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DARUL ULOOM OUTSTANDING
Winning the acclamation of Britain’s chief education watchdog, a Muslim boys’ school drew praise for its excellence in combining religious and secular studies while helping develop its students’ basic knowledge, skills and attitudes. Darul Uloom Islamic College, in Bury is “good with some outstanding areas,” a report by chief education inspection body Ofsted said. Visiting the school last month, inspectors found that the students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural growth was “outstanding.” “Teachers have secured subject knowledge which ensures that students learn new skills and concepts proficiently,” the Ofsted report said. “The brisk pace of lessons enable students to focus on learning and their excellent behavior contributes positively to the learning and the good progress they make in both their religious and secular studies. “Boarders say they feel safe at the school and are very supportive of each other.” The report also recorded a rise in the school’s General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) results over the past few years, with more students reaching higher grades in a broader range of subjects. The Ofsted also lauded the education environment provided by the school, saying inspectors were impressed to find students remain “totally focused” in
lessons. Established in 1979, Darul Uloom is an independent residential school for Muslim boys aged 11 to 23. It offers secondary secular and further education as well as advanced Islamic education. Delighted at the Ofsted’s acclamation, Headteacher Sheikh Abdul Rahim Limbada has spoken of his pride of the school, its staff and students. “I’m delighted with the Ofsted judgment on the school.” Limbada said. “I would like to thank all the staff for their commitment and dedication and also the pupils for their outstanding behavior, discipline and enthusiasm which has allowed the school to prosper as judged by Ofsted.” Limbada said that the inspectors’
praise also gives evidence of the successful methodology the school adopts in its extra curricula. “The report recognizes not only the quality of the teaching and learning at the school but also the extra curriculum choices which prepare our students for full participation in society once they leave the school,” he explained. Shakir Ahmed, Director of Passion Islam, commented “This news comes at a time when mainstream media have all but waged a war against such Islamic schools. The mainstream media have demonised establishments like Darul Uloom as being detrimental to our children’s wellbeing. However, we now have proof that Islamic schools do work and can be very much a part of a integrated British society.”
... spiritual, moral, social and cultural growth was “outstanding.” Ofsted report
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I May 2011
By Naima Bouteldja French journalist
France’s false ‘battle of the veil’
When the French debate on the fullface veil was launched in April 2009 by Communist MP André Gérin and later championed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, the political stunt appeared too obvious to swallow. A government only too happy for some breathing space as it struggled to overturn its widespread unpopularity. And yet, as the testimonies of 32 niqab-wearing women I interviewed for an Open Society Foundation study reveal, many French people fell head first for the diversionary strategy and overnight came to believe that it was their right, even their republican duty, to behave as members of a secularist enforcement squad. Despite lukewarm protests against the ban, no genuine resistance was offered by French opposition parties. And the resounding silence of civil liberties groups and anti-discrimination advocates on the day of the law’s enforcement was hardly a surprise. The “battle of the veil”, the French version of America’s “clash of civilisations”, steadily saw the forging of a broad consensus that depicted many innocuous forms of Arab/Muslim cultural and religious expression as serious threats to national harmony. Nothing illustrates this better than the recent parliamentary bill introduced by 32 MPs demanding that anyone wanting to fly foreign flags in public places must first seek permission from local authorities. The authors of the bill assert that displaying the flag from one’s “country of origin” during demonstrations or celebrations often conveys a “provocative attitude towards
our republican values”. Unveiling the Truth illustrates the rupture between the hysterical national discourse on the women who wear the full-face veil and their own concrete realities. The testimonies of the 32 women interviewed in towns and cities across France challenged many of the myths relayed during the controversy. Rather than reflecting an attempt to subvert society, the adoption of the niqab was, in most cases, the result of a personal and extremely individualistic journey, a modern spiritual approach in an effort to transform the self. Of course various other factors played a role in the women’s decision to adopt the veil. But most of them were the first members of their family to adopt the veil, the majority had no niqab-wearing peers, their attendance at their mosque was minimal, and their affiliation to any Islamic bodies almost nonexistent. But what the report also achieved, albeit unexpectedly, was to open a window on to the reaction of the wider Muslim and Arab populations in France towards the controversy and the veiled women themselves. “I find the Muslim community as manipulated as the rest of the French population,” said Eliza, a 31-year-old niqab-wearing entrepreneur who, like several respondents, has decided to leave France. Most representatives of Islamic institutions adopted a conciliatory tone, opposing the ban while criticising the practice of wearing the full-face veil, arguing either (and rightly) that the niqab was a minority practice or (wrongly) that it was not “part of the
religion” at all. Without offering any hint of support for the women, they allowed their discourse to be instrumentalised by the French ruling elite. While their inconvenient opposition to the ban was generally sidelined, their assertion that the full-face veil was not a Qur’anic prescription became a national mantra relayed ad nauseam by secular politicians, delighted to spread the word. The dismay and even the deep anger many niqab-wearing women felt over the lack of solidarity shown by fellow Muslims was a recurrent theme that arose in most of the testimonies. “The community hurts us more than the others,” confided Aisha, a 19-yearold former national sports champion. Adding insult to injury, a significant number of the women interviewed had also been abused by either Muslims or people of Arab descent, sometimes venomously. Hurtful accusations that they were making the lives of Muslims harder in France, “shaming” the entire community, and “dirtying the religion” said much about the accusers. The lethargy that gripped a significant section of the Muslim and/or Arab communities can be partially explained by its unsurprising internalisation of a largely unchallenged paradigm that for decades has depicted French religious and ethnic minorities as responsible for some of the country’s main ills. It’s an inferiority complex that, according to many testimonies, seems to have left the younger generations relatively unscathed. “I receive more support from the youth who were born in France, who religiously are not necessarily very practising, but who recognise what racism is, than from the elders,” said Eliza. This might explain why in a sample of 32 women, 10 young women decided to adopt the full-face veil, some clearly in an act of defiance, after the launch of the debate. Bushra, a 24-year-old former rapper who did not even wear a hijab in April 2009, explained: “The controversy put a flea in my ear ... Already, for Eid, they don’t allow us to slaughter our sheep, they don’t let us go to school with our headscarves, they don’t let us do anything!” Giving them a taste of their own medicine, she adopted the veil. She adds, with a laugh: “Thanks to their nonsense, I stopped mine.”
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 May 2011
Judges tell home secretary to revoke ‘flawed’ control order Passion Islam
The home secretary, Theresa May, must revoke a further control order imposed on a terror suspect, the court of appeal has ruled, placing a fresh question mark against the future of the system. Three appeal court judges ruled that the order imposed on BM, a 38-year-old British national, was so flawed that it could not be allowed to stand. They gave the home secretary 48 hours to comply with the ruling and to obtain a new order “if she considers it necessary to do so”. Lord Justice Sedley, Lord Justice Thomas and Lord Justice Hopper also ordered that a prosecution against BM for breaching the control order be discontinued. The judges were told that the security service evidence against BM mainly dated back to the period 2001-04, when he led a group in Ilford, north-east London, promoting terrorism, together with his two brothers, legally known as A and
B. He was said to have undertaken explosives training in Kashmir, been in contact in Pakistan with an al-Qaida leader, and had expressed an interest in fighting in Afghanistan. But the judges said that, based on the evidence before the court, the control order was flawed as it could not be justified as necessary. In particular they said there was no evidence to substantiate the home secretary’s claim that BM had engaged in any terrorism-related activities since he was designated a terror suspect in 2007. The order has a curfew of 8-14 hours, and restrictions on where BM can travel, who he can meet, and on his access to phones and the internet. It was imposed two years
ago. A Home Office spokesman said: “We are disappointed with the court’s decision to allow this appeal and we are now considering the judgement carefully. The court made plain that its decision was based solely on open material, even though we argued that the control order was necessary on the basis of the entirety of the case, both open and closed.” The decision means nine control orders remain, all on British citizens.
Terror search arrest rates emerge 4
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
I May 2011
In Case You Missed It
Only two people were arrested for terrorism-related offences last year after being stopped and searched under anti-terrorism powers. They were among 91,500 such searches of people and vehicles in England and Wales in 2009-2010, Home Office statistics show. Last year, the terrorism stopand-search powers were declared unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights. The government has now restricted the way the measures can be used. The statistics show that apart from the two terrorism-related arrests, a further 436 people were arrested for other reasons. The previous year there were 10 terrorism-related arrests - but more than double the number of searches.
The figures also show that almost a third of all stop and searches by police involved ethnic minority groups: 16% of those stopped were black, 11% Asian, 3% mixed race, 1% Chinese or other ethnic group. Having been searched, however, white suspects were most likely to be arrested. Fifty-five per cent of all Section 60 searches - where police search in anticipation of violence to look for knives and other weapons - involved ethnic minority suspects. In total, police carried out 1,360,167 searches of people and vehicles in 2009-10 - a drop of 10%
on the previous year. The total number of arrests fell by 5% to 107,444, amounting to 9% of all searches. The figures also show that the number of people given a fixed penalty notice for using a mobile phone while driving in England and Wales went up by 8% in 2009 from 116,000 to 126,000.
UK supplying telecommunications equipment to Libyan rebels
The British government is improving its contacts with Libyan rebels by supplying them with unspecified telecommunications equipment, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced. “Given the urgent need of the interim transitional national council for telecommunications equipment, the National Security Council has decided this morning to supply it with such equipment,” Hague said. But when challenged in parliament, he said that he did “not want to go into details about the exact specification for various reasons, including that, if I did so, it would be easier for the regime to interfere with the telephones.”
“However, it is telecommunications equipment, which enables people to say where there is desperate humanitarian need and when a town is under attack, and to speak to us in the outside world,” he told MPs, denying that it included a missile guidance system. His announcement comes after Prime Minister David Cameron said that Britain agrees with the US that UN security resolution 1973 could be interpreted to permit the supply of arms to rebel forces in Libya. The decision comes as Western governments have been trying to engineer regime change in Libya as Nato-led forces are imposing a no-flyzone but without any breakthrough in
the military stalemate. In his statement, Hague announced that Britain was also lifting its ban on members of the Libyan regime entering the UK if they renounce their loyalty to Muammar Gaddafi, following the arrival of foreign minister Moussa Koussa. Libyan ministers and officials who were prepared to abandon the regime would be ‘treated with respect and in accordance with our laws’, he said, adding that Britain was speaking with its partners about the merits of removing restrictions in the case of anyone currently sanctioned by the EU and UN.
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I May 2011
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
White male culture dominates police, says Home Office review The police remain dominated by an “overwhelming white male culture” that still operates on “jobs for the boys” principles, according to an official inquiry into leadership and training. The report by a former chief constable, Peter Neyroud, commissioned by the home secretary, Theresa May, says that greater representation of women and black and minority ethnic groups at all ranks would make the most difference to the culture of police forces. But an equality assessment for the Neyroud review cites estimates that it will take 24 years at the current rate of progress to get to even 35% female representation in the three most senior ranks. It also quotes estimates of 11 years before there is 7%, the national average in the community, of black and minority ethnic officers in the senior ranks, and a further seven and a half years to achieve that across the whole of the police. Neyroud’s review proposes that a new chartered professional institute of
policing for the whole of the service be set up with a merged Association of Chief Police Officers as its “head and heart”. Acpo would lose the “private company” status it has had since 1998. Neyroud, who is the former head of the National Police Improvement Agency, also suggests a pre-entry qualification before recruits register and are sworn in as a constable, to drive up the quality of policing. The home secretary is to decide on the reforms in September after a 12-week consultation. The review put it more bluntly: “There is a lack of trust in the service that still exists in terms of ‘walking the walk’ rather than ‘talking the talk’. “These findings were mirrored when officers were asked about gender which also concluded that there is “still a perception that current processes maintain a ‘jobs for the boys’ culture.” The report adds that while there is a general view in the police that “it wants to do equality”, it doesn’t actually do enough to make it happen.
UK cuts funding for torture cases British peace campaigner and human rights activist Maya Evans started legal proceedings against the government’s decision last year to cut legal aid funding for cases brought wholly in the public interest. “The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has tried to cut off funding for politically inconvenient cases, but they have been caught in the act by the documents that have been disclosed in this case.” Evans said. “In my previous case I had the opportunity to shine a light into the dark recesses of the UK’s torture policy in Afghanistan, to the benefit of hundreds of prisoners and, ultimately,
the British public. That opportunity should be preserved for future concerned citizens,” she said. The judicial review at London’s High Court is challenging the MoD’s refusal to fund a number of torture cases after public disclosure of serious allegations made by prisoners detained by British forces in Afghanistan in previous proceedings brought by Evans. Her solicitor, Daniel Carey, said the legal action was “not about savings for the public purse” as the Ministry of Justice estimates that ruling out funding for these cases in the future will save only between
£50,000 to £100,000 per annum, which is “less than some MPs’ expenses claims.” “This case is all about the government’s attempts to avoid accountability under the guise of cutting the deficit. Any such attempt should be wholly rejected by anyone who cares about the rule of law,” Carey said. Evans is a leading member of Justice Not Vengeance (JNV), an anti-war group which opposes the US-UK ‘war on terrorism’, and campaigns for a peaceful resolution of international conflicts, based on justice and equality. IRNA
Libya is ‘not attack on Islam’ says PM Cameron Passion Islam
I May 2011
Prime Minister David Cameron said that Nato-led military strikes in Libya are not “an attack on Islam” and rejected comparisons with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The premier told students in Pakistan the idea that action against the Gaddafi regime had been motivated by western interests in Libya’s oil was “nonsense”, the Press Association reported. Cameron said he understood some people saw the UK’s intervention in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan as “some sort of war against Islam.” “Nothing could be further from the truth, I don’t think anyone can seriously argue that international action in Libya is an attack on Islam… we have taken action to protect people - predominantly Muslim people - from slaughter, just as we did in Kosovo over a decade ago. “There will be no foreign invasion, and Arab nations like Qatar and the
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
United Arab Emirates are actively contributing to the no-fly zone.” If the west was targeting Libya’s oil on the pretense of curbing Gaddafi’s attacks on civilians, military action would have concentrated on key towns, Cameron said. “The argument that the West is acting because of oil is also nonsense,” PA quoted him as saying.
“If this was the case, we could have let Gaddafi take Benghazi and Tobruk and the oil would have continued to flow. Instead, we took the difficult decision to stop Gaddafi.” NATO warplanes have flown 851 sorties in the six days since the alliance took command of all strikes. A US-led international force had been bombing Libya since March 19.
Racist ex-soldier who threatened to behead a Muslim a day is jailed
A racist former soldier who threatened to bomb Glasgow Central Mosque and behead a Muslim every day has been jailed for 12 months. Neil MacGregor, 38, made the threats in an e-mail and a series of telephone calls to Strathclyde Police, which led to an anti-terrorism operation being launched. He claimed to be a member of the National Front and said he would execute Muslims on a daily basis
unless every mosque in Scotland was closed down. MacGregor, from Scrimgeour Court, Crieff, claimed he had been upset after watching video footage of someone being beheaded in Iraq on an internet clip. MacGregor then made 999 calls from a public call box during which he claimed to be a member of the National Front and again said there was a bomb at the Central Mosque. MacGregor was arrested and detained at his former flat in Glasgow and admitted making the threats during a series of contacts with Strathclyde Police between 30 January and 15 February 2007. He was originally placed on probation for three years, but he
admitted breaching probation. Sheriff Lindsay Foulis, revoking probation and jailing him for a year, said: “In this day and age to carry out the conduct he did in 2007 is an extremely serious matter. “It was a matter which the authorities, not surprisingly, took very seriously and reacted to in the manner described.” MacGregor, who is originally from Derbyshire, had his sentence for racially breaching the peace backdated to last month when he was arrested. Initially MacGregor admitted to the offence at Glasgow Sheriff Court, his email was read out, which said: “I’m a proud racist & National Front member. (Photo: Glasgow Central Mosque)
UK misjudged arm sales to Arab countries, MPs say 10
I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
Successive British governments have misjudged the risk that arms approved for export to North Africa and Middle East might be used for internal repression, according to a new parliamentary report by Committees on Arms Export Controls. Its report on arms exports accuses the coalition government of “vigorously back-pedalling” on a number of arms export licence approvals to authoritarian regimes across the region following the outbreak of pro-democracy protests in Arab countries in January this year ‘Both the present Government and its predecessor misjudged the risk that arms approved for export to certain authoritarian countries in North Africa and the Middle East might be used for internal repression’, it said. “The Committees welcome these revocations of arms export licences to Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Bahrain but their number, 156 by the time the Committees concluded their Report, reflects the degree of policy misjudgement that has occurred,’ said its chair, Conservative MP John Stanley. The annual report, the first since the coalition came to power in May 2010, produced country-by-country examples for the first time of export licence approvals of arms since January 2009 that could be used for
internal repression by authoritarian regimes in North Africa and the Middle East. It called on the government to immediately extend the review of arms export licences, announced in February by Middle East Minister Alistair Burt, from Arab countries to authoritarian regimes worldwide in respect of weapons and components which could be used for internal repression. “We also recommend that the government sets out how it intends to reconcile the potential conflict of interest between increased emphasis on promoting arms exports with the staunch upholding of human rights,” the all-party committees said. Other recommendations included that ministers set itself a much shorter timetable within which to
I May 2011
make the UK’s Consolidated Criteria for arms exports is wholly consistent with the EU’s Common Position. “On enforcement, we recommend that the Government states what precise action it will take against ‘brass plate’ companies registered in the UK but trading in arms from overseas locations,” the report said. The Committees on Arms Export Controls consists of four parliamentary select committees, covering Business, Innovation and Skills, Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development. Its main job is to review government policy on licensing arms exports and licensing decisions and each year produces an annual report which scrutinises the Strategic Export Controls in place. passionislam.com
European share classes for Sharia fund
Bank of London and The Middle East has launched euro and sterling share classes for its Sharia’a compliant US Dollar Income Fund. The fund, which was launched in March 2009, invests in Islamic money market instruments as well as Sukuk (Islamic bonds) and Ijara (Islamic lease contracts), 65% of which are rated A2 or higher by Standard & Poor’s. It is benchmarked against three month Libor with a target return of 1% over
the benchmark net of fees. To ensure the fund is run in a Sharia’a compliant manner, the fund has a Sharia’a Supervisory Board which reviews contracts and agreements relating to all of BLME’s transactions and ensures they are consistent with the principles of Islamic jurisprudence. Jason Kabel, manager of the US Dollar Income Fund, said: “While there is currently a cautious attitude to GCC investment due to
the political situation, we are seeing excellent investment opportunities in the region with attractive yields that have the benefit of a strong credit rating. “Sukuk prices have recently made strong gains, aided in part by the success of the recent Dubai World debt restructuring. As the fund is actively managed we are in a position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.” passionislam.com
UK sold arms worth £2.3bn in 2yrs Passion Islam
I May 2011
LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS
In Case You Missed It
Official figures show the British government has approved weapons export licenses worth £2.3 billion to 16 states over a 21-month period since 2009. The countries to which Britain has been exporting various types of weapons include nations in North Africa and the Middle East whose authoritarian regimes have launched brutal crackdowns on their own people who are calling for change, democracy and freedom such as in Libya, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. The figures released by Department for Business show that the military export license the government has approved to Libya alone since the start of 2009worth £61.3 million. More than 1,000 Libyan citizens have been killed since embattled ruler Muammar Qaddafi launched his brutal crackdown on his own people. Britain also awarded Bahrain
£6million of licenses covering submachine guns, sniper rifles, CS hand grenades, smoke canisters, stun grenades and riot control agents. At least 26 Bahrainis have been killed and 1,000 injured as the alKhalifa regime cracked down on freedom campaigners in the tiny Persian Gulf island state.
Britain also approved arms licenses totaling £1.7billion to Saudi Arabia, £20.4 million to Egypt, £276.9 million to Algeria and £52.8 million to the United Arab Emirates. Body armor and night vision goggles have been approved for Yemen, small arms ammunition for Syria, and sniper rifles, aircraft components and armored personnel carriers for Saudi Arabia.
PM visits Pakistan to mend ties
The Prime Minister was in Pakistan on a one-day tour of the South Asian country in a bid to mend bilateral ties, which have remained fragile during his tenure. On his first trip to Pakistan, David Cameron claimed that the two countries enjoys “an unbreakable partnership,” Last year, while visiting Pakistan’s rival India, the British premier had said, “Pakistan should not be allowed to look both ways on terrorism.” His remarks, which he refused to withdraw, created a diplomatic outcry because they were made on a trip to India that is Pakistan’s main rival. Cameron held talks with president Asif Ali Zardari and the prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani during his first visit to the country.
Zardari has repeatedly warned the west that it is losing the battle for hearts and minds over the Taliban’s use of Pakistan as the base for its attacks on NATO troops in Afghanistan. The Pakistani president says the UK government has not done enough to recognize how much Pakistan is doing to combat terrorism. However, Cameron acknowledge the misunderstandings of the past in a speech to students. “Britain wants a new chapter
in the relationship between our two countries. We want to deepen and enhance the unbreakable partnership between Pakistan and Britain. The unbreakable partnership must not just be between our two governments. It must be between our peoples, too”, Cameron said.
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Modi ‘allowed’ Gujarat riots Passion Islam
I May 2011
... A senior police officer’s sworn statement to India’s Supreme Court alleges that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in the state...
Syria lifts veil ban in bid to woo Sunnis LIFTED
A senior police officer’s sworn statement to India’s Supreme Court alleges that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi deliberately allowed anti-Muslim riots in the state. More than 1,000 people were killed in the violence in 2002. Sanjiv Bhatt says he attended a meeting at which Mr Modi is alleged to have said that the Hindus should be allowed to vent their anger. Mr Modi has always denied any wrongdoing. The riots began after 60 Hindu pilgrims died when a train carrying them was set on fire. Sanjiv Bhatt was a senior police officer in the Gujarat intelligence bureau during the 2002 riots.
In a sworn statement to the Supreme Court, he said that his position allowed him to come across large amounts of information and intelligence both before and during the violence, including the actions of senior administrative officials. He also alleges that, in a meeting in the night before the riots, Mr Modi told officials that the Muslim community needed to be taught a lesson following an attack on a train carrying Hindu pilgrims. The Gujarat government has responded to the allegations by saying they have already testified before a special panel investigating the riots and will wait for the court’s verdict. - BBC
Syria lifted a ban on teachers wearing the full face veil and ordered the closure of a casino, moves aimed at placating conservative Muslims in the tightly-controlled country that has seen weeks of unrest. Last month pro-democracy protests erupted in the majority Sunni Muslim city of Deraa and later spread to other cities, including the religiously-mixed port city of Latakia, posing the greatest challenge to Assad’s 11-year rule. Decisions are aimed at assuaging religious conservatives in the majority Sunni Muslim country, where the ruling hierarchy is of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam. Assad’s Baath Party, in power for over 48 years, is secular, but the cornerstone of Damascus’ foreign policy is its anti-Israeli alliance with Shia Iran and Shia militant group Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas.
US plans terror alerts on social networks 14
I WORLD NEWS
The US government is considering the use of popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to post terror threat alerts, under the country’s new terror warning plan. According to a 19-page US Department of Homeland Security draft obtained by The Associated Press, terror warnings are to only be delivered to the people for a limited amount of time and under certain circumstances. The five color-coded terror alert system known to Americans, rates the level of terror according to the degree of threat it poses as low, guarded, elevated, high, and severe. The new system, expected to be in place by April 27, is to limit these levels to two: elevated and imminent. Elevated’ is to warn of a credible
I May 2011
threat against the country, not necessarily specifying targets or timing, while ‘imminent’ is to call attention to a more specific threat. The latter warning may expire after seven days, with a possible extension. According to the plan, current Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano is to be in charge of the National Terrorism Advisory System. The draft includes step by step details regarding the sequence of notifying Congress members, state counterterrorism officials, governors, mayors, and lastly the public. The color coded warning became the country’s most crucial program countering terrorism since the September 2001 attacks.
US confirms secret jails in Afghanistan The United States has finally confirmed the presence of secret prisons in Afghanistan, where detainees are interrogated for weeks without being charge. Afghans are held captive for up to nine weeks in secret US detention facilities, depending on the value of information they produce, and are tortured by American prison guards, according to US officials who revealed details of the detention network to The Associated Press. The most secretive network of jails is based at the notorious US-run Bagram prison camp and airbase in Afghanistan’s eastern province of
Parwan. The secret jail in Bagram, which is the principle air base for US forces currently stationed in Afghanistan, is run by the Joint Special Operations Command. The force is the US military’s most elite counter-terrorism unit. According to a report issued by the US-based Open Society Foundation in October 2010, former detainees said they were abused, deprived of sleep, held in cold isolation cells and prevented from observing religious rituals while held captive in the hidden facility at Bagram. Over 800 detainees are being held at Bagram, which became a symbol of prisoner abuse after US
troops beat two detainees to death in 2002. The International Committee of the Red Cross had earlier confirmed reports on the existence of a secret detention facility at the US airbase in Bagram. The Red Cross said in May 2010 that it had been informed of names of several detainees held in the hidden prison in Afghanistan. Several former prisoners asserted earlier in April that they were held at the facility, where they suffered abuse. Human rights groups say Bagram has remained a US torture center since the toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan ten years ago.
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Germany pushes Muslims to spy Passion Islam
I May 2011
The German government seeks to pressure Islamic groups in the country to spy on Muslims in a discriminatory attempt to undermine Islam in the country, a report says. The issue was discussed in the Germany-Islam conference chaired by Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported. Security cooperation of the Islamic groups is high on the agenda of the conference, said the newly selected Friedrich, who irritated the Muslim population in Germany by asserting that “Islam does not belong in Germany.” The remark by the German minister came on the heels of demands by several major security figures in the country, urging that Muslims should spy on mosques. Also last year, Berlin’s interior minister Erhart Kurting had called on German citizens be cautious about
persons with a bizarre appearance. He also went as far to caution Germans to tip off authorities in case they came across someone with a veiled face, or speaking Arabic or other languages. Friedrich’s Islamophobic remark triggered serious protests by the influential Turkish community in Germany and deepened tensions in the relations between Berlin and major Islamic groups in the country. The Germany-Islam conference continued on Tuesday in the face of a boycott by a Muslim group who described the discussions as nothing but a “talking shop.” Another mosque group was thrown out by the government due to
allegations that it may be a criminal organization. Meanwhile, Aiman Mazyek, head of the multi-ethnic Central Council of Muslims, expressed pessimism over the achievements reached in the conference. The talks have achieved little to overcome discrimination against Muslims and are just “a security conference in disguise.” - IRNA
‘US radicalism behind Bahrain tyranny’ Bahraini regime’s vicious suppression of the peaceful popular movement stems directly from the Zionist-controlled foreign policy of the United States, says an analyst. “The Americans have actually instructed; instigated the repression in Bahrain. They are straight behind it, and they are straight behind it, because their foreign policy is controlled by Zionist Israel,” said Rodney Shakespeare, Chairman of the Committee against Torture in Bahrain, in an interview with Press TV. “The United States is effectively capable of overthrowing all of those [oppressive] regimes, but it is not going to do so, because at the heart of what is now a fascism it is the United States of America aided by its supine, cowardly allies which include
the United Kingdom,” he added. “These people [West and allies] use every trick they can to suppress what is obviously a straightforward democratic revolution, which is now starting there,” noted the analyst. Shakespeare went on to say “political awareness” is now needed in regard to the current Bahraini government’s crackdown that has met massive condemnations. “The immediate need is for a political awareness of the bigger issues -- rich-poor division, and a vicious suppression. It is a rising fascism.” The political analyst also added that the United Nations Security Council could give “jurisdiction” to the International Criminal Court to bring to justice those responsible for the brutality against the “democratic”
peaceful protesters. “We need to say to all of these people that no matter how long it takes, at some point we will get the jurisdiction. We have got the evidence. We have got the witnesses,” he pointed out. “But when we get the jurisdiction, we will go for them, and the people who are holding up this jurisdiction are the United States of America and those hypocrites in Europe. They are hypocrites and they are cowards. But everybody has got to act politically to get the pressure on these criminals.” Since the beginning of the uprising in Bahrain in mid-February, dozens of anti-government protesters have been killed and many others gone missing. passionislam.com
Obama targeted as ‘symbol of Muslims’ 16
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The Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiments in America are part of a political campaign waged by the Republican Party to vote President Barack Obama out of office in 2012 elections, says a US journalist. “By attacking Muslims, they [US Republicans] are actually waging a political campaign that they think will have consequences in 2012,” said Max Blumenthal in an interview with Press TV. The award-winning journalist said that the Republicans “… see every Muslim in the US as a symbol of the Federal government… because of this misperception of Barack Obama as himself a Muslim.” Blumenthal cited a recent poll that showed 50 percent of Republicans believe Barack Obama is not an American because of his middle name “Hussein.”
The best-seller author, however, pointed out that Islamophobia and anti-Arab bigotry in the US can be traced back to 1930s and 40s when the Americans were fed with antiArab propaganda. “It goes back all the way to the 1930s and 40s when the American public was bombarded with anti-Arab/ orientalist images and their popular cultures,” said Max Blumenthal. Blumenthal referred to racist cartoons like Ali Baba by Leon Schlesinger, the animator with major motion picture production company, the Warner Brothers, and movies such as Exodus, about the foundation of the Israeli regime. He went on to say that this preexisting context was turned into a political campaign in the 1990s with the widely publicized documentary Jihad in America by pro-Israeli
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journalist and self-styled terror expert Steven Emerson, who claimed that there were Muslim-led terror cells inside the US. The journalist said that the events of 9/11 provided the catalyst for Emerson to put his campaign of demonizing Arabs on a national level.
Israel sheds more blood in Gaza Israeli military has killed two Palestinians and injured tens of others in northern and southern parts of the Gaza Strip shortly after inflicting several other casualties in attacks aimed at different sections of the coastal sliver. The casualties were inflicted on Thursday when Israeli forces attacked sites in and around the Gaza City in the north and hit targets in the southern cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, AFP reported. Palestinian medical sources said eight people sustained injuries after shell fragments hit an ambulance. The attacks followed earlier raids on the Gaza City and Jabaliya refugee camp, also located in the north, killing a 50-year-old male and injuring several others. In total, 34 Palestinians were injured during the military offensives by Israeli forces. The Tel Aviv regime has been
recurrently bombarding Gaza ever since its 22-day war on the impoverished enclave in December 2008 and January 2009, which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and inflicted a damage of $1.6 billion on the region’s already-stagnant economy. he offensives are often launched under the usual pretext of responding to the purported firing of projectiles. The Israeli hostility rages on
while Tel Aviv refuses to lift an all-out blockade it imposed on Gaza in midJune 2007 in cooperation with the recently ousted regime of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. The siege has deprived the Gaza population of food, fuel and medicine, triggering stunted growth and malnutrition among most Palestinian children. Press TV passionislam.com
I May 2011
Germany campaign to overturn headscarf bans launched In Case You Missed It
The Berlin organisation ReachOut has launched a campaign to rescind the 2003 Law on Neutrality that opened the way for the German states (Länder) to ban the headscarf. Over half of Germany’s sixteen states now ban students and civil servants (including teachers) from wearing the headscarf. The authority
to do so comes from the 2003 Law on Neutrality - a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court that holds that the individual Land can, if it so chooses, enact laws imposing restrictions on the wearing of certain items of religious clothing and symbols on the grounds of the need for neutrality amongst civil servants. In theory, restrictions should include all religious symbols but in practice many states restrict the wearing of the headscarf while making exemptions for religious symbols associated with Christianity. Berlin introduced its Law on Neutrality in 2005. It bans the wearing of all religious symbols by court officials, police and law enforcement officers and in public schools (except vocational schools). According to ReachOut, this, in fact, adds up to an occupational ban for
Muslim women wearing the veil in public service. While the Muslim veil is banned, the Christian crucifix can still be worn. Research by ReachOut shows that the bans are now spilling over into the private sector, where employers are using the Law on Neutrality to exclude Muslim women from job application procedures. ‘This law does not contribute to the emancipation and equality of Muslim women’ states ReachOut in a press release to launch its campaign. ‘On the contrary, it forces Muslim women wearing the veil to stay financially dependent on their families and forces them into precarious jobs. It incapacitates women and takes their right to decide whether they want to wear the veil or not. Against this exclusion and discrimination, ReachOut demands the withdrawal of the Law on Neutrality.’
US eyes prolonged presence in Iraq
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who traveled to Iraq from Saudi Arabia where he met with King Abdullah told the Iraqi government that the US is prepared to extend its military presence in Iraq beyond December 31, 2011. “If folks here are going to want us to have a presence, we’re going to need to get on with it pretty quickly in terms of our planning,” Gates said . He highlighted the need for a quick decision, alluding to American forces already under pressure in different areas throughout the world, including in the Afghanistan and Libya. “I think there is interest in having a continuing presence, but the politics are such that we’ll just have to wait and see because the initiative ultimately has to come from the Iraqis,” Gates added. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri alMaliki on Thursday rejected the offer and told Gates that he expects “all” American troops to leave by the end of the year. A 2008 security agreement between Baghdad and Washington
mandates the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq before 2012. “Our armed forces have now the ability to counter any attack, and the ability is increasing day by day,” AFP quoted Maliki as telling Gates. The US has currently stationed some 47,000 troops in the country. Gates also met separately with Kurdish President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone. Details of their talks were not available.
Gates was also expected to meet Massoud Barzani, president of the autonomous Kurdistan region. Gates also claimed that Iraq has made “extraordinary” progress as an example for Middle East democracy. “To see Iraq today, and when you look at the turbulences going across the entire region, lots of these folks would be happy if they could get to where Iraq is today,” Gates told reporters after the meeting.
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Palestinian authority urges UN adhere to Goldstone report The Palestinian Authority called on the United Nations to adhere to the implementation of the Goldstone report saying it turned into an internationally-endorsed document. This report is no longer possessed by (Richard) Goldstone, for it has become an international document that cannot be tampered with after endorsement by the UN Human Rights Council, said Saeb Oreikat, the PA chief negotiator and the head of the politburo of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in remarks to KUNA. Goldstone backed down from contents of the report stating that Israel had intentionally targeted civilians in its military offensive on Gaza nearly two years ago. Back-down by a person who headed the commission that also carried his name “meant nothing,” and the international community should seek to implement the relevant recommendations, Oreikat stressed. The international community should punish the “criminals who committed war crimes in Israel to ensure no recurrence of the genocide
that happened in Gaza, “ he added. Some 1,500 Palestinians were killed in the three-week Israeli onslaught on the strip. The South African former judge told the Washington Post that he would have altered contents of his report, when he headed an international inquiry into the war, had he possessed the information he has now.
Oreikat, in his remarks, accused Israel of planning construction and expansion of more settlements in the Jerusalem region. Israel has chosen to challenge desire of the international community by pursuing its settlement schemes, he added. He also expressed hope that the Quartet meeting, due on April 15, would result in a new peace initiative to resolve the strife.
Saudi woman takes charge Most Powerful Arab of renowned Saudi institute The newly-appointed head of the Arab World Institute (Institut du Monde Arabe), Mona Khazindar, of Saudi Arabia, took over the director general post, succeeding the Algerian diplomat, Mokhtar Taleb-Bendiab, whose six-year term had ended. Khazindar, born in the US, had studied at the American University and the Sorbonne University in France. The eminent Saudi, who has worked in the institute since 1986, was responsible for the collection of the modern and contemporary arts. She was also the curator of contemporary art and photography at the institutes museum. She was also in charge, over the past years, of several important artistic exhibitions, organized by the institute. She had also overseen the publishing of
cataologues and books related to the fairs. Kuwait is a major supporter of the institute. It has recently hosted an exhibition organized by the institute about the late top Arab signer, Umm Kalthoum. It had also held exhibitions depicting the Kuwaiti heritage. HH the Amir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, had donated one million euros to the institute for renovating the museum and three million euros for upgrading the library. Institut du Monde Arabe is a leading Arab cultural entity in the West. It was set up in 1980 following the decision by France and a number of Arab states to create an Arab research and information center that could also showcase Arab arts and culture.
Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been ranked No. 1 on Arabian Business Magazine’s list of the 500 most powerful Arabs. Alwaleed is known for his precision in exploring new and potential business opportunities and ventures in synchronization with the direction and fluctuations of the economic climate. Consequently, KHC was listed on Tadawul in 2007 and Alwaleed, who owns 95% of the company, has been involved in the creation of a diversified long term investment portfolio of strategic stakes in multiple sectors including real estate, media, banking and hotels locally and around the world. Alwaleed has also featured on Forbes magazine’s annual list of richest people for 12 consecutive years and was ranked number one in the Arabic edition of Arabian Business Magazine’s Gulf’s 25 Most Powerful CEOs in 2010.
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Yemenis turn Masjid into hospital
Yemeni doctors and students have turned a Masjid in the capital into a makeshift hospital to take in victims of the government’s brutal crackdown on the popular revolution. Joining hands with the medical students from the Sana’a University, the physicians have equipped the mosque, located near Sana’a’s Change Square, with 35 beds, medical equipment and about a dozen medical staff, Reuters reported. The volunteers serve patients that have been targeted with live rounds and tear gas canisters. “Our presence is important here. We receive a lot of cases,” said one doctor, named Iman al-Awisi. Since late January, demonstrators have been calling for an end to widespread corruption and
In Case You Missed It
unemployment in Yemen, also demanding ouster of the 32-year rule of despotic President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Some 40 percent of the population live on $2 a day or less and a third face food shortages. Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for regular demonstrations around the country, namely in the capital and the southwestern cities of Aden and Taiz. The protests have been met by riot police or Saleh’s supporters armed with knives and batons. According to local reports, the death toll in the country has surpassed 300 since the protests began. Saleh has said he will not seek another term in office in 2013 but has vowed to defend his regime.
Pakistan do not share USA anti-terror views
Rejecting a US Congress report on anti-terrorism efforts, Pakistan Thursday said that it does not share the US assessment of these efforts and that it has a clear strategy of its own that is solely based on its national interests to deal with the menace of terrorism. “Pakistan does not share the assessment of Washington”, said Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua at her weekly press briefing here. She said that Pakistan has its “own assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the strategy being followed by the US and the ISAF vis-a-vis counterterrorism and peace and security in Afghanistan”. The spokesperson said that Pakistan should not be held accountable for failures of the strategy in Afghanistan. While emphasizing on the need for engagement between Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States to address the common challenges, she said that Pakistan has rendered more sacrifices as compared to any other country.
Muslim row over minister’s speech
The Interior minister Claude Guéant has been accused of Islamophobia and dishonouring France after saying the growing population of Muslims in the country ‘poses problems’. His comments were made on the eve of a debate within his party, the UMP, on Islam and secularism in France. The debate, organised by party leader Jean-François Copé, is itself controversial, with many party figures finding excuses not to attend, including Prime Minister François Fillon. “The question worries our citizens: there are many who think the rules of secularism are being stretched,” said Guéant on a trip to Nantes. “In 1905 [the year the separation of church and state was brought
into law] there were few Muslims in France, today there are between five to 10 million. “This growth of believers and certain types of practices pose problems. It is clear that prayers in the street shock a certain number of people and the leaders of major religions know that this type of practice affects them negatively,” he said. The organisation Banlieues Respect has been giving out fivepointed green stars to Muslims in districts of Paris, symbolising the stigma felt by the UMP’s debate. “The right is not debating secularism, it’s debating Islam,” he said. “I feel ill when Guéant speaks. He dishonours France and the French. The Socialist Party concerns
itself with subjects that focus on people living together, the real issues.” Green MEP Eva Joly said Nicolas Sarkozy was attempting to outflank Marine Le Pen on the right in advance of the presidential elections of 2012 by launching “an Islamophobic campaign”. SOS Racisme is suing the minister. Its president Dominique Sopo said the words “stigmatised a population because of their origin” by targeting Muslim Arabs. He added that the speech was worse than anything from Brice Hortefeux, Géant’s predecessor, who was successfully sued for racism while a minister. passionislam.com
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Koussa acted as UK, US double agent Former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa, who defected to Britain was acting as a double agent for the MI6 and the CIA for a decade, it was revealed. Libya’s former intelligence chief, who is also known as ‘torturer-inchief’, had met, John Scarlett, the former head of MI6 in 2001, where he promised to help track down AlQaeda activities in North Africa. The former minister also provided the ground for a British agent to carry out espionage act inside Tripoli. The UK services and ministry of defense interrogation teams were questioning Koussa at a house in Surrey, according to reports. He had been made a secret offer to seek refuge in Britain while he was still in Tripoli, but any promise of special protection has provoked anger among those who are seeking Koussa’s prosecution as a war criminal. “This man should not be granted asylum or any other special treatment; the only proper outcome
is to bring him to justice”, said MP Ben Wallace, parliamentary aide to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke. “Britain needs to make up its mind quickly. There will be no shortage of courts that will readily seek his extradition. The last thing the UK wants is for Koussa to languish, at taxpayers’ expense, in legal noman’s-land”, said Wallace. Koussa has also been linked with the Lockerbie bombing and the killing of WPC Yvonne Fletcher outside the
Libyan Embassy in London, in the first few days after the UN-sanctioned attacks on Qaddafi’s military machine on March 19. Koussa fled Tripoli after telling colleagues that he was seeking medical help in Tunisia. The convoy of official vehicles crossed the Tunisian border and went on to Tunis’s airport. From there, MI6 officers helped charter a private Gulfstream G200 from TAG Aviation to take him to Farnborough
Muslims students warn Obama of prosecution
The Union of Islamic Students Associations in Europe has warned US President Barack Obama of prosecution by the world’s oppressed nations over Washington’s support for authoritarian regimes. “Unless there is fundamental change [in US policies], you will soon be brought to justice at an international court of law by the very nations you have tyrannized over,” the Muslim students cautioned Obama in an open letter. The students called on the US chief executive to assume responsibility for the US government’s violations and make up for its crimes in an immediate and honest manner, ISNA reported.
“You have long been trialed in the world’s public opinion and [now] witness the outcome in the world nations’ hatred towards you,” the letter said. It also made a reference to the US support for dictatorial regimes across the Middle East and the Arab World, pointing out “If it was not for your covert and overt support for them (autocratic regimes), they would sure have been toppled by their people much sooner.” The students pointed to some cases of US intervention in Iran, including, the 1953 coup against the democratic government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq, backing the former dictatorial regime of Shah,
freezing of Tehran’s assets and supporting terrorist groups such as the Mujahidin Khalq Organization (MKO) and Jundallah as examples of the US aggressive policies against Iran. The letter has been written amid the recent wave of revolutions and anti-government uprisings sweeping the Arab world. Since January, Tunisia and Egypt have been hit by popular revolutions. Other revolutions and antigovernment protests have also flourished in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan and Oman and other Arab countries are expected to witness similar popular revolts.
Bin Hammam and Blatter to contest FIFA presidency
SPORT I 21
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IFA president Joseph Blatter will face a single challenger in Mohamed bin Hammam in elections to head football’s world governing body. FIFA confirmed that Bin Hammam and incumbent Blatter will contest the presidency. The deadline for nominations as a candidate for the presidency passed on April 1. Bin Hammam, 61, head of the Asian football confederation, had announced in March he would be standing against Blatter. The president will be elected in Zurich on June 1 as part of the 61st FIFA Congress. A total of 208 votes will be cast, with the winner requiring a two-thirds
majority of the valid votes in the first ballot, or a majority in the second. Blatter, 75, has been head of FIFA since 1998. He has said he would stand down in 2015 if he is re-elected for a fourth term. Bin Hammam has been on FIFA’s executive committee for 15 years. His international profile has soared recently, largely thanks to his role in securing the 2022 World Cup for his home country, and the successful staging of the Asian Cup in Doha. In confirming his candidacy last month, Bin Hammam said “change is necessary and needed” in football’s world governing body and he would
be seeking “a more transparent environment within FIFA.” Blatter has not faced a challenger since 2002 when he beat African confederation president Issa Hayatou by 139 votes to 56.
Liverpool FC Announce Asia Tour Liverpool FC is delighted to announce the Club will be travelling to Asia this summer for a preseason tour sponsored by Standard Chartered that will include games in China, Malaysia and Korea. The Reds enjoy fantastic support in Asia and this summer’s visit follows the hugely successful 10-day preseason tour of Thailand and Singapore in 2009. The team will take on opposition in Guangzhou, play a game in Kuala Lumpur, and then move to Seoul for the final fixture of the three-match tour in July. “Whenever we go to Asia, the fans are always amazing,” said Liverpool
FC captain Steven Gerrard. “The supporters over there are fanatical about Liverpool and it’s great that we can give so many of them a chance to come and watch the team play. The Club’s Managing Director Ian Ayre said: “The last tour in 2009 was a real success and we’re delighted that we are returning this summer after a break last year due to the FIFA World Cup. Nothing beats watching the team live and by visiting China, Malaysia and Korea, we are allowing fans from all three countries to experience just that. We will work closely with our main sponsor Standard Chartered and our other partners in the region to
ensure we can deliver our best ever pre-season tour.” Gavin Laws, Group Head of Corporate Affairs at Standard Chartered, said: “We are very excited about Liverpool FC’s Asia tour. It is fantastic news for Liverpool FC’s fans in Asia and yet another sign of the commitment of the Club
and Standard Chartered to the region. We are looking forward to some great football in July.” Details of the matches and ticketing options will be released soon. Stay connected to www.lfctour.com for all the latest official news and information about the tour.
YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A SIGNED ANDY CARROLL SHIRT Passion Islam in partnership with Liverpool FC have teamed up to celebrate LFC Asia Tour this summer, to celebrate the tour we are giving away (courtesy of LFC) an Andy Carroll Signed Shirt All You have to do is answer this question Which countries will Liverpool travel to on the Asia Tour ? Send in your answers with your full name and postal address & age to Passion Islam, LFC Comp, PO Box 159 Batley, West Yorkshire, WF17 1AD or email us at email@example.com (entries by: 17/6/11)
The Four Poisons of the Heart 22
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Too Much Food The consumption of small amounts of food guarantees tenderness of the heart, strenght of the intellect, humility of the self, weakness of desires, and gentleness of temperament. Immoderate eating brings about the opposite of these praiseworthy qualities. Al-Miqdam ibn Ma’d Yakrib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (s) say: “The son of Adam fills no vessel more displeasing to Allah than his stomach. A few morsels should be enough for him to preserve his strength. If he must fill it, then he should allow a third for his food, a
third for his drink and leave a third empty for easy breathing.” Excessive eating induces many kinds of harm. It makes the body incline towards disobedience to Allah and makes worship and obedience seem laborious-such evils are bad enough in themselves. A full stomach and excessive eating have caused many a wrong action and inhibited much worship. Whoever safeguards against the evils of overfilling his stomach has prevented great evil. It is easier for shaytan to control a person who has filled his stomach with food and drink, which is why it has often been said: “Restrict the
pathways of shaytan by fasting.” It has been reported that when a group of young men from the Tribe of Israel were worshipping, and it was time for them to break their fast, a man stood up and said: “Do not eat too much, otherwise you will drink too much, and then you will end up sleeping too much, and then you will lose too much.” The Prophet (s) and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used to go hungry quite frequently. Although this was often due to a shortage of food, Allah decreed the best and most favourable conditions for His
I May 2011 Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This is why Ibn Umar and his father before himin spite of the abundance of food available to them-modelled their eating habits on those of the Prophet (s). It has been reported that Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “From the time of their arrival in Madina up until his death (s), the family of Muhammed (s) never ate their fill of bread made from wheat three nights in a row.” Ibrahim ibn Adham said: “Any one who controls his stomach is in control of his deen, and anyone who controls his hunger is in control of good behaviour. Disobedience towards Allah is nearest to a person who is satiated with a full stomach, and furthest away from a person who is hungry.” Keeping Bad Company Unnecessary companionship is a chronic disease that causes much harm. How often have the wrong kind of companionship and intermixing deprived people of Allah’s generosity, planting discord in their hearts which even the passage of time-even if it were long enough for mountains to be worn away-has been unable to dispel. In keeping such company one can find the roots of loss, both in this life and in the next life. A servant should benefit from companionship. In order to do so he should divide people into four categories, and be careful not to get them mixed up, for once one of them is mixed with another, then evil can find its way through to him: The first category are those people whose company is like food: it is indispensable, night or day. Once a servant has taken his need from it, he leaves it be until he requires it again, and so on. These are the people with knowledge of Allah-of His commands, of the scheming of His enemies, and of the diseases of the heart and their remedies- who wish well for Allah, His Prophet (s) and His servants. Associating with this type of person is an achievement in itself. The second category are those people whose company is like a medicine. They are only required when a disease sets in. When you are healthy, you have no need of them. However, mixing with them
I 23 the Messenger of Allah (saws) and advocate other beliefs. They call what is the sunnah a bid’a and viceversa. A man with any intellect should not sit in their assemblies nor mix with them. The result of doing so will either be the death of his heart or, at the very best, its falling seriously ill. SPECIAL FEATURE
is sometimes necessary for your livelihood, businesses, consultation and the like. Once what you need from them has been fulfilled, mixing with them should be avoided. The third category are those people whose company is harmful. Mixing with this type of person is like a disease, in all its variety and degrees and strengths and weaknesses. Associating with one or some of them is like an incurable chronic disease. You will never profit either in this life or in the next life if you have them for company, and you will surely lose either one or both of your deen and your livelihood because of them. If their companionship has taken hold of you and is established, then it becomes a fatal, terrifying sickness. Amongst such people are those who neither speak any good that might benefit you, nor listen cloesly to you so that they might benefit from you. They do not know their souls and consequently put their selves in their rightful place. If they speak, their words fall on their listeners’ hearts like the lashes of a cane, while all the while they are full of admiration for and delight in their own words. They cause distress to those in their company, while believing that they are the sweet scent of the gathering. If they are silent, they are heavier than a massive millstone-too heavy to carry or even drag across the floor. All in all, mixing with anyone who is bad for the soul will not last, even if it is unavoidable. It can be one of the most distressing aspects of a servant’s life that he is plagued by such person, with whom it may be necessary to associate. In such a relationship, a servant should cling to good behaviour, only presenting him with his outward appearance, while disguising his inner soul, until Allah offers him a way out of his affliction and the means of escape from this situation. The fourth category are those people whose company is doom itself. It is like taking poision: its victim either finds an antidote or perishes. Many people belong to this category. They are the people of religious innovation and misguidance, those who abandon the sunnah of
What Gives the Heart Life and Sustenance You should know that acts of obedience are essential to the well being of the servant’s heart, just in the same way that food and drink are to that of the body. All wrong actions are the same as poisonous foods, and they inevitably harm the heart. The servant feels the need to worship his Lord, Mighty and Glorious is He, for he is naturally in constant need of His help and assistance. In order to maintain the well being of his body, the servant carefully follows a strict diet. He habitually and constantly eats good food at regular intervals, and is quick to free his stomach of harmful elements if he happens to eat bad food by mistake. The well being of the servant’s heart, however, is far more important than that of his body, for while the well being of his body enables him to lead a life that is free from illnesses in this world, that of the heart ensures him both a fortunate life in this world and eternal bliss in the next. In the same way, while the death of the body cuts the servant off from this world, the death of the heart results in everlasting anguish. A righteous man once said, “How odd, that some people mourn for the one whose body has died, but never mourn for the one whose heart has died-and yet the death of the heart is far more serious!” Thus acts of obedience are indispensable to the well being of the heart. It is worthwhile mentioning the following acts of obedience here, since they are very necessary and essential for the servant’s heart: Dhikr of Allah ta’Ala, recitation of the Noble Qur’an, seeking Allah’s forgiveness, making du’as, invoking Allah’s blessings and peace on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and praying at night.*
Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) (A.S.)
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Then they all started pleading before Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) and said, “O king, the father of this boy is very old, please allow him to go and hold back one of us. You are showing mercy on us.” Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) replied, “May Allah forgive me, how is it possible to release the real culprit and hold another one. If we do so, who will be more cruel then us.” Disappointed, they began consultation among themselves in a cone. The oldest among them said, “Do not forget that you had sweared by Allah and affirmed about him. You
should also keep in mind what you had done in the case of Yusuf (A.S.). As for me, I will not move from here unless our father orders us to do so or Allah creates a situation. You all go to the father and tell him, “O Father, your son has committed theft. We had told you what we knew. We were not aware of the hidden. If you do not believe us, ask the people of the village where we had stayed or the caravan people with whom we came back. We are speaking the truth.” These people returned and told their father everything. Their father replied.
“So you have made another big thing easy for you; it looks it is nothing for you if Bin Yameen is held on the charge of theft. Anyway, I will remain steadfast. Allah may return both my sons. He is All-knower, All-wise.” With a heavy heart he recalled Yusuf (A.S.) for a moment and then turned his face from his sons. He would always weep for the loss of his eyes had turned white. The shock had fallen heavy on his heart. When the sons saw all this, they one day said, “By God, you will finish yourself in the sadness of
Passion Islam I May 2011 Yusuf (A.S.).” On this he replied. “I do not plead before anyone but Allah for all my sadness and pain and I know about Allah what you do there. Do not lose faith in Allah’s mercy as only non muslims do so.” According to their father’s order, they again went to Egypt and in the court of the Egyptian ruler. They said, “O ruler, we and our family are in great agony. We have now brought all that we had, please give us fully quantity of food grains and give aims to us. Allah rewards those who give alms.” When Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) heard all this about his family, he could not help to tolerate it, He said, ‘Do you know what did you do with Yusuf (A.S.) and his brother out of your ignorance?” When they heard this, they were taken a back and said, “Are you really Yusuf (A.S.) ?” “Yes I am Yusuf,” replied Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.),” and he is my brother. Allah has endowed His mercy on us. The fact is that one who fears Allah and suffers agonies steadfastly is sure to get Allah’s reward.” “By God,” they replied, Allah has raised you to a far higher place than us we have really committed a big mistake.” Then Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) said, “Go, you will not be sent. Take this shirt of mine with you and spread it on the face of my father. His sight will come back. Then you return here with all your family members.” While these people were still on their way back to home, their father one day said to himself, “I can smell Yusuf somewhere around, don’t tell me that it is an anecdotage.” The people at home, said, “By God, you are still languishing in the old cynicism” At this reply Hazrat Yaqub (A.S.) kept silence and did not repeat it. A few days after this incident the caravan from Egypt arrived and soon the messenger of the good news spread the shirt of Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) on the face of Hazrat Yaqub (A.S.). No sooner was it done than he opened his eyes and could see everything He immediately said, “Would I not say that Allah has endowed me with the knowledge of those things which you do not know?” All the sons said at one voice, “Our dear father, forgive us Pray Allah for the salvation of our sins we have committed a big mistake.” I will certainly pray Allah to forgive you. He is the Forgiver Most Merciful,” their
father replied. After this all of them proceeded for Egypt. When Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) came to know about their arrival there, he came out of the city to receive them. These people met Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) who seated his parents honourably beside him and said to his other family members, “Come along with me and live in the city comfortably”. After their arrival in the city, Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) seaten his parents on the royal throne. All the people showered great honour on them. Than he said, “Dear father, this is the realization of my dream which I had seen earlier. My Lord has proved it true. It is His obligation that he released me from imprisonment and brought you to me from the desert, although the Satan had left no stone unturned in creating disunity among us. It is true that my Lord is All Knowing and All-Powerful”. Then he prayed Allah, “O my Lord, You endowed me with the rule of the country and wisdom to look deep into matters. O my lord, you have created the Heavens and the Earth. You are the decider of my fate in the world and the hereafter raise me from this earth as true Muslim and my status to that of your noble servants. Lesson: Things to Remember Man has little knowledge. Most of the things he considers as bad some time turn out to be useful for him. And some times things for which he wished considering them as useful prove harmful for him. Often, agonies do have success in store for a man provided he bears them steadfastly for the pleasure of Allah and always follows His commands. A true servant of Allah, a Momin, prefers agonies in the way of Allah to all sorts of comforts and luxuries earned by disobeying his God. He gets ready to suffer all agonies while obeying Allah because he tends to believe that the real comforts are those of the world Hereafter. He knows fully well that the agonies of this world have are mortal. Allah often grants honour and comfort on His noble servants in this world besides rewarding him in the Hereafter for his deeds in this world. The more Momin is bestowed Allah’s bounties, the more humble he becomes towards him. He always
SPECIAL FEATURE I 25 seeks to please him. The character of those who want to spread virtue on earth should also be free of evils so that when they meet people, they should envy their clean life. People should be told right things to bring them on the right path at the right time. When an opportunity comes, They should be told everything clearly and openly. A Momin, and particularly those people who decide to establish Deen on earth, cannot adopt any law except the laws of Sharia. None other than Allah has knowledge of the hidden things. Whenever he wants he tells something or the other to his prophets and other noble servants. As you saw, Hazrat Yaqub (A.S.) kept weeping for twenty years but did not have enough power to know the real condition of his son Yusuf (A.S.) but when Allah wished, Hazrat Yaqub (A.S.) gained the power to smell his son while the people of the caravan carrying his shirt had just left Egypt and were hundreds of miles away from him. The greatest task in the life of a Momin is to spread virtue and eliminate evil. He fulfils his miss even at the worst of his days and does not forget his responsibility even if he is given a lot of wealth. Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) preached people the Oneness of Allah and about the Hereafter even in the prison and did not stop it in spite of having ascended the throne of power. On the contrary he put in all his strength to establish the Deen of Allah. The noble servants of Allah forgive the mistake of their personal enemies even when they possess enough power to take revenge. They do not tease others for their own sake. They punish people only when necessary for the interest of Deen. Supplication is the greatest might of a Momin. Read carefully the supplication of Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) to Allah and; if possible, find out the exact wordings and translation of it in the Holy Quran, You will see that even after having all bounties of Allah a Momin does not sever his bonds with Allah you should learn the supplication of Hazrat Yusuf (A.S.) by heart.
Written by Dr. Abdul Hay Arefi
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I May 2011
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