New Age Islam
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Islamic World News ( 15 Sept 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islam's holy month of fasting begins as US recognizes the growth of the religion

Carter Memorial Methodist Church offers Study on Islam

Iranian President felicitates Islamic world's leaders on Ramadan

Islamist preacher banned from addressing British fundraiser

Malaysian Woman Wants Public Caning

Severity of Islamic Law Fuels Debate in Malaysia

Muslim Personal Law needs to conform to Quran

Florida Judge Protects Terrified Christian Convert from Muslim Parents

Anti-Muslim bias obvious in girl's case

Obama tries jaw-jaw with Islamic militants

The war for Afghanistan's women

US soldiers kill Iraqi civilian again

Rising Islamophobia blamed for hate crimes against Turks in Europe

Long Island Muslims say they're wrongly portrayed

Islamists and the Future of Democracy in the Arab World

Political Islam: Blinded by the Sand

Taliban Chooses New Leader in Pakistan

Iraqis begin restoring concrete walls in Baghdad

Iran MPs urge lifting Etemad-e Melli ban

'No conflict between Islamic teachings & pursuit of scientific knowledge'

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Islam's holy month of fasting begins: Ramadan arrives as the West begins to recognize the growth of the religion in the U.S.

By Joshunda Sanders

August 22, 2009


 Through the hunger that comes from observing Ramadan, Austin engineer Clay Smith said he feels the tug of compassion in his soul. That's also how he first learned about Islam, he said.

"Someone told me that if I wanted to understand what it means to be Muslim, I should fast during Ramadan," said the 49-year-old Smith, who had been a Christian until several years ago, when he started considering converting to Islam.

Trying the annual fast once wasn't enough, so he tried it two years in a row. "I thought I'd be irritated by this whole fasting experience," he said, "but what it taught me was compassion."

Austin Muslims say learning through the challenge of hunger is a crucial part of Ramadan, a ritual obligation for the world's estimated 1.5 billion Muslims. The 30-day fast begins today and ends Sept. 20.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the "five pillars" of Islam. The others are belief in God and his prophets, ritual prayer, payment of charity tax and pilgrimage to Mecca.

During Ramadan, Muslims must fast from the first light of dawn, about 1 ½ hours before sunrise, until sunset. Fasting means abstention from sex, food and drink.

Imam Islam Mossaad, who leads Austin's largest Muslim congregation of about 500 families at the North Austin Muslim Community Center, said that Muslims will mark the beginning of the religion's holiest time on Friday night when they see the crescent moon right after sunset. Mossaad says there are about 10,000 Muslims in Austin.

It is a month, he said, during which we are "asked to challenge ourselves and grow through the challenges.

"Hopefully, one grows each year as part of denying the physical self and growing the spiritual self," Mossaad said. "Believe it or not, Muslims really like Ramadan."

The visibility of Islam in the West is increasing.

At his historic address in Cairo in June, President Barack Obama attempted to reset the relationship between the United States and Muslims around the world by saying that America is not at war with Islam.

Full Report At:


Carter Memorial Methodist Church in Needham offers Study on Islam

Aug 23, 2009


A Study on Islam will be part of the fall educational offerings at Carter Memorial United Methodist Church, 800 Highland Ave., Needham. The study begins Wednesday, Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. Persons of any faith tradition or of no religious identity who wish to study this world religion are welcome.

This Interfaith Study – for a Muslim and a Jew and several Christian denominations have already registered – will focus on the basic elements of the religion of Islam. The study held on Wednesday mornings 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in the Firth Room at Carter will include the viewing of a 30-minute DVD lecture each session by Professor John L. Esposito of Georgetown University and one of the most prolific American writers on Islam. His book Islam: The Straight Path, Revised Third Edition will be the text. A contemporary English translation of the Quran will also be available for purchase.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are the three great Abrahamic faiths. They share some commonalities such as monotheism, the Hebrew Bible, origin in the Middle East, and holy sites in Jerusalem. Judaism and Islam are religions of law and have religious languages. Christianity is a religion of belief. Protestant Christianity does not have a single sacred language.

Topics for this twelve-week study include "Islam Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow"; "The Five Pillars of Islam"; "Muhammad – Prophet and Statesman"; God's Word – The Quranic Worldview"; "The Muslim Community – Faith and Politics"; "Paths to God – Islamic Law and Mysticism"; "Islamic Revivalism – Renewal and Reform"; "The Contemporary Resurgence of Islam"; "Islam at the Crossroads"; "Women and Change in Islam"; "Islam in the West"; and "The Future of Islam." The course will be completed on Dec. 9.

Each session includes a time of sharing, prayer, viewing the DVD lecture, discussion. Participants are invited to make special reports if they wish. A bibliography supplied by Professor Esposito will also be available. Pastor Caroline Edge will facilitate the study. The syllabus is available online at


President Ahmadinejad felicitates Islamic world's leaders on Ramadan

August 23, 2009

TEHRAN (IRNA) – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad felicitated nations and leaders of the Islamic world on the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan with issuing a congratulatory message on Saturday.

The president expressed hope that the Islamic Ummah (People) could take the most advantages of the spiritual opportunities which would be created during the holy month to promote brotherhood and good relations among world Muslims and improve peace and tranquility amongst themselves.

August 22 was announced the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan in Iran by the Supreme Leader's headquarters for moon sighting. The moon sighting is the searching of the night sky for the first sign of a waxing crescent moon which signifies the beginning of each Islamic month.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During the holy month Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, sex, smoking, and indulging in anything that is in excess or ill-natured; from dawn to sunset.


Islamist preacher banned from addressing fundraiser

By Jamie Doward

23 August 2009

An Islamist preacher has been banned from addressing a major British fundraising event amid claims he backs attacks on UK troops and supports terrorist organisations linked to Al Qaeda.

The revelation that Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemen-based preacher accused of advocating violent jihad, was due to speak via video link at Kensington town hall later this month, has raised fears public buildings are being used for extremism. A spokesman for Kensington and Chelsea council said: "Some of the views expressed by Mr al-Awlaki in the past are not appropriate for broadcast in [council] premises."

The council banned al-Awlaki from speaking only after politicians and anti-extremist groups raised concerns about his appearance at the Cage Prisoners event, which will raise money for Muslims held in Guantánamo Bay


Malaysian Woman Wants Public Caning


SUNGAI SIPUT, Malaysia — A Malaysian Muslim woman is calling for being caned in public for drinking alcohol, saying the punishment will deter other Muslims from serving the beverage. "I never cried when I was sentenced by the judge," Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno told Reuters.

"I told myself, alright then, let's get on with it."

Kartika, a 32-year-old mother of two, was arrested in a raid for drinking beer at a hotel lounge last year.

Islam Prohibits alcohol and Drugs Alcohol: Dangerous, But Why? Be Gentle, Even in Punishment She was sentenced to six lashes by a Shari`ah court in July in what was considered a warning to other Muslims to abide by religious laws.

She also paid a 5,000 ringgit ($1,420) fine.

The penalty has drawn fire from Amnesty International amid calls for the Malaysian government to revoke the sentence.

Regretful Kartika said she does not plan to appeal the court verdict.

"Who am I to question the Islamic authorities' laws? That is beyond me," she said.

Islam takes an uncompromising stand in prohibiting intoxicants.

The general rule in Islam is that any beverage that get people intoxicated when taken is unlawful, both in small and large quantities, whether it is alcohol, drugs, fermented raisin drink or something else.

Muslim Malays form about 60 percent of the 26-million population of multiracial Malaysia.

The multi-ethnic country applies Islamic Shari`ah law only to its Muslim population.


The Malaysian Muslim woman has requested to be caned in public to deter other youth from drinking alcohol.

"I want to respect the law," Kartika said.

Malaysian authorities has rejected the woman's request, insisting that the punishment be done in a women's prison next week.

Kartika said four close relatives, including her father and sister, have requested permission to witness her being caned in the prison.

Full Report At:


Severity of Islamic Law Fuels Debate in Malaysia


AUGUST 23, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR – Some time in the next few days, a Malaysian Muslim woman named Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno will be caned under Islamic laws for drinking glasses of beer in a hotel bar, and a number of political analysts say the country's increasingly fractious politics are partly to blame.

Drinking alcohol is illegal for Malaysian Muslims, who make up about 60% of the country's 27 million people. Usually, those who are caught are subjected to a fine or brief prison sentence. Non-Muslims, including large ethnic-Chinese and Indian communities, are free to drink as they please and aren't subject to shariah law.

But Ms. Kartika will be the first Malaysian woman to be caned for the offense and, in an unusual twist, the 32-year-old mother of two on Friday asked for the punishment to be carried out in public to deter other Muslims from drinking alcohol.

Her punishment, which was ordered by an Islamic court on Wednesday, comes amid a time of heightened political tension in Malaysia. The ruling National Front and the Islamist component of an opposition alliance are competing to place themselves as the guardians of a faith that has taken an increasingly political face in Malaysia over the last 20 years.

The National Front accuses the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, of giving up some of its Islamic ideals by showing a willingness to compromise with its secular allies in matters such as whether convenience stores can sell alcohol in majority Muslim areas, or the location of pig abattoirs – sensitive issues in this multiracial society.

The PAS, meanwhile, accuses the National Front and its main party, the United Malays National Organization, of being too corrupt and entrenched in the trappings of power to govern in accordance to the principles of Islam.

Farish A. Noor, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, argues that the scheduled caning of Ms. Kartika "is just a sign of what is to come." Both PAS and UMNO, he argues, are pushing for the wider use of shariah law in Malaysia.

Full Report At:


Muslim Personal Law needs to be in conformity with Quran: Islamic scholars

22 August 2009

Chennai: Speakers at a seminar on "Islam and Gender Justice" have called for the reformulation of the Muslim Personal Law to bring it in conformity with the Quran. The program held in Chennai on Thursday was organized by the Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought in Islam to create awareness on gender justice in Islam.

Eminent Islamic scholar and Chairman of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer said that there was nothing divine about the present day shariah as it was not based on the Quran. He pointed out that "The entire discourse about women in Quran is rights-based and for men it is duty-based. However, this was reversed by jurists and as a result today we find that in the shariah law the entire focus is on duties of women and rights of men"

On polygamy he was of the opinion that it was an exception rather than a rule and that it was permitted only in case of widows and orphans to take care of them and their properties. "Justice is central issue here, not the number of women one can marry. But again men saw to it that number became more important than justice. Verse 4:129 of the Quran says that even if you want to you cannot do justice and hence, do not leave first wife suspended. This clearly shows that polygamy is not a privilege for men, but a rigorous duty to take care of helpless women."

Pointing out that the Quran did not discriminate against women he said; "Those who discriminate between men and women are not following the Quran in real spirit. Rather they follow one or the other school of jurisprudence. According to the Quran both man and woman have been created from one soul (nafs). Hawwa, as believed by many Muslims on the basis of one hadith, was not created from the rib of Adam. This hadith is in clear contradiction of the Quran. Also, the story of expulsion of Adam and Hawwa from paradise is very different from Bible. According to the Quran it is Adam who defied his Lord (Rabb) and Hawwa has not been blamed for inciting Adam to go near the tree and eat fruit of that tree as in Bible. Thus Hawwa is free of that blemish in Quran." He implored Muslims to shun the path of medievalism and said that there is an urgent need for the reconstruction of religious thought in Islam on the lines of what Allama Iqbal demanded during is famous Madras Lectures.

Full Report At:


Florida Judge Protects Terrified Christian Convert From Muslim Parents

By Andrea Lafferty

22 August 2009

web-baryAugust 21, 2009 - This is the first day of the Islamic month of Ramadan and "Barry" Obama has issued a warm greeting in several languages to Muslims around the world. He praises Islam as a peaceful and tolerant religion while Rifqa Bary, a 17-year-old, is fighting for her life to keep from being killed by her father under Islamic Shariah Law or sent to a mental asylum in Sri Lanka, her home nation.

Bary is an honor student and cheerleader, and she converted to Christianity four years ago. She was raised in a Muslim household in Ohio and fled her home to avoid being killed by her outraged father.

She fled for protection to Pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz of the Global Revolution Church in Orlando, Florida. Bary had found the church on Facebook. The Florida Department of Children and Families has placed her in foster care.

Earlier this afternoon, a judge held a hearing to give Rifqa Bary and her attorney a chance to explain why her life is in danger from an honor killing by her father. Fortunately, the judge ruled that she'll stay in Florida for the time being. Another hearing on her case is scheduled for September 3.

A reporter for TV station WDBO blogged in the court room during the hearing.

According to Bary, she fled from home because she feared that she would become the victim of an honor killing. She has already been the victim of beatings by her father for her rejection of Muslim traditions such as wearing the hijab, a head covering.

Watch Bary's statement about her plight on YouTube. She is clearly terrified. In it, she said: "I'm a Christian, and my parents are Muslim. They are extremely devout," she said. "They threatened to kill me. ... You guys wouldn't understand. Islam is very different than you guys think. They have to kill me. My blood is now halal, which means that because I am now a Christian, I'm from a Muslim background, it's an honor. If they love God more than me, they have to do this. I'm fighting for my life. ..."

Full Report At:


Anti-Muslim bias obvious in girl's case

By Mike Thomas

August 23, 2009

Fathima Rifqa Bary is playing a familiar role in Florida's latest cultural clash, a symbol who personalizes a much broader conflict.

Claiming her Muslim father is going to kill her for converting to Christianity, Rifqa fled her Ohio home and was taken in initially by Blake and Beverly Lorenz, who head the Global Revolution Church. Blake has been quoted as saying Christians are at war with Islam and that Islam is evil. And those who share that view have embraced this case.

It brings back memories of Elián González, the Cuban boy whose arrival in Miami caused a furor as the exile community tried to block his father from bringing Elián back to the island. And then there was the right-to-life battle over Terri Schiavo, waged between her parents, who wanted to maintain her mindless body on a feeding tube, and her husband, who wanted the tube removed.

Rifqa, 17, is a symbol for those who believe we are fighting Round 2 of the Crusades. For them, the stereotype falls perfectly into place: Conniving Muslim extremist plans to murder his innocent daughter for turning to Jesus.

The case went to court last week. And in a rather surprising twist, rather than send Rifqa back to Ohio, Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson decided to investigate Ohio. And so the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is off to determine her survival chances there.

One assumes this had something to do with the intervention of Gov. Charlie Crist, who faces a conservative challenge from Marco Rubio in the Republican U.S. Senate primary. Not to be left out, Rubio promptly issued a statement in support of Rifqa and spammed it to the media.

Left unanswered is what business Florida has involving itself in this matter. The people best suited to determine the threat level to Rifqa are the cops and social workers in Ohio familiar with the Bary family and the Muslim community. It appeared they had worked out a good compromise plan, allowing Rifqa to go into foster care while they ensured her safety.

If there is evidence that the folks in Ohio are incompetent and need Florida's assistance, I would like to hear it.

Full Report At:,0,5972041.column


Obama tries jaw-jaw with Islamic militants

By Hamid Karzai and Mullah

23 08 2009

Only those living in cuckooland would have expected the presidential elections held on Thursday (20) in Afghanistan to be free and fair like elections in the West.

Over 65 persons were killed in the run-up to Thursday's elections as bombs and gun fire blasted the capital Kabul and Southern regions of the country. In the north of the country where relative calm prevailed a poll of around 90 percent was expected while in the south  where the Taliban holds sway a very low poll was anticipated.

The Taliban were so determined to wreck the presidential election that they threatened to chop off fingers of voters that were stained in indelible ink.  With such a primitive attitude adopted by the Taliban to prevent a democratic process going through, the courage of millions of Afghans who braved it all to cast their ballots has to be admired.

Freedom under Taliban

Whether democracy will take root in this country only time will tell. With all its faults, under the four year regime of President Karzai, people did enjoy at least some benefits of democracy. Women who were treated like beasts of burden under the Taliban and denied education gained access to schools and other basic human rights.

Greater freedom came to be enjoyed by people in non Taliban held regions and last week's elections itself where many candidates ran for presidency was quite in contrast to the  theocracy  run by the one eyed Mullah Omar.

Admittedly the government of the first elected President Hamid Karzai had been a failure in many respects. The Taliban forces that were driven out of the country into the high mountains have come back in force and are now virtually in control of large swathes of the southern regions. Critics say that Karzai cannot be faulted in this respect but the then US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush who did not commit an adequate number of troops to Afghanistan are now being blamed. President Barack Obama has stepped up the number of troops by 16,000 since January and the surge of US troops is expected to continue.

Full Report At:


The war for Afghanistan's women

By Malcolm Potts

August 23, 2009

There are two wars going on in Afghanistan. One is to defeat the Taliban, and that war is not going well. The other is to liberate women, and that war has hardly begun. If the first war is won but the second is lost, Afghanistan will turn into a failed state -- a caldron of violence and misery, home to extremism and totally outside the Western orbit of influence.

Last week's election, however imperfect, is welcome, but it means little as long as women remain enslaved in this patriarchal, tradition-bound culture. In most of the country, a woman needs her husband's permission to leave her home. Domestic violence is tragically common. Indeed, the government elected in 2004 passed, and President Hamid Karzai signed into law, legislation legalizing marital rape. Older men use their wealth and power to marry young women. In April, according to news reports, when a teenage Afghan girl called Gulsima eloped with a boy her own age instead of marrying an older man, she and the boyfriend were shot to death in front of the mosque in the southwest province of Nimrod.

Currently, Afghanistan is one of the worst places in the world to be a woman, and -- as is the case everywhere women's rights are nonexistent or in decline -- the birthrate is high. Afghan women have an average of about seven children, and the population has been doubling about every 20 years. Today it is 34 million. According to U.N. estimates, by 2050 it could reach a staggering 90 million. That rapid population growth and the demographics that go with it drive most of Afghanistan's worst problems.

All too often, demography is overlooked in developing countries, as I experienced in 2002 when I wrote the budgets for a U.N. agency working to rebuild Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. Part of our job was to write a 10-year financial plan. As my colleague from the World Bank was closing his computer, I said, "You do realize in 10 years' time there will be almost 50% more people needing healthcare?" He hadn't. After an expletive and some more hitting of computer keys, the budget totals rose considerably.

I made my first visit to Afghanistan in 1969. Even then it was clear that slowing population growth was a prerequisite for feeding Afghanistan, for its socioeconomic progress and for any shred of hope for a stable democracy.

One result of rapid population growth is that two-thirds of the Afghan population is below the age of 25. The primary role models for the volatile, testosterone-filled young men in this group are local warlords. The reason Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (who, incidentally, is the 17th child of a man who had 54 children) have found a haven in Afghanistan is largely because of the mixture of loyalty and anger generated among males in such a society, in which there are no genuine economic opportunities for advancement. The word "taliban" means "student." The men who condemned Gulsima and her young boyfriend were probably 18 or 19 years old.

So in a country where women have had their fingers cut off because they painted their nails, where the Taliban threw acid on girls trying to go to school, is there any possibility of improving the status of women? Yes.,0,3722899.story


US soldiers kill Iraqi civilian again

23 August 2009

Baghdad, August 23: The US soldiers have killed an Iraqi civilian after they stormed his home in the eastern province of Diyala, an Iraqi official has said.

The owner of the house was shot dead and one of his children was injured, when the US soldiers broke in the house in the Mullah Huwaish village, Emirates news agency reported on Saturday.

The injured person was then arrested under the pretext that he is wanted by the judicial authorities.

The incident comes a week after American troops shot dead three children in northern Iraq , according to the Iraq News Agency (Al-dar al-Araqiya).

The children -- all under twelve -- were killed while they were shepherding in the northern Iraqi town of al-Tarmia on 16 Aug 2009, the report added.

The reported attacks on the Iraqi civilians by the US soldiers comes as the US troops were ordered to withdraw from Iraqi cities and towns on June 30.

According to a security agreement between Baghdad and Washington, the US troops need a permission from the Iraqi government to carry out any military operation in the Iraqi cities and towns.

The US military has not yet released any statement on both incident.



Rising Islamophobia blamed for hate crimes against Turks in Europe

Aug 23, 2009

The violent deaths of two Turkish citizens in Belgium and three others in the Netherlands earlier this month have stirred up controversy among the Turkish public, which feels that anti-Turkish and anti-Muslim hate crimes have started to take a toll on their countrymen in Europe.

Arzu Erbaş Çakmakçı, 33, was stabbed to death on Aug. 11 in Amsterdam by an unknown assailant outside the daycare center she owned. Although the motive for her murder remains a mystery, it is suspected that it could have been a xenophobic attack. In the same city, another Turkish citizen, 30-year-old Ufuk Kayakuşu, who owned a cleaning company, was found stabbed to death in his home on Aug. 14.

The death of a Turkish citizen, Mikail Tekin, 31, in Belgium's Jamioulx Prison on Aug. 8, apparently after being subjected to torture as indicated in his autopsy report, sparked outcry among the Turkish public, prompting a diplomatic protest by Ankara to Belgian officials. Tekin had originally been detained after a brawl with traffic police.

In another Belgian city, Gent, Turkish citizen Mustafa Çiçek, 32, was shot to death in his home after returning from a vacation with his wife in Turkey. The couple was attacked by two masked man.

These crimes are still being investigated by the authorities to determine whether they qualify as hate crimes; the verdict is still pending. Though some of them may be ordinary crimes, the back-to-back heartbreaking news has caused public outrage and put pressure on Turkish officials to act on it.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the Çakmakçı family personally to offer his condolences and said he would discuss the matter with his Dutch counterpart in response to the grieving father's plea to have the perpetrators punished. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu placed a call to his Belgian counterpart, Yves Leterme, saying he expects the utmost care in the investigation of Tekin's death.

Recep Karagöz, the deputy secretary-general of the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER) sees an increasing trend of xenophobic and hate crimes across Europe. "The anti-Muslim rhetoric taken up by government officials in some countries has fueled these incidents, and they are the ones who should take the blame for them," he told Sunday's Zaman.

Full Report At:


Long Island Muslims say they're wrongly portrayed


August 22, 2009

Beneath the white tent outside  the gleaming peach-colored mosque in East Meadow, the women in their colorful head scarves and flowing robes sat on the left, while the men, some wearing traditional Muslim skullcaps, sat on the right.

Politicians, police and even a rabbi spoke with delight from the podium over the opening of the newest mosque on Long Island, its 21st, and this one built by the Bangladeshi community. Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey called it "a wonderful thing" and bemoaned that the Muslim community "unfortunately gets maligned unjustly."

The festivities Wednesday evening at the Long Island Muslim Society mosque underscored the dynamic growth of Muslims on the Island, and how since the Sept. 11 attacks they are increasingly in the spotlight.

That spotlight is often unwelcome, like last month when authorities announced they had arrested a 26-year-old Patchogue man, Bryant Vinas, who had traveled to Pakistan to join al-Qaida and attend a terrorist training camp. Vinas had worshipped for about 18 months at a mosque in Selden. According to some local Muslims who said they knew him, he had even spoken of jihad, though members of the mosque described him as a largely unknown character there who never said anything suspicious.

Flourishing but still a cloud

Most Muslims on Long Island say the arrest paints an inaccurate portrait of their community, which started expanding four decades ago with an influx of pharmacists, doctors and other professionals from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, among other places.

Members of a religion that counts 1.2 billion adherents worldwide, they contend that for the most part they are flourishing professionally, entering the mainstream of life on Long Island, raising their children to be successful and patriotic Americans. Even so, some feel they live under a cloud of suspicion, and they are divided as to whether they have fully become part of mainstream Long Island.

"I came to this country with $5 in my pocket. How can I not appreciate this country?" said Mohammed Rafiqur Rahman, an emigrant from Bangladesh who helped found the new mosque in East Meadow and works as a pharmacist.

Mosques, schools on LI

Besides 21 houses of worship, Long Island's 70,000 Muslims have two full-time Islamic schools, including one in Hempstead that is K-12, and a facility at a mosque in Bay Shore to prepare their dead in shrouds for the quick burial their religion dictates. They hope to buy their own cemetery on the East End.

"We are very integrated," said Dr. Hafizur Rehman, a pediatrician originally from Kenya whose office in Bay Shore is filled with hundreds of photographs of his patients, mainly native-born Americans. "We have been able to practice our religion, keep our culture, but assimilate very well into society."

But others say they are not so sure.

"Some of them are a little bit on the side," said Habeeb Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic Center of Long Island, a mosque in Westbury. "We are largely an immigrant community."

The Sept. 11 attacks, carried out by men who said they were Muslims waging jihad, or holy war, were a blow to the image of Muslims on Long Island. Community leaders say they reject terrorism, and that the attackers perverted their religion, which preaches peace.

Last month's arrest of Vinas did not help their cause. "I got very upset," Ahmed said. "It affects the whole community, giving us all a bad name."

He and other Muslims say they'd be the last ones to want to harm the United States: Many are professionals who have adopted this country as their own and sent their children off to elite colleges.

Full Report At:


Islamists and the Future of Democracy in the Arab World

August 22, 2009

The continued detention in Egypt of Dr. Abdel Moneim Abou Fatouh, prominent professional, Muslim Brotherhood leader, and moderate voice for reform is a harsh reminder that despite widespread popular desire for broader political participation, basic freedoms and the rule of law, in Egypt and many parts of the Arab and Muslim worlds democracy and human rights are subordinated to the interests and whims of authoritarian regimes. Thus, for example, the credibility of Egypt's electoral reforms was greatly undermined by government harassment, arrest and imprisonment of its critics, secular and religious, in national elections. Similarly, the potential and impact of Saudi Arabia's reforms and limited elections have been vitiated by episodes of suppression and imprisonment of reformers and harassment of Shii as well as Christian workers.

The threat of global terrorism has provided a convenient excuse for Muslim autocrats and some Western policymakers to backslide or retreat from the promotion of democratization, to limit or control civil society and the rights of non-government organizations. Autocrats warn that the promotion of a democratic process runs the risk of furthering Islamist inroads into centers of power and threatens stability and security as well as Western interests. Western governments, driven by self interest (access to oil and strategically important locations) worsen the problem by continuing to support and thus perpetuate "friendly" authoritarian regimes. However, policymakers must learn to think more strategically, to distinguish clearly between moderate (non-violent) Islamists and terrorists. They must pursue a diplomatic path of engagement and dialogue with moderate Islamists and with Arab and Muslim partners, a military strategy to capture and contain Muslim terrorists.

Islamist parties are an integral part of Muslim politics and societies and they are not going away. Since the late 20th century Islamically-oriented candidates and political parties in Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia have opted for reform through ballots, not bullets. They have successfully contested and won municipal and parliamentary seats, held cabinet positions, and served in senior positions such as prime minister of Turkey and Iraq and president of Indonesia. Elections since late 2001 in Pakistan, Turkey, Bahrain, and Morocco as well as in Palestine, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt have reinforced the continued saliency of Islam in Muslim politics in the 21st century.

Full Report At:


Political Islam: Blinded by the Sand

by Annie Hamilton

August 22, 2009

Picture for a moment that the United States of America exists on a fast-moving jet, systems in place, the

passenger seats can be thought of as individual states, each full of tax-paying citizens, children, families, the elderly, our military. Our testicular-challenged Congress is hovering over the cockpit, staring at our looney faux leader with awe...yet no one is flying the plane. (Congress cannot do it, their spines disintegrated ages ago, like a crusty old gym sock that lays around, no apparent use, stinking up the environment, in desperate need of replacement)  No, the plane is operated from the checkbook of a foriegn born man who is forbidden in some countries, unwelcome in others and likely feared but hardly respected.  How does one respect the idiotic?

America is heading straight for a mountain while the masses sleep, too wrapped up in our daily grind to pay any attention to other nations and individuals begging us to take stock in our decisions and give the big picture a second glance prior to putting another foot forward.

In yesterday's Townhall, an article appeared outlining the '20 most effective ways for Islamists to invade America' and I had to laugh at the clever mechanisms utilized by muslims to most efficiently penetrate our system, nearly undetected. To paraphrase:

1. Terminate America's freedom of speech by replacing it with hate crime bills state-wide and nation-wide. (they did this but threw us a freebie, with pedophile protection stuffed into this bill by the wormiest looking politician to ever crawl out of Nevada...anyone else think he looks like a constipated rat?)

2. Engage a new 'war' between blacks and whites, but a war of words, pitting black leaders aggainst visible religious personalities to promote Islam as the 'correct and proper' African-American religion while claiming that judeo-christian based theology is for white people, a notion based in utter folly.

3. Launch public debate/PR campaigns on college campuses, universities libraries, radio stations, television stations, churches, mosques and any other setting where an opportunity may arise, as to the virtues of Islam, comparing it as historically 'relevant' much like Judaism or Christianity.

4.  Recruit Musllim sympathizers to run for office in order to manipulate legislation and to recruit additional volunteers to manage block voting. (suddenly, i'm hungry for Acorn pie?)

5. Buy stock in corporations, buy real estate, companies, and/or take control of shares in American based companies, especially throughout Hollywood/Southern California, the press, radio, internet and television.

Full Report At:


Taliban Chooses New Leader in Pakistan

August 23 2009

Though the Pakistani Taliban insists that former leader Baitullah Mehsud is alive but too ill to lead, they have chosen a new chief: 28-year-old Hakimullah Mehsud, who already has a $120,000 bounty on his head.

CNN reports that the shura—the Taliban's 42-member council—appointed Hakimullah Mehsud as successor on Friday. His first deputy officer will be Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, and the second will be Hazem Tariq.

Hakimullah is meant to replace Baitullah Mehsud, who is believed to have been killed in a drone attack on Aug. 5. The Taliban has failed to provide any proof that Baitullah is still alive, and officials believe Hakimullah's appointment is an attempt to "shore up an organization reeling from the loss of its leader," according to the Associated Press.

Though Hakimullah may not have ability to keep the Taliban completely united through the leadership change, his past operational successes made him the unanimous choice of replacement.

Authorities believe he is the mastermind behind multiple U.S. and NATO supply raids, multiple threats to foreign embassies, the bombing of the Peshawar Pearl Continental hotel on June 9, and the attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in Lahore.


­­­­­­­­­­­ Iraqis begin restoring concrete walls in Baghdad

23 August 2009

BAGHDAD: Workers used giant cranes to raise concrete walls around the blast-scarred foreign ministry and other government buildings on Saturday,

as Iraqi authorities sought to bolster security after suicide truck bombings that killed scores in Baghdad.

The decision to reinforce vital institutions is a sharp reversal of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's desire to remove the barriers as part of his efforts to make life more normal for war-weary Iraqis before January's national elections.

Wednesday's bombings against the foreign and finance ministries have shaken confidence in a government eager to demonstrate that it can take over responsibility for the country's security from American combat troops, who pulled back from urban areas on June 30 with plans for a full withdrawal by the end of 2011.

"We have to face the truth. There has been an obvious deterioration in the security situation in the past two months," Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said during a news conference at his damaged headquarters, which sits next to the protected Green Zone.

Shattered glass and debris were scattered throughout the ministry building and the grounds outside. Walls were stained with blood and bandaged employees hugged and kissed each other while asking about the fate of colleagues.


Iran MPs urge lifting Etemad-e Melli ban

23 Aug 2009

A group of Iranian lawmakers calls for lifting the ban Mehdi Karroubi's Etemad-e Melli daily, after authorities ordered the closure of the pro-Reformist newspaper.

In a letter to newly-appointed Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, lawmakers asked him to order the ban on the "widely-circulated" paper to be "immediately" lifted, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported.

"The opposition daily has made efforts to promote an atmosphere of criticism in a fair way,"

 "… this newspaper, which was critical of the government, attempted to behave as an observer and …not divert from the path of fairness," they added.

Etemad-e-Melli (National Confidence) was banned on Monday after Karroubi alleged that post-vote detainees had been sexually assaulted by prison authorities, sparking controversy in the country.


The Civil Servants Prosecution Office, which handles press cases, said that the popular newspaper had been ordered shut until further notice for "publishing unlawful and criminal material."

 "We expect heads and staff of the daily to remain committed to the Islamic Republic, Iranian nation and Constitution," said the lawmakers in their letter.


'No conflict between Islamic teachings & pursuit of scientific knowledge' - Indian Muslim

By Pervez Bari

23 August 2009

Bhopal: Acquiring any knowledge, be it religious or modern, for the benefit of oneself or the society at large is not forbidden in Islam. The followers of Islam can gain knowledge from any source even from un-Islamic institutions or non-Muslims for the uplift of society. The religious knowledge in Islam is matter of faith while the pursuit of knowledge of modern science and technology is associated with intellect. In the Holy Quran Muslims have been exhorted a number of times to think, ponder and reflect over His creations, thereby to develop a scientific temperament and thinking to recognize His presence as the Creator of the Universe.

The above observations were made by Maulana Syed Sharafat Ali Nadwi, a senior faculty member of renowned local seminary Darul-Uloom Taj-ul-Masajid, while delivering late Maulana Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari memorial lecture here at Hameed Manzil. The topic of the lecture was "Muslim Millat Ki Tameer Nau Mein Jadeed Taleem Ki Ahmiyat" (the importance of modern knowledge in the rebuilding of Muslim Ummah). The lecture was presided over by Bhopal Shahar Qazi Maulana Abdul Lateef Khan Qasmi. The lecture was organised by local NGO Muslim Educational & Career Promotion Society, (MECAPS).

Maulana Sharafat speaking at length on the topic said Islam has enjoined upon Muslims to gain knowledge of all that is necessary for day to day life apart from acquiring religious knowledge. The secret of success for Muslims lies in the fact that men and women both have command over modern science along with the knowledge of the tenets of Islam. They should be practicing Muslims and not just for name-sake, he remarked.

He said that there is no conflict between the teachings of Islam and scientific knowledge but are complimentary to each other. While Islam is a reality for mankind for all times to come, science is a thing of research which is an ongoing process. The Holy book of Quran over 1400 hundred years ago had mentioned the end results of many scientific discoveries which have been made today, he remarked.

Maulana Sharafat said Quran is a book of signs and not science and Muslims should take cue from it to unravel the mysteries of nature which have not yet been explored up till now.

Earlier, Prof. Mohammad Hassan Khan, son of late Maulana Imran Khan Nadwi Azhari, who is the head of Arabic Department in local Barkatullah University, threw light on the life and works of his father. He said Maulana Imran, who had immense administrative capabilities, at a very young age of 28 years was appointed Mohtamim (Rector) of the Lucknow-based world famous seminary Nadwatul Ulema from where he had graduated. Before taking over this assignment he did his post-graduation from another world renowned Al-Azhar University of Cairo in Egypt.

Later Maulana Imran started seminary Darul-Uloom Taj-ul-Masajid in Bhopal on the orders of Bhopal rulers. He also actively took part in Tabligh movement and was instrumental in the holding of annual Tablighi Ijtema (congregation) which is continuing in Bhopal for last six decades without any break.

Maulana also undertook the epic task of completing the construction of half built Taj-ul-Masajid, the largest mosque in Asia, in 1971 . The construction of Taj-ul-Masajid which Shahjahan Begum, the ruler of Bhopal, got started during her reign remained incomplete for several decades due to her death. The Maulana got it completed by touring the whole world to collect funds for Taj-ul-Masajid construction which was nearly Rs. One crore (10 millions) at that time. (