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MPs report critical of policy in Afghanistan Issue: 36
Counter-insurgency measures in Afghanistan are not working and could be counter-productive unless the US and its allies start peace talks with the Taliban, a parliamentary committee report had said.
The cross-party report, by the Tory-led foreign affairs committee, follows a seven month enquiry and argues that Britain’s policy in Afghanistan is flawed. It suggests that the justification for fighting the war – to eliminate Afghanistan as a base for al-Qaida – “may have been achieved some time ago” and it questions whether the sacrifices of the armed services in Afghanistan “have a direct connection to the UK’s core objective”. The committee also queries whether the “ambitious aim” to defeat the Taliban and build a functioning,
stable, Afghan government, is achievable. “The evidence presented to the committee has suggested that the current full-scale and highly intensive counter-insurgency campaign is not succeeding,” the report says. The Tory MP Richard Ottaway, chair of the committee, suggested the focus on the fight against the Taliban and tendency to lump the group with al-Qaida as a common enemy, could alienate the population. “There is a danger that without appropriate political leadership, the
current military campaign is in danger of inadvertently de-railing efforts to secure a political solution to what is essentially a political problem,” Ottaway said in a statement. The committee’s main recommendation is for the UK to encourage the US to be involved in the search for a political solution, which includes contact with the Taliban. A US report last month said secret, exploratory, negotiations had begun but it remains unclear how interested the Taliban leaders are in peace talks. guardian
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I March 2011
By Majed Iqbal Journalist and Blogger Majedsblog
What was PM Cameron doing in Egypt?
British Prime Minister, David Cameron was the first head of State to visit the ‘New’ Egypt, post Mubarak, the dictator who ruled Egypt for over 30 years with full backing and Support from the West which included commercial, military, intelligence and strong Political ties. Cameron took the opportunity to congratulate the Egyptian People on the Toppling of ‘their’ good guy, Mubarak. Yes, that makes a lot of sense Mr Cameron! With his VIP status, Cameron has won the Political ratings of getting in there first! He wanted to meet the ‘New’ regime. Yes the ones that Mubarak appointed before he left. So its business as usual for this British Prime Minster too! Just like the previous ones who even made Egypt their holidaying backyard with Presidential favours added in with the ‘services’ offered by the regime. In fact, Tony Blair tops the list as a ‘regular’, coming back year after year to enjoy the resort of Sharm al Shaikh. PM Cameron’s meetings included Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak’s minister of defence, who is the head of the supreme council of the armed forces and Ahmed Shafik – another member of the military council who was appointed as prime minister by Mubarak at the end of January. He also had plans to speak to the groups who protested, except with Muslim Brotherhood whom he refused to dialogue with on his visit. But the Drama doesn’t stop there. On this Trip, supposedly to ‘congratulate’ the Egyptians on their courage and defiance against Mubarak, David Cameron was accompanied by 38 Corporate Executives, of which 8 were arms contractors. When confronted about this he said “We have got very important trading relationships that we want to expand, we have got a very important security relationship – not least in combating extremist
terror – that we need to sharpen and increase. My argument is that the process of political reform and economic reform – there is a real opportunity there to make more progress – doesn’t run counter to those other two objectives” Shamelessly, Western States hide behind rhetorical slogans of Freedom, Free and fair elections, Human rights whilst arming the regimes to their teeth to slaughter their populations who show alternative Political inclinations. It has become evident in the Libyan Protests that the regime there were trained by British security corporations in riot control and were sold weapons related to handling such protests. Cameron’s Drama continued and exceeded those slick American flicks sold to us on our channels as ‘Must watches’. Cameron Said “As old friends of the Egyptian people, we come not to tell you how to do things but to ask how we can help you do what we know you want to do” Then What exactly are you doing there then if you don’t want to dictate to the Egyptians how they should shape their future?? But the ludicrous nature of these comments doesn’t stop there. On one hand they say you can do anything and then in the same breath utter “but nothing Islamic”
please. “Part of the problem is that people say, either you have the Muslim Brotherhood or the old regime. But actually most of Tahrir Square was taken up with people who want more openness and freedom… My argument is that by opening up societies, opening up participation, you give particularly young men something to believe in other than a more extreme Islamic route” Said Cameron The West has lost the battle of winning the hearts and minds of the Arab/Muslim nations. Just like hypocrisy and Truth cant rest in the heart together at one time so cannot the sweet words of promises of Freedom and in the same breath condemning any semblance of Islam in Politics. Such shameful were the comments from Cameron that he didn’t even attempt to disguise his words for his contempt on any aspects of Islam influencing New Egypt! “If Egypt is successful, we can demonstrate a huge and positive impact elsewhere in the region” And thats why Cameron is there. To ensure that the change is one which is compliant with Western Interests in the region. And thats it. Its got nothing to do with the people of Egypt.
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 March 2011
Mothers grieve on son being on a control order
Passion Islam were invited to talk to Christine Bullievent mother of ex control detainee Kaleem Bullievent on how she felt as her son was wrongly put in prison and then on a severe control order. “Having lived with the terrible consequences of an imposed control order as a silent victim, i.e. direct family member subjected to the random invasions. Fear of not knowing what/when my home/life would be invaded/scrutinized. The unreserved prejudice borne from the ‘no smoke with out fire’ of everyone I had ever known... Have we forgotten that under the British legal system ‘innocent till proved guilty’ is a basic principal denied under this sanction as neither the detained, legal reps, family nor public at large ‘know’ what the allegation made is - no charges are EVER brought thus denying any legitimate chance to defend ones self against the accusation of being a terrorist! Do you know what this does to a human being? Continued belief that this is a fair way of protecting our safety sanctions these terrible injustices being committed in ‘Great Britain’. Stop and think about what you are condoning.
I am a white British born Christian mother who still lives with the consequences of that control order several years after it was imposed and OVERTURNED 2 years later...with complete exoneration! ~I still have to deal with attempts by members of the public trying to execute a citizens arrest based on the remembered image of the ‘most dangerous man’ in Britain! Forgive me if I feel stuck in a surreal/absurd universe where all the certainties were ripped away! But this is still the reality I have to live with. Each one of us needs to stand up and be counted, we need to tell our government this is an inhumane, morally abhorrent way of ‘managing’ people who are subjected to control orders based upon very weak allegations so in substantive that court action cannot be brought against these individuals... Put the allegation in to legal context by bringing charges and subject to due process within the British trial frame work. We will never be truly safe if we endorse these kind of actions on our behalf as the only effective out come is to create a rallying point for all extreme views - for or against - nurturing the climate of fear + counter fear. A society that has fear as one of its building blocks constructs a poor foundation upon which to build its future!
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LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I March 2011
Immigration poll ‘disturbing’ Almost two-thirds of white Britons think immigration has been bad for the UK, according to a survey which anti-racism campaigners called a “disturbing picture” of society’s attitudes. Research commissioned by the “Searchlight Educational Trust” also found that Asians were most likely to back a halt to all immigration, at least until the economy had recovered. The poll, carried out by Populus polling group, was one of the largest studies carried out on the subject, based on 91 questions to more than 5,000 individuals. Immigration was held to have been on the whole a bad thing for Britain by 63% of whites, 43 percent of Asians and 17 percent of black Britons. It found that 39 percent of Asians, 34 percent of whites and 21 percent of blacks believed immigration should be halted either permanently or at least until the UK’s economy was back on track. Almost half (48 percent) were
open to supporting a new far-right party as long as it eschewed “fascist imagery” and did not condone violence. And 52 percent agreed that “Muslims create problems in the UK”. Ethnic minority communities generally feel less “proud” at seeing the English flag flown - though only 25 percent of whites questioned said
they felt that emotion. The Trust said the report, titled “Fear And Hope - The New Politics Of Identity”, paints a disturbing picture of our attitudes towards each another and the unknown”. “It also graphically highlights the dangers that lie ahead if the issues highlighted in the research are not addressed”.
UK is to stop direct aid to 16 countries Papers seen suggest the government’s review of its overseas aid budget also reveals aid to India will be frozen. But overall, the international development budget will rise by a third in this Parliament as a new approach focuses on value for money, it says. The report states that aid spending is good for Britain’s economy and safety. The document outlines plans for greater transparency and accountability, with an emphasis on funding programmes that deliver greater results and which, specifically, help girls and women. Resources will be focused on the 27 countries that account for threequarters of the world’s maternal mortality and malaria deaths, such as Ghana and Afghanistan. By 2014, 30 percent of UK aid is expected to go to
war-torn and unstable countries. The report confirms that direct aid to countries including Iraq and Kosovo will stop, whilst aid to India will be frozen. India is currently one of the biggest recipients of UK development aid, and there have been media campaigns in the UK suggesting an economy growing at nearly 10 percent a year simply does not need British assistance. But others point out that nearly half a billion people in India are still desperately poor, and efforts to reduce global poverty will not progress without significant aid. It emerged that the UK is threatening to switch funding away from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization -- which focuses on longer term projects, such
as providing seeds and tools for agriculture unless its performance improves. Instead, more funding could go to the World Food Programme, which deals with emergency food aid around the globe. As a major aid donor, any cut or change in UK funding of UN programmes is likely to have a big impact.
Only one in four terror suspects charged Passion Islam
I March 2011
Only one in four terror suspects were charged with a terrorism-related offence, figures showed. A total of 130 people were arrested on suspicion of being involved in terrorism in the 12 months to September 2010, but only 36 were charged with a terror-related offence. Almost one in two were released without charge, the figures published by the Home Office showed. The number of terror-related arrests also fell 35% compared with 201 in the previous 12 months. None of the suspects were held in pre-charge detention for more than 14 days and more than three in five were dealt with within 48 hours, the figures showed.
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
A total of 1,897 terrorism arrests have been made since the September 11 terror attacks in the United States in 2001, with 420 charged with terrorismrelated offences and 240 convicted. Of the others, 32 were still awaiting prosecution at the end of December. The figures also showed that 20 prisoners convicted of terrorismrelated offences were released between April and September last year, including four who had served four years or more behind bars.
A further 111 were in prison in Britain for extremism or terrorrelated offences, with 22 classed as domestic extremists or separatists, on September 30 last year.
Fury as Manchester Airport prayer room closes
In Case Y o Missed It u
An islamic prayer room at Manchester Airport which was damaged in a suspected arson attack has been shut – for ‘health and safety’ reasons. The cabin was used by taxi drivers and airport staff for
worship but was closed suddenly by airport bosses. Two ceremonial garments inside the room were deliberately set ablaze on September 11 last year – the ninth anniversary of the attacks on New York’s Twin Towers. Now the centre, on the airport’s taxi feeder park in Ringway Road, has been axed permanently – because chiefs say the building is dangerous and would cost too much to repair. But taxi drivers have reacted with anger – claiming around 500 people use the site every week and that it forms a crucial part of their daily routine. One driver, a member of the Manchester Airport Taxi Drivers’ Association, said: “Everyone is furious that we were not consulted. We went to use it as normal and found it was locked up with a sign on the door saying it had been closed. “Many Muslims go there five times a day to pray – we’ve used it for
about a decade and are disgusted that it has shut without warning. We were all very upset when it was set on fire on September 11 and this feels like another kick in the teeth.” The site is separate from the five prayer rooms in the airport terminals, which are part of the airport’s multifaith chaplaincy. Airport bosses say the cabin is unsafe and have told the drivers that they can now use their other prayer rooms. Detectives said they were uncertain whether the blaze on September 11 last year was ‘religiously or racially motivated’. An airport spokesman said: “Having had an independent health and safety assessment conducted, we were informed that the building had reached the end of its serviceable life and was beyond repair. We continue to provide other prayer rooms that are easily accessible.”
Britain torture probe risks to flaw 8
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I March 2011
The UK human rights organizations warn that the state-backed inquiry into Britain’s involvement in torture and rendition since 9/11 may fail to produce results. Prime Minister David Cameron announced the inquiry last July to probe the scope of Britain’s involvement in torture and rendition since 9/11, but it is running into trouble even before it has begun hearing evidence. “The reputation of our security services has been overshadowed by allegations of complicity in torture, and that the UK’s reputation as a country that believed in human rights and the rule of law risks being tarnished”, said Cameron. The coalition government, he added, had decided it was “time to clear this matter up once and for all”. However, human rights organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are warning that the inquiry may risk failing to meet the UK’s obligations under international and domestic law, with some even considering whether to boycott it since it may not be sufficiently independent, impartial or open to public scrutiny under Sir Peter Gibson who has been picked to lead the inquiry. A series of meetings between Gibson, a retired judge, and representatives of nine rights groups including Liberty, Amnesty
International and Reprieve has resulted in the NGOs expressing concern that the credibility of the inquiry risks being undermined by the high level of secrecy it appears will surround the hearings - at the insistence of the very agencies whose activities are being scrutinized. The NGOs, specifically, say they are concerned that Gibson’s inquiry will fail to meet the UK’s obligations under the European convention on human rights. They say these standards include the need for a mechanism independent of government to decide what evidence should be made public, and powers to compel evidence. “If this inquiry doesn’t comply with
well-established legal standards on investigating collusion in torture, it is difficult to see its point. This is a golden opportunity to find answers to the catalogue of disturbing allegations of recent years, but an expensive whitewash will benefit neither victims nor security services whose reputation is at stake”, said Corinna Ferguson, legal officer for Liberty. Cameron ordered the inquiry after a series of damning court judgments that detailed MI5’s knowledge of the way in which Binyam Mohamed was being tortured before one of its officers questioned him, and mounting media reports of terrorism suspects being questioned by MI5 and MI6 officers after being tortured in secret prisons around the world.
Prime Minister has said at PMQs that the coalition government is to establish a commission to investigate the British Bill of Rights. Prime Minister’s told the British MPs: “I think it’s about time we started making sure decisions are made in this Parliament rather than in the courts.” The Conservative Party wanted to change the Human Rights Act 1998 with a UK Bill of Rights but their Lib Dem partners were against the transformation. Consequently,
a commission is being arranged to investigate it. The Tory MP Phillip Davies asked the Prime Minister about “a ruling that sex offenders could appeal against having to register with the police for life.” Cameron replied: “speaks for many people when he says how completely offensive it is to have once again a ruling by a court that seems to fly completely in the face of common sense”. Home Secretary Theresa
May said the government was disappointed “by the court’s ruling and would make the minimum possible changes to the law.” She added that the commission is to examine the formation of the British Bill of Rights. “It is time to assert that it is Parliament that makes our laws, not the courts that the rights of the public come before the rights of criminals and above all that we have a legal framework that brings sanity to cases”.
British Bill of Rights to be reconsidered
I March 2011
Grampian Police complaints and race crime reports rise Passion Islam
Grampian Police has been told to take action after a large rise in complaints against officers and reports of racially-motivated crimes. Complaints against officers increased by almost 70% from just under 300 in 2006/07 to almost 500 in 2009/10, according to a new report. The number of reported raciallymotivated crimes rose from 449 to 879. However, detection rates improved from 59.9% in 2006/07 to 69.3%, above the the Scottish average. The Accounts Commission and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for Scotland compiled the report. It said Grampian Police and the joint police board performed well, but that more progress could be made. The report said that the force considers members of the public are more prepared to make complaints because they have confidence in its willingness to deal with them. It said that evidence suggests that the force was meticulous in recording complaints and this, coupled with changes in recording processes, may have accounted for some of the increase.
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
The report revealed an overall reduction in recorded crimes since 2006/07 and crimes of violence, indecency, dishonesty and reckless behaviour were at their lowest level for seven years. Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, Andrew Laing, said: “Grampian Police force is performing well and demonstrates many of the elements of best value. “Levels of public satisfaction are high and improving and, overall, crime rates in the area are falling. “However, it is unclear why recorded instances of raciallymotivated crime and complaints against the police have increased and the force should make further efforts to understand and explain this.”
The force and the board are to produce an improvement plan to show how they intend to address the findings. Chief Constable Colin McKerracher said: “This is an excellent report that acknowledges the tremendous effort that has gone into our strategy for delivering the highest quality of policing for the people of the north east of Scotland. “Over the past few years we have seen our officer numbers rise, crime rates across the region fall to a seven-year low and with detection rates for violent crime at their highest level over the same period.” The force said it recognised and acknowledged the areas for improvement. passionislam.com
Muslim Brotherhood slams UK arrogance A senior member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood political party has denounced the UK’s arrogance and the British officials’ interference in Egypt’s domestic affairs. Essam al-Arian, the member of Muslim Brotherhood Executive Bureau, accused British Prime Minister David Cameron of interfering in Egypt’s internal politics during his recent tour of the country and his visit to Cairo. “Egypt finished with the British occupation 65 years ago”, said Arian. The Muslim Brotherhood said in a statement that the Egyptians do
need the British Prime Minister’s advices as they enjoy capability to manage their own affairs. The British premier attempted to steal a march on the US and Europe by becoming the first leader to visit Egypt since a popular uprising ousted the dictator after more than 30 years in office. Cameron said he wanted to offer Britain’s help in creating the “building blocks of democracy” in Egypt and the wider Arab region. But his visit both provoked controversy in Egypt itself and it also was fiercely criticized inside Britain. The Prime Minister ignited
dispute by holding talks with Egypt’s military rulers and meeting selective opposition members, excluding the Muslim Brotherhood. Cameron’s spokesman said that he would also meet all opposition but officials travelling with him briefed journalists that he will not be meeting the Muslim Brotherhood, despite its being Egypt’s most organised opposition. Inside the UK, critics branded the prime minister ‘a disgrace’ after it emerged that he has taken eight weapons manufacturers with him to the Middle East. passionislam.com
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I March 2011
‘Anti-terrorism cash wasted’ A £400,000 initiative aimed at tackling ‘Al Qaida-inspired extremism’ in Oxford has been branded “unnecessary and ill-judged”. The four-year Preventing Violent Extremism programme has come to an end and more than £150,000 of the £437,000 pot remains unspent. Muslim leaders say the cash was not needed, achieved little and could prove counter-productive by sparking reactions from right-wing groups. Even those running the programme, at Labour-run Oxford City Council and Thames Valley Police, admit city schools were reluctant to get involved due to the stigma attached to its name. Some 29 projects were funded, including sports activities for Muslim youths, refugee workshops and Bangladeshi theatre productions. The council and police said Oxford had always been a lowrisk area for Islamic extremism and so instead work focused on strengthening communities’ “resilience”. Fazal Hussain, chairman of Central Mosque in East Oxford, said: “In Oxford there is no problem, so this should have involved all communities and not just singled out Muslims.”
He said the mosque, which has more than 1,000 members, had worked hard to encourage respect and understanding without Government funding. He said: “I would have thought there were better ways of spending the money, on the NHS or on education.” City councillor Altaf Khan said the majority of city Muslims did not want the cash. The Liberal Democrat member for Headington and Northway added: “That’s why they cannot spend it. “It was unnecessary and based on the wrong thinking.” He was the council’s executive member for community safety at the
time the programme was launched. But he claimed he had no choice but to accept the cash, although he had raised concerns at that time. He added: “I’m glad it’s over. It has done nothing.” Oxford was one of about 50 local authorities to receive funding from the Government-led programme, devised in the wake of the July 7 London bombings in 2005. Labour councillor Antonia Bance, who helped run the scheme, said: “The programme has always been a sensitive one, not helped by the fact that nationally it had an unhelpful name and profile. We have used the money to build cohesion between communities.” By Chris Buratta
Sky Arabia appoints Reuters man as director Sky News has appointed Nart Bouran as director of news for the 24-hour Arabic rolling news channel it plans to launch with Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Bouran joins Sky News Arabia from Thomson Reuters where he was director of Television for the Reuters News Agency. In his new role Bouran will have overall responsibility for the channel including delivering its editorial standards and business goals following launch in Spring, 2012. John Ryley, head of Sky News, said: “Sky News Arabia promises to deliver news to the MENA region in a
fresh and modern way. “Nart’s huge experience in working on major stories around the world, and particularly in the Middle East, will ensure we do just that.” In November, Sky announced that it had entered a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corp - a private investment firm owned by Mansour - to launch Sky News Arabia. Adrian Wells, previously Sky News’ head of international news, was appointed to work with the ADMIC team to launch the channel ahead of the appointment of a director of news. Bouran has more than 20 years journalism experience having worked extensively across the Middle East covering major stories in countries such as Iraq, Algeria, Libya and
Yemen, as well as the Arab-Israeli conflict. Former roles have included director general of the Jordan Radio and Television Corporation, and director of news for Abu Dhabi TV where he spearheaded their acclaimed coverage of the war in Iraq in 2003. Bouran said: “Our aim is to offer a fresh and exciting channel with a new approach to covering news and analysis which will make Sky News Arabia the must-view channel across the MENA region.” Sky said this morning that Bouran’s appointment would be the first in a series for the new channel which intended to hire around 180 multimedia journalists who will be based in new studios in Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 media zone. by Oliver
I March 2011
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Amendment to prevent UK changing universal jurisdiction British MPs are being urged to support an amendment to remove a controversial proposal in the government’s Police Reform Bill aimed to make it more difficult to arrest Israeli leaders for war crimes when visiting the UK. The amendment to exclude clause 151, which requires the prior agreement of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for universal jurisdiction cases, has been put forward by Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group. The proposed change to universal jurisdiction is to meet an election pledge made by the Conservatives in the Jewish Chronicle last year to make it more difficult to arrest Israeli leaders for alleged war crimes. The Conservative-led coalition
already faces a rebellion from more than 120 MPs, who have signed a parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM), declaring that they will vote against any change. Signatures of the EDM includes 32 MPs from the Liberal Democrat Party, the Conservatives’ junior coalition partners, who say they will “oppose any legislation to restrict” universal jurisdiction. Critics of the change, which include international lawyers, peace campaigners, trade unionists and civil rights activists, warn that having to seek the approval of the DPP will cause unnecessary delay and allow suspects “to escape justice” when visiting the UK. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is urging the public to lobby MPs to ensure that they
support Clwyd’s amendment in the third and final reading of the police bill before it is passed to the House of Lords. The attempt to change the law comes after more than a year of Israeli protests following the issuing of an arrest warrant for former foreign minister Tzipi Livni over her role in attacking Gaza that forced her to cancel a visit to the UK in December 2009. The issue first came to prominence back in 2006, when a warrant was issued for General Doron Almog before fleeing back to Israel, but the risk of its current leaders being arrested for war crimes has grown from incriminating evidence published in the Goldstone Report. passionislam.com
Muslim ‘refused job because of his name’ A Muslim airport worker has accused airline Cathay Pacific of racism after he was refused a job interview – only to be offered one when he applied two days later using a fake white British-sounding name. Algerian-born Salim Zakhrouf applied to Cathay Pacific for a job as a passenger services officer at Heathrow Airport. Mr Zakhrouf, 38, who has lived in Britain since 1991 and is a UK citizen, was told by email he had not been selected for interview. But applying 48 hours later as ‘Ian Woodhouse’ with an identical CV and home address, he was invited for an interview by the same personnel officer who had first refused him. A furious Mr Zakhrouf, who has 17 years’ customer-service experience and works as a Heathrow flight handling agent, refused to attend. Instead he called his union, Unite, which plans to bring a case accusing Cathay Pacific of racial discrimination to an employment tribunal. Within three hours of The Mail on Sunday contacting the airline, Cathay Pacific’s UK Head of Marketing Roberto Abbondio called
to apologise. He blamed an ‘administrative error’ as staff tried to process 709 applications and said Cathay was reviewing its recruitment process after a case he described as ‘unfortunate and disappointing’. Cathay Pacific’s UK Personnel Manager Alison Loftin also then emailed Mr Zakhrouf to apologise and to arrange a meeting with her. Mr Zakhrouf, who is married with a 19-month-old daughter, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It’s very strange I only received a proper response when you got in touch. Cathay Pacific: The airline put the
decision down to an ‘administrative error’, ‘After the way I was treated I have no desire to work for Cathay. ‘The way they handled my application was racist and unfair. ‘I have applied seven times for jobs at Cathay in the past three years and I have been rejected every time. ‘This has been a very unpleasant experience and will make me very wary of applying for jobs in future.’ Unite regional officer Balvinder Bir said: ‘We have consulted our solicitors on this case. ‘We take these matters very seriously and will be giving our member our full support.’ By Christopher Leake
Hijab regains popularity in Tunisia 12
I WORLD NEWS
I March 2011
In Case You Missed It
While some fear that the regime change in Tunisia could turn the tide against the country’s staunch secular tradition, others enjoy the new-found freedom to practice Islam in public. After years of restrictive policies against religious attire, Tunisia might soon rescind its long-standing ban on the hijab in public institutions. The veil is a personal matter and
part of women’s individual freedom, Religious Affairs Minister Laroussi Mizouri announced on February 12th in the first official statement regarding the issue. Under Tunisian law, the veil is considered “sectarian dress” rather than a religious duty. The country’s first president, Habib Bourguiba, outlawed the hijab in public places,
and his successor, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, vowed to preserve the Personal Status Code. Public discontent with former policies culminated in 2003, when protesters demanded that the government intervene to stop insults against veiled women, and a group of lawyers and rights activists signed a petition condemning the authorities. “I got sick with the hit-and-run game with the administration and security in university, who were preventing us from wearing the veil,” Sourour Mhadhbi, 22, said. “I often felt oppressed and humiliated, and the matter would reach the worst point when I heard obscene words.” The situation has changed since the January 14th revolution. Tunisian cities have witnessed a strong and noticeable return of the veil. “I feel as if I was born anew; I no longer have to take the veil off in the university or wear a hat on it to deceive them,” Mhadhbi said. “The restoration of freedom to wear the veil may curb a little bit the scenes of nudity that have swept across Tunisia in recent years,” Mondher Ayari told Magharebia.
condemn the inflammatory attacks of unscrupulous politicians which can expose our colleagues to mob violence,” he said. The IFJ said that some foreign journalists have been refused entry to Bahrain and Libya while their colleagues inside these countries have come under targeted attack. Meanwhile, there are fears for the safety of a leading Libyan and Aljazeera correspondent in Libya, Atef al-Atrash, who has been missing since 17 February following his report on the revolt in Bengazi,
the country’s second largest city. Elsewhere in the region, the IFJ said it is concerned over an attack on Naliya Radio Television (NRT), in Iraq, an independent television network. “Everywhere we look, we see journalists in the eye of the storm across the region,” added White. “They need support, they need protection and they need to be able to work in a reformed media environment. It’s time for change on all fronts, but particularly in media,” he added.
International press body calls for media reforms in Middle East
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called for media reforms and respect of press freedom isaying that “journalists have come under fire over coverage of anti-governments protests sweeping through the Arab world and the Middle East.” “Journalists are in the firing line as repressive regimes turn to desperate measures to try to save themselves,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary in a statement. “We are backing journalists who are fighting for their rights and we
I March 2011
Islamic education urged in Germany
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière has asked federal states to introduce a nationwide Islamic curriculum in schools across the country. In a meeting with more than one hundred experts in the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in the city of Nuremberg, German officials and representatives of Muslim communities tried to solve legal problems hindering the initiative. “We need Islamic education in German schools and we need it now, not just the pilot projects,” the German minister said. Almost all German states have introduced such pilot projects for Muslim students, but only one in twenty Muslim students is able to attend such classes. Neither their families nor their
communities always provide young Muslims in Germany with the moral and practical counseling they need. The consequences are often conflicts, alienation from religion and identity crises. This is why the government supports Islamic education in schools for the benefit of the children, despite the obstacles. As a temporary solution, the government is now calling upon the local authorities to accept councils with Muslim members as partners in the development of the curriculum for Islamic courses.
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‘Israel causing headaches for US in Middle East’
A former US senator says Israel has become a liability for the United States in the Middle East as the world slams Tel Aviv’s continued settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories. In an interview with Press TV’s US Desk, Mike Gravel said the United States was the only country to support Tel Aviv, which was a great embarrassment to Washington, itself. He further added that as Arab countries, like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, and others reconstitute their governments, it would be interesting to see how Washington’s liability will play out. The United States on February 18 vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution which condemned Israel’s settlement building in the occupied Palestinian land. The resolution was sponsored by 130 countries. The veto is the first by the Obama administration amid popular protests against the United States’ allies in the Arab world. Reports say Washington argues that a peace process -- and not the United Nations -- is the proper medium for what has been a major dispute between the Palestinians and Israel since 1967, when the settlements started.
US vows commitment to Israel security Top US officials have stressed Washington’s “unshakable commitment” to Israel’s security. US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with Israeli
Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the White House. “They stressed the United States’ unshakable commitment to Israel’s security, including through our continued support for Israel’s military, and the unprecedented
security cooperation between our two governments,” the White House announced in a statement. “They agreed that the US and Israel would continue to consult closely on common challenges and issues across our shared agenda,”.
UN rights head slams Israeli violations 16
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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has denounced Israeli illegal settlements built on occupied Palestinian lands as “clearcut violations of human rights on a very large scale.” At the end of a six-day visit to the region, Pillay criticized Israel for ignoring the harm done to Palestinians by its settlement policy and the construction of a vast West Bank barrier. “I have been struck by the complacency with which the entirely-avoidable predicament of Palestinians affected by the wall and settlements is treated by Israeli authorities with whom I have discussed these issues,” she said. “They tend to be brushed aside as if they are minor matters. They are not. They are clear-cut violations of human rights on a very large scale,” she said, describing how she had met a man whose house is entirely surrounded by a Jewish settlement. Pillay also called for a halt on all settlement-related activities in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), as well
as actions to coerce Palestinians to leave the area, including evictions, demolitions, displacements and the cancellation of residency permits on a discriminatory basis. “East Jerusalem (al-Quds) is being steadily drained of its Palestinian inhabitants, in clearcut defiance of Security Council resolutions,” she said. Israel seized East al-Quds along
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with the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War, and later annexed it in defiance of calls from the international community. It has, so far, ignored calls by the Palestinians and the United States for a halt to settlement activities in the West Bank and, in particular, alQuds, which it claims as its “eternal, indivisible” capital. passionislam.com
‘US unable to account for Iraq funds’ The US Defense Department cannot account for how it spent funds that belonged to the reconstruction of war-torn Iraq due to poor record keeping, a report says. The Pentagon, entrusted with spending $9.1 billion on reconstruction projects in 2011, has failed to elucidate the whereabouts of this year’s money, Press TV reported. The US military agency has also refused to send any representatives to Iraq’s Supreme Audit Court to explain such an inappropriate use and undetected loss. “The Pentagon must take immediate steps to address this issue. These funds are specifically to be used for the reconstruction of the country. And if such a huge amount is not accounted for, then
it implies that some of it has been misused, whether for personal or military purposes,” Nariman Abdulla, a Kurdish lawmaker, said in Arbil. The incident is the latest to fault American officials for mismanagement of Iraqi funds in the years following the US-led invasion of the country in March 2003. Last year, the US military mismanaged $8.7 billion in funds for Iraq, reports say. The mismanagement of Iraqi funds has angered the country’s officials who have raised the possibility of taking legal action against Washington. The Kurdistan opposition party, the Movement for Change, has stated that they intend to discuss the issue in the Kurdish regional
parliament. “This was shocking news as members of the Movement for Change will open a discussion about this in the parliament. We will inform the Iraqi people that some of the money which was supposed to be set aside has been mismanaged,” Peshawa Tofiq, a member of Movement for Change told Press TV. The White House authorities took control of $20 billion of Iraqi government funds when they invaded Iraq. They were supposed to use the money for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction. Since then, however, several US military officials have been convicted of bribery, fraud and moneylaundering over money allocated for reconstruction projects in Iraq.
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India proposes dates for bilateral talks with Pakistan Passion Islam
India has proposed two sets of dates -- March 21-22 and March 28-29 -- to Pakistan for home secretary-level talks. During the talks, counterterrorism, including progress in Mumbai terror attacks trial and the demand for voice samples of 26/11 accused are expected to be discussed. Home Secretary Gopal K Pillai extended the invitation to Pakistan’s Interior Secretary Chaudhry Qamar
Zaman and a response from Islamabad is awaited, pti reported quoting official sources as saying. This will be the first structured bilateral secretary-level meeting on counter-terrorism after the recent Indo-Pak decision to resume comprehensive talks. More than two years after India had suspended composite dialogue with Pakistan in the wake of 26/11 attacks at Mumbai in 2008, the two sides recently decided to resume
comprehensive dialogue on all outstanding issues. India has been demanding voice samples of prime accused of Mumbai attacks case Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Zaki-ur- Rehman Lakhvi and others giving instructions to the ten terrorists who attacked Mumbai. A Rawalpindi court is hearing a case against Lakhvi and six of his accomplices, who have been charged with planning and facilitating the 26/11 strikes.
India woos Muslim investors with new stock index In Case You Missed It
India’s stock market has traditionally been dominated by Hindu investors but the country has taken a step towards financial inclusion with the creation of a new index compliant with Islamic law. The Bombay Stock Exchange, Asia’s oldest stock market, has launched the TASIS Shariah 50 in an attempt to open stock-trading to more of the country’s vast Muslim population. “The intention is to reach out to the Muslim community which has historically been less involved in India’s equities,” James Shapiro, head of market development at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), told AFP. “To grow your business, the stock exchange has to be more inclusive. One cannot keep growing on a very thin layer of very rich people trading,” added Shapiro, a former New York Stock Exchange head of foreign listings. Experts have blamed a lack of political will in Hindu-majority India for the failure to promote Islamic finance, despite the country having 170 million Muslims, the world’s thirdhighest number. Stock investment is still nascent in India with just one percent of the 1.2
billion population overall investing in shares. For Muslims, who are poorer and less educated than Hindus according to official figures, the percentage of investors is much less, estimated at at 0.5 percent of the community. The 50 stocks on the new index have been cleared by a top Mumbaibased Islamic law firm, Taqwaa Advisory and Shariah Investment Solutions (TASIS), as compliant with the investment rules of the Islamic legal code known as sharia. The Islamic law firm vets listed companies to determine whether they derive benefits from interest or the sale of “sinful” goods and services like alcohol, gambling, tobacco,
weapons or pork products, prohibited under Islamic law. But the index still has many heavyweights, including firms like auto giants Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki, generic drugmaker Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, software outsourcer Wipro and India’s largest private firm Reliance Industries. “We believe the TASIS index is superior” to many rival indices elsewhere “as stocks screening is more conservative and better tuned to achieving sharia objectives,” added Mohammed Hussain Khatkhatay, a TASIS senior advisor. Standard and Poor’s and Dow Jones are among companies abroad which run sharia indices.
I WORLD NEWS
I March 2011
FBI accused of violating Muslims’ rights at mosque
Two civil liberties groups have sued the FBI, claiming that one of the agency’s former informants was ordered to target Muslims for surveillance when he infiltrated a California mosque. The ACLU of Southern California and the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed the lawsuit in federal court, the Washington Post reported. The lawsuit alleged that ex-FBI informant Craig Monteilh violated Muslims’ constitutional rights of freedom of religion by conducting “indiscriminate surveillance” because of their religion. The suit named the FBI and seven of its agents and supervisors, and sought class-action status, unspecified damages and a court order instructing the FBI to destroy or return the information Monteilh collected. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller told The Associated Press she could not comment on the lawsuit, but she emphasized that the FBI does not target religious groups or individuals based on their religion. The agency “does not investigate houses of worship or religious
groups, but people who are alleged to be involved in criminal activity, regardless of their affiliations,” Eimiller said. Monteilh infiltrated an Orange County mosque and helped build a case against an Afghan-born man who was arrested on terrorismrelated charges in 2009. The lawsuit claimed that
Monteilh’s handlers — FBI agents Kevin Armstrong and Paul Allen — instructed him to collect e-mail addresses, phone numbers and other information about Muslims and “explicitly told Monteilh that Islam was a threat to America’s national security,” according to the Post. The two agents declined to comment to the newspaper.
‘Biased’ report worries US Muslims
American Muslims have voiced concerns that a congressman’s upcoming hearing on “radicalism” in the US Muslim community will be biased. The Muslim American community will gather on Capitol Hill to meet Congress members and discuss Congressman Peter King’s upcoming hearings on “radicalism” in the American Muslim community on March 7. “He has the right to express his views no matter how wrong and bigoted he is, and we have the right to show the other side of what he’s trying to project,” said Nihad Awad, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
CAIR pointed out that King’s upcoming hearing which is based on the idea that Muslims do not help government officials -- is biased because his report, which is mainly based upon anonymous statements, does not include testimony from any law enforcement officials. “[King] won’t have anyone testify the fact that Muslims aren’t cooperating with law enforcement, probably because it’s not true,” says Ibrahim Cooper, the National Communications Director of CAIR. To help in the cause, a website has been created by CAIR to record positive testimonials between American Muslims and law enforcement agencies, our
correspondent added. “We’re asking them to write letters to the editor, to contact elected officials, and to submit testimonials about their efforts not only to combat extremism but to work in cooperation with law enforcement authorities,” said Cooper. King has denied requests by Muslim groups to expand the hearings. Muslims make up around two percent of the US population, yet they account for about one-quarter of the religious discrimination claims filed in the US, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of 2010. passionislam.com
Saudis bid to form first political party Passion Islam
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Nine activists in Saudi Arabia have announced the formation of the first political party in the country, amid ongoing revolutions and prodemocracy protests in other Arab countries. The move comes despite the kingdom’s ban on forming political parties. The founders of the “Islamic Umma Party” have conveyed a statement to King Abdullah asking him to recognize the group, AFP reported. “It is not hidden from you that the Islamic world has seen great political developments and the strengthening of freedoms and human rights, which Islam already approves ... It is now time for the kingdom to keep pace
with this development and contribute to it,” a copy of the letter published on the their website reads. “We have established the Islamic Umma Party to contribute to forwarding the peaceful political reform movement, to which all the people look forward,” the statement adds. The nine founders, who are lawyers, businessmen, professors and political activists, believe in “freedom,” “political pluralism, and the peaceful transfer of power, and the right of the (Islamic) nation to choose its governments,” it says. Sheikh Mohammed al-Qahtani, a founder of the party, says the formation of the party “was a natural response to the development of the
political situation in the region and the development of political action in the kingdom.” “The time has come to approve political rights and launch general freedoms, especially to approve the right of the people to elect the Shura Council and the creation of legislation to govern all these political rights,” Qahtani added. Saudi Arabia does not have a parliament. Instead, it has a consultative Shura Council, which is totally an appointed body, aimed at providing the king with consultations on policies, laws, and other matters. The initiative for founding the Islamic Umma Party is taken as Prodemocracy movements have been spreading across Arab countries.
US to reduce surveillance restrictions The House of Representatives in the United States have voted down a measure to extend provisions of the PATRIOT Act, a major counterterrorism law in the country. The move surprised the Republican Party as many believed enough votes were secured to extend the provisions to December of this year, Press TV reported. The legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union Michelle Richardson says there were “people from both the left and the right” who opposed the Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 because it allowed the government “just too much authority” into citizens’ private lives. It is highly likely, however, that the provisions will be extended since the majority of seats in the House are taken by Republicans. The Obama administration has given its approval of adding more provisions to the act, too. The controversial act, which
was signed into law by former US President George W Bush in October 2001, includes three key sections that dramatically reduced restrictions on surveillance. One allows government access to personal materials such as library records, another allows the usage of roving wiretaps, and the third gives the government the ability to survey non-citizens suspected of terrorist activities even if they are not connected to any known groups.
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‘US Muslims integral to law enforcement’ 20
I WORLD NEWS
The US city of Los Angeles has remained safe from terrorist attacks by what experts have credited to Muslim American cooperation with law enforcement. “Seven out of the last eleven plots that al-Qaeda has tried to detonate in the United States have been foiled with the help of American Muslims,” Aziza Hasan of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) told Press TV. Hasan -- the Southern California Government Relations director for MPAC -- says the Council is dedicated to working with law enforcement, especially in vital security areas like LA. A spokesman for the LA County Sheriff Steve Whitmore told Press TV, “We’re working closely with the
mosques. [Sheriff Lee Baca] goes and speaks with them. They come. He has a Muslim American Advisory Council… He has two deputies that are Muslim Americans.” Sheriff Baca drew a lot of attention this week for saying that Muslim Americans are a vital part of keeping America safe. He was challenging the notion that MuslimAmericans are not cooperative with law enforcement. Hasan says it’s a common misconception that is likely due to a lack of reporting on all the positive comments made by agencies nationwide about Muslim Americans. She added that the head of counter-terrorism for the FBI in southern California has publicly credited Muslim Americans for
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helping to prevent terrorist attacks in Los Angeles. The LA County Sheriff’s Department says it is committed to working with Muslim Americans as well because of the importance they play in enforcement. The majority of media in America continues to display a negative attitude towards Muslims. During a House Homeland Security subcommittee meeting last year, Sheriff Baca challenged an assertion that the Council on American Islamic Relations engaged in radical speeches. Sheriff Baca said he disagreed with that description and said he would continue to support the group by attending more fundraisers in the future.
Israeli planes violate Lebanon airspace Two Israeli fighter jets have penetrated Lebanese airspace and flown over parts of the country in flagrant violation of a UN Security Council resolution. The Israeli aircraft crossed into Lebanese airspace over the southern border town of Alma al-Shaab and conducted several unwarranted flights above southern Lebanon, according to a statement released by the Lebanese military. The Israeli warplanes left Lebanese airspace while flying over the southern village of Rmeish. Two Israeli jets infringed upon the Lebanese airspace and carried out covert surveillance of several areas in southern Lebanon, including the border village of Kfar Kila, located 96 kilometers (59 miles) south of the capital Beirut. Israel violates Lebanon’s airspace
on an almost daily basis, claiming the flights serve surveillance purposes. Lebanon’s government, the Hezbollah resistance movement and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, have repeatedly condemned the overflights, saying they are in clear violation of UN Resolution 1701 and the country’s sovereignty.
UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which brokered a ceasefire in the war of aggression Israel launched against Lebanon in 2006, calls on Tel Aviv to respect Beirut’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In 2009, Lebanon filed a complaint with the United Nations presenting over 7,000 documents pertaining to Israeli violation of Lebanese territory.
SPORT I 21
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Great Britain favourites to beat Tunisia in Davis Cup opener Great Britain will begin their 2011 Davis Cup campaign with a home tie against Tunisia on 4th March Captain Leon Smith’s team will be hot favourites for the Europe/Africa Group II meeting. Marek Jaziri is the only Tunisian player inside the world’s top 1,000, while Britain have seven players above him in the standings. Britain need three wins next year to secure promotion back to Group I. A victory over the north Africans would set up a meeting with either Luxembourg or Ireland in the second round. Passion Islam will be live at the Davies cup with exclusive interviews and news with the Tunisian and GB players, watch out for our regular updates of videos and photos on our website www.passionislam.com or by following us on facebook and twitter ‘passionislam media’
Raheem Sterling scores five for Liverpool Liverpool teen sensation Raheem Sterling scored five goals against Southend in a youth team match. 16-year-old Liverpool striker Raheem Sterling forced his way in to the full squad following a five goal haul against Southend in the
youth team game. Sterling was included in the party that travelled to the Czech Republic for a Europa League match against Sparta Prague following his goal scoring exploits in a 9-0 humbling of Southend
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Lets Get Back to Basics 22
I SPECIAL FEATURE
Reaching the Destination The objective of Muslim’s life is to acquire the pleasure of Allah ta’ala. The acquisition of the pleasure of Allah is a Muslim’s true destination. In order to travel to the destination the traveller will need to tread a fixed path. This path is known as the Sirate-Mustaqeem. If a person veers from this path then he will stray onto a side street and thus ultimately lose his way. The one who desires to reach Allah ta’ala is known as a Mureed. This is an Arabic term which means the one who desires. In order to reach his destination the Mureed will need a guide who is familiar with the way. The guide aids the traveller by providing directions and instructions on how to avoid pitfalls and dangers during the journey. Such a guide is known as a Shaykh. The similitude of the Mureed is like a person wanting to travel from Madeenah to Makkah. In order to reach Makkah he will have to take a taxi driven by an experienced guide. The driver is the Shaykh. He knows the route well, and he is well aware of where to stop, and where to continue. He knows where the traveller will be able to acquire refreshment and he has knowledge of where the traveller can attain rest. Finding a Guide This is where, many people, unfortunately make mistakes. Firstly they don’t know how to choose a Shaykh and secondly they are not familiar with what Bay’at means. As with all things in life, we must first and foremost understand what we are undertaking and then adopt the correct method of accomplishing it. One should think rationally when selecting someone as a guide. It is imperative that a person does not select someone as a Shaykh due
to someone else’s influence or as a result of an upheaval of emotions. An individual should only select someone as their guide once they have a basic understanding of what a Shaykh is and what the relationship with a Shaykh entails. After acquiring this basic knowledge, one should endeavour to utilise the following criteria, highlighted by our pious predecessors, in order to find a guide who is authentic and reliable: • The Shaykh should be from the masha’ikh haqqah. Thus he should be from amongst those who possess the right aqeedah and the necessary knowledge of the Shariah. • The Shaykh should have received khilaafat (a recognition of expertise) by a Shaykh superior to him. • His company should direct your attention towards Allah ta’ala and the hereafter whilst simultaneously decreasing your love for this world. • The contemporary mashaaikh (plural of Shaykh) should hold the Shaykh in high esteem. • The majority of people around the Shaykh should be those who are striving to reform their lives and practice Islam in totality. But as with any journey it is important that a person ensures that the guide they select is the best for them personally. In order to ascertain this a person should consider three things. 1. You should have confidence in and admiration for the person whom you wish to select as your Shaykh. 2. The Shaykh should be a professional in the field. 3. There should be a good degree of compatibility between yourself and the Shaykh. This is extremely necessary. If this is not present then the Shaykh may not be able to understand your difficulties or you may not be able to understand the
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Shaykh’s advices and guidance. It is important to remember that the Shaykh does not have to be the most renowned in the world. What matters is that the Shaykh needs to be the most beneficial for a person in that person’s particular situation. What is Bay’at? Bay’at is defined as an allegiance and agreement between two parties. In the agreement with the Shaykh the Mureed makes a promise of repentance to Allah ta’ala and resolves that he will tread the straight path to reach Him. The Shaykh acts as a witness to this oath. The Mureed agrees that he will, to the best of his ability, follow the guidance of the Shaykh. The Shaykh also agrees that he will guide the Mureed to the best of his ability. The Shaykh will then, from time to time, issue instructions aimed at helping the Mureed progress spiritually. The guidance given by the Shaykh will be in light of the Shariah, and tailored to meet the Mureed’s personal circumstances. Thus the Shaykh will treat each Mureed differently. After Bay’at Following Bay’at the Mureed should maintain constant contact with the Shaykh and inform the Shaykh of his spiritual condition either verbally or by letter/email. This is done so that the Shaykh can provide appropriate and comprehensive guidance. The Mureed should endeavour to follow fully any advice that the Shaykh gives. The one who desires Allah will only be able to reach his destination if he strives to complete the journey. Only then will the Shaykh be able to aid the Mureed in purifying his inner self and acquiring the pleasure of Allah ta’ala. Courtesy in Shaykh Company.
Business Around the Grave
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The calico-covered corpse is gently lowered into the grave. Loving hands of sons and brothers receive the body of their loved one and place it in the narrow pit. The strips of plank are placed firmly next to each other. The last plank is placed leaving a dark and lonely grave under it. Spades are grabbed and heaps of sand come crashing down from all directions. However, all around the grave, business goes on as usual. While the most stark reminder of death is right in front of the eyes, the latest car on the market, the rand/dollar exchange and other gossip continues among many of those present . While they patiently wait for the ‘ fatihah’ to commence, the time is passed by idle gossip. Carrying the janaza on our shoulders and witnessing the deceased being lowered into the grave also does not remind us of our own death. What then will remind us of that moment (which could be extremely soon) when we will breathe our last? Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) is reported to have said: “Remember excessively that which severs all pleasures — DEATH.” The best reminder of death is the graveyard itself. Hence Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has greatly encouraged that one should regularly visit the graveyard. While this Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is unfortunately rarely practised, at least we get an opportunity to visit the graveyard when attending a funeral. However , this occasion of remembering death is also wasted gossiping . The condition of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) when attending a funeral is clearly described in the following Hadith of Bara’ (R.A.). He says: “Once we went with Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to attend the funeral and burial of a person. When we reached there, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) sat by the side of a grave and wept so profusely that the ground became wet with his tears. He then said: “Prepare yourself for
(your entry in) the grave.” (Targheeb) Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has also instructed us as to what we should be doing when attending a janazah. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once said to the Sahaba (R.A.) when they had buried a person: “Seek forgiveness for your brother and beseech Allah Ta’ala to keep him firm for verily he will be questioned now” (Mishkaat p.26) Thus the rare occasions when we visit the graveyard should serve as a reminder of our own death. Those few moments among the graves should not be wasted in idle gossip and worldly talk. While the burial is in progress, one should engage oneself in silently reciting whatever one is able to of the Qur’an with the intention of passing the rewards to the deceased. This would be of immense benefit to oneself as well as the deceased. May Allah Ta’ala enable us to remember our death often, especially while in the graveyard. Aameen. Al-Haadi news
Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) (A.S.)
I SPECIAL FEATURE
You have read about Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.). He had two sons, Hazrat Isamel (A.S.) whose generation settled in Makkah and Hazrat Ishaq (A.S.) who settled in Syria. Hazrat Ishaq (A.S.) had son named Hazrat Yaqub [A.S.]. He lived in the Keenan city of Syria. Allah had given him twelve sons. One of them was Yusuf (A.S.) another was Yameeen the real brother of Yusuf (A.S.). All others was step-brothers. Among them Hazrat Yusuf (A.S) was the most intelligent and noble. When he was only 16 years old, he saw a dream and in the morning told this to his father. He said, “Father, last night I saw a dream in which I saw that eleven stars, the sun and the moon are worshipping me.” After hearing this, Hazrat Yaqub (A.S) replied. “My son, don’t tell your dream to your brothers lest they should tease you. It occurs to me that your Lord will choose you for His mission. He makes you His prophet, grant wisdom and, like your grand father Ishaq (A.S.), and great grand father Ibrahim (A.S.) bless you.” Hazrat Yaqub (A.S.) loved Hazrat Yusuf (A.S) among his sons the most because he was noble and very intelligent since childhood. Now he had learnt that Allah had decided to assign the task of Prophet Hood to Hazrat Yusuf (A.S). Therefore, his love for him had increased. Other brothers did not like it. They were jealous of Hazrat Yusuf (A.S). In Arabia, during those days, the family that consisted of strong sons, grand sons, brothers and cousins was respected. Such a family always had an upper hand over all others and therefore, people loved their strong sons. The brothers of Yusuf [A.S], used to maintain that as they were stronger than him only
they could be useful at a bad hour. According to them, Yusuf [A.S] who was weak of all could not do anything all alone, therefore, their father should love them more and they considered it their dishonour if Yusuf (A.S.) was loved more than them. One day all the brothers, expect Yusuf [A.S], gathered at a place and said, “It seems our father has gone astray. He should have respected us because we are a full lot. It is wrong on his part to love Yusuf (A.S.) more than us. Let’s, therefore, kill Yusuf (A.S.) or leave him at some far off place. When Yusuf (A.S.) will not be among us, father will naturally love us more.” One of them suggested to throw their brother into a well, In a jungle, instead of killing him from where he could be taken along by some caravan passing by. All of them liked this suggestion and went to their father. They asked him, “Father, why do you never send Yusuf (A.S.) along with us anywhere. Do you have no trust on us? We are his well-wishers. Please send him with us to the jungle to enjoy and play. We will protect him”. Their father replied, “I am worried to send him with you. I fear lest you should be careless and some wolf eats him up.” “But we are a strong lot, “the sons said, “How can a wolf eat Yusuf (A.S.) when we are there.” They somehow managed to get their father’s consent and one day took Yusuf (A.S.) towards the jungle. As decided, they threw him into a well. They Allah consoled Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) and made him believe that one day or the other he would remind his brothers of their mischief and that day they would feel sorry over their deed. His brothers were to aware that Yusuf (A.S.) was being
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encouraged by Allah and of the result of their mischief. Before throwing Yusuf (A.S.) in the well, they had removed his Kurta [cloth worn on the upper part of the body] and falsely stained it with the blood of an animal. At night when they returned home, they went to their father weeping and said, “Father, while we were busy in playing, and seated Yusuf (A.S.) to look after our belongings, a wolf appeared from somewhere and ate him up. See this is his blood stained Kurta.” Hazrat Yuqub (A.S.) did not believe them and said, “You have certainly made some mischief or deceit. I can not believe what you say. I will only keep patience and seek Allah’s help.” On the other hand, when his brothers had left after throwing Yusuf (A.S) into the well, a carvan happened to through there. They sent one of them to fetch water from the well. As soon as he suspended the bucket into the well, he saw a boy into it. He cried out, “Congratulations. We have found a boy here.” The people of the caravan pulled Yusuf (A.S.) out of the well and immediately hid him planning to sell him in the market. How could they know that everything was happening by the order of Allah and He was aware of everything? The caravan was going from Madina to Egypt. They took Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) also with them and sold him out there for a very few coins. They did not expect any other benefit from Yusuf (A.S.) The king of Egypt had a minister whose name was Fotifar. He was the highest official treasury. He was called Aziz. He had purchased Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) from the caravan
I March 2011
people. He had understood that Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) belonged to a respected family and somehow fallen to the caravan people. From his talks with Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) he had known that he was very intelligent. Aziz had no sons. He said to his wife, “Look after this boy well. He may prove to be beneficial for us or we may even adopt. At that time Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) was about 18 years of age. Soon Aziz authorized him of everything at his home, and handed over the management of his property and business to him. So far Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) had spent a rural life and had all the qualities of a villager’ He was born in the family of Allah’s messengers. He was a devotee of Allah and very noble. Due to the open atmosphere of the village, he had very good health. Now Allah had landed him in a country renowned for its living. Moreover, he had now entered a house where he could learn governance and the administration of the country. It looked as if he was being groomed by Allah for His mission in the future. Allah the Beneficent, on the one hand provided Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) with a good shelter in an alien land. On the other, He arranged for his training like of which only princes could get. It is true that Allah does fulfil His work but many people do not know about the compulsions behind what He does. Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) live on at the house of Aziz till he was young. The name of the wife of Aziz was Zulaikha. One day when Aziz was not at home, she closed itself with Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) into a room, with evil intention, and said to him, “Come closer to me.” Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) replied, “God forbid, my Lord has bestowed on me so much honour and such a shelter. How can I do this evil deed? I cannot do it. My Lord does not grant success to the sinners.” At this, that woman moved towards Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) Had he not realized Zulaikha’s intention and replied spontaneously, he could also have moved towards her. But Allah had saved him from bad and dirty things. When he saw the woman coming to him he rushed to the door. But the
woman was very shameless. She followed him immediately and caught hold of his Kurta. Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) tried to pull it back. In the scuffle a piece of it remained into the woman’s hand and Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) rushed out of the room. She also followed him. As soon as they come out of the room, they confronted with Aziz. At this the woman was flabbergasted and immediately asks him “what is the punishment for a man who has an evil intention about your wife.” Before he could answer, she herself replied thus: “What else accept that he should be imprisoned or given severe and exemplary punishment. When Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) heard this he said, “She is telling a lie. In fact, it was she who was flirting me. But I did not agree.” In the meantime, a relative of Zulaikha appeared on the scene. Knowing, perhaps, about the character of Zulaikha, he understood everything and very wisely suggested, “Let’s first see the shirt of Yusuf (A.S.); if its front portion is pierced, the woman is true and if its back portion is pierced, then the woman is telling a lie and Yusuf (A.S.) is speaking the truth.” The suggestion was logical, were the shirt of Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) the front, it would imply that he would have moved towards the woman and then pushed away by her. In the scuffle his shirt might have been torn. Since the shirt was torn from the back it meant that Yusuf (A.S.) might have tried to save himself and the woman might have tried to catch him from the back. One more evidence was in the form that Zulaikha’s garments were not torn nor her body bore any sears. The position was contrary to it to clarify the whole thing. Aziz then understood everything and cried at his wife and said, “This is all your mischief. It is true that you women are very tricky.” Turning to Yusuf (A.S.) he said, “Yusuf, forget it, and asked his wife “Say sorry to Yusuf as it is your mistake.” Now the entire city was aware of what Zulaikha had done. Women said “Aziz’s wife has blindly fallen in love with her servant. It looks she has committed a folly.” When Zulaikha heard this, she got angry. So one day she invited all the women for a meal and seated them on coushions. She put some fruits and a knife before
each of them. As soon as these women started cutting the fruits, she called in Yusuf (A.S.). When the women raised their eyes towards Yusuf (A.S.), they were taken a back, Instead of the fruits; they cut off their own fingers and exclaimed, “O God, he is not a man but an angel.” Zulaikha said, “Look at him. He is the person about whom you were defaming me. I flirted him but he escaped. Now I have decided to send him to jail if he did not obey me. He will be debased there.” See how shameless the Women of Egypt were in those days. Today Europe is proud that they have given equal status to women and they are also free like men. But you can judge how shameless the Egyptian women were. The fact is that Satan’s hirelings have always been almost the same. When Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) come to know about Zulaikha’s ill intentions, he said, “O my Lord, I will prefer imprisonment to what she calls me for. O my Lord, save me from these tricks lest I shall be entrapped and thus be amongst the uncivilized.” At this stage Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) was at the peak of his youthfulness. Ladies of high families would flirt him and compel him for committing sin. But he stood firm and noble even amongst such evil persons. God’s fear kept him away from sin. If one wants to become pious, and decides to follow the path of righteousness, Allah also helps him. True to this fact, Allah heeded the prayer of Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) and saved him from the trap of those evil women. He is the All Knower, Allwise. These people put Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) into jail to avoid bad name and commit atrocities on him. But the ladies of respectable families knew that he was innocent. Thus all the people became aware of the pious thought and nobility of Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.). His mission in future also required that he should be fully known. The propagation of his nobility and piety was necessary for the message of Allah which he had to deliver to the people of Egypt. In the prison two young men also joined Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.). One of them was a bar tender to a king and the other a kitchen officer. They were sent to the imprisonment by the king Continued next month
I SPECIAL FEATURE
I March 2011
I March 2011
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Passion islam March 2011 issue