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Islamic World News ( 31 Oct 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Yoga haram for Muslims! Are Malaysian clerics losing their mind?

Vatican City: Muslim convert tells Pope Terrorism is intrinsic to Islam

Baghdad: Iraqi women’s relaxed lifestyles show Islamic extremists waning

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Islamic Bank plans to make more consumer loans

Ottawa: Canadian Momin Khawaja’s Descent into Jihad: The destruction of America and its ‘Israeli masters’ would make him very happy

Arabs: Obama ‘One of Us,’ writes NYC Columnist

Iran 'quick on the draw' if attacked, warns President Ahmadinejad

Islamists in Israel to fight Court allowing Site for J'lem tolerance museum

Chicago: 14 Americans meet with Islam after "message bus" campaign

Ceasefires in Islam: Not Always What They Seem to Be

Media Expert Elaborates on Election 2008 Arab and Muslim Stereotypes

A Marriage of Convenience: Obama, the Left and Radical Islam

Israel/Palestine: Support the strikes in Gaza!

Compiled by Syed Asadullah



How can Yoga be haram for Muslims? Are Malaysian clerics losing their mind?

Posted by Vineeth Menon  

30 October 2008 15:25

I read with interest today that the highest Islamic body in the land is discussing about banning yoga the popular exercise routine, for Muslims. I must confess I don't know much about Yoga. I also don't consider myself as a deeply pious and knowledgeable Islamic cleric. Maybe there exist a few parts of Yoga that is indeed against Islamic teachings like reading the mantras or what not. If that's true then why not just skip that part?

After all, I think there's nothing wrong with exercising. With the increasing amount of obese people nowadays we should encourage exercising even more not ban them.

Anyway, I'm sure the members of the council are all men of deep knowledge and understanding on Islam. If not they won't be on the council in the first place. And for that I totally respect them. But before the members of the council go into meeting tomorrow, deciding whether Yoga is haram or not for Muslims all over, let me divulge my thoughts on several things that is openly haram but continued to be practised in Malaysia.


Islam forbids its followers from hurting themselves and causing harm to others. That's why it is haram to consume alcoholic drinks or eat anything detrimental to one's health. Alcoholic drinks are medically proven to be hazardous to the human liver not to mention its negative impact to society. Smoking (cigarettes, cigars and drugs) is also detrimental to one's health. I think I still remember once upon a time ago there was a near fatwa decreeing smoking is haram. Don't know what happened to that. But the important thing is, cigarettes is still freely available everywhere in the country and people young and old is still puffing away like there's no tomorrow. Why haven't the council done anything about this?

Gambling and SMS quizzes

Gambling is haram in Islam because it is simply wrong to gamble our hard-earned money to chance and because of the obvious social implications caused by it. SMS quizzes is no different from gambling. You gamble your money spent for the SMSs sent totally to chance. Sometimes you win, most of the time you don't (you loose). Might as well throw all your money at the poker table or the slot machines in Genting. I thought there's already a fatwa for this. Is it fully enforced? God knows.

Conventional banking, loans and interests

Riba means usury (excessive interest) and is explicitly forbidden in Islam. However, most major banks and financial institutions in this country offers banking and loan services to the people, Muslims included using that very same interest rates system to make profit. Yes maybe there are a lot of Islamic banking services offered nowadays but still the majority of loans offered, car, housing, business loans are still using the interest rate system. So generally speaking, this haram practice had been going on for decades and the religious authorities didn't do anything to stop it.

Hijab, tudung and the covering of woman's hair.

The Qur'an instructs the male believers (Muslims) to talk to wives of Muhammad behind a hijab (tudung). However, in later Muslim societies this instruction, specific to the wives of Muhammad, was generalized, leading to the segregation of the Muslim men and women. Today it is generally accepted by Muslim scholars worldwide that a Muslim women who had reached puberty should be covering their entire body except for the hands, the feet, and the face, hence the wearing of hijab (well unless you're anti-hadith that is). That is why you can see more than half of Muslims women in this country don the tudung. Then what about the rest of them? Are they not Muslims? True believers of the faith? You can see them everyday and everywhere. If they call themselves Muslims, why haven't they abided to God's words and the teachings of His prophet? Can I expect a fatwa decreeing those women as deviant Muslims? I don't think so.

The sin tax

Every year the government collected millions of tax money from the sale of cigarettes and alcohols and also from the gambling business (like 4D and the casino in Genting). One is vaguely prohibited in Islam but the others is explicitly prohibited. So where do this tax money go? They're used to pay the wages of you my friends, the civil servants, teachers, policemen, ustaz, and also not forgetting the members of the council. Is this permissible in Islam? Shouldn't all our earning come from a clean, unpolluted source?



Vatican City: Muslim convert to Catholicism tells Pope Islam is not an intrinsically good religion and that Islamic terrorism is not the result of a minority gone astray

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Muslim-born journalist baptized by Pope Benedict XVI at Easter asked the pope to tell his top aide for relations with Muslims that Islam is not an intrinsically good religion and that Islamic terrorism is not the result of a minority gone astray.

As the Vatican was preparing to host the first meeting of the Catholic-Muslim Forum Nov. 4-6, Magdi Allam, a long-time critic of the Muslim faith of his parents, issued an open letter to Pope Benedict that included criticism of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

In the letter, posted on his Web site Oct. 20, Allam said he wanted to tell the pope of his concern for "the serious religious and ethical straying that has infiltrated and spread within the heart of the church."

He told the pope that it "is vital for the common good of the Catholic Church, the general interest of Christianity and of Western civilization itself" that the pope make a pronouncement in "a clear and binding way" on the question of whether Islam is a valid religion.

The Catholic Church's dialogue with Islam is based on the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions ("Nostra Aetate"), which urged esteem for Muslims because "they adore the one God," strive to follow his will, recognize Jesus as a prophet, honor his mother, Mary, "value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting."

The council called on Catholics and Muslims "to work sincerely for mutual understanding" and for social justice, moral values, peace and freedom.

Allam told Pope Benedict he specifically objected to Cardinal Tauran telling a conference in August that Islam itself promotes peace but that "'some believers' have 'betrayed their faith,'" using it as a pretext for violence.

"The objective reality, I tell you with all sincerity and animated by a constructive intent, is exactly the opposite of what Cardinal Tauran imagines," Allam told the pope. "Islamic extremism and terrorism are the mature fruit" of following "the sayings of the Quran and the thought and action of Mohammed."

Allam said he was writing with the "deference of a sincere believer" in Christianity and as a "strenuous protagonist, witness and builder of Christian civilization."

After Pope Benedict baptized Allam March 22 during the Easter Vigil and Allam used his newspaper column and interviews to condemn Islam, the Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said that when the Catholic Church welcomes a new member it does not mean it accepts his opinions on every subject.

Baptism is a recognition that the person entering the church "has freely and sincerely accepted the Christian faith in its fundamental articles" as expressed in the creed, Father Lombardi had said.

"Of course, believers are free to maintain their own ideas on a vast range of questions and problems on which legitimate pluralism exists among Christians," he said.



Iraqi women’s relaxed lifestyles show Baghdad extremists waning

By HAMZA HENDAWI, 29-10-08

BAGHDAD (AP) — Engineering student Haifaa Salman has discarded the Islamic head cover she started wearing two years ago after militants threatened to "punish" her if she kept showing up at college with her hair uncovered.

"I was forced to wear it," the 22-year-old says, recalling the day in 2006 when two men on a motorbike stopped her outside campus to deliver the threat. But, she adds, "It's different now. Life is normal again. College women wear what they please. The extremist groups are gone."

The decision by some women to shun the Islamic head cover, or hijab, is just one of the signs that Baghdad residents are growing increasingly confident in the past year's security gains.

Children with backpacks can be seen walking to school. Sidewalk cafes remain open after dark. Families stroll through parks in the sunset.

But after five years of violence, many people are hesitant.

"Things are much better now," said Ziad Mohammed, a 49-year-old government employee who lives in Karkh, a mainly Sunni Arab district on the west bank of the Tigris.

"But fear is still inside me," he added. "I want to get rid of it. Maybe it will happen next year."

For now, Mohammed continues to escort his children to school and picks them up because he fears they could be kidnapped.

Baghdad remains a very dangerous place, and much of the capital looks like a city at war.

Giant billboards appeal for information to help arrest militants accused of "crimes against the Iraqi people," with grainy images of fugitives, mostly bearded men in their 20s and 30s.

"I will always be here," declares a reassuring message on other billboards depicting an Iraqi army soldier towering over two boys in the background.

Miles of concrete blast walls and dozens of fortified checkpoints dissect the city. Some neighbourhoods remain almost entirely walled off, and sectarian hatreds that boiled over into a bloodbath in 2006 and early 2007 simmer below the surface.

A cautious Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejects calls to remove the blast walls, which have been so effective in curtailing violence.

"We will not take that risk," he said this month. "It can be a very costly gamble. They will stay until we are satisfied that we have total control over security."

He is not the only skeptical about the durability of the drop in violence in Baghdad — overall attacks dropped to about 100 last month compared with nearly 650 during September last year, according to the U.S. military.

"I don't want to remove a barrier and find out later that I had done so prematurely," said Col. Mark Dewhurst, the U.S. Army brigade commander in charge of most of Rusafa, the mainly Shiite half of the city on the eastern bank of the Tigris.

"I will only remove them if I can help the traffic flow and at the same time retain the same level of security," said Dewhurst, an Altus, Okla., native with the 10th Mountain Division.

The director of Baghdad's National Museum, looted after the U.S. captured Baghdad in 2003, also remains skeptical. Amira Eidan says the museum will stay closed to the public for up to two more years, until security in Baghdad is better.

Even some of the women who are doing without the hijab fear the militants. They take the head cover off only in certain neighborhoods.

The secular look of liberal-minded women has not escaped notice.

"The clothes of female university students these days are shameful and more revealing than party dresses," Sheik Muhannad al-Moussawi said in a Friday prayer sermon in Baghdad's Sadr City district.

Suheir Abbas, a 20-year-old Arabic literature student at Baghdad University, doesn't like that some of her female classmates come to class in revealing clothes.

"We live in a free country and everyone is free to wear whatever they want," she says. "But we live in a Muslim country, and the feelings of others must be respected."

Associated Press writer Saad Abdul-Kadir contributed to this report. Source:


Malaysia Islamic Bank plans to make more consumer loans next year

Thu Oct 30, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 (Reuters) - RHB Islamic Bank Bhd, the sharia arm of Malaysia's fourth-largest lender RHB (RHBC.KL: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), plans to make more consumer loans next year as a looming global slowdown threatens corporate lending growth, a company executive said on Thursday.

RHB Islamic will cut its lending to companies, which normally carry a higher default risk in an economic downturn, while switching its focus to the retail sector in a bid to maintain its loan growth momentum, said managing director Jamelah Jamaluddin.

The sharia lender is set to achieve a 20 percent loan growth this year and is confident of maintaining that growth in 2009, said Jamelah.

"Next year we are still trying to project at 20 percent loan growth, but I think we need to look at which sectors we want to be exposed to," she said.

"We are trying to slow down on corporate; we are looking at more on the commercial as well as the consumer side," she added.

Loan growth will remain robust next year also because the bank plans to increase its branch network to 25 next year from 7 currently, said Jamelah.

The executive spoke to reporters after sealing an Islamic financing deal with local aluminium fabricator Press Metal Bhd (PMET.KL: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

RHB Islamic, along with Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia) Bhd (KFH Malaysia), Asian Finance Bank, Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp (Malaysia) Bhd and Malaysia's Bank Kerjasama Rakyat, will provide financing of up to 355 million ringgit ($99.22 million) for a smelter project in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo island.

KFH Malaysia is part of Gulf-based Kuwait Finance House (KFIN.KW: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) while Al Rajhi Banking is controlled by Saudi Arabian lender Al Rajhi Bank 1120.SE.

RHB Islamic Bank is the lead arranger for the loan facility.

The sharia-based financing is being offered to Press Metal under the Islamic principle of Istisna or manufacturing contract and Ijarah or leasing, said a joint statement by the banks.

Under the terms of the facility, Press Metal will complete the construction of the smelter on the order of the financiers, it said.

Subsequently, Press Metal will lease the plant from the financiers for six years at an agreed rental payment and any advance retail payment during the construction period will be served to the financiers, it added.

(For more Reuter’s coverage of Islamic finance, click on [ID: nISLAMIC])

(Reporting by Soo Ai Peng; Editing by Kim Coghill) Source:


Canadian Momin Khawaja’s Descent into Jihad: The destruction of America and its ‘Israeli masters’ would make him very happy

Momin Khawaja remained silent throughout his 4.5-year case, but dozens of e-mails he wrote prior to his arrest reveal how and why this quiet Canadian, with a nice family, from a nice Ottawa suburb dedicated his life to terrorism and destroying the West. Using many of Khawaja's own words and thoughts, the Ottawa Citizen chronicles Khawaja's descent into jihad.

Ian MacLeod, Canwest News Service, October 29, 2008

OTTAWA - Momin Khawaja waves to his mother Azra from his glass cage in courtroom No. 37. Seeing her always makes him happy.

The destruction of America and its Israeli masters would make him very happy.

He'd taken precautions when he declared holy war on the West, yet the police and security services caught him within months.

Khawaja was convicted of five terrorism-related charges in Ottawa Wednesday.

He looks out at the courtroom's gallery. The young woman from the Canadian Intelligence Security Service takes notes. Reporters scribble away.

Closer to the back, his father Mahboob and mother present a stoic facade, revealing none of their suffering and feelings of injustice.

The few others are mostly retirees, students and courthouse staff. Once in a while, anonymous men take seats in the courtroom's shadowy recesses.

Everyone seems to stare at him with each accusation as they persecute him for following what he believes is the righteous path of Islam.

These kuffar, these unbelievers, are so blind to the Godless world they inhabit, where women bare their flesh in public, men are openly wanton, everyone is materialistic and children suckle on the filth of TV.

Worse, they mock and ignore Allah and The Prophet and plunder the wealth of the Muslim nation, the Ummah.

He used to be ashamed knowing that somewhere some brother or sister was being slaughtered for proclaiming, "La ilaha ilAllah," there is no god but Allah. Then he realized Islam's only deliverance is jihad - action.

The 19 brothers of 9/11 shared this belief. He feels bad so many innocents died that day but there was absolutely no other way of achieving the same objective with the same effect.

Born in Ottawa and growing up here and in Toronto, Libya and Pakistan he played basketball, swam, biked and did all the naughty little things kids do.

He dreamt of being a soldier someday, inspired by the story of Ali Radi Allah Anhu, the great Muslim soldier who cleaved the Jewish commander Marhab in half with a single blow from his sword during the Arabian Battle of Khayber.

During the mid-1980s, his family moved to Saudi Arabia where his dad, an academic, helped launch a business and technology college. He and some of his siblings, three brothers and a sister attended an American school for foreigners.

After six years, they returned to Ottawa, on the way visiting Kashmir where his mom and dad are from. As a second generation Pakistani-Canadian, he liked his dual cultural identity.

In high school, he started reading the Qur'an regularly, though he wasn't into high Deen, living in total submission to God. If anything, he was into math, especially calculus. He thought he might major in math at university.

As a teen, he got into some partying with his many friends. Nothing crazy, but he'd occasionally skip school to shoot pool, chill at the mall or go clubbing.

At 21, as the dot-com boom made other 20-somethings rich, he was in computer science at Algonquin College in Ottawa getting ready to cash in. He chose the field for the money, but loved it right away.

After college he figured he would start his own computer firm, get married, settle down.

Then the intefadeh of 2000 erupted. He compared his suburban existence against the hardships faced by Muslims in such places as the West Bank, Gaza, Bosnia and Chechnya.

Something was terribly wrong and if things were ever to change, people like him needed to sacrifice and devote themselves to helping the Ummah, perhaps working for a humanitarian group.

He wasn't yet attracted to the ideology of jihadi-Salafi Islam, but looking back, it was the launch of his trajectory to violent jihad.

The press likes to note how his father has written critically on western involvement in the Middle East. But his dad is no extremist and his parents raised him to be respectful and law-abiding.

After Algonquin, he opened a small software development company which led to a job with Spectra FX, doing contract work for the Department of Foreign Affairs. That earned him a briefcase and a desk at the department's downtown Ottawa office. At lunch, he'd walk to the nearby Islamic Information and Education Centre.

Outside work, he spent lots of time at the gym. He watched current affairs and read some of the classics on war, strategy and history.

Then came Sept. 11, 2001 and, right after graduating from Algonquin, Afghanistan. The U.S. invasion proved to be the crucial turning point, the psychological trigger that inflamed him and gave him a direction: Full devotion to Deen and the Ummah.

His new direction in life, a personal cause of the highest order, would be to actively defend Islam and work to improve the health, education and greater good of the Ummah. He would do anything to support Islam's oppressed brothers and sisters and deter those who wish to destroy the Muslim world.

In January 2002, he left for Pakistan, intending never to return. He vowed to become the West's mortal enemy and planned to join al-Qaida in Afghanistan. But his timing was wrong. U.S. airstrikes and U.S.-backed Afghans had sent al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden into hiding in Pakistan a few weeks earlier.

Dejected, he returned to Ottawa.

He again turned to the Internet, where he met a British brother known as Ausman, who introduced him online to a group of young second-generation British-Pakistanis southeast of London. Cyberspace became an incubator where they pounded their chests and bonded under the radical Salafi/Wahhabi interpretations of Islam.

Ausman, whose real name was Omar Khyam, led a secular life until he flirted with the now-banned British extremist group Al Majaroun in 1999. He and the handful of other British "bros" lived comfortable, middle-class existences, shunned traditional Islamic dress for Nike sneakers and spoke in hip-hop slang.

Khyam and two of the brothers had already travelled to Pakistan and made contacts with al-Qaida while funnelling supplies and helping disaffected British Muslims join jihadists fighting in Kashmir and Afghanistan.

When the U.S. and Britain invaded Iraq in March 2003, Khyam decided America and Britain must be punished. The ultimate objective was to re-establish an Islamic Caliphate and institute Islamic sharia law.

Brother Waheed Mahmood suggested attacking popular civilian spots such as London's biggest nightclub and England's largest shopping centre. Khyam came up with the idea of detonating a massive amount of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in a series of simultaneous attacks.

Christmas 2003 would be the ideal time, with the clubs and stores packed.

By the summer of 2003 they were part of a movement. Momin Khawaja grew a long beard and would have dressed in olive drab-ish camouflage pattern cargo pants with a black and white checkered scarf were he not concerned about sticking out like some Hollywood terrorist.

He created a new e-mail account, klashinaat<P>, after the Arab plural word for the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rife.

That July, he flew to Pakistan, where he, Khyam and two others from the British group attended a remote training camp for a few days. It was the most amazing experience of his life. He fired a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, light machine-gun and AK-47 and he and the other brothers solidified.

He also met white beards and turbans and beautiful little Muslim children living in poverty, yet happy. He began to get in touch with a reality lost in the West, that his Muslim brothers and sisters needed him now more than ever.

His dream was to join the mujahedeen on the front lines . . .

Back in Ottawa, as he walked from work to midday prayers one day, he felt a sense of shame. What on earth was he doing here?

He decided to leave the West and migrate to a land where it would be possible to preserve his faith and build the Deen.

First, he must build a device for the bros that could help kill the new Crusaders, his Hi-Fi Digimonster that would transmit signals to detonators packed inside hidden high explosives.

A young bro wearing an explosive vest walks into a busy Israeli nightclub and in midst of all the partying, he pushes a button and detonates, killing himself and dozen around him.

But Islam forbids suicide as a heinous crime. So how on earth can such a huge sin be considered a noble act?

There is absolutely no other way of fighting them except this. If that is the only way to kill them, then you have to do it.

© Ottawa Citizen 2008 Source:


Arabs: Obama ‘One of Us,’ Writes NYC Columnist

October 29, 2008, By: Jim Meyers

While Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama “has tried to push his origins into the background, his ‘Islamic roots’ have won him a place in many Arabs’ hearts.”

That’s the observation of Iranian-born commentator Amir Taheri, whose column in Tuesday’s New York Post notes that many Arabs and other Muslims see Obama as “one of them.”

They see that Obama has Arabic-Islamic first and middle names: Barack means “blessed” and Hussein means “beautiful.” His last name is Swahili, an East African language based on Arabic, Taheri writes. His sister is named Oumah, Arabic for “the community of the faithful;” his daughter Malia bears the name of a daughter of the noted Caliph Othman; and his father and stepfather were both Muslims.

Although Taheri did not note it, Obama was raised partially as a Muslim when he lived in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather. While there, he studied at two schools and was registered at both as a Muslim student.

As such he received Islamic religious instruction, studied the Koran, and prayed with other students. He did attend mosque, albeit infrequently, with his stepfather.

Obama’s religious upbringing after Indonesia is somewhat of a mystery until his late 20s. At that point, Obama says he converted to Christianity after meeting the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Chicago.

Still, Obama has maintained strong support from American Muslims, including Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam movement. Farrakhan has endorsed Obama and has called him the “messiah.”

These factors have made Obama a big hit in the Arab world, where he has received wide praise, including:

The Syrian regime has indicated its preference for Obama. Buthaina Shaaban, an adviser to President Bashar al-Assad, has written: “The change suggested by Obama is essential not only for the U.S. but for the entire human family.”

Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi called Obama “a Muslim” and said: “All the people in the Arab and Muslim world and in Africa applauded this man. They welcome him and prayed for his success,” although Qaddafi also expressed criticism of Obama’s comments on the future of Jerusalem.

Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef said this year: “We like Mr. Obama and we hope that he will win the election.”

Hezbollah’s second in command, Sheik Naim al-Kassim, urged Americans to vote for Obama as a step toward peace with Islam, and pro-Hezbollah columnist Amal Saad-Ghorayeb said there is “no doubt Arabs should welcome an Obama presidency,” according to Taheri.

In Saudi Arabia, commentator Hussein Shobokshi wrote that an Obama presidency “would mark an important moral transformation in the superpower and is a healthy indicator of the long-awaited improvement in the international arena.”

Some columnists also have noted Obama’s close ties to several Palestinian radicals, including Columbia University Prof. Rashid Khalidi — former communications director for the Palestinian Liberation Organization — and another Palestinian political activist, the late Edward Said.

The “Arab street” also favors Obama. Recent surveys found that he is the preferred candidate in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. © 2008 Newsmax. All rights reserved. Source:


Iran 'quick on the draw' if attacked, warns President Ahmadinejad

29 Oct 2008

President Ahmadinejad warned against any attack on Iran during his provincial tour of Lorestan, where he is listening to the problems faced by the locals.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned that the Islamic Republic would be quick to retaliate against any act of aggression.

"Aggressors should realize that the vigilant Iranian nation will be quick on the draw in the event of a military attack on the country," said President Ahmadinejad in a Wednesday address to the people of Lorestan province.

On Sunday, four US helicopters attacked a civilian building in the Syrian village of Sukkariyah, eight kilometers from the Iraqi border, killing nine civilians and seriously wounding 14 others.

Tehran responded on Tuesday, warning that Iran is unlike all other countries in the Middle East and that the Syrian raid cannot be repeated in the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian president on Wednesday also condemned Washington, saying it seeks to increase its influence in the region.

"The US plunders regional recourses in a bid to gain a foothold in the oil-rich Middle East and take advantage of its resources and culture," Ahmadinejad said.

He claimed that the world now bears the brunt of the US financial crisis because the Bush administration 'passed its own inflation and economic problems to other nations'.

Washington's financial meltdown has entered the worst phase since the Great Depression, taking down global financial institutions and triggering a series of bankruptcies, forced mergers and radical government interventions such as the unprecedented $700 billion financial bailout plan.

European politicians and economists have criticized Washington, saying it showed dithering incompetence in handling the financial turmoil.

"This problem started in America with irresponsible actions and lending by some institutions. The global financial market has ceased to function," said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Oct. 8.

"The turmoil that we are facing has originated in the United States. It has become a global problem. The United States has a special responsibility in this situation," said EU Commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger on Oct. 1.

"More than anything, the finance market is an American problem, The US is the source of the crisis and it is the focus of the crisis," said German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück on Sep. 26.

SBB/AA Source:


The Islamic Movement in Israel vowed to fight a Supreme Court ruling allowing Site for J'lem tolerance museum

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS, Oct 30, 2008

The Islamic Movement in Israel vowed to fight a Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday that a Museum of Tolerance could be built on its planned site in central Jerusalem even though it was part of the old, deconsecrated Mamila Muslim cemetery.

Work on the $250-million museum, which is being built adjacent to Independence Park by the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, hit a snag three years ago when dozens of Muslim graves were found on a section of the site during the required preliminary excavations. Two years ago, a court ordered a freeze in construction.

The museum said Wednesday that construction would resume immediately.

But a showdown is expected, with the Islamic group set to announce its plans at a press conference in east Jerusalem on Thursday morning.

"All citizens of Israel, Jews and non-Jews, are the real beneficiaries of this decision," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center. "Moderation and tolerance have prevailed."

In their unanimous ruling, the justices noted that no objections had been lodged back in 1960, when the municipality put a parking lot over a small section of the graveyard, and that for the past half-century the site had been in public use.

The court said that an alternative proposal put forward by planners - including reburial of the bones or covering the graves - was "satisfactory" in trying to reconcile religious attitudes toward respecting the dead with the requirements of the law.

The court also noted that the Islamic organization that had filed the appeal, Al-Aksa Foundation, which is connected with the Islamic Movement, was declared illegal by Public Security Minister Avi Dichter earlier this year for its alleged ties with Hamas. Nevertheless, the court found, this in itself was not grounds to reject the appeal.

The court also said concerns that violence would break out if the construction went ahead were "not within the confines" of the ruling.

The decision came after seven months of arbitration failed to resolve the dispute.

An attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement broke down when Islamic officials rejected an offer by the museum to move the bones to a nearby neglected Muslim cemetery and to renovate it. The Wiesenthal Center refused to relocate the museum or to avoid construction on the small section of the site where the bones were found, saying the area was needed for the museum.

The bones, several hundred years old, were found on 12 percent of the site.

Islamic officials, who had repeatedly ruled out any construction at the site, criticized Wednesday's ruling.

"We did not expect much from the court, and it is clear that it is part of the Israeli establishment," Islamic Movement spokesman Zahi Nujidat said. "We will not give up easily."

In the past, public protests organized by the movement have turned violent.

The museum was originally expected to be completed in 2007. The Wiesenthal Center has spent millions of dollars in legal fees.

Hier said construction would take between three and three-and-a-half years.

According to the court's decision, construction can resume immediately, except for the small section where the human remains were found.

The court gave project managers 60 days to agree with the Antiquities Authority on a method for either removing any human remains for reburial or installing a barrier between the building's foundations and the ground below that would prevent graves from being disturbed.

The site was the city's main Muslim cemetery until 1948.

The Wiesenthal Center has cited rulings by Muslim courts, the most recent in 1964, that canceled the sanctity of the site because it was no longer used.

Hier said that the site, which was given to the center by the Israel Lands Administration and the Jerusalem Municipality in the '90s, had never been designated by Israeli authorities as a cemetery, and that for three decades it had been used as parking lot.

He added that throughout the Arab world, including in the Palestinian Authority, there had been extensive building on abandoned cemetery sites.

The museum construction site was dedicated with great fanfare in 2004, with top government officials and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in attendance.

The museum - which is being designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry and will include a theater complex, conference center, library, gallery and lecture halls - seeks to promote unity and respect among people of all faiths.

"Jerusalem is 3,000 years old, and every stone and parcel of land has a history that is revered by people of many faiths," Hier said. "We are deeply committed to do everything in our power to respect this sacred past, but at the same time, we must allow Jerusalem to have a future." Source:


14 Americans meet with Islam after "message bus" campaign

29 October 2008, News Desk

American Muslims launch a campaign to inform people about Islam via a bus, - with a simple sign: "ISLAM" Got Questions? Get Answers!

The bus, going around Chicago, aims at reconstruct image of Islam in conscious of people while the Islamaphobia and prejudice against Islam are uprising. 14 people have accepted Islam in this project.

GainPeace, an outreach project of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), was initiated to share Islam with non-Muslim and to clarify many misconceptions they may hold due to biased reporting in the Media.

Campaigners say the aim of the bus ad campaign was to find a novel way to steer people toward information on Islam. "The topic [of the ad] is Islam: the way of life with different prophets' names," Sabeel Ahmed, Director of GainPeace says. "The bottom and top message are supposed to generate more interest in people."

The Islam ad campaign does not run in Chicago alone. ICNA, a New York-based grassroot organization that has 22 chapters across the US, has organized similar campaigns in Seattle and New York, Islam newsroom said.

The group spent $30,900 to place signs on 25 public buses serving across Chicago. The ads direct people to a toll-free hotline, 800 - 662 Islam (800) 662 - 47526, (the last number is not really necessary but it helps people to remember the phone number). A website established to help those who are seeking answers to questions about Islam and it is a very important part of the dawah project:

This site said that "Each bus will be covered on their side and on the top panel with beautiful message of Islam, insha Allah. A toll free number, 1.800.662.ISLAM (4752), will be posted, along with website and email, for interested viewers to call and obtain more information.

As the bus roams around the city of Chicago, making frequent stops, it will be proclaiming the message of Oneness of Allah, and inviting humanity to study the true faith of all the Prophets of Allah (peace be upon them)."

For example, Leslie C. Toole was thinking about becoming a Muslim for 10 years - but he needed something to "push him along". Well, he got his "push" from a bus in Chicago.

Mr. Toole says, "I never truly committed and when I saw that sign I knew that was the final sign to complete my move." He first saw the word "ISLAM" on a pamphlet ten years ago when a man handed him a pamphlet telling him he'll find enlightenment in it.

Mr. Toole, the new Muslim, believes that the simple yet stark ad which merely says "Got Questions? Get Answers" is a brilliant way to draw people's attention.

"I thought it was a neat idea…I had never seen that before."

Mr. Toole, who has chosen Ilyas as his new Muslim name, is very grateful to his mentor. "He's been very helpful. He's provided me with tons of books to move me forward."

GainPeace also provides the new Muslim with the Shahada package, which includes: A How to Pray DVD, a Help Yourself in Reading the Qur'an book, and brochures on various topics about Islam. It also offers online classes once a week for new Muslims, which Ilyas is looking forward to joining.

"I'll be able to learn everything from Muslims' lifestyle to prayer practices and the Arabic language." Ilyas says that the more he knows about his new religion, the more confident he feels that he has made the right decision. "It's definitely perfect for me. "It's hard to explain because when you know something is right, it's just a deep-rooted feeling inside of you that you found home."



Ceasefires in Islam: Not Always What They Seem to Be

Salvato Frank, 29 Oct 2008

It seems as though every other day we hear there is another “ceasefire” in the Middle East. This is chiefly because there is so much violent Islamofascist aggression throughout the Middle East but it is also because of something more. Just as there is no exact translation between the Arabic and English languages, we in the West would be wise to realize that this “inexactness” exists as a constant in the relationship between the cultures of Islam and Western Civilization. This convolution of conceptual understanding is aptly illustrated where the subject of military ceasefires is concerned.

In the West, a ceasefire is commonly understood to mean a temporary cessation of violence or hostilities for an agreed time period or within a defined geographical area. In many cases, ceasefires have been instituted to facilitate negotiations that produced an armistice, peace treaty or unconditional surrender. Regardless of the goal – achieved or sought – in most every ceasefire agreement the terms and conditions are clearly defined so that each side has a clear understanding of what is required and what is to be considered a breach of contract, as it were.

To say that we in the West are engaged in a clash of civilizations with the fundamentalist Islamic culture would be a fair statement. Hundreds if not thousands of radical jihadist groups are mounting a violent global offensive against Western Civilization in a third attempt at establishing a global Caliphate. This contention is validated by history and we need only be good students of events passed to understand it.

While many hold the common misconception that the conflict with radical Islam started with the attacks of September 11, 2001, the reality is that radical Islam’s current confrontation with the West started in 1983 with Hezbollah’s bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon. Lesser understood is that this conflict is but the third bloody expedition in the quest for a global Caliphate; the first coming in the aftermath of Muhammad’s death in the 7th Century and the second occurring in the 11th Century, spanning the years 1071 to 1683 AD – an aggression that lasted 612 years, almost three times as long as the United States has been a country.

Three aspects of this conflict which we in the West are delinquent in understanding – and there are many others – are in defining the enemy, understanding the culture in which they are generated and familiarizing ourselves with their tools and tactics.

Many among us believe that by simply familiarizing ourselves with Islam’s religious text we will understand the Muslim dichotomy with the West. This idea demonstrates the naivety of many because it is a fact that to read the Quran without reading it in tandem and in context with the Hadith is an exercise in wasted time. In fact, few understand that the Quran wasn’t written in chronological order or that it wasn’t “written” by Muhammad, but by his “companions.” Further, many don’t comprehend that the text itself wasn’t compiled until after Muhammad’s death.

This being said, if the majority of us in the West haven’t even taken the time to understand the genesis of this aggressive ideology, how can we dare believe we have acquainted ourselves thoroughly enough with their culture, tools and tactics to have constructed a working understanding of how to defeat their aggression?

In any conflict there is a beginning and what is tantamount to an end, at least in Western culture. But in Islamic culture – and in jihadi culture especially – there are variations on a conflicts beginnings and ends; on ceasefires, armistices and peace treaties.

Where we in the West understand the idea of a basics ceasefire, in Islamic culture – in jihadi culture – there are two variants: tahadiya and houdna.

A tahadiya is roughly defined as a temporary cessation of violence that can be ended at any time for any reason. To employ tahadiya is to employ a tactic that allows for a brief “lull” in fighting for a number of reasons: to rearm, to fortify, as a military tactic or to acquire greater troop strength or a better vantage point.

A perfect example of tahadiya comes in the form of a statement made by Damascus-based Hamas Chief, Khaled Mashaal, who recently met with Jimmy Carter:

"It is a tactic in conducting the struggle...It is normal for any resistance that operates in its people's sometimes escalate, other times retreat a bit...The battle is to be run this way, and Hamas is known for that."

As any Israeli can attest, the calm that comes in conjunction with tahadiya is a pensive and cautious calm at best. During tahadiya, one must be prepared for a resurgence of aggression at any moment.

The pensive peace of tahadiya stands in contrast to the more stable cessation of violence achieved in a houdna.

Ahmed Youssef, a senior advisor to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya described a houdna this way:

 “A truce is called in Arabic ‘houdna.’ Covering ten years, it is recognized by the Muslim jurisprudence as an agreement both legitimate and binding. A houdna goes beyond the western concept of a cease-fire and forced the parties to use this period to seek a lasting resolution and nonviolent their differences. The Koran is a great merit in these efforts to promote understanding among peoples. As the war dehumanizes the enemy and make it easier killing, the houdna provides an opportunity to humanize the opponents and understand their position with the purpose of resolving disputes that they are inter-tribal or international.“

This would all sound very honorable if not existing in tandem with other genocidal and apocalyptic tenets held within radical, fundamentalist Islam. A simple examination of Sunni Islam’s Wahhabi ideology or a fundamental understanding of al taqiyya compromises the sincerity of the concept of houdna, especially at the tongue of Hamas or any other aggressive faction of the fundamentalist Islamic culture.

Where the Western concept of ceasefire and the Islamic concepts of tahadiya and houdna intersect, a blogger named Chaim Grosz, in response to an article in Haaretz titled In the Heart of Palestinian Consensus by Danny Rubinstein may have said it best:

 “Since the believers of the Islamic ideology consider Islam timeless, a houdna for a thousand years is acceptable...but the right to reignite the jihad at any time is predicated upon the belief that such a battle can be won and the lands ‘occupied by the infidels’ reverted back to Islamic rule.”

With the recent White House directive instructing all Executive Branch governmental agencies to refrain from using accurate, fact-based terminology when referring to radical Islam and its aggressive action, with our government’s refusal to educate the people on the issue while opting to institute politically correct policy, our government has sent a signal that they are ill-prepared for the encroachment of this violent and aggressive ideology within the United States.

In light of this it would appear that the responsibility and the urgency of educating ourselves about those who would enslave the West to Sharia Law has grown exponentially. We can no longer abdicate our responsibility to be learned about the issue of radical, aggressive Islamofascism. To fail in understanding this aggressive culture is to gamble with our lives and the lives of future generations.



Media Expert Elaborates on Election 2008 Arab and Muslim Stereotypes

Christian Avard, October 29, 2008

Jack Shaheen, a sort of one-man anti-defamation league, is the author of the groundbreaking work "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People," which is also the subject of a documentary film. A former CBS News consultant on Middle East Affairs, Shaheen is one of the world's foremost authority on media images of Arabs and Muslims. Other works include "Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture," "Nuclear War Films," the award-winning "TV Arab," and his latest is "Guilty: Hollywood's Verdict on Arabs after 9/11." In "Guilty," Shaheen examines Arab images in more than 100 post-9/11 movies, and addresses other issues at play since 9/11 that affect public perceptions of Arabs and Muslims. OffTheBus caught up with Shaheen to discuss Arab and Muslim portrayals in the 2008 election and how an Obama presidency can make a positive impact.

The 2008 presidential election is forcing many Americans to deal with issues pertaining to Arab and Muslim culture. How has traditional media outlets handled the issue and what can we learn?

Jack Shaheen: From the beginning most media systems, print and broadcast, were content with the defamation of all things Arab. I say that because if you go back to when Hillary Clinton was being interviewed on "60 Minutes" and was asked if Obama was a Muslim or not. Clinton responded, "Of course not" rather than countering with, "No he's not a Muslim. He's a Christian. What if he were, so what?" She could have said what Colin Powell only recently said, which was, "If there's a seven-year-old Muslim, a boy or girl out there who wants to be president, why shouldn't they be?" Powell is the first major American figure to really spell this out. It took forever, but it shouldn't have taken this long. Even before Powell spoke up, one had to credit Campbell Brown of CNN. She commented on it and said "So what if Obama were a Muslim or an Arab. It doesn't make a difference." Maureen Dowd wrote also wrote about in the "New York Times" but it was Powell who took it a step further. But by and large, there hasn't been much said.

The other thing that concerns me is most major newspapers did not report about a DVD that was released and distributed (in key battleground states) to sway voters. "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West" The DVD is as about as anti-semitic or anti-Arab as it can get. The fact that newspapers throughout the country (with the exception of the "Saint Louis Post-Dispatch" and others) accepted this DVD willingly without commenting on it, without bringing out the fact that it is one of the most racist DVDs ever released, this is something Goebbels would be proud of if he were alive today. There was very little commentary on that. I think it went out to 28 million homes throughout the country.

It's time for more journalists to really address this issue and I'm hopeful that after the election this will come out and much more will be said. I think there's a reluctance now because the McCain people and the conservative base has said, in affect, that he is a Muslim and an Arab. By writing about it and saying he's not and so what if he is, might create more doubt and hurt Obama in the election. As far fetched as that may sound, I think that may be one of the main reasons why there's been silence.

What do you make of Obama's reactions to being called a Muslim?

He's mentioned from time to time that Islam and Muslims are good. He hasn't done it that often but he has done it to some extent, said that we should not target Islam and we shouldn't target Muslims. He has not been as forceful as he could be, primarily because the fear that some people would perceive him as a Muslim and that in itself is a tragedy. If he were white and Muslim, that would be bad enough but because of his color and the fact he's being tagged a Muslim is very difficult. It's like "driving while black," and God help him if he's a black Muslim! So I think it makes it that much more difficult for Obama. I do think once he's elected, this will be one of the items he will address. He is a unifier and he will somehow address this issue.

Is this bigotry a stand-in for anti-black racism? Or is this kind of bias against Obama due to his marginal past associations with Islam, his being a child in Indonesia, etc.?

I think it's both. I think many people don't want to say they're not voting for him because he's black. No one likes to admit they're prejudice. You talk to a bigot and say "you're bigoted," they're going to say, "no I'm not." We don't like to admit that. But it's safe to say "I won't vote for him because he's a Muslim" or "I won't vote for him because he's an Arab." You can get away with that even in liberal circles. So in an a way, Arab and Muslim have replace the n-word. You can get away with it. Just like movies and television shows that target Arab and Muslim-Americans as terrorists. These portrayals have worked their way into the psyche of many Americans.

Has either candidate contributed to the bigotry?

I think McCain contributed to it (when the McCain supporter) asked if Obama was an Arab and he said "no, he's a decent man." What he should have said is "No, he's not an Arab or a Muslim-American. But if he was, so what? He's a decent human being... just like most Arab and Muslim-Americans are."

The Internet in general has helped democratize media coverage. Do you believe that it has made some impact in bringing about appropriate portrayals of Arab and Muslim-Americans?

That's a difficult question. I follow mainstream more than I do the Internet. I still believe that mainstream media rules the day. I certainly think the Internet has helped Obama, but I also think it reinforced the attitudes of those who would swear on the Bible that Obama is a Muslim or an Arab. I think Huffington Post is a great Web site. Many of my friends go to it. I think that's helped a lot. But I think people go to the Web looking for sites that reinforce their beliefs. I really believe change will have to come from the top. The only person to speak out with any eloquence has been Powell. What he said has to be expanded. We can't let these comments filter down into yesterday's news. It just has to stay alive.

I am optimistic. In time, I think Obama will address this. Given his world views and approach to issues­­­­, eventually it will be OK for someone to say "Oh, you are a Muslim" or "Oh, you are an Arab." Eventually it will be acceptable and embraced in a small town when someone says "Gee, they're building a mosque" instead of saying "Oh my God, no." They will say "Gee, isn't it wonderful to have a mosque next to a synagogue and next to a church?" This is America; this is what it should be. We need leadership that will take us to that point. We don't need another scapegoat. We have vilified so many people for so long with blacks, Asians, Jews, and others. It's time we stop vilifying all things Arab and all things Muslims. I'm confident that Obama will do his best to change this.



A Marriage of Convenience: Obama, the Left and Radical Islam

Alex Alexiev

As we enter the home stretch of the 2008 presidential election, new revelations about Barack Obama’s harshly critical views of the U.S. Constitution for not providing for wealth distribution have again raised concerns as to whether the American people may be about to elect the first radical Leftist if not outright socialist president in the republic’s history. This hugely troubling possibility, were it to happen, would mark yet another historical watershed that’s mentioned less often – the de facto alliance between the Left and radical Islam in American politics.

The discussion of Islam, to the extent that is mentioned at all in the campaign, has mostly been limited to a rather inconclusive debate in the blogosphere as to whether Obama is a Muslim or not, and a more substantive, if suppressed by the mainstream media, discussion of Senator Obama’s questionable ties to radical Islamists and anti-Semites. The latter has provided more than enough empirical evidence to at least give a pause to a dispassionate observer as to Obama’s pious assertions of his dedication to the struggle against Islamic extremism and friendship for Israel. Without going into too much detail, these connections include well-documented close ties with Black Panther mentor-turned-radical Muslim and  Wahhabi stooge, Khalid al-Mansour (nee Don Warden); Nation of Islam hate-spewing, anti-white racist, Louis Farakhan; Columbia professor and apologist of Palestinian terrorism, Rashid Khalidi;  and last, but not least, Salam Ibrahim, an alleged Taliban sympathizer and chairman of the defunct Chicago Shariah-finance company Sunrise Equities, who appears to have absconded with $80 million of his clients’ funds.

What all of these unsavoury men have in common, apart from friendship with and admiration for Barack Obama, is their passionate dislike for the United States and their virulent anti-Semitism. This may not prove that Obama himself is an Islamist, an anti-Semite or an anti-American, it but it does show that, throughout his career, he has willingly associated with, and been mentored by, people who are.

As much as this should be an issue of serious concern, the growing nexus between radical Islam and the Left is ultimately of much greater systemic consequence and one that goes far beyond current election considerations to present a palpable threat to the future of this country and Western civilization itself.

To understand that, we must first look at what the two parties to this unholy alliance represent. Should Senator Obama be elected as the next president of the United States, he will come to office as the leader of a party that has changed so dramatically from its historical traditions that, today, it has little in common with the Democrat Party of old. It is a party in which the worldview of the 1960s hard, anti-American Left reigns triumphant and in which yesterday’s democratic icons such as Truman, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey and Scoop Jackson would feel completely out of place. 

It is thus not a huge surprise that a radical Leftist like Barack Obama would find an enthusiastic reception in a party that itself has become socialist in everything but name. And like its fellow-socialist confreres in Europe and elsewhere, it is a party that implicitly rejects individual rights, the free market system and the Judeo-Christian moral order on which they are based in favor of socialist collectivism, multiculturalism and robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul redistributionism. More than anything else, it rejects the imperative to defend those sacrosanct American principles against enemies foreign and domestic, as enshrined in our Constitution, in favor of political correctness, utopian pacifism and appeasement of evil.

It is these ideological propensities of the new American Left that radical Islam finds made to order for its purposes, and eager to cultivate and exploit. This is indeed a tactical alliance, a marriage-of-convenience for the Islamists, whose ultimate objective is the destruction of Western civilization, including its socialist infidels. It is, nonetheless, a critically important alliance in the meantime that serves Islamism by legitimating it within Western society, allowing it to infiltrate its political establishment and government and weakening resistance to Islamist efforts to subvert it from within. In the American context, this has led to numerous successful initiatives by the Muslim Brotherhood/Wahhabi fifth column that dominates the Islamic establishment to make a common cause with the Left on efforts to stop anti-terrorism measures such as “Secret Evidence” and the Patriot Act, and various anti-Iraq war and pro-illegal immigration campaigns, among others.

None of this is particularly surprising and the imperative for Islamists to ally with the Left has long been part of the official Muslim Brotherhood strategic doctrine of waging war on the West. Less well-known is the fact that even prominent ideologues of violent jihad against the West, such as the leading theoretician Abu Musab al-Suri in his seminal work “Global Islamic Resistance Call,” lists Leftist parties with “anti-American and anti-imperialist ideology” as key potential allies for the jihadists.

A more pertinent question is what in radical Islam appeals to the Left. A messianic, totalitarian doctrine in religious garb that preaches violence against all non-Muslims and espouses the establishment of the medieval barbarism of shar’iah law as its political program, Islamism is, at first sight, as incompatible as could be with the lofty humanitarian pretenses of the Left. The more so because key constituencies of the Left, such as gays and lesbians, feminists, animal rights fanatics, atheists and Jews are among the first marked for destruction, should Shariah ever triumph.

The answer is to be sought in the common denominator and obsession of the radical Left around the world – a bottomless hatred for capitalism and America as the country that epitomizes it. A hatred as pathological as that of the Communists for the class enemy and the Nazis for the Jews.  That and the documented mass appeal and murderous vitality of radical Islam made the dispirited Leftists after the fall of Communism believe that here finally was a mighty ally that could help defeat the hated capitalist system and bring down America.

It is this transcendent obsession that made a flamboyant homosexual like French post-modernist philosopher Michel Foucalt, who knew full well what Khomeini does to his kind, lionize the reactionary ayatollah as the new hope of the proletariat; British politician George Galloway claim that “progressives” like him and the Muslims had the same enemies; American greens to dream of an alliance with the Islamists to “destroy capitalism”; and assorted radicals and Communist leftovers from the 1960s to march against “Islamophobia” with terrorism accomplices from the American Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) networks. It is, of course, a pernicious illusion but a very costly one for a free society.

It has already led to electoral alliances between socialist parties and the Islamists in Europe, facilitated the introduction of shar’iah law, sanctioned appeasement of violent Islamist norms and turned a blind eye to the spread of vituperative anti-Semitism not seen since the 1930s. Should the Democrats win the White House, it will not be long before the same trends appear on American soil.

In a recent speech, Senator Obama admirably promised to go to the gates of hell if necessary to get Osama bin-Laden. He would have been more persuasive if before traveling that far he had bothered to check some of his campaign’s dubious connections and come clean on them and his own with the American public. He would have found out, for instance, that a former Muslim outreach coordinator of his campaign, one Mazen Asbahi, was a key leader of the Muslim Student Association, a radical Islamist organization on campus, which had this to say about Osama bin-Laden in an official publication: “When we hear someone refer to the great Mujahid Osama bin Laden as ‘terrorist’, we should defend our brother and refer to him as a freedom fighter, someone who has forsaken wealth and power to fight in Allah’s cause and speak out against oppressors.” This same virulently anti-American organization now advertises a “get out the vote” campaign on its website.

Barack Obama’s deafening silence on his own and his campaign’s troubling connections with Islamists does little to discourage one from believing that the loudest cheers for his eventual victory next Tuesday will be those of the sworn Islamist enemies of our civilization. Contributing Editor Alex Alexiev is a contributing editor to and vice-president for research at the Center for Security Policy in Wash. D.C. He is the author of a forthcoming book on shariah finance titled Jihad on Wall Street: Shariah Finance in the War Against America.



Support the strikes in Gaza!

29 October, 2008, Dan Katz

Long-running factional battles between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah, on one hand, and Hamas on the other are the context for the strikes that have recently taken place in the Gaza Strip, with solidarity action in the West Bank.

According to Haaretz, at the end of August, just before the new school year began, teachers and principals sympathetic to Fatah were purged and replaced with 2000 newly trained, Hamas-loyal teachers. Some of the new teachers appear to be students whose main qualification is that they are religious and pro-Hamas. Hamas also raided the Gaza headquarters of the Fatah-aligned teachers’ union and arrested some of the union’s activists.

The union called a strike in protest, which was backed by the Ramallah PA government. The PA, the teachers’ employer, insisted that the strike be observed and threatened that those who went to work would not be paid and would have their pensions cancelled; strikers would be paid. Hamas said those that broke the strike would be paid by the authorities in Gaza.

Other groups, including civil servants and medical workers, also struck in Gaza. The medics’ demands were straight-forwardly political, in direct opposition to the Hamas regime. Again strikers were backed by the PA in the West Bank and promised pay if they struck and dismissal if they worked. According to the UN 85% of education workers and 70% of primary health care personnel were on strike at the start of September.

The backing of the PA for Gaza strikers, and solidarity action in the West Bank, is in stark contrast to their opposition to recent public sector strikes in the West Bank which demanded that salaries be index-linked to inflation and that wage backlogs be paid (Le Monde Diplomatique).

Hamas have responded by threatening doctors on strike and organising demonstrations outside their houses, and closing down private clinics of strikers.

At the end of October the civil service, teaching and health unions pledged to continue the strikes until next year. In the hospitals surgical operations have fallen by 40% and admissions by 20%.

Despite the element of Fatah hypocrisy and coercion directed through union structures it controls or has influence in, we back the workers resisting the Islamisation of the Gaza Strip.

The workers are right to oppose the Gaza authorities, and right to object to the teaching profession being overrun by religious zealots. Fatah is a corrupt, decayed bourgeois force, but more space exists for the left, women and working-class activism on the West Bank than in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Victory to the Gaza strikes!


In the West Bank, on Saturday 25 October, 500 police deployed in the Palestinian-controlled areas of Hebron. The move is partly directed against the Islamist organisation, Hamas, and partly against criminal gangs and lawlessness. Similar operations have taken place in Jenin and Nablus.

The bourgeois, “technocratic” PA government of Salam Fayyad, who was appointed by Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas in the wake of Hamas’ seizure of power in Gaza in June 2007, is backed by Fatah.

After the Hamas takeover in Gaza, PA security forces, with the help of Fatah militias, undertook a wide-ranging crack-down in the West Bank. The Fatah-linked Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades turned in Hamas members and physically removed Hamas officials from government positions. Hamas militias were outlawed. Security services purged their ranks of suspected Islamists and jailed many. Over the past year 1,000 West Bank security personnel deemed “suspect” have been dismissed.

Between the PA’s declaration of a state of emergency on 14 June and 30 September 2007, Palestinian security forces arrested approximately 1,500 Hamas members and suspected sympathisers. The pace of the anti-Hamas campaign subsequently slackened. While estimates vary, a Palestinian human rights organisation calculated that in early June 2008 the PA held 112 Hamas prisoners.

Over the last year dozens of Hamas-linked organisations have been closed on the West Bank. Nevertheless Hamas retains considerable support and while many of its activists have gone underground it could quickly revive.

In addition to clamping down on Hamas the PA government has sought to end the activities of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — partly by negotiating amnesties with Israel and finding work for Brigade members.

But fepression on both sides — Fatah against Hamas, Hamas against Fatah — has intensified since late July 2008 following a series of bomb attacks in Gaza. On 25 July a 4-year-old girl and five members of Hamas’s armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, were killed in a Gaza City beach café. Hamas claimed Fatah was responsible.

Hamas had brutally routed Fatah in Gaza in June 2007, in particular destroying the Gaza organisation of Fatah’s police-thug, Muhammad Dahlan. But Hamas failed to completely uproot all Fatah structures and establish a monopoly of armed force. Since 2007 they have been gradually destroying all organised opposition and centres of potential opposition.

In 2007 Hamas disbanded the pro-Fatah Union of Palestinian Journalists. In November it cancelled all press cards in Gaza, and now no news photography is allowed without Hamas’ permission. On 12 November a 200,000-strong Fatah march in Gaza organised in memory of Yasser Arafat was forcibly dispersed by Hamas gunmen who fired into the crowd killing at least six people and injuring over 80.

In February 2008 Hamas closed the operations in Gaza of al-Ayyam, a Fatah-linked paper, for publishing a cartoon lampooning Hamas leaders.

In the aftermath of the July bombing Hamas stormed a quarter run by the pro-Fatah Hillis family, killing a dozen people, arresting many more and intimidating other clans into concluding ceasefire agreements.

For example: “Mumtaz Dughmush — the leader of the Army of Islam, best known outside Gaza for its March 2007 abduction of British journalist Alan Johnston — had flouted central authority in the weeks preceding the beach explosion; however, in the wake of the assault, he pledged that henceforth he would ‘follow the law’ and concluded a six-month ‘truce’ with Hamas.” (Crisis Group briefing)

Then, according to Human Rights Watch, Hamas arrested 200 Fatah supporters and closed 200 Fatah-linked associations, charities and sports clubs. Arrests were often carried out by Hamas organisations, rather than by the police.

Gaza Fatah leader Zakariya al-Agha was arrested, as were PA-affiliated governors of Gaza City, Khan Yunis and Rafahnot.

“The offices of independent legislator Ziad Abu Amr — viewed as sympathetic to the authorities in Ramallah even though he had been elected with Hamas support — and of members of Fatah’s Gaza parliamentary bloc were ransacked… Activists of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [leftist, PLO affiliated] were arrested and their radio station closed" (Crisis Group). The PA television station was shut.

In the wake of these attacks Fatah retains considerable backing in Gaza, but it is leaderless.

Hamas consolidate

Hamas have acted not only against Fatah, but against other Islamists and clan-based militias.

After July 2008 two Islamic Jihad mosques were taken over by Hamas, meaning that new preachers were appointed and posters celebrating Hamas and their Qassam Brigades were put up. Members of the Al-Quds Brigade, Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, were also arrested. Muhammad Shalah, the brother of Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah, was detained the day before a planned demonstration he was organising in support of Gaza’s striking teachers.” (Crisis Group). Hamas blame Islamic Jihad for shielding some Fatah leaders after June 2007.

The leader of the Army of the Nation (Jaysh al-Umma), a jihadi group, was also arrested.

Hamas had purged the leaderships in various state agencies operating in Gaza, starting with Health and Education; more recently it has looked to purge lower level staff and teachers. It now controls all significant state structures with the exception of banking. It seems to have left the banks alone from fear of an international reaction leading to total collapse of the financial sector.

After June 2007 Hamas set up a police force in Gaza with 11,000 officers, including 50 veiled women. They now have the court system under their control, with only one of the pre-June 2007 judges still in position.

The position of women in Hamas-run Gaza is complicated. Hamas seem to have made a tactical decision to hold off — for the time being — on the rigid enforcement of Islamist dress codes for all women, and complete bans on other forms of “non-Islamic” activity. But the signs are that conditions are getting worse. More women are veiled; there has been an increase in “honour killings” and attacks on prostitutes, or alleged prostitutes; parties where men and women mix have been raided; Christian bookshops have been attacked.

In August, and in retaliation for the Gaza raids, Fatah arrested 100 Hamas activists on the West Bank.

On both sides arrests are often made outside the law and are accompanied by mistreatment of prisoners. Torture is common on both sides.

Since June 2007 Israel, the US and EU have attempted to isolate Hamas and boost Fatah. $8 billion has been pledged to the West Bank, including $60 million from the US to train and fund units loyal to President Abbas. The EU is supporting the Palestinian Civil Police — apparently the least abusive of the West Bank policing organisations.