Filed under: Front Page News, March Volume 2009, National | Tags: Afghanistan, Clinton, Sharia
Since the beginning of the new administration, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has met with fourteen prominent Afghan women judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. The women came to Washington to participate in a training program arranged by the State Department’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan.
In Washington, the Afghan women participated in intensive legal seminars and consultations with senior officials, and explored current topics in Afghan and American legal systems: legal decision-making and mediation, domestic violence, family and mental health, and narcotics law.
President Obama, in his first foreign policy announcement, made clear to Afghan citizens, “We are committed to supporting your efforts to bring security and stability to your country.” Most agree the Afghan justice system needs improvement through education in jurisprudence and professional development. As it stands now, the State Department alleges Afghan judges and lawyers to base their work mainly on tribal codes.
Since the inception of Islam, women have been encouraged to pursue legal careers, a highly respected field. One of the first jurists in Islam was Syeda Aisha, the wife of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, may the peace of Allah be upon him and his family. People came regularly to seek her legal advice. Today’s Muslims owe one third of Islamic law, known as Sharia, to this most intelligent and blessed lady. Sharia is a highly developed legal system in which modern democracy found much of its roots. During the Islamic caliphate, the main centers of secular learning and debate were in Muslim countries where people of the three major religions lived cohesively prior to the Crusades.
Filed under: January Volume I- 2009, World | Tags: Afghanistan, Drug Trafficking
By Safiya A. Khafidh
Islamic Post Staff Writer
“Killing of civilians under any name or reason is unforgivable,” said President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan late last month. “Winning people’s support is the key to defeating terrorism in Afghanistan,” he said. President Karzai recently made a last minute decision to join nearly 100 countries in signing the historic international treaty banning cluster bombs in Norway. According to the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC), during the period of 2001-2002, 1,228 cluster bombs, containing 248,056 bomblets, were dropped on Afghanistan.
Mr. Karzai hearkened to the pleas of human rights organizations and cluster bomb victims, particularly 17 year old Soraj Ghulam Habib of Heart, Afghanistan, who had lost both legs at the age of ten due to a cluster remnant. The Afghan ambassador to Norway, Jawed Ludin, met with Habib at the 2-day Oslo conference. “I explained to the ambassador my situation and that the people of Afghanistan wanted a ban,” said Habib. Mr. Ludin said his country’s reversal was due to a provision in the treaty allowing signatory nations to engage militarily with non-signatory nations. Many nations refused to sign.
The treaty, entitled “The Convention on Cluster Munitions,” hailed by the CMC as the “most significant and humanitarian treaty of the decade,” prohibits the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions, as well as holding states accountable for assisting victims and clearing contaminated land. “What we’ve adopted today is going to create profound change,” said Norway’s foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere. “If you use or stockpile cluster weapons today, you will be breaking a new international norm.” The treaty must be ratified by 30 countries.
For over 40 years cluster bombs have terrorized, killed, and injured countless civilians. Handicap International says 98% of the victims of cluster bombs are civilians, of which 27% are children. Initially developed by the US, Russia and Italy, the bombs were first used in World War II by the Germans and Soviets. They have found their rightful place in the company of some of the most horrific, horrendous mechanisms of murder and torture ever conceived by mankind.
There are many different kinds of cluster bombs, but all are composed of large canisters containing small bomblets. The cluster bomb unit 26 holds 670 tennis ball sized fragments, each of which contains 300 metal fragments. When they strike flesh, pressure waves flutter through the body causing damage to soft tissues and organs throughout. Eyewitnesses have related seeing people literally nailed to the ground after being attacked by the WDU-4, which contained over 6,000 barbed metal darts that are released in the air upon detonation. However, many cluster bombs fail to detonate upon landing and can lie dormant for years until disturbed. The bombs are designed in bright colors, attractive to children who may mistake the bomblets for toys. “You cannot describe their sickly consequences,” said one survivor. “They look like sweets scattered from the sky. You don’t realize what they are until they touch you. You know it when they make you bleed. They massacre people in minutes.”
In recent months President Karzai has publicly criticized the killing and maiming of Afghan civilians, with or without cluster bombs. The Afghan president recently told a visiting U.N. Security Council delegation that the international community should set a date to end the war in Afghanistan. “If there is no deadline, we have the right to find another solution for peace and security,” the Afghani president noted. It is uncertain what outcome any prospective negotiations with the Taliban would bring about. The group reportedly rejected the proposal outright in November, as did U.S. State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack.
Filed under: August Volume 1 - 2008, International, World | Tags: Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, opium trade
By Raheemah Atif, Islamic Post Staff Writer
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been implicated as a hindrance in the effort to control drug trafficking in the war-torn nation by his reluctance to permit the prosecution of alleged perpetrators, claims former U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schweik, who identified a dilemma more complicated than it outwardly appears.
President Karzai appears to have been stepping out of line with recent pleas for U.S. and NATO forces to reduce the civilian casualties; which assertions have become a “sore point” between the Afghan government and foreign troops, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. led forces killed 4 woman and a child earlier this month, during an incident with alleged militants.
In a New York Times interview, Schweik, who relinquished his official government post in June, elaborated on several scenarios that present an ambiguous slant to the supposed international effort to curtail opium production in Afghanistan, and the reduction of global hard drug distribution stemming from it.
First, former ambassador Schweik was cited as refusing to mix the war on drugs with the military offensives currently in progress. Oddly, the Defense Department, and some of its NATO allies, view the proliferation issues as “someone else’s business,” he said.
Although theoretically a separate venture, the U.S. government is pouring millions of dollars into the destruction of poppy fields in Afghanistan, as with coca fields in Colombia, and hiring private contractors (who, in turn, hire locals) to destroy thousands of acres of the opium poppies. Colombia has also seen a drastic increase in coca production, despite efforts that should indicate the contrary, which complicates the scenario further.
The third point is that an alternative plan for impoverished Afghan farmers to grow poppies for the production of morphine for medicinal use has “met a stone wall at the State Department,” according to CBS news.
On his part, President Karzai predictably declared that his country has worked very hard to assist efforts to control poppy production, and conveyed his idea of success in Afghanistan’s program: “Nobody has done as well as us in the last seven years in the field of counter-narcotics,” he told reporters, citing that his government had eradicated or greatly reduced poppy production in more than half of Afghan provinces.
Schweik acknowledged the restriction mentioned by Karzai; however, he added that though the sites of production have been reduced, growing of the “deadly beautiful” poppies has proliferated tremendously within the areas where it is still being grown.
Legal intervention efforts have largely failed, complained Schweik, because President Karzai refuses to prosecute numerous drug lords, fearing that he will lose their political support in his upcoming bid for re-election. In this apparent quagmire, the sudden divided loyalty of Karzai seems to be the bigger issue.
Filed under: International, July Volume II - 2008, World | Tags: Afghanistan, Bagram, Guantanamo, Iraq, Mosul
By Muhammad Ahmad, Islamic Post Staff Writer
It has recently been revealed that a woman known only as Prisoner 650 is being held at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. While the identity of the woman is unknown, CagePrisoners.com and also Tehrik-e-Insaf say the woman could be Dr. Aafia Siddiqui who was picked up at an airport in 2003.
Former prisoners at Bagram, have attested to hearing the wrenching screams of a woman. Moazzam Begg, who was released without charges in January of 2005, said the woman he heard was next door to him.
Another man reported to have seen her.
Pakistani politician Imran Khan pledged his full support behind the Cageprisoners’ campaign to release Prisoner 650.
Begg, now back with his family, wife and children in Birmingham, revealed in his book Enemy Combatant: The Terrifying True Story of a British Muslim (Link gives Moazzam Begg’s story) in Guantanamo, how the male prisoners in Bagram had gone on a hunger strike for six days in an effort to improve the conditions of the unidentified woman, whom they claim was treated to the same regiment of brutality and torture as themselves.
The family of Dr. Siddiqui fears the worst. It has been almost 5 years and the only word they received was a few days after the abduction when a helmeted motorcyclist appeared at their door saying Dr. Siddiqui had been detained and not to speak of the incident.
While Siddiqui could be dead, the family dreads more that she is holed up in Bagram at the mercy of unnamed global terrorists who are working through the medium of secret intelligence agencies.
Siddiqui’s three children, who were traveling with her, are also missing. Of them, there has been no word at all.
Siddiqui is not the only woman, and her children are not the only children, who has disappeared since 2001 with the onset of the war of terror.
In July of 2006, Al Moharer and Uruknet listed these names as being held in Mosul, Iraq: Khadija Ahmad Abdi, 34, detained on May 24, 2005; Raghad Mohammed Ahmad, 17, detained on June 11, 2005; Fatima Dhahir Ibrahim, 53, detained June 6, 2005; Khatar Hassan Mahmmud, 32, detained June 11, 2005; Bushra Mohammed Ahmad, 21, detained on the same date; Mahasin Mohammad Ahmad, 23, also detained on the same date in June; Azhar Abdulrahman Ali, 25, detained with her brothers when their home was raided on July 12, 2005; and Hamda Mahmmud, who was detained on June 2, 2005.
Katherine Ozment of the Boston Magazine, in her investigative report, “Who’s Afraid of Aafia Siddiqui?,” drew a fair outline of the doctor. She asserts that Dr. Siddiqui, a neurobiologist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), made the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) terrorist list in 2004, a list that civil liberties groups say has reached a landmark of one million records, or 400,000 people. While U.S. President George W. Bush is most recently engaged in efforts to corroborate all U.S. information databases for use against those on the terrorist list (mostly non-U.S. residents), the family attorney for Aafia Siddiqui told the Boston Magazine that the information contained in Siddiqui’s file in particular must have been inaccurate. She believes that it has been a case of stolen identity for the 36 year old woman, as all of her previous colleagues who were interviewed, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, sang Siddiqui’s praises.
Dr. Siddiqui was heavily involved in community outreach programs, and spent a good deal of her off time preaching, according to Ozment.
But the official record says something quite different. FBI documents allege that in the summer before September 11, 2001, Siddiqui was wheeling and dealing for al Qaeda in Libya.
Family attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp says that instead of “brokering diamond deals for Al Qaeda with murderous brutes from the killing fields of Africa,” Siddiqui was “hosting play groups [for neighborhood kids] in her apartment.”
“Aafia Siddiqui was here in June 2001, and I can prove it,” Sharp said.
But with no trial, jury, or courtroom, who will Sharp prove it to?