Friday, January 23, 2009

Holocaust and Genocides event - Sunday in Dallas


Our Mission is to create awareness of the inhumanity in all of us, and discover and create solutions for peaceful co-existence. We need to remind ourselves frequently to do our share to make the world a better place to live, vow to say “never again” to human atrocities, and at this annual occasion dare to practice the power of forgiveness.

Day: Sunday, January 25, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Place: UNITY CHURCH OF DALLAS, 6525 Forest Lane • Dallas, TX 75230
Contact: Mike Ghouse (214) 325-1916


Dallas Morning News:

Details - Press release:

Mike Ghouse,
Event Chair (214) 325-1916

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Liberal Muslims' Double Jeopardy

Liberal Muslims' Double Jeopardy

Note by Mike:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009
“Liberal Muslims’ Double Jeopardy - Militant Mullahs and the Angry West”

This is a guest post by Taj Hashmi, whose recent move to the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies was Canada's loss. Hashmi was among the 11 prominent Canadian Muslim intellectuals who signed this declaration [pdf] against Islamist despotism and for free speech a couple of years ago. His perspective, especially on the degenerate-left postures counseled by the counterculture icon Tariq Ali, provides a useful buttress to this analysis, by Toronto's Imtiaz Baloch. In considering the recent work of Canada's Tarek Fatah, Hashmi points to a phenomenon that is rarely acknowledged in the "west," and in Canada, almost never. That's why it's here.

Despite the prevalent Western misgivings about the bona fides of the Muslims as peace-loving, normal human beings, the impassive facts remain unaltered: the Muslim community is neither an amorphous monolith nor are the overwhelming majority of Muslims supportive of terror and violence in the name of their religion.

Again, what often goes unnoticed is the rising voice of the liberal Muslim throughout the world. Liberal Muslims – irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds, differences in their political ideologies, levels of education and devotion to their faith – across the board, especially since Nine-Eleven, have been registering their contempt for the so-called ideology of jihad which promotes murder and terror, including suicide attacks on Muslim or non-Muslim non-combatants and innocent people anywhere in the world. Not only modern-educated, well-to-do and middle class Muslims represent the liberal stream, but the bulk of the orthodox and conservative clerics, sufis, shopkeepers, peasants and artisans who adhere to Islam may also be categorized as liberal and peaceful.

Nevertheless, liberal Muslims do not always reap the right harvest. While militant mullahs and terrorists despise and often attack them physically for opposing Islamism and terror, Western media, intellectuals and policymakers in general either ignore them as irrelevant, and even worse, portray them as silent or potential supporters of Islamist terror. Of late, a few leftist Muslim intellectuals (often agnostic and atheistic) have been romanticizing and glorifying Islamists, including the Taliban, as the last bastions of anti-imperialist freedom fighters. Then again, sticking to their guns, the more numerous and influential liberal Muslims have been denigrating both the Islamists – including the ultra-orthodox Saudi and Iranian regimes, al Qaeda and Taliban – and Western highhandedness and even cynical promotion of Islamism and autocracy in the Muslim World.

In view of the above, Canadian Muslim author and founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, Tarek Fatah has raised his voice both against Islamism and imperialism posing the question of whether liberal and secular Muslims can work together to neutralize the militant mullah and his angry and uninformed counterpart in the West. His recent lecture at the Family of Hearts convention in Toronto on January 11, 2009, “The Challenge of Fundamentalism and Imperialism: Can Secular and Liberal Muslims Work Together?” was simply inspiring and dazzling; worth wide circulation among liberal Muslims and non-Muslims for the sake of peace and order in our life time. As renowned Muslim and non-Muslim scholars have endorsed Fatah’s moderate and conciliatory views as expressed in his book on the mythical “Islamic State”, so are they full of praise for this lecture.

As Fatah has stipulated in the lecture, it is time Muslims across the board realize that as Western imperialism is baneful to human progress and global peace so is the dogma of hate and intolerance that invokes Muslims to hate everything the West represents through democratic and secular values. Most importantly, Tarek’s razor-sharp critique of some leftist intellectuals condoning Taliban atrocities and portraying them as merely “Pushtoon nationalists” is very timely and insightful. He has aptly cited the yawning gap between the “indigenous” and “foreign” secular/liberal/leftist Muslim perceptions of the so-called Global Jihad.

While the former group of Muslim intellectuals, due to their first-hand experience of Islamist terror and intolerance in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries consider the Islamists as backward-looking monsters, their secular/liberal counterparts mostly living in the West, romanticize the Islamists simply as “friends” out of sheer lopsided logic and understanding. He has rightly singled out Pervez Hoodbhoy and Tariq Ali as representatives of the “indigenous” and “foreign” Muslim secular/liberal intellectuals, respectively.

Considering all enemies of your enemy as friends could at most be cynical, at worst counterproductive and dangerous, so goes the main thrust of Fatah’s argument. As innocent victims of Western imperialism in Iran and Afghanistan have been suffering today for preferring Islamists as lesser evils to the pro-Western Shah and pro-Soviet communists respectively, Tarek’s warning is very pertinent and timely, especially for the secular/liberal Muslims in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh. He has appropriately congratulated Pakistani and Bangladeshi (Muslim) voters for their en masse rejection of mullahs as their representatives. What he wants to see in the Muslim secular/liberal camps is solidarity against all forms of imperialism, intolerance and terror, Western and Islamist.

Registering his contempt for many Westernized bourgeoisie in Pakistan, who in his inimitable style, are “infatuated by the Islamists, romanticizing them in the same way a yuppie drives a BMW while wearing a Che T-shirt”, Fatah has provided an eye-opener for us all. His citing Hoodbhoy to warn the unaware is incisive: “A Taliban victory would transport us into the darkest of dark ages. These fanatics dream of transforming the country [Pakistan] into a religious state where they will be the law. They stone women to death, cut off limbs, kill doctors for administering polio shots, force girl-children into burqa, threaten beard-shaving barbers with death…. Even flying kites is a life-threatening sin.”

One could not agree more with his insightful syllogism drawn from the lessons of history:

Thus when Japan attacked the US, its anti-American stance could not be and was never understood to driven by an anti-imperialist doctrine. Similarly, when Hitler’s Panzer divisions fought advancing American and British troops in Western Europe, only a fool would have placed Nazi Germany into the camp of anti-imperialism.

Today, just because the Taliban or Hezbollah or Iran attack Americans or blow up their embassies and fly planes into the New York Towers, does not mean their anti-Americanism translates into anti-imperialism [italics mine].

Tarek Fatah has demolished the Trotskyist Tariq Ali’s position that Islamist Iran could be considered as “anti-imperialist” while the country practices “unbridled capitalism”, where even the sea ports are privatized and trade unions banned. He has appropriately cited Mark Twain as an example of anti-imperialist intellectual in 19th century America, lamenting the fact that there are not that many Mark Twains [let alone a Bertrand Russell or a Noam Chomsky] in the Muslim World; and hardly any voice among Arab Muslims to speak out against “the occupation by Arab countries of Kurdistan, Western Sahara and dare I say, Darfur.” He is also critical of Pakistan’s sixty-year old military operations in Baluchistan.

His “maverick” (from the conservative Muslim view point) albeit constructive ideas for a rapprochement between the Western and Muslim worlds are timely and commendable. His bridge-building ideas are noteworthy: “The Western tradition is not Western in any essential sense, but only through an accident of geography and history. Indeed, Islamic learning provided an important resource for both the Renaissance and the development of science [in the West]. The ideas we call ‘Western’ are in fact universal, laying the basis for greater human flourishing.”

The inherent optimism in Fatah’s writings about secular/liberal Muslims uniting to fight Western hegemony without compromising with the Islamists in the long run is noteworthy. One may cite his path breaking book, Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State (Wiley, Toronto 2008), in this regard. His stern warning against supporting the Islamists who in the name of fighting the West (which has been both hypocritical and opportunistic) want to establish fascism in the name of religion is very well-timed and laudable. Most definitely, Tarek Fatah is the voice of “liberal Islam” – for Muslim regeneration, enlightenment, progress and above all, “peace within and peace without”, the cardinal principle of Islam.

- Taj Hashmi.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

PR on Second Annual “Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides"

II Annual Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides
Sunday, January 25, 2009 5:00 PM - 7:15 PM
Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance
211 N. Record St. Suite 100,
Dallas, TX 75202-3361

Admission is free - Your are invitedLimited Seating -
Please RSVP to:

You may become a part of the history as this event is a stepping stone towards Peace in the Middle east.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

HR 34 : Are we pleasing the lobbyists or the people?

HR 34 : Are we pleasing the lobbyists or the people?
HR 34 : Are we pleasing the lobbyists or the people?The question is about the House Resolution 34 which “barely mentions the human suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.”We are the most powerful nation on the earth and Israel is the most powerful nation in the Middle East, both of us can decide whatever we want. Who will question us?


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Holocaust in Gaza | Hypocrisy of U.S.-Israeli Acts

Two articles below my comments
1) Holocaust in Gaza
2) Hypocrisy of U.S. Israeli Acts of Terrorism

The stereotyping of "all Arabs" or "all Jews" are alike is a shameful categorization. No, they are as individualistic as Americans, Indians or any one. The silent majority of them go on about their lives letting a few evil men continue with their destructive actions, there Jewish and Arab Organizations whose wisdom seeks justice, the seed for peace.

The world puts Zionism in the same category as Islamists, Neocons, Hindutvadis and other groups, but they claim their role is to "seek and preserve" their heritage, where as the world sees them as extremists bent on "annihilation" of the others through devious means. You can trace all the world problems to them, the causers of conflicts. I believe not all of them are bad boys, only a few of them are, and the world needs to come to grips with it and laser point to those individuals who give birth to conflicts. They can be rehabilitated if only they know that peace comes through justice for all, and not advantages to one over the other.

Justice is the key to peace and placing responsibility on individuals will be the first step towards bringing justice to one and all.

Mike Ghouse

Rohini Hensman

In February 2008, Israel's Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai warned that if Hamas continued firing rockets, they would bring upon themselves a 'bigger shoah,' the word used by Israelis to refer to the Nazi genocide or holocaust. This statement came in the wake of attacks on Gaza which left 32 Palestinians dead, including eight children, the youngest a six-month-old baby. These regular attacks, combined with a blockade which deprived Palestinians in Gaza of food, fuel, potable water, medicines and educational materials, was the slow-motion shoah which had been taking place up to December 27. The full-scale bombing which began on that date is surely the 'bigger shoah' promised by Vilnai, and, according to Israeli reports, it was being planned as long back as February (1).

There were demonstrations against the Israeli bombing by outraged protestors throughout the world as the Palestinian death toll climbed to more than 300 in as many days, but Palestinians in Gaza felt that the international community were acting as mere spectators to the massacre. They were right. Protest demonstrations are not enough to stop a holocaust. Even less effective are sanctimonious statements by the UN and EU equating one Israeli life to more than a hundred Palestinian lives, which make the outright support for the massacre by George W. Bush almost attractive in its honesty. So what can we do?

Debunking Myths

The first necessity is to debunk myths that have successfully been used to vitiate all previous actions against Israel. Firstly, the myth that the founding of the Zionist state has anything to do with the Nazi genocide. In fact, the project was conceived decades before the Nazi holocaust, and was a straightforward colonial agenda in which European settlers would evict indigenous Third World people from their land and take it over. Gandhi saw this very clearly, which is why he refused to give the Zionists his support when they approached him, despite his sympathy for persecuted Jews (2).

The second myth is that criticism of or opposition to the Zionist state of Israel constitutes anti-Semitism, and is an attack on all Jews. This is not true; indeed, Jews are among the most trenchant critics not only of Israeli atrocities, but also of the whole idea of a Zionist state. The notion that Judaism and Zionism are one and the same is shared by anti-Semites and Zionists; the former assume that all Jews are responsible for the crimes of the Zionists, while the latter assume that all condemnation of Zionist crimes constitutes an attack on Jews. These assumptions, equally reprehensible, are simply two sides of the same coin.

The third myth is that there was ever a possibility of a two-state solution. There were two models of settler-colonialism debated by the Zionists. One model, supported by very few, was the South African one, where the indigenous Palestinians, though evicted from their land and herded into Bantustans, would be allowed to remain in the country. The majority view was that the indigenous population should be eliminated, like the indigenous peoples of North America and Australia. To this end, massacres were carried out to terrorise the population into leaving, a process then known as 'transfer of population' and now as 'ethnic cleansing', and ever since the Nuremburg trials considered to be a crime against humanity (3). Both sides saw Israel as swallowing up the whole of Palestine, and one look at a map of Palestine/Israel today shows that this has now been achieved, with the Apartheid wall carving up the West Bank into ghettos, while the very fact that Israel could blockade the Gaza strip so effectively shows that it, too, is nothing more than a ghetto.

If Israel controls the non-contiguous borders, the coastal waters, the ground water and air space of the proposed 'Palestinian state', if the people of Gaza can be starved and bombed simply because they exercised their franchise to elect a government which the Israeli state did not approve of, there could be no clearer proof that Palestinian self-determination is not an option so long as the Zionist regime remains. The struggle, therefore, is not for a separate Palestinian state but, as in Apartheid South Africa, for one democratic state with equal rights for all in the whole of historical Palestine. This would solve the problem of the second-class status of Palestinian citizens of Israel, the need for self-determination for Palestinians in the territories occupied in 1967, and the right of return of Palestinian refugees, all without driving Israeli Jews out of the country. It is the only possible solution (4).

The fourth myth is that Israel attacks Palestinians in self-defense. Take the most recent massacre, for example: it is claimed by Israel, and repeated by other politicians and the media, that it was Hamas which broke the ceasefire. Yet a careful scrutiny of ceasefire violations shows that once Hamas defeated Fatah and took control of the Gaza strip, violations from its side dropped almost to zero, until Israel broke the ceasefire by an air attack and ground invasion on November 4. Furthermore, throughout the ceasefire Israel implemented a siege and naval blockade of Gaza, defined as acts of war in international law. So it was Israel which broke the ceasefire in an act of aggression, and the legally elected Hamas government of Palestine which was acting in self-defence (5). This means that in international law, the murder of each one of the over 550 Palestinians killed in the most recent massacre, whether the vast majority of civilians or the small minority of guerrilla fighters, is a crime equivalent to the crime of killing one Israeli civilian.

Indeed, even before the December onslaught, it was clear that what Israel was doing in Gaza amounted to genocide according to the Genocide Convention (1948), reiterated in the Rome Charter of the International Criminal Court (2002), which includes: '(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part' (6). The launching of rockets into Israel by Hamas was, like the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, a response to impending extermination: a desperate bid for survival. The Zionists' hostility to anyone standing up for the rights of Palestinians led them in 1948 to murder Count Folke Bernadotte, who had negotiated the release of tens of thousands of prisoners from German concentration camps and was subsequently appointed UN Security Council mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict. More recently, their shameful abuse of Richard Falk, UNHRC Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestine (himself an American Jew), who in December 2008 was denied entry, ill-treated and deported, suggests that only pragmatic considerations prevented them from assassinating him too (7).

What Needs to be Done?

According to twenty-one human rights activists (including Jews) from South Africa visiting the West Bank in July 2008, the situation in Palestine/Israel was 'worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of the apartheid, the racism and the brutality, are worse than the worst period of apartheid;' 'What we went through was terrible, terrible, terrible – and yet there is no comparison. Here it is more terrible' (8). An international response at least as strong as the response to Apartheid South Africa therefore seems to be appropriate, and this is constituted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel called for by Palestinian civil society groups on 9 July 2005, to be continued until the apartheid regime is replaced by a democratic one. This includes cultural, academic and sports boycotts, and a consumer boycott of Israeli goods (barcode starting with 729), as well as a boycott of companies investing in, sourcing from, or otherwise supporting Israel, and pressure on them to change their policies. It would also include pressure on governments to break off diplomatic, economic and military ties with Israel, pointing out that these constitute complicity with Israel's crimes (9).

There should be extra pressure on openly collaborationist regimes, like those of Mahmoud Abbas, Hosni Mubarak, and the Arab allies of Israel, which ought to be made to feel that their people will reject them unless they cease their complicity in Israeli crimes. Enormous pressure would also have to be brought to bear on the US, which assists Israel with billions of dollars annually as well as other forms of support. Given the indications that no change in US policy towards Palestine and Israel is planned by Barack Obama's administration, the pressure should begin immediately, before his inauguration. And pressure from within the US should be augmented by international pressure.

The US economy is in deep crisis, with more than $ 10 trillion of national debt, and the only reason it can keep bankrolling Israel is that the US dollar is treated as world currency and oil sales are denominated in it, so the US has been getting more or less unlimited credit from the rest of the world. Russia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries must be pressurised into supporting the rights of Palestinians by immediately denominating their oil sales in euro, in preparation for moving to roubles in the case of Russia, and a common Gulf currency in the case of the GCC countries. Countries like China and Japan, with their massive US dollar reserves, should make the extension of further credit conditional on the US ceasing to fund Israel as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and countries with smaller dollar reserves should shift their reserves to other currencies. Such a move is required not only by ethical considerations, but also by pragmatic ones: if the credit extended is used to rebuild the US economy, there is a chance that it might be returned, whereas if it is used to fund aggression against Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, it will never be returned. In this campaign, very little individual action is possible, and success would depend on putting collective pressure on governments to boycott the US dollar until the US ceases to engage in and support imperialist aggression. With very few exceptions, governments of the world are complicit in the atrocities being committed in Gaza, just as they were in the crushing of the Warsaw ghetto uprising (10), and strong public pressure would be needed to expose, condemn and end their complicity.

The myths enumerated above need to challenged in every forum, along with the more diffuse racism that constitutes their premise. We may disagree with the politics of Hamas, just as we may disagree with the politics of the British Labour Party, but it does not follow that we should condone the slaughter of all leaders and members of Hamas, their families, government employees, and random members of the Palestinian population which elected them to power, any more than we would condone the slaughter of all leaders and members of the Labour Party, their families, government employees, and random members of the British population which elected them to power. The fact that the US and EU cannot see this equivalence demonstrates that they are dominated by the same racism which allowed slavery to flourish and the indigenous peoples of North America and Australia to be exterminated. Where Black people are killing Black people, as in Rwanda, or White people are killing White people, as in Bosnia, there is a chance that the UN may take action, however weak and belated. But where White people are killing Third World peoples, as in Palestine, there is no hope that it will take any action unless citizens of the world put massive pressure on their governments to support a solution which can bring justice and peace to Palestine/Israel. It is good that there have been worldwide protests against the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, but a ceasefire would be no better than putting a sticking plaster over a festering wound, which will only erupt again sooner or later. The wound cannot heal until the infection has been eliminated by replacing the Apartheid state with a democratic one, and long-term, concerted action is required to achieve that goal.


(1) 'Israeli minister warns of Palestinian 'holocaust', Guardian, 29 February 2008,

(2) A.K.Ramakrishnan, 'Mahatma Gandhi Rejected Zionism,' The Wisdom Fund, 15 August 2001,

(3) The debates as well as the methods by which the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was achieved are meticulously recorded in Ilan Pappe's The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2007

(4) See the One Democratic State Group website at

(5) 'On Sderot and Ashkelon,' Jews sans Frontiers, 30 December 2008,

(6) For this argument see Ilan Pappe, 'Genocide in Gaza, Ethnic Cleansing In the West Bank, 28 January 2008,

(7) Stephen Lendman, 'Obama v. Richard Falk on Israel and Occupied Palestine,' Countercurrents, 24 December 2008,

(8) Gideon Levy, 'Twilight Zone / "Worse than Apartheid",' Haaretz, 12 July 2008,

(9) For details of the BDS campaign, see Global BDS Movement – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine, The website of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) also has suggestions for action, including signing a petition in support of UN General Assembly President Miguel D'Escoto Brockmann, who has spoken out to condemn Israeli apartheid and called for boycott, divestment and sanctions Information about companies linked to Israel can also be found in the Boycott Apartheid Israel leaflet published by the Friends of Al Aqsa at

(10) See Joseph Massad, 'The Gaza Ghetto Uprising,' The Electronic Intifada, 4 January 2009,

# # # ## #

Jack Stone, read these "lies"!

The Long and Bloody Hypocrisy of U.S.-Israeli Acts of Terrorism
By Robert Parry

Israel, a nation that was born out of Zionist terrorism, has launched massive airstrikes against targets in Gaza using high-tech weapons produced by the United States, a country that often has aided and abetted terrorism by its client military forces, such as Chile's Operation Condor and the Nicaraguan contras, and even today harbors right-wing Cuban terrorists implicated in blowing up a civilian airliner.

Yet, with that moral ambiguity excluded from the debate, the justification for the Israeli attacks, which have killed at least 364 people, is the righteous fight against "terrorism," since Gaza is ruled by the militant Palestinian group, Hamas.

Hamas rose to power in January 2006 through Palestinian elections, which ironically the Bush administration had demanded. However, after Hamas won a parliamentary majority, Israel and the United States denounced the outcome because they deem Hamas a "terrorist organization."

Hamas then wrested control of Gaza from Fatah, a rival group that once was considered "terrorist" but is now viewed as a U.S.-Israeli partner, so it has been cleansed of the "terrorist" label.

Unwilling to negotiate seriously with Hamas because of its acts of terrorism -- which have included firing indiscriminate short-range missiles into southern Israel -- the United States and Israel sat back as the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza worsened, with 1.5 million impoverished Palestinians packed into what amounts to a giant open-air prison.

When Hamas ended a temporary cease-fire on Dec. 19 because of a lack of progress in those negotiations and began lobbing its little missiles into Israel once more, the Israeli government reacted on Saturday with its lethal "shock and awe" firepower -- even though no Israelis had been killed by the post-cease-fire missiles launched from Gaza. [Since Saturday, four Israelis have died in more intensive Hamas missile attacks.]

Israel claimed that its smart bombs targeted sites related to the Hamas security forces, including a school for police cadets and even regular policemen walking down the street. But it soon became clear that Israel was taking an expansive view of what was part of the Hamas military infrastructure, with Israeli bombs taking out a television station and a university building as well as killing a significant number of civilians.

As the slaughter continued on Monday, Israeli officials confided to Western journalists that the war plan was to destroy the vast support network of social and other programs that undergird Hamas's political clout.

"There are many aspects of Hamas, and we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel," a senior Israeli military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post.

"Hamas's civilian infrastructure is a very, very sensitive target," added Matti Steinberg, a former top adviser to Israel's domestic security service. "If you want to put pressure on them, this is how." [Washington Post, Dec. 30, 2008]

Since the classic definition of "terrorism" is the use of violence against civilians to achieve a political goal, Israel would seem to be inviting an objective analysis that it has chosen its own terrorist path. But it is clearly counting on the U.S. news media to continue wearing the blinders that effectively limit condemnations about terrorism to people and groups that are regarded as Washington's enemies.

Whose Terrorism?

As a Washington-based reporter for the Associated Press in the 1980s, I once questioned the seeming bias that the U.S.-based wire service applied to its use of the word "terrorist" when covering Middle East issues. A senior AP executive responded to my concerns with a quip. "Terrorist is the word that follows Arab," he said.

Though meant as a lighthearted riposte, the comment clearly had a great deal of truth to it. It was easy to attach "terrorist" to any Arab attack -- even against a military target such as the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 after the Reagan administration had joined hostilities against Muslim forces by having U.S. warships lob shells into Lebanese villages.

But it was understood that different rules on the use of the word "terrorism" applied when the terrorism was coming from "our side." Then, no American reporter with any sense of career survival would think of injecting the word "terrorist" whatever the justification.

Even historical references to acts of terrorism -- such as the brutal practice by American revolutionaries in the 1770s of "tar and feathering" civilians considered sympathetic to the British Crown or the extermination of American Indian tribes -- were seen as somehow diluting the moral righteousness against today's Islamic terrorists and in favor of George W. Bush's "war on terror."

Gone, too, from the historical narrative was the fact that militant Zionists employed terrorism as part of their campaign to establish Israel as a Jewish state. The terrorism included killings of British officials who were administering Palestine under an international mandate as well as Palestinians who were driven violently from their land so it could be claimed by Jewish settlers.

One of the most famous of those terrorist attacks was the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem where British officials were staying. The attack, which killed 91 people including local residents, was carried out by the Irgun, a terrorist group run by Menachem Begin who later founded the Likud Party and rose to be Israel's prime minister.

Another veteran of the campaign of Zionist terrorism was Yitzhak Shamir, who also became a Likud leader and eventually prime minister.

In the early 1990s, as I was waiting to interview Shamir at his Tel Aviv office, I was approached by one of his young female assistants who was dressed in a gray and blue smock with a head covering in the traditional Hebrew style.

As we were chatting, she smiled and said in a lilting voice, "Prime Minister Shamir, he was a terrorist, you know." I responded with a chuckle, "yes, I'm aware of the prime minister's biography."

Blind Spot

To maintain one's moral purity in denouncing acts of terror by U.S. enemies, one also needs a large blind spot for recent U.S. history, which implicates U.S. leaders repeatedly in tolerance or acts of terrorism.

For instance, in 1973, after a bloody U.S.-backed coup overthrew the leftist Chilean government, the new regime of Gen. Augusto Pinochet joined with other South American dictatorships to sponsor an international terrorist organization called Operation Condor which assassinated political dissidents around the world.

Operation Condor mounted one of its most audacious actions on the streets of Washington in 1976, when Pinochet's regime recruited Cuban-American terrorists to detonate a car bomb that killed Chile's former foreign minister Orlando Letelier and an American co-worker, Ronni Moffitt. The Chilean government's role immediately was covered up by the CIA, then headed by George H.W. Bush. [For details, see Robert Parry's Secrecy & Privilege.]

Only weeks later, a Venezuela-based team of right-wing Cubans -- under the direction of Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles -- blew a Cubana Airliner out of the sky, killing 73 people. Bosch and Posada, a former CIA operative, were co-founders of CORU, which was described by the FBI as "an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization."

Though the U.S. government soon learned of the role of Bosch and Posada in the Cubana airline attack -- and the two men spent some time in a Venezuelan jail -- both Bosch and Posada since have enjoyed the protection of the U.S. government and particularly the Bush Family.

Rebuffing international demands that Bosch and Posada be held accountable for their crimes, the Bushes -- George H.W., George W. and Jeb -- have all had a hand in making sure these unrepentant terrorists get to live out their golden years in the safety and comfort of the United States.

In the 1980s, Posada even crossed over into another U.S.-backed terrorist organization, the Nicaraguan contras. After escaping from Venezuela, he was put to work in 1985 by Oliver North's contra-support operation run out of Ronald Reagan's National Security Council.

The Nicaraguan contras were, in effect, a narco-terrorist organization that partially funded its operations with proceeds from cocaine trafficking, a secret that the Reagan administration worked hard to conceal along with the contras' record of murder, torture, rape and other crimes in Nicaragua. [See Parry's Lost History.]

President Reagan joined, too, in fierce PR campaigns to discredit human rights investigators who documented massive atrocities by U.S. allies in Central America in the 1980s -- not only the contras, but also the state terrorism of the Salvadoran and Guatemalan security forces, which engaged in wholesale slaughters in villages considered sympathetic to leftist insurgents.

Generally, the major U.S. news outlets treaded very carefully when allegations arose about terrorism by "our side."

When some brave journalists, like New York Times correspondent Raymond Bonner, wrote about politically motivated killings of civilians in Central America, they faced organized retaliation by right-wing advocacy groups which often succeeded in damaging or destroying the reporters' careers.

Double Standards

Eventually, the American press corps developed an engrained sense of the double standards. Moral outrage could be expressed when acts of terrorism were committed by U.S. enemies, while studied silence -- or nuanced concern -- would be in order when the crimes were by U.S. allies.

So, while the U.S. news media had no doubt that the 9/11 terrorist attacks justified invading Afghanistan, there was very little U.S. media criticism when President Bush inflicted his "shock and awe" assault on Iraq, a war that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths.

Though many Muslims and others around the world have denounced Bush's Iraq invasion as "state terrorism," such a charge would be considered far outside the mainstream in the United States. Instead, Iraqi insurgents are often labeled "terrorists" when they attack U.S. troops inside Iraq. The word "terrorist" has become, in effect, a geopolitical curse word.

Despite the long and bloody history of U.S.-Israeli participation in terrorism, the U.S. news media continues its paradigm of pitting the U.S.-Israeli "good guys" against the Islamic "bad guys." One side has the moral high ground and the other is in the moral gutter. [For more on the U.S. media's one-sided approach, see the analysis by Greg Mitchell of Editor & Publisher.]

Any attempt to cite the larger, more ambiguous and more troubling picture draws accusations from defenders of U.S.-Israeli actions, especially the neoconservatives, of what they call "moral equivalence" or "anti-Semitism."

Yet it is now clear that acquiescence to a double standard on terrorism is not just a violation of journalistic ethics or an act of political cowardice; it is complicity in mass murder. Without the double standard, it is hard to envision how the bloodbaths -- in Iraq (since 2003), in Lebanon (in 2006) and in Gaza (today) -- would be possible.

Hypocrisy over the word "terrorism" is not an innocent dispute over semantics; it kills.

Robert Parry's new book is Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq."

© 2009 Consortium News All rights reserved.
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Yom-e-Ashura | January Festivals & Commemorations


"If your festival is missing, please share it with me and my world of friends"

You may enjoy knowing about the people you live amidst, what they celebrate or commemorate. An attempt will be made to write a short summary about each such event, it will be with the intention of grasping the idea, knowing the essence of it and certainly not to become an expert on it. If you have a good piece on any one of the events below, please share the link or the essay to be shared with my world. Meanwhile, please refer to the Glossary of terms for a brief description. We will be updating this throughout the month to catch up with every event listed here or added from your contribution.

January Festivals & Commemorations at:


By the Islamic Center in DC

Nearly 1,400 years ago, Imam Husain ibn Ali, grandson of Prophet Muhammad (May God Bless Them), was tragically martyred on the sands of Karbala, Iraq. Imam Husain sought to promote justice, and help restore Islam to its peaceful and benevolent nature - a movement opposed by oppressors.

On his journey to spread the true message of Islam: that it is a religion that focuses on the Oneness of God, on prayer and fasting, on helping the needy, and speaking out against evil - he and his family members were surrounded by the armies of Yazid, a corrupt oppressor focused on building power and brutally crushing dispute.

The tomb in which Imam Husain (May God Bless Him and his family) buried, in modern day Karbala, Iraq.

On the tenth day of Muharram, also referred to as "Ashura", Yazid's forces, numbering in the thousands cornered and killed Husain and the majority of his male family members, including Husain's infant child, leaving only women and some children. The surviving women and children were then shackled and imprisoned.

This event is considered especially tragic, because Husain and his family members, were mercilessly slaughtered and the survivors imprisoned in the name of "Islam", despite the fact that they were espousing the true and peaceful belief system as taught by their grandfather, the Prophet of Islam himself. Conversely, Yazid sought to promote widespread violence and destruction in an effort to distort and destroy Islam

Since then, Ashura has been a day of solitude and remembrance for Muslims throughout the world.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Take action on Gaza


Action: 10 Steps You Can Take to Help Gaza

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/5/2009) - CAIR today outlined 10 positive, pro-active steps American Muslims and other people of conscience can take this week to help end Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, restore the cease-fire and the flow of humanitarian aid and promote a more balanced U.S. policy in the Middle East.

SEE: Gaza Hospital Overwhelmed By Dead, Wounded (AP)SEE ALSO:
CNN Israel Broke Gaza Cease-Fire
For live coverage from Gaza, click here.

1. Take part in the upcoming 'Let Gaza Live' National March on Washington, beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 10, in Lafayette Park outside the White House. Click here for more information.

Also take part in local peace rallies. Contact your nearest CAIR chapter to ask about local events.

2. Visit your elected representatives during the upcoming “Day on the Hill” in Washington, D.C., sponsored by a coalition of major Islamic organizations. Contact 202-384-8857 for advice on meeting with legislators.

3. Visit the local offices of your elected representatives to talk with them about the need for a more balanced Mideast policy. Use CAIR’s “Legislative Fact Sheet” on the Gaza crisis.
You can also learn how to arrange to meet elected officials and best practices for meeting with your representatives on CAIR's website.

4. Write or call President Bush and members of Congress.

Talking points:

Israeli attacks block efforts to bring peace with justice to the Middle East, harm our nation’s image and interests worldwide and strengthen voices of extremism in the region.
The Palestinian people must be given some hope of freedom from Israeli occupation and domination.

Israel’s immoral and illegal collective punishment of the Palestinian people living in the Gaza Strip must end.

America must support a just and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that takes into account the rights and responsibilities of all parties.

American taxpayer dollars should not be used to for weapons that kill Palestinian civilians.
Ask your elected officials to adopt an even-handed Middle East policy that is in our nation’s - not Israel’s - interest.

Contact President George W. Bush: White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111, Fax: 202-456-2461, E-Mail:,
Contact Your Congressional Representatives: U.S. Senators and House of Representatives

5. Contact President-Elect Obama to ask that he speak out now in favor of a more balanced and pro-American policy in the Middle East that takes the rights of all parties to the conflict into consideration.
Contact the Obama administration transition team here.

6. Sign CAIR’s online petition urging our nation's leaders to speak "in favor of peace and justice for all parties in the current humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Gaza Strip." When completed, the petition will be sent to elected officials nationwide and will be given to members of the current and incoming administrations.

7. Use Friday prayers to educate members of the Muslim community about the plight of the civilian population in Gaza and the need for a balanced Mideast policy, a cease-fire and the resumption of humanitarian relief. Urge community members to take the actions outlined in this alert.

8. Monitor local media coverage of the Gaza crisis. Contact those media outlets to either praise balanced coverage or to criticize biased coverage. Call in to radio talk shows and write letters to the editor to express your views. To find local and national media contact information, click here.
Post comments on media websites and blogs that discuss the crisis. Begin your own blog and link to other sites that support a balanced American policy in the region. Start a free blog at:

Use social media tools such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter, or Flickr to make your views known and to share your views with like-minded individuals and groups.

9. Organize meetings between Muslim and interfaith community leaders and members of your local newspaper’s editorial board.

To meet with a newspaper editorial board:
If possible, gather evidence of any media bias in the newspaper. (Also look for examples of positive, balanced coverage.) Save one-sided news articles or video clips. Record talk shows.

Follow a newspaper’s editorial position.
Build a coalition of local leaders.
Plan for the meeting.
Get together for a strategizing session and assign duties.
Present your case. Be clear about goals. Stick to your points.

Conclude with specific a request for more balanced coverage and input from those who support peace with justice in the region.

Follow-up. Send a letter outlining agreements reached.

Contact CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper for more information on coordinating a meeting with an editorial board or contacting media outlets. Call 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, e-mail:

10. Contact the State Department to call for action in defense of Gaza's civilian population. Call 202-647-4000 and ask for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs or click here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Preaching Moderate Islam in Saudi Arabia

Preaching Moderate Islam in Saudi Arabia

The Muslim Tele-evangelists are appearing on the Cable TV in the Middle east and the audience is increasing incessantly. Bryan Denton of New York Times did the story on the subject and 100 plus comments from the readers are logged so far. I read the unfounded fear among the letters; what if those who are learning to be moderates, ultimately read the Qur'aan, which according to them teaches extremism and fall prey to it?

The fear is legitimate but founded on false foundation created by the European translators who were paid to mistranslate the Qur'aan in the 10th, 11th and 14th centuries to gain support from their subjects against the fabricated "Mohammadan Cult". They wanted to combat the invading kings from the Arab lands and resorted to creating fear among their subjects to protect their wealth; thus Islamophobia was born. Almost all of the Euro-American scholarship on Islam is founded on that falsity and they are chasing their own tails, they quote the same circular logic of those mistranslated Verses, as though that is God's words. In the 20th Century the Muslim kings who were losing most of their kingdoms resorted to the opposite technique, to mistranslate Quran to gain the support of the Muslim subjects. They all need to push the refresh button.

If you are afraid of Qur'aan, I guarantee you that have one of the 20 Million mistranslated copies of the Qur'aan by Hilali Khan, given to you for free. It is not only you, but I will be offended and puke reading that translation as well.

I have put that work in the and or just read the 15 of the 60 mistranslated verses.

One needs to welcome this trend. It is healthy and opens up people to question and understand. It is good for both Muslims and Non-Muslims who have based a whole war of religion on false foundation.

The following statement is one of the most truthful and powerful statements of the article "You always felt you were doing something wrong, and it drove a lot of people away.” Such is the guarding done, it is not just Islam, you find that in all faiths. Even to this day, in the groups that I moderate, that kind of mind set prevails, but fortunately it is dwindling.

Islam is indeed about the middle path, a path recommended by the Prophet. Let these new generational kids explore, they will discover and will latch on to it. It brings a balance as Caliph Ali had said "balance between faith and the worldly living".

One another powerful sentence the writer has brought to the fore is "“There is no one with any real authority,". A catholic nun had expressed the same sentiment on Meet the press with Tim Russert a few years ago. The fundamentalists and the Neocons can lie in your face, "we will take care of you, we will protect you" to the frightened public and earn their blind support. Where as the moderates, the middle pathers cannot lie, they want the individuals to shoulder the responsibility and as such, they do not use authoritative language.

I am optimistic and hopeful with this change. I am similarly a product of that change resulting in the Yahoo discussion group " and the sites to give voice to the expressions of moderate majority of Muslims, who are craving to feel that they are not wrong, that they are doing the right thing by following the middle path. The Islam they grew up with is as beautiful as any religion, and there is nothing wrong believing that all faiths are beautiful. As they say 'beauty is in the eyes of the beholder', I say 'faith is in the heart of the believer.'

I appreciated this article, it is an expression of 95% of Muslims around the world, who are moderates, and incidentally 95% of any people, any faith, and any group are moderates.

Mike Ghouse
# # #

Preaching Moderate Islam and Becoming a TV Star

Bryan Denton for The New York Times
Ahmad al-Shugairi, host of a TV show on religious themes, with students at his cafe in Jidda.

Published: January 2, 2009
JIDDA, Saudi Arabia — As Ahmad al-Shugairi took the stage, dressed in a flowing white gown and headdress, he clutched a microphone and told his audience that he had no religious training or titles: “I am not a sheik.”

Robert F. Worth on a new generation of television preachers in the Muslim world.

Generation Faithful
Crossing Cultures
This is the last in a series of 11 articles examining the lives of the young across the Muslim world at a time of religious revival.
Previous Articles in the Series »
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Bryan Denton for The New York Times
The Saudi preacher Ahmad al-Shugairi leading his staff in prayer during a break from work on his show “Khawater.” It runs daily during Ramadan.

But over the next two hours, he worked the crowd as masterfully as any preacher, drawing rounds of uproarious laughter and, as he recalled the Prophet Muhammad’s death, silent tears. He spoke against sectarianism. He made pleas for women to be treated as equals. He talked about his own life — his seven wild years in California, his divorce, his children — and gently satirized Arab mores.

When he finished, the packed concert hall erupted in a wild standing ovation. Members of his entourage soon bundled him through the thick crowd of admirers to a back door, where they rushed through the darkness to a waiting car.

“Elvis has left the building,” Mr. Shugairi joked, in English, as he relaxed into his seat.
Mr. Shugairi is a rising star in a new generation of “satellite sheiks” whose religion-themed television shows have helped fuel a religious revival across the Arab world. Over the past decade, the number of satellite channels devoted exclusively to religion has risen from 1 to more than 30, and religious programming on general interest stations, like the one that features Mr. Shugairi’s show, has soared. Mr. Shugairi and others like him have succeeded by appealing to a young audience that is hungry for religious identity but deeply alienated from both politics and the traditional religious establishment, especially in the fundamentalist forms now common in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

In part, that is a matter of style: a handsome, athletically built 35-year-old, Mr. Shugairi effortlessly mixes deep religious commitment with hip, playful humor. He earned an M.B.A. during his California years, and he sometimes refers to Islam as “an excellent product that needs better packaging.”

But his message of sincere religious moderation is tremendously powerful here. For young Arabs, he offers a way to reconcile a world painfully divided between East and West, pleasure and duty, the rigor of the mosque and the baffling freedoms of the Internet.

“He makes us attached to religion — sometimes with our modern life we get detached,” said Imma al-Khalidi, a 25-year-old Saudi who burst into tears when Mr. Shugairi, uneasy with his rock-star departure from the auditorium, returned to the hall to chat with a group of black-clad and veiled young women. There was an audible intake of breath as the women saw him emerge. A few bold ones walked forward, but most hung back, seemingly stunned.

“Before, we used to see only men behind a desk, like judges,” Ms. Khalidi said.
Mr. Shugairi is not the first of his kind. Amr Khaled, an Egyptian televangelist, began reaching large audiences eight years ago. But the field has expanded greatly, with each new figure creating Internet sites and Facebook groups where tens of thousands of fans trade epiphanies and links to YouTube clips of their favorite preachers.

Mr. Shugairi’s main TV program, “Khawater” (“Thoughts”), could not be more different from the dry lecturing style of so many Muslim clerics. In one episode on literacy, the camera follows Mr. Shugairi as he wanders through Jidda asking people where to find a public library (no one knows). In another, he pokes through a trash bin, pointing to mounds of rotting rice and hummus that could have been donated for the poor. He even sets up “Candid Camera”-style gags, confronting people who pocket a wallet from the pavement and asking them if the Prophet Muhammad would have done the same.

At times, his program resembles an American civics class disguised as religion, complete with lessons on environmental awareness and responsible driving.

Criticized From Both Sides

Inevitably, hard-line clerics dismiss Mr. Shugairi as a lightweight who toadies to the West. From the other side, some liberals lament that Mr. Shugairi and the other satellite sheiks are Islamizing the secular elite of the Arab world.

And while most of these broadcast preachers, including Mr. Shugairi, promote a moderate and inclusive strain of Islam, others do not. There are few controls in the world of satellite television, where virtually anyone can take to the air and preach as he likes on one of hundreds of channels.
Moreover, some observers fear that the growing prevalence of Islam on the airwaves and the Internet could make moderates like Mr. Shugairi steppingstones toward more extreme figures, who are never more than a mouse-click or a channel-surf away.

“There is no one with any real authority, they can say whatever they want to say, and the accessibility of these sheiks is 24/7,” said Hussein Amin, a professor at the American University in Cairo. “That’s why so many who were liberals are now conservatives, and those who were conservatives are now radicals.”

Mr. Shugairi and others like him, including the popular Egyptian television preacher Moez Masoud, counter that their moderate message is the best way to fight Islamic extremism. Forging that middle path, they say, is essential at a time when many young Arabs feel caught between an angry fundamentalism on the one hand and a rootless secularism on the other.

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Bryan Denton for The New York Times
At Mr. Shugairi’s Andalus cafe in Jidda. He says Islam is “an excellent product that needs better packaging.”

Bakr Azam is one of them. Like many of Mr. Shugairi’s fans, he received a dry, pitiless religious education that left him feeling resentful and hungry for something different.

“In high school, the way they taught us religion was very white and black,” said Mr. Azam, a 28-year-old Saudi who works as a recruiter for Toyota. “You always felt you were doing something wrong, and it drove a lot of people away.”

It drove Mr. Azam farther away than most. After moving to the United States for college in 1997, he more or less gave up on Islam entirely. He moved back here in 2001, a hip-hop fan with dyed red hair, a love for parties and no interest in religion.

But something was missing. In 2004, he happened to see one of Mr. Shugairi’s programs on TV, and he was mesmerized. Here was a man who had lived in the West and yet spoke of the Koran as a modern ethical guidebook, not a harsh set of medieval rules. He seemed to be saying you could enjoy yourself, retain your independence and at the same time be a good Muslim.
Right away, Mr. Azam opened his laptop and found Mr. Shugairi’s Web site. He joined a volunteer group in Jidda linked to the show. He found himself returning to the rituals he had grown up with, fasting and praying. He still counts himself a moderate, like his mentor. But — also like Mr. Shugairi — he became so devout that he separated from his wife, who did not wear a head scarf and retained the secular attitude he once shared.

“Ahmad made us look back at religion,” Mr. Azam said of Mr. Shugairi. “He helped us see that Islam is not about living in caves and being isolated from the world. Islam is international. It is modern. It is tolerant.”

As he spoke, Mr. Azam was sitting on a blue couch in the Andalus cafe, which was built by Mr. Shugairi as a gathering place for young people in Jidda. A few feet away, a televangelist could be seen talking about Islam on a large plasma TV screen. Nearby, young people sat gazing at their laptops, while Islamic music played quietly in the background. The design and furniture in the cafe are in the style of Andalusian Spain, widely seen as a high point in Islamic history, when scholarship and tolerance flourished.

Mr. Shugairi often spends time here chatting with friends and admirers, sipping tea and moving easily between Arabic and his California-accented English. He has become something of a celebrity in Saudi Arabia, but he seems uncomfortable with the role and does not have the arrogant manner of many educated Saudis. He makes a point of being friendly and respectful to everyone, including the Asian laborers who do most menial tasks here.

Mr. Shugairi got his start in television in 2002, when he began appearing on a program called “Yella Shabab” (“Hey, Young People”). Two years later, he started his own show, “Khawater,” which runs daily during the holy month of Ramadan.

Part of his inspiration, Mr. Shugairi said, came from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which hit him especially hard as someone who spent formative years in the United States. “Many of us felt a need to educate youth to a more moderate understanding of religion,” he said, during an interview at the cafe.

Yet his approach to Islam, as with most of the other satellite TV figures who have emerged in the past few years, is fundamentally orthodox. He says that women should wear the hijab, or head scarf, and he talks of the Koran as a kind of constitution that should guide Muslim countries. His next program, “If He Were Among Us,” scheduled to be broadcast early this year, is focused squarely on adhering to the Prophet Muhammad’s life as an example.

To California and Back

Mr. Shugairi’s own life — and especially his struggle with the poles of decadence and extreme faith — is an essential feature of his appeal to many fans.

Born here in 1973 to a wealthy, cosmopolitan family, Mr. Shugairi went to college at age 17 in Long Beach, Calif. By his own account, he completely stopped praying. He chased women at clubs, and he even — for a year — drank. In 1995 he got married, and the pendulum swung toward a severe Islamism, as he angrily renounced the freedoms of his student life.
“Nothing violent, but intellectual violence,” Mr. Shugairi said, during an interview at the Andalus cafe.

He moved back to Saudi Arabia to manage his father’s importing business. His wife did not share his turn toward extremism, and the marriage soon ended in divorce.

It was then that he began studying with a cleric, Adnan al-Zahrani, who exposed him to the idea that Islam’s greatest strength comes from its diversity and its openness to new ways of thinking. For the first time, Mr. Shugairi found a way to balance the warring forces in his life, his American self and his Saudi self.

For much of his young audience, this synthesis is the key to his appeal. These young Muslims have inherited a world painfully divided between what they hear from the clerics and what they see on satellite television and the Internet. This is especially true in Saudi Arabia, with its powerful and deeply conservative religious establishment.

“Ahmad helped me see that I can want to be with a girl, and it’s O.K. — I don’t need to feel bad,” said Muhammad Malaikah, a lean 22-year-old with a shy smile.

Now, he said, he was able to spend time alone with his girlfriend and still feel he was being true to himself and his culture. He goes to the movies with her. Sometimes they kiss, “but no sex.” He has persuaded her to start wearing the hijab.

“Ahmad showed us a middle way in everything,” he said, “in relationships, in working, in fasting, in prayer.”


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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.