Content about Human Interest

November 12, 2013

This was the time when Muslims had started building mosques and schools all over Spain and eminent divines and jurists of Islam had come over to this country.  In the capital, Cordova, the Islamic system of teaching and training had been introduced.  Ziad b. Umar was a highly learned traditionist, philosopher and interpreter of the Holy Quran.  At the same time, he had no equal in offering prayers and due to his integrity, purity, and unostentatious prayerfulness, he was held in great affection throughout Spain.  He would spend his days in teaching and at nights he would attend gatherings of divines and officials of the government.  His house was adjacent to the University of Cordova and so after Isha prayer,  those interested in learning gathered at his house.  

One day while this meeting was in progress and eminent divines and men of letters were present, Ziad b. Umar came.  All stood up in his respect.  After they were seated Ziad enquired after everyone’s health and then addressed Umar Lahmi.

Ziad b. Umar:  May Allah fructify your efforts!  You have conveyed the message of truth in the very home of unbelief and humbled unbelievers!

Umar Lahmi:  I am just an ordinary weak Muslim and this has been possible because of your prayers; Isabella has accepted Islam in her heart.  She was desirous of meeting you, so she has come here for an audience.

Ziad b. Umar:  Oh! Is Isabella present here?  

Umar Lahmi:  Yes, she has been put up in the adjoining house and if you permit she may be brought to your presence.

Ziad:  Yes, certainly.  If she has come to meet me, let her come.

Asad (one of those present):  By Allah, sir, this is very great!  There is a great commotion among the Christians of Cordova.  But is it Isabella alone who has been attracted to Islam or are there others also with her?

Umar Lahmi:  About this you will hear from Isabella herself.

Another of the audience:  I have heard that Christians intend to kill Isabella.

Umar Lahmi:  So far, Isabella has taken great care to keep it secret.  No one has found out that she has embraced Islam or intends to do.  So the rumour of the intention to kill her is premature.

Ziad: Now call Isabella here.  We shall hear the interesting details from her own lips.

Shortly after, Isabella enters and seeing Ziad b. Umar sitting at a prominent place, raises her hand to salute him and sits in a corner while all those present congratulate her on her great courage and firmness.

Zaid:  Daughter Isabella, I congratulate you on your love of truth;  Allah has taken you out of the darkness of unbelief and granted you the boon of Islam, relieved you from the labyrinth of Trinity and put you on to the Straight Path beset with dangers!  To remain firm on it is the task of a very brave person.  But those in whose hearts Islam has firmly established itself would not mind the greatest trouble of the earth.  Allah guides them.

Isabella:   Revered father….

Ziad:  Daughter, you have to give up such words too.  There is no papacy in Islam.  Islam has not given its divines the position which Christians have given to their priests.  There is perfect equality in Islam.  The only duty of the divines is to guide Muslims in the light of the Holy Quran and sacred Traditions of the Messenger (Peace and Blessings be upon him).  It is the duty of Muslims to act on that guidance and not to deify them or make them masters of all their affairs.

Isabella (ashamed):  Now will  you, yourself teach me how I should address you and other leaders of Islam?

Ziad:  Address me and other Muslims just as brothers, but if you desire to add anything, just say “sir”. To be continued

Isabella:  Very well, sir, I will obey all your orders in future.  Oh sir, it is a great benevolence and grace of God that He showed this humble servant the path of truth and justice and took me out of the course of trinity and worship of the cross.  The means of any guidance is my spiritual preceptor and benefactor Umar Lahmi, who preached to all the priests of Cordova in their own homes and, through him, the call of truth reached my ears.  I wholeheartedly pray that God grant him all the boons of this world and the next and by prayer my life and death be on Islam.  

All those present cried: Amin!

Ziad:  Daughter, Allah wants to take from you great service and surely Muslims will be greatly benefited through you.  But say if you have converted any one of the other ladies.

Isabella:  Yes, sir, I have four other friends of mine who have lost their faith in Christianity and are inclined to Islam.  God willing, I will bring them with me tomorrow or the day after, that they may have grace from you and any doubts that may still lurk in them are removed.

Umar Lahmi:  Sister, who are these friends of yours?  By Allah, we have no knowledge of them and you never mentioned them to me.

Isabella:  One of them is the daughter of Michael, my teacher in theology, and there are  three others.  All these have been listening to all the discussions.

Umar Lahmi:  Have they really become Muslims and see through the weaknesses of Christianity?

Isabella:  The weaknesses of Christianity have become manifest to all of them, and they have recognised the truth of Islam, but they have not yet mustered enough courage to give up their  ancestral religion and declare their adherence to Islam.

Ziad:   Well, Allah will give them the necessary courage.  We shall also pray for them.

Umar Lahmi:  Bring Michael’s daughter also some day so that her doubts may also be removed.

Isabella:  Tomorrow or day after I will surely bring her with me and if all the four girls do not come, I will bring at least this one (Michael’s daughter) with me.

Ziad:  I tell you, daughter, again that you should accept Islam after clearing all your doubts and never, by any greed or deception, for Allah wants sincerity and the Quran says that a Muslim’s life and death, prayer and devotion, sitting and standing, sleep and waking everything should be for Allah and the pleasure of Allah should be the aim of our life.

Isabella:  Oh sir, I say it and bring God to witness that no lust or greed has brought me to the threshold of Islam, nor the acquisition of wealth and power is my aim.  You yourself know the honour my father enjoys in Cordova and throughout Spain.

Ziad:   May Allah reward you, give you firmness and shower His bounties on you.

Umar Lahmi:   Islam is the only religion which by accepting it Allah’s bounties are showered on man and all his sins are forgiven!

Isabella: (smiling);  All my sins are forgiven every week by the priest of Cordova, who is in charge of the Department of Inquisition and (bowing her head) I am already sinless and innocent.

Ziad:  What is this Department of Inquisition and what is the meaning of the priest forgiving sins?  Can any man also forgive sins?

Isabella:  (with shame and humility):  Oh sir, this story is most interesting and probably quite novel to you, as you are not aware of the inner working of Christianity.

Ziad:  Will you inform us of these matters?  Such interesting facts should certainly be worth knowing and no one can relate them better than you.

Isabella:  Oh sir! Christians go before the altar of the Christ in the presence of the head priest every week and confess their sins which the head priest forgives as, according to Christian creed, the head priest has power to do that as he is considered to be the representative of Saint Peter.

Ziad:  La hawla wala quwwata illa billah! [There is no power or authority except with Allah].  Allah forgive us!  Can any man forgive sins except Allah?  This is why the Holy Quran has accused Christians that they have made their priests and elders their Rabb (fosterer) besides Allah:  (In surprise) Have the priests the authority to forgive all sins?

Isabella:  Yes, provided the sinner confessed all his open and secret sins before the priest.  If he has concealed anything it will not be forgiven.

September 27, 2013

Sixty years ago, the Shin Bet devised one of the strangest operations in its history (and the archives are filled with some very strange ones!).  It planted Jewish agents deep undercover inside Palestinian communities.  For 15 years these men became Palestinian: they married Palestinian wives, raised Palestinian families, and participated in their communities as if they were a natural part of it.  But all the while they were funneling intelligence back to their handlers.

Then, seven years after Ulysses began, the Mossad told most of the agents to come in from the cold.  But what to do with their families?  Neither wives nor children knew their fathers had double identities and were Mossad spies.  Not to mention, imagine the shame and hostility to which you’d be subjected in the Palestinian community for having a father who informed on his “fellow Palestinians.”

Though this story was known in its bare outlines, Ronen Bergman unveils for the first time the identity of one of the Jewish agents.  He was the  ironically-named Uri Yisrael.  He was an operative of the Caesarea unit, which performs some of the Mossad’s most secretive and sensitive undercover operations.  His codename was “Ladya.”  He has the honor of being the Mossad agent who served the longest period of time with a double identity (15 years).  The second agent, whose identity Bergman was forbidden to expose by order of the military censor (presumably this means he’s still alive), had the code name “Yitzhak.”  Bergman interviewed Yisrael’s Palestinian son, who had no idea of his father’s double life.  He also interviewed the Mossad officer who ran the operation, Sami Moriah, now 87.

Among their intelligence achievements were bearing news of the creation of the PLO and participating in attempts to assassinate Yasir Arafat and Abu Jihad.  Operation Ulysses was a creature of then-Shin Bet chief, Iser Harel who, starting in 1952, sought to plant Israeli agents among the Palestinian refugee camps both in Israel and the Arab world.  Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus believed it was only a matter of time before Arab armies made another attempt to attack Israel.  They saw the Palestinians as a “fifth column” which would betray Israel at the first opportunity.  So they wanted spies planted in their midst to report back on any potential threats.

For Ulysses, Harel sought out Jews who’d recently emigrated to Israel from Arab lands.  It was an operation that was emotionally brutal.  Most of those recruited were in their early 20s.  Moriah chose them because they’d participated in the underground Zionist youth groups in their native Arab land.  Their ideological training allowed them to swear unfaltering allegiance to their adopted Zionist motherland.  Upon joining, they were severed from their own families and lived alone in apartments in Jaffa during their 18-month training period.   Moriah tells Bergman that when he brought letters from one of the Ulysses participants to his mother she pleaded:

Let me see him just for two minutes.  Even in the street from afar.  Just so that I know my boy is OK.

Ulysses members prepared intensively for their mission with study of Islam, recitation from the Koran, along with training in spycraft and terrorism.  They also had to undo their native accents and learn the special Palestinian accent and dialect.  Of the scores of candidates Moriah recruited, only nine completed the training.  They were all natives of Iraq, as was Moriah.  These were planted among Israel’s Palestinian population.  Their mission was to warn of planned uprisings or civil unrest.  They were also meant to make their way outside Israel to the Palestinian Diaspora.

The agency decided to end the project in 1959.  Most were returned to Israel (except Uri Yisrael and “Yitzhak” who remained undercover till 1967).  Tellingly, Bergman doesn’t discuss the emotional upheaval this must’ve caused to these families and perhaps the agents themselves.  The details of this story were published in Israel Defense article, which delves much more poignantly into the tragedy.  It describes the great personal suffering of the children who were forced to confront the dark secrets of their fathers and then to somehow pick up the pieces and put them back together again.  The reporter describes the meetings at which Moriah had to inform the Palestinian women that their husbands weren’t who they thought they were.  He offered to convert them and their children to Judaism (!), as if this would somehow miraculously heal the damage.  He also promised the Shin Bet would take care of them “till they were 120.”  Some of the women agreed and their children were raised as Jews and some even became officers in the IDF.

Of the nine original agents, two remained undercover and were transferred to the Mossad.  They continued their double lives for another eight years.  It was these men who first reported that the leadership of the new nationalist organization, the PLO, included two hitherto little-known figures, Arafat and Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad).  Yisrael paid for the apartment in which the first meetings of Fatah occurred and in which there were microphones which picked up every detail of their plans.

September 27, 2013

Sixty years ago, the Shin Bet devised one of the strangest operations in its history (and the archives are filled with some very strange ones!).  It planted Jewish agents deep undercover inside Palestinian communities.  For 15 years these men became Palestinian: they married Palestinian wives, raised Palestinian families, and participated in their communities as if they were a natural part of it.  But all the while they were funneling intelligence back to their handlers.

Then, seven years after Ulysses began, the Mossad told most of the agents to come in from the cold.  But what to do with their families?  Neither wives nor children knew their fathers had double identities and were Mossad spies.  Not to mention, imagine the shame and hostility to which you’d be subjected in the Palestinian community for having a father who informed on his “fellow Palestinians.”

Though this story was known in its bare outlines, Ronen Bergman unveils for the first time the identity of one of the Jewish agents.  He was the  ironically-named Uri Yisrael.  He was an operative of the Caesarea unit, which performs some of the Mossad’s most secretive and sensitive undercover operations.  His codename was “Ladya.”  He has the honor of being the Mossad agent who served the longest period of time with a double identity (15 years).  The second agent, whose identity Bergman was forbidden to expose by order of the military censor (presumably this means he’s still alive), had the code name “Yitzhak.”  Bergman interviewed Yisrael’s Palestinian son, who had no idea of his father’s double life.  He also interviewed the Mossad officer who ran the operation, Sami Moriah, now 87.

Among their intelligence achievements were bearing news of the creation of the PLO and participating in attempts to assassinate Yasir Arafat and Abu Jihad.  Operation Ulysses was a creature of then-Shin Bet chief, Iser Harel who, starting in 1952, sought to plant Israeli agents among the Palestinian refugee camps both in Israel and the Arab world.  Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus believed it was only a matter of time before Arab armies made another attempt to attack Israel.  They saw the Palestinians as a “fifth column” which would betray Israel at the first opportunity.  So they wanted spies planted in their midst to report back on any potential threats.

For Ulysses, Harel sought out Jews who’d recently emigrated to Israel from Arab lands.  It was an operation that was emotionally brutal.  Most of those recruited were in their early 20s.  Moriah chose them because they’d participated in the underground Zionist youth groups in their native Arab land.  Their ideological training allowed them to swear unfaltering allegiance to their adopted Zionist motherland.  Upon joining, they were severed from their own families and lived alone in apartments in Jaffa during their 18-month training period.   Moriah tells Bergman that when he brought letters from one of the Ulysses participants to his mother she pleaded:

Let me see him just for two minutes.  Even in the street from afar.  Just so that I know my boy is OK.

Ulysses members prepared intensively for their mission with study of Islam, recitation from the Koran, along with training in spycraft and terrorism.  They also had to undo their native accents and learn the special Palestinian accent and dialect.  Of the scores of candidates Moriah recruited, only nine completed the training.  They were all natives of Iraq, as was Moriah.  These were planted among Israel’s Palestinian population.  Their mission was to warn of planned uprisings or civil unrest.  They were also meant to make their way outside Israel to the Palestinian Diaspora.

The agency decided to end the project in 1959.  Most were returned to Israel (except Uri Yisrael and “Yitzhak” who remained undercover till 1967).  Tellingly, Bergman doesn’t discuss the emotional upheaval this must’ve caused to these families and perhaps the agents themselves.  The details of this story were published in Israel Defense article, which delves much more poignantly into the tragedy.  It describes the great personal suffering of the children who were forced to confront the dark secrets of their fathers and then to somehow pick up the pieces and put them back together again.  The reporter describes the meetings at which Moriah had to inform the Palestinian women that their husbands weren’t who they thought they were.  He offered to convert them and their children to Judaism (!), as if this would somehow miraculously heal the damage.  He also promised the Shin Bet would take care of them “till they were 120.”  Some of the women agreed and their children were raised as Jews and some even became officers in the IDF.

Of the nine original agents, two remained undercover and were transferred to the Mossad.  They continued their double lives for another eight years.  It was these men who first reported that the leadership of the new nationalist organization, the PLO, included two hitherto little-known figures, Arafat and Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad).  Yisrael paid for the apartment in which the first meetings of Fatah occurred and in which there were microphones which picked up every detail of their plans.

September 27, 2013

BAMAKO - Newly elected president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, pledged to unite his strife-damaged nation  and end endemic corruption as he steps forward to  lead the deeply-divided west African country’s emergence from months of political crisis and conflict.

Keita, a former prime minister, began his five-year term in the presence of outgoing transitional leader Dioncounda Traore and more than 1,000 Malian politicians, diplomats and military personnel, as he took the presidential oath at the inaugural ceremony in Bamako, the Malian capital.

"I will not forget for a moment that you put me where I am to take care of all aspects of the life of our nation. National reconciliation remains the most urgent priority," he said after taking an oath to preserve the constitution, democracy and the law.

Mali's constitutional court confirmed Keita's landslide victory  in the August 11 presidential run-off against former minister Soumaila Cisse after an election campaign focused on law, order and ending the culture of impunity in public office.

"I want to reconcile hearts and minds, restore true brotherhood between us so that all the different people can play their part harmoniously in the national symphony," Keita said to huge applause.

The 68-year-old veteran of the political scene in Bamako is charged with leading the country out of a 17-month political crisis sparked by a military coup.

Army officers angry at the level of support they had received to combat a separatist Tuareg rebellion in the north overthrew the democratically-elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure in the spring of 2012.

In the chaos that followed, the Tuareg seized control of an area larger than France before being ousted by Al-Qaeda-linked groups who imposed a brutal interpretation of Islamic law on the local population, carrying out amputations and executions.

Their actions drew worldwide condemnation and prompted France to launch a military offensive at Mali's behest together with thrust from the UN’s official international input to oust the Islamists in January.

The country's return to democracy has allowed France to begin withdrawing some of the 4,500 troops it had sent in.  

"France welcomes the new president of the Republic of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, on the occasion of his swearing-in ceremony," said French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot in a statement.

"Granted a strong legitimacy with the outcome of the recent elections, the new authorities can now meet the needs of the people of Mali and the challenges facing Mali. France is ready to give its full support to President Keita."  Observers cite that French logistical assistance will continue, limiting the troop withdrawal initially planned by French President Hollande.

The son of a civil servant, Keita was born in 1945 in the southern industrial city of Koutiala, the declining heartland of cotton production in the country.

His election in the first presidential polls in Mali since 2007 was seen as crucial for unlocking more than $4 billion in aid promised by international donors who halted contributions in the wake of last year's coup.

His daunting workload over the coming months will include tackling an economy battered by political chaos and war, as well as healing ethnic divisions in the north and managing the return of 500,000 people who fled an Islamist insurgency.

Corruption has tainted government institutions and the military in Mali since it gained independence from France in 1960 and the country remains in the bottom third of Transparency International's ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’.  Some observers contend that the Malian government prior to the coup had been complicit with organized crime in the north, which would explain its complacency with the corruption known to exist there.

"I will put an end to impunity, to the special privileges that are at the heart of the perversion of our judicial and state institutions," Keita vowed.

"As president, I will ensure the proper management of public funds. I will put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure transparency and efficiency of public spending. No one will get rich illegally off the back of the Malian people."

Some material for this report was obtained

from Agence France Presse

 

 

DAKAR, SENEGAL — Mali's president-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita says he will reconcile, reunite and rebuild the country after 18 months of crisis and conflict. Keita doesn't take office for another two weeks, but his to-do list is already long and Malians are eager for results.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita takes office September 4th on a tidal wave of popularity.

The one-time prime minister and former president of the National Assembly won the August 11th run-off election with 77 percent of votes.

In his first public declaration as president-elect, Keita said he would be the "president of all Malians."

"I will be the president of national reconciliation.  This reconciliation is necessary to deal with the demands of our people: to rebuild the state and the rule of law, to fix the army and the education system, to fight corruption and to foster economic and social development.  I will be the president to rebuild the nation," said the president-elect.

Keita said recently that it would be a "new era."  Even so, he is inheriting some hefty problems.

A Tuareg rebellion that began in  2012 is still rumbling in the far north.  Mali is now host to a massive U.N. mission to stabilize the north after a nine-month occupation by armed extremist groups who tried to set up their version of an Islamic state.

The leaders of the recent military coup in Mali are still lurking around the foreground in Bamako.  One of the final acts of the interim government was to promote coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo to the rank of general.

Keita won the presidency thanks to a large and complex web of support from Muslim religious leaders, the military and most of his first-round rivals.  His campaign always maintained that Keita was not cutting deals in exchange for votes.

But analysts said it could be difficult to manage all those alliances once in office.  Malians are watching closely to see who Keita names to his cabinet.

Keita said recently his government would be a ‘meritocracy’, not one guided by political or family alliances. "Let me be clear.  There is no question of sharing out the cake.  I have not promised that and it will not happen," he said.

But actions speak louder than words, even the tough talk that Keita is known for. When asked what the country needed, voters often used the French verb "assainir," which means to flush out, to decontaminate, to clean up.  They wanted to see Keita tackle the root causes of the crisis.

At the top of that list were the pervasive corruption and patronage that analysts said undermined development, crippled the army and ultimately handed the north over to criminal and terrorist groups.

Keita has pledged "zero tolerance" for corruption, but analysts say he must prove it, and fast, by doing what previous governments in Mali have not - by investigating and punishing those embezzling public resources.  Something analysts say could be a hard pill to swallow for some of his political allies.

Security is the other key challenge.

Keita will have 60 days to open up what promises to be difficult negotiations with the armed Tuareg separatist group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and its allies in the far northern region of Kidal that launched an uprising in January of 2012 -  the fourth of its kind since Mali became a country in 1960.  Many say it is up to Keita to make it the last.

Political analyst Issa Ndiaye said, "it will be hard to get Malians to accept a special status for Kidal. The problems are not just in Kidal. We need to find a nationwide solution to implement an enhanced form of decentralization that allows local populations to make decisions about their lives, and in particular about the exploitation of natural resources."

Many Malians blame the MNLA for setting off the chain of events last year that saw the elected government toppled by unruly soldiers in the spring of this year and the north being taken over by Islamist militant groups just weeks later.

The nomadic Tuareg are a minority ethnic group in Mali's sparsely populated north.  Perceived privileges bestowed on ex-rebels under previous peace accords have bred resentment and perceptions of a kind of "positive discrimination" in favor of the Tuareg.

Those negotiations will be just one part of returning security and state authority to the formerly occupied north, where violence has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and decimated the economy.

September 27, 2013

BAMAKO - Newly elected president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, pledged to unite his strife-damaged nation  and end endemic corruption as he steps forward to  lead the deeply-divided west African country’s emergence from months of political crisis and conflict.

Keita, a former prime minister, began his five-year term in the presence of outgoing transitional leader Dioncounda Traore and more than 1,000 Malian politicians, diplomats and military personnel, as he took the presidential oath at the inaugural ceremony in Bamako, the Malian capital.

"I will not forget for a moment that you put me where I am to take care of all aspects of the life of our nation. National reconciliation remains the most urgent priority," he said after taking an oath to preserve the constitution, democracy and the law.

Mali's constitutional court confirmed Keita's landslide victory  in the August 11 presidential run-off against former minister Soumaila Cisse after an election campaign focused on law, order and ending the culture of impunity in public office.

"I want to reconcile hearts and minds, restore true brotherhood between us so that all the different people can play their part harmoniously in the national symphony," Keita said to huge applause.

The 68-year-old veteran of the political scene in Bamako is charged with leading the country out of a 17-month political crisis sparked by a military coup.

Army officers angry at the level of support they had received to combat a separatist Tuareg rebellion in the north overthrew the democratically-elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure in the spring of 2012.

In the chaos that followed, the Tuareg seized control of an area larger than France before being ousted by Al-Qaeda-linked groups who imposed a brutal interpretation of Islamic law on the local population, carrying out amputations and executions.

Their actions drew worldwide condemnation and prompted France to launch a military offensive at Mali's behest together with thrust from the UN’s official international input to oust the Islamists in January.

The country's return to democracy has allowed France to begin withdrawing some of the 4,500 troops it had sent in.  

"France welcomes the new president of the Republic of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, on the occasion of his swearing-in ceremony," said French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot in a statement.

"Granted a strong legitimacy with the outcome of the recent elections, the new authorities can now meet the needs of the people of Mali and the challenges facing Mali. France is ready to give its full support to President Keita."  Observers cite that French logistical assistance will continue, limiting the troop withdrawal initially planned by French President Hollande.

The son of a civil servant, Keita was born in 1945 in the southern industrial city of Koutiala, the declining heartland of cotton production in the country.

His election in the first presidential polls in Mali since 2007 was seen as crucial for unlocking more than $4 billion in aid promised by international donors who halted contributions in the wake of last year's coup.

His daunting workload over the coming months will include tackling an economy battered by political chaos and war, as well as healing ethnic divisions in the north and managing the return of 500,000 people who fled an Islamist insurgency.

Corruption has tainted government institutions and the military in Mali since it gained independence from France in 1960 and the country remains in the bottom third of Transparency International's ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’.  Some observers contend that the Malian government prior to the coup had been complicit with organized crime in the north, which would explain its complacency with the corruption known to exist there.

"I will put an end to impunity, to the special privileges that are at the heart of the perversion of our judicial and state institutions," Keita vowed.

"As president, I will ensure the proper management of public funds. I will put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure transparency and efficiency of public spending. No one will get rich illegally off the back of the Malian people."

Some material for this report was obtained

from Agence France Presse

 

 

DAKAR, SENEGAL — Mali's president-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita says he will reconcile, reunite and rebuild the country after 18 months of crisis and conflict. Keita doesn't take office for another two weeks, but his to-do list is already long and Malians are eager for results.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita takes office September 4th on a tidal wave of popularity.

The one-time prime minister and former president of the National Assembly won the August 11th run-off election with 77 percent of votes.

In his first public declaration as president-elect, Keita said he would be the "president of all Malians."

"I will be the president of national reconciliation.  This reconciliation is necessary to deal with the demands of our people: to rebuild the state and the rule of law, to fix the army and the education system, to fight corruption and to foster economic and social development.  I will be the president to rebuild the nation," said the president-elect.

Keita said recently that it would be a "new era."  Even so, he is inheriting some hefty problems.

A Tuareg rebellion that began in  2012 is still rumbling in the far north.  Mali is now host to a massive U.N. mission to stabilize the north after a nine-month occupation by armed extremist groups who tried to set up their version of an Islamic state.

The leaders of the recent military coup in Mali are still lurking around the foreground in Bamako.  One of the final acts of the interim government was to promote coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo to the rank of general.

Keita won the presidency thanks to a large and complex web of support from Muslim religious leaders, the military and most of his first-round rivals.  His campaign always maintained that Keita was not cutting deals in exchange for votes.

But analysts said it could be difficult to manage all those alliances once in office.  Malians are watching closely to see who Keita names to his cabinet.

Keita said recently his government would be a ‘meritocracy’, not one guided by political or family alliances. "Let me be clear.  There is no question of sharing out the cake.  I have not promised that and it will not happen," he said.

But actions speak louder than words, even the tough talk that Keita is known for. When asked what the country needed, voters often used the French verb "assainir," which means to flush out, to decontaminate, to clean up.  They wanted to see Keita tackle the root causes of the crisis.

At the top of that list were the pervasive corruption and patronage that analysts said undermined development, crippled the army and ultimately handed the north over to criminal and terrorist groups.

Keita has pledged "zero tolerance" for corruption, but analysts say he must prove it, and fast, by doing what previous governments in Mali have not - by investigating and punishing those embezzling public resources.  Something analysts say could be a hard pill to swallow for some of his political allies.

Security is the other key challenge.

Keita will have 60 days to open up what promises to be difficult negotiations with the armed Tuareg separatist group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and its allies in the far northern region of Kidal that launched an uprising in January of 2012 -  the fourth of its kind since Mali became a country in 1960.  Many say it is up to Keita to make it the last.

Political analyst Issa Ndiaye said, "it will be hard to get Malians to accept a special status for Kidal. The problems are not just in Kidal. We need to find a nationwide solution to implement an enhanced form of decentralization that allows local populations to make decisions about their lives, and in particular about the exploitation of natural resources."

Many Malians blame the MNLA for setting off the chain of events last year that saw the elected government toppled by unruly soldiers in the spring of this year and the north being taken over by Islamist militant groups just weeks later.

The nomadic Tuareg are a minority ethnic group in Mali's sparsely populated north.  Perceived privileges bestowed on ex-rebels under previous peace accords have bred resentment and perceptions of a kind of "positive discrimination" in favor of the Tuareg.

Those negotiations will be just one part of returning security and state authority to the formerly occupied north, where violence has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and decimated the economy.

September 24, 2013

Most American Muslims—especially the indigenous Muslims and converts, make an honest effort to practice Al-Islam in letter & spirit— and thus abide by the Islamic dietary laws. The laws have a foundation upon clear, Divine commands in the Holy Qur’an and unambiguous examples of their implementation via the Sunnah (traditions) of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him). Unfortunately, greedy business owners and corporations have waged a full-scale exploitation of the ignorance of the masses, combined with store-bought “scholars” brought in from overseas issuing purchased fatawa (rulings) to justify illegal means of slaughter to achieve higher profit margins. To facilitate the mass consumption of chicken, these scholars, along with companies posing as Halaal meat-producing entities, have fraudulently made “halaal” what is haraam - that is, the machine-slaughter of chicken.

 

Substantial research has been conducted on the wholesale poultry distributors and slaughterhouses that claim they are distributing halaal poultry. Most of the facilities are owned and operated by non-Muslims, polytheists and/or atheists who have contracts or deals with “halaal certification” companies to provide their seal of approval. The major distributors that are owned by Muslims supply smaller markets and restaurants with machine-slaughtered chicken, which is haraam. The methods they employ, in an attempt to quell the concerns of inquiring Muslims who adhere to Islamic dietary laws, range from “blessing” the machine that slaughters the animals, “blessing” the shackles that restrain the birds, playing a cassette recording of the Tasmiya (“Bismillah Allahu Akbar,” meaning “With Allah’s Name, Allah is Greatest”), or (literally) driving around the slaughter facility and “blessing” it in the process. This is not only a mockery and direct insult to common sense and reason, but a blatant disregard for the Qur’anic commands that Allah Ta’ala has given and the perfect practice of the Sunnah—all for the sake of profit margins built upon the intentional corruption of Islamic dietary standards.

 

Allah Ta’ala establishes the dietary standards for mankind, saying: “O mankind! Eat that which is halaal and good from the earth! And do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed he is an open enemy to you!” (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 168) From this Ayat, we know, without a doubt, that all foods consumed by a human being (regardless of religion) must be lawful and there is no ambiguity in this. Allah Ta’ala further clarifies the meaning of halaal food, when He says: “They ask you what is halaal (lawful) for them (as food). Say: Halaal to you are (all) things good and pure and what you have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah. Eat what they catch for you and pronounce the Name of Allah over it.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ayah 4)

 

Allah’s Name being mentioned is mandatory, to such an extent that the disregard for this is a transgression: “Do not eat of [meats] over which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced! For that would be a transgression.” (Surah Al-An’am, Ayah 121) and “And why should you not eat of that upon which the Name of Allah has been mentioned, while He has explained in detail to you what He has forbidden you, excepting that to which you are compelled. Indeed do many mislead through their inclinations without knowledge. Indeed your Rabb knows best of the transgressors.” (Surah Al-An’am, Ayah 119)

 

From the Sunnah (traditions) of the Holy Last Messenger (blessings and peace upon him) and the Blessed Companions (May Allah be pleased with them), it is clear that pronunciation of Allah’s Name over the intended animal, in conjunction with the cutting of the jugular vein, establishes the halaal slaughter of an animal. Rafi ibn Khadij (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that Sayyiduna Rasulullah (blessings and peace upon him) said: “If the killing tool causes the blood to gush out, and the Name of Allah is pronounced, then eat (of the slaughtered animal).” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith 5498) This Hadith Sharif is a clear refutation to those who eat the meat of animals that have been slaughtered by the inhumane ways of mass-production, which include stunning, goring, electrocution, and the use of machines for mass slaughter.

 

Eating halaal is not to be taken lightly, for the prayers of a human, along with the establishment of salaat, depend on the belly being nourished with halaal provisions. Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Last Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace upon him) said: “Surely, Allah Ta’ala is Pure and accepts only that which is pure. Allah commanded the believers with what He commanded the Messengers. And the Almighty has said: ‘O Messengers! Eat from the pure things that which we have provided you and perform righteous deeds.’ And Allah Ta’ala has said: ‘O you who believe! Eat of the pure things We have provided you.’” Then he (blessings and peace upon him) mentioned the man who journeyed far, was disheveled and dusty and who stretches out his hands to the sky (saying): “Ya Rabb! Ya Rabb!!” while his food is haraam, his drink haraam, his clothing haraam, and he is nourished with haraam. So how can he be answered! (Sahih Muslim)

The Islamic standard of slaughter has been in existence for more than 1,400 years and has been thoroughly outlined by every school of Islamic jurisprudence for Muslims who have lived in Islamic and non-Islamic environments—such as North America. Thus, we refer to the righteous scholars of Al-Islam, not paid-off clerics, to validate the proper position.

From the school of Al-Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifah An-Nu’man (May Allah be pleased with him), Imam al-Haskafi (Allah’s Mercy upon him) has written: “An animal slaughtered by someone other than Ahl al-Kitab, such as a fire-worshipper, idol-worshipper, etc. will not be halaal. Likewise, the animal on which the Name of Allah was intentionally not pronounced (will be haram); however, if it was omitted due to forgetfulness, it would be halaal.”

 

From the school of Al-Imam Malik ibn Anas (May Allah be pleased with him), Shaykh-ul-Islam Al-Imam Ahmed Ad-Dardir Al-Azhari (May Allah bless him) has written in his Al-Sharh al-Kabir: “Tasmiya (the pronunciation of the Name of Allah Ta’ala) is necessary at the time of slaughtering the animal or sending for hunting if one remembers and is capable of doing so. Thus, it is not necessary for a person who forgets, neither on a person who is incapable and neither on the one who is forced not pronounce it.”

 

The statement of Shaykh-ul-Islam has been elaborated by Imam Muhammad ibn Yousuf Ad-Dassouqi Al-Maliki (Allah's Mercy upon him), with the assertion: “The meaning of the Ayah: ‘Do not eat of [meats] over which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced! For that would be a transgression,’ [Surah Al-An’am, 121] is that on which the Name of Allah was intentionally not pronounced with having capability of doing so. However, if the Name of Allah was not pronounced due to forgetfulness or incapability, then the animal would be halaal. An individual ignorant of the ruling will be treated in the same manner as the one who deliberately and intentionally omits the Tasmiya.” (Hashiyat ad-Dasuqi Alaa Ash-Sharh Al-Kabir, Volume 2, pages 167-168)

 

It is clear that the standard and accepted sources of Islamic jurisprudence substantiate that every single (non-fish) animal for consumption must absolutely be slaughtered individually with the pronunciation of Tasmiya and neglect of this process is unacceptable. What has been discovered, upon researching these so-called “halaal” distributors and slaughterhouses, is practices contrary to all of the above-mentioned prerequisites for Islamic slaughter. Depending on the size, these facilities reportedly slaughter as many as 100-140 birds a minute using machines. How can they guarantee that the recitation of the Tasmiya has been said for every bird that has been slaughtered?

In speed and precision experiments performed by simply holding a string of beads, the average number of times the Tasmiya was correctly recited was 63 recitations per minute. This was not done with a sharp knife in the hand in front of a moving, live bird about to be slaughtered. So, how can a company claim that the proper slaughter of a chicken—with the recitation of the Tasmiya done by the slaughterer every time a laceration is to be made—can be performed 100-140 times in a minute?! Or (hypothetically), if a machine is improperly used to perform the slaughter, how can a human tongue keep up with that many birds per minute? For the aforementioned number of birds per minute, the slaughterer would literally have to recite the Tasmiya approximately two times a second. Compound that with a standard 8-hour workday, and you see a literally impossible scenario, even if the company was playing a cassette. Nevertheless, a machine cannot replace the mandated hand-slaughter of chicken. This is haraam, according to Holy Qur’an, Sunnah of the Holy Last Messenger (Allah’s blessings and peace upon him and his family) and the Ijma’ of the Ulama of Haqq (May Allah bless them all). If one wishes to achieve the mass-slaughter of chickens, then he or she can simply employ the necessary staff to perform the job properly, thereby saving themselves in the Akhirah and guarding the rights of their fellow Muslims as well, by doing that which is halaal and shunning that which is clearly haraam and blameworthy.

 

The person slaughtering and the method of slaughter present two facets of halaal, but another is the condition of the animal being slaughtered.  Sayyiduna Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) said: “If you were to pour alcohol down a well, and the fill the well up with dirt and grass grew from that well. If a sheep were to eat the grass from there, I wouldn't eat the meat of that sheep." Chickens raised for halaal slaughter have very few feed regulations, which means they are fed items containing haraam meat, blood and toxic chemicals. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) admitted last August that a feed product known as Roxarsone, manufactured by Pfizer, is routinely fed to chickens and contains arsenic, a known human carcinogen. It is obvious as shown in the lack of concern for any of the requirements of zabiha that these companies care nothing about providing halaal chicken. Rather, their prime concern is financial and  therefore they have compromised the Islamic ways of slaughter for the sake of better profit margins.

These facts lead to one conclusion - Muslims in North America be warned: companies who claim to sell halaal chicken, but in actuality sell haraam are exploiting you. It is insufficient to sit back and say “so-and-so said it is halaal, so the sin is on him, not on me.” Woe unto those who follow that thinking, because you have doomed your own selves with the statement alone. Shaitan (we seek refuge from him) is an open enemy and his attacks can come in many forms. The disestablishment of Salaat is one of the tools he uses, because Salaat cannot be established with a belly full of haraam provisions, therefore it is imperative to take a keen interest in the origin and slaughter methods of animals identified as halaal. Jabir al-Ansari (May Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Holy Last Messenger (blessings and peace upon him) said: “Every person nourished with haraam is deserving of the Nar (Hell-Fire).” (Related by Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal)

September 24, 2013

Most American Muslims—especially the indigenous Muslims and converts, make an honest effort to practice Al-Islam in letter & spirit— and thus abide by the Islamic dietary laws. The laws have a foundation upon clear, Divine commands in the Holy Qur’an and unambiguous examples of their implementation via the Sunnah (traditions) of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him). Unfortunately, greedy business owners and corporations have waged a full-scale exploitation of the ignorance of the masses, combined with store-bought “scholars” brought in from overseas issuing purchased fatawa (rulings) to justify illegal means of slaughter to achieve higher profit margins. To facilitate the mass consumption of chicken, these scholars, along with companies posing as Halaal meat-producing entities, have fraudulently made “halaal” what is haraam - that is, the machine-slaughter of chicken.

 

Substantial research has been conducted on the wholesale poultry distributors and slaughterhouses that claim they are distributing halaal poultry. Most of the facilities are owned and operated by non-Muslims, polytheists and/or atheists who have contracts or deals with “halaal certification” companies to provide their seal of approval. The major distributors that are owned by Muslims supply smaller markets and restaurants with machine-slaughtered chicken, which is haraam. The methods they employ, in an attempt to quell the concerns of inquiring Muslims who adhere to Islamic dietary laws, range from “blessing” the machine that slaughters the animals, “blessing” the shackles that restrain the birds, playing a cassette recording of the Tasmiya (“Bismillah Allahu Akbar,” meaning “With Allah’s Name, Allah is Greatest”), or (literally) driving around the slaughter facility and “blessing” it in the process. This is not only a mockery and direct insult to common sense and reason, but a blatant disregard for the Qur’anic commands that Allah Ta’ala has given and the perfect practice of the Sunnah—all for the sake of profit margins built upon the intentional corruption of Islamic dietary standards.

 

Allah Ta’ala establishes the dietary standards for mankind, saying: “O mankind! Eat that which is halaal and good from the earth! And do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed he is an open enemy to you!” (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayah 168) From this Ayat, we know, without a doubt, that all foods consumed by a human being (regardless of religion) must be lawful and there is no ambiguity in this. Allah Ta’ala further clarifies the meaning of halaal food, when He says: “They ask you what is halaal (lawful) for them (as food). Say: Halaal to you are (all) things good and pure and what you have taught your trained hunting animals (to catch) in the manner directed to you by Allah. Eat what they catch for you and pronounce the Name of Allah over it.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ayah 4)

 

Allah’s Name being mentioned is mandatory, to such an extent that the disregard for this is a transgression: “Do not eat of [meats] over which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced! For that would be a transgression.” (Surah Al-An’am, Ayah 121) and “And why should you not eat of that upon which the Name of Allah has been mentioned, while He has explained in detail to you what He has forbidden you, excepting that to which you are compelled. Indeed do many mislead through their inclinations without knowledge. Indeed your Rabb knows best of the transgressors.” (Surah Al-An’am, Ayah 119)

 

From the Sunnah (traditions) of the Holy Last Messenger (blessings and peace upon him) and the Blessed Companions (May Allah be pleased with them), it is clear that pronunciation of Allah’s Name over the intended animal, in conjunction with the cutting of the jugular vein, establishes the halaal slaughter of an animal. Rafi ibn Khadij (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that Sayyiduna Rasulullah (blessings and peace upon him) said: “If the killing tool causes the blood to gush out, and the Name of Allah is pronounced, then eat (of the slaughtered animal).” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Hadith 5498) This Hadith Sharif is a clear refutation to those who eat the meat of animals that have been slaughtered by the inhumane ways of mass-production, which include stunning, goring, electrocution, and the use of machines for mass slaughter.

 

Eating halaal is not to be taken lightly, for the prayers of a human, along with the establishment of salaat, depend on the belly being nourished with halaal provisions. Sayyiduna Abu Hurayra (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Holy Last Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace upon him) said: “Surely, Allah Ta’ala is Pure and accepts only that which is pure. Allah commanded the believers with what He commanded the Messengers. And the Almighty has said: ‘O Messengers! Eat from the pure things that which we have provided you and perform righteous deeds.’ And Allah Ta’ala has said: ‘O you who believe! Eat of the pure things We have provided you.’” Then he (blessings and peace upon him) mentioned the man who journeyed far, was disheveled and dusty and who stretches out his hands to the sky (saying): “Ya Rabb! Ya Rabb!!” while his food is haraam, his drink haraam, his clothing haraam, and he is nourished with haraam. So how can he be answered! (Sahih Muslim)

The Islamic standard of slaughter has been in existence for more than 1,400 years and has been thoroughly outlined by every school of Islamic jurisprudence for Muslims who have lived in Islamic and non-Islamic environments—such as North America. Thus, we refer to the righteous scholars of Al-Islam, not paid-off clerics, to validate the proper position.

From the school of Al-Imam al-A’zam Abu Hanifah An-Nu’man (May Allah be pleased with him), Imam al-Haskafi (Allah’s Mercy upon him) has written: “An animal slaughtered by someone other than Ahl al-Kitab, such as a fire-worshipper, idol-worshipper, etc. will not be halaal. Likewise, the animal on which the Name of Allah was intentionally not pronounced (will be haram); however, if it was omitted due to forgetfulness, it would be halaal.”

 

From the school of Al-Imam Malik ibn Anas (May Allah be pleased with him), Shaykh-ul-Islam Al-Imam Ahmed Ad-Dardir Al-Azhari (May Allah bless him) has written in his Al-Sharh al-Kabir: “Tasmiya (the pronunciation of the Name of Allah Ta’ala) is necessary at the time of slaughtering the animal or sending for hunting if one remembers and is capable of doing so. Thus, it is not necessary for a person who forgets, neither on a person who is incapable and neither on the one who is forced not pronounce it.”

 

The statement of Shaykh-ul-Islam has been elaborated by Imam Muhammad ibn Yousuf Ad-Dassouqi Al-Maliki (Allah's Mercy upon him), with the assertion: “The meaning of the Ayah: ‘Do not eat of [meats] over which Allah’s Name has not been pronounced! For that would be a transgression,’ [Surah Al-An’am, 121] is that on which the Name of Allah was intentionally not pronounced with having capability of doing so. However, if the Name of Allah was not pronounced due to forgetfulness or incapability, then the animal would be halaal. An individual ignorant of the ruling will be treated in the same manner as the one who deliberately and intentionally omits the Tasmiya.” (Hashiyat ad-Dasuqi Alaa Ash-Sharh Al-Kabir, Volume 2, pages 167-168)

 

It is clear that the standard and accepted sources of Islamic jurisprudence substantiate that every single (non-fish) animal for consumption must absolutely be slaughtered individually with the pronunciation of Tasmiya and neglect of this process is unacceptable. What has been discovered, upon researching these so-called “halaal” distributors and slaughterhouses, is practices contrary to all of the above-mentioned prerequisites for Islamic slaughter. Depending on the size, these facilities reportedly slaughter as many as 100-140 birds a minute using machines. How can they guarantee that the recitation of the Tasmiya has been said for every bird that has been slaughtered?

In speed and precision experiments performed by simply holding a string of beads, the average number of times the Tasmiya was correctly recited was 63 recitations per minute. This was not done with a sharp knife in the hand in front of a moving, live bird about to be slaughtered. So, how can a company claim that the proper slaughter of a chicken—with the recitation of the Tasmiya done by the slaughterer every time a laceration is to be made—can be performed 100-140 times in a minute?! Or (hypothetically), if a machine is improperly used to perform the slaughter, how can a human tongue keep up with that many birds per minute? For the aforementioned number of birds per minute, the slaughterer would literally have to recite the Tasmiya approximately two times a second. Compound that with a standard 8-hour workday, and you see a literally impossible scenario, even if the company was playing a cassette. Nevertheless, a machine cannot replace the mandated hand-slaughter of chicken. This is haraam, according to Holy Qur’an, Sunnah of the Holy Last Messenger (Allah’s blessings and peace upon him and his family) and the Ijma’ of the Ulama of Haqq (May Allah bless them all). If one wishes to achieve the mass-slaughter of chickens, then he or she can simply employ the necessary staff to perform the job properly, thereby saving themselves in the Akhirah and guarding the rights of their fellow Muslims as well, by doing that which is halaal and shunning that which is clearly haraam and blameworthy.

 

The person slaughtering and the method of slaughter present two facets of halaal, but another is the condition of the animal being slaughtered.  Sayyiduna Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (ra) said: “If you were to pour alcohol down a well, and the fill the well up with dirt and grass grew from that well. If a sheep were to eat the grass from there, I wouldn't eat the meat of that sheep." Chickens raised for halaal slaughter have very few feed regulations, which means they are fed items containing haraam meat, blood and toxic chemicals. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) admitted last August that a feed product known as Roxarsone, manufactured by Pfizer, is routinely fed to chickens and contains arsenic, a known human carcinogen. It is obvious as shown in the lack of concern for any of the requirements of zabiha that these companies care nothing about providing halaal chicken. Rather, their prime concern is financial and  therefore they have compromised the Islamic ways of slaughter for the sake of better profit margins.

These facts lead to one conclusion - Muslims in North America be warned: companies who claim to sell halaal chicken, but in actuality sell haraam are exploiting you. It is insufficient to sit back and say “so-and-so said it is halaal, so the sin is on him, not on me.” Woe unto those who follow that thinking, because you have doomed your own selves with the statement alone. Shaitan (we seek refuge from him) is an open enemy and his attacks can come in many forms. The disestablishment of Salaat is one of the tools he uses, because Salaat cannot be established with a belly full of haraam provisions, therefore it is imperative to take a keen interest in the origin and slaughter methods of animals identified as halaal. Jabir al-Ansari (May Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Holy Last Messenger (blessings and peace upon him) said: “Every person nourished with haraam is deserving of the Nar (Hell-Fire).” (Related by Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal)

September 9, 2013

BAMAKO - Newly elected president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, pledged to unite his strife-damaged nation  and end endemic corruption as he steps forward to  lead the deeply-divided west African country’s emergence from months of political crisis and conflict.

Keita, a former prime minister, began his five-year term in the presence of outgoing transitional leader Dioncounda Traore and more than 1,000 Malian politicians, diplomats and military personnel, as he took the presidential oath at the inaugural ceremony in Bamako, the Malian capital.

"I will not forget for a moment that you put me where I am to take care of all aspects of the life of our nation. National reconciliation remains the most urgent priority," he said after taking an oath to preserve the constitution, democracy and the law.

Mali's constitutional court confirmed Keita's landslide victory  in the August 11 presidential run-off against former minister Soumaila Cisse after an election campaign focused on law, order and ending the culture of impunity in public office.

"I want to reconcile hearts and minds, restore true brotherhood between us so that all the different people can play their part harmoniously in the national symphony," Keita said to huge applause.

The 68-year-old veteran of the political scene in Bamako is charged with leading the country out of a 17-month political crisis sparked by a military coup.

Army officers angry at the level of support they had received to combat a separatist Tuareg rebellion in the north overthrew the democratically-elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure in the spring of 2012.

In the chaos that followed, the Tuareg seized control of an area larger than France before being ousted by Al-Qaeda-linked groups who imposed a brutal interpretation of Islamic law on the local population, carrying out amputations and executions.

Their actions drew worldwide condemnation and prompted France to launch a military offensive at Mali's behest together with thrust from the UN’s official international input to oust the Islamists in January.

The country's return to democracy has allowed France to begin withdrawing some of the 4,500 troops it had sent in.  

"France welcomes the new president of the Republic of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, on the occasion of his swearing-in ceremony," said French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot in a statement.

"Granted a strong legitimacy with the outcome of the recent elections, the new authorities can now meet the needs of the people of Mali and the challenges facing Mali. France is ready to give its full support to President Keita."  Observers cite that French logistical assistance will continue, limiting the troop withdrawal initially planned by French President Hollande.

The son of a civil servant, Keita was born in 1945 in the southern industrial city of Koutiala, the declining heartland of cotton production in the country.

His election in the first presidential polls in Mali since 2007 was seen as crucial for unlocking more than $4 billion in aid promised by international donors who halted contributions in the wake of last year's coup.

His daunting workload over the coming months will include tackling an economy battered by political chaos and war, as well as healing ethnic divisions in the north and managing the return of 500,000 people who fled an Islamist insurgency.

Corruption has tainted government institutions and the military in Mali since it gained independence from France in 1960 and the country remains in the bottom third of Transparency International's ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’.  Some observers contend that the Malian government prior to the coup had been complicit with organized crime in the north, which would explain its complacency with the corruption known to exist there.

"I will put an end to impunity, to the special privileges that are at the heart of the perversion of our judicial and state institutions," Keita vowed.

"As president, I will ensure the proper management of public funds. I will put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure transparency and efficiency of public spending. No one will get rich illegally off the back of the Malian people."

Some material for this report was obtained

from Agence France Presse

 

 

DAKAR, SENEGAL — Mali's president-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita says he will reconcile, reunite and rebuild the country after 18 months of crisis and conflict. Keita doesn't take office for another two weeks, but his to-do list is already long and Malians are eager for results.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita takes office September 4th on a tidal wave of popularity.

The one-time prime minister and former president of the National Assembly won the August 11th run-off election with 77 percent of votes.

In his first public declaration as president-elect, Keita said he would be the "president of all Malians."

"I will be the president of national reconciliation.  This reconciliation is necessary to deal with the demands of our people: to rebuild the state and the rule of law, to fix the army and the education system, to fight corruption and to foster economic and social development.  I will be the president to rebuild the nation," said the president-elect.

Keita said recently that it would be a "new era."  Even so, he is inheriting some hefty problems.

A Tuareg rebellion that began in  2012 is still rumbling in the far north.  Mali is now host to a massive U.N. mission to stabilize the north after a nine-month occupation by armed extremist groups who tried to set up their version of an Islamic state.

The leaders of the recent military coup in Mali are still lurking around the foreground in Bamako.  One of the final acts of the interim government was to promote coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo to the rank of general.

Keita won the presidency thanks to a large and complex web of support from Muslim religious leaders, the military and most of his first-round rivals.  His campaign always maintained that Keita was not cutting deals in exchange for votes.

But analysts said it could be difficult to manage all those alliances once in office.  Malians are watching closely to see who Keita names to his cabinet.

Keita said recently his government would be a ‘meritocracy’, not one guided by political or family alliances. "Let me be clear.  There is no question of sharing out the cake.  I have not promised that and it will not happen," he said.

But actions speak louder than words, even the tough talk that Keita is known for. When asked what the country needed, voters often used the French verb "assainir," which means to flush out, to decontaminate, to clean up.  They wanted to see Keita tackle the root causes of the crisis.

At the top of that list were the pervasive corruption and patronage that analysts said undermined development, crippled the army and ultimately handed the north over to criminal and terrorist groups.

Keita has pledged "zero tolerance" for corruption, but analysts say he must prove it, and fast, by doing what previous governments in Mali have not - by investigating and punishing those embezzling public resources.  Something analysts say could be a hard pill to swallow for some of his political allies.

Security is the other key challenge.

Keita will have 60 days to open up what promises to be difficult negotiations with the armed Tuareg separatist group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and its allies in the far northern region of Kidal that launched an uprising in January of 2012 -  the fourth of its kind since Mali became a country in 1960.  Many say it is up to Keita to make it the last.

Political analyst Issa Ndiaye said, "it will be hard to get Malians to accept a special status for Kidal. The problems are not just in Kidal. We need to find a nationwide solution to implement an enhanced form of decentralization that allows local populations to make decisions about their lives, and in particular about the exploitation of natural resources."

Many Malians blame the MNLA for setting off the chain of events last year that saw the elected government toppled by unruly soldiers in the spring of this year and the north being taken over by Islamist militant groups just weeks later.

The nomadic Tuareg are a minority ethnic group in Mali's sparsely populated north.  Perceived privileges bestowed on ex-rebels under previous peace accords have bred resentment and perceptions of a kind of "positive discrimination" in favor of the Tuareg.

Those negotiations will be just one part of returning security and state authority to the formerly occupied north, where violence has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and decimated the economy.

September 9, 2013

BAMAKO - Newly elected president of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, pledged to unite his strife-damaged nation  and end endemic corruption as he steps forward to  lead the deeply-divided west African country’s emergence from months of political crisis and conflict.

Keita, a former prime minister, began his five-year term in the presence of outgoing transitional leader Dioncounda Traore and more than 1,000 Malian politicians, diplomats and military personnel, as he took the presidential oath at the inaugural ceremony in Bamako, the Malian capital.

"I will not forget for a moment that you put me where I am to take care of all aspects of the life of our nation. National reconciliation remains the most urgent priority," he said after taking an oath to preserve the constitution, democracy and the law.

Mali's constitutional court confirmed Keita's landslide victory  in the August 11 presidential run-off against former minister Soumaila Cisse after an election campaign focused on law, order and ending the culture of impunity in public office.

"I want to reconcile hearts and minds, restore true brotherhood between us so that all the different people can play their part harmoniously in the national symphony," Keita said to huge applause.

The 68-year-old veteran of the political scene in Bamako is charged with leading the country out of a 17-month political crisis sparked by a military coup.

Army officers angry at the level of support they had received to combat a separatist Tuareg rebellion in the north overthrew the democratically-elected government of President Amadou Toumani Toure in the spring of 2012.

In the chaos that followed, the Tuareg seized control of an area larger than France before being ousted by Al-Qaeda-linked groups who imposed a brutal interpretation of Islamic law on the local population, carrying out amputations and executions.

Their actions drew worldwide condemnation and prompted France to launch a military offensive at Mali's behest together with thrust from the UN’s official international input to oust the Islamists in January.

The country's return to democracy has allowed France to begin withdrawing some of the 4,500 troops it had sent in.  

"France welcomes the new president of the Republic of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, on the occasion of his swearing-in ceremony," said French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot in a statement.

"Granted a strong legitimacy with the outcome of the recent elections, the new authorities can now meet the needs of the people of Mali and the challenges facing Mali. France is ready to give its full support to President Keita."  Observers cite that French logistical assistance will continue, limiting the troop withdrawal initially planned by French President Hollande.

The son of a civil servant, Keita was born in 1945 in the southern industrial city of Koutiala, the declining heartland of cotton production in the country.

His election in the first presidential polls in Mali since 2007 was seen as crucial for unlocking more than $4 billion in aid promised by international donors who halted contributions in the wake of last year's coup.

His daunting workload over the coming months will include tackling an economy battered by political chaos and war, as well as healing ethnic divisions in the north and managing the return of 500,000 people who fled an Islamist insurgency.

Corruption has tainted government institutions and the military in Mali since it gained independence from France in 1960 and the country remains in the bottom third of Transparency International's ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’.  Some observers contend that the Malian government prior to the coup had been complicit with organized crime in the north, which would explain its complacency with the corruption known to exist there.

"I will put an end to impunity, to the special privileges that are at the heart of the perversion of our judicial and state institutions," Keita vowed.

"As president, I will ensure the proper management of public funds. I will put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure transparency and efficiency of public spending. No one will get rich illegally off the back of the Malian people."

Some material for this report was obtained

from Agence France Presse

 

 

DAKAR, SENEGAL — Mali's president-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita says he will reconcile, reunite and rebuild the country after 18 months of crisis and conflict. Keita doesn't take office for another two weeks, but his to-do list is already long and Malians are eager for results.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita takes office September 4th on a tidal wave of popularity.

The one-time prime minister and former president of the National Assembly won the August 11th run-off election with 77 percent of votes.

In his first public declaration as president-elect, Keita said he would be the "president of all Malians."

"I will be the president of national reconciliation.  This reconciliation is necessary to deal with the demands of our people: to rebuild the state and the rule of law, to fix the army and the education system, to fight corruption and to foster economic and social development.  I will be the president to rebuild the nation," said the president-elect.

Keita said recently that it would be a "new era."  Even so, he is inheriting some hefty problems.

A Tuareg rebellion that began in  2012 is still rumbling in the far north.  Mali is now host to a massive U.N. mission to stabilize the north after a nine-month occupation by armed extremist groups who tried to set up their version of an Islamic state.

The leaders of the recent military coup in Mali are still lurking around the foreground in Bamako.  One of the final acts of the interim government was to promote coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo to the rank of general.

Keita won the presidency thanks to a large and complex web of support from Muslim religious leaders, the military and most of his first-round rivals.  His campaign always maintained that Keita was not cutting deals in exchange for votes.

But analysts said it could be difficult to manage all those alliances once in office.  Malians are watching closely to see who Keita names to his cabinet.

Keita said recently his government would be a ‘meritocracy’, not one guided by political or family alliances. "Let me be clear.  There is no question of sharing out the cake.  I have not promised that and it will not happen," he said.

But actions speak louder than words, even the tough talk that Keita is known for. When asked what the country needed, voters often used the French verb "assainir," which means to flush out, to decontaminate, to clean up.  They wanted to see Keita tackle the root causes of the crisis.

At the top of that list were the pervasive corruption and patronage that analysts said undermined development, crippled the army and ultimately handed the north over to criminal and terrorist groups.

Keita has pledged "zero tolerance" for corruption, but analysts say he must prove it, and fast, by doing what previous governments in Mali have not - by investigating and punishing those embezzling public resources.  Something analysts say could be a hard pill to swallow for some of his political allies.

Security is the other key challenge.

Keita will have 60 days to open up what promises to be difficult negotiations with the armed Tuareg separatist group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and its allies in the far northern region of Kidal that launched an uprising in January of 2012 -  the fourth of its kind since Mali became a country in 1960.  Many say it is up to Keita to make it the last.

Political analyst Issa Ndiaye said, "it will be hard to get Malians to accept a special status for Kidal. The problems are not just in Kidal. We need to find a nationwide solution to implement an enhanced form of decentralization that allows local populations to make decisions about their lives, and in particular about the exploitation of natural resources."

Many Malians blame the MNLA for setting off the chain of events last year that saw the elected government toppled by unruly soldiers in the spring of this year and the north being taken over by Islamist militant groups just weeks later.

The nomadic Tuareg are a minority ethnic group in Mali's sparsely populated north.  Perceived privileges bestowed on ex-rebels under previous peace accords have bred resentment and perceptions of a kind of "positive discrimination" in favor of the Tuareg.

Those negotiations will be just one part of returning security and state authority to the formerly occupied north, where violence has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and decimated the economy.

July 31, 2013

(KABUL) More British soldiers and veterans took their own lives in 2012 than died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan over the same period. BBC Panorama learned that 21 serving soldiers killed themselves last year, along with 29 veterans. The Afghanistan death toll was 44, of whom 40 died in action. Some of the soldiers' families say the men did not get enough support. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said every suicide was a "tragedy".

The Panorama program obtained the figure of 21 through a Freedom of Information request to the MoD. The MoD said that rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within the serving military were lower than comparative rates in the civilian population. Seven serving soldiers have been confirmed as having killed themselves last year, and inquests are pending for a further 14 deaths where suicide is suspected.

The British government, unlike its American counterpart, does not record the suicide rate among ex-soldiers. But Panorama has independently established that at least 29 veterans took their own lives in 2012. It wrote to every coroner in the country to ask for the names of soldiers and veterans who killed themselves last year and also analysed newspaper reports of coroners' inquests.

'Hell on earth'

One serving soldier who killed himself was L/Sgt Dan Collins, who had fought in Operation Panther's Claw in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in the summer of 2009. L/Sgt Collins, a Welsh Guardsman, twice survived being shot and was blown off his feet by a roadside bomb. His friend, L/Cpl Dane Elson, was blown to pieces just yards away from him.

L/Sgt Collins's mother Deana had noticed a difference in her son during his time in Afghanistan. "The phone calls changed and I remember him telling me, 'Mum, this place is hell on earth and I just want to get out of here'," she said. After a six-month tour, L/Sgt Collins came home, returning to his girlfriend Vicky Roach's house. Miss Roach said: "Obviously, then I started noticing things. Nightmares were the main thing. It was pretty clear he was back there reliving everything."

The Army diagnosed L/Sgt Collins with PTSD. After 10 months of intermittent treatment, the Army told L/Sgt Collins he had recovered and would soon be ready to return to duty. Over the next three months, he twice tried to kill himself. He started missing his weekly NHS appointments and told his girlfriend his flashbacks were getting worse. "I wanted to help him but I didn't know what to do," said Miss Roach. "It takes a toll on your relationship and I just asked him to leave."

On New Year's Eve in 2011, L/Sgt Collins left her house, put on his Army uniform, and drove into the Preseli mountains in Pembrokeshire. He recorded a farewell video on his phone and then hanged himself. He was 29. The inquest into his death is still to be held.

A 'natural response'

Clinical psychologist Dr Claudia Herbert said PTSD is the body's "natural response" to distressing events. It can take years to emerge but is treatable if caught early. Symptoms include flashbacks, severe anxiety and depression.

The MoD said 2.9% of serving soldiers developed PTSD, which is lower than the general population. The number of soldiers with PTSD has more than doubled in the past three years among those who served in Afghanistan, according to MoD figures obtained via Panorama's FOI request. But Dr Herbert said: "Post-traumatic stress disorder in itself should not lead to suicide." "PTSD is a condition that indicates something has deeply disturbed the system and is a warning that the system needs help and needs to regulate again."

Nobody can be sure how many of the 21 soldiers and 29 veterans who took their own lives in 2012 were suffering from PTSD as the reasons for suicide are complex. "The evidence suggests there's more of a problem than the government and the MoD are admitting to," said Colonel Stuart Tootal, a former commander of 3 Para.

The former head of the British army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, wants the suicide rate among veterans to be monitored.

'Victims of war'  

The MoD said it was not prepared to talk about individual cases, but has committed £7.4m to ensure there is extensive mental health support in place for everyone who needs it. It said 134,780 soldiers have been deployed to Afghanistan since 2001. The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire honours the military casualties of every conflict since WWII. The names of soldiers who killed themselves in Afghanistan are engraved on the wall, but those who took their own lives after returning home are not mentioned. L/Sgt Collins was a serving soldier at the time of his death on 1 January 2012, but his name will not be on the memorial. "It's heartbreaking because Daniel would have been so proud to have his name carved somewhere," said Mrs Collins. "Soldiers with PTSD are exactly the same. They're victims of war and they should be treated exactly the same." (The Nation)

Islamic Post Editor’s Note:

Love of one’s country, or patriotism, is in itself a commendable quality; it is a natural inclination imbued within people by The Almighty Creator to defend one’s honor, rights, property, family and nation, which has been sanctioned by Him. However, young men and women today have been recruited into a military machine that has become a mechanism used in the slaughter of innocent human beings for profit. Murder is a major sin in all religions and an affront upon the Almighty Creator of all life, Who states in the Holy Quran that unjustified killing of one person is tantamount to the killing of all humanity.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the direct result of the indiscriminate killing of and assaults upon innocents. The symptoms are the physical expressions of the violently disturbed soul of the perpetrator caused by the sin connected to their offensive actions.  This is why the toxic drugs prescribed by the doctors who attempt to treat these soldiers, which have been shown to exacerbate psychiatric problems, fail miserably and even induce manic and suicidal behaviors.

Overwhelmingly, soldiers report that the carnage and savagery of the wars in occupied lands was ‘not what I signed up for’ and are filled with regret  and sorrow.  For those individuals, an invitation is being extended that healing may be obtained through EGM – the El Gilani Methodology, a unique method of therapy that addresses the source of psychiatric maladies – the soul. EGM has been the only clinically proven modality that affects the complete cure of spiritual and physical diseases. The founder of EGM, His Eminence Sheikh Mubarik Ali El Gillani, invites that person who believes in One Almighty Creator, is willing to live by the Ten Commandments and commit to reforming all actions which are forbidden or offensive to the Almighty to partake of this opportunity to regain their health and a renewed life filled with peace, hope and blessing.

July 31, 2013

(KABUL) More British soldiers and veterans took their own lives in 2012 than died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan over the same period. BBC Panorama learned that 21 serving soldiers killed themselves last year, along with 29 veterans. The Afghanistan death toll was 44, of whom 40 died in action. Some of the soldiers' families say the men did not get enough support. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said every suicide was a "tragedy".

The Panorama program obtained the figure of 21 through a Freedom of Information request to the MoD. The MoD said that rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within the serving military were lower than comparative rates in the civilian population. Seven serving soldiers have been confirmed as having killed themselves last year, and inquests are pending for a further 14 deaths where suicide is suspected.

The British government, unlike its American counterpart, does not record the suicide rate among ex-soldiers. But Panorama has independently established that at least 29 veterans took their own lives in 2012. It wrote to every coroner in the country to ask for the names of soldiers and veterans who killed themselves last year and also analysed newspaper reports of coroners' inquests.

'Hell on earth'

One serving soldier who killed himself was L/Sgt Dan Collins, who had fought in Operation Panther's Claw in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in the summer of 2009. L/Sgt Collins, a Welsh Guardsman, twice survived being shot and was blown off his feet by a roadside bomb. His friend, L/Cpl Dane Elson, was blown to pieces just yards away from him.

L/Sgt Collins's mother Deana had noticed a difference in her son during his time in Afghanistan. "The phone calls changed and I remember him telling me, 'Mum, this place is hell on earth and I just want to get out of here'," she said. After a six-month tour, L/Sgt Collins came home, returning to his girlfriend Vicky Roach's house. Miss Roach said: "Obviously, then I started noticing things. Nightmares were the main thing. It was pretty clear he was back there reliving everything."

The Army diagnosed L/Sgt Collins with PTSD. After 10 months of intermittent treatment, the Army told L/Sgt Collins he had recovered and would soon be ready to return to duty. Over the next three months, he twice tried to kill himself. He started missing his weekly NHS appointments and told his girlfriend his flashbacks were getting worse. "I wanted to help him but I didn't know what to do," said Miss Roach. "It takes a toll on your relationship and I just asked him to leave."

On New Year's Eve in 2011, L/Sgt Collins left her house, put on his Army uniform, and drove into the Preseli mountains in Pembrokeshire. He recorded a farewell video on his phone and then hanged himself. He was 29. The inquest into his death is still to be held.

A 'natural response'

Clinical psychologist Dr Claudia Herbert said PTSD is the body's "natural response" to distressing events. It can take years to emerge but is treatable if caught early. Symptoms include flashbacks, severe anxiety and depression.

The MoD said 2.9% of serving soldiers developed PTSD, which is lower than the general population. The number of soldiers with PTSD has more than doubled in the past three years among those who served in Afghanistan, according to MoD figures obtained via Panorama's FOI request. But Dr Herbert said: "Post-traumatic stress disorder in itself should not lead to suicide." "PTSD is a condition that indicates something has deeply disturbed the system and is a warning that the system needs help and needs to regulate again."

Nobody can be sure how many of the 21 soldiers and 29 veterans who took their own lives in 2012 were suffering from PTSD as the reasons for suicide are complex. "The evidence suggests there's more of a problem than the government and the MoD are admitting to," said Colonel Stuart Tootal, a former commander of 3 Para.

The former head of the British army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, wants the suicide rate among veterans to be monitored.

'Victims of war'  

The MoD said it was not prepared to talk about individual cases, but has committed £7.4m to ensure there is extensive mental health support in place for everyone who needs it. It said 134,780 soldiers have been deployed to Afghanistan since 2001. The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire honours the military casualties of every conflict since WWII. The names of soldiers who killed themselves in Afghanistan are engraved on the wall, but those who took their own lives after returning home are not mentioned. L/Sgt Collins was a serving soldier at the time of his death on 1 January 2012, but his name will not be on the memorial. "It's heartbreaking because Daniel would have been so proud to have his name carved somewhere," said Mrs Collins. "Soldiers with PTSD are exactly the same. They're victims of war and they should be treated exactly the same." (The Nation)

Islamic Post Editor’s Note:

Love of one’s country, or patriotism, is in itself a commendable quality; it is a natural inclination imbued within people by The Almighty Creator to defend one’s honor, rights, property, family and nation, which has been sanctioned by Him. However, young men and women today have been recruited into a military machine that has become a mechanism used in the slaughter of innocent human beings for profit. Murder is a major sin in all religions and an affront upon the Almighty Creator of all life, Who states in the Holy Quran that unjustified killing of one person is tantamount to the killing of all humanity.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the direct result of the indiscriminate killing of and assaults upon innocents. The symptoms are the physical expressions of the violently disturbed soul of the perpetrator caused by the sin connected to their offensive actions.  This is why the toxic drugs prescribed by the doctors who attempt to treat these soldiers, which have been shown to exacerbate psychiatric problems, fail miserably and even induce manic and suicidal behaviors.

Overwhelmingly, soldiers report that the carnage and savagery of the wars in occupied lands was ‘not what I signed up for’ and are filled with regret  and sorrow.  For those individuals, an invitation is being extended that healing may be obtained through EGM – the El Gilani Methodology, a unique method of therapy that addresses the source of psychiatric maladies – the soul. EGM has been the only clinically proven modality that affects the complete cure of spiritual and physical diseases. The founder of EGM, His Eminence Sheikh Mubarik Ali El Gillani, invites that person who believes in One Almighty Creator, is willing to live by the Ten Commandments and commit to reforming all actions which are forbidden or offensive to the Almighty to partake of this opportunity to regain their health and a renewed life filled with peace, hope and blessing.

July 13, 2013

The Vice Chancellor of the International Qur’anic Open University, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani, delivers a dynamic statement to the world to address disturbing lies forged by the patrons of Islamophobia who wish to paint a picture that is contrary to his lifelong mission as a teacher, reformer and guide. In 1979, His Eminence El Sheikh Gillani, a noble direct descendant of Ahlul Bayt, which is the family of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), traveled to America. The lineage of El Sheikh Gillani can be traced to his noble grandfather, the world-renowned and revered Ghauzul Azam El Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani (b. 1077 c.e.) (ra) of Baghdad. As head of the distinguished and influential Gillani family in Pakistan, His Eminence El Sheikh Gillani has continuously performed his noble duties to uplift and protect God's servants. Over thirty years later, El Sheikh Gillani emerges as one of the world’s greatest humanitarians, going wherever there is a cry for help.

 

When arriving in America, El Sheikh Gillani met a devoted group of indigenous American Muslims whose hearts were yearning for a leader and guide dedicated to the practice of Al Islam at a time when the deviant Wahabi ideology infiltrated the American Muslim mainstream. El Sheikh Gillani found this earnest group of American Muslims in an unlikely place- the depressed ghettos of the inner cities where drugs, crime and violence were rampant.  As unlikely as it seems, these Americans had prayed to Almighty God for relief, and after witnessing many Divine miraculous manifestations supporting El Sheikh Gillani’s mission, this group of American Muslims soon formed a devout community of faithful Muslims becoming known as The Muslims of America, Inc.

 

Today, in contrast to the horrifying ghettos of the inner cities, The Muslims of America, Inc., have established peaceful rural villages, where they live a clean life, focus on education, serve in local communities, partake in an agricultural lifestyle and raise the fourth generation of children who have benefitted from the care of His Eminence. Regardless of this great progress, in a post 9/11 America, there are those who have manufactured new careers and made vast fortunes masquerading as Christians, but who are actually peddlers of Islamophobia and not followers of the second to the last messenger, Jesus son of the Chaste Mary. Instead, they are bent on distorting the truth, spreading lies and falsehood, and attempting to bring about unrest and violence between unaware Christians and Muslims. El Sheikh Gillani remains steadfast under the attack of such frauds who have attempted to degrade years of service to mankind by using books and web pages filled with propaganda as well as deceptive editing of thirty-year-old videos to incite the panic that American Muslims are planning to harm  their fellow neighbors- an outright fabrication.

 

Coinciding with his travels to America, in the early 1980’s, another cry was heard from halfway around the globe as the innocent people of Afghanistan were invaded by the former Soviet Union (USSR) sending shockwaves throughout the world.  An immediate reaction rang out from the humanitarian community including the United Nations as well as a strong response from the United States of America who supported the “Mujahideen”, also called freedom fighters, so that the people of Afghanistan could repel the communist aggressors. El Sheikh Gillani, his American followers and Muslims from all over the world joined the international community in confronting the Soviets to drive them from Afghanistan. In the State of the Union Address Delivered Before a Joint Session of the Congress on January 23, 1980, President Jimmy Carter stated:

 

…at this moment, massive Soviet troops are attempting to subjugate the fiercely independent and deeply religious people of Afghanistan.…The integrity and the independence of weaker nations must not be threatened. But now the Soviet Union has taken a radical and an aggressive new step. It's using its great military power against a relatively defenseless nation. The implications of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan could pose the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War.

The vast majority of nations on Earth have condemned this latest Soviet attempt to extend its colonial domination of others and have demanded the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops. The Moslem world is especially and justifiably outraged by this aggression against an Islamic people. No action of a world power has ever been so quickly and so overwhelmingly condemned. But verbal condemnation is not enough. The Soviet Union must pay a concrete price for their aggression….

 

As El Sheikh Gillani continued his efforts to help the people of Afghanistan, the devastation in that country over the next five years was horrific.  According to Amnesty International, “about 1 million Afghans died”. The United Nations News Centre reports, “…About 3 million refugees fled to Pakistan and 1.5 million to Iran. Many people were also driven from the countryside to Kabul, and in total more than half of the population was displaced…”.

 

In a radio address to Americans on December 28, 1985, President Ronald Reagan reiterated American support for the freedom fighters, the Mujahideen, who were instrumental in finally expelling the former USSR from Afghanistan:

 

 

In 1985, when the Mujahideen fighting in Afghanistan were invited and honored at the White House, President Reagan went so far as to say about the Mujahideen: "These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America's Founding Fathers."

 

As Imam of The Muslims of America, and Vice Chancellor of the International Qur’anic Open University, Inc., El Sheikh Gillani has consistently performed the noble work of teaching and reforming those whose founding fathers indeed built America. Instead of paying due regard for the sacrifices and recognizing the successes of El Sheikh Gillani, forces who are against America have instead launched a barrage of media assaults falsely accusing The Muslims of America, Inc. as enemies of their fellow countrymen.

 

In the forefront of this assault is the President of the so-called Christian Action Network, Martin Mawyer, who released a book in 2012 titled Twilight in America, which prompted The Muslims of America,Inc. to file a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit in federal court. In addition to the book, Mawyer was responsible for the publication and propagation of a deceitful film portraying El Sheikh Gillani’s heroic efforts in Afghanistan and Indian-occupied Kashmir as training camps against Americans.

 

The best medicine for lies is truth.

 

El Sheikh Gillani takes a journey through time as he delivers a timely policy statement detailing the history of his mission, the victories and the current struggles as the enemies of Islam persist in their attack of innocent American Muslims who have done no harm to their own country.

 

His Eminence El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani:

 

I issued a Victory Letter in English. In it is written that Almighty Allah spoke to the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) and informed us that Allah ta Ala is going to dismember the USSR. In the Victory Letter, I gave a declaration to everyone to come and fight the Communists and that they would be successful. It was in that time that I was encouraged by the Pakistani government and the Reagan Administration to help Americans to fight against the Communists.

 

In America, I held Jihad conferences in New York and New Jersey, which were very known and public. I had letters with me encouraging people to go and fight the Communists. Then, I went back to Pakistan and gave a decree of Jihad in Peshawar where we signed to wage a holy war against the Soviet Communists. During this time, one of my partners was so respected by U.S. President Reagan that when he went to America, Reagan himself came to the airport and took him from the airplane in his car. The Americans gave us overwhelming respect and honor. Our family cousin A. Shah Gilani is still a very strong man there. I soon found out that people responded to the decree, the Qadris, particularly those lovers of Ahl Bayt, and followers of Abdul Qadir Gilani (ra). They heard my call and came out in the hundreds in Peshawar to volunteer to fight the Communists who were occupying Afghanistan. However, they suffered heavy casualties because they were unskilled, so I needed someone to train them.

 

I requested some of my American followers, such as Husain Abdallah and honored American Muslim veterans to come help me and help America, by training those who came forward so that they could go and successfully fight the Communists. As a Holy Man, a member of Ahl Bayt, I was a spiritual guide to people, making prayers and encouraging them to go and fight. A group came to Pakistan to the mountains of our Murree campus, a place where you can go today and still see the same backdrops and same scenery. It was in Murree that a video was made. For the sake of the video, I put on fatigues and a jacket to invite people in Pakistan and all over the world to come fight the Communists who had illegally invaded the country of Afghanistan. Do you understand that we never had any training camps against America? America is your homeland. My whole family are Americans. Everything that was done was supported by the United States of America, not against the United States of America.

 

Instead of doctoring the video to look like training against Americans, why don’t you instead honor those who are sitting there on both sides because they sacrificed much by going to Pakistan to try and fight the enemy of America? Those are American Muslim Veterans.  Similarly, when the country of Kashmir was illegally occupied, I did the same by going to the Kashmiri camps to make prayers and tell them to expel those who occupied their country illegally in spite of the UN resolution of 1948, which said Kashmiris would obtain the right of plebiscite to choose to be a part of India or Pakistan.

 

They have a video showing me as I visit the Kashmiri camps. My family is in Kashmir. Ninety percent of Kashmiris follow my ancestor’s Qadri (sufi) order. Kashmir is occupied illegally by India. Of course I will have to help the Kashmiri cause when 90% of Muslims have been occupied illegally by India. Why hasn’t the United Nations done something in Kashmir? They went to Timur Island, created rights for the people, and then sent the United Nations army and separated the island to bring peace. The United Nations did the same in Sudan. This is what they are doing everywhere, why not help the people of Kashmir?

 

The situation in Afghanistan was created as a vehicle to transplant the Jews from the USSR to the illegal state of Israel. They used America, Americans, American money and Muslims to fight their war. In the book, Al-Islam in America, there is a photograph that depicts these events. It attests to the large amounts of money, millions and millions of dollars, spent. It was the Jews’ war yet, now it is thought that some of our followers, and Muslims in America, are actually a danger for them and a threat to their existence.  They are not a danger to the United States. Martin Mawyer, the Christian Action Network and others of their ilk are the enemies -not of the Muslims-, but of the United States of America. That is why they have people like Martin Mawyer and others who burn books and make Hollywood movies in an attempt to degrade Islam. There should be some end to injustice. The most unfortunate thing in America is the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who first chooses people as their friends to get their work done and then they terminate them. This is their ongoing policy.

 

As a matter of fact, not only Muslims in America, but the American people are under siege.  They are no longer independent. They are put into proxy war after war.

That is why I myself established the United Muslim Christian Forum (UMCF). Peace in America depends on Muslim- Christian unity and both having understanding. So, is Martin Mawyer following the teachings of Jesus son of Mary (as)? If he were, he would not lie or falsely accuse anyone as Jesus son of Mary never did. I tell the world – Muslims are the only one who brought the book, Holy Qur’an, which is the only Divine evidence that Jesus son of Mary was the result of legitimate birth. His mother was “Siddiqa”, a pious virtuous virgin who gave birth according to the Almighty’s plan. She was given glad tidings of his miraculous birth. The Holy Quran is the only book that establishes that Jesus son of Mary spoke in the cradle and told all that Allah has “made me a prophet”. In burning Holy Qur’an, Terry Jones in actuality burned the revelation according to Jesus, for the Holy Quran contains the pure and summarized form of the Holy Gospel found in Surah (chapter) Ali Imran and Surah Maryam. Holy Qur’an also contains, in condensed form, the Torah found in Surah Al Baqara as well as mentions the whole account of Moses (peace be upon them all). The truth is that those making fortunes on Islamophobia, their first aim is to bring about a clash between Muslims and Christians in America and their second objective is to use it as their means of livelihood. It is a big, ongoing business to abuse Muslims, falsely accuse them, attack their beliefs and then ask for a donation from here and there. All of them are the riff-raff, dropouts, drug addicts, scammers and frauds of society who have taken up the business of slandering Muslims who are American citizens. Such people are the cancer of society, enemies of the United States who do not wish to strengthen but instead want to weaken America by bringing strife between Muslims and Christians.  They know, as do I, that Muslims and Christians are brethren and will be united through Imam Mahdi. Not only do I know Imam Mahdi, but I have introduced him to some of my followers. Imam Mahdi is going to come and he is the one who will join Islam and Christianity under one religion. He will single out the common enemy who conspired to crucify Jesus Son of Mary and hurled false accusations against his blessed, chaste mother by calling him of an illegitimate birth. That is the purpose of Imam Mahdi- to deal with these people posing as Christians who have no resemblance to the followers of Jesus, son of Mary.

 

Martin Mawyer’s Christian Action Network (CAN) threw leaflets from an airplane to the earth bringing false accusations against me even after the U.S. State Department has acknowledged that I have had nothing to do with anything. Yet he continues to incite citizens and law enforcement to take action against me and members of The Muslims of America, Inc. Is there any law? Well, law is with Almighty God right now. Are Martin Mawyer and other people out there blind?

 

In our Muslim village of Holy Islamberg, New York, Almighty God’s personal name, Allah, is shining in the Holy Shrine. What does it mean? It is a sign of Almighty God. Those who oppress Muslims want to deny the existence of Allah and burn Holy Quran, but can you stop Allah Almighty?

 

Whenever Almighty God shows some sign there is always a reason. It is a stern warning for oppressors and glad tidings for the believers. Fear Almighty God. Think about what had happened to those people who denied and rejected the signs of Almighty God, they were destroyed. He destroyed the people of ‘Ad. He destroyed the people of Thamud. He sent tornado after tornado and wiped them out of existence. Now these signs can be observed here in America. Islamberg has become one of the holiest places in the world. Allah’s name had never shown in any part of the world in past history. Allah’s name has been shining for the last three years, and continues to shine up until now. It will keep on shining until Islam dominates. Allah will teach lessons, so take heed.  Respect the law. Why is there no justice? American Muslims are under attack because anyone is allowed to do anything. Not only do people have freedom of speech, they have freedom of action. What are Martin Mawyer's motives for publicly posting the address and then freely directing people to go to locations of The Muslims of America, Inc? Subsequently, one of our locations is attacked by a gunman while other locations have trespassers and intruders." What have American Muslims done? There are so many other communities living independently on their private properties. We are not an exception.

 

Also, respect international law. Innocent people, mostly children, continue to be killed by unlawful drones from above. Do you not see if you destroy one house in Pakistan, Allah sends a “drone” to destroy hundreds of houses through wraths like earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. This process will go on until your drones go home. His wrath has already been substantiated, but it is attributed to Mother Nature. There is no such thing as mother nature. It is Divine wrath and it is striking repeatedly. It will continue occurring. Try to stop it if you can. I am warning all to fear Almighty Allah for He destroyed many nations before.

 

I am responsible for continually guiding Muslims. Allah has presented miraculous sign after sign acknowledging and honoring me as the rightful Imam of the Muslims. Rainbow after rainbow has appeared and people see them and make not that it is still happening. It is my duty to guide the Muslims wherever they are and I will do so. Save yourself from the wrath of Allah. Leave Muslims alone. Let Muslims and followers of Jesus son of Mary become closer to one another without hindrance. No Muslims in America have committed crimes against the United States of America. No American Muslim has committed acts of terrorism.  

 

I am the one who, for the last 30 years, has been reforming and carving American youth- men and women both, into respectable citizens. Today, the fruits of my labor have materialized as I watch proudly a fourth Muslim American generation who are doctors, engineers, lawyers and businessmen. They have better cars than I have. They have more income than I have. I have lived with them, slept in their homes, ate with them. I helped their families purchase land as a gift that would keep giving. The third and fourth generation of Muslim Americans that were raised on these lands are the doctors, lawyers and teachers of today!   Who has done this before? What organization teaches young people lost in the ghettos to be straightforward, honest, ambitious, hard-working, independent, and to become good Americans? Has anybody done it before? No, because their educational and social system says let them do whatever they want to do.

 

No matter the contribution, anything Muslims do is totally rejected. We introduced the El Gilani Methodology. Our doctors, MDs, went to California to discuss this methodology designed to heal mental patients with select verses of Holy Qur’an. It is scientifically proven and successful.  The doctors of EGM spoke, showed and proved to them the recorded cases of healing of incurable mental diseases. We provided them the evidences from the Sufic Research Institute. Many rejected it because it came from the Muslims. In 1976 and 1977 under the auspices of WHO (World Health Organization), I proved the effects of healing with Holy Qur’an in Saudia Arabia in the presence of doctors from eight countries who were eyewitnesses to the success including the chief head of the international organization, Dr. Dennis Leigh and others who were from Egypt, Sudan, England, America and Pakistan. Did the WHO acknowledge the success and immediately begin to help people? Did they thank me as a scientist for my scientific research and methodology? No, because psychiatrists said they would be out of business if EGM was allowed to propagate. My books were even prescribed by the Saudi government for their university, but were taken off the shelves by these people. The methodology I invented, EGM, cures the incurable and it is saving lives. I revived a brain dead patient in Germantown hospital with EGM. Seek out Dr. Davis if you wish to know more.

 

We do not beg for anything from anyone. We are strangers to this world. Those who have tried to tell people to attack us should know that we love going back to Allah a million times more than you love your wine and women. We do not belong to this world. We came from Allah and unto Allah we will return. We do not look to our right we do not look to the left. We do not care what you say. Do what you can do.  Do it! You will be humiliated as Allah’s wrath is falling on you and it will continue to fall more and more as it seems there is no law, no humility, and no decency left in this world. Lying has become fun, an art. Media is no exception as Fox television lets everyone do and say whatever they want. Open your eyes and see, former Islamophobe Arnoud Van Doorn, the Dutch politician helped make a blasphemous film about the Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon, and now, Van Doorn has become a Muslim. He was formerly a patron of Martin Mawyer, giving money and support.

 

All should know and understand that Muslims are the only people who acknowledge Jesus son of Mary as the second to the last messenger; his status is both loved and revered.

 

This is my message and this is my statement.  It can be taken any way you like.

July 13, 2013

The Vice Chancellor of the International Qur’anic Open University, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani, delivers a dynamic statement to the world to address disturbing lies forged by the patrons of Islamophobia who wish to paint a picture that is contrary to his lifelong mission as a teacher, reformer and guide. In 1979, His Eminence El Sheikh Gillani, a noble direct descendant of Ahlul Bayt, which is the family of the Holy Last Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), traveled to America. The lineage of El Sheikh Gillani can be traced to his noble grandfather, the world-renowned and revered Ghauzul Azam El Sheikh Abdul Qadir Gilani (b. 1077 c.e.) (ra) of Baghdad. As head of the distinguished and influential Gillani family in Pakistan, His Eminence El Sheikh Gillani has continuously performed his noble duties to uplift and protect God's servants. Over thirty years later, El Sheikh Gillani emerges as one of the world’s greatest humanitarians, going wherever there is a cry for help.

 

When arriving in America, El Sheikh Gillani met a devoted group of indigenous American Muslims whose hearts were yearning for a leader and guide dedicated to the practice of Al Islam at a time when the deviant Wahabi ideology infiltrated the American Muslim mainstream. El Sheikh Gillani found this earnest group of American Muslims in an unlikely place- the depressed ghettos of the inner cities where drugs, crime and violence were rampant.  As unlikely as it seems, these Americans had prayed to Almighty God for relief, and after witnessing many Divine miraculous manifestations supporting El Sheikh Gillani’s mission, this group of American Muslims soon formed a devout community of faithful Muslims becoming known as The Muslims of America, Inc.

 

Today, in contrast to the horrifying ghettos of the inner cities, The Muslims of America, Inc., have established peaceful rural villages, where they live a clean life, focus on education, serve in local communities, partake in an agricultural lifestyle and raise the fourth generation of children who have benefitted from the care of His Eminence. Regardless of this great progress, in a post 9/11 America, there are those who have manufactured new careers and made vast fortunes masquerading as Christians, but who are actually peddlers of Islamophobia and not followers of the second to the last messenger, Jesus son of the Chaste Mary. Instead, they are bent on distorting the truth, spreading lies and falsehood, and attempting to bring about unrest and violence between unaware Christians and Muslims. El Sheikh Gillani remains steadfast under the attack of such frauds who have attempted to degrade years of service to mankind by using books and web pages filled with propaganda as well as deceptive editing of thirty-year-old videos to incite the panic that American Muslims are planning to harm  their fellow neighbors- an outright fabrication.

 

Coinciding with his travels to America, in the early 1980’s, another cry was heard from halfway around the globe as the innocent people of Afghanistan were invaded by the former Soviet Union (USSR) sending shockwaves throughout the world.  An immediate reaction rang out from the humanitarian community including the United Nations as well as a strong response from the United States of America who supported the “Mujahideen”, also called freedom fighters, so that the people of Afghanistan could repel the communist aggressors. El Sheikh Gillani, his American followers and Muslims from all over the world joined the international community in confronting the Soviets to drive them from Afghanistan. In the State of the Union Address Delivered Before a Joint Session of the Congress on January 23, 1980, President Jimmy Carter stated:

 

…at this moment, massive Soviet troops are attempting to subjugate the fiercely independent and deeply religious people of Afghanistan.…The integrity and the independence of weaker nations must not be threatened. But now the Soviet Union has taken a radical and an aggressive new step. It's using its great military power against a relatively defenseless nation. The implications of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan could pose the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War.

The vast majority of nations on Earth have condemned this latest Soviet attempt to extend its colonial domination of others and have demanded the immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops. The Moslem world is especially and justifiably outraged by this aggression against an Islamic people. No action of a world power has ever been so quickly and so overwhelmingly condemned. But verbal condemnation is not enough. The Soviet Union must pay a concrete price for their aggression….

 

As El Sheikh Gillani continued his efforts to help the people of Afghanistan, the devastation in that country over the next five years was horrific.  According to Amnesty International, “about 1 million Afghans died”. The United Nations News Centre reports, “…About 3 million refugees fled to Pakistan and 1.5 million to Iran. Many people were also driven from the countryside to Kabul, and in total more than half of the population was displaced…”.

 

In a radio address to Americans on December 28, 1985, President Ronald Reagan reiterated American support for the freedom fighters, the Mujahideen, who were instrumental in finally expelling the former USSR from Afghanistan:

 

 

In 1985, when the Mujahideen fighting in Afghanistan were invited and honored at the White House, President Reagan went so far as to say about the Mujahideen: "These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America's Founding Fathers."

 

As Imam of The Muslims of America, and Vice Chancellor of the International Qur’anic Open University, Inc., El Sheikh Gillani has consistently performed the noble work of teaching and reforming those whose founding fathers indeed built America. Instead of paying due regard for the sacrifices and recognizing the successes of El Sheikh Gillani, forces who are against America have instead launched a barrage of media assaults falsely accusing The Muslims of America, Inc. as enemies of their fellow countrymen.

 

In the forefront of this assault is the President of the so-called Christian Action Network, Martin Mawyer, who released a book in 2012 titled Twilight in America, which prompted The Muslims of America,Inc. to file a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit in federal court. In addition to the book, Mawyer was responsible for the publication and propagation of a deceitful film portraying El Sheikh Gillani’s heroic efforts in Afghanistan and Indian-occupied Kashmir as training camps against Americans.

 

The best medicine for lies is truth.

 

El Sheikh Gillani takes a journey through time as he delivers a timely policy statement detailing the history of his mission, the victories and the current struggles as the enemies of Islam persist in their attack of innocent American Muslims who have done no harm to their own country.

 

His Eminence El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani:

 

I issued a Victory Letter in English. In it is written that Almighty Allah spoke to the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) and informed us that Allah ta Ala is going to dismember the USSR. In the Victory Letter, I gave a declaration to everyone to come and fight the Communists and that they would be successful. It was in that time that I was encouraged by the Pakistani government and the Reagan Administration to help Americans to fight against the Communists.

 

In America, I held Jihad conferences in New York and New Jersey, which were very known and public. I had letters with me encouraging people to go and fight the Communists. Then, I went back to Pakistan and gave a decree of Jihad in Peshawar where we signed to wage a holy war against the Soviet Communists. During this time, one of my partners was so respected by U.S. President Reagan that when he went to America, Reagan himself came to the airport and took him from the airplane in his car. The Americans gave us overwhelming respect and honor. Our family cousin A. Shah Gilani is still a very strong man there. I soon found out that people responded to the decree, the Qadris, particularly those lovers of Ahl Bayt, and followers of Abdul Qadir Gilani (ra). They heard my call and came out in the hundreds in Peshawar to volunteer to fight the Communists who were occupying Afghanistan. However, they suffered heavy casualties because they were unskilled, so I needed someone to train them.

 

I requested some of my American followers, such as Husain Abdallah and honored American Muslim veterans to come help me and help America, by training those who came forward so that they could go and successfully fight the Communists. As a Holy Man, a member of Ahl Bayt, I was a spiritual guide to people, making prayers and encouraging them to go and fight. A group came to Pakistan to the mountains of our Murree campus, a place where you can go today and still see the same backdrops and same scenery. It was in Murree that a video was made. For the sake of the video, I put on fatigues and a jacket to invite people in Pakistan and all over the world to come fight the Communists who had illegally invaded the country of Afghanistan. Do you understand that we never had any training camps against America? America is your homeland. My whole family are Americans. Everything that was done was supported by the United States of America, not against the United States of America.

 

Instead of doctoring the video to look like training against Americans, why don’t you instead honor those who are sitting there on both sides because they sacrificed much by going to Pakistan to try and fight the enemy of America? Those are American Muslim Veterans.  Similarly, when the country of Kashmir was illegally occupied, I did the same by going to the Kashmiri camps to make prayers and tell them to expel those who occupied their country illegally in spite of the UN resolution of 1948, which said Kashmiris would obtain the right of plebiscite to choose to be a part of India or Pakistan.

 

They have a video showing me as I visit the Kashmiri camps. My family is in Kashmir. Ninety percent of Kashmiris follow my ancestor’s Qadri (sufi) order. Kashmir is occupied illegally by India. Of course I will have to help the Kashmiri cause when 90% of Muslims have been occupied illegally by India. Why hasn’t the United Nations done something in Kashmir? They went to Timur Island, created rights for the people, and then sent the United Nations army and separated the island to bring peace. The United Nations did the same in Sudan. This is what they are doing everywhere, why not help the people of Kashmir?

 

The situation in Afghanistan was created as a vehicle to transplant the Jews from the USSR to the illegal state of Israel. They used America, Americans, American money and Muslims to fight their war. In the book, Al-Islam in America, there is a photograph that depicts these events. It attests to the large amounts of money, millions and millions of dollars, spent. It was the Jews’ war yet, now it is thought that some of our followers, and Muslims in America, are actually a danger for them and a threat to their existence.  They are not a danger to the United States. Martin Mawyer, the Christian Action Network and others of their ilk are the enemies -not of the Muslims-, but of the United States of America. That is why they have people like Martin Mawyer and others who burn books and make Hollywood movies in an attempt to degrade Islam. There should be some end to injustice. The most unfortunate thing in America is the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who first chooses people as their friends to get their work done and then they terminate them. This is their ongoing policy.

 

As a matter of fact, not only Muslims in America, but the American people are under siege.  They are no longer independent. They are put into proxy war after war.

That is why I myself established the United Muslim Christian Forum (UMCF). Peace in America depends on Muslim- Christian unity and both having understanding. So, is Martin Mawyer following the teachings of Jesus son of Mary (as)? If he were, he would not lie or falsely accuse anyone as Jesus son of Mary never did. I tell the world – Muslims are the only one who brought the book, Holy Qur’an, which is the only Divine evidence that Jesus son of Mary was the result of legitimate birth. His mother was “Siddiqa”, a pious virtuous virgin who gave birth according to the Almighty’s plan. She was given glad tidings of his miraculous birth. The Holy Quran is the only book that establishes that Jesus son of Mary spoke in the cradle and told all that Allah has “made me a prophet”. In burning Holy Qur’an, Terry Jones in actuality burned the revelation according to Jesus, for the Holy Quran contains the pure and summarized form of the Holy Gospel found in Surah (chapter) Ali Imran and Surah Maryam. Holy Qur’an also contains, in condensed form, the Torah found in Surah Al Baqara as well as mentions the whole account of Moses (peace be upon them all). The truth is that those making fortunes on Islamophobia, their first aim is to bring about a clash between Muslims and Christians in America and their second objective is to use it as their means of livelihood. It is a big, ongoing business to abuse Muslims, falsely accuse them, attack their beliefs and then ask for a donation from here and there. All of them are the riff-raff, dropouts, drug addicts, scammers and frauds of society who have taken up the business of slandering Muslims who are American citizens. Such people are the cancer of society, enemies of the United States who do not wish to strengthen but instead want to weaken America by bringing strife between Muslims and Christians.  They know, as do I, that Muslims and Christians are brethren and will be united through Imam Mahdi. Not only do I know Imam Mahdi, but I have introduced him to some of my followers. Imam Mahdi is going to come and he is the one who will join Islam and Christianity under one religion. He will single out the common enemy who conspired to crucify Jesus Son of Mary and hurled false accusations against his blessed, chaste mother by calling him of an illegitimate birth. That is the purpose of Imam Mahdi- to deal with these people posing as Christians who have no resemblance to the followers of Jesus, son of Mary.

 

Martin Mawyer’s Christian Action Network (CAN) threw leaflets from an airplane to the earth bringing false accusations against me even after the U.S. State Department has acknowledged that I have had nothing to do with anything. Yet he continues to incite citizens and law enforcement to take action against me and members of The Muslims of America, Inc. Is there any law? Well, law is with Almighty God right now. Are Martin Mawyer and other people out there blind?

 

In our Muslim village of Holy Islamberg, New York, Almighty God’s personal name, Allah, is shining in the Holy Shrine. What does it mean? It is a sign of Almighty God. Those who oppress Muslims want to deny the existence of Allah and burn Holy Quran, but can you stop Allah Almighty?

 

Whenever Almighty God shows some sign there is always a reason. It is a stern warning for oppressors and glad tidings for the believers. Fear Almighty God. Think about what had happened to those people who denied and rejected the signs of Almighty God, they were destroyed. He destroyed the people of ‘Ad. He destroyed the people of Thamud. He sent tornado after tornado and wiped them out of existence. Now these signs can be observed here in America. Islamberg has become one of the holiest places in the world. Allah’s name had never shown in any part of the world in past history. Allah’s name has been shining for the last three years, and continues to shine up until now. It will keep on shining until Islam dominates. Allah will teach lessons, so take heed.  Respect the law. Why is there no justice? American Muslims are under attack because anyone is allowed to do anything. Not only do people have freedom of speech, they have freedom of action. What are Martin Mawyer's motives for publicly posting the address and then freely directing people to go to locations of The Muslims of America, Inc? Subsequently, one of our locations is attacked by a gunman while other locations have trespassers and intruders." What have American Muslims done? There are so many other communities living independently on their private properties. We are not an exception.

 

Also, respect international law. Innocent people, mostly children, continue to be killed by unlawful drones from above. Do you not see if you destroy one house in Pakistan, Allah sends a “drone” to destroy hundreds of houses through wraths like earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. This process will go on until your drones go home. His wrath has already been substantiated, but it is attributed to Mother Nature. There is no such thing as mother nature. It is Divine wrath and it is striking repeatedly. It will continue occurring. Try to stop it if you can. I am warning all to fear Almighty Allah for He destroyed many nations before.

 

I am responsible for continually guiding Muslims. Allah has presented miraculous sign after sign acknowledging and honoring me as the rightful Imam of the Muslims. Rainbow after rainbow has appeared and people see them and make not that it is still happening. It is my duty to guide the Muslims wherever they are and I will do so. Save yourself from the wrath of Allah. Leave Muslims alone. Let Muslims and followers of Jesus son of Mary become closer to one another without hindrance. No Muslims in America have committed crimes against the United States of America. No American Muslim has committed acts of terrorism.  

 

I am the one who, for the last 30 years, has been reforming and carving American youth- men and women both, into respectable citizens. Today, the fruits of my labor have materialized as I watch proudly a fourth Muslim American generation who are doctors, engineers, lawyers and businessmen. They have better cars than I have. They have more income than I have. I have lived with them, slept in their homes, ate with them. I helped their families purchase land as a gift that would keep giving. The third and fourth generation of Muslim Americans that were raised on these lands are the doctors, lawyers and teachers of today!   Who has done this before? What organization teaches young people lost in the ghettos to be straightforward, honest, ambitious, hard-working, independent, and to become good Americans? Has anybody done it before? No, because their educational and social system says let them do whatever they want to do.

 

No matter the contribution, anything Muslims do is totally rejected. We introduced the El Gilani Methodology. Our doctors, MDs, went to California to discuss this methodology designed to heal mental patients with select verses of Holy Qur’an. It is scientifically proven and successful.  The doctors of EGM spoke, showed and proved to them the recorded cases of healing of incurable mental diseases. We provided them the evidences from the Sufic Research Institute. Many rejected it because it came from the Muslims. In 1976 and 1977 under the auspices of WHO (World Health Organization), I proved the effects of healing with Holy Qur’an in Saudia Arabia in the presence of doctors from eight countries who were eyewitnesses to the success including the chief head of the international organization, Dr. Dennis Leigh and others who were from Egypt, Sudan, England, America and Pakistan. Did the WHO acknowledge the success and immediately begin to help people? Did they thank me as a scientist for my scientific research and methodology? No, because psychiatrists said they would be out of business if EGM was allowed to propagate. My books were even prescribed by the Saudi government for their university, but were taken off the shelves by these people. The methodology I invented, EGM, cures the incurable and it is saving lives. I revived a brain dead patient in Germantown hospital with EGM. Seek out Dr. Davis if you wish to know more.

 

We do not beg for anything from anyone. We are strangers to this world. Those who have tried to tell people to attack us should know that we love going back to Allah a million times more than you love your wine and women. We do not belong to this world. We came from Allah and unto Allah we will return. We do not look to our right we do not look to the left. We do not care what you say. Do what you can do.  Do it! You will be humiliated as Allah’s wrath is falling on you and it will continue to fall more and more as it seems there is no law, no humility, and no decency left in this world. Lying has become fun, an art. Media is no exception as Fox television lets everyone do and say whatever they want. Open your eyes and see, former Islamophobe Arnoud Van Doorn, the Dutch politician helped make a blasphemous film about the Holy Last Messenger, peace be upon, and now, Van Doorn has become a Muslim. He was formerly a patron of Martin Mawyer, giving money and support.

 

All should know and understand that Muslims are the only people who acknowledge Jesus son of Mary as the second to the last messenger; his status is both loved and revered.

 

This is my message and this is my statement.  It can be taken any way you like.

July 3, 2013

Imam Al Ghazali may have lived over 900 years ago, but in the true spirit of Islam, his work, analysis and thoughts are as relevant today as they were when the scholar waited for his ink to dry on the paper on which he wrote, in the 11th century.

We may like to think of ourselves as continually evolving over hundreds of years as the world around us also transforms, but essentially, we are the same as our ancestors. We have similar hands and feet, eyes and ears, a heart, lungs, a mind and a soul.

 

Imam Al Ghazali’s analysis of people and society is based on the Holy Qur’an, the hadith and Islamic history. His ability to break down complex information and ideas about our very nature makes his books powerful tools, which are breathtaking to read. People of all faiths have, over the centuries, talked about Al Ghazali’s brilliance, but the impact can only be fully felt when his books are opened and his thoughts are shared.

 

On the basic subject of a person’s character, he writes: “Goodness of character was the attribute of the Master of Messengers, peace be upon him, and is the fruit of the pious and self-discipline of the people of constant worship. Bad character is a mortal poison, which set a distance between man and the proximity of the Lord of the Worlds, and induced him to follow the path of Satan the accursed. Foul characteristics are the very sickness of hearts and the diseases of the soul, constituting an illness which deprives man of everlasting life. It is reported that the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace,  was once told that a certain woman fasted all day and prayed all night, but was possessed by bad character, so that she injured her neighbours with her words. ‘There is no good in her,’ he said, ‘she is of Hell’s people’. It is also reported that the last of God’s Messengers , peace be upon him, said ‘You will not be able to suffice all people with your wealth; suffice them therefore with a cheerful face and a goodly character.’”

 

So what is good character? In his search for the answer, Imam Al Ghazali turns to a host of ahadith, including, ‘A man once asked the Messenger of God, peace and blessing be upon him, about character, and he recited His statement: “Hold to forgiveness, and enjoin kindness, and turn aside from the ignorant ones.” Then he said, ‘It is that you should seek reconciliation with those who avoid you, give to those who withhold from you and forgive those who deal with you unjustly.’

“Therefore the fundamental good traits of character are four in number: wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. By ‘wisdom’, we mean a condition of the soul by which it distinguishes true from false. By ‘justice’, a condition of the soul by which it controls anger and desire. By ‘courage’, we refer to the irascible faculty of the intellect, while by ‘temperance’ we have in mind the disciplining of the intellect and the Law. It is from the equilibrium of these four principles that all good traits of character proceed. When the intellect is balanced, it brings forth discretion, excellence and an understanding of the subtle implications of actions and the hidden defects of the soul. When unbalanced, in excess, then cunning, swindling, deception and slyness result. An example is thus: ‘Courage’ gives rise to nobility, endurance, dignity and suppression of rage. When unbalanced, this same trait can give rise to recklessness, arrogance, conceit, pride and quickness of anger. ‘Temperance’ is a quality that gives rise to generosity, modesty, patience and tolerance, but in excess it leads to greed, cupidity, ostentation and immorality.”

“All human traits constitute branches of Wisdom, Courage, Temperance and Justice and a perfectly just equilibrium in these four has been attained by no one but the Emissary of God, peace and blessing be upon him; other people are of divergent degrees of proximity and distance from them.”

Even though Imam Al Ghazali identifies the various aspects of character, he also considers the excuses people use for not adopting good character and changing traits about themselves. He tackles this issue head on.

“Know that the man who is dominated by sloth will consider unpleasant any spiritual struggle and discipline, or any purifying of the soul and refinement of the character. He will claim that the traits of a man’s character cannot conceivably be altered, and that human nature is immutable. Firstly, he will say that character is the form of the inward in the same way that the created form of man is the form of the outward. No one is able to alter his external appearance: an ugly man cannot render himself handsome, and vice versa; and thus a person who is ugly on the inside, cannot change. Secondly, he will assert that goodness of character proceeds from suppressing one’s desire and anger, and that he has tested this by means of a long inward struggle which demonstrated to him that these things are part of one’s character and nature, so busying oneself with such struggling is profitless and a waste of time.

To such an objection we would say: Were the traits of character not susceptible to change, there would be no value in counsels, sermons and discipline, and the Holy Last Messenger , may God bless him and grant him peace, would not have said, ‘Improve your characters!’ It is possible to improve the character even of an animal: a falcon can be transformed from savagery to tameness; a dog from mere greed for food to good behaviour and self-restraint, and these constitute a change in character.”

 

Al Ghazali practically informs us that certain human traits like anger and desire cannot be entirely suppressed or dominated, but we can make these characteristics obedient and submissive through means of self-discipline and struggle. He says we must endeavour to control these traits as “we have been commanded to do, for it constitutes the means of our salvation and our coming to God.”

 

However, Imam Ghazali believes we have been weakened when it comes to dealing with ourselves because we have been “plunged into the desires of the world and fallen into slumber.” This was his view of Muslims over 900 years ago, since then we have seen the rise and fall of a Muslim empire; Muslim scientists and philosophers leading the world through their knowledge; and Islam spreading to every part of the world.

It is evident that Ghazali was able to identify the tiny roots of a widespread problem centuries before it would take root in the form we have today. The world may be a very different place to the one it was hundreds of years ago, but our personal challenges and distractions have remained enclosed within us. They are still waiting to be challenged - with the help of the books, moral parents, teachers and spiritual guides that we are still fortunate to have. May the Almightly suffice Mankind, the Family of God, allowing us to reach high plateaus.

Extracts taken from Al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul and on Breaking the Two Desires. Books XXII and XXIII of The Revival of the Religious Sciences, first published by the Islamic Texts Society 1995.

 

July 3, 2013

Imam Al Ghazali may have lived over 900 years ago, but in the true spirit of Islam, his work, analysis and thoughts are as relevant today as they were when the scholar waited for his ink to dry on the paper on which he wrote, in the 11th century.

We may like to think of ourselves as continually evolving over hundreds of years as the world around us also transforms, but essentially, we are the same as our ancestors. We have similar hands and feet, eyes and ears, a heart, lungs, a mind and a soul.

 

Imam Al Ghazali’s analysis of people and society is based on the Holy Qur’an, the hadith and Islamic history. His ability to break down complex information and ideas about our very nature makes his books powerful tools, which are breathtaking to read. People of all faiths have, over the centuries, talked about Al Ghazali’s brilliance, but the impact can only be fully felt when his books are opened and his thoughts are shared.

 

On the basic subject of a person’s character, he writes: “Goodness of character was the attribute of the Master of Messengers, peace be upon him, and is the fruit of the pious and self-discipline of the people of constant worship. Bad character is a mortal poison, which set a distance between man and the proximity of the Lord of the Worlds, and induced him to follow the path of Satan the accursed. Foul characteristics are the very sickness of hearts and the diseases of the soul, constituting an illness which deprives man of everlasting life. It is reported that the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace,  was once told that a certain woman fasted all day and prayed all night, but was possessed by bad character, so that she injured her neighbours with her words. ‘There is no good in her,’ he said, ‘she is of Hell’s people’. It is also reported that the last of God’s Messengers , peace be upon him, said ‘You will not be able to suffice all people with your wealth; suffice them therefore with a cheerful face and a goodly character.’”

 

So what is good character? In his search for the answer, Imam Al Ghazali turns to a host of ahadith, including, ‘A man once asked the Messenger of God, peace and blessing be upon him, about character, and he recited His statement: “Hold to forgiveness, and enjoin kindness, and turn aside from the ignorant ones.” Then he said, ‘It is that you should seek reconciliation with those who avoid you, give to those who withhold from you and forgive those who deal with you unjustly.’

“Therefore the fundamental good traits of character are four in number: wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. By ‘wisdom’, we mean a condition of the soul by which it distinguishes true from false. By ‘justice’, a condition of the soul by which it controls anger and desire. By ‘courage’, we refer to the irascible faculty of the intellect, while by ‘temperance’ we have in mind the disciplining of the intellect and the Law. It is from the equilibrium of these four principles that all good traits of character proceed. When the intellect is balanced, it brings forth discretion, excellence and an understanding of the subtle implications of actions and the hidden defects of the soul. When unbalanced, in excess, then cunning, swindling, deception and slyness result. An example is thus: ‘Courage’ gives rise to nobility, endurance, dignity and suppression of rage. When unbalanced, this same trait can give rise to recklessness, arrogance, conceit, pride and quickness of anger. ‘Temperance’ is a quality that gives rise to generosity, modesty, patience and tolerance, but in excess it leads to greed, cupidity, ostentation and immorality.”

“All human traits constitute branches of Wisdom, Courage, Temperance and Justice and a perfectly just equilibrium in these four has been attained by no one but the Emissary of God, peace and blessing be upon him; other people are of divergent degrees of proximity and distance from them.”

Even though Imam Al Ghazali identifies the various aspects of character, he also considers the excuses people use for not adopting good character and changing traits about themselves. He tackles this issue head on.

“Know that the man who is dominated by sloth will consider unpleasant any spiritual struggle and discipline, or any purifying of the soul and refinement of the character. He will claim that the traits of a man’s character cannot conceivably be altered, and that human nature is immutable. Firstly, he will say that character is the form of the inward in the same way that the created form of man is the form of the outward. No one is able to alter his external appearance: an ugly man cannot render himself handsome, and vice versa; and thus a person who is ugly on the inside, cannot change. Secondly, he will assert that goodness of character proceeds from suppressing one’s desire and anger, and that he has tested this by means of a long inward struggle which demonstrated to him that these things are part of one’s character and nature, so busying oneself with such struggling is profitless and a waste of time.

To such an objection we would say: Were the traits of character not susceptible to change, there would be no value in counsels, sermons and discipline, and the Holy Last Messenger , may God bless him and grant him peace, would not have said, ‘Improve your characters!’ It is possible to improve the character even of an animal: a falcon can be transformed from savagery to tameness; a dog from mere greed for food to good behaviour and self-restraint, and these constitute a change in character.”

 

Al Ghazali practically informs us that certain human traits like anger and desire cannot be entirely suppressed or dominated, but we can make these characteristics obedient and submissive through means of self-discipline and struggle. He says we must endeavour to control these traits as “we have been commanded to do, for it constitutes the means of our salvation and our coming to God.”

 

However, Imam Ghazali believes we have been weakened when it comes to dealing with ourselves because we have been “plunged into the desires of the world and fallen into slumber.” This was his view of Muslims over 900 years ago, since then we have seen the rise and fall of a Muslim empire; Muslim scientists and philosophers leading the world through their knowledge; and Islam spreading to every part of the world.

It is evident that Ghazali was able to identify the tiny roots of a widespread problem centuries before it would take root in the form we have today. The world may be a very different place to the one it was hundreds of years ago, but our personal challenges and distractions have remained enclosed within us. They are still waiting to be challenged - with the help of the books, moral parents, teachers and spiritual guides that we are still fortunate to have. May the Almightly suffice Mankind, the Family of God, allowing us to reach high plateaus.

Extracts taken from Al-Ghazali on Disciplining the Soul and on Breaking the Two Desires. Books XXII and XXIII of The Revival of the Religious Sciences, first published by the Islamic Texts Society 1995.

 

July 3, 2013

Our world has become very toxic, and our foods and water are also contaminated . On a daily basis, we compromise our health as we intake the toxins that are often hidden in the everyday foods and drinks that we consume. Thus, we too,  have made ourselves toxic.

How is our food contaminated? We often take for granted that if food products are on the store shelves, they are safe for us. How wrong we are to believe this myth. These unnutritious foods are ‘conveniently packaged‘ in toxic plastics, aluminums, and lead.  As a result, we are full of plastic, aluminum and lead, too.   

In essence, we are entrapped in a form of enslavement, with our health consumed by these harmful products, masked as food. By comparison, for centuries physical enslavement was a heinous crime wherein slaves were often mistreated, and done much mental harm. They were not treated as brothers, as was the custom in Islamic societies, instead they were treated like animals, no more than mere cattle. The unfortunate slaves would, rise, work, eat and sleep on command.  They had no say so in their personal affairs.  When freedom came to them, the slaves remained mentally dependent on mainstream thinking: trusting the media, indulging in popular foods, dress, entertainment and medical wonders as best they could afford.  

When it comes to food, the same mentality exists today. We are again following and not rationalizing with regard to what is best for us.  Scientific studies show that the larger masses of this country are sick, sickness attributed to eating contaminated foods.  

Here is a list of everyday food items proven to be quite harmful:

Potato chips, soda, unorganic coffee (acidic and too extreme for the body daily), mayonnaise, catsup, vegetable oils, butter (if you made it, you can trust it), all dairy (full of hormones), creamers (plastics and un-natural oils), white sugar (animal substances are inside it), brown sugar (same as white, shaded brown), splenda and aspartame (poison), white flour and all products made from it, all meats that are not organically grown,  cake mixes, canola oil, all soy products, gum, candies and most bottled water.

If you haven’t grown it, raised it, or made it, you do not know what you are eating. Let the truth be told.

What can you do about this now? To start, don’t continue to trust poisoned, processed toxic foods. Detox first; then replace them with live, whole foods and grains.  Here is an example of wholesome food replacements:

Sesame seeds, tahini paste, chappati bread, olive oil, grade B or C maple syrup, organic fresh fruits and vegetable eaten in their season only, organic honey that has not come from bees fed sugar, bean sprouts which can be grown in your homes, barley, wheat grass, apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s or any other organic vinegar, white vinegar is harmful), almonds, walnuts, un-sulfured dried fruits, organic meats raised on your farms, and herbs.  

Herbs are concentrated whole foods that your body recognizes and absorbs readily.  They work slower on some individuals due to auto-intoxification (self induced pollution).  The quality of food you eat affects your life. To ensure your future, and the safety of your children, your diets must change for the better.   

Slaves ate the worst provisions on the plantation. How much farther have we come?

July 3, 2013

Our world has become very toxic, and our foods and water are also contaminated . On a daily basis, we compromise our health as we intake the toxins that are often hidden in the everyday foods and drinks that we consume. Thus, we too,  have made ourselves toxic.

How is our food contaminated? We often take for granted that if food products are on the store shelves, they are safe for us. How wrong we are to believe this myth. These unnutritious foods are ‘conveniently packaged‘ in toxic plastics, aluminums, and lead.  As a result, we are full of plastic, aluminum and lead, too.   

In essence, we are entrapped in a form of enslavement, with our health consumed by these harmful products, masked as food. By comparison, for centuries physical enslavement was a heinous crime wherein slaves were often mistreated, and done much mental harm. They were not treated as brothers, as was the custom in Islamic societies, instead they were treated like animals, no more than mere cattle. The unfortunate slaves would, rise, work, eat and sleep on command.  They had no say so in their personal affairs.  When freedom came to them, the slaves remained mentally dependent on mainstream thinking: trusting the media, indulging in popular foods, dress, entertainment and medical wonders as best they could afford.  

When it comes to food, the same mentality exists today. We are again following and not rationalizing with regard to what is best for us.  Scientific studies show that the larger masses of this country are sick, sickness attributed to eating contaminated foods.  

Here is a list of everyday food items proven to be quite harmful:

Potato chips, soda, unorganic coffee (acidic and too extreme for the body daily), mayonnaise, catsup, vegetable oils, butter (if you made it, you can trust it), all dairy (full of hormones), creamers (plastics and un-natural oils), white sugar (animal substances are inside it), brown sugar (same as white, shaded brown), splenda and aspartame (poison), white flour and all products made from it, all meats that are not organically grown,  cake mixes, canola oil, all soy products, gum, candies and most bottled water.

If you haven’t grown it, raised it, or made it, you do not know what you are eating. Let the truth be told.

What can you do about this now? To start, don’t continue to trust poisoned, processed toxic foods. Detox first; then replace them with live, whole foods and grains.  Here is an example of wholesome food replacements:

Sesame seeds, tahini paste, chappati bread, olive oil, grade B or C maple syrup, organic fresh fruits and vegetable eaten in their season only, organic honey that has not come from bees fed sugar, bean sprouts which can be grown in your homes, barley, wheat grass, apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s or any other organic vinegar, white vinegar is harmful), almonds, walnuts, un-sulfured dried fruits, organic meats raised on your farms, and herbs.  

Herbs are concentrated whole foods that your body recognizes and absorbs readily.  They work slower on some individuals due to auto-intoxification (self induced pollution).  The quality of food you eat affects your life. To ensure your future, and the safety of your children, your diets must change for the better.   

Slaves ate the worst provisions on the plantation. How much farther have we come?

June 23, 2013

 

Daughter of Mohammed al-Fihri, Fatima al-Fihri, also called Umm al Banine, ‘Mother of the Boys’, is known for creating the oldest academic degree-granting university in existence today, the University of Qarawiyyin.

Fatima and her family were among several families who moved from Tunisia to Morocco during the reign of the Moroccan King Idris II.

After her husband and her brothers died, she and her sister Mariam inherited a large fortune. Both women wanted to devote their money to pious work that would benefit the community in order to receive the blessings of God. To this end, Fatima built the Al Qarawiyyin mosque, while Mariam built the Al-Andalus mosque. In 859, from the 10th to the 12th century, the Al Qarawiyyin mosque developed into a university which became an important centre of education, and one of the first Islamic and  most prestigious universities in the world.

Fatima Al-Fihri was a visionary lady who lived her life  for the sake of her community’s improvement.  She was from a prestigious family and had inherited a fortune from her father. As a young, wealthy and well educated woman, her interest was neither in shoes or handbags, nor in any celebrity lifestyle, neither to woo any  man for marriage. Not any of the shallow stereotypes that are usually associated with young women, could be attributed to this lady of great depth, whose vision was cultivated and allowed to grow because of the encouragement from the  Islamic society in which she lived. Her vision did not remain a dream but, rather, was accomplished, and the results can still be seen today.

The Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque is one of the largest Masjids (mosque) in Africa and one of the world's oldest universities. Al-Qarawiyyin is the  perfect historic example of how Islam, which is not separate from life's affairs, combines both spiritual and educational growth in this small corner of the globe, and  it sheds light on the esteemed role that women played in the Islamic community - an aspect of Islam that is often misunderstood.

Furthermore, during medieval times, this university was regarded as being the major intellectual centre in the Mediterranean. Its excellent reputation even led to Gerber of Auvergne studying at the mosque. Auvergne later went on to become Pope Sylvester II and has been given the credit of introducing Arabic numerals and the zero to the rest of Europe.

The four most righteous ladies of Paradise, namely - Chaste Lady Mary, the mother of Holy Messenger Jesus (peace be upon him), Lady Khadijah, wife of the Holy Last Messenger (pease be upon him), Lady Fatimah, daughter of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), and Lady ‘Aasiya, the wife of Pharoah, who believed in the One Almighty Creator and was, therefore, martyred, may Allah be pleased with them all - will always remain exemplary role models for all women, regardless of race, creed, and religion.  Fatima Al Fihri. has demonstrated the importance of their example by her efforts made in “seeking knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”     

Fatima Al-Fihri is only one example out of many others whom Almighty Allah has elevated to a status of honor, and who add to  the realisation of the empowerment and encouragement Islam gives to women. Her’s  is a remarkable story that leaves a lasting impression!

June 23, 2013

 

Daughter of Mohammed al-Fihri, Fatima al-Fihri, also called Umm al Banine, ‘Mother of the Boys’, is known for creating the oldest academic degree-granting university in existence today, the University of Qarawiyyin.

Fatima and her family were among several families who moved from Tunisia to Morocco during the reign of the Moroccan King Idris II.

After her husband and her brothers died, she and her sister Mariam inherited a large fortune. Both women wanted to devote their money to pious work that would benefit the community in order to receive the blessings of God. To this end, Fatima built the Al Qarawiyyin mosque, while Mariam built the Al-Andalus mosque. In 859, from the 10th to the 12th century, the Al Qarawiyyin mosque developed into a university which became an important centre of education, and one of the first Islamic and  most prestigious universities in the world.

Fatima Al-Fihri was a visionary lady who lived her life  for the sake of her community’s improvement.  She was from a prestigious family and had inherited a fortune from her father. As a young, wealthy and well educated woman, her interest was neither in shoes or handbags, nor in any celebrity lifestyle, neither to woo any  man for marriage. Not any of the shallow stereotypes that are usually associated with young women, could be attributed to this lady of great depth, whose vision was cultivated and allowed to grow because of the encouragement from the  Islamic society in which she lived. Her vision did not remain a dream but, rather, was accomplished, and the results can still be seen today.

The Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque is one of the largest Masjids (mosque) in Africa and one of the world's oldest universities. Al-Qarawiyyin is the  perfect historic example of how Islam, which is not separate from life's affairs, combines both spiritual and educational growth in this small corner of the globe, and  it sheds light on the esteemed role that women played in the Islamic community - an aspect of Islam that is often misunderstood.

Furthermore, during medieval times, this university was regarded as being the major intellectual centre in the Mediterranean. Its excellent reputation even led to Gerber of Auvergne studying at the mosque. Auvergne later went on to become Pope Sylvester II and has been given the credit of introducing Arabic numerals and the zero to the rest of Europe.

The four most righteous ladies of Paradise, namely - Chaste Lady Mary, the mother of Holy Messenger Jesus (peace be upon him), Lady Khadijah, wife of the Holy Last Messenger (pease be upon him), Lady Fatimah, daughter of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), and Lady ‘Aasiya, the wife of Pharoah, who believed in the One Almighty Creator and was, therefore, martyred, may Allah be pleased with them all - will always remain exemplary role models for all women, regardless of race, creed, and religion.  Fatima Al Fihri. has demonstrated the importance of their example by her efforts made in “seeking knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”     

Fatima Al-Fihri is only one example out of many others whom Almighty Allah has elevated to a status of honor, and who add to  the realisation of the empowerment and encouragement Islam gives to women. Her’s  is a remarkable story that leaves a lasting impression!

June 22, 2013

Editor’s Note: Physiognomy has been defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the art of discovering temperament and character from the outward appearance; inner character or qualities revealed outwardly.”

The personality and character of the Holy Last Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him constituted a model example for mankind. His life represents not only the practical demonstration as to how we should practice the teachings of the Holy Quran but also constitutes the perennial sources of guidance and inspiration.

Muslims scholars have taken pains to preserve all relevant material about the life,character, and career of Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa, peace and blessings be upon him, the Messenger of Islam. Sheikh Hafiz Abu Isa Muhammad Ibn Isa Tirmizi says: “The traditional reports regarding the Holy Messenger’s (peace and blessings be upon him) physiognomy are as follows: Allamah Qurtabi (mercy be on him) says that the whole of the Holy Messenger’s (peace be upon him) handsomeness had not been manifested as otherwise the people would not have been able to cast a glance at him. A Persian poet has remarked truly, that all the handsomeness that was possessed by different messengers and apostles had found consummate expression in the Last Holy Messenger (peace be upon him). While the Messenger Yusuf ‘s (Joseph) handsomeness had no veil over it, there was a veil over Muhammad the Chosen Messenger’s elegance, peace be upon them both.

It is indeed the noble companions’ (Allah bless them) great obligation over the Ummah (community) that they not only recorded and transmitted the Holy Messenger’s (peace be upon him) sciences, but they also made an effort to describe his physical features and succeeded in this effort (to an appreciable extent).

Hazrat Br’a ibn Azib, peace be upon him, says that he never saw any person more handsome than the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him. In another tradition, says Hazrat Ali (Allah bless his countenance), that a eulogist of the Holy Messenger would say that he never saw anyone more handsome, wither prior to him or subsequently. His auspicious face shone like the full moon.

Hazrat Jabir, may he be blessed, reports that once, during a moonlit night, “I was looking at the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him, as well as at the moon, but, according to my opinion, the Holy Messenger’s [face] was more beautiful than the moon.”

Hazrat Abu Huraira, may he be blessed, reports that the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him, is so white that it seemed as if he had been made out of silver.

Hazrat Anas, may he be blessed, used to say that the Holy Messenger, peace be on him, is neither very tall nor very short (and his complexion is neither absolutely white like lime nor sallow), his auspicious hair is neither absolutely straight nor absolutely curly (like those of African descent). Allah bestowed Messengerhood upon him, upon him be peace and blessing of Allah, when he was forty years of age.

Note: regarding complexion - [The blessed complexion] was not white... not as white as lime. Similarly his complexion was not wheaten. The meaning is that his [blessed complexion’s] whiteness had a touch of redness.

Allama Ibrahim Baijori, mercy be upon him, writes in his Mawahib (page 7) that in this world, this color looks very graceful; that there may be redness with whiteness and in the Hereafter, there may be paleness with whiteness. So the Holy Messenger’s, peace be upon him, white complexion had a touch of redness and there was a luster in it.

Hence, the Imams have stated that “if someone says that the Holy Messenger’s (peace be upon him) complexion was black, we will issue a fatwa (opinion) of infidelity for him because he insulted and disparaged the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him, and the insulting and disparaging of a [Holy} Messenger amounts to infidelity; and since it is a falsification of a number of continuous ahadith (traditions) by which his, [the Holy Last Mesenger, peace be upon him] being white in complexion is proved, we shall call the man who denies continuous ahadith an infidel” (Mawahib page 8). Also, please note that the color black in this case has nothing to do with skin, but condition of sinners.

It is quite true. From Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Muhammad, mercy be on him, Hazrat Ali’s (God bless his countenance) grandson, that whenever Hazrat Ali described the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him, [he] is neither very tall nor very short but had a body like that of the medium-sized people. His hair is neither quite straight nor quite curly, but besides being straight was somewhat wavy. The body was not thick; similarly, the face was not round but was oval.”

–To continue in the next edition

June 22, 2013

Editor’s Note: Physiognomy has been defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the art of discovering temperament and character from the outward appearance; inner character or qualities revealed outwardly.”

The personality and character of the Holy Last Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him constituted a model example for mankind. His life represents not only the practical demonstration as to how we should practice the teachings of the Holy Quran but also constitutes the perennial sources of guidance and inspiration.

Muslims scholars have taken pains to preserve all relevant material about the life,character, and career of Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa, peace and blessings be upon him, the Messenger of Islam. Sheikh Hafiz Abu Isa Muhammad Ibn Isa Tirmizi says: “The traditional reports regarding the Holy Messenger’s (peace and blessings be upon him) physiognomy are as follows: Allamah Qurtabi (mercy be on him) says that the whole of the Holy Messenger’s (peace be upon him) handsomeness had not been manifested as otherwise the people would not have been able to cast a glance at him. A Persian poet has remarked truly, that all the handsomeness that was possessed by different messengers and apostles had found consummate expression in the Last Holy Messenger (peace be upon him). While the Messenger Yusuf ‘s (Joseph) handsomeness had no veil over it, there was a veil over Muhammad the Chosen Messenger’s elegance, peace be upon them both.

It is indeed the noble companions’ (Allah bless them) great obligation over the Ummah (community) that they not only recorded and transmitted the Holy Messenger’s (peace be upon him) sciences, but they also made an effort to describe his physical features and succeeded in this effort (to an appreciable extent).

Hazrat Br’a ibn Azib, peace be upon him, says that he never saw any person more handsome than the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him. In another tradition, says Hazrat Ali (Allah bless his countenance), that a eulogist of the Holy Messenger would say that he never saw anyone more handsome, wither prior to him or subsequently. His auspicious face shone like the full moon.

Hazrat Jabir, may he be blessed, reports that once, during a moonlit night, “I was looking at the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him, as well as at the moon, but, according to my opinion, the Holy Messenger’s [face] was more beautiful than the moon.”

Hazrat Abu Huraira, may he be blessed, reports that the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him, is so white that it seemed as if he had been made out of silver.

Hazrat Anas, may he be blessed, used to say that the Holy Messenger, peace be on him, is neither very tall nor very short (and his complexion is neither absolutely white like lime nor sallow), his auspicious hair is neither absolutely straight nor absolutely curly (like those of African descent). Allah bestowed Messengerhood upon him, upon him be peace and blessing of Allah, when he was forty years of age.

Note: regarding complexion - [The blessed complexion] was not white... not as white as lime. Similarly his complexion was not wheaten. The meaning is that his [blessed complexion’s] whiteness had a touch of redness.

Allama Ibrahim Baijori, mercy be upon him, writes in his Mawahib (page 7) that in this world, this color looks very graceful; that there may be redness with whiteness and in the Hereafter, there may be paleness with whiteness. So the Holy Messenger’s, peace be upon him, white complexion had a touch of redness and there was a luster in it.

Hence, the Imams have stated that “if someone says that the Holy Messenger’s (peace be upon him) complexion was black, we will issue a fatwa (opinion) of infidelity for him because he insulted and disparaged the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him, and the insulting and disparaging of a [Holy} Messenger amounts to infidelity; and since it is a falsification of a number of continuous ahadith (traditions) by which his, [the Holy Last Mesenger, peace be upon him] being white in complexion is proved, we shall call the man who denies continuous ahadith an infidel” (Mawahib page 8). Also, please note that the color black in this case has nothing to do with skin, but condition of sinners.

It is quite true. From Hazrat Ibrahim ibn Muhammad, mercy be on him, Hazrat Ali’s (God bless his countenance) grandson, that whenever Hazrat Ali described the Holy Messenger, peace be upon him, [he] is neither very tall nor very short but had a body like that of the medium-sized people. His hair is neither quite straight nor quite curly, but besides being straight was somewhat wavy. The body was not thick; similarly, the face was not round but was oval.”

–To continue in the next edition

June 11, 2013

Digestion of food is essential to the well being of everyone. Without proper digestion we invite countless illnesses to visit us. Digestion begins in the mouth, by chewing food down to the tiniest morsel possible. Most people are in such a rush to eat that they do not chew their food properly and the end result is acid reflex, indigestion, or heartburn. The pre-mentioned maladies can also come from eating poor food combinations, microwaved foods, or processed food daily. When you begin to digest your food you change it from one form into another: it is a physical and chemical process. This process is necessary for your body and cells to assimilate, absorb, and finally eliminate all unused portions of your meal. Whenever you put anything into your mouth this process begins. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about their digestive tract until they have problems with it. On a yearly average, around 62 million people show up at the doctor’s office with digestive complaints. This quote, which was written in Hieroglyphics, and found in an ancient Egyptian tomb, should also raise an eyebrow:

“One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three quarters keeps your doctor alive”

Modern diets are the cause of most health problems. Diets that consist of overcooked and highly processed food are helping doctors get rich. The digestive tract of a good many people are swimming in an ocean of mucus, which in turn causes a sluggish system. People arise in the morning felling yet worse than when they laid down to rest. Such tired, run down systems then require a shot of coffee to kick start the body in the morning. Furthermore, the bloodstream nowadays is full of mild poisons: poisons from sugar, genetically engineered foods, meats that are loaded with hormones and antibiotics, carbonated beverages, drugs, and even the cosmetics, detergents and soaps that seep into our blood through the skin. These poisons are actually attacked by our immune systems. Most food intake does not help us attain good health. Our intake has become toxic in nature. This toxic overload in food is highly acidic and damaging to our digestive tract. Our diets should be more alkaline than acidic. The body constantly tries to balance itself and bring you back to an alkaline state. A healthy diet is about 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. However most of diets are just the opposite. We have too much acid in our diet. Did you know that cancer can not grow in an alkaline environment? Alkalinity increases the oxygen in your body. Scientists have researched these facts and found that clean oxygenated blood is mandatory for good health. In 1931 the Nobel Prize winning work of Dr. Otto Warburg showed that cells weaken, mutate, or die in the absence of oxygen. Several years later two time Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Linus Pauling, was the first to show that cancer cells are unable to grow in an oxygen rich environment.

Unfortunately there many bad habits prohibiting our health. Discipline and understanding of how things really work is needed, especially regarding the digestive systems. To some rather small degree it is not all our fault, however. This society promotes obesity. Greed has invaded the lives of many. Over eating is a hobby. Most people don’t realize that over eating increases the hearts pumping action, which also increases the blood supply and in turn raises the blood pressure. Continuously over eating can cause degeneration of tissues of the heart and brain. If we are what we eat, then we are in trouble.

Why is digestion so important, you may still ask? The answer is that food ultimately determines how you look, feel, and function. A proper balance of raw vegetables, fruits and juices (that are in season), organic meats, butter and whole grains is essential to have a healthy functioning system. In the winter, root crops are eaten, and warming foods. In the summer cooling foods and summer fruits keep the system running properly. Digestive enzymes are needed to help food digest. The pancreas produces enzymes. It produces about two pints of digestive juice which is also alkaline. If we do not have enough enzymes within our foods, the pancreas recruits enzymes from other parts of the body. This is a job within itself and over taxes the pancreas. This extra job, when done daily, often causes the pancreas to enlarge. A diet that is high in acid wears away at your bones, causes arthritis and decays teeth.

In reality good digestive health is the result of what is assimilated, not what is necessarily eaten. Only the foods that are assimilated can be utilized for rebuilding and repairing cells and malfunctions. We are allergic to many foods; and why not, if we are not eating real food? Allergic reactions can be exhibited in many forms. Here are a few: immediate bloating, burping which is sometimes sour, heart burn, runny nose, excess mucus, flatulence, diarrhea, and vomiting. Extreme cases involve fever, but what is fever except an avenue the body uses to destroy the poisons that have invaded you. Onions and garlic should be added to the daily diet. Eat radishes like candy. When using vinegar use organic apple cider vinegar or make your own. Vinegar helps break down fats and proteins. Eat fruits and vegetables in season only. The Almighty Creator has provided a wide variety of foods to choose from; figs, kale, horseradish, olives from the tree, pumpkin, okra, collard green, and honey to name a few. Our Creator has given us so much. Eat simple, live simple, and reflect.

June 11, 2013

Digestion of food is essential to the well being of everyone. Without proper digestion we invite countless illnesses to visit us. Digestion begins in the mouth, by chewing food down to the tiniest morsel possible. Most people are in such a rush to eat that they do not chew their food properly and the end result is acid reflex, indigestion, or heartburn. The pre-mentioned maladies can also come from eating poor food combinations, microwaved foods, or processed food daily. When you begin to digest your food you change it from one form into another: it is a physical and chemical process. This process is necessary for your body and cells to assimilate, absorb, and finally eliminate all unused portions of your meal. Whenever you put anything into your mouth this process begins. Unfortunately, most people don’t think about their digestive tract until they have problems with it. On a yearly average, around 62 million people show up at the doctor’s office with digestive complaints. This quote, which was written in Hieroglyphics, and found in an ancient Egyptian tomb, should also raise an eyebrow:

“One-quarter of what you eat keeps you alive. The other three quarters keeps your doctor alive”

Modern diets are the cause of most health problems. Diets that consist of overcooked and highly processed food are helping doctors get rich. The digestive tract of a good many people are swimming in an ocean of mucus, which in turn causes a sluggish system. People arise in the morning felling yet worse than when they laid down to rest. Such tired, run down systems then require a shot of coffee to kick start the body in the morning. Furthermore, the bloodstream nowadays is full of mild poisons: poisons from sugar, genetically engineered foods, meats that are loaded with hormones and antibiotics, carbonated beverages, drugs, and even the cosmetics, detergents and soaps that seep into our blood through the skin. These poisons are actually attacked by our immune systems. Most food intake does not help us attain good health. Our intake has become toxic in nature. This toxic overload in food is highly acidic and damaging to our digestive tract. Our diets should be more alkaline than acidic. The body constantly tries to balance itself and bring you back to an alkaline state. A healthy diet is about 80% alkaline and 20% acidic. However most of diets are just the opposite. We have too much acid in our diet. Did you know that cancer can not grow in an alkaline environment? Alkalinity increases the oxygen in your body. Scientists have researched these facts and found that clean oxygenated blood is mandatory for good health. In 1931 the Nobel Prize winning work of Dr. Otto Warburg showed that cells weaken, mutate, or die in the absence of oxygen. Several years later two time Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Linus Pauling, was the first to show that cancer cells are unable to grow in an oxygen rich environment.

Unfortunately there many bad habits prohibiting our health. Discipline and understanding of how things really work is needed, especially regarding the digestive systems. To some rather small degree it is not all our fault, however. This society promotes obesity. Greed has invaded the lives of many. Over eating is a hobby. Most people don’t realize that over eating increases the hearts pumping action, which also increases the blood supply and in turn raises the blood pressure. Continuously over eating can cause degeneration of tissues of the heart and brain. If we are what we eat, then we are in trouble.

Why is digestion so important, you may still ask? The answer is that food ultimately determines how you look, feel, and function. A proper balance of raw vegetables, fruits and juices (that are in season), organic meats, butter and whole grains is essential to have a healthy functioning system. In the winter, root crops are eaten, and warming foods. In the summer cooling foods and summer fruits keep the system running properly. Digestive enzymes are needed to help food digest. The pancreas produces enzymes. It produces about two pints of digestive juice which is also alkaline. If we do not have enough enzymes within our foods, the pancreas recruits enzymes from other parts of the body. This is a job within itself and over taxes the pancreas. This extra job, when done daily, often causes the pancreas to enlarge. A diet that is high in acid wears away at your bones, causes arthritis and decays teeth.

In reality good digestive health is the result of what is assimilated, not what is necessarily eaten. Only the foods that are assimilated can be utilized for rebuilding and repairing cells and malfunctions. We are allergic to many foods; and why not, if we are not eating real food? Allergic reactions can be exhibited in many forms. Here are a few: immediate bloating, burping which is sometimes sour, heart burn, runny nose, excess mucus, flatulence, diarrhea, and vomiting. Extreme cases involve fever, but what is fever except an avenue the body uses to destroy the poisons that have invaded you. Onions and garlic should be added to the daily diet. Eat radishes like candy. When using vinegar use organic apple cider vinegar or make your own. Vinegar helps break down fats and proteins. Eat fruits and vegetables in season only. The Almighty Creator has provided a wide variety of foods to choose from; figs, kale, horseradish, olives from the tree, pumpkin, okra, collard green, and honey to name a few. Our Creator has given us so much. Eat simple, live simple, and reflect.

June 8, 2013

 

In a celebration of the birth of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him) held in Upstate New York, Binghamton-. Broome Community College Professor Diane O’Heron stated, “I thank you for asking me to participate on this most blessed of days. My name is Diane O’Heron, and I am a professor of English at Broome Community College. Every day I have the opportunity to witness people taking action to transform their lives for the better and to assist them in these attempts by helping them to write more effectively and to guide them through their college careers. Over the past few years, I have been the teacher of and advisor to some of your children, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, and friends. I have read many essays and discussed many class choices for upcoming semesters; I have given much feedback and advice. But I have been given much in return. As a person of faith, I benefit everyday from my interactions with my Muslim students and friends at BCC. I am a better Catholic and Christian today because I have been a witness to their devoted practice of Islam. In a college setting, it is easy for a person to hide his/her faith, and fear of social rejection actually encourages us to deny what we believe. The presence of Muslim students at BCC encourages me to remember that though I live in this world, my faith teaches me I am not “of this world,” and I should live my life according to spiritual values. Through the practice of their faith in the least and most obvious ways, the Muslims in my academic community remind me every day of how I can deepen my commitment to the worship of my God and to the service of my neighbors. Today I would like to tell you two stories about Muslim students whose practice of their faith strengthened my own as a Christian.

First, an example of how the Muslim practice of showing kindness to another produced immeasurable good. This fall, a Muslim student came to BCC for the first time. She had never been in a mixed faith classroom. There would be many challenges for her, and these certainly pre-occupied her on her first day of school. But that day, she met another student whose emotional and cognitive problems were immediately apparent to her. While her fears were real, she knew that Allah had graced her with a sound mind and a clear heart; she knew that she was called that day to make this other student welcome and comfortable in a new place. She continued to do this every class for an entire semester; her kindness was an example to me and her other classmates. My student’s charity that semester showed me that in honoring the least valued and the most troubled members of our society, I honor my God. I also help to create a world where God’s good can multiply itself. The student she befriended went on to her second semester in college a more confident and self-assured person; she will remember her first college English class as a place where she was safe and cared for. In our faiths we are taught small kindnesses produce untold rewards, but we must be willing to do this work. In her small way, this student accepted God’s charge and made a testimony to her faith. I witnessed that and prayed for the willingness to replicate her example.

I have seen many more examples of Muslim students’ faith in their kindness, openness and warmth in their participation in my classroom and in school activities. A hymn in my church contains the line “They will know we are Christians by our love.” I could just as easily substitute “Muslims” in this line from my knowledge of the Muslims at BCC. But the way Muslims students are most obviously recognized at BCC is by how many, particularly the women, choose to dress. As I said earlier, it is easy for the members of some faiths to hide their religion. This is not a choice many of the Muslims I know at BCC make. Their example teaches me that there is great value in walking a narrow spiritual path. My religion teaches me that the more I sacrifice of myself to honor God, the more peace and contentment I will have in my life on this earth. A Muslim woman’s decision to veil showed me this lesson in a new way.

This semester, a Muslim woman in my English class wrote an essay defending the practice of veiling against charges that the practice was oppressive. She wrote that in a culture that teaches us “less is more,” a woman who chooses to veil is seen as depriving herself of all the rewards the material world can provide. My student explained clearly and carefully that her decision to veil was a declaration of her commitment to spiritual ideals. The practice of these ideals allowed her to value herself more highly and to focus her efforts on living as God would have her live. My student attends her classes and participates in discussions unself-consciously. She does not spend her time thinking about whether she measures up on the college attractiveness meter; she knows her worth as a woman and a person and she conveys this with both humility and confidence.

I could see that in her decision to veil herself, my student had turned the “less is more” message on its head. By paying less attention to the demands of our society and paying more honor to the dictates of her faith, she had freed herself up spiritually. Her rejection of the “less is more” worldly ideal spoke to me as a Christian. In what ways did I deny myself as a Christian by consciously and unconsciously practicing the “less is more” philosophy of our material culture? What did I lose every time I chose to show “less” of my faith in order to gain “more” of society’s rewards? I challenge myself everyday to conduct myself as I believe God would have me, and I look to my Muslim students for inspiration. It takes spiritual and often physical courage to set yourself apart as a person of faith. The constant visible example of their faith strengthens me to live my faith as clearly as they live their own. I pray only to be as faithful a follower as the men and women I have had the privilege to know. For the opportunity to know you and to learn from you, I give thanks to God. And for the opportunity to share my thoughts today, I thank you.”