By Yasmin A. Atheem,
Hurricane Ike taught residents many hearty lessons. For Houston resident, Elaine Walker, who woke up on Friday, changed her mind, and evacuated with her children, the lesson was the importance of emergency preparedness. Weather experts are currently considering enhancing the hurricane measurement scale to provide more effective data to aid residents and local government officials in preparing and responding to evacuation requirements. For members of Hand to Hands Social Service agency, Begum Nisreen, Hawwah Shahid, Samayah Jabari, Juwairiyah Abdullah, and Zulaika A. Karim the lesson came while partnering with the Muslim American Society to help feed residents displaced by the hurricane. Begum Nisreen recalls, “Some of the volunteers were still without power and living in shelters themselves, but there were so many less fortunate than us we had to help.”
Today, most of Houston has returned to pre-Ike status. For residents of Galveston and other coastal towns, it will take months to recover as communities are rebuilt and the city mourns the loss of possible hundreds.
“We are never evacuating again, Hurricane Rita taught us a lesson!” Elaine Walker had exclaimed when Hurricane Ike began to move towards the Gulf of Mexico the first week of September. Along with most Houstonians, Walker was not convinced the minor Hurricane would put Houston and surrounding areas in direct harm. The evacuation attempts during Hurricane Rita were disastrous due to lack of food, money and gas for evacuees. Many Houstonians vowed never to repeat the misadventure. For some, it would be the biggest and last mistake of their lives. Over 60 people are confirmed dead from Hurricane Ike, with over 300 still missing as bodies are still being found in the rubble that was once thriving communities. Galveston Island, approximately 40 milesnsouth of Houston, and other coastal towns were hit hardest where a massive storm surge leveled homes and swept them into the sea.
There is a point in the life of a hurricane where those in its path stand up and pay attention. For the gulf coast of Texas, this was September 9th when various coastal counties called for voluntary evacuation. Voluntary evacuations allow residents to make the decision to stay and seek shelter or escape to a safer part of the city or state. Mandatory evacuations all but force residents to leave as the city declares those who stay behind “on their own” with no emergency services or search and rescue available until after the hurricane completely passes. By September 11th, a mandatory evacuation was in order for all coastal counties including Galveston County and bordering Brazoria County where Begum Nisreen Azim resides. “When we saw that there was a mandatory evacuation, we did not immediately decide to leave. Our first decision was to obtain emergency supplies that would allow us to ride out the storm.” However, a trip to the local market proved unfrui tful as thousands of residents converged at once to pick up non-perishable fo od, bottled water, batteries, and other supplies. “We drove over 40 miles to gather up the appropriate supplies, which was daring considering gas was disappearing faster than food!” explained Azim. Soon the mandatory evacuations claimed all rations, including money from ATMs, in Galveston and Brazoria counties, due to fleeing business owners.
Friday morning, September 12th, millions of Houston residents woke up to daunting news. The hurricane was certain to come ashore in the Galveston area and would barrel north through Houston with hurricane force winds. Houston was going to take a direct hit. Hurricane Ike was classified as a Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale with sustained winds of 110 mph. The real danger though, was the size of the storm, over 800 miles wide almost the size of Texas itself. This unusually large storm began to change the outlook of residents who vowed never to leave after the Hurricane Rita debacle. Elaine Walker reevaluated the situation, “The news kept telling everyone that although the storm was relatively low in terms of the category, the massive size would put everyone at a higher level of danger”. Weather buffs knew that as a Category 2 hurricane, the ability to “weather” the storm was high. But Hurricane Ike had been underestimated.
In the late night hours of September 12th Hurricane Ike came ashore. The outer bands of the massive hurricane could be felt long before the dreaded eye reared its ugly head. Storm surge in Galveston Island was mind blowing as the famous 17 foot seawall saw ocean waters swell right to the edge before the worst of the storm even arrived. “Imagine a wall built to rise 17 feet above sea level to protect the island. Now imagine the ocean suddenly swelling to 20 feet. People who decided to ride out the tame storm began to panic!” exclaimed Samayah Jabari, area resident. But a mandatory evacuation, panic or not, means there was no help for thousands who opted to stay behind on Galveston Island. City officials estimated that 40% of the islands 57,000 residents stayed. Just up the road Houstonians were taken by surprise when the city of 4 million people went black Saturday night; the power was out.
Since Hurricane Ike was so large, residents had to endure eleven hours of hurricane force winds before Ike was downgraded to a less threatening tropical storm. By Sunday afternoon, the sun brought the realization that parts of Galveston Island were wiped off the map. Huge skyscrapers of glass and concrete, misplaced symbols of power, were destroyed and humbled. One building which housed several offices had all of the windows shattered and some of the contents of the building, such as chairs, desks, and machinery, thrown and scattered all over the streets below. Trees, fences, cars, roofs and electric poles were thrown about the city as if they were leaves in a breeze. Local authorities began reporting the deaths. A curfew was immediately put in place. Anyone found on the streets after 9pm was subject to arrest. There were no stores open to purchase supplies. There was no potable water, no gas for vehicles, no banks or ATM machines available, and still no power, to the panic of millions. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reacted by setting up emergency services to provide shelter, food and water.
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By Nafisah Begum, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Holy Islam Ville, SC –In the beautiful, picturesque country setting that is Holy Islamville –located in historic York, South Carolina– students of His Eminence Sultan Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani gathered from around the U.S. and Canada during the last ten days of the month of Ramadan, some to go into confinement or itikaaf which literally means to apply oneself assiduously to something. In everyday usage, itikaaf is to remain in a mosque with the intention of worship. Khalwa, on the other hand, is also a solitary retreat, but one during which a disciple does extensive spiritual exercises under the direction of a Sufi master.
Those attending khalwa prepared for the rigorous schedule that would be sent by our Murshid, our spiritual guide.
With meticulous care our beloved Murshid carved out a schedule that would afford us the maximum benefit in a short time. This schedule was designed according to the life pattern, or Sunnah of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), who used to engage himself and his family members in intense worship during the last ten days of Ramadan, the bounty of which is immeasurable.
Included in this schedule of intense worship were bayaan, lectures, delivered by the Honorable Khalifah Hussain Abu Bakr on different sections of Holy Qur’an. These suras included, Sura Al Maidah, Sura Al Anaam, Sura Al Araaf.
Each page of these suras were scanned from a very old Holy Quran from South Africa, and each page contained text of the Holy Qur’an, which is in Arabic as well as an English translation and also the scholarly commentary known as tafsir.
Portions of the translation and tafsir given during the khalwa are reproduced below.
Sura Al Maidah opens:
Translation: “O you who believe!, fulfill your promises.”
Tafsir: “Fulfill your promises,” refers to those covenants which the Almighty had taken from previous communities, and as per the previous revealed Books. The meaning of this is to fulfill all those promises you made with your Creator and those of His Messengers who were sent to you. This covenant also extends to a person’s Murshid, wife or husband, and even to one another as the general Muslim body. This covenant relates to lawful promises only, and does not extend to commitments to do wrong.
Translation: “O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Months…”
Tafsir: One learns from sha’aa ir Allah, the symbols of Allah, that anything which has religious connection should be shown great reverence. Almighty Allah says in Holy Qur’an, whosoever respects the signs of Allah then it is from the piety of the qalb (heart). (22:32) The Sacred Kaaba, the shrines of the those who are near the Almighty and called friends of Allah, and the Holy Qur’an are but a few examples of the symbols of Allah. Observe to yourself how, when the blessed feet of Hazrat Hajirah, who is known as Hagar in English, Allah bless her, when her feet touched the hills of Safa and Marwa, they immediately became Symbols of Allah. Says Allah Almighty: “No doubt, Safa and Marwa are among the symbols of Allah.” (S2: V158) These symbols of Allah are a now a part of the Hajj ritual.
The significance of this sign touched all khalwa participants. Our Murshid is a direct descendant of the Beloved of Allah and Mercy to the Worlds, Our Master Muhammad (peace be upon him). Therefore, El Sheikh Gilani is Sha’aa ir Allah (symbol of Allah). How great is the honor due to him from his disciples who understand this phenomenon. May our Murshid live forever!
The tafsir also read that to make friends with the pious servants of Allah is the way of the believers, because holding them dear to is equal to holding Almighty Allah dear. In contrast, hating them is equal to hating Almighty Allah. (tafsir from 5:56)
These are just a few extracts from one of the three suras. The sessions on which were so powerful that tears flowed freely during each bayaan session. Sultan Mubarik Gilani also instructed us to make a special dua complete with sajdah, or prostration, in which the people in khalwa beseeched, on behalf of the entire community of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) with heartfelt pleas of begging for help. “Madad Ya Rasoolallah, Madad Ya Habiballah, Madad Ya Sayidana Muhammad Mustafa ” This special plea was done at the time of breaking the fast when, as Almighty Allah says, there is no veil in between Himself and the fasting person and He answers the prayers of the one who keeps fast.
The Night of Power: Laylatul Qadr
The Beloved of Allah (peace be upon him) said, ‘Seek out Lailatul-Qadr in the (odd nights, 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 29th) out of the last ten nights of Ramadan.” [Bukhari and Muslim].On Lailatul Qadr, the decree to befall all, great and small, is handed down from the heavens, and night vigil should be observed.
Sultan Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani advised not to neglect the final odd nights of Ramadan, and to pay close attention to the 29th, although, it had become the norm to formally recite special prayers on the 27th night.
El Sheikh also narrated a tradition in which “there was one man from among the Bani Israel who wanted to do jihad for about 1000 months. This would equal about 83 years and four months. His name was Shim’oon. Some know him as Samson. Shim’oon would fast and do jihad –in the technical sense, this means war of defense, not agression. He would fight during the day and reserve his nights for worship. Shim’oon was a very strong, honorable, and pious man who destroyed the pillars of the emperor of his day.
In ancient times, people used to live for hundreds of years, The Holy Messenger Nuh, or Noah, peace be upon him, lived for 950 years. There were those before him who lived for 2000 years. When the Noble Companions of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) heard of this, they asked, “How can we do as many virtuous deeds as these people when they lived for sometimes thousands of years, whereas we have such short life spans of only 100 years or less?” At this, the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) became sad. Hence, Allah the Most High, gave to him and his community a gift of this special night which is alone worth a thousand months of worship for those who observe it vigil.
Translation: “Indeed We revealed it (the Qur’an) in the Night of Power. And do you know what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is more rewarding than a thousand months (of worship). The Angels and Jibraeel [the Angel Gabriel] descend in that night with regards to all matters. It is blessed until the rise of dawn. (97:1-5)
Tafsir: The nephew of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), and greatest inheritor of the knowledge and understaning of Holy Quran, Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: Allah’s Messenger, said: “Lailatul-Qadr is calm and pleasant, neither hot nor cold. The sun arises on its morning being feeble and red.” [at-Tayaalisee, Ibn Khuzaimah and al-Bazzaar with a Hasan Isnad]
Our Beloved Murshid continued his narration by giving a description of how the morning of Lailatul-Qadr would appear. “The sun,” he said, “Would look like the moon in that it will have the softness of noor that is cast when moon is full, not like the sun the way we see it everyday.”
Blessed and fortunate are we that El Sheikh Gilani instructed us to pay close attention to the 29th. Those observing khalwa and itikaaf went wholeheartedly into constant worship, completing another full night in the hopes of being of those with whom the angels would shake hands in congratulations at finding him/her engaged in worship on Lailatul Qadr.
With the sighting of the slim moon that marks the beginning of the Islamic month, this current month being Shawaal we, the followers of Our Master Muhammad (peace be upon him) welcomed the start of Shawaal, Eid day, with mixed emotions. The joy of completing another Ramadan and acquiring the blessing thereof mixed with the sadness that comes when one realizes that this beautiful month has passed and one may or may not see another one.
The Honorable Khalifa Muhammad Husain dropped pearls of wisdom on the faithful servants of Allah after the morning prayers, reminding all of the great blessings sent down on us during the month of Ramadan, and reaffirming the commitment of all present to Almighty Allah, His Beloved Last Messenger (peace be upon him), and the successor to the Beloved of Allah, El Sheikh Sultan Mubarik Ali Gilani, Hashmi.
Filed under: Business/Economy, International, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World | Tags: Pakistan
By Umm Sanaa, Islamic Post Staff Writer
The International Qur’anic Open University (IQOU) has announced the sponsorship of two American students to attend its South Asia campus in Lahore, Pakistan. Naseemah A. Aziz and Saabirah A. Shakir are set to explore business opportunities for merchandising through import and export training. Already undergraduates of IQOU and teachers of conversational Arabic, this new experience will serve as a wonderful compliment to their education and a great benefit to their communities.
The business courses are another example of how the Vice Chancellor of the International Qur’anic Open University, His Eminence, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, has set a standard for his students to excel at both Islamic and secular education. This well-rounded curriculum is key to the achievements of IQOU students over the years.
Upon successful completion of their studies, Ms. Aziz and Ms. Shakir are expected to purchase merchandise rare in this part of the world. Kashmiri shawls and clothing, as well as Pakistani Islamic fashionable garments and hand-stitched embroidered items. They will also be looking to buy decorative calligraphic wall ornamentations, hand crafts, marble ornaments and unique products from the Sindh region. All items are to be brought back to the Americas as the foundation for a business beginning with a huge Islamic marketplace bazaar called namaish.
IQOU students are well-known for their serious academic ambitions, and are applauded for their commitment to sustaining the knowledge through teaching and other practical applications. These two young ladies will be no exception as family members and peers swell with delight thrilled at the possibilities the trip brings.
Filed under: Magazine/ Culture, Religion, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, Uncategorized | Tags: Islamic miracle, miracle
Announcement Of Glad Tidings Given On The Occasion of A Divine Miracle in Holy Islamberg, NY
By Muhammad Haseeb Abdul Haqq, Islamic Post Staff Writer
This year, the month of Ramadan began much like previous observances for the residents of the quaint Village of Islamberg, located in Hancock, upstate New York. For the 24 years of the village’s existence, the days of the Islamic fasting month have begun with the tahajjud prayer in the middle of the night, while others are asleep. Sehri, the meal taken prior to the beginning of the day’s fast, is taken thereafter. The end of the nighttime hours of worship and nourishment is then hearkened with the adhan, the call to the early morning, fajr prayer.
The serenity of these peaceful hours fades somewhat, as parents hurry daily off to work. Children’s laughter penetrated the atmosphere as they walked the roads leading to the Islamberg Children’s Academy. On the whole, the days were quiet and uneventful; but an hour or so before sunset, the atmosphere changed. There was a noticeable increase in movement as parents returned from work and children hurried home to prepare themselves for iftar, the small meal taken just after sunset that ends that day of fasting.
The day ended for most with the night prayer, Isha, and the longer Tarawih prayer which follows Isha only during the month of Ramadan. Tarawih was made in congregation at the village’s mosque.
The day’s cycle found itself completed in Holy Islamberg as adults arose again in the stillness of the night to offer more prayers and supplication.
An unusual occurence.
In their daily routine of work and worship, what many village residents were not aware of was that Allah, the Most High, had chosen the Honored Family home of AlHajj Muhammad Jamal A. Rahim Qadri and Khadijah A. Rahim to manifest His personal name, “Allah”, in transparent brilliant white luminous light. The letters were written in Arabic script and pulsated on the ceiling and walls of the living room in their village home. The One Almighty Creator also manifested the name of His Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), in radiant green and red Arabic letters that shimmered on the ceiling in the kitchen area of the home. In that same area numerous rainbows with distinct colors were visible on the floor.
How to gain the pleasure of Allah.
Ramadan is a month when Muslims, the world over, increase their acts of worship hoping to raise their awareness of the One Almighty Creator, and seeking His Forgiveness, Help and Protection while praying that every possible good and favor be extended to the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad . Because of the love of the Almighty for the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), this prayer, called darood, becomes the source of salvation by virtue of the distinction bestowed upon those who honor the Beloved of the Most High. It is no surprise, therefore, that the Beloved of Allah, the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, is the Mercy To All The Worlds, and even upon mentioning the blessed name of the Beloved of Allah, “Peace be upon him,” is said afterwards. This practice of invoking blessings and peace, in a spirit of gratitude, love, and obedience to the Almighty, does much to create the aura in the village which was founded by His Eminence, Imam, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, El Hashmi, El Hassani wal Hussaini. El Sheikh Gilani is the Sultan of Qadria and Awliyah, a Sufi Master.
Blessed visitors proclaim the miracle.
Knowing well that scrutiny could follow an announcement of a miraculous manifestation, Honored Mother, Khadijah A. Rahim, kept to herself what she had seen. But visitors to her home began to exclaim the miracle. Her guests confirmed the same karamah, or miracles, which had been appearing on and off for the previous two weeks or more.
Sabeeha Hussain and Nasimah Nuruddin witnessed the name of Allah in the living room (see photographs below with caption), and it was pulsating and shimmering.
Khadijah Begum was the only one to see the name of Muhammad . The blessed name was “written in noor [Divine light], trimmed in a reddish green hue,” she said.
Ayannah Rauf, Lailah Begum Rashid and Jamillah Begum witnessed the rainbows.
Attempts to capture on film.
Some guests in the home of Khadijah A. Rahim looked for sources of refracted light and reflections. Another visitor raised a camera with the hopes of capturing the images. Each time the camera was raised the images faded but quickly returned when the camera was lowered. [*The photographs shown on this page display the same phenomenon, themselves being not as vibrant as the actual occurrence.]
Announcement of glad tidings.
When Khadijah Begum placed a call to El Sheikh Gilani to mention the blessed events, she was overwhelmed with excitement at what she and her companions had witnessed.
After conversing with El Sheikh, the Honored Mother began to announce the miracles that had occurred in her home. Khadijah Begum had been advised during the call to announce to all the marvelous glad tidings from Almighty Allah, and to proclaim this to Muslims in particular: the coming Salvation, Success and Dominance of Al Islam.
Second Holy Khanqah named in the United States.
His Eminence also stated that the Village of Islamberg has been named “The Village of Holy Islamberg,” and that the site of the miracles would henceforth be known as, “The Holy Khanqah, Qadria Gilaniyya, Sufi Lodge 2.” A khanqah is a place for worship and contemplation of the One Almighty Allah. Muslims and non-Muslims of whatever background are welcomed therein to put forth their own needs and prayers to the One Almighty Allah, which are answered with expedience by the Almighty Himself.
El Sheikh Gilani emphasized that all the proper reverence and etiquettes should be observed, in the same fashion as in Sufi Lodge 1 in Holy Islamville, South Carolina. This is due to the blessed and lofty status of the miracle site, a gift from Allah to Whom all glorification, praise and thanks are due.
Allah the Most High chooses, when He wishes, to manifest who His true friends are.
Sufi Lodge 1.
It has become customary for thousands of Muslims, mostly from North and South America, to observe the Blessed 27th Night of Ramadan and also the Eid ul Fitr, the congregational prayer and festivities that denote the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, at the Holy Khanqah located in the Village of Holy Islamville, in York, S.C. Journeys are routinely undertaken to the site in the southern United States where miraculous signs have been occurring for over a decade. The Holy Khanqah, Qadria Gilaniyya, in Holy Islamville, S.C., is Sufi Lodge 1.
Filed under: Latino/Caribe, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World | Tags: Guantanamo Tribunals
By Raheemah Atif, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Naval lawyer Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, who represented Salim Hamdan at Guantanamo Bay, is now Retired and setting up his law practice in Seattle, according to the Seattle Pi. Lt. Cmdr. Swift told a Town Hall forum this month in Seattle that his fight against unfettered presidential power boiled down to the premise that “no one is above the law.”
Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift’s lawsuit famously compared President Bush’s actions in trying his client — a Yemeni tribesman who was Osama Bin Laden’s chauffeur — with King George III’s draconian practices in colonial America, the Seattle Pi reported. Swift made the analogy to a federal judge in Seattle, where he first filed the landmark case asserting Bush overstepped his authority when he bypassed Congress and set up military tribunals to try detainees at the Navy base at Guantanamo, Cuba.
After 66 months of imprisonment at Guantanamo detainment camp, Salim Hamdan, a purported driver of Osama bin Laden, finally had his day in court, the first of the official U.S. Tribunal commissions ordered by the Bush administration to try the cases of individuals captured in Iraq and Afghanistan, and labeled as “enemy combatants.”
Hamdan’s prosecution and defense presentations were heard by six military officers who comprised the jury. That jury finally acquitted Mr. Hamdan of conspiracy to attack the U.S. as an agent of al-Qaeda, leaving one charge of providing material support for terrorism in his act of transporting weaponry.
The sentence for the latter charge amounting to the 61 months that Hamdan has already served at Guantanamo, plus six additional months imprisonment. The trial was conducted under unusually strict secrecy, with only selected journalists, officials, and attorneys permitted in the courtroom, and with the prosecution very confident of a conviction carrying a much stiffer sentence on the strength of their claim of solid evidence in their possession.
The decision of the military commission jury sent an unexpected message to the Bush administration that, despite the inflammatory press, and the prosecution’s intention to project Mr. Hamdan as a hardened al-Qaeda stalwart, the facts born out during the testimony and evidence presented during the trial did not validate as such. The “honor and integrity” of the jury members, civilian attorney defense team member Joseph Mc Millan stated to the press, enabled their arrival at a fair sentence in the end.
In an interview with National Public Radio, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick (his last name was purposely withheld), member of the military jury, commented, “In none of the evidence presented did you ever see him brandishing a weapon at all. Even when he was captured and the evidence all showed that there was an AK-47 right there in the front seat, the guys behind him and in front of him deployed weapons; he bailed out of the car and ran.”
Most of the Guantanamo prisoners are being released because of a lack of evidence to continue holding them; while the Bush administration removed more “important” prisoners to secret overseas prisons early on, refusing to surrender them for trial. Such was the case with Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, being held in connection with the September 11 attacks.
Mr. Hamdan explained in a statement which he read in Arabic before the jury that he merely had an “employer/employee” relationship with Osama bin Laden, and repeatedly apologized to the American people for any hardship or pain caused them. Military judge Navy Captain Keith Alldred wished him and his family the best upon his return to home.
The fulfillment of the remaining six months of incarceration, however, is not a guarantee that he will be released as the Federal government has classified Mr. Hamdan as an “enemy combatant,” and as such could still be subject to indefinite detainment.
Filed under: Latino/Caribe, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World | Tags: Cuba, Iran-Contra, Terrorism, Venezuela
A three-member panel of judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals of the US District of Western Texas is hearing an appeal by the United States (as Plaintiff) related to the dismissal of an indictment lodged against Luis Posada Carriles on charges that false statements were used in the course of an interview conducted during his naturalization proceedings. Carriles, a notorious operative once on the CIA payroll, and who has allegedly been named as the mastermind behind the bombing of a Cuban airliner in which 73 people were killed, was described by Peter Kornbluh , then Senior Analyst of the National Security Archive, during a 2007 hearing before The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, as “one of the top ten most prolific purveyors of political violence in contemporary history.”
The District Court charged initially that the government had “engaged in deceptive conduct and outrageous tactics” during the naturalization proceedings; the court also had “the suppression of statements” made by Carriles that were subject to “incompetent translation” , apparently to expedite the acquisition of US citizenship for Carriles, who now resides in Florida.
The decision of the Court has effectively reversed the dismissal of the indictment, and demands that the suppressed statements from Posada’s naturalization interview be submitted before the Court, reopening the case for further litigation.
The protracted record of Posada’s covert political involvements precedes his culminating effort to become a U.S. citizen by two decades. Carriles was born in Cuba, and was opposed to the domination of his native country by Fidel and Raul Castro. The appellate court brief elaborates the scenario:
“In 1961, Posada became involved with the planning for the Bay of Pigs invasion and was brought into contact with the CIA. He later enlisted in the United States Army, was commissioned a second lieutenant, and received special training at Fort Benning with other former members of the 2506th Cuban Brigade who had been commissioned in the United States Armed Forces.
“Posada was honorably discharged from the Army in March 1964. Unclassified documents contained in the record indicate that from 1965 until 1974 he operated as a paid CIA asset, although Posada asserts that he maintained a relationship with the CIA well into the 1980’s. Posada went to work for the Venezuelan secret police in 1967 and eventually became the head of a security division in charge of surveillance, VIP protection, weapons, and explosives.
“In this capacity, he directed counterinsurgency operations against leftist guerillas supported by Castro. Posada was later arrested by Venezuelan authorities in connection with the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Aerolineas aircraft in which all 73 people aboard were killed. After several years, he escaped from prison while still awaiting trial. Venezuela still seeks extradition; Posada, for his part, denies any involvement and claims that the charges were orchestrated by Castro.
“After his escape from a Venezuelan prison, Posada made his way to El Salvador. There he became involved in supplying arms and materiel to aid the U.S.-backed Contras fighting against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, an operation that came to light as part of the Iran-Contra affair. Posada moved to Guatemala in 1989 and was employed in security by the state telephone company. In 1990, he was shot several times in the face and torso during an assassination attempt allegedly carried out by Cuban agents. Throughout the 1990’s he lived under assumed names in various Central American countries. When a series of hotel and tourist-site bombings occurred in Havana in 1997, Posada was suspected of involvement.
“The following year, he was the subject of two front-page articles in the New York Times in which he claimed a coordinating role in planning and executing the bombings. Posada later asserted, however, that his statements had been misunderstood and distorted by the reporter who interviewed him. In 2000, Posada was arrested in Panama in connection with an attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro at a summit meeting in that country. He was detained for several years and ultimately convicted of crimes against national security (a Panamanian offense related to the manufacture or acquisition of bomb-making materials1) and counterfeiting public records.”
Having been pardoned by the president of Panama before he left office in 2004, Posada sought legal asylum in the United States. Despite his illegal entry, he arranged an interview for that purpose, but on the day of the interview withdrew his asylum petition and instead held a press conference in Miami announcing his “presence.” As the brief continues, “Immigration officials took Posada into custody later that afternoon, and a few days later, on May 21, 2005, he submitted to an interview. Posada was ultimately placed in removal proceedings and, on September 27, 2005, ordered removed “to any country, other than Cuba and Venezuela, willing to accept him.”
From this point, Posada remained detained in an immigration-law equivalent of limbo. On October 12, 2005, Posada filed an application for naturalization with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). This application and the related naturalization proceedings ultimately formed the basis for Posada’s indictment on false statement charges.
The Appellate Court finds serious issue with the fact that in the course of the overview of Posada’s past (normally, the previous five years of activity are investigated in evaluating a naturalization applicant’s character record), Posada’s violent political activities were conveniently overlooked. It asserts that, indeed, an applicant’s history must be viewed beyond the statutory period in order to make an accurate judgement, especially for a person known to have a less-than-pristine past, and that this extended overview is necessary and within the interpretation of the law.
The case has subsequently been sent back, or remanded, to a lower court for re-litigation of the initial indictment, and possible deportation of Carriles.
-Raheemah Atif contributed to this report
Regional Leaders Express Regrets, Frustrations
By Noora Ahmad, Islamic Post Staff Writer
The Deputy Director-General of Trade for the European Commission, Karl Friedrich Falkenburg, recently made clear the reality that governments worldwide have accepted the World Trade Organization (WTO), a global body of un-elected officials, as the highest commercial authority, and have allowed WTO laws to supersede the desires of elected governments and even regional bodies like the EU. “This is not a threat. This is not an EU community choice. This is what we will have to do within the WTO rules to which we have all subscribed…” he said. “This is not of my bullying. The EU has to play within the confines of a multilateral trading system.” the Director-General clarified.
Karl Falkenburg was apparently responding to the July accusation by Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo of the EU having used “bully-boy tactics” in negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the Caribbean Community (Caricom) and the EU.
Earlier this month, the EU rejected President Jagdeo’s request to entertain a “goods only” proposal, which would have curtailed foreign investment and service-related trade stemming from the EPA. Acceptance of the proposal would possibly have put to rest allegations that the EPA threatens to flood the Caribbean market with foreign corporations, rendering the partnership a vastly unfair one.
“If you combine the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of all the countries in our region, it would be less than the assets of a large bank in Europe, so you can imagine how unbalanced, how uneven the negotiations are; because you’re not negotiating as two equal partners. They got their way because they’re essentially a bigger power and they can always threaten to cut off their markets,” aid the Guyanese president.
St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Stephenson King, like his newly elected Grenadian counterpart, Tillman Thomas, flatly says he will not sign the deal as it currently stands, IPS News reported.
The EU primarily imports rice, sugar and alcoholic products. If the EPA is confirmed by all Caricom nations, the EU has the potential, in turn, to dominate construction, tourism, sports, art and real estate, and most other service-related fields, not to mention the local food market.
Although technically the EPA is signed between individual countries and the EU, Guyana, St Lucia and Grenada’s refusal to formalize the EPA last month led Caricom to postpone the signing until October with mounting concern that the lack of unity over trade policies with the EU could spell overall trouble for Caricom’s projected Single Market and Economy (CSME). Caricom heads favor the idea of the CSME, which would give the region a single currency and codify commerce for the 13 English-speaking nations that make up the regional body.
While Trinidad and Tobago’s President Patrick Manning, who is also the chairman of Caricom, has been touring the region to build support for the CSME, he faces opposition at home on the project. “I wish to condemn the[se] actions,” said Opposition leader, Basdeo Panday,” “Such a serious matter as ‘political integration’ should have been the subject of a referendum.”
Former statesman and Commonwealth Secretary General, Sir Shridath Ramphal, also feels Caricom as a whole is making decisions that are too rash; but he refers instead to the EPA. “We (the Caribbean people) have lost the capacity to manoeuvre,” he told Caribbean Net News, emphasizing that the Europeans initial, pause, review, come back, regroup. and then re-argue.
It seems that Caricom nations no longer have such options. When approached by Bharrat Jagdeo about having a goods-only agreement in the place of a full Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, Dir. Gen. Falkenburg replied, “Honestly my answer is no. I don’t see how that is possible. The chances of getting it are zero.”
Filed under: Latino/Caribe, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008 | Tags: El Gilani Methodology, Medicine, Quranic Psychiatry
In an interview with the Islamic Post, Dr. Syed Muzaffar Hassan explains his affinity with Qur’anic therapies and for El Gilani Methodology.
Islamic Post Interview
Q. Salaam Alaykum, I greet you with peace, Dr. Syed Muzaffar Hassan, please tell me the name of your clinic.
A. The name of my clinic is Centro de Salud Familiar, when translated from Spanish this means the Family Health Center. It is located in the Dominican Republic.
Q. Do patients come to you with long term or short term illnesses?
A. As a general practitioner, I treat almost all types of patients, long term and short term illnesses. I treat all types of ailments from the simple flu to life-threatening diseases and psychological problems.
Q. How do you explain to non-Muslims the healing effect of zikr, the remembrance of the Almighty Creator?
A. I explain to my patients that both health and sickness are blessings of Allah the Most High, but that sickness itself is a very weighty blessing. Because we are very weak and have difficulty bearing this blessing, we must remember the Almighty Creator, do His zikr, and ask His Merciful Divine help to bear this blessing. We can also ask His Divine help to lessen the burden for us due to our weakness. The mode of action, or the real healing effect of zikr of the Almighty is only known by Him and His Beloved Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, and also His sacred friends, who are known in Islam as awliyaa.’ My belief is that if Allah the Most High put so much healing power in something man-made like Tylenol, so that people may get relief from headaches and fever, than what can we say about zikr of the Most High, who is the ultimate Creator of all?
Q. How do your patients view your being Muslim?
A. Alhamdulillah, Allah deserves all praise as they respect me very much.
Q. How do you explain the same to Muslim patients?
A. For my Muslim brother, I remind him that Allah the Most High says in Holy Qur’an (5:3), “Today, I have perfected for you your deen (way of life) and completed my favor upon You and granted you Al Islam as a deen.”
Al Islam means total submission to Allah, and total submission can only be achieved by following our Beloved Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him. In Sahih Muslim it is narrated from Abi as-Zubayr, reporting from Jaber bin Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with them) that the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him, said, “Each disease has a remedy, if the remedy is suitable for the disease, the sick person recovers by the permission of Allah the Great and Almighty.”
The Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, would use various medicinal remedies and also advised the sick persons of his family and companions to use these as well.
Allah the Most High says in Holy Qur’an (33:21), “Surely in the Messenger of Allah is a beautiful pattern of conduct to follow for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day, and who engages much in the zikr of Allah.” We now have the psychology of the mo’min, the believer who practices his faith, and also the psychology of God-fearing men who are both led by that pattern of men and of leaders, the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him.
The bodily diseases are more or less similar to the diseases of the heart, which are referred to as psychological diseases, in that Allah the Most High has determined a remedy for each disease as its opposite.
Nowadays, it is common thinking that we have to take care of our physical and “psychological” health, but we are forgetting about the root of all health or illness, which is the heart. Our beloved Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, may the peace of Allah be upon him and his family, has told us, “There is a piece of flesh in the body. If that piece of flesh is sound, the whole body is sound; but if that piece of flesh is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted. Indeed that (piece of flesh) is the heart.”
According to commentators of the Holy Qur’an, in reference to, “Is one who was dead, and then we gave life and made for him a light by which to walk among the people, like one who is in darkness from which he cannot exit?” (6:122), the “one who was dead” refers to a person having a dead heart. The Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him, has said, “The difference between the one who remembers Allah and the one who does not is as the difference between the living and the dead.”
The mo’min is one whose heart is alive, while the disbeliever is one whose heart is effectively dead. The hypocrite, however, is one whose heart is diseased, as Allah the Most High has said (2:10), “In their hearts is a disease, then Allah increases for them the disease.”
That the heart starts beating in approximately the eighth week after conception, before the brain is fully fashioned, demonstrates that the heart is not controlled by the central nervous system. Heart activity is self-initiated in a small accumulation of tissues situated in the right atrium of the heart, a natural pacemaker. Many in the West have long proffered that the brain is the center of consciousness, but Allah the Most High has told us in the Holy Qur’an that it is the heart. There are those who “have hearts with which they do not understand.” (7:179).
One can say that Islam, in essence, is a program to restore purity and calm to the heart through the remembrance of the Almighty. “Most surely in the remembrance of Allah the hearts find contentment.” (13:28) Islam provides the methods by which our hearts can become sound and safe again.
These methods have been a subject of brilliant and insightful scholarship for centuries in the Islamic tradition. After being introduced to EGM, or El Gilani Methodology, by my good friend Muhammad Ahmad al Hajji, I have come to see EGM as a set of formalized therapies extending back to the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him, the scientific demonstration of which, in modern times, has been conducted by El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani.
Q. Please give examples of zikr you have prescribed.
A. I never recommend any zikr or prescribe any zikr to any non-Muslim patients, but what I observe is that when I prescribe any treatment or employ any treatment while I am doing my zikr, the patients’ recovery is expedited, and in a very short period of time.
Q. Have you seen your patients draw closer to Allah the Most High in some way?
A. Only Allah the Most High and His Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, know best. What I observe in my non-Muslim patients is their curiosity and interest in Islam is peaked. They ask questions about my manner of praying. As far as my Muslim patients, I observed that, before treatment, some were living their life contrary to the teachings of Islam. After the treatment they received, which incorporated some zikr, they not only were cured but also showed their nearness to Islam by ceasing to disobey many commands of the Almighty in their daily lives.
Q. Please describe the Islamic cultural background which inspired your love of al Islam as a way of life.
A. It is a great blessing of Allah, Glorified and the Most High is He, and the mercy of the Mercy to All of the Worlds, who is the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, that I was born in a Muslim family and received my Islamic education at home in Pakistan. My childhood and some part of my adult life were spent with people who had great light and spiritual guidance in Islam. The Almighty has given me much through the recitation of Durood o Salaam, the sending of abundant peace and blessings upon the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him. Other than this, I am nothing. All knowledge is from the Almighty and His Blessed Messenger, peace be upon him, the Mercy to all of the Worlds.
Q. Thank you Syed Dr. Muzzafar Hassan. I understand you have made your clinic available as an avenue to treat afflicted persons?
A. Yes, and may Allah bless our small Muslim community here with the ability to invite more people to the way which brings peace to the souls and bodies, al Islam. All praise is due to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His Beloved Messenger, Muhammad.
Filed under: Latino/Caribe, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008 | Tags: Argentina, Drug, Medicine, Pharmaceuticals, Psychiatry
By Safiyah A. Khafidh, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Local authorities in northern Argentine province of Santiago del Estero are investigating the deaths of 7 children, out of a total of 14 Argentinian youth, who had apparently been administered Synflorix, an anti-pneumonia and antibiotic vaccine under testing in Latin America.
Synflorix is manufactured by the British company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which company is the result of a merger of Glaxo Wellcome and the popular SmithKline Beecham in the year 2000.
There were also two reported deaths in Panama.
Although GSK refutes the possibility that the deaths are linked to Synflorix, the Health Professionals’ Labor Association (HPLA) in Santiago del Estero, one of the groups that notified the Argentine food and drug administration, believes the pharmaceutical giant bears some of the responsibility and is guilty of unethical testing.
“They didn’t explain to the parents that this was an experimental vaccine, and a lot of the parents who signed consent forms were illiterate,” Ana Maria Marchesse, a pediatrician at HPLA, told the Associated Press. “In some cases, they first gave them the vaccine and then gave them a 13-page consent form to sign that I had to read three times to understand,” she added.
GSK has also come under the scrutiny of U.S. Senate Finance Committee for not disclosing an alleged high suicide risk associated with children and adolescents taking their anti-depressant drug, Paxil.
Senator Brian Downey in February of this year and, in June, Senator Chuck Grassley submitted reports in which they alleged GSK to have been aware of the suicidal effects of Paxil since 1989.
“The British counterpart to our country’s FDA found that GlaxoSmithKline withheld important safety data on Paxil,” Grassley said. “If the company engaged in this behavior in the U.K., then I want to make sure that the same didn’t happen here in the U.S. The FDA should investigate this question thoroughly and be forthcoming about its findings,” he stated in an official press release.
In a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Senator Grassley claimed GSK hid deadly information about Paxil:
“For the last few years, I have been looking at how drug companies try and influence medical care in America. Companies can do this by, for example, creating studies favorable to their drugs, by hiring doctors to promote their products, and in some cases even intimidating critics of their drugs.
“Today, I would like to talk about a different tactic –drug companies hiding data. I don’t mean that they actually hide the data. But they make these numbers so difficult to find that they might as well be invisible.
“Last February, I asked GlaxoSmithKline to turn over a couple of reports on Paxil, a drug used to treat depression. These reports were written by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard.
“Based on the review of documents uncovered in litigation, Dr. Glenmullen concluded that GlaxoSmithKline knew for almost two decades that Paxil is associated with an increased risk of suicide. He submitted these reports as an expert witness in several lawsuits now pending around the country.
“So what did GlaxoSmithKline do with these reports? Well, the company tried to hide them. They went to the judge and asked to have Dr. Glenmullen’s report and all the confirming documents placed under seal-that means that no member of the public could see them. In fact, Glaxo has been doing everything possible to ensure that this information remains under court seal.”
The senator subsequently requested a formal inquiry into the drug maker.
GSK, in their response to Sen. Grassley, called the issues raised by Dr. Glenmullen “scientifically flawed;” “old news” which had been “created to support plaintiffs’ allegations in litigation against GSK.” The response, however, dealt mainly with adult reactions to the drug and made no mention at all of a 64 million dollar settlement in 2007 made with parents of children who had taken Paxil.
GSK manufactures numerous vaccines besides Synflorix, along with other drugs such as Nicoderm, Zantac, Panadol, and Flonase. The company also produces common household items like Aquafresh toothpaste, and the Ribena nutritional juice supplement sold in the U.K.
GSK and Merck & Co., another pharma giant, are currently competing in the production of cervical cancer vaccines which are being heavily marketed in the U.S. and Canada to young girls and their mothers. The vaccine, said to help prevent the occurrence of the cancer in sexually active girls and young women, are on the required list for school vaccinations in one state so far, Virginia. Cervical cancer is classified as a sexually transmitted disease.
The Canadian government, in turn, plans to spend $300 million on the cervical cancer vaccine program, a move which has sparked debate. “This kind of money could be better used to solve so many other problems in women’s health,” Dr. Abby Lippman, a professor at McGill University in Canada and policy director of the Canadian Women’s Health Network told the New York Times, “Some of our provinces are running out of money to provide primary care. I’m not against vaccines, but in Canada and the U.S., women are not dying in the streets of cervical cancer.”
(It is of note that parents may, in fact, legally refuse to have the cervical cancer vaccine from being administered to their girls without offering an explanation, while other vaccinations may be refused for religious reasons as applies.)
The New York Times also reported Merck’s version of the vaccine as having received expedition from the FDA, and went from the application to approval stage in only six months. The process usually takes three years to complete and “5 to 10 more for universal acceptance,” according to Dr. Diane Harper, a professor of medicine at Dartmouth Medical School who worked with the World Health Organization on cervical cancer vaccine programs. She claims that those families whose girls are receiving the vaccines after the rush through FDA procedures should be “willing to accept the risk” as only adequate timing will reveal the side effects of the vaccine.
Both GSK and Merck continue to insist that safety is their primary concern.
By Safiyah A. Khafidh, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Tent cities are springing up across the country as people lose their homes and jobs, especially since the foreclosure crisis began in 2007.
“It’s clear that poverty and homelessness has increased,” said Michael Stoops, acting director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. “The economy is in chaos, we’re in an unofficial recession and Americans are worried, from the homeless to the middle class, about their future.”
It’s a desperate move by people who have nowhere else to go.
A parking lot in Santa Barbara is now a refuge for folks sleeping in cars and vans. Authorities in Fresno, Calif. are faced with several growing tent cities, including an area where residents have built shelters out of scrap wood. Go up the western coast into Portland, Oregon and Seattle, homeless advocacy groups are working with non-profits or groups of various faiths in managing the tent cities.
Seattle is bust building for its influx of rich professionals who are occupying neighborhoods the working class lost, while the homeless search out inconspicuous, out of the way places, trying to avoid the police. “What’s happening in Seattle is what’s happening everywhere else-on steroids,” said Tim Harris, executive director of Real Change, a homeless advocacy group.
In Reno, Arizona, the officials are allowing the tent city because shelters were already filled. The tent dwellers are required to register, provided showers at the shelters and given references on where to find food and meals. However, they are subject to weekly monitoring to ascertain their progress in finding jobs and decent housing. According to Jodi Royal-Goodwin, Reno’s redevelopment agency director, there are “more people… homeless than we can remember.”
Nevertheless, come early October, the residents of this tent city will be moving on as the city has plans to turn the parking lot that they are living on into a complex of shelters and a resource center. Tent cities have been reported as far as Ohio and into Tennessee.
By Raheemah Atif, Islamic Post Staff Writer
The largest class-action lawsuit ever filed against the Federal government recently reached a conclusion, after 12 years of litigation, with the official ruling of U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson, that awarded a $445 million dollar judgement to approximately 902 native American tribes across the United States. Elouise Cobell, the Blackfoot Indian tribal leader who initiated the lawsuit against the government, contends that payments for the government use of Indian lands (including royalties for the use of the natural resources in and on the lands, such as timber, mining, and oil) that had accumulated over many years, had been used to the benefit of the government, and not disbursed to the rightful Indian landowners and their heirs. The judgement is restitution for an estimated $47 billion plaintiffs concluded was owed them from 1887 until the present. The case centers around the Department of the Interior’s management (or mismanagement) of trust funds – proceeds resulting from land lease payments paid by the Federal government into half a million Indians’ accounts that were being managed by the Interior Department.
Although the decision is a decided victory, Ms. Cobell expressed near shock at the reduction of the total amount of the award, in lieu of the plaintiffs’ estimations of how much money the government actually should have owed based upon their best calculations. Ms. Cobell affirmed that the preparation of the defense had been so well researched and detailed, that the plaintiffs were confident of obtaining a ruling in their favor for something near the amount they had calculated. However, in an explanation of his ruling, Judge Robertson wrote that “their model did not make use of the best available evidence and did not make fair or reasonable comparisons of data.” It was also mentioned that the plaintiffs failed to provide concrete evidence of “prodigious pilfering of assets from within the trust system,” and were unable to demonstrate that funds diverted from the trust accounts were actually used for the benefit of the government. Ms. Cobell confirmed that they will assess the impact and details of the ruling and then decide on what their next step will be in the resolution of the litigation.
Filed under: International, Science, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008 | Tags: Dr. Jemille, Medicine, Psychiatry, Quranic Psychiatry
Dr. Jemille Wasi, Islamic Post Staff Writer
On a daily basis I have patients who come to the office asking for every type of psychoactive medication known to man. The most popular ones on the list include antidepressants, antixylotics (for anxiety), and pain medications. A great majority of these individuals are not even suffering from the conditions that these medications are, so-said, designed to treat.
Worldwide this problem has become so great, and now it is even spilling over into our microcosmic Islamic community. People go to the doctors with all of their various complaints and issues, and most of the time we are sent home with some type of medication. What a lot of people don’t know —and are sadly quite often not told by many doctors— is the addiction potential of these medications. Chemical dependency is an issue that affects many countries in the world today. In the past most drugs of addiction were of the recreational variety. Now the trend is that prescription drugs are becoming the major agents of abuse. These medications are given on a daily basis to treat a multitude of medical conditions. Most of these drugs have the potential to create chemical dependency, and this is a fact that I see on a daily basis.
The threshold between therapeutic levels of drug, and amounts that produce side effects, is a balance that doctors tightrope everyday. Most doctors know the side effects, and the dependency potential, but continue to prescribe these drugs because of the apparent “benefits outweigh the risk.”
This is particularly problematic for psychological conditions because the true etiology of these conditions is under-recognized in the medical community. This leads to the prescribing of drugs for conditions that are not truly understood by the medical community at large so the benefits cannot assuredly be determined.
The evidence that is used to continue to prescribe these drugs is rooted in tests that are performed on animals or trials in which human beings are given the drug and asked about the desired effects. Most of the people involved in these studies are not asked what they feel. Nevertheless, many people who test pharmaceutical drugs—or most patients who have tried these drugs —often report not feeling anything at all, a feeling of numbness to everything around them.
Added to this, many of these drugs cause euphoria.
The end result is that patients receive likely addicting drugs that may or may not work for their particular condition, but leave the patient numb and euphoric in many cases. Here lie two common problematic symptoms of drug addiction.
So why are these drugs addictive? It is believed that most of these drugs act in the brain by replacing deficient amounts of natural occurring chemicals. In route to doing this they are said to act on the so called Emotion and Reward centers in the brain that are thought to be responsible for emotional elevation and making one feel good about themselves. Also these drugs are said to block unwanted emotional responses such as anxiety and sadness. Additionally there is the social aspect. There is a negative stigma associated with recreational drugs of abuse. This is not the case for prescription drugs. Not only is it socially acceptable, it is often championed for people to be on these medications. Moreover those who promote the drugs create desperation in the patient to keep taking it. Added to this is the constant bombardment of drug companies advertisements persuading us about the benefits of their drug. Have you seen those commercials where someone is happily skipping along the beach after taking the medication? Do you also notice the comforting, sly way in which they tell you about the side effects?
Conversely this issue affects the medical profession itself. Many doctors and nurses are finding themselves addicted to the same medicines that they are prescribing to their patients. The number of medical personnel afflicted by prescription drug dependency increases everyday. This has led to more exposure given to the matter.
It may not surprise some to know that addiction to prescription drugs is now outweighing dependency to recreational drugs worldwide.
This growing trend has spilled over into the Muslim community. Some of us have strayed away from our traditional values and means of dealing with health issues, only to fall victim to this ever-growing plague. It is sad to know that there are members of the Islamic community dependent on pain medications and antidepressants.
This downward spiral of addiction needs to be stopped. People need to take a more active approach at trying to understand exactly what they are taking and why. We have to continue to try bringing to the forefront the true nature of some of these diseases in order to benefit mankind in finding adequate cures. In our own households and communities we need to care for and support one another so that the desire and need to seek these interventions become unnecessary. As Muslims we cannot be concerned for only our community but we must take the position of El Sheikh Gilani and show concern for all of mankind. Let the addiction end and the recovery begin. As always only from Allah, Glorified is He, the Most High, can we be healed!
Filed under: International, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World | Tags: Georgia, Iraq, Kosovo, Russia
Russia Compares Georgia to Iraq
Recently the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) denounced Russia’s recognition of the Georgian breakaway territories, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, saying the move “violates the many UN Security Council resolutions it has endorsed regarding Georgia’s territorial integrity.”
Pravda, a Russian news outlet, quoted the chairman of the State Duma Committee for Security, Vladimir Vasilyev, as saying the conflict in South Ossetia is “very reminiscent” to the wars in Iraq and Kosovo. Iraq was occupied and granted “independence” with U.N. sanction. Kosovo has also been recognized as independent from Serbia.
“The things that were happening in Kosovo, the things that were happening in Iraq – we are now following the same path,” said Chairman Vasilyev. “The further the situation unfolds, the more the world will understand that Georgia would never have been able to do all this without America.”
Itar-Tass reported last month Israeli defense officials have called for curtailing all military contacts and contracted sales with Georgia.
“South Ossetian defense officials used to make statements about imminent aggression from Georgia, but the latter denied everything, whereas the US Department of State released no comments on the matter. In essence, they have prepared the force, which destroyed everything in South Ossetia, attacked civilians and hospitals. They are responsible for this. The world community will learn about it,” the statement concluded.
The Intelligence Daily’s J. Victor Marshal has more detailed information on the topic in his article, Russia, Georgia and the Kosovo Connection
A Growing Trend
Endless volumes of texts dealing with Islamic law have been derived from the Holy Qur’an and the practice of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), in an effort to guide Muslims in the principles of just and fair living, social networking amongst themselves, and dealings with non-Muslims as well.
Sharia, the law of the Almighty Creator, was being practiced in the Middle Ages by Muslims, while the rest of the world suffered through feudalism, a tiered system of oppression. Lawmakers today, around the world, are recognizing the wisdom of Islamic law as they implement modern day democratic legislation. (See also “Under Congressman Ellison, Minnesota Initiates Financing Without Usury”)
The following is excerpted from an article in the UK Guardian by author Samia Rahman.
The Muslim Institute of London recently launched a marriage contract it hopes will change the face of British Muslim family life.
The contract is the culmination of a four-year consultation process to guarantee theological rights in Muslim marriages across the UK, rights which have sometimes been hampered by cultural practices.
That the rights accorded by the contract are rooted in sharia, or Islamic law, ignites the debate over whether aspects of sharia may be incorporated into UK law. [This debate strays wide from the point of the contract, which symbolizes the acceptance of Muslim culture and religious law in the UK and also due regard by Muslims for the laws of the state.]
Currently, the Islamic marriage ceremony (nikaah), performed by an imam in the presence of two witnesses, is not recognized by British law and often involves little or no paperwork. If things go awry and the couple divorce, the woman experiences great difficulty securing the financial rights guaranteed to her under sharia law. The terms and conditions of this new contract, signed at the nikaah, clarify both husband and wife’s rights and obligations in all eventualities.
If more mosques apply to become sites registered for the solemnization of marriage, Muslim couples will be able to make their civil ceremony coincide with the nikaah.
The contract is not just about divorce, though. It seeks to establish healthy relationships by highlighting difficult scenarios the couple may encounter in the future. “By laying out the terms and conditions of the marriage, it encourages both parties to establish consensus on issues such as where they will live,” said Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui of the Muslim Institute, an organization which helped draw up the contract.
The architect of the contract, Mufti Barkatulla, has spent the past 25 years presiding over divorce cases at the Islamic Sharia Council. “Problems arise when couples don’t know what to expect. The lack of respect for each other’s personality and choices is shocking,” he says.
An Alternative Financing program was initiated this summer in Minneapolis, Minnesota to provide for monetary borrowing in accordance with Islamic law, or Sharia, which does not sanction the use of interest. The program is available to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, has also praised The American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act, H.R. 3221, which will allow hard-working American families, in danger of losing their homes, to refinance with lower-cost government-insured mortgages that they can afford to repay – at no cost to the American taxpayer. “States and municipalities now have available to them nearly $4 billion in grants to purchase foreclosed homes, and to help our neighborhoods recover from the foreclosure crisis,” the 5th District Congressman commented.
The program provides financing to small businesses to purchase equipment and/or make building improvements with the outlook of benefiting low- to moderate-income persons by creating jobs or improving services.
All eligible applicants in Minneapolis must make efforts to hire employees by working with the City’s Workforce Coordinator, and also by using contractors licensed in Minneapolis.
In other work to assist the Muslim community, Rep. Ellison spoke at an intensive summer program on law and leadership of Karamah, a Muslim women’s league of attorneys and community leaders in Washington D.C.
Filed under: International, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World | Tags: Economics
By Muhammad Ahmad, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Pascal Lamy, expressed his concern that the Doha Development Agenda for 2008 will completely collapse as a result of developing countries calling for more safeguard mechanisms after suffering the negative impact of food imports flooding local markets.
This stumbling block is dwarfed by another, earlier this year, in which the WTO had to hold an “extraordinary meeting of its dispute settlement body” after its ruling, which indicated European Union (EU) member bans on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be illegal and subsequently under termination, prompted the United States to seek compensation damages from the EU, as reported by Reuters in January.
Both occurrences illustrate the primary focus of the WTO, a body which sets the guidelines for global trade industries, serves well the interests of the international main players, often to the detriment of nations, rich or poor, as globalism itself is a move to strip nations of their own authority – which consists of national laws and boundaries– so that a one world order may exist. Such structures as the WTO have seen a large amount of success in this regard, using unelected delegates to impose global laws which stand over local legislation in a feudal display; but there are more unlikely dissenters in Europe.
The Prince of Wales recently came under heavy criticism from government ministers and also the British press when he expressed dismay that a prospective reliance on corporations like DuPont, Dow Chemical and Sygenta to mass produce GM seeds –-promoted as yielding pest-resistant crops with high yields– would be devastating to small farmers who would have to purchase, at high cost, the non-regenerating seeds each year. What should be debated was “food security not food production,” Prince Charles was quoted by the BBC as saying. GMOs, says the 60 year old Prince who has erected numerous foundations which promote organic agriculture, is a “gigantic experiment with nature and the whole of humanity which has gone seriously wrong,” again, as quoted by the BBC.
Although the WTO admitted a lack of progress in its 2008 report, the organization summarily lays the blame for increased poverty and lack of economic security at the feet of developing countries. “Among the questions explored in this report are whether countries have exploited their comparative advantage, realized economies of scale from access to larger markets, organized their industries in a more efficient manner, and benefited from the spread of technologies.” From this one gets a vision somewhat akin to a patient who has not taken medicine in the prescribed manner, instead of a lack of effectiveness of the prescription itself.
The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), in their own report entitled, “The Promises and the Perils of Agricultural Trade Liberalization,” like the WTO, could not help but give a view of how the uneven distribution of the benefits of global trade looks on the ground, but likewise claim that developing countries simply have not been absorbing globalist policies in a successful manner:
“Smallholders need government support and organization to ensure they benefit from new demand in niche markets and from the growing supermarket sector. The globalized economy offers opportunities for small-scale farmers, but they need sustained public support and organization to take advantage of them. Supermarkets and other buyers demand volume, uniformity, and timely delivery, which put smallholders at a disadvantage compared to agribusiness firms.”
Whether WOLA is suggesting that governments pay farmers through subsidies to purchase genetically manufactured seed, or is indicating that small growers should stop producing completely due to high food importations from large international growers (who take advantage of GMOs ) is unclear.
New World Trade, Revised Slavery
By Abdul Hameed A. Aziz, Islamic Post Staff Writer
In theory, globalization suggests that every nation has the ability to benefit from Globalization provided they have the ability to specialize their production to attain economies of scale and compete in the global market, thus providing falling costs of goods and services around the world, according to C. W. Hill in his work International Business.
Outside the realm of theory, the New World Order has provided the venue through which most Third World countries are being exploited for their cheap labor and products which emanate from their child workers, lack of environmental conservancy, safety, and decency regulations, and political and corporate corruption.
C.W. Hill made clear that in reality, national sovereignty, due to the rise in the economic supremacy of world banks and their association with international regulatory agencies such as the World Trade Organization, has been reduced to a point where governments answer to international agencies before legislating policies.
Anup Shah of Global Issues points to the benefit of corporate media to educate the mass public in a light that promotes global trade, to further their own expansion in the form of educative platforms and private university-sponsored curriculums, which use text-books funded by conglomerate and partially monopolized corporations.
Filed under: International, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World | Tags: India, Kashmir
Civilians have been killed during the curfews and protests that are wracking the occupied territory.
By Noora Ahmad, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Occupying forces continue to attack crowds protesting for freedom from Indian rule in Kashmir this month. The Pakistan Daily Times reported over 100 civilians killed.
The amount of injured people is more than a thousand, most critically injured with gunshot wounds.
“The people killed in Kashmir while protesting against the economic blockade [in August] … have not committed any violation of the established laws, which guarantee right to communication to every citizen under the United Nations charter and the Indian constitution and are therefore entitled to compensate,” a local attorney told the news outlet Greater Kashmir.
The lawyer also asserted that the blockade which cut off transportation and communication from the occupied territory, is also illegal according to the U.N.’s International Protocol of Civil and Political Rights.
Cases of starvation are also being reported in the crisis.
Round the clock curfews have exacerbated the situation and are being enforced for days at a time in anticipation of more rallies. During curfew, residents are not permitted to venture out of their homes, even to purchase food or to go for Friday congregational prayers.
Two people were shot for violating curfew.
Kashmiri leaders have also been jailed, including one woman.
The attacks on Muslims in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region were triggered when the authorities reneged on a plan to transfer land to a Hindu shrine, plunging occupied Kashmir into new turmoil, according to Dawn.
Jammu’s Muslims have alleged that many of their houses were set ablaze by Hindu rioters and said they were getting threats to leave the region.
“We’re living in constant fear,” says Shah Mohammad Chowdhary, a Muslim leader in Jammu, saying police had not interfered as “our homes were being torched.”
These occurrences sparked huge nationwide rallies which were held in the cities of Srinagar and Muzaffarabad to protest the brutal Indian occupation whose forces have killed tens of thousands of civilians since Kashmiris began to demand the freedom that had been confirmed by the U.N., with India agreeing to “let the people of Kashmir decide” back in 1955.
By Abu Aasim, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Lebanese president Michel Sulaiman ended a landmark two-day trip to Syria recently aimed at reestablishing formal ties between the two neighbors for the first time in 60 years. During that time, neither nation has maintained an embassy in the other’s capital.
Among the issues reportedly discussed by Sulaiman with his Syrian counterpart, Bashir Al Asad, was the clear delineation on the common border along with the reestablishment of full diplomatic ties, which has been absent since both counties gained independence from France in 1943.
Sulaiman was previously Army Chief until he took up the post of president in May after the position was left vacant for some six months due to a political crisis that included several clashes between government forces and Hezbollah fighters. That crisis was eventually ended (though occasional violence still breaks out) with the Maronite Christian’s election to the presidency at mediations in Doha, Qatar.
Sulaiman has always enjoyed comfortable relations with the Syrians. Even through the 30-year, Syrian occupation of Lebanon, which ended in 2005 after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri, which had been carried out by outside forces; many in Lebanon (and the west) put the blame on Syria. Many skeptics in the region say it only benefitted western interests. That assassination sparked flames of animosity from the Lebanese people towards Syria (in that year) and lead to the withdrawal of its troops shortly thereafter.
The foreign ministers of both countries have stated that the issue of border clarification is not disputed, agreeing that the water-rich Shebaa Farms region belongs to Lebanon. They insist that the dispute lies in Israel’s occupation of those lands; which it took in the 1967 mid-east war, and claims actually are a part of Syria.
Many regional analysts see the visit as a very important step in the way of the eventual reestablishment of full diplomatic relations.
“I think this will be mostly symbolic,” Syrian-based analyst Andrew Tabler told Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram. “The visit is supposed to clear the way for Lebanon and Syria to establish an embassy in each other’s capitals and that will take care of one aspect of relations and bring [the two nations] in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1680,” he said. He added that “other issues would take longer.”
Resolution 1680 “strongly encourages Syria” to delineate the border with Lebanon and “establish diplomatic relations.”
Filed under: Interfaith, International, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World | Tags: Olympics
The Third Principle of Olympism is Globalism:
“The Olympic Movement is the concerted, organised, universal and permanent action, carried out under the supreme authority of the IOC [International Olympic Committee], of all individuals and entities who are inspired by the values of Olympism. It covers the five continents. It reaches its peak with the bringing together of the world’s athletes at the great sports festival, the Olympic Games. Its symbol is five interlaced rings.
By Durdana Jamaal, Islamic Post Staff Writer
The Beijing Olympics formally ended September 17 with the Paralympics’ closing ceremony; and Organizations like the Multinational Monitor and Commercial Alert are concerned that commercialism overtook this year’s Olympic games to the threat of their very ideals. Contrary to this position, however, today’s games exist much as they always have, despite stated goals.
History notes that the Olympics were established in Greece as a ritual pagan festival and opportunity for trade. The event centered on sports used as a display of homage to the first, and as a draw for the latter. Olympism is defined in the Olympic Charter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as, among other things, “a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole, the qualities of body, will and mind.” No mention is made of materialism. Yet, however, the following is observed.
According to the History of the Hellenic World (Pennsylvania State University Press), “People from all over Greece [Egypt and other areas] gathered for this Olympic festival. It was a chance to sell goods, recite poems for money, negotiate business deals, and even sign peace treaties between cities.”
This commercial aspect has not changed at all. At last count, for this year’s Olympic Games NBC alone had raked in profits of $1.7 billion dollars for its television advertising, and China’s main TV network, CCTV, took in $400 million. A record 63 corporations spent an estimated four to six billion dollars this summer on consumer advertising to draw buyers for products and services linked to the Olympic logo. Sales figures have not yet been reported.
Dedicated to Apollo
Yet, the part of the Olympics which should have caught the most attention, for at least its Muslim and Christian participants, is the torch lighting ceremony, which, having survived since antiquity, is not rooted in sport, but in pagan tradition. The ceremony is conducted at the temple of Zeus in Olympia, now in ruins, and commences the games on a spiritual level, whereever in the world the athletes may be convening physically.
If there were a true spirit of global unity different religions might take turns in displaying their worship of the Universal Almighty Creator for these great games, instead of continuing to show reverence for a mythical pagan figure.
The games have in fact evolved into a form of sanctioned global pagan worship with the strongest representatives of each nation sent to symbolically honor and entertain the Greek deities of Olympia.
In 392 A.D., the Olympics were abolished by the Christian Emperor Theodosius I of Rome, who saw the games as a pagan rite.
The opening ritual is dedicated to Apollo, a mythical figure worshipped in ancient Greece as representing the Sun. Throughout history, high priestesses, and actresses portraying them, conduct a 2 hour long ceremony to display obeisance to Apollo, his ‘father’ Zeus and ‘mother’ Hera in various ways, culminating in the lighting of the Olympic torch, which is ignited from a parabolic mirror which reflects and magnifies the heat of the sun’s rays, which in mythology is representative of the power of Apollo. The high priestess cries to a mythical figure, “Send your rays and light the sacred torch,” among other professions of polytheism, as the torch is prepared for lighting. The fire is then placed on altars honoring Apollo and Hera, and only afterwards used to honor the first Olympic runner, and light his torch.
The only things missing are the ritual sacrifices. Perhaps human rights sacrifices make up for that omission.
Contradiction after contradiction plague the very core of the games. For example, although the charter touts, “the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles,” the site of the Berlin games of 1936 were no more than half an hour away from a fully operative concentration camp. Outcries from the Jewish community to boycott the games went unheard, and IOC members who opposed holding the Games in Berlin were dropped from the organization. Witnesses reported that there were more swastikas on stage at the opening ceremony in Berlin than Olympic flags.
Olympic historian Maryann Abbs wrote about the Mexican Olympics that “hundreds of people (mostly students) were massacred by a special forces unit called the Olympia Brigade in the Tlateloco Plaza in Mexico City ten days before the Olympics began in August 1968.”
The historian adds that the Games have actually been used as a convenient cover for the establishment of permanent repressive laws and to create new police and military units as was done in Sydney, Australia, where there were four officers for each athlete at the Games for a total of 35,000 police and security guards, 4000 troops and elite commando units, and Black Hawk helicopters. The state security laws which came into effect in Australia in 2000 that remain in place to this day.
Maryann Abbs further cites the use of profiling with regards to Muslims and African-Americans, as happened at the Los Angeles games in 1984, and those in Atlanta in 1996, as well as the Athens Games in 2004. This year saw the plight of Muslim Uyghurs and Tibetan monks pushed to the side in the interest of Olympism.
According to the Fundamental Principles of Olympism, “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise, is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” On the contrary, Matthew Syed, writing for the UK Times, calls the modern games a “bastion of elitism” citing the fact that the majority of competitions need more than just running shoes and talent, and require expensive training and equipment. “India, for example, a country with almost one fifth of the world’s population, won less than a fifth of 1 per cent of the medals available in Athens – one out of a total of 826. Africa, a continent dripping with sporting talent, won only 4 per cent of them. Can you think of a single global institution that is less equitable?” he wrote.
“When the French aristocrat Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern Olympic movement, he packed it with sports affordable only to his fellow aristocrats, thus excluding the Third World,” said the Times reporter. Yet, such inequalities, which contradict the stated goals of Olympism, became commonplace not too long after the inception of the games in antiquity.
Historian Trudy Ring, asserts that as the Olympic games gained popularity, specialization occurred which forced out the amateur athletes which the original games were meant to attract. “The development of body, mind, and spirit that the original games hoped to encourage was forgotten,” Ms. Ring said, and while the games are nonetheless exciting, her statement rings more true with each passing olympiad.
Filed under: Front Page News, International, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World
By Aminah Siddiq, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Five hundred million dollars has already been invested into a project to turn an area which lies just outside the Green Zone, the grounds of the former Baghdad Zoo, into a Disney-style entertainment theme park called the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience (BZEE). The first part of (BZEE), a skateboard park, was scheduled to open recently.
Already, there are reports that the 200,000 skateboards, to be handed out free of charge, depict Satanic cartoon-drawings. For the majority Muslim and also Christian Iraqi population, such things are against their traditional values. Sketches of the entertainment complex designed for the former zoo glorify magic and sorcery. Nothing yet visible displays respect towards the culture and faith traditions of the people who will frequent the entertainment center.
Ride and Show Engineering (RSE) is the designer of the park, and was Disney’s original design and engineering arm for its California parks and others around the world. Los Angeles based holding company, C3, is supported by the Pentagon, and has generous, yet unnamed, private equity investors who will be developing the BZEE.
Llewellyn Werner, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of C3, said that while, in his opinion, such Disney-type diversion will be good for the ed out country, and may even spark a new tourism wave, the park is being built for profit.
“I’m a businessman. I’m not here because I think you’re nice people. I think there’s money to be made,” explained CEO Werner in his pitch to financiers.
“I also have this wonderful sense that we’re doing the right thing –we’re going to employ thousands of Iraqis. But mostly everything here is for profit,” he clarified.
Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research counters that, for Baghdad , entertainment and profit are sidelines to the larger, looming effect of war that could be unleashed through the project. “Establishing an American cultural outpost in an occupied land serves to uphold the legitimacy of the invaders and their worldwide ‘cultural values,’” he wrote.
“Most of the country’s cultural and educational infrastructure including museums, schools, universities, parks, theaters, cinemas have been destroyed; and now the invaders are ‘helping to rebuild,’” Mr. Chossudovsky elaborated.
“The concept underlying Disney’s Imagineering (developed by RSE) is to ‘overcome the barriers between reality and dreams,’” he concluded.
Or nightmares, according to Iraqi author and journalist Dahr Jamail.
“The idea of bringing U.S.-style escapism entertainment to the hell of Baghdad is absurd,” Mr. Jamail told Alternet’s Scott Thill.
“The Bush junta has already attempted to impose a neo-liberal economic Disneyland upon the Iraqi people,” Dahr Jamail asserts, “but they have flatly rejected the neurosis of its brand-conscious, failed capitalism.”
“The two geographies meet nowhere in my imagination, nor in reality,” said Dahr Jamail.
Filed under: Front Page News, International, National, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008
The following is excerpted from a release by the Center for Constitutional Rights.
New York — The Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued an extremely rare order that the case of Canadian rendition victim Maher Arar would be heard before a full court by all of the active judges on the Second Circuit on December 9, 2008. For the court to issue the order sua sponte, that is, of its own accord without either party submitting papers requesting a rehearing, is even more rare.
“We are very encouraged,” said CCR attorney Maria LaHood. “For the court to take such extraordinary action on its own indicates the importance the judges place on the case and means that Maher may finally see justice in this country. As the dissenting judge noted, the majority’s opinion gave federal officials the license to ‘violate constitutional rights with virtual impunity.’ Now the court has the opportunity to uphold the law and hold accountable the U.S. officials who sent Maher to be tortured.”
In June 2008, the majority on the three-judge panel ruled that Mr. Arar’s constitutional claims for being sent to Syria to be tortured and arbitrarily detained could not be redressed because Congress already provided a remedy.
The remedy provided by Congress permitted foreign citizens to petition a court to review their removal orders, even though in this case the U.S. officials prevented Mr. Arar from doing so. The court also found these claims could not be heard because they would interfere with U.S. foreign relations and impede national security.
Regarding Mr. Arar’s claim that the U.S. officials obstructed his access to his counsel and the courts, the majority found that foreigners who have not been formally admitted into the U.S. have no right to be assisted by their own counsel. They further ruled that it was not clear from Mr. Arar’s complaint that had he been able to go to court, he would have sought relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), which precludes the U.S. from sending people to countries where there are substantial grounds to believe they will be tortured. This despite the fact that Mr. Arar’s complaint alleges that he repeatedly expressed his fear to the U.S. officials that he would be tortured if sent to Syria, and that the officials violated CAT in sending him there.
The court also rejected Mr. Arar’s Torture Victim Protection Act claim that U.S. officials conspired with Syrian officials to subject him to torture, ruling that the U.S. officials could not be held responsible unless they were acting under the influence of the Syrian officials. However, the TVPA creates liability for torture inflicted under color of foreign law, and courts have held that it applies not only to the torturer himself, but also to those who conspire in torture.
The same Court of Appeals ruled in CCR’s landmark 1980 case, Filártiga v. Peña-Irala, that a Paraguayan official could be held liable in U.S. court for torture of a Paraguayan citizen in Paraguay, yet the June 2008 majority opinion found that U.S. officials who send someone to another country to be tortured cannot be held liable.
In stark contrast to the response of the U.S. government, the Canadian government conducted an exhaustive public inquiry, found that Mr. Arar had no connection to terrorism, and, in January 2007, apologized to him for its role in his ordeal and awarded him $10 million compensation.
For more information on Maher Arar’s case, click here.
Filed under: Front Page News, International, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World
By Bashirah A. Malik, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Nepalese victims of human trafficking and their survivors filed suit recently in the United States District Court of California against top U.S. military contractor, Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc. (now known as KBR), and its Jordanian subcontractor, Daoud & Partners.
Like the drug trade, global slavery is a well-coordinated, underground industry. Prosecutions rarely take place due to the hidden nature of the multibillion dollar slave trade run by powerful families who are out of the reach of the law.
Multinational corporations sometimes serve as fronts for these nefarious activities.
KBR, who until April 2007 was a subsidiary of Halliburton, has received 16 billion dollars in government contracts for their overseas ventures. Although Vice President Cheney has distanced himself from the company after leaving his position as CEO of Halliburton in 2000, he receives hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in deferred compensation and stock options from the corporation.
As Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney played a major role in the well documented Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) MK-Ultra mind control program, according to former victims Cathy O’Brien and Cisco Wheeler in their books written on the topic. Tranceformation of America is the name of Cathy O’Brien’s book, and Cisco Wheeler co-wrote The Illuminati Formula Used to Create an Undetectable Total Mind Controlled Slave. According to the two deprogrammed women, and many others, MK-Ultra made sex slaves and assassins of men and women who have been used since the 1950’s to frame or kill heads of states, and international political figures.
In another pending employee-related lawsuit, KBR is being sued by Jamie Leigh Jones for her alleged gang rape and storage container confinement by coworkers of the then 20 year old woman. This incident also took place in 2005. Leigh Jones sustained injuries which later required upper and lower body reconstructive surgery.
The suit for the Nepalese victims is being filed under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and the Alien Tort Claims Act by the law office of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll of Washington D.C., who claim a stellar reputation for work “representing victims of forced and slave labor and other violations of international law.”
The attorneys of Buddi Prasad Gurung, the only survivor of the KBR scandal, say 13 men, ages 18-27, were recruited in Nepal to work as kitchen staff in hotels and restaurants in Amman, Jordan. Their families went deep into debt to arrange the jobs, which they hoped would lift them out of poverty.
When the men arrived in Jordan, they were not provided the expected employment. Instead, their passports were seized, they were held against their will, and they were told that they were being sent to work at a military facility in Iraq, the United States Al Asad Airbase. Twelve of the men were reportedly killed by insurgents while being transported to Iraq.
According to the victims’ law firm, the men claim the illicit trafficking scheme—from their recruitment in Nepal to their eventual employment in Iraq—was engineered by KBR and its subcontractor Daoud & Partners.
Lok Bhadur Thapa, the former acting Nepalese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, visited a KBR subsidiary, First Kuwaiti General Trading and Contracting Co., where the Nepalese victims had been held in Kuwait prior to transport to Iraq. He went, after 12 of the men had been slain, in order to investigate on behalf of frightened family members.
Lok Bhadur Thapa told the Chicago Tribune in 2005 that KBR was not the only multinational implicated in human trafficking. “Other companies also were trying to force men to go into Iraq,” Tribune correspondent Cam Simpson reported, “What Thapa found shows that the questionable practices uncovered by the Tribune are far from isolated to the case of the 12 Nepalis killed in Iraq.”
The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that in modern day slavery, some 2.45 million people are transported and sold against their will, many to the U.K. or the U.S. Those from impoverished nations are promised, like the Nepalese victims, employment opportunities, only to have their travel papers and identification seized on arrival.
In war torn areas, people are rounded up and put to forced labor or made to service others. The majority of slaves are being used for some form of prostitution; and one third used for forced labor according to the ILO. The U.N. Population Fund says between 700,000 and two million of these victims are transported across international borders annually, while the U.S. State Department quotes the figures as low as 600,000 up to 800,000 per year. An actual determination of the number of victims is close to impossible, as few cases have been brought to justice.
The full nature of KBR activities in Iraq remain a mystery. What is known is that in 2002, Halliburton –-the parent company of KBR– was on the verge of bankruptcy. A defense contract was awarded to Halliburton for service in Iraq. According to now-declassified documents of the Army Corps of Engineers, the “action” on a multibillion dollar Halliburton contract was coordinated within the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, whose ties to Halliburton are well known. Halliburton was saved; and, in 2004, KBR became the largest military contractor for the United States in Iraq.
Bill Buzenberg stated in a Center for Public Integrity (CPI) report “Baghdad Bonanza: The Top 100 Private Contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan,” that KBR has “won more than $16 billion in U.S. government contracts for work in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2004 to 2006—far more than any other company.”
Filed under: Front Page News, National, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008 | Tags: 9/11, First Responders, Muslim Scouts
By Muhammad Ahmad, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Immediately after the initial tragedy that took place in Manhattan on September, 11, 2001, thousands of Americans responded to the emergency situation at Ground Zero. Among them were the Muslim Scouts of America.
As night fell over the rubble, melted steel, and innocent victims buried underneath the collapsed Twin Towers, the Islamic Post received reports of numerous incidents: Muslim ladies killed on the streets of Philadelphia, a man mistaken for a Muslim shot in the face in Brooklyn, and numerous “drive-by” shootings taking place at Arab-owned gas stations. These reports illustrated the ill-educated assumptions regarding a portion of America’s citizenry, Muslims, who have no intent to destroy their own homeland. Despite this logic, IP correspondents observed a man in their path holding a large sign saying, “Bomb Them All,” etched in red on cardboard.
Many in the United States, having had limited direct contact with Muslims, submitted to the propaganda offered by the mainstream media which attempts to promote Islam as a non-peaceful religion, or one which condones horrible acts.
It was in this chaotic atmosphere of fear and reprisals that the Muslim Scouts of America convened from their various chapters across the United States, to assist their Christian brothers and fellow Americans at Ground Zero.
Muslim ladies volunteered directly to scoutmasters, hoping to help bridge the widening gulf between the two faiths. “The situation is too volatile,” they were told, “Muslim women are being attacked because of their head scarves and clothing.”
The scouts, however, in khaki uniforms and bearing the insignia of Muslim Scouts of America were, by the permission of the Almighty, able to successfully team up with other first responders at Ground Zero, amongst them brave firefighters and rescue workers, to bring peace, law, and order back to Manhattan.
In so doing, the scouts hoped to thwart some of the effects of the Zionist-controlled media, whose primary current role is promoting a “clash of civilizations,” and drawing positive mental images of an Armageddon between Christians and Muslims. (No media coverage was given to the Muslim Scouts’ first responders.)
Benjamin Netanyahu, who was the Israeli Prime Minister at the time did expressed his sentiments to The New York Times when asked what the attacks of 9-11 would mean for American-Israeli relations. He replied, “It’s very good. Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.”
Such sympathy would be generated as increased hostility of Christians towards Muslims, coupled with the inciting of Muslims to commit wrong acts: a never-ending cycle designed to destroy both religions.
Perhaps in anticipation of said sympathy –and while the American public as a whole, citizens of all backgrounds, religions, and nationalities, were in a state of awe, disbelief, and overwhelming sadness– celebratory that day in the heart of New York were unidentified Israeli men filming the attack on the Twin Towers from an adjacent roof top. The alleged Mossad agents were detained for two months and then deported.
It can be said that, in many ways the Zionists have succeeded. Their lobby in Washington, which has an effective vice grip on America’s domestic and foreign policy, on the American taxpayer, and on the blood of America’s soldiers, is operating in the open with full support of the powerful in this country.
Yet, this tide also leaves the door open for peaceful cooperation and well-informed dialogue between Muslims and Christians, which is the cornerstone that would compromise the goals of World Zionism. –Abu Rashid Qadri contributed to this report.
Hundreds of Billions Spent to ‘Secure’ Homeland Post 9/11, While First Responders Refused Basic Medical Care Funding
There is a discrepancy between the hundreds of billions of dollars spent in global wars and homeland security platforms to make America safe, while the well-being of Americans, specifically those first responders who suffer debilitating and, in some cases, life-threatening illnesses after breathing toxic dust from debris while doing relief work at Ground Zero, has been pushed aside. The amount of responders affected totals 70%, according to Dr. Larry Norton of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, who wonders why “the whole nation isn’t mobilizing to take care of the chronic health impact of this disaster?”
Congressmen have repeatedly requested a “grant program for individuals still suffering health effects as a result of the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York City and at the Pentagon (HR 1414 in 2007 and HR 6954 this year), to no current avail.
Nor have the psychiatric issues of American tops been adequately researched or handled (See “Troops Face Suicide in the Quest for a Perfect Soldier”).
The callous disregard for heroes, and those who have served their country, demonstrates that the ongoing global wars have rendered its soldiers expendable. The concern for the well-being of American citizens has thereby been shown to be minimal.
From the Desk of His Eminence, Sultan Muhyuddin, El-Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, Hashmi Al Hassani Wal Husseini
Excerpt from the Commentary on Sura Luqman–
Signs are meant to direct you. They are attributes of Allah, the Most High, materialized in this world, so as to give you assurance and show His Love for you.
His Attributes (and Names) are manifested in this world in physical form, all of them. His name which gives life, Al-Hayy, travels into the world of similitude, where this name gets its own form, and then it enters into this world, it turns into water. Al-Hayy is Allah’s Name, because from water, He created everything. His name, An-Naafi’ (He who gives benefit), when it enters this world, it takes the form of the herbs, the medical plants, and all the things from which we derive benefit. And His Name, Al-Qayyum, when it enters here, it is the force that holds the heavens and the skies without pillars.
The first essential part of Hikmah (which some translate as Divinely-inspired wisdom) is that you must always thank your Allah, glorified is He and the Most High.
*“Any who is so grateful, does so to the profit of his own soul.”
When you thank the Almighty, you must thank Him for each and every favor He has given you, and if you thank, even that is for your own benefit.
“But if any is ungrateful, verily Allah is free of all wants and worthy of all praises.”
Allah becomes indifferent. If no one thanks Him; He doesn’t want his or her thanks. But if you thank Him, He will appease you in His Bounty.
*Italics indicate the portion of Holy Qur’an being explained.
On the 22nd of Ramadaan, which corresponded with the 22nd of September, 2008, the martyrdom of Bab-ul-Hikum wa Ma’arifa, Hazrat Ali (may Allah ennoble his blessed countenance) was commemorated by the Muslims of the Americas. Lectures were given, songs of honor and poems were recited about this cousin of the Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon him and his family, who has been known throughout history as the Door for those who wish to follow the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) in letter and spirit, the Door of those who aspire to come to know their Cherisher and Sustainer, Almighty Allah.
Villages and houses were lit with lights and decorations to commemorate the occasion –which took place on the 21st of Ramadaan some 1400 years ago– in the hopes that this Great Master, who is indeed Hazrat, a person in the presence of Almighty Allah, will himself pray under the throne of the Almighty that the humble gatherings be blessed with a similar spirit of courage, utter self-sacrifice, and noble chivalry free from pettiness and disdain.
“Oh the One Whose protection I seek!
And Whose help I need!
And Whose command is enforced everywhere
How can I separate myself from Thee.
Great are Thy mercy and benedictions.
“Bless me with such favors that I may not hear any loose talk
and abide there without grief
and injury or any
complaint and grudge or disease and suffering.
“And grant me there a nice comfortable spread
and a dress beautiful
And pure food and tasty fragranced drink,
such water which
goes down my throat with ease
and is from a bottle sealed.”
–excerpts from the famous Dua of Hazrat Ali (may Allah ennoble his blessed countenance)
Filed under: Magazine/ Culture, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, Uncategorized | Tags: Islamic Culture
By Waliyah Karam, Islamic Post Contributing Writer
It was a royal wedding, orchestrated by our humble Murshid Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani. The bride was carried by the male members of her family in a lovely, velvet hawda, decorated with flowers. The groom and his brother, handsomely clad in elegant wedding suit and turban were mounted on a tall stately horse as they descended the mountain followed by the men of his family. Morning-dew green rose petals were strewn on the bride and groom. All of the men in the family of the couple held brightly lit tikki lamps, surrounding them like so many guards. It was a nikaah in the Islamic tradition.
May Allah forever bless our Murshid Kamil, a humble Hashimite, Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Jilani who has stayed the course with us with much love, sacrifice and endurance over three decades, to ensure that we maintain and pass the banner of the Sunnah, or life practice, of our Beloved Nabi Kareem (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to the future. ShukrAllah and All praises are due to Allah alone. May Allah immensely reward our Murshid forever, who taught us that the most blessed, life invigorating Sunnah is only kept alive by practice. Otherwise, it lies dormant in books.
Filed under: Magazine/ Culture, National, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008 | Tags: Islamic miracle
By Jameelah Kareem, Islamic Post Contributing Writer
Islamberg, NY–On the 12th day of this Blessed month of Ramadan (Jummah, September 12, 2008), Almighty Allah lifted another veil from my eyes and from my heart.
After monitoring the halls and assisting some students, I had returned to my work station at Islamberg Children’s Academy. As I sat down, I took a sigh of relief and became filled with joy. I was happy to be a part of something that our Vice Chancellor has told us to do for quite some time now; open a school. While having these thoughts I happened to glance up and on the wall in the woodwork and at an angle, I saw Allah’s blessed name in Arabic letters. I immediately went to get my digital camera to take a picture of it.
Because I was at an angle and the zoom feature as not great on my camera, I could not capture ’s name without moving closer. When I went right up on the wall, it was as if Allah’s name had disappeared. I returned to my desk and again Allah’s name appeared in the same spot. Several times I had attempted get closer to capture this on my camera. Without success, I returned to my workstation.
Once again I glanced up and now to the left of where I saw Allah’s name, I saw Nabi Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) name in the woodwork. I became very joyous. This time, I was able to capture a picture of this blessing, all praise is for Allah. I showed several staff members of ICA this picture throughout the day. They also witnessed what I had seen. Amongst them were Amirah Safiya A. Haqq, Tahira Halim, and Naima Azza.
At a later time I showed the same picture to a companion of mine. She also bore witness that she saw his (peace be upon him) name and became very happy. My companion then pointed out that she saw to the right of his (peace be upon him) name a Ha and a Meem. We were trying to figure out what that could be. Then in excitement I said, “Ahmad!” (peace be upon him). She said I don’t see an Alif and continued to look for it. Shortly after she saw an Alif, Ha, Mim, and a Del. We both became extremely happy. I felt warmness in my heart and wanted to cry. Some how I was able to refrain from doing so. I feel so blessed and honored that Allah the Most High has allowed me to see this and share with others. Allah the Most High has blessed us, allows us to receive His ever-lasting Mercy, continues to raise our station and lift our veils. Ameen.
By Salimah Hunafa, Islamic Post Contributing Writer
Madinah Village, GA– This summer all of the children who live in Madinah Village and the nearby town of Commerce, participated in a reading program for children ages 2-14. Many children read as many as 50-100 books during the program, far exceeding the minimum reading requirement of 25 books over the summer.
Two parties were given to reward the children and the volunteers for their efforts over the summer. The parties consisted of two puppet shows, young ladies in the community singing Islamic songs, award ceremonies, a treasure hunt, books and goodie bags given to all participants, and community dinners.
The goals of the reading program were threefold: a) to give children an incentive to read during the summer; b) for children to develop essential reading skills and habits that lead to fluent reading, and strong comprehension; c) to develop a life long love of books and reading in children.
Reading is the foundation of all learning. Children who do not read during the summer demonstrate a significant loss over the summer. A summer reading loss of three months accumulates over the elementary grades and in several studies became a gap of 18 months by the end of sixth grade. By middle school, summer reading losses produces a lag of two or more years in reading achievement, even when effective instruction during the school year is available.
Children lose ground in the summer in reading due to a number of reasons such as limited access to books and libraries, disinterest in reading due to early unsuccessful reading experiences (books either being too difficult or not challenging enough) for children. These experiences make children feel unsuccessful and provide little incentive for children to persevere.
Reading with your child, reading to your child, and encouraging your child to read for recreation at least a ½ hour each day can turn this trend around. Recreational reading is reading that is not done to complete a class assignment. It is reading something interesting, educational and that a child chooses to read.
Community members can create their own summer reading program with the help of volunteers and at least one coordinator. It is important to cultivate a sense of community both within the program and around the idea of summer learning. As part of the Madinah Village summer reading program there were weekly story-time sessions for children ages 2-12 with each story-time session lasting for 1 hour, which included snacks and craft activities. The story-time groups were divided based on ages, preschool ages (2-3); early childhood ages (4-6); elementary ages (7-12). All of the story-time sessions were held in Madinah Village which made the program accessible and convenient for all families.
In order for any program to be successful, parental involvement is essential. Undoubtedly, parents serve as the first, longest-lasting, and most important teachers in their children’s lives and are the number one motivator for summer reading participation (and many other learning experiences). Several of the ladies in Madinah Village volunteered to read to children of different age groups each week. Maintaining consistency from day to day and week to week, allowing relationships between volunteers and participants to develop and grow throughout the summer is also beneficial to children’s development.
One way that children develop a love of reading is through seeing their parents and other significant adults in their lives reading regularly and who take the time to read to them.
Different methods of learning that can be included in any summer reading program, such as drama, storytelling, educational games, writing and journal exercises, field trips, group reading, art, and crafts activities. Programs that incorporate some of these diverse components are more likely to catch students’ varied interests and keep them involved.
“Generosity Pays” –A famous saying of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him. Salvation through generosity reaches Muslims and non-Muslims alike. *
By Asma Bibi A. Haqq, Islamic Post Staff Writer
On Friday, September 12, 2008, I woke up with mixed emotions: happy because it was my birthday; but also melancholy. Today we would be expecting a vicious storm. Once I got myself together and began to give my family morning greetings, I was informed of an emergency conference call for the community by my mother. We prepared ourselves for the best, and the worst, because this hadn’t been the first emergency call for a disaster situation. The message was that the people of Mahmoudburg, TX, should immediately pack our things and head to Islamville, Tennessee. This was nothing new to us, as we had done this 3 years before in 2005. Yet and still, many of us were yet again caught off guard.
There was a consensus that once the meeting was adjourned we would all pack and leave promptly. So we did, family by family. Keeping in touch with one another, the majority of the community got on the road. It was a long tiring road trip, and most vehicles had only one driver, which rendered the trip more stressful. Time was not on our side, but after all, with darood on the tip of our tongues, we all made it for, according to the Holy Traditions, when a person sends peace and blessings upon the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), the one sending the salutation receives the greeting in return, and peace and blessings tenfold. This practice served to brighten our trip.
I remember arriving that Saturday afternoon as if it were happening right now in front of me. Everyone was trying not to complain, and also asking Allah for His aid and Mercy to get us through whatever was to confront us. A few hours after everyone settled down, the residents of Islamville began to come in, one after the other, some in groups, all with warm welcomes. Things were already set up, and it was apparent that they had been preparing for our arrival. Each detail had been given attention, from where each family would stay, to how each and everyone one of us would eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was amazing.
Who would think that an entire community could come miles and miles away to be greeted in such a way that distress would be lifted from us instantly. A few families stayed in houses without the owners being present. They entrusted their homes and belongings to us without thinking twice about it. This is truly the spirit of Islam.
At one point we were asked by one of the ladies, “What do you want, not what do you need, but what do you want.” There were pots of food made, bags of groceries delivered and an abundance of love extended to all evacuees, men, ladies and children. It was agreed that we had forgotten our situation, and felt as if we were home. A few ladies who had traveled offered to help lift the workload from the townspeople by cooking, cleaning, and helping to serve. But there was nothing we could do that would compare to the generosity and love that was shown.
I can honestly say that I have witnessed the love and actions of those who do things for Allah’s sake. These are the followers of the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. No words can thank this community enough, and it is hoped that all make dua for Allah to reward the villagers of Islamville, Tennessee.
I know what is meant when it’s said that “After the struggle Allah brings ease.” Life has not yet gone back to normal for those of us affected by the hurricane, but this experience has done nothing but given us a reason to always be grateful. This situation has been a hardship, but also a testament that Allah is always with you. Things can always be worse. Thank you Allah for keeping Your hand over us through this plight, and reward those inhabitants of Islamville, Tennessee for exemplifying what it is to be a Muslim.
The Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “If anyone gives in charity something equal to a date from his honestly earned money for nothing ascends to God except good –then God will take it in His Right (Hand) and bring it up for its owner as anyone of you brings up a baby horse, until it becomes like a mountain…Nothing ascends to God except good.” -Sahih Al-Bukhari
* The commentary on the hadith “Generosity pays,” has been given by El Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani as follows:
“There are very few deeds which bear fruit in this world, because this world is like the place where you do the farming, and the harvesting is done in the Hereafter.
“Generosity is the opposite of worldly love, hubb-id-dunya, which has been called the source of all sins and mischiefs. As such, a person in pursuit of love of the world is always debased in this world, and suffers every type of humiliation and setbacks.
“Generosity, on the other hand, is the root of all virtue and goodness. A generous person is always merciful, because without having mercy in one’s heart, one cannot be generous. Such a person is also truthful and full of patience. Therefore, even a kafir, a non-Muslim person, who shows generosity, eventually finds salvation, because the Almighty Creator loves those people who love His creation.
“Thus, generosity is an act which yields its fruit in this world by winning the hearts of the people and gaining their respect, and Allah also makes things easy of the generous person, multiplying his wealth hundredfold. Therefore, brother or sister, be generous, because it pays in this world and in the Hereafter.”
An Open Letter to Islamville, Tennessee Residents, from Baji Atiya and the Muslims of the Americas community living in Texas.
“No soul knoweth what is kept hid for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.” Holy Qur’an 32:17
I send this letter to you on behalf of myself, my family, and those of Mahmoudburg who are of like mind. It comes to you from hearts overflowing with immense gratitude. The Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him has said, “Whosoever does not show thanks to mankind, does not show thanks to Allah.”
At a time when calamity and adversity had befallen us, fleeing from what we were told was the impending wrath of Almighty Allah Subhana Wa Ta’Ala, you have strengthened if not restored our faith in the unselfish goodness of mankind. I say this with great reservation because as Muslims, Mumin, and maybe a sparse few of those who would be Muhsin, this should be an unknown and extinct condition.
You, our extended family, are clearly of those people, who have benefitted greatly from the guidance and teachings of our Beloved Holy Last Messenger, SallAllahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and our Beloved Murshid Kamil; and Allah is the Supreme Knower. You opened your homes, your hearts, and your hands.
While there, you treated us with dignity, you honored our presence, and you showered us with needs, desires, and gifts. You were caused to see to our comforts in a manner unparalleled by anything that we may have experience in recent history. All of this was accomplished with not one hint of a sense of inconvenience or fatigue.
In closing, we ask that Allah bless and reward you all overwhelmingly for your patience
and generosity. We also pray that if ever we are called upon in the same regard, we are able to respond in kind and rise to the exceptional standard which you have set.
My family, and the Community of Mahmoudburg.