Archive | June 19, 2015

Thousands of Palestinians Allowed to Pray at Al-Aqsa*

Thousands of Palestinians Allowed to Pray at Al-Aqsa*

Israel has allowed tens of thousands of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories into Jerusalem to perform Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque.

Police said at least 80,000 people from East Jerusalem, Israel and the West Bank had gone to Islam’s third-holiest site, for Friday prayers, the first since this week’s start of Ramadhan.

There were also 500 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who were allowed rare permission to pray at the site, an Israeli official said.

They made their way through the Old City’s narrow alleyways and plazas, decorated in areas with lights and lanterns. Sellers hawked prayer mats to passing pilgrims.

Women of all ages and men aged 40 and over from the Israeli-occupied West Bank were allowed into Jerusalem without permits, normally required to cross checkpoints and exit the territory.

Israel’s easing of movement restrictions during Ramadhan comes at a time of heightened tensions with Palestinians and the absence of peace talks.

“While happy to be able to travel to Jerusalem, most Palestinians don’t believe their right to worship should be restricted in the first place,” Al Jazeera’s Nisreen el-Shamaylen, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said.

The freedom of movement of Palestinians is a right guaranteed by international law, but a right continuously limited by Israel, and many Palestinians are skeptical of Israel’s decision.

“Israel is very interested in changing the status quo of the occupation, the most profitable occupation in human history,” Mazen Qumsieh, professor at Bir Zeit University in Ramallah told Al Jazeera.

“Billions of dollars from us are spent on Israeli products because we are captive audience etc. One of the ways that Israel likes to maintain this system is by occasionally letting the pressure cooker kind of release her tension.”

Ramadhan prayers

According to police, 48,000 Palestinians from the West Bank were among Friday’s visitors compared to a few thousand on an average Friday.

Sheikh Azzam al-Khatib, head of the Islamic Waqf which runs Al-Aqsa, told AFP news agency he estimated 200,000 worshippers were in and around the compound.

Police and border guards were deployed in force with riot gear and assault rifles. Roads were cordoned off around the Old City and barricades were set up near the entrances to the mosque.

White-robed men walked while twirling prayer beads, and veiled local women begged to pilgrims for alms.

Men and boys who had decorated their stores with gaudy flashing lights and blared Quranic recitations out of CD players sold sweets to pilgrims for the breaking of their fast after sundown.

“I am so happy that I am finally going back to Al-Aqsa after a long period,” Tayseir Menniyah, 60, told Al Jazeera.

“The Israeli easing of restrictions is good but we need more easing for all Gazans not only for the elderly. We want to be able to visit Al-Aqsa every day not only every Friday.”

This year was expected to mark the first time since the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s that Israeli authorities permitted West Bank residents to take direct buses from Palestinian cities to the Al-Aqsa esplanade.

But the direct buses were not in place this Friday, with Major General Yoav Mordechai, head of the defence ministry unit which manages civilian affairs in the West Bank, saying it was “due to the lack of preparation of the Palestinian Authority.”

There was no immediate reaction from the Palestinian Authority.

Men under 40 from the West Bank still needed permits to enter, and Palestinian officials say more must be done to allow access for all those who wished to pray to do so at Al-Aqsa, which Jews call the Temple Mount and consider the holiest site in their religion.


Related Topics:

Israel Weakens Defence of Al-Aqsa Mosque*

Palestinians Flock to Aqsa Mosque Despite Israeli Oppression*

Rothschild Temple: The Conspiracy, the Call, the Plan to Destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque*

China Continues to Repress Ramadhan*

China Continues to Repress Ramadhan*

China has banned civil servants, students and teachers in its mainly Muslim Xinjiang region from fasting during Ramadan and ordered restaurants to stay open.

Most Muslims are required to fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month, which began on Thursday, but China’s ruling Communist party is officially atheist and for years has restricted the practice in Xinjiang, home to the mostly Muslim Uighur minority.

“Food service workplaces will operate normal hours during Ramadhan,” said a notice posted last week on the website of the state Food and Drug Administration in Xinjiang’s Jinghe county.

Officials in the region’s Bole county were told:

“During Ramadhan do not engage in fasting, vigils or other religious activities,” according to a local government website report of a meeting this week.

Each year, the authorities’ attempt to ban fasting among Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang receives widespread criticism from rights groups.

Uighur rights groups say China’s restrictions on Islam in Xinjiang have added to ethnic tensions in the region, where clashes have killed hundreds in recent years.

China says it faces a “terrorist threat” in Xinjiang, with officials blaming “religious extremism” for the growing violence.

“China’s goal in prohibiting fasting is to forcibly move Uighurs away from their Muslim culture during Ramadhan,” said Dilxat Rexit, a spokesman for the exiled World Uyghur Congress.

“Policies that prohibit religious fasting is a provocation and will only lead to instability and conflict.”

As in previous years, school children were included in directives limiting Ramadhan fasting and other religious observances.

The education bureau of Tarbaghatay city, known as Tacheng in Chinese, this month ordered schools to communicate to students that “during Ramadhan, ethnic minority students do not fast, do not enter mosques … and do not attend religious activities”.

Similar orders were posted on the websites of other Xinjiang education bureaus and schools.

Officials in the region’s Qiemo county this week met local religious leaders to inform them there would be increased inspections during Ramadhan in order to “maintain social stability”, the county’s official website said.

Ahead of the holy month, one village in Yili, near the border with Kazakhstan, said mosques must check the identification cards of anyone who comes to pray during Ramadhan, according to a notice on the government’s website.

The Bole county government said that Mehmet Talip, a 90-year-old Uighur Communist Party member, had promised to avoid fasting and vowed to “not enter a mosque in order to consciously resist religious and superstitious ideas”.


Related Topics:

China orders Muslim Businesses to Sell Cigarettes and Alcohol*

Uyghur Muslims Punished for Fasting in Holy Month*

Muslims Arrested for Joining Terror Group That Doesn’t Exist*

The Day they took the Haitian out of the Dominican Republic*

The Day they took the Haitian out of the Dominican Republic*

By Roberto Lavato

Haitian migrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent protest in Santo Domingo, June 18, 2015. (Reuters/Ricardo Rojas)

On most days, the simple act of walking down Duarte Street gives social worker Suzie Chery relief from the stress that is the life of any Haitian living in Santo Domingo. But on this muggy, overcast Thursday, her daily Duarte stroll only added to the tightening of her back and entire body.

“Usually,” she began, pointing at a crowded corner bus stop that looked, smelled and felt like northern Manhattan’s storied Dominican neighbourhoods,

“you see an older lady paletera [ice cream vendor] here, several friteros [fried food vendors] there and lots of men selling water over there.”

Haitians in the Dominican Republic have dominated the informal, urban economy since the decline of the sugar industry in the 1980s and ’90s.

“On this strip here,” Chery said, continuing her tour, “there were three or four men selling clothes and a half a dozen men and women selling pikachu [creole for hot dog with mayonnaise on a stick], juices and other food.”

“All of this would have so many Haitians you’d be bumping into them left and right,” continued Chery, who feeds her love of this city’s streets by studying architecture and urban planning.

“But now all those spaces are empty, because today is the first day the government said it would start deporting people, so some people have already left for Haiti, and others are hiding in their homes because they’re scared.”

As we headed towards Centro Bono, the Jesuit-run social service and advocacy agency where Chery is a social worker, she got several calls. The calls were from university students from around the small island nation whom she has organized to monitor the effect of the Dominican government’s deportation announcement.

“People in San Pedro Macoris are saying that Dominican businesses that sell 50,000 to 100,000 pesos of merchandise to Haitians are only selling 3,000 pesos worth,” she said.

“Reports from Santiago and other cities are saying there are lots of abandoned streets and people in hiding. We’re hearing that many people are already leaving because they prefer leaving for themselves rather than having the humiliation of the government kicking them out.”

Looking out at the empty spots on Duarte, she squinted, looked up and nodded her head. “It’s the day without Haitians in Dominican Republic.”


Centro Bono’s usually packed offices were also empty Thursday, with very few people in the waiting room. Like the air outside Centro Bono, the humid atmosphere inside is charged with fear, anxiety, and doubt about the future. The government’s announcement that it would begin deporting people who did not “regularize” their legal status by meeting Wednesday night’s deadline for turning in paperwork hangs over the office and the entire Haitian community like a death foretold.

Making the air even more noxious were two added elements that together make for a toxic cultural mix: the confused and mixed messages from government officials celebrating “success” in meeting Wednesday’s deadlines and upcoming deportations; and the coded, but virulent anti-Haitian, pro-deportation messaging (i.e., pushing the success of the June 17 deadline as the “duty” of every Dominican) in the DR’s powerful, extreme right-wing corporate media.

Chery and lawyers in her office showed me the thick file of problems they’ve collected, supporting their demand for an extension of the regularization deadline: bureaucratic snafus like lost documents and documents delivered late or never delivered; offices lacking electricity and other basic infrastructure to process applications; confused and nonexistent outreach to those who must register, and other failings.

“I myself have applied,” Chery said, “but I don’t really believe in it and I don’t believe it has or will work, because the government designed it not to work. By failing they will help realize the dreams of the ultra-right wingers: to get rid of us.”

As she was speaking, Alain (name changed), a quiet, young Haitian man with a scar on his eye, walked into the office. After exchanging greetings, Chery persuaded him to share with me the story behind his injury.

“I was waiting in line [at the Interior Ministry headquarters] for days, sleeping there, hoping they would process my application and attend to me,” said Alain, a 28-year-old water vendor with an athletic build who loves futbol.

“The people were getting anxious because yesterday was the last day and so many of us have heard nothing from the government, and we started to get tense. The police responded by beating some of us and telling us to go away or they would beat us. And that’s what one of them did to me.”

Asked if and when he would return to sell water on Duarte and other streets, Alain said,

“I don’t know. I don’t feel safe, but there’s nothing for me to do in Haiti right now and this is my home.”

“And,” he added, “not all Dominicans hate us, but all of them need us. We helped build this country.”


Related Topics:

UN “Peace” Forces Preying on Haitians*

From Child Trafficking to Head of U.N. Ops. in Haiti

Presidential ‘Hopeful’, H. Clinton Gold Digging on 100,000 Haitian Deaths*

France’s Debt to Haiti Remains Despite Hollande’s and Martelly’s Attempt to Rewrite History*

The Half a Billion Dollars Received by Red Cross for Haiti Relief didn’t Go to Haiti*

Haiti Puppet Government Failed to Silence Aristide’s Influence*

J.C. Duvalier: An Evil Cloud Over Haiti Comes to an End*

The Doctor Who Prescribes Fruit and Veg. Instead of Drugs*

The Doctor Who Prescribes Fruit and Veg. Instead of Drugs*

Although it was Hippocrates, the father of modern day medicine, who so famously stated “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food,” few conventional doctors take seriously those words or wisdom and make wholesome, nutritious living the foundation of their patient’s treatment plan.

But in Houston, Texas, a progressive doctor has begun prescribing fruits and vegetables instead of pharmaceutical drugs, as he and many others believe nourishing food is an essential requirement for becoming ‘well’.

After years of treating patients’ modern-day ails, such as Diabetes and high blood pressure, Dr. Garth Davis discovered that diet and lifestyle are truly the best tools for helping a body become vibrantly well.

As the medical director of bariatric surgery at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, Dr. Davis no longer prescribes pharmaceutical drugs but instead dolls out recommendations for fruits and vegetables. And so far, patients have responded very well to the change.

“As physicians, we perform surgery or prescribe medications to our patients to make them well,” said Davis.

“Why not also educate them on healthy eating, and make fresh fruits and vegetables readily available?

Dr. Davis and his team partnered with Kristina Gabrielle Carrillo-Bucaram, the founder, and chief co-operator of Rawfully Organic (the nation’s largest nonprofit organic food co-op), to make this possible.

Said Carillo-Bucaram, ”Dr. Davis and I agree that eating raw foods that are fiber-filled, organic, ripe and colorful should be a part of everyone’s daily routine.” 

Together, Dr. Davis, Kristina, the Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center Hospital and the Memorial Hermann Foundation have opened the “Farmacy Stand.”

The stand is open from 10 AM – 2 PM, every Wednesday in the lobby of Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center in Houston, Texas.

When prescribed fresh produce by Dr. Davis, patients go to the ‘Farmacy’ and receive $10 off a regularly priced $25 box of fresh, organic produce through the Rawfully Organic co-op. The Memorial Hermann Foundation graciously provided money to build the stand, and also funds the $10 discount for patients to eat healthier.

But as can be expected, some are confused about the concept.

“I have people come up to me and tell me that farmacy was misspelled,” said Renee Garrett, senior patient access representative at the Davis Clinic.

“I tell them that it is spelled correctly. We get organic vegetables from farms, and then the people want me to tell them more about what we are doing.” Garrett is one of the individuals who runs the stand every Wednesday.

In any one of the boxes, patients who adhere to their doctors’ orders receive a bounty of fruit, such as apples, oranges, and bananas; vegetable items include one head of Romaine lettuce, celery, carrots, and tomatoes.

“We have actual prescription pads that we are starting to give out to doctors that they can use,” said Davis.

Open since October, the Farmacy has been changing the lives of countless individuals. If only every hospital and city had a similar program!

I think a few other doctors have written prescriptions,” continued Davis. “I would like to get more doctors writing the prescriptions. Hippocrates said, ‘Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.’ Produce is medicine. The vegetables and fruits are an alternative for use in treating diseases.”

If you live in Houston, Texas and would like to order a box of produce, please visit the original news release here to receive all the details. 

“We understand the value of good nutrition, diet, and exercise, and we fully support Garth and the folks at Rawfully Organic as they work to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle,” said Alexander.


Related Topics:

One Hospital Uses Organic Food as Medicine*

Prophet Muhammad Said It, Now Top Doctors are Saying It*

A Coalition of Oregon Organic Farmers Beat Monsanto*

Morgan Freeman Becomes a Bee Keeper*

Amazonian Hunter-Gatherers Isolated from Western Medicine Have the Most Diverse Microbiome Ever Recorded*

Nature Helps Our Brain Connect!

The Depletion of your Nutritional Food Content is Intentional*