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Vol.13 Issue No.161

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February 2010 Safar / Rabi Al-Awwal 1431H

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Some French Imams Support Burqa Ban By Hadi Yahmid, IOL Correspondent

now being exploited as weapons “to tarnish” Muslim minorities in France and the West in general.

PARIS — A prominent French imams group is backing a ban on face-veil for doing disservice to the interests of the Muslim minority in the country, but the group’s stance drew rebuke from other Muslim leaders. “We support any law that bans the wearing of face veil in France,” Hassan Chalghoumi, Chairman of the Conference of French Imams, told IslamOnline.net. A parliamentary commission is due to publish much-awaited recommendations next Tuesday about banning face-veils in public. The daily Le Figaro said Friday that lawmakers have decided the face-veil would not be allowed in public buildings such as hospitals and schools or on public transport services, but remain hesitant to recommend a blanket ban.

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“Amid the silence of most of the Muslim organizations in France, we took such decision to end defaming campaigns against Islam and Muslim,” said the Tunisian-born Drancy imam. “Because of that attire, the image of Muslims has been getting worse in the media and public opinion. “We witnessed an increase in the hate attacks against mosques and hijab-clad women, because of attire that has nothing to do with religious obligations.” While hijab is an obligatory code of dress for Muslim women, the majority of Muslim scholars agree that a woman is not obliged to wear the face veil. Scholars believe it is up to women to decide whether to take on the veil or burka, a loose outfit covering the whole body from head to toe and wore by some Muslim women. Fanning Fire The group’s position, however, drew immediate rebuke from prominent Muslim leaders in the European country.

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France is home to some seven million Muslims, the biggest Muslim minority in Western Europe. “Such a call would only help Islamophobia rather than suppress it,” agrees Fouad Alaoui, President of the French Union of Islamic Organizations (l’UOIF). The l’UOIF has voiced strong opposition to a face-veil ban bill and attended three sessions of the parliamentary commission discussing the ban. “We made it clear that face-veiled woman have to identify themselves in public means of transport for security and administrative necessities,” Alaoui told IOL. But, he believes, banning face-veils in public mixes between personal freedoms and other considerations. They believe that the imams’ call would add fuel to an already raging fire. “It would lead to strengthening the far-right and Islam-bashing in France.”

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FEBRUARY 2010

CARTOON/LOCAL

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TERMS USED IN THIS PAPER Alhamdulilah: Praise God Allah: Arabic word for God Fatwa: Islamic decision based on Shari’a Hadith: Sayings of the Prophet Mohammad Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca Halal: Allowed in Islam Halaqa: Group study Haram: Prohibited in Islam Hijab: Head cover for women Hijra: Migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Madina Imam: Islamic scholar Iman: Faith Inshallah: God willing Madina: City near Mecca in Saudia Arabia Masjid: Place were Muslims gather for prayer and studies Mecca: City in Saudi Arabia where Prophet Mohammad was born Pbuh: Peace be upon him Quran: Islam’s Holy book Shahadah: Is saying “I accept Allah as the one God and Mohammad as his messenger” when someone accepts Islam. Sharia’: Islamic law Shura: A council of Muslim scholars (SWT) Subhanahu Watala: Praise be to Allah Taqwa: God consciousness

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Phone: (602) 258-7770 Fax: (602) 258-7494 email: info@azmuslimvoice.com Deadlines for submission of letters is the 20th of every month, and for advertisements by the 25th. Only letters and articles submitted on disk or email will be accepted for review. The Publisher reserves the right to refuse any letters, articles or advertisement or any other material. The Publisher will not be liable for more than the advertisement cost in case of an error. The Muslim Voice is not responsible for the contents of advertisements or articles nor endorses them in any way or form.

Islamic School Students Win Fourth Place at Engineering Competition By Ahmad Abdul-Quadir PHOENIX, AZ. Four young middleschool students and their teacher, from Phoenix Metro Islamic School (PMIS) in Tempe, excitedly rushed to the stage at University Public School in Phoenix at the annual Arizona Future City Competition on Saturday, January

to six hours a week,” said team member Anisa Abdul-Quadir. Their dedicated teacher Ouahida Hamzaoui, who spent hours in the computer lab and the art room each week after school, guided their thinking and encouraged them to work hard and be creative. ASU mechanical engineering student Samir Hamdan helped the students to research this year’s essay topic “Providing an affordable green living space for people who have lost their home due to a disaster or financial emergency” and to incorporate it into their presentation. After being declared a finalist, the exhilarated team members, presented in front of all of the teams in the auditorium. They had twenty minutes to rehearse their six-minute long speech before going up to present on the stage in

23, 2010. After a morning of presenting their city of the future, Costa Verde, in front of visitors and a panel of judges, Phoenix Metro Islamic School’s team was chosen as one of five finalists and eventually earned fourth place among over 100 schools. Student teams from across all Arizona, including one school from as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico, came with their creative and colorful models of their cities and matching felt hats, scarves, or shirts to participate in the daylong event. The Future City Competition is an annual event, hosted by the engineering community, and is part of a nationwide competition challenging seventh and eighth-graders to use math, science, and engineering to build a city of the future. Teams, including PMIS’s city Costa Verde, followed a four-phase process that lasted three to four months: to (1) design a city using SimCity 4 software, (2) research and write an essay addressing an engineering problem and an abstract describing their city, (3) build a scale model, and (4) present their city in front of a panel of judges. The winning team, which was “Luna Llueva” from Cocopah Middle School in Scottsdale, goes to Washington, DC, to represent Arizona in the National Future City Finals in February. The PMIS team, which included eighth graders Anisa Abdul-Quadir, Nour Abuwandi, and Hira Ali as presenters and sixth grader Yassin Hamzaoui as backup, worked since late October on each part of the project. “We met five

the future. The three months of work taught them many things, including “so many ways you can generate electricity,” said Anisa. PMIS was very proud of the accomplishment of its students. When asked what advice they would give to students next year, they said that it is important to “start early, and do your best” in order to win. Students who would like to participate will need dedication, confidence, creativity, and writing skills. “Next year, [insha Allah] we will be in first place,” said PMIS principal Hind Hania.

Open House interfaith event at ICCP By: Adnane Ijai Islamic Community Center of Phoenix held its doors wide open for nonMuslim visitors on Friday January 22nd, a tradition that it has kept since the program was launched after 9/11 to build bridges of understanding and to increase awareness and educate others about Muslims.

front of roughly five to six hundred people. Then, they left the rest to Allah. “We just made dua,” remarked Anisa. The students enthusiastically and confidently explained their city in a creative “City Council Meeting” style presentation, where Nour Abuwandi was the mayor, Hira Ali the city planner, and Anisa Abdul-Quadir the chief engineer. They answered questions from a panel of celebrity judges while their city was projected on the big screen. “I was having fun!” said Ali, who seemed worry-free as she answered questions about teamwork while building the city. “It was all worth it in the end,” she said. After it was all over and the winners and other awards were announced, the students were relieved to have accomplished such a noteworthy end result. It was a great result for Phoenix Metro Islamic School and was the first time an Islamic school in Arizona had placed among the top five. “Future City actually boosted my confidence,” said Hira, saying that the project inspired her to seek similar projects in

Over a hundred and fifty people turned out to the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, in spite of the rainy weather, to see presentations on Islam, take a tour of the new masjid, enjoy delicious food, and most importantly to meet the Muslim community. The event was an absolute success as judged by the reactions of some of the people present; everybody had a good time mingling and getting to know each other. The event started around 6pm with a meet and greet, and a tour of the new masjid. Sheikh Mahmoud Sulaiman spoke for 30 min, talking about the importance of being a good neighbor in Islam, and it was immediately followed by our guest speaker; Pastor Jack who spoke about being a good neighbor according to Christianity. After the lectures we had a question and answer session, and then a representative from the local CAIR chapter spoke briefly about events happening in our community. After praying isha prayer everybody enjoyed the delicious Middle Eastern food that we had catered for the occasion. The event wound down with a lot of dialogue and even some friendships were formed.


LOCAL

FEBRUARY 2010

FBI arrests Phoenix Muslim man

The most common references I hear about Ibrahim are humble, pious, well liked in the community, and a regular attendee at the masjid. He plays soccer on Sundays with the brothers at the park and he volunteers as a teacher for Sunday school at the ICCP Masjid. Kids adore him. He is always talking to the kids on their level, throwing a ball around with them, and playing games with them. They actually come home from their classes with some knowledge about the character of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and they remember it because of Ibrahim’s enthusiasm when explaining his lessons. His dream has been to travel to further his studies in Islamic education and he was just ready to live his dream when everything came to a grinding halt. The

FBI

arrested

Ibrahim

on

Still, while in the courtroom I also witnessed a great display of a fair judge and a great legal system. Thought the prosecution clearly did not want a bond to be posted, the judge was not swayed by any of their impassioned arguments and followed the law to the letter. The judge could not find the stretch they were looking for to keep Ibrahim detained. The judge posted bond for $100,000 - quite normal with a federal court case.

As I sat in the courtroom listening to the hearing on Tuesday, January 19th at the Sandra Day O’Conner courthouse, I saw Ibrahim as calm and composed as can be. I listened to the FBI agent testify that they asked him questions to which he willingly responded. I heard them say that they did not have a subpoena to talk with him and it was a voluntary interview. When asked, “What would you have done if Mr. Simpson wouldn’t willingly talk to you?” the agent replied, “We would have gone on about our business.”

I am asking our community to help with that bond; we need to raise 12% ($12,000) to process the bond so that our brother can remain free on bail while awaiting his hearing. NPR [http://www.npr.org/ templates/stor y/stor y.php?stor yI d=122725771] recently presented a story on how those that make bond, being free until trial, are more likely to receive a fair trial and receive shorter sentences even when convicted.

This was my big realization that we, as law abiding and conscientious Muslims, want to talk with the FBI because we have nothing to hide; but we cannot because anything we say can and will be used against us. Law enforcement officers are human - and as humans can make mistakes or have their own agendas. They can twist, change, or even forget exactly what you said. Without a witness to your conversation, such as an attorney, it becomes your word against (usually) two government officials. Who is more likely to be believed? CAIR has sent out media alerts to advise our community to use caution when speaking with the FBI. It is for our own protection.

My Meaning of Hijab Muslim Voice By Sumbal Akhter “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard. Their modesty: that will make for greater purity in them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments” (24: 30-31). The Qur’an clearly states that a woman should accept the rule of modesty by covering herself up with a hijab. However, it is difficult for many women to consent to this rule in our fast-paced world of peer pressure, job opportunities and a potential risk to their lives. It takes a Muslim woman with unwavering faith to begin hijab and follow through. The whole process is a beautiful journey where a female undoubtedly accepts the word of Allah into her heart. I wanted to explore this process by discovering the different meanings that hijab has to different people. The journey may not be an easy one, but learning about other people’s experiences can help us create journeys of our own. Riffat Imdad, M.D., who currently resides in St. Louis, MI, grew up in Pakistan before she came to the United States to start her residency and to start a family. Even though Riffat grew up in a dominantly Islamic country, she was still afraid of her friends disapproving her choice of wanting to wear hijab in college. “I wanted to do it in college, but I wasn’t strong enough to do it, you don’t want to be singled out or discriminated against” she says to explain the peer pressure. Riffat not only wanted to get married to a religious man but an educated man as well because if she ever wanted to start wearing hijab during her life, he wouldn’t stop her. Riffat then completed Umrah with her husband and wanted to start hijab even more but was then afraid if it would decrease her chances of being accepted for her medical residency. She

was also afraid that she would not look pretty anymore. Some time later at an Eid party, Riffat had an epiphany, “I want to look pretty, but if I died today, no one would care if I looked pretty or not. And I reminded myself that in the grave when I would be questioned as to why I did not wear hijab… would I answer that I wanted to look pretty?” Riffat then began wearing hijab because she “did it with the conviction that this is right and sometimes when your parents force you to do it, then it is not true because it is not from your heart.” A deep sense of realization helped Riffat overcome her fear of wearing hijab. Riffat says the most important factor with beginning hijab is to have a strong faith and to surround yourself with people who also have a strong faith. Some people begin hijab earlier like Rabia Memon of Phoenix, AZ. Rabia began during high school but confesses, “I never thought I would ever start hijab because of what others would think of me and I how I would feel when wearing it. But then I got over that fear gradually by going to the Masjid where I learned more about Islam and I wanted to follow things more properly. I am following my religion more and I am not scared anymore. I feel good to obey what is mandatory. Wearing hijab made me more confident in my daily actions and myself. A strong foundation of Islamic knowledge helped Rabia overcome her fear to wear hijab and made her feel a sense of pride. Starting the journey of wearing a hijab is different for every woman as well as being sentimentally special. Several factors can attribute to one wearing a hijab but the hardest to fully win over are the internal conflicts one feels before wearing a hijab. Wearing of the hijab should be fully recognized and accepted by one’s soul. One should truly feel the sensation of legitimate faith in their heart because “whether ye reveal anything or conceal it, verify Allah has full knowledge of all things” (35: 54).

“The result is that people with money get out. They go back to their jobs and their families, pay their bills and fight their cases. And according to the Justice Department and national studies, those with money face far fewer consequences for their crimes. People without money stay in jail and are left to take whatever offer prosecutors feel like giving them.” We have started a collection for Ibrahim’s bond. You can contact Adnane Ijai at 602-570-3044 or Kawthar Ijai at 602-570-3054 to add to his fund. Our brother Ibrahim’s hearing is set for March 14th but the time to act is now. We would appreciate as much support (physical, spiritual, and financial) from our brothers and sisters as possible.

By Marwan Ahmad I was proud to see the number of Islamic charities getting involved to help victims of the Haiti earthquake immediately after the disaster occurred. Not only Islamic charities are working on helping, but for the past few Fridays during Jummah prayers Imams addressed the need for Muslims to come out and help the Haiti victims financially or with prayers. The Muslims’ outreach and quickness in assistance to these victims reflect upon our faith and compassion for our human brothers and sisters in need. Muslims in this case like in the past have mobilized to extend their helping hands to others regardless if they are Muslim or not. This calls on the mainstream media outlets who highlight negative aspects of Muslims to also highlight positive stories regarding Muslims’ volunteerism and charity work. It is true that a few Muslims like any other group might commit crimes but the vast majority of Muslims are normal people who are integrated in their societies and live their daily lives to provide and nurture for their families. In these cases if we don’t get the attention of the mainstream media we need to take a proactive role to publicize these events and make the public aware of them. This should not be done for public relation purpose only, but to show that Muslims are part of the American fabric and they participate in all affairs that concern any human being on the local or the international level. Therefore, the responsibility lies on both sides to bring this to the public and create awareness and positive news about Muslims as well.

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The first thing you notice is the warm and welcoming smile. Any brother standing in the doorway is sure to get a big smile, hearty handshake, and some sort of kind conversation. Sure to be spotted around town in his white thobe and kufi, Elton Simpson (or as we know him, Ibrahim) is the kind of person who always has a positive word for everyone and a bright outlook, especially when you start talking about his favorite topic - Islam. Once, I remember discussing the topic of madhab and both of us reflecting on the possible answer to a question we both had. Maybe 3 weeks later, he came back to me with a 3-page answer – though I had already forgotten the question! That is just the kind of character he is. Always researching and always studying his favorite subject.

Thursday January 7th - one day before he was due to fly to South Africa. Just a short time before, the FBI had visited him with questions regarding his upcoming trip. The charges? Lying to a federal agent. What was the “lie?” Even after the arrest, after the continued questions, after the constant mental replay of the event, after meeting with his attorney, and after the first court hearing – even Ibrahim does not know.

American-Muslims and Haiti

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By Kawthar Ijai

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LOCAL/OPINION

FEBRUARY 2010

Breek Publishing launches Middle Eastern and Muslim Medical Directory Muslim Voice

Phoenix Breek Publishing and Marketing, the publisher of several community publications including Muslim Voice Newspaper, Arab Voice Newspaper, and the Multicultural Yellow Pages for the past seventeen years in Arizona has began working on its newest project last month. This project will be focusing on the medical field in Arizona. This directory will be a collection of physicians and medical field practices from Muslim and Middle Eastern backgrounds. “There is a great need for physicians who speak foreign languages and those who understand Middle Eastern or Islamic cultures in the State”, stated Marwan Ahmad, President of Breek Publishing. “We receive many calls from community members, institutions and government agencies asking

for contacts to these type of physicians and this gave us the idea to work on such a medical directory”, he added. The name of the directory will be Al-Razi Medical Directory

Arizona Senate panel approves immigration bill

agencies in the medical field who can utilize its information and resources. “We want this directory to serve as a referral between physicians and as a link between medical institutions and physicians as well” explained Marwan Ahmad. Breek Publishing is working on releasing Al-Razi in April of this year. They expect to have over 500 physician profiles and listings in the directory by the time it will be released. They are now working on reaching as many Muslim and Middle Eastern physicians to join this new directory which will provide valuable information about the medical services in the community in the State of Arizona.

and it will be distributed to physicians, medical services, medical businesses, institutions, and government

www.AZMuslimVoice.com

If you are a physician or working in the medical field you can contact Breek Publishing and Marketing at 602-258-7770 or info@breekpublishing.com

Received by Newsfinder from AP

PHOENIX (AP) _ An Arizona Senate panel has approved a sweeping bill to strengthen immigration enforcement. The measure passed the Republican-controlled Public Safety and Human Services Committee Wednesday on a 4-3 party-line vote. It would ban police departments from adopting policies that prevent officers from asking people about their immigration

The law of human dignity respect By Kasem Hiyasat What it means to all. Those are more than mere words; they are all about one of the most critical wellness commodities in the world today. Respect for the individual person. It’s the law of human dignity, when I say “human dignity”, and “respect for individual person”. I am talking about our specific day- to day attitudes and behaviors; it is here that we actually practice respect, person to person, not some abstract” love of mankind” that we hear about in mosques, churches, and civic classes. The active daily awareness of the dignity of the person, the constant awareness of the worth and value of every person regardless of race, color, age, gender,

or economic situation this awareness of high value and supreme worth is fundamental to individual and social awareness. I believe every person in this world is creation of God, and that he or she is worthy of our respect. This is the fundamental concept behind the law of human dignity. What keeps this great non-negotiable wellness law from becoming a daily reality around this intimate little planet is the fact that we constantly put people in “little boxes” we label and categorize, pushing individuals and even nation into little slots. We became so obsessed with relating to people in these boxes that we never get around to seeing them as unique individuals of great worth and destiny. The boxes are everywhere, religion “ he’s Muslim: well he’s Christian, she’s

Jewish and we categorize by those labels to either he’s anti-abortion or Muslim terrorist, Sunni or Shiite or she’s driven by money and ego. The law of human dignity would not allow such categorizing. Respect is the key. We as Muslim are required to be leaders, each in a different way, some in politics, some in business, some in our places of worship, all of us in our homes. Without having respect for people it would be impossible for us to be effective leaders. But with practice of human dignity, magic happens, when aspiring leaders practice daily respect, lives, organizations, and nations change. Followers’ return respect and affection in equal proportion to the respect and affection they are shown. People know when another person respects them for what they are and they

A question often asked these days. The so-called experts-onIslam seem to almost concur on some link between Islam and violence. Though it’s hard to exonerate any of those experts from a political agenda or sometimes a pure hatred for Islam and/or Muslims, it still remains a valid question that every Muslim should be able to answer for him/herself and others. Does Islam condone violence? Is Islam to blame for the rise of terrorist activities? Even if we’re able to clear the name of Islam, clearing Muslims from it is another challenge. Now, the saying, “not every Muslim is a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim”, has almost become a cliché. While, we Muslims know this is not true, and some Muslims go to the extent of proving so by citing examples from KKK to Timothy McVeigh, we still owe an answer to ourselves and to others. To me, whether non-Muslims are involved in terrorist activities or not, is irrelevant, and certainly does not justify Muslims being involved in terrorist activities.

Another weak argument is to say that only a small percentage of Muslims are involved in terrorist activities. To me again, no small number is small. Again some of those so-called experts would have us believe that it’s that small number of extremists who are following the literal injunctions of the Quran while the mainstream Muslims are being apologetic and involved in acts of double-talk, perhaps in attempts to dissemble and deceive (in Muslim terminology, practicing Tuqya) the nonMuslim masses. In this short article, I will try to address some of those Quranic passages. Perhaps the most often quoted verse of the Quran is 9:5. This verse seems to give an open license to kill all pagans or non-believers, without any restriction. First, we have to understand that Islam came to establish a rule of law and vehemently fought anarchism. Islam did not invent war. War existed since the beginning of the human race. Islam came to regulate war. This is why you find clear injunctions by Prophet Muhammad given to his commanders not to kill noncombatants such as women,

children, monks, elderly, and so on. One time the Prophet saw a dead woman in the battlefield and he made his objection clear and forbade the killing of women and children [Tirmidhi]. But, what about the verse? Here, we have to observe the context of the verse. Most people who quote this verse rarely take the time to check the verses before or after. That makes you wonder if they’re sincere in trying to understand the context properly. But leaving intentions aside, it’s incumbent on any serious truthseeker to look beyond one verse and try to understand it in light of other verses. First, looking at the immediate context, we see that verse 13 of the same chapter mentions few reasons for such a war declaration. It talks about people who initiated hostilities, who drove the Prophet and the believers out of their homes (referring to the forced migration to Medina), and who broke their pacts (referring to the truce of Hudaybiyah). Verses 8 and 10 talk about those who have total disregard to ties of kinship and to contracts. It’s clear here that Islam is not waging war against all pagans or non-believers. Looking at the

The bill also would make it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally or to transport or conceal an illegal immigrant. And it seeks to curb day-labor employment by making it illegal for an illegal immigrant to solicit work in a public place or for anyone to hire someone from a vehicle. Mesa Republican Russell Pearce is sponsoring the measure. A similar bill passed the Senate last year but failed in the House.

OPINION

will follow that kind of leader. This law should be self-evident. We as a Muslim community here in Arizona should show respect for each other, respect for one’s followers does not mean softness or sacrifice of high standards and goals. It means that a genuine faith exists. A bond and covenant between those leading and those being led. If people know that their leader has faith in them they will usually do whatever is humanly possible to measure up. The law of human dignity carries with it a mandate to stop our pettiness and guilt putting each other in little boxes that diminish the dignity and potential of all, in short, when you give respect, we will all be better of for it on such a fundamental level and will become a better world.

Is Islam a bloody religion? By Anas Hlayhel, Imam of ICNEV

status.

historical context, the Prophet didn’t understand this verse to mean the killing of all pagans. For example, when the conquest of Mecca took place, the Prophet issued a general pardon to all its inhabitants, who were not just pagans, but who fought him for the longest time, and regarding whom many of those verses were revealed. Looking at other verses of the Quran would allow us to accomplish a more comprehensive understanding of war and peace in Islam. Verse 8:61 tells us that if enemy combatants show any inclination toward peace, then it’s incumbent on us to show a similar inclination. Verse 2:190 tells us to fight only those who fight us and not to commit any act of injustice or transgression. But, then you have the clever so-called expert-on-Islam come and say well all those verses are abrogated and only the Verse of the Sword applies. The Verse of the Sword off course is nothing but verse 9:5 discussed above. The answer to this claim is that it simply is not true. Consider for example the following verse. Verse 60: 8 states that God does not stop believers from offering the best

OPINION forms of treatment to those who didn’t fight them. It’s very interesting that the Quran uses the word Birr, which encompasses all acts of good, to describe dealings between Muslims and the vast majority of non-Muslims. This verse should set the record straight on whether Islam is behind terrorism. According to this verse, not only killing innocent people is forbidden, extending best treatment to such people is an obligation. But is this verse abrogated? Not according to the most prolific exegetes (scholars of Tafseer) of Islam. At-Tabari after mentioning various opinions about the verse says that the most correct opinion is that this verse is general and applies to all who “didn’t fight us” without any exception. Al-Qurtubi asserts that this verse still applies (i.e. not abrogated) according to the vast majority of Muslim exegetes! Both al-Tabari and al-Qurtubi lived at a time when Islam was a super-power, so no one can argue that they were involved in any exercise of double-talk or mass-deception in order to appease to their non-Muslim counterparts!


OPINION

www.AZMuslimVoice.com

FEBRUARY 2010

King’s Last, Forgotten Crusade

5

OPINION

In his final years he took a bold and lonely stand against the war in Vietnam By Ahmad Daniels, M.Ed. Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr. was a multi-faceted, multidimensional and multi-talented man. However, because so many fail to study the great works written about African American people, we often find ourselves the victim of 30-secons sound bites on the 6 o’clock news where excerpts of his omnipresent “I Have A Dream” speech are played over and over again. Thus, a great many persons fail to come to the realization that there were at least two periods to King’s life. The second period was in sharp contrast to the Martin Luther King many in America are familiar with and celebrate as a national holiday the third Monday in January. Period One began with the Montgomery Bus Boycott of December 1955 and culminates with the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This period is replete with marches like the Selma-to-Montgomery, Alabama trek and writings like King’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail.” Period Two is more obscure and seldom discussed, perhaps as a result of its sheer poignancy. This period began in the fall of 1965 and continued to King’s brutal assassination on April 4, 1968. Ironically, it was a speech that King made exactly one year earlier (April 4, 1967) that would irrevocably change his life and, many believe, hasten his death. That audacious and uncompromising stand was his decision to deliver a speech entitled “Beyond Vietnam” -- a speech said to have been heard around the world. Not a consensus leader King saw the war America was waging against the people of Vietnam as an “unjust, evil and futile war.” King, a self-proclaimed pacifist, stated he would have fought against Hitler but did not see the Vietnam War as being like World War II. King said, “I agree with Dante—that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, during a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.” Followers of King and members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (S.C.L.C.) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) importuned him to keep silent about the war because he risked alienating President Lyndon Johnson and the financial supporters of the S.C.L.C. King’s response to those who asked him to be quiet was, “I’m sorry,

you don’t know me. I’m not a consensus leader. I don’t determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference or by taking a Gallup Poll of the Majority opinion. Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of consensus.” Morally correct When Whitney Young of the Urban League cornered King and publicly castigated him for his views on Vietnam, King responded sharply, “Whitney, what you’re saying may get you a foundation grant, but it won’t get you into the kingdom of truth.” Martin Luther King, once having decided to do what was morally correct, if not politically correct, began to unleash a barrage of vituperations at his white allies in government and the media. They supported his stand on nonviolence during sit-ins and freedom rides and embraced his civil-disobedience in cities like Birmingham and Selma

toward little brown Vietnamese children!’ “ Not just songs of passivity Many may have wondered why elected officials like Senator Jesse Helms, R.-NC and others closer to home voiced vigorous opposition to making King’s birthday a national holiday. Supporters of the acknowledgement could not understand why there would be so many objections to a man who simply wanted to hold hands and sing “We Shall Overcome.” But King did more than just sing songs of passivity. During the last three years of his life he began to provide a very analytical perspective on the evils of militarism, racism and economic exploitation; a tune that was and still is dismissed as so much harmonic dissonance.

but rejected his position on Vietnam: “They applauded us in the sit-in movement when we nonviolently decided to sit in at lunch counters. They applauded us on the freedom rides when we accepted blows without retaliation, They praised us in…Birmingham and Selma, Alabama. Oh, the press was so noble in its applause and …praise when I would say, ‘Be nonviolent toward Bull Connor,’ ‘Be nonviolent toward Jim Clark.’ There is something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that would praise you you when you say, ‘Be nonviolent toward Jim Clark,’ but will curse and damn you when you say, ‘Be nonviolent

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Prof. Tariq Ramadan ban lifted by State Dept. a victory for civil liberties

WASHINGTON - In a major victory for civil liberties, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has signed orders that effectively end the exclusion of two prominent scholars who were barred from the United States by the Bush administration. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the denial of visas to Professors Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg and Tariq Ramadan of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, in separate lawsuits filed on behalf of American organizations that had invited the scholars to speak to audiences inside the United States. “The orders ending the exclusion of Adam Habib and Tariq Ramadan are long overdue and tremendously important,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “For several years, the United States government was more interested in stigmatizing and silencing its foreign critics than in engaging them. The decision to end the exclusion of Professors Habib and Ramadan is a welcome sign that the Obama administration is committed to facilitating, rather than obstructing, the exchange of ideas across international borders.” During the Bush administration, denied government U.S. the visas to dozens of foreign artists, scholars and writers - all critics of U.S. policy overseas and many of whom are Muslim - without explanation or on vague national security grounds. In a speech in Cairo in June 2009, President Obama addressed the relationship between the United States and Muslims around the world, calling

for “a sustained effort to listen to each other; to learn from each other; to respect one another; and to seek common ground.” The ACLU welcomed the State Department’s orders as an important step toward achieving that goal.

political analyst and Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Advancement at the University of Johannesburg, as well as a Muslim who has been a vocal critic of the war in Iraq and some U.S. terrorism-related policies. The ACLU and the ACLU of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit in 2007 challenging his exclusion on behalf of the American the Association, Sociological American Association of University Professors, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Boston Coalition for Palestinian Rights.

“Given the orders issued by Secretary Clinton, we hope and expect that Professor Habib and Professor Ramadan will soon be able to come to the United States to meet and talk with American audiences,” said Melissa Goodman, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. Obama “The “My family and administration State Department ends I are thrilled now should Secretary a unconstitutional exclusion by conduct C l i n t o n’ s broader review of blacklisted scholars and decision, of visas denied under the Bush from U.S. Professors Adam we are thankful to the many administration, the Habib and Tariq Ramadan o r g a n i z a t i o n s reverse put that of exclusions likely to Be readmitted to pressure on others who were Obama the barred because ACLU says States, United administration of their political beliefs and retire the practice of to stop excluding people from the United States on the basis of their ideological exclusion for good.” views,” said Habib. “This is political The orders signed by Secretary a personal victory but also only not Clinton state that, in the future, for democracy around the victory a Professors Habib and Ramadan will not be denied visas on the world, and we hope this signals same grounds that they were a move by the administration to denied them in 2006 and 2007. To begin restoring the liberties and enter the United States, however, freedoms that have been so badly the scholars will need to apply eroded in recent times.”

for visas - a process likely to take several weeks. The ACLU expects that, given Secretary Clinton’s orders, the visa applications will be granted expeditiously. Professor Adam Habib is a respected

is Ramadan Tariq Professor Chair of Contemporary Islamic Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. In 2004, he accepted a tenured position at the University of Notre Dame, but the U.S. government revoked his visa

just days before he was to begin teaching there. The ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2006 challenging his exclusion on behalf of the American Academy of Religion, the American Association of University Professors and the aAmerican Center. “I am very pleased with the decision to end my exclusion from the United States after almost six years,” said Ramadan. “I want to thank all the institutions and individuals who have supported me and worked to end unconstitutional ideological exclusion over the years. I am very happy and hopeful that I will be able to visit the United States very soon and to once again engage in an open, critical and constructive dialogue with American scholars and intellectuals.” The ACLU will be in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York this afternoon for a status conference in Ramadan’s case, Academy of Religion v. Napolitano. Attorneys in that case are Jaffer, Goodman, Judy Rabinovitz and Lucas Guttentag the national ACLU, Arthur Eisenberg of the NYCLU and New York immigration lawyer Claudia Slovinsky. At the conference, the parties will of implications the address Secretary Clinton’s order for the long-running lawsuit. Attorneys in the Habib case, American Sociological Association v. Clinton, are Goodman, Jaffer and Rabinovitz of the national ACLU and Sarah Wunsch and John Reinstein of the ACLU of Massachusetts.

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Obama Presidency… What US Muslims Say WASHINGTON – One year has passed since Barack Obama made history being elected president of the United States. He took office amid high hopes from all Americans, whose country was at a crossroad with a crippling economic recession at home and raging wars and tarnished image abroad. A year on, opinions are divided on the achievements and failures of the Obama administration. IslamOnline.net has talked to many American Muslims on the issue and is giving some of them the floor to say what they think about their administration in their own words. Moe El-Gamal CEO, Technology Firm I believe President Obama did well overall in reaching out to Muslims at home here in USA and all over the world. What has surprised me and made me unhappy is the absence of a loud response from Muslims specially from what is called Islamic countries. I hoped and still am that those countries through the voice of Islamic Union (if there is one) or from the Arab league (if thoughtful) and to say also that they appreciate the President’s outreach and in return Muslims are too against violence and are not at war with USA or the West. I know privately they said so but we needed publicly and loudly. I Think President Obama did well overall: he changed the path of economic crises and avoided the much deeper recession, but this is a work in progress and time only will show more decisively how much credit is due to Obama. I believe he deserves lot of the credit. Obama had in a very short time changed the world opinion about USA and instead of doing it “alone” and “preemptively”, he works with our allies once again as a good team player. Healthcare legislation is being approved now in Congress and passed both Houses and this is a “MAJOR” change that only Obama undertook and is succeeding. President Obama is working on so many fronts: wars, economy, healthcare, etc and all are big issues that no one had work on them simultaneously like he is doing. He is a Great President and time will prove it!!. He made significant changes in this first year in office but he needs to continue the mission of change and hope!! Priscilla Martenez Housewife I think President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim communities across the world and in America has been very balanced. He has shown respect and conveyed America’s respect for Muslims in his travels to Turkey and Cairo. His speech in Cairo was a monumental speech. The first year was focused on building respect and mutual understanding. There have been some policy decisions and intentions made for peace and progress. It will take more than a year to have more progress in the mutual relationship between America and the Muslim people across the world. The first year has been full of challenges and learning in the new Administration. Health care efforts were made with good intentions, but implementation is always harder and it has been tried before by previous administrations and has consistently proven to be a challenge. Many faith communities feel health care coverage for the uninsured and under-insured is needed as well as help in lowering the overall cost of health care. We have seen economic recovery in the stock market and financial marketplace the first year and we need more focus on job creation in 2010, in sha’ Allah. We hope and pray for peace and stability in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is much more work needed in economic and educational development in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need to work together for peace. We want to make sure all Americans know that Islam and Muslims condemn terrorism, extremism and violence. We need balanced economic governance

and regulation to help the economy grow and prevent economic disasters. Alex Mercer Engineering Student I think that Obama has been doing a good job with the presidency. During his presidential campaign, “change” was his rallying call. While certainly Obama is a change...and a welcome change... from the leadership this country has come to know, what real change can just one man bring? The political process remains the same; those with money and influence buy legislation-via lobbyiststhat suit their cause, leaving the US and the majority of its citizens without the power to direct their government. Look at the nation’s financial crisis, we are in a recession. It is difficult to find work; many have lost their homes and other property. Yet we find that the government gives billions to poorly managed albeit big businesses while doing little for the common man. Obama has made steps toward reaching out to the Muslim community, stateside.

Maysa Hammoud As a Muslim American, I have many reservations when it comes to President Barack Hussein Obama. One is that he campaigned and currently supports proabortion which means that he also supports partialbirth abortions. Not only is this forbidden in Islam, it is inhumane. Another is his radical attempt to get people to vote for him by calling for a Civilian Security Force. This, of course, sounds quite absurd and a bit on the Communist/Socialist side. I don’t think he really believes in such an idea, but to actually call for it in front of thousands of Americans was a bit irrational. Was it his way to shock people into listening to him more intently? His address to the people of Egypt in Cairo. Well . . . . I can say WOW. It was surprisingly phenomenal. It was a speech I will pass down to my children’s children. I was quite impressed by his keenness to reach out to the Muslims. Aside from the fact that he pronounced “hijab”, “hajib”, it really touched my heart. So, how is Obama faring with the Muslims? I say pretty well except for a few things mentioned and others not mentioned. How is he faring with the rest of the public? Well, the big issue right now is the health care reform bill. He claims that this bill will insure that 30 million Americans that do not presently have health insurance. So, the people are waiting to see how this all pan out as the bill is passed.

Obama’s background is what many Muslims consider to be his largest attribute. I find it welcoming that he was not raised in the typical western anti-Muslim mentality, so he at least has a cultural and religious understanding.

Let’s all hope for the best. Masouna Kochaji Student

Khalila Sabra Rights activist In the last year, we have not seen the entire discriminatory legislation torn down. We have heard the president become spokesman for religious rights and justice, while Congress does nothing about discrimination of immigrants in almost every area of law and justice. Americans have paid taxes for homeland security, while the security of masjids still remain in jeopardy and Muslim education programs continued to be analyzed and questioned, and we have witnesses the right to wear hijab politicized and defined as a symbol of extremism. Some have risked their personal safety as they honor this religious obligation.

I feel that Obama has reached out to Muslim communities across the world more than he has with American Muslim communities, because he is trying to comfort or create a bond with the Muslim communities affiliated with the US through war. I expected change, because that is what so many people grasped during the elections. I believed that change would be made fast. I expected President Obama to spend more time with all the different religious communities, and he has begun to do this, but just not enough. I really hoped he would be visiting all the religious communities, especially the ones near the white house. I really hoped I would be able to meet him through one of his visits to the Muslim communities. I found that his response to the Fort Hood incident was a little rushed, but I do think it was good of him to leave out the religious background of the shooter. If it were former president Bush responding to the incident he would have very easily pointed figures towards the Muslims. I would want him to know that I was all for him. I believed in the change he claimed to bring, so I want to see it.

Seeing this, our president asks, what cause can there be for plots and violent insurrections beyond our borders? Why are Muslims dissatisfied with the appearance of current progress?

I agree political change must be made, especially since the economy isn’t great, but their needs to be a social change. A change in the way others see and interact with Muslims. President Obama needs to go visit the Muslim communities despite what the people (nonMuslims) will say about him secretly being Muslim. We need change that can benefit us all.

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Is the president responsible for all of these allegations? No, but he must go beyond extending an olive branch, he must plant it firmly in the consciousness of this country.

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Americans Have Negative Islam View By Dilshad D. Ali, D. IOL Correspondent

elicited the perceptions.

WASHINGTON – Americans still largely have a negative perception of Muslims and Islam despite growth in positive Muslim-American political and social activism and interfaith organizations in the past decade, according to a new report from the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies. “More than 50 percent of Americans said they had unfavorable opinions of Islam, while 29 percent of those reported a strong degree of prejudice towards Muslims,” concluded the report, “Religious Perceptions in America: With an In-Depth Analysis of US Attitudes Toward Muslims and Islam. It questioned 1002 interview subjects about different aspects of Islam and Muslims over a month-long period last year and married the results with those found in the Gallup World Religion survey, which surveyed Americans’ opinions on Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam and their followers. Of the faiths, Islam and Muslims

most

negative

Other findings from the survey reveal that there is a great public prejudice towards Islam as a faith than Muslims as adherents of that faith.

worldwide want peace, 66 percent said Muslims are not accepting of other religions. Some 68 percent said there is little in common between Christianity and Islam.

Senior analyst Dalia Mogahed, who is the Executive Director for the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, noted that though more than half of respondents said they knew someone who was Muslim, that didn’t deter from having negative attitudes towards Islam.

Despite numerous efforts by Muslim American organizations and individuals to inform the public about Islam, a whopping 63 percent said they have either no knowledge (23 percent) or very little knowledge (40 percent) of Islam.

“While not knowing a Muslim is significant into falling in that extremely prejudice group,” she said, “knowing a Muslims is not enough to keep someone from not being prejudice.”

The report is co-produced by the Muslim West Facts Project (part of Gallup) and the Coexist Foundation.

Mogahed said that correlation is indicative of how Americans tend to separate an individual from a group. “We found that it’s possible to know someone in a group and make them the exception, to say, ‘Sure, so-and-so is a good Muslim. But most Muslims are not like him.’” Though 70 percent of surveyed Americans said they believe Muslims

NILESH TOPIWALA C.P.A. PRESIDENT

Media Factor The findings Mogahed.

did

not

surprise

“Though Muslim-Americans are positively involved in the fabric of American life, it’s difficult to see that in light of the media coverage of things like Fort Hood, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the troubles in Pakistan.” But she asserted that all the negativity revealed by the survey was disheartening to see because there has been so much hard work done by Muslim-Americans and Muslims worldwide to inform the non-Muslim public about the beauty of Islam. “When the public tide can be turned towards having a positive view of Islam, then that will help negate all the prejudices.”

SADAF AFTAB (Accountant) Vice President

The problem stems from media coverage of Islam, according to Media Tenor, a research firm that monitors and analyzes media coverage.

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The report stated that not only is Islam the most frequently mentioned religion on the news networks in the US, but “a significant share of this

coverage is negative.” An analysis of all statements made by television news between January and August of 2009 revealed that 36 percent of statements on religion is about Islam, and the tone of those statements is twice as likely (40 percent) to be negative than that about Christianity (20 percent). Gallup’s survey surmised that the media coverage of the “fringe elements” of Islam “may shape Americans’ unfavorable attitudes towards Muslims.” “Muslims are different from one to the next. We live our lives differently, our world experiences are different and that shapes us,” Mogahed said. “But the one and only uniting factor of the group is Islam. And while acts of violence must be covered, perhaps what would help is for the media to pay attention to how it frames those stories.” what is this? This widget will help you to store, organize, search, and manage your favorite online content through a range of social bookmarking services. These services permit users to save links to websites that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, but can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, or shared only inside certain networks. Authorized people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or through a search engine. Most social bookmarking services also permit their users to vote and rank public bookmarks to determine which are the best ones according to the number of votes they get.

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FEBRUARY 2010

“Life” Sends Team to Haiti to Deliver Aid When a devastating earthquake rocked the povertystricken nation of Haiti last month, the U.S.-based Muslim charity Life for Relief and Development wasted no time in mobilizing its resources to assist in the emergency response effort.

9

clothing, wheelchairs, and other relief items to Haiti. Four more containers will be sent soon to the affected areas. The value of these relief items will be more than $1.25 million. “As part of our mission as a Muslim Charity, we are obliged to help those in need, regardless of who they are or where they live,” commented Life’s President and CEO, Dr. Mujahid Al-Fayadh. “We hope that with our modest efforts, we were able to save people’s lives and give them hope.”

A Haiti relief fund was set up to collect donations, and a team of aid workers was sent from the U.S. to Haiti to distribute over $1.25 million in humanitarian assistance to survivors, hospitals, and community institutions. Life sent team members from Detroit to the neighboring Dominican Republic, where purchased food and relief supplies would be sent into Haiti by truck. Two trucks full of food supply and water were already sent to Haiti to be distributed by Life team among the victims.

One of Life’s major partners, Mohammed Bin Rashid AlMaktoum Charity (MBRC) in the United Arab Emirates, also actively participated in Life’s Haiti Earthquake Relief Campaign. MBRC was named after its founder, Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who is the ruler of Dubai and serves as both the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.

Throughout their journey, the Life team coordinated its efforts with nearly a dozen partner organizations, including the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Since 1992, Life for Relief and Development has distributed over $130 million in humanitarian assistance to victims of hunger, poverty, and natural disasters around the world. To view pictures and videos from the Life team’s mission to Haiti, please visit www.lifeusa.org.

In addition, Life’s headquarters in Southfield, Michigan served as a collection center for relief items donated by individuals and organizations. Thanks to these donors and partners, Life was able to ship two 40-foot containers of medicine, medical supplies,

Congressmen Ask Obama to End Gaza Siege Islam online

which blocks basic humanitarian aid, was “suffocating” the civilian population.

sanitation materials.

construction

his administration is sincerely working for achieving Middle East peace.

Fifty members of Congress have sent US President Barack Obama a letter urging him to work for lifting the years-long Israeli blockade on Gaza Strip and the consequent enormous suffering of its nearly 1.5 million people.

The letter, dated January 21, was cospearheaded by Democratic Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a Muslim, and Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott.

“The unabated suffering of Gaza civilians highlights the urgency of reaching a resolution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict,” they said.

“Lifting these restrictions will give civilians in Gaza a tangible sense that diplomacy can be an effective tool for bettering their conditions.

It was signed by 48 more Congressmen from 22 US states.

“We write to you with great concern about the ongoing crisis in Gaza,” they wrote in the letter, a copy of which was mailed to IslamOnline.net.

A number of supporting religious groups and denominations, including Jewish and Christian ones, have also signed on to the letter.

“We ask you to press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza as an urgent component of your broader Middle East peace effort.”

“The people of Gaza, along with all the peoples of the region, must see that the United States is dedicated to… ensuring that the legitimate needs of the Palestinian population are met.”

“This crisis has devastated livelihoods, entrenched a poverty rate of over 70%, increased dependence on erratic international aid, allowed the deterioration of public infrastructure, and led to the marked decline of the accessibility of essential services.”

The signatories called upon the Obama administration to exert diplomatic pressure to end the “de facto collective punishment” of Gazans.

Israel has clamped a siege on the Palestinian coastal enclave since its arch-foe Hamas was voted to power in the 2006 legislative elections. It further tightened the blockade after Hamas assumed full control of the Strip in 2007. Israel blocks humanitarian aid, including harmless goods such as cheeses, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and toilet papers. “The current blockade has severely impeded the ability of aid agencies to do their work to relieve suffering,” said the Congressmen. Amnesty International said in a report earlier this month that the Israeli siege,

and

They insist that by working for lifting the blockage, Obama would be proving that

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The siege leaves the people of the impoverished Palestinian territory cut off from the outside world and struggling with desperate poverty. Congressmen noted that the sufferings have enormously aggravated since Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, in which nearly some 1,400 Palestinians were killed and 20,000 homes destroyed. With Israel blocking construction materials needed for rebuilding, thousands of civilians are forced to take shelters in makeshifts tents. “Winter is arriving and the needs of the people grow ever more pressing.”

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PAKISTAN NEWS

FEBRUARY 2010

www.AZMuslimVoice.com

Pakistan Army Snubs US on Militants By Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent

“When we cannot protect our own lands from terrorists, how can we guarantee for India.”

ISLAMABAD – Angry with the Obama administration’s position on arch-rival India, Pakistan’s Army has rejected a US request to launch a new offensive against Taliban in the northern tribal belt.

General Abbas said Pakistan can’t pay full attention to the “war on terror” if its reservations regarding India are not addressed.

“Our resources and situation on ground do not allow us to open a new battlefront against militants in North Waziristan or any other area,” Major General Ather Abbas, director general of inter services public relations (ISPR), told IslamOnline.net.

“Unfortunately, the US administration is pressurizing India to come to the table talk.

Visiting US Defense Secretary Robert Gates reportedly asked Islamabad to launch a new offensive against Taliban in North Waziristan. “I will not comment on that,” Major General Abbas said. “But certainly this has been frequently reported in the media, and their (US) desire in this regard is very obvious. One does not has to do much to understand this. “We do not want to attain something which we cannot retain.” The spokesman said that the Army has no plans to open a new front against militants for at least one year.”Launching an offensive and capture some area is one thing, but to maintain that is totally different,” he said. The Pakistani Army launched in October a deadly offensive in South Waziristan to uproot militants of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella group of various local groups in the region. The Army is also engaged in fighting with Taliban militants in Orakzai, Bajur, Mohmind, and Swat. “We have captured South Waziristan, but it is not end of the game,” General Abbas said. “Now we are facing the challenges of return of affectees, their rehabilitation and rebuilding the area, which need huge resources and commitment. “It will take between six months and a year to consolidate our achievements in areas taken back from militants. Only after that, we will be in a position to think about a new offensive. “If we launch a new offensive, that will totally be in line with our national interest, rather than any other

“We cannot pay attention on two fronts,” he said. not

“I personally told the US officials that if we (India and Pakistan) do not talk to each other, instead of talking about each other, Pakistan will not have any other option but to safeguard its national interests and security at all costs.” Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of which were over the disputed region of Kashmir.

country’s interest.” India Pakistan denies any link between refusal to open a new front against militants and Washington’s position on arch-rival India or gaining more aid. “We have not taken this decision to push US administration to entertain our demands regarding India,” General Abbas said. “We have taken this decision keeping our internal situation and available resources in view. It has nothing to do with US aid.” The Army spokesman, however, admitted that Islamabad has reservations about the US position on New Delhi. “Yes, it is true that America is not addressing our reservations in this regard,” he said. Pakistan accuses Indian intelligence agencies of operating against Islamabad from Afghan soil. Islamabad also accuses New Delhi of patronizing militant groups in the tribal areas and the southwestern province of Balochistan, where secular Baloch insurgents are fighting for independence from Pakistan, a claim denied by India. Pakistan is also angry with Gates’ praise of India’s measured response to the Mumbai attacks and warning to Pakistan of retaliation if Mumbai-like attacks are repeated. “Pakistan itself is facing Mumbai-like attacks everyday,” Pakistani Premier Yousaf Raza Gilani was quoted as telling Gates.

Overstretched Defense and security analysts agree that the overstretched army can’t open a new front against militants. “Almost one-thirds of the Pakistan army is engaged in fighting,” Ikram-ul-Majeed Sehgal, a Karachi-based analyst, told IOL. “It has shifted its focus from eastern borders to western borders. Its resources, including logistics, and ammunitions are depleting leaving army with no other option.” Sehgal opines that the situation on the ground bars the Army from launching a new offensive against militants. “It will not be wise decision to open a new front with current resources, especially when India has continuously been threatening Pakistan on its eastern borders,” said Sehgal. Sehgal, who is editor of Defense General, a leading defense journal in Pakistan, holds US responsible for exhaustion of Pakistani army resources. “This is shameful that under the head of coalition support program, Pakistan army, which has been suffering from huge losses, and actually fighting a war, gets only 1 billion dollars, while a sum of 16 billion dollars have been earmarked for the so-called Afghan national army, which is doing nothing.”

Obama Presidency...Better, Bitter Pakistan Aamir Latif, IOL Correspondent

years.

country,” he told IOL.

Masood denies any “real” problems between the US and

Hyder cited the American aid package which has been criticized by the military establishment, though initially welcomed by the government.

ISLAMABAD – A year since coming to office, the relations between the Obama administration and the Pakistani political and military establishment has much improved, despite growing public antiAmerican sentiments. “It’s true that Pakistan and the US enjoyed much better diplomatic and political relations during the last year,” Lt General Talat Masood, a senior security analyst, told IslamOnline.net. In his first speech after taking oath as President, Obama described Pakistan as a focal point in the war on terror and a major factor in winning the war in neighboring Afghanistan. He pledged to focus on improving bilateral ties between the two countries. Days later, Obama named veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke as his special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan. The selection delighted most Pakistanis who hoped diplomacy will finally have the upper hand in America’s dealing with their country and its militancy problem. Months later the Congress has approved a bill under which Pakistan will receive 1.5 billion dollars aid annually for the next four

Islamabad rushed its top diplomat to Washington to change some of the articles rejected by the powerful army.

“It’s true that Pakistan and the US enjoyed much better diplomatic and political relations during the last year,” Lt General Masood believes.

the Pakistan establishment over an increase in US drone attacks against targets in Pakistan’s restive northern tribal belt during the past year. “This all, I believe, is going on under a mutual understanding between the military leadership of the two countries,” he believes. “But openly, Pakistan doesn’t admit that.” Kamal Hyder, another defense and security analyst, believes Obama’s oneyear stint has been more problematic for Pakistan. “Obama, who is another face of Bush, has widened a gap between Pakistan’s military and political leadership, which is leading to another political turmoil in the

The government and the military also locked horns after the former placed the country’s formidable spy agency, ISI, under the control of the Interior Ministry, reportedly under American pressures. The order was later withdrawn following army’s resistance.

surge in anti-US sentiments on the masses level, which is a major impediment to the success of his PakistanAfghan strategy.” The veteran analyst holds the Pakistani leadership responsible for growing antiUS sentiments. “It’s our leadership rather than any other which is responsible for that,” he contends. “It has left a huge vacuum for those forces which are fomenting anti-American sentiments among the masses on the basis of different conspiracy theories.” Masood argues that despite an increase in US drone

Anti-Americanism

“It’s a reality that there is a

“The situation has even gone worse during last one year. There have been more drone attacks on our tribal areas, more division between political and military leadership, more suicide bombings and more US intervention in our internal affairs,” he told IOL. “I would say that Pakistan has lost whatever say it had in these matters during the last one year. We are acting now as mercenaries.”

“What this one year of Obama brought to us is that terrorism has reached our doorsteps. We don’t have even a single day without a suicide bombing or other terrorist attack.”

“Obama is willing to talk to Afghan Taliban in order to ensure a respectable pullout from Afghanistan, but doesn’t allow Pakistan to talk to local Taliban.”

“The challenges are still enormous for Obama administration,” says Lt General Masood.

Subhan Ali, who is studying for his masters, is one of many Pakistanis who see no difference between Obama and his processor George W. Bush.

He believes the government has traded its sovereignty for the 1.5 billion dollars in US aid.

Hyder also accuses the Obama administration of adopting a double-standards policy in dealing with Pakistan.

But many believe the Obama administration has a lot of work to do in view of growing anti-American sentiments in Pakistan.

anti-US sentiments in the country.”

“What this one year of Obama brought to us is that terrorism has reached our doorsteps,” Ali told IOL.

attacks against targets in Pakistan’s restive northern tribal belt, this is not a reason behind growing antiUS sentiments. “I don’t think that it is the reason behind growing

Qudratullah, a small shop owner, agrees. “A majority of Pakistanis do not know where this so called grant will be disbursed. These types of grants have always been here, but where did they go?” he fumes. “Nobody knows. May be in the Swiss accounts of our rulers”.


MIDDLE EAST NEWS

www.AZMuslimVoice.com

FEBRUARY 2010

Palestinians want US to negotiate in its place By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH Associated Press Writer RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) _ Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has proposed that the Obama administration negotiate the final borders of a Palestinian state with Israel, a Palestinian official said Wednesday, as a U.S. envoy headed to the region for another attempt to restart Mideast peace talks.

11

Alternately, Abbas could resume negotiations with Netanyahu, provided the Israeli leader agrees to a sixmonth settlement freeze in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Netanyahu would not have to announce the freeze, the aide said, presumably to avoid a rebellion in his hardline coalition.

hold separate talks with Netanyahu and Abbas on Thursday and Friday.

The Palestinians say settlements on lands they claim threatens the prospects for an independent state.

However, Abbas aide Nabil Abu Rdeneh said talks cannot resume without a freeze. ``This is a test for the U.S. administration and a test of Israel’s seriousness about returning to the negotiations,’’ he said.

Netanyahu has imposed a 10-month slowdown on

Such a proxy arrangement could provide a way around the current deadlock over reviving IsraeliPalestinian talks, which broke off more than a year ago. Abbas says he won’t return to the table without a complete Israeli settlement freeze, something Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to do.

The Obama administration has suggested bypassing the settlement issue by getting the two sides to discuss the borders of a Palestinian state, including a partition of Jerusalem.

Also Wednesday, several major international aid agencies said the blockade of the Gaza Strip has undermined the territory’s health care system by limiting the entry of medical equipment and the travel of doctors and patients outside for training and treatment.

As an alternative, U.S. officials could replace Palestinian negotiators in border talks with Israel, said an Abbas aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the content of internal meetings. The U.S. negotiators would be given clear parameters, the aide said.

The agencies, including the World Health Organization and U.N. agencies, called on Israel and Egypt to open their border crossings with Gaza, home to 1.5 million Palestinians.

The state would have to be established in the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War _ the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem _ but the Palestinians would agree to swap up to 3 percent of the territory to accommodate some Israeli settlements, the aide said. Abbas made the proposal in recent meetings with Egyptian officials who passed the idea along to Washington, the aide said. It was not clear how the Americans reacted. Officials at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem, which serves the West Bank, had no comment. Abbas has said much ground has been covered in his talks with Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, and that the time has come for decisions. In those talks, Abbas offered a swap of up to 1.9 percent of West Bank land for Israeli territory, while Olmert proposed 6.5 percent.

Max Gaylard, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, said Gaza’s health situation is ``entirely manmade’’ and could be fixed only through greater access.

West Bank construction, but opposes any freeze on east Jerusalem. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as their capital, while Israel considers all of Jerusalem its eternal capital.

Israel and Egypt first restricted access to Gaza in 2006, after the capture of an Israeli soldier by Hamas-allied militants. They tightened the blockade a year later, after Hamas seized control of the territory.

An Israeli official dismissed the idea of an undeclared freeze.

This has prevented the repair of medical facilities damaged or destroyed in Israel’s military offensive against Hamas a year ago.

``It is not going to happen. This is against everything the prime minister stands for and believes in,’’ said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it was not a formal offer.

Israel says it limits the goods that enter Gaza so they will not benefit Hamas, a group that calls for destruction of the Jewish state.

Abbas is expected to discuss his proposal with Obama’s Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, who was to arrive in Israel later Wednesday. Mitchell is to

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel cooperates with aid agencies and that conditions in Gaza ``emanate from the state of war that Hamas has invoked in this territory.’’

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12

INTERNATIONAL

FEBRUARY 2010

www.AZMuslimVoice.com

Indonesia’s Green Islamic Schools

By Dandy Koswaraputra IOL Correspondent

method of listening writing in classrooms.

JAKARTA –- A verse of the Noble Qur’an inspired Lendo Novo to lead the way of establishing Islamic green schools in Indonesia.

“The students are being educated to plant trees and breed animals or insects in the field so we put the subjects of biology, physic and chemical together in the same lesson,” Lendo explains.

“The Qur’an says human beings must become caliphs on the earth representing the Creator in managing the universe,” Lendo, founder of the Schools of Universe, told IslamOnline.net. Lendo, 45, established the first out-door Islamic school with the concept of educating people on environment in 1988. “In the beginning, we established it only for primary school,” said the father of the four. The goal was creating schools that aim at building Islamic character in students and making them appreciative of the nature. Islamic green schools teach the students about the environment by direct dealing from the nature instead of the old-styled conventional

and

“So, our laboratory is the nature.”

as football court. A group of students gathered around their teacher on a corner of the school’s yard to learn Arabic by naming things around them in that language. Another group was busy planting new trees across the

The school is two hectares of colorful gardened land full of trees and a number of traditionally-wooden buildings including small prayer room, computer and language laboratories as well

Future Seeds Hanif Alfada Birantulang, 10, is too young to understand what Islamic green schooling is, but he can talk a lot about how he loves his school and the activities available. “I like to be here because the teachers are helpful and having no gap with them and also we learn from the real cases in the field,” he told IOL.

In the Islamic Green School in the city of Bogor, students start their day by conducting the morning prayer followed by citing verses of the Qur’an in the open air. “This is their daily activities before starting the class,” Yasir Amarullah Mubarok, head of the Primary School in Bogor Islamic Green School, told IOL.

concept of believing in God through nature.”

Hanif said the school is also accommodating his hobbies of playing football, hiking and adventuring.

yard. Yasir explains that these activities are part of the curriculum, which aims at making the students down to earth and better in term of creativity and bravery. “We

are

introducing

the

“Sometimes my teacher leads me to go down to the river and meeting with local people.” Lendo believes the idea of Islamic green schools helped many in Indonesia, where the majority lives below poverty level, to find high-quality, inexpensive education for their children.

“Currently, we have more than 1,000 Islamic green schools around the country.” Islamic schools, known as pesantrens, are popular in Indonesia as they fill the vacuum of state schools in the poorest, remotest parts of the archipelago nation. There are some 14,000 Islamic schools in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation with a population of 220 million, in which more than three million students are registered. Six years later, Lendo diversified the mission by establishing higher level education institution called School of Universe. “It’s for senior high school, and this year we plan to establish a university,” he told IOL. Lendo is now opening chances for any party that has the money and idealism to open such educational institutions through free-of-charged franchising. “This is a seed of human investment that we planted for the Indonesian Muslims.”

Broken Promises Keep Iraqis Iran to place new limits on cash withdrawals Displaced By NASSER KARIMI and TAREK EL-TABLAWY

By Afif Sarhan, IOL Correspondent BAGHDAD -- Othman al-Gawwam was forced to leave his cherished home twice. The first time he fled insecurity, fearing for the lives of his loved ones. But today it is the government’s empty promises that are sending him and his family to a displacement camp. “I’m being forced to return to a camp with my kids who again will be unable to go back to school,” the father of two told IslamOnline.net. Gawwam, 38, had returned with his family to their home in the capital Baghdad, hoping the government would help them after long gruelling years in displacement camps. But for long months he tried in vain to find a job to put food on the table for his family. “Officials said that if we return we are going to be assisted and get some payment to help us rebuild our lives, but we only found lies.” Displaced families lack health care and are unable to send their children to school. Some have taken shelter in abandoned public buildings without proper water, electricity or sanitation. According to recent government figures, there are nearly 2.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Iraq. More than two million refugees live outside Iraq, mainly in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and UAE. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said that from all returnee families, 45 percent have one family member employed.

Gawwam feels government.

abandoned

by

his

“We heard promises and took the risk but when we found that nothing was being done to help us, the best thing was to return to displacement camps,” he lamented. “At least non-governmental organisations are helping us.” Ahmed Wissam Hayett, who has been displaced with his wife and four kids since 2006, has also lost any hope to return back home. “I feel forced to stay in this camp because promises that the government is going to give us financial help are just a political propaganda.” Abdel-Muhssen Jalil, a senior official of the Ministry of Displacement and Migration, recognizes the hardships suffered by IDPs. “Displaced people in Iraq are being left behind the progress,” he told IOL. “The government had allocated nearly US $80 to each displaced family but the majority didn’t receive it and the ones who were lucky enough just got the payment for one month and nothing more.” The government said that nearly US$170 millions are to be allocated in the 2010 budget for the Displacement and Migration Ministry. It is a mediocre amount of money but if distributed correctly, many families would have at least the right to eat a fresh vegetable or but clean water for their children,” says Jalil. Still, aid workers say the amount is 30 percent less than what is needed to overcome the problem and improve the living conditions of the IDPs.

One third of assessed returnees, who are heads of household, reported they cannot find employment.

Others are sceptical that even that amount of money would reach people who need it because of rampant government corruption.

The report said some assessed returnees were worrying about having to move back to displacement camps for not finding a source of income.

Gawwam, the father of two, says being forced to return to the displaced camp has left him disillusioned about anything the government promises.

Abandoned

“I don’t recognise my country anymore”

Associated Press Writer TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ Iran will begin Thursday limiting the amount of money individuals can withdraw daily in what officials say is a measure to battle money laundering but analysts see as an attempt to curb inflation by slowing the flow of money. Deputy Finance Minister Asghar Abolhasani said withdrawals of more than 150 million rials (roughly $15,000) per day would be banned ``in order to combat money-laundering,’’ state radio reported. The decision means an account holder cannot withdraw more than that amount daily in cash, but can still write checks for larger amounts. Finance Minister Shamsoddin Hosseini told a conference Wednesday that ``controlling the cash’’ would serve to battle money-laundering and financial terrorism. Analysts, however, said the restriction was apparently aimed more at combatting double-digit inflation in a country where the economy is largely in shambles in part from sanctions and what critics contend are President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s freespending populist policies. ``It’s a measure to try to contain prices rises, or inflation, and we have to wait and see if this, with additional measures, will contain price pressures in Iran,’’ said John Sfakianakis, chief economist with Banque Saudi Fransi-Credit Agricole Group in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. On Tuesday, Ahmadinejad said his government plans to lop off zeros from the country’s currency, arguing that the value of the rial was grossly undervalued. That change was also seen as an attempt to rein in inflation, which some analysts say is at least twice as high as what the government official reported at 13.6 percent annually in December. Inflation had peaked at around 30 percent in 2008, but the government claims it has since steadily fallen. Inflation remains a pressing issue in the country where political tensions are running high over the disputed June presidential election that gave Ahmadinejad a second term. In November, state-run Press TV’s Web site quoted a top central bank official as saying liquidity rose sharply during the first half of the Iranian calendar year and the bank had taken measures to slow the rate of growth. Iran’s parliament and the country’s constitutional watchdog, the Guardian Council, recently signed off on Ahmadinejad’s plan to cut fuel and food subsidies, with the money instead to be channeled directly to the poor. Concerns are rife that the move will spark additional unrest in the country and only fuel inflation. Experts have warned cutting subsidies on fuel and food would lead to 60 percent inflation in April, the month when the cuts are slated to go into effect. As part of the new restrictions on cash withdrawals, the government ordered banks and currency exchange offices to report all their hard currency transactions. Officials say the move is part of an effort to crack down on money laundering and other shady currency deals, as well as boost financial transparency in the country. Iran’s parliament had passed a law in 2008 tackling money laundering


INTERNATIONAL

www.AZMuslimVoice.com

FEBRUARY 2010

Obama underestimating the Conflict CAIRO – One year into the Oval Office, US President Barack Obama admits underestimating the difficulty of the PalestinianIsraeli conflict, saying he set high expectations to achieve. “This is just really hard ... This is as intractable a problem as you get,” Obama told Time magazine. He said that US efforts to move forward the moribund Middle East peace process have failed. “And I think it’s fair to say for all our efforts at early engagement, is not where I want it to be.” Obama has repeatedly called for a total freeze on all Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank to help restart the peace talks. Failing to convince Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu, Washington has since stopped linking the settlement freeze to the re-launch of peace talks. Obama admitted that his efforts to get Israel halt settlement building have failed. He said that Israelis “after a lot of time showed a willingness to

make some modifications in their policies”. “(But) still found it very hard to move with any bold gestures,” Obama said. The Netanyahu government has agreed a 10-month moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank, excluding Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem). The Palestinians insist on a total Israeli settlement freeze before resuming peace talks. There are more than 164 Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, eating up more than 40 percent of the occupied territory. The international community considers all Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land illegal. Fruitless Obama said that his administration has set high expectations to achieve in the Middle East conflict. “... if we had anticipated some of these political problems on both sides earlier, we might not have raised expectations as high,” he

Diseases Main Cause of Darfur Deaths IslamOnline.net & Newspapers

than those who did not leave their homes.

CAIRO — Nearly 80 percent of deaths in the conflict-ridden Sudanese region of Darfur are caused by diseases, not violence, two Belgian scientists can reveal.

“Overall, surveys of populations with large proportions of internally displaced people have higher mortality rates than do those consisting of only non-displaced individuals,” Degomme and GuhaSapir write.

“More than 80 percent of excess deaths were not a result of the violence,” say Olivier Degomme and Debarati Guha-Sapir in a new study, to appear in the British Lancet medical magazine on Saturday, January 23.

This could suggest that “overcrowding and precarious situations in which the displaced people live increase

“Although violence was the main cause of death during 2004, diseases have been the cause of most deaths since 2005, with displaced populations being the most susceptible,” the scientists write. “But the main causes of mortality during the stabilization period were diseases such as diarrhea.” The scientists, from the Brusselsbased Center for Research on the Epidemiology of disasters, note that diarrhea is caused by people living in conditions of unsanitary conditions with little or no healthcare infrastructure Diarrhea kills some 1.5 million children each year around the world -- more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. The Darfur conflict broke out in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the Khartoum regime accusing it of discrimination. The UN says that 300,000 have died as a result of war, disease and malnutrition. The Sudanese government has put the number at nearly 10,000. No independent field-research accounts are available to date. Worst The scientists note that the mortality rate among refugees is more higher

said. He said both Israeli and Palestinian leaders faced political difficulties that limited their room for maneuver. “I think the Israelis and Palestinians have found that the political environment, the nature of their coalitions, or the divisions within their societies were such that it was very hard for them to start engaging in a meaningful conversation. “And I think that we overestimated our ability to persuade them to do so when their politics ran contrary to that.” Obama’s envoy George Mitchell began Thursday a new round of shuttle diplomacy to resume peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel. “Recognizing the complexities and difficulties outstanding, we will pursue until we achieve that objective. That’s my purpose here today,” Mitchell told reporters following talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres. Obama, however, insisted that he

By Ahmed Abdel- Salam

DOHA – The International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has formed a delegation to outline a comprehensive plan to end the raging fighting between the Yemeni government and the Houthi Shiite rebels. “The IUMS Executive Council under Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has decided to mediate between the Yemeni government and Houthi Shiite rebels to end violence there,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Beya, a member of IUMS Board of Trustees, told IslamOnline.net.

Led by Qaradawi, the scholar delegation will group Mauritanian bin Beya, Qatari Ali Al-Qurdaghi, Saudi Salman Oudah, Omani Mufti Ahmed bin Hamad Al-Khalili and Iranian Shiite scholar Mohamed Ali Taskhiri. Yemen troops are engaged in fierce fighting against Shiite rebels in the northern province of Saada.

the risk of death from communicable diseases.” The study cites higher morality rates when there were few numbers of aid workers in the troubled province.

Sana’a says the rebels, known as Houthis, have been fighting to restore the Zaidi imamate, which was overthrown in a 1962 republican coup. The rebels deny the claim, saying they are defending their villages against what they call government aggression.

The Belgian scientists warn that expulsion of aid workers could lead to a grave deterioration in the humanitarian situation in Darfur.

Saudi Arabia was dragged into the conflict last year after the Shiite rebels shot dead two border guards and made incursions into Saudi territories before being driven out.

“Adequate humanitarian assistance to prevent and treat these potentially fatal diseases is essential,” they write.

Before launching the initiative, the IUMS listened to a report by President of Malaysia’s Islamic Party (PAS) Abdul Hadi Awang who visited Yemen, Saudi Arabia

Khartoum on Thursday revoked the licenses of 26 relief groups in Darfur and warned 13 others conform to the country’s laws within a month or face a similar fate.

would not drop efforts to achieve the two-state vision. “I think it is absolutely true that what we did this year didn’t produce the kind of breakthrough that we wanted,” he said. “Moving forward, though, we are going to continue to work with both parties to recognize what I think is ultimately their deep-seated interest.”

Muslim Scholars in YemenHouthi Mediation

A high-level IUMS team will arrive in Yemen in the coming days to discuss ways of ending the fighting between government troops and Houthis in the northern Saada province.

The study notes a “protracted phase of increased diseaserelated deaths” after a peak of violence in early 2004.

and Iran to discuss the solution to the conflict.

The Dublinbased IUMS was launched in July 2004 in the British capital London as an independent body and a reference for all Muslims worldwide. End Bloodshed The Muslim scholars hope to help find a solution to the growing unrest in southern Yemen. “The IUMS will also seek to reconcile between the government and southern separatist groups,” said bin Beya. Yemen was divided for decades and became a Cold War battleground when the south gained independence from Britain before reunification two decades ago. An insurgency erupted in the south in early 2009, with protests and attacks on government forces. “The IUMS is keen on closing Arab ranks and end Muslim bloodshed,” Qurdaghi told the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya news channel. He said the ongoing bloodshed in Yemen saddens Muslims worldwide. “Therefore, we have launched this initiative to stop the killing of Muslims,” he explained, adding that the IUMS is now coordinating with the government, Houthis and southerners. Qurdaghi described the scholars’ initiative as an addition to political efforts exerted by some Arab countries, including Egypt and Iraq. “The IUMS initiative goes in line with the political efforts to bring an end to this war.”

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The government says the decision was taken as these groups “have not carried out any activities” and failed to renew their annual permits or submit required reports. “The full effect of the expulsion of non-governmental organizations from Darfur is still not known, but the increased mortality rate during a period of reduced humanitarian deployment in 2006 suggests that we should fear the worst.”

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US Embassy in Baghdad looking for Facebook friends By CHELSEA J. CARTER Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD (AP) _ The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is looking for Iraqi friends on Facebook. The embassy launched the page Thursday with the aim of reaching out to Iraqis who want to learn more about American culture and society, the latest step by the State Department to boost interest in Iraq’s burgeoning online culture and promote Web entrepreneurship. The State Department has organized a number of high-profile visits to Iraq in recent months by top executives from Google, Twitter, AT&T and others. Recently, the embassy assisted in setting up a YouTube channel for the Iraqi government. The Facebook page launch came the same day U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech about Internet freedom and its place in U.S. foreign policy. The embassy rolled out the page after a two-month test run on Facebook, said Philip Frayne, an embassy spokesman in Baghdad. ``We didn’t get 2 million fans,’’ he said. ``The natural audience for embassy Facebook pages is not enormous.’’ But by late Thursday, the page had more than 800 fans _ nearly matching the number of Facebook fans of the U.S. Embassy in London. More than 170 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world have Facebook pages, according to the State Department.

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Italy to fund Somali government ministries By TOM MALITI Associated Press Writer

Chief among the Baghdad page’s attractions is the ``English Language Corner’’ where Iraqis can learn how to use English-language expressions such as ``once in a blue moon.’’ In the coming weeks, Frayne said the page will spotlight American music, sports and holidays. Anyone can post questions and comments on the page, though it is monitored for inappropriate content, Frayne said. ``If it is pornographic or inciting violence, we have the ability to take it down,’’ he said. So will the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad follow up with a Twitter account in a country where cellular telephone service is routinely spotty and Internet access often nonexistent? ``I don’t know,’’ Frayne said. ``Cell phone coverage in Iraq is not great.’’ Under former dictator Saddam Hussein, Internet access was limited to just one provider, and e-mail and phone calls were monitored and censored by the Ministry of Communications and security agencies. After Saddam was toppled in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, dozens of wireless Internet providers started business and hundreds of Internet cafes were opened in the capital, Baghdad, and other provinces. While Internet coverage is relatively limited thanks in large part to routine power outages and limited provider availability, the number of Iraqis accessing the Web has been increasing at a rapid rate.

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Italy will fund the operations of key ministries of the fragile Somali government battling a long-running Islamic insurgency, the Italian foreign minister said on Thursday. Italy, a former colonial ruler of Somalia, also will train an anti-terrorism police unit and a coast guard, and pay the salaries of police officers, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told journalists, announcing what represents a major boost for Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed’s government. Italy is doing this because Ahmed’s government ``is the best option. We have no alternative but to support this government,’’ Frattini said after daylong meetings in Nairobi with Ahmed and Kenyan leaders that centered on Somalia. Frattini said Italy will fund the daily operations of Somalia’s foreign affairs, finance and national security ministries. He did not say how much this will cost or give other details. Ahmed, a moderate Islamic leader, is battling rival Islamists trying to overthrow his government as he attempts to rebuild Somalia’s bureaucracy and institutions that collapsed during the past 19 years of anarchy and chaos that engulfed the

By Afif Sarhan, IOL Correspondent

“Recent international studies suggest that such division can help in teaching and learning process and we are happy to try in Iraq.”

‫ﺿﺨﺻﱞـرﺨرﺨ‬

The Ministry of Education has decided to start implementing the new decision in primary schools, than later at higher levels.

‫ﻷ‬‫ـ• ﻋﻶـﺿ‬‫ـ• ﺿﻻﱠﱡﺨسـﻫﳏر‬‫ﻸ�ﻬﻶـ• رﺨﺆ‬

“The division has been implanted at Sadr district in Baghdad,” al-Marasma said.

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She noted that although the decision in the Shiite-dominated area was influenced by a religious group, it has been well accepted by locals.

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Under a U.N. Development Programsupervised plan, officers have been trained to form a Somali police force, but some have left because they are not paid regularly. An unknown number have joined the insurgents who offer regular pay. Frattini also said that a number of donors have not honored pledges they made nine months ago to fund Somalia’s police and paramilitary force and an African Union peacekeeping mission. He did not name the donors or give other details, but his statement echoes one made in November by Nicholas Bwakira, then the AU envoy to Somalia. Bwakira, who finished his term in November, said donors had only paid 30 percent of the commitments made in Belgium in April, 2009. At the time donors pledged more than $250 million to cover the annual price of an expanded AU force and to bolster Somalia’s fledgling security forces. Somalia has not had an effective government since warlords overthrew longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.

being in girls-only schools. Mixed

“We aren’t forcing gender division but building an environment where education can improve,” Wafa’a al-Marasma, senior official at the Ministry of Education in Baghdad, told IslamOnline.net.

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His government is unable to collect taxes that could be used to fund government work because it controls only a few blocks of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and Islamic insurgents control much of southern Somalia, the region where the capital is located.

Iraq Opts for Same-sex Schools BAGHDAD -- The Iraqi government is planning to separate boys and girls in schools, a decision that is generating debate about how far it can help in the country’s development.

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Horn of Africa nation.

The decision to go for single-sex schools drew criticism from human rights organisations and activists. “This decision goes against Iraq’s Constitution, which guaranteed same freedom of expression and rights to all sexes,” Mayada Zuhair, a women activist and social researcher, told IOL. “We don’t disagree about the possible good performance of students based on international studies.” She insists that dividing students will reinforce differences, generate more discrimination and destroy any hope of a future democracy.

society.”

“Iraq isn’t a European country that crossed gender differences but still a country where women are seen inferior and struggling to find their place in

Huda Mustafa, a primary school teacher, agrees with the argument.

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The official admitted that some parents in other districts of Baghdad oppose the decision.

“It is already hard to change some strong religious interference over children and I’m afraid that dividing by gender will reinforce, instead of ending, gender discrimination.”

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“We suggest those parents surf the internet and learn about the benefits it could have on their children’s life.”

But Ali al-Jaryu, a mechanic and father of two girls at primary school, disagrees.

In March, a new British research concluded that girls in single-sex schools perform much better academically and more likely to stay in education than their counterparts in mixed schools.

“Iraq is in a very delicate period and our girls should feel protected,” he told IOL.

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“Iraq is a Muslim country and our religion is very clear about the importance to keep contact with the same gender until marriage, except at home. “We are looking forward for democracy but it shouldn’t affect our religious beliefs,” he insisted. “Maybe in the future they can lift this decision but nowadays I see it as the best option.


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Canada Muslims Feel Haiti Pain

TORONTO -- The atmosphere during the Friday prayer at the International Muslim Organization of Toronto was different. A large screen right at the center of the city’s Islamic center was showing heart-breaking images from Haiti, where a powerful earthquake has left behind massive destruction and fatalities. In his sermon, Imam Ayman Taher reminded the congregation about the Muslim’s duty to help the suffering regardless of religion and color. Sympathy filled the air as the images motivated people to contribute to a fundraising campaign to help ruined lives thousands of miles away. “This fundraising drive will continue until next Friday,” Omar Farouk, the IMO President, told IslamOnline.net. The Islamic center is one of many Muslim organizations and groups nationwide that mobilized to help the people of Haiti immediately after the country was rocked last week by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake, the worst in around 200 years. An estimated 3 million people were affected and an untold number of people are still trapped under rubble.

Student Association at our campuses have begun doing the same.

“We look forward to raising more than 75 thousand dollars by the end of this week.” The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti is one of the most densely populated and least developed countries in the world with nearly 80 percent of its 9 million people living in poverty. Religious Duty In London, community sermon to fundraiser,” a respected Ontario and told IOL.

Ontario, the Muslim dedicated the Friday “start one-week-long Munir El-Kassem, scholar from LOndon, a professor of dentistry,

Islamic Relief Canada also joined the efforts. “We have joined together with the rest of the Canadian faith-based organizations to do our part in making a difference, to bring help and hope to the people of Haiti,” said Hafsa Hassan, the fundraising director. Muslim groups which raced to encourage the community help Haitians in the face of the calamity underlined it as a religious duty for Muslims.

“The first revealed “Almost all masajids and centers suras of the Qur’an participated in this project,” Dr. Delic before prayers and told IOL. many other ordinances were about caring “Almost all masajids and centers participated in this for the poor, the orphan without project,” said Dr. Zijad Delic, specifying the religion,” Dr. Hamid National Executive Director of the Slimi, Chairman of the Canadian Canadian Islamic Congress, one of Council of Imams, told IOL.

the participating groups.

In Calgary, the largest city in the Alberta province, Muslims have risen to the challenge. “At each of our 8 places of prayer, the Khutbah’s Friday were dedicated to a Muslim’s responsibility to help their fellow men, women and children regardless of race or creed,” David Liepert, Spokesperson, Muslim Council of Calgary, told IOL. “I know that at our two largest mosques almost 20 thousand dollars was raised in immediate donation with more than that promised in pledges by brothers and sisters who hadn’t brought as much with them as they wanted to give.” Many Muslim organizations have begin running individual fund-raising drives and members of the Muslim

“As a matter of fact most of the society at the time of those revelations was not Muslim.”

Dr. Liepert, the spokesman of the Muslim Council of Calgary, agrees. “It’s a responsibility to help out people in need.” Delic, the national executive director of the Canadian Islamic Congress, believes Muslims should do more to help. “We have to, as part of our social and religious duty, do all humanly possible to help Haiti brothers and sisters: use our material resources as well as expert resources to help them by lessening their sufferings,” he asserted.

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Ex-Iraqi FM Tariq Aziz suffers from a stroke Associated Press AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz was afflicted by a severe stroke over the weekend and has lost the power of speech, his son said Sunday. Tariq Aziz was the international face of Saddam Hussein’s regime for several years. He was convicted and sentenced to prison for his involvement in the forced displacement of Kurds in northern Iraq and the deaths of Baghdad merchants in the early 1990s. Ziad Aziz told The Associated Press that his 73-year-old father had a stroke on Friday and was rushed to a hospital in Balad, about 40 miles north of the capital Baghdad.

The son criticized the Iraqi government for the continued detention of his father. ``The Iraqi government insists on the mockery of keeping a sick old man in jail,’’ Ziad Aziz said. ``We’ve been telling them that his health has deteriorated severely since the first stroke he had before

the war in 2003.’’

``He fell to the floor in his jail cell and we were told afterwards that he lost his speech completely,’’ he said, adding that the family had contacted the International Committee of the Red Cross for more details. Aziz’s lawyer, Badee Izzat Aref, confirmed he had been hospitalized with a stroke and the U.S. military in Baghdad said they would investigate the report.

``We’ve repeatedly asked that he be released on humanitarian grounds,’’ he said. The family _ Christian Catholics _ has appealed to the Vatican to intervene on Aziz’s behalf. Ziad Aziz said his father had diabetes and high blood pressure, but his health took a turn for the worst shortly before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion which toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

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Panel to favor partial ban on full veil in France By ELAINE GANLEY

heads an umbrella group of various Muslim organizations.

Associated Press Writer PARIS (AP) _ A parliamentary panel will recommend that France ban face-covering Muslim veils in public locations such as hospitals and schools, but not in private buildings or on the street, the group’s president said. The decision appeared to indicate that the 32member, multiparty panel had heeded warnings that a full ban of the all-encompassing veils would be unfair, possibly unconstitutional, and could even cause trouble in a country where Islam is the second largest religion.

A 2004 law already bans Muslim headscarves in classrooms. Now Muslim religious leaders, along with many experts, warn that a ``general and absolute’’ law banning face-covering attire in the streets would stigmatize all Muslims and have other dire consequences, even driving some to extremism.

The work began after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced in June that such garb ``is not welcome’’ on French territory. However, Sarkozy has since pulled back from committing himself to a full ban.

Critics of a street ban of the veils raised concern about the constitutionality of outlawing such dress.

Such dress is considered by many as a gateway to extremism. However, it also is widely seen as an insult to gender equality and an offense to France’s profoundly secular foundations.

The panel’s mission, and a separate national identity debate on immigration, already have left some of France’s Muslims feeling discriminated against, said Mohammed Moussaoui, who

They were joined last week by Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders who said they consider such a drastic step unnecessary. Monsignor Andre Vingt-Trois said he is not against anti-veil rules in ``precise places,’’ but doesn’t want to see the state become involved with how people dress. ``Shall we choose between the full-body veil and nude women in ads on top of a four-wheel drive?’’ he said. France has the largest Muslim population in western Europe, estimated at some 5 million, but

Israel cool to east Jerusalem settlement freeze By ARON HELLER Associated Press Writer JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cool to a recent Palestinian proposal for an undeclared settlement freeze in east Jerusalem, an Israeli official said Wednesday. Word of the Palestinian proposal for a quiet, six-month freeze in east Jerusalem in exchange for a return to talks comes as U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell arrives in the region to try and get the two sides to talk peace again. The Palestinians have refused to resume negotiations until Israel halts all its settlement construction in lands captured from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war. Netanyahu has announced a slowdown in building for 10 months that Palestinians have rejected as insufficient since it doesn’t include the eastern part of Jerusalem they want as their future capital.

But an Israeli official said the Palestinian proposal would not fly. ``This is a non starter. It is not going to happen. This is against everything the prime minister stands for and believes in,’’ said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the offer has not been made official. Mitchell is going to try and bridge the gaps in his latest diplomatic mission to the region. The former senator is trying to persuade both sides to resume talks aimed at ending their decades-old conflict. Previous talks broke off in December 2008. The Obama administration has recently suggested bypassing the settlement issue by getting the two sides to discuss the borders of a Palestinian state, including a partition of Jerusalem. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said that by focusing on the endgame, such talks would defuse the problem of settlements. But Abbas’ insistence on a settlement freeze suggest that a resumption of talks is still not imminent.

Lebanon says 2009 was best on record for tourists Associated Press BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ The Tourism Ministry says about 1.9 million tourists came to Lebanon in 2009, the highest number of visitors to the mountainous Arab nation ever. The new figure exceeds those from the time before Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, when Beirut was dubbed the ``Paris of the Middle East.’’ Figures released this week show that 1,851,081 tourists visited Lebanon in 2009, a 39 percent increase from the previous year. The 2009 number is the highest ever and broke the 1974 record of 1.4 million tourists, the ministry reported.

``It is perhaps a marginal problem, but it is the visible part of the iceberg,’’ lawmaker Andre Gerin, president of the parliamentary panel, said in an interview. ``Behind the iceberg is a black tide of ... fundamentalism.’’ He denounced those he called ``gurus’’ or ``French Taliban’’ who, he claimed, promote a radical brand of Islam that forces women, and young girls, to hide themselves. Gerin, the panel’s only Communist, said Tuesday’s report will recommend that veils be banned in public services such as hospitals and schools, but not in private buildings or on the street.

The approximately 170-page report, to be released, culminates a six-month inquiry into why a tiny minority of Muslim women wear such veils and the implications for France.

Parliament will not be required to act the recommendation. And given the deep divisions within the panel _ its 12 Socialist members refused to vote in a dispute with the governing right _ the recommendation for a partial ban on the face-covering veils may only result in a nonbinding government resolution.

only several thousand Muslim women at best are thought to wear such veils, usually a ``niqab’’ pinned across the face to cover all but the eyes. Worn with a long, dark robe, such clothing is customarily associated with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud estimated the country’s annual income from tourism at up to $7 billion, or about 20 percent of gross domestic product.

``I don’t think an ideology should be fought through constraining measures but through ideas,’’ Missouri, the Muslim leader, said in an interview. ``It’s very difficult to talk about the liberation of women through a law that constrains.’’ A poll by the IPSOS firm published in this week’s newsweekly Le Point suggests that a majority of French disagree _ with 57 percent of the 960 adults questioned favoring a total ban on the face-covering veil and 37 percent opposing one. Gerin, who wants one, stressed the need to move ``progressively’’ toward a general law banning the attire in the Streets and to work ``hand in hand’’ with Muslim leaders, associations and others who might hold sway among Muslims.

UN Wants Taliban off Terror List

IslamOnline.net & Newspapers

UN terrorist list would help open the way for peace talks.

CAIRO – The UN wants Afghanistan to seek the removal of senior Taliban leaders from an international black list of terrorists so as to pave the way for talks with the emboldened group.

“This would allow the Taliban to appear in public,” Rahmani, who now lives in the Afghan capital, told the NY Times.

“I think the time has come to do it,” Kai Eide, the head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, told the New York Times. Eide said Afghan officials should seek the removal of some Taliban leaders from the UN’s black list of terrorists, which includes 144 Taliban leaders, including its supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar. Under UN Resolution 1267, governments are obliged to freeze the bank accounts of those on the list and prevent them from traveling. Some believe the black list has prevented Taliban leaders from entering into negotiations because they would be arrested if they showed their faces. The request to remove the names from the UN list can only be made by the Kabul government. “If you want relevant results, then you have to talk to the relevant person in authority,” Eide believes. Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until being ousted in the 2001 US invasion. Since then, they have been launching guerrilla warfare against the foreign troops and the West-backed Kabul government. A recent report by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) said Taliban had widened its influence to cover almost all Afghanistan. Future Role Arsalan Rahmani, a former Taliban deputy minister, agrees that removing Taliban leaders from the

“It would allow the possibility of starting negotiations in a third country.” US General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, sees eventual Taliban peace deal. “As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there’s been enough fighting,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times. McChrystal hopes the deployment of 30,000 additional US troops could bring a “negotiated peace” with the Taliban. He even accepts that Taliban can be part of the future Kabul government. “I think any Afghans can play a role if they focus on the future, and not the past.” A plan to reach out to Taliban dominated talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan leaders Hamid Karzai and Asif Zardari during a summit in Istanbul on Monday. American, Afghan and NATO leaders are also preparing an ambitious program to persuade Taliban fighters to lay down arms in exchange for schooling and jobs. The plan, expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, will be the focus of an international conference on Afghanistan this week in London. But Eide, the UN representative in Afghanistan, doubts that the plan would be the answer. “I don’t believe it’s as simple as saying that these are people who are unemployed, and if we find them employment they will go our way,” he asserted. “Reintegration by itself is not enough.”


DEAR SISTER HANA / ISLAM

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FEBRUARY 2010

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DEAR SISTER HANA

Sister Hana is a Certified Counselor from Arizona State University. She is a Muslim therapist who is able to provide guidance and support to my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters in an Islamic and therapeutic way. She has experience in a large range of concerns including depression, anxiety, identity crisis, relationships, life skills, coping skills, anger management, and trauma. Inshallah with this column she will be able to provide you with confidentiality and help to any concern you may have. Please feel free to write to us and anticipate my reply in the monthly edition of Muslim Voice to dearhana@azmuslimvoice.com Dear Sister Hana, I’ve been wanting serious advice about my son. He is almost 21 years of age. He started working about when he was 16, but he constantly quits jobs and spends months at home. He also dropped out of college in the first year. I don’t mind helping him out from time to time, but he treats me badly. At home, I can’t talk to him without being cursed out. Outside the house, people see him as a shy good boy, but at home his personality changes completely. He also can’t keep friends. He constantly gets close with people then ruins his friendships with them. He also wants me to open a business for him, but I am scared because of his past experiences with giving up on work. Please if there is any advice you could give me I would greatly appreciate it. Thank You. Dear Brother, Thank you so much for your question. The situation that is going with your son is really unfortunate. I hope and pray that Allah will open his and your heart to what is right and what is best for your son. As far as it goes with his communication with you, I personally believe that communication is a two way street. Usually when a child is disrespectful to their parent, the child is also perciving thier parent as either being disrespectful or at least not understanding of what the child is going through. I know that your son is an adult know, I am sure however that this is a pattern of behavior for him and not something that recently started. In order to help your son best, I believe that there are so changes that need to be made in the home. If he is behaving differently with people outside of the home than with you, most likely there is something going on in the home that your son is not happy with. I understand that I cannot speak for him, but from experience and seeing a pattern and silimarities with other families, this could be what is going on. Parents have to try thier best to make thier home a pleasent place for thier children to live in. When our children start looking outside of the home for happiness, then there must be a fundamental miscommunication going on at home. It would be a good idea for you to talk to your son about what is going on with him, why he seems unhappy and why he communicates with you disrecpecfully. Even though you might not find any logical reason as to why he is behaving this way, its a good idea to ask him and I assure you he will have a reason for it. I also ask you to be very nonjudgmental with what he has to tell you and that you will provide him with the security of not getting upset with him when he openly talks to you and shares with you his true emotions and conflicts. If he has a pattern of not making or keeping friends, there is obviously not just a miscommunication issue with his parents but also with others as well. We are not born with an understanding of how to make friends and how to communicate with people. These are skills that we must learn from our parents. It would be a good idea for you to reeducate your son on what is good communication and what is not to help him in the home and outside of the home. You have to try to do this as lovingly as possible. As for the buisness, I understand your frustration and conflict of helping vs not helping him. I think working on your relationship with him first is more of a priority than a business. Therefore, try to improve your relationship with him through healthy and open communication with love and mercy and then work on the business ideas. That way business conflict which are inevidable, will be resloved with respect and understanding. Please dont give up on your child, if you give up on him, then there is no one else to help. Our children need us, we are responsible

for them always. I will pray for you. Keeping praying for him yourself and may ALLAH guide him to the right path. Thank you so much. Sincerely, Sister Hana Dear Hana, I watched you on whats happening show, very impressed with you. I hope you can help me with my daughter she’s 20yrs old, since she was at a young age, had many problems with her, being unruly, and very disrespetable to, both parents, one of the main issues is she thinks to have men pay attention to her is to dress and model like porn and put it on face book and other internet sites, she loves black people. she is shaming the family name with her porn like pictures all over face book. she lives at home and goes to school, but she will not listen to anyone friends or relatives to take those shameful pictures out. please help me in what to do. and how to handle this situation. Dear Sister, Thank you so much for your question. This is a really touchy subject and I hope to help you with my words. As I have been reading your question over and over again, I continue to believe more and more that your daughter has low self esteem, and low self worth. These issues can absolutely be resolved with the appropriate strategies. Currenlty your daughter will not repsond to any comments or suggestions from other people or family members. If her self esteem is that low, making her feel like she is shaming her family will only make her feel worse. Even though you may be thinking tha she deserves to feel this way (bad about her actions) , this is not helpful for her or for you for her future. If you want her to improve her life and stop with these behaviors that are bringing you shame, you have to understand that there is a core issue behind all of these behaviors. If the core issue does not get resolved then the behavior will not change. Her core issue is that she feels the need to be loved and wanted because that need is not being met. Now, its not improtant for us to analyze why she feels this way, it would not be productive to figure that out. Its only helpful for us to now understand that she needs help and needs to feel loved by people around her in a healthy way so that she stops on her own with her negative attention seeking. This might be the hardest part for you as a parent, and I understand that it must be very hard for you, but you have to believe and understand that nothing can be solved with adding more conflict to conflict, things can only be solved with love and understanding. You have nothing to lose to try to approch her in a loving and caring manner. Tell her that she is beautiful and mean it. Dont tell her what not to do, just that she is beautiful and that you love her. GIver her some time and encourage her to love herself and do things that she loves to do, to find a hobby or embrace her talents. When she improves her self love and self esteem on her own, she will automatically on her own stop engaging in these behaviors that you are not happy with. I will pray for you and for her and may ALLAH protect her and help her see the right direction in her life. Thanks so much. SIncerely, Sister Hana

Sunni and Shiites By Mustafa Abu Amsha, IOL Correspondent

RIYADH – A galaxy of prominent Saudi scholars has spoken out against insults by a Saudi preacher for Iraq’s top Shiite authority Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, asserting that sowing division between Sunnis and Shiites plays into the hands of Islam’s enemies.

“Calling somebody an infidel or disbeliever is a very serious matter,” Mohammed Mousa Al-Sharif, a prominent Islamic thinker, told IOL. “One needs clear evidence to make such a judgment and if there is not, then it is impermissible.”

Harmful Ali Badahdah, a prominent Saudi preacher, said Al-’Arifi’s remarks were inappropriate. “Some international and regional powers could use such discords to attack Saudi Arabia not only as a state but as a symbol of Sunni Islam.”

“Muslims should have a candid dialogue without directing insults and affronts,” Sheikh Abd Al-Muhsin Al-’Abikan told Islmonline.net.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has called on Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz to intervene and stop insults against Iraq’s revered Shiite scholar.

Muhammad Al-’Arifi, an imam at Riyadh’s central mosque, had delivered a sermon about the Houthis Shiite rebel group, which is fighting the Yemeni government and has clashed with Saudi troops. He criticized Sistani as a the political revered Shiite debauched.”

“The insult to Sistani causes division and quarrel that sparked the flames in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other countries,” he wrote in a letter to the monarch.

the Houthis for choosing mediator to help solve stand-off, dismissing the scholar as an “infidel and

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had also slammed the comments as “hateful and hostile.” The Iraqi parliament has urged the umbrella Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to condemn the remarks.

Saudi Arabia was drawn into the conflict between the Yemeni government and the Shiite rebels last October after a Saudi border guard was killed and two villages were briefly seized by the rebels.

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdulaziz Aal al-Sheikh stressed that those delivering Friday sermons should take into account the intellectual level of worshippers.

“The pulpits of mosques shouldn’t see such controversies,” stressed Sheikh Al-’Abikan, who is also a royal advisor. “Muslims should opt for dialogue, and avoid reasons of discord.” Other prominent scholars and thinkers agreed, saying the inappropriate remarks are impermissible from a Shari`ah point of view.

Al-’Arifi’s comments already drew political fire.

“Muslims should have a candid dialogue without directing insults and affronts,” Al-’Abikan told IOL.

“The educated and the ignorant come together to the mosque…and they have different capabilities with regards to comprehending [complex issues]. Everybody should leave the mosque with a [positive] result.”


18

BAZAAR / CLASSIFIED

FEBRUARY 2010

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CALENDAR / ANNOUNCEMENTS

FEBRUARY 2010

Tucson Prayer Times

Phoenix Prayer Times

February 2010 • Safar / Rabi Al-Awwal 1431 H

February 2010 • Safar / Rabi Al-Awwal 1431 H

DIRECTIONS TO THE ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTER CEMETERY

ISLAMIC WEEKEND SCHOOLS Islamic Community Center of Phoenix:

FROM THE ISLAMIC CULTURAL CENTER (ICC):

Check our website for up to date information www.tempemasjid.com

1) Go South on Forest to University Drive. Turn right. 2) Go West on University to the I-10 highway. Take I-10 East. 3) Proceed on I-10 East (~12 Miles). Exit at Queen Creek Rd. (EXIT #164). 4) Turn right on route 347 South. Proceed for about 14 miles. 5) Turn right on route 238 West. Proceed for about 8.7 miles. 6) Turn right on unnamed/unpaved street after you see the street sign which reads “36 miles” and proceed to the cemetery.

IN CASE OF DEATH • Call Sandy at Angel’s Burial, at 480-962-6435 • Total cost is $1,800.00

19

Sunday at 9:45 am-1:20 pm.

Islamic Cultural Center:

Sunday at 10:00 am

Muslim Community Mosque:

Sunday at 10:00 am until 2:30 pm.

Masjid Omar

Saturday & Sunday from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm.

ICNEV Weekend Islamic School

Tel: (480) 346-2081Classes held on Sunday

ACA Weekend School

Sunday 10:00 am-1:15 pm. www.azacademy.org/weekend

K thru’ grade 12 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Sultan Education in Chandler

Saturdays & Sundays - children/adults 480-593-7066

Greenway Islamic Academy

Tajweed, Islamic Studies, & Arabic Language 602-565-0500 ���������������������������������������

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COLORING CONTEST Feb. Winner Samah Ali Send your coloring to the Muslim Voice to enter the drawing for the best picture.

Hint: If the paper is too thin to color, make a Xerox copy then color it. Ages 3-12, please send a picture of yourself.

COLORING CONTEST FOR KIDS

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ISLAMIC CENTERS IN ARIZONA

PHOENIX Arizona Cultural Academy 7810 S. 42nd Pl. • Phoenix 602-454-1222 Islamic Center of Arizona 9032 N. 9th St. • Phoenix

Islamic Center of N. Phoenix 13246 N. 23rd Ave. 85029 602-371-3440 Islamic Comnty Ctr of Phx 7516 N. Black Canyon Hwy. Phoenix • 602-249-0496 Muslim Community Mosque 1818 N. 32nd St. • Phoenix 602-306-4959 Masjid Al-Rahmah 2645 E. McDowell Rd. • Phoenix 602-275-5493

Name:

Age:

Phone #:

February 2010

Masjid Muhammad Ibn Abdullah

MESA Masjid-el-Noor 55 N. Matlock • Mesa 480-644-0074

Al Rasoul Mosque 5302 N. 35th Ave. • Phoenix 602-864-1817

SCOTTSDALE Islamic Center of N.E. Valley 12125 E. Via Linda • Scottsdale 480-612-4044

5648 N. 15th ave. Phoenix, AZ 85015 602-413-5279

PEORIA Greenway Islamic Center 6724 West Greenway • Peoria, AZ www.greenwaymasjid.com

CHANDLER Masjid AsSalam 1071 N. Alma School Rd.• Chandler 480-250-7522

TEMPE Islamic Comnty Ctr of Tempe 131 E. 6th Street • Tempe Islamic Center of East Valley 480-894-6070 425 N. Alma School Dr. • Chandler Masjid Al Mahdi 602-388-9900 1016 S. River Dr. • Tempe 480-557-9699 LAVEEN Islamic Center of Laveen Masjid Omar Bin Al-Khattab P.O. Box 1107 • Laveen 6225 S.McClintock • Tempe 602-361-4401 480-775-6627


35th Ave.

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• Imported cheeses

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2010

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Muslim Voice Feb 2010