Some Christians Kill me with their lies about Islam!

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You know, I would much rather close the year out with a simple New Years message, but my blood has been boiling over a week to a degree and I have been waiting to vent.  Had I not come down with the flu or something, I would have addressed this on my radio show this past Thursday, but I cancelled because of my illness.  I will most certainly address this on my first show of the New Year which is actually January 1st.

By “this” I mean the continual lying that tends to go on with some Christians as it relates to Islam.  Now I tend to touch on this every now and then, but more so indirectly because I don’t tend to get too much flak from Christians in general, however sometimes it gets so crazy that I feel that if I don’t say something I will explode!

Over the last few weeks some things have changed.  On my show for instance, my co-host and I decided to theme several shows around “Christmas” but from a “Muslim” (our) perspective.  We knew ahead of time, this was departing from our norm as we don’t ordinarily rile up some Christians in this way.  However, we did it anyway with the intention of at least exposing the practices without trying to attack the religion….which worked for the most part.

Then on the last to shows of December, a Minister decided to come into my live chat during the show blasting (or so he thought) Islam.  His “attacks” were totally uncalled for and I started to just ignore him, however the Marine in me can’t seem to back down from a good fight.Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not theoretically against debate, because I truly believe debate is a good thing; however I believe that when one is debating it should be on the basis of respect and with the best facts one can present.  In these exchanges as there are many, which of course provoked this writing; it seems that when dealing with certain Christians those rules are not followed. 

Often, I will just shy from the debate because I get tired of repeating myself against the same old tired accusations, but in these last several weeks I decided that I’m no longer doing that.  Many Muslims just sit back and let these “evangelicals”, “missionaries”, etc. (and not all of them) say what they want and we continue the high road, meanwhile lies and insults are hurled our way and more and more are convinced that the lies are true. 

Therefore, I have decided that I won’t let in happen on my watch.From now on as it relates to debate against Islam I’m going to treat it as General order number one in the Marine Corps, with “slight” modification:  ….To walk my post in an Islamically truthful manner, keeping always on the alert, and observing all things within sight or hearing….

My post is Islam and all that it represents.  I plan to defend that post against the lies and accusations, especially from these rogue Christians.

Now what do I mean?  One of the lies that are often told involve whether Islam is violent.  These Christians continually cite random verses or Hadith to support their claim then look to the news as evidence that those things are truly believed in the Islamic world.  However, the constant hypocrisy on their part is they completely ignore the literal thousands of contrary verses and hadith to their 20-30 talking points.  The hypocrisy comes in when they don’t apply the same “logic” to their own book.  Case in point:  I could easily rattle off 100 verses in both the Old and New Testament that “justify” a number of things from war with infidels, to the subjugation of women, minorities, etc.  And any Christian would rebut with the statement that I have to look at the “context” of the verse, chapter, book, etc. to get the true meaning.  But if a Muslim says the same thing about the Quran, then we are ignored.

Then they cite the current events as “facts”.  They completely ignore the truth that you couldn’t even equate violence by Muslims as equal to 1-2% of ALL Muslims.  The fact that a billion plus Muslims are not bothering anyone eludes them.  It’s a non-issue, the fact that Muslims have been in this country for centuries without incident eludes them.  Facts in general elude them.  I have come to the conclusion that it’s not about truth with them, it’s about spreading lies in the vain attempts for several things to include: wealth, notoriety, conversion, etc.  A whole industry has popped up after 9/11 and many of these so-called Christians are at the forefront ensuring that it stays strong.The biggest thing that kills me with these hypocrites is this idea that they call themselves Christian.  Now, the way I was raised in the Church, I was taught that Christians were supposed to be about truth, peace, and love.  What I’m seeing these days is the direct opposite when it comes to Muslims.  Now some of the golden-tongued missionaries will say that their “truth” is because they love us and want us “saved”, but the reality is that if that is the case, then one should at least tell the truth in the first place.

Case in point:  A Christian associate of mine gave me a pamphlet on Christmas of all days that was like one of those Jehovah’s Witness pamphlets that pretty much slam your beliefs in order to make you convert to theirs.   Now ordinarily I wouldn’t have gotten offended, because I expect that if you believe in something that you believe is a good thing, that you should share it, however, all I ask is that one tells the truth.  Show me why your beliefs are better; let the facts stand on their own merit.

So I look at this book titled “Allah has no son” as if that is an insult  🙂  , and page by page lie after lie, after lie, after lie, is told about Islam, while at the same time uplifting Christianity.  I had the weirdest emotion it was between gut wrenching laughter and being furious.  Some of the biggest lies were the image that all Muslims are Arab as given by the example of the Muslims in the comic being all Saudi, another that got me was the idea that there was enough nerve to try and equate Islam with Paganism………………………………………….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I thought to myself, now how brazen is that!  Christianity calling Islam Pagan!  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!  Now make no mistake I pull many, many punches on this blog and my show, because I don’t like to offend people.  However, one with any little bit of religious studies background knows why that is outright comical at best.  But the furious part is not the statement in of itself but the well dressed lies that are told to perpetuate the statement.

Case in point:  The common myth of the word “Allah”.  Many a Christian has levied this one over and over again that “Allah” is some “other” god or the moon god.  There only backdrop is that there was “a” god named “Allah” in pre-Islamic Arabia.  Now anyone with a little logic can see that as a joke.  It’s like me looking at a brown house and based off that make the declaration that all houses are brown! 🙂

What I can’t wrap my mind around is how they came to this conclusion in their “scholarship”.  Either they are just stupid, or they are purposefully lying.  The argument is with linguistics plain and simple.  In English, every time we refer to a supreme being we use the word god.  Any English speaking person of any religion uses that word.  “God” is masculine in English and because of the language can be made feminine “goddess” or plural “gods”; therefore, some English speaking people of religion use other words to be definitive.  Some Pagans for instance, instead of saying god and goddess may say instead, Odin and Isis….. 

The point is most people with sense, realize that when one says “god” in English what is inferred and then for further clarification the actual religion has to define what they actually mean.Now the rules change when the language changes….”duh” So these same self-serving Christians impose the rules of English on another language and therefore, make the lie that “Allah” must identify something different than what is ordinarily inferred.  The mistake on the listener if they listen to their lies is that when switching languages one needs to translate! In the case of Arabic they would find that the English equivalent to the word “Allah” is “THE GOD” it comes from the Arabic Al = The Illah = God.  Therefore, when Arabic speaking people say “Allah” they are saying the same thing as English speaking people when the Arabic is translated into English.  Which is why just as I whose native tongue is English has no problem saying God, an Arabic speaking Christian likewise has no problem saying Allah.  This is also why in an English translation of the Quran the word is God and in an Arabic Bible the word is Allah.  This seems pretty simple to me.

But not when you’re telling lies….purposeful ones, because then there is the matter of clarification if my explanation is reasoned out.They will then allege that we mean some “moon god” and state that as evidence we use the crescent as our symbol.  Huge mistake yet again on the part of those who believe that lie!

Was there a “moon god” in pre-Islam Arabia?  Probably, but if “The God” is always called “Allah” in Arabic, doesn’t it make sense that the religion would have to clarify what they mean?  For instance, If I knew nothing of Christianity and went to a Pagan rite where they spoke of “The God” in English of course then heard some Christians refer to their being as “God” would I make sense in stating that they both believe the same thing because the name is the same?  Would it equally make sense to tell Arabic speaking Christians and Jews that they believe in a moon god because they use the word “Allah” too?

Absolutely not. 

That is why the Quran is quite clear in this regard, something these “Christians” seem to miss in their “research”.

2:136 Say: “We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and, their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus; and that which has been vouchsafed to all the [other] prophets by their Sustainer: we make no distinction between any of them. And it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.”

Now here it is crystal clear in our book in our religion that makes it quite clear what we mean when we refer to God.  How they mess that up I don’t know. (Lies of course) The truth of the matter is thus; let’s say there is a moon god named “Allah” that has no bearing on the Christian, Muslim, or Jew who calls God “Allah” in Arabic because between the three religions they define what they believe about that name “Allah” and that should be enough.  So either we all believe in “moon gods” or we believe as we say we believe.  The only other alternative is to say that Muslims believe in a different Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jesus, etc. (pbut) then what Jews and Christians believe! 🙂

But I digress… Then there is the whole “crescent” thing.  The crescent in Islam is used because we believe that is when the Quran was revealed during a crescent moon during Ramadan!!!!!!  It’s that simple.  The symbol is just that a symbol, a reminder of what we believe is important about our religion.  In this case the revelation of God.  Do other religions past in present use a crescent?  Certainly, but once again, you have to ask those groups why they use said symbol.  If it where as easy as these Christians make it out to be, then certainly the Christians need to re-evaluate their usage of the cross or the fish, because both can be equated with paganism, well before Jesus (pbuh).  The fish can be pices and the cross representing the elements…..but I need not go into paganism.

The point is anyone with common sense will know that symbols mean different things to different people and groups and it’s up to said group to define their use.  It’s only arrogance, ignorance, or straight out and out lying that ignores that fact.I could go on and on about this and I surely intend to over the coming year on this blog and my show so stay tuned.Overall, it’s just outright disgusting that people will call themselves a Christian when their words and actions are so vile that they prove other than that.  As Muslims we believe that truth manifests itself.  If their religion is so great and better, then why does it need all that extra “assistance”?  Why do you have to purposefully lie about another religion in order to get people to come to yours?

The truth of the matter is people come to Islam based on truth.  They read and reason it out for themselves.  It is very rare on the whole that converts were coerced in any way into coming to Islam.  In fact, the Quran says that there is to be no coercion in matters of religion, truth stands clear from falsehood. 

However, Christians on the other hand have to market and sell their religion.  They have ads in the newspaper, flyers, billboards, cable TV ads, channels, and shows.  They knock on your door; prospect you in the street, etc. etc. etc. 

Let’s be real for a minute:  How many other religions do that?  Not the Jews, Not the Hindu’s, Sheiks, etc. 

Just Christians. 

To make matters worse, the US is 74-76% Christian!!!!!! So what’s the point?  I mean if the religion is so right compared to others, you would think the other 25% or so of the country would naturally join in with the majority right? 

We would be so impressed and leave our “inferior” religions and rush to be “saved”.  But for some reason Christians feel the need to market in person and using every medium possible……seems awfully strange to me considering the grip on the market. 

The only time you ordinarily see that in a real world example is when a business knows they are loosing a share of their market and fear going under all together! 

These corporations will do anything to stay on top.  They will use all their resources to keep in power.  More importantly they will use every dirty trick in the book to keep the small and emerging markets and companies down or eradicate them.

How do they do that?  False information, lies, deceit, whatever it takes.

Maybe it’s just me, but these Christians and these Mega Corporations have much in common. 

My question is why do they fear Islam so much that they have to lie?  If Christianity is the truth, since Islam is “false” it should pose no threat and given it’s “market” in the US, should just fade away as a fad right? 

If I had 75% of the market why would I waste so many resources and energy trying to stop a “bad product”?

There must be a reason……… 🙂 

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Christmas in the Muslim world this year

I was sent this article on a message board and thought I should share it! I also decided to add many similar articles 🙂

Christmas in the Muslim world this year

Abdul Malik Mujahid

Christmas is not a Muslim holiday, therefore, Muslim countries do not celebrate it. Muslims in the United States often request that their children not attend Christmas functions at school because the belief of Jesus, peace be upon him, being the son of God runs directly against the core Muslim belief.

However, in a world where Muslims and Christians both are present, how should Muslims react? The Prophet of God, peace and blessings be upon him, was faced with this question when he established the first peace sanctuary of Madinah, where the majority of the people were not Muslims. Here is what he said about the Christians of Najran (Yaman):

“Najran has the protection of God and the pledges of Muhammad, the Prophet, to protect their (the Christians’) lives, faith, land, property, those who are absent and those who are present, and their clan and allies. They need not change anything of their past customs. No right of theirs or their religion shall be altered. No church leader, monk or church guard shall be removed from his position.”

It was this historical commitment towards people of other faiths that formed the ideals of Islam regarding other faith groups in their midst, whether they were Christian, Jews, Sun worshipers, or Hindus. The Prophet even allowed a Christian delegation to celebrate their religious services in the very Mosque of the Prophet according to classic historians Ibn Hisham and Ibn Sa’d.

In the current context of American aggression in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it has been difficult for Muslim minorities in the US and for Christian minorities in the Muslim world.

Here are some things which Muslims can do in Muslim countries to help Christian minorities enjoy their holidays in the best possible manner:

Give Christian employees an extended holiday break:

Muslim businesses can extend a day off to Christian workers on Christmas day at least, if not longer. Just as some Muslims in the US have successfully gotten days off from work and school on Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha, Christians in Muslim countries should get the same on their holidays. Many Muslim countries, like Pakistan, already do this.

Reassuring Christian Neighbors:

In countries where there has been recent conflict between Christians and Muslims, for example, in Nigeria and Indonesia, the Muslim leadership can take measures in their communities to make the Christian minority feel more comfortable in their days of happiness.

A gesture of neighborly duty:

Although security is a government matter, and in many Muslim countries governments are providing extra police to churches, it will be a good gesture on the part of Muslim neighbors to offer their time to volunteer for the security of churches during Christmas time. This is especially important in places like Iraq and Pakistan, where, since the American bombing and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, churches have been targets of terrorism.

Muslim and Christian minorities in India:

In India, where Muslims and Christians are both minorities, Christians have been vocal in supporting the Muslim community during the horrific murders and crimes against the community in the state of Gujurat in 2002. This Christmas, a large number of Indian churches will be fearful about the ongoing compaigns of Hindu militants and self-professed fascists in that part of India. It is critical that Muslims in India support Christians during their holiday season.

Historically, when Muslims have held state power, they have, for the most part, worked hard to protect the rights of non-Muslims in their midst, from idol-worshipping Hindus, to fire-worshipping Zorastrians. Christians, who are described in the Quran as “People of the Book”, hold a special place as a faith community from the Abrahamic tradition. Protecting religious freedom has not been the Muslim state’s tactic of appeasement. Rather, it is an order from God, and a practice of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who once said, “Whoever hurts a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim society hurts me.”

It is critical for Muslims to remember that a person is not considered a Muslim unless they believe in Jesus (Islamic and Christian View of Jesus). This love for this noble Prophet ties us to the Christian community in a special way.

Although the history of relations between Muslims and Christians has not always been good, it is important to remember that Muslims always stood for a society where the rights of all individuals are not only tolerated, but respected and protected.

Read Also:

Muslim-Christian Relations, The Good, the Bad

By Sound Vision Staff Writer

There were great times and there were the bad ones.

Tolerance, respect and cooperation some times. Murder, intolerance and hostility on other occasions.

These have been some of the defining features of Muslim-Christian relations throughout history. Here are some examples of the good and the bad.

First the good memories:

1. Habasha and the Negus

It was a Christian king in a predominantly Christian land who gave the small, persecuted community of early Muslims in the beginning of the Prophet Muhammad’s mission protection. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon the Prophet.

The Muslims sought refuge in Habasha, modern day Ethiopia, after suffering starvation and torture at the hands of the polytheistic Makkans. The Prophet Muhammad said about the Negus and Habasha: “a king rules without injustice, a land of truthfulness.”

Muslims were welcomed, protected and lived in peace with the Christians of Habasha. But this did not sit well with the Makkans, who did not want to see them leave Makkah or want the message of Islam to flourish in peace.They spent special envoys with gifts and lies about the Muslims to convince the Negus to send the Muslims back to Makkah. They told the Negus that this “new” faith took pride in insulting not just ancestral Makkan beliefs, but the beliefs of Christians as well.

Another king may have simply taken their word and automatically kicked the Muslims out. The Negus did not. He ordered that the leader of the Muslim community come to his court and explain Islam’s position.

Enter Jafar ibn Abu Talib, early Muslim refugee to Habasha, and cousin of the Prophet.

Not only did he eloquently explain the message of Islam and the persecution of those who accepted this truthful message. He also recited the opening verses of Surah 19 of the Quran, Surah Maryam or Mary, after the Negus asked him to recite part of Quran.

King Negus listened to the recitation of the Quran in focused attention. He cried as he listened, so much so that his beard got wet. When Jafar completed the recitation, Negus said, ‘Surely this Revelation and the Revelation of Jesus were from the same Source.’ Then to the two Makkan ambassadors, he said, ‘By God, I will not hand over these persons to you.’

But the story does not end here. The Makkans would not give up so easily. They asked the king to find out what the Muslims’ view of Jesus and his Divinity were, knowing of course, the difference in the Christian and Muslim positions regarding Jesus.

Again, Jafar responded, with no compromise of principles, just the simple, clear Truth:

‘He (Jesus) is God’s servant and Messenger; a spirit and a word from God that He bestowed on the Virgin Mary.’

Upon hearing this, Negus picked up a straw from the ground and said:

‘By God, Jesus was not even as much as one straw more than what you have said about him.’

He returned the gifts of the Quraysh. Negus told them he was not used to taking bribes and the Muslims would remain under his protection.

This was an early victory for positive Muslim-Christian relations.

2. Umar ibn al-Khattab and Jerusalem

Jerusalem and its surrounding territory were and remain holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews. It was during the Caliphate of Omar ibn al-Khattab that Muslims first gained leadership of this territory. May Allah be pleased with Omar.

The Muslim reaction to this victory is something to remember.

Omar entered Jerusalem in humility. He walked in with not he, the Caliph, but his servant comfortably riding on a camel. They had been taking turns walking and riding.

At one point in Jerusalem, the Christians asked him to pray in their church but he declined. He said he was afraid that in the future Muslims could use this as an excuse to take over the Church to build a Masjid.

The Christians gave the key of the Church of Resurrection to Muslims to be responsible for its safety. This key is still with the Muslims today as a sign and symbol of the mutual trust.

3. Saladin (Salah el Deen Ayyubi) and the Crusades

It was in response to the horrific oppression in Jerusalem at the hands of the Crusaders in the 11th century and the need to free the area of their control that Sultan Salah el Deen Ayyubi (Saladin) liberated Jerusalem from them in 1187.

His arrival brought relief for the local Christian population, who helped him, after the oppression they suffered at the hands of their co-religionists, the Crusaders.

Not only did Saladin treat the Crusaders with kindness, he ensured that Muslims and non-Muslims lived in peace and harmony with each other.

One particular story about him recounts that some Muslim soldiers were besieging a Christian fortress. Many Christians were seeking shelter inside, including a young couple who was planning to get married, but whose plans had been stopped by the fighting. They decided to get married anyway, even though they were trapped inside the castle.

Saladin was in charge of the Muslim troops at this time. When he heard about the wedding, he ordered his soldiers not to attack the castle where the couple was staying, so that they could enjoy peace and quiet. In return for this respect, the bride’s mother sent out trays of food for Saladin and the Muslim army to share in the wedding celebrations.

Indeed the longest period of peace and justice for all in Jerusalem has been the period when Muslims were in control.

Now the bad news

1. The Crusades

During the Crusades (1095 until 1291) European Christians attacked and occupied this Holy land. They oppressed the Muslims, the local Christians and the Jews. These Crusaders killed over 200,000 innocent civilians.

The aim: to wrest control of Jerusalem from the Muslims. This was not only a period of bloodshed, hostility and violence. It was also the beginning of collective Western stereotypes of Islam and Muslims, according to some scholars.

The Crusades ended centuries ago. But today, the remnants of those stereotypes have taken on new meaning. Muslims are still bloodthirsty, violent savages by most of the mainstream media’s standard. The propagation of these views on the collective level through the media has affected Muslims globally and locally. Muslims in America, while living peacefully with Christians and other religious groups, are still subject to discrimination in varying degrees, and physical violence and harassment in the worst cases.

While the Crusades were bad news for Muslims and even local Christians living alongside them, one significant outcome of this contact between Muslims and Western Christians was the passage of knowledge from one to the other.

Christians, through the Muslims, were able to access texts like those of Aristotle, for instance. The Muslims clearly passed on an intellectual heritage, which a number of scholars say laid the foundations for the modern Christian West. For more discussion of this, please see the book ” Islam and the Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane.

2. Muslim Spain versus Christian Spain

Many Muslims look back at Muslim Spain with pride. But Jews also call it their “golden era”.

Spain became part of the Islamic world at the beginning of the eighth century. Under Muslims, Spain became the center of civilization. Although many local Spaniards embraced Islam, Christians and Jews were free in all aspects of their lives. The Muslims respected their religion and institutions. The result was the birth of the first true cosmopolitan culture in the West.

Christians studied alongside Muslim scholars to such a degree that in 854, a Christian named Alvaro of Cordoba complained that these students were forgetting their own religion and culture.

The Muslims and Christians of Spain did not live in their ghettos, isolated and not cooperating in various aspects of daily life together.

It was in Spain that Aristotle’s works on physics and natural history were translated into Arabic from Greek. Historians generally acknowledge that the Muslim world proved to be a major conduit of ancient scholarship into the West, especially through Muslim Spain.

It wasn’t just Muslims and Christians who thrived in Spain, though. Jews, who were reviled and hated elsewhere, were not only living safely and peacefully alongside non-Jews in Muslim Spain, they were learning and contributing to its culture and knowledge which Muslim scholars had established.

But this success in wealth, knowledge and co-existence came to end in a violent and very sad way.

As Christian Crusaders of Spain expelled Muslims, civilization that took centuries to build was destroyed. Muslims and Jews were either expelled or forced to convert to Christianity. Millions died as tolerance was replaced by the Spanish Inquisition. A suspected Muslim was to be killed for the smallest act resembling Islamic tradition – such as taking a bath on Friday.

3. European colonialism (1500s to the early 20th century)

European colonialism was such a powerful force that by 1900, 90.4 percent of Africa was under European or American colonial control. This was a political and economic phenomenon that began in the 1500s. Various European nations “discovered”, conquered, and exploited large areas of the world.

In a quest for silk, spices and world domination, European explorers, like Christopher Columbus set out to sea. He ended up in North America. The result: the slaughter and destruction of millions of Natives and the usurpation of their land by Europeans.

In Muslim lands, colonialists wreaked havoc, supplanting Islamic educational systems with secular or Christianity-focused ones, and murdering and/or enslaving the natives of Africa, South Asia and the Middle East, for example.

They also acculturated the “savage” natives to the “refined” customs of Europe. In the Indian subcontinent today, the term “Brown Sahib” is used to refer to a native who is mentally colonized by the West. There are similar stock characters in other Muslim cultures.

4. Armenia-slaughter at the hands of Muslims, early 20th century

The predominantly Christian Armenians consider the greatest disaster in their history to be their murder and deportation from Turkey during World War I.

In 1915 as Turkish Armenians aligned with the pro-Christian Tsarist Russian enemy, the Turkish army reacted strongly against this betrayal. Although, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, statistics are disputed regarding the Armenian population in Ottoman Anatolia at the outbreak of World War I and the number of Armenians killed during this deportation, a large number of Armenians died during this civil war.

Those Turkish Armenians who survived migrated to places like predominantly Muslim Lebanon and Syria, as well as Russia, France, and the United States.

5. Current relations between the Muslims and Christians

Today 70% of all refugees in the world are Muslims. To Muslims, many of these refugees and other conflicts are a result of their powerlessness.

Muslims feel culturally enslaved, in many ways to the predominantly Christian West. The United States, with the new geopolitical reality of uni-polar world, continues to dictate policies to smaller nations of the world.

This new form of colonialism is done with the help of local lackeys in Muslim countries who take their orders about how their countries should be run from Washington, D.C. as opposed to locally.

On a larger level, British, French, American and Russian colonial powers (all Western, and all predominantly Christian) also control Muslim and other Third World countries through international institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Security Council of the United Nations.

This excessive power over the lives of millions is perceived by a number of Muslims as the continuing perpetuation of the colonial era. For most Muslims, colonialism is not about the spread of “refined European civilization”. It is about massacre, slaver, and weakness. It is nothing to proudly look back upon.

The fight against tobacco

One example of modern American colonialism can be found in the fight against tobacco in the United States.

In the last eight years, the US tobacco industry has lost business because of public health awareness campaigns against smoking. But in the same period the industry has achieved the record profits. How?

They now have an open market to sell their deadly products to Third World consumers, thanks to the help of the American government. So cancer is bad for Americans, but it’s okay for others. Where is the justice?

Despots and dictators: not in my backyard, but fine for yours

A second example of Western neo-colonialism is found in these countries’ support for corrupt dictators, totalitarian despots and anti-democratic forces in the Muslim world. Muslims question how sincere the Western belief in justice and democracy really is when this happens.

For instance, the government of France supported the Algerian army when it canceled elections following the victory at the ballot of the Islamic Salvation Front party in 1992. France is the country famed for “liberty, equality and fraternity”. It seems this is not what they had in mind for the Muslims in their former colonial baby, Algeria.

The United States, which touts “freedom and democracy” has similarly supported undemocratic regimes in Muslim and other countries. Justice, it seems, is not for all, especially not Muslims.

Muslim minorities in the West versus Christian minorities in Muslim countries

Both of these groups of minorities have been the brunt of stereotypical images in the local media, along with various forms of harassment. For example, several Masjids in America have been burned down and attacked as have chuches in Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia. Tribal clashes in Nigeria have taken on a religious color and a number of Christians have been murdered outside churches in Pakistan.

Muslims in Muslim countries must protect the rights of their Christian neighbors to freely practice their religion as well as their freedom of speech, as Prophet Mohamed (peace and blessings be upon him) and the rightly guided Khalifas after him did.The constitution the Prophet drafted in Madinah following his migration from Makkah enshrined the rights of Christians and Jews in the city, including those of worship. These were fully enforced under his leadership. Another example was when Umar ibn al-Khattab was Khalifah. He returned tax money collected from Christians in a town in modern day Iraq after he and the Muslims had to leave it. The taxes had been collected to ensure Muslim protection of the Christians living there. Since the Muslims could no longer do that, they returned the money.

Similarly, Christians in countries like America must stand up for Muslims’ rights, especially those of free speech and freedom of religion. This way, both groups can build bridges of understanding and tolerance in a world currently fraught with violence, terror and destruction.

Still Some Examples of Cooperation:

But amid these examples of New World Order colonialism and tense Muslim-Christian relations, there are some bright spots.

In the 1990s, the West did eventually come to the aid of Muslims following massacres, rapes and the oppression of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosova.

On the level of faith, the 1994 United Nations Conference on Population in Cairo, Egypt, became a platform for Muslim and Catholic cooperation against perceived anti-religious bias.

In addition, it is somewhat ironic that while Muslims resent the Western support for dictatorships in their countries, they turn to the West when seeking to escape the oppression in their countries. For example, Iran’s anti-Shah revolutionaries were essentially based in the West.

It is not uncommon to find Muslim refugees escaping to Germany, France, Britain, America and Canada. While many of them are economic migrants, seeking a better life for themselves and their families on a financial level, there are also those escaping political turmoil and corruption in their home countries.

The current situation

In September 2006, Pope Benedict XVI set off worldwide controversy while quoting Manuel II during a lecture at the University of Regensburg in Germany: “Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you
will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

The reaction was swift and strong from Muslims the world over. While Pakistan’s parliament voted to condemn him, Lebanon’s leading Shia leader asked for a personal apology. The deputy head of Turkey’s governing party put him in the same category as Hitler and Mussolini. Unfortunately, two churches in Palestine were bombed and a nun in Somalia killed over the incident.

This was followed by an apology in which the Pope said he was “deeply sorry” about the angry repercussions of his comments, adding that the quotation was not an expression of his personal views.

The Pope’s statement is being taken by Muslims as part of a continuity of Islamophobic statements made by high profile Christians like Franklin Graham, who has described Islam as a “very evil and wicked religion”.

Although some mainstream churches opposed Graham’s statement, most adopted a silent or neutral stance towards such false, anti-Islamic propaganda.

US President George Bush’s use of the term “Islamic Fascism” in the current “war against terrorism,” in addition to the ongoing war against Iraq continue to confirm the Muslim perception that the war is turning against them, despite President Bush’s assurances to the contrary. First came the reference to the war as a “crusade,” then the bombings of Afghanistan and Iraq, which killed more than 100,000 civilians. All of this added to America’s existing image as a one-sided in reference to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

In the US, Muslims are living in a virtual internment camp under a regime of fear. About a half a million Muslim Americans have been directly affected by the government policies although not a single Muslim American have been successfully convicted of terrorism so far. Four major charities in the US have been banned without due process of law. Muslims who gave millions of dollars to these charities to fulfill the third pillar of Islam, Zakat, in the month of Ramadan, lost all that money. The abuse of individual freedom, the media’s ridicule of Islam and mockery of Muslim beliefs have led to such lawlessness in dealing with Muslims that one Jewish attorney of a Muslim client commented that, “Muslims have become the new Ni…rs of America.”

Terrorism is a real threat. It must be dealt with in a proper and fair manner. If we could wait to try Timothy McVeigh with the due course of law, why not let these individuals and their organizations know what the charges are against them and allow them to defend themselves. It seems that a Christian terrorist has civil rights but a Muslim terrorist has none, although terrorists do not represent their faith. Otherwise they would not do things like this.

There have been several positive actions taken by our neighbors since September 11. A number of churches and their leaders have come forward in interfaith gatherings to show support and sympathy for the Muslims of America. The late Pope issued a call to Catholics worldwide to fast on the last Friday of Ramadan of 2002 in solidarity with Muslims. Some non-Muslim women have donned headscarves as a way of expressing sympathy for Muslim women too afraid to cover themselves in the backlash that followed the September 11 attacks.

More recently, a number of mainstream Christian groups have been at the forefront of the peace movement that opposed the war on Iraq, as well as the country’s occupation by America. This is a very positive step forward, considering that churches did not oppose the Vietnam War until 10 years after it began, nor did Christian groups oppose the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, except for the Quakers.

In addition, amongst Christian groups, there has been a split in terms of war on Iraq. While most groups oppose the war, the more right-wing groups, like the evangelicals support it.

And so the cycle of positive and negative relations between Muslims and Christians continues. Muslims and Christians must continue to work together for peace and justice for all people. Muslims and Christians in America, especially, are in a unique position to do this and can serve as an example of peaceful coexistence of minorities the world over.

John the Baptist: A Prophet of Islam

Amongst the 25 Prophets mentioned by God in the Quran, one name is Prophet John (peace be upon him). In Arabic, his name is Yahya. He is also a Prophet who figures prominently in Christianity, where he is known as John the Baptist. His story in the Christian tradition is described in Luke 1:5-22.

In Islam, belief in all of Allah’s (God) Prophets is a fundamental article of faith. A person who denies belief in any of the Prophets, be it Jesus (peace be upon him) Moses (peace be upon him), or any of the others leaves the fold of Islam.

His miraculous birth

Prophet Jesus was not the only Prophet who was born miraculously. By miraculous, we mean outside of the normal process of human reproduction Allah has ordained which requires a man and a woman to conceive a child. In the case of Jesus, this meant being born of a mother but no father.

But Prophet Adam’ (peace be upon him) birth was even more miraculous in this sense since he was created with no mother or father. Similarly, Hawwa or Eve (may Allah be pleased with her) was created from a man, her husband, and no parents.

The birth of Prophet John is miraculous because he is the offspring of a barren mother and an elderly father. His father, it should be noted, was also a Prophet named Zecheriah or Zakaraya.

“‘Zecheriah, We bring you the good news of the birth of a son whose name shall be John, one whose namesake We never created before.’ He said: ‘My Lord! How can I have a child when my wife is barren and I have reached an extremely old age?’ He answered: ‘So shall it be.’ Your Lord says: ‘It is easy for Me’, and then added: ‘For beyond doubt, I created you earlier when you were nothing’ (Quran 19:7-9).

“Zecheriah exclaimed: ‘My Lord! How shall I have a son when old age has overtaken me and my wife is barren?’ He said: ‘Thus shall it be; Allah does what He wills'” (Quran 3:40).

With the birth of John, Allah granted Zecheriah his desire for an heir.

“And We bestowed favor upon Zecheriah, when he cried to his Lord: ‘Lord! Leave me not solitary [without any issue]. You are the best Inheritor.’ So We accepted his prayer and bestowed upon him John, and We made his wife fit (to bear a child). Verily they hastened in doing good works and called upon Us with longing and fear, and humbled themselves to Us” (Quran 21:89-90).

The beautiful qualities of John

Allah did not just miraculously grant Zecheriah a son. He made this child a blessing for his parents and beautiful in character. Prophet John is described in the Quran as chaste and righteous.

“Then Zecheriah prayed to his Lord: ‘O Lord! Grant me from Yourself out of Your grace the gift of a goodly offspring, for indeed You alone heed all Prayers. As he stood praying in the sanctuary, the angels called out to him: ‘Allah gives you good tidings of John, who shall confirm a command of Allah, shall be outstanding among men, utterly chaste, and a Prophet from among the righteous” (Quran 3:38-39).

“‘O John! Hold fast the Book with all your strength. We had bestowed wisdom upon him while he was still a child; and We also endowed him with tenderness and purity; and he was exceedingly pious and cherishing to his parents. Never was he insolent or rebellious. Peace be upon him, the day he was born, and the day he will die, and the day he will be raised up alive. (Quran 19: 12-15).

Part of a line of honored Prophets

Finally, as mentioned above, Prophet John is one of the Prophets Muslims must believe in. He is one of the 25 mentioned in the Quran.

“And We bestowed upon Abraham (offspring) Isaac and Jacob and each of them did We guide to the right way as We had earlier guided Noah to the right way; and (of his descendants We guided) David and Solomon, Job, Joseph, Moses and Aaron. Thus do We reward those who do good. (And of his descendants We guided) Zecheriah, John, Jesus and Elias: each one of them was of the righteous.” (Quran 6:84-85).

Jesus in Islam

“Behold! the angels said: “O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter, he is of those nearest to Allah”; [Qur’an 3:45]

Belief in Prophets (May Allah’s Peace be upon all of them)

Islam emphasizes the universality of the institution of prophethood. According to the Qur’an, there is not a single nation in the world to which a prophet has not appeared sometime in history: “There is not a people but a warner has gone among them” [Q35:24]. And again: “For every nation there is a messenger” [Q10:47]

The Qur’an mentions about 25 of the Biblical Prophets by name [Q4:163] and we are further told that there have been prophets besides those mentioned in the Qur’an: “And We sent messengers We have mentioned to thee before, and messengers We have not mentioned to thee” [Q4:164] .

It is an Islamic article of Faith to believe …

in all Prophets; from Adam through Abraham, Moses, Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon them) [Q2:184]

all Prophets were models of excellence who were commissioned to guide humankind [Q2:213]

the mission of Prophets was to establish justice for all [Q57:25]

that Prophets were the embodiments of Righteousness;

“And Zachariah, John, Jesus and Elijah;

all of these were of the most Righteous.” [Q6:85]

It is an accepted fact in Islam that the struggle and legacy of the prophets (peace be upon them) serve as universal guides, excellent examples and as sources of hope and inspiration.

Status of Maryam/Mary

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a prominent figure in Islam and the only woman mentioned by name in the Qur’an. The Qur’an upholds Mary as one of the four perfect examples of womanhood [Q66:12] . Mary is mentioned more times and more biographical information about her is contained in the Qur’an than in the entire New Testament.

The birth of Jesus Christ is described in twice in the Qur’an – chapter 3 and chapter 19. Reading from the beginning of his birth, we come across the story of Mary, and the esteemed position which she occupies in the House of Islam, before the actual annunciation of the birth of Jesus is made.

The Qur’anic account of Mary includes the pregnancy of her mother, Mary’s birth and the annunciations of the coming birth of Jesus: “Remember how she preserved her chastity, into whom We breathed a life from Us, and made her and her son a token for humankind” [Q21:91]. The Qur’an teaches that Mary is to be revered because she completely submitted herself to God’s will, even though it meant that her own family would accuse her of unchastity when it was discovered that she was pregnant [Q19:16-21] .

The mother of Jesus (peace be upon them) is accorded highest respect and considered as among the most noble in the estimation of Allah. [Q3:33] Behold! the angels said: O Mary! Allah has chosen you and purified you, chosen you above the women of all nations.” [Q3:42]

The entire chapter 19 titled Maryam/Mary in the Qur’an and another (chapter 3) is titled Al-‘Imran after the family of Mary.

Jesus /’Isa referred to 9 times in the Qur’an as ‘Isa and 16 times as ‘Isa ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary)

Mary is considered chaste, virtuous, receiver of God’s spirit, a testimony to the veracity of God’s message and piously obedient [Q66:11]

Jesus (pbuh) himself is recorded as saying about his respected mother,

Uniqueness of Jesus (pbuh)

Virgin birth -The Qur’an gives an account of the birth of Jesus in chapter 3. Mary is described as being a virgin, chosen by God, and considered with great honor. “Behold! the angels said: O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary.” [Q3:45] . Verse 47 relates the response of and to Mary, “She said: O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me? He said: ‘Even so: Allah creates what He wills: When He has decreed a plan, He merely says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is!” The Qur’an thus affirms and Muslims believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. The birth is seen as a sign (ayah) of Allah’s power and as a miraculous event. And Muslims have a high regard also for Mary. However, the Qur’an presents Jesus as the son of Mary and not as the Son of God, a significant point particularly emphasized.

Like Adam (pbuh) -Though the unique birth of Jesus with one parent is no indication of divinity just as Adam’s creation was without any parentage [Q3:59] .

Articles of Interest, December 20th, 2007

The Hajj ending in Eid-ul-Adha

Eid-ul-Adha (‘Celebration of Sacrifice’), also known as the Greater Eid, is the second most important festival in the Muslim calendar. It marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca). It takes place on the 10th day of Dhul-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar. Although only pilgrims to Makkah can celebrate it fully, Muslims elsewhere also mark the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha.

The Hajj is the Fifth Pillar of Islam and therefore a very important part of the Islamic faith. All physically fit Muslims who can afford it should make the visit to Makkah, in Saudi Arabia, at least once in their lives. Every year around 2 million Muslims converge on Makkah. They visit a shrine in the city known as the Ka’bah, built by Ibrahim (Abraham) and Isma’il (Ishmael) at the command of Allah (God). It is a place for all who want to reaffirm their faith.

Eid-ul-Adha celebrates the occasion when Allah appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son Isma’il as an act of obedience to God. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah intervened: instead Allah provided a lamb as the sacrifice. This is why today all over the world Muslims who have the means to, sacrifice a sheep (alternatively a goat or cow can be used), as a reminder of Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah. They usually share out the meat with family and friends, as well as the poorer members of the community. In Britain, the animal has to be killed at a slaughterhouse.

Eid-ul-Adha is a 1-3 day celebration and in Muslim countries is a public holiday. It starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers, dressed in their best clothes, and thanking Allah for all the blessings they have received. It is also a time when they visit family and friends as well as offering presents. At Eid it is obligatory to give a set amount of money to charity to be used to help poor people buy new clothes and food so they too can celebrate.

  • EID MUBARAK!!!

Thousands of Muslims Celebrate Eid at D.C. Convention Center

Hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world this week celebrate Eid ul-Adha, a major religious festival commemorating the prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son for God.

The date when the four-day holiday is observed can vary, but American Muslims this year mark it primarily on Wednesday, with large worship services — such as one at the D.C. Convention Center, attended by 10,000 people–house-hopping, gifts and games for children and donations of food to the poor. Some still participate in a ritual animal slaughter at a local farm, but most either donate to charity or give to a halal slaughterhouse that donates the meat. It’s also common to donate blood during the holiday.

  • I was there yesterday and I must say I was really overjoyed to see all the Muslims in the DC Area gathered together to pray, play, and enjoy one another’s company. It was a nice, and very crowded Eid. Next time, we have to remember to bring the double stroller…..our babies just went nuts yesterday and refused to walk! 🙂

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Ousted Georgia lawmaker to run for president

ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) — Former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who was ousted from office last year after a headline-grabbing scuffle with a Capitol Hill police officer, has decided to seek the presidency — as a Green Party candidate.

In a video posted on the Internet on Tuesday, McKinney criticized the war in Iraq and complained about Democrats and Republicans, saying both parties are beholden to corrupt corporate interests. She called the Green Party “my new political home.”

McKinney, 52, registered to vote in California after a group called Run! Cynthia! Run! began drafting her as the Green Party’s candidate there. Since then, she had made campaign appearances in Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

“The Democrats do not speak for us,” she said. “The Democrats are no different than their Republican counterparts.”

McKinney served six terms representing a suburban Atlanta district but was defeated in 2006 by DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson. She had been the first black woman elected to Congress from Georgia.

One of her final acts in Congress was to introduce a bill to impeach President Bush, saying he misled Congress into approving the war in Iraq and violated the law by secretly spying on citizens. She once claimed Bush had been warned of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

  • Love her or hate her, I believe that she is a great public servant in the sense that she really fights for what she and those constituents she represents believes. I truly believe that she was right in her last bill introduction and her statements about the Dems. If only other lawmakers would have the same backbone. If a President can be impeached for adultery and or perjury, surely the two in office right now have done much worse! Go Cynthia Go!

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How do you talk to kids about Britney’s sister?

(CNN) — Parents are struggling with what to tell their children after finding out that Britney Spears’ younger sister, Jamie Lynn Spears, is pregnant.

The 16-year-old star of Nickelodeon’s “Zoey 101” series told OK! magazine that she is expecting a baby and that the father is her boyfriend, Casey Aldridge.

  • Yes I decided to talk about it, because it brings up a great question (Kudos CNN). This is why it is so important for parents to be parents and monitor what their children what on TV. Whether we want to accept it or not, images affect our children, especially when watching TV. This is why as parents we need to be mindful of these shows and “stars” because what they do can have a direct impact on the ideas that our children have about life. It is absolutely not OK that this young girl is pregnant on TV, granted stuff happens especially in the reckless world of Hollywood. If we are not vigilant with our children, expect to see current trends continue….

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Teens charged in ‘Mortal Kombat’ killing

JOHNSTOWN, Colorado (AP) — Two teens have been charged with killing the 7-year-old sister of one of them by beating her with imitations of moves from the “Mortal Kombat” video game, prosecutors said.

Lamar Roberts, 17, and Heather Trujillo, 16, were charged as adults on one count each of felony child abuse causing death, state prosecutor Robert Miller said in court documents released Wednesday and filed a day earlier.

According to a police affidavit, the teens were baby-sitting Trujillo’s half-sister, Zoe Garcia, on December 6 while the girl’s mother was at work.

Zoe lost consciousness and stopped breathing after the teens hit, kicked and body-slammed her, imitating moves used in the video game, the document said.

  • Case in point to the Spears story above. Now I must admit that I am a huge MK fan. I still play video games such as Call of Duty 4 which has violence in them. As a child I was not one to imitate everything I saw on TV, but everyone is not blessed with such discernment, therefore we have to be careful with what our children are exposed to, because these martial arts themed games, movies, etc. tend to get kids in a lot of trouble. I must admit that I had similar experiences after the first MK movie as well as watching WWF now WWE growing up. Simple “playing” and “imitating” whether you pretend to be Sub-Zero or Hulk Hogan, can end up in injury or death. When this does happen, we should also be mindful of the punishment these children receive. I mean, these two teens are now facing life behind bars, let us pray for all the parties involved, victim or otherwise.

Christians and Muslims Weep Together

A Christmas Reflection on PalestineBy SONJA KARKAR

As Christmas approaches this year, the thoughts of Christians all over the world will once again turn to Bethlehem, the holy town where Jesus was born over two millennia ago. Voices will be raised in joyful celebration and children everywhere will re-create the Christmas story to help us remember the circumstances in which the Christ child was born.

Such a momentous occasion in such humble surroundings heralded a new way of thinking about people’s relationship with God and with each other. It shook the foundations of an unforgiving society presided over by an unforgiving God and proclaimed peace and goodwill on earth amongst all people. There was indeed much to hope for
However, the tranquil pastoral scene so familiar to us is not at all evident in Bethlehem today. Bethlehem does not lie still, and peace on earth and goodwill towards all is as elusive as ever. The tyranny of Israel’s occupation and its colonial expansionism is crippling the lives of both Palestinian Christians and Muslims alike. Yet, many Christians will again ignore the misery suffered by the Palestinians in the Holy Land and will celebrate Christmas without remembering that it was amongst this people and in their land that Jesus was born. Priests will chant, masses will be said, carols will be sung and nativity scenes will be created, but it is unlikely that many sermons will urge Christian congregations to speak out against the crimes being committed in Palestine.

Only recently, a delegation of eminent Australian Church leaders returned from visiting the Holy Land and reported their distress at “the suffering and fear experienced daily by large numbers of people.” [1] The report criticizes Israel’s military occupation for the “systematic harassment, physical and psychological oppression, widespread unemployment, poverty, and economic deprivation” [2] of both Palestinian Christians and Muslims. No doubt these church leaders will encourage their ministries to spread the word before the momentum is lost, but there are many forces working against justice for the Palestinians. Their statement has already been criticized by the Israeli ambassador and they are likely to face objections not only from Jews who support a Zionist state in Israel, but also from Christian quarters.

A dangerous Christian ideology which endorses the rhetoric of Zionism and the conquest of all Palestine for Israel is making its presence felt in Australia. This Christian fervour for Israel has found expression in a revitalised Christian Zionism that began back in the sixteenth century [3] and is directed today against Islam and Muslims. In America particularly, it has misconstrued the messianic and apocalyptic legacy of the Christian faith and has replaced the Jewish and communist Anti-Christ of Christian Zionism’s earlier imaginings with an Islamic Anti-Christ. This Anti-Christ, it believes, will be defeated in Israel where all mankind will gather for the coming of the Messiah. That it should take place in Israel, given the numbers of the world’s populations, is an absurd notion even amongst the most devout. That the dispossession, degradation and humiliation of the Palestinians who have lived in this land for millennia, can be condoned on such a pretext is even more abhorrent and preposterous.

  • What is there to add?

            school children of different races

            Boys and girls names 2007 graphic

Mohammed now second most popular boys’ name in Britain

For the last 13 years Jack has been the most popular boys’ name in the land.

But in multicultural Britain children named after the Muslim prophet Mohammed come a close second.

In a reflection of the increasing influence of Islam, figures released yesterday showed the most popular spelling of the name – Mohammed – had climbed five places to 17th in the annual list of top baby names.

However, when the seven other spellings of the name are taken into account, the total comes to 6,347 babies, making it the second most popular name of the year – up from 5,936 last year.

Although Jack topped the list with 6,772 babies, that figure fell 156 on last year, meaning if the trends were repeated next year, Mohammed and its variant spellings would be the most popular choice in England and Wales.

The other spellings are Muhammad, Mohammad, Muhammed, Mohamed, Mohamad, Muhamed and Mohammod.

The last national census in 2001 put the UK Muslim population at 1.6million, but this will have grown substantially in the past five years.

  • So….is this article written to show how the name “Muhammad” which means “worthy of praise” is such a good name that many are naming their children after him (saw) or is this article written to scare the British and “other” populations into solidifying their fear that Muslims are slowly but surely taking over the West! 🙂

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Huckabee and Giuliani tied in 2008 Republican race

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – Mike Huckabee has surged into a virtual tie with front-runner Rudy Giuliani in the national 2008 Republican presidential race two weeks before the first contest, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas whose campaign has caught fire in recent weeks, wiped out an 18-point deficit in one month to pull within one point of Giuliani, 23 percent to 22 percent.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton’s national advantage over second-place rival Barack Obama shrunk slightly to eight percentage points as the races for the White House tightened in both parties. Clinton had an 11-point edge last month.

The shifting numbers have changed the shape of a dynamic presidential race two weeks before Iowa on January 3 kicks off the state-by-state process of choosing candidates in each party for the November 2008 election.

  • You heard it here first, I think Huckabee is going to win Iowa as well as Obama!

Obama Says He’d Consider Arnold For His Cabinet

ABC’s Sunlen Miller Reports: Barack Obama has often said he’d consider putting Repbulicans in his cabinet and even bandied about names like Sens. Dick Lugar and Chuck Hagel. He’s a added a new name to the list of possible Republicans cabinet members – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Obama regularly says he would look to Republicans to fill out his cabinet if he was elected, but at a town hall event in Manchester, N.H., he was pushed to name names.

“It’s premature for me to start announcing my cabinet. I mean, I’m pretty confident. but I’m not all that confident. We still got a long way to go,” Obama said.

But then the GOP names started to flow.

Sen. Dick Lugar: “He’s a Republicans who I worked with on issues of arms control, wonderful guy. He is somebody I think embodies the tradition of a bipartisan foreign policy that is sensible, that is not ideological, that is based on the idea that we have to have some humility and restraint in terms of our ability to project power around the world,” Obama said about his Senate colleague.

Sen. Chuck Hagel: “A Vietnam vet, similar approach and somebody I respect in a similar fashion,” Obama added.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: “What (he’s) doing on climate change in California is very important and significant. There are things I don’t agree with him on, but he’s taken leadership on a very difficult issue and we haven’t seen that kind of leadership in Washington,” Obama said of the California governor.

  • Now that would be an interesting cabinet, however I believe Obama has the right idea(s). We have to have a President that knows that diversity of opinion is a great thing for a true democracy. Obama realizes even at this stage that great minds and policy are not limited to a particular party. Good to go Obama One America is a dream we need to make a reality again!

(AP) A cow approaches a U.S. army soldier from Blackfoot Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment,…

House Approves $70 Billion More for War

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress approved $70 billion Wednesday for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a bitter finish for majority Democrats who tried to force a change in President Bush’s war policy.

The House’s 272-142 vote also sent the president a $555 billion catchall spending bill that combines the war money with money for 14 Cabinet departments.

Bush and his Senate GOP allies forced the Iraq money upon anti-war Democrats as the price for permitting the year-end budget deal to pass and be signed. But other Democrats were eager to avoid being seen as not supporting troops who are in harm’s way – and avoid weeks of bashing by Bush for failing to provide that money.

“This is a blank check,” complained Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. “The new money in this bill represents one cave-in too many. It is an endorsement of George Bush’s policy of endless war.”

The vote reflected the reluctance by each party to deny money to troops in the field. At the same time, anti-war Democrats had found their position weakened by the decline in violence in Iraq.

  • Why were the Democrats elected in 2006 again? Blank checks equal open-ended policy.

Articles of Interest, December 18th, 2007

Obama Describes Faith Amid False Rumors

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) – Democrat Barack Obama on Sunday confronted one of the persistent falsehoods circulating about him on the Internet.

He went to church.

His attendance here at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, with the news media in tow, was as much an observation of faith as it was a rejoinder to the e-mailed rumors that he is a Muslim and poses a threat to the security of the United States.

Obama did not address the rumors, but described how he joined Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago two decades ago while working as a community organizer.

  • You have to admit, this is kind of sick. I mean come on, the guy says he’s not a Muslim. Just so people know: Allah (swt) doesn’t want anybody who is a Muslim but claims they are not. If he says he is a Christian, then let it go. This is getting old and tired. People have nothing else but to pull the scary Muslim card as if we are a disease or something. Hell, in most countries it’s more of an insult to be called an American than a Muslim, why don’t we focus and deal with that!

Pope Benedict XVI waves to the faithful during the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007. The Pontiff warned Sunday against seeking happiness in drugs or other 'artificial paradises'' and in the selfish quest for 'pleasure at all costs.'' (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope decries ‘pleasure at all costs’

ROME – Pope Benedict XVI warned Sunday against seeking happiness in drugs or other “artificial paradises” and the self-centered quest for “pleasure at all costs.”

Instead, the pope held up Mother Teresa — the Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to serving the poor in India and elsewhere — as an example.

“Every day, she lived next to misery, human degradation and death,” the pope told thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. “Yet, she offered the smile of God to everybody.”

The pope, speaking during the traditional Sunday noon Angelus prayer, said real happiness cannot be found in cultures “that put individual happiness in the place of God, a mentality that has its emblematic effect in the quest for pleasure at all costs, in the spread of the use of drugs as an escape, a shelter in artificial paradises, which turn out to be completely illusory.”

  • Can’t argue with the Pontiff on this one. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he had a choir of religious leaders proclaiming the same exact thing? Not only that, but actually have believers follow them?

Bill Clinton Says Obama Isn’t Ready

Former President Bill Clinton made an unusually direct attack Friday night on Senator Barack Obama, one of his wife’s leading rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, suggesting that voters who would support someone with Mr. Obama’s experience were willing to “roll the dice” on the presidency.

Appearing on “The Charlie Rose Show” on PBS, Mr. Clinton repeatedly questioned Mr. Obama’s preparedness for the White House, noting that he took office in January 2005 and became a presidential candidate about two years later. (Mr. Obama was an Illinois state senator before that.)

“When is the last time we elected a president based on one year of service in the Senate before he started running?” Mr. Clinton said. At another point, he appeared to compare Mr. Obama to a “gifted television commentator” running for president. “They’d have only one year less experience in national politics” than Mr. Obama, he said.

  • All these comments from the Clinton camp proves one thing: At least some people believe Obama could go all the way. Think about it: Would the Clintons spend so much time on Obama if they didn’t believe he actually has a chance to dethrone them? They run one of the best political machines in politics and President Clinton is by far one of the greatest politicians ever, so why would they waste so much time on Obama?

Mitt Romney

Mitt wept when church ended discrimination

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” today that he wept with relief when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormon church, announced a 1978 revelation that the priesthood would no longer be denied to persons of African descent.

Romney’s eyes appeared to fill with tears as he discussed the emotional subject during a high-stakes appearance that he handled with no major blunders.

Watch video of Romney on “Meet the Press,” courtesy of BreitbartTV.

“I was anxious to see a change in my church,” said the Republican presidential candidate, appearing for the full hour just two weeks ahead of the crucial Iowa caucuses.

“I can remember when I heard about the change being made. I was driving home from — I think it was law school, but I was driving home — going through the Fresh Pond rotary in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I heard it on the radio and I pulled over and literally wept.

  • You know, I watched that interview on Sunday. I for one, will not judge Romney’s sincerity, however I would like to point out that issues such as race, are some of the reasons why Mormonism is being highlighted the way it is. I remember when I was siting with some of my friends and two Mormon missionaries rang the doorbell….we invited them in and let them share their faith with us, after that we continued to ask the hard questions like God having a physical body with wives and children, black people being cursed, etc. and they really didn’t have any answers. The Romney camp surely must know that as long as religion is a factor, the “ideas” of the Mormon religion are going to be questioned especially in the light of the Abrahamic faiths, beliefs, and traditions.

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Israel Expedites Al-Aqsa Digs

CAIRO — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered expediting controversial excavations near Al-Maghariba Gate, one of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s 14 gates, two days after the Annapolis peace conference, Israeli Haaretz daily revealed on Monday, December 17.

The government has instructed the Israel Antiquities Authorities (IAA) to complete the work “as soon as possible,” allocating a total of INS17.5 million ($4 million) to complete the project.

Israeli bulldozers started in February demolishing the wooden bridge leading to Al-Maghariba Gate and two underground rooms, sparking widespread protests from Palestinians, Muslims and international archeological and cultural bodies.

Israel claims the works intend to strengthen an access ramp to the Al-Maghariba Gate, which was damaged during a snow storm two years ago.

But archeologists warn that leveling the mound upon which the wooden bridge is built would threaten the foundation of Al-Aqsa Mosque Islam’s third holiest, and open the way for more Israeli excavations.

UNESCO has urged Israel to halt the excavations, insisting that the process should be supervised by a team of international experts.

A team of Turkish experts who had examined the excavations also recommended that Israel stop work immediately.

Olmert’s bureau told Haaretz Monday that the excavations and the construction had been halted since June due to planning problems, not political pressures.

Zeidman, an Israeli legal counsel, said the cabinet instructions to the IAA, which is supposedly an independent body, showed the extent to which archaeology had been politicized.

Now wonder, he added, since a large amount of the IAA’s income and almost all its digs in Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) were being financed by settler associations.

  • I don’t know why people continually put the onus on Muslims for the peace process. Why can’t we see that the Israeli government continues to continue with policies that do nothing but inflame the hearts and minds of Muslims? Surely, possibly destroying the 3rd holiest site for Muslims would be good for the peace process!

art.vitiligo.makeup.ap.jpg

Disorder turning anchor’s skin from black to white

DETROIT, Michigan (AP) — Lee Thomas’ skin is betraying him.
His once brown, even complexion is now mottled with pale patches around his eyes and mouth, along his nose and on his ears; his arms, shoulders and chest are speckled and blotched.

“I’m a black man turning white on television and people can see it,” says Thomas, an anchor and entertainment reporter for the local Fox Broadcasting Company affiliate. “If you’ve watched me over the years, you’ve seen my hands completely change from brown to white.”

Thomas has vitiligo, a disorder in which pigment-making cells are destroyed. White patches appear on different parts of the body, tissues in the mouth and nose, and the retina.

“There is no cause. There is no cure, and it’s very random,” Thomas says. “I could turn all the way white or mostly white.”

As many as 65 million people worldwide have the disorder, including up to 2 million in the United States.

Few people, outside medical professionals and those with the disease, had heard the term “vitiligo” until Michael Jackson revealed in the early 1990s that the disorder was behind his skin turning brown to white.

  • See I knew it! MJ is exonerated! 🙂 This is very interesting to say the least. While this may definitely back MJ’s skin color claim, it still doesn’t explain the nose, but that is another story….

Palestinians win $7.4bn aid pledge

International donors have pledged $7.4bn in aid at a one-day conference in Paris aimed at helping improve the Palestinian economy and underpin the Middle East peace talks.

Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, said on Monday that the Palestinians would receive the money over the next three years.

“Our goal had been for $5.6 billion. Now we have $7.4 billion,” he said at the end of the conference.The Palestinian government had asked the more than 90 assembled donors for $5.6bn to finance an ambitious development plan to stem the economic decline in the West Bank and Gaza.

“Without the continuation of this aid and without the liquidity needed for the Palestinian budget, we will have a catastrophe in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank,” Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, said.

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, also spoke of the need to secure the funding, calling the conference the Palestinian government’s “last hope” to avoid bankruptcy.

  • While this is good news to a degree, one has to wonder how feasible it would be to use this money productively toward needed infrastructure, when little to no infrastructure exists, and Israel is controlling the “flow” of things if you will, how can we expect results? Until the same community that donated the funds has the moral clarity, honor, and backbone to stand up to the Israeli government and ensure at the very least the Palestinians get a chance, they just as well have given that money to the fire.

US Must Reevaluate Its Relationship With Israel

by Scott Ritter

I have for some time now publicly articulated my sympathy and support for the state of Israel, even while criticizing those cases that I believed constituted poor judgment and bad policy. My stance was based upon my past experiences with Israel, which began indirectly in 1990-1991 when I was involved in counter-SCUD activities during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and continued in a much more direct fashion as a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), charged with disarming Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

As a weapons inspector I made numerous visits to Israel for the purpose of coordinating with the Israeli intelligence community on matters pertaining to Iraqi WMD. I was greatly impressed not only with the professionalism of the Israeli intelligence services, but also with the Israeli people and society. During my time in Israel, I was witness to numerous horrific events, including several terrorist bombings and the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The resilience of the people of Israel in absorbing these blows yet continuing to live life to its fullest was remarkable, and worthy of admiration.

As a firsthand witness to the remarkable vigor of the Israeli state and its people, and as someone who considers himself to be their friend, it saddens me to see just how poorly the current Israeli government returns this friendship, not to me personally, but to my country, the United States of America. The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has embarked on policies that are questionable at best when one examines them from a purely Israeli standpoint; they are nothing less than a betrayal of the United States when examined from a broader perspective.

The insidious manner in which the current Israeli government has manipulated the domestic political machinery of the United States to produce support for its policies constitutes nothing less than direct interference in the governance of a sovereign state. The degree to which the current Israeli government has succeeded in this regard can be tracked not only by the words and actions of the administration of President George W. Bush and the American Congress, but also by the extent to which a pro-Israel lexicon has taken hold within the mainstream media of the United States. Witness the pro-Israel bias displayed when discussing the situation in southern Lebanon, the air strike in Syria, or the Iranian situation, and the retarding of any effort toward a responsible discussion of anything dealing with Israel becomes apparent.

  • Look, I know it would be quite easy for readers of this blog and article to put me in a box because I’m Muslim and black, but let me reiterate that I am in no shape or form anti-Jew, Judaism, or an anti-Semite (Arabs are Semites by the way). However, one has to be able to use reason and be able to tell the truth, even when it’s not popular or inconvenient (thank you for increasing my vocabulary Al Gore). Therefore, I agree with the author that America has to re-evaluate our relationship with Israel. There is nothing wrong with supporting the government against terror, but blanket support without reprimanding when Israel is wrong is not in our best interests as a nation. Ultimately, when the President, Congress, Military, etc. take the various oaths of service we all state that we “swear or affirm, that we will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” our oath is to the United States and by judging our policies as it relate to the Middle East, it appears that maybe we should add Israel in our oath.

Ahmadinejad Among Tens of Thousands at Mecca for Hajj

Muslim pilgrims gather at holy mount for zenith of hajj

  • The first link is a video, the second a related article. The comments to the video are sickening for example:
  • “If ever there was a need for a massive nuclear explosion in Mecca…now is the time…Talk about ridding the world of about 80% of it’s known problems…”
  • “Is the ringleader who this guy reports upward to, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the REAL source of 80% of the world’s problems, there with him? If so, I agree with the sentiment to nuke Mecca…and Madina, and Teheran, and Karachi, and Lahore, and Quetta and Peshawar and….hey, do we have enough nukes left over for every city of reasonable size in Dar al-Islam??? If the Supreme Leader isn’t there, he’ll just find a replacement cloned from Ahmad-dinnerjacket. Or was that Ahmadi-genocide? Thus nuking Ahmadi-jihad wouldn’t permanently solve the problem in and of itself. A note to Muslims reading this: Americans didn’t consider themselves enemies of Islam until you collectively declared us as such!”
  • Normally, I ignore this ignorance, but for the record I wanted to leave the trolls a message ponder on, heres my reply:
  • You trolls are hilarious. Many of you sit behind the protection of a keyboard, calling for the death of 2 million plus men, women, and children who gather with the intention to remember God and the sacrifice of Abraham (as). Many of you claim to be Christians yet, Jesus (as) would never accept you with hearts and minds such as the ones you expose to the world on the net. Many of you still claim to be patriotic citizens of America that care about the country you live in, yet many of you have never worn the uniform of the US and the closest way you ever get to supporting the troops is by a bumper sticker, a yellow ribbon, and watching Fox News.Well let me tell you something: I am an American Muslim, I have honorably served this great nation in the United States Marine Corps. In my civilian life I have actively worked within the US Government to continually defend this nation. There are over 20k Muslims currently serving in uniform against terror defending our nation, and thousands still within the DC area supporting various government agencies.It makes me sick to my stomach that our sacrifices and service to so-called patriots is spit at because you hate our religion so much, that you wish that we were all nuked. Go to Arlington National Cemetery, I dare you after you look at all the Muslim headstones to dare say any of this crap to a Muslim Marine like me!Your nothing but a bunch of fake wannabes who crave attention through your hate and ignorance. If you want to impress those of us who actually fight for this country, do us a favor and get off your lazy backsides, grow a pair, and march down to the local USMC recruiter, we are still open for business and we are still the few and the proud.

    Semper Fidelis and As Salaam Alaikum

Hillary Clinton / AP

‘Are we ready to see Hillary age?’

RUDY Giuliani is no oil painting, nor is John McCain. Fred Thompson may have cracked it in Hollywood, but he’s hardly leading man material.

Barack Obama has those ears to contend with, while every time Joe Biden opens his mouth it’s like watching an old episode of Mr Ed. Even pretty boy John Edwards is starting to show signs of wear.

But according to the US’s leading radio shock jock, Rush Limbaugh, it all matters little for the male presidential candidates, because when men age they look “more authoritative, accomplished and distinguished”.

  • This is just sickening. Surely America we can do better than this. Anything to create divisiveness is the plan of the day! Now we are talking about aging truly showing our sexist colors. This makes no sense, we all age it happens, but now we want to show our true colors or attempt to sway the ignorant in order to ignore policy and real political differences. Can we please stick to the issues! Race, Religion, and Age should and that’s a big should be left out of it. As far as Rush goes, he has a lot of nerve talking about looks. Why not focus on why many Americans don’t trust the Republican party first then we can get to trivial matters because many of you are trying you best to make Hillary out to be a demon!

Articles of Interest, December 17th, 2007

Saudi King Pardons Rape Victim

CAIRO — Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has pardoned a gang-rape 19-year-old girl victim, who had been sentenced to 200 lashes for meeting a man in private before her ordeal.

The king’s has taken the decision because it is for the common good, well-placed sources told Saudi Al-Jazirah newspaper on Monday, December 17.

The unidentified girl was gang-raped last year by seven Saudi men in the Qatif region after being kidnapped at knifepoint along with a man with whom she was sitting in a car.

Despite her ordeal, the girl was sentenced in November 2006 to 90 lashes and six months in prison for being alone in a car with a man who was not a relative.

The man in the car, who was also raped by the seven men, was also given 90 lashes for meeting a strange woman in private.

The rapists were given jail terms from two to five years.

But the case hit international headlines only last month when the Supreme Judicial Council, which was reviewing the girl’s appeal, decided to toughen the girl’s punishment to 200 lashes and endorsed the six-month jail term.

The Council’s stance has raised many eyebrows and drew fire from international rights groups and Western governments.

Under pressure, the Justice Ministry issued a statement clarifying that the punishment was stiffened after the unmarried girl had admitted committing adultery with the man in the car.

But a council source the English-language Saudi daily Arab News that the judges decided to punish the girl further for “her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media.”

  • Well it’s about time! I am truly delighted that justice was served, however wouldn’t it be a great and novel idea if sentences such as this were never given in the first place and judges ruled with the idea of patience and mercy? These judges, clerics, governments, etc. should pray that Allah (swt) isn’t as “merciful” as they are!

UK Jews Welcome MCB Holocaust Stance

LONDON — British Jews have welcome a decision by the British Muslim umbrella group to end its boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day, though Muslims remain divided on the move.

“I believe this is a step in the right direction,” Rabbi Barry Marcus from Great Portland Street Synagogue, told IslamOnline.net.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to improve relations between the two communities but a serious stumbling block has been removed.”

Earlier this month, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) announced an end to the boycott of Holocaust Memorial Day.

“Whilst noting with satisfaction the results of a national survey that gave full support to MCB’s non-participation in the Holocaust Memorial Day in the past, a significant number of respondents have indicated that the MCB should participate in the future for the sake of the common good,” it said in a statement.

“It is therefore resolved that the MCB will participate in the Holocaust Memorial Day.”

The MCB had not attended previous events since 2003, calling for an inclusive commemoration event to remember all worldwide victims of genocide.

While ending its boycott, the MCB reiterated that position.

  • I fully support the MCB on this one. Might I add that the MCB was also one of the major groups that issued a statement against Sudan in their indictment against Ms. Gibbons, the teacher who allowed her students to name a Teddy Bear Mohammad. I believe the MCB has gotten it right yet again, by A: ending their boycott and B: standing by the principle that states that all victims of genocide should be remembered, especially those groups facing genocide right now. It may be political suicide for a Muslim to say anything that can be viewed as against the holocaust, but we have to stand firm to the truth. Yes, the holocaust was and is one of the worst tragedies in human recorded history, however so was the African genocide of upward to half a billion Africans during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, so is what is happening to the Palestinians, people of Darfur, and many other places. Why is it OK to commemorate the holocaust and ignore other peoples. Why continually make reparations and other nice gestures and ignore other groups? Maybe it’s just me, but I am a black American Muslim (triple threat 🙂 )

The Farewell Sermon of the Prophet

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) gave a summary of his teachings in his Khutbat Al-Wadaa` (Arabic for: Farewell Sermon), which can be categorized under three main headings:

1. Belief in the One God
2. Rule of law and morality
3. Rule of justice

Belief in the One God

Monotheism — pure, simple, uncomplicated, and unmixed — is the foundation on which the Islamic system of belief is based.

Only Almighty Allah, whom we cannot see, yet He sees us, is worthy of worship and is worshiped without any icons or other material representation.

He is capable of doing all things, though He is One. He is not only the Creator but also the Master of all, hence the multiplicity of His Attributes expressed by His 99 beautiful names.

The divine attributes or any of them does not stand by itself. As such, no divine attribute is worshiped as an independent entity the way pagans worship multiple gods and meanings.

Rule of Law and Morality

The Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet (the Sunnah) are to serve as the basis of law and a healthy criterion in every aspect of human life. The Prophet said,

I leave behind me two things; if you follow them, you will never go astray; these are Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet. (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

Vendetta and private justice were abolished:

Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived, and the first such right I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabi`ah ibn Al-Harith [a relative of the Prophet who was killed by the tribe Hudhail]. (Abu Dawud)

All believers are equal without distinction of race:

Learn that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. (At-Tirmidhi)

No one is superior to any other, except by individual excellence in piety and fear of Allah. Excellence of moral character is the only criterion of individual superiority in the eyes of Allah. Also, every person enjoys equality in the eyes of the law by reason of being a member of the human race.

O people, [mind that] your Lord is One and your father (i.e. Adam) is one. Except by piety and good deeds, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, a non-Arab have no superiority over an Arab, a white has no superiority over a black, and a black has no superiority over a white. (Ahmad)

Rule of Justice

Each and every human being has three fundamental and inviolable rights concerning selfhood, property, and honor. The Prophet declared,

O people, your blood, your property, and your honor are sacred to you like the sacredness of this day of yours, in this city of yours, and in this month of yours until the Day when you meet your Lord. (Al-Bukhari)

You will indeed meet your Lord and He will ask you about your deeds. (Muslim)

It was declared as a rule that constant accumulation of private wealth of the nation (Ummah) is to be avoided by means of (1) prohibition of interest, (2) obligatory inheritance and distribution of deceased persons’ property among near relatives of both sexes, and (3) restrictions on wills (no more than one third of property or estate can be disposed of by means of one’s will).

The rights of women were also recognized and emphasized. The Farewell Sermon puts it this way:

Fear Allah concerning women. Verily you have taken them on the covenant of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have right over them that they should not allow anyone whom you do not like to sit on your bed. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner. (Abu Dawud)

  • If the Ummah would only listen…..


Hajj – Beyond Rituals

The concrete pillar stood yonder and as I approached it with a handful of pebbles, I felt a certain stir of emotion.

I was brought up on the foundations that there are no idols to be worshipped and that we need no props to reach our Creator, and here I stood ready to pelt an innocuous looking concrete tower, called the Big Satan with stones.

Before I stopped and renounced my obligation of doing what had been ordained, the significance of the ritual I was supposed to embark upon struck me. Yes, we needed no idols but here is Allah Subhanahu wa Taala, telling us that we need to stone this idol called Satan. This exercise meant going against the conventions that I have become used to. This exercise meant that while no props were required for reaching out to Allah, but here we were to violate this conventional wisdom by seeing a concrete pillar as the accursed one and then pelt it with stones. This was an exercise to instill in us the reality that the All-Powerful can command us to accept what is beyond reality as and when He pleases.

The shattering of this mindset also testifies to the fact that the Hajj is beyond symbolism and a set package of exercises, as many would have us assume. The mere act of stoning a concrete pillar was an act to inform us that the Hajj is not an ordinary event but an extraordinary experience where even conventions change. The rituals of Hajj are not to make the pilgrims to go mindlessly through the motions prescribed in textbooks and return home with a ‘certificate’ of having been there.

The act of gathering Muslims from all corners of the inhabited world is much more than making them go through a set of prescribed rituals. If it were so, then we could have been asked to gather in congregations like we do on the two Eids and conduct such an exercise.

However, the largest congregation of people on earth in a single space needs to be examined from the perspective of the Prophetic advise contained in his last Hajj sermon to the believers where he directed them to convey the message to those who were absent from this great assembly.

  • Very insightful and thought provoking article. I have often pondered on some of these very same things, but I await my Hajj InshaAllah, before I come to concrete conclusions.


Smith’s ‘Legend’ grows with $76.5M debut

LOS ANGELES – For the last man on Earth, Will Smith sure has a lot of friends. The Warner Bros. tale “I Am Legend,” starring Smith as a plague survivor who may be the last living human, debuted with $76.5 million, the biggest December opening ever and a personal best for one of Hollywood‘s top box-office champs, according to studio estimates Sunday.

“It’s no wonder Will Smith feels so lonely. Everyone else on Earth is in the movie theater,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers.

  • Go see this movie!!!!!! I went to go see it 11:45pm Saturday night and the reaction of the packed stadium seated theater said it all: “Legend” really is one! I ordinarily don’t even attempt at movie reviews, but I have to at least say that this movie is well worth the hype. Will Smith delivers on many points with a Tom Hanks in “Castaway” mystique about him.

Russia Makes 1st Nuke Shipment to Iran

MOSCOW (AP) – Russia has made its first shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran’s Bushehr plant, which is at the center of the international tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Iran contends the nuclear power plant operation in Bushehr is strictly for civilian purposes, but the project concerns the United States and others who fear Tehran could use it to advance efforts to build nuclear weapons.

Construction at Bushehr had been frequently delayed. Officials said the delays were due to payment disputes, but many observers suggested Russia also was unhappy with Iran’s resistance to international pressure to make its nuclear program more open and to assure the international community that it was not developing nuclear arms.

“All fuel that will be delivered will be under the control and guarantees of the International Atomic Energy Agency for the whole time it stays on Iranian territory,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Moreover, the Iranian side gave additional written guarantees that the fuel will be used only for the Bushehr nuclear power plant.”

  • I believe it’s time we realize the inevitable……Iran has nuclear capability. Do they have the potential or will to create a nuclear weapon? No one truly knows. However, I believe it would probably be in our best interest to accept this fact and work toward a diplomatic resolution that will at the least help us to know what their intentions are and if we sustain formal relations, we may not have to worry about nuclear weapons. The best thing I believe we can do is accept and attempt at control. It’s almost like a teen having pre-marital sexual relations, you can either reject that and try to lock them in the house and watch their every move, or you can realize that they will find away even around your ideas, and just accept it and educate them on “safe sex” and other protections. You may not be able to stop the sexual behavior, but you can at least help prevent a disease or unplanned pregnancy.

Experts warn major Israel quakes fast approaching

As if political instability and rampant insecurity in the Middle East are not worrying enough, Israeli experts are warning that a major earthquake could strike the region at any time. Three minor quakes over the past month have served as a reminder that Israel and the West Bank sit atop one of the most sensitive fault lines in the world, where earthquakes have a history of causing havoc.

“We can say with certainty that an earthquake of a magnitude of six on the Richter scale could take place in the coming years,” said Yefim Gitterman from the seismology department at the geophysical institute of Lod, near Tel Aviv.

“It can happen tomorrow or in years to come,” he said. “Statistically, there is a major quake every 80 years.”

Under that assessment, Israel and the Palestinian territories should brace for a major earthquake soon, as the last one happened 80 years ago, on July 11, 1927, in British mandate Palestine when 300 people were killed in Jerusalem and Jericho.

A similar quake measuring seven on the Richter scale and with an epicentre in the Hula Valley, today in northern Israel up from the Sea of Galilee, devastated the town of Safed and killed some 4,000 people in 1837.

“Stronger earthquakes of a magnitude of seven are statistically less common,” Gitterman said. But that could be bad enough.

The Lod institute estimates that if a magnitude seven earthquake strikes the northern Jordan Valley or the Dead Sea, between 8,200 and 9,500 people could be killed, more than 20,000 injured and more than 20,000 left homeless.

Running north to south, the Hula Valley, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, the Arava Desert and the Red Sea lie on what is known as the Syrian-African fault line.

Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who saw Jerusalem fall to the invading Romans in 70 AD, also wrote that around 30,000 people perished in an earthquake whose epicentre was in the region of the Dead Sea in 31 BC.

The Lod institute, part of the infrastructure ministry, is on standby day and night to brief the Israeli authorities on the epicentre and magnitude of a powerful tremor within 10 minutes in order to mobilise an emergency response.

  • I read this article and it made me wonder what would happen? Would the Palestinians and the Israelis let humanity prevail over politics and religion, or would they help each other along ideological lines? God is trying to tell us something whether this happens or not, and often man refuses to accept it or listen. Once we began to look at mankind as one family and accept and respect differences, then maybe the healing can begin. Sometimes I believe it would take an “Independence Day” or “War of the Worlds” moment for us to unite and help one another. Maybe it would just take an earthquake……Let us pray we listen beforehand.

Videotape shows Sharpton cutting a deal

With a hidden FBI camera rolling inside a New York hotel suite in 2003, an unsuspecting Rev. Al Sharpton, Democratic candidate for president, spoke candidly.

Sharpton offered to help Philadelphia fund-raiser Ronald A. White win a multimillion-dollar business deal, if White helped him raise $50,000 for politics.

White offered $25,000. “If you bring my guys up on this hedge fund, and I have the right conversation,” White said, “I’ll give you what you need.”

“Cool,” Sharpton said.

The Inquirer obtained an account of the May 9, 2003, conversation, which was recorded as part of the Philadelphia City Hall corruption case. The tape helped spark a separate inquiry into Sharpton’s 2004 campaign and his civil-rights organization, the National Action Network. The FBI-IRS probe resurfaced publicly Wednesday, when Sharpton aides received subpoenas.

  • We all know what this suggests, but beside that, the one thing that concerns me is the admission that the bureau was secretly recording in Sharpton’s hotel room. Maybe it’s just me, but that in of itself is a “little” troubling….

Buck Young

Outside Phoenix store, border debate rages on

On East Thomas Road in Phoenix, the national shouting match over immigration unfolds week by week in a neighborhood that has changed in the same ways Arizona has.

Sheriff’s deputies patrol the parking lot at M.D. Pruitt’s Home Furnishings each Saturday, ensuring that no day laborers trespass on the property. Day-labor advocates mount protests nearby, blaring Mexican folk music while children dressed in traditional garb dance on the sidewalk.

Pruitt’s opened 57 years ago, but only recently did day laborers gather in large numbers to seek work on the sidewalks and parking lots of nearby businesses. The subdivisions that stretch back from Thomas Road have seen more and more Hispanic families arrive, changing the character of the neighborhood.

  • Look, I don’t know why this is so hard for some, but illegal immigration is just that: Illegal. Why should Americans tolerate an entire group of immigrants who are here illegally? Why should Americans be forced with the idea that we should be OK with people who willfully break the law? Let us not forget that in order to stay here illegally, many commit felonies such as false identification to get by the system. I personally do not get why people can’t see some Americans anger…..not to mention the economic impact(s)!

Articles of Interest, December 14th, 2007

‘I Am Legend’ Effective but Irksome

Remarkably eerie yet annoyingly larded with cheap horror-film shock effects, “I Am Legend” stands as an effective but also irksome adaptation of Richard Matheson’s classic 1954 sci-fi novel. In what is to a considerable extent a solo turn as the last healthy human on a post-plague planet Earth, Will Smith strongly holds the screen in a one-man Alamo besieged by marauding cannibals. Potent box-office looms worldwide.

Matheson’s pioneering novel, which worked a lot of science into a story populated by vampiric predators, hasn’t fared too well on the big screen thus far. The first adaptation, the 1964 Vincent Price starrer “The Last Man on Earth,” filmed in Italy by helmer Sidney Salkow, was a cheesy affair, while the 1971 “The Omega Man,” starring Charlton Heston under Boris Sagal’s direction, murkily altered the story to put the leading man up against an albino cult called “the Family.” A direct-to-vid item called “I Am Omega” (from the Asylum, specialists in parasitic low-budget versions of big-budget studio fare) has just been produced.

The scripters of “The Omega Man” get credit on this new version (curiously, given the many differences between the two films), initially penned by Mark Protosevich when Warner Bros. first announced a remake a decade ago. That pic was to have starred Arnold Schwarzenegger with Ridley Scott directing; at various points in the interim, Tom Cruise and Michael Douglas have been attached as stars, as was Michael Bay as director. Akiva Goldsman subsequently came aboard to help produce and give the script a final go.

  • Well I’m definitely going to go see it.  There hasn’t been a good movie in a while in my opinion that’s Will Smith’ish 🙂 so expect a review from me in the near future…that is if you care.

Huckaboom and Hillabust

WASHINGTON – Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is teetering on the brink, no matter what the meaningless national horserace numbers say. The notion that she has a post-Iowa “firewall” in New Hampshire is a fantasy, and she is in danger of losing all four early contests, including Nevada and South Carolina – probably to Sen. Barack Obama, who is now, in momentum terms, the Democratic frontrunner.

On the Republican side, meanwhile, the race is shaping up in an even more unexpected way: a contest between two former Northern moderates (Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney) for the right to take on a Southern Baptist preacher, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who believes in the inerrancy of Scripture but not in Darwinian evolution.

  • I must admit that at this point, I’m just waiting for the actual votes.  Many are predicting that Hilary will fall, but right now, we have to wait and see.  You can’t trust predictions when it’s this close.  Remember Kerry was going to win Ohio?  I do hope Huckabee beats Romney and at this stage, while I’m part of that don’t like Hillary’s personality, I will go with either her or Obama at this point, but I must admit there is a side of the that really wants to see Obama make history, I do believe he is what America needs to resolve many issues especially the dreaded race problem.


More Blacks Lean Toward Obama

Barack Obama’s rising poll numbers among white voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are having an unexpected ripple effect: Some black voters are switching their allegiance from Hillary Clinton and lining up behind him too. That could mean a further tightening of the Democratic presidential race, especially in southern states where blacks make up as many as half of Democratic primary voters.

The evidence of movement is most clear in South Carolina, site of the first primary where black votes figure to make a significant impact. There, four polls now show Illinois Sen. Obama with a lead among African-American voters for the Jan. 26 vote. As a result, the race in South Carolina has tightened, with some polls calling it a dead heat. A Rasmussen poll completed last week among South Carolina voters shows Mr. Obama now attracting 51% of the African-American vote, compared with 27% for Mrs. Clinton. A month ago, the candidates were tied among South Carolina black voters. Along with other polls, Rasmussen shows the two candidates essentially tied among all South Carolina voters.

  •  I really need to know, how many of you believe Obama will go all the way?  Trust me, I have “The Audacity of Hope” on my desk right now and I really want to see that happen.  I want to have hope and faith in his presidency, but politics really have me jaded.  Especially after the last two presidential elections.  It just seems that Americans refuse to elect who is best for them and we are too caught up in superficial things, meanwhile that last election has netted us a ballooning debt, more war and rumors of war, and more disrespect on the world stage.  Let’s see what happens.  It is very interesting to see black voters get in line, finally that whole”black enough” crap has faded, but true to form, we had to wait and see what white people did first…..

Iowa Republicans consider another debate

DES MOINES — Dissatisfied with the debate here Wednesday that drew widespread scorn, Iowa Republicans will discuss on Friday the possibility of holding another forum before the January 3rd caucuses.

The debate this week, sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television, was to have been the final gathering of the GOP contenders, but one well-placed Iowa Republican said tonight that they were interested in getting the candidates back together

“We’d prefer if the Register debate did not leave a bad taste,” said this source, who requested anonymity.  “Iowa deserves a little better than that.”

The most likely possibility would be the week after Christmas, when many of the contenders are expected back in the state to make a final push before the voting.

Political observers of every stripe were almost uniformly unhappy with the newsless hour-and-one-half session Wednesday, and even two candidates, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, said publicly after the forum that they were disappointed hot topics like immigration and Iraq were preemptively taken off the table by Register editor Carolyn Washburn.

  • I would have to agree here.  That debate was horrible and I don’t believe it was the candidates fault.  The format sucked and the moderator seemed like she wasn’t really interested at all.  Just don’t invite Alan Keyes back PLEASE!!!!!!


Israel Crushes Palestinian Dignity: ICRC

CAIRO — The dignity of the Palestinians is being trampled underfoot day after day by Israel’s harsh security measures which are causing an enormous humanitarian cost in the occupied territories, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said in a new report.

“The Palestinian territories face a deep human crisis, where millions of people are denied their human dignity. Not once in a while, but every day,” said the strongly-worded report highlighted by The Independent on Friday, December 14.

“Rules can change from one day to the next without notice or explanation.

“They live in an arbitrary environment, continuously adapting to circumstances they cannot influence and that increasingly reduce the range of their possibilities.”

The ICRC said Israel’s closures of Gaza’s crossings since Hamas’s takeover prevented 823 sick Palestinians from leaving the besieged strip for treatment.

“Three of these cases, in which the ICRC had directly intervened, had subsequently died because of administrative and security clearance delays,” said the report, which was released on Thursday, December 13.

Nael Al-Kurdi, 20, died last month of cancer, becoming the fifth patient to die that month because of the Israeli closure of the impoverished coastal territory.

  • This is not really news.  The sad part about the entire thing is that people who talk peace and resolution never consider the inhumane manner in which Palestinians have to live under Israeli occupation, however constantly remind us of what terrorists do to Israelis.  Are the Palestinian less human?  Are Palestinian children less innocent?  I just wish the UN would enforce a border and deploy troops to defend it in both directions.

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Second Life Hajj Program Attacked

CAIRO — Just a week after its launch, IslamOnline.net’s educational hajj program on Second Life has come under an attack that reflected a rising Islamophobia in the virtual world.

“We heard on Wednesday, December 11, an avatar at Al-Haram Al-Makki area pleading for help,” Frozen Fire, a member of IOL’s educational hajj program, told IOL’s correspondent in the Internet-based virtual world.

“We then rushed to the Hajj Information Center to find a number of griefers encircling it.”

Frozen Fire said the griefers (Persons who are harassing others by using any offensive language or doing subversive or immoral acts in Second Life) started making several insults about Islam and Muslims.

“They said, ‘we will not leave this place unless this island is shut and Muslims are out,’ and ‘we are fed up with Muslims in Second Life. They must leave this world immediately,'” the virtual hajj guide recalled one of the attacker as shouting.

The griefers also inundated the hajj training area for Second Life Muslim visitors, with pornographic materials and slogans reading “Hey Muslims, sop racism”.

More and more, they briefly seized the 3D-modelled area and did not let Muslim avatars in before IOL’s hajj team rushed to the area and forced the attackers out.

  • But of course.  Cowards love to try to bully when they have a cover.  The internet is filled with e-thugs and cowboys.  I guarantee these same people would never have the courage to do or say half of these things to a Muslim to their face.  So they flock to the internet to air their cowardice, because they probably were beat up in school and their lunch money taken, or daddy wasn’t around!

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Vatican Defends Proselytizing

VATICAN CITY — The Roman Catholic Church on Friday, December 14, defended its “right and duty” to spread its message to non-Christians and stressed the importance to avoid “undue pressure” to convert.

Evangelization is “an inalienable right and duty, an expression of religious liberty,” read the “Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization” document, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

The Vatican said the 19-page document had been made necessary to contrast notions that attempts to convince others of the primacy of Christianity or Catholicism was a limitation of their freedom.

“There is today a growing confusion which leads many to leave the missionary command of the Lord unheard and ineffective,” said the document, which is endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI.

The document was written by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Pope Benedict headed until his election as pontiff in 2005.

Evangelization by Pentecostal and evangelical missionaries has angered Muslims.

Last October, Gordon Showell-Rogers, the General Secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance (EEA), called for proselytizing Muslims across Europe, considering Muslim immigration into the continent is an “evangelistic opportunity.”

Germany-based Evangelical Alliance distributed in the last holy fasting month of Ramadan calendars that contained prayers for Muslims to be guided to Christianity.

And in July, the private secretary of Pope Benedict XVI of the Vatican warned against an “Islamized Europe” and urged defense of Europe’s “Christian roots.”

  • Well at least our religion (Islam) teaches that there should be no compulsion in religion, because (drumroll) TRUTH STANDS CLEAR FROM FALSEHOOD!!!!  If Christianity was a much better alternative to Islam, there would be no need to beg Muslims to convert, they would just do it.  However, Christians feel the need to beg people to become Christians under the guise of “Evangelism” through cable TV, billboards, etc.  yet Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world and many come to Islam because they read about it or sought it out because of an experience they had.   So once again why the Christians plot the next marketing strategy to convince people to believe as they do, Muslims sit back even with the negative press and see the Ummah continue to grow.  Hint Christians: People don’t like to be sold on a belief that if truth, it’s truthfulness should be self evident. 🙂


Hajj of the Prophet: Lessons to Learn

Almighty Allah says,

(For Hajj are the months well known. If any one undertakes that duty therein, let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness, nor wrangling in the Hajj and whatever good ye do, (be sure) Allah knows it. And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best of provisions is right conduct. So fear Me, O ye that are wise! It is no crime in you if ye seek of the bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage). Then when ye pour down from (Mount) Arafat, celebrate the praises of Allah at the Sacred Monument, and celebrate His praises as He has directed you, even though, before this, ye went astray. Then pass on at a quick pace from the place whence it is usual for the multitude so to do, and ask for Allah’s forgiveness. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) (Al-Baqarah 2:197-99)

As far as Prophet Muhammad’s Hajj and his everlasting message during the Hajj are concerned, the Hajj of the Prophet is known as Hijjat Al-Wadaa` (the Farewell Pilgrimage), because after three months  of returning from Hajj, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) left this world.

This Hajj is also known with other names: It is called Hijjat Al-Islam because this is the only Hajj that the Prophet performed after receiving the message of Islam.

It is also called Hijjat Al-Balagh because in this Hajj the Prophet conveyed the final message of Islam. It is called Hijjat Al-Kamal and Hijjat At-Tamam because in this Hajj Allah revealed to him the good news that the message of Islam is perfected and Allah’s favor is fully granted for those who shall follow the way of Islam.

This Hajj took place in the 10th year of Hijrah. Many details about this Hajj are available in the books of Hadith and Sirah [the Prophet’s Biography]. One can prepare a whole diary of this Hajj from Prophet’s departure from Madinah to his return to Madinah.

The Prophet left Madinah on the 25th of Dhul Qi`dah. People kept joining him from all directions. When he arrived in Makkah, the number of those who joined him reached to about 125,000 people. The Prophet explained to them at every step the basic rules and principles of Hajj.

In `Arafat he gave his famous Khutbah and then next day in Mina he repeated some of its points and gave some more points. The speech had many important points and it was communicated by different people in the crowd who would repeat after the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). The main theme of this famous speech can be summarized as: “Do not wrong any one.”

Here are some basic points of this speech:

O People, do you know in what month, what day and in what city you are?” They said, “In a sacred day, in a sacred city and a sacred month.” He said, “Your blood, your properties and your honor is as sacred among you as the sacredness of this day of yours, this month of yourS and this city of yours.

Then he said, “Listen to me and you shall live (happily): Behold do no injustice, Behold do not injustice, Behold, do no injustice.

It is not permissible to take the money of a Muslim without his/her good pleasure. Behold, every blood demand, every money demand or any special privilege that you held in the time of Ignorance (before accepting Islam) are under my feet until the day of Judgment. Every demand of interest is cancelled. You can only have your capital with doing wrong or being wronged.

All people are equal like the teeth of the comb. All of you are descendants of Adam and Adam was created from dust. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab or for a white person over a black person except in the matters of piety.

A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. All Muslims are one brotherhood.

Behold, do not turn infidels after me by striking at the necks of each other.

Behold, Satan has lost all hope that the people of Salah will worship him, but he shall still try to create dissentions among you. (So beware of Satan and his plots.)

Be conscious of Allah concerning women. They are your helpmates. They have some rights on you and you have some rights on them.

Behold, whosoever has any thing entrusted to him by someone else, he should give it back to the one who entrusted him.”

Then he spread his hands and he said, “Behold, I have conveyed. Behold, I have conveyed.” Then he said, “Let those who are present convey this message to those who are not here. Indeed some who may receive it later may follow it better than those who heard it.

Here the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) emphasized the following principles:

1. Honor the life, dignity and property of others.

2. Do not do injustice and oppression.

3. Be honest in your business and financial dealings

4. All human beings are equal.

5. Muslims are brothers to each other.

6. Do not fight each other.

7. Avoid quarrels and disputes among yourselves.

8. Recognize the rights of women.

9. Fulfill the trusts.

10. Convey the message of the Prophet to others.

This message was delivered more than 1,400 years ago and it is always needed. Muslims need it and the whole world needs it. This is the message that we have to live with and should convey to the world.

Distrust and racial tension high among U.S. nonwhites

Distrust and racial tension among Hispanics, Asians and blacks in the United States are pressing concerns for all three groups, a new national poll conducted in English, Spanish and five Asian languages has found.

The poll, published Wednesday, found a stark gap between Hispanics and Asians, who are mainly immigrants, and blacks about their prospects for success.

About three-quarters of Hispanics and about two-thirds of Asians believe they will progress in the United States if they work hard, the survey found. But only 44 percent of blacks polled said they believed that hard work would bring them success and 66 percent of blacks said they did not believe that everyone in the country had an equal opportunity to succeed.

The poll was published by New America Media, a national association of about 700 ethnic media organizations that promotes better relations among racial and ethnic groups. It was conducted by Bendixen & Associates, a polling organization in Miami.

  • I don’t think any blacks are surprised by these results….

 


Articles of Interest, December 13th, 2007

The Real Teddy Bear Tragedy

By Hamza Yusuf

In all the heat generated by the teddy bear controversy in Sudan, we are missing a deeper reality: As irrational and backward as the reaction in Khartoum might seem, it is yet another example of some Muslims attempting to assert themselves and exercise a little authority in the face of the immense onslaught of Western hegemony in the region.

The facts are that Gillian Gibbons, a British teacher at a private school in Khartoum, had her 7-year-old students name a teddy bear and they overwhelmingly chose “Muhammad.” The students took turns taking the bear home and wrote a diary about what they did with it, which was compiled into a book with a picture of the bear and the title “My Name is Muhammad.” Some parents were offended and the Sudanese government responded by arresting and charging Gibbons with insulting the Prophet of Islam.

The charge is without merit, of course. But it is worth noting that for Muslims, the idea of calling any object other than a human being “Muhammad” is sacrilegious. With Jews, Muslims share a prohibition of making physical images of any living things. An exception is made for children’s toys. Calling the image of any animal Muhammad, a name that Muslims won’t utter without a benediction is, for them, beyond the pale. Turks even prefer the contraction Mehmet to avoid using the name in common circumstances. Westerners have a hard time understanding such reverence in a markedly irreverent age.

In the West, teddy bears are objects of devotion for little children and for most adults fond memories of a cuddly teddy bear endure. A child calling a teddy bear Jesus, for instance, may seem inappropriate, but would likely elicit a response of “How cute!” Westerners are dumbfounded at what appears to be an absolutely insane response to an unfortunate lack of cultural sensitivity. But so, I would venture, are most Muslims.

  • I didn’t want to beat the dead horse, but this commentary goes well beyond “teddy-gate” as it really goes into the crux of the problem. I 100% agree with Sheik Hamza Yusuf.

The Pope condemns the climate change prophets of doom

Pope Benedict XVI has launched a surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom, warning them that any solutions to global warming must be based on firm evidence and not on dubious ideology.

The leader of more than a billion Roman Catholics suggested that fears over man-made emissions melting the ice caps and causing a wave of unprecedented disasters were nothing more than scare-mongering.

The German-born Pontiff said that while some concerns may be valid it was vital that the international community based its policies on science rather than the dogma of the environmentalist movement.

His remarks will be made in his annual message for World Peace Day on January 1, but they were released as delegates from all over the world convened on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali for UN climate change talks.

The 80-year-old Pope said the world needed to care for the environment but not to the point where the welfare of animals and plants was given a greater priority than that of mankind.

  • This Pontiff is notorious for putting his foot in his mouth. I kind of get where he is going with this, but it’s all in the delivery. For the most part I get that he is warning us to be careful in our assessment and to manage and use our zeal to maximum benefit of mankind. I agree. A lot of these special interest groups have the ability to get people to act, unfortunately often the rallying is for animals and forests, which is great, but that same zeal is not directed toward mankind, a true tragedy.

Dubai court jails boy’s HIV rapist

DUBAI (CNN) — A court in Dubai sentenced two men Wednesday to 15 years in prison for the rape and kidnapping of a 15-year-old French boy.

The boy’s mother, Veronique Robert, was visibly upset after the sentence was read and promised to appeal.

Robert, a French journalist, brought the case to the media’s attention in recent months in an effort to shed light on what she deemed to be injustices in the pro-Western emirate of Dubai.

Robert said Wednesday’s sentence was too lenient for a crime that she believes is tantamount to attempted murder because one of her son’s attackers was knowingly HIV-positive at the time of the rape.

  • It’s a wonderful thing that some justice was served. It’s a shame that many of these “Muslim” countries refuse to recognize the very real realities on the ground. Hiding your face in the sand will not make things go away.

Subpoenas for Al Sharpton’s aides

Teams of federal agents swooped down on up to 10 close associates of the Rev. Al Sharpton Wednesday, demanding the flamboyant clergyman’s financial records since 2001.

Sharpton’s former chief of staff said he was roused at his Harlem home about 6:30 a.m. by two FBI agents who handed him a subpoena to bring the records to a federal grand jury the day after Christmas.

Several employees of Sharpton’s National Action Network also got wakeup subpoenas to testify before the Brooklyn panel, the rabble-rousing reverend’s lawyer said.

The FBI and IRS are investigating whether Sharpton improperly misstated the amount of money he raised during his 2004 White House run to illegally obtain federal matching funds, a source familiar with the probe said.

Sharpton, although forced to return $100,000 in matching taxpayer funds after an investigation two years ago, denied any wrongdoing at the time.

  • Well I’m certain many people are gleeful at this news. The writer of the article surely is as you can tell by his descriptive and insightful use of words to describe Rev. Al. I guess if they can get Farrakhan next, then it would truly be something!

South Koreans clone cats that glow in the dark: officials

South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday. In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.

A team of scientists led by Kong Il-keun, a cloning expert at Gyeongsang National University, produced three cats possessing altered fluorescence protein (RFP) genes, the Ministry of Science and Technology said.

“It marked the first time in the world that cats with RFP genes have been cloned,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The ability to produce cloned cats with the manipulated genes is significant as it could be used for developing treatments for genetic diseases and for reproducing model (cloned) animals suffering from the same diseases as humans,” it added.

  • You have to admit, this is kind of freaky. There could be some advantages in this research, but we should be reminded of the seriousness of cloning. What is the threshold and who’s going to enforce it?

‘Knight Rider’ Premiere Set; Arnett to Voice KITTNBC has set Feb. 17 as the premiere date for its two-hour “Knight Rider” revamp and announced that Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) will provide the voice of the new KITT car. NBC also has released official images of the crime-fighting super-vehicle (thankfully, NBC’s latest product placement-mobile is a Ford Mustang, not a Nissan Rogue).

The movie stars Justin Bruening (“Cold Case”), Deanna Russo (“NCIS”), Sydney Tamiia Poitier (“Grindhouse”) and Bruce Davison (“Close to Home”). Yes, David Hasselhoff will make a cameo in his original role of Michael Knight. He’s billed in the press release as a “Special Guest Star,” an ‘80s-rific term.

The new KITT car (more pics here) will have some “Transformers”-like shape-shifting abilities (the story’s scientific explanation: “nanotechnology”). Thus, three cars will be used: The “KITT Hero” (a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500KR playing the “everyday Hero car”), the “KITT Attack” (a high-speed version of the Hero car) and a “KITT Remote” (a driverless version). Dave Bartis (“The O.C.”) and Doug Liman (“The Bourne Identity”) serve as executive producers.

  • I’m only watching it to see if David Hasselhoff indeed shows up and to see if they have the same theme music. 🙂


Malcolm X: The Pilgrimage to Makkah

Mecca 1964 – Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as is practiced by people of all colors and races here in this Ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all the other Prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors.

I have been blessed to visit the Holy City of Mecca. I have made my seven circuits around the Ka’ba, led by a young Mutawaf named Muhammad. I drank water from the well of the Zam Zam. I ran seven times back and forth between the hills of Mt. Al-Safa and Al-Marwah. I have prayed in the ancient city of Mina, and I have prayed on Mt. Arafat.

There were tens of thousands of pilgrims, from all over the world. They were of all colors, from blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans. But we were all participating in the same ritual, displaying a spirit of unity and brotherhood that my experiences in America had led me to believe never could exist between the white and non-white.

America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem. Throughout my travels in the Muslim world, I have met, talked to, and even eaten with people who in America would have been considered ‘white’–but the ‘white’ attitude was removed from their minds by the religion of Islam. I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.

  • Every year I read this letter during the Hajj season and every year I have a renewed zeal and love for my faith. Brother Malcolm, may Allah be pleased with him and grant him Jannah, was absolutely right. If people in America would stop the propaganda and examine the beauty of Islam we would truly have a much better country. I challenge any non-Muslim to go seek Islam for themselves and then make an informed, reasoned conclusion about this faith.


Russia withdraws from arms treaty

Russia has withdrawn from a key Cold War treaty setting limits on troops and weapons across Europe, but said there were no immediate plans for a major military build-up.

Moscow’s participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty was suspended from midnight in Moscow on Tuesday (2100 GMT), the Russian foreign ministry said.

In a statement, the ministry said: “Such a step has been caused by the exceptional circumstances connected to the content of the treaty which concern the security of Russia and demand that we take immediate measures.”

Russian troops can now be moved around the country without notifying Nato.

Nato members said they “deeply regret” the decision.

  • Ummm, this can’t be good…..that is all….

Ahmadinejad invited to hajj in Saudi: Iran ambassador

TEHRAN (AFP) — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been invited to perform the hajj pilgrimage by Saudi King Abdullah, in another first for the Islamic republic’s leader, Iran’s ambassador to Riyadh announced on Wednesday.

“King Abdullah today invited President Ahmadinejad to take part in the pilgrimage to Mecca,” Mohammad Hosseini told the student news agency ISNA.

Hosseini said Ahmadinejad would travel to Saudi Arabia at the start of next week, without giving further details.

Ahmadinejad had told a news conference on Tuesday that he would perform the Muslim pilgrimage this year, if he was invited to Saudi Arabia by King Abdullah.

His media advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who is already in Saudi Arabia, confirmed that the president had been invited to the annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, located in western Saudi Arabia.

“It is the first time in the history of relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia that the king of this country invites a president of the Islamic republic to make the pilgrimage to Mecca,” he said.

  • This is a very significant development for those that pay attention to these types of things. Rather than sully the moment with some off color commentary, let us make Dua’ that Allah accept their Hajj and that the experience renews the spirit of brotherhood and fair dealing between Muslims.

Muslim helps Jews attacked on New York subway

NEW YORK (CNN) — A Muslim man jumped to the aid of three Jewish subway riders after they were attacked by a group of young people who objected to one of the Jews saying “Happy Hanukkah,” a spokeswoman for the three said Wednesday.

Friday’s altercation on the Q train began when somebody yelled out “Merry Christmas,” to which rider Walter Adler responded, “Happy Hanukkah,” said Toba Hellerstein.

“Almost immediately, you see the look in this guy’s face like I’ve called his mother something,” Adler told CNN affiliate WABC.

Two women who were with a group of 10 rowdy people then began to verbally assault Adler’s companions with anti-Semitic language, Hellerstein said.

One member of the group allegedly yelled, “Oh, Hanukkah. That’s the day that the Jews killed Jesus,” she said.

When Adler tried to intercede, a male member of the group punched him, she said.

Another passenger, Hassan Askari — a Muslim student from Bangladesh — came to Adler’s aid, and the group began physically and verbally assaulting him, Hellerstein said.

“A Muslim-American saved us when our own people were on the train and didn’t do anything,” Adler said.

  • Now this is the type of news that should be reported daily!!!! May Allah reward brother Hassan for doing the proper thing. Reports such as this fly right into the face of those who continually lie and report the myth that Muslims hate Jews, especially as a tenet of our religion. Throughout history, overwhelmingly Muslims and Jews enjoyed great relations that is until the last century. Either way, one act of courage and righteous can inspire the multitudes. Kudos to CNN for reporting this act of charity.
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