Monthly Archives: December 2008

Gaza attacks: UN calls for halt to fighting as death toll passes 270 in fresh Israeli air strikes

The UN Security Council has called for an immediate end to all violence in Gaza after fresh Israeli air strikes against Palestinian targets have brought the death toll to more than 270 people.

The UN Security Council has called for an immediate end to all violence in Gaza after fresh Israeli air strikes against Palestinian targets have brought the death toll to more than 270 people.

Palestinian officials said that 271 Palestinians had been killed in 24 hours of Israeli attacks Photo: Reuters

The air strikes are in response to rocket and mortar attacks fire by Palestinian militants against Israel.

After four hours of talks discussions, the council released a statement saying: “The members of the Security Council expressed serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza and called for an immediate halt to all violence.

“The members called on the parties to stop immediately all military activities.”

The statement also called on all parties to address “the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza.”

It urged them to take necessary measures, including the opening of border crossings, to ensure Gaza’s people were supplied with food, fuel and medical treatment.

Palestinian officials said that 271 Palestinians had been killed in 24 hours of Israeli attacks in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Since the operation began, one Israeli had been killed by Palestinian rocket fire.

The Security Council meeting was convened at the request of Libya, the only Arab country on the council.

At least 200 Palestinians were killed earlier on Saturday after Israel launched the heaviest air strikes ever seen in the Gaza Strip, hitting scores of targets linked to the militant Islamist movement, Hamas.

The human toll ranks among the highest for a single day in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

This day of bloodshed ended any hope of immediate progress in the peace process.

While Israel had been warning for days of action against Gaza’s militants, the scale and intensity of the attack, code-named Operation Cast Lead, was unexpected.

For the first time, Israel has attacked not just militants ordering or taking part in operations but members of the security forces and any buildings connected with them.

Every known police station, arms store and headquarters building in Gaza, which has been ruled by Hamas since June 2007, was attacked, regardless of whether they were occupied. A passing out ceremony for new police officers was struck, killing around 40 cadets.

Nightmarish scenes were played out through as mangled bodies arrived at hospitals to be collected by grief-stricken relatives. Israeli sources said that 50 targets were struck by 60 jet fighters in the first raid, beginning at around 11.40am. A second wave then attacked militants attempting to retaliate by launching rockets at Israel.

After nightfall, still more air attacks were reported in the south of the Gaza, this time against a metal foundry. But militants fired at least 40 rockets at Israel, including one that hit a house in the town of Netivot, killing one man.

Witnesses said men were killed in the east of Gaza City while they were preparing to fire rockets towards Israel.

Two other Palestinians were wounded in the attack, while another man wounded in an earlier Israeli air strike died of his injuries, according to a medical source.

Locals said that Israeli helicopters also fired missiles late Saturday on four metals factories in the city. Israel says such factories are used to build or store rockets for firing on the Jewish state.

A new Israeli army toll late Saturday said that more than 70 rockets or mortar shells were fired against Israel in response to Saturday’s massive air strikes, killing one and injuring four people.

A Hamas spokesman warned that the militant group would “unleash hell” in response to the strikes.

Meanwhile, Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, warned that air attacks would continue until the threat of militants firing rockets into Israel had been dealt with once and for all. “The operation will go on and be intensified as long as necessary,” said Mr Barak. “The battle will be long and difficult, but the time has come to act and to fight.”

Other Israeli officials made clear the operation was not over and gave warning of continuous attacks.

Nine Israeli civilians have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza since it withdrew all settlers and soldiers from the territory in September 2005.

Over the same period, at least 1,400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces in Gaza, according to figures compiled by B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group.

Israel’s decision to act came after a six-month truce with Hamas, which ran out on Dec 19.

With a general election due in February, Israel’s leadership did not want to give any appearance of appeasing Hamas. When the rocket fire against Israeli towns resumed, they went for the military option.

A ground invasion was ruled out because of fears of Israeli casualties. The national security cabinet ordered an unprecedented air assault.

Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Fatah leader and president of the Palestinian national authority, who is based not in Gaza but in the West Bank, condemned the assault as “criminal” and called for the international community to intervene.

Gordon Brown expressed “deep concern”, calling on Hamas to stop rocket attacks and Israel to “meet its humanitarian obligations” and “do everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties”.

The Prime Minister added: “There is a pre-eminent need for renewal of a comprehensive settlement for the Israel-Palestine dispute in 2009.” Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, called for an immediate ceasefire and urged “everybody to exert maximum restraint”.

Egypt condemned the Israeli raids and opened its border with Gaza to allow casualties to be treated inside its hospitals.

A White House spokesman appeared to place greater blame on Hamas. “Hamas’s continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop,” said Gordon Johndroe. But he added that Israel should “avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said he was “deeply alarmed” by Israel’s air attack and appealed “for an immediate halt to all violence”.

Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, pointed to the constant rocket attacks launched by Palestinian militants in Gaza at civilian targets.

“Israeli citizens have been under the threat of daily attack from Gaza for years. Only this week – hundreds of missiles and mortars shells were fired at Israeli civilian communities including the firing of 80 missiles on a single day,” she said.

“Until now, we have shown restraint. But today there is no other option than a military operation. We need to protect our citizens from attack through a military response against the terror infrastructure in Gaza. This is the translation of our basic right to self defence.”

Miss Livni asked for the support of Israel’s allies for an operation she defended as necessary to safeguard civilians against the threat of rocket attacks carried out by Hamas operatives.

“Israel expects the support and understanding of the international community, as it confronts terror, and advances the interest of all those who wish the forces of peace and coexistence to determine the agenda of this region,” she said.

When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it evacuated all its settlers and dismantled their homes. The government believes this was an essential gesture of goodwill and a demonstration of its commitment to the two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.

Israel has accused Hamas of squandering its opportunity by allowing rocket attacks to take place from Gaza, especially after its capture of the territory last year.

Thousands of Israelis have fled areas near to Gaza.

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Jewish Power: The “0.002%” World Problem

Jewish Power: The “0.002%” World Problem

by Mohamed Khodr

“We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the world – no longer a Government of free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men.”

– Woodrow Wilson [U.S. President during World War I]


“The Jewish treatment of the Arabs in 1947 was as morally indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of 6 million Jews.”

– Arnold Toynbee, historian, speaking to a Jewish audience in Canada

“How do I respond when I see that in some Islamic countries there is vitriolic hatred for America? I’m amazed. I just can’t believe it because I KNOW HOW GOOD WE ARE.”

– United States President George Bush

“The tragedy is not the brutality of evil but the silence of good people.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

In his famous book, 1984, George Orwell wrote that three slogans dominate society: “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.”—— welcome to “Western Civilization”.

Israel’s founding–the last colonial power on earth–is a testament to the historical transformation of the passive persecuted Jew to the most powerful political nation on earth. A nation that silences and intimidates the world and all criticism through the stick of American power, its own military and intelligence might, Jewish money, media manipulation, movies, and above all its own myths and lies. No nation has successfully withstood international laws and condemnation and told the world to go to hell. Factually and admittedly by the Zionists themselves—there would be no Israel without Jewish “proxy power” in colonial Europe and in today’s cowardly pandering of the U.S. Government, not the naive, uninformed, and good hearted American people goaded and led by a culture of “mass media lies” into paying and dying for Israel.

In secular Israel and the west, you can curse God, Jesus, all Prophets, your parents, religious leaders, politicians; but you not dare even mildly criticize anything “Jewish” or “Israel” lest you be branded for life as an “Anti-Semite”, or even still “murdered” in “self-defense”. Most of the world is ignorant of the Rabbinic teaching in the Babylonian Talmud deliberately mis-translated into English or purposefully unavailable. Yet scholars such as Dr. Israel Shahak, an Israeli, in his book “Jewish History, Jewish Religion” offers the following quotes from the Babylonian Talmud: (Also See: http://www.hoffman-info.com/talmudtruth.html)

“Every Jew has the obligation to see that Christian churches are burned down and wiped out. The faithful must be insulted and the clergy killed. (Schulchan Aruch, Jore dea, 146, 14)

“If a heathen (gentile) hits a Jew, the gentile must be killed”. (Sanhedrin 58b)

“A Jewish man is obligated to say the following prayer every day: Thank you God for not making me a gentile, a woman or a slave.” (Menahoth 43b-44a)

“Jews may use lies (“subterfuges”) to circumvent a Gentile.” (Baba Kamma 113a)

“Non-Jewish Children are Sub-Human”. (Yebamoth 98a)

Thus on cue, like “Pavlovian Dogs” conditioned by money, campaign financing, and intimidation, western governments and western “independent” media barked loudly against the comments by the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed made at the Tenth Session of the Organization of Islamic Conference. Although he severely criticized violence and suicide bombing, and called for peaceful intellectual, political, and economic means to prevent western hegemony upon Muslim nations; it was only the following statement that received international attention:

“..today the Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them….Jews “invented” communism…..” O.I.C. 10/16/03

(The leaders of the Russian Bolshevik Revolution were mostly Jews. Communist Russia exterminated over 100 Million Christians and Muslims See Winston Churchill’s Article on this topic:
http://www.fpp.co.uk/bookchapters/WSC/WSCwrote1920.html)

As expected and demanded by the “Jewish Power” in America, the State Department’s reaction to this statement was: ”We view them with the contempt and derision they deserve.”

Many western politicians, academics, journalists, religious leaders, and lay people have said much the same thing: Bush is fighting Israel’s enemies, especially since Bush’s declaration of war on the “Axis of Evil” that is continually expanding, and his lies and faith based invasion of Iraq. A simple internet search will find thousands of articles and remarks stating that America is, as always, paying and dying for Israel.

YET, on the same day, the U.S. Government (Donald Rumsfeld) was DEFENDING the truest, most racist, blasphemous, and “Anti-Semitic” remarks by a high ranking American Genera as “freedom of speech”: Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, the newly promoted Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for intelligence. To Quote this man who attacked Allah (swt), the one God of all Creation, and Islam:
“President George W Bush was chosen by God to lead the global fight against Satan. The majority of Americans did not vote for him. He’s in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.”

Speaking of Allah (swt): “I knew my God was bigger than his (the God of the Muslim Somali Warlord). I knew that my God was a real god and his was an idol.” He spoke of seeing a strange dark mark in the skies of the Muslim city of Mogadishu, Somalia, saying: “the principalities of darkness. . . a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy”. “”Our religion came from Judaism and therefore [Islamic] radicals will hate us forever…..”Our enemy is a spiritual enemy because we are a nation of believers. . . His name is Satan.” (Telegraph News: by David Rannie, October 17, 2003)

This dual hypocrisy and double standard was formulated by the Zionists to establish Israel and is carried on in America and Europe by “Jewish Power”. The message to the Muslim world, in fact, to the entire world is:

YOU CAN CURSE GOD: Israel’s Yahweh, the Christian God/Jesus, the Muslim’s Allah (swt)—BUT DO NOT EVEN THINK OF CURSING ISRAEL FOR ITS BRUTAL DAILY MURDER OF Palestinian civilians, its 55 year of Palestinian occupation, house demolitions, “extra-judicial” assassinations, racist wall, uprooting of olive trees and burning farms, it’s Jews only laws and roads, its “go to hell’ message to the United Nations, it’s total control of Congress that rubber stamps billions of dollars, ignores Israel’s spying and murder of American citizens (Rachel Corrie), and the every ready “Resolutions” against Israel’s Arab enemies, even criticizing American Presidents ready to DIE for Israel while evading fighting for their own nation.

On July 30,2002: (thestar.com)
President Clinton, speaking at a Toronto Jewish Fund Raiser:
“Clinton drew applause for his own commitment to Israel when he stated that should the Iraqis ever cross over the Israeli border for aggression, “I would personally get in a ditch, grab a rifle, and fight and die.”

‘The phrase “Jewish Power” comes most recently from the title of a book by J. J. Goldberg (1996: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co, Inc.), although it’s been used for centuries.

The front jacket of the book “Jewish Power” states:

“..a frank look at Jewish power and influence in America today…a rare insider’s portrait of the people, the institutions, the money, and the ideas that make up Jewish political influence in the U.S., from the Anti-Defamation League to the United Jewish Appeal, to the New York Times, to the…Jewish caucus in the House of Representatives…He details the absolutely vital role Jews play in Democratic party politics and fund raising. He describes the inner workings of the feared pro-Israel lobby….and its surprising role in shaping American foreign policy. He tackles……Jewish media influence.”

Another recent book called a–Handbook on U.S. Jewish Power–is “Jews in American Politics” by L. Sandy Maisel and Ira N. Forman. (Rowman & Littlefield).

Other excellent book documenting “Jewish Power” and its absolute hold on US Foreign Policy are:

“They Dare To Speak Out” by former Republican Representative Paul Findley and “The Passionate Attachment” by former Under Secretary of State George Ball, “One Nation Under Israel” by Andrew Hurley, and “Fifty Years of Israel”, by Donald Neff.

I would highly recommend you visit the site for the best magazine on the Arab-Israeli conflict, actually the only such magazine run by former U.S. Diplomats, called the “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs” (www.wrmea.com) for much literature, articles, and books on this subject.

IS Dr. Mahathir the only courageous leader to have spoken the “truth” regarding Israel’s choke hold on our government and its Foreign Policy in the Middle East? NO!!!!!

“I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy [in the Middle East] not approved by the Jews. Former Secretary of State George] Marshall and former Defense Secretary James Forrestral learned that…. terrific control the Jews have over the news media and the barrage the Jews have built up on congressmen …. I am very much concerned over the fact that the Jewish influence here is completely dominating the scene and making it almost impossible to get congress to do anything they don’t approve of. The Israeli embassy is practically dictating to the congress through influential Jewish people in the country”

– Secretary. of State John Foster Dulles in Feb. 1957 quoted on p.99 of “Fallen Pillars” by Donald Neff

“I know I was elected by the votes of American Jews. I owe them my victory. Tell me, is there something I ought to do?”

– U.S. President John F. Kennedy speaking privately to Ben-Gurion (p.90 A & L Cockburn 1991).

“The little Knesset”

– Secretary of State James Baker describing Pro-Israel Congressmen, quoted in the Web Page of the Zionist Organization of America, which, in turn, quotes the Los Angeles Times (March 7, 1992)

“I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance”

– U.S. President Harry Truman writing in his memoirs about the Zionist pressure to support the illegal partition of Palestine by force in 1947.

“I’ve never seen a president –I don’t care who he is– stand up to them [the Israelis]. It just boggles your mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what’s going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn’t writing anything down. If the American people understood what grip those people have on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens don’t have any idea what goes on.”

– Admiral Thomas Moorer of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (See Washington Report 12/1999, p.124 quoting from
Andrew Hurley’s book, “One Nation Under Israel”)

“The Israeli Prime Minister has a lot more influence over the foreign policy of the United States in the Middle East than he has in his own country.”

– Former Congressman Paul Findley, in his book “They Dare to Speak Out”, p. 92.

“The Israelis control the policy in the congress and the senate …somewhere around 80 percent of the senate of the United States is completely in support of Israel — of anything Israel wants.”

– Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator William Fullbright, 10/07/1973 on CBS’ “Face the Nation”

“We have exhausted our requests. President Clinton has answered all our needs. There has been no American president in history like President Clinton, in his support of Israel and the Jewish people.”

– Shimon Peres (From Washington Report, July 1996, pg. 17)

“President Clinton behaves like an obedient child of Israel and does not know how to say `No.'”

– Nahum Barnea, Israeli writer (From Washington Report, July 1996, pg. 17)

“The Capitol Hill is an Israeli occupied territory”. — Patrick Buchanan (St. Louis Dispatch, 10/20/1990).

To believe Israel’s propaganda is to believe by necessity that the entire world, the United Nations, all international conventions, treaties, organizations, and laws are purposefully “Anti-Semitic”. To criticize Israel, a nation, is to criticize Judaism itself and Jews as a group. Jews and Israel demand to be loved, respected, even feared, regardless of their ruthless history in “ethnically cleansing” Palestine. But in all fairness one must never generalize about “Jews” for some of the most courageous, ardent, vocal voices against Zionism and Israel’s brutality are Jews themselves—in fact, much more so than the entire cowardly 57 Muslim governments who are just as oppressive to their own peoples as Israel is to Palestinians.

Just what is a “SEMITE”?

The word “Semite” arose from the name Shem, son of Noah (PBUH), the patriarch of people who spoke the “Semitic” languages. Semitism refers to languages such as Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Ethiopian, Assyrian, Babylonian etc. and not religion or ethnicity. Given the fact that the overwhelming majority of Jews today came from Europe’s Ashkenazi Jews who themselves arose from the “KHAZARS” of the Caucuses and not the original Israelites, the Jews of today are neither true descendents of the Israelites nor do the majority speak Hebrew, hence “Anti-Semitism” applies to the Arabs and not to the Jews.

New York Times: “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.”- Rabbi Yaacov Perrin, Feb. 28, 1994

“We have to kill all the Palestinians unless they are resigned to live here as slaves.”
Chairman Heilbrun of Committee for the Re-election of General Shlomo Lahat, mayor of Tel Aviv, Oct. 1983

Dr. Mahathir spoke of “Jews ruling by proxy”, referring to the enormous influence of Jews upon America’s foreign policy. Only a fool, naive, uninformed, bribed politician, or a journalist of the American mass media would ever deny this FACT of American politics. Many in Israel itself would agree with this statement, including Sharon himself.

“Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.” – Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, October 3, 2001, to Shimon Peres, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio.

HAARETZ: “People & Politics/U.S. Bosses, West Bank Factions, EU Mediators” by Akiva Eldar, Oct. 14, 2003 “On the other hand, the president’s (Bush) political advisors are afraid that if their boss doesn’t find a way to remain on the fence, and tries to twist Sharon’s arm, the prime minister won’t hesitate to show the American voter who’s the real boss in Washington. ”

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “Nations see Jews as Key to Winning Favor with U.S”; By Michael J. Jordan – September 13, 2000

Even a sizable portion of Americans believe JEWS have too much power.

San Francisco Chronicle: “Survey: 34% of Americans say Jews have too much influence..” January 27, 2003

“A nationwide survey showed that nearly a third of all U.S. citizens fear a Jewish president may have divided loyalties when dealing with Israel, the report said.

The survey, conducted by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research in San Francisco, also found that nearly one in four Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 believe that Jewish control of the media distorts the news. Only 16 percent of older Americans held the same view.

The poll also found that that 34 percent of Americans agree that “Jews have too much influence on Wall Street,” and 37 percent believe that the Jews were responsible for killing Jesus Christ.
(Original article is at http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2003/01/1566578.php)

Let’s review a small part of the American and Israeli media that speak to such influence upon the United States and on the Bush Administration: If there is one thing the illegal and fraudulent war on Iraq proves, it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this war was “Made in Israel” through its Proxy “Jewish” Neo-Conservatives. Already these unpatriotic American Jews who’ve never fought in any American war are stomping their feet to go after Syria, Iran, Palestinians, and any “enemy” of Israel. Their war is in actuality a war of “terrorism” upon Islam and Muslim nations who stand in the way of “Greater Israel.”

Jerusalem Post: “Bush Will Support Israel Unconditionally”, By Janine Zacharia, August 2, 2000 (during Bush’s Presidential Campaign)

“As president, George W. Bush would support Israel even if it decides not to take risks for peace, former president Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State (George Schultz) told a Jewish audience gathered here for the Republican National Convention”.

(Only Jews have the shameless audacity to demand the Appointment of Jews to Bush’s Cabinet)

Washington Post: “No Jews in This Cabinet”, By Richard Cohen, Tuesday, January 16, 2001;

Jerusalem Post: “Out of the Mix”, By Matthew E. Berger; January 18, 2001
“Does it matter that US President-elect George W. Bush appointed no Jews to his cabinet?”

Washington Times: “Pro-Israeli Lobbyists Leery of Bush Team”, By Ben Barber; January 22, 2001

“Pro-Israeli lobbying groups in Washington are quietly fretting that the new Bush administration, with strong links to the Middle East oil industry, will be less supportive of Israel than the outgoing Clinton team. Morton Klein, head of the conservative Zionist Organization of America, put it in even stronger terms. “We do have concern that some of the names being mentioned for top posts of [President] Bush’s Mideast team are names from the past which reflect the same old tired thinking that appeasing [Palestinian leader Yasser] Arafat and the Arabs will bring peace.”

(Bush, as expected, immediately responded to the Jewish Lobby by appointing 2 Top Jews, Grossman and Hass, in addition to others like Wolfowitz, Perle, Libby, Feith, Abrams, Wurmser)

Jerusalem Post: “Bush Appoints MidEast Advisers”; By Janine Zacharia; February 7 2001

“The White House has announced two key State Department appointments that deal with Middle East affairs.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday that President George W. Bush would appoint Marc Grossman, a former ambassador to Turkey and career diplomat as Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, to the No. 3 position at the State Department, and Richard Haass as Director of Policy Planning.”

(First, you get Jews Appointed to Top Policy Positions, THEN, you go after formulating Policies in Israel’s Interest: After Afghanistan’s invasion, Iraq)

Jerusalem Post: “Next Stop, Baghdad?”; October 14, 2001 (same headline repeated a month later)Jerusalem Post: “Next Stop, Baghdad?”, November 15, 2001

Washington Post: “…And Now to Iraq” by Richard Cohen; November 30, 2001(Israel’s demand reaches U.S.)

HARRETZ: “Has Oslo Run its Course?”; January 17, 2001

“A Washington think tank offers a strategy to President-elect George Bush…The Washington Institute for Near East Policy says the administration should “assess whether Israelis and Palestinians… would prefer a peace built on as much separation/disengagement as is practical.”.The group advise President Bush himself to “reserve his intensive involvement” in the Middle East peace process “for decisive moments,”

(The Institute mentioned above was created in 1985 by the Pro-Israel Lobby, A.I.P.A.C., led by Martin Indyk. Bush followed their advice and disengaged from the MidEast for a long time while Sharon was shedding Palestinian blood)

New York Times: “A MidEast Policy for Mr. Bush” by Thomas L. Friedman; January 19, 2001

“A lot of people have been wondering how George W. Bush will handle the Arab-Israeli peace process. That’s easy. He now has a great opportunity to do nothing.”

(Bush desperately wanted to avoid antagonizing the Jewish Lobby like his father which led to his father’s re-election defeat as much as the poor economy did). He succeeded.

Jerusalem Post: “Their Kind of Guy” By Janine Zacharia; January 24, 2002

“When George W. Bush took office one year ago, the American-Jewish community was apprehensive about its relationship with the White House. Janine Zacharia explains why 12 months later, Jewish support for the president has risen dramatically.”

(Thus Bush, aware of “Jewish Power” that can make or break campaigns and careers decided to ADOPT Sharon’s Agenda in the Middle East, especially with the Palestinians)

Washington Post: “Bush Gives Israel Wide Latitude in Offensive”; By Alan Sipress; April 2, 2002

Jerusalem Post: “Powell: Israel Can Decide When to Proceed”; June 28, 2001
“Only Israel may decide when the region is quiet enough to proceed with implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said this morning.”

Jerusalem Post: “Powell: Israel’s Use of U.S. Arms Not Illegal”; By Janine Zacharia September 9, 2001 “Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a letter sent last month to Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan), said Israel’s use of American-made weapons in targeted killings of Palestinian militants does not constitute a violation of American law.”

As for the American Congress, their passion is to OUT-JEW each other for Money and Media Popularity:

Jerusalem Post: “Legislators Call for Anti-Palestinian Authority Measures” (A.P: March 15, 2002)

“More than 230 members of Congress wrote to US President George W. Bush yesterday, asking him to classify Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s security force and two other groups linked to the PA as terrorist organizations.”

HAARETZ: “Background/Shock and Assad – Israel’s Wish List”: By Bradley Burston, April 15, 2003

“As President George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld took on Syria in an oratorical shock and awe campaign this week, Israel gave signs of what it would like to see Washington do to bring Damascus to heel, and what the Jewish state could gain from the effort…Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz also set out a long list of demands he said the administration would be asked to press on Syria. Mofaz told the Ma’ariv daily: “We have a long list of issues that we are thinking of demanding of the Syrians, and it is proper that this be done by the Americans.”

HAARETZ: “Background/ The Iraq Crisis as the War of the Jews”; by Bradley Burston; October 20, 2003

“As the tide of opposition has grown, so has an undercurrent of argument that Jewish influence in America and Israel is a crucial factor pushing Washington into battle…. “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this,” Congressman Jim Moran (R: Virginia)
(of course was slammed as “anti-semite”)… Moran’s remarks came amid a flood of commentary from analysts of both the American left and right suggesting that Bush administration was taking advice – if not outright orders – from the Sharon government and the Israeli defense establishment on handling Saddam Hussein.”

HAARETZ: “White Man’s Burden”; By Ari Shavit, July 31, 2003

“The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history.”

The Observer: David Hirst; September 21, 2003

“With the assault on Iraq, the US was not merely adopting Israel’s long-established methods – of initiative, offence and pre-emption – it was also adopting Israel’s adversaries as its own.”

Orlando Sentinel: “Repetition doesn’t make a lie the truth–this is how I know” by Charley Reese, 5/23/1999

“Arthur Hays Sulzberger, when he was publisher of the New York Times, said publicly, “I dislike the coercive methods of Zionists who in this country have not hesitated to use economic means to silence persons who have different views. I object to the attempts at character assassination of those who do not agree with them.”

I speak more to the point. The Zionists in America are the biggest enemy of freedom of speech and freedom of the press there is. And don’t confuse Zionism with Judaism. Zionism is a secular political movement that would do anything to support the state of Israel. Judaism is a religion. Not all Jews are Zionists.”

Washington Post: “Bush Moves U.S. Closer to Sharon On Mideast Policy”; by Robert G. Kaiser, Feb. 9, 2003

“For the first time, a U.S. administration and a Likud government in Israel are pursuing nearly identical policies…The Likudniks are really in charge now,” said a senior (U.S.) government official, using a Yiddish term for supporters of Sharon’s political party…Members of the group do not hide their friendships and connections, or their loyalty to strong positions in support of Israel and Likud…..Friends of Israel in Congress also lined up with Sharon. In November 2001, 89 out of 100 senators signed a letter to Bush asking the administration not to try to restrain Israel from using “all [its] strength and might… Said a senior official of the first Bush administration who is critical of this one: “Sharon played the president like a violin”…. In recent months Israel has sharply escalated settlement activity in the West Bank. In an interview with The Washington Post, Sharon recently dismissed the quartet as “nothing — don’t take it seriously.”

CounterPunch: “Our Vichy Congress”; by George Sunderland; May 10, 2002 (a pen name)

A Congressional Staffer Details Israel’s Stranglehold on Capitol Hill: “We are All Members of Likud Now.”

“For expressions of sheer groveling subservience to a foreign power, the pronouncements of Laval and Petain pale in comparison to the rhetorical devotion with which certain Congressmen have bathed the Israel of Ariel Sharon….Israel’s strategy of using its influence on the American political system to turn the U.S. national security apparatus into its own personal attack dog–or Golem–has alienated the United States from much of the Third World, has worsened U.S. ties to Europe amid rancorous insinuations of anti-Semitism, and makes the United States a hated bully. And by cutting off all diplomatic lines of retreat–as Sharon did when he publicly made President Bush, the leader of the Free World, look like an impotent fool–Israel paradoxically forces the United States to draw closer to Israel because there is no thinkable alternative for American politicians than continuing to invest political capital in Israel….We have now reached the point where there may be no turning back as nuclear Armageddon beckons from the Middle East. Writing recently in The Washington Post, Chris Patten, the European commissioner for external relations, says “a senior Democratic senator [alas, Patten does not name him] told a visiting European the other day: ‘All of us here are members of Likud now.’
The American Conservative: “Whose War?”; by Patrick Buchanan, March 24, 2003.

“Here was a cabal of intellectuals telling the Commander-in-Chief, nine days after an attack on America, that if he did not follow their war plans, he would be charged with surrendering to terror. … What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel. They want the peace of the sword imposed on Islam and American soldiers to die if necessary to impose it.”

New Left Review: “Scurrying Towards Bethlehem”, by historian Perry Anderson, July-August 2001

“Entrenched in business, government, and media, American Zionism has since the sixties acquired a firm grip on the levers of public opinion and official policy toward Israel…. The colonists have in this sense at length acquired something like the metropolitan state-or state within a state-they initially lacked.”

http://www.antiwar.com: “How Neoconservatives Conquered Washington – and Launched a War”, by Michael Lind, April 10, 2003 (Mr. Lind is the Whitehead Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC. (Reprinted from British Magazine: ‘New Statesman”; April 7, 2003)

“America’s allies and enemies alike are baffled. What is going on in the United States? Who is making foreign policy? And what are they trying to achieve? …..Most neoconservative defense intellectuals have their roots on the left, not the right. They are products of the influential Jewish-American sector of the Trotskyist movement of the 1930s and 1940s.

Their admiration for the Israeli Likud party’s tactics, including preventive warfare such as Israel’s 1981 raid on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, is mixed with odd bursts of ideological enthusiasm for “democracy.” They call their revolutionary ideology “Wilsonianism” (after President Woodrow Wilson), but it is really Trotsky’s theory of the permanent revolution mingled with the far-right Likud strain of Zionism. Genuine American Wilsonians believe in self-determination for people such as the Palestinians.

The neocon defense intellectuals, as well as being in or around the actual Pentagon, are at the center of a metaphorical “pentagon” of the Israel lobby and the religious right, plus conservative think tanks, foundations and media empires.”

FORWARD: “Lewin: Born of Necessity”; By Ami Eden; June 7, 2002 (FORWARD is a Jewish paper) (no condemnation by Bush, Rice, Powell, Cheney, or Rumsfeld on these “hateful, anti-Semtic remarks: ONLY when remarks are directed against the “Chosen People’, the Jews, does the west feel compelled and enraged to condemnation)

“A prominent Washington attorney and Jewish communal leader is calling for the execution of family members of suicide bombers.Nathan Lewin, an oft-mentioned candidate for a federal judgeship”

New York Times: “Annan’s Careless Language”; by George Fletcher, March 21, 2002 (NO one in the U.S. Government condemned this OUTRIGHT LIE by Mr. Fletcher nor did the New York Times, a Jewish owned paper, allow any rebuttal to this shameful lie)

“A redefinition of the Middle East conflict occurred last week when Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations called Israel’s occupation of lands acquired in the 1967 Six Day War “illegal.” A new and provocative label of “illegality” is now out of the chute and running loose, ready to wreak damage.”

The Observer: “Who Will Dare Damn Israel”; by Richard Ingrams, September 16, 2001

Messrs Blair and Bush, with help from on high, are ignoring the truths of the Middle East

“Noticeable was the reluctance throughout the media to contemplate the Israeli factor…Such has been the pressure from the Israeli lobby in this country (U.S.) that many, even normally outspoken journalists, are reluctant even to refer to such matters.”

If anyone does dare, their career, and perhaps life, is in jeopardy:

Jerusalem Post: “French envoy to UK: Israel threatens world peace”, By Douglas Davis, December 2, 2001

“The diplomatic career of French Ambassador to Britain Daniel Bernard was said to be in jeopardy yesterday, after he was quoted as having referred to Israel as “that shitty little country” which threatens world peace.”

Dr. Mahathir, the majority of the world agrees with your assessment on “Jewish Power” but are too intimidated to speak, hence, proving the very point that Jews do have enormous power on America, Europe, and Australia through wealth and control of ownership of the “Media: the most powerful opium upon the masses”

“Jewish Power”, the power of 0.002% of the world population and 1.7% of the American population but whose vast political and economic influence born of Holocaust guilt, money, and media manipulation have turned the most powerful nation on earth, the United States, into their own personal “Terminator” of nations and peoples until the entire world is now cowardly in its silence at Israel’s daily atrocities against the Palestinian population herded into refugee camps whose areas are constantly shrinking. While African Americans and Hispanics constitute about 25% of America’s population they have NOT one single Senator in the Congress, while Jewish Americans, 1.7% of the population have 11 Senators. Such is the power of money and greed. Jews have hijacked America’s foreign policy into an ISRAEL FIRST, AMERICA SECOND policy; damn the poor young American soldiers dying daily in Iraq.

I hope you reminded President Bush and Condoleeza Rice during your meeting with them at the A.P.E.C. summit when they criticized your remarks that they should be ashamed of their own silence when God himself is criticized by their own General Boykin yet they were SILENT. Obviously Muslim blood is cheap compared to hurt Jewish feelings.

The Muslim world is disunited, weak, cowardly, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on military hardware to fight each other and squandering enormous wealth on behalf of corrupt dictators, while keeping their national wealth in western banks. Many of them are directly and indirectly dealing and trading with Israel. Their “Regime Change” should come from within not from Israel, its American Lobby, or the Christian Evangelists who hate Jews, Muslims, and other Christians.

Muslims only need ONE weapon: the Holy Qur’an, yet most can’t even read it. Until we adopt the wisdom, intellect, work ethic, peace, and beauty of our faith and reject ALL who seek violence, terrorism, and military adventurism upon weaker nations—from Bush, Blair, Sharon, Bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein, the world will have no peace and the Children of Abraham will continue to die. Judaism is an exclusivist religion that is using violence to exclude Christians and Muslims from the Holy Land. The world must draw a LINE IN THE SAND and tell Israel: THIS AGGRESSION WILL NOT STAND.

Allah Akbar to all who follow the Straight Path.

Following September 11, Robin Theurkauf, a lecturer in international law at Yale University, wrote: “Terrorist impulses ferment in poverty, oppression and ignorance. The elimination of these conditions and the active promotion of a universal respect for human rights must become a priority:

She lost her husband, Tom, in the World Trade Center.

The Leader of the Jewish “Cabals”, Richard Perle, pushing America to PAY AND DIE FOR ISRAEL says:

‘No stages…This is total war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out there. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan, then we will do Iraq, then we take a look around and see how things stand. This is entirely the wrong way to go about it … If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely, and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war … our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” Richard Perle

Source:

by courtesy & © 2003 Mohamed Khodr

Islamic pilgrimage deeply touches two Valley men

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Lawn Griffiths, Tribune

By now, most Muslims who went on this year’s hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, are back home. They’re telling their stories of being swept up in a sea of faithful followers fulfilling some of Islam’s most sacred rituals.

They’re talking about the spiritual ecstasy of circling and recircling the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque, the epicenter of their faith toward which the faithful from around the planet face during five daily prayers.

They are telling of the vast tent cities in Saudi Arabia that temporarily housed pilgrims or of taking part in the “stoning of the devil” at the huge pillars at the new four-tiered Bridge of Jamarat in Mina. This year, pilgrims didn’t have to gather the stones to hurl. They were distributed to them in velvet bags. Pilgrims needed at least 49 pebbles to toss at three pillars during three days. It re-enacts Gabriel’s command to Abraham to pelt the devil, an act that is said to draw one closer to God.

The new leader of Islamic Community Center in Tempe, Imam Amr Elsamny, and Ahmed Osman of Gilbert, who attends prayer services there, were part of 2.4 million pilgrims, although unregistered Muslims may have taken the count much higher. Hajj was Dec. 6-9, though many Muslims extended their stays in the holy region.

Elsamny, who became the spiritual leader at the mosque on Nov. 7, made his third pilgrimage to Mecca. A native of Egypt, he has lived and studied in the U.S. for 10 years and trained in Peoria, Ill., as well as at the largest Islamic university in Saudi Arabia. “The first time I went was with my family – my mother and my wife – but when I got to go by myself (last year and this year), I really got to enjoy it more,” he said. That’s because he could focus more on his own spiritual experience and not be as concerned about the safety of loved ones in the tumult of the masses. Yet his first hajj was “very sweet,” he said.

Hajj has been the planet’s largest demonstration of religious devotion in one place, and, this year, major steps were taken to minimize the loss of life that has occurred because of the concentration of people crowding into the holy places.

“They’ve actually done a lot of work there, and they expanded it,” said Elsamny. “A lot of chaos has been there before, sometimes stampedes, but this year it was really easy. They have a lot of soldiers. Thousands of them organizing everything. In the past, people legally could sleep on the floors, but now they have stopped that.”

Besides greater security, the Saudi Arabian government, which oversees hajj logistics, created one-way foot traffic in the ritual areas. The changes came to avert tragedies like one in 2006 when 363 people were crushed to death in stampedes at Mina.

Osman, 41, who came to the U.S. from his native Somalia 20 years ago, had contemplated going on hajj for the past three years. “I had been delaying it every year,” the engineer said. “It is a call for everyone who can afford it to go there.”

But it was hearing a lecture at the mosque this year that nudged him to make 2008 the year. “The gentleman giving the lecture talked about the hajj and the fruits of hajj, and that triggered me to go. Something inside me told me this was the year,” he said. One of the five pillars of Islam is to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once, if one is physically and financially able. Because of the world economic slump, the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C., told The Associated Press that it had issued 2,000 fewer hajj visas this year.

Financially, Osman said, it was a sacrifice – about $6,000. But he raised the money. Muslims are instructed to come up with the money on their own, yet not go into debt for it. “If friends give you money, that is one thing, but you have to earn that money on your own,” he said. He joined nine people from the Valley headed to hajj, with flights to New York, then to Amman, Jordan, and then Medina, Saudi Arabia. Osman still revels in the instant bonds he developed with fellow pilgrims – people of different nationalities and lifestyles, yet exhibiting strong unity in their religion.

On arrival, men and women traded their clothing for the simple, seamless, traditional white garment, or ihram, whose purpose is to eliminate social and economic status and serve as a living example of equality in the brotherhood of Islam.

Osman said he was especially inspired by the visit to Mount Arafat, (also called the Mountain of Mercy), a hill 12 miles east of Mecca, where pilgrims ask for forgiveness and where they believe God answers prayers. It was there, they say, that their founder Muhammad gave his farewell to followers. “That is also where Allah revealed the Quran to Muhammad,” Osman said. “To go to Arafat is what performing the hajj is all about.”

Osman said he was lucky when he performed the tawaf, or the circling of the Kaaba, seven times counterclockwise. He was able to touch the black, cube-shaped stone that is actually a large empty room, called the House of Allah, a structure Muslims believe was built by Abraham and his son, Ishmael.

“It got near the Kaaba and I touched it!” he said. “It is the most awesome feeling. It is really amazing.”

He remembers how tired he was from riding a bus for 13 hours through the night from Medina to Mecca in crawling traffic. At 8 a.m., their bus arrived. “Physically and mentally, we were drained,” he said. “We were sitting cooped up in the bus traveling for 12 hours” but on arrival “no one wanted to rest. We all wanted to go to see the Kaaba. We wanted to see the house that Abraham built for Allah.

Imam Elsamny said he is now sharing his hajj experiences with the 700 who attend Friday prayers at the masjid, or mosque, 131 E. Sixth St., Tempe.

He conveys to them the spirit of unity the pervades the pilgrims. “You go there and you find extremely poor people coming from poor countries and you appreciate what you have,” he said.

Osman said hajj had made him feel more at ease. “I feel a lot more responsibility toward common men, regardless of creed or religion,” he said. “Spiritually, I feel a lot more uplifted and in the presence of a superior being.”

“I feel more about donating and giving to the community, helping out people who are less fortunate than I,” he said.

Israel’s Terror Rampage

by Elias Akleh

“Driven by a crazy warmongering prejudiced god, who elevates one group of people over the rest of his creation, and who orders his chosen people to perpetrate a bloody genocidal cleansing of his promised land in order to build him a mundane house to live in, Israeli politicians are ready to do anything in order to accomplish their deluded dream of a pure Jewish Greater Israel, from Nile to Euphrates, without any Christian or Muslim Goyims.”


If anybody is still having any doubt that Israel (government and citizens) is a terrorist state par excellence then the latest events during the last two months alone in occupied Palestine should convince him of this fact. For the last two year the Israeli government has been tightening its deadly siege against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army had violated the latest seize-fire agreement with its military raids into and bombardment of the Strip. The latest closure of Gaza, the tightest ever, is starving its 1.5 million Palestinians, depriving them of drinking water, and necessary fuel to keep their daily operations going. The Israeli government is conducting a meditative mass murder operation against Gaza residents while the whole world is silently and complicity watching and the American media is distorting the facts. (Watch the facts in Gaza).

Similar to their government, and adopting its ethnic cleansing policies, Israeli citizens, especially the extreme fundamentalist religious Jews, have been, since the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948, attacking the Palestinian indigenous landowners, forcefully and collectively occupying Palestinian homes and evicting the owners out, murdering whole family members, burning their fields, poisoning their water wells, shooting their farm animals, totally razing whole Palestinian towns, and building their own colonies on top of their ruins. Encouraged by the American unconditional support and by the UN silence, armed and financed by the fundamentalist extreme religious Shas and Yisrael Beitenu Parliamentary Parties, and brainwashed by extremist Yishuv Rabbis, the Israeli settlers (terrorists) had escalated their terror attacks against Palestinians throughout whole Palestine; in the 1948 occupied Palestine and in the West Bank.

Last October extremist religious Jewish residents of the Palestinian city of Akka (Acre), who were forcefully implanted in the old town in the middle of Palestinian residents and in the suburbs around the city, had perpetrated a wave of attack against their Palestinian neighbors, fired at them with automatic weapons, and set fire to some Palestinian homes. All this was happening under the sight and protection of Israeli police and soldiers, who arrested any Palestinian trying to protect his home. Watch their terror in Akka here.

The most dangerous Israeli terrorists are those religious extremist colonizers (settlers) in and around the West Bank Palestinian city of AL-Khalil (Hebron). Some well-armed 500 – 600 extremists and Yeshiva (religious school) students had forcefully occupied a couple of buildings in the heart of Hebron city where about 200,000 Palestinians live. These terrorists are protected by thousands of heavily armed Israeli soldiers 24 hours a day. To guarantee their freedom of movement large parts of the town are made off-limit to Palestinians. Many other religiously fanatic Israeli terrorist had confiscated large areas of farm land around the city and built their own colony called Kiryat Arba.

The majority of the Israeli colonizers in the Occupied West Bank are followers of the teachings of the religiously extremist Rabbi Abraham Kook, considered the first Rabbi of Israel. He teaches that the Jews should hasten the coming of their awaited for Messiah through acts violence and bloodshed, permissible and encouraged by the Torah, to cleanse the “Promised Land” from all Goyims (non-Jews, Palestinians), destroy their homes of worship (AL-Aqsa Muslim Mosque), and to build the third temple for the Messiah to live in.

These teachings are allegedly based on the Talmud and are taught at the Mirkaz Harav; a Judaic religious college in Jerusalem. According to these teachings the Palestinians have three choices: life long total obedient slavery to Israel, complete transfer out of the country, “lest they remain a thorn in your side”, or the Old Testament-style total annihilation. Similar versions of these fanatic teachings are taught to Israeli youth in their elementary and high schools. Throughout the history of Israel, since the birth of Zionism, Israelis had adopted and followed these teachings.

Israeli colonizers in and around Hebron follow these teachings religiously. They sanctify their Sabbaths through violent attacks against Palestinian residents. Every Friday night and Saturday, these terrorist colonizers, accompanied with their children, fully armed and under the protection of the Israeli soldiers, descend on Palestinian neighborhoods, smash their cars, break their windows and throw Molotov bombs in their houses, break into shops and set them ablaze, shoot at every Palestinian they may encounter, vandalize homes, schools and institutions, steal properties, draw racial and hatred graffiti on walls and doors of homes, churches, and mosques,, vandalize Palestinian cemeteries and draw star of David on graves, and provoke Palestinians with hate slogans such as “Death to Arabs”, and “Mohammad is a pig”.

When Jewish cemeteries and temples are vandalized with graffiti, Jew around the world and the Western World cry anti-Semitism, yet when Israeli Jews draw hate graffiti on Palestinian mosques, churches, and cemeteries no body cry anti-Palestinian, anti-Christian, or anti-Muslim.

Such silence and complicity had encouraged the Israeli terrorist to keep attacking Palestinians. In 1994 the Israeli terrorist Baruch Goldstein, encouraged by such silence, did not hesitate to sneak behind Muslim worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron and empty his machine gun in the back of Muslim prayers while kneeling in prayer. Last week hundreds of fanatic Yishuv (religious school) students were called on to occupy a Palestinian home in Hebron to stop the police from evicting some armed Israeli settlers, who forcefully occupied the home claiming its purchase. The Israeli High Court found the deeds a forgery and ordered the house evacuated. In response hundreds of Israeli terrorists descended onto several Palestinian cities such as Ramallah, Nablus, Tulkarem, smashing cars and beating Palestinians. In Hebron, itself, Jewish terrorists attacked Palestinian residents, set their homes on fire, and injured many of them. Few days ago some of these armed settlers attacked Palestinian homes and shot some of them point blank. The shooter was released for only one night and was released next morning. To see the shooting incident and many other settlers’ terrorist attacks click here.

Another similar confrontation between Palestinians and extremist settlers seems to be imminent in the Palestinian city of Umm al-Fahm, home to about 45,000 Palestinians. The Jewish National Front, a far-right group closely associated with the Hebron settlers, has acquired a Supreme Court permission to march through the city. The group’s leader Baruch Marzel stated “We will march through Umm al-Fahm with flags to send everyone a message that the Land of Israel belongs to us”. Many of the marchers will carry their guns issued to them as settlers. Such provocation, scheduled for this Monday December 15th, will spark violent confrontation.

Driven by a crazy warmongering prejudiced god, who elevates one group of people over the rest of his creation, and who orders his chosen people to perpetrate a bloody genocidal cleansing of his promised land in order to build him a mundane house to live in, Israeli politicians are ready to do anything in order to accomplish their deluded dream of a pure Jewish Greater Israel, from Nile to Euphrates, without any Christian or Muslim Goyims.

The behavior of these many Jewish fanatic groups are considered by any official laws and standards of any country in the world as terrorism. For the last sixty years the Palestinians have been faced with organized Jewish terror supported by major political and religious parties in the Israeli parliament. This is a state sponsored terror. It is a government policy that every Israeli leader supports and calls for. Their real intentions and policies become so transparent and apparent during election time, when all of them call for the expulsion of Palestinians. Just listen to what the Israeli Foreign Minister and leader of the ruling Kadima party, Tzipi Livni, addressing a high school students in Tel Aviv and promising that she would “encourage” those they call Israeli Arabs to move out of Israel to the state of Palestine once it is established.

Israel is a terrorist state. Many people recognize it as such. This is apparent in the international solidarity the Palestinians are receiving from all over the world. The international political bodies have yet to acknowledge this fact, and if they don’t one wonder what kind of ethics and morality that drives their sense of justice and freedom they claim they are fighting for.

Source:

by courtesy & © 2008 Elias Akleh

Young Muslims Build a Subculture on an Underground Book

David Ahntholz for The New York Times

Michael Muhammad Knight, the author of “The Taqwacores,” which a college professor has called “The Catcher in the Rye” for young Muslims.

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By CHRISTOPHER MAAG
Published: December 22, 2008

CLEVELAND — Five years ago, young Muslims across the United States began reading and passing along a blurry, photocopied novel called “The Taqwacores,” about imaginary punk rock Muslims in Buffalo.
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David Ahntholz for The New York Times

Noureen DeWulf and Bobby Naderi, both actors, with Jay Verkamp, center, the sound mixer for the film version of Mr. Knight’s novel. The film was shot in Cleveland.

“This book helped me create my identity,” said Naina Syed, 14, a high school freshman in Coventry, Conn.

A Muslim born in Pakistan, Naina said she spent hours on the phone listening to her older sister read the novel to her. “When I finally read the book for myself,” she said, “it was an amazing experience.”

The novel is “The Catcher in the Rye” for young Muslims, said Carl W. Ernst, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Springing from the imagination of Michael Muhammad Knight, it inspired disaffected young Muslims in the United States to form real Muslim punk bands and build their own subculture.

Now the underground success of Muslim punk has resulted in a low-budget independent film based on the book.

A group of punk artists living in a communal house in Cleveland called the Tower of Treason offered the house as the set for the movie. The crumbling streets and boarded-up storefronts of their neighborhood resemble parts of Buffalo. Filming took place in October, and the movie will be released next year, said Eyad Zahra, the director.

“To see these characters that used to live only inside my head out here walking around, and to think of all these kids living out parts of the book, it’s totally surreal,” Mr. Muhammad Knight, 31, said as he roamed the movie set.

As part of the set, a Muslim punk rock musician, Marwan Kamel, 23, painted “Osama McDonald,” a figure with Osama bin Laden’s face atop Ronald McDonald’s body. Mr. Kamel said the painting was a protest against imperialism by American corporations and against Wahhabism, the strictest form of Islam.

Noureen DeWulf, 24, an actress who plays a rocker in the movie, defended the film’s message.

“I’m a Muslim and I’m 100-percent American,” Ms. DeWulf said, “so I can criticize my faith and my country. Rebellion? Punk? This is totally American.”

The novel’s title combines “taqwa,” the Arabic word for “piety,” with “hardcore,” used to describe many genres of angry Western music.

For many young American Muslims, stigmatized by their peers after the Sept. 11 attacks but repelled by both the Bush administration’s reaction to the attacks and the rigid conservatism of many Muslim leaders, the novel became a blueprint for their lives.

“Reading the book was totally liberating for me,” said Areej Zufari, 34, a Muslim and a humanities professor at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Fla.

Ms. Zufari said she had listened to punk music growing up in Arkansas and found “The Taqwacores” four years ago.

“Here was someone as frustrated with Islam as me,” she said, “and he expressed it using bands I love, like the Dead Kennedys. It all came together.”

The novel’s Muslim characters include Rabeya, a riot girl who plays guitar onstage wearing a burqa and leads a group of men and women in prayer. There is also Fasiq, a pot-smoking skater, and Jehangir, a drunk.

Such acts — playing Western music, women leading prayer, men and women praying together, drinking, smoking — are considered haram, or forbidden, by millions of Muslims.

Mr. Muhammad Knight was born an Irish Catholic in upstate New York and converted to Islam as a teenager. He studied at a mosque in Pakistan but became disillusioned with Islam after learning about the sectarian battles after the death of Muhammad.

He said he wrote “The Taqwacores” to mend the rift between his being an observant Muslim and an angry American youth. He found validation in the life of Muhammad, who instructed people to ignore their leaders, destroy their petty deities and follow only Allah.

After reading the novel, many Muslims e-mailed Mr. Muhammad Knight, asking for directions to the next Muslim punk show. Told that no such bands existed, some of them created their own, with names like Vote Hezbollah and Secret Trial Five.

One band, the Kominas, wrote a song called “Suicide Bomb the Gap,” which became Muslim punk rock’s first anthem.

“As Muslims, we’re not being honest if we criticize the United States without first criticizing ourselves,” said Mr. Kamel, 23, who grew up in a Syrian family in Chicago. He is lead singer of the band al-Thawra, “the Revolution” in Arabic.

For many young American Muslims, the merger of Islam and rebellion resonated.

Hanan Arzay, 15, is a daughter of Muslim immigrants from Morocco who lives in East Islip, N.Y. In the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, pedestrians threw eggs and coffee cups at the van that transported her to a Muslim school, she said, and one person threw a wine bottle, shattering the van’s window.

At school, her Koran teacher threw chalk at her for requesting literal translations of the holy book, Ms. Arzay said. After she was expelled from two Muslim schools, her uncle gave her “The Taqwacores.”

“This book is my lifeline,” Ms. Arzay said. “It saved my faith.”
More Articles in US » A version of this article appeared in print on December 23, 2008, on page A16 of the New York edition.

Gaza’s grim reaper

Israel always manages to commit its worst deeds when no one else is looking.

By Paul J. Balles

While Americans concentrate on the cost of rescuing the U.S. financial system, and Europeans worry about how the worldwide financial crisis will affect them, Israel blithely, with U.S. government and European community approval, deprives Gaza’s entire civilian population of food, medicine and clean drinking water.

When pushed to explain their behaviour, they claim self-defence. Defence against whom? More than 50 per cent of the population in Gaza is comprised of children under the age of 15. Few people outside of Gaza even notice this slow genocide.

Israel always manages to commit its worst deeds when no one else is looking. If they happen to be caught, they blame it on the Palestinians – on a few resistance fighters lobbing rockets into Israel in retaliation for a broken cease-fire. To the Israeli, the actions of a few violent Palestinians are justifiable cause for genocide of the entire Palestinian population in Gaza.

Joe Mowrey writes:

As conditions in the Gaza Strip approach a catastrophic level of deprivation, the world media, and in particular the U.S. media, remain largely silent. The United Nations, whose truckloads of food and medical supplies continue to be denied entry into Gaza by Israel, appears to be one of the few international voices of dissent concerning the collective punishment of 1.5 million human beings.

As soon as someone takes notice of what Mowrey is talking about, the Israelis open the gates to allow a smattering of fuel or food into Gaza. Ironically, Khaled Meshaal has noted even Arab and Islamic regimes have remained silent about the tragedy resulting from the “criminal blockade” of Gaza.

Andrea Becker, head of advocacy for Medical Aid for Palestinians, has written about how the blockade has affected the hospitals and medical facilities. These are hardly resistance fighters:

…a child on life support doesn’t have the oxygen of a mechanical ventilator. A nurse on a neo-natal ward rushes between patients, battling the random schedule of power cuts. A hospital worker tries to keep a few kidney dialysis machines from breaking down, by farming spare parts from those that already have. The surgeon operates without a bulb in the surgery lamp, across from the anaesthetist who can no longer prevent patient pain.

The hospital administrator updates lists of essential drugs and medical supplies that have run out, which vaccines from medical fridges are now unusable because they can’t be kept cold, and which procedures must be cancelled altogether. The ambulance driver decides whether to respond to an emergency call, based on dwindling petrol in the tank.

Joe Mowrey reflects on the most bitter irony of all:

Has the sense of exclusivity and entitlement created by the Zionist experiment in Israel become so great that people there no longer see themselves in the mirror of their own history? The irony of Jews … denying food to hundreds of thousands of children in order, allegedly, to insure their own security, is breathtaking. Who could ever have imagined such a thing?

The Jewish Studies Global Directory of Holocaust Museums lists 61 memorial sites, including four in Israel and 24 in the United States. Reminders to the world? But not to Israelis? Not to Jews in America? Is it conceivable that Jews who remember the Holocaust only recognize genocide when they are the victims?

Rabbi Meir Hirsh, Neturei Karta Palestine, provides an answer:

How long will Jewish and non-Jewish leaders who claim the mantle of civilization and morality remain silent in the face of the ongoing state terrorism practised by the Zionist state against the Palestinian People, most visibly today in Gaza, where the Zionists believe they can starve the Palestinians into submission in violation of all tenets of international law, all religious values in general, including the values of the Jewish faith?

— Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. For more information, see pballes.com. This article appeared in Redress Information & Analysis.

Source: Middle East Online

How to TackleTerrorism

How to TackleTerrorism

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (tr. Yoginder Sikand)

Terrorism is an international menace. Everyone condemns it but the question is: How to cope with terrorism?

I would like to give the answer to this question in brief.

First of all, we have to define what is terrorism. In Islam, only one kind of war is permissible, that is defensive war. This holds true only when the war becomes a necessity. In Islam, war is justified only by the law of necessity and not under normal laws.When there is an armed aggression from outside, the state is allowed to go to war in its defense – that too with some conditions. As far as non-government agencies are concerned, they are not allowed to go to war. No excuse whatsoever is permissible in this regard.

It does not mean that non-governmental individuals or organizations have no contribution to make. They have a lot of work to do in the fields other than the political field. But they will strictly have to adhere to peaceful means. For example, they can educate people, in both formal and informal aspects. They can inculcate the spirit of harmonious living among people. They can inculcate the spirit of constructive work etc.

The Genesis of Violence

Violence begins from the mind. So is the case of terrorism. Terrorism begins from the mind. Terrorism is nothing but the culmination of negative thinking. Hence, any effort to remove terrorism must begin from the minds of people. We have to re-engineer people’s minds on positive lines. We have to make them understand that peaceful action is far more effective than violent action.

Turning Negativity into Positivity

Our society is based on the principle of free competition – it is this competitive state of affairs that creates what are called problems. There are clashes of interest between different segments of society. But this situation is not an unwanted situation. This situation is good for society provided people learn the art of management of differences, rather than the art of eliminating differences. Failure of people management of differences leads to violence and war. Instead of this, when people are able to successfully manage differences; it results in peace in the society.

It is this formula that is given in the Quran in these words:  ‘Peace is the best’. (4:128)

It means that in the face of differences, the conciliatory approach is better than the confrontational approach. Muslim Sufis have adopted this formula, which they call: Sulh-e-kul. It means ‘Peace with all’. This is the only successful formula for establishing a better society.

No Extremism

There is a verse in the Quran: ‘Don’t be extremist in your religion’. (4: 171) The Prophet of Islam has said: ‘Refrain yourself from extremism, it is highly disastrous for you’.  Extremism leads to negative thinking, negative thinking leads to violence and violence leads to armed confrontation.

So-Called ‘Islamization’ of Terrorism

Some Muslim extremists justify their violent actions by saying that ‘Yes, we are involved in terrorism but we terrorize unjust people, just like the police. The police terrorizes criminals and we terrorize those people who are enemies of truth’.
These kinds of statements are nothing but so-called ‘Islamization’ of terrorism by uttering some seemingly beautiful words. This argument is based on a fallacy, that is, a wrong comparison. The police are an authorized body of a state. What the police are doing it is doing by legal authority. But these extremists or their self-styled organizations are not an authoritative body in this sense. As a matter of principle, these elements have no right to use arms; no excuse whatsoever gives them the justification to terrorize people. They have only one option: that is to persuade people by peaceful means, without using any arms or causing anyone harm.

Terror Attacks at Mumbai

The terror attack at Mumbai on November 26, 2008 should serve as an eye-opener for us all. It is a general belief that such terror attacks by Muslim youths are directly inspired by the teachings of the Quran. But the Muslim terrorist, who was captured alive at the time of the Mumbai attacks, had a different story to tell. He told in detail how they were prepared for that task. He explained to the interrogators that they were trained in some special camps for a long period of time. During this training period, apart from being trained on the use of arms, they were given ideological lessons constantly. They never said that they were advised to study the Quran. Instead, he told the interrogators that they were shown video films. In these films, they were made to watch bloody communal riots and to hear the speeches of some extremist Hindu leaders. What were these films? These films were based on selective news items or some exceptional items. In these films, the makers tried to generalize the exception. These youths underwent a brainwashing process by these sensitive video films.

For example, they were shown the demolition of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. This single incident greatly provoked their sentiments. But the fact is that apart from the Babri Mosque, there are numerous other mosques that are fully under Muslim control in India. According to one estimate, there are more than half a million mosques in India. Approximately the same number of Islamic, madrassas – big and small – also exist throughout the country. But these mosques and madrassas were not included in the video films that were shown to those Muslims terrorists. If these Muslim youths were also shown these functional mosques and madrasas, then certainly they would have had a different mindset. This kind of training was quite against the spirit of Islam.

The tragedy of the Babri Mosque and the communal riots shown to them was not a one-sided act. It was the result of an action and reaction process and Hindus and Muslims were both involved in this unwanted process. The blame for these bloody incidents goes to both the communities — Muslims and Non-Muslims. These video films showed only one side of the story and not the complete picture of the incident.

Unaware of Quranic Teachings

If these Muslim youths were asked to read the Quran at the time of their training, then surely they would have found this verse of the Quran which forbids killings of innocent people. This Quranic verse says that: ‘Whoever killed one single innocent human being should be looked upon as though he had killed all mankind (5:32).  If these Muslim youths were aware of these Quranic teachings, it would not have been possible for them to kill innocent men and women in terror attacks.

Then there is a very relevant tradition of the Prophet of Islam. He said:  God grants to rifq (peace) what he does not grant to unf (violence).  (Abu Dawud, Sunan, 4/255) This Prophetic teaching tells us that the better way to achieve all objectives is the peaceful method and not the violent method.  If these Muslim youths would have been aware of this Prophetic teaching, they would certainly have adopted this peaceful method instead of the violent gun-culture to achieve their objective.

The Target of these Muslim Terrorists

Recently it was disclosed in an article written by the Pakistani ambassador to the USA, Mr. Hussain Haqqani, that Muslim terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba have a dangerous political plan in mind. Their thinking is that all the areas on the globe that were once under the Muslim rule, like the Ottoman empire or the Mughal empire or the Moorish empire, are Muslims by right. According to them, Non-Muslim nations have unjustly captured these areas. They are usurpers. It is now their right to re-capture all these Muslim areas and establish Muslim rule over these lands once again.

According to them, the recent terrorism is a justified war, aimed at achieving what they regard as their rightful objectives.

This kind of ideology is very dangerous. It is a permanent threat to world peace. Simply condemnation or counter-attack is not enough to eliminate this ideology. It requires a counter-ideology. We have to convince these people that political rule is not a hereditary right of any community or nation. Moreover, now we are living in the age of democracy. Democracy means a power-sharing system. Now every group has the right to share power in a democratic way. The hereditary concept mentioned above is nothing but a kind of anachronism, which is not tenable at all. Now we are living under the United Nations Organizations. All the nations of the world are members of this International body. Only that kind of political norm is acceptable that is just according to the United Nations’ Charter and the above kind of hereditary concept is certainly quite against the UNO’s accepted principles.

What Can be Done?

Now the question is what can be done in such an alarming situation? What is the practical solution to the present state of affairs? I think that there are two parts to this solution. In every country, there are stern laws to curb violence and terrorism. Governmental agencies must enforce all these laws. They must punish all those elements who are involved in such heinous acts. But another part of the solution pertains to the re-engineering of peoples’ minds. This task must be undertaken by the agencies that are non-governmental in their operations. It is completely a peaceful task. Re-engineering of people’s minds can be achieved only through education and positive training. This includes what I call as counter-ideology. The required peaceful result can be achieved only through the combined efforts of these two agencies — Governments and social reformers and activists.
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Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is a Delhi-based Islamic scholar.  For more details, see http://www.cpsglobal.org

The Hidden Holocaust: Our Civilizational Crisis – Part 1: The Holocaust in History

The Hidden Holocaust: Our Civilizational Crisis – Part 1: The Holocaust in History

by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

Part 1: The Holocaust in History

1. “Hidden Holocaust”

As we are all aware, the term “Holocaust” is traditionally used to refer to the “systematic, bureaucratic state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime”, during the Second World War. The word “Holocaust” is a Greek word, which means “sacrifice by fire.” It conveys an event, the scale and horror of which, transformed the course of world history. Moreover, it’s often seen as a crime against humanity that is unparalleled and unique.

This, we cannot dispute. The Nazi Holocaust was, indeed, a uniquely horrific genocide, whose enormity and systematic character is barely imaginable, designed to exterminate wholly the Jewish people, physically, socially, culturally, from the face of the Earth.

But what then, do we mean by a “hidden holocaust”? This term conveys the reality of a campaign of global homicide, murder, whose scale and enormity is such that one feels that the word “holocaust” does, certainly loosely speaking, apply. It is “hidden”, in the sense that, although experienced by millions of people around the world both historically and today, it remains invisible, officially unacknowledged.

This “hidden holocaust”, is escalating, accelerating, intensifying; according to all expert projections from the social and physical sciences, it may culminate in the extinction of the human species, unless we take immediate drastic action, now.

2. “Civilizational Crisis”

We often hear the word “civilization”. It’s often been used to explain the dynamics of the “War on Terror”, as a clash between two civilizations, the advanced, developed and progressive civilization of the West, and the backward, reactionary civilization of Islam.

As is well known, the man who first formulated this idea as an academic theory of international relations was the Harvard professor and US government adviser, Samuel Huntington.

In early 2007, then Prime Minister Tony Blair described the War on Terror as “a clash not between civilizations”, but rather “about civilization.” The War on Terror is, he proclaimed, a continuation of “the age-old battle between progress and reaction, between those who embrace the modern world and those who reject its existence.” [“A Battle for Global Values”, Foreign Affairs (January/February 2007)]

But the “hidden holocaust” is not an aberration from our advanced civilization that represents the peak of human development, requiring only some reforms. Rather, the “hidden holocaust” is integral to the very structure, values and activities of our civilization. It is part and parcel of the “global values” of the international political and economic order that underpins industrial civilization. And unless we attempt to transform the nature of our civilization, we will all perish in a holocaust of our own making.

3. The Genocidal Conception of Civilization

The hidden holocaust associated with our modern civilization, began at the beginning of modern civilization itself.

The origins of modern civilization can be found partly in the pivotal voyages for European colonial expansion and trade from the 15th century to the 19th centuries. Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, English and other explorers ventured out from their home countries in search of new wealth and new land in all corners of the globe. They went to the continents of America, Africa and Asia and set up colonies and trading outposts.

Colonists and settlers had all sorts of intentions. Some of them had capital, and were simply looking for new investment opportunities. Others were trying to escape lives of hardship at home to make new lives for themselves with a fresh start by settling in the colonies. Others wanted to deliver the message of Christianity to native populations. Almost all of them saw themselves as part of the inevitable historical momentum of progress, bringing the fruits of European civilization to backward peoples.

Whatever the intentions, European expansion involved massive, systematic violence. Violence of all kinds. Wholesale massacres, forced labour camps, disease, malnutrition due to the imposed conditions of economic deprivation, mass suicides due to depression and cultural alienation. As Irving Louis Horowitz argues, for example, “the conduct of classic colonialism was invariably linked with genocide.” [Genocide: State Power and Mass Murder, (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 1976), p. 19-20.] Below we review some salient examples.

4. American Holocaust

Starting from 1492, when Christopher Columbus is said to have discovered the Americas, the deadly conquest commenced. The complex civilizations of native Americans, over the next few centuries, were devastated. British historian Mark Cocker has reviewed reliable estimates of the death toll:

“[E]leven million indigenous Americans lost their lives in the eighty years following the Spanish invasion of Mexico. In the Andean Empire of the Incas the figure was more than eight million. In Brazil, the Portuguese conquest saw Indian numbers dwindle from a pre-Columbian total of almost 2,500,000 to just 225,000. And to the north of Mexico… Native Americans declined from an original population of more than 800,000 by the end of the nineteenth century. For the whole of the Americas some historians have put the total losses as high as one hundred million.” [Mark Cocker, Rivers of Blood, Rivers of Gold: Europe’s Conquest of Indigenous Peoples (New York: Grove Press, 1998), p. 5]

Although the majority of these deaths occurred due to the impact of European diseases, disease alone does not explain the variations of death toll rates in different parts of the Americas. The key factors in which diseases operated were ultimately the kinds of repressive colonial social formations imposed on natives by European invaders, consisting of different matrices of forced labour regimes in mines and plantations, mass enslavement for personal domestic use of colonists, religious and cultural dislocation, and so on.

As David Stannard concludes in his extensive study of the genocide, which he describes as an “American Holocaust”, these factors accelerated and intensified the mere impact of disease. He further describes the colonists’ strategic thinking:

“At the dawn of the fifteenth century, Spanish conquistadors and priests presented the Indians they encountered with a choice: either give up your religion and culture and land and independence, swearing allegiance ‘as vassals’ to the Catholic Church and the Spanish Crown, or suffer ‘all the mischief and damage’ that the European invaders choose to inflict upon you.” [David Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 255]

This binary choice, put to the Native Americans five centuries ago, bears an unnerving resemblance to the rhetoric underpinning the “War on Terror” today, “you are either with us or against us.”

5. African Holocaust

In Africa, the slave trade contributed substantially to the protracted deaths of vast numbers of people. While slave structures had already existed locally, it certainly did not exist on the vast scale it adopted in the course of European interventions. English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Danes, and Portuguese slave-traders started out by raiding villages off the West African coast. The transatlantic slave trade, lasting from the 1450s to the 1860s, consisted of “a series of exchanges of captives reaching from the interior of sub-Saharan Africa to final purchasers in the Americas.” An observer at the time, British journalist Edward Morel wrote: “For a hundred years slaves in Barbados were mutilated, tortured, gibbeted alive and left to starve to death, burnt alive, flung into coppers of boiling sugar, whipped to death.” [The Black Man’s Burden: The White Man in Africa from the Fifteenth Century to World War I (New York: Modern Reader, 1969)]

From the 16th to 19th centuries, the total death toll among African slaves being in transhipment to America alone was as high as 2 million. Although the many millions who died “in capture and in transit to the Orient or Middle East” is unknown, among the slaves “kept in Africa some 4,000,000 may have died.” Overall, in five centuries between nearly 17,000,000 – and by some calculations perhaps over 65,000,000 – Africans were killed in the transatlantic slave trade. [R. J. Rummel, Death by Government (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994)].

University of Essex sociologist Robin Blackburn has demonstrated convincingly the centrality of capitalism to the growth of new world slavery, arguing that the profits of slavery accumulated in the “triangular trade” between Europe, Africa and America contributed fundamentally to Britain’s industrialization. For instance, the profits from triangular trade for 1770 would have provided from 20.9 to 55 per cent of Britain’s gross fixed capital formation. [Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800 (London: Verso), p. 572.] The question of capital formation, however, is only part of the story. The trans-atlantic slave trade was an indispensable motor in an emerging capitalist world system under the mantle of the British empire. The mechanization of cotton textiles, originally produced in American plantations manned by African slaves, was overwhelmingly the driving force in British industrialization. [CK Harley and NFR Crafts, “Cotton Textiles and Industrial Output Growth”, Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (1994, no. 420)]

6. Indian Holocaust

In his landmark study, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World (London: Verso, 2001), historian Mike Davis shows how British imperial policy systematically converted droughts in South Asia and South Africa into foreseeable but preventable deadly famines.

In India, between 5.5 and 12 million people died in an artificially-induced famine, although millions of tonnes of grains were in commercial circulation. Rice and wheat production had been above average for the previous three years, but most of the surplus had been exported to England. “Londoners were in effect eating India’s bread.” Under “free market” rules, between 1877 and 1878, grain merchants exported a record 6.4 million hundredweight of wheat to Europe while millions of Indian poor starved to death.

Crucially, Davis argues that these people died “not outside the modern world system, but in the very process of being forcibly incorporated into its economic and political structures. They died in the golden age of liberal capitalism; many were murdered by the application of utilitarian free trade principles.”

7. Division of the World

This violence was, therefore, not merely accidental to the European imperial project. It was integral, systematic, as a solution to the problem of native resistance.

Between about 1870 and 1914, European imperial policies received a new lease of life, resulting in the intense scramble for control over eastern Asian and African territories. Almost the entire world was divided up under the formal or informal political rule of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, the USA, and Japan. Between themselves, in Africa for instance they acquired 30 new colonies and 110 million subjects. African resistance was brutally crushed. Consider, for example, the 1904 uprising of the Hereros, a tribe in southwest Africa, against German occupation. The German response was to drive all 24,000 of them into the desert to starve to death; others who surrendered were worked to death in forced labour camps. [Thomas Pakenham, The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s Conquest of the Dark Continent, 1876-1912 (London: Random House, 1991).]

During this period, we can already see drastic inequalities in the international system. By 1880, the per capita income in the developed countries was approximately double that of the ‘Third World’. By 1913, it was three times higher, and by 1950, five times higher. Similarly, the per capita share of GNP in the industrialized countries of the developed core was in 1830 already twice that of the Third World, becoming seven times as high by 1913. [E. J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire, 1875-1914 (London: Abacus, 1987), p. 15]

In summary, for five hundred years, hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples were slaughtered, decimated, deported, enslaved, starved, exterminated, impoverished, and forcibly assimilated into an emerging world system dominated by Western Europe. This was how the global values and politico-economic structures of our civilization came into being. Globalization… the bloody legacy of a 500-year killing machine.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is the author of The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (Overlook, 2006) and The War on Truth: 9/11, Disinformation and the Anatomy of Terrorism (Olive Branch, 2005), among other books. He teaches international relations at the University of Sussex, and directs the Institute for Policy Research & Development in London. Visit Nafeez’s website The Institute for Policy Research and Development http://www.iprd.org.uk/

Institutionalized Contempt for Islam, How Do We Tackle It: A Riposte Dr. Robert D. Crane

Institutionalized Contempt for Islam, How Do We Tackle It: A Riposte

by Dr. Robert D. Crane

A riposte is a fencer’s quick return thrust following a parry.  In this vein, I want to reply to Jafar Siddiqui’s concern about the growing professionalism in the Islamophobic industry and the lack of an effective Muslim response.  His question is “how do we tackle it?” He does not know, and neither do I, but that is no reason for despondency.  As long as we are asking questions, we are still alive, and that, given present circumstances, is encouraging.

There are many answers, most of them inadequate.  They range from denying that the problem is growing, all the way to joining a Sufi order so that we don’t have to worry about it.  Or we can become terrorists, which is worse than useless.  These ways are the easy ways out of the quandry.

And then there are the effective ways that are more difficult and require a lot of sabr or patience.  Perhaps the most difficult in the short-term is merely to be a good Muslim and a good American, which are two sides of the same coin.  Over the very long term, the most effective strategies are to educate the younger generation with vision so that they can enter academia and help change entire paradigms of thought, or join and found think tanks in order to shape political agendas, or even prepare for a career in politics in order to work proactively from an interfaith perspective on specific policy issues unrelated to Muslims as a group or Islam as a religion.

A few Muslims may be called to complete the original American Revolution or start a second one by joining the American Revolutionary Party, which I co-founded two years ago as one of the two drafters of its constitution.  We are not interested (yet) in running anybody for political office (though I understand that we are registered in the State of Washington for this purpose).  Instead we would like to support those within either of the two major parties who talk about real change but have nothing of substance to offer.  Check out http://www.americanrevolutionaryparty.us.

Jafar is concerned about how easy it is to raise a million dollars to build a mosque but how impossible it is to get support for effective, namely, competitive organizations, to influence the premises of policy, which is where all policy originates.  It is easy simply to assert that those with the larger perspective of grand strategy will never get funding from Muslims for our higher, divinely-inspired calling, and that fund-raising must target what Muslims and Arabs want, which perhaps means nothing beyond one’s own nose.  Only Jews have learned to combine inward focus with an outward focus on selling larger strategic perspective both to their funders and to the enlightened and universal self-interest of policy-makers generally.

We should never become defensive because that is a guaranteed strategy for defeat.  One function of Islamophobes, whether by design or not, is to distract Muslims from contributing to society by forcing them to focus on defending themselves.  Nasir Shamsi was adamant that my book for the Center for Understanding Islam should not attack or even mention any Islamophobes, because this would distract from the positive message of the book.  Ali Chaudry came to agree with him, and I did too about a year ago, so we dropped the book in 2007 as counter-productive since half of it was on defending Islam.

The same applies to the two books that I wrote in 2005 and 2006, which were largely negative on U.S. foreign policy and were rejected by the funders for the same reason, quite correctly so.

The problem is that people under attack, like Muslims, want to counter-attack defensively and get so hung up on this that they become irrelevant in the world.  Even worse, however, would be to do nothing, which was the result after the attack by the Mongols seven hundred years ago and by the European imperialists a couple of centuries ago.  Ironically, even America in recent years after 9/11 has copied the Muslims by going into a terrorized funk, despite the NeoCon’s fraudulent front of calling for freedom and democracy, with the result that America now seems to be declining toward the level of universal irrelevancy.

One can learn general strategy even as a child on the playground.  People who are confident in themselves can ignore attacks on the basis of the old ditty for children, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” My mother taught me this when kids used to yell at me and some beat me up.  She had me take lessons in martial arts and I immediately found that standing up to a bully immediately reduces him to a blowhard totally discredited among his own followers.  This works almost as well even when one challenges the bully to a fight and loses.  More importantly, I found that to ignore verbal attacks has the same effect and that this is the first step toward leadership.  This works on the playground and might even have universal applicability.

Of course, one can overdo this, as I did when I countered some disciplinary action by the principal by organizing a strike by all the boys.  We simply took off and spent the day exploring the forests of Belmont Hill, which I knew well in the western exurbs of Boston.  Of course, the police found me at home that evening and threatened to lock me up in prison.  My parents knew this was not serious, but I did not, so it successfully deterred me from future such leadership experiments.

The defensive and reactive mentality is always a loser.  It spells the end of every civilization.  In the Year 2008 election, the Republicans’ lost dignity by retreating defensively with the message “I’m not as bad as you think I am” and by stooping in desperation to the level of gutter politics.  This contrasted with Obama’s efforts to avoid this and focus on the positive, which was the major psychological reason the Democrats won, even though neither party had much to offer in the way of “change.” The Republicans could not even convince themselves that they had anything fundamental to offer other then existential fear, whereas Barack Obama was Reaganesque in calling for the best in America, even though the Democrats could not agree among themselves on what this might be.

Institutionalized contempt for Islam and Muslims?  We cannot ignore it, but it deserves only one thing: contempt.  And so do the desperate Muslims who deserve contempt because they have no faith in themselves or in Islam or in any religion and instead worship themselves by resorting to totally useless and terribly immoral acts of terrorism.  We should respond by offering the wisdom of Islam and cooperation with every other world religion in pursuing peace, prosperity, and freedom through the classical or traditionalist Islamic paradigm of compassionate and faith-based justice, buttressed by specific implementing policies of both institutional and substantive change.

Many Muslims are experiencing burnout, as do also 90% of the terrorists, from working defensively in what seems like a losing effort.  Our highest political concern should be not what will happen to Muslims but what will happen to America and the world, because focusing on ourselves does not adequately address our responsibility as Muslims to change the world fi sabil Allah wherever we live.

Unfortunately, in thirty years or so of full-time Muslim activism my message has been understood by many in the silent majority but by few among the Muslim activists.  The major reason for this is that generally the funders cannot think big enough.  Jawad Khaki understood what I was talking about and wanted to fund me a few years ago but only if he would not be the sole or even major funder.  There was no response at all in the Seattle community, which was more interested in countering specific attacks on Islam and Muslims.  This is essential, and CAIR is doing an incredibly good job at this (which is why it is so well funded), but such defensive tactics without a grand strategy are only buying time without addressing the real challenge of changing the governing global paradigm in both foreign and domestic policy from stability through power to peace, prosperity, and freedom through justice.

America’s dysfunctional global strategists in the Washington think-tanks are trying merely to survive in the face of global chaos by pursuing the status quo with all of its injustices.  Since this is inherently impossible, we have reverted to the law of the jungle, which is a losing proposition because we are battling others who like us not only are at the top of the food chain but can outlast us.

Islam will always be and so will Muslims, bi ithni Allah.  Our major concern should not be merely for ourselves.  Our ultimate goal should not be merely to survive as Muslims but to fulfill our amana from Allah as stewards of creation to pursue peace, prosperity, and freedom through transcendent and compassionate justice for every person and every community in the world (and perhaps throughout the cosmos).  This is our real identity, so our task, in sha’a Allah, is to become what we are.  If Muslims cannot help lead America in this quest from chaos to cosmos on earth, then there may be no future for human civilization.  Islam is indeed the answer, but that is easier said than done.  To be emotionally despondent is human, but to be discouraged from seeking answers and from taking action is un-Islamic.

As I reminded the reader at the end of my book, Shaping the Future: Challenge and Response, published more than a decade ago, if we think we are the only answer to a problem, then we are denying Allah.  In Surah al Baqara 2:243, 249, 251, we read, “Did you not turn by vision to those who abandoned their homes for fear of death, though they numbered in the thousands?  Allah said to them, ‘Die!’ … But those who were convinced that they must meet Allah said, ‘How often, by Allah’s will, has a small force vanquished a big one?  Allah is with those who steadfastly persevere.’ … And if Allah did not check one group of people by another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief, but Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds.” And in Surah al Tauba 9:40-41, we have the revelation, “Unless you go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty and put others in your place. … For Allah is exalted in Might and Wise.  Go forth, whether with equipped lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle with your goods and your persons in the cause of Allah.  This is best if only you knew.”

Again and again we read in the Qur’an, “Allah creates what He wills.  When He has decreed a plan, He but says, ‘be,’ and it is.” Surah Ali Imran 3:47, Surah al Nahl 16:40, and Surah Miryam 19:35, “Kun fa yakun.”

“And [the unbelievers] plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah” Surah Ali Imran 3:54, Surah al Anfal 8:30, and Surah al Ra’d 13:42.  And again in Surah Ali Imran 3:26: “Say, ‘O Allah! Lord of Power, You give power to whom You please, and you strip off power from whom You please.  You endow with honor whom You please, and You bring low whom you please.  In Your hand is all good. Verily over all things You have power.”

Since we are nearing the Feast of Christmas, we should take to heart the wisdom of Sister Lydia Griffin, an editor of ICNA’s The Message, expressed in its special December 1993 issue entitled The Crescent and the Cross, referring to a dialogue between Islam and the Vatican similar to the one flowering today: “Is this the time when true understanding is born, the realization that the power of the One message of the One God is so strong in resurgence, now that the world needs it so badly, that it can finally unite those so long separated by human fortresses and matchstick towers.  Barrier built on a mortar of illusion and fog.”

The strategy called for in the book on Shaping the Future is not “peaceful coexistence” through tolerance, which is defensive and self-defeating, or even acceptance of diversity through a higher level understanding through “peaceful engagement,” but rather is action in solidarity to overcome the barriers to cooperation in the pursuit of truth and justice.  The most profound sentence perhaps in the entire Qur’an is the admonition, wa tama’at kalimatu Rabika sidqan wa ‘adlan, “And the Word of your Lord is fulfilled and perfected in truth and in justice” Surah al An’am 6:115.

The true power of faith-based reconciliation and faith-based cooperation in the pursuit of transcendent justice , which is the very definition of the traditionalist movement that gave birth to the Great American Experiment, does not lie in think-tanks created to wage mimetic warfare at an intellectual level, or in lobbying organizations designed to penetrate the existing power structure, even though they are essential for success.  Real success in tackling institutionalized contempt of Islam can come only from reliance by large organized communities of people on the power of God.

TURKEY: Ataturk’s grave, head scarves and the call to prayer

Atatuk_mausoleum

Walking along Mostafa Kemal Ataturk’s mausoleum is like visiting a reproduction of an ancient temple. Though it is a burial site in a country with an absolute Muslim majority, no trace or engraving of Islam can be found. On the contrary, the creators of this spacious grave seemed to have no interest in recognizing religion, choosing instead symbols belonging to the Hittite civilization that flourished before Islam reached Anatolia.

The mausoleum for the nation’s first president appears as evidence that Ataturk and the Kemalists founders of the Turkish state wiped Islam from public space to build a capital dedicated to secularism. But history has a way of repeating itself, and if Ataturk were alive today, he might be shocked at the images and sounds drifting just beyond the stone columns of his resting place.

Across this canonical cemetery, the call for prayers echoes in Arabic five times a day, attesting to the ceaseless battle between Ataturk’s secular heirs and rising Islamists. I felt as if I were back in my native Cairo, not in a country seeking entry to the European Union. While walking downtown, I spotted posters and pictures of Ataturk hanging on public buildings and displayed by street vendors. Yet, I was also struck by the high number of veiled women and store windows featuring modern Islamic fashion.

lIslamic_fashion

As part of his determination to distance his new republic from centuries of Ottoman Islamic heritage, Ataturk moved the capital from Istanbul, the base of the most extravagant mosques and Islamic monuments, to Ankara, a small trading town under the Ottomans. The new capital became a stronghold of secular republicans. However, with an Islamic mayor in the mid-1990s, Ankara went through a change of heart.

Shortly after Islamists won Ankara’s mayorship, the capital’s logo was changed from a Hittite pre-Islamic symbol to the Kocatepe mosque. The influence of Islam became more pronounced, most notably by the wearing of head scarves, when the Justice and Development Party (AK) rose to national power in 2002.

Ankara_old_log

“Of course the coming of AK party to power and especially the second term opened the gate to the veil issue and because of that probably more and more shops of Islamic fashion opened,” said Alev Cinar, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ankara’s Bilkent University, who authored a book on the battle between Turkish Islamists and secularists over the public space.

Badei, a housewife living in Ankara, seconds Cinar, affirming that rise of the AK party encouraged many women in the capital to take the veil. “The party played a great role in improving the status of veiled women. Now, the veil is not considered as the president, prime minister as well as many parliamentarians have veiled wives. Veiled women are encouraged to go out now as there is less discrimination against them,” she said.

“The veil is no more restricted to lower classes, the Islamic fashion has flourished over the last three or four years. All brands have special departments for veiled women now,” she added.

Nevertheless, one should not assume that the secular class has fallen into the oblivion or the entire capital is following the same path. Ankara’s expanding western suburbs have become the new niches for Westernized secular upper classes.

— Noha El-Hennawy in Ankara

Rumours or reality? Palestinian Christians in Gaza

Just over a week ago the Jerusalem Post published an article about the persecution of Palestinian Christians in Gaza, saying that a big proportion are trying to emigrate and leave the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory. The newspaper said that the issue was underreported by the Western media, but some people in the Gaza Strip are saying that this so-called ‘issue’ is simply not true. MENASSAT spoke with Palestinians in Gaza to investigate this further.

By OLFAT HADDAD
gaza churches

Palestinian Christians celebrating Easter. ©AFP

Gaza, December 19, 2008 (MENASSAT) The Jerusalem Post published an article about a Palestinian Christian exodus out of Gaza claiming that the small Christian community were victims of “a systematic campaign of persecution” that they said “is taking place in the Gaza Strip, and to a lesser extent in the West Bank.”

But when MENASSAT’s correspondent in Palestine explored this further, she found that the 3,600 Christians in Gaza are not being displaced en masse and that those who do want to emigrate share the same reasons as the rest of the besieged population – a lack of opportunity in the Strip due to the Israeli siege and occupation.

The Jerusalem Post article said that the persecution of Christians is being perpetrated by a number of Islamic groups and referred to it as, “Part of a larger process of Islamization taking place in Palestinian society.”

Fadi Bandali, a Christian living in the Gaza Strip, spoke with MENASSAT and said that the stories written in the media about the small minority in Gaza are not true. “The Christians here are not suffering under anyone in particular. On the contrary all Christians live here without fear and we practice our rituals freely without anyone interfering.”

“Christians in Gaza do not think about leaving the Strip for the reasons stated in the media. Those who do think about emigrating think about it for the same reasons most other young people do – because of the embargo, the bad economic situation and lack of job opportunities.”

According to a poll released last week by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 40% of people in the Gaza wish to leave.

Bandali told MENASSAT that the Jerusalem Post article could be an attempt to weaken the relationship between Christians and Muslims in Palestine.

“There are a lot of people who are trying to disrupt the relationship between Christians and Muslims in Gaza. Despite the events that happened against Christians in Gaza before, the relationship did not deteriorate. In fact, it’s at its best.

He said that the Christians have not faced any problems with Hamas’ government in the Gaza Strip, who have been in control of the region for one year and a half.

“There is constant communication between us and Hamas and there is no interference by the party, not in our daily rituals and certainly not in our religious practices.”

Christians are afraid to admit harassment

The Jerusalem Post also quoted an article by the columnist Abd Al-Nasser Al-Najjar of the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam. In his article Najjar wrote about Christian-owned properties in the West Bank, specifically in Bethlehem, Ramallah and al-Bireh, that are being confiscated by high-ranking people, including military personnel and powerful families.

During a phone call with Al-Najjar, the journalist told MENASSAT that the Christians of Gaza are getting harassed but they cannot admit it because they are a minority in the region.

He also said that Christians in the Arab World, including Palestine, are suffering from a lot of harassment but no one is speaking out because of fear. He refers to an article he wrote on this subject, which “was quoted or republished by more than 600 media outlets”.

Najjar is now working on an article about Christians leaving the Strip but says he does not have enough information to publish it yet. “I hear a lot about what happens behind the scenes in Gaza but I don’t want to talk about it until I have real evidence. I don’t want things to get more severe, like the case in Egypt where there is already a strong sectarian divide.”

It’s simply an economical emigration

On the other hand, Father Manuel Musallem, the head of Gaza’s Latin Church said that the mass Christian emigration doesn’t exist at all.

“The issue of some Christians leaving Palestine is not a phenomenon because it’s only normal that some people leave due to the economic situation that the Gaza Strip is going through because of the embargo.”

When asked if he is afraid to say that this emigration is politically motivated, Father Musallem strongly denied any fear of speaking out. He said that the Christian-Muslim relations are excellent and refuses to call the few departures of Christians from the Strip a political emigration. “It is simply an economical emigration.”

He told MENASSAT that two schools in Gaza, Deir Latin and the Holy Family School have more than 1,100 Muslim children attending. “They study all the courses and we even teach them Islam. Some of them are even the children of officials in Hamas or the Islamic jihad.”

Seasons of hope: Travel takes fear out of foreign ways

By Rick Steves

(Tribune Media Services) — If all you know about Islam is Gaddafi, Khomeini, Saddam, and Osama bin Laden, it’s no wonder you see a threat. I balance my take on Islam by traveling to (and learning about) mainstream countries such as Turkey — a moderate Islamic nation with a determination to face the West without giving up its culture.

Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, is thriving. The big news of late is the new tunnel they’re digging under the Bosporus. It will give a million commuters in the Asian suburbs an easy train link to their places of work on the European side. This tunnel is emblematic of modern Turkey’s commitment to connecting east and west.

It’s in this environment that, as a guide, I like to introduce my tour members to Turkish culture and Islam. Turkey is a secular nation (practicing the separation of mosque and state), but examples of how the people’s faith permeates society are plentiful.

Driving into the modern high-rise suburbs of this city, I passed an old shepherd whose small flock was enjoying some grass in a freeway cloverleaf, surrounded by the sprawl of 10 million people. In the midst of all that modernity, he seemed a courageously timeless figure — raising sheep to be sacrificed for an upcoming Muslim festival.

When it comes to experiencing Islam, I like to travel during Ramadan. This holy month, when Muslim people refrain from eating during daylight hours, is set by the lunar Islamic calendar (lately it’s been mostly in September). The fasting is intended to turn the heart away from the world and toward God. By allowing people of all classes to feel hunger pangs, it also encourages generosity toward the less fortunate. For many Muslim families, Ramadan concludes with acts of charity and gift-giving.
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During this holy month in Istanbul, no-name neighborhood mosques literally overflow at prayer time. Yet a tourist unfamiliar with Islam might not notice that practicing Muslims are not eating or even drinking.

If you visit during Ramadan, you’ll wake to the call to prayer and the sounds of a convivial meal just before dawn. The sun rises and the daylong fast begins. Then, at about 7 p.m., food comes out, and the nightly festival begins. Mohammad broke his fast with a dried date or olive — and that remains the most common fast-breaker. Saying, “Allah kabul etsin” (may God accept our fast today), the staff at a restaurant welcomed me to photograph them and then offered to share.

Witnessing the breaking of the fast was like watching children waiting for the recess bell — and fun to catch on film. Throughout my Ramadan visit, every time I watched the end of the fast, people offered to share their food. At this particular restaurant I said no, but they set me up anyway — figs, lentil soup, bread, Coke, and baklava. I thought the Coke was a bit odd … but they said it’s not considered American anymore. It’s truly global.

Like Ramadan, prayer is a pillar of the Islamic faith. Tourists in Istanbul hear the call to prayer five times a day. According to tradition, as the sun prepares to rise, an imam stares at his arm. When he can tell a gray hair from a black one, it’s time to call his parish to the Morning Prayer. While the quality and warble varies, across the land the Arabic words of the call are exactly the same, starting with: “God is great.”

They say tiny mosques can’t afford a real musician, so the imam himself does the singing — not always top quality. Big mosques have a trained professional singer. Anyone can hear the qualitative difference. To the unfamiliar ear, the call to prayer sounds like coyotes howling in a cacophony. I hear it as a beautiful form of praise that sweeps across the globe — from Malaysia across Pakistan, Arabia, and Turkey to Morocco and then to America — like a stadium wave, undulating exactly as fast as the earth turns.

My time in Muslim places like Turkey, with the cozy feeling that comes with Ramadan (just as it comes with Christmas where I live), reminds me how travel takes the fear out of foreign ways.

I am a Christian who wants to believe we can live peacefully with Islam. Perhaps I am just naive, but one thing is clear to me. Things I learn about Islam in the United States fill me with fear and anger. Things I learn about Islam in Muslim countries fill me with hope

Gujarat 2002 (Naroda Patya Massacre)

Ninety-seven bodies had inquest panchnamas filed, a legal procedure under which the police, in the presence of two socalled “independent” witnesses, or panchas, physically verify the place from which the bodies were recovered and the nature of injuries on them and record their findings in writing. Thus, by their own records, the police recovered at least 97 bodies from Naroda Patiya. But, shockingly postmortems were performed on only 58. Of the bodies recovered from Naroda Gaon, autopsies were not carried out on two. Apart from providing irrefutable evidence of the scale of the barbarity perpetrated that day, the autopsies, if done honestly, could have established the time of death, which would have given a fair indication of the total duration of the slaughter. These reports could have been a strong piece of evidence in court. But this is exactly what the police did not want.

 Crucial evidence destroyed: The scene of a crime gives an investigating agency its most critical pieces of evidence. In Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaon, the accused had left behind a trail that the police set out to systematically obliterate. The pit in which a large number of people were burnt alive was not even examined — no samples were taken of the soil, of the traces of human tissue or of the remains of burnt fuel. On the contrary, the pit does not even figure in the police version of the massacre. The dying declarations of as many as seven victims were not recorded; two of them died on March 11 after prolonged treatment, but no explanation is forthcoming in the chargesheet of why their statements were not recorded.

 BJP MLA exonerated: Naroda massacre survivors had named local BJP MLA Mayaben Kodnani as having incited the murderous mob. However, at the time of filing the chargesheet for the carnage, the police dropped her name from the list of the accused, claiming that they had failed to find any evidence against her. But Richard had much to say about the role she had played. Richard and his co-accused Prakash Rathod said that Mayaben patrolled the streets of Naroda Patiya throughout the day, urging the rioters to kill more Muslims.

 Destruction of Noorani Masjid not investigated: In its records of what it found at the scene of the offence, the police mention the presence of an oil tanker, manufactured by Ashok Leyland, near the Noorani Masjid, with its rear in contact with the wall of the mosque. Its front number plate was intact and read GT-1T 7384. But the tanker was not seized. The Road Transport Office was not contacted to determine its ownership. No samples of its contents were taken for forensic examination. In fact, it is still a mystery as to how a tanker of this size managed to “sneak in” so close to the Noorani Masjid, a place where there were over 12 police personnel on “constant vigil”.

Photo: Cherian Thomas

 No proceedings against absconding prime accused: Many main accused went absconding after the police was forced to register an FIR against them. Babu Bajrangi, Kishan Korani, Prakash Rathod and Suresh Richard, for instance, were arrested three months after the FIR was issued. Bipin Panchal was arrested after a year and a half. But the police did not follow any of the usual procedures used when an accused absconds, such as pasting notices outside the accused’s house declaring him an absconder, confiscating his properties, etc.

 Not one confession recorded: Those arrested for the Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaon massacres were taken in on remand — a period the court grants to the police to take an accused into custody for interrogation. But the remand and interrogation were a farce. Not one confession has been annexed to the chargesheets filed in either of the Naroda massacres.

 Just one weapon recovered: Barring one sword recovered from Bipin Panchal in 2004, the police have not recovered any other weapon either from the scene of the crime or from any other accused. The survivors, however, had testified that their attackers, including the accused, were heavily armed with an assortment of weapons — knives, swords, trishuls, gas cylinders and firearms. In an instance where as many as 105 people, according to the police’s own admission, were butchered, the failure to recover any
weapon used in the massacre speaks volumes for the quality of the investigation carried out. In fact, the owner of a gas agency had given a written statement that 20-odd persons with a Maruti van had landed up at his godown on the day of the carnage and had looted a large number of gas cylinders. The agency owner said his watchman had been present when the incident took place. But neither was the statement of the watchman recorded, nor was any attempt made to identify those involved in the looting or to track down the vehicle used in the crime.

 Not one accused sent for scientific examination: Since not a single statement of any of the accused was recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, it would indicate that the police failed to elicit any information by conventional interrogation methods. The next step would have been to subject the accused to scientific examinations like a polygraph test or narcoanalysis or brain mapping. The police, however, initiated no efforts in this direction.

 No mention made of rapes: Three chargesheets apiece were filed in the Naroda Gaon and Naroda Patiya massacres. However, despite the testimonies of dozens of survivors who had reported that women were raped, not a single instance of rape was recorded. At least one post-mortem indicated a possible case of sexual assault, yet no investigations in this direction were carried out. (It should be noted that since autopsies on 41 bodies were not carried out, there is no ascertaining how many of them were women’s and whether they bore marks of sexual assault.)

 Mobile phone recovered from the spot not examined: On the day of the massacre, a survivor named Mirja Hussain Biwi Moherble recovered a mobile phone near her residence in Naroda Patiya. It had been inadvertently dropped by one of the accused, and was handed over to the police. On enquiry, Additional Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, AK Surolia found that it belonged to one Ashok Sindhi, an accused in the massacre. Surolia launched a massive investigation and started collecting the call records of Babu Bajrangi and other accused, including Sindhi (Letters from Surolia addressed to telecom companies asking for phone records are with TEHELKA.

We also have handwritten notes by him in which he observed that he believed Bajrangi “to be behind all this”.) But before the investigation could go any further, Surolia was transferred. Once he was gone, the police stopped looking into Sindhi’s phone records. In the three chargesheets filed in the Naroda Patiya massacre, no mention has been made of any cellphone belonging to an accused being recovered from the scene of the crime.

 Mobile phone records of the accused not made part of the chargesheet: After the case was transferred to the Crime Branch of the Ahmedabad Police, the then DCP Rahul Sharma proceeded to collect the mobile phone call records of all the accused. But, a few weeks into the probe, he was unceremoniously taken off it and the case was handed over to Deputy Commissioner of Police DG Vanzara. Sharma, however, managed to make a copy of all the call records and produced it before the Nanavati-Shah Commission. These call records are a piece of strong corroborative evidence establishing not only how all the accused were making frantic calls to each other while the Naroda massacre was in progress, but also that they were present at the spot. Call records have not been included as evidence in the chargesheets.

Photo: Cherian Thomas

 No mention made of use of firearms: In the chargesheets, the police have only said that the mob was carrying sharp-edged weapons (of which only one has been recovered so far). The police have ruled out the use of any kind of firearm by the mob. The injury certificates of most of the survivors who were treated for gunshot wounds were not made part of the chargesheets; all the same, clear mentions of gunshot wounds did find their way into four injury certificates annexed with the chargesheets. One postmortem report also attributes the death to a firearm injury. The dimensions of the entry and exit wounds in all five cases show that the wounds were inflicted by small firearms and not by police rifles. In any case, though the police have claimed to have fired 91 rounds to disperse the mob, it is not their case that anyone was injured in police firing. As to how these five people sustained bullet injuries, the entire investigation is silent.

 No identification parades carried out: In the case of both the Naroda massacres, dozens of witnesses have stated that were the accused to be shown to them, they would identify their attackers. Yet, except for Ashok Sindhi, the police did not conduct any identification parades of the accused. The identification parade is of immense importance
in cases of mob violence.

THE INVISIBLE HAND
In the course of their conversations with TEHELKA, numerous accused spoke appreciatively of the role of the police, and named senior Sangh Parivar functionaries, for their role in the carnage, including MoS for Home Gordhan Zadaphia, whom Bajrangi spoke to after the massacre. When so many arms of the government were involved at so many levels, was the man who headed the state also involved?

TEHELKA asked Bajrangi this question. In reply, the Naroda massacres prime accused said that Chief Minister Narendra Modi had visited Naroda twice after the massacre — first, in the evening of the day of the massacre, when he came to the locality but was unable to enter it, and second, on the next day, when he went inside Naroda Patiya. On both visits, Modi had encouraged the murderers, Bajrangi said, and told them that whatever they had done was good and that they should do even more.

Suresh Richard corroborated this account and said that Modi had also visited Chharanagar on the evening of the massacre and garlanded the rioters. Bajrangi said that if Modi had not told the police to stand back, the massacre would never have been possible. But Modi’s support to the rioters did not stop at the facilitation of the killings. Bajrangi said after the Naroda killings, Modi kept him in hiding for more than four months and then stage-managed his arrest. If that was not enough he also brought in a favourable judge to hear Bajrangi’s bail petition and got him out of jail.

Gujarat 2002 contd..

TEHELKA: It is being said the Chharas also committed rapes…

Richard: Now look, one thing is true… bhookhe ghuse to koi na koi to phal khayega, na [when thousands of hungry men go in, they will eat some fruit or the other, no]… Aise bhi, phal ko kuchal ke phek denge [in any case, the fruit is going to be crushed and thrown away]… Look, I’m not telling lies… Mata is before me [gesturing to an image of a deity]… Many Muslim girls were being killed and burnt to death, some men must have helped themselves to the fruit…

TEHELKA:Must have been a couple of rapes…

Richard: Might even have been more… then there were the rest of our brothers, our Hindu brothers, VHP people and RSS people… Anyone could have helped themselves… who wouldn’t, when there’s fruit?… The more you harm them, the less it is… I really hate them… don’t want to spare them… Look, my wife is sitting here but let me say… the fruit was there so it had to be eaten… I ate too… I ate once.

TEHELKA: Just once?

Richard: Just once… then I had to go killing again… [turns to relative Prakash Rathod and talks about the girl he had raped and killed]… the scrap dealer’s daughter Naseemo… Naseemo that juicy plump one… I got on top…

TEHELKA: You got on top of her…

Richard: Yes, properly…

TEHELKA: She didn’t survive, did she?

Richard: No, then I pulped her… Made her into a pickle…

Another victim, 22-year-old Sufiya Bano, was raped and burnt in front of her father. The Civil Hospital, where she was admitted and later died, confirmed the attack on her. When her father, Abdul Majid, a witness who deposed before the Nanavati-Shah Commission, tried to save his daughter, he was brutally seized and held and his beard cut off. Apart from Sufiya Bano, six other members of this family were killed: three boys — Mehmood, Ayub and Hussain; two other girls — Afrin Bano and Shahin Bano; and their mother, Lalibibi. At 22, Sufiya was the eldest of her siblings; seven-year-old Hussain and four-year old Shahin Bano were the youngest.

Police Commissioner PC Pandey came to Naroda Patiya only later that night, at around one. As he surveyed the devastation, he said the place looked worse than even the battlefields of Haldighati. So Bajrangi said.

On the day of the massacre, Richard told TEHELKA, BJP MLA Mayaben Kodnani drove around Naroda, exhorting the rioters to kill as many as they could. Worse yet, Bajrangi revealed that he had been giving VHP general secretary Jaideep Patel a blow-by-blow account of the massacre on his mobile phone. He said he made 11 calls to Patel, providing him the latest death toll each time, until his phone went dead. That evening, Bajrangi says, he also called up then Minister of State for Home Gordhan Zadaphia, and told him how many he had killed and said that it was now up to Zadaphia to keep him out of trouble with the law. He went to bed that night feeling like Maharana Pratap, he says. He didn’t manage to meet Narendra Modi when the Gujarat CM visited the locality that evening. Modi never made it into the interior of Naroda Patiya, says Bajrangi. “Not even God had the power to enter Naroda Patiya that day.”

THE ROLE OF THE POLICE

‘They shouldn’t be allowed to breed. I say this even today, even if they are women or children’-Babu Bajrangi

Bajrangi was emphatic in his claim that the killings would never have been possible had the police not looked the other way. There was only one entrance to Naroda Patiya, he said, “like a housing society”, and there were some 50 policemen posted there. “They could have ripped us apart,” he said. “But, though they saw everything, they kept their eyes and mouths shut.” Richard said that the police fired at Muslims who were under attack. He also said that late that night, after the rioting had died down, some policemen specially told the Chharas to kill Muslims hiding in a ditch.

‘Many Muslim girls were being killed. Some men must have helped themselves to the fruit’-Suresh Richard

THE COVER-UP
TEHELKA in collaboration with advocate Somnath Vatsa of NGO Action Aid — whose Ahmedabad chapter has been fighting for justice for the victims of the 2002 massacre — carried out a threadbare analysis of the police investigation and the chargesheets filed in the Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaon massacres. We found that far from punishing the guilty, the police were involved in a massive cover-up.

‘Mayaben(a local MLA) patrolled the streets, urging the rioters to kill more Muslims’-Prakash Rathod

 Bodies disposed of to diminish magnitude of crime: Once the massacre was over, the first task before the police was to whittle down the death toll. The larger the number of deaths, the more vociferous the outcry from civil society. As Bajrangi details, the police had the bodies from Naroda Patiya rounded up and dumped at various places across the city. According to Bajrangi, over 200 people had died that day; late that night, then Ahmedabad Police Comissioner PC Pandey came to Naroda and ordered the police to have the bodies removed.

“They were piled up in trucks, it took so many vehicles, some were even stuffed into jeeps.” When the bodies were collected the second time and brought to the Civil Hospital for the post-mortem, they were recorded as being from the area where they were found. In this manner, the police managed to keep the death count down to 105, 97 from Naroda Patiya and eight from Naroda Gaon. The post-mortem records show that even these 105 bodies from Naroda were brought to the hospital piecemeal, with the last few bodies being brought in a full four days after the massacre.

 No autopsies on 41 bodies:With one piece of evidence destroyed, the police moved on to the next stage. The bodies — charred, hacked at, bearing shot wounds, stab marks and marks of rape — could have been strong evidence of a brutal massacre and of the administration’s complicity. They might have served as a potent indication of the fact that this was no spontaneous act of rioting but a systematic pogrom. But the police did not carry out post-mortems on as many as 41 bodies recovered from Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaon. No explanation has been offered for this act of grave negligence and omission.

Gujarat 2002

BABU BAJRANGI
Just under 5’3”, Babu Bajrangi—whose family name is Patel — is a towering figure in Naroda. Twenty-two years of association with the VHP and its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, has firmly established him as the most dreaded local thug. Today, Bajrangi lords it over Naroda, and over Chharanagar in particular, where he commands a substantial following. Many Chharas appear to hold him in great reverence; he, in turn, is all praise for the criminal abilities he claims they possess, they are his “weapons”, he says, “just kill, nothing else”.

Bajrangi holds court at his office on the second floor of the Ajanta Ellora Shopping Complex, just off the highway that skirts Naroda. Though he claims to be a big builder with a steady monthly income of over a lakh and a half, his main vocation is beating up Muslims and Christians. “I just hate Muslims and Christians,” he says. And the cause dearest to his heart is to “rescue” Hindu girls who have married or eloped with Muslim boys. A majority of those who visit him each day are the parents of such girls. “When they go to the police, the cops don’t lodge a complaint, they send them to me,” Bajrangi claims. “Nine hundred and fifty-seven — that’s how many Hindu girls I have saved. On average, one girl married to a Muslim produces five children. So, in effect, I have killed 5,000 Muslims before they were born.”

Bajrangi has other claims to fame too. It was he who, virtually single-handedly, stalled the release of the film Parzania in Ahmedabad. While he openly threatened cinema hall owners to keep them from screening the film, the administration remained mute. “The film was anti-Hindu,” is all the justification he needed. Bajrangi’s love for Hindus is defined by his hate for Muslims and everything about them. “I would not mind if I were condemned to death, but if they ask me my last wish, I would want to drop bombs in Muslim localities and kill ten to fifteen thousand Muslims before I die.”

Apart from personal action, he has several suggestions for a “solution” to the “problem” of Muslim presence. “Delhi should issue orders to kill — higher caste people and the rich won’t do it but slum dwellers and the poor will and they should be ordered to. They should be told that they can take whatever they want of the Muslims — land, wealth, houses, everything — but they should do it in three days.” This will ensure that Muslims are wiped out across India. Bajrangi’s second suggestion is to have Muslims allowed only one marriage and one child by law. Additionally, it would also be a good idea to deny them the right to vote.

PREPARATIONS FOR GENOCIDE
Bajrangi went to Godhra on February 27, the day of the Sabarmati fire. He told TEHELKA that after he saw the Sabarmati victims’ bodies, he took a vow to avenge Godhra on the Muslims of Naroda Patiya the very next day. “Humne unko wahi challenge kar diya tha ki isse chaar guna laash hum Patiya mein gira daalenge (I challenged the Muslims — I would see four times the number of dead in Godhra felled in Patiya),” Bajrangi told TEHELKA at the very first meeting. He returned to Ahmedabad and began preparations for the massacre that very night. Twenty-three small firearms were rounded up from such Hindus as owned them; those who were unwilling to part with their weapons were told they’d be killed the next day, even if they were Hindus. Large quantities of inflammable material were also acquired — Bajrangi told TEHELKA that one petrol pump owner gave him petrol for free, this he later used to burn Muslims alive.

THE EXECUTION
The VHP and Bajrang Dal men arrived at Naroda Patiya at around 10 the next morning. They led the first attack but were forced to retreat as the Muslims put up a strong resistance, said Suresh Richard, one of the key accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre. At this point, a large band of Bajrangi’s Chhara followers joined ranks with the saffron mob and mounted a fresh attack. By around 10.30am, they had managed to destroy the minaret of Naroda Patiya’s Noorani Masjid. Subsequently, as Richard told TEHELKA, a full fuel tanker was rammed into the building, it burst and was then set on fire. The fuel from the tanker was also used to burn Muslims and their homes.

After the first round of assault, the Muslims barricaded themselves into their homes and remained there till around 3pm when the attack intensified. Between 5 and 6 that evening, the mob reached the height of its frenzy; many women and girls were first raped and then doused in kerosene and petrol and burnt. A few dozen Muslims were able to make it to a State Reserve Police Force camp nearby. Bajrangi told TEHELKA that but for the Muslim commandant of the camp, who sheltered some Muslims, the death toll would have been much higher.

Some of the men in the Naroda attack were wearing khaki shorts and had saffron bands around their foreheads. According to witnesses, many were carrying jerrycans filled with kerosene, diesel and oil from the State Transport workshop. These they would empty on whoever came in range before setting them on fire; lit balls of fuel-soaked cloth were also thrown at those out of immediate reach. In Naroda is an open area with a large pit that is actually a cul de sac — a slope leads into it from one side but the other side is a sheer rise that cannot be scaled. Several Muslims had sheltered there; the mob surrounded the pit, poured fuel into it and set fire to it as well.

Ninety-seven people are officially said to have died that day in Naroda Patiya, but the actual death toll was much higher, as can be gleaned from the detailed lists survivors have made of missing persons and of their kith and kin whom they saw dying. Most of the dead were charred or mutilated beyond recognition. “We hacked, we burnt, did a lot of that,” said Bajrangi. “We believe in setting them on fire because these bastards say they don’t want to be cremated, they’re afraid of it, they say this and that will happen to them.” An overwhelming majority of the survivors were never able to claim the bodies. Dozens of eyewitnesses who deposed before the Nanavati-Shah Commission recounted scenes of children being burnt alive and women being raped. “We didn’t spare any of them,” Bajrangi said. “They shouldn’t be allowed to breed. Whoever they are, even if they’re women or children, there’s nothing to be done with them; cut them down. Thrash them, slash them, burn the bastards.”

Photo: Paras Shah

Kauser Bano, was nine months pregnant that day. Her belly was torn open and her foetus wrenched out, held aloft on the tip of a sword, then dashed to the ground and flung into a fire. Bajrangi recounts how he ripped apart “ek woh pregnant… b*******d sala”; how he showed Muslims the meaning of wrath—“If you harm us, we can respond — we’re no khichdi-kadhi lot”.

The scale and ferocity of the attack forced all surviving residents of the settlement to run away. Every house was looted, some were burnt. Many survivors had to be hospitalised; many were separated from their families and were not re-united with them for a week to 10 days, some for much longer. Several women were left with nothing to cover themselves with and were escorted to the relief camp completely naked. Suresh Richard told TEHELKA that there were many instances of rape and he himself was involved in one of them.

‘Muslims, They Don’t Deserve To Live’

Genocide was swift and total in Naroda Patiya. So was its cover-up. The perpetrators remain unpunished and unabashed

IN WITHIN HOURS of the tragedy on board the Sabarmati Express, the BJP and its affiliates — the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bajrang Dal — started preparations for one of the worst acts of genocide in the history of this country. On February 28, 2002, a day after the Sabarmati Express fire, Ahmedabad witnessed mass killings of the most horrific nature. Armed saffron cadres roamed the streets, burning, looting, raping and killing Muslims at will. The neighbourhood that bled most was Naroda, a locality on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, with a mixed population of Hindus and Muslims.

In a most systematic manner, the BJP, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal formed an execution squad that carried out a pogrom from 10 in the morning of February 28 till after well past dark. Apart from firearms, tridents and swords, everything that could conceivably be turned into a weapon at short notice — from bricks to gas cylinders to diesel tankers — was unleashed on an entire neighbourhood of Muslims. Most victims were burnt alive. Before being set on fire, many were stabbed, raped and hacked apart.

Right through the massacre, the cellphones of the rioters were ringing constantly, with death scores being shared at regular intervals. By sundown, Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaon, the Muslim neighbourhoods in the area, had been reduced to a vast wasteland of death. Sliced up like vegetables, burnt like charcoal and, bearing the testimony of slaughter at its crudest, corpses lay scattered across what had been a lively human settlement barely a few hours before.

Naroda was no nondescript, out-of the-way place. It was just five km from the local police control room and less than four km from Shahibaug, the Ahmedabad Police headquarters. A mob armed with lethal weapons went on a killing spree for over 10 hours, yet nothing moved in the administration, no reinforcements were dispatched, no effort was made to disperse the mob. Civil society has had no doubt that it was Chief Minister Narendra Modi who was to blame for the genocide. Survivors have alleged that the police played partisan. The police have retorted that it was a riot and they were outnumbered. The government has denied any acts of omission or commission on its part. Five years on, the trial for the carnage in Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gaon is yet to start.

For the last three years, the Supreme Court has been sitting on a petition filed by the National Human Rights Commission and a few NGOs to have the case reinvestigated and transferred out of Gujarat. The accused are out on bail. Narendra Modi has won a landslide electoral victory and is preparing for another. Most survivors have shifted to ghettoes on Ahmedabad’s outskirts; the few who returned to their previous homes are living a marginalised life, under economic and social boycott by their Hindu neighbours.

NARODA: LAYOUT AND DEMOGRAPHY
About 15km from the centre of Ahmedabad city, Naroda Gaon and Naroda Patiya were once home to around 2,000 daily wage-earning Muslims, a majority of them migrants from Karnataka and Maharashtra. The area lies along a highway stretch just outside the city. Across the road from it is the State Transport warehouse; nearby are the Hindu-dominated Gopinath and Gangotri housing societies. Both Naroda Gaon and Naroda Patiya are over 70 years old and are typical urban slums; both come under the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. The distance between the two is not more than a kilometre or so. While Naroda Gaon is relatively smaller, Naroda Patiya is a labyrinth of narrow lanes, flanked by close-packed, unsightly concrete structures, few of them higher than two storeys, inhabited by Muslims. Across the road from Naroda Patiya is Chharanagar, a large settlement of Chharas, a denotified tribe commonly deemed criminal and involved primarily in bootlegging and gambling. Though Hindu, Chharas are at the bottom of the caste hierarchy.

WHO WERE THE ACCUSED?

Two separate FIRs were registered for the Naroda Gaon and Naroda Patiya incidents. While only eight people were recorded as killed at Naroda Gaon, eyewitness accounts put the toll at Naroda Patiya in the hundreds. Nobody, however, knows exactly how many Muslims were killed at Naroda that day. Nobody, except, perhaps, the killers.

Among the dozens of Sangh Parivar cadres whom survivors identified as their attackers, the names of BJP MLA Mayaben Kodnani and Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi came up repeatedly as having led the mob. When filing the chargesheet, however, the police refused to prosecute Kodnani, citing lack of evidence. Bajrangi was chargesheeted along with a few BJP and VHP workers and a couple of dozen Chharas. In all, the police named 49 people as accused in the Naroda Patiya incident, and the same number were accused for Naroda Gaon as well. There are many names in common between the two lists, among them Bajrangi’s. After absconding for over three months, Bajrangi was arrested amid high drama. Five months after his arrest, the Gujarat High Court granted him bail.

Bad Lawsuit from the Thomas More Law Center

The Thomas More Law Center has just sued the government on these grounds:

1. This civil rights action challenges that portion of the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008” … that appropriated $40 billion in taxpayer money to fund and financially support the United States government’s majority ownership interest in American International Group, Inc. (“AIG”), which engages in Shariah-based Islamic religious activities that are anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, and anti-American. The use of these taxpayer funds to approve, promote, endorse, support, and fund these Shariah-based Islamic religious activities violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

2. This action also challenges the United States government’s broad policy and practice of approving, endorsing, promoting, funding, and supporting Shariah-compliant financial products and business plans, such as Takaful Insurance. This governmental policy and practice conveys a message of endorsement and promotion of Shariah-based Islam and its religious beliefs and an accompanying message of disfavor of and hostility toward Christianity and Judaism and their religious beliefs in violation of the Establishment Clause.

This strikes me as a very hard position to sensibly defend. Parts of the argument are just “Islam is bad” (and not just radical jihadist Islam, but any branch of Islam that asks Muslims to invest only in businesses that comply with various rules about interest, alcohol, and the like). These surely can’t advance the Establishment Clause claim; the Establishment Clause applies equally to Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, or whatever else.

And to the extent the arguments don’t focus on the purported flaws of Islam, they are shockingly broad. The theory is apparently that the government may not invest in any company that, in part of its operations, provides products that are tailored to a particular religious faith, and that may be accompanied by donations to religious charities. But lots of companies do this, for the simple reason that religious consumers have their religious tastes such as consumers have other ethical or esthetic tastes.

For instance, a food processing company might have a division that produces kosher products and donates some money to Jewish-specific charities (as a way of better wooing Jewish buyers). An investment company might seek to attract conservative Christian investors by offering a fund that doesn’t invest in (say) hospital chains that perform abortions, and by donating some share of its profits to religious causes. Other companies might provide funds that don’t invest in munitions manufacturers, to satisfy the desires of Quaker investors. A store might sell, among other products, religiously significant garments or religious symbols. A bookstore might sell religious books alongside other books.

Under the Complaint’s theory, either Islam is subject to special constitutional constraints, or — once that constitutionally forbidden legal rule is rejected — all of these companies would somehow be forbidden as targets of government investments. The government couldn’t bail them out. It presumably couldn’t invest public employee retirement funds in them. It couldn’t sell religious books alongside other books in public university bookstores, or serve kosher food alongside other food in public university cafeterias.

That’s plainly wrong, under any sound theory of the Establishment Clause, or even under the broadest theories suggested by Justice Brennan and other Establishment Clause maximalists. The government investment decisions don’t have a “primary religious purpose,” because the obvious purpose is to prop up important companies — and have them continue making as much money as possible — and not to advance Islam. The government no more cares about advancing Shariah through the AIG bailout than my local Ralphs supermarket cares about advancing kosher laws by selling products that are certified kosher. The “primary religious effect” inquiry has always been extremely vague, but none of the precedents applying that inquiry would treat the continued provision by AIG of products that some religious customers like as a “primary religious effect.”

The “endorsement” argument doesn’t make sense here, because reasonable observers wouldn’t treat the government’s decision to bail out AIG, including its subdivision that sells financial products that Muslims prefer for religious reasons, as an endorsement of Islam. Again, the “endorsement” test is quite vague, but this is a pretty clear example: Making money by satisfying some customers’ religious preferences (and lots of other customers’ nonreligious preferences) isn’t an endorsement of religion. Nor does the allegation that some of the money that is raised is donated to Muslim charities affect the analysis. That donating money to religious charities is good business for AIG doesn’t make it impermissible for the government (which after all wants AIG to make as much money as possible, so the government isn’t left paying the bill) to invest in AIG.

The only even theoretically plausible objection in such cases, I think, arises if the government becomes too entangled in the religious decisions of the company, for instance if government officials end up supervising the programs and deciding what Shariah law truly requires, or what really is or isn’t kosher. But on the facts this just doesn’t seem to be so: The operational decisions related to these religiously themed products and programs are made by the company (or perhaps even by the company’s subcontractors), not by government officials. There seems to be no danger that some government officer would have to engage in quintessentially religious activities. And it is government decisionmaking, not government stock ownership, that triggers the Establishment Clause, which is one reason that government employee retirement plans can invest in companies without making them state actors governed by the Free Speech Clause, the Establishment Clause, the Due Process Clause, and so on. (This distinguishes the PrawfsBlawg hypothetical of a government-chartered school, which remains a government actor, engaging in religious education.)

If someone were advancing this broad a view of the Establishment Clause in some other case — or trying to narrow the argument by limiting it only to certain Christian denominations, as the Complaint is trying to narrow the argument by stressing the supposed vices of Islam — I would think that the Thomas More Law Center would and should protest. It’s too bad that it’s backing this argument

Jewish Maryam Embraces Islam

I was Margaret (Peggy) Marcus. As a small child, I possessed a keen interest in
music and was particularly fond of the classical operas and symphonies
considered high culture in the West.
Music was my favorite subject in school in which I always earned the highest
grades. By sheer chance, I happened to hear Arabic music over the radio which so
much pleased me, that I was determined to hear more.
I would not leave my parents in peace until my father finally took me to the Syrian
section in New York City where I bought a stack of Arabic recordings. My parents,
relatives and neighbors thought Arabic and its music dreadfully weird and so
distressing to their ears that whenever I put on my recordings, they demanded
that I close all the doors and windows in my room lest they be disturbed!
After I embraced Islam in 1961, I used to sit enthralled by the hour at the mosque
inNew York, listening to tape-recordings of tilawat chanted by the celebrated
Egyptian qari, Abdul Basit.
But on Jumuah salah (Friday Prayers), the Imam did not play the tapes. We had a
special guest that day. A short, very thin and poorly-dressed black youth, who
introduced himself to us as a student from Zanzibar, recited Surat Ar-Rahman.
I traced the beginning of my interest in Islam to the age of ten. While attending a
reformed Jewish Sunday school, I became fascinated with the historical
relationship between the Jews and the Arabs.
From my Jewish textbooks, I learned that Abraham was the father of the Arabs as
well as the Jews. I read how centuries later when, in medieval Europe, Christian
persecution made their lives intolerable, the Jews were welcomed in Muslim
Spain; and that it was the magnanimity of this same Arabic Islamic civilization
which stimulated Hebrew culture to reach its highest peak of achievement.
Totally unaware of the true nature of Zionism, I naively thought that the Jews
were returning to Palestine to strengthen their close ties of kinship in religion and
culture with their Semitic cousins. Together, I believed that the Jews and the
Arabs would cooperate to attain another Golden Age of culture in the Middle East.
Despite my fascination with the study of Jewish history, I was extremely unhappy
With Gals at the Sunday school. At this time I identified myself strongly with the Jewish
people in Europe, then suffering a horrible fate under the Nazis and I was shocked
that none of my fellow classmates nor their parents took their religion seriously.
During the services at the synagogue, the children used to read comic strips
hidden in their prayer books and laugh to scorn at the rituals. The children were
so noisy and disorderly that the teachers could not discipline them and found it
very difficult to conduct the classes.
At home, the atmosphere for religious observance was scarcely more congenial.
My elder sister detested the Sunday school so much that my mother literally had
to drag her out of bed in the mornings and it never went without the struggle of
tears and hot words.
Finally, my parents were exhausted and let her quit. On the Jewish High Holy
Days, instead of attending synagogue and fasting on Yom Kippur, my sister and I
were taken out of school to attend family picnics and parties in fine restaurants.
When my sister and I convinced our parents how miserable we both were at the
Sunday school they joined an agnostic, humanist organization known as the
Ethical Culture Movement.
The Ethical Culture Movement was founded late in the 19th century by Felix
Alder. While studying for rabbinate, Felix Alder grew convinced that devotion to
ethical values; as relative and man-made, regarding any supernaturalism or
theology as irrelevant, constituted the only religion fit for the modern world.
I attended the Ethical Culture Sunday School each week from the age of eleven
until I graduated at fifteen. Here, I grew into complete accord with the ideas of the
movement and regarded all traditional, organized religions with scorn.
When I was eighteen years old I became a member of the local Zionist youth
movement known as the Mizrachi Hatzair. But, when I found out what the nature
of Zionism was, which made the hostility between Jews and Arabs irreconcilable,
I left several months later in disgust.
When I was twenty and a student at New York University, one of my elective
courses was entitled Judaism in Islam. My professor, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Katsh,
the head of the department of Hebrew Studies there, spared no efforts to convince
his students — all Jews, many of whom aspired to become rabbis — that Islam
was derived from Judaism.
Our textbook, written by him, took each verse from the Quran, painstakingly
tracing it to its allegedly Jewish source. Although his real aim was to prove to his
students the superiority of Judaism over Islam, he convinced me diametrically of
the opposite.
I soon discovered that Zionism was merely a combination of the racist, tribalistic
aspects of Judaism. Modern secular nationalistic Zionism was further discredited
in my eyes when I learned that few, if any, of the leaders of Zionism were
observant Jews and that perhaps nowhere is Orthodox, traditional Judaism
regarded with such intense contempt as in Israel.
When I found nearly all important Jewish leaders in America supporters for
Zionism, who felt not the slightest twinge of conscience because of the terrible
injustice inflicted upon the Palestinian Arabs, I could no longer consider myself a
Jew at heart.
One morning in November 1954, Professor Katsh, during his lecture, argued with
irrefutable logic that the monotheism taught by Moses (peace be upon him) and
the Divine Laws reveled to him were indispensable as the basis for all higher
ethical values.
If morals were purely man-made, as the ethical culture and other agnostic and
atheistic philosophies taught, then they could be changed at will, according to
mere whim, convenience or circumstance.
The result would be utter chaos leading to individual and collective ruin. Belief in
the Hereafter, as the Rabbis in the Talmud taught, argued Professor Katsh, was
not mere wishful thinking but a moral necessity.
Only those, he said, who firmly believed that each of us will be summoned by God
on Judgment Day to render a complete account of our life on earth and rewarded
or punished accordingly, will possess the self-discipline to sacrifice transitory
pleasure and endure hardships and sacrifice to attain lasting good.
It was in Professor Katsh’s class that I met Zenita, the most unusual and
fascinating girl I have ever met. The first time I entered Professor Katsh’s class, as
I looked around the room for an empty desk in which to sit, I spied two empty
seats, on the arm of one, three big beautifully bound volumes of Yusuf Ali’s
English translation and commentary of the Holy Quran.
I sat down right there, burning with curiosity to find out to whom these volumes
belonged. Just before Rabbi Katsh’s lecture was to begin, a tall, very slim girl with
pale complexion framed by thick auburn hair, sat next to me. Her appearance was
so distinctive, I thought she must be a foreign student from Turkey, Syria or some
other Near Eastern country.
Most of the other students were young men wearing the black cap of Orthodox
Jewry, who wanted to become rabbis. The two of us, were the only girls in the
class.
As we were leaving the library late that afternoon, she introduced herself to me.
Born into an Orthodox Jewish family, her parents had migrated to America from
Russia only a few years prior to the October Revolution in 1917 to escape
persecution.
I noted that my new friend spoke English with the precise care of a foreigner. She
confirmed these speculations, telling me that since her family and their friends
speak only Yiddish among themselves, she did not learn any English until after
attending public school.
She told me that her name was Zenita Liebermann but recently, in an attempt to
Americanize themselves, her parents had changed their name from “Liebermann”
to “Lane.”
Besides being thoroughly instructed in Hebrew by her father while growing up
and also in school, she said she was now spending all her spare time studying
Arabic.
However, with no previous warning, Zenita dropped out of class and although I
continued to attend all of his lectures to the conclusion of the course, Zenita never
returned.
Months passed and I had almost forgotten about Zenita, when suddenly she called
and begged me to meet her at the Metropolitan Museum and go with her to look
at the special exhibition of exquisite Arabic calligraphy and ancient illuminated
manuscripts of the Quran.
During our tour of the museum, Zenita told me how she had embraced Islam with
two of her Palestinian friends as witnesses.
I inquired, “Why did you decide to become a Muslim?” She then told me that she
had left Professor Katsh’s class when she fell ill with a severe kidney infection. Her
condition was so critical, she told me, her mother and father had not expected her
to survive.
“One afternoon while burning with fever, I reached for my Quran on the table
beside my bed and began to read and while I recited the verses, it touched me so
deeply that I began to weep and then I knew I would recover. As soon as I was
strong enough to leave my bed, I summoned two of my Muslim friends and took
the oath of the “Shahadah” or Confession of Faith.”
Zenita and I would eat our meals in Syrian restaurants where I acquired a keen
taste for this tasty cooking. When we had money to spend, we would order
Couscous, roast lamb with rice or a whole soup plate of delicious little meatballs
swimming in gravy scooped up with loaves of unleavened Arabic bread.
And when we had little to spend, we would eat lentils and rice, Arabic style, or the
Egyptian national dish of black broad beans with plenty of garlic and onions
called “Ful”.
While Professor Katsh was lecturing thus, I was comparing in my mind what I had
read in the Old Testament and the Talmud with what was taught in the Quran and
Hadith and finding Judaism so defective, I converted to Islam.
My increasing sympathy for Islam and Islamic ideals enraged the other Jews I
knew, who regarded me as having betrayed them in the worst possible way. They
used to tell me that such a reputation could only result from shame of my
ancestral heritage and an intense hatred for my people.
They warned me that even if I tried to become a Muslim, I would never be
accepted. These fears proved totally unfounded as I have never been stigmatized
by any Muslim because of my Jewish origin.
As soon as I became a Muslim myself, I was welcomed most enthusiastically by all
the Muslims as one of them.
I did not embrace Islam out of hatred for my ancestral heritage or my people. It
was not a desire so much to reject as to fulfill. To me, it meant a transition from
parochial to a dynamic and revolutionary faith.
Although I wanted to become a Muslim as far back as 1954, my family managed to
argue me out of it. I was warned that Islam would complicate my life because it is
not, like Judaism and Christianity, part of the American scene. I was told that
Islam would alienate me from my family and isolate me from the community.
At that time my faith was not sufficiently strong to withstand these pressures.
Partly, as the result of this inner turmoil, I became so ill that I had to discontinue
college long before it was time for me to graduate.
For the next two years I remained at home under private medical care, steadily
growing worse. In desperation from 1957 – 1959, my parents confined me both to
private and public hospitals where I vowed that if ever I recovered sufficiently to
be discharged, I would embrace Islam.
After I was allowed to return home, I investigated all the opportunities for
meeting Muslims in New York City . It was my good fortune to meet some of the
finest men and women anyone could ever hope to meet. I also began to write
articles for Muslim magazines.
When I embraced Islam, my parents, relatives and their friends regarded me
almost as a fanatic, because I could think and talk of nothing else. To them,
religion is a purely private concern which at the most perhaps could be cultivated
like an amateur hobby among other hobbies. But as soon as I read the Holy
Quran, I knew that Islam was no hobby but life itself!
One evening I was feeling particularly exhausted and sleepless. Mother came into
my room and said she was about to go to the Larchmont Public Library and asked
me if there was any book that I wanted.
I asked her to look and see if the library had a copy of an English translation of the
Quran. Just think, years of passionate interest in the Arabs and reading every
book in the library about them I could lay my hands on but until now, I never
thought to see what was in the Quran!
Mother returned with a copy for me. I was so eager, I literally grabbed it from her
hands and read it the whole night. There, I also found all the familiar Bible stories
of my childhood.
In my eight years of primary school, four years of secondary school and one year
of college; I learned about English grammar and composition, French, Spanish,
Latin and Greek in current use, Arithmetic, Geometry, Algebra, European and
American history, elementary science, Biology, music and art — but I had never
learned anything about God!
Can you imagine? I was so ignorant of God that I wrote to my pen-friend, a
Pakistani lawyer, and confessed to him the reason why I was an atheist, was
because I couldn’t believe that God was really an old man with a long white beard
who sat up on His throne in Heaven.
When he asked me where I had learned this outrageous thing, I told him of the
reproductions from the Sistine Chapel I had seen in “Life” Magazine of
Michelangelo’ s “Creation” and “Original Sin.”
I described all the representations of God as an old man with a long white beard
and the numerous crucifixions of Christ I had seen with Paula at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art . But in the Holy Quran, I read:
(Allah! There is no god but He,-the Living, The Self-subsisting, Eternal. No
slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth.
Who is thee can intercede in His presence except as He permiteth? He knoweth
what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall
they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth
extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and
preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).) (Al-Baqarah
2:255)
(But the Unbelievers, -their deeds are like a mirage in sandy deserts, which the
man parched with thirst mistakes for water; until when he comes up to it, he finds
it to be nothing: But he finds Allah there, and Allah will pay him his account: and
Allah is swift in taking account. Or (the unbelievers’ state) is like the depths of
darkness in a vast deep ocean, overwhelmed with billow topped by billow, topped
by (dark) clouds: depth of darkness, one above another: if a man stretches out his
hands, he can hardly see it! For any to whom Allah giveth not light, there is no
light!) (An-Nur 24: 39-40)
My first thought when reading the Quran — this is the only true religion —
absolutely sincere, honest, not allowing cheap compromises or hypocrisy.
In 1959, I spent much of my leisure time reading books about Islam in the New
York Public Library. It was there I discovered four bulky volumes of an English
translation of Mishkat ul-Masabih.
It was then that I learned that a proper and detailed understanding of the Quran
is not possible without some knowledge of the relevant Hadith. For how can the
holy text correctly be interpreted except by the Prophet to whom it was revealed?
Once I had studied the Mishkat, I began to accept the Quran as Divine revelation.
What persuaded me that the Quran must be from God and not composed by
Muhammad (peace be upon him) was its satisfying and convincing answers to all
the most important questions of life which I could not find elsewhere.
As a child, I was so mortally afraid of death, particularly the thought of my own
death, that after nightmares about it, sometimes I would awaken my parents
crying in the middle of the night.
When I asked them why I had to die and what would happen to me after death, all
they could say was that I had to accept the inevitable; but that was a long way off
and because medical science was constantly advancing, perhaps I would live to be
a hundred years old!
My parents, family, and all our friends rejected as superstition any thought of the
Hereafter, regarding Judgment Day, reward inParadise or punishment in Hell as
outmoded concepts of by-gone ages.
In vain, I searched all the chapters of the Old Testament for any clear and
unambiguous concept of the Hereafter. The prophets, patriarchs and sages of the
Bible all receive their rewards or punishments in this world.
Typical is the story of Job (Ayub). God destroyed all his loved-ones, his
possessions, and afflicted him with a loathsome disease in order to test his faith.
Job plaintively laments to God why He should make a righteous man suffer. At
the end of the story, God restores all his earthly losses but nothing is even
mentioned about any possible consequences in the Hereafter.
Although I did find the Hereafter mentioned in the New Testament, but compared
with that of the Quran, it is vague and ambiguous. I found no answer to the
question of death in Orthodox Judaism, for the Talmud preaches that even the
worst life is better than death.
My parents’ philosophy was that one must avoid contemplating the thought of
death and just enjoy as best as one can, the pleasures life has to offer at the
moment.
According to them, the purpose of life is enjoyment and pleasure achieved
through self-expression of one’s talents, the love of family, the congenial company
of friends combined with the comfortable living and indulgence in the variety of
amusements that affluent America makes available in such abundance.
They deliberately cultivated this superficial approach to life as if it were the
guarantee for their continued happiness and good fortune.
Through bitter experience, I discovered that self-indulgence leads only to misery;
and that nothing great or even worthwhile is ever accomplished without struggle
through adversity and self-sacrifice.
From my earliest childhood, I have always wanted to accomplish important and
significant things. Above all else, before my death I wanted the assurance that I
had not wasted life in sinful deeds or worthless pursuits.
All my life, I have been intensely serious-minded. I have always detested the
frivolity which is the dominant characteristic of contemporary culture.
My father once disturbed me with his unsettling conviction that there is nothing
of permanent value and because of everything in this modern age, we should
accept the present trends inevitable and adjust ourselves to them.
I, however, was thirsty to attain something that would endure forever. It was from
the Quran where I learned that this aspiration was possible. No good deed for the
sake of seeking the pleasure of God is ever wasted or lost. Even if the person
concerned never achieves any worldly recognition, his reward is certain in the
Hereafter.
Conversely, the Quran tells us that those who are guided by no moral
considerations other than expediency or social conformity and crave the freedom
to do as they please, no matter how much worldly success and prosperity they
attain or how keenly they are able to relish the short span of their earthly life; will
be doomed as the losers on Judgment Day.
Islam teaches us that in order to devote our exclusive attention to fulfilling our
duties to God and to our fellow-beings, we must abandon all vain and useless
activities which distract us from this end. These teachings of the Quran, made
even more explicit by Hadith, were thoroughly compatible with my temperament.
As the years passed, the realization gradually dawned upon me that it was not the
Arabs who made Islam great but rather Islam had made the Arabs great. Were it
not for the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Arabs would be an
obscure people today. And were it not for the Quran, the Arabic language would
be equally insignificant, if not extinct.
The kinship between Judaism and Islam is even stronger than Islam and
Christianity. Both Judaism and Islam share in common the same
uncompromising monotheism, the crucial importance of strict obedience to
Divine Law as proof of our submission to and love of the Creator, the rejection of
the priesthood, celibacy and monasticism and the striking similarity of the
Hebrew and Arabic language.
In Judaism, religion is so confused with nationalism, one can scarcely distinguish
between the two. The name “Judaism” is derived from Judah — a tribe. A Jew is a
member of the tribe ofJudah.
Even the name of this religion connotes no universal spiritual message. A Jew is
not a Jew by virtue of his belief in the unity of God, but merely because he
happened to be born of Jewish parentage. Should he become an outspoken
atheist, he is no less “Jewish” in the eyes of his fellow Jews.
Such a thorough corruption with nationalism has spiritually impoverished this
religion in all its aspects. God is not the God of all mankind but the God of Israel.
The scriptures are not God’s revelation to the entire human race but primarily a
Jewish history book.
David and Solomon (peace be upon them) are not full-fledged prophets of God
but merely Jewish kings.
With the single exception of Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement), the
holidays and festivals celebrated by Jews, such as Hanukkah, Purim and Pesach,
are of far greater national than religious significance.
There is one particular incident which really stands out in my mind when I had
the opportunity to discuss Islam with a Jewish gentleman. Dr. Shoreibah, of the
Islamic Center in New York, introduced me to a very special guest.
After one Jumuah salah, I went into his office to ask him some questions about
Islam, but before I could even greet him with “Assalamu Alaikum”; I was
completely astonished and surprised to see seated before him an ultra-orthodox
Chassidic Jew, complete with earlocks, broad-brimmed black hat, long black
silken caftan and a full flowing beard.
Under his arm was a copy of the Yiddish newspaper, “The Daily Forward”. He told
us that his name was Samuel Kostelwitz and that he worked in New York City as a
diamond cutter.
Most of his family, he said, lived in the Chassidic community of Williamsburg in
Brooklyn, but he also had many relatives and friends in Israel.
Born in a small Romanian town, he had fled from the Nazi terror with his parents
to America, just prior to the outbreak of the second world-war.
I asked him what had brought him to the mosque? He told us that he had been
stricken with intolerable grief ever since his mother died 5 years ago. He had tried
to find solace and consolation for his grief in the synagogue but could not when he
discovered that many of the Jews, even in the ultra-orthodox community of
Williamsburg, were shameless hypocrites.
His recent trip to Israel had left him more bitterly disillusioned than ever. He was
shocked by the irreligiousness he found in Israel and he told us that nearly all the
young sabras or native-born Israelis are militant atheists.
When he saw large herds of swine on one of the kibbutzim (collective farms) he
visited, he could only exclaim in horror: “Pigs in a Jewish state! I never thought
that was possible until I came here!
“Then, when I witnessed the brutal treatment meted out to innocent Arabs in
Israel, I knew then that there is no difference between the Israelis and the Nazis.
Never, never in the name of God, could I justify such terrible crimes!”
Then he turned to Dr. Shoreibah and told him that he wanted to become a Muslim
but before he took the irrevocable steps to formal conversion, he needed to have
more knowledge about Islam.
He said that he had purchased from Orientalia Bookshop, some books on Arabic
grammar and was trying to teach himself Arabic. He apologized to us for his
broken English: Yiddish was his native tongue and Hebrew, his second language.
Among themselves, his family and friends spoke only Yiddish. Since his reading
knowledge of English was extremely poor, he had no access to good Islamic
literature.
However, with the aid of an English dictionary, he painfully read “Introduction to
Islam” by Muhammad Hamidullah of Paris and praised this as the best book he
had ever read.
In the presence of Dr. Shoreibah, I spent another hour with Mr. Kostelwitz,
comparing the Bible stories of the patriarchs and prophets with their counterparts
in the Quran.
I pointed out the inconsistencies and interpolations of the Bible, illustrating my
point with Noah’s alleged drunkenness, accusing David of adultery and Solomon
of idolatry (Allah forbid) and how the Quran raises all these patriarchs to the
status of genuine prophets of God and absolves them from all these crimes.
I also pointed out why it was Ismail and not Isaac who God commanded Abraham
to offer as sacrifice. In the Bible, God tells Abraham: “Take thine son, thine only
son whom thou lovest and offer him up to Me as burnt offering.”
Now, Ismail was born 13 years before Isaac but the Jewish biblical commentators
explain that away by belittling Ismail’s mother, Hagar, as only a concubine and
not Abraham’s real wife so they say Isaac was the only legitimate son. Islamic
traditions, however, raise Hagar to the status of a full-fledged wife equal in every
respect to Sarah.
Mr. Kostelwitz expressed his deepest gratitude to me for spending so much time,
explaining those truths to him. To express this gratitude, he insisted on inviting
Dr. Shoreibah and me to lunch at the Kosher Jewish delicatessen where he always
goes to eat his lunch.
Mr. Kostelwitz told us that he wished more than anything else to embrace Islam,
but he feared he could not withstand the persecution he would have to face from
his family and friends.
I told him to pray to God for help and strength and he promised that he would.
When he left us, I felt privileged to have spoken with such a gentle and kind
person.
In Islam, my quest for absolute values was satisfied. In Islam, I found all that was
true, good and beautiful and that which gives meaning and direction to human life
(and death); while in other religions, the Truth is deformed, distorted, restricted
and fragmentary.
If any one chooses to ask me how I came to know this, I can only reply my
personal life experience was sufficient to convince me. My adherence to the
Islamic faith is thus a calm, cool but very intense conviction.
I have, I believe, always been a Muslim at heart by temperament, even before I
knew there was such a thing as Islam. My conversion was mainly a formality,
involving no radical change in my heart at all but rather only making official what
I had been thinking and yearning for many years.

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