Which Solar Panel Type is Best? Mono vs. multicrystalline vs. Thin Film

Which Solar Panel Type is Best? Mono- vs. Polycrystalline vs. Thin Film


You are thinking about buying solar panels, but got confused about which type to go for? You’re at the right place. There’s a myriad of variables that you should take into account when you are buying a solar photovoltaic (PV) system – our job here at Energy Informative is to help you sort through them!

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about the different types of solar panels for home use (mono-, polycrystalline and thin film).

Let’s start with the different types of solar panels currently on the market, list their benefits and downsides, and then look at a few typical scenarios where certain types would be the better than others (hopefully one of them resonates with you).


The term solar panels will be used to describe photovoltaic solar panels (the type that generates electricity), not solar thermal collectors.

Crystalline Silicon (c-Si)

Almost 90% of the World’s photovoltaics today are based on some variation of silicon.[1] In 2011, about 95% of all shipments by U.S. manufacturers to the residential sector were crystalline silicon solar panels.[2]

The silicon used in PV takes many forms. The main difference is the purity of the silicon. 

But what does silicon purity really mean? The more perfectly aligned the silicon molecules are, the better the solar cell will be at converting solar energy (sunlight) into electricity (the photoelectric effect).

The efficiency of solar panels goes hand in hand with purity, but the processes used to enhance the purity of silicon are expensive. Efficiency should not be your primary concern. As you will later discover, cost-and space-efficiency are the determining factors for most people.

Compare Solar Panels is the most comprehensive and up-to-date solar panel comparison service on the Internet. Compare the specifications of 10,000+ solar modules. Solar Cell Comparison Chart provides a quick overview over the different cell types, their benefits and how they compare against each other.

Crystalline silicon forms the basis of mono- and polycrystalline silicon solar cells:


Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells

Solar cells made of monocrystalline silicon (mono-Si), also called single-crystalline silicon (single-crystal-Si), are quite easily recognizable by an external even coloring and uniform look, indicating high-purity silicon, as you can see on the picture below:

Monocrystalline solar panels



Monocrystalline solar cells are made out of silicon ingots, which are cylindrical in shape. To optimize performance and lower costs of a single monocrystalline solar cell, four sides are cut out of the cylindrical ingots to make silicon wafers, which is what gives monocrystalline solar panels their characteristic look.

A good way to separate mono- and polycrystalline solar panels is that polycrystalline solar cells look perfectly rectangular with no rounded edges.



  • Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rates since they are made out of the highest-grade silicon. The efficiency rates of monocrystalline solar panels are typically 15-20%. SunPower produces the highest efficiency solar panels on the U.S. market today. Their E20 series provide panel conversion efficiencies of up to 20.1%.[3]Update (April, 2013): SunPower has now released the X-series at a record-breaking efficiency of 21.5%. [7]
  • Monocrystalline silicon solar panels are space-efficient. Since these solar panels yield the highest power outputs, they also require the least amount of space compared to any other types. Monocrystalline solar panels produce up to four times the amount of electricity as thin-film solar panels.
  • Monocrystalline solar panels live the longest. Most solar panel manufacturers put a 25-year warranty on their monocrystalline solar panels.
  • Tend to perform better than similarly rated polycrystalline solar panels at low-light conditions.
The efficiency of individual solar cells is higher than for entire solar panels/modules. For a complete overview over how the efficiency rates of the various solar cell technologies have advanced since 1975 check out Best Research-Cell Efficiencies (NREL). The efficiency rates in this article refer to solar panel/module efficiencies. Check out What Factors Determine Solar Panel Efficiency? for more information on this subject.



  • Monocrystalline solar panels are the most expensive. From a financial standpoint, a solar panel that is made of polycrystalline silicon (and in some cases thin-film) can be a better choice for some homeowners.
  • If the solar panel is partially covered with shade, dirt or snow, the entire circuit can break down. Consider getting micro-inverters instead of central string inverters if you think coverage will be a problem. Micro-inverters will make sure that not the entire solar array is affected by shading issues with only one of the solar panels.
  • The Czochralski process is used to produce monocrystalline silicon. It results in large cylindrical ingots. Four sides are cut out of the ingots to make silicon wafers. A significant amount of the original silicon ends up as waste.
  • Monocrystalline solar panels tend to be more efficient in warm weather. Performance suffers as temperature goes up, but less so than polycrystalline solar panels. For most homeowners temperature is not a concern.
This article is solely about different types of solar panels. If you want to learn about what other equipment a photovoltaic system consists of, go to Grid-Tied, Off-Grid and Hybrid Solar Systems.


Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells

The first solar panels based on polycrystalline silicon, which also is known as polysilicon (p-Si) and multi-crystalline silicon (mc-Si), were introduced to the market in 1981. Unlike monocrystalline-based solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels do not require the Czochralski process. Raw silicon is melted and poured into a square mold, which is cooled and cut into perfectly square wafers.

Polycrystalline solar panels



  • The process used to make polycrystalline silicon is simpler and cost less. The amount of waste silicon is less compared to monocrystalline.
  • Polycrystalline solar panels tend to have slightly lower heat tolerance than monocrystalline solar panels. This technically means that they perform slightly worse than monocrystalline solar panels in high temperatures. Heat can affect the performance of solar panels and shorten their lifespans. However, this effect is minor, and most homeowners do not need to take it into account.



  • The efficiency of polycrystalline-based solar panels is typically 13-16%. Because of lower silicon purity, polycrystalline solar panels are not quite as efficient as monocrystalline solar panels.
  • Lower space-efficiency. You generally need to cover a larger surface to output the same electrical power as you would with a solar panel made of monocrystalline silicon. However, this does not mean every monocrystalline solar panel perform better than those based on polycrystalline silicon.
  • Monocrystalline and thin-film solar panels tend to be more aesthetically pleasing since they have a more uniform look compared to the speckled blue color of polycrystalline silicon.


String Ribbon Solar Cells

String Ribbon solar panels are also made out of polycrystalline silicon. String Ribbon is the name of a manufacturing technology that produces a form of polycrystalline silicon. Temperature-resistant wires are pulled through molten silicon, which results in very thin silicon ribbons. Solar panels made with this technology looks similar to traditional polycrystalline solar panels.

Evergreen Solar was the main manufacturer of solar panels using the String Ribbon technology. The company is now bankrupt, rendering the future for String Ribbon solar panels unclear.



  • The manufacturing of String Ribbon solar panels only uses half the amount silicon as monocrystalline manufacturing. This contributes to lower costs.



  • The manufacturing of String Ribbon solar panels is significantly more energy extensive and more costly.
  • Efficiency is at best on par with the low-end polycrystalline solar panels at around 13-14%. In research laboratories, researchers have pushed the efficiency of String Ribbon solar cells as high as 18.3%.[3]
  • String Ribbon solar panels have the lowest space-efficiency of any of the main types of crystalline-based solar panels.


Thin-Film Solar Cells (TFSC)

Depositing one or several thin layers of photovoltaic material onto a substrate is the basic gist of how thin-film solar cells are manufactured. They are also known as thin-film photovoltaic cells (TFPV). The different types of thin-film solar cells can be categorized by which photovoltaic material is deposited onto the substrate:

  • Amorphous silicon (a-Si)
  • Cadmium telluride (CdTe)
  • Copper indium gallium selenide (CIS/CIGS)
  • Organic photovoltaic cells (OPC)


Depending on the technology, thin-film module prototypes have reached efficiencies between 7–13% and production modules operate at about 9%. Future module efficiencies are expected to climb close to the about 10–16%.[4]

The market for thin-film PV grew at a 60% annual rate from 2002 to 2007.[5] In 2011, close to 5% of U.S. photovoltaic module shipments to the residential sector were based on thin-film.[1]

Thin-film solar panels



  • Mass-production is simple. This makes them and potentially cheaper to manufacture than crystalline-based solar cells.
  • Their homogenous appearance makes them look more appealing.
  • Can be made flexible, which opens up many new potential applications.
  • High temperatures and shading have less impact on solar panel performance.
  • In situations where space is not an issue, thin-film solar panels can make sense.



  • Thin-film solar panels are in general not very useful for in most residential situations.They are cheap, but they also require a lot of space. SunPower`s monocrystalline solar panels produce up to four times the amount of electricity as thin-film solar panels for the same amount of space.[3]
  • Low space-efficiency also means that the costs of PV-equipment (e.g. support structures and cables) will increase.
  • Thin-film solar panels tend to degrade faster than mono- and polycrystalline solar panels, which is why they typically come with a shorter warranty.


Solar panels based on amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride and copper indium gallium selenide are currently the only thin-film technologies that are commercially available on the market:


Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) Solar Cells

Because the output of electrical power is low, solar cells based on amorphous silicon have traditionally only been used for small-scale applications such as in pocket calculators. However, recent innovations have made them more attractive for some large-scale applications too.

With a manufacturing technique called “stacking”, several layers of amorphous silicon solar cells can be combined, which results in higher efficiency rates (typically around 6-8%).

Only 1% of the silicon used in crystalline silicon solar cells is required in amorphous silicon solar cells. On the other hand, stacking is expensive.

Read more about this technology in Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels.


Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Solar Cells

Cadmium telluride is the only thin-film solar panel technology that has surpassed the cost-efficiency of crystalline silicon solar panels in a significant portion of the market (multi-kilowatt systems).

The efficiency of solar panels based on cadmium telluride usually operates in the range 9-11%.

First Solar has installed over 5 gigawatts (GW) of cadmium telluride thin-film solar panels worldwide. The same company holds the world record for CdTe PV module efficiency of 14.4%.[6]


Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIS/CIGS) Solar Cells

Compared to the other thin-film technologies above, CIGS solar cells have showed the most potential in terms of efficiency. These solar cells contain less amounts of the toxic material cadmium that is found in CdTe solar cells. Commercial production of flexible CIGS solar panels was started in Germany in 2011.

The efficiency rates for CIGS solar panels typically operate in the range 10-12 %.

Many thin-film solar cell types are still early in the research and testing stages. Some of them have enormous potential, and we will likely see more of them in the future.

Learn more about thin film solar panels here: Best Thin Film Solar Panels – Amorphous, Cadmium Telluride or CIGS?


Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)

Lastly, we`ll briefly touch on the subject of building integrated photovoltaics. Rather than an individual type of solar cell technology, building integrated photovoltaics have several subtypes (or different methods of integration), which can be based on both crystalline-based and thin-film solar cells.

Building integrated photovoltaics can be facades, roofs, windows, walls and many other things that is combined with photovoltaic material. If you have the extra money and want to seemlessly integrate photovoltaics with the rest of your home, you should look up building integrated photovoltaics. For most homeowners it`s simply way too expensive.

This article covered the advantages and disadvantages of different solar panel types. If you want to learn more solar power in general, go to Solar Energy Pros and Cons.


Best Solar Panel Type for Home Use

Having your particular situation evaluated by an expert would be the best way to find out what solar panel type would be best for your household. Here are some of the typical scenarios we see:


Limited Space

For those who don’t have enough space for thin-film solar panels (the majority of us), or if you want to limit the amount of space their PV-system takes up, crystalline-based solar panels are your best choice (and they would likely be the your best choice even if you had the extra space). There are not a whole lot of solar installers and providers that offer thin-film solar panels for homeowners at this point.

You will have a choice of different solar panel sizes. The 180, 200 and 220-watt rated solar panels are usually physically the same size. They are manufactured exactly the same way, but under- or overperform when tested, hence ending up in different categories for power output. If size is important, you should go for the highest rated power output for a particular physical size.

Both mono- and polycrystalline solar panels are good choices and offer similar advantages. Even though polycrystalline solar panels tend to be less space-efficient and monocrystalline solar panels tend to produce more electrical power, this is not always the case. It would be nearly impossible to recommend one or the other by not examining the solar panels and your situation closer.

Monocrystalline solar panels are slightly more expensive, but also slightly more space-efficient. If you had one polycrystalline and one monocrystalline solar panel, both rated 220-watt, they would generate the same amount of electricity, but the one made of monocrystalline silicon would take up less space.

We always keep an up-to-date list over the most efficient solar panels on the market today: What are the Most Efficient Solar Panels?


Lowest Costs

If you want the lowest costs per rated power, or in other words, pay as little as possible for a certain amount of electricity, you should investigate if thin-film solar panels could in fact be a better choice than mono- or polycrystalline solar panels.

To see which solar panels are currently the cheapest, head over to Top 10 Cheapest (Best Value) Solar Panels.


References: [1] National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), [2] U.S. Energy Information Administration, [3] SunPower, [4] Renewable Energy World, [5] Sustainable Energy World, [6] First Solar, [7] SunPower.




New versions of The Pirate Bay emerge after the main site remains offline

New versions of The Pirate Bay emerge after the main site remains offline

2000px The Pirate Bay Logo.Svg


The News Minute | December 14, 2014 | 2:50 pm IST

It has been over 2 weeks since the world’s most popular torrent website, The Pirate Bay went offline, but their disappearance has not discouraged replacement sites to take its place, reported Dailydot.

The Pirate Bay works as a search engine for torrent files which in turn allow people to use file sharing programs like BitTorrent to download particular files from each other.

According to the report a number of sites have cropped to take the place of The Pirate Bay using various alterations of their famous logo. The report also says that it is practically impossible to shut The Pirate Bay as they constantly keep changing server locations which have been done nine times in 2013 alone according to the report.

In addition Gizmodo reported that popular torrent site Isohunt launched a new fully functional website called oldpiratebay.org which allows its users to search through Pirate Bay archives.

Surprisingly with PirateBay.se still offline the Indian version of the torrent search website still continues to provide its services to its users.


Quantum physics just got less complicated

Quantum physics just got less complicated

Dec 19, 2014 


Quantum physics says that particles can behave like waves, and vice versa. Researchers have now shown that this 'wave-particle duality' is simply the quantum uncertainty principle in disguise. Credit: Timothy Yeo / CQT, National University of Singapore 

Here's a nice surprise: quantum physics is less complicated than we thought. An international team of researchers has proved that two peculiar features of the quantum world previously considered distinct are different manifestations of the same thing. The result is published 19 December in Nature Communications. 

Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner made the breakthrough while at the Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore. They found that 'wave-particle duality' is simply the quantum 'uncertainty principle' in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.

"The connection between uncertainty and wave-particle duality comes out very naturally when you consider them as questions about what information you can gain about a system. Our result highlights the power of thinking about physics from the perspective of information," says Wehner, who is now an Associate Professor at QuTech at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

The discovery deepens our understanding of quantum physics and could prompt ideas for new applications of wave-particle duality.

Wave-particle duality is the idea that a quantum object can behave like a wave, but that the wave behaviour disappears if you try to locate the object. It's most simply seen in a double slit experiment, where single particles, electrons, say, are fired one by one at a screen containing two narrow slits. The particles pile up behind the slits not in two heaps as classical objects would, but in a stripy pattern like you'd expect for waves interfering. At least this is what happens until you sneak a look at which slit a particle goes through - do that and the interference pattern vanishes.

The quantum uncertainty principle is the idea that it's impossible to know certain pairs of things about a quantum particle at once. For example, the more precisely you know the position of an atom, the less precisely you can know the speed with which it's moving. It's a limit on the fundamental knowability of nature, not a statement on measurement skill. The new work shows that how much you can learn about the wave versus the particle behaviour of a system is constrained in exactly the same way. 

Wave-particle duality and uncertainty have been fundamental concepts in quantum physics since the early 1900s. "We were guided by a gut feeling, and only a gut feeling, that there should be a connection," says Coles, who is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Quantum Computing in Waterloo, Canada.

It's possible to write equations that capture how much can be learned about pairs of properties that are affected by the uncertainty principle. Coles, Kaniewski and Wehner are experts in a form of such equations known as 'entropic uncertainty relations', and they discovered that all the maths previously used to describe wave-particle duality could be reformulated in terms of these relations.

"It was like we had discovered the 'Rosetta Stone' that connected two different languages," says Coles. "The literature on wave-particle duality was like hieroglyphics that we could now translate into our native tongue. We had several eureka moments when we finally understood what people had done," he says.

Because the entropic uncertainty relations used in their translation have also been used in proving the security of quantum cryptography - schemes for secure communication using quantum particles - the researchers suggest the work could help inspire new cryptography protocols.

In earlier papers, Wehner and collaborators found connections between the uncertainty principle and other physics, namely quantum 'non-locality' and the second law of thermodynamics. The tantalising next goal for the researchers is to think about how these pieces fit together and what bigger picture that paints of how nature is constructed.

Explore further: Duality principle is 'safe and sound': Researchers clear up apparent violation of wave-particle duality 

More information: "Equivalence of wave-particle duality to entropic uncertainty" Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomm6814 (2014) Preprint available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1403.4687

Journal reference: Nature Communications 

Provided by National University of Singapore 

Researchers discover a flaw that could let anyone listen to your cell calls

German researchers discover a flaw that could let anyone listen to your cell calls.


German researchers have discovered security flaws that could let hackers, spies and criminals listen to private phone calls and intercept text messages on a potentially massive scale – even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available.

The flaws, to be reported at a hacker conference in Hamburg this month, are the latest evidence of widespread insecurity on SS7, the global network that allows the world’s cellular carriers to route calls, texts and other services to each other. Experts say it’s increasingly clear that SS7, first designed in the 1980s, is riddled with serious vulnerabilities that undermine the privacy of the world’s billions of cellular customers.

The flaws discovered by the German researchers are actually functions built into SS7 for other purposes – such as keeping calls connected as users speed down highways, switching from cell tower to cell tower – that hackers can repurpose for surveillance because of the lax security on the network.

Those skilled at the myriad functions built into SS7 can locate callers anywhere in the world, listen to calls as they happen or record hundreds of encrypted calls and texts at a time for later decryption. There also is potential to defraud users and cellular carriers by using SS7 functions, the researchers say.

These vulnerabilities continue to exist even as cellular carriers invest billions of dollars to upgrade to advanced 3G technology aimed, in part, at securing communications against unauthorized eavesdropping. But even as individual carriers harden their systems, they still must communicate with each other over SS7, leaving them open to any of thousands of companies worldwide with access to the network. That means that a single carrier in Congo or Kazakhstan, for example, could be used to hack into cellular networks in the United States, Europe or anywhere else.

“It’s like you secure the front door of the house, but the back door is wide open,” said Tobias Engel, one of the German researchers.

Engel, founder of Sternraute, and Karsten Nohl, chief scientist for Security Research Labs, separately discovered these security weaknesses as they studied SS7 networks in recent months, after The Washington Post reported the widespread marketing of surveillance systems that use SS7 networks to locate callers anywhere in the world. The Post reported that dozens of nations had bought such systems to track surveillance targets and that skilled hackers or criminals could do the same using functions built into SS7. (The term is short for Signaling System 7 and replaced previous networks called SS6, SS5, etc.)

The researchers did not find evidence that their latest discoveries, which allow for the interception of calls and texts, have been marketed to governments on a widespread basis. But vulnerabilities publicly reported by security researchers often turn out to be tools long used by secretive intelligence services, such as the National Security Agency or Britain’s GCHQ, but not revealed to the public.

“Many of the big intelligence agencies probably have teams that do nothing but SS7 research and exploitation,” said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the ACLU and an expert on surveillance technology. “They’ve likely sat on these things and quietly exploited them.”

The GSMA, a global cellular industry group based in London, did not respond to queries seeking comment about the vulnerabilities that Nohl and Engel have found. For the Post’s article in August on location tracking systems that use SS7, GSMA officials acknowledged problems with the network and said it was due to be replaced over the next decade because of a growing list of security and technical issues.

The German researchers found two distinct ways to eavesdrop on calls using SS7 technology. In the first, commands sent over SS7 could be used to hijack a cell phone’s “forwarding” function — a service offered by many carriers. Hackers would redirect calls to themselves, for listening or recording, and then onward to the intended recipient of a call. Once that system was in place, the hackers could eavesdrop on all incoming and outgoing calls indefinitely, from anywhere in the world.

The second technique requires physical proximity but could be deployed on a much wider scale. Hackers would use radio antennas to collect all the calls and texts passing through the airwaves in an area. For calls or texts transmitted using strong encryption, such as is commonly used for advanced 3G connections, hackers could request through SS7 that each caller’s carrier release a temporary encryption key to unlock the communication after it has been recorded.

Nohl on Wednesday demonstrated the ability to collect and decrypt a text message using the phone of a German senator, who cooperated in the experiment. But Nohl said the process could be automated to allow massive decryption of calls and texts collected across an entire city or a large section of a country, using multiple antennas.

“It’s all automated, at the push of a button,” Nohl said. “It would strike me as a perfect spying capability, to record and decrypt pretty much any network… Any network we have tested, it works.”

Those tests have included more than 20 networks worldwide, including T-Mobile in the United States. The other major U.S. carriers have not been tested, though Nohl and Engel said it’s likely at least some of them have similar vulnerabilities. (Several smartphone-based text messaging systems, such as Apple’s iMessage and Whatsapp, use end-to-end encryption methods that sidestep traditional cellular text systems and likely would defeat the technique described by Nohl and Engel.)

In a statement, T-Mobile said: “T-Mobile remains vigilant in our work with other mobile operators, vendors and standards bodies to promote measures that can detect and prevent these attacks.”

The issue of cell phone interception is particularly sensitive in Germany because of news reports last year, based on documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that a phone belonging to Chancellor Angela Merkel was the subject of NSA surveillance. The techniques of that surveillance have not become public, though Nohl said that the SS7 hacking method that he and Engel discovered is one of several possibilities.

U.S. embassies and consulates in dozens of foreign cities, including Berlin, are outfitted with antennas for collecting cellular signals, according to reports by German magazine Der Spiegel, based on documents released by Snowden. Many cell phone conversations worldwide happen with either no encryption or weak encryption.

The move to 3G networks offers far better encryption and the prospect of private communications, but the hacking techniques revealed by Nohl and Engel undermine that possibility. Carriers can potentially guard their networks against efforts by hackers to collect encryption keys, but it’s unclear how many have done so. One network that operates in Germany, Vodafone, recently began blocking such requests after Nohl reported the problem to the company two weeks ago.

Nohl and Engel also have discovered new ways to track the locations of cell phone users through SS7. The Post story, in August, reported that several companies were offering governments worldwide the ability to find virtually any cell phone user, virtually anywhere in the world, by learning the location of their cell phones through an SS7 function called an “Any Time Interrogation” query.

Some carriers block such requests, and several began doing so after the Post’s report. But the researchers in recent months have found several other techniques that hackers could use to find the locations of callers by using different SS7 queries. All networks must track their customers in order to route calls to the nearest cellular towers, but they are not required to share that information with other networks or foreign governments.

Carriers everywhere must turn over location information and allow eavesdropping of calls when ordered to by government officials in whatever country they are operating in. But the techniques discovered by Nohl and Engel offer the possibility of much broader collection of caller locations and conversations, by anyone with access to SS7 and the required technical skills to send the appropriate queries.

“I doubt we are the first ones in the world who realize how open the SS7 network is,” Engel said.

Secretly eavesdropping on calls and texts would violate laws in many countries, including the United States, except when done with explicit court or other government authorization. Such restrictions likely do little to deter criminals or foreign spies, say surveillance experts, who say that embassies based in Washington likely collect cellular signals.

The researchers also found that it was possible to use SS7 to learn the phone numbers of people whose cellular signals are collected using surveillance devices. The calls transmit a temporary identification number which, by sending SS7 queries, can lead to the discovery of the phone number. That allows location tracking within a certain area, such as near government buildings.

The German senator who cooperated in Nohl’s demonstration of the technology, Thomas Jarzombek of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, said that while many in that nation have been deeply angered by revelations about NSA spying, few are surprised that such intrusions are possible.

“After all the NSA and Snowden things we’ve heard, I guess nobody believes it’s possible to have a truly private conversation on a mobile phone,” he said. “When I really need a confidential conversation, I use a fixed-line” phone.


Have more to say about this topic? Join us today for our weekly live chat, Switchback. We’ll kick things off at 11 a.m. Eastern. You can submit your questions now, right here.

Craig Timberg is a national technology reporter for The Post.

Pakistan Taliban splits over un-Islamic practices

Pakistan Taliban splits over ‘un-Islamic’ practices

By Sophie Brown and Sophia Saifi, CNN
June 2, 2014 — Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
Azam Tariq, a Mehsud faction spokesperson and Pakistan Taliban leader, says his faction is separating from the militant group.
Azam Tariq, a Mehsud faction spokesperson and Pakistan Taliban leader, says his faction is separating from the militant group.

  • Mehsud faction of Pakistan Taliban defects, citing ideological differences
  • The break comes after months of internal friction within the militant group
  • Analysts say the split weakens the Taliban, government talks played a role
  • It remands to be seen how Al Qaeda and splinter groups will respond

(CNN) — After months of infighting within the Pakistan Taliban, a major faction of the deadly militant group has apparently had enough.

The Mehsud faction has announced it’s parting ways with the central leadership of the group, known formally as the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), over ideological differences.

The breakaway faction had made attempts to convince the TTP to give up what it said were “un-Islamic” practices, such as attacks in public places, extortion, and kidnappings, and decided to separate from the banned terrorist outfit after these attempts failed, a spokesperson for the newly-formed faction, Azam Tariq, said in a statement released to the media last week.

It’s the first split since the TTP — a coalition of militant groups — was founded in 2007, seeking to establish its version of sharia law across Pakistan.


Pakistanis view of talks with Taliban


Taliban bombing kills 13 in Pakistan


New Taliban leader tried to kill Malala

Analysts say the move has major implications for alliances among Islamist groups in the region but there’s no guarantee it will lead to less violence.

The breakaway faction will be led by Khalid Mehsud — also known as Khan Syed Sajna — a TTP commander based in South Waziristan, near Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Tariq said.

It’s believed Mehsud will command as many as 2,600 tribesmen, representing around half of the TTP’s forces, although the exact number is hard to determine due to the many smaller splinter groups with changing names and allegiances in other parts of the country, according to Raza Rumi, Senior Fellow at the Jinnah Institute, a Pakistani think tank and consulting editor at The Friday Times.

Internal conflict

Tensions within the TTP have been brewing for some time. They escalated after the group’s leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in November last year, setting off a power struggle among top commanders of the TTP that led to violent clashes in recent months in which dozens of people were killed.

Appointed by a tribal council, Mullah Fazlullah has stood at the helm of the TPP since Mehsud’s death. He hails from the Swat valley and is the first TTP leader who is not a Mehsud. He has struggled to contain the internal frictions among the group’s factions, especially those within the Mehsud tribe, which makes up the majority of the TTP.

Speaking on behalf of the breakaway faction on May 28, Tariq said the TTP’s governing committee had been taken over by “criminals,” accusing the group of taking foreign funding to attack targets in Afghanistan and “spreading unfounded propaganda against the Afghan Taliban.”

The split is expected by some to weaken the Pakistan Taliban. It has been hailed as a success for the Pakistani military, which appears to have adopted a strategy of trying to divide the TTP by negotiating with moderate factions, according to Moeed W. Yusuf, director of South Asia programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington — although the military has never publicly stated this was its plan.

“Breaking an insurgent faction from within is a time-tested strategy,” Yusuf said.

Some factions of the TPP are more willing to end attacks on Pakistani authorities and civilians, in exchange for more autonomy in tribal areas than hardliners, who are determined to implement sharia law across the country.

Fazlullah, who leads the group remotely from Afghanistan, is among those fighting for Islamic law at all costs. On May 19, he said the group would not end its jihad until sharia law was established or they “embrace martyrdom.”

“The Fazlullah group is clear on (its) objectives to attack Pakistan’s army and Pakistan’s state,” Rumi from the Jinnah Institute told CNN. “The Sajna group (led by Khalid Mehsud) has reservations (about) what the military has been doing, but resists the brutal attacks on Pakistan’s army.”

The government began peace talks with the TTP earlier this year but they have yet to reach an agreement.

“I think these recent talks that the government has initiated with the TTP have played their part and it’s quite a victory for the ISI (the military’s intelligence agency) to have played a role in this split,” said Rumi.

War on terror

The ideological rift is also tied to the winding down of U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan, analysts say.

“The heart of the reason why the TTP came into being was that it opposed Pakistan’s alignment with the United States in the war on terror and the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan,” said Rumi.

“Now, with the impending NATO withdrawal, the impetus for attacks on the Pakistani state is diminishing because the U.S. has announced it will be leaving the region and of course, that changes the whole context in which (the TTP) is operating.”

The question now, says Rumi, is how Al Qaeda and other splinter groups will react. “Al Qaeda is likely to be worried about this split because in a unified strong TTP they had a very useful partner to capture more power and space in Pakistan, but now they will be feeling a little rattled by these counter-moves by Pakistan’s government and military.”

The secession also comes on the heels of a massive targeted operation in Waziristan by the Pakistani army. At least 60 terrorists were killed in airstrikes in tribal areas this month, the army claims.

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s army chief Raheel Sharif announced “together the whole nation has rejected the misplaced ideology of the terrorists, who have clearly lost their cause already and are being marginalized.”

READ: Opinion: Obama has put Pakistan drone war on hold

READ: Who are the Pakistani Taliban?

Journalist Saleem Mehsud contributed to this report.

Even The Afghan Taliban Are Saying The Pakistan Massacre Was ‘Un-Islamic’

Even The Afghan Taliban Are Saying The Pakistan Massacre Was ‘Un-Islamic’



submit to reddit

Pakistan school attack


APA Pakistani girl who was injured in a Taliban attack in a school, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014.

The Taliban attack on a school in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday was so horrific that even the Afghan Taliban has condemned it.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid released a statement saying: “The intentional killing of innocent people, children and women are against the basics of Islam and this criteria has to be considered by every Islamic party and government.”

The Pakistani Taliban and Afghan Taliban are allies but still exist as separate entities, Reuters notes. Both terrorist groups seek to overthrow the governments of their respective countries and establish an Islamic State that is governed under religious sharia law.

The Pakistani Taliban killed 148 people when they attacked the military-run Army Public School and College  school in Peshawar. Most of those killed were children. More than 100 others were wounded.

Several gunmen stormed the school with explosive strapped onto them and started shooting people at random, according to the Associated Press.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said they targeted the school’s students as revenge for the deaths of children who army soldiers allegedly killed in tribal areas, CNN reports. The terrorists also reportedly wanted to target students who might go on to join the military.



Muslims & Jews Unite Vs. Abercrombie & Fitch

Elena Scotti/The Daily Beast



Muslims & Jews Unite vs. Abercrombie & Fitch

Muslim Samantha Elauf was qualified to work at A & F—except that she wore a hijab. And now, Jewish groups have joined her fight.

Say what you want about Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F), the chain has done something special. No, I’m not talking some dazzling new clothing line for ultra hip young people. Something far better.

A&F has brought American Muslims and Jews together. Of course, the bad news for A&F is that they have united some in these two communities against them.

Last week seven orthodox Jewish groups joined with the Muslim civil rights group CAIR in filing briefs with the Supreme Court in support a lawsuit filed on behalf of Samantha Elauf against A&F. Elauf, who is Muslim, had applied for a job at an A&F store in Tulsa, Oklahoma when she was 17. The assistant manager at the A&F store had found Elauf qualified for the position and was apparently going to hire her.

However, an A&F district manager then overruled the assistant manager because he didn’t think Elauf fit A&F’s “look policy.” What part of the “look” was the issue? The part that Elauf wore a hijab. Besides the hijab, A&F doesn’t deny that Elauf was qualified.

So in steps the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which filed a claim against A&F for discrimination based on religion. For those unfamiliar with A&F’s hiring practices, the clothing chain has become a laboratory for discrimination claims thanks to its “look policy.” In fact, in 2005, A&F settled a class-action lawsuit paying $40 million to several thousand minority woman who had claimed A&F had discriminated against blacks, Hispanics, and Asiansapplying for positions in its stores.

So why are these seven Jewish groups getting involved in a case brought for a Muslim woman? Well, as Nathan Lewin, the lawyer for these Jewish organizations, explained to the Los Angeles Times, men and women in the orthodox Jewish communities have also faced discrimination when applying for certain jobs because the men wear yarmulkes and want to take the Sabbath off from work as part of their faith. Lewin noted, “It is important that these Orthodox Jewish groups express support for this Muslim woman who has had a similar experience.”

And the brief filed by CAIR expressed a similar sentiment. “This is not an issue limited to one particular religion; many followers of several other faiths, such as Judaism and Sikhism, follow their respective religiously-motivated dress and grooming practices,” it said.

There’s still one issue that prevents even greater unity. That issue is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

When I first posted the LA Times article about this interfaith alliance on social media, many responded that they were surprised to see Muslims and Jews standing together. However, in reality, this should be the norm, not a “pleasant surprise.”

In the United States, Jews and Muslims have a great deal in common. The most obvious being that both Judaism and Islam are minority faiths in America. Both are about 2 percent of the overall population. And sadly members of both communities have been targets of bigotry and endured discrimination and worse simply because of their faith.

While anti-Semitism in the United States is thankfully at all time lows, it was not always like this. There were times in our nation’s recent history where anti-Semitism was part of mainstream America, such as when people like Father Charles Coughlin in the 1930’s and 40’s spewed anti-Jewish diatribes to a radio audience of over 30 million people. And even today there are despicable instances of hate crimes versus Jews in our country.

Regarding Muslims, we have clearly seen in recent times an uptick in anti—Muslim bigotry. We’ve seen it on TV shows from Bill Maher to Fox News. And we’ve seen politicians openly ginning up anti-Muslim hate for political gain. In fact, in Oklahoma, where the A&F store at issue is located, State Representative John Bennett (R) publicly declared a few months ago that American Muslims are a “cancer that must be cut out of the American society.” And the list goes on.

While there has been increased interfaith work between Muslim and Jewish communities in recent years, there’s still one issue that prevents even greater unity. That issue is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

I’m not saying every Muslim and every Jew in America is fixated on this one issue, nor that there aren’t Jews and Muslims who find common ground on this issue. But still the Middle East conflict does cause tension between many in these two communities. I saw it first hand during the conflict in Gaza this summer when friendships ended as the conflict and the rhetoric heated up.

The reality is that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is likely going to be with us for the foreseeable future. But disagreeing over one issue should not stand in the way of finding common ground on other subjects that are of mutual concern to our respective communities.

Perhaps one approach is to compartmentalize our views on the Middle East so that it doesn’t prevent us from building alliances on other issues. For example, we might not agree on whether Jerusalem should be divided, but I bet we all agree that people in our respective communities shouldn’t be discriminated against when applying for a job because a man wears a yarmulke or a woman wears a hijab.

The Supreme Court will hear Elauf’s case in early 2015. Regardless of the court’s decision, the Muslims and Jewish groups who have come together in this matter are setting a great example to not define our communities’ relationship with each other by our differences on one issue, but rather by the numerous issues we agree upon.


Send a file to PC via Payphone

Picture of File Transferring in Emergencies

Next time you go to a place in the world without an internet connection to save lives, make sure your laptop has some software installed. Also take a digital sound recorded, 3.5mm male to make cable and the headphones.

In my previous instructable, I was transferring files via radio by using morse code.

It was not practical, but it was fun.

There are other, much faster ways to transfer files via radio, but that’s for a future instructable.

Let’s have a look at how can you transfer small files to your computer from anywhere in the world.

I am not talking about using the internet, I am talking about file transfer via ordinary phone to your PC at home.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1:

Picture of

Before going somewhere far, you need to set up your computers.

Computer that will stay at home and the laptop you will take with you.

Computer that stays at home/office/lab

Turn on your computer, connect the mobile phone to the laptop’s Line-In/Mic-In port via 3.5mm audio cable. Install an app of your choice that can automatically answer a call. I used “Auto Answer Incoming Call” for Android. Make sure you turn off the sound and vibration mode. Run the “CallTTY” program and change the mode to “ASCII-7” or “ASCII-8“. Make sure your computer is not going to turn off or go to sleep.

Install a “Base64 Encode/Decode Utility” on the computer.

Computer that goes with you

Install “CallTTY” and “Base64 Encode/Decode Utility

Now you are ready to take the flight!


Step 2:

Picture of

After collecting important data about “insert the subject”, you might want to send it back home for your colleges to analyse.

If there is no internet connection, but there is a phone, it’s your lucky day.

For this project, I used a small “.png” picture (1.17KB.)
Copy your file to the “Base64” program’s folder. My file was “STF.png” Drag it on top of the “encb64.exe” file. Bas64 encoder will create a new file called “name.OriginalFileExtension.b64“, so in my case “STF.png.b64” Newly created file, will contain a lot of symbols. Change the files extension to “txt“, in my case “STF.png.txt“.

Open that text file and Add a line at the top and a line at the bottom, containing text of your choice.

That text can help you to understand where code starts and where ends in case of any problems. It will also separate the information, in case you want to send more than one file.

I added “StartStartStartStartStartStartStartStart…” at the top and “EndEndEndEndEndEndEndEnd…” at the bottom.

Save it!


Step 3:

Picture of

Run the “CallTTY” software and change the “Mode” to the same your computer at home is set to – “ASCII -7” or “ASCII -8

At this point you have a choice to use the laptop to send the information home or first, transfer information to the digital sound recorder.

I used a public phone, so it made sense to record information to the sound recorder.

Connect the sound recorder to your PC and press record..

Open the “STF.png.txt” file and wait until it goes through all the text.

It will make an interesting sound.


Step 4:

Picture of

When audio has been recorded, go to the nearest PayPhone and dial your mobile phone’s number at home.

Once you hear that the call has been answered, start playing the sound until it finishes.

CallTTY” program will record the sound via mobile phone and decode it.

I did some experiments and found out, that sometimes, it’s better if you start playing the sound for a few seconds, then stop, start again, stop and on the 3rd time play all the file.

Not sure why, but my sound was decoded bad if I transferred it straight away. When I did this play a few seconds -stop, play a few seconds-stop, play it all technique, file was transfected perfectly.

It might be because my file was not 16bit mono as advised by “CallTTY”. I also used unregistered version, registered version should unlock some features.

Now your colleagues can decode the file.


Step 5:

Picture of

On the computer at home, copy the information from “CallTTY” to the “Notepad” and only keep the text between “StartStartStartStartStartStartStartStart…” and “EndEndEndEndEndEnd…” lines.

Save the file in “base64” folder as “name.originalExtension.b64“, in my case “pic.png.b64“.

Drag the file on top of the “decb64.exe

A new file will be created – “name.originalExtension.b64.out“, in my case “pic.png.b64.out“.

Rename the file, leaving only the original extension – “pic.png“.

If information was transferred correctly, you should see your file.

It took me around 6 minutes to transfer 1.17KB picture.

If you need to transfer only a plain text (txt), you don’t need to use “base64” utility.


Muslim Tatars suffer discrimination in Crimean homeland since annexation by Russia

Muslim Tatars suffer discrimination in Crimean homeland since annexation



Since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, armed men have shown up frequently to search the cinder-block houses, mosque and school in Sary-Su, a settlement of Crimean Tatars, a Muslim ethnic minority that has long suffered from discrimination in the peninsula, which is its historic homeland.

The worst shock came in September, when two men in the town of 3,000 were abducted.

Now the community “is trembling with fear,” said Rebiya Setarova, an 80-year-old Tatar, as she tottered anxiously across a dirt road to check on her son and grandchildren ahead of Friday prayers. “Now I worry for the fate of my son. Everybody worries about the children.”

Police have made no arrests, and the kidnappers’ identities remain a mystery. But Setarova has no doubts about who is responsible: “This is what we get when Russia comes to Crimea.”

The fears and uncertainties of people in Sary-Su sum up how life has been upended for the 300,000-strong Crimean Tatar community. Deported en masse to Central Asia by the Soviets 70 years ago, they began returning to Crimea in the 1980s to rebuild their lives in an independent Ukraine.

Russia’s annexation in March, which many Tatars vocally opposed, overturned their world. Since then, the Tatars’ self-ruling body, the Mejlis, has been disbanded by Russian authorities, its highest-ranking leaders have been barred from re-entering Crimea and dozens of impromptu searches for narcotics, weapons and banned literature have been conducted in Tatar neighborhoods across the region.

Rights experts say Russia is punishing them for speaking out against annexation.

“For their openly critical position, the authorities have been cracking down on dissent,” said Yulia Gorbunova, a researcher for Human Rights Watch.

It was a warm September evening in Sary-Su when Abdureshit Dzhepparov’s 18-year-old son, Islyam, served him Turkish coffee and left the house. Half an hour later, neighbors were on the phone: They had seen Islyam, along with his 23-year-old cousin, frisked and forced into a dark blue Volkswagen van by men dressed in black.

The van sped away. Neither of the kidnapped men has been seen since.

“When these things happen, you can’t even make plans. Every night, if your children are out . . . as a parent, you can’t sleep until they get home,” said Dzhepparov, who also has a daughter in high school.

Elsewhere in Crimea, at least seven other Tatars have vanished since March, including three who had been active in demonstrations calling for the region to remain part of Ukraine. Two of the abducted were later found dead. The others are missing.

Police have opened investigations into the disappearances. Sergei Aksyonov, Crimea’s leader, has attempted to reassure the Tatars that their community is being treated fairly.

“We have respect for people of any faith or confession, and I can guarantee that there will be no infringements based on nationality on Crimean territory,” Aksyonov said in an interview.

Residents of Sary-Su are worried that the new lives they built from scratch in Crimea could quickly unravel. This settlement by a creek — the name means “Yellow Water” in the Tatar language — sprang up in the 1990s, when families returning from exile occupied empty fields and built their homes.

The pro-Moscow authorities say the searches were intended to look for drugs, guns and literature banned by Russian law. Human Rights Watch noted that many searches, sometimes conducted in the middle of the night, involved dozens of masked men with guns.

In October, when Aksyonov met with Dzhepparov in the nearby city of Belogorsk, hundreds of angry Sary-Su residents massed to vent their outrage over the kidnappings and official actions toward the Crimean Tatars.

“There were snipers on the roofs; the entire city was surrounded by troops,” said Dzhepparov, who was nervous the enraged crowd might get out of hand. “If something had suddenly gone wrong, it would have been a catastrophe.”

Such fears seem well founded. Tatar protests occurred frequently and peacefully under Ukrainian rule, but since Russian annexation, they have sometimes ended in confrontations with ethnic Russians or police.

“Ukrainian authorities were diplomatic and allowed the steam to be let out of the valve,” said attorney Dzhemil Kemishev. “People came out and protested, talked about the things that were worrying them, and things ended there. “But when you’re being told not to do that, it’s like when you don’t lift the lid off a pot of boiling water. Sooner or later it will explode.”


Boycott RE/MAX protests flood the US during Week of Action

Boycott RE/MAX protests flood the US during Week of Action


 on December 9, 2014 7 Comments

While temperatures cooled, the first week of December saw a tremendous kindling of the Boycott, Sanctions, and Divestment (BDS) movement, as Palestinian solidarity activists across the US flooded RE/MAX offices, demanding that the real estate giant cease its activities in illegal, Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

RE/MAX is one of the largest real estate corporations in the world. RE/MAX International, based in the US, with headquarters in Denver, Colorado, oversees more than 100,000 agents in over 7,000 offices in almost 100 countries. Realtor Magazine has consistently ranked numerous RE/MAX franchises in its annual list of Top 100 Companies.

Several of RE/MAX’s Israeli franchises sell property in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the French Hill, Armon HaNatziv, and Pisgat Ze’ev. The office of RE/MAX Israel’s Atid franchise is itself located in Maale Adumim, a major illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. RE/MAX Israel agents openly admitthat many of the homes they sell can only be owned by Jewish people.

A screen grab from RE/MAX Israel’s website shows a map of some of the settlement houses it markets.

A screenshot from RE/MAX Israel’s website shows a map of the homes it sells in illegal settlements well beyond the Green Line

The United Nations published a report in 2013 indicating that RE/MAX LLC, the US-based parent company, can be “held accountable” for the crimes of RE/MAX Israel, over which it “has constant interaction and influence.” Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventionmandates that the “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” and UN Security Council Resolution 446explicitly states that Israel’s settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, in which RE/MAX Israel is operating, “have no legal validity.”

No Open House

In October 2014, peace and social justice organization CODEPINK launched the Boycott RE/MAX: No Open House on Stolen Land (or No Open House, for short) campaign. At the end of November, No Open house launched its official website, BoycottREMAX.org. The website includes answers to frequently asked questions, a campaign timeline and tactics, a newsletter, links to further reading materials, and a wide array of resources, including shareable memes, protest chants, and a draft of a letter to send to RE/MAX.

CODEPINK says its goal in launching the campaign is to pressure RE/MAX “to cut its ties with franchises involved in the sale or rental of settlement properties.” Sophia Armen, National Coordinator of the Boycott RE/MAX: No Open House on Stolen land, explained the “campaign is a call for people of conscience to address the complicity of RE/MAX corporation in heinous violations of international law. It is our duty, as people concerned with justice, to be in solidarity with Palestinians and to address how these large corporations are profiting off continuing displacement, dispossession and death in Israel/Palestine.”



In October 2014, CODEPINK sent a letter to RE/MAX co-founder and Chairman of the Board Dave Liniger. The RE/MAX executive never responded. Overall, CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin says, RE/MAX has been largely unresponsive and dismissive. In the summer of 2014, CODEPINK began working on building a coalition with Palestinian solidarity groups around the country, including countless chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Jewish Voice for Peace, and a variety of social justice, peace, anti-war, and leftist organizations.

By October, CODEPINK made a national call for a Week of Action, to be held from 29 November to 5 December. Activists from over 15 major cities organized demonstrations outside of local RE/MAX offices. CODEPINK organizer Desirée Fairooz says the strategy of activists targeting local RE/MAX franchises “is the only way to express solidarity with this campaign in their own hometowns,” noting it is not clearly feasible for everyone to travel to the Denver headquarters to protest. Fairooz says she hopes local protests will inspire franchises to tell “LLC ‘Make it stop!’, thereby pressuring LLC to close operations in Occupied Palestine.”

On 21 November, Rich Forer, author of Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion – A New Perspective on the Israel-Palestine Conflict, delivered a petition with over 4,000 signatures to the RE/MAX headquarters in Denver, Colorado, requesting that Chairman Liniger “stop RE/MAX Israel’s illegal sales of Jewish-only settlement homes on Palestinian land.” In the early December Week of Action, activists throughout the country delivered this petition to local RE/MAX offices.

Boycott RE/MAX Week of Action

No Open House protesters in Dallas, Texas on 29 November  CREDIT: Facebook

No Open House protesters in Dallas, Texas on 29 November
CREDIT: Facebook

On Saturday, 29 November, three Boycott RE/MAX demonstrations were held, thousands of miles apart. Activists from a variety of groups, including CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace, and more gathered in Dallas, Texas; Strongsville, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland; and Somerville, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, to protest outside of RE/MAX offices. Those in Strongsville and Somerville stood outside for hours in below-freezing weather. Cleveland-based activist Toni Ann Rozsahegyi said she helped organize the action because she feels “it’s important to raise awareness of the fact that companies like RE/MAX break international law and impede the peace process for profit.”

No Open House protesters in Los Angeles, California on 1 December   CREDIT: Facebook

No Open House protesters in Los Angeles, California on 1 December
CREDIT: Facebook

On Monday, 1 December, Palestinian solidarity activists in Los Angeles demonstrated in front of a RE/MAX office, holding signs reading “RE/MAX, stop making money off violating law,” “RE/MAX sells ILLEGAL settlements,” “RE/MAX, stop selling stolen land,” “RE/MAX, every settlement is an obstacle to peace,” and more.

No Open House protesters in Denver, Colorado on 2 December   CREDIT: Facebook

No Open House protesters in Denver, Colorado on 2 December
CREDIT: Facebook

No Open House protesters in Boston, Massachusetts on 2 December   CREDIT: Facebook

No Open House protesters in Boston, Massachusetts on 2 December
CREDIT: Facebook

On Tuesday, 2 December, activists from CODEPINK Greater Boston, the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights, United for Justice with Peace, Jewish Voice for Peace Boston, and more held a demonstration outside a RE/MAX office in Boston. Organizer Hayat Imam said she “salute[s] CODEPINK for putting out the call for actions against RE/MAX to demand that they stop the sale of houses on stolen Palestinian land by their franchisee RE/MAX Israel” and feel[s] good about the fact that our action is the opening salvo of the boycott in Boston.” Imam explains the activists made an appointment with RE/MAX and organized a representative “delegation” of individuals “who had just been to Palestine so they could talk about the first hand conditions there” to hand a letter to the RE/MAX Chair.

Coalitions of protesters also gathered in both Chicago and Denver. Pat Hunt, an organizer in the former, insisted that “it’s our responsibility to shine a light on the illegal settlements and” on RE/MAX Israel’s illegal profiteering. “We need to keep the pressure on companies that participate in apartheid and let them know we will not tolerate it,” Hunt said.

On Wednesday, 3 December, Palestinian human rights advocates protested in San Francisco and Washington, DC. Activists in the nation’s capital were joined by Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.



Falk spoke about the importance of pressuring RE/MAX to end its illegal activities and addressed the the illegality and immorality of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

We are here today to bring pressure on RE/MAX to comply with international humanitarian law, to cease engaging in commercial activities with the settlements on the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And we have made every effort to engage the officers of RE/MAX in a constructive dialogue, which they have refused to engage in, presumably because they have no response to make. And we are disappointed that they won’t even physically receive our petition.

It is a shame that the interests of the market take precedence over the interests of people and the well-being of people and a common sense of morality. …

To establish a settlement of the occupying power’s people in an occupied society is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. And this has gone not for just a few months, or even a few years, but more than 47 years. …

And RE/MAX, in the mean time, will feel the costs of continuing to deal with these unlawful settlements. They really are making a sustainable peace between these two peoples a real impossibility. So it’s not just a matter of violating a particular provision of law; it’s subjecting the Palestinian people as a whole to the daily ordeal of living under this prolonged occupation that’s gone on longer than any other comparable situation in recent history.

It is a scandal that the international community has allowed this to go on for so long.

DC-based CODEPINK organizer Anna Kaminski addressed the need to make realtor allies in the Boycott RE/MAX movement. “While local franchises indeed have nothing to do with RE/MAX Israel, this visibility of protests helps to mount pressure on headquarters which has the power to halt operations in any franchise at any time,” she said. Protesting local RE/MAX branches “can also help individual franchises learn more about what their company is doing overseas and realtors can use the opportunity to learn more about the conflict and how their company violates international law. Realtors can then use their concern regarding a boycott to help mount pressure on RE/MAX HQ.”

Only miles away, on the same day, in Olney, Maryland, activists gathered outside of a RE/MAX office, holding signs reading “RE/MAX Israel complicit in theft of Palestinian homes,” “Stolen land not for sale,” and “RE/MAX profits – Palestinians suffer.”

No Open House protesters in Olney, Maryland on 3 December   CREDIT: Facebook

No Open House protesters in Olney, Maryland on 3 December
CREDIT: Facebook

On Thursday, 4 December, activists woke up bright and early to protest RE/MAX in Houston, Texas, in what was the second Boycott RE/MAX demonstration in Texas in five days.

On Friday, 5 December, the country saw its largest flood of Boycott RE/MAX protests. Activists gathered outside of a RE/MAX office in Rochester, Minnesota. Just two days after one demonstration, San Francisco Palestinian human rights activists got together for another.

UCSB SJP members meeting with RE/MAX representatives  CREDIT: Facebook

UCSB SJP members meeting with RE/MAX representatives
CREDIT: Facebook

Miles away, in Ventura, California, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Students for Justice in Palestine met with RE/MAX representatives, asking the workers to pressure their company to stop its operation in illegal settlements. The students also connected the struggle of indigenous Palestinians against Israeli colonization to that of immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border, as well as to the struggle of black Americans in Ferguson and across the US, protesting police brutality and structural racism in the Justice System. Anumita Kaur, a UCSB SJP organizer, spoke of what she sees as the importance of the BDS movement, explaining that, as “students at the UC, our tuition money is invested in corporations profiting off of Israeli apartheid and occupation—we are not okay with this.”

In Portland, Oregon, protesters assembled in freezing weather. They made cardboard props of RE/MAX apartment complexes, emblazoned with the word “stolen,” and stood next to mounds of snow. Portland-based CODEPINK organizer Lisa Savage explains they scheduled the demonstration to coincide with evening commute traffic and to be end when a Black Lives Matter civil rights march began, which many of the Palestinian solidarity activists then joined.

No Open House protesters in Portland, Oregon on 5 December   CREDIT: Lisa Savage

No Open House protesters in Portland, Oregon on 5 December
CREDIT: Lisa Savage

SJP activists in NYC RE/MAX offices  CREDIT: Facebook

SJP activists in NYC RE/MAX offices
CREDIT: Facebook

New York City held the fifth demonstration on this day. Members of Jewish Voice for Peace, Students for Justice in Palestine, and many others flooded New York RE/MAX offices, asking the offices to convey to RE/MAX International that RE/MAX Israel’s illegal sales must cease immediately.

No Open House’s Week of Action marked just the beginning of the Boycott RE/MAX campaign, and it marked it with a bang. Activists around the country showed great enthusiasm and took great initiative, organizing more than 20 demonstrations. Noteworthy was the community-based nature of all these protests, demonstrating that the Palestinian solidarity movement is a true grassroots movement, and that this grassroots movement is growing rapidly. While the chill of winter begins to fill the air, this new phase of the BDS movement is just heating up.



“Rectal Feeding,” Threats to Children, and More: 16 Awful Abuses From the CIA Torture Report

A new report from the Senate intelligence committee says the CIA pureed hummus and put it in a detainee’s rectum.

| Tue Dec. 9, 2014 1:10 PM EST

    On Tuesday morning, the Senate intelligence committee released an executive summary of its years-long investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. President George W. Bush authorized the so-called “enhanced interrogation” program after the 9/11 attacks. The United States government this week has warned personnel in facilities abroad, including US embassies, to be ready in case protests erupt in response.

    The full report includes over 6,000 pages and 35,000 footnotes. You can read the executive summary here. Here are some of the lowlights:

    1. The CIA used previously unreported tactics, including “rectal feeding” of detainees (p. 100, footnote 584):

    rectal feeding

    2. CIA officers threatened the children of detainees (p. 4):

    cia threatened children

    3. Over 20 percent of CIA detainees were “wrongfully held.” One was an “intellectually challenged” man who was held so the CIA could get leverage over his family (p. 12):

    wrongfully held detainees

    4. One detainee, Abu Hudhaifa, was subjected to “ice water baths” and “66 hours of standing sleep deprivation” before being released because the CIA realized it probably had the wrong man (p. 16, footnote 32):

    abu hudhaifa sleep deprivation

    5. The CIA, contrary to what it told Congress, began torturing detainees before even determining whether they would cooperate (p. 104):

    torture before questioning

    6. CIA officers began torturing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “a few minutes” after beginning to question him (p. 108):

    ksm tortured within minutes

    7. The CIA planned to detain KSM incommunicado for the rest of his life, without charge or trial (p. 9):

    incommunicado forever

    8. During waterboarding sessions, KSM made up a story that Al Qaeda was trying to recruit African-American Muslims…in Montana (p. 118):

    montana muslims

    9. In 2003, Bush gave a speech at a UN event condemning torture and calling on other nations to investigate and prosecute torture allegations. The statement was so at odds with US practices that the CIA contacted the White House to make sure enhanced interrogation techniques were still okay (pp. 209-210):

    bush un torture remarks10. The CIA torturers told CIA leadership that torture wasn’t producing good information from KSM. But CIA leaders didn’t relay that information to Congress (p. 212):
    cia misled congress on torture

    11. A detainee was tortured for not addressing an interrogator as “sir”—and for complaining about a stomach ache (p. 106):

    detainee sir

    12. CIA officers cried when they witnessed the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah (p. 44):

    cia crying abu zubaydah

    13. Within weeks of his arrival in CIA custody, Zubaydah was “on life support and unable to speak” (p. 30):

    cia life support

    14. Bush Justice Department official Jay Bybee, who is now a federal judge, told Congress the torture of Al Qaeda detainees led to the US capture of Jose Padilla. That wasn’t true (p. 207):

    bybee padilla

    15. The secretary of state wasn’t informed when the CIA made secret deals to open detention facilities abroad (p. 123):

    secretary of state not informed

    16. Even President George W. Bush wasn’t informed where the facilities were—because he feared he’d “accidentally disclose” the information (p. 124):

    bush didn't know


    Muslim Consumer Group’s List of Food Additives


    Symbol: Halal Halal   Symbol: Not Halal Not Halal   Symbol: Mushbooh or Unknown Mushbooh or Unknown   Symbol: Halal if no alcohol is used in flavor Halal if no alcohol is used in flavor   Symbol: MCG Certified Halal  MCG Certified Halal

    Ask Question:   Search:     Show Only Halal 

     Food Chain
     Non Food Products
     Food Product by Product Name
     Food Product by Category
     Food Product by Brand Name
    Click here to search any food product under food category [A – Z] or [Apple Juice – Yogurt]


    Click on the table title to sort alphabetically.

    View  ALL Halal Not Halal Mushbooh Halal if no alcohol is used  Products 

    Halal Status E-Number Name Description Date
    halal E459 Beta-Cyclodextrin It is composed 7 glucose units 06/14/11
    halal E460 Microcrystalline / Powdered Cellulose Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – Cellulose and derivatives 09/28/05
    halal E461 Methylcellulose Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – Cellulose and derivatives 09/28/05
    halal E463 Hydroxypropylcellulose Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – Cellulose and derivatives 09/28/05
    halal E464 Hydroxypropyl-Methylcellulose Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – Cellulose and derivatives 09/28/05
    halal E465 Ethylmethylcellulose Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – Cellulose and derivatives 09/28/05
    halal E466 Carboxymethylcellulose, Sodium Salt Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – Cellulose and derivatives 09/28/05
    halal E467 Sodium Carboxy methyl cellulose a plant cellulose 06/14/11
    halal E468 Cross Linked Carboxy methyl cellulose Sodium CMC is acidified by a acid and then boiled to cross link. 06/14/11
    halal E469 Enzymatically hydrolyzed Carboxy Methyl Cellulose CMC is hydrolyzed by cellolase enzyme. 06/14/11
    unknown E470 Sodium, Potassium and Calcium Salts of Fatty Acids Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E471 Mono-and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. If the fat source is from soy fat then it is Halal. If it is from pork fat then it is Haram. If it is from non zabiha beef then it is not Halal. If a claim appeared on food package “Suitable for Vegetarian” containing E-Number 471 then it means the E Number 471 is from soy fat. The food product is Halal if all other ingredients are Halal 09/28/05
    unknown E472 Various Esters of Mono-and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids If the fat source is from soy fat then it is Halal. If it is from pork fat then it is Haram. If it is from non zabiha beef then it is not Halal. If a claim appeared on food package “Suitable for Vegetarian” containing E-Number 472 then it means the E Number 472 is from soy fat. The food product is Halal if all other ingredients are Halal 09/28/05
    unknown E472e Monoand diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono & diglycerides Halal only if it is obtained from plant fat. If the fat source is from soy fat then it is Halal. If it is from pork fat then it is Haram. If it is from non zabiha beef then it is not Halal. If a claim appeared on food package “Suitable for Vegetarian” containing E-Number 472e the it means the E Number 472e is from soy fat. The food product is Halal if all other ingredients are Halal 09/28/05
    unknown E473 Sucrose Esters of Fatty Acids Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. If the fat source is from soy fat then it is Halal. If it is from pork fat then it is Haram. If it is from non zabiha beef then it is not Halal. If a claim appeared on food package “Suitable for Vegetarian” containing E-Number 473 the it means the E Number 473 is from soy fat. The food product is Halal if all other ingredients are Halal 09/28/05
    unknown E474 Sucroglycerides Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E475 Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E476 Polyglycerol Esters of Polycondensed Esters of Caster Oil Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E477 Propane-1,2-Diol Esters of Fatty Acids Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E478 Lactylated Fatty Acid Esters of Glycerol and Propane-1,2-Diol Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E479b Thermally oxidized soybean oil interacted with mono and diglycerides of fatty acids If mono & diglyceride from soy fat then it is Halal otherwise not. If a claim “Suitable for Vegetarian” on the food package containing E479b, it means the mono & diglycerides are obtained from vegetable fat. 06/14/11
    unknown E481 Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E482 Calcium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E483 Stearyl Tartrate Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E491 Sorbitan Monostearate Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E492 Sorbitan Tristearate Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E493 Sorbitan Monolaurate Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E494 Sorbitan Mono-oleate Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E495 Sorbitan Monopalmitate Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source. 09/28/05
    unknown E496 Sorbitan Trioleate E-Number 496 is Sorbitan Trioleate Emulsifiers and Stabilizers – salts or Esters of Fatty Acids. Suitable for vegetarian label indicates that only vegetable fat is used as a source 10/18/14
    halal E500 Sodium Carbonate / Sodium Bicarbonate Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Carbonates 09/28/05
    halal E501 Potassium Carbonate / Potassium Bicarbonate Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Carbonates 09/28/05
    halal E503 Ammonium Carbonate Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Carbonates 09/28/05
    halal E504 Magnesium Carbonate Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Carbonates 09/28/05
    halal E507 Hydrochloric Acid Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Hydrochloric Acid and its Salts 09/28/05
    halal E508 Potassium Chloride Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Hydrochloric Acid and its Salts 09/28/05
    halal E509 Calcium Chloride Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Hydrochloric Acid and its Salts 09/28/05
    halal E510 Ammonium Chloride Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Hydrochloric Acid and its Salts 09/28/05
    halal E511 Magnesium Chloride Chemical 06/14/11
    halal E512 Stannous chloride chemical 06/14/11
    halal E513 Sulphuric Acid Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Sulphuric Acid and its Salts 09/28/05
    halal E514 Sodium Sulphate Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Sulphuric Acid and its Salts 09/28/05
    halal E515 Potassium Sulphate Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Sulphuric Acid and its Salts 09/28/05
    halal E516 Calcium Sulphate Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Sulphuric Acid and its Salts 09/28/05
    halal E517 Ammonium Sulphate chemical 06/14/11
    halal E518 Magnesium Sulphate Miscellaneous – Acids and Salts: Sulphuric Acid and its Salts 09/28/05
    halal E520 Almunium sulphate Chemical 06/14/11
    halal E521 Alimunium Sodium Sulphate Chemical 06/14/11
    halal E522 Aluminium Potassium Sulphate Chemical 06/14/11
    halal E523 Aluminium Ammonium Sulphate Chemical 06/14/11


    Israel to arrest Palestinians for “incitement” against Israelis on Facebook

    Israel to arrest Palestinians for “incitement” against Israelis on Facebook
    Israel to arrest Palestinians for “incitement” against Israelis on Facebook
    Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:16AM
    Mona Kandil, Press TV, al-Quds

    Fact Corner
    • Israel has threatened to arrest any Palestinian from Jerusalem al-Quds who post Facebook material deemed anti-Israeli. This is the latest in Israeli crackdown against Palestinians in the holy city where tensions have been on the rise in the past weeks.
    Tel Aviv has threatened to arrest Palestinians in Jerusalem al-Quds, whom they accuse of posting what they call inciting Facebook posts against Israel and Israelis. This is the latest of escalating Israeli measures against the Palestinians in the holy city.

    32-year-old Mahmoud Asila, from the Old City of al-Quds, was arrested last week for what Israeli forces described as spreading violent propaganda. He was accused of QUOTE “incitement” for supporting recent car attacks carried out by Palestinians against Israeli forces. Israeli media revealed that Asila took responsibility for the Facebook posts and said they are part of his “freedom of speech”. Tensions have been on the rise in Jerusalem al-Quds over the past weeks, with Tel Aviv intensifying crackdown against the Palestinians in response to violence against Israelis. Palestinians have launched a campaign on social media for what is seen as a third intifada. All Israeli measures that have been taken lately, are aimed at tightening Tel Aviv’s grip on the city and its Palestinian residents. For the Israeli regime, Palestinians’ freedom of speech even on Facebook is forbidden and would trigger serious consequences


    Burger King California Employee Finds $100,000 in Abandoned Backpack


    Burger King California Employee Finds $100,000 in Abandoned Backpack

    By Nicole Arce, Tech Times | November 28, 8:08 AM

    Burger King

    Burger King employees discover that a mysterious blue bag sitting unclaimed at one of their tables contains a whopping surprise.
    (Photo : Burger King)


    Workers at a Burger King restaurant in the South Bay were shocked to find an abandoned blue backpack sitting at one of their tables containing a whopping $100,000 in cash.

    Sahista Bakawla, assistant manager of Burger King at 1305 North Bascom Avenue in San Jose, Calif., first noticed the bag left without an owner as she was cleaning the tables on Nov. 26, says ABC’s local San Francisco TV station KGO.

    “I twice cleaned, like, two or three times cleaned the tables and it’s still here,” Bakawla says. “I waited until 3 p.m. and nobody came here.”

    Bakawla then decided to pick up the backpack and take it to her manager, Altaf Chaus, who is also the owner of the said restaurant. Chaus said he kept the bag next to the cash register, hoping someone would come back to claim it. No one did.

    Hoping to get home early in time for his birthday celebration, Chaus decided to open the bag to look for an identification card of some sort where he could find contact information that would help him reach the bag’s owner. What he found inside gave him a surprise.

    “I open the zipper, I see lots of money, cash money, $100 bills stack up like half the bag, money,” says the 53-year-old restaurant owner. “I said, ‘Wow! Today’s my birthday, this is my birthday gift.'”

    That, however, was nothing more than a passing thought as Chaus decided to call the police right away.

    Although Chaus says he has never seen that much money in his life, he says he was never tempted to get away with using someone else’s money. The Indian-born man, who came to America 26 years ago, has humble beginnings. He worked three jobs, one as a mechanic fixing air conditioners during the day, another as a Taco Bell worker in the evening and another as a gas station attendant during the night until daybreak. The money he earned from his three jobs he used to support his growing family in America and his parents and three siblings he left behind in India.

    Eventually, Chaus was able to save enough money to buy a Burger King.

    “I am Muslim, and we believe that you have to sweat to get what you earn,” Chaus says. “We say, ‘If you don’t sweat, it’s not your money.'”

    Aside from the stacks of crisp $50 and $100 bills, authorities also found some candy, a pack of marijuana and a Wells Fargo withdrawal slip for $300, with only $7.95 left in the account.


    Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism

    Top Ten Ways Islamic Law forbids Terrorism

    Printer Friendly



    Erik Rush and others who hastened to scapegoat Muslims for the Boston Marathon bombing are ignorant of the religion. I can’t understand why people who have never so much as read a book about a subject appoint themselves experts on it. (Try this book, e.g.). We don’t yet know who carried out the attack, but we know they either aren’t Muslims at all or they aren’t real Muslims, in the nature of the case.

    For the TLDR crowd, here are the top ten ways that Islamic law and tradition forbid terrorism (some of these points are reworked from previous postings):

    1. Terrorism is above all murder. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an. Qur’an 6:151 says, “and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.” (i.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted). 5:53 says, “… whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind.”

    2. If the motive for terrorism is religious, it is impermissible in Islamic law. It is forbidden to attempt to impose Islam on other people. The Qur’an says, “There is no compulsion in religion. The right way has become distinct from error.” (-The Cow, 2:256). Note that this verse was revealed in Medina in 622 AD or after and was never abrogated by any other verse of the Quran. Islam’s holy book forbids coercing people into adopting any religion. They have to willingly choose it.

    3. Islamic law forbids aggressive warfare. The Quran says, “But if the enemies incline towards peace, do you also incline towards peace. And trust in God! For He is the one who hears and knows all things.” (8:61) The Quran chapter “The Cow,” 2:190, says, “Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loveth not aggressors.”

    4. In the Islamic law of war, not just any civil engineer can declare or launch a war. It is the prerogative of the duly constituted leader of the Muslim community that engages in the war. Nowadays that would be the president or prime minister of the state, as advised by the mufti or national jurisconsult.

    5. The killing of innocent non-combatants is forbidden. According to Sunni tradition, ‘Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first Caliph, gave these instructions to his armies: “I instruct you in ten matters: Do not kill women, children, the old, or the infirm; do not cut down fruit-bearing trees; do not destroy any town . . . ” (Malik’s Muwatta’, “Kitab al-Jihad.”)

    6. Terrorism or hirabah is forbidden in Islamic law, which groups it with brigandage, highway robbery and extortion rackets– any illicit use of fear and coercion in public spaces for money or power. The principle of forbidding the spreading of terror in the land is based on the Qur’an (Surah al-Ma’ida 5:33–34). Prominent [pdf] Muslim legal scholar Sherman Jackson writes, “The Spanish Maliki jurist Ibn `Abd al-Barr (d. 464/ 1070)) defines the agent of hiraba as ‘Anyone who disturbs free passage in the streets and renders them unsafe to travel, striving to spread corruption in the land by taking money, killing people or violating what God has made it unlawful to violate is guilty of hirabah . . .”

    7. Sneak attacks are forbidden. Muslim commanders must give the enemy fair warning that war is imminent. The Prophet Muhammad at one point gave 4 months notice.

    8. The Prophet Muhammad counseled doing good to those who harm you and is said to have commanded, “Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

    9. The Qur’an demands of believers that they exercise justice toward people even where they have reason to be angry with them: “And do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.”[5:8]

    10. The Qur’an assures Christians and Jews of paradise if they believe and do good works, and commends Christians as the best friends of Muslims. I wrote elsewhere, “Dangerous falsehoods are being promulgated to the American public. The Quran does not preach violence against Christians.

    Quran 5:69 says (Arberry): “Surely they that believe, and those of Jewry, and the Christians, and those Sabeaans, whoso believes in God and the Last Day, and works righteousness–their wage waits them with their Lord, and no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow.”

    In other words, the Quran promises Christians and Jews along with Muslims that if they have faith and works, they need have no fear in the afterlife. It is not saying that non-Muslims go to hell– quite the opposite.

    When speaking of the 7th-century situation in the Muslim city-state of Medina, which was at war with pagan Mecca, the Quran notes that the polytheists and some Arabian Jewish tribes were opposed to Islam, but then goes on to say:

    5:82. ” . . . and you will find the nearest in love to the believers [Muslims] those who say: ‘We are Christians.’ That is because amongst them are priests and monks, and they are not proud.”

    So the Quran not only does not urge Muslims to commit violence against Christians, it calls them “nearest in love” to the Muslims! The reason given is their piety, their ability to produce holy persons dedicated to God, and their lack of overweening pride.

    (For a modernist, liberal interpretation, see this pdf file, “Jihad and the Islamic Law of War.”


    Pope says it is wrong to equate Islam with violence

    Pope says it is wrong to equate Islam with violence



    Reuters Videos

    Pope says Islamist violence is “grave sin against God”

    Pope says Islamist violence is


    By Philip Pullella

    ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) – Pope Francis said on Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism to help dispel the stereotype.

    Francis, the leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, told reporters aboard his plane returning from a visit to Turkey that he understood why Muslims were offended by many in the West who automatically equated their religion with terrorism.

    Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, caused storms of protest throughout the Islamic world in 2006, when he made a speech that suggested to many Muslims that he believed Islam espoused violence.

    Benedict said he had been misunderstood and apologized. But this year, the image of a violent religion has once more been promoted by Islamic State, who have seized swathes of Syria and Iraq, slaughtering or driving out Shi’ite Muslims, Christians and others who do not share their radical brand of Sunni Islam.

    The Argentine pope, who has been trying to foster cooperation with moderate Islam in order to work for peace and protect Christians in the Middle East, said it was wrong for anyone to react to terrorism by being “enraged” against Islam.

    “You just can’t say that, just as you can’t say that all Christians are fundamentalists. We have our share of them (fundamentalists). All religions have these little groups,” he said.

    “They (Muslims) say: ‘No, we are not this, the Koran is a book of peace, it is a prophetic book of peace’.”

    Francis said he had made the suggestion of a global condemnation of terrorism by Islamic leaders in talks on Friday with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

    “I told the president that it would be beautiful if all Islamic leaders, whether they are political, religious or academic leaders, would speak out clearly and condemn this because this would help the majority of Muslim people,” he said.

    Francis several times condemned Islamic State’s insurgents during his three-day trip. On the plane, he said some Christians had been forced to abandon everything: “They are driving us out of the Middle East.”

    In an address at a Mass on Sunday, he said Islamic State were committing a “profoundly grave sin against God” and called for inter-religious dialogue and action against poverty to help end the conflicts in the region.

    He added that ending poverty was crucial, partly because it gave rise to “the recruitment of terrorists”. Francis has in the past said that, while it is lawful for the international community to use force to stop an “unjust aggressor”, lasting solutions must be found that tackle the root causes of violence.

    (Additional reporting by Nick Tattersall, editing by Kevin Liffey)


    %d bloggers like this: