Shaâ€™baan/Ramadan 1424 - October 2003 Cover Issue 10 Volume 16
22 Quest for Life on Mars - A campaign to avoid the truth
24 British Citizenship Tests
WTO Condemns Millions to Aids Death by Patent
Drugs - Free your mind
30 IDEOLOGICAL VIEWPOINT
Lockerbie & the Anglo-American view towards Libya
16 11,000 Left to die in French Heatwave
18 Rough Guide to Freshers
34 Shari'ah Compliant Financial Products
20 Soap Operas
October 2003 Khilafah Magazine 3
Published by Khilafah Publications Suite 298, 56 Gloucester Road, London, SW7 4UB www.1924.org • firstname.lastname@example.org
ZUBAIR HUSSAINI West London email: email@example.com
Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu The spectre of drugs and associated crimes has become widespread in Western societies. Every day there is news that emerges of increasing levels of drug abuse and the desperate measures people go to consume them. The damaging effects of drug taking and drug dealing upon families and communities is beyond doubt; children become estranged from their parents, friendships become based on drug consumption, couples' relationships suffer and lives are wrecked. And with the epidemic of drugs comes the epidemic of crime, of which the victim is society at large. Yet, drug taking is on the increase with the users of drugs becoming younger and the drugs they use becoming stronger. Ten and twelve year olds now dabble in drugs and it is estimated that up to 16 million ecstasy tablets, costing £1 each, will be consumed this year. The Muslim community has not escaped the misery of drug use. On a personal note, a Muslim friend whom I knew at school started taking drugs. He went on to 'harder' drugs and drug dealing. Last time I saw him, he was hanging around on the High Street asking strangers for money. I recently spoke to two Muslims about the issue of drugs. The first was a youth of 16 who had recently got involved with drugs. Another Muslim drug dealer had first approached him offering £100 for every 'delivery' of drugs he made. He was adamant that he did not consume them himself and that he never sold them to Muslims. His argument was that he only sold drugs to 'white' people. As if this made it alright! The second brother was a former addict
who described to me the perils of his previous existence. By the grace of Allah he is now completely reformed, but how many others are there like him who continue with a life of drugs? One in four Muslims in British prisons are there for drugs related offences. In Tower Hamlets, 50 % of all young persons referred for drug rehabilitation are Bangladeshi youth. In some large cities, many of the biggest drug dealers are Muslims. Some of the Muslim youth experiment with drugs to look 'hard' and 'fit in' with their peers. Others do so on a 'I'll try anything once' mentality. The involvement with drugs leads to lies to oneself - like the guy who says he only sells drugs to non-Muslims. Drug takers justify their behaviour by only taking the 'softer' drugs such as ecstasy or marijuana and avoid other drugs such as heroin that is perceived as used by drop-outs and hardened criminals. However, a survey of hardened drug addicts showed that 90% of them started off by taking Marijuana. In Islam, all drugs and associated activities are Class A (prohibited). The opportunity for Muslims is that we can take a real lead within our communities and the wider society by addressing the underlying causes that have driven the drugs epidemic in western societies. Only by identifying and refuting western ideas and thoughts such as freedom, that have generated the drugs culture, can real progress towards permanent and radical change can begin. May Allah help us and reward us in our efforts. Ameen.
Editor Asif Dawood
News Editor Dr Samiul Muquit
Editorial Board Ahmad Jassat Zubair Hussaini
Production and Publishing Mokbul Hussein Zubair Asghar Kosser Mohammed
Khilafah Magazine is a monthly magazine published in London with a wide distribution across the Muslim and non-Muslim world. The magazine is dedicated to articulating the case for Islam as an ideology that deals with all the human problems, whether individual or societal. Islam must be understood ideologically and has a defined political and ruling system - the Khilafah System. We maintain that the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ is not only inevitable but imperative. As the Capitalist ideology dominates the world today, the only challenge to it must come from Islam. We write to inform, inspire and create a movement for true intellectual revival.
No Copyrights Since Islam rejects copyrights and patents you are free to reproduce articles contained within this publication. It is our kind request that when doing so you cite the author and source of the article.
Translation of the Qur’an It should be perfectly clear that the Qur’an is only authentic in its original language, Arabic. Since perfect translation of the Qur’an is impossible, the term ‘Translation of the Meaning of the Qur’an (TMQ) has been used, as the result is only a crude meaning of the Arabic text.
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Khilafah Magazine October 2003
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A local court in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dropped all charges against Indian Deputy Prime Minister, L.K.Advani, for the destruction of the Babri Mosque in 1992
Abu Mazen quits as Palestinian Prime Minister
Shimon Peres, Ariel Sharon, and Bill Clinton play the drums during a gala celebrating Peres' 80th birthday Sunday, Sept. 21
President Bush meets with Kuwait's new Prime Minister Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah
Illusionist David Blaine begins his 44 day hunger trick
Police march towards a small group of protesters outside the Excel exhibition hall in London where the government-backed Defense Systems and Equipment International event was being held
Iraq’s interim president, Ahmed Chalabi, answers questions at a press conference in washington
Hurricane Isabel hits the USA An anti-Blair protester marches during the second day of the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth
An Iraqi police station is stormed by protestors
Road sign in Iraq
Mourners of an Iraqi police officer in Fallujah, killed when U.S. soldiers opened fire on a group of policemen
"Shiites and Sunnis are brothers like Hasan and Hussein". Muslims in Iraq show unity as they march together towards a masjid to pray Salatul Jummah
Thousands of Muslims gather outside the NIA Birmingham for an Islamic conference entitled “British or Muslim?” October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
NEWS Ken Livingstone visits Uzbekistan Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, recently visited Uzbekistan to meet with leading politicians about the potential for British businesses to forge links with their Uzbek counterparts. Uzbekistan is a strong ally of the USA and Great Britain in the so called 'war against terrorism', and is now beginning to see some of the fruits of such an alliance with the arrival of foreign investment and business. Great Britain is one of the closest partners of Uzbekistan in Europe. The volume of commodity turnover between the two countries amounted to $302.1 million in 2002, while in the first half of 2003 this figure reached $180.6 million. There are some 161 joint ventures working in Uzbekistan with participation of British investors. Ken Livingstone's visit gives a good insight to the British government's policy towards Uzbekistan. During his visit the Mayor of London was accompanied by leading representatives of the London City Administration, their presence was to investigate potential business opportunities. The focus of their attention was set on the possibilities for extraction of the countries vast oil and gas reserves. Uzbekistan, a Central Asian state formerly part of the Soviet Union, continues to be a place where the persecution of Muslims is rife. Independent reports from sources such as the UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have stated that conditions faced by the thousands of prisoners in Uzbek jails are atrocious. Many of these prisoners are being held without trial and have committed the 'crime' of opposing the government. Horrific reports of beatings, electric shock and boiling water torture continue to emerge from these jails. Systemic torture leading to death is common. One should not be under any illusions as to the British intentions behind this visit. Livingstone, once known as 'Red Ken' for his strong socialist views seeks nothing other than financial benefit from this trip. Widespread reports of inhumane abuse against the local population act as no deterrent but in fact are only a hindrance to Mr Livingstone. It seems that in circumstances away from the media and public glare, human rights and democratic process are ideas swept under the carpet in order to do business.
Clinton commemorates Srebrenica
Therefore watching Clinton make a speech mourning over the dead of Bosnia was almost as laughable as watching his famous speech of denial of 'relations' with a White House intern. Both were nothing but lies and deceit, and neither convince the world of the truth. Mohammed Ashifuddin
Former President Bill Clinton recently attended the opening of a memorial for the 8,000 Muslim men and boys who were butchered in the largest act of genocide of the 1992- 1995 Bosnian war. It was during his presidency that the massacre took place when Serbian forces bypassed the on looking Dutch UN Peacekeepers who were placed in charge of protecting of the Muslim enclave. "We must pay tribute to the innocent lives, many of them children, snuffed out in what must be called genocidal madness," Mr Clinton told thousands of victims' relatives at the memorial. "Srebrenica shattered the illusion that the end of the Cold War would sweep away such madness." Despite Mr Clinton's solemn words many locals were apprehensive of his visit. Although the people of Srebrenica acknowledged the fact that it was largely due to the actions of the Clinton Administration that the war ceased via NATO intervention many are still asking why there has been no real justice. The inability to defend themselves, which was compounded by the UN's weapons sanctions on the region soon after the war broke out, left an unarmed Muslim populace as easy prey against a fully armed and savage Serbian army. In retrospect it may baffle observers why the U.S. was so hesitant to enter the war at that time given its overall track record of military interventions on the premise of protecting human rights. The simple fact is that America cares nothing for human life and was happy to watch the Serbs molest their way through the Muslim population. She intervened only when it suited her in order to humiliate Russia by attacking her closest ally in Europe. Also her interventions often inflict even more acute human suffering on the people she claims to rescue then they were experiencing before, Afghanistan and
Dr Qaiser Malik
Iraq bear witness to this.
Khilafah Magazine October 2003
"Fighting Terrorism for Humanity" or Fighting for the spoils of war? A conference was held by world leaders on combating terrorism and its causes on the eve of the annual UN General Assembly meeting. Entitled "Fighting terrorism for humanity," the conference disapproved of the method America has been using in fighting its "War on Terror". UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, emphasised the need to win the hearts and minds of people in order to win the war. Terrorism was suggested to be related to a lack of democracy, failed or weak states, rapid modernisation, inequality, repression, corrupt governments and of course "extreme ideologies." A call was made for the UN to take the central role in the fight against terror. Kofi Annan stated that this could take place through resolving political disputes, working towards a vision of peace and development and promotion of human rights. Resistance to the occupation of Iraq has been costing the US both economically and politically. The UN has been traditionally viewed by the world, including Muslims, and the governments of Muslim countries, as being a legitimate and acceptable international body for solving disputes. Hence, the UN may be used to try and pacify those opposing or fighting the American occupation in Iraq. It is also believed that involving the UN will defuse the recent spell of bad publicity for the US. Tension between America and her allies has been caused by America's unilateral approach to foreign policy under the Bush administration. The US views international law and diplomacy as a restriction to its power, and has decided that what will be more productive is the use of military force and direct occupation of the countries it wishes to exploit. Since the UN is largely influenced by capitalist nations with the same objectives as the US, this disagreement has
arisen because of America's attempt to harvest the resources of Iraq alone by using her military might. Going outside the remit of international law leaves the rest of the world unable to restrict America and force her to share her spoils. Winning the minds, as Annan puts it, would have made the reaping of resources of Iraq easier. What he really means is that the UN wants to help win the hearts and minds of Iraqis, and in return, its other members want a share of the spoils. Suhel Ahmed Looting Iraq - the American Way This week has seen the unprecedented looting of Iraq's lifeblood and future with the announcement of the sale of its resources, utilities and energy supplies - indeed almost every sector of its economy. Paul Bremer, head of the American occupation, made it clear back in July this year when he declared that Iraq needs to accept "foreign investment" and "privatisation of its oil" before a permanent government is put in charge of the country. In other words democracy will be given only after the most important economic and political decisions for the future of Iraq have been made by the American occupiers. This is in addition to the fact that already the American conglomerates, Bechtel and Halliburton, were exclusively sold unrestricted rights to service and exploit the vast oil fields of Iraq. We should note that both companies have financially contributed to politicians in the current US Government such as Dick Cheney the vice president. This announcement comes as no surprise as this was one of the original objectives sought from initiating the war against Iraq and the Muslims, not the reason given of Weapons of Mass destruction. In fact on the 25th September this claim was conclusively shown to be a big lie when the 1400 strong team of weapons inspectors who have been scouring Iraq since the invasion reported that they found nothing. This open illegal sale of all of Iraq's core industrial sectors by the illegitimate "Iraqi National Congress" which is no more than a rubber stamp for the American occupation - will ensure that western multinationals have a free
NEWS reign over the very essentials of life in Iraq. They will be bidding for telecoms, health, water development and distribution, electricity maintenance and delivery, roads and infrastructure and much more, with 100% foreign ownership. So the revenues from oil sales will almost immediately be turned over to pay for every day essentials. This will have the effect of turning Iraq into a dependent country in every way, dependent on oil sales to foreign countries in order to pay for basic utilities, and no doubt they also be billed by the Americans to foot the cost of their 'services to the Iraqi people'. Majid Hussain 5 years under Capitalist law for rape of 13 month old baby
A series of child sex cases erupted early last month including that of Neil Robertson, aged 37, from Ayrshire. He admitted to a catalogue of sexual offences against a seven year old girl after he befriended her mother through an internet chat room. Robertson told the woman that he had been a psychologist, a pilot and a businessman to gain her trust. Within weeks, he was taking indecent photographs of himself and her daughter. Neil Robertson was sentenced to six years imprisonment. This follows a similar, yet even more disturbing case, that of James Taylor, a father of three who raped a 13-monthold baby and produced child internet pornography with other girls. Taylor took pictures of the baby, whose age was estimated to be 13 months at the time, and also took indecent pictures of a six-year-old girl. Taylor had been posting the pictures of his indecent sexual assaults against the minors on the internet and this is how he was finally caught. James Taylor was only sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Lord Reed, the Judge in the case, said he fully accepted psychologist Gary McPherson's assessment that Taylor was full of shame and remorse and is unlikely to re-offend. Taylor had been sexually abusing children for over 4 years before he was caught.
The same judge who convicted James Taylor earlier convicted a man for drug charges and sentenced him to 14 years imprisonment. In another case a man was sentenced to 10 years for a knife attack, although there were no fatalities. Also early last month three people were charged with credit card fraud and sentenced to four years each. These examples not only show how ludicrous this 5 year sentence for paedophilia is but also show the inconsistencies that occur when sentencing is based on the whim of a judge. The Capitalist laws are inevitably going to be contradictory as they are made from the mind of man who is unable to determine justice. So it shouldn't be shocking that we find rape, pedophilia, attempted murder and other such serious crimes carrying lower sentences than that of crimes involving drugs, fraud etc.
The western governments are established upon Capitalism as their ideology and Capitalism takes 'freedom of belief' as one of its cornerstones. Therefore, whether one worships cows, women or Allah ď ‰, so long as they are secular, there are no causes for conflict. However, if one takes Islam as an ideological way of life, then one gets labelled as a terrorist, fanatic, extremist etc.
The real crime here is the Capitalist concept of freedom which firstly allows a person to decide to commit such horrendous crimes and then expects justice when it allows a man to decide from his own mind what the punishment should be.
These two events show that the hatred of the Islamic values exists deeply within the West as well as the rulers of the Muslim world. One would expect hatred for Islam and resentment for the implementation for any part of it in a state such as France. But to see the rulers over the Muslims implement similar laws and holding onto similar goals as the non-Muslims is a clear indictment on them. Muslim governments are beginning to see a growing surge of Islamic sentiment in the Ummah and fearing this they try and find solutions from their point of reference, which is the West. As a result the rift between the Ummah and its rulers continues to grow as they travel down different paths and pursue different goals.
Veil causes controversy
Honour killing - Or dishonoured and desperate with nowhere to turn
A group of female television presenters in Egypt have been banned from appearing on-screen since they began wearing the Islamic headscarf. One of the most famous presenters, Ms Maha Medhet, has been with Egyptian state television for more than 10 years. However, since she began to wear the Islamic dress, she was restricted to the role of an out of vision narrator, replaced by other unveiled presenters. The reason for the ban was to prevent this becoming the norm in the media and the undoubted effect it would have on the public opinion of an Ummah that is already undergoing resurgence in adherence to Islamic values. Meanwhile, the French Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin said in an interview on the widely viewed M6 channel that Muslim women should not be allowed to wear the veil in public places such as schools and offices. The French government is considering legislation to 'regulate' the matter. Raffarin said he remained opposed to "ostentatious expression of religious conviction".
On Monday 29th September Abdulla Yones, a Kurdish Muslim, was sentenced to life for the crime of murdering his 18 year old daughter Heshu Yones. Heshu Yones was described as popular, fun loving and well integrated into western culture. She had been involved in an illicit relationship with a Lebanese Christian and planned to run away with him when she was murdered in her home by her father. The Old Bailey heard that after repeatedly stabbing his daughter and slitting her throat, he cut his own throat and jumped from a third floor balcony. Scotland Yard described it as a "brutal honour killing" - a reference to the practice of women being killed by male relatives to redeem the family name.
Commander Andy Baker added: "Violence in the name of culture will not be tolerated. Murder in the name of honour will be punished by the severest penalties available in law." Mr Baker said people who had tried to shield Abdalla Yones from police could now be investigated on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. "We are completely satisfied that some members of the community, or his friends, tried to assist him in that coverup," he said. All this goes to demonstrate that in western society there is a two prong attack on the honour of Muslims families. The first are the dangerous thoughts of freedom which permeate through every channel of society. If these are not guarded against they can produce personalities in the youth who will succumb to the temptations of society and enter into illicit relationships. Secondly what can Muslim families do once they discover such a scandal within their ranks? Clearly, if any attempt is made by the family to forcefully terminate the relationship, the law in the west will always side with the individual right of the person to practice their freedom. So the example of Abdalla Yones is one of a Muslim man defeated firstly by western culture moulding the personality of his daughter, and secondly with nowhere to turn to help him resolve this problem. Hence out of desperation he saw no alternative but to brutally murder his daughter. . In the Islamic state, the authorities would enforce the ending of such an illicit relationship, and the fornicators would be punished. As we live in the absence of Islam we are not allowed to implement Islamic punishments by our own hands, but the example of Abdulla Yonus should warn us of the acute dangers of western thoughts penetrating our youth. Protecting our honour will be achieved by protecting ourselves and our families from western culture. Asif Dawood
Judge Neil Denison said "This is, on any view, a tragic story arising out of irreconcilable cultural differences between traditional Kurdish values and the values of western society."
October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
THE DRUGS EPIDEMIC IN THE WEST - FREE YOUR MIND?
Leeds email: email@example.com
A WAY OF LIFE
he drugs epidemic in the west - free your mind? The tragic case of Jade Slack in July 2002 shocked the British public, but made them aware that this type of accident was all too probable with the scale of the drug problem in the west. She had gone over to a friend's house and began complaining that her stomach was hurting. There was clearly something wrong, her pupils were dilated and her lips began turning purple. Within minutes her condition deteriorated and she was staggering into furniture with a rising temperature. As she grew increasingly hyperactive and her teeth chattered fiercely Jade finally admitted to having taken five unknown tablets. At hand were Wayne Wood and his girlfriend Rebecca Hodgson who quickly rushed her into a cold bath to calm the violent fever. Although her condition continued to worsen neither Mr Wood nor Ms Hodgson could muster up the courage to call an ambulance. Their reluctance stemmed from the fact that Jade was no ordinary drug taker. She had not taken the pills in some fashionable nightclub or with friends. She was a ten year old girl who had found the pills left perched carelessly behind a teddy bear, and swallowed them out of sheer curiosity. Jade died later that night in hospital. NO RESPECT FOR THE LAW Although disturbing, the circumstances surrounding Jade's death are not unique. The publication of annual crime figures in July 8
Khilafah Magazine October 2003
revealed a massive leap in drug abuse and drug related crime across Britain's major cities. London experienced an increase of almost 30% whilst figures in Birmingham rose by 20%. The city also witnessed a 47% rise in the possession of heroin and cocaine. These spiralling figures epitomise an impending disaster, which will soon spin out of control. Despite dedicating legislation and hours of police time towards combating drugs, commentators suggest that as many as 90% of all drugs reach their destination - the hands of users. The Observer commented on this pitiful state of affairs remarking, 'When half of all Britons aged 16 to 24 report using illegal drugs, the law risks becoming an ass.' Whilst imaginative thinking on the problem stagnates amongst western intellectuals The Observer contends 'The failure of drugs policy poses a still greater threat. As demand for drugs increases, Western governments risk entrenching international crime cartels, driving up profits which are used to fund a range of illegal activity from people trafficking to prostitution to terrorism.' It's clear that the west's view on drugs have become jaundiced and ineffective at best. With current policy failing to address the root cause of the problem drugs continue to flourish within society. There are obvious repercussions for the wider society who often suffer from the actions of drug users. It is estimated that drug crime now costs ÂŁ20 billion a year whilst 50% of all crime is drug related.
The staggering rise in drug abuse has been attributed by some to the continual glamorisation of drugs in the media whilst the traditional 'just say no' message clearly no longer works. Although a handful of organisations continue to propagate such a call the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) condemns them to failure. They argue that the current drug culture sends a message that 'all your problems and bad feelings are just chemicals in your brain, you can feel better with a drug.' Anti-drugs campaigners are struggling to make an impact on contemporary youth culture. Hollywood continues to glamorise drug taking in films such as Trainspotting and Human Traffic. In the film Scarface, Al Pacino plays a gangster who heads an international cocaine smuggling ring. Peppered with violent scenes the film empathises with Pacino's character, Tony Montoya. The strap line for the film reads 'The world is yours' and in another 'Make way for the bad guy.' Scarface is just one of many films which glamorises drugs and the gangster lifestyle which goes with it. Satirical characters like Ali G further reinforce the notion that drugs are in some way 'trendy' and 'cool.' The anti-drugs message is dealt a further blow every year when its time for the annual summer music festivals. Events such as Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds festivals are well known for providing a hedonistic atmosphere in which drug taking is normalised. One website advertising this years 'Homelands' festival even put up the following warning on their website, 'This weekend's Homelands Festival is the premier dance event of the summer. Music fans will be subjected to drug checks however, with sniffer dogs in operation. Hide it well, you have been warned.' Remarkably, even the BBC has this advice for festivalgoers 'if you are going to indulge [in drugs], use a source you can trust before you get to the festival' in a section on their website entitled 'Festival Survival Guide.' Typified by drink, drugs and sex, summer festivals represent the pinnacle of youth culture.
Outside the summer months partygoers find no shortage of outlets for their desires in any one of the nations many pubs and clubs. With the continuous glamorisation of drugs, the voice of anti-drugs campaigners is slowly being drowned out. The problem has now penetrated every facet of society, straying far beyond its traditional refuge of the hippy infested fields of Woodstock. Last year, a think-tank founded by Tony Blair strongly condemned the government's drugs policy branding it a 'resounding failure'. Report author Rowena Young says there are now 500 times as many drug addicts in Britain as there were in the 1960s, and it is in the top five countries worldwide in terms of heroin consumption. So widespread is the problem that children are no longer immune from their effects. Quite often, it is they who are left helplessly to deal with the horrific consequences. GENERATION 'E' Glasgow University's centre for drug misuse research published a report last month on the level of pre-teen drug abuse. They claim to have met a girl, aged 11, who regularly uses cannabis, amphetamines, LSD and ecstasy. At weekends they allege she regularly supplements her cocktail of illegal drugs with alcohol binges. Researchers were shocked to find that around 30% of children aged under 13 had been offered illegal drugs in Glasgow and Newcastle and that 3.9% admitted to having tried them. Professor McKeganey, of Glasgow University, said "When one looks at the age of the children we are talking about, it is shocking. With children, there is no such thing as recreational drug use. It is a worrying scenario as there are very high risks that many of these children will go on to develop multiple problems. They will go on to become the addicts of tomorrow." The rise in drug abuse by pre-teens is particularly alarming when you consider the types of drugs children are now taking. "We asked drug-using 11- and 12-yearolds in Scotland if they had tried some form of heroin. Between 5 and 6 per cent of them said yes. Five years ago the percentage would have been zero," concluded Professor McKeganey. The government-backed study at Glasgow University was commissioned following the death of Alan Harper, 13, from a heroin overdose in 1998.
binges. The survey sampled 10,000 children from 321 different schools. The overall number of children aged 11-15 who used drugs regularly was 18%, although almost half, 45%, of all 15 year olds had tried one drug or another at least once. The most common drug of choice was cannabis although 4% admitted to having used class 'A' hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine. 'SORRY SIR, I'M TOO STONED TO UNDERSTAND' The worrying level of drug use amongst teens and pre-teens means that one in five schools will have to deal with a case of illicit drugs each year. In some cases head teachers have expressed concern at the ability of students to concentrate in class. Weekends dedicated to drink and drug binges mean that pupils return to school on Monday morning bleary eyed and unprepared for the week ahead. It is clearly a very real problem and one, which threatens the youth more than any other sector of society. They stand to lose the most and are often the target of unscrupulous dealers. Poor decisions made at early stage of life can often have a lasting effect making it difficult to break out of a rut in later life. PROFESSIONAL DRUGS A recent phenomenon in drug taking has occurred amongst city professionals. In another sign that the drugs epidemic continues to spread into all sectors of society increasing numbers of city traders are turning to cocaine for a kick. It is now almost an exclusive reserve of the city elite who often associate its use with corporate success. Drug abuse within the city has now become such an integral part of life that a former employee of the financial service provider, Cantor Fitzgerald is suing them for unfair dismissal. Steven Horkulak, 39, used to be a senior director of the firm and took a gram of cocaine every day. He responded to his dismissal by branding it 'absurd' given the prevalence of drug taking in the city. Seeking compensation of ÂŁ1.5 million, in court Mr Horkulak defended himself saying "I was in an environment where there was a lot expected of me, a lot of hours. The way I chose to keep going was the excessive use of alcohol and drugs." MUSLIM DRUG DEALERS
In a separate report commissioned by the Department of Health they identified a link between drug abuse at school and truancy. 53% of truants admitted to underage drinking whilst 35% regularly took time off school for drug
As drugs pervade all sectors of the society, the Muslim community is not immune to it. In particular the youth find themselves particularly vulnerable. A number of youth have
fallen victim not just to the drug culture but to the lifestyle associated with it; of being a gangster, chasing women and so on. The problem is one which encompasses both Muslims living in the west as well as those living in the Muslim lands. The predominantly Muslim community of Keighley in Leeds witnessed incredible violence as rival gangs battled it out for supremacy over a six month period. In their wake four Muslims were left dead. The last victim, Qadir Ahmed, was beaten and stabbed to death after his car was forced off the road. In a separate incident, two notorious gangsters were refused entry to a club. Having been 'insulted' by this they returned later that evening to pepper the club with a shower of bullets, hitting four revellers in the legs. The dealers are employing increasingly desperate measures to further their trade. Earlier this year a Bradford girl aged 13 was stopped at Heathrow for attempting to smuggle more than ÂŁ1 million worth of heroin. Elders from within the community have also been coerced into working as traffickers when they've fallen on financial difficulties. Over the last decade the number of Muslim prisoners in British jails has doubled to reach a total of between 4000-4500. This amounts to 9% of the total prison population. Maqsood Ahmed, the government's Muslim advisor to the Prison Service has observed that 25% of Muslim convicts have committed offences relating to drugs. In addition 65% of all Muslims in jail are between the ages of 18 and 30. It becomes clear then, that drugs are an extremely potent threat to the Muslim youth. However, the drugs dealt on Britain's street have largely been imported from abroad. This is where the drugs crisis not only threatens the Muslim youth here in the west but also those abroad. Morocco is now the world's largest exporter of cannabis. Production has increased tenfold over the period between 1983-1993, with current exports topping 2000 metric tonnes a year. Meanwhile, Afghanistan overtook Burma as the chief producer of heroin and opiate derivatives in the 1990's. In 1999, it supplied 77% of the world's heroin with the production and refinement of poppy seeds taking place in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Traditionally the drugs are cultivated in Afghanistan before being shipped to the world via Pakistan. THE PROBLEM It is clear that drugs are a cancer within society. October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
In the west, the problem continues to spiral out of control as anti-drugs campaigners and politicians run out of ideas. Drug abuse threatens the youth by stifling their future prospects. It also destroys families, as the main priority of addicts becomes getting 'one more hit.' The wider society is exposed to crime as desperate addicts steal goods to fuel their habit. Perhaps most worrying of all is that powerful gangs are prepared to turn otherwise quiet streets into battlefields for their ego driven turf wars. Left unchallenged this is a problem that will consume society. Whilst the problem is clear to all, many within the west have misunderstood its root cause. Instead western solutions tend only to focus on symptoms of the problem and not on the root cause itself. Consequently antidrugs campaigners, organisations and politicians have all witnessed nothing but failure in their approach since the sixties. Before considering how best to solve this problem, it is imperative that Muslims first understand its cause from a deep and enlightened perspective. INCORRECT CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS Western academics have debated the drugs problem ad nauseam. By viewing the problem from within the ideological framework of the capitalist ideology much of their thinking has been blinkered. The limitations of this framework make it inherently unable to address the nature of man, or his problems. There are several common misconceptions behind the capitalists understanding of the drugs crisis which are worth briefly examining. 1. Drugs abuse is a result of poverty and social deprivation. Such a view relies on a fiscal understanding to man's problems. Advocates would suggest that drug users have experienced social exclusion through a lack of qualifications, training and opportunities. Consequently, they have been driven into a life of drugs and crime to overcome such problems. However this view is problematic for two reasons. The first is that Afghanistan is one of the world's chief exporters of heroin. It's also amongst the poorest nations on earth. Yet, drug use in these countries and amongst their impoverished Afghani cultivators is negligible compared to the west. In addition such a view fails to account for extensive drug taking amongst city professionals and rich socialites. 2. Legalising drugs will solve the problem. Proponents argue that the legalisation of drugs will remove the criminal aspect and 10
Khilafah Magazine October 2003
therefore the 'glamour' associated with them. Additionally, by legalising drugs the government will be able to guarantee the purity of drug supplies whilst taxing users, much like they do with alcohol and tobacco. However, the long-term effects of certain drugs such as ecstasy and its active ingredient MDMA remain unknown making it almost impossible for the government to supply a 'pure' substance. Even if it was legalised over 20% of underage children are estimated to be abusing alcohol showing clearly that legalisation fails to protect the young and brings with it, its own problems. Finally, an intellectual consideration of this argument reveals that it represents a defeat for legislators; because drug laws are problematic to enforce and because abuse is so high then by legalising them the problem is solved. Therefore by extending this argument to its logical conclusion crimes such as car and mobile theft should also be legalised. 3. Educate people about the perils of drugs. The problem with the current anti-drugs message is that is relies on scare tactics. By educating people against the dangers of drugs campaigners are hoping to paint a picture in which the dangers outweigh the benefit. The argument is easily overcome if the 'fun' can be seen to outweigh the risk. Ecstasy users will often cite that it is statistically safer to take an 'E' that it is to fly and that you have a greater chance of being hit by lightening than you do of dying from taking ecstasy. Therefore the risks would appear to be low compared to the euphoric feeling of being high. The education message would therefore seem to rest on a weak and susceptible base. 4. Build social clubs for the youth to occupy their time. This view is highly na誰ve as it assumes drug takers simply abuse substances because they are bored. Drug users take drugs in order to experience its effects and will not be deterred by a badminton tournament in their local youth club. Even top athletes who train their bodies and have hectic schedules are known to abuse performance enhancing drugs. Scores of professionals and students, all with busy schedules, abuse drugs. Drug taking is borne by the concepts an individual holds and not by the amount of free time they have. THE ROOT CAUSE - FREEDOM Freedom is a central tenet of the capitalist doctrine. It represents the pinnacle of the western civilisation and is amongst their primary articles of faith. We are told that man is free and has personal freedoms to do as he pleases, provided that he does not cause harm
or distress to others. This concept of personal freedom is a powerful one. It is obvious that no society practises absolute freedom. Clearly there must be a limit and constraints beyond which people cannot stray. Herein lies the problem with this concept.
Although commentators have attempted to explain the drugs epidemic through a socioeconomic perspective their conclusions have failed to provide a comprehensive understanding. The basis of the failure to explain it from this perspective lies in the fact that this problem is essentially a human problem. Any solution to the crisis must therefore address the individual, his concepts and his desires. It is natural that the concepts held by a particular individual will determine his response to his desires. It is clear then that the real basis of this problem lies in the concept of personal freedom, which many in the west hold. Despite being illegal drug taking continues to rise. It is widely legitimised through popular youth culture and glamorised in the media. Conventional attempts to stem the rising tide of drug abuse have all failed because they have not addressed this issue from its basis. Therefore many of these attempts have merely dealt with symptoms of the cause and not with the cause itself. The rising number of drug addicts is hardly surprising then. Freedom in itself is a particularly troublesome concept. It is clear that absolute freedom cannot exist and that there must be limits imposed. The question must then be asked, what is the correct basis for deciding how much freedom we should have? Many drug users when breaking the law merely refuse to accept the authority of the legislators. It has been argued that the establishment's view on drugs is dated and irrelevant. Some would suggest that 'how could you ban it without trying it first? A spliff does less damage than a pint.' This is significant because when one man legislates for another why should the first accept the constraints imposed on him by the other? What attributes elevates and distin-
guishes him in his decisions over others? It illustrates the problematic nature of accepting one mans authority and ability to legislate for another. Hence many are prepared to believe that they know better than decision makers in Westminster and that their reluctance to update drug laws is merely irrelevant. Consequently they choose to openly flaunt such laws and exert their freedom. This alone does not account for spiralling drug abuse figures. Freedom is not just a troublesome concept when considered on a societal level. It is also highly problematic for the individual himself. Making himself the chief arbitrator in deciding good and bad the individual is able to move the benchmark to suit his own circumstances. Consider that very few, if any, drug users start on hard drugs. Initially they start on soft drugs such as cannabis before working their way onto harder drugs. Clearly, this is not a conscious decision or intention of the user at the start. The limits of acceptability change for some drug users, whilst not for others depending on their personal experiences and preferences. It has subsequently been argued that cannabis is a gateway drug. The journal of the American Medical Association conducted a study into this matter. The study enrolled 300 pairs of same-sex twins, both identical and fraternal, with an average age of 30 years. The twin-pairs were surveyed between 1996 and 2000, with each pair of twins consisting of one person who began smoking marijuana prior to age 17, and a second twin who abstained. The study looked at the use of non-prescribed sedatives, hallucinogens, cocaine and other stimulants, and opiate narcotics. Alcohol dependency and cannabis use were also assessed. The study determined that individuals who began using marijuana before age 17 had 2 to 5 times the risk of subsequent progression to other drugs, as well as to alcohol dependency, when compared to their twin siblings who did not use marijuana. The authors, therefore, concluded that the early onset of marijuana use (before age 17 in this study) was associated with a 2 to 5 times risk of progression to the use of other illicit substances, and to alcohol dependency. Hence it becomes clear that cannabis acts as a gateway drug for many illustrating that even for an individual it can be difficult to limit and regulate their own freedom. The limit of what is acceptable is easily shifted from one circumstance to another. Therefore drug use continues to rise most notably amongst the hard drugs users. Therefore the root cause of the drugs crisis within the west must be viewed from this
perspective. The problem must be understood as a human problem, the cause of which lies with the concepts and individual holds. With freedom remaining a central tenet of the capitalist doctrine, the capitalist mindset will never be able to resolve the problem of drugs. Its limited socio-economic framework prevents it from addressing mans problems in a comprehensive manner. Whilst not being able to address the problem, the central pillar of capitalist thought - freedom - continues to encourage people to take drugs in the first place. It becomes clear that capitalist societies will not only create this problem as an inherent attribute of the system but also that the system will then be inherently unable to respond to the problem that it helped foster in the first place.
The limited view of American legislators led them to incorrectly believe that a mere ban on alcohol would overcome the problem and its associated ills. However, what the prohibition laws failed to address was the concepts held by individuals making it a resounding failure. Not only did the rate of alcoholism rise but so did crime and criminality. The murder rate rose by 78% in major urban areas whilst the rate of serious crime such as assault and battery rose by 13%. Unbelievably, the overall rate of criminality across America rose by an amazing 561% during prohibition. Clearly prohibition failed to achieve its goals. Instead it exasperated the very problems it was intended to solve. The ban was finally lifted in 1933 as authorities finally conceded that it had become unworkable.
ISLAM AND THE DRUGS CRISIS Enforcing drugs laws in the west represents a massive problem. Despite their illegality scores of people make a blatant and conscious decision to flaunt the law in pursuit of their own happiness. It is clearly because they believe they have the freedom to decide for themselves how to live their lives and because they fail to accept the authority of human legislators to curb their freedom. This was perhaps best illustrated during America's prohibition. National prohibition of alcohol (1920-33) - the 'noble' experiment - was undertaken with a view to reducing crime, corruption, social problems and improving health conditions. Hence congress ratified the eighteenth amendment outlawing the 'importing, exporting, transporting, selling and manufacturing' of all intoxicating liquors. It was a resounding failure on all counts. Thousand of bootleggers sprung up, illegally importing it from Canada, stealing it from government warehouses and producing it themselves. 'Speak easies' quickly replaced traditional saloons and by 1925 there were well over 100,000 established in New York alone. Much of the illegal bootlegging trade fell under the control of organised criminal gangs who established close ties with the authorities. Most secured their status by bribing police, federal authorities and members of congress. Remarkably, during the years of prohibition the level of alcoholism within America rose, as did its availability. This is hardly surprising given that prior to prohibition there were only 400 licensed breweries. However, after seven years of prohibition there was an amazing 93,831 in business. The very authorities charged with enforcing the stringent prohibition laws were themselves regular customers at some of the most notorious moonshines.
Yet this was not the first time that a society had prohibited alcohol. An earlier prohibition had take place, some 1300 years before America's 'noble experiment.' Many people within the Arabian societies loved to drink. Indeed, during the Makkan stages of the revelation even some of the Sahabah enjoyed it. For many it was an integral part of social life. However as the Sahabah sought clarification from Rasool Allah ď ˛ regarding alcohol Allah ď ‰ eventually sent Gibreel (as) with the revelation of the ayat
"O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks), gambling, (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Shaitan's (Satan) handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful." [TMQ Al-Ma'idah:90] The revelation of this ayat had an immediate and profound effect on society. Upon hearing it the Sahabah immediately destroyed the casks, which had previously stored it. It has been reported that some Sahabah who had just consumed it forced themselves to be sick thereby expelling from their systems. Anas ibn Malik (ra) narrated that the streets of Madinah smelled of it for days. Some of the noble companions had even been addicted to alcohol, yet they had no problem in giving up the intoxicant with immediate effect. However, on the face of it there is little difference between this prohibition for Muslims and the prohibition enacted in America by October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
congress. The fundamental difference between the two lies in a profound understanding of exactly who has the right to limit man's freedoms. Whilst no man can legislate for another, the creator of man clearly can. Building an intellectual belief amongst the Sahabah, Rasool Allah was therefore able to establish a definitive basis for action. By rationally coming to the belief and understanding in Allah the Sahabah were then led to the rational belief in the Prophethood of Muhammed and the revelation. Allah answered mans greatest problem by addressing his concepts and giving him purpose in life. Allah informs us in the Qur'an
"I have only created Jinn and men, that they may worship me." [TMQ Az-Zariyat: 56] Hence the Muslims had no problem with giving up alcohol because of the understanding that what proceeds this life is accountability before Allah . They understood whilst Allah will reward the obedient, He will punish those who were not. Just like the citizens of 1920's America, some of the Sahabah were addicted to alcohol and liked its effects. However, their response to prohibition was in stark contrast to the reaction it received in America. They failed to accept the wisdom behind congresses decision for banning alcohol and rejected its decision to limit their freedom in this way. On the other hand, the Sahabah surrendered unconditionally to the wisdom of Allah and never once questioned His ability to legislate for them. Allah instructs the believers,
"It may be that you hate something and it is good for you and it may be that you like something and it is bad for you, Allah knows and you do not know" [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 216]. And
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"It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error." [TMQ Al-Ahzab:36] And
"The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah (His Words, the Qur'an) and His Messenger (Sallallahu Alaiahi Wasallam), to judge between them, is that they say: "We hear and we obey." And such are the prosperous ones (who will live forever in Paradise)." [TMQ An-Nur:51] This makes it clear that Muslims do not believe idealistically in the concept of freedom. Rather, Muslims believe in the complete opposite. Whilst the west believes in freedom, Muslims believe in slavery to the will of Allah . Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet said
"This world is a prison for the believers and a paradise for the disbelievers." [Muslim, 7058] CONCLUSION The tapestry of the capitalist doctrine is bound together by its central tenets of secularism and freedom, where sovereignty lies ultimately with the individual. Hence, it is hardly surprising that there is a massive drugs crisis plaguing the west. Individuals have little regard for the temporal laws of their society as they fail to recognise its authority over them. The relativist nature of freedom then makes it a highly subjective concept varying greatly from one person to the next. Given that this concept is a central pillar of thought in the west, the consequences are inevitable. The current drugs crisis is therefore an inherent product of the system itself. The system fails to find equilibrium by undermining itself whilst failing to offer solutions, which address the root cause. Hence, not only drug taking is on the rise but so too is drug related crime and gangland violence.
Allah has given man the powerful faculty of mind and has provoked him to consider his relationship with what came before this life and with what will come after it. By doing so, belief in Islam is arrived at through rational proofs and intellectual reasoning. Hence it is built upon the Islamic Aqeedah, which solely recognises the sovereignty of Allah . It is from this certain and absolute basis that Muslims must shape their outlook on life. Consequently no Muslim can believe in the western freedom myth. It is only by addressing mans nature from a conceptual basis that the current tide of drugs in society can be stemmed. Without going to the root of the problem, which lies within the concept of freedom itself, the depressing rise of drugs will never be reversed. Muslims must present these ideas to those around them in an intellectual fashion whilst presenting Islam as the only viable ideological alternative. In doing so, we must illustrate how only Islam is able to address mans nature in a comprehensive fashion and how only its application will provide tranquillity. The capitalist mindset can never answer the drugs question, as it would involve renegading on their own articles of faith. Whilst the west continues to propagate the ridiculous notion of freedom the paradox will continue where the UK has the harshest antidrug laws in Europe whilst maintaining the highest consumption rates of both soft and hard drugs. Despite how widespread this problem becomes, Muslims must continue to adhere solely to the Islamic ideology and reject western concepts. Allah says,
"Say: 'Not equal are Al-Khabith [all that is evil and bad] and At-Tayyib [all that is good], even though the abundance of Al-Khabith may please you.' So fear Allah, O men of understanding in order that you may be successful" [TMQ Al-Ma'idah: 100]
THE HUTTON INQUIRY
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A QUESTION OF TRUST It was reported that the Prime Minister's reason for holding the inquiry was because his own personal integrity was being called into question by the constant allegations of his decision to go to war and the impact this was having in the opinion polls and amongst focus groups. Therefore, the inquiry was seen as a means for politicians to reconnect with the feelings of the public at large as part of a trust building exercise. The fundamental arguments that were used to justify war have been largely ignored. What has emerged has been the great lengths officials in Western society are prepared to go in order to ensure their personal reputation and image remains untainted. THE HUTTON INQUIRY
he Hutton inquiry has dominated the media in recent weeks as it has tried to establish the events leading up to the apparent suicide of Dr David Kelly the Ministry of Defence scientist and weapons expert. For the public the crux of the matter has been the conduct of politicians, and senior government figures throughout this debacle. It has reinforced a popular perception in the minds of people that the case for war against Iraq earlier this year and its aftermath was built upon a pack of lies, spin, mis-information and manipulation. The quote below surely sums up the view held by many in the West:
"The word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly', meaning 'many', and the word 'ticks', meaning 'blood sucking parasites' quote from Larry Hardiman." Since the decision was made to invade Iraq, nothing has been talked about more than whether it was a 'war on a lie'. Was war with
Iraq inevitable? Did Iraq pose an immediate threat to the security of Britain? Did the British government publish a Dossier that was 'dodgy'? Whilst these became areas of concern for the Labour government, there was a frantic rush to justify the decision to go to war. When BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan reported that he had it on good authority from an unnamed insider, who had a major part in drawing up the dossier, that seemingly questioned the government line a series of events culminated in the death of that source. In particular, Gilligan broadcast that his source had claimed that Downing Street had 'sexed up' intelligence evidence in order to make the Iraqi threat more credible. This claim was levelled against Alastair Campbell, the government's Director of Communications. He denied the claims and accused the BBC of irresponsibly twisting the facts, and what followed was claim and counter claim by all those involved.
No sooner had the decision to investigate the events leading up to the death of Dr David Kelly begun then the spin machine of Western politics came into play. This was not only done to discredit Dr Kelly and his reputation but was intended to protect more senior officials and politicians from blame or accusation. For example, an official spokesman, Tom Kelly, told a journalist with the Independent newspaper that Dr Kelly was a "Walter Mittystyle fantasist", in an attempt to cast aspersions on the character of the former weapons i n s p e c t o r. For those u n a c quainted with this term it alludes to a fictional character who tries to e s c a p e from his October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
mundane life by fantasising about being a hero and concocting stories in his mind in which he is the centre of attention. The clear intent behind such a comment to a journalist was to cast doubt upon Dr Kelly's character and integrity and subsequently put doubts in the mind of the reader about Dr Kelly's claims and reservations upon the intelligence used to
justify war. However, when Tom Kelly, appeared in front of the Hutton Inquiry his only defence was that his statements were not intended for publication. It was later revealed that he had described in an e-mail Downing Street's tussle with the BBC as a "game of chicken with the Beeb". What these encounters also show is the petty level that officials were prepared to go to in order to deflect media attention so that they, or their masters, could remain untouched by the controversy. PASSING THE BUCK What has clearly emerged from the coverage of the Hutton inquiry has been a shady world of communications and clandestine information between officials and other departments that reinforces the negative image of Western politicians. It has shown that politicians and officials will not hesitate to blame colleagues, implicate others or avoid answering questions if it means that they will be seen to have done wrong. A host of contradictions have emerged from the testimonies of those witnesses called to answer questions; At the centre of the Inquiry 14
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was how the name of Dr David Kelly, a Civil Servant was revealed to the media. Downing St officials had adamantly denied any part in this. Yet, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon's testimony contradicted this claim. He said that key senior officials from Number 10 Downing Street took a hands on role in the "naming strategy". He named Jonathan Powell, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, as having suggested that he write to the BBC Chairman revealing Dr Kelly as the BBC's source. Moreover, it transpired that Alastair Campbell had drafted this letter to the BBC thereby contradicting Campbell's earlier claim that Downing Street's role was minor. Furthermore, Hoon claimed to have had played only a minor part in the decision making process and sought to distance himself from any responsibility in the naming of Dr Kelly insisting that it was done by officials within his department, but not him. Even when discrepancies and opposing statements were put to him his response was non-committal and evasive with comments such as 'I was unaware' or 'As far as I know'. Such woolly phrases and vague answers were clearly intended to ensure he avoided any censure. At the same time, an advisor in Hoon's own office directly contradicted his comments by stating that he had been present at the meeting when the naming strategy was developed. Other officials questioned have responded by stating that the naming of Dr Kelly to the media was intended to give them a breathing space from the media glare and effectively shift the spotlight away from politicians to a more palatable scapegoat. INTELLIGENCE PURPOSE
It had been the contention of Tony Blair that the dossier, which was meant to be the Government's assessment of Iraq's WMD threat was signed off by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). He said that it was purely based on reliable evidence. John Scarlett, the Chairman of the JIC claimed that he had 'ownership' over the dossier and that Alastair Campbell's role in it was purely presentational and did not affect the content. It was the claim that Iraq could deploy weapons within 45 minutes that Gilligan initially claimed. Dr Kelly described its inclusion as unwise. It was revealed that John Scarlett made a change in the Dossier at the behest of Campbell, a change which altered the meaning behind the claim. The inquiry heard that the Dossier was "tightened up" so that the claim "could be ready for firing within 45 minutes" was
changed to "are able to deploy within 45 minutes". When Dr Kelly heard this claim he laughed out loud, his friend, the Journalist Tom Mangold recounts that he said "it would take the most efficient handlers at least 45 minutes just to pour chemicals or load the biological agents into the warheads". When MI6 head Sir Richard Dearlove spoke to the committee he stood by the claim, which he said, came from an MI6 agent in the high ranks of the Iraqi army, but even he conceded that the claim was given 'undue prominence' in the final Dossier. â€œPoliticians are like nappies. They should both be changed frequently and for the same reason quote from Anonymous.â€?
What the Hutton inquiry has shown is that a host of contradictions, half truths, exaggerations and understatements have emerged from those involved. That politicians in the West are seen as unscrupulous, untrustworthy and immoral is beyond doubt. Politicians routinely resort to such unsavory tactics, as witnessed in the Hutton inquiry. They employ press officers and spin doctors to ensure news and information is presented in the best possible way so that it is most flattering to the politicians, his party or government. Such a mentality explains why the so-called 'intelligence' on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction was vetted for 'presentational purposes' and conveyed in such terms to justify an already premeditated outcome of war. What has allowed this situation to characterise Western societies is the Capitalist mentality that moulds the thinking and actions of the politicians and officials in public life; they are not driven by altruism or a sense of doing good for others but are rather motivated by their own self interests and personal gain. This personal benefit may manifest itself in many different forms. It may be the pursuit of fame, respect, wealth and glory. For example, previous Prime Ministers and Presidents have relished the
attention given to them on lucrative lecture tours, publication of their diaries and memoirs and have had public buildings and airports named after them. Therefore, the Western politician will resort to almost anything to ensure his status is preserved. What drives them is political expediency built upon the criteria of benefit, whatever fits with this measure can be sanctioned, what therefore is nurtured is the dark art of political manoeuvring which entails lies and deceit (not getting caught). In this game, when their status is challenged, they generally tend towards passing the buck, leaking against their colleagues and doing anything in their power to preserve their position. This is hallmark of the Western politician. The only difference between a politician and a common criminal is that the latter is incarcerated in Belmarsh, whilst the former devises policy to regulate this prison. No wonder the average person is switched off from politics. ISLAM, POLITICS AND POLITICIANS Allah ď ‰ describes the mentality of those who came before us as rulers, who belied the Ayaat (signs) of Allah and were arrogant in the land.
'O Haman! build for me a tower, happily I may reach the tracts,-the tracts of heaven, and may mount up to the God of Moses, for, verily, I think him a liar.' [TMQ Gharir:36-37]
the death of Uthman (ra), yet this did not spill over into seeking an alliance with the disbelievers. The Romans upon observing the dispute sought to capitalise on the situation. They approached him with an offer of material support against Ali, yet he unequivocally refused this offer of a treacherous way out. Instead he sent his reply by saying 'after me and my brother Ali have resolved our dispute, we will fight you.'
This is a small measure of the arrogance that accompanies the politician who strives for an objective he has pre-determined for himself. As previously mentioned this could be the search for riches, a name for oneself, and status in society amongst other things. This leads to the self-serving unprincipled politician that we are today accustomed to. This is completely at odds with the politician in Islam. He is driven primarily by Taqwa, and not self-importance, personal benefit and self interest. The Islamic politician understands his role of caring for the people as a responsibility and burden upon his shoulders. This is a responsibility for which he will be accounted for and he is warned of severe punishment for straying away from it. He is the one who realises that taking care of the affairs of the people as defined by his Creator outweighs any selfish desire on his part to seek fame and fortune. He adheres to the saying of Rasool Allah ď ˛;
"And We desired to show favor unto those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them examples and to make them the inheritors, and to establish them in the earth, and to show Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts that which they feared from them." [TMQ AlQasas: 5-6] Haman was the chief advisor to Fir'awn, he was the Alastair Campbell of his day, as he was in charge of presenting the polices of Fir'awn and reassuring him that things would turn out well. So arrogant was Fir'awn and so self-serving was his chief minister Haman, that when Fir'awn commanded Haman to supervise the building of a lofty tower that would reach heaven, he obliged and pandered to his ego. And Pharaoh said,
"Anyone who took charge of any Muslims and he died while he was deceiving them Allah will prevent him from entering paradise (Jannah)". This was practiced by the Islamic politicians of the Islamic State but these same lands that were ruled by the Muslims are polluted by political leadership that follows the Sunnah of Blair rather than of Rasool Allah. The lack of pragmatism of the Islamic politician is characterised by Muawiyah (May Allah be pleased with him) who was the Waali (Governor) of Ash-Shaam. He had a long standing and public dispute with Ali (ra) over
October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Dr Salim Fredericks
11,000 LEFT TO DIE IN FRENCH HEATWAVE
his summer as millions of middle aged and young French families enjoyed their summer holiday breaks away from home, the ugly side of normal capitalist life revealed its dark secrets. The European heat wave of August 2003 devastated crop production, it forced several nuclear power plants to be shut down, rivers dried up and compounded the problem of forest fires. However, by far the worst tragedy related to the huge loss of life. The highest death tolls were in France, where at one point Paris funeral parlours were forced to turn away new arrivals. There was no space in their mortuaries to accommodate the increased number of victims of heat-related illnesses. The official French estimate was that the heat wave killed 11,435 people in August. In early September President Jacques Chirac presided over a strange ceremony for some of the dead. This was a service with no eulogies, no spoken prayers and no weeping relatives. A bureaucrat recited the victims' names, and 57 caskets were lowered into side-by-side plots, buried in a part of the suburban cemetery usually reserved for the destitute or homeless. These were the bodies that were never claimed after they died. Despite the burials, families still have the chance to claim the bodies. The French authorities have made available the facilities for families to dig their dead relatives up and re-bury them in graves of the relative's chosen location. They can even have them burned in a casket and their ashes placed in a pot. France is supposedly the home of the enlightened philosophy, and it is certainly the capital of individualism. JJ Rousseau's legacy of equality, liberty and fraternity was manifest in France this summer. The president demonstrated Gaelic fraternity with his dead French brothers, by going on television to talk about it. That is, once he came back from his holiday in Canada. It's a pity some of the victims' own brothers didn't exhibit fraternitĂŠ by actually claiming the corpses from the morgues. Better still, perhaps they could have checked up on their elderly relatives whilst they were still alive. Do Parisians not have neighbours? Is Parisian cafĂŠ culture not concerned with people dying slow and painful deaths from dehydration on its own boulevard? Many victims died alone in overheated city apartments while their families were away, like Jacques Chirac, on vacation.
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Certainly when the scale of the tragedy emerged the French society was shocked and the whole country was left reeling. Half the victims are believed to have died in old people's homes, many operating with fewer staff during the August holidays. Many hospitals had closed complete wards for the month and were unable to offer sophisticated, or sometimes even basic, treatment to victims. About 2,000 people are thought to have died in their homes from the effects of dehydration and other heat- related problems while neighbours and relatives were away. NEGLECT OF THE VULNERABLE - PART OF THE WESTERN WAY OF LIFE Throughout history religion and philosophy have tended to provide frameworks for the general social welfare. This usually included care for the elderly. Examples from past civilisations can be seen in the edicts of the Buddhist emperor Ashoka in India, the socio-political doctrines of ancient Greece and Rome, and the simple rules of the early Christian communities. The Elizabethan Poor Laws in England, which sought relief for elderly paupers were administered at the parish level. These centuries old laws provided precedents for many modern legislative responses to poverty in modern Britain. In Victorian times a more stringent legal view of poverty, as a moral failing, was met by the proliferation of philanthropic societies founded by individuals, another prelude to many of today's welfare services. The French neighbours developed in a similar evolutionary course.
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when basic interventions might have saved her. That is interventions by "state professionals" whose job it was to be neighbourly. This little girl was killed by her aunt after suffering 28 separate injuries, which two hospitals, four social service departments, two specialist child protection police teams and the NSPCC all failed to pursue. So much for neighbours, what of the modern approach to looking after the well being of ones own loved ones? The boom industry of old people's homes in the West is testimony of how people are prepared to pay others to 'take care' of their kin. That is at one end of the spectrum of the ages of man. At the other end there is the care for ones own children. The phenomenon, in America and Western Europe known as the have-it-all woman, is the one who pays others to bring up her children. This woman is supposedly the very embodiment of success, happiness and tranquillity. She has managed to excel in her career, satisfied every whim and desire of her husband whilst bringing up balanced well mannered and well educated offspring. INDIVIDUALISM So whether it is caring for neighbours, parents or even children, distinct trends in Western society have emerged which have been badly exposed with the tragedy in France this summer. These trends are simply that western society neglect the ones who need support from others.
The evidence from the French disaster this summer demonstrates that the remnants of these 'systems' of community welfare can not provide adequate support for the vulnerable in society. It also demonstrates that the burden of looking after the elderly in society cannot be handed over to state or private institutions as clearly they are inept at providing the level of care and attention needed.
But as French society searches its conscience in attempt to reconcile the tragedy of this summer to actions of their own, we will notice that state institutions like hospitals and social services, or even private old peoples homes may be reformed and better preparation for such a heat wave will be demanded in the future. However, the core of the issue will be missed. This is because the driving factor as to why these institutions have to pick up the burden of looking after the vulnerable in society is because family members and neighbours are not looking after each other.
It is not just the French that have come under close scrutiny for their treatment of the vulnerable in society. During the same summer of 2003 the British introduced radical changes to their own social services system. At the September launch of the new initiatives, Tony Blair made reference to the death of Victoria ClimbiĂŠ. The Laming inquiry into her death identified 12 occasions
So anyone who left their parents alone at home or in old peoples homes, went on holiday, came back and never enquired about them to find out that they had died and been buried in unnamed graves will not be criticised at all by any governmental investigation, as what they did was completely consistent with individualism which is a fundamental concept of capitalist society. Therefore
these problems will continue to plague the West and the vulnerable will continue to feel alienated and neglected as long as capitalist thought remains the basis of western society. CARE OF THE VULNERABLE IN ISLAM Islam has commanded that we care for our children and our parents. The care for elderly parents has been placed as a duty and has even been discussed by Rasool-Allah in the very same breath as the issue of jihad.
Abdullah ibn 'Amr bin Ass (ra) reports that a certain person appeared before Rasool-Allah and sought permission for participating in jihad. He Rasool-Allah asked 'are your parents still alive?' He replied 'yes'. 'go and perform jihad for them, don't be careless about serving them.' [Ibn Majr] The sahabah were all very mindful of caring for weak and needy in society. During the time of Rasool-Allah Abu Bakr (ra) would go to the homes of the old, the orphans, the weak and needy in his neighbourhood to help them whatever way he could. He milked the goats of some, kneaded flour and helped bake bread for others. For all these he was known as the most kind and merciful of people. After the death of Rasool-Allah , when he (ra) became Khalif, some of the people feared that they would loose his gentle care and services. He (ra) heard a widow saying, "today, our sheep will not be milked." Abu Bakr replied "by my life, I will milk it for you." As soon as he could he went to the widow's door and knocked. A little girl answered and as soon as she saw who it was she shouted; "the milker of the sheep is here, mother." One day Abu Bakr (ra) was walking home he decided to take a different way. On this way home he heard the soft sound of a bunch of twigs sweeping the floor. As he was listening he saw a figure like a small child appear, but it was an old woman. A very old woman was sweeping the floor. Her hand was trembling but she was still doing her work. Abu Bakr (ra) soon realised that the old woman was also blind. As he came near her he said 'Assalam-alaikum mother. It must be very hard for you to sweep the floor. Isn't there anyone in the house to help you?' The old woman explained that her husband had died a long time ago and her sons had died in battle. But she wasn't ungrateful and still thanked Allah for the strength
she had to do the little work she did. So from that day on, Abu Bakr (ra) used to go and help the old woman do her housework. A few months later Umar bin al-Khataab (ra) heard about the widow and decided to help her. However he found that the house was so clean, when he asked her how she kept it so clean she smiled and said she had a helper but he hadn't told her his name. Umar (ra) wanted to find out who it was so he waited near the woman's house and saw that the helper was Abu Bakr (ra). Aslam (ra) narrated that Umar (ra), when he was Khalif, used to patrol the city at night. Once he passed by a woman who was in her house surrounded by children. The children were weeping, while she had put a cooking pot on the fire containing nothing but water. Umar (ra) approached and asked as to why the children were weeping. 'They are weeping out of hunger', the woman replied. 'What is there inside the pot on the fire', Umar (ra) asked again. 'Look here! I have filled the pot with water to give them false hope of food so that they sleep,' she explained. Having heard this Umar (ra) burst into tears, and immediately went to get articles from the bayt-almal. He (ra) filled a large bag with food, clothes and money. Aslam (ra), the narrator, asked if he could carry the bag for the Amir-al-muminin. Umar (ra) replied 'I must carry the load, for I will be questioned about the matter in the hereafter.' He (ra) then proceeded to carry the bag and then prepared a meal for the lady. As he (ra) cooked he had to continually blow the fire of the stove so that the smoke went through his beard. When he had prepared the meal he then fed the children with a spoon. CONCLUSION The manner in which a society caters for the vulnerable among them, for example the young and the old, speaks volumes about how enlightened that society actually is. Abu Amama (ra) reported that Rasool-Allah said;
Muawiya bin Haidah (ra) reported that he asked of Rasool-Allah ; 'what are the rights of a neighbour?' Rasool-Allah replied 'Visit him if he falls sick, accompany his funeral procession when he dies, give him a loan of he asks for it, keep secret if he turns needy, congratulate him on his successes, don't raise your building higher than that of his and don't torment him with the smell of your cooking and give at least a spoonful of whatever is being cooked.' Allah says in the Quran:
"And serve Allah. Ascribe nothing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and unto the neighbour who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbour who is not of kin, and the fellowtraveller and the wayfarer and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Lo! Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful" [TMQ AnNisa':36] Abu Dharr related that Rasool-Allah said:
Abu Dharr, when you prepare broth put plenty of water in it and take care of your neighbours (Muslim) "…Blessing is attached to our elders. One who does not show affection to youngster and respect for the elderly is not from us."
In the liberal societies of the west the basic unit has become the individual. It is this notion that the individual is paramount that has lead to these problems. The system that was lived and implemented by the rightly guided khulafah (a few examples of snippets from their lives are highlighted above) is what can change the situation that humankind is now mired in. October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
A ROUGH GUIDE FOR FRESHERS
s the academic year restarts, thousands of university students will be arriving, ready for Fresher's week. Fresher's week at university is a hedonistic introduction to life at university. Student unions eagerly plan a week of parties, drunkenness and sexual dis-inhibition designed to "warmly welcome" new students to their new home. Drugs, alcohol and promiscuity invite the new undergraduates to a way of life they had not experienced before. And the first week is just the beginning. Arrival at university has nothing to do with study. It has much more to do with newfound independence. Most new undergraduates are advised by their senior peers that work in the first term and a half is completely unnecessary. Lectures can be skipped as long as a good set of notes is obtained. A couple of weeks of cramming at the end of the year can usually get you through and the first year isn't carried over to the final year anyway. New students will not find anyone to take them to lectures, show them how to make notes and keep up with the bookwork. No senior student will knock on the door and offer help for a course unit, especially in the first few weeks. But in those weeks, there will be plenty of knocks at the door to let you know where, when and how you can have fun. Because that's what university is all about! On arrival at university, almost every single aspect of life becomes a question. What should I eat? Who are my friends? How do I spend my money? How do I relate with the opposite sex? The questions are endless and require some basis to answer. These questions however, are answered very quickly. The atmosphere and
Khilafah Magazine October 2003
environment contain pre-prepared answers. No effort is required to find an answer and so generally none is put in. So what answers does the university atmosphere provide fresher's with? JUST BE YOURSELF! One of the most important aspects of most new university students lives is to develop a personal identity. In Western societies, a high value is placed on individuality and everyone endeavours to find out which stereotype they individually conform to. Common distinguishing features would be what kind of music a person listens to, what sports he or she plays, financial background and race. So in university classes one will often find the Asian crowd, the rugby boys, those who imagine they are gangster rappers, the ravers and so on. Some people will fit specifically into such an identity, whereas others will subscribe to several. Each of these identities can require a lot of work in order to fit into them. People spend their time listening or watching programmes on the kind of music they like, watching or playing the sport they like, going to the relevant night clubs, buying clothes and paraphernalia and so on to adhere to their individual stereotype. It is only in this way that a person will fit into the desired group and make friends from amongst them. Hence it is apparent that people are likely to be similar to their friends. It would be unusual to find hip hop lovers associating with Goth Maralyn Manson fans.
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It is ironic that in a society that celebrates and honours individuality, a situation has arisen where individuals strive to conform to stereotypes manufactured by the media. Originality is something unattainable for most yet so many claim it. The uninviting thing about these identities is that those who adhere to them believe that they are in some courageous way rebelling against society, but in actual fact they are simply fitting neatly into the stereotypes provided by society. Amongst Muslim undergraduates, Hip Hop and R & B sub-cultures in particular have caught hold. Such identities have distinct yet typical effects on university life. FREE MIXING What is likely to happen if you take thousands of young men and women convinced by the idea that life is about having fun, who have never been away from home, concentrate them in a single institution, set up parties for them to get to know each other, get them drunk and then tell them, do whatever you want? It is not difficult to guess. Western society might argue that there is nothing wrong with this type of mixing and what develops from this is just a natural part of maturing. Does the outcome of such a situation require examination? Who could be blind enough to ignore the rampant rape and sexual abuse that goes on in this country, both at and away from university? In fact, girls at university are at the most risk of rape of any section of British society. And what about the rate of abortion? Approximately one in five pregnancies is aborted in Britain today. The lives of these babies are not ended because of any physical reason that would make them unviable. Rather they are terminated because the mother didn't feel they fit well into her life at that time. The misery that is caused by these promiscuous relationships is great compared to the temporary pleasure that people get out of them. DRUGS Cannabis use is endemic in most British universities and in some has become an
epidemic. Although many students have tried soft and sometimes hard drugs, long before they arrive at university, university is an excellent opportunity to further their experimentation. Cannabis, cocaine, speed and ecstasy are all staples at many halls of residences and easy to come by. Taking recreational drugs is a natural extension of the dominant ideas in western societies. These are societies in which decisions are so often made on the basis of "what YOU enjoy" or "what makes YOU happy." This is used to discriminate almost every question in life, from 'what clothes to wear?' to 'who shall I go out with next'. The only restricting aspect to this is that it should not impinge on other peoples freedoms, although this is most often ignored. So why would anyone not take drugs? Drugs help people to enjoy themselves more, give them a pleasant feeling and generally don't impinge on others freedom. Thus, it is natural for many students to experiment with drugs as their essence of existence is to produce a pleasurable experience, one way or another. Yet in most halls or residences, over the upcoming year, many students will become drug dealers, supplying fellow students with pills, cocaine and cannabis. Many will drop out of university. Others will become addicted and find the drugs they take become the dominant aspect of their lives and many will fall deeply into debt with student loans, overdrafts and credit cards. All of this for a temporary thrill. ALCOHOLISM
to the point where at many university parties; it would not be possible to find a sober person. Just as with drugs, alcohol allows people to enjoy themselves more. That's why they take it. But how many will lose their lives this year at university due to an alcohol related traffic accident. Then there are the drunken fights, which sometimes turn so ugly people are scarred for life. That's nothing to say of the vandalism, illness and poverty that are caused by this excessive alcohol use. SO WHAT'S ISLAM GOT TO DO WITH IT? Islam does not view life from the point of view of freedom or that life's objective is happiness as achieved through pleasure and the pursuit of sensual gratification. Rather, in Islam, the objective of life is the worship of Allah alone in every aspect of life and this worship is achieved through belief and the adherence to the orders and limits the Creator of all that exists placed upon the actions of mankind.
"We have placed all that is on the earth as an ornament thereof that We may try them: which of them is best in conduct. And lo! We shall make all that is thereon a barren mound." [TMQ Surah al-Kahf: 7-8] Muslims believe in the Day of Judgement and that human beings will be judged upon their belief in the truth and adherence to the Shari'ah of the Creator, as that is what He said in His Book.
"Or are the people of the townships then secure from the coming of Our wrath upon them in the daytime while they play?" [TMQ Surah alA'raf : 98] If drugs at university are common, alcoholism is the norm. This legal, socially acceptable, relatively cheap and severe intoxicant flows like rivers in student unions up and down the country. Whilst most drugs are officially discouraged, alcohol is practically encouraged
challenge all the various stereotypes and call people to embrace the best identity. The Messenger of Allah said,
Islam does not ignore the need to socialise or be part of a specific identity. Rather Islam provided the most elevated identity and commanded us to socialise with good people. The Muslim students should be the one to
"The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith's bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof." [Sahih ul Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 34, Number 314] The temptations offered during fresher's week and in fact throughout university life should never be underestimated; decisions made during this time of transition from home life to independent responsibility can set the course for the rest of the time spent at university and indeed for the rest of ones life. Muslims should be careful not to confuse freedom from their parents to be freedom from Allah and the restrictions of the shari'ah. They should endeavour to spend Fresher's week in search of good Islamic company from which they can preserve their Islamic identity and invite others to a good environment. Contrary to the Western view held about student life as being time dispensable and can be wasted away, for the Muslim, the youth is a precious time where efforts should be exerted to worship Allah and further the cause of Islam. The Muslim students should be the ones to explain the backwardness of the identities based on music, fashion, sport, ethnicity and entertainment. This way they will be saved from either melting into the corrupt identities or receding into the darkness of the prayer rooms never to be seen outside of lectures. So the Muslim student can and should be a dynamic personality, carrying Islam as flame that burns corruption and a shining light that guides the way for others.
October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
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oap operas such as Eastenders, Coronation Street, Neighbours and Family Affairs, with mostly young actors and attention-grabbing plots, have become a source of addiction for many people in the UK. Approximately 15 to 20 million people regularly tune in to watch Eastenders and similar high viewings are achieved by some of the others. All sectors of society have been targeted by soap operas, including the middle aged and older viewers who are targeted by soaps such as 'Emmerdale Farm' and 'Coronation Street'. The highest-rated 'Coronation Street' episode ever was at Christmas 1986 when a staggering 26 million sat down to see Hilda Ogden leave Weatherfield. As well as being addictive, there are more serious affects that soap operas can have on the viewer's behaviour. Teachers, parents, youth organisations, leading psychologists and even some newspapers have pointed out the obvious correlation between the explicit and implicit sexual content, violence, rape and other types of crime. They point out that the appearance of these crimes on popular soaps could have an impact in behavioural trends amongst the youth. Furthermore, not even the ethnic sections of the population have been saved from their effects, including the Muslim population. Soap opera's generally attack values that Islam gives great importance to, such as celibacy before marriage, obedience to parents and even heterosexuality. However, with the emergence of non-English soaps on satellite T.V. such as on ARY Digital, Prime TV, Zee-T.V, and Bangla TV, the exposure of these attacks to urdu and Bengali speaking UK Muslims has increased greatly. This is because all of these soaps or dramas effectively push the same culture as their western equivalents. Several hours every week are dedicated to Urdu dramas on ARY digital and other Urdu channels. In addition to this Pakistan's media industry is increasingly trying to compete with its Indian counterpart and therefore the standards of decency are spiralling 20
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downwards. Hence soap operas that are made in a Muslim country, Pakistan, are getting closer in content to the Indian and Western model. The exposure to Muslim families to these soap operas, made in their home languages and countries, will inevitably have a deep impact into the Muslim communities. The argument may be brought that the soap opera is nothing but a reflection of society and helps people to deal with life's problems by bringing problems out in the open, and therefore they are a good thing. The fundamental flaw with this argument is that societal problems are removed by criticising them and showing their invalidity, not by playing them out as societal norms. As well as the Muslim world, Muslims living in the West are not safe from this covert means of spreading Capitalist values. The UK government department of education and skills website 'Standards' defines the following requirement in key stage 3 of the Citizenship course, which is to study: "Clips from television soap operas dealing with local issues/conflicts". Therefore the government recognises the significance of soap operas in promoting the norms of problems of western culture, as opposed to highlighting the dangers posed by these soaps to society. A DESTRUCTIVE FORCE Capitalist society does little to give constructive advice to children or adults about dealing with their responsibilities as fathers, sons, wives or daughters. However soap operas beam into people's front rooms a weekly dose of role models and examples to potentially learn from. Muslims are not impervious to the affects of these programmes especially when the actors are from Asian origin. In soaps the traditional norms and values of society are violated, be they Christian or Islamic. Then the consequences of their violation are highlighted with a particular emphasis on how secular values solve those problems. In this way the ideological secular values are constantly reinforced, through
drama after drama that the characters experience. Soap operas regularly have the inane plot of the 'break-up' between lovers. When the 'break-up' happens either or both partners typically fall in love with someone they are happier with. This sets the stage for the 'old flame' storyline to be used in future episodes, where a couple who have broken up find that their love has been rekindled and hence the cycle of infidelity is set in motion. There is also a typical period of sadness the character goes through but this is quickly remedied by getting drunk and having a one night stand. Thus reinforcing the saying, 'there are plenty more fish in the sea!' Thus the concept of freedom of the individual to choose their partners and to violate marriage through adultery is sold to the viewers. The repetitive themes and plots in soaps manage to drill these values into the viewer's mindsets, thus making them very dangerous indeed. Is it any wonder that the rate of divorce in capitalist societies such as UK and US is so high when people are regularly watching excitement and pleasure being attained through fornication and adultery? Furthermore, a whole host of secular values are reinforced, such as sex before marriage being normal whereas chastity is considered odd. Women are free to express their femininity however they wish and free mixing between men and women is completely acceptable. The sexually 'experienced' individual is given a higher regard. Another major theme in soaps is the constant tussle between parents and their children where the ideal of personal freedom always comes on top, i.e. disrespect and disobedience to parents is considered an act of fun, rebelliousness and admiration. THE SOAP OPERA IS A TOOL TO NORMALISE IDEAS THAT WERE ONCE 'TABOO' As time passes the taboo subjects of yesterday become the norms of today and likewise the taboos of today will become the norms of tomorrow. This has been the perceived trend of society where freedom continually pushes back the limits of morality. Thus just as it was considered unacceptable for couples to have children out of wedlock only forty or so years ago, it is now considered entirely acceptable.
Similarly it was unacceptable for girls to dress scantily in public about forty years ago, and now this is the norm. More recently homosexuality in both the sexes used to be frowned upon now it's 'hip' and 'trendy', with several celebrity youth happily playing the gay character. Tony and Simon of East Enders, Beth and Jordache of Brookside were famous soap opera homosexual characters whose societal acceptance was confirmed. In Urdu and Hindi dramas this process of normalising immoral behaviour is chipping away at the Islamic concepts and heritage. Over the decades the limits of what is normal and acceptable within the Muslim community have been taking a severe battering from soap opera's. Where western soap opera's are used to take every opportunity to ridicule Christian tradition, their eastern counterparts are today taking every opportunity to ridicule the Islamic traditions and discredit them within the mass populous. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION The reason that these types of programmes are allowed to be broadcast is that capitalist society believes that everyone has freedom of expression. The argument behind this is that freedom of expression would lead to a better society. But the reality of freedom of expression is that it leads to the degradation of relationships in society, and this has been noticed by many watchdogs and institutions in the UK. There is a particular concern with the effect of soap operas, as part of the genre of today's media, upon the youth. The UK Youth Justice Board chairman, Lord Warner, in an interview with BBC News Online, criticised soap operas and rap artists for coming close to 'inciting violence or dangerous sexual behaviour. There's a case for reviewing whether we should regulate more rigorously. It's very hard to escape the concern that violent videos, violent films, violent music, violent games do influence some of the more impressionable minds. There's certainly a coarsening of attitudes. We are at risk of a gradual acceptance of a more violent culture in which we take it as given that a proportion of people will behave like that.' However due to the capitalist's insistence on sanctifying the freedom of expression it is inconceivable that any powerful type of regulation can ever be allowed to offend this belief. The Broadcasting Standards Commission that is supposed to be regulating the content of
these soap operas and has mentioned that soaps have been criticised for their violent content. They noted that a recent survey indicated that many people were worried about the effect of storylines on younger viewers. The BSC has attempted to go around the problem of destructive viewing by putting overtly graphic scenes or violent content after the 'Watershed' that is 9 p.m. Also Channel 4 was reprimanded by the Independent Television Commission for showing a sexual encounter in the soap opera, 'Brookside' which was "too explicit" for its early evening timeslot. Even if someone believed that all children are in bed by 9pm, are not adults affected by such content, and do not adults conduct sexually related crimes and adultery in the society? The BBC reports that, "Soap operas and TV advertisements that glorify bad behaviour are having a negative influence on younger viewers, teachers have warned." In the same report, according to the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT), 'Parents have failed to instil a standard of high morals in their children.' This demonstrates how it is inconceivable that freedom, the real culprit can be to blame. Since the society itself believes in the 'freedom of expression' and so the freedom of the broadcaster must be protected. The opponents to these soap operas cannot prevent such programmes and soaps from being broadcast into their homes. Despite the perceived dangers and links between societal degradation and broadcasting of programmes that perpetuate this degradation, the people of western societies are in fact blinded and gagged by their own beliefs in freedom of expression. This prevents them from putting a halt to the corrupting process of the society. Ironically, Capitalism that epitomises freedom has imprisoned people into misery with the very idea of freedom. Therefore, until there is a change in the ideology or a new ideology replaces it the situation is doomed to worsen perpetually. RESPONSIBILITY OF MUSLIM PARENTS The act of watching soap operas, while being an act of escapism from life's problems is not considered entertainment by the Islamic standards. Allah warned us to protect ourselves and our families, He said,
"O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones" [TMQ Surah at-Tahrim:6] Considering the society is plagued with crime, sexual promiscuity and complete disregard for other people including parents and elders how can Muslim parents still consider that watching the likes of such soap operas for their children is an innocent act, let alone watching them with their children? Surely they must realise that such activity would contribute to their often rebellious behaviour and individualistic attitudes. Furthermore, Muslim parents should provide alternative means of entertainment for their families. Bukhari and Muslim narrated that when the Prophet Muhammad entered Madinah after the Hijra from Makkah, the Ethiopians (Habasha) celebrated his arrival with a display of their prowess at spearthrowing. Furthermore, Bukhari also records that Aisha (ra) narrated that both she and the Prophet Muhammad watched the Ethiopians playing with their spears in the Mosque. Umar (ra) tried to stop them whereupon the Prophet intervened and ordered them to continue. Rasoolallah also said:
"Everything not linked to the remembrance (dhikr) of Allah is mere frivolity and play except four things: for a man to play with his family, to train one's horse, to practice archery, and to learn how to swim." Rasulallah also constructed a minbar for his grandson from which he would recite poetry in the masjid. All of these acts were indeed evidences for what Islam considers as valid means for entertainment. It is the responsibility of the Muslims to culture themselves and their youth with the rich Islamic concepts and heritage; this is what will have a positive impact on the Muslim community and the Muslim family unit. Part of this responsibility would be to shield themselves and their families from those things which would erode the Islamic values. And part of this responsibility would be to pursue and instil an interest in the lives of the companions (ra), and the Prophets (as) and the pious heroes from the Muslim history, as they are the true role models in life for the Muslims. October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Dr Qaiser Malik
QUEST FOR LIFE ON MARS A CAMPAIGN TO AVOID THE TRUTH
ince the first close up pictures of Mars were taken in 1965 the western scientific world has been fascinated with the 'Red Planet'. Its proximity to the earth and being the nearest unexplored planet have made it a focus of fascination for western film producers, fiction writers and scientists alike. But the main source of curiosity and intense excitement has been surrounding the so called similarities that this planet could have with our own. There has been a widespread campaign to educate the masses that conditions on Mars at some stage in its history could have been similar to those found on earth when life first appeared. The Mars Program, initiated by NASA, has developed an exploration strategy known as 'Follow the Water'. Their scientists believe that the discovery of water can lead to a stronger possibility that life could have formed on Mars, since water is the prerequisite for life to appear and then to develop, via the process of evolution. So the search has been relentless, and globally publicised, with endless new leads fuelling the expectation to discover life. All types of space telescopes, surveillance capsules and even vehicles on the surface of the planet have been hunting for dry riverbeds, ice in the polar caps, water-cut rock forms or any other indication to prove that water once flowed on Mars. There is a widely acclaimed theory amongst the NASA scientists investigating the planet that a vast ocean once existed in the Northern hemisphere. But the theory claims that since then Mars has undergone a dramatic change in its conditions to become the dry and dusty planet that we see today. In their objectives to investigate Mars, NASA 22
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state that their primary goal is to 'Determine if Life ever arose on Mars'. To this end millions of dollars and the latest technology have been invested. It is estimated that in financial year 2004 $570 million will be exclusively spent on Mars exploration. Early missions to Mars consisted merely of 'flybys'; spacecraft merely flying by Mars and taking as many pictures as possible. These included Mariner 3-4 and Mariner 6-7. Then Orbiters came in to play, spacecraft orbiting around the planet and taking more comprehensive pictures. Present day explorers include Landers and Rovers and future means of exploration may include airplanes, balloons, subsurface explorers and sample returners. This year two powerful new Mars rovers are on their way to the red planet, these robots will be able to trek up to 40 metres across the surface of the planet in one Martian day. Using images and spectra data beamed daily from the rovers, scientists will be able to command the vehicles to go to rocks and soil targets of interest and evaluate their composition and their texture at microscopic scales. Of course their primary concern would be to continue to pursue their quest to discover water on the planet. As mentioned, scientists believe that the discovery of water or the remnants of water existing in the past, could ultimately lead to the discovery of life on Mars. This is in keeping with the widely accepted but largely flawed theory of evolution. The theory of evolution states that life began spontaneously in water in the form of microbial organisms, which over millions if not billions of years evolved to
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animals that lived in the sea and ultimately to all living organisms, include humans. This theory was founded by Charles Darwin in the nineteenth century and speculates based upon some loosely connected assumptions that the origin of life emerged from water and evolved through mutation and natural selection. WE TOLERATE ALL BELIEFS - BUT PROMOTE ONLY ONE The West prides itself on the concept of freedom of belief with regards to the unseen and origins of life. Western society is presented as being tolerant and pluralistic where all religious beliefs and beliefs about the origin of man are tolerated, as long as they remain outside worldly affairs. But if one were to examine the application of this claim, it would become apparent that every strata of secular society only allows one predominant idea about the origin of man and life to be given any credibility. The idea of freedom of belief exists only on a personal level, but on societal level it is evident that there is only one idea relating to the origin of life that is presented as the strongest, and it follows that over time the goal is to penetrate this view through the masses. The Mars exploration programs are a clear example of how the western governments only want the theory of evolution, which is merely a theory, to be the widely accepted concept about the origin of life. This is what is universally taught almost as fact in all state curriculum schools, and the scientific world continues to attempt to patch over the gaping flaws in the theory by regularly presenting new 'supporting evidence'. In addition to this, the idea that the unseen creator created life from nothing and sustains it as he wishes, is not only ignored from credible scientific consideration, but also ridiculed in the wider media as being scientific naivety. So considering the quest to search for life on Mars, it is being proposed to the world that if
water can be discovered on Mars, then the discovery of life can surely follow because this is how evolution works. So implicitly what is being broadcast to the masses by means of the publicity surrounding the search for life on Mars is that evolution is the only basis by how the origin of life could occur, and the search for life is dependent upon the conditions required for the evolutionary process to have begun. It should be pointed out that even though there have been many discoveries about Mars and the planets features, there has yet been no evidence to support that water or evolution ever existed on the planet. So the insistence on continuing to search for life by searching for evolution is also serving the purpose of being a campaign to reject all opposing views to the origin of life by not giving them any consideration. It is in fact inconceivable to think that NASA would announce to the world that they have failed to find any evidence that life on Mars could have originated from evolution and that evolution itself has major flaws as a theory, so they are considering the view that God created
the universe and placed life where he chose. Hence, it can be seen that the Mars campaign is another example in a series of attempts by the West to subjugate the world to its mode of thought. The 'ape to man' theory is still presented as fact, though the so called 'missing link' has never been found. The 'big bang' theory is used to explain the unknown facts regarding how the world came into being, but fails to explain the origin of the so-called 'hot gases' that caused the big bang. The 'survival of the fittest' another theory, though has some logic and has some scientific basis, merely proposes how certain characteristics within a species, which emerged due to random
mutations, may have favoured survival hence the species evolved into a new superior one over time. But they fail to explain why there is no fossil evidence to show the transition of species through this process, but there is fossil evidence to show distinct species having existed and then become extinct. It is true to say that scientific developments have continued to progress under the guardianship of the West and the understanding of the physical, chemical and biological fields has tremendously developed. However the west has stubbornly ignored the rational evidence that the creator, Allah created man, life and all that exists. Western society continues to dupe the masses by presenting weak scientific theories as the only credible possibility to the origin of life and the universe. THERE IS ABUNDANT EVIDENCE ON MARS ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF LIFE The Islamic viewpoint on man, life and all existence is based on rational thought and is consistent with the reality. The existence of creation itself is evidence of the existence of the creator. The arrogance of the Western scientists leaves them in a position that they are not willing to accept the strongest explanation. The Muslim when he looks to creation; Life, the Earth, the Stars and the Planets including Mars, sees the power and magnificence of the creator of the Universe; Allah and is aware that nothing other than the all powerful creator is capable of creating, organising and sustaining the universe. In the future when the balance of power returns to the Muslims via the establishment of the Khilafah state, and the Muslims commence on travel through the universe, then the exploration of planets such as Mars will serve to further strengthen the belief in the existence of the creator. And such missions will be used to project to the world that all views other than the rational conclusion that the universe was created by Allah, hold no intellectual credence. But rather than offering no factual evidence, every photograph and rock sample will be used as evidence to debate with the world how their existence could only have originated from Allah's creation.
'Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alteration of night and day, these are indeed signs for men of understanding.' [TMQ Ale-Imran: 190] Allah also says:
'And of his signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours. Behold! Herein indeed are signs for men of knowledge' [TMQ ArRum: 22] Allah is ordering mankind to contemplate on the creation and belief should be based on fact, the proof of which is all around us, all we need to do is reflect over it. Muslims should not be weakened by the relentless campaign waged by the west to cover up the truth about the origin of life and the universe, but they should continue to strengthen their belief by the correct rational contemplation. Allah says:
'Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the difference of night and day, and the ships which run upon the sea with that which is of use to men, and the water which Allah sends down form the sky, thereby reviving the earth after its death, and dispersing all kinds of beasts therein, and the ordinance of the winds, and the clouds obedient between heaven and earth are signs (of Allah's sovereignty) for people who have sense.' [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 164]
October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
BRITISH CITIZENSHIP TESTS
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and duties of a citizen.
citizenship classes, or learning English, will be a cure for racism!
n September 2003 the British government increased the number of British troops in occupied Iraq. For most Muslims this is a very difficult situation where our loyalty is being tested. In the past Norman Tebbit advocated the ‘cricket test’ for Muslims in Britain, today it is the war test that we are subjected to. Most Muslims in this country are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants. In the past the argument used to be that we should give our loyalty to Britain in return for the benefits of living here. However, now people are realising that there is a clash between Islam and Britishness which means tolerating perverse immorality and brutal colonialism. Since 9/11 there has been a greater push for Muslims to integrate. The most recent of these are proposals for Britishness classes and tests by an independent advisory group, Life in Britain, chaired by Professor Sir Bernard Crick, former university tutor to the current British Home Secretary David Blunkett. This is the latest in a succession of plans deployed by the government aimed at imposing western values on Muslims. This move comes after anti-terrorism legislation which allows detaining of Muslims with the presumption of guilt before proof, introducing citizenship studies as part of the national curriculum, formation of Friends of Islam parliamentary group, freezing assets of Muslim charities, etc … Now, immigrants applying for a British passport from next year will face an exam with questions about British history, English language and the British political system including democratic institutions and the rights 24
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People may say what's wrong with history? David Blunkett explained; that it would not be a question of asking new migrants to recite a list of dates or kings and queens but demonstrate an understanding of Britain's history and its democratic institutions. The Crick report said that an understanding of British history could strengthen a commitment to common values. Thus we can only expect that a version of history will be taught that portrays Britain as the saviour and not the brutal colonialist that she really is. We do not expect that Muslims will be exposed to any kind of discussion regarding British support for the criminal house of al-Saud in fighting against the Khilafah and separating Mecca and Madina from the Islamic state. Neither should we expect the colonisation of India via the East India Company to feature on the syllabus. How wonderful it would be for people to know the real truth behind the Balfour declaration and British involvement in the Suez Canal crisis. How quickly people will seek to distance themselves away from being loyal to the British government if they knew the truth about British involvement in the first Gulf war and British inaction in Bosnia. LANGUAGE It has been claimed that by being able to speak to their neighbours, new citizens could get the welcome that would "see off the racists". Most citizens of foreign origin will tell you that racists don't often care whether you speak good, bad or any English. They are more interested in the colour of your skin and sending you back to where you came from, because they think you are stealing their jobs and living off benefits that they are paying for. If anything, it has to be said that the vitriol and hysteria created by the media surrounding asylum seekers has encouraged racists throughout the country, and has seen them gaining in council elections like no time in the past few decades. It's quite absurd to think that
The actual fact is that the vast majority of Muslims in this country, even recent immigrants speak English. It is not uncommon to meet immigrants who speak English proficiently even before they have ever visited this country. So why the push to learn English? The problem is not the language - it's the values that are passed in the process of acquiring the language. Blunkett said: "I also welcome the emphasis on English - acquiring English is a pre-requisite to social integration, to further education and employment and to the well-being of succeeding generations. In September 2002 the BBC world service broadcast a report about TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) in which the teacher asked a female student to pretend she was doing a striptease in order to teach the class the English for various items of clothing and actions related to taking them off. This is the reality of teaching a language for the purpose of social integration. This effect can occur out of any type of teaching whether teaching English or mathematics. However teaching a language can accelerate the process and is a powerful means to introduce people to an alien culture. Alternatively, severing the link with a language also has the effect of distancing people from their own culture. Consider the effect of changing the alphabet from Arabic to Latin script in places like Turkey and Malaysia. Clearly the citizenship test is not about language but about culturing people with certain values. So the 18 year old bride from Pakistan or Bangladesh, who wants to come and live with her husband in Britain, will have to undergo this culturing under the pretext of teaching the language. CITIZENSHIP A citizen is defined in the Oxford dictionary as a person who has full rights in a country. The
Crick Report however argues; "To be British seems to us to mean that we respect the laws, the elected parliamentary and democratic political structures, traditional values of mutual tolerance, respect for equal rights and mutual concern; and that we give our allegiance to the state (as commonly symbolised in the Crown) in return for its protection." Quite clearly such proposals are targeting Muslims, where, due to the inevitable clash of civilisations, Islam is treated differently to all other cultures, in the same way that the presumption of innocence until proven guilty does not apply under the anti-terrorism legislation to Muslims. "One of the big objects of this report... is integration in the sense of people feeling secure in their own identities, but also sharing a wider identity." [The Crick report] What this means in reality is that anyone who finds a conflict between his or her own identity and the identity of the wider society should compromise on their values in order to receive the protection from the state. So Muslims should sever their link with the occupied people of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan in order to remain loyal to the Crown and receive its protection. THE CARROT AND THE STICK Bernard Crick made it clear that he envisaged the citizenship test to be like the driving test: based on common sense and able to be taken again if failed. "We do not want the burden to be onerous but plainly citizenship is more esteemed and valued when it is earned and not given," Sir Bernard said. What this means is that immigrants even though they will be allowed to stay in this country may not be able to work or receive many benefits. This is the typical carrot and the stick approach taken by the colonialists since the days of the British Raj. The basic principle upon which this approach is built is; "people are more likely to compromise or sell out when their interests are threatened". WOULD MOST OF THE BRITISH PASS THE BRITISHNESS TEST? The home secretary also said that he wanted to see English people taking greater pride in their culture. "On the liberal left, celebrating Irish, Scottish and Welsh culture is seen as a good thing. But there's something almost apologetic about the English which I am seeking to
overcome," he said.
democracies, we may over time see the emergence of a distinctly European Islam."
It seems that even the British people realise that they have got nothing to be proud of. The British people have witnessed their own moral and social degeneration. Britain is a place where a British man who actually raped a baby was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment whereas a Muslim Imam was imprisoned for 9 years for allegedly inciting racial hatred. It is a society in which child abuse is endemic, where recently the front page of a London newspaper read "School shut down after child porn was found".
This claim of the universality of western concepts about life is a lie. In truth, democrats and only democrats can never accept that religious injunctions take precedence over temporal (man made) laws. The rest of the world whether their conception of The Creator is true or false, in essence, believes in the precedence of religious injunction over temporal law. Not only are western secular values not universal but the claim of them being universal is a blatant lie. The concepts of freedom, democracy and the rule of law all contradict Islam since Islam requires the submission to the will of Allah . Freedom essentially renounces this submission. Democracy advocates that the will of the majority not the will of Allah determines right and wrong. The rule of law means respect for the law of the land while Islam only respects the Shari'ah (Law) Allah .
Recently there was much concern about the hundreds of British holiday makers who are in prisons on the Greek island of Falaraki, for disorderly conduct such as exposing their private parts and copulating in the streets and bars. It seems that even the British public have come to realise the reality of British culture; that it is brutish culture. BRITISH VALUES UNIVERSAL VALUES
Jack Straw, British Foreign Minister speaking at a conference of FCO staff in January 2003, said "The truth is that when it comes to the common rights of all peoples there is no 'clash of civilisations'. "Freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law are universal values." The basic refutation of this can be understood from Jack Straws' own statement regarding Muslim youth made in an article for Prospect Magazine in October 2002; "At the same time, too many within the younger generation appear to show an unwillingness to integrate into mainstream British society. Together with Muslim leaders, we must do more to counter the influence of fundamentalists over disenchanted Muslim youth. Democrats can never accept that religious injunctions take precedence over temporal laws. As British Muslims and their European counterparts become more and more integrated into the fabric of our
In conclusion, we should welcome the idea that the people who want to come and live in this country should be educated about British history, language and political system. In fact it is our obligation as part of carrying the Islamic da'wah to educate everyone about the true reality of the corrupt British identity which is based on false concepts about life that are not at all universal. How excellent it would be if everyone in this society knew the truth about the brutal colonialist history of Britain, about the corrupt way of life here and about the political institutions that is subjugated by the capitalist to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. Surely it would make the work of the Islamic da'wah much easier.
"O you who believe! Take not as Bitanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends, etc.) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayat if you understand."[TMQ Ale-Imran: 118] October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Sarfraz Ahmed Wali
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that the same cheap drugs may be smuggled back out of the country to the western markets for commercial gain. Furthermore, many bureaucratic restrictions and 'red tape' placed by the US to minimise the damage to profit arising from such concerns make the benefits untenable for the countries affected. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
WTO CONDEMNS MILLIONS TO AIDS - DEATH BY PATENT
he AIDS epidemic has been likened by the US Surgeon General to the plague, which decimated Europe in the Middle Ages. Last year alone, there were approximately 5 million new cases of AIDS in the world adding to an existing 42 million cases. 3.5 million of these cases arose from SubSahara Africa itself showing the extent to which this part of the world is particularly vulnerable to the life threatening virus. The vulnerability in this part of the world is largely due to the abstract poverty and the subsequent lack of basic healthcare provision. As a result, there is a lack of access to the Patented Antiretroviral drugs that can be used to slow down the symptoms of AIDS. The essence of the debate rests around the desire of Western pharmaceutical companies to retain their patented drug products whilst millions of people are denied access to these medicines. THE ARGUMENTS Debate has raged fiercely for years between governments in poverty stricken countries and those in the West, most notably the US which is host to numerous pharmaceutical companies, which have produced the patent protected drugs which can help people live near normal lives. The US government, acting on the dictates of 26
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its powerful pharmaceutical lobby, has reneged on its commitment formulated at the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) Doha agreement in 2001. This stipulated a deal which allowed for the bypassing of patent rules on public health grounds under what are called compulsory licensing arrangements. Under such arrangements, the governments of AIDS afflicted countries unable to import vital drugs at world market prices could arrange for the production of cheaper, non-branded versions of the patent protected drugs by issuing licenses to companies who would undertake such production, paying a small royalty to the patent holder. The effect of the subsequent increased supply and increased competition of such generic labelled drugs within the poor country, which would be based on the patented drug technology, would be a significant reduction in the price of treatment for sufferers. The sad irony is that the US along with all other members of the WTO voted in 2001 for these exemption clauses to the TRIPS agreement (trade related aspect of intellectual property rights) on healthcare grounds. Since 2001 the US administration and the pharmaceutical industry have put a number of hurdles in the way of the previously agreed concession for developing countries, rendering the clause effectively unworkable. The arguments used for doing so include the claim
At the recent WTO summit in Cancun, Mexico the USA seemed to climb down from its former position and went back to restricting the ability of countries to benefit from the provisions initially defined in 1996 which were later agreed in 2001 by all WTO members including the US. This inability of developing countries to benefit from the 2001 agreement was in part due to the inability of poor countries to produce the drugs domestically. This was one of the conditions of the compulsory licensing exemption clause. This was due to a lack of medical infrastructure. The bombing of the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan on the false pretext of it being a chemical weapons plant didn't help in this regard. In the face of mounting international pressure the US has granted a concession to developing countries that allows the import of patented drugs from abroad. However, major restrictions and obstacles have been put in their path: these drugs can only be imported under generic names, different packaging and using coloured pills to differentiate from the patented equivalent drugs sold in the West. These restrictions in effect are intended to prevent poorer, developing countries from ever having access to these drugs even in a cheaper form. For example, the increased manufacturing costs involved in making different coloured, sized and shaped pills (one of the requirements) would deter any generic producer, operating on a for profit basis, from ever producing the drugs.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL What has emerged from the recent negotiations has been the huge sums of profits generated for pharmaceutical companies must be paramount in all discussions. The Multinationals involved such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithkline, Novartis and Bristol Myers Squibb will still retain their patents, profits and pre-eminent positions. The new deal requires developing countries that issue compulsory licensing to pledge that the scheme will not be used as "an instrument to pursue industrial or commercial policy objectives". Failure to comply means poor countries would be exposed with crippling law suits which most developing countries would not risk and hence opt out of using the system according to expert commentators. One such voice was Celine Charveriat, Oxfam's Head of Advocacy in Geneva who said "The text contains so much red tape and so many obstaclesâ€Śdeveloping countries would still struggle to get access to cheap medicines and thousands would continue to die" Furthermore Asia Russell, Director of the famous US based organization of AIDS and human rights activists called Health GAP said regarding the deal: "The current solution is designed to placate U.S Companies and guarantee ever-expanding market share, not to increase access to affordable generic medicines for dying people" WTO - WASHINGTON'S ORGANIZATION?
It is evident that the relationship between Multinationals and national governments is a very close one. Both parties are concerned in generating profits and market influence before any other consideration. This can be seen in the way that the body which is designed to act as a world 'referee' between developing countries need for drugs and Western companies desire to retain their privileged patent rules is influenced by the most powerful nations and most dominant companies. The WTO does not act on the basis of its mandate to help all but instead is used by countries such as the USA. Therefore, it is no surprise that this body defines the rules on the basis of what big business wants. In the case of the pharmaceutical industry and millions of Aids sufferers this can be accurately described as putting profits before patients since it is not
really a government body based on the interest of the electorate as we are led to believe. Indeed, Helmet Maucher, who heads the ICC, a body representing 7000 of the world's multinationals, was quoted as saying he no longer wanted his organisation to be seen as the WTO's 'secret girlfriend'! To illustrate this dependency relationship between governments and corporations, who are both bound through a mutual drive for self interest, take the case of the 1996 European Parliament vote of 366 to 0 for the ban of synthetic hormones from beef on the basis of strong proof that it causes cancer, infertility and premature onset of puberty in young children. Three months after the ban, the US government took the case to the WTO on the basis of pressure from the agrochemical company Monsanto and other commercial interest groups on grounds that it acted as an unfair barrier to imports. Unsurprisingly, the ban was lifted shortly afterwards in favour of the USA. Two years later the WTO allowed the US to impose retaliatory sanctions that cost the EU countries. The point to note here is that the interests of the European consumers were ignored in favour of the wishes of the US and the powerful agribusiness lobby. Currently, a similar debate is being fought by Europe to ban the import of Genetically Modified (GM) or 'Frankenstein' foods on the grounds of public health concerns. How can people throughout the world trust the WTO to look after their welfare and health with such a track record?
resort to in order to retain their patents and sell their goods: Monsanto patented a rBGH hormone, which increases the milk output in cows. The company was allowed to escape the usual checks defined by the Food and Drug Agency (FDA) in the US despite knowledge that it causes human cancer and puss in the milk amongst other unsavoury symptoms. Canadian scientists who broke into the research laboratories found the terrible facts about this hormone yet the US government hasn't 'pulled the plug' on the milk despite widespread condemnation. Similarly, Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used in soft drinks that has failed tests yet the public consume it in huge amounts seemingly unaware of its affects. WHY IS THIS IMPASSE POSSIBLE ? a) Why are company profits being sought when the price is millions of lives? b) Why is the WTO unable to live up to its mandate and put justice as defined by its members above the influence of a few powerful interest groups? c) Why is the US government bowing to such pressure as a supposed upholder of democracy and human rights as it never tires of professing to others? What allows Western governments and Multinational companies to seek profits and
Even when the decisions of the WTO don't really suit the leading powers such as the officials in Washington, undue pressure is placed upon countries to scrap provisions allowed for by the WTO. For example a report from the US State Dept says "All relevant agencies of the US government â€Ś.have been engaged in an assiduous concerted campaign to persuade the government of South Africa to withdraw or modify the Medicines Act'. The Medicines Act gives the government of South Africa the authority to pursue compulsory licensing allowed for under the agreement at the 2001 WTO conference by all member states including the US. The pursuit of profits has not only led to Multinationals pressurising their governments over policy issues. It also extends to the drastic and harmful lengths such companies October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
revenues above the provision of healthcare for millions can only be explained by looking into the Capitalist economic model:
made to the contemporary version, called the neo-classical view by people like Alfred Marshal and John Maynard Keynes, the central philosophy is maintained.
chilling explanation to help understand how the quest for profit of a few individuals is being sought over the consideration of human life of the many.
CAPITALIST BELIEF IN THE PURSUIT OF ECONOMIC SELF INTEREST
To achieve this greater good, he argues that there needs to be as much freedom from government interference for individuals as possible and capital should be free i.e. allowed to go where it wants to go even if this is in industries that most argue should be free from the profit motive such as in the case of health-
As a result of the pursuit of self interest to the exclusion of all else, everyone is taught to think of themselves with the moral scapegoat coming in the form of the invisible market hand which in reality is far from a benevolent hand working for the greater good. Therefore, it is only natural with such a mentality that large corporations will do all they can to retain their exclusive patents, restrict the supply of life saving drugs and put private sector profits above the welfare of the poor and needy.
Adam Smith, considered the founder of the classical school of economics, has shaped the western model of economy and politics through his famous 1776 book called 'The
ISLAM'S ANSWER TO THE MARKET, THE RULER AND PATENTS The problem does not lie in a private sector per se as Islam also advocates an active and thriving private sector. Neither is the issue to address who is right or wrong in the debate between pharmaceutical giants, or the governments of the developing world or in the West. Rather the focus is on how this impasse is as a result of the false principles of capitalism.
wealth of nations'. Smith asserted that individuals pursuing economically "selfish" goals are organized "as if by an invisible hand" into a self-regulating economy that benefits everyone despite this not being the intention of those seeking their self gain. He furthermore attacked those who think of others before themselves as not leading to the greater good, in fact leading to greater bad than good according to this invisible hand theory. He states, "â€Śby pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it." Although certain modifications have been 28
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care provision. This pursuit of self interest and the freedom of capital that goes along with it, still shapes the attitudes of modern Multinational businessmen and politicians, notably the idea that giving the rich more incentives like less taxation and providing a climate conducive for the big players to grow is the only way to benefit everyone in the long run. In reality, this is used to justify the current misdistribution of wealth that is polarizing the world at an unprecedented speed. For instance, World Bank President Jim Wolfensohn stated in 1999 that in 25 years time, half the world's population will be living on less than $2 per day as opposed to around a quarter today. Despite these clear proofs, this admission of calling people to think of themselves over others on the false justification that it is the best way to benefit everyone is the clear but
Islam is a complete order for shaping life be it its social, political or economic aspect. Such order is ordained by the Creator of man, Allah ď ‰ who is best able to understand the complex dynamics of man's legitimate quest for wealth, the limits of his ownership and the factors balancing the individual satisfaction with that of the system which ensures wealth is accessible to all citizens be they Muslim or nonMuslim. To achieve this intricate balance, Islam has shown us a precise and robust economic order capable of what the West has miserably failed to achieve which is the ability to organize these competing forces and dynamics in a manner that achieves legitimate profits and distribution of wealth. It does this through such means as the clear categorization of property into private, public and state property. CORRECT VIEW OF THE MARKET MECHANISM Capitalism, as said earlier, pushes for self interest to the exclusion of other values on the false belief that this is the BEST way to help everyone. It is held that targeting the good of oneself, inadvertently targets the collective good despite the collective good not being the
aim of the individual seeking self interest. In Islam, the collective good is not left to the greed and self interest of the few who care for nobody but themselves. Neither is everything pushed into the private sector which exists for profit as there exists a clash of interests over certain goods and services such as AIDS medicines in this case and the profit motive. The Prophet Mohammed ď ˛ said in one Hadith "The people have a right in three things, the water, the pastures and the fire" (Abu Dawud) The essence of this subject in Islam is that products and services which are essential such as public utilities, healthcare provision and resources which are collective in their nature such as schools and hospitals are never subject to the lure of the profit motive as this clashes with the essence of their reality which is collective welfare of the citizens in society. THE RULER The role of the Khilafah is to look after the interests of its citizens via a clearly defined private and public sector. Once the system has agreed the goods and services suitable for the private sector, the realm of a private sector is not marginalized as in Socialism. On the contrary the Ruler is entrusted to ensure anti market forces such as price fixing and other trade irregularities are kept away from the natural forces of supply and demand. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Ownership in Islam is defined as the right to fully benefit from property you acquire according to the laws of Islam. This implies that you own the commodity, be it a product or service completely without the previous owner being allowed to put restrictions on its use as occurs from patent holders. The west's definition of intellectual property includes two types of private ownership. One of them is sensed and tangible such as a trademark and a house. The second is sensed but not tangible such as a scientific theory or knowledge about the makeup of a drug. If the ownership is of the first type such as the permitted trademark then it is allowed for the individual to own it and benefit from it by utilising it or selling it. The Khilafah is obliged
to protect this right of the individual. The owner will be able to freely dispose of it, and others will be prevented from infringing upon this right. The trademark is an invented sign placed by the trader on his products to distinguish them from the products of others. However, if the intellectual ownership is of the second type such as the scientific theory or the knowledge used to produce things, then if the commodity that is shaped by this knowledge is sold, the buyer has the right to benefit from it without restrictions placed by the original owner. PATENTS RESTRICT DISTRIBUTION The effect of placing restrictions on people benefiting from knowledge is the relative stagnation of new inventions and innovation since during the length of the patent, nobody is allowed to compete with new inventions, which are a development of the patented technology. The effect of this is that wealth creation and distribution is adversely affected since it stays in the hands of the patent holder even though somebody else could have come to the same knowledge independently and cannot now benefit commercially from their own efforts because they were beaten to the line in getting the technology patented. People would thus feel a disincentive to engineer new inventions for fear that the traders who gets to it first will force him to forgo his efforts by barring him from trading his invention unless he wants to be sued for infringing on someone else's patents. This situation would act as an impediment to the distribution of wealth, which is one of the pillars of the Islamic economic system, which relies on a growing and vibrant private sector with a good circulation of wealth through all spheres of society. STEALING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY Furthermore, the Western States steal industrial secrets from the companies of other nations and hence use patents to benefit from the efforts of others. For example the findings released in a European Parliament report in the year 2000 described how the US governments spying apparatus the NSA (National Security Agency) had stolen contracts heading for European firms by intercepting data (for example listening into modem lines linking research centres and head offices) and conversations and then passing subsequent info to the
US Commerce Department for use by American firms. Horst Teltschik, a senior BMW Board member and former security adviser to the former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl recently said "we have discovered that industrial secrets are being siphoned off to an extent never experienced until now." The laws of protecting intellectual property are one of the styles of economic colonialism imposed by the Capitalist superpowers on the states of the world and its peoples despite the same nations fiddling the rules of their own game as in the case of industrial espionage mentioned above. Hence after these nations gain ownership of technology, they impose their laws to hoard this knowledge and prevent other nations from benefiting from them, thus keeping their own consumer markets for their products in the name of investment and globalisation. OUR RESPONSE Let us expose to those smitten by the illusion of the western thoughts their error. Let us bring the irreconcilable contradictions to their attention. For example, how Senators during the recent Anthrax scare in the US were threatening the Bayer Pharmaceutical Company if it didn't produce enough Ciprofloxacin to protect national health by insisting that it produces generic versions of its drugs to increase the supply and lower the price of its medicine, forcing it to drop its patents in the process. Are the developing countries not making the same case? Moreover the severity of the AIDS crisis relative to Anthrax is a greater reason to bypass patents. Only by refuting the false ideology of Capitalism will the Ummah be able fulfil its duty to Allah ď ‰ by paving the way for the reestablishment of the Khilafah State and rescue the world from the abyss of suffering and decline which arises from the man made system of Capitalist with its colonisation and false solutions.
"You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind: you enjoin Al-Ma'ruf and forbid AlMunkar, and you believe in Allah" [TMQ AleImran: 110] October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
LOCKERBIE & THE ANGLOAMERICAN VIEW TOWARDS LIBYA
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of U.N. sanctions should not be misconstrued by Libya or by the world community as tacit U.S. acceptance that the government of Libya has rehabilitated itself.
n Friday the 12th of September, the U.N. Security Council officially lifted the 11-year-old sanctions against Libya. The removal of UN sanctions was in response to a letter submitted by Libya before the UN Security Council on the 15th of August. In the letter Libya formally accepted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, agreed to recompense the relatives of those killed and renounced terrorism. Under the terms of the agreement brokered by US and British officials, Libya would pay a maximum of $2.7bn in compensation to the relatives. The compensation is to be paid in instalments and is subject to certain conditions. The details are as follows: 1. Initial payment of $4m would be made to the relatives on the immediate lifting of UN sanctions which were imposed in 1992 and suspended in 1999, when Libya handed over the suspects accused of the bombing Pan AM flight 103. 2. A further payment of $4m would be made on the lifting of US sanctions against Libya which were imposed in 1986 and consolidated in December 1988. 3. The final $2m would be paid if Libya was removed from the US State 30
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BRITAIN AND AMERICA AT ODDS OVER LIBYA'S RE-ENTRY TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY Despite the deal, considerable differences remain not only between American and British officials but also amongst the families of the victims. America's abstention during the vote to lift the UN embargo against Libya points to her deep mistrust of Libya. Several US officials voiced concerns after Libya first claimed responsibility for the bombing in August. On August 16, The Washington Post reported that Secretary of State Colin Powell said that the administration remains "deeply concerned" about Libya's "poor human rights record and lack of democratic institutions." On the 17th of August The Sunday Times reported that a US official said, "Libya does not deserve a clean bill of health. It has met the minimum standard for the lifting of UN sanctions but we continue to have serious concerns about pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile systems, human rights and meddling in the affairs of other countries, especially in Africa." As soon the sanctions were lifted U.S. deputy ambassador James Cunningham said that the American decision to allow the lifting
On the other hand British officials have gone out of their way to support Libya's re-admittance into the community of nations. Britain was the lead sponsor of the UN resolution to end the sanctions against the North African country. On the 16th of August the Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane said, "Libya has met the four obligations placed on it by the UN - it has accepted responsibility, met its obligations on compensation, renounced terrorism and has agreed to co-operate on any further investigation". Britain's response to the UN decision to lift sanctions against Libya was greeted with joy. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that the lifting of U.N. sanctions marks a new and welcome chapter in Libya's relationship with the international community based on cooperation, not confrontation. Straw's comments were at variance with James Cunningham who aptly summed up the American view that Libya was a pariah state not worthy of international recognition. BRITAIN DEFENCE
This is not the first time Britain and America have differed over Libya. Ever since, America implicated Libya in the Lockerbie bombing, Britain spearheaded Libya's defence. Britain arranged the handover of the suspects to The Hague in Netherlands and argued that the trial ought to be conducted according to Scottish law. This admission was made on July 7, 1999 before the House of Commons by the then British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook who said, "â€Śthe diplomatic stalemate over this issue was broken by our initiative in offering a trial under Scottish law in The Netherlands. Intensive and patient diplomacy produced an agreement by Libya in April to hand over both suspectsâ€Ś" The fact that the trial was
convened in Netherlands under Scottish law gave Britain an advantage over America to influence the outcome of the trial. Till this day, doubts linger concerning the culpability of the Libyan officials involved in the bombing. One of the officials, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah was released without charge, while the jailed Libyan Abdel Basset alMegrahi is waiting to appeal against the flimsy evidence used to prosecute him. Al-Megrahi was convicted on the basis of a tenuous link with a suitcase containing the bomb. UK relatives and their supporters have long suspected the guilty verdict brought against alMegrahi and have relentlessly campaigned for a public enquiry into the bombing. On March 26, 2001, Tam Dalyell a veteran Lockerbie campaigner recalled Boylan's (policewoman who gave evidence in the Lockerbie trial) conversations with a local Scottish legal official about the significance of the suitcase. According to Dalyell, Boylan claimed a colleague informed that Curry's (A US Army Special Forces Captain) suitcase contained the bomb that blew up the aircraft. Dalyell said, "I want to know who will verify the statement and show whether it is true or false. If the bomb was in Curry's suitcase, Mr. Megrahi is hardly likely to be guilty." Given these facts, it is most likely that a re-trial will exonerate the jailed Libyan and the world will once again be fixated on America and her previous attempts to discredit the unofficial view (put forward by the US Aviation Insurance Group (USAIG)) that CIA officials were to blame for the bombing. BRITAIN INSTRUMENTAL IN THE SUSPENSION OF UN SANCTIONS AGAINST LIBYA Britain was also instrumental in suspending UN sanctions against Libya much to the annoyance of the Americans. Britain instructed her loyal agent Nelson Mandela to embark on a tour of African, Arab and European nations to encourage them to lift UN sanctions against Libya. Steven Dorril, the writer on Britain's intelligence services broke the news that Mandela was working for the MI6 and was the central figure in supporting an end to Libya's isolation. He said in the Sunday herald that Mandela was the key to turning Libya from a terrorist state to one open to the West. It can be said that he charmed Gaddafi for western economic interests. He also stated that MI6's psychological warfare
department - responsible for propaganda helped massage international opinion allowing Mandela to visit Gadaffi without courting virulent western criticism. During October 1997 Mandela visited Tripoli twice by road from neighbouring Tunisia in defiance of US wishes, and spoke strongly against the sanctions. He said, "(We) feel that to maintain these sanctions is to punish the ordinary people of Libya and that is why there is now great concern that the remaining sanctions must be lifted". He also spoke against the US attempts to dissuade him from visiting Libya. He said, "Those who say I should not be here are without morals. I am not going to join them in their lack of morality." This drew criticism from the US. "We would be disappointed if he decided to make such a trip. To give (the Libyans) any solace at a time like this would be unfortunate," said U.S. State Department spokesman James Rubin. This marked the beginning of a campaign which took him to a number of countries soliciting their support for the end to sanctions.
Following the UN's lead, Switzerland suspended its sanctions against Libya on April 9th, 1999 and on the 10th of June, 1999 Britain lifted the embargo on exporting planes, spare parts and other equipment relating to aviation to Libya. British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Hoon said in an official statement that this decision is to complete the UN decision on lifting the embargo. On July 7th, 1999 Britain restored its diplomatic ties with Libya. "I am upgrading immediately the British Interests Section in Tripoli to Embassy status," Robin cook said. Momentum for the lifting of sanctions alarmed America and she threatened to veto an initiative put forward by the non-aligned members (Bahrain, Gabon, Gambia, Malaysia and Namibia) of the Security Council to get the sanctions against Libya lifted. Peter Burleigh, acting U.S. representative to the United Nations, said that Washington is prepared to vote in favour of a statement that "welcomes" Libya's cooperation, "with a view to lifting" the sanctions eventually. It would be premature to lift sanctions. American opposition against the lifting of the embargo did not deter other countries from repudiating the sanctions. In September 1999, the EU formally announced its intention to lift the embargo and for the first time in a decade the US stood isolated over Libya. BRITISH INFLUENCE IN LIBYA LEADS AMERICA TO ISOLATE GADDAFI
By March 1999, Mandela with British help had succeeded in making a mockery of the UN sanctions. This time he flew into Libya in violations of UN sanctions which prohibited air travel. Speaking to a crowd in Tripoli he said, "King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and myself have given full support to our brother leader Moammar Gadhafi". Earlier in Stockholm Mandela predicted that his trip to Libya would pay off. "It is good to be an optimist. I am sure he (Gadhafi) is going to play ball." What Mandela was referring to was that Libya had agreed to handover the suspects and that international pressure was mounting to end the sanctions. On April 5th, 1999 the two suspect's al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah were handed over to British authorities in The Hague and UN sanctions were automatically suspended. The news was greeted by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. He said, "This is a historic moment. It is the end of a 10-year diplomatic stalemate".
The heart of America's abstinence towards normalising relations with Libya lies in the fact that over the years Libya has firmly served British interests. A quick recap of history reveals that Britain played a central role in Libya's independence and subsequent development. Libya used to be a former colony of Italy, but after the WWII Italy was forced to relinquish her colonial status over Libya by the then major powers US, Britain and France. Eventually, Libya became a protectorate of Britain but faced stiff opposition from the Americans. The American's relentless call for independence saw Britain grant independence to Libya in 1951. Libya now was ruled by the British agent King Mohammad Idris alSanousi. Earlier, during WWII, Britain had forged close ties with Idris and aided him in leading the resistance against Italy's occupation of his country. Under the rule of Idris, Britain cultivated close economic and military ties with Libya. However, the discovery of oil in 1959 added a new dimension to the AngloAmerican struggle and Britain was forced to October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
share some of its spoils with the Americans. This included granting licenses to American oil companies. During the sixties American influence in Libya gradually increased which was in part due to Idris's assistance. The Americans were also hoping to renew the terms of their 20 year lease on military installations which were due to expire in 1970. Given these circumstances, Britain manipulated domestic discontent against Idris and his pro western policies. In September, 1969 Britain initiated a coup and replaced Idris with Colonel Gaddafi. According to files released by the Public Record Office in 2001, the king secretly asked then-Prime Minister Harold Wilson to help restore him to power, but Britain's Labor Party government did not help him. Michael Stewart, Britain's foreign secretary at the time, warned that it would be dangerous and wrong to intervene in the coup. It seems to us that in this event the sooner we get on terms with the revolutionary government, the greater are the chances of protecting our essential interests in Libya. This was a veiled reference to Gaddafi the Sandhurst trained British agent. Shortly after his accession to power, Gaddafi closed American and British bases on Libyan territory and partially nationalised all foreign oil and commercial interests in Libya. America withdrew from its strategically important Wheelus Air base and turned the facility over to the Libyans on June 11, 1970. In 1973, Libya nationalised 51% of all oil companies and doubled the price of its crude oil. Gaddafi also played a key role in promoting the use of oil embargoes as a political weapon to persuade the West (especially the United States)to end support for Israel. In 1974, Gaddafi nationalised three US oil companies and announced an oil embargo on the US. After which the relations with America nose dived and on December 29, 1979. The U.S. Government declared Libya a "state sponsor of terrorism" Through these political manoeuvres, Britain
managed to secure her interests in Libya. She succeeded in the expulsion of American oil companies, the closure of American bases and turned warm relations between Libya and America into a tumultuous relationship which still continues today. BRITISH INTERESTS IN LIBYA In spite of the US sanctions against Libya in 1986 and UN sanctions in 1992, Libya has continued to serve Britain's economic and political interest. Prior to 1992 Britain's exports totalled $225 million dollars. After the declaration of UN sanctions, British companies most notably HSBC carried on with their business activities with Libya. HSBC forged strong economic ties with British Arab Commercial Bank (BACB) based in London, which is 47 percent owned by HSBC and 25 percent owned by Libyan Arab Foreign Bank. When questioned about the links, Richard Beck, a HSBC spokesman in London said, "BACB is a U.K.-licensed bank and regulated by the U.K. authorities, who are aware of the share holding by the Libyan bank and are satisfied with it''. In addition, British company Lasmo has continued with its business activities during the embargo. Well before the lifting of UN sanctions some British oil companies held talks with Qaddafi's government to upgrade Libya's dilapidated oil and gas infrastructure reported to be worth billions. No wonder Labour MP Roger Stott described Libya as "traditionally ... a strong British market. Although UN sanctions were suspended in 1999, foreign investment in the Libyan gas and oil sectors is severely curtailed due to the United States' Iran and Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA). The act restricts the yearly amount any foreign company can invest in Libya to $20 million (lowered from $40 million in 2001). This means that European companies looking to do businesses with Libya will risk financial penalties being levied on their investment. British political interests are served via Libya's ability to use its relationship with African, Arab and Muslim countries to promote British interests. Libya actively supports British foreign policy objectives in Israel and Iraq. Libyan involvement can be found in several African disputes ranging from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Sierra Leon and Ethiopia. Libya also has sought to expand its influence in Africa through financial assis-
Khilafah Magazine October 2003
tance, ranging from aid donations to impoverished neighbours such as Niger to oil subsidies to Zimbabwe. Libya has also acted as a conduit for British arms to be supplied to rebel organisation in Africa. For instance in January 2000 the Sunday Times ran a report that British Customs officials had found a consignment of Scud missile parts bound for Libya, months before the Blair Labour government restored links with the regime of Colonel Muammar Gadaffi. Libya together with Nigeria and South Africa form a triangle of countries through which Britain exercises its influence in Africa. That is why recently, a US official described Libya as "â€Śmeddling in the affairs of other countries, especially in Africa."
AMERICAN POLICY TOWARDS LIBYA The commercial stakes in Libya for the US oil companies are huge. Four US oil companies Occidental, Amerada Hess, Conoco Phillips and Marathon - hold concessions that could eventually be revoked by Libya in 2005 if the sanctions are not lifted. More importantly, Libya is considered one of the world's most promising sites for further oil exploration, with non-US companies now pursuing more than 100 exploration licences. These concerns were echoed in 2001 in a draft report produced by an influential energy task force working under the supervision of US vice president Dick Cheney. The report stated that sanctions can "advance" important national security and diplomatic goals. However it added that United Nations sanctions on Iraq and U.S. restrictions on energy investments in Libya and Iran "affect some of the most important existing and prospective petroleum producing countries in the world". In August of this year, the call to remove sanctions was reiterated by William Reinsch, of the National Foreign Trade Council. He said, "They have changed and we ought to recognise it with some reciprocal actions on our part". Despite this pressure it appears that the US government will only terminate US sanctions when Libya is run by a proAmerican government. Since the early
eighties, regime change in Libya has been a feature of US policy. Nonetheless, successive US governments were either unwillingly to bring about regime change or were unable to manipulate the international situation to achieve this aim. But after September 11, the Bush administration was given fresh impetus to accomplish this task. The neo-conservatives who dominate Bush's government are passionate supporters of regime change in countries hostile towards America. Aided by the media, think- tanks and officials close to President Bush, the neoconservatives are lining up Libya as a potential target. In September 2001, Richard Perle outlined the argument for a broader war on all state sponsors of terrorism in an Op-Ed piece published by Britain's Daily Telegraph. He said, "Those countries that harbour terrorists (that provide the means with which they must destroy innocent civilians) must themselves be destroyed". He specifically named Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria as state sponsors. On May 6 , 2002, in a speech entitled "Beyond the Axis of Evil," Undersecretary of State John Bolton said there was "no doubt that Libya continues its longstanding pursuit of nuclear weapons," as well as chemical weapons, biological weapons and ballistic missile capability. In January 2003 the CIA produced a report which asserted similar concerns to the neo-cons and said, "In 2001, Libya and other countries reportedly used their secret services to try to obtain technical information on the development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons". In June this year, Mr Bolton repeated the allegations and said during a visit to London "Since the sanctions were lifted (suspended), Libya has been able to exploit the normalisation of the economy to be more aggressive in pursuing weapons of mass destruction. For example, Libyan agents are trying to acquire dual-use technology."
Britain has dealt with America over Iraq.
In conclusion the following points can be made about the Anglo-American perspective towards Libya:
5. Bush has abandoned containment and engagement policies that plagued previous US administrations. The current administration also considers sanctions as an ineffective tool in dealing with rogue states. The policy adopted by the Bush administration is to change anti-US regimes through military intervention. This stems from the notion that demonstration of America's overwhelming military might will cower countries into submission. If rogue regimes do not comply with America's wish they will be substituted with a regime that is more compliant. This idea together with America's war on terrorism has become the hallmark of America's foreign policy in the 21st century. Any country found harbouring or supporting terrorism is designated for regime change. For this reason only, America continues to link countries like Libya, Iran, and North Korea etc with terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. In most cases, the evidence supporting such claims is tenuous and uncorroborated but this does not deter the US administration.
1. Britain hopes that the removal of UN sanctions against Libya will create obstacles for America to pursue her policy of changing the Gaddafi regime. By America not vetoing the lifting of sanctions, she has implicitly acknowledged that Libya has renounced terrorism. This weakens America's case for changing the regime in Libya and greatly diminishes her chance to secure international backing for such a venture. 2. Britain also hopes that the clean bill of health given by the UN to Libya will result in the lifting of US sanctions. Instead there are clear indications that America still considers Libya a terrorist state in possession of WMD. This means that in the coming months both the EU and the US are set to clash over Libya. Unless America dramatically reverses its position or Britain relinquishes her support for Gaddafi, it is doubtful that this conflict can be avoided 3. By observing British policy in Libya, it becomes abundantly clear that the British have adopted a dual approach towards America. On the one hand they work very closely with her, sharing in her grief and undertaking actions which give the impression to the world that both are united in a common purpose. While on the other hand Britain works to undermine America and her credibility through various covert and overt styles. So in the case of Libya many observers perceived that both Britain and America were united against Gaddafi. They substantiated their claim by citing facts such as Gaddafi banished Britain and America from Libya in the 70s, Britain allowed America to use its air bases to assassinate Gaddafi in 1986, Britain supported UN efforts to implement sanctions in 1992, Britain demanded the trial of the suspects etc.
The real obstacle standing in America's way to reshape the world in her image is not Britain or the EU - it is Iraq. If America can overcome the Iraqi resistance and subdue the Muslims of Iraq, then other countries will be targeted for regime change. At present Iraq is proving too much for the Americans and she risks not only losing Iraq but also compromising her position as the leading state in the world.
4. A key pillar of Britain's strategy is to contain America's response within the ambit of international law and the UN charter. The imposition of UN sanctions, the trail of the suspects, efforts to get Libya off the terrorism list and the lifting of UN sanctions bear testimony to this approach. Both of these points are very similar in style to the way October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
SHARI'AH COMPLIANT FINANCIAL PRODUCTS
t is very common for many of us to think of Islam as being a religion that calls the believers to live a 'simple' life, a life devoid of possessions and material wealth. We often think of the one who has been blessed with wealth as somehow deficient in his spirituality. The fact of the matter is, that when we realise that Islam is indeed comprehensive and that we as Muslims live all aspects of our lives according to the commands and prohibitions of Allah , it becomes clear that Islam definitely encompasses matters to do with poverty and wealth. The question is, does Islam tell us to stay away from wealth and live the 'nomadic' lifestyle of the ancient Arab tribes? Allah says:
"Say: who has forbidden the beautiful gifts of Allah, which He has provided for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, (that He has provided)?" [TMQ Al-A'raf: 32] So we find that Islam encourages us to strive to seek the provision (rizq), and work to earn property.
wealth that we have. However, the issue here is that Islam governs how we earn the wealth and also how we spend the wealth. So 'Iqtisaad' or the 'management of property' is a fundamental part of Islam. The rules of Iqtisaad are no different from the rules of salah or the rules of Hajj with respect to the fact that every minute detail has been outlined. For example, salah is not simply a matter of 'praying to Allah ' in any which way people like. A Muslim cannot argue that salah can be performed by 'singing' or 'wailing', nor can it be performed by climbing a mountain or refusing to eat. Rather salah has a very specific appearance, which includes the clothes that we wear, the direction that we face, the intention that we make, the order of the surah that we recite and so forth. However, when it comes to the issue of money and wealth, many of us are unaware of the details of what Allah has asked us to adhere to. The widely recognised aspect of wealth acquisition and disposal from Islam is that of riba (usury). Most Muslims around the world are very familiar with the fact that Islam has strictly forbidden the giving or taking of riba. Allah says in the Quran:
We are also encouraged to enjoy our wealth as Allah says:
"O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have earned, and of that which We bring forth from the earth for you." [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 267] So rather than looking down or thinking ill of people who have wealth, we find that Islam actually encourages us to earn and enjoy the 34
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"Those who eat Riba (usury) will not stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except like the standing of a person beaten by Shaytan (Satan) leading him to insanity……Allah has permitted trading and forbidden Riba (usury).” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 275] Even those Muslims that unfortunately engage in interest paying and receiving are often
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aware of the fact that Allah has warned us not to be involved in riba, whether that is actually paying riba in mortgage payments, or credit cards, receiving riba through our bank accounts and investments or arranging any kind of finance that involves the giving or receiving of riba. However, many people argue that Islam does not place any hardships on us and justify their involvement in riba as a 'necessity' or 'dharoorah'. Allah mentions the issue of necessity in two Ayat of the Quran, in Surah Al-Ma'idah verse 3 and Surah Al-Nahl verse 115. In each case the Ayat talks about the prohibition of AlMaytatah, the eating of meat from a dead animal, and the flesh of pigs and eating meat from an animal that has not been slaughtered in the name of Allah . In Surah Al-Maidah, Allah also addresses the drinking blood, which is forbidden. Allah then allows us to eat the forbidden items if we are in a situation which is a matter of life and death. We are allowed to eat the forbidden meat and even drink blood, if our lives depended on it. Furthermore, we are not allowed to continue eating the forbidden meat or continue to drink blood when we have the option to eat halal meat or we have the option to drink something that is halal. So it is clear that Allah gives us the 'ruksa' (exemption) in terms of necessity, only when it is a matter of food in relation to life and death. Therefore it is not possible for us to apply this 'allowance' to the paying of interest, because paying interest has nothing to do with food or drink and nor is it a matter of life and death. However, Iqtisaad or the management of property and wealth in Islam is not simply a matter of avoiding riba, just as salah is not simply a matter of intention. Rather there are many detailed principles with regards to buying and selling, investing, spending, employment, personal property, state property, public property, foreign trade but to mention a
few. As Muslims, we understand the necessity of living our lives according to rules of Islam in every detail. Before committing an act, we understand that we must know what Allah has shown us to be the correct and incorrect way of doing the particular action. So we find ourselves very particular about the ingredients of food. We spend considerable time checking food packaging labels to make sure that there is no ingredient in the food that is haram. We let our friends and family know about which foods may contain additives such as gelatine or alcohol, and ensure that our mothers and wives are not stocking their shelves with potentially haram food. But we need to ask ourselves whether we are as particular when it comes to financial transactions that we undertake as part of our daily living. Are we particular in finding out what Allah has instructed when it comes to transactions with banks, buying on credit, applying for credit cards, insurance or even when applying for mortgages that are labelled as Islamic? Just because a product is labelled Islamic does not necessarily make it halal. We understand that conventional mortgages are forbidden from Islam, just as alcohol is forbidden. So if Carlsberg issued a statement that it is launching a 'halal brand of beer', we would all be very cautious and careful in assessing whether or not it is in fact halal, rather than quickly accept the statement and rush out to stock our fridges! Similarly if any bank or financial institution is claiming that a product, which has been forbidden from Islam, is now halal, we need to scrutinise the product from all possible angles and check all the Shari'ah rules that apply and be completely satisfied that the product is in fact halal. We need to be careful that we do not look at these products from a benefit point of view, i.e. that these products will finally mean that we can buy houses to our heart's content and take full advantage of the property boom. Or that, finally we can satisfy our parents who have been unhappy at the fact that we refuse to get a mortgage. We need to be very clear that our aim in life is to please and satisfy Allah at the cost of
anything. Allah says:
"But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad saw) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission." [TMQ An-Nisa: 65] And we should remember that Allah reminds us:
capital sum of the property (the individual will also pay a sizeable deposit maybe up to 25% towards the capital amount). At a future point in time the two parties enter into a purchase agreement where the monies paid towards the capital amount are then used as consideration for the purchase price. The profit for the bank arises from the rent it charges within the lease contract period. The Murabaha contract states that the buyer approaches the bank with a property which the bank buys, but then immediately inflates the price and sells it to the buyer. The buyer than agrees to pay the bank in instalments over an agreed period of time. THE PRINCIPLES
"And who so obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad saw), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqeen, the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!" [TMQ An-Nisa: 69] With this in mind, if we find that these products are indeed halal, then we accept them because they are permitted by the Shari'ah and not simply because they benefit us. But equally, if we find that these products are not halal, i.e. they do not fulfil the entire Shari'ah criterion, then we reject them without any resistance in our hearts or minds. In order to understand these and other financial transaction, we need to understand the products and have a working knowledge of the principles of contract law in Islam. THE PRODUCTS Generally there are two types of schemes that currently exist on the market, in terms of halal mortgages. The Ijara contract and the Murabaha contract. The Ijara contract states that an individual approaches the bank (or financial institution) with a property which it buys from the vendor. The buyer then agrees to pay rent and also pay towards the capital sum of the property, over an agreed period of time. Each month the individual pays an amount, which represents a rental sum and a contribution towards the
Having studied the products and understood what the banks are asking for, by studying in detail the 'terms and conditions' and the 'small print' that constitutes the contract we need to examine some aspects of the Shari'ah in order for us to determine the validity of the product. Firstly we need to look at 'Who is buying and who is selling?' This is because Islam has allowed us to trade but has put specific rules for it. One of the Sahabah, Rifa'a, narrated that he went out with the Messenger of Allah to the prayer place and he saw the people trading. The Messenger of Allah said,
"O traders!" They responded to the Messenger of Allah and raised their necks and eyes towards him. He said, "Traders will be resurrected on the Day of Judgement as fujjar (wrongdoers) except those who were righteous and honest." So, the buyer and seller in any contract must be legitimate i.e. must be defined by the Sharah as an example it is not allowed for a child or insane person to sell. Muhammad said:
"Verily trade is by mutual consent" October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
So, as an example of this rule, when buying a house it is important to know whether the bank or institution in question is a Muslim owned PLC company. If they are, then we can't do business with them. This rule is, quite frankly, a subject in it self, but as an example, it is known that PLC's are not liable for any debts that they incur. This however contradicts Islam, because Muslims are liable for debts, even after they are dead. So, Muslims are not allowed to form companies on the basis of a public limited company. Hence it is imperative that we investigate who we are buying from and we should consider the question of their validity from Islam. Secondly we need to ask 'Does the bank or institution already own the property?' This is vital because we can't buy something from another party if they are not the actual owners of that item at time of contracting. This is known as forward selling and is not according to the Shari'ah. You can only purchase an item from another party if they are the owners.
sell you a house and you agree to pay rent which also acts as payment for the house. This is not 'Shari'ah compliant' because there needs to be a separation between the contract of sale and the contract of rent they can't be included as one. Rent and sale are completely different contracts even with the same person and the same property. Imam Ahmed narrated:
"The Prophet prohibited two contracts in one contract" Fourthly we need to ask ourselves 'Is there a penalty if I miss or default on a monthly payment?' Most mortgage companies have a standard clause in their term and conditions that states that if the borrower fails to keep up mortgage payments, then the lending company has the right to penalise the borrower and as an ultimate resolution to continued payment defaults, the bank has the right to 'repossess' the property. Most people accept this condition on the premise that the bank has the right to 'protect' the money they have lent you.
Muhammad said in the Hadith: However, Muhammad said: "And do not profit from that which you do not own and do not sell that which you do not have" Hence we are obliged to ensure when contracting with the bank that they are the actual owners of the property, before we sign the contract. Thirdly we need to find out 'How many contracts are involved?' We have to ensure that there aren't two or more contracts, put together into one contract. It's not allowed for me to say, that I will sell you my house, on the condition that you also buy my car for a particular price or that, I'll sell you my house, on the condition that you have to marry my daughter. This is not valid because selling my house is one contract and selling my car is another contract altogether - so this becomes two contracts in one contract. Equally when it comes to buying a house, it's possible that there could be more than one contract involved and we need to be careful of this. For example the bank or building society could 36
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"Whosoever sells two sales in a sale, the lesser of the two is his or it is riba" What is meant here, by two sales in one sale, is that, in the original agreement, it was agreed that each month the borrower would pay, for example £500.00. However, the bank's conditions mean that if the borrower failed to pay his monthly instalment then the bank will charge him an extra £50.00 for example. This extra charge will be added to the following month's payment. So the following month the borrower has to pay £1000.00 plus the extra £50.00. According to Islam, this extra payment of £50.00 is riba and hence Haram. It is in fact these charges that are added to defaulted payments that increases the debt and makes it even more difficult for the borrower to pay back.
CONCLUSION Despite the detailed rules it is possible to have alternative methods of purchasing a house other than interest based mortgages. This is an area that Muslims should explore ensuring that they stick to the Islamic principles. We can be creative in looking for solutions, but we can never compromise the Shari'ah rules. In origin it is halal for someone to purchase a house and sell it to you at a higher price than the market value on the basis that you will pay over a period of time. However, it must be appreciated that there is much more for us to consider when entering a contract than just the 'bare bones' of Islamic economics. We need to be clear that our criterion is to please Allah and not simply to benefit ourselves.
Iyha Ulum ad-Din: Book XII: On the Etiquettes of Marriage by Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali (Translated by M. Farah) Watford email: email@example.com
Muslims in the west have been subject to many attacks from the Capitalist ideology. Our mindset has become besotted with some of its thoughts such as individualism, personal freedoms, and the like. This has resulted in the thoughts and sentiments of many Muslims, being tainted with these rotten ideas. Muslims need to be able to refer to the Islamic ideology as the source of the thoughts, and emotions, and be the beacon for this ideology. We need to, as Muslims, understand our Islamic culture and constantly link to it our actions and remember Allah ď ‰. We can see examples of Islamic culture in the books which were written in the glorious past when Muslims were unaffected by alien thoughts. One such book, is the "Iyha Ulum ad Deen" (The Revival of the Religious Sciences) by Imam Abu Hamid al-Tusi al-Ghazzali, known as Hujja al Islam (the proof of Islam). The Revival of the Religious Sciences is divided into four volumes each containing ten books. The first volume deals with knowledge and the requirements of faith, ritual purity, prayer, charity, fasting, pilgrimage, recitation of the Quran, etc. The second volume concentrates mostly on people and society, the manners relating to eating, marriage, earning a living, friendship, etc. Volumes three and four are dedicated to the inner life of the soul and discuss first the vices that people must overcome and the virtues that they must strive to achieve. While reading many of the volumes I tended to see that generally they give good advice and examples on how the Muslim's disposition (nafsiya) can be improved. Imam Ghazali writes in a beautiful style and links the examples back to the Quran, to the Prophet ď ˛, and to the lives of the noble Sahabah (ra). He always reflects and links back to the Islamic ideology. Unfortunately, much of the linguistic beauty of the Arabic is lost when the translated into English. The focus of this review is on one book, which is the "Book of the etiquettes of Marriage". The translation I read was written by Madalin Farah. This is good version as the hadith are referenced to the narrators, and also gives the comments regarding the authenticity of the each by some of the Muhaditheen. What I like about this book is the way in which it describes the social system of Islam and how easily
Ghazali makes the reader understand that marriage is the corner stone of this system. The book goes on to cover some of the fundamental issues related to marriage and in the process beautifully outlines the relationship between the husband and the wife always providing supporting evidences. I have chosen to share with you one section which particularly stuck to my mind and which I believe reflects well the rest of the book:
"'One of His marvellous favours is creating human beings out of water [TMQ Al-Anbiya': 30],' causing them to be related by lineage and marriage, and subjecting creatures to desire through which He drove them to tillage (hirathah) and thereby forcibly preserved their descendants. Then He glorified the matter of lineage, ascribed to it great importance, forbade on its account illegitimacy and strongly denounced it through restrictions and reprimands, making the commission thereof an outlandish crime and a serious matter, and encouraging marriage through desire and command. Glory be to Him who decreed death to His creatures and humbled them thereby through destruction and annihilation, then placed seeds' in the soil of the wombs and raised there from creatures, forcibly to defeat death, calling attention to the fact that the seas of Providence flood the worlds with benefit as well as harm, prosperity as well as evil, difficulty as well as facility, and concealment as well as revelation. Prayer and peace be upon Muhammad who was sent with warning and good tidings, and upon his household and his companions - prayer that knows neither bounds nor confinement, and may He grant him much peace. Accordingly, marriage is an aid in [the fulfilment of] religion, an insult to devils, a strong fortress against the enemy of God, and a cause of increase through which the master of prophets outshines the rest of the prophets. How worthy it is, therefore, that its causes are examined and its Sunna and etiquette be learned, its aims and ends are explained, and its chapters and sections be clearly specified." The book is actually not a book of fiqh but one of lessons and the etiquettes of marriage, it has three chapters. The first chapter deals with the advantages and disadvantages of marriage; but states that it is something which is encouraged, providing many
ahadith, and sayings of the sahabah, and the salaf. He mentions in the chapter that there are, "five advantages to marriage: procreation, satisfying sexual desire, ordering the household, providing companionship, and disciplining the self in striving to sustain them." The second chapter deals with the etiquette to be observed in the marriage contract and between the two contracting parties. He describes the qualities one should try to attain in marriage, saying the best qualities are piety (taqwa), and good character. He uses some narrations of the Prophet such as:
"A woman may be married either for her possessions, her beauty, her reputation, or her religion; for if you do marry other than a religious woman, may your hands be rubbed with dirt [taribat yadak]." (Agreed upon; from the hadith of Abu Hurairah) The third chapter deals with the etiquette of cohabitation after marriage and until dissolution. This chapter gives advice, and shows some of the rights that men and women have over each other in married life. It exhorts the Muslim woman, in her role as a wife and as a companion to her husband. When one reads the ahadith, it gives a clear understanding that within marriage individualism is something which is detested. In times when as Muslims we are subjected to daily attacks on our identity from the Capitalist culture it is imperative that we understand how the Islamic rules come and regulate our relationships. Much of the time we find that those who write about social issues, such as marriage, are affected by the thoughts of the Capitalist ideology to the extent that many of the rules of Islam become distorted to suit the tastes of this thinking process. That is why, it is refreshing to see that many of the books which were written in the past are still here today with us and give us a unique insight into the thinking of the Muslims who were not affected by the corruption of western thoughts. These books can serve as a guide in attempting to show Islamic opinions on many personal issues and is important culture for Muslims to reflect upon and endeavour to improve their personalities according to Islam.
October 2003 Khilafah Magazine
Dr Samiul Muquit
Interview Many Muslims affected by the western values of freedom and individualism have been drawn into the world of drugs. It is a common occurrence despite experiencing an upbringing tinged with Islamic knowledge and sentiments. Dr Samiul Muquit interviews a Muslim who was involved with drugs, not only consuming but also dealing on the streets of inner-London. He has now moved away from this life which was coloured with criminality, evading the police and feeding his addiction to self-indulgence. Now involved in the Islamic da'wah the interviewee finds himself coming across people in situations just like his all those years ago and therefore agreed to be interviewed in the hope that his experiences may help others. To protect his identity the initial A will be used. Dr. Samiul Muquit: Would you say that your parents were religious? Did you go to an Islamic school? A: My parents are religious. But that didn't stop me. I just saw what they told me as being restrictions I never understood or appreciated them. So what they said never entered my mind at all, and what I learnt at madrassa didn't relate to these issues. SM: You must have been living at home at that age. How did you hide this behaviour from your parents? A: I used to do all of these things behind my parents backs. So when I went home I was completely different. They did not know the actual reality of my behaviour or character. When I was in an intoxicated state I would tell my parents that I was staying over at a friend's house because of homework and gave many other reasons. During my school years I started going out with girls and that's when I was introduced to other substances such as ecstasy and amphetamines. By the time it came to the end of my school years I came out with minimal qualifications. I went to college where I met more people and made new associates who were similar in terms of their thinking. Before I became sixteen I started to buy drugs in larger quantities and started dealing. The money to start this was from my college grant and my part-time work. When I was sixteen I was caught by the police with cannabis with the intent to supply. My house was raided by a group of police officers who cordoned off the whole area, blocked the streets, and handcuffed me as they searched the house.
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SM: How did your parents react to this? I presume that until then they hadn't discovered your activities.
stood my background and knew in which direction to take me.
A: My parents were shocked by this as they were not aware of my reality.
SM: What happened to your friends?
SM: Did this experience change you and make you dissociate yourself from drugs? A: This was my first real experience of being a rebel. I felt I was on the other side of the law. The experience gave me more boldness and more of a rebellious attitude. And I thought of new ways of evading the police. I became wiser. By the time I was 15 I was driving illegally and I was stopped by under-cover police officers. SM: Did you steal? A: I had a part-time job and used my money to buy the drugs. I didn't steal. SM: How did you change as you grew older? AR: At the age of seventeen I started going to clubs and bars. I used to take cannabis and alcohol. This became very regular, almost every night. To socialise you would need either alcohol or cannabis. We would be waiting for the weekend when we knew we would go clubbing. Clubbing times were from nine to six in the morning, so we used to be intoxicated for two days continuous. During these times I tried heroin and crack, but luckily the friends I used to be with, who were kuffar, knew they were hard drugs and very addictive and therefore my experience with heroin and crack was for a very short period. SM: When did you stop taking drugs? What led you to this change? A: I remember at the age of eighteen going to a club one New Year's day where everyone had taken something. During the time in the club I became sober much earlier than most of my friends. So I started looking around me and I started thinking. I remember realising how dirty the club was and the state of the people, how they looked and behaved. It was a state of frustration and confusion. It was an unnatural and superficial environment. It came to my mind that I didn't really belong in this crowd and deep down inside me, throughout my school life when I was doing these things, I knew this was not my real state of affairs and that it wasn't really right for me. So it was at this point that it hit me that I needed to change. I started to think there is a life after death, which I had always believed in. It was just a matter of time until I had done everything in terms of enjoyment and I was at the limits of enjoyment. It comes to a point where the reality hits you and you start thinking of the broader horizon and the direction you are going in. People change by other influences. Something happens that makes them think. But I came to realise this by my own actions and my deep rooted concepts which I got from my parents from a very young age, and from my association with Muslims. All of these things were quite deep rooted and hidden. I remember my brother; he changed a year before me. Luckily he was someone who under
A: I realised that it wouldn't be possible for me to have a lifestyle which was in line with my Islamic beliefs and hang around with my friends as they were a great influence on me, and therefore I didn't see them for almost a year since that last party, in which time I was with my brother and a lot of other people who understood the Islamic thoughts and ideas. They started to take me around to discussions and public talks and started giving me da'wah. I started to understand more clearly why I had started to change, whereas before it was more of an emotional change, of a guilty feeling rather than due to clear thoughts. During that time my friends did try to get in contact with me but I knew that in order for me to have a complete change it would be impossible for me to have these types of associations. I saw my friends one year later, to the day. When I went there they were doing exactly the same thing. Hanging around in the same old place and taking drugs as usual. So there had been no development. And from this it made it even stronger in me that they were stagnating. Their lifestyle was very shallow and unstable. It showed me that they didn't have any viewpoint in life. There is no concept of accountability.
SM: Did you talk to your friends? Did you try to change their behaviour? A: I remember that when I changed I phoned up all of my friends and informed them that what they were doing was wrong and they need to realise that life is short. That there is a purpose in life. I remember the shock my friends felt when they knew that I had come out of this sex, drugs and rock and roll atmosphere. It was something they did not believe in the beginning and it took a while for them to realise that the transformation had occurred. I spend a lot of time now in the Islamic da'wah. I see a lot of people like I was then. Some find it easy to change and others don't. It is a constant struggle turning kids away from drugs against all the influences of society. SM: You haven't told me what caused you to start taking drugs in the first space. A: In retrospect I can see that the society had a very big influence in my upbringing. Although my parents and family and teachers did not tell me about alcohol and sex and drugs, all of this doesn't matter because it was the environment that I was living in that gave me the notions and ideas that I am free and I can do whatever I like and sensual gratification was the main goal in this life. It taught me to be rebellious. To enjoy life as much as possible.
Khilafah Magazine October 2003