Thursday, March 1, 2007

Around the World

We thank the following members for forwarding information:

Aishah Schwartz, Nadia Rahman, Hasan Essa, Zafar Iqbal, Alan Border, Arif Khan, Naseer Tahir, Munir Pervaiz and a sister who did not want their name mentioned.

Los Angeles - Film’s View of Islam Stirs Anger on Campuses /// Moderator :: we need to reign in on our anger, most unproductive emotion for the Muslim community, does the opposite of what is desired.

Detroit - Louis Farrakhan speaks out /// Moderator :: Gutsy man, some times, we the darn immigrants are afraid to speak up, I guess that comes from living on the fringe, and not having ownership in America and part of it is just human nature with all people.

Saudi Arabia - Lesbian relationships in Schools ///Moderator :: This does not surprise me, what surprises me is the Arab paper to carry the news item with specific schools. I have seen prostitution and liquor bars in Saudi when I was working there way back in 1977-79. These are human weaknesses, type of government or religious control has little to do with it.

Iran - Faces of Iran /// Moderator :: Interesting pictures of men and women at work and at schools

Afghanistan - Flying Kits

Morocco - Islam's Pioneering Women Priests

Indonesia - literary movement whose topic is sex and whose practitioners are women /// Moderator :: No matter what and how a country is run, the anomalies do exist. It is nature's way of highlighting what is and what can be.

Holland - Friday sermon worldwide head of Ahmadiyya Community

Canada - Muslim V Muslim /// Moderator :: A genuine debate and it is healthy,- in the US, we have struggles between CAIR, ISNA and others.. I beg Muslim leaders NOT to pull each other down, if we they are doing good, any good, please let them do it. Instead of pulling others down, go and do the work and do it better. If you cannot do better than others, then the best choice at least not discourage the doers.
Dallas - Evidence against Muslim charity appears fabricated.

This past week, the program "Understanding Hinduism" was organized and moderated by me under the aegis of Foundation for Pluralism, and made the statement that as a Muslim, my responsibility was to create a better world. We had about 65 people attend the event, and 45 of them were Anglo Christians, 4 Muslim, 2 Zoroastrians, 1 Jain, 1 Sikh, 6 Jews, a few Buddhists and others. Then I gave an invocation at the Carrollton City Hall prior to the Council meeting.

This coming week, I am talking about Islam at the Spring Valley Methodist Church and in March I am speaking at Richland College, some institute in Arlington.

Thank you.

Mike Ghouse, Moderator

Film’s View of Islam Stirs Anger on Campuses
New York Times
Published: February 26, 2007
When “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” a documentary that shows Muslims urging attacks on the United States and Europe, was screened recently at the University of California, Los Angeles, it drew an audience of more than 300 — and also dozens of protesters.
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Urging attacks on the West: a still from the 2005 film “Obsession.”
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Jordan Dunn, left, an N.Y.U. student, and Robert Friedman, a volunteer discussion leader, after an on-campus screening of “Obsession.”
At Pace University in New York, administrators pressured the Jewish student organization Hillel to cancel a showing in November, arguing it could spur hate crimes against Muslim students. A Jewish group at the State University of New York at Stony Brook also canceled the film last semester.
The documentary has become the latest flashpoint in the bitter campus debate over the Middle East, not just because of its clips from Arab television rarely shown in the West, including scenes of suicide bombers being recruited and inducted, but also because of its pro-Israel distribution network.
When a Middle East discussion group organized a showing at New York University recently, it found that the distributors of “Obsession” were requiring those in attendance to register at, and that digital pictures of the events be sent to Hasbara Fellowships, a group set up to counter anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses.
“If people have to give their names over to Hasbara Fellowships at the door, that doesn’t have the effect of stimulating open dialogue,” said Jordan J. Dunn, president of the Middle East Dialogue Group of New York University, which mixes Jews and Muslims. “Rather, it intimidates people and stifles dissent.”

The documentary’s proponents say it provides an unvarnished look at Islamic militancy. “It’s an urgent issue that is widely avoided by academia,” argued Michael Abdurakhmanov, the Hillel president at Pace.
Its critics call it incendiary. Norah Sarsour, a Palestinian-American student at U.C.L.A., said it was disheartening to see “a film like this that takes the people who have hijacked the religion and focuses on them.”
Certainly it is a new element in the bitter campus battles over the Middle East that have encompassed everything from the content and teaching of Middle East studies to disputes over art exhibitions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to debates over free speech.

“The situation in the Middle East has been a major issue on campus for decades, but the heat has noticeably turned up lately,” said Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
At San Francisco State University, for example, College Republicans stomped on copies of the Hamas and Hezbollah flags last October at an “antiterrorism” rally. At the University of California, Irvine, the Muslim Student Union drew criticism last year for a “Holocaust in the Holy Land” program about Israel.

Brandeis University officials pulled an exhibition of Palestinian children’s drawings, including some of bloodied Palestinian children, designed to bring the Palestinian viewpoint to the campus, half of whose students are Jewish.
Three years ago a video produced by a pro-Israeli group featuring Jewish students’ complaints of intimidation by Middle East studies professors at Columbia set off a campus-wide debate over freedom of speech and academic freedom, prompting an investigation that found some fault by one professor but “no evidence of any statements made by the faculty that could reasonably be construed as anti-Semitic.”

Into this milieu stepped the producer of “Obsession,” Raphael Shore, a 45-year-old Canadian who lives in Israel, with the documentary. It features scenes like the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Muslim children being encouraged to become suicide bombers, interspersed with those of Nazi rallies.

The film was directed by Wayne Kopping of South Africa, who had worked with Mr. Shore previously on a documentary about the failure of the Oslo peace efforts in the Middle East. Mr. Shore said in a recent interview that they had not set out to make a film for college students but to spur action against Islamic terrorism. “We want to spread this message to all people that will stand up and make a difference in combating this threat,” he said.

When no traditional film distributors picked it up, he said, colleges were an obvious outlet — it was screened on 30 campuses last semester — along with DVD sales on the Internet (, and showings at synagogues and other locales, including conservative ones like the Heritage Foundation in Washington. There were also repeated broadcasts of abbreviated versions or excerpts on Fox News in November and again this month, and on other media outlets like CNN Headline News.

“College students have the power with their energy, resources, time and interest to make a difference, often more than other individuals,” Mr. Shore said.

He hired a campus coordinator, Karyn Leffel, who works out of the New York City office of the Hasbara Fellowships program, which aims to train students “to be effective pro-Israel activists on their campuses.” “ ‘Obsession’ is so important because it shows what’s happening in Israel is not happening in a vacuum,” said Elliot Mathias, director of the Hasbara Fellowships program, “and that it affects all American students on campuses, not just Jewish students.”
Mr. Shore said that despite the collaboration with Hasbara, the goal was to draw a wide audience.
Farrakhan's final flash of defiance
The Nation of Islam leader urges blacks to avoid the military in a Detroit speech, billed as his last. Thousands attend.
By P.J. Huffstutter, Times Staff WriterFebruary 26, 2007
DETROIT — In a fiery speech promoted as his last, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan railed against the U.S. invasion of Iraq, calling on the black community to avoid military service at all costs.To join the military "would be the worst mistake you've ever made," Farrakhan told a packed Ford Field sports arena Sunday in downtown Detroit.
He continued, "America is preparing for war, for Armageddon."Sunday's speech was the first time Farrakhan has spoken publicly since undergoing a life-threatening surgery in January to correct damage from prostate-cancer treatment last year.It also came as Farrakhan struggles to bolster a religious organization that helped lead the nation's civil rights movement, but whose political and cultural influence is waning."It still has a tremendous amount of influence in black politics," said Vibert White, a former Nation of Islam minister who now is director of the public history program at the University of Central Florida. "But in many ways, particularly on the broader national political arena, they are now somewhat irrelevant."Standing before thousands of curiosity-seekers and tearful Nation of Islam followers, the 73-year-old minister spoke with the strength and vigor of a man decades his junior.For nearly two hours, Farrakhan led a rally that was part religious revival, part fundraising pitch. He pounded the podium to punctuate points. His voice rose to a feverish growl to express his outrage, and fell to a hushed whisper at more somber moments.Pointing out that his days as one of the country's most controversial voices in the national political discourse are coming to an end, Farrakhan told the audience, "My time is up."Still, he noted that his exit would not happen right away."There are many things in my heart that I need to express," Farrakhan said. "It will take many weeks, many months to tell it all."If this was his final public bow, Detroit was an ideal stage for it. The Nation of Islam was founded on these streets more than 70 years ago, and returned to its roots for its annual Saviors' Day, which commemorates the birth of founder Wallace D. Fard and wraps up a convention for Nation members.They've returned to a city plagued with problems that harken to the group's earliest days during the Great Depression.The Motor City has been scarred by riots and crime, the downward spiral of the domestic auto industry and the flight of its upper and middle classes. Economists call the greater Detroit area the country's poorest urban center, with the nation's highest unemployment rate. Much of the city is lined with miles of burned-out or ramshackle homes and empty lots.On Sunday, though, the downtown streets were packed with visitors from as far as California and Texas.Lines of attendees stretched along the ice-covered roads for nearly half a mile, waiting in the shadows of glass and steel skyscrapers for the chance to hear the charismatic leader speak one last time.Ticket scalpers and T-shirt vendors roamed the sidewalks, vying for sales with a woman hawking pies and a teenager selling bootleg copies of Farrakhan's older speeches.Some of the recordings included Farrakhan's more incendiary statements, such as calling Judaism a "gutter religion" and accusing the federal government of intentionally destroying the levees in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to eradicate the city's poor black population.Farrakhan insisted Sunday that the "slurs" of his critics — "calling me anti-Semitic, anti-white, anti-gay, anti-American" — were simply efforts to incite an assassination attempt and smear the Nation of Islam.Founded as a religious movement, its membership boomed in the 1950s under Malcolm X, who promoted black empowerment and nationalism. When Farrakhan became leader in the late 1970s, internal strife and a powerbase split undercut the organization's strength and eroded its membership base.Officials won't say how many members the group has, but reports place that number at fewer than 70,000. About 2.5 million African American Muslims live in the U.S.Though Farrakhan's proclamations are often extreme, political and religious experts say such sentiments strike a chord across an ideological and economic spectrum in the black community that is far larger than the Nation of Islam's membership base. For some people, said White, Farrakhan expresses feelings of alienation and anger that other black leaders are often unwilling to address.Jacquintella Washington, a Detroit homemaker, said she had always wanted to see Farrakhan speak in person and thought this might be her last chance."I agree with a lot of what he says. Some of my family belongs to the group, and they're worried about what's going to happen when he leaves," said Washington, 39."We're all worried about the same things: the economy and the war."At one point Sunday, after chastising Democrats and Republicans for unwillingness to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, Farrakhan called for the country to pressure Congress to impeach President Bush.Then he glanced at House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), who was sitting on the stage."Do something," Farrakhan said to Conyers. "If you don't want to impeach him, censure him."
Woman to Woman Relationships at Some Schools
Hayat Kharbash, Arab News§ion=0&article=92480&d=21&m=2&y=2007

ABHA, 21 February 2007 — In a scene that many would describe as disgusting and contrary to the religious and cultural traditions of the Kingdom, sitting intimately in a corner of a classroom at a high school in Abha is Fawziya and Uhoud — two young female “lovers.” The two girls speak romantically and exchange kisses in a relationship that is forbidden in Islam. Fawziya is in the final year of high school. She is engaged to a man and will be getting married in summer after graduation.

“I’m not bothered what people at school say about me. I’m just looking for an emotional relationship and I found that in Uhoud,” said Fawziya, adding that having love and feeling is the key to life. “My relationship with my family isn’t very good and I don’t get the love and attention that I should be getting from them. My family is very disconnected and there are a lot of family problems,” she said, adding that she is not paying much attention to her coming marriage. Rather she says her attention is fixed on Uhoud.

Uhoud, on the other hand, feels similarly and also pays very little attention to other students who frown at her relationship with Fawziya.

Fawziya and Uhoud’s affair is not an isolated one. There are other girls involved in similar romances. Reem and Nura is one such couple, whose relationship began with a smile and an exchange of gifts. The relationship grew stronger and now both find it difficult to separate from each other. Their love for each other is so intense that Nura cried for Reem just before the beginning of the midterm seven-day school holidays.

There are other examples of such relationships blooming behind the walls of schools run by the Education Ministry. Sawsan Al-Ghamdi, a college student, said that the college squares, where students take breaks, have “lovers’ corners” where girls kiss and hug each other. “What is surprising is that there was a married girl in her seventh month of pregnancy who was pursuing other girls to satisfy her sexual needs. Administration at colleges do carry out random inspections to prevent such behavior from happening,” said Al-Ghamdi.

Aisha Al-Qahtani, a student of Arabic language at the College of Education in Abha, said that she feels shocked at what she sees sometimes happening in colleges. Al-Qahtani said that some relationships develop into becoming very intimate. “I blame a lack of awareness among families toward their daughters,” she said.

Such relationships are strongly objected to, especially by students from religious backgrounds. Religious observant students refuse to accept that sort of behavior. When they see couples sitting intimately together they disturb them by talking to them, giving them positive advice and letting them know that such behavior is wrong.

An Asir Education Department source said that the ministry has not outlined punishment for students who are caught in such relationships and added that the problem is not a new one and that it exists in other countries as well.

“A student who is not receiving enough love and care from her family tends to look for love in other students. At first she will admire a girl’s clothes or living standards. After that the relationship deepens and they exchange gifts and perfume to express their admiration for each other,” she said.

Latifa Saleh, a social specialist in Abha, has received at least 10 cases involving girls having strong feelings for other girls. In a phone interview with Arab News, she said that same gender relationships are quite old and that they had become isolated to recently resurface again.

“Families do not pay enough attention to their daughters. Such girls need help and treatment. This is a growing problem that we are now seeing in our schools and colleges,” she said, adding that school administrators need to address the problem and speak to individuals involved. “If that doesn’t work, then they should be transferred to a specialist for treatment.”

Woman preacher Layla Mahran said that such relationships can potentially develop further and become physically intimate. “They are against Islam and considered to be sexually perverse. The relationship between a man and a woman is considered normal and I am talking about marriage here because that is part of human nature. The relationship between a man and a man or a woman and a woman is frowned upon by our religion and considered a big sin.”

Mahran added that the problem is beginning to spread and said that she knows of a teacher who resigned because she was against some of the stuff that was happening inside the high school where she worked.
Subject: Faces of Iran - A Society caught between tradition & modernity

Photo Essays
Feb. 16, 2007
Faces of Iran
If Jane Austen Lived in Tehran
By Azadeh Moaveni/Tehran

While veils are imposed by law, hejab may actually be easing social mobility in the country's once-rigid society. Take marriage, for example
The Kite Maker
Kabul's master crafts high flyers for the movie version of a beloved book
BBC NEWS, February 25, 2007
Islam's Pioneering Women Priests
By Richard Hamilton BBC News, Rabat, Morocco
A radical innovation in the Islamic world has arisen in Morocco - women priests. The Mourchidat, as they are known, are the first women ever in any Muslim country that can perform the functions of a male Imam in a mosque, except lead the prayers.
Fifty Mourchidat have graduated and have now begun their ministries.
However, not everyone agrees with the new appointments.
The Mourchidat will be allowed to lead religious discussions and give advice in their communities - particularly to women.
The only thing they will not be able to do is to lead prayers. That role will still be reserved for male Imams.
In the courtyard of Rabat's biggest mosque - the Sunna mosque - I spoke to Khadija al-Aktami. She is one of the newly qualified Mourchidat.
I asked her why she thought women would be well suited to this new role: "Women make good priests because God has made them more sensitive, merciful and more patient than men!
A woman is a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend, so she will perform well in this role. Besides, no one can understand a woman as well as another woman."
May 16 2003, like September 11, is a date etched in people's minds and synonymous with terror in Morocco.
Forty-one people died in a series of suicide bombings by Islamic fundamentalists in Casablanca. It was partly in response to the Casablanca attacks that the Moroccan government introduced women priests - to promote a more liberal brand of Islam and to counter radicalism.
The Minister of Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Toufiq says the Mourchidat programme was necessary to maintain a healthy society as a preventative measure against terrorism.
"Society is like a human body and the body needs to be looked after: it needs to be fed and its health has to be preserved," he said.
"Terrorism is the extreme example of a serious illness in society. You cannot leave a body until it gets into a crisis. You have to feed the body to avoid it falling into a state of crisis and disease. There are all sorts of measures you can take to prevent a crisis and this is one of them. There is an obligation to do this as a means of prevention."
Control strategy?
Abdelwahed Motawakil, is the Secretary-General of the outlawed Islamist movement, Justice and Charity. His office is constantly being watched by the secret police.
'Justice and Charity' is highly critical of the establishment and is calling for the Moroccan monarchy to be abolished. It also believes that the new women priests are just instruments of government propaganda.
"If you take the idea in the abstract, I must say that it's an excellent idea, because it gives an opportunity for women to participate in an area that has been monopolised by men," he said.
"But if you look a little deeper and analyse the motives, you will find out that it is part of a strategy adopted by the regime to control the religious field and not to leave that field open for their opponents - the Islamists. So they want to control that area and convey their official view of Islam."
Khadija al-Aktami is just starting on her new career as a Mourchidat but some of her colleagues will not be joining her.
They have been discovered to be supporters of Justice and Charity - something that will be viewed as a major embarrassment for the Moroccan government as it tries to combat Islamic extremism.
Beneath the burqas
The world's largest Muslim country is ground zero for a fledgling literary movement whose topic is sex and whose practitioners are women.By Paul WatsonTimes Staff WriterFebruary 25, 2007Bandung, Indonesia — TEACHING high school chemistry, she was the picture of propriety, not an inch of flesh exposed except her hands and a cheerful face framed by a tightly pinned head scarf. Her students were separated according to the Islamic school's strict rules: boys on one side of the class, girls on the other. Lessons stuck to dry theory, like rote explanations of the periodic table and how atoms and molecules bond.But during the school break for the holy month of Ramadan, Dinar Rahayu was free to indulge her fantasies. At a desktop computer, in the middle-class home where she lived with her parents, she wrote a novel whose two main characters think they are incarnations of the god Apollo and a Valkyrie, a Nordic deity. Theirs is a world where women dominate men with abusive sex.It is an explicit story from the start, conjuring scenes of strippers, child rape and sadomasochism. In one of the opening chapter's tamer passages, the skillful strokes of a transsexual named Dinar persuade her lover Jonggi to put down his can of soda and the TV's remote control."I like to be with him," Dinar says of Jonggi. "I do everything to make him happy. And I bet he's happy. I'm sure of it. In fact, he lets my hand slide inside his underpants toward that bulge."Rahayu, 36, is one of a small but bold group of female writers exploring the transgressive edges of sexuality in Indonesia, home of the world's largest Muslim population. The country got a global reputation for prudishness last year when Playboy's debut on the newsstands sparked protests and prosecution. But far edgier work by the country's most provocative female authors is printed without fuss by mainstream publishers, including some of the biggest names in Indonesia's book industry, and widely available in bookstores. Instead of banning or burning the books, government and religious leaders have largely ignored the erotic works, even as some of the best-written race up the bestsellers list.Indonesians' conflicted attitudes toward sex and women play out in the reception of these explicit works. And the books themselves, which range from fumbling attempts at making art out of raw sex to skillfully written, sensual literature, offer rare entrée into the sexual imagination of the modern Muslim woman.They emerged only in the last decade, the first appearing in 1998, the year the Suharto regime collapsed and democracy took hold. Former journalist Ayu Utami led the way with "Saman," a novel that explores women's sexuality and taboos against the backdrop of the oppression of plantation workers. It is considered the quintessence of a genre that some critics have labeled sastra wangi, or "fragrant literature," a term female authors consider patronizing.The market has proven to be hot for the works that have followed Utami's path. Though Indonesian-language fiction rarely sells more than few thousand copies, Djenar Maesa Ayu's "Don't Play (With Your Genitals)," a 2004 collection of 11 short stories, took off. Combined sales of "Don't Play" and another of Ayu's most popular books total almost 42,000 copies.The genre's popularity is inspiring younger writers to take more risks. Ayu said one of her readers started a conversation by e-mail, and while revealing she was a lesbian, said she was determined to be a writer. The woman, whom Ayu declined to identify to protect her against discrimination, recently published her first book."I don't want to look like a hero," Ayu said, "but at least when she started to write and blurt out the burden of her subconscious, it was a relief for me."First impressionsTO those who judge books by their covers, Rahayu would appear an unlikely champion of risqué writing. She met to talk about her novel conservatively dressed in a floral-print head scarf, or hijab, and with loose-fitting, modest clothes that covered her arms and legs. In downtown Bandung, a city about 110 miles southeast of Jakarta, she was in the minority among women wearing hip-hugging jeans, short-sleeved tops and other Western fashions."Every woman, every person in this world — no matter what religion — in their soul they have very unique thoughts," Rahayu said over cold drinks at Starbucks. "Many of my friends also wear this hijab, and they are also restless. If they see something happen that isn't right, they also want to speak out about it."Writing her first novel, "Ode to Leopold von Sacher-Masoch," was a liberating experience for Rahayu, who favors expressing desire instead of suppressing it as evil.Indonesian women don't just talk about "simple, traditional marriage," she said, but about their own sexual desires, how they want to be treated by the men they love. "I guess it's our right to speak about such a thing, our right to feel it about ourselves — not to let it be determined by a creature called husband or boyfriend. We don't have those halo things on our head. We're human."Rahayu's novel hasn't been a bestseller. She's not even sure how many copies have sold because she had a falling-out with her publisher. But Ayu had a breakout hit with "Don't Play (With Your Genitals)," which, despite its title, leaves more to the imagination than Rahayu's novel.The title story is told from the point of view of four characters, each watching a single relationship fall apart. "To say the relationship is only about playing, or worse, pure lust, I firmly refuse," says one. "I know the rule of the game. For a beautiful woman like me, it takes only a few hours to play, from playing with my eyes to playing with genitals. Imagine! How many times can I play in five years?"Hardly blatant, it's still the kind of writing that can set a fundamentalist's blood boiling. Ayu, who was raised in a liberal home by a Muslim father, a famous film director, and Christian mother, a movie star, says she is just writing what is real to Indonesian women of any religion."The reason why I wrote the book is because I think art is a reflection of its time," said Ayu between sips of beer. "There's me, and many other woman writers who dare to talk about that sexuality, which is also a reflection that women nowadays do talk about it in daily conversation. We're not talking only about cooking."She's not worried that her literary success and visibility will make her a tempting target for extremists."If people think I'm weird or radical, I wonder why. I am confused," she said. "Because I think what I do now is very natural. This is nothing. They are radical, not me."To some Indonesians, official indifference toward novels like Ayu and Rahayu's is a sign of maturity for a democracy born less than eight years ago. But Rahayu and her peers suspect Indonesia's moral guardians have left them and their books alone not because they approve but because they haven't paid attention."I guess they don't read literature that much," she said.She and the others think conservatives attack more high-profile symbols, with mass-media visual images of what they consider Western-influenced immorality, such as Playboy, to get more attention."I think it is easier for them to attack people who are more popular," Ayu said. "I believe those people were not doing it because of their religion or because of their faith. They're only looking for money, popularity. So they will attack familiar faces, well-known people."Playboy editor Erwin Arnada went on trial in December under an anti-pornography law, even though the most revealing pictures of the initial Indonesian edition were of women in their underwear. The magazine's contents were "unsuitable for civility and could arouse lust among readers, so they violated feelings of decency," the prosecution alleged. A verdict in the trial, which was closed to the public, is expected this year. Arnada faces up to 32 months in prison if convicted.In 2002, when a small publisher put Rahayu's novel in bookstores, she was afraid of provoking a similar backlash. Her brother had read the manuscript and her tales, such as a boy raped by several women, scared him. Even a third-grade classroom has overtones of sadomasochism in Rahayu's imaginary world. As a boy, Jonggi is obsessed with a math teacher named Ms. Lin. He gets a thrill from thoughts of her disciplining him.Yet when the book went on sale, she didn't hear from scolding mullahs or finger-wagging prosecutors — just literary critics.Helvy Tiana Rosa, a writer and lecturer, complained that Rahayu's sex scenes were so graphic and vulgar that they made her nauseous. To Rosa, the book was more like a manual on sadomasochistic and transsexual behavior, or "cheap pornography" that degrades women, than literature."As a woman, I feel sorry that these novels only raise women's obsession with sex," Rosa wrote. "Of course we don't have to be hypocrites because sex is an important matter for anyone, including women. But don't we need a high-quality novel that contributes something to this falling nation?" Rosa has written 35 books, including novels that focus on human-rights abuses against women in conflict zones such as Aceh or Palestine. When sex comes up, it is in metaphors because otherwise "the literature will lose its soul," she said.Rosa also thinks that as a Muslim, she must write responsibly because "it will be questioned at the end of the day. For me, I am what I write."Ten years ago, Rosa founded a group of writers who offer a clean alternative to what they see as smut, convinced that theirs is a better strategy than burning what offends them. "We fight books with books," she said.A price to payTHE harshest reaction to Rahayu's novel came from the administration at Bandung's SMU Plus Muthahhari, a conservative Islamic high school where she was in her fourth year teaching chemistry to freshmen.Another staff member read the novel and complained to school officials, calling Rahayu "a bad role model." A staff meeting was hastily called to discuss the matter; Rahayu was not invited. "I didn't want to be kicked out, so I resigned," she said.Rahayu says the episode left her traumatized, but she got another job, teaching community college students, and likes the feeling of being a pioneer, exploring the bounds of what society considers proper."If the path is already clear, you don't have to write it," she said. "If it's a gray boundary that not many people would go to, you have to explore that thing. It's hard to define. It's a new frontier to be explored, that gray boundary."But stung by being run out of the Islamic high school, told she had a "pornographic mind" by some critics, Rahayu turned to writing short stories, mainly science fiction spiced with a little sex.When asked if she considers herself an observant Muslim, the author sounded a little adrift, nagged by doubts about whether everything in the Koran is the word of God and what the word "God" actually means. She knows that's a risky thing to admit."Isn't that sad?" she said. "We think different things about God, and then many other people say that it's dangerous and it's not the way we should think about God. He or she knows better than we do. The one who condemns us is not God, but other people. They think they know God better than us."
Assalamo Alaikum,
Just want to share with you a section of Friday sermon worldwide head of Ahmadiyya Community.Recently a politician from Holland, Geert Wilders made extremely crass and malicious comments about Islamic teachings. Whenever such a spate of malice surfaces the Community responds and Huzur said he has instructed the Community in Holland to write to the newspapers expounding the beautiful teaching of Islam. In this day and age it is only the religion of Islam that presents the accurate depiction of God, if one says something against Islam due to lack of knowledge or inaccurate information then it is our task to expound to them the blessed model of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) encompassing all spheres of life. However, if they make the remarks out of malice and wickedness, then we rest our case.
The Dutch politician Wilders, Huzur said, seems to be steeped in malice and ill will. He was born a Catholic but now does not follow any religion. When they do not find any peace from their own religion, they begin attacking Islam. This person is a seasoned objector of Islam and was at the forefront of the Dutch controversy over the veil and has now said that had the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) lived in his country today he would have chased him out (God forbid) calling him an extremist. Huzur said let alone chase him out, little does he realise that this region will be filled with the Prophet’s followers. Explaining Huzur said, how hard the enemies of Islam have tried but they have always have met with failure.

Today it is only the name of this “mercy for mankind” that is called out aloud five times a day in all the parts of the world where Muslims live. The Dutch politician has also remarked that half of the Holy Qur’an (God forbid) needs totorn out and thrown away. Huzur said although this person himself does not follow any religion but he should make comparative study of the scriptures of the religions that he deems better than Islam (Christianity and Judaism) and the Holy Qur’an and if something is still not clear he should ask us. Cautioning against Divine chastisement for those who exceed limits, Huzur explained that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) would be anxious and restless for the salvation of the likes of K. Wilders.
It is a grave responsibility of the Ahmadis to inform the world of the beautiful aspects of the Prophet’s blessed life. Those who allege that his teachings were excessive and militant should be told of the minute humanitarian details in which he trained his followers in the etiquette of battle, that how civilized and enlightened was his protocol for the prisoners of warConversely attention should be drawn to the annihilation of two Japanese cities in World War II, the dreadful effects of which are still being experienced by people and indeed what is being currently perpetrated in Iraq. How would they care to term it?They should be reminded that despite all these atrocities, the teaching of the God of Islam is so beautiful that it states: “Except those who repent, and believe and do good deeds; for as to these, Allah will change their evil deeds into good deeds; and Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful;” (26:71)
Huzur said the current predicaments of the Western world stem from lack of self-reflection, the disintegration of the family life is due to lack of faith in God. Ahmadis, having fully adopted the teachings of the Qur’an should counsel them that they need to desist from their ways; that their survival is in ceasing these attacks on one who was the benefactor for all humanity. Huzur said apart from wars, the world also faces damage from climatic change. The people of Holland say that God created the rest of the world but they created Holland themselves. Huzur cautioned that half of Holland lies below sea level and when storms rage they even reduce mountains to nothing.

TamilNadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, which is the largest socio political advocacy organisation of the Muslims of TamilNadu has decided to organise a rally and demonstration in front of Parliament on March 7, 2007. Thousands of volunteers from deep south will assemble in the Capital and demand the UPA Government to keep up its promise and match its words by deeds. This rally is to demand the following:1. The extension of the Reservation Policy now in vogue in Kerala to the entire country whereby the Muslim community will enjoys separate reservation in Government Jobs and educational opportunities.2. The bifurcation of the 27% OBC quota among advanced OBCs, Hindu MBCs and Muslims in the proportion of their population3. Constitutional amendment to permit the states of India to fix the ceiling of reservation according to their need and thereby remove the 50% cap.4. An one time allocation of Rs. 1 Lakh Crore in the XI Plan for building 1000 Muslim educational Institutions of 1,000 intake capacity each to make up the gap of 31 million Muslims trailing in higher education in next 31 years time5. An annual allocation of Rs. 35 crores for Muslims entre preneurship in training, skills up gradation and certification by launching upto tehsil level programme6. The setting up of the Equal Opportunity Commission as suggested by the Sachar Committee7. To implement the Sachar Committee recommendation on political representation of Muslims from the Panchayat to Parliament level by instituting suitable mechanism whereby the Muslim representation in these bodies will match their populationWe invite our Muslim brethren and all justice loving fellow citizen to join this rally cum demonstration. This rally will be a warning to political parties and reminding them that they cannot get away with mere lip service but have to deliver the goods to remain and retain power. TMMK has won many a battle in TamilNadu through its mass mobilising programmes. We want the experiment to spread throughout the country. Come join us and together Insha Allah we will empower our community and country.Remember MARCH 7, 2007 9 A.M., DELHITAMILNADU MUSLIM MUNNETRA KAZHAGAM
CHENNAI - 600 001
Ph: (044) 25247824, 25233884, 94433 32914
Fax: 25223868
E mail:

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Monday, February 26, 2007
An inside narrative of Naded blast
By Aleem Faizee
Naded Bomb Blast:
On April 06, 2006 midnight at around 01:30 AM a powerful explosion took place in the middle class locality in the Nanded at the residence of RSS worker Laxman Rajkondawar a retired irrigation engineer. The blast killed his son 29-year old Naresh Rajkondawar and 31-year old Himanshu Panse. Three others were seriously injured and one injured Rahul Pande escaped from the site but was later caught by the police.
The blast was so powerful that the bodies of the two persons have turned in pieces and there were severe marks caused on the roof and walls of the rooms. The glasses of the windows were broken and the cooler attached with the window was severely damaged and was thrown some 15 feet away from the window. Blood was found all around with the floor and walls of the rooms all colored with the blood.
The FIR was filed at around 05:00 AM on April 06, 2006 in the morning saying that Naresh, the deceased, had the business of firecrackers and the unsold stock of firecrackers resulted into an explosion due to carelessness and negligence and denied any bomb-making or terrorist activity.
No newspaper had highlighted the gravity of the incident and just reported this blast as some minor blasts caused by the firecrackers as the initial police reports suggested. The otherwise very alert electronic media also did not bother to report this incident.
How the things changed:
Allegedly the police tried to cover up the whole incident by treating it as a minor blast caused by firecrackers. But things started to change very fast. Laxman Rajkondawar at whose residence the blast took place was known to be RSS activist in the locality and a Bajrangdal flag was used to fly high on the top of his house. BJP MP DB Patil, Shiv Sena's Prakash Kaudge and Milind Ektate, VHP's Navin Bhat Thakkar and Bajrangdal's Sanjay Kodge visited the injured. Reportedly this was the first group who visited the hospital immediately after the blast. Their visit only confirmed deceased's affiliation with these organizations. They issued condolence statements and stating that the deceased were active workers of their organizations, participated in their funerals.
The first clear clue came when one of the accused Rahul Pande who was also present at the site and had fled from the site despite injuries, was arrested from Pusad, a nearby city.
Police started their investigations afresh and property search was conducted on the said site along with some other homes of the alleged sympathizers and workers of Sangh Parivar. One live bomb along with ten live rounds of 7.65 mm, generally used in rifles, were found along with the maps highlighting a particular mosque, fake beard and outfits used by Muslim.
Special IG Gupta in a press conference on April 07, 2006 clearly stated that the site was actually used for bomb making and the deceased and the injured were active members of Bajrangdal.
The FIR was also revised and filed again on April 09, 2006 admitting that the place was actually used for bomb making and termed the whole incident as a pre-planned conspiracy. The FIR also said that the bombs were supposed to be used for social destruction of community somewhere and for spreading disturbances between different communities. The FIR also gave the details of the accused and their consequent arrests.
Even after these developments and some strong material as well as circumstantial evidence, it is alleged that police is not taking proper actions and the sections leveled against the accused are such that the accused can get bail easily. It is also alleged that the police is working under pressure and some reports also suggest Sangh leaders warning of dire consequences if any action is taken against the accused. One of the accused Sanjay Choudhary has even admitted receiving the phone calls from his leaders saying not to worry about and the assurance that they would be released very soon.
Things remain the same and police after initial investigations kept silence, demand for independent inquiry of the whole incident grew and the writ petition were filed by some local activist seeking CBI inquiry of the Naded blast.
The Inquiry handed over to ATS:
With the writ petition seeking CBI inquiry already in the High Court ATS started the investigations and Anil J. Tamaichekar, ACP ATS, submitted his report with some very astonishing and mind blowing evidence before the chief judicial magistrate first class.
According to the report filed by Anil J Tamaichekar, the police suspected the role of the above mentioned Sangh Parivar members in the bomb blasts from the diary of one of the suspects Maroti Wagh which contained their details. Apart from this, the police also recovered a photo album, a RSS diary, a cultural newsletter, and various documents belonging to the Sangh Parivar – all proving their affiliations with the organization. These photos were taken when Himanshu visited Aurangabad in 2004 with his friends, including the photograph of the mosque, taken from all sides. The police also recovered a map in which the Aurangabad mosque was marked. The police also recovered fake beard from Himanshu's house.
The Investigating Officer further added that influenced by the radical ideologies of the Sangh, Himanshu along with Manohar Pande started a gymnasium named Power Zone, with sole purpose of attracting Hindu youths and to persuade them to join their movement against the Muslims. Soon after, Himanshu and Wagh opened a Sangh branch in Nanded's Bajrangnagar. Another accused Yogesh started an orphanage under the banner of RSS.
ACP further wrote in his reports that these accused used Hindu festivals like Gudi Padwa (Marathi New Year), Vijay Dashami, Durga Puja, Ganeshotsav, Ram Navami amongst others to propagate anti-Muslim ideologies. They cited instances like killing of cow for meat, terror attacks on Hindu temples like Vaishno Devi and Akshardham.
Soon after the accused received training to handle IEDs by Mithun, Himanshu moved to Goa and underwent training with VHP and Bajrangdal for two years. Then he along with other co-accused Maroti Wagh undertook training at Bhosla Military School Nagpur for 40 days. He returned to Pune in 2003 and executed bomb blast at Mohammadia Masjid, Parbhani.
On wee hours of April 6, they began assembling the bomb at the residence of Laxman Gudya Rajkondawar and Naresh Rajkondawar. After the bomb went off accidentally, the survivors claimed that the blast was due to the firecrackers, for deliberately misguiding the police. They were aware of the danger involved and thus had pre-decided this firecracker theory, which was evident from the fact that the accused had illegally stockpiled large quantity of firecrackers. They had prepared two IEDs from the explosives at their disposal, which was to be used for terrorist activities to inflict maximum casualty, the ACP said in the report.
On April 5, Naresh called up Vinod Kamtikar on mobile number 9822297494. He informed that Maroti Keshav Wagh would be coming to Aurangabad by High Court Express. He told Kamtikar to keep a motorcycle ready for helping in execution of the task. Following this conversation, Kamtikar kept a motorcycle with one Suresh Kadam. Then at around 12.15 am on April 6, Naresh again called up Kamtikar and told him that due to some reasons Maruti Wagh "won't be reaching Aurangabad today but certainly reach tomorrow. So keep the motorcycle ready for tomorrow" the ACP said. This proved that the accused had definite plans for exploding a bomb at some mosque to incite communal tension, he added.
However, the bomb exploded while being assembled. Sources say that possibly the timer bomb clock was mistakenly set at 01.50 am instead of 1.50 pm.
Narco Analysis and Polygraphist Examination:
This shocking fact is revealed from the confessions made by Nanded blast accused during their Narco analysis and brain mapping. The Narco analysis report reveals that the accused were specially trained and funded by VHP and Bajrangdal to execute bomb blasts at mosques in Jalna, Parbhani (2003) and Purna (in 2004). It was also discovered that the bomb, which exploded in the house of a RSS member was meant to be exploded at the Aurangabad Mosque near railway station, after the Friday prayers.
According to the Narco Analysis test report dated 19 July, Forensic Science Laboratory Madivala, Bangalore on Sanjay alias Bhaurao Vithalrao Choudhary, accused in the Parbhani and Nanded blasts had said that he was involved with Himanshu Panse (who died in Nanded blast) with three others Maroti Wagh (injured), Rahul Manohar Pande (injured) and Yogesh Ravindra Widulkar (injured).
All of them received training at Akasha Resort in Sinhagad, Pune in 2003. They were trained in making of three types of bombs for around two-three days.
He further revealed that Himanshu wanted to avenge the deaths of innocent people in terror attacks, which were masterminded by underworld dons Abu Salem and Dawood Ibrahim but they remained elusive. The latter was most pained with the India Gate and Varanasi blasts. In fact the impact of Varanasi blast prompted him to plan blast in Aurangabad. Himanshu thought that only way to take revenge would be to target the Muslim population and by doing so they (suspects) would safeguard Hindutva. Thus they decided to take revenge by executing bomb blasts in Muslim dominated areas, which would kill at least 300-400 Muslims. They would be treated as hijras if they failed to take any action.
The bomb that was prepared in Nanded at the residence of Naresh Laxman Rajkondawar (dead) was meant to trigger blast at Aurangabad. Himanshu was operating on the basis of orders received by him over the cell phone from his superiors. He had a separate SIM card for receiving the orders. Sanjay also revealed that he too got a call from a local Bajrangdal leader named Balaji Pakharea resident of Bajrangnagar, in Nanded. The caller had told him not to feel afraid and will get him released from the jail at the earliest.
In another Narco Analysis report of Nanded blast accused Rahul Manohar Pande said that the all other suspects present in Naresh's house viz Himanshu, Naresh himself, Maroti, Yogesh and Gururaj Jairam Tuptewar (injured) were all his friends. Himanshu was the leader of the group, who prepared the bomb. He told that all the blasts of recent past in the Marathwada region - Jalna, Purna and Parbhani were planned by Himanshu, and he had also accompanied Himanshu for the Jalna blast. They were supported by Nanded-based VHP leader Govind Puranik and Abhay Madhukar and Atul Vinodrao Kamtikar from Aurangabad, all members of RSS, VHP and Bajrangdal combined. He even named top VHP leader Praveen Togadia in his statement saying that Togadia had once visited them and delivered speech. Guru had collected around Rs. 45,000-50,000 to conduct the blasts.
Regarding the preparation of the bombs, Sanjay said during his Narco test that they were trained in Improvised Explosive Device (IED) by one Mithun Chakraworty based in Pune. They were trained in making Pipe Bomb, in which water pipe coupling (similar to one found at Nanded blast site) is cut open and filled with explosives after mixing it with iron pieces and thrown at the target. The second type was thread bomb and the third was timer bomb.
Describing Mithun, he said that Himanshu used to call him as Sir. He was tall, well-built and sported a beard. He also said that Mithun had given a bag containing explosives at the Pune Railway Station, after completion of training.
The Allegations:
However, in spite of all these available evidences, the accused are being treated leniently. "After the initial contradictory statements made by the local police, where initially they said the explosion was due to fire crackers, then changed the statement and called it an explosion due to live bomb. Even no arrests were made in the initial stages. Soon after the blast, the local; authorities rushed in a fire engine which began spraying water inside the house. This was done in spite of the fact that there was no fire as such. Many crucial circumstantial evidence were washed away," says Altaf Ahmed of Majlis Ittehad-Ul-Muslimeen (MIM), Nanded.
Losing faith over the way investigations were being handled by the local police, the MIM appealed to higher authorities seven of the MIM members filed two criminal writ petitions (no 248 and 261) demanding CBI inquiry in the whole incidence. The Government handed over the investigations to ATS, which arrested as many as 21 persons. It sought the permission of District Magistrate for submission of charge sheet against these accused on 29 July.
"Surprisingly the ATS has withdrawn the case as per section 69 of CRPC, against 11 accused persons just two weeks after it sought the permission for filing the charge sheet against 21 accused stating unavailability of adequate evidence against the accused. Hence the role of ATS is also doubtful now," Altaf says.
Altaf further adds that during the investigations, material evidence has been recovered from the 11 accused for whom the ATS had pleaded for discharge. False charge sheet was filed on 24 August before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nanded.
Questioning the motive of ATS, Altaf says that in spite of clearly stating that the accused were involved in terrorist activities and were also history sheeters. Instead of booking the accused under MCOCA and National Security Act, they were charged under such sections in which they can be set free easily.
On representation to higher authorities by way of representation dated May 9 and June 27, the Prime Minister's Office issued "necessary directions vide outward No. 14/03/2006-PMP-4/82968 dated July 20 to Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra and directions by the Deputy Secretary to the Governor (Maharashtra State) to the Deputy Secretary to the Government, Home Department, Mantralaya Mumbai vide No GSA/03/2006/1957 dated July 31 (all documents available with, the officials have not yet taken any cognizance and they have chosen to remain silent in the matter.
Now even the hopes of CBI inquiry has been dashed as the premiere investigating agency replying to a writ petition filed by one Saleem Ahmed, before the High Court Aurangabad bench, has in an affidavit expressed its inability to conduct the inquiry. "The CBI is already overburdened and have limited hands to deal with such cases if entrusted by this honorable court," Surinder Paul, Superintendent of Police, CBI, Special Crime Branch, Navi Mumbai said in the affidavit.
Incensed with this approach by CBI, Altaf says, "The point raised by CBI that it is overburdened and has limited hands to deal with such case is most irrelevant. And this cannot be a valid ground to discard the relief to the petitioners for investigating the case through CBI. Also, the Bench was yet to declare its verdict regarding handing over the investigations to CBI and it was not the party in this case. Yet, they submitted the affidavit before the court. Filing such a suo moto affidavit without notice of Honorable High Court is also highly objectionable in a pending judicial proceeding. This shows nothing but an effort to support the tardy investigation being conducted by the state police and ATS."
Subject: "Muslim vs. Muslim" in Canada: CBC Radio report on threats and bullying inside the Muslim community

Last week, Canada's public broadcaster, CBC Radio aired a series called "Censor This" about censorship around the world in music, literature, art and the media.On Wednesday, the series turned to the question of censorship and bullying tactics inside the Muslim communities in Canada.

The CBC report began by saying::

"Usually, when we talk about journalists being threatened for what they write or broadcast, we're talking about places other than Canada. But today we aired a story of how powerful forces of censorship are actively at work here at home ... a story that begins two years ago with the debate over Sharia law. We heard from some Canadian Muslims with their divergent views on a proposal to allow Sharia law arbitration decisions to be legally enforceable in the settlement of divorce and custody issues for Muslims living in Ontario. ...But the debate revealed a deep divide within the Muslim community and accusations from some in the community that their voices were being suppressed and they were even facing threats."

Here is that report by Sandra Bartlett that aired on the CBC Radio's The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti, highlighting the bullying that some Muslims face at the hands of their Islamist detractors.CBC Radio: The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti

You will need the Real Player application to hear this report. If you don't have RealPlayer on your system, the application is available free of cost at:Download RealPlayer
Evidence against Muslim charity appears fabricated
An official summary of an FBI-wiretapped conversation contains anti-Semitic slurs that do not appear in the actual transcript.By Greg KrikorianTimes Staff WriterFebruary 25, 2007When the Bush administration shut down the nation's largest Muslim charity five years ago, officials of the Dallas-based foundation denied allegations it was linked to terrorists and insisted that a number of accusations were fabricated by the government.Now, attorneys for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development say the government's own documents provide evidence of that claim. In recent court filings, defense lawyers disclosed striking discrepancies between an official summary and the verbatim transcripts of an FBI-wiretapped conversation in 1996 involving Holy Land officials.The summary attributes inflammatory, anti-Semitic comments to Holy Land officials that are not found in a 13-page transcript of the recorded conversation. It recently was turned over to the defense by the government in an exchange of evidence.Citing the unexplained discrepancies, defense lawyers have asked U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish in Dallas to declassify thousands of hours of FBI surveillance recordings, so that full transcripts would replace government summaries as evidence.The demand could force government prosecutors to either declassify evidence it has fought to keep secret or risk losing a critical portion of evidence in its case.In December, the judge denied a defense request to declassify the documents so they could be examined by defendants in the case. Seven former foundation officials, six of them U.S. citizens, have been charged with funneling money to overseas charities controlled by Hamas, which the U.S. has designated as a foreign terrorist organization. The defendants have denied the charges.Though defense attorneys already have government clearances that allow them to review the material, under the federal Classified Information Procedures Act they have been prohibited from sharing it with their clients. And unless the act's rules are declared unconstitutional in the case, defense attorneys argue, the defendants will have no way of proving that the statements attributed to them were misconstrued or never made.The recently declassified summary of surveillance on April 15, 1996, asserts that during a conversation wiretapped by the FBI, Holy Land's former executive director Shukri Abu Baker told two associates there was no need to worry about the foundation being unfairly targeted because U.S. courts were not under the control of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or its sponsor, "the government of the demons of Israel."The summary portrays Baker as raging against "the Jews of the world" and as claiming that Jews have no allegiance to anything but "their pockets and to preserving the illegal Zionist state of Israel."Additional anti-Semitic comments the FBI summary attributed to Baker or Ghassan Elashi, Holy Land's former board chairman, included:• "Their [Jews'] only purpose here in the U.S. is to purchase as many politicians as possible and to warp the way the American Christians feel and think not just about the Christian religion but mainly about the Palestinian people … and to rob as much money as possible from American taxpayers for the illegitimate excuse of protecting and preserving the chosen people of God."• "Even Jesus Christ had called the Jews and their high priests … the sons of snakes and scorpions."• "I am confident that in the end justice, and not the Jews, will prevail. I believe that there is still justice in America."None of those quotes was contained in a 13-page transcript of the conversation, defense lawyers said in their motion to expand access to classified evidence."Throughout the run-up to trial, the government has insisted that the defendants can learn what is contained in the [surveillance] intercepts by reading the so-called 'summaries' of those intercepts," defense attorneys said in their papers.But the recently disclosed transcript, attorneys said, shows that "not only are the summaries so inaccurate and misleading as to be useless," but that the "author of the attached summary has cynically and maliciously attributed to the defendants racist invective and inculpatory remarks the defendants never uttered.""It is appalling that such summaries even exist, much less that the government represented that this is all our clients need to know in order to defend themselves."Defense lawyers declined to comment about their motion. A federal prosecutor said the government would respond with its own filings to the court.How the summary and transcript could be so different was unclear, though experts in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act arena theorized that its top-secret nature may have led some analysts to believe that the work product would never be publicly disclosed, much less entered into evidence in a trial. Because the court records are heavily redacted, it could not be determined who provided the summaries of the FBI wiretaps.Other alleged discrepancies also have dogged the case. Holy Land lawyers challenged the accuracy of an FBI memo, for example, that quoted a foundation office manager as telling Israeli authorities that charitable funds were "channeled to Hamas."But defense lawyers told the court the translation from Arabic to Hebrew to English distorted the official's original statement, and that he should have been quoted as saying, "We have no connection to Hamas."The Holy Land Foundation was closed weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The action followed years of efforts by Israel and many pro-Israeli groups in the U.S. to close the foundation on the grounds that it was a fundraising front for Hamas.The former Holy Land officials facing trial are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists by sending money, goods and services to Palestinian charities controlled by Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group since

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.