June Vol. 1, 2009
By Yasmin A. Atheem
The State of Hawaii passed a resolution on May 6 marking September 24, 2009 as Islam Day. The resolution, known as HCR100, passed with overwhelming support in a 22-3 vote. The small island state, home to over 3,000 Muslims, passed the resolution in which it states the island will “recognize the rich religious, scientific, cultural, and artistic contributions” of Islam and the Islamic world.
Senator Will Espero of Hawaii told Fox News his supporting thoughts about the new resolution: “We are a state of tolerance. We understand that people have different beliefs. We may not all agree on every single item and issue out there, but to say and highlight the negativity of the Islamic people is an insult to the majority [of believers] who are good, law-abiding citizens of the world.”
The three declining votes included two Republicans who disagree with the declarations set forth in the resolution, and one Democrat who opposed on the grounds of separation of church and state.
Hakim Ouansafi, president of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, told the Honolulu Star Bulletin, “The legislators have done in one resolution more to plant seeds of understanding than anyone could dream.”
The “Islam Day” bill now moves to Hawaii governor Linda Lingle, for signing.
The following is the House Concurrent Resolution 100 (HCR100) in it’s entirety:
PROCLAIMING SEPTEMBER 24, 2009, AS ISLAM DAY:
WHEREAS, Hawaii is known for the wealth of its cultural and religious diversity and the harmony with which people of many cultures and religions live together; and WHEREAS, Muslims constitute an ethnically diverse part of Hawaii’s cultural fabric, with around 3,000 practicing members; and
WHEREAS, the Prophet Mohammad [peace be upon him] left his house to migrate to Madinah and reached Quba in the vicinity of Madinah on the 12th day of Rabi ul-Awwal according to the lunar calendar, or September 24th according to the Gregorian calendar, thereby marking the birth of Islam; and
WHEREAS, Islam, a religion with a long and noble history, is the second largest religion in the world, with over one billion followers spread across every continent, and including members of many nations and cultures; and
WHEREAS, the Islamic world preserved and made original contributions to works of science and philosophy during the Middle Ages when these disciplines were threatened by bigotry and prejudice in other parts of the world; and
WHEREAS, Islamic artists, scientists, and philosophers have a rich history of contribution to world literature and our collective scientific understanding; and
WHEREAS, the Islamic faith shares common teachings found in the texts of both Christianity and Judaism, whose followers are respected and considered “People of the Book;” and
WHEREAS, Islamic doctrine encourages generosity in its adherents, maintaining that those who possess much have a responsibility to care for those in need; and
WHEREAS, Islam, along with its monotheistic counterparts, holds that peace is a divine quality and necessary for collective human happiness; and
WHEREAS, Islam strives for a world-wide community which, in the words of one Islamic poet-philosopher, “does not recognize the superficial differences of race, or history, or nationality”; and
WHEREAS, the United States and countries of the Islamic world hold in common many beliefs and values including concepts of world community and mutual responsibility; and
WHEREAS, international understanding and peace, as well as understanding and peace in our local communities, are strengthened by free and open communications among everyone representing various cultural and religious traditions; and
WHEREAS, the 96th United States Congress officially recognized the noble qualities of Islam in a concurrent resolution on October 15, 1979 (SCR 43), honoring the religion’s 14th centennial; now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, the Senate concurring, that September 24, 2009, shall be known as “Islam Day” to recognize the rich religious, scientific, cultural, and artistic contributions Islam and the Islamic world have made since their founding; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to Hawaii’s congressional delegation, the Governor, and the Board of the Muslim Association of Hawaii.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Jameelah A. Aziz
The Constitution of the United States was developed by our founding fathers to ensure equality for all, indifferent to race, gender, age or religion. In the first amendment of the US Constitution it states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. However, in certain instances it seems as if the rights of minors are not always equal to that of adults and therefore can, and have, been suppressed. This phenomena is seen at times within the public school system, where it can be said that students’ constitutional rights are being violated across the country.
This practice has been recently observed in the case of ten year old Adam Awwad, a Muslim student at the Albert Payson Terhune Elementary School in Wayne, NJ, who went through difficulty when looking for a place to perform his prayers which, in Islam, are made five times daily on a fixed, mandatory schedule, including during work or school times. For quite some time, Adam’s mother, Rola Awwad, had been seeking an appropriate environment in school for her son to pray. To accommodate Rola’s request, the Wayne School District offered Adam the time to pray outside at recess or inside the classroom while his classmates were there. Mrs Awwad found this arrangement to be “unacceptable” for her son. She wanted a quiet and clean place for her child to pray. The elementary school showed concern about the safety of Adam if he were to be left alone and unattended.
According to the school’s website, their mission is to “create independent thinkers and social problem solvers who are respectful of themselves and others.”
Muslim advocates were attracted to the situation at the school and made suggestions to the family of bringing their issue to the state for resolution.
Meanwhile, after concerns that other students would make fun of him, Adam took it upon himself to pray during lunchtime in the back of the classroom while the other students played games. Now he is joined by four other Muslim classmates. Mrs Rola Awwad’s seven year old daughter, Amana, also has similar arrangements in her second grade classroom.
According to North Jersey News, Mrs Awwad said the Council on American-Islamic Relations had considered bringing the issue before the state Board of Education. But Awwad said she wants to wait and see if the current arrangement continues to work for her children.
Muslims aren’t the only ones having difficulty exercising their religious rights in school, Christians are as well. In 2007, The Christian Post reported that twelve Christian students were suspended for holding a morning prayer meeting at the cafeteria of Heritage High School in Vancouver, Washington. The suspensions were later retracted. Also in 2007, two students of the College of Alameda in California were threatened with suspension because they were praying on campus with an instructor. Bay Area News reported that Kandy Kyriacou and Ojoma Omaga- were found praying with their ailing teacher. The two students are currently suing Peralta Community College District for violation of their civil rights under the premise that school administration and teachers are not only responsible to educate and provide a safe learning environment, but also must respect student’s individual rights.
June Vol. 1, 2009
By Jannah A. Malik
Recently the House passed a bill for the purpose of modernizing, renovating, and repairing public school facilities. The bill, which encourages the creation of clean and healthy environments for schoolchildren, would also promote energy conservation, while at the same time producing thousands of jobs. Passing 275 to 155, the bill will now go to the Senate. If approved it would allot a starting amount of $6.4 billion within the first year and similar amounts throughout the next five years.
The bill states that the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, shall work with recipients of funds under this Act to promote appropriate opportunities for participants in a YouthBuild program, as well as using existing Job Corps members and individuals enrolled in a junior or community college. The text of the bill cites the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and the Higher Education Act of 1965 as justification to offer “employment experience on modernization, renovation, repair, and construction projects” funded under the bill.
A separate $600 million would be approved under the act within a six year period for public schools in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi that were damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
By the year 2015, 100% of funds available for green building projects would have to meet ‘green standards’ for energy sources as well as construction materials. Amongst the companies that provide the necessary materials according to these standards or guidelines are: EnergyStar, Green Globes, and the Leadership and Environmental Design (Leed) Green building rating system.
Supporters of the bill spoke about the pressing need for funds for repairs in schools. Rep. John Hall (D-NY) stated: “America’s aging schools are in dire need of assistance. I am a former trustee and school board president. I have seen it. Buildings are crumbling while school districts are having trouble paying their energy bills. This bill would help school districts invest in repairs, construction and green modernization without passing the burden on to local taxpayers who in New York, I know, can’t afford any more property tax.”
In opposition some expressed great concern over the cost of the bill. “No one is going to argue in favor of a less-than-perfect physical structure for students,” said Rep. David Dreier (R-CA) “But what I believe we need to argue is how do you pay for that. And again, I believe very strongly that we, as a federal government, have reached way too far into so many different areas.”
Allowing for oversight, however, the bill states in its text that: “Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study to determine, and report to the Congress on, the extent and types of projects in keeping with the uses of funds authorized under this Act being undertaken in schools around the United States, the geographic distribution of green, high-performing schools in the United States, including by urban, suburban, and rural areas, and the relative access to such schools of the demographic groups described in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.”
Objecting to the cost of the new school construction plan, former President George W. Bush threatened to veto the bill last year. Similar legislation was also not passed by the Senate. The bill’s sponsors, however, are more hopeful of its enactment due to President Barack Obama’s making school improvement projects one of his many priorities.
By Fatimah Dawud
Islamic Post Staff Writer
BINGHAMTON –The United Muslim Christian Forum (UMCF) was recently invited to be a part of a tour of Binghamton hosted by Mayor Matthew T. Ryan, to review accomplishments of his past years in office and to discuss his future plans should he be re-elected joining a small crowd that chanted, “Four more years!”
“I think UMCF presence made a big statement for the Muslim community as a whole by being there,” noted a representative of the group. “Upon arrival, there were only about 30 people in attendance, so they were able give our congratulations and support to the Mayor directly before talking with other supporters.”
Mayor Matthew Ryan led the one mile walk around Binghamton which started at the Perry building (a historical site in Binghamton), passing by Abu’s House of Halal, and ended at the Regency Hotel. There the Mayor gave a press conference to announcing his running for another Mayoral term of four years.
“Jawad and Ahmad Muhammad, had the opportunity to stand next to Mayor Matthew Ryan as he delivered his speech.” By this time total number in attendance to this event went from 30 to 150 people.
As the day concluded the Mayor spoke with members of the United Christian Muslim Forum extending his gratitude for their attendance. The mayor was the guest speaker at the recent UMCF parade.
(IP) –It is doubtful that when former US President George W. Bush went forward with the roadmap to peace in the Middle East –the center focus of which is a two-state solution and the re-creation of a Palestinian state– that Mr Bush anticipated opposition from fellow Christians.
The Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism, however, is not surprised. The group, consisting “of pastors, academics, students, interested laypersons and a Rabbi” say they are “disturbed by the growing influence of Christian Zionism on the political scene in America,” and say the “ideology” of Christian Zionism is a “major factor in the stalled peace process in Israel / Palestine.”
As Israeli politicians from the right expressed their opposition over current President Barack Obama’s support for a two-state solution, members of the aspiring American lobby group, Unity Coalition for Israel (UCI) were sending emails to President Obama and other members of his staff, questioning “the wisdom” of the new US administration, according to Press TV reports.
Michael Freund of the Jerusalem Post defines UCI as “an umbrella group representing over 200 Christian and Jewish organizations across the US,” and claims the lobby group has “the ability to bring together millions of American Christians on Israel’s behalf.”
Mr Freund also wrote in another piece for the Jerusalem Post that “the sudden burst of Christian pro-Israel activity did not emerge out of thin air, of course. It is the result of a lot of vision and hard work.” He continues: “Working through constituent groups such as Bridges for Peace and Christian Friends of Israel, the [UCI] coalition has… become a leading voice for Israel in the halls of power in Washington.”
Yet and still, the struggle for global support in the occupation of Palestine and subsequent war against Hamas continues, and not all Israelis are in agreement with the stalled peace process. Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions –based in Jerusalem with its own chapters in the United States writes unabashedly: “It is our role as proponents of human rights, international law, decolonization, the integrity of cultures and a just peace in Israel/Palestine and elsewhere to highlight the injustice and unsustainability of Israel’s Occupation both on the ground and globally, the quicker to bring it to an end.”
Filed under: Interfaith, International, May Volume I - 2009, Politics, World | Tags: christian zionism, zionism
(IP) –The Independent’s reporter, Donald MacIntyre, states in his article, “Israeli’s Told to Fight ‘Holy War’ in Gaza,” “Many Israeli troops had the sense of fighting a “religious war” against Gentiles during the 22-day offensive in Gaza, according to an Israeli soldier. The soldier testified that the “clear” message of literature distributed to troops by the rabbinate was: “We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the Gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land.” Reuters, the Jerusalem Post, the UK Times, Haaretz, and the BBC noted similar reports about the espousing of a holy war against the Muslim and Christian Arabs of Palestine.
Even with the new Benjamin Netanyahu administration, elected after the strikes against Gaza began, a historian of Israeli expansionism, Rev Dr Stephen R Sizer, wrote that Israel is being steered “very definitely to the Right and away from an integrated society and peace with the Palestinians.” He further noted, “Barack Obama is going to have his work cut out to keep the Two State solution alive.”
Far from moving towards a peaceful solution, Israeli authorities are planning to “evacuate and demolish 1,700 homes in East Jerusalem during the current year,” the head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah told Arab News. Arab News also reported the head of the Islamic Higher Committee in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikremah Sabri’s, elaboration on the new demolition project: “More than 5,500 Israeli housing units were under construction in occupied Jerusalem and 73,000 in the West Bank in order to accommodate more than one million” settlers.
The debate on the legality of such projects spilled into the global arena after millions worldwide protested the bombing of Gaza earlier this year. Reporting on the suppression of the local media giving voice to such protests, Ma’an News stated that a woman and journalist were among those beaten by Israeli troops during a press conference held by the parents of critically wounded American peace activist Tristan Anderson. “Mr. Anderson had an Israeli tear-gas canister shot at his head in Ni’lin … his skull shattered and several surgeries have left him semi-conscious in a Tel Aviv hospital. His parents arrived shortly after Tristan was hospitalized,” wrote Ma’an News. The raid, allegedly ordered by Israeli Minister of Internal Security Avi Ditchter, came early in the media event and prevented Anderson’s parents from addressing the crowd. This is the second case of an American peace activist suffering at the hands of the colonists to have been widely publicized. The first was Rachel Corrie who was bulldozed in 2003 while using a bulwark in front of a Palestinian home in an attempt to stop its destruction.
In February, Israeli media shocked millions of Muslims and Christians by satirizing the miracles of Jesus (the Second to Last Messenger of Islam), the chastity of his Virgin mother Mary and also trying to belittle the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him). According to the BBC, a Vatican statement said “the show had ridiculed Mary and Jesus ‘with blasphemous words and images’ that amounted to a ‘vulgar and offensive act of intolerance.’” The comedy hour came “to teach a lesson” to a Christian religious figure who had made the mistake of denying the Holocaust. Jerusalem Christians were also prevented by Israeli authorities this year from commemorating their traditional Easter rites.
This begs the question whether there is room in a ‘holy war’ against Christians and Muslims for Christ? Christians who support Zionism say, ‘Yes.’ Christian Zionists adhere to the belief that Jesus (peace be upon him) will not return to the Earth until Armageddon takes place, which in turn occurs after the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel, which includes a new Temple in Jerusalem at the site of the Holy Sanctuary (Haram Sharif) right under the golden Dome of the Rock, which is one of the three most holy sites in Islam.
However, the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel has more to do with awaiting a Messiah foretold in the Torah. According to Christianity and Islam, that Messiah appeared in the form of Jesus Christ, who was widely rejected at that time and even now, which is why Christians who do not support Zionism adamantly say, ‘No,’ to a war between any of the major religions.
Rev Sizer writes in his book Zion’s Christian Soldiers: “The problem with all this speculation about a future Temple in Jerusalem is simply this – from a Christian perspective – it is heresy. There is absolutely nothing in the New Testament about the need for another Temple in Jerusalem – just the reverse…” Sizer concludes: “How tragic that, while the good news of Jesus is intended to bring peace and reconciliation with God and healing between nations, some Christians are fueling religious hatred, and are bent on inciting an apocalyptic war.”
Such a war would pit Christians and Muslims –who share their common values upon the doctrine of Jesus– against each other.
Sources: Stephen Sizer.org, Ma’an News, Arab News, BBC.
Filed under: Business/Economy, Front Page News, March Volume 2009, National, Politics
(IP)– Many Republicans are ready for war over President Barack Obama’s proposed federal budget, interpreting it as a plan to interject the government into corporate affairs. Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin says enactment of the Obama budget plan would lead to the largest expansion of government since Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. At the same time Republican statesmen are expressing their concern over the projected record-high deficit of $1.75 trillion for the next fiscal year, more than 12 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. “It is terrifying in the policy implications as well as mind-boggling in the numbers,” Senate Finance Committee member Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) told Fox News.
But political analysts have found ways to explain away both of the main arguments regarding an escalated deficit and government intervention. Lyndon LaRouche, chief economist of Executive Intelligence Review says the deficit argument is overplayed. A “diversion,” Mr LaRouche said, adding that the deficit before the new budget already has “no solution.” Matt Dallek, political historian at the University of California’s Washington Center takes a milder stance on government intervention: “Now on some level, we accept that the federal government for the most part, not everyone does, obviously, but we accept that the federal government has a role to play in a time of economic crisis.”
Mr Dallek’s logic is not acceptable to everyone, however. Many Republicans resent the scope of the new budget, even after a weeks long struggle of the Obama administration to pass the stimulus bill, the other part of the package to deal with the economic crisis.
However, White House officials point out that President Obama inherited the crisis, along with the federal deficit, from the previous administration. Director Office of Management and Budget, Peter Orszag, reiterated: “The economic crisis we’ve inherited raises the deficit by roughly $2 trillion (for this year and next year combined).” According to Mr Orszag, the crisis has raised the deficit, and the Obama administration has been left to deal with that in a way which is “fiscally responsible and not ‘big spending.’” “Irresponsible budgets and inexcusable practices are now in the past,” President Obama said during his weekly address March 7. The President also emphasized that, while the deficit will increase in the short run, reduction of the same amount is calculated for the next years.
In Peter Orszag’s notes to the public, he states the deficit reduction will partially come from “responsibly redeploying our military forces engaged in overseas contingency operations, as well as reforms that would allow us to get more for the money spent on defending the nation.” “The President is committed to responsibly winding the war,” wrote Orszag, “I don’t do foreign policy, but I can tell you this: ending wars saves money – and so the Administration’s budget includes savings from ramping down overseas military operations over time.” President Obama also signed a presidential memorandum earlier this month “to end unnecessary no-bid contracts and dramatically reform the way contracts are awarded — reforms that will save the American people up to $40 billion each year.” While defending massive short-term deficits as necessary during a severe economic recession, President Obama says his budget will shrink the revenue gap in subsequent years by eliminating unnecessary spending and raising income taxes on the wealthy.
Other methods of deficit reduction, according to Mr Orszag, include “returning fairness to the tax system by closing tax loopholes, eliminating subsidies for special interests, and returning to the pre-2001 tax rates for high-income families making more than $250,000 per year (over the next ten years, these revenue enhancements would reduce deficits by roughly $1 trillion).” The budget includes a tax cut for all but the wealthiest of workers and as White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, told CBS’ Face the Nation program: “Ninety-five percent of Americans will have a tax cut. Nobody will see a tax increase for two years.”
Orszag also states the budget will make government “more efficient – for example, by eliminating unwarranted subsidies to middlemen on educational loans and reducing erroneous payments (these two steps would reduce deficits by almost $100 billion over the next ten years).” On ABC’s This Week program, the budget director enjoined: “Let us also count the benefits that families get through Pell [education] grants, the benefits that they will receive through constraining health care costs, the benefits they get from weatherizing their homes, and so on. This budget makes the vast majority of American families much better off.”
But still, “a weak economy reduces revenue and increases spending on automatic stabilizers like unemployment insurance,” Orszag stated. This also requires billions to stabilize financial markets, including the need for the $787 billion Recovery Act to “jumpstart” the economy.
But not everyone agrees that the economy can be jumpstarted. Mr LaRouche contends that what is needed is a restart: “What’s running the world today [is] a usury-ridden financier system, which is now breaking down. Putting the entire world system through bankruptcy reorganization will, in effect, eliminate the present Anglo-Dutch-Saudi empire, that is, the banker, the financier empire.”
“The fact of the matter is, that the United States is [already] bankrupt. The U.S. system is bankrupt. The U.S. government is bankrupt. And every part of the world is also bankrupt,” LaRouche writes. The solution to what he calls an impending New Dark Age is “to create [a] system of cooperation among nation-states, of the type envisaged by Franklin Roosevelt in 1944, end all traces of imperialism, end all globalization, and go back to the sovereign nation-state and its people.” Locally, LaRouche proposes that, after declaring bankruptcy and cancelling claims against the economy, “A new flow of credit [be created], under our Constitution, to ensure that the local chartered and local national banks are able to perform their traditional function, in cooperation with government, for creating a system of long-term credit, to generate the rebuilding of our economy: agriculture, industry, infrastructure.”
LaRouche emphasizes that, like the President’s high speed rail program, infrastructure is of the greatest importance to reviving jobs and the economy. The economist also points out: “We need to go back to more distribution of production away from a few large centers of mass industry, into regional development; smaller industries, more emphasis on closely-held corporations. We need to rebuild the idea of a community, where you can walk to work in a quarter-hour or half an hour each way, at most.”
While, the ideas of the EIR director suggest a restructuring of society, the President’s budget, as it stands, is a definite far leap for those who prefer the status quo of the last eight years. Because the US dollar is linked to, and financially supported by, so many of the world’s economies, “Whether this president succeeds or fails, he’s going to do it in historic proportions.” says Larry Sabato, who directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “It seems to me that in a sense, it is another New Deal or Great Society. You may support it. You may oppose it. But it is big.” -Sources: Treasury Dept. VOA, Whitehouse.gov, EIR