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.
By Raheemah Atif
Islamic Post Staff Writer
Along with other organizations and peace ministries, Muslims of the Americas and the International Quranic Open University decry the murderous attacks which took place in Mumbai, and petition the governments of India and Pakistan to continue exercising diplomacy and a demeanor of forbearance and dignity in refraining from inflammatory accusations or taking premature or misdirected reprisals, and to remain firm in the pursuit of all facts. The role of the media must also be underscored in its crucial obligation to provide truthful and objective information to the public. In the instance of the Mumbai attacks, inflammatory press reports flared, citing unconfirmed, unproven accounts and statements that could easily be taken as indictments of individuals who have not yet been officially connected to the crimes.
The Islamic Post endeavours instead to present an accurate depiction of the extremism adopted by criminals, highlighting those who adopt and cloak the name of Muslims. It will be emphasized as much as it needs to be in order to clarify beyond any doubt: Islam is a religion, civilization, and culture of peace, justice, understanding and broad-mindedness. Nowhere in Islamic tenets are its adherents, Muslims, taught to bomb, kill and maim innocents to make some obscure political or social point. Although Muslims are allowed to defend themselves, we are a civilization of tolerant peoples, with no need for revolutionaries, rebels or bandits within our midst.
Yet current affairs seem to disagree. It was all too recent that Mumbai, India suffered the shock of bloodshed. Not much time has passed since yet another group of extremists, ignorant of their religion and culture, engaged in three day “battle” with authorities, inside a hundred-year old landmark, built in honor of an Islamic shrine, the Taj Mahal.
Although the purpose of the killing of innocents remains outside the grasp of understanding of truly religious peoples, one thing was clearly achieved: Besides launching the families of the victims into unending grief and every day Muslims behind a bulls-eye of blame, the peace talks between India and Pakistan were also disrupted.
More than sixty representatives and officials of Indian and Pakistani organizations and peace ministries came to the same conclusion in a joint statement released to the press on December 2. While expressing horror and shock at the maniacal violence and bloodshed, along with sincere condolences to the families, the coalition wondered at the timing of the attacks as more than simple coincidence. The massacre occurred just as the home secretaries of Pakistan and India concluded very productive peace talks, which included inroads to ease trade and travel restrictions as well as positive dialog on other important issues. But the fatal hand struck. “The enemies of peace and friendship between (our) two countries, whatever be the label under which they operate, are unnerved by these healthy developments and are hell bent on torpedoing them,” the statement declared. In short, the Mumbai violence superimposed the ugliness of criminal acts upon an international landscape colored with new intentions for peace.
But peace is not a consideration for those who employ terror to ‘shake up the consciousness’ of others. It is a faulty argument, indeed, and found nowhere in Islam. It is the duty of Muslims worldwide to make this fact well known.
One person who does this consistently is Stephen Suleiman Schwartz, the prominent Muslim historian on Wahhabism, author of Two Faces of Islam and founder of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, D.C. Mr. Schwartz, a Muslim convert with both Christian and Jewish ancestry, has written extensively on the origins of Wahhabis and their goals to “reform” a peaceful religion into an intolerant one, the pursuit of which has resulted in the murder and oppression of hundreds of thousands of mainstream Muslims, true scholars, and descendants of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad, who are the guides of this ummah –or worldwide Islamic community, peace be upon them. A quote from Mr. Schwartz in a Middle East Forum briefing called “Saudi Arabia and the Rise of the Wahhabi Threat,” published in February 2003, reads:
“Contrary to prevalent Western beliefs, Wahhabism is not an old Islamic tradition and the House of Saud does not enjoy a credible historic claim to rule over Arabia. Indeed, Wahhabism emerged only 250 years ago under the guidance of an obscure fanatic known as Muhammad Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab who later formed an alliance with a group of desert bandits, the Sauds. From the time they established their covenant to the creation of the modern Saudi state, the Saudi-Wahhabi movement spread across the peninsula brutally defeating and enslaving non-Wahhabi elements. […]
“The theological and political pact between the Saud clan and the Wahhabists resulted in the fall of Mecca [out of Ottoman rule] for the second and last time in 1924, solidifying their grip on power. After the conquest of Mecca, the vast oil wealth of the kingdom would be used to export a radical Wahhabist ideology across the globe.”
Clearly the aims of this ideology do not cease with the murder of Muslims. These extremists, as with all fanatics, are mere pawns in a Satanic plot. The objective in this case is to create between the adherents to truly pluralistic and strongly religious populations, particularly between Muslims and Christians, which have much in common, and hold the largest religious populations in the world. .
People who have been misled by Wahhabist indoctrination should reflect on what Ibn Abbas, the honorable cousin of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (may the peace of Allah be upon him and his family), said regarding that which is found in Surah Maidah in Holy Qur’an regarding murder: “Whoever kills one soul that Allah has forbidden killing, is just like he who kills all mankind.”
Filed under: December Volume 1 - 2008, International, World | Tags: Editorial, Muslim Victims, Suicide Bomber, Tafkir, Terrorism, Wahhabism
By Khalida Khaleel
Islamic Post Staff Writer
The Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family), has said:
“Verily, I fear about a man from you who will read the Qur’an so much that his face will become enlightened and will come to personify Islam.
“This will continue until Allah wishes, when these things will be taken away from him; as he will disregard them by putting them all behind him and attack his neighbor with the sword accusing him of polytheism (shirk).
The Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon him, was asked, ‘Which of the two was the mushrik (the one committing shirk), the attacker or the attacked?’ The Holy Last Messenger (may the peace of Allah be upon him) replied, ‘The attacker (the one accusing the other of shirk).’” *
An article appeared recently in the Oxford Journals entitled, “The Role of Religion in the Generation of Suicide Bombers,” in which author Dr. Sadik H. Kassim asserted, after thorough research, that although terrorist acts “suggest an inter-civilizational conflict between Islam and the West, the primary casualties of which are non-Muslim civilians,” Muslims have become the disproportionate victims of terrorism.
Between 1993 and 2003, according to a U.S. Senate hearing on terrorism, most of the victims of terrorist attacks over the last decade have been Muslims. They were killed by those who –having a dubious interpretation of Islam– accused their victims of being mushrik.
Over 2000 Muslims have died in the last year in attacks perpetrated by the misguided who believe that it is meritorious to kill their Muslim brethren.
Journalist, Mustafa Qadri, in his article, “The Taliban’s War Against Muslims,” interviewed a Taliban supporter. The man, a common rickshaw driver, claimed the people killed or injured by the Taliban “deserved their fate,” and that, “According to our faith, those who do not obey Islam are no longer Muslim; and it is lawful to kill them.”
History of an ideology.
A man named Ibn Abdul Wahhab, who lived in the mid 1700s in Saudi Arabia, was the first in modern times to proclaim the lives and property of mainstream Muslims lawful to take, and to condemn large groups of Muslims as polytheists. In the wake of the tyranny he propagated, which had no basis in the religion of Islam, the Ottoman empire was destroyed.
Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s ideology was not quite new, however. He was preceded in his thought by the Khawarijis (eng. Kharjites), 7th century rebel mutineers who believed, and behaved, much the same as their current day counterparts.
While the rickshaw driver refers to the Taliban as “holy warriors,” and “true Muslims,” authors Peter Bergen and Swati Pandey, in a research article published in The Washington Quarterly in 2006 entitled, “The Madrasa Scapegoat,” found that, out of the worst anti-Western terrorist acts committed between 1993 and 2004, only 11% of those found responsible had completed any sort of Islamic schooling required to embark upon the path of becoming an Islamic scholar.
Despite this fact, the image of such mutineers has been greatly enhanced via the large media houses who casually refer to Wahhabis, in particular, as: “puritanical,” “strict,” “ultra-orthodox,” “fundamentalist,” and “Sunni.”
Yet, it is well known that Ibn Abdul Wahhab, for whom this group is named, openly shunned the work of authentic Sunni scholars.
However, it is an unfortunate understatement to say that political movements often hide behind the cloak of religion.
Robert Pape in his book, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Bombing, cataloged and analyzed every suicide attack committed between the years 1980 and 2003 and found that out of 315 attacks, religion was not the root cause of a single one. On the contrary, while the top three groups who instigated suicide bombings during the 23 year period followed a religion: the Tamil Tigers (Hindu- 69 attacks); Hezbollah (Shiite and Christian, also Atheist/Communist- 36); Al Qaeda (Wahhabi- 21); all of the suicide bombings were found to be politically, not religiously, motivated.
If there is a civilization clash, it is not between Islam and the West, but the friction between trying to make political extremism conform to religious teachings.
* Hafiz Imam Abu Yala (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) narrated this saying from the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (may the peace of Allah be upon him), in his Musnad, with the chain going back to the companion of Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), Sayyedina Huzaifa (may Allah be pleased with him). The classification of this Hadith is Jayyid (having strong authenticity).
Filed under: Latino/Caribe, Sept/Oct Volume - 2008, World | Tags: Cuba, Iran-Contra, Terrorism, Venezuela
A three-member panel of judges of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals of the US District of Western Texas is hearing an appeal by the United States (as Plaintiff) related to the dismissal of an indictment lodged against Luis Posada Carriles on charges that false statements were used in the course of an interview conducted during his naturalization proceedings. Carriles, a notorious operative once on the CIA payroll, and who has allegedly been named as the mastermind behind the bombing of a Cuban airliner in which 73 people were killed, was described by Peter Kornbluh , then Senior Analyst of the National Security Archive, during a 2007 hearing before The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, as “one of the top ten most prolific purveyors of political violence in contemporary history.”
The District Court charged initially that the government had “engaged in deceptive conduct and outrageous tactics” during the naturalization proceedings; the court also had “the suppression of statements” made by Carriles that were subject to “incompetent translation” , apparently to expedite the acquisition of US citizenship for Carriles, who now resides in Florida.
The decision of the Court has effectively reversed the dismissal of the indictment, and demands that the suppressed statements from Posada’s naturalization interview be submitted before the Court, reopening the case for further litigation.
The protracted record of Posada’s covert political involvements precedes his culminating effort to become a U.S. citizen by two decades. Carriles was born in Cuba, and was opposed to the domination of his native country by Fidel and Raul Castro. The appellate court brief elaborates the scenario:
“In 1961, Posada became involved with the planning for the Bay of Pigs invasion and was brought into contact with the CIA. He later enlisted in the United States Army, was commissioned a second lieutenant, and received special training at Fort Benning with other former members of the 2506th Cuban Brigade who had been commissioned in the United States Armed Forces.
“Posada was honorably discharged from the Army in March 1964. Unclassified documents contained in the record indicate that from 1965 until 1974 he operated as a paid CIA asset, although Posada asserts that he maintained a relationship with the CIA well into the 1980’s. Posada went to work for the Venezuelan secret police in 1967 and eventually became the head of a security division in charge of surveillance, VIP protection, weapons, and explosives.
“In this capacity, he directed counterinsurgency operations against leftist guerillas supported by Castro. Posada was later arrested by Venezuelan authorities in connection with the 1976 bombing of a Cubana Aerolineas aircraft in which all 73 people aboard were killed. After several years, he escaped from prison while still awaiting trial. Venezuela still seeks extradition; Posada, for his part, denies any involvement and claims that the charges were orchestrated by Castro.
“After his escape from a Venezuelan prison, Posada made his way to El Salvador. There he became involved in supplying arms and materiel to aid the U.S.-backed Contras fighting against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, an operation that came to light as part of the Iran-Contra affair. Posada moved to Guatemala in 1989 and was employed in security by the state telephone company. In 1990, he was shot several times in the face and torso during an assassination attempt allegedly carried out by Cuban agents. Throughout the 1990’s he lived under assumed names in various Central American countries. When a series of hotel and tourist-site bombings occurred in Havana in 1997, Posada was suspected of involvement.
“The following year, he was the subject of two front-page articles in the New York Times in which he claimed a coordinating role in planning and executing the bombings. Posada later asserted, however, that his statements had been misunderstood and distorted by the reporter who interviewed him. In 2000, Posada was arrested in Panama in connection with an attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro at a summit meeting in that country. He was detained for several years and ultimately convicted of crimes against national security (a Panamanian offense related to the manufacture or acquisition of bomb-making materials1) and counterfeiting public records.”
Having been pardoned by the president of Panama before he left office in 2004, Posada sought legal asylum in the United States. Despite his illegal entry, he arranged an interview for that purpose, but on the day of the interview withdrew his asylum petition and instead held a press conference in Miami announcing his “presence.” As the brief continues, “Immigration officials took Posada into custody later that afternoon, and a few days later, on May 21, 2005, he submitted to an interview. Posada was ultimately placed in removal proceedings and, on September 27, 2005, ordered removed “to any country, other than Cuba and Venezuela, willing to accept him.”
From this point, Posada remained detained in an immigration-law equivalent of limbo. On October 12, 2005, Posada filed an application for naturalization with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). This application and the related naturalization proceedings ultimately formed the basis for Posada’s indictment on false statement charges.
The Appellate Court finds serious issue with the fact that in the course of the overview of Posada’s past (normally, the previous five years of activity are investigated in evaluating a naturalization applicant’s character record), Posada’s violent political activities were conveniently overlooked. It asserts that, indeed, an applicant’s history must be viewed beyond the statutory period in order to make an accurate judgement, especially for a person known to have a less-than-pristine past, and that this extended overview is necessary and within the interpretation of the law.
The case has subsequently been sent back, or remanded, to a lower court for re-litigation of the initial indictment, and possible deportation of Carriles.
-Raheemah Atif contributed to this report