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.