This month's Khilafah magazine went to print on the back of another wave of raids and terrorist arrests by security forces within Britain and Europe. The media has predictably been true to form in generating widely exaggerated and over the top headlines to convey the 'imminent' threat posed to people and the Western way of life.
The International spotlight on Iran
Safar/Rabi al-Awwal 1425 - April 2004 Cover Issue 4 Volume 17
CONTENTS The American administration, since the September 11th 2001 attacks have aligned themselves with the policy objectives of the Neoconservatives...
31 IDEOLOGICAL VIEWPOINT
Lessons from the tragedy of Karbala
Western economic theory and the prevalence of poverty
19 The rise in obesity and its implications
"O Allah! It is Thee in whom I trust amid all grief. You are my hope amid all violence. Thou are my refuge and provision in everything that happens to me.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
From 'Mad Dog' to West's best friend Funding tuition the American way "Now they are admitting that they are oppressors." Israeli Terror continues: with the murder of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin The US stance towards the Russian Elections shows a deficit in thinking "Your government lied to you, I lied to you" Pakistani troops first
Lining up patiently together with old ladies, foul mouthed youths and people reeking of alcohol, a highly qualified engineer waits his turn in the queue to collect his 'dole' otherwise known as 'job seekers allowance'. This scene is not uncommon in the Western world ...
Despite the rich abundance of resources and fertile pasture across the globe, paradoxically it is a time where much of the planet is deep in the folds of poverty. We currently live in a world where one billion people live on less than $1 a day...
Web of Deceit-Britain's real role in the world It has become almost fashionable to be a critic of the current US administration with respect to its foreign policy. Many writers have turned their ire on US brutality...
Footballers' lives and the clubs that support them
The Politics of Compromise
Madrid bombings and the attempts to demonise Islam
On March 11, 2004 a series of bombs went off in Madrid within minutes of each other on four trains, which were carrying commuters and secondary school students into the centre of Madrid.The bombs had a devastating effect claiming the lives of some 200 people and injuring around 1,500.
37 Footballers have been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks. Serious criminal allegations and unsavoury tales depicting a lurid off-the-field lifestyle have brought the game under scrutiny once again. The story of Leicester City players' accused of sexually assaulting three women in Spain was plastered over the tabloid newspapers.
Politics is often referred to as the 'art of compromise'. In the sphere of international politics, compromise is a much utilised tool with the Western states often advocating compromise solutions to situations of conflict all over the world. They claim it to be a noble thing to do. The term is also one uttered from the mouths of Muslims, when discussing the solution to situations of dispute in the Islamic lands.
April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
Interview with a local Muslim activist The release of a handful of Britons from Guantanamo Bay last month, once again raised the question of the treatment of prisoners over there and the role of the British government in their interrogation. It has been reported that in Guanatanamo Bay, prisoners are kept in wire cages exposed to the elements and beaten regularly.
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Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatahu This month's Khilafah magazine went to print on the back of another wave of raids and terrorist arrests by security forces within Britain and Europe. The media has predictably been true to form in generating widely exaggerated and over the top headlines to convey the 'imminent' threat posed to people and the Western way of life. The bombings in Madrid witnessed the 'trial by media' that has been so often demonstrated in recent times with accusation and guilt being hastily directed at both Spanish separatist groups and Muslim organisations. This month's feature article explores the aftermath of the Madrid bomb blasts and the futility of states and media outlets in attributing blame for the events based on circumstantial and flimsy evidence. By contrast, the assassination of an elderly, half blind man in a wheelchair as he returned from the mosque received a different response. Perception and timing is crucial. According to B' Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights, the Israelis have killed four times more minors in the occupied territories than 'suicide' bombers since the Intifada of 2000.
Yet, upholding Islam for Muslims in the West also entails speaking the truth and standing firm for justice. Muslims must remain clear in explaining the Shari'ah rules such as the prohibition of targeting innocents, civilians and non combatants. To our Muslim brothers who transgress the limits, we should be patient but firm in advising of the correct opinion. For the Muslim community, the climate of fear and siege remains with new evidence emerging of the threats faced by many Muslims. Home Office figures reveal a massive rise in the number of 'stop and search' activities by police and security personnel with Muslims being the predominant target. In these times of adversity, the best qualities of the community must shine through. This should be through our adherence to the Divine laws at all times, in our concern for the victims of Capitalism who number in their thousands and in our thought provoking and incisive presentation of the ideas and values of Islam such that people are won over by the strength of the Islamic creed and its unique solutions. This is the best response to those who are intent on accusation, slander and intimidation.
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 April 2004
Mubarak's tyranny continues with the imprisonment of 26 Muslims who called for Islam by intellectual and political means.
After 9 recent UK terror arrests people fear innocent Muslims Could be the next indiscriminate targets.
After hearing their sentences of between 1 and 5 years the 26 men hold up Qur'an's chanting 'God is Great'.
Pakistani Muslims vent anger at Musharaf's betrayal of yet more Muslims in Waziristan.
Pakistan and India cricket match being used to achieve British Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) shakes hands with political goals and open inroads into Pakistan for India. Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Kadhafi at the start of their meeting in a tent on the outskirts of Tripoli. The two countries also signed a gas contract.
Dr Abdul Wahid chairperson begins a debate on the aftermath of the hijab ban at a hotel in North West London.
Ian Malcolm Nisbett holds up a placard that reads "You treat Muslims as criminals," as he enters the courtroom during his trial in Cairo.
Forensic experts seeking for clues near Atocha train station after explosions which rocked Madrid earlier last Month.
A mosque in Nis is burnt by Serbian's as violence between Muslims and Serbs flares up once again.
From left, Michael Gove (Assistant editor of the times and chairman of the policy exchange) Sajjad Khan - (Member of Hizb uttahrir) Dr Abdul Wahid (Chairperson of the debate) Massoud Shadjaerh (Chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission) Dr Yaqub Zaki (Muslim Scholar and historian, deputy of the Muslim Institute) all form part of a distinguished panel at a debate in London.
April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
NEWS From 'Mad Dog' to West's best friend In late March Tony Blair took the historic step of visiting C o l o n e l Gaddafi in Tripoli. Hated and shunned by much of the world for decades as a brutal dictator who sponsored and personally oversaw international terrorism, he was often described by the tabloids with the label 'Mad Dog' Gaddafi. Libya's image has recently improved greatly after declaring it would no longer pursue Weapons of Mass Destruction. Gaddafi invited international observers to scrutinise its weapons development programs. Libya has also made a point to emphasise its opposition to Islamic movements and particularly to AlQaeda. The Libyan foreign minister said, "We can't stand Al-Qaeda, they're bad for our region, they're bad for our prosperity, they're bad for our culture, they're bad for our future, they're bad for our women too." The Libyan leader had also endeavoured to express his support for Western political principles in his country, although he seemed a bit confused as to their reality. At one point Colonel Gaddafi said: "We have a very simple system in Libya. We have a very open, democratic system - it's like a great big circle, and there in the middle is me." Many criticised this visit as unethical considering Gaddafi's track record. However, after suffering a gruelling period of sanctions Libya considered this visit as a big success, opening the door to international trade and to economic prosperity. Libya has some of the largest natural gas fields in the world, and is also rich in other fossil fuels, but has found it difficult to trade under the trade embargos. This visit paved the way for a deal with Shell and British Aerospace worth ultimately over $1 billion. The West's attitude is clear especially in light of the events following September 11th, after Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq. It continues to pander and support
Khilafah Magazine April 2004
dictators and oppressors, providing that they fulfil its financial interests. However, when these rulers fail to provide any further benefit their tyranny is exposed and campaigns are drummed upon the basis of terrorism or lack of human rights. Hanny Jamaluddin
Funding tuition the American way It has recently surfaced that an eighteen-year-old student, Rosie Reid from London, decided to auction her virginity on the internet site eBay, in order to avoid graduating with huge debts. Rather than working the lengthy hours that she currently has to in order to pay for her degree course and accommodation, Miss Reid, studying at Bristol University, claimed that she would "rather sleep with a stranger than face years of comparative poverty". She further added, "I'll leave university ÂŁ15,000 in debt. That's why I am taking this drastic action". The situation in which Rosie Reid finds herself is due to the government having introduced 'top-up' tuition fees for those starting university. There had been an outcry from many sectors of society regarding top-up fees since they were first introduced. The burden upon students has steadily increased, as they struggle to fund their education. Being forced to take out loans, they consequently face tremendous debts as they leave university. Despite the unquestionable wrong of Miss Reid's choice, one must examine what has driven a girl to sell her own body, to achieve something as basic as education. Clearly there is a problem in one of the world's most 'developed' countries. Britain claims to be a leader in free healthcare and education system since the end of the Second World War. However, students now face the choice of either abandoning further education and facing an increasingly competitive job market, or looking for any means by which to fund their studies. Behind the calls for establishing a classless society, the government has done the exact opposite in dividing the British population. The wealthy can continue to afford the best education whilst the poor struggle to pay tuition fees and are hence denied the same opportunities. Britain, by emulating America, will create the same problem of students working as strippers and prostitutes in order to pay for
education. But essentially this should all be acceptable under the basic concepts of freedom that both nations already share! Nadia Khwaja "Now they are admitting that they are oppressors." On the 25th of March 26 Members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, the well known non-violent Islamic political party, were sentenced by the Egyptian Emergency High State Security Court to between 1 and 5 years imprisonment. This included three Muslims from Britain, who like their fellow prisoners were violently taken from their homes in front of their wives and children two years ago. Initially they were missing for six days during which time their families were not told of their whereabouts and the Egyptian authorities denied any knowledge of their detention. They were then detained for a further four months without being charged, and were denied any form of legal representation for 48 days. In this period confirmed reports have shown that they had been subjected to torture including electric shocks, continuous blindfolding, sleep deprivation, severe beatings and threats of sexual abuse. Yahya Nisbet, a Muslim revert from Britain who was sentenced to five years imprisonment stated, "Thank God for everything. We hope God is going to reward us in the afterlife. We tried to change the oppression in Egypt. Now they are admitting that they are oppressors." This statement reflects the extreme measures undertaken to stifle any peaceful political dissent against the regime, which is America's staunchest ally in the region. The Egyptian government has recognised Israel and has cordial relations with it, it helped America in its war on Iraq and recognised its illegal occupation and it supported the recent French Hijab ban. Egypt also oppresses the Muslims of Egypt on a daily basis. Thousands languish in prisons without charge and its economic policies care more for the interests of multinationals than the impoverished people of Egypt. Mike Gifford, the number two at the British embassy, said, "We respect the verdict of the court." It is no surprise that Britain and America should accept
this Egyptian stance as they are all partners in the West's 'war on terror', which gives a clear unaccountable licence to all nations to imprison and torture Muslims at will if they speak out against their regimes and call for the re-establishment of the Islamic Khilafah. The sentencing in Egypt is another clear proof of the desperate measures undertaken by nations which have lost the intellectual war against Islam and who can only resort to force and oppression. As Yahya Nisbet pointed out, the Egyptian government only further confirmed their oppression by this sentencing. Abdul Karim Ibrahim Israeli Terror continues: with the murder of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin On Monday 22nd March Israeli helicopters launched a ferocious rocket attack on Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas. Three rockets hit Yassin's vehicles, also carrying his bodyguards, as he was leaving a mosque after morning prayers. At least seven others were killed in the strike, including two of Yassin's sons. Yassin, 67, was confined to a wheelchair since a childhood accident that paralyzed him. He was also partially blind. The death of Yassin caused international outrage as tens of thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza in angry protests. Students in Egypt also organised demonstrations, which covered all universities in Egypt from Alexandria in the north to Asyout in the south. The students were from the four major universities in Cairo (Cairo, Ein Shams, al-Azhar and Helwan ) , the Suez Canal University and Almena, in addition to the American university. In the demonstrations, students chanted slogans which called for defending Palestine and opening up the doors for Jihad, cutting Arab relations with Israel and criticised the silence of the rulers in the Arab world. The latest act of terror by the Israeli state was backed by America. The US vetoed the following resolution at the Security Council, in which 10 other countries voted to condemn the Israeli attack. Israel has been free to destroy homes, kill innocent men women and children on a mass scale without any criticism or action taken against it on the international level. Under the pretext of the 'war on terror' every Muslim man,
NEWS women and child is a potential target that can be hunted down and killed. Recently, Israeli soldiers shot dead a six-year-old boy and a girl. They were just a few of the many Muslims who have fallen victim to this merciless legalised terrorism by the state of Israel. The continuous relentless attacks by the Israeli state are further strengthened by states such as America who not only overlook the killing of Muslims in Palestine, but also condone such actions by their defence of terrorist states. However, the real culprits are the rulers in the Muslim world who utter pitiful gestures of condemnation whilst sitting idle. The rulers of Muslim states permit the movement of the Israeli killing machine and tame the Muslims from revolting against such actions. Kosser Mohammed The US stance towards the Russian Elections shows a deficit in thinking Vladimir Putin won a landslide victory in the recent Russian presidential elections. It is an understatement to suggest this in itself is headline news, as this result was a foregone conclusion, yet the comments of the American administration deserve further scrutiny. The Secretary of State Colin Powell welcomed the result, whilst not holding back on what he described as the "level of authoritarianism creeping back" into Russia. In an interview with Fox News, he criticized the disproportionate hold that Putin had on the state run media, which allowed little or no airtime to his political opponents. Was the US leadership is justified in taking this 'high and mighty' attitude towards other nations? President Bush is currently standing for re-election in America. Does the forthcoming election stand the test that America requires of others? Does everybody who wishes to stand in the Presidential Elections have the ability to utilize the media effectively as Colin Powell believes should have been the case in Russia? The clear, unequivocal answer to this is yes, but with one proviso. Any candidate which wants to put across their message in America's advertising led culture must have the financial backing to be able to make an impact. This is not loose change, however. The financial burden for a serious challenger runs into millions, and Bush's war chest is currently
running at over $171, 000, 000, which is over four times as much as his Democrat opponent has available. This is a serious problem because of where the candidates have to go to bankroll their campaigns; ultimately the prominent donors come with special interests and more specifically corporate interests. But this is only a problem if they want something in return, right? Firstly, no Capitalist company executive donates hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the goodness of his heart, and more importantly there is considerable evidence to suggest a clear conflict of interest. One such conflict is Bush's announcement in his first tainted presidential campaign that he would widen a law that he had backed in Texas that allowed people to take their health insurance company to court if they failed to provide proper coverage. When he became President his administration argued to the Supreme Court that Federal law superseded the Texas law. There is no doubt that this clear Uturn in policy was as a result of the seven current and former health insurance company executives that bankrolled his presidential campaign. Therefore it is mighty rich for the likes of the Bush administration to attack the democratic deficit in other countries when the chasm the Capitalist system has created in the US widens by the day. Yusuf Patel "Your government lied to you, I lied to you" Perhaps these were the real words that should have come out from Richard Clarke, the ex-White House security 'supremo' who served under successive Republican and Democrat leaderships. Clarke testified before the 9/11 public enquiry to spill the beans on how security warnings he made were ignored by the Bush government. In his testimony before the 'independent commission' Mr Clarke, who quit his post last year as National Counter-Terrorism coordinator, said Mr Bush was told "dozens of times" that there was an urgent terror threat during 2001 but each time this was ignored perhaps purposefully.
Clarke had made several other startling revelations that will cause a dent in the Bush presidential bandwagon. He told a commission that before the attacks the government considered terrorism "an important issue, but not an urgent issue". "There was a process under way to address al-Qaeda, but although I continued to say it was an urgent problem, I don't think it was ever treated that way." Condoleezza Rice, the Bush's National Security advisor, had been on TV stations in the US trying to desperately defend the Bush administration and discredit Clarke's allegations of neglect and incompetence. She reluctantly appeared before the enquiry to say what she had said on TV and prepared for further questioning. Already in this lengthy embarrassing affair, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Madeline Albright and George Tenet have appeared to give their version of events and defend or attack the current Bush regime. The revelation that key warnings of the imminent attacks on Sept 11th 2001 were ignored was not new news for Muslims worldwide, who had long suspected that the American government was somehow complicit in the attacks in order to pursue wider foreign policy goals. One such gain for the administration was to reshape the entire worldview in favour of America and bear pressure on weak states to open their land, sea and airspace to attacks on neighbours - as was witnessed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Truly, America achieved unprecedented global reach on the back of the 9/11 attacks, setting up bases in places it could not have previously perceived. This incident proves beyond doubt that America lied and concealed the truth from the American public in order to achieve foreign policy objectives. Muslims should take an important lesson from this - every time a terrorist attack happens one must ask the question, "Who gains the most from terrorism?" Majid Hussain Pakistani troops first Fierce fighting raged in southern Waziristan between locals and members of the Pakistani army. 5000 troops were believed to have descended into the semi-autonomous region as President Musharraf's ultimatum that tribal leaders should expel 'foreigners'
passed with no result. It came amidst allegations from Washington that key terrorist leaders were hiding among the local community. The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, recently conferred 'Non-NATO Ally' status to Pakistan. The 'accolade,' coming shortly before this operation was announced, was little more than a sinister ploy to appease domestic concerns over Musharraf's continued subservience to Washington's demands. As the White House endeavoured to launch Bush's re-election campaign it was keen to bolster it by announcing the capture of some of America's most wanted. Operation 'Mountain Storm' prompted a massive domestic backlash in Pakistan. Fazlur Rehman, the leader of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal told a crowd in Peshawar, "Musharraf is a stooge of America and he has forced the army to kill Muslims in South Waziristan to please his masters." Qazi Hussain Ahmed, a spokesman for an alliance of six parties said, "Our army is fighting without hesitation under American command." The fighting inflicted heavy casualties on both sides, including women and children. This loss typified the cowardice of the American army, which uses Muslims to fight their battles. Although it was their intelligence and surveillance reports that formed the basis of the operation they pushed Pakistani troops forward into a region where violent resistance was expected. Musharraf slavishly sacrificed Muslim lives in order to help Bush achieve his objectives. This was not the first time Washington had pushed Pakistani troops forward due to the cowardice of its own military. Previously Pakistan committed troops to conflicts in Somalia and Iraq with similar consequences. Pakistan's invasion of southern Waziristan represents the height of political naivety. Musharraf, who was condemned by the West prior to the war on terror, now fancies himself as an international statesman and diplomat. With news emerging recently over America's involvement in the assassination of General Zia ul-Haq, Pakistan's current military ruler would do well to remember that the shelf life of an agent is notoriously short and unpredictable. Shiraz Maher
April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
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MADRID BOMBINGS AND THE ATTEMPTS TO DEMONISE ISLAM n March 11, 2004 a series of bombs went off in Madrid within minutes of each other on four trains, which were carrying commuters and secondary school students into the centre of Madrid. The bombs had a devastating effect claiming the lives of some 200 people and injuring around 1,500. Media frenzy gripped the globe and within hours of the incident, detailed and graphic coverage of the injured and dead was being broadcast. The attack was almost immediately described as the 9/11 of Europe. Condolences started flowing in from dignitaries and heads of state all of who condemned the attacks and vowed to unite behind the familiar 'war on terror'. Later that day, an estimated three million people in Spain took to the streets in a spectacular show of solidarity against terror and two minute silences were observed around the globe in remembrance of the bereaved.
WHO'S RESPONSIBLE? In the aftermath of the blasts, the Spanish government sources insisted that their main suspect was their own Spanish terrorist, the Basque separatist group, 'Euskadi ta Askatasuna - Euskadi and Freedom,' otherwise known as ETA. Spain's Interior Minister, Angels Acebes, 8
Khilafah Magazine April 2004
said 'it is absolutely clear and evident that the terrorist organisation ETA was looking to commit a major attack.' He based this on the fact that two members of ETA were apprehended on a 'dummy run' in February 2004 with a van carrying enough explosives to level two tall buildings. Dr Grearson, a senior lecturer at the Kings College University in London, said that 'the attack could have been carried out by ETA because ETA does use backpacks and it does attack trains." However, the Western international community seized the opportunity to point the finger at the Al-Qaeda group as the culprits, despite Spain's insistence that the finger ought to be pointed homeward. Within twenty four hours, Britain's media propaganda machine had already singled out Muslims and was clearly attributing blame on 'Islamic Terrorists.' This approach was reinforced by the British Premier, Tony Blair, whose statement denouncing terrorism was raised to a new height when he described the bombings as 'an attack on democracy, attack on our way of life and the rule of law.' His Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, was quick to follow with similar rhetoric claiming that the atrocities were a 'disgusting assault on the very principles of 'European democracy.''
The Arab Media in response expressed concern at the way in which the West had yet again accused Muslims for committing acts of terrorism without hard evidence. Jordan's AlRa'y newspaper stated, "What draws our attention is the fact that those who are supporting the ETA separatist movement rushed to conclude that the 'Arab opposition' was responsible for the terrorist act in Spain. This is a clear attempt to brand Arabs with terrorism." Moreover, Ahmad al-Rabi'i of London Al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper went further condemning the media and political bias against Islam and also the attempt to synthesise Islam with terrorism. He said, 'Are we going back into the Stone Age? Is this the law of the jungle, where ferocious wolves attack without mercy? ...An act to destroy life is an act of terrorism with neither nationality nor religion.' Although, at this stage it is not yet clear whether Muslims or ETA was responsible for the Madrid bombings what is apparent is that Islam has been indicted and the jury has already returned the guilty verdict before the allegation has been proved. GUILTY AS CHARGED? The evidence that sparked the speculation against Al-Qaeda was that some Arabic language tapes with 'Quranic verses,' seven detonators and a mobile telephone were discovered in a van in Alcala de Heneres, a town outside Madrid. The conjecture was further fuelled by a letter e-mailed to the Saudi Arabian newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which stated that Abu Hafs al Masri Brigades claimed responsibility for the bombing on behalf of Al-Qaeda. In addition, a videotape was later found in a rubbish bin outside a Saudi backed Mosque purportedly affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The tape showed Mohammed Dujan Al Afghani, a selfproclaimed military spokesman of Al-Qaeda, attesting to the fact that the group was indeed responsible. The motive for the attack was of course Spain's participation in the war on Iraq. Shortly after the attack, three Moroccans and two Indian men were arrested and detained by the authorities under Spain's own concoction of anti-terrorism legislation. The reality of the matter was that the evidence
that was being put forward to link the attack to Al-Qaeda was nothing more than circumstantial, certainly not sufficient to convict Al-Qaeda or any other Islamic group for that matter. The authenticity of the e-mail received by Al-Quds and the subsequent videotape has been subject to doubt from the outset. In fact, the Abu Hafs al Masri Brigades had made similar claims during the August 2003 blackouts in the U.S and Canada, which later proved to be spurious. Moreover, the Washington based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which conducted an analysis of the evidence, confirmed that the language on the e-mail was not the language of Al-Qaeda. However, it believed the videotape 'sounded more like AlQaeda' ((Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Friday 19th March 2004). On the other hand, the Guardian reported that its sources suggest that 'the authenticity of it [videotape] was nearimpossible to establish.' Indeed, the suggestion that Islamic terrorists' could be linked to the Madrid bombing just because some Arabic language tapes were found in the van is debatable. However, the media described it as the first piece of evidence that contributed to proving the connection between Al-Qaeda and the attack. What of the possibility that it was placed they're by ETA, which wanted to muddy the waters, or the fact that the van could have been stolen from a Muslim? But how does this finding per se indicate that Muslims are responsible? Indeed, the five men arrested have denied any involvement with AlQaeda. The only nexus between them and the mysterious Al-Qaeda is that they may have sold telephone cards to the person who owned the mobile phone, which ended up in the van perhaps at best an innocent transaction and at worst, a petty crime? The point is whatever the strength of the evidence, whether or not it was proven that Muslims were responsible for the attack, the media wasted no time in exploiting the opportunity to point the finger at Muslims by running headlines such as 'Muslims arrested over Madrid bombing,' despite the fact that not all five suspects were Muslims. Unfortunately, this is not the first time the lot has been cast against Islam and Muslims. Indeed, Muslims will not be surprised by this premature verdict since it has become something of a norm for the West to cast the first stone at Muslims whenever there is a 'terrorist attack' killing its own people. The classic example is the bombing of the FBI building in Oklahoma City in 1995, in which a 168 people died. Predictably, the world media immediately speculated that Muslims were
responsible, and without hesitation it attacked the most conveniently perceived demon "Muslim-fundamentalist-extremist-terrorist." However, it was later discovered that it was white homegrown terrorists, and not Muslims, who were responsible for the massacre. Similarly, the 9/11 post-mortem only had one suspect, Islam, and despite the random scatter gun arrests that ensued, to this day, America has yet to produce credible evidence that Al-Qaeda was indeed responsible for the bombing of the twin towers in New York. However, with its evidence circumstantial, its allegations unsubstantiated, and acting outside its own 'rule of law,' the US did not hesitate in indicting Afghanistan and sentencing its people to a ruthless bombing campaign. Similarly, following the Bali bombing in October 12, 2002, the U.S. government and its allies immediately alleged that Al-Qaeda along with Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir were responsible, even before the forensic experts had begun their investigation. IDEOLOGICAL CLASH The fact that the media was swift in attributing blame on the Muslims for the Madrid bombing, as it had done in previous instances, was symbolic of the government backed media propaganda machine attempting to create and intensify prejudicial and anti-Muslim sentiments within society. Post September 11th 2001; saw the birth of new era in which Western governments brought terrorism into the centre stage to justify departing from legal principles and oppressing Muslims all over the world. The scaremongering of citizens in the UK is now commonplace. This was apparent both after 9/11 and the Madrid bombing, where British government heightened security and called for vigilance in order to maintain the threat of terrorism in the minds of the ordinary nonMuslim citizen. Clearly, this is done by the UK government to later stake legitimate claim to the right to introduce further draconian antiterrorism legislation to oppress suspected 'Muslim terrorists.' Currently, fourteen Muslim terrorist suspects are now being held without trial in the top security Belmarsh Prison, which is already being described as Britain's own Guantanamo Bay. Some of the detainees have now been imprisoned for nearly two years without charge or trial under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. The legislation, which was conveniently rushed through Parliament almost immediately after the twin towers attack, does not require the Home Secretary, David Blunkett,
to prove his case in a court of law. As if this was not enough, Mr Blunkett is now drawing plans to introduce even more stringent laws to allow him to try suspects on the lower standard of proof, without juries, and at the hands of selected lawyers and trial judges so that it is easier to convict suspects. Ironically, the principle of law which states that suspects are 'innocent until proven guilty,' the cornerstone of British justice for centuries has suddenly met an untimely demise; well at least in cases where Muslims are concerned. Whether it is the treatment of Muslims in Guantanamo Bay or whether it is the attribution of blame on Muslims before the evidence has been tested, the standard for Muslims is now evidently 'guilty until proven innocent.' As Baroness Helena Kennedy QC put it, 'the rule of law is now a mantra intoned by politiciansâ€Śit is not much of a discipline if it just means conforming to laws you yourself have passed (consider Berlusconi) or concocting ad hoc processes as a veneer to justify detentions (consider ourselves or Bush).' A few years ago Mr Blunkett's proposals would have been untenable. Indeed, a few years ago even at the height of the IRA bombing campaign, which included an attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher, the UK government would not have dared to propose that terrorists ought to be tried under a different standard to that of the ordinary criminal. It would have caused a public outcry. The difference is that today's suspected terrorists are ideologically different, that is, they are Muslims who believe in a way of life that threatens to undermine the West, regardless of whether such a suspect subscribes to that way of life or not he is a liability because he has uttered the Shahadah. Further, the West makes no distinction between those Muslims who call for the Khilafah and those who do not; it fears the return of political Islam. In a recent article, entitled the 'Age of Terror,' following the Madrid bombing, the Guardian described 'Osama Bin Laden's strategic goal as being the creation of 'a panIslamic empire harking back to a medieval caliphate.' The clash is unmistakably ideological; the Western governments are unified in condemning and demonising Islam and have in recent years intensified the debate questioning the nature of Muslims and Islam. They have been successful in building an atmosphere of fear within Muslims communities in the West to overtly express or discuss Islam, especially a brand that is seen as political. The surveillance
April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
of political activities in mosques, the French ban on the hijab, the introduction of repressive terrorism legislation, and even the recent proposal of banning religious activities that are political in nature in the University Colleges of London, are some of the ways in which the West hopes to intimidate Muslims to withdraw from overtly expressing Islam. The UK has certainly exploited the Madrid bombing to also heighten the threat of an ideological war between Capitalism and Islam. Politicians such as Tony Blair have not been apprehensive about repeating phrases such as 'an attack on freedom and liberty' or 'an attack on our way of life' and the like. These were not accidental statements, and the public has sensed the difference in political rhetoric. Hence, a person from the audience in the popular Question Time programme on 18th March 2004, sought clarification as to why such statements were being made if Al-Qaeda did not stand against democracy and liberty or against the policies of democracies. Clearly, the media fiasco surrounding the Madrid bombing simply reinforces the fact that political Islam is per se the terrorist not merely militancy. The Madrid bombing marked a unified policy in Europe in respect of Muslim minorities that is, 'a campaign of ideas and arms,' as Michael Howard would put it, against Islam. THE MUSLIM RESPONSE It is a fact that the West, regardless of its assurances to the Muslims living in its countries that its war against terror is not against Islam, will be prejudicial towards Islam and Muslims. This is the natural consequence of holding an ideology diametrically opposed to that of the Muslims. Integration will not hinder or halt the media and political onslaught that has been unleashed against Islam. The question is how should Muslims respond to accusations that seek to defame Islam? Should they accept that Islam is somehow conjoined with terrorism? Should they concede with the West's view that Islam condones or orders the indiscriminate killing of civilians? Should Muslims hang their heads in shame whenever they are singled out without proof of the fact that they have committed a crime? SPEAKING THE TRUTH Muslims should not shy away from engaging in debates and discussion with non-Muslims whether the discourse is about the veracity of allegations against Islam or to expose the fallacies of the capitalist way of life. Whatever
Khilafah Magazine April 2004
the case, Muslims need to speak the truth because enjoining the good and forbidding evil is an obligation and one of the fundamentals of the Deen. The truth will always vanquish falsehood because Allah says:
"Nay, We hurl the Truth (Haqq) against the Falsehood (Batil), so it knocks out it brains, and behold, the Falsehood vanishes." [TMQ AlAnbiya :18] Al-Bukhari reported about Ubada ibn as-Samit, who said:
"We pledged ourselves to the Messenger of Allah to ...stand for or say the truth wherever we are, fearing no blame of anybody for the sake of Allah." In fact, speaking against evil was revealed in adverse times when the Prophet and his Sahabah (ra) faced persecution, death and torture. Indeed, The Messenger of Allah and his companions were subjected to many Ifk (lies) and the people of disbelief spread false allegations, but they did not withdraw from confrontation with falsehood because they were ordered to speak the truth in the face of propaganda. Similarly, Muslims in this day and age must challenge the false propaganda that is engineered to defame and dishonour Islam. They should neither be subdued by nor succumb to the drumbeat of the media and the baseless mantra of political rhetoric, but instead Muslims should approach the subject with a sense of objectivity and seek to test the evidential strength of the accusation to establish the truth. In Islam blame is not attributed, a verdict is not passed and punishment is not assigned without their being proof and certainty of ones guilt. The hukm shar'a is clear on this. Ibnu Maja reported in his Sunan on the authority of Ibnu Abbas regarding a certain woman the Prophet said:
"If I were to stone anyone without proof I would stone such and such woman. For doubts have been raised over the way she speaks, the way she dresses and over the people who go to her." The meaning derived from this hadith is that proof is a condition precedent to punishment or culpability. In another narration Ibnu Abbas reported that when a man was seen drunk by people on the street, he was taken to Prophet who was informed of their suspicion. He laughed and said, 'He did it?' The Prophet did not order punishment nor attribute blame because the man neither confessed nor was his accusation proven in front of theMessenger . Muslims, in their discussion with non-Muslims should therefore be clear and confident in conveying the Islamic view pertaining to condemnation and censure without hard evidence. The criminal standard of proof in Islam is 'innocent until proven guilty' and not vice-a-versa. Like the Shar'iah of Islam, it is an unwavering principle, which does not sway to the whims and prejudices of political expediency. STATE TERRORISM Speaking the truth in the West also means exposing contradictions and inconsistencies in the policies of Western governments. Muslims will no doubt be saddened by the loss of life in the Madrid bombing. It was an inexcusable act of violence against civilians and a great tragedy. However, the contradiction in the way in which Western states reacted to this incident i.e., giving it wide media coverage; heads of states conveying their condolences, calling it the 9/11 of Europe etc, needs to be highlighted. One needs to question whether the West reacts in this way to all loss of life. The reality of course is that the loss of Muslim lives is inconsequential to the West. For example, when 500,000 Muslim children died in Iraq as a direct result of UN sanctions, the best condolence that America could offer was encapsulated by Madeline Albright when she said, in response to a question regarding whether the death of a half million children was worth the price, `…yes we think the price is worth it.' When the West invaded Afghanistan and Iraq under the pretence of its 'War on Terrorism,' killed tens of thousands of innocent Muslim civilians, there were no dignitaries or heads of states coming forward to pay their respects, and there were no two minute silences observed in remembrance of the dead. Instead,
the dead were simply described as 'collateral damage.' Without condoning the Madrid bombing in any way, Muslims should point out that state terrorism is by far the most menacing form of terrorism, for it has the capacity to kill not just 200, but hundreds of thousands, yet state terrorism is barely mentioned by Western governments or the media. Ironically, many Western countries, which claim to be the bastions against terrorism, actually reap terror on other nations. For example, UK, Australian, and US state terrorism has scarred Indonesia for the past four decades. Moreover, Israel and Uzbekistan routinely kill innocent Muslim civilians, but despite this the US funds and continues cordial relations with them, and by doing so it aids and abets the indiscriminate killing of men, women and children. However, the West arbitrarily defines which act is an act of terrorism and which is not, and invariably, where Muslims are libelled for committing an act, whether or not proven, is always an act of terrorism. For example, when it transpired that the perpetrators of the Oklahoma bombing were the home grown products of America's right wing militias, spawned from the subculture of hatred, the US forcibly retracted its portrayal of the act being as an act of 'terrorism,' and downgraded the crime to a simple 'criminal act.' Clearly, white, Christian domestic culprits do not fit the 'terrorist' mould. Similarly, whilst jihadi groups and Mujahideen fighters fought against the Soviet Union they were supported by the West as fearless warriors. However, when these same groups opposed US hegemony in the Muslim world they were quickly denounced as terrorists. THE APPLICATION OF JIHAD It is necessary to clarify the role jihad plays in Islam. It is important to point out that firstly, it is not a topic that should be avoided in a discussion with non-Muslims because it is an obligation upon Muslims to view it as part of their Deen.
A man came to the Prophet and asked, " A
man fights for war booty; another for fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them fights in Allah's cause?" The Prophet said "He who fights so that Allah's Word should be superior, fights in Allah's Cause" (Narrated in Al-Bukhari, 65) Secondly, jihad is integral to the Islamic ideology because it is the mechanism by which Islam spreads its message. Each ideology has a similar system with which to spread its aqeeda (belief). For example, the US today seeks to impose its ideology of democracy through colonisation and invasion of other sovereign states such as Afghanistan and Iraq or by toppling regimes such as Georgia. Similarly, the former USSR tried to implement its ideology through revolutions in the Congo, Cuba and Eastern Europe. The engagement in jihad has rules that must be adhered to and it also has a correct context in which it is to be used. Thus, the Prophet did not undertake military means as a method to establish the Islamic State in Medina but jihad was used after the state was formed in defence as well as offence. Muslims are ordered by Allah to adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet because Allah says:
"Surely there is for you the best example in the Messenger" [TMQ Al-Ahzab :21] However, even where jihad is valid there are explicit rules preventing the killing of civilians. The Shari'ah is clear in forbidding Muslims from targeting innocent non-combatants. Allah says,
"And kill not anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except in the course of justice. This He has commanded you that you may understand" [TMQ Al-An'am: 151] Thus, the Madrid bombing or any other incident whether in Casablanca or otherwise which involves causing harm to civilians is categorically condemned and prohibited by Islam. This is based upon a great number of ahadith on the subject and there is no iktilaaf (disagreement) between the classical scholars within the traditional schools of thought.
It is narrated by Ibn 'Umar that a woman was found killed in one of these battles; so the Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) forbade the killing of women and children. (Narrated in Sahih Muslim, 4320) This is evident in the fiqh books of the classical period such as Bidayat al-Mujtahid in which it is said that Anas Ibn Malik reported that the Prophet said:
Raid in the name of Allah! Fight whoever disbelieved in Allah! Do not betray, do not cheat, do not mutilate and do not kill newborn and worshipers. ( Ahmed ) CONCLUSION Islam gives a clear vision that Muslims should be active in challenging the Western propaganda and presenting Islam as being superior to any another man-made ideology. Muslims should therefore be confident in presenting Islam in an intellectual and pure manner in the face of media and political propaganda. In the aftermath of such calamities, each believer is surely tested in his or her adherence to Islam. Thus, Muslims should refer to their way of life and their ideology to know how to deal with such tests. In the face of such fierce political campaign to undermine Islam, its people, its values and its systems, a Muslim is duty bound to defend them. He cannot remain silent for fear of drawing attention to himself or to his family or because he feels unease at being labelled a radical Islamist because he speaks out against injustice, seeks the truth and defends his Deen. It is imperative therefore that Muslims attempt to block the efforts of the kuffar who use events such as the Madrid bombing to force Muslims to retreat from overtly expressing their identity or engaging in any form of legitimate political activity.
April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
Abdul Hamid Jassat
Sheffield email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTERN ECONOMIC THEORY AND THE PREVALENCE OF POVERTY ining up patiently together with old ladies, foul mouthed youths and people reeking of alcohol, a highly qualified engineer waits his turn in the queue to collect his 'dole' otherwise known as 'job seekers allowance'. This scene is not uncommon in the Western world where graduates and professionals from all manner of fields find themselves without work and struggling to make ends meet. For some professionals the handout from the dole office every Wednesday morning is what barely keeps them afloat until the next week.
Mind numbing call centres around the country are bursting at the seams with graduates answering calls, having to log the time they spend in the toilet, earning on average ÂŁ4-ÂŁ6 an hour despite having been through three years or more of university education. Although being the fifth largest economy in the world, Britain has a poverty problem one would think applicable only to the developing world. According to 'The New Policy Institute', an independent think tank, just fewer than 1 in 4 people in the UK live below the poverty line. This equates to 12.5 million people or 22 per cent of the UK population. Of these, 3.8 million are children, 2.2 million are pensioners and 6.6 million are working-age adults, equivalent to 30 per cent, 23 per cent and 19 per cent of their respective populations. People may assume that living below the 12
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poverty line in the West doesn't mean much, as the basics are available to everybody. This is a misnomer born out of the illusory image conjured up by glitzy movies, the celebrity dominated media and a society obsessed with self-gratification. One recent survey showed that about 6.5 million adults go without essential clothing, such as a warm waterproof coat, because of the lack of money. Over 10.5 million people live in financial insecurity: they can't afford to save, or spend even small amounts on themselves. About 9.5 million can't afford adequate housing - heated, free from damp, and in a decent state of decoration. The crucial factor about these findings is that they are based on a survey of what the general population sees as necessities. [Poverty and Social Exclusion in Britain, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2000] Foreign students, especially from the Muslim world are often amazed as they walk through cardboard city in London or when beggars hassle them for money on the tube, for isn't this Britain - a superpower, the former ruler of the seven seas? CAUSE Poverty is wrongly taken by some as a norm and a problem that will not go away. One must ask the question, how can societies that have a history of colonialism including looting the
riches in Africa and India and the neo colonialism of multi-nationals, have such high levels of poverty? How can they spend billions on the mythical 'war against terrorism' when one in five non-working families on low or moderate incomes reported to being unable to afford some basic food items on most days? At a first glance it seems baffling to the mind, how can this occur? However when we study the underpinnings of the Western Capitalist economy the cause for this situation becomes apparent. The root of the capitalist economy stems from what every economics pupil is taught in their first lesson, understanding the economic problem. A particular view towards the economic problem has dominated Western economies since the time of the founding father of capitalist economics, previously a Professor at Glasgow University, Adam Smith. In 1776 (CE) Smith published what became the bible of capitalist economics, 'An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations'; it articulated his laissez faire view towards the economic problem. In essence capitalist economists believe that the economic problem is caused by the unlimited needs of people and the scarcity of resources, this leads to the dilemma of how to bridge the gap between the two - how do people get their needs satisfied? In answer to this question, Smith developed the 'invisible hand theory'. It denotes that if the economy is left to run in a free manner the resources will be distributed fulfilling the needs of society almost in an automatic way. The basis of the theory is that by focussing on production the gap between the unlimited needs and limited resources is lessened, it is assumed that people will work to achieve their own interests. By working and earning a wage they can in turn purchase the goods and services they require. This has also come be known as 'trickle down economics' where the focus is on
increasing the size of the cake, believing that it will somehow trickle down into the bellies of the hungry. However the theory is not that simplistic, in order to explain the 'invisible hand' the price mechanism is seen as key. It is seen as the incentive for production, the regulator of distribution, and the link between the producer and the consumer i.e. it is the means, which achieves a balance between production and consumption. The price mechanism is cited as the incentive for production because the principal motive for people to undertake any productive effort or sacrifice in view of the capitalist economists is material reward. The capitalist economists exclude the possibility that man expends effort for a moral or spiritual motive. They consider that man expends his efforts to satisfy his materialistic needs and wishes only. This satisfaction is either through the consumption of commodities, which he produces directly such as a farmer who eats from his crops, or through receiving a monetary reward that enables him to obtain the commodities and services produced by others. In modern society people depend on satisfying most of their needs, if not all of them, on exchanging their efforts with money. Gone are the days where people would grow their own food, make their own clothes and even build their own houses. Monetary reward allows people to obtain commodities and services. Therefore it is concluded that the monetary reward, which is the price, is the motive for man to produce. Hence, the price is the means, which motivates the producers to offer their efforts. Thus the price is seen as the incentive for production. This magical 'price' is also in their eyes the means that regulates distribution because people like to satisfy all of their needs completely and they strive to obtain the commodities and services, which satisfy these needs. According to them had every human being been left free to satisfy his needs he would not stop short of possessing and consuming whatever commodity he likes. Accordingly since every man strives for this same aim, everybody has to stop in satisfying his needs at the limit at which he can afford to exchange his efforts with others, that is at the limit of the monetary compensation, which he receives for expending his effort i.e. at the limit of the price. Therefore, the price is the constraint which acts naturally to restrict man
in his possession and consumption to a level which is proportional to his income. So the existence of the price makes people think, evaluate, and differentiate between their competing needs which require satisfaction, so they take what they find necessary, and leaves what they find of less importance. Thus, the price forces the individual to settle for partial satisfaction of their needs. So, the price is the tool which regulates the distribution of needs required by individuals. It is also believed that price regulates the distribution of limited utilities to the consumers who demand them. The disparity in income of the consumers makes the consumption of each individual confined to that which his income allows. This makes some commodities confined to only those who can afford them, while the consumption of other commodities would become common amongst people who can afford the lower prices. Therefore, the price will become the regulator in distributing utilities among consumers by setting a higher price for some commodities and services and a lower price for others, and also by the suitability of the price to some consumers more than others. FUNDAMENTAL FLAWS Fundamental flaws exist in their theory: 1.
Failing to differentiate between basic needs and luxurious 'wants'.
The view of the insufficiency of commodities and services to satisfy all of man's needs is completely erroneous. The only reason it sounds believable is due to the fact that there is no distinction made between basic needs which are required by people such as food, clothing, shelter and the luxurious 'wants' of people. Many may desire the latest Ferrari and a country mansion, however they are not needs that people will suffer without. The basic needs of human beings are limited, and the resources and the efforts which they call the commodities and services existent in the world are certainly sufficient to satisfy human basic needs; it is possible to satisfy all of the basic needs of mankind completely many times over.
individual to satisfy all basic needs completely, and after that helping them to strive for attaining their luxuries. Therefore increasing production alone will not solve the economic problem. Western societies have high levels of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) yet still have high levels of poverty as was established earlier. This fact itself disproves the 'invisible hand theory' and the free market as the solution to the economic problem. The production centric approach to the economy has led to the obsession amongst Western economists in increasing national income through increasing production. GDP and GNP (Gross National Product) are even used to measure the success of economies globally. These measures indicate the collective wealth of a nation but do not indicate the distribution of wealth and levels of poverty. An increase in the level of production leads to a rise in the level of the wealth of the country and does not necessarily lead to the complete satisfaction of all the basic needs of each and every individual. A country could be rich in its natural resources, as in the case of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, but the basic needs of most of their citizens are not satisfied completely. Therefore, the increase of production by itself, does not solve the basic problem which must be treated first and foremost, which is the complete satisfaction of the basic needs of each and every individual, and following that enabling them to satisfy their luxuries. Thereupon, the poverty and deprivation required to be treated is the non-satisfaction of the basic needs of man as a human being (i.e. food, shelter and clothing), not the increasing luxuries resulting from urban progress. Hence, the problem to be treated is poverty and deprivation of individual members of the society, not the poverty and deprivation of the country measured as a whole. The poverty and deprivation from this perspective (i.e. for every individual) is not treated by increasing national production, rather it is treated by the manner in which the wealth is distributed to the individuals in society enabling complete satisfaction of all their basic needs, and then enabling the individuals to satisfy their luxuries. 2.
So, there is no problem in the basic needs, quite apart from considering it as fundamental economic problem that faces society. The economic problem is, in reality, the distribution of these resources and efforts enabling every
The assumption that people will be able to find reasonable work
The capitalist view towards the economic problem reflects the time in which it was theorised as it assumes that people will be able April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
to work and earn a reasonable amount of money to be able to purchase goods and services to satisfy their needs. Finding work in the late 1700's and 1800's in Britain may not have been difficult due to the high level of demand for labouring jobs during the industrial revolution. This continued until the advent of automation and mass production which led business owners replacing workers by machines. Machines are more efficient, do not demand rights and can't go on strike. This obviously increased unemployment decreased the demand for labouring jobs and led to the growth in the service sector. This situation has been compounded by the information technology revolution in the last decade. The development of technologies in control systems, advanced robotics and the like have further increased mass production and decreased the reliance on human involvement. Where once factories that produced cars would employ hundreds of employees in the manufacturing process, this now is accomplished by an almost fully automated process. Corporations in the developed world have also taken advantage of the cheap labour found in the developing world. Such that the jeans we wear and the Nike and Reebok trainer's children aspire to have, are produced by underpaid labourers in the sweatshops of Indonesia, India, Pakistan and other countries. This form of globalisation has negatively impacted domestic employment. The heavy industry which used to characterise British economy is now a thing of the past. This change of circumstances from a situation in which heavy industry during the industrial revolution led to lower levels of unemployment to the reality today where mass production achieved by automation combined with the exploitation of cheap labour in the third world has led to a shortage of jobs. The reality of unemployment, obviously limits peoples ability to obtain money to satisfy their needs. These changes in the economy should have led Western economists to re-evaluate the fundamentals of their economic theory. The following questions, if not so apparent in the initial conception of the theory have become so now: What if circumstances prevent people from working? What if as is the case for hundreds of thousands of people today that they want to work but there are no jobs for them, or the jobs available do not pay enough to meet their 14
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needs? Due to an attitude previously seen in the prerenaissance bigotry of the Church in repressing the philosophers who questioned the unquestionable, this new clergy of economists today do not question their bible written by Adam Smith. This religious adherence blinds them from admitting the failures of their fundamental philosophy. It is this fact that has led to their failure in dealing with poverty on the streets of Britain and in the West. WELFARE STATE - A REACTION TO SOCIALISM The first welfare legislation in Europe was introduced by Otto Von Bismark, the Chancellor of Germany in 1881 (CE). Bismark laid the foundations of the social welfare state in order to fend off the burgeoning Socialist Democratic Party that was gaining strength as Germany industrialised. The Socialist movement played upon the inequalities between the rich and the poor and began to gain ground in Germany despite repression against them. Bismark's shrewd politicking enabled him to pull the rug from under their feet by introducing social welfare policies. European states introduced a host of welfare legislation as the threat of socialism increased and the ideas of Karl Marx became embodied in state form by the Soviet Union in 1917. Marxist Socialism challenged the ideas of Capitalism by highlighting the obvious concentration of wealth amongst the upper classes (bourgeoisie) and the disparity in wealth between them and the working class (proletariat). Despite many flaws within Marx's economic theory his ideas became influential. The Soviet Union launched an ideological campaign against Capitalism utilising the communist party. As a result, Socialist parties and labour movements sprung up throughout Europe including in Britain. According to the laissez faire approach of Adam Smith the government should not intervene in the economy, thus leaving the forces of supply and demand free to operate hence the term, the free market. The interventionist policies of the European governments were seen as necessary to counteract the attraction of people towards Socialism. However this does not mean that the economists in Europe abandoned Smith's ideals. On the contrary after the demise of the Soviet Union, in Britain we saw a move towards the non-interventionist approach which began with the iron lady,
Margaret Thatcher. This has continued through to the present Blair government, most recently seen by the controversial decision to cut government subsidies on tuition fees for university students. Similar cut backs have taken place with the NHS as well as other welfare institutions, with more proposed for the future. Therefore it is apparent that welfare legislation and the concept of the welfare state itself were 'add-ons' to the capitalist economy spurned by a pragmatic approach to stem the tide of Socialism. In contrast America never introduced comprehensive welfare legislation, as it never faced the threat of socialism within its shores. In this sense it is a purer form of the capitalist economy: a society in which people are refused treatment without having medical insurance; where millions live in ghettos reminiscent of the shanty towns in third world, Africa; the superpower of the world with 35 million people living in poverty. ISLAM WAGES WAR ON POVERTY Islam views the economic problem in a radically different way. Islam focuses on the distribution of wealth not just the production. There are enough resources in the world to provide the basic needs for over 60 billion people according to some statistics. The problem of poverty will not be solved by producing more and more for the rich to consume rather it will be solved by ensuring that basic needs of every individual are satisfied completely. Islam looks at every individual by himself rather than the total of individuals who live in the country. It looks at him as a human being first, who needs to satisfy all of his basic needs completely. Then it looks to him in his capacity as a particular individual, to enable him to satisfy his luxuries as much as possible. The purpose of the economic policy in Islam is not to raise the standard of living in the country without looking to secure the rights of life for every individual completely. Nor is it just to provide the means of satisfaction in the society, leaving people free to take from such means as much as they can, without securing the livelihood right for each individual. Rather, it addresses the basic problems of everyone as human beings, then enabling each individual to raise his standard of living and achieve comfort for himself. The Ahkam Shari'ah has secured the satisfaction of all of the basic needs (food, clothing and
housing) completely, for every citizen of the Islamic State (Khilafah).
"Start with yourself and make charity for it, and if anything is left give it to your family, and if anything is left after that give it to your relatives, and if anything is left after that, do it like that, and that i.e. to that in front of you, at your right hand and at your left hand."
The Prophet said, "The son of Adam has no better right than a piece of food to eat, a drink of water to quench his thirst and a piece of cloth to hide his nakedness and anything else is luxury."
When the Islamic rules are inculcated into the Islamic society the rules of aiding the family will become more apparent to the people and adherence to them will increase as occurred in history under the Khilafah. The feeling of responsibility towards relatives still exists today amongst millions of Muslims worldwide in the absence of the Islamic state, many of them in the Muslim world even looking after their extended families.
This is achieved by obliging each capable person to work, so as to achieve the basic needs for himself and his dependants. Allah the Supreme said:
Islam also gave the responsibility of the community to help people in financial difficulty.
"So walk in the paths of the earth and eat of His sustenance which He provides." [TMQ AlMulk :15]. Many Ahadith came to encourage earning. In one narration, the Prophet Muhammad shook the hand of Sa'ad ibn Muadh (ra) and found his hands to be rough. When the Prophet asked about it, Sa'ad said:
Al-Bazzar narrated from Anas that Muhammad said from one of the sayings from his Lord :
"He who would not have believed in me, the one who slept with his stomach full when his neighbour on his side was hungry and he knew of it." Allah ordered the caring for the poor people. The Supreme said:
"I dig with the shovel to maintain my family." The Prophet kissed Sa'ad's hands and said: "(They are) two hands which The Supreme loves." Islam obliges the children or the heirs to support the parents if they are not able to work, or obliges the State Treasury (Bait al-Mal) to do so, if there is nobody to support them. Muslim narrated from Jabir that the Prophet said,
"If you reveal your almsgiving, it is well, but if you hide it and give it to the poor (people) it will be better for you." [TMQ Al-Baqarah :271] If an individual has not been able to earn through employment or other means and their family and community are not able to aid them to meet his basic needs then the Islamic state will aid him to satisfy his needs. This is accomplished in a number of ways. If the person is unable to earn due to a disability whether physical or mental, the state will give he or she the necessary funds from the Bait ul Mal. If the person is able to work but has been unable to find work then the state could employ
them within the public sector after reviewing his reality. The public sector in the Islamic state will be much larger than in Capitalist states due to prohibition in Islam of owning public utilities such as gas and oil. The Islamic state can also give the citizen a grant for a business project or the means for them to provide for themselves such as purchasing a computer for a web developer or tools for the farmer. Alternatively the state can enter into a partnership with the individual which is a type of Mudharaba, company structure. This is where the state invests capital and the individual carries out the work and the profits are shared. However this will be done for the interest of the people, as the Khilafah is not a businessman, it is a guardian and must act as such. Hand-outs are a last resort, as the aim is to enable citizens to be able to provide for themselves, if they are unable to - then the state must provide each individual a sufficient amount according to their specific needs instead of the fixed amounts such as the 'dole' in Britain. Islam has made the circulation of wealth between all citizens an obligation, and it has forbidden the restriction of such circulation to a certain group of people to the exclusion of others. Allah says:
"Lest it circulates solely among the wealthy from amongst you" [TMQ Al-Hashr :7]. If there were a wide gap within society between individuals in terms of securing the needs, and if society needed to be rebuilt, or if this disparity was caused by neglect of or the indifference in the implementation of the Islamic rules, the State would be under obligation to redress the situation by handing out financial assistance to those in need, until these basic needs were satisfied, and until a balance in distribution was struck. The State should endeavour to provide both movable and immovable commodities, for its aim should not only be to temporarily fulfil one's needs, but also to provide the means which would assist the individual in his quest to fulfil his own needs over the long term. April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
FOOTBALLERS' LIVES AND THE CLUBS THAT SUPPORT THEM
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disorderly behaviour a few weeks later. In 2001, the Chelsea Four, Jody Morris, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Eidur Gudjohnsen, spent the day after the World Trade Centre attacks getting drunk in front of grieving Americans in a Heathrow hotel. A month later Morris, a former England Under-21 International, was involved in a nightclub fight. He also spent a night in a police cell after being arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Morris and pals were reported to police for fighting in a pub and lying in the road half naked. In October 2003, Morris was questioned by police officers about a serious sexual assault. ootballers have been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks. Serious criminal allegations and unsavoury tales depicting a lurid offthe-field lifestyle have brought the game under scrutiny once again.
The story of Leicester City players' accused of sexually assaulting three women in Spain was plastered over the tabloid newspapers. The Leicester team had been staying in La Manga, Spain for a break. After a drink fuelled late night party involving a number of players, three German women who were staying in the same hotel made allegations. A total of 9 players were initially detained and questioned before suspicion fell upon three who were held in Spanish custody for a week. Last month, winger Keith Gillespie, striker Paul Dickov and defender Frank Sinclair were charged with sexual assault. It has been alleged that the players broke into a hotel room and committed the assault with the women sustaining a number of injuries. On returning to England they went straight back into training and played their first match within a week, as if nothing had happened. Leicester City spokesman Paul Mace said: "The players have consistently maintained their innocence and cooperated". However, the defence of the players has gone 16
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beyond 'innocent, until proven guilty'. Regardless of the actual result of a future trial, what is clear is that many of the Leicester team were in breech of club rules and directives on late night drinking, curfew times and exceeded all normal bounds of professional conduct. The Leicester city board and management team have been very quiet over these issues, thus giving implicit backing to their players' conduct. It is difficult to excuse the excesses of young men who are paid thousands of pounds every week for kicking a ball around. Recent times have seen a number highly recognisable footballers find themselves on the front pages of the newspapers for a range of misdemeanours; Paul Merson, ex Arsenal and England was forced to admit a severe drink, drug and gambling addiction, Tony Adams, a former England captain, served a prison sentence, Paul Gascoigne or 'Gazza' admitted to being a wife beater and former Liverpool star, Stan Collymore achieved notoriety for punching his girlfriend, Ulrikka Johnson, in public and letting of a fire extinguisher in a hotel lobby! Of the current generation of players, Newcastle's Welsh striker Craig Bellamy was cautioned for common assault following an incident with a female student. His teammate Jamie McClen was cautioned for drunk and
In 1998, Dwight Yorke's nocturnal activities in Manchester attracted the interest of the tabloid newspapers. It was revealed that Yorke secretly videoed a drink-fuelled sex romp involving himself, the then Aston Villa keeper Mark Bosnich and four girls at his luxury home. The video showed Yorke and Bosnich giving the thumbs-ups to the camera and wearing women's clothing. Bosnich was to later check in to a rehabilitation clinic for alcohol and drug addiction and banned from playing football for taking cocaine. DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE Since the beginning of the 1990's, however as unprecedented levels of money have entered the Premier league the response of football clubs, chairmen and managers has almost universally been to defend the antics of their players no matter what they have done. England and Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand was banned for eight months and fined ÂŁ50,000 by the Football Association after being found guilty of missing a drugs test. An independent tribunal also found the defender guilty of misconduct and overruled his ground for appeal. Ferdinand's defence was that he missed the drugs test claiming he simply "forgot" about it. Most football analysts have reacted with incredulity that a player could
simply forget such an important thing as a drugs test which is so frequently carried out on top players and with so many club official and advisors around to remind him. With the consequences of testing positive and the media sensation that would be involved, many have argued that a lengthy ban was a fair punishment for Ferdinand. By contrast, the reaction of Manchester United has been to defend their player during the whole saga and argue that forgetting a drugs test does not imply guilt and hence their player should be absolved of any blame. Moreover, the club mounted an expensive legal campaign to repeal the ban. Examples abound of current footballers' being found foul of the law, yet receiving almost complete support and backing of their managers, clubs and national football associations. After Johnathan Woodgate was found guilty of affray on an Asian student in a racist attack he was still picked for an England International shortly afterwards. Lee Bowyer, his former team mate at Leeds Utd and co accussee, although exonerated of involvement in the attack continued to receive the support of his club. Even after it was revealed that Bowyer had been in trouble with the police over another racist incident, where he refused to be served by a Pakistani worker in a McDonald's restaurant. The Arsenal football manager, Arsene Wenger, is well known for developing 'temporary myopia' whenever any of his players are involved in a foul or commit an offence. Even after his players were involved in a mass brawl on the pitch, Wenger would comment that he 'did not see it' or 'did not have a clear view of the incident'. Former Wimbledon player, Vinnie Jones, is best remembered in the game for his limited football ability and tendency for brawls and off field wild antics. In a controversial career, Jones was sent off no less than 13 times. Yet, his managers and football club chairmen always supported his behaviour, describing how he had 'character' after every fight and punch up. In fact, players such as Jones and their clubs relished in their reputation and 'bad boy' image. They believed any negative publicity arising from their players' activities could be channelled into increased ticket sales. When former French International, Eric Cantona, infamously launched a kung fu style kick at a supporter after he had been sent off in a game, his manager, Alex Ferguson, was first to defend him. At other times, Cantona's frequent indiscretions were put down to his 'Gaelic temperament'.
RESPONSE OF THE CLUBS Roy Keane, the Manchester United captain, admitted in his autobiography how he waited two years to seek revenge on a fellow player, Alf Ingge Haaland, who had insulted him in a previous encounter. Keane recalled how he deliberately sought to inflict harm upon his opponent during the course of the match making no attempt to play the ball, but rather play the man. In most cases, one would have thought that Keane's premeditated GBH would have brought censure from his manager and club for his actions. Yet, Manchester United defended him throughout the subsequent controversy. The footballers' concerned are usually defended by their club's as misunderstood people; quiet, shy and unassuming. No doubt such football stars also give plenty of money to charity, take their wives shopping and help old ladies cross the road. However, the sheer scale of on field and off field violence, drunkenness and depravity shown by modern footballers makes them appear very little different from the yobs that attend the games to watch them. The only difference being that the hooligans on the terraces do not have the backing of multi million pound businesses behind them. These examples of footballers behaving badly have shown how they receive full support from their clubs, no matter what the offence. The clubs are keen to get the players back on the pitch and play again in order to get results and make money. Clubs need the players to stay with them so as to attract ticket sales, sponsorship and Television rights. Hence, clubs are reluctant to discipline players' for their bad behaviour. Players' may respond negatively to a punishment, seeking a transfer to another club or not performing to a high standard on the pitch. An unhappy or disgruntled player is of no use to a club, so the clubs pander to almost every whim their sportsmen demand of them. If the players' respond with appalling acts of behaviour, this can be conveniently glossed over or ignored. In the eyes of the football clubs, the players are the stars and more importantly the means to their revenue. THE BEAUTIFUL GAME BUSINESS
The current climate within football has changed considerably from the image of father and son braving the elements to support their local team. The football industry is now a multi
million pound business with huge revenues and profits to be made from ticket sales, players' transfers, agent fees and merchandising. Corporate hospitality, executive boxes and celebrity supporters have become the order of the day bringing a newfound wealth to the national game. The 'genuine' fan is fast being put to the side, having to pay hundreds of pounds for a season ticket and incur the astronomical costs associated with supporting a football team. Replica football shirts start from about ÂŁ40, are frequently changed by the clubs, and added to the cost of travelling to football grounds it becomes clear as to the huge amounts of revenue that are generated in football. New businessmen have entered the football fraternity, intent on achieving success on the pitch but more importantly off the pitch with commercial activities. Chelsea football club, and its new owner Roman Abramovich, has spent ÂŁ120 million this season on star players with a view of yielding quick results. Two of Manchester United's largest shareholders are racehorse owners who have seen their dividends increase due to the Manchester United's football and commercial activities. The irony is that they are not even football fans and have never even seen a game at Old Trafford. The extent of the pursuit of money and wealth has begun to affect player transfers. It has been well documented how David Beckham's transfer last summer to Real Madrid was far more to do with commercial and business considerations than anything related to the player's wish to develop his football ability abroad. In selling Beckham, Manchester United received millions of pounds on a player that cost them nothing to buy. In return, Real Madrid acquired a global marketing brand that would be used to extend their influence in the lucrative Far East and Japanese sporting markets. It would enable Real Madrid to sell millions of football shirts, merchandise and other memorabilia all over the world. In a matter of weeks, Real Madrid shirts with April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
'Beckham' written on them sold out and went a large way in repaying the club the money they spent on buying Beckham. Thus, the Beckham deal was almost completely about the revenue and future profits that Real Madrid could secure and very little about the added benefit Beckham would bring to a team that was already awash with talented, world class footballers. PROFITS- THE REAL GOAL The actions of football clubs in defending their players, no matter what they have done or been involved with, is driven by an insatiable desire to maintain and increase profits. Football is big business and millions of pounds of money are invested in the industry. Thus, the only consideration for clubs is the acquisition of trophies and medals on the pitch, which in turn leads to increased profits for the club as a whole. They do not care or consider the negative impact of the behaviour of their employees, the stars, on thousands of youngsters who look up to them or the impact on the wider society when these footballers' involve themselves in drunken binges, violent punch-ups and sexual assaults. Hence, they will always defend and support their stars so as to protect their own interests.
society must be based upon the divine texts and must be in accordance with the wishes of the legislator, Allah . He said:
"And rule between them with that which Allah revealed." [TMQ Al-Ma'idah: 49] The comprehensive nature of the deen of Islam means that it gives detailed guidance for all actions. For example, employers and employees must observe the shariah commandments at all times. Moreover, such contracts of work and employment must be built upon Islam such that neither party transgresses the limits laid down by the Creator, Allah (swt). Thus, workers and managers in a firm or business must display the Islamic morals, manners and etiquettes when conducting trade, business or any activity. Deceit and fraud are prohibited. The owner or proprietor is obliged to consider the welfare of his employees and ensure they are able to complete the tasks asked of them, just as the worker must adhere to his contract and refrain from cheating, deceiving or not fulfilling his duties.
"O mankind! There has come unto you an exhortation from your Lord, a cure for that which is in the breasts." [TMQ Yunus: 57] Similarly, the type of behaviour exhibited by football players, as well as their clubs in turning a blind eye for the sake of profit, would never be tolerated in an Islamic society. The society would be protected from such evil influences through the severity of the law and examples made of individuals who behave in this manner. This then directs the behaviour of individuals in public life to conform to the acceptable norms within the society. These norms are dictated by the Law of Allah and are not subject to change through time and place. The common thoughts and emotions within society need to be protected according to the law of Allah (swt). Therefore, anything that will potentially lead the people to do Haram acts, or the propagation of what is Haram is not allowed in society. This is in order to safeguard the society from deviant behaviour. The protection of the society takes precedence over the making of profit. And He said:
Allah said: This philosophy is consistent with the Capitalist principle that sees profit maximisation and revenue as the sole aim for individuals, companies and state. It indicates the decadence of the Capitalist ideology that motivates individuals by materialistic possessions and commodities alone, whether in the form of money, women, drink or drugs. Therefore, with such a mentality it is inevitable that football clubs will continue to support their players as they indulge in ever more degenerate behaviour. The consequences of this mentality, whether in football, business of in day to day transactions, is that it leads to a selfish, corrupt and immoral society where everyone and everything is considered by its monetary value alone. It produces a society obsessed with the pursuit of money and profits, regardless of the moral, social and ethical consequences that this brings to others. Thus, Capitalist society will continue to be beset by a host of problems that emerge from its most cherished values. ISLAM- FOLLOWING THE PROPHET, NOT PROFITS In Islam all relationships and transactions that occur between individuals and the wider 18
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"And whatsoever the Messenger gives you take it, and whatsoever he forbids you abstain from it." [TMQ Al-Hashr: 7] In Islam, the impact any company has on the society is also considered. The Islamic economic system encourages trade, buying and selling and the pursuit of profit. However, the pursuance of monetary rewards should not be at the expense of causing corruption or inflicting harm upon others. If something will corrupt the society then it is not permitted. A business is established and maintained to make a profit, but it must consider the impact of its actions on others. So, advertising by using women in a provocative way to entice customers is prohibited or using 'cheerleaders' to entertain the fans at the half time interval during a game. Allah said:
"And let those who withstand his (the Messenger's) order beware, lest some trial or painful punishment befall them." [TMQ AnNur: 63] Islam secured the observance of these rules by motivating the Muslim to adhere to them through the fear of Allah (swt), Taqwa and the abiding of the people to the legislated laws, which the Khilafah implements. Only Islam can solve the problems witnessed in the West. This is because it separates trading for the sake of profit alone from the actions that a business is allowed to perform in order to make a legitimate profit. Therefore, a business or its employees would not be allowed to undertake actions, which corrupt the thoughts and emotions within the society. The pursuit of profit at any cost is rejected and all activity should be based on seeking the pleasure of Allah alone.
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THE RISE IN OBESITY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS espite the rich abundance of resources and fertile pasture across the globe, paradoxically it is a time where much of the planet is deep in the folds of poverty. We currently live in a world where one billion people live on less than $1 a day; where hunger kills up to 168,000 people every week, and an average of 11 children die every minute from malnutrition. However it is the same world, albeit in a different part, where lawsuits are filed against food companies' accused of causing abnormally increased weight in people who chose to consume their products in vastly excessive proportions. Indeed, while the Southern half of the world starves to death, by stark contrast obesity has become a growing problem in the Northern part, to the extent that it has reached almost epidemic proportions.
The obesity debate is highly complex and one that has generated much discussion over the years in an effort to establish who is at fault, if anyone is at all, for creating an obese population, whose existence increasingly impacts on the well being and productivity of society as whole. Obesity is a medical problem that kills thousands of people each year, results in more chronic illnesses than smoking cigarettes and can contribute to heart disease and diabetes. The media is awash with allegations about who is responsible for the crisis. Institutions, ranging from corporate giants in the food industry to advertising companies with their elaborate advertisement and marketing
schemes, have been accused of contributing to rising rates of obesity. Can the individuals whom after all are the ones filling their bellies by their own hands really be absolved from all guilt? Who or what is really to blame? THE PREVALENCE OF OBESITY IMPLICATIONS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETY Food is the vital source of energy necessary for the human body to survive, all types of which with the exception of water contain calories. If the calorie intake exceeds the amount required for the body to function to optimum levels, the body chemistry converts and stores unused energy as fat. Obesity is calculated using a formula known as the Body Mass Index (BMI). It is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both men and women. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight and one of more than 30 is considered obese. Being significantly overweight is linked to a wide range of health problems including, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, indigestion, gallstones some cancers, snoring and sleep apnoea, stress, anxiety and depression, to name but a few. Whilst the bulging waistline has rapidly become a major feature in most of the Western world, it is in the USA that the problem is most evident. Increased calorie consumption can be a reflection of increasing wealth, and the
average American has swelled during the 20th century as a result. Since 1980 the problem has worsened, so further increase in weight has done nothing but harm health and life expectancy. Yet the overeating has continued with the mean calorific intake rising by about 10% between the mid-1970's and mid-1990's. According to some calculations, close to a third of the Americans are clinically obese which is 50% more than the next leading country. The World Heart Federation warns that obesity will overtake tobacco smoking as the biggest cause of heart disease unless the current trend of unhealthy, sedentary lifestyles stops. Further breakdown reveals that in the UK one in four Britons is obese and as many as 30,000 people die each year from obesity-related conditions. It continued to report that in the US, two out of three adults are obese and approximately 400,000 deaths occurred in the year 2000, with poor diet and lack of exercise being major contributors to the cause of death. Obesity is not just a problem restricted to adults with a lifelong history of indulgence. The once euphoric image of youth which was synonymous with good health and vitality has became a thing of the past since the advent of a culture dominated by junk food, PS2's, Xbox's and the like. According to the World Heart Federation obesity is alarmingly appearing amongst the younger generation; an April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
addition to the fast-food culture has been the onset of sedentary lifestyle brought on by the technological advancement of society through cars, television, computers and video games.
estimated 22 million children under the age of five are now severely overweight. Nearly one in three children in the United States between the ages of 5 and 14 are obese, compared to one in six thirty years ago. In Britain, figures for 2002 showed that 8.5% of six year olds and 15% of 15 year olds were already obese. FAT PROBLEM VS FAT PROFITS The impact on society when faced with the prospects of soaring obesity figures becomes all too apparent by way of spiralling health costs. A study by the National Audit Office has estimated that obesity costs the National Health Service at least ÂŁ500m a year and with the wider economy suffering from more than ÂŁ2bn a year in lost productivity. In a Capitalist world, the financial cost becomes the real bottom line in the equation of health - for it is in the market place that the real battle against obesity will take place. Experts maintain that the cause of obesity is complex and points to more than one factor. Proposed causes range from genetic predispositions and parenting to the change in culture that demands keeping up with the fast and demanding pace of life. However, the fast-food industry has come to be held as one of the main culprits. Indeed there has been a real shift of change in the human diet during the last century since the advent of snack food chains such as McDonald's and KFC. Homemade food has given way to convenient high-energy or high calorie food rich in fat, salt and sugar. Experts at the Medical Research Council found most fast food is very dense in calories, and only a small amount is needed to bump up calorific intake significantly. A typical fast food meal has a very high density, more than one and a half times higher than the traditional British meal and two and half times higher than a traditional African meal. There are also concerns surrounding the 'super sized' portions of food, already popular in the US. David Hinchliffe, in an inquiry into obesity held by the Commons health committee last year pointed out that a cheeseburger with fries and milkshake added up to 1,050 calories, which would require a 9 mile run to burn off. In 20
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However, the fast food industry has become a huge international business. With a multibillion dollar turnover in the global fast-food industry, it is no surprise that such international companies will do all they can to keep people eating and the profits rolling in, attempting to convince the public that their products are healthy. These large corporate companies have extensive powers and can exert pressure on governments to influence policy masking. The obesity debate was recently re-ignited by the passage of a bill in the US, the "Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act," which seeks to ban lawsuits against producers and sellers of food and non-alcoholic drinks arising from obesity claims. The bill comes after a long line of cases stretching back to the first US fast food lawsuit that was filed in 2002 by a New Yorker, who blamed his frequent visits to McDonald's for his obesity and diabetes. It has been seen as a test case in which the fast-food industry won a clear victory which critics argue effectively absolves the food industry of any responsibility with respect to public health. More recently fingers have pointed to the food marketing industry that stands accused of targeting in particular young children through provocative adverts and incentives such as free gifts with kids' meals or inside cereal boxes. Also blamed are endorsements from celebrities such as pop stars, sports personalities and TV presenters who all have considerable influence on the choice of food of both children and adults. The arrival of the latest fast food outlet Krispy Kreme - specialising in doughnuts, has sparked renewed concerns about rising obesity. The recently established chain has been widely endorsed by celebrities and has even featured in Hollywood films. Bill Clinton, Bruce Willis, Nicole Kidman and Madonna have all been spotted tucking into Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Critics like Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University and the author of "Food Politics" admits that " Coca Cola is an icon, McDonald's is an icon and Krispy Kreme is about to become one." CONFICTING INTERESTS INDUSTRY OR FAT TAX?
The obesity crisis has brought forward an array of so-called solutions to the problem.
As a consequence, true to the core values of Capitalism we have seen the meteoric rise of a diet industry that holds itself as a solution to this problem. From the lengthening queues outside gyms and slimming clubs, to the raft of celebrity-led fads such as the Atkins diet, it now seems to be a prerequisite for healthy living to follow some kind of fitness regime or weight-busting eating programme. According to a BBC report, diet product spending is estimated to vary from $40bn to $100bn for the US alone; that's more than the combined value of the government's budget for health, education and welfare. Whilst according to research in the UK the average weight watcher spends approximately ÂŁ300 on diet each year. Despite such expense, only one in a hundred dieters manages to successfully lose and keep weight off. Does the diet industry actually work in solving the problem of obesity? Last year in a bid to control the burden upon the NHS due to obesity related diseases doctors at the British Medical Association (BMA) debated a proposal to impose the full 17.5% VAT rate on a wider range of high fat foods such as biscuits, cakes and processed meals. The full rate is already charged on some foods including fizzy drinks, crisps and heated burgers. In addition the British Medical Journal recently claimed a 'fat tax' could help prevent 1,000 premature deaths from heart disease every year in the UK. Other solutions have included the call for banning of food marketing advertisements that target children, and the discouragement of celebrities endorsing such foods. It will have to remain to be seen whether such actions will prove successful. THE ROOT CAUSE OF OBESITY The West's doctrine; freedom and all that it leads to, from the pursuit of personal gratification to self-benefit, has paved the way for droves of individuals to indulge in a lifestyle of greed and gluttony. This viewpoint about life has led the average Westerner to pursue an unbridled quest to amass wealth, and satisfy all material pleasures to the utmost level. From the viewpoint of food, it is the unabating drive for immediate gratification that has led to the huge increase in the fast-food industry. Driven by such forces, people become unable to evaluate long-term implications on their health against an insatiable appetite. The consumer, which is how people have come to be known in free-market terminology, has become a slave
of his own desires, pushed beyond all limits to satisfy every urge. It is this concept; the unbridled pursuit of satisfaction of desires, that is the real root cause of obesity. In effect it is none other than a manifestation of 2 basic axioms of the Capitalist way of life upon which the Western world has come to be built; freedom and satisfaction of desires. This self-destructive way of life is the ultimate cause of obesity in the West, and it is these same notions that are the root cause of numerous other social ills that the West falls victim to, from corruption, crime, economic inequality, sexual exploitation - all are an inevitable result of people living in a society where they are encouraged to pursue their desires without limit. It comes as no surprise that the West flounders in its quest to find a solution to the obesity problem, offering up piecemeal answers that fail to deliver the needed results. Its proposals are almost in all cases reactionary and superficial and in no way come close to solving the problem of obesity. Specialised low fat diets, high carbohydrate diets or 200 press-up a day exercise regimes do not address the root of the problem. Rather, the true solution lies in deconstructing the very beliefs and ideas that Western life itself is built upon, and exposing them as false and self-destructive. GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS OF FIRST WORLD GREED The implications of First World greed do not stop with the limits of the hemisphere. When natural instincts of eating coupled with the notion of freedom come together the end result that ensues is inevitable. Individuals lose control and are carried away with the insatiable desire to want more and beyond what is necessary. When the fat of the native land is no longer enough to provide this, it becomes necessary to look further afield. In this way, the whole world is made to suffer as a result of the excesses of Western civilisation. The West's colonial and imperial expansion throughout the world this century was driven by the need to maintain this lifestyle of unbridled satisfaction of material desire, even if it was achieved at the expense of others. As a result of this, through a series of social, political and economic policies the developing world became the main suppliers of raw materials, fuel sources and food that they
exchanged in lieu of their debt repayments. Markets in the starving continents of Africa and Asia have become fertile sources of cash crops and child labour. Consequently much of the food grown in the Developing World was not for the satisfaction and the needs of the needy indigenous population, but for the over consumption by the gluttonous West. A sharp example of this was seen throughout the famine in Africa in 1984-85. While Band-Aid were singing to Britons to bring to light the plight of emaciated, starving Ethiopians, the same country was producing green beans which were exported to Great Britain, for consumption by its already obese population. CURBING THE DESIRES In today's society individuals who make satisfaction of desires their aim are trapped in a vicious cycle of binging and dieting, emotionally imprisoned through depression and low self-esteem whilst physically tortured as a result of succumbing to their appetites. When the brief moments arise in which they take control of their will power in order to fulfil another desire for example, to lose the weight, they feel temporarily satisfied. However, moved by the very same type of urges, it is not long before they jump back on the bandwagon as the desire and temptation set in to binge once again. The nature of desire as a criteria for controlling actions is such that it is constantly fluctuating, with the individual being torn between a variety of differing pleasures. The aim of satisfying desires will never bring peace and contentment to an individual and comes at great cost to both body and soul. When this concept is applied to food and drink, it leads to people enjoying these things to excess; obesity can be considered a natural outcome. THE ISLAMIC VIEWPOINT IN LIFE DEFINES OUR CRITERIA FOR ACTION AND JUDGEMENT The true solution to the obesity problem lies in assessing the viewpoint of life that ultimately dictates the choices individuals make about the way they live. Allah ď ‰ has created human beings with instincts and organic needs, which people must fulfil in order to survive and live in tranquillity. These include the need to eat, sleep, procreate or any other basic human function. The intrinsic tendency that drives man to satisfy these urges is the nafs (the lower soul, or the self) and hawa (inner desires). The Islamic concept of nafs and its satisfaction
is an entirely different one. The hawa and nafs are not gods to be worshipped. Allah ď ‰ says,
'Have you seen him who takes his low desires for his god? Will you then be a protector over him?' [TMQ Al-Furqan :43]
'Who is further away than the one who follows his own desires without guidance from God?' [TMQ Al-Qasas :50] Rather, the driving forces that exist in a Muslim must be satisfied with balance, and not to excess. Thus the aim of life is not to seek benefit and pleasure, but to worship Allah (swt). It is here that lies the means by which the whims and desires of an individual are subjugated and disciplined before the intellect whose continuous source of reference is the divine guidance, the laws of Shari'yyah as revealed by Allah (swt). In this way it is the mind that controls the desires, and not the desires that subjugate the minds.
'And he who obeys Allah and His Apostle, and fears Allah, and is careful of (his duty to) Him, these it is that are the achievers.' [TMQ AnNur :52]
"Truly the nafs incites constantly to evil, save when my Lord has mercy" [TMQ Yusuf :53] With this clarity comes the understanding that for every action undertaken by individuals whether it be an issue involving eating food, dressing or undertaking a transaction, the reference for permissibility of undertaking that action will solely be derived by the Shari'yyah and not through the direction of desires alone. Only then will contentment arise or spiritual tranquillity be achieved for the individual, whilst for society will come a sense of balance, harmony and justice. Rather than the desires April 2004 Khilafah Magazine 21
being the true driving force in life, it is the quest to please and worship his creator, which controls the behaviour of a Muslim.
"And for such as had entertained the fear of standing before their Lord's (tribunal) and had restrained (their) soul from lower desires, their abode will be the Garden." [TMQ An-Nazi’at : 40-41]. The shariyyah of Allah gives detailed guidance for all areas of life, including the correct way of eating. The divine sources of Islamic Law - the Quran and Sunnah, are replete with meticulous details of what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, even the manner of eating. By following this divine guidance, as in any discipline, the life of the Muslim will be stable and balanced. The obesity problem will be solved from its root. As consumerism and the desire to maximise productivity is not an aim in Islam, exploitation of the planet and the Third World, which has become part and parcel of the Capitalist methodology of globalisation, will be prevented. THE WAY OF EATING IN ISLAM
over which the name of other than God has been invoked. But if one is forced by necessity, without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful' [TMQ An-Nahl : 115].
Sunnah, and abstaining from it is rewardable. Thus what leads a person to overeat despite such prophetic injunctions, can only be the desires, which overwhelm the intellect and reasoning.
However, Islam shuns gluttony, which is the unrestrained succumbing to whims and desires with respect to the desire for food. Hazarat Abu Karima Miqdad Ibn Ma'dkiarib (ra) relates that he heard the Messenger say,
More important than the physical implications of indulging in such an action is the issue of allowing the desires to gain any control over the intellect. For whilst the action of overeating is not haram in itself, it encroaches into the area that lies between that which is the haram and halal; an action which if it becomes repetitive, may generate a tendency to stray into the haram. For if one develops, through overeating and the constant satisfaction of the appetite, a love for delicious foods, it may be quite easy to develop a tendency to be less meticulous in finding out whether all the ingredients of a particular food-stuff are halal. The principle is the same for desire should never overwhelm the intellect. It is through this means that it is possible that the desires can come to overwhelm the intellect in deciding which foods to partake of and from which to abstain.
"No man fills a vessel worse than his stomach. For a person a few mouthfuls are sufficient to keep his back straight. But if he wants to fill his stomach than he should divide his stomach into three parts and should fill one third of his belly with food, another third with drink and leave one third empty for easy breathing." (Imam Tirmizi has quoted this tradition and said that it is correct). Abu Hurairah (ra) reported that a man used to take much food. Then he accepted Islam and used to eat little. This was mentioned to the Prophet who said,
Islam acknowledges the need for nutrition, and it is one of the bounties of Allah to have made such a variety of tastes and forms in the things Muslims are permitted to eat.
Furthermore, there are many other negative spiritual implications to allowing the desire of food to dominate the soul.
The Prophet said, 'there is a charity for everything, and the charity of the body is fasting.' (Ibn Majah)
However, a few things have been prohibited for Muslims to consume, and these are avoided as an obedience to Allah (swt). Partaking of them entails sin, while abstaining from them carries reward.
Jaber (ra) reported, 'I heard the Messenger of Allah say, 'The food of one is sufficient for two and the food of two is sufficient for four, and the food for four is sufficient for eight.' (Muslim)
It is not uncommon for lovers of food to plan their whole days around what they will eat, instead of where they will pray salat. They will spend hours longing for particular delicacies, travelling great distances to obtain their particular favourites, thereby delaying other important duties such as dawa or studying sacred knowledge. They will neglect to share their food with others, preferring themselves to their Muslim brothers, and in a state of postprandial bloatedness, they will neglect to perform the sunnah prayers, restricting themselves to only that which has been made a bare necessity.
'He has only forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and any (food)
Thus, with regards to food the issue that determines what we can eat is subject to that which is halal i.e. permitted for us by the divine laws of Shari'yyah. However with regards to the amount it is makrooh (disliked) to eat in excess. As such, while overeating does not carry any sin, to do so contradicts the Prophetic
Islam has an altogether different perspective on life, which advocates restraint, and servitude to Allah not the nafs or hawa. The perfect system of Islam gives guidance for all aspects of life, including the matter of eating, which leads to a healthy balance for both the individual and wider society.
'The believer eats in one intestine, and the unbeliever eats in seven intestines.' (Bukhari and Muslim). 'O ye who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to God, if it is Him ye worship' [TMQ AlBaqarah: 172].
Khilafah Magazine April 2004
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THE POLITICS OF COMPROMISE
the idea of compromise upon the Muslims so that the truth may be forgotten in the name of 'cooperation' and 'peace'. Two issues where this has occurred are the occupation of Palestine and the dispute over Kashmir. THE PLO, ARAFAT AND ISRAEL
olitics is often referred to as the 'art of compromise'. In the sphere of international politics, compromise is a much utilised tool with the Western states often advocating compromise solutions to situations of conflict all over the world. They claim it to be a noble thing to do. The term is also one uttered from the mouths of Muslims, when discussing the solution to situations of dispute in the Islamic lands. This article aims to examine the concept of compromise, its use in politics and its validity.
The West view compromise as a necessity in bringing about resolutions, enabling cooperation between differing sides. The fact that compromise in politics is seen to be the noble and correct action to take, is based upon the presumption that compromise is the only principle that can resolve conflicts. This principle was used in the politics of Northern Ireland by both the British government and the Nationalists. The 'Good Friday' agreement is often heralded as a great example of compromise, where conflicting demands were reconciled, by the British government granting Sinn Fein a position in a new legislative assembly, in return for the decommissioning of arms by paramilitary groups, including the IRA. This resolution was the result of both the British government and Nationalists abandoning, to some extent, their respective long standing beliefs on the issue. Such a compromise was well praised internationally and has even been cited as a model for other disputing nations to accept. Recently, British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mike O'Brien suggested that the leader-
ship of Pakistan and India take a cue from the 1998 'Good Friday' agreement and resolve their problems 'peacefully and amicably'. The concept of compromise can be defined as being in an intermediate state between conflicting opinions or actions, reached by mutual concession or modification. To achieve, one must accept or at least recognize a conflicting point of view. It is believed by some that to compromise is to take the 'middle path' between two extremes, and that such an approach is inherently good. In reality, the nature of a compromise solution is that it disregards the truth and compromise promotes the view that whether there is a correct solution or not is insignificant. What is relevant when solving a problem based upon compromise is ensuring that there exists a solution with which all parties, to some extent, have agreed, as was the case with Britain and Northern Ireland. Reaching such a consensual point will require that some views or positions be relinquished by both sides, in order to find a mid point, which would be the compromise solution. In this process, it may be that the correct and true solution is ignored for the sake of establishing a halfway position. Therefore, when two parties are asked to compromise, what is asked of them is not only to put aside their differences, but also to put aside the truth. COMPROMISING SITUATION
The Kafir nations have worked hard to impose
In the turbulent recent history of the Ummah, perhaps no struggle has captivated the Ummah's desire for liberation from colonialism more than the struggle against the occupation of Palestine. Betrayed by the neighbouring Arab states, the Palestinians turned to the PLO to lead their struggle. The PLO was formed in 1964 to serve as the political representative body for the Muslims of Palestine. In 1964, the PLO charter was decisive on its stance stating, in article 19, "the partitioning of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of Israel area fundamentally null and void, whatever time has elapsed" and in article 22, "Israel is a constant source of threat vis-Ă -vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East". In 1968, the PLO added a further clause to its charter, reinforcing its stand, stating "armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine". The US policy for the region has always been to create a two-state solution; the Jewish State with a Palestinian State alongside it. The United Nations served the role of international body and, with American support, the UN passed resolution 181 in 1947. This resolution calls for the partitioning of Palestine and the placing of Jerusalem under UN control as this area is so contested. It also contained provisions for the right of Palestinians to be compensated for loss of property. However, after the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jewish state did not comply with this and started to assert itself and oppose US regional policy in the pursuit of its own interests. This political hurdle had to be overcome and lead the US to pursue its policies via the PLO and the politics of compromise. For the twostate plan to be realized the PLO would need to alter its clear stance on the existence of Israel April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
and, hence, until the PLO accepted the resolution, the US did not publicly negotiate any solution with them. In 1967, the UN passed resolution 242, requiring Israel to withdraw its forces to pre-1967 borders. The acknowledgement of UN resolution 242 was vital for US regional policy because its acceptance by all parties would require them to recognize the existence of Israel and Palestine. However, for the PLO to accept this resolution, it would mean accepting that Israel could continue to occupy the lands it usurped between 1948 and 1967. In November 1988, the PLO accepted this resolution and by December, the US was engaged in direct diplomatic negotiations with them. In 1988, the PLO renounced the use of violence to overthrow Israel. Arafat made a statement in Stockholm, "(the PLO) is prepared to negotiate within the framework of the international conference, a comprehensive peace settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict on the basis of resolutions 242 and 338â€Ś (the PLO) undertakes to live in peace with Israel". This was to mark the beginning of an era of nothing but compromise by the PLO. This organisation was supposedly founded upon the realisation that the Islamic land of Palestine had been occupied, and an illegitimate state had been established in its place. Now the very individuals who had stated that the establishment of the Israeli state and the partitioning of Palestine were never to be accepted, themselves validated the legitimacy of the state of Israel, by accepting resolution 242 and 338. The very core of the struggle against Israeli occupation was destroyed with this public show of compromise. With the acceptance of 242 and 338, the PLO demonstrated to the Muslim Ummah, that they had no desire of liberating Palestine from the Israeli occupation. Thus, not only did the PLO compromise on their fundamental rejection of Israel, but they also accepted that land occupied prior to 1967 was legally part of Israel as well. This was followed by the Madrid conference of November 1991 where Arafat backed the idea of a peace conference designed to bring about a comprehensive settlement based on UN resolutions 242 and 338. Then, in 1993 at Oslo, he signed the accords, which gave Israel control of 85% of Palestine, and a false notion of selfgovernment to the Palestinians. After this, Arafat issued a press release stating that "the PLO recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security". The 'peace process' of the 90s demonstrated clearly that Arafat adhered to no fixed principles when dealing with Israel; he only adhered to the Western call
Khilafah Magazine April 2004
for compromise. With regards to the pledge of the PLO to continue "armed struggle" against the Israeli occupation, Arafat rushed to prove that there were no limits to his willingness to humiliate the Muslims of Palestine in the name of compromise. In 1996, an unprecedented conference on terrorism was held at Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt that was attended by 30 heads of state including Arafat and Peres. The aim of the summit was to 'rescue the peace process.' In rescuing the 'peace process', Arafat pledged to put a stop to the physical struggle of the Muslims, against their Zionist occupiers. He not only condemned this opposition as terrorism, but also subsequently ordered the arrest and imprisonment of many sincere Muslims. Even to the present day, the PLO shows itself to be bound by no principles, behaving only as a pragmatic organisation, willing to compromise everything. They are content with their aim of securing a pseudo-state, established on 10% of Palestine, with no army of its own or independent supervision of its borders. In fact the PLO and its supporters boast of their ability to compromise and their inability to even remain verbally committed to their original aims. As the Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erakat stated, "Palestinians are no strangers to compromise. In the 1993 Oslo Accords, we agreed to recognise Israeli sovereignty over 78 percent of historic Palestine and to establish a Palestinian state on only 22 percent." (August 2000) PAKISTAN DISPUTE
The Hindu occupation of Kashmir is a situation also highlighting the role of compromise in politics. The Muslims of Kashmir have been left at the mercy of the Indian army for over fifty years. In 1947, Kashmir was provisionally accepted into the Indian Union pending a free and impartial plebiscite. This was spelled out in a letter from the Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten, to the Maharajah. In the letter accepting the Accession, Mountbatten made it clear that the state would only be incorporated into the Indian Union after "referendum, plebiscite, and election." This solution of a plebiscite in the entire state, including the Indian and the Pakistani sides was outlined in the UN resolutions of 13 August 1948, 5 January 1951, and 24 January 1957. Pakistan's long-standing stance on Kashmir has been the implementation of the relevant UN resolution. As the majority of the inhabitants of
Kashmir are Muslims, the outcome of any referendum is a predictable one and, hence, despite having accepted the principle of a plebiscite, India has since obstructed all attempts to arrange it. Instead, the Indian policy has been one of working towards a bilateral solution to the problem of Kashmir and the negation of UN resolutions. For decades, both sides maintained their position on Kashmir and, as a result, Kashmir was a major source of tension and hostility, including two India-Pakistan wars. However, US plans for the region have ensured that compromise will now play an instrumental role in the Kashmir conflict. A concern to the US in its pursuit of global hegemony is the future emergence of China as a regional power. And as an important part of its strategy for the region, in order to contain a possible future threat from China, the US is focusing upon strengthening India as an upcoming regional power and ally. But the dispute over Kashmir remains a major obstacle to US objectives in the region. The persistence of this crisis serves as a hindrance to US policy because only after normalisation of the Indo-Pak relationship can the two countries be used as a block to contain China. Therefore, dealing with the Kashmir issue has taken precedence under the Bush administration. Musharraf came to power in 1999 after leading a coup, which ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef. Musharraf took a stand in the Kashmir dispute, which allowed him to exploit the strong sentiments of the Muslims of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan had been let down by Nawaz Shareef when he obeyed US orders to surrender the Pakistan army's strong position on the Kargil heights. It was at this point that Musharraf stepped in, gathering the support of the army as well as the sincere mujahideen around the issue of fighting the Indian army over the occupation of Kashmir. It soon became clear, however, that there was little substance to Musharraf's show of support for the liberation of Kashmir, rather he would go on to compromise according to the plans of the US. The US has long claimed to be the champion of upholding international law, and adhering to the institution of the United Nations in dealing with international problems. It has become evident in recent years that this is not the case; rather the US will act unilaterally to secure its own interests as defined by their criteria of benefit. In the case of Kashmir, the 'go it alone' behaviour of America has highlighted how compromise will be pushed as the correct course of action, even when it contra-
dicts previously agreed UN resolutions.
THE ORIGINS OF COMPROMISE
In November last year, Pakistan offered to drop a 50 year-old demand for a UN mandated plebiscite over divided Kashmir and meet India 'half way' in a bid for peace on the subcontinent. In an interview before the South Asian Summit, Musharraf said he was prepared to be "bold and flexible" in an attempt to resolve the dispute over Kashmir. He went on to add, "We are for the United Nations Security Council resolutions, however, now we have left that aside".
The compromise solution in solving political problems is an inevitable matter in a world where Western Capitalism controls international politics. The politics of the West are not concerned with establishing the truth when addressing a situation, because the fundamental basis upon which it rests, came about as a result of a compromise, rather than by arriving at the truth.
The move was greeted positively by India, as politicians in Pakistan offered their backing to what analysts described as a significant step towards achieving a sustainable peace between the two rivals. Pakistan's foreign office stated that Pakistan had provided India with an opening to start dialogue on resolving bilateral disputes. Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan said, "Prime Minister Jamali has demonstrated statesmanship, flexibility and he has given an opening to the Indian government to engage with Pakistan, the ball is now in India's court". This flexibility was in fact a complete u-turn on the part of Pakistan. A fifty-year-old stance on the dispute was overturned when Musharraf's government not only put aside its commitment to the plebiscite, but also denied the fact that hostility exists with India, even though it was this hostility that was a justification for his coup of 1999. The declaration of a unilateral ceasefire demonstrates that the Pakistani government has abandoned the fundamental recognition of Kashmir as being Islamic land that must be liberated from India's control. This compromise was received well by both the Indians and the Americans; the Indian External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said, "It is Pakistan which has always insisted on the centrality of the (Kashmir) issue, so any change towards flexibility is welcomed by India". The American state department spokesman Richard Boucher said that the Secretary of State Colin Powell had welcomed the decision to observe a ceasefire. The offer by Musharraf to drop the longstanding Pakistani demand of a UN solution to Kashmir was hailed as 'constructive' by the Americans. Richard Boucher said, "We think it's constructive to relinquish the demand for referendum on the status of Kashmir, if those reports prove to be accurate and it seems they are". The 'relinquishing' of the Pakistani demands were highly praised by the Americans as the 'middle path', which means normalisation between India and Pakistan, a vital aim of US foreign policy in the region.
Secularism, being the source of Western politics, was born out of the fierce struggle between the Christian Church and the philosophers and thinkers of Europe. At a time when Europe was ruled by monarchs who exploited the people, and used the power of the church to consolidate their power, opposition to the Christian belief began to increase. It was believed by the thinkers and philosophers of the day that only the human mind, and not religion, was suitable for ruling the affairs of life. Hence, a conflict of ideas began that developed into a bloody war, after which a compromise solution was reached. The authority of the Church was separated from the state and confined to individual worships, preaching, and the conducting of religious festivities. All that was associated with religion, God, or spirituality was removed from the worldly affairs, and human beings would be free to run their affairs based upon man made law. During this evolution of secularism, the truth of whether or not God exists was ignored in favour of compromising between the opposing ideas. However, the question of the existence of a Creator is a matter that must be answered decisively. The Creator either exists or does not exist. Hence, the compromise solution of detaching God and religion from politics was irrational and disagreed with the reality of the question being asked. The consequences of this have been great and have resulted in politics based on lies and deviousness. Politicians do not try to obtain all of the truth but to obtain something even if it is less than the truth. Not so that everyone can achieve their right but so that they arrive at a compromise solution approved by both parties. Not because it is correct but due to circumstances of each group in terms of their strength or weakness. So the strong takes everything he desires and if he can and the weak relinquishes everything he cannot obtain. Thus, Capitalism does not acknowledge any 'absolute truth' as it leaves man to decide what it right and wrong, good or bad; a measure that is neither objective nor permanent. As a conse-
quence, the politics based upon such a belief will be one where there is never a correct position to take, rather pragmatism and expediency dictate what is correct and what is not. Capitalist states will never hesitate to compromise, as no principle is ever sacred, or unchangeable; except, of course, for the noble principle of compromise. IS THEIR ISLAM?
Some Muslims, instead of criticising the idea of compromise and the compromise solution and clarifying its error and fallacy, have adopted it. They say that compromise is thriving in Islam. They might even go as far as saying that Islam is established on it. One writer on the subject of compromise and the Muslim world, comments in an article, 'Although Islamic scripture is totally compatible with a culture characterized by compromise, Muslim history (especially its Arab chapter) has proceeded in a spirit that is antithetical to the notion of compromise'. It is often the case that Muslims are lead to believe that compromise is inherently good, something which Islam itself encourages; to them, Islam epitomises a state between extremes. So Islam is between spiritualism and materialism, between individualism and collectivism, between realism and idealism, between constancy and change. There is no excess or deficiency, nor exaggeration or exceeding the bounds. So if Islam takes the 'middle position' it is no surprise that compromise should emerge in every aspect of Islam, including the political solutions. Proponents of this understanding resort to distorting textual evidences to present them as being in line with their view. For example, Allah ď ‰ states in the Qur'an,
"Thus We have made you a just nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger ď ˛ be a witness over you" [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 143], This is explained as the middle position of the Ummah being derived from the moderation in their minhaj and system. So there is nothing in it of the excessiveness of the Jews and the negligence of the Christians. According to them, the word 'middle' (wasat) means justice, and justice is the middle of two conflicting sides. Justice, therefore, became synonymous with the idea of
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compromise. The correct meaning of the ayah, however, is the Islamic Ummah is an ummah of justice. Justice is from the conditions of a witness in Islam, and this Ummah will be a just witness over the other nations to which she will convey the message of Islam. The ayah, though it came in the form of a notification (seeghatul ikhbaar), is an order from Allah to the Islamic Ummah that she spread Islam to the other nations; otherwise, she will be sinful. She is a proof against the other nations, just as the Messenger is a proof against her in his conveyance of Islam to her and his request from her that she should convey it to others. He said,
"Let the one present convey it to the one absent". Other evidences are also distorted and used to back the view that Islam promotes the middle view; for example Allah says in the Qur'an:
"And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those" [TMQ Al-Furqan: 67]. This ayah has been used to explain that spending has two extremes: extravagance and stinginess, and that the middle way (wasat) is spending in moderation. The advocates of this view did not understand that the meaning of the verse is that there are three types of spending: extravagance, niggardliness and moderation. Thus extravagance is the spending in haram, whether less or more. An example would be of one who spends a dirham for buying alcohol, gambling or bribery. So extravagance is haram. As for niggardliness, it is the abstention in spending in the wajib. If a person did not pay a single dirham that he owes for Zakat, or if he does not spend on those he is obligated to give maintenance to, then that will be niggardliness, which is haram. Moderation (qawwaam) in this ayah refers to the spending that is in accordance with the rules of the Shari'ah. This is regardless of whether such spending is large or small. So, honouring a single guest by slaughtering a sheep, chicken or camel is moderate spending. It is halal because it is mentioned in the ayah "between those" [TMQ Al-Furqan: 67] to show that there are three types of spending: extravagance, niggard-
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liness and moderation. One of those three types is required by the Shari'ah; that is the moderation. So moderation in the context of spending is that which is halal and not that which falls between two extremes. In Islam, there is no middle position or compromise solution. The existence of Allah and his guidance is certain, and thus His rules are certain. Islam has defined all the right and the wrong, the good and the bad, the halal and the haram, with accuracy and clarity. The Hudood, limits, have been established by Allah and are thus unchangeable. Allah informs us of these limits and the warning against transgressing them.
"These are the limits of Allah, which He makes plain for those people who have knowledge." [Al-Baqarah: 230]
the tribe of Bani 'Aamir b. Sa'sa'ah demanded that they should have the authority of ruling after him, in return for giving their nussrah (support), never was such compromise an option, even though it would have established Islam in authority. He stated decisively,
"The matter belongs to Allah; He places it where He wills." Thus, the middle position or compromise solution is an idea that is alien to Islam. The Western nations and those Muslims loyal to them have attached this idea to Islam to sell it to the Muslims in the name of moderation. They give it to the ummah as a political solution to her problems, intending to divert the sincere Muslims from the clearly defined rules and limits of Islam. So in the case of the Israeli occupation and the PLO, Islam has spoken on the matter; it is decisively, forbidden (haram). Allah says in the Qur'an,
"And whosoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, and transgresses His limits, He will cast him into the Fire, to abide therein forever." [An-Nisa: 14] When this is clear, how can there be compromise? Can the truth be pushed aside when it has clearly been established? The Muslim believes in the truth, the haq, and any compromise is an abandonment of the truth, which means nothing other than accepting (even if in part) falsehood and kufr. When we look to the brilliant example of the Messenger, Muhammad (saw), we see nothing other than unrelenting determination in the face of numerous compromises. When the Qur'aish offered him position, money and rank to leave Islam, the Messenger of Allah said to his uncle, Abu Talib,
"By Allah! O uncle, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left, that I should relinquish this matter, I would not relinquish it until Allah makes it victorious or I perish." Was there a 'middle' position taken by Muhammad ? The answer must be, 'No'; his only position was that of Islam. And when
"And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way (to triumph) over the believers". [TMQ AnNisaa: 141] And any 'peace' agreement with the Israelis would only secure the permanent authority and dominance of them over the Muslims. Therefore, there is no room whatsoever for compromise, whether called for by the US or the UN, the matter has been decided; the land must be liberated and any form of occupation is unacceptable. Similarly, the Kashmir dispute is not for discussion; according to the shari'ah, the situation will remain one of hostility until the land is liberated from occupation. Both examples show how, as a consequence of the secular belief, Capitalist politics does not consider what is right or wrong, but only the benefit to be reaped. When observing Western interference in Islamic lands, it is clear that compromise is used only to secure the aims and interests of the stronger nations. So it can be seen how in one case the US will push for a UN resolution to be implemented which calls for a compromise, and in another will praise the compromise solution arising from rejection of a UN resolution. One fact is abundantly clear, as long as the interests of the Western states are fulfilled; there are no principles which cannot be abandoned in the name of compromise.
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THE INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT ON IRAN he American administration, since the September 11th 2001 attacks have aligned themselves with the policy objectives of the neoconservatives, which entails adopting an aggressive and confrontational policy towards rogue states that were outlined in Bush's 2002 State of the Union Speech. Three countries were mentioned; Iraq, North Korea and Iran. With the Iraqi regime removed by US led forces, attention can turn now to the remaining states mentioned in the 2002 address. Iran has emerged high on the list of US foreign policy makers, as they visualise another US conquest in the region to redraw the map of the Middle East to suit US strategic interests.
There are four key objectives to this analysis 1) To highlight the strategic importance of Iran and Western concerns towards Iran 2) To portray the political situation within Iran 3) To highlight the various strategies applied to deal with Iran by the West, with focus upon the US and the European Union (EU) 4) Finally, to provide a future projection of Western-Iranian relations. OVERVIEW OF IRAN Iran is OPEC's second largest oil producer and holds 9% of the world's oil reserves amounting
to 90 billion barrels, and 15% of the world's gas reserves at an estimated 812 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) -- the world's second largest and surpassed only by those found in Russia. With borders to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, and Iraq, Iran is a vital bridge between the Middle East and the East. Aside from having access to the natural resources of the Caspian Sea, Iran also has control over the waterways through strategic access to the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. Iran is said to be one of the only countries in the Middle East along with Turkey and Egypt to have abundant fresh water resources. Roughly two-thirds of the Arab world depends on sources outside their borders for their water supply. The scarcity of water is a major cause of tension between states in the region. In 1985 Former U.N. Secretary General Dr. Boutros Ghali predicted that "the next war in the Middle East will be fought over water, not politics." From the above, Iran's strategic importance is clear to see giving impetus to Western interest in Iran. Therefore last year's announcement that Iran was developing nuclear technology for civilian use has caused much concern to the West. The White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters on June 18 2003, "We have great concerns when a nation that is as
awash in natural resources, such as Iran's oil and gas, why they would want to develop, as they claim, for peaceful, civilian purposes nuclear energy, when they have abundance of oil and gas and don't need nuclear energy." The nuclear announcement by Iran has not only been a cause for concern in the White House, rather the Israeli government has also voiced their concern on Iran's nuclear technology. In October 2003, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said in a lecture delivered to top Israel Defence Forces' commanders that Iran's nuclear efforts constitute "the gravest danger to Israel's existence in the future. This is because Iran calls for Israel's annihilation." Apart from accusations of developing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Iran has also been accused by both the US and Israeli administrations to be supporting militant Lebanese groups such as Hezbollah, who have directed attacks towards Israel from Southern Lebanon and have stated their intention to open a new front to the Intifada in Palestine. In its 2001 annual report on global terrorism, the US State Department stated "Iran was particularly active in supporting Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon and Palestinian groups opposed to peace with Israel."
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Another worry for the Israeli government towards Iran is that Shia'h Iran could build close ties with a new Shia'h dominated Iraq, projecting fundamentalist influence across the region. This concern has also been voiced by officials of the Bush Administration, in a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2003, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld declared "Iran should be on notice that their efforts to remake Iraq in Iran's image will be aggressively put down." The threat reflects Washington's growing concern that Iraqi Shia'h Muslim clerics, some of whom enjoyed Iranian backing and refuge during the rule of Saddam Hussein, have gained substantial influence since the US toppling of the Iraqi regime. With the above concerns, namely the nuclear threat, the opposition to the State of Israel as a result of their support for Hezbollah and the influence Iran may pose in the post war Iraq, Iran has been placed high on the agenda of US foreign policy makers. This was expressed by George W. Bush in his State of the Union address in 2002, where he stated, "Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom." With all the concerns mentioned above, one concern which shoulders itself above the other concerns is the suspicion of Iran developing WMD. IAEA AND THE NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION TREATY
On September 12th 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) adopted a resolution granting Tehran an October 31st deadline to duly sign, ratify and implement the Additional Protocols to the Nuclear Non28
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Proliferation Treaty. The resolution also called upon Iran to suspend all further uranium enrichment-related activities and any reprocessing activities, as a confidence-building measure. These Protocols would establish a short-notice highly intrusive inspection process for IAEA experts, and Iranian conservatives responded by rejecting the proposals, stating that such conditions were "extraordinary humiliating" and undermined national sovereignty.
controlling the supreme leader's post, the judiciary, the Expediency Discernment Council, and the Council of Guardians -- the latter wielding greater power than the parliament. The reformers on the other hand hold a minority status, controlling the office of the President, which is subordinate to the supreme leader. Although the balance of power was already tilted in favour of the conservatives, the partially democratic Iran presented the world with a more acceptable image.
In late September 2003, despite US criticism, Britain, France and Germany made a first, concerted approach to Tehran offering, in a joint letter, technical help to Iran's civilian nuclear project in return for full co-operation and transparency with the IAEA. These three Ministers travelled to Tehran on October 21 2003, and brokered an agreement. In the jointly agreed statement, Iran pledged to sign, ratify and implement the Additional Protocol and to suspend its nuclear-enrichment program in exchange for Europe providing technical assistance to Iran's civilian nuclear programme and co-operating with Iran to eliminate the causes of its security concerns in the Middle East region, ideally with a view to establishing a nuclear weapons-free region.
Despite the conservative makeup of the Iranian regime a turning point came during the May 1997 presidential elections. Mohammed Khatami, a reformist, came to power and the Iranian people witnessed the rise of its dormant civil society. As the relatively free press came under conservatives' attack and was threatened by massive closures, Iran saw the advance of independent public forces, increase in number of demonstrations and sit-ins and violent street conflicts. In February of 2000 the reformists took majority seats in the parliamentary elections. With the presidency already in the hands of the reformist Khatami, the expectations were that the reform movement would now be able to deliver on the promises given and the hopes aroused. But it was not to be, for reformist parliamentary bills were diligently blocked by the Council of Guardians, the highly conservative, 12-man appointed watchdog body which supervises both legislation and elections.
The US welcomed the initiative, but differences in approach were again revealed in the negotiation. At the November 20th IAEA Board meeting, of a new resolution, Washington promptly rejected a first draft drawn up by Britain, France and Germany. On the grounds that it was too loose, and reaffirmed US intentions to refer Iran's noncompliance to the Security Council whilst recommending sanctions. The compromise IAEA resolution agreed on November 26th, expressed deep concern for Iran's past failures and breaches in disclosing its nuclear programme, while recognizing Iran's shift towards a more co-operative and open stance. It called on Tehran to 'undertake and complete the taking of all necessary corrective measures on an urgent basis' and established a fast-track procedure for the IAEA Board of Governors to raise the issue with the Security Council should any further serious Iranian failures come to light. DOMESTIC POLITICAL SITUATION OF IRAN Political power in Iran has been unevenly divided between the conservative and reformist currents, with the conservatives
In response to the authoritarian nature of the present regime and the lack of political freedom, Iran has witnessed a series of student demonstrations taking place across Iran. "This type of unrest was a manifestation of this sense of discontent that officials have failed to address," claims journalist Minda Badiyi. In the midst of this growing internal political dissatisfaction with the status quo, on January 16th 2004 Iran celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, which heralded the conservatives coming to power. The celebration of the revolution sent a strong signal to all political opponents in Iran and abroad that the current regime still remained firmly entrenched to the principles of the Iranian revolution. This entrenchment to the past was vindicated by the assertion of political authority by the conservatives in the months prior to the parliamentary elections. The Council of Guardians barred many of its opponents in parliament from standing in the February elections,
causing them to resign angrily en masse. The reformists dominated the outgoing parliament, but their chances of winning were drastically reduced by the elimination of an unprecedented 2,500 would-be candidates paving the way for a landslide victory for the conservatives. The European Union has criticised the parliamentary elections in Iran as a "setback for democracy." In the United States, President G. W. Bush has said, "I join many in Iran and around the world in condemning the Iranian regime's efforts to stifle freedom of speech, including the closing of two leading reformist newspapers in the run up to the election. Such measures undermine the rule of law and are clear attempts to deny the Iranian people's desire to freely choose their leaders." These were the criticisms echoing across the West on the days following the Iranian Parliamentary elections held on the 20th of February 2004. Within Iran the view is exemplified by the words of Qasem Sholeh Sadi, a former lawmaker who commented ''this boycott is the beginning of the collapse of the Islamic Republic of Iran.'' He further went to add ''the boycott is the start of social disobedience.'' Few reformers, who were not barred, believe that they will be able to bring about change more effectively if they did not participate in the current political system. This notion has also been supported by the main student organization, which released a statement titled "Not participating in the elections may well be a better solution." The student communiquĂŠ urged the reformers to leave positions of power and begin organizing to force change upon the system from below. In response to the parliamentary elections a number of economic and political concerns have developed. During the past two terms Khatami has been able to balance the Iranian public and the conservatives within the government structure. Caught between the two camps, Khatami was seen as a moderate reformist cleric. Now that Khatami is coming to the end of his second term next year, the concern is focussed on the current makeup of the new government. With the reformists gone, and the conservatives anxious to preserve the ideals of the 1979 Islamic revolution, the concern for the economists is how the government will deal with the current boom that Iran is experiencing at the moment. In the past two years the economy has grown by more than 7% each year, and is forecast to
expand by a further 6.5% in 2004 and 2005. In addition low levels of public debt, a healthy trade surplus and rising government expenditure complete the benign picture. Nevertheless, nearly a third of its 68 million people are below the age of 14, putting immense pressure on the country's labour markets and an estimated 70% of Iran's population is under 30 years of age. With unemployment officially estimated at 16% of the workforce, but thought in reality to be far higher, opportunities for the young are thin on the ground with unemployment as high as 28% for those under 30, Iran needs to create about 800,000 new jobs a year just to stand still. This puts the country under pressure to at least maintain, and preferably surpass, its current growth rate. The young population and the distrust in the political system have created voter apathy in the country. The Interior Ministry confirmed on February 22nd, that turnout was just over 50.6% of the electorate - the lowest, since the Islamic republic was born 25 years ago. Economic and political concerns are warranted and it waits to be seen how the conservatives will respond to such challenges facing them.
Tehran argues that the recent street demonstrations held by the students represent a minute minority of the population, the US argues the opposite. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in regard to the student protests that took place in July 2003, that "Washington fully supports and applauds the Iranian people for voicing their desire to live in freedom." This general view was expressed in a speech in Washington in 2002 by a senior official, Zalmay Khalilzad. "US policy is not to impose change on Iran but to support the Iranian people in their quest to decide their own destiny." 2. Direct military confrontation with Iran: This option is seemingly being used as a leverage to enforce one of the other strategies. Yet, it is not to be fully ruled out, as partial attacks on Iran's nuclear sites are by no means out of question, should Tehran decide to ignore US and Nuclear Proliferation Treaty's (NPT) requirements. John Bolton, Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, told BBC's Today program, that US President George W Bush "has repeatedly said that all options are on the table. But that (military action) is not only, not our preference, it is far from our minds."
PRESSURE FROM THE US The American image in the eyes of the Iranian public has been deteriorating since the CIA helped to over throw the elected Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953 and the imposition of the Shah. The Shah dictatorship further fuelled the Iranian public's resentment towards the US. All successive Governments that came after the overthrow of the Shah have maintained the anti-American feeling. Internationally the Americans continued to put pressure on Iranian governments by imposing sanctions and by not allowing it access to the international community. However, it was only after the announcement of the "War on Terror" and namely in the 2002 state of the Union address that the US once again started to show more interest in Iran. Since the early part of last year, we have been hearing certain elements in the Bush Administration calling for regime change in Iran, such as the neoconservatives that have had a great influence on US foreign policy since September the 11th. The pressure from the US has been for regime change, with certain options available to the Bush Administration: 1.
Regime change from within Iran: Whilst
3. Regime change by supporting the son of the late Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi: "There is a pact emerging between hawks in the administration, Jewish groups and Iranian supporters of Reza Pahlavi to push for regime change," said Pooya Dayanim, president of the IranianJewish Public Affairs Committee in Los Angeles. However, in addition to being an American puppet like Hamid Karazai, and Ahmed Chalabi, Pahlavi has little popularity in Iran whilst his supporters are mainly those of the older generation.
4. Multilateral diplomacy, and where necessary direct dialogue with Iranian officials, with the aim of changing Iran's behaviour: "I think the energy sector in the United States will put a lot of pressure on the administration to loosen up," said Steven Simon, a member of former US president Bill Clinton's National Security Council. Another indication that this option is open is that on 31st January 2004, BBC reported, that US congressional aides are to visit Iran in February, in a bid to improve relations. Undoubtedly the mood in the White House is for regime change, however with the run-up to April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
the elections, and unstable situations within neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush Administration is holding back, and pushing for the UN and IAEA to pressure Iran and to continue to project Iran as a pariah state on the international community. Given the hawkish nature of the present US administration it would be politically na誰ve to rule out military action in the future but the present situation prevents such an action from materialising. PRESSURE FROM THE EU Since 2000, the EU has progressively distanced itself from US policy, rather choosing to pursue an active policy of engagement, involving new negotiations in 2002 between the European Commission and Tehran on a Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA). "Common European Union policies have diverged from those of the United States in areas such as sustainable development (at the Johannesburg Summit in September), the International Criminal Court and Iran," the allparty group of MP's said at a Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee. The allparty group of MP's in a report on British-US relations last December commended the UK for continuing what it called a 'bold' initiative
to improve relations with Iran. The EU approach is adopted on the belief that the US-advocated hard-line position serves to reinforce uncompromising positions inside Iran with unpredictable consequences. This was alluded to by the French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, in an interview with the Guardian on October 18 2003, where he said, "The US pursuit of forcible regime change is not a viable or safe policy in the dangerous world that exists after September 11." In contrast the EU approach aims to secure co-operation and compliance through a mix of incentives. The EU have heralded Libya's decision to announce its possession of WMD and willingness to allow inspectors into Libya as proof of the success that can emerge from engagement and co-operation rather than pursuing an aggressive line. The three Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and United Kingdom have since June 2003 been at the forefront in pursuing a diplomatic deal with Tehran and have consistently reminded Tehran that trade talks and the nuclear issue are interdependent. On September 29th the EU ministers said in a statement issued at talks in Brussels "More intense economic relations can be achieved only if progress is reached in the four areas of concern (Human rights, terrorism, WMD and peace in the Middle East)." The EU has been trying to project itself as a dominant player in international affairs. In recent situations the members within the EU have taken a completely different approach to that of the US. In addition to emphasizing the EU strength in international politics, the EU is also trying to safeguard her own oil and gas interests within Iran. With the majority of the Middle Eastern countries influenced by the US, the EU is hoping to maintain good relations with one of the largest Middle Eastern countries that are not under the US influence- Iran. CONCLUSION: 1. Iran is facing internal unrest from the masses. The conservatives barring of the reformists from the February 20th Parliamentary elections has further fuelled the distrust in the current political system. In addition the country has also witnessed mass demonstrations from the student movements. The conservatives with their anti-American sentiments may cease any opening to the
Khilafah Magazine April 2004
outside world that may have been made by the reformists, or at the very least slow the process down. 2. With all the neighbouring countries under strong US influence, Iran is possibly the only Middle Eastern country that the EU may be able to maintain relations with and hence secure long-term oil and gas interests. The battle for control of Iran has important international implications. The EU has been trying to establish itself as a world player, by using the engagement policy with other nations. Recently we saw the British government boast of her achievements by engaging with the Libyan government. Similarly in order to further their interests the British, French and German foreign ministers went to Iran in order for her to sign the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. The earthquake in Bam, and the Prince of Wales visit to could possibly be seen as a sign of European support to Iran. 3. The predominance of the conservatives in the Iranian political system may allow the neoconservatives in the Bush Administration to endorse Iran as a "Rogue state." However, with the run up to the US elections, and the deteriorating conditions within Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush Administration will refrain from going into another conflict in the same region. Nevertheless, Iran will remain high on US agenda, and it may use diplomacy in order to safeguard her interests. Aside from diplomacy the Bush Administration will continue to fuel any unrest within the Iranian populace by non-military means such as Radio and Television programmes, which will be promoting democracy and rebellious factions within Iran. This was admitted on October 28, 2003 by Richard L. Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State, who said in a testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "we believe we can encourage the triumph of public resolve by engaging in direct communication with the people of Iran. We are doing this through Radio Farda, which operates 24 hours a day, and Voice of America (VOA) radio and television broadcasts into Iran." In addition to pressure on it internationally, sanctions etc. 4. The nuclear threat remains the number one issue for the international community, especially Israel and the US. Rather, than permitting Israel to remove Iran's nuclear capability and risk inflaming the region the US may take it upon themselves to thwart Iran's nuclear potential.
Slough email: email@example.com
LESSONS FROM THE TRAGEDY OF KARBALA "O Allah! It is Thee in whom I trust amid all grief. You are my hope amid all violence. Thou are my refuge and provision in everything that happens to me. How many grievances weaken the heart, leaving me with no means to handle them, during which friend deserts me, and enemy rejoices in it. I lay it before Thee and complain of it to Thee, because of my desire in Thee, Thee alone. You relieve me of it and remove it from me. Thou are the Master of all Grace, the Essence of Goodness, and the Ultimate Resort of all Desire." This was the moving dua' made by Imam Hussein (ra) just before the massacre in Karbala. Just before his martyrdom at the hands of the forces of Yazid bin Muawiya. There are certain events in history that shape the emotions of a nation; moments that stir
passions and produce personalities that mould the destiny of peoples. The massacre of Karbala is one such event. As Muslims all over the world in the month of Muharram remember the bravery of Imam Hussein (ra), we should understand the lessons to be learnt from Karbala. SUCCESSION TO (WILAYATUL A'HD)
Near the end of Muawiya (ra) period as Khalifah, he (ra) became influenced by certain prevailing notions from the recently conquered Persians. This was the notion of hereditary rule. Hence he (ra) began a campaign to introduce hereditary rule into the structure of Islam. He did this because he used to understand the state leadership as monarchy and not Khilafah. To have monarchy, by force or
otherwise, is something which Islam does not accept, and cannot be added into the Islamic ruling system. He (ra) tried to place his son, Yazid, as the crown prince even though there is no princehood in Islam. The historians like Ibn Kathir and Ibn al-Athir narrated that after his Walis had failed to take the Bay'ah (oath of allegiance) to Yazid in Hijaz, Muawiya went there himself accompanied by the army and loaded with money. He summoned the prominent figures and said to them: "You have known my conduct towards you and my family ties with you, Yazid is your brother & your cousin. I want you to propose Yazid for the Khilafah, so that you would be the ones who remove and appoint; who put people in authority and collect and distribute the funds."
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relationship or a friendship between them while there were among the Muslims men better qualified than him, he would betray Allah, His Messenger and the believers." Muawiya (ra) was getting older day by day. At the age of 75, he became seriously ill and died in the middle of the month of Rajab 60 AH.
but the Imam did not receive any more responses from Muslim Ibn Aqeel. In Kufa, Muslim Bin Aqeel with the help of Mukhtar Al-Thaqafi and Hani Ibn Urwah continued to hold meetings with the supporters of the Imam. Within a short period of time the gatherings started to gain momentum. Yazid learned about Muslim's successes in Kufa and appointed Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad to replace alNu'man Ibn al-Basheer as Wali of Kufa.
THE ROAD TO KARBALA
Abdullah b. Al-Zubayr (ra) replied to him that he should either choose what the Messenger of Allah ď ˛ did, when he ď ˛ did not designate anyone, or what Abu Bakr (ra) did, or what Umar (ra) did. Muawiya became angry and he asked the rest of the people, and their reply was the same as Ibnul-Zubayr (ra). Upon this Muawiya said: "You have been warned! I am going to speak a word, and I swear by Allah that if any of you replied to me by uttering a word on that occasion, he would not utter another word before the sword had reached his neck. So every man has only to spare himself." Then he ordered the chief of his guards to place two men behind every prominent person of Hijaz and every opponent, with the instructions that if any of them answered back, to strike his neck with their swords. He then climbed up to the Minbar (podium) and said: "This group of people are the leaders and the best among the Muslims and no decision is taken without them, and no matter is settled without their consultation. They have consented and given the Bay'ah. So, do give your Bay'ah in the name of Allah." This is the basis on which Muawiya (ra) established the system of appointing a crown prince. However this was not what the Sahabah as a whole agreed too. Umar (ra) described appointing a crown prince, by saying: "If a man gave authority to someone because of a 32
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As Imam Hasan (ra) had already died before Muawiya (ra), a political vacuum had developed. Yazid took advantage of this situation and wrote a letter to Waleed bin Utba bin Abu Sufyan, who was appointed the Governor of Madinah by Muawiya (ra), to demand the bay'ah from Imam Hussein (ra) or else upon refusal, his head. Waleed invited Hussein (ra) to a meeting for this purpose. Hussein (ra) did not give his word at the meeting and decided to leave Medina along with his family to proceed to Mecca. When Hussein (ra) reached Mecca he received letters from Kufa urging him to go to Kufa to become the Khalifah. Hussein (ra) sent an emissary, his cousin Muslim Ibn Aqeel, to Kufa to ascertain first-hand information about the situation in Iraq. Imam Hussein (ra) also knew that giving the bay'ah to a usurper like Yazid would certainly place Islam at great jeopardy. Therefore he decided to leave Mecca for Kufa. Many friends and relatives urged Imam Hussein (ra) not to go to Kufa, but he insisted on going. Imam Hussein (ra), along with his family, friends, and companions began the journey towards Kufa (1,100 miles away) in a long caravan in the blistering heat of summer.
Meanwhile, as Hussein's (ra) caravan got closer to its destination (Kufa), coming to a place called Zubalah, Hussein (ra) unexpectedly received shocking news. The shocking news was about Muslim Ibn Aqeel and the person who provided him shelter, Hani Ibn Urwah, both of whom were arrested and beheaded by the Governor Ibn Ziyad. Mukhtar was also arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Ibn Ziyad. Hussein (ra) gathered his companions and disclosed to them the bad news. Becoming scared, some companions left the caravan. Imam Hussein (ra) continued with the journey along with close companions and family members until he was face to face with 1,000 horsemen led by Hur al-Riyahi, representing Yazid's forces. The enemy army blocked the camps of Hussein (ra) from advancing and tension started to rise between the two sides. Hussein (ra) addressed the enemy explaining to them his motive for going to Kufa was in response to the invitation of the people. He even showed them a bag full of letters he had received from Kufa. Hur said that he and his men were not the writers of those letters. The Imam told them that if they did not like him to advance with the journey, he was prepared to return to Hijaz. Hur replied: "We are commissioned to follow you until we take you to Governor Ibn Ziyad", and suggested to the Imam to go towards a station which is neither Kufa nor Medina.
During the early phase of the journey the caravan met Al-Farazdaq (a famous poet) at a place called al-Sifah. Al-Farazdaq advised the Imam not to go to Kufa because though people's hearts were with him, their swords would be against him. But the Imam continued with the journey, and he received the first letter from his emissary Muslim Ibn Aqeel with good news. The letter indicated that the people were more than ready to welcome the Imam in Kufa and were looking forward to his leadership. Hussein (ra) decided to send another emissary to Kufa with a message. The caravan kept proceeding toward Kufa. Many days passed
Hussein (ra) found the proposal fair and turned the caravan away from Kufa. Hur and his army marched parallel to the Imam. The two sides reached a village called Nainawa where Ibn Ziyad's messenger delivered a message to Hur. The message read: "...force Hussein to a halt. But let him stop in an open space, without vegetation or water." Hur conveyed the contents of the letter to Imam Hussein (ra). The Imam defiantly resumed his journey and reached a place where another enemy force blocked his move and forced him to stop. When Imam Hussein (ra) learned that the place was called Karbala, he ordered his camp to be
setup. That day was 2nd of Muharram, Hijri 61. Upon learning that his army had succeeded to lay a siege around the Imam's camp, Governor Ibn Ziyad sent additional military units to Karbala and appointed Umar Ibn Sa'ad in charge. Imam Hussein (ra) opened a dialogue with Umar Ibn Sa'ad and convinced him to lift the siege so that the Imam with his family and companions could leave Iraq. Umar Ibn Sa'ad liked the Imam's proposal and sent a message to Governor Ibn Ziyad notifying him about the results of the talks with Imam Hussein (ra). Ibn Ziyad also found the Imam's proposal acceptable. However before agreeing to it officially, Shimr Bin Dhil-Jawshan, opposed it strongly. As a result Ziyad wrote a letter to Umar Ibn Sa'ad commanding him to either go to war with Imam Hussein (ra) or be relieved of his duties as commander of the army and Shimr would not only replace him but despatch Ibn Sa'ad's head to Kufa as well. Umar Ibn bin Sa'ad got the letter. After pondering over the consequences he decided to fight Imam Hussein (ra). On the 7th day of Muharram he moved his troops closer to the camp and began to surround the Hussein camp. Ibn Sa'ad laid a blockade around the camp to cut it off from access to the river Euphrates, to deprive it of water in a move to force them to surrender. Two days later, (on the 9th of Muharram), the enemy forces closed in on the camp of Imam Hussein (ra). Hussein (ra) asked his brother, Abbas, to talk to Ibn Sa'ad and request a delay of the aggression by one night. Umar Ibn Sa'ad agreed to the request. He ordered his troops to delay the aggression until the following morning. Imam Hussein (ra) and his companions spent that night in prayer. THE DAWN OF ASHURAA Finally, the day of Ashuraa (10th Muharram) dawned upon the soil of Karbala. It was the day in which Muslim blood would be shed and 72 innocent lives would be sacrificed. In the morning Hussein (ra) went out of the camp and saw Umar Ibn Sa'ad mobilizing his troops to start the hostility. He stared at the intimidating army, and as large as it was Hussein (ra) showed no signs of compromise. Hussein (ra) raised his hands to Allah: "O Allah! It is Thee in whom I trust amid all
grief. You are my hope amid all violence. Thou are my refuge and provision in everything that happens to me. How many grievances weaken the heart, leaving me with no means to handle them, during which friends desert me, and my enemy rejoices in it. I lay it before Thee and complain of it to Thee, because of my desire in Thee, Thee alone. You relieve me of it and remove it from me. Thou are the Master of all Grace, the Essence of Goodness, and the Ultimate Resort of all Desire." Umar Ibn Sa'ad threw an arrow in the air to indicate the start of the battle. THE TRAGEDY AT KARBALA Imam Hussein's (ra) supporters insisted on being the first to fight. Therefore, they took the brunt of the enemy attack. The battle was ferocious. Within a short time the Imam's supporters slew a large number of the enemy fighters, they were on the offensive and the enemy on the defensive. This caused apprehension and confusion in the enemy. The 72 people of Hussein's (ra) force against the 5,000 of the enemy force. So worried and nervous did the enemy become that their commanderin-chief ordered his army to set fire to the Imam's tents (which were occupied mostly by frightened females and children), and he reinforced his fighters with more troops. By noontime, the Imam stopped the fight to perform the Salah. By this time those left were mainly his family and a few supporters. They performed the Salah together. Two supporters were guarding the performers of the Salah. When the Salah was finished one of the guards fell dead; there were 17 arrows in his back. Ali Akbar, Hussein's son obtained permission to fight and dashed toward the enemy. He engaged them in fierce fighting and he continued to move forward, deep inside the enemy. The enemy was overpowering in number, it overwhelmed him cutting him with swords and spears, and his body became nothing but wounds gushing blood, until he died. Imam Hussein (ra) rushed to the area and picked up the wounded limp body and brought it to his camp. His sister and others in the camp were horrified and shocked at the scene. Abbas and five other brothers of Imam Hussein (ra) went to fight next. They also engaged the enemy in fierce fighting. Abbas went towards the river to bring some water for the thirsty children. While he was returning on
his horse with the water, he was attacked by a large horde of the enemy, overwhelming and severely wounding him. As much as he tried Abbas could not save the water, he fell from his horse to breathe his last. Next to the battlefield went the sons of Hasan (ra) and Zainab (ra) and their cousins (about 17 of them). They were all in their teens but each stood bravely. By the afternoon 70 people had sacrificed their lives in Karbala. All had fought under nerveracking conditions: severe thirst, dehydration, exhaustion, and agonizing feelings of what would happen to the family of the Prophet ď ˛ afterwards. Hussein (ra) endured all that and more, for he saw all his beloved ones brutally cut to pieces, including children. Remaining the only one, Hussein (ra) was to face the enemy head on. Precisely at that moment Hussein (ra) heard his baby crying incessantly, agonizing because of the thirst. Hussein's (ra) love for his family was unbound, especially for a suffering baby. He held the six months old baby, his youngest son (Ali Asghar) in his arms, and appealed to the enemy fighters for some water for the baby. The Imam wanted to awaken their Islamic feelings but the stonehearted enemy, instead of giving water, zoomed an arrow toward the agonizing baby and killed him instantly. Imam Hussein (ra) was shocked. He felt an unbearable wave of pain. The sight of the limp baby in his arms was agonizingly painful. He filled his palm with the blood of the baby, and threw it upwards toward the sky, complaining to Allah ď ‰: O Allah, O my Lord! My consolation is the fact that Thou in Thine Majesty are witnessing what I am going through. Imam Hussein (ra) was alone, one man against thousands. He took them on, fighting them bravely, and kept fighting, receiving many wounds in the process. Thousands of enemy fighters were surrounding him but none dared to move towards him. The silence was broken when Shimr screamed for an attack, and then screamed again, threatening. In response they attacked collectively, and one sword fell on Imam Hussein's (ra) left wrist and deeply cut his left hand. The blood gushed like a fountain. Another sword was soon to follow and it hit his upper back. Imam Hussein (ra) felt numb as he fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. He was at the point of shock, even though staggering he tried to stand by leaning on his sword. Then April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
Khilafah cannot be concluded by it. For it is a contract based on mutual consent and choice, and cannot be concluded forcefully, or by coercion. The Khilafah cannot therefore be concluded except by a Bay'ah of consent and choice. However, if the usurper managed to convince the people that it would be in the interest of the Muslims to give him their Bay'ah and that the implementation of Shar'a rules obliges them to give the Bay'ah, and they were convinced of that and accepted it and then gave him the Bay'ah by consent and free choice, he would become Khalifah from the moment that the Bay'ah was given to him by consent and choice. This never happened in the case of Yazid, and the Muslims were correct in trying to secure the Bay'ah for the man whom they wished to pledge allegiance to. LESSONS FROM THE TRAGEDY OF KARBALA:
he received the fatal blow. It was at this point, that Shimr came forward and severed Imam Hussein's (ra) noble head from his body, the noble head kissed often by the Prophet ! Shimr and others had the audacity to carry it on the tip of a spear to Yazid, 600 miles away! At this, an old man in the assembly cried: "Gently! It is the Prophet's grandson. By Allah, I have seen these very lips kissed by the blessed mouth of RasoolAllah ."
Karbala is amongst one of the worst tragedies humanity has ever seen. It is imperative that we learn vital lessons from this disaster. The following lessons can be learnt from this entire episode: 1.
Khilafah is a vital issue
The institution of Khilafah is matter of life and death. A matter which Imam Hussein (ra) gave his life, his family's lives and the life of his son for. This was done in order to ensure that the seat of Khilafah not be abused or usurped. 2. Bay'ah is the only method to appoint the Khalif - It must be given by consent and choice
YAZID THE USURPER (MUTASALLIT) It is clear that these events were organised and executed by Yazid. Yazid never received the bay'ah by consent and selection, and thus never held the seat of Khalifah. He was a usurper (Mutasallit). If a usurper were to seize power by force he would not become Khalifah, even if he declared himself to be the Khalifah of the Muslims. This is because the Khilafah in this case would not have been contracted to him by the Muslims. If he were to take the Bay'ah from the people by force and coercion he would not become Khalifah even if the Bay'ah was given to him (taken by him). This is because a Bay'ah that is taken by force and coercion is not considered valid and the 34
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The Bay'ah is the only Islamic method to appoint the Khalifah. We can see clearly that Yazid never received the Bay'ah by consent and choice. Indeed his father took the Bay'ah by force for him, and he subdued any opposition to his power by killing. A vital lesson to learn is that, just like any contract, the Bay'ah cannot be taken by coercion, but must be based on consent and choice. 3. The process of Bay'ah must be codified and put in the constitution of the Islamic Khilafah We saw how Muawiya (ra) was able to manipulate the Bay'ah contract for his son. This would have been far more difficult had the process of Bay'ah been codified and put in the
constitution of the Islamic Khilafah. This would ensure that due process would be followed which the Ummah had agreed too. 4.
Rotating the Walis quickly
It can be seen that one of the reasons that allowed Muawiya (ra) to gain such popularity and build a strong support base in Syria (which later allowed him to appoint Yazid) was that he was allowed to remain in the position of Wali for over 20 years. It would be considered wise political manoeuvring for the Khalifah to change his Walis regularly. The Messenger of Allah used to appoint Walis for a period of time and then relieve them, and no Wali remained at his Wilaya during the whole era of the Messenger of Allah . This indicates that the Wali should never be appointed permanently, but only for a short spell after which he is removed. However, evidence about the length of this period (i.e. whether it should be long or short) has not been determined by the actions of the Messenger of Allah . All that is related to this matter is that the Messenger of Allah did not keep a Wali at his post during the whole of his life. What has been established as a fact is that he used to appoint the Walis and then relieve them. However, the civil strife (fitna) that shook the Ummah was caused by the lengthy period of Mu'awiya's Wilaya over Ash-Sham during the times of Umar (ra) and Uthman (ra). This leads us to the conclusion that a lengthy period of Wilaya could harm the Muslims and the State. This is why the period of Wilaya should not be long. Umar (ra) was known to be strict when accounting the Walis and the Amils. He would even remove some of them on just a suspicion without conclusive evidence. He even used to remove a Wali on the slightest doubt that did not even reach the level of suspicion. He was asked about this one day and he said: "It is easy to swap an Amir for another so as to amend the people's affairs." 5.
Constantly checking up on them
Another lesson we can learn is that the Khalifah must constantly enquire about the works of his Walis and he should monitor them closely. The Khalifah should appoint someone who would check their state of affairs and carry out inspections. The Khalifah should also meet
with all of them or some of them from time to time and listen to the complaints of the subjects against them. It has been confirmed that the Messenger of Allah used to examine the Walis when appointing them, as he did with Mu'az (ra) and Abu Moussa (ra). He used to explain to them how they should conduct their duties, as he did with 'Amr b. Hazm (ra). He also drew their attention to some important matters as he did with Aban b. Sa'id (ra) when he appointed him Wali over Bahrain and said to him: "Look after Abd Qays and honour their leaders". Likewise it has also been confirmed that he used to hold the Walis to account, inspect their situation and listen to news brought to him about them. He used to ask the Walis to account for the revenues and expenses spent. Umar (ra) used to closely monitor the Walis, and he appointed Muhammad Ibnu Maslama (ra) to examine their state of affairs and inspect them. Umar (ra) used to gather the Walis during the Hajj season to review their performance and to listen to the complaints from the people about them, and he also used to discuss with them the affairs of the Wilayahs and ask about their own conditions. It has been reported that Umar (ra) once said to people around him: "Would you say that my duty would be fulfilled if I appointed over you the best from amongst you, and ordered him to be just?" They said: "Yes." He said: "No. Not until I had checked his performance, and seen whether or not he did what I had ordered him to do."
Walis should have restricted powers
Muawiya (ra) was appointed Wali over Syria and Iraq with general powers, i.e. a general Wilaya. He had full control over the armed forces, the finances, the judiciary, the police force, the economy, the administration and all other aspects of ruling. It can be seen that had the powers of Muawiya (ra) been limited, he might not have been able to muster the support needed to fight Ali (ra) or award his son leadership. In the wake of Uthman's (ra) death, Ali (ra) had problems getting Muawiya to come under his authority. This was because, Muawiya (ra) had built a strong power base when he was a Wali over Ash-Sham. Therefore, giving a general Wilaya causes a known harm to the Islamic State. Thus, the Wali should be given a
restricted Wilaya in a way that would prevent him from becoming autonomous of the Khalifah and strengthening the Khalifah himself. This can be further seen in the latter Khulafah of the Abbasid period where the Wilaya became autonomous from the centre, further weakening the Khilafah state itself. The main factors contributing to a breakaway would be the armed forces, funds and the judiciary, because the armed forces represent the power, the funds represent the "life blood" and the judiciary demonstrates the safeguarding of the rights and the execution of the penal codes. Therefore the Walis should be given a specific (Khassa) Wilaya that excludes the judiciary, the armed forces and the funds. Delegating these to the Wali would encourage a potential breakaway and this would undermine the State's authority. 7.
Conditions of the Wali
appointed an Ameer over an army or an expedition, he used to advise him regarding himself to fear Allah, and to be good to the Muslims who accompany him, narrated by Muslim. Since the Wali is, in fact, an Ameer over his Wilaya, the Hadith would then apply to him as well. Appointing Walis and rulers devoid of these qualities could lead to the problems mentioned earlier. CONCLUSION The massacre of Karbala has highlighted the importance to Muslims to always stand steadfast in dealing with oppressive rulers. The rulers of the Muslim world today have not been appointed by the will of the Muslims, but imposed upon the Ummah by the Western colonialists. They are usurpers (Mutasallit) and have taken the authority away from the Ummah. In order for the Ummah to realise her full potential, and restore the honour that Islam has given her, these false Yazids need to be replaced with a just Khalifah.
The Messenger of Allah used to select his Walis from among the good people, and those who had knowledge and were known for their piety. He used to select them from among those who were experts in their field, and who would fill people's hearts with Iman and respect for the State. Sulayman Ibnu Barida reported on the authority of his father that he said:
Whenever the Messenger of Allah
"Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam)." [TMQ al-Nur: 55] April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
Book Review WEB OF DECEITBRITAIN'S REAL ROLE IN THE WORLD Web of Deceit-Britain's real role in the world by Mark Curtis It has become almost fashionable to be a critic of the current US administration with respect to its foreign policy. Many writers have turned their ire on US brutality, self-interest and hypocrisy so characteristic of her foreign relations. The UK on the other hand is often viewed as a far more benevolent power exerting a restraining influence on American unilateralism whilst upholding International law. This book, however, aims to explode this myth. Mark Curtis, a prolific writer on the field of international development and on US foreign policy, examines the record of previous UK administrations in foreign interventions. In part 1, Curtis exposes Britain as an outlaw state and details it's violation of International laws. The writer charts the development of the 'war against terror 'and how it has been used as a smokescreen for Western hegemony over the world. Far from being a moderating influence, Curtis points out that during the 1999 Pakistan and India border tensions the British government approved nearly 700 export licenses to both countries. Providing both sides with Hawk fighter-bombers and military hardware to the tune of ÂŁ 64 million. Another chapter clarifies a misconception regarding the UK's participation in the Kosovo conflict. The bombing of Serbia was touted by many as an example of a purely altruistic intervention- the US and UK having so selflessly mobilized their forces simply to come to the rescue of the besieged Muslims of Kosovo. The reality however, was that the bombings carried out by NATO actually exacerbated the situation in Kosovo. The bombings increased reprisals 36
Khilafah Magazine April 2004
against the Albanian population and the deaths of a further 8,000 Muslims. The intervention gave NATO a new lease of life, expanding evereastwards into the Russian sphere of influence In part II of the book, Curtis exposes the UK's role in the global economy and how it works to benefit multinational elites. Organizations such as the WTO, agreements such as TRIPS and concepts such as trade liberalization are merely tools used to open new markets. Curtis accurately describes how the Capitalists in British society are the real decision makers on foreign affairs. Curtis also demonstrates the illusion of democracy. He relates examples of how the general public are consulted every five years but have no say on the policies enacted by any government. The writer quotes an MI6 operative who says that governments are experts at " massaging public opinion to accept controversial foreign policy decisions." The writer also explores Britain's close relationship with the unelected, despots and ruling families of the Gulf region. Part III of the book details the role of British governments in foreign coups and conflicts. MI6 and the CIA are implicated in the overthrow of Mossadaq in Iran to install the Shah after Mossadaq had decided to nationalize oil operations and threaten Western interests. Curtis details the extent of British connivance as the secret services organized demonstrations and courted the Shah as Mossadaq's replacement. Britain was instrumental in the formation of the vicious SAVAK secret service that was responsible for the death of over 10,000 Iranians. The final part of the book explores how UK foreign policy exploits, past and present, thrive on what Curtis calls " the mass production of ignorance." The notion of the free press and impartiality of the media are examined in great depth. He shows how the news is not neutral, but
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often manufactured to deliver a particular message. The media can often be used to tow the government line through distortion, omission or restricting the parameters of the discussion. Curtis quotes from a media analyst who notes, "the modern mass media in Britain perform many of the integrative functions of the church in the middle ages." A parallel is drawn between the corrupt church rubber-stamping the inequalities and excesses perpetrated by the monarchy and contemporary Capitalist -media relations. Curtis also dissects Britain's so-called ethical foreign policy and shows that commitments to ending worldwide poverty and international justice are empty gestures, with double standards and hypocrisy the norm. The book serves up a damning indictment of UK foreign policy, both past and present, and details the web of deceit that has been spun over the British people and the outside world. Curtis's remedy, however, is both expected and disappointing. He calls on the reader to participate in the growing popular anti-globalization movement that will supposedly pressurize the government to reverse its foreign policy mistakes and take a new more righteous course. Typical of many left wing writers, he is unable to pinpoint the real cause of Britain's foreign policy record. Having so powerfully charted its faults the writer fails to link British foreign policy with the ideology it is based on, namely Capitalism. Simply put, exploitation and duplicity runs through the veins of all Capitalist states. Ironically, despite his citation of numerous examples, he fails to see, that for a Capitalist state an ethical foreign policy is just not compatible with the national interests. Sadly, the failure of the writer to explore other solutions means that while his analysis of the symptoms may be correct, the treatment he prescribes is wide of the mark.
INTERVIEW WITH A LOCAL MUSLIM ACTIVIST he release of a handful of Britons from Guantanamo Bay last month, once again raised the question of the treatment of prisoners over there and the role of the British government in their interrogation. It has been reported that in Guanatanamo Bay, prisoners are kept in wire cages exposed to the elements and beaten regularly. They have very little time to exercise and cannot even perform their religious duties; the regime, by all accounts, puts the prisoners under immense physical and psychological pressure but does not accord them the Human Rights that this 'War on Terror' is supposed to be working to protect.
However, such bad treatment is not restricted to Cuba; rather it has become apparent that an increasing number of Muslims are being searched in Britain under anti-terror legislation. Numerous incidents have been recorded of Muslims being physically and verbally abused, asked to inform on members of their own community and then released without charge. A few have been taken to Belmarsh Prison, which has now become known as 'Camp Delta UK'. Also, the criteria used to classify people as potential terrorists appear to be so wide that all Muslims fall into this category. For example, think tanks that advise the government on policy have been quoted as linking factors such as 'devotion to Islam' and 'regularly praying morning prayers' to the 'psychological makeup' of the potential terrorist. In order to shed further light on the effects of terror legislation, particularly in this country, Khilafah Magazine has interviewed a prominent campaigner for the rights of Muslims. Mr Abdul Kayum is the owner of an Islamic bookshop in East London and has travelled to many parts of the world as part of his charity work. He is currently involved in various projects around the border between
Kenya and Somalia; building wells and mosques as well as sponsoring Muslim children through school. Both the anti-terrorist police and MI5 have questioned Abdul Kayum. Let us start with the issue of Guantanamo Bay. Why are prisoners taken there? You see, the Americans do not reckon this is American territory. They say it is an island they've leased from Cuba. According to them, International Law does not apply there. The Muslims there are beaten and the water is turned off at prayer time so they can't make ablution. There are no human rights, only benefit for the Americans.
What about the claim that the West stands up for human rights? They don't believe in Human Rights. For the Americans, if they can benefit even from a criminal, at that time, he is their man even if the guy committed 10 murders. And once they're no longer needed, they will let their agents down. I'll give you an example of Noriega. He was their man despite being a criminal. But when they had finished with him, they went into his country (Panama), took him, and now he's in prison in America. Musharraf, you will see; once they've got all they want from him, he'll be got rid of also; because it's happened to so many people. I'd like to move on to the role of the British in influencing the Americans. Recently some of the British prisoners were released. What was the role of Britain in that? Britain has no power in front of the Americans. Today, brother, America can go anywhere in the world, they can take anybody and no one can say anything to them. I'll give you a good example. My cousin, he's in Mombassa; I've
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just come back from Kenya. He has a farm on the coast about 70 km from Mombassa and I was going to go and see him but my family said no and I'll tell you the reason why. He lives on the coast, he's got a farm, and he's got a Yemeni wife. His children they went to Yemen, in Sana'a to study in madrassa. The guy, he's tall like Osama bin Laden and they call him 'Osama no. 2' around the East African Coast, which is pre-dominantly Muslim. An FBI helicopter landed up there in his farm, they picked him up, and they took him to Nairobi city for 2 weeks. They questioned him but couldn't find anything on him. At the end of the day, you know what they charged him with? Unpaid parking fines! America can do what they like these days. So those who were released from Guantanamo Bay, is it the case that it was only because America had finished with them? Exactly. If America does not give permission, Britain can try whatever they like; even if Prime Minister Blair goes over there and begs it will have no effect. The British have no say there. Since 9/11, there has been a large increase in searches under the prevention of terrorism act and other legislation. Do you have any knowledge of this? I was searched. How are these searches carried out? OK. In April a couple of years ago, this guy walked into my shop. Two years ago, the owner of another Islamic bookshop had told me that they had come in and taken about 400 videos and around 1000 cassettes. Incidentally, they have still not returned those cassettes to him. Anyway, I had various cassettes on jihad and holy war etc. but none of them were inciting to cause problems or anything. He came into my shop and the shop was full. He April 2004 Khilafah Magazine
stood in front of me pointing to a cassette and said, "You can't sell that." I said, "What do you mean I can't sell that?" Who was this man? Anti-terrorist police. I said to him, "Listen, this is my shop and I can sell anything I like in here as long as it is not a damage to the public." He said, "Well, that is a damage to the public." I said, "How do you know?" Anyway, the shop was full and he gave me his card telling me to call him. When we spoke, he asked me about some cassettes and told me not to sell them. I said to him, "There are 101 titles on Jihad and Holy War being sold in Foyles and Dillons bookshop, and you're telling me I can't sell that which simply quotes from the Qur'an? No, I will sell them." He asked me for my date of birth and told me he will be arresting me. I enquired if he was calling from the local police station and told him, "It's only a couple of minutes walk so come over and I'll have a cup of tea waiting for you. How many sugars do you take? If you think you can just bully me, you've picked the wrong guy." And I just slammed the phone down. On the 5th of May, the same year, I was going to Pakistan on charity work and the local Maulana was with me. We were at Gatwick Airport. As soon as we entered, I was pulled to the side and asked if I would cooperate in having my shoes checked. In front of passers by, the man put some chemicals on them scanned them with a machine, and said they were fine and that we could go. We then went to the departure lounge to wait for our flight. When we were called, there were two MI5 people standing there. There was a lady and a man searching us. I was interviewed by the lady and the Maulana by the man. She asked, "Where are you going" and I replied, "Am I at
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Khilafah Magazine April 2004
the wrong gate? If so, please tell me." I said to her, "I'm going where this plane is going. You know where I am going and I know where I'm going." She then asked, "How much money do you have on you?" I asked, "Have you asked all those people who are going on to the plane, this question? Firstly, there's no exchange control; I can take as much as I like and secondly, why are you choosing me out of the 250 passengers?" She said, "It is a random check." I said, "This is not a random check." Anyway, this went on for a while and I didn't want the plane to be delayed so I told her what she already knew; that I was going for charity work for an orphanage and the help of poor people in Pakistan. My luggage contains educational equipment and you can check that if you like; I didn't want the hassle of a missed flight. So this is an example of a search. For no reason, they stopped us. What evidence did they have for this search? I think they have a system; once they see someone, that person is marked and tracked. I'm quite sure of that because later that year I went to Kenya to see my mother. On the way back at Dubai airport, they let everyone back but I was stopped and told to remove by shoes, belt and jacket. I have had other similar experiences also. What do they achieve from such actions? They are just hassling people for nothing and they are making things worse. They are inviting problems by harassing people so much. It seems that you were not worried, but do you think such experiences are affecting some Muslims? Oh yes. They will not be able to live a normal life, believe me. People have nightmares. If I give my example; after the events I've just explained I went to Kenya and after I returned there was a bomb blast in Kenya. And you start thinking, maybe they will come after me. Even though I did nothing, I began thinking in the back of my mind that they could do anything they like and link me to anything they want. Wouldn't they protect your human rights in this country? Human rights are not worth the paper they're written on. What about the British human rights activist who was shot in Israel, where
were his human rights? Yesterday, they just shot a Palestinian child, six years old; they shot him in the neck. And I'll tell you another thing; a lot of Muslims have stopped giving talks on Islam. This is what they want; they want us to stop using The Book (Qur'an). You will notice in Iraq, they have the constitution and all that, but they've said you can't have shari'ah. You can do your namaz (salah) but you can't follow the Qur'an. You see, we need a manual for everything. For example, you need a manual for this (pointing to the recorder used to record the interview). Our manual is the Qur'an and they want us to follow their manual. I'll give you another example. My son he went to America last year. This was his tenth visit. They stopped him and kept him for 5 hours even though he had a British passport. And they were so rude. When asked why they were hassling him they said, "You know what your ***** (expletive) problem is? You're born in Pakistan and your name is Mohammad." They tell you to your face, they abuse you. And there are many other examples. Even in Pakistan, you're not safe there now. I wanted to ask you what you think about the guilt or otherwise of Muslims who are, for example, in Belmarsh Prison under terrorism charges in this country. They just want to show us, they can lock us up whenever they like. It has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. First of all they have to explain what terrorism is. You see, I could have nothing to do with terrorism, but have some books on holy war, America's military might and other similar topics in my home just for general interest. I could have these at home in my library and for some reason a crime has been committed, let's say a robbery in my house and they come to my house. They'll see a book on America's military might, a book on terrorism etc. and they won't think these are books available anywhere. They'll think this guy's into terrorism, you see, that's the problem today. And some people like this will end up in Belmarsh Prison; for no reason. How is this affecting the non-Muslims? Clearly part of the agenda is to make their own public hate the Muslims. Of course, they are wrong, we are peaceful citizens. They need to define what terrorism is; you can't lock people up for just little things.
Khilafah Magazine April 2004