Archive for the ‘Guest blog’ Category

What’s Next in the Middle East?

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

I, like many, have been concerned that Barak Obama’s selection of Egypt as the site of his speech to the Muslim world would be problematic. If he wanted to give Muslims assurance of a commitment to democracy and human rights, countries like Turkey or Indonesia would have been a better platform. If he wanted to speak from within the Arab Muslim world, there is no perfect venue, but surely Jordan or Morocco would have been preferable. In Cairo Obama is in the awkward position of having to choose between tacit acceptance of dictatorship and insulting his hosts.

Yesterday’s program on “What’s Next in the Middle East” presented at the Carnegie Institute for Peace only exacerbated my concerns.  Before I explain why, let me summarize for you the views of the panelists.

Ghaith al-Omari, the Advocacy Director of the American Task Force for Palestine, was the only Arab speaker. Although he no longer works for Mahmoud Abbas, you couldn’t guess that from his presentation. He began by asserting that Abbas’ popularity is linked to the success of the negotiation process. This is only true if one insists that Abbas is the only possible spokesman for the Palestinians. Abbas was duly elected President of the Palestinian Authority, but that term of office has been absurdly overextended, while in office he has managed to dump the elected prime minister. (Well, sort of; Haniyya remains the prime minister of Gaza.)

Al-Omari characterized the mission of Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, who has made no secret of his pro-Fatah intervention into Palestinian affairs as stabilizing Gaza with reconstruction conducted in a manner that will not benefit Hamas. Admitting that he did not understand why everyone else seemed to feel Palestinian unity was valuable to the peace process, he opined with obvious satisfaction that Obama made it clear that there will be no change in policy towards Hamas. His main concern seemed to be that pressure on Israel may be seen as too one-sided. He suggested that Syria’s desire to end its isolation gives leverage with respect to Israeli objectives.

The other two panelists, both Jewish, had a less political and more realistic perspective on the situation. Geoffrey Aaronson is the Director of Research and Publications at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He characterized the Bush policy as supporting the democratic process without being willing to support the outcome. He credited the new administration for coming across as less strident and less extreme, more nuanced. He believes peace is best advanced by a policy less about picking winners than about defining a negotiating space in which possibly conflicting views may be discussed.

Aaronson noted that there has yet to be a substantive engagement with Syria beyond closing out the Bush position, but lamented that “old habits die hard.” He said that the Bush language keeps showing up in the State Department Q&A. He argued that Biden’s visit to Beirut fell flat because Biden was putting U.S. prestige on one side of the election campaign. He warned that we have heard nothing about Oslo, settlement evacuation, etc., and that Netanyahu is correct to say that Israel has never agreed to freeze settlements before final status. The implication, of course, is that we should move to final status negotiations now.

For Aaronson, Lt.-Gen. Dayton has just re-upped for two more years of a counterinsurgency operations, when what is need is diplomacy. We continue to ignore Hamas, and the humanitarian crisis remains unaddressed.  The absence of any sign of intent to rethink the policy of picking Abbas as the winner and continuing to ignore the new guys on the block (Hamas) promises only more of the same failure.

Aaronson argues that there is an alternative paradigm. One must pay attention to Gaza and Hamas’ mobilization of political support there and elsewhere. He feels Ehud Barak, Minister of Defenses, is pushing back at Washington. The challenge is to move beyond “the petty details of occupation” and to seek to redefine Israeli security interests to a drawback that will enhance Israel’s security. It worked in Sinai and Aaronson says itwould work in the Golan. Aaronson wants us to think in terms of enhancing security of all in the area including Israel, Syria, and Iran. Syria is a key.

M.J. Rosenberg is the Director of Policy Analysis at the Israel Policy Forum. He opened with a confession that he looks at things from the vantage point of Capitol Hill and of Jewish organizations. He predicted that the media will soon bemoan how Obama is hurting Israel despite the fact that nothing has happened. He asserted that Israel has set the terms of debate so the media is indignant Israel is treated like any other country.

Yet, Rosenberg was optimistic because Obama has more rightly-placed calm self-confidence than any predecessor since FDR. He felt it was good that he has Rahm Emanuel at his side. He will not “go war with AIPAC,” but will treat them as just another lobby. He sees even Netanyahu’s intransigence as working for the peace process since “Livni could pull the wool over Americans’ eyes; Netanyahu can’t.”

Al-Omari was aware of rumors that the administration is planning to release its own peace plan, a hybrid of the “Roadmap” and the “Arab Initiative,” but he hasn’t seen it and in any case expects it to be revealed in stages. He said that the administration has made it clear that nothing new will be revealed in Cairo.

I would have loved to have answered Al-Omari’s question as to why everyone else seems to think Palestinian Unity would help the peace process, but, alas, I was not called upon. (The session ended 15 minutes early.)  The Israelis need someone with whom they can negotiate who truly represents the Palestinian people, not just a single faction. That’s why the Israelis have decided they need to talk to Hamas.

If Obama’s speech in Cairo signals a continuation of the Bush doctrine of supporting elections while rejecting their outcomes, the entire Arab world will conclude that that the democracy Obama offers is the Egyptian model, with Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian president-for-life and the violent suppression of any (including religious consider Egypt’s treatment of the Copts as well as the Muslim Brotherhood) opposition. In Jordan or Morocco he might have finessed these issues, but, in Cairo, silence will be taken as consent.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

Encourage Nonviolence Through Accountability

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

ENCOURAGE NONVIOLENCE THROUGH ACCOUNTABILITY

[This guest blog was submitted by Ashraf Nubani after the Washington Post, the New York  Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times all declined to publish an earlier version.]

There has been much criticism of the Palestinian response to Israeli occupation — especially the use of violence against civilian targets. We Americans, whose history includes a violent revolution, a civil war, and two world wars, are quick to call for the use of nonviolent resistance when it comes to non-Western peoples and areas of conflict. What then should be our collective response to those killed or injured while engaging in nonviolent resistance? Certainly, we should not blame the victim — especially if the victim is an American.

Tristan Anderson, 37, of Oakland, Calif., was been critically injured in the village of Ni’lin on the occupied West Bank after Israeli forces shot him in the head with a tear gas canister on Friday, March 13, 2009.  I have known him for many years and our hearts go out to him and his family. The canister penetrated Mr. Anderson’s skull and surgeons had to remove a portion of his right frontal lobe due to bone fragments lodged in his brain. Reconstructive surgery was required near his right eye. His parents and sister arrived in Israel on Monday.

Demanding an immediate, fair and independent investigation into his shooting is the minimal response we should expect to this blatant act of aggression that left Mr. Anderson fighting for his life at Tel Hashomer Hospital outside of Tel Aviv. Any investigation must provide satisfactory answers to several issues.

According to the International Solidarity Movement, the Israeli army began using a high velocity tear gas canister in December 2008.  The black canister, labeled in Hebrew as “40mm bullet special/long range,” can shoot over 400 meters. It emits no noise, no smoke trail, and virtually no warning when one is fired. The combination of the canister’s high velocity and silence is extremely dangerous and has already caused numerous injuries to Palestinians.

According to eyewitness testimony, media reports and Israeli officials, the incident took place inside the village of Ni’lin and not near the separation Wall where demonstrators earlier had clashed with Israeli troops. Everyone agrees the incident took place at about 4:30 p.m. local time, after the four-hour demonstration had dwindled.  According to eyewitnesses, Teah Lindquist and Gaby Silverman, Mr. Anderson did not participate in the earlier clashes nor did he throw stones at Israeli troops. In addition, Ms. Silverman told one of our representatives that Israeli occupation forces delayed Mr. Anderson’s ambulance for nearly 20 minutes at the checkpoint before allowing it to make its way to the hospital.

As regrettable as this incident is, it does, however, draw attention to the very cause that Mr. Anderson placed his life in harm’s way to defend: Israel’s concrete separation barrier, which the International Court of Justice has deemed to be illegal because it is being built on Palestinian land. Ni’lin will lose approximately 625 acres of agricultural land when the Wall is completed. The village comprised 228 thousand acres in 1948, was reduced to 132 thousand acres after the 1967 war, and currently is 40 thousand acres. When the Wall is finished, 30 thousand acres will be all that’s left of Ni’lin. Residents have been protesting the Wall for months.

Palestinian, and now American, life is needlessly being endangered and lost every day because Israel, an ally of the United States, continues its illegal occupation by force of arms. Mr. Anderson is not the first to make this trek and pay a large sacrifice for it. This week marks the sixth anniversary of another conscientious and brave American who lost her life while defending against the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home in the Gaza Strip: Rachel Corrie, who was crushed to death by an Israeli soldier driving a bulldozer (supplied by Illinois-based Caterpillar Inc.) The U.S. still has not conducted an independent investigation into her death which the Israelis ruled “an accident.”

If the past is an indicator, we can’t rely upon Israel’s claim it is pursuing an investigation. In the report “Promoting Impunity: The Israeli Military’s Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing,” Human Rights Watch questioned the objectivity and integrity of the Military Police investigation into Ms. Corrie’s death. It faulted the investigation for poor preparation and for posing questions to witnesses that were “hostile, inappropriate, and mostly accusatory.” The report described other instances in which short summary findings were made available to the media after closed investigations with no involvement of nonmilitary witnesses nor victims or their families.

If we want to show the Palestinians a better way to achieve their quest for self-determination, we must show them that at the very least we seek justice and accountability for one of our own nonviolent protesters.

Hatem Bazian
President
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)

Freedom of Expression in Egypt, the Fountainhead of Reform

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

<meta content="OpenOffice.org 2.0 (Win32)" name="GENERATOR" /><meta content="Kasia" name="AUTHOR" /><meta content="20090213;7490000" name="CREATED" /><meta content="Kasia" name="CHANGEDBY" /><meta content="20090213;7490000" name="CHANGED" /></p> <style> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } A:link { color: #0000ff } --> </style> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">After moving to a new, more modern campus (plastered with USAID stickers and heavily gated), the American University in Cairo (AUC) held its inauguration ceremony last Saturday. In keeping with the grandeur expected of such Egyptian ceremonies, the First Lady made an appearance. ‘Mama Suzanne,’ as she is fondly called, lathered on the requisite public praise for education and progress.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Meanwhile, professors whom had been invited to this extra-exclusive ceremony stood not with the Mother of the Nation on this glorious day, but rather in front of riot police at the General Prosecutor’s Headquarters. They were protesting for the release of one of AUC’s own, arrested only the day before. Philip Rizk is a graduate student here, a German-Egyptian, a Christian, an activist for the people of Gaza, a filmmaker, a blogger, a freelance journalist. For four days he was also a <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://www.metimes.com/International/2009/02/09/german_held_at_secret_location_after_mafia-style_abduction_by_egyptian_police/6828/print/">political detainee</a></u></font> held without charge, as is customary in this country of “progress.”</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">The AUC strategy for recovering its kidnapped minds, however, is making progress.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">In January 2007, another graduate student and Arabic language instructor, Ihab Atta was taken by the State Security and held without a trail. Atta is a soft-spoken man, one with a genuine smile. It’s hard to believe anyone like him could be suspected of activities against the government, even one as frustrating as this one. Perhaps it was because no one could even comprehend why Atta was taken that the resistance to his imprisonment was <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://64.34.254.246/printerfriendly.aspx?ArticleID=17788">slow to mobilize</a></u></font>. It took nearly two years to accumulate enough momentum, to determine the right amount – and the right kind—of pressure against the Interior Minister. Finally, Atta was released in the end of last November after local newspapers announced the coming of a media-saturated demonstration to be held at the shiny, new, and progressive campus.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">These two cases illustrate the power of media and awareness. For Ihab, a cautious campaign that tried first to use <em>wusta</em> (political connections, the language of Egyptian bureaucracy), and succeeded years later only after finally turning to the papers. For Philip, a pointed and publicized operation that claimed success in less than a week.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">It’s effectiveness is precisely why the freedom of expression is recurrently under attack by State Security. The 2005 presidential election, the first multiparty contest ever, sparked an explosion of blogs in particular to meet the demand for <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=26150&Valider=OK">alternative reporting</a></u></font> left unfulfilled by state and official media. Of course after the fact, Mubarak’s leading opponent Aymen Nour is still in jail, and authorities now keep tabs on blogs with political and religious content.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">The weakness of the Egyptian government is in its appearance, and state authorities know this. This is why <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=25429&Valider=OK">criticizing the President</a></u></font> and his family is a punishable offense; why state police are camped out on every corner of downtown Cairo; why the country will have been living under “<font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://www.humanrights-geneva.info/The-Last-Extension-of-Emergency,3241">emergency law</a></u></font>” for the past 30 years after its supposed expiration next May; and why the country <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iwvTe-tLxpGRZe2DHifckd_ilIlw">fights Islamists</a></u></font> with one hand and <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=8013">secularists</a></u></font> with the other. Despite the state’s widespread <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/babylonbeyond/2009/02/egypt-a-book-ba.html">incapacity</a></u></font>, the game is maintaining the appearance of strength and to proactively squash any voice that suggests otherwise.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Philip’s freedom is a small victory in the scheme of things, but a very meaningful one. People like him are the fountainhead of reform, the ones who make it their job to fight the big issues that still exist: Thousands of the political opposition are still behind bars, the state still remains impotent, Egypt’s Rafah border with Gaza is <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/world/middleeast/28egypt.html?_r=1&ref=world">still blocked</a></u></font>, other pro-Palestinian bloggers are <font color="#0000ff"><u><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/world/middleeast/12egypt.html">still in captivity</a></u></font>.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">And the fear still lingers that tomorrow someone else will be snatched up and taken away for merely speaking his mind. “I don’t want there to be another Ihab or another Philip,” explained a member of the AUC faculty who was involved in campaigning for both of their releases. “Never again.”</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in">Kasia Rada, former MFI intern</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><em>Cairo, Egypt</em></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?cat=8" rel="category">Guest blog</a> | <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=934#respond">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-909 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-guest-blog"> <h3 id="post-909"><a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=909" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to War on Gaza: Old Questions in Need of New Answers">War on Gaza: Old Questions in Need of New Answers</a></h3> <small>Friday, January 23rd, 2009</small> <div class="entry"> <p><strong>War on Gaza: Old Questions in Need of New Answers </strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Tahoma">By Omar Sha’ban<br /> PalThink for Strategic Studies</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Tahoma">Despite the fragility of the cease fire declared unilaterally by Israel on Saturday morning, people of Gaza Strip in general, and those who live in Gaza City in particular, were able after 22 days to get out from their places of residence to check on their houses and belongings, on their families and friends. People were in shock with the first sights of huge destruction that was caused by the heavy shelling. Everything, whether on the surface of the earth or underneath, was a target to the Israeli shelling; buildings, hospitals, roads, electrical networks, water networks and even trees.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Tahoma">In the areas and neighborhoods where Israeli ground forces have gone into or through, the damage touched every single object, including TV sets, furniture, windows, doors, bedrooms … nothing was excluded. There were many marks that stated clearly “Israeli army has passed by….”</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Tahoma">In some areas, people started to dig under the rubble searching for their family members. As expected, more than 100 bodies were found in just few hours of search. An international worker describing the view of Gaza City, just hours after the cease fire was announced: “It is like the view of an earthquake!!!” Another international worker said: “It is more than an earthquake; it is a volcano whereas earthquakes cause death and destruction but volcanoes cause death, destruction and burning”. Some of the bodies found on Saturday were still  smoking indicating that the white phosphorous that was used extensively is still active. </span></p> <p style="text-align: justify" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Tahoma">Nevertheless, with big pains and sorrows, people of the Gaza Strip started to ask some of the <strong><em>Old but Big Questions:</em></strong></span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: justify; text-indent: -0.25in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">a)     </span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">What is the outcome of the whole thing? What outcome equals or could justify the big sacrifices? Was there any way to avoid what happened? Was this war avoidable or not? </span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: justify; text-indent: -0.25in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">b)     </span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">If the war was avoidable, who is to be blamed for not making enough effort to avoid what happened?</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 1in; text-align: justify; text-indent: -0.25in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">a.      </span></var><!--[endif]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">Should Hamas be blamed for not making enough efforts to renew the truce with Israel, be blamed for its poor assessment of the Israel military capacities or for not making enough effort to achieve the national reconciliation? </span></var></p> <p style="margin-left: 1in; text-align: justify; text-indent: -0.25in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">b.      </span></var><!--[endif]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">Should we blame the PA in Ramallah that did not make enough effort to reconcile with Hamas, to ease the closure or to take strong position against the Israeli offensives? </span></var></p> <p style="margin-left: 1in; text-align: justify; text-indent: -0.25in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">c.      </span></var><!--[endif]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">Should we blame the international community, which put the entire Gaza Strip under unfair and severe sanctions? </span></var></p> <p style="margin-left: 1in; text-align: justify; text-indent: -0.25in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">d.      </span></var><!--[endif]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">Should we blame the Israeli occupation that has never ceased killing and destroying Palestinians over the past decades? </span></var></p> <p style="margin-left: 1in; text-align: justify; text-indent: -0.25in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><var>e.    </var><!--[endif]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">Or should we blame the Palestinian factions that have never been traditionally responsible for their actions and their outcomes</span>?  </var></p> <p style="margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: justify; text-indent: -0.25in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">c)      </span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">People might accept big sacrifices if the outcomes will bring an end to their prolonged suffering. People may not know exactly what is good for them, but they are sure that genuine hope requires fundamental changes in their leadership. During the war period and afterwards, Gazans were wondering: </span></p> <p style="text-indent: 0in" class="MsoListBullet"><!--[if !supportLists]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">            </span></var><!--[endif]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">“Where are the PLC members we voted for in 2006 elections?” </span></var></p> <p style="text-indent: 0in" class="MsoListBullet"><!--[if !supportLists]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">            </span></var><!--[endif]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">“Where are those leaders who wanted to be ministers?”  </span></var></p> <p style="text-indent: 0in" class="MsoListBullet"><!--[if !supportLists]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">            </span></var><!--[endif]--><var><span style="font-family: Tahoma; font-style: normal">“Where are those who always appeared on TV praising themselves and their actions? </span></var></p> <p style="margin-left: 0.25in; text-align: justify" class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: Tahoma">People in the streets were highly disappointed as they didn’t find those leaders during the crisis. In my assessment the war on Gaza will affect the trust of the Palestinian public on the current political system, mainly the leadership and its traditional techniques. Moreover, Palestinians will be looking at the concept of “resistance” differently. It won’t be easy for the current leadership to sell to their constituency old products of same old people, with the same old methodology. <strong><em>I expect people will be more decisive about their destiny.</em></strong></span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0.5in; text-align: justify; text-indent: -0.25in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">d)     </span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">Which changes, if any, would the war on Gaza bring into Hamas movement? It is clear now that the war on Gaza neither aimed at nor succeeded in taking Hamas out of power. How will Hamas re-shape its relations on the local level with Fatah Movement, the civil society, the media, and the PA in Ramallah, and position itself on the issue of the crossings? These issues are worth following especially as there is big fear among Fatah supporters that Hamas will crack down aggressively against them due to two  accusations: Fatah people did not join in the fighting and some Fatah members have shown their “happiness” for the war against Hamas.</span></p> <p style="margin-left: 0.25in; text-align: justify" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">e)     </span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: Tahoma">Who is going to help the affected people in recovering their assets? And how much and how long they need to suffer until the reconstruction process begins? People are fully aware how difficult the reconstruction will be, considering the siege, the shortage of raw materials and considering the political division between the PA in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza. People are very modest in their hopes and demands; they want to have their assets re-built as they were before the war, nothing less—and nothing more. If Hamas is going to continue to rule Gaza, how will the International community and the PA pour into Gaza their donations and support? Will they bypass Hamas as they attempted after the 2006 elections?</span><strong><em><span style="font-family: Tahoma" /></em></strong></p> <p>In my assessment, both Hamas and the PA want to use the possible aid to restore their reputation. Hopefully, both will come to realize soon that without reconciliation, they both are doomed to fail in meeting the expectations of the Gazans<span style="font-family: Tahoma">. </span></p> <p>I think the international community should push both sides to reconcile as a prerequisite to enable the flow of aid into Gaza. This condition must be used by the international community to encourage both sides to make serious compromise to allow all forces committed to human rights and humanitarian aid to face the real serious question: <strong>“How can the reconstruction process start if the crossings remain closed by the Israeli occupation?”</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong><em>Omar Sha’ban is an economist and the chairman of PalThink for Strategic Studies.</em></strong><strong><em><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri"><br /> He can be reached in Gaza Strip at <a href="mailto:omar@palthink.org">omar@palthink.org</a></span></em></strong></p> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?cat=8" rel="category">Guest blog</a> | <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=909#respond">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-728 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-guest-blog"> <h3 id="post-728"><a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=728" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Averroes Would Be Appalled">Averroes Would Be Appalled</a></h3> <small>Sunday, July 27th, 2008</small> <div class="entry"> <p>[Charles Butterworth, a member of the Minaret of Freedom Institute Board of Advisors,  submitted the following letter to the <em>Washington Post</em>, which it did not publish. We present it here as a guest blog.]<br /> July 5, 2008</p> <p>Letters to the Editor<br /> The Washington Post<br /> 1150 15th St. NW<br /> Washington, D.C. 20071 letters@washpost.com</p> <p>To the Editor,</p> <p>Joel B. Pollak’s rant (<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/04/AR2008070402093.html">“Teaching Arabic and Propaganda,”</a> <em>The Washington Post</em>, Saturday, July 5, 2008, A15) against his Arabic grammar is curious, but I do not see how it leads to judging the book as anti-Semitic, linking it to texts used at the Saudi Academy in Fairfax,<br /> or calling for scrutiny of NEH funding of Arabic programs. It shows, rather, that Pollak has failed to understand both the Arabic grammar and the larger culture it portrays.</p> <p>The characters in the grammar provide a glimpse into the hopes and frustrations of contemporary Egyptians. Nasser was and is revered by most Egyptians because of the improvements he made. Part of his appeal was being able to speak in the language of the masses even while preserving features of an older, more formal Arabic. From his speeches, students of Arabic can learn much about the colloquial and classical language.</p> <p>Pollak misrepresents Israel’s treatment of Palestinians after its pre-emptive 1967 war and wrongly asserts that Jewish scholars in Egypt preserved the writings of the Andalusian Averroes (1126-1198). Of Averroes’s 46 writings, all but 11 have always existed in Arabic. Of those 11, 6 are available only in translations made originally from Hebrew and 2 in independent Hebrew and Latin translations. Not one of these was done by scholars in Egypt. Of the 35 writings by Averroes that have always existed in Arabic, 13 are only in Hebrew characters. Again, not one of these Judaeo-Arabic transcriptions is by an Egyptian<br /> Jewish scholar.</p> <p>No Washington Post reader is well-served when so factually flawed and politically tendentious an article is published without its facts or basic logic being scrutinized.</p> <p>Sincerely yours,</p> <p>Charles E. <font style="background-color: #ff9933">Butterworth</font><br /> Minaret of Freedom Institute</p> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?cat=8" rel="category">Guest blog</a> | <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=728#respond">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-622 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-guest-blog"> <h3 id="post-622"><a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=622" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to What the Headscarf Ban Means">What the Headscarf Ban Means</a></h3> <small>Monday, April 7th, 2008</small> <div class="entry"> <p align="center" style="text-align: center; text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><strong><span style="font-size: 16pt">What the Headscarf Ban Means</span></strong></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p class="MsoNormal">by Merve Kavakci, Ph.D.<br /> Member of Parliament-Turkey (1999)<br /> Currently-Professor of International Affairs<br /> George Washington University<br /> kavakci@gwu.edu</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">In a column published in the Washington Post on April 1, 2008 <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/31/AR2008033102150.html">(“What a Headscarf Can Mean”</a>) Anne Applebaum makes a common mistake of Westerners. She passes judgment on a matter pertaining to other people, in this case Muslims of Turkey, without in–depth knowledge of the issue at hand.</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">Her op-ed seems to be a product of a mere cursory reading of Turkish politics. The fallacies in her article are numerous, beginning with the flawed framing of the discussion. Ms. Applebaum thinks that the headscarf debate in Turkey is about secular Islam and the resistance to it. Not a bit. It is about secular fundamentalism and the attempt to dismantle it. Turkish secularism is unique in the sense that it is far from what we understand from “secularism” in US or in much of Europe. It makes a taboo of religion. The state, the introducer of this type of secularism, wields it to control, shape and marginalize Turks’ religion i.e. Islam.</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">The current headscarf ban which gets much attention in US media is the most conspicuous manifestation of Turkish secularism. What the current government strived to do, recently, was to lift this ban for university students alone. Although passed in the parliament, it was not implemented. As soon as the government introduced the Constitutional amendments to grant the right to education to women with headscarves, members of the academia protested publicly enunciating: “We will not accept these girls in. If they somehow do come in, we will not give them the grades they deserve!” We cannot explain such a stance as the position of moderate secularism. This is typical of the secular fundamentalism that reigns among Turkish elite. “Rights—but not for all” and “democracy—only for us and people like us” are their mottos.</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">Women such as I, who wear a headscarf and pay a personal price for it (I was elected to the Turkish Parliament but was denied from oath of office by a group of parliamentarians in 1999), criticized the government’s efforts to the “partial” lifting of the ban, we are saddened that even that did not become a reality. Partial “rights” is a far-fetched dream today for us, let alone full-fledged rights….</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">Now, the Constitutional Court has opened a case to close down the governing party, to ban some of its members including the party leader PM Erdogan and President Gul. Ms. Applebaum correctly identifies the headscarf debate as central to the closure process. However, she fails to see the bigger picture and the two major impetuses behind the closure attempt. The headscarf is merely the tip of the iceberg. It is visible and germane to women which both make it appealing for “exploiters” for misrepresentation in the media. More importantly, however, it is emblematic of the larger discussion on civil liberties within the context of Turkish democratization. The government, committed to making strides towards EU accession process, has introduced various measures necessary to eliminate social disparities among Turkish people. The ban on the headscarf is among the contributors feeding into social and economic disparities.</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">TESEV studies depict that 69 % of Turkish women wear headscarves. This is part of Turks’ culture, history and most importantly their religion. Parents in the Eastern part of the country protest when they are castigated by state officials for not sending their daughters to schools: “Our children are not permitted in with their scarves!” Less education means less economic freedom and less opportunity for professional activism. At the end, they all translate into less economic, social and political contributions to the Turkish society. The ban ostracizes a sizable part of Turkish women. Thus the government wanted to revoke it. Ms. Applebaum does not seem to see that. She is quick to label the headscarves in Turkey as “political.”</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">She further suggests that headscarf in Turkey gives away what the “wearer’s view of women” is. What does that mean? I am a woman with a headscarf and I only have a view of who I am and how I should live my life, not of other women or how they should live their life. Ms. Applebaum must be confusing women with headscarves with secular fundamentalists who claim to know not only things about themselves but also about others–such as women with headscarves—and their views on issues and people.</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">Ms. Applebaum predicates her argument on what she heard about the wives of the members of the ruling party in government. She heard that most of them wore headscarves after marriage and “never worked or studied after that.” That is false. Most of those women, whom I know personally, including First Lady Gul and wife of the PM Mrs. Erdogan actually were already wearing headscarves when they met their husbands and continue to wear it afterwards. Moreover, First Lady Gul, after having three kids attempted to go back to school, entered the central university examination, passed it successfully and yet was prevented from admission in 1995. Her case became publicized since her husband Mr. Gul at the time was a junior parliamentarian from the Welfare Party. Mr. Gul’s public denouncement of the prevention of his wife from the admission process became a factor in the closure of Welfare Party then. Ms. Applebaum does not seem to remember that either.</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">But most importantly, she does not mention the real reason behind the current government being under fire by secular fundamentalists i.e. its fight against the deep state – <em>derin devlet</em>. PM Erdogan has recently given the start of cracking down of the shadow state, an illegal structure in the form of a paramilitary state mafia working against political and economic stability in Turkey. Among the recent activities of the deep state are killing of Hrant Dink the Armenian journalist, the murder of Priest Santorum in Trabzon and bombings/explosions at various times throughout the country. Among the so far indicted members are former military men, members of academia, journalists and businessmen. As soon as the crack down became a reality, the closure case knocked at the government’s door. Interestingly those who want, in Ms. Applebaum’s term, secular Islam, in Turkey are also the ones who bash the government for this crack down. I wonder if Ms. Applebaum has something to say about that? What is it? Is it secular Islam that they want or is it a Turkey that does not dismantle illegal threats to Turkey’s democratization and development?</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">Finally, Ms. Applebaum gives us a heads up about a possible headscarf debate ending up at our “shores” here in US. I disagree. A debate on headscarf cannot take place in US, unless it were no longer the America that we all migrated to for the sake of the liberty it offers.</p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal">Minaret of Freedom Institute Guest blog<br /> <a href="http://blog.minaret.org/blog.minaret.org">blog.minaret.org</a></p> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"> <p style="text-indent: 0.5in" class="MsoNormal"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?cat=8" rel="category">Guest blog</a> | <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=622#comments">2 Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-500 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-guest-blog"> <h3 id="post-500"><a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=500" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Background for Sudan’s Baffling Teddy Bear Storm">Background for Sudan’s Baffling Teddy Bear Storm</a></h3> <small>Saturday, December 1st, 2007</small> <div class="entry"> <p class="Index">[Western Muslims have been embarrassed by Sudan’s explosive reaction to a teacher who allowed her children to name a teddy bear “Muhammad.” Prof. Peter Bechtold provides us with background information to make sense out of the bizarre developments.]</p> <p>Last Thursday night, the BBC World Service led off its international program by reporting the trial of Ms. Gillian Gibbons, a British school teacher in Khartoum, Sudan who has been <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/30/world/africa/30sudan.html?em&ex=1196571600&en=a34103a9bb6c2a52&ei=5087%0A">convicted of “insulting Islam”</a> because students in her elementary school class had voted to name a shared teddy bear “Muhammad.”</p> <p>Normally, this sort of article merits posting on the last page under “curiosities from around the globe.” However, the BBC anchor explained its leader position as one more example of the growing misunderstandings between the West and the world of Islam. Indeed.</p> <p>As a life-long Sudan student I shall try to provide not justification—for legal punishment for an innocent cultural misunderstanding cannot be justified—but some sort of context for this lamentable episode, by identifying four dimensions of this story in the hope of narrowing the cultural gaps extant.</p> <p>First, unlike in the West, people in Arab and Muslim countries do not keep friendly animals (e. g. pets) in their homes, nor do they try to “humanize” animals by giving them cutesy names. Hence, no “Rover” puppies or “Mitzi” kittens. Dogs and cats there are scavengers and usually are unclean, as with coyotes in America, and would not be owned except for “working” animals such as farm dogs, donkeys, falcons, and the occasional German Shepherd policing the property, not an object of affection. In this context, a bear is seen as even more ferocious than a dog, and third world people should be forgiven for being unfamiliar with the stories of President T. Roosevelt and the fuzzy animal children’s toy named after him.</p> <p>Second, treating a house animal as almost human is considered strange in the culture; this Western custom is foreign to Middle Easterners. When teaching American diplomats posted to the region, I usually suggested that they keep their pets at home, just to avoid uncomfortable situations when entertaining, for example. (Not everyone followed my advice.)</p> <p>Third, as should be known by now, Muhammad is not an appropriate name for an animal, nor is Jesus, Moses, David, or any others among the prophets. I am reminded of earlier cases when during the 1960s the American ambassador to India had to apologize publicly because a mob was protesting that his children owned a cat named “Ahmad” (reportedly acquired in Ahmadabad). I am also reminded of when the San Francisco Giants outfielder Jesus Alou had his name changed by US sportswriters and broadcasters to “Jay” because of public discomfort then with mixing a “sacred” name with “profane” sports (again in the 1960s). The fact that Ms. Gibbons meant no harm gets lost in the current atmosphere of mutual demonizing. One would like a teacher living in Khartoum to acquire a greater familiarity with local customs, especially sensitive ones. However, these comments do not explain the legal mishandling of the case, both by the legal authorities and the school administration, which reported the teacher to the legal authorities. There seems to have been a personality conflict at the school that led to the matter ending up in the courts. The courts should have taken these circumstances into account, as well as the fact that there is no evidence that Miss Gibbons meant to defame either the Prophet or Islam.</p> <p>The courts in Sudan are no longer as independent as they were in earlier decades and appear to be mindful of the insecurity of the current military regime in Khartoum, which sees itself as the target of both domestic forces and foreign powers—especially the U.S. and the British. People in the West MUST understand that most Muslims have felt under siege from the West for at least the last quarter century, and any perceived slight—emphasize perceived—will cause an overreaction, which in turn will escalate the matter out of all proportion to its merits. In such an atmosphere the poor teddy bear is not a toy, as reported, but more of a political football, comparable, perhaps to the less enlightened public commentary accompanying the race among presidential contenders in the US nowadays. Let us hope that in all these cases, common sense will prevail.</p> <p>Prof. Peter Bechtold</p> <p>[Prof. Bechtold has taught the Universities of Maryland and Oregon and the College of William and Mary and has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown, George Washington, and Johns Hopkins Universities, and is author of <em>Politics in the Sudan</em>.]</p> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?cat=8" rel="category">Guest blog</a> | <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=500#comments">2 Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-468 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-guest-blog"> <h3 id="post-468"><a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=468" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Break an Unjust Law when Necessary; Never Commit Treason">Break an Unjust Law when Necessary; Never Commit Treason</a></h3> <small>Sunday, November 4th, 2007</small> <div class="entry"> <p class="Index"><em>[On Thursday, Nov. 8, Dr. Abdelhaleem Ashqar will be sentenced for refusing to testify before a grand jury and thus acquiesce in an unconscionable effort to use the American justice system into a tool of Israeli occupation.. In <a href="http://minaret.org/ashqar.pdf">Dr. Ashqar’s reply</a> to the government’s sentencing memorandum, which makes the unprecedented request that Dr. Ashqar be sentenced to life in prison, he, through his attorneys, makes the following observations, which we are honored to excerpt as a guest blog.]</em></p> <p class="Index"><em><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-size: 11pt">If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. </span></em><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman">– Henry David Thoreau</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-size: 11pt"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> </span></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em><span style="font-size: 11pt">I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law. </span></em><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman">– Martin Luther King, Jr.</span><span style="font-size: 10pt" /></p> <p class="Index"><em><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></em></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman">The government’s theory in this case and its prosecutions of the Holy Land Foundation and Dr. Sami Al-Arian is not that the Palestinian-defendants were engaged in terrorist attacks or even that these Palestinians supported terrorist attacks. Rather, in all of these cases the government’s theory has been that providing support to the oppressed and powerless Palestinians, in social, charitable, and political contexts, is a form of terrorism because it makes Hamas more popular. The self-described expert, Dr. Levitt, has testified to this theory in all of these cases, arguing not that the defendants directly support terror, but that the defendants make terrorists groups look good by helping the Palestinian people. Now, in the government’s farcical argument for a life sentence, this theory becomes even more attenuated. Dr. Ashqar is a ‘terrorist’ because he refused to testify, allowing other Palestinian-Americans to continue to provide much-needed support to the Palestinian people, which in turn allowed Hamas to gain political leverage with the Palestinian people.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman">The fact is that Dr. Ashqar’s refusal to testify was a refusal to support the mythology propagated by the government in its conspiracy prosecution, which was designed from its inception to support a bankrupt, racist foreign policy. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman">There was no choice for Dr. Ashqar when subpoenaed in front of the grand jury. He could either join with his oppressors, reject his countrymen, forsake everything he believes, and never return to his beloved Palestine, or he could be labeled a terrorist. There is a special nobility in such a choice. It is the only decision that a patriot could ever make. It has been suggested over and over again that Dr. Ashqar owed a duty to the United States. This belief is unconscionable in as much as the United States aids and abets Israel’s illegal oppression of 3.8 million people. By this twisted logic, Dr. Ashqar had a duty to betray his country. Instead, he chose his country over his own well-being. If asked to do the same thing about the United States, who in this courtroom would have made a different choice than Abdelhaleem Ashqar? Would Mr. Ferguson be willing to agree to a change of his name in exchange for a betrayal of the United States? How about Mr. Schar or Ms. Hamilton? If faced with the same choice of either breaking a law that requires a betrayal of their beloved country or complying with such an unjust law, I am willing to bet that everyone representing the government would choose the honorable choice and would not betray the United States. Why should Dr. Ashqar’s decision be viewed any differently? For fear of upsetting the United States’ political and strategic ally, Israel? Justice should not be based upon the United States’ foreign policy. Justice should not only be available to the strong and unavailable to the weak. What is it about the Palestinian people that deprives them of their right to fight for their freedom? Must the oppressed always play and bargain for their rights by rules established by the oppressor? By that logic the United States would still be a colony of Great Britain and apartheid would still hold sway in South Africa.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman">Dr. Ashqar broke a law and willingly accepts his punishment for breaking the law. However, Abdelhaleem Ashqar requests that this Court is mindful, when sentencing him, that to comply with the law would have resulted in a greater injustice against the Palestinian people. Any sentence of Dr. Ashqar that is greater than normally applied to a failure to testify would not only be against the 3553(a) sentencing factors, but would also be contrary to the principles of liberty and justice that this country was founded upon. Thus, Dr. Ashqar suggests to this Court that whatever the correctly calculated guideline range may be, the circumstances of this case are far outside the heartland of the sentencing guidelines. The Court has presided over this trial, has heard all of the evidence, is aware of the jury’s acquittal, is aware of the unusual nature of this case, and probably has a good bearing on the true, loyal, and peaceful nature of Dr. Ashqar and his morally justifiable, yet unlawful reasons for refusing to testify. Dr. Ashqar requests that the Court sentence him accordingly.</span><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: TimesNewRoman" /></p> <p class="Index"><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12pt">[From <a href="http://minaret.org/ashqar.pdf">DR. ASHQAR’S REPLY MEMORANDUM OF LAW AND ARGUMENT</a>, U.S. v. Abdelhaleem Ashqar in the U.S. District Court of Illinois, Eastern Division. #03 CR 978.]</span></p> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?cat=8" rel="category">Guest blog</a> | <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=468#respond">No Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-87 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-guest-blog"> <h3 id="post-87"><a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=87" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Blinkered Politics: The U.S. Attitude to Arabs and Muslims">Blinkered Politics: The U.S. Attitude to Arabs and Muslims</a></h3> <small>Friday, September 29th, 2006</small> <div class="entry"> <p>by Charles E. Butterworth, Unversity of Maryland</p> <p>Abstract</p> <p>Much like a draft horse of a bygone era, prevented by fixed blinkers from sideward glances, the US trudges through current crises in the Middle East its attention fixed in one direction. Pulling a cart laden with the policies and prejudices of a single country and people, it ignores all others or reduces them to trivia. Those citizens who dare decry such policies are repulsed as naive, if not as traitors. Such is the tyranny of the majority against which no less a thinker than Tocqueville warned.</p> <p>This attitude weakens the US economically and runs against its self-interest, but remains ascendant. My goal here is to buttress these claims, to indicate how the US has come to pursue policies so harmful to itself, and to suggest how others – especially Arabs and Muslims – might help the US draft horse lose its blinkers and learn to look around in praiseworthy freedom.</p> <p>Introduction:</p> <p>The events of September 11, 2001, say George W. Bush and his followers, justify all-out war against terrorism and transforming select regimes in the Middle East. Equally spurious are the reasons offered for the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq, cruel treatment of persons seized abroad and imprisoned secretly, infringement of constitutional rights to privacy for US citizens, refusal to allow foreign nationals with unorthodox political views entry to the US, and, currently, support of Israel’s vicious, inhumane, and criminal assaults upon the civilians of Gaza and Lebanon. Americans killed in battle since 9/11 now surpass the victims of that day, and the toll of Iraqi civilians is perhaps 100 times as large. To all this, the American public is astonishingly compliant. Why are such unjust policies so readily endorsed? More important, how might those affected help turn them around? To answer these two questions is my goal here.</p> <p><a href="http://www.minaret.org/Butterwoth-Istanbul.pdf">Read complete article. </a></p> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?cat=8" rel="category">Guest blog</a> | <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=87#comments">3 Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="post-12 post type-post status-publish format-standard hentry category-guest-blog"> <h3 id="post-12"><a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=12" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to Martyr or Murderer? [Guest blog by Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan]">Martyr or Murderer? [Guest blog by Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan]</a></h3> <small>Thursday, June 22nd, 2006</small> <div class="entry"> <p>The question for Muslim observers around the world regarding the successful targeted killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is how should we view this individual (according to Qur’an and Sunnah) — as a revered martyr or a reviled murderer? In this brief commentary I will share my own humble view.</p> <p>Any informed and objective analysis of the Iraq crisis will show, al-Zarqawi was never THE DOMINANT FIGURE in the so-called “insurgency,” that the American/British led occupation made him out to be. He was, however, a convenient tool (and symbol) that the warmongers needed in order to sell the “insurgency” as “foreign driven.” The truth is, the occupation’s resistance has always been primarily led and dominated by Iraqi nationals!</p> <p>Since the death of al-Zarqawi the “insurgency” – and unofficial CIVIL WAR – has not missed a step. Reports suggest that there were approximately 40 killings, in Baghdad alone, in the 24 hour period immediately following al-Zarqawi’s death – and thus, it behooves westerners to resist the temptation to buy into the politically-driven wishful thinking that’s going on right now (in the wake of this one man’s death). The dance of death and destruction in Iraq will continue unabated, because the circumstance that produced it continues unabated.</p> <p>As for my own personal view of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi: He is no hero of mine – but far, far from it. He is but one of the many deeply disturbed and disobedient “Muslims” who have turned the time honored and divinely-mandated principle of jihad fisabililah (struggle, at all levels, in the way of Allah) on its head – introducing both confusion and dishonor in the process! While there will be some Muslims – both here and abroad – who will publicly sing his praises, I will not be among them.</p> <p>I base my opinion on the following declarations from Al-Qur’an and Sunnah:</p> <p>“If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is hell to abide therein forever; the wrath and curse of God are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him.” (Surah 4:93)</p> <p>“He who is killed under the banner of a man who is blind (to the cause for which he is fighting), who gets flared up with family pride and fights for his tribe – is not from my Ummah. And whosoever attacks my followers (indiscriminately), killing the righteous and the wicked among them, sparing not even those who are staunch in faith, and fulfilling not his promise made with those who have been given a pledge of security – he has nothing to do with me, and I have nothing to do with him.” (Sahih Muslim Vol 3. Kitab al-Jihad #4555)</p> <p>To the non-Muslim warmongers (on the ground, and in high places), who are celebrating the demise of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi right now – be assured that your day will also come, when you too will have to answer, to THE MOST JUST of judges, for the innocent blood on your hands.</p> <p>El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan<br /> Director of Operations<br /> The Peace And Justice Foundation</p> </div> <p class="postmetadata"> Posted in <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?cat=8" rel="category">Guest blog</a> | <a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?p=12#comments">2 Comments »</a></p> </div> <div class="navigation"> <div class="alignleft"></div> <div class="alignright"><a href="https://blog.minaret.org/?cat=8&paged=2" >Newer Entries »</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="sidebar" role="complementary"> <ul> <li> <form role="search" method="get" id="searchform" class="searchform" action="https://blog.minaret.org/"> <div> <label class="screen-reader-text" for="s">Search for:</label> <input type="text" value="" name="s" id="s" /> <input type="submit" id="searchsubmit" value="Search" /> </div> </form> </li> <!-- Author information is disabled per default. 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