Monday 28 February 2011


The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) related a parable comparing those who obey God's commands to those who do not. He said they are like people who draw lots for seats in a ship. "Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the others in the lower. When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water (and that troubled the others), so they said, 'Let us make a hole in our share of the ship (and get water) and save those who are above us from being troubled.' If the people in the upper part left the others do what they had suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe." Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Hadith 673

Dutch broadcaster removes anti-Wilders cartoon after threats to staff

Comment: The Islamophobic Danish cartoons were promoted by you under pretext of freedom of speech but this thought-provoking cartoon is labelled 'disgusting' and forcibly removed.Geertz, you hypocrite!

The website of a left-leaning public broadcaster has removed a cartoon depicting a plan by the far-right PVV party as a Nazi death camp following serious threats to its staff.

The cartoon, by Adriaan Soeterbroek and posted on the VARA’s site, ridiculed a PVV plan to create
"hooligan villages", likening them to a Nazi concentration camp with PVV leader Geert Wilders showing the inmates into a shower. In World War II millions of people, mostly Jews and Roma gypsies, were killed in Nazi gas chambers disguised as showers.

The VARA says it removed the cartoon after careful consideration, saying that while freedom of expression is a key right some of its staff felt too threatened to continue working. The broadcaster has reported the incident to the police.

Due to its initial refusal to remove the cartoon, PVV top candidate Machiel de Graaf refused to participate in a debate the VARA broadcast on 16 February ahead of the 2 March provincial elections.


Friday 25 February 2011

'Blame the Muslims': Violence Against Women in Egypt

As soon as CBS announced yesterday that correspondent Lara Logan had been sexually assaulted while covering the Egyptian protests, the media sprang alive in search of a scapegoat. Two disturbing lines of commentary have emerged: one that cites irrelevant details about Logan's beauty or her past sexual history, the other blaming Muslims or Egyptian culture for the assault. In theWashington Post, Alexandra Petri noted that this happened to a "known, blonde white woman." And on her blog, Debbie Schlussel wrote that "she should have known what Islam is all about." "This never happened to her or any other mainstream media reporter when Mubarak was allowed to treat his country of savages in the only way they can be controlled," opined Schlussel.

But we would be wrong to assume that in controlling Egyptians, Mubarak somehow also kept women safe. In fact, state-sanctioned violence against women was widespread and well documented. For years Egypt has been cited by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for using rape, torture, and sexual assault to threaten and intimidate female activists who criticized the regime. These tactics were also used against female family members of dissidents. There is also considerable evidence that members of Mubarak's security forces ordered the assault of female protesters during the recent demonstrations.

In times of conflict, the perpetrators of sexual violence cross religious and ethnic lines. An estimated 20-50,000 Muslim women were raped during the conflict in Bosnia in the 1990s. Closer to home, yesterday a class action lawsuit was announced by 17 American servicewomen who reported being raped by fellow members of the military. And in searching for spurious links between "American culture" and violence against women, we do not have to look toward military settings or exotic, war-torn locales. Take the most recent Super Bowl. Allegations of rape have hovered over both teams, while news agencies reported a disturbing increase in the sex trafficking of girls and women around the time of the Super Bowl. But we would chafe at allowing outsiders to generalize that all Americans exhibit violent tendencies toward women.

To be sure, sexual harassment is endemic in Egypt. And for the most part, we are fortunate to be able to walk down the street in the United States without the verbal and physical harassment that Egyptian women face on a daily basis. A 2005 Egypt Demographic and Health survey revealed that one third of Egyptian women are victims of domestic violence. Yet a 2010 study by the Population Reference bureau also points out that poor women are twice as likely in Egypt to be victimized. Similar studies in U.S. society have shown correlations between poverty and violence against women. And across all social classes, the statistics are grim. A U.S. Justice Department studyshowed that 1 in 6 of all American women will be raped during their lifetimes. 50% of all murders of women in the U.S. are committed by a romantic partner. Muslim countries hardly have the monopoly on violence against women.

To read this brutal attack as emblematic of Egyptian culture or Islam does a disservice to all those in Egyptian society who are working actively to end violence against women, women like physician Amal Abd El-Hadi, whose New Woman Foundation is dedicated to ending gender-based violence, and Dr. Aida Seif El Dawla, a psychiatrist who has created programs to rehabilitate victims of violence and torture. There is no excuse for what happened to Lara Logan, but explanations for violence should not be found in a religion, or in broad generalizations about Egyptian culture. Rather than blaming religion, we should work to end underdevelopment, poverty, and a lack of education, problems whose eradication is crucial to a prosperous and healthy society anywhere, whether in Egypt or here at home.

Rachel Newcomb is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Rollins College and the author of Women of Fes: Ambiguities of Urban Life in Morocco.


Wednesday 23 February 2011

Zakir Naik doesn't preach hate shock

Controversial Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik addressed the Oxford Union on Friday despite the exclusion order against him entering the UK.

Naik gave a speech and answered questions via video link from India to a crowd of students and other onlookers at the event, organised by the famous debating society.

In his speech, Naik blamed the “virulent propaganda” in the media for the “misconception of Islam” and for his own ban on entry to the UK.

He claimed the media printed portions of his speeches “out of context” and so portrayed him as a “preacher of hate”.

Home Secretary Theresa May excluded Naik from the UK last June after his “unacceptable behaviour”, referring to comments he made in speeches, which were then posted as YouTube videos.

Naik defended himself during his address, declaring himself on a “mission is to spread peace”.

“Unfortunately today the media portrays Islam as a religion which promotes terrorism”, Naik said. “The media picks up on the black sheep of the Muslim community and portrays them as though they are exemplary Muslims.”

Despite the ban – a decision made as Naik’s presence in the UK “might not be conducive to the public good”, according to the Home Secretary – the controversial preacher was confident it would be temporary.

“I have full faith that very shortly this exclusion order will be reversed”, he said. “I hope that I will have the chance to meet the Home Secretary personally and explain to her the peaceful message of Islam.”

During the hour-long talk, Naik referenced the Koran and Islam’s message of peace, and declared: “The only solution to the problem of humanity is peace. Irrespective of the differences, one common factor between all the people of the world is that all want peace.”

After the talk, members of the audience queued to put questions to the speaker.

Over the course of the question-and-answer session, Naik responded to queries about Islamophobia and hijabs, among other topics.

He said that although the hijab is “prescribed” in the Koran, “Islam can’t force anyone to wear it” but that “if some women want to wear a hijab then no other women should disagree”.

On the subject of Islamophobia, Naik said: “It is the duty of us as Muslims that we should spread the true teachings of Islam.”

Naik was blunt in his statement that “Islam and I, too, condemn all forms of terrorism” and said: “Islam condemns the killing of any human being irrespective of caste colour or race, irrespective of nationality.”

In a speech before Naik’s talk, Oxford Union President James Langman said that the event promoted the society’s tradition of “organising debate and discussion”.


Tuesday 22 February 2011

Libya protests: massacres reported as Gaddafi imposes news blackout

Libyans have taken to the streets and buried their dead, accusing government forces of perpetrating massacres in Benghazi and other towns said to have been taken over by anti-regime protesters.

Opposition sources claimed that at least 61 protesters had been killed in three days of unprecedented unrest largely in Libya's impoverished eastern region, though it was not possible to confirm that figure.

Human Rights Watch reported that 24 people had been killed by Thursday.

Diplomats reported the use of heavy weapons in Benghazi, Libya's second city, and "a rapidly deteriorating situation" in the latest Arab country to be hit by serious unrest.

Amid a near-total official news blackout, fragmentary information and a ban on journalists entering Libya, there was a blizzard of rumours and claims about killings by mercenaries and defections by members of the security forces.

In one highly significant development, prisoners were reported to have escaped en masse from al-Jadida jail in the capital, Tripoli, which has so far been calm.

Supporters of a Libyan "day of rage" on Facebook reported that Derna and other eastern towns had been "liberated" from government forces.

Crowds in Tobruk were shown destroying a statue of Muammar Gaddafi's Green Book, and chanting: "We want the regime to fall," echoing the uprising in neighbouring Egypt. The city's airport was closed.

Troops were reported to have landed at Benghazi airport, suggesting a significant move into the city.

Security forces were also reported to be preparing to attack al-Bayda after protesters blocked the airport runway to prevent reinforcements arriving, according to one exile group.

A statement by the country's powerful revolutionary committees promised a "sharp and violent" response to those who dared to cross the regime's "red lines".

A sermon at Friday prayers in Tripoli, broadcast on state TV, urged people to ignore reports in foreign media "which doesn't want our country to be peaceful, which ... is the aim of Zionism and imperialism, to divide our country".

Gaddafi supporters were shown on TV staging noisy demonstrations, with the leader briefly appearing in the early hours of Friday at Green Square in the centre of the city, surrounded by crowds of cheering supporters.

Umm Muhammad, a political activist in Benghazi, told the Guardian that 38 people had died there. "They were using live fire here, not just teargas. This is a bloody massacre — in Benghazi, in al-Bayda, all over Libya. They are releasing prisoners from the jails to attack the demonstrators. The whole Libyan people wants to bring down this regime." Benghazi's al-Jala hospital was appealing for emergency blood supplies to help treat the injured.

Ramadan Briki, the Benghazi-based editor of Quryna newspaper, said 24 people had died. Ashour Shamis, a London-based Libyan journalist, said protesters had stormed the city's Kuwafiyah prison and freed dozens of political prisoners. Escapees set fire to the prosecutor's office, a bank and a police station.

Amateur footage showed buildings burning and protesters who had been shot dead. The pictures, given to al-Jazeera TV, recorded streets empty of police or army units. Much of the violence was blamed on "mercenaries" reportedly brought in from neighbouring Chad.

Amer Saad, a political activist from Derna, told al-Jazeera: "The protesters in al-Bayda have been able to seize control of the military airbase in the city and have executed 50 African mercenaries and two Libyan conspirators. Even in Derna today, a number of conspirators were executed. They were locked up in the holding cells of a police station because they resisted, and some died burning inside the building.

"This will be the end of every oppressor who stands with Gaddafi. Gaddafi is over, that's it, he has no presence here any more. The eastern regions of Libya are now free regions. If he wants to reclaim it, he will need to bomb us with nuclear or chemical bombs. This is his only option. The people have stood and said they will not go back."

Several demonstrations were reported in western Libya. The so-called Khamis brigades, special militia units commanded by one of Gaddafi's sons, broke up a demonstration in Alzentan.

Shamis predicted that the regime might hesitate before using massive force to restore order in Benghazi or elsewhere in the east. Gaddafi, in power for 41 years, is the Arab world's longest-serving leader and presides over one of its most repressive regimes.

Libya, current chairman of the Arab League, announced that it had asked for next month's summit to be postponed "because of the circumstances in the Arab region," the Jana news agency said.

The Foreign Office has meanwhile altered its travel advice on Libya, advising against all but essential travel to the cities of Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Bayda, Marj, Derna, Ajdabiya and Tobruk in eastern Libya. It also advised against all but essential travel to areas bordering Sudan, Chad, Niger and Algeria.


Monday 21 February 2011

Tablighi Jamaat mosque accused of encouraging Muslim isolationism

Comment: Renta-Gob Taj Hargey (the imaginary imam) and his minions at it again. However TJ do need to step up their game, sitting on the sidelines and being apolitical will not save you from the attacks.

An Islamic group fighting to keep its east London mosque, near to the Olympics site, has been described by opponents as a "supremacist movement" that encourages isolationism from wider British society.

Tablighi Jamaat, a global proselytising movement with tens of thousands of members in the UK, is trying to overturn an enforcement notice on its mosque, called the Riverine Centre, after temporary planning permission expired in 2006.

A planning inquiry at Newham town hall will determine whether the group can continue to use the modest collection of buildings. On Thursday it heard that followers of Tablighi Jamaat were taught to "shun integration with all unbelievers in order to be uncontaminated Muslims and to isolate themselves from wider society".

According to evidence from Dr Taj Hargey, an imam who runs a progressive Islamic educational centre in Oxford, the "isolationist dynamic" of Tablighi Jamaat has caused the growth of a "separatist Muslim enclave" in the streets around its Dewsbury headquarters.

Hargey was called as a witness by Newham Concern, a local campaign group which has long opposed Tablighi Jamaat and its ambitions to expand its facilities. The group is behind plans to build a much larger facility at the site, dubbed a "megamosque" by the media, although it currently has no planning application in place.

Hargey told the inquiry that Tablighi Jamaat had "achieved very little for the community" and rejected the group's assertions that closing the mosque would lead to the marginalisation of Muslim youth.

He said: "Over the past 14 years that TJ has occupied the site it has furnished no proven track record of opening their facilities to the wider Muslim community, let alone non-Muslim community. In that time they have not even managed to create any facilities for women. The facility itself currently contributes substantially to marginalisation". He described it as a "supremacist movement with adverse implications for the government's community cohesion policies".

Newham Concern also called Tehmina Kazi, from the group British Muslims for Secular Democracy, as a witness.

Kazi, speaking in a personal capacity, said the government's national planning policy sought to promote "mixed and balanced communities" and that Tablighi Jamaat was "particularly inward-looking" because it only engaged with other Muslims. "The main issue is not that they are a socially conservative movement, but the fact they have been reluctant to engage in dialogue with people who are different."

Newham council has said it wants to shut the mosque down over concerns about traffic levels, land contamination and visual impact.

The inquiry continues.


Saturday 19 February 2011

Robert Fisk in Bahrain: 'They didn't run away. They faced the bullets head-on'

"Massacre – it's a massacre," the doctors were shouting. Three dead. Four dead. One man was carried past me on a stretcher in the emergency room, blood spurting on to the floor from a massive bullet wound in his thigh.

A few feet away, six nurses were fighting for the life of a pale-faced, bearded man with blood oozing out of his chest. "I have to take him to theatre now," a doctor screamed. "There is no time – he's dying!"

Others were closer to death. One poor youth – 18, 19 years old, perhaps – had a terrible head wound, a bullet hole in the leg and a bloody mess on his chest. The doctor beside him turned to me weeping, tears splashing on to his blood-stained gown. "He has a fragmented bullet in his brain and I can't get the bits out, and the bones on the left side of his head are completely smashed. His arteries are all broken. I just can't help him." Blood was cascading on to the floor. It was pitiful, outrageous, shameful. These were not armed men but mourners returning from a funeral, Shia Muslims of course, shot down by their own Bahraini army

A medical orderly was returning with thousands of other men and women from the funeral at Daih of one of the demonstrators killed at Pearl Square in the early hours of Thursday.

"We decided to walk to the hospital because we knew there was a demonstration. Some of us were carrying tree branches as a token of peace which we wanted to give to the soldiers near the square, and we were shouting 'peace, peace. There was no provocation – nothing against the government. Then suddenly the soldiers started shooting. One was firing a machine gun from the top of a personnel carrier. There were police but they just left as the soldiers shot at us. But you know, the people in Bahrain have changed. They didn't want to run away. They faced the bullets with their bodies."

The demonstration at the hospital had already drawn thousands of Shia protesters – including hundreds of doctors and nurses from all over Manama, still in their white gowns – to demand the resignation of the Bahraini Minister of Health, Faisal Mohamed al-Homor, for refusing to allow ambulances to fetch the dead and injured from Thursday morning's police attack on the Pearl Square demonstrators.

But their fury turned to near-hysteria when the first wounded were brought in yesterday. Up to 100 doctors crowded into the emergency rooms, shouting and cursing their King and their government as paramedics fought to push trolleys loaded with the latest victims through screaming crowds. One man had a thick wad of bandages stuffed into his chest but blood was already staining his torso, dripping off the trolley. "He has a live round in his chest – and now there is air and blood in his lungs," the nurse beside him told me. "I think he is going." Thus did the anger of Bahrain's army – and, I suppose, the anger of the al-Khalifa family, the King included – reach the Sulmaniya medical centre.

The staff felt that they too were victims. And they were right. Five ambulances sent to the street – yesterday's victims were shot down opposite a fire station close to Pearl Square – were stopped by the army. Moments later, the hospital discovered that all their mobile phones had been switched off. Inside the hospital was a doctor, Sadeq al-Aberi, who was himself badly hurt by the police when he went to help the wounded on Thursday morning.

Rumours burned like petrol in Bahrain yesterday and many medical staff were insisting that up to 60 corpses had been taken from Pearl Square on Thursday morning and that police were seen by crowds loading bodies into three refrigerated trucks. One man showed me a mobile phone snapshot in which the three trucks could be seen clearly, parked behind several army armoured personnel carriers. According to other demonstrators, the vehicles, which bore Saudi registration plates, were later seen on the highway to Saudi Arabia. It is easy to dismiss such ghoulish stories, but I found one man – another male nurse at the hospital who works under the umbrella of the United Nations – who told me that an American colleague, he gave his name as "Jarrod", had videotaped the bodies being put into the trucks but was then arrested by the police and had not been seen since.

Why has the royal family of Bahrain allowed its soldiers to open fire at peaceful demonstrators? To turn on Bahraini civilians with live fire within 24 hours of the earlier killings seems like an act of lunacy.

But the heavy hand of Saudi Arabia may not be far away. The Saudis are fearful that the demonstrations in Manama and the towns of Bahrain will light equally provocative fires in the east of their kingdom, where a substantial Shia minority lives around Dhahran and other towns close to the Kuwaiti border. Their desire to see the Shia of Bahrain crushed as quickly as possible was made very clear at Thursday's Gulf summit here, with all the sheikhs and princes agreeing that there would be no Egyptian-style revolution in a kingdom which has a Shia majority of perhaps 70 per cent and a small Sunni minority which includes the royal family.

Yet Egypt's revolution is on everyone's lips in Bahrain. Outside the hospital, they were shouting: "The people want to topple the minister," a slight variation of the chant of the Egyptians who got rid of Mubarak, "The people want to topple the government."

And many in the crowd said – as the Egyptians said – that they had lost their fear of the authorities, of the police and army.

The policemen and soldiers for whom they now express such disgust were all too evident on the streets of Manama yesterday, watching sullenly from midnight-blue armoured vehicles or perched on American-made tanks. There appeared to be no British weaponry in evidence – although these are early days and there was Russian-made armour alongside the M-60 tanks. In the past, small Shia uprisings were ruthlessly crushed in Bahrain with the help of a Jordanian torturer and a senior intelligence factotum who just happened to be a former British Special Branch officer.

And the stakes here are high. This is the first serious insurrection in the wealthy Gulf states – more dangerous to the Saudis than the Islamists who took over the centre of Mecca more than 30 years ago – and Bahrain's al-Khalifa family realise just how fraught the coming days will be for them. A source which has always proved reliable over many years told me that late on Wednesday night, a member of the al-Khalifa family – said to be the Crown Prince – held a series of telephone conversations with a prominent Shia cleric, the Wifaq Shia party leader, Ali Salman, who was camping in Pearl Square. The Prince apparently offered a series of reforms and government changes which he thought the cleric had approved. But the demonstrators stayed in the square. They demanded the dissolution of parliament. Then came the police.

In the early afternoon yesterday, around 3,000 people held a rally in support of the al-Khalifas and there was much waving of the national flag from the windows of cars. This may make the front pages of the Bahraini press today – but it won't end the Shia uprising. And last night's chaos at Manama's greatest hospital – the blood slopping off the wounded, the shouts for help from those on the stretchers, the doctors who had never before seen such gunshot wounds; one of them simply shook his head in disbelief when a woman went into a fit next to a man who was sheathed in blood – has only further embittered the Shia of this nation.

A doctor who gave his name as Hussein stopped me leaving the emergency room because he wanted to explain his anger. "The Israelis do this sort of thing to the Palestinians – but these are Arabs shooting at Arabs," he bellowed above the din of screams and shouts of fury. "This is the Bahraini government doing this to their own people. I was in Egypt two weeks ago, working at the Qasr el-Aini hospital – but things are much more fucked up here."



The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) recited: "My servants who have transgressed against their souls (through sinning should) not despair of God's mercy, for God pardons all sins." (Quran, 39:53)

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 745

The Prophet also quoted the devil as saying to God: "I shall continue to lead Thy servants astray as long as their spirits are in their bodies." God replied: "(And) I shall continue to pardon them as long as they ask My forgiveness."

Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 742

Thursday 17 February 2011

The end of the Phaorah....

We recite to you with truth some news of Moses and Pharaoh for people who believe. Pharaoh exalted himself arrogantly in the land and divided its people into camps, oppressing one group of them by slaughtering their sons and letting their women live. He was one of the corrupters. (Qur'an, 28:3-4)

Pharaoh said, "Council, I do not know of any other god for you apart from Me…" (Qur'an, 28:38)

Pharaoh called to his people, saying, "My people, does the kingdom of Egypt not belong to me? Do not all these rivers flow under my control? Do you not then see?" (Qur'an, 43:51)

No one believed in Moses except for a few of his people out of fear that Pharaoh, and the elders, would persecute them. Pharaoh was high and mighty in the land. He was one of the profligate. (Qur'an, 10:83)

So We seized him and his troops and flung them into the sea. See the final fate of the wrongdoers! We made them leaders, summoning to the Fire, and on the Day of Rising they will not be helped. We pursued them with a curse in this world and on the Day of Rising they will be hideous and spurned. (Qur'an, 28:40-4

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Oppression from an Islamic Perspective

As-Salamu `Alaykum. I would like you to shed some light on the concept of oppression in Islam, for we need to expose hidden aspects of this issue for others to know who are the real oppressors. What are the forms of oppression from Islamic perspective?

Wa`alaykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

In The Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear questioner, thank you very much for having confidence in us, and we hope our efforts, which are purely for Allah's Sake, meet your expectations.

First of all, we would like to stress the fact that all forms of oppression are condemned in Islam. It is high time that broad-minded Muslims and non-Muslims understand this fact, which is highlighted in the following:

Concept of Oppression:

"Contrary to the common misconception that Islam is an oppressive religion, Islam explicitly forbids all forms of oppression.

Hisham Ibn Al-Hakim Ibn Hazim happened to pass by some people, the farmers of Syria, who had been made to stand in the sun. He asked: What is the matter with them? They said: They have been detained for (not paying) the Jizyah (tax on non-Muslims in an Islamic state). Thereupon, Hisham said: I testify that I heard Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, saying: “Allah would torment those who torment people in the world.” (Reported by Muslim)

Jabir Ibn `Abdullah, may Allah be pleased with him, quoted the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, as saying: “Be on your guard against committing oppression, for oppression is a darkness on the Day of Resurrection...” ( Reported by Muslim)

It is also reported that Prophet Dawud, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “O Allah, You know that I love You and I love all those who love You, but how may I endear You to Your servants? Allah said: Remind them of My Favors, My trials and My anger. O Dawud, any of My servants who helped an oppressed person and stood by him in his oppressed state, I’ll keep his feet firm on the Day when all feet will be shaken.” (Reported by Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Ahadith Al-Qudsiyyah)

In another Hadith Qudsi, Allah Almighty says: “I shall take revenge on the oppressor in this life and the next. I shall take revenge on someone who saw a person being oppressed and was able to help him but did not help him.” (Reported by Tabarani)

Different Forms of Oppression:

It is worth stressing here that Islam not only condems doing others oppression and justice, but it goes far to condemn oppression against one’s self. When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, came back from the battle of Tabuk, he laid a greater emphasis on the Jihad against the soul or nafs.

One of the many shortcomings which has arisen in the West, is judging Islam by the conduct of a minority of its people. By doing this, segments of Western society have deliberately played off the desperate actions of many Muslims, and have given it the name of Islam. Such behaviour is clearly not objective and seeks to distort the reality of Islam. For if such a thing was logic (judging a religion by the conduct of its people) then we too could say that all Christianity is about is child molesting and homosexuality, whilst Hinduism was all about looting and breaking up mosques.

Generalising in such a manner is not seen as being objective, yet we find that the West is foremost in propagating this outlook on Islam. So what is the reality of Islam? How does one dispel the myths which have been created and spread so viciously?

Where is the Truth then?

The only way to examine Islam is to simply examine its belief system. Look at its sources, the Qur'an and the Sunnah, and see what they have to say. This is the way to find the truth about what Islam says about terror, terrorism and terrorists.

One who is sincerely searching for the truth, will do it no other way. The very name Islam comes from the Arabic root word 'salama' which means peace. Islam is a religion, which is based upon achieving peace through the submission to the will of Allah. Thus, by this very simple linguistic definition, one can ascertain as to what the nature of this religion is. If such a religion is based on the notion of peace, then how is it that so many acts done by its adherents are contrary to peace? The answer is simple. Such actions, if not sanctioned by the religion, have no place with it. They are not Islamic and should not be thought of as Islamic.

Anyone who knows the early history of Islam, will know that all those nations and empires which came under the fold of Islam were indeed previously oppressed. When the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, went out for the offensive Jihad against the Egyptians, the Persians and the Romans, we find that the people did not resist against them at all. Rather, they accepted Islam on such a scale, that it is inconceivable that the Jihad of Islam could be anything other than a liberation for these oppressed people; a liberation from centuries of tyranny.

In fact, with the Byzantine Egyptians and the people of Spain, the Muslims were even beckoned to come and liberate these lands from the oppression of their kings. This is the glorious track record of the Islamic Jihad.

Compare this with the brutal track record of warfare in the Western world over the centuries. From the crusades against the Muslims to the days of colonial warfare, the Western world has killed, destroyed and plundered everything, which has come in its way.

Even today this merciless killing goes on by the Western nations. While claiming to be about world peace and security, Western nations are ready to bomb innocent civilians at the drop of a hat. The classic example of this is the recent bombings of Afghanistan.

Without doubt this was the reason for such terror from the American military upon innocent people. This is the same American military which claims to enter the worlds trouble spots under the guise of being peace keepers. But "… when it is said to them; 'Make not mischief on the Earth', they say; 'We are only peace makers'. Indeed they are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive it not.” (Al-Baqarah 2:11-12)

The Role of the Media in Distorting the Islamic Image

By going through the teachings of Islam, it is clear that such a religion has only come to benefit mankind and not to destroy it. So why is there so much hatred for this noble religion in the West?

The answer is simple, the media. It is the Jewish influenced media of the West which has portrayed Islam to be something that it is not. A number of years ago, when the Oklahoma City bomb went off, a headline in one of the newspapers, 'Today', summed up this attitude. With a picture of a fire fighter holding a dead child in his arms, the headline read: "In The Name of Islam". Time has of course proven that this bigoted assumption was incorrect, as Timothy McVeigh, a right wing radical now faces the death penalty for the crime.

Likewise, the bombs which went off in the Paris metro in 1995, were also blamed on Muslim fanatics. It has now emerged that the Algerian secret service who having routinely bribed many European journalists and MPs, were actually behind it. The desire to throw a veil over Islam is immense by these people:

Allah Almigty says: “They intend to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will complete His light even though the disbelievers hate (it).” (As-Saff: 8)

Whilst trying to destroy Islam through this instrument of the media, the Jews clearly try to portray an image of themselves as being the oppressed people. Every year, we are reminded as to how many Jews perished under the Nazis in World War II. We are made to feel sorry for these same people who have gone on to commit so many crimes upon the Palestinian people. Some may say that this is a racist and biased viewpoint.

But we say; If this media was not run and orchestrated by the Jews and was truly neutral, then why are Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, two former Israeli prime ministers, not held aloft as being terrorists? Anyone who knows about the history of the Palestinian occupation will tell you that these two men were members of the Stern Gang and Irgun, two notorious Jewish terror groups who killed many innocent people.

If this media was truly impartial, then why does it not tell about the extent of the Israeli bombardment and illegal occupation of Southern Lebanon and its people? And if this media really had nothing against the religion of Allah, then why does it not inform the people that every day hundreds are entering the religion of Islam? Such things will never be highlighted in the Western media, simply because to do so would be against their very interests."

The above quotation is excerpted with slight modifications from

It is clear from the above that Islam and true Muslims have nothing to do with oppression. The issue can’t be generalised as done by the Western media. A clear separating line between true Muslims and those who trade in the name of religion has to be drawn. Those who have a moderate view of Islam have a big role to shoulder. This role should be enhanced especially in the period ahead in order to quench the thirst of those non-Muslims who are eager to accept Islam as well as those Muslims whose vision about the true Islamic teachings are not clear.

If you have any further comments, please don't hesitate to write back!

May Allah guide you to the straight path, and guide you to that which pleases Him, Amen.

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Tuesday 15 February 2011

Dont ask (ridiculous) questions about religion

Narrated Al-Mughira bin Shu'ba (Radi Allah Anhu): The Prophet (sal-allahu- alleihi-wasallam ) said:

"Allah has forbidden for you:
(1) to be undutiful to your mothers,
(2) to bury your daughters alive,
(3) to not to pay the rights of the others (e.g. charity, etc.) and
(4) to beg of men (begging).

And Allah has hated for you
(1) vain, useless talk, or that you talk too much about others,
(2) to ask too many questions, (in disputed religious matters) and
(3) to waste the wealth (by extravagance) ."

[Sahih Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 41, Number 591]

Muslim also records the above tradition and gives another version with a different isnad:

It is reported from Abu Hurayrah that he heard God’s Messenger as saying: Avoid what I forbid you to do and do what I command you to do to the best of your capacity. Surely the people before you went to their doom because they had put too many questions to their prophets and then disagreed about them. (Muslim; this hadith has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Shihab with the same chain of transmitters.)

Muslim gives a similar hadith, in which the words of the Prophet are connected with a specific question:

It is reported from Abu Hurayrah: God’s Messenger gave us a sermon, saying, “O people! Hajj has been made obligatory for you, so perform it.” A man asked: “Every year, O Messenger of God.” He kept silent until the man asked him three times. He then said: “Had I said ‘yes’, it would have become obligatory for you and you would not have been do it.” He then added: “Leave me with what I leave you. Surely the people before you went to their doom because they had put too many questions to their prophets and then disagreed about them. So when I command you something, do it to the best of your ability and when I forbid you something, abstain from it.”

The Holy Qur'an 5:101 states: "Believers, ask not questions about things which if made plain to you may cause you trouble when the Qur'an is revealed. Some people before you asked questions, and on that account lost their faith."

Maulana Maududi, in his commentary, The Meaning of the Qur'an, explains: "The Prophet forbade people to ask questions or to pry into such things."

Monday 14 February 2011

Robert Fisk: Cairo's 50,000 street children were abused by this regime

The cops shot 16-year-old Mariam in the back on 28 January, a live round fired from the roof of the Saida Zeinab police station in the cof Cairo's old city at the height of the government violence aimed at quelling the revolution, a pot shot of contempt by Mubarak's forces for the homeless street children of Egypt.

She had gone to the police with up to a hundred other beggar boys and girls to demand the release of her friend, 16-year-old Ismail Yassin, who had already been dragged inside the station. Some of the kids outside were only nine years old. Maybe that's why the first policeman on the roof fired warning bullets into the air.

Then he shot Mariam. She was taking pictures of the police on her mobile phone, but fell to the ground with a bullet in her back. The other children carried her to the nearby Mounira hospital – where the staff apparently refused to admit her – and then to the Ahmed Maher hospital, where the bullet was removed. Ismail was freed and made his way to Tahrir Square, where the pro-democracy protesters were under attack by armed men. He was wandering up Khairat Street – drawn towards violence like all the homeless of Cairo – when an unknown gunmen shot him in the head and killed him.

They are everywhere in the capital, the 50,000 street children of Cairo, Mubarak's shameful, unspoken legacy, the detritus of the poor and the defenceless, orphans and outcasts, glue-sniffers, many of them drug-addicted, as young as five, the girls often arrested and – according to the children and charity workers – sexually molested by the police.

Egyptian government statistics claim that only 5,000 beggar children live on the streets, a figure which local non-governmental organisations and Western agencies say is another Mubarak fantasy to cover up a scandal 10 times as big.

Children interviewed by The Independent on Sunday, however, have also revealed how Mubarak supporters deliberately brought children to the outskirts of Tahrir Square to throw stones at the pro-democracy supporters, how they persuaded penniless street kids to participate in their pro-Mubarak marches. Swarms of other children forced their way into the square itself because they discovered that the protesters were kind to them, feeding them sandwiches and giving them cigarettes and money.

According to one local Egyptian charity, as many as 12,000 street children were caught up in the opposing street demonstrations of the past three weeks.

"They were told it was their duty – a national patriotic act – to throw stones at the demonstrators, to do violent actions," said an Egyptian doctor in Saida Zeinab. According to the same woman, many children were hit by police rubber bullets when they found themselves on the side of the pro-democracy demonstrators. At least 12 from this district alone were taken to hospital with wounds caused by police weapons.

Ahmed – he is not sure if he is 18 or 19, but is probably much younger – saw Mariam shot. Dressed in an orange T-shirt, faded jeans,plastic sandals and a blue baseball hat, he was shy and frightened, even though the Saida Zeinab police station was burned down by angry crowds later on the same night of 28 January – when the cops fled.

"It was just before Friday prayers and we heard the police were beating people in the street," he said. "I went out and saw lots of people throwing stones – so I started throwing stones at the police.

"Everyone was throwing stones, my family, every family, because everyone hated the police.

"Mariam was taking pictures on her mobile and the police were on the roof. She had her back to the police station, but they shot her anyway. People took her to the hospital and she came out bandaged, but she said the wound still hurt and she thought someone had stolen one of her kidneys. I saw her on the street afterwards, in the Abu Riche area. Now I don't know where she is."

Children's hostels – operating with British as well as other European donations – have tried to find Mariam, but to no avail.

Ahmed was in Khairat Street when Ismail Yassin was shot. "I was beaten and hit by a 'cartouche' from a police stun gun. A lot of the young people went into the streets to steal – from houses or anywhere. They hit the people in the houses and took whatever they wanted."

Ahmed cleans cars for money – at traffic lights, in traffic jams and at blocked road intersections – and sleeps on the streets, staying awake at night in case thieves assault him, snatching a few hours of sleep after sunrise. Ahmed's parents, like those of many other street children, are alive, but he fell out with them long ago and refuses to go home.

Mohamed is only nine and has confused memories of the revolution that overthrew Mubarak. He and another child were assaulted by three men who threw them into a sewer – apparently in an attempt to take money from them. Then, with his brothers, he went to watch the demonstrations in the Gayar district of Cairo.

"I started throwing stones at people who said 'no' to Hosni Mubarak. I went on my own with people who said they wanted Mubarak.

"They told me to throw stones. The people were older than me." Mohamed is originally from Guena in upper Egypt, from a family of three sisters and three brothers.

"I went back to stay with a friend who was sleeping in a garden," he said. "Then another friend started living in Tahrir and told me to come there. So I went with Karim and Ali and Mohamed and we got food there and we sat with the people. I liked going there. I sometimes begged from the people. And the soldiers always said 'hello' to me and sometimes they gave me food."

These children – often much younger than they claimed – sometimes avoided questions about police behaviour; they were obviously still afraid. Hostel workers spoke of policemen forcing female street children to sleep with them, even stealing money from the girls. Several children said that most of their friends were on drugs. One young man was clearly addicted and spoke almost incoherently of police violence, of carrying knives, of being repeatedly beaten in the Saida Zeinab police station by two cops, whose full names were given to The Independent on Sunday.

Many of the children were sucked into the vortex of the revolution, following crowds out of excitement and a sense of adventure.

"People started walking in demonstrations and I just started walking with them," said Goma. He is barefoot and in filthy trousers, and claims to be 16. He is originally from the oasis city of Fayoum and admitted that he didn't know at first whom the people supported.

"Then they started saying they liked Mubarak and they walked to Tahrir," he said. "But when we got into Tahrir, some other people came and threw stones at us. I just threw stones with the Mubarak people. They told me that I should like Mubarak because if he went, some people would come from other countries and become president of Egypt. I got hit by a stone in my back ­ it still hurts. The enemy threw the stone" – presumably democracy protesters – "so I left because I didn't want a stone in my face or my eye."

The street children of Cairo move in packs, turning up for free lunches with their friends when hostels open their doors, adopting puppy dogs and trying, like well-educated children, to learn how to use computers donated by foreign charities.

But none I met could read – most did not know how to write their own name in Arabic. Some were obviously orphans or semi-abandoned by their parents, but there was a strong theme of fathers forcing their sons and daughters to work the streets for money to buy drugs.

The sick go largely uncared for. The dead don't matter. The body of Ismail Yassin, now a martyr of the Egyptian revolution, remains in a hospital mortuary. Unclaimed.


Saturday 12 February 2011

Afghan women fear for the future

When Zainab Salbi was in Afghanistan this summer she met a woman whose story she could not forget. Married at 15 and widowed by 16, Zarqouna was banned, like all women, from working or even leaving her house unaccompanied during the Taliban regime of the 1990s. One day, needing food for her baby, she defied the law to sell hats in the street, only to be caught by local Taliban members and beaten with the one pair of shoes she possessed.

When the allies invaded in 2001 and the Taliban were toppled, Zarqouna's life was transformed. She started work, sent her daughter to school and is planning to send her to college. But her new-found freedom and that of many Afghan women could be at risk if, as Salbi – founder of Women for Women International, an organisation that supports women in war-torn countries – and other campaigners fear, the allies pull out from Afghanistan without insisting on guarantees for women's rights.

This year will see the 10th anniversary of the US and UK's military intervention in the country. After a decade of war, and with no sign of the insurgency ending any time soon, western governments are talking about bringing their troops home as early as next year. Meanwhile, with the Taliban still controlling parts of the country and unlikely to be defeated, the Afghan government is making plans for reconciliation and reintegration with the hardline militia. This, fear Afghan women, could mean a reversal of all the hard-won improvements of the last few years.

Although Afghan women's rights were a prominent part of the rhetoric of invasion, today the treatment of women under the Taliban is increasingly being dismissed as part of local culture. This apparent change in attitude in the west is seen as a consequence of the British and US governments' desire to extricate themselves from a messy, expensive and time-consuming war. In November, David Cameron stressed he was taking a more "hard-headed" approach to the country. "We are not there to build a perfect democracy, still less a model society. We are there to help Afghans take control of security and ensure that al-Qaida can never again pose a threat to us from Afghan soil."

Today, according to Salbi, who has testified before the US senate, there is little appetite among US politicians for protecting women in the region, despite support from the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. Instead, she says: "There is a clear, clear opinion that women's rights were a) not that relevant and b) irreconcilable with peace in Afghanistan."

Samira Hamidi, director of the Afghan Women's Network – an umbrella organisation for more than 600 women's rights groups and NGOs – has also noticed this increasing lack of interest and fears that once the troops pull out, the west will turn its eyes away from Afghanistan, even though "the insurgents still kill children, they still put poison in the food of school girls, they throw acid in the face of school girls, they burn schools. They still exist."

"Something most American male politicians have said – 90% of them – is that it's just their culture and we can't do anything about it," adds Salbi.

Deniz Kandiyoti of the School of Oriental and African Studies' gender studies department disputes these claims that the culture is to blame. "These people have been tossed to the wind and displaced, the old society has been eroded. Girls being given away to pay for opium debts, that's hardly traditional. Now it is the people with the guns, the money, and the drugs runners who have power," she says.

Few would argue that improvements have been made in women's rights in the last decade. On a recent visit to the UK, Hussan Ghazanfar, Afghanistan's minister for women's affairs, outlined the progress made: 57% of women and girls now go to school, and 24% of health sector workers and 10% of the judiciary are female.

Yet activists say improvements are patchy and far from ideal – with healthcare, social care and freedom unavailable to many poverty-stricken rural women, many already living in Taliban-controlled areas. Even Ghazanfar admits: "Life is different in the countryside – the literacy level is different, traditional customs are stronger, and women have no financial or economic freedom there."

Hamidi says most women she speaks to "are tired of war and killing", and fearful of the future. "If the situation goes bad again the women here have nowhere to go."

A suicide bomb attack in Kabul last weekend that killed Hamida Barmaki, a law professor and commissioner at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, along with her husband and four children, illustrates the everyday danger in Afghanistan, while the release of footage showing the stoning of a couple in Kunduz province reveals the extent of the plight of women in areas controlled by the Taliban.

Politician Malalai Joya, dubbed the "bravest woman in Afghanistan" for speaking out against the warlords in the government after being elected to the Afghan national assembly in 2005, warns: "The situation of women is a disaster. Men and women today are squashed between three enemies – the Taliban, the warlords and also the occupation forces who are bombing from the skies and killing civilians, women and children. Now the Taliban are being invited into the government – there is no question the situation of women will be more disastrous and more bloody."

Orzala Nemat, a human rights activist who risked her life to set up a secret network of literacy classes for girls under the Taliban regime, agrees that the situation has worsened since 2006 with the revival of the Taliban. "Places which were very safe last year are very unsafe now," she says. "If this conflict is not winnable, we need a political settlement."

Last summer, the Afghan government created a peace council to pursue talks with the Taliban. Ghazanfar says there are safeguards to protect the women in any deal, with the government of Afghanistan insisting the Taliban abide by the country's constitution, which enshrines women's rights.

But Kandiyot is among those worried about the direction negotiations are taking. She points out that the Taliban continue to reject the constitution, and that the document includes a clause that says no law can contradict the principles of Islam. "And who decides what these principles are?" she asks. "It is the supreme court, which is full of hardline clerics."

Salbi, meanwhile, says informal, closed negotiations have already begun between a small group of politicians and the Taliban, with women's rights being traded as collateral. She describes one of "the advisers in the process" talking of women's "mobility and attire" being an area for "compromise".

The government itself has appeared keen to promote what it sees as improvements in the Taliban's hard line on women, possibly in a bid to make negotiations seem more palatable. Earlier this year the education minister, Farooq Wardak, insisted the Taliban leadership was prepared to drop its ban on girls' schools.

Yet Rachel Reid, Human Rights Watch's Afghanistan researcher, says: "There may be some low-level Taliban leaders who negotiate with communities that want girls' education, but there is no evidence to suggest that the leadership has done a U-turn."

She points out that the ministry's own statistics show that 20 girls' schools were bombed or burned down between March and October 2010. At least 126 students and teachers were killed in the same period – an increase from the previous year. Meanwhile, night letters – missives containing terrifying threats – are still being sent to working women in Taliban-controlled areas. One sent to a teacher in a girls' school read: "We warn you to leave your job as a teacher as soon as possible otherwise we will cut the heads off your children and shall set fire to your daughter."

President Hamid Karzai's government has traded women's rights for political power in the past. The Shia personal status law in 2009 was only toned down after women took to the streets in protest, sparking an international outcry. If implemented it would have meant women from the Shia minority sect could not leave their homes without their husband's permission or refuse them sex – making rape within marriage effectively legal. Other campaigners point to the president's pardoning of two men sentenced by the supreme court for brutally gang-raping a woman in public.

The Taliban are not the only group in Afghanistan keen to destroy women's rights, says Nemat. "Westerners think the only enemy Afghan women have is the Taliban, and when they go we will be liberated. But Afghan women have many men who are scared of women having power. These are warlords, conservative clerics, many powerful authorities sitting in key government positions."

In this anti-female environment violence against women in general is rising daily, fuelled by the war, the poverty it brings, and the conservative values it leaves behind, according to Hamidi. Refuges are attacked in the media, while anecdotal evidence suggests that self-immolation, domestic violence and suicide among women are increasing.

In December, a UN report on "harmful traditional practices" revealed that 57% of Afghan marriages are child marriages (where one partner is under the age of 16) and cited the case of an orphaned 13-year-old girl who was bought by a 65-year-old man for $3,000 (£1,895).

Then there are the honour killings and the fact that women and girls who run away – to escape forced marriages or violence – are often arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned, usually under a charge of attempting to commit zina (sex outside marriage).

Campaigners say the only hope for women is to give them a chance to fight for their rights at the negotiating table. But with little political will among Afghan politicians, pressure for this must come from abroad, says Hamidi. "If we are going for a negotiation involving insurgents who don't believe in women's rights and there is no commitment from the international community [to help women] . . . we may go back to the years when Taliban were ruling this country." And even Ghazanfar seems to echo this when she says: "Afghan women need and require peace with justice. This is our request to the world and international communities."

The alternative could be terrifying, says to Salbi. "'One Afghan woman said to me, what would it take for the allies to know that by abandoning us, it will hit them later on? That violence that manifests itself with us will spread. The Taliban started with us, then Afghan men, then America, and the world."

Nemat is more sanguine about the possibility of western troops pulling out soon, believing the only hope is for women to fight for themselves. "As someone who has worked under the Taliban, I don't believe there will be a return [of their rule] in the same way as in the past," she says. "They won't silence our voices. We will not sleep and stay passive in our homes. We will continue to struggle."


Friday 11 February 2011

Johann Hari: We all helped suppress the Egyptians. So how do we change?

The old slogan from the 1960s has come true: the revolution has been televised. The world is watching the Bastille fall on 24/7 rolling news. An elderly thug is trying to buy and beat and tear-gas himself enough time to smuggle his family's estimated $25bn in loot out of the country, and to install a successor friendly to his interests. The Egyptian people – half of whom live on less than $2 a day – seem determined to prevent the pillage and not to wait until September to drive out a dictator dripping in blood and bad hair dye.

The great Czech dissident Vaclav Havel outlined the "as if" principle. He said people trapped under a dictatorship need to act "as if they are free". They need to act as if the dictator has no power over them. The Egyptians are trying – and however many of them Mubarak murders on his way out the door, the direction in which fear flows has been successfully reversed. The tyrant has become terrified of "his" people.

Of course, there is a danger that what follows will be worse. My family lived for a time under the torturing tyranny of the Shah of Iran, and cheered the revolution in 1979. Yet he was replaced by the even more vicious Ayatollahs. But this is not the only model, nor the most likely. Events in Egypt look more like the Indonesian revolution, where in 1998 a popular uprising toppled a US-backed tyrant after 32 years of oppression – and went on to build the largest and most plural democracy in the Muslim world.

But the discussion here in the West should focus on the factor we are responsible for and can influence – the role our governments have played in suppressing the Egyptian people. Your taxes have been used to arm, fund and fuel this dictatorship. You have unwittingly helped to keep these people down. The tear-gas canisters fired at pro-democracy protesters have "Made in America" stamped on them, with British machine guns and grenade launchers held in the background.

Very few British people would praise a murderer and sell him weapons. Very few British people would beat up a poor person to get cheaper petrol. But our governments do it all the time. Why? British foreign policy does not follow the everyday moral principles of the British people, because it is not formulated by us. This might sound like an odd thing to say about a country that prides itself on being a democracy, but it is true.

The former Labour MP Lorna Fitzsimons spoke at a conference for Israel's leaders last year and assured them they didn't have to worry about the British people's growing opposition to their policies because "public opinion does not influence foreign policy in Britain. Foreign policy is an elite issue". This is repellent but right. It is formulated in the interests of big business and their demand for access to resources, and influential sectional interest groups.

You can see this most clearly if you go through the three reasons our governments give, sometimes publicly, sometimes privately, for their behavior in the Middle East. Explanation One: Oil. Some 60 per cent of the world's remaining petrol is in the Middle East. We are all addicted to it, so our governments support strongmen and murderers who will keep the oil-taps gushing without interruption. Egypt doesn't have oil, but it has crucial oil pipelines and supply routes, and it is part of a chain of regional dictators we don't want broken in case they all fall taking the petrol pump with it. Addicts don't stand up to their dealers: they fawn before them.

There is an obvious medium-term solution: break our addiction. The technology exists – wind, wave and especially solar power – to fuel our societies without oil. It would free us from our support for dictators and horrific wars of plunder like Iraq. It's our society's route to rehab – but it is being blocked by the hugely influential oil companies, who would lose a fortune. Like everybody who needs to go to rehab, the first step is to come out of denial about why we are still hooked.

Explanation Two: Israel and the "peace process". Over the past week, we have persistently been told that Mubarak was a key plank in supporting "peace in the Middle East". The opposite is the truth. Mubarak has been at the forefront of waging war on the Palestinian population. There are 1.5 million people imprisoned on the Gaza Strip denied access to necessities like food and centrifuges for their blood transfusion service. They are being punished for voting "the wrong way" in a democratic election.

Israel blockades Gaza to one side, and Mubarak blockades it to the other. I've stood in Gaza and watched Egyptian soldiers refusing to let sick and dying people out for treatment they can't get in Gaza's collapsing hospitals. In return for this, Mubarak receives $1.5bn a year from the US. Far from contributing to peace, this is marinating the Gazan people in understandable hatred and dreams of vengeance. This is bad even for Israel herself – but we are so servile to the demands of the country's self-harming government, and to its loudest and angriest lobbyists here, that our governments obey.

Explanation Three: Strongmen suppress jihadism. Our governments claim that without dictators to suppress, torture and disappear Islamic fundamentalists, they will be unleashed and come after us. Indeed, they often outsourced torture to the Egyptian regime, sending suspects there to face things that would be illegal at home. Robert Baer, once a senior figure in black ops at the CIA, said: "If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear, you send them to Egypt."

Western governments claim all this makes us safer. The opposite is the truth. In his acclaimed history of al-Qa'ida, The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright explains: "America's tragedy on September 11th was born in the prisons of Egypt." Modern jihadism was invented by Sayeed Qutb as he was electrocuted and lashed in Egyptian jails and grew under successive tyrannies. Mohammed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, was Egyptian, and named US backing for his country's tyrant as one of the main reasons for the massacre.

When we fund the violent suppression of people, they hate us, and want to fight back. None of these factors that drove our governments to back Mubarak's dictatorship in Egypt have changed. So we should strongly suspect they will now talk sweet words about democracy in public, and try to secure a more PR-friendly Mubarak in private.

It doesn't have to be like this. We could make our governments as moral as we, the British people, are in our everyday lives. We could stop them trampling on the weak, and fattening thugs. But to achieve it, we have to democratise our own societies and claim control of our foreign policy. We would have to monitor and campaign over it, and let our governments know there is a price for behaving viciously abroad. The Egyptian people have shown this week they will risk everything to stop being abused. What will we risk to stop our governments being abusers?


Thursday 10 February 2011


The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "He who alleviates the suffering of a brother ... God will ease his ... suffering on the Day of Resurrection. He who finds relief for one who is hard pressed, God will make things easy for him in the Hereafter ... "

Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1245

Wednesday 9 February 2011

David Cameron tells Muslim Britain: stop tolerating extremists

David Cameron will today signal a sea-change in the government fight against home-grown terrorism, saying the state must confront, and not consort with, the non-violent Muslim groups that are ambiguous about British values such as equality between sexes, democracy and integration.

To belong in Britain is to believe in these values, he will say. Claiming the previous government had been the victim of fear and muddled thinking by backing a state-sponsored form of multiculturalism, the prime minister will state that his government "will no longer fund or share platforms with organisations that, while non-violent, are certainly in some cases part of the problem".

In a major speech to a security conference in Munich, he will demand: "We need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism."

He will say that "some organisations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money while doing little to combat extremism. This is like turning to a rightwing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement."

Cameron's aides, aware the speech may prove highly controversial, refused to identify the organisations in his sights, but it is clear one target is the Muslim Council of Britain.

Last night some Muslim groups criticised the prime minister for making the speech on the same day that the English Defence League is holding its biggest ever demonstration, in Luton.

Cameron will also make clear that his tougher stance extends to unambiguous support for the democracy movement in Egypt: "I simply don't accept that there's a dead-end choice between a security state and Islamist resistance."

His remarks suggest that a Home Office-led review into the government Prevent programme, being overseen by Lord Carlile, is going to lead to major changes.

It also suggests that he has sided unambiguously with figures such as Michael Gove inside his cabinet rather than his party chairman, Lady Warsi, who has complained of fashionable Islamophobia.

Cameron will argue many young men have been drawn to extremism due to a rootlessness created by the weakening of a clear collective British cultural identity.

He will say: "Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.

"We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values. So when a white person holds objectionable views – racism, for example – we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn't white, we've been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them."

He will warn his audience: "Europe needs to wake up to what is happening in our own countries. We need to be absolutely clear on where the origins of these terrorist attacks lie – and that is the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism."

This ideology he says, is entirely separate from Islam, and "at the furthest end includes those who back terrorism to promote their ultimate goal: an entire Islamist realm, governed by an interpretation of sharia".

But he adds: "Move along the spectrum, and you find people who may reject violence, but who accept various parts of the extremist world-view including real hostility towards western democracy and liberal values.

"If we are to defeat this threat, he says, its time to turn the page on on the failed policies of the past. So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we as governments and societies have got to confront it in all its forms."

Echoing Tony Blair after 9/11, he rounds on the soft left that "lump all Muslims together, compiling a list of grievances and arguing if only governments addressed them, this terrorism would stop".

Inayat Bunglawala, chair of an anti-extremist group called Muslims4Uk, said: "Mr Cameron's remarks are ill-judged and deeply patronising. The overwhelming majority of UK Muslims are proud to be British and are appalled by the antics of a tiny group of extremists and so will hardly be pleased with his lecture on integration.

"Ironically, the PM's comments come on a day when the viciously Islamophobic English Defence League are to stage their biggest demonstration yet on our streets. Integration works both ways and we would expect Mr Cameron and his government to be openly challenging these EDL extremists. Instead, he and his senior ministers have to date remained totally mute. It is disgraceful."

In opposition the Tories began considering the policy on Muslims, which critics say risks branding many as extremists even though they do not espouse violence.

Critics say it is based on flawed neo-Conservative thinking and risks backfiring, while supporters say it is necessary to tackle those who are fellow travellers with violent extremists.


Tuesday 8 February 2011


"Remain patient in adversity -- for God's promise always comes true."

The Holy Quran, 40:55

Saturday 5 February 2011

Asian men are targeting white girls for 'fun' because of unhappy arranged marriages, says Muslim peer

Unhappy arranged marriages are leading some Pakistani men to prey on white girls for sex, a Muslim politician has warned.

Lord Ahmed said Asian men who are forced into loveless marriages – often with cousins from overseas – may seek out white girls for ‘fun’.
But last night, the senior Labour peer was accused of encouraging the stereotyping of Pakistani communities with his comments.
The senior Labour peer is the first politician to make a direct link between first-cousin marriages and sex crimes by Pakistani men.
He said it was time for the Muslim community to ‘wake up’ to the issue, and do more to promote UK-based marriages.

Earlier this month, former home secretary Jack Straw caused a furore when he said white girls were seen as ‘easy meat’ by some Pakistani men.
He spoke out after Mohammed Liaquat, 28, and Abid Saddique, 27, were jailed for a minimum of 11 and eight years respectively for grooming and abusing 26 girls in Derby, 22 of whom were white. The seven other members of the sex gang had already been jailed at a previous trial.
Last November, five Asian men were jailed for grooming white girls as young as 12 in Rotherham, South ­Yorkshire. Lord Ahmed, who grew up in Rotherham, said many young Asian men suffer from loveless cousin marriages and called for an end to the practice. He said: ‘They are forced into marriages and they are not happy.
‘They are married to girls from overseas who they don’t have anything in common with, and they have children and a family.
‘But they are looking for fun in their sexual activities and seek out vulnerable girls.’

He said they resort to abusing girls because they do not want meaningful relationships with women. ‘An adult woman – if you are having an affair – would want your time, money and for you to break up your marriage,’ he said.
‘I get a lot of criticism from Asian people who ask: “How can you say this about Asian men?” But they must wake up and realise there is a problem.

‘I am deeply worried about this as it has happened in my own backyard, and in Rochdale and Bradford. This didn’t happen in my or my father’s generation. This is happening among young Asians.
‘While I respect individual choice, I think the community needs to look at marriages in the UK rather than cousin marriages or economic marriages from abroad.’
But Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said the comments could lead to stereotyping of Pakistani men.
‘I don’t think this is a problem with a particular community,’ he said. ‘There is a criminal element across all communities.
‘These comments could lead to stereotyping. Lord Ahmed should have been more careful in how he dealt with this issue.
‘But it is important to add that we should never excuse these crimes on the basis of arranged marriages. They should all be prosecuted.’
More than half of British Pakistanis marry their first cousins,
usually from abroad. In Bradford, the figure reaches 75 per cent.
Muslims from Bangladesh or India are far less likely to marry their first cousins.
The practice is legal in the UK but health experts have warned that cousin marriages have led to high levels of genetic birth defects in the Pakistani community.
Since 1997, 56 people with
an average age of 28 have been convicted of offences related to on-street grooming of girls aged 11 to 16. Of these, three were white and the rest Muslim Asians, with the majority British Pakistani.

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