleys so I would stay out of trouble after a misunderstanding at my old school that left a classmate in intensive care. Anyway, she wrote the whole Harry Potter series because she's pissed I didn't go to her little punk school. She thinks I didn't have the grades to get into an elite private academy and they let me into Malfoy because of my basketball skills. Which is true, but so what? I've got mad skillz so they call me Magic and the Wizard and sometimes Penn or Teller, which is where she came up with all that crap about magic.
To read more visit the ESPN article- tip of the hat out to Ahmer for sending me the link, I hope you finish the book tonight so it does not impede your MCAT studying. :)

Marriage: A "Wealth-Generating Institution?"

By Guest Blogger Shahtaj Siddiqui

A fairly recent article from The Economist presents a fascinating read that strips away the emotional and spiritual connotations of marriage and discusses simple statistics about marriage trends in America. For example, the author points out that individuals in strong marriages fare economically better than those in weaker marriages, and that offspring of two-parent marriages are smarter, better situated economically, and more likely stay in the upper economic brackets of society.

The article is extremely well-researched, highlighting decade-long trends, and provides facts to a statistical significance that suggest traditional marriage is better for society.

The author writes:

“Most children in single-parent homes ‘grow up without serious problems,’ writes Mary Parke of the Centre for Law and Social Policy, a think-tank in Washington, DC. But they are more than five times as likely to be poor as those who live with two biological parents (26% against 5%). Children who do not live with both biological parents are also roughly twice as likely to drop out of high school and to have behavioural or psychological problems. Even after controlling for race, family background and IQ, children of single mothers do worse in school than children of married parents, says Ms Hymowitz."

The article also provides statistical proof that couples living together before marriage (and produce children before marriage) tend to later get divorced, leaving children with the disadvantages of single parentage.

“Co-habiting couples have the same number of hands as married couples, so they ought to make equally good parents. Many do, but on average the children of co-habiting couples do worse by nearly every measure. One reason is that such relationships are less stable than marriages. In America, they last about two years on average. About half end in marriage. But those who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce.

“Many people will find this surprising. A survey of teenagers by the University of Michigan found that 64% of boys and 57% of girls agreed that ‘it is usually a good idea for a couple to live together before getting married in order to find out whether they really get along.’ Research suggests otherwise. Two-thirds of American children born to co-habiting parents who later marry will see their parents split up by the time they are ten. Those born within wedlock face only half that risk.”

From an Islamic perspective, one can plainly see the wisdom in practices such as not dating, and choosing a spouse who is better suited for the long-run (economically, socially, mentally, physically, etc.) than falling for the stereotypical “love-at-first-sight.’ I don’t believe that Islamic practices need ever be corroborated by outside sources, but having quick statistics (like the above) that are easy to understand is quite convenient, especially when having to explain, “What? Muslims don’t date?”

Regardless, I in no way wholeheartedly agree with all of the author’s points, but the article, though slightly long, is still well worth the read.

Read on: The Frayed Knot

Thursday, July 19, 2007

ANGRY AT LIARS

I am tired of lies. I am tired of LIES. I AM TIRED OF LIES!

Bush is a liar. Cheney is fat retard of a liar. Gonzales is a liar. Rice is a liar. Karl Rove is a liar. This country is run by liars and crooks and criminals all of them are masquerading as Republicans and WHY ARE THEY NOT IN PRISON? WHY ARE THEY STILL DESTROYING THIS COUNTRY?

I am angry. I am disappointed. MOST OF ALL I AM FED UP.

I watch this and think maybe Cindy Sheehan is right to run after Nancy Pelosi's seat, that bumbing Democrat has yet to provide anything of substance- No end to the war, no immigration reform- nothing of substance. Watch this video and feel like me- ANGRY!

Consumerism and American (I dont know what) at an all time Low

Bling H2O Water Hits the East Coast

Your average plastic bottle of water costs about $1 to $3, depending on the brand. But Bling H2O water is far from average, at least in terms of packaging, and carries a much heftier price tag of $50 to $90 per bottle. So why such a high price?

Bling H2O doesn't come in a plastic bottle, rather, it comes in a fancy frosted bottle adorned with sparkling Swarovski crystals. The bottle is also available in gold or cobalt blue.

Bling H2O was the idea of Kevin Boyd, a Hollywood writer-producer, and is bottled at a Tennessee spring, purified in a nine-step process that includes ultraviolet treatment, micro-filtration, and ozone.

The high-priced water has been a hit on the West Coast, being snapped up by stars like Ben Stiller and Jamie Fox in luxury hot-spots like the Grammy Awards show, the MTV Video Music Awards, and the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas. Spoiled heiress Paris Hilton has been reported to have poured some for her pampered pooch. The craze has now hit the East coast, landing in Chappaqua, New York at Via Genova, an "eclectic cafe and water bar."

Make no mistake about it, Bling H2O isn't for your everyday person. It's for those who've got money to blow on overpriced water, and those who want to set themselves apart from the everyday Dasani-drinking water crowd.


Source: The Cleveland Leader

Italy to try Tunisian for wearing burqa to trial

The wife of a Tunisian imam serving a 10-year jail term in
Italy in connection with a terrorist plot will herself face
prosecution for attending his trial in a burqa, Italian press
reports said. Monia Mzougi, 37, is to be tried under 1975 public
order legislation barring people from wearing clothes that conceal
their identity from security personnel "without a valid reason."

The trial is to begin next January 30 in, northern Italy, and
Mzougi faces a maximum of two years in prison. Mzougi's husband
Mourad Trabelsi was tried in Cremona in September 2005 for being a
member of a radical Islamist group that was plotting to attack the
city's cathedral. The leading daily Corriere della Sera reported
that Mzougi's case is the first in Italy concerning the wearing of a
burqa.

Source: The Middle East Times

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

No Time for Apathy



There are many Muslim students these days who find it fashionable to talk about not participating in national elections. Which I guess I understand, but definitely disagree with their perception. Yet there are those still who feel any involvement in politics or government is taboo for the Muslim community. To which I think to myself- why are you even living in America- go back home because (save the rant for later). I thought this line of thought was stamped out for good, and I am not excited to see a resurgence of it.

However, I feel that most of my friends, family and associates just don't care. They are so concerned with Brangaleena or Paris being sent to Prison, or worse, idiot democracy of American Idol. They just don't care about substance or issues of dire concern. Its really sad to think that people are so brain dead/washed to not pay attention to reality. Ironic how we need Reality TV in order to escape the reality of life.

Iraqi Child Prostitution on the Rise



By Guest Blogger Yesi King

MSNBC has come up with a video of Iraqi women who have been forced into prostitution to survive as refugees in Syria.

Bush’s "Democratic Revolution" in Iraq has produced some dismal results, but the story of young girls—some only 6 years old---being exploited takes the cake. It is both appalling and heartbreaking.

The video is served up with typical western-media cynicism--as though America played no part in this latest horror story from Iraq.

Furthermore, how do our fellow Muslims supporting such an atrocity sleep at night? Perhaps it is that I am a naive convert, but I just don't get it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Child Marriages in Islam....choice or force?

Child wedding 'stopped by pupils'
Classmates of a 13-year-old Bangladeshi school girl due to enter a forced marriage have united to stop the ceremony going ahead, police say.

Around 50 pupils in the town of Satkhira took to the streets to demand that Habiba Sultana's wedding be called off, they say.

Pupils even submitted a petition to police urging them to take action.

Police summoned Habiba's father and ordered him to stop the girl's marriage, which they said was illegal.

Her father was told to sign a bond in which he promised not marry off his daughter while she is still a child, the Bangladesh Daily Star reported.

It said that the wedding was to have taken place in the south-western town of Satkhira in Friday.

Police say that Habiba, a student of Abdul Karim Girls' High School, did not agree when her poverty-stricken father arranged for her to marry a 23-year-old neighbour.

Police say that she was too frightened to protest.

When she told her friends about the impending wedding, they rallied round and urged her not to go ahead.

Parents of her friends contacted Habiba's father and tried to stop him from going ahead with the wedding.

Initially he ignored their protests, but changed his mind after the police were alerted and small protests were held outside the school.

Correspondents say that the stand of the schoolgirls has created a stir in the town.

Like many other parts of the country - young people in Satkhira are deferential to their parents and seldom question their commands.

Monday, July 16, 2007

"Peace Scarf"


The folks at Little Green Footballs are upset about this: Peace Scarf.

I have mixed feelings about random teenagers who are unaware of the Palestinian struggle donning a kaffiyeh just because a trendy online retailer is selling it. However, maybe it is a good thing. The more people see/wear it, the more opportunities Palestinian activists have to start conversations about the human rights crisis being funded with our tax dollars.

I should also say I'm impressed with Delia's. It's only been a few months since Urban Outfitters caved under Zionist pressure and discontinued their "anti-war scarf," just days after launching it.

I don't particularly need a turquoise kaffiiyeh. But I just ordered one as a means of thanking Delia's anyways and you should too!

Sheehan vs. Pelosi



Like I said earlier, I respect Cindy Sheehan even more now that she figured out the real deal with the Democrats and is not willing to play their game.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Deeply spiritual or deeply ignorant?



This article in Newsweek about 'Muslim' Punk Rock stars (thanks Zahra for forwarding) reminded me of excerpts from one of my favourite books (which I was planning on posting anyway):


" People ask about those who engage in a great deal of remembrance yet neglect or ignore obligatory rites of worship as if they have transcended the need for these rites. This is unmitigated ignorance.

The first and foremost obligation on every human being is to gain knowledge. A human being is nothing until he has learned what is obligatory on every individual (fard `ayn). Without this a person has no rank or standing with God, and nothing is more consequential to a person other than his standing with God.

When God created us, He gave us accountability and the means and ability to carry out our responsibilities. Anyone who does not care to learn the first order of knowledge is living the life of a farm animal, a creature that does nothing but graze in this life, which is entirely insufficient in God's sight.

There is a confused sense of spirituality in which one feels that he or she can attain to the Reality without tending to the responsibilities and obligations of the Shari`a. This is a misleading phenomenon that spreads because of its appeal: spiritual sensation without any moral obligation.

Islam does not call people to unreasoned faith. It demands that a person learn authentic knowledge, which buttresses true spiritual growth. This real spirituality is protected by Shari`a , just as a shell protects its fruit. A person who tries to attain spirituality without the Shari`a will eventually destroy his soul and become, in essence, a false person.

Our objective is not merely to go through these spiritual experiences, but to firmly be grounded in a path that takes us to the pleasure of God and salvation in the Hereafter. If one performs remembrance properly and often, things will happen to the inner self. These things are studies by scholars of the inner sciences.

But we're also aware that Satan can play games with those who engage in certain practices blindly and without knowledge and prioritization. That's the peril of New Age practises and philosophies that can lead to sensations and experiences in which the one having them cannot distinguish between satanic influences, psychological phenomena and true spiritual encounters."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Word to My Muslim Sisters: It Aint Just About Cloth

In the early days of Islam, covering the hair was assumed only by the socio-economic elitist women of Arabian society. Women were treated very differently from each other because their social status was consequently self-evident. Here's the wisdom, if all women in that society covered their hair, then you couldn't tell who was higher or lower on the social ladder. Then, all women had to be treated with respect, or else you get slapped! The head scarf elevated the social status for women in a society. I know this because of the ongoing fashion controversy among prostitutes in Kenya's coastal port of Mombasa. Prostitutes have donned the buibui to hide their identity and avoid arrest, but it clashes with the Muslim women who wear it for religious reasons.

Back in the States, we still have not moved beyond judgment on superficial levels or judgment at all for that matter regarding hijab. Take our MSA's (Muslim Student Association) for example, if you ain't part of the hijab crowd you ain't part of the IN crowd. Yes it is obvious to us male observers with Muslim female friends. Seriously it's sad.

Let me tell y'all something. ANYONE can wear a scarf on their head. You don't even have to be a Muslim. Anyone can go through the motions of prayer, the motions of fasting, the motions of whatever, but it comes down to what is in the hearts and the intentions, the things we can't see in each other. Tell me why there should be a standard Islamic dress code, a uniform, if you get situations like the Muslim juror who got arrested for listening to her iPod underneath her hijab during a murder trial.

Modesty, good behavior, and respect for yourself. Word to my Muslim sisters, if wearing a scarf brings you closer to God, I support you. If something else brings you closer to God which has nothing to do with the way you dress, I support you. If you are still looking for that something that brings you closer to God, hey I support you too.

You'll get the same treatment from me if you wear a scarf on your head or you don't.

Mounting Costs of the Iraq War

By Guest Blogger Shahtaj Siddiqui

I can't recall how many times I've arrived on the landing page of Yahoo! News, Google News or BBC News and seen the same headlines: ‘June named deadliest month for US soldiers in Iraq,’ or ‘Iraq bombing kills 37.’ Sadly, personally I read the headlines, reflect a moment on how wrong/terrible/unjust the war is, and move on to other news. Reports of these repeated attacks, now seemingly commonplace, bear a bitter truth that, despite efforts from Iraq Body Count, etc., we are unaware of the mounting costs of the Iraqi occupation.

Thankfully, there are organizations that are keeping tabs on such news. An October 2006 study published by The Lancet, a reputed British medical journal, estimated war-related deaths in Iraq at 15,000 per month, spiking to 30,000 per month during violent periods. Wait. October 2006. It’s now July 2007. Why haven’t we heard about the exorbitant casualty rates here?

Michael Schwartz, a contributor to Counterpunch, writes,

“The U.S. and British governments quickly dismissed these results as ‘methodologically flawed,’ even though the researchers used standard procedures for measuring mortality in war and disaster zones. (They visited a random set of homes and asked the residents if anyone in their household had died in the last few years, recording the details, and inspecting death certificates in the vast majority of cases.) The two belligerent governments offered no concrete reasons for rejecting the study’s findings, and they ignored the fact that they had sponsored identical studies (conducted by some of the same researchers) in other disaster areas, including Darfur and Kosovo. The reasons for this rejection were, however, clear enough: the results were simply too devastating for the culpable governments to acknowledge. (Secretly the British government later admitted that it was ‘a tried and tested way to measuring mortality in conflict zones’; but it has never publicly admitted its validity).”

(Read on at: Counterpunch)

Congress recently approved another $166 billion for the war in Iraq, bringing US military spending in Iraq and Afghanistan to a conservative estimate of $12 billion a month, thus far a total of half a trillion dollars spent on the war. (ABC News). These war funds are appropriated by our work and our tax money. How much longer can we go with our work, our effort, our money being used to murder innocent civilians? For how long do we remain apathetic? What is the price of our apathy?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Clothes, Identity and Gender Roles

Marya on a previous blog asked about Muslim women and clothing. While I have little to share on the topic that is my own perspective, I found that this article was relevent to the conversation. It might not seem to be, however its important to read into how PRACTICING Muslim women view the use of the Buibui by prostitutes and how it takes away from the "religious experiance". Fascinating read.

Sex clothes anger Kenyan Muslims

By John Nene
BBC News, Mombasa

Prostitutes are known for their skimpy attire, but Kenya's coastal port of Mombasa is witnessing a controversial fashion makeover.

The twilight ladies, as the city's residents refer to the sex workers, have traded their revealing outfits for the more austere buibui - a loose, floor-length gown and head covering favoured by Muslim women.

Walking along the city's main red-light streets at night, one comes across many of the buibui-clad prostitutes.


The buibui has lost its respect. I feel so embarrassed
Mariam Salma
Mombasa resident

Although most shy away from speaking to the press, a few are willing to talk.

"I'm better off wearing the buibui so I look respectable. I can avoid arrest. I am just trying to get some money to live on," one says.

Another claims she wears her buibui to hide her identity.

"I know I am sinning, but I'm forced to because I am looking for my livelihood. So to me, it's acceptable," she says.

Most of her customers are local men, not tourists. She says wearing a buibui helped them to more easily pick out women from the region.

But the phenomenon is causing a stir in the predominantly Muslim city where religious women are required to cover their bodies from head to toe.

Some female residents say it is a big disgrace.

"I feel so embarrassed that sometimes I contemplate removing my buibui and throwing it away. The buibui has lost its respect," Mariam Salma says.

Another resident, Asha Hussein, claims the sex workers are not native to Mombasa.

"They are not Muslims. Most are from Somalia and Ethiopia. They wear it to avoid public humiliation," she says.

Crackdown

Wearing the buibui not only allows prostitutes to mingle freely with other women, black buibuis allow them to hide under the cover of darkness.

City authorities have mounted numerous operations over the years to get prostitutes off the streets, with limited success.

After the crackdowns, the prostitutes go underground for a while, creating the impression that the operation has succeeded, only to emerge later.

The newly adopted attire has ensured their trade is not disrupted.

However, it is not the first time the prostitutes have used this tactic.

It was popular in the 1990s until a religious vigilante organisation illegally rounded up the prostitutes hiding under buibuis and flogged them publicly.


The uniform of prostitutes is well known. They should stick to their disgraceful attire
Sheikh Muhammad Khalifa
Council of Imams of Kenya

Religious leaders are now urging the government to take action.

"We cannot arrest any of these women; it is the government's responsibility," says the organising secretary of the Council of Imams of Kenya, Sheikh Muhammad Khalifa.

"We are saddened because the government is ignoring the problem."

If the trend continues, police are likely to mistake respectable women for prostitutes, he says.

"For God's sake, if one has decided to join this profession, the uniform of prostitutes is well known.

"They should stick to their disgraceful attire."

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/6291100.stm

Published: 2007/07/11 16:04:17 GMT

© BBC MMVII

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Muslims in Athens an Underground Thing

Moving Islam out of the basement


Immigrant Muslims in Athens now have a 1,800m2 cultural centre to call their own. It's the first formal Islamic prayer site to operate in Athens since the end of Ottoman rule nearly 200 years ago


KATHY TZILIVAKIS

The new home of the Arab Hellenic Centre for Culture and Civilisation in Moschato also serves as the city's only formal place for Islamic prayer

"IT'S light, bright and open," says Mohamed Abedlkader, enjoying the morning sunlight streaming in through the large picture windows of the new premises of the Arab Hellenic Centre for Culture and Civilisation in the southern Athens suburb of Moschato on June 26.

"We finally have a view of the sky," he adds, referring to the many makeshift mosques in Athens that are housed in underground apartments. "We finally have a place to gather and to pray that we can be proud of."

The Egyptian shopowner is the general director of the Arab Hellenic Centre for Culture and Civilisation, which was founded in 2001 by a group of Arab-born Muslims residing in Athens.

The centre's new three-storey 1,800m2 building, which faces southeast (towards Mecca, a city in western Saudi Arabia and the most sacred city in Islam), was opened on June 22. It boasts three carpeted prayer halls - a main hall for men, another for women and a third in the basement to contain a spillover crowd.

Even though it has no crescent-capped minarets - the familiar beacons to Muslims everywhere - the new brown-brick Moschato building hosts the city's first formal (though not official) mosque.

"Yes, this is a place for prayer, but it is not an official mosque," says Abedlkader, who is also one of the six imams at the Moschato centre. "We have been underground for so many years that this is a good place for us. We feel happy to sit here and to meet people here. Now we have a place to hold our meetings, our celebrations, our wedding parties. We have our own place."

But the centre's 2,000-person capacity cannot serve all of the city's Muslim immigrants who reportedly number more than 100,000. "We still need an official Athens mosque," adds Abedlkader, referring the Greek government's pledge to construct a mosque in Votanikos, on the outskirts of Athens. It is unclear when construction will begin.

The city's estimated 120,000 Muslim immigrants currently pray in underground apartments, garages, basement shops and other rented spaces, which members of this growing community have converted into makeshift mosques. There are more than 20 unofficial mosques scattered around the city. All of them are inconspicuous to passers-by.

Community

The Moschato centre will also serve as a local immigrant Muslim community centre.

"We want to work on two levels," explains Abedlkader. "We want to work with Arabs because they need lessons about their religion and about the Greek language and Greek culture and because they have been living here for so many years but most of them do not know how to speak Greek. We also want to work with Greek people who want to know about the Arabic language and Arabs. This place is the perfect place for something like this because there is a lot of room."

Another future endeavour is to set up an in-house tourist agency so as to assist Muslims who wish to visit Mecca during the annual hajj. According to Abedlkader, they also want to open an Arab grocery on the ground floor so that the proceeds can be used to cover the centre's operating costs.

The purchase of the building
(a former textile factory) and much of the renovation was financed by a wealthy Saudi Arabian investor and entrepreneur.

"He had visited Athens several years ago and had prayed at one of the small, underground mosques in Athens," says Abedlkader. "He said that there should be a better place for Muslims to pray. This is why he did it."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Islamic Dress Code?

So, I have been trying to do some more research on the Islamic dress code lately and found it was really difficult to find good solid arguments with evidence from the Qur'an and Sunnah - usually it's vague guidelines or a debate over niqaab, neither of which help me too much.

The Qur'an refers to this topic at least twice:

  • "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [33:59]

  • "And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands..." [24:31]

    There are varing interpretations on these ayat. I want to hear from you guys - what do YOU think is proper Islamic dress? Not just opinions please though - I'd love to see evidence.

Oh, and an article that has awesome general guidelines can be found here. Check it out!

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Las Vegas of the Persian Gulf


A few of my thoughts in no particular order:
  • How do these folks sleep at night? How do you build a "booming oasis" while your neighbors starve?
  • I strongly dislike the term "fundamentalists."
  • "Shaykh" Mohammad? Yes, the two women on his arms looked exactly what I would expect the female relatives of a "shaykh" to look like. Yay for royal blood!
  • There is something about the contrasting experiences of Europeans and South Asians that reminds me of the "house Negro" theory.
  • Is the "party scene" really something ABC categorizes as Western values? The West has been demoted from "democracy" to women at water parks in thongs and bars galore.
  • I hope there are no Muslims at the bars' 3am last calls. However, if they are I hope that when they leave they are walking to the mosque across the street to pray Tahajjud.

99.9% of the People who wear turbans are not Muslim

Sikhs are not Muslim

After 9/11 on September 15th, in Mesa, Arizona a Sikh man was killed by a "patriotic" American. Sikhs have nothing to do with Islam. The majority of Sikh's have been persecuted, with a price tag being put on the head of a Sikh man. Sikh by their faith wear a Turban which is distinct. Here is a tragic story:

Attack leaves man dying

Deputies cite reports by witnesses that racism, homophobia fueled lake melee.

By David Richie and Kim Minugh - Bee Staff Writers

Satendar Singh was known within his family as "the lucky one."

At age 19, he won a coveted spot in a visa lottery, enabling him to leave his native Fiji for the United States. He built a life for himself in Sacramento, living with his aunt and uncle and later his grandmother, and touched the lives of those around him.

On Tuesday, Singh lay on life support in the intensive care unit of Mercy San Juan Medical Center, the victim of a Sunday night assault at Lake Natoma -- a possible hate crime that witnesses believe was fueled by homophobia and racism.

With his parents thousands of miles away -- in Fiji with no passports and no visas -- the heartbreaking decision to end Singh's life support fell upon his aunt and uncle.

"The doctors have declared there are no hopes," said Camie Bhuie, Singh's uncle.

Singh, who family and friends said is 26, was expected to be taken off life support late Tuesday night, pending a final test for brain activity.

On Tuesday, Sacramento County sheriff's homicide detectives assumed control of an investigation into the assault, which apparently stemmed from a daylong verbal dispute between two groups.

Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Tim Curran said the incident was being investigated as an assault. If Singh dies, the charges likely will elevate to involuntary manslaughter rather than homicide because the crime did not appear to involve intent to kill, Curran said.

Michael Gross, superintendent for the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, which includes Lake Natoma, said early Tuesday that state parks officials were investigating the incident as a hate crime. After the case was turned over to the Sheriff's Department, Curran said his agency was not yet ready to apply that charge.

"If, through the course of the investigation, it is determined that the motivation was race or sexual preference, obviously hate crime charges will be added," Curran said.

He confirmed, however, that state parks investigators reported to sheriff's officials that racial and homophobic slurs had been used against Singh and his friends.

Singh had been with six people -- all of Indian or Fijian descent -- at the picnic area near Lake Natoma on Sunday afternoon when trouble began brewing with another group partying nearby, said two friends who were there that day.

The Bee is not identifying the friends because they fear retribution.

The two friends said the other group -- identified by the witnesses and sheriff's officials as being of Russian descent -- called Singh and his friends racial and homophobic names.

Friends said Singh is not gay, but they believe he was singled out because he did not have a date that afternoon.

When Singh and his friends tried to leave at about 8 p.m., they were confronted by the Russian group and a fight ensued, the witnesses said. Singh reportedly was punched once in the face. He fell, hit his head, and began bleeding profusely, the witnesses said.

Though initially knocked unconscious by the impact, Singh regained consciousness at the park but had difficulty breathing. His condition worsened, and he again lost consciousness that night. By Tuesday, he was not expected to survive.

No one else was injured in the fight.

Sheriff's investigators will reinterview witnesses to determine exactly what happened that day and hope further witnesses will come forward, Curran said. Anyone with information is asked to call investigators at (916) 874-5115.

In addition, officials are looking for two cars seen leaving the park after the fight: a dark green four-door sedan and a red Mitsubishi with a red Department of Motor Vehicles registration sticker affixed to the rear window with the number "7."

As Singh's loved ones mourned their impending loss Tuesday, a steady stream of visitors poured in and out of the intensive care waiting room at Mercy San Juan.

At one point, the room swelled with 100 of Singh's friends and family, his uncle said. Many cried, others smiled while sharing stories about Singh.

He worked at an AT&T call center in the Rosemont area, where many knew him as Simon. He had just earned a promotion.

He was respectful and virtuous, never any trouble for his grandmother, Chand Singh, while living with her.

"He had such an infectious personality," said his aunt, Suvin Bhuie. "He would walk in and the room would light up."

http://www.sacbee.com/101/story/256068.html


Sacramento Bee

The Case for Islamophobia


No, this is not just another right-wing opine piece, it is down right islamophobic, racist, offensive and disgusting. I cannot believe the LA Times would publish something like this.

Below are excerpts that are particularly disturbing:

Now, despite friendly and long-lasting relations with many Muslims, my first reaction on seeing Muslims in the street is mistrust; my prejudice, far from having been inherited or inculcated early in life, developed late in response to events.

The fundamental problem is this: There is an asymmetry between the good that many moderate Muslims can do for Britain and the harm that a few fanatics can do to it. The 1-in-1,000 chance that a man is a murderous fanatic is more important to me than the 999-in-1,000 chance that he is not a murderous fanatic: If, that is, he is not especially valuable or indispensable to me in some way.

And the plain fact of the matter is that British society could get by perfectly well without the contribution even of moderate Muslims. The only thing we really want from Muslims is their oil money for bank deposits, to prop up London property prices and to sustain the luxury market; their cheap labor that we imported in the 1960s in a vain effort to bolster the dying textile industry, which could not find local labor, is now redundant.

In other words, one of the achievements of the bombers and would-be bombers is to make discrimination against most Muslims who wish to enter Britain a perfectly rational policy. This is not to say that the government would espouse it, other than surreptitiously by giving secret directions to visa offices around the world. But why should a country take an unnecessary risk without a compensatory benefit?


!!!!!!

I won't even begin responding to Theodore Dalrymple (his real name is Anthony Daniels) because I think there's a serious problem with his whole attitude and approach to the situation. Criticising Muslims for not doing enough to prevent and condemn terror acts is one thing, but calling for all Muslim immigrants to be deported or barred entry is another.

I can't believe that a 'respectable' newspaper would publish an article like this.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Friday, July 6, 2007

Are You Just?


Submitted By Guest Blogger Ahmed Ibn Aslam

"The just ruler is the one who calls people to tawhid, calls people to the sunnah. If you want to be just in your community, in your society, in your family, in your masjid you have to make the priority to teach people the sunnah, teach people tawhid, otherwise you are not just. If you are just in all other aspects but you dont call people towards tawhid you are being unjust with Allah , this is the greatest injustice you can ever do. Therefore Umar Bin Abdel Aziz ( the 5th rightly guided calipha) said: My way of changing the muslim situation will be to teach them one sunnah everyday and to eliminate one bidah" everyday."

Shaykh Waleed Basyouni
CD SET: 7 People Under the Shade of the Throne of Allah

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July?


By Guest Blogger Yesi King

As many U.S. residents stock up on beer, barbecue and chips, and families happily sit around excited circles to anticipate the crackling and luminous fireworks that will light up the sky for the most revered of American holidays, many people across the globe suffer from U.S. policies. This day is a reminder of the ‘freedom’ we have and enjoy. However, the irony in Americans enthusiasm lies is the mentality that promotes perceptions like “don’t forget what this day is all about,” or “don't let us forget those brave men and women that fought and died so that we might have the freedom to speak up when things are not as they should be...” Such patriotism is instilled in the institutions of this country in an attempt to quiet dissent over government policies that at the same time promote quite the opposite.

What short memories and biased sense of ‘being’ Americans have. For many, rather than being a celebratory day, the 4th of July is the anniversary of a country whose history is based upon almost 300 years of ongoing carnage and despair brought upon Native Americans of all tribes, it represents a strong and still active mentality of imperialism and racism that we see is alive and popular in the minds of those who support the Israeli Occupation over Palestine, it represents the repressive state of mind amongst all people celebrating the institutions and mockery these symbolic gestures signify while choosing to ignore their true historical significance in the eyes of minorities and those who have not had the privilege of enjoying.

The birth day of your national independence and of your political freedom reminds you of your great deliverance entitled to you by your Declaration of Independence. Are those same embodied principles of freedom and justice extended to those whom you oppress in your own country and elsewhere? Because beneath your public celebrations, festive shouts and enjoyment, the woeful bawl of millions whose shackles, heavy and dreadful are also plagued with further perplexity and disgust for your joy. To forget and ignore them for your convenience is nothing less than American denial and oppression. What wonder it would be if instead on this day, the 4th of July caused you to view your freedom and privilege in comparison to theirs, from their point of view. Whether you choose to look towards your declarations, your present ideology or your dreams for the future, the performance of this nation seems by the same token repulsive and fake.

Standing with those whom you choose to ignore on this day much like every other day, in the name of compassion which you have trampled, in the name of self independence which is chained, what, to the oppressed and occupied, is your 4th of July? To him, your merriment is a farce filled with the merciless jubilation over your governments bulging arrogance and deception. A day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he has to pay in exchange for your joys. Point the finger all you want, search high and low, you will not find a country guiltier of bloody and horrible practices than the United States.

What is a joyous day for you is only a reminder of the price others have to pay for your definition of freedom, democracy and liberation. Your imperialist tendencies cause the problems you believe you face and use to justify your war mongering and crimes. So as people sit back on their lawn chairs and enjoy the beaches on this hot and sunny day, the wail of children elsewhere will blend into the backdrop of bombs, poverty and inequality the U.S. has designated to be necessary for their own well being and prosperous future. Thus, on this happy 4th of July as the fireworks scream freedom that you continue to take away, blind patriotism will make many people very happy.