By Bashirah A. Malik
Islamic Post Staff Writer
A farmer from China’s impoverished northwestern Xinjiang region was turned away by authorities in Beijing after he went there demanding compensation for a failed compulsory crop plan.
Hakim Siyit, a farmer from Yengisar County in Xinjiang’s western Kashgar area, claims that a compulsory “long bean” production plan was put into effect in 2007 for Yengisar county in Xinjiang’s western Kashgar region, resulting in heavy financial losses for farmers when harvest supply grossly overshot demand. Later that year the plan was repeated with similar results. In all, Siyit says, the farmers of Yengisar County suffered nearly $50 million Yuan (U.S. $7.3 million) in lost profit, loans that they could not repay, and equipment they could no longer use.
In China the majority of her impoverished citizens make a living farming. China has in place a “compulsory production plan”. The plan is for the Communist government to control what crop a farmer plants on their farm. Conversely, China’s compulsory crops plan is nothing new. It is very similar to the Soviet Union’s communist leader Josef Stalin’s collectivization plan introduced in the late 1920s. When his idea of collective farming failed to attract farmers, mostly poor peasants; Stalin resorted to forcefully implementing his plan, by murder and wholesale deportation of farmers to Siberia. The immediate effect of forced collectivization was reduced grain output and almost halved livestock, thus producing major famines in 1932 and 1933. Millions died of starvation in one of the most fertile regions in the world of farming.
However, according to China’s law on the Popularization of Agricultural Technology, any entity causing loss to farmers through the forced adoption of technology is required to repay total damages. Siyit, a member of the mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic group made his way to China’s State Council in Beijing last September to lobby on behalf of his fellow farmers. His effort got him taken to the Public Affairs Office of Xinjiang in Beijing where he was detained against his will and forced to return home with empty promises.
For over two years, Siyit and several other farmers have unsuccessfully attempted to file a complaint against the planning policies of Yin Xiaoliang, secretary of the communist party’s Yengisar County Branch. “Being the secretary, he should have known that the supply would be much higher than the demand, and there would be a lot of waste,” stated Siyit. The Yengisar regions 12 villages have a combined population of 240,000. “If only the secretary had organized it so that one village would grow long beans, another would grow tomatoes, another peppers, and another eggplants…” stated Siyit.
A government official with the Disciplinary Inspection Committee of Kashgar County, who did not provide his name, said he was aware of the farmers’ petition. “Originally we considered going to Yengisar country together with an agricultural business management group were to investigate the case. But when they asked permission [from deputy secretary of the prefecture’s party committee Zhang Jian], he stopped us. We were told ‘You shouldn’t go, let the county leader investigate first,’” the official said. Basically the matter still remains in doubt.
Siyit plans to continue his fight, despite the hardships he has faced, so that he can bring justice to the farmers of Yengisar County. “I just wanted to go [to Beijing] for the benefit of people, hoping to get a good answer. The fact that I did not know Chinese cost me a lot…It was as if I could not speak and I could only weep for my complaints,” he stated.
Early this month, Russia released the first of three volumes documenting the Soviet Union’s catastrophic famine of the early 1930s due to misguided Communist policies.
Muslims Brought as Slaves to America
By Umm Abdul Malik
Islamic Post Staff Writer
The month of February has been designated as that time during which the national cultural focus turns toward the commemoration of the lives and works of those Americans whose ancestors arrived on North American shores from the African continent. History reveals, through the exhaustive research and documentation of an array of historians, that great numbers, (if not the majority) of the Africans who were brought to the western hemisphere as stolen, traded, and subsequently, purchased human property were Muslims who practiced Al-Islam as their way of life.
Moreover, historians have verified the fact that even before Christopher Columbus ventured into the oceans of the western hemisphere, Muslims from Africa and Spain set their feet on North American and Caribbean soil. In 1996, Muslim historian and scientist, Dr. Youssef Mroueh, published an article to commemorate a millennium of Muslim presence in the Americas. Dr. Mroueh’s research asserts that African Muslims lived in the western hemisphere centuries before Columbus, and contains citations from a work written by Dr. Barry Fell, of Harvard University, entitled Saga America (1980), which documents extensive archeological evidences of the Muslim presence in pre-Columbian North America. Dr. Fell, in his book, also “… draws parallels between West African peoples and Native Americans in the southwest, including cultural and linguistic similarities, and the existence of Islamic petro glyphs in the southwestern region. In particular, Fell mentioned a carving that he believed was done centuries before Columbus that states in Arabic: “Yasus bin Maria” (Jesus son of Mary), a phrase commonly found in the Koran.”
Dr. Mroueh states that, “anthropologists have proven that the Mandinkas (people of West Africa) during the 13th century AD, under the instruction of Emperor Mansa Musa of Timbuktu, explored many parts of North America via the Mississippi, and other river systems. At Four Corners, Arizona; writings show that they even brought elephants from Africa to the area,” and that “…ruins of mosques and minarets with inscriptions of Qur’anic verses have been discovered in Cuba, Mexico, Texas, and Nevada. In addition, Dr. Fell published conclusive evidence in his book of the existence of Muslim schools at five sites in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Tipper Canoe, Indiana, that date back to 700-800 CE. Engraved on the rocks in the old western U.S., he found texts, diagrams, and charts’ representing the last surviving fragments of what was once a system of schools– at both the elementary and higher levels. The language of instruction was North African Arabic written with old Kufic Arabic script. The subjects… included writing, reading, religion, history, geography, mathematics, astronomy, and sea navigation.”
As for the West African Muslims who arrived in North America and the Caribbean as slaves, detailed records kept in private and government archives afforded written documentation of the sale and movements of many. Author Alex Haley was able to utilize these historical records, and other sources, to trace his ancestors back four generations finding the origin of his family in Senegambia, and that his forebears were in fact, Muslims. Professor Terry Alford conducted extensive historical research over many years, which culminated in his book Prince Among Slaves, an engaging and highly descriptive account of an young African Muslim who became a prisoner of war in his homeland, and was subsequently sold by the victors to slavers bound for the Americas – Prince Abdul Rahman Ibrahima, son of an African Muslim monarch of Futa Jallon (near modern-day Guinea), Africa. So not only did slavery mark a bittersweet return of African people to North America; so too – the return of Islam.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Decisive Victories in Islam
The conquest of Constantinople (now Istanbul) on May 29, 1453 by the Turkish Sultan Mohammad II, –surnamed, “the Conqueror” even by the western historians– was one of the greatest decisive victories of the Muslim World. According to Charles Connell, author of The World’s Greatest Sieges, “The siege and sack of Constantinople had stunned the Western world for, with Islam firmly established in Europe, the gateway from East to West now stood wide open.”
The importance of Constantinople was due to its incomparable position on the straits of the Bosporus. It stood on the tip of a point of high land, dominating the entire Balkan Peninsula, Asia Minor, the Black Sea, the sea of Marmara, and the rivers that met in that area. For eleven centuries, the city had been the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The expanding Ottoman Empire could not afford to push further west without first occupying the strategically important city of Constantinople.
The aim of this work is to highlight the impregnable defenses of Constantinople, and the preparation, relative strength, planning and execution of the Turkish plan for its conquest. This decisive victory was not achieved by fanaticism or extremism, but owing to meticulous planning, bold execution and, above all, the leadership qualities of Sultan Mohammad II.
After the death of his brother in 1449, Constantine XI succeeded to the throne of the Empire which, in the days of Constantine I, had extended over the whole of the Balkans, Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Cyrenaica. According to historians, Constantinople had been the most extensive and wealthiest, but loneliest, city in the world. Due to a series of disasters, tyranny, hatred, cowardice, selfishness and incompetent leadership, the Byzantine Empire shrunk to a few towns and a scanty district beyond the walls of the city which was considered, in and of itself, a prize of sufficient splendor. The emperor was 47 years old, and a brave veteran of many battles. He also had cordial relations with many Christian kingdoms.
Sultan Mohammad, on the other hand, became the heir apparent at the age of 11 years and was promptly appointed an eminent scholar as his tutor. Sultan Mohammad was very intelligent and studious. Soon he was able to speak Arabic, Latin, Greek, Persian and Hebrew.
Sultan Murad II allowed his son, at the age of 14 years, to run the administration of the empire, but still guided him in important and delicate state matters. The future sultan also participated in some battles under the supervision of his father.
The young man was proclaimed Sultan in 1451 at the age of 21, after the death of his father. He was energetic, painstaking, secretive, and too suspicious of others to make friends. According to one historian, Sultan Mohammad “united the enterprise and valor of youth with prudence and wisdom of old age.” (Finlay) From early youth, his overmastering ambition had been to capture Constantinople. He strongly felt that it was the true and natural capital of the Ottoman empire.
Prelude to the Siege.
Soon after his accession to the throne, Sultan Mohammad confirmed a treat Sultan Murad had made with the Byzantine court. Emperor Constantine XI, however, took this move of the young Sultan as a sign of a timid, inexperienced leader. He grossly underestimated the leadership qualities of the young Sultan. Imprudently, he hastened the hostility of the Sultan by demanding an increase in the allowance which was paid to the Byzantine court for the maintenance of Prince Orkhan, a descendant of Sultan Bajazet’s oldest son. The Christian ambassadors arrogantly hinted that if the Emperor’s demands were not met, Prince Orkhan would be set free to assemble an army to challenge the Sultan for the Turkish throne. The sultan replied with simulated courtesy, and the Byzantine court thought the young leader had been awed by the message. However, the Grand Wazir, Khalil Pasha, had warned the Byzantines, in confidence, of the folly of their rude conduct, and that soon they would experience the wrath of the young sultan. Some historians have said that the grand wazir was secretly in contact with the Byzantine court, for which he was being paid handsomely.
In March of 1452, Sultan Mohammad decided to provoke Constantine by sending a strong force and over 5000 workmen for building a strong fort on the European side of the Bosphorus. It is said that where the walls of the towers intersected, they depicted the name of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family.)
During the construction of the fort, Sultan Mohammad would not disclose his plans to anyone. Once, he said, “If a hair of my beard knew my plans, I would pluck it out and burn it.”
One night, the Sultan sent for Grand Wazir Khalil Pasha. Perturbed at the late hour of his summons, the advisor thought that perhaps the Sultan had come to know about his secret contacts with the Christian kingdoms. Trembling, he sent a boy with a vessel full of gold coins as a gift to the Sultan, but he refused to accept it. The Sultan told the Grand Wazir, that he would only accept the city of Constantinople as a gift, and for its conquest, the Khalil Pasha’s unblemished support and help was required.
Constantine watched the construction of the fort with uneasiness, but was helpless and could only await what was fast approaching. Within six months the fort was completed and the main supply of communication between Constantinople and the ports of the Black Sea was blocked. Soon the sultan sent a message to the Emperor Constantine to surrender Constantinople. The response of the emperor was to heavily fortify the city.
Fortification of the City
For centuries, fortifications protecting the city had been gradually developed. The city was surrounded by a series of strong and high walls. It was triangular in shape, with two sides bordering the sea. The only approach was by land, where the strongest fortifications were concentrated. By sea, the famous chain-boom –a huge chain that could be raised or lowered to control the passage of ships– was a formidable obstacle. Beyond the chain lay the imperial fleet of 26 ships.
Artillery and Strength
However, while Constantine was in possession of at least 100 short range cannons, the Turkish army had assembled one monster cannon to topple the strong walls and towers of the city’s defenses. The Sultan also had 12 additional cannons of lesser size, but equal power.
The Turkish army itself was considered the most formidable force of the century, comprising a standing army of 12-15,000. However, Sultan Mohammad decided to attack Constantinople with an army of 70,000 soldiers, as he correctly believed the a tradition the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), to apply to him and his army. Historians narrate that the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) said a magnificent city located across a continent, and surrounded y the sea on two sides, would be conquered by a force of 70,000 soldiers belonging to the race of the Holy Messenger Isaac, son of Abraham.
In April of 1453, the Turkish cannons commenced bombarding the walls of the city, but damage was quickly repaired. At the end of May, the first wall of the city was captured. Soldiers were shouting Allahu Akbar, God is the Greatest, and Ya RasoolAllah (peace be upon the Messenger of Allah), and eventually were entering the city from all directions. Resistance ceased. The emperor and his many generals and companions had been killed.
The victorious sultan entered the city with his entourage. He stopped in front of the church St. Sophia, bent on the ground, picked up a handful of dust and sprinkled it on his head. This was done in humble submission to God. By order of the sultan, the Muslim call to prayer was given and the church dedicated to Almighty Allah.
Sultan Mohammad II was only 23 years of age when he conquered Constantinople. After the conquest, the boundaries of the Turkish empire extended towards the west, and a great many Christians of eastern Europe embraced Islam wholeheartedly.
The great battles of Muslim history widen the vision and inculcate pride in Islamic heritage from which a great many lessons can be derived.
Our heroes will be remembered as long as courage remains a virtue and patriotism stirs men to noble deeds.
-Compiled by Noora Ahmad from “Conquest of Constantinople,” Defence Journal, 2003.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Decisive Victories in Islam
The art of war is filled with timeless principles that have applied throughout history and continue even today. The intriguing account of the Battle of Nehawand foretells the brilliance of strategy and patience for the seemingly inferior Arab army who decisively defeated the Iranians in the seventh century.
Surprise and deception are principles of war. If applied secretly and judiciously before and during battle, success can be achieved by a smaller army with a low cost of casualties.
Nooman Bin Muqran led the Arabs in the battle of Nehawand against Commander Khaizran in 641. Nehawand was the strong hold of the Iranian King Yezdegird.
The Iranian army consisted of over 125,000 soldiers, and high confidence on the part of the Iranians convinced them of a swift win. But although the Arab army was only about 30,000 strong, the troops were brave, dedicated Muslims. Their morale was high. They had won many battles against their adversaries.
Never mind the lopsidedness of the two opposing army’s numbers, the Arab Commander, Nooman Bin Muqran used the principle of surprise and deception and won what has been called the “Victory of Victories”.
The Iranian army decided to lure the Arabs away from the open into a very strongly fortified defensive position, then cause great casualties, entangle the troops, and create easy targets for archers and lancers to finish them off. The Iranian defense, though formidable, was also passive and lacked aggressiveness. Thus, they left the initiative with the Arabs.
The Arab advance commenced with a guard force in front for quickly dealing with opposition en route. The route was most hilly and difficult and could have been checked and delayed for days by even a small enemy force. But for miles Iranian troops were not seen or met. Army commanders had sketchy information about the enemy strength and deployment. The people of villages and towns could only inform that a big army was present in the vicinity of Nehawand. To counter the lack of information, the Arab commanders Tulaiha and Amr Ibn Madi Kerib sent long range patrols in disguise to obtain additional information.
Armed with new intelligence Nooman Bin Muqran assembled a bold and inspiring team of commanders including Abdullah Ibn Khalif Umar Ibn Khattab. Tullaiha (the false prophet of Bini Asad-who later embraced Islam and fought with valor at Qadisiya), Amr Ibn Madi Kerib, the great wrestler with powerful strength, Qaqaa ibn Umar, a master of tactics who disguised a few hundred camels in long black veils to frighten the enemy elephants and horses in the battle of Qadisiya.
After the battle ensued, Qaqaa’s attacking force started to withdraw, as though to appear in disorder, prompting the enemy army to follow. This brilliant maneuver led the Iranian army to open ground surrounded by hills on two sides where the counter attack forces were hidden. The most powerful element of surprise was unleashed on the enemy Iranians, sandwiching them and killing a great number in a masterfully tactical maneuver.
The Commander in Chief of the Arab army, Nooman bin Muqran led an onslaught personally, fighting all who faced him. However, his horse fell to the blood soaked ground, causing fatal head injuries to its rider. However, the battle flag of the commander never fell; his brother Naeem bin Muqran immediately took hold of it. Before Nooman bin Muqran breathed his last breath, he was given the news of the victory. However, his martyrdom was kept secret for some time.
Upon hearing the news of the battle win and Nooman bin Muqran’s martyrdom, the reply of the Commander of the Faithful, Caliph Umar Ibn Khattab, was, “We come from God and to God we return,” as he bitterly wept.
Upon the orders of Caliph Umar Ibn Khattab, the new Commander in Chief, Naeem Ibn Muqran, chased the retiring Iranian King Yezdegird and the remaining enemy wherever they had fled. This led to the capture of many important towns and the Muslim rule of Iran.
Although victories in such decisive and brilliant battles were won over 1350 years ago, and despite the fact that weapons have changed a lot, the art of war remains the same, the principles of war remain the same and the phases of war remain the same.
Despite numerically larger numbers, the Iranians left the initiative of the battles to the Arabs and failed to perceive that the smaller army could adopt superior tactics and capitalize on an offensive, aggressive position. This thinking led to their demise. Soldiers who are better trained, dedicated and inspired with the spirit of sacrifice led by bold commanders, will always be successful, even if they are numerically inferior to their adversaries.
-Compiled by Yasmin A. Atheem from “The Battle of Nehawand: the Victory of Victories,” Defence Journal.
Filed under: July Volume I- 2008, National, Politics | Tags: dialog, Gilani, history, jul, news, Politics, zionism
“What better way to fight back,” Bjerknes says, “than to join together the forces of righteousness and peace to expose” the globalist plot for a One World Order and One World Religion.”
Reverend John Hagee (left), who was forced to withdraw his endorsement of Senator John McCain for the presidency, and Reverend Jeremiah Wright (right), former spiritual advisor to presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama. (Photo of Rev. Wright, AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
By Noora Ahmad
Having received no less than 13 standing ovations, Senator Barack Obama’s conciliatory speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) just after his nomination as the official Democratic candidate, more than made up for any comments his former pastor made that were deemed anti-Semitic.
Senator John McCain, the main Republican challenger to Obama, cast doubts on Obama’s sincerity, while others point to the fright over comments about Zionism made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago, now Obama’s ex-spiritual advisor. McCain’s loyalty to the Jewish constituency also came into question regarding statements on the same topic that were made by Rev. John Hagee of Texas who was subsequently forced to formally withdraw his endorsement from McCain.
Although McCain emphasizes that at no time was Hagee his pastor, a similarity between the two instances remains. A detailed look at their comments will help explain the theory of Christopher Jon Bjerknes, a Jew who founded the Interfaith Council to Defeat the Anti-Christ Al-Dajjal. He asserts that Zionism has pitted Christians and Muslims against one another in an effort “to reduce Christendom and Islam to ashes. What better way to fight back,” Bjerknes says, “than to join together the forces of righteousness and peace to expose” the globalist plot for a One World Order and One World Religion.
Rev. Hagee: Hitler helped Zionism.
John Hagee, a Christian Zionist, asserted Hitler to be a “hunter” doing the will of God. “A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says — Jeremiah writing — ‘They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,’ meaning there’s no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don’t let your heart be offended. I didn’t write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.”
Perhaps Hagee suffers from confusion regarding the desire of his Creator, as opposed to the desire of oppressors amongst men.
Hagee did explain himself further, however: “Theodore Herzl is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So, he went to the Jews of Europe and said, ‘I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.’ So few went, that Herzl went into a depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not, went through the hell of the holocaust.”
Other sources attest to Hagee’s view of history, though not to his interpretations.
Michael Seizer in his book Zionism Reconsidered noted that the Holocaust was seen by Zionists in 1933 as “a God-sent opportunity for an undreamt of wave of immigration to Palestine.” The book, Who Financed Hitler?, by James and Suzanne Pool details how the top globalist of the day financed Hitler for their own ends, a most cruel and calculated effort to eventually sweep the Jews of Europe and Russia into Israel and uphold Zionism as the savior of the Jews.
Ironically Hagee, the Christian Zionist, does not place proper emphasis on the sadistic population control efforts exercised on Jews during the Holocaust; only on the fact that the ends were achieved.
Christian Zionists adhere to the belief that Armageddon will come to earth after the reestablishment of the Kingdom of Israel. Hence, in a misguided effort to hasten the return of Jesus (peace be upon him), Christian Zionists have turned away from the lovers of Jesus (i.e., Muslims) to those who never supported him.
Rev. Wright: U.S. still helps Zionism.
Rev. Wright, on the other hand, claimed in a past sermon: “We [as Americans] supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against it as being anti-Semitic. . . . We care nothing about human life if the end justifies the means. . . .” Although demonized by this and other controversial statements, which were taken out of context, Wright’s ideas that Zionism is a “racist” ideology are not new. In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolution 3379 which defined Zionism as, ‘a form of racism and racial discrimination.’
Stephen Sizer, researcher into the Zionist Christian sect and pastor of Christ Church in Virginia Water, UK (which holds numerous Christian-Muslim unity conferences), upholds that Zionism runs contrary to the teachings of the New Testament. “[The] Mosaic promises were always conditional. ‘Obey and stay or rebel and be removed,” says Sizer, who then continues with a reference from the New Testament, “Jesus himself warns: ‘Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.’ (Matthew 21:43).”
In the commentary of Sura Baqara in the Holy Qur’an, Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani speaks about the history of the Jews, encouraging them to come back to the right path. Holy Qur’an is “guidance for all mankind. Come! If you are a Jew, I am not against Jews. I do not say kill them…I feel pity for them because Allah gave them so much honor and they have lost it; Allah trusted them so much and they violated His trust; Allah guided them and they ran away from Him. Open the unchanged Torah (Sura Baqara of the Holy Qur’an) and come back to Allah.”
See the About page tells more about El Sheikh Gilani.
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Filed under: Did You Know?, July Volume I- 2008, Magazine/ Culture, Religion | Tags: dialog, history, interfaith, Islam, Politics, Religion, thoughts, UK
“If there is much misunderstanding in the West about the nature of Islam, there is also much ignorance about the debt our own culture and civilisation owe to the Islamic world. It is a failure, which stems, I think, from the straight-jacket of history, which we have inherited. The medieval Islamic world, from central Asia to the shores of the Atlantic, was a world where scholars and men of learning flourished. But because we have tended to see Islam as the enemy of the West, as an alien culture, society, and system of belief, we have tended to ignore or
erase its great relevance to our own history.”- Prince Charles, during a lecture at Oxford University, October 1993.
The Prince of Wales in traditional Islamic clothing.
Text Source: Prince of Wales government website
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