With the attainment of the required delegates to claim the Democratic Party's nomination for U.S. president, Sen. Barack H. Obama (D. ILL.) has written a new page in American history.
For by so doing he succeeds where Channing Phillips, Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Sr., and Al Sharpton could not - by gaining the necessary delegates to demand nomination.
Of course, there have been numerous Black candidates for president, but these have been third party efforts designed more to raise issues, to organize or protest than to actually win elections. Some of the best known have been Eldridge Cleaver (former Black Panther Minister of Information), Dick Gregory, Dr. Lenora Fulani, and the former congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney.
But this is a different kettle of fish, for Obama's candidacy is the closest to make it to the winner's circle.
What also distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is he doesn't come from civil rights, Black liberation, socialist or anti war movements. (He often remarks at speeches, "I'm not against all wars, I'm just against dumb wars")
Indeed, although his detractors may try to paint him as a leftist liberal this is hardly true. On issues both foreign and domestic he would've been more at home in the Republican Party of his senatorial forebear, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts. For though he is Black by dint of his African father, he has studiously avoided Black political groups in his long, harrowing climb to the rim of the White House.
He has studiously avoided the very real and long standing grievances of Black America. In fact, he tried to run a 'post-racial' campaign until Sen. Hillary R. Clinton (D.N.Y.) (and her rambunctious husband, former Pres. Bill), brought race front and center during the Super Tuesday February primaries, by trying to pigeonhole him as 'the Black candidate'.
This primary wounded Obama, and as he won in the delegate count, he also lost a number of primary states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are necessary for a win in November.
Politics is the art of making people believe that they are in power when in fact, they have none.
It is a measure of how dire is the hour that they've passed the keys to the kingdom to a Black man.
As in many American cities, Black Mayors were let in when the treasuries were almost barren, and tax bases were almost at rock-bottom.
With the nation's manufacturing base also a thing of history, amidst the socioeconomic wreckage of globalization, with foreign affairs in shambles, the rulers reach for a pretty, brown face to front for the Empire.
'Real change that you could believe in' would be an end to Empire, and an end to wars for corporate greed, not just a change of the shade of the political managers.
That change, I'm afraid, is still to come.
--(c) '08 maj
Monday, June 30, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
I came upon this article on one of my favorite websites LiveScience.com. Imagine being able to trace your lineage far back enough to before medieval times. It’s a project that not everyone is able to do let alone even be motivated enough to do it. The article from 2006 states that nearly 100% of all living individuals can trace their roots back to some type of royalty or another. It even goes on to mention Prophet Muhammad (SAAW). Here is a part of the article that I found very interesting:
The longer ago somebody lived, the more descendants a person is likely to have today. Humphrys estimates that Muhammad, the founder of Islam, appears on the family tree of every person in the Western world.
Some people have actually tried to establish a documented line between Muhammad, who was born in the 6th century, and the medieval English monarchs, and thus to most if not all people of European descent. Nobody has succeeded yet, but one proposed lineage comes close. Though it runs through several strongly suspicious individuals, the line illustrates how lines of descent can wander down through the centuries, connecting famous figures of the past to most of the people living today.
The proposed genealogy runs through Muhammad's daughter Fatima. Her husband Ali, also a cousin of Muhammad, is considered by Shiite Muslims the legitimate heir to leadership of Islam.
Ali and Fatima had a son, al-Hasan, who died in 670. About three centuries later, his ninth great-grandson, Ismail, carried the line to Europe when he became Imam of Seville.
Many genealogists dispute the connection between al-Hasan and Ismail, claiming that it includes fictional characters specifically invented by medieval genealogists trying to link the Abbadid dynasty, founded by Ismail's son, to Muhammad.
The Abbadid dynasty was celebrated for making Seville a great cultural center at a time when most of Europe was mired in the Dark Ages. The last emir in that dynasty was supposed to have had a daughter named Zaida, who is said to have changed her name to Isabel upon converting to Christianity and marrying Alfonso VI, king of Castile and Leon.
Yet there is no good evidence demonstrating that Isabel, who bore one son by Alfonso VI, is the same person as Zaida. So the line between Muhammad and the English monarchs probably breaks again at this point.
But if you give the Zaida/Isabel story the benefit of the doubt too, the line eventually leads to Isabel's fifth great-granddaughter Maria de Padilla (though it does encounter yet another potentially fictional character in the process).
Maria married another king of Castile and Leon, Peter the Cruel. Their great-great-granddaughter was Queen Isabel, who funded the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Her daughter Juana married a Hapsburg, and eventually gave rise to a Medici, a Bourbon and long line of Italian princes and dukes, spreading the Mohammedan line of descent all over Europe.
Finally, 43 generations from Mohammed, you reach an Italian princess named Marina Torlonia. Her granddaughter is Brooke Shields.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
The thing is, how do you tell someone in a not so "in your face way" that I was not on vacation, "vacationing", but rather with some critically ill, who then passed away and I was no longer being with but rather mourning and burying that person?
I realized that as Americans, we really shy away from "harrowing" topics. Things that abuse our sense of life are things that should remain publically taboo. When i got back, all my friends, associates who I work with asked how my vacation went. On the record, it was considered a vacation, but I was not relaxing on some Indonesian Beach sipping on virgin Margaritas, no, rather, I was doing something quite the opposite and not so quite self absorbed.
In my one day being back, I realized that people when told what I did on my "vacation" are a bit dumbfounded, even disturbed and leave in reverent silence at the fact that I vacationed with death for three weeks. But then again, what do you want me to say about the emmotional process I as a human went through, "oh, yeh, Indonesia a great place to go surf, you should go next time on your vacation, I suggest you stay at the Hilton in Bali."
A friend of mine (Thanks Meriam) posted these videos somewhere else. I like this story and the brother is pretty funny too. It makes me reminisce and takes me back to when I converted. More than six years later when people find out I’m a convert, I still get asked the story behind my conversion and what brought me to Islam. I’ve told the story so many times, and it’s a story that doesn’t have one answer. What made you convert? What am I to answer? There is no one answer. Islam is beautiful and Allah guided me to it. Like someone once said, “I was always Muslim, I just never knew it.” SubhanAllah. Enjoy this brother’s story.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
This article in the Boston Globe suggests that this is a sign of understanding and acceptance in the US, while this article in the SF Chronicle suggests it may be more an issue of ignorance.
Although the Boston Globe's argument has some merit (and is certainly more positive), I agree with SF Chronicle's take on this one:
Some believe the survey's findings illuminate superficiality in American faith practice.
"Religion in America is 3,000 miles wide, but it's only 3 inches deep," said Professor D. Michael Lindsay, a sociologist and religion demographer at Rice University. "The issue is not that Americans don't believe in anything. It's that they believe in practically everything. It's possible for Americans to hold together contradictory beliefs at the same time."
The survey found that there are Catholics who meditate, while Lindsay said other surveys have found Protestants who pray to the Virgin Mary.
70% of those claiming religious affiliations believe multiple religions can lead a person to salvation, while 68 percent say there is more than one way to interpret the teachings of their religion.
58% of Catholics believe society should accept homosexuality, a view that is greatly at odds with U.S. Catholic bishops, including those in the Bay Area.
21% of self-defined atheists believe in God - leading scholars to think that these atheists see how they identify themselves as a position against organized religion, not divinity.
Muslims get a mention here:
On gay rights, Buddhists, Jews, Catholics and mainline Protestants are the most likely to say homosexuality should be accepted, while Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims and evangelical Protestants are the most likely to say homosexuality should be discouraged. Overall, 50 percent of Americans said homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 40 percent said it should be discouraged.
If this study underscores anything to American Muslims, I think it is the importance of having solid knowledge of the basic beliefs of our faith in order to save ourselves from getting lost in the "hodge podge".
Monday, June 23, 2008
So That You Can Fly!
By Alia Adil and Umm Isam
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day, a small opening appeared- he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours, as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could go no farther. Then the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and snipped the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. However, something was strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shrivelled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly, expecting the wings to enlarge and expand at any moment to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and deformed wings. It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restriction cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the small opening of the cocoon are Allah's (SWT) way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight, once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life.
If Allah (SWT) allowed us to go through all our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could. Not only that-we would never be able to fly.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The photos below are from some of the sites we visited. The architecture is absolutely stunning. Not only are the designs and materials used breathtakingly beautiful, the buildings are designed to meet their function perfectly. There are study areas in mosques designed to be cool and well lit even during the hottest summer day, and the buildings are designed to echo sound so that the athan can be heard beautifully from any corner without any amplification. Click here for some background on each of the historical masajid.
Masjid Amr ibn al As (the conquerer of Egypt)- the first mosque in Egypt built in 642 CE. The above photo is for the wudu` area in the middle of the mosque. Before restoration, this area was reserved for Zakat collection.
The door says "Maliki school". There are three other classrooms with the name of the three other Imams of the major Islamic schools of thought. Students of this school would study all the four school of fiqh before graduating.
Masjid ar-Rifai finished early last century. This mosque has inside it the graves of the royal family. It is right next to masjid as-Sultan Hassan, and was designed to reflect similar architecture.
In the area called "Old Cairo" are several historical churches and a Jewish temple. Unfortunately, no pictures are allowed in most of them. The photo below is a figure showing the areas Mary and prophet Issa, peace be upon them, are believed to have visited during their trip to Egypt. The churches and temple were built during the Islamic era (Amr ibn al-As donated land areas to priests for religious buildings), since religious minorities were discriminated against during Roman and Bizantine times.
Inside the "Hanging Church" - named due to the fact that it was constructed over the Roman wall protecting Cairo.
The mosque from the inside. This gem is tucked away in a busy area next to al-Azhar and is still packed with worshippers during prayers (as are many of the other historic mosques).
I was surprised to see a shape resembling the star of david in many mosques.
Next to the mosque is a small rennovated building used for cultural shows such as the Whirling Dervish. The show is free but you have to arrive early to find a seat. It was interesting but more cultural than spiritual.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
By Faiza Saleh Ambah
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Kuwait City - Naif al-Mutawa was in a London taxi with his sister when she asked when he'd go back to writing children's books. Mr. Mutawa, a Kuwaiti psychologist with two doctorates and an MBA from Columbia University, said the question sparked a chain of thoughts:
To go back to writing after all that education, it would have to be something big, something with the potential of Pokémon, the Japanese cartoon that was briefly banned by Saudi religious authorities.
God would have been disappointed by that, he thought; God has 99 attributes, or names, including tolerance. "And then the idea formed in my mind," Mutawa said. "Heroes with the 99 attributes."
He mixed his deep religious faith, business acumen, and firsthand experience with other cultures to create The 99, a comic-book series about superheroes imbued with the 99 attributes of God. Those traits represent one of Islam's most recognizable concepts.
Mutawa's superheroes are modern, secular and spiritual, moving seamlessly between East and West. They come from 99 countries and are split between males and females. They include Darr the Afflicter, an American paraplegic who manipulates nerve endings to transmit or prevent pain. Noora the Light – a university student from the United Arab Emirates – shows people the light and dark inside themselves. They distribute aid to starving Afghan villagers and battle elephant poachers in Africa.
In November 2006, Mutawa's first comic book hit the newsstands.
Continue article here.
Here is the 99 hero website.
Two Muslim women at Barack Obama's rally in Detroit on Monday were barred from sitting behind the podium by campaign volunteers seeking to prevent the women's headscarves from appearing in photographs or on television with the candidate.
The campaign has apologized to the women, both Obama supporters who said they felt betrayed by their treatment at the rally.
"This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama's commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers."
In Detroit on Monday, the two different Obama volunteers — in separate incidents — made it clear that headscarves wouldn't be in the picture. The volunteers gave different explanations for excluding the hijabs, one bluntly political and the other less clear.
The men said the volunteer, a twenty-something African-American woman in a green shirt, asked if their friends looked and were dressed like the young men, who were all light-skinned and wearing suits. Miller said yes, but mentioned that one of their friends was wearing a headscarf with her suit.
The volunteer "explained to me that because of the political climate and what's going on in the world and what's going on with Muslim Americans, it's not good for [Aref] to be seen on TV or associated with Obama," said Koussan, who is a law student at Wayne State University.
When they said they were with Abdelfadeel, the volunteer told them their friend would have to take the headscarf off or stay out of the special section, Marino said. They declined the seats.
After recovering from the shock of the incident, Abdelfadeel went to look for the volunteer and confronted her minutes later, she said in an e-mail interview with Politico.
"We're not letting anyone with anything on their heads like baseball [caps] or scarves sit behind the stage," she paraphrased the volunteer as saying, an account Marino confirmed. "It has nothing to do with your religion!"
In most work and school settings, religious dress — such as Jewish yarmulkes, Sikh turbans, Muslim hijabs — is permitted where secular clothing like baseball caps is not.
"The scarf is not just something she can take off — it's part of her identity," said Marino.
Photographs of the event also show men with hats in the section behind Obama and former Vice President Al Gore, though not directly behind the candidate.
OK. Alright. You say it was just a volunteer making a mistake? Rather, it was two volunteers. And doesn't the "oh my staffer/volunteer made a mistake" line sound familiar? Yes! That's the same cop out Barbara Boxer used last year to justify Islamophobic actions on her end.
I want to understand. I really do. Somebody please explain to me why we are even bothering with these particular politicians? For intelligent and informed activists, isn't this becoming an issue of self respect?
Update (06/19/2008): Obama Apologizes to Muslim Women for Treatment at Rally
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Again, the intellectual white elite, preaching to the angry uneducated poor whites about the dangers of the invading hordes. One need only look back at European history to see how successful these wonderful elitist have been. When the time came that they had ruined what they had, they set out to dominate the rest of the world…continue to do so. Going off of what the man on the video says about whites eventually becoming a ‘minority,’ even if and when whites become a ‘minority,’ the system will still benefit them because it is a system that is systematically/institutionally setup for them to benefit. Furthermore, as issues like immigration and the nomination of Barack Obama grab the headlines, there is a much more disturbing side to the debate: The new rise of hate groups and "racist intellectuals" who find crafty ways to promote fascist ideas. As one of my favorite hip hop artist Jihad once rapped: “it don’t matter what skin tone our president is, cuz he’ll always be a puppet…”
Word on the street is that there are less than 3,000 unique words in the Qur'an. This means that if we learn one a day, before we know it we can start understanding the words of the Qur'an while it is recited or while we pray. Learning one word a day, also ensures that we don't forget what we learn.
A popular listserv, "Qur'anic Word of The Day," sends one word every weekday right to your inbox. Currently, the list sends out words in order from the 30th juz (chapter) of the Qur'an, so we can learn the words in the surahs most of us know best and recite in prayer. There is also a review section for past words, and an online flashcard web site where you can study the words from the 30th juz.
The owner of this group will soon be printing flashcards of all of the words in the 30th chapter to facilitate studying. They will be available in sha' Allah soon, but a local donor has agreed to subsidize some of the costs (making them cheaper to buy!) if the membership of the list increases. So if you join, you will start gaining valuable knowledge immediately and also help a mass effort to get our community more acquainted with the meaning of the Qur'an!
Join now and be on your way to learning the meaning of the Qur'an, one word at a time!
To join, visit Yahoo! Groups or email QWOTDemail@example.com.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Desert Heat is the first Emirati group to officially launch into the Hip Hop music scene - have you checked out their stuff yet? Their music merges western drums with Middle Eastern instrumentation and lyrics, and most importantly, it contains no profanity or explicit lyrics - so mum's won't mind you blasting it round your bedrooms.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I was walking down 13th Avenue in Brooklyn’s Hasidic neighborhood of Boro Park a few weeks ago, and I saw a woman walking down the street decked out in a hijab and an abaya.
My first thought was that she was an observant Muslim woman — there is no shortage of hijabi women in Brooklyn — but her Hasidic female walking companion and her shopping bags made me realize she was Jewish. My realization of her Jewishness was followed soon by a sense of anxiety.
“Please tell me this woman is Persian, please let this woman be Persian”, I muttered under my breath as the woman approached. Many Iranian Jews in America continue to wear the clothing of their homeland, with some older Jewish women retaining the chadors they had worn in Iran. As she approached, I could tell by her accent — the woman was Hasidic and she was apparently a follower of the hijab and abaya-advocating movement of ultra-Orthodox women taking hold in Israel.
“Muslim women are imitating Jews to try to gain God’s favour with modesty. The truth is that the women of Israel are lessening in God’s eyes because the Arabs are more modest in dress."
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The 10-year-old was married off to a man in his 30s who abused her. She made her way to a courthouse, found a lawyer and broke free.
By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 11, 2008
As lunchtime arrived and the crowds of noisy men and women cleared away, a curious judge asked her what she was doing sitting alone on a bench.
"I came to get a divorce," 10-year-old Nujood Ali told the jurist.
Her impoverished parents had married her off to a man more than three times her age, who beat her and forced her to have sex, she explained. When she told her father and mother that she wanted out of the marriage, they refused to help. So an aunt provided her with bus money to travel to court and seek a divorce.
Full story here
In a stunning blow to the Bush Administration in its war-on-terrorism policies, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign nationals held at Guantanamo Bay have a right to pursue habeas challenges to their detention. The Court, dividing 5-4, ruled that Congress had not validly taken away habeas rights. If Congress wishes to suspend habeas, it must do so only as the Constitution allows — when the country faces rebellion or invasion.
The Court stressed that it was not ruling that the detainees are entitled to be released — that is, entitled to have writs issued to end their confinement. That issue, it said, is left to the District Court judges who will be hearing the challenges. The Court also said that “we do not address whether the President has authority to detain” individuals during the war on terrorism, and hold them at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba; that, too, it said, is to be considered first by the District judges.
The Court also declared that detainees do not have to go through the special civilian court review process that Congress created in 2005, since that is not an adequate substitute for habeas rights. The Court refused to interpret the Detainee Treatment Act — as the Bush Administration had suggested — to include enough legal protection to make it an adequate replacement for habeas. Congress, it concluded, unconstitutionally suspended the writ in enacting that Act.
The Court also found serious defects in the process that the Pentagon set up in 2004 to decide which prisoners are to be designated as “enemy combatants” — the status that leads to their continued confinement. This process is the system of so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals. The procedures used by CSRTs, the Court said, “fall well short of the procedures and adversarial mechanisms that would eliminate the need for habeas corpus review.”
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s opinion for the majority in Boumediene v. Bush (06-1195) and Al Odah v. U.S. (06-1196) was an almost rhapsodic review of the history of the Great Writ. The Suspension Clause, he wrote, “protects the rights of the detained by a means consistent with the essential design of the Constitution. It ensures that, except during periods of formal suspension, the Judiciary will have a time-tested device, the writ, to maintain the ‘delicate balance of governance’ that is itself the surest safeguard of liberty.” Those who wrote the Constitution, he added, “deemed the writ to be an essential mechanism in the separation-of-powers scheme.”
Even though the two political branches — the President and Congress — had agreed to take away the detainees’ habeas rights, Kennedy said those branches do not have “the power to switch the Constitution on or off at will.”
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Democratic reforms in the Middle East have failed to take off or even leave a nominal impact on Arab countries, according to a study published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Arab countries largely remain autocratic, the study said and blamed the current US administration for failing to transform them to democracy. The study called for a clear strategy with rational objectives for democratic reforms in the region.
Check out the reaction of Arab 'pro-democracy' activists:
Commenting on the study, Dr Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organisation for Human Rights in Syria (NOHR), said the US and the EU have never been sincere about promoting democracy in the Arab world and no one in the region would believe the Americans and the Europeans any more.
"Call for democracy is meant to blackmail the regimes rather than implementing real changes in the region. They are sure that any reform will not be in favour of Israel which makes them abandon the support for change," he said.
Dr Qurabi said Arab activists have fallen prey to their autocratic governments because of miscalculation regarding the true intention of foreign power to support the democratisation process in the Arab world.
"The more pressure the US exert on regimes in the Arab world the more pressure the regimes inflict on activists. In many countries, democratic activists are portrayed as either puppets of the West or terrorists and agents of Al Qaida."
More at Gulf News
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Have you ever stood by a pond and thrown a pebble into it? Didn't it create an infinite number of ripples? Similarly, over the span of our lives, every one of us is constantly creating a series of unending ripples by our words, actions, presence and personality.Continue here for tips on things to do to leave lasting impressions.
This ripple-effect stays long after we are gone or our action is over, in the form of traces and impressions, and continues to influence and inspire others. Thus, the chain continues.
"... We record whatever deeds they have sent ahead, and the traces (aathaarahum) which they left behind; for of all things do we take account in a clear record." (Surah Ya-sin 36:12)
We know that Allah (SWT) is meticulous in His Accountability and fair in His Judgment. Thus, He informs us that His recording includes everything big and small, exposed or concealed, good and bad with numerical clarity. He (SWT) records not just deeds but also the traces, impact and impressions of those deeds, with precision.
"Whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it. Whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it." (Surah az-Zalzalah 99: 7-8)
Everyday, whatever we do is presented to Allah (SWT). What remains are the impressions, and these we will find in our Book on the Day of Accountability. Therefore, with the right intention, knowledge and actions we can strive to leave impressions that just might play an important role in tipping the scale in our favour.
The Arabic word,'Aathaar' cannot be translated into one word in English as it encompasses various sublime concepts depending on the context in which it is used:
1. Impression of a deed on one's body - for example, tasbeeh on fingers. The Prophet (SAW) said, "Count on your fingers, for they will be asked, and will be made to speak."
2. Impression of our body on the environment - for example, footsteps on the way to the masjid. The Prophet (SAW) said, "...And your footsteps will be recorded." [Bukhari]
3. Effects of direct instruction or imparting knowledge. "When the son of Adam dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: knowledge which is beneficial to others, a righteous child who prays for him, or an ongoing charity which he leaves behind." (Muslim)
4. Effects of setting an example or through inspiring others. "Whoever starts (or sets an example of) something good in Islam, will have a reward for it. And a reward equal to that of everyone who does it after him, without that detracting from their reward in the slightest..." [Muslim]
5. Direct impact of a deed performed and its continuation. "...An ongoing charity which he leaves behind." [Muslim]
Friday, June 6, 2008
By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites looks "unavoidable" given the apparent failure of sanctions to deny Tehran technology with bomb-making potential, one of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's deputies said on Friday.
"If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective," Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz told the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.
"Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable," said the former army chief who has also been defense minister.
It was the most explicit threat yet against Iran from a member of Olmert's government, which, like the Bush administration, has preferred to hint at force as a last resort should U.N. Security Council sanctions be deemed a dead end.
Iran has defied Western pressure to abandon its uranium enrichment projects, which it says are for peaceful electricity generation rather than bomb-building. The leadership in Tehran has also threatened to retaliate against Israel -- believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal -- and U.S. targets in the Gulf for any attack on Iran.
Mofaz also said in the interview that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, "would disappear before Israel does."
Read on here.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Disappointing and concerning. Banning the AKP seems like the next step.
Excerpts below (and photo above) from TIME:
Turkey's pro-Islam governing party was handed a devastating legal defeat Wednesday when the country's top court ruled that a constitutional amendment to allow women in headscarves on university campuses was anti-secularist and hence unlawful.
The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pushed through the amendment in February to make it possible for pious women to attain a higher education. But the case has even greater ramifications. Turkey's secularist establishment considers the government's campaign to lift the headscarf ban as key grounds for outlawing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for its alleged Islamicizing agenda; that case will be decided in the next few months by the same Constitutional Court. A ban is being sought not just against the party but also against 71 party members, including Erdogan, who face being barred from all political activity for five years.
As this NYT article points out, it is the voice of the college women most affected by this law that is forgotten; may Allah (swt) find a way for them to continue their education and be a force of positive change in their society:
All but lost in the debate have been the voices of the women whose futures are caught in the political cross hairs. Neslihan Akbulut, 26, a sociology graduate student, said she cried when she heard the verdict.
“There is no way for me in Turkey now,” she said. She was waiting to see if the changes would take effect so she could start work on a doctorate degree in Turkey. “When I see this result, I feel that I don’t need to wait. I would need to wait for a long time.”
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
PARIS - The bride said she was a virgin. When her new husband discovered that was a lie, he went to court to annul the marriage -- and a French judge agreed.Read on here. Wow...What is your opinion on this?
The ruling ending the Muslim couple's union has stunned France and raised concerns the country's much-cherished secular values are losing ground to religious traditions from its fast-growing immigrant communities.
The decision also exposed the silent shame borne by some Muslim women who transgress long-held religious dictates demanding proof of virginity on the wedding night.
In its ruling, the court concluded the woman had misrepresented herself as a virgin and that, in this particular marriage, virginity was a prerequisite.
But in treating the case as a breach of contract, the ruling was decried by critics who said it undermined decades of progress in women's rights. Marriage, they said, was reduced to the status of a commercial transaction in which women could be discarded by husbands claiming to have discovered hidden defects in them.
The court decision "is a real fatwa against the emancipation and liberty of women. We are returning to the past," said Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara, the daughter of immigrants from Muslim North Africa, using the Arabic term for a religious decree.
The outcry has been unrelenting since word of the April 1 decision in the closed-door trial in Lille was made public last week by the daily newspaper Liberation. In its judgment, the tribunal said the 2006 marriage had been ended based on "an error in the essential qualities" of the bride, "who had presented herself as single and chaste."
Justice Minister Rachida Dati, whose parents also were born in North Africa, initially shrugged off the ruling -- but the public clamor reached such a pitch that she asked the prosecutor's office this week to lodge an appeal.
What began as a private matter "concerns all the citizens of our country and notably women," a statement from her ministry said.
The appeal was filed Tuesday and three judges could hear the case sometime this month, said Eric Vaillant of the appeals court in Douai, near Lille.
The hitch is that both the young woman and the man at the center of the drama are opposed to an appeal, according to their lawyers. The names of the woman, a student in her 20s, and the man, an engineer in his 30s, have not been disclosed.
The young woman's lawyer, Charles-Edouard Mauger, said she was distraught by the dragging out of the humiliating case. In an interview on Europe 1 radio, he quoted her as saying: "I don't know who's trying to think in my place. I didn't ask for anything. ... I wasn't the one who asked for the media attention, for people to talk about it, and for this to last so long."
The issue is particularly distressing for France because the government has fought to maintain strong secular traditions as demographics change. An estimated 5 million Muslims live in the country of 64 million, the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.
"It has been an honor to contest these primaries with him. It is an honor to call him my friend. And let me be very clear: I know that Sen. Obama will be a good friend to [apartheid] Israel."
Rumors have been circulating at least since last year that Obama is a Muslim and does not support the Jewish state. He is a Christian and said at the conference he is a "true friend of [apartheid] Israel," earning applause.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
“There can be no justice, no peace, no stability, not for Israel, not for the Palestinians, without accountability for human rights violations." Archbishop Desmond Tutu
01/06/08 "ICH" -- - Why was Desmond Tutu's trip to Gaza censored by the US media?
When Nobel Laureate and world renowned peacemaker Desmond Tutu goes to Gaza to visit the site of an Israeli massacre; that's news, right? So why is it impossible to find any account of his trip in America's leading newspapers? Is it because any information that is incompatible with the territorial ambitions of the Israeli leadership is simply “disappeared” into the media-ether?
Archbishop Tutu was a leader in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. He is neaither a terrorist nor an anti-Semite. His work as a human rights activist spans 4 decades. Like former president Jimmy Carter he was shunned by the Israeli government and refused entry into Gaza. Why?
Two days earlier author and university professor Norman Finkelstein was refused entry into Israel even though he's Jewish and had parents who survived the Holocaust. Isn't that enough to gain entry or must one accept the prevailing doctrine of the far-right extremists in the Olmert government who think that it's okay to deprive Palestinians of their rights whenever they see fit?
Bishop Tutu had to go through Eqypt to get to Beit Hanoun; the town where 18 members of the al-Athamna family--including 14 women and children--were killed by Israeli artillery fire in November 2006. Tutu said that hearing "from the survivors of the massacre" had left him in a "state of shock". Christine Chinkin, professor of international law at the London School of Economics, told the UK Guardian that her preliminary assessment of the attack was that it was a breach of international law.
"Firing in a way that cannot distinguish between civilians and combatants is clearly a violation of international humanitarian law," she said. "I don't think that the idea of a technical mistake takes away from the initial responsibility of the action of firing where civilian casualties are clearly foreseeable ... it has to be foreseeable when you give yourself such a small margin that any error has the potential to lead to civilian casualties." (UK Guardian)
Chinkin is right, of course. It was a massacre and should be thoroughly investigated by the international community. The responsible parties need to be held accountable. According to the UK Telegraph, “No soldiers were ever charged in connection with the incident. Israel blocked attempts by the UN's Human Rights Council to investigate the shelling, saying that members of the body were "biased".
So now the members of the UN's Human Rights Council can't be trusted either?!?
Tutu ended his three day mission by calling for an end to the blockade of food, medical supplies and economic assistance to the Gaza Strip and by condemning the “culture of impunity” in which one nation arbitrarily imprisons one and a half million civilians who are left to languish in abject poverty and hopelessness. "We saw a forlorn, deserted, desolate and eerie place," Tutu said "The entire situation is abominable. We believe that ordinary Israeli citizens would not support this blockade, this siege, if they knew what it really meant to ordinary people like themselves."
Tutu is right. This is not the work of the Israeli public, which (according to a recent poll in the Jewish newspaper Ha'aretz) 65% want direct negotiations with Hamas. This is the work of fanatics at the top-rung of the political system who—much like the Bush administration---operate without any regard for the will their people and without any concern about the vast human suffering they are creating. Tutu met with the Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday and told him that, while he was opposed to the Israeli occupation, he condemned the rocket fire by militants into Gaza.
"True security, peace, will not come from the barrel of a gun," he said. "It will come through negotiation; negotiation not with your friends, peace can come only when enemies sit down and talk. It happened in South Africa. It has happened more recently in Northern Ireland. It will happen here too."
Tutu went to Gaza for peace and not one newspaper in the United States covered the story. Apparently, the "culture of impunity" extends to America's media as well as the Israeli leaders who killed the 18 Palestinians at Beit Hanoun.
Ibn al-Qayyim [may Allah have mercy on him] said:
And mankind, with regard to their performance of prayer are in five levels:
The First: The level of the one who is negligent and wrongs his soul: He is the one who falls short in performing wudoo properly, performing the prayer upon its time and within its specified limits, and in fulfilling its essential pillars.
The Second: The one who guards his prayers upon their proper times and within their specified limits, fulfills their essential pillars and performs his wudoo with care. However, his striving (in achieving the above) is wasted due whisperings in his prayer so he is taken away by thoughts and ideas.
The Third: The one who guards his prayers within the specified limits, fulfills their essential pillars and strives with himself to repel the whisperings, thoughts and ideas. He is busy struggling against his enemy (Shaytan) so that he does not steal from the prayer. On account of this he is engaged in (both) prayer and jihad.
The Fourth: The one who stands for the prayer, completes and perfects its due rights, its essential pillars, performs it within its specified limits and his heart becomes engrossed in safeguarding its rights and specified limits, so that nothing is wasted from it. His whole concern is directed towards its establishment, its completion and its perfection, as it should be. His heart is immersed in the prayer and in enslavement to his Lord the Exalted.
The Fifth: The one who stands for the prayer like the one mentioned above. However, on top of this, he has taken and placed his heart in front of his Lord (عز وجل), looking towards Him with his heart with anticipation, (his heart) filled with His love and His might, as if he sees and witnesses Allah. The whisperings, thoughts and ideas have vanished and the coverings which are between him and his Lord are raised. What is between this person and others with respect to the prayer, is superior and greater than what is between the heavens and the earth. This person is busy with his Lord (عز وجل), delighted with Him.
The First type will be punished, the second type will be held to account, the third will have his sins and shortcomings expiated, the fourth will be rewarded and the fifth will be close to his Lord, because he will receive the portion of the one who makes his prayer the delight and pleasure of his eye. Whoever makes his prayer,the delight and pleasure of his eye, will have the nearness to his Lord (عز وجل) made the delight and pleasure of his eye in the hereafter. He will also be made a pleasure to the eye in this world since whoever makes Allah the pleasure of his eye in this world, every other eye will become delighted and pleased with him.
So, what level are you?
Source: Excerpted from Ibn al-Qayyim's book al-Wabil al-Sayyib
Original post on Ilm Fruits
Sunday, June 1, 2008
The frontrunner to become Israel’s next prime minister, Tzipi Livni, was a Paris agent for Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence agency, in the early 1980s when it ran a series of missions to kill Palestinian terrorists in European capitals, according to former colleagues.
Livni joined Mossad after leaving the army with the rank of lieutenant and completing a year at law school. From her base in Paris she travelled throughout Europe in pursuit of Arab terrorists.
“Tzipi was not an office girl,” said an acquaintance. “She was a clever woman with an IQ of 150. She blended in well in European capitals, working with male agents, most of them ex-commandos, taking out Arab terrorists.”
Her career was forged in the violent creation of Israel. Both her parents were arrested for terrorist crimes in the 1940s. Her mother Sarah, who died recently aged 85, was a leader of Irgun, the militant Zionist group that operated in Palestine at the time of the British mandate and whose exploits included train robbery.