Confronting Anti-Muslim Sentiment: A Battle of Mirages?
By World Assembly of Muslim Youth1
How Do Muslims View Death?
Muslims believe that the present life is a trial in preparation for the next realm of existence. When a Muslim dies, he or she is washed and wrapped in a clean, white cloth (usually by a family member) and buried after a special prayer, preferably the same day. Muslims consider this a final service that they can do for their relatives and an opportunity to remember that their own existence here on earth is brief.
The question of whether there is life after death does not fall under the jurisdiction of science, as science is concerned only with classification and analysis of sense data. Moreover, man has been busy with scientific inquiries and research, in the modern sense of the term, only for the last few centuries, while he has been familiar with the concept of life after death since time immemorial.
All the Prophets of God called their people to worship God and to believe in life after death. They laid so much emphasis on the belief in life after death that even a slight doubt in it meant denying God and made all other beliefs meaningless.
The very fact that all the Prophets of God have dealt with this metaphysical question of life after death so confidently and so uniformly – the gap between their ages in some cases, being thousands of years – goes to prove that the source of their knowledge of life after death as proclaimed by them all, was the same, i.e. Divine revelation.
We also know that these Prophets of God were greatly opposed by their people, mainly on the issue of life after death, as their people thought it impossible. But in spite of opposition, the Prophets won many sincere followers.
The question arises: what made those followers forsake the established beliefs, traditions and customs of their forefathers, notwithstanding the risk of being totally alienated from their own community? The simple answer is: they made use of their faculties of mind and heart and realized the truth. Continue reading “Life After Death”
Iraqi PM fires senior Sunni Arab official
Wed 21 Feb 2007 9:30 AM ET
(Adds statement from Sunni Endowment)
BAGHDAD, Feb 21 (Reuters) – The head of a state body that runs Iraq’s Sunni Muslim religious sites said on Wednesday he was fired for criticising the government, including its handling of charges by a Sunni woman that she was raped by police.
The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi’ite Islamist, said Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarrai would be replaced as the head of the Sunni Endowment, a public institution similar to a ministry which manages Sunni mosques and other sites.
Samarrai said by telephone from Jordan that he believed he was fired because of his frequent criticism of the government.
“I think it is because I’m always rejecting most of the decisions made by this government,” he said. Continue reading “Sunni Shi’te Divide Grows”
The recent Guardian debate between Hamas and Israel is a small but important step forward.
The Guardian has achieved what recent politicians, academics and diplomats have failed to do – it has created a forum for debate by bringing together two sides of a six-decade long conflict by printing Khalid Mish’al’s article and the subsequent response by Zvi Heifetz, the Israeli ambassador in London. This is a small, but under the circumstances, significant achievement.
The past year has been an experience in new depths of pain for the Palestinian people. While Israel has vehemently worked to disfranchise Hamas since its inception, this reached new intensity following Hamas’ election victory in January 2006.
Mr Heifetz’s response to Mr Mish’al is telling of Hamas’ reality: a party that has not only been given a mandate by its people but is slowly being acknowledged by almost all of its neighbouring states as a legitimate authority over Palestinians.
Even President Abbas, who has resisted conceding to the Hamas mandate for so long, both acknowledged Mr Mish’al as the rightful leader of Hamas and accepted Hamas’ terms recently in Mecca. This admittance by President Abbas consequently meant that the summit between US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, President Abbas and prime minister Olmert became all but insignificant on the ground.
This is an indication of the waning influence of those present and the absence of the real power broker for the Palestinians – Hamas.
In his comment, Mr Heifetz presumes a failure in Hamas’ achievements over the past year. Yet their success lies in the reality that a year ago neither he nor any of his contemporaries would have bothered to respond to Mr Mish’al publicly, especially if it was only an article in a newspaper.
However, Hamas in the past year has not only provided the Palestinians with a transparent, accountable and honest government but has further spelled out two significant points: the Palestinian struggle for liberation will continue despite Israeli, US and European sanctions and will verify that political Islam and democracy can go hand in glove.
While accusations against Palestinians for their refusal to recognise Israel are rife; a quick glance over Israel’s own history, even prior to its inception in 1948 shows a state that has been unwilling to recognise even the existence of a Palestinian people.
From the pre-Israel “land without a people” propaganda, to politicians like the late Golda Meir stating “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people”, there are innumerable examples of a failure to recognise an entire population. However, these facts are rarely mentioned when Israel demands that Palestinians recognise its existence, while simultaneously refusing to clarify the exact boundaries of the state it is being asked to recognise. Even after the Oslo Accords of 1993, Israel finally recognised the Palestinian people but not Palestine.
Since coming to power in January 2006, Hamas has also been faced with numerous provocative Israeli military strikes against the Palestinian people, including the Beit Hanoun and Gazabeach massacres, and in total over 600 were killed. It also faced the arrest and imprisonment of its ministers and MPs, but it constrained its right to retaliate.
Yet the international community, which should have allowed the Hamas government to dedicate its efforts in ameliorating the dire situation of its people, instead catapulted it into a political abyss by imposing sanctions and boycotts. The US went as far as funding Fatah’s leader, Mr Abbas, in recruiting a presidential guard which would sow the seeds of a civil conflict leading to over 100 Palestinian deaths.
Despite these alarming efforts by Israel, the US and European powers to destabilise Hamas, since coming to power it has made phenomenal concessions. Hamas leaders such as Ismail Haniya have confirmed that peace and security for Palestinians comes before their own positions in government. Thus, they have obliged the international community in its demand for the formation of a unity government and accepted to have only nine ministers out of a total of 19.
Most recently, Mr Mish’al stated in the Guardian that Hamas is willing to establish a “sovereign and independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in June 1967”. This statement from a government whose leaders have sacrificed their personal standing and interests over their nation’s freedom needs to be taken seriously. It is high time the international community called upon Israel for once to prove its commitment to peace by abiding by international law and dozens of UN resolutions dating as far back as 1948.
As a first step and a goodwill gesture, perhaps Israel can begin by demolishing the wall that is being built deep in the 1967-occupied territories, deliberately creating new facts on the ground and pre-empting the creation of any viable Palestinian state outside the green line border. Maybe then the world will start to believe Israel is serious about peace.
On Friday the United Nations is expected to approve a resolution condemning Holocaust denial, one year after the first Holocaust remembrance day was celebrated. The bill was brought forward by the US, the European Community, Russia, Australia, Canada and Israel, and so far has 82 co-sponsors. The resolution was created in response to Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s repeated statements denying the holocaust ever happened, while at the same time promising to finish what Europe started – the extermination of the Jewish race.Quote: “The Israeli mission is hoping that a majority of at least 104 countries will support the resolution, as in the historical vote of November 1, 2005, designating January 27 as the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The second International Holocaust Day will be commemorated next Monday. Continue reading “UN resolution condemning Holocaust denial”
Dating back to around 2500 BC, the Ebla tablets provide very important information regarding the history of religions. The most important feature of the Ebla tablets, discovered by archaeologists in 1975 and which have been the subject of much research and debate ever since, is that they contain the names of three prophets referred to in holy scriptures.
The discovery after thousands of years of the Ebla tablets and the information they contain is extremely important from the point of view of clarifying the geographical location of societies revealed in the Qur’an.
Around 2500 BC, Ebla was a kingdom covering an area that included the Syrian capital Damascus and south-east Turkey. This kingdom reached a cultural and economic peak but later, as happened to a great many civilizations, it disappeared from the stage of history. It was apparent from the records that were kept that the Kingdom of Ebla was a major cultural and commercial center of the time. (1) The people of Ebla possessed a civilization that established state archives, built libraries and recorded commercial contracts in written form. They even had their own language, known as Eblaite. Continue reading “NAMES of PROPHETS’ APPEAR IN THE EBLA TABLETS,”
By Charles Sullivan
01/12/07 “Information Clearing House” — – Sometimes you look around and wonder how things could have gone so wrong so quickly. America has become the antithesis of everything she purports to be. We are the greatest purveyors of violence the world has ever known; the largest weapons dealers on earth; and death and misery are our principal exports. Everything is for sale here, even men’s tormented souls—at least, those who still possess them.
Our imperial leader, an impish little man with clear sociopathic symptoms, is incapable of empathy for the struggles of the common people, as those born into wealth and privilege often are. The man with his finger on the nuclear detonator is mentally ill, incapable of remorse—a fact that should terrify every world citizen. I do not say this out of malice or to demean the president; it is simply a statement of fact based upon quantifiable evidence that any student of psychology would easily recognize. Continue reading “George W. Bush: A Symptom of Disease”
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September 1999, pages 19-20
By Maureen Meehan
Israeli school textbooks as well as children’s storybooks, according to recent academic studies and surveys, portray Palestinians and Arabs as “murderers,” “rioters,” “suspicious,” and generally backward and unproductive. Direct delegitimization and negative stereotyping of Palestinians and Arabs are the rule rather than the exception in Israeli schoolbooks.
Professor Daniel Bar-Tal of Tel Aviv University studied 124 elementary, middle- and high school textbooks on grammar and Hebrew literature, history, geography and citizenship. Bar-Tal concluded that Israeli textbooks present the view that Jews are involved in a justified, even humanitarian, war against an Arab enemy that refuses to accept and acknowledge the existence and rights of Jews in Israel.
“The early textbooks tended to describe acts of Arabs as hostile, deviant, cruel, immoral, unfair, with the intention to hurt Jews and to annihilate the State of Israel. Within this frame of reference, Arabs were delegitimized by the use of such labels as ‘robbers,’ ‘bloodthirsty,’ and ‘killers,’” said Professor Bar-Tal, adding that there has been little positive revision in the curriculum over the years.
Bar-Tal pointed out that Israeli textbooks continue to present Jews as industrious, brave and determined to cope with the difficulties of “improving the country in ways they believe the Arabs are incapable of.”
Hebrew-language geography books from the 1950s through 1970s focused on the glory of Israel’s ancient past and how the land was “neglected and destroyed” by the Arabs until the Jews returned from their forced exile and revived it “with the help of the Zionist movement.”
“This attitude served to justify the return of the Jews, implying that they care enough about the country to turn the swamps and deserts into blossoming farmland; this effectively delegitimizes the Arab claim to the same land,” Bar-Tal told the Washington Report. “The message was that the Palestinians were primitive and neglected the country and did not cultivate the land.”
This message, continued Bar-Tal, was further emphasized in textbooks by the use of blatant negative stereotyping which featured Arabs as: “unenlightened, inferior, fatalistic, unproductive and apathetic.” Further, according to the textbooks, the Arabs were “tribal, vengeful, exotic, poor, sick, dirty, noisy, colored” and “they burn, murder, destroy, and are easily inflamed.”
Textbooks currently being used in the Israeli school system, says Bar-Tal, contain less direct denigration of Arabs but continue to stereotype them negatively when referring to them. He pointed out that Hebrew- as well as Arabic-language textbooks used in elementary and junior high schools contain very few references either to Arabs or to Arab-Jewish relations. The coordinator of a Palestinian NGO in Israel said that major historical events hardly get a mention either. Continue reading “Israeli Textbooks and Children’s Literature Promote Racism and Hatred Toward Palestinians and Arabs”
Osama bin Laden may go down in history not only as the murderous criminal who declared holy war on the United States, but also as a radical figure in what has come to be called the Islamic Reformation–the epic struggle to define the faith of over a billion people
Osama bin Laden (left). At right, Cairo’s revered Al-Azhar mosque, the traditional center of Islamic scholarship. (AFP File Photo at left)
ON JULY 6TH, 2005, in an unprecedented display of intersectarian collaboration, 170 of the world’s leading Muslim clerics and scholars gathered in Amman, Jordan, to issue a joint fatwa, or legal ruling, denouncing all acts of terrorism committed in the name of Islam.
This belated attempt by the traditional clerical institutions to assert some measure of influence and authority over the world’s Muslims was surely one of the most interesting developments in what has become an epic battle to define the faith and practice of over a billion people. Never before in the history of Islam had representatives of every major sect and school of law assembled as a single body, much less come to terms on issues of mutual concern.
Yet what made the Amman declaration so remarkable was not its condemnation of terrorism-since Sept. 11, 2001, similar statements have been issued by countless Muslim organizations throughout the world, despite perceptions to the contrary in the West. Rather, it was the inclusion of an all-encompassing fatwa reminding Muslims that only those who have dedicated a lifetime of study to the traditional Islamic sciences-in other words, the clerics themselves-could issue a fatwa in the first place.
This statement was a deliberate attempt to strip Islamic militants like Osama bin Laden of their self-proclaimed authority to speak for the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims. Continue reading “The war for Islam”
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Abortion is Murder, No ifs or buts…