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www.freeshaker.com Shaker Aamer has been held at Guantanamo for 11 years and has never been charged or convicted of any criminal offence. He has in fact been cleared for release by both the Bush and Obama Administration but despite this, he remains in indefinite detention.
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I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I April 2013
By Bin Amin
The Awakening Bradford shed an important light last month at an event focussing on habeas corpus, extradition, special rendition and Schedule 7 powers to search and stop. The event focused on the inhuman and unlawful imprisonment of Shaker Aamer, the only remaining British National who remains incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay. The meeting was chaired by Respect Councillor and social justice activist, Alyas Karmani, who has been leading topical human rights issues for decades and himself facing the spotlight of attention for activism to promote justice. Alyas was more than ably supported by Sheikh Suliman Gani and Maulana Fazal Dad, both well respected Muslim scholars. The bare facts about Shaker are that he has been cleared for release twice- by both the Bush and Obama administrations; he has never been charged or tried and languishes in Guantanamo 11 years on. He has four children, tragically the youngest of which he has never seen. Frankie Boyle, the well known British comedian, recently redirected his damages award of £50,000 to enable Shaker to sue the MI6 for defamation. While these issues of unfair imprisonment face a largely Muslim population at the moment, it is clear that absolutely anyone can be detained indefinitely without charge at any time, in effect state sponsored abduction! The debate focused on who’s next? There were some great quotes, the standout quote being Pastor Niemoller’s: ‘first they came for the communists, then the socialists, then the trade unionists, then the Jews, then the Christians and finally me.’ Despite Muslims being in the firing line, it could be you next, yes you! At what point
do you begin to protest against this annihilation of basic human rights? At what point do you remonstrate against the dehumanisation of innocent human beings? At what point do we collectively say no to state terrorism? There is a complete lack of fair play here- democratic principles of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ have been completely eroded; the ‘war on terror’ smacks of double standards and mischief making; it’s one rule for one and a completely different rule for another, with those that are poor and powerless being obvious victims; there is an orchestrated wilful disregard for human civil liberties and a new paradigm of ‘you’re guilty without ever being able to prove your innocence.’ How can such dogma and open injustice be tolerated in the modern world? To remind you of conditions within Guantanamo – human beings were made to wear dog collars; subjected to inhumane, cruel and degrading behaviours; a place for secret torture in breach of UN conventions; an environment that reflects every bit the atrocities of the Nazi concentration camps. There could not be a more stark reminder of modern double standardsGuantanamo is the very Janus of American democracy. Shaker is not alone and nor is he and others forgotten. Their struggle for freedom is supported by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This is not a Muslim issue, but an issue for every single human being. Muslims will be tested on the day of reckoning for their willingness to speak out in favour of the truth and equally their vocal condemnation of oppressive regimes. It is for Muslims to help the oppressed and to challenge the oppressors. We are totally united
in this campaign. This is a human issue. Marx said: ‘religion is the opiate of the masses.’; well media misrepresentation and distortion must therefore be the crack cocaine of the people. The modern addiction of the masses is mass media which many uncritically consume and hardly ever challenge. The truth gets buried and distorted in mounds and mounds of information and misinformation. It’s high time Obama closed down Guantanamohe promised to do so in2008. His inability to do so thus far epitomises his weakness and abject hypocrisy. Raw data- of the 1500 or so arrests (not to mention the families that are totally devastated by this), there have been less than 50 hard core convictions- that’s very marginally over 3%. This is a shambolic success rate which those in charge should feel ashamed by. Muslims are being racially profiled. They are being portrayed across instruments of mass media as the “Freddy” Kruegers of the modern world. Secret prisons/secret hearings, burials at sea, drone attacks killing many thousands-ofinnocents: are these the values of modern representative democracy? In order to do your bit, please sign the online petition now. We need to get to 100,000 signatures by 20th April 2013. For more information please go to: http:// saveshaker.org/ I leave you with two quotes to ponder: “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” “Until they became conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” George Orwell,1984.
Write to: Editor, Passion Islam, PO Box 159, Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email: firstname.lastname@example.org - www.passionislam.com This Magazine contains Ayaat of the Qur’an and Hadith of the Prophet (SAW), please ensure you handle it with respect & care - Sukran -
Views expressed in the Passion column are of the contributers and not necessarily of Passion Islam.
I April 2013
UK troops to fight in Syria Channel 4 British forces are being pulled out of Afghanistan to join militants fighting inside Syria against President Bashar al-Assad, a new media report has revealed. British special forces are being “quietly” withdrawn from Afghanistan in order to be deployed to Syria, The Daily Star reported quoting from a Whitehall source. The Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) commanders are said to be drawing up secret plans to supply foreign-backed militants in the Arab country with weapons. British troops are planned to be working under the supervision of Britain’s secret intelligence agency MI6 and France’s Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE), seeking to send a £20 million-arsenal of weapons stockpiled in Syria’s neighboring countries to militants fighting against the Syrian government. Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK could go it alone to arm foreign-sponsored militants in Syria if other European Union (EU) member states refuse to lift the arms embargo
to broadcast Ramadan prayers
on the Arab country in May. The Syrian crisis began in March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel, have been killed. Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals.
One of Britain’s biggest television stations will mark Ramadan with daily broadcasts to mark the major event in the Islamic calendar. Channel 4 is in discussions about airing morning prayers every day, between July and August. British Muslims will also discuss the physical and spiritual effects of fasting, every evening just after the news. A Channel 4 spokeswoman said it was consulting Muslim clerics and other organisations about broadcasting prayers. She said details were still being worked out and it could be that the prayers were “marked”, rather than broadcast to viewers. The network called the programming “another first.”
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Activists to condemn UK Govt’s deadly drone policy
Activists from across the UK are to stage a protest next month, calling on the British government to abandon the use of drones as weapons to wage wars and carry out assassinations overseas. The planned march and rally, dubbed Ground the Drones, has been called by groups including, Campaign Against Nuclear Disarmament (CND), Drone Campaign Network, Stop the War Coalition and War on Want. British anti-drone activists are planned to assemble at Lincoln rail station on April 27 and then march to the Royal Air Force (RAF) Waddington, in Lincolnshire, east of England, which is a new site for controlling UK’s drone strikes. “Remotely controlled unmanned drones have become the latest way to wage war and thousands have been killed in drone strikes from Afghanistan to Yemen, from Pakistan to Gaza,” said a statement on the official website of the Drone Campaign Network.
Britain has spent more than £2 billion over the last five years, developing its unethical assassination drones, according to British media reports. In October last year, the UK military announced plans to double the number of its assassination drone fleet in Afghanistan by deploying new US-made Reaper drones to the Asian country. The deployment of assassination drones by the US and its allies has led to deaths of at least hundreds of innocent civilians, including many women and children, in the Middle East.
UK Govt loses latest Abu Qatada deportation appeal
Home Secretary Theresa May has lost her appeal against a ruling preventing the deportation of preacher Abu Qatada. She acted after the Special Immigration Appeals Commission said the radical cleric could not be returned to Jordan. Judges say he could face an unfair trial involving evidence obtained by torturing others. The Home Office said it would further appeal, adding: “This is not the end of the road. The government remains determined to deport Abu Qatada.” A spokesman added: “In the meantime we continue to work with the Jordanians to address the outstanding legal issues preventing deportation. Abu Qatada has never been charged with an offence in the UK.
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I April 2013
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I April 2013
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I April 2013
How Muhammad (SAW) changed my life event
I April 2013
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Last month supporters of the Know Muhammad (SAW) campaign held an event in Rochdale, UK entitled “How Muhammad (SAW) Changed my Life”. Aimed at both Muslims and nonMuslims, the event was held to raise awareness of Muhammad (SAW) and his influence on modern society through the personal accounts of three converts to Islam. The event illustrated the wider trend of the thousands who
embrace Islam each year, rejecting secular, Christian, Atheist and many more backgrounds in favour of submission to Almighty. The three speakers: AbdurRaheem Yahya, a revert of almost four years spoke first about his journey to Islam and how he came to know the mission and message of Muhammad (SAW). Touching on his background as a Christian and later an Atheist, he explained that his search for Islam was a search for truth. Built upon a solid, rational foundation, he came to realise beyond doubt that Islam could not be disproven and that the concept of Iman was nothing like the blind faith and following he had once associated with the religion of his childhood. The second speaker, Julie Breen, a revert of close to two years, discussed how she had once lived what many consider an ideal life in the western world. Raised as a Catholic, she had a well-paid job, a large house and
a happy family life, but realised that she was on the wrong path upon an encounter with Muslim colleague. After reading a translation of the Qur’an, she embraced Islam comprehensively and discussed how our Deen offers the solutions to the many problems mankind faces today. In particular, she highlighted the status Islam has bestowed upon women and demonstrated that contrary to media stereotypes, Islam is the only system that can truly liberate women from the oppression of western liberal values. The third speaker, Abdur-Raheem, a revert of sixteen years explained how his encounter with Islam led him away from a life of drug and gang culture on the streets of Britain and into a content and peaceful life of submission to his Lord. Following the event members of the audience were invited to discuss any questions of comments they had with the speakers.
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I April 2013
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Qatar to invest $15bn in UK infrastructure - report
I April 2013
Qatar is in talks with the UK government to invest up to GBP£10bn (US$15bn) into key infrastructure projects. Officials and ministers from both countries have held discussions over what schemes the Qataris could invest in and whether a specific fund could be set up, the newspaper said. Potential projects include energy plants, road and rail projects and the Thames ‘super-sewer’ under London. Specific schemes discussed include a new GBP£14bn nuclear reactor in Somerset. A timeline for the investment has not yet been agreed, added the report. Gas-rich Qatar has snapped up a string of British assets in recent years including 80 percent of Western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard, Harrods and the US embassy building. The Gulf state is also funding the redevelopment of the GBP£3bn Chelsea Barracks housing project.
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Britain’s former Under Secretary of State for Transport, told Arabian Business last year that the UK would welcome further infrastructure tie-ups with the Gulf following port company DP World’s multibillion-dollar investment in the London Gateway project. Investment in aviation and roads infrastructure would be not only help shoulder the burden of funding but would help to boost confidence in the UK economy, Mike Penning said.
“We are looking for investment. The more joint partnerships and the more outside investment people see coming into the UK, the more confidence there is in the UK economy… If banks are not willing to lend and invest then people ask why they should invest,” he said. “Transport is an obvious [area for investment], as an example, our motorway infrastructure. These are difficult times in the UK; I’ve got a budget but not an enormous budget.”
UK government promotes London as Islamic finance hub The British government launched a campaign to promote London as a centre for Islamic finance, seeking to counter growing competition in the industry from rising centres such as Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. A task force including Britain’s Financial Secretary to the Treasury Greg Clark, ministers of state and private sector executives will advertise London around the world, the British Foreign Office said. The group will try to attract foreign investment to Britain by facilitating Islamic financial business, including investment in British infrastructure by Islamic sovereign wealth funds, the Foreign Office said in a statement. Because of its status as a top global financial centre, London has attracted a large amount of
Islamic business; more than $34 billion worth of sukuk, Islamic bonds which are structured under religious principles such as a ban on interest payments, have been issued through the London Stock Exchange. But competition from cities where Islamic funds originate is increasing. Kuala Lumpur is building its credentials as a centre for foreign companies to issue sukuk outside their domestic markets, while Dubai announced in January that it would revise regulations to attract sukuk issuance and trading. Britain has introduced legislation facilitating Islamic finance, and in 2009 it came close to issuing Europe’s first sovereign sukuk. The issue was ultimately postponed indefinitely because the government felt it would not provide value for
money, Farmida Bi, European head of Islamic finance at law firm Norton Rose in London, told Reuters. The World Islamic Economic Forum, a conference of Islamic financiers to take place in London this October, will be an early opportunity for the new British task force. It will be the first time the forum is held outside of an Islamic city or Asia. Some other parts of Europe are also showing increased interest in Islamic finance as much of the conventional financial industry struggles. The European Central Bank and the Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board, a global standardsetting body, are conducting a joint study on policies affecting Islamic finance in Europe.
UK top universities accused of discrimination
LOCAL & NATIONAL
I April 2013
In Case You Missed It
Students from ethnic minorities and state schools are less likely to get places at top universities in Britain than white students with the same grades, a study has found.
A research by Durham University found that white pupils and those at free-paying schools were more likely to obtain an offer from the country’s top universities than black, Pakistani,
‘UK Should Impose Sanctions on Israel’
Hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Samer Al-Issawi has called on the British government to force the Israeli regime to abandon its controversial practice of administrative detention, which allows holding Palestinians indefinitely without charging them or trial. Writing in The Guardian’s Comment is free, Issawi said the UK government should impose sanctions on Israel “until it ends the occupation, recognizes Palestinian rights and frees all Palestinian political prisoners”. Referring to Britain’s “historic responsibility for the tragedy” of Palestinian people, he said, “Israel would not dare continue its oppression of the Palestinians without the support of western governments.” The 33-yeay-old Palestinian man, who has refused food for
more than 210 days in protest at his imprisonment in Israeli detention centers, argued that his death will be a victory for refusal to surrender to the regime’s “occupation, its tyranny and arrogance”. Issawi was arrested in July 2012 only months after being released as part of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hamas. Over 4,500 Palestinian prisoners are held in Israeli prisons, many of them without charge or trial. Earlier in February, the Palestinian Return Center (PRC) organization launched an international campaign aiming to collect one million signatures asking Britain to apologize to the Palestinian people for its “past atrocities” starting with the Balfour Declaration and for the human rights abuse suffered by Palestinian citizens under the UK’s mandate.
Bangladeshi and state school students with the same A-level grades. According to the study, state school pupils and ethnic minorities needed up to one grade higher than their peers to receive the same chance from members of the 24 UK’s leading universities known as the Russell Group. Vikki Boliver, the author of the study, criticized the country’s top universities for their unfair practice, saying that “The headline conclusion of the analysis is that access to Russell Group universities is far from fair.” The study looked at 49,000 applications from 1996 to 2006 and it will be published in the British Journal of Sociology later in June.
“Journey through the Quran”
Course in London University British Academy of Quranic Studies (BAQS) is going to present its unique double weekend intensive course on ‘Journey through the Quran’ – an overview of the whole Quran in 4 days (13-14 & 20-21 July, 2013 during Ramadan. Participants of the course will learn 1000 words of the Quran, Key stories, messages and lessons of the Quran, Summary and overview of all 114 surahs, 99 personal development lessons from the Quran and How to benefit from the Quran in your daily life. A Certificate of Attendance will be issued to participants who attend and complete the full course [4 days]. Shaykh SM Hasan al-Banna, the founding director of the Islamic Institute for Development & Research (IIDR) is the instructor of the course. Interested candidates are invited to join this journey and enrich their understanding of the Divine Book.
Study looks at issues of becoming a Muslim in UK
I April 2013
The struggle British women have when they convert to Islam formed the basis of a symposium on Middle Eastern Studies held at the American University of Sharjah. A study, entitled ‘Narratives of Conversion to Islam in Britain Female Perspectives’, was launched at the event. It gives an insight into the cultural pressures and lack of support some converts say they endure. Academics heard the poignant story of Irish Catholic convert Mary Batool Al Toma, who now lives in Leicester, England, and is a director of the New Muslims Project there. Al Toma, whose organization partnered with Cambridge University in the UK to compile the report, told delegates: “When women convert we experience ruptured family relationships. After 30 years of conversion I can assure you that my family will still come out with a statement or an opinion or an observation that will leave me completely floored. We do put ourselves outside the family to the point that we are no longer consulted about family matters because we have chosen to step outside the family. “I suppose in some sense it is a betrayal to them in terms of the way
LOCAL & NATIONALI 11
that we were brought up and whether that upbringing has somehow been lacking on their part. “I was born and brought into a Catholic family of 10 children. I chose to accept Islam. How I was treated at that time was extremely painful to the point where my mother, just a few days before she passed away, when she was dying of cancer, put her arms around me and I could feel her squeezing the life out of me as she apologized to me for the way that the family had treated me during the time of my conversion.” Professor Yasir Suleiman, founding director of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies at Cambridge, said there is a conflict between what is religion and what is culture for converts. The report also
points to negative media pressure in the UK. The professor said that white women converting to Islam were more ‘visible’ in society and that wearing scarves made them stand out. He said: “The question of dress, the hijab is an important one.” “I think there is a difference between wearing the hijab and being ‘worn’ by the hijab. Not every convert wears the hijab. It depends on how you feel about the faith and the culture you live in.” People who took part in the report included Catholics, Protestants, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists. The report was put together after three weekend symposiums in Cambridge and is expected to inspire further studies - including one about male converts.
Housing group secures £20m through IBB
One Housing Group has secured £20m in funding from the largest Islamic bank in Europe, BLME. The three-year finance facility will be used by the housing association to develop 68 apartments for private sale and commercial space in Hackney.
Six of the units will be made available for shared ownership. Martin Heys, One Housing’s group finance director, said: “With government grants being cut we are looking at new ways to fund our development projects and to continue to build more affordable homes across London and the South East. “Our new partnership with BLME is just one of the ways we plan to keep building into the future.”
According to its company website, BLME is led by a management team that brings together a combination of experienced international bankers and leading experts in Islamic finance. One Vision manages over 14,000 homes across London.
I April 2013
Whole generation of Syrian children could be lost: U.N
I April 2013
Saudi Arabia to crack down on fake visas
Saudi Arabia has moved closer to introducing biometric centres to help clamp down on fake visas and foreigners banned from entering the kingdom. The Foreign Ministry said it had signed contracts with international companies to set up biometric centers in the UAE, South Korea and Germany to provide visa services to prospective visitors, including pilgrims. The first centre, in the UAE, would be opened by the end of the month, Assistant Foreign Minister Prince Khaled bin Saud said. Prince Khaled said the new system would help speed up entry procedures, particularly during Hajj and Umrah when millions of pilgrims flock to the country. “It will also enable authorities to know those foreigners who have been banned from entering the Kingdom before issuing new visas as well as to identify fake visa applicants,” he said. The biometrics system also would speed up identification of visitors in the event of death or an accident.
A whole generation of Syrian children risks being lost amid the spiraling civil war in the country, the U.N. children’s agency cautioned, saying it was in urgent need of funds to address the crisis. “Millions of children inside Syria and across the region are witnessing their past and their futures disappear amidst the rubble and destruction of this prolonged conflict,” UNICEF chief Anthony Lake said in a report published two years to the day after the Syrian conflict began. The Geneva-based agency pointed out that nearly half of the four million in dire need of aid inside Syria are under the age of 18, and 536,000 of them are children under the age of five. Some 800,000 children under the age of 14 have meanwhile been internally displaced by the
conflict, while more than half a million children are refugees in neighboring countries, it said. “In short, the crisis is reaching a point of no return, with long-term consequences for Syria and the region as a whole, including the risk of a lost generation of Syrian children,” UNICEF said in its report. The agency stressed that it was severely underfunded to help all the children in need, warning that it will have to “halt a number of key life-saving interventions by the end of March 2013” if it does not receive more funds. UNICEF said it so far had received only 20 percent of the $195 million it had appealed for to help children and women affected by the crisis in Syria and in neighboring countries through the end of June.
Mosque for 3,000 gets go-ahead in Dublin A Mosque that can cater for 3,000 worshippers has been given the go-ahead by city planners. The development, to be built in Clongriffin, north Dublin, will Become Ireland’s largest Muslim Cultural Centre catering to the 40,000-strong community living in the capital. The application to Dublin City Council Was Submitted by an organization called the Dublin Welfare Society. Was It Planners approved by a Staggering and will cost € 40m, Which is Believed to be coming from the United Arab Emirates in a Backer. Clongriffin is a new town on the Northern Fringe of Dublin city. It Was Slated for development at the end of the Celtic Tiger Era Widescale and while many homes
and apartments Were built in the area, there are some ghost estates and large Stretches of Wasteland. The Planned mosque will have a three-Domed cultural center and conferencing primary and secondary schools as well as facilities onsite. NetworkPage The one hundred and fifty-seven thousand sq ft development will include a 130th - seat restaurant, some apartments and landscaped Gardens. It will Cater for 550 people for Friday Prayers and as many as 3000 for Eid.
Syria ‘expanding’ cluster munitions use: HRW 14
I WORLD NEWS
Syria’s regime are expanding its use of cluster munitions in its conflict with rebel forces, causing “mounting civilian causalities,” Human Rights Watch warned. “Syria is expanding its relentless use of cluster munitions, a banned weapon, and civilians are paying the price with their lives and limbs,” Steve Goose, director of HRW’s arms
division, said in a statement. The watchdog said it had identified at least 119 places across Syria where at least 156 cluster bombs have been used in the past six months, including two attacks in the two weeks that killed 11 civilians and injured 27 others. “The initial toll is only the beginning because cluster munitions often leave unexploded bomblets that kill and
I April 2013
maim long afterward,” Goose added. The New York-based rights group said its data was collected from field investigations and analysis of videos posted online by activists. It said it had documented government use of cluster munitions, but had no evidence rebels were using them. Syria is not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which restricts use of the weapons, but HRW urged signatory nations to speak out against the regime’s use of the munitions. “All nations that have joined the treaty banning cluster bombs have a legal obligation to speak out and condemn Syria’s ever-expanding use of these indiscriminate weapons, yet too few are doing so,” Goose said. The statement came as Syria’s civil war, which began with peaceful anti-government demonstrations in March 2011, entered its third year. The conflict has killed at least 70,000 people, and forced more than one million Syrians to seek refuge abroad. Millions more have been internally displaced.
NYPD Spying on American Muslims ‘Harmful’: Report
New York police’s extensive surveillance program targeting American Muslims in recent years has led to a pervasive climate of fear and suspicion within the community. Civil liberties groups headed by the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition published a report on Monday detailing the devastating effects of spying on Muslims across the Northeast US in mosques, restaurants, cafes, and other public places over more than a decade. “The program has stifled speech, communal life and religious practice and criminalized a broad segment of American Muslims. The isolationism that comes with being a ‘spied on’ community means that American Muslims are getting a fundamentally inferior opportunity to exercise their
constitutional rights,” said attorney Nermeen Arastu. The 57 Muslims interviewed for the study said that trust and privacy were virtually impossible and that their lives were severely harmed by the spying. The effects of the spying have, according to the study, resulted in suppression of religious spaces, such as congregants becoming suspicious of one another, imams hesitating when advising their congregations as well as individuals refraining from appearing visibly ‘Muslim.’ The report is “a powerful rebuttal to all who seek to minimize the impact of NYPD surveillance of Muslims as a faith group,” said Imam Al-Hajj Talib Abdur-Rashid. It also disclosed that the
Commanding Officer of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Intelligence Division, Thomas Galati, has admitted “during sworn testimony that in the six years of his tenure, the unit tasked with monitoring American Muslim life had not yielded a single criminal lead.” Abdur-Rashid, who delivered a copy of the report to the NYPD, said that the report “is the authentic voice of real people impacted by unjust policies and procedures, for which Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly remain both defensive and unapologetic.” In addition, Abdur-Rashid said, “This report is critically important reading for all Americans concerned with freedom, justice, and equality in 21st century America.”
US military funded torture sites during Iraq invasion
I April 2013
The US military used veterans of its “dirty wars” in Latin America to set up secret detention and torture centers in Iraq and overseeing ‘some of the worst acts of torture’ during the US-led invasion of the country, a British daily reports. Sectarian commando units, operating under direct supervision of American Special Forces veterans, who were involved in the so-called US counter-insurgency efforts against opponents of some of the most brutal Washington-backed dictatorships in Central America, “conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war,” The Guardian reports. The principal US commanders of its detention and torture operations in Iraq, according to the report, were Colonel James Steel, who directly reported to then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and a retired colonel named James Coffman, who reported directly to General David Petraeus who later became the top American commander in Iraq and Afghanistan before his rise to directorship of the CIA spy agency. Petraeus later resigned from his latest post after admitting to maintaining an extramarital affair with his biographer since he was a top US
military commander. The network of detention and torture centers in Iraq were funded “with millions of dollars of US funding,” the report insists. “Coffman reported to Petraeus and described himself in an interview with the US military newspaper Star and Stripes as Petraeus’s ‘eyes and ears out on the ground’ in Iraq,” according to the daily. “They worked hand in hand,” said Iraqi General Muntadher al-Samari, quoted in the report, which adds that he worked with Steele and Coffman for a year while the detention and torture centers were being set up. “I never saw them apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centers. They knew
everything that was going on there ... the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture,” General al-Samari added. The daily says its probe of the US-sponsored detention and torture operations was triggered with the publication of classified US military logs by whistleblower group WikiLeaks, detailing “hundreds of incidents where US soldiers came across tortured detainees in a network of detention centers” run by US-funded sectarian commandos throughout Iraq. The report further cites American and Iraqi sources as confirming that top US military commanders and officials, including Petraeus, were fully aware of the highly abusive detention and torture operations during the destructive US-led war in Iraq.
Syria, China, Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam are flagrantly spying online, media watchdog RSF said, urging controls on the export of Internet surveillance tools to regimes clamping down on dissent. A new report entitled “Enemies of the Internet” also singled out five companies - Gamma, Trovicor, Hacking Team, Amesys and Blue Coat - that it branded “digital era mercenaries,” who were helping oppressive governments. Syria’s estimated five million Internet users are subject to rampant state spying, Reporters Sans
Frontieres (RSF, Journalists without Borders) said in the report. Noting that 22 journalists and 18 Internet users had been jailed, it said the network was controlled by two entities including the Syrian Computer Society (SCG) founded by President Bashar al-Assad. The SCG, it said, controlled Syria’s 3G infrastructure, while the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE) controlled the majority of the fixed connections. “When the government orders the blocking of a word, of an URL, or of a site, STE transmits the order to
service providers,” it said, publishing a leaked 1999 bid invitation from STE to install a national Internet system in Syria. The requirements include recording of online and offline activities, copying of all e-mail exchanges from within Syria, and the ability to detect, intercept and block any encrypted data. Damascus beefed up its monitoring in 2011 “adding new technologies to its cyber-arsenal” including proxy Blue Coat servers, RSF said. www.passionislam.com
Syria among worst for online spying
I April 2013
NATO stalls handover of Bagram prisoners to Afghan government The commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan says a full transfer of prisoners from the US control to Afghan supervision will not occur as long as they pose a threat to foreign forces. General Joseph Dunford said “If there’s a threat to the force, we will not conduct the transfer. If there are people that need to be detained, we will make sure they are detained.” The Bagram Detention Center in the northeastern province of Parwan has become a source of controversy between the Afghan government and NATO as the Western military alliance defies calls to hand over all the detainees to Kabul. The US military was scheduled to hand over Bagram and its estimated 3,000 inmates to Afghan authorities. However, the handover ceremony was unexpectedly canceled. Dunford also stated, “There’s
probably a difference of opinion. We certainly don’t have anyone in the detention facility that we think doesn’t deserve to be there.” The Afghan government has said in a presidential statement, “President Karzai stressed that all efforts must be made to make sure the handover
happens and that Afghanistan’s sovereignty comes into full exercise.” An agreement on the transfer of the controversial prison to Afghan forces was signed in 2012. The transfer had previously been canceled last November. www.passionislam.com
US panel urges military to use bombing as bid to deter cyber attacks
A US military advisory panel has urged the development of a special force with own bombers, cruise missiles and cyber weapons to respond to a ‘devastating’ cyber attack on the Pentagon’s computer system. A new report by the Defense Science Board (DSB), which advises top officials of the US Defense Department on technological threats and challenges, states that the military must adopt measures to “ensure the President has options beyond a nuclear-only response to catastrophic cyber-attack,” the US-based Foreign Policy magazine reports.
Written by DSB’s Task Force on Resilient Military Systems, the report suggests that the US “might have to rely on nuclear weapons to retaliate after a large-scale cyber attack,” the article adds, while noting that American defense officials have acknowledged efforts to build “offensive cyber capabilities to deter destructive cyber attacks.” To avert a nuclear response, the report further calls for development of an elite team of cyber and conventional forces that are “heavily protected against cyber attack and dedicated to retaliating after such a strike.” “Forces supporting this capability are isolated and segmented from general-purpose forces to maintain the highest level of cyber resiliency at an affordable cost. Nuclear weapons would remain the ultimate response and anchor the deterrence ladder,” the DSB report states, as quoted in the
article. The document further recommends a number of weapons systems for this special conventional deterrent force: “Global selective strike systems e.g. penetrating bomber, submarines with long range cruise missiles, Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS), survivable national and combatant command.” To put the plan together, the report urges US military leaders to develop “an updated Strategic Deterrence Strategy, including the development of cyber escalation scenarios and red lines,” according to the influential journal, which mainly covers issues related to US national security and foreign policy. American officials have recently expressed major concerns about foreign-based cyber attacks on computer networks of principal US government agencies and industries.
I April 2013
Qatar eyes Sarkozy to head wealth fund
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund hopes to appoint former French president Nicolas Sarkozy in a senior role at a new private equity fund, according to a newspaper report. London’s Financial Times cited anonymous sources claiming that Qatar Investment Authority alongside other investors were prepared to back Sarkozy, who lost last year’s presidential race to socialist Francois Hollande, with up to €500m to run the new fund. Sarkozy’s leadership of the potential new fund has been put on hold in recent weeks however as he seeks a return to French politics amid declining public sentiment toward Hollande, two people close to the matter reportedly said. “The Qataris are taking an option on the next president of France,” a third source familiar with the venture told the FT. The newspaper said that Sarkozy was keeping the wealth fund option on the table as a backup if a mooted return to the political frame, which his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is said to oppose, fails to materialise. According to the FT, Sarkozy has already consulted friends on how and where best to invest the Qatar-backed fund, with emerging markets including Brazil and Morocco, as well as Spain, being discussed. Any new fund would be based in Paris with Sarkozy in a nonexecutive role. He would not invest funds himself, but would instead open doors and originate transactions by taking advantage of his political connections. A spokesperson for Sarkozy refused to elaborate on the matter when contacted by the FT. “Mr Sarkozy receives business proposals regularly and he hasn’t said yes to any yet,” they said.
Netherlands to replace ‘Made in Israel’ labels
The Dutch Foreign Ministry said that it would be better for retailers to replace “Made in Israel” labels with a label reading as “Product from Israeli settlement (West Bank/Golan Height /East Jerusalem).” It also said it would be misleading to label products including fresh fruit, vegetables, honey, olive oil, fish, meat, chicken, eggs and cosmetics from areas beyond the West Bank as made in Israel because international law does not recognize Israeli control of those regions. Ireland, Denmark and the UK have supported the move. The Netherlands’ Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans said in a speech to parliament, “We do not want to contribute to the economy of the illegal settlements.” Israel occupied and annexed the Golan Heights in 1967, in a move not recognized by the United Nations
and the international community. Also, more than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds. The Israeli regime plans to build more than 5,000 new settler units in East al-Quds, despite objections from the international community. In January, the United Nations called on the Israeli regime to cease all its settlement activities without preconditions in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. However, Tel Aviv has remained defiant. On December 19, 2012, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that Tel Aviv’s continued settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories could inflict “an almost fatal blow” to future talks between Palestinians and Israelis
Muslims forced to shave beards at gunpoint at Moscow Cafe A group of OMON officers allegedly forced several Muslim visitors at a Surgut cafe in the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district to shave their beards off at gunpoint, a news report said. According to Faizulo Aminov, a leader of the local Tajik diaspora, witnesses said the incident occurred on 3rd March at a cafe near a local mosque. Men in OMON uniforms with automatic weapons broke in and forced the cafe’s visitors to get on their
knees, he said, and then forced three of the visitors to shave off their beards. It is not clear why the incident is only now being reported. Several other visitors were reportedly taken to the local police station, where their documents were checked and they were soon released. The Interior Ministry’s branch in the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district told Interfax that a investigation would be opened into the incident.
Amir Khan brother Haroon to make pro debut
I April 2013
In Case You Missed It
Amir Khan is excited to be returning to fight on home soil for the first time in two years when he faces Julio Diaz at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on April 27. Khan is on the path to getting his career back on track, with the fight against Diaz the second since he suffered losses to Lamont Peterson
and Danny Garcia on US soil. Diaz is a former world champion and he has spoken confidently about causing a shock when the pair meet. “It’s been two years since I last fought in the United Kingdom and I can’t wait to get in the ring in front of my fans,” Khan said of the fight that will take place at the catchweight of
143lb. “Julio Diaz is a former world champion and a very dangerous opponent who is coming off an impressive performance in his last fight. “I know he will be coming with guns blazing and I’m ready for whatever he has to throw at me. With my speed and boxing skills, and his power and experience, it makes for a really exciting matchup. “He may have other ideas but I’m adamant that my return to the British shores is going to be a very successful one.” It will be a family affair for Khan, as his brother Haroon will make his professional debut on the undercard. Haroon, who won a bronze medal competing for Pakistan at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi believes he can emulate his older brother by becoming a world champion. “Pro debut April 27,” Haroon wrote on Twitter. “This is time for me to shine.”
Qatar-UAE plan $2.25bn bid for Arsenal FC
A mystery consortium from Qatar and the UAE is reportedly preparing to table a world record bid of US$2.25bn for Arsenal. If successful, the deal would dwarf the current record of US$1.2bn, paid by the Glazer family for Manchester United, and would strengthen the Arab influence among Europe’s top clubs, with Manchester City owned by Abu Dhabi and Paris St Germain already by Qataris. The consortium are believe to hope the huge bid – which more than doubles a 2011 valuation of the club – will be enough to tempt majority owner Stan Kroenke to sell. The cash offer would reportedly see the investors bid around US$30,000 per share, making Kroenke’s 66.83 percent stake worth US$1.25bn, and would also wipe out the club’s US$376m debts. The group has also reportedly said
they would provide substantial transfer funds, reduce ticket prices, and turn Arsenal into a “world force”. A bid source, talking to the UK’s Sunday Telegraph, said: “Arsenal is at a pivotal position at the moment. The fear is that the club is facing a cycle of decline like Liverpool. From our point of view it is the perfect moment to make this bid because at this moment in time you can still genuinely justify this extraordinary valuation on the club “We will not bid for Arsenal if they go into decline. Kroenke and [major shareholder] Usmanov will not get this kind of valuation if Arsenal do not succeed and will not get this kind of
valuation ever again “We think that bidding now is the key because it is going to give every shareholder maximum value. We are giving them peak valuation “The amount of capital required to pump into Arsenal to make it competitive within England, Europe and the world means that the valuation cannot go any higher.”
Man City chases UAE football star Omar Abdulrahman Passion Islam
SPORT I 19
I April 2013
Manchester City is chasing UAE player Omar Abdulrahman, the club’s academy chief Brian Marwood has told UAE based Sport360°. Abdulrahman, who currently plays for the UAE’s al-Ain team, spent two weeks on trial in Manchester last August. The possibility of a cross-country move was halted due to work permit regulations, however Marwood revealed the club has remained in touch with the 21-year-old player. “There are some real challenges getting a player like him to be able to play in England which is very frustrating because it’s one that we would seriously look at,” lamented Marwood. “We had seen him at various
tournaments but obviously we saw him closer to home at the Olympics and he did very, very well,” said Marwood after his appearance at a football development workshop held by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. Manchester City officials then invited the promising mid-fielder to spend some time at their club headquarters. “I think he enjoyed the experience, we enjoyed having him with us. He is a very talented young player.” City may have made the first move, but they are not the only club interested in the young up-and-comer. According to Sport360° Arsenal, Barcelona, Malaga and Hamburg are all watching Abdulrahman closely. When asked about the possibility
of making the move west-wards Abdulrahman said, “it is the dream of all football players in the world to play professionally in Europe, but I cannot decide that because I have a contract with al-Ain and I am sure they will take the right decision that will benefit all parties — me, the club and the national team,” reported Gulf News. His apprehension has not stopped critics raving about his performance. “Technically, he is very, very good so he has those components, those ingredients. Obviously, it’s a much more physical game but he’s still young, he can develop those aspects of his performance,” said Marwood. “He played at a very good level at the Olympics and he did very well when he came to us on trial. He impressed everybody, a very nice young man, and he showed a lot of respect for the club.”
Passion Islam Media
Qatar FA denies it will launch rival Champions League Qatar has denied claims that it is planning to launch a summer football league featuring some of the world’s top football clubs. A report by The Times claimed that the gas-rich Gulf state would launch the ‘Dream Football League’ (DFL), which would see some of Europe’s leading clubs paid as much as US$261m on a two-year basis. The report suggested that 16 clubs could become ‘permanent members’ of the DFL, with a further eight clubs competing on an invitational basis. The tournament, which The Times said could be held in Qatar and six cities across the Gulf – including those
in the UAE – would be held in the summer, offering a way to test Qatar’s plans to provide air conditioned stadiums and facilities for fans. Qatar’s Football Association refuted the claims. “The Qatar Football Association and other Qatari football entities can categorically confirm that we have no involvement in any such initiative and has heard nothing to suggest such a concept is genuine,” it said in a statement. Qatar is set to host the FIFA World Cup in the summer of 2022, and has faced criticism about the tournament being played in the hot summer months.
The Gulf state is spending billions of dollars in upgrading its infrastructure ahead of the 2022 World Cup. Apart from new stadiums, the country is also building a railway network, a metro line for the capital, Doha and upgrades for its roads and bridges. A new US$15.5bn airport, Hamad International Airport, will open next month. Aside from the World Cup, Qatar has also invested heavily in Paris St Germain, the French Ligue 1 side. Currently top of the French League, the Gulf state has brought the likes of David Beckham, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris.
I SPECIAL FEATURE
I April 2013
Human Embryonic Development
In the Holy Quran, God speaks about the stages of man’s embryonic development, 1,400 years before modern day scientists ‘discovered’ important information on creation of man and his development: We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewedlike substance)... [Noble Quran 23:12-14] Literally the Arabic word alaqah
has 3 meanings: leech suspended thing blood clot “In comparing a leech to the embryo at the alaqah stage, we find similarity between the two.” [The Developing Human p.8]. “Also, the embryo as this stage obtains nourishment from the blood of the mother, similar to the leech which feeds on the blood of others.” [Human Development as Described in Quran and Sunnah p.36]. The second meaning of the word alaqah is ‘suspended
thing’. The suspension of the embryo, during the alaqah stage, in the womb of the mother very appropriately fits this description. The third meaning of the word alaqah is ‘blood clot’. We find that the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs during the alaqah stage is similar to that of a blood clot. This is due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo during this stage. Also during this stage the blood in the embryo does not circulate until the end of the third week. So the embryo at this stage is like a clot of
I April 2013
blood. By examining a diagram of the primitive cardiovascular system in an embryo during the alaqah stage we would notice the external appearance of the embryo and its sacs is similar to that of a blood clot due to the presence of relatively large amounts of blood present in the embryo [The Developing Human, p. 65] So the three meanings of the word alaqah correspond accurately to the descriptions of the embryo at the alaqah stage. The next stage mentioned in the verse is the mudghah stage. The Arabic word mudghah means “chewed-like substance.” If one were to take a piece of gum and chew it in his mouth, and then compare it with the embryo at the mudghah stage, we would conclude that they would be almost identical because of the somites at the back of the embryo that ‘somewhat resemble teeth marks in a chewed substance.’ How could Muhammad (peace be upon him) have possibly known all this 1,400 years ago when scientists have only recently discovered this using advanced equipment and powerful microscopes which did not exist at that time? Hamm and Leeuwenhoek were the first scientists to observe human sperm cells using an improved microscope in 1677 A.D. (more than 1,000 years after Muhammad, peace be upon him]. They mistakenly thought that the sperm cell contained a miniature preformed human being that grew when it was deposited in the female genital tract [The Developing Human, p.9] Professor Keith Moore is one of the world’s prominent scientists in the fields of anatomy and embryology and is the author of the book entitled the “Developing Human”, which has been translated into eight languages. This book is considered a scientific reference work and was chosen
by a special committee in the United States as the best book authored by on person. Dr. Keith Moore is a Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. In 1984, he received the most distinguished award presented in the field of anatomy in Canada, the J.C.B. Grant Award from the Canadian Association of Anatomists. He has directed many international associations, such as the Canadian and American Association of Anatomists and the
We created man from an extract of clay. Then We made him as a drop in a place of settlement, firmly fixed. Then We made the drop into an alaqah (leech, suspended thing, and blood clot), then We made the alaqah into a mudghah (chewed-like substance)... [Noble Quran 23:12-14] Council of the Union of Biological Sciences. In 1981, during the Seventh Medical Conference in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, Professor Moore said; “It has been a great pleasure for me to help clarify statements in the Quran about human development. It is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad from God, or Allah, because almost all of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later. This proves to me that Muhammad must have been the messenger of God, or Allah [The reference for this statement is on ‘This is the Truth’ (video tape). For a copy of this video tape please contact us]. Consequently, Professor Moore was asked the following
question, “Does this mean that you believe that the Quran is the Word of God?” He replied; “I find no difficulty in accepting this.” During one conference, Professor Moore stated, “... because the stagein of human embryos is complex, owing to the continuous process of change during development, it is proposed that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Quran and the Sunnah (sayings of Muhammad, peace be upon him). The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge. The intensive studies of the Quran and Hadith (reliably transmitted sayings and reports of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) in the last four years have revealed a system of classifying human embryos that is amazing since it was recorded in the 7th century A.D. Although Eric Statle, the founder of the science of embryology, realized that chick embryos developed in stages from his studies of hen’s eggs in the fourth century B.C., he did not give any details about these stages. As far as it is known from the history of embryology, little was known about the stagein and classification of human embryos until the twentieth century. For this reason, the descriptions of the human embryo in the Quran cannot be based on scientific knowledge in the 7th century A.D. The only reasonable conclusion is that these descriptions were revealed to Muhammad from God. He could not have known such details because he was an illiterate man with absolutely no scientific training.” Think about the humans. How did we all get here? What is the nature of mankind? What causes us to act as we do? Are we ungrateful to the One who created us and sustains us? What is this clue? Think about yourself. Did you create yourself?
I April 2013
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emailbox - comments Dear Editor, Your article on page 2 (which also made the headline this month March 2013) was an outstanding read and opened my eyes about coloured Being a white British living in York I now realise that the sun, star, mirror, ITN, BBC1 are all a waste of time and lies. Could you send me some hard copies so I can let my neighbours know the truth as here in York we all think your all. Mr William H Smith York, Yorkshire
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