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.

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