The Islamic Post Blog


United Nations Lauds Bolivians For High Turn-Out During Peaceful Constitutional Referendum by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:11 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Latino/Caribe | Tags:

By Safiya A. Khafidh

Islamic Post Staff Writer

The new constitution presented by the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales passed late last month by a vote of 60%, signifying the great number of people who approve the new constitution.
“Here the colonial state ends and external and internal colonialism end,” said the leftist president. The vote allows him to run for re-election and remain in power till 2014.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent congratulations to the people of Bolivia for taking part in the national referendum –that approved the amendment of the country’s Constitution– in a peaceful manner, after the violence that has plagued the country from reactionary provinces.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he was following with great interest the political developments in the Andean country, where the referendum included the constitutional expansion of indigenous people’s rights, as well as an extension of presidential term limits.
The key constitutional changes include presidents being allowed two consecutive five-year terms; recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples, and setting aside congressional seats for them: state control of all gas, oil and mineral reserves: appointment of high court judges rather than election of the same; the prohibition of sexual discrimination; the guaranteed freedom of religion; and self-rule for the indigenous tribes who live on traditional lands.
However, the richer provinces in eastern Bolivia: Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pondo –areas considered violent hotbeds of opposition led by the state governors of those areas– prefer their own increased autonomy, along with more authority over the natural resources mentioned above.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ban Ki-moon applauded the calm atmosphere while the polls were open, and the high level of participation, as a demonstration of civic responsibility.
“The Secretary-General exhorts all political leaders in Bolivia to work together henceforth to build a prosperous and inclusive future for their country,” the statement read, adding that the UN will continue to assist the Government and the people of Bolivia face future challenges.
He also recognized the work of the National Electoral Court of Bolivia in the organization of, what he called, “this important exercise in democracy.”
-Sources: United Nations, News Agencies



Dominican Republic Bids a Farewell of Mixed Sentiments to U.S. Ambassador Fannin by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:09 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Latino/Caribe | Tags:

By Khalida Khaleel

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Robert Fannin was given full ceremony on his departure last month from his post as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, under the Bush Administration, in favor of a yet unnamed replacement to be posted by incoming U.S. President Barack Obama to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island.
Although in the country a mere 13 months, Mr. Fannin vocally opposed  controversial legislation in the country which would have allowed the Dominican Air Force to shoot down suspected drug planes in flight over the country.
The Dominican Republic is a key entry and exit point for illicit material traveling from South America to Miami. Rogelio E. Guevara, Chief of Operations of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration told the House of Representatives Committee on International Relations in 2002 that the Dominican Republic is being used as a “command, control, and communications” centre for drug operations in the Caribbean, and is also used to store drugs, before onward shipment to Puerto Rico or the United States.
The U.S. State Department made its stance known via Ambassador Fannin, as well as in an official statement, that the Dominican Republic should not authorize the shooting down of aircraft suspected of carrying drugs, but should instead improve its internal policies against drug running by confiscating drug traffickers’ property at the least, (Dominican Today, reported late last year.) “ [It’s true,] we must clean up the National Police and the Armed Forces, because those things are unacceptable,” said President Fernandez earlier this month when being interviewed on El Dia.
However, problems with closing down the Dominican drug route do not stop inside the country. “Once a shipment of cocaine, whether smuggled from Haiti or the Dominican Republic by maritime, air, or commercial cargo, reaches Puerto Rico, it is unlikely to be subjected to further United States Customs inspections en route to the continental U.S.,” said U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) special agent Michael Vigil in testimony before Congress in 2000.
Hence, the dramatic step proposed in the Dominican Congress to stop drug traffickers’ invasion of Dominican air space. If the illicit product fails to reach Puerto Rico through the Dominican Republic, the traffickers might assume a different route. Other Latin American countries, such as Brazil and Peru, found a measure of success enforcing laws which allow authorities to down any plane violating territorial airspace and waters.
However, in the latter country, a plane of American missionaries, while in communication with one federal air tower, was shot down after not responding to the requests of another, in April of 2001. A seven-month old baby and her mother were killed, and three other Americans injured. Undoubtedly, this reinforces the argument of the State Department.
Nevertheless, Air force colonels, a local religious figure, numerous fiery editorials of journalists and ordinary honest Dominican businessmen, sanction the shooting down of planes. “It’s a disgrace,” said one cattle rancher. “Drugs are being brought into the country to destroy the people. Another country should not be able to speak regarding our own airspace.”
Top military and political officials face extradition to the United States on drug trafficking charges, compounding political tensions in what is being termed the country’s largest drug case. While Dominican President, Leonel Fernandez, says he will approve all the extraditions, he laments what is perceived as a lack of aid, on America’s, part, to reduce drug trafficking coming out of the country, specifically his own unheeded requests to the U.S. embassy to assist in the purchasing of a radar, to detect drug-laden flights. “I’ve never understood that part… this should be a mutual cooperation,” he said. “The radar is not just to protect us, it will also protect you because you are also being affected by this,” the Dominican president concluded, when speaking to Diario Libre.



Brazil Takes Firm Action to Thwart Forced Labor by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:08 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Latino/Caribe | Tags:

Special Task Force Fighting Big Business Cartels to Free Victims of Debt Bondage

By Raheemah Atif

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Thousands of human beings are entrenched in the deplorable business of virtual “slave labor” worldwide. In the South American nation of Brazil, the United Nations International Labor Organization estimated that in 2003 ( the most recent year in which statistics were complied), between 25,000 and 40,000 Brazilians were being held under this criminally oppressive system.
In an interview with CNN, Peter Hakim, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based policy center commented, “Slavery is the tail end of a lot of abuse of poor people and workers in Brazil; bad treatment reaches over to abusive treatment, to treatment that becomes virtual slavery.”
Various human rights organizations, in conjunction with the Brazilian government, have built a special task force that has freed 5,223 “ slave laborers” who were discovered virtually marooned on large farms, plantations, and businesses located deep in rural and deforested areas.  Escape from these forced labor camps is practically impossible.  Anti-slavery International (AI), a human rights group based in the U.K., explains the sordid scenario wherein unsuspecting individuals are lured into the deceptive “employment” agreement.
Unscrupulous recruiters scour the slums and economically depressed areas of Brazil – which is roughly the size of the United States – looking for willing individuals who agree to travel to a distant site to work for inflated wages.  Once separated from any support or contact with family or friends, the workers are told they owe money for transportation, food, housing, etc.  “This is known as debt bondage, which also fits official definitions of slavery,” says Anti-slavery International, “A person is in debt bondage when their labor is demanded as the means of repayment for a loan or an advance. Once in debt, they lose all control over their conditions of work and what, if anything they are paid … often making it impossible to repay and trapping them in a cycle of debt.”
Regulation of the industries that perpetrate the criminal conditions under which these victims suffer has been difficult, in part due to the vastness of Brazil itself.  Anti-slavery International reports that the greatest number of slave labor camps are run by the cattle ranching industry and sugar cane plantations (43%), followed by deforestation operations (28%), and agriculture (24%). The charcoal production and logging industries also run slave labor camps within the deep interior of the country. Brazil is being applauded on its successful efforts to curtail and eliminate slave labor in their country, while AI has estimated that there are more than 12 million people worldwide being held captive in forced labor situations with a much more dismal outlook for rescue. “Forced labor exists in Sudan, Nepal, India, Mauritania as well as many wealthier countries (including the UK), where vulnerable people are trafficked into forced labor or sexual slavery,” the group says. “A similar situation to the use of forced labor on estates in Brazil can be found in the Chaco region of both Paraguay and Bolivia”
The Brazilian Special Mobile Inspection Group is comprised of attorneys from the federal labor prosecution department, labor inspectors, and federal police, who often conduct worksite raids at remote labor camps searching for abuses and workers being held against their will.  In 2007, nearly 6,000 people were freed by the task force.  Labor Minister Carlos Lupi commented to the Brazilian-run state news agency that his country will be stepping up its antislavery operations in 2009.  Part and parcel of the campaign is the elimination of a primary factor in the vulnerability of  forced labor victims – the conditions of abject poverty so prevalent in Brazil, and other countries who are combating the same criminal oppression of its people.  A recent survey conducted by  the Getulio Vargas Foundation’s Center for Social Policy Studies found that one of every four Brazilians live in dire poverty. The Web-based Index Mundi, which says it obtains its figures from the CIA World Factbook, estimates the poverty rate could be as high as one of every three Brazilians; with a population approaching 200 million people, that means at least 49 million Brazilians live under squalid economic conditions.  For the most part, the administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has done much to reduce poverty and fight slave labor, with one governmental sanction requiring that lands on which slave labor camps are operated are subject to confiscation.  The politically powerful natural resource cartels are fighting hard against the pressure of the Brazilian government and other agencies who are determined to continue waging the protracted battle against the crime of forced labor.  Vigilance and legal action are the primary weapons being utilized to protect and maintain the right of the people to be free from oppression and coercion – and the struggle continues. “Brazil is a big, huge country and there are lots of poor people,” said Hakim of the Inter-American Dialogue. “The farther you get away from the populated, industrialized areas, you’ll find large populations of people who do whatever they can to make a living.”



Gesture of Dignity: Hugo Chavez Blasts Israel: With Diplomatic Sanctions by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:05 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Latino/Caribe | Tags: ,

A strong message of condemnation for Israel’s military aggression came as Israel’s ambassador to Venezuela was expelled along with some embassy staff.  In a statement issued by Venezuela’s foreign ministry, Israel was accused of violating international law and of having planned to use state terrorism against the Palestinian population. Miami Herald reported from Adrian Bonilla, director of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Ecuador, “There is a tradition in Latin America of rejecting violence to solve any international conflict.”
Ambassador Schlomo Cohen left the country on Friday, January 9th after having called the expulsion “the most difficult moment in the more than 50-year history of relations between Venezuela and Israel.” President Chavez, contrastingly, called it a “gesture of dignity”, thereby sending a message to the world that military actions which resulted in hundreds of Palestinian civilian deaths were unacceptable.  On state television, Chavez asked “How far will the barbarism go?”
Also unacceptable, as stated by UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, were Israeli attacks on UN schools which killed 46 civilians and injured at least 150, at the time of this report. In a public statement, he said, “These attacks by Israeli military forces which endanger facilities acting as places of refuge are totally unacceptable and must not be repeated” and that “a substantial number of civilians have been killed.” The statement also pointed out that “The locations of all UN facilities have been communicated to the Israeli authorities and are known to the Israeli army.” The clearly marked UN facilities were serving as safe havens for civilians seeking refuge from the violence in Gaza, according to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) director, John Ging. The shelling was reported in The Jerusalem Post to be in response to Hamas Gunmen who used the complex to fire on Israeli targets.   Although, the UN agency insisted that there were no Hamas gunmen on the school grounds, only civilians seeking refuge.
Despite this, Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Captain Ishai David denied that the incident was caused by erroneous Israeli shelling.   David said, “We are still sticking by our official position that according to our initial inquiry, the whole thing started when terrorists fired mortar shells from the school compound”.
UN spokesman Christopher Gunness asserted that the Israeli army admitted in private briefings that militant fire came, not from the school, but from somewhere outside of the school compound.   This and other incidents caused civilian deaths and gruesome injuries including, numerous amputations. These have been the cause of international outrage echoed throughout Latin America.
Protests have taken place throughout the world, in Argentina, Bolivia, and El Salvador.  In Chile, President Michelle Bachelet called for a stop of actions from both sides, while the Chilean foreign ministry strongly condemned Israeli raids on Gaza.  The governments of Guatemala and Colombia also called on Israel to end fighting.   Brazil’s foreign policy advisor, Marco Aurelio Garcia, described the attacks as “state terrorism”, while Foreign Minister Celso Amorim called Israeli military action a “disproportional” answer to Hamas rocket attacks.  At the time of the statements’ publishing, Ten Israelis were reported to have died compared to over 1000 Palestinians killed and over 3000 injured.  Brazil subsequently sent 14 tons of food and medical aid, its Foreign ministry said.



Mothers Fight Malnutrition in Bolivia by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:03 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Latino/Caribe | Tags:

By Safiya A. Khafidh

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Quechua indigenous Indian women in poor, rural communities throughout Betanzos municipality in Bolivia are assisting health workers in combating the staggering rates of malnutrition. They are known as “Madres Vigilantes” or “Mindful Mothers” because they teach other women about child nutrition. According to Julia Velasco Parisaca and Wendy Medina of Inter Press Service News Agency, one of every two children in Betanzos suffers from malnutrition. The mindful mothers receive training that is sponsored by the UK humanitarian organization, Plan International, under the auspices of Community Integrated Management of Childhood Illness.  The health program coordinator of Plan International in Bolivia, Aurora Gutierrez, explained that “Madres Vigilantes are trained about children’s growth, development and nutrition, and at the same time, they pass on this training to other mothers in their communities, while monitoring the growth and development of their children.”
Eva Juchani, a mindful mother from the community of Buey Tambo in Betanzos said, “Our task is to weigh and measure children from the time they are newborns until they are five, to see whether or not they are malnourished and whether or not they are gaining weight and growing. As madres vigilantes, we train other women how to feed their kids so that one day malnutrition will disappear.” They also teach how to improve eating and cooking habits”.
However, due to the extreme poverty in this region of Bolivia, the poorest country in South America, the high protein foods that are grown there, such as fava beans, corn and wheat are sold to generate income and the people resort to processed foods such as pasta.
In July 2007, the government initiated, a Zero Malnutrition National Program aimed at improving the nutrition of pregnant and nursing mothers and children under five. Prior to this, the government operated a program called the National Programme for the Care of Children under Six (PAN), that focused on health, protection and childhood education as well as nutrition. The PAN centers provide children with four meals a day and two snacks. Unfortunately, the PAN program, operating in only 17 out of the 100 communities in the Betanzos municipality, only manages to serve about 20% of those most needy since it does not reach the children in the isolated areas, The government intends to remedy this situation by dispatching health care personnel, including Cuban doctors, to those lonely and neglected neighborhoods.



General Noriega May Be ‘Too Late’ to Benefit from Prisoner of War Status by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:02 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Latino/Caribe | Tags: ,

With the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Manuel Noriega may no longer be exempt from extradition to France for prosecution.

By Mubeen Khaleel

Islamic Post Staff Writer

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not issue an immediate ruling this month in the case of Panamanian General Manuel Noriega –the only person with prisoner of war (POW) status being held on United States’ soil– who is fighting extradition to France for a 10 year additional sentence related to money laundering charges.
Mr. Noriega will remain imprisoned in the United States, until the appeals process is exhausted, although the final decision in the case rests with the U.S. State Department. Noriega’s attorneys hope the hearings will, nevertheless, reach the Supreme Court.
Appeals court judges drew the likely parallel between General Noriega and the men being held in Bagram Air Base, in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Congress “eliminated the legal underpinnings of Noriega’s argument when it passed the 2006 Military Commissions Act,” wrote AP Legal Affairs Writer, Curt Anderson about the judge’s statement. “The law created judicial procedures for enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but also could be applied to POWs and anyone else.” In effect, when Noriega first presented his case in September 2007, it was too late for him to take advantage of the POW status previously awarded him.
It is the fourth time the general has sought to halt the extradition proceedings since he completed his sentence for drug racketeering in September 2007. His attorneys insists that, according to the Geneva Convention, Noriega should be repatriated to Panama. Like France, Panama is also seeking his extradition after convicting him (in absentia) of murder, embezzlement, and corruption. His sentence of 60 years imprisonment may, however, be served in his native country under house arrest.
Conditions in the United States are reported to also have a home-like environment for those classified as POWs, unlike those being held at Guantanamo Bay as enemy combatants. “General Manuel Antonio Noriega frequently sees his wife and children, who make the trip to his private bungalow at a federal prison near Miami, from their home in Panama,” reported the Associated Press earlier this month. “The onetime CIA operative is a news junkie, reads voraciously about history and politics, and is working on a memoir.”
After being on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency for the better part of thirty years, Manuel Noriega was arrested after the U.S. military invasion of Panama in 1989 by George H.W. Bush, Sr., on the premise that, according to Anderson, “Noriega had become increasingly belligerent toward the U.S., ignored democratic election results and essentially turned Panama into a way station and banker for Colombia’s powerful Medellin cocaine cartel… Noriega [however], who declined repeated interview requests, has said he believes his ouster was rooted in his refusal to help the U.S. support the Contras attempting to overthrow Nicaragua’s leftist government in the 1980s.”



Venezuelan Economy Stable ‘For Now’ by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:02 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Latino/Caribe | Tags:

By Noora Ahmad

Islamic Post Staff Writer

“Venezuela has enough savings to face any crisis,” said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, according to the Venezuelan daily, El Universal. In an effort to dispel global misconceptions regarding the Venezuelan economy, President Hugo Chavez has recently insisted, repeatedly, in the annual address to his national assembly, on January 13, that the country is not in economic crisis, even with last year’s landslide in oil prices.
Mark Weisbrot, co-director and economist at the Center for Economic Policy Research, in Washington, D.C. (CEPR), concurs: “It is clear that Venezuela can be expected to run current account surpluses for the foreseeable future, even at oil prices far below the levels that are currently forecasted, by any experts, in the field,” wrote Mr. Weisbrot late last year, in a report entitled “Oil Prices and Venezuela’s Economy.” “However, even if the economy were to somehow fall into a current account deficit, the government has $40 billion in reserves, at the Central Bank and another $37 billion, in other hard currency assets. These reserves amount to 23 percent of GDP, thus providing an enormous cushion for any unanticipated events.”
And unanticipated it has been. Before oil prices began to climb earlier this month, speculations ran rampant over the causes and effects of the skyrocket in oil prices and their subsequent plummet, which occurred at the same rapid pace. In answer to the current low oil prices, which have been perceived as the effect, of a decrease, in global demand, Venezuela is tempering its output, like other OPEC countries, with a cut of 189,000 barrels per day.
Yet, according to a 60 Minutes segment which aired January 8, a decrease in the demand for oil may not be what caused gas prices to fall. CBS Correspondent Steve Kroft reported during the segment that unheeded experts are saying rapid rise and fall in prices “was a speculative bubble, not unlike the one that caused the housing crisis, and that it had more to do with traders and speculators on Wall Street” than with how much gas consumers were, or were not, putting into their sports utility vehicles.
Steve Kroft claimed: “A recent report out of MIT, analyzing world oil production and consumption, also concluded that the basic fundamentals of supply and demand could not have been responsible for last year’s run-up in oil prices. And Michael Masters [who testified before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the United States Senate last April on the same matter] says the U.S. Department of Energy’s own statistics show that if the markets had been working properly, the price of oil should have been going down, not up.”
With regards to speculation Mr. Kroft asserts: “Over time, the big Wall Street banks were allowed to buy and sell as many oil contracts as they wanted for their clients, circumventing regulations intended to limit speculation. And in 2000, Congress effectively deregulated the futures market, granting exemptions for complicated derivative investments called oil swaps, as well as electronic trading on private exchanges.”
He also claimed there was no way of knowing who did the circumvention, as the deals were done secretly. These secret deals could, as oil prices swing back up, render production cuts, a potentially perilous move for producers and consumers alike, according to Michael T. Klare, author of Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Oil. “As long as prices remain low,” said Mr. Klare, “Oil companies have no incentive to invest in costly new production ventures, which means no new capacity is being added to global inventories, while available capacity continues to be drained. Simply put, what this means is that, when demand begins to surge again, global output is likely to prove inadequate,” driving the price back up.
In addition, the price may not come back down so easily next time as “most ‘easy oil’ reservoirs have now been exhausted,” according to Klare, “Which means that virtually all remaining global reserves are going to be of the ‘tough oil’ variety. These require extraction technology far too costly to be profitable, at a moment when the per barrel price remains under $50,” concluded Michael Klare. This signifies that if OPEC countries like Venezuela do not continue to explore new oil drilling avenues, the oil shortage could become a very real crisis.
Even given this assessment, Venezuela is going ahead with its charitable CITGO heating oil program in the United States, despite reports to the contrary which, like those commenting on the country’s prospective economic losses, claimed the country could no longer afford such excesses.  CITGO CEO Alejandro Granado and Citizens Energy Chairman, Joseph P. Kennedy II, gave a press conference earlier this month confirming that income-eligible households may apply to receive up to 100 free gallons of heating oil. Mr. Kennedy pointed out that he is “personally aware of President Chavez’s genuine concern for the most vulnerable, regardless of where they may live.”



From Badr to Karbala by Khalida

From the Desk of the Sultan: El Sheikh Muhyuddin Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani

Excerpt from a lecture on the episode of the vendetta of the Banu Ummayyad against the Banu Hashim, culminating in Karbala with the martyrdom of Imam Hussein.

Unfortunately, though Yazeed (the person who ordered Imam Hussein to be martyred) died, Yazeediyat still lives; the Banu Hashim are still being victimized.
More than 500 years have passed since Jesus, son of Mary (peace be upon them both), foretold the coming of the Messiah, the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), for whom everyone was waiting. The Jews had settled down in Yathrib (the present city of Medinah) awaiting the arrival of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him). But when he came, Allah, the Most High, had a different design. Instead of selecting from a powerful and wealthy family of the Quraish, Allah chose an orphan of the Banu Hashim and put the crown of nubuwwat (messenger hood) upon his head, signifying that he was sent from the Most High with a message for mankind, and called him Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his family.
About him, Jesus, son of Mary (peace be upon them both) said, “I have met him about whom Allah, the Most High, has spoken: ‘Oh Muhammad (peace be upon him), if I had not created you, I would not have created anything… And now I must depart from you so that he, the Comforter, about whom I have foretold to you, may come unto you, and his name shall be Ahmad.”
This was the state in which the Messiah came. It was very difficult for the pagan Quraish to accept him. Instead they mocked him.
Amongst those who not only mocked, but also tried to eliminate him, was Abu Sufyan. If he was a snake, his wife, Hinda, was a serpent. They forced the Blessed Messenger of Allah, the Most High, to leave Makkah (Mecca), his homeland, and take refuge in Medinah. But even then, Abu Sufyan attacked with an army 1000 men strong. They were all defeated. Both Abu Sufyan and Hinda decided to take revenge upon the Banu Hashim for their defeat. They tried to wipe out the Banu Hashim from the face of the Earth.
They didn’t believe the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon  him and his family),  was a messenger of God. They called him a liar and a cheat and one possessed. They attacked again and again. A war was fought at Uhud in which Hinda’s hired assassin was able to martyr Imam Hamza. Hinda and Abu Sufyan left behind a legacy to wipe out the Banu Hashim and denounce the messenger hood of the Blessed Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him).
On the 11th of Hijra (of the Muslim calendar) Makkah was conquered by the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), and both of these criminals were hiding for fear of being executed. Imam Abbas petitioned for their amnesty.
They embraced Islam, though they were inwardly boiling with rage at seeing their idols, Laat and Manaat, being razed to the ground. Being shrewd and politically motivated, they decided to infiltrate the Islamic system and cut it down from its roots.
Evil Legacy.
Muawiya, the son of Abu Sufyan and Hinda, cleverly offered his services as a scribe of Holy Qur’an.. He was always pleasant in his mannerisms, but had inwardly evil designs. Later on we find that when Hazrat* Ali (son-in-law of our nabi, peace be on him) becomes the caliph (ruler), Muawiya rises against him in a rebellious attack which killed thousands upon thousands of Muslims, including many Holy Companions.
This was the worst battle which had ever taken place with Muslims fighting against Muslims, and with this the bitter reality comes to surface: Many people who were apparently with the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) were only with him because he was the undisputed king and ruler. When he passed away, he left a mighty kingdom to be ruled! Thus people forgot about their  loyalty to him and to his family and the old pagan Arab ways came to the surface once more.
When Hazrat Ali was martyred, Muawiyah was very happy to hear the news. He also could not wait for Hazrat Imam Hassan to finish his caliphate, so he had him poisoned by his wife. He taught his children never to let their guard down against the Banu Hashim, and appointed his son, Yazeed, a devout drunkard and adulterer, to be his heir. When the head of the beloved grandson of the Holy Last Messenger, Imam Hussein, was brought to him, Yazeed proclaimed his joy out loud. According to Tafsir Ruhul Ma’anee by Allama Mahmood Alousi, that accursed son of Muawiyah and Hinda said, while hitting the teeth of Hazrat Imam Hussein: “I wish today my ancestors killed at Badr were alive. They would have been proud to see how I have taken revenge by killing Hussein. The Bani Hashim have played a big fraud for ruling the country, no news from Heaven came, nor any wahee [Divine revelation].”
With this background, one should have the understanding that Karbala was a war of racist pagans against the family of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad  (peace be upon him). There were Muslims at that time whom people tend to call Holy Companions, but which we do not because they were not Holy Companions, nor were they educated in Islamic knowledge. They were simply new Muslims at the time of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him). Had these people any love for their Divine Messenger (peace be upon him) they would not have sided with Yazeed against Imam Hussein, nor would they have shut themselves in their homes in Makkah and Medinah.
This was a clash of dynasties spawned by the Banu Ummayyad who were still holding on to their paganistic ways. It was a continuity of the struggle of truth against falsehood, and this will go on. Yazeediyat is proclaimed throughout the electronic and print media. Banu Hashim are hunted, and when the opportunity avails itself, they are martyred, even up to this day.



The Marsiya by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:01 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Magazine/ Culture, Poetry, Religion | Tags: ,

Excerpts from The Marsiya, describing the Battle at Karbala

Written By Mir Anis

‘This morning brings an evening ever blessed:
We who depart for Paradise will slake
Our thirst by Kausar’s spring, and therein rest.
May God exalt our names for honor’s sake.’
Unequalled, each of them to joy gave birth
‘Let martyrs rise in glory from this earth.’

At this the faithful friends rose from their beds,
And donning glorious raiment combed their hair;
Then tying turbans on their noble heads,
They faced the peerless Lord and gathered there.
Wrapped in colored cloaks, their fear grew less;
Rose perfume, musk and civet filed their dress.

Their dry lips sang the praise of God; and light
Shone on their faces; fear was put aside.
No grief or panic clouded o’er their sight;
They joked and laughed and shared their skills with pride.
Their charming accents gladdened every ear;
Each word they uttered was a joy to hear.

The kinsmen of the King stepped from their tent,
Fatima’s darlings all of beauteous face;
Qasim the fair and Akbar heaven-sent,
Aqil and Muslim, Jafar’s valiant race.
Their countenances lit the sky around.
The flower of eighteen suns stood on the ground.

That morning ‘neath the shadow of the stars!
If Moses, who called God on Sinai,
Had seen their light that with the vision jars,
He would have swooned. Celestial majesty
Was echoed by the birds’ song in the bowers
Of the desert valley filled with fragrant flowers.
And here amid the thongs the Prophet’s flowers
Imparted fragrance to the desert lands;
The house of Fatima faced its last hours
In the garden planted by Muhammad’s (sas) hands
This garden cut down in those ten days,
By traitors wasted, cruelly set ablaze.

Then suddenly the dawn’s white light came in;
To lead the prayers the King came from his throne.
All stood behind the Lord of Men and Jinn;
Ali Akbar called the prayer in Hassan’s tone.
The eyes of everyone were filled with tears.
As if the Prophet’s voice fell on their ears.

The birds fell silent; trees in ecstasy
Rocked to an’ fro; their buds and fruit sang praise.
The towns and deserts joined in harmony,
And ocean-beasts emerged to hear their lays.
The darling of Shabbir to all lent weight;
O’er land and sea they cried: ‘Our God is great!’

‘Make ready for your worship!’ came the cry.
The King of all Creation leaves his seat.
In ranks of light the Leader passes by;
Salvation’s path bows down to touch his feet.
His radiance in the highest heaven will reign.
The Qur’an became a prayer-mat for Hussein.

The company’s prayers were verses from that age;
Like ‘Bismillah’ the King stood at their head;
The ranks were lines of writing on the page,
And proudly stood behind the one who led.
The dawn blinked at the whiteness shown between
The rows of words that Ali once had seen.

They stood, then bowed; their prayers flew to the sky;
To the One Existing Lord they showed devotion.
Prostrate upon the ground, their time passed by;
Their hands, their arms, their feet betrayed no motion.
But of their own dire plight, they made no word.
They prayed beneath the shadow of the sword.
The prayer of the King of Men was now compete;
His thirsty friends came forth to shake his hand.
One kissed his cheek, another touched his feet;
What stalwart spirits had this hungry band!
His soldiers pledged their faith with every breath;
Embracing on the feast-day of their death.

To Ali Akbar he made his behest:
‘On treachery our evil foe is bent.
Life of my soul, go where the women rest,
And lead them from the forecourt to the tent.
Through negligence let no child come to grief;
For Asghar’s neck is the target of the thief.’

The Sky-Throned King had thus addressed his son,
When Fazza cried from the porch: ‘Behold our plight!
Oh Lord, now where may Ali’s daughters run?
The children have been crying through the night.
Suffocated by the heat they weep,
But now in the morning breeze they got to sleep.

‘At Karbala the traveler is undone!
An assault upon a Sayyid, loved by all!
In foreign lands can battle e’er be won?
Have mercy on these babes so frail and small.
They die of hunger; thirst has plunged its sword.
They are your Holy Prophet’s family, Lord!’

Drawing near, the Lord of Heaven spoke:
‘Be not thou troubled.  All thy prayers are heard.
Our cursed foe all faith and pledges broke,
And now they will learn justice at my word.
This is no time, my sister, for they tears.
Bring forth the holy relics.  Cease thy fears.’

Zainab brought the clothes the Prophet wore
When he went to Heaven on that night.
Hussein put on his turban, and once more
He donned the cloak to which he had the right.
Those holy garments fitted perfectly;
The scarf of Fatima, his legacy.

The Prophet’s fragrance wafted from his train.
No bridegroom knew such perfume from a bride.
Haidar, Fatima, Hasan, Hussein.
The scent of the Holy Five on every side
Was squandered on the vale; the swaying flowers!
In Paradise Rizwan racked in its showers.

He fixed the sword that he alone could wield;
The crescent moon grew frantic in the sky;
Up to his shoulder mounted Hamza’s shield,
Whose dignity increased when raised on high.
The mark of Prophethood was its proud gain
From being on the shoulder of Hussein.

The Lord of High and Low in arms was dressed;
The Sayyid’s standard stood before the band.
The women, hair disheveled, were distressed;
His sister clutched the pole with trembling hand.
With swords bound to their waists, on battle bent,
The sons of Zainab came before the tent.

‘The bearer of the standard is thy choice.’
‘The King of Heaven must choose.’ Zainab replied.
‘Thou wert declared our mother with one voice’,
Answered Hussein, ‘the day that Fatima died.
So now must thou decide; for thee to say
Which one will bear the standard to the fray.’

Zainab answered: ‘I can do no more.
For thou art Leader of the Strong and Weak,
And after the Quran they word is law.
But if it is thy will that I should speak,
Then I would choose the brave Abbas [for the standard].  For me
In valour no one stands as high as he.

‘He loves thee; he is thine obedient slave;
A younger brother who will give his life
For thee, and fight with strength among the brave;
A worthy son in time of war and strive;
A lion-hearted general, good and fair.
With his great courage no one can compare,’

Standard in hand, Abbas to action fell.
The barefoot women ran with hair disheveled.
The Lord cried: ‘Brood of Mustafa, farewell!
We part. ‘Tis time the scores were duly leveled.
This is the morning of the night of sorrow.
Our fading stars unite to greet the morrow.’

Grief-stricken, Zainab fell before Hussein;
And Bano, stumbling, fell before her son;
Trembling, Kulsum fell, her heart in pain;
Sakina, Baqir fell down one by one.
The garden despoiled, no gay flowers danced;
The standard like a funeral-bier advanced.

[When]‘mid dead and dying stood the lone Imam,
The Prophet’s cloak was soaked in crimson gore.
Dejected, anxious, thirsty, in alarm,
He heard their victory drums; the enemies’ roar
Proclaiming slaughtered martyrs broke his heart;
It pierced his spirit like a poisoned dart.

Only he who grieves can understand.
The garden of life’s toil now wasted lay.
No rest from lamentation’s cruel hand.
The lamps were out that once burnt bright as day.
Scattered limbs exposed to seering heat;
On Ali Akbar’s corpse there was no sheet.

The King of the Age moved slowly to the tent;
He could not bring his thirsty lips to speak.
Lifting the flap, he cried: ‘My heart is rent!
My sister, it is Asghar that I seek.
Now bring him from his cradle to the door.
I long to see his moon-like face once more.’

He cradled Asghar in his warm embrace.
Outside in ambush lurked black Kahil’s son.
Who fired a three-pronged arrow from his place;
It’s target was the neck of the little one.
The baby writhed in pain; the Leader cried;
The tiny child was slaughtered by his side.

The baby died, and in the earth about
A little grave was fashioned by the sword.
The child was buried, and Hussein cried out;
‘Oh Holy Ground, be mindful of thy ward!
This love of Ali, keep him in thy care,
Ali’s pledge and Fatima’s treasure rare!’

He spoke and donned his shininge arms once more;
His eyes were bloodshiot, and his face was red.
Clothed in the Prophet’s cloak, now bent on war,
With Hamza’s shield lone to fight he sped;
With Zulfiqar, that sword of might and fame;
Muhammad’s (sas) armour graced his noble frame.

The mirror of the sky was scorched with heat,
And lighting dashed for shelter in the cloud.
Hot-tempered men could scarce stand on their feet.
For morning’s camphor cried the sun aloud.
The dome of elemental fire burnt red,
And clouds to even colder regions sped.

The son of Sa’d called: ‘Lord of Heaven, think!
Give me allegiance, for I mean no harm.
A cooling draught shall I give thee to drink.’
Hussein replied: ‘Ah wretch, respect Islam!
The son of Ali takes no gift from thee.
From thy hand water is but dust to me.

For if I asked, then Abraham would come
And fill my cup form the fount of Salsabil;
Woulds’t thou give me to drink, oh filthy scum?
With avaricious tyrants would I deal?
Thy very shadow causes flowers pain.
If thou art cut, no blood pours from thy vein.

‘And if I called, Jamshed would give his cup;
The Prophet (sas) would tell Gabriel to bring
A draught from Kausar’s spring for me to sup;
On earth the angels would my victory sing.
At my command the world would cease to be.
Iraq and Syria sink beneath the sea.

Intoning martial verses, Ali’s scion
Advanced with Gabriel’s had upon his shoulder.
Onward he advanced-a male lion-,
With sleeves rolled up; each step he took grew bolder.
The bride of battle was in splendor wreathed;
Hussein’s intrepid sword was now unsheathed.

The flaming sword was wrenched out of its cover,
As moonbeams fly, as perfume leaves the rose,
As a comely maiden taken from her lover,
As breath departs the breast, as red blood flows.
When thunder roared and all the air did swell,
Laila swooned and from her litter fell.

Hussein swooped like an eagle from on high,
As lions in the jungle pounce on deer.
The heavens flashed; the clouds began to cry;
His horse rushed down like water swift and sheer.
The sharp sword cut the foe with thunderous crash;
They fell like mountains ‘neath the lightning’s flash.

Ranks collapsed on ranks where’er it struck,
Now this way, that way, dashing through the air.
‘Where has it gone?’ ‘Which warrior did it pluck?’
The cries came: ‘It is here!’ No, it is there!’
The archers could not find the way to go.
If heads were severed, bodes did not know.

Ah, how they feared the Lion of Creation!
The stream of the Euphrates turned to bile.
Their cruel hearts were racked with consternation;
They could not run, nor could they stay awhile.
‘Run!’, came the cry, ‘before it is too late.
The river of God’s wrath was in full spate.

The Warrior King struck panic in his foe,
And turmoil broke beneath the ancient sky.
The bowstrings looked for refuge in the bow;
For help the bow to arrow-heads made cry.
The ruthless sword drove on, and everywhere
The enemy sought a respite from its glare.

From twanging bowstrings arrows sped like rain;
Hurtling from the Syrian cloud they poured.
The piebald horses, chestnut steeds in pain
Whinnied as the sweltering hot winds roared.
The hatred of the desert was on fire;
Hussein alone withstood its clamorous ire.

The prowess of the Lord against his foes!
With sunlight on his swarthy face he strode.
His dry cracked lips were petals of the rose;
Like Ali borne by Zuljanah he rode.
Came clamour from the battle, fierce and harsh:
‘Run off! An angry lion stalks the marsh!’

‘Hussein! Make haste to save us!’, came the cry.
‘Hussein contests the banks: the swamp he takes.
Hussein fights with the wrath God’s spirit wakes!
The world is his, in him God’s spirit wakes!
Hussein saved Noah from the dreadful flood.
May we be saved by Ali Akbar’s blood!’

The name of Ali Akbar reached his ears;
His heart was pierced; he pulled his horse’s rein.
And as he stopped, his eyes were filled with tears;
He addressed the spot where his dead son had lain:
‘Life of my soul! They call you from afar.
The battle ends; I lay down Zulfiqar.’

The peaks of Qaf sped from the fairies’ sight;
The Jinn were lost; the lions strayed from the home;
The denizens of the deep dashed to the light;
The hawk and partridge fled where Pythons roam.
The mountains huddled, hiding, from the roar,
And eagles fell from eeries where they soar.

A voice came from the sky: ‘All hail, Shabbir!
This sword was made for him.  Shabbir, all hail!
All hail! To him was battle’s honor dear.
Nursed at his mother’s breast, how can he fail?
God gave him mastery o’er all creation.
For he alone could fight to save his nation.

‘But now enough!  No more, Hussein! No more!
‘Tis time to rest.  The horse pants from the heat.
The time for prayer draws nigh.  The battle’s roar
Is over now for thee.  No more! Retreat!
No one can fight thus, thirsty in the throng.
Attend to thy dear kin, and soothe their wrong.’

Sheathing his sword, the King cried: ‘I obey!’
The day of Judgment came upon the world.
The enemy stood like animals at bay.
Their arrows fixed, their standard’s flag unfurled.
Hussein stood helpless.  See and you will know
Your helpless Lord alone before his foe!

Ten thousand arrows dashed upon his chest;
A hundred at one time sought out their prey.
The spears transfixed his side and pierced his breast;
Ten stuck for every four he pulled away.
The shadow of the Lord was filled with spines,
Like needles in the backs of porcupines.

From all directions arrows poured like rain;
Assassins rushed with spears and daggers bared.
Such pain befell Hussein.  Such pain! Such pain!
The one who on the Prophet’s lap was reared.
No one to pluck the arrows from his chest.
No one to lift him to his place of rest.

Those who had fled from battle now returned;
One took a stone and aimed it at his head.
The blow struck home; his fevered forehead burned;
Then to his throat a three-pronged arrow sped.
He touched his forehead, clasped his throat and sighed.
The arrow flew out from the other side.

This arrow had three heads, so it is told;
It pierced the Lord, not stopping in its track.
His breathing stopped; his eyes wide open rolled;
He tried to pull the shaft out from his back.
His final breath emerged-an angry flood-,
The palm placed on his wound was filled with blood.

Hussein falls from his mount-calamity!
His holy foot falls from the horse’s girth.
His side is gaping open-misery!
He swoons; his turban drops upon the earth.
The Quran has fallen headlong from its stand.
The Ka’aba’s walls have crumbled into sand.

Far from the wastes came Fatima’s pure voice:
‘Muhammad [sas]! See our family despoiled!
Now who will save our friendship and rejoice?
Against what tyranny our Leader toiled!
Full nineteen-hundred wounds were on him thrust;
Ah Zainab! Come! Hussein writhes in the dust.’

Her head uncovered, Ali’s daughter walked
To the place where Ali’s darling son was slain.
She ran, though by the evil enemy balked,
And reached the spot, clutching her breast in pain.
Ignoring every danger, she drew near,
And saw her brother’s head stuck on a spear.

‘Thy sister greets thee, brother.  Answer me!
Hear the cry of Haidar’s daughter’s strife.
With thy dry tongue give answer! Hear my plea!
Should Zainab cling to this accursed life?
For Death alone can end this separation.
No one is left to give me consolation.

‘My brother, can I bring thee back once more?
What can I do?  Where can I tell my woes?
To whom can I recount the pain I bore?
Our city is now ruled by evil foes.
The world has been destroyed beyond belief.
How can I live within this house of grief?

‘Why did this wretched waif not die before?
Come tell me how the dagger ripped thy breast?’
A voice cried: ‘Do not ask the pains I bore!
For all that came to pass was for the best.
Now from all tribulations I am free,
But ah! The wound to be apart from thee!’

Enough, Anis! Your very limbs are quaking.
Such verses written while your hands were shaking.



Dr. Jemille EGM Files: It Works, If You Only Believe by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:00 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Magazine/ Culture | Tags:

By Dr. Jemille A. Wasi

Islamic Post Staff Writer

I was recently approached by someone seeking to get EGM therapy, after having been referred to me by a family member who read about it in the Islamic Post.  As usual, I interviewed this prospective patient, inquiring about his medical history, medications—or other treatments tried— signs and symptoms, and family history of similar illnesses.  After this process was complete, I explained to the patient the details of the method and the prerequisites required for its initiation. As we continued our conversation I could sense the skepticism in his voice.  I immediately asked the person if they believed or had issue with anything that I have said.  He told me that he didn’t feel that the explanations based on the method were encompassing enough to account for all that was going on.  The explanations of evil entities and fallout from bad deeds, actions and thoughts, may not be the only reason the issue persisted.  He held fast to the belief that there was some validity to the “science” of it all.
The reasoning lay in his story.  The patient told me that prior to starting college he was a normally functioning, Muslim youth. After being exposed to many of the fahashi things one encounters in this setting –lewd behavior unbecoming to God-fearing people, he began to develop signs of Obsessive-Compulsive disorder.  Subsequently he went to see a “spiritualist” who read over him “healing Quranic ayaats” (ruqya) and also wrote lines from Holy Quran on china plates with saffron, mixed it with water, and had him drink it.  These methods did not work for the patient so he then went to a western-trained psychiatrist and began treatment with drugs.  At first he noticed improvement in symptomology, but after a while the bad feelings returned. The medication regimen was changed and again there was improvement with a then subsequent return to the original negative condition. This pattern was once again repeated over and over.  Now the patient feels that he is at an impasse for he have tried “both” methods and neither one was effective. The patient thus called me to see how EGM is any different than other QT methods and basically why he should believe that it may work.  I hope the following explanation that I gave provides some insight to all those who have a hard time believing.
Science vs. “science”
The first thing I did was to differentiate the two.  Science is the true nature of the unseen and how everything is encompassed by and derived from Allah the Most High.  This leads to the fact that nothing escapes the immutable laws of the creator.  “science” is derived from the varied interpretations of what individuals believe  Science means.  So in essence, it is a product of man.  Things that we read in textbooks—or other secular materials—make sense to us because they appeal to the untrained, rebellious nature of us as human beings. The explanation of the western doctors made sense because the knowledge base of their explanation is the same system responsible for what the patient has learned.  To understand Science requires that we be in tune with our spiritual nature.  The knowledge gained of Science is thus not something you can learn by your efforts to do so, but something you gain by being concordant with the true nature of all things which is the Divine Creator, the Most High.
Prerequisites:
Next, I described how the prerequisites are concordant with this definition and how they are required to implement and receive EGM.  The therapist and the patient must both meet the minimal criteria of believing in one higher power, following the 10 commandments, and purifying thoughts.  Included in this is being careful of what one watches, hears, or is in contact with or influenced by (so be mindful of the company you keep).
Implementing the treatment:
I then told the patient that after the prerequisites are met, there are a few things to keep in mind.  First that EGM can be useful in any ailment known to man, but the major focus is psychiatric diagnoses (that is why EGM is often synonymously known as “Quranic Psychiatry”).  Secondly, one must remember that God appoints a time for one to get sick and the appropriate time for them to return to health—if it is meant for them to do so.  That being said one must exhibit extreme patience once their prescription has been started because God is not governed by our timetable of when we believe the treatment should take effect; he makes the timetable for when it will! Additionally, you must confer with the therapist about the methods you may already be using to treat your illness because some things may have an inhibitory effect on the treatment.
Healing still comes from Allah the Most High:
Now I must point out something of utmost importance.  It is in keeping with Islamic traditions to employ the use of medicines. The things to remember are that medicines may work for some but not all ailments and that the only reason they work at all is because God intended them to. This explains why you can have 100 people similar in all ways including medical state, yet oftentimes react totally different to the same medication.  Even more so, some of the treatment regimens may involve the patient remaining on some of their medications or in fact receiving additional medications.  This is usually not the case with psychiatric illnesses however.
The rationale for EGM:
As I have probably stated many times before “science” tells us that psychiatric conditions are usually based on chemical deficiencies of chemicals called Neurotransmitters.  Since that is the case, why is it that if we replace these, the patient is not “back to normal?”  Why is it that in every case some may show some initial improvement in symptoms, only to eventually show a decline in their condition?
If our brains are simply electrochemical devices—and we have electricity and chemicals—why is it that man cannot create a neuron (one cell of the brain)?  Why is it such a stretch that this organ—of which we cannot grasp the depth of its ability and function—is connected to our spiritual nature and thus affected by our spiritual condition? Aren’t our emotions and behaviors based on our experiences and environment?  Why is it so hard to fathom that our spiritual state affects our mental state and behaviors?
As I further my training in the field of EGM, I become more convinced of its validity as a treatment strategy for a variety of illnesses—especially of the psychiatric variety.  As I told the patient, I implore anyone who has doubts to please contact me so that we can arrange for a venue in which you can see the scientific demonstrations of the method at work for yourself!  As always only from Allah, Glorified is He, the Most High, can we be healed!



Climbing Takhte Suleman- A Hair Raising Experience by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:59 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Magazine/ Culture | Tags:

The following passage is an excerpt from M.A. Gillani’s historical accounts called, “Some Mystifying and Enigmatic Events,” which appeared in Defence Journal. Therein are narrated unexplained events that Mr. Gillani,encountered during his army career:
The last Zhob Militia post on Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan road was under my command. Takhte Suleman is the hightest peak, over 11,000 feet, on the border of Baluchistan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Colonel Akbar decided to climb the peak and put togethr a party that consisted of myself; Captain Reman, the education officer; Captain Anwar, two JCOs— and thirty men. A mess detachment for the officers and cooking facilities for the men were also available.
During the month of July, at about 0900 hours, we reached the foot of the mountain from Fort Sandeman (now Zhob), left our vehicles with an escort and commenced climbing the first hill. The locals of the village situated at the foot of the mountain had told us that the Takhte Suleman was an abode of fairies and jinns, who on seeing humans would disappear and that there were many intervening hills and every opposite hill was much higher. The map also confirmed the matter of the height of the hills.
After climbing a couple of hills, we saw flocks of Markhors, but they were out of range. By afternoon, we had climbed four hills and had reached the bottom of the last hill. We halted for the night. Tea and meals were prepared for all ranks but, for spending the night, there were no blankets or ground sheets. So we all tried to sleep on the ground that was covered with grass and bushes. Because of the height it was chilly, but we tried to keep warm by taking tea frequently.
The locals had also warned that lepoards and wolves were seen even in the lower hills. We saw a big python in the area where cooking was in progress; it was shot and thrown down the hill. Dry bushes were then collected and set on fire to ward off reptiles and beasts.
The next morning, we commenced the last climb and after an hour reached the most dangerous portion of the hill. We had to cross a 45 degree, flat portion of a cliff which had no tree or bush. Down below was a sheer fall of 500 feet into a deep ravine. There were some holes at regular intervals in which only a toe could rest. For crossing that 40-yard flat cliff, one had to lean against it, feel the grip with both hands and move slowly on to the next toe hole. One officer became giddy while looking down and slipped, but luckily his left hand was caught by a Jawan to his left. At the same time the Jawan on his right heard the cry and caught his right hand. Both the Jawans lifted him up and with help managed to continue crossing the cliff.
After about 45 minutes climbing, we reached the top of Takhte Suleman, it was flat like a table top, but bigger than a volley ball field. The south eastern side of the hill was about 100 feet higher, with a round-shaped neat hole that was big enough for a large sized double bed to pass through. From the top of this hill, the river Indus, in the far distance, looked like a white pencil. On the east, there was a sheer fall of over a few thousand feet with low detached hills covered with trees that were visible down below, checkered with sunlight, shadow and floating clouds. The view all around was most fascinating: like a field of fragrance and delight. A strong wind was blowing and it was difficult to stand firm on the table top ground.
The villagers down below had told us that Hazrat Suleman had married a Punjabi wife and, during their flight on the throne being carried by jinns, she requested the prophet to stop on the highest hill top for a last look over her home land. The jinns carried the throne through the hole in the hilltop in the southeast and landed on the table top ground.
Perhaps it is due to this story that the hilltop is called Takhte Suleman. The climbing of Takhte Suleman remains in my memory as a hair-raising experience, particularly for the officer who had slipped, it was a hair breadth escape!
-Editor’s note: Out of the creation of Allah Almighty, there are human beings, angels,  and also jinn beings. Jinns are mischievous by nature, frequent uninhabited spaces, making their abode in the farthest reaches of the Earth.



Curing Colds For Under a Dollar by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:58 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Hakimah's Corner, Magazine/ Culture

Hakima’s Corner

By Umm Hazrat Maryam

Islamic Post Staff Writer

The cost of living has really become difficult for many people. Cars, food, children, bills, and there is always something unexpected that must be dealt with. Medical costs are possibly the most expensive of all. Advertisers are informing the public in commercials that drugs have horrible side effects. Most people just don’t care. They often fall into the trap of doing things fast and expensive, or cheap and toxic, because it is convenient. You have been brain-washed for years. It is easier NOT to do the right thing. If convenience is a problem, make the herbal remedies in advance.   Honey based cough syrups can be made in the summer or fall, using the fresh fruits, berries and leaves.

A simple infusion for an effective cough syrup follows:
Take one pint of strong herbal tea from cherry bark or mullein, or the herb of your choice. Add four ounces of honey.
Pour the cooled tea over the honey and store.
To this you can add limes, lemons, onions, garlic or cloves –not all together but in any combination you like.

Every illness needs attention and as the wise saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  People usually wait too long to start combating illnesses.  Colds are very common and most people have one at least once a year.
A cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract and, there are at least 200 micro-organisms, called rhinoviruses, which can cause a cold to develop. Colds affect children more often than adults because their immune systems are still developing.  The children infect each other through play or sleeping closely to one another.  However when you have frequent colds, it is sometimes an indication that your immune system is overtaxed or impaired.
When our immune systems are not functioning properly we can get infection from a greater number of sources.

Factors that wear down the immune system are:
Stress
Poor diet: processed food, preservatives
Lack of sleep: less than three hours daily
Food allergies, food additives
Lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet
Environmental toxins
Excess protein: too much meat in the diet
Not drinking water: minimum of three 8 ounce glasses daily
Eating foods that are out of season
Overly acidic diet
Poor elimination
Medication
Soap. laundry detergent, cleaning products
Over-use of antibiotics are major contributors to our weakened and suppressed immune systems. When penicillin was introduced in the 1940’s, it was able to cure almost every kind of infection.  Now, antibiotic resistance should cause everyone to worry.  Americans are now dying from infections that can no longer be cured with antibiotics.  The United States ranks number one in killing large numbers of unsuspecting patients with prescription medicine.  Statistics show that over 900,000 people have been killed by antibiotics. Another sad fact is that antibiotics only cure bacteria not viruses; however they are prescribed for all of our illnesses.  They are found in city water (because most city water is recycled), soda fountain drinks, local company soft drinks, poultry, farm raised fish and beef.  Antibiotics impair the body from absorbing nutrients. They leave the body full of toxins and kill off bad bacteria along with the good. Toxins in the blood can cause various allergic reactions, such as hives, ear aches/infections, body aches, and sneezing, itching, and runny noses. Chronic ear infections are no accident. Thousands of children are having more and more ear infections.  Drinking more fluids is very important.  Occasionally, fevers accompany colds and dehydration becomes a problem.  Water is a must and the best fluid to drink when you have a cold.  Water is continually leaving the body, by one of the organs of elimination –lungs, skin, or kidney.  The average person eliminates, about five pints of water in 24 hours, so drinking is a must.   Sponging patients’ bodies sometimes helps to break a fever.  If you are near death’s door, losing blood rapidly, or have lost a limb, go to a doctor immediately.  If not, look in your kitchen cabinet, and save a dollar!
Here are a few remedies for under a dollar that can be used for colds/flu/sinus problems and bronchitis:
Red hot peppers/ cayenne pepper:
Cayenne is good for coughs and colds. Cayenne can be used in many different ways.  One 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to 5 teaspoons of honey, add warm water, this can be mixed together and given to the patient.
Garlic:
Scientists have developed a synthetic version of garlic which is called Guaifenesin. It has the same chemical properties and is used as an expectorant. Guaifenesin is found in about 75% of all, over the counter and prescription drugs.  It is in cold tablets, cough syrups, Vicks Formula 44D, Sudafed, and Robitussin.  If it is eaten all winter you would probably never get a cold. It contains allicin which gives it its garlic taste.  Druggists have made a chemical copy of the all natural garlic bulb called s-carboxymethylcystein; its shelf name is (Mucodyne); it is a classic European lung medication that is used to regulate mucus flow. Garlic fights infection topically or internally. Garlic is an age old remedy for colds. Muslims, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews all have historical information and documentation on the wonders of this food. Garlic is so strong and effective that when you can smash it, and then rub the soles of your feet, in the center with it, in a circular fashion, you’ll taste it in your mouth.  This is how fast it works.  When children/babies have fevers and congestion, you can use it in this manner.  Adults can chew 2 or 3 cloves in the morning (if possible).  It lowers the cholesterol, blood pressure, cleans the blood and cures a cold.  Add a whole bulb to a pot of yaknee or chicken soup.
Fenugreek:
This herb is excellent for fevers, and colds.  The seeds are the parts to use.  It is also good for asthma and sinus congestion and can be used for lung and chest colds.  It is a stimulant rich in phosphorous, iron and sulfur. Fenugreek produces red corpuscles in the blood and gives energy.  It cures all debilitating diseases. This is a good tonic for men.   A cup of the tea 3 times daily is helpful.
Mullein:
This is a very soothing expectorant, healing in lung infections; it inhibits viruses.  It is useful for asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, swollen glands, ear infections and lung congestion. Make a tea of the leaves or flowers. Mullein oil, poured directly into the ear, is also good for ear infections. Have a warm compress available to cover the ear and let the patient rest.  It is free for the picking, all over the United States in the summer months.
Onions:
Onion is a very well known and effective plant that lowers blood sugar and suppresses formulations of blood clots as well as purifies the blood.  Onion soup is good for colds, wheezing, chronic bronchitis and asthma. Another remedy that can relieve congestion is ½ cup onion juice, 1 teaspoon honey, 1/8 of a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Mix these together well and drink as a cough syrup.
Mustard Seeds:
They are very effective in clearing and healing bronchial passage ways, coughs, colds and especially asthma. Rubbing the brown mustard oil on the chest and keeping the patient warm is very helpful. Make a tea by mixing the mustard seeds with equal parts black peppercorns; steep for several minutes and drink 2 or 3 times a day.
Yaknee (soup) is one of the best remedies for colds.  Give it to your family all winter long whether they have a cold or not.  It brings heat to the body and helps fight off infection.
The ingredients for yaknee are: Bones of lamb or beef, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, two garlic bulbs, cardamon, two onions, ginger, salt, cayenne, clove, peppercorns.
Put all of the ingredients into a pot, add water and boil all night or at least 5hours.  Barley can be added for patients who are convalescent or need extra strength. These are all foods of the prophet’s (peace be on him) tradition. Living closely to the sunnah of our Holy Nabi (peace be on him) is the best way to stay healthy.



An Introduction to the Ultimate Tragedy: Karbala by Khalida

By El Sheikh, Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, Hashmi
IQOU Vice Chancellor, Islamic Post Chief Editor

Over 4,000 years ago, after the Ark of the Holy Messenger Noah (peace be upon him) eventually settled down at Mt. Judi –which is also known as Mount Ararat– he came down into a valley and established the first town for his progeny, raising them in the best tradition of the religion of the One God. This town was given the name of “Ard Bail,” meaning “Land of God.” From here, the family of Noah spread out. He had three sons Haam, Saam, and Yaafis. Within a half century this family grew and they were assigned destinations to go and populate.
One thousand years after this time, one of the descendants of Noah, the Holy Messenger Ibrahim, which eventually came to be “Abraham” from “Abram” in the Hebrew language, was living in the land Between two Rivers which was being ruled by Nimrod –who had proclaimed himself to be God. These are the details surrounding the story of the Holy Messenger (Abraham), who was a true monotheist and was proven unfaltering and steadfast through enormous tests and trials in various ways, for Allah, the Most High, declares in Holy Qur’an:

“O Mo’mineen seek help by remaining steadfast and in excessive prayers and indeed Allah is with those who are steadfast.” (Baqara:153)
And, “We shall put you to test with something of fear and hunger, and some loss in goods or lives or the fruits of your labor, but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” (Baqara:155)
I begin by invoking Allah’s mercy and blessing upon the Holy Last Messenger (peace be on him) and his most blessed family, or Ahli Bait, and particularly on Hazrat Ali about whom the Holy Last Messenger (peace be on him) has said, “Whosever’s master I am, Ali is his master also.” And may Almighty God bestow mercy upon Imam Hassan and Hussein and their mother Syeda Fatimah Tuz Zahra.
And now I avail this opportunity to write a few lines in memory of the world’s most tragic incident, which took place at Karbala, in which the entire family of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) with the exception of a few, were wiped out by deviate fanatics, led by Yazeed bin Abu Sufyan, in retaliation for the defeat their ancestors suffered at a battle won at Badr by the Muslims in their quest for independence from long-term oppression. Nowhere in the history of mankind do we find such cruelty and systematic genocide committed upon the family of a Messenger of the Almighty Creator, particularly by those who claim to follow him (may peace be upon the Messenger of Allah and his family).  Such an incident never happened before. This incident happened on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and it is commemorated by hundreds of millions of Muslims from all backgrounds, who show an enormous level of respect and honor for the event, while expressing mournful sorrow over the atrocities committed against the grand children of the Holy Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), as well as the insults and humiliation to which the ladies of the holy family were subjected.
Continued from B1
An everyday Muslim feels immense grief when they hear of the incident, and their eyes shed tears of blood. At the same time, they know that Imam Hussein successfully passed a great test and trial to which he was subjected by the Almighty Creator. Every Muslim man and woman derives immense inspiration, conviction, and innumerable lessons from the final struggle of Imam Hussein at Karbala. The world must know the real story from the Imam’s descendants [to which group El Sheikh belongs], for whom there is an event of Karbala waiting everywhere and a Yazeed around every corner.
The descendants of Imam Hussein are still being murdered in cold blood up to today, in the spirit of the same tragic incident of Karbala. The 10th of Muharram is sadly being celebrated in Saudi Arabia with dinners and parties where collective marriages take place. All over the world. subordinates of these groups, Wahhabis and Salafis, namely Lashkar-E-Tayyaba and Lashkar-E-Jhanghvi, are present at such festivities.
Presently the “Darus Salaam” movement, a Wahhabi publishing company that receives billions of dollars from the Saudi Arabia, is strategically accusing Imam Hussein of being a rebel against the so-called Ameer ul Mu’mineen, Yazeed.  Dr. Zakir Naik, widely recognized as a clown by Muslim scholars, stands for lectures with suit and tie and causes unimaginable confusion amongst the Islamic world. The chief priest of the Wahabbis, Dr Israar Ul Haqq, asserts similar misinformation about the situation that developed between Imam Hussein and Yazeed, the Accursed, projecting hatred and cruelty for the close descendents of the Holy Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). This man, after receiving grants and assistance from the Wahhabis, tried to have his daughter married on the 10th of Muharram in Lahore; but so many people opposed it, recognizing it to be a purposefully disgraceful and instigating act. Seeing that this ever-growing propaganda against Imam Hussein and the upright Muslim community has resulted in bloodshed and murder of the Ahli Bait all over the world, the family of Banu Hashim has now come to gather on an international level, and is taking due measures to protect their lives and honor.
It is imperative that I pause here to write a few relevant notes about Imam Hussein and his position in Islam according to the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him).  It is narrated by Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased  with him) that the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Hassan and Hussein both are flowers for me in this world.” (Mishkat, Volume 2- in the chapter on the excellence of Ahli Bait.) Hazrat Huzaifa, a Holy Companion, said that the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated, “Indeed Hassan and Hussein are the chiefs of the youth, in Paradise.”
In the same compilation of Mishkat hadith, it has been quoted by Syeda Umm Fadhl bint Haris (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “One night I saw a very frightening dream and in this state of shock I presented myself before the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) and said, “Oh Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), I saw a very disturbing dream.” The Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “What is it that you have seen?”  She said, “That was a very frightening dream.” He said, “Do not worry, state it.” She stated, “Oh Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), I saw a piece of flesh from your body had been cut and laid in my lap.” He said, “Oh Umm Fadhl, do not worry, this is a very good dream and the interpretation of this ruyah (vision seen in sleep state) is that Allah will grant a son to my daughter, Fatimah, whom you will hold in your lap.”
These are most authentic traditions from the Holy Companions. This also proves that Allah gives knowledge of the unseen to the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him). He knew what would be born to his daughter Fatimah.
Syeda Umm Fadhl was the daughter of Haris, and the aunt of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). She was the wife of his uncle Abbas.
Some time passed when on the 4th year Hijra, which was in the sixth century of the Christian era, the 5th of the Islamic month of Sha’baan when a son was born to Syeda Fatima tuz Zahra. When the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him), was informed he called the Adhan, or call to prayer, in his right ear and Takbir, saying God is Greatest, in his left ear. He put his saliva on the child’s tongue, recited a prayer, and named the boy Hussein. He said: Aqiqa should be performed –the ceremony for blessing the child– on the seventh day; to shave his head, and give in silver the weight of his hair as charity. Imam Hassan (Imam Hussein’s older brother) was at the time still being nursed by Syeda Fatima, therefore the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) requested his aunt, Syeda Umm Fadhl to please nurse baby Hussein. Thus the interpretation of the flesh of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) falling in her lap.
Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah stated: “I heard the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, ‘Whosoever wants to see the chief of people of Paradise, let him see Hussein.’”
It became a well-known fact when Imam Hussein was born that he would one day be martyred.
The following tradition, or hadith, is from Mishkat, page 556:
One day the aunt of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), Umm Fadhl bin Haris the wife of Abbas Bin Abdul Mutallib went to the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) and he placed Imam Hussein in his lap. She stated, “After looking towards something I looked back at the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) and saw tears falling from his eyes as he was weeping. I said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! What makes you weep?’ He replied, ‘Jibraeel (Archangel Gabriel) just came to me and told me that from my Ummah (followers), my [grand]son will be murdered.’ She repeated, ‘Will it be like that?’ He said, “Yes, I’ve been shown the clay from that place where he will be murdered and it was reddish.’”   From this news, the Ahli Bait of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Holy Companions were terribly shaken.  It seemed as if the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) would be fulfilling the true sacrifice of the Holy Messenger Ibrahim (peace be upon him).
-This introduction was graciously provided by the Vice Chancellor of the International Quranic Open University, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani. Any mistakes are the responsibility of the editors, may Allah forgive them their faults.



Poem: Inauguration of Martyrs by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:39 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Magazine/ Culture, Poetry | Tags: ,

By Afifa Begum

Islamic Post Staff Writer

For the bodies like  apple orchards,  on trees did they sway some even remaining until they rotted  away
May they be allowed to attend this inaugural day.

For the bodies tossed into the Atlantic Ocean
To life under the sea as human feed

On this day in the parades and in front  may they lead.

Separated from their country, their culture, their names unknown they had to become John, Jones, June and James

This day they are seated on the inaugural throne.

Men, women and children by the millions they were transported and journeyed only to  be harnessed like animals –their skins branded with masters’ initials burning
Clerics, architects, scholars and nobles from all walks of life on a voyage to unknown shores; years of appealing on vaulted doors.

On this day their presence carpets the white house floors.

Their blood flowing bodies have fertilized our  American soils; for centuries our fields they did  till and toil; may they be recompensed this day for their unforgettable turmoil….

President Barack Hussein Obama
All races, religions and continents lie within you
As do the martyrs looking on from their “sacred view”

This day they arrive to commemorate with you.

On January twentieth, two thousand and nine
The Constitution and Declaration of Independence
Was finally for all fulfilled on Capitol Hill

For millions to see you had fulfilled God’s will.

Like the Seal of the Prophets and ancestors –an orphan you became
By the removal of parents –the universe did you gain
Are your legacies one and the same: to return the lost
Flock back to one God again?

‘Tis a well known fact the martyrs never die or retire
At “high noon” descend in their traditional martyrs attire

As president Barack Hussein Obama raised one hand towards the heavens and the other facing the earth, all and everything bore witness to this oath throughout the universe.

Appendix:
President Obama galvanized different races, religions and creeds within 24 hours. On that day four million attendees converged on the mall and 1 1/2 million framed the outside of the mall. At the final event, all faiths were represented and allowed to offer a prayer at the national prayer service.



Did You Know? by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:33 am
Filed under: Did You Know?, February Volume I- 2009, Magazine/ Culture | Tags: ,

The Holy Last Messenger (Peace be upon him) said:
“There are some blessed people who remain confined to the mosques. Angels are their companions. If they go away, the angels search  for them; if they fall sick, the angels nurse them; when angels look at them, the angels greet them; when they want something, the angels help them, and when they sit, crowds of angels surround them in heights measuring  from their feet to the sky.  The angels urge these men to recite Durood-e-Pak* abundantly so that they might receive an increase in Allah’s blessings. These angels carry golden pens and silver paper to write down their recitation of Durood-e-Pak. When the blessed ones recite Durood-e-Pak, the gates of the sky are opened for them; their prayers are granted.” (Al-Qaul-ul Badi; Page: 116, Sa’adat-ud-Darain; Page 61
*The recitation of peace and blessings upon the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him!)



Poem: The Infant’s Crime by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:32 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Magazine/ Culture, Poetry | Tags:

By Ahmad Qadri

Islamic Post Staff Writer

O people of the world
wherever you may be.
If in God you do believe.
Let’s come together in solidarity to end the atrocities.

Listen, Oppressors of the World.
Keep this in mind.
God is never on your side…
In Palestine hundreds of children die.  Why?

Tell me what is the infant’s Crime?
Where are her weapons?
Where are her Guns?
How could she run from a Bomb of two tons?

Hundreds of men, women and Children
blown into hundreds of little pieces.
Do you hear them crying?  Do you see them Bleeding?
Those babies are not sleeping;  don’t you see they’re not breathing!
O Israel many children died in the holocaust this is true,
Many innocent Palestinian children are dying too…
We ask you, ‘What Would Anne Frank Do?’

O Palestine, when you cry, the world cries.
When you bleed, the world bleeds!
We are all truly one body.
Hundreds of children are dying.

Tell me, what is the infant’s crime?
Where are her weapons?
Where are her Guns?
How can she run from a bomb of two tons?

O Israel!
Stop what is for a democracy a shame.
You cannot murder thousands of innocent people
to justify the killing of one extremist.
The world is watching this,
they’re calling it ridiculous.

O people of the world!
We lament a loss of Peace we may never again see,
As long as the blood of the Innocent,
is used to fertilize the Holy lands of the olive tree.

O people of the world!
The laws of the Geneva Convention are being brought to extinction.
Human rights have been shredded and Universal Declarations.
Completely discarded are the UN Charters.
And blown up was the United Nations Building in Gaza.
Then phosphorous on civilians.  Phosphorous!  On children?

O Christians! O Muslims! O people of the Ten Commandments.
O people of the world!  Congratulate your conscience,
with protests you shared the feeling of seeing your children shot, bleeding and dying

O Israel!  How many more innocent ones must die before you realize?
O Oppressor, God is never on your side.

What is the infant’s crime?
She’s bleeding to death.
She blew out her last breath, in her mother’s arms.
Tears run like rain, with intense pain  from her mother’s eyes,
to mix with her babies blood.
Tell us, O Israel what has this child done?
Is it because she was born a PALESTINIAN?
Where are her weapons?
Where are her guns?
How can she run?



Israel Asserts Open Influence in U.S. Politics Over Gaza by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:31 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, National, Politics | Tags: ,

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: “In the night between Thursday and Friday, when the secretary of state wanted to lead the vote on a ceasefire at the Security Council, we did not want her to vote in favor.
I said ‘get me President Bush on the phone’. They said he was in the middle of giving a speech in Philadelphia. I said I didn’t care. ‘I need to talk to him now’. He got off the podium and spoke to me.
I told him the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favor.
She was left shamed. A resolution that she prepared and arranged, and in the end did not vote in favor.”

By Noora Ahmad

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, openly told of his influence in American politics during a speech made in Israel on January 12, in which he claimed to have directly influenced the United States vote on the U.N. Security Council, which instance was reported by both The Agence France Press (AFP) and The Associated Press: “I told him [George Bush] the United States could not vote in favor. It cannot vote in favor of such a resolution [U.N. 1860]. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote in favor.”
Condoleezza Rice, however, countered to the Bloomberg news agency: “I don’t know if the prime minister was – I hope – quoted out of context, because the story that I read in the newspaper is fiction.”
Regardless of the veracity of Prime Minister Olmert’s account, AFP continued its report by noting the outgoing U.S. President, and his administration, to have “consistently placed the blame for the conflict on Hamas, telling reporters… that while he wanted to see a ‘sustainable ceasefire’ in Gaza, it was up to Hamas to choose to end its rocket fire on Israel.”
The Congress, a branch of government initiated to represent the American people in an independent manner from the White House in the system of democratic checks and balances, upheld the position of George W. Bush in this scenario by passing a resolution on January 9 with a 90% majority vote expressing “vigorous support and unwavering commitment” for Israel, laying the “blame both for the breaking of the `calm’ and for subsequent civilian casualties in Gaza precisely where blame belongs, that is, on Hamas;” but quoting but Prime Minister Olmert, not the former president, when the Israeli head of state asserted: “The operation in the Gaza Strip is designed, first and foremost, to bring about an improvement in the security reality for the residents of the south of the country.”
Only five  members of Congress (10%) seemed to have represented the flood of Americans who protested against the Israeli aggression. The representatives who voted “Nay” included Representative Dennis Kucinich (Democrat- Ohio),  Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Rep. Maxine Waters (D- CA), and Rep. Ronald Paul (R-TX).*
In a stroke of irony, according to recorded numbers of those protesting the Israeli offensive (for or against), the American people would have voted almost exactly the opposite as did Congress. Out of the 60,100 people recorded to have protested in the United States regarding the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip, only about 10% (6100) protested in favor of Israel, whereas 54,000 are on record as having protested against Israeli policy and for Palestinian human rights in various U.S. cities. Approximately 90% of the protestors ‘voted’ against Israeli excesses, whereas 90% of Congress felt the actions of the occupying forces to be correct.
United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning the Israeli offensive wholeheartedly, and demanding a return to the 1967 borders with the Palestinian capital being East Jerusalem. Shortly afterward, the U.N. headquarters in Gaza were bombed by Israel.

*(Whereas the Congressional numbers include the abstentions, making the actual percentage of “Nays,” in comparison to our study which does not include abstentions, 13%.)
-Abdul Hameed Abdul Azeez contributed to this report.



Kimberly Rivera: Defaulted and Deported by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:30 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, National | Tags:

By Raheemah Atif

Islamic Post Staff Writer

“Canada, I am here with you – take the time and the heart to understand what I am now fighting for, with words, and not a gun,”   former PFC Kimberly Rivera
The above statement was posted on the MSN blog of Kimberly Rivera, a former U.S. soldier who fled to Canada with her husband and three children seeking asylum from continued military duty after serving one tour of duty in Iraq. “I am a pacifist,”  Ms. Rivera contends on her website.  Rivera now faces possible prosecution by the United States Army on charges of desertion for her refusal to serve a second tour of duty in Iraq, and subsequent flight to Canada – an offense punishable by five years imprisonment, dishonorable discharge, and loss of all pay and benefits. The Canadian government has ordered Rivera to be deported, after reconsidering its more lenient policy to grant political asylum to U.S. military deserters.
Toronto Star news reports cited Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenny as defending the policy of his government that distinguishes individuals who “dodge” or avoid the obligatory military draft, a prevalent practice of young men during the Vietnam War era, from people who actually joined the U.S. military of their own volition, and later defected.  While the Canadian government maintained an indulgent position with the former, its stance against deserters is much less sympathetic.
Despite the June 2008 resolution passed by the Canadian House of Commons that would grant refuge in their land to military deserters who fled the U.S. in order to avoid fighting in the Iraq War, the minority Conservative party consensus did not acknowledge the non-binding decision.  University of Pittsburgh Law School website Jurist reports that the Supreme Court of Canada refused the petition of two U.S. military deserters to seek asylum there; while a third deserter who was denied asylum in Canada was sentenced to 15 months in prison, demotion, and dishonorable discharge by a military judge in Colorado.  What do the citizens of Canada themselves think of accepting U.S. military Iraq War deserters into their country?  A survey conducted this past summer by Angus Reid Strategies in Vancouver revealed that  64% , or three of five Canadians agreed to permit U.S. soldiers permanent asylum and residency in their country.



New Central Intelligence Agency Director ‘Human,’ ‘Straightforward’ by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:29 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, National | Tags:

Leon Panetta chosen to make “assessments grounded solely in the facts, and not seek information to suit any ideological agenda.” -President Obama

By Khalida Khaleel

Islamic Post Staff Writer

The choice of former Clinton Administration White House Chief of Staff, Leon Panetta, as director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under President Barack Obama has met with some ire, and much praise, for the same reason. He is perceived as not being the standard man for the job.
Director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, Steve Clemons characterizes Mr. Panetta as “human, smart, generally straightforward.” Clemon’s opinion seems to be one carried by the majority, even if “straightforward” is not the token description of the head of a master spy agency.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Senate’s incoming Intelligence committee chair, seemed to view the new CIA director as an unconventional choice when she said: “My position has consistently been that I believe the Agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time.”
Frank James of the Washington Tribune argues, on the other hand, that “experience in the intelligence community has never been a good predictor of how well a person would lead the CIA,” bringing to the fore the example of George Tenet, CIA director under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and “long-time intelligence official who told George W. Bush that evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was a “slam dunk.’” Mr. James also mentioned the CIA history of covert operations worldwide which have plagued the CIA with scandal, and also brought the United States into ill-repute.
Melvin A. Goodman, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and 24-year veteran of the CIA’s intelligence directorate, when writing for The Baltimore Sun further elaborated on the matter: “Intelligence insiders have done little over the past two decades to prevent intelligence failures,” he writes. “They failed to understand the decline of the Soviet Union because the process had been politicized… They [also] failed to provide strategic warning of the 9/11 attacks, and they permitted the corruption of key intelligence products in the run-up to the Iraq war. Intelligence insiders, moreover, were responsible for enthusiastically endorsing such CIA practices as torture and abuse, extraordinary renditions and secret prisons. Mr. Panetta was not a part of this history.”
This last fact is believed by analysts to be a large part of the reason for President Obama’s choice. “Here in Washington, we have also learned some tough lessons,” said the President when formally announcing his choice of Mr. Panetta, “We have learned that to make pragmatic policy choices, we must insist on assessments grounded solely in the facts, and not seek information to suit any ideological agenda… And we know that to be truly secure, we must adhere to our values as vigilantly as we protect our safety – with no exceptions.”
President Obama thereafter listed Leon Panetta’s qualifications, which did include handling “intelligence daily at the very highest levels” along with “making the institutions of government work better for the American people.”
However, Mr. Goodman asserts “Mr. Panetta must touch base with key critics of the intelligence community – such as members of the 9/11 commission, key staff members of congressional oversight committees, and the CIA’s own inspector general – who are in a position to offer outside-the-box thinking on what the CIA should be.”



Atheists’ Aim To Remove Religious Inaugural Reference Not Sucessful by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:28 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, National | Tags: ,

By Mubeen Khaleel

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Michael Newdow, an atheist from California, was unsuccessful in his lawsuit to prevent President Barack Obama from including the phrase, “So help me God,” in the text of the Oath of Office administered to him by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on January 20th.  The proceeding, held in U.S. District Court of Judge Reginald Walton, was similarly as unsuccessful as a previous legal action taken by Mr. Newdow to remove the phrase, “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance – a case taken all the way to the Supreme Court.
Justice Roberts, California Senator Diane Feinstein, and the two reverends who offered the invocation and closing remarks at this historic inauguration, Rev. Rick Warren and Rev. Joseph Lowery, were all named in the failed legal action.  Mr. Newdow’s view was also obviously not shared by many:  the Justice Department and the attorneys general of all 50 states filed motions at the federal court asking that the lawsuit be thrown out.
Conditions of lawlessness, crime and violence, war and suffering evoke statements of faith, belief, and strong religious conviction from all quarters of the nation and the globe.  Despite the almost universal instances of peoples the world over drawing monumental strength from the seed of their belief in an Almighty Creator, a new advertising campaign entitled “Why Believe in a god?” was launched by the American Humanist Association (AHA) using Washington D.C. public transportation late last year. The Metrobus ad slogan, initiated just before the Christian holiday season, sported the traditional red and green colors, and followed up with the words, “Just be good for goodness’ sake.”
Although AHA claims not to be proselytizing, the atheist group admits the aim is to increase its membership. “We expect these bus signs to generate a lot of public interest,” said Fred Edwards, director of communications for the American Humanist Association. “Some folks may be offended but that isn’t our purpose. We just want to reach those open to this message, but unaware how widespread their views are.”
While the American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) hopes the “no religion” population will continue to grow, they have joined hands with Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Pagans, and others who do not identify with the predominant Christian, Muslim, or Jewish doctrines. “Humanists and adherents of minority religions, by simple dint of their minority status, should find it essential to join forces to guard against discrimination and to enhance outreach and educational efforts,” reads the AHA website. The advertisement campaign portrays under the slogan  a light-complexioned man with dreadlocks, who could be from any religious or ethnic background, accomplishing their aim of appealing to a broad spectrum of individuals, of all persuasions.
A 2001 study conducted by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture showed that the total number of people who did not follow a religion numbered 29.4 million in 2001, a jump from the 14.1 million figure of 1990. People who term themselves atheist, agnostic, humanist, secular, and strictly “no religion” fall into this category. Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar are currently conducting the 2008 study which will include special modules on Catholic, Mainline Christian, Evangelical Born-again, African-American and also “no religion” populations.
While the figures for the time period between 2001 and 2008 are not yet available, it can be assumed that, due to active atheist organizations, the number may have already escalated another 10 million.
Similar research, and its conclusions, has led analysts to claim that Islam, the fastest growing religion in the West, is now the largest religious body in the United States, as many who were Christians or Jews have, most unfortunately, abandoned their religion and no longer prescribe to religious doctrine.



Emergency Food Banks: ‘Our Stores Depleted’ by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:27 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, National | Tags:

Emergency Food Banks Face Crisis Due to Thousands More Americans Whose Loss of Income Has Produced Need for Emergency Food Aid.

By Muhammad Ahmad

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Governor David Paterson of New York responded to desperate announcements from emergency food assistance providers across the state, that  inventories at their charitable agencies .were running low, and in some cases were depleted.  Governor Patterson rung in the new year, reports the Associated Press, by designating $30.9 million in emergency funding to soup kitchens, emergency food banks, and emergency shelters in New York for 2009, where officials have reported a 30 percent increase in people requesting food assistance.  The crisis, created by increased numbers of families and individuals with drastically reduced income for food, spurred the governor to add an additional one million in emergency funds to the food assistance  groups in order to provide the required help.
In Detroit, Michigan, food suppliers such as Kraft, Kroger, Wal-Mart, and Meijer Inc., along with smaller local grocers, food manufacturers, and food distributors, have boosted their tax-deductible donations to their food banks, contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars in food products -also in response to the agencies desperate requests for increased support in order to feed America’s hungry. Detroit, in particular, has especially dire “food insecurity” conditions that are widespread due to the severe economic depression from the failing automotive industry.
Hunger in America
For a rapidly swelling segment of the U.S. population, serious food emergencies are occurring now. Information gathered in a 2007 report of the United States Department of Agriculture indicates that nearly 40 million Americans may not be able to maintain sufficient food for their families due to lack of money or other resources, and these numbers are increasing rapidly. A similar survey taken by Feeding America (formerly known as Second Harvest Food Bank) entitled, “Hunger in America”, concluded that their organization fed about 25 million Americans in 2007 via 63,000 hunger-relief centers nation-wide, and about 42 percent of those families have to choose between paying utility bills and buying food.  The study also found that more than one-third of their client families had to choose whether to pay their rent or mortgage, or buy food; and, for one-third of client households, the choice was either to pay for medicine or medical care, or purchase food. These statistics describe families with children under the age of 18, and senior households who struggle to keep an adequate supply in their homes.  Emergency food shelters also consistently serve families having at least one job holder, and whose living expenses severely limit the amount of funds available for food.
The amount of people going to bed hungry in the United States is on the rise. The Washington Post reported the number of Americans on food stamps was poised to exceed 30 million for the first time in December, and is fueled by rising unemployment and food prices. Yet, this figure represents only half of the 60 million Americans estimated by the National Priorities Project to need food assistance.
Food pantries in Michigan, Maryland, Utah, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, and other states are struggling to give handouts to an increasing number of clients who need assistance. The Tooele Food Bank in Utah reported twice the amount of people coming to receive food, whereas there have been fewer donations. In Albany, New York, even middle class, two-income families are knocking on the doors of food banks for the first time.
Blue Chip Group, Emergency Food Storage, Survival Acres, and other emergency/survival advocates, believe a solution to the United States hunger problem lies in well-planned emergency food storage programs before times get harder, and offers free information and tips about food storage on their website http://www.FoodStorageIdeas.com.
FEMA began advising people as far back as 2004 to store food and water for emergency use, listing the following items that may be stored indefinitely (in proper containers and conditions): wheat, vegetable oils, dried corn, baking powder, soybeans, instant coffee/tea/cocoa, salt, non-carbonated soft drinks, white rice, bouillon products, dry pasta, and powdered milk (in nitrogen-packed cans).
-Raheemah Atif contributed to this report.



Sri Lankan Government Set to End Tamil Terrorism, Human Trafficking by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:27 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, World | Tags:

The Sri Lankan government gained major victories recently against the local terrorist group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, more commonly known as the Tamil Tigers.  As of press time, Sri Lankan Army Chief Sarath Fonseka claimed that only about 1000 well-trained Tigers are left to the group after months of the government vigorously hunting down the fighters through jungle and field.” Bodies of the rebels are being recovered and the terrorists are now “boxed into a small jungle area.”
The government began to rout out the Tamil Tigers after declaring an official end to the ceasefire a year ago which it claimed the ultra nationalist rebel army had broken thousands of times. The separatist rebels are noted mostly for their popularization of suicide bombing, which tactic has more recently been carried out by other groups for political aims, mostly the Wahhabi Al Qaeda group and the predominately Shiite Hizbullah.
The chief aim of the LTTE is to carve out a section of the country which will remain racially pure of people seen as inferior. In their largest campaign, the terrorists ethnically cleansed hundreds of Muslims in the early 1990s. The Sinhalese majority have also been prominent victims of the Tamil Tigers, which obtains its funding through a variety of criminal means, including drug trafficking, fraud by credit card and other means, and piracy and arms smuggling.
The group also trafficked its soldiers for prostitution in foreign lands –mostly to wealthy Arab countries routinely labeled “puritan” and “ultra orthodox” in most media outlets. While children, male and female, are forcibly conscripted into the rebel army, routinely raped, and made to undergo the most severe military training, it is the girls who are mostly sent abroad under the guise of domestic servants.
The government is hoping for an end to human trafficking out of Sri Lanka, at least from the LTTE. “Soon you will see the final outcome of the war against the LTTE,” Army Chief Fonseka told The Hindu.
However, one western diplomat told the UK Guardian that  even with all LTTE strongholds wiped out “that wouldn’t be the end of the war. The LTTE has many sleeper cells and would still have a terrorist capacity.” Others emphasize that to have a long term peace, a political solution remains necessary.



Tools of Bias: Media Coverage of Gaza by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:26 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, World | Tags:

By Saudah Umm Nur

Islamic Post Staff Writer

Israel purposefully shot a missile at a UN school.  Many people, including children, were killed and injured.  Those are the facts.  Al Jazeera reported that as such, but CNN’s 6pm headlines the evening of the attacks read, “Israel: Hamas mortars led to attack near U.N. school…”
Major US television channels and other media, especially print, display huge disparity in the method, frequency and accuracy of reports of Palestinian deaths, despite the reality that Palestinian casualties outnumbered Israeli’s by 100 to 1. The disparity has only increased.
In 2004 If Americans Knew issued its report card, entitled, “Deadly Distortion, Associated Press Coverage of Israeli and Palestinian Deaths”. The report used grafts and detailed analysis to illustrate the broad disparity between reports of Israeli and Palestinian deaths, casualties and incarcerations.
Summary of Data
In an al Jazeera article by Habib Battah, entitled, In US, Gaza is a Different War, Mr. Battah writes about 2 pictures of women on the front page of The Washington Post recently:
On the left was a Palestinian mother who had lost five children. On the right was a nearly equally sized picture of an Israeli woman who was distressed by the fighting, according to the caption.
As the Palestinian woman cradled the dead body of one child, another infant son, his face blackened and disfigured with bruises, cried beside her.
The Israeli woman did not appear to be wounded in any way but also wept.  If an Israeli woman had lost five daughters in a Palestinian attack, would The Washington Post run an equally sized photograph of a relatively unharmed Palestinian woman, who was merely distraught over Israeli missile fire?
Israeli children’s deaths were covered at a rate 7.5 times greater than Palestinian
In every conflict so far, the Israelis have methodically slaughtered the Palestinians and have only paused due to political expedience.  The recent worldwide protests and the international outrage after the bombing of the UN school has once again forced Israel to concede the possibility of allowing Humanitarian aid to come into the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli aggression is so vicious that even without accurate reporting of all the details, the international community is mobilizing to demand justice for the Palestinian people.

-Source: If Americans Knew is dedicated to providing full and accurate information to the American public on topics of importance that are underreported or misreported in the American media.



New Iraq Embassy Opens Broader Fiscal, Social Questions by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:23 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, World | Tags:

By Noora Ahmad

Islamic Post Staff Writer

The opening ceremony of a new American embassy in Iraq last month indicated a “broadening of the relationship” with Iraq, according to U.S. Embassy Spokeswoman, Susan Ziadeh. “Its scale reflects the importance of the U.S.-Iraq bilateral relationship,” she noted, about size of the new facility, the 21 buildings of which sprawl across 104 acres, cost $592 million to construct, and will host 5,500 employees (half of whom are listed as security), according to a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report.
The compound was completed just after outgoing President George W. Bush made farewell trips to Iraq and Afghanistan late last year. His Iraq tour was marked by an Iraqi journalist hurling his shoes at the now former head of state, in protest, during a news conference in the Green Zone.
The said news conference, however, was an announcement on the part of former President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki regarding the new Status of Forces Agreement which requires U.S. combat forces to retreat to the Green Zone, by June 30, of this year. The agreement also calls for a complete withdrawal of troops from the country by December 31, 2011.
About Iraq, the former president told ABC last year that he regretted the “intelligence failure” which led to the invasion, but elaborated during an interview with his sister, Doro Bush Koch (via StoryCorps) that he would like to be remembered as “somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace.”
The former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, expressed his feelings regarding the Iraq invasion in stronger terms when he told the BBC in 2004, “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view; from the charter point of view, it was illegal.” These comments drew anger from a former advisor for the Defense Secretary of that time, Donald Rumsfeld (who later resigned). The advisor, Randy Scheunemann told the BBC in response to Mr. Annan: “I think it is outrageous for the Secretary-General, who ultimately works for the member states, to try and supplant his judgment, for the judgment of the member states.”
Although the embassy is a symbol, of a softer stance, of the United States, in Iraq, the subsequent construction of the embassy also drew criticism for the Bush administration as being “ill-timed” given the current economic crisis; its operating costs alone have been estimated at $1.2 billion per annum by Senate staffers.
The prime contractor, First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Company may have overcharged the U.S. government by 260 percent in the building of the new embassy, according to the Defense Contract Audit Agency in 2005. Ethical questions are in no shortage for First Kuwaiti, which was cited by the House Oversight Committee in October 2007, with “substandard work,” and also indicted in a human trafficking case last year.
But sore thumbs also plague Iraq, in the discussion of the expenditure, of billions, of dollars. According to Iraqi reporter Samrad Ali, writing for the Wall Street Journal: “The host country isn’t better off either. It has been mired in problems such as foreign debt, ethnic violence and reconciliation hurdles and slow-to-nonexistent reconstruction efforts. To invest this huge amount of money in building a vast, walled-off concrete building, in the war-battered capital, whose infrastructure has been devastated by the U.S.-led invasion sounds a bit ostentatious,” he writes.
As the new embassy was being dedicated, the Iraqi government was grappling with where to place the thousands of homeless people who are living in unused government buildings which the government has plans to renovate, after their destruction during the invasion. In the race for its own functional government facilities, lawmakers are dealing with a heavy hand: “The Iraqi Cabinet has decided to evict all squatters in or on government property – land, houses, residential buildings or offices. They will be given financial help to find alternative places to live,” a government statement from early last month read.
But aid agencies say what the government is offering is not nearly enough. However, “the law must prevail,” Abdul Khaliq Zankana, head of the Iraqi parliament’s Displacement and Migration committee, told the IRIN news agency, as protests ensued in Baghdad after the ruling. “But I do believe the best way to deal with this issue is to postpone the implementation until the middle of the year as it is winter now, and we can’t turn those people out onto the street.”
Sarmad Ali summed up the current sentiment in Iraq: “To ordinary Iraqis …who realize that their infrastructure has been weakened by U.S. sanctions and later bombardments and occupation and who have to put up with long hours of power outages and a lack of tap water, news of the new U.S.-fortified compound isn’t that enthralling,” he writes. But, after lamenting the lack of functionality at the old embassy, he gave a broader picture: “Diplomatic representation is slowly coming to life again in Baghdad and Iraqis no longer think of the West the same way they once thought of it under Saddam’s brainwashing mechanism. Still, for most Iraqis, diplomatic representation and vast Western embassy structures on the blocks of their capital are meaningless, if not coupled with serious measures to loosen up the process of granting serious and aspiring Iraqis visas to travel, study abroad, broaden their horizons and go back to help build their nation,” the Iraqi journalist concluded.



JUST SAY NO: Entrapment and Judging of Intentions: The Fort Dix Five Conviction by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:23 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, National, World | Tags: , ,

By Khalida Khaleel

Islamic Post Staff Writer

The question of entrapment resurfaced during the trial, and subsequent conviction, of five men between 22 and 28 years of age, after being arrested for conspiring to murder members of the U.S. military, at Fort Dix, in New Jersey.
The case was the result of a 15 month investigation, in which previously convicted informants, recorded the prompted rantings of the young men and arranged what was said to be a weapons purchase, where the defendants were arrested en route. The trouble began with one of the defendants requesting Circuit City to make a DVD, of a paintball game, in which teams of men typically shoot dye-filled capsules at each other using air guns. Somewhere in the middle of the scenario, one of the defendants (who is now seeking an appeal) actually phoned the police with the suspicion that he was being pressured by a person –whom he was unaware was an informant–  to procure a map of Fort Dix. He thought the man might be somehow connected to terrorism.
The pressure put on the men could have been construed as entrapment, but the jury ruled out the option, in this case. According to the most recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, “Entrapment occurs when the Government implants, in the mind of a person who is not otherwise disposed to commit the offense, the disposition to commit the offense and then induces the commission of that offense in order to prosecute.” Most states require that a defense built upon the premise of entrapment must be able to prove: The idea of committing the crime came from law enforcement officers, rather than the defendant; the law enforcement officers induced the person to commit the crime; and, the defendant was not ready and willing to commit this type of crime before being induced to do so. Apparently, the defense was unsuccessful in proving this.
However, as entrapment judges intentions, so does the law regarding conspiring to commit a crime. This is where the men lost their case, as it is a federal crime to conspire, or agree with another person, to commit something illegal. However, Roger Williams University (RWU) law professor, Peter Margulies, elucidated the issue of conspiracy law in America today when he categorized it as “more expansive than most other democracies” in that it “allows you to show conspiracy with relatively thin evidence,” as opposed to other places where the threat must be proven “imminent.”
Time Magazine, in its quote of Joshua Dratel, who has defended a number of suspects in other terrorism cases, judged the situation more harshly in its December 2007 article, “Preemptive Terror Trials:”
“Are we interested in finding terrorists or creating them?” said Dratel. “Even in cases where people are found guilty, I’m not sure that [this strategy] is necessarily finding people who are a genuine danger. What it’s really doing is finding people who — with enough inducement and encouragement — may do something. But whether they would ever do anything on their own, we’ll never know.” In one example from 2005, a man was lured by being shown pictures of torture and sexual abuse at Abu Ghraib. He was then told it was his religious responsibility “do something.” He followed the advice of the informant and is doing 47 years in prison. Like the Fort Dix Five, an entrapment defense did nothing for him.
Volunteer provocateurs.
The agent provocateurs who help land convictions in such cases are, in some cases, not necessarily paid Middle Eastern assets struggling with immigration cases or criminal convictions, as with those in the Fort Dix Five case. There are also volunteers who hold deep convictions that Muslims pose the greatest threat to the United States –even as findings regarding 9/11 cast this theory into doubt almost daily.*
A former judge in Montana and mother of three gave a lecture early last month during an International Conference on Cyber Security at Fordham University entitled “Penetrating Minds of Mayhem: Inside the Psyche of an Islamic Extremist,” for the purpose of demonstrating how anyone with a few completed Arabic language courses, an internet connection, an understanding of “tribal affiliations,” and quite a bit of ingenuity, can ferret their way into the lives of ignorant Muslims, coaxing those with little knowledge of the legal aspects of Islam, its injunctions, boundaries and prohibitions in various circumstances, to say and do things they might not have said or done of their own initiative, and according to the agent’s own preset view of Islam. According to the Jesuit university news room article, “Suburban Counterterrorist Works from Home to Thwart Jihad,” that gave coverage of the event,” the retired judge “transforms herself into a radicalized bloodthirsty mujahideen (sic)” online at perceived “terrorist sites and forums.” The woman purports to have read the “Koran” (sic) and assumes “dozens of identities,” male and female, after exploiting the usefulness of which, she “martyrs” them.
Out of the people induced by this or other means between 2001 (after 9/11) and 2007, there have been approximately 150 defendants convicted in preemptive terror trials, with many more reported convicted in 2008. The Fort Dix Five are scheduled to be sentenced in April.
-*(This makes reference, in particular, to the lawsuit of former Pentagon employee, April Gallop, who, based on her own eyewitness account, accuses officials in the former administration of being guilty of conspiracy on September 11 –See “Army Specialist Initiates Lawsuit for Injuries Sustained on 9/11,” Islamic Post January Vol. 1, 2009).



Attack on UN Compound Decried by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:21 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, World | Tags: ,

By Abu Rashid

Islamic Post Staff Writer

The media networks have recently been saturated with graphic accounts of the atrocities perpetrated by Israeli aggressors against thousands of defenceless civilians in Palestine. It would seem the Zionists have been given a license to destroy any entity they deem a threat to their ideology, without regard for civilian lives.  A glaring example occurred when Israel bombed the U.N. headquarters in Gaza. Shortly after, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning the Israeli offensive wholeheartedly and demanding a return to the 1967 borders.
Israel initially claimed Hamas terrorists were hiding within the U.N. compound shooting rockets, but later claimed the bombing was in error. Only U.N. staff and Palestinian civilians seeking refuge in the compound were present there.
The bombing of the compound was investigated and reported as unprovoked.  Reuter’s bureau chief for the Israeli and Palestinian territories, Allistair MacDonald, stated that no-one from the UNRWA fired upon Israeli soldiers, despite Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert’s initial claim that Hamas troops fired from within the compound. “Nonsense!” was the response from a U.N. official on hearing Olmert’s claim.
The U.N. Relief and Works Agency says a process of accountability must take place to achieve justice for all the overwhelming death and destruction that has occurred as a consequence of the military incursion into Gaza. UNRWA says the process must be credible and must address the legitimate allegations of both the Israelis and Palestinians.
However, the assault in Palestine did not begin with the recent invasion of Palestine.  Modern historical accounts, diagramming the rise of Israel, detail the tactics of the Zionist pioneers who would expedite their plan by exterminating innocent indigenous Muslims and Christians, pillaging their villages as they exiled them from their own land. In the case of Gaza, they corralled a grossly oppressed people for months, depriving them of the simplest of needs and then while imprisoned with no means of escape, shelled them to the verge of extinction. While the Nazi campaign of cruelty will never be forgotten, these Gestapo tactics are denied to be war crimes.
Unfortunately, as UNRWA director of operations in Gaza, John Ging notes, after 18 months of blockade and devastation, there are more extremists now, at the end of the conflict, than there were at the start, as the Palestinians do not believe they will get justice; they do not believe the rule of law applies to them. He said the international community must prove them wrong; it is most important to have an independent, objective, and credible investigation, while condemning the Israeli violence in the strongest terms, and demanding that the perpetrators be punished.
Yet the question remains: Is this a struggle for the survival of two peoples or a struggle for the survival of Islam and Zionism?  Most often, the shouts, slogans, and banners in Gaza and throughout Palestine vocalize a resounding “There is no God but Allah and God is Great.” But for the acutely observant Muslim, there is a blatant absence of “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” This serious deletion is not a mistake; anyone who has researched the history of Al Islam knows beyond a doubt, that it was the fervor of unwavering belief in the Sovereignty of the Almighty Creator, coupled with devoted love for the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (May Allah’s peace by upon him), and emulation of his noble character and example, in letter and spirit, that has always been the  ideological antidote  that neutralized the societal poisons of falsehood, oppression, religious hatred, and segregation.
-Islamic Post researchers contributed to this report.



The World is Watching: Israel Threatened to Shoot Unarmed Civilians Aboard Mercy Ship by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:20 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, World | Tags:

Last month Israel’s cruelty against Palestinian civilians reached untold heights when the Israeli navy threatened to kill thirty unarmed civilians aboard a mercy ship on its way to deliver medical supplies and doctors to besieged Gaza. The Free Gaza Movement ship, Spirit Of Humanity, left Cyprus carrying doctors, journalists, human rights workers, and parliamentarians. The ship also carried over a ton of desperately needed medicines donated by the European Campaign to Break the Siege, and intended for overwhelmed hospitals in the Gaza Strip. At the request of the ship’s organizers the passenger list and manifest were publicly released, and Cypriot authorities searched the boat prior to its departure in order to certify that it only carried humanitarian items. The organizers also sent an official notification to the Israeli government of their intent to break through the blockade of Gaza.  Unfortunately, while in international waters 100 miles off the coast of Gaza, at least five Israeli gunboats surrounded the Spirit Of Humanity and began recklessly cutting in front of the slow-moving civilian craft. The Israeli warships radioed the Spirit, demanding that the ship turn around or they would open fire and “shoot.” When asked if the Israeli navy was acknowledging that they intended to commit a war crime by deliberately firing on unarmed civilians, the warships replied that they were prepared to use “any means” to stop the ship.
Members of Free Gaza consider the Israeli Navy’s action a deliberate act of cruelty as “It could have been easily confirmed that neither we, the cargo, any of the boat’s contents, nor the boat itself constituted any threat to the security of Israel or its armed forces.”    An earlier attempt by Free Gaza to deliver doctors and medical supplies ended on 30 December when Israeli gunboats deliberately and repeatedly rammed the Dignity, almost sinking that ship. Rather than endanger the lives of its passengers, the Spirit returned to Cyprus.
Israel’s reckless and shocking threats against an unarmed ship on a mission of mercy are a violation of both international maritime law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which states that “the high seas should be reserved for peaceful purposes.”
The Free Gaza Movement, a human rights group, sent two boats to Gaza in August 2008. These were the first international boats to land in the port in 41 years. Since August, four more voyages were successful, taking Parliamentarians, human rights workers, and other dignitaries to witness the effects of Israel’s draconian policies on the civilians of Gaza.  -FreeGaza



Piracy in the Gulf of Aden One of the World’s Busiest Sea Lanes by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:17 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, International | Tags:

By Tracey Boddie

Islamic Post Staff Writer

As warships from US, UK, Canada, France, Turkey, Germany, Russia, China and India, to name a few, continue their efforts to curb piracy by patrolling the coastal waters of Somalia, the unlawful industry continues to flourish. A UN Security Council resolution authorized countries to chase and seize pirates when they flee into the territorial waters of Somalia “for the purpose of repressing acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, in a manner consistent with such action permitted on the high seas with respect to piracy under relevant international law.

Gulf Of Aden
Pirates have consistently plagued the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and Somalia coastal shipping lanes and have collected more than $150 million in ransoms over the past year including ‘MV Sirius Star’, the huge 25 crew member Saudi supertanker loaded with $100 million worth of crude oil in November, making it the largest tonnage vessel ever seized by pirates.
The Somali pirates are said to have the support of their communities and rogue members of the government. Often dressed in military fatigues, typically armed with automatic weapons, anti-tank rocket launchers and grenades weaponry;  pirates travel in open skiffs with outboard engines, working with larger ships that tow them far out to sea, clambering aboard commercial vessels with ladders and grappling hooks.

Arab Response
Seven Arab states, including host state-Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and Saudi Arabia met in Cairo in November in a bid to find an effective response to the growing threat of piracy in the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal was quoted as saying at an Oslo news conference the only way to deal with pirates like those who captured his country’s supertanker MV Sirius Star is “by eradicating” them, piracy is “not something you can negotiate or justify in any way, means, or manner.” “Like terrorism, it is an evil that has to be eradicated…”

China
China, one of the world’s major trading nations, has lost as-many-as seven vessels due to the piracy in the Gulf of Aden with one still said to be in the hands of pirates. With the deployment of two warships and one supply ship it is China’s first naval mission outside its territorial waters in centuries. The Middle East provides about 60 per cent of China’s oil imports thus providing it with incentive to respond.
Last year Somali pirates hijacked over 100 ships. Most are released after the payment of a ransom, generally by ship owners not governments, but over a dozen are still being held.



Muslims in Somalia Oppose Wahhabi Insurgents by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:16 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, World | Tags:

Resentment of extremist-inspired lawlessness and destruction spills over

By Khalida Khaleel

Islamic Post Staff Writer

In unfortunate recent events, bloodshed erupted in central Somalia after local Muslims sought to drive off the Shabaab Wahhabi faction from towns where people seek to hold on to traditional Islam as had been practiced for centuries in the East African country.
According to the Somali newspaper Garowe Online, Sufi sheikhs in the area repeatedly urged restraint on the local Muslims while appealing to Al Shabaab to “stop destroying graves and mosques.”
Tensions have been escalating after Al Shabaab destroyed a Roman Catholic church late last year, after taking over the southern port town of Kismayo. Al Jazeera reported that soon after this incident, the Wahhabi militants turned their hammers on Islamic shrines and graves of holy people. They reportedly exhumed the remains of a local saint further north. An unidentified fighter who spoke for the insurgents told Garowe Online, “We believe people were worshipping the dead…and so we destroyed the graves.”
However, many see the matter differently. “Nowadays, it is sad to see… that the ideal harmony between Islam and Somali culture is swept aside by a new brand of Islam that is being pushed down the throat of our people – Wahhabism,” wrote Somali journalist Bashir Goth in 2003 for the Addis Tribune. “Anywhere one looks, one finds that alien, perverted version of Islam.”
Wahhabis, who originate in Saudi Arabian politics and widely projected as a puritan sect of Islam, reject the practice found in all major religions, particularly traditional Islam, where the belongings of holy people are treated with respect. Yet, this condemnation is a form of ignorance, as the blessed companions of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), were the first in Islam to preserve, with honor, the personal effects of not only the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, but all chosen messengers and their relics. To this day, such holy relics of the Holy Last Messenger of the Almighty Creator (peace be upon him) and his family are kept in museums in Turkey and Kashmir, while the Saudi Arabian government, in turn, has demolished the homes of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) and his family and companions, and also razed most of their graves. However, the staff, cap, and even cars of dead Saudi princes and kings are preserved in splendor.
Somali locals, dubbing themselves “Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’a,” were apparently fed up with the destruction of the Shabaab (who receive religious instruction from Wahhabi clerics), and chose to chase the fanatics out of town. “We killed dozens of the attackers, including their commander, we have also seized most of their weapons that they abandoned in fear,” a spokesman for the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jama’a told the Associated Press. –while this quote is relevant, it may be perceived to represent nothing less than fanatism- without the quote, the point is well supported by the rest of the article
Although it has not been reported exactly how the hostilities began, 29 dead and 50 wounded were counted last month among the victims of the violence.



President Obama: ‘No Enmity With Muslims’ by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 10:15 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, World

U.S. President Barack Obama sat down with Hisham Melhaem of Al-Arabiya TV, a Dubai-based cable network, on January 26 to discuss topics pertinent to the Muslim world. The following are excerpts from the interview:
On the Palestinian – Israeli Conflict
“Well, I think the most important thing is for the United States to get engaged right away. Ultimately, we cannot tell either the Israelis or the Palestinians what’s best for them. They’re going to have to make some decisions. The moment is ripe for both sides to realize that the path that they are on is one that is not going to result in prosperity and security for their people. I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state…that allows freedom of movement for its people, that allows for trade with other countries, that allows the creation of businesses and commerce so that people have a better life.
“And the bottom line in all these talks…is a child in the Palestinian Territories going to be better off? Do they have a future for themselves? And is the child in Israel going to feel confident about his or her safety and security? And if we can keep our focus on making their lives better and look forward, and not simply think about all the conflicts and tragedies of the past, then I think that we have an opportunity to make real progress.
“…I’m absolutely confident that the United States — working in tandem with the European Union, with Russia, with all the Arab states in the region — I’m absolutely certain that we can make significant progress.”
On his Muslim family, travels and common dreams:
“Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world…I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries… The largest one, Indonesia. …In all my travels throughout the Muslim world, what I’ve come to understand is that regardless of your faith — and America is a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers — regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams.
“I do think that it is impossible for us to think only in terms of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and not think in terms of what’s happening with Syria or Iran or Lebanon or Afghanistan and Pakistan. These things are interrelated. And what I’ve said, and I think Hillary Clinton has expressed this in her confirmation, is that if we are looking at the region as a whole and communicating a message to the Arab world and the Muslim world, that we are ready to initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest, then I think that we can make significant progress.
On the War on Terror
“…There are extremist organizations — whether Muslim or any other faith in the past — that will use faith as a justification for violence. We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith’s name.”
On relations with Iran:
“…Now, the Iranian people are a great people, and Persian civilization is a great civilization. Iran has acted in ways that’s not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region…But I do think that it is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are…And as I said during my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.”
On communicating to the Muslim world:
“We’re going to follow through on our commitment for me to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital (within 100 days of taking office). We are going to follow through on many of my commitments to do a more effective job of reaching out, listening, as well as speaking to the Muslim world.
“And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy. We sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect.
“But ultimately, people are going to judge me not by my words but by my actions and my administration’s actions. And I think that what you will see over the next several years is that I’m not going to agree with everything that some Muslim leader may say…but I think that what you’ll see is somebody who is listening, who is respectful, and who is trying to promote the interests not just of the United States, but also ordinary people who right now are suffering from poverty and a lack of opportunity.”
-Excerpts from interview compiled by Yasmin A. Atheem