Category Archives: International Events

YouTube To Remove Anti-Muslim Film

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A California court has ruled that YouTube must take down within 24 hours an inflammatory anti-Islam film that had provoked outrages and mass protests across the Muslim world, prompting an outcry by Google which vowed to challenge the ruling.

“Ordering YouTube and Google to take down the film was the right thing to do,” Cris Armenta, a lawyer for Cindy Lee Garcia who participated in the movie, was quoted by Reuters on Thursday, February 27.

“The propaganda film differs so radically from anything that Ms. Garcia could have imagined when the director told her that she was being cast in the innocent adventure film.”

US actress Cindy Lee Garcia has filed a copyright lawsuit against Google Inc. over its refusal to remove the anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims, from YouTube that she was duped into performing in.

Wednesday’s ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned an earlier ruling by the lower court ruling that maintained Google’s copyright to unblock the film at YouTube.

The plaintiff stressed that she was deceived by the film produces who told her that she will be acting in a move titled “Desert Warrior”.

However, Garcia said that she didn’t realize that it will be a provocative material against Muslims until it was broadcasted at YouTube.

The Judge argued that Garcia may face “irreparable” harm in case Google insists to keep the movie.

“Garcia’s performance was used in a way that she found abhorrent and her appearance in the film subjected her to threats of physical harm and even death,” the Judge wrote in the 37-page ruling.

“Despite these harms, and despite Garcia’s viable copyright claim, Google refused to remove the film from YouTube.”

According to the court ruling, Google was granted 24 hours to pull the inflammatory film and take reasonable precautions to hinder uploading the movie again.

YouTube Ban

Following the court ruling, Pakistan campaigners urged the government on Thursday, February 27, to unblock YouTube in the country.

“We think that now the government of Pakistan has been left with no excuse to continue blocking access to YouTube,” Shahzad Ahmed from Bytes for All told AFP.

“But the ban on YouTube has got more to do with the government’s desires and efforts to impose censorship, content filtering and moral policing and we are fighting against them in court through a constitutional petition.”

Yet, Google appeared far from accepting the ruling, vowing to challenge it the courts as infringing its copyrights and freedom of speech.

“We strongly disagree with this ruling and will fight it.” Google said in a statement.

“Our laws permit even the vilest criticisms of governments, political leaders, and religious figures as legitimate exercises in free speech.”

Titled “Innocence of Muslims”, the film, produced by an American-Israeli real estate developer, portrays Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a fool, philanderer and a religious fake.

In response, thousands of Muslims took to the streets worldwide to protest the defamatory movie. Dozens were killed in days of protests against the film.

The US ambassador in Libya and three other diplomats were also killed when protestors attacked the US consulate in Benghazi.

Madonna Studies Noble Qur`an

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Madonna Studies Noble Qur`anLOS ANGELES – US pop star Madonna has revealed that she is studying the Holy Qur’an these days as she works to build girls’ schools in Islamic countries.

“I am building schools for girls in Islamic countries and studying the Holy Qur’an,” Madonna the US pop icon said in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on Sunday, October 6.

“I think it is important to study all the holy books,” she added.

The pop star added that she agrees with what one of her friends tell her, that a good Muslim is a good Jew, a good Jew is a good Christian, and so forth.

Pop star Madonna has been dubbed the “Material Girl” in the 1980s.

Although the 55-year-old star has retrospectively lamented that moniker, it was, and still is a reflection of the collective societal mind with reference to materialism.

Speculations over the singer’s interest in Islam have sparked in recent years after the star began dating Brahim Zaibat, a Muslim of Algerian descent.

Last year, she was pictured in Turkey with Zaibat as she wore a headscarf to visit a mosque in Turkey, according to news reports.

Recently, Madonna sparked controversy after posting a picture on Facebook from a photo shoot in which she wore what looked like a chainmail niqab.

The picture was accompanied by the words: “The Revolution of Love is on…Inshallah [Arabic for 'God willing'].”

The Qur’an is a revelation from God, the creator of the worlds, so He is the original author.

The Noble Qur’an consists of 114 Surah (chapters) of varying lengths.

There is only one Qur’an which is in Arabic and many translations of the Qur’an in several languages.

There could be multiple translations by different authors in the same language such as English.

Be a part of February 2014 Black History Month in Ottawa

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Are you a member or leader of a national, regional, local social, musical, ethnic or cultural organization? Are you an artist, painter, member of a theater company, advocacy group, religious organisation, school teacher or student leader? Do you work in a federal, provincial or municipal government department, educational institution, hospital, community health centre or other health or social service agency, NGO, or non-profit agency? Do you want an opportunity to showcase your organization in a high profile event? If so, you can be a part of the February 2014 Black History Month celebrations. Black History Month celebrates the contribution of people of African descent to the Canadian mosaic, and Black History Ottawa is looking for individuals and groups to bring variety to the program in February 2014.

Inspirational events such as youth leadership seminars, lectures, drama, poetry readings, art exhibits, forums, job fairs, movies, fashions from Africa and the Caribbean, events that showcase Black culture and traditions, and anything that speaks to the black experience in Canada. Our theme for 2014 is: “Our Canadian Story: Making our voices heard!”, to highlight the need for African Canadians to engage in the political process by running for office at the municipal, provincial, or federal level. We can also make our voices heard by voting at each and every election and choosing the right people to represent our needs and interests.

Join us to make February 2014 the most memorable Black History Month ever. Note that all Black History Month events are open to the general public. If you are planning an event for February 2014 Black History Month, we require the following information before November 30, 2013:

Name of your organization
Name of event with short description
Date and time of event
Location of event
Cover charge (if applicable)
Contact person, phone & e-mail

Website address

Please send your event submissions by email to: bhottawa@yahoo.ca.

Event submission deadline is November 30, 2013. Submissions received after this date will not be included in the print calendar, but will be posted on the Black History Ottawa website: http://www.blackhistoryottawa.org.

Note: Black History Ottawa reserves the right to edit all submissions for brevity and appropriate formatting. Black History Ottawa will not be liable for any injuries, damages to property, or other mishaps during any Black History Month event.

As a non-profit organization, Black History Ottawa depends entirely on membership fees and donations to carry out its work and does not receive government funding.

Sarah Onyango
Community Outreach/Public Relations Officer

Black History Ottawa

P.O.Box 81081

111 Albert Street, Suite 108

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1A5

bhottawa@yahoo.ca

http://www.blackhistoryottawa.org

Charitable Business Registration Number: 85368 6962 RR0001

Death of the founder of AMA (Africa Muslim Agency) Shaykh Abdul Rahman Al-Sumait

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kuwaitManama: Tributes have poured in for Kuwaiti philanthropist Shaikh Abdul Rahman Al Sameet, who has passed away after spending most of his life putting smiles on mainly African faces.

“We condole the international community on this loss of the distinguished man of charity and benevolent work,” Marzouqi Al Ganem, the Parliament Speaker, said. “He is a great man who dedicated his life to serving people throughout the world.”

MP Ali Al Umair said: “Kuwait and the world have lost a remarkable humanitarian figure who had been an outstanding leader of benevolent action.”

Fellow lawmaker Talal Al Jalal said that his death meant a huge loss for Kuwait and for the world.

“He had dedicated his life to helping people and engaging in charitable action until he became one of the most distinguished international figures in the field,” Al Jalal was quoted by local Arabic daily Al Watan as saying.

“While we condole ourselves on his death, I call for naming a street in Kuwait after him to help his name live through the collective memory of the nation,” he said.

MP Mohammad Al Huwaila said that Shaikh Abdul Rahman had devoted his time, energy and wealth to serving people.

“He worked for the sake of his country and humanity in general,” he said.

Several other lawmakers expressed their grief over the death of Shaikh Abdul Rahman and praised his outstanding work. The local blogosphere and social networks were flooded with comments paying rich tribute to the philanthropist.

Shaikh Abdul Rahman, a medical doctor, was born in Kuwait in 1947. He is credited with establishing the Direct Assistance Association, initially known as the African Muslims Committee.

According to reports, around 11 million converted to Islam through his efforts over 29 years he spent spreading the word of Islam in Africa, an average of 972 new Muslims a day.

He was awarded several medals and prizes for his works of charity, including the King Faisal Award for serving Islam. He used the SR750,000 (Dh734,521) of the award to launch an educational programme in Africa that helped many Africans pursue their higher education.

However, his life in Africa was not always a fairy-tale and he was repeatedly the target of attacks by armed militias disturbed by his overwhelming support for the poor and needy.

He also had to endure some of Africa’s other challenges such as deadly animals, scarcity of water and power interruptions. He spent much of his time in Africa and went to Kuwait either for short visits or to receive medical treatment.

His trips into the African continent were invariably filled with risks, but he persisted on conveying the message of peace and providing assistance to those needed it. Even though his body was frail, he was ready to endure physical hardships and to bear sufferance, driven by a strong belief in helping people.

However, despite his strong determination that for decades challenged his own illnesses (diabetes, constant back and foot pains), his health had recently deteriorated and he had to be hospitalised in Al Mubarak Al Kabeer hospital in the capital Kuwait City until he passed away.

His son Suhaib said that he would be buried on Friday.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/kuwait/prominent-kuwaiti-philanthropist-mourned-1.1220695

POOR MUSLIMS CANT SEE IT COMING!!

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Dear brothers
Assalaam alaikum w w
Can you have a second look at the events as they have been unfolding for the Muslim nations. And the history is not so ancient. But the out come seems to be exactly the same!

The Iran, Iraq (of Saddam Hussain) war lasted 8 good years. All the muslim and Arab gurf states (then) backed (Saddams) Iraq. The west with the support of ALL the Arab states were out to finish off Iran. Muslims on both sides killing each other were claiming to be engaged in a HOLY JIHAD. Imagine a holy Jihad where one side is being armed by the western Christians!! you can check out how many Muslims perished in that war. And the results – both weakened.

Then again two Muslim states, Iraq and Kuwait. Again the west and all the Arab states (this time) backing Kuwait against Saddam Hussain. All the Muslim countries eagerly offered their support to finish off another Muslim nation – Iraq.
Then the attack on Afghanistan by the West came around. Again the poor Afghans were devoured with all the Muslims looking the other side. Before our very eyes we saw the West attack Muamar Gadafis Libya. With the full support of Many Arab States. Gadafi was trapped like a rat and Killed.

Again the west and the Muslim states are at it again, this time against Syria. Always its fighters armed by the west financed by the very Muslim nations crashing a fellow Muslim nation.

I have never seen history repeating its self so frequently with the same results like in the case of the Muslim states and their (so called western friends). the west will never offer one (christian) nation to be attacked. always its a Muslim nation to be attacked with the support of Muslims. They always hope that OK its an attack on that nation its not on us. until their turn comes.

I can assure you, like this all will be finished off one after the other. I think the west must be amazed at the unconditional support they are receiving from the Muslim nations on (their crusade of) finishing off the Muslim nations.

Where will this game end????

Yours
Abay Mwanje

US Anti-Muslim Pastor Terry Jones Denied Entry Into Canada

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By CHARMAINE NORONHA Associated Press
TORONTO October 12, 2012 (AP)

A spokeswoman for U.S. pastor Terry Jones said Thursday that Canada has denied entry to the preacher, whose congregation held a Quran burning in March 2011 that triggered deadly protests in Afghanistan.

Stephanie Sapp said fellow pastor and her husband Wayne Sapp, along with Jones, were turned back at the Michigan-Ontario border after being detained for several hours. Jones, who leads Florida’s tiny Dove World Outreach Center, and Wayne Sapp, were scheduled to attend Freedom Showdown, an inter-faith debate Thursday evening outside the Ontario Legislature.

Stephanie Sapp said Jones was denied entry because of a fine he got in Germany almost 20 years ago for using the title “doctor” there (he had received an honorary doctorate in theology from a Californian university in 1993). Also, both men had been charged with breaching the peace at a planned rally in Detroit last year.

The spokeswoman told The Associated Press that Jones had paid the German fine at that time and won his appeal to the German government for the right to use the title “doctor.” She said border officials told Jones the Canadian government requires documentation of the whole case to be brought to a Canadian Consulate in America in order for them to consider allowing Jones into Canada again.

As for the Detroit-related charge, she said that case was overturned in a higher court on appeal.

“We consider this to be a grievous blow to freedom of speech. We hope that this is a lesson for the Canadians and the Americans for us to stand up, unite together, and protect our freedom of speech,” said Jones in a statement.

Canadian border officials said it is not their practice to confirm whether someone has been denied entry into Canada.

In 2010, Jones issued a call to burn Qurans on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, alarming the U.S. military, which feared the move would endanger the lives of American troops fighting Islamist extremists in Afghanistan and Iraq. Although Jones called off the burning at the time, thousands of Afghans encouraged by the Taliban set fire to tires in the streets of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

Jones’ congregation went ahead with a Quran burning in March 2011, triggering protests across Afghanistan after video of the ceremony was posted on the Internet. In the most violent protest, hundreds of protesters stormed a U.N. compound in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, killing seven foreigners, including four Nepalese guards.

Jones was slated to participate in a debate Thursday about “Innocence of Muslims,” the anti-Muslim film that has recently sparked violent protests in the Arab world, the most violent of which led to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi last month.

Both pastors were questioned repeatedly by border officials about the film and a protest sign that read “Koran Burning Site” and another saying, “Islam is the New Nazism,” were confiscated at the border, said Stephanie Sapp. She said they were asked several times if they were bringing a copy of “Innocence of Muslims” into Canada.

Freedom Showdown organizer Allan Einstoss said the event went ahead as planned, but lamented Jones’ absence from the debates. Interference from border officials, he said, has quashed an opportunity for a meaningful dialog on free speech.

“That’s the government’s choice, that’s what they wanted,” Einstoss said. “We could have had a nice civil evening, but that’s their decision.”

Last month, Germany forbade Jones from entering the country for a screening of “Innocence of Muslims.”

A Muslim named a cabinet minister in Norway. Now Abbey Ssemuwemba will be soon be the 1st Muslim Katikiro In B/uganda

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29-year-old Muslim woman named culture minister of Norway
Ahram Online, Sunday 23 Sep 2012
The first ever Muslim minister in the Norwegian Cabinet is Hadia Tajik of Pakistani origin, who was handed the culture portfolio
On Sunday, with no precedent in Norwegian history, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg appointed Hadia Tajik, a 29-year-old Muslim woman, as minister of culture, making Tajik the youngest minister in the Norwegian Cabinet and the first ever Muslim in the Norwegian government.

Tajik, of Pakistani origin, anounced that her programme will focus on cultural diversity as part of the Norwegian people’s daily lives and how this reflects on Norweigan society as a whole. The programme will delve into the protection of minority rights, whether cultural or racial, including the right of Muslims to wear the veil in public places, among other issues.

The new focus, however, will not be unopposed. Most right wing groups are against these policy changes, considering the increase in diversity in society a challenge to European culture.

Last year Anders Breivik randomly shot 69 people at a summer camp organised by the Workers’ Youth League (AUF) of the Labour Party afterblowing up a Norweigan state building. During his trial, Breivik reasoned that multi-cultural policies are harming Norway, adding that he considers Islam his enemy.

Born in Strand, Norway, on 18 July 1983, Tajik studied human rights at the University of Kingston in the UK and holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and Master’s in law, the latter awarded by the University of Oslo this year.

An activist from a young age, Tajik led the Young Workers Movement between 1999 and 2002. She also worked as a political advisor to Norway’s minister of justice, 2008-2009. During this time Norweigan women members of the police were afforded the right to wear the veil at work. The decision was, however, rescinded due to harsh criticism from conservative parties.

In 2009, Tajik was elected to parliament as a member of the Labour Party in the Oslo constitutency. She was placed on a list of six seats generally considered safe for the party.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/53627.aspx

Muslims Must Change Tactics when responding to provocations

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My dear bothers and Sisters
Assalaam alaikum w w

These (western powers) Americans are at it again. First it was the Satanic verses (God forbid) of Salman Rushdie in the UK. Showing that the holy Qur’an is a collection of satanic verses. Then came the the cartoons(God forbid) depicting the holy prophet Muhammad(s.a.w) in derogatory manner by a Swedish man called Lars Vilks. Then there was the burning of the Holy Qur’an by a one John Terry in America and now its the filthy film about the holy prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)

I have closely scrutinized all the above events and I have came to one conclusion. There is a hand behind all this. On the face of it, they may seem isolated but read between the lines, its like a script that is being acted in a sequence. The sick minds which are coming up with these evil plans are very cunning. They have clear aims to achieve. fortunately for them their adversaries just keep falling for the game plan as they anticipated . They can simply tell what the reaction will be and it happens.

These enemies of Islam have been scheming against Islam since the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(s.a.w) unfortunately for them the spread of Islam was unstoppable spreading and reaching out to the whole world. Their hatred for Islam burning in their hearts was never extinguished.Now they have changed Tactics; lets tarnish the reputation of Islam and the Muslims.

Now, what they are doing is to provoke Muslims, whom they know that they will react violently. More so the violent activities will be in their own countries. They will destroy their properties in their countries- burn buses, markets, cars, and any thing that comes their way. not only that they will kill their fellow Muslims.

Then these plotters will only be by standers watching as the whole world is stunned by the barbaric Muslims who are venting their anger at their fellow innocent brothers and sisters. The end result – Muslims will get a bad press.

Surely these activities are deplorable to say the least. I have no words to condemn them. But are these violent demonstrations the best reaction? are we not playing to the tune of our detractors with these Violent demonstrations?

They provoke us into over reacting and we do exactly what they expected of us. No No we should change tactics.

Wassalaam
Yours
Abay Mwanje

VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MUSLIM LADIES IN EXAMINATION HALLS

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In the Name of Allaah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu
Hope and pray this finds you and your family in good health and in high spirits.
Sent on behalf of
ASSOCIATION OF CONCERNED MUSLIMSWESTERN REGION.
___

ASSOCIATION OF CONCERNED MUSLIMS
WESTERN REGION
 
PRESS RELEASE
 CONTACT: Alhaji Saeed Jallo
Tel: 0243420018/0273940900
 
VIOLATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MUSLIM LADIES IN EXAMINATION HALLS
This release is in reaction to an incident that happened on Thursday 13th of September 2012, when a young Muslim student, FatimataUthman went to the Takoradi Secondary Schools’ Assembly Hall in Takoradi to write for her physics paper. Fatimata was in her Islamic veil (hijab) and was confronted and refused entry into the hall to write her paper by Madam Aya Harrison who happens to be one of the invigilators.
 Madam Aya Harrison ordered Fatimata to remove the veil or risk being prevented from writing the physics paper. Fatimata pleaded for entry and reminded the invigilator that she had been allowed entry in all the other centres since West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) does not discriminate against the Islamic dress code (hijab) but all her pleadings fell on deaf ears.
 It took the intervention of another invigilator before Fatimata could enter to write her exams, by that time her colleagues had already spent about 45 minutes. Unfortunately she was not given additional time to make up for the 45 minutes lost, notwithstanding Mr. Moses Ansah (the exams supervisor) had earlier agreed to do so when contacted by Alhaj Saeed Jallo, a media practitioner in Takoradi who rushed to the scene to talk to  the supervisor.
This is not an isolated case, there are several issues going on all over the country to which the Muslim community is not happy about. A gentleman in the Northern Region complained about the same ill-treatment meted out to his wife who eventually had to take off the veil (hijab) just to satisfy the invigilators, whilst two ladies from Kasoa and AkimOda in the Central and Eastern Regions respectively also narrated their ordeal on the same subject
Our checks with WAEC have revealed that, the Council allows Muslim students to use their hijab to take passport pictures for the examination. This is after lots of deliberations by the Council to which they agreed that this was part of the dress code of the Muslim women so they should be allowed to take their pictures with it.
Another issue of concern is the compulsion of Muslim students to attend church services in some schools whilst being deprived of the liberty to exercise their daily religious obligations. This is widespread in the second cycle institutions in the western region and throughout the other nine regions of the country and we see it as a deliberate agenda of some Christians to fight against the Islamic religion in this country.
We wish to send a clear message to the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service, West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) and all other relevant bodies that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH; we are no more going to sit down and witness this blatant disregard of our children’s constitutional rights
We are going to take action and ensure that the dignity of the Muslim student is restored in all our public institutions and that whoever tries to stand on our way will not be spared.
We are therefore calling on the institutions mentioned above to come out with clear statements on the status of the Muslim student on campuses and examination centres.
We wish to remind our Christian friends that Ghana is a secular state and therefore any individual or group with an agenda to trample on the rights of Muslim students is going contrary to the provisions of the 1992 constitution.
 We also want to take the opportunity to draw the attention of WAEC to the fact that the student, FATIMATA UTHMAN, lost 45 minutes of the paper’s allotted time and therefore could not answer her final question.
This time round, we are going to explore all legal means available to us, even if it has be a law suit, to ensure that this kind of mistreatment meted out to Muslim students by some misguided and unpatriotic Christians NEVER happens on the soil of our beloved country Ghana. An apology will not make up for the psychological imbalance FatimataUthman may have gone through, with serious implications on her performance. FatimataUthman could be the next Muslim medical doctor or nurse to serve the people of Ghana, both Muslims and non-Muslims.
We will seek redress in the law courts to rectify this unbridled behavior of some ignorant and prejudiced Christians who want to draw a wedge between Muslims and Christians in Ghana. We will demand the maximum sanctions in this case to serve as a strong deterrent for any education official who will want to deliberately step on the rights of Muslim students in the discharge of their duties.
Lastly, we will want to take this opportunity to educate Madam Aya Harrison and her ilk that if she can take off the veil from all the portraits and statutes of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (may Allaah’s peace be upon them), who is the mother of God in the theology of some Churches, then we Muslims will not have any reason to react in any manner.
Thank you.
__________
Malam (Abdul-Fattah Twahir-Akinyele)
Data Processing Manager
Business interactive consultinG (BiG), the business intelligence group

CIO Press Statement on Anti-Islam Film

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Dear All,

Please find attached the Press Statement issued today at the Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO) World Press Conference/General Meeting.

The full text is also reproduced below:

CIO‘s Position on the Film ‘Innocence of Muslims’

Presented at the World Press Conference/General Meeting Held on Thursday, 20 September, 2012 at Beleke Smith Memorial Central Mosque Hall, Surulere, Lagos.

The Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO), having observed the global protests triggered by the misguided and very provocative attempt to slander our beloved Prophet (SAW) through a film produced in the US and the public outbursts of rage and indignation expressed by Muslims across the world, decides to take steps to correct the unfortunate situation through a meeting between the representatives of CIO and the officials of the US Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria.

· Representatives of CIO and the officials of the United States of American Embassy led by the Consul General, Mr Jeffrey Hawkins, met in Lagos at Ansar Ud Deen Society of Nigeria, National Headquarters on Monday, 17 September, 2012 to discuss steps that could be taken to promote better understanding between Muslims in Nigeria and the government and people of US on the back of the continuing protest against the film Innocence of Muslims and to look at measures to prevent a recurrence of future orchestrated attempt to misrepresent symbols that are considered sacred to Islam.

· The Consul General, Mr Hawkins, acknowledges and appreciates the non-violent and constructive dialogue approach adopted by the CIO and most Muslims in Nigeria.

· He condemns the film as well as any deliberate effort to ridicule, insult or attack symbols considered sacred by other religions and cultures.

· He expressed outrage at the attack on US interests in parts of the Muslim world as a fall out of the protests.

· The Consul General acknowledges the positive contribution of Muslims and Islam to the development of the US and would rather want to see a strong and united Nigeria where Muslims and Christians, North and South work together for the progress and development of the country.

· Sheikh Abdurrahman Ahmad who spoke on behalf of the CIO commended the US government for this effort to seek the views of Muslims on how to promote better relations between the Muslim world and the US following the protests over the film on our Prophet by a US citizen.

· He condemns the film “Innocence of Muslims” in the strongest possible terms and described the producers and promoters as pathological haters, enemies of international peace and security and agents of the devils.

· He stated that even though Muslims the world over are absolutely enraged by the provocative film, majority of them are being cautioned in their reactions by the teachings of their prophet (SAW).

· There can never be a more effective guarantee of international peace and security than justice, equity, reciprocal respect and mutual understanding.

· Muslims want a better understanding of Muslims and Islam as a way to guarantee mutual respect and understanding especially in the following areas:

· Muslims will never accept that the symbols of Islam, such as our Creator, Allah, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and all other prophets sent by God, the Qur’an, and our places of worship are subjected to ridicule, insult and attack in the name of freedom of expression.

·Islam abhors the taking of lives of innocents and guilty by association syndrome where a country (as in the US) and a people (as in the Muslims or Islam) will be punished the offence committed by a misguided and mischievous individual or group. That is why all well-meaning Muslims and members of CIO condemn, unequivocally, the deplorable death of the US Ambassador to Libya and three other US Embassy staff. This has no place in Islam.

· One very important lesson that we can all take from this is that it is absolutely wrong to judge a country or a people by the deeds of the minority of bad people in that country.

· While acknowledging that freedom of expression is indeed fundamental human rights, we hold that no human freedom can be absolute, and indeed none is absolute. We therefore urge the US government to provide legal guarantees that prevent people from infringing on the rights, honours and freedom of others while exercising their rights to freedom of expression.

· Muslims appreciate the fact that the US government cannot put curbs on the enjoyment of constitutionally guarantee freedom of expression in the country, we urge the US government to provide legal guarantees that prevent people from infringing on the rights, honours and freedoms of others while exercising their right to freedom of expression will not be enjoyed in a way that it will put the rights of Muslims religion and human dignity.

· The sort of legal guarantees put in place to limit the freedom of expression of people who deny the Holocaust or write negative things about the Holocaust is the minimum the Muslims demand from the US Government.

· Muslims in Nigeria commend the initiative of the US Government on interreligious dialogue but urges even-handedness and a level-playing ground approach in the way the US relates with Christian and Muslim bodies in Nigeria. At the moment we feel Muslims don’t get equal and fair treatment.

· We express our readiness to work with the US to promote our mutual interests and are willing to support measures that can advance these interests.

Sheikh AbdurRahman Ahmad
Convener

Imam Abdullahi Shuaib
Coordinator

Innocence of Muslim Films – Press Release

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PRESS STATEMENT/RELEASE

We the Muslim Leadership in Kenya in Solidarity with Muslims all over the World take great exception to the acting and airing of the a blasphemous Film which depicts Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H) and Muslims as immoral people. The film is no doubt meant to provoke Muslims.

It is shocking that such a film could be acted, edited, promoted and funded in the U.S.A, a Country that claims to be the Champion of respect for fundamental rights.

In total disregard to the obvious limitation to the Freedom of expression as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which expressly states that in the exercise of one’s right of freedom to expression, there should be due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others besides meeting the requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare of society. This is a universally accepted principle.

That America could allow such a Film to emanate from its Soil uncensored speaks a lot about the deliberate and calculated conspiracy against Islam and Muslims.

It is not lost to us that the Film is promoted by some sworn enemies of Islam and peaceful co-existence, the likes of Rev. Terry Jones who desecrated the Holy Quran and was bitterly opposed to the construction of a mosque in New York.
While we do not expect the West to have anything good to say about Islam, we did not expect Americans to bend this low all aimed at provoking Muslims. Is the US really committed to promote and uphold world peace and harmonious co-existence between people of different faiths? We highly doubt it.
It is totally unacceptable for the American leadership and sections of western media to only focus on the reaction of Muslims in Libya, Egypt and other parts of the world, rather than address the root cause of that reaction. It smirks of hypocrisy, insensitivity and double standards.!!

At this juncture we strongly condemn the film and those behind it. We also strongly protest to the U.S government for allowing such a provocative film to emanate from its territory all in the name of FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION!!

We call upon the Government of Kenya to censure the US mission in Kenya as this is a pure recipe for religious disharmony-especially following the prevailing situation in the country after the assassination of Sheikh Aboud Rogo in Mombasa and the aftermath, and also the bloody Tana River crisis.

The Government should uphold the fundamental rights of all religious communities and the freedom of expression should not be used to cause religious disharmony .In the meantime we call upon Muslims to restrain themselves,remain united and calm as we take up the matter with the concerned.

Signed:
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THE ‘MUHAMMAD ‘FILM SHOULD BE BANNED FOR THE SAKE OF WORLD PEACE!!

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PHOTOGRAPH OF US AMBASADOR TO LIBYA CHRIS STEVENS BEFORE HE WAS KILLED YESTERDAY

PHOTOGRAPH OF US AMBASADOR TO LIBYA CHRIS STEVENS BEFORE HE WAS KILLED YESTERDAY

I can’t even bring myself to watch this YouTube link. From what i have read so far in newspapers, i think somebody crossed the red line but at the same time, i urge fellow Muslims to remain calm and not kill anybody. The death of the USA ambassador in Libya is so regrettable and it gives a certain image of Libyans we wouldn’t want to see again. Nobody deserves to be killed because of somebody Else’s mistakes. This man was probably a father and husband , and his kids are gonna miss him. So, it’s really sad to see him die like that. Nobody deserves to be killed and this is the reason why some of us are probably always sad because of the unjustifiable murderous stories we usually read in Uganda newspapers daily.

Such provoking films should not be acted at all because religion is something so sensitive. The world should have learnt from the ‘Mulushid’ satanic verses and let somethings rest. I wonder where this is gonna end but i think religious leaders, USA leaders, Middle East leaders and the Film/movie Associations have got a big role to play to make sure that the situation does not get out of hand. We don’t want anymore death than what we have already seen, but this film should be banned anywhere in the world to avoid a repeat of what we saw on our TVs yesterday.

Nze bwendaba banange

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

YouTube refuses to remove anti-Islamic film clip

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YouTube will not remove a film clip mocking the Islamic Prophet Mohammad that has been blamed for anti-US protests in Egypt and Libya, but it has blocked access to it in those countries.

The clip, based on a longer film, depicts the prophet as a fraud and philanderer and has been blamed for sparking violence at US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi. US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American diplomats were killed by gunmen in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday.

Google’s response to the crisis highlighted the struggle faced by the company, and others like it, to balance free speech with legal and ethical concerns in an age when social media can impact world events.

Analysts say they have seen a handful of internet companies generally take a more hands-off approach to controversial political speech, perhaps motivated by idealistic and business considerations.

In a brief statement on Wednesday, Google officials rejected the notion of removing the video on grounds it did not violate YouTube’s policies, but restricted viewers in Egypt and Libya from loading it due to the special circumstances in the country.

“This video – which is widely available on the Web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube,” Google said in a statement. “However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt, we have temporarily restricted access in both countries.”
The company added: “Our hearts are with the families of the people murdered in yesterday’s attack in Libya.”

The 14-minute clip is a trailer for a film called the “Innocence of Muslims,” widely attributed to a man who described himself as a California-based Israeli Jew named Sam Bacile.

Under Google’s procedures, YouTube users can flag objectionable content. It is reviewed by a team of Google staff scattered around the world. By late Thursday, a copy of the video had been viewed more than 122,000 times and had been flagged by users for removal, but it remained.

When videos come under review, YouTube weighs the content against ” community guidelines, ” which prohibit hate speech, including speech that attacks or demeans a group based on religion.

“They’ve had a number of years to be thinking about free speech issues,” Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain said.

“I can see them trying to keep an eye on the longer term and not wanting to go down the slippery slope of entertaining more and more demands to take things down. That can be corrosive in the longer haul.”

Observers say Google has grown more averse to removing videos. After its 2006 acquisition of YouTube, it was accused of censorship in several high-profile controversies.

“They’re squeezed on all sides,” said Rebecca MacKinnon, a fellow at the New America Foundation. “But because of pressure from a lot of people who feel they made the wrong decisions, they now generally err on the side of keeping things up.”

In recent years, Google has used technology to filter out videos in certain countries to comply with local regulations. Twitter announced a similar technology to censor tweets by country this year.

Others say Google has not done enough and bears a responsibility to police hate- speech more closely.

In 2008, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut accused Google of not doing enough to remove YouTube videos produced by Islamic militants. An Italian court in 2010 convicted four Google executives of invasion of privacy after faulting the company for not moving quickly enough to pull a video of an autistic child being bullied.

On Wednesday, Afghanistan’s general director of information technology at the Ministry of Communications, Aimal Marjan, told Reuters: ” We have been told to shut down YouTube to the Afghan public until the video is taken down.”

YouTube did not respond to a request for comment on the Afghan government’s move.

Underscoring Google’s quandary, some digital free expression groups have criticised YouTube for censoring the video.

Eva Galperin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said given Google’ s strong track record of protecting free speech, she was surprised the company gave in to pressure to selectively block in an attempt “to be seen as doing something in response to the violence.”

“It is extremely unusual for YouTube to block a video in any country without it being a violation of their terms of service or in response to a valid legal complaint,” Galperin said. ” I’m not sure they did the right thing.”

Zittrain said th e dilemmas facing YouTube will persist as the flow of online content continues to balloon.

“It’s a more vibrant and chaotic speech marketplace than we’ve ever known,” Zittrain said.

Source: agencies

The tales of Muslim “drunkards” by Yasin Mugerwa

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Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters on this Forum. Assalam Alaikum Warahumatullah

Let’s not get tired of praying for the sick, they need our prayers. We seek for Allah’s guidance and forgiveness in whatever we do. We also ask Allah to help our brothers and sisters in other countries to surmount the endless challenge they face every day. Ameen.

I have been on a working visit in Europe for the last three months now– going from one country to another. In the process, I have encountered several things, but the discussion I heard with a sheikh at the Central Mosque in Edinburgh, Scotland on Friday has prompted me to write this detailed article. We talked about so many things with this sheikh but one particular issue of major significance is how Satan in many countries including Uganda is increasingly winning over Muslims using Sex and Alcohol.

It’s with profound sadness that in Uganda, many of our Muslim brothers and sisters have become know drunkards. The new breed of Muslim drunkards. They shamelessly take alcohol and cheered by non-muslim friends as they stagger in pubs. They buy “rounds” for their friends and they call shout Muslim names in these pubs. Muslims, particularly, the some elites have become a thorn in the body fabric that holds Islamic faith intact. This is not to suggest in any way that outside the corporate world, it’s paradise. This is not the case, actually some are even worse.

Others don’t drink but they sell alcohol. Others don’t drink but they serve alcohol. others never used to drink but because they have non-muslims boy/man-friends and girl/women friends, they have learnt to drink. Others drink because they want to “fit in” in a ludicrous drinking club of friends- they don’t want to loose buddies. In fact, because of the new breed of Muslim drunkards, we are increasingly finding it difficult to sustain the argument with non-muslims that Islam prohibits drinking alcohol. The unfortunate part of this crisis is that when one “Muslim” drinks, they say “Muslims are drunkards”.

Whichever we look at this problem, it remains another concern in our faith today. Whether its about the poor child upbringing/parenting or our personal weaknesses in faith, then, we must ensure that as parents we lead by example. What kind of society are we creating if we call ourselves Muslims yet we cannot even perform swalah (the five daily prayers) and continue to drink either in public or in secret. This is wrong.

I don’t want to believe that we do these things because we don’t know that they are Haraam. Prophet Muhammad PBUH said:“That which is Halaal is clear and that which is Haraam is clear, and between the two of them are ambiguous (mutashabihat) matters about which many people do not know. Thus he who avoids ambiguous matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honour, but he who falls into ambiguous matters (eventually) falls into that which is Haraam, like the shepherd who pastures around a sanctuary, all but grazing therein. Truly every king has a sanctuary, and truly Allaah’s sanctuary is His prohibitions. Truly in the body there is a morsel of flesh, which, if it be whole, all the body is whole, and which, if it is diseased, all of (the body) is diseased. Truly, it is the heart.” [Related by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

It is clearly stated in the Holy Quran, that “intoxicants (alcohol etc) and games of chance- gambling” are “abominations of Satan’s handiwork,” intended to turn people away from God and forget about prayer, and Muslims were ordered to abstain (5:90-91). Prophet Muhammad PBUH also instructed us to avoid any intoxicating substances — (paraphrased) “if it intoxicates in a large amount, it is forbidden even in a small amount.” For this reason, most observant Muslims avoid alcohol in any form, even small amounts that are sometimes used in cooking.

Just as there lies great wisdom in the gradual revelation of laws prohibiting alcohol, there is also wisdom in the strait enforcement of severe punishment for drinking alcohol. Therefore, the Prophet referred to alcohol as the mother of sins because after consuming it, man can indulge in other major sins. This is why we must stop and ask for Allah’s forgiveness.

As we delved into the complexities of Alcohol, the Sheikh narrated this- Once a pious man met a woman, who invited him towards committing a sin (adultery). The man flatly refused. After her constant insisting, she still failed. Thereafter, she gave him a choice of options, 1. Committing adultery with her or 2. To murder her newly born child, whom had she begot from her previous husband. Or 3. To consume some alcohol which she possessed. If he were not willing to comply then she would scream and falsely inform the inhabitants of that place that he had raped her. The man upon pondering decided to consume the alcohol, taking it to be least harmful of the three sins. Upon the consumption of alcohol, he became intoxicated, and then consequently, he killed the child and also committed adultery with the woman.

This is the story of alcohol- Omwenge.

Other matters will be for another day but, it’s not too late to stop, the door for Tawubah (Repentance) is always open. You should give up drinking for the sake of Allah and not for any other reason such as not being able to do it or repeat it, or being afraid of what people will say, for example. The person who gives up a sin because it may affect his standing or reputation among people, or because it may cost him his job, cannot be described as having repented. The person who gives up sins for the sake of his health and strength cannot be described as having repented, such as a person who gives up adultery and immoral actions for fear of contagious deadly diseases, or for fear that they may weaken his body and his memory.

The word Tawbah (repentance) is a great word with deep meaning. It is not, as many people think, merely words to be uttered whilst persisting in sin. Think about what Allah says: “Seek the forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him in repentance”. As Human beings, we are not all perfect, but those who realise their mistakes and repent never to do the same again, are the saints before Allah. We pray that Allah guides our brothers and sisters to the true folds of Islamic faith. I thank you.

May Allah Bless You All.


Yasiin Mugerwa

Daily Monitor/The Times of London

ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com

yasiin.mugerwa@thetimes.co.ug

Muslims in Burma Need our prayers

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Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,

Assalam Alaikum warahumatullah. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah PBUH, said, “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He should not wrong him nor surrender him to his enemy. Allah will take care of the needs of anyone who takes care of the needs of his brother.. [Agreed upon].

First, I thank Allah who made it possible for us to complete the holy month of Ramadhan. We pray that He accepts our Ibadah and we fast the six days of Shawwal. Those who are sick we continue to pray for them and those who received Allah’s bounties, we thank Him for that. Those who have lost their dear ones, we ask Allah to forgive their mistakes and grant them Jannah. Ameen.

I know that as Muslims in Uganda we are still grappling with several challenges. But as we confront these domestic problems of disunity, discrimination, hatrade, poverty, unemployment of our youth and HIV/Aids pandemic etc, I thought I needed to remind you about the plight of Muslims in Burma.

Burma, also known as Myanmar, is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand and it capital is called Rangoon. It had dictatorship for years but calm is slowly returning with a new leader in power although for the minority Muslims it’s a nightmare.

We need to pray for these Muslims. It appears there a systematic plan to politically eliminate Muslims in Burma. The Opposition leaders in Parliament and Government of Burma have denied Muslims citizenship in this country yet Burma is their country. Muslims are being killed in large numbers and the silence of the international community and human rights activities has made things worse. The implicit decision is that Muslims must be jettisoned.

When Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Opposition Leader visited Britain in June this year, I happened to be in the Westminster Hall that day and I saw her begging the West to help Burma realise true democracy. She condemned human rights abuses and kept silent on the mass killing of Muslims in Burman. In the end she received a standing ovation and that was it.

To date, she looks on when Muslims are slaughtered in streets by the security forces. This woman pretends to be an icon of human rights in Myanmar (Burma) but does not consider Muslims as citizens and therefore they should be eliminated. She is keeping quiet as Muslims genocide goes on for fear of losing support ahead of 2015 elections.

She is no longer a political dissident trying to stick to her principles. She’s a politician and her eyes are fixed on the prize, which is the 2015 majority Buddhist vote. Hypocrite!!!

As Western powers make encouraging sounds towards Burma’s recent political reforms, on the country’s far-flung northern border with China a dark conflict is still raging. Muslims must be recognized as citizens because Burma is their country. Racism and persecution of Muslims must stop.

The sanctions must not be lifted until a solution is found- this is purely a case of genocide and gross abuse of human rights by the state. The Muslims are surrounded- the Opposition and those in authority- they all targeting them. It’s our duty as Muslims to pray for our brothers and sister in Burma and those who can write even if it’s a letter to the Editor in a newspaper/local and international you must do it now. The situation is getting out of hand and millions of Muslims are dying every day and in big numbers. God bless You all.

Yasiin Mugerwa
Daily Monitor

– بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ UMBS is a registered organization devoted to matters of interest to Muslims in Uganda.Muslims from other countries are welcome to join us too. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/UMBSFORUM. To donate to UMBS activities, click on: http://um-bs.com/donate/ or just deposit money on UMBS Bank A/C at Bank of Africa:07074320002 . Join UMBS forum on facebook at:https://www.facebook.com/groups/ugandamuslimbrotherssis/. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to: uganda-muslim-brothers-and-sisters+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com or Abbey Semuwemba:abbeysemuwemba@gmail.com.شكرا (جزيلا

Hong Kong using halal food to attract Muslim biz community

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Hong Kong is attracting more Muslim money and businessmen amid increasing economic ties between China and the Muslim business community.

The online version of Time magazine Wednesday said halal food, or food made in accordance with the Quran, is popular among Muslim businessmen in Hong Kong. The city and China have raised trade with Islamic countries like Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, so more restaurants in Hong Kong are selling halal food or dumplings without pork for Muslim businessmen. Pork is widely used in Chinese food but banned by Islamic law.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board says the number of tourists to the city is growing 20 percent annually. The number of halal-certified restaurants and markets jumped from just 14 in 2010 to three times that figure in a year, with the Tsim Sha Tsui district alone having 13 halal-certified restaurants.

Tourists from the Middle East, Pakistan and Indonesia usually buy wholesale mobile phones manufactured at mainland factories for resale at home.

The magazine said establishing Muslim-friendly services in Hong Kong could well be part of a multi-pronged attempt to establish a stronger business relationship between the resource-rich Muslim world and the greater China region, which is in dire need of fuel for its burgeoning economy.

“Mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the Muslim world is extremely important to China,“ said Ma Hongjian, president of the Beijing-based China-Arab Council for Investment Promotion.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., he said, trade partnerships between the two have skyrocketed because many Muslim entrepreneurs could not obtain visas to the West and instead started going to China in droves.

“There are so many examples of the Chinese government trying to provide facilities to our Muslim guests,” Ma added.

With soaring exchanges between China and the Islamic world, Hong Kong has positioned itself as a conduit for Muslim business with mainland China. In addition to offering more dining options to the Islamic community, the city is also developing a strong platform for Islamic finance.

“We hope to develop a wholesale Islamic capital market,” a spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau said.

Creating an Islamic capital market has been a major issue since Hong Kong`s first discussion on the matter at parliament in 2008, including Islamic bonds known in Arabic as “sukuk.”

Sukuk pays investors in assets to avoid the exchange of interest in accordance with Islamic law. Initiated by the Planning and Strategy Ministry, the Korean government since 2009 has attempted to revise its Special Tax Treatment Control Act, under which investment return of sukuk is not taxed because it is considered interest that attracts oil money from the Middle East.

Due to a backlash from Christians over sukuk, the revised bill failed to pass the National Assembly in February. Discussion has also not resumed on the matter in parliament

Muslims Build Homes for Fellow Americans. Lessons for Muslim Students on UMBS

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“They are one of the most delightful groups of students you are ever going to meet,” Gwen Miles, volunteer coordinator for Wood County Habitat for Humanity, told the Parkesburg News and Sentinel on Wednesday, March 7.

“This is the first group of Muslim students (to volunteer here) and the first group we’ve had from as far away as Washington, D.C.”

Muslim students from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. have volunteered to build homes for residents in south Parkesburg in West Virginia.

“Not many students would give up their Spring Break to come work in cold and snowy Parkersburg,” Miles said.

“They are making the best of it.”

The initiative is part of Muslim efforts to show the American public the truce face of their faith.

“I asked how we can best translate our faith into action, how we can best be Americans,” said Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim chaplain for Georgetown University.

“The idea is to be there for those who are overlooked,” he said. “The students decided to take this idea seriously.”

Since 9/11, US Muslims, estimated between seven to eight million, have become sensitized to an erosion of their civil rights, with a prevailing belief that America was stigmatizing their faith.

The anti-Muslim frenzy has grown over plans to build a mosque near the 9/11 site and repeated attempts by Republican lawmakers to ban Islamic Shari`ah in several US states.

US Muslims have been outraged by repeated scandals of FBI spying on their mosques and neighborhoods.

The Associated Press has recently revealed that the New York police monitored Muslim college students miles away from the city.

The agency found that New York police sent an undercover agent on a whitewater rafting trip, where he recorded students’ names and how many times they prayed.

Police detectives also trawled Muslim student websites every day and though professors and students had not been accused of any wrongdoing.

{UMBS} Muslim cleric not welcome in France: Sarkozy

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President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday that influential Qatar-based Sunni Muslim cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi was not welcome in France.

Egyptian-born Qaradawi, 86, has been invited to visit next month by the Union of Islamic Organisations in France.

“I told the emir of Qatar himself that this gentleman was not welcome in the territory of the French Republic,” Sarkozy told France Info radio.

Qaradawi, who hosts a popular show on Al-Jazeera satellite television, backed Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and has launched a fund-raising effort for the Syrian opposition. (AFP)

Muslim Footballer,Bayern Munich’s Frank Ribery, Opens Alcohol-free Bar

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Ribary-Oshahiz-barParis, January 03: In an effort to fight alcohol addiction, French Muslim football player Franck Ribery has opened an alcohol-free bar that would serve fruit juices.

“I wanted a concept that’s a little different from the ordinary,” the 28-year old told French newspaper La Voix du Nord.

Called “O’Shahiz”, the bar takes its name from Ribery’s two daughters Shahinez and Hizya.

The Bayern Munich midfielder is believed to have reverted to Islam in 2006 after marrying a Muslim woman of Moroccan origin.

Though he rarely speaks about his faith, Ribery recently told Le Paris Match magazine that he felt “safe” with Islam.

Ribery says the free-alcohol bar in his home town of Boulogne-sur-Mer aims to encourage the French to abandon alcohol drinking by offering alternative alcohol-free atmosphere.

The new bar would also allocate an area for French Muslims who feel uncomfortable in bars that offer alcohol drinks.

Islam takes an uncompromising stand in prohibiting intoxicants. It forbids Muslims from drinking or even selling alcohol.

The general rule in Islam is that any beverage that get people intoxicated when taken is unlawful, both in small and large quantities, whether it is alcohol, drugs, fermented raisin drink or something else.

A British study released in November 2010 found that alcohol is a more dangerous and lethal drug than heroin or crack cocaine.

Alcohol is blamed for the death of 195,000 people in the 27-nation European Union every year and more than 10,000 deaths were due to alcohol-related road accidents, with young people especially at risk.

It is also blamed for 7.4 percent of all ill-health and premature death in the EU, a 2006 EU-commissioned report said.

–Agencies

I support Palestine without any fear: Diego Maradona

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Maradona, while promising to be the coach of Palestine’s national team and going to attend the practice session of team, said that I reinforce my statement on the support of Palestinian’s striving aims and targets and do not feel fearful at offending any person or group.

He, while pointing towards the prolonged war of Palestinians against the illegal occupation of Zionists government, said that I have much respect for Palestinians because they stand eligible for our support. I support Palestinian nation who are adhered to fight against the injustice, and I promise the football players of Palestine that I will come to their terrain and fulfill my promise.

Uzbekistan Bans Islamic Clothing. Will it happen in Uganda one day?

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Increasing its surveillance on Muslims, Uzbek authorities have prohibited the sale of religious clothing, specifically hijabs and face veil, at several Tashkent markets following a secretive ban on sales, Eurasia Net reported on Friday, March 16.

“Islamic clothing is being sold under the counter,” Tashkent businesswoman Mutabar, who imports goods from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, said.

“I am selling it from home, but only to trusted customers.”

The ban came to effect earlier this month after the vendors said they received an oral order from the Uzbek government.

Venders at several markets, including the massive Chorsu Bazaar, have pulled headscarves and other coverings from their racks.

Local authorities reportedly confiscated some clothing, but they did not confirm reports about banning hijab.

“There’s a ban on the sale of Islamic clothing, but I can’t discuss hijab,” an official at the Chorsu market, who asked for anonymity, told the Institute of War and Peace Reporting.

Another local tax officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the authorities wanted to keep the ban quiet.

“No one will discuss it openly now,” he said.

“It’s the same with halal cafes, which have been closed.”

There is no legal provision banning sales of hijab, but legislation passed in 1998 sets out fines and short jail terms for wearing religious clothing in public.
Punishment ranges from a fine of five to 10 times the monthly minimum wage to 15 days in jail.

In the first known prosecution under the law, a court in Syrdarya region fined a woman the equivalent of 155 US dollars for wearing hijab.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

Mosque Surveillance

Along with banning hijab, Uzbek authorities installed cameras in and around 181 mosques in Namangan Region.

“The authorities are trying to control what happens during prayer, to track what imams say to believers and to see whether young people are attending prayers,” an Uzbek imam living across the border in neighboring Kyrgyzstan told Radio Free Europe’s Uzbek Service.

Authorities claimed the installation of security cameras follows thefts at some mosques.

Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s most populous nation, is at the heart of a geopolitical power struggle between the West and Russia.

The country, where Muslims make up 88 percent of the 28 million population, is one of the world’s biggest producers of cotton and has huge natural gas and mineral reserves.

Yet, economy is sluggish and unemployment is towering.

Rights groups have long accused Uzbekistan of suppressing religious freedoms as part of a campaign against Islamic extremism.

In a 2012 country report, the New York-based Human Rights Watch accused the Uzbek authorities of continuing “their unrelenting, multi-year campaign of arbitrary detention, arrest and torture of Muslims who practice their faith outside state controls”.


بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ UMBS is a registered organization devoted to matters of interest to Muslims in Uganda.Muslims from other countries are welcome to join us too. Follow us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Uganda-Muslim-Brothers-Sisters/128372957263072. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/UMBSFORUM. To donate to UMBS activities, click on: http://um-bs.com/donate/ or just deposit money on UMBS Bank A/C at Bank of Africa:07074320002 . Join UMBS forum on facebook at:https://www.facebook.com/groups/ugandamuslimbrotherssis/.

British Muslim removed from jury for wearing veil. They dont like us, do they?

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Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:32AM GMT

“This is totally unacceptable. I really can’t understand why facial expressions could have any impact on the judge, the judgment or anyone else in a trial. It has no relevance,”

chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission Massoud Shadjareh
A British judge has dismissed a Muslim woman from the jury for wearing a veil in clear violation of official guidelines from judicial authorities, which recognize sitting in the jury with a veil.

The judge, Aidan Marron QC at Blackfriars Crown Court in London, claimed the veil prevented him from seeing the female juror’s facial expression.

“In this particular case it is desirable that your face is exposed, so I’m going to invite you to stand down,” the judge told the woman.

This comes as the 2007 guidance from the Judicial Studies Board’s equality advisory committee rules that women cannot wear a veil as jurors only if it interferes with administration of justice.

However, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission Massoud Shadjareh said, it is totally “irrelevant” that having one’s face covered could interfere with administration of justice.

“This is totally unacceptable. I really can’t understand why facial expressions could have any impact on the judge, the judgment or anyone else in a trial. It has no relevance,” Shadjareh said.

“I’m speechless that you can exclude someone on the basis of the way that they dress. It’s very worrying that a judge is being prejudiced against women wearing a veil,” he added.

The incident raises human rights fears as the 2007 guideline states a judge is able to “consider” a veiled juror’s dismissal only if one of the concerned parties raises on objection with a good reason, which did not happen at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Documentary:The Boy With Divine Powers

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Ram Bahadur Bomjon (born c. 9 April 1990), also known as Palden Dorje, and now Dharma Sangha, is from Ratanapuri village, Bara district, Nepal. Some of his supporters have claimed that he is a reincarnation of the Buddha, but Ram himself has denied this, and many practitioners of Buddhism agree that the Buddha has entered nirvana and cannot be reborn.

He drew thousands of visitors and media attention by spending months in meditation. Nicknamed the Buddha Boy, he began his meditation on 16 May 2005. He reportedly disappeared from the hollow tree where he had been meditating for months on 16 March 2006, but was found by some followers a week later. He told them he had left his meditation place, where large crowds had been watching him, “because there is no peace”. He then went his own way and reappeared elsewhere in Nepal on 26 December 2006, but left again on 8 March 2007. On 26 March 2007, inspectors from the Area Police Post Nijgadh in Ratanapuri found Bomjon meditating inside a bunker-like ditch seven feet square.

Over the following years after this documentary, Bomjon has reappeared and blessed thousands of pilgrims – only to disappear again and meditate. Watch the video and tell us what you think. What does Islam say about such people?

Watch the videos on the link below:

Is Enmity between the U.S./West and Islam a Myth or Reality? (General Situational Analysis)

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Paper presented at a dialogue organised by MYATA (Muslim Youth Against Terrorism Activities) sponsored by the American Embassy, Kampala 19th Feb 2010

Omar kalinge, UMBS forumist in Kampala and can be reached on: 0752 656 352

There is no straight answer to this question. What we can say is that there are so many myths surrounding these two cultures. Most of the myths are the consequences of stereotypical messages largely portrayed in the Media and different cultural exchanges. The search for realities, and the conscious separation of myth form reality  is what should pre-occupy us.

GLOBAL REALITIES

Globally, it can be said that religious resurgence and democratization were two of the most important developments of the final decades of the twentieth century. In many areas, movements of religious revival coincide with and sometimes reinforce the formation of more democratic political systems. In other areas, the two dynamics are in conflict (Esposito, Voll, 1996).

In his 1984 article titled   “will more countries become democratic?”

Huntington contended:  “… among the Islamic countries, particularly those in the Middle East, the prospects for democratic development seem low” because “ no distinction exist between religion and politics or between the spiritual and the secular, and political participation was historically an alien concept.”  (Huntington, 1984).

In agreement with Huntington, a number of political commentators view Islam and democracy /democratization to be in conflict or contradictory to each other. The rise of Islamic resurgence movements is often seen to be traditionally, backward looking, fearful of change and democracy itself.  In their views, Islamic civilisation does not value intermediary institutions between the government and the people, thus precluding the emergence of civil society, and is based on a legal culture of rigidity, thus placing a premium on obedience and social conformity, rather than critical inquiry and individual initiative.   (Hefner, 2000: Heryanto, Mandal 2003).

Many other Muslim intellectuals and activists argue otherwise. They insist that although it may be a practice” foreign” to Muslims (under many regimes) the notion or concept of democracy is not foreign to Islamic thought. Various principles of democracy such as human rights, rule of law, justice, separation of religion and the state, religious tolerance, equal rights for women etc, are inherent to the corpus of Islamic ideas. But they have to be substantiated and actively promoted through educational reform and the creation of social institutions that foster democratic consciousness and encouraging greater participation of civil society in the political and religious realm (Heryanto, Mandal 2003).

In reality, Muslims learned long ago to live with ethnic and regional diversity. Muslim politics is not monolithic, but like politics in all civilizations, plural. From a sociological perspective the differentiation of religious and political authorities was inevitable as the Muslim community developed from a small, relatively homogeneous involvement into a vast, multi-ethnic empire.  From a religious perspective too, the separation was necessary if the transcendent truth of Islam was not to be subordinated to the whims of all too human rulers (Hefner, 2000). Besides, contrary to the widespread belief that Islam does not allow the separation of state and religion, political power in most of Muslim history was not wielded by a theoretic class and religion scholars developed the healthy habit of holding themselves at a distance from government (Hefner, 2000).

The results of a comprehensive survey released by the Pew Research Centre in June 2003 are another proof that citizens of Muslim countries place a high value on freedom of expression, freedom of the press, multi-party system and equal treatment under law. This includes peoples living in kingdoms such as Jordan and Kuwait. In fact, many of the publics polled expressed a big desire for democratic reforms than the publics of some nations of eastern empire, notably Russia and Bulgaria (PEW, 2003).

Today, the major challenge for democratization in Muslim societies remains whether Muslim scholars and leaders themselves are able to create coherent theories and structures of Islamic democracy that are not simple reformulations of western nations offered in Islamic idioms. What the social and political contents of Islamic democracy consist of, and how it is to be justified and realized was increasingly a centre issue to the project of Islamic modernity throughout the Muslim world ( Heryanto, Mandal 2003: 123).

For centuries the Muslim world has been blessed with the abundance of civic resources (Hefner, 2000: 25), all elaborated in quite distinctive political and historical experiences. That heritage may provide the necessary resources and historical support for modern efforts to generate from within Islam itself the idea of commitment, ethically driven life of active, participatory citizenship and a universal or global Islamic community (Heryanto, Mandal 2003).

Democratization is the demand for empowerment in government and politics made by a growing portion of population around the world. As the technologies of government and rule because  more  sophisticated, there was a growing sense of marginalization among most people, even in those states university thought of as   “democratic” ( Esposito, 1998: 13)

ISLAMIC RESURGENCE AND DEMOCRACY

Among Muslim communities world over, there has been an important and highly visible resurgence of Islam. This affirmation of faith and identity is a powerful force in all aspects of human life and is reflected in clothing, changing social life styles and the arts, as well as the more visible arena of politics and political power. Concurrent with this resurgence is a growing demand for greater popular participation in the political system.

In an essay titled “Islam and the nation in the Post- Suharto Era”, Robert Hefner writes:  “Since the late 1980’s the largest audience for democratic and pluralist ideas in Indonesia have been, not secular nationalist, but reform-minded Muslim democrats. Nowhere in the Muslim world have Muslim intellectuals  engaged  the ideas of democracy, civil society, pluralism and the rule of law with a vigour and confidence equal to that of Indonesian Muslims (Abuza, 2003: 68, quoting Hefner, 1999: 42).

His comments were based on the role that Islamic forces played in the pro-democracy movement in Indonesia. When the authoritarian regime still rested on their laurels, the world’s two largest Muslim organizations, NU and the Muhammadiyah with their young and progressive leaders such as Abdurrahman Wahid who later became president were already at the forefront of Muslim intellectual efforts to forge an understanding of democracy in an   Islamic context. They argued that Islam should be the basis for the country’s democratic development and the building of civil society.

Going further than simply talking about the compatibility of Islam and democracy, they pointed out the ways in which Islam supported human rights, pluralism representation, gender, and equity, separation of religion and the state, as well as social justice. In their thesis, which have cast much influence on more than 70 million followers, democratic values are inherently rooted within Islam. Apart from research, they also engaged in very practical “ democracy education” for rural, poorly educated and often marginalized populations who had very little knowledge or experience with what democracy means, and even less  understanding of how to participate in democratic governance (Huong) , 2005:9 quoting SAPC, 2004: 17-23).

When the time was right, resurgent Muslims were the single largest force in the pro- democracy movement that brought authoritarianism to an end in 1998 (Hefner, 2000:18). It was Islamic organisations that provided the bulk of the demonstrations against Suharto (Abuza, 2003:68). And it was well known Islamists such as Amien Rais, Abdurrahman Wahid and Nurcholish Madjid who emerged as the most prominent advocates of democracy at the time (Smith, 2005:100).

In global terms, however, the definition of “democracy” is closely identified with major elements of the political traditions of Western Europe and the United States. For many social scientists, the western experience provides the basis for definitions of democracy. Giovanni Sartori raises the question: “When we speak of western experience, is the key term “western“ or  “experience”?  In other words, can there be a non western path to democracy? (Giovanni, 1968).

Fundamental remarks on Islam

Knowledge of God and belief in Him constitute the very foundation of Islam, which is a religion based upon the surrender to God who is one.  The very name of the religion al-Islam in Arabic means among other things, Peace, Purity, Obedience and Submission. Muslims believe that it is only through submission to the will of God and obedience to His laws that they can achieve peace and enjoy lasting purity in their lives in this world and in the hereafter. This submission to the will of God means accepting His Word and acting according to the path that it delineates for humanity. However, this does not mean in any way the loss of individual freedom or surrender to fatalism.

According to Islam, the will and the Law of God are the essence of the messengers of all God’s chosen messengers, starting from Adam (the first human being created), through to Abraham (Ibrahim) the father of monotheism, to Muhammad, the last of the long line of prophets among others, Ismail (Ishmael), Is’haq (Isaac), Dawood (David), Musa (Moses) and Issa (Jesus). Muslims therefore accept all prophets and scriptures prior to Muhammad and the Quran without discrimination.

The word Allah in Islam simply means the One and Only Eternal; Creator of the Universe, Lord above all lords and kings. Indeed, the only unforgivable sin in Islam is to believe in any deity other than Allah.

Islam seeks an ultimate sense of free will, one that frees humanity from the influence and power of other human beings in areas of basic valuation that are not amenable to empirical validation, while giving free freedom for application of human will otherwise. This is the way Muslims would argue their faith   (Liviga  and Tumbo-Masabo, 2006: 129).

It is perhaps this quest for total freedom from man–made bondage of ideology, money and power that puts Islamic civilization at odds with other man made systems unless a form of dialogue is maintained and a common ground on the conduct of affairs of the world is identified and pursued jointly with mutual respect.

Islam, religious and co-existence and pluralism

 There is a pervasive view in the media today that Islam does not support co-existence and pluralism.

Sadly, we often hear how difficult it is for non-Muslim minorities to live in peace and harmony in Muslim countries. Violent extremists who misuse Islamic theology to justify terrorist attacks have exacerbated prejudices against Muslims and today many people think that Muslims do not believe in pluralism and diversity.

By contrast, history reveals that Islam — as preached in the Qur’an and exemplified by the life of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions — actually accepts, celebrates and even encourages religious diversity.

It should be noted that the term “minority” has no place in Islamic law. Nor does it have a place in Sharia (a legal system based on Islamic principles) and jurists have never used the term. Rather, it emerged from Western societies, which use it to distinguish between ethnic groups. According to Islamic principles, everyone who lives in a Muslim state is entitled to enjoy the same rights of citizenship, despite the differences they may have in their religion or population size.

In 622 CE, when the Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina in the Arabian Peninsula and started to build the first Muslim state, he ensured that its Muslim and non-Muslim inhabitants could coexist in harmony. There was a substantial Jewish community in Medina, and the Prophet proposed an agreement of cooperation — between Muslims and the 11 Jewish tribes — called the Constitution of Medina, which Muslim historians and scholars generally accept as the first written state constitution.

This constitution spelled out Jews’ rights as non-Muslim citizens in the Muslim state. As a result, the Prophet managed to establish a multi-faith political community in Medina based on a set of universal principles. The rules set out in the constitution were meant to maintain peace and cooperation, protect life and property, prevent injustice and ensure freedom of religion and movement for all inhabitants— regardless of tribal or religious affiliation. Allegiance to the community superseded religious identity, as spelled out in the rules for joint defence: “each must help the other against anyone who attacks the people of this document”.

The Prophet’s treatment of the “People of the Book”, in this case Jews,  showed religious tolerance as well as prudence. The constitution established the pattern for the future relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims, specifying non-Muslim citizens as equal partners with Muslim inhabitants.

Almost 15 years later, when Muslims conquered Jerusalem from the Byzantines, Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab granted its people, who were mainly Christians, safety for their persons, property and churches. As well-known British historian Karen Armstrong writes, “…[Umar] was faithful to the Islamic inclusive vision. Unlike Jews and Christians, Muslims did not attempt to exclude others from Jerusalem’s holiness”.

Umar’s assurance of safety to the people of Jerusalem stands as an important example for leaders in multi-faith societies today, and history has proven that when these examples were put into practice, non-Muslims were treated kindly and justly.

These examples of Muslim and non-Muslim coexistence are not confined to a specific time or place, but are meant to be applied in all times and places. Today, for example, Jordan’s constitution guarantees freedom of religious belief. Christians in Jordan, who form the majority of non-Muslims, enjoy by law nearly ten per cent of the seats in parliament and have similar quotas at every level of government and society. Their holy sites, property and religious practices are protected from any kind of interference by the state.

We must also acknowledge, however, cultural and social realities in many Muslim-majority societies have led to violations of the rights of non-Muslims in contemporary times. Looking at Islamic history, however, demonstrates that the path towards mutual understanding and tolerance does not deviate from the essence of Islam. On the contrary, to revive the spirit of inclusivity, Muslim societies should look to the Qur’an, and emulate the model it lays out.  (Maher, 2009)

THE PROBLEM OF ISLAMOPHOBIA

What is Islamophobia?

The Runnymede Trust has identified eight components that they say define Islamophobia.  This definition, from the 1997 document ‘Islamophobia: A Challenge For Us All’ is widely accepted, including by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.

The eight components are:

1) Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.
2) Islam is seen as separate and ‘other’. It does not have values in common with other cultures, is not affected by them and does not influence them.
3) Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.
4) Islam is seen as violent, aggressive, threatening, supportive of terrorism and engaged in a ‘clash of civilisations’.
5) Islam is seen as a political ideology and is used for political or military advantage.
6) Criticisms made of the West by Islam are rejected out of hand.
7) Hostility towards Islam is used to justify discriminatory practices towards Muslims and exclusion of Muslims from mainstream society.
8) Anti-Muslim hostility is seen as natural or normal.

The following sample of Islamophobic actions in the West illustrate a widespread phenomenon that must be curbed. We reproduce the press statements as they appeared in the various media in order that their contexts can be fully grasped:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Canadian police in Hamilton, Ontario, appealed Tuesday for information into who threw a Molotov cocktail into a mosque and school a day earlier.

Police were called to the Islamic School of Hamilton Monday morning around 8 a.m. when its principal, Zakir Patel, found a shattered brown bottle and a smoldering fire that had apparently burned itself out, The Hamilton Spectator reported.

Police also found a rock used to smash the window. No one was injured and damage was estimated at $3,000, the report said.

UPI, 5 January 2010

Sweden:

As of New Year’s Eve evening, police had no suspects for an attack against a mosque in Malmö earlier in the day when shots had been fired through the window of the building.

The imam was taken to hospital to treat minor cuts from glass splinters, but he was not struck by a bullet. He was allowed to leave the hospital after his cuts were bandaged.

Around five people, including the imam, were in an office following the evening prayers. “The imam was sitting in front of the computer when (we heard) a bang. At first I thought there had been an explosion,” one of the witnesses told Sydsvenskan newspaper.

Bejzat Becirov, head of the Islamic Center, said that he does not believe the shots were aimed at a particular individual but rather at the mosque. “We receive threats all the time. Unfortunately, we have become immune to it. Despite all the incidents, the police have never arrested anyone,” he told TT news agency.

The Swedish Muslim Association (Sveriges Muslimska Förbund) said in a statement that they take the attack very seriously. The mosque in Malmö has reportedly been the target of several cases of attempted arson over the last ten years. “These criminals are being driven by islamophobia. The police must protect (Sweden’s) mosques and their followers against racist threats,” Mahmoud Aldebe, head of the association, said.

The Local, 2 January 2010

United Kingdom:

Cradley Heath’s Muslim community is appealing for help after its mosque was burnt to the ground by arsonists. A fire engulfed the Cradley Heath Mosque and Islamic Centre on Boxing Day destroying the building and the religious countless books inside. It is the second time in five years that the building has been targeted by arsonists and police are hunting the culprits.

The mosque was a thriving part of the community with 400 worshippers using it and classes of children being taught there. The worshippers are now trying to find a new place to worship as the new Mosque they have being building alongside the old one will not be ready for use for several years.

Halesowen News, 29 December 2009

United States of America

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rahmat P. Phyakul, board chairman and one of the founders of Al-Fatiha Masjid, reported to CAIR-LA that vandals shattered windows and glass doors of the mosque’s office and prayer hall on Monday, December 7. A plaque with Quranic verses was tossed on the floor, the sound system was destroyed and donation boxes were broken into.

The mosque has suffered prior incidents of vandalism. In the past, a passerby shouted anti-Muslim slurs at worshipers. The slurs reportedly included: “You, terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, F… your God, F…. you Allah.” Prayer rugs in the mosque were also covered with urine.

“We urge law enforcement authorities to utilize all their resources to immediately and fully investigate the vandalism at Masjid Al-Fatiha as a possible hate crime, especially because of the nature of the vandalism,” said Affad Shaikh, civil rights manager for CAIR-LA.

Phyakul added: “For those who have committed hate crimes against people of any faith, especially Muslims, they should know that they cannot silence us, shut us down or cause us to go away. This is our country, and we are here to stay and we are willing to stand for the truth and peace under any circumstances.”

CAIR press release, 13 December 2009

 

England

Friday, November 27, 2009

An 18-year-old Muslim student was attacked and beaten even after he lost consciousness by a gang of white youths on November 6. As they attacked him, they shouted “Where is your Allah now” and “Where is He to help you now.”

The first year business and computer undergraduate student had just left De Montfort University, Leicester, library with his friend at around 8.30 pm when they were attacked by around 10 white youths in Great Central Way, near the junction with Briton Street, Bede Island. The two students, Ahmed and Umar, (not their real name as they wish to remain anonymous) saw the gang taunting and abusing a Muslim woman wearing the hijab. She was with two other women who had gone ahead of her.

Ahmed told The Muslim News that he and Umar heard the gang tell the middle-aged woman, “How do you like it if I walked in a balaclava. This is England. You should not be wearing a scarf.” They were concerned about what would happen to the Muslim woman and so they waited. One of the white youths turned towards them and asked them why were they were watching them. “I told them, ‘Leave her alone’.”

The woman tried to tell the white youths not to attack the students but they did not listen. The white youths assaulted Ahmed and Umar, and began beating them. Ahmed fell down and the gang continued to punch and kick him even after he was unconscious. They “jumped” on his head and kicked his body. He was picked up and thrown on to the ground.

Ahmed said the attack was “Islamophobic as they were talking about her scarf and when they told me ‘Where is your Allah’ is to do with religion. How did they know we were Muslims? We could have been Sikhs for all they know.” Umar said the attack was both Islamophobic and racist as they had also shouted “Pakis”. He was “very angry” and said he never experienced racism in East London where he was from.

Muslim News, 27 November 2009

United Kingdom

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) regrets to inform that over the past week Muslim students at City University (London) have been the target of a series of attacks culminating with three Muslims being stabbed on St. John Street in the immediate vicinity of the University after being surrounded by over 30 youths.

Attacks earlier in the week left three students requiring hospitalisation for severe facial and head injuries as they were set upon by the gang shouting Islamophobic and racist abuse including statements like “Get those Muslims” and “Paki” being used repeatedly; they were subjected to a series of projectile missiles, including bricks, metal poles and sign posts.

Germany

A man has been sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of murdering a pregnant Egyptian woman in a German courtroom. The Dresden state court also ruled that Alexander Wiens would not be eligible for early release.

Wiens, 28, admitted stabbing Marwa Sherbini to death at a court hearing involving them both in July. The crime sparked outrage across the Muslim world. Egypt said justice had been served with the sentence.

Wiens, a Russian-born German citizen, had argued his action was not premeditated. But prosecutors at the trial, which took place amid tight security, insisted he was motivated by a “hatred of non-Europeans and Muslims”.

BBC News, 11 November 2009

U.K again

Monday, October 12, 2009

Six Metropolitan Police officers go on trial, accused of racially assaulting and abusing Muslim teenagers and then engaging in a cover-up. Prosecution and Kingston crown court told a jury that one officer said: “They needed to deal with. We are like vigilantes.” The officers, who are part of the Territorial Support Group, deny racially aggravated assault, threats and misfeasance in public office.

Channel 4 News, 12 October 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A teenage Muslim student was killed after he and his friends were attacked by a gang of drunken racist thugs, a court heard yesterday.

Mohammed al-Majed, 16, suffered serious brain injuries when he was punched in the face by George Austin. The blow sent him flying and he hit his head on the road.

Al-Majed, who was days from returning to Qatar after studying English here, was chatting with fellow foreign students outside a kebab shop when a group of young white men and women allegedly began taunting them.

Paul Rockett, 21, allegedly took a drunken swing at Mohammed’s 17-year-old black friend Peter Henworth after demanding: “Where are you from?” His attempted punch missed and Peter fled – as one thug yelled: “Come back here, you n****r,” the court was told.

Rockett and Quinn later told police that Mohammed’s friends had started the midnight fracas and claimed the students were a gang who were “trying to turn all the kids into Muslims”.

Daily Mirror, 22 September 2009

Australia

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hundreds of people have protested against a government’s decision to scrap plans to build an Islamic school in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney. Parents and prospective students have said the decision was unfair and racist.

Plans to build an Islamic school for 1,200 students in the Sydney suburb of Bass Hill survived objections from residents, the local council and legal challenges only to be scrapped at the last minute by the New South Wales government. Construction was due to begin but the state has intervened to buy back the land it sold several years ago.

Busloads of angry parents and their children have demonstrated outside the education department, calling on the authorities to allow the project to go ahead. A spokesman for the protestors, Rafik Hussein, says the government has made a big mistake. “We do not accept that decision. It is un-Australian,” Mr. Hussein said

Some campaigners have said the debate has been laced with racial and religious intolerance. Supporters of the plan to build the Islamic school believe that residents’ concerns about noise and traffic congestion have become a euphemism for prejudice.

BBC News, 27 July 2009

Australia again:

 

Friday, July 24, 2009

Khadijah Ouararhni-Grech was wearing a pink, floral niqab, which covers her hair and lower face, when she tried to board a bus in Greystanes, an outer suburb of the Australian city.

“As I was stepping onto the bus the driver said ‘You can’t get on the bus wearing your mask’,” she told the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper. When she explained it was religious dress, the woman said the driver responded: “Sorry, it’s the law.”

“I told him it wasn’t the law and he said ‘You have to show me your face,’” she said. “I said to him, ‘There’s no difference between me and that lady sitting there who chooses to not wear what I’m wearing’.”

The bus company, Hillsbus, said the driver was being questioned over the claims.

Daily Telegraph, 24 July 2009

UK comments

Friday, May 22, 2009

“One way or another, the lights seem to be going out for Christianity in England. If the secularists do not destroy the church there, the Islamists are happy to have a go at it. Just last week it was announced that the BBC has appointed a Muslim to be ‘the Head of Religion and Ethics’. This is simply the latest in a long list of Islamist initiatives, which may well turn England into a Muslim nation. As Melanie Philips documented in her important book, Londonistan, the Islamisation of England is steadily rolling on.”

Christian Today, 22 May 2009

Australia

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Four Christian churches have joined in an unprecedented attack on the Islamic faith in an attempt to stop a Muslim school being built. Calling the religion an ideology driven by world domination, a submission to the Land and Environment Court yesterday said a proposed school at Camden was a “beachhead” in Islamic takeover of southwestern Sydney, threatening the Australian way of life.

The attack, co-signed by local heads of Baptist, Anglican, Presbyterian and the Evangelical Sisters of Mary churches, formed the spearhead of Camden City Council’s defence to a court challenge over its rejection of a development application for the Muslim school.

“Islam is not simply a private religion. It is driven by a powerful political agenda, it is an ideology with a plan for world domination,” the letter said. “The Quranic Society application to establish an Islamic school in Camden is typical of a regularly repeated pattern to form a beachhead in an area for the development of a sub-culture which, for the most part, regards its own legal system as superior to the current Australian law.”

News.co.au, 22 April 2009

Italy

Italy could be the next European country to consider a referendum on the building of Islamic minarets following the Swiss vote to ban the structures. Cabinet minister Roberto Calderoli, of the xenophobic Northern League, said Italy should confirm its Roman Catholic roots and hold a vote as soon as possible.

Like the Swiss, Italian voters can have a direct say on an issue if a minimum number of signatures are gathered calling for a referendum. The League is expected to now start the process for a referendum, despite the Vatican expressing unease over the Swiss vote.

Calderoli said the Swiss decision was a triumphant “yes to bell towers and no to minarets” that served as an important example for other European countries losing touch with their Christian identities. Others within the anti-immigration Northern League have called for a cross to be inserted on the Italian national flag to symbolise the deep Christian roots of the country.

The Northern League have frequently made headlines for their views on Islam and immigration, most notably during the Danish cartoon row in 2006, when Mr. Calderoli wore a T-shirt emblazoned with one of the anti-Islamic images.

They have also allowed pigs to graze over sites where mosques were earmarked in order to make them unholy, while recently, the Northern League was accused of racism after it emerged that a local scheme to rid a town of illegal immigrants had been nicknamed “White Christmas“.

Daily Mail, 1 December 2009

Denmark

extreme-right Danish People’s Party (DPP), a key government ally, launched on Wednesday, September 9, a massive ad campaign against the building of mosques, reported the EuropeNews website.

“As a bolt from the blue and peaceful Danish summer sky, the politicians of the Copenhagen municipality decided the other day to erect a grand mosque in the middle of the city,” the party said in a full-page ad published in several dailies. The money will, among other sources, come from the terrorist regime of Iran, but none of the other parties in the local government had any concern about that.”

Copenhagen city council agreed on Thursday, August 27, to prepare a draft for a local plan for a mosque in the capital’s northwest neighborhood. The DPP was the only party that voted against the mosque, to be built by Shiites through private donations, will cost between 40 million and 50 million Kroners (5.4 million and 6.7 million euros).

The DPP vowed to seek a referendum on the construction of mosques in the Scandinavian country. Playing politics, the party linked the anti-mosque campaign to the upcoming municipal polls. “The more representatives from the Danish Peoples Party elected at the local elections on November 17th, the greater the resistance against the Islamist strongholds, also in your city.”

Islam Online, 9 September 2009

Belgium

Dutch-language public schools in Belgium will ban the wearing of Muslim headscarves in classes, school officials in the Flanders region announced Friday. The ban affects 700 schools in the northern region of Flanders, including some in Brussels. It follows protests after two schools in Antwerp this month joined other schools where the Muslim headscarf, which covers the hair but does not conceal the face, is already banned.

AFP, 12 September 2009

UK even in Sports

A talented young boxer was banned from fighting in his debut bout – because of his beard and religion. Mohammed Patel, who has the beard as part of his Muslim faith, has now lost all motivation to box and is on the verge of quitting the sport.

The 25-year-old was due to fight in front of a packed house of 300 spectators at Bolton Lads and Girls Club’s annual boxing night, earlier this year – but a competition official told him he could not take part unless he shaved. Mr. Patel, from Astley Bridge, said: “I was gobsmacked – I didn’t know what to say. When I saw the rule book, I thought, ‘What can I do?’.”

The Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) rules state that fighters must be clean shaven for health and safety reasons. There is an allowance for Sikh boxers, who must wear a net – but the rule book makes no mention of any other religion.

When Mr. Patel arrived early at the club to weigh in for the bout last January, he was asked by the event’s OIC (Official in Charge) if he was Sikh. He said he was Muslim and was then told he would have to shave if he wanted to take part. He refused and was not allowed to fight.

The promising boxer’s plight has since been taken up by Inayat Omarji, from the Bolton Council of Mosques (BCOM), who is now trying to force a change in the rules. He said: “I was shocked. I spoke to the ABAE to ask them for the rule to be changed but we seem to have got nowhere in 11 months. If the governing body doesn’t accept the religion then there’s a big problem.”

Bolton News, 8 December 2009

United States

A medical clinic in Dallas, Texas has sparked controversy after saying a Muslim doctor applying for a job cannot wear her headscarf if hired.

Dr. Hena Zaki of Plano, Texas said Friday that she was shocked to find a no-hat policy at the CareNow clinic extended to her hijab. “He interrupted the interview and said he didn’t want me ‘to take this the wrong way,’” Zaki said. “Like an FYI.”

The 29-year-old doctor has called for an apology and a change in CareNow’s policy.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has criticized the no-hijab policy, calling it “a blatant violation” of federal law. “It’s obvious it’s a blatant violation,” said the council’s civil rights manager, Khadija Athman. “It’s a very straightforward case of religious accommodation. I cannot see any undue hardship on the part of the employer to accommodate to wear a head scarf.”

CareNow Chairman Tim Miller, however, has refused to apologize, saying in a statement that there is nothing wrong with the policy, which, according to him, “does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin”.

Press TV, 1 November 2009

Australia again:

Yasmeen Ali was attempting to enter Hastings District Court on Tuesday to support her brother Carlos Manuel Brooking, 22, who was appearing for sentencing on a charge of assault.

Ms Ali, a 25-year-old mother-of-three, was asked by a court attendant to remove her headscarf on entering the courthouse. She refused and took a seat. When she tried to re-enter court after the morning break, she was blocked. She complained to the court manager, who told her she could not enter wearing a headscarf because the judge, Geoff Rea, had forbidden it.

Her brother had earlier been put into custody after refusing to remove a hat while sitting in court awaiting his sentencing, despite being requested to do so by Judge Rea.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres today called for reassurance for the Muslim community. ”I can’t imagine a nun being told to remove such attire, and the same should apply to others who wear head coverings for religious reasons, such as Muslims, Sikhs and Jews,” he said.

Judicial communications adviser Neil Billington said the incident was the result of Judge Rea’s “mistaken assumption of what was occurring in the courtroom”.

“The judge required the removal of the woman because of her association with [her brother] who had just been removed. The judge had mistakenly assumed that her headgear was a demonstration of protest at the court.”

Dominion Post, 3 September 2009

Netherlands

On Christmas day, a family doctor in Utrecht refused to allow a woman into his surgery because she was wearing a niqab, or burqa. The 23-year-old woman had brought her baby to see the doctor. The three-month-old child had diarrhoea and had not drunk for several hours, a situation which is potentially dangerous in young baby. However, the doctor refused to see the woman because she was wearing Islamic dress, with her face covered.

The Equal Treatment Commission confirmed it has received a complaint from the woman, following a report in the newspaper AD. A spokesperson said the commission would definitely be dealing with the complaint, as a GP provides a service and should not refuse to see a woman on the ground of her religious expression. According to the commission, this is the first time such a case has been reported. The woman has also lodged a complaint with the GP’s practice and the medical disciplinary tribunal.

Radio Netherlands, 29 December 2009

Norway

Norwegian anti-immigration politicians in Bergen have promised to chase off Muslims with pigs feet and squealing noises if Bergen’s central square is used for prayers.

The leader of the Demokratene, an extreme populist party formed by outcasts of the populist Progress Party, Vidar Kleppe, said Wednesday that he backed the remarks of city council representative Kenneth Rasmussen.

Rasmussen reacted with threats of porcine tactics after Labour Party politician Jerad Abdelmajid said that the city’s Muslims could take their Friday prayers in Torgallmenningen, Bergen’s central square, when they will be without a mosque from March 31. Building of a new mosque is behind schedule.

“I completely agree with Kenneth Rasmussen that Muslims having their Friday prayers with their butts in the air in the city center is no solution. They can find other places,” Kleppe told news agency NTB.

Kenneth Rasmussen told newspaper Dagbladet‘s web site that Bergen residents should hang up pig’s feet and play pig squeals over loudspeakers to scare off Muslims, and claimed these tactics worked when he was a soldier for the United Nations in Somalia and Lebanon in the 1990s.

Aftenposten, 28 February 2007

Way forward:

DIALOGUE BETWEEN MUSLIMS AND WESTERN DEMOCRACIES

This dialogue is likely what the advisory group on public diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim world advocate in their October 2003 document: “Changing Minds Winning Peace: a new strategic direction for us public diplomacy in the Arab and Muslim world”. The group chaired by Edward P. Djerejian calls for a new strategic direction in US policy towards the Muslim world.

The advisory group states at the outset that “the United States today lacks the capabilities in public diplomacy to meet the national security threat emanating from political instability, economic deprivation, and extremism especially in the Arab and Muslim world”.

Public diplomacy is the promotion of national interest by informing, engaging and influencing people around the world. But a process of unilateral disarmament, the report continues, in the weapons of advocacy over the last decade has contributed to wide spread hostility towards Americans and left us vulnerable to lethal threats to our interests and our safety.”

The report recommended that no public diplomacy actively be launched without as much testing and research as possible and that programs be continually measured for effectiveness.

The authors argued that the most effective programs of public diplomacy, the ones that most likely to endure and have long-term impact are those that are mutually beneficial to the United States and to the Arab and Muslim countries, emphasizing programmes that build bridges and address the region’s weaknesses, especially in education while at the same time advancing the American message and building a constituency of friendship and trust.

Quoting the Director of the Pew Research Center, the report records the uncomfortable realisation that “…attitudes toward the United States, have gone from bad to worse” and asserts “ hostility toward America has reached shocking  levels”. The advisory group makes an almost undiplomatic indictment of America’s foreign policy. “We have failed to listen and failed to persuade, we have not taken the time to understand our audience and we have not bothered to help them understand us. We cannot afford such shortcomings”.

There is a slight problem though. Much of the discussion about Islam and Muslims is directed almost entirely at the Arab and Muslim world that lies in the Middle East. This is erroneous.  Muslim communities are to be found scattered all over the world, some living in minority situations, like in Uganda. To fully grasp the need for promoting understanding, the emphasis should be to engage “Muslim communities worldwide as opposed to “engaging the Arab and Muslim world which is in itself important but fundamentally inadequate. Muslims constitute 1.2 billion global inhabitants. Less than a quarter of them, live in the Arab and Muslim world. It may be important at this time more than ever before, that it becomes an objective of t Europe and the United States to emphasize Muslim experiences outside the Middle East to present a more balanced picture of the Muslim in a global context.

The study of Islam outside the Middle-East should represent an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the Muslim world’s diversity and to challenge unitary characterisations of Islam’s civilisation identity. Equally important, given the   tenor of our times, this exercise would allow us to disengage Muslim politics from histories and circumstances that owe more to the peculiarities of the Middle East than to Islam itself.

This approach may present the long awaited opportunity to bridge the gap between the major western countries in their approach to the Islamic question. The victory of Hamas in the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January 2006 points to a structural problem of democracy promotion in the Middle East. With elected Islamists assuming political posts in parliaments, municipal councils and governments, western democracies are confronted with dealing with democratically legitimated political actors who are considered to be anti–democratic by many observers. It is no wonder that uneasiness has been the primary response in both the United States and Europe to Islamists’ role as political players in the region. Are Islamist parties part of the solution to the Middle East’s democracy deficit or part of the problem? Here, the debate in Europe and the US is going on in different directions (Jacobs, 2006).

Europeans tend to explain the public support for Islamist parties with the wish for good governance instead of with the wish for an Islamic political system. Most analysts in the US draw different conclusions. In the US, Andreas argues, there is little understanding of the European assumption that the way to democracy might be paved with Islamism (Ibid: 3). While most European   analysts would opt for a strategy that gives Islamist parties a chance to assume a political role, to moderate and to transform, most of their American colleagues would rather make them fail as soon as possible (Ibid: 4).

RU’S FOUR PRINCIPLES OF DIALOGUE

 

We shall borrow noted Chinese philosopher Ru Xin’s four principles of dialogue.

Ru, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), outlined these principles  at a Conference on Cultures and Civilisations of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in December 2003.

He argued that the conflicts brought by diversified cultures should be solved through dialogue.

His first principle is that all countries should have the awareness of globalization. When facing global issues, all parties should consider the interests of the whole world prior to their own.

The second principle is to be aware of the diversity of culture.  Ru thinks that all civilisations and cultures have made a  contribution to the world civilization and culture, and each nation and country has the right to preserve and develop its own civilisation and culture.

Ru’s third principle is that mutual understanding and respect are needed in dialogues between different civilizations and cultural communications.

He argues that  if the both sides treated each other as rivals and potential enemies rather then equal partners and friends, the dialogue and communication would hardly succeed.  All parties should, on the one hand, be proud of their cultures, but on the other hand be clear about their shortcomings, so as to prevent self-worship.

The last principle, he said, is to admit and tolerate the gaps between different civilisations and cultures.

Ru adds that today the world is facing a series of problems with resources, environmental protection, anti-terrorism, population, drug smuggling and infectious disease.  Therefore, cultural dialogue and communication may not only increase mutual understanding, but also help promote international cooperation and world peace.

The media would do well to recognise these principles and re-educate itself in this important area on which the very survival of nations depends. Dialogue is the new, logical and correct thinking. Those stuck in the old mode of confrontation, stereotyping, cultural arrogance on one hand and denial, limiting and stifling of press freedoms on the other will crash under  the weight the new force of those determined to pursue open, meaningful dialogue, through an unhindered press to achieve peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding in the world.

MEDIA AND STEREOTYPE

The role of the media in creating and sustaining stereotypes (stereotyping) of certain people, organisations and groups (for example of women, tribes, white people, black people, political parties, politicians, professions, religions etc) is critical.

Through stereotyped portrayals, the media reinforce existing patters of attitudes and behaviour toward specific individuals, groups and institutions, especially minority groups. This is a hindrance to dialogue and mutual understanding.

DeFleur and Dennis (1994) express the essential ideas of this theory:

In entertainment content, and in other media messages, for instance in the way social and political journalism portray an event related to a specific group, the media can repeatedly present us with negative portrayal of, of instance, a specific ethnic group.

These portrayals tend to be consistently negative, showing such people as having undesirable attitudes and fewer positive characteristics than members of the dominant group in which the media function.

Such portrayals are similar among various media- thus providing corroboration

These portrayals provide constructions of meaning for media users, particularly for those who have only limited contact with actual people of the stereotyped group.

Viewers, readers and listeners incorporate these meanings into their memories as relatively inflexible schemata – stereotyped interpretations- they use when thinking about or responding to any individual of a portrayal category, regardless of his/her actual personal characteristics.

From the above, it is clear that stereotyping is one of the most dangerous forms of media practice, which does not help in  dialogue and mutual understanding. The media has chosen to work with caricatures of people and groups instead of presenting the true portrayals of them. The media has continued to sustain lies about people, misconceptions about cultural groups thus fostering tensions in society.

Bibliography

  1. O’ Sullivan, T,  Hardley, J. Saudners, D, Montgomery, M, and Fiske, J, 1994

Key concepts in Communication and Cultural studies,  2ed, London: Rotlege

  1. Fourie J, Ed 2001 Media Studies Vol 1: Institutions, Theories and Issues, Lansdowne
  1. Mc Quail, D, 2000: McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory, 4e, London: Sage
  1. Van Cuilenburg, J, Scholten, O & Noomen, G 1992, COmmunicatiewetenschap, Muidernberg: Coutino.
  1. Fouhy, EM  2001 Civi Journalism Rebuilding the foundations of Democracy, PEW Centre for Civic Journalism
  1. DeFleur ML & Dennis EE 1994: Understanding Mass Communication: a liberal arts perspective, 5e, Boston MA: Houghton Miffin

Exclusive Interview: Shah Abdul Hannan

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Interviewer: Shakil Abdullah

“Shall I not inform you of something more excellent in degree than fasting, charity and prayer?” On receiving the reply, ‘Certainly’, he said, “It is putting things right between people, for to incite people to dispute is like a razor.” (Hadith reported by Al-Tirmidhi and others)

Shah Abdul Hannan,
President, Bangladesh Institute of Islamic Thought, Dhaka, Bangladesh

WPI:
What should be the nature of communication between men and women from Islamic perspective?

Shah Abdul Hannan (SAH):
Communication between man and woman or boys and girls is an extremely sensitive issue. The west has neglected this issue and I believe or Islamists believe that they are suffering. One of the reasons for western suffering is their carelessness in this matter. Islam takes a very careful approach about it. It thinks about the possible effects. Islam gives attention to the integrity of family. It wants clean sexual life. It doesn’t want any mix-up of paternity or maternity. It doesn’t want single mother or too many divorces etc. So naturally Islam has taken a very careful approach in communication or even mixing with men or women. While communicating between the two genders or between the two sexes, the maximum care should be taken at the vulnerable age. It should be minimum at that age. The vulnerable age before marriage or teens or school life or college life is the period when communication has to be very careful. I would suggest that the communication whether it is direct or through telephone or through present day mobile phones, should be minimum in this vulnerable age. Only normal and natural discussion may take place in public. I cannot define here what is normal or natural because there can be many opinions about it. But generally we understand what is normal or what is natural. And this normal and natural communication may take place, nothing more than that. Moreover this should take place in public, not in privacy or not in secrecy. Islam feels that while communicating, if a man or a woman feels at a point of time that lust is overtaking him or her, bad emotions are overtaking him or her, he or she should give up this communication. So this is a very touchy issue. People have many opinions. There are people who want total blockage of this communication and there are people who want total communication. But if you look at the golden time of prophet (SAAS) you would find that social communication between man and woman was there. In the six volumes of the book “Freedom of women at the time of Prophet (SAAS)” by Dr. Abdul Halim Abu Shukkah, any person will find out many examples of such communications between them. So prophetic time it was not total blockage. It was also not total freedom that you discuss everything in private. There may be different opinions. But I feel communication cannot be avoided. But this should be minimum in the vulnerable age. If they study in co-education then their communication has to be minimum and only the natural ones only the normal ones may be allowed nothing beyond that. If they study in co-education system, for example in west where there is no other option but to study in the co-education school, there also they should feel that it should be normal and natural only. I may require something from a boy I just ask for that or I have to give something I give that. No regular contacts and mix-ups. This is the Islamic objective. But the real situation may demand something less or something more – that is I am not tackling.

WPI:
Co-education has become accepted norms through out the world. Do you consider it acceptable from Islamic perspective?

SAH:
I feel, there is no problem in co-education till the age of ten or twelve, what we call primary level up to grade five. And this is happening in our country for a long time and of course in the west also. There after, in the high school or college level that is I mean up to grade ten or grade twelve, I feel this is the vulnerable period of the life of boys and girls. So it is much better to have separate educations – colleges and schools and this will help us in avoiding the bad consequences of the west. We have just seen in the American election that the vice-president nominate of the Republican Party, Governor Palin had her daughter pregnant and she had to face the situation. Lots of criticism and discussion came and her daughter was in school only. So I think this is the difference between Islam and the modern western system. Islam gives high priority to family, high priority to sexual purity and they think sex is like commodity or women are like commodity or men are like commodity. So this is one of the borders of Islam and Gayer Islam (non- Islam) I would say. And I believe that Islamic position is much better and we have to defend it very strongly and we should not feel weak about it. I have said about school (high school) and college. As regards Universities, we find today in some Muslim countries, they have separate campuses. For example in Saudi Arabia women have separate campuses in their University education and female students are now equal to men even in Saudi Arabia . In Pakistan at least in one University, they have separate campuses. There are two three other women universities also in Pakistan now. It is one side. On the other side as I have said that majority Universities, for example in Bangladesh all universities, are having combined classes except Islamic University of Chittagong and in their Dhaka campus, where they have separate women campus and I do not know any other university who has done it yet. I have seen International Islamic University of Malaysia. This university has been built up by the Islamic scholars, very high level Islamic scholars, like Sheikh Taha Jabir al Alwani, Sheikh Abdul Hamid Abu Sulayman. They thought for a long time and finally decided to have co-education. So this is the situation. Two more Islamic Universities have come up in Malaysia but with co-education. This is the situation we have now. But my view is for separate campuses, it is the preferable option. I consider it preferable option if every university ultimately over 10, 20, 30 or 100 years in a Muslim country has separate campuses for men and women. But I will not say that co-education is Haram (not permissible). I will not say that because part of Islamic scholarship thinks that in the present day realities with due caution and due dress pattern, there can be co-education. But my own preference is for separate campuses. And if there are no separate campuses women have to study in the present system. I must add another thing that life is a test. Whole life is a test and Allah says “Khalakal mawta wal hyata liyabluakum”, in Suratul Mulk (chapter – 67 of Holy Quran), that means He “has created death and life that He may test you” (67:2). Test is everywhere in your village there are tests. Test is not only about gender issue, tests are in all respects of life. Life is a test and even in gender issue there are some tests. Prophet also said that women are tests for men and men are test for women. We cannot avoid all tests. So I would say that if our boys and girls study in co-education institutions as it is the general practice or if things go like this then they should be prepared to face the test with Iman (faith) and knowledge. We should prepare them with care and caution because we cannot wait for when it will change. We have to face this test. And we have to make them conscious and aware of this test.

WPI:
Do you think all types of jobs are suitable for women?

SAH:
First of all, most jobs are open to all; I cannot say Tahrim (illegitimate). I cannot say it is Haram (not permissible) to be a combat soldier, because in Islamic history there are cases when Muslim women fought as combat soldiers. In fact Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was defended in Uhad (2nd war in Muslim history) by only 5 or 7 people among them was one great woman. The women have fought with Khalid bin walid (a great warrior in Muslim history) in battle of Yarmuk (a battle fought in 636 at the valley of Yarmuk , the eastern tributary of Jordan ). In Qadysia (a battle fought in 637 at al- Qadisiayah, not far from al-Hirah which was an ancient city located south of al-Kufah in south central Iraq) women were there in the battlefield and they tugged the grave. But even then now I feel, some heavy jobs should not be taken by women, for example heavy duty truck driving or very tough work in mining industry below the pits. Why I say this? I say this because this may injure their internal organs which are necessary for reproduction. This will most likely injure their internal organs and that is an option which we cannot say afjal (good), it is at least a Makruh (disliked) to go for a job where organs will be affected. If the scientists say that they will not be affected then I have nothing to say. Otherwise it’s a big concern for Ummah. Similarly, I personally feel, by my study of Islam, the current situation and the reality also and I am not blind to the reality, that now if unmarried women go in the navy and live in seas with men as marines or if they become combat soldiers or combat pilots and get arrested, it may cause serious trouble for them because we know in the wars the soldiers around the world are not so morally trained. So I feel it is for the good of women rather not to go for these jobs. Actually this is not an issue of competition really, that I have to compete in everything. We men should compete in everything with women or women should compete in everything with men, it is not like that. It is the issue of suitability, it is the issue of need and it is the issue of harm that may cause to any gender. So keeping in view all these things I would say that there should be military training for all, every citizen including women if possible. But women can be called upon only when the whole nation has to fight against an aggressor. Otherwise they should not join the infantry or the navy or the air force as regular combatants. But I must agree as I said in the beginning that I cannot give a Fatwa (legal opinion of scholars) of Tahrim (illegitimacy) that it is not legal to go for these kinds of jobs, I cannot say that. I also agree that there can be different opinions. But these are my views.

WPI:
How women should do Dawah (preaching Islam) work among themselves and among the men?

SAH:
In the light of Quran and Sunnah, I think Dawah work or preaching Islam or conveying Islam is obligatory for every Muslim men and women. In Surah Al Tawbah which is a Surah (chapter of Quran) that revealed during the last time of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH), there is a Ayah (verse): “wal mu’minuna wal mu’minatu ba’duhum awliau ba’din ya’muruna bil ma’ruf wa yanhaw hum ’anil munkar” that means “The believers, men and women, are Auliya (helper, supporter, friends, protector) of one another, they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil” (9:71). All Muslim men and women are supposed to do Amr bil ma’ruf (enjoin what is just) and Nahi ’anil munkar (forbid what is evil). This is Dawah really, this is not only Dawah this is politics also. This is social activism. This term Amr bil m’aruf and Nahi ’anil munkar is the politics. It is the social activism. It is all possible movement for change in the world. So every Muslim men and women should take part in it. But the issue is whether there should be some norms about it. Now there are women who are in public life, let us say in politics, in private sector jobs, in pubic sector jobs, in the university jobs etc. This is one kind. The other kind is those women who are living in houses; they are doing great work of managing the family, managing the children, educating them and may be some other social work. So keeping these two I would say those who are in family they should mostly concentrate on their relations or their neighbors. If they join in any Islamic group, they should work through them. They may do some writing; they may do some speaking also through television channels, as they do now. On the other side, those women who are in offices and in administrations or in the universities, they are exposed to men. They are everyday mixing with men this is a necessary situation almost necessary condition. In situation, there to say that you speak everything but don’t give Dawah is unthinkable. Now that they are in the offices if there is an opportunity to give Dawah they should do it. If there is a university lady professor why should not she give Dawah to her male colleagues or give them some books or give them some articles or point out some TV channel programs which are good? I think those who are involved in public life they should work among their colleagues whether men or women. There the situation is like that and I feel they should do that. Of course the general limitations of men and women relationship should be kept in view. There are some limits which should be followed.

WPI:
What would be the social relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim?

SAH:
To tell about relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims first of all I think in this relationship there are some confusion that I cannot remove in here. But I would say that it is not true that we should not have good relations with them. Islam says everybody is honorable. In Surah Al-Isra’ (Chaper. 17 of Holy Quran) Allah says “Walakad Karramna Bani Adama” that means “And indeed We have honored the Children of Adam” (17:70). That is everybody is dignified. So you must deal with them in a dignified manner. The first point is that they are also dignified. Secondly, Allah very clearly says in Surah Al Mumtahina that “Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion nor drove you out of your homes” (60:8). That is we should behave very well with those who do not fight with us and do not exile us from our residences or from our countries. In other places in Quran for example when there is an issue of justice is there Islam says do justice. Allah says “Wa iz hakamtum bainan nasi an tahkumu bil adl” which means “And that when you judge between men, you judge with justice” (4:58). So it is wrong to say that Christians or jews are not friend. They have human rights. OIC document gives human rights to all. This is the Ijma (consensus) of Ummah (Muslim community) or Ijma of Ulama (scholar). Human right is for all. Pakistan Islamic constitution that was made by of the agreement the Ulama and the politicians says that fundamental right is for all.
It is true that if some are enemies you cannot make them friends. Who makes an enemy a friend? If a Muslim turns an enemy, do you make him a friend? So I would say this is a misunderstanding that they cannot be our friend. We should know Islam prohibits that you condemn any nation as a group. In Surah Al Hujurat Allah says that “La iajkhar Kawmun min kawmin ’asa ai-iakunu Khaira” which means “Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former” (49:11). So we should not belittle a Qawm (community or group) or condemn a Qawm. So I think we should have a balanced judgment on the Quranic position. Quranic position is that if some non-Muslim and even present day nominal Muslim becomes enemy we cannot make them friends. But even if they are not friend they will get human rights. Even those enemies would get water, electricity and all facilities. And as I have said according to Surah An Nisa (4:58) when we judge between man and man we should judge with equity. So I think this misunderstanding must be removed that our behavior should not be equal with non- Muslim or should not be same with non-Muslim. Allah has not said that.

WPI: Thank you very much for your time.


Rehema
Patriot in Kampala,East Africa

When the boot of government is on your neck,it doesn’t matter if it’s left or right. Today is Buganda, tomorrow is some one else. Click on both links to listen to these revolutionary songs, courtesy of UAH Forum:
http://ugandansatheart.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/president-final-mix.mp3

http://ugandansatheart.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/revolution-final-mix.mp3

بِسمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحمٰنِ الرَّحيمِ UMBS is a registered organisation devoted to matters of interest to Muslims in Uganda.Muslims from other countries are welcome to join us too. Follow us on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Uganda-Muslim-Brothers-Sisters/128372957263072. Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/#!/UMBSFORUM. To donate to UMBS activities, click on: http://um-bs.com/donate/. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to: uganda-muslim-brothers-and-sisters+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com or abbeysemuwemba@gmail.com.شكرا (جزيلا

Organisation of Islamic Conference Press Release

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OIC – Press Release, 13 september 2011

The spokesperson of the OIC General Secretariat today said that OIC was taken by surprise at the remarks of Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada in an interview with CBC News on the commemoration of 2001 9/11 terrorist attack, in which he categorized “Islamicism” and “Islamic terrorism” as being “major threats” to world security. The spokesperson said that it was unfortunate that such wordings from a head of government of a sovereign state were misleading and could create controversy adding that the terminology of “Islamic terrorism” is as much erroneous as it would be in the case of “Christian terrorism” or “Jewish terrorism”.

The OIC spokesperson said Islam was a religion of peace and compassion and reiterated the OIC’s principled position of combating terrorism and extremism in all its forms and manifestation were inspired by Islam’s rejection of terror and violence. He further added that the OIC countries have paid a heavy price in combating terrorism both in terms of human life and damage to life for their resolute stand against terrorism and extremism. He said that OIC had, on different occasions made it abundantly clear that terrorists do not have any scruples or respect for human life and cannot claim to be followers of any faith, particularly when all religions uphold human dignity and the right to life.

He said Prime Minister Harper’s remarks could only serve to accentuate the misunderstanding and suspicion between the West and the Muslim World and impede on the international community’s collective goal of addressing intolerance and hatred between religions and diverse cultures.

Fiqh Council of North America Announces Clarifications About Eid Date

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Doubts have been raised by some about the decision of the Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council of Fatwa and Research about the date of Eidul Fitr this year on August 30, 2011. Following are some clarifications from the Fiqh Council of North America.

  1. The Fiqh Council of North America recognizes astronomical calculation as an acceptable Shar’i method for determining the beginning of Lunar months including the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. FCNA uses Makkah al-Mukarrama as a conventional point and takes the position that the conjunction must take place before sunset in Makkah and moon must set after sunset in Makkah.
  2. The Astronomical New Moon is on August 29, 2011 (Monday) at 3:04 Universal Time (6:04 a.m. Makkah time). On Monday, August 29, sunset at Makkah is 6:40 p.m. local time, while moonset is at 6:44 pm local time.
  3. It is claimed that the new moon will not be visible on August 29 anywhere in the world. This information is not correct.
  4.  In United States the birth of Astronomical new moon is on August 28, 2011 (Sunday) at 11:04 p.m. (New York), at 8:04 p.m. (California) and 5:04 p.m. (Hawaii).
  5.  On Monday, August 29, the Crescent will set 13 minutes after sunset in San Diego, California and 28 minutes after sunset in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  6. On Monday, August 29 the Crescent should be visible in Hawaii by binoculars and telescope and in South America by naked eye.

The Shawwal Crescent of Monday, August 29 is acceptable according to Shari’ah for those who recognize the Global sighting as it is also acceptable according to the criteria adopted by the Fiqh Council of North America.
Eidul Fitr is on Tuesday, August 30, 2011. Eid Mubarak and best wishes for a blessed Eid with peace and harmony among all.

Introduction to Jamia Anwar-ul-Quran (An Islamic Institution)

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Assalam o alikum!

Here I am going to Introduce a very hight pristegious Islamic institution of Pakistan that is working to spread Islam and islamic values all around the world and helping new generation in learning Islam.

Jamia Anwar-ul-Quran is an educational memorial of Shaikh-ul-Islam Hafiz-ul-Hadees Hazrat Maulana Mauhammad Abdullah Darkhwasti (Rehmat ullah Alaih) running under the supervision of Shaik-ul-Hadees Hazrat Maulana Fida-ur-Rehman Darkhwasti (Daman Brakatuhum).

Jamia Anwar-ul-Quran is a purely Islamic institution, whose mission is to prepare Pious and highly educated Islamic Scholars that can guide the whole humanity towards the righteous path.

Jamia Anwar-ul-Quran is serving in the following disciplines.

1) Holy Quran (Learning and Reading).

2) Tafseer of Holy Quran and Hadith-e-Nabawi (S.A.W.A.S)

3) Islamic Fiqah

4) Dars-e-Nizami (8 years Islamic Scholarship)

5) Arabic and English Language

6) Iqra Huffaz Grammar School (Boys and Girls)

7) Other short Islamic courses

By the grace of Allah, Jamia Anwar-ul-Quran is teaching more than 4000 students all around Pakistan in its 37 different branches. Jamia is looking after more than 450 resident students. Yearly expenses of these institutions are over 10 Million rupees that is fulfilled by the grace of Allah through the contribution of Zakat, Sadqat and Donations of pious people. You are requested to contribute in this noble effort.

Account Information

Account No. 3005-3, Branch code 0395, United Bank Limited, New Karachi Branch.

Contact Address

Head Office: Jamia Anwar-ul-Quran, Sector 11-C-1, North Karachi, Pakistan.

Phone # +922136999095 – +922136941410

Kindly see the attached pictures for details.

Your Brother,
Husain Ahmed Darkwasti

THE CRISIS IN LIBYA: IS GADDAFI’s DEPARTURE THE ONLY ISSUE?

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By Abasi Kiyimba
Department of Literature
Makerere University
Introduction
Last Sunday but one, at an UMYA seminar in Kibuli, I was one of the panelists discussing the current crisis in North Africa, with specific focus on Libya. I pronounced myself very strongly on the NATO bombing of the country. In response to my presentation, some members focused exclusively on the 42 year stay of Gaddafi in power. My objection to the NATO bombing of Libya seems to have been understood as support for Gaddafi’s excesses, real and perceived. Some of the respondents also seemed to give the impression that the major issue (and probably to them the only issue) was the departure of Gaddafi from power. That way, they saved themselves from thinking of the greater crisis in Libya, both short term and long term.
After the seminar, two brothers came up to me and asked me to clarify my views on the issues. Should they understand me to be in support of Gaddafi’s continued stay in power, for probably another 42 years?!
I am making this presentation to clarify and restate my position on the crisis. This should also partly serve as an apology for not delivering the background information that I promised in the early days of the crisis. The discussion is a bit long, and I want to thank in advance all those who will read it to the end.
First and foremost, the issue of whether Gaddafi should go or should not go is no longer in our hands, if it has ever been. Even as you read, the situation in Libya is changing, and those that are interested in constant updates are advised to carry mobile radios. The real for us is to clearly appreciate the issues at stake, both for the Libyan society and as a Muslim community, taking into account the material and moral inheritance that is definitely threatened by the values of the attackers. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair urged British MPs to “release the Arab (the alleged Lockerbie bomber) to protect British strategic interests,” and the French Foreign Minister has described the present crisis as “a real opportunity to open up Libya to the world.” And more recently, a British official has told the Economist newsmagazine that NATO’s involvement in Libya means that “we own it.”
I told the seminar at Kibuli that as Muslims, we had no cause to associate our sentiments with a NATO victory in Libya. Those Muslims who are saying “bamukube” because of he has misruled Libya are unfortunately cheering the wrong forces. I also told a group that heatedly discussed the issue in the corridor after the seminar that we “supported” Saddam Hussein when the Americans were hitting him not because Saddam was good, but because the attack was not in Muslim but in American interests. In otherwords, our sentiments were for Iraq the country, and not for Saddam as an individual. I oppose the NATO bombing of Libya in the same way that I opposed the American bombing of Iraq.
This position provoked another question: If NATO did not bomb Gaddafi out of power, what solution did you have for the Libyan people “who were suffering under him?” This question suggests that with the bombing of Gaddafi out of power, the problems of the Libyan people are over. Wrong. For as long as we rely on the West to bomb our dictators out of power, we shall always be in the same trouble that we now have in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Muslim world must get serious and begin to think of home grown solutions for their problems. The African Union proposal consisted of a negotiated settlement that would eliminate Gaddafi from the future of Libya, but retain pro-Gaddafi people as part of the discussion of Libya’s future. This was a serious proposal worth thinking about, but the West rejected it out hand because they had their own agenda. I do not agree that the need to remove Gaddafi should blind us to the necessary caution against the British who want to get at Libyan money at all costs, the French who want to spread their Fasaada using such vague terms like “opening up Libya to the world,” and the Americans whose hegemony knows no limits.
Our Sources of Information
For the majority of us, the basic source of information about Muslim societies is the BBC, CNN and to some extent Al-Jazeera. This media has presented the problem in North Africa and the Middle East as simply as below:
“The Arab peoples of North Africa and the Middle East are revolting against repressive governments, and are demanding for the departure of long serving dictators and greater personal and social freedoms.”
This theme has been so neatly packaged that it has overshadowed all other angles to the problem, and the world community (including or especially Muslims) have absorbed it without interrogation. The result is that some of the views that we express on matters involving the relationship of the Muslim world with the world are sometimes embarrassing. For example, there have been some contributions on the UMBS that have taken for granted the image of magnanimous Western powers acting as guardian angels of human rights and custodians of the international conscious, mandated by “the international community” to protect the people against their brutal medieval-style rulers. Naturally, the leadership styles of the leaders in countries like Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain have not been very helpful, and been used as a building block for military intervention.
The leadership style of Colonel Muammar Gadaffi in particular has been very much in the Western press. He has been described as a man with an oversized ego, a brute to his own people, and an arrogant and intolerant leader that even insults fellow leaders at meetings of the Arab League. These Western media reports contain some undeniable truths, and this makes the task of defending individuals an uphill task. We should stop to recollect however that these very leaders, in their autocratic form, have on several occasions been politically useful to the West. That is why I feel greatly antagonized that we should support them to bomb when they no longer have use for them. We might think that our support does not matter, but it does. For example, the support of the Arab League for the air strikes against Libya has so greatly emboldened President Sarkozy of France to issue the unveiled warning directed at Syria, to the effect that any leaders who mistreat their people will face the same fate as Gaddaffi. In response, the Muslim/Arab world has been thrown into confusion. For many of them, including the Arab League which uncomfortably backed the UN resolution 1973, the old hatchets seem to have been buried. Even Israel and the Palestinian cause which has been largely frustrated by the Americans has become secondary!
Look, if we continue to swallow the sugar coating on the Western bombs and cheer them on as they bomb “the bad guys,” we shall have no argument left when they start on autocratic monarchs, one of which houses our holiest shrines. I am aware of the one brother who told me that he has no objection to their bombing Saudi Arabia as well, but I have nothing to say to him, since he seems to have forgotten that that is where the tomb of the Holy Prophet is located!  
Differences in Objectives between the West and the Protesters
The people who throng the streets to protests against one leader or another have a variety of grievances. There are those who have a general yearning for freedom (including un-Islamic freedoms), those are bitter due to losses of dear ones to autocratic state machineries, those who are bitter at the “un-Islamic” nature of the regimes in the Arab world, those who have complaints about their country’s relations with Israel or the West (as was the case with Egypt), and there are a great number that are frustrated with the general economic situation. When the storm eventually settles, all these people will realize that the West was not bombing their leaders in answer to their grievances, but in services its own agenda. Indeed, the people who are likely to be surprised most are the young men in Libya who have given their lives to liberate their country from Gaddafi only to hand it over to Sarkozy and company.
 
Some Background Issues
Israeli-Arab/Muslim Relations
Since the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, its relations with the Arab/Muslim world have been problematic, to put it very mildly. 22 UN member states do not recognize it at all as a state; they include Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Chad, Cuba, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Among those that recognize it and have had dealings of a diplomatic or economic nature, relations have been bumpy and keep fluctuating with the nature of the middle Eastern politics, especially the way Israel handles the Palestinian people at any one time. In many cases, a country’s policy on Israel has determined internal stability. This has been the case in Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Mauritania which recognize it and have had diplomatic and or economic dealings.
Morocco has had substantial diplomatic contacts with Israel, but they have also been affected by the way the Israelis handle the Palestinian people. In Iran, which recognized Israel before the Islamic revolution of 1979, the Shah’s policy on Israel was one of the rallying points used by the Ayatollah Roholla Khomeni to mobilize religious and political sentiments in the run-up to the revolution. One point to which most Arab leaders have religiously stuck, is the correct rhetoric against Israel, and this is no good for Israel or the West. Therefore, the shaking up of the old vocally anti-Israel regimes is in the interest of the West, and Israel has watch the Arab revolutions with cautions bemusement. It interst is not democracy or stability for the Arab. That is why since the beginning of the Arab protests, they have started on the construction of more Jewish settlements than they did in the past five years.
India has the world’s largest Muslim minority of 100 million people, and also has substantial numbers of citizens in the Muslim/Arab world. It has diplomatic relations with Israel, and is Israel’s principal arms market. The millions of Indians in various parts of the world are not likely to be happy about this. On the other hand, Pakistan does not recognize the state of Israel and forbids the use of its passports to travel to the Jewish state. In 2008, the Israeli Foreign minister stated that “Israel considers Pakistan as its biggest strategic threat” in light of concern over the increasing Taliban threat in Pakistan, and the influence that Pakistan has in several Muslim countries, especially because it is the leading producer of non-Arabic Islamic literature. The strength of the different leaderships in Pakistan has to some extent been conditioned to the attitude of the regime towards Israel. The Jamat Tabligh Movement, an Islamic movement founded by Abu ala Maududi, is very influential both in Pakistani politics and elsewhere in the Muslim world. One of the accusations it made against Benazir Bhutto during the campaigns before her assassination was that her policy on Israel was very vague!
Disagreements in the Muslim camp
Hezbollah (Party of God), the Shi’ite organization founded in 1982 as a resistance movement against the Israeli invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon (1982-2000), is one of the most powerful organizations outside government in the Muslim world. It has ministerial portfolios in the Lebanese government, but maintains a politically and militarily autonomous structure. Hezbollah openly supports Iran, and is influential in much of the Arab world, especially in areas of Shia majorities. When the protests started in Egypt earlier this year, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrullah backed them, arguing that the protesters “were fighting for the restoration of the dignity of the Arab people.” In what seemed to be a properly synchronized response to the protests, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, termed the uprisings as “Islamic Liberation Movements.” This was before they started in Iran, after which he fell silent.
While the Hezbollah chief praised the revolutionaries and protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen for their “faith and high spirituality,” and even assured them that “we are with you and we are ready to help you,” he was significantly silent on the protests in Iran and Syria. His reference to Gadaffi was pointedly hostile, describing him as “this dictatorial tyrant.”
Libya has the “correct” stand against Israel, but Hezbollah has an axe to grind against Muammar Gaddafi. It is alleged that in 1978, he kidnapped Imam Moussa Sadr, the founder of the Lebanese shi’ite resistance organization called Amal Movement, many of whose fighters joined the Lebanese army in 1991. Immam Musa mysteriously disappeared while visiting Libya in 1978. The Hezbollah chief also described Arab silence over events in Bahrain a “special injustice,” and asked whether Arab silence about the repression of protests there is due to sectarian prejudice against the Shiite-majority opposition. However, he was quick to dispel speculations that Hezbollah would intervene in support of one side or the other in the crisis, stressing that “Hezbollah’s weapons are aimed at the enemy [Israel] and in defense of Lebanon.”
The Hezbollah/Iranian stand on the protests in the Middle East has caused concern in both Israel and Washington, and prompted Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to say that his country was “following events with vigilance and worry.” He also warned that a change of government in Cairo could affect existing agreements between Israel and Egypt.
In the current stand off between the Middle Eastern governments and their people, Israeli seems to be the greater beneficiary. While the Israeli government has kept a guarded silence about the bombings of Tripoli, the Israelis must be smiling at the misfortunes of Colonel Gadhafi. Libya takes one of the most uncompromising stands against Israeli: one can not enter Libya if one has an Israeli visa in their passport. There are additional benefits in the crisis in Syria. President Bashar al Assad has tried to appeal to the anti-Israeli sentiment by reminding the leaders of the protests against his government that they still have an enemy who is “seated tight on the Golan heights.” In rebuttal, the protestors have told him to direct his guns at occupiers of the Golan heights instead of the peaceful protesters.
It is also useful to remember that the expulsion of Khaled Marshal, the leader of Hamas from Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar at different times in the history of Palestinian struggle is part of the communal memory that some protesters are bringing to the current protests against their leaders.
Western Interests in the Middle East, and in Libya in particular

Al Jazeera has become one of the premier global outlets for serious television news, and closely follows the BBC. It is reputed to be more reliable on news from the middle East, but it is virtually impossible to find on televisions in the US, even the demand for news from the region is great during these times. The country’s major cable and satellite companies refuse to carry it – leaving it with US viewers only in Washington, DC and parts of Ohio and Vermont – despite huge public demand. Al Jazeera has been targeted by the US government since 2003, when former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described it as tantamount to an arm of Al Qaeda. Two of its reporters were killed in Baghdad when a US tank fired on the Hotel Palestine, where, according to US officials, it was believed that a spotter directing fire at US troops was located. The network up to now still believes that the reporters were deliberately targeted.
One of the reasons why the emergence of the Al Jazeera network was bad news for the West is that for as long as the only news outlet from the Middle East to the world was the BBC, and to a limited extent the VOA, it was possible to present events as they benefit American and Western policies. Today, millions of Americans, hungry for on-the-ground reporting from the Middle East, turn to the Al Jazeera online live coverage of events. The US is not happy about this. Is it so important, one might ask, to control the flow of information? The answer is simple: there is information that the US would not like the world to receive it spontaneously as it occurs. It is better for it to be part of the postmortem, as it generates too many critics and makes management of policy difficult.

American Interests in the Middle East
A recent cartoon I encountered on one American website recently depicted President Obama pointing a finger at Colonel Gaddafi saying: “Get out, I need your oil.” Probably true, but the story is much longer.
The US interests in the Middle East are much deeper than we has deeper ordinarily imagine. They range from academic through economic to military, and date as far back as 1786 when the US first signed a treaty with Morocco to secure safe passage for American ships to the Mediterranean. Later, the Middle East attracted the efforts of American missionaries. In addition to spreading Christianity, missionaries established educational institutions in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. Most important of these was the Syrian Protestant College established in 1866, which later came to be known as the American University of Beirut. In Turkey, the American established the Robert College in 1863. Both institutions have had a major impact on the Middle East because they educated members of the local elites.
Up to World War I however, the United States refrained from direct political intervention in the Middle East region, mainly because they wanted to avoid competing with British interests there. However, when the war ended, the US became more vigilant in the area to watch Soviet behavior there. This was because her allies there, France and Britain, had been weakened by the war and were in no position to contain Soviet ambitions in Iran, Turkey and the Middle East in general.
In the 1930’s, the US started competing with the British in the field of oil exploitation. But to avoid direct friction with the British in Iran the US chose to concentrate on Saudi Arabia where the Wahhabi regime there was ready to grant oil concessions to the Americans in return for US military protection. In 1933 The Saudis granted a friend of FD Roosevelt and head of a Californian oil company the first oil concession. Export of Saudi oil to the US started as early as 1937. President Roosevelt was not bothered by the theocratic character of the Wahhabi monarchy, and he secretly committed the United States to Saudi Arabia’s security and defense.
After the Second World War, the Soviet Union and the US emerged as the two main global adversaries. Washington adopted a strategy designed to deter the Soviets from further expansion, and to deprive them of vital oil resources in Iran and elsewhere in the region. This strategy, known as the Truman Doctrine, essentially aimed at defeating the Soviets by whatever means possible short of direct military confrontation. The US had to fill in the vacuum left by the two old colonial powers, France and Britain, in the Middle East. Thus the US embarked on open diplomatic and military interventionism in the Middle Eastern region. It did so along a three-dimensional approach:
1) Support for anti-communist conservative rulers who after the war came under increasing pressure from their peoples who were expecting more political freedom and social justice. It made no difference whether the governments were theocratic, autocratic or democratic, as long as they were anti-communist and willing to side with the West.
2) Treating all communists, socialists and nationalists as one. A radical nationalist reformer who ideal of freedom meant being free from American domination was considered worse than a Marxist communist.
3) Using a wide range approaches designed to defeat Soviet influence. These included economic and military assistance, cash distribution, and bilateral and multi-lateral pacts. US policy in the region was principally governed by political and economic pragmatism. The Eisenhower doctrine announced in 1957 committed the US to come to the aid of any state threatened by “international communism”. In fact what this doctrine did was to allow the US to assist unpopular rulers who were threatened by the insurgency of their own peoples. This happened in Jordan in 1957 and in Lebanon the following year, 1958 when the US deployed their military to prevent the fall of king Hussein of Jordan and of Camille Chamoun in Lebanon. Such a policy angered the Arab peoples and generated anti-American resentment among Muslims in general. The favorable image the Arabs had of the US as a non-colonial power and champion of anti-colonialism simply faded away. It is too late in the day for them to turn round today and claim to be the principal advocates of democracy, human rights and fair play.
Initially, the US economic interest focused on three countries in the region: Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. In 1950 the Truman administration committed the US to the defense of Saudi Arabia and toward this end it upgraded the facilities at the military base of Dahran, turning it into one of the most important American bases. The US also strengthened its ties with the conservative forces in Iran. Reza Shah Pahlavi, a pro-Western by education and conviction, became Washington’s man in this country. He transformed Iran from a non-aligned country into a close ally of the US. As a result, the Americans stepped up their military and economic aid to Iran. They also helped in the restructuring the Iranian army and security, even though the Shah’s record for Human Rights violation was know to them.
In 1953, the Americans and the British acted jointly to overthrow Mossadaq, the democratically elected prime minister. Mossadaq was a nationalist who was not satisfied with the share his country got from the oil being exploited by the British. When negotiations between the two parties failed, Mossadaq decided to nationalize the oil industry. The CIA and British Intelligence services coordinated his overthrow, and oversaw the reimposition of the autocratic rule of the Shah. Economic expedience took precedence over values of democracy and human decency. This operation was the first large-scale American intervention in the Middle East and had far-reaching consequences. It confirmed turned Iran into an anti-communist frontline state and close ally of the US. It further provided the US with a centrally important strategic foothold on the Soviet border. It also marked the end of British monopoly over Iranian oil and a severe blow to the British presence in the region in general. In October 1953 John Foster Dulles commissioned Herbert Hoover Jr., a petroleum advisor and son of a former president, to solve the oil dispute in between Iran and Britain, and to ensure that American companies acquired a share in the Iranian oil industry. Britain and the US stayed in Iran until the Iranian revolution in 1979. By that time, the Soviet Union had already made inroads into the region and was a firm ally of the 10 year old regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
 The Creation of the State of Israel
Another dimension was added to the US involvement in the region. It stemmed from US support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine and its subsequent support for Israel. In 1946 Washington demanded the immediate entry into Palestine of 100,000 survivors of the Holocaust after the Europeans and the United States themselves refused to admit them on their territories. In 1948 the US was the first to recognize the newly created state.
President Truman’s backing for the creation of the Jewish state was largely motivated by domestic political concerns. He wanted to solve the problem of Jewish refugees, but ended up creating another refugee problem – that of the Arab Palestinians. The implications for US-Arab relations were catastrophic. An American official, Evan Wilson, later wrote:
“It is no exaggeration to say that our relations with the entire Arab world have never recovered from the events of 1947-1948 when we sided with the Jews against the Arabs and advocated a solution in Palestine which went contrary to self-determination as far as the majority population of the country was concerned.” (Evan Wilson, 154)
Henceforth the security and survival of Israel became one of the pillars of US policy in the Middle East, not only because the Jewish state fitted very well in their Cold War politics. For many Americans Israel also represented part of their culture and a Western presence in an alien and threatening region. During the fifties, with the radicalization of Arab nationalism (Nasserism and Baathism), which tended to have Soviet leanings, the objective of American policy in the region consisted in enabling Israel to maintain a strategic edge over its Arab neighbors through massive financial and military assistance. The American preoccupation with cubing Soviet influence, and securing the state of Israel, thus completely dominated US policy in the region for the next three decades.
The Arab-Israeli war of 1967 resulted in Israeli occupation of more Arab land, at the expense the Palestinians, as well as other countries like Egypt and Syria. The adoption of several resolutions by the UN calling for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Arab territories did not prevent Israel from annexing more lands. The American administration, especially under the Republicans tended to sanction Israel’s policy of settlements in the West Bank and in the Gaza strip. Despite the illegal character of these settlements under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 the US never challenged Israeli policy in this regard and continued to provide Israel with financial assistance that was used in the building and extension of settlements. This attitude resulted in Israel’s taking over more than half the West Bank, not to mention the annexation of Eastern Jerusalem.
The double-standard policy can also be seen in the way Washington has dealt with the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the region. While the US administration insists on clearing the Middle East of such weapons, it never mentions Israel’s holding of nuclear armaments. This policy has largely contributed to the growth of anti-American sentiment in the region, and has fuelled Islamic radical groups.
Right from the beginning, the pragmatists in the formulation of American policy in the region were concerned that the US was spending a lot in the region, and the region should be made to pay its bill. This called for an increase in US participation in the region’s trade, and in the exploitation of it’s resources.

American Trading Interests in Libya

Libya is the least known among US’s trading partners, so it is very easy to swallow Obama’s anti-Gaddafi rhetoric as motivated by genuine humanitarian concerns.  But the pattern of trade between Libya and the US tell a different story:

U.S. trade in goods with Libya

NOTE: All figures are in millions of U.S. dollars.
Year
Exports
Imports
Balance
2011 (January and Feb)
116.4
285.0
-168.6
 2010
665.4
2,116.8
-1,451.4
 2009
665.5
1,918.5
-1,253.0
 2008
720.9
4,178.6
-3,457.8
2007
510.8
3,385.2
-2,874.4
 2006
383.7
2,472.2
-2,088.5
 
2005
83.8
1,590.3
-1,506.5
 2004
39.2
331.6
-292.4
 2003
0.2
0.0
0.2
 2002
18.3
0.0
18.3
2001
9.0
0.0
9.0
 2000
18.0
0.0
18.0
Italian Interests in Libya
Italy, Libya’s former colonial master had to agonise seriously over the stand it had to take on Gaddafi. There were moral, economic and political considerations. In the first place, Italy had worked very hard to get Libya back into the community of nations, and to rehabilitate Gaddafi after years of isolation. It was the de facto guarantor of Tripoli’s good behaviour when Libya was warily welcomed back into the international community after renouncing terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Secondly, the civil strife in Libya threatens its energy supplies, international image and the stability of some of its blue chip companies. Thirdly, the public debate has been heated since the uprisings in Libya started, with many political opinionists urging the government to “take a clear stand against Gaddafi and invest in the opposition” because “the stakes for our country are very high.”[i]
In 2008, Italy an Libya signed a “friendship treaty” that prohibited Italian bases from being used in any military action against Libya. This treaty has now been officially “suspended,” but it is still a source of embarrassment for the Berlusconi administration, which is still struggling to refine its policy on Libya even after formerly recognizing the Interim National Council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. The Italians have to move cautiously, since Italy’s southernmost island is just 300 miles away from Libya.
Under the friendship treaty, Italy promised to pay Libya $5 billion in compensation over 25 years for colonial misdeeds between 1911 and 1943. Also, Libya has invested heavily in Italian companies while Italian firms have won infrastructure and energy contracts in Libya.
The other facts that are worth noting are: Italy imports about 80 percent of its energy needs. About 32 percent of Libya’s oil output goes to Italy, this is about 25 percent of Italy’s imports; and about 12 percent of Italy’s gas comes from Libya.
The other commercial interests includes banking, textiles, cars, construction, railways, aerospace and soccer clubs.
The situation therefore demanded a lot of political imprudence. Whichever Libya emerged from the current crisis, “national interests had to be protected.” It is therefore no surprise that Italy was not very enthusiastic about sanctions against Libya or of calls for the freezing of its assets or the imposition of a no-fly zone. It simply trudged along later when political expedience seemed to demand it. Even after the EU had agreed to freeze the assets of Gaddafi after Libyan security forces used violence to crack down on protesters, Italy was still reluctant to freeze the holdings of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), or the Libyan central bank, entities that hold stakes in Italian companies but which were not mentioned on the list approved by EU.
The other issue that Italy had to consider was the matter of illegal immigrants on which the Gaddafi regime had started co-operating. Italy feared that Gaddafi’s fall could worsen the immigration crisis. In 2009, Rome and Tripoli signed a deal allowing Italy’s coastguard to return boatloads of illegal immigrants to Libya. Before then, Libya was a main staging post for illegal immigration from Africa and Gaddafi told France’s Journal du Dimanche that if he fell “thousands of people from Libya will invade Europe. There will be no one to stop them any more”.[ii]

British Interests in Libya
It will be recalled that when Italy lost the war in 1945, Britain was assigned an overseer role over Libya by the UN. Britain was very anxious to get rid of Libya because it was a burden, and no other country would have it. It therefore pushed a resolution through the UN that ensured that Libya would get its independence by the end of 1951. And Britain made sure that this resolution was respected. At that time, oil had not been discovered. It was discovered in 1959.
Britain’s relationship with Libya has been turbulent. It has had several complaints about Colonel Gaddafi’s human rights record, with some of the alleged human rights atrocities being committed on British soil, but economic considerations have remained the major guide of its relationship with the country. For example, there is the 1984 shooting of PC Yvonne Fletcher in London, the bombing of the Lockerbie airliner, the alleged shooting of opponents of the regime on the streets of London by hired assassins, etc. As politicians were calling upon the regime to respect human rights, financial prospectors were busy describing Libya as “potentially the fourth most attractive overseas market for UK exporters.”
As far back as 2003, former Prime Minister Tony Blair is said to have urged ministers to sort out outstanding difficulties with the regime so that they could go after “the dollar in the desert.” He spear-headed the lifting of sanctions in return for relinquishing its weapons of mass destruction so that UN sanctions could be lifted. There are also claims that the potential loss of lucrative business prompted British ministers to back the controversial release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
UK trade with Libya is worth an estimated £1.5billion a year, with British exports soaring more than 50% between 2008 and 2009. More than 150 UK-based companies operate in the country, many like Biwater, AMEC, JCB and Mott MacDonald supplying industrial machinery and engineering services. Other British companies such as Next, Monsoon, Accessorize and Marks & Spencer are also active in Tripoli.
In the first five months of 2009, UK exports to Libya were already up by 48 per cent to £165.4m on the same period in 2008, while UK imports from Libya – mainly oil – were up 48.5 per cent on 2008 at £966m, a rise of 66 per cent on 2007.
At 1.7 million barrels a day, Libya is Africa’s second largest oil producer and is Europe’s single biggest supplier. The prospect of up to 42 billion barrels prompted more than 40 British oil firms to stake a claim. Also, Libya has an estimated 53 trillion cubic metres of untapped natural gas reserves. With North Sea supplies dwindling, the UK become a major gas importer from Norway and Russia, and looks at Libya as a potential supplier, according to a UK Financial Investments Ltd report.[iii] John Hamilton, a Libya expert with analysts Cross Border Information, said: “Obviously oil is important but I think Libya, if it turns out to have large reserves of gas, will be a major player in European gas supply.”
The giant Petroleum company BP signed an exploration deal worth at least £550million in 2007, and financial experts are anxious that if the deal falls through, it will harm the British economy. Already, the current crisis in Libya has forced Brent crude to jump to a two-year high of $105 a barrel, and it could rise to $140 a barrel, which may push the prices of oil higher up. Also, BP launched a $1.3bn gas exploration programme in Libya in 2006.
Libya’s oil and gas export has seen it amass £80billion of foreign currency, more than half of which it channeled through the Libyan Investment Authority with a London office.
There are strong links between the two countries, with 8,000 Libyans studying at UK universities, 5,000 of them Libyan-funded scholarships, and 4,000 Libyan doctors either working or training here.
Responding to criticism over Britain’s commercial interests with the country, Libyan British Business Council director general Robin Lamb said: “We don’t decide between countries we trade with on the basis of whether they are nice or not. There are lots of regimes around the world. If we didn’t trade with them we would be shooting ourselves in the foot.” He pointed out that other countries like Italy, China, Turkey, Germany, France and the US were doing heavy business with Libya.
Because of the above considerations, it is very important that the Gaddafi business is quickly disposed of so that business life can return to normal.
The image of Tony Blair shaking hands with Colonel Gaddafi was highly criticized by human rights advocates in the UK, but it was praised by business leaders who were keen that the UK should not be left out of the vast oil wealth deals. As one British newspaper joked on the release of the man convicted over the Lockabie bombings, “Release the Arab so that we can go after the dollar in the desert.”

French Interests in Libya
France was Libya’s No. 6 foreign supplier in 2005, with a market share of 5.6 percent. Main French sales include capital goods, cars, food, pharmaceuticals and perfume.
Oil accounts for 97 percent of France’s imports from Libya, which supplies 2.5 percent of total French crude oil imports. Total is a major investor in Libya. Libya has approached France’s Areva about nuclear energy and earlier this month it selected BNP Paribas as a partner for Sahara Bank in the first partial privatization.
While France has interest to protect in Libya, the greater French concern is with the Libya threat in threat in the region. Libya has interests in several Franco-phone African states, and this makes France uncomfortable for two reasons. One, there is the strategic threat to French economic interests, and there is the threat of further Islamisation, which France does not like. In pursuit of these two goals, the French and the Libyans have fought a long war in Chad.

Libya and France in Chad: The battle for the occupation of the Aouzou Strip

There have been issues between France and Libya for a long time. First, there is the religious divide in Chad, with the French supporting the Christian Southerners and the Libyans supporting the Muslim northerners. The second issue was a border dispute between Chad and Libya. For a long time, Libya insisted that the Aouzou Strip in Norther Chad really belong to Libya. This was the position of King Idris and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi after him. Indeed, in 1954 Idris tried to occupy Aouzou, but his troops were repelled by the French colonial forces.
The civil that started in 1954 raged on until 1987, with intermittent spells of peace. Together with the war in Southern Sudan, these two are sometimes referred to as Africa’s longest civil wars. King Idris, who ruled Libya before Muammar Gaddafi, was a keen supporter of the insurgent northern Muslim National Liberation Front of Chad (FROLINAT) against the presidency of the Christian President Francois Tombalbaye. However, King Idris was more cautious: he did not want to incur the full wrath of Chad’s former colonial master France, which was also the main supporter of the Chad’s Christian southern leaders. So he mainly limited himself to granting the rebels sanctuary in Libyan territory and to providing only non-lethal supplies like food and medical supplies.
The cautious approach to the disagreement by Libya to the crisis changed dramatically when Gaddafi came to power in a coup d’état in September 1969. Initially, Gaddafi was suspicious of the FROLINAT; their emphasis on their “Muslim” identity in their name made him uncomfortable. He did not like a Muslim Brotherhood style organization in his backyard. With time however, he began to see opportunities in them, and even persuaded the Soviet Union and East Germany to help in training and arming them. On August 27, 1971,  Gaddafi supported them to attempt a coup against President Tombalbaye. In response to the coup attempt, President Tombalbaye severed diplomatic relatic relations with Libya, and invited all Libyan opposition groups to base themselves in Chad, and even claimed that Fezzan belonged to Chad. On September 17, 1971, Gaddafi officially recognized FROLINAT as the sole legitimate government of Chad, while in October France and Chad denounced Libya’s “expansionist ideas” at a United Nations assembly.
With the mediation of President Hamani Diori of Niger, and because of increased French pressure on Libya, the two countries resumed diplomatic relations on April 17, 1972. In the same year, Tombalbaye broke diplomatic relations with Isreal, and also secretly accepted (on November 28) to cede the Aouzou strip to Libya. The two countries signed a Treaty of Friendship in December 1972. In exchange for these Gaddafi pledged 40 million pounds to the Chadian President, and also withdrew official support to the FROLINAT and forced its leader Abba Siddick to move his headquarters from Tripoli to Algiers. Gaddafi visited the Chadian capital N’Djamena in March 1974, and in the same month a joint bank was created to provide Chad with investment funds.
Six months after the signing of the 1972 treaty, Libyan troops moved into the Strip and established just north of Aouzou an airbase protected by surface-to-air missiles. A civil administration was set up, attached to Kufra, and Libyan citizenship was extended to the few thousand inhabitants of the area. From that moment, Libyan maps represented the area as part of Libya.

Proxy wars in Chad between Libya and France

On April 13, 1975 a  coup d’état removed Tombalbaye and replaced him with General Felix Malloum. One of the reasons given for the coup was Tombalbaye’s policy of appeasement towards Libya. Gaddafi resumed supplying the FROLINAT with arms and other forms of support. In April 1976, there was an attempt to assassinate General Felix Malloum, which was blamed on Gaddafi. In the same year Libyan troops started making incursions into central Chad, in company of FROLINAT forces.
The Chadian rebels disagreed on the nature of Libyan support, and eventually, the FROLINAT split. In October 1976, Hissene Habre led a small break away anti-Gaddafi militia named the Armed Forces of the North (FAN), while the majority, willing to accept an alliance with Gaddafi, was commanded by Goukouni Oueddei were organized under the Command Council of the Armed Forces of the North (CCFAN). This group was  shortly after renamed People’s Armed Forces (FAP).
Starting with February 1977, Libyans provided Goukouni’s men with hundreds of AK-47 assault rifles, dozens of bazookas, 81 and 82mm mortars and recoilless cannons. Armed with these weapons, the FAP attacked in June the Chadian Armed Forces‘ (FAT) strongholds of Bardaï and Zouar in Tibesti and of Ounianga Kebir in Borkou. Goukouni assumed with this attack full control of the Tibesti, because Bardaï, besieged since June 22, surrendered on July 4, while Zouar was evacuated. The FAT lost 300 men, and piles of military supplies fell into the hands of the rebels. The rebels also attacked Ounianga on June 20, but found that it was heavily defended by the French.
General Malloum brought the issue of the Aouzou Strip’s occupation before the United Nations and the Organisation of African Unity. He also negotiated a formal alliance with Habré, concluded in the Khartoum Accord, in September 1977. This accord was kept secret until January 22, 1978 when a Fundamental Charter was signed, following which a National Union Government was formed on August 29, 1978 with Habré as Prime Minister. Sudan and Saudi Arabia supported the the Malloum-Habré accord, because they both feared a radical Chad controlled by Gaddafi and saw in Habré, with his good Muslim and anti-colonialialist credentials, the only chance to thwart Gaddafi’s plans.
Threatened by the Malloum-Habré accord, Gaddafi increased his support to Goukouni’s FAP, and even provided Libyan troops to back the rebels. On January 29, 1978,  the joint Libyan-FAP forces completely uprooted the Malloum government from northern Chad, taking over Faya-Largeau, Fada and Ounianga Kebir. From that time on, Goukouni and the Libyans assumed complete control of the BET Prefecture. They later used this victory to advance on the Capital N’Djamena.
With Goukouni’s FAP supported by Libya, and Habre’s FAT supported by the French, a full scale proxy war started between the France and Libya in Chad. The battles that ensued sucked in several African, raged on for another tens years, and saw N’Djamena taken and retaken by Habre and Goukouni. The US supported the French with satellite military intelligence. Eventually, Gaddafi’s military power in Chad was curbed, and the French also withdrew. President Reagan of the US discussed with French President Mitterand the possibility of encouraging further conflict in Chad because, in Reagan’s words, “it would provide the best chance to unseat Gaddafi.” But France had been at war with Libya for a total period of 34 years, and was battle weary, and Gaddafi was equally tired, so the peace held. But just when it seemed that Gaddafi had been defeated, Idris Derby, a pro-Gaddafi leader took power in N’Djamena, and Gaddafi was to have the last laugh. France did not forgive Libya for the trouble it caused them in Chad.
Attempts by the British to Assassinate Colonel Gaddafi
There is an outcry today from many quarters that NATO is trying to assassinate Colonel Gaddafi. NATO has denied this; but if it was true, it would not be first time. There have been several attempts in the past, with Ronald Reagan describing him as a stumbling block in the region. The most well known of the previous attempts to kill Colonel Gaddafi is that of 1996, master-minded by Britain with the knowledge of Egypt and Tunisia. According to a leaked M16 document, this plot involved the fomenting of civil unrest in Libya, especially in the cities of Benghazi, Misrata and Tripoli. Five Libyan colonels were coordinating the plans to overthrow Gaddafi, scheduled to coincide with the next General Peoples Congress in February.  Before going along with the plan, Britain cross-examined the coup plotters to ensure that they did not include Islamic fundamentalists. The coup was supposed to take place in August 1996, but it was foiled by security police. They however succeeded in murdering Musa Qadhar Al-Dam, one of Gaddafi’s men who had been identified for elimination.
The coup plotters had 1275 active sympathisers in the following areas: TRIPOLI 240 persons; BENGHAZI 135; TOBRUK 114; MISRATAH 148; SIRTE 40; AL-ZAMIYA 180; AL ZUMARAH 300; AL KHUMS 28; GHADAMIS 50.  Their occupations ranged from students, military personnel and teachers throgh to businessmen, doctors, police officers and civil servants.  The plotters were divided into 5 groups, each with 5 officers in charge.  Messages to members of each group were passed via schools and Mosques.  The start of the coup would be signaled through coded messages on television and radio. The coup plotters had sympathisers working in the press, radio and television.Journalist and former member of MI5 (British Military Intelligence) David Shayler maintains that during his time in the service he learned that MI6 had orchestrated the action.  The government documents state that the generals wanted “rapprochement with the West” and stated that “if the coup was successful, the new government could enlist HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) support.”  According to private intelligence company Stratfor, the UK, France and other European nations have strong strategic interests in Libya, not the least of which involves their oil reserves.[iv]
Western Perceptions of Islam


The negative image of Arabs and Islam in the Western mind is older than the history of West-Arab relations. The perception of Muslims as a threat is not something born in the 20th or 21st century. Islam, according to the British historian Albert Hourani, was always a problem for the West from the very beginning. The standard Western perception of Islam was constructed way back in the Middle Ages, and according to this perception, “Islam is a false religion, Allah, the God of Muslims is not God, and Muhammad is not a prophet.”
The division between Sunni and Shia Islam is old, but does not become a political matter until late 19th century when orientalists began to amplify it for purposes of divide and rule. Today, it loudly amplified in the Western media, and it sets the agenda for the debate on the political nature of Islam, on which every Muslim is invited to take a position. Many governments, including Libya, have codified parts of the Sharia into the social law that governs their people’s personal lives, but when it comes to the role of Islam in the political management of the country, tempers, swords and bullets fly.
It is instructive to remember that Islam spread to North Africa and even the Middle East at different times and was received differently by different peoples. While we know many countries in the Middle East as being generally Muslim, tribal and culture and allegiances still play dominant roles in the way these societies are managed. In addition, the leadership history and the evangelism styles have determined how Muslim these societies actually; and this has in turn determined how they respond to national and international crises.
Political Islam, whose public face is now Al Qaeda, but whose real custodian is the Islamic brotherhood, is symbolized by the names of Hassan Al Banna, and more recently, Ali Ben-Hajji, Abbas Madani and Hassan Al Tourabi, who have given it formal theoretical expression. It was only at a later day that it got mixed up with western conceptions of terrorism because it presented an opposing model of political legitimacy. There are beliefs in the Muslim world that while Osama bin Laden is real, his political significance has been largely exaggerated by the West so as to generate a political Islamic punch-bag and scare crow that can be used to beat back errant leaders into line. This has been embraced by leaders both in the Muslim world and elsewhere. The Libyan leader, in his desperation, has even attempted to suggest that the protests against him are master-minded by Al-qaida, who want to introduce radical Islam in Libya. While Al-qaida is a general tool that has been opportunistically used by both Muslim and non-Muslim politicians, the Muslim brotherhood is an organizational machinery viewed with great fear in the Arab-Muslim world than Israel. Long before the emergence of Al Qaeda, a political ghost created by George Bush’s America, the Libya leader has been frightened of political Islam. And because he understands its force very well, he has made a periodical crackdown on it to the extent of dictating internal religious policy, which should be done by the Mufti. In many parts of the Muslim world and elsewhere, when a regime wants political favour from the west, it has become traditional to call up the Al Qaeda ghost and scare the Americans away from their democracy talk. It is often used as a justification for un-audited attacks on citizens, and to raise funds from reluctant Islamophobic donors. It does not seem to have worked in Colonel Gadaffi’s favour this time. The truth about Libya’s Gaddafi is that his fear of political Islam is greater than his fear of the West. This fear is shared by many other leaders in the region.
In Egypt, where political Islam has been most successful, the Muslim brotherhood is a feared force, and is likely to outlive Al Qaeda. One Egyptian diplomat, asked about the contradiction in the fact that his government was taking a softer and more conciliatory stand towards Israel than the Islamic brotherhood, he explained that “while the Israelis want to dominate us, the Islamic brotherhood wants to annihilate us.”
In Libya, the Muslim Brotherhood was brutally suppressed by Colonel Gaddafi, but not exterminated and it is one of the forces that will be active in any new arrangement. Largely drawn from the devout educated middle classes and university campuses in Tripoli and Benghazi, the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood was founded in the mid-1950s. In 1998, following one of the numerous assassination attempts, Gaddafi’s security services launched a crackdown against the group that saw unnamed numbers killed, more than 200 members imprisoned and hundreds more forced into exile. Despite years of repression, the Brotherhood still has thousands of members scattered across Libya, with chapters in almost every single town, including Sirte, Gadhafi’s birthplace on the coast west of Tripoli. Al-Amin Bilhaj, a leading figure in the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and the President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) recently traveled to Benghazi, the headquarters of the rebel movement, to see how it could be part of the future. Other Brotherhood exiles have returned to help treat the wounded in hospitals, according to Kemal el Helbawy, the Egyptian founder of the British association. But they have been cold-shouldered to date because the rebel movement fears to be seen by their Western patrons as hobnobbing with the Muslim brotherhood.

Conclusion
The present problem in Libya, and generally in North Africa and the Middle East, is a complex jigsaw puzzle that draws on a reserve of historical, religious ad political problems and grievances. The one lie that must be instantly shelved is the impression given in the Western press that the airstrikes are intended to protect civilians, as authorized by UN resolution 1973. The other interests involved are much more fundamental to the West than the lives of civilians. Otherwise, France, which opposed the American intervention in Iraq should not be leading the airstrikes. Suffice it note also that France war planes were ready to strike within minutes of the passing of the UN resolution. When everything has been said and done, the greatest loser in this debacle is that Muslim who expects salvation for the Libyan people and for the mismanaged Muslim countries to come from NATO bombs. Allah does not change the situation of a people until they change that which is within themselves. How can we expect NATO bombs to change our societies and make them more democratic, let alone more Muslim?

[i] Roberto Aliboni, vice-president of Italy’s Institute for International Affairs.
[iv] The document on which this information is based  is genuine. It was released in the year 2000, after long negotiations with the British government. Former MI5 serviceman David Shayler felt it was necessary for the public to know. In the end, it was agreed that names and certain classified details be left out. (http://www.geocities.ws/mi6_underground/LibyanPlotTextVersion.html)

How Arab inventors changed the world

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From coffee to cheques and the three-course meal, the Muslim world has given us many innovations that we take for granted in daily life. As a new exhibition opens, Paul Vallely nominates 20 of the most influential- and identifies the men of genius behind them.

1 The story goes that an Arab named Khalid was tending his goats in the Kaffa region of southern Ethiopia, when he noticed his animals became livelier after eating a certain berry. He boiled the berries to make the first coffee. Certainly the first record of the drink is of beans exported from Ethiopia to Yemen where Sufis drank it to stay awake all night to pray on special occasions. By the late 15th century it had arrived in Mecca and Turkey from where it made its way to Venice in 1645. It was brought to England in 1650 by a Turk named Pasqua Rosee who opened the first coffee house in Lombard Street in the City of London. The Arabic qahwa became the Turkish kahve then the Italian caffé and then English coffee.

2 The ancient Greeks thought our eyes emitted rays, like a laser, which enabled us to see. The first person to realise that light enters the eye, rather than leaving it, was the 10th-century Muslim mathematician, astronomer and physicist Ibn al-Haitham. He invented the first pin-hole camera after noticing the way light came through a hole in window shutters. The smaller the hole, the better the picture, he worked out, and set up the first Camera Obscura (from the Arab word qamara for a dark or private room). He is also credited with being the first man to shift physics from a philosophical activity to an experimental one.

3 A form of chess was played in ancient India but the game was developed into the form we know it today in Persia. From there it spread westward to Europe – where it was introduced by the Moors in Spain in the 10th century – and eastward as far as Japan. The word rook comes from the Persian rukh, which means chariot.

4 A thousand years before the Wright brothers a Muslim poet, astronomer, musician and engineer named Abbas ibn Firnas made several attempts to construct a flying machine. In 852 he jumped from the minaret of the Grand Mosque in Cordoba using a loose cloak stiffened with wooden struts. He hoped to glide like a bird. He didn’t. But the cloak slowed his fall, creating what is thought to be the first parachute, and leaving him with only minor injuries. In 875, aged 70, having perfected a machine of silk and eagles’ feathers he tried again, jumping from a mountain. He flew to a significant height and stayed aloft for ten minutes but crashed on landing – concluding, correctly, that it was because he had not given his device a tail so it would stall on landing. Baghdad international airport and a crater on the Moon are named after him.

5 Washing and bathing are religious requirements for Muslims, which is perhaps why they perfected the recipe for soap which we still use today. The ancient Egyptians had soap of a kind, as did the Romans who used it more as a pomade. But it was the Arabs who combined vegetable oils with sodium hydroxide and aromatics such as thyme oil. One of the Crusaders’ most striking characteristics, to Arab nostrils, was that they did not wash. Shampoo was introduced to England by a Muslim who opened Mahomed’s Indian Vapour Baths on Brighton seafront in 1759 and was appointed Shampooing Surgeon to Kings George IV and William IV.

6 Distillation, the means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points, was invented around the year 800 by Islam’s foremost scientist, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who transformed alchemy into chemistry, inventing many of the basic processes and apparatus still in use today – liquefaction, crystallisation, distillation, purification, oxidisation, evaporation and filtration. As well as discovering sulphuric and nitric acid, he invented the alembic still, giving the world intense rosewater and other perfumes and alcoholic spirits (although drinking them is haram, or forbidden, in Islam). Ibn Hayyan emphasised systematic experimentation and was the founder of modern chemistry.

7 The crank-shaft is a device which translates rotary into linear motion and is central to much of the machinery in the modern world, not least the internal combustion engine. One of the most important mechanical inventions in the history of humankind, it was created by an ingenious Muslim engineer called al-Jazari to raise water for irrigation. His 1206 Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices shows he also invented or refined the use of valves and pistons, devised some of the first mechanical clocks driven by water and weights, and was the father of robotics. Among his 50 other inventions was the combination lock.

8 Quilting is a method of sewing or tying two layers of cloth with a layer of insulating material in between. It is not clear whether it was invented in the Muslim world or whether it was imported there from India or China. But it certainly came to the West via the Crusaders. They saw it used by Saracen warriors, who wore straw-filled quilted canvas shirts instead of armour. As well as a form of protection, it proved an effective guard against the chafing of the Crusaders’ metal armour and was an effective form of insulation – so much so that it became a cottage industry back home in colder climates such as Britain and Holland.

9 The pointed arch so characteristic of Europe’s Gothic cathedrals was an invention borrowed from Islamic architecture. It was much stronger than the rounded arch used by the Romans and Normans, thus allowing the building of bigger, higher, more complex and grander buildings. Other borrowings from Muslim genius included ribbed vaulting, rose windows and dome-building techniques. Europe’s castles were also adapted to copy the Islamic world’s – with arrow slits, battlements, a barbican and parapets. Square towers and keeps gave way to more easily defended round ones. Henry V’s castle architect was a Muslim.

10 Many modern surgical instruments are of exactly the same design as those devised in the 10th century by a Muslim surgeon called al-Zahrawi. His scalpels, bone saws, forceps, fine scissors for eye surgery and many of the 200 instruments he devised are recognisable to a modern surgeon. It was he who discovered that catgut used for internal stitches dissolves away naturally (a discovery he made when his monkey ate his lute strings) and that it can be also used to make medicine capsules. In the 13th century, another Muslim medic named Ibn Nafis described the circulation of the blood, 300 years before William Harvey discovered it. Muslims doctors also invented anaesthetics of opium and alcohol mixes and developed hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes in a technique still used today.

11 The windmill was invented in 634 for a Persian caliph and was used to grind corn and draw up water for irrigation. In the vast deserts of Arabia, when the seasonal streams ran dry, the only source of power was the wind which blew steadily from one direction for months. Mills had six or 12 sails covered in fabric or palm leaves. It was 500 years before the first windmill was seen in Europe.

12 The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724. Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West discovered it.

13 The fountain pen was invented for the Sultan of Egypt in 953 after he demanded a pen which would not stain his hands or clothes. It held ink in a reservoir and, as with modern pens, fed ink to the nib by a combination of gravity and capillary action.

14 The system of numbering in use all round the world is probably Indian in origin but the style of the numerals is Arabic and first appears in print in the work of the Muslim mathematicians al-Khwarizmi and al-Kindi around 825. Algebra was named after al-Khwarizmi’ s book, Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah, much of whose contents are still in use. The work of Muslim maths scholars was imported into Europe 300 years later by the Italian mathematician Fibonacci. Algorithms and much of the theory of trigonometry came from the Muslim world. And Al-Kindi’s discovery of frequency analysis rendered all the codes of the ancient world soluble and created the basis of modern cryptology.

15 Ali ibn Nafi, known by his nickname of Ziryab (Blackbird) came from Iraq to Cordoba in the 9th century and brought with him the concept of the three-course meal – soup, followed by fish or meat, then fruit and nuts. He also introduced crystal glasses (which had been invented after experiments with rock crystal by Abbas ibn Firnas – see No 4).

16 Carpets were regarded as part of Paradise by medieval Muslims, thanks to their advanced weaving techniques, new tinctures from Islamic chemistry and highly developed sense of pattern and arabesque which were the basis of Islam’s non-representationa l art. In contrast, Europe’s floors were distinctly earthly, not to say earthy, until Arabian and Persian carpets were introduced. In England, as Erasmus recorded, floors were “covered in rushes, occasionally renewed, but so imperfectly that the bottom layer is left undisturbed, sometimes for 20 years, harbouring expectoration, vomiting, the leakage of dogs and men, ale droppings, scraps of fish, and other abominations not fit to be mentioned”. Carpets, unsurprisingly, caught on quickly.

17 The modern cheque comes from the Arabic saqq, a written vow to pay for goods when they were delivered, to avoid money having to be transported across dangerous terrain. In the 9th century, a Muslim businessman could cash a cheque in China drawn on his bank in Baghdad.

18 By the 9th century, many Muslim scholars took it for granted that the Earth was a sphere. The proof, said astronomer Ibn Hazm, “is that the Sun is always vertical to a particular spot on Earth”. It was 500 years before that realisation dawned on Galileo. The calculations of Muslim astronomers were so accurate that in the 9th century they reckoned the Earth’s circumference to be 40,253.4km – less than 200km out. The scholar al-Idrisi took a globe depicting the world to the court of King Roger of Sicily in 1139.

19 Though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a “self-moving and combusting egg”, and a torpedo – a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up.

20 Medieval Europe had kitchen and herb gardens, but it was the Arabs who developed the idea of the garden as a place of beauty and meditation. The first royal pleasure gardens in Europe were opened in 11th-century Muslim Spain. Flowers which originated in Muslim gardens include the carnation and the tulip.

A DYING MUSLIM’S WISH OVER-RULED. A GHANAIAN FAMILY’S WOES IN KANSAS CITY, USA

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A Ghanaian family won the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery in Ghana. Like most deprived and under-privileged Africans, they raised enough money to buy flight tickets. The father in his late 50’s, the mother 42, and a son who was 22 were ready for the life-dream journey to the land of opportunity where milk and honey flowed and dollar bills littered the sidewalks for any interested walker to pickup – the United States of America. This was December of 2006.


            Coincidentally, the father knew a Ghanaian final year student at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri State USA who was visiting home on holidays. This student apparently agreed to be their host upon arrival in the USA. Finally, this naïve Muslim family ended up in a small university town called Columbia, in the State of Missouri, USA with their student host. The city of Columbia is the seat of the main campus of the University of Missouri system and other smaller colleges. Sooner, their host graduated and moved out of Columbia in pursuit of his life dreams. Now, this family was alone in Columbia with no other point of reference.

            As they struggled to get their feet on the ground in Columbia by doing menial jobs and/or taking classes in a college, their son became ill and was subsequently diagnosed for a terminal cancer. The family was eventually advised that their son’s type of cancer would be better treated at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, about 150 miles away. That meant relocation for the entire family. Mind you: The parents had no jobs nor benefits.

            Some how they were all transported to KU medical center in Kansas City where they knew nobody and had no resources for accommodation or funds to feed. They literarily became destitute and homeless in the Medical Center and resorted to begging for alms, as their son lay critically and terminally ill in a hospital bed. They were finally told the inevitable news that their son had no chance of survival and that his death was a matter of time, etc.

            After languishing in the hospital lobby for about three months, the father begged for donations from the hospital staff for the sole purpose of visiting home in Ghana to sell some landed property and return with some cash to offset some of the accumulating bills. He traveled to Ghana and was not heard from for over four months! Now the wife was left alone with their dying son in the hospital. She painfully decided to make a daunting request. She asked to be put in contact with the Muslim Community in Kansas City. Surprisingly, her request of them was not money for food. Her request was for the Muslim Community to make sure her son gets a Muslim burial when he dies. The Islamic Community contacted the Ghanaian Community in Kansas City, but none of their members was interested enough to visit the dying young man in the hospital.

            Yes. The long expected happened. Their son died on Friday, July 29, 2011. Now the main twist in the story: The hospital gave the woman some money, arranged for her flight to join her husband in Ghana and claimed their son’s dead body for research.

            What is the message from this? VISA lottery recipients: Beware! It is not as rosy in America as you are made to believe. Americans do not sleep in the afternoon as the British do. Americans work very hard for their money. You earn your living in the United States. If you cannot explain your source of wealth in the United States, you are a suspect and most likely a criminal. The Internal Revenue Service will be knocking on your doors eventually. Yes. It is a land of opportunity quite all right, but to get a free lunch, you have to be declared destitute. End.

Islam In China

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Although it may come as some surprise, Islam has survived in China for over 1300 [1400] years. It has done so despite such upheavals as the Cultural Revolution as well as regimes hostile to it.
Even though there are only sparse records of the event in Arab history, a brief one in Chinese history, The Ancient Record of the Tang Dynasty describes a landmark visit to China by an emissary from Arabia in the seventh century. Saad ibn Abi Waqqas (ra), one of the companions of Prophet [Muhammad (s)], led the delegation [in 650 C.E.], which brought gifts as well as the belief system of Islam to China. According to the traditions of Chinese Muslims, this event is considered to be the birth of Islam in China.
Although the emperor of the time, Yung-Wei, found Islam to be a bit too restrictive for his taste, he respected its teachings and considered it to be compatible with the teachings of Confucius. For this reason, he gave Saad complete freedom to propagate the faith among his people. To show his admiration for Islam, the emperor ordered the establishment of China’s first mosque at Ch’ang-an. The mosque still stands today, after thirteen [fourteen] centuries.
As time passed, relations between the Chinese and the Muslim heartland continued to improve. Many Muslim businessmen, visitors, and traders began to come to China for commercial and religious reasons. [Arabs had already established trade in the area before Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam).] The Umayyads and Abbasids sent six delegations to China, all of which were warmly received by the Chinese.
The Muslims who immigrated to China eventually began to have a great economic impact and influence on the country. They virtually dominated the import/export business by the time of the Sung Dynasty (960 – 1279 CE). Indeed, the office of Director General of Shipping was consistently held by a Muslim during this period.
In spite of the economic successes the Muslims enjoyed during these and later times, they were recognized as being fair, law-abiding, and self-disciplined. Thus, there is no record of appreciable anti-Muslim sentiment on the part of the Han (Chinese) people.
By the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 CE) Islam had been nourishing in China for 700 years. Up to this time, the Muslims had maintained a separate, alien status which had its own customs, language, and traditions and was never totally integrated with the Han people. Under the Ming Dynasty, generally considered to be the golden age of Islam in China, Muslims gradually became fully integrated into Han society.
An interesting example of this synthesis by Chinese Muslims was the process by which their names changed. Many Muslims who married Han women simply took on the name of the wife. Others took the Chinese surnames of Mo, Mai, and Mu – names adopted by Muslims who had the names Muhammad, Mustafa, and Masoud. Still others who could find no Chinese surname similar to their own adopted the Chinese character that most closely resembled their name – Ha for Hasan, Hu for Hussein, or Sai for Said, and so on.
In addition to names, Muslim customs of dress and food also underwent a synthesis with Chinese culture. The Islamic mode of dress and dietary restrictions were consistently maintained, however, and not compromised. In time, the Muslims began to speak Han dialects and to read in Chinese. Well into the Ming era, the Muslims could not be distinguished from other Chinese other than by their unique religious customs. For this reason, once again, there was little friction between Muslim and non-Muslim Chinese.
The rise of the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 CE), though, changed this. The Ch’ing were Manchu (not Han) and were a minority in China. They employed tactics of divide-and-conquer to keep the Muslims, Han, Tibetans, and Mongolians in struggles against one another. In particular, they were responsible for inciting anti-Muslim sentiment throughout China, and used Han soldiers to suppress the Muslim regions of the country.
When the Manchu Dynasty fell in 1911, the Republic of China was established by Sun Yat Sen, who immediately proclaimed that the country belonged equally to the Han, Hui (Muslim), Man (Manchu), Meng (Mongol), and the Tsang (Tibetan) peoples. His policies led to some improvement in relations among these groups.
After Mao Zedong’s revolution in 1948 and the beginning of communist rule in China, the Muslims, as well as other ethnic minorities found themselves once again oppressed. They actively struggled against communists before and after the revolution. In fact, in 1953, the Muslims revolted twice in an effort to establish an independent Islamic state [in regions where Muslims were an overwhelming majority]. These revolts were brutally suppressed by Chinese military force followed by the liberal use of anti-Muslim propaganda.
Today, the Muslims of China number some 20 million, according to unofficial counts. The government census of 1982, however, put the number much lower, at 15 million. These Muslims represent ten distinct ethnic groups. The largest are the Chinese Hui, who comprise over half of China’s Muslim population and are scattered throughout all of China. There is also a high concentration of Hui in the province of Ningsha in the north.
After the Hui, the remainder of the Muslim population belong to Turkic language groups and are racially Turks (except for the Mongol Salars and Aryan Tajiks). The Turkic group is further divided between the Uygurs, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kirgiz, Tatars and Dongshiang. Nearly all of the Turkic Muslims are found in the western provinces of Kansu and Xinjiang. The largest of these Muslim groups are the Uygurs.
The Uygurs are most populous in the province of Xinjiang, where they make up some 60% of the total population. This relatively small percentage is due to the massive influx of non-Muslim Chinese into the province in recent times, a situation that has brought problems of assimilation and raised concerns about the de-Islamization of one of China’s predominantly Muslim regions. [Muslims in Central Asia, under the USSR, were subjected to a similar population management, Russification of Central Asia;Muslims, and the Uygur in particular, suffered tremendously under the regime of Mao Zedong and his "Cultural Revolution." During the communist reign of terror, there was a violent campaign to eradicate all traces of Islam and of the ethnic identity of all non-Chinese. The Uygur language, which had for centuries used Arabic script, was forced to adopt the Latin alphabet. The Uygurs, as with most believing Muslims, were subjected to forced labour in the some 30,000 communes set up in the predominantly Muslim provinces. The Imams and akhunds were singled out for humiliating punishments and tortures....[and were forced to] tend to pig farms, which were sometimes kept in government-closed mosques.
Under the pretext of unification of national education, Islamic schools were closed and their students transferred to other schools which taught only Marxism and Maoism. Other outrages included the closing of over 29,000 mosques, the widespread torture of imams, and executions of over 360,000 Muslims.
Since the death of Mao and the end of his hard-line Marxist outlook nearly fifteen years ago, the communist government has greatly liberalized its policies toward Islam and Muslims. And despite the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, Islam has continued to thrive in China.
Today the campaign for assimilation started during the Cultural Revolution has slowed somewhat and the Turkic Muslims have greater freedom to express their cultural identity. The government has, for instance, allowed the reinstatement of the Arabic alphabet for use with the Uygur language. There is, however, continued discrimination against the Turkic Muslims by the immigrant Chinese (favored by the government) who have settled in the far western province of Xinjiang. This immigration has posed a problem as Han Chinese are migrating to Muslim areas at the rate of 200,000 a year. In many places where Muslims once were a majority, they are now a minority.
Since religious freedom was declared in 1978, the Chinese Muslims have not wasted time in expressing their convictions. There are now some 28,000 mosques in the entire People’s Republic of China, with 12,000 in the province of Xinjiang. In addition, there is a large number of Imams available to lead the Muslim community (in Xinjiang alone there are over 2,800).
There has been an increased upsurge in Islamic expression in China, and many nationwide Islamic associations have been organized to coordinate inter-ethnic activities among Muslims. Islamic literature can be found quite easily and there are currently some eight different translations of the Qur’an in the Chinese language as well as translations in Uygur and the other Turkic languages. The Muslims of China have also been given almost unrestricted allowance to make the Hajj to Mecca . In 1986 there were some 2,300 Chinese Muslims at Hajj. (Compared to the 30 Soviet Muslims allowed to make the same pilgrimage, this number seems quite generous, considering that the Soviet Muslim population outnumbers China’s by nearly four times).
China’s Muslims have also been active in the country’s internal politics. As always, the Muslims have refused to be silenced. Several large demonstrations have been staged by Muslims to protest intrusions on Muslim life. Last year, for instance, Muslims staged a massive protest rally in Beijing to demand the removal of anti-Islamic literature from China’s bookstores. The Turkic [group] Muslims have also held demonstrations for a greater voice in the running of their own affairs and against the continued large-scale immigration of non-Muslims into their provinces. In the news this spring are more reports of demonstrations and struggles by Chinese Muslims to regain their rights. Insha’Allah they will be successful.

Ahmed Wetaka
P.O BOX 2488
Mbale- Uganda
Mobile +256 772 609736

Kuwait’s new mosque is more than a nod to the Taj Mahal

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Kuwait’s new mosque is more than a nod to the Taj Mahal

James Calderwood

Jul 7, 2011
The As-Sadeeqa Fatimatul Zahra Mosque in Kuwait city.

 

KUWAIT CITY // India has always been an important source of the foreign labour that has built Kuwait’s skyscrapers, taught in its schools and run its businesses.

With the opening of a mosque this year, the subcontinent has become a source of architectural inspiration, too. The As-Sadeeqa Fatimatul Zahra Mosque, built in the style of the Taj Mahal, is already gaining a reputation as one of Kuwait’s most distinctive buildings.

“It’s giving a sight for the [passengers of] planes when they come in,” said Eisa Mohammed, the supervisor of the Shiite mosque in the Abdullah al Mubarak residential area, a suburb on the approach to Kuwait International Airport.

“Inside, it’s totally different. It’s not the same as the Taj Mahal for sure,” Mr Mohammed said. “It’s not a mausoleum; it’s not a visiting place; it’s a place for praying.”

The original Taj Mahal was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in about 1632. The mausoleum in Agra, India, was finished in about 1653 and is revered as one of the world’s architectural wonders. In 1983 the building became a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Jumaa Hussain, one of the engineers in charge of the construction, said the building’s internal design differs from the original by including features such as carvings of verses from the Quran. Outside, the four minarets and central dome are adorned with brass crescents.

Mr Hussain said the mosque has been built on an area of 3,136 square metres and estimated that the Taj Mahal “is three or four times bigger”. The mosque was squeezed into a plot of government-allocated land and its design had to forgo the Indian tomb’s famous reflecting pool for more practical considerations such as a car park.

 

The mosque was the idea of a member of parliament, Hassan Johar, Mr Mohammed said. The Shiite parliamentarian raised about 1.2 million Kuwaiti dinars (Dh16m) to pay for its construction, which included a 35,000-dinar carpet from Egypt and stone pillars from Iran.

Copying the Taj Mahal is not a new idea. In fact, it is a practice that dates back to the Mughals themselves. The Bibi Ka Maqbara in Aurangabad was built by Mughal rulers in the late 17th century in the image of the Taj Mahal at a fraction of its cost. Las Vegas, Dubai and Shenzhen, China, have also copied the tomb’s white design in theme parks.

A wealthy Bangladeshi recently built a copy of the Taj Mahal near Dhaka, causing Indian diplomats to question if the building breached copyright laws.

The proprietors of the new Kuwait mosque have avoided that concern. Mr Johar received the blessing of the Indian embassy before building the mosque, Mr Mohammed said.

 

 

jcalderwood@thenational.ae

Saudi Arabia’s secret plan to stop free expression

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Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz

Recently, Amnesty International obtained the secret draft of a proposed anti-terrorism law in Saudi Arabia. We were stunned by its contents.

We (Amnesty International) had no choice but to alert you, our supporters, of its draconian nature.

Last Friday, we posted our analysis of this law to our international website, as well as the law itself in English and Arabic. By Saturday, that website had been blocked all across Saudi Arabia.

It seems Saudi authorities didn’t want you to know that a person could be jailed for a minimum of 10 years for “questioning the integrity” of the king. They didn’t want you to find out about all those peaceful activists who could be held in detention indefinitely under the vague definition of “terrorist crimes”.

The Saudi Arabian government may not want you to know these awful truths, but we do!

And now that you know, please take action to stop these extreme measures from becoming law under the guise of countering terrorism!

Next month, your fellow Amnesty activists in New York will gear up for action. They will stand strong and deliver your signatures to officials at the Saudi Arabian Mission to the United Nations.

Let’s flood the Saudi government with truck-loads of signatures!

First, sign our petition opposing Saudi Arabia’s oppressive anti-terrorism law. Then, click on our Facebook or Twitter buttons to the right of this message to share with a friend.

The time to act is now.

At a time when peaceful protest is spreading throughout much of the region, we will not sit by quietly while authorities in Saudi Arabia take further steps to quash the right to dissent and call for change.

We’ve exposed Saudi Arabia’s dirty little secret. Now help us see to it that authorities answer for it.

In Solidarity,

Linda Veazey
Country Specialist, Saudi Arabia
Amnesty International USA

Makkah Mean Time effective from Ramadan

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Muslims around the world can now set their watches to Makkah Mean Time in Ramadan when all four faces of the world’s largest clock atop a soaring skyscraper in the Holy City becomes operational.

The clock, more than six times larger in diameter than London’s famed Big Ben, will establish Makkah as an alternate time standard to the Greenwich meridian.

At a conference in Doha in 2008, Muslim clerics and scholars presented “scientific” arguments that Makkah time is the true global meridian. They claim Makkah is the center of the world and that the Greenwich standard was imposed by the West in 1884.

We have heard of how Muslims invented this and that…then What Went Wrong?

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Assalaam aleikum.

We have heard of the Golden Age of Islam, and lots of It was Islam that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment. It was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed.” 

We have heard of Ibn Sina as father of medicine; Ibn Battuta as a traveller, writer and explorer; Ibn Khaldoun the philosopher and scholar of Plato stature; Ibn Rushd, another philosopher and physician… Then what wen wrong for us to become the laughing stock of the likes of Bernard Lewis who is wont at reminding us for not posting any university in the world’s best 500!

In this month’s edition of The New Atlantis, an American journal of technology and society,  Hillel Ofek approaches the topic from the scholarly angle. By the way, our IUIU features in this article for good reasons! Alhamdulillah.


http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/why-the-arabic-world-turned-away-from-science

Matovu-Mutesasira A. Twaha,
+971-50-2755731;
+256-772-680353.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Thank you Brother Twaha.

Article is very long, with very good intellectual arguments, but to me appears to arrive at one wrong conclusion: That Mainstream Sunni Islam’s inherent opposition to free thinking and reason are the only reason(s) why Muslims have since lost their share of prominence in the fields of science and advanced civilisation. At some point the writer even stated that “the doors of ijtihad were closed under Sunni Islam”.

Nothing can be any further from the truth. I do not deny that there are some matters on which we are required to just believe, but Islam is still the most open religion when it comes to reason. 98% of what we believe in can be explained. From the Trinity, age of consent, accountability for personal deeds and final salvation, Christianity and all those other faiths are told to “just believe”. They just won’t answer any question paused to their faith, they tell you, the people who wrote this stuff were inspired by the holy spirit, therefore its holy text, period! How come the Christians, with that enormous blockade on reason still control what is claimed to be science/civilisation?

We as Muslims should not be intimidated into blindly following and doing useless things because we fear being ridiculed as ‘backward’. For instance, what benefit does the US get from the trillions of dollars it has so far sunk into the International Space Station and trying to establish life on other planets as if the earth is full? Of what benefit is it if someone ventures into creation of babies in test tubes when there are plenty of women with fertile wombs? Realistically, majority of what we call progress is actually a unique version of madness and because Muslims generally concern ourselves with what benefits us in the hereafter, you wont get many Muslim governments/influential individuals investing alot of effort into useless inquisitiveness as trying to estimate the age, in millions of years, of some soil sample or skeleton through a series of terribly unreliable carbon dating DNA checks.

In summary, let nobody fool you as a Muslim that we are backward or we have lost out on scientific and evolutionary advancement. Everything we need, we have got. What we don’t have, we don’t need. Today, the most marvellous architectural wonders are to be found in the Middle East. It doesn’t matter if a South African Company and American consultants did the work on the Burj al Arab, the fact is, the Arabs needed it, and they got it.

Science is simply a pack of lies that should be taken in with caution. Concepts like ‘light years’, ‘three million years ago’, ‘radius of the earth’, ‘carbon dating’ etc are all used everyday but they are abstract! Nobody should ever convince you that they can reliably tell that a rock is 6000 years old – they are just playing on our minds. Thats not something you can reliably conclude on. Where does the earth stop, for someone to claim they know its radius? Lets not get carried away!

Thats what i think.

Fazhil Mwesigwa.

Update on Muslim Projects in Swaziland

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Assalaamu alaikum.
 
I hereby write on behalf of the muslim community and the poor community of Swaziland, in the Nyakatfo area for assistance in Building a Community Center to include a School, Clinic, Skills centre, Youth Center, Women’s Centre.
 
This will also help the Muslim and Other Youth to achieve Good Matric results to qualify for Universities both locally and in Madina Islamic University, Malaysia and others..
The country does not have qualified muslim teachers for Arabic, Quran and School subjects, especially Sciences.

NAME OF ORGANIZATION :   ISLAMIC YOUTH ORGANIZATION OF SWAZILAND.

ADRESSES;     POSTAL ;    PO BOX 6162

                                 MBABANE   H100

                                SWAZILAND

Website                          www.theiyos.org    

CHAIRMAN:  DR BASHEER B L SHABANGU

                                PO BOX 2803

                                MANZINI      M200

                               SWAZILAND

CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBERS (& SIGNATORIES)

                  1.       CHAIRMAN:   DR BASHEER B L SHABANGU   

                                                                basheer@realnet.co.sz

                                                               (+268) 7602 1747  cell  (+268) 25055110/339 office.

                   2.    ADMINISTRATOR/COORDINATOR :    BR HAMIDULLAH  V DLAMINI                

                                                               hamidlamini@hotmail.com    

                                                               (+268) 7 603 9687                                      

                       3.   SECRETARY : BR MUSA A MASANGANE     

                                                               masangane@hotmail.com                     

                                                               (+268) 7 604 2822

                      4. TREASURER  :     BR SULAYMAN LUSHABA

                                                                    (*268) 7 6029073

 BANK ACCOUNT :

Name:    ISLAMIC YOUTH ORGANIZATION OF SWAZILAND

                 STANDARD BANK (SWAZILAND)

                MANZINI MAIN BRANCH

                CODE   66 -05 64                            

               ACCOUNT NUMBER   0140047208901

                CURRENT ACCOUNT

Enclosures;
Details of the Nyakatfo Project/Appeal. Click below to open up the document:
 Nyakatfo High School and Islamic Centre[1]

 
I have had one of many meetings with the School Principal and we are desperately asking many Organizations for assistance in any form. We have already got some water tanks.
We need a borehole, electricity, computers, teachers houses etc as detailed in the attached documents.
 
Minister for Foreign Affairs has been asked to write a supporting letter (+268 7606 2909)
Senator Bhutana is a helpful neighbour of the Centre (+268 7 672 4960)
School Principal Mr Msweli                                               (+268 7608 5174)
 
This is the first School and Centre in Swaziland that will help muslims and the local community. 
 
 
Please also see information in our humble website
www.theiyos.org
 
we hope that you will encourage all other individuals, companies and organizations to donate to this noble project.
 
Yours Faithfully
 
Dr Basheer B L Shabangu
Chairman; Islamic Youth Organization of Swaziland
                     Swaziland Islamic Trust
                     Nyakatfo Islamic School Project

Of our OIC choice, Hon. Isaac Musumba!

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Assalaam aleikum.
Here we go. We have heard from Mr Isaac Musumba that he has been selected by the Government of Uganda (GoU) to be the next Sec. Gen. of OIC. Going by the newspaper quotation, “I have moved many steps ahead of MP level! So, my defeat was an opening for a bigger post.” He said that the post is on rotational basis and that this time round it has to be taken by a member state from East Africa, which is only Uganda.
Mash’Allah.
Well, I have been reading the latest from soon to be Isaac’s predecessor, the indefatigable Turkish and highly academic, Professor Ekmelddin Ihasnogolu. He had made a resounding presentation about the science and faith at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates a week ago. It was attended by a score of academicians, researchers and authors from many countries.
http://gulftoday.ae/portal/24550cf5-1ef7-4f3c-a323-e319b87075c6.aspx
Ihasanoglu has been seen “camping” at our IUIU more than once, requested the GoU to accelerate transfer of land to our university. He has been seen attending sessions of members of OIC parliamentary union in different countries…
Iam not insinuating that Ihsanoglu’s shoes might be very big for any other replacement, but I want us to share advice and ideas with Hon. Isaac and see how we milk the OIC.
What do we expect from the OIC, more so led by a Ugandan? Please contribute ideas to Hon. Isaac.
= What I think he should streamline is how Ugandan businessmen can tangibly gain from trading among OIC member states. During the April 13-7, 2011 OIC Expo in Sharjah, I saw some ladies bringing ebibbo naamenvu. Another stall for Uganda was empty waiting for articrafts that had delayed to reach (Pity them however, for how could they have reached on time when the national aircarrier that the NRM found in place is no more!) Our stalls were surrounded by pavilions (an umbrella of) products from Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey etc.
=Hon. Isaac should aspire to overcome all the hurdles and see that the Islamic Finance System is adopted  and availed to those who want it.
Hon. Isaac has this year been able to attend the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Astana, Kazakhstan (unlike last year when he and Olive Kigongo failed to attend the same meet in Kula Lumpur because they were wading their way out of CHOGM accountability). So, he has witnessed how countries that operate the IF System are fast moving forward. Inadvertently, that is how we shall easily gain from the IDB funded projects!!!!

 
We hope that Hon. Isaac will not serve petty interests of the hand that picked him, the NRM, but serve the wider interests of the country and particularly the Muslims. Why I say so, because two years ago, while Uganda was holding the permanent seat on the UN Security Council, Hon. Rugunda and his master assured the visiting Iranian President that they will not vote for sanctions vs his country, but they did the opposite a few months later.

 


Matovu-Mutesasira A. Twaha,
+971-50-2755731;
+256-772-680353.

Dutch Court Issues License to promote Islamophobia

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Dutch Court Issues License to promote Islamophobia
After all it was Dutch UN soldiers handed over Srebrenica Muslims to Serbian brute Ratco Mladic for slaughter.

By Latheef Farook

Dutch Court acquitted on Thursday 23 June 2011, the fanatic anti Islam campaigner Geert Wilders on all five charges of inciting hatred   against Muslims.

Judge Marcel van Oosten said that Wilders’ statements were “rude and condescending” but not a criminal offence according to Dutch law. The verdict, license to incite people, has shocked the civilized world.

‘The abusive language about Islam and the artificial distinction between Islam and Muslims have one effect: contributing to hatred of Muslims,’ said lawyer Gerard Spong. The judge’s ruling that such statements fall within the context of a broad debate is vague, Spong said, and raised the question ‘what is the context?’

Alexander Pechtold, leader of the D66 Liberal party, said the ruling could not be seen as a license to incite hatred, even for politicians.Their lawyer, Ties Prakken, was quoted by Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf as saying they were “deeply disappointed” and believed the right of minorities to be protected against hate speech had been violated.

Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, leader of the far right Freedom Party, has been inciting people against Muslims with his speeches. Wilders, a strong admirer of Israel, described Islam as a “fascist ideology and called for  ban on the Holy Koran, which he compared to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf .

In 2008 Wilders   produced a 17 minute video ” Fitna”, which criticized the Holy  Koran , blamed Muslims for the 9/11 attack , accused Muslims of terrorism  and demonized them.  No TV company in the Netherlands wanted to broadcastthe film and some Dutch politicians tried to impose a ban before Wilders posted it on the internet in March 2008. Wilders’ Freedom Party also calls for banning burka, Halal slaughter and criticized Muslims’ stance on sexual freedoms, such as gay rights.

Muslims worldwide ought to be proud of themselves that, as peace loving people, they do not indulge in such destructive and disgraceful hate campaigns insulting a religion as Islam is completely oppose to it.

Abu Muaz, from Islam For UK rightly said: “If I were to say some of the things Wilders has said, I would be arrested under the Terrorism Act.  “But, because

With the acquittal, it appears the radical views of Wilders are now more mainstream in a country that for decades was viewed as one of the most liberal and tolerant in the world.

One politician said “Now the good news is that it’s also legal to be critical about Islam, to speak publicly in a critical way about Islam and this is something that we need because the Islamisation of our societies is a major problem and a threat to our freedom and I’m allowed to say so.”  In view of the poison he was spreading Wilders was prevented from entering many European countries including Britain.

In his recent hate speech  in NASHVILLE, Tennessee on 14 May 2011 Wilders said;

I travel the world to tell people of the dangerous force of Islam. I am here with a warning and a battle cry: “Wake up, Christians of Tennessee. Islam is at your gate.” Do not make the mistake which Europe made. Do not allow Islam to gain a foothold here. Islam is dangerous. Islam wants to establish a state on earth, ruled by Islamic sharia law.Islam aims for the submission, whether by persuasion, intimidation or violence, of all non-Muslims, including Christians.

 

Islam is an ideology of conquest. It uses two methods to achieve this goal by sword and mass immigration.  Islam’s founder Muhammad himself taught his followers how to conquer through immigration when they moved from Mecca to Medina. This phenomenon of conquest through immigration is called al-Hijra.  Islam is spreading like wildfire. The Koran explicitly tells Muslims that they are “the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind” and that non-Muslims are “the worst of creatures.” Our Judeo-Christian Western culture is far better and far superior to the Islamic culture. We must be proud to say so!  Let us tell the truth about Islam.

In some neighborhoods Islamic regulations are already being enforced, also on non-Muslims. Women’s rights are being trampled. We are confronted with headscarves and burqa’s, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honor-killings where men murder their wives, daughters or sisters because they do not behave in accordance with Islamic rules.

Polls show that the influence of those Muslims who live according to Islam’s aggressive requirements is growing, especially among young people. Among 15-year-old German Muslims, 40 percent consider Islam more important than democracy. Among Muslim university students in Britain, 40 percent support sharia. One in three of those students consider it legitimate to kill in the name of Islam.

Christians are asked to follow the example of Jesus. Muslims are ordered to follow the example of Muhammad. That is why Islam is dangerous. While Christianity preaches love, Islam preached hatred and practices violence. Hatred and violence for everyone who is not a Muslim. Muhammad personally participated in the ethnic cleansing of Medina, where half the population once was Jewish. Muhammad helped to chop off their heads. On his deathbed, he ordered his followers to cleanse Arabia of all Jews and Christians.

And now, Europe is beginning to look like Arabia.

Just today, a poll revealed that in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, half the Islamic youths are anti-Semitic. It is dangerous for Jews to walk the streets in Brussels.

If you wear a cross or a kippah in certain urban areas in Europe today, you risk being beaten up. In the capital of my own country, Amsterdam, a tram driver wasforced to remove his crucifix from sight, while his Muslim colleagues are allowed to wear the veil.

In the Netherlands, the city authorities in Amsterdam register polygamous marriages. The authorities in Rotterdam serve only halal meals in municipal cafeterias. Theaters provide separate seats for women who are not allowed to sit next to men. Municipal swimming pools have separate swimming hours for men and women, Muslim lawyers do not have to stand when the judges enter court rooms.

Meanwhile Jews are no longer safe on our streets. In Amsterdam, the city of Anne Frank, Jews are again being harassed in the streets. Even political leaders acknowledged that life has become unsafe for Jews in Holland. Do you know what they said? They advised Jews to emigrate. Jews are already running for Israel. But I say: Jews must not leave, violent Muslims must leave!

What is needed, my friends, is a spirit of resistance. Why? Because resistance to evil is our moral duty. This resistance begins with expressing our solidarity to Christians, Jews, indeed, to all people worldwide, who are the victims of Islam. There are millions of them.

We can see what Islam has in store for us if we watch the fate of the Christians in the Islamic world, such as the Copts in Egypt, the Maronites in Lebanon, the Assyrians in Iraq, and Christians elsewhere.

Almost every day, churches are arsoned and Christians are assassinated in Islamic countries. Rivers of tears are flowing from the Middle East, where there is only one safe haven for Christians. You know where that is. The only place in the Middle East where Christians are safe is Israel. That is why Israel deserves oursupport. Israel is a safe haven for everyone, whatever their belief and opinions. Israel is a beacon of light in a region of total darkness. Israel is fighting our fight.

The jihad against Israel is a jihad against all of us. If Israel falls, we, too, will feel the consequences. If Jerusalem falls, Athens, Rome, Amsterdam and Nashville will fall. Therefore, we all are Israel. We should always support Israel!

Today, we are confronted with political unrest in the Arab countries. The Arab peoples long for freedom. However, the ideology and culture of Islam is so deeply entrenched in these countries that real freedom is simply impossible as long as Islam remains dominant.

A recent poll in post-revolution Egypt found that 85 percent of Egyptians are convinced that Islam’s influence on politics is good, 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned, 84 percent want the death penalty for apostates. The press refers to the events in the Arab world today as the Arab spring. I call it the Arab winter.

Dear friends, here is my warning. Make no mistake: Islam is also coming for America. In fact, it is already here. America is facing a stealth jihad, the Islamic attempt to introduce sharia law bit by bit.  Thus concluded Wilders.

Why are Muslims so backward and powerless?

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Why are Muslims so backward and powerless?

Dr Farrukh Saleem

The writer is the Pakistani Executive Director of the Centre for  Research and Security Studies, a think tank established in 2007 and an Islamabad-based freelance columnist.

We Muslims must wonder why is that only Muslim States like Iraq,Afghanistan and Libya are being attacked by the Christian West.

Why do we get pushed around by them with the former President of the US George Bush calling it a crusade?

Why is that Muslim States often depend on the West for survival, even Saudi Arabia, the epicentre for Islamic fundamentalism (i.e. Wahabism) is dependent on American largesse for their survival?

While they preach Wahhabi Islam all over the world, they allow American bases within a few hundred kilometres from the Holiest Shrines of Islam.

There are an estimated 1,476,233,470 Muslims on the face of the planet: one billion in Asia, 400 million in Africa, 44 million in Europe and six million in the Americas.

Every fifth human being is a Muslim.

For every single Hindu there are two Muslims,  for every Buddhist there are two Muslims and  for every Jew there are one hundred Muslims.

Ever wondered why Muslims are so powerless?

Here is why: There are 57 member-countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), and all of them put together have around 500 universities; one university for every three million Muslims.

The United States has 5,758 universities and India has 8,407.

In 2004, Shanghai Jiao Tong University compiled an ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities’ , and intriguingly, not one university from Muslim-majority states was in the top-500.

As per data collected by the UNDP, literacy in the Christian world stands at nearly 90 per cent and 15 Christian-majority states have a literacy rate of 100 per cent.

A Muslim-majority state, as a sharp contrast, has an average literacy rate of around 40 per cent and there is no Muslim-majority state with a literacy rate of 100 per cent.

Some 98 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Christian world had completed primary school, while less than 50 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Muslim world did the same.

Around 40 per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Christian world attended university while no more than two per cent of the ‘literates’ in the Muslim world did the same.

Muslim-majority countries have 230 scientists per one million Muslims.

The US has 4,000 scientists per million and

Japan has 5,000 per million.

In the entire Arab world, the total number of full-time researchers is 35,000 and there are only 50 technicians per one million Arabs. (in the Christian world there are up to 1,000 technicians per one million).

Furthermore, the Muslim world spends 0.2 per cent of its GDP on research and development, while the Christian world spends around five per cent of its GDP.

Conclusion: The Muslim world lacks the capacity to produce knowledge!

Daily newspapers per 1,000 people and number of book titles per million are two indicators of whether knowledge is being diffused in a society.

In Pakistan, there are 23 daily newspapers per 1,000 Pakistanis while the same ratio in Singapore is 360. In the UK, the number of book titles per million stands at 2,000 while the same in Egypt is 20.

Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to diffuse knowledge.

Exports of high technology products as a percentage of total exports are an important indicator of knowledge application.

Pakistan’s export of high technology products as a percentage of total exports stands at one per cent.

The same for Saudi Arabia is 0.3 per cent;

Kuwait , Morocco , and Algeria are all at 0.3 per cent,

while Singapore is at 58 per cent.

Conclusion: The Muslim world is failing to apply knowledge.

Why are Muslims powerless?
…..Because we aren’t producing knowledge,
…..Because we aren’t diffusing knowledge.,
…..Because we aren’t applying knowledge.

And, the future belongs to knowledge-based societies.

Interestingly, the combined annual GDP of 57 OIC-countries is under $2 trillion.

America, just by herself, produces goods and services worth $12 trillion;

China $8 trillion,

Japan $3.8 trillion and

Germany $2.4 trillion (purchasing power parity basis).

Oil rich Saudi Arabia , UAE, Kuwait and Qatar collectively produce goods and services (mostly oil) worth $500 billion;

Spain alone produces goods and services worth over $1 trillion,

Catholic Poland $489 billion and

Buddhist Thailand $545 billion.

Muslim GDP as a percentage of world GDP is fast declining.

So, why are Muslims so powerless?

*Answer: Lack of education.

All we do is shout to Allah the whole day and blame everyone else for our multiple failures!