Najee Ali Emerges: Possible Successor to Imam W.D. Muhammad

Najee AliLOS ANGELES, CA–Najee Ali, civil rights activist and leader of Project Islamic H.O.P.E, is emerging as a possible successor to his father-in-law the late Imam W.D.Muhammad. The Electronic Urban Report says that Ali will take a leadership role by tackling several issues affecting the black community.

“We still don’t have an organization that speaks to our issues,” said Ali. “Project Islamic Hope has decided to step up to the plate and fill the void.”

“Everything that I have experienced in my life has led me to this moment. I feel I’m well prepared to carry on the burden and obligation that is before me in attempting to keep the indigenous Islamic movement alive,” Ali added.

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Terrorism in Norway: Connections to US Extremists Geller & Spencer

By Bill Warner

NORWAY/

Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store (R) addresses inside the World Islamic Mission Mosque as Crown Prince Haakon (L) looks on in Oslo, July 26, 2011.

REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Anders Behring Breivik was was/is deeply involved with the “Counter-Jihad” blogosphere of Pamela Geller and her Atlas Shrugs website and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch along with UK far right groups such as the EDL and the “Stop the Islamization of Europe (SIOE) Norway’. Stop the Islamization of Europe (SIOE) Norway is directly linked to NYC extreme right wing blogger Pamela Geller and her Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) http://sioaonline.com/

The Norwegian daily VG quoted one of Breivik’s friends saying that he had become a right wing extremist in his late 20s and was now a strong opponent of multi-culturalism, expressing strong nationalistic views in online debates. Breivik had talked admiringly about conversations he had had with unnamed English Defence League (EDL) members and the organisation Stop the Islamification of Europe over the success of provocative street actions leading to violence.

“I have on some occasions had discussions with SIOE and EDL and recommended them to use certain strategies,” he wrote two years ago.  “The tactics of the EDL are now to ‘lure’ an overreaction from the Jihad Youth/Extreme-Marxists, something they have succeeded in doing several times already.” Contacted about the allegation by email by last night the EDL had not answered.

According the website Atlantic.com, Anders Behring Breivik expressed extremist Islamophobic views on forums and criticised immigration policies. He argued on a Swedish news website that the media were not critical enough about Islam and claimed that Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom in the Netherlands was the only ‘true’ party of conservatives.

Norway mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik is the white face of the Anti-Muslim right wing nut world inspired by Pamela Geller of “Atlas Shrugs” and Robert Spencer of “Jihad Watch”, told you so about these people.

Time for the FBI to shut down Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s SIOA hate macine. SIOA/SIOE/EDL Neo Nazi Summit in Europe this Summer Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller To Officiate The Hate Fest in France Que Up The Riot Police.

Anders Behring Breivik regularly posted on a Norwegian right-wing site called http://www.document.no/ in 2009 and 2010, the editor of the site Hans Rustad said, SEE BELOW, Anders Behring Breivik’s comments about Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch the EDL and SIOE, Document.no posting 2010-02-17 back to 2009-09-07;

“I (Anders Behring Breivik) feel it is important to create a pan-European platform for rhetoric / objectives / policy analysis / research of historical factors relevant to so and transfer this knowledge to every nation. It pan-Europeiske/US environment Robert Spencer (Jihad Watch), Fjordman, Atlas (Pamela Geller), Analekta + 50 other EU / U.S. bloggers (and Facebook groups) is the epicenteret for policy analysis and has been for some years.

I recommend to you all also strongly recommended to extend Facebook their networks, using the daily quota of 50 invitations to connect with Brits, French, Swedes, etc. Join groups that SIOE – Stop the Islamisation of Europe, Against Multiculturalism, join Progress Party. Watch the web pages “gates of vienna”, “brussels journal”, “Jihad Watch“, “religion of peace” etc. Read Fjord Man’s work “Defeating Eurabia”. This is as the perfect Christmas gift for family and friends.

All remember the July riots in Marseilles and other French cities where the media were instructed not to report the news, see (Pamela Geller “Atlas shrugs”) http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2009/07/media-blackout-violence-infrance.html

The whole conflict between GDP and EDL (English Defense League) started with a change of leadership in the EDL for a few months ago. They threw out the racist and denounced the BNP. They chose instead SIOE’s ideological basis that is more or less mainstream view on the right side in Western Europe now (Vienna School of Thought).

Nick was very offended and began to demonize the EDL. Although they are now attacking each other as they compete not at all as these are two quite different fronts. 90% of all votes in the EDL continued GDP (Since this is the only alternative to multikulti in the UK) and 90% of GDP supports EDL regardless of what Nick had to think.

Second, Labour governs intelligence service. They had never in his life supported the EDL as these create a lot of positive attention for the cultural conservative movement in the UK. I have on some occasions discussed with SIOE and EDL and recommended them to use conscious strategies.

EDL is an example and a Norwegian version is the only way to prevent Flash / SOS to harass Norwegian cultural conservatives from other fronts. Creating a Norwegian EDL should be No.3 on the agenda after we have started up a cultural conservative newspaper with national distribution.

There are political forces in Oslo who want to mass-act subsidized / low cost “Islam-blocks” in Oslo West for “better integration“. As far as I know, only the Progress Party / Conservatives who oppose the moment so it can actually become a reality over the next decade. Can you name ONE country where multiculturalism is successful where Islam is involved?

I have great respect for how the Marxist-humanist networks in Norway are able to use their power optimally through “force Multiplication” and cooperation. They are insanely hard-working, skilled in the consolidation and hard-working and most on the right side has a lot to learn from them.

I myself am a Protestant and baptized / confirmed to me by my own free will when I was 15. But today’s Protestant church is a joke. Priests in jeans who march for Palestine and churches that look like the minimalist shopping centers. I am a supporter of an indirect collective conversion of the Protestant church back to the Catholic. In the meantime, I vote for the most conservative candidates in church elections.

Lou Dobbs of CNN was hit by the unofficial section and he ultimately chose to go. It is not unlikely that he was forced out because he changed his ideological standpoint in the course of his career. He became more and more critical of Muslim mass immigration to the U.S. which was not consistent with CNN’s politically correct line.”

Bill Warner Sarasota Private Investigator www.wbipi.com.

Ramadan: Raising Spiritual and Financial Stocks?

By Fahad Faruqui

640x392_98063_158488Stock returns are nine times greater during Ramadan than the rest of the year, a recent study says. While I knew about the rise in spiritual stock and inner revolution that can result from abstinence and purification of the soul, the upside to a financial portfolio was news to me. It’s an intriguing way to balance faith and worldly affairs — it seems fasting pays dividends of all kinds.

“Ramadan is part of the Muslim culture of resistance to the mindless consumerism of our time,” Abdal Hakim Murad, a Muslim scholar and lecturer at Cambridge University, wrote to me in response to my question about the true meaning of Ramadan. “Only by a tough discipline of self-control can we learn detachment, thus experiencing inner calm, and challenge the ideology of greed which is threatening the planet.”

This got me thinking. In addition to causing stock rallies, Ramadan is mostly a month of internal battle against the desires of flesh. For me, abstaining from my usual dose of morning coffee is one of the many challenges I face. Fasting is not as simple as not eating and drinking from dawn to dusk — the practice helps break away from the enslavement of habit-forming vices.
Strengthening the will to abstain from what’s lawful during the month of Ramadan can be a precursor to being steadfast in refraining from what’s forbidden throughout the year. The effect of fasting on mind and soul varies, and it depends on one’s sense of purpose. A prominent scholar of Islam, Faraz Rabbani, made an interesting observation: “Some fast for God. Some fast because it is good. Others fast for the joy of breaking their fast. (Then, they indulge…).”

For those who understand fasting as a form of starvation, sundown is the time for indulgence. My journey through Ramadan and its meaning has changed over the years. The more I have thought through the reasons why I fast, the more I have come to see that the act of giving up morsel is a process of spiritual purification. I didn’t fully grasp the concept of purification of soul until I meditated on the nature of nafs (lower “self”) and its numerous manifestations. Now, the challenge is to reign over the desires that disconnect the “seeker” from the Divine.

This battle with nafs will continue until my cadaver is cold, but Ramadan is yet another opportunity to polish the soul. Besides my coffee dependency, hierarchy of wants and search for profitable stocks (pun intended), there are questions that I need to answer through meditation during Ramadan: Will I forgive those who wronged me and make amends to those I have wronged? Will I covet material things or be content with what I have? Will I restrain my glance from bodily allure? And, more importantly, will I help the needy, like the Pakistan flood victims, or cling to every dollar I have?

Reading the Parable of the Old Man and the Sock by Irving Karchmar, a dervish and novelist, made me reflect (once again) on the ephemeralness of life. It tells the story of a wealthy man who instructs his son to put a sock on his dead body, knowing the preparations for Islamic burial doesn’t allow more than a white shroud. The father wanted the son to learn a lesson that one should remember at all times: We come to this world alone and we depart alone, leaving behind each and every material thing we strive for, taking with us only the stock of deeds.

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Saudi-India Ties At A “New Height,” Says Saudi Envoy

By Nilofar Suhrawardy, TMO

NEW DELHI: Though he has been in India as Saudi envoy for only two years, Faisal Hassan Trad returns to his country as a satisfied diplomat. Within a short period, many steps have been taken in strengthening bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia. In Trad’s words: “My tenure in India has been a short one, two years but I am happy to have shouldered the responsibility assigned to me as ambassador of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to India.”

Trad returns this month to Saudi Arabia to spend Ramadan at home, following which he will take diplomatic charge in Belgium. While India and Saudi Arabia have always entertained good relations, undeniably, the past few years have witnessed a major upswing in development of their ties. It began with the landmark visit of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz in January 2006. He was the Chief Guest of Indian Republic Day celebrations. His visit “opened a new chapter in Indo-Saudi bilateral relations.” The King referred to India as his “second home.” The highlight of his visit was the inking of Delhi Declaration, the first such bilateral document to be signed by a Saudi King. Saleh Mohammed Al-Ghamdi was then the Saudi envoy in India.

Since the Saudi King’s India visit, Indo-Saudi ties have been only on the upswing. It has been marked by active engagement between leadership of the two countries. Another chapter was opened in their bilateral ties with the historic visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Saudi Arabia, from February 27 to March 1 2010. The highlight of this visit was signing of Riyadh Declaration which outlines a “new era of strategic partnership” between India and Saudi Arabia.

Elaborating on Indian Prime Minister’s Saudi-visit, which has taken place during his tenure, Trad said: “Saudi-India relations have now reached a level of Strategic Partnership. The roads are indeed paved for a bright future.”

Reflecting on recent developments, Trad said: “During the recent period, bilateral relations have reached a new height with exchanges taking place, at all levels, practically continuously, almost on a daily basis, between industrialists, investors, political people, community leaders, pilgrims and others.” Last year, while Saudi Arabia had issued 7,500 visas to business people, this year within six months only, 4,000 visas have already been issued, Trad pointed out.

Laying emphasis that Saudi-India ties are no longer confined to only oil diplomacy, Trad pointed to “complete cooperation” between the two countries in other fields, including education, science & technology, defense & security, taxation, extradition and culture, among others. Trad may also be credited for promoting people-to-people interaction between the two countries. The Saudi Embassy in association with Saudi Journalist Association invited Indian women delegation to visit the Kingdom last year in October. This was the first visit of an all-women delegation (including this scribe) to Saudi Arabia, which has been hailed as a major success.

Economic relations between India and Saudi Arabia have shown a remarkable growth with bilateral trade registering a three-fold increase during the last five years. Saudi Arabia is India’s 4th largest trade partner and the bilateral trade was $18 billion in 2010-11 (April-December), according to Indian sources.

The bilateral trade is now “worth $24 billion and is poised for increase every day,” Trad stated.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, accounting for almost one-fifth of the country’s needs. To meet India’s growing energy needs, sources said, the two sides are working towards strategic energy partnership including long term uninterrupted supply of crude oil by Saudi Arabia to India.

Besides, the 2.2 million-strong Indian community in Saudi Arabia is the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom. The total remittance send by Indian expatriates, spread world-wide, is valued at $50 billion, of which 60 percent is from GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, with the largest share from Saudi Arabia. Taking note of this, Trad said: “The 2.2 Indians who live in the Kingdom support nearly 25 million at home (India).”

Haj diplomacy is also a major component of Indo-Saudi bilateral ties. More than 1,70,000 Indians perform Haj every year.

During Trad’s tenure, a new chapter has opened in religious diplomacy too. This is marked by the visit of Dr. Sheikh Abdul Rehman Sudais, Grand Imam of Masjid-al-Haram in Mecca, earlier this year in March.

There is every reason for Trad to be satisfied and happy at his successful tenure in India. Not surprisingly, he is one of the few diplomats, in whose honor, numerous farewell parties have been hosted in the capital city. He is perhaps the first Saudi diplomat, according to Indian sources, to receive so many farewell parties. In addition to Trad being viewed as a successful diplomat, the hosting of numerous farewell parties in his honor is yet another major sign of the two countries coming closer, Indian sources said. This in itself marks expansion and strengthening of bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia.

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KinderUSA Annual Banquet

By Susan Schwartz, TMO

The sufferings of the world are too numerous to catalogue. Certainly the suffering of children is particularly poignant, and nowhere is this more evident than in the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli occupation has rendered the people oppressed and poor with only a token future. If children have no future, then the world has no future. While many individuals and organizations have commendably worked to aid the children of Palestine, none has done more than KinderUSA (Kids in Need of Development, Education and Relief).

This past Saturday evening KinderUSA held its annual fundraising banquet event, a successful and educational presentation, in Universal City, Ca. The event was titled: “Supporting our Children: The Seeds of the Future”.

With the advent of Ramadan and its call for inner struggle and sacrifice, an event noted by each speaker, this event had a particular relevance for Muslims and non Muslims alike.

The keynote speakers were internationally acclaimed Islamic scholar, Dr. Tariq Ramadan, and Los Angeles’ own Dr. Maher Hathout. Professor Ramadan holds an MA in Philosophy and French literature and a PhD in Arabic and Islamic studies. At present he is Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University. He also teaches at the Faculty of Theology at Oxford.

Professor Ramadan was recently permitted into the United States to join the faculty of Notre Dame after having been denied entry for six years because of his political views and activities.

Dr. Maher Hathout was a founder of the Islamic Center of Southern California and of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). He is a sought after speaker, a prolific author, and a participant in interfaith events.

After introductory remarks by Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Jess Ghannam, Jinan Al Marayati, the young daughter of KinderUSA chair, Dr. Laila Al Marayati, read from the Koran and provided a translation.
Dr. Ghannam is a clinical professor and the Chief of Medical Psychology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Hathout said that speaking at this event was an honor. He read and translated a poem written in Arabic. Nations, he said, find a place in history because their children live to fulfil their maximum potential.The children of Palestine should have this opportunity for which they were created by God.

“Israel”, he continued, “resorts to piracy.” Israel confiscates food and medicines. Israel claims that the ships they intercepted may have carried weapons. Is there a better way to handle the situation so as not to deprive the intended recipients of food and medicine?

Israel says Gaza does not need these goods. Israel claims that it only objects to material that can have dual use – for example glass, concrete, fertilizer.

For any child to eat, more than bread is needed. “It is food with dignity that is needed.” Kids need a roof that does not leak and windows that are not shattered. What gives Israel the right to say “You need this, but you don’t need that?”

Dr. Hathout was interrupted continuously by cries of “How very true”; “absolutely right”, and “that is so true.”

The issue is not food, he continued. The issue is occupation. All decent people should work to take down the wall of occupation. Everything else is a band aid. Tonight, he claimed is a band aid. But band aids are necessary when you must take a child’s damaged hand and lead him into the future.

Dr. Hathout pointed out the situation in the Middle East and how six months ago it was so different and seemed without hope. We must not, he continued, take our mind of our ultimate target: occupation, occupation, occupation.

He ended by saying that Ramadan is a time to clear our vision. Certain things are incompatible with being a human being.

Professor Ramadan began his address by saying that it was always an honor to tell the truth. He began his speech by praising Dr. Maher Hathout and his late brother, Dr Hasan Hathout. Both were committed to justice for non Muslims as well as Muslims.

We must realize that whether one is Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, there are voices that want to criminalize dissent, that want to render what we are doing illegal.

“We will always be on the side of the oppressed.” We are contributing to American society. We want freedom and democracy for us and for them. In this country we have much to do in the way of social justice and education.

He cautioned not to make the Palestinian cause a Muslim cause. Use the month of Ramadan as a solidarity month.

The audience had been interrupting Professor Ramadan with applause during his speech. He asked them to refrain and, if they found that he had made a particularly noteworthy point, that they concentrate on that point for ten seconds.

He then asked: “How do we come to a universalist attitude?” Our mission is to change the world for the better. He said he wanted to die having made himself a better person and the world a better place. He urged that we oppose any oppression.

He said to non Muslims that when you give your money, you purify it. Do not expect the recipient to thank you. Do it for the cause of justice.

We must follow events in the Middle East. We have inform ourselves of the situation and then inform others.

“There was no war in Gaza. It was an attack.” said Professor Ramadan. When you destroy schools as Israel did, you destroy the future.

We want to be an added value to the United States. We want to reconcile the United States to its own values. We are agents of reconciliation.

We must not accept the criminalization of support for the Palestinians. He said he was barred for six years from entry into this country because of his support. One of the groups he supported was on a black list, but it was not on the list at the time he gave the group money. He refused to apologize. None the less, the ban on his entry into this country stood until it was lifted by the current administration.

We practice a non violent resistance. We must persevere and be active. The more we are silent the more violent our enemies will become. “Who would have thought what would happen in Egypt? I am waiting for an Israeli spring.”

Muslims fast during Ramadan to purify themselves. They must act for humanity. We are a consumerist society. Ramadan makes this a better society through  fasting on the part of Muslims. The children of Palestine may be helping us. The poor whom we help may be our salvation; the oppressed whom we liberate may be our liberators.

The short and well received film, “Noor”,  written and directed by Mustafa Shakarchi, told the story of a ten year old girl who lived in a Lebanon Refugee Camp and wanted only to be a normal ten year old. Instead she was forced by her step mother to sell trinkets on the street. Her dream was to be able to read and write. The film was in Arabic with English sub titles. The child’s face and demeanor told the story, and the subtitles were in the end superfluous. When the film ended, not a few of the attendees had been moved to tears.

Before the formal part of the program, a reception was held in the lobby. A continuously running film that showed the plight of Palestinian children was on display. Dr. Laila Al Marayati, the Chairwoman of KinderUSA, and Dr. Basil Abdelkarim, a KinderUSA Board Member, presided over the collection of donations. Dr. Al Marayati showed and narrated a short film on the work of KinderUSA.
Many non Muslims were in attendance. Dr. Ghannam introduced some from the podium including Mormon Bishop and Mrs Steve Gilliland; Rabbi and Mrs Leonard Beerman, and two Roman Catholic nuns from the Los Angeles area. The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund and the Palestine American Women’s Association were also represented.

KinderUSA was founded in 2002 to help Palestinian children in need. The mission soon spread to other parts of the Middle East. To accomplish its work KinderUSA relies on partners throughout the world. KinderUSA has been recognized as one of the foremost children charities. It also seeks to provide services to help women who are the heads of households so that they might become independent. It is a 501(c)3 charity. The foregoing is only a very small part of KinderUSA in its entirety.

For more information on the far reaching work of KinderUSA, please access their web site at: www.kinderusa.org.

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Should it Take a Village?

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

photo

You’ve probably heard the old African proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child”. However, it is doubtful that the person who first coined the phrase meant for anyone to take it literally.  It is true that raising a child, especially one who is considerate of others and mindful of being a contributing member of society, is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Yet still, in most parts of the world, a child’s parents are the primary caregivers and the ones responsible for raising the life that both brought into the world.

Conversely, there are several parts of the world where parents enlist a veritable army to assist in the raising of their children. In many parts of the Middle East for example, having a team of caregivers right in the comfort of your own home is a staple of the Arab culture. Chefs, chauffeurs, housemaids and nannies are the primary job titles that many families seek to fill even before junior is born. The annual surplus oil revenues that Middle Eastern countries like the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Oman enjoy has paved the way for a life of ease for nationals. Why change dirty diapers or fool around with play time when you can hire someone to do it for you?

As a result, many children in the region are raised almost exclusively by their caregivers with ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ taking a backseat to the care of their child. Nowhere is this more obvious than on the gilded streets of the wealthy Gulf nations. Parents can be seen strolling hand in hand along sun-kissed beaches while a trio of nannies keep junior out of trouble or merely cart him around. Playgrounds are often full of rambunctious kids busily playing their hearts out. However, something is clearly wrong with the picture as nannies keep an eye on their wards instead of the parents. For many children in the region, there is not a parent around to watch their amazing feat on the jungle gym or one to snap a photo as he glides down a slide.

Perhaps the most distressing aspect of a reliance on caregivers is that most are unqualified for the job. Most of the household staff enlisted to help raise the children of a family come from Southeast Asia. They are typically poor, uneducated and semi-skilled laborers that do not possess the skills, and often temperament, to raise children. There have been countless cases of housemaids and nannies turning on their charges, sometimes fatally, in recent years. Some cases revealed an abundance of housemaids and nannies physically abusing the children that they were supposed to protect. Worse yet, some have even gone as far as to poison or otherwise murder the children they were hired to raise.

A professor at Qatar University recently shed light on the issue in a recent discussion that attributed a host of societal ills that are linked to children being raised by household staff. Professor Rabia Sabah Al Kuwari said, “This phenomenon is prevalent in the Arab societies. In other countries such as Holland, for instance, there are no household helpers.” Al Kuwari also went on to say that some of the problems associated with relying on paid staff to raise a child include a lack of affection between a parent and child as well as learning deficiencies that will most likely affect the child for his lifetime.

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Making Sense Out of Christian Evangelism

By Karin Friedemann, TMO

There are many Christian missionaries that are trying win souls to Christianity. One of them is Rev. Hicham Chehab, head of the Chicagoland Lutheran Muslim Mission Association (CLMMA). He is based in Chicago and is heading a campaign to convert Muslims in to Christianity. I have not been able to easily uncover any Zionist connections, which are obvious in the case of several other “former Muslim” spokespersons for pro-Israel organizations. In his facebook bio, Chehab does not state the Lebanese militia to which he belonged (or for which he was trained). It is critical information, and its absence could make all his claims dubious. It is certainly profitable to claim to be a former Islamic extremist now taking shelter in Christianity. However, nothing that I can find in the immediately accessible data can prove that his conversion was not sincere. His problems with Islam seem to be a result of upbringing and are very similar to other complaints among Muslims in Muslim cultures throughout the world.

Chehab attended the Islamic and Arab/Lebanese Nationalist Makased school system. His main issue with their approach to religion was this:

“After a few weeks in my Muslim school the teacher started giving us books that today we call political Islam. They said, the world is divided into two parts, the world of Islam and the world of Infidels.”

To be honest, it’s kind of hard to argue with this because there is at least one hadith saying as much. The issue of concern is interpretation and context. In my experience with Arab immigrant Muslims, their cultural interpretation of such verses tends to be vastly different than the way a college educated American Muslim would interpret it. It is possible, within the context of his political and educational status, that this type of teaching could have been perceived negatively by a sensitive person seeking higher truths. He may not have realized that there are other ways to interpret Islam.

When we hear about a Jew, who is tired of the “us versus them” mentality of the synagogue, accepts Islam, we rejoice. And yet, when a Muslim, who is tired of the “us versus them” mentality of the mosque, accepts Christianity, we grieve. I am not sure that we are in a position to judge in these matters, in many cases. If the person’s personal healing path leads them in a certain way, and inspires them to be a better person, only God truly knows if that is the path most suited to accessing God, given that person’s personal peculiarities. Chehab was clearly an emotionally conflicted individual, who made a choice to reject what his parents taught him and embraced a new spiritual path as a conscious choice. Maybe the version of Islam that his parents taught him was worthy of rejection. We can’t know. What we can’t deny is that Muslim activists study Bible verses to help them approach Christians with the intention of converting them to Islam.

I think every Christian has the right to preach the Gospel to anyone that is willing to listen just as every Jew has the right to preach the Ten Commandments and every Muslim has the right to teach about Islam. We argue with the best of arguments, and he who makes the most sense will gain the largest following.

The issue with this Muslim-Turned-Christian-Minister is that he was given a job to train immigration officials and also taught an anti-terrorism course to the Army Reserve. His connection with the government creates questions as to his actual motives. I think, as a majority Christian nation, it probably does help the US understanding when a former Muslim can explain Muslims to Christians using Christian language. But if you truly want to understand Islam, you also have to talk to someone who believes in it. That is where the CAIR complaint comes in. Maybe it’s not so much an issue of getting rid of the evangelist but of including more voices in the debate.

Islam is a beautiful religion. Christianity is also a beautiful religion, and they are intertwined. The interesting thing is, when you go to Palestine and observe the oldest Christian community in the world, you don’t see these boundaries between Islam and Christianity. Muslims and Christians intermarry, they give each other gifts on their respective holidays. When the Christians parade down the street in honor of the Virgin Mary, their Muslim neighbors join in. The Christians are as happy on Eid as anybody else. There is no conflict. Christianity is a very broad belief spectrum, in fact there are sects of Christianity that believe like Muslims do, that Christ did not die upon the cross.

It is so important for Muslims to love Jesus as all prophets, and especially the five holiest prophets, Prophet Muhammad (s) who is the best of them, and Jesus (as), Moses (as), Ibrahim (as), and Nuh (as).

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Anders Breivik & Europe’s Blind Right Eye

By Praveen Swami

2011-07-26T181547Z_1238585719_GM1E77R06AP01_RTRMADP_3_NORWAY

A woman takes part in a march near Utoeya island to pay their respects for the victims of the killing spree and bomb attack in Norway, in the village of Sundvollen, northwest of Oslo, July 26, 2011. Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik is in all likelyhood "insane", his lawyer said after the anti-Islam radical admitted to bomb and shooting spree in Norway on Friday that killed 76 people. 

REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

There are important lessons for India in the murderous violence in Norway: lessons it can ignore only at risk to its own survival.

In 2008, Hindutva leader B.L. Sharma ‘Prem’ held a secret meeting with key members of a terrorist group responsible for a nationwide bombing campaign targeting Muslims. “It has been a year since I sent some three lakh letters, distributed 20,000 maps of Akhand Bharat but these Brahmins and Banias have not done anything and neither will they [do anything],” he is recorded to have said in documents obtained by prosecutors. “It is not that physical power is the only way to make a difference,” he concluded, “but to awaken people mentally, I believe that you have to set fire to society.”
Last week, Anders Behring Breivik, armed with assault weapons and an improvised explosive device fabricated from the chemicals he used to fertilize the farm that had made him a millionaire in his mid-20s, set out to put Norway on fire.

Even though a spatial universe separated the blonde, blue-eyed Mr. Breivik from the saffron-clad neo-Sikh Mr. Sharma, their ideas rested on much the same intellectual firmament.

In much media reportage, Mr. Breivik has been characterised as a deranged loner: a Muslim-hating Christian fanatic whose ideas and actions placed him outside of society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Breivik’s mode of praxis was, in fact, entirely consistent with the periodic acts of mass violence European fascists have carried out since World War II. More important, Mr. Breivik’s ideas, like those of Mr. Sharma, were firmly rooted in mainstream right-wing discourse.

Fascist terror

In the autumn of 1980, a wave of right-wing terrorist attacks tore through Europe. In August that year, 84 people were killed and 180 injured when a bomb ripped through the Bologna railway station. Eleven people were killed when the famous Munich Oktoberfest was targeted on September 26; four persons died when a bomb went off in front of a synagogue on the Rue Copernic in Paris on October 2.

Little attention, the scholar Bruce Hoffman noted in a 1984 paper, had been paid to right-wing terrorists by Europe’s police forces. Their eyes, firmly focussed on left-wing organisations, had characterised the right “as ‘kooks’, ‘clowns’, ‘little Fuhrers’, and, with regard to their young, ‘political punk rockers’.” Less than four months before the Oktoberfest bombing, Dr. Hoffman wrote, an official German Interior Ministry publication dismissed the threat from neo-Nazi groups, saying they were “most armed with self-made bats and chains.”

Earlier this year, the analysts who had authored the European Police organisation Europol’s Terrorism Situation Report made much the same mistake as they had before the 1984 bombings. Lack of cohesion and public threat, they claimed, “went a long way towards accounting for the diminished impact of right-wing terrorism and extremism in the European Union.”

Zero terrorist attacks might have been a persuasive empirical argument — if it was not for the fact that no EU member-state, bar Hungary, actually records acts of right-wing terrorism using those terms.

Europol’s 2010 report, in fact, presented a considerably less sanguine assessment of the situation. Noting the 2008 and 2009 arrests of British fascists for possession of explosives and toxins, the report flagged the danger from “individuals motivated by extreme right-wing views who act alone.”

The report also pointed to the heating-up of a climate of hatred: large attendances at white-supremacist rock concerts, the growing muscle of fascist groups like Blood and Honour and the English Defence League, fire-bomb attacks on members of the Roma minority in several countries, and military training to the cadre.

Yet, the authors of the 2011 Europol report saw little reason for alarm. In a thoughtful 2008 report, a consortium of Dutch organisations noted that “right-wing terrorism is not always labelled as such.”

Because “right-wing movements use the local traditions, values, and characteristics to define their own identity,” the report argued, “many non-rightist citizens recognize and even sympathize with some of the organization’s political opinions”— a formulation which will be familiar to Indians, where communal violence is almost never referred to as a form of mass terrorism.

Thomas Sheehan, who surveyed the Italian neo-fascist resurgence before the 1980 bombings, arrived at much the same conclusion decades ago. “In 1976 and again in 1978,” he wrote in the New York Review of Books, “judges in Rome, Turin and Milan fell over each other in their haste to absolve neo-fascists of crimes ranging from murdering a policeman to ‘reconstituting Fascism’ [a crime under post-war Italian law]”.

“When it comes to fascist terrorism,” Mr. Sheehan wryly concluded, “Italian authorities seem to be a bit blind in the right eye.”

Political crisis

Europe’s fascist parties have little electoral muscle today but reports suggest that a substantial renaissance is under way. The resurgence is linked to a larger political crisis. In 1995, commentator Ignacio Ramonet argued that the collapse of the Soviet Union had provoked a crisis for Europe’s great parties of the right, as for its left. The right’s failure to provide coherent answers to the crisis of identity provoked by a globalising world, and its support for a new economic order which engendered mass unemployment and growing income disparities, empowered neo-fascism.

“People feel,” Mr. Ramonet wrote in a commentary in the French newspaper, Le Monde, “that they have been abandoned by governments which they see as corrupt and in the hands of big business.”

In the mid-1990s, fascist groups reached an electoral peak: Jorg Haider’s Liberals won 22 per cent of the vote in Austria; Carl Igar Hagen’s Progress Party became the second-largest party in Norway; Gianfranco Fini’s National Alliance claimed 15 per cent of the vote in Italy; while the Belgian Vlaams Blok gained 12.3 per cent in Flanders, Belgium. In France, the centrist Union for French Democracy was compelled to accept support from the National Front in five provinces.

Europe’s mainstream right-wing leadership rapidly appropriated key elements of the fascist platform, and successfully whittled away at their electoral success: but ultimately failed to address the issues Mr. Ramonet had flagged.

Now, many are turning to new splinter groups, and online mobilisation.

Mr. Brevik’s comments on the website Document.no provide real insight into the frustration of the right’s rank and file. His central target was what he characterised as “cultural-Marxism”: “an anti-European hate-ideology,” he wrote in September 2009, “whose purpose is to destroy European culture, identity and Christianity in general.”

For Mr. Breivik, cultural Marxism’s central crime was to have de-masculinised European identity. In his view, “Muslim boys learn pride in their own religion, culture and cultural-conservative values at home, while Norwegian men have been feminized and taught excessive tolerance.”

He railed against the media’s supposed blackout of the supposed “100 racial / jihadi murder of Norwegians in the last 15 years.” “Many young people are apathetic as a result,” Mr. Brevik observed, “others are very racist. They repay what they perceive as racism with racism.”

Mr. Breivik, his writings suggest, would have been reluctant to describe himself as a fascist — a common feature of European far-right discourse. He wrote: “I equate multiculturalism with the other hate-ideologies: Nazism (anti-Jewish), communism (anti-individualism) and Islam (anti-Kaffir).”

These ideas, it is important to note, were echoes of ideas in mainstream European neo-conservatism. In 1978, the former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, famously referred to popular fears that Britain “might be swamped by people of a different culture.” In 1989, Ms Thatcher asserted that “human rights did not begin with the French Revolution.” Instead, they “really stem from a mixture of Judaism and Christianity”— in other words, faith, not reason.

In recent years, key European politicians have also used language not dissimilar to Mr Brevik. Last year, Angela Merkel asserted that multikulti, or multiculturalism, had failed. David Cameron, too, assailed “the doctrine of state multiculturalism,” which he said had “encouraged different cultures to live separate lives.” France’s Nicolas Sarkozy was more blunt: “multiculturalism is a failure. The truth is that in our democracies, we cared too much about the identity of the migrant and not sufficiently about the identity of the country that welcomed him.”

Mr. Brevik’s grievance, like Mr. Sharma’s, was that these politicians were unwilling to act on their words — and that the people he claimed to love for cared too little to rebel.

The Norwegian terrorist’s 1,518-page pseudonymous testament, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, promises his new “Knights Templar” order will “seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda.” He threatens an apocalyptic war against “traitors” enabling a Muslim takeover of Europe: a war, he says, will claim up to “45,000 dead and 1 million wounded cultural Marxists/multiculturalists.”

For India, there are several important lessons. Like’s Europe’s mainstream right-wing parties, the BJP has condemned the terrorism of the right — but not the thought system which drives it. Its refusal to engage in serious introspection, or even to unequivocally condemn Hindutva violence, has been nothing short of disgraceful. Liberal parties, including the Congress, have been equally evasive in their critique of both Hindutva and Islamist terrorism.

Besieged as India is by multiple fundamentalisms, in the throes of a social crisis that runs far deeper than in Europe, with institutions far weaker, it must reflect carefully on Mr. Brevik’s story — or run real risks to its survival.

Posted by c-info at Sunday, July 24, 2011, The Hindu

13-31

Study: Western-Muslim Tensions Getting Better

By Amelia T.

After Herman Cain’s recent declaration that American communities should be able to ban mosques, it would be easy to understand why relations between Muslim and Western countries might be strained.  A new study  from the Pew Center has some mildly hopeful news: although tensions between Muslim and Western publics are still palpable, they’ve gotten slightly better in the past five years.  While both populations still hold negative stereotypes of each other, Westerners (i.e. US residents and Western Europeans) are less likely to say that they had bad relations with Muslim countries than in 2006.  Muslims, however, aren’t as optimistic.

Ironically, each population characterized the other as “fanatical and violent.”  Muslims in the Middle East and in Southeast Asia were likely to say that Westerners were “selfish, immoral and greedy,” while Westerners criticized the residents of Muslim countries for refusing to tolerate or respect women.

Even though Westerners think that relations are getting better, while Muslims say that their impressions of Westerners are as bad as they were five years ago, there may be more of a consensus on whose fault it is.  Muslims overwhelmingly blamed the West for tensions, and while many Westerners did blame Muslim countries, a sizable percentage were also willing to point the finger at themselves.

In a change that perhaps reflects the general mood surrounding the Arab Spring, “Muslims and Westerners believe corrupt governments and inadequate education in Muslim nations are at least partly responsible for the lack of prosperity.”  And both Muslims and Westerners are concerned about Islamic extremism.

What the report highlights is the extent to which assumptions about relations between Muslim and Western countries shape the stereotypes that the two populations assign to each other.  It’s important, also, to break down these monolithic categories into area-specific groups. 

For example, Indonesian Muslims are more likely to associate positive traits with Westerners, while Pakistani Muslims (for obvious reasons) have increasingly negative feelings about Western relations.

Identity is also a slippery category.  While Muslims overwhelmingly identify with their religion, rather than their country of origin, European Christians are equally likely to say that their national identity is more important than their religious identity.  There is a palpable divide in the United States, although 7 in 10 evangelical Christians identify first with their religion.  Unsurprisingly, there was a strong consensus among Westerners that Muslims living in the West did not want to assimilate into Western culture.  People without college degrees were more likely to “believe that Muslims want to remain distinct from the broader society.”

While the report does not provide answers to mending the rift between Western and European countries, it does break down some of the complexities in fascinating ways.

13-31

Christian Conservative Terrorist Causes Havoc in Norway

By Dr. Aslam Abdullah

Norway is a liberal democracy. It is ruled by Labor Party. It has liberal policies on on a number of social issues. On July 22, it was hit with the worst terrorist attack on its territory by a right wing Christian conservative. Even though the so-called terrorist experts claim that he acted alone, the hand of other right wing Christian conservative individuals and groups should not be ruled out. With what is being taught in several conservative churches against liberalism, socialism, non-Christian religions (especially Islam and Judaism), the action of the Norwegian terrorist is not out of line of the dominant thinking.  The 32-year-old Norwegian man who allegedly went on a shooting spree on the island of Utoya has been identified as Anders Behring Breivik, according to multiple reports.The gunman was dressed as a police officer and gunned down young people as they ran for their lives at a youth camp, which means that he might have some Christian conservative sympathizers in the police force.The possibility of receiving support from some Christian conservative individuals or groups from the US should also not be ruled out. After all, Christian conservatism emerged as a major force in the US.

Breivik belongs to “ring-wing circles” in Oslo. He has been known to write to right-wing forums in Norway and is a self-described nationalist who has also written a number of posts attacking Islam On July 17 he posted a quote from philosopher John Stuart Mill on his twitter account saying: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.” On a Facebook account Breivik describes himself as having Christian conservative views.

Obviously, not all Christians subscribe to the theology of Christian conservatives who regard everyone who does not believe in their doctrine as pagan and destined  for hell. They regard liberalism as the major threat to their way of life. Christian conservative talk show hosts in the United States fill the airwaves with hatred against all those who have liberal attitudes.

The initial reaction of the media was to point fingers at Muslim extremists. Initially, several experts concluded that either Libyan backed terrorist groups or pro- Afghan Taliban groups might be the culprits. However, as details emerged, those experts went into hiding. When it became known that the gunman was a Norwegian ultra right wing extremist, few spoke about the theology of Conservative Christianity or the danger it poses to democracies or free societies all over the world. Not one recalled Timothy Mcveigh, responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. It is not a coincidence that this terrorist attack came at a time when the champion of right wing ideas, the media empire of Rupert Murdoch is in terrible shape facing challenges for its survival.

Terrorism in all its forms and shapes is wrong and must be condemned. One cannot blame an entire religion for the terrorist act of a few. Had it been a Muslim perpetrator, the experts might have already concluded that Islam is a religion that cannot find itself at peace with the West and Democracy and Muslims living in Europe and America cannot be trusted.

What Breivik did in Norway is the natural outcome of the theology of arrogance and hatred that is taught in several churches around the world in the name of Christianity. We must realize that terrorism is not related with one religion or race or ethnic group. It is a threat every religious community and country faces. Instead of pointing fingers at religions, we must all come together to stand all those who believe that violence is the only method to ensure that point of view is heard. Violence must be rejected by all who believe in the sanctity of human life and with a clear understanding that the Divine will is not seek the destruction of the human race but to help people find common ground–to create a world where people can live the faith of their choice without any coercion.

13-31

Gold, Silver Shine as US Falters

By Alix Steel

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Gold prices were soaring to record highs Wednesday as investors rushed to the safe haven after House Speaker John Boehner’s debt plan hit a brick wall.

Gold for August delivery was adding $9.20 to $1,626 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gold price has traded as high as $1,626.80 and as low as $1,617 while the spot gold price was rising $7.10 according to Kitco’s gold index. Silver prices were climbing steadily higher as well, up 70 cents to $41.40 an ounce. The U.S. dollar index was adding 0.18% at $73.65 while the euro was shedding 0.22% vs. the dollar.

The House of Representatives had been gearing up to vote on Speaker Boehner’s debt plan in which the debt ceiling would be raised in two tranches based on spending cuts, but the plan hit a snag. The Congressional Budget Office said that his plan to cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years fell almost $400 billion short. This puts the Senate Democrat plan front and center, which also must face Budget Office scrutiny.

Although most experts think that a high gold price does not reflect a U.S. default, uncertainty over an agreement is a green light for investors to buy gold.

David Banister, chief investment strategist at ActiveTradingPartners.com, thinks that gold will hit $1,730 in a few weeks and maybe even soar to $1,800 an ounce. Banister doesn’t think the U.S. will default, however, but that global fiscal issues and negative real interest rates — the interest rate minus inflation — will continue to support high gold prices.

“Any reaction to the downside on gold will be temporary,” argues Banister. “Traders might be unwilling to make a commitment until they see the short term reaction,” explaining why gold hasn’t skyrocketed, “but I would say any short term pullback in gold on successful debt talks I would be a buyer.”

Stan Dash, vice president of applied technical analysis at TradeStation, also sees prices at $1,730. Dash, in measuring rallies since gold’s low in October of 2008, says that gold can typically move 20% in a leg of a bull market. A move to the $1,730 level would be a 17% rise from the May support level of $1,480 an ounce. “You can’t argue with price,” says Dash. “It’s making new highs. It’s still a bull market”

13-31

The Enemy is Washington: An Economy Destroyed

By Paul Craig Roberts

Recently, the bond rating agencies that gave junk derivatives triple-A ratings threatened to downgrade US Treasury bonds if the White House and Congress did not reach a deficit reduction deal and debt ceiling increase.  The downgrade threat is not credible, and neither is the default threat.  Both are make-believe crises that are being hyped in order to force cutbacks in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

If the rating agencies downgraded Treasuries, the company executives would be arrested for the fraudulent ratings that they gave to the junk that Wall Street peddled to the rest of the world. The companies would be destroyed and their ratings discredited. The US government will never default on its bonds, because the bonds, unlike those of Greece, Spain, and Ireland, are payable in its own currency. Regardless of whether the debt ceiling is raised, the Federal Reserve will continue to purchase the Treasury’s debt.  If Goldman Sachs is too big to fail, then so is the US government.

There is no budget focus on the illegal wars and military occupations that the US government has underway in at least six countries or the 66-year old US occupations of Japan and Germany and the ring of military bases being constructed around Russia.

The total military/security budget is in the vicinity of $1.1-$1.2 trillion, or 70 per cent -75 per cent of the federal budget deficit.

In contrast, Social Security is solvent.  Medicare expenditures are coming close to exceeding the 2.3 per cent payroll tax that funds Medicare, but it is dishonest for politicians and pundits to blame the US budget deficit on “entitlement programs.”

Entitlements are funded with a payroll tax.  Wars are not funded. The criminal Bush regime lied to Americans and claimed that the Iraq war would only cost $70 billion at the most and would be paid for with Iraq oil revenues. When Bush’s chief economic advisor, Larry Lindsay, said the Iraq invasion would cost $200 billion, Bush fired him. In fact, Lindsay was off by a factor of 20. Economic and budget experts have calculated that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have consumed $4,000 billion in out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs.  In other words, the ongoing wars and occupations have already eaten up the $4 trillion by which Obama hopes to cut federal spending over the next ten years. Bomb now, pay later.

As taxing the rich is not part of the political solution, the focus is on rewarding the insurance companies by privatizing Medicare at some future date with government subsidized insurance premiums, by capping Medicaid, and by loading the diminishing middle class with additional Social Security tax.

Washington’s priorities and those of its presstitutes could not be clearer. President Obama, like George W. Bush before him, both parties in Congress, the print and TV media, and National Public Radio have made it clear that war is a far more important priority than health care and old age pensions for Americans.

The American people and their wants and needs are not represented in Washington. Washington serves powerful interest groups, such as the military/security complex, Wall Street and the banksters, agribusiness, the oil companies, the insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, and the mining and timber industries. 

Washington endows these interests with excess profits by committing war crimes and terrorizing foreign populations with bombs, drones, and invasions, by deregulating the financial sector and bailing it out of its greed-driven mistakes after it has stolen Americans’ pensions, homes, and jobs, by refusing to protect the land, air, water, oceans and wildlife from polluters and despoilers, and by constructing a health care system with the highest costs and highest profits in the world.

The way to reduce health care costs is to take out gobs of costs and profits with a single payer system.  A private health care system can continue to operate alongside for those who can afford it.
The way to get the budget under control is to stop the gratuitous hegemonic wars, wars that will end in a nuclear confrontation.

The US economy is in a deepening recession from which recovery is not possible, because American middle class jobs in manufacturing and professional services have been offshored and given to foreigners.  US GDP, consumer purchasing power, and tax base have been handed over to China, India, and Indonesia in order that Wall Street, shareholders, and corporate CEOs can earn more.
When the goods and services produced offshore come back into America, they arrive as imports. The trade balance worsens, the US dollar declines further in exchange value, and prices rise for Americans, whose incomes are stagnant or falling.

This is economic destruction. It always occurs when an oligarchy seizes control of a government. The short-run profits of the powerful are maximized at the expense of the viability of the economy.
The US economy is driven by consumer demand, but with 22.3 per cent unemployment, stagnant and declining wages and salaries, and consumer debt burdens so high that consumers cannot borrow to spend, there is nothing to drive the economy.

Washington’s response to this dilemma is to increase the austerity! 

Cutting back Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, forcing down wages by destroying unions and offshoring jobs (which results in a labor surplus and lower wages), and driving up the prices of food and energy by depreciating the dollar further erodes consumer purchasing power.  The Federal Reserve can print money to rescue the crooked financial institutions, but it cannot rescue the American consumer.

As a final point, confront the fact that you are even lied to about “deficit reduction.”  Even if Obama gets his $4 trillion “deficit reduction” over the next decade, it does not mean that the current national debt will be $4 trillion less than it currently is.  The “reduction” merely means that the growth in the national debt will be $4 trillion less than otherwise.  Regardless of any “deficit reduction,” the national debt ten years from now will be much higher than it presently is.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, and professor of economics in six universities. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, was published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com/Counter punch.

13-31

The Blessed Nights of Ramadan

By Adil James, TMO

P7230054
Young people sell CDs of Shaykh Abdul Khalid Sattar’s speeches at the Tawheed Center after his event.

A refreshing new voice in Michigan is that of Shaykh Khalid Abdul Sattar, who spoke Saturday at the Tawheed Center at an event that was attended by dozens of people preparing themselves for the joys and rigors of Ramadan.

Shaykh Khalid Abdul Sattar was born in Chicago in 1974. He completed his bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the Stern School of Business at New York University (NYU) in 1997.

After graduation, he began studying with local scholars in Chicago. In 2003, he traveled to Pakistan to further advance his knowledge of the traditional Islamic sciences. There he dedicated five years to a full-time course of studies under some of the most accomplished scholars of the sub-continent. In 2008, he formally graduated with a degree in Islamic Studies. He also received his teaching licenses in various Islamic subjects, including Classical Arabic, Hanafi Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh and Hadith.

In conjunction with his pursuit of traditional knowledge, he has also received spiritual guidance and training from Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad. After spending more than a decade in the company of his shaykh, he was given permission to take students in the path of Tasawwuf.

Currently, he runs Ilm Essentials.com, an online traditional learning program, and also teaches Arabic and Hanafi Fiqh with Sacred Learning, a Chicago-based learning institute. He currently resides in Maryland with his family.

The entire day was devoted to learning about Ramadan, with lectures entitled, “The Key to Ramadan–the Qur`an,” two workshops on the Fiqh of Ramadan, and a two part workshop on hadith relating to virtues of the Qur`an.

In speaking about the fiqh of Ramadan, the shaykh discussed the rules relating to fasting, explaining that the levels of requirement in fiqh are Fard, Wajib, then Sunnah Muaqqadah, and Nawafil.

Fard fasting relates to for example fasting during Ramadan, making up Ramadan fasts.

Wajib is still required, and he gave examples of wajib fasts as for example when one makes an oath that “if such and such happens then I will fast,” or if one makes the intention to fast every Thursday but then misses a Thursday fast, the makeup for that fast becomes obligatory on the servant.

Sunnah Muaqqadah fasts are for example the 9th and 10th of Muharram.

Mustahhab fasts are not required but Prophet (s) used to practice them.  Such fasts as Monday / Thursday, or fasting the three white days, or fasting six days from Shawwal, are such fasts.

Surprisingly, but also interestingly, the shaykh discussed the fiqh of fasting Fridays and supported the argument that in our time it is not a sin to fast Friday without accompanying it with another day.  Also he argued that it may not be necessary to combine a fast on Ashura with a fast on the 9th or 11th, pointing out that in our time Jews no longer fast only the 10th of Muharram therefore if we fast only the 10th we are not imitating them.

An interesting point he made was that fasting is the only kind of ‘ibadat that we perform that involves not doing anything–the other acts of worship that we perform involve doing specified acts.  He built from this starting point towards the argument that Muslims in the West who find themselves “too busy” to perform other acts of worship are still able to fast because fasting does not involve taking time away from one’s other obligations, such as work and school.

 

 

If I have made any mistake in describing Islamic law please forgive me, and you can let me know also by writing detroit@muslimobserver.com.

13-31

Community News (V13-I31)

New Mosque in Staten Island

STATEN ISLAND,NY–The Muslim American Society is opening a new location on Staten Island.

The mosque and community center will be housed at the site of a former Hindu temple on Burgher Avenue in Dongan Hills.

Renovations are underway, and the center is not open to the public as of yet reports NY1.

St. Louis’s Imam Ansari Passes Away

ST.LOUIS,MO–Samuel Ansari, a much beloved leader of the St.Louis Muslim community, passed away on July 24, after suffering a heart attack. He was 62. He owned a bakery and served as a volunteer imam at the Al Muminun Mosque.

Mr. Ansari was born Samuel Hicks on Nov. 20, 1948, in Huntingdon, Tenn., and moved to St. Louis as a child. He graduated from Vashon High School and did a stint in the Army in the 1960s that took him to Alaska. When he came home, he was disillusioned with the United States. Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, a social movement of black Muslims, appealed to him.

“When I heard him say the white man is the devil, it hit home,” Mr. Ansari told the Post-Dispatch in 2006. “We wanted white Americans to feel what we felt.”

But after Elijah Muhammad died in 1975, Mr. Ansari followed the leadership of Muhammad’s son, W. Deen Mohammed, who focused on the universal teachings of Islam, not separatism.

Imam Ansari had worked hard to build bridges between the immigrant and the African-American Muslim community of the city. He was also active in interfaith efforts.

DOJ Asked to Probe Michigan Bias

DETROIT,MI–The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate whether local planning officials in that state are violating the religious rights of Muslims by denying a permit to build a school on property they own.

On June 16, the Michigan Islamic Academy (MIA) went before the Pittsfield Township Planning Commission for land usage approval on a newly-purchased property to be used for educational and religious purposes. The planning commission voted on a preliminary procedural motion to deny MIA’s request after concerns of disruption of neighborhood harmony were raised and derogatory comments were made about the religious practices of Muslims. (A final vote will be taken at a commission meeting on August 4.)

Ali Mushtaq Wins Piano Competition

WASHINGTON D.C.–Ali Mushtaq, a statistical contractor and an amateur pianist, came first at the ninth annual Washington International Piano Artists Competition.  The competition is open to amateur pianists 31 years of age or older. The event had competitors from around the world and was hosted by the French Embassy.

Arts Midwest Launches International Program to Bridge American and Muslim Cultures

Arts Midwest, the non-profit Regional Arts Organization (RAO) serving America’s upper Midwest, announces the launch of Caravanserai: A place where cultures meeT, a groundbreaking artistic and cultural exchange program supported by the nation’s RAOs. Caravanserai is funded by a one million dollar grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA) Building Bridges program.

“The name Caravanserai was carefully selected for this program,” says David Fraher, Executive Director of Arts Midwest. “Historically, in the east and middle-east, stopping places for caravans were called caravanserais. Safe places to come together and exchange stories. The name evokes that imagery of travelers in a safe haven, a place where cultures meet.”

Betsy Fader of DDFIA says Caravanserai is a natural fit for their Building Bridges grants program. “Caravanserai beautifully illustrates our mission to promote the use of art and culture to improve Americans’ understanding and appreciation of Muslim Societies. We believe this pilot program of music and film will start many conversations and open many doors to understanding.”

Nearly two years in the making, Caravanserai begins with a pilot program in five US communities comprising performing arts and film programs featuring art and artists from Muslim cultures. The pilot program focuses on Pakistan. Future programming will feature other geographic regions and artistic disciplines and will travel to more US cities.

After receiving applications from across the country, Arts Midwest selected the following communities to present Caravanserai:

•    The Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire; Littleton, NH
•    Artswego SUNY Oswego; Oswego, NY
•    FirstWorks; Providence, RI
•    Monmouth University; West Long Branch, NJ
•    The Myrna Loy Center; Helena, MT

Each organization will host three arts experiences in their community, including music residency tours featuring traditional and contemporary Pakistani musicians and a film residency, featuring a Pakistani filmmaker. Residency activities will include educational workshops, public performances, film screenings, and localized community outreach.
Curated by artistic director Zeyba Rahman, Caravanserai features a roster of outstanding contemporary Pakistani artists.

•    Arif Lohar – Folk singer
•    Qawal Najmuddin Saifuddin – Qawali singers
•    Sanam Marvi – Folk and Sufi singer
•    Ustad Tari Khan – US-based tabla master
•    Ayesha Khan – Filmmaker, “Made in Pakistan”

13-31

Amir Khan Knocks Out Judah

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

amir5Amir Khan used his advantages of speed, height, and youth earlier this week and dominate his elder challenger, Zab Judah, to further unify the junior welterweight division of boxing. Khan knocked out Judah with a hard right hand in the fifth round Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the process, he added Judah’s IBF junior welterweight title to his own WBA title Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Khan, age 24, definitely looked more spritely than the 33 year old Judah. After landing punches early and often, Khan finally struck Judah in the mid-section in the fifth round. Judah fell to his knees and tried to indicate to the referee that he had a received a blow below the belt. But the referee was not buying it, and he counted Judah out, to give Khan the knockout. And replays clearly showed that the final blow was indeed a clean one.

“Zab is a great fighter, but he was a little awkward,” Khan said to reporters afterward. “I knew he was getting hurt and moving away and ducking. I kept hitting him right on the face and the shot that took him down hit him right on the belt. If it had gone another few rounds, I would have knocked him out with a clean shot. I saw I was hurting him and it was only a matter of time.”

Judah, with 41 wins, 7 losses, and 28 knockouts, and his promoter Kathy Duva, did not agree with the decision. “It was a low blow,” Judah said. “I was trying to get myself together [when I was down] and that was self defense there [going down]. He jabbed my cup. It was an uppercut and it lifted the belt and that really hurt. The punch was clearly below his belt.

Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) was leading by a 40-36 shutout on all three scorecards at the time of the knockout. “I think my speed overwhelmed him along with my power,” Khan said. “I built it up from the beginning and took my time. I could’ve gone with the plan to knock him out sooner, but I wanted to work my way up. I’m No. 1 in the division. Now I will go back and see who my team is going to line up for me next.”

Khan was supposed to face WBC and WBO titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr., but Bradley turned down the fight despite a 50-50 offer from Khan that would have paid him possibly as much as $1.8 million. “If Bradley didn’t want to fight then, he probably doesn’t want to fight him now after seeing what he just did to Zab Judah,” Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.

Bradley, for his part, still sounds uninterested. “He’s not ready for the ‘Storm,’” Bradley said after the fight, referring to his nickname “Desert Storm.” “I’m not impressed,” Bradley continued. “I know the comments that are going to be made about this, but I’m not stressing over what everyone else is saying. When we do get in the ring everyone will see who the best 140-pounder in the world is.”

Under the terms of his deal with HBO, Khan is required to fight again in December, once again in the United States. “We’ll see who will be available,” Schaefer said. “It might be the winner of [the Aug. 27] Robert Guerrero-Marcos Maidana fight. It might be Erik Morales. But I really don’t think Bradley wants to have anything to do with Amir Khan. It was a great performance. The combinations, what a talented fighter. One more fight at 140 and then in the spring move up to 147 and go get one of the big boys.”

13-31

Muslim Baseball Fans Lose Jersey to Hall of Famer

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

roberto-alomar-aids
File:  Roberto Alomar

Life-long Toronto Blue Jays fans Fiyaz Kanji and Owais Farooqui have moved away from Toronto, where they grew up, but they remain loyal. The pair even made the trip to Cooperstown from Boston over the weekend to see Roberto Alomar’s enshrinement as the team’s first Hall of Famer. But in an odd twist of fate, and clearly part of a misunderstanding, Alomar took a jersey from them during his parade procession and the pair have yet to retrieve it.

Kanji and his wife, Azra, now live in Boston. Farooqui, who lives in Los Angeles, had flown to Boston to see his friends after a stop in Seattle for work. The three of them left Boston at 6 a.m. Saturday to make the four-hour-plus drive to Cooperstown. Once they arrived, they wanted to get an Alomar T-shirt, but on this day, anyway, they were tough to find in the right size. “It was a shirt that everyone was buying,” Farooqui told Deadspin.com. “All day I was looking for that shirt.”

Farooqui finally bought a shirt to his liking for around $50. The group then lined up for the parade, which was held the day before Sunday’s induction ceremony. Farooqui held the shirt and waved it, hoping to get Alomar’s attention, while Kanji took video footage that has been placed on YouTube and has gone viral.

“He called me over,” said Farooqui. “I thought he was just going to shake my hand or give me a high-five. He took the shirt and waved it a little. I thought maybe he would autograph it or something. He just turned and kept going.”

After realizing they probably weren’t getting the shirt back, Farooqui and the Kanjis raced to the end of the parade route, hoping maybe to get Alomar’s attention. But Alomar ducked into the Hall before they could get to him.

“We were excited he took it at first,” Kanji told Deadspin. “Then we realized we weren’t going to get it back. I want the damn shirt back.” The latest word has the Toronto Blue Jays making contact with the two men, with the possibility of compensation in the form of other gifts. But there is no word yet as to whether the jersey in question makes it back into the hands of its rightful owners.

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Saints Sign Quddus from Fordham

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

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File: Lehigh’s Michael Colvin scoots past Fordham’s Isa Abdul-Quddus.

Fordham University safety Isa Abdul Quddus has been added to the New Orleans Saints’ list of undrafted rookie free agents.  Quddus is a 6’ 1” 200-pound safety that played four seasons for the Fordham Rams.  Quddus started out playing cornerback for Fordham but was moved to safety entering his senior season.

Quddus led the Rams in total tackles in 2010 with 70 stops.  50 of his tackles were solo stops, and he also had six pass break ups and three forced fumbles in 2010.  Quddus also returned one kickoff for the Rams for 29 yards during his senior season.

Per his biography on the Fordham University athletic department website, Quddus is a graduate of Union High School in Union, New Jersey where he lettered in football and track. He was a First Team All-County and Second Team All-State selection in football as a senior. He was named to the New Jersey Coaches Super 100 Team. In his high school career he made over 100 tackles in both his junior and senior season. On the track team, he won the county championship in the 100m as a senior (10.9). He also took third place in the 200m (22.6). He was named First Team All-County in track in 2005.
Sports Illustrated describes his positives: “Athletic safety prospect who is at his best defending the run. Breaks down well, strong at the point of attack, and wraps up tackling. Quickly breaks to the action out of his plant, physical, and works hard to get involved and make plays.”

Sports Illustrated further states, “Abdul-Quddus possesses the size/speed numbers to play at the next level and has shown enough football skills to be given looks in camp this summer. He must quickly pick up his play in coverage though, as he’s often a liability against the pass.”

Isa is a Business Administration major. He has one sibling, a brother named Rafiqu.

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Revocable Living Trust – A Beneficial Product, But Is It Right for You?

By Adil Daudi, Esq.

Recently I was given the opportunity to speak at The Islamic Center of Greater Lansing on “Simplifying your Shariah Estate Plan.” My primary focus for the presentation was two-fold: (a) to provide a greater understanding for the community on the differences between a Revocable Living Trust and a Last Will and Testament; and (b) to inform the community on the importance of a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney.

As the presentation ended and the question and answer period began, I realized that the focus of the questions was on the differences of a Trust and a Will, and which would be more suitable for them individually. Seeing how my article “To Will or Not to Will” has drawn attention from many in our community, I wanted to take the opportunity to write on the other product, the Revocable Living Trust, and hopefully shed some light on the benefits of obtaining such a product.

If you are at the stage where you are prepared to create an estate plan, you may be well-aware of the requirements that are placed on us Muslims: Narrated by Ibn Umar, Prophet Muhammad (s) once said: “It is not right for any Muslim person who has something to bequeath to stay for two nights without having his last will and testament written and kept ready with him.”

The following is a concise list of facts about Revocable Living Trusts that many may or not be taking into consideration when deciding on their estate plan. I would strongly advise for you to consult with an Attorney about these issues and to get a better, clearer, understanding of how a trust actually operates versus a Will.

1. Avoid Probate: One of the primary advantages of establishing a Trust is that you avoid the probate process; therefore, you avoid having the courts involved in your estate. This is extremely beneficial for multiple reasons: (a) allows you to distribute your assets almost immediately; (b) helps reduce the cost that your estate would otherwise pay; (c) allows you to avoid having lawyers involved; and (d) ensures a much smoother process for handling the estate’s affairs.

2. Costs: One of the biggest drawbacks of establishing a Trust is the upfront cost that is typically associated with it. From my experience, this is what usually deters clients away from creating a trust; however, more often than not, this is because they do not fully understand the benefits and the possible savings a Trust can actually provide. The average cost of going through the probate process is approximately 3-5% of your entire estate. Now, depending on the value of your estate, this cost can be excessive. However, in contrast, once you create a Trust, the only fee you will be required to pay is the actual cost of the Trust. 

If you are currently speaking to an Attorney about a Trust, be sure to ask whether there are any hidden costs, e.g. extra charges for making changes or costs for speaking to the Attorney about the Trust after it is created. Although I can only speak on behalf of my firm, we ensure that a client who purchases a Trust with us is given no additional fees, and has essentially retained us for the duration of their life (for their estate planning needs). Please make sure you understand your Attorney’s fee structure before signing up for any estate planning documents.

3. Private Information: Another important advantage with a Trust is that you do not open yourself up to the public. In other words, under a Trust, your information is kept private between you, your spouse and your immediate family (or whomever you choose). Unlike a Will, where once it is filed with the court, it is open for the public to see; with a Trust there is no requirement of having it filed with the court. For many, this is a very serious issue, as not many Muslims are keen on the idea of having their assets openly disclosed to the public. However, these are also issues that you need to address when creating your own personal estate plan.

It has become far too common for clients to focus too much on the type of estate plan they should create (trust vs. will), and less focused on the requirements that have been placed upon us. If you have yet to establish an estate plan, and if you are stalling the process because you confused on which product is more suitable for you, I highly advise for you to at least satisfy the bare-minimum requirement that Allah s.w.t. has made mandatory on us, and draft a Will; at least until you have informed yourself of the advantages to a Trust, and decided whether or not a Trust is in fact, the better product.

In addition, it is always important to discuss and understand these issues with your Attorney. Make sure you speak to an attorney who will not charge for the initial consultation and is knowledgeable in the area; especially in relation to Shariah law. With Ramadan approaching in less than two-weeks, there may be no better time than now to take advantage of completing a deed and satisfying your requirements; as well as ensuring you have protected your assets and have them distributed pursuant to Shariah law, and not Michigan law.

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Asset Protection for Physicians, Physician Contracts, Estate Planning, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, and Family Law. He can be contacted for any questions related to this article or other areas of law at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

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Security / Insecurity in South Asia, and American Interests

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Richmond (Va.)–Last week we discussed the current crisis in the Indo-Pakistani space.  This week we shall move on to reflect upon a more theoretical approach to the long-running dilemma we considered eight days ago that the most recent manifestation is only the latest in a series of events that stretches back to 1947, and the Partition of British India into the autonomously independent States of India and Pakistan.

Vadana Asthana with Majid Sharif’s presentation made here at Virginia Commonwealth University of the chapter that they wrote for a projected book with various authors about several Southern Asian Security complications, sheds much light on the ever-looming recent Mumbai crisis of the preceding fortnight.

There are several constant issues in the construction of political thought.  After the expiration of the U.S.S.R., the termination of the heir of the Nineteenth Century Russian Empire, new imperial imperatives sought to preserve or destroy Subcontinental prerogatives.  (This includes the considerable Islamic populations of the region.)  “The Regime of [contemporary] Empire” has generated ever new “actors.”  The U.S. is a performer in this scenario, also, although still not the dominant one.

There has been a revision of the Eastern “Other” (that includes Muslims) from the Colonial “Oriental” to the tribal. Curiously–despite the fact that their modern borders were defined by earlier International Empires–the modern demographics of developing societies are at disparate levels of cultural sophistication and organization; a Muslim  example is the difference between the tribal societies in the Af-Pak region verses Andhra Pradesh’s high-tech environment (which, also, comprises the Muslim-founded [Indian city of] Hyderabad]) which is still 40% Islamic.

This historical verity of the contemporary Americo-European perspective mentioned previously frequently has divided peoples from each other, creating sub-nationalities; and thus, they often create liberation movements.   Of course, the most critical in South of Asia is the flashpoint of Kashmir that could create another nuclear confrontation between the two nation-States of India and Pakistan pulling in diverse international participants; i.e. a possible World War.  For the Occident, many newborn nations’ citizens have become the “indigenous natives.”

Majid describes the new Imperial as (an economically) “Liberal” Global Metropoles (an Empire’s Center). Majid and Asthana’s paper reflects upon liberalization in the Arab west as well as the Islamic east (South Asia):  To the Europeanized West “their regimes require enemies – consequently, Al’Quaeda and the Taliban.”  Therefore, for the Northern Americas, this process is “not in the National Interest [of the United States].”  Sharif considers it to be a problem of “over kill,” for N.A.T.O. (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-) allied countries of which, further, encompasses the United States and Canada.

The categorization that the States employ was developed by the British (over the previous past three centuries) in the geographical zones we are scrutinizing.  The U.S.A. utilizes them to exploit the “Other” (especially in the Third or developing World which includes most Muslim Islamic homelands).

In a satiric sense, the “Liberal Imperialistic” is benign, for it, historically (merely) retains the patterns of past ascendancies. Your author here would conclude that the complex and problematic disputes within the extent of the expanse of the Subcontinental zone are intricately involved in imperialistic politics from outside their neighborhood.  These competing imperialistic politics are fighting over those post-Colonial spaces.

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