Filed under: Magazine/ Culture, May Volume I - 2009, Religion | Tags: Gilani, Jilani
By Noora Ahmad
Islamic Post Staff Writer
Reciting naat and qasidahs, Muslims of the Americas (MOA) pay tribute to International Quranic Open University Vice Chancellor, Perfect Sufi Master, His Eminence, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani Hashmi, a direct descendant of the world-renowned saint and scholar of Islam, Hazrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani.
(IP) –The Muslims of the Americas gathered to pay tribute to His Eminence, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani in April when MOA founding mothers, Zahidah Faruq and Umm Shafi (Aisha Begum) were invited to recite special naats they had written many years ago that have inspired generations to follow the ways of love, peace and selflessness set out by El Sheikh Gilani. The two ladies graced the occassion with a joint recitation. For one naat, Umm Shafi was accompanied by two of her sons, one of whom sings for the up and coming group Ansaruddeen. Songs by founding mother Baji Halimah Sahar were also recited. Baji Halimah has written over 100 such songs and poems and published her work via Zavia Books entitled:A Journey of Love In Na’ats and Poetry.
After releasing “Ya Ilahi” last year, Ansaruddeen is expected to record their next album later this year. Many of the songs recited by Ansaruddeen also pay tribute to El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, who is greatly loved by the group members and their fans. The group, which consists of three young men –Ibrahim Caba, Abdul Manaan A. Hakim and Muhammad Hussain A. Khabir– gave their most recent concert during a fundraising dinner at Abu’s House of Halal, a restaurant in Binghamton, NY. Fans of the group and devotees of El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani were able to hear a live Ansaruddeen performance in an elegant setting, and guests enjoyed traditional curry chicken with grilled spicy vegetables and flat bread, and also American classics such as filet mignon, rice and a specially prepared cake.
By Asma A. Adl
Islamic Post Staff Writer
(IP) –The counter (OTC) drug called phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride (PPA) has been widely used for many years as a nasal decongestant in OTC products as well as prescription and weight control products.
The FDA states that they started scientific reviews of OTC drug products in the 1970s, wanting to test the safety and effectiveness of products marketed in the United States. In 1976 the use of PPA was deemed safe for nasal decongestants by an expert panel and given the go ahead by a different panel in 1982 for weight control. The FDA, however, makes mention that they had not completed their own safety and effectiveness tests due to the occasional reports of the association of the drugs and with hemorrhagic strokes.
A hemorrhagic stroke is the bleeding inside of the brain and in its surrounding tissue. With the association of PPA and these strokes, pharmaceutical industries were requested by the FDA in 2000 to evaluate the risks of taking drugs containing PPA. The industry study was case controlled and consisted of people 18-49 years old. The subjects had been recently hospitalized with subarachnoid or intercerebral hemorrhages. For women using PPA for weight control, the increased risk occurred after 3 days, and for women using the drug as a nasal decongestant product, it occurred after the first day. The reported exposure was verified by the study investigators.
A few over the counter medications that have contained PPA are as follows: Alka-seltzer plus cold medicine; Alka-seltzer plus cold and flu; Alka-seltzer cold and sinus effervescent; BC Allergy sinus cold powder; Comtrex flu therapy & fever relief; Contac 12 hour tablets; Dimetapp Elixir; Dimetapp Cold & Cough liquid-gels; Robitussin CF; Triaminic Cold and Cough, allergy, and chest and head; Dexatrim products; Triaminic products and Triaminic childrens products.
The FDA, however, does not keep an updated list of products containing PPA as companies continue to reformulate their products. Therefore ingredient lists should be regularly checked.
Filed under: Magazine/ Culture, May Volume I - 2009, World | Tags: Gillani, Jilani
Showing great respect to the renowned Sufi Master, Ghausul Azam, Abdul Qadir Jilani, participants joined in the recitation of Holy Quran, Naat, the completion of Qasidah Ghausia and dhikr.
Everyone was elated that the descendent of Ghaus Azam of Baghdad had been elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
All are expecting him to follow in the way of his blessed ancestor with firmness and steadfastness.
Filed under: Education, Magazine/ Culture, May Volume I - 2009, Religion | Tags: Jamal al Quran
Appeal to Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to Take Immediate Action to Bring Culprits ForwardPRESS RELEASE
To: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
Supreme Court of Pakistan
and the Pakistan Ministry of Religious Affairs
From: United Muslim Advocates Guild
Re: Your Attention to Inaccurate References in Jamal ul Quran Regarding Our Holy Last Messenger (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him)
Date: May 6, 2009
Dear Your Honors:
I write to you on behalf of the United Muslim Advocates Guild headquartered in the United States of America. This letter concerns a current injustice taking place in your country. Approximately four years ago, members of our staff purchased four dozen Holy Qur’ans published by Zia ul Quran – The translator of the English/Arabic edition of Jamal ul Quran is Professor Anis Ahmad Sheikh and the proofreading was done by Professor Muhammad Shaffi.
Upon review, we were shocked to discover the most insulting commentary regarding our Beloved Holy Last Messenger (Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him). Specifically, the line to be scrutinized is the seventh ayat of the 93rd Surah, Ad-Duha, hereinafter (“the ayat”). The use of the word “distracted” for the Arabic term dalaala in the ayat when referring to the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessing be upon him) is incorrect and surely a gross insult to him, to his blessed and pure family (peace be upon them all) and to the entire Muslim world!
We contacted the publishers without hesitation to inform them of this gross error. Our staff strongly suggested the publishers: Pizada Muhammad Hafeez-ul-Barakaat Shah, and his brother Pizada Muhammad Ibrahim Shah place an editor’s slip or notation into each Holy Qur’an detailing the distortion and correcting the inaccuracy of the translation. Shamefully, both made little of the maligning of the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) and treated the whole issue as though it was of no importance and insignificant. Their arrogant, remorseless response was, “We don’t have time for this matter.” The two refused to address the issue further. It is unconscionable to think this matter is occurring in a Muslim country where those in control claim to be Ahli Bait. They profess to be family of our Holy Last Messenger (May Allah be pleased with him) but none has stepped up to protect his Honor.
The correct meaning of the ayah concerned is “We found you absorbed in love of Allah and we show you the way.” This is the same interpretation of the word dalaala as it was used in Sura Yusuf when referring to Hazrat Yaqub (peace be upon him) in order to express the extreme love for his son Hazrat Yusuf (peace be upon him). The Almighty Allah states that: “My Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) is not insane, nor a liar, nor a confused person.” The Arabic/Urdu Dictionary published in Karachi and Lahore concurs that the word used in translation to mean “distracted” is used to describe someone who is weak-minded or one with a mental flaw. The words Pagall (insane , distracted) and Jhoot (meaning lies and insane) were used. To even suggest such derogatory characteristic could exist in the Holy Last Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) is an unspeakable affront to the most perfect of creation and a fraudulent portrayal of Rasooli Akram’s (peace and blessings be upon him) impeccable character. This is a grave offense and may Allah forgive us for having to even associate these words in within the same paragraph of Our Holy Last Messenger!
Further, the United Muslim Advocates Guild and the International Qur’anic Open University have jointly sponsored a newspaper correspondent to travel to your country to personally deliver this letter and to monitor the situation.
To this end, we are respectfully requesting that you exercise your influence to order the publishers to rectify this problem with all urgency. Sirs, you have the authority to rectify this injustice suo motto and we implore you to do so.
If our demand is ignored by the government of Pakistan, then we will be forced to rally and protest against the arrogant and blasphemous statement contained in the publication.
Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, Attorney at Law
As we stood at city hall marking the end of the Milad Parade and Festival procession, I glanced over to the women standing next to me with a homemade banner. After introducing myself and my Christian mother, I kindly asked Ann Clune if I could take a picture of her banner. Ann told me that her daughter had spent time making her the banner, which read, “True Peace Comes Not From Bombs, Change The Cycle.”
During a brief talk with Mr and Mrs Jim Clune, I learned that the two had done some online advertising for the event. The Clunes are Catholics and attend St. James Church in Johnson City, NY, and are members of a peace vigil group that has been meeting weekly with other groups in the town’s Federal Building for over 9 years now.
Another attendee, Ms. Grace Walter –who also attended last year’s program– had this to say: “It reminded me of the civil rights movement when blacks, along side with whites, marched for equality. I hope that Muslim-Christian dialogue continues.”
-Islamic Post Staff Writer, Jameelah Kareem
Filed under: From the Desk of El Sheikh Sultan Muhyuddin Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, Magazine/ Culture, May Volume I - 2009 | Tags: Gilani, Jilani
Below is another brief, but extremely beneficial, transcription of a segment of a discourse by His Eminence, El-Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani. The dear reader will also notice this is an explanatory lecture on the hikmah that Allah, the Most High, reveals for mankind in Surah Luqman:
“And We bestowed hikmah upon Luqman: “Show thy gratitude to Allah, and whoever is grateful does so to the profit of his own soul.” – HolyQur’an Surah Luqman, Ayat 12.
Commentary by El Sheikh Gilani:
After Divine Revelation (wahi) and Messengerhood is hikmah. Hikmah is The Wisdom. In English we say: “[So and so], he is a very wise man.” What do we mean by this? It is a very crude meaning, because the whole terminology [of English] is very ambiguous and ever changing. The wise people twenty years ago are fools now, and those people whom they call wise today: they will become fools after ten years. So, hikmah is that gift from Allah (glory be to the Most High) that comes directly from Allah by which you can make differentiation between the falsehood and the truth. Hikmah is a gift. After Messengers come hakeems whom Allah has given hikmah. They are awliya (friends of Allah). Hazrat Luqman (to whom this Surah refers, peace be upon him) was a hakeem.
Now [as I said], hikmah is a gift that comes from Allah. It is not wahi, but Allah inspires the hearts of those people by giving them hikmah. It is a light, Allah’s Noor, by which they can differentiate between the falsehood and the truth. They know the reality of things (haqiqah) and the secrets of the deeds and act upon it.
For an ordinary person, he sees all that is in heaven and earth and thinks that he can cultivate land, raise flowers and cattle, do business and just thinks that Allah has given him this ability. But, for a hakeem, all of that which is between heaven and earth, in the physical world, are signs and similitudes to guide him, and they are all physical manifestations, physical or materialized forms of each and every word of Holy Qur’an. All that he sees are the physical manifestations or materialization of Allah’s Words.
The words of Allah are meant to guide you, so that you are not misguided. When you start doing research of the signs, or matter, or its growth, or its form, then one is short of a fool as an indicative sign is meant to lead you towards a direction! They are the signs along the way! And you should follow in that direction. But, when you stop there, [at the signs], making use of your microscope and your instruments, [focusing only on those instruments without attention given to their actual use, purpose and indication] and you start writing on your boards that it (the sign given by Allah) is made of so and so; it is so many years old, etc.; then, people will say: “He’s a madman! Put him in the lunatic asylum!”
Filed under: Education, International, Magazine/ Culture, May Volume I - 2009 | Tags: Book Review
By Lorna Swaine-Abdallah
Islamic Post Staff Writer
The Islamic Post is pleased to present an excerpt from the introduction of the latest book by scholar of Sufic doctrine, Stephen Schwartz called, The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony. An analysis by the International Quranic Open University (IQOU) regarding Schwartz’ accurate assessment of extremists abusing the name of Islam follows.
First, the excerpt from the introduction to The Other Islam, by Stephen Suleiman Schwartz: “Sufism –Islamic Spirituality in a World of Fear:”
On May 27, 2007, a huge bomb struck the mosque and shrine of Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jilani in central Baghdad, killing at least twenty-four people and injuring many more. The Jilani shrine is a prominent landmark in the Iraqi capital, and the explosion damaged its dome and minaret.
Shaykh Jilani, who lived from around 1077 to 1166 C.E., has been described as a “patron saint” of Baghdad, and the celebration of his birthday, a custom known as mawlid in Islam, is a favorite festival in the city. His mawlid had taken place a month before the May 2007 blast.
Because Shaykh Jilani was a Sunni Muslim, some Westerners immediately assumed that the attack on his shrine was committed by Iraqi Shia Muslims. But they were wrong. The perpetrators of the Jilani bombing were also Sunnis. The difference was that Shaykh Jilani was known as a Sunni Sufi, and the bombers were Wahhabis (alias “Salafis”), probably from Saudi Arabia, who militantly claim the Sunni banner.
If the fighting between Muslims in Iraq pitted Sunnis against Shias, most Americans would ask, why would Sunnis bomb a Sunni shrine? Was this some bizarre provocation aimed at blaming Shias for the crime and rousing the anger of Sunnis? Every Muslim in the world knows the answer to that question: Sunnis attacked Sunnis in the Jilani shrine bombing because Wahhabis, representing the most extreme, violent, exclusionary, rigid, and fundamentalist interpretation in the history of Sunni Islam –fueled by Saudi petrodollars– despise Sufis and their shrines. Wahhabis also hate and kill other non-Wahhabi Sunnis, as well as Shias, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and anybody else with whom they disagree, including each other.
The rise of Al-Qaida and of Islamist terrorism in general originates more in Wahhabism and the divisions it has created within the community of Muslim believers than in a conflict with the West. And the field of deadly Wahhabi action against Sufis and other dissenting Muslims is not limited to Iraq. Less than five months after the Jilani shrine bomb, a blast at the shrine of another of the most famous Sufis, Moinuddin Chisti, in Ajmer, India, killed two people and injured twenty. The crime occurred during evening prayers when the shrine was crowded with hundreds of worshippers.
The conflict between Sufis, both Sunni and Shia, and Islamist fundamentalists or clericalists is widening around the world –in terror attacks striking Iraq as well as in reform efforts in Saudi Arabia, amid intrigues among American Muslims at the same time as Sunni fundamentalists and Sufis confront one another in the Balkans, and in the banning of Sufi books in Malaysia.
[...] The Iranian clerical regime is in crisis, and Sufis are increasingly prominent as representatives of a new political and social alternative to the failed scheme of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (the story of the Gonabadi Sufis will be told in chapter 5). Similarly, Sufis are in the forefront of demands for political and social reform in Saudi Arabia, where the anti-Sufi Wahhabis comprise the official form of Islam. For many years the outstanding opponent of fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia was a beloved Sufi, Sayyid Muhammad Alawi Al-Maliki (1947-2004). When his funeral was held in Mecca, private jets choked the Saudi airports for days.
In the Wahhabi mind, to praise a Sufi saint such as Shaykh Jilani, to observe his birthday, and to honor his shrine, is to deviate from strict monotheism, concentrated on God, and thus to treat a personality such as Jilani or Moinuddin Chisti as a “partner” or “equal” of God. According to the same bizarre logic, Wahhabis condemn mawlid birthday events for the Prophet Muhammad himself [peace be upon him]. The fundamentalists deride such customs as a mimicking of Christianity, claiming that extolling the Prophet’s birthday is an unacceptable innovation (bida) in religion and that Muslims must not stray from the original expression of their faith. That was the Wahhabi posture from the beginning: that acclaiming the Prophet’s birthday, Sufism itself (since it is not mentioned specifically in the Qur’an), and honoring Muslim and other saints are all novelties in Islam, to be strictly avoided.
But as Sayyid Al-Maliki and other opponents of Wahhabism have written, in texts appearing since Ottoman times, if Muslims reject all innovations after the era of the Prophet [peace be upon him], they must abandon the written Qur’an (since Islamic scripture was delivered to Muhammad [peace be upon him] orally, and at first memorized), the production of books of knowledge, the erection of minarets at mosques, the construction of schools and hospitals, and numerous other modern customs, including use of sophisticated weaponry in war. Even the most extreme Wahhabis cannot claim to live by such a set of prescriptions, although they may impose them on others. Wahhabi fanatics will not watch television and the Saudi kingdom has no movie theaters, since both are recent inventions.
The faith of Islam continues to challenge Americans and other Westerners with many questions, which for most non-Muslims have remained unanswered. Is Islam a religion comparable to Christianity or Judaism, a political movement, or a violent conspiracy? Does it aim to conquer the world? Does it urge its adherents to commit atrocious acts of terror?
And then, what are Muslims? What do they believe about Islam? And how do they look at their Christian, Jewish, and other non-Muslim neighbors –if not on the same street in an American suburb, then at least on the same continent, as in Europe, and on a single planet? The West has many academic experts on the Middle East –the core Muslim area– and many Muslim and Arab advocates. But few have provided answers to the basic concerns of non-Muslims. The same inquiries have gone without adequate reply, or fallen into the void of forgetfulness, occasionally resurfacing and usually failing to stir new explanations.
[...] Outside university and political circles, hate-mongering self-anointed “experts” on Islam have proliferated, but they are heedless of Islamic, Western, or other history and interested only in selling their shoddy wares by sowing panic. They seek to reinforce suspicion in the Western public that the only trustworthy Muslim is one who has left the religion of Islam or otherwise expressed loathing towards it.
After the atrocities of September 11, 2001, followed by American military action, few Americans comprehended the essence of the situation. Many believed that the Iraq intervention was about fighting terrorism; others thought that, as in the Gulf war of 1991, it was mainly about oil. But then details emerged that had been absent from previous American involvement with the Muslim world. It turned out that Iraq had several differing kinds of Muslims: mostly Arab Shia Muslims, but also Arab and Kurdish Sunni Muslims. Aside from the Kurds, who had been protected by the West in the past and were secure friends of America, both Shias and Arab Sunnis appeared to harbor a homicidal rage against the American presence in the country.
Words such as “Sunni” and “Shia” were novel to most Americans, and almost none of the Westerners who tossed them around in the media had a clear picture of what made them different from one another or why suddenly the Iraq war had turned into what appeared to be a blood feud between them. Even many who knew that neighboring Iran is overwhelmingly Shia could not explain what that really meant for the Iraqi Shia majority –more than 60 percent of the population of Mesopotamia. Some assumed that Iran, with a Persian, non-Arab culture, sought to take over the Arab East. Most Westerners already distrusted Iran as a clerical dictatorship and rogue state.
Other new terms appeared in the Western vocabulary, also without sufficient explanation. From Saudi Arabia, the home of Al-Qaida, came a sudden awareness of Wahhabism. But certain Western experts, journalists, and government representatives were quickly convinced that Wahhabism and its followers, known as Wahhabis, did not really exist –rather. that the Saudi-based form of radical Islam should be called “Salafism.” Once again, none of the Western public figures who talked about “Salafism” showed any knowledge of the origin of the term, its original meaning, or its use by the Saudi Wahhabis (who really are Wahhabis, not “Salafis,” as will be explained further on).
On the edge of this quicksand of misapprehension, disinformation, foreign influence, ignorance, and arrogance there occasionally sprouted, like tiny but fragrant flowers, references to something called Sufism. While Sunni and Shia Islam alike were portrayed by some Westerners as dangerous to the West, and even as Satanic inventions, Sufism was typically mentioned with grudging respect, as a peaceful, spiritual way of Islam based on a journey toward God. But here, too, established expertise and common wisdom weighed heavier than the fragile petals of the Sufi blossom.
~ IQOU Analysis:~
The most refreshing observation to make about Stephen Suleyman Schwartz’ book, The Other Islam: Sufism and the Road to Global Harmony is that his analysis is surprisingly quite accurate in many respects –something very hard to come by in these days with a multitude of orientalists and even so-called Sufis who, far from having a clue, actually misrepresent the Sufi way, (deliberately or not). Schwartz’ research and exposition on the subject, in fact, presents a most favorable impression of the Sufis, while exposing Wahhabism for what it truly is, the worst kind of extremism, a revolt from Orthodox Islam—indeed, a movement to destroy Islam from within, were that possible.
American Sufis and other Muslim groups, can only benefit from the sincere effort and in-depth study that researchers such as Mr. Schwartz, make about this most vital aspect of Islam. Muslim and non-Muslim alike would be well served by examining his work. Schwartz’ work conveys an understanding that while clearly coming from his personal point of view, reveals his insight, and is truly indicative of someone who has come with an open heart to the field of study. The same cannot be said of others such as Annemarie Schimmel and R. A. Nicholson and such of their ilk who twist the facts and misrepresent the Sufi way.
The book delineates the intent of the Wahhabi movement as one that, under the cover of “purifying religion,” incites toxic hatred against those with love for the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), his descendants, as well as the Saints and Sufis. Many unsuspecting Muslims would be shocked to learn that the British Secret Service played a very important role in giving guidelines, aims and objectives to this ideology, meant to cause hatred and bloodshed amongst Muslims. To understand this one has to read a very well known book called the “Confessions of Hempher, a British Spy.” It was, according to Hempher, he who recruited one Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab and trained and developed him. Later on, this Ibn Abdul Wahhab was given dangerous and destructive aims to include in his newfound religion called Wahhabism. But do enough Muslims know this or give it due credence?
Mr. Schwartz is quite right in pointing out how these extremists bombed the Holy Shrine of Sultan Mohyuddin Abdul Qadir Jilani, the greatest Sufi of all the times. His family members are still keeping the Qadri Order alive and their numbers are increasing and their followers are found all over the world. Very rightly, has he drawn attention to how the Wahhabis/Salafis bombed the Holy Shrine of His Eminence Moinuddin Chisti in India. Unfortunately, not only this, but these same Wahhabis are the ones who actually trained and equipped the bombers.
Important to note is that the Dar us Salaam publishing house is nothing but a front organization for these enemies of Islam. They openly produce, print and sell books and materials which declare the blood of other Muslims legal.
If anybody is found showing any reverence to the Holy Last Messenger, or celebrates his birthday, he is arrested and sentenced heavily or killed. His birthplace was used as a dump for collecting trash and the date trees which he planted with his own saliva were cut down recently. At same time they maintain the belongings of their elders of Saud in five museums in the Hijaz, the holy land, which they call Saudi Arabia.
Indeed, they specialize in murdering the descendants of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him). It should interest you to learn that the Director of the Abdul Qadir Jilani Institute of Sufi Sciences and the Vice Chancellor of IQOU, NY, has been attacked more than six times by hired Wahhabi assassins. Fortunately one called Ghulam Sarwar Bhatti was arrested while trying to assassinate Pervez Musharraf, former president of Pakistan. There he confessed that thrice he went to assassinate Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani. The International Quranic Open University (IQOU) maintained one summer campus in the Pakistani Himalayas where staff and students would go for Sufic commemoration and contemplation. In 2002 when the correspondent for The Islamic Post, M. Atiq Shahid and an entire group of American Muslim ladies were there, they attacked. An exchange of fire took place between the attackers and the security guards and then the attackers left. The university had to close its facilities in that area because of the mounting hostility towards Sufis and Syeds.
There are a few other points which need to be brought to serve as further clarification on this most important subject. Wahhabis do not believe other Muslims to be their coreligionists. Therefore to call them a sect of Islam is wrong, amounting to dignifying the group with a claim to credence that only serves to confuse those with little understanding of the true teachings of Islam. Wahhabis are Wahhabis and Muslims are Muslims.
The same can be said for the Shia. Mr. Schwartz, and other writers and researchers should understand that Shia never considered themselves as Muslims. They don’t practice Islam. They have their own religion. The foundation of Islam is based on the five pillars: professing that, “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Last Messenger,” offering prayers five times a day, giving two and a half percent zakat, fasting for 30 days in the month of fasting and performing Hajj for all those who have capacity and strength. They don’t believe this. Their religion is based on Taqiya: never express your personal opinion but deceive the opponent by giving him the wrong idea and Muta: temporary marriage which is forbidden in all the Semitic religions. It is wrong to assume that Shia adore and follow Ali, son in law of Holy Last Messenger. They do not. Nor they follow the martyrs of Karbala; only once a year they beat their chest and then go home. Particularly, with regard to the Bektashi Order, it is important to be aware that there has not been a single Hafiz (one who memorizes Holy Quran) nor has there been a single Sufi from amongst the Shia.
We acknowledge that 90% of the Muslims of the world follow orthodox Islam, following the Sunnah of Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), give due respect to all previous Messengers and associate freely with people of the previous Books. At this time, the Sufi doctrine is the only way which can bring peace amongst People of the Books: Jews, Christians and Muslims. However, when we use the term “Jew” we do not mean “Zionists,” as Zionists can best be compared to the Wahhabis. They don’t follow the Torah because the Torah, Gospel and Qur’an are a continuity of one and the same message and the Holy Qur’an is the final message.
There is much more to add as there is no end to Sufic knowledge. It is unfortunate that many Muslims do not recognize, much less understand, this term “Sufism.” Nevertheless the first lesson in the Sufic book of guidance is: “Know that mankind is the family of God. And every man/woman is son/daughter of God (figuratively)” as it has been mentioned many times in the Testaments. Even in the East, many times the term is used commonly. It is high time for us to join hands and make this world full of peace, love and harmony by turning to Sufic doctrine. Muslims, Christians and Jews can come together to participate in this noble effort.
The sincere seekers of truth are welcome to make contact with our university to obtain more information on some of our classic videos on the Sufi order and discipline as well as a number of books for further study. An open invitation is also extended to seekers, researchers and students to pay a visit to the Holy Khanqah in South Carolina. Here they will get accounts of all that has taken place there, as also related by some of our Christian visitors.
By Dr. Jemille Smith
Islamic Post Staff Writer
As the American Muslim Medical Relief Team (AMMRT) is preparing to kick off our health symposium later this summer, we are looking for ways that people can boost their health in the interim. As we were discussing the details of the event, the topic of obesity and weight were brought up and to what extent it is a problem in our community. Many of our people are quite rotund and suffer from adverse medical sequelae associated with being overweight.
Our team considered what we could do to inspire people to be healthier? What would prompt people to want to get a health screen? By the grace and mercy of Almighty Allah the idea materialized to host a competition between the different locales. We always joke about whose state is better at this or that and now we can prove it. We will see who is best at being both physically and spiritually healthy for this competition will employ elements of physical and spiritual well being. It will be a program aimed at improving your body mass and spiritual “heaviness.” The contest will involve the following:
1. 20 minute exercise program.
2. List of food tips to try to incorporate into your routine.
3. Fasting two days per week. You may also send the spiritual credit of the fast upon a Sufi saint in gratitude to Almighty Allah for His guidance sent through that holy person. This brings great reward.
4.Sufi diet one day per week (details given further down).
One of the major factors leading to a healthy life is to always include some activity. It is better to try structured activity, such as exercising; however, anything that involves movement will help. A sedentary lifestyle is one the major contributors to obesity and high blood pressure. Do you know that for people with high blood pressure, if they incorporate life style changes (i.e., diet and exercise) it can have the same affect on lowering blood pressure as starting one antihypertensive medication? The exercise program will be of minimal duration so that it may be convenient for all involved. It is a 20 minute low impact, circuit training routine the details of which will be given to the mayors at every locale. It is the hope of the AMMRT that multiple participants from the same locale will do the workout together thus providing support and encouragement for each other as well as increasing community ties.
Though exercise is important, food control is even more vital to losing weight and improving health. I know that a lot of what is considered “healthy” foods are more expensive but there are plenty of healthy options in the things we eat everyday. Additionally, one should try to avoid processed foods as much as possible and eat fresh foods whenever available. Another part of the contest includes replacing all daily drinks, including juices and sodas, with water. Also, we will be cutting processed breads out of our diets for the contest. Homemade flat breads like chappati and naan are sufficient, in moderation. What you can do is eat your normal sandwich “innards” in the form of a salad with the same ingredients (I realize though this may be hard to do with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich). Try not to eat foods late at night for it may increase the stress response and usually people go to sleep soon after thus adding to calorie production.
Although fasting does have some health benefits (it helps your gastrointestinal system reset and get rid of “sludge”) the major benefit is spiritual. Thus fasting is not merely abstaining from food, but includes refraining from vile and despicable behaviors and thought patterns the whole period that you are not eating. The contest participants could fast two days per week sending the credit to the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), and/or other holy personages. An added facet to this is that if you are among a group that works out together, part of that time could be spent with one person of the group giving a brief account of the man of God to whom they sent the credit of their fast. You should take turns so that everyone gets to present to the group at some point.
The last caveat to the contest is the idea of a Sufi diet. While on our medical mission to Pakistan part of our daily lives included eating a light breakfast, such as a boiled egg, a full lunch, and a light dinner as well. This is the Sufi diet and it –to me– is harder than fasting for it takes real will power to only eat an egg and drink a cup of tea and nothing else. The idea behind this is to help with our self-control. As far as the contest is concerned, we are going to do Sufi diet for only one day per week. Those of us who want to be more ambitious can do this on a more regular basis.
The contest will be six-weeks in duration. A central person from each location should be assigned to take care of the details. This person will be responsible for the sign up sheets and for tallying the weights. As far as the days fasted and the total days performing the Sufi diet are concerned, that will be on the “honor system” and you are to report your totals to the assigned individual on a weekly basis. For it to truly be a contest we will have a fundraiser aspect to it. Each locale should try to have a fundraiser dinner in fitting with the idea of a potluck. All participants should contribute something for this meal. If you do not want to or can’t participate, you can sponsor someone for a little money for every pound lost or for every day fasted. At the end of the contest, whichever locale has the greatest percent of “weight loss” (i.e., actual pounds loss, days fasted, and Sufi diet days with the weight loss being the major determining factor) will win. In order to be eligible each locale has to have at least eight to ten participants. Twenty-five percent of the winnings from all of the “defeated” locations go to the winning location to be put in an Islamic village development fund for their particular location. Additionally, the overall top winning individual will get one percent of all of the participating locales monies.
This contest is to promote improving the health in our communities and decreasing the negative outcomes that result from being overweight. We would like to see the health symposium and the Body and Soul Contest be an annual event to eventually include all members of our religiously diverse community. High blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease kill millions of people on a daily basis and anything we can do to keep the incidences of these ailments down, will likely keep our communities strong for many years to come. As always only from Allah, Glorified is He, the Most High, can we be healed.
By Asma A. Adl
Islamic Post Staff Writer
Cuban President Raul Castro spoke at a meeting of Latin American leftist leaders in Venezuela recently stating that Havana is prepared to discuss any issue the new U.S. administration. “We’ve told the North American government, in private and in public, that we are prepared, wherever they want, to discuss everything —human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners– everything, everything, everything that they want to discuss,” as reported by CNN. Mr. Castro insists that the communist island nation be treated as an equal.
President Obama, during a press conference in Mexico City stated Washington is ready to “recast our relationship” with Cuba. The President also says that his decision to relax travel and remittances to Cuba are very significant and merit reciprocal steps by the island’s communist government; that the importance of the steps taken should not be overlooked, also stating that they are extraordinarily significant for Cubans and Cuban Americans alike. “I think what you saw was a good-faith effort, a show of good faith on the part of the United States that we want to recast our relationship [with Cuba],” he said, if Cuba is ready to change.
Mr. Obama does acknowledge that the debate will continue over the prohibition of U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba, also stating that “there is not much discussion of the ban on Cuban people traveling elsewhere, and the severe restrictions that they are under.”
President Obama says with understanding that “50 years of frozen relationships will not thaw overnight.”
(IP) –The United States and Canada, its closest northern neighbor, have affirmed a new commitment to a stronger alliance between the two North American nations. The two countries share one of the longest international borders in the world, and also share over $20 billion dollars in commercial revenue generated across those borders. Meetings between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama on his official state visit earlier this year produced confirmations on both sides of a renewed cooperation and collaboration on many fronts. President Obama was greeted by throngs of Canadians, smiling, cheering and waving Canadian and American flags, in a display of approval for their country’s relationship with the U.S. and its new chief executive.
In a public address, the Canadian prime minister indicated that the U.S. and Canada are “allies, partners, neighbors, and the closest of friends …a relationship built on our shared values – freedom and democracy.” Both countries have agreed to revamp and streamline border-crossing procedures that will improve security and eradicate border delays that are costing the U.S. and Canada $13 billion dollars yearly, as estimated by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce; as well as the need for immediate concerted efforts to strengthen the international financial system. Also stressed are collaborations on clean energy technology, environmental protection, energy security, and a firm commitment to stability and progress in Afghanistan.
By Jameelah Kareem
Islamic Post Staff Writer
(IP) –After nearly 30 years of serving as a director of faith formation at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral on Capitol Hill, Dr. Ann Holmes Redding announced she had converted to Islam in an interview with the Seattle-based Diocese of Olympia’s newspaper, Episcopal Voice.
Yet, Dr. Redding does not feel she has left Christianity at all. “The way I understand Jesus is compatible with Islam,” she said. “I was following Jesus and he led me into Islam.”
Dr. Redding had begun to study Islam in the awake of the tragedy of 9/11 and her conversion was sparked by an inter-faith gathering she attended 3 years ago. “It was much more this overwhelming conviction that I needed to surrender to God and this was the form that my surrender needed to take,” she recalled, as reported by CNN.
Despite an uproar on the part of some church members, Dr. Redding remained firm in her beliefs and convictions. Dr. Redding states that some interpret her being a Muslim as her “abandoning the church… and that [there] comes an understanding that you have to be one or the other, and most people would say that. It simply hasn’t been my experience that I have to make a choice between the two,” the minister told Seattle Times.
Redding does not believe that God and Jesus are the same, but rather that God is more than Jesus. And she believes that Jesus is the Son of God insofar as all humans are the children of God, and that Jesus is divine, just as all humans are divine — because God dwells in all humans.
Many others like Dr. Redding have come to realize that the differences between Christianity and Islam are as thin as a line, and that the two religions should unite in preparation for Jesus, the Spirit of God, to return.
Last month marked Redding’s 25th Anniversary of her ordination as an Episcopal priest. Two hundred of Redding’s friends turned out for her commemoration of the event and also came to celebrate the publication of an interfaith book she co-authored. Dr. Redding called the event a celebration of “her movement into the next phase of ministry as both Christian and Muslim.”
Dr. Redding is working to establish Abrahamic Reunion West, a nonprofit institute to bring together the Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
“As frightening as it is,” she said, “I’m willing to let God be in charge of this path of mine.”
The Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule late last month that requires manufacturers of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and fever reducers to revise their labeling to include warnings about potential safety risks, such as internal bleeding and liver damage, associated with the use of these popular drugs.
Products covered by the FDA action include acetaminophen, and a class of drugs known as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and ketoprofen. Acetaminophen is in a class by itself. The revised labeling applies to all OTC pain relievers and fever reducers, including those that contain one of these ingredients in combination with other ingredients, such as in cold medicines containing pain relievers or fever reducers.
“Acetaminophen and NSAIDs are commonly used drugs for both children and adults because they are effective in reducing fevers and relieving minor aches and pain, such as headaches and muscle aches, “ said Charles Ganley, M.D., director, FDA’s Office of Nonprescription Drugs in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “However, the risks associated with their use, need to be clearly identified on the label so that consumers taking these drugs are fully aware of the potential harm they can cause. It is important that they know how to take these medications safely to reduce their risk.”
Under the final rule, manufacturers must ensure that the active ingredients of these drugs are prominently displayed on the drug labels on both the packages and bottles. The labeling also must warn of the risks of stomach bleeding for NSAIDs and severe liver damage for acetaminophen.
Since 2006, some manufacturers have voluntarily revised their product labeling to identify these potential safety concerns. However, the voluntary changes to labeling do not address all of the labeling requirements in the new rule. For example, the new rule includes a warning on products containing acetaminophen that instructs consumers to ask a doctor before they are taking the blood thinning drug warfarin. The new rule requires all manufacturers to relabel their products within one year of April 29.
Safety data reported in medical literature indicate that people sometimes take more acetaminophen than the labeling recommends. Others unknowingly take multiple products containing acetaminophen at the same time. Exceeding the recommended dosage of acetaminophen may increase the risks for severe liver damage. Alcohol use can also increase the risk of liver damage with acetaminophen.
The risk for stomach bleeding may increase in people who use NSAIDs and who are taking blood-thinning drugs (anticoagulants) or steroids. Stomach bleeding risks also increase for people who take multiple NSAIDs at the same time, or in people who take them longer than directed. Alcohol use can increase the risk for stomach bleeding with NSAIDs use.
An FDA Advisory Committee meeting will be convened on June 29 & 30, 2009, to discuss further steps the FDA could take to reduce the risk of liver damage associated with acetaminophen overdoses.
By Fatimah Dawud
Islamic Post Staff Writer
BINGHAMTON –The United Muslim Christian Forum (UMCF) was recently invited to be a part of a tour of Binghamton hosted by Mayor Matthew T. Ryan, to review accomplishments of his past years in office and to discuss his future plans should he be re-elected joining a small crowd that chanted, “Four more years!”
“I think UMCF presence made a big statement for the Muslim community as a whole by being there,” noted a representative of the group. “Upon arrival, there were only about 30 people in attendance, so they were able give our congratulations and support to the Mayor directly before talking with other supporters.”
Mayor Matthew Ryan led the one mile walk around Binghamton which started at the Perry building (a historical site in Binghamton), passing by Abu’s House of Halal, and ended at the Regency Hotel. There the Mayor gave a press conference to announcing his running for another Mayoral term of four years.
“Jawad and Ahmad Muhammad, had the opportunity to stand next to Mayor Matthew Ryan as he delivered his speech.” By this time total number in attendance to this event went from 30 to 150 people.
As the day concluded the Mayor spoke with members of the United Christian Muslim Forum extending his gratitude for their attendance. The mayor was the guest speaker at the recent UMCF parade.
By Raheemah Atif
Islamic Post Staff Writer
(IP) –Islamic financial institutions are weathering the economic storms by most accounts, according Professor Ibrahim Warde of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, who compared the increase in Islamic economic institutions and their unique financial products with the dramatic resurgence of Muslim women wearing their traditional head scarves.
Although much of the Middle Eastern financial structure is part and parcel of the western conventional finance, which includes involvement with interest-related dealings, 2007 saw growth in the Islamic financial sector worldwide in an upwards spike of $900 billion dollars, Professor Warde explained. Accompanying this rapid growth, Islamic scholars who are knowledgeable in the detailed science of Islamic economics are in sharp demand as banking companies on both sides of the Atlantic, and beyond, seek more precise definitions and explanations of the demands of the Islamic law system upon financial transactions.
Islamic bonds, or sukuk, have been among the most prolific of financial products over the last two years. A bond is a loan to an investment group or company, who then rents the money to a business that may need capital for various reasons. The price of the bond is repaid in a specified time period, with the additional profit of the “rental fee” paid to the person who originally purchased the bond. The critical feature of Islamic investment is that it is illegal to “sell” debt. Sukuk is now being re-examined by Shari’a financial scholars to assure its current form is fully in compliance with the dictates of the Islamic law.
Throughout the Muslim world, homes are being sold by means of Islamic financial transactions, i.e., in accordance with the Shari’a legal requirements. Dr. Muzzammil H. Siddiqi, stated, by way of advertising his services, that Muslims should, wherever possible, opt to utilize Islamic banks for home financing since it is now readily available. The murabahah transaction (as it is called) is the Islamic transaction for home buying or other types of large purchases, where the bank would actually purchase the property for the buyer, and attach its fees onto the purchase price. The buyer will then pay, in installments, the price agreed upon by the bank and the buyer for the purchase – without riba, or interest on the installments.
The University Bank of Ann Arbor, Michigan, which has done nearly $80 million dollars in Islamically approved residential and business mortgages for Muslims in 15 states, was recently recognized by the American Bankers Association for its service to its Muslim clients. The bank was also rated “Outstanding” by the FDIC (Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation) for community service and for its commendable reinvestment in the community. It features Shari’ah compliant ‘Deposits of University Bank and Mortgage Alternative’ (MALT) products, and also has an investment division that offers SC (Shari’a compliant) Mutual Funds, or investing groups, to its Muslim and non-Muslim customers. While the stock market recorded one of its worst weeks, and General Motors slid towards bankruptcy, the University Bank recorded one of its best periods ever, completing 11 home sales to Muslim clients, with four more closings expected the following week. The New York Times reported that Steven Ranzini, president of University Bank, recognizes a fringe benefit of serving the Muslim community, in that clients who navigate through the process to acquire a home via a Shari’a compliant mortgage, has done so based upon his own religious convictions that the client is not very likely to default as it would be considered almost a sin to do so. In the words of Mr. Fariz Huzair, who recently purchased a home in Michigan, “In my heart, I’m doing this because it’s the command of my Creator …you have a standard you’re supposed to live up to.”
By Maryam Yahya
Islamic Post Staff Writer
(IP) –First Lady Michelle Obama took center stage on the South Lawn of the White House recently as she broke ground for a spring vegetable garden. Mrs. Obama and 23 fifth graders from Washington’s Bancroft Elementary School dug up the soil of a plot that measured 1,100 square feet. Her green-thumbed student helpers hail from a school that has already been gardening for a few years in their own schoolyards. Bancroft Elementary happens to be one of the thousands of schools in the United States that have committed time and energy into making their gardens a place of outdoor instruction in science, nutrition and economics. The students will continue to assist Mrs. Obama and the White House staff on a consistent basis by planting, weeding and harvesting the vegetables and herbs.
The Obama’s spring garden will boast 55 varieties of vegetables and herbs ranging from cilantro and basil to red romaine lettuce and sugar snap peas. Fresh berries will be available for the picking as well. A portion of the healthy produce will be used by the White House cooking staff for meals that will be served there and the remaining portion will be donated to Miriam’s Kitchen, a facility that caters to the needs of the homeless in the Washington DC area. During a recent visit to Miriam’s Kitchen, Mrs. Obama expressed her excitement about being involved with the homeless project there. “We are facing some tough times in this country and there is a moment in time when each and every one of us needs a helping hand,” said Mrs. Obama. “I want to, on behalf of the White House and the administration, thank the staff and the volunteers of Miriam’s Kitchen for their work here.”
At a time when many parts of the world are experiencing an economic downturn and as obesity has become a primary focus on a national level, advocates for locally grown food have garnered much attention. Worldwide supporters of local growing recognize the boons that are afforded to individual growers. The cost savings found in using less oil for transporting produce from industrial farms, reduced use of chemicals found in industrial pesticides and the reduced need for biological or chemically engineered fertilizers are just a few of the pros of local gardens. The Obama’s decision to use part of the White House lawn sends a clear signal to the world that local gardening is essential to keeping costs down and quite crucial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
By Jameelah A. Aziz
Islamic Post Staff Writer
(IP) –With the pressures of rising costs of living, the current economy is taking a strain on Americans across the nation, and tent cities are on the rise. Most notably they are in the downtown areas of Phoenix, New York, Washington, Seattle, Portland, Boston, Denver, Nashville, and Atlanta. Families are struggling to find a balance but have been stretched to their financial limits.
In the past year, 3.5 million men, women and children experienced homelessness. Included in this population were 600,000 families and 4,000 veterans, including about 1,500 from the war in Iraq. With unemployment predicted to reach over 9% by 2010 and the foreclosure crisis continuing unabated, the ranks of the homeless are expanding faster than the current capacity for public assistance. A recent survey from the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that 12 major cities reported an increase in homelessness as a result of foreclosure. Such an increase in homelessness inevitably means that more people will be forced to live without proper health care, food or shelter, according to National Homelessness.
Approximately 3.2 million foreclosures forced a majority of homeowners to be displaced by either staying with relatives or living out of their vehicles before giving up all hopes and living under bridges or other means.
President Obama stated during a press conference that homelessness was bad even before the economy was bad. When a question was posed to him by Kevin Chapelle of Ebony Magazine on what he would say to homeless families, especially the children who are sleeping under bridges and in tents across the county, the President replied that he was “heartbroken that any child is homeless in America and the most important thing that I can do on their behalf is make sure that their parents have a job.”
This indeed is a great crisis and action must take place. What can we do? The National Center of Homelessness suggests that “we” (as Americans) should get involved by: Making a donation of any amount; Helping homeless families while shopping online; Sharing with those most in need through planned giving; Attending an event on the subject to learn more.
This year, the Bilderberg club will organize its meeting in Athens between 14th and 16th of May, says the Elefterios Tipos newspaper. The Bilderberg club is famous for gathering the most powerful people in the world at least once per year for talks closed to media coverage and the public.
In the list of invited guests are the Queen of Netherlands Beatrix, the Spanish Queen Sophia, and varied diplomats.
Except for the 30-35 permanent members of the Bilderberg Club, the list of invited people change every year depending on who can influence the developments on the international scene. It has been said that also present at the meeting will be various members of the North Atlantic Treaty Agreement (NATO), politicians, publishers, and journalists.
“The silence law” is the first rule, which all invited to the world of Bilderberg must abide to. This is why the daily schedule remains secret.
The history of Bilderberg Club passes through secret meetings in distant hotels and discussions which no one learns about. The three day meetings in the club are covered by a veil of mystery and many conspiracy theories start, which create different hypothesis for the activities in the club. “Times” daily newspaper writes that “the Bilderberg Club is the camarilla of the richest economically and politically powerful people in the Western world, who meet in secret, in order to plan events, which later on just happen.”
The headquarters of the club is in the Dutch city Leiden, and the first meeting of the club took place in May of 1954 in Hotel Bilderberg, from which the club gets its name. The key figure in founding this club was Joseph Retinger, who was the supporter of the economical and military unification idea of Europe.
Source: GR Reporter
By Sabeerah Abdul-Majied
Islamic Post Staff Writer
It is quite possible that the chocolate you eat is produced with child labor. Over 40% of the world’s cocoa, the primary ingredient in chocolate production comes from the Ivory Coast of West Africa. The plantation farms produce cocoa for export markets in developed countries. That industry supports large multinational corporations that are engaged in multi- billion dollar trade. The U.S. State Department Human Rights Report on the Ivory Coast (2003) disclosed that approximately 109,000 child laborers work in hazardous conditions in the worst form of child labor on cocoa farms.
While the cocoa beans are supplied by the Ivory Coast, the US, the world biggest buyer, trades billions of dollars in chocolate products annually. A BBC News Report (2008) Child Cocoa Workers Still ‘Exploited’ noted that for years it has been known that thousands of children work in appalling conditions on Cocoa Plantations on the Ivory Coast of West Africa. They often do not attend school and sometimes work away from their parents. Their hours of work are long and some injuries they receive while working with machetes go untreated.
One human Rights lawyer stated that the companies promote themselves as innocent purchasers. In reality however they established the system of production years ago when they planted the cocoa trees from which they now reap the rewards. Human rights activists also believe that because of the prominent role that chocolate manufacturers play in the industry they have a responsibility to ensure that cocoa used in their products are grown under conditions that meet international law and sustain a thriving community in Africa.
Unfortunately child labor practices in the cocoa farms of West Africa are not unique. It is part of a global trend where an increasing number of children provide cheap labor. They work under hazardous conditions in the agricultural sector producing cotton, bananas, tobacco, coffee and tea.
Increases in child labor in West Africa’s cocoa sector has been linked to the decline in world cocoa prices between the 1980s and 1990s. Farmers who used to be protected by a government price system lost that privilege due to Structural Adjustment measures initiated by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The result was the dismantling of the government cocoa board. Consequently standards of living for the farmers decreased and they became more vulnerable to exploitation. Forced to cut production costs, cheaper child labor that included slave labor became widespread.
In 2001 critics like Knight Ridder (an American media company) and others made the public aware of the existence of child slavery on Ivory Coast cocoa farms. The negative publicity and public demands for answers were taken up by two U.S. congress members, Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Eliot Engel. They proposed a system to certify chocolate products as “slave free.” The proposal passed the House of Representatives but created a potential disaster for major chocolate manufacturers like Mars, Hershey’s and Nestle. Instead before the bill reached the Senate the industry agreed to take steps to solve the child labor problem.
A protocol was drafted to eliminate the worst forms of child labor and forced labor, in growing and processing cocoa. The voluntary Harkin-Engel Protocol expired in 2005 and eyewitnesses confirmed that the industry did not fulfill its promise. An extended deadline was given until 2008. This year legislation to eliminate the practice of child labor on cocoa farms is expected to be drafted against the global chocolate industry.
There is some good news however. This spring, Cadbury’s , the top selling chocolate bar in England, announced plans to achieve Fair Trade certification by the end of summer 2009. Fair Trade certification verifies that the chocolate company uses cocoa purchased from Fair Trade certified cooperatives in West Africa that do not use the worst forms of child labor and forced labor. Also Fair Trade helps farmers to improve their incomes, assists their farm organization and invests in community projects like schools and clinics.
Cadbury is the first of the major international chocolate brands to commit to ending labor rights abuses in the cocoa supply chain. Advocates around the world celebrate Cadbury’s news and see it as a victory for cocoa farmers and chocolate lovers. They continue to eagerly await the day when major US Companies like Nestle, Mars, Hershey’s and World’s Finest Chocolate will follow Cadbury’s lead.
In the meantime consumer purchasing power can assist the process. Consumers can demand Fair Trade Certified products which guarantee that farmers receive a fair price for their products and the labor force used did not include children or slaves. These products are available in grocery stores and online.
Note: Child labor as defined by the International Labor Organization refers to children less than 15 years who are economically active. These exclude children under five years or those 12-14 years who work for less than 14 hours on their job if the job is not hazardous by nature or circumstance. Child slavery is among the worst forms of child labor.
Afghan lawmakers agreed to withdraw draft legislation for new family laws that had been initiated by minority Afghan Shiites.
(IP) –After an ensuing clamor from the United Nations, governments and media worldwide called a new family law bill discriminatory towards women, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon told the Canadian Broadcasting Centre (CBC) that he was informed by his counterpart in Afghanistan that the draft “has been halted and will be revised.”
Canada has invested some $3 billion dollars in the Afghan War, and while some Canadians decried the added attempt to reshape local Afghan customs, the majority of Canadians joined the wider international community in condemning the laws which they say could lead to abusive practices amongst Shiites who form roughly 15% of the population.
The Shiite minority in Afghanistan had reportedly called for a version of family law distinct from that of the Muslim majority.
Critics claim the bill left room for forced marital relations. But the version signed by Karzai says a wife can refuse marital relations on the basis of “lawful or logical excuses or with permission of her husband,” influential Shiite parliamentarian Sayed Hussein Alimi Balkhi told Agence France Press (AFP). Another change, according to AFP, allows the woman to leave home without permission “for any lawful purpose within the boundaries accepted by custom,” said Balkhi, who was involved in drawing up the law. Also according to AFP, other demands –such as a separate family court and short-term marriages– had already been rejected.
The controversial legislation encouraged a woman to stay at home with the primary occupation of raising a family. Canadian psychologist, Dr Henry Makow took offense at the extent of the outcry over the bill asserting in his article “NATO Spooked by Afghan Laws Upholding Patriarchy:” “We don’t have the right to force our values on other cultures… How would we like if they [Afghans] forced our women to give up their careers, raise their children and keep house?”
(IP)– “Al Qaeda has not taught us religion and they have nothing for us. Now, we have an all-inclusive government and hope for lasting peace,” Reuters reported Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed to have stated.
The press conference in the president’s home addressed an alleged call by Osama bin Laden for local extremists to continue opposing the government and peace process and to depose the elected president.
This and similar calls are contrary to Islamic tenets which command adherence to peace treaties and shun violent rebellion against an elected government.
The 12-minute audio recording purporting to be the voice of bin Laden entitled “Fight on, champions of Somalia,” was claimed by Voice of America news to have been released to the media by Al Qaeda accompanied by a photograph of Osama bin Laden and a map of Somalia in the background.
But the Qaeda affiliated Al Shabab group in Somalia are not widely considered champions. Local officials report Shabab recruitment of youth to have fallen and the majority of Somali people “sick” of Al Qaeda-type antics.
More clashes were reported in the town of Wabho involving fighters from the al-Shabab group and its rival the, Ahlus Sunna Wal Jamaat, who reportedly attacked the Shabab-held village.
Clashes sparked by extremists seeking to impose their interpretation of Islam on the population are not unusual.
The Somali government also recently attacked a base belonging to the militant group.
Sources: Reuters, VOA
Filed under: Business/Economy, International, May Volume I - 2009, World | Tags: G20, IMF
By Noora Ahmad
Islamic Post Staff Writer(IP) –A major goal of boosting the power and influence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other global lending institutions was accomplished at the G20 financial summit last month by doubling, and in some cases quadrupling lending capacity to assist nations weighed down by financial woes. A total of $850 billion was allocated by G20 nations in support of increased lending, along with an additional $250 billion culled from special drawing rights (SDRs) –a currency belonging to the IMF and not overseen by any regulating agency.
The Wall Street Journal printed an article entitled The G20’s Funny Money which lambastes SDRs as “bits of paper printed by IMF officials in the basement,” which nonetheless could commit the U.S. taxpayer to come to their support. In explaining how the SDRs work, the Journal notes that so far Congress has had to be consulted and that the last decision to increase the issuance of the pseudo-currency, taken by the Clinton Administration in 1997, had been blocked by the Congress. The Journal then quotes Ted Truman, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, who he believes an actual allocation could be made by the US Treasury Secretary with only consultation with Congressional leaders, not a vote.
While SDRs are backed by the yen and the euro in addition to the dollar, management of the IMF’s currency will not be at the discretion of the countries in ownership of those currencies. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, the international business editor of the Daily Telegraph, cites the clause calling for the issuance of $250 billion in SDRs as “a revolution in the global financial order.” He writes: “In effect, the G20 leaders have activated the IMF’s power to create money and begin global ‘quantitative easing.’ In so doing, they are putting a de facto world currency into play. It is outside the control of any sovereign body.” The BBC reports IMF managing director Dominique Strauss Kahn as having noted “that this was the first step to the IMF becoming a lender of last resort or, in effect, the world’s central bank.”
While no specific targets (besides Mexico) were mentioned in the G20 declaration on Delivering Resources Through The International Financial Institutions for the $850 billion in increased loans via development banks, roughly half of the $250 billion is set to “go directly to emerging market and developing countries.” In conclusion, the declaration on increased lending stated: “Emerging and developing economies, including the poorest, should have greater voice and representation.” This refers primarily to the emerging economies of Brazil and India, according to the BBC.
Other new administrative policies include the US potentially losing its veto power in the World Bank and IMF. More Western countries could find their voting rights “severely reduced,” again, as reported by the BBC. Even “the convention that an American heads the World Bank and a European heads the IMF will also now be abandoned, the G20 leaders say,” the BBC also stated.
An IMF statement after the summit listed other assumed duties:
“Economic forecaster. IMF economic forecasts were now the central reference point for countries planning how to respond to the cris
“Policy advisor. The IMF had become a partner for governments to discuss policies and help them analyze what policy responses to the crisis would work.
“Economic surveillance. The IMF will monitor policy implementation by governments around the world.”
Sources: BBC, LPAC, IMF, G20, Wall Street Journal
Filed under: International, May Volume I - 2009, World | Tags: Balkans, Bosnia, Serbia
(IP) –Serbia recently marked the 10th anniversary of NATO’s bombing campaign over Kosovo with commemorations honoring the victims and a nationalist gathering denouncing the West with accusations of war crimes.
In Serbia, Milosevic’s party is back in power and familiar nationalistic rhetoric still predominates, Nenad Pejic reports for Radio Free Europe. “The government line on the NATO air strikes has not changed over the last decade: the attacks were illegal; the deaths of Serbian civilians were not justified; the country’s sovereignty was violated; and so on. You never hear mention of the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians who had been chased out of the region by Serbian forces. As the editor of a Belgrade online newspaper put it recently, the official speeches spend all their time remembering that Serbia was bombed but never mention why Serbia was bombed,” Mr. Pejic states.
The article “Serbia’s Decade of Denial” continues mentioning Belgrade’s announcement of plans to indict those it says are responsible for the deaths of soldiers during the withdrawal from Sarajevo in May 1992. Predictably, this announcement provides no explanations for the previous month’s shelling done by Serbian forces of the city. When the ICJ ruled in 2007 that Bosnia had not proven that Serbia was guilty of genocide during the war, Serbian media widely reported the story. But media failed to report that the court said Serbia had failed to do everything it could to prevent the genocide.
“Mladic remains at large and Serbia remains in denial about the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. Schoolchildren are taught about crimes committed against Serbs, but not about crimes committed by Serbs,” Pejic writes.
Reporting for Reuters in the eastern Bosnian town of Foca –which is best known for wartime atrocities and harboring war crimes fugitives– Daria Sito-Sucic notes that the local Serb Mayor Zdravko Krsmanovic is trying to turn the town into a center for sports and tourism. “Serving his second term as mayor, Krsmanovic said [the] 12 indicted war crimes suspects from Foca, once dubbed Bosnia’s ‘black hole’ by Western officials, had surrendered or been arrested in recent years. [Therefore] he has built a sports center and is trying to attract rafters to the spectacular river that runs nearby to help bring in badly needed money and jobs.”
Recently, Russia Today reported Serbia is preparing indictments against Bosnian officials, including Haris Silajdzic, who represents the Bosnian Muslims in the office of the presidency in Bosnia-Herzegovina because of an ambush by the Bosnian army of Serb soldiers that allegedly took place after a ceasefire had been signed. Serbian political analyst Gostimur Popvic says two incidents of this nature “happened in front of representatives of the United Nations and that the United Nations had given their word that the attacks wouldn’t happen, [so] there is also the question of the responsibility of the United Nations.”
Bosnia & Herzegovina is “again retracing the same battle against stereotypes, bias and revisionist history,” writes the former Bosnian Ambassador to the United Nations, Muhamed Sacirbey, in his book A Convenient Genocide, in a Fishbowl. “We are definitely on the defensive, but this time we do not have the same visible platform and urgency that the destruction of flesh and concrete arouses. This time the ethnic cleansing is being completed by the cleansing of history of that which would define accountability, if not culpability, of the West for the current state of events in Bosnia & Herzegovina.”
As tensions simmer, some fault the Dayton Accord which while creating an armistice to stop the bloodshed, maintained in power the same people who had created the ethnic-religious hatred that fomented the war. Thus, as Russia Today notes, while Muslims and Croats aspire to a more centralized state, Bosnian Serbs still seek autonomy –a return to what was known as the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a self-proclaimed state led by former president Radovan Karadzic within the internationally recognized territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. “The impasse has delayed the closure of the office of the international peace overseer since 2006,” RT claims.
Sources: RFE/RL, VOA News
(IP) –At the Strasbourg-Kehl Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), heads of state members of the military organization “agreed to a number of new initiatives for Afghanistan, including a significant expansion of the training and support effort for Afghan National Security Forces, enhanced engagement with neighbouring countries and a more integrated approach to working with the International Community and the Afghan Government to implement the Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS),” according to a NATO statement.
“Enhancing Afghan Government leadership, including at the provincial and district levels, is needed to speed the delivery of justice, basic services and employment opportunities, especially in the agricultural sector,” continued the statement. “The NATO leaders recognized that to do this work will require a greater civilian component to the forces being sent to Afghanistan.”
In attendance at the summit were 26 nations.
NATO confirmed that Heads of State and Government agree that, as a member of the broader International Community, NATO will “support Afghan-led efforts to reconcile with those who renounce violence, accept the Constitution, and have no links to Al-Qaeda.” This stance was elaborated upon by US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton during a press conference. Secretary Clinton was asked by the Dutch Telegraaf to clarify the difference between reconciliation with more moderate elements and “negotiating with terrorists” –a stance which was firmly negated by the previous US administration. Mrs Clinton replied as follows: “It is our best estimate that the vast majority of Taliban fighters and members are people who are not committed to a cause so much as acting out of desperation. And therefore, an offer of not only reconciliation, but a chance for them to be reintegrated into Afghan society, to perhaps have employment, to get help with their property in terms of preparing it for agricultural production, we think that there are a number of people who are currently in the Taliban who would accept such an offer.”
However “It has to be proven that they are willing to walk away from the Taliban. We did see quite a bit of this in Iraq, where people who had taken up arms against the United States and against the coalition and against the elected Iraqi Government decided to walk away from their involvement in return for the position in society and a job that was offered to them. And I think that this is very likely the course that we can take with respect to members of the Taliban, too,” concluded Secretary Clinton.
Her statement came shortly after US President Barack Obama announced the adjusted US policy for Afghanistan, noting his concern for “the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists.”
President Obama accurately predicted that NATO would be in agreement with more public diplomacy being added to the Afghan effort, along with more troops.
Sources: NATO, State Dept., WhiteHouse.gov
(IQOU PRESS RELEASE) –American Muslims are filing a $50 million lawsuit against the Fox Broadcasting Corporation for slander and defamation of character. Fox News has committed media terrorism: increasing the spread of hate crimes against American Muslims. This hate campaign of Fox News has been unending, its most recent attack, once again, accusing the Muslims of the Americas (MOA) of crimes and association with criminals about which they have no knowledge or connection. Fox News, subsidiaries, and associated news agencies, continue to attempt to link MOA members with the likes of “Shoe-Bomber” Richard Reid, “DC Sniper” John Allen Muhammad, and even with such infamous events as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Their news reporting amounts to nothing more, or less, than a deliberate smear campaign. With consistency, the Fox network keeps repeating the same misinformation and slander in order to leave a lingering impression of misgiving in the minds of uninformed citizens whom may be dependent on Fox for honest reporting.
“This is an act of media terrorism and generates hate and lies against US citizens,” says MOA Spokesman Muhammad Hasib A. Haqq. “It’s a real shame to know that these people [Fox News] consider Muslims their enemies and aim to bring about a clash between Muslims and Christians, by any means necessary, even lies. It’s cruel instigation.”
Hasib A. Haqq elaborated that the most recent slander brought about by Fox News has already resulted in attacks on the persons and property of Muslims in the United States. “But this lawsuit is not just for us,” Mr A. Haqq says. “It is being initiated for all peace-loving Americans. Stop the hate campaigns. Stop inciting people to override the authorities. Stop pushing people to violence against their Muslim neighbors.”
MOA has insisted that if the so-called “links” alleged are credible, then the broadcasting corporation should submit the proof of their claims to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for review. In particular, Fox News should provide the authorities with the backing for their statement made regarding Vice Chancellor of the International Quranic University and Imam of the Muslims of the Americas, His Eminence, El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, in which they wrongfully asserted: “Gilani is the man American reporter Daniel Pearl was trying to interview in Pakistan when he was kidnapped and beheaded. The Sheikh was taken into custody and later released by Pakistani authorities; he denies any involvement in Pearl’s murder.” This one statement contains cleverly threaded misinformation that boldly omits assertions of the Vice Chancellor’s innocence which have been made publicly available through the US State Department and the FBI. Instead of presenting accurate information, Fox News leaves the reader to wrongfully presume links between the IQOU Vice Chancellor and Chief Editor of the Islamic Post, El Sheikh Mubarik Gilani, and the heinous kidnapping of a fellow journalist.
MOA is grateful to the two above mentioned federal agencies who, on multiple occasions, have confirmed the innocence of the Vice Chancellor in the face of these baseless accusations. It has been well-documented by the State Department that El Sheikh Gilani’s name was being used in a setup by an individual named Omar Sheikh to lure Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl into a trap. US State Department Regional Security Officer Randall Bennett, in a June 2007 statement, said that when Daniel Pearl made him aware of his assignment, “The fact that his [the IQOU Vice Chancellor’s] name had not come up, and his organization had not come across my desk in any reporting, led me to be concerned that he [Daniel Pearl] was being drawn into something that was inappropriate.” Mr Bennett continued: “[Omar Sheikh] had very carefully plotted and planned this kidnapping of Danny [Daniel Pearl]. He had set it up where he had given Danny information and promised this interview with Sheikh Gilani, which Sheikh Gilani, as it turned out, had no idea his name was even being used.” FBI Special Agent Kathy Diskin, who was also assigned to the 2002 Pearl kidnapping case, stated: “I had the opportunity to sit down and interview with Sheikh Gilani. And when 15 minutes went into the interview, our feelings were that Sheikh Gilani was not involved in this.”
If Fox News cared about accuracy and non-biased reporting, their story would have at least been supplemented with the relevant information from the above US officials involved in the case. Instead, bringing shame to the name of honorable journalism, Fox News disregarded the innocence of El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, who had never seen Daniel Pearl or been involved with the likes of terrorists. The news network chose instead to lead its audience toward flawed conclusions based upon their empty inflammatory accusations and fabricated evidence.
Since 2002, Fox News has even tried repeatedly to link the Vice Chancellor of International Quranic Open University with crimes in the US, despite the fact that the Imam of the Muslims of the Americas has focused his efforts on coordinating relief teams to lead the response to natural disasters over the last few decades, and founded a number of organizations for MOA members to assist their fellow American citizens. El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani is the leading voice in the Islamic world against extremist and fanatic ideologies which cause violence and dissention between people, and he has never had any connections with terrorist organizations.
“Their [Fox’s] campaigns defeat the vitriol of Lord Haw-Haw, who broadcast propaganda in English for Nazi Germany during World War II,” says MOA Spokesman Muhammad Hasib A. Haqq, referring to the broadcasts of William Joyce (nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw) which were well known for their jeering, sarcastic and menacing tone. “The Fox News Broadcasting network is becoming the most notorious for generating and spreading hate. There seems to be no end to it,” Mr A. Haqq says.
Day and night, Fox News is fast losing its journalistic credibility. This network went opposite to the industry standard to accelerate its adoption by cable companies, paying up to $11 per subscriber to increase their availability; whereas, most networks are paid by cable companies to sign on. Before the second Iraq war, their campaign of accusing Iraq of having weapons of mass destruction –which assertion the whole world now knows was false- did not come to an end until they pushed American forces against Iraq.
The Muslims of the Americas has proved to be of the most peace loving communities in the United States. In order to lead lives free from drug and crime infested cities, members of the MOA established their own serene villages in suburban areas of the US. Many of the senior members of their community are Vietnam veterans who have been recognized as heroes, a number of whom have received the Purple Heart Medal and medals of valor along with other awards in the defense of their country. Yet, these same individuals and charitable community members are being constantly maligned.
A notice of litigation to Fox News has been served.
(IP) –It is doubtful that when former US President George W. Bush went forward with the roadmap to peace in the Middle East –the center focus of which is a two-state solution and the re-creation of a Palestinian state– that Mr Bush anticipated opposition from fellow Christians.
The Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism, however, is not surprised. The group, consisting “of pastors, academics, students, interested laypersons and a Rabbi” say they are “disturbed by the growing influence of Christian Zionism on the political scene in America,” and say the “ideology” of Christian Zionism is a “major factor in the stalled peace process in Israel / Palestine.”
As Israeli politicians from the right expressed their opposition over current President Barack Obama’s support for a two-state solution, members of the aspiring American lobby group, Unity Coalition for Israel (UCI) were sending emails to President Obama and other members of his staff, questioning “the wisdom” of the new US administration, according to Press TV reports.
Michael Freund of the Jerusalem Post defines UCI as “an umbrella group representing over 200 Christian and Jewish organizations across the US,” and claims the lobby group has “the ability to bring together millions of American Christians on Israel’s behalf.”
Mr Freund also wrote in another piece for the Jerusalem Post that “the sudden burst of Christian pro-Israel activity did not emerge out of thin air, of course. It is the result of a lot of vision and hard work.” He continues: “Working through constituent groups such as Bridges for Peace and Christian Friends of Israel, the [UCI] coalition has… become a leading voice for Israel in the halls of power in Washington.”
Yet and still, the struggle for global support in the occupation of Palestine and subsequent war against Hamas continues, and not all Israelis are in agreement with the stalled peace process. Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions –based in Jerusalem with its own chapters in the United States writes unabashedly: “It is our role as proponents of human rights, international law, decolonization, the integrity of cultures and a just peace in Israel/Palestine and elsewhere to highlight the injustice and unsustainability of Israel’s Occupation both on the ground and globally, the quicker to bring it to an end.”
By Fatimah Dawud
Islamic Post Staff Writer
(IP) –Members of the Muslims of the Americas (MOA) and other groups attended the prayer vigil at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Binghamton, NY. The community stood in unified grief over the shooting tragedy that left 14 dead last month. MOA members Abu Amir, Ibrahim Caba, M Asraf, Fatimah Begum, Shireen Rashid, Umm Shafi, Bilquis Abdallah, Layla Abdullah, Hanan Aziz and others lit candles in support of the people who lost family members and friends after a gunman attacked the American Civic Association center while English classes were in session for immigrants. The following is a narrative of Fatimah Begum, who attended the vigil:
“When we first got there we were greeted with welcoming smiles and hugs. Deacon Barbara Hayden came right up to us and thanked us for coming. After her, other pastors, deacons, and fathers came and greeted us. We thanked them for inviting us and mentioned that we came on behalf of His Eminence, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani.”
“The first to speak was the Head of the Broome County Council of Churches, Mr Sellepack. He opened with a welcoming address, and mentioned Muslims as friends, saying Muslims and Christians have to come together in this time of need to join together for peace for the community. He thanked us for being there.
“After the refreshments, Mr. Sellepack came down and again thanked us for coming and we talked about future projects together to help the community.”
Fatimah Begum continues: “Camera men for all TV stations across the country were there, BBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and other local new stations. Most stations were able to come in to tape the vigil; however, Deacon Barbara came to tell us that Fox News came to the door and asked to come in and tape the prayer vigil but she told them they were not welcome in her church. She felt that they insulted us with their recent report and said she does not want to have anything to do with them. They stayed outside.
“We mingled and exchanged information with others, talked about how we are going to assist and console the families, and left our names and numbers for where we could be reached if anyone might need our services, and prepared to take our leave. We were walking out we met the Imam of one of the mosques here in Binghamton and he told us that two Muslim women were killed in this tragedy.”
Other major news networks had been scheduled to visit Holy Islamberg and interview a family living in a model Muslim village during the weekend following the parade. However, MOA postponed the media gathering after hearing news of the tragedy that shook Binghamton, grieving the small city and its Muslim neighbors in Holy Islamberg, which is located a short distance away.
By Samia Abdul-Haqq
Islamic Post Senior Correspondent
For Pakistan & Afghanistan
(IP)– May 6, 2009– Once again, the United States Army is being pushed into a war as a result of false propaganda. The last example of this was the war in Iraq where false enemies were created. Again and again the US government claimed that there were weapons of mass destruction. Despite the fact that Iraq did not pose any threat to the security of the United States, and there were no weapons of mass destruction to be found, this false propaganda resulted in bloody war between the United States and Iraq, in which the United States came out a loser and thousands of soldiers left Iraq suffering from mysterious diseases.
The same perpetrators of world terrorism are weaving the thread of discord, in order to interfere once again, into Pak/Afghan politics. They now allege that a handful of Taliban are about to take over Pakistan’s nuclear assets and Islamabad’s as well.
The correspondents of the Islamic Post and writers of this article are making a documentary proving that the Taliban are a creation of the CIA. The writers will be visiting the Northern Areas of Pakistan, with camera crews, once clearance is obtained.
It is a matter of fact that the services of three Pakistanis were used by the CIA in the creation of the Taliban. Those three Pakistanis were sent loaded with millions of dollars to Kandahar, Afghanistan. These individuals were Asif Ahmad Ali (former Foreign Minister in Bhutto’s government), Mullah Fazl Rehman and Retired General Nasirallah Babar. They founded the Taliban on behalf of the CIA. The purpose of creating the Taliban was to divide Afghanistan between Pashto and Persian speaking people: The old rule of divide and conquer.
Many in Pakistan say the Taliban only want Islamic law in their respective areas. They have no desire to take over Islamabad or nuclear devices. They are not even capable of doing so, for they are only a few thousand people who don’t want colonialism in their area.
On interviewing El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, the leading sufi of the Qadri Order and founder of Abdul Qadir Gilani Institute of Sufic Sciences, he commented, “Of course they’re creating a lot of problems in their tribal regions but they’re not so organized and armed to take over Pakistan, or its nuclear facilities or Islamabad. It seems ridiculous on the part of anybody to say that Pakistan’s nuclear assets are in danger. This is only raised by those afraid of Pakistan having nuclear assets.”
The Pakistani Government is hopeful that through dialogue they will achieve peace.
El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, further commented about the tribal leader Sufi Muhammad and his followers, in Swat, North Pakistan:
“They neither represent Islam nor the Sufi Ideology. Though they want Islamic Shariah in their tribal region, they forget that the Holy Last Messenger (sas) took 23 years to enforce Islamic Law. As a Sufi should know, the first lesson is that Mankind is the Family of God. Sufi Muhammad should answer – under what law does he allow suicide bombings, and against whom – against his own Muslim brethren? He denounces Pakistan and its constitution. In addition to suicide bombings, they are destroying shrines of Holy Sufic Saints – a favorite activity of Wahhabis- followers of Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab.” As documented in his book, The Two Faces of Islam, author Stephen Shwartz recounts the regularized attack of the Wahhabis, on the holy city of Karbala and the tomb of Hussain, grandson of the prophet (sas) and the destruction of holy tombs and burial grounds.
One must be aware that the elements in Swat, North Pakistan appear to be fighting for Wahhabism on a global level. Unfortunately they are very well established with safe havens in the United States and England under the guise of Salafis. They are associated with Darus Salaam Publishers who are distributors of Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s doctrine. The Salafis command a large number of Students belonging to the extreme form of Wahhabism, and if their activities are not checked, they will cause a lot of problems for the American Muslims.
Sheikh Gilani stated that it is his directive that “American Muslims defend their homeland against the extremist Wahhabi onslaught which may not come from outside. I thank Almighty Allah that at least USA is a country in which Muslims can freely practice their religion and organize rallies and processions to celebrate the birthday of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) along with their Christian brethren and live freely; these would not be allowed in either Saudi Arabia or in Pakistan.
The American People have come to realize that the key to world peace lies in Christian/Muslim unity, and the process has started under the auspices of the United Muslim Christian Forum. Some of the events, news and pictures can be seen in this issue of the Islamic Post.
This correspondent worries about the government and the threat of going to war. Both governments should be warned not to repeatedly fall prey to false propaganda. The world is fully aware that such propaganda is only meant to push the United States into a full-scale war against Pakistan, of which the only loser will be the United States, in loss of life, finances and integrity.
Filed under: International, May Volume I - 2009, National, World | Tags: Opinion
By Noora Ahmad
Islamic Post Staff Writer
(IP) –US President Barack Obama stood before the Turkish Parliament recently conveying the mission of his administration to “bridge misunderstandings” between the West and the Muslim world. “We seek broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, we will bridge misunderstandings, and we will seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world –including in my own country. The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans.”
“This is not where East and West divide; this is where they come together,” the President pointed out about Turkey, a secular nation whose citizens are majority Muslims. This statement also describes the millions of Muslims who reside in the United States, the majority of whom were born Muslim American. East and West have met, and thrived, in many Western countries as well, despite those who feel threatened at the prospect.
While comments like those from President Obama, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams –who recently applauded “a number of fairly senior people” in British society for drifting towards an understanding of sharia, or Islamic law– others like Netherlands MP Geert Wilders, chairman for Party for Freedom in that country, are simultaneously trying to stop the flow towards common ground. Wilders, on his most recent tour of Britain and the United States voiced his fears regarding Muslim converts and the spread of Islam with numerous comments that were not well researched, including his assertion: “There might be moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam.”
Noah Feldman, an adjunct senior fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), writes in his article, “Why Sharia?” that the mere mention of Islamic law is “radioactive,” especially in the case of Rowan Williams who drew no end of criticism for suggesting that certain rules in sharia be placed on equal footing with various laws of Judaism that have been allowed in domestic affairs of Jews living in the United Kingdom.
Fueling the controversy, another CFR writer, Laura Vriens, in her recent article, “Islam: Governing Under Sharia,” offered misinformation for those already concerned about the rights of women in an Islamic society. “Despite official reluctance to use hadd punishments [sic], vigilante justice still takes place. Honor killings, murders committed in retaliation for bringing dishonor on one’s family, are a worldwide problem,” writes Vriens, discarding the fact that vigilantism is not a part of the Islamic legal and judicial system. Hadd is a verb signifying punishment issued via a judge in an Islamic court of law; it is not vigilantism. Adultery has spawned both Muslims and non-Muslims to wrongfully take the law into their own hands and illegally murder the alleged culprits. Yet, in Islam four eyewitnesses to the act of adultery or an unforced confession are necessary before any punishment is meted out. Nevertheless, these arguments are largely moot under a non-Islamic government as the lesser punishments remain voluntary on the culprit and heavier punishments do not apply in a non-Islamic society.
To clarify this, while most Muslims adhere to the moral and religious code found in sharia while residing in non-Islamic countries, the status of a Muslim living in a non-Islamic country is different from one who lives in an Islamic state, and the sharia does not enforce certain punishments in that case. Nevertheless, using orientalist texts, ignorance and fear, a good many continue to promote false information about Islam and its governing system, which they derive out of context at best and blatantly distort at worst. Situations in history which applied to those living under the rule of the Islamic empire –which became known as the Ottoman Empire in the latter years before its demise– are being used for such distortions.
One legal term which was applied during the Islamic empire is dhimmi. A dhimmi is a non-Muslim who chooses to remain under an Islamic government. The term indicates a person who has agreed to pay a tax that will afford them protection from foreign threats along with the Muslim citizens of the state, while relieving them of military duty from which others are not exempt. These days, the word dhimmi is widely misconstrued and is being used in unscholarly circles as a sort of insult or slur to apply to any non-Muslim who is sympathetic to Muslims on the whole, or who advocates for Muslims to be treated with respect. Such detractors loudly proclaim that common ground between Muslims and their non-Muslim neighbors and government will lead to an eventual sharia takeover wherein all others will be deprived of their rights. On the contrary, some would say history proves modern democracy to have derived from Islam, because when the Islamic system was flourishing, Europe was suffering under feudal oppression.
In the Middle Ages, when Islam was at its peak, the laws of Islam were never forced upon the non-Muslims living in Islamic territories. For example, in one of the classic texts of Islamic jurisprudence by Abul Hasan Ahmad Al-Qudoori (362 AH- 428 AH), Mukhtasar, it is stated clearly that non-Muslims are even allowed to continue the trade of alcohol amongst themselves. While Islam contains strong injunctions against intoxicants and Muslims who adhere to sharia do not indulge in alcoholic beverages whether they reside in Muslim or non-Muslim countries, non-Muslims are not made to adhere to these rules under Sharia. Imam Qudoori relates this legal judgment by stating: “Wine is to the non-Muslim what juice is to a Muslim.” Just as juice is lawful to a Muslim, alcohol is lawful to a non-Muslim.
Any peace-minded person will recognize the merit of these statements. The element of cohesiveness among religions was reiterated by President Barack Obama at the conclusion of his visit to Turkey: “One of the great strengths of the United States is –although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population– we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”
The Imam of the Muslims of the Americas (MOA), El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani is a great teacher of patriotism and love of one’s country and reminds the Muslims living in the West not to be incited by those who encourage hate, whoever they may be, and whatever words or actions such people take to invoke intolerance. This universal advice is sufficient.
(IP)– The Administrative Tribunal of Paris recently suspended the French Ministry of Defense decision to fire Aymeric Chauprade, the author of Chronology of the Clash of Civilizations. The book reportedly questions the official version of events surrounding the 9/11 attacks.
The introduction to Mr Chaupraude’s book discussed an orchestrated conspiracy that involved Israel and the Bush Administration.
Chauprade explained his initial termination of employment from his job at the French Military College in Paris, where he was teaching geopolitics, to have been the result of him speaking about a subject that was considered off limits. “I touched upon a taboo – the theory of a conspiracy plot. Apparently there is only one possibility in an accidental world. And all the wars have sprung from this.”
The book’s introduction highlights a theory that the twin towers were blown up and did not collapse after the plane collision. Chauprade’s lawyer Antoine Beauquier notes the theories included in the book contest the official theory of Muslim responsibility. “He did scientific work,” said Mr Beauquier.
Mr Chauprade said to have been planning a lawsuit against the Ministry of Defense. The Ministry reportedly refused to comment on the affair.
Source: Russia Today