Monthly Archives: October 2014

Deobandi ulema openly condemn terrorism

Deobandi ulema openly condemn terrorism

Religious scholars could play an important role in bringing peace to Pakistan, religious and government officials say.

By Abdul Rahman

2014-03-20

ISLAMABAD – Pakistani scholars adhering to the Barelvi and Deobandi schools of Islamic thought have found common ground, agreeing that suicide attacks are haram.

Majlis-e-Sautul Islam (MSI), a Karachi-based Deobandi organisation, held a two-day seminar March 10-11 at the conclusion of a one-year training session for some of its intellectuals. There, it openly opposed suicide attacks.

“MSI was not only the first to declare suicide bombings un-Islamic and haram, but we also announced disowning all those movements and individuals who are shedding the blood of innocent Muslims,” MSI Chairman Mufti Abu Huraira Muhiyuddin said. “They have nothing to do with Islam, Pakistan or humanity.”

Though several Deobandi scholars, such as the late Maulana Hassan Jan, in the past have opposed suicide bombings and the killing of innocents, the fresh commitment by the MSI is being lauded as a significant development.

The Barelvi school of thought also opposes suicide attacks and bombings and has openly declared them haram. But the Deobandi action is significant because the Taliban draw their ideology from the Deobandi school of thought.

In the past, militants killed some religious scholars, including Jan, for explaining what Islam says about such acts. Jan was assassinated in suburban Peshawar in 2007.

Support from religious scholars needed

Several government officials spoke to the newly trained scholars.

Those who addressed the seminar included Pakistan Muslims League Nawaz (PML-N) leader and senior politician Raja Zafarul Haq, Senator Talha Mahmood, Maulana Abdul Qayyum Haqqani, Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ashrafi, Dr. Yousuf Farooqi and Dr. Dost Mohammad Khan.

Religious scholars can play an important role in bringing an end to terrorism and ensuring peace, all the speakers agreed.

Federal Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Mohammad Yousuf also spoke and thanked religious scholars, especially MSI, and asked that they continue to promote peace and harmony in society through their sermons.

“They [religious scholars] can show that [true] jihad does not equal qital (killing of people),” Dr. Khadim Hussain, an intellectual and educator, said. “Scholars can put forward the discourse of secular democratic nationhood.”

“We have trained 3,000 religious scholars from all over Pakistan who will support any step by the government to restore peace in the country and oppose any kind of terror act,” Muhiyuddin said. “People are being killed all over the country, and we must play a role in improving the situation.”

“They will convey the real message of Islam, which is peace and love,” he added.

PUC joins Pakistan against terrorism

Just two days after MSI’s announcement, the Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) announced its support for government efforts to restore peace.

Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif March 13 addressed a 10-member PUC delegation, saying that extremism could be curbed only by following the teachings of Islam.

Religious scholars should not only promote the message of peace in the society but also do their part to promote the positive image of Pakistan in the global community, The News reported Nawaz Sharif as saying.

“Those who are carrying out bombings must be dealt with strictly by the government,” PUC Chairman Allama Tahir-ul-Ashrafi said. “We will support the government in any action against terrorists.” 

 
Subookh Syed
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 
From Print Edition
 
 

 

 

ISLAMABAD: More than 300 Ulema from the Deoband school of thought on Monday termed suicide bombings Haram and said the teachers and students of seminaries invite Allah Almighty’s curse upon terrorism and its perpetrators.

 

This is probably for the first time that the Deoband school of thought has so openly declared suicide bombings as Haram. All groups of Deoband school of thought attended the seminar.The open condemnation of suicide bombings by the Deoband Ulema carries significance, as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also belongs to the Deoband school of thought.

 

The Deoband Ulema had also outlawed the armed struggle against the state of Pakistan around three years back duringa conference in Lahore. However, analysts had termed it a political gimmick.

 

Addressing a seminar here under the auspices of Majlis Saut-ul-Islam, the Ulema said just formal condemnation of terrorism was not enough and now was the time for them to come out and defend Madaris (seminaries) against the propaganda that these were the sanctuaries of terrorism.

 

PML-N leader Raja Zafarul Haq, Senator Talha Mehmood, Mufti Abu Hurera Mohi-ud-Din, Maulana Zahid, Maulana Abdul Qayyum Haqqani, Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahim Ashrafi, Maulana Muhammad Ishaq, Maulana Dr Yousaf Farooqi, Maulana Dr Tahir Hakim, Rabita Alam Islami Director General Abda Muhammad Ateen, Sheikh Zaid Islamic University, Peshawar Director Dr. Dost Muhammad Khan and others addressed the seminar.

 

Mufti Abu Hurera Mohi-ud-Din said they welcomed the National Security Policy but it was tragic that seminaries were also included in it.Later, certificates were distributed among the successful students.

 

KARACHI: Senior clerics of India’s top seminary whose version of Islam the Taliban claim to follow have denounced the actions of the hardline militia, saying the group does not qualify to enjoy affiliations with the historic madressah.

In an interview with a correspondent of the BBC Urdu Service, the rector and the head of faculty of Darul Uloom (Waqf) Deoband said attacks by ‘vigilantes’ in which innocent people died was not jihad but ‘individual zulm (oppression)’.

Seen in this light, attacks on shrines, barber shops and educational institutions were all un-Islamic. Maulana Saalim Qasimi went to the extent of characterising the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which was ousted by the US forces in 2001, as ‘un-Islamic’.

He said the Taliban did not comprehend fully the tenets of Islam even though much was made of their ‘Islamic government’.

He said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who supported the Afghan regime, was not a religious scholar. ‘He is more of a politician than a scholar.’ ‘However, his father, Mufti Mehmood, was a scholar,’ he said.

Maulana Aslam Qasimi, great grandson of Qasim Nanotvi, the founder of the madressah, said the recent statement by Sufi Mohammad that judiciary in Pakistan was un-Islamic was based on misconceptions and ignorance.

He said that Islam embraced concepts like democracy. ‘The spirit of democracy is very much there in Islam, though concepts like democracy have been taking new shapes and forms.’

Source: http://defence.pk/threads/deoband-ulema-term-all-taliban-actions-un-islamic.28506/#ixzz3HTEM3X3E

 
 1
The
 Fatwa
against Terrorism: Indian Deobandis Condemn Violence
 
Thanks to Kamala Kanta Dash
Abstract
Since ‘9/11’ and the global war on terrorism that followed, Muslim clerics and intellectualsin India have been under pressure from various quarters to publically denounce terrorism.This demand has come from media, political parties and fellow non-Muslim citizens. On 31May 2008, the leading Islamic Seminary Darul-Uloom Deoband (based in Uttar Pradesh)issued a public “Fatwa against terrorism” at a public rally of no less than 100,000 Islamicclerics in Delhi. This paper analyses the background to the declaration, the contents of theFatwa by the Deobandis and the responses from the ruling Congress Party government, theright wing (Hindu fundamentalist) opposition BJP, the Delhi Police and also Muslimintellectuals. What is the significance of this Fatwa, can the declaration make a difference,and why have terrorist explosions rocked New Delhi since this declaration (most recently, inearly September 2008, 5 bombs went off in Delhi)?
Introduction
On May 31 2008 more than a hundred thousand clerics, under the banner of 
 Darul Uloom Deoband 
,
2
issued a fatwa on terrorism and declared violence to be un-Islamic.
3
 The fatwa was also highly critical of the Indian government and police treatment of Muslims. It demanded deeper community engagement and greater sensitivity towardsMuslims.
1
The paper was presented in the International Conference on
 Radicalisation Crossing Borders
, GlobalTerrorism Research Centre (GTReC), Political and Social Inquiry (PSI), Monash University, 26-27November 2008. The author wishes to thank Dr. Pete Lentini for his encouragement and Prof. MarikaVicziany for her valuable insights, inputs and comments. The usual disclaimers apply. The author isthankful for the helpful suggestions received from anonymous referees.
2
 
 Darul Uloom
(can be translated as house/abode of knowledge, others regard this as house of science),the most influential Islamic educational institution in South Asia, is located at Deoband in the districtof Saharanpur of Uttar Pradesh, India. This seminary was established in 1866 during the Britishcolonial rule. The Deobandis represent the majority Sunni denomination of Islam and follow the
 Hanafi
School of thought. A renowned centre of Islamic learning (
 Madrasa
), the Darul Uloom is alsoknown for their nationalist orientation which played an important role in the Indian freedom struggle.In India Muslims constitute around 14% of the 1.1 billion populations and close to 90% of Muslimsfollow Sunni Islam. For more details on Deoband see the official site:http://www.darululoom-deoband.com. For a brief introduction on the seminary see The Milli Gazette,
 Darul Uloom Deoband 
 http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/2004/01-15Oct04-Print-Edition/011510200496.htm. For moreon the history and impact of the Deobandi movement refer to Metcalf (2003) and Tabassum (2006),and for Muslim population details, refer to the official Census of India website:http://www.censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/India_at_glance/religion.aspx 
3
 
For the May 2008 fatwa against terrorism see CNN-IBN (2008). For more information on earlierinitiatives in this direction see the
 Fatwas against Terrorism,
Muslims for Secular Democracy (2008), http://www.mfsd.org/. 
 
 2This paper analyses the Deobandi fatwa as a community initiative and the Indiangovernment’s response to it. It also evaluates the responses of the major politicalparties. It compares the fatwa with a police encounter six days after the Delhibombings in September 2008. The situation after the bombings raises the question of why and how the Indian government failed to engage the community in dealing withterrorism, even though the Muslim community had come forward to cooperate.
Fatwa on Terrorism and the Deobandis
 Fatwa
comes from the Arabic root word
afta
which means to describe or enlighten.”(Abdulaziz al-Gharyani, 2007) 
A fatwa seeks to explain, analyse or interpret the different facets of Islamic life.
4
 Hence a fatwa is issued to clear doubts and set guidelines for proper behaviour. Withthe passage of time the fatwa has acquired a quasi-legal status, and its rulings arewidely accepted and followed. Therefore the fatwa can be defined as an edict orinstruction issued by a recognised body of Islamic scholars or a well-qualified Islamicscholar on different matters pertaining to socio-political, cultural and public affairsaspects of a Muslim society.
5
 Ironically the word ‘fatwa’ became internationally known when Ayatollah Khomeiniof Iran issued one against Salman Rushdie in 1989 for his controversial book 
TheSatanic Verses
(Guardian, 1989). A decade later Osama Bin Laden’s 1998 fatwa towage
 jihad 
against the United States and its allies made international headlines.
6
 These fatawa have created an incorrect stereotype that suggests that fatawa aretypically oppressive or violent. Despite this, and especially since 9/11, many Islamic scholars and centres of learninghave denounced violence and issued fatawa against terrorism.
7
Until now, however,there have been very few studies of these kinds of fatawa. Because the Deobandi
4
 
 Fatwa
is singular,
 fatawa
is plural.
5
For a detailed analysis of fatwa see Bar (2006: pp. 1-18).
6
For a detailed analysis of this fatwa see Ranstorp (1998: pp. 321- 330) and National Commission onTerrorist Attacks (2004).
The
 
9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission onTerrorist Attacks Upon the United States
. New York. W.W. Norton & Company.
7
For a detailed list of such fatawa seehttp://www.unc.edu/~kurzman/terror.htm
 
 
 3fatawa of 31 May 2008 is such a powerful symbol of Islamic peace initiatives, it isparticularly worthy of study.
8
 The Deoband School was established in Uttar Pradesh against the backdrop of theanti-colonial struggles in 1866.
9
The Deobandis were closely associated with thesecular-oriented Indian National Congress Party, and the Deobandi clergy opposedthe idea of the ‘two-nation theory’ and the creation of a separate state of Pakistan.Ironically today the Deobandis are ideologically powerful in Pakistan and arerepresentative of the different sectarian groupings into which Muslims fall.
10
Incontemporary India the Deobandi opposition to Pakistan’s formation has long beenforgotten, and it is now commonly assumed that the Deobandis are merely Islamicfundamentalists. This misunderstanding perhaps explains why the fatwa discussed inthe next section was not taken sufficiently seriously.
India’s Fatwa on Terrorism:
11
Text and Context
After 9/11, institutions and intellectuals in Muslim societies across the world,especially leading seminaries like Deoband, were placed under serious scrutiny andaccused of being silent sympathisers of fundamentalist Islam. There were persistentdemands from all quarters in India that the Deobandis denounce terrorism. With eachterrorist attack Indian Muslims were targeted and arrested, and a pattern of witch-hunting of Muslim youth by police has been clearly visible (Sikand, 2008). By thistime a dominant stereotype has also developed that Muslims do not want to engagewith the state or with non-Muslim communities.Since Independence in 1947, Indian Muslims have faced difficult questions abouttheir loyalty to India and how national identity can be reconciled to their faith. The
8
Deobandi ideology and movement is being seen as inspiration to the Taliban. The
9/11 commission Report,
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, p.63.http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf  
9
For details see Metcalf (2003)
 
and Tabassum (2006)
10
Abdullah Hussain Haroon Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN ‘linked the Deobandseminary to Taliban fighters in NWFP and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)’ and spoke of the need a fatwa from Deoband to stop terrorism in Pakistan, quoted in The Times of India (2008).
11
After 9/11 there were initial efforts in India to denounce violence and terrorism as un-Islamic butthey all remained confined to their local milieu. The Deoband initiative is the first of its kind that hasbeen able to reach the national level. For a detailed analysis of fatwa see
 
Bar (2006).
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Deoband ulema term all Taliban actions un-Islamic

Deoband first: A fatwa against terror

NEW DELHI: For the first time ever, Islamic seminary Darul-Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa against terrorism on Saturday, stating Islam had come to wipe out all kinds of terrorism and to spread the message of global peace. The Darul-Uloom had denounced terrorism for the first time in February, but had not issued a fatwa so far. (Watch 

Saturday’s fatwa, signed by Darul-Uloom’s grand mufti Habibur Rehman, asserts that “Islam rejects all kinds of unjust violence, breach of peace, bloodshed, murder and plunder and does not allow it in any form”. 

Citing the “sinister campaign” to malign “Islamic faith…by linking terrorism with Islam and distorting the meanings of Quranic Verses and Prophet traditions”, Mahmood Asad Madani, leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, had wanted Deoband to spell out the stand of Islam on world peace. 

 

The fatwa, issued before a huge gathering of Muslims in Delhi’s Ramlila Ground for the Anti-Terrorism and Global Peace Conference, went on to say, “It is proved from clear guidelines provided in the Holy Quran that allegations of terrorism against a religion which preaches and guarantees world peace is nothing but a lie. The religion of Islam has come to wipe out all kinds of terrorism and to spread the message of global peace. Allah knows the best.” 

The conference was addressed by Jamiat chief and Darul-Uloom’s deputy rector Hazrat Maulana Qari Sayed Mohammed Usman. 

He called the conference historic as Muslims of different sects and ideologies — including Nadwatul Ulama Lucknow, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and All India Muslim Personal Law Board — ratified the fatwa against terrorism. 

The exclusively-male turnout that read an “oath of allegiance” to the fatwa cheered most lustily as speakers attacked the US. 

Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind leader Madani, an MP, stated that the fatwa should be welcomed by the entire Islamic world. 

“Killing of innocent people is not compatible with Islam. The biggest challenge faced by us today is terrorism (which) threatens to strike at the very root of the secular structure of our society besides causing irreparable loss,” stated Madani. 

 
Notwithstanding the caveats like “unjust” and “innocent”, which may make it appear falling short of an 
unequivocal condemnation of terrorism, the fatwa is viewed by many as a significant step forward towards rallying the public opinion against terrorism. 

Coming after the February 25 denunciation, it is seen as reflective of the growing recognition on the part of clerics to counter misgivings about interpretations of scriptures. 

Deoband has lately been under intense focus because many of the terrorist groups — from Taliban to Jaish and Harkat — are widely perceived to be Deobandi in orientation. 

However, it was when the deputy rector of Deoband, Usman, came down heavily on “the dual policy of America” that the massive crowds cheered the most. “Whenever Christian and American interests are hurt in any part of the world, they take prompt action to set things right even at the cost of human lives. They maintain silence though when Muslims are the victims,” he said, further criticizing the US for its support to Israel. 

According to Usman, Jamiat recently held a series of conferences and meetings with madrassas in Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Surat, Varanasi and Kolkata to carry forward the anti-terror movement which was initiated at Deoband in February. Usman said that many people, especially in the West, were carrying out a propaganda that terrorism was synonymous with jehad. 

He said that while terrorism is destructive, jehad is constructive. “Terrorism is the gravest crime as held by Quran and Islam. We are not prepared to tolerate terrorism in any form and we are ready to cooperate with all responsible people,” he said.

 

Senior clerics of India’s top seminary whose version of Islam the Taliban claim to follow have denounced the actions of the hardline militia, saying the group does not qualify to enjoy affiliations with the historic madressah.

In an interview with a correspondent of the BBC Urdu Service, the rector and the head of faculty of Darul Uloom (Waqf) Deoband said attacks by “vigilantes” in which innocent people died was not jihad but “indivi- dual zulm (oppression)”.

Seen in this light, attacks on shrines, barber shops and educational institutions were all un-Islamic.

Maulana Saalim Qasimi went to the extent of characterising the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which was ousted by the US forces in 2001, as “un-Islamic”.

He said the Taliban did not comprehend fully the tenets of Islam even though much was made of their “Islamic government”.

He said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who supported the Afghan regime, was not a religious scholar. “He is more of a politician than a scholar.” “However, his father, Mufti Mehmood, was a scholar,” he said.

Maulana Aslam Qasimi, great grandson of Qasim Nanotvi, the founder of the madressah, said the recent statement by Sufi Mohammad that judiciary in Pakistan was un-Islamic was based on misconceptions and ignorance.

He said that Islam embraced concepts like democracy. “The spirit of democracy is very much there in Islam, though concepts like democracy have been taking new shapes and forms.”

FORMER CIA AGENT: “THE ISIS LEADER ABU BAKR AL BAGHDADI WAS TRAINED BY THE ISRAELI MOSSAD”

FORMER CIA AGENT: “THE ISIS LEADER ABU BAKR AL BAGHDADI WAS TRAINED BY THE ISRAELI MOSSAD”

 BY ANAS CHIHAB
 IN INTERNATIONAL
 JUL 17TH, 2014
 71 COMMENTS
 
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snowden-al-badhadi-642x406

 

The former NSA and CIA agent Edward Snowden revealed that the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was trained in Israel, various Iranien sources reported.

Snowden added that the American CIA and the British Intelligence collaborated with the Israeli Mossad to create a terrorist organization that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest”.

The “Hornet’s nest’’ strategy aims to bring all the major threats to one place in order to track them, and mostly to shake the stability of the Arab countries. The NSA agent revealed that the ISIS “Calif”,  Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi went trough intense military training in the Israeli intelligence “Mossad”.

Besides military training, Al Baghdadi studied communication and public speaking skills in order to attract “terrorists” from all the corners of the world.

Related Post:  “Al-Baghdadi Should Take Off his Mask and Declare Loudly and Clearly that He Is a CIA Agent,” Chechnya President Kadirov

The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), an independent non-profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada, which focuses on research and media, relayed a story about this as well, adding that “three countries created a terrorist organisation that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place,” using the aforementioned “the hornet’s nest” strategy.

“The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state is to create an enemy near its borders,” Snowden was reported to say.

Related Posts:

 (Video included) Israeli Sniper Shoots and Kills a Wounded Civilian Palestinian Literally Like “a Dog in the streets”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Time Magazine has released on July 19, 2014 an article arguing that this story, which was reported by many Iranian sources including Iran News Agency, is a conspiracy theory from Iran and that it is not true. Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that though the piece of news went viral on the net, Snowden did not refute the claims of the Iranian News Agency. 

NSA DOC REVEALS ISIS LEADER AL-BAGHDADI IS U.S., BRITISH AND ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE ASSET

NSA DOC REVEALS ISIS LEADER AL-BAGHDADI IS U.S., BRITISH AND ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE ASSET

NSA documents add more detail to plan to destabilize Middle East
 
NSA Doc Reveals ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi is U.S., British and Israeli Intelligence Asset

by KURT NIMMO | INFOWARS.COM JULY 19, 2014


Editor’s note: The validity of the document mentioned below cannot be verified due to the exclusivity of the Snowden cache. Cryptome sent a letter to various sources in possession of the documents, including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Barton Gellman, Laura Poitrias, Glenn Greenwald, ACLU, EFF and others demanding an accounting. The allegation about ISIS and al-Baghdadi, however, pairs up with other information demonstrating ISIS is an intelligence asset.

According to a document recently released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, now the Islamic State, is an intelligence asset.

The NSA document reveals the United States, Israel, and Britain are responsible for the creation of ISIS.

Earlier this month Nabil Na’eem, the founder of the Islamic Democratic Jihad Party and former top al-Qaeda commander, told the Beirut-based pan-Arab TV station al-Maydeen all current al-Qaeda affiliates, including ISIS, work for the CIA.

ISIS is a well-armed and trained terrorist group now in control of large areas of Iraq and Syria.

The NSA document states the group was established by U.S., British and Israeli intelligence as part of a strategy dubbed “the hornet’s nest” to draw Islamic militants from around the world to Syria.

Prior Evidence of al-Baghdadi Link to Intelligence and Military

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi “took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech,” the documents explain, according to Gulf Daily News, a Bahrainian source.

In June a Jordanian official told Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily ISIS members were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan. In 2012 it was reported the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi.


Corporate media has added weight to myth of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, repeatedly exposed as an intelligence asset.

Al-Baghdadi was reportedly a “civilian internee” at Camp Bucca, a U.S. military detention facility near Umm Qasr, Iraq. James Skylar Gerrond, a former U.S. Air Force security forces officer and a compound commander at Camp Bucca in 2006 and 2007, said earlier this month the camp “created a pressure cooker for extremism.”

“Circumstantial evidence suggests that al-Baghdadi may have been mind-controlled while held prisoner by the US military in Iraq,” writes Dr. Kevin Barrett.

Creating a Fake Terror Threat

The hornet’s nest strategy was designed to create the perception that Israel is threatened by an enemy near its borders.

According to the personal diary of former Israeli prime minister Moshe Sharett, however, Israel never took seriously an Arab or Muslim threat to its national security.

“Sharett’s diary reveals in explicit language that the Israeli political and military leadership never believed in any Arab danger to Israel,” writes Ralph Schoenman. “They sought to maneuver and force the Arab states into military confrontations which the Zionist leadership were certain of winning so Israel could carry out the destabilization of Arab regimes and the planned occupation of additional territory.”

In 1982 Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, wrote The Zionist Plan for the Middle East.

The white paper proposed “that all the Arab states should be broken down, by Israel, into small units” and the “dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run.”

The destruction of the Arab and Muslim states, Yinon suggested, would be accomplished from within by exploiting their internal religious and ethnic tensions.

For more background see our ISIS and the Plan to Balkanize the Middle East.

Pictures show Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is a Mossad agent named Simon Elliot

 

>
 
  1. I took a quick look through the forums and hadn’t seen this anywhere. First thread, hope I’m not treading old ground with this.

    The claim and pictures were found on a blog claiming to be the “real free Syrian press”. I don’t know which side of the conflict this puts the blogger one (both sides like to accuse the other of working with, for, or being Jews) it’s enough to put the claim itself in serious doubt. However, what caught my attention and kept me from immediately dismissing the claim were 3 pictures that accompanied it:

    [​IMG]

    and

    [​IMG]

    and

    [​IMG]

    Now, as it stands, I do not have enough information on who Simon Elliot is to say that the person in these pictures is him or anyone else. What I can say is that the person in the upper left corner of the first picture IS Baghdadi and that the unidentified person on the right side of that picture does look strikingly similar to Baghdadi (those eyebrows), and that this unidentified person looks like the man in the other two pictures. However, just because the unidentified person looks like him (Baghdadi) doesn’t mean it is him, and just because the unidentified man in the first picture looks like the man in the other two pictures doesn’t mean that they are the same person.

    Because this hinges on people accepting the similarities between these people as them being the same person, I was hoping someone could either prove that the unidentified man is not a Mossad agent named Simon Elliot, or that someone has a strong enough background in facial recognition to say that unidentified man is not Baghdadi sans a beard and turban.

    In my opinion this is a weak claim without even going into who Simon Elliot is and whether or not he is a Mossad agent. It relies entirely on people accepting those pictures and the narrative that came with them at face value. Thank you for your effort and time, please let me know if the way I posed this is confusing. It certainly sounds confusing in my head.

     
     

Muslim scholars blast Islamic State

24 reasons ISIS are wrong: Muslim scholars blast Islamic State

Published time: September 25, 2014 10:42 
Edited time: October 02, 2014 08:01
 
 
AFP Photo / HO

AFP Photo / HO

19.3K71327
 

A large group of Islamic theologians addressed the head of the Islamic State in an open letter, articulately accusing the movement of practices that have nothing to do with Islam, even rejecting the extremists’ right to call themselves jihadists.

Over a hundred Muslim scholars and clergymen from all over the world have released on Wednesday an address to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, accusing the self-proclaimed caliph and his army of heinous war crimes and violation of fundamental principles of Islam, illiterate use of Islamic scripture torn from the context and perversion of the rules of morality and Sharia law.

“Who gave you authority over the ummah [Muslim people]?” the letter questions. “Was it your group? If this is the case, then a group of no more than several thousand has appointed itself the ruler of over a billion-and-a-half Muslims. This attitude is based upon a corrupt circular logic that says: ‘Only we are Muslims, and we decide who the caliph is, we have chosen one and so whoever does not accept our caliph is not a Muslim,’” the document said.

The letter has been published in two languages, Arabic and English, on a specially-created website. Though the document goes into in-depth analyses of the nuances and exegesis of Islamic texts, the general message is combined on the very first page of the address, outlined in 24 essentialsdowntrodden by the militants of the Islamic State – according to the authors of the letter.

The absolute majority of the essentials detailed in the letter – 20 out of 24 – have to do with acts forbidden in modern Islam. They deal with many aspects of noble human life: prohibiting such acts as killing of the innocent, prisoners and emissaries (journalists included), denying women and children their rights, the re-introduction of slavery, torture, disfiguring the dead and destroying graves, harming or mistreating believers of other religions of the Scripture, starting armed insurrection, declaring caliphate “without consensus from all Muslims,” as well as issuing fatwas (legal rulings, interpretations of the Islamic law) without proper religious education, mastery of the Arabic language,“oversimplify[ing] Sharia matters” and even “ignoring the reality of contemporary times.”

 

From http://lettertobaghdadi.com

From http://lettertobaghdadi.com

 

As the authors of the letter observe, all of those interdictions have been ruthlessly violated by the leadership and members of the Islamic State.

In particular, the document stresses the unprecedented number of people executed by the Islamic State militants for their beliefs.

“You have killed many innocents who were neither combatants nor armed, just because they disagree with your opinion,” the letter said, denying the Islamic State the right to call the faithful to jihad. “There is no such thing as offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions.”

 

An image made available by the jihadist Twitter account Al-Baraka news on June 16, 2014 allegedly shows Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants executing members of the Iraqi forces on the Iraqi-Syrian border (AFP Photo / HO)

An image made available by the jihadist Twitter account Al-Baraka news on June 16, 2014 allegedly shows Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants executing members of the Iraqi forces on the Iraqi-Syrian border (AFP Photo / HO)

 

“Jihad is a noble concept in Islam,” told VICE News the national director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Nihad Awad. “It is the right to defend oneself and one’s country. But people cannot take it into their own hands. As an act of aggression, it is a violation,” he said.

“They claim to be jihadists, but they are not. I urge everyone not to refer to them as jihadists,” Awad added.

The letter specifically focused attention on POWs being executed by the Islamic State in their thousands in Iraq and Syria.

 

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on Youtube on February 19, 2014, allegedly shows militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executing a group of Iraqi soldiers at an undisclosed location the Iraqi Anbar province (AFP Photo / HO)

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on Youtube on February 19, 2014, allegedly shows militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executing a group of Iraqi soldiers at an undisclosed location the Iraqi Anbar province (AFP Photo / HO)

 

“You have killed many prisoners,” the document states, addressing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his men,“including the 1,700 captives at Camp Speicher in Tikrit in June, 2014; the 200 captives at the Sha’er gas field in July, 2014; the 700 captives of the Sha’etat tribe in Deir el-Zor (600 of whom were unarmed civilians); the 250 captives at the Tabqah air base in Al-Raqqah in August, 2014; Kurdish and Lebanese soldiers, and many untold others whom God knows. These are heinous war crimes,” the address states.

 

An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executing dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province (AFP Photo / HO)

An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executing dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province (AFP Photo / HO)

 

The children who died in IS attacks or were used in combat were added to the list of shameful IS deeds.

“In your schools some children are tortured and coerced into doing your bidding and others are being executed,” the letter says. “These are crimes against innocents who are so young they are not even morally accountable.”

The letter also calls attention to frivolous handling of the holy texts and intentionally-selective citation of certain passages in order to legitimize atrocities perpetrated by the IS.

“It is not permissible to quote a verse, or part of a verse, without thoroughly considering and comprehending everything that the [Koran] and Hadith relate about that point,” the letter notes.

The beheaded American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and then British aid worker David Haines, were also remembered.

“It is known that all religions forbid the killing of emissaries,” the letter said. “Journalists — if they are honest and of course not spies — are emissaries of truth, because their job is to expose the truth to people in general.”

 

James Wright Foley (Screenshot from youtube.com)

James Wright Foley (Screenshot from youtube.com)

 

The slavery that returned to the Middle East with the rise of the Islamic State was not ignored in the document either.

Despite Islam’s consensus taking decision to abolish slavery over a century ago, “Islamic State militants have captured women from minority communities and forced them to marry fighters or sold them into slavery.”

 

Militant Islamist fighters ride horses as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province (Reuters / Stringer)

Militant Islamist fighters ride horses as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province (Reuters / Stringer)

 

The most effective ideological critics of the IS should come from within the Muslim community, shared Nihad Awad, who believes that the open letter is “intended for a conservative audience” and is “very convincing.”

“People should know that what ISIS is doing is not Islam,” Muzammil Siddiqi, the chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, which facilitated publication of the letter, told VICE News. “It’s important that a large number of scholars are speaking up and saying this is wrong.”

FATWA RESPONSE TO ISIS

FATWA RESPONSE TO ISIS

For all media inquiries, please email: info@peacems.com

In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the Giver of Mercy

 

This is Not the Path to Paradise

Response to ISIS

INTRODUCTION Counsel for the Youth

 

All praise belongs to the Lord of the worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our Master Muhammad, the Prophet of Mercy and Messenger of Wisdom, his benevolent family, and his noble companions, perpetually until the end of time.

This is addressed to the young men who bear arms against their own nations and destroy both country and countrymen. You have abandoned all values and made enemies of the world. We call on you to pause, reflect, and heed this counsel for the sake of all who want good for our community.

As an introduction to the statement, we present these four quotations for serious consideration.

 

1. A verse from the Qur’an follows:

When he is empowered, he sets out to do violence in the land, destroying crops and livestock. But God does not love violence” (Qur’an, 2:205).

Have not crops and livestock, as well as the elderly and women and children, been destroyed? Is this not violence and corruption in the land, which God abhors?

 

2. A statement from the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, from his last sermon given on the Farewell Pilgrimage follows:

Beware (or Woe unto you)! Listen! Do not revert back to disbelief after I have gone— [that is by] some of you killing others.

Note the use of the phrase “beware” or “woe unto you” that signifies a stern warning. The Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, rarely used such phrases. Furthermore, the scholars of Islam say that this hadith indicates that some will excommunicate others in order to justify killing them. Is this not the excommunication and killing that the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, forbade?

 

3. A statement of the Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, from his last sermon follows:

Whoever pledges allegiance to someone not appointed by the consultative process of the believers, neither he nor the one to whom he pledged allegiance are to be followed, out of fear of foolishly exposing themselves to being killed with them.

Has the one who claims to be the caliph of the Muslims consulted the Muslim world, or is he placing himself and those who pledge allegiance to him at risk of being killed? Is this not the disregard of the people which the Caliph ‘Umar warned of?

 

4. A statement from the great Sunni Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may God have mercy on him, made to the people of Baghdad [during his time] follows:

Do not shed your own blood nor the blood of other Muslims along with you. Consider the eventual effects of your actions.

He spoke these words to those who wanted to overthrow the Abbasid Caliph al-Wathiq after he proclaimed [the heresy] that the Qur’an was created. Is this not just like the bloodshed that Imam Ahmad warned the people of Baghdad against?

We ask you, out of concern, to reflect on these enlightening statements and to re-evaluate your positions, for turning to truth is better than persisting in falsehood.

We are not ignorant of the injustices that exist, and we earnestly call for them to cease; yet we believe that the chances for justice are better when there is peace, not war. Everywhere the widespread wars must stop, and the mindless civil strife must halt so that we may gain life and not lose both this world and the hereafter.

We ask God, most high, to guide everyone. Amen.

 

————————————————–

 

This is Not the Path to Paradise

A Statement to the Muslim World and its Leaders

Remember and Consider the Question Why?

In March 2014, more than 250 Islamic scholars and thinkers from around the world attended the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies in Abu Dhabi. One of the goals of the Forum was for these leaders to establish a unified position in response to the gravest threats facing the Muslim world today during this critical phase of its history.

The gravity of the situation is manifested in the following ways:

  • The uncommon nature of the threat is evidenced by unprecedented levels of violence utilizing every type of warfare. This even includes weapons of mass destruction, which citizens of the same country are using against one another.
  • This violence has a broader reach, as evidenced by the expanding geography that covers a large region of the Muslim and Arab nations. Conflicts are on the verge of spreading to other regions as well.
  • This conflict is different in its duration. Perpetual conflicts, with no end in sight, are becoming the norm.
  • The ideas and psychology associated with this violence are distinct. This dimension augments the three dimensions above since these conflicts have produced the most extreme ideas, the most bizarre fatwas (legal edicts), and the most fanatical and inciting opinions. The discourse has been filled with appalling fatwasrendering judgments on excommunication, deviance, immorality, and heresy. These fatwas have justified bloodshed while disregarding Islamic law’s mandates of civil obedience, respect for life, and to refrain from divisiveness, irrespective of how morally degraded a society becomes. Instead, there are inappropriate claims of engaging in jihad and addressing the ills of society without fulfilling the conditions of doing so, which has led to even more suffering.
  • This conflict has international implications and tarnishes the image of Islam worldwide. Some might even describe our faith as “a religion of terrorism” and work to try Islam and its adherents under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

Some of the recommendations that came out of the Forum for Promoting Peace included the urgent and dire need to reorder the house of the Muslims and to restore its constituents on the individual, societal, and institutional levels. It also reinforced the pressing need to strengthen the “immune system” of the Muslim world against the extremism and violence that exists within it, regardless of where the violence is directed or how it began. The time is now for Muslim societies—individuals and political entities —to work together towards what is right and good and to place the higher interests of humanity and the world above personal interests. They must adopt dialogue and cooperation as the sole strategy to address their concerns.

In recent weeks and months, the incidences of violence have only accelerated and become more indiscriminate and destructive in nature, leaving no segment of society or religious community unaffected. These trends were predicted and forewarned about at the Forum, and we must quickly work to implement the suggestions and recommendations found in the papers and presentations of the participants.

Thus, for all who are troubled about the state of the Muslim world and long for its reformation, the Forum for Promoting Peace would like to remind you of and alert you to the following:

1. The responsibility of the scholars and religious authorities at this time in particular is to protect life. No sane person can remain indifferent to the loss of life and suffering in the Muslim world. What then of those who have pledged to God that they will do their part to set the world right? The reality is that much of what is happening today relies on religious justification as a pretext. The perpetrators use excommunication, allegations of treason, or claim to implement Islamic law in wartime. It appears as though these people have not heard of the tradition of Bishr bin Artah and other well-known traditions on this subject. They also accuse monotheists of polytheism, and they claim they are responding to injustices. Although the allegation of injustices is true, nevertheless their response is wrong, as it is being used for falsehood—for dressing up error in the clothing of truth. Because some of these “leaders” claim to be religious figures, they are causing even greater confusion. At the same time, the media spares no effort to further muddy the waters, and so people’s judgment is skewed, and they falter. For these reasons, there is no excuse for the scholars and leaders to not fulfill their obligation to clarify matters and advise the Muslim world in order to extinguish the fires of conflict and to stop the bloodshed by uniting in truth and cooperating in what is right and good: “Help one another to do what is right and good; do not help one another towards sin and hostility. Be mindful of God, for His punishment is severe (Qur’an, 5:2).

2. Much of what is happening in the Muslim world now can be traced back to misunderstandings about aspects of Islamic law that are not problematic for open-minded and peaceful societies. Some examples include applying Islamic penal laws, exercising jihad, establishment of the caliphate, practicing obedience to political leaders, and the moral duty to enjoin good and prevent evil. When properly understood, these concepts safeguard peace and protect the sanctity of life. They exemplify the divine mercy that Islam brought on the tongue of the Prophet of Mercy, Muhammad, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him. When these concepts are misunderstood and adulterated in both form and meaning, they morph into a contradiction of their original purpose, goal, and aim, and so the mercy is replaced by punishment for the community, suffered by the criminal and innocent alike, spreading to both the learned and the ignorant equally.

Some of the reasons for these misconceptions are as follows:
a. There is a disconnect between the Islamic dictates and their stipulations: The five rulings of Islamic law (obligation, recommendation, permissibility, discouragement, and prohibition) are regulated by the legal stipulations, which 
 are legal causes, preconditions, and preventatives. It is only from combining both the dictates and their stipulations that a proper understanding develops; if we separate the commands and prohibitions from fulfilling the preconditions, establishing the presence of legal causes, and ensuring the lack of preventatives, then the rulings contravene and contradict Islamic law. To state it more simply, the relationship between applying the rulings and the implications of both time and place and the positive and negative consequences has been severed.

 

b. The relationship between means and end has been distorted: Any disconnection between the ends and goals as well as the means and tools leads to violating Islamic law. That is because the means to evil ends are also evil, and noble ends can be reached only by noble means. So one cannot use genocide, murder, oppression, or vengeance to establish truth and justice.

 

c. The four values upon which Islamic law is built—wisdom, justice, mercy, and the common good—have been degraded.

3. Jihad is not synonymous with fighting. Hence, not all jihad is fighting, and not all fighting is jihad. A deeper reading of the primary sources of Islam makes clear that jihad includes all devotions. Filial piety is a form of jihad, as the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, said, “Make your jihad serving them [your parents].” Obeying God is also a form of jihad, as the hadith states, “The real jihad is to strive against the ego in order to obey God.” For this reason, we call on you to embark on a jihad that will undoubtedly get you into paradise and far away from hell: invoke God often, build mosques, be kind to people, and promote civilization. The great scholar Ibn Taymiyyah said that jihad includes all devotions and righteous acts, even those relating to commerce and manufacturing, as is noted in the Ikhtiyarat of al-Ba’li

Your community needs your hard work, intellects, and energies to be organized in pursuit of the common good where it intersects with communal development.

As for the jihad when it relates to fighting, that is in defense of the freedom to practice one’s faith, as is stated in the verse: “Those who have been driven unjustly from their homes only for saying, Our Lord is God’” (Qur’an, 22:40).

As a rule, the state of relations between Muslims and people of other faiths and persuasions is one of peace. Jihad, in the intent behind its original legislation, is a search for “perpetual peace.”

That is why all believers are ordered to enter into peace: “O you who believe, enter wholeheartedly into peace, and do not follow in Satans footsteps, for he is your sworn enemy (Qur’an, 2:208).

Believers are also ordered to accept any attempts at peace: “But if they incline towards peace, you [Prophet] must also incline towards it, and put your trust in God (Qur’an, 8:61). It is also very well known that the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, compromised greatly at the Armistice of Hudaybiyyah for the sake of making peace.

As for military jihad, that was prescribed for times when there were no global treaties or pacts leaving no means to convey the message of Islam other than with military support, and there were no borders that were acknowledged, unless they were maintained by force, or vast distances separated regions. Also, there were no weapons of mass destruction at this time. All of these premises are no longer the case. How can any Muslim who understands the texts and aims of Islamic law call for war against all other nations? One who does so is foolish, ignorant of the true nature of Islam as well as the realities of today, and seeks to sow corruption in the land.

 

4.There are many rulings in Islamic law that are not duties meant to be fulfilled by the individual; instead, they are the domain of the political authority or its representative. Among such rulings are military actions and the moral duty to enjoin good and forbid evil. Forbidding evil can sometimes have uncertain consequences, requiring serious deliberation that cannot be done by just anyone. Sometimes it can lead to an even greater evil, and in such a case, forbidding evil would be prohibited for individuals. The same applies to military action such that the government is the only one ordained to attack enemy states abroad, assemble troops, or suppress insurrection. This is mentioned in al-Qarafi’s Distinctions, where he discusses the engagement by the government; he notes that individuals cannot take on such engagement and that it must be carried out by the government only. The wisdom behind this is that some of these groups that we see today working to redress wrongs by force actually cause civil strife and widespread corruption.

 

5. “The Islamic caliphate” was a phrase the companions of the Prophet, may God be pleased with them, accepted in order to denote the unification of the Muslims and their affairs under an administration that would uphold Islamic law and protect their lives, dignity, and wealth. But the caliphate is not a matter of theology; rather, it is a matter of law subject to legal stipulations, and it is one possible means among others that could be replaced today by other means in order to achieve unity between nations so that they may cooperate and complement one another. Actually, for many centuries, some Muslim lands were independent of the caliphate and were still able to uphold the religion, safeguard the law and sacred sites, and ensure peace and security. This is still the case. Our religion teaches us that our understandings stem from meanings, not words and forms. Consequently, there is no religious duty to pursue the establishment of a caliphate by force—even if we assume it is possible to do so. What then of those who spread corruption in the land, kill the innocent, terrorize the weak, destroy mosques and houses of worship, and disinter tombs? As Ibn Qayyim records, the Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace and blessings upon him, and the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs never destroyed a church, synagogue, or temple!

 

6. All forms of oppression and aggression against religious minorities are in direct contradiction to the values of our religion. In fact, Islam calls us to do well by religious minorities, to place them under our protection, and threatens those who harm them with punishment in the afterlife. This is evidenced by the track record of the Muslim world, which has no peer in history when it pertains to people living harmoniously with religious minorities, beyond what basic humanity demands of equal rights and responsibilities. Hence, any aggression of any kind or coercion to convert is unacceptable. Coerced conversion is invalid in Islamic law. Islam has nothing to do with this, as the Qur’an states, “There is no compulsion in religion (Qur’an, 2:256).

 

7. Fighting and conflict for reasons other than self-defense and repelling aggression are not Islamic values despite the attempts of some to dress it up as righteousness. These are values foreign to the Islamic ethos; in the Islamic tradition, destruction has never been seen as a foundation for advancement; rather, it is seen as a result of ignorance and fanaticism, the effect of suppression and feelings of frustration and vengeance. Our values are intended to instill confidence and love in the hearts, to repel falsehood with truth without any enmity, and to respond to wrongs with patience, pardon, and forgiveness: “Fight in Gods cause against those who who overstep the limits (Qur’an, 2:190). “Repel evil with good (Qur’an, 23:96). “They repel evil with good (Qur’an, 28:54).

 

8. Muslim societies need to inculcate peace as a goal and a priority. This should be done by means of clearly stated values, both Islamic and those common to broader humanity, and by means of elucidating the legal aspects of peace and reconciliation, its terms, principles, universals, and particulars. In this way, harmony can be restored, distorted perceptions can be corrected, and love and harmony will spread, pulling in the reins of excommunication, defamation, and conflict so that the culture of reason and understanding may again rise. People will then strive to promote the common good and ward off societal harms, following the path of wisdom so that a Muslim will practice his or her religion without feeling estranged or being prone to anxiety or despair.

For these reasons, we call yet again upon religious scholars, philosophers, writers, pioneers, the media, bloggers, and social media activists to take on the task to carry this message, assert its importance in creating harmony in society, and develop a roadmap towards promoting a culture of peace in Muslim societies. We call for an ideological review of curricula and other programming and a detailed analysis of the age in which we live: its needs, demands, ideas, and tools. Studies in the religious sciences need to be furthered in degree and level of understanding, augmented by consideration, reflection, interpretation, legal reasoning, and an understanding of the circumstances surrounding revelatory events. In this manner, the primary texts—both their statements and understandings—can be reexamined, and particulars can be taken back to the universals, restoring the regard the legal schools (madh-habs) had for differences of opinion.

This is not a call to change or replace our scripture; rather it is to go back to its essence and original intended implications using all available methods of research. Only then will we realize just how expansive the shariahis, how merciful, inclusive, and full of wisdom it is. The solutions will be borne out of the shariah, its spirit, and goals. This is an urgent need. The religious scholars and clerics must face it courageously in order to save our community from endless war. And the politicians and representatives must work to remove oppression. Also, world organizations should be more just and sensitive to the events that take place in our region.

 

9. Lastly, a warning to the youth of the Muslim world in particular, lest they become fuel for the fires of strife and corruption in this world and become fuel for the fire of hell on the Day of Reckoning. We call on them to remain steadfast in the face of the empty claims and promises made before them and to live the Islamic law properly so that they will not be confused and duped into confusing falsehood with truth. This applies, in particular, to those who do not have a command of Arabic and do not understand the language of the Qur’an.

 

No Muslim is to be excommunicated unless he or she says or does something that is absolutely unambiguous and not open to alternative interpretations. The Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, declared that simply cursing a Muslim is deviance and killing him is disbelief. God has declared the human soul as sacred: “Do not take life, which God has made sacred, except by right (Qur’an, 17:33). God has also made killing one soul equal to killing all of humanity: “If anyone kills a personunless in retribution for murder or spreading corruption in the landit is as if he kills all humankind, while if any saves a life, it is as if he saves the lives of all humankind (Qur’an, 5:32). Also, a tradition of the Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, states: “Abeliever will still have some leeway regarding his religious duties, as long as he has not spilled blood unjustly.”

 

May God’s sublime peace and blessings be upon our master Muhammad, his kin, and his companions.

 

Abdallah bin Bayyah

 

President, Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies

September 14, 2014

Abu Dhabi

Muslim scholars against ISIS

Whenever something hateful is done by a group of Muslims the question arises, “where are the moderate Muslims and how come they did not speak up and condemn such act?”

Most of the time these acts are condemned by Muslims but they do not get the media coverage they deserve. So when ISIS began doing the most heinous acts of killing other Muslims, beheading the innocents and imposing medieval punishments, the majority moderate Muslims, represented by the many Muslim associations and scholars, have condemned ISIS acts for their inhumanity, brutality and for contradicting the teachings of Islam.

In September 120 Muslim scholars, representing over 35 countries, wrote an open letter to the leader of the ISIS group, Abu bakr Al-Baghdadi. The scholars used the Quran and Sunna (Prophet Muhammad words, actions and customs) to question and refute what he and ISIS followers are doing. This article is a summary of their letter.

The scholars began by questioning the simplistic legal ground used by Al-Baghdadi to issue a fatwa (legal opinion) to establish what he called the Islamic State. The letter questioned his scholarly authority to issue such a fatwa reminding him that it is forbidden to cite a portion of a verse from the Quran or part of a verse to derive a ruling without looking at everything that the Quran and Hadith (Prophet Muhammad saying) teach related to that matter. He was also reminded that it is forbidden in Islam to declare a caliphate without the consensus from all Muslims.

The letter unequivocally stated that killing the innocents is prohibited in Islam. The innocents that cannot be harmed include emissaries, aid workers, women, the children, the elderly, journalists and anyone who did not declare war on you. Nowhere in the Quran the words beheading, crucifixion, torturing, disfiguring the dead are mentioned and therefore are considered haram or prohibited. The worst of sin in Islam, the letter stated, is attributing these heinous acts to God.

The letter questioned his claim that what ISIS is doing is Jihad forgetting that Jihad means to struggle against oneself and that Jihad, as in fighting, is only allowed against those who fight you and even then the Muslim cannot be the aggressor. The letter also stated that Jihad is a defensive war and cited many verses from the Quran and the Prophet tradition to refute his claim to Jihad

The letter reminded him that denying the rights to women, children, and people of the scripture (Jews, Christians and Yazidis) is prohibited by Islam. Also forcing people to convert to Islam is forbidden as the Quran says “No compulsion in religion.”

Imposing the Sharia (Islamic law) without following the correct procedures that ensure justice and mercy is forbidden in Islam the letter instructed. Reintroducing slavery, destroying graves and shrines and declaring Muslims as non-believers are also forbidden in Islam.

The letter is comprehensive, refutes all ISIS claims and proves by evidence that all the claims and actions of ISIS followers are against the teachings of Islam. Whether Al-Baghdadi reads the letter and abides by its recommendations is questionable. However it declares to the world that the majority moderate Muslims are opposed to ISIS atrocities and hopefully their voices will stop ISIS drive to recruit the youth and the uniformed.

Fifty Muslim scholars issue fatwa against Taliban

Fifty Muslim scholars issue fatwa against Taliban

Published Oct 11, 2012 04:26pm

 

Members of Sunni Ittehad Council in a meeting – File Photo

 

LAHORE: At least 50 Islamic scholars belonging to ‘Sunni Ittehad Council’ on Thursday declared Taliban’s attack on Pakistani children’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai as un-Islamic, DawnNews reported.

Sunni Ittehad Council represents ‘Barelvi‘ sect of Islam which is  influenced by Sufism and defends the traditional Sufi practices from the criticisms of Islamic movements like the ‘Deobandi’, ‘Wahhabi’ and ‘Ahl al-Hadith’.

The scholars issued a combined ‘fatwa’ (Islamic ruling) in Lahore which said that the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam was incorrect and was deviant from the actual interpretation of the Shariah.

The fatwa added that Taliban were misguided and their mindset was driven by ignorance.

“Islam does not stop women from acquiring education and by attacking Malala the Taliban have crossed the limits of Islam,” the fatwa added.

“Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had regarded the sanctity of Muslim’s life and property more important than the sanctity of the ‘Kaaba’ (sacred Muslim place),” adding that the fatwa stated, “Murder of one innocent human being is equivalent to murder of entire humanity.”

The Islamic ruling added that United States was the enemy of Islam and Pakistan; any kind of cooperation with the US was not in compliance with the Shariah.

In response to Taliban’s interpretation of killing females for the greater good of the religion, the scholars said that Islam discourages killing of the females. Adding that, they said, “Even apostate women are not allowed to be killed in Islam.”

The assassination attempt on the life of the young National Peace Award winner has drawnwidespread condemnation from the government, political parties and civil society groups, terming it a bid to silent voice for peace and education.

The banned militant organisation Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had issued a statement Wednesday, using Islamic Shariah to defend the attack.

Pakistani Taliban had said that although they do not believe in attacking women, “whom so ever leads a campaign against Islam and Shariah is ordered to be killed by Shariah.”

TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan had argued that it is “not just allowed … but obligatory in Islam” to kill such a person involved “in leading a campaign against Shariah and (who) tries to involve whole community in such campaign, and that personality becomes a symbol of anti-Shariah campaign.”

Malala had won international recognition for highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the Islamist militants burned girls’ schools and terrorised the valley.

Her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls who were being denied an education by the militants across northwest Pakistan, where the government has been fighting the local Taliban since 2007.

American Rabbi Calls for Extermination of Muslims

American Rabbi Calls for Extermination of Muslims

American Rabbi Calls for Extermination of Muslims

New York – In an alarming hate speech that went unreported in American mainstream media, an American Rabbi called simply for extermination of Muslims and a “holy crusade” against them.

In a sermon he delivered on September 29, Rabbi Shalom Lewis from Congregation Etz Chaim in the state of Georgia, said Muslims are “guilty” of terrorism and should be “exterminated.”

This sermon against Islam comes three years after another sermon where he compared Muslims to Nazis.

But this time around, he toughened his rhetoric and calls for the extermination of Muslims.

“Three years later on this bima, on this very same day, standing at this podium, I cry out not ‘Ehr Kumpt – they are coming,’ I cry out, ‘Ehr daw – they are here’,” the rabbi said.

Lewis estimated the number of Muslims worldwide to stand at 1 billion, adding 5% of them are “committed terrorists and murderers.”

“There are one billion Muslims in the world and authorities agree that 5% are committed Islamists who embrace terror and wish to see, by any means possible, the Muslim flag fly over every capital, on every continent. I was relieved when I heard only 5%. Thank God it’s only 5%.”

But the furry of the rabbi against Islam did not stop there. He went on to add that all Muslims are guilty of terrorism be default.

“But what disturbs me is, where are the other 950 million Muslims who are not terrorists? Who are not bomb-blasting, acid-throwing zealots? (…) I want to believe that we have partners who dream the dreams we do and wish upon the same star. I want to believe – – but where are they? A silent partnership is no partnership. Sin is not just in the act of commission – it is also in the act of omission. Most Germans were not Nazis – but it did not matter. Most Russians were not Stalinists – but it did not matter. Most Muslims are not terrorists – but it does not matter.”

For the American rabbi, there is only one choice for what he calls the free world to live in peace and enjoy freedom is to exterminate the “evil” represented by Islam.

“The fury of ultimate evil is upon us and we must act – not to contain it. Not to degrade it. Not to manage it. Not to tolerate it, but to exterminate it utterly and absolutely,” he said.

“If we fail in this holy crusade, we will live in a world bereft of color. Empty of music, of art, of romance, of laughter, of freedom, of invention. A world barren of all beauty. Depleted of all virtue,” he concluded

How An Illinois Mom Converted To Islam And Found Peace And Joy During Her Very First Hajj

How An Illinois Mom Converted To Islam And Found Peace And Joy During Her Very First Hajj

Posted: 10/12/2014 9:13 am EDT Updated: 10/12/2014 9:59 am EDT
KRISTIN
 
 
 

Kristin Szremski is a 53-year-old mom from Palo Hills, Illinois. Born into a Missouri-Synod Lutheran family, she first converted to Catholicism before finding her place in Islam. This year, Szremski was one of the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who were drawn to Mecca between October 2 – 7 to complete the fifth pillar of Islam, the Hajj.

She tells Huffington Post about her experience below. Some answers have been edited for length and clarity.

1. How did you come to Islam and what was it about the religion that moved you?

I was a special assignment reporter for the Star Newspapers in suburban Chicago in 2000. I was assigned to cover the Arab community. At that time, I didn’t know anything about Islam — I was raised as a Missouri-Synod Lutheran and we had been taught that all religions and prophets that came after Jesus were false.

During the six weeks I had for research, I interviewed many, many Arab Muslims. My conversion was not something that happened overnight; it probably took more than 18 months. I was fascinated to learn that Islam had all the same stories as the Bible as well as the same characters.

To back up a bit — I was raised Lutheran, but converted to Catholicism when I was about 40. I always wanted to belong to a large community and I was intrigued by the Catholic Church. Since my husband at the time was Catholic, I decided to join the church. That had a huge impact on my later conversion to Islam because where the Lutheran church believed in the Bible literally, the Catholic Church encouraged knowledge, questions and also gave us the historical context for the books contained in the Christian canon. This allowed me to open my mind to the possibility that the Quran was truly the revealed word of God.

Once I came to believe this, it was an easy step to believe Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the messenger and prophet. The harder part was letting go of my belief that Jesus was the Son of God. Ultimately, it was the passages in the Quran where God tells us that He was not begotten nor has He begotten and similar ones that finally helped me. Also, Jesus figures prominently in Islam so I wasn’t letting go of him, but just the idea that he is God.

In the end, my conversion came while I was praying. The date was July 21, 2001. I was in a hotel room in Washington DC, where I’d gone to cover a meeting for a magazine I was writing for. I had the Quran open on the bed before me and I was actually on my knees praying, asking God to lead me to the truth when suddenly I declared the Shahada –- that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is His messenger. I later made a public declaration in Arabic but for all purposes it was at that moment that I became a Muslim.

I love Islam because of its purity, its simplicity and its truth. The Muslims I had met were truly pleasant, patient and well-mannered people.

kristin
2. We understand this is your first hajj. Were you nervous at all?

I was very nervous about this trip because it is a heavy spiritual journey, which means there’s a lot of personal reflection. It is also a very physical experience, with many different components taking place over several days. I’ve had two surgeries on my neck and lower back because of the degenerative arthritis and it has left me with some slight neurological deficiencies. One of the biggest of these is weakness in my legs, which things like overuse, fatigue, lack of sleep, extreme conditions can exacerbate.

3. Was there someone who showed you around? How did you know what to do?

I was traveling with a tour group, called Noor Travel, out of Milwaukee. The tour guide was extremely helpful. Plus, my lovely roommates are Arab American women who can help with the language as need be. There are also people in the group who have done this before who can offer advice. When all is said and done, though, 3 million people in one small place is pretty overwhelming and daunting so I pretty much learned as I went along.

kristin
4. Are there any parts of the hajj that you were particularly looking forward to? 
Muslims pray in the direction of the Kaaba from wherever they are in the world. Being in the presence of God in Mecca, at the very center of the Earth, where Adam and Eve came to earth from the Garden of Eden, where Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt the Kaaba, and where Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived and received his first revelations from God is a tremendously invigorating and rejuvenating experience. To be able to see the Kaaba right in front of me after all these years was powerful and something I don’t believe I will ever forget.

5. How did it go?
I did much better physically than I expected. I’m actually feeling better now than before I left for the trip, mainly due to an improved state of mind that this trip brought about. In addition, Islam is always about moderation and the religion is not meant to be difficult. Therefore, certain accommodations are possible during the rites of Hajj.

There are three types of Tawafs, or circumambulations of the Kaaba. During each Tawaf, Muslims circle the Kaaba seven times.

I was able to use a wheelchair to circumambulate the Kaaba the first time.

During the second Tawaf, called Tawaf Al-Ifadah. I wanted to walk by myself so I could really concentrate on ‘talking to God,’ in my supplications and in worship. I also wanted to make the physical effort for God, as so much of Islam is about taking action with the help of God. This was an extremely beautiful experience for me, extremely spiritual. I finished the entire rite in just under three hours. Then it took me about one hour to make the usual 10 minute trip back to the hotel because I had overdone it a bit.

I was not able to finish the third Tawaf, called Tawaf Al-Wada or the Farewell Tawaf, because I was unprepared for the millions of people who were there at the same time as me. I was getting hurt and not strong enough to withstand the crush of people. So, sadly, I had to leave without completing it. To expiate for missing that rite, I paid to have a sheep slaughtered and its meat given to the poor.

Throwing stones at pillars that symbolize the spots where Satan tempted Abraham, who was preparing to sacrifice his son, is another rite of Hajj. Because of the sheer physicality it takes to walk up a steep hill to the throwing area and the danger of being in a crowd of a few million people throwing what are supposed to be pebbles but sometimes turn out larger, women, the elderly and people with health conditions can ask someone to throw the stones for them. I took advantage of this and asked some other group member to throw for me.

An integral part of the Hajj is the visit to Mount Arafah, where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prayed on the ninth of Dhul Hijjah when he made Hajj. The Day of Arafah is a day of atonement, when we stand in prayer from just after the sun reaches its zenith during midday until sunset. This year, it was about six hours. We were at Arafah long before that, though. We stayed in sweltering tents. It was 108 degrees outside and hotter inside because the air conditioning did not work.

If one stands in Arafah in sincere devotion and sincerely repents of his sins, all his sins will be forgiven. And we also believe that supplications on this day made sincerely will be answered. Standing is key, although allowances are made for older people or people, like me, with health conditions. I stood a great deal of the time but had to sit from time to time.

It was probably the most difficult physically and spiritually of the entire trip. But it was also extremely beautiful and cleansing. The most beautiful time came when it was close to sunset and hundreds of people gathered on a hillside, facing the Kaaba in the West, to make supplications while the sun was setting. All this was done while one imam made the supplications, called du’as, out loud. It was extremely powerful and many people, including me, were crying.

I think there’s a recurring point here. Hajj requires extreme effort but then offers extreme beauty, peace and joy in return.

kristin
6. What were you searching for during this pilgrimage? Did you find it?

What I wanted most out of this journey is to find a deeper relationship with my Creator, to get to the place where I have the confidence of my conviction that God is all I need or will ever need. I was praying for this absolute, intuitive trust because who have attained this level of faith are never worried or discouraged.

I believe I absolutely found what I was looking for, although I also realize that this is something I have to work on every day. In Mecca, in the presence of the Kaaba, I felt God’s presence in a way that I never have before at any time in my life. There was an overwhelming feeling of love that inspired trust and confidence. I could pour my heart out, ask for anything and worship God.

Now that I have experienced this pure connection to God, I want to maintain and grow it. The onus is on me to make the changes necessary to help this happen. For instance, I plan on attending congregational Fajr (dawn) prayers at the mosque everyday, God-willing.

7. What did you hope would change about you after hajj, on the inside? Did this happen?

The last 10 years have been difficult ones for me – I got divorced, moved, had two major surgeries related to the degenerative arthritis, lost my house in economic crisis, and am beginning to feel worn down by the rampant Islamophobia in this country. Islam is the perfect religion, but I am not living it perfectly. Instead of complaining, I should be thanking God for what I’ve experienced in the past few years.

I think the biggest thing that happened to me was that I realized how spoiled I am as a privileged American, how ungrateful I’ve been for my conversion to Islam and for the life that I have.

People from all corners of the world come to Hajj and many of them do not have the means to stay in hotels, let alone tents. People leave their villages with not much more than a small sack of possessions, knowing they will be sleeping without shelter on a plaza, hillside, or on the street. Would I have that kind of devotion? I would hope so, but somehow I rather doubt it. It was these people, who inspired me to walk the second Tawaf, described above.

A person’s Hajj can be invalidated for complaining, arguing, or gossiping so it is extremely important to avoid all this. Dealing with crowds of millions requires massive doses of patience, which can only happen when you start looking at individuals in the crowd as just that – individual human beings deserving of respect and gentle treatment. Exercising this kind of patience for two weeks brought about a deeper sense of humility, which I hope to remember as I go about my daily life.

Finally, God says in the Quran that He guides whom He wills to Islam. As I mentioned, I’d been struggling lately because of things like Islamophobia. Instead of cherishing the fact that God called me to the religion, I’ve been focusing on superficial things that distract me from the real beauty of what it means to be Muslim. This experience showed me that I have been taking the great gift of this faith for granted.

kristin

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How the Ansari X Prize Altered the Trajectory of Human Spaceflight

How the Ansari X Prize Altered the Trajectory of Human Spaceflight

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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SpaceShipOne in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. (Credit: Ad Meskens via Wikimedia Commons)

Looking up into the bright Mojave sky in 2004, I strained to keep my eyes on the tiny spaceship 50,000 feet up. “Three, two, one… release, release, release!” came the call over the loudspeakers.

I held my breath as I watched the rocket motor ignite and the spaceship ascend on a plume of fire with Mike Melvill at the controls. The contrail started to corkscrew and my heart dropped to my stomach in terror. A few seconds later we got the “all clear” signal that Mike had make it to space and was okay thanks to some cool nerves and some excellent piloting. Mike reminded us that day that there is a reason we call this “rocket science”.

Five days later on October 4, 2004, SpaceShipOne flew to space again, this time with Brian Binnie at the controls. With the craft’s successful return to Earth, Scaled Composites, its manufacturer, and its funder, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, won the $10 million Ansari X Prize.

Left to right, Anousheh Ansari, Amir Ansari, Peter Diamandis, Burt Rutan, Brian Binnie and Sir Richard Branson celebrate the X Prize victory on October 4, 2004 in Mojave, Calif. (Credit: X Prize Foundation)

Looking back on that historic moment 10 years ago, it’s clear that the Ansari X Prizewas a huge victory for the winners, but it is also the success story of X Prize Foundation chairman Peter Diamandis and the power of his Steve Jobs-like ability to bend reality to his will.

People told him, “It’s not possible,” and gave him polite attention while silently thinking that his idea would never work. But sometimes with enough audacity, the extraordinary really is possible. And if anyone has proven that again and again it is Peter.

In May 1996 he boldly announced that the X Prize Foundation would award $10 million to the first team that could build a privately funded spaceship capable of carrying three people on a sub-orbital spaceflight twice within two weeks.

When he made the announcement, X Prize did not have enough money to cover the purse. This is not a strategy for the faint of heart to emulate. It took a relentless, protracted experience of pounding the pavement to fully fund the prize.

Anousheh Ansari in her spacesuit. (Credit: NASA)

Finally in 2002, Anousheh Ansari, a newly minted tech millionaire who dreamed of going into space since she was a young girl in Iran, and her brother-in-law Amir agreed to put up the funds needed to fully fund the prize, which became known as the Ansari X Prize. Anousheh and Peter were birds of a feather; she had also learned the power of believing in her tech company even when no investors would!

Together they would alter the history books and swing the door for commercial human spaceflight wide open.

When I asked Anousheh what she was most proud of about the Ansari X Prize she said, “It is my pride and joy and the best investment our family has ever made. The Ansari X Prize has changed the trajectory of human access to space and kick started a whole new industry for private space companies, accelerating the pace at which we explore our universe.”

A year after the Ansari X Prize was won, Eric Anderson of Space Adventures asked Anousheh if she would want to come to Russia for six months to train as a backup for their next customer, Daisuke Enomoto. Feeling one step closer to her childhood dream, she agreed.

Enomoto was medically disqualified on August 21, 2006 and Anousheh was suddenly moved up to prime crew with less than a month’s notice for their September 18 Soyuz launch and 10-day space mission, which included a stay on the International Space Station. Even so, she was able to create a website and blog to chronicle her experience that was read by millions around the world, including many young girls in the Middle East.

When asked about her flight Anousheh said, “My flight to space has impacted me on a very deep level and has made me look at life in a whole new light. I hope as people now get a chance to experience this for themselves there will be a whole new generation of space explorers who will become the stewards of our world and make a positive impact on how we live our lives on Earth as well as the way we will extend our species into other parts of this vast and beautiful universe.”

SpaceShipOne carried aboard the WhiteKnightOne mother ship. (Credit: D. Ramey Logan via Wikimedia Commons)

Part of the Ansari X Prize legacy is also that it inspired Richard Branson to take action on his dreams of spaceflight as well. At the 2004 Ansari X Prize flights he announced a deal to commercialize the new technology and create the world’s first spaceline,Virgin Galactic (Disclosure: My husband, George T. Whitesides is the CEO and President of Virgin Galactic).

Anousheh’s sentiments about her time on orbit are exactly what motivated me and my now husband, George, to buy our Virgin Galactic tickets to space in 2005.

In the ensuing years, Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic took SpaceShipOne andWhiteKnightOne (SS1′s mother ship) designs and created much larger versions of them. So large that Virgin Galactic had to build a bigger hangar just to fit them.

SpaceShipTwo (aka VSS Enterprise) took her first powered test flight in April 2013 and Virgin is now getting ready for her next few powered test flights this fall.

Eleven-year-old Barbara Schloss at the Ansari X Prize flights in 2004. (Courtesy of Barbara Schloss)

This is an exciting moment in history, the moment just before Virgin Galactic begins commercial service. It is a good time to pause on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of SpaceShipOne’s Ansari X Prize-winning flights and reflect on how far we have come and what an extraordinary endeavor we are embarking on. There is the potential for hundreds of Galactic astronauts to make a real difference as space ambassadors, sharing their experiences in countries around the world, in different languages and with a wide diversity of cultures, religions, professions, orientations and styles, just as Anousheh has.

The Apollo astronauts used to say, “We should have sent a poet…” Well, now we are about to.

(If you would like to apply to get Land Roverto fly you and three of your friends on a Virgin Galactic spaceflight, you have till October 31 to upload your 30-second video explaining why.)

This summer I had the pleasure of leading a workshop for the Virgin Galactic interns. I opened by asking them to share how they came to be interested in spaceflight. MIT senior Barbara Schloss said that she had been inspired by seeing the Ansari X Prize flights as a kid.

MIT aerospace engineer and Virgin Galactic intern Barbara Schloss in front of SpaceShipTwo WhiteKnightTwo in 2014. (Courtesy of Barbara Schloss)

“Being in Mojave at 11 years old to watch this historic launch definitely influenced me,” she said. “I was so excited about it that I had SpaceShipOne and WhiteKnightOne painted on my closet doors at home. I knew that it was a smaller company without much space background that had pulled off such an incredible feat, so I figured if they could do it, why not me? I determined that I wanted to be an aerospace engineer and now I am a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying Aerospace Engineering.”

I really look forward to the impact that we can have on millions of kids around the planet when SpaceShipTwo starts flying to space. I can’t wait to inspire them to dream big, to not be daunted by “no’s” and hopefully also to do the work required to never give up, until they too have done the impossible. Hopefully we will inspire the next Peter Diamandis, Anousheh Ansari or Barbara Schloss. If so, I can’t wait to meet them in ten years when they start their first space internship.

Loretta Hidalgo WhitesidesAbout the Author: Loretta Hidalgo Whitesides has over five hours of weightless time in a 727 aircraft as a Flight Director for Zero-G Corporation. She and her husband George Whitesides are also signed up to take a sub-orbital spaceflight on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Trained as an astrobiologist at Stanford and Caltech, Loretta has been to the Canadian Arctic to study plant life in extreme environments and to the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean with Titanic director James Cameron to film a 3D IMAX documentary, Aliens of the Deep. Loretta’s passion is using human space exploration to inspire humanity with what is possible. Follow on Twitter @lorettahidalgo.

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Shariah financing growing popular in the West

Shariah financing growing popular in the West

 

American bankers and investors are increasingly dipping thier toes in the opaue world of Shariah financing, a sector that has grown to $1.6 trillion in assets worldwide over the past three decades. Anne Ryan, Rene Alston

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CHICAGO — Ahmed Irfan Khan was poised to transform his family’s small but successful slaughterhouse into a specialty-meat selling juggernaut.

Just one thing stood in his way: His faith.

Khan’s thriving business in Chicago’s old stockyards — which sells halal meat — protein slaughtered in a way prescribed by Islamic law — might have made him attractive to Main Street investors. But his strict adherence to his Muslim faith made going down that path complicated.

Under Islamic law, collecting or paying interest is prohibited, making it difficult for Khan to borrow the roughly $2 million needed to expand his company, Barkaat Foods.

But Khan was ultimately able to get the capital for his business — and stay true to his faith — with the help of a traditional bank and a boutique venture capital firm willing to hammer out arrangement that Khan said was “Shariah compliant.”

“This shows there are ways to follow your principles,” said Khan, who plans to use the money to double the size of his 40-person operation. “Other entrepreneurs are going to be inspired by this.”

Big and small investors are increasingly dipping their toes in the world of Shariah-compliant financing, a sector that has grown to more than $1.6 trillion in assets worldwide over the past three decades. It’s one that analysts see as having the potential for even greater growth as the Muslim population grows in the U.S. and Europe.

Earlier this month, Luxembourg issued a $254 million, five-year Islamic bond, known as sukuk. Meanwhile, Hong Kong last month completed its first sale of Islamic debt raising $1 billion. That came after Britain in June became the first Western nation to issue sukuk, an Arabic word that roughly translates as “certificates.”

Sukuk act much like traditional bonds, delivering payments to investors until maturity.To comply with Sharia, the bonds have to be tied to some sort of physical asset. Instead of interest, investors are being rewarded with a share of the profit derived from the asset.

Goldman Sachs and HSBC are among western financial service behemoths that have introduced sukuk in recent years. And in the U.S. for the last decade, a number of banks have been arranging for mortgages and auto loans for their Muslim clients that are permissible under Islamic law.

 

Outside the U.S., Shariah finance is making huge strides from London to Kuala Lumpur. Assets held by Islamic banks continue to grow by more than 15% per year, and analysts predict the potential size of Islamic financial markets could reach several trillion dollars in a matter of years, according to a Council on Foreign Relations report on Islamic finance published earlier this year.

“It’s a fairly global phenomena,” said Ibrahim Warde, an expert on Islamic finance at Tufts University. “Islamic finance in general has benefited from the financial crisis largely because Islamic institutions have done better than the conventional ones. One of the fundamentals of Islamic finance — beyond not just charging interest — is there must be a direct connection in between the financial product and the real economy. That’s made it more attractive.”

 

In addition to the no-interest requirement, all parties to the deal agree that the money changing hands will be spent on activities that promote social good and the banks and investors pledge to return a portion of their profits to Muslim charity.

There are also prohibitions on money from deals being used to promote or sell certain products, such as alcohol, pornography and pork.

In the Barkaat deal, the Chicago-based venture capital firm Prairie Street Capital borrowed from Ohio’s FirstMerit bank on standard terms. Prairie Street then entered into what is known in Arabic as a murabaha, a deal that is effectively structured as a lease-to-own agreement. The firm rents back equipment and the building to Barkaat at a marked up rate.

A Chicago investment bank, Sikich, assisted Barkaat in brokering the deal.

Michael Barry, president of Prairie Street Capital, said his firm was enticed by Barkaat, even as the Midwest has seen several mainstream meat producers go out of business in recent years. With the U.S. Muslim population projected to grow by 35% in the next 20 years, Barkaat was uniquely positioned, Barry said.

“We saw a business that we felt good about owning, we felt good about being part of,” Barry said. “It’s a business we can add value to and we could make money with. It’s what drove us to the decision.”

Khan, whose first career was in IT, knows first-hand the demand for his product. When his family moved to Chicago from Bombay in the mid-1980s, they struggled to find halal meat.

For years, he looked for slaughterhouses, like the one he eventually bought in 2009, that would let him come in and slaughter his own lamb or goat, so that he could be assured his family was eating authentic halal meat.

Already, Khan is selling his meat directly to thousands of Muslim customers throughout the country, who buy his lamb, goat and veal, and have it shipped to them. (With the $2 million cash infusion, he plans to buy new equipment and retrofit parts of his slaughterhouse, so that he can begin slaughtering cattle as well.)

While most of his customers shop online, many come to check out his facility in person. Earlier this month, hundreds of Muslim families came to his slaughterhouse to kill lambs themselves to mark the holy day of Eid al-Adha.

Non-Muslims are also his customers, with much of his product being sold to a Wisconsin meat company that sells high-end organic meats to grocers.

“There’s a good chance that piece of lamb you are buying at Whole Foods is halal, even though it’s not branded as halal,” Khan said.

Some critics, including the conservative Center for Security Policy, warn that Americans should be wary of Shariah-compliant financing. They charge that certain aspects of Shariah are draconian, including requirements that women seek permission from their husbands before doing something as mundane as getting a driver license and calls for capital punishment for those who slander Islam.

“Islamists are attempting to impose Shariah Compliant Finance (SCF) on Western institutions to use our own financial strengths against us,” the group writes on its blog dedicated to the issue, Shariah Finance Watch. “The most serious problem with SCF is that it legitimates and institutionalizes Shariah law… a theo-political, legal doctrine violently opposed to Western values.”

Chris Geier, partner-in-charge at Sikich, the investment bank that helped broker the Barkaat deal, said such criticism is unfair.

“This is a company in the U.S., legally domiciled, approved by the USDA to do business the way they are doing it,” Geier said of Barkaat. “We try to help companies and support their business plan and therefore support this economy. It is done without a belief about what they do religiously.”

Khan said he’s unfazed by the criticism, and instead said his deal shows that American financial institutions are beginning to see Islam in granularity that they hadn’t before.

“It’s progress when you can find a way to do business and stay true to your beliefs,” he said.

 

 
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Men come to aid of Muslim women attacked in a bigoted tirade

Men come to aid of Muslim women attacked in a bigoted tirade

STANDING UP: From left, James Turvey of Hamilton, Pattrick Burgess of Melbourne (formerly of Newcastle), Justin Lanz of Hamilton, and Mark Wojcik of Merewether, who intervened to assist two Muslim women who were victims of an alleged racist attack in Newcastle West. Picture Max Mason-Hubers

STANDING UP: From left, James Turvey of Hamilton, Pattrick Burgess of Melbourne (formerly of Newcastle), Justin Lanz of Hamilton, and Mark Wojcik of Merewether, who intervened to assist two Muslim women who were victims of an alleged racist attack in Newcastle West. Picture Max Mason-Hubers

MEET the anti-racism heroes who  came to the aid of two Muslim women as they were  being attacked in a bigoted tirade in Newcastle.

The  friends, who were skating  at Newcastle West when they intervened to help the mother and daughter on Monday night, say more people need to take a stand against ‘‘weak’’ and ‘‘cowardly’’ vilification.

Scott William Papworth, 27, has denied verbally attacking the women and threatening to kill those who came to their aid,  claiming he was only one of numerous people in the vicinity and that he had been acting in self-defence against the skating group.

It’s alleged he swore at the women and told them: ‘‘We are Westerners and you’re not meant to be here.’’

Mr Papworth, of Bingleburra outside Dungog, pleaded not guilty to five charges in Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday, including that he intimidated and stalked the women,  assaulted one of the men who came to their  aid and stole two mobile phones.

Mr Papworth was refused bail after magistrate Ian Cheetham  described the verbal assault as  ‘‘made on a racial basis upon persons who were innocently going about their business’’.

Prosecutor Sergeant Karl Moir  urged the magistrate to consider the charges ‘‘in the present climate’’.

‘‘We are not just looking at a vacuum here,’’ he told the court.

In a statement tendered to court, police alleged the two women were wearing traditional Muslim hijabs as they drove  along Smith Street about 7pm on Monday.

  A man allegedly approached their vehicle and said, ‘‘We are Westerners and you’re not meant to be here’’ and  then he punched the driver’s side wing mirror.

 The daughter drove five metres and got out to fix the mirror. But as she tried to get back in the car, police allege the man forced the left side of his body into the car, took hold of the steering wheel and put his foot on the accelerator for about 10 seconds.  The car was in park and didn’t move.

The statement said Patrick Burgess, James Turvey and four other men saw what had happened and became concerned for the women’s safety.

As they approached the car they heard the man yell out ‘‘you Musi c—s’’. Police allege the man  turned on the six friends and threatened to kill them. The man allegedly  stole two of their mobile phones and ran  off but was struck by a skateboard  thrown by one of the friends. He later allegedly punched Mr Burgess.

‘‘He was saying the worst things [to the women], racist profanities [then] he started swinging at each of us while we were trying to defuse situation as best we could,’’ Mr Burgess told the Newcastle Herald.

Mr Burgess said he felt ‘‘so disgusted’’ the women had been subjected to the abuse.

‘‘People need to know that this is not OK,’’ he said. ‘‘The way this situation has gotten is so not acceptable, and people need to start taking action and actively condemning this sort of activity.

‘‘It’s the indifference of good people that is bringing us down.’’

The case comes at a time of increasing community unrest and concern that Australia’s mission against Islamic State in Iraq is fuelling attacks on Muslims in Australia.

Mr Turvey said he felt ‘‘frustrated’’ that other people had driven past while the attack was taking place.

‘‘If you look at YouTube videos of verbal or physical assaults on public transport, there’s grown men …  guys I’m sure on the weekend are watching footy talking about how tough they are – but when people are being abused or bullied on the streets these people are so quick to turn a blind eye,’’ he said.

The statement said Mr Papworth was arrested a short distance away and claimed to police that three young men had been set upon by the skaters and that he was acting in self-defence.

‘‘The accused stated he was unaware of any Muslim lady or any incident involving a vehicle,’’ the statement said.

Solicitor Bryony Barber said her client denied being the racist attacker, telling the court he was in town to go to the beach and visit his sister and was one of numerous people in the vicinity.

Mr Cheetham said Mr Papworth represented an unacceptable risk and refused him bail.

 

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Muslims Form Human Chain To Protect Christians During Mass

Pakistani Muslims Form Human Chain To Protect Christians During Mass (PHOTOS)

Posted: 10/08/2013 10:43 am EDT Updated: 10/08/2013 12:07 pm EDT
MUSLIMS AND CHRISTIANS HUMAN CHAIN
 
 
 

Hand in hand as many as 200-300 people formed a human chain outside the St Anthony’s Church adjacent to the District Police Lines at the Empress Road, in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack two weeks back, which resulted in over a 100 deaths. The twin suicide attack on All Saints church occurred after Sunday mass ended and is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians.

Read whole story on The Express Tribune here

men holding up hands

one nation one blood

women holding hands

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Identifying Edible And Medicinal Plants

I

Identifying Edible And Medicinal Plants

Picture of Identifying Edible And Medicinal Plants
Ever since the Neolithic Revolution, humans have focused mainly on other things than hunting and gathering. This is still true today. With today’s high tech world, humans don’t have to focus on their very survival. They can just drive to the store and buy everything they would ever need. Back in the Stone Age, the environment was their superstore. During the Paleolithic Age (Stone Age), humans relied solely on hunting and gathering for food. Once one knew what plants to eat and how to hunt game, they could live off the land. They were nomads, meaning they had no permanent home. They followed the animals, every season coming back to the same areas to gather plants they knew grew well in that area (and maybe exclusively). Once agriculture was established, there was no need to follow the animals and travel from place to place gathering food and supplies. Since there was a reliable source of food, they could stay in one place, developing permanent shelters and growing in numbers. Since their survival basics were covered, they could look at other ways to pass the time. Tools and arts were developed because of this. Eventually, they began to rely more heavily on trade from other villages for food and supplies. This has grown into today. Now people rely fully on others to feed and take care of themselves. Every person should know how to take care of themselves.Today I would like to share with you some wild plants that natives relied on for food and supplies. Nature will provide anything you need if you know how to look.
 
 
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Traditionally, men were the hunters and women were the gatherers but both knew each others’ tasks. Step 1: Gather Materials The only materials needed are your two hands and common sense. Sometimes digging sticks were used but today we won’t need one. A digging stick is a sturdy branch with a limb sticking out of one end. The stick acts as a foot peg much like on today’s shovels. The digging stick is pushed into the ground like a shovel and is used to dig up under roots and break up hard ground, just like today’s shovels are used.
 
 

Step 2: Violets

Picture of Violets
Blue Violets: Full plant. Likes shady spots. Leaves taste the best, but the whole plant can be eaten. Note the heart shaped leaf.
 
 

Step 3: Burdock

Picture of Burdock
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Burdock: Roots. Dig around the plant with your hands, a rock, or digging stick. The root will be about the size of a carrot. Eat raw or cooked.
 
 

Step 4: Ragweed

Picture of Ragweed
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Ragweed is a medicinal plant that when the leaves are applied to bleeding cuts, it stops bleeding. This means it is styptic. If you get a cut, simply smash and roll the leaf in between your fingers and press onto cut. When it gets bloody, change it out.

 
 

Step 5: Pine Tree Needles And Inner Bark

Picture of Pine Tree Needles And Inner Bark
The needles of pine trees can be chewed on and spat out, swallowing the vitamin c rich fluids. Also, the white inner bark can gathered by knocking the brown outer bark off and peeling the inner bark off. They both are slightly bitter, but make any easy meal.
 
 

Step 6: Sassafras Leaves

Picture of Sassafras Leaves
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14 9:18 PM.jpg
Sassafras, a small and usually slender tree can easily be misidentified. There are three types of leaves: single lobed leafs, two lobed leafs that look like mittens, and the classic 3 lobed symmetrical leaf. Leaves can be eaten raw, although slimy. The smaller the tree, the better. I usually look for under 5 feet because they taste the best. A little larger and they can taste bitter. They taste like fruit loops. Also, the root can be boiled to make crude root beer.
 
 

Step 7: Passionflower

Picture of Passionflower
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14 9:18 PM.jpg
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Passionflower, or Maypop, produces a sweet tasting fruit that can be eaten raw. Consistency of bananas.
 
 

Step 8: Plantains

Picture of Plantains
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Plantains, such as broadleaf shown here, can be eaten like spinach. Also, the seeds can be added to soup to thicken it. If you are allergic to ant or bee stings, and you get stung or bit, chew up the leaf and apply to bite. It will save you a trip to the hospital.
 
 

Step 9: Dandelions

Picture of Dandelions
Common dandelion greens can be eaten raw or boiled like mustard greens. They are quite tasty.
 
 

Step 10: Yellow Woodsorrel

Picture of Yellow Woodsorrel
The whole plant can be eaten raw. Tastes great, has a citrus-lemony taste and freshens breath.
 
 

Step 11: Persimmon

Picture of Persimmon
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14 9:18 PM.jpg
Ripe persimmons taste sweeter than sugar. Unripe persimmons dry your mouth out they’re so bitter (astringent). They are however, full of large seeds. A few minutes worth of gathering off the ground provides gallons worth.
 
 

Step 12: Grapes (muscadine)

Picture of Grapes (muscadine)
Wild muscadine grapes provide a nice treat while gathering.
 
 

Step 13: Clover (white/red)

Picture of Clover (white/red)
Clover leafs and blooms can be eaten raw and added to salads.

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Pakistani Muslims Form Human Chain To Protect Christians During Mass (PHOTOS)

Pakistani Muslims Form Human Chain To Protect Christians During Mass (PHOTOS) The Express Tribune  | By Web Desk / Aroosa Shaukat Posted: 10/08/2013 10:43 am EDT Updated: 10/08/2013 12:07 pm EDT Share 11116 Tweet 1205 0 Email 282 Comment 2183 Hand in hand as many as 200-300 people formed a human chain outside the St Anthony’s Church adjacent to the District Police Lines at the Empress Road, in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack two weeks back, which resulted in over a 100 deaths. The twin suicide attack on All Saints church occurred after Sunday mass ended and is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians. Read whole story on The Express Tribune here ALSO ON HUFFPOST: Close Amazing Mosques 1 of 51   WikiMedia Next Previous Next MORE: Interfaith Lahore Christianity Islam St Anthonys Church Pakistan Human Chain

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How to root Kitkat version of Micromax A350 Canvas Knight

How to root Kitkat version of Micromax A350 Canvas Knight

 
Micromax released KitKat 4.4.2 New update for Micromax A350 Canvas Knight but did not provide any app for rooting this update, So here is an easy and safe tutorial of rooting and install of CWM/TWRP recovery processes of Canvas Knight. This is the first phone from Micromax with a 16 megapixel camera, 5 megapixel secondary cameras and Octa-core chipset clocked at 2GHz. This is a MediaTek MT6592 processor chipset. Canvas Knight A350 comes with 2 GB RAM, 32 GB internal memory and 5-inch full HD and 2350 mAh Battery.

Micromax A350 is great phone and must be rooted because rooting allows you to maximise the potential of your phone without any restrictions. After rooting you can install custom apps, custom Rom and custom setting in your phone. But before rooting you must read Root Advantage and Disadvantage by this post, and then follow these steps to root your phone.

Preparation of flash/update:

1. Take a backup of your phone Click here.
2. Your phone battery should be charged to 80% minimum.
3. Read all steps then do it carefully.
4. Make sure there is a proper power backup for your PC.
 
 

Download:

1. MT6592 Scatter file Click here to download

 
2.  Driver and SP Tool V5.1352.01 for Canvas Knight KitKat update Click here to download

3. CWM Recovery Click here to download or TWRP recovery Click here to downloadand Update-SuperSU-2.1.zip file Click here to download

How to Root and install CWM recovery on Micromax A350 Knight:

Step 1: Install drivers in your PC (If you feel any problem in installing driver then watch this video Click here)  and Enable USB Debugging on your Phone. Go to Settings >>> Developer options >>> USB debugging check it ( If your phone have Android 4.2 or upper version then see how to enable Developer options here is guide of this Click here). After then switch off your phone.

 
Enable-debugging

Step 2:  Download SuperSU file and copy in your phone memory card. Now Download CWM recovery and scatter file of your phone and extract these file in a folder where you want. Extract and open the SP Tool. Sptool.exe Run as Administrator.
 
SP-Tool
 
Step 3: You will see an SP tool window, now click on the scatter-Loading option in the SP tool. Then you will get the new tab of SP Tool which you ask the location of the scatter file on your PC. Now select the “Android_scatter_emmc.txt”  fileSee in this image.

select-the-file-Android-scatter-file


Step 4: Now connect your switch off phone with PC via USB cable (Make sure your phone is switched off).

Connect-your-Phone


Step 5: SP Tool detect your phone and process will start. If Sptool is not recognize/detect your phone then install vcom driver read this post it will help you 
click here  (Driver already in phone flash drive if you don’t have these drivers then install it)


Root-via-Sptool


Step 6: Now start installing recovery in your phone by flashing.

start-downloading-recovery


Note: – Don’t interrupt this process as it can potentially brick your device. Make sure no power interruption takes place.

Step 7:  After the process complete, a green ring will appear. 

green-ring


Step 8: Disconnect your phone. 


Step 9: Do not start your phone. Press and hold vol. up & down + power button then select “recovery mode” (If your touch not work then use volume up and down key for menu up and down and Power button as a enter button)
 
recovery-mode
 
Step 10. Click on install button/ choose install and select SuperSU-v2.01.zip  file from your save location on your SD card and install this file. Now  reboot your phone.

If you feel any problem then watch this video click here.

Enjoy Rooted phone.
 
Note: I am not responsible if you make Mistakes and Bricked Devices.