Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fame and Debauchery

Maybe I am the only one disturbed by the growing media-ocracy and cult like following of superficial and "reason bashing" celebrities. People like Paris Hilton and Micheal Jackson, or better yet, antics of OJ Simpson capture the nations population with countless American hours spent in the vicious cycle of being in on the "know" of the likes of whom there is little to know about.

This is my assault on this superficiality that is being created by mass media, the internet and gossip mags that utilize technology, psychology and marketing to assault reason. This is our biggest threat- the threat to democracy is this assault on HUMAN reason and ability to create a society that is enlightened, connected and informed. This assault on reason stems from high tech propaganda.

Did you know that since Rupert Murdoch bought out that all alternative sources of media- links, you tube video's, discussion boards- that are not Murdoch owned and operated have been shut down, people shut out or totally wiped out. Murdoch has also taken an assault on all queer chat rooms, musicians, organizations and discussion boards. He has taken off all criticism of Murdoch and parodies or alternative and anti-marketing campaigns from Any form of rallying around this issue has resulted in people being locked out.

Remember this is they that runs FOX News- Fresh off Xantac News- the news source that is "Spin Free" and upholding our Democratic principles. This is the state of our Union. Where people follow and are entrapped in the happening of washed out has beens like OJ Simpson and continue to believe that Saddam Hussain is responsible for 9/11 (over half the Untied States believes this). All the while the nations policy makers take some of the most disastrous steps in an Immoral and Unjust war.

While the Senate votes to dismember a nation, remember that we observe the upcoming shopping season of Christmas. I recall seeing the picture from a Marine lounge area in Iraq where a marine walks past a message scrawled out on the wall:

America is not at war. The marine corps is at war; America is at the mall.

And we continue to buy the latest gadgets that keep us connected, and yet we are so disconnected from the reality that is. We are faced with a great threat and that is the loss of our Democracy. A citizen not informed is as good as a citizen who lacks the right to vote and participate.

The Arrogance of America: "Roasting" an Iranian President.


I can understand the pressure that Columbia was under when it invited Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as a guest to speak before its student body in New York. I do thank you for doing so.

Perhaps it was this pressure that required Columbia's President, Lee Bollinger, to lunch a tirade against the invited guest and find that he exhibited “all the sings of a petty and cruel dictator” and that he was “brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.” If these comments were made under pressure that that doesn't say much for the independence of our academic institutions, on the other hand if they were made to cause resentment in Iran for the arrogant treatment of its invited President, then they appear to have wildly succeeded.

I am curious as to whether there is any precedence for this at Columbia or any other University in the world where an invited speaker is subjected to taunt and ridicule as part of their Introduction. Introductions, after all, are supposed to be flattering and intended to highlight the achievements of the speaker/guest. The only exception is when the event is a "Roasting". Did someone forget to tell the Iranian President that he had been invited to a Roast?

Usually a speaker is invited so that the audience can find out what he stands for. I am sure Columbia students, New Yorkers, especially the loud vocal New Yorkers know what Columbia's President stands for, and certainly AIPAC appreciated the brilliancy of those comments, but such self-righteous comments uttered from the pulpit of Columbia by the High Priest of Columbia had no place in an Introduction.

We seem to have become so proud of our "freedom of speech", that we have forgotten that we as Americans do not have all the right answers, (and in some cases we don't even have the wrong answers - in other words we are totally clueless). We are, after all the 800-pound Gorilla that pulverizes whatever it steps on. How can we totally neglect the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by our invasion of Iraq, the killing, jailing, maiming of thousands of Palestinians, the destruction of our own civil rights, the neglect shown to Katrina victims, the waste of billions of dollars in arms when hundreds (if not thousands) in the US sleep on the streets or in parks and go without insurance.

We sit here in our isolated halls of freedom and chastise individuals and countries that we have never visited and to which the only access we have is through the myopic, cynical view presented by the US Media. Our people sit in an ignorance well being spoon-fed miss-information and one-liners from the media and our politicians lead us guided by night goggles worn (during the day time) by our intelligence agencies. Is it a surprise then that we know so little about what is happening in the world?

How can the President of Columbia University neglect the sad state of education that exists, not just in the quality of education, at the primary and high school levels, but also the exorbitant cost required to attend college and instead taunt the Iranian President on his educational deficiencies?

We have become an arrogant nation that believes that what it does is right, that those who disagree with us are terrorist, and that those who seek to protect their independence are a threat to us. Our strength and our power have indeed gone to our heads as we hippopotamus like wreck wherever we set foot.

We are good at manufacturing reasons to create enemies; it may be more helpful to use our tremendous resources to make friends and to understand where the world is headed. Indeed our economic survival may depend on this as the rest of the world races ahead in educating its people and in developing their economy.

How much time do we have before China comes calling to collect its trillion dollar debt, before Japan comes calling and before all the Indian software engineers and entrepreneurs have departed back to India taking with them their education, their experience and the wealth that they created? Perhaps the sages who live in New York can answer the question but given the track record displayed so far, rather than finding a solution these sages will find another country to blame. After all even after Iran has been destroyed, there are other countries already on the hit list and we haven’t even scratched the surface.

May I humbly suggest that the next time Columbia invites someone to speak, do let him or her know they will be roasted.

Javed Ellahie

  1. For those of you haven't yet done so, individuals who were bothered (?) by how Ahmadinejad was treated during his visit to Columbia are being asked to email their thoughts to
  2. Some other great Iran related stories:
    1. Iran Labels CIA a "Terrorist Organization"
    2. Iranian University Chancellors Ask Bollinger 10 Questions

How dare the US Senate!

I still can't get over the US Senate's resolution to divide Iraq. Who do they think they are? What audacity!

The US Senate motion Thursday that Iraq be divided into three “federal” units for Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds gives practical shape to the principle of divide and rule, enshrined in the neocon “Project for the New American Century” that has underpinned everything that the Bush White House has done since the 9/11 attacks gave it the excuse to attack first Afghanistan and then Iraq.

And leave it to the Democrats in the Senate to indulge the idea that America has any right to divvy up Iraq in the first place. This crass violation of the sovereignty of a country was put forward by leading Democrat Joe Biden, whose party is busy trying to figure out how to distance itself from a war that has become unpopular with American voters while at the same time maintaining a hawkish stance toward the global war on terror. Good luck.

From an Iraqi point of view, division is anathema. Leaving aside the outrageous proposition that the future of Iraq should be decided in the US Congress and not by Iraqis, partition would tear apart the many mixed communities that still live together in harmony and take pride first and foremost in being Iraqis, not Shiites, Sunnis or Kurds.

Continue at ArabNews

A Muslim Astronaut's Dilemma: How to Face Mecca From Space

He's a devout Muslim and when he says his daily prayers he wants to face Mecca, specifically the Ka'aba, the holiest place in Islam ("Turn then thy face towards the Sacred Mosque: wherever ye are, turn your faces towards it .... " The Quran, Al-Baqarah, 2:149).

That's where the trouble comes in. From ISS, orbiting 220 miles above the surface of the Earth, the qibla (an Arabic word meaning the direction a Muslim should pray toward Mecca) changes from second to second. During some parts of the space station's orbit, the qibla can move nearly 180 degrees during the course of a single prayer. What's a devout Muslim to do?

To read whole story click here

Friday, September 28, 2007

Arundhati Roy- What Kind of Resistance is Effective?

Arundhati Roy poses this question on her video, what kind of resistance is effective. This is exactly what has been on my mind as well…for a really long time. When we think of people at this moment who have to make this decision, is it a struggle or do they just know what they must do? I cannot help but cringe with uneasiness when I hear those for violent resistance shut out peaceful resistance or those for non-violent resistance shun those for armed resistance. I cannot say that one or the other is always appropriate. Who are we really to tell those in desperation that have lost everything to put down their arms and continue being oppressed and exploited because it is the right/civilized or 'peaceful' thing to do? As mentioned in the video nonviolent resistance has gotten all of the limelight in mainstream circles and is obviously pressed by those in power. For those who have everything and do not have to suffer horrible things every day of their lives it is easy to speak with such conviction.

I think that for every activist and every person who tries to change/help the world, a peaceful and satisfactory end is the goal. However, to say that one means, the nonviolent way is the only way, is to speak from ignorance. It will always be a means for those in powers and in governments to continue to suppress the potential and natural growth of societies and individuals. As long as things are under control and people continue being numb sheeple, governments will always do what they want. It is a very interesting topic with great potential for discussion.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Women and Mosques in the UK

'Do not prevent the she-servants of Allah from Allah's Mosques.' (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

Sadly, it seems this hadith has yet to be heard by the Muslim men in certain areas of the UK. Even more sad is that the behavior demonstrated by these "men" in the video below is the exactly what fuels the Amina Wadud/Asra Nomani problem crew.

(Jazaks to Jameelah Shukri and Juweria Vora for reminding me of the
ongoing strife of our sisters out in the UK.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Favorite (HALAL) Boy Band

Ahmadinejad Visits Columbia

Everybody has something to say about this, EVERYBODY.

With this much material it's really difficult to find a favorite story. But I think I have, and I've included my favorite quotes (below) for your reading pleasure:

"This is somebody who is the president of a country that is probably the greatest sponsor - state sponsor - of terrorism, someone who is a Holocaust denier, someone who has talked about wiping other countries off the map. I think it would have been a travesty."

Wiping other countries off the map? Apartheid Israel is not a country, it was created by wiping Palestine off the map - isn't all fair in love and war? How dare Condee pass judgment while we are spending billions of dollars on a regular basis to ensure Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and countless other countries stay off the map. What else would you call bombing Afghanistan back into the stone age? Or the "shock and awe" of 2003? Do we really have the right to be upset at Ahmadinejdad for talking about wiping an apartheid "state" off the map?

City Councilman David Weprin accused Ahmadinejad of having American blood on his hands, saying he aided the insurgency in Iraq by sending weapons and manpower for the sole purpose of killing Americans.
Iran has the blood of Ameircan soldiers on his hands? Way to pass the buck! The blood of those soldiers is squarely on the hands of Bush and Co.! Excuse the Iraqis for attempting to defend themselves in the midst of an illegal war!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fees Are Going UP: Thru The ROOF

DAVIS, Calif. -- The University of California Board of Regents approved a three-year plan Thursday for major fee increases at 34 professional schools that would push the cost of some law and business schools to $40,000 a year by 2010.

The increases will take effect next year and range from about 7% at most of the schools to a high of 15% at UC Berkeley's law and business schools. The board voted to enact similar raises in the following two years but agreed that it would ratify them separately each year.
. . .
Under the regents' plan, fees would go up roughly 7% each year at 24 professional schools, including UCLA's medical and dental schools, and the UC Irvine and UC San Diego medical schools. UC Riverside's medical school, once it opens in 2012, would have more modest increases starting at 4.3%.

At UCLA, annual fees at the law school would rise to $39,727 by 2010, an increase of 47% over this year; and the fees at the business school would increase to $39,965, a hike of 41%.

Full story: LA Times

So much for keeping the California Promise and upholding the Master Plan. If it wasn't already, higher education in the UC will definitely become more privilege than right status in the coming years. I can see this helping with their alleged "minority" recruitment programs, can't you?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Even Angels Ask"

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'The cure for ignorance is to question.' (Sunan Abī Dawūd)

One of the interesting things that I have been seeing lately is the rise of the Muslim who believes in the beauty of Islam, but does not truly research their religion. They hide from their doubts, and would rather pick and choose from what sounds good, then from what Islam says.
I find this attitude to be frightening. I believe it reveals an ignorance of the great depth and breath of our beautiful deen (way of life), and a lack of confidence in the divine rules that have been sent down. A good example of what I mean is when a Muslim is faced with Western philosophy. In the hundreds of years since Greek philosophers came up with theories like rationalism, there has been a tension between those of religious faith and those of a more scientific bent - or so it would seem.

Is there an inherent contradiction between faith and science? In the case of Islam, I would say no. In fact, it was the rise of Islamic thought and practice that inspired the great academic centers in the Muslim world hundreds of years ago. There has always been an emphasis on gaining knowledge within Islam, both that which is explicitly religious and that of the world around us - studying God's creations, as it were.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'Seeking knowledge is a religious obligation for every Muslim (male or female).' (Sunan Ibn Mājah, Sunan Al-Bayhaqī)

There are responses in Islamic theology to rationalism, to atheism, to the many difficult questions out there. It is the Muslim's duty to delve into our rich past and explore these writings, and learn about our historical legacy. But even if one does not wish to do this, there are so many other avenues to knowledge - local scholars, online resources, or the one true book of guidance we can never over-use: the Qur'an.

I do not think there is an excuse for us to take the mentality that ignorance is bliss, or to run away from our doubts. It is crucial for the new generation of Muslims living in America to have a sound basis in faith, based off of solid conviction. There is a great spiritual void that exists in the West, that I believe comes from the failure of other religions to explain the world. Islam, however, uses rational thinking as the method to prove truth - how many times does Allah ask for us to think and ponder, when reading Qur'anic verses?

Jefferey Lang puts it best in his book Even Angels Ask:

"If Islam cannot be shown to be in harmony with rational thought, then faith for the Western Muslim, like many adherents to other religions in the West, becomes solely a personal, experiential, and spiritual matter. It loses much of its persuasiveness...What I am saying is that if a rationally compelling case is not made for Islam, one that Muslim young people can relate to, then Islam will be seen by many of them as just another religion, a religious option among more or less equal options."

This would be a great disservice to ourselves as Muslims. We have been given the incomparable blessing of Islam - how sad would it be if we can not see how truly beautiful and unique a gift it is? If we reject it, or keep it, without truly understanding it? How then can we share Islam with others?

"Read in the name of your Lord, who has created -- created man out of a tiny creature that clings! Read and your Lord is the Most Bountiful One, who has taught the use of the pen, taught man what he did not know." (Qur'an, 96:1-5)

Democracy is the Engine of Political Islam

The Guardian published a moderately-interesting article on the rise of political Islam in the Middle East (full article here).

I say moderately interesting because I don't think the author makes any new points or provides much insightful analysis but rather quickly glances over what I think is a very important topic in today's world.

Still, the author does make a number of valid points:
Democracy is not the antidote to the Islamists the neocons once fondly believed it would be. Since the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, there has been a consistent response from voters wherever Muslims have had the right to vote. In Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey and Algeria they have voted en masse for religious parties in a way they have never done before.

Much western journalism in the six years since 9/11 has concentrated on terrorist groups, jihadis and suicide bombers. But while the threat of violence remains very real, those commentators who have compared what they ignorantly call "Islamofascism" to the Nazis are guilty of hysteria: the differences in relative power and military capability are too great for the comparison to be valid, and the analogies that the neocons draw with the second world war are demonstrably false.

However, I disagree with one of the author's main points:
Religious parties, in other words, have come to power for reasons largely unconnected to religion.

My thoughts on this issue:
1. There is an undeniable Islamic "revival" in the Middle East. Compared to two decades ago, millions of Muslims have started truly understanding and practising their religion as a way of life. Many more people are now attracted to and can identify with Islamic parties/slogans.

2. The author makes the point that Islamic groups are seen by many as representing justice and integrity. That is not a coincidence and stems from the fact that those groups are trying to implement the teachings of Islam, whether or not it is advertised that way.

3. The failure of Arab nationalist groups to achieve anything of meaning over the past five decades has greatly disappointed people and was part of the reason, I think, for people looking for alternatives. Islam and the Islamic movement was the answer to many.

I do not think that all those who voted for Hamas or the Brotherhood voted for them because they were Islamic groups. However, I do think that those groups' 'Islamic' ideas has given them additional credibility and brought them closer to the people. Twenty years ago, it would have been a different story.

Of course, the now the bigger challenge comes: maintaining the trust and support of the masses by putting words into action.

Friday, September 21, 2007

RNC 2008 Welcoming Committee- Burka Radicals

I found this entertaining. I call them the Burka Radicals. I am thinking they don't like the Republican party in St. Paul?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"He felt dizzy, and next moment he stopped breathing"

A brother in South Orange County passed away. It seems that it was unexpected. I do not even know his name, but I pray for his forgiveness, ask Allah to make his soul at rest in the grave to provide for his family and replace their grief with stronger iman and the knowledge that one day they will once again be reunited.

No're Muslim!

Below are excerpts from an article written by Sr. Mariam Jukaku, a 24 year old graduate student, after she was detained by security guards at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center for taking pictures of the building's entrance. Big deal? Not when you're Muslim.

Last week, I received my first real-world lesson on the intersection of free press and national security. As a journalism student, I’ve read in my textbooks about the rights of journalists and what the First Amendment guarantees. In my ethics and media law classes, we’ve discussed journalists who are fighting to uphold their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. But Sept. 6, as I walked out of my introductory photography class, snapping pictures on a public sidewalk, the implications on our everyday lives of the level of fear in our society became painfully apparent.

I was not planning a civil rights experiment. I wasn’t even covering a story. I was just testing some of the functions on my brand new Nikon D40, which I had just purchased for class. I was snapping pictures of a row of flags and signs in front of a Veterans Affairs hospital across the street from my campus. (Ironically, one of the signs read, “The price of freedom can be seen here.”)

As I turned to leave a few minutes later, a VA security officer speed-walked over to me and demanded I hand over my camera. She ordered me to delete several of my photographs and took my student ID. Another officer approached and asked for my driver’s license. They took me into their office and questioned me about my “motives” and “purpose.” More of my pictures were deleted. My ID cards were photocopied.

When you’re a South-Asian Muslim woman wearing long sleeves and a headscarf on a 90-degree day in early September, the thought that security guards are overreacting solely based on your appearance tends to creep around in the back of your mind. You tell yourself you’re just being paranoid. But then you get asked if you’re a U.S. citizen -- and the creeping thought lands with a resounding thud.

Continue here

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Love Israel- Warts and All

The article was forwarded to me by my friends and in a way I found it quite moving. The piece can be read here (just scroll down past the commentary) and was originally publshised in the Jewish Journal. However, I have three major contentions with the article, but before I go on to that I want to point out the numerous things I agree with:

  1. Israel is not above criticism nor is it a perfect- meaning it is not infallible nor is it always a matter of it being good vs. evil, big vs. small etc. That Israel, has and will make mistakes like any human enterprise.
  2. Israeli's have more leeway to criticize and hold different perspectives of politics, social issues and the peace process, but here in the US the Jewish community is "myopic" and to me I believe it has much to do with the Zionist organizations that constantly holds the opinion of even those who mean good due to the demoniziation of all things not in line with Zionism.
  3. I agree that there is a sense of anti-zionism growing in the US and thats due to the growing number of people who are experiancing and then sharing or working toward changing the constructed reality of Palestinian-Israeli dilema.
  4. Major Jewish organizations, even progressives ones, constantly just talk about Israel left and right and it becomes hard to really focus on things that Muslims and Jews in the US really agree upon- social justice, equal access to health care, education, separation of church and state, welfare, workers rights the list goes on.
  5. The numerous Jewish students I ran across did have whitewashed versions of Israel, however, they were able to show me things I might not have known about Israel, however it was always a one way streak, when it came to criticizing Israel and its policies they normally would shut down and never forgive me for being critical of Israel.
  6. That American Jews have the ability to make Israel the great country it has the possibility of becoming.
  7. That much like America, which is a great place, there are things that are not perfect and things that we have the ability as citizens, people of conscience to change- and we have the tools here to make effective change- the same is true of Israel, why not make it the democracy it can be, and hopefully a shining light for all the other despots in the region.
  8. Jews, Zionism maybe, need to re-evaluate how and what is being taught about Israel. The list continues of points I agree with, for the sake of moving on this is my last point.
Points of Disagreement:

  1. Apartheid state- in the article there is mention that there are check points, Jewish only roads, loss of water and land due to settlement. There is a "fence" which really is a concrete barrier with look out towers carving out land that is not finalized as far as borders are concerned. This is 'aparthaid'- its only one aspect. Arabs voting and participating in Israel. That is questionable, since it seems that is more for visibility then it is practical. Arab villages have second rate schools, are always in dire need upkeep and public projects- roads, electricity, water, sewage- all these things are prioritized so that Arab Israelivillages are last to receive them- or they never get them. This Apartheid point is debatable and something I do not mind leaving up in the air as questionable because of that.
  2. "We need to teach American Jews to love Israel, warts and all, because Israel is worth loving and supporting." I really think that to love Israel "warts and all" leaves a very important aspect out of the picture, the desire to change, not to blemish the warts but to remove them. I think this point is later addressed, however, I felt that it was not conveyed as strongly.
  3. Finally, the point missing is this connection and partnership with the Evangelical Right and war for the sake of war. This point is not addressed and I do feel its one of the more destructive paths developing with in the Jewish community that is known for its commitment for justice and peace.
Yet, I commend the piece because its a GOOD step. A step that might even bring Muslims and Jews to the table in larger numbers. Many critics of Israel- Muslims included- have this major issue with the Jewish community in America that they are blinded by their commitment to Israel given their social justice and peace positions on many other issues, but I feel its largely due to the Zionist organizations that builds this wall of not questioning or exploring other perspectives beyond the Zionist constructed reality of Israel- Birth Right Israel is a culprit in this. But again, bravo for the Jewish Journal and more so to the Progressive Jewish Alliance for a stance that will bring together all Americans on this contentious issue.

Monday, September 17, 2007

MSA National Responds to Islamofacism Drama


National Muslim Student Group Begins Islamic Education Campaign on Campuses

(WashingtonD.C., 9/13/07) The Muslim Students Association National (MSA National) is proud to announce the launch of a national education campaign aimed at building bridges of understanding between students of all faiths and races on university and college campuses across North America.

The 'Peace Not Prejudice' Campaign is a proactive and positive effort to further facilitate understanding about Islam and Muslims in our local university and college communities. By engaging students of diverse racial and religious backgrounds, MSA National hopes to eliminate stereotypes and racism among campus communities.

While introducing the campaign, MSA National President, Asma Mirza, said:

"By launching the 'Peace Not Prejudice' national campaign, Muslim students around the nation and in Canada are continuing to extend their hands in peace and tolerance by hosting educational interfaith events for their fellow students, professors and local college communities.

"Instead of people seeking to divide our nation's college campuses on racial, religious or ethnic grounds, American Muslim students are promoting the American principles of the free and responsible exchange of ideas and interfaith dialogue through our 'Peace Not Prejudice' campaign.

She concluded with: "Whether it is anti-Islamic, anti-Semitism or any other form of racism and bigotry, the Muslim Students Association, at the local and national levels hope to combat racism by promoting the American ideals of pluralism for people of all faiths, races and socioeconomic backgrounds."

MSA chapters from all around the United States and Canada will be participating in the 'Peace Not Prejudice' campaign on their local campuses.

MSA National, with over 200 affiliated chapters in the United States and Canada, was established in 1963. MSA National's goals are to empower Muslim students through educational programs, provide management training for local chapters, and serve as a broad platform for students of all backgrounds.

For more information on the program, please visit:


CONTACT: Ms. Asma Rahman, MSA National Manager, 703-820-7900 Email:

If you are an MSA Chapter and would like to request a "Peace Not Prejudice" campaign kit please e-mail from your school e-mail account with the following information:



MSA Chapter Name

Position in MSA

School E-mail Address

Fox News Censors?

Fox Channel- Fresh off Xantac- very interesting. I for one think that Sally Fields was not cut off, rather she ran out of time and anyway she lost track of what she was saying so of course she would run out of time!

But watch for yourself. I give props to Field's anti-war stance and to say it on the Emmy's is wonderful way to bring pressure and voice to the majority of Americans against the war, but censor, I think not!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Imam Jamil Update

(From: Free Imam Jamil Al-Amin)

As some of you may already know, Jamil Al-Amin has been moved to the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX), which is a super-max prison in Florence, Colorado. This facility generally houses over 400 prisoners, and each prisoner is assigned to one of six security levels. At this time it is unclear which level Jamil Al-Amin had been assigned to. Most prisoners at this facility are kept for at least 23 hours each day in solitary confinement (Jamil Al-Amin was already kept under 23 hour lock down since 2002).

This Penitentiary is "home" to many high profile prisoners, including Omer Abdel-Rahman ("the Blind Sheik") and many of the other 1993 accused World Trade Center "conspirators", Zacarias Moussaoui, Theodore Kazcynski, Terry Nichols, Richard Reid, Robert Hanssen, Eric Rudolph, and John Walker Lindh. Additionally there numerous high ranking members and leaders of groups including skinheads, several gangs and drug rings.

There is a growing pubic outcry against these types of maximum security facilities, and efforts are underway to organize a public resistance movement. These types of facilities have been created by the united states government to in essence break down the inmates. This type of isolation and mistreatment over time is a form of torture and should be a great source of embarrassment for a "leading nation" as the United States claims to be.

The main goal for supporters at this point is to make this new facility very aware of the public support for Jamil Al-Amin. There is a mass effort underway to flood the prison with mail for him.

Please note: According to prison regulations, all mail is opened, read, and censored. (Please do not let that affect your decision to write.)

His mailing address is:
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin
Reg. No. 99974-555
Florence ADMAX USP
P.O. Box 8500
Florence, CO 81226

For more information visit: Free the Imam

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ramadan Kareem Ads

Just to give you an idea of the Ramadan ads here in Dubai (and probably in the rest of the Arab world). Krispy Kreme has a cool one too with date filled doughnuts and all (sorry, couldn't find it online).

On one level, it's kinda cool how Ramadan is everywhere. On the other hand, all the "commercialization" takes away from the spirituality sometimes. Kinda like what happened to Christmas.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Very Useful Ramadan Planner!

Click here for the V.U.R.P.
(Jazakum Allah khairan Br. Yamen from Fullerton)

It even comes with quick and easy instructions!

1. Breath!!! You don't have to do everything that is one the sheet.

2. Start with the Commitment page/tab and choose at least 1 item from each category.

3. Highlight each item you choose and move on to the next sheet

4. Move on to the planner sheet and choose at least one item from each category and highlight it.

5. Ok now is the important part! Schedule your the time so that you will perform these commitments or plans on the time table page/tab.
Example: If you wanted to commit to tajweed from 7-8 P.M; you will write 3A in Pen for that time slot. If wanted to plan for a family study circle at Tuesdays from 8-9 PM you will write F-S in Pencil for that time slot

FYI-Commitment must be kept and that's why they are written in pen, but plans may be changed according to your schedule / circumstances.)

You may want to pre-schedule for the whole Month or Plan weekly - it's up to you.

Plan away! (And don't forget to stick to your plans!)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The First Six Minutes

I am speechless. Watch the video. But before you do that read the back ground story.

Rehab Kanaan is a famous Palestinian poet who regularly appears on Arab satellite channels to read her poetry.

She was thought to be among those who were killed by Israel and its Lebanese allies during the Sabra and Shatila massacres in 1982. (Which is also a 9/11 story, since on 9/11/1982 the international forces left the refugee camps and what followed was the massacre) Her daughter Aisha had lived in the refugee camp as an orphan raised by other families since it was believed that Rehab was dead. It appears that Rehab had survived among those who fled, but she was separated from her daughter and was never able to find her. She then left the camp and was able to move to Gaza to live with her family. Recently, one of her old neighbors from Sabra and Shatila saw her on television and recognized her.

Abu Dhabi Television hosted Rehab and surprised her with this emotional reunion with her daughter.

Please watch, the first six minutes were the renunion of mother and daughter after 25 years. The rest of the video is a nasheed montage of pictures and video's from what seems to several years of Occupation resistance and funerals, but our purpose the first six minutes are a powerful testament to humanity that has lost its foundation for peace, love and respect. It becomes so easy to demonize either side for the sake of political ends, yet we pay such a high price for this demonization. It reminds me of how we all bleed, feel pain and suffer in the same way- why not work to feel joy, peace and justice the way all the negative elements are spread?

You Know Ramadan is Around the Corner When....

This post is not about moonsighting. Its a reflection.

1. Women start looking better

The other day I had lunch with a friend at his company's cafeteria. It's a prestigious tech company known for putting out good products, but not known for having great looking women. It took me an hour and a half to finish my burrito. You see, my eyes were like ping-pong balls, bouncing from one bodacious babe to another. Shake it off. My friend told me later that on the way back to his desk, he saw really pretty ladies he'd never seen before. Where did they come from?

2. The urge to splurge increases

Yesterday I went to Best Buy. I stopped in mid-strut in front of the new releases section and did a quick scan of the rack. The Kanye West album "Graduation" and the 50 Cent album "Curtis". I couldn't decide which one I should pick up. So I picked up both. Why did I do that?

I've been looking around for a viable alternative and upgrade to Apple's music production software Garageband. Apple somehow read my mind. Logic Studio out today from the Apple store. Only $499! Why am I itching like a beagle with fleas to buy this ASAP??

And don't even talk to me about clothes.

3. Sucky music sounds better

Now I know the Kanye album has more creative lyrics, production, and overall depth to it. Its funkier no doubt. So why do I still have the "Fitty" album bumpin' in my trunk? The line, "I'm laughing straight to the bank wit dis" is stuck in my head.

4. Sleeping in is a better option

The last couple of days I rolled into work around 10:00-10:30 am. Not a good look.

5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Personal (I don't come up with Top 10 lists often and this post ain't a confession)

No, its not a confession. I'm human. I got issues. And so do you. The first few days before Ramadan I am reminded and I think about how human I really am and how much I need this blessed month to help me conquer my vices better. May Allah make it easy for us to conquer ourselves.

Ramadan Kareem

Prophet Muahammad (sallahu alaiyhi wa salaam) declared Ramadan as a blessed month and that fasting during its is a compulsory act, saying: "The doors of Paradise are open and the doors of Hell are closed during the scared month of Ramadan; moreover, in this month there is one night that is better than a thousand months."

For your reading benefit and out of a selfish hope that I may get some tiny ajar for it, please find below a compilation of various resources on Ramadan.
Ramadan Kareem!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ramadan Mubarak

We Wish You All a
Ramadan Mubarak

We pray that the month of Ramadan brings with it blessings and mercy to you and your family. We also pray that the blessed month brings peace and prosperity to all people in the world, especially those suffering from war, poverty, and natural disasters.

May Allah (God) accept your fasting, prayers, charity, and all good deeds.

Silence on 9/11

I do believe we have an explanation. In response to the comment left by Osman on my 9/11 post:

I am just confused about the silence on 9-11? Do we only observe silence and recognize the blood of innocent Americans? I know thousands of massacres and tragic events have occcurred on other days, so why should we ignore those events?
Zahra did respond and you can see her original post and also read mine regarding 9/11. This provides an oppurtunity to speak about what 9/11 means for other peoples and not just Americans:

These events by far do not cover the many "atrocities" or "wars" or violent actions (acts of terrorism by individuals, groups or governments) or "nakabah's" that have occurred on September 11 of any given year.

However, for Americans, for me- September 11 is a significant day for my personal development and perception. It affects me more so then the other September 11th. It is not that they are less or insignificant, rather its how it affects me.

Your thinking, "what these other incidents are not comparable to September 11?" I would say no they are not because they affect me in a different way. For instance, other incidents are morally, socially repugnant and wrong. I am affected by them because my inner being tells me that they are unjust, unnecessary or a drastic waste of human life and each thing is a case by case situation of coarse, here I am generalizing.

September 11th, however, is an event where my world was rocked- it not only was morally and religious wrong. I was faced with a new reality of trying to make sense of things I had not confronted. My religion was "hijacked" by people who said they represented Islam. I was being told that this is what Islam is. What was worse was that Islam was being used to kill and destroy.

You can read more on how it affected me. However, I think that as Americans yes, this event does have a special place and significance amongst the halls of atrocities. We just can not lump NY Sept. 11th with all the other things, nor should we dissociate it from other incidents. What I am saying is that it requires our attention because we are innocent when it comes to our governments actions against others- we speak out, we vote, we pray for/against those actions carried out in the name of America. However, we were the victims on September 11th and we do need to respect that. What is critical is also respecting those who lost their lives, because they were innocent and they were killed.

With all that said, the day of silence that was referred in my original post was really addressing the fact that from six very vocal activist, no one posted on September 11, 2007. Hence, for Muslamics it was a day of silence.

I hope that clears things up.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Neo Nazi's In Israel

I am always willing to accept that there can be a wide spectrum of political beliefs. However, THIS news story baffles and, well to be honest, disgusts me in that there is no explanation that comes to my mind about how a person(s) can turn to such an ideology of hate and act out upon it.

Israeli police say they have broken up a cell of young neo-Nazis who are implicated in a series of attacks on foreign workers, religious Jews, drug addicts and gays...Eight suspects, all immigrants from the former Soviet Union...All suspects are in either their late teens or early 20s.
The question here is- HOW CAN YOU BE JEWISH AND BE NEO-NAZI? Its against the very grain of what makes a Jew a Jew? (as a Muslim I would tend to think that anyway, but then there is Iran's supreme talk-a-thon who sheds a glimpse into our communities own spectrum of views.)

While I understand the differentiation of these individuals from the immigrant population from Russia that Israel took in- ALL Israeli immigration however, is Jewish, save the current row over the refugee's from Darfur.

These Jews would be the very people that the Nazi's would send off to their deaths, how can one, knowing this still be affiliated or have attraction to such an ideology? (However, for the Muslim community we do have a similar problem, but slightly different.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

About time Muslamics has a post on Ramadan!

Rapidly, months pass before our eyes until Ramadan is upon us. The first days may seem stretched, but thereafter they dash by Having realization of the movement of time is part of the Ramadan project.

Harboring suspicion, rancor, or negative opinions about other people is especially noxious in Ramadan. The same goes for all forms of cheating, vanity, and irrational anger. Ramadan is a month of remembrance, for we stand long in prayer listening to the Quran.

Boasting and arrogance are starved in Ramadan. How can they survive, while we admit our abject need of God and His generous provision?

All of these blessings of Ramadan come with the obvious caveat: nothing is automatic. This is not the system that God set in place in our lives and the world in which we live. Without effort and sincere trust, Ramadan can easily be just another 30 days in a year, no special moment.

Even for those who fast, who mechanically deprive themselves without striving to reach deep into their soul for spiritual lessons, replenishment, and climbing, the month comes and goes with only the sense of inconvenience and then a celebration at the end. Then life goes on as it did the months of the year before. One cannot help but notice a tragedy in this: God so generously opens portals in time, truly special opportunities for us to grow, learn, and build for our Hereafter, yet people turn away from it with casual notice and perfunctory interest.

Excerpts from Purification of the Heart

May Allah (swt) make us of those who take advantage of this magnificent gift, and not of those who are heedless towards it, ameen.

For more on preparing for Ramadan check out this, this, and this (for lecture-junkies, the last one has a whole bunch of them).

If you have any cool tips for making the best of Ramadan please share!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Osama bin Laden -The Latest Fake has released a few photoshop images in which they successfully (in my opinion) attempt to debunk this new supposed Osama video. They point to several of his facial features including the differences in the nose, cheekbones and his beard. I'm not sure if anyone has had the chance to look at the images of Osama in the new video, but they really don't look like him. Coincidentally this new tape is released amidst the anniversary of 9/11, tensions with Iran and the results of a new Zogby poll indicating Americans want a new 9/11 investigation. Now, I know not all Muslims agree with my theory here but whether you think these are real tapes or not, one has to wonder why they are always released on a silver platter during the most convenient political times. Additionally, IntelCenter who is releasing the tapes, does not have the best reputation when it comes to dependable information. You can write me off as a conspiracy theorist, I don't care, but what bothers me most is that if these tapes are manufactured, not only Americans but globally, people defend the actions of groups and governments to curtail the rights of Muslims worldwide. In my experience I have not come across many Muslims that will publicly declare they believe 9/11 was an inside job. I wonder however what Muslims in America think of these videos not only of Osama but of the laughing 9/11 hijackers, Al Zarqawi and others. Feel free to let me know.

You can find the article here:

I wish we had business cards in grad school!

This post on MuslimMatters and the comments on it make some very good points and touch on an issue I've been wanting to blog about for a while now: the challenges of observing the Sunnah in the professional world, specifically the corporate world.

As a graduate student in the US, things like not shaking hands with the opposite gender or not attending gatherings where alcohol is consumed got 'in the way' sometimes, if you know what I mean. The hand shake thing was particularly awkward. I was much less 'social' than I would have liked to be: I avoided meeting visiting scientists or students as much as possible. I did the common tricks of carrying stuff to meetings to have my hands full, or coming in late and leaving know, the usual.

It got better with time as I got more used to handling the situation but I just could not get over the uneasy feeling I had whenever I knew I was going to meet new people at school. I was comfortable explaining the reasoning behind the 'no hand shake' rule; however, in professional gatherings, there was never really the chance to do that properly.

Anyways, starting a job in the Dubai corporate world, I was interested to see how those issues would play out. I didn't know what to expect seeing that I had never 'worked' in a Muslim country, especially one with such a diverse population.

AlhamdulilAllah, it was actually easier than I expected. To start with, the people I work the closest with are females which is great: I can actually look them in the eye when tallking to them! Second, unlike in other Arab and Muslim countries, it is very much in the culture of UAE locals not to shake hands with the opposite gender. As for Arabs/Muslims from other regions of the world, they do understand when I don't extend my hand or decline to shake theirs (although sometimes that surprises them), so it's usually not very awkward.

Of course, there's also the non-Muslim colleagues/business partners or those Arabs/Muslims with an identity crisis...that's where it gets interesting.

I've noticed something about the corporate world, especially in meetings: it's all about the image (surprise, surprise!). The expensive suit, watch, cell phone, glasses,'s all about the image. And of course, the arrogance that comes with the huge pay checks.

This is when I started gaining a new appreciation of the significance of Islamic guidelines especially for attire and social interactions. The top brand names don't usually make long skirt suits so it's easy for me to avoid spending half my salary on over-priced clothes or constantly comparing my wardrobe to others'. As for the hand shake, I love bursting a dude's ego and reminding him that I don't have to conform to stupid corporate 'rules'/expectations if they go against my personal beliefs. Also, I think it's a great reminder for me (and those around me), that- even at work-I should do what I do to please Allah, not anyone else.

I've learnt a really neat trick too: I always take plenty of business cards to meetings. When someone extends their hand to greet me, I smile and give him my business card! That way his hand isn't just stuck in the air. I wish we had business cards in grad school!

Anyways, I'll stop here and look forward to hear your opinions and stories on this issue.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fresh off the Unity Parade

Shia Jaffari School of Thought to be added to Al-Azhar University

This was brought to my attention recently -yesterday - and I did some research. While there is an incredible lack of news out there on this major step, I did find blogs on this issue. I guess that is the purpose of the blogosphere, getting micro-currents out to the masses.

Firoze Shiker states-

It should be of interest to know that a few decades ago, a group of Sunni and Shia scholars formed a center at al-Azhar by the name of "Dar al-Taqreeb al-Madhahib al-Islamiyyah" which translates into "Center for bringing together the various Islamic schools of thought". The aim of the effort, as the name of the center indicates, was to bridge the gap between the various schools of thought, and bring about a mutual respect, understanding and appreciation of each school's contributions to the development of Islamic Jurisprudence, among the scholars of the different schools, so that they may in turn guide their followers toward the ultimate goal of unity, and of clinging to one rope, as the well-known Quranic verse, "Hold fast to the Rope of Allah and do not diverge" clearly demands of Muslims.

The Fatwa as follows published in 1960's:

His Excellency was asked:

Some believe that, for a Muslim to have religiously correct worship and dealing, it is necessary to follow one of the four known schools of thought, whereas, "al-Shia al-Imamiyyah" school of thought is not one of them nor "al-Shia al-Zaidiyyah." Do your Excellency agree with this opinion, and prohibit following "al-Shia al-Imamiyyah al-Ithna Ashariyyah" school of thought, for example?

His Excellency replied:

1) Islam does not require a Muslim to follow a particular Madh'hab (school of thought). Rather, we say: every Muslim has the right to follow one of the schools of thought which has been correctly narrated and its verdicts have been compiled in its books. And, everyone who is following such Madhahib [schools of thought] can transfer to another school, and there shall be no crime on him for doing so.

2) The Ja'fari school of thought, which is also known as "al-Shia al- Imamiyyah al-Ithna Ashariyyah" (i.e., The Twelver Imami Shi'ites) is a school of thought that is religiously correct to follow in worship as are other Sunni schools of thought. Muslims must know this, and ought to refrain from unjust prejudice to any particular school of thought, since the religion of Allah and His Divine Law (Shari'ah) was never restricted to a particular school of thought. Their jurists (Mujtahidoon) are accepted by Almighty Allah, and it is permissible to the "non-Mujtahid" to follow them and to accord with their teaching whether in worship (Ibadaat) or transactions (Mu'amilaat).

Signed, Mahmood Shaltoot.

The basis of the effort began with this Fatwa. It then worked toward creating this institute and now there is this trickling of information that the Jafri school of thought will now also be taught at Al-Azhar.

Which to me is great news. But for many it seems like this is not good news. I guess I await your responses, updates on this as well as information regarding what you all think about the Sunni-Shi'a split.

I will ask the moderator to heavily moderate the comments on this post. Not interested in hate and stupidity.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dialogue- agreeing to disagree

Anonymous- identified as Jewish with Muslim best friend- took some time out to leave a message for us at Muslamics and I felt that the least we can do is highlight the message, and address issues raised. (Unfortunately, I am finding blogger to be problematic in its ability to manage comments so I just caught this message and I apologize that a response took so long to come) I would like to address some very valid points you made and will not be able to address everything in one post.

Apparently, being proud of being a Muslim, per your definition, involves making defamatory statements against conservatives.
History- Being a very informal process began earlier this year by American Muslim bloggers on the west side- Muslamics- really is still in its development stages. With that said I do believe we can work on refining many things including how we define ourselves. However, to get that we are proud to be Muslim and into defaming is a bit unjustified. Often times, the internet does not serve well to carry out sarcasm, wit and just plain frustration.

Your comment was posted on a video I had posted. I can understand where your comment is coming from, where your frustration is coming from and also how you might be repulsed by this and other things posted on this site.

However, as an American, I personally do not see Fox News in good light- I see them as being "Right Wing Nut Jobs" (or however I defined it). If Kaufman took away something else to do something else with what I had posted that is his issue. I only deal with those who sincerely want to dialogue such as yourself. People like Kaufman are beyond dialogue and I do not need to "win them over."

What you get here is our perspective. You, as stated, might not agree with everything- and I respect that- but it is our forum and our space. We appreciate all positive criticism and feedback and knowing that this blog is read by many others I can develop a different style of presenting information because to be honest for a long time I was under the impression that my fellow bloggers and our friends read the blog to fill in some empty time, but obviously this can be better used as a forum- however, I do think this is a good way to let out frustration and my frustration is with the way this Administration is approaching Iran and many other things. We might not agree on it and differ on how to handle this issue, but this might not be a place for me to write about it.

Great way to 'win over' those you think don't like you based on your religion.
I think Muslims in the United States are far from winning over anyone who does not already see us as being American. I feel there is a polarized perspective on Islam and Muslims and at this time Muslims really just need to show themselves as being present and participating and loud (vocal) citizens. The smear campaign against me only reinforced that belief and lead me to quadruple my blog output.

When people can get the drift that you can not just pack away Muslims and ship them back home (nearly 40% of the population is African American, Latino, Caucasian, while a good 50% of the 33% of the immigrant population was born in the United States) I think we can consider strategies on how to "win over" the don't likes. And we can disagree on this approach. I would love to hear on differing opinions, because as a Jew in America I believe your community has faced (faces) many of the challenges we as Muslims face. On Jewcy I had a chance to read about the identity debate and there are many parallels in our community that it surprised me, yet it should have been expected.
I am not afraid of muslims, nor do I hate them.
I AM afraid of fundamentalist islamists who twist their religion to create chaos and promote hate.
I am jewish. My best friend is a muslim.
I am really happy that you have a neutral if not semi-positive view of Islam. You are not alone, there are a few of you out there. I am afraid of fundamentalist as well, not just in my religion but in all forms including the secularists. There are Jewish fundamentalist- Zionist- who are hijacking not only Judaism but also American foreign policy to the detriment of America and stability in the Middle East. I believe the rhetorical war in the media against Iran and Syria are such cases- I do not believe in Iran or Syria's form of government and their policy is questionable at the least- but I am not interested in a war with either and agree to this statement:

But we both also understand that the way towards peace isn't through a bomb or threat, but rather through dialogue untouched by hatred.
As for speaking out-
Start speaking out against terror bombings. Start denouncing radicalism. Start showing the rest of the world that there are two islams - the one based on peace and tolerance and the one based on hate and twisted scripture.
I can not tell you the times how I have spoken out on my blog, in talks to the Muslims and also non-Muslims, and will continue to do so, however if you are looking for blanket condemnations, then I have to disagree on that and hope you can respect this groups perspective, again I might only be speaking for myself and encourage my fellow bloggers to chime in.

(On a side note, I almost feel like- but not as bad as- that this sort of framing is like constantly asking a Catholic to apologize for the deplorable sins of the priests or a Holocaust survivor- or a Jew- to apologize for being Jewish and causing such a horrendous atrocity to be carried out, Muslims did not ask for these extremist to carry these incidents out (we can discuss the issue of did Muslims do enough to curb this ideology), so many Muslims are suffering and dying at the hands of this lunacy so to constantly have to speak out, denounce is like being guilty for being Muslim because being Muslim is associated (or sharing qualities) with these fanatics. (I hope I am not going to extreme on this analogy but I do see it to describe the shear frustration (?) I feel to always address an issue I am disgusted and angered by the actions of the few.)

The last statements on Iran, I have to leave for another post seeing how long this already is. I do want to say that I have an understanding that is different then yours based on my Iranian/Persian friends and our dialogue on this issue. I respect your views and value the fact that you took the time to give me and us such positive feedback. If as you say the way my posts come off is antagonizing and defamatory, then I believe there is no reason for me to not evaluate and think critically on my posts rather then going with my gut/frustrated reactions, however I do want to point out that this has been the case with my most recent posts and is not so for ALL my posts.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Anyone else freaking out about global warming?

As Hurricanes Felix and Henriette make landfall, I can't help but get nervous about global warming. There's a heatwave in Southern California (that's already claimed the lives of 7), and 102 F seems like a good day near the Sacramento Valley area.

On my drive on the Interstate 5 from Southern California to Northern California, there was a horrible ten-mile stretch where the sky was yellow with pollution and the sun appeared blood red as its light was diffused by the thick layer of smog. I could only see a thin strip of blue sky at the horizon, and I was anxious to drive faster to be able to get out of the shadow of this horrible shadow of smog and dust. It was a weird out-of-body experience, as though someone had time-transported me to the future during that ten-mile bit of road. I couldn't help but thinking, Is this what my children will see? Will their breathing be impeded by the smog that gushes out of our exhausts everyday? Will they never know of a blue sky, or a yellow sun? Will the blues and greens of nature become a thing of folklore and history, depicted in story books and museum paintings? I was able to drive past the smog, and come out blinking into the beautiful azure of the evening sky, but I worry that it won't be as easy as driving faster for those who will come after us.

What does it take to live in a greener world today? I can't be the one to preach. It's hot in my apartment and I have the A/C running. The fact that it's on low doesn't merit any praise either. But we really have to think about the ramifications of our actions, be it jumping in our car to drive a block to the grocery store, keeping the air conditioning running all night, or letting the water run while we're brushing our teeth. As vicegerents of this earth -- the only home we have -- it's a sin to let it go to waste right before our eyes.

Apartheid- a new vocabulary word

Something that Carter, Tutu and Mandela would agree with

In a speech to a Jewish group in London, Ha'aretz Arab affairs editor Danny Rubinstein stood behind his characterization of Israel as an apartheid state.

Speaking to about 100 people at the New North London Synagogue on Monday evening, less than a week after he declared Israel was "an apartheid state" at a U.N. conference in Brussels, Rubinstein said "apartheid" is a political term he and his newspaper increasingly use and he is not sorry for invoking it, audience members reported him saying.

The thing is, Ha'aretz is a widely respected paper amongst the Israeli population- the Zionist here in the States would tend to disagree.

Victory for Bil`in!

A Palestinian protester at part of the security fence in Bilin. Photograph: Oded Balilty/AP

From the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) media advisory:

Following popular non-violent resistance through joint struggle between Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, a court decision has been made in favor of the petition by Bilin village to change the current route of the Apartheid Wall.

The court decision dictates that the military are obliged to plan and implement a new route for the wall. It has been ordered that the new path will allow for all Palestinian agricultural land to be on the Palestinian side. Furthermore, the court has ordered that the state should not take into consideration the area earmarked for Stage B of the planned expansion of Matityahu East.

Although today’s decision is seen a victory in the struggle against oppressive consequences of the Israeli Occupation and a victory for the villagers of Bilin, it is important to recognize that the route of the wall still deviates from internationally recognized armistice lines and is still in violation of international law, resolutions and advisories made within the International Court of Justice and within the UN Security Council.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Turkey's First Lady Snubbed by Military Leadership

Turkey's new President Abdullah Gul attended the army's Victory Day celebrations on Thursday, but in a fresh snub the new first lady, who wears the Islamic headscarf, was not invited.

Gul, who was elected on Tuesday as strictly secular Turkey's first president with an Islamic background, sat between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and chief of staff Yasar Buyukanit.

But the three men barely exchanged remarks as they watched the ceremony. First lady Hayrunnisa Gul, whose headscarf hard-line secularists view as a symbol of political Islam, was absent, as was the wife of Erdogan who also covers her head.

Read on at: MAS News & Views

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Make Love Not War

Back in March of 2007 I wrote about the Google Trends tool and soon after Brother Amad at Muslim Matters picked up on it and also it was reported that Zaid Shaker or it might have been Hamza Yusuf who spoke at length about it- but it seems that Muslims are just as addicted to sex as their non-Muslim counterparts even when its their avowed enemies- the Israeli's.

Here is an interesting Israeli-Arab twist to the idea of sex and the internet in the Middle East. is a website that caters to Israeli porn addicts. They installed a tool to allow them to track the web locations of their visitors and low and behold the majority of visitors were coming from Iran, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Suadi Arabia. They immediately converted their website into an ARABIC version after which the charts when out of this world with hits. Get this, .il addresses are blocked in these countries.

What makes this more than a tale of clever entrepreneurs making a buck off Middle Eastern sexual repression is that Ratuv isn't an ordinary porn site. It's a clearinghouse of political parody porn, making fun of Israeli affairs such as sex scandals and often featuring Mossad agents or army soldiers getting out of uniform, thus providing a view of the Israeli military seldom seen in the Arab world. The next step, says Ratuv's manager, is to make movies with Israelis and Arabs performing together, in order to foster more intimate relations between the two peoples . . . read on at the LA Times
What gets me is that these are the people most likely out in the streets yelling and screaming for the downfall of Isreal or even if they are not doing that they most likely are buying into the world conspiricy propaganda that is rife through out the Arab streets. Globalization at its best (or worst) and yet the Palestinians continue to suffer.