Monday, March 31, 2008

Jewish Students Safe at UCI

IRVINE - Jewish student leaders at UCI took the unusual step this week of issuing a press release saying Jewish student life is thriving there, and no one is in danger from anti-Semitism on campus.

The move comes in the wake of assertions from outside groups that UC Irvine is so rife with anti-Semitism that it's become an unsafe place for Jewish students.

Tensions between fervent Jewish and Muslim students on campus, primarily over the Israeli government's relationship with the Palestinians, have spilled over into the international blogosphere and even been investigated by the federal government.

"There's been a lot of misinformation put out about what's going on at our school," said UCI student Isaac Yerushalmi, 21, president of Anteaters for Israel. "Unfortunately, there are organizations out there that are very passionate and concerned, but they don't really know what's going on."

The press release was issued by the presidents of four Jewish student organizations on campus, including Anteaters for Israel; Hillel: The Jewish Student Union; Alpha Epsilon Pi and Epsilon Pi fraternities.

"Jewish students are physically safe and secure on our campus … (and) Jewish life is thriving more than ever," the release states.

Continue here

If you're unfamiliar with the background, check out Muslamics' earlier post on this.

I would love to have seen the face of the ZOA people when the read the press release! I have to respect the UCI Jewish student organizations for stepping out of ZOA's cloak and speaking for themselves. If only they would seperate between Judaism and Zionism - but that's a whole other discussion.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hypocrisy of (Arab) Muslim "Brotherhood"

I read the following at BBC News. Now before people get upset and nationalistic, I want to spell out a few things:

This could be true for any group of people, does not have to be limited to Arabs and how they treat immigrant workers, however, this gives a good example to a point I am trying to make.

The story allows me to use this as an example, while I would love to give Muslims 70 excuses, I doubt that we will ever be able to fix our problems with out looking at the issue, discussing it and at least walking away better educated, or educating others, or better yet, working to change things. Not to belittle the 70 excuses hadith, I do believe that this falls outside its scope and context, since its to better the general sense and sensibility of the Muslim Ummah.

Please look at the content of whats being present, and don't contact me to provide me naseeha if you wish regarding how I am approaching this, there are all to many posts that have lost there purpose in the policing of "wayward ways". (Contact Affad via facebook or my personal blog)

The reason this piece uses such a strong word -"hypocrisy"- is because it applies. Before going out to do good, its important to make significant change in my own backyard. Read the article here and the gist of the article is below:

    Troops from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been delivering humanitarian aid to their fellow Muslims and, on occasion, fighting their way out of Taleban
    ambushes. Though Jordanian forces have been carrying out some base security
    duties, the UAE's troops are the only Arab soldiers undertaking full-scale
    operations in the country.
    Now I commend them for doing the work they are doing. However, when we talk about brotherhood, how about considering the treatment of the brother and sisters that are brought into the country to do certain jobs, ie construction, nannies, house cleaners, cab drivers?

    Its good to be able to connect with the Afghan people based on shared religious beliefs. Yet I think back to how Muslims from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh are treated in the Middle East and it all seems hypocritical to me. This is so bad that I hear WHITE NON-MUSLIMS telling me about how horrendous the treatment is. The double standards are just repulsive. Yet this is just Muslims, imagine the treatment of non-Muslims which is just as worse. (Is this the dawah we were instructed to do?)

    Lets not argue about how Islam is not being practiced the way it should be, because I hear anecdotes from families and friends who are religious trying to justify the horrible behavior toward these migrant workers.

    I was talking to some one about Sri Lankan nannies and how many kids in the Middle East are raised by Sri Lankan nannies. The Muslim mothers are the equivalent to OC Mommies- maybe the prescribed psycho-drugs haven't reached there. These nannies are treated like they do not exist, like expendable rubbish, a pair of 1000 dollar jeans you buy, wear and then toss. They go home to see their family once a year if they are lucky, but they spend their entire time with people who don't care for them, their lives, treating them with contempt.

    A good example of this behavior is that of Mexicans and immigrants from South America are treated, the perception from the pro-border enforcement "activists"and the consistent criminalization and dehumanization of being foreigners, especially through semantics like "illegal aliens"- connoting it being illegal to be working at measly pay, and that because one is an alien one is less human. God forbid we run into a person who is half terrorist and half illegal alien- yes, its like Muslims being treated like TERRORIST here in the States, but that is ten times better then the treatment fellow Muslims (and non-Muslims) receive in the Middle East.

    This might be a generalization, and its true that this is applicable to Pakistani's, as it would be to Muslims here in the US or any other group, though being Muslims and touting the equality of races makes it more incumbent upon us to truly live this as a reality. The internal racism, stereotypes and prejudices that are persistent in the way we behave toward others, the way we view inter racial marriage and do business, or even run the Masjids is a contradiction to what Islam teaches, yet we continue to buy into the things that divide us.

    Sheikh Tajudeen Shoieb in his khutbah at IIOC today talked about the "engineering required to build social relationships" and how Muslims are sorely lacking it, yet we hold this ideal of what Hajj does for the community, of how even the Prophet lived with the sahabah. Yet what surprised me was that there are two extremes- the one where people buy into the racial prejudices, and the other being that of whitewashing cultural differences and not appreciating the variety that exists.

    Where is the balance? What can we do as young activists to bring about the necessary change, something more then talking about it and thinking its bad? What to do? So what is real "brotherhood", that was the question Sheikh Tajudeen Shoieb left the congregation to ask itself at IIOC and I extend that to you all.
    Muslims More Numerous than Catholics

    No analysis just the article:


    Associated Press Writer

    VATICAN CITY (AP) - Islam has surpassed Roman Catholicism as the world's largest religion, the Vatican newspaper said Sunday.

    "For the first time in history, we are no longer at the top: Muslims have overtaken us,'' Monsignor Vittorio Formenti said in an interview with the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano. Formenti compiles the Vatican's yearbook.

    He said that Catholics accounted for 17.4 percent of the world population - a stable percentage - while Muslims were at 19.2 percent.

    "It is true that while Muslim families, as is well known, continue to make a lot of children, Christian ones on the contrary tend to have fewer and fewer,'' the monsignor said.

    Formenti said that the data refer to 2006. The figures on Muslims were put together by Muslim countries and then provided to the United Nations, he said, adding that the Vatican could only vouch for its own data.

    When considering all Christians and not just Catholics, Christians make up 33 percent of the world population, Formenti said.

    Spokesmen for the Vatican and the United Nations did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Sunday.

    Original source here.

    March 30th: Land Day

    Photo above: Leaders of Palestinian citizens of Apartheid Israel (Sheikh Raid Salah second from right) during Land Day march in Jaffa - March 30th, 2008

    Each 30th of March, Palestinians from all over the world commemorate Land Day with demonstrations in order to remind the international community of the ongoing Israeli injustice and oppression against them. Land Day (Yom al-Ard in Arabic), was initially established to honour the killing by Israeli troops of six Palestinians in the Galilee on 30 March 1976, during peaceful protests over the confiscation of Palestinian land from villages in this area.

    However, as land confiscation is part of a larger policy of Israeli colonialism in the Palestinian Territories, it has now become a day of demonstration to link all Palestinians in their struggle against the occupation and for self-determination and national liberation.


    Following 32 years since the original Land Day demonstration, Israeli policy has not changed: land confiscation and house demolitions are going on constantly, to make room for illegal settlement expansion and bypass roads that are restricted exclusively to the settlers. Only in the past week, six homes were demolished in three villages of the southern hills of Hebron, as part of a larger policy of deportation in this area, begun with the expansion of local settlements in the 1990s. An additional six homes in villages located to the southwest of Jenin were demolished without previous warnings or orders. On the same day, another three homes were demolished in the al-Jeeb village, located in the Jerusalem district, in order to make space for the new settlements and construction of the Separation Wall.


    This situation bestows the right for all Palestinians to raise some demands of their leaders. If democratic policy should be based on the principle of accountability, it’s now the time for the Palestinian Authority to give the electorate an account of its work. Citizens should receive an answer to their legitimate question of ‘where are we going?’ The PA leadership knows full well that the demands of the Palestinian people are not just for food, work and salary, but are first and foremost political demands, for freedom, justice, self determination, the right of return and the establishment of a real and sovereign state.

    Continue at The Alternative Information Center

    Saturday, March 29, 2008

    NYT: US Muslims Turn to Home Schooling

    Not the most well-written article, but still good enough to raise some questions and discussion points. Excerpts below (thank you Asma H. for sharing):

    Across the United States, Muslims who find that a public school education clashes with their religious or cultural traditions have turned to home schooling. That choice is intended partly as a way to build a solid Muslim identity away from the prejudices that their children, boys and girls alike, can face in schoolyards. But in some cases, as in Ms. Bibi’s, the intent is also to isolate their adolescent and teenage daughters from the corrupting influences that they see in much of American life.

    About 40 percent of the Pakistani and other Southeast Asian girls of high school age who are enrolled in the district here are home-schooled, though broader statistics on the number of Muslim children being home-schooled, and how well they do academically, are elusive. Even estimates on the number of all American children being taught at home swing broadly, from one million to two million.

    No matter what the faith, parents who make the choice are often inspired by a belief that public schools are havens for social ills like drugs and that they can do better with their children at home.

    “I don’t want the behavior,” said Aya Ismael, a Muslim mother home-schooling four children near San Jose. “Little girls are walking around dressing like hoochies, cursing and swearing and showing disrespect toward their elders. In Islam we believe in respect and dignity and honor.”

    Still, the subject of home schooling is a contentious one in various Muslim communities, with opponents arguing that Muslim children are better off staying in the system and, if need be, fighting for their rights.

    Continue here

    I'm sure anyone who has either gone to school in the US or is hoping to raise his/her kids in the US has thoughts on this issue - let's hear them!

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    The Politician and the Preacher

    Great article by Mumia. I plan to post a couple blogs on race relations in America so keep a lookout for the meantime read this:

    [col. writ. 3/15/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

    The recent quasi-controversy over the comments made by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, retired pastor of the United Church of Christ, to which Sen. Barack Obama (D.IL), both belongs and attends, has shown us how limited, and how narrow, is this new politics peddled by the freshman Senator from Chicago.

    Although first popularized via the web, the Reverend's comments caused Sen. Obama to say he was "appalled" by them, and he has repudiated such remarks as "offensive."

    Just what were these comments? As far as I've heard, they were that Sen. Hilary Clinton (D.NY) has had a political advantage because she's white; that she was raised in a family of means (especially when contrasted with Obama's upbringing); and she was never called a nigger.

    Sounds objectively true to me.

    Rev. Wright's other remarks were that the country was built on racism, is run by rich white people, and that the events of 9/11 was a direct reaction to US foreign policy.

    Again -- true enough.

    And while we can see how such truths might cause discomfort to American nationalists, can we not also agree that they are truths? Consider, would Sen. Clinton be where she is if she were born in a Black female body? Or if she were born to a single mother in the projects? As for the nation, it may be too simplistic to say it was built on racism, but was surely built on racial slavery, from which its wealth was built. And who runs America, if not the super rich white elites? Who doesn't know that politicians are puppets of corporate and inherited wealth?

    And while Blacks of wealth and means certainly are able to exercise unprecedented influence, we would be insane to believe that they 'run' this country. Oprah, Bob Johnson and Bill Cosby are indeed wealthy; but they have influence, not power. The limits of Cosby's power was shown when he tried to purchase the TV network, NBC, years ago. His offer received a corporate smirk. And Oprah's wealth, while remarkable, pales in comparison to the holdings of men like Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet.

    Would George W. Bush be president today if he were named Jorje Guillermo Arbusto, and Mexican-American? (Not unless Jorje, Sr. was a multimillionaire!)

    In his ambition to become America's first Black president, Obama is in a race to prove how Black he isn't; even to denouncing a man he has considered his mentor.

    As one who has experienced the Black church from the inside, politics and social commentary are rarely far from the pulpit. The Rev. Dr. Martin L. King spoke of politics, war, racism, economics, and social justice all across America. His fair-weather friends betrayed him, and the press condemned his remarks as "inappropriate", "unpatriotic", and "controversial."

    Rev. Dr. King said the US was "the greatest purveyor of violence" on earth, and that the Vietnam War was illegitimate and unjust. Would Sen. Obama be denouncing these words, as the white press, and many civil rights figures did, in 1967? Are they "inflammatory?"

    Only to politics based on white, corporate comfort uber alles (above all)" only to a politics that ignores Black pain, and distorts Black history; only to a politics pitched more to the status quo, than to real change.

    Politics is ultimately about more than winning elections; it's about principles; it's about being true to one's self, and honoring one's ancestors; it's about speaking truth to power.

    It can't just be about change, because every change ain't for the better!

    --(c) -08 maj

    Original article here.

    Mexico's Indigenous Minority Converting to Islam

    This video is very interesting but barely touches on the subject. It is nevertheless very exciting. My grad thesis is on Latinos converting to Islam and the way they navigate their marginal status. In it I plan to touch on this topic of the indigenous Oaxacans converting to Islam. Anyway, once I collect my data I’ll post more on the topic.

    Re-U-Sable School

    So many posts about recycling as a Muslim imperative, preservation, global warming, environmental conscientiousnesses, here is something that ties in the California Budget crisis, schools and the power of recycling- thanks to Joy SD and Izzy who put this together-

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Wal-Mart vs. Permanently Disabled Woman

    Reason 3439674 Why People of Conscience Should NOT Be Shopping at Wal-Mart:

    Tragic might be an understatement.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    The Daily Show - Iraq: The First 5 Years

    A great video from The Daily Show with John Stewart about the five-year anniversary of the war in Iraq.

    Poetic Pilgrimage- Voices of Dissent

    Islam was a vehicle of dissent. The Prophet SAW came and destroyed a system and in its placed provided a society that was just, long lasting and ever so connected. From across the Atlantic pond I want to introduce to you a duo, MUNEERA RASHIDA and SUKINA ABDUL NOOR, who make up Poetic Pilgrimage. You can read more about them here, here and here.

    I was working on an op-ed piece to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. During that process I was stumbling over some ideas- disssent, music, the comparisons between the Iraq and Vietnam war, as well as this grand oppurtunity to be invited to the "House of Allah" in Mecca and to visit the city of the Prophet, Medina- so it was quite fitting that I ran across the song "Definition of a Pilgrim" by Poetic Pilgrimage, on a website touting dissent music for the Iraq war.

    In the song, Poetic Pilgrimage begins by reciting "In the name of your Lord, Most Benificial and Most Merciful". They go on to say a verse from the Quran- "And proclaim the pilgrimage among people: they will come to you on foot and mounted on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways. That they may witness the benefits provided for them, and celebrate the name of Allah through the days appointed..." (22: 27-8).

    Listen for yourselves, personally the video does not do justice to the song:

    This song encompassed the things that I have been working on this past few weeks and it suited as a way to hopefully share with you all my intention to make Hajj this year. The struggle of maintaining the relevency of Islam in my life, and most of all applying its teachings in my dailly life has been a demanding task, yet filled with blessings and insight. To be invited for a once in a life time trip, is an answer to a silent prayer in the making for some time now.

    I want to share with any other fellow believers, contemplating the Hajj this year, to make their intentions and begin to make your provisions. Here is an excellent post from on Hajj- Part 1, and Part 2. Please keep me in your duah's, so that I am able to accomplish the provision making and complete the journey, but most of all have my Hajj accepted, allowing me to begin a new chapter in my life.

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    The Messenger of Allah

    Submitted by Guest Blogger Arif Shaikh

    This is one of the most beautiful descriptions of the Best of Creation (peace be upon him) that I have ever read. I thought it would be nice to re-visit now, since we are in Rabi’ al-Awwal.

    The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)

    from the Ihya’ ‘ulum al-Din of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

    The Messenger of Allah (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was the mildest of men, but also the bravest and most just of men. He was the most restrained of people; never touching the hand of a woman over whom he did not have rights, or who was not his mahram. He was the most generous of men, so that never did a gold or silver coin spend the night in his house. If something remained at the end of the day, because he had not found someone to give it to, and night descended, he would go out, and not return home until he had given it to someone in need.

    From what Allah gave him, he would take only the simplest and easiest foods: dates and barley, giving anything else away in the path of Allah. Never did he refuse a gift for which he was asked. He used to mend his own sandals, and patch his own clothes, and serve his family, and help them to cut meat.

    He was the shyest of men, so that his gaze would never remain long in the face of anyone else. He would accept the invitation of a freeman or a slave, and accept a gift, even if it were no more than a gulp of milk, or the thigh of a rabbit, and offer something in return. He never consumed anything given in sadaqah. He was not too proud to reply to a slave-girl, or a pauper in rags. He would become angered for his Lord, never for himself; he would cause truth and justice to prevail even if this led to discomfort to himself or to his companions.

    He used to bind a stone around his waist out of hunger. He would eat what was brought, and would not refuse any permissible food. If there was dates without bread, he would eat, if there was roast meat, he would eat; if there was rough barley bread, he would eat it; if there was honey or something sweet, he would eat it; if there was only yogurt without even bread, he would be quite satisfied with that.

    He was not sated, even with barley-bread, for three consecutive days, until the day he met his Lord, not because of poverty, or avarice, but because he always preferred others over himself.

    He would attend weddings, and visit the sick, and attend funerals, and would often walk among his enemies without a guard.

    He was the most humble of men, and the most serene, without arrogance. He was the most eloquent of men, without ever speaking for too long. He was the most cheerful of men. He was afraid of nothing in the dunya.

    He would wear a rough Yemeni cloak, or a woolen tunic; whatever was lawful and was to hand, that he would wear.

    He would ride whatever was to hand: sometimes a horse, sometimes a camel, sometimes a mule, sometimes a donkey. And at times he would walk barefoot, without an upper garment or a turban or a cap.

    He would visit the sick even if they were in the furthest part of Madinah. He loved perfumes, and disliked foul smells. He maintained affectionate and loyal ties with his relatives, but without preferring them to anyone who was superior to them. He never snubbed anyone. He accepted the excuse of anyone who made an excuse.

    He would joke, but would never say anything that was not true. He would laugh, but not uproariously. He would watch permissible games and sports, and would not criticize them. He ran races with his wives. Voices would be raised around him, and he would be patient.

    He kept a sheep, from which he would draw milk for his family. He would walk among the fields of his companions. He never despised any pauper for his poverty or illness; neither did he hold any king in awe simply because he was a king. He would call rich and poor to Allah, without distinction.

    In him, Allah combined all noble traits of character; although he neither read nor wrote, having grown up in a land of ignorance and deserts in poverty, as a shepherd, and as an orphan with neither father nor mother. But Allah Himself taught him all the excellent qualities of character, and praiseworthy ways, and the stories of the early and the later prophets, and the way to salvation and triumph in the akhirah, and to joy and detachment in the dunya, and how to hold fast to duty, and to avoid the unnecessary. May Allah give us success in obeying him, and in following his sunnah. Amin ya rabb al-‘alamin.

    The Fallen Empire

    by Haitham Abdelfattah

    Fighting for freedom, bringing democracy
    Helping the children around the world, pure hypocrisy.
    Loud cries of WMD's, the false accusations,
    The taking of civilian lives, always without justification.

    They are terrorists, they are born to kill
    They don't care about your lives, please do not appeal.
    Its in their genes, it's in their religion
    We preach the same, but we call it patriotism.

    Stripping everyone of their rights, to protect our liberties,
    Banning immoral acts, except torture, and homosexuality.
    Going against the constitution, disregarding treason.
    Corrupt leaders, whom give even more corrupt reason.

    To avenge their fathers, to systematically cleanse
    General public is in poverty, your president in a benz.
    So where is this balance, where is this care
    It's a caste system like India's, but we call it welfare.

    You are being fed hatred, you are being told lies
    Unaware of your own morals, blinded by religious pride.
    Oblivious to the fact that we are all from the same race
    Wiping us out, is only helping nature at a more rapid pace.

    Broken promises, and extended tours of duty
    Set up disasters, making false hero's of men like Rudy.
    So before you destroy all of us from the inside out
    Take a second to ask yourself, is this what your religion is all about?

    Check out Haitham's blog for more of his poetry.

    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Double Standards

    Submitted by Guest Blogger Nida Chowdhry

    I once read something that I never quite forgot. It was an account of someone's high school memory; they recalled how in the four years that they attended high school, they never once said hello to any of the janitors, nor learned their names, nor smiled at them. Since then, I have been perpetually ashamed of myself. I continue to struggle with this double, triple standard of niceness. A local Sheikh once also brought this to mind when he said how sad he found that the same people that kissed his hand were the same people who ignored their parents and family members. Not needless to say, my visits to the mosque dropped in frequency after that and I found myself spending more time mosying around my house. Even then, I must question how much more time I spend with my laptop then with real people.

    I didn't forget that persons recollection of their high school years. I tried and failed to smile and say hello to the janitor's at my high school when I later returned to visit. But I didn't let that failure carry into college or university. Yesterday, I met one of the workers on campus as he came to clean in the area in which I was doing my reading. I looked up, gave a hello, and it turned into a conversation. I learned that this gentlemen in his 40's was from Acapulco and has resided in Tustin since he came here 10 years ago. He hasn't gone back since and misses it so. He told me he doesn't like it here because when you walk around, you can see the "pain, and sadness, bad things" in peoples eyes, that in Mexico, people walk around happy even though they are poor. He told me how he never stays at a job he doesn't like and doesn't worry about the money; he just leaves and gets a job he does like. Got to keep moving, he said as he pointed to my reading, reminding me that I had to get back to studying for finals.

    I write this because I question how I am to consider myself a person of conscience when I am a person who greets with love selectively. Are we not all brothers and sisters in humanity, all brothers and sisters? Why do I look at people with difference, in difference, and indifference?

    So far from the way Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) loves. So far from the Prophetic way...
    How to Fight the Information War

    Information is a weapon, knowledge is free...

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Challenges of young Muslim families: Making Masjids more relevant

    By Guest Blogger Arif Shaikh

    As other young Muslim families can maybe attest to, young children can give you both a positive, as well as a negative hit to your iman (faith). The joy and excitement of a newborn baby is a source of great inspiration and you can’t help but feel immense gratitude to Allah as a result. However, in addition to spiritual high that comes with parenting, many challenges also arise. For instance, taking part in community programs, going to the masjid (mosque) regularly, and other activities that were part of normal life before, become burdensome. In most cases, its simply the adjustment that causes the difficulties – looking after the needs of a child which is helpless, lack of sleep, new schedules to juggle with, etc.

    My wife and I recently had our second child, al-hamdulillah (all praises are due to God Almighty). Since we are supposedly more experienced, we are trying to avoid some of the pitfalls we experienced with our first child, including, amongst other things, getting back to normalcy sooner. We have tried, on a few occasions, to attend masjid activities, and, I have come to some realizations that I wanted to share. I want to preface by saying that we are very blessed to have several masjids in my area which are fabulous. I genuinely enjoy and appreciate the work that our community members are doing to provide such great services to our community. One area of improvement, I believe, is that we need to make our masjids more friendly for young families, to encourage them to attend the masjid.

    Babysitting needs to be overhauled.

    The way babysitting has always been in the masjid, is to have some wonderful volunteer moms spend a couple of hours with a roomful of children, give them pizza, and hope that they don’t tear each others’ limbs off. Now, its great that we even have this service, as I’m sure not every community does. I think we can do better, however. I would think most parents wouldn’t mind paying for babysitting, if there were qualified professionals watching the children, providing them with beneficial, enriching activities.

    In one particular masjid, I was fearful of leaving my three-year-old son in the babysitting environment. There were children of all ages, as young as one to as old as 13, all in the same room. The only “babysitting” was when a volunteer mom would yell at kids and threaten to kick them out of the room.

    Now, to be fair, the blame is not on that mother, or the masjid, even. It is the responsibility of our community as a whole to expect, and demand excellence. We should all take part in committees to help improve our programs, and have babysitting not simply be a place where we “dump” our children so we hear a lecture; but rather, a place where our children can benefit, and gain an appreciation of coming to the masjid.

    Relevant programming

    In addition to the babysitting issue, another area of improvement is the actual programming our masjids provide. In order to encourage young families to continue to attend masjid events, the programs and activities must reflect their needs. For example, some relevant topics to address include:

    - Balancing family life and din
    - The perfect Islamic marriage
    - Parenting in Islam
    - The Prophet (pbuh)’s relationship with his family

    Additionally, a special emphasis should be given to the unique needs, concerns, and issues faced by young Muslim mothers. Some of these issues include:

    - Balancing motherhood and school/career
    - Choosing the right school for your children
    - Islamic education at home

    These are just some thoughts I had on this topic, which is definitely more involved. May Allah reward the people who established our masjids, and allow our communities to continue to grow to meet the needs of our community.

    Muslamics Turns 1 !!

    AlhamdulilAllah (All praise is due to Allah). What started out as an experiment a little over a year ago is now a fully functioning blog and a step closer towards being a truly open community forum. Jazakum Allah khairan to all our readers and supporters who have made this project's first year a success - over 25,000 visits!

    An acknowledgment of the contributors we were blessed to have during the past year is way overdue. Despite their over-booked schedules between office/class/masjid/car/home, our bloggers and guest-bloggers found the time to share their work on Muslamics because they believed in this project and really wanted to see it work. May Allah (swt) reward all of you and bless your time and efforts!

    Unfortunately, some of our founding and contributing bloggers are no longer with Muslamics, but we hope to see them come back often with insightful guest posts and enriching comments inshaAllah.

    Below, in no particular order, are 'original' posts which we (the moderators) thought capture the best of our first year and what Muslmics is really all about:

    LAPD's Muslim Mapping - by Affad Shaikh

    Islamic Dress Code? - by Marya Bangee

    Happy 4th of July? - by Yesi King

    Sheikh Mishary Rashid Al `Afasy at IIOC - by Angie Ellaboudy

    Fajr- The Hidden Treasure - by Cassandra Williams

    Food Choices - by Omar Zarka

    My Feelings on the Virginia Tech Massacre - by Naveed Ahmad

    Islamo Facism Awareness Week - Coming to a campus NEAR YOU - by Zahra Billoo

    Fresh off the Unity Parade - by Affad Shaikh

    US Congress Passes Ramadan Bill - by Shahtaj Siddiqui

    Whats wrong with being a Porn Star? - by Affad Shaikh

    Pipin' Away - by Marya Bangee

    How to Kill a Transperson - by Yesi King

    As always we would love to hear from our visitors - at the end of the day, it is your contributions which really bring Muslamics to life. Do you have any favourite posts from last year? Got any ideas on how we can make Muslamics a more dynamic and interesting forum? Any suggestions on what we can do different or better?

    Also, we are always on the look out for new guest bloggers (and if you're really committed, maybe even full-time contributors) so please do drop us a line if you think you're up for it!

    We have a few surprises up our sleeves for the coming year which inshaAllah will be rolled out in the next few weeks. We do realize there's still a long way to go before Muslamics achieves its true potential of being a strong voice for the Muslim community- particularly young Muslim activists, thinkers, and students of knowledge, not only in the US but around the world. We will continue to strive to get there inshaAllah and can use all the help and support we can get!

    Once again, jazakum Allah khairan to all our contributors and visitors and we hope you continue to enjoy being a part of Muslamics as much as we do.

    Thursday, March 20, 2008


    Yesterday, marked five years since the illegal invasion of Iraq. We're thousands of deaths and billions of dollars into this mess.

    Did we even remember?

    If you haven't already, please take a few minutes to say a prayer for the innocent people who have and are dying as a result of this illegal war.

    Abu Sa"id al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) had said: "Whoever amongst you sees anything objectionable, let him change it with his hand, if he is not able, then with his tongue, and if he is not even able to do so, then with his heart, and the latter is the weakest form of faith."

    A few weeks ago, I told myself protesting was the least we could do. I thought we as a people had to at least be at the "then with your tongue" level. Sadly though, there were so many "activists" who were MIA at protest time. There were four that took place in San Francisco yesterday, and I only made it to one despite having a generally flexible schedule. (insha'Allah we can make up for it by doing something, anything, for Iraq.) Sadly, I spoke to several people who didn't even remember what March 19th marked. More of us used the Internet to celebrate an Egyptian sports victory than to make a statement against the war. We're too busy planning weddings, having headaches, studying and attending baby showers to really care about our brothers and sisters dying. So I stand corrected. Protesting, letter writing, donating, lobbying seem to all be ideals. We're not there yet. Saying a prayer and hating the war from the depths of our hearts is the least we can do.

    American activist arrested violently by IDF

    The above three minute video is inspiring and infruriating at the same time. To see so many people, old and young and from all over the globe, come out week after week to protest the apartheid wall despite all the hardship and danger they face is awe-inspiring. Then to see on camera the extrememly violent reaction of the Israeli soldiers makes me want to scream and show this to the rest of the world.

    From the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) newsletter:

    Blake Murphy, an American activist working with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in the West Bank, was beaten and arrested by Israeli army and police forces on March 14, 2008.

    He now faces a series of evidently false charges from the Israeli authorities due to his work supporting non-violent resistance to the occupation in Palestine and is due to be deported to the United States in the immediate future. While in custody Blake has had many of his legal rights abused by the Israeli authorities.

    Blake was arrested during the weekly demonstration in the village of Bi'lin, where the separation wall annexes much of the Palestinian villages land. Blake was picked out of the demonstration by the Israeli forces, violently assaulted, with pepper spray put in his eyes before being taken off and subsequently arrested.

    Blake Murphy had to be taken to hospital due to his injuries caused by the soldiers. He appeared in court on March 15, and at that time the judge prolonged his detention until March 18. He was then told that he would have to reappear in court on March 18, only to be told that this was not the case, after spending 8 hours of that day locked in a room meant for 8;along with 15 others waiting for his trial.

    While in custody, Blake has been denied a translator in court, he has been brought before a judge without his lawyer being informed, and he has been made to appear for a trial that was cancelled without him being informed.

    Blake Murphy had been working for the last 8 and a half months in the Palestinian Occupied Territories with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). For over 6 months he was working as the media coordinator for the ISM and was therefore highly involved in supporting Palestinian non-violent resistance toward the occupation. It is for this reason that he was targeted by the Israeli authorities.

    If that's not enough, check out this article. Israeli Attorney General just eased regulations against firing at Palestinian demonstrators. Peaceful protests just turned even bloodier.

    Know your Hadith - Part III

    Part II here

    Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) methodology of teaching his companions

    This post is also my way of commemorating the birth of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) - the greatest role model, teacher, and leader to walk this earth.

    To understand the importance of Hadith and its effect on the Prophet's companions one must have an idea of the Prophet's teaching methodology.

    Of course, the the methodology of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in spreading knowledge was in line with that of the glorious Quran. Below are the highlights of this methodology as mentioned by Dr. Ajaj Al Khatib (here for reference):

    1. Gradual teaching:
    The Quran was gradual in correcting the people's faith, manners, acts of worship, legal system, societal interactions... For all of the above, Prophet Muhammad explained and implemented the teachings of the Quran as they were revealed.

    2. Places of knowledge:
    As is well-known, the first Islamic 'school' was the house al-Arqam in which Muslims gathered during the Meccan era, away from the disbelievers of Quraysh to learn Quran and Hadith.

    Moreover, the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) would constantly study the Quran and its explanation and interpretation (ie: the Hadith of the Prophet- peace be upon him) amongst each other wherever they got the chance. Thus, Hadith was memorized and studies along side the Quran from the earliest days of Islam.

    At a later stage, the masjid became the house of spreading knowledge and Islamic rulings (fatwa), in addition to a place for performing acts of worship.

    Nevertheless, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not confine the spreading knowledge to a particular place. He would be asked questions on the street or in a gathering and would not hesitate to answer. We know from the stories of the companions that the Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) would often sit with them, teaching and purifying them.

    5. Practical application:
    The Prophet (peace be upon him) would teach his companions a few verses of the Quran at a time, explaining to them the meanings and the fiqh rulings in the verses. The companions would learn the verses, understand their meaning, implement them in their daily lives, and only then would they move on to learn more verses.

    Many of the greatest companions learnt the Quran this way, 10 verses at a time, including Abdullah ibn Masoud and Uthman bin Affan.

    6. Speaking to people at their level:
    The Prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) was always conscious of the background, education, and culture of his audience - always addressing them at their level, with words they would comprehend and to which they could relate.

    7. Facilitating:
    Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stayed away from excessive strictness in worship and rulings and would choose the paths which would bring ease to the people, in any matter. The Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged his companions to truly understand the matters of their deen (way of life, i.e.: Islam). He would instruct them to ask questions on matters they were ignorant of, and forbid them from giving a fatwa without sufficient knowledge.

    8. Teaching women:
    Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) paid attention to the teaching of women, just like he did to the teaching of men. He would dedicate a special time to sit with the Muslim women answering their questions and teaching them their deen.

    Through the above methodology, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was able to ingrain the beliefs and teachings of Islam in the hearts and minds of his companions.

    Oh Allah, may Your Mercy, Peace and Blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad, and May You grant us his companionship in Jannah, ameen.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    The Great Israeli Boycott V.2.0

    Recently I started getting emails from friends and people about the "The Great Israeli Boycott.” I thought to myself “it’s take two ya’all.” However, I think the sincere efforts of the activists were to re-ignite the first Israeli boycott by introducing a version 2.0. The following are some thoughts that arise from this new investment in a tried and true social movement tool.

    On the outset, this is criticism based on “been there, done that”. No endorsement, rather ideas and a call for a larger Muslim activist discussion on the topic of the methodology of Boycotting Israel. Here is what you can expect.

    1. Lessons- Ashes of Failure
    • Boycott 101
    • Apartheid South Africa
    • Arab Boycott of Israel

    2. Lessons- Shimmer of Hope
    3. Great Israeli Boycott v.2.0

    Lessons of the Ashes of Failure

    I remember six years ago I was part of the first ISRAELI BOYCOTT. I seem to be still part of that, though, I have to say in hindsight that first time we had it all wrong. As college students we rallied around a great idea, but I felt then as I do now, that we are not creatively approaching this issue of Israel and Americans/America's tacit support- BLIND- of all things Israel. Here is why we failed the first time with the boycott.

    Boycott 101

    The definition of a "boycott" is "the act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with someone or some other organization as an expression of protest." As we Palestinian activist know, this definitely is our intent- as an expression of protest toward Israeli Occupation and violence (the recent Baby Butcher’s Raiding Parties of Gaza along with the past 60 years of occupation, violence, dehumanization, assassinations and demolitions along with a list of other things).

    The BOYCOTT became a popular political western term- by definition- during the Irish Land war against an absentee land owners (someone who didn’t live in Ireland on his estate but rather in England, but collected taxes on everything and everyone there). This land lord had a crusty old guy looking over the property by name of Captain Boycott.

    The Irish folk basically organized, rallying to socially ostracize Boycott, by stopping work, stopped paying taxes, even delivering mail to the crusty old man. The purpose of all this was a demand in reduction in rent. Unable to do anything, 1000 policemen escorted volunteers to come pick his harvest. At the end all of this was pointless since it cost him and the Earl more money. He left Ireland and his name to the idea of social isolation of someone/ something for political/economic benefit.

    From Islamic history, the Seerah, of the profit we can trace the practice of the boycott against the Muslims.

    According to tradition, the leaders of Makhzum and Abd Shams, two important clans of Quraysh, declared a public boycott against the clan of Banu Hashim, their commercial rival, in order to put pressure on the clan to withdraw its protection from Muhammad SAW. The boycott lasted for three years but eventually collapsed mainly because it was not achieving its purpose.

    The reason it was not achieving its purpose was because many sympathetic tribe members were sneaking in goods to the Muslims. We know that the following year was known as the “year of Sorrow” because of the death of the Kadijah RA and Abu Talib the Prophet SAW uncle. That is our heritage.

    In the British colonies of America (the future US) there was the “No Taxation without Representation” and the “Slave manufactured goods” boycott. Ghandi led a boycott of East India trading company goods, including the Salt Satyagraha, where after declaring independence on January 20, 1950 Gandi led a march against the “salt tax” that the British imposed on the Indians, walking 400 kilometers spreading the word of the non-violent boycott of British tax on salt- a staple for ALL communities in India. Coming to Ocean, Gandi began the process of making his own salt, thus avoiding the tax. The British responded by imprisoning 60,000 people.

    Another famous boycott includes the Montgomery Bus boycott. You can read all about it here.

    Then there was the complex action against Apartheid South Africa, and also the Arab Trade boycott of Israel- yes you didn’t know? I hope to discuss a bit more in depth in the next post. Your thoughts on the first Boycott...and any other actions that might have taken place against Israel.

    Middle East and Economy the Muslim Way

    One of the most enjoyable parts of my drive to work in the morning is listening to NPR's Marketplace. Its a fascinating and mind boggling world of business that is presented in a an upbeat and lively way. My routine has now also involved listening to Marketplace on the internet radio for this past week because of the fascinating special coverage they have been doing on the "Middle East at Work".

    They have covered topics about Islamic Shariah compliant student loans and mortgages, to the mega health cities and desert building sprees, the new silk road and on the "Islamic Roots of Green" business.

    Its quite a fascinating work that they have put together. Please do visit here and listen to it. Kai Ryssdal, the host of the show has an interesting story on his job here. He really carries the show for me, makes business seem like its not the 3 trillion dollar economy it is. Also for more on Islamic economics check out wikipedia, its a good beginning point.

    Moina Shaiq: Fremont Woman of the Year

    It's so inspiring to hear stories like this one. If one is sincere in wanting to make a difference Allah (swt) will find her a way. Congratulations Sister Moina - you make us all very proud. I cannot even imagine the amount of dawah you have done through you work...putting words into action is the best way of smashing stereotypes (especially hateful ones). And jazaki Allah khairan Sabeen for sharing the photo!

    Muslim Community Leader Honored

    One day after state Sen. Ellen Corbett named the 49-year-old Fremont resident Woman of the Year, she was up at the crack of dawn, attending a fundraising breakfast for the Tri-City Homeless Coalition, which she serves as vice president.

    From there, it was off to a volunteer event at the Fremont Senior Center, followed by a visit to Kaiser hospital, where she has started a program to make sure hospital workers are meeting the spiritual and material needs of Muslim patients.

    And finally, she escorted her daughter's Girl Scout troop to a local animal hospital to help them earn a pet-care badge.

    "I'm so totally booked," Shaiq said. "I have to look at my planner every morning — and again twice a day — so I don't forget anything."

    Shaiq has received most of her accolades for her work with the Muslim Support Network, an elder support group, which she co-founded, but Shaiq also has ties to several other local nonprofits: She is a board member of the Washington Hospital Foundation and the Fremont Alliance for a Hate Free Community. She also chairs Fremont's Human Relations Commission and is a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society.


    Shaiq grew up in Pakistan, andcame to the United States with her husband, Mohammad, as a 19-year-old. After five years in Florida, the couple moved to Fremont, and eventually started a computer sales business.

    She left the family business in 1998 to care for her four children, but soon began making time for community groups as well.

    She started the Muslim Support Network after seeing how her mother suffered from isolation and depression living in Atlanta. The nonprofit helps Muslim seniors access social services and socialize with their peers.

    Full story here

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Two Minutes for Dr. Al-Arian

    It's day 14 of Dr. Al-Arian's hunger strike, he's lost 25 pounds and he isn't getting the medical attention he needs. Oh and did you forget that he's imprisoned despite a jury's inability to find him guilty of anything?

    You've got your wedding dress and jacket ready? Your party menu is set? Your sinuses got you down? You ready for finals?

    I don't know. If I had to weigh the questions I'm scared of being asked on the day of judgment, none of the above really frightens me. The one that does:

    Did you do EVERYTHING you could?

    Do yourself a favor, and do something for Dr. Al-Arian.

    Two ideas to get you started:

    1. Please call the Butner Medical Center today and inquire about Dr. Al-Arian's health. Ask why they haven't taken any steps to give him an IV to make sure he survives. Their number is (919) 575-3900.

    2. Send a letter. We've got the form, all you have to do is personalize and hit send:

    To: The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. (; Senator Patrick Leahy (; U.S. Department of Justice (

    To whom it may concern:

    My name is xxx, and I am one of the many United States citizens who are concerned about the health of this country's democratic apparatus. One striking example of the numerous miscarriages of justice, is that of Dr. Sami Al-Arian. I am deeply concerned for the health of Dr. Sami Al-Arian who currently remains incarcerated, despite the fact that he has been acquitted of all serious charges brought against him by the U.S. government. Dr. Sami Al-Arian has been on a hunger strike now for over ten days, and has been refused adequate medical care (as simple as an IV!) He is close to dying from starvation.

    In the spirit of our constitution and all that it contains pertaining to the civil rights of U.S. citizens, I beseech you to take an initiative in the immediate end to Dr. Al-Arian's suffering, and to responsibly care for his deteriorating health.


    Go on, do something. We can all spare a few minutes from Grey's and Eli Stone to help a brother out.

    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    When You Need a Bullet

    The clip was from an incredible movie, which has an amazing message. However, just this three minute clip on the "Life of a Bullet" puts things into perspective.

    As the Supreme Court weighs in on a verdict for whether or not a ordinance in DC to prohibit the carrying of handguns is decided- its been 70 years since the Supreme Court last visited a Second Amendment issue- lets keep this in mind.

    Why Shariah?

    A must-read article on Shariah in the NYT! I've wanting to post on this issue for a while. I don't have the background to be able to verify everything in the article, but as far as I can tell the historical facts are accurate, with a few minor expections. For example, Prophet Muhammad during his life ordered his followers to look to his Sunnah (in addition to the Quran) for guidance; it was not the Caliphs that came up with the idea (see this post for more on evidence for following Sunnah).

    But back to the article, I think it offers a lot of food for thought, on the past, present and future of the application of Shariah. It's definately worth the read. Excerpts below:

    In some sense, the outrage about according a degree of official status to Shariah in a Western country should come as no surprise. No legal system has ever had worse press. To many, the word “Shariah” conjures horrors of hands cut off, adulterers stoned and women oppressed. By contrast, who today remembers that the much-loved English common law called for execution as punishment for hundreds of crimes, including theft of any object worth five shillings or more? How many know that until the 18th century, the laws of most European countries authorized torture as an official component of the criminal-justice system? As for sexism, the common law long denied married women any property rights or indeed legal personality apart from their husbands. When the British applied their law to Muslims in place of Shariah, as they did in some colonies, the result was to strip married women of the property that Islamic law had always granted them — hardly progress toward equality of the sexes.

    In fact, for most of its history, Islamic law offered the most liberal and humane legal principles available anywhere in the world. Today, when we invoke the harsh punishments prescribed by Shariah for a handful of offenses, we rarely acknowledge the high standards of proof necessary for their implementation. Before an adultery conviction can typically be obtained, for example, the accused must confess four times or four adult male witnesses of good character must testify that they directly observed the sex act. The extremes of our own legal system — like life sentences for relatively minor drug crimes, in some cases — are routinely ignored. We neglect to mention the recent vintage of our tentative improvements in family law. It sometimes seems as if we need Shariah as Westerners have long needed Islam: as a canvas on which to project our ideas of the horrible, and as a foil to make us look good.


    So in contemporary Islamic politics, the call for Shariah does not only or primarily mean mandating the veiling of women or the use of corporal punishment — it has an essential constitutional dimension as well. But what is the particular appeal of placing Shariah above ordinary law?

    The answer lies in a little-remarked feature of traditional Islamic government: that a state under Shariah was, for more than a thousand years, subject to a version of the rule of law. And as a rule-of-law government, the traditional Islamic state had an advantage that has been lost in the dictatorships and autocratic monarchies that have governed so much of the Muslim world for the last century. Islamic government was legitimate, in the dual sense that it generally respected the individual legal rights of its subjects and was seen by them as doing so.


    The modern incarnation of Shariah is nostalgic in its invocation of the rule of law but forward-looking in how it seeks to bring this result about. What the Islamists generally do not acknowledge, though, is that such institutions on their own cannot deliver the rule of law. The executive authority also has to develop a commitment to obeying legal and constitutional judgments. That will take real-world incentives, not just a warm feeling for the values associated with Shariah.


    Can Shariah provide the necessary resources for such a rethinking of the judicial role? In its essence, Shariah aspires to be a law that applies equally to every human, great or small, ruler or ruled. No one is above it, and everyone at all times is bound by it. But the history of Shariah also shows that the ideals of the rule of law cannot be implemented in a vacuum. For that, a state needs actually effective institutions, which must be reinforced by regular practice and by the recognition of actors within the system that they have more to gain by remaining faithful to its dictates than by deviating from them.

    Continue here

    Hijab tip: Huda Shaikh

    Friday, March 14, 2008

    Slander Islam, Get Sued

    Recently leaders from “Muslim nations” got together to consider taking legal action against individuals who defame Islam. Correspondingly many groups are considering this matter as something that stands against freedom of speech and expression. Here are some excerpts from the article below:

    “Concerned about what they see as a rise in the defamation of Islam, leaders of the world's Muslim nations are considering taking legal action against those that slight their religion or its sacred symbols. It was a key issue during a two-day summit that ended Friday in this western Africa capital.”

    “The Muslim leaders are attempting to demand redress from nations like Denmark, which allowed the publication of cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 and again last month, to the fury of the Muslim world.”

    “Though the legal measures being considered have not been spelled out, the idea pits many Muslims against principles of freedom of speech enshrined in the constitutions of numerous Western governments.”

    "I don't think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy," said Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. "There can be no freedom without limits."”

    The article also reports that some sort of “legal instrument” would be created to crack down on such incidents like those created in Europe that criminalize anyone who denies the existence of the Holocaust. The article also states:

    “Hemayet Uddin, the lead author of the OIC report and head of cultural affairs for the group said legal action is needed because "this Islamophobia that we see in the world has gone far beyond a phobia. It is now at the level of hatred, of xenophobia, and we need to act."”

    While I agree something has to be done, I don’t really know how I feel about this at the moment. I absolutely understand the rage of incidents like the hateful and racist cartoons of the Prophet being widely printed and circulated in Denmark. Any Muslim would be offended by that. But as an artist my very nature is to challenge norms, rules and unjust laws that attempt in any way to curtail my right to be who I want to be and say what I want to say. I would obviously never create hateful images such as those because that is not who I am, the message that I want to give the world and definitely not what I consider an effective means of criticism. At the same time I am very careful about adopting certain “universal human rights” as I have seen how they have been used as a tool to push Western ideals and oppress and vilify others. I guess a part of me does like the idea of safeguarding the sanctity of Islam from hateful, racist and ignorant acts. I’m just not sure if this is the most effective way to go about it. What do you all think?

    For the whole article go here.

    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    Bottom Line: The Issue is Zionism!

    I have no idea why some pro-Palestine activists and intellectuals (including some I greatly respect, like Prof. Norman Finkelstein and Prof. Noam Chomsky) continue to advocate for the two-state solution in Palestine. Actually, I think I know why. I think they see the one-state arrangement as an idealistic solution which will never happen, so one might as well support a feasible resolution, even if it's not perfect. Right? Wrong!

    Jonathan Cook's recent article makes some great points on this issue.

    Excerpts below:

    I want instead to address Neumann’s central argument: that it is at least possible to imagine a consensus emerging behind two states, whereas Israelis will never accept a single state. That argument, the rallying cry of most two-staters, paints the one-state crowd as inveterate dreamers and time-wasters.

    The idea, Neumann writes, “that Israel would concede a single state is laughable. … There is no chance at all [Israelis] will accept a single state that gives the Palestinians anything remotely like their rights.”

    According to Neumann, unlike the one-state solution, the means to realizing two states are within our grasp: the removal of the half a million Jewish settlers living in the occupied Palestinian territories. Then, he writes, “a two-state solution will, indeed, leave Palestinians with a sovereign state, because that’s what a two-state solution means. It doesn’t mean one state and another non-state, and no Palestinian proponent of a two-state solution will settle for less than sovereignty.”

    There is something surprisingly naive about his arguing that, just because something is called a two-state solution, it will necessarily result in two sovereign states. What are the mimimum requirements for a state to qualify as sovereign, and who decides?

    True, the various two-state solutions proposed by Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and George Bush, and supported by most of the international community, would fail according to Neumann’s criterion because they were not premised on the removal of all the settlers.

    But an alternative two-state solution requiring Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders might still not concede, for example, a Palestinian army -- equipped and trained by Iran? -- to guard the borders of the West Bank and Gaza. Would that count? And how likely does Neumann think it that Israel and the US would grant that kind of sovereignty to a Palestine state?


    Still, do these arguments against the “practicality” of Neumann’s genuine two-state arrangement win the day for the one-state solution? Would Israel’s leaders not put up an equally vicious fight to protect their ethnic privileges by preventing, as they are doing now, the emergence of a single state?

    Yes, they would and they will. But that misses my point. As long as Israel is an ethnic state, it will be forced to deepen the occupation and intensify its ethnic cleansing policies to prevent the emergence of genuine Palestinian political influence -- for the reasons I cite above and for many others I don’t. In truth, both a one-state and a genuine two-state arrangement are impossible given Israel’s determination to remain a Jewish state.

    The obstacle to a solution, then, is not about dividing the land but about Zionism itself, the ideology of ethnic supremacism that is the current orthodoxy in Israel. As long as Israel is a Zionist state, its leaders will allow neither one state nor two real states.

    Full article here

    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Grow Your Own Edible Garden

    This video and website are really interesting. Imagine growing your own fruits and vegetables in your backyard? It really is empowering to be able to say no corporate power in that way and become self sustainable. Yes supermarkets facilitate the ability to buy anything at anytime. But not only do they sell us things that are harmful to us in many ways, they could care less about the people that buy or grow the products; as demonstrated by the bad work practices they condone and the throwing of unsold food away every night instead of giving it away to people that actually need it. Supermarkets are expensive especially if you try to buy from the organic section. For some reason they find a way to rip you off even more if you like to eat healthy. However the prospect of having a garden is not only beneficial to you and your family but also to your community and to the environment. Being able to grow your own food safeguards you from harmful chemicals used in foods and meats. Every week we hear about another genetically modified scary tid-bit about Monsanto Corporation. To be able to feed yourself, share that food with your family, friends and even the larger community would be amazing. Like the video suggests, start easy with something small and eventually you can have an edible garden in your backyard :) It’s also an opportunity for you to learn something new, get connected to the land and fight this capitalist system.

    Here's a good web site to get you started!

    Second Muslim in Congress

    No Analysis, Just the NEWS!!!

    Andre Carson, also known as the Juggernaut (rap name), who converted to Islam some seven years ago is now OFFICIALLY THE SECOND MUSLIM IN CONGRESS!!!

    May Allah have mercy on the poor man, he has his work cut out for him. Here is a link to Indy Star, that tells of how he handly defeated his opponent and got a wide population to come and vote for him- hispanics, blacks, whites, poor, rich.


    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Introducing Birthright Palestine

    Do you ever get tired of hearing folks talk about their birth right in the Apartheid State? Does the idea of Jewish people who left to Europe and the US willingly decades ago now claiming a birthright in the Apartheid State rub you the wrong way?

    Me too!

    So now, if you're a Palestinian there is an alternative. There is the truth. You've got a chance to claim YOUR birthright.

    Check this out:

    New for 2008 - Introducing Birthright Palestine!

    Birthright Palestine is a unique program by native Palestinians for Diaspora Palestinians, so as to assimilate them back into their homeland via cultural immersion. It is meant to gather first-generation, western-born Palestinians (over the age of 18-years old) in their ancestral homeland, so that they can reunite and witness firsthand how their brethren are living under illegal Israeli military occupation, while assimilating them into Palestinian society.

    The program is made-up of four major components, education, tourism, hospitality, and volunteering, and was created to maintain Palestinian unity on an international level and to make foreign-born Palestinians feel at home in their homeland.

    The First Annual Birthright Palestine program is to launch this summer, marking the 60th Anniversary of Al-Nakba.

    Moreover, Birthright Palestine will allow for the international Palestinian community, largely living in exodus, to become more closely knit, because this program will nurture relationships between participants of Palestinian ethnic origin whom were born in different countries around the world, as well as relationships between Diaspora-born and native-born Palestinians. Also, an exchange of ideas will take place, as local Palestinians will begin to better understand the situation of Diaspora Palestinians and vice versa – possibly leading to a cohesive consensus on core issues of importance to the Palestinian Nation.

    Here are ten reasons why you should join! Click here to sign up now!

    Who are we?

    The concept was created by the Palestine Center for National Strategic Studies (PCNSS) is a new, non-profit, non-violent, non-factional, non-governmental organizational think tank based out of the Dheisheh Refugee Camp that facilitates student-based research guided by PhD mentors, so as to force Palestinian college students to be more critical of national political and socio-economic policies. Thus, we are primarily fueled by youth, specifically students. We also host and accommodate foreign researchers in conducting their studies in Palestine, and conduct social experiments of our own in the form of projects.

    This program is being implemented in cooperation and partnership with the Siraj Center of Holy Land Studies. Siraj is a non governmental organization based in Beit Sahour, Palestine, and aims to create links in between the Palestinian people with people from around the globe through travel programs, interfaith, ecumenical dialogue and culture and youth exchange programs. Through its local links, Siraj has been able to work directly with the local community in the Bethlehem area and around the West Bank. Its relationship with the Rapprochement Center have enabled Siraj to reach out to a wider community all over the Holy Land which makes the impact of it programs much wider and reach many of the grassroots communities.

    What you can do to help:

    Forward this e-mail to as many Diaspora Palestinians as possible, circulate our flyer at your local events and spread the word!

    For more information:

    Log onto:


    Call: +972-2-274-6955

    Monday, March 10, 2008

    The Forgotten Hijab Ban

    By Guest Blogger Muslema Purmul

    I had the opportunity to meet some French sisters who are now here with me in Cairo, and we got to talking about the issue of Islam in Europe.

    It was actually really sad, hard to hold the tears as one sister (from Holland, convert to Islam) told her own story of how she would remove her scarf everyday when she entered work, so she would be left to wear only an allowed small headband just covering the front of her hair, until one day she broke down crying, and kept it on. A few days later, her boss asked her to sign some papers. She asked why, and he said "Your fired." She replied, "Allahu Akbar" and signed the
    papers. "Some scholars said it's ok, I can take it off if it's a neccessity, but I just couldn't take it off another time! I just couldn't!" she said. Another sister studied and finished law school before the ban happened. She wanted to be a lawyer and defend Muslim Liberties in France, but now after the hardship getting that degree she doesn't know if she will ever be able to practice law in France, she is now studying Islamic Law at Al-Azhar. I heard stories of sisters who would break down crying outside the gates of their schools. How a sister in a private Christian school was allowed to wear hijab until parents complained and forced her to remove it. Listening to their stories, I felt like they are experiencing a daily sexual harrassment in order to go to school, go to work, and pay bills. "I feel like someone is telling me to take off my clothes, my underwear, my head is also my private part. But if the girl wants to wear a mini-skirt to school and show everything, no one punishes her. I cannot return to France, I cannot support it." She told me about a housewife, who just went to the bank to withdraw money and she was asked to leave and remove her scarf. Now, since a month ago, the hijab ban has spread to some public schools in
    Holland. As we know it is still a struggle in Tunisia, and Turkey. Are other countries in the world waiting to see how the world reacts so they too can implement hijab bans? As Martin Luther King said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

    I remember there was such an uproar BEFORE the hijab ban became law, and now afterwards, where are those same crowds, those same rallies, and talks? Essentially Muslim women are being deprived of one of their human rights. When does it become OK in the 21st century to require a woman to remove some of her clothes and reveal her body in order to participate in
    public life? Where are the Muslim men who have gheera (chivalry) towards their women, and want to defend them from such physical harrassment, and psychological humiliation?! One sister compared the non-action with regards to the hijab-ban to the reaction people had toward the cartoons (which understandably upset a lot of people) and some countries excercised boycotts.
    What about our sisters in France? How did we forget about this crime that occurs on a daily basis? Where is the body of the ummah that feels pain, when one part of it is hurt?

    I'll be honest, all this time in America, I felt this hijab-ban was a crime, but I never truly felt the pain of these sisters until I heard them tell their stories. The voice that said, "I just couldn't take it off another time, I just couldn't." As a woman who wears hijab, I suddenly felt it- the depth of the crime that has been overlooked. I can't imagine being in the same situation, my impulses say, "I would rather die first than remove my hijab." So I wonder, do any of my French sisters walk around school and work feeling like they've been spiritually killed? Are they thinking about ways of "escaping France?" From my conversations with the French sisters, they are struggling to retain their sense of identity and Islamic practice. They had always faced discrimination with hijab before, but this Law has really broken the spirits of many. Some sisters just completely removed the hijab even outside of school because they couldn't cope with the feelings of living a double-life.

    Again where is the heart that aches? Where is the body that rushes to reveal the pain of one of its limbs?

    I bear witness as an American Muslim, we have an AMANA because of the freedom and resources that Allah has blessed us with in America, to do something for our sisters in France and elsewhere, where the hijab has been banned. May we not be of those who passed by a
    people being oppressed, and we could have done something, but instead we just passed by in silence.

    Can we do anything for them? Can it be taken to the United Nations? Can we hold a campaign for them? Can we access our media and political leaders? Can we do rallies or lectures? Can we engage this phenomena from an academic level? A civic level? Let's at least make a duaa, and make the intention to try and help if and when there is an organized effort to help our
    forgotten sisters.

    What are your ideas?

    Sunday, March 9, 2008

    Satan Music in the Heart of Islam

    Muslamics shared with you the story of Punk Rockers who were Muslim. It was an article in Newsweek, and for me the Muslims had some serious issues when it came to understanding what Islam is and is not. Like prayering in the bathroom after getting stoned and drunk at a Punk concert. Not exactly Islamic. You can read the original post here.

    What I want to share is this Metal rock band from Jeddah, Saudia Arabia. Most people can not stomach metal rock. Its an acquired taste. In fact, I am still trying to "acquire" it. Now before you stuff your panties and start huffing and puffing at me- you must understand, I am not a "music is haram" advocate. So inherently there is a huge world of difference on this issue and leaving comments condeming me to hell or telling me why music is haram, is not going to deter me from my position. I believe that this has come to me after much research and soul searching.

    What I admit is that yes, we should be able to live without music. But I guess its like living without happiness, we have to have others to share our happiness. Music really is a "shared" experience, one that is human. I am in awe to those who can and do live without it. I work tiresly to limit my intake of music. Limiting it to when I drive long distances, or while I am cleaning the house, running several miles.

    Now, metal band in Suadi Arabia- here is the link- it amazes me that this is taking root in the Middle East. I always thought gansta rap would go well with the bling bling, but I guess the psychological extremes of the Gulf just seem to create this enviornment for ruminating, psychadelic, screaming and yelling to get out one's frustration music.

    I also think this is a response to the strictures of a moral code that can not be imposed. It has to be invested in and accepted by each generation. The sad thing is when you have such imposition, everyone looks for a way out. There is always a way out.

    To say that "globalization"- the forces of media, internet, easy travel, influx of capital and development- has "created" this "obsinity" is really taking the responsibility of social cohesion and throwing it out with the baby in the bath tub.

    No matter how hard social conservatives and moral authoritorians spin it, these sorts of underground movements continue to exist. I think we can agree that they won't get one-hundred percent conformity. To mitigate would be the best possible way to sustain the type of moral code and structure one wants in society. Yet, we know historically, that is not possible.

    One of the reasons given for the demise of the Muslim caliphate was that "western influences" and Muslims desire to assimilate and incorporate those influences as there own, in opposition to Islam lead to the downfall of the Muslims. I agrue contrary to this. Islamic civilization is at the place it is becuase it stopped being relevent to Muslims.

    We need to make Islam relevent and we need to do this by understanding that social imposition is not a process that is sustainable. We need to elevate the level of education in Islam from ritual and mere copycatism to that of intellectual engagment and social relevency.

    These punk, rap, and metal rock alternatives exist not because Islam was not offered to them. No they exist in response to the loss of relevence. Music becomes an alternative life style with its own culture becuase the dominate cultural norm has ceased to show relevence to the younger generation. There will always be opposition and rebellion, but these social changes occur when strong undercurrent of opposition builds up to the social norms that have stopped to explain the changing society we live in.