Sunday, 2 May 2004

Asad: "It's Not Genocide" - Me: "It's Genocide, Stupid!"

I can't believe that I forgot this post until now. I had been trying to post up everything in chronological order, and this ruins it. Ahh well, c'est la vie, eh? Please note that I am making a play on words with my title line. I do not think that Asad is "stupid", nor is it my intention to say as such. I am only twisting a popular saying.

During the call-in segment of the Tusday 27 April 2004 Flashpoints show at about the 48-minute mark, Asad Abu Khalil responded to a caller who said that what is happening in Fallujah and all of Iraq is genocide by saying that he (Asad) does not think that what has been happening [in Fallujah/Iraq] is genocide: "I think that if American bombs were being dropped on a white population in Europe, there would be more outrage than what we see for Iraq. I think that the religion of the people in Iraq were [other than] Islam, again, there would be more outrage. [However], I do not want to use words such as genocide. I think that one has to be more precise in the use of language, as bad as things are."

My opinion is certainly different. What is occurring in Fallujah and throughout all of Iraq under the illegal US occupation is nothing less than genocide. And with this late posting, might I also add that the recent airing in the US* of the illegal abuse of Iraqi prisoners fits only too well into the picture of American genocide of the Iraqi people.

*Of course, anyone who keeps up with the news has known for some time that this kind of abuse has been occurring in Iraq.

Friday, 16 April 2004

Fallujah: It's Genocide, Stupid!

Fri Apr 16

I can't possibly see a society which tolerates the mass slaughter of innocent human beings with weapons of mass destruction such as MOABs and DUs as "civilised". In my dictionary, 700 innocent dead in one city in one month equals genocide. Time for the Hague, I say.

Wednesday, 14 April 2004

on Shi`ah Islam


The sacred days of Muharram, `Ashurah, and Arba`in are not properly described as "holidays" or "festivals" when referring to Shi`ah Muslims. This has been said countless times, and the listeners get the impression that the BBC doesn't really care about the quality of their reporting. With the increased availability of such satellite broadcasts as Manar, Jazeera, and `Alam, we listeners are finding it less frustrating to listen to sources which won't make the same careless and lazy errors.

Again I am telling you, for the thousandth time, it seems to me, that neither Najaf nor Karbala are the "holiest city to the Shi`ites" as your correspondant from Baghdad has just erroneously reprorted whilecovering the impending attack on Najaf by the occupying American troops. The holiest Shi`i city is Mecca, the site of Islamic Hajj and the burial site for Prophet Muhammad. The next holiest Shi`i city is Medinah, where Prophet Muhammad lived for many years. The next is Quds/Jerusalem, where Musilms believe that Prophet Muhammad was transcendentally transported in what we call Mi`raj. Then comes Najaf, then Karbala. That owuld make Najaf the FOURTH holoest city to Muslimss, NOT the first.

Do you people have something against consulting Shi`ah Muslims before you let your jaws flap like some ignoramus?

Tuesday, 13 April 2004

USA, the Ethnic Cleanser of the World

To: Sunday Salon, KPFA
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2004
Subject: I think that he is right

A caller has just claimed that the US government was compliant in the 9-11 attacks and had something to benefit from it. I cannot help but agree. In fact, watching the events in Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq and comparing them to the lackadaisical way in which the US government failed to respond to obvious hijacking attempts on 9-11, I would dare say that the US has benefited and is trying to continue benefiting from the demoralisation of the common person, wherever he might live. I honestly think that the US is either compliant or fully participating in genocides around the world, and I hope that we all wake up before the next one happens in the US - again, after the decimation of the indigenous population here.

I don't think that it has as much to do with benefits in the way of corporate wealth as much as increase of political power by certain individuals.

Friday, 9 April 2004

Imperialism Begins at Home

To: Al Zawiya

> As the head of state has said prudently and more
> effectively, the nations of Pakistan, Afghanistan and
> Iraq are the victims of terrorism today. They were
> seized and oppressed by some terrorists.

assalamu `alaykum

And those terrorists speak a miserably broken Spanish with a nasty Texan drawl, thump Bibles, and proclaim their god as being "bigger" than our God.

The Muslim world has recently been made witness to the imperialistic and, according to many, terrorist attacks against it by the Western world - mainly the United States. Have we forgot so soon how people like Saddam got into power? Has it fled our minds so quickly that both Kuwait and Iraq were relatively free of what is called "terrorism" before the United States invaded, bombed into smitherines, and occupied the region? How soon have we lost sight of just who it is that has been violating international law and attacking civilians? Just *who* is the real terrorist?

Even in America the people have begun to call it "Occupied States of America". Little did we realise that imperialism begins at home.

wassalamu `alaykum

Tuesday, 6 April 2004

Discussing Zawaj Naked?

Content Note: misogyny
My views have shifted significantly since I originally wrote this post more than a decade ago - namely, I do NOT consider it appropriate to shame women for how they dress, and I do NOT think it proper to force women to dress a certain way - regardless of how one personally feels that people should dress.

Date: Sun, 2 May 2004
Subject: Walakin Naltaqi

assalamu `alayklum wa rahmatullah

I was surprised to see today's "Walakin Naltaqi" show. Even though the topic of the show was the Sacred Islamic Institution of Zawaj, half of the young women in the audience - and even the female member of the panel - were dressed as if they were shameless immoral Christians, Jews, or atheists. Their hair was completely exposed, and some had dressed their hair by dying it or curling it. Several young women exposed their arms or wore tight clothing. All of this, even though one of the panelists was an `alim! I have even seen Christian women covering their heads when they attend Mass, or Jewish women covering not only their heads but also the rest of their bodies all of the time in a modest manner which exceeds the immodesty that I saw on today's show. I am ashamed to think that such as these would associate themselves with me by calling themselves "Muslims" while they act and dress like the kuffar, and that they would show so much disrespect to an `alim by showing their bodies to him shamelessly. I cannot imagine a successful marriage that is not based on the priniciples of Islam and obedience to Allah. For women, this means covering her head and wearing modest clothing. If women and men do not respect Allah their Creator, how can they possibly respect each other? I think that if such a show as this should be presented in the future that there should at least be a dress code so that the name of Islam would not be disgraced by such immorality.

Muslim Americans, or Muslims in America?

submitted to

Like 80-90% of Muslims in America, I also find myself politically involved - more so than before 9-11. Unlike others, however, I have not done this for self-protection. I did so as the result of some kind of revolutionary change in my life in which my political thinking and involvement was radically changed. I began to attend demonstrations and educate myself politically after this most recent Palestinian Intifada, when I realised that Muslims around the world are being oppressed. The event that really pushed me forward and after which there was no turning back was the American assault on Muslims in Afghanistan that occurred after 9-11. Since then, it seems that I have been disabused of my former conservative political thinking, and my eyes are now wide open.

I consider it important that I not be considered a hyphenated American. Instead, I consider myself an American Muslim. My first allegiance is to my religion and my moral and ethical values - not the country in which I happen to live. If the policies of that country reflect my religious, moral, and ethical values, then I would naturally support that country. Otherwise, I intend to be as visibly opposed to the country and its policies as possible.

DemNow's Interview of Asad Abu Khalil

We Shi`ah Muslims do not take well to the undignified smearing of our `ulama - today, in the form of the debigration of Ayatullah as-Sadr's scholarly ability in the Arabic language and other academic fields. We Shi`ah Muslims are a people who hold our `ulama in high regard and demonstrate a great deal of respect for them. Therefore, we consider it an insult against our own persons when anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, says a word against any one of them.

On a few other notes: 1) The coverage of the fall of democracy in Haiti was excellent, and I am extremely grateful in light of the whiteout from other media outlets. Thank you. 2)...[The complimentary section continued in a way that reveals personal details of the author, and the author does not want it to be publicised]

Friday, 2 April 2004

NPR: Israeli Spokespiece, or Honest Journalism?

This was sent to

Today, 2 April 2004, on Morning Edition, the act of throwing stones was protrayed as violent. Palestinians have taken to throwing stones as part of their resistance methods. When tanks, APCs, and jeeps invade Palestine in a willful breach of international law, the youth of the city that has been illegally invaded typically gather, stones in hand, to defend their city. They generally remain in the open, making themselves easy targets for Israeli gunfire - much of which consists of both rubber and live bullets, as well as poisoned "tear gas" containing DDT. I have heard the sound of a ston hitting an APC. APCs are obviously not as fortified as tanks. The stone made a sort of "plonking" sound. It did not do any damage whatsoever, even form a short range. The person who was reporting live through the radio indicated that there was not even a dent in the vehicle. The hand of a yong person is tiny; and the amount of rock that a youth can carry, much less throw, is minimal.

These stones are not violent.

What is violent is the Israeli response: the poisoned tear gas, the bullets, and the tank shells which the USA has gifted to the Israelis thanks to our own tax dollars. On Saturday, 11 January 2004, Israel illegally invaded the Balata Refugee Camp near the major Palestinian city of Nablus, violating once again the 4th Geneva Convention and several UN Security Council Resolutions. As usual, they were greeting with youth bearing stones. Oshan `Abdul Aziz Shanir, 22 years old, was shot in the heart and immediately killed. Omar Alloush, 16, was shot in the chest. Salhi, 16, was shot in his shoulder. A youth whose last name is known as Taha, 17, was shot in the calf. Omar Saqar, 18, was shot in his groin. Another youth with the last name Zabbara, 18 years old, was shot in the shoulder. Two more children were taken to the hospital - names and injuries unknown. Every single stone lying on the ground after the Israeli assault on these children was the size of a child's palm.

Bullets to the chest rip through lung tissue, major arteries, and the heart. They cause massive bleeding, suffocation, and heart failure. Bullets aimed at the shoulders slice through lung tissue, leaving children sufficating. Shots to the groins open up major veins and slice through reproductive organs. These children often bleed to death or, if they survive, are unabl to bear children - a deliberate sterilisation campaign. Bullets shot through the lower legs shatter small bones and rip apart muscle tissue. These troops kow what they are doing. Shots to these vital body parts occur often enough that the international community knows that they are intentionally aimed. Children who are unable to access medical attention die from blood loss and suffocation. Illegally occupying Israeli military vehices often intentionally prevent ambulances from reaching these wounded children. Then they are detained at illegal checkpoints andprevented from reaching the hospital. All of these measures are direct violations of international law as per the Geneva Conventions.

Who is violent? What is violent? Is it the youth? The stones? Or is it the DDT-laced tear gas, the bullets, and the tank shells. Were the facts actually reported, we the people could decide.

This time, the reporter was Julie McCarthy. However, we usually hear Linda Gradstein reporting on Palestinian issues. Everyone knows of this woman's corruption. No-one trusts her reports from the Middle East. She is known for her many speeches as zionist functions, as well as the donations that she accepts from zionist sympathisers. In February 2002, Coca-Cola (a well-known pro-zionist corporation) cosponsered a lecture given by the pro-zionist NPR correspondent Linda Gradstein at the University of Minnesota. On Tuesday 19 February 2002, Coca-Cola partnered with the University of Minnesota to fund a pro-Israel propaganda lecture, which was given by Linda Gradstein. The event was co-sponsored by zionist organizations like Friends of Israel and National Hillel.

Gradstein has long been a favorite on the pro-Israeli lecture circuit, especially with Hillel, a nationwide organization which in close cooperation with AIPAC (the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the Israeli government, works to promote a strongly pro-Israeli agenda on college campuses. In fact, at least in one case, Hillel openly acknowledges that it sees Linda Gradstein as a propagandist for Israel. Gradstein was paid $2,500 for this appearance, according to the Hillel evaluation, $2,000 of which was raised from Hamagshimim, a group that describes itself (below) as "a dynamic pro-Israel/Zionist movement for young adults."

Gradstein received a $1,000 honorarium from the Amy Adina Schulman Fund, a foundation whose stated funding criteria include promoting "Zionist youth movement" activities, for a lecture she gave in Princeton in April 2001. These are only two examples of the dozens of appearances Gradstein has made since 1993 for many of which she has received cash honoraria and in-kind benefits from pro-Israeli lobby groups.

Are you an Israeli spokespiece, or are you a media outlet based on journalistic integrity? Your record of shabby reporting and zionist affiliations seems to indicate the former, not the latter.

Misrepresenting Islam on Air

Since I originally posted this in 2004, my views on hijab have shifted - namely, that I do not consider it proper to impose any dress code on anyone else, regardless of what anyone's opinions are on the view of Islam and clothing.

This is a revision of what I sent to Border Crossing's email address, Border Crossings is a public Affairs programme that airs on KPFT 90.1 FM Houston/89.5 FM Galveston every other Thursday.

On 11 March 2004, some South Asian women activists who were guests on Border Crossings discussed women's rights in Pakistan and neighbouring regions. Through the natural course of the discussion, the topic of how women are treated by Islam and by Muslims came up. Several things about the nature of the programme disturbed me. First and foremost was the nearly monolithic nature of the views of the guests on the show. No female activists were included whose opinions on the topic differed with those of the guests. Neither were phone calls taken so that affirming and dissenting opinions could be gathered from the listening audience, even though at least one Muslim attempted to call in to express her outrage at the way in which Islam was being mal-portrayed on the show.

More disturbing, however, were the vilification of Islam and the distortions of the religion that took place when the guests presented their opinions on Islam. The several verses of the Qur'an which either treat women equally or even give them a special status to women were ignored, as were ahadith that accomplish the same. The fact that there have been several female Muslim scholars throughout the ages, from the very daughter or Prophet Muhammad during the earliest days of Islam to Aminah as-Sadr (the one who was murdered by Saddam, aka "Bint al Huda") in recent years to such up-and-coming modern giants as Shaykha Aisha Bewley, was completely ignored.

The famous (and overused!) myth of the two witnesses was dredged up once again without any effort to offer the explanations of the principle by Muslim scholars. In addition, the fact that the Qur'an does not specify the amount of female witnesses in many other verses was misused to rationalise the disposal of that rule by way of classifying it as an exemption to the rule. However, the fact is that the principle of the application of the Qur'an in Islamic Law is that such a singular reference is thereafter treated as a general rule which defines proceeding otherwise indefinite references. Furthermore, the introduction of another number and means of witnessing in the altogether different situation of adultery stands as witness that heretofore a general principle had been in application, contrary to the opinion of the guests on the show. Lastly, when the example of the witness for adultery was brought up as a way of introducing the idea that one woman could testify in court, the guests failed to realise that the same could be true of a man whose wife has accused him of adultery.

In their ignorance of the complexities of the Islamic Sciences and Islamic Law, and spurred on by modernist and anti-Islamic definitions of what constitutes gender equality, the guests on the show attempted to rip Islam apart by attacking its sources. For example, the excuse that many scholars have been men was used as a way to dismiss centuries of Qur'anic commentary, even where the work of female scholars has agreed with that of male scholars. The fact that the methods used by Islamic scholars in interpreting the Qur'an and ahadith and applying the Qur'an, Prophetic Sunnah, Scholarly Consensus, and Logical Analysis to formulate Islamic Law were actually set out by Prophet Muhammad, his family (including the women), and his pious companions (including, again, the women). In fact, the Qur'an and the Shari`ah were treated as completely separate concepts, when the truth is that the Qur'an is one of the four major sources of Islamic Law as listed above.

Even the hijab suffered when the concept of the khimar in 24:31 was dropped to the shoulders and chest and labelled an "unwarranted innovation", in complete ignorance of the wealth of ahadith and scholarly commentary that exist on the topic of the headscarf from the very days of Prophet Muhammad. Among these are the hadith of the likeness of crows atop the women's heads, the hadith of the hands and face, the hadith of covering in front of the blind man, the hadith of remaining unseen by non-related men, and the hadith of women's prayer. Of course, the fact that most of these ahadith were related by the daughter and wives of Prophet Muhammad were also ignored. Incidentally, the last-mentioned hadith, the hadith of women's prayer, states that a woman's salah is invalid without a khimar. No Muslim woman, even today, dares to say that a Muslim woman can pray with a bare head. Obviously, the word khimar has never referred to a chest covering, or women all over the world would be praying with naked heads and cloths draped over their shoulders. The fact that so many women feel liberated under the hijab from what we see as the oppression of make-up and nakedness was mentioned, but no more than 30 seconds was devoted to that topic before the attacks on the hijab began.

The next time that Islam is covered on Border Crossings, I hope to hear the viewpoints of some qualified scholars of Islam discussed on the show - either by such scholars themselves, people who espouse their views, or at least by the guests who wish to challenge those views. Unlike clear-cut cases such as my neighbour who verbally abuses and beats up his wife and then mistakenly tries to base his abuse on Pakistani culture, Islam has various scholarly and more than a few unscholarly interpretations that can be discussed well enough by people whose opinions may not coincide.

Wednesday, 24 March 2004

Tribute to a Fallen Leader

Content Note: This is an old post which reflects a certain amount of extremism which I experienced at the time. In this case, I used abusive language against Zionists, which could be taken as anti-Semitic. I have never considered myself to be anti-Semitic. However, the language that I used when writing this more than a decade ago could be troubling for some.

These days I find myself in a quandry.

I am among those who support the `ulama (almost) regardless of sectarian boundaries, and so I am in mourning for Shaykh Ahmad Yassin. I heard of the illegal murder of Sh Yassin on Sunday night. Immediately my knees failed me, and I collapsed on the floor. So soon again have we lost another great `alim of the Muslim Ummah - the occupation dogs picked off Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al Hakim in Iraq just a few months ago; and now the zionist dogs have slaughtered a wheelchair-bound elderly Palestinian `alim. I have not even begun to taste my grief, but my tears are already flowing. Allah curse those dogs and cast them into the Hellfire; and may we live to see their physical downfall! Curse those dogs, those lower than dogs! Curse them!

Amidst the inspirational messages that I have been able to see on the television is a Congratulations on the Martyrdom of Sh Yassin. My mind can't comprehend this, and I end up crying every time that I see it. I still feel as if this is just a nightmare and that I will wake up soon, and Sh Yassin will be on TV the next morning giving another speech. How can I possibly give congratulations when I am in this state of mind?

What remains with us is the fact that a terrorist government has murdered one of the `ulama of Islam, a weak elder who himself posed such little threat that the zionist dogs released him from their own prison system - a man who had been convicted of absolutely nothing by any justice or unjust system. They have slaughtered in cold blood one of the top Filastini mujahidin who has been struggling for decades to recover the Palestinian land for the Palestinian people. These terrorist najis dogs have similarly assassinated not only multi-faceted mujahidin such as Sh Yassin, but also complete pacifists - whether Palestinian, American, or Israeli; and these zionist murderers and criminals are plotting their next attack, sighting their next victim.

I can say that if it were not for the advises and inspirations of our `ulama such as Sh Nasrullah, Ayatullah as-Sistani, and Imam Khumayni, I would certainly feel even more lost. May Allah bless and protect our `ulama, and may He hasten the appearance of Imam Mahdi.

* U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the murder of Shaykh Yassin will further harm efforts to settle the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict: "Such actions are not only contrary to international law, but they do not do anything to help the search for a peaceful solution."

*Javier Solana, foreign policy chief of the European Union, said that the move would hurt peace efforts.

* EU Foreign ministers: "Israel is not ... entitled to carry out extra-judicial killings. Not only are extra-judicial killings contrary to international law, they undermine the concept of the rule of law which is a key element in the fight against terrorism." Yassin's assassination "has inflamed the situation ... Violence is no substitute for the political negotiations which are necessary for a just and lasting settlement."

* José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, PM-elect of Spain, said that Israel's killing of Yassin proved wrong U.S. assertions that the invasion of Iraq and ouster of Saddam Hussein would bolster the cause for Middle East peace.

* British foreign secretary Jack Straw "yesterday condemned the assassination of Sheikh Yassin as unacceptable, unjustified and unlawful."

* A spokesman for Tony Blair said, "It goes without saying that the prime minister also condemns today's killing. We have repeatedly made clear our opposition to Israel's use of targeted killings and assassinations."

* French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, said it would "only fuel the cycle of violence".

* Joschka Fischer, German FM, expressed "deep concern about the possible consequences".

* Poland's foreign minister, Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, said: "I understand that Israel defends its own country. However the picture of a wheelchair-bound person who was killed with a rocket is probably not the best way of promoting Israeli security."

* Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said that reviving the peace process will not be any "easier when you have killings like that going on in Gaza. Terror and violence is not the way ahead."

* Jean Paul II a déclaré "s'associer à la communauté internationale pour déplorer cet acte de violence qui ne peut se justifier dans aucun Etat de droit". (John Paul II has declared "associating himself with the international community in order to deplore this act of violence which can not be justified in any State of right.")

* Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen: "This act will contribute to increased tensions in the area and will make it more difficult to implement the road map for peace and a possible Israeli withdrawal from Gaza."

* Asked what impact the assassination would have on the peace process, President Hosni Mubarak replied: "What peace process?"

And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead; nay, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive. And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient, Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall surely return. Surah Baqarah of the Qur'an, 2:154-156

And what is wrong with you that you do not kill in the way of Allah and of the weak from among the men and the women and the children; those who say, 'O our Lord! Let us out of this town of oppressive people! Make for us from Your presence a guardian! Make for us us from Your presence a helper! Surah an-Nisa' 4:75

[NB: While the "kill" aspect of this ayah is not applicable in today's circumstances (no tanglible messianic leader), I use this ayah to reason that the Muslim ummah should be striving to help struggling people.]

Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Israeli Broadcasting Corp?

That is what it sounds like to me at the moment. The way in which the interviewer on the piece about the presidential election campaign in the US allowed the Israeli mouthpiece to employ stereotypes, racist comments, and other expressions of zionist apartheid imperialism grated on my nerves. I am more accustomed to hard-hitting interviews in which this kind of rhetoric is challenged than a simple handing over of the mic so that BBC becomes nothing more than yet another podium for Israeli politicians to rationalise their apartheid policies.

Ever since you allowed yourselves to be censored by the Israelis, you have reduced yourselves to a welcome mat for racist apartheid Israeli politicians to walk all over you. Even tiny community-based listener-sponsored such as Pacifica Network have begun to edge past you as far as journalism goes. Don't you remember? You're journalists. Not stenographers. The former have value. The latter are worthless and a waste of m time.

submitted to

Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Western "Civilisation" - the Modern Disease

Western "civilisation" is a disease, and its most apparent symptom is imperialism. Its most insidious yet unapparent symptom is the fog of sleep in which the minds of so many of the colonised exist.

Free your mind. Heal your soul. Shake the chains from your body.

Monday, 2 February 2004

BBC Has Become Another Apartheid Zionist Mouthpiece

BBC's email address is

Once again, the BBC has allowed itself to be used as another microphone into which pro-apartheid zionist Israelis are allowed to spew their racism. This interview took place in lieu of the internationally illegal murder of an unarmed adult male civilian and a male child by an American-made taxpayer-funded Israeli helicopter gunship and the internationally illegal murder of a Palestinian civilian by an armed force which had invaded Palestine and was occupying Palestinian territory in contravention of international law. The Israeli spokesperson who was interviewed spewed racism to such an extent that had any non-caucasian, much less a Palestinian, said the same things of a caucasian, he would have been interrupted; and an explanation would have been demanded of him. First of all, this Israeli denied the internationally standardised term "targeted assassination," which appears in several codes of international law banning the illegal practise. He then went on to claim that "Palestinian terrorism goes on unabated", when anyone who has been observing the Palestinian situation knows that the situation has been quite the opposite. There have been several times in the past three years during which the Palestinian people have endured an illegal and brutal zionist invasion and occupation of their homeland with murders of unarmed civilian men, women, and children in their streets, places of business, schools, homes, and places of worship months at a time without a single martyrdom attack in Israeli territory. Rather than the Israelis "suffering" an "unabated" spate of "Palestinian terrorism", the situation is that the Palestinian people have been suffering three years straight of apartheid zionist Israeli terrorism inside the internationally accepted borders of Palestine in direct contravention of several codes of international law. Thousands of innocent Palestinian men, women, and children have been slaughtered in the past three years, hundreds of homes demolished, mosques destroyed, infrastructure laid in ruins, and farmland razed. Try telling me when Palestine has inflicted such torture on the Israeli territories! And while international law recognises the right of Palestinian people to return to Palestine after having been illegally expelled from their homeland, as well as the right to self-determination, there is absolutely no recognition whatsoever for Israel to bomb Palestinians in the streets, in their homes, in their places of worship, or to impose illegal sanctions and curfews, or to imprison the Palestinian people in their own cities and homes.

It was absolutely shameful to hear the BBC interviewer leave stand the Israeli man's statements rationalising illegal Israeli attacks on Palestinian people, who had not beforehand been given the right to a lawful arrest, access to attorney or judge or jury of peers, internationally acceptable trial, or internationally acceptable sentencing. It does not matter what kind of "intelligence" these people have on the leaders of the Palestinian resistance to illegal Israeli invasion and occupation, how much they "know" about their "whereabouts, whom they meet with, whom they talk with", or "what they plan", the Israelis have no right under international law to "move before they move". It should be obvious from this belligerent attitude and absolute willingness - even eagerness! - to contravene international law over and over again - not even acknowledging international law - that it is not the Palestinian people who are "responsible for their own misery," but rather the very government and people who are attacking them and shutting their eyes and ears to such codes of international law as UN Security Council Resolutions, the Geneva Conventions, etc. It is this only remaining apartheid government in the world which is responsible for the misery of the Palestinian people; and it is these people who are so very dangerous - precisely because they have not been subjected to the due process of law which they so fully deserve.

In contrast to the attitude of quiet respect given to the Israeli spokesperson to complete his thoughts without interruption, the BBC interviewer constantly interrupted Muhammad al Hindi several times, hardly allowing him a single opportunity to respond to the accusations presented to him. In addition, he was not allowed a chance to face his Israeli accuser in a face-to-face interactive discussion. It is very interesting to note that, with full respect to al Hindi Sahib, more erudite speakers such as Sa'ib al Erakat or Hassan `Abdul-Rahman (from whom, oddly enough, we have not heard in ages) were not consulted. Most striking of all, however, was that Muhammad al Hindi was not even given 2/3 the time that the Israeli man was given in order to speak.

I can understand the need for balance and fairness in journalism, but this is hardly journalism. It rather feels like the stenography that is practised by American so-called "journalists". I honestly feel that the decision to allow pro-zionist special interest groups to monitor and censor BBC's reporting was a fatal error which has since been corroding the quality of BBC's reporting. We would appreciate a return to the more even-handed representation that used to exist, if not a fully unbiased reporting of the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Why not, then, hire a Palestinian consultant to similarly monitor and censor BBC's reporters?

Monday, 19 January 2004

Men's Entertainment: Freedom of Expression, or Humiliating Objectification of Women?

Freedom of Expression:
I am expressing my desire to be free from men staring lewdly at my body and the bodies of my sisters as some form of entertainment, as if we were objects and not humans.

You People Know NOTHING about MY Religion!

This is an excerpt from feedback which was submitted to All Things Considered's email:

You have allowed for your guest on All Things Considered, Yitzhak Nakash, to promote the false legend that Shia clerics such as Sistani are comparable to the Pope, as did the BBC when they also propogated the same simplistic misinformation. In Catholicism, the Pope is one person. In Shia Islam, there are several clerics who hold the rank of marj`a - scholars who are qualified to deliver fatwas. In Catholicism, the Pope is considered to be infallible according to Church teachings. In Shia Islam, only Prophets and Imams are considered infallible. The differences go on and on. To compare a Shia cleric to the Pope is to compare an orange to a coconut. Such a comparison serves naught except to confuse the masses, who are already confused enough by Bush and his antics.

Friday, 16 January 2004

Secularists Pretending to Be Islamic Jurists

(Note: While I have kept the original date on this post, it is heavily redacted from the original in order to better reflect my withdrawal from apologetics.)

I am so upset about the many accusations that Islam stands against women's rights.

A blog writer assumes that if Islamic Law is instituted, he would be able to marry four wives, dump one whenever he wanted, and marry an 11-year-old virgin. In every single one of these assumptions, he has ignored the very thing that he has attacking - Islamic Law.

He could indeed have four wives. This is likely the most unpopular provision in Islamic law. Many aspects of Islamic family law with regard to polygamy are troublesome, especially the fact that, unless a woman has inserted a protective clause in her marriage contract, a man can marry another wife without consulting her or asking her permission. Polygamy is also abused extensively.

Technically, a man is required to provide for every single one of his wives equally. He is also not allowed to live at a level that is in any way above theirs. In addition, each of the wives has the right to request her own house. Some men do this. Too many don't. Of course, having your own house doesn't ease the pain of being stuck in a marriage to a man who has legally shacked up with another women without saying a word to you.

It is, however, expensive. The expenses don't stop with housing, either. The man also needs to be prepared to pay his wives for doing housework, since in Islamic law a wife cannot be compelled to do the household chores. Children would add to his financial woes. Not only is he fully responsible for providing for children, he could also pay out more money to his wives for nursing babies.

Again, however, no amount of money can make up for the emotional pain of dishonesty and the fact that one's husband chose not to keep his zipper zipped.

Men cannot necessarily always divorce whenever they want. Some schools of thought do allow for this. However, not all accommodate men's whims so easily. Under Shia Islam in particular, Islamic law is set up so strictly that a man would practically have to get the permission of his society in order to get a divorce. He needs to watch the timing: he cannot divorce a wife if it is the wrong time of the month. He has to declare the statement properly or have a shaykh declare it for him. There are many shaykhs who are willing to sign off on any divorce for any reason. However, not all are like that. There are a number of them who require a real reason. It would be necessary, then, to know where to go for your insta-divorce. In addition to all of that, he needs to acquire three reliable witnesses who would consent to sitting as witness for his statements of divorce. Again, not everyone is amenable to facilitating an insta-divorce.

Eleven-year-old virgins require their fathers' permission to get married, according to Islamic law. While we do have far too many unscrupulous men who see their daughters as sources of gold (or camels, or cattle, or sheep), they are difficult to find in Western society. And today's boys should be forewarned: it is a growing custom to teach schoolchildren karate. Your "wife" could divest you of your testicles. Come to think of it, I would help her.

ADDENDUM Sunday 12 January 2014:
Islamic laws regarding marriage were established at a time when society wasn't required to care for orphans and single women. In fact, in today's world with corrupt or collapsing governments and entrenched misogynistic patriarchy, the societal default is still that women rely on men for their maintenance. We might not find favour in that, but I think that it is necessary to acknowledge such conditions. Islamic law was developed to address this societal baseline. In many cases, it was also intended to be adaptive. See, for example, the (almost unwilling) admissions of the flexibility of Islamic jurisprudence to allow for circumstances which arise, particularly in the modern West, in A New Perspective: Women in Islam. Sayyid Qazwini upholds a traditionalist view of Islamic jurisprudence while often pointing out how it can be adapted to accommodate various situations. In addition, a somewhat recent method of interpreting and applying Islamic source texts towards jurisprudence has emerged in which one understands Islam as paving the way for reform: a "moral tragectory." It is referenced briefly in Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics, and Family Law Arbitration as a way of understanding Islam's intent to be the eventual abolition of polygamy. The moral trajectory theory is also explained by Dr Adis Duderija in his "A Case Study of Patriarchy and Slavery" (summarised here).

Regardless of which perspective one uses when viewing these issues, the fact is that Islam was revealed and developed in order to protect vulnerable people. Its intent was not to take advantage of and abuse them.

Thursday, 15 January 2004

We Want Democracy. NOW!

The anti-occupationists, the pacifists, the anti-war crew, the Palestinians, Iraqis, Chechens, Kashmiris - they don't want the return of any regime at all. We don't think that we should be forced to choose between evil and worse evil. Given a choice between Bush and Saddam, there are people who would choose death. Both are illegal - one broke 16 UN resolutions, and the other violated the UN charter. And then Israel has violated at least 72, and still has an illegal stockpile of 200-400 nukes. The world community of pacifists does not see the difference between an Arabic-speaking tyrant and a Hebrew-speaking one or an English-speaking one. We want all of them gone, and real elections where every vote is counted (unlike 2000, where about 175,000 were not counted or were refused access to vote in the first place). One of the reasons that the literacy rate in Iraq dropped from 85% before the 1991 invasion to 58% today is because the sanctions prevented decent health care, shut down the economy needed to run schools and universities, and cast the infrastructure into ruin. Constant bombing ofIraq from 1991 to today - it never really did stop - has returned Iraq to before the days of the first cities. How can I possibly say that I am proud to be an American, when I know that my country is the one that did this to a proud, ancient, Semitic people?

When tens of thousands of Iraqis go to the streets where they could very well be shot by occupation forces and demand elections, my opinion is that it is high time to listen to them. They want to elect their leader. They don't want their leader to be chosen for them by occupation forces, puppet councils, or any of the such. As a matter of fact, considering the amount of American lives that have been lost whose funerals Bush has not attended - not a single one - and whose coffins Bush refuses to allow to be filmed by the media and whose health care Bush has willfully slashed into last millenium, I would say that it is high time that the American people start showing some compassion for these men and women and demand that they be allowed to return home. And considering that tens to hundreds of millions of people all over the world took to the street to protest this invasion on the 15th of Februrary in 2003, I suggest that we Americans start listening to them - especially since hundreds of thousands of those people were Americans in cities such as NYC, San Fran, LA, Houston, Detroit...

Another thing that NEEDS to be said is that at the same time we send our men and women to die in other countries supposedly to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights, GW has been shredding the very same things every time he pushes through a Patriot Act-type bill, or a line item from Patriot Act II (he does this by having them included in budget bills)...the very freedoms for which we fought against the British in the Revolutionary War - freedom of speech, assembly, press, trial by peer and judge, attorny, humane prison conditions - we are putting them for sale to GW to do with them as he wishes. And he has been shredding them.

Saddam's regime was bad enough. I do not see the need to turn Iraq into worse than Saddam's regime, much less impose Saddam-like strictures on our Constitutional freedoms here. The Iraqis want to run their own democracy. I do, too.

Monday, 12 January 2004

Dear BBC: Stop Postulating on Shia Islam if You're not Shia!

Ayatullahs are not like the Pope. There is more than one Ayatullah; there is only one Pope. Ayatullahs shape and influence teachings on Islamic beliefs, but they do not dictate Islamic belief; the Pope dictates official Catholic belief. Ayatullahs are not considered infallible; the Pope is. Ayatullah Sistani is not the sole leading figure in Shia jurisprudence. Ayatullas Fadlullah and Khamanei are also high-ranking; and there are other majorscholars. Would you please do us all the kind favour of not consulting with people who are not Muslim, not Shia, and not a scholar of Shia Islam for information and commentary on Shia Islam! Please. I am sick of the misinformation and lies. You only further ruin your good name in the world of journalism every time you continue this irresponsible practise.

Thursday, 1 January 2004

Recovering from Western Civilisation

I think that as one ages and leaves behind his childhood in a western society, the natural capabilities, instincts, and understandings that he had as a child erode and are replaced by something much more brittle and self-destructive.