June Vol. 1, 2009
(IP)- This year is known as the International Year of Natural Fibres 2009, in honor of the virtues of cotton, wool, silk and linen/flax among other lesser-known varieties of cloth derived from animal and plant sources.
In the Medicine of the Prophet, Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyya quotes Al- Raazee on the properties of silk, in particular, which is used for women: “Raw silk (ibreesim) is warmer than flax but cooler than cotton; it nourishes the flesh. Every coarse clothing makes the body lean and the skin firm, and so the reverse is true.”
Al Jawziyya continues: “Clothing is of three kinds: one kind that heats and warms the body, one kind that warms it but does not heat it, and one kind that neither heats nor warms it. There is none that heats but does not warm it, for whatever heats it is even more likely to warm it. Clothing of hair and woollen material [like sheep’s wool, alpaca, camel hair, angora and cashmere] heats and warms, while clothing of linen, silk and cotton warms but does not heat. For garments of linen are cold and dry, those of wool are warm and dry, those of cotton are of moderate warmth, and those of silk are softer and have less heat than cotton.
“The author of the Minhaaj said: Clothing from silk does not heat as cotton does, but it is moderate. All soft and smooth clothing is less heating to the body, gives less aid to the dissolving of such matters as are to be dissolved, and is more suitable for wearing in summer and in hot lands.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations touts natural fibres above synthetic varieties as fabrics made from plant fibre or animal hair have served to boost the economies of economically developing countries. Some 30 million tons of natural fibres are farmed from animals and plants across the globe. The biggest crop is cotton, with an annual production of some 25 million tons, while 2.2 million tons of wool is produced every year in almost 100 countries, with Australia accounting for roughly a quarter of that. There is also flax, sisal, henequen, coir (from the husk of the coconut,) and hemp (although, for Muslims, even the form of hemp purified of the THC intoxicant should not be used on the head.) Jute, which comes from the skin of Corchorus plants, is the world’s second biggest fibre crop (2.3-2.8 million tons, main producers are India and Bangladesh) but is worth far less than cotton, or wool. Hafez Ghanem, FAO Assistant Director-General for Social and Economic Development, said production of animal and vegetable fibres is a major agricultural sector, worth some $40 billion annually to the world’s farmers and, in some cases, accounts for up to 50 percent of a developing country’s exports.
Care for your clothes, naturally.
In addition to the natural detergent formulas Hakimah Raziya A. Mu’min gives above, as a natural Islamic medicine practitioner, the hakimah also has added a few tips on the preferred use of natural fabrics, and ways to maintain the freshness and life of your clothing without the use of chemical laundering products.
“Wool and cotton fibres which are in turn made into muslin, terry cloth, corduroy, and flannel are the best to use for clothing. Synthetic fabrics hold bacteria longer, and can contribute to yeast infections. Laundry detergents are full of perfumes, petroleum, and chemicals; they can also be very expensive. The same applies to perfumed body soaps. You can grate a bar of regular Castile soap, and use it for laundry soap, adding borax and baking soda. Stain removers can be made using 2 tbsp. cream of tartar and water, making a paste of the two and rubbing into stain. Allow it to dry before washing. For clothes brighteners, add 1 to 2 tablespoons Epsom salts to the wash cycle. Add ¼ cup baking soda to your wash cycle as a fabric softener, or a ¼ cup or less borax. A ¼ cup of vinegar added to the wash cycle will prevent static cling.
Sources: FAO, Hakimah Razia A. Mu’min
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Hk. Razia A. Mumin
We have come a long way in modern times, in regard to comforts and medical wonders and technology. Everything is quick and efficient. We live in a developed nation that is constantly trying to improve, and upgrade itself. We rush through life: to school, work, meetings, and business. Our day is well planned and set to fit into society much the same as every other American. Because Allah, the Most High, has pre-ordained that we maintain ourselves and our families, as well as be law abiding citizens, we as Muslims do this with pride.
However, through all of the hustle and bustle we occasionally need to stop and reflect. We should slow down, and using a microscope, look at our lives. Are we happy? Are we really doing what is expected of us? Whose standard of living are we living up to? Can we live healthier on our present income? Are we ever going to be self sufficient? (Do we have a choice?)
We can do better.
Our ancestors knew how to be self sufficient. In days of old, work consumed their time much the same way it does ours; however, their work consisted largely of manual labor. People were cutting wood, carrying water, tending the fire, cooking, farming, sewing the clothing, home schooling their children, tending gardens, raising animals, making soap, and doing community service. Although their life expectancy was much shorter than ours, and they didn’t have half of the modern conveniences that we have now, they definitely did a lot more work than we do now. We need to practice some olden day methods because, soon, there may be no way of getting around it. With the global economy the way it is, the olden days might just catch up to us again! It is better to be prepared.
If we want to survive the coming years on our own two feet, we need to pay more attention to our ancestor’s way of life. Read about them; do serious research. We have to incorporate naturalist ways of living and share our ideas and views with each other. We need to take a crash course, and act on it quickly.
We need to purchase organic seeds. Why organic? Because the quality of the finished product is healthier and easier to digest. After harvesting your produce this year, let some of your crops go to seed and save the seeds for the next planting season. Generally, you should plan your gardens early in the winter. As soon as the ground is workable, work it! Start your seedlings in your homes.
Start gathering and stocking the sorts of foods that will hold you over for long periods of time, such as: olive oil, ghee, chapatti flour, oatmeal, vermicelli, barley, garlic, onions, basmati rice, honey, nuts and dried fruits. We need to learn how to truly be self sufficient, and we need to do it now.
American Indians were self sufficient; they lived off of the land. They bartered and traded and made their own clothing, food, and medicine. People all over the world have been self sufficient for centuries. The consumer society that many Americans live in is now out of control. We need to refocus.
Here is a basic list of things you’ll need to get started.
1. First Aid- You can never be prepared enough. Have these on hand: surgical tape, gauze, du’a water, white cotton material, cotton balls, castor oil, white cotton wash clothes (collect them; you can’t have enough), peroxide, walnut powder (fungal problems and oral diseases), turmeric (antiseptic), cayenne pepper (bleeding, open wounds), charcoal powder (poison ingestion), baking soda (bee stings).
3. Herbs- If you don’t have the herbs below, plant them. Most of them are perennial and can save you a visit to the doctor’s office: amla powder (urinary tract infection, blood purifier), burdock, walnut powder, yarrow (fever, sore throat), elderberry, red clover, catnip, neem powder (anti viral, contains sulfur and penicillin), peppermint, cayenne, turmeric, alum powder (rotting and breaking teeth, tooth ache), licorice, cloves, myrrh, aloe, echinacea, fenugreek, plantain, horsetail, and raspberry, comfrey, and witch hazel.
4. Tools- A part of self sufficiency, you must collect them and keep them clean: hoe, splitting axe, pick ax, chainsaw, generator, cast iron cookware, rake, garden fork, shovel, wheel barrel, buckets, ladders, snow shovels, hammer, nails, hoses, work gloves, boots, hard hat waterproof outdoor clothing, flint rock, funnel and a watering can.
5. Essential oils- these are important also; if you can find a pure source it would be helpful to have: lemon, peppermint, lavender, rose, ginger and eucalyptus on hand.
6. Seeds to purchase- Remember organic is without a doubt the best. If you are having a problem finding them on or offline don’t let it stop you from planting. Perennials like asparagus will serve you for many years, Allah willing.
7. Skills to learn and teach-Basket weaving, sewing, knitting, fishing, crocheting, animal husbandry, building, gardening, car repair, shoe making and soap making.
8. Cleaning supplies- Castile soap is the cleanest of soaps and is multi purpose. You can grate a bar of Castile soap, add 1 egg, 1tsp olive oil, and 1tsp lemon juice and have an enriching shampoo. The following are a few inexpensive recipes for general cleaning. Dish-washing detergent: Mix together 2tbsp. baking soda and 2tbsp. borax. Add very hot water, then cold for washing dishes. Window cleaner: Mix 1 flat club soda (16oz) with 2 tbsp. baking soda and 2tbsp. borax. Mix ingredients together and put in spray bottle.
Health and Survival tips for 2009
(Take the time to be healthy
We have come a long way in 14, 00 years, in regards to modern comforts and medical wonders. We have seen lots of changes in travel, broadcasting, massive building, and production. Everything is quick and efficient. We live in a developed nation that is constantly trying to improve, and upgrade itself. We rush through life, to School, work, meetings, and business. Our day is planned and set to fit into society as every other American. Allah Ta Ala has pre ordained that we maintain ourselves and our families, and be law abiding citizens. We as Muslims do this with pride.
However, through all of the hustle and bustle we occasionally need to really stop and reflect. We should slow down, and using a microscope, look at our lives. Are we happy? Are we really doing what is expected of us? Whose standard of living, are we living up to? Can we live healthier, on our present income? Are we ever going to be self sufficient? Do we have a choice?
We may or may not ever have a lot of money however; we do have intelligence, a will to survive and the ability to do better. We can do better.
People the world over have the same basic needs,
And they are food, shelter and clothing. Times as they are now, we need them as inexpensively as possible. Our ancestors knew how to cut a corner.
In days of old, Work consumed the day the same as ours, however it was manual labor. People were cutting wood, carrying water tending the fire, sewing the clothing, farming, home schooling their children, tending to the garden and raising animals, cooking, making soap, doing community services……that was defiantly a lot more work than we do today. Also their life expectancy was much shorter than ours; they didn’t have half of the modern conveniences that we have now. We need to practice some olden day methods because there is no getting around it, they olden have caught up with us again!
If we want to survive the coming years ahead on our own two feet, on minimum wage or no wage we need to pay more attention to our ancestor’s way of life. Read about them and do serious research. We have got to incorporate naturalist ways of living and share our ideas and views with each others. We need to take a crash course, and act on it quickly! We need to purchase organic seeds. Why organic, because the quality of the finished product is healthier and easier to digest. When you plant this season let some of your crops go to seed and save the seeds for the next planting season. Plan your gardens NOW, early in the winter and as soon as the ground is workable work it! Start your seedlings in your homes as soon as possible. Start gathering and stocking things that will hold you over for long periods of time such as; olive oil, ghee, chapatti flour, oatmeal, vermicelli, barley, garlic, onions, basmati rice, honey, nuts and dried fruits. We need to learn how to truly be self sufficient, NOW!
American Indians were self sufficient they lived off of the land. They bartered and traded and made their own clothing, food, and medicine. People all over the world have been self sufficient for centuries. The consumer society that many Americans live in is out of control, and most probably will be coming to a screeching halt, very soon. We need to refocus, and get ready.
Here is a basic list of things you’ll need to get you started;
Unexpected accidents happen all the time. You can never be prepared enough especially if you have small children.
Surgical tape, gauze, dua water, white cotton material, cotton balls, castor oil, white cotton wash clothes (collect them, you can’t have enough), peroxide, walnut powder (fungal problems and oral diseases), turmeric (antiseptic), cayenne pepper (bleeding, open wounds), charcoal powder (poison ingestion), baking soda (bee stings).
Wool, cotton, muslin, terry cloth, corduroy, and flannel are the best, synthetic fabrics hold bacteria longer which contributes to yeast infections.
Herb to have on hand
If you don’t have the herbs below, plant them. Most of them are perennial and can save you a visit to the doctor’s office.
Amla powder (urinary tract infection, blood purifier), Burdock, walnut powder, yarrow (fever, sore throat), elderberry, red clover, catnip, neem powder (anti viral, contains sulfur and penicillin), peppermint, cayenne, turmeric, alum powder (rotting and breaking teeth, tooth ache), licorice, cloves, myrrh, aloe, Echinacea, fenugreek, plantain, horsetail, and raspberry, comfrey, and witch hazel.
Tools are all apart of self sufficiency. You must collect them and keep them clean. They will serve you as you serve them.
Hoe, splitting axe, pick ax, chain saw, generator, cast iron cook ware, rake, shovel, wheel barrel, buckets, ladders, snow shovels, hammer, nails, and a watering can
Best Oils to Use
Most people use oils for frying food. The truth be told they may taste good but they are not good for you. The lower the heating time the more nutritious the oil will be. Many oils are not safe for deep frying. Anything that say’s light, unrefined, or mechanically pressed, cannot withstand the intense heat. The composition of oil is changed when it reaches a certain temperature. The best of the best are the following;
Extra virgin olive oil, ghee, almond oil, organic coconut oil, sesame seed oil (not good for high heat), peanut oil. Essential oils are important also, if you can find a pure source it would be helpful to have; lemon, peppermint, lavender, rose, ginger and eucalyptus on hand.
Seeds to purchase
Remember organic is without a doubt the best. If you are having a problem finding them on or offline don’t let it stop you from planting. These seeds will be helpful InshAllah;
Alfalfa, squash, beets, cucumber, eggplant, carrots, potatoes, kale, spinach, collard greens, asparagus (which is a perennial and will serve you for many years, Allah willing).
Skills to learn and Teach
Basket weaving, sewing, knitting, fishing, crochet, animal husbandry, building, soap making, gardening, and car repair and shoe making
Cleaning is very important of course. Laundry detergents which are full of perfumes, petroleum, and chemicals they also are very expensive. The same applies to body soaps. Castile soap is the cleanest of soaps and is multi purpose. You can grate a bar of Castile soap and use it for laundry soap adding borax and baking soda. You can also grate a bar of Castile soap, add 1 egg, 1tsp olive oil, 1 tsp lemon juice and have a enriching shampoo. You will need to purchase baking soda, cream of tartar, organic vinegar and lemon juice for these recipes. Here are a few inexpensive recipes followed by a supply list.
Dish washing Detergent
2tbl baking soda
Mix the two together and add very hot water, then cold for washing dishes.
1 flat club soda 16oz more or less
2tbl baking soda
Mix ingredients together and put in spray bottle.
2tbl cream of tartar, water
Make a paste of the two and rub into stain. Allow it to dry before washing.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons Epsom salts to the wash cycle.
¼ cup baking soda, added to wash cycle.
Borax Fabric Softener
¼ cup or less borax, added to wash cycle.
No Static Cling
¼ cup of vinegar, added to the wash cycle will prevent static cling
Begin to wean yourself from processed foods. Processed foods are anything in a box, plastic bag, can or bottle. We have been happily consuming them for decades. Supermarkets, restaurants and fast food chains add fillers and unnatural oils to them, to avoid spoilage and increase the shelf life.
There have been many unexplained illnesses as of the last 10 years. Doctors are baffled and confounded with them themselves. Everyone is given antibiotics for basically every illness, isn’t that odd? Your body works very hard everyday to balance your dietary decisions. Excessive abuse of; sugar, artificial additives, homogenized dairy products, and man made fats like trans fats are very harmful. These products work against you and if you already have, chronic illnesses it adds to you problems. Today trans fats are working havoc on everybody. Do you know what trans fats are? They are created fats. Fat which are created when vegetable oil is put through a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation happens when hydrogen gas is bubbled through vegetable oil (bottom of the barrel vegetable oil). This process causes the vegetable oil to become thicker and also alters its natural state and turns it into a chemically charged poison. You’ll see in the markets hydrogenated soy oil, and partially hydrogenated oil, it’s all the same poison.
One hundred years ago, the Proctor and Gamble Company brought it to the masses first with a product they named Crisco. Crisco is still on the market clogging arteries and constipating millions. Trans fats are similar to lard and margarine in that they clog the digestive tract, cause heart disease and raise your cholesterol. Tran’s fats are not going to disappear overnight. They are in everything and do harm to you! This is why we should limit our intake of processed foods. Here is a list of some popular items that contain Tran’s fats; frozen waffles, micro wave pop corn, crackers, cakes, cookies, pastries, pies, margarine and brownie mixes, fast food, and ready to eat frosting. Foods that don’t have trans fats are; fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, and others, barley, rolled oats, whole wheat, white and brown rice, to name a few.
Other foods that are beneficial and help you to live healthier are;
1. Ginger- Reduces headache pain, body pain and lowers cholesterol
2. Radishes- Reduce risks of Cancer, and enhances the immune system.
3. Fenugreek seeds- Aids in digestion, good for eyes, tonic for men, dries mucus, lowers fevers, and lower cholesterol.
4. Celery- Lowers blood pressure, it helps arthritis, gout, and kidney problems.
5. Asparagus- Wards off arthritis, lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, helps fights heart disease.
6. Artichoke- Prevents Cancer, and heals the liver.
7. Cinnamon- Kills mouth microbes, kills infection, stabilizes diabetes, fights respiratory viruses.
We should also know by now that all genetically engineered foods and vegetables are still being tested on us the public, so we don’t really know the long term effects. If we don’t grow it ourselves we will definitely be at loss. There is no time like the present to prepare for what’s to come!
June Vol. 1, 2009
Oh Lovers of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):
The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “When people emerge from their graves, I shall be the first to emerge, and when three people will assemble, I shall be their leader; and when people become silent, I shall be their orator; and when people come forth for accountability, I shall be their intercessor; and when all are bereft of hope, I shall bring them hope; and on that Day, I shall be holding the Flag of Karamat, and I shall be the possessor of the keys of Heaven, and I shall be the most revered of the human beings before Almighty Allah. I shall be surrounded by thousands upon thousands of servants as if they were protecting a precious jewel. And no supplication can soar to its target without the recitation of Durood Shareef* on me, and when Durood Shareef has been recited, the obstruction is removed and the prayer soars high for acceptance.” (From the texts Aab-e-Kauthar and Sa’adat-ud-Darain)
Oh Lovers of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him):
The Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If a person is beset by worries, he should recite Durood Shareef for me abundantly because it removes worries, sufferings, misfortunes, increases subsistence, and fulfills wishes.” (From the texts Aab-E-Kauthar, Dalail-ul-Khairat Cawnpuri, and Nuzhat-un-Nazireen)
*Durood Shareef implies praying for peace and blessings upon the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, may God’s peace be upon him.
June Vol. 1, 2009
Note: This camp has already taken place.
Offering Beginning and Advanced Islamic Studies,
Real Camping Experience & Exciting Activities
If you’ve never been to our ladies camp before, this is the one for you!
Each summer, Banaatun Noor International (BNI), under the auspices of the International Quranic Open University (IQOU) offers a month-long intensive educational summer camp for those honorable ladies aspiring to perfect their understanding and practice of the traditional way of life as taught by the blessed example of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, his noble family and wives, peace be upon them. This summer will offer the same opportunity of learning and practice from the IQOU headquarters in Holy Islamberg, NY.
Organizers say that this year’s camp aims “to offer a new beginning, a fresh start.” Together, the attendees will strive to become exemplary Muslim ladies within and outside of their homes. The beginning of new inspiration and strength is at the core of this summer ladies’ camp. “The love and unity that can only be found in coming together for Allah’s pleasure drives these camps,” previous participants have stated.
The directors of the summer camp are inspired and excited about this year’s camp, stating emphatically that “Strength is Iman (that faith which is put into practice) and Iman is the foundation of our life. We, the Banaatun Noor staff, are looking forward to being there as an aid to you and supplying you with a service that, God willing, will bring every participant success.”
Special care should be taken in preparing for the camp. While the form of the camp will reflect that of previous years, it will limit attendees to 100 campers only, 25 of whom will be returnees; the rest will be undertaking their first-time IQOU summer camp experience.
BNI staff are asking aspiring participants to come with pure intentions, open hearts and minds, and to prepare to be able to receive all that Allah may have for them. Camp organizers advise: “Make your intentions clear to travel, to study, and to absorb the knowledge that will be prepared for us, all for the sake and pleasure of Allah Almighty. We must adhere to the commands of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, or way of life, of our Holy Master Muhammad (peace be upon him), and implement this into our daily lives. The Sunnah must be our creed in every walk of life. We welcome you to join us at this years’ summer camp.”
In order to ensure a place on the limited participant list, the completed application and fee of $200 for the month must be submitted on or before the registration dates of June 13 and 14. Classes will begin on the 15th, and the graduation ceremony will be on July 17, 2009. Participants must be aged 16 or older.
-The International Quranic Open University is a world renowned institution offering the highest quality education of pure, unadulterated Islamic teaching. Thousands have attended classes in both traditional classroom settings and through online collaboration.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By M.A. Gillani
Defence Journal, Pakistan
Defence Journal Columnist M. A. Gillani writes about the memorable expeditions of Muhammad bin Qasim, the conqueror of Sind (to be published in the Islamic Post in three parts).
A lot has been written by many writers, about the conquests, the bravery, and leadership qualities of Muhammad Bin Qasim. The name of Mohammad Bin Qasim is known in every Muslim house in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. In the military history of the world, he is the youngest commander-in-chief who won brilliant victories against much superior enemies. Here it should be mentioned that Alexander the Great, Sultan Mohammad the Conqueror (of Constantinople fame) and Napoleon were 24 years, 23 years and 26 years old, respectively, when they commanded armies in battle. Mohammad bin Qasim was only 18 years old when he was entrusted with an independent command of the forces operating against Sind.
An effort has been made in this article to highlight the planning, tactics and strategy for various battles fought by Mohammad Bin Qasim. He was not sent to any military institute for training, but had a sharp eye for tactics and strategy, and applied the same as a great captain of war. It is due to his conquest of Sind, Multan and the area of Dipalpur up to the River Beas, that today in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent, there are about 35 crores of Muslims living in its various parts. Various military institutes have honoured him by naming cadet houses and companies as “Qasim” so that inspiration may be drawn. In some cities, gardens and parks have been named after him; a port in Pakistan is also named Qasim. Parents also feel proud to name their sons Qasim.
Situation in Sind
Before the advent of Islam, Sind was under the sway of Rajas known as Rai. The Rai dynasty remained in power up to 632 (or 11 Hijra), and after the death of Sevas, his son Raj Sahisi became the ruler who appointed a Brahman named Chach as his minister. Chach was very intelligent, glib of tongue, a flatterer and past master in the art of influencing others. Soon he, without permission, was allowed to visit the Raja in his private chamber. The beautiful Rani Sohnih Devi had fallen in love with the handsome young Chach, and after the death of the Raja, with all the support of the Rani, Chach was elected as the Raja. He married the Rani. Chach remained Raja from 632 to 660 C.E. (11-40 Hijra), and during this period, his brothers and near relatives were appointed as rulers on his behalf of various important areas of the kingdom. He also annexed territory of neighbouring rajas. The real claimants to the throne were removed and banished. Kalat, Khuzdar, Panj Gure, Arman Bela, the whole of Sind, Vohh (the old Iskanda or Asklinda), Multan and Dipalpur were included in his kingdom. From the Arabian Sea in the west, it extended up to the River Sultlej.
Chach died in 660 C.E. and left two sons, Dahir and Dihar Seena, and one daughter named Mayeen. She was to be married to the Raja of Bhatia. She was residing with her younger brother who sent her with a rich dowry to his elder brother, Dahir, for her onward dispatch to the bridegroom, the Raja of Bhatia.
The court astrologer had made an ominous prophecy that whosoever married Mayeen would be the master of Sind. Hence the wazir strongy recommended that Dahir should marry his sister to save the kingdom. But Dahir refused because it was a most heinous, immoral act that went against religion; he was also afraid of public opinion. He was most upset with the astrologer’s revelation. The crafty wazir sprinkled some fast growing seeds on the already earth-plastered skin of a goat and left it in the crowded market of the capital; within some hours, leaves appeared on the goat’s skin. Flabbergasted people gathered around the goat to see the fast growing plants. Their interest continued for three days after which no one bothered to watch the goat. The Wazir convinced Raja Dahir that his marriage with his sister would be discussed by the people for three days or so, and after that they would forget it. Dahir agreed, but after the marriage ceremony he remained away from his sister.
His brother, Raja Dihar Seena, on hearing of the marriage, was very upset and decided to avenge the crime of Dahir. But he died mysteriously on his way to the capital. Dahir outwardly shed crocodile tears on his demise, but soon his brother’s state was tenaciously occupied. Dahir then married the widow of his brother.
Muslim Traders of the Sea
Before the conquest of Muhammad Bin Qasim, the Muslim traders often visited the western coast of India and other coastal islands including the Maldives. Due to their efforts, many local people embraced Islam. …
“Muslim Traders of the Sea” continues in the next edition of The Islamic Post.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Subhana A. Rahim
While recession woes and the economic crisis in the United States are at their greatest peak since the Great Depression, the need to find the source of America’s financial catastrophe and create preventative measures have become a necessity. The Senate responded to this need recently by adopting the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009 (FERA). This Act, which was introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), broadens the scope by which the government can investigate and prosecute financial institutions in the mortgage lending business. Previous statutes generally impose sentences and fines for infractions relating to conventional banks and financial institutions. This most recent legislation widens the range of financial institutions that are affected, by specifically including mortgage lending companies. It also imposes stiffer penalties and fines for mail and wire fraud associated with financial institutions. One component of the act calls for a bipartisan Financial Markets Commission, whose mission will be to examine the economic crisis from both international and domestic aspectsand will have full subpoena powers as well.
While proponents for this endeavor claim that this well- honed legislation leaves no stone unturned in terms of prosecution, critics of this Act argue that portions of FERA are redundant, overreaching and highly unnecessary as there are laws that are already in place that address the specific infractions mentioned in the amendments. For example, the verbiage regarding “bribery” and “false statements” are already potentially punishable by hefty fines and extended jail terms of up to $1 million and 30 years respectively. Detractors are also concerned with the high costs that the government will incur for holding lengthy commissions thereby eating away at taxpayers’ money. The House of Representatives’ legislation is expected to mimic that of the Senate’s regarding the establishment of the commission.
June Vol. 1, 2009
Muslims of the Americas Representatives Relocate to the Frontier State; Welcomed with Open Arms and Friendship
By A. Abdul Qadir Qadri
Shuaib and Malika Ahmed recently departed to a new frontier in the Alaskan tundra to establish an independent, self-sufficient, purely Islamic village. They reported their first day in Alaska as being filled with blessings and guidance. The family’s intentions are to further the mission to unite Muslims and Christians on their similar values.
Mr. Ahmed reported making contacts immediately upon arrival at the airport, as the cab driver was a Muslim from Macedonia, in Eastern Europe. “Right away, common ground was established,” said Mr. Ahmed. “We were able to tell him of the support the International Quranic Open University gave to the Bosnian Ambassador to the United Nations, Muhamed Sacirbey, during the 1990s. This was the first person we met and he enjoyed hearing about this.” Bosnia and Madedonia are both Balkan nations.
Two very warm and welcoming receptionists met Mr. and Mrs. Ahmed at the hotel; as the couple introduced themselves, they gave each a copy of the Islamic Post as a token of appreciation. Shuaib Ahmed mentioned to the young lady that he and his wife were looking for a Church to attend Bible study class as part of their interfaith studies and efforts to build bridges between adherents of the two faiths, Islam and Christianity. One of the receptionists invited the Muslim family to her church without hesitation: the Antioch Church of God in Christ.
At the Bible study, they were each very well received. The Bible study related to the Honorable Messenger Jesus, peace be upon him, and his compassion for poor, the sick, and the suffering. The couple participated in the lesson and their input was appreciated throughout. After the study session, the group engaged in a warm conversation explaining that there is no reason for dissension, nor any segregating factor between Al Islam and Christianity. The Church’s Pastor, James Willis, expressed joy and a spirit of cooperation at the Muslim family’s sincere efforts for peace and unity.
Shuaib and Malika Ahmed were also fortunate to find an apartment quickly. As they explained their purpose for relocating to Anchorage, the leaseholders became overwhelmed with excitement and inspiration, and invited them to attend an election rally for Mr. Eric Croft, who is one of the upcoming candidates for Mayor of Anchorage. The couple attended the election rally with their new friends and neighbors who were excited to have them as part of the gathering. Malika and Shuaib Ahmed then met personally with Mr. Croft. The aspiring mayor was impressed by their presence and enthusiasm. In his speech, he expressed the desire to combat forces which keep people apart, such as prejudice and racism. “He seemed to be very sincere about making life better for all people,” said Mr. Ahmed.
Mr. and Mrs. Ahmed later contacted another church, which extended an open invitation for participation in their activities.
Having found employment opportunities, the couple will be continuing their work towards developing and improving their new local community, God-willing, and will be reporting to keep Islamic Post readers updated.
The Vice Chancellor of the International Quranic Open University, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani Hashmi, initiated the new project for the purposes of cultivating understanding of Islam and furthering interfaith dialog in what is known as the ‘Last Frontier State.’.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Yasmin A. Atheem
The State of Hawaii passed a resolution on May 6 marking September 24, 2009 as Islam Day. The resolution, known as HCR100, passed with overwhelming support in a 22-3 vote. The small island state, home to over 3,000 Muslims, passed the resolution in which it states the island will “recognize the rich religious, scientific, cultural, and artistic contributions” of Islam and the Islamic world.
Senator Will Espero of Hawaii told Fox News his supporting thoughts about the new resolution: “We are a state of tolerance. We understand that people have different beliefs. We may not all agree on every single item and issue out there, but to say and highlight the negativity of the Islamic people is an insult to the majority [of believers] who are good, law-abiding citizens of the world.”
The three declining votes included two Republicans who disagree with the declarations set forth in the resolution, and one Democrat who opposed on the grounds of separation of church and state.
Hakim Ouansafi, president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, told the Honolulu Star Bulletin, “The legislators have done in one resolution more to plant seeds of understanding than anyone could dream.”
The “Islam Day” bill now moves to Hawaii governor Linda Lingle, for signing.
The following is the House Concurrent Resolution 100 (HCR100) in it’s entirety:
PROCLAIMING SEPTEMBER 24, 2009, AS ISLAM DAY:
WHEREAS, Hawaii is known for the wealth of its cultural and religious diversity and the harmony with which people of many cultures and religions live together; and WHEREAS, Muslims constitute an ethnically diverse part of Hawaii’s cultural fabric, with around 3,000 practicing members; and
WHEREAS, the Prophet Mohammad [peace be upon him] left his house to migrate to Madinah and reached Quba in the vicinity of Madinah on the 12th day of Rabi ul-Awwal according to the lunar calendar, or September 24th according to the Gregorian calendar, thereby marking the birth of Islam; and
WHEREAS, Islam, a religion with a long and noble history, is the second largest religion in the world, with over one billion followers spread across every continent, and including members of many nations and cultures; and
WHEREAS, the Islamic world preserved and made original contributions to works of science and philosophy during the Middle Ages when these disciplines were threatened by bigotry and prejudice in other parts of the world; and
WHEREAS, Islamic artists, scientists, and philosophers have a rich history of contribution to world literature and our collective scientific understanding; and
WHEREAS, the Islamic faith shares common teachings found in the texts of both Christianity and Judaism, whose followers are respected and considered “People of the Book;” and
WHEREAS, Islamic doctrine encourages generosity in its adherents, maintaining that those who possess much have a responsibility to care for those in need; and
WHEREAS, Islam, along with its monotheistic counterparts, holds that peace is a divine quality and necessary for collective human happiness; and
WHEREAS, Islam strives for a world-wide community which, in the words of one Islamic poet-philosopher, “does not recognize the superficial differences of race, or history, or nationality”; and
WHEREAS, the United States and countries of the Islamic world hold in common many beliefs and values including concepts of world community and mutual responsibility; and
WHEREAS, international understanding and peace, as well as understanding and peace in our local communities, are strengthened by free and open communications among everyone representing various cultural and religious traditions; and
WHEREAS, the 96th United States Congress officially recognized the noble qualities of Islam in a concurrent resolution on October 15, 1979 (SCR 43), honoring the religion’s 14th centennial; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, the Senate concurring, that September 24, 2009, shall be known as “Islam Day” to recognize the rich religious, scientific, cultural, and artistic contributions Islam and the Islamic world have made since their founding; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to Hawaii’s congressional delegation, the Governor, and the Board of the Muslim Association of Hawaii.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Jameelah A. Aziz
The Constitution of the United States was developed by our founding fathers to ensure equality for all, indifferent to race, gender, age or religion. In the first amendment of the US Constitution it states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. However, in certain instances it seems as if the rights of minors are not always equal to that of adults and therefore can, and have, been suppressed. This phenomena is seen at times within the public school system, where it can be said that students’ constitutional rights are being violated across the country.
This practice has been recently observed in the case of ten year old Adam Awwad, a Muslim student at the Albert Payson Terhune Elementary School in Wayne, NJ, who went through difficulty when looking for a place to perform his prayers which, in Islam, are made five times daily on a fixed, mandatory schedule, including during work or school times. For quite some time, Adam’s mother, Rola Awwad, had been seeking an appropriate environment in school for her son to pray. To accommodate Rola’s request, the Wayne School District offered Adam the time to pray outside at recess or inside the classroom while his classmates were there. Mrs Awwad found this arrangement to be “unacceptable” for her son. She wanted a quiet and clean place for her child to pray. The elementary school showed concern about the safety of Adam if he were to be left alone and unattended.
According to the school’s website, their mission is to “create independent thinkers and social problem solvers who are respectful of themselves and others.”
Muslim advocates were attracted to the situation at the school and made suggestions to the family of bringing their issue to the state for resolution.
Meanwhile, after concerns that other students would make fun of him, Adam took it upon himself to pray during lunchtime in the back of the classroom while the other students played games. Now he is joined by four other Muslim classmates. Mrs Rola Awwad’s seven year old daughter, Amana, also has similar arrangements in her second grade classroom.
According to North Jersey News, Mrs Awwad said the Council on American-Islamic Relations had considered bringing the issue before the state Board of Education. But Awwad said she wants to wait and see if the current arrangement continues to work for her children.
Muslims aren’t the only ones having difficulty exercising their religious rights in school, Christians are as well. In 2007, The Christian Post reported that twelve Christian students were suspended for holding a morning prayer meeting at the cafeteria of Heritage High School in Vancouver, Washington. The suspensions were later retracted. Also in 2007, two students of the College of Alameda in California were threatened with suspension because they were praying on campus with an instructor. Bay Area News reported that Kandy Kyriacou and Ojoma Omaga- were found praying with their ailing teacher. The two students are currently suing Peralta Community College District for violation of their civil rights under the premise that school administration and teachers are not only responsible to educate and provide a safe learning environment, but also must respect student’s individual rights.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Jannah A. Malik
Recently the House passed a bill for the purpose of modernizing, renovating, and repairing public school facilities. The bill, which encourages the creation of clean and healthy environments for schoolchildren, would also promote energy conservation, while at the same time producing thousands of jobs. Passing 275 to 155, the bill will now go to the Senate. If approved it would allot a starting amount of $6.4 billion within the first year and similar amounts throughout the next five years.
The bill states that the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, shall work with recipients of funds under this Act to promote appropriate opportunities for participants in a YouthBuild program, as well as using existing Job Corps members and individuals enrolled in a junior or community college. The text of the bill cites the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the Higher Education Act of 1965 as justification to offer “employment experience on modernization, renovation, repair, and construction projects” funded under the bill.
A separate $600 million would be approved under the act within a six year period for public schools in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi that were damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
By the year 2015, 100% of funds available for green building projects would have to meet ‘green standards’ for energy sources as well as construction materials. Amongst the companies that provide the necessary materials according to these standards or guidelines are: EnergyStar, Green Globes, and the Leadership and Environmental Design (Leed) Green building rating system.
Supporters of the bill spoke about the pressing need for funds for repairs in schools. Rep. John Hall (D-NY) stated: “America’s aging schools are in dire need of assistance. I am a former trustee and school board president. I have seen it. Buildings are crumbling while school districts are having trouble paying their energy bills. This bill would help school districts invest in repairs, construction and green modernization without passing the burden on to local taxpayers who in New York, I know, can’t afford any more property tax.”
In opposition some expressed great concern over the cost of the bill. “No one is going to argue in favor of a less-than-perfect physical structure for students,” said Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) “But what I believe we need to argue is how do you pay for that. And again, I believe very strongly that we, as a federal government, have reached way too far into so many different areas.”
Allowing for oversight, however, the bill states in its text that: “Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study to determine, and report to the Congress on, the extent and types of projects in keeping with the uses of funds authorized under this Act being undertaken in schools around the United States, the geographic distribution of green, high-performing schools in the United States, including by urban, suburban, and rural areas, and the relative access to such schools of the demographic groups described in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.”
Objecting to the cost of the new school construction plan, former President George W. Bush threatened to veto the bill last year. Similar legislation was also not passed by the Senate. The bill’s sponsors, however, are more hopeful of its enactment due to President Barack Obama’s making school improvement projects one of his many priorities.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Gregory Jones
Ann Wright, a retired United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War, recently spoke at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, at an event co-sponsored by Alaskans for Peace and Justice, and Alaskans for Palestine. The title of the program was “Heart to Heart Conversations: Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran.” Ret. Colonel Wright also made available her book, which she coauthored with Susan Dixon, entitled, Dissent: Voices of Conscience – Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq.
Ret. Col. Ann Wright encouraged the audience to speak with their elected officials about the injustices perpetrated by corrupt government officials. She also called for a stop to the unconditional support which the US seems to give Israel.
Having served 13 years active duty in the US Army and 16 years in the Army Reserve, Ms Wright then served as a US diplomat in Nicaragua, Somalia, Grenada, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Micronesia, and Mongolia. However, Ret. Col. Ann Wright is most widely recognized for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the Bush Administration 2003 invasion of Iraq.
During the past 6 years, Wright has been an influential spokesperson for the anti-war movement. “I knew that the invasion and occupation of an oil rich, Arab, Muslim nation would be a disaster,” Wright claims.
At the University of Alaska, Wright expressed regret about the innocent women and children being killed and injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. She spoke about the torture which took place at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons, and encouraged President Obama’s administration to punish those who authorized the torture.
Ten days after Israel’s 22 day offensive on Gazan citizens, Ms. Wright traveled to Gaza, along with Code Pink, an organization started by American women who were in opposition to the Bush Administration’s War Policies. The Egyptian border with Gaza, controlled by Israel since a 2005 peace agreement, was closed. Consequently, relief agencies and human rights organizations were denied access to aid the suffering people of Gaza. The retired colonel, however, was greeted at the border by the Red Crescent relief organization, and by special order of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his wife Suzanne Mubarak (President of the Red Crescent), Ms Wright and Code Pink were allowed to enter and report atrocities committed against the Palestinian population of Gaza, the majority which are women and children.
Ann Wright encourages Americans to become aware of what is going on. “The media has been unprofessional in covering and reporting the news,” Wright said at the Alaska event. She urged people to contact their congressional delegates in mass numbers to get their attention; but nevertheless stated her opinion that many politicians are afraid of the Israeli lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Jannah A. Malik
North Korea recently announced that it had successfully carried out it’s second underground nuclear test. This test followed the rocket launching less than two months ago which was believed to be a test of the country’s long-range missile technology.
The country’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that its regime had “successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of measures to bolster it’s nuclear deterrent for self defense.” Seismological measurements support North Korea ’s claim that this test was much stronger than the previous one in 2006. Seismologists from South Korea, Japan and also the Unites States reported activity around the same area where North Korea conducted its first nuclear tests.
After the United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea’s April rocket launch, the nation warned last month that it would hold a second atomic test to follow up the first in 2006. The Associated Press reports Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura as saying, “If North Korea carried out a nuclear test, it would clearly violate U.N. Security Council resolutions. We will definitely not tolerate it.”
Mr Kawamura is urging the U.N. Security Council to address the issue as all of its islands are within close missile range of North Korea. Furthermore, according to Kyodo news agency, Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka said that Japan will request an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss North Korea .
The Security Council has, however, commanded countries to prevent Pyongyang from exporting and importing materials from ballistic missiles or weapons of mass destruction.
President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea convened an emergency security session.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Asma Stewart
The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), has become the latest front in the war against academic freedom. Professor William Robinson, who teaches classes in Jewish Sociology and also Global studies, was brought up on charges of anti-Semitism after two Jewish students reported the professor to school authorities and the Anti Defamation League (ADL) for an email message that included 25 photos of war-battered Palestinians, equating their plight to that of Jews under Nazi rule. The email also contained an editorial by a Jewish journalist condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza as well as juxtaposed images of Nazi atrocities with congruent images of Israeli aggression against Palestinians.
The email was an optional read for students, intended to spark conversation by relating contemporary events to conceptual ideas discussed in class. However, the offended students stated the email in question contained the personal views of the professor and that he overstepped his bounds as a professional educator by the intrusion of material unrelated to the course.
A week after the email was sent, the ADL wrote Robinson a letter charging him with anti-Semitism and sundry violations of the Faculty Code of Conduct. Another week passed, and the professor heard from an Academic Senate Charges Officer, who notified him that two of the students in the class to which he circulated the email had filed complaints against him. In addition to leveling charges of anti-Semitism, the complaints insist the Israeli-Palestinian issue should not be discussed in a class on Globalization.
Professor Robinson has explained that he feels the issue is being pushed by pro-Israel lobby groups who he feels have long been exploiting the term anti-Semitism to push the goals of political Zionism. Mr Robinson has defended himself by saying he himself is Jewish and that the suggestion that he is anti-Semitic is “like saying if I condemn the U.S. government for the invasion of Iraq, I’m anti-American… It’s the most absurd, baseless argument.”
Upon hearing the news of Mr. Robinson’s academic accusations, many colleagues and students (graduate and under-graduate) as well as various on lookers banded together to show support to the professor.
Officer acts as co-complainant
In compliance with campus Procedures of the Faculty Code of Ethics, the charges officer is to simply notify the accused faculty member. However, the case took a twist when it was found that the Charges Officer who notified Robinson of the complaints reportedly violated several elements of the charges procedure, thereby acting as a co-complainant by fabricating charges that were not raised by the students.
At this point the charges have reached the Committee on Committees, which is now in the process of convening an ad hoc Charges Committee to assess the complaints against Professor Robinson. Critics of the complaints say that further consideration of the charges by the Academic Senate serves only to sanction politically-motivated attacks on academic freedom. The longer this case is pursued, the wider its effect may become. Many fear that this type of academic censoring may spread fear among those who wish to present critical subjects, though they may be controversial. Even though the original complaint is regarding the Israeli- Palestian conflict, the concern for academic freedom and historic objectivity extends beyond this specific topic and into the realm of rights and constitutionality. Robinson supporters have also expressed their views that academic freedom is a right that enables scholars to express diverse perspectives over contentious topics, free from the intimidation of politically repressive campaigns.
If the case against Professor Robinson leads to ADL censorship, it could easily lead down a slippery slope that would expose academics to repressive tactics toward an endless variety of controversial issues.
June Vol. 1, 2009
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks at the Barnard College Commencement Ceremony encouraged the late May graduates to use social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter to “unite your friends,” in order to bring attention to social injustices like human trafficking and political detention of journalists. Secretary Clinton also highlighted recent demonstrations organized for democratic causes by youth and students who frequent social networks “like the undergraduates at Northwestern who launched a global fast to bring attention to Iran’s imprisonment of an American journalist,” noted Mrs Clinton, and “like the two recent college graduates in Colombia – the country – who organized 14 million people into the largest anti-terrorism demonstration in history, doing as much damage to the FARC terrorist network in a few weeks than had been done in years of military action.”
In popular culture, the use of social networking –via mediums like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, private blogs, public forums, personal websites, text messaging, and email– to gather large crowds of people united in a common purpose is referred to as the organization of “flash mobs.” The first notable flash mob was designed in Manhattan, in May 2003, by Bill Wasik, senior editor of Harper’s Magazine, as a social experiment to highlight the cultural atmosphere of conformity and of wanting to be an insider or part of “the next big thing.” The experiment was an apolitical joke carried out by a few hundred participants at a local Macy’s department store. In 2008, word spread via social technology for more amusement, this time the Worldwide Pillow Fight Day, in which over 25 cities around the world participated, making the event the largest flash mob to date.
After the success of such benign experiments, flash mobs made the rapid switch to being political in nature.
Last month, Moldovan activist, Natalia Morar, was officially charged by the Moldovan government with “calls for organizing and staging mass disturbances.” However, the peaceful flash mob of 300 she and other activists organized to take place in front of the Parliament of Moldova, became known as a “Twitter Revolution” when it turned into a gathering of 10,000 protesters, including the leaders of major opposition parties and the explosive scene quickly became violent.
The US State Department, however, is determined to harness the power of social networking for positive use. Secretary Clinton announced during the speech at Barnard College, the creation of Virtual Student Foreign Service Internships, which will use social networking “to partner American students with our embassies abroad, to conduct digital diplomacy.”
Sources: State Dept., RFE/RL
June Vol. 1, 2009
(IP) –Some pressing issues in America today are healthcare, agriculture, and climate change. The recent outbreak of swine flu has brought to the forefront, the idea that food is the catalyst for these fundamental concerns. Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, sat down with Democracy Now! host, Amy Goodman, to discuss the need for reform in the food system, as it plays a major role in understanding not only swine flu, but solving the massive healthcare crisis and global climate change.
In the interview, Pollan stressed that more research was needed to determine if swine flu resulted from the industrialized agriculture of pigs. He pointed to the outbreak in Mexico, where tens of thousands of pigs “live in filth and close contact.” The Pew Commission on animal agriculture had already called attention to public health risks creating an environment that would generate new flu pandemics, he said.
The website for the Center for Disease Control asserts, “Swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food.” However, the CDC continues, “Eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products is safe. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160°F kills the swine flu virus as it does other bacteria and viruses.” Does this mean improperly cooked pork could transmit the disease? The CDC does not elaborate.
The following is an excerpt from the interview conducted Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! with author Michael Pollan concerning difficulties with other food systems outside the swine industry:
Amy Goodman: Can you talk about corporations in other ways, like Monsanto, talking about the sustainability of genetically modified foods?
Michael Pollan: Monsanto is […] making the case that the most sustainable agriculture will be intensive production on the land base we have. The argument is that there’s only so much arable land in the world, we have ten billion people on the way, and that the only way to feed them is to get more productivity over the land we have, to further intensify agriculture, using their genetically modified seeds. […]They [the seeds] have never succeeded in raising productivity. […] the Union of Concerned Scientists just issued a report looking at the twenty-year history of these crops, and what they have found is that basically the real gains in yield for American crops, for world crops, has been through conventional breeding. […]
AG: Is understanding and resolving food manufacturing issues a key to the healthcare crisis?
MP: Well, I think that we are soon to recognize that we are not going to be able to reform healthcare, which depends on getting the cost of healthcare down, without addressing the [catastrophe of] American diet.
The CDC estimates that of the $2 trillion we’re spending on healthcare $1.5 trillion is for the treatment of preventable chronic disease. Food is implicated in heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, 40 percent of cancers, stroke, all sorts of cardiovascular problems. Treating a case of Type 2 diabetes costs the City of New York, every new case, $500,000. It is bankrupting the system, and it’s preventable.
When asked about a lengthy letter Mr Pollan addressed to US President Barack Obama on the subject of food systems, Pollan describes his most significant point: “The most salient point is simply, you are not going to be able to tackle either the healthcare crisis or climate change unless you look at our food system. In the case of climate change, food is responsible for about a third of greenhouse gases, the way we’re growing food, the way we’re processing it and the way we’re eating. And the healthcare crisis, as I’ve talked about. So we need to address it. It’s really the shadow issue over these other two issues.”
June Vol. 1 2009
The United Muslim Christian Forum (UMCF), including its board members: Ambassador For Peace, Mr. Hussein Adams and Dr. Diane O’Heron, Board Advisor, urgently call upon the government of Pakistan to immediately lift the curfew in all areas of the northwest of the country, not just the town of Mingora. The lifting of the imposed curfew would alleviate the critical humanitarian emergency that threatens the millions of internal refugees forced to flee for their lives, due to the violence there, in recent weeks. The “shoot to kill” curfew has only served to further victimize civilian refugees who risk breaking it, in order to obtain any food and medical attention that they can find.
This is in keeping with the recent symposium at the United Nations — Creating a World of Peace: One Family at a Time. Several board members of the UMCF had just returned from that symposium at which crimes against humanity and human rights violations were specifically condemned, only to be informed of the recent developments, of the ongoing crisis, in Pakistan.
The United Muslim Christian Forum strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms, and particularly that form which cloaks itself in religion, to justify oppression and the harming of innocents.
However, the Pakistan Army must re-evaluate its role in the war torn region of the Northwest Frontier Province and make the immediate determination that the disastrous consequences of their actions to pursue 4,000 Taliban is at the risk of displacing over 4 million innocent civilians- a severe human rights violation. It should be emphasized that while military action is necessary in fulfilling the protective duties of the state, such an extreme operation resulting in the displacement of millions of civilians is well beyond the bounds of necessity. The operation is also unprecedented in Pakistan’s history.
The Taliban have their own agenda and only use Islam as a shield, while remaining firmly under the Wahhabi influence, which was vehemently rejected at its origin, by the authentic Muslim scholars and remains condemned by the scholars of Islam to this day. However, if left unchecked to continue its reckless extremist influence and actions, this movement could well lead to major global disorder.
The Ambassador For Peace further appeals to all people of faith and goodwill to come forward and lend whatever assistance they can, for the suffering people, in the Pakistan refugee camps. A relief fund has been established by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, for the above purpose, and the UMCF encourages all to give generously – any donations are welcome, however small. All help is appreciated and desperately needed to relieve the close to four million internally displaced men, women, and children who are facing starvation and disease.
It is in times like these that we must all be reminded that the road to true and lasting peace in the world closely lies in the mutual understanding that can be cemented between Muslims and Christians everywhere. Security and prosperity lie in the Unity of Muslims and Christians, in the U.S. and around the world. This is the key to success. The concerted efforts of this alliance are now needed most in this latest humanitarian crisis in Swat Valley, Pakistan.
Once again, the innocent victims of this latest humanitarian crisis await the urgent response of the world community.
Filed under: Front Page News, March Volume 2009, National | Tags: Afghanistan, Clinton, Sharia
Since the beginning of the new administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met with fourteen prominent Afghan women judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. The women came to Washington to participate in a training program arranged by the State Department’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan.
In Washington, the Afghan women participated in intensive legal seminars and consultations with senior officials, and explored current topics in Afghan and American legal systems: legal decision-making and mediation, domestic violence, family and mental health, and narcotics law.
President Obama, in his first foreign policy announcement, made clear to Afghan citizens, “We are committed to supporting your efforts to bring security and stability to your country.” Most agree the Afghan justice system needs improvement through education in jurisprudence and professional development. As it stands now, the State Department alleges Afghan judges and lawyers to base their work mainly on tribal codes.
Since the inception of Islam, women have been encouraged to pursue legal careers, a highly respected field. One of the first jurists in Islam was Syeda Aisha, the wife of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, may the peace of Allah be upon him and his family. People came regularly to seek her legal advice. Today’s Muslims owe one third of Islamic law, known as Sharia, to this most intelligent and blessed lady. Sharia is a highly developed legal system in which modern democracy found much of its roots. During the Islamic caliphate, the main centers of secular learning and debate were in Muslim countries where people of the three major religions lived cohesively prior to the Crusades.
By Jameelah Kareem
Islamic Post Staff Writer
News agencies are reporting U.S. lawmakers will continue sending some Guantanamo Bay detainees to a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia. General Mansoor al Turki, interior ministry spokesman for the Saudi government, told CNN, “Such a re-education program will help the police to make sure these people get rid of the ideology that penetrated their brains [and to] make sure, when they leave prison, [they] can lead [a] normal life.”
There are approximately 240-250 detainees left at Guantanamo, most with little to no evidence of terrorist involvement. Nevertheless, a reform program is still seen as appropriate and the Care Rehabilitation Center in Riyadh, which focuses solely on ‘religious education,’ claims a 95% success rate. While the two Saudis who were said to have gone back to Al Qaeda, Said Al-Shihri and another man, bring that rate down by only about one percent (218 processed with 9 rearrests), there are more pressing questions regarding whether ‘religious education’ of the Saudi Arabian government is rehabilitating, or debilitating, for their Islamic morality.
The first thing which weakens Islamic principles of men is the common teaching of Wahhabism, which originates in Saudi Arabia, that it is not necessary to follow the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him. Although there is a general outward appearance of flowing robes, the code which is largely followed is tribal custom. There is no harm in local customs as long as they do not transcend the laws of decency and human brotherhood. When these laws are bypassed, as is happening in many so-called Islamic countries, the result is an extremist stance that results in violent acts and the oppression of women justified with false interpretations of Islamic texts.
One of the publishing houses which caters to the raising of an intolerant mindset is Darussalam Publications which uphold distortions of Islam, even mistranslating the traditions of the Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon him, to suit their ends (See Darussalam Publications: Enjoining Wrong, Forbidding Right, Islamic Post January Volume I.)
Another primary source of misinformation is the translation and commentary of the Holy Qur’an by Yusuf Ali, which is the main Qur’anic text available in the West, in particular, as millions of copies are donated freely to mosques, Islamic centers, campuses and libraries. Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom cites no less than $75 billion dollars leaving the Saudi monarchy in donations to locations abroad. These monies are used for mosque-building assistance and salaries for those who agree to preach Wahhabism in their locales. For those who accept this assistance, the Yusuf Ali translation, Wahhabi books and literature are all mandatory to be placed therein and the teachers are given them as textbooks.
Majlis Ulema of South Africa published a book in the 1980s titled Errors of Yusuf Ali in which was listed 16 major mistakes in translation and commentary. Majlis Ulema asserts that in his erroneous commentary, Yusuf Ali promoted that following the Holy Messengers of Islam is unneccessary. If following the broad minded tolerance of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his interpretation of Qur’an (which is, in fact, his lifestyle) is not mandatory, but optional, it surely leaves room for a different, fallacious interpretation. This is the interpretation which originates from the Saudi Arabian government and religious bodies. Sending people who have already been accused of extremism to Saudi Arabia for reformation may not be the correct route to take.
A reformer is a scholar, not one who rejects the scholars for his own vain interpretation of Islam. It is also imperative that scholars know the entire text of Holy Qur’an, and above all, possess thorough understanding of the occasions for which various sections and lines of Holy Qur’an were revealed, including the abrogated verses, and those that replaced them. This can only be done by someone who has spent his life studying the science of the traditions of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) and knows them by memory, as well as the Holy Qur’an itself. Also he should be well versed in the historical events that precipitated revelations.
He must also be well acquainted with the character of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) and his Holy Companions and also the enemies and allies of the believers. Foes and friends existed outside the Islamic community and also within. As is today, there were many hypocrites who had apparently followed the religion, but only with a view to riding on the power of Islam. Needless to say, being fluent in classical Arabic and the shades of meaning used by Hijazi Arabs of the time is absolutely essential. Finally, the scholar to be must be infused with knowledge of God, awareness of Him, and a profound dislike to commit errors or do what the Almighty dislikes. To embrace all these qualities and profound knowledge can prove very challenging. Because of their love of and spiritual connection to the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), his descendants have, throughout history, become the finest and most prolific scholars of Islam.
Therefore, not every Tom or Abdullah can pick up Holy Qur’an offhand, and begin to explain the text therein according to his own opinion. Muslims and non-Muslims alike are impressed upon to seek knowledge of Islam, its Messenger (peace be upon him), history, language and culture to enhance his or her understanding of Islam’s Divine text, which was sent for the entire human race. This can be done by sitting for lessons with a scholar of Islam or, failing this, reading his books and discourses. In Islam, it is only the deviates and arrogant people who say they will only follow Holy Qur’an or Hadith (authenticated, recorded traditions of the Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon him) while dismissing the work of scholars who spent their lifetimes studying and writing on the same in detail.
All this being said, there are very specific circumstances which occasion jihad, or defensive warfare, in the Holy Qur’an and Islam, just as there are injunctions for the same in the Bible. It is not befitting for those who are not scholars of the Word of God, whether they be Muslim or non-Muslim, to misinterpret such injunctions for any reason, least of all to advocate wanton bloodshed. On numerous occasions Wahhabi teachings have been found to be lacking in this regard.
However, for some, extremism provides opportunities. According to Newsweek: “There have also been concerns that Bush administration holdovers were deliberately playing up the [recidivism] cases in recent weeks in an effort to undercut Obama. One former senior U. S. counter-terrorism official noted to Newsweek that the Pentagon waited until the day after Obama signed his executive order mandating the closure of Guantanamo to confirm Mr Al-Shihri’s renewed Al Qaeda ties.”
Last month Russia announced new military initiatives. One involves the U.S. air base near Bishkek that American forces have used to supply military operations in Afghanistan. The Kremlin stated its $2 billion loan for the Bishkek base, as well as a $150 million aid grant, at the same time that Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said his country will be asking American forces to leave the base. The U.S. military was given six months to vacate Bishkek in late February.
All of the initiatives strengthen military ties with states that were once part of the former Soviet Union.
In another initiative, Russian President Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, agreed to create a new joint air-defense system involving five air force and 10 missile units. Russia’s Kommersant business newspaper reports Mr. Lukashenko’s agreement was conditioned by demands for Russian weapon subsidies and Russian orders from Belarusian defense industries.
In a third move Mr Medvedev secured the agreement of neighboring Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to create a rapid reaction force as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, or CSTO. The agreement confronts what the Russian president termed a wide range of challenges and threats: crime, terrorism and drug trafficking.
Victor Ivanov, head of the Russian Federal Narcotics Control Service did, however, express an openness to participate with the United States in eradicating the spreading illicit drug economy in the region. In an interview with the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Mr Ivanov stated, “To reduce this danger, we are vitally interested in working with the new American Administration.”
Cooperation with the US is seen as a necessity, as LPAC News reported, due to the spread of drug crops and trafficking from southern Afghanistan to the whole area along the border with the Central Asian countries. Mr Ivanov called for convening a conference under UN auspices on Peace and Prosperity in Afghanistan, as a “first step.” All tribes, areas, and political forces “prepared for a constructive dialogue” should be invited, Ivanov said, proposing a special role for Russia, as a country “whose forces have not participated in this seven-years long war.”
The United States has reciprocated interest in cooperating with the Kremlin to deal with the crisis in Afghanistan. The U.S. State Department said that Washington is “looking forward” to working with Russia on Afghanistan. “It’s in both of our countries’ interest to try to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan and bring about more economic development and security in the country,” said State Department Spokesman Robert Wood.
Mr Wood was responding to a statement given to reporters by Mr. Medvedev in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Medvedev was quoted as saying: “We hope the new U.S. administration will have greater success than the previous one in resolving the Afghanistan issue. …We are ready to work on the most complicated issues.” The Russian president also commented that the “number of radicals is not declining” there.
President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, in turn, commented that he supports U.S. President Barack Obama’s plans to solve the Afghanistan crisis, and emphasized the importance of regional cooperation. “We offer to solve the problem through the involvement of regional states,” he said.
Russian envoy to NATO, Dmitry Ragozin, said on Echo Moskvy radio station, that cooperation is being re-established with NATO, and warned that were NATO to be defeated in Afghanistan, this would threaten Russia. –Sources: VOA, LPAC, U.S. State Dept.
Filed under: Front Page News, March Volume 2009, National, World | Tags: Geert Wilders
By Bashirah A. Malik
Islamic Post Staff Writer
“I am a strong an advocate of First Amendment free speech. However, this is not about free speech, but rather an issue of propriety, timing and venue,” Common Dreams quoted Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) as saying regarding the viewing of the film Fitna on Capitol Hill.
Fitna is a controversial film about the Holy Qur’an by Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders. The film made headlines and prompted angry protest across the Muslim World last March. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said at the time that the film wrongly equated Islam with violence and served “no purpose other than to offend.”
Mr Wilders’ visit to Washington to host the screening of the film came just after a Dutch court ordered prosecutors to put the right-wing politician on trial for making anti-Islamic statements. Common Dreams reports Mr. Wilders was denied entry by the British government in his attempts to promote the film there. Only 40 members of Congress came to the viewing on Capitol Hill. The Dutch government disavowed Mr. Wilders visit to the US and believes the release of the film “serves no purpose other than to cause offense.”
In 2007, Wilders apparently sought to incite Muslims by ranting against Holy Quran as a “fascist book,” calling for the sacred Islamic text to be banned, and comparing the Holy Quran to Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf.
In a statement, the Amsterdam appeals court “ordered the prosecution of member of parliament Geert Wilders for inciting hatred and discrimination, based on comments by him in various media on Muslims and their beliefs.” The three judges in the case stated that they had weighed Wilders’ anti-Islamic rhetoric against his right to free speech, and ruled he had even gone beyond normal leeway given to politicians.
After the ruling, Wilder stated, ‘I had not expected it [this ruling].’ Gerard Spong, a prominent lawyer who joined Islamic groups in pushing for Wilders’ prosecution told reporters, “This is a happy day for all followers of Islam who do not want to be tossed on the garbage dump of Nazism.”
The court’s ruling reverses a decision made last year by the public prosecutor’s office, which said Mr. Wilder’s comments had been made outside parliament as a contribution to the debate on Islam in Dutch society and that no criminal offense had been committed. Because Wilders has not yet been charged, it is not clear what maximum penalty he could face if convicted.
Filed under: Front Page News, March Volume 2009, World | Tags: israel, Palestine
N. Begum Ahmad
Islamic Post Staff Writer
It doesn’t appear as if Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu will back down from the expansionist Likud party stance, despite opposing views from the US State Department. Just before visiting Israel on her tour of the Middle East early this month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized to Egyptian Television her commitment to “a two-state solution, a comprehensive peace,” for Israel and the occupied territories.
However, upon arrival, Secretary Clinton and accompanying US delegates found themselves seated across from Mr Netanyahu and his choice of advisors for the meeting which included Uzi Arad, the former director of intelligence for the Mossad, who was banned from visiting the US due to suspicion of espionage activities inside the country. Mr Arad’s presence at the meeting has been interpreted by political analysts as mildly antagonistic.
The Israeli Ambassador to the US, Sallai Meridor, resigned the following day after being asked by Netanyahu to leave the meeting while Arad remained.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardliner Likud party won the right to form the next Israeli government after a close battle with Tzipi Livni’s Kadima party. One vote shy of beating Ms Livni, Netanyahu was nevertheless appointed to rule Israel. However, the main differentiating factor between the two parties, that regarding the Palestinian question, had been abandoned before the race was over.
In the latter part of January, Foreign Minister Livni told 60 Minutes she agreed with the proposal of a two-state solution that would contain Israel and give Palestine borders: “[CBS reporter Bob] Simon: Can you really imagine evacuating the tens of thousands of settlers who say they will not leave? Livni: It’s not going to be easy, but this is the only solution. Simon: But you know that there are settlers who say, ‘We will fight. We will not leave. We will fight.’ Livni: So this is the responsibility of the government, of the police to stop them, as simple as that. Israel is a state of law and order.” However, Think Progress noted from a Haaretz report that after Mr Netanyahu made it clear that he would not be bound by the current government’s “commitments to withdraw” from the West Bank, Livni’s stance changed abrubtly: “I will advance only an agreement that represents our interests. Maintaining maximum settlers and places that we hold dear such as Jerusalem — not a single refugee will enter.”
Indeed, the occupied territories carried a great deal of weight in this year’s elections. As the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) reported, the outgoing Israeli government was “getting high marks from the Israeli public for its pounding offensive in Gaza.” But, apparently the pounding was insufficient. “Polls show that the conservative opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party have opened up a bigger lead, based on a public concern that the offensive left the Hamas regime intact while failing to free an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit,” continued CSM.
But Prime Minister- designate Netanyahu did not close that big of a gap in the end, as the final vote tallied Likud (Netanyahu) at 27 and Kadima (Livni) a point higher at 28. Despite claims of being the only Middle East democracy, votes do not always make the final decision in Israel’s parliamentary system. President Shimon Peres made the final decision that the winner would be Mr Netanyahu, who must now be able to form a coalition government. Parliamentary democracies have been widely debated over time. Some schools attest that the system is used by third world countries and former British colonies making the transition to a full democracy.
The fledgling Zionist democracy is another matter entirely. Having been founded on the pretense of expansion, it seemed relatively important that a party win this year which would not waver on that stance. Given the current climate, and no end in sight to the continued shelling of the Gaza Strip, Likud gaining the upper hand was nothing short of predictable. The party platform of Likud states: “The Palestinians can run their lives freely in the framework of self-rule, but not as an independent and sovereign state.”
It remains to be seen how President Barack Obama’s support of a two-state solution will gain ground, especially when negotiations will be held with one who openly stated the American tragedy of 9/11 was of great benefit. “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv quoted Mr Netanyahu as telling a Bar Ilan university audience last April. The prime minister designate reportedly added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”
Uzi Arad, who served as a foreign policy advisor during Netanyahu’s previous term (1996-1999), is expected to be named head of the Israeli National Security Council once the government is formed. Uzi Arad was linked in 2005 to Lawrence Franklin, a former U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel who pled guilty to passing information about U.S. policy towards Iran to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the U.S, while he was working for the Defense Department. Israel denies allegations of the link.
By Abdul Wali Johnson
Islamic Post Staff Writer
“Myanmar must immediately stop the systematic persecution of the Rohingya [Muslim] minority,” said Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director, Sam Zarifi, in a recent open letter to the Myanmar government. The letter was also sent to surrounding governments with a request to assist Rohinyas. The flight of Muslims from Myanmar reached a “critical stage over the last two months,” according to Mr Zafiri, after the Thai military “forcibly expelled approximately 1,000 Rohingyas arriving in southwest Thailand by boat.”
The Rohingyah, a mostly Muslim ethnic group, are descendants of dark skinned Arab sailors, from Southern Arabia and Iran, who visited the South East Asian coastal cities of Burma (now Myanmar) from as early as the 8th century and the local inhabitants. Their offspring were called Cula, which literally translates as “black”. They migrated to Arakan (now called Rakhine State), in the north, around 957AD when Burma was invaded by the Mongoloids.
Through their history, they were persecuted by the leaders of Burma because they were considered to be “untouchables” and they are still, to this day, forced to perform free labor at the behest of the governing junta.
The slavish history of the Rohingya began with the annexation of Arkan with Burma in 1784. Since 1937, when Burma was separated from British India, they have been victims of bloody genocidal operations in 1942, 1978, and 1991/92, causing large migrations to Bangladesh.
In the pogrom of 1942, two hundred thousand Rohingya men, women and children were massacred. All the Rohingyas of 36 villages were slaughtered.
However, the atrocities are still continuing; the suffering enduring from generation to generation. While the Indian and Indonesian authorities have rescued hundreds of Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar by sea, nobody knows when the stories of their blood and tears will come to an end. Amnesty International also called on Bangladesh and Malaysia, as well as the other governments of nations surrounding Myanmar, to help provide search and rescue for the hundreds missing and feared drowned and to prevent more loss of life.
Filed under: March Volume 2009, World | Tags: African Union, Libya, Qaddafi, Qadhafi
By Abu Rashid Qadri
Islamic Post Staff Writer
(IP)- “Our parties are tribal parties – that is what has led to bloodshed,” Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was quoted as stating at the final press conference of the African Union Summit. In a session closed to the public, the Libyan leader was voted in as the new head of the 53-nation African Union. The colonel was immediately confronted by the unstable conditions in Madagascar and with growing cries to prosecute Sudan’s president for war crimes. Not to be deterred, Mr Qaddafi made it known that his main intent is to forge ahead and establish a “United States of Africa,” transforming the continent into a single, borderless, nation-state ruled by a single government.
Extensive financial help has been given by the oil-rich nation to help lift neighboring countries, and Muammar Qaddafi’s political influence is growing on the continent. Nevertheless, speculation tends to cling to Mr Qaddafi from many quarters due to his ties, as a socialist country, with the former Soviet Union, and alleged terrorist acts of its nationals in the past.
A number of African leaders certainly do not agree with Qaddafi’s ambitions for Africa, nor are they in favor of him holding this high profile position. Yet, the rules for the intergovernmental organization dictate that the post rotates among Africa’s regions. This year was set to go to a North African leader and Mr Qaddafi was the only one present.
Some leaders criticized his human rights record and view of democracy and to the AFP. “He has a deplorable idea of democracy. He thinks it’s necessary to crush the opposition. In his country, there is no opposition, human rights are not respected,” Hermann Yameogo of Burkina Faso, whose father Maurice Yameogo was the country’s leader, then known as Upper Volta, in the early 1960s. A rights group in the Republic of Congo is also worried about the choice of Qaddafi to lead the Pan-African body. “For us, this selection sends a bad message,” said Christian Mounzeo, head of the Meeting for Peace and Human Rights, “[Given] the state of human rights and the exercise of authoritarian power in his country.”
Amongst Africans, opinions differ. Wongani Makhala, an IT worker in Malawi had this to say to the BBC: “I think he is a compassionate man; after all he did eventually release those Bulgarian nurses accused of infecting Libyan children with HIV.” Amos Marube, a journalism student in Nairobi, Kenya told the BBC: “He [Qaddafi] wants to unite the continent – but here in Kenya we are already so divided by tribalism. Regionally East Africa isn’t really unified either. If African countries are unable to unite nationally and regionally, I can’t see how Qaddafi would be able to unite us as a continent. “I’m an admirer of Qaddafi as a leader though. I would describe his leadership ‘positive dictatorship’ and he has done some great things for Libya.”
Although not in agreement with any form of dictatorship, Libya seems to have redeemed itself abroad to a great degree. Libya formally denounced terrorism in August 2003 in a letter to the UN Security Council, and began paying damages amounting to tens of millions of dollars to the victims of violent political crimes allegedly committed by its nationals. UN sanctions against Libya were lifted the following month, to the joy of the agricultural sector, which mostly consists of desert and must import food to avoid the starvation of ordinary Libyans. Three years later former U.S. President George W. Bush rescinded Libya’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism and reestablished diplomatic efforts in the country.
Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, was in attendance at the Summit and cautioned those present to use diplomacy and to stay within constitutional guidelines when searching for solutions to problems confronting them. However, most heads of state had departed by the time the compromise was struck that allowed Mr. Qaddafi to declare a victory.
Mr. Qaddafi admitted there are deep divisions in the African Union about his idea, the United States of Africa, but in a speech to the closing Summit session, he outlined a long-term vision of a fully united Africa, under one flag. “It is a government of the union. It is an authority, a government. There will be secretaries,… coordinators for various policies, like defense and foreign affairs and defense policies and foreign policies that are divergent and we will coordinate everything and our defense policies for Africa,” the Libyan president said.
While meetings of African leaders usually run two days, the Summit in Addis Ababa dragged into a fourth day with members deadlocked over AU chairman Qaddafi’s proposal for a central administration with sweeping powers. Only a handful of heads of state were in the room to hear the Libyan leader’s closing remarks. But most of Africa’s big powers, such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa, are sticking to the position that it will not be a government with sovereign powers for the foreseeable future.
African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping says even the small step of changing the name of the permanent secretariat from a commission to an authority, as agreed at the Summit, could take years, because it requires a charter amendment that must be ratified by two-thirds of the member states. African diplomats and observers say that the name change gives opponents of the plan the time they need to delay it indefinitely.
Researcher Noora Ahmad contributed to this report. Sources: VOA, State Dept.
New Islamic Museum Seeks to Unite People of Faith
IMA Press Release
Al-Farooq Masjid of Atlanta and the Barakat Foundation are proud to announce the Grand Opening of Atlanta’s first Islamic museum, The International Islamic Museum of America (IIMA). IIMA is dedicated to educating the public about Islam, as we believe it is simpler to embrace differences when you better understand them. By making interreligious and intercultural dialogue front and center, we are hopeful that IIMA will generate an atmosphere conducive to learning and a greater appreciation of the world’s diverse cultural and religious traditions. Through educating the public, we can better understand our differences, build on our similarities, and bridge the gaps that divide us.
With these goals in mind, IIMA selected the “Families of Abraham” exhibit for its debut. “Families of Abraham” is a photographic narrative exhibit of 180 photos. It features 11 families, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim who were selected to participate in one year of photography of their day-to-day life and faith traditions. Voted top exhibit of the year in 2006, the exhibit began at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, NC and drew in 31,000 visitors from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds during its time there. The curator, Eleanor Brawley, a photographer and poet of Charlotte, NC said that “what triggered her idea for this project was the knowledge that nearly half of humanity are Jews, Christians, or Muslims and claim the same ancestor—Abraham.” Brawley said, “Through the eyes of these families we explore what we have in common in today’s world.” IIMA will be the sixth venue to host the exhibit. Recently, the University of Wisconsin and Edgewood College at Madison hosted the exhibit, followed by Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC.
Mr. Muataz Malik, the President and founder of The International Islamic Museum of America said, “When we heard about the exhibit, Families of Abraham, opening at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, we traveled up to see it. It was there that we knew it was the exhibit we wanted for our opening because the aims and intent of the exhibit are similar to those of our museum- to provide greater understanding and opportunities for dialogue between people of faith.”
The photographers captured faith events—wedding celebrations, worship, and also the rhythms of day-to-day life, major holy days such as Yom Kippur in the Jewish tradition, the Christian Easter observance, and the month long Muslim Ramadan fast from sunrise to sunset. Photographers also captured the Bar mitzvah of a young Jewish boy and the greeting of a newborn Muslim baby as the father whispers the Call to Prayer in the infant’s ear.
There are 180 photographs in the exhibit by some of Charlotte, NC’s best-known documentary photographers: Byron Baldwin, Donna Bise, Eleanor Brawley, John Daughtry, Donna Foster, Chris Keane, Tina Manley, and Nancy Pierce. Interviewers conducted extensive sessions with each family—these words appear below their photographs and form a narrative of a year in these families’ lives. Interviewers were Judy Simpson Cook, Linda de Castrique, and Linda Newcom.
The content advisors to the exhibit were Imam Khalil Akbar of Masjid Ash-Shaheed, Dr. Jonathan Berkey of Davidson College History Department, Rabbi Murray Ezring, Rabbi Judy Schindler, Dr. Greg Synder of the Davidson College Religion Department, Reverend Kathleen Crowe, Dr. P.D. Miller, Professor Emeritus of the Princeton Theological Seminary, and Shaun Ahmad of the Council of American Muslim Professionals.
The soft opening of the International Islamic Museum of America will be on March 27, 2009 from 3-7PM. The Grand Opening of The International Islamic Museum of America and showing of the “Families of Abraham” exhibit will be March 28, 2009, from 12-7PM. The exhibit will be on display through June 30, 2009. The public is invited.
Regular museum hours: open seven days a week, 10:00AM-7:00PM, limited hours on Monday, 2-7PM. The museum is located at 410 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA, 30318.
Groups wanting tours and workshops should contact Karla Evans, Public Relations Officer at 404.254.0042 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information please contact the Islamic Museum of America
Mr. Muataz Malik, President and Founder
Karla Evans, Public Relations Officer
410 14th Street, Atlanta, Georgia 30318
Fax: 404.254.0048 or 877.678.1560
By Bashirah A. Malik
Islamic Post Staff Writer
A farmer from China’s impoverished northwestern Xinjiang region was turned away by authorities in Beijing after he went there demanding compensation for a failed compulsory crop plan.
Hakim Siyit, a farmer from Yengisar County in Xinjiang’s western Kashgar area, claims that a compulsory “long bean” production plan was put into effect in 2007 for Yengisar county in Xinjiang’s western Kashgar region, resulting in heavy financial losses for farmers when harvest supply grossly overshot demand. Later that year the plan was repeated with similar results. In all, Siyit says, the farmers of Yengisar County suffered nearly $50 million Yuan (U.S. $7.3 million) in lost profit, loans that they could not repay, and equipment they could no longer use.
In China the majority of her impoverished citizens make a living farming. China has in place a “compulsory production plan”. The plan is for the Communist government to control what crop a farmer plants on their farm. Conversely, China’s compulsory crops plan is nothing new. It is very similar to the Soviet Union’s communist leader Josef Stalin’s collectivization plan introduced in the late 1920s. When his idea of collective farming failed to attract farmers, mostly poor peasants; Stalin resorted to forcefully implementing his plan, by murder and wholesale deportation of farmers to Siberia. The immediate effect of forced collectivization was reduced grain output and almost halved livestock, thus producing major famines in 1932 and 1933. Millions died of starvation in one of the most fertile regions in the world of farming.
However, according to China’s law on the Popularization of Agricultural Technology, any entity causing loss to farmers through the forced adoption of technology is required to repay total damages. Siyit, a member of the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic group made his way to China’s State Council in Beijing last September to lobby on behalf of his fellow farmers. His effort got him taken to the Public Affairs Office of Xinjiang in Beijing where he was detained against his will and forced to return home with empty promises.
For over two years, Siyit and several other farmers have unsuccessfully attempted to file a complaint against the planning policies of Yin Xiaoliang, secretary of the communist party’s Yengisar County Branch. “Being the secretary, he should have known that the supply would be much higher than the demand, and there would be a lot of waste,” stated Siyit. The Yengisar regions 12 villages have a combined population of 240,000. “If only the secretary had organized it so that one village would grow long beans, another would grow tomatoes, another peppers, and another eggplants…” stated Siyit.
A government official with the Disciplinary Inspection Committee of Kashgar County, who did not provide his name, said he was aware of the farmers’ petition. “Originally we considered going to Yengisar country together with an agricultural business management group were to investigate the case. But when they asked permission [from deputy secretary of the prefecture’s party committee Zhang Jian], he stopped us. We were told ‘You shouldn’t go, let the county leader investigate first,’” the official said. Basically the matter still remains in doubt.
Siyit plans to continue his fight, despite the hardships he has faced, so that he can bring justice to the farmers of Yengisar County. “I just wanted to go [to Beijing] for the benefit of people, hoping to get a good answer. The fact that I did not know Chinese cost me a lot…It was as if I could not speak and I could only weep for my complaints,” he stated.
Early this month, Russia released the first of three volumes documenting the Soviet Union’s catastrophic famine of the early 1930s due to misguided Communist policies.
By Umm Murtaza
Islamic Post Staff Writer
The Israeli navy recently seized a ship intent on gaining access to the heavily guarded Gaza Strip. After capture, the ship was towed to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
The humanitarian vessel, which sailed from the Lebanese port, Tripoli, was dubbed the “brotherhood ship” and carried aid from mainly Arab and Lebanese charities for Gaza. There were approximately 60 tons of supplies aboard, including medicine, food, toys and books. Among the twenty some-odd passengers was a Syrian catholic priest, a Greek catholic priest Hillarion Cappuccion, a Muslim cleric and several Arab journalists.
Israeli authorities stated the vessel was not authorized, however, to enter Gaza and that the ship tried to “sneak” into the guarded waters of the Gaza Strip, Al Jazeera reported Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying. Israel states the blockade of Gaza is a response to repeated Hamas attacks on southern Israel, also that they were led to believe the ship was a “threat to security” possibly smuggling weapons “into and out of the Gaza Strip,” the New York Times reported. Lebanon’s Prime Minister Fouad Siniora stated that the boat had nothing to do with smuggling weapons and condemned the Israeli actions as a “blatant attack”.
Free Gaza organizers helped in Cyprus to get the boat inspected by local authorities before sailing for Gaza.
It is said that the Israeli Navy opened fire prior to boarding and, after gaining access, beat some of the passengers. The Israelis deny charges stating that “no guns were fired.” However, before the phone connections were cut, gunfire could be heard in the background via telephone and the subsequent reports were aired by the stations of the journalists on board.
Israel maintains strict control of Gaza’s access to the outside world. They insist that they will not permit cash, steel or any other substance that could be used to make weapons for use against Israelis by Hamas. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora stated: “The same Israel that commits massacres against innocent civilians in Lebanon and Gaza is not ashamed to assault a ship carrying humanitarian supplies.
Maan Bashour, a pro-Palestinian Lebanese involved with the organization of the trip told Associated Press “There will be more boats”, “We will keep sending them”.
On March 9, the convoy Viva Palestina of the Free Gaza Movement crossed without incident into Gaza at 3.30 p.m. “We have broken the barriers, we have opened closed borders, we have defied the odds, we have overcome the challenges across thousands of miles and three continents. We are here to be with you, to embrace you, to share your tragedy with you,” read the statement.
(IP)- One of the most controversial and violent components of the war in Iraq, is going the way of the dinosaur.
The U.S Government contract with Blackwater Worldwide –regarding security services in Iraq– is expired. There are no specific plans to renew. The decision comes from Iraqi government officials, on the heels of a new security agreement that sharply curbs American power in Iraq. The agreement took effect on January 1 2009, after the expiration of the U.N Security Council resolution (in 2008).
When asked about the details of the contract and its expiration, State Department spokesman Robert Wood was vague.
“We’re in touch with the Iraqis to try and work out… the modalities of this. But you know, as we noted, we informed Blackwater… that we did not plan to renew the company’s existing task force orders for protective security details in Iraq.”
Iraqi officials were more to the point. “The contract is finished and will not be renewed by order of the Minister of the Interior”, says an interior ministry spokesman.
Blackwater’s history in Iraq is permeated with violent confrontations and loss of civilian life. Between 2005 and 2007, Blackwater security staff was involved in 195 known shooting incidents. In 163 of those cases, Blackwater personnel fired first; 25 staff members have been fired for violations of Blackwater’s drug and alcohol policy, and 28 more for weapons-related incidents.
The company’s most noted offenses include an incident in 2007, when Blackwater employees shot and killed 17 Iraqis. According to an FBI report, 14 of the victims were killed without cause. Adding insult to injury, the Pentagon issued a statement that same year, declaring that Blackwater contractors in Iraq are not subject to civilian criminal laws.
In November 2008, The State Department prepared to issue a multimillion-dollar fine to Blackwater Worldwide, for shipping hundreds of automatic firearms to Iraq without the necessary permits. Some of the weapons were believed to have ended up on the country’s black market.
In the fallout, Blackwater recently changed its name to Xe, and founder Erik Prince dropped out of day to day operations to sit as chairman of the company.
Despite Xe/Blackwater’s contract expiration, there are no plans to completely do away with private military contracts. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed this fact during a recent interview. “How we provide security and safety for those performing civilian functions is a very difficult question”, Clinton says. “I certainly am of the mind that we should, insofar as possible, diminish our reliance on private security contractors. Whether we can go all the way to banning, under current circumstances, seems unlikely, but we ought to be engaged in a very careful review of where they should and shouldn’t be used, and under what circumstances. And that’s what we’re doing right now.”
The Washington Independent questioned whether private contractors DynCorp and Triple Canopy would want Iraqi contracts now that the Iraqi government put a provision in the Status of Forces Agreement stipulating that all contractors fall under its legal jurisdiction.
By Noora Ahmad
Islamic Post Staff Writer
(IP)– Economist Michael Kirsch declared last month the “false market” of globalization, the “corrupt” existing “speculation-based” international financial system to be “bankrupt,” and “the entire world system of globalization [to be] dead.”
If this is the case, as the Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) contributor believes, there are monetary entities clinging on to the coffin.
The World Bank released the World Development Report (WDR) 2009 earlier this year and called it: “Reshaping Economic Geography,” in which WDR Director Indermit S. Gill proposed that, by uncontrollable forces, “Markets favor some places over others.” However, such theories tend to lend more to “the delusion of globalization, and the superstition that the ‘magic of the marketplace’ determines value,” at least according to Mr Kirsch. He also laments the economic summits held late last year which gave more power to the International Monetary Fund, a global lending institution similar to the World Bank. This move helped pile on more of the same types of policies, causing economies to dip further, and quite drastically, while again lining the pockets of speculators.
Mr Gill stated, “The world’s most geographically disadvantaged people know all too well that [market] growth does not come to every place in the world,” as reported by the World Bank. But, Kirsch insists “there is no sane reasoning behind it.” “How could the market know the right price?” he said. “The market only knows the names of the speculators who have been using it to destroy the economies of nations over the last 40 years.”
Using the example of the recent conflict with Russia and the Ukraine over natural gas prices, Mr Kirsch quoted Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as having stated that oil prices are “determined by the market and not by administrative decisions.” Kirsch calls that a fallacy. “This way of speaking reflects the belief that there is an inherent value, which the market knows and bestows upon a commodity; if you want to change the price, bad things will happen to your country. With what other belief would such barbaric behavior [of withholding heating fuel from the Ukraine in the dead of winter] be justified?”
But superstitions and food prices are an even more dangerous mix. In the face of the persistent international food crisis, WDR 2009 encourages mass migration into urban areas and away from agricultural centers because, as previously stated, “Markets favor some places over others.” Where the lending institution would profit from urbanization is an abundance of infrastructure lending to help facilitate migrations. The lending packages also include ‘conditionalities,’ which average 111 per nation and “undermine democracy,” according to a statement given to the London Observer by former Chief Economist of the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz. The World Bank’s rationale for mass migration from the food-producing countryside are: “No country has attained high income status without urbanizing,” and, “Growth seldom comes without the need to move closer to densely populated areas.” However, urban areas were also afflicted with the most food riots over the past six months.
Bypassing these issues, the World Bank warns that “Rural poverty rates are almost everywhere higher than in cities,” and, “Prosperity demands mobile people and products.” However, abandoning food security and flocking to urban areas, or even other countries, to work for international companies for a pittance is slavery to some, but continuing prosperity for others.
During the time period when hunger protests were still making headlines, the Financial Times suggested a more logical approach to bring income to rural-dwellers: Governments should dedicate more land to production and better the access to financing for growers who are taking their food to market, especially those selling gourmet and organic foodstuffs to a larger market. More recently, U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama emphasized the importance of agriculture by promoting the building of gardens at U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) facilities all over the world last month, in order to set an example for global communities.
“There must be a return to the American system’s concept of the role of government in guiding the implementation of needed scientific principles,” said Mr Kirsch. “Anything less, any mental pollution, such as a mystical belief in the magic of [Karl] Marx’s stages of capitalism, or the inclination to respect and protect ‘market forces’ as if they were part of nature, means sure death for the world economy.” which is now struggling to overcome the symptoms of globalism, which has already destroyed itself.
By Maryam Yahya
Islamic Post Staff Writer
In a surprising turn of events in a saga that has lasted over a decade, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a lower court ruling that alleges that Pfizer Pharmaceuticals administered an experimental drug, Trovan, to Nigerian children without prior authorization in 1996. Previously, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed claims made by the Nigerian Government stating that there was not enough basis for the suit.
The Nigerian Government contends that in 1996, during an outbreak of meningitis when thousands of people were either being paralyzed or mortally succumbing to the disease, Pfizer administered an experimental antibiotic called Trovan at an infectious disease hospital in Kano. According to the government, Pfizer did not receive prior authorization to administer the drug and about 50 children either developed deformities or died from taking the controversial antibiotic. The government is seeking $7 billion in damages.
Pfizer, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies vehemently denies any wrongdoing. “The 1996 Trovan clinical study in Kano was conducted with the approval of the Nigerian government, and the consent of the participants’ parents or guardians, and was consistent with both international and Nigerian laws” a recent press release from Pfizer states. “Pfizer remains confident that it will prevail in these cases, and is weighing its options on how to best respond to this decision.” There is no doubt that this is bad timing for the US Court of Appeals to hand down this decision as Pfizer recently announced it’s merger with Wyeth, another world renowned company. If the lawsuit continues its path through the courts, it will certainly reflect negatively on both companies by its stockholders and the public at large.
The effects of the Trovan experiments have reverberated through time and are still being felt over a decade later. Two years ago, a polio vaccination campaign in Nigeria that was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) was met with a weak response as Nigerian residents feared for their lives. As a result, the polio spread from northern Nigeria to neighboring countries. Many Nigerians have become distrusting of foreign drug companies even making claims that “there was a western plot to sterilize Muslim women,” (BBC News). This suspicion could be disastrous as many preventative drugs and medications could prove useful in some of Nigeria’s impoverished areas.
Trovan has since been licensed for use in the United States.
Nigeria and Pfizer representatives have been negotiating an out-of-court settlement since last year. The case against Pfizer in Kano has been adjourned until early April to allow for a deal.
By Asma Abdul Adl
Islamic Post Staff Writer
Iraq recently held its provincial elections; to some, it offers a spark of hope. With over 6,000 polling stations, 14,000 candidates competed for 440 seats in 14 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. The seats are for provincial councils that control municipal budgets and determine employment rates. The 2009 elections were the greatest electoral exercise to commence since violence escalated under the occupation. In some provinces the turnout was unusually high compared to the previous last elections in 2005 when voting was boycotted by some; others felt that the insurgency inhibited them from placing their votes.
Election Day participation definitely fluctuated from the past. The turnout in some provinces was around 60 percent. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki’s Dawa Party emerged on top in at least two of Iraq’s largest cities: Baghdad and Basra.
The Shiite party Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) suffered heavy losses in provinces they previously dominated. The former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who was not very popular in 2005, seems to have done well in both Sunni and Shiite provinces in all areas of the country. In the Anbar province, most seem to have voted for the Awakening Movement.
The elections themselves marked a definite change in Iraqi politics. Most feel this is the beginning of a new day for Iraq as a whole. Not long after the elections, US President Barack Obama announced all troops would be recalled from Iraq by the end of August 2010