Moved by a Crescent By MAUREEN DOWD Islamic law ‘subservient’ to family courts, says Women rights activists back Muslim leaders Ramallah: Hamas and Islamic Jihad Still Feuding Demographic implosion in Muslim societies Islamic leader walks the peace walk across
Moved by a Crescent By MAUREEN DOWD
Islamic law ‘subservient’ to family courts, says
Women rights activists back Muslim leaders
Ramallah: Hamas and Islamic Jihad Still Feuding
Demographic implosion in Muslim societies
Islamic leader walks the peace walk across
American Media Wake Up to 'Ugly Innuendo' on Islam, but only after Colin Powell’s intervention Oct 25/2008 by Gabriel Voiles
Declaring (10/22/08) that "it's hard not to read all the editorial plaudits for [Colin] Powell as something of an indictment of the opinion writers complimenting his courage," Lester Feder also chides his own CJR.org for relative silence until, in his Sunday appearance on Meet the Press, Powell cited the persistent right-wing "Barack Obama is a secret Muslim" rumours as one of the reasons that he is withholding support for Senator John McCain. "Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?" Powell asked indignantly, "The answer’s no, that’s not
Maureen Dowd amplified Powell's comments in her New York Times column today. "It was a tonic to hear someone push back so clearly on ugly innuendo," she writes. But her praise raises the question--couldn’t someone with a New York Times op-ed column have provided that tonic without Colin Powell's prodding?
Feder's disdain is apparent when noting that, "while 'secret Muslim' rumours have been circulating for two years, it's only after Colin Powell goes on television that the opinion pages wake up."
See FAIR's new report Smearcasting: How Islamophobes Spread Fear, Bigotry and Misinformation http://www.smearcasting.com/pdf/FAIR_Smearcasting_Final.pdf
Doug Latimer Says:
October 26th, 2008 at 5:19 pm
Who is this courageous person named Colin Powell?
I know someone with that name. He shares responsibility for the murders of untold numbers of Muslims in
He got his big break trying to cover up
Must be someone else!
Of course, this Colin Powell waited quite a while before taking his courageous stand against religious bigotry, didn't he?
I'm sure he had more important matters to attend to.
Just like the corporate columnists and editors who've followed his lead.
Moved by a Crescent
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: October 21, 2008
Colin Powell had been bugged by many things in his party’s campaign this fall: the insidious merging of rumours that Barack Obama was Muslim with intimations that he was a terrorist sympathizer; the assertion that Sarah Palin was ready to be president; the uniformed sheriff who introduced Governor Palin by sneering about Barack Hussein Obama; the scorn with which Republicans spit out the words “community organizer”; the Republicans’ argument that using taxes to “spread the wealth” was socialist when the purpose of taxes is to spread the wealth; Palin’s insidious notion that small towns in states that went for W. were “the real America.”
But what sent him over the edge and made him realize he had to speak out was when he opened his New Yorker three weeks ago and saw a picture of a mother pressing her head against the gravestone of her son, a 20-year-old soldier who had been killed in Iraq. On the headstone were engraved his name, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, his awards — the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star — and a crescent and a star to denote his Islamic faith.
“I stared at it for an hour,” he told me. “Who could debate that this kid lying in
Khan was an all-American kid. A 2005 graduate of Southern Regional High School in
His obituary in The Star-Ledger of
His father said Kareem had been eager to enlist since he was 14 and was outraged by the 9/11 attacks. “His Muslim faith did not make him not want to go,” Feroze Khan, told The Gannett News Service after his son died. “He looked at it that he’s American and he has a job to do.”
In a gratifying “have you no sense of decency, Sir and Madam?” moment, Colin Powell went on “Meet the Press” on Sunday and talked about Khan, and the unseemly ways John McCain and Palin have been polarizing the country to try to get elected. It was a tonic to hear someone push back so clearly on ugly innuendo.
Even the Obama campaign has shied away from Muslims. The candidate has gone to synagogues but no mosques, and the campaign was embarrassed when it turned out that two young women in headscarves had not been allowed to stand behind Obama during a speech in
The former secretary of state has dealt with prejudice in his life, in and out of the Army, and he is keenly aware of how many millions of Muslims around the world are being offended by the slimy tenor of the race against Obama.
He told Tom Brokaw that he was troubled by what other Republicans, not McCain, had said: “‘Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’ Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no. That’s not
Powell got a note from Feroze Khan this week thanking him for telling the world that Muslim-Americans are as good as any others. But he also received more e-mails insisting that Obama is a Muslim and one calling him “unconstitutional and unbiblical” for daring to support a socialist. He got a mass e-mail from a man wanting to spread the word that Obama was reading a book about the end of
“Holy cow!” Powell thought. Upon checking Amazon.com, he saw that it was a reference to Fareed Zakaria, a Muslim who writes a Newsweek column and hosts a CNN foreign affairs show. His latest book is “The Post-American World.”
Powell is dismissive of those, like Rush Limbaugh, who say he made his endorsement based on race. And he’s offended by those who suggest that his appearance Sunday was an expiation for
Even though he watched W. in 2000 make the argument that his lack of foreign policy experience would be offset by the fact that he was surrounded by pros — Powell himself was one of the regents brought in to guide the bumptious Texas dauphin — Powell makes that same argument now for Obama.
“Experience is helpful,” he says, “but it is judgment that matters.”
Conservative Salafi Islam rises in
October 26, 2008
The Muslim call to prayer fills the halls of a
Business grinding to a halt for daily prayers is not unusual in conservative
But nearly the entire three-story mall is made up of computer stores run by Salafis, an ultraconservative Islamic movement that has grown significantly across the
"We all pray together," said Yasser Mandi, a salesman at the Nour el-Hoda computer store. "When we know someone who is good and prays, we invite them to open a shop here in this mall." Even the name of Mandi's store is religious, meaning "Light of Guidance."
Critics worry that the rise of Salafists in Egypt, as well as in other Arab countries such as Jordan and Lebanon, will crowd out the more liberal and tolerant version of Islam long practiced there. They warn that the doctrine is only a few shades away from that of violent groups like al-Qaida - that it effectively preaches "Yes to jihad, just not now."
In the broad spectrum of Islamic thought, Salafism is on the extreme conservative end.
Salafist groups are gaining in numbers and influence across the
The gains for Salafists are part of a trend of turning back to conservatism and religion after nationalism and democratic reform failed to fulfill promises to improve people's lives.
The growth of Salafism is visible in dress. In many parts of
The word salafi in Arabic means ancestor, harking back to a supposedly purer form of Islam said to have been practiced by Muhammad and his companions in the seventh century. Salafism preaches strict segregation of the sexes and resists any innovation in religion or adoption of Western ways seen as immoral.
"When you are filled with stress and uncertainty, black and white is very good; it's very easy to manage," said Selma Cook, an Australian convert to Islam who for more than a decade called herself a Salafi.
"They want to make sure everything is authentic," said Cook, who has moved away from Salafist thought but still works for Hoda, a Cairo-based Salafi satellite channel.
In most of the region, Salafism has been a purely social movement calling for an ultraconservative lifestyle. Most Salafis shun politics - in fact, many argue that Islamic parties like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinians' Hamas are too willing to compromise their religion for political gain.
Its preachers often glorify martyrdom and jihad - or holy war - but always with the caveat that Muslims should not launch jihad until their leaders call for it. The idea is that the decision to overturn the political order is up to God, not the average citizen.
But critics warn that Salafis could easily slide into violence. In
"I am afraid that this Salafism may be transferred to be a jihadi Salafism, especially with the current hard socio-economic conditions in
The Salafi way contrasts with the Islam long practiced in
But Salafism has proved highly adaptable, appealing to
In Cairo's wealthy enclaves of Maadi and Nasr City, robed upper-class Salafis drive BMWs to their engineering firms, while their wives stay inside large homes surrounded by servants and children.
Sara Soliman and her businessman husband, Ahmed el-Shafei, both received the best education
But they have now chosen the Salafi path.
"We were losing our identity. Our identity is Islamic," 27-year-old Soliman said from behind an all-covering black niqab as she sat with her husband in a Maadi restaurant.
"In our [social] class, none of us are brought up to be strongly practicing," added el-Shafei, also 27, in American-accented English, a legacy of a
A dozen satellite TV channels, most Saudi-funded, are perhaps Salafism's most effective vehicle. They feature conservative preachers, call-in advice shows and discussion programs on proper Islamic behavior.
Alongside the cassettes, a book titled The Sinful Behaviours of Women displayed lipstick, playing cards, perfumes and cell phones on the cover. Another was titled The Excesses of American Hubris.
Critics of Salafism say it has spread so quickly in part because the Egyptian and Saudi governments encouraged it as an apolitical, non-violent alternative to hard-line jihadi groups.
These critics warn that the governments are playing with fire - that Salafism creates an environment that breeds extremism. Al-Qaida continues to try to draw Salafists into jihad, and its No. 2, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahri, praised Salafists in an Internet statement in April, urging them to take up arms.
"The Salafi line is not that jihad is not a good thing; it is just not a good thing right now," said Richard Gauvain, a lecturer in comparative religion at the
The Salafis' talk of eventual jihad focuses on fighting Americans in
The political quietism of the Salafis and their injunctions to always obey the ruler are too good an opportunity for established Arab rulers to pass up, said novelist Alaa Aswani, one of the most prominent critics of rising conservatism in
"That was a kind of Christmas present for the dictators because now they can rule with both the army and the religion," he said. Source:
Islamic law ‘subservient’ to family courts, says
By Joshua Rozenberg
27 Oct 2008
Like most people, I am concerned about the spread of Islamic law in
But before condemning the Justice Minister, Bridget Prentice, for her written answer in Parliament on Thursday, I think it is important to consider exactly what she said.
The minister was asked what guidance had been issued on the validity of fatwas and of other rulings issued by religious authorities to decide matrimonial disputes.
“We do not issue any guidance on the validity of fatwas or other rulings by a religious authority,” she replied, “because there is no need for such guidance. Sharia law has no jurisdiction in
“Similarly, we do not accommodate any other religious legal system in this country's laws. Any order in a family case is made or approved by a family judge applying English family law.”
A pretty robust reply, then. Why all the fuss?
Because the minister went on to point out that, in a family dispute dealing with money or children, the parties to a judgment in a Sharia council might wish to have this recognised by English authorities. In that case, she explained, they were at liberty to draft a consent order embodying the terms of the agreement and submit it to an English court.
That draft would not be binding on the judiciary, she stressed. But the process “allows English judges to scrutinise it to ensure that it complies with English legal tenets”.
Now I am perfectly prepared to accept that judicial scrutiny may, in practice, be quite perfunctory. If that is so, we should not tolerate it: English judges must consider sharia-based consent orders with great care.
This is particularly important where children are involved. As the law lords told us last week, there is a “rule of sharia law dictating that at the age of seven a child’s physical custody automatically passes from the mother to the father or another male member of his family”.
I cannot imagine that anybody would seek approval of such an arrangement from an English court. It would be rejected immediately and could be set aside if approved in error.
And Sharia-inspired financial settlements on divorce or separation may be rather less obvious. Under Sharia, a woman is not regarded as equal to a man. There must be a grave risk that women will be treated less favourably by a Sharia council than those claiming maintenance through a secular court.
Women may also come under pressure from within their own communities to have a one-sided Sharia ruling endorsed by the civil courts. This is all the more important when children are involved, because a mother who receives insufficient maintenance for her child may not be able to bring the child up herself.
I suspect that some tightening of court procedures is required to ensure that consent orders based on Sharia rulings are always considered personally by a judge of sufficient seniority. If this is going to increase the work of the courts then the minister will simply have to provide increased funding.
But if it can be established that a Sharia ruling on maintenance is objectively fair, is accepted by the parties and makes sufficient financial provision for the children, are we to deny Muslims the chance to register and enforce it merely because it was created by a court by whose rulings the parties feel themselves bound? Why should Muslims be denied the right to the new “fast-track” separation agreements I reported this month?
As the minister stressed, “religious courts are always subservient to the established family courts of
However, her Parliamentary answer may have caused some confusion because it referred also to non-matrimonial disputes. Here, again, some caution is required
Sharia courts or councils cannot decide questions of personal status under English law — whether or not someone is married or divorced, for example and whether a child should live with its mother or father. But where such questions do not arise, there seems little reason to prevent to business people, operating at arms’ length, from settling commercial disputes according to Sharia principles.
As I explained in an earlier piece, I would be concerned if a non-Muslim was put under pressure, for example, to agree that any dispute over a contract with a Muslim had to be resolved by a Sharia arbitrator. I would need to be convinced that a Muslim woman would not come off second best in a dispute with a Muslim man. But, again, are we to deny Muslims the right to enforce arbitration awards simply because the arbitrator has applied principles that both sides accept?
As the minister explained, there is nothing new in this. There is no evidence that any change in the law was “quietly sanctioned” last year, even though 2007 marked the opening of a Muslim arbitration tribunal in the
“The use of religious courts to deal with personal disputes is well established, Mrs Prentice said. “Any member of a religious community has the option to use religious courts and to agree to abide by their decisions but these decisions are subject to national law and cannot be enforced through the national courts save in certain limited circumstances when the religious court acts as arbitrator within the meaning of the Arbitration Act 1996.”
“Arbitration does not apply to family law and the only decisions which can be enforced are those relating to civil disputes.”
Even in civil disputes, Sharia cannot be chosen as the governing law of a contract. A passage in the new Islamic finance section of the Lexis Nexis Encyclopaedia of Banking Law says that English law does not recognise Sharia as a system of law capable of governing the relationship between parties to a contract. This is because Sharia is not regarded as a system of national law.
The Arbitration Act allows disputes to be solved by reference to Sharia because section 46 of the Act requires tribunals to decide disputes with reference either to the national law chosen by the parties or “other considerations as agreed between them”.
But the Encyclopaedia adds a word of warning. “It may still be preferable for any specific Sharia principles to be directly incorporated into the contract” because of “the divergence of opinion among Sharia scholars on a number of key issues”.
Why, then, is there such concern about Islamic law in
These fears need to be addressed — not by the Justice Minister in a written answer, but by the Justice Secretary in a major speech.
As it happens, Jack Straw was speaking about Muslims this weekend. He issued a statement for the Global Peace and Unity Event, which brings together Muslims and non-Muslims with the aim of promoting peace and understanding.
Praising British Muslims for the “visible, tangible difference” they made to “all walks of life in this country”, Mr Straw said there were “still those whose aim is to undermine this society we have worked so hard to create, whether they are the BNP and the far right or violent extremists professing to act in the name of Islam”.
Both used the same tactic of division, he said, and both could be defeated through unity.
But it was a pity the Justice Secretary did not tackle what many non-Muslims fear, however irrationally — the divisiveness of a separate system of law operating within
Women rights activists back Muslim leaders
26th October, 2008
By Anthony Bugembe and Francis Emorut
WOMEN rights activists have pledged to support Muslim leaders to ensure that the rights of Muslim women are not violated.
The activists, led by the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), met the leaders of the Khadi Courts on Wednesday to discuss women’s rights in the administration of the Muslim Personal Law.
After the rejection of the Domestic Relations Bill in 2005 by the Muslim community, the Uganda Law Reform Commission issued two Bills; one for the Muslims and the other for non-Muslims.
Under the Bill for Muslims, Khadi Courts are established to deal with marriage, divorce, guardianship and inheritance of property.
“Our intention is not to confront the Muslims or to change the Sharia law. We are here to find ways of working together to address the issue of women exploitation and domestic violence. We want to ensure that the women fully understand their rights,” said Allen Assiimwe, FIDA’s chairperson.
Sheikh Muhammad Ali Waiswa, an administrator at the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, said: “The Muslim community had displeasure with some sections of the original Bill which were not in conformity with Islamic beliefs.
A committee of 26 members was established to come up with Muslim-friendly legislation.
We have submitted our third draft to the Uganda Law Reform Commission.”
From drab to decadent: the evolution of Islamic TV
By Ismail Elmokadem
October 26, 2008
Today Islamic television is a multi-million dollar industry with a smorgasbord of different channels that boast high production values and sleek fast-paced direction. Many are only designed to provide entertainment while others are devoted exclusively to political provocation.
The show’s guests included actresses and reformed drug users who openly discussed their path from debauchery to enlightenment. Khaled encouraged uninhibited displays of emotion and more often than not the program ended with someone in tears.
“Talk from the Heart’s” earnest format instantly struck a cord with millions of ordinary Muslims and revolutionized Islamic television forever. It also revealed a feverish need for informal shows that spoke to Muslims about their everyday problems.
Amr Khaled became an overnight sensation, creating a cult following of millions of fans around the world. His show also paved the way for an entirely new kind of Islamic celebrity, enjoying the same mania and glamour associated with movie stars and pop singers.
Quick to seize the opportunity, television producers soon launched new Islamic channels such as Al Resalah and Al Nas that in turn produced their own stars. Today an Arab viewer is spoilt for choice with preachers that suit every pallet: from the ultra-conservative to the liberal English speaker.
The selection is also no longer limited to men. Women such as Abla Al Kahlawy, Heba Kotb, and Souad Saleh all host highly successful programs. Saleh’s weekly show called “Women’s Fatwas” on the Egyptian satellite channel sees women asking for guidance about their personal life.
“We have dedicated callers from Europe, the
It’s a different story for
Funded by Lebanese Shia party Hezbollah, Al Manar set a unique precedent with its unabashedly partisan approach and bombastic style. The channel often uses women wearing the niqab as broadcasters and features propaganda music videos that regularly attack
In recent years the
And while Al Manar seems hell-bent on increasing animosity between the West and the Muslim world, other Islamic channels are trying to do exactly the opposite. In the
“We wanted to counteract growing hatred against Muslims after 9/11 and the
Seen all over world the Islam Channel has achieved unprecedented success, attracting millions of loyal viewers. Its itinerary includes everything from specialized talk shows to children’s programs.
But it is their new game show “Faith Off” that has generated media frenzy in recent months.
“Faith Off” is the world’s first ever inter-faith game show, where Sheikhs, Christians, Buddhists, Jews, and Muslims are made to compete against each other.
Contestants are tested on their knowledge of other religions. The inevitable errors made by these contestants provide ample comedic material but also reflect greater misunderstandings amongst different communities.
Ali explains his channel’s motivation for creating the show. “We wanted to launch a program that put people of different faiths face to face. Ultimately the idea is that it forces individuals to look past religious differences to see how similar we all are.”
The show has proven to be a big hit and the Islam Channel has now launched a new program entitled “Modern Mosque” that scouts the
“The idea is to look throughout
Whether it’s about sheer entertainment, building bridges with the West, or even anti-American propaganda, Islamic TV is having a worldwide impact. Over the last decade Islamic television has transformed itself from its austere beginnings to a flexible medium that can be adapted to fit a variety of TV genres.
Nation of Islam activists decry
The Associated Press
October 25, 2008; 9:09 PM
Speaker after speaker at a memorial service said they disagreed with the district attorney's stance that Brandon McClelland's death was not racially motivated.
"If this is not a hate crime, then there is no such thing as a hate crime," said Krystal Muhammad of the New Black Panthers. "Even though our brother was viciously slain, we will not let him die in vain."
Two white men, accused of running McClelland down and dragging his body about 70 feet beneath their pickup, remain jailed on murder charges. They face up to life in prison if convicted.
Authorities have cast doubt on theories that the attack was a hate crime but said they will take another look when autopsy results become available this week. A determination of racial bias in a crime can increase penalties, but not for the murder charges these defendants face.
Still, a finding of racial bias in McClelland's killing could make a powerful statement. And Deric Muhammad of the Nation of Islam called McClelland's death an "exact copycat" of the 1998 James Byrd case.
Byrd, a black man in Jasper, about 200 miles south of
McClelland died after going with two white friends on a late-night beer run across the state line to
Authorities said that the men then ran him over and that his body was dragged beneath the truck. His body was discovered Sept. 16. McClelland's mother said fragments of her son's skull could still be found three days later.
Crostley and Finley are jailed on charges of murder and evidence-tampering. Finley's attorney did not immediately respond to a voice mail message Saturday, and a call to a listing for Crostley's attorney was not answered.
Unlike the Byrd case, there is no evidence that McClelland was tied or chained to the truck. Officials also point out that McClelland was friends with the two murder suspects.
In an odd twist, McClelland served jail time after pleading guilty to perjury for providing a false alibi for Finley in the latter's murder trial in 2004. Finley eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
"What this case shows is that if a white person wants to lynch a black man, all they have to do is befriend him first," Deric Muhammad said.
Officials said they have uncovered no evidence that Finley, who served time for manslaughter, had joined a white supremacist gang while in prison.
"There is nothing about that in his prison records, and there are no tattoos on his body" that would indicate Finley had joined such a gang, said Allan Hubbard, a spokesman for the
Finley does have a tattoo of a Paris-area gang that includes blacks and whites, Hubbard said.
"There is nothing racially motivated in the state's eyes about this murder," Hubbard said.
The differences between the Byrd and McClelland cases were dismissed at the memorial service, which also served as a meeting to organize future protests. Speakers chanted "No justice, no peace," "Power to the people" and "Never again," and condemned
"The time has come for a black man's life to be equal to a white man's life," said Anthony Bond, founder of the
The service later moved to a two-lane road lined by farms, where McClelland's torn body was found. Family members and activists from across the state placed flowers and wreaths at a spot alongside the road where white spray paint indicated where authorities had located body parts.
Bobby McCleary spoke movingly of his dead son, who called him "Pops."
"A couple of times, I've found myself calling him just to see what he is doing," he said. "I just want to hear 'Pops' one more time from my son."
©2008 The Associated Press. Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/25/AR2008102502203_pf.html
Hamas and Islamic Jihad Still Feuding
26 Oct 2008
By Kifah Zaboun
Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat- It is no secret that the line adopted by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territories contradicts that of the Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip. Their disagreement dates back to the time when they were first established in the late 1980s and has clearly manifested itself in the Palestinian street, institutions, universities, associations, and prisons. By simply raising a political or religious discussion among the members of both movements, one can realize that they disagree over everything.
A well-informed Palestinian source have asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat that "the dispute between Hamas and Islamic Jihad reached its peak when Hamas tried to take over mosques belonging to the Islamic Jihad in Gaza and tighten the noose on its leader in Damascus and prevent them from establishing any relations with other states in the region."
According to the source which spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, "Hamas seeks to benefit solely from Sunni and Shiite support. In order to achieve this goal, Hamas has made great efforts to convince Sunni states that Islamic Jihad members are adopting Shiite Islam."
"Hamas has also made an effort to convince
The Palestinian source noted that "the dispute between Hamas and the Islamic Jihad is old." and that "it started years ago as a result of Hamas accusing Islamic Jihad members of adopting Shiism and spreading it in
The source made clear that such accusations against the Islamic Jihad have declined recently as a result of Hamas embracing Iran, adding that, "today, Hamas has fallen into the arms of Iran, which is providing it with more support than it is providing for the Islamic Jihad. This is despite the fact that the Islamic Jihad's relationship with
the source also revealed that, "up until recently, Hamas had claimed in front of Sheikh Yusuf al- Qaradawi that Islamic Jihad members were converting to Shiism. On one occasion, they deliberately published a photo of Ramadan Shalah, an Islamic Jihad official, visiting Khomeini's grave. This caused tension in the relationship between Shalah and Khalid Mishal, head of Hamas's Political Bureau."
"What seems strange is that at that time, Hamas elements were visiting
Despite Hamas's confirmation that it has a well-established relationship with Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian source emphasized that, "Hamas is upset because it considers that the Islamic Jihad movement is outbidding it through the line it is pursuing, manifest in its continued resistance and its refusal to participate in the legislative election or to join a Palestinian Government."
However, official sources from the Islamic Jihad told Asharq Al-Awsat that, "We adopt a fixed position on everything, but Hamas's position is changing. In 1996 they said that it was illicit to participate in the elections, and then they nominated themselves. (Deposed Prime Minister) Ismail Haniyeh ran for the legislative election the first time an election was held. Hamas said that he was a dissenter. Haniyeh formed a new party then withdrew from the elections. They are erratic."
The Islamic Jihad sources went on to say, "as a result, people trust the Islamic Jihad more, thus causing problems with Hamas. In
The sources pointed out that "In Al-Shuja'iyah, they [Hamas elements] raided Islamic Jihad mosques and dismissed imams and muezzins belonging to Islamic Jihad and replaced them by Hamas-affiliated imams. However, the high-level of tension that such actions created forced Hams to return control over these mosques to Islamic Jihad after direct intervention by Fatah leaders."
The source continued that, "In the past, disputes affected everyone. However, recently, they were limited to the supporters of both factions as a result of them mixing together. Nevertheless, disputes have once again worsened on the level of high commands. The [controversial] issue that has been raised recently involves the failure to invite Islamic Jihad Secretary General Shalah and movement leader Anwar Abu-Taha to attend the sixth annual conference on
The Al-Quds International Institution, which is based in
The sources affirmed that "the conference has ruptured relations between Shalah and Mishal." But that disputes were heading towards a resolution.
Accused men sought violent jihad: court
October 27, 2008
Counsel for the prosecution Richard
Mr Maidment on Monday addressed the first 220 potential jurors at the trial of Bradley Umar Sariff Baladjam, 31, Khaled Cheikho, 35, Moustafa Cheikho, 31, Mohamed Ali Elomar, 43, Abdul Rakib Hasan, 39, and 24-year-old Mohammed Omar Jamal.
The six have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to commit acts in preparation for a terrorist act, and are standing trial in the NSW Supreme Court.
Offering a "thumbnail sketch" of his case, Mr Maidment said the accused were among a group of at least nine western and south-western
Literature, images and video were found in their possession which advocated the activities of "notorious persons such as Osama bin Laden" and the pursuit of martyrdom through jihad.
"Each of these men were apparently strong adherents to the Islamic faith and were each motivated by a particular religious, political or ideological causes, that being the pursuit of violent jihad," Mr Maidment said.
"In essence that meant that the accused were motivated to carry out violent activities against members of the Australian community as a whole, in pursuit of their ideals."
Mr Maidment said the men obtained large quantities of firearms and ammunition between July 2004 and November 2005, as well as significant amounts of chemicals such as acetone and hydrogen peroxide.
They also had detailed written instructions on how to manufacture explosives "capable of causing substantial damage and loss of life", he said.
Justice Anthony Whealy emphasised the men's presumption of innocence and said the jury should not draw any bias, adverse or otherwise, from their Islamic beliefs.
"It is important to repeat and stress that those who wish to serve on the jury should offer themselves for service only if they are able to bring an unbiased approach to persons of the Muslim faith.
"Similarly, if you are of the Muslim faith and harbour resentment to non-Muslims, you should not offer yourself for service."
Justice Whealy advised anyone who felt uncomfortable about viewing "disturbing images" of dead and badly injured persons, including children, should ask to be excused.
Anyone who felt they would not be able to keep confidential and national security matters a secret should also ask for exemption, he said.
Justice Whealy said the trial was expected to run for up to a year, with up to 700 witnesses, with brief breaks over Christmas and Easter.
Five thousand potential jurors have been summonsed, and the selection process is expected to take the rest of the week.
The final 15 will be selected on Friday from a short-list of 300 by a process of ballot.
Up to four challenges will then be allowed from each of the 24 barristers briefed in the case, which includes a QC and five senior counsels.
It is the first Supreme Court trial to be held at the new Sydney West Trial Courts complex at
Both Justice Whealy and Mr Maidment addressed the jury assembly room via video link from the courtroom, two floors above.
The two-week crown opening is expected to begin next Wednesday, November 5.
© 2008 AAP Source:
Demographic implosion in Muslim societies
By YORAM ETTINGER
Just as the world at large is experiencing an unprecedented collapse of demography, the UN Population Division reports a sharp decline of fertility rates (number of births per woman) in Muslim and Arab countries, excluding
The myth of "doubling population every 20 years" has been shattered against the cliffs of demography. The director-general of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, stated, during a UNESCO conference on "Population: From Explosion to Implosion," that "there is an abrupt slowdown in the rate of growth... also in many countries where women have only limited access to education and employment... There is not the slightest reason to assume that the decline in fertility will miraculously stop just at replacement level (2.1 births per woman)... Before 2000, the young always outnumbered their elders; for some years now it has been the other way around."
THE collapse of fertility rates in Muslim countries is a derivative of modernization and Westernization, rapid urbanization and internal security concerns by dictators fearing the consequences of the widening gap between population growth and economic growth. As a result, the UN Population Division has reduced its 2050 population projections by 25 percent, from 12 billion to 9 billion, possibly shrinking to 7.4 billion.
For instance, the fertility rate in
Demographic precedents suggest only a very slight probability of resurrecting high fertility rates following a sustained period of significant reduction.
THE Bennett Zimmerman-led American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG) has documented a similar demographic trend among the Arab population of Judea and
The decline in fertility and population growth rates has resulted from escalating emigration (which has characterized the region since 1950), accelerated urbanization (70% rural in 1967 and 60% urban in 2008), the expansion of education infrastructure, especially among women, the entrenchment of career mentality; the increase of median-marriage-age, an all-time high divorce rate, the contraction of teenage pregnancy and the UNRWA/PA-led family planning campaign.
The sharp lowering of fertility rate among "Green Line" (pre-1967 Israel) Arabs, from nine births per woman in 1969 to 3.5 in 2007, has been the outcome of their successful integration into Israel's education, employment, commerce, health, banking, cultural, political and sports infrastructures. The annual number of Arab births stabilized at approximately 39,000 between 1995-2007. The Arab fertility rate converges swiftly toward the Jewish fertility rate (2.8 births per woman).
ON the other hand,
The number of Jewish births has increased from 69% of total births in 1995 to 74% in 2006 and 75% in 2007. The secular sector - and particularly the immigrants from the former
Recent demographic trends bode well for the solid, long-term Jewish majority of 67% within the "Green Line" and in Judea and
A version of this article first appeared in www.news1.co.il. Source:
Islamic leader walks the peace walk across
October 26, 2008
An Islamic leader who mortgaged his house to walk across
"We should be in
Since Soharwardy, the founder of Muslims against Terrorism, began walking April 20 in
The closing ceremony -- a multi faith gathering -- is slated for 3 p.m. at the B.C. legislature and all are welcome.
"It seemed fitting that at the end of the multi faith march, the (
"Even to drive, that's a long way, let alone walk -- so obviously he's someone who's really very committed to raising public awareness and that's a good thing," said Sheila Flood, a member of the Saanich Baha'i community.
Soharwardy said the "
The walk is about changing people's opinions about violence, he said. "We have to stand up and say, no this is not acceptable.
"This walk is not about one faith or one group of people; this is a walk of all Canadians and people of all faiths coming together and saying that violence has no place in any religion, including Islam, of course."
The constant feedback elates him, such as "amazing scene" at a construction site where about 30 workers stopped work and came over to talk, shake hands and accept souvenir shirts.
It's all "very motivating" to keep up the 32 kilometres he covers a day -- down from 40 plus on the Prairies.
"People are honking and waving -- this morning there were three people who joined us for shorter distances," said the 53-year-old information technology consultant from
Occasionally, people have run out of their houses to hand him cheques for $100. One was a low-income, elderly woman in the Maritimes who told him he had to keep the cheque for a month until she had money in the bank.
He has seen changes of heart both by victims of violence who have committed to stand up to abuse and by others determined to stop using violence to resolve problems -- but he also urges people to seek help from counsellors.
Soharwardy's walk had its roots in a meeting of an inter-faith group two years ago, where participants voiced dismay about rising violence. He suggested a walk emulating Terry Fox to get in touch with ordinary people about the dangers of violence. Unable to find a sponsor, he mortgaged his house and took a leave of absence from work.
There were times he wasn't sure he would make it. One June day, when it was pushing 40 degrees in
Stopping at the Terry Fox memorial for a multifaith gathering near
Near Ignace, Ont., a huge black bear appeared between him and the recreational vehicle -- "we were scared to death" -- but it soon ambled out of sight.
Rev. Mac Elrod, a retired Unitarian minister, is "thrilled" that Soharwardy's walk is terminating in Victoria, underscoring that faiths in general and Islam in particular are opposed to violence and "to the use of religion as an excuse for violence."
Baha'i Flood thinks the image of Islam has been "dragged in the dirt," in recent years. "It seems unfair because the majority of Muslims are peace-loving and from our study of their holy writings, it's clear that violence is not supported."
Kdedyna@tc.canwest.com © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008. Source: