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Archive for December 26th, 2007

“Selamat Datang, Pendekar-Pendekar Al-Azhar!”

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

From: “Mahir Moh.Soleh” <maher_thea@yahoo.com>
Subject: [INSISTS] CAP Adian Husaini: “Selamat Datang, Pendekar-Pendekar Al-Azhar!”

“Selamat Datang, Pendekar-Pendekar Al-Azhar!”


Di tengah maraknya lulusan Barat gandrung ‘hermeunetika” lahir pula sarjana Islam yang masih lurus. Catatan Akhir Pekan [CAP] Adian Husaini ke-218

Oleh: Adian Husaini

Senin, 24 Desember 2007

Pada hari Sabtu (15 Desember 2007), INSISTS mengadakan acara tasyakkur atas kelulusan peneliti INSISTS, Fahmi Salim Zubair MA, sebagai master dalam bidang tafsir di Universitas al-Azhar Kairo. Pada 4 Desember 2007 lalu, Fahmi Salim dinyatakan lulus dengan predikat Summa Cum Laude (Penghargaan Tingkat Pertama), setelah berhasil mempertahankan Tesis-nya yang berjudul “KHITHABAT DA’WA FALSAFAT AL-TA’WIL AL-HERMENUTHIQI LI AL-QURAN; ‘ARDL WA NAQD” (Studi analitis-kritis diskursus filsafat Hermeneutika Al-Quran).

Fahmi menyelesaikan tesisnya di bawah bimbingan dua guru besar Tafsir dan Ilmu-ilmu Al-Quran, yaitu Prof. Dr. Abdul Hayyi Husein Al-Farmawi dan Prof. Dr. Abdul Badi’ Abu Hasyim. Adapun para penguji tesis Fahmi Salim adalah: Prof. Dr. Salim Abdul Kholik Abdul Hamid (Guru besar Tafsir dan ilmu-ilmu Al-Quran) dan Prof. Dr. Ali Hasan Sulaiman (Guru besar dan Ketua Jurusan Tafsir dan Ilmu-ilmu Al-Quran, Fakultas Dirasat Islamiyah, Univ. Al-Azhar).

Tentu saja, prestasi akademik Fahmi Salim ini bukan hal yang biasa. Ini termasuk luar biasa. Selain meraih penghargaan tertinggi, diakui oleh para penguji, bahwa tesis Fahmi Salim adalah tesis pertama di Universitas Al-Azhar yang mengupas tuntas tentang Hermeneutika Al-Quran. Karena itulah, tesis ini direkomendasikan agar dicetak atas biaya universitas dan didistribusikan ke universitas-universitas lain.

Di tengah ’kegandrungan’ kalangan akademisi di Perguruan Tinggi Islam di Indonesia untuk menggusur Ilmu Tafsir dan menggantikannya dengan hemeneutika, tesis Fahmi Salim ini menjadi sangat bermakna. Melalui tesisnya, Fahmi Salim berhasil mengupas hakekat hermeneutika sebagai ilmu atau seni memahami teks yang sudah lama berkembang dan mengakar dalam teologi, filsafat dan sastra barat. Perspektif hermeneutika filosofis atas pemahaman eksistensial secara umum dan pemahaman teks secara khusus merupakan terobosan mutakhir dan tidak pernah dikenal sebelumnya. Diskusi dan perdebatan seputar sah tidaknya aplikasi hermeneutika untuk Al-Quran juga betul-betul tidak ada presedennya dalam benak para ulama muslim yang masih meyakini keampuhan metode tafsir dan takwil klasik dalam memecahkan isu-isu kontemporer.

Upaya aplikasi hermenuetika untuk menafsirkan Al-Quran memang telah menggugat teori penafsiran klasik sebagaimana dalam pembahasan Ushul Fiqh dan Ulumul Quran. Tesis ini memaparkan beberapa hal penting, yakni: perbandingan konsep takwil dalam tradisi keilmuan Islam dan hermeneutika di Barat dan akar-akar historis bagi upaya penerapan hermeneutika dalam kajian Al-Quran. Bab ketiga mendiskusikan secara kritis-analitis berbagai isu utama dan mendasar dari teori tafsir model hermeneutika semisal (1) klaim historisitas wahyu/teks Al-Quran dan pengaruhnya terhadap konsep I’jaz Al-Quran, sejarah kodifikasi Al-Quran dan pentakwilan Al-Quran, (2) klaim kritik literatur/sastra dan kritik sejarah atas wahyu Al-Quran dan biasnya terhadap konsep kisah-kisah Al-Quran dan prinsip-prinsip semiotika Al-Quran, (3) klaim hubungan dialektis-materialis antara wahyu Allah yang absolut dan realitas manusia yang nisbi dan biasnya terhadap konsep ‘Sababun Nuzul’ dan serta mengubah hukum yang pasti (Qath’iyyat) di dalam Al-Quran.

Dengan tesisnya tersebut, kita patut bersyukur, karena baru pertama kalinya, ada seorang sarjana tafsir dari al-Azhar yang sekaligus mendalami masalah hermeneutika. Lebih penting lagi, selama ini Fami Salim juga dikenal cukup aktif dalam menulis dan mengajar. Harapan kita semua, ilmunya bermanfaat untuk menjernihkan masalah hermeneutika dan selama ini dianggap sebagai alternatif tafsir untuk menggusur metode tafsir klasik yang telah digunakan umat Islam selama lebih dari 1400 tahun.

Sebagaimana telah kita uraikan pada banyak tulisan, masalah hermeneutika ini sangat penting untuk dikaji dan ditelaah, karena inilah salah satu pintu masuk yang sangat stretegis untuk meliberalkan ajaran Islam, sebagaimana telah dilakukan oleh kaum Kristen liberal. Berulangkali kita mengimbau dan menjelaskan, tidak seyogyanya para cendekiawan Muslim mudah terlena dan terpukau dengan hal-hal baru yang kelihatan gemerlap, yang datang dari Barat, padahal tidak berkhasiat, bahkan membawa mafsadat bagi umat.

Namun, pada sisi yang lain, kita juga mengakui, bahwa para Sarjana Tafsir dan Ilmu-ilmu Al-Quran di Indonesia perlu bekerja keras untuk mewujudkan literatur-literatur dalam Studi Al-Quran yang tidak keluar dari konsep keilmuan Islam, tetapi sekaligus juga mampu menjawab tantangan zaman. Kita patut bersedih, bahwa selama ini, banyak sarjana Tafsir dan Ulumul Quran yang mumpuni keilmuannya, tetapi tidak sanggup menulis atau tidak ada waktu untuk menulis buku-buku yang berkualitas ilmiah yang tinggi karena ada kesibukan lain. Karena itu, sekali lagi, kita patut bersyukur atas prestasi luar biasa yang diraih oleh Fahmi Salim dan berharap dia mampu merintis jalan baru dalam menggairahkan studi Al-Quran di Indonesia.

Sebenarnya, disamping Fahmi Salim, kita juga sedang menunggu kepulangan seorang doktor dalam bidang syariah yang berhasil meraih gelar doktornya pada 21 Oktober 2007 dari Universitas al-Azhar. Namanya Dr. Ahmad Zain An-Najah. Pria asal Klaten ini berhasil mempertahankan disertasi doktornya dengan judul “Al-Qadhi Husain wa Atsaruhu Al-Fiqhiyah”. Ketua Dewan Da’wah Islamiyah Indonesia perwakilan Mesir ini juga lulus dengan predikat Summa Cum Laude, setelah berhasil mempertahankan disertasinya di bawah bimbingan pakar fikih perbandingan (fiqh muqarin) Prof. Abdullah Said serta Prof. Ahmad Karima dan diuji di hadapan sidang penguji yang terdiri atas Prof. Sa’duddin Hilaly dan Prof. Ibrahim Badawi.

Zain an-Najah meraih gelar S-1 nya di Universitas Islam Madinah. Selama ini, Zain an-Najah juga menjadi ketua Majlis Tarjih dan Tajdid Pengurus Cabang Istimewa Muhammadiyah Kairo. Dengan prestasi yang sangat tinggi itu, tentu kita berharap, Dr. Zain an-Najah akan segera kembali ke Indonesia dan mengaktifkan diri dalam perjuangan penegakan aqidah dan syariah Islam di Indonesia, yang tak henti-hentinya menghadapi tantangan hebat dari berbagai kalangan, baik dalam maupun luar negeri.

Sebab, kadang kita banyak menerima pertanyaan, mengapa yang aktif dalam perjuangan penegakan syariah justru bukan sarjana syariah? Sebaliknya, mengapa semakin banyak bermunculan sarjana-sarjana syariah yang justru aktif menolak syariah. Bukan rahasia lagi, sekarang ini banyak dosen syariah yang aktif berjuang merombak hukum Islam yang dianggap tidak sesuai dengan konsep HAM dan kesetaraan gender. Seorang mahasiswa S-2 bidang syariah di Bandung bercerita bahwa pada sesi-sesi kuliah yang dia ikuti, jarang sekali ada dosen yang menekankan perlunya syariah Islam ditegakkan. Bahkan, banyak yang mengajarkan perlunya Dekonstruksi Syariah. Karena itu, dalam situasi yang seperti ini, kita memang berharap banyak pada para pakar syariah seperti Dr. Zain an-Najah ini.

Tetapi, kita sadar bahwa iklim Indonesia saat ini tidaklah kondusif bagi para sarjana agama yang berkualitas. Begitu mereka balik ke negerinya sendiri, maka mereka akan dihadapkan pada situasi yang serba sulit. Tidak banyak kalangan umat yang antusias menyambut kedatangan mereka. Banyak yang tidak peduli. Jangan ditanya lagi sikap pemerintah, termasuk yang bergerak di bidang pendidikan. Nyaris mustahil untuk berharap, orang-orang seperti Fahmi Salim atau Zain an-Najah akan disambut dan dijamu oleh Presiden di kediamannya, sebagaimana peserta Asian Idols. Jangan berharap juga, para menteri akan berlomba-lomba memberi penghargaan ratusan juta rupiah, seperti penghargaan yang diterima oleh peraih medali emas di Sea Games.

Juga, kita tidak mudah berharap, orang-orang kaya di negeri kita berbondong-bondong menginfakkan hartanya untuk mendukung perjuangan para intelektual berbakat seperti Fahmi Salim dan Zain an-Najah. Jangan pula berharap, para pejabat atau pimpinan partai Islam berebut mengucapkan selamat dan menyambut kedatangan para sarjana Muslim ini bandara. Kita maklum, dalam era kejayaan para selebritis ini, hanya para penghibur yang akan mendapat penghargaan tinggi. Media massa kita rata-rata belum tertarik mengangkat berita-berita seperti ini, sebab dinilai bukan berita yang “bisa dijual”. Hingga kini, hanya mereka yang berjaya dalam dunia olah raga dan hiburan yang akan mendapat tempat tehormat di media massa.

Inilah kondisi negara dan masyarakat yang sakit, masyarakat yang jauh dari tradisi ilmu. Masyarakat yang tidak menghargai ilmu dan para ilmuwan. Pada saat bersamaan dengan Sea Games di Thailand, di negara yang sama, sejumlah pelajar Indonesia juga berhasil meraih prestasi yang menggembIraqan dalam Olimpiade Astronomi dan Astro-Fisika. Tapi, berita itu pun tidak seheboh berita kemenangan beberapa atlit Indonesia di Sea Games.

Kita maklum akan kondisi negara dan masyarakat seperti itu. Kondisi ini bukan untuk diratapi. Justru, inilah tantangan besar dan menarik yang harus diatasi oleh para intelektual seperti Fahmi Salim atau Zain an-Najah. Tidak sepatutnya para intelektual itu menyerah pada keadaan. Mereka sudah dikaruniai ilmu yang tinggi oleh Allah SWT. Amat sedikit orang Muslim yang berhasil meraih prestasi akademik yang tinggi di Universitas al-Azhar. Ilmu dan prestasi yang mereka raih adalah amanah dari Allah, yang harus digunakan untuk perjuangan Islam.

Pada CAP-213 yang lalu, kita menelaah riwayat hidup Mohamamd Natsir, tokoh yang berani mengambil pilihan terjun ke kancah perjuangan umat, meskipun mendapat kesempatan kuliah di Batavia untuk menjadi Meester in de Rechten. Ketika itu, terbuka juga peluang Natsir untuk menjadi pegawai negeri dengan gaji tinggi. Tapi, Natsir memilih jalan yang jarang dipikirkan oleh orang banyak ketika itu. Dia memilih terjun langsung dalam kancah perjuangan umat; mengamalkan ilmunya untuk aktif sebagai guru di sekolah Islam dan berdakwah di tengah masyarakat. Ia lebih memilih hidup di tengah umat dan merasakan langsung detak nadi jantung kehidupan umat Islam.

Natsir adalah orang yang haus ilmu. Disamping terus menimba ilmu kepada para ulama, terutama A. Hassan, di Kota Bandung, Natsir mulai aktif dalam organisasi Jong Islamiten Bond (JIB). Di sini dia sempat berinteraksi dengan para cendekiawan dan aktivis Islam terkemuka seperti Prawoto Mangkusasmito, Haji Agus Salim, dan lain-lain. Sejak duduk di bangku sekolah AMS (setingkat SMA), Natsir sudah mulai terlibat dalam polemik tentang pemikiran Islam. Pengalaman pertama terjadi ketika seluruh kelasnya diundang oleh guru gambar untuk menghadiri pidato seorang pendeta Kristen bernama Ds. Christoffels, tahun 1929. Pidatonya berjudul ”Quran en Evangelie” dan ”Muhammad als Profeet”. Meskipun disampaikan dengan gaya yang lembut, Natsir melihat pidato si pendeta itu sesungguhnya menyerang Islam secara halus. Esoknya, pidato itu dimuat di surat kabar ”A.I.D.” (Algemeen Indish Dagblad). Natsir kemudian menulis artikel yang menjawab opini sang pendeta, melalui koran yang sama.

Natsir bukan orang yang menumpuk-numpuk ilmu di kepalanya untuk sekedar dihafal atau disimpan dalam benaknya sendiri. Pengalamannya dalam perjuangan Islam telah membawanya kepada cakrawala baru. Natsir memimpin Jong Islameten Bond cabang Bandung tahun 1928-1932. Ia sudah biasa menulis dan berceramah dalam bahasa Belanda – bahasa kaum terpelajar saat itu. Ketika duduk di kelas akhir AMS, Natsir sudah menulis kitab Pengajaran Shalat dalam bahasa Belanda dengan judul ”Komt tot het gebed”.

Berkaca pada pengalaman Nastir itu, kita berharap, para sarjana dan cendekiawan Muslim bersedia menimba pelajaran dan pengalaman langsung dalam kancah perjuangan umat. Dalam arena perjuangan inilah, akan dirasakan nikmatnya ilmu dan perjuangan.

Sekali lagi, kita ucapkan selamat kepada Fahmi Salim MA dan Dr. Zain an-Najah. Kita tunggu kiprah mereka dalam kancah perjuangan umat Islam di Indonesia yang tak henti-hentinya dirongrong paham-paham yang merusak aqidah dan pemikiran Islam. Semoga, kehadiran mereka di Indonesia, menambah daftar para ’Pendekar al-Azhar’ yang mengajarkan ”ilmu putih” yang ampuh dalam pembinaan aqidah umat dan sekaligus ’membereskan’ beberapa rekan seperguruan mereka yang kini aktif menyebarkan ’ilmu hitam’ ke tengah masyarakat. [Depok, 21 Desember 2007/www.hidayatullah.com]

Catatan Akhir Pekan [CAP] Adian Husaini adalah hasil kerjasama antara Radio Dakta 107 FM dan www.hidayatullah.com

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

MITOS-MITOS TENTANG PERAYAAN NATAL BERSAMA

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

From: Wisnu Pramudya
Subject: Mitos-mitos Tentang Natal Bersama

MITOS-MITOS TENTANG

PERAYAAN NATAL BERSAMA

(Kritik terhadap Pendapat Prof. Dr. Din Syamsuddin)

Oleh: Adian Husaini
(Wakil Ketua Komisi Kerukunan Umat Beragama MUI Pusat)

Pada tanggal 25 Desember 2007, saat sedang berada di Palembang, saya menerima banyak SMS yang bernada prihatin, bahwa Prof. Dr. Din Syamsuddin, selaku Ketua Umum PP Muhammadiyah, akan menghadiri acara Perayaan Natal Bersama (PNB) pada 27 Desember 2007. Selama di Palembang, saya tidak sempat mengecek kebenaran berita itu. Barulah pada Rabu (26 Desember 2007) pagi ini, saya sempat mengecek berita tersebut. Setelah menerima sebuah SMS tentang duduk cerita rencana kehadiran Din Syamsuddin dalam acara PNB tersebut, saya kemudian merasa perlu menulis artikel seputar PNB ini, untuk mengoreksi beberapa logika Din Syamsuddin. Sekitar tiga tahun lalu, pada 24 Desember 2004, saat tinggal di Kuala Lumpur, saya sudah menulis Catatan Akhir Pekan ke-83, dengan judul yang sama dengan artikel ini.

Bagi saya pribadi, pernyataan dan pemikiran Din Syamsuddin tentang PNB memang agak mengejutkan. Artikel ini sama sekali tidak bermaksud meragukan keimanan Din Syamsuddin sebagai seorang Muslim. Saya kenal beliau sangat lama, dan sampai detik saya menulis artikel ini, saya masih percaya akan komitmen yang tinggi Din Syamsuddin sebagai seorang Muslim. Sekarang, saya juga duduk sebagai pengurus Majelis Tabligh PP Muhammadiyah dan di pengurus MUI Pusat. Tentu saya sebenarnya tidak ingin tulisan ini dibaca secara terbuka. Akan tetapi, karena Din Syamsuddin sudah mempublikasikan pemikirannya secara luas dan terbuka, maka menjadi kewajiban saya untuk menjawab logika-logika Din Syamsuddin secara terbuka pula. Sebab, ini sudah menyangkut urusan Islam, bukan hanya urusan Muhammadiyah atau MUI. Juga, logika seperti ini, sudah sering dikemukakan oleh berbagai pihak. Jadi, ini adalah bagian dari kewajiban untuk melakukan taushiyah antar sesama Muslim. Dan ini sangat penting, karena kekeliruan pemikiran seorang pemimpin agama ­ apalagi yang bergelar Prof. Dr. — dapat berakibat fatal, karena dianggap sebagai rujukan kebenaran. Rasulullah saw bersabda bahwa “Mimmaa akhaafu ‘alaa ummatiy zallatu ‘aalimin wa jidaalu munaafiqin fil Quraani.” (Termasuk diantara perkara yang aku khawatirkan menimpa umatku adalah tergelincirnya orang alim (dalam kesalahan) dan silat lidahnya orang munafik tentang al-Quran.” (HR Thabrani dan Ibn Hibban)). Saya berpendapat, bahwa dalam soal PNB ini, Pak Din Syamsuddin sedang tergelincir pemikirannya, dan mudah-mudahan bersedia meluruskannya kembali. Situs www.detik.com, (24/12/2007 15:32 WIB), menulis berita berjudul “Din Tidak Larang Hadiri Perayaan &Ucapkan Selamat Natal”. Ditulis dalam berita ini:

“Bagi Ketua Umum PP Muhammadiyah, Din Syamsuddin, menghadiri seremonial Natal tidak seharusnya dihindari. Demikian pula dengan memberikan ucapan selamat Natal kepada kaum Kristiani. “Saya pribadi berpendapat fatwa MUI sejak zaman Buya adalah larangan menghadiri upacara Natal yang berdimensi ibadah dan keyakinan karena itu wilayah keyakinan masing-masing. Tetapi yang berbentuk seremoni tidak seharusnya terhindari,” kata Din.

Hal ini disampaikan Din usai menerima kunjungan panitia Perayaan Natal Nasional 2007 di kantor PP Muhammadiyah, Jalan Menteng Raya, Jakarta Pusat, Senin (24/12/2007). Din pun mengaku bersedia menghadiri perayaan Natal Nasional yang akan digelar pada 27 Desember 2007 mendatang.

Juga diberitakan detik.com, bahwa dalam kesempatan itu, Ketua Umum Panitia Perayaan Natal Nasional, Mari Elka Pangestu mengharapkan Din hadir dalam acara tersebut. “Kita berharap perayaan Natal bisa mengatasi permasalahan yang dihadapi bangsa ini. Kita juga sudah menyampaikan berbagai bantuan ke berbagai daerah seperti sembako di NTT dan penanaman 50 ribu pohon di Cipularang,” ujarnya, seperti dikutip detik.com .

Sebenarnya, di dalam Muhammadiyah sendiri, masalah “Perayaan Natal Bersama” dan soal “Mengucapkan Selamat Natal” sudah selesai dibahas. Di dalam buku Tanya Jawab Agama Jilid II, oleh Tim PP Muhammadiyah Majlis Tarjih, yang diterbitkan oleh Suara Muhammadiyah (1991), hal. 238-240, sudah diterangkan, bahwa hukum menghadiri PNB adalah Haram. Muhammadiyah dalam hal ini juga mengacu kepada fatwa MUI. Adapun soal “Mengucapkan Selamat Hari Natal” dapat digolongkan sebagai perbuatan yang syubhat dan bisa terjerumus kepada haram, sehingga Muhammadiyah menganjurkan agar perbuatan ini tidak dilakukan.

Fatwa yang Digugat

Secara umum, kita akan mengupas logika yang menganjurkan perlunya PNB dalam paparan berikut ini. Seperti dikutip dalam berita itu, Mari Elka Pangestu berharap, Din Syamsuddin akan hadir dalam acara PNB, dan dia pun berharap, perayaan Natal bisa mengatasi permasalahan yang dihadapi bangsa ini. Kita maklum, selama ini tidak mudah mengajak tokoh Islam untuk hadir dalam PNB, karena terganjal oleh Fatwa MUI tentang PNB. Karena itulah, sejak diterbitakannya fatwa MUI tentang PNB, tahun 1981, fatwa itu sudah menuai kritik yang tiada habis-habisnya. Ada yang mengkritik secara terbuka dan ada juga yang tidak setuju secara diam-diam.

Karena itu, kita perlu menelaah masalah PNB ini secara mendasar. Ketika fatwa itu dikeluarkan, saya sedang duduk di bangku kelas 1 SMA di Bojonegoro. Saya mengikuti perdebatan tentang fatwa itu dari kampung saya, Desa Kuncen-Padangan-Bojonegoro, melalui majalah Panji Masyarakat, yang dilanggan ayah saya (almarhum, seorang guru SD yang juga Pengurus Muhammadiyah Padangan). Dari majalah ini, hampir tidak pernah saya lewatkan membaca rubrik Dari Hati ke Hati asuhan Buya Hamka. Seperti kita ketahui, Hamka kemudian memilih untuk mengundurkan diri sebagai ketua MUI, ketimbang menarik kembali peredaran fatwa itu, sebagaimana diminta oleh Menteri Agama ketika itu Alamsyah R. Perwiranegara. Saya masih ingat, saya menitikkan air mata, ketika membaca tulisan Hamka tentang pengunduran dirinya sebagai Ketua Umum MUI. Ketika itu, saya berpikiran, “Beginilah seharusnya seorang ulama: luas ilmunya dan kokoh pendiriannya!” Di kalangan Muhamamdiyah sediri, Hamka sangat dihormati, sehingga namanya diabadikan menjadi sebuah Universitas Muhammadiyah Prof. Dr. Hamka, di Jakarta. Sayang sekali, akhir-akhir ini ada sejumlah buku dan artikel yang mencoba ‘memelintir’ pendapat-pendapat Hamka, sehingga seolah-olah Hamka adalah seorang penganut paham Pluralisme Agama.

Maka, saya senantiasa merasa amat sangat sedih dan pilu, ketika ada diantara orang-orang Muhammadiyah atau MUI sendiri yang kemudian menggugat atau menyalahpahami fatwa ini. Jika gugatan atau kesalahpahaman terhadap fatwa PNB itu datang dari kaum liberal atau non-Muslim, masih bisa dipahami. Terakhir, misalnya, Luthfi Asyaukanie, yang menyebut dirinya sebagai ‘Koordinator Jaringan Islam Liberal’, dalam artikelnya yang berjudul “Sikap Negara terhadap Aliran Sesat” (Koran Tempo, 22 Desember 2007), menulis:

“Majelis Ulama Indonesia berkali-kali meresahkan masyarakat dengan fatwa-fatwa mereka (fatwa menghadiri perayaan Natal, misalnya).”

Jadi, fatwa PNB ini oleh kaum liberal senantiasa diposisikan sebagai fatwa yang meresahkan masyarakat. Dan seperti biasa, menjelang perayaan Hari Natal, 25 Desember, ada saja sebagian kalangan yang kembali menggugat fatwa MUI tentang “haramnya seorang Muslim hadir dalam Perayaan Natal Bersama.” Ada yang menyatakan, bahwa yang melarang PNB atau yang tidak mau menghadiri PNB adalah orang yang tidak toleran, eksklusif, tidak menyadari pluralisme, tidak menghargai multikulturalisme, tidak mau berta’aruf, dan sebagainya. Padahal orang Islam disuruh melakukan ta’aruf (QS 49:13). Banyak yang kemudian berdebat tentang “boleh dan tidaknya” menghadiri PNB, tanpa menyadari, bahwa sebenarnya telah banyak diciptakan mitos-mitos seputar apa yang disebut PNB itu sendiri.

Marilah kita telaah mitos-mitos tersebut:

PERTAMA, mitos bahwa PNB adalah keharusan. Mitos ini seperti sudah begitu berurat berakar, bahwa PNB adalah enak dan perlu. Padahal, bisa dipertanyakan, dalam tataran kenegaraan, apa memang perlu diadakan PNB? Untuk apa? Jika PNB perlu, bahkan dilakukan pada skala nasional dan dijadikan acara resmi kenegaraan ­ yang mengharuskan Presiden menghadirinya — maka perlukah juga diadakan WB (Waisak Bersama), NB (Nyepi Bersama), IFB (Idul Fithri Bersama), IAB (Idul Adha Bersama), MNB (Maulid Nabi Bersama), IMB (Isra’ Mi’raj Bersama), IB (Imlek Bersama). Jika semua itu dilakukan, mungkin demi alasan efisiensi dan pluralisme beragama, akan ada yang usul, sebaiknya semua umat beragama merayakan HRB (Hari Raya Bersama), yang menggabungkan hari raya semua agama menjadi satu. Di situ diperingati bersama kelahiran Tuhan Yesus, peringatan kelahiran Nabi Muhammad saw, dan kelahiran dewa-dewa tertentu, dan sebagainya.

Keharusan PNB sebenarnya adalah sebuah mitos, khususnya kata “Bersama”. Jika kaum Kristen merayakan Natal, mengapa mesti harus melibatkan kaum agama lain? Ketika itu mereka memperingati kelahiran Tuhan Yesus, maka mengapa mesti mendorong-dorong umat agama lain untuk mendengarkan cerita tentang Yesus dalam versi Kristen? Mengapa doktrin tentang Yesus sebagai juru selamat umat manusia itu tidak diyakini diantara pemeluk Kristen sendiri?

Di sebuah negeri Muslim terbesar di dunia, seperti Indonesia, wacana tentang perlunya PNB adalah sebuah ‘keanehan’. Kita tidak pernah mendengar bahwa kaum Kristen di AS, Inggris, Kanada, Australia, misalnya, mendiskusikan tentang perlunya dilaksanakan IFB (Idul Fithri Bersama), agar mereka disebut toleran. Bahkan, mereka tidak merasa perlu menetapkan Idul Fithri atau Idul Adha sebagai hari libur nasional. Padahal, di Inggris, Kanada, dan Australia, mereka menjadikan 26 Desember sebagai “Boxing Day” dan hari libur nasional. Selain Natal, hari Paskah diberikan libur sampai dua hari (Easter Sunday dan Esater Monday). Di Kanada dan Perancis, Hari Natal juga libur dua hari. Hari libur nasional di AS meliputi, New Year’s Day (1 Januari), Martin Luther King Jr Birthday (17 Januari), Washingotn’s Birthday (21 Februari), Memorial Day (30 Mei), Flag Day (14 Juni), Independence Day (4 Juli), Labour Day (5 September), Columbus Day (10 Oktober), Veterans Day (11 November), Thanksgiving’s Day (24 November), Christmas Day (25 Desember).

KEDUA, mitos bahwa PNB bertujuan membina kerukunan umat beragama. Mitos ini begitu kuat dikampanyekan, bahwa salah satu cara membina kerukunan antar umat beragama adalah dengan menghadiri PNB, sehingga orang yang menolak untuk menghadiri PNB dipersepsikan sebagai orang yang tidak toleran dan tidak mau rukun. Padahal, dalam PNB biasanya dilakukan berbagai acara yang menegaskan keyakinan umat Kristen terhadap Yesus, bahwa Yesus adalah anak Allah yang tunggal, juru selamat umat manusia, yang wafat di kayu salib untuk menebus dosa umat manusia. Kalau mau selamat, manusia diharuskan percaya kepada doktrin itu. (Yohanes, 14:16). Dalam dokumen Konstitusi Dogmatik tentang Gereja (Lumen Gentium, 14) yang disahkan pada 21 November 1964, dalam Konsili Vatikan II, disebutkan: “Karena satu-satunya Perantara dan jalan keselamatan adalah Kristus, yang hadir di antara kita di dalam Tubuhnya yaitu Gereja… Oleh karenanya tidak dapat diselamatkan orang-orang itu, yang walaupun tahu bahwa Gereja Katolik didirikan oleh Allah dengan perantaraan Yesus Kristus, sebagai sesuatu yang diperlukan, toh tidak mau masuk ke dalamnya atau tidak mau bertahan di dalamnya.” (Terjemah oleh Dr. J. Riberu, Dokpen MAWI, 1983). Sementara itu, dalam Islam, kepercayaan bahwa Yesus adalah Tuhan atau anak Tuhan dipandang sebagai satu kekeliruan yang amat sangat serius — satu kepercayaan yang dikritik keras oleh al-Quran. (QS 5:72-73, 157; 19:89-91, dsb). Dalam surat Maryam disebutkan, memberikan sifat bahwa Allah punya anak, adalah satu “Kejahatan besar” (syaian iddan). Dan Allah berfirman dalam al-Quran: “Hampir-hampir langit runtuh dan bumi terbelah serta gunung-gunung hancur. Bahwasanya mereka mengklaim bahwa al-Rahman itu mempunyai anak.” (QS 19:90-91).

Prof. Hamka menyebut tradisi Perayaan Hari Besar Agama Bersama semacam itu bukan menyuburkan kerukunan umat beragama atau membangun toleransi, tetapi menyuburkan kemunafikan. Di akhir tahun 1960-an, Hamka menulis tentang usulan perlunya diadakan perayaan Natal dan Idul Fithri bersama, karena waktunya berdekatan:

“Si orang Islam diharuskan dengan penuh khusyu’ bahwa Tuhan Allah beranak, dan Yesus Kristus ialah Allah. Sebagaimana tadi orang-orang Kristen disuruh mendengar tentang Nabi Muhammad saw dengan tenang, padahal mereka diajarkan oleh pendetanya bahwa Nabi Muhammad bukanlah nabi, melainkan penjahat. Dan al-Quran bukanlah kitab suci melainkan buku karangan Muhammad saja. Kedua belah pihak, baik orang Kristen yang disuruh tafakur mendengarkan al-Quran, atau orang Islam yang disuruh mendengarkan bahwa Tuhan Allah itu ialah satu ditambah dua sama dengan satu, semuanya disuruh mendengarkan hal-hal yang tidak mereka percayai dan tidak dapat mereka terima… Pada hakekatnya mereka itu tidak ada yang toleransi. Mereka kedua belah pihak hanya menekan perasaan, mendengarkan ucapan-ucapan yang dimuntahkan oleh telinga mereka. Jiwa, raga, hati, sanubari, dan otak, tidak bisa menerima. Kalau keterangan orang Islam bahwa Nabi Muhammad saw adalah Nabi akhir zaman, penutup sekalian Rasul. Jiwa raga orang Kristen akan mengatakan bahwa keterangan orang Islam ini harus ditolak, sebab kalau diterima kita tidak Kristen lagi. Dalam hal kepercayaan tidak ada toleransi. Sementara sang pastor dan pendeta menerangkan bahwa dosa waris Nabi Adam, ditebus oleh Yesus Kristus di atas kayu palang, dan manusia ini dilahirkan dalam dosa, dan jalan selamat hanya percaya dan cinta dalam Yesus.”

Demikian kutipan tulisan Prof. Hamka yang ia beri judul: “Toleransi, Sekulerisme, atau Sinkretisme.” (Lihat, buku Hamka, Dari Hati ke Hati, (Jakarta: Pustaka Panjimas, 2002).

KETIGA, mitos bahwa dalam PNB orang Muslim hanya menghadiri acara non-ritual dan bukan acara ritual. Dalam ungkapan Din Syamsuddin: “Saya pribadi berpendapat fatwa MUI sejak zaman Buya adalah larangan menghadiri upacara Natal yang berdimensi ibadah dan keyakinan karena itu wilayah keyakinan masing-masing. Tetapi yang berbentuk seremoni tidak seharusnya terhindari.” Kita patut bertanya, apa kriteria untuk menentukan bahwa suatu kegiatan dalam perayaan Natal adalah “ibadah” dan yang lain adalah “seremoni”. Sebab, sebagaimana disebutkan oleh Prof. Huston Smith, “Christianity, is basically a historical religion. It is founded not in abstract principles, but in concrete events, actual historical happenings. (Lihat, Huston Smith, The World’s Religions, (New York: Harper CollinsPubliser, 1991).

Agama Kristen tidak memiliki sistem ibadah yang bersifat “revealed” yang sama untuk semua Kristen sebagaimana dalam Islam. Karena itulah, setiap sekte atau Gereja memiliki tata cara ibadah yang ‘khas’, yang berbeda satu dengan lainnya. Setiap Gereja, pada setiap zaman, dan setiap tempat, dalam membuat kreasi sendiri dalam “ibadah”. Karena itu, dalam konsep Kristen, tidak mudah untuk menentukan, mana yang ibadah atau ritual, dan mana yang non-ritual atau yang seremoni. Misalnya, acara-acara KKR di berbagai hotel atau lapangan, apakah dikategorikan sebagai ibadah aau seremoni? Konsep kenabian (prophecy) dalam agama Kristen berbeda dengan konsep kenabian dan konsep uswah sebagaimana konsep kenabian Islam. Umat Islam memiliki tata cara ibadah yang satu, karena ada contohnya yang jelas, yaitu sunnah Nabi Muhammad saw. Ke mana pun umat Islam pergi dan dimana pun, kapanpun, orang Islam shalat dengan cara yang sama. Umat Islam takbir, ruku’, sujud, dengan cara yang sama. Bahkan, sejumlah aliran yang disebut “sesat” dalam Islam masih memiliki ibadah yang sama. Dalam Islam sistem ibadah tidak berubah, sudah sempurna sejak awal, di zaman Nabi Muhammad saw. (QS 5:3). Karena itu, bagi umat Islam, mudah menentukan, mana yang ritual dan mana yang non-ritual. Shalat Idul Fithri adalah ritual, tetapi kunjungan ke rumah-rumah setelah shalat Id adalah tradisi, non-ritual. Karena itulah, dalam fatwa MUI tentang PNB yang dikeluarkan tanggal 7 Maret 1981 disebutkan bahwa “Perayaan Natal bagi orang-orang Kristen adalah merupakan ibadah.” Untuk menjernihkan masalah “ibadah” dan “seremoni” dalam Natal, bagus juga kita tengok sejarah peringatan Natal itu sendiri, dan sulitnya memisahkan antara yang ibadah dan yang seremoni. Sebab, tradisi ini tidak muncul di zaman Yesus dan tidak pernah diperintahkan oleh Yesus. Maka, bagaimana bisa ditentukan, mana yang ibadah dan mana yang seremoni? Remi Silado, seorang budayawan Kristen, menulis kolom di majalah Gatra, edisi 27 Desember 2003. Judulnya “Gatal di Natal”. Beberapa kutipan kolomnya kita petik di sini:

(1) “Sebab, memang tradisi pesta ceria Natal, yang sekarang gandrung dinyanyikan bahasa kereseh-reseh Inggris, belum lagi terlembaga. Sapaan Natal, “Merry Christmas” –dari bahasa Inggris Lama, Christes Maesse, artinya “misa Kristus”– baru terlembaga pada abad ke-16, dan perayaannya bukan pada 25 Desember, melainkan 6 Januari.”
(2) “Dengan gambaran ini, keramaian Natal sebagai perhitungan tahun Masehi memang berkaitan dengan leluri Barat, istiadat kafir, atau tradisi pagan, yang tidak berhubungan dengan Yesus sendiri sebagai sosok historis-antropologis bangsa Semit, lahir dari garis Ibrahim dan Daud, yang merupakan bangsa tangan pertama yang mengenal monoteisme absolut lewat Yehwah.”
(3) Saking gempitanya pesta Natal itu, sebagaimana yang tampak saat ini, karuan nilai-nilai rohaninya tergeser dan kemudian yang menonjol adalah kecenderungan-kecenderungan duniawinya semata: antara lain di Manado orang
mengatakan “makang riki puru polote en minung riki mabo” (makan sampai pecah perut dan minum sampai mabuk).
(4) “Demikianlah, soal Natal sekali lagi merupakan gambaran pengaruh Barat, dan persisnya Barat yang kafir, yang dirayakan dengan keliru.” Yang jelas-jelas tidak ritual adalah menghadirkan tokoh Santa Claus, karena ini adalah tokoh fiktif yang kehadirannya dalam peringatan Natal banyak dikritik oleh kalangan Kristen. Sebuah situs Kristen (www.sabda.org), menulis satu artikel berjudul: “Merayakan Natal dengan Sinterklas: Boleh atau Tidak?” Dikatakan, “Dalam artikelnya yang berjudul The Origin of Santa Claus and the Christian Response to Him (Asal-usul Sinterklas dan Tanggapan Orang Kristen Terhadapnya), Pastor Richard P. Bucher menjelaskan bahwa tokoh Sinterklas lebih merupakan hasil polesan cerita legenda dan mitos yang kemudian diperkuat serta dimanfaatkan pula oleh para pelaku bisnis.

Sinterklas yang kita kenal saat ini diduga berasal dari cerita kehidupan seorang pastor dari Myra yang bernama Nicholas (350M). Cerita yang beredar (tidak ditunjang oleh catatan sejarah yang bisa dipercaya) mengatakan bahwa Nicholas dikenal sebagai pastor yang melakukan banyak perbuatan baik dengan menolong orang-orang yang membutuhkan. Setelah kematiannya, dia dinobatkan sebagai “orang suci” oleh gereja Katolik, dengan nama Santo Nicholas. Nilai-nilai yang ditanamkan oleh Sinterklas sebenarnya tidak sesuai dengan ajaran iman Kristen… Akhirnya, sebagai guru Sekolah Minggu kita harus menyadari bahwa hal terpenting yang harus kita perhatikan adalah menjadikan Kristus sebagai berita utama dalam merayakan Natal — Natal adalah Yesus.”

Karena itu, kita bertanya, bagaimana seandainya seorang Prof. Dr. Din Syamsuddin mengenakan busana ala Santa Claus, dengan alasan itu bukan termasuk ibadah? Tentulah, sulit diterima. Dan kita yakin, Pak Din Syamsuddin sendiri, tentu tidak akan bersedia melakukan tindakan tersebut.

KEEMPAT, mitos bahwa tidak ada unsur misi Kristen dalam PNB. Melihat PNB hanya dari sisi kerukunan dan toleransi tidaklah tepat. Sebab, dalam PNB unsur misi Kristen juga perlu dijelaskan secara jujur. PNB adalah salah satu media yang baik untuk menyebarkan misi Kristen, agar umat manusia mengenal doktrin kepercayaan Kristen, bahwa dengan mempercayai Tuhan Yesus sebagai juru selamat, manusia akan selamat. Sebab, misi Kristen adalah tugas penting dari setiap individu dan Gereja Kristen. Dalam dokumen Konstitusi Dogmatik tentang Gereja (Lumen Gentium, 1) juga disebutkan: “Christ is the Light of nations. Because this is so, this Sacred Synod gathered together in the Holy Spirit eagerly desires, by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature, to bring the light of Christ to all men, a light brightly visible on the countenance of the Church.” (Terjemahan oleh Dr. J. Riberu adalah: “Terang bangsa-bangsa adalah Kristus. Karena itu Konsili Suci ini, yang berhimpun dalam Roh Kudus, ingin sekali mewartakan Injil kepada segala makhluk (bdk Mk 16:15) dan menerangi semua manusia dengan cahaya Kristus, yang terpantul pada wajah Gereja).

Dokumen Konsili Vatikan II, Ad Gentes, juga menugaskan, agar semua manusia harus dijadikan sasaran misi. Ad gentes juga menugaskan agar misi Kristen tetap dijalankan dan semua manusia harus dibaptis. Disebutkan, bahwa Gereja telah mendapatkan tugas suci untuk menjadi “sakramen universal penyelamatan umat manusia (the universal sacrament of salvation), dan untuk memaklumkan Injil kepada seluruh manusia (to proclaim the gospel to all men). Juga ditegaskan, semua manusia harus dikonversi kepada Tuhan Yesus, mengenal Tuhan Yesus melalui misi Kristen, dan semua manusia harus disatukan dalam Yesus dengan pembaptisan. (Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body).

Tentu adalah hal yang normal, bahwa kaum Kristen ingin menyebarkan agamanya, dan memandang penyebaran misi Kristen sebagai tugas suci mereka. Namun, alangkah baiknya, jika hal itu dikatakan secara terus-terang, bahwa acara-acara seperti PNB memang merupakan bagian dari penyebaran misi Kristen. Paus Yohanes Paulus II, dalam Ensiklik-nya, Redemptor Hominis, (dikeluarkan 4 Maret 1979) menyatakan, bahwa Gereja berkeinginan agar setiap orang dapat menemukan Kristus (The church wishes to serve this single end: that each person may be able to find Christ, so that Christ may walk with each one the path of life).

Lebih jauh lagi ditegaskan dalam Dekrit Dominus Jesus: “The Lord Jesus, before ascending into heaven, commanded his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world and to baptize all nations: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mk 16:15-16); “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world?(Mt 28:18-20; cf. Lk 24:46-48; Jn 17:18,20,21; Acts 1:8).

Sebagai Muslim, kita menghormati keyakinan dan tugas misi kaum Kristen tersebut. Karena itu adalah keyakinan mereka. Paus Yohanes Paulus II pun maklum akan perbedaan mendasar antara Kristen dengan Islam. Dalam sebuah wawancara, Paus mengatakan, bahwa Islam bukan agama penyelamatan. (Islam is not a religion of redemption). Dalam Islam, kata Paus, tidak ada ruang untuk Salib dan Kebangkitan Yesus (… in Islam, there is no room for the Cross and the Resurrection). Lebih jauh Paus menyatakan: “Jesus is mentioned, but only as a prophet who prepares for the last prophet, Muhammad. There is also mention of Mary, His Virgin Mother, but the tragedy of redemption is completely absent.” “For this reason,” Paus menyimpulkan, “not only the theology but also the anthropology of Islam is very distant
from Christianity.” (Lebih jauh tentang pernyataan Paus Yohanes Paulus II, lihat Vittorio Messori (ed.), Crossing The Threshold of Hope by His Holiness John Paul II, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994).

Imbauan

Dengan memahami hakekat Natal dan PNB, seyogyanya kaum non-Muslim bersedia menghormati fatwa Majelis Ulama Indonesia yang melarang umat Islam untuk menghadiri PNB. MUI sama sekali tidak melarang kaum Kristen merayakan Natal. Fatwa itu adalah untuk internal umat Islam, dan sama sekali tidak merugikan pemeluk Kristen. Fatwa itu dimaksudkan untuk menjaga kemurnian aqidah Islam dan menghormati pemeluk Kristen dalam merayakan Hari Natal. Mestinya, kaum non-Muslim menghormati keyakinan umat Islam ini, sebagaimana difatwakan oleh MUI. Fatwa itu dikeluarkan Komisi Fatwa MUI pada 7 Maret 1981, yang isinya antara lain menyatakan: (1) Mengikuti upacara Natal bersama bagi umat Islam hukumnya haram (2) agar umat Islam tidak terjerumus kepada syubhat dan larangan Allah SWT, dianjurkan untuk tidak mengikuti kegiatan-kegiatan Natal.

Karena itu, kita menyesalkan jika kalangan Kristen banyak mengkritik fatwa tersebut. Menganggap fatwa MUI tentang PNB itu tidak sejalan dengan semangat kerukunan umat beragama, adalah penilaian yang berlebihan dan tidak mengormati keyakinan masing-masing agama. Lebih ajaib lagi, jika ada yang mengaku Muslim ikut-ikutan meributkan fatwa ini, seolah-olah merupakan musibah besar bagi bangsa Indonesia, jika PNB hanya dihadiri internal kaum Kristen saja. Kaum yang mengaku liberal ini seringkali aneh jalan pikirannya. Mereka mengaku liberal dan katanya punya misi untuk menanamkan pluralisme dan menghormati perbedaan. Tapi, mereka sendiri bersikap otoriter dan tidak mengormati pendapat dan fatwa MUI soal Natal Bersama. Harusnya mereka menghormati fatwa tersebut dan tidak mencaci maki serta menuduh fatwa itu meresahkan masyarakat, dan sebagainya. Jika mereka sudah “kebelet” mau menghadiri PNB, ya silakan saja. Itu urusan mereka. Tidak perlu berteriak-teriak memaki-maki MUI. Dalam soal PNB ini, MUI hanya menyatakan, bahwa itu hukumnya haram. MUI tidak meminta polisi membubarkan PNB atau tidak meminta orang-orang yang hadir dalam PNB itu ditangkapi. MUI hanya berpendapat, tapi sudah dicaci maki. Karena itu, MUI juga tidak akan memaksa kaum liberal untuk mengikuti fatwa MUI. Jika mereka berpendapat bahwa menghadiri PNB adalah jalan untuk menggapai Ridho Ilahi dan halalan thayyiban, ya itu urusan mereka. Toh, nanti di akhirat tanggung jawabnya juga masing-masing. Wa laa taziru waaziratun wizra ukhraa.

Dalam pandangan Islam, masalah peringatan Hari Besar Agama, sebenarnya sudah diberi contoh dan penjelasan yang jelas oleh Rasulullah saw, dan dicontohkan oleh para sahabat Rasul yang mulia. Sebaiknya hal ini dikaji secara ilmiah dari sudut ketentuan-ketentuan Islam. Untuk berijtihad, memutuskan mana yang halal dan mana yang haram, memerlukan kehati-hatian, dan menghindari kesembronoan. Sebab, tanggung jawab di hadapan Allah, sangatlah berat. Untuk masalah hukum-hukum seputar Hari Raya, misalnya, bisa dibaca Kitab “Iqtidha’ as-Shirat al-Mustaqim Mukhalifata Ashhabil Jahim”, karya Syaikhul Islam Ibnu Taimiyah).

Sejak awal mula, Islam sadar akan makna pluralitas dan kerukunan umat beragama. Islam hadir dengan mengakui hak hidup dan beragama bagi umat beragama lain, disaat kaum Kristen Eropa menyerukan membunuh kaum “heresy” karena berbeda agama. Karen Armstrong memuji tindakan Umar bin Khatab dalam memberikan perlindungan dan kebebasan beragama kepada kaum Kristen di Jerusalem. Umar r.a. adalah penguasa pertama yang menaklukkan Jerusalem tanpa pengrusakan dan pembantaian manusia, bahkan menandatangani perjanjian ‘Iliya’ dengan pemimpin Kristen Jerusalem. Secara tegas Armstrong memuji sikap Umar bin Khatab dan ketinggian sikap Islam dalam menaklukkan Jerusalem, yang belum pernah dilakukan para penguasa sebelumnya. Ia mencatat:

“Umar juga mengekspresikan sikap ideal kasih sayang dari penganut (agama) monoteistik, dibandingkan dengan semua penakluk Jerusalem lainnya, dengan kemungkinan perkecualian pada Raja Daud. Ia memimpin satu penaklukan yang sangat damai dan tanpa tetesan darah, yang Kota itu belum pernah menyaksikannya sepanjang sejarahnya yang panjang dan sering tragis. Saat ketika kaum Kristen menyerah, tidak ada pembunuhan di sana, tidak ada penghancuran properti, tidak ada pembakaran simbol-simbol agama lain, tidak ada pengusiran atyau pengambialihan, dan tidak ada usaha untuk memaksa penduduk Jerusalem memeluk Islam. Jika sikap respek terhadap penduduk yang ditaklukkan dari Kota Jarusalem itu dijadikan sebagai tanda integritas kekuatan monoteistik, maka Islam telah memulainya untuk masa yang panjang di Jerusalem, dengan sangat baik tentunya. (Lihat, Karen Arsmtrong, A History of Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, (London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1997).

Namun, kita bisa menyimak, dalam kitab Iqtidha’ as-Shirat al-Mustaqim digambarkan, bagaimana ketegasan Umar bin Khatab dalam soal perayaan Hari Besar kaum Yahudi dan Kristen. Beliau meminta kaum Muslim untuk menjauhi Hari Besar agama mereka. Umar r.a. sama sekali tidak menganjurkan kaum Muslim untuk berboncong-bondong merayakan Natal Bersama. Peringatan Hari Raya Keagamaan, sebaiknya tetap dipertahankan sebagai hal yang eksklusif milik masing-masing umat beragama. Biarkanlah masing-masing pemeluk agama meyakini keyakinan agamanya, tanpa dipaksa untuk menjadi munafik, dengan mencampuradukkan urusan perayaan Hari Raya. Masih banyak cara dan jalan untuk membangun sikap untuk saling mengenal dan bekerjasama antar umat beragama, seperti bersama-sama melawan kezaliman global yang menindas umat manusia saat ini. Dan untuk itu tidak perlu menciptakan mitos-mitos yang menyesatkan, bahwa jika orang Islam mau menghadiri Perayaan Natal Bersama, atau orang Kristen mau menghadiri perayaan Idul Fithri Bersama, maka Indonesia akan menjadi negara yang rukun dan maju.

Kita berharap, masing-masing agama bersedia menghormati keyakinan masing-masing dan tidak memaksa ­ secara halus atau terang-terangan ­ untuk melakukan suatu tindakan yang melanggar ajaran agamanya masing-masing. Tentu amat sangat tidak bijaksana, jika umat Islam juga mendesak pemeluk Kristen atau non-Muslim lainnya untuk menghadiri perayaan Idul Fithri. Karena itu, kita juga berharap, terutama kepada para tokoh dan cendekiawan dari kalangan Muslim, agar lebih berhati-hati dalam bersikap dan mengeluarkan pendapat. Wallahu a’lam. (Depok, 26 Desember 2007).

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

THE PLAIN TRUTH ABOUT CHRISTMAS

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

THE PLAIN TRUTH

ABOUT CHRISTMAS

by

Herbert W. Armstrong

1892 – 1986

Where did the world get Christmas? From the Bible, or paganism. Here are astonishing facts which may shock you. Test yourself. How much do you know of the origin of the Christmas tree – of “Santa Claus” – of the mistletoe – of the holly wreath – of the custom of exchanging gifts?

When I was a little boy, I was taught to hang up my stockings on Christmas eve. When I awakened the next morning, they were filled with small toys and sacks or little boxes of candy and nuts. And beside the mantle, from which my stockings hung, a Christmas tree had suddenly appeared, decorated with shiny tinsel. And on it hung presents. Other presents for us children were piled on the floor underneath. I was told Santa Claus had come down the chimney during the night and left all these things.

But did I question what my parents had told me? Of course not. I accepted it – took it all for granted. Didn’t you?

Stop and think a moment. Very few have ever reflected on WHY they believe what they do – WHY they follow the customs they do, or from WHERE those customs came. We were born into a world filled with customs. We grew up accepting them without question. Why? Sheep instinct? Well, not exactly. But by nature we do tend to follow the crowd, whether right or wrong. Sheep follow others to the slaughter. Humans ought to check up where they are going. How – WHEN did Christmas originate? Does Christmas REALLY celebrate the birthday of Christ? Was Jesus born on December 25th? Did the original apostles, who knew Jesus personally and were taught by Him, celebrate His birthday on December 25th? Did they celebrate it AT ALL?

If Christmas is the chief of the Christian holidays, WHY do so many non-Christians observe it? Do you know? Why do people exchange presents with family members, friends, relatives, at Christmas time? Was it because the wise men presented gifts to the Christ-child? The answer may surprise you.

Most people have “supposed” a lot of things about Christmas that are not true. But let’s quit “supposing” and get the facts!

WHAT ENCYCLOPEDIAS SAY

The word “Christmas” means “Mass of Christ,” or, as it came to be shortened, “Christ-Mass.” It came to non-Christians and Protestants from the Roman Catholic Church. And where did they get it? NOT from the New Testament – NOT from the Bible – NOT from the original apostles who were personally instructed by Christ – but it gravitated in the fourth century into the Roman Church from paganism.

Since the celebration of Christmas has come to the world from the Roman Catholic Church, and has no authority but that of the Roman Catholic Church, let us examine the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition, published by that church. Under the heading “Christmas,” you will find:

“Christmas was NOT among the earliest festivals on the Church…the first evidence of the feast is FROM EGYPT.” “PAGAN CUSTOMS centering around the January calends gravitated to Christmas.”

And in the same encyclopedia, under the heading “Natal Day,” we find that the early Catholic father, Origen, acknowledged this truth: “…In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is ONLY SINNERS (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into THIS world”.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 edition, has this: “Christmas (i.e., the Mass of Christ)…Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church…” It was not instituted by Christ or the apostles, or by Bible authority. It was picked up afterward from paganism. The Encyclopedia Americana, 1944 edition, says: “Christmas…It was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth…” (The “Communion,” which is instituted by New Testament Bible authority, is a memorial of the death of Christ.) “…A feast was established in memory of this event [Christ’s birth] in the FOURTH CENTURY. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever ON THE DAY OF THE OLD ROMAN FEAST OF THE BIRTH OF SOL, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ’s birth existed.”

Now notice! These recognized historical authorities show Christmas was not observed by Christians for the first two or three hundred years – a period longer than the entire history of the United States as a nation! It got into the Western, or Roman, Church, by the fourth century A.D. It was not until the fifth century that the Roman Church ordered it to be celebrated as an official Christian festival!

JESUS NOT BORN DECEMBER 25th

Jesus was not even born in the winter season! When the Christ-child was born “there were in the same country shepherds ABIDING in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). This never could have occurred in Judaea in the month of December. The shepherds always brought their flocks from the mountainsides and fields and corralled them not later than October 15, to protect them from the cold, rainy season that followed that date. Notice that the Bible itself proves, in Song of Solomon 2:11 and Ezra 10:9, 13, that winter was a rainy season not permitting shepherds to abide in open fields at night.

“It was an ancient custom among Jews of those days to send out their sheep to the fields and deserts about the Passover (early spring), and bring them home at commencement of the FIRST RAIN,” says the Adam Clarke Commentary (Vol. 5, page 370, New York ed.)

Continuing, this authority states: “During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As…the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November (begins sometime in OCTOBER), we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole SUMMER. And, as these shepherds had not YET brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields BY NIGHT. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a CHRONOLOGICAL FACT…See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot.”

Any encyclopedia, or any other authority, will tell you that Christ was not born on December 25. The Catholic Encyclopedia frankly states this fact.

The exact date of Jesus’ birth is entirely unknown, as all authorities acknowledge – though if I had space in this booklet I could show you scriptures which at least strongly indicate it was in the early fall – probably September – approximately six months after Passover.

If God had wished us to observe and celebrate Christ’s birthday, He would not have so completely hidden the exact date.

HOW THIS PAGAN CUSTOM GOT INTO THE CHURCH

Then how did this pagan custom creep into the Western Christian world?

The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religous Knowledge explains it clearly, in its article on “Christmas”: “How much the date of the festival depended upon the pagan Brumalia (Dec. 25) following the Saturnalia (Dec. 17-24), and celebrating the shortest day of the year and the ‘new sun’…cannot be accurately determined. The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia WERE TOO DEEPLY ENTRENCHED IN POPULAR CUSTOM TO BE SET ASIDE BY CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE…The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and manner. Christian preachers of the West and the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ’s birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia ACCUSED THEIR WESTERN BRETHREN OF IDOLATRY AND SUN WORSHIP FOR ADOPTING AS CHRISTIAN THIS PAGAN FESTIVAL.”

Remember, the Roman world had been pagan. Prior to the fourth century, Christians were few in number, though increasing, and were persecuted by the government and by pagans. But, with the advent of Constantine as emperor, who made his profession of Christianity in the fourth century, placing Christianity on an equal footing with paganism, people of the Roman world began to accept this now-popular Christianity by the hundreds of thousands.

But remember, these people had grown up in pagan customs, chief of which was this idolatrous festival of December 25th. It was a festival of merrymaking, with its special spirit. They enjoyed it! They didn’t want to give it up. Now this same article in the New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge explains how the recognition by Constantine of Sunday, which had been the day of pagan sun worship, and how the influence of the pagan Manichaeism, which identified the SON OF GOD with the physical SUN, gave these pagans of the fourth century, now turning over wholesale to “Christianity,” their excuse for calling their pagan-festival date of December 25th (birthday of the SUN-god), the birthday of the SON OF GOD.

And THAT is how “Christmas” became fastened on our Western world. We may call it by another name, but it’s the same old pagan sun-worshipping festival still. The only change is in what we call it. You can CALL a rabbit a “lion,” but it’s still a rabbit, just the same.

Again from the Encyclopaedia Britannica: “Certain Latins, as early as 354, may have transferred the birthday from January 6th to December 25, WHICH WAS THEN A MITHRAIC FEAST…OR BIRTHDAY OF THE UNCONQUERED SUN…The Syrians and Armenians, who clung to January 6th, accused the Romans of sun worship and idolatry, contending…that the feast of December 25, had been invented by disciples of Cerinthus…”

THE REAL ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS

But if we got Christmas from the Roman Catholics, and they got it from paganism, where did the pagans get it? Where, when, and what was its real origin?

It is a chief custom of the corrupt system denounced all through Bible prophecies and teachings under the name of Babylon. And it started and originated in the original Babylon of ancient Nimrod! Yes, it stems from roots whose beginning was shortly this side of the Flood!

Nimrod, grandson of Ham, son of Noah, was the real founder of the Babylonish system that has gripped the world ever since – this system of organized competition – of man-ruled governments and empires, based upon the competitive and profit-making economic system. Nimrod built the tower of Babel, the original Babylon, ancient Nineveh, and many other cities. He organized the world’s first kingdom. The name “Nimrod,” in Hebrew is derived from “Marad,” meaning “he rebelled.”

From many ancient writings, considerable is learned of this man, who started the great organized worldly apostasy from God that has dominated this world until now. Nimrod was so evil, it is said he married his own mother, whose name was Semiramis. After Nimrod’s untimely death, his so-called mother-wife, Semiramis, propagated the evil doctrine of the survival of Nimrod as a spirit being. She claimed a full-grown evergreen tree sprang overnight from a dead tree stump, which symbolized the springing forth unto new life of the dead Nimrod. On each anniversary of his birth, she claimed Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it. December 25th was the birthday of Nimrod. This is the real origin of the Christmas tree.

Through her scheming and designing, Semiramis became the Babylonian “Queen of Heaven,” and Nimrod, under various names, became the “divine son of heaven.” Through the generations, in this idolatrous worship, Nimrod also became the false Messiah, son of Baal the Sun-god. In this false Babylonish system, the “Mother and Child” (Semiramis and Nimrod reborn) became chief objects of worship. This worship of “Mother and Child” spread over the world. The names varied in different countries and languages. In Egypt it was Isis and Osiris. In Asia, Cybele and Deoius. In pagan Rome, Fortuna and Jupiterpuer. Even in Greece, China, Japan, Tibet is to be found the counterpart of the Madonna, LONG BEFORE THE BIRTH OF CHRIST!

Thus, during the fourth and fifth centuries, when the pagans of the Roman world were “accepting” the new popular “Christianity” by the hundreds of thousands, carrying their old pagan customs and beliefs along with them, merely cloaking them with Christian-sounding names, the Madonna and “Mother and Child” idea also became popularized, especially at Christmas time. Every Christmas season you’ll hear sung and chanted dozens of times the hymn “Silent Night, Holy Night,” with its familiar “Mother and Child” theme. We, who have been born in such a babylonish world, reared and steeped in these things all our lives, have been taught to revere these things as holy and sacred. We never questioned to see where they came from – whether they came from the Bible, or from pagan idolatry!

We are shocked to learn the truth – some, unfortunately, take offense at the plain truth! But God commands His faithful ministers, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression!” Shocking as these facts are, they are the plain facts of history and the Bible. The real origin of Christmas goes back to ancient Babylon. It is bound up in the organized apostasy which has gripped a deceived world these many centuries. In Egypt, it was always believed that the son of Isis (Egyptian name for “Queen of Heaven”) was born December 25th. Paganism celebrated this famous birthday over most of the known world for centuries before the birth of Christ.

December 25th is NOT the birthday of Jesus, the true Christ! The apostles and early true Church never celebrated Christ’s birthday at ANY time. There is no command or instruction to celebrate it in the Bible – rather, the celebrating of birthdays is a pagan, not a Christian custom, believe it or not.

Thus the ancient idolatrous “Chaldean Mysteries,” founded by this wife of Nimrod, have been handed down through the pagan religions under new Christian-sounding names.

ORIGIN OF HOLLY WREATH, MISTLETOE, YULE LOG

Now where did we get this mistletoe custom? Among the ancient pagans the mistletoe was used at this festival of the winter solstice because it was considered sacred to the sun, because of its supposed miraculous healing power. The pagan custom of kissing under the mistletoe was an early step in the night of revelry and drunken debauchery – celebrating the death of the “old sun” and the birth of the new at the winter solstice. Mistletoe, sacred in pagan festivals, is a parasite!

Holly berries were also considered sacred to the sun-god. The yule log is in reality the “sun log.” “Yule” means “Wheel,” a pagan symbol of the sun. Yet today professing Christians speak of the “sacred yule-tide season”!

Even the lighting of fires and candles as a Christian ceremony is merely a continuation of the pagan custom, encouraging the waning sun-god as he reached the lowest place in the southern skies.

The Encyclopedia Americana says: “The holly, the mistletoe, the Yule log…are relics of pre-Christian times.” Of paganism!

The book Answers to Questions, compiled by Frederick J. Haskins, found in public libraries, says: The use of Christmas wreaths is believed by authorities to be TRACEABLE TO THE PAGAN CUSTOMS of decorating building and places of worship at the feast which took place at the same time as Christmas. The CHRISTMAS TREE IS FROM EGYPT, and its origin dates from a period long anterior to the Christian Era.”

YES, AND EVEN SANTA CLAUSE

But surely dear old Santa Claus is not a creature of pagan birth? But he is, and his real character is not so benevolent and holy as many suppose.

The name “Santa Claus” is a corruption of the name “St. Nicholas,” a Roman Catholic bishop who lived in the 5th century. Look in the Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 19, pages 648-649, 11th edition, where you’ll read: “St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, a saint honored by the Greeks and Latins on the 6th of December… A legend of his surreptitious bestowal of dowries on the three daughters of an impoverished citizen…is said to have originated the old custom of giving presents in secret on the Eve of St. Nicholas [Dec. 6], subsequently transferred to Christmas day. Hence the association of Christmas with Santa Claus…”

Through the years, parents punish their children for telling falsehoods. Then, at Christmas time, they themselves tell their little children this “Santa Claus” lie! Is it any wonder many of them, when they grow up and learn the truth, begin to believe God is a myth, too?

One little fellow, sadly disillusioned about “Santa Claus,” said to a playmate, “Yes, and I’m going to look into this ‘Jesus Christ’ business, too!” Is it Christian to teach children myths and falsehoods? God says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” It may seem right, and be justified by human reason, but God says, “There is a way that SEEMETH right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” “Old Nick” also is a term for the devil! Is there a connection? Satan appears as an “angel of light,” to deceive (II Cor 11:14; Rev 12:9).

And so when we examine the facts, we are astonished to learn that the practices of observing Christmas is not, after all, a true Christian practice, but a pagan custom – one of the ways of Babylon our people have fallen into.

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS TREE

But if the Bible is silent about telling us to observe Christmas, or recording any such observance by the apostles or early true Church, it DOES have something to say about the Christmas tree.

This will come as a real surprise to many. But here it is: Jeremiah 10:2-6: “Thus saith the Lord, LEARN NOT THE WAY OF THE HEATHEN…FOR THE CUSTOMS OF THE PEOPLE ARE VAIN: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.”

There is a perfect description of the Christmas tree, termed by the Eternal as “the way of the heathen – the customs of the people.” We are commanded not to learn that way or follow it. It is also viewed in this passage as idolatry. The fifth verse shows that these trees cannot speak – cannot walk – must be carried. “Be not afraid of them; for THEY (the trees) cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.” They are not gods to be feared. Some people MISread this to make it say there is no harm in having a Christmas tree, but that is not what it says.

ISN’T EXCHANGING GIFTS SCRIPTURAL?

But when it comes to the most important part of all in this Christmas observance – the Christmas shopping season – the buying and exchanging of gifts – many will exclaim triumphantly, “Well, at least the Bible tells us to do that. Didn’t the wise men give gifts when Christ was born?”

Again, we are due for some surprises, when we learn the plain truth. First, let’s look at the historic origin of trading gifts back and forth, then see exactly what the Bible DOES say about it.

From the Bibliotheca Sacra, volume 12, pages 153-155, we quote: “The interchange of presents between friends is alike characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and MUST HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY THE CHRISTIANS FROM THE PAGANS, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows.”

The fact is, this custom fastened upon people of exchanging gifts with friends and relatives at the Christmas season HAS NOT A SINGLE TRACE OF CHRISTIANITY ABOUT IT, strange though that may seem. This does not celebrate Christ’s birthday nor honor it or Him! Suppose someone you love has a birthday. You want to honor that person on his or her birthday. Would you lavishly buy gifts for EVERYONE ELSE, trading gifts back and forth with all your OTHER friends and loved ones, but ignore completely any gift for the one whose birthday you are honoring? Rather absurd, when viewed in that light, isn’t it?

Yet this is exactly what people the world over are doing. They honor a day that is not Christ’s birthday by spending every dime they can scrape together in buying presents to trade back and forth among friends and relatives. But I can say by years of experience, as I believe most pastors and ministers can say, that when the month of December rolls around, nearly all professing Christians forget to give gifts to Christ and His cause almost altogether. December often is the most difficult month to keep Christ’s work from dying. People are too busy trading gifts back and forth among themselves to think of Him and His Work, it seems. Then, in January and even into February it seems they have to catch up from what they spent for Christmas, so they seldom get back to normal in supporting Christ and His Work before March.

Now consider what the Bible says about the wise men giving gifts when Christ was born. It is in Matthew 2:1-11. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born KING OF THE JEWS? …And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him: AND WHEN THEY HAD OPENED THEIR TREASURES, they presented unto HIM gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

WHY GIFTS PRESENTED TO CHRIST

Notice, they inquired for the child Jesus, who was born KING of the Jews. Now why did they present gifts to Him? Because it was His birthday? Not at all, because they came several days or weeks after the date of His birth. Was it to set an example for us, today, to trade gifts back and forth among ourselves? No, notice carefully. They did not exchange gifts among themselves, but “they presented unto HIM gifts.” They gave their gifts to Christ, not to their friends, relatives, or one another.

Why? Let me quote from the Adam Clarke Commentary, volume 5, page 46: “Verse 11. (They presented unto him gifts.) The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. The custom is often noticed in the Old Testament, and still prevails in the east, and in some of the newly discovered South Sea Islands.”

There it is. They were not instituting a new Christian custom of exchanging gifts with friends to honor Christ’s birthday. They were following an old and ancient eastern custom of presenting gifts to a king when they came into his presence. They were approaching Him, born King of the Jews, in person. Therefore custom required they present gifts – even as the Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon – even as many people today take a gift along when they visit the White House for an appointment with the President.

No, the custom of trading gifts back and forth does not stem from this scriptural incident at all, but rather, as quoted from history above, it is the continuance of an ancient pagan custom. Instead of honoring Christ, it invariably retards His Work, often sets it back, at the Christmas season every year.

DOES IT REALLY HONOR CHRIST?

Now come two arguments often used to justify Christmas observance.

1) Many will reason this way: “But, even though the exact date of Jesus’ birth is unknown, should we not select SOME date to celebrate as His birthday?” The answer is positively no. Did you not notice the statement quoted from the Catholic Encyclopedia: “Sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthdays.” The custom of birthdays is not a Christian, but a pagan custom, observed by sinners!

2) But, many still reason, “Even so – even though Christmas was a pagan custom, honoring the false sun-god, we don’t observe it to honor the false god, we observe it to honor Christ.”

But how does God answer in His Word? “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them [the pagans in their customs]… that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord they God: for every abomination to the Eternal, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods” (Deut 12:30-31).

God says plainly in His Instruction Book to us, that He will not accept that kind of worship, even though intended in His honor. To Him, He says, it is offering what is ABOMINABLE to Him, and therefore it honors, not Him, but false pagan gods. God says we must not worship Him according to the “dictates of our own conscience” – a term we often hear. But Jesus says plainly, “God is a spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). And what is truth? God’s Word – the Holy Bible – said Jesus, is truth (John 17:17); and the Bible says God will not accept worship when people take a pagan custom or manner of worship and try to honor Christ with it.

Again, Jesus said: “In VAIN they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt 15:9). Christmas observance is a TRADITION OF MEN, and the commandments of God, as quoted, forbid it. Jesus said, further, “full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”

That is precisely what the millions are doing today. They ignore the commandment of God. He commands, regarding taking the customs of the pagans and using them to honor or worship God: “Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God.” Still, most people today take that command of God lightly, or as having no validity whatsoever, and follow the tradition of men in observing Christmas.

Make no mistake. God will ALLOW you to defy and disobey Him. He will ALLOW you to follow the crowd and the traditions of men. He will ALLOW you to sin. But He also says there is a day of reckoning coming. As you sow, so shall you reap. Jesus was the LIVING Word of God in Person, and the Bible is the WRITTEN Word of God. And we shall be judged, for eternity, by these words. They should not be taken lightly or ignored.

WE’RE IN BABYLON, AND HAVEN’T KNOWN IT

Christmas has become a commercial season. It’s sponsored, kept alive, by the heaviest retail advertising campaigns of the year. You see a masqueraded “Santa Claus” in many stores. Ads keep us deluded and deceived about the “beautify Christmas spirit.” The newspaper, who sell the ads, print flowery editorials exalting and eulogizing the pagan season, and its “spirit.” A gullible people has become so inoculated, many take offense when told the truth. But the “Christmas spirit” is created each year, not to honor Christ, but to sell merchandise. Like all Satan’s delusions, it appears as an “angel of light,” is made to appear good. Billions of dollars are spent in this merchandising spree every year, while the cause of Christ must suffer. It’s part of the economic system of Babylon.

We have professed to be Christian nations, but we’re in Babylon, as Bible prophecy foretold, and we don’t know it. “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” – now soon to fall – is the warning of Revelation 18:4.

This year, instead of gift trading, why not put that money into God’s Work?

End

Source: http://home.sprynet.com/~pabco/ptofxmas.htm

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

the Lakota Sioux people declaring their secession from the United States of America

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Lakota Sioux – The Bravest Americans

Russell Means led a delegation of the Lakota Sioux people to the U.S. State Department and the embassies of Bolivia, Chile, South Africa and Venezuela, declaring their secession from the United States of America

Sat, December 22, 2007 – 10:00 AM

And So It Begins

In an incredible irony, the very people that the United States have most oppressed throughout our history may hold the key to freedom for all of us.Few Americans remember the siege at Wounded Knee in the mid-1970s, but perhaps they should. Members of the AIM, or the American Indian Movement, occupied parts of Pine Ridge in protest over the brutal killings of two of their own, the disgustingly mild prosecutions for those murders, and the beating of the mother of one of those two when she attempted to seek justice from the U.S. government. The AIM were seeking their rights under U.S. law and for the U.S. government to honor treaties with the American Indian that had been ignored for more than a century. It was a lawful – and a peaceful until attacked – protest.In response, the FBI fired almost 200,000 rounds at the protesters (the protesters did fire weapons in their own defense, but only over their attackers’ heads) in an illegal show of force that betrayed every ideal of real freedom. The siege at Wounded Knee lasted 71 days. This was Waco decades before Waco, largely ignored by the U.S. population due to media indifference and the fact that the victims were not white Americans.

Later, the defense team for Russell Means and Dennis Banks was infiltrated by a government informant, which led to perjured testimony and a very angry judge who stated that the government was more interested in convictions than in justice. South Dakota Judge Nichols was quoted as saying, “It’s hard for me to believe that the FBI, which I have revered for so long, has stooped so low,” and dismissed all charges against the defendants.

Apparently, all those years ago, at least a portion of our justice system still operated as it was designed to do.

Leonard Peltier was not so lucky. He was tried in North Dakota, and was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in prison. He remains there today, even though evidence recovered after the siege clearly showed that the two FBI deaths were attributable to friendly fire. During his years in prison, through his art and letters, Peltier has continued to work for oppressed people everywhere.

Russell Means has remained free, and he has not been idle in the intervening decades. A committed libertarian, he has written several books, run for office on the Libertarian ticket, and continued to pursue a film career that has made him a household face and name. Apart from that, he has bided his time, waiting for just the right moment in history.

That moment has come. In September of this year, the United Nations passed a non-binding Resolution on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Naturally, Canada, the United States and Australia refused to sign, but this resolution paved the way for a move that has been waiting in the wings, so to speak, since the 1970s.

On Wednesday of this week, Russell Means led a delegation of the Lakota Sioux people to the U.S. State Department and the embassies of Bolivia, Chile, South Africa and Venezuela, declaring their secession from the United States of America.

Means stated, “We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us.” The lands of the Lakota Sioux encompass portions of Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. In the coming weeks, they will take their diplomatic mission overseas to seek further support.

Means also stated that anyone willing to renounce their U.S. citizenship would live on Lakota land tax free, and that the Lakota would issue their own passports and driving licenses. Since a large group of libertarians have recently moved to Wyoming, this opens up some interesting possibilities for a free society growing up in our midst.

The coming road will not be an easy one. I cannot see the U.S. neo-conservatives leaving this alone. I imagine that there will be another bloody and vicious siege taking place on Lakota land, but I also believe that Means has timed his move correctly. If this happens as I fear it will, the neo-conservatives will be the clear authors of their own destruction. The American people have had enough!

You go, Russell!! You are the bravest and best of us, and the sanest and best of America stands with you in the trials you will face over the coming months and years.
_________________________
Kathryn A. Graham, author of Flight From Eden and America Hijacked!.

The full story in
http://people.tribe.net/5a776152-49a8-45ff-8036-64ec173a070e/blog/33ea44bf-71a7-4e96-ba88-1cfcd7c04d58

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

MIDEAST: They (Palestinian Refugees) Do Not Exist, And That Is Official

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

MIDEAST: They (Palestinian Refugees) Do Not Exist, And That Is Official

By Mona Alami

BEIRUT, Dec 24 (IPS) – In the maze of dirty streets that spreads from Beirut’s revamped Sport City to the shabby Halabi quarters, 20,000 refugees are clustered in what is known as the Bourj al-Barajneh Palestinian camp. In a town plagued by poverty, many families live in complete destitution.

These forgotten people have fallen through the cracks of legality and belong nowhere: they are known as non-ID Palestinians.

With the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, many Palestinians fled their homeland to Lebanon. Today, there are approximately 400,000 refugees living in the ‘Land of the Cedars’, some with no documentation, and not registered with either the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) or the Lebanese authorities.

“I fell in love with a Palestinian combatant who came to Lebanon in the 1970s to fight with the PLO during the Lebanese civil war,” says a woman who gave her name as Manal, not her real name. That marriage eventually brought her to this camp. “I was foolish and very much in love. My father was opposed to our marriage. The fighter had been smuggled into the country, and hence had no proper documentation. It was the first time I heard of non-IDs.”

UNRWA considers as Palestinian refugees “any person whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period of June 1946 to 15 May 1948 and who lost their home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict. UNRWA’s services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. UNRWA’s definition of a refugee also covers the descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948.”

The agency’s categorisation of Palestinian refugees does not include those classified as non-ID holders, leaving them unable to benefit from refugee services, including healthcare.

Non-ID Palestinian refugees also face restrictions on movement outside the camps — and that is not all. “Aside from the daily difficulties they are confronted with as refugees, second and third generation undocumented Palestinians are beleaguered by other problems such as failing to graduate from school because of lack of proper documentation or the inability to get married and even to partake in ordinary activities,” says Mireille Chiha from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).

Nawal lives in one of the many tiny concrete houses in Bourj al-Barajneh. Her handicapped father sits in bed all day. The apartment is damp and gloomy and its scarce windows look out on an alley flooded by a sewage pipe.

“I was married to a Jordanian Palestinian refugee who took part in the 1975 Lebanese civil war. We had two daughters, who both inherited his illegal status. My husband was supposed to regularise his situation, but one day he disappeared and I never saw him again. Today, my daughters are aged 20 and 18; I’ve been to the Jordanian embassy several times to try to obtain official documentation for them, but it seems their father is the only person allowed to make such a claim.”

Nawal worries about her children’s future. “How can they marry? They are not recognised by any government agency. It is true that the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) may provide non-IDs with official documentation, which is useful in specific cases such as marriage, but I would much prefer my daughters not to take such a risk, as the organisation is sometimes viewed negatively by many Lebanese.”

Sobhi Hassan, a young man in his twenties working as a salesman in one of the camp’s shabby stores, has inherited his illegal status as undocumented refugee from his father, who came to Lebanon in the seventies. “When he died, it was like he had never been; he never existed anyway in the eyes of official agencies. I had to drop out of school when I was 15 — as did my brothers and sisters — because I was not allowed to attend government exams without the proper identification papers.”

The young man was arrested several times at army checkpoints, but says he managed to free himself from the soldiers every time. “I have come to terms with the fact that I can only live and work in the camp; if not, I might be arrested and detained for several months like many others.”

Although undocumented refugees share a socio-economic pattern with other Palestinians in Lebanon, they are more isolated than ordinary refugees.

Most non-ID refugees hold some proof of identity that could facilitate legalisation of their situation, because their Palestinian identity can be traced back to an authority once responsible for their documentation such as Jordan or Egypt. But since laws addressing Palestinian refugees have changed, non-IDs have been unable to claim an identity card from these countries of origin.

The current Lebanese government headed by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has set up a Lebanese-Palestinian dialogue committee to address the issue of non-ID refugees. But it has a long way to go.

Many of the refugees expect little now. “I have decided to never marry,” says Hassan. “Why should I expose my kids to this life of hardship and despair?” (END/2007)

The full story in
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=40588

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Monday, 24 December 2007

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Monday, 24 December 2007

Translated and/or compiled by Muhammad Abu Nasr, member, editorial board, the Free Arab Voice. http://www.freearabvoice.org

resistenza345666.jpg

  • Trucks hauling supplies to US forces ambushed near ar-Ramadi midday Monday.
  • US Humvee destroyed in Sunday evening bomb attack in Baghdad.
  • Car bomb targets checkpoint in Baghdad’s as-Salihiyah district Monday morning.
  • Puppet army checkpoint attacked in ash-Sharuqat.
  • Collaborator “Awakening” police ambushed in ad-Dulu’iyah Sunday night.
  • US helicopter reportedly kills three civilians in Samarra’ Sunday night.
  • Gunmen kidnap 14 near al-Khalis midday Monday.
  • Armed men attack collaborator “Ninwa Awakening” police Monday afternoon.
  • Puppet police clash with armed men in al-Mawsil Monday morning.
  • Fighting reported between militiamen, puppet regime police Sunday night.

Al-Anbar Province.
Ar-Ramadi.

Trucks hauling supplies to US forces ambushed near ar-Ramadi midday Monday.

In a dispatch posted at 3:14pm Baghdad time Monday afternoon, the Yaqen News Agency reported that at midday Monday, armed fighters attacked two trucks bringing supplies to US occupation forces and their Iraqi puppet army allies based in the al-Habbaniyah military facility.

Yaqen reported eyewitnesses as saying that the trucks were owned by contractors working for the Americans and puppet army and that they were on their way to the al-Habbaniyah base when fighters riding in three cars fired RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades at them and then swooped down on them near the highway south of ar-Ramadi, 110km west of Baghdad. Both trucks were completely burned up in the attack and the drivers were killed on the spot. The attackers then drove off, witnesses said.

Baghdad.

Car bomb targets checkpoint in Baghdad’s as-Salihiyah district Monday morning.

In a dispatch posted at 11:10am Baghdad time Monday morning, the Yaqen News Agency reported that a car bomber exploded his explosives-laden car by a checkpoint manned by puppet army troops in the as-Salihiyah area of Baghdad, not far from the Iranian embassy, shortly before 10am local time Monday morning.

Yaqen reported a source in the puppet police as saying that a car bomber drove into a checkpoint at the end of the as-Sanak Bridge on the al-Karakh side of Baghdad in the as-Salihiyah area, killing two people and wounding four more by preliminary count.

The source, who asked not to be identified, said that the number of casualties was likely to increase, since numerous cars that happened to be in the area had been set on fire in the attack. The bombing took place near the Iranian embassy and also close to the puppet Baghdad Provincial government building. The source said, however, that the blast was targeted on the checkpoint, not on either of the other two buildings.

Another puppet police source said that the explosion was the result of a bomb going off in a Kia taxi that was on its way from as-Sanak Bridge to as-Salihiyah near the puppet provincial government building.

After the blast puppet police and army forces closed off the area and prevented civilian pedestrians and cars from approaching the scene.

US Humvee destroyed in Sunday evening bomb attack in Baghdad.

In a dispatch posted at 10:37am Makkah time Monday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a bomb went off by a US patrol in Baghdad’s al-Hurriyah district on Sunday evening, completely destroying an American Humvee and damaging a second.

Mafkarat al-Islam reported a resident in al-Hurriyah as saying that the blast occurred as a US patrol was driving through the ad-Dawli’i area of al-Hurriyah. Another witness said that American troops closed off the area immediately as swarms of US helicopters flew into the area. None of the witnesses were able to determine anything regarding the nature or extent of US casualties sustained in the attack because the Americans had sealed off the area to prevent information regarding their losses leaking out.

Salah ad-Din Province.
Ash-Sharuqat.

Puppet army checkpoint attacked in ash-Sharuqat.

In a dispatch posted at 1:55pm Baghdad time Monday afternoon, the Yaqen News Agency reported that fighters assaulted a checkpoint in the city of ash-Sharuqat, 250km north of Baghdad at midday Monday.

Yaqen reported an eyewitness as saying that the attack left one puppet army soldier dead and two more wounded. After the incident, puppet forces closed down the checkpoint and imposed a curfiew on the city until further notice. The wounded men were taken to hospital for treatment.

A writer for Yaqen asserted that the city of ash-Sharuqat had recently become relatively peaceful after tribes took over the running of the city and prevented outsiders from coming in.

Ad-Dulu’iyah.

Collaborator “Awakening” police ambushed in ad-Dulu’iyah Sunday night.

In a dispatch posted at 12:25pm Baghdad time Monday afternoon, the Yaqen News Agency reported that armed fighters ambushed a patrol of collaborationist tribal
“Awakening” police in the city of ad-Dulu’iyah, 97km north of Baghdad, on Sunday night

Yaqen reported eyewitnesses as saying that armed fighters killed two of the tribal “Awakening” collaborators and then withdrew to unknown destinations.

“Awakening” councils have been formed in many cases based around tribal elements willing to collaborate with the US occupation forces in return for money and arms supplied by the Americans. The “Awakening” detachments also have the aim of weakening the grip of Shi’i sectarian clerical forces on the central puppet regime in Baghdad, headed by US-installed “Prime Minister” Nuri al-Maliki.

Samarra’.

US helicopter reportedly kills three civilians in Samarra’ Sunday night.

In a dispatch posted at 3:50pm Baghdad time Monday afternoon, the Yaqen News Agency reported that a US helicopter opened fire on civilians killing three and wounding four more of them in the city of Samarra’.

Yaqen reported an eyewitness as saying that he attack took place late on Sunday night. One of those reported wounded in the attack was a woman.

In a dispatch posted at 7:15pm Makkah time Monday night, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that a source in the puppet police, who asked not to be identified, claimed that an American helicopter opened fire on three armed men trying to plant a bomb in the ad-Dubbat neighborhood of Samarra’ late on Sunday night. The source asserted that the helicopter gunfire hit its targets and that all three fighters were killed on the spot.

Mafkarat al-Islam reported the source as saying, however, that in addition to the three armed men, the helicopter’s guns cut down six civilians who happened to be walking through the area at the time, killing two of them and wounding the other four, one of whom was a woman. The source said that American forces took the bodies of the dead and the wounded to one of the nearby US headquarters.

Diyala Province.
Al-Khalis.

Gunmen kidnap 14 near al-Khalis midday Monday.

In a dispatch posted at 12:55pm Baghdad time Monday afternoon, the Yaqen News Agency reported that gunmen believed to belong to the Shi’i sectarian Jaysh al-Mahdi militia, which is loyal to Shi’i fundamentalist cleric Muqtada as-Sadr, kidnapped 14 people at a checkpoint in the as-Salam district of al-Khalis, 57km north of Baghdad, at midday Monday.

Yaqen reported an official in the puppet provincial administration as saying that dozens of Jaysh al-Mahdi gunmen set up a fake checkpoint opposite the village of al-Bu Shahin in the as-Salam area of al-Khalis. There they stopped a Kia minibus with 14 passengers. The sectarian gunmen abducted all the passengers who were coming from the center of as-Salam and were heading to the al-Mansur area also in the vicinity of al-Khalis. The Jaysh al-Mahdi gunmen took their prisoners off to the village of Qal’at al-Qassab.

In a dispatch posted at 3:14pm Makkah time Monday afternoon, Mafkarat al-Islam quoted the puppet police forces of the US-installed Iraqi regime as saying that the kidnappers were suspected of belonging to the Sunni sectarian al-Qa’idah organization.

The report carried by Mafkarat al-Islam coincided in all details with that provided by Yaqen, except in regard to the identity of the kidnappers. Mafkarat al-Islam reported the puppet police as asserting that the 14 passengers in the minibus who were kidnapped were Shi’ah and claimed that al-Qa’idah gunmen abducted them for sectarian reasons.

Mafkarat al-Islam reported Shaykh Hamid ‘Abed Ibrahim of the Diyala Province collaborationist “Support Committee” as saying that the road between as-Salam and al-Mansur was rough and dangerous and that the area around the village of al-Bu Shahin was considered a stronghold of armed organizations belonging to al-Qa’idah. He asserted that they frequently kidnap motorists on the road.

Mafkarat al-Islam, a Saudi-based news agency, reported that the main road in as-Salam has been the scene of fierce fighting between tribal fighters and Iraqi puppet army forces on one side and al-Qa’idah on the other.

Ninwa Province.
Al-Hadar.

Armed men attack collaborator “Ninwa Awakening” police Monday afternoon.

In a dispatch posted at 6:35pm Baghdad time Monday night, the Yaqen News Agency reported that armed men attacked a group of members of the tribal collaborationist police force known as “Ninwa Awakening” in al-Hadar, 90km south of al-Mawsil in northwestern Iraq, on Monday afternoon.

Yaqen reported eyewitnesses as saying that armed men driving a column of vehicles attacked a position maintained by collaborationist “Awakening” pllice in al-Hadar, firing light and medium weapons at the collaborators. About three of the “Awakening” tribal police were killed and several more of them wounded. The collaborators returned fire with intense volleys at the attackers, striking and wounding some of them who were wearing bullet-proof vests. Two of the vehicles being used in the attack also suffered minor damage in the course of the battle that went on for about 20 minutes.

The witnesses confirmed that one car belonging to the collaborator “Awakening” police was burned in the course of the battle.

Al-Mawsil.

Puppet police clash with armed men in al-Mawsil Monday morning.

In a dispatch posted at 12:05pm Baghdad time Monday afternoon, the Yaqen News Agency reported that fighting broke out between armed men and the Iraqi puppet pooice in the al-Wahdah neighborhood of al-Mawsil, 420km northwest of Baghdad.

Yaqen reported a source in the puppet police who asked not to be identified as saying that the battles left one civilian dead and another wounded.

Meanwhile two fighters for the Sunni sectarian al-Qa’idah organization were reported killed and seven more wounded by collaborationist “al-Mawsil Awakening” police forces in al-Mawsil Monday morning.

Fawwaz al-Jarbah, Chairman of the collaborationist “al-Mawsil Awakening Council” announced that the attack ended in a gun battle in the area of al-Qayyarah and Makhmur in the city.

Dhi Qar Province.
Suq ash-Shuyukh.

Fighting reported between militiamen, puppet regime police Sunday night.

In a dispatch posted at 11am Baghdad time Monday morning, the Yaqen News Agency reported that armed clashes broke out between puppet police and armed fighters in the city of Suq ash-Shuyukh, about 400km southeast of Baghdad late on Sunday night.

Yaqen reported a source in the puppet regime as saying that he fighting erupted in the al-Mu’allimin neighborhood after fighters armed with RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades attacked a checkpoint manned by puppet regime police, forcing the policemen to respond with intense fire of their own until reinforcements arrived and they were able to assault the area from which the rockets were fired.

There were no casualties in the fighting, the source said, adding that it had been demonstrated that armed groups had been able to store small arms for use in attacks in the city.

Much of southern Iraq has recently been the scene of fierce fighting between rival Shi’i sectarian militias, sometimes with one side or another representing the puppet regime security forces. The battles reflect an intense battle among different Shi’i sectarian clerical forces for control of southern Iraq, following the departure of British occupation forces.

http://uruknet.info/?p=m39532&hd=&size=1&l=e

Sources:
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21570&f9272648ab1f73252182dccf7e6cab43
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21568&e82691eeb09575370d79d544cefdcb2e
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21564&2f0b5ee829b6fb68a3c206d64e0bc67e
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21560&9a1b0c23886e1156d4187e908b0051e0
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21559&d63fafa8550caf62af200fdfaeb28384
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21557&4e1e2f9d6a0bf86ca6db61f1cd75a4e6
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21556&128e37cc803e829485a93acc8203b54e
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21554&348be803fccc8e0dda18899b25663260
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21552&c70106850dfef0fd0853560a2536598e
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21551&2397ab54ecb1d68356cd8cf54dee4da5
http://www.iraq-amsi.org/news.php?action=view&id=21550&ff71916fc9b0c65e3c9f2303d200a430
http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=57112
http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=57110
http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=57109
http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=57103
http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=57087
http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=57084
http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=57077
http://www.islammemo.cc/article1.aspx?id=57074
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3753
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3752
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3748
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3745
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3741
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3740
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3739
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3738
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3737
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3736
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3735
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3734
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3733
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3732
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3731
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3730
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3729
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3728
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3727
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3726
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3725
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3724
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3723
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3722
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3721
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3720
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3719
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3718
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3717
http://www.yaqen.net/?p=3716

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Israeli Occupation kills 5 patients in 48 hours, Death toll risen to 50

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

Israeli Occupation kills 5 patients in 48 hours, Death toll risen to 50

Sam Armanda

Popular Committee Against Siege /(PCAS)

Sam Armanda reports from Gaza

Gaza Strip, December, 2007. – More victims are falling down due to the illegitimate and criminal siege imposed by Israel on Gaza Strip. The number of dead patients has risen up to 50 in the past two days.Palestinian medical sources announced today, Monday, that new patient died after Israeli forces prevented her to travel for treatment abroad. The sources added that the 57 years old, Dalal Musalm died due to severe disease.On Sunday, an old man aged of 59 died due to heart disease. It was supposed he travels for medications outside.

His family tried hardly to get him abroad to undergo for urgent surgeries. It called and made appeals to many NGO’s and human rights associations. Yet Israeli occupation authorities didn’t allow him. Thus, He was kept in Al shefa’ hospital waiting his innovative death!

On Saturday, Zuhaira Radwan, 5-year-old Yousef Abu Mariam and the 4-year-old Nada Agha died due to the tight blockage too. It’s worth mentioning that there are more than 1400 on death waiting list. In case Israelis go on with this closure, they will be dying soon.

PCAS’s chairman, Jamal N El Khoudary, has called upon reopening the crossing points in Gaza Strip to end the ongoing death toll. PCAS started negotiating with some parts in this respect. “we contacted some sided regarding crossing points. We have got positive reactions.” Chairman said.

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

© 2007 Popular Committee Against Siege /(PCAS)

SOURCE: http://freegaza.ps/english/index.php?scid=100&id=214&extra=news&type=40

===

-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

WILL NOBODY BRING CHRISTMAS CHEER TO BESIEGED AND STARVING GAZA?

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

WILL NOBODY BRING CHRISTMAS CHEER TO BESIEGED AND STARVING GAZA?

2007-12-23 | Group urges Standards Committee to stamp out Israeli influence that paralyses heart of British government

As the twenty-one month long siege of Gaza becomes a death sentence for yet more civilians, a group in the UK with experience of the Occupied Territories is urging the Committee on Standards in Public Life to examine whether there is undue Israeli influence at the heart of British government.The blockade stops vital medical supplies going in and prevents chronically sick patients (including children) transferring to proper hospital treatment outside Gaza. Israel’s deep penetration of our political system, says the group, is preventing Britain from taking a principled stand on Middle East matters, including the long catalogue of grotesque violations of Palestinian human rights, of which the Gaza siege is only the latest example. Conservative Friends of Israel, for example, claim the support of 80 percent of Tory MPs.Signatories to the letter include Mona Baker, Karl Sabbagh, Derek Summerfield and Felicity Arbuthnot.Spokesman for the group is David Halpin, a trauma surgeon, who has spent all of the last five years of his retirement standing with the Palestinians for Justice. He has seen the destruction of lives, limbs, livings and hope at first hand. He advised the Hamas government how they should investigate the use of illegal weapons by Israel. In March, he lead a team of seven UK doctors into Gaza. The Dove and Dolphin Medical Centre was opened then. This is named after the symbolic voyage he led five years ago from which the charity was named… http://www.doveanddolphin.co.uk

He says: “It is insufficient that humans should weep beneath the crucifixion of the Palestine people in 2007 AD. They must halt it forthwith.”

Businessman Stuart Littlewood, who was in Gaza last month, remarked: “When you urge the British government to act for justice you are blocked at every turn by Friends of Israel in high places. No-one, it seems, is prepared to break the siege and land humanitarian supplies on Gaza’s beach. What happened to our Christmas spirit?”

Felicity Arbuthnot campaigned for many years in Iraq. She says: “The horrors inflicted on Gaza and Iraq and threatened elsewhere in the Middle East are encapsulated for me by a young doctor. She had the skills but was denied the facilities and medications so she watched helplessly as her young patients died. ‘There is a hole where my heart should be,’ she said. In the name of our common humanity, as Eid, the Jewish Festival of Light and Christmas are celebrated, ENOUGH!”

The group invites readers to join them in pressing the Standards Committee to uphold the seven Principles of Public Life and banish lobby groups acting on behalf of foreign military regimes. Write to:
Mr Peter Ramsden
Secretary to the Committee
Committee on Standards in Public Life
35 Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BQ
email: public@standards.x.gsi.gov.uk

-ends-
More information from….
David Halpin, 01364 661115
Stuart Littlewood, 01760 755349
Felicity Arbuthnot, 0208 985 0058

Castle Acre
Norfolk

19 December 2007

public@standards.x.gsi.gov.uk

Mr Charles Ramsden
Secretary to the Committee
Committee on Standards in Public Life
35 Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BQ

Dear Mr Ramsden,

How the Israel Lobby undermines the Principles of Standards in Public Life – a Matter for Investigation

Those signing this letter know the Occupied Territories and in particular Gaza, and are deeply concerned about the appalling conditions forced on the civilian population by the Israeli blockade and sanctions imposed by Britain and the EU.

Devastating blockade

This Christmas innocent Gazans are starving. Critically ill cancer and renal failure patients die an agonising death, unable to receive treatment because Israel blocks vital drugs and other medical supplies, including dialysis machine spares, and prevents the sick crossing the border for proper hospital care. New-born babies and those just months old are dying too, denied treatment. The United Nations Declaration of the Right of the Child lies buried under the sands of Gaza.

Israel has even imposed a fishing ban on the 3000 licensed fishermen, robbing them of their livelihood and the population of a proper diet. Boats ignoring the ban are fired on. Are those not Palestinian territorial waters? Have Palestinians no rights under the UN Law of the Sea Conventions?

The Gaza siege is the latest in a very long catalogue of Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. It has been allowed to develop into a full-blown humanitarian crisis and Britain, to its shame, has a hand in it. Furthermore it is a racist outrage that Christians and Muslims are together made to suffer so horribly at the hands of the Israeli state.

A letter was delivered through Henry Bellingham MP to the Foreign Office minister responsible for the Middle East, Kim Howells, suggesting (as many others have done before, including charities such as War on Want) that Britain consider suspending the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The rules provide for this if Israel’s conduct towards its neighbours falls short of what is required under the UN Charter and other obligations.

On 11 October Mr Howells replied: “We consider that the Association Agreement is a key tool for the EU to both enhance co-operation with Israel but also to raise any concerns. We do not support suspension of that Agreement, which would limit how we could put our viewpoint across to the Israeli government.”

When the EU demanded an end to the emergency in Gaza and also the military occupation of the West Bank, Israel responded with an even tighter lockdown and another letter was sent to Mr Howells. He responded on 30 November saying: “The Government does not support calls for the suspension of the EU/Israel Association Agreement. The UK…has strong relationships with Israel on a number of fronts… We do not consider it would be in the best interests of the UK, or the European Union, to end this relationship.”

Mr Howells is a former chairman of Labour Friends of Israel. His shadow is a member of Conservative Friends of Israel.

The minister has subsequently been asked to explain what “viewpoint” Her Majesty’s Government has put to the Israeli government regarding the medieval-style siege of Gaza and the collective punishment of already impoverished civilians in flagrant breach of the UN Charter and every conceivable code of conduct.

What action have he and his Department taken to alleviate the suffering in this former British mandate? What is the status of the coastal waters off Gaza? How can Israel maintain a sea blockade lawfully and deny Gazan fishermen their livelihood?

How does continuing the Association Agreement in these cruel circumstances “enhance co-operation”, and what “concerns” have been raised with the Israeli government?

No answers to these questions have yet been received.

British MPs eating out of the Israeli government’s hand

In the meantime your Committee is aware how the lobby group, Friends of Israel, has embedded itself in the British political establishment and at the very heart of government. Its stated purpose is to promote Israel’s interests in our Parliament and sway British policy.

MPs are surely not at liberty to act in the interest of a foreign military power at the expense of our own national interests, or to let foreign influence cloud their judgement. Such conduct is at odds with the second of the Seven Principles of Public Life, namely Integrity – “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”

The Friends of Israel organisation goes to great lengths to influence those in power. Indeed a good many, it seems, reach positions of power with FoI help. The political director of Conservative Friends of Israel claims that with over 2,000 members and registered supporters alongside 80 percent of the Conservative MPs, CFI has become the largest affiliated group in the party.

Its website states that the CFI “strives to support the Conservative Party at all available opportunities. In the run up to the 2005 General Election… CFI supported candidates up and down the country. As candidates are now being continuously selected for target seats, CFI has developed a special programme of weekly briefings, events with speakers and a chance to participate in delegations to Israel. CFI encourages all members to help campaign for parliamentary candidates and also for local council, London and European elections.”

It also has a ‘Fast Track’ group for Conservative parliamentary candidates fighting target marginal seats at the next election. The political director himself is seeking election to Parliament. If successful where will his loyalty lie?

Senior Conservatives try to justify these activities by insisting that Israel is “a force for good in the world” and “in the battle for the values that we stand for, for democracy against theocracy, for democratic liberal values against repression – Israel’s enemies are our enemies and this is a battle in which we all stand together”.

Such claims do not bear examination. Israel is no western-style democracy. It is an ethnocracy with racist policies and an apartheid agenda. It is a cruel oppressor, stands in breach of numerous UN resolutions, ignores International Court of Justice rulings and continues an illegal occupation, abusing its neighbours and stealing their lands and resources. It cares little for world opinion. How could anyone or. She had the skills but was denied the facilities and medications so she watched helplessly as her young patients died.f fair mind and knowing the situation on the ground possibly support such a regime in the name of the British people, unless unduly under its influence?

Friends of Israel campaign loudly against Palestinian ‘terrorism’ without mentioning that since the start of the second Intifada in September 2000 Israelis have been slaughtering Palestinians at the rate of 4 to 1, and when it comes to children it is nearer 10 to 1 (Israeli B’Tselem figures). They never mention the ‘Matrix of Control’ and the perverse administrative procedures imposed by the Israelis in order to restrict travel, strangle the economy, bulldoze homes, confiscate lands and press ahead with their programme of ethnic displacement.

Friends of Israel repeatedly campaign for the release of a handful of Israeli soldiers like Gilad Shalit, corporal tank gunner, but ignore the 9,000+ Palestinian civilians abducted from their homes and incarcerated, often without trial, including some 300 women and 150 children. Many have been tortured, like Luwaii Ashqar whose lower lumbar spine was probably broken during 4 days of vicious, non-stop torment – see http://www.haaretz.com:80/hasen/spages/871239.htm and prepare to be sickened.

What is the basis for Britain’s decision to outlaw elected leaders (Hamas) who rightly refuse the illegal demands of an armed occupier (Israel)? And why has there been no outcry in Britain against the unlawful and inhuman siege of Gaza?

Courted, cosseted and lied to by the Israeli state, Friends of Israel present a distorted picture to their Parliamentary colleagues and the British public. Such people cannot be relied on to make balanced policy decisions concerning the Middle East. When speaking on such matters they should at least be required to declare their interest.

It is especially disconcerting to discover that at least two members of your Committee, which is pledged to uphold the Principles of Public Life, are Friends of Israel – namely Baroness Shephard, president of Conservative Friends of Israel and Alun Michael MP, a member of Labour Friends of Israel. Your website suggests that Baroness Shephard relinquished her pro-Israel position in 2005 but the CFI website contradicts this.

‘Friendship’ misplaced

The danger of inappropriate ‘friendships’ with foreign regimes became even more evident last week when Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, was reported to have twice asked David Miliband, our Foreign Secretary, to scrap the law that authorises magistrates to issue arrest warrants for suspected war criminals who set foot in the UK. Avi Dichter, a former director of the Shin Bet spy service and involved in the Shehadeh assassination in 2002, in which 14 Palestianian civilians (including children) were killed by an Israeli air strike, had to cancel a trip to London for fear of being arrested.

Doron Almog, an Israeli ex-general also involved in the Shehadeh affair, narrowly avoided arrest when he landed at Heathrow in 2005. Now Israel wishes the UK to change its laws to protect alleged war criminals. How can we be sure this will not happen in the name of “enhanced co-operation”, as Mr Howells puts it.

Given that Israel’s deep penetration of our political system apparently prevents Britain from taking a principled stand on Middle East matters, including the violations of Palestinian human rights, we invite your Committee – minus those with an interest – to uphold the Principles of Public Life and consider the activities of the Friends of Israel as a matter for urgent investigation.

For truth and justice,

(Signatories)

Mona Baker, Professor of Translation Studies, BA, MA, DSc

Sally FitzHarris, MA (Oxon)

Karl Sabbagh, writer

Sara T A Wood, MA (Oxon)

Derek Summerfield, Hon Senior Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College and Teaching Associate, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford

David Halpin, MB, BSc, FRCS,

Stuart Littlewood, BA, MInstM

Martin Birnstingl, MS FRCS, previously senior surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London

Felicity Arbuthnot

Rich Wiles, Artist

Dr.C.J.Burns-Cox, MD, FRCP

Dr Nur Masalha, Reader in Religion and Politics and Editor of Holy Land Studies: A Multidisciplinary Journal

David Seddon, MA PhD

Robert Shearer, MB BS FRCS, Consultant Urological Surgeon (retd)

Medical Director, Royal Marsden Hospital, London 1994-2000.

James Goddard, MBE and Tricia Goddard

Sue Fanous, BSc, MA

Colin Imber, formerly Reader in Turkish Studies, University of Manchester

Mary Bedforth

(Ed. Note. Addresses in the original have been deleted for obvious reasons.)

Essential information for the Committee….

PCHR Weekly Report: Israeli Human Rights Violations
http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/W_report/English/2007/13-12-2007.htm

Walt & Mearsheimer: The Israel Lobby
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

John Pilger
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18904.htm

USA’s Israel Lobby http://www.redress.cc:80/global/pjballes20070917

Jeff Halper: Israel’s Strategy for Permanent Occupation
http://www.counterpunch.org/halper11272007.html

Privatising Zionism
http://www.zmag.org:80/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=107&ItemID=14510

Uri Avnery: Talk with Hamas Now
http://www.redress.cc/palestine/uavnery20060129

Facts about the Founding Fathers of Israel
http://www.redress.cc/palestine/skabbani20040424

40 Years of House Demolitions
http://www.icahd.org/eng/news.asp?menu=5&submenu=1&item=488

Gaza: A Call for Urgent Action
http://www.icahd.org/eng/news.asp?menu=5&submenu=1&item=483

Not Only Territory but Viability
http://www.icahd.org/eng/news.asp?menu=5&submenu=1&item=480

Matrix of Control
http://www.merip.org/mer/mer216/216_halper.html

Torment and Torture http://www.redress.cc/palestine/dhalpin20071211

Finally, a quiz to test the knowledge of any Friend of Israel on the Refugee issue
http://www.personal.leeds.ac.uk:80/~eenajma/PalQuiz/quiz1/quizmaker.html

Lest we forget…..

The Seven Principles of Public Life
The Committee has set out ‘Seven Principles of Public Life’ which it believes should apply to all in the public service. These are:

Selflessness
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.

Integrity
Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.

Objectivity
In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.

Accountability
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.

Openness
Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Honesty
Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.

Leadership
Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

The full story in
http://www.unobserver.com/layout5.php?id=4209&blz=1

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-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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IS ZIONISM THE ANTI-CHRIST?

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

IS ZIONISM THE ANTI-CHRIST?

(Ben Heine © Cartoons)

The zionist press, with the support of many Western journalists have been sending out report after report about the discrimination against Christian Palestinians by their Muslim brothers.

Rather than focus on the real problems facing Palestine, ie the occupation, genocide, apartheid… etc.etc… a new problem is invented to take attention away from those harsh realities.

For centuries Palestinian Muslims lived side by side with Palestinian Christians in perfect harmony, until the new anti Christ appeared on the scene.

The following essay raises many interesting points on this question, it’s worth taking the time to read it….

In the same prison together

By Sonja Karkar

A Palestinian dressed as Santa Claus hands out small gifts to Palestinianmotorists near the wall in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, December 2006. (Moamar Awad/MaanImages

As Christmas approaches this year, the thoughts of Christians all over the world will once again turn to Bethlehem, the holy town where Jesus was born over two millennia ago. Voices will be raised in joyful celebration and children everywhere will recreate the Christmas story to help us remember the circumstances in which the Christ child was born.Such a momentous occasion in such humble surroundings heralded a new way of thinking about people’s relationship with God and with each other. It shook the foundations of an unforgiving society presided over by an unforgiving God and proclaimed peace and goodwill on earth amongst all people. There was indeed much to hope for.However, the tranquil pastoral scene so familiar to us is not at all evident in Bethlehem today. Bethlehem does not lie still, and peace on earth and goodwill towards all is as elusive as ever. The tyranny of Israel’s occupation and its colonial expansionism is crippling the lives of both Palestinian Christians and Muslims alike. Yet, many Christians will again ignore the misery suffered by the Palestinians in the Holy Land and will celebrate Christmas without remembering that it was amongst this people and in their land that Jesus was born. Priests will chant, masses will be said, carols will be sung and nativity scenes will be created, but it is unlikely that many sermons will urge Christian congregations to speak out against the crimes being committed in Palestine.

Only recently, a delegation of eminent Australian Church leaders returned from visiting the Holy Land and reported their distress at “the suffering and fear experienced daily by large numbers of people.” [1] The report criticizes Israel’s military occupation for the “systematic harassment, physical and psychological oppression, widespread unemployment, poverty, and economic deprivation” [2] of both Palestinian Christians and Muslims. No doubt these church leaders will encourage their ministries to spread the word before the momentum is lost, but there are many forces working against justice for the Palestinians. Their statement has already been criticized by the Israeli ambassador and they are likely to face objections not only from Jews who support a Zionist state in Israel, but also from Christian quarters.

A dangerous Christian ideology which endorses the rhetoric of Zionism and the conquest of all Palestine for Israel is making its presence felt in Australia. This Christian fervor for Israel has found expression in a revitalized Christian Zionism that began back in the sixteenth century [3] and is directed today against Islam and Muslims. In the US particularly, it has misconstrued the messianic and apocalyptic legacy of the Christian faith and has replaced the Jewish and communist Anti-Christ of Christian Zionism’s earlier imaginings with an Islamic Anti-Christ. This Anti-Christ, it believes, will be defeated in Israel where all mankind will gather for the coming of the Messiah. Dubious theological reasoning aside, that the dispossession, degradation and humiliation of the Palestinians who have lived in this land for millennia, can be condoned on such a pretext is even more abhorrent and preposterous.

Unfortunately, the influence of this Christian Zionism is growing rapidly and threatens the thinking of a whole generation of mainstream Christians regardless of their denominations, including Christians in the Holy Land. Father Rafiq Khoury of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem gives a very disturbing account of Christian Zionism’s effect on religion and politics. [4] Where once Christians and Muslims shared common values and aspirations in Palestinian society, Christian Zionism has succeeded in fragmenting this already battered community as it struggles to withstand Israel’s punishing occupation. Amongst certain sections of this society, Christians and Muslims are now viewing each other with suspicion, and Christians in Palestine, like those abroad, are beginning to see Islam as the enemy. Needless to say, this has been enormously detrimental to the Palestine liberation movement.

It would surprise many Christians in the West that Palestinian Christians and Muslims have prayed in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity for centuries. In fact, the Qur’an — the holy book of Islam — refers often, and with great reverence, to Jesus and Mary. Muhammad himself preserved an icon of Mary and the child Jesus after the conquest of Mecca and ordered that it remain within the Ka’ba to which Muslims make their obligatory pilgrimage from all over the world. [5]

Since 638 CE, Muslims have had the right to pray in the south aisle of the church when the Patriarch of Jerusalem handed over Palestine to Caliph Omar as he swept into Bethlehem with his Arab armies. [6] Muslims recognize Jesus as the Christ, the mightiest Messenger of God who was born miraculously of the Virgin Mary and who, through God, was able to perform miracles. However, Christians and Muslims part ways on Christ’s divinity. Muslims believe that there has always been and continues to be one God only and that joining Christ and the Holy Spirit with God the Father in what is known as the Trinity — a major tenet of Christianity — compromises that singular divinity of God.

It has not though affected their recognition of, and reverence for, Jesus and Mary. The highly regarded theologian of the early Christian Church, St. John of Damascus actually thought that Islam was merely another form of Christianity [7], and indeed today, St. John would probably be more comfortable with the practices and beliefs of Muslims than he would with the form of Christianity that has developed in the West, particularly Christian Zionism.

So much of the fear and antagonism we see today against Muslims come from ignorance. In Palestine, Christian and Muslims have lived together in harmony for centuries, and particularly in Bethlehem, they have not only shared Christmas celebrations, but even the Muslim feasts Eid al-Fitr at the end of the Ramadan fast and Eid al-Adha. As one young Bethlehem tour guide commented in 2002:

“We know how to celebrate together, because we know how to weep together. We have suffered as one people under 35 years of occupation. The same week that Mary, a Muslim mother of seven was killed in Beit Jala, Johnny, a 17-year-old, died in Manger Square as he was coming out of the Church of the Nativity, both shot by Israeli snipers. We’re all inmates together, Muslims and Christians, in the same miserable prison called Palestine. We have no freedom, no peace, no jobs, no money for winter heating, no traveling to Jerusalem or between towns and villages, no future.”

And that is the sum of what is so often forgotten in the search for peace and justice: the escalating inhuman situation suffered by the Palestinians — Christians and Muslims.

Sing as we might this Christmas, the hopes and dreams of all the years is unlikely to be met in Bethlehem for those who live there. Nor are they likely to be met for the Palestinians barely hanging on to their miserable existence in Gaza, or the Palestinians in the other cities, towns and villages in the Holy Land and even less for the stateless Palestinians long deprived of hope in the refugee camps. Every chorister’s hallelujah will just be a death knell for another generation of Palestinians and every Christmas reflection will become meaningless words of Christian faith, unless we are prepared to look beyond the tinsel and the feasting and really do something to stop Israel’s crimes against both Christians and Muslims in Palestine.

Sonja Karkar is the founder and president of Women for Palestine in Melbourne, Australia.

Endnotes
[1] Statement by Australian Church Leaders, Bethlehem, 18 December 2007.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Fr. Rafiq Khoury, “Effects of Christian Zionism on religion, Christian local churches and peace research”, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum, Jerusalem, 2004 (a presentation given at the Al-Sabeel International Conference on 15 April 2004).
[4] Ibid.
[5] Uri Rubin, “The Ka’ba: Aspects of its Ritual Function and Position in Pre-Islamic and Early Islamic Times,” Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam 8 (1986) 97-131.
[6] Dr G S P Freeman-Grenville, The Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Palestine Exploration Fund, January 1994.
[7] William Dalrymple, “What Muslims and Christians share: A Christmas meditation,” The New Statesman, 19 December 2005.

Source

The full story in
http://desertpeace.blogspot.com/2007/12/is-zionism-anti-christ.html

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-muslim voice-
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BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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A funny list of dumb laws in the United States – Indiana

Posted by musliminsuffer on December 26, 2007

bismi-lLahi-rRahmani-rRahiem
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful

=== News Update ===

A funny list of dumb laws in the United StatesIndiana

• “Spiteful Gossip” and “talking behind a person’s back” are illegal.
• A man over the age of 18 may be arrested for statutory rape if the passenger in his car is not wearing her socks and shoes, and is under the age of 17.
• A person who dyes, stains, or otherwise alters the natural coloring of a bird or rabbit commits a Class B misdemeanor. (Ind. Code 15-2.1-21-13(b)
• A sports agent is supposed to give a college 10 days notice before luring a star athlete into the professional ranks.
• A three dollar fine per pack will be imposed on anyone playing cards in Indiana under the Act for the Prevention of Gaming.
• All males 18 to 50 years old must work six days a year on public roads.
• Anyone 14 or older who profanely curses, damns or swears by the name of God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, shall be fined one to three dollars for each offense, with a maximum fine of ten dollars per day.
• Auburn: It is illegal to bike, roller-skate, skateboard, or inline skate in a commercially zoned area. For these offenses, there is a fine of no more than $5 or the impounding of one’s bicycle for a period not to exceed 30 days.
• Back in 1924, a monkey was convicted in South Bend of the crime of smoking a cigarette and sentenced to pay a 25 dollar fine and the trial costs.
• Bathing is prohibited during the winter.
• Baths may not be taken between the months of October and March.
• Beech Grove: It is forbidden to eat watermelon in the park.
• Check forgery can be punished with public flogging up to 100 stripes.
• Citizens are not allowed to attend a cinema or theatre nor ride in a public streetcar within at least four hours after eating garlic.
• Drinking from your own bottle in a bar can lead to your arrest.
• Drinks on the house are illegal.
• Due to a typographical error, a routine ordinance in Shelbyville, Ind., about charging for bad checks started out: “Whereas, the city of Shelbyville through its various governmental fascists receives numerous checks…” This was changed to “governmental facets.”
• Elkhart: It is illegal for barbers to threaten to cut off kid’s ears.
• Evansville: While driving on Main Street you may not have your lights on.
• Fort Wayne: You may not sell or play on a radio broadcast, the record “It’s In the Book”.
• Gary: Within four hours of eating garlic, a person may not enter a movie house, theater, or ride a public streetcar.
• Grocery stores may not sell any type of cold liquor.
• Hotel sheets must be exactly 99 inches long and 81 inches wide.
• If any person has a puppet show, wire dancing or tumbling act in the state of Indiana and receives money for it, they will be fined $3 under the Act to Prevent Certain Immoral Practices.
• In Gary, Ind., persons are prohibited from attending a movie house or other theater and from riding a public streetcar within four hours of eating garlic.
• In Indiana it is illegal to sell laughing gas with the intent to induce laughter.
• In South Bend, Indiana, it is illegal to make a monkey smoke a cigarette.
• It is against the law to pass a horse on the street.
• It is illegal in Elkhart, Indiana, for a barber to threaten to cut off a youngster’s ears.
• It is illegal for a liquor store to sell cold soft drinks.
• It is illegal for a man to be sexually aroused in public.
• It is illegal for barbers to threaten to cut off kid’s ears.
• It is illegal to sell cars on Sunday.
• Liquor stores may not sell milk.
• Men are prohibited from standing in a bar.
• Monkeys are forbidden to smoke cigarettes in South Bend.
• Mustaches are illegal if the bearer has a tendency to habitually kiss other humans.
• No one may catch a fish with his bare hands.
• One man may not back into a parking spot because it prevents police officers from seeing the license plate.
• Oral sex is illegal.
• Pedestrians crossing the highway at night are prohibited from wearing tail lights.
• Smoking in the state legislature building is banned, except when the legislature is in session.
• South Bend: It is illegal to make a monkey smoke a cigarette.
• State government officials who engage in private duels can be dismissed from their post.
• Taxpayers of Bainbridge, Ind., used to have to swear a solemn oath that the values they placed on their taxable property were the fair market values.
• Terre Haute: No one may spit on the sidewalk.
• The value of Pi is 4, and not 3.1415.
• Within four hours of eating garlic, a person may not enter a movie house, theater, or ride a public streetcar.
• You are not allowed to carry a cocktail from the bar to a table; the waiter or waitress has to do it.
• You are required to pour your drink into a glass.
• You can get out of paying for a dependent’s medical care by praying for him/her.
The full story in
http://www.bored.com/crazylaws/index.htm

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-muslim voice-
______________________________________
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW

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