Tag Archive | war on terrorism

Democracy the Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow!?

Democracy the Insolvent Phantom of Tomorrow!?

By Hwaa Irfan

 

In the last 10 years, never has so much been done to convince the whole world, of an agenda that has cost so many lives, displaced so many people, have used and excluded the public wholesale, while the public pays the price, changed the global economic system and natural resources to favour a few, changed the structure of so many governments, and to undermine the sovereignty of so many countries, in the of something that has brought the world to its knees. It has been called the “war-on-terror”, but it has been a war on the minds of every man, woman and child, to secure the powerful few. To survive, many went into denial, but many had no choice as they were killed, maimed, and lost control.

The title is partly taken from the Farewell Address of former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower, which served as an introductory quote of a June 2011 study produced by the Eisenhower Research Project of the Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. Involving over 20 economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists, they revealed in their final product the astronomical cost of the so-called “war-on-terrorism,” which dwarfs WWII.

The questions were asked:

–        What have the wars that the U.S. has undertaken since September 2001 cost in blood and treasure, opportunities lost and possibilities foreclosed?

–        What are the ongoing consequences for the people who fought them, for bystanders, for democracy, human rights, and civil liberties, for the American economy, budget, and the deficit?

Truths were acknowledged like:

–        The U.S. funding of Pakistan since 2001 for their role in the war-on-terror that are not calculated as equally the fatalities and the consequence of displacement which far outweighs that of Afghanistan.

–        The conservation human body count in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The Human Cost

The estimated death toll given in the report for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is a moderate 257,655 (from civilians, combatants, and non-combatants). Of the 257,655, 6051 were U.S. soldiers. The report authors are aware how controversial the issue is because of those who have dedicated a good portion of the last 10 years counting lives being exterminated like flies.  1, 463, 948 is the total given by Information House of which 7, 358 are U.S. soldiers and Occupied Forces for Iraq and Afghanistan alone. The fact that the world has looked on the complex situation in Pakistan as one of its own making probably contributes to the lack of data on the human cost.

One cannot help notice how the statistics are organized, with U.S. soldiers and contractors at the top, and the civilians towards the bottom. On cannot also help notice how the statistics the wounded convey an image that does not reflect the reality on the ground for the civilians, and drastically underestimates the number of people and families displaced.

Essentially the Cost of War is about the cost to America, which on the psychological level, which is one that has often been underplayed:

“While American soldiers and their families have demonstrated great resilience, the burdens of these wars that have fallen on veterans and their families include higher rates of suicide and mental illness, increased drug and alcohol dependence, higher rates of violence including homicide and child abuse and neglect (the latter both among the parent left behind and by the returning veteran), high risk behaviors that have resulted in elevated numbers of car crashes and drug overdoses, elevated levels of homelessness and divorce, and clinical levels of stress among the children. There has already been attention to the rising suicide rates among U.S. soldiers and veterans. In 2003, the year of the invasion of Iraq, suicides across the DoD accounted for more deaths than combat. Despite suicide awareness campaigns across the services, across the DoD suicide outnumbered combat deaths again in 2008.”

This should not be so surprising though ugly it may be, but not a consideration for those who orchestrate these wars without care or thought that there would be a fallout on one’s backyard shattering the illusion of the American dream sending thousands to the soup kitchen to survive. Societies around the world have been ripped apart, and turned upside-down, in the name of something that is a construct of the imagination of a powerful few. As long as the truth remains in the hands of a few, the human cost does not matter as long as the power to control the minds and behaviours of peoples, which in turn will sustain their positions of control.

The Financial Cost

The Cost of War study begins with a quote from former President Dwight Eisenhower 1961 Farewell Address which reads:

“As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war — as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years — I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

“As we peer into society’s future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”

The financial cost has not just been the monies spent directly on these wars, but has essentially cost the whole global economic system. These wars have never been about politics, religion, or an offence committed, it has always been about capitalists maintaining a crumbling capitalism.

The level of irresponsibility in global governance over the past long 10 years have indeed mortgaged the lives of tax payers in the West, who have paid for these wars to be only told their employment is no longer required, their homes, education and health is no longer affordable, and they have to eat food that has been engineered, because the price of normal food is now for the rich. Many of these taxpayers have never realized that the bombs that have been dropped in another country is the other-side of their coin!

The Cost of War calculated a “U.S$2.3 and 2.6 trillion in constant 2011 dollars” has been spent to date on the wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan. They estimate the final cost will be a shocking U.S$3.7 and U.S$4.4 trillion – more than WWII. However, one is not sure on what basis the final cost is calculated meaning where the projected end of these wars arise from. If there is an end date, does this mean that the undeclared goals will be met? Where is the rest of the world within those goals?

Wars financed by borrowing, that did not stimulate the desired economic growth (0.9%) in the U.S., added  U.S$1.3 trillion to the U.S. national debt, raised interest rates by .3%, interest payments that exceeded the cost of war on Afghanistan and Iraq for 2011,  interest rates that have fanned out to all aspects of life for the average person.

Since WWI, oil has been the goal, and the means to holding power. In peacetime, the U.S. Department of Defense is U.S’s largest consumer of oil (4.6 billion gallons of fuel annually), and in war the consumption rockets. These wars have also devastated the economies of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan while making enormous oil revenues for the corporations concerned, while inflating the cost of oil for everyone else, including all industries affected by it. Possessed by this neurosis, the next step is the Middle East and North Africa, but the difference is that the global economy is not what it was when they conceived the idea of “war-on-terrorism. Neither is the global population as naive, though all too many find it easier to believe the “information” being pumped out by the corporate media about Libya, Syria, and Yemen. The real terror is the one whereby citizens of the West are paying the price, as their civil liberties are being abused, while the sovereignty of any country that has what the powers that be wants is violated, along with the human rights of the citizens of these countries. It was with great hindsight that former President Bush placed the U.S. military and allies under immunity as the atrocities they commit ensue:

“Lawsuits against the U.S. for the violations of human rights and international law associated with its rendition and torture practices have been unsuccessful.12 Courts have accepted the Obama and Bush Administrations’ invocation of the “state secrets doctrine,” but critics say the judicial created “privilege” should not be allowed to shield the government from embarrassment or exposure of wrongdoing.”

They have uprooted communities, destroyed homes, and have polluted environments to the extent that the Earth is in shock, degrading the land left as they move on. However, the report falls short of many things which it has listed, but most importantly, it does not make the most obvious recommendation, which many American citizens would support 100%. Instead the report sustains the mess it describes with 13 recommendations including:

  • Recording all war related deaths and injuries in the war zones; this includes the deaths, injuries and illnesses of US troops (not just those killed in the war zone or medically evacuated) and contractors (whether U.S. citizens or not), civilians in the war zones, enemy combatants, and prisoners. Records should be completed promptly and systematically and made public on a regular basis;
  • Continuing to track the war-related deaths (e.g. suicide) and injuries of troops after deployment, whether or not they receive VA treatment;
  • Fully disclosing the number and nature of detentions at home and abroad and in a timely way;

People Behind the Report

Not mentioned in the report, is ‘former’ democrat – pro-Obama, Susan Eisenhower , granddaughter of former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower, who was a democrat-cum-republican. Eisenhower is President of the Eisenhower Group Inc., which is a think tank. She has served on the U.S. Dept. Of Energy’s ‘Blue Ribbon Baker-Cutler Commission’ formed by Obama to review American funded nuclear non-proliferation programs in Russia. Eisenhower as served as an advisor for the Department of Energy.

Grand-daughter of former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower co-authored The Making of a Soviet Scientist, the scientist being  Soviet Nobel Laureate, physicist, human rights advocate, and anti-Afghan war protester, Andrei Sakharov. Eisenhower was the author of Breaking Free, a Memoir of Love and Revolution, published in 1995. She co-edited a book, Islam and Central Asia: An Enduring Legacy or an Evolving Threat?

Eisenhower has been a consultant for Fortune 100, Fortune 500 companies, companies in the energy field, and wrote extensively before 9/11 on nuclear and space issues. Served two terms on the NASA Advisory Council, and joined the International Space Station Management and Cost Evaluation Task Force. She has chaired the Eisenhower Institute’s Leadership and Public Policy Programs, which specializes in training leaders for the future. Eisenhower has served the National Academy of Sciences’ standing Committee on International Security and Arms Control for 8 years.

These are just some of Eisenhower’s strengths, which may throw light on why the report was done now with the recommendations that it made! Susan Einsenhower is also Chair emeritus for the Eisenhower Institute, the “centre for leadership and public policy that prepares the successor generations to perfect the promise of the nation.”

 

 Source:

“Costs of War.” http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2011/06/warcosts

Not Gonna Take No War No More!

Not Gonna Take No War No More!

From Sara Flounders

I have just returned from a delegation led by Ramsey Clark to blockaded and besieged Gaza. During our short visit Israel again bombed Gaza. This is now almost a daily crime.

The steadfast determination that we saw in Gaza reinforces the importance of the major national antiwar coalition that is taking shape for April 9, organized by the United National Antiwar Committee – UNAC.

What makes the April 9th bi-coastal rallies, in New York City and San Francisco truly historic is this coalitions very strong solidarity with the Palestinian people as well as the strong opposition to racism and the wave of anti-Islamic hysteria that has been sweeping the country. The International Action Center has made these issues a cornerstone of our work for many years.

This is an especially important time to respond with the greatest possible unity around the most difficult struggles. The Grand Jury subpoenas in Chicago and Minneapolis have especially targeted Palestinian solidarity activists, along with other international solidarity activists. The wave of anti-Muslim attacks, FBI sting operations and preventive prosecutions and racist frame-up must be challenged, along with the growing attacks and raids on all immigrant workers.

We must recognize that the targeted assassinations in Palestine, financed by U.S. military and political aid to Israel and the continuing drone assassination attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan have come home to the U.S. in terrible ways – in the shooting of Arizona Congressperson Gabrielle Giffords last Saturday, January 8th. Six people died, including an 9-year-old child.

In order to divert people’s attention from the economic crisis and endless war the ruling elite is increasingly fanning the flames of division, racism, and reactionary thinking.

But something of great hope also took place on Saturday, January 8. The Muslim Peace Coalition, USA organized a powerful meeting of Muslim leaders and youth at the Long Island Islamic Center. It involved training sessions on how to organize and build for a massive, united April 9th demonstration.

The Muslim Peace Summit was especially timely because The Long Island Islamic Center is located within the congressional district of Peter King, the Republican congressman who heads the Homeland Security Committee. King has announced a planned witch-hunt of congressional hearings targeting Muslim communities as terrorists.

The Muslim Peace Summit’s program included a special panel, with representatives from religious, antiwar, and solidarity organizations including representatives from UNAC, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the International Action Center, Al-Awda NY, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, immigrant rights organizations and activists, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Pax Christi, along with Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish religious leaders. The meeting concluded with a talk by George Gresham, president of SEIU 1199, the powerful healthcare workers union. This meeting was a tremendous step forward for building a far more inclusive antiwar mobilization on April 9th that can help change the prevailing climate of racism and war.

On Thursday, January 13th at the Manhattan Theatre Club at 311 West 43 St at 7:30 PM, the United National Antiwar Committee will launch the mobilizing for the April 9th antiwar rally in the New York City area. If you live in the New York City area please be sure to attend.

Your participation all across the country and your input are essential. Our unity and solidarity can send a powerful message.

Sara Flounders for the International Action Center

 

For more information on the exciting plans for April 9 and to endorse April 9 see:www.UNACpeace.org

Or send a message to: UNACpeace@gmail.com

ENDORSE the April 9 Antiwar Rallies at http://www.unacpeace.org

U.S. Military Officers for 9/11 Truth Mission Statement

U.S. Military Officers for 9/11 Truth Mission Statement

We, the members of U.S. Military Officers for 9/11 Truth, believe that there remains a pressing need for a new and independent criminal investigation into the events of 9/11/01. There is incontrovertible publicly available evidence since that day that the official account of the events is incomplete and fraught with errors. The 9/11 Commission Report failed to address many of the most important questions that were presented to the Commission by the victims’ families and other concerned Americans, and those that they did address were inadequately answered.

Only the discovery powers and authority available to the judiciary will be able to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators. We stand together with millions of other Americans and citizens of other nations in demanding a full, unbiased investigation and prosecution of these crimes against humanity. If we give a pass to the perpetrators who are likely still at large, we do so at our peril.

Please email us at info@MO911truth.org if you have any questions.

An Appeal from a U.S. Veteran

Ron Kovic and Michael Prysner lead anti-war march in Los Angeles. U.SAn Appeal from a U.S. Veteran

From Michael Prysner

“I strongly encourage everyone to support March Forward! and the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans by helping them get to Washington, D.C. for the historic and important civil resistance at the White House on December 16. This next generation of young veterans is the generation that can stop these wars.”

 —Ron Kovic: Vietnam War veteran, author of Born on the Fourth of July

We need your help to bring young Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Dec. 16 action. 

Nearly eight years ago, I deployed to Iraq at age 19. They told me it was a “just” and “necessary” war. My firsthand experience revealed this to be a lie. I was fighting a war for profit, for Big Oil and Wall Street, for the rich.

Like so many other veterans, I became inspired by the hundreds of thousands of people heroically fighting against the war here at home, and I joined the ANSWER Coalition and the anti-war movement. 

I am now working with other veterans to stop the Pentagon’s wars. Our movement is growing stronger. More veterans and active-duty GIs are joining our ranks.

Veterans for Peace has initiated a veterans-led civil resistance at the White House on Dec. 16 that is being supported by the ANSWER Coalition, March Forward! and many other organizations.

Please join us at 10am for a rally in Lafayette Park followed by a march to the White House for civil resistance. The details of this important action can be found on the ANSWER Coalition homepage.

We need your help to bring young Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans to Washington, D.C. to participate in this action.

Today, we are at a critical point in this struggle, as the U.S. war machine continues to indefinitely occupy Iraq, vastly expands the war in Afghanistan, bombs Pakistan and Yemen and steps up threats of war against Iran and North Korea.

The U.S. war drive will not stop unless we force it to stop. As veterans and active duty GIs, we see it as our duty to be at the forefront of that fight.

This is why we are putting our bodies on the line on Dec. 16 2010. If we do not stand up and fight back, more young people will be deployed to kill and be killed; to be maimed, traumatized and subjected to criminally substandard mental health services upon return.

Our movement, which is proudly part of the broader anti-war struggle, knows that change doesn’t come from the top. It comes from a fighting movement from below. Opposition to the wars must come from all of those affected—students, working people, military families and, in particular, the veterans and GIs. Instead of fighting for empire, we must intensify our fight against the U.S. Empire.

We are taking a stand on Dec. 16, and we ask you to help make it happen. Whether you are a veteran, GI or an anti-war organizer, we urge you to be there on Dec. 16.

More veterans and GIs are standing up every day. With your support, we can reach and inspire even more to join us in the struggle against these criminal wars and to build a better, more just world.

We also ask you to please make a donation to help send as many young Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans as possible to Washington, D.C. for the Dec. 16 action. Your generosity will allow young veterans to participate who cannot otherwise afford it.

Thank you for your support 

Michael Prysner

Co-founder, March Forward

Related Topics:

No New Korea War

The U.S. Looking for War

The Peace that Will Not Proceed

Pentagon Destroys Thousands of Afghani Homes

Showing Solidarity with Iran

The Peace that Will Not Proceed

The Peace that Will Not Proceed

By Hwaa Irfan

If anyone was in any doubt about the peace process between Israel and Palestine, or has been under any illusion that there is indeed a peace process, despite the fact that the Israeli government seems to avoid controlling it’s settler’s as much as it enjoys controlling Palestinians,  for the expansion of its concept of a state, well without further adieu the significant role of the U.S. leaves little left to the imagination. 

The global service of the Jewish people, JTA reports on how the U.S. will store “an additional $400mn in emergency equipment in Israel.” Either Obama is out of his depth when it comes to stabilizing the fragile U.S. economy through the multi-billion sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, China, and others, or the Obama Administration is setting up a warfare situation to finalize the re-balkanization of the world’s global resources, or both.

According to the report the deal will transpire over a 2-year period, with the military equipment to be delivered over that period, and to be made available to Israel in times of emergency. How that emergency is to be defined and by whom, given the errant behavior of a rogue state which pretty much creates its own illusions, and gets the rest of the world to believe in it – the military ware applied in the 2nd war on Lebanon was from the U.S. stockpile!

By 2012, $1.2bn of U.S. military equipment will be stockpiled in Israel whose only threat is a reaction to its barbaric and dehumanizing actions. Israels’ march forward to the realization of an Israeli state that will included parts of Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria continues unabated. The aim to push Palestinians out of Palestine into Jordan also continues unabated. Its desire to sustain the threat of global terrorism through undisclosed mercenary and PSYOPS tactics around the world, so that it can remain to be unnoticed in its ambitions plays the world like pawns in its games.

First reported in Defense News, the stockpile provides a supply depot for U.S. troops to use misnomered equipment such as “smart bombs”, when it chooses. This lack of conscientiousness of what is needed to re-balance the world, demonstrated the level of deception and lack of will to redress the damage that has been done by at least, three terms of Bush & Son global governance. These people are clearly obsessed with a notion of power, a power that can only be sustainable at a temporary cost to the rest of the world – temporary because no one will tolerate the consequences for long, and temporary because common interests are only in-common when there is a benefit to all parties involved.

The Illusion of Threat

One doubts that the fear of being attacked is genuine, but it does serve to promote the notion of a certain set of people as the enemy, and in that service, much can be done to betray the people of the world. All throughout the occupation of Palestine, Israel has never been under any physical threat, except the threat that it can never exist as a state in its own right on other people’s land. It has ignored it religious leaders, and the Jewry as a whole, creating a global elite that has very little to do with Judaism as a religious practice.

It is the inability to believe that others can treat them better than they treat others that seems to keep them determined in their actions/paranoia. The notion of natural justice is lost expecting those unlike them to behave in the same manner in which they behave. As they continue to demonize Iran, like Iraq in preparation for a greater war, there notion of Iran, is unfortunately liken to some Muslims who perceive power, status and nationalistic beliefs before they perceive Islam. When in 2001, the appeal of 10 Iranian Jews rejected by the Iranian judiciary, like automatons, the West and the believers in Western democracy shouted foul without recognizing that 8 Muslims were also accused of espionage. Neither did the West and its sympathizers note that the sentence was reduced from 4 – 13 years respectively to 2 – 9 years on the basis that they were found innocent of two of the charges against them. There is a long list of cases in the U.S. and the U.K of non-Muslims who have been found guilty when in fact quite blaringly innocent! All countries are sensitive to the security of their nations, but when fairness is ruled out, national security becomes a national obsession.

In the late 1980’s, the approximate number of Jews in the Arab world alone was 4,700,000. As one of the Peoples of the Book, Jews have had a place in Muslim societies since the dawn of Islam. The Sahifa, agreement of Medina in 622/3 C.E., stated:

  1. The Aus were to pay the blood money of the persons they had killed before, and every group was to redeem its prisoners with justice
  2. No Believer should seek to turn the auxiliary of another Believer against him
  3. God-fearing Believers shall oppose whoever seeks to sow injustice, sin, or enmity among the Believers; every man’s hand shall be against him even though he might be the son of one of them
  4. The Jews who follow us shall have aid and equality, except those who do wrong or aid the enemies of the Muslims
  5. No idolater shall take Qurayshi property or persons under his protection nor shall he turn anyone against a believer
  6. The Jews shall bear expenses with the Muslims as long as they fight along with them
  7. None may go to war without the Holy Prophets’ (SAW) permission, but they are not prevented from taking vengeance for a wound.

This treaty was written following the Battle of Bu’ath in which Jewish tribesmen fought for the losing cause of ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy against Prophet Muhammed (SAW), and the Muslims. They would not support Prophet Muhammed (SAW) because he was not a Jew; however, the Muslims kept their word and Allah’s (SWT) covenant despite their antics.

The Jews had suffered greatly under the Goths in Spain, but the advent of Islamic rule brought them the freedom to practice their rites and traditions. They flourished in the fields of medicine, philosophy, literature, money-lending and the translation of Arabic text into Latin. The neighborliness between them and the Muslims influenced them to pray in Arabic, rather than the Hebrew which they knew so little of at the time, to perform ablutions before entering their synagogues, and to sing Jewish songs to old Arabic melodies. They lived this way for over 400 years!

Today, the life of acceptance has no meaning. The Zionists have brainwashed themselves and others into believing that their violation of the human rights of others is justified by their search for a home and their own human rights.

In fighting for a home separate from Muslims, they have broken the first 6 of their Seven Laws of Noah, so when they refer to their covenant with God, where do they stand when they have broken the covenant? At a press conference in Illinois, U.S. in March 2000, David Weiss of the Neturei Karta group in Jerusalem stated:

“The holocaust was divine punishment on the Jewish people for their abandonment of the Torah. Until the Zionist movement, Jews lived peacefully among their neighbors.”

Whether this is true or not, the Jews did live peacefully amongst Muslims, when non-Muslims did not give them that right.

“They call us colonists,” said one Jewish man to the Guardian Weekly reporter Linda Grant. 

“But if we lose, where do I go? Back to Yemen, where my grandfather came from in the 1930s?”

It did not occur to this man that he did come from somewhere, and that the notion of what he referred to as home has pushed the world towards a possible WWIII. Yet for Palestinians, the so-called peace process, despite what Zionists have put them through, has been about how to live with Jews as neighbors.

{And We had made known to the children of Israel in the Book, most certainly you will make mischief in the land twice, and most certainly you will behave insolently with great insolence.} (Al-Bani-Israel 17: 4)

“A person cannot be conscious of others when he lacks of consciousness of himself” – Hwaa Irfan

Sources:

JTA “U.S. to Store More Weapons in Israel.”  http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/11/11/2741699/us-to-store-more-weapons-in-israel

Related Topics:

Muslim Cordoba Going for a Song 

Between the Builder and the Architect: Frederick II, and the Castel Del Monte

Albanian Muslims Risked Their Own Lives to Save Jews in the Holocaust

Muslim and Jews Side By Side in the Bronx

The House of Three Rooms

Forgiveness Between Sand and Stone 

One is the Loneliest Number

U.S. Set to Destabilize the Rest of the World

Facing Armageddon

Gaza and Israeli Might Over Human Rights

From Silwan to the City of David

Stop War on Iran

The Echo of Life

Xenophobia on African Shores and Elsewhere

Finding a Global Balance

The Charity of Love

Fasting for Change

Fast for Change 

By Hwaa Irfan

When we are surrounded with dissension, whether that dissension reveals itself in our family life or in the public sphere, to boost the meaning and purpose of our deen, fasting is a useful spiritual tool we can call on at anytime.

This is one particular time we should call on the tool of fasting, with the Wikileaks revealing the extent of the factionalism that took place in Iraq. I have worked with good Sunni’s and good Shi’a’s and whatever appears in the press would not turn me against either for I am a Muslim first and foremost, and in the tawhid of our deen, to turn against a people because of bad experiences and interpretation of information only serves to weaken my deen at the pleasure of our enemies. It hurts me to listen to Sunni’s speak of Shi’a in a negative light without little prompting, which only demonstrates how much we have become our own enemy by looking at incidents through the prism of the “other”, a prism that was introduced into the Muslim world through the successful endeavors’ of the British and the French to undermine and weaken the Ottoman Empire – they were successful, and remain successful in their deliberate campaign the spread dissension between Iraqi Shi’a and Sunni in the U.s. occupation of Iraq. We do not seek to explore the fact that Shi’a and Sunni marriages in Iraq were commonplace before the U.S. invasion and occupation, we do not seek to explore the foreign influence in the rampant violence, we do not seek to see how this politicking fragments Shi’a and Sunni unity, and we do not seek to explore the suffering that Shi’a have suffered over time at the hands of Sunni. We do not be mindful of the affiliations of the compilers of the Wikileak affect interpretation of data instead we fall prey to the same obsessions that dominate the secular world into the Muslim world, so what makes us so different?

{ And when there comes to them news of security or fear, they spread it abroad; and if they had referred it to the Apostle and to those in authority amongst them, those amongst them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it, and were it not for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have certainly followed the shaytan save a few} (An-Nisa 4:83) 

If the dead of Iraq were only Shi’a, would Sunni’s who see only that which is Sunni consider it to be none of their concern? If the dead were only Christians, would Shi’a and Sunni it to be none of their concern? If the dead were only agnostics, would all the Muslim sects consider it to be none of their concern? A life is a life, and life is valued in Islam, because life is the vehicle of change.

Do we forget who financed the Iraq-Iran war? It took a non-Muslim, Gareth Porter (an investigative historian and journalist) to highlight that sectarian deaths were a part of U.S. terror strategy, and that 

  • General D. Petraeus developed the strategy of using Shi’a’s and Kurds to suppress Sunnis 2004 -2005 – and what do we have a balkanized Iraq

 

  • Deployment of Shi’a and Kurd police in Sunni areas

After all, how else does one bring down a majority!

Fast to erase the idols from our hearts, the idol which turns a friend into a foe, and an imaginary fear into a living reality. But most of all, fast for the unity we so desperately need, or like the rest of the world, we will lose our selves in the hatred of the ill-conceived “other,” otherwise we will wake up one day and discover that we cannot even trust our own shadow!

{And not like those who became divided and disagreed after clear argument had come to them, and these it is that shall have a grievous chastisement} (Ale Imran 3: 105)

{Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects, you have no concern with them, their affair is only with Allah, then He will inform them of what they did} (An Anam 6: 159) 

My ‘Ummah will be divided into seventy three sects. All of them will be in the Fire except one? (Muslim #976) 

“What is meant by the term “ummah” in this ahadith is the ummah of response (ummatul-ijaabah – those who responded to the call to Islam after having been invited), which shall be divided into seventy three sects; seventy two of which are deviant, who practice innovated religious practices that do not constitute apostasy. Each shall be punished in accordance to the innovations and deviation (it practiced), except for those who Allah pardons and forgives. Their final abode will be Jannah. The only sect that will be safe is Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah, who adhere to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) and hold fast to what he and his Companions (radhi-yallaahu ‘anhum) were holding to. It is they about whom the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) said:

((A group of my ummah shall remain steadfast, on the truth, victorious, unharmed by those who oppose them, and do not support them, until the death or until the Day of Resurrection)), [Sahih al-Bukhari, #71 & 3641, and Sahih Muslim, #1920]

As for those whose innovation casts them out of Islam, they belong to the ummah of invitation (ummatud-da’wah – those to whom the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) was sent to invite to Islam), not the ummatul-ijaabah. They shall remain in the Hell Fire forever, and this is the most valid opinion.

It is also said that the term “ummah” in this ahadith means ummatud-da’wah, which is a general term indicating all those to whom the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) was sent (i.e. mankind) those who believe and those who do not believe. Whereas the term “the saved sect” is the ummatul-ijaabah, which strictly applies to those who believe in the Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam), truthfully and die in such a state (of belief). This is the sect that will be saved from the Fire; either by prior punishment or without prior punishment, and their final abode will be Jannah, (insha-Allah).

As for the seventy two sects (in the second opinion) they are all, excluding the saved sect, disbelievers who will live forever in the Fire. Hence, it is clear that the ummatud-da’wah is more general in connotation than the ummatul-ijaabah. That is to say, whoever belongs to the ummatul-ijaabah belongs to the ummatud-da’wah, while not everyone of the ummatud-da’wah belongs to the ummatul-ijaabah.

And with Allah lies all success and may Allah send prayers and salutations upon our Prophet (sal-Allahu `alayhi wa salam) and his family and his companions.

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawa

 

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Islamophobia: From the Spanish Inquisition to the Western Inquisition

Islamophobia: From the Spanish Inquisition to the Western Inquisition
The Mudéjar (Royal Muslims Under Royal Spain)

By Hwaa Irfan

This year 2010, is bearing witness to what I think is the 3rd year of the French spring campaign against the Muslim dress code. In the throes of the trend of sexual objectification, unfortunately, it seems that other countries are catching the same virus more commonly known as Islamophobia. Within one week as we approach the summer months, the proliferation of reports seem endless:

• Spain – Second city bans Muslim garments, and more since.

• U.K – Legal fight over spy cameras in Muslim suburb

• Belgium – Belgian school teacher sacked for wearing Muslim headscarf

• Germany – German court denies Muslim right to pray at school

• France – French shopper allegedly rips veil off Muslim woman in ‘burqa rage’ brawl

• U.S. – Religious leaders join to condemn Cahill’s comments on Muslim community

• France – French Muslim Council warns government on veil ban

• U.S. – Local woman addresses DMV scarf incident

• U.S. – Family says Muslim man’s attackers targeted him because of his religion

• U.S. – Feds to investigate anti-Muslim activity at Minnesota schools

• Canada – Proposed ban on Muslim veil stirs controversy in Quebec

• U.S. – Photos: 1000 Protest Planned Mosque Near Ground Zero in NYC

• France – French Muslim Woman Fined For Driving Wearing Niqab

Many non-Muslims who do not know a practicing Muslim will assume the worst about all Muslims – to be feared and to be vilified. The trouble is, one cannot switch on like or dislike by the mere institution of laws. All laws can suffice to do is to make something seem unacceptable. Laws do not change the attitude of a people if everything else in civil society contradicts those laws. In the process of developing a prejudice against a people, one is actually rewiring one’s brain which leads to actions that demonstrate the real intentions as a pattern of behavior ensues from that deep seated prejudice. That is why bad habits die hard, and racism is one habit that the racist will deny or shroud in a series of “other” reasons as to why the victim of that racism shouldn’t be allowed to breathe! As a result, progress materialistically speaking seems to have made no inroad into what is essentially the backwater of prejudiced minds that weave into the very social structures on which a society refers to.

In times of ease and prosperity, the prejudicial mind subsides, but hibernates waiting to raise its ugly head again. It is only in a quality of the child’s individuality and/or within the way in which a child has been raised, does humanity stand a chance to make some real progress for the common good.

As we have seen in recent times, the myth of the “clash of civilizations” has been open to much debate, but that myth only serves as an indication that the legacy of the so-called “holy” crusades like the concept of witches and witch hunt, is alive in t with its origins with minds of even those who have not looked into its history. Both originated in a Catholic church which was obsessed with power, and perceived opposition to that power. In this context the so-called “war on terror” is no different. It is by perchance that concern at the pathology of the current wave of Islamophobia and the medieval past should conjoin the treatment of Muslims in a non-Muslim environment, and that environment is the environment of the Crown of Aragon of the 14th century. Is there a lesson from the medieval past which could be learnt from, who knows!

The period we refer to after the banishment of Muslims/Moors from Spain in the 14th century. This was at the hands of what was to become the Kingdom of Aragon, which grew out of the union of Aragon, Barcelona and Catalonia, where today they are trying to ban Muslim wear. Aragon was becoming a formidable force as a Christian feudal polity evolving a national identity, and a language that was evolved into Catalan. Against the Spanish Kingdom of Castille, they competed to claim lands from the Muslims. Peter III of Aragon fought hard as well beyond Spain’s shores aiming to conquer Tunisia, but was diverted to Sicily, which he claimed against the French, then Sardinia, the Duchy of Athens, and then finally Castille in Spain through marriage.

The Crown of Aragon

Following the period of expulsion of Muslims/moors from Spain, the polity Aragon began as a feudal community at foothills of the Pyrenees from where they attacked the moors of Spain. Despite this success, Aragon’s feudal beginnings, and conquering footpaths, did not prepare them to run a kingdom which was to stretch across the Mediterranean. Through as series of battles with other Spanish entities, and with the French beyond the shores of Spain, Aragon became a force to be reckoned with to become the Crown of Aragon.

Governing most of the Mediterranean, the Crown of Aragon lacked certain technical expertise. The Crown depended on Muslims under their governance for scientific knowledge directly and indirectly. The two main languages for intellectual discourse was Latin for philosophical and theological issues and Arabic for science. It was through Llull that algorithms via al-Khwarizmi’s “Arithmetic” spread to Europe, Egyptian fractions (fractions with the numerator 1, as well as the fractions 2/3 and 3/4, the remainder being calculated by adding these fractions) via John of Seville, and Fibonacci, sexagesimal fractions via al-Khwarizmi’s “Arithmetic”, and John of Seville.

Jews and Muslims Under the Crown of Aragon

Unlike their Visigoth forefathers, the Crown of Aragon allowed for Jews to govern themselves. The Jews met with challenges and clashes of faith from Christian scholars the result of which was the censorship of the Talmud by the Dominican Order. Jews were not allowed to own Christian slaves like the Muslims, but Jews could own Muslim slaves.

After the plague of Black Death in 1348, Jews were feeling vulnerable for many reasons, so attempts were made to pull together the differing Jewish communities to share and decide problems as a collective whole, which eventually failed. To regulate this, the decree, the takkanah was formulated to increase inter-communal coordination, and to reduce the level of rivalry, and disunity taking place amongst the Jews. They: Moses Nathan Haii, Crescas Solomon, and Judah Eleazar sought to obtain from the King mediation with the “Pope” (Innocent VI) referred to as the “King of Nations” with the aim to amongst others:

• Prevent Christians from turning on Jews every time a natural disaster like the plague occurred.

• To prevent Christians from attacking Jews for claimed desecration of the host

• To declare that it is heretic to claim that theses hosts can perform miracles

• To stop turning Jewish communities into a state of siege every Easter (they had to remain within their homes on Good Friday, and is some cases not even look out of their windows or a penalty would be incurred.

• A Jew should have the right of counsel if accused of heresy by the Inquisition.

• For Christians to return what they have stolen from “one of the children of Israel.”

• For anyone who slays a Jew to not be given asylum

• That Jews should not e subject to special investigation, but be investigated by an ordinary judge.

Be reminded here that we are referring to the period of the Spanish Inquisition which ensued after Christendom took Spain back from Muslim governance when Muslims never entered Spain by force, and most moors were Spanish by birth.

Medieval Islamophobia

As it has been well established, the Catholic Church took both a pseudo-religious, and political stance towards any perceived threat towards its kingdom including its wealth. To expand its wealth, the Doctrine of Discovery was formulated over a period of time, claiming new lands and wealth in the name of the Church under the governance of western Christian powers. Muslims were considered a “perceived threat” to Christian domination and control. Through the so-called holy crusades Muslims were expelled from Spain, as Christianity was to spread its political wings.

Under the Crown of Aragon, Muslims and their descendents belonged to the Crown, and these Muslims were referred to as “royal/noble’s Muslims” or Mudejares or subjects to ecclesiastic jurisdiction. Mudejares belonged to the church or the noble under the governance of the Crown. Also, Christian clerics during this period were often lords and nobleman. Muslims under their control fell under three categories. They could be serfs, vassals, or slaves. The example of the Brotherhood of Minores, Fratres Minores, who controlled a third Muslim vineyards, the monastery of St. Peter as a lord owned a part of the Muslim population of Calatayud, the queen and the Sorores Minores held equal rights over the Mudejares of Bartaxell and Xirillent, and the monastery of San Cugat del Valles held owned their Muslims, whilst the other half of the ownership remained unclaimed. To add to the confusion, there were disputes over ownership.

Then of course there was the difference in ownership, for instance, some Mudejares had to pay war taxes and others not. Those under the Bishop of Tortosa illegally enslaved over 30 Muslims, and this Bishop also tortured, and extorted money from Mudejares officials.

The Bishop of Valencia was best known to the Muslim population there by his jail, in which very large numbers of Muslims were kept awaiting trial or sale as slaves. The convent of St. Clare, also in Valencia, invoked royal authority to prevent the Muslims from building a new meat market, since the nuns owned the sole rights over the existing one.

The labor/services of Muslims owned by a noble belonged to the noble, as well as some military duties, and agricultural taxes. The right to bear arms was controlled by the Crown for a Muslim (i.e. a Muslim who was not a Mudejar, but a Mudejar regardless of which land he lived in, as long as that land was under the Crown of Aragon, the Crown had the right to call on a Mudejar for his/her services. Muslim serfs who owned land did so in servitude. Referred to as exaricus (which included Christians after 15th century), their service passed over to the new landowners when the land was sold like any other serf, Christian or not. Muslim farmers who were not in servitude, and were referred to as franchi, under the Crown of Aragon were eventually forced to concede to the new governance. These included Muslim farmers who were independent under Muslim rule, and as such had prospered. Obsessive codes of dress and behavior were instituted, which if violated would relegate them to slavery and/or incur a fine. Yet, at the same time, attempts were made by the Crown and noblemen to make servitude attractive by offering free land, concession on taxes, and protection from creditors. As a result, by the middle of the 14th century, a new class of free farmers was growing, increasing the income of tax for the Crown and the nobles.

Mudejares could not:

• Inherit from their Christian lords, or king

• Mudejares had the right to:

• Seek notary services and final appeal in criminal cases

• Wear Muslim dress

Mudejares had to:

• Pay taxes to the crown, or in part to the Church depending on the nature of the jusrisdiction.

• Forfeit all property if they chose to move from one noble, and if the king sold any property that a Mudéjar belonged to, the Mudéjar was transferred as well

• Inherit from a non-Muslim

• Be under the ownership of a noble/King.

Mudejares were allowed to:

• Carryout their acts of worship

• Be judged by a qadi, a Muslim judge

• Pay lighter fines for violating the dress code, which in practice was discretionary as the nobles they were under could pay on the behalf of Mudejares.

• Allowed to have more than one wife, as Jews were and did.

• To have slaves, this was prohibited before the 15th century.

• Migrate at the discretion of the noble or cleric they were under the governance of.

• In Valencia, no one could inherit the property of a Muslim unless they lived in Valencia. An exception was in the case of Ibrahim Abenxoa who had two wives, one in Valencia, and one in Onda. The wife and child in Onda was allowed by the King to have a fair share in Abenxoa’s estate.

Slavery did exist quite extensively although towards the end of the 14th century, the King considered the idea of freeing slaves simply because it was financially beneficial to the Crown to have them pay taxes as free men.

When it came to foreign Muslims, they were considered fair game for slave traders. Any Muslim who could not identify their owner was considered a slave. The price of a slave is the 13th century was 45 – 240 shillings, and by the 14th century the price rose to 800 shillings with males slaves more prized than female slaves. Muslims could and did own Muslim slaves like the reputable Belvis family, but were not allowed to own Christian slaves. One slave in the service of the Belvis family was not a slave in the accepted meaning of the word. Name unknown, he was employed to carry out business transactions in lands under the Crown of Aragon. Ordinary Muslims purchased their freedom through work or begging for charity, and in turn, those freed, gave money to free other Muslim slaves. Otherwise, Muslims escaped slavery with the help of Mudejares, and some Christians.

Whether as a slave or a Mudejar, Muslims were employed at all levels of society unlike the Islamophobic societies in the West and the U.S. today. Muslims were craftsmen, laborers, and professionals either working for themselves, the nobles or the Crown. Muslims were crucial in the sciences, linguistics, craftsmanship, stone masonry, textiles, carpentry, arms making, accountancy, as merchants of certain items like salt, irrigation, paper production, tanner, envoys, medicine (including surgery), and for overseeing their own communities.

Liberty amongst Muslims was allowed amongst those not under the Crown of Aragon, i.e. from overseas, foreign mercenaries, and the elite, the Mudejares in the Kings service including the civil service. There were notables like:

– Ibrahim Abenxoa who was in service under Queen Eleanor who was an envoy to Granada and a qadi/judge in several principalities.

– ‘Ali Abencomixa was an embassador to Morocco and Granada

– Caat Alcafac was purveyor to the Crown, and a qadi/judge

– The Ballistarius family who were master builders on the royal residence in Zaragoza

And then there was the Belvis family who were connected with Peter III (Peter the Ceremonious) before he became the King of Aragon through Farag de Belvis. His brother Yahya was a wealthy and prominent Mudejar in Castille before Peter III married into and claimed Castille. Farag was married to Fatima Fuster, daughter of one of the wealthiest merchants in Valencia, and widow of ‘Ali Alasrach. Farag was so wealthy that it was more than a common occurrence for him to lend money to the Crown in return for land. The Belvis family were exempt from the dress code, and so rich in clothing was Farag, that Christians bored a hole in the wall in an attempt to steal his clothing! In fact, King Peter exempted the Belvis family from most codes, and looked upon them highly to the point of instructing religious orders and royal officials to favor the affairs of the Belvis family.

Farag de Belvis was one of the most important religious cleric of Aragon and Valencia, as well as a royal notary, and a çabiçala/Imam (prayer leader), and qadi, which shows that Muslim acts of worship was allowed unlike the measures that countries like Germany are trying to extend today. Farag was also a qadi/judge of Jativa for life, as well as a royal notary in absentia.

Christians, particularly the priests felt compelled to learn Arabic in order to challenge and criticize science, and also pertaining to issues of Christians in Muslim lands. However, in doing so, there were to warm to Islamic philosophy. For example, Ramon de Penyafort, Llull took a Muslim who has been described as a “slave” to learn from. The learning consisted of Arabic philosophy, which is no mean fete, and culture. After obtaining a basic level enough to read the Qur’an, what was initially perceived as a threat became a point of admiration. Llull wrote in his “Book of the Gentiles and the Three Wise Men”:

    “Said the Saracen to the Gentile: ‘Mohammed was a layman, not versed in letters, and the Koran is the most wondrous dictation that has been or ever will be produced’. Hence, had it not been for the will and the work of God, Mohammed could not have dictated such a wondrous text with such wonderfully arranged words as those in the Koran.”

And in Llull’s “The 100 Names of God”:

    “I, Ramon Llull, unworthy as I am, wish to endeavour, with the help of God, to write this book that covers better subject matter than the Koran, for, if I write a book with better subject matter than the Koran, it means that another man is capable of writing a book as wondrously dictated as the Koran. And I do this so that we can argue, in our discussions with the Saracens, that the Koran, as wondrous a book as it is, was not dictated by God.”

Manipulating Consenus

Just as the holy crusades and the Inquisition was about maintaining dominance and power over lands and wealth in the name of Christianity, so has been the war on terror been about maintaining and claiming control over the earth’s bounties to maintain U.S. as a super power in the name of Christianity as former President G.W. Bush Jnr. proclaimed he was spoken to by God. Israel has been a part of that strategic game, just as the U.S. has been a part of Israel’ strategic game, both setting out to make Islam and Muslims the scourge of humanity. The general practice that has evolved amongst certain Western countries, specifically the U.S. and the U.K. runs parallel to the Crown of medieval Spain in that there seems to be no issue over the services of a Muslim when it comes to the state. The state once perceiving Muslims to be a threat, calls “on Muslim representatives to “police” “report” and “monitor” other Muslims on behalf of the state, and in doing so creates a real threat. In group conscience of Israel and the U.S. there is that fear of knowing what they have done, and what they have created, and that because of that knowledge, the level of obsession with national security which means that they cannot even trust their own. Without a God to trust, if one cannot trust at the most basic of levels, then that lack of trust eats away at all aspects of one’s life.

The medieval west was in the throes of a Christian ethos, albeit frequently a barbaric one treated Jews in the same manner in which Muslims are treated today. Given that the feudal Crown of Aragon was in the era of the barbaric Spanish Inquisition, in general, Muslims were treated better than the so-called democratic societies of today. This probably had much to do with the level of religious knowledge, skill, and craftsmanship which the Crown depended on for its own development, but with that came respect of a people who were allowed to practice their own religion, and were respected for their knowledge and skills. However, the U.S. obsession with itself began way back in WWII, and ever since it has been taking people with scientific knowledge in one form or another for its own advancement. Yes, abuses took place under the Crown of Aragon, and though the laws were not strictly regulated, there was allowance for personal freedom at many levels, which was not even present during the enslavement of black people by America’s colonizers.

The people at the time of the Roman Empire were considered fickle. Politicians exploited this fickleness in their favor. Today, instead of more freedom, there is less freedom. There is no true freedom of thought, and understanding of a given situation making people today fickle, and objects of the state via the media. As a Muslim, depending on where one lives, one fears one’s education, one’s employment, the right to pray, how to raise one’s child, who to marry, and one’s right to wear what one chooses to wear out of self respect for the mind over the body is threatened. This is not just by the rule of law, but by groups of people who increasingly have learnt to objectify the self, and are at the mercy of sexual objectification. As such, they cannot walk in another’s shoes, or show genuine understanding of anything other than what they have become under the illusion that they have any idea of the real meaning of freedom! Subject to the mentality of the herd, anything that says it does not have to be like that is a perceived threat, and when a French woman can drag the hijab off a Muslimah, the hysteria of a herd is a dangerous thing to the liberty of all, because when the herd has nothing else to feed on, it will feed on itself!

Sources:
Alessio Avenanti, Angela Sirigu, and Salvatore M. Aglioti. Racial Bias Reduces Empathic Sensorimotor Resonance with Other-Race Pain. Current Biology, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.03.071

Boswell, J. The Royal Treasure: Muslim Communities Under the Crown of Aragon in the Fourteenth Century . THE LIBRARY OF IBERIAN RESOURCES ONLINE, http://libro.uca.edu/boswell/rt.htm

Byoung Woo Kim et al for the Phenotype Genotype Project in Addiction and Mood Disorders (PGP). Recurrent, Robust and Scalable Patterns Underlie Human Approach and Avoidance. PLoS ONE, 2010; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010613

Explore the Mediterranean “The Mediterranean Empire of the Crown of Aragon” http://explorethemed.com/AragonMed.asp?c=1

Halsall, P. An Ordinance of the Jews of the Crown of Aragon, 1354 CE.”
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1354ordinance-aragon-jews.html

Vernet, J. The Scientific World of the Crown of Aragon Under James http://www.iemed.org/publicacions/quaderns/9/q9_099.pdf

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