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Archive for February, 2008

Muslim leader decries American ‘bigotry’ against Islam

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Muslim leader decries American ‘bigotry’ against Islam

By Bruce Nolan, Religion News Service

American culture’s view of American Muslims and Islam is steadily deteriorating under an onslaught of “bigotry” on cable news shows, newspaper op-ed pages and in the blogosphere, an Arab-American activist told an audience at Tulane University here Tuesday.

That’s a significant shift, said Hussein Ibish, founder of the Foundation for Arab-American Leadership in Washington, D.C.

Decades before 9/11, Hollywood handed Americans the perceived wisdom on Arabs as passionate, hyper-sexed, irrational and cruel. Movies such as Rudolph Valentino’s 1921 silent classic The Sheik and turn-of-the-century thrillers such as The Rules of Engagement portrayed Arabs only as terrorists, Ibish said.

Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, however, Hollywood has backed off. In the meantime, Ibish said, commentators and politicians on the right — and a few on the left — have replaced film stereotypes with hours of air time devoted to misrepresenting Islam and fueling suspicion about American Muslims.

Ibish, formally trained as a literature scholar at the University of Massachusetts, works in public policy now. He described his foundation as one that trains Arab-American leaders to describe their values to the broader culture in easily understood American terms. He appeared as part of a university symposium on relations between the U.S. and Muslims.

Ibish is an occasional guest on cable talk shows, often recruited to represent an Arab-American point of view in some cultural or civil liberties conflict. He has had at least a couple of sharp exchanges with the Fox News Network’s Michelle Malkin. One, in May, turned on whether the Kansas City International Airport was right to install a faucet so Muslim cab drivers could wash their feet before prayer.

Since 9/11, he said, commentators such as Malkin, Ann Coulter, Charles Krauthammer, Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz have transferred old anti-Arab stereotypes to Islam, in a stream of “incredibly bigoted commentary” that would not have been tolerated before then.

“This is what explains the collapse of the good name of Islam,” he said.

In this context, Ibish said, the West sees Islam as bent on its destruction and American Muslims as suspected allies who cannot credibly deny otherwise. Thus, ethnic profiling becomes reasonable and forced internment or mandatory identification of Muslims becomes a potential remedy, he said.

Moreover, any request for cultural accommodation, such as the water faucet in the airport, may be linked back to the memory of 9/11.

Ibish said he did not want to sound alarmist. “This is still a great country to live in,” he said. But a growing climate of suspicion toward Muslims — and the automatic dismissal of Muslim denials — make the situation steadily worse, he added.

“There are people who want to make it impossible for the American Muslim community to engage in dialogue,” Ibish said.

While most of the anti-Islamic rhetoric comes from the right, it occasionally comes from the left as well, he said.

Ibish noted that Eastern liberals, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., opposed Bush administration plans to let a Dubai company operate a number of American ports, saying it was too great a security risk.

Finally, a student of American popular culture would find that anti-Islamic rhetoric sounds vaguely familiar, Ibish said.

He said that’s because in tone and substance it almost exactly tracks the anti-Semitic messages that filled American culture between the world wars.

Bruce Nolan writes for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

source: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-02-20-muslim-views_N.htm

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

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‘World would back Palestine independence’

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

‘World would back Palestine independence’

Mon, 25 Feb 2008 22:01:32

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

There is no doubt that if Palestine unilaterally declared independence many nations would recognize it, says Russia’s Foreign Minister.

Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Kosovo’s Western-backed declaration of independence from Serbia one week ago could spur Palestinians into following suit.

“At present there are already some Palestinian politicians who say it is futile to follow up negotiations with Israel and that these negotiations will not yield anything,” Lavrov said on the Vesti 24 television channel.

“And voices are starting to be heard saying that after the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo we would proceed in the same way with a Palestinian state,” he added.

Kosovo’s Albanian-majority parliament unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on February 17.

The move was backed by the US and EU but was condemned by Russia.

source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=44679&sectionid=351020202

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

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Freedom of Speech, Freedom from speech, and the Wests Double Standard: A Muslims View

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Published in “Qadhaya Dawliyah” (International Affairs), Pakistan, March 11, 1996, and to appear in “Periodica Islamica” in 1997.

Freedom of Speech, Freedom from speech,

and the Wests Double Standard: A Muslims View

Author Sherif Mohammed

I was deeply offended by the events described in an article in the Sep. 25, 1995 issue of “Qadhaya Dowaliyah” (“International Affairs” an Arabic weekly issued in Pakistan).

It describes the furious reaction of many German intellectuals to the announcement of the Frankfurt based German Book Publishers Association that the prestigious Book Peace Award for the year 1995 would be awarded to Professor Annemarie Schimmel. Dr. Schimmel is an eminent Orientalist whose academic and literary achievements are extraordinary. She was born in Germany in April 1922.

She started to learn Arabic and Persian when she was 15 years old. She got her PhD from the University of Berlin at the age of 20 and became a full professor at the age of 25. Dr. Schimmel taught in German, Turkish, and Indian universities as well as in Harvard. She is a world authority on Islamic Mysticism and her book, The Mystical Dimensions of Islam, is one of the most authoritative references on the subject. She has a good command of 12 languages and has translated many Oriental poems into German. She is the author of more than one hundred books, essays, and articles written in different languages. She was a member of the official delegation that accompanied the German President in his latest visit to Pakistan and Central Asia. After more than 50 years of scholarly achievements, Dr. Schimmel has been chosen to receive the German Book Peace Award for 1995 which she is due to receive on Oct. 15. As soon as it became known that Dr. Schimmel would be the recipient of this important award, many German intellectuals expressed their indignation at the decision. Hundreds of writers, academics, publishers, and book store owners signed a petition urging the German Book Publishers Association not to grant Dr. Schimmel the award. Moreover, some members of the German Parliament strongly protested giving the award to her as a “farce.” The German President, who is scheduled to deliver the award to Dr. Schimmel, was put under intense pressure to dissuade him from handing the award to her.

“Why are so many people angry at this lady despite her brilliant academic achievements?”, I asked myself. Is she a Nazi war criminal? Is she a neo-Nazi? Is she a racist ? Is she a child molester or a drug addict? What crime on Earth could this professor have committed to cause such a wave of indignation in a country like Germany ? I could not find any answer that make sense. The article provided the answer which has deeply hurt me. Dr. Schimmel’s crime was that she described Salman Rushdie’s book, The Satanic Verses, as an insult to the feelings of millions of Muslims. That is all. Her grievous and intolerable mistake was defending the right of hundreds of millions of Muslims to express their anger at the words that Salman Rushdie had written in his book. The German intellectuals wrote in their petitions against Dr. Schimmel that she provided moral support to Muslim fundamentalists with her criticism of Rushdie. Moreover, granting an award to her is “a slap on the face” of those who are campaigning against terrorism inspired by religion. The fact that Dr Schimmel has expressed her disapproval of the death sentence issued against Rushdie did not abate the criticism against her. The only cheerful news in this sad episode is that the German President is still determined to hand the award to Dr. Schimmel and give a speech honoring her on Oct. 15. He described the protesters as “believers in the theory of clash of civilizations.” He also emphasized the need for understanding and having a dialogue with the Islamic civilization. As to Dr. Schimmel, she has been asked lately “Is it true that you have described yourself as a 50% Muslim?” She answered: “This is at least. I love the Islamic civilization and always try to defend it, especially in today’s world.”

The whole affair has bewildered me for a while. Is it a crime to defend the feelings of Muslims ? Is it a crime for Muslims to express their anger at hurtful remarks ? Is it unacceptable in today’s world that a religious group get angry when their sacred scripture is described as “Satanic” and the wives of their beloved Prophet are described as “whores” ? Is expressing indignation at offensive books wrong ? Should an outstanding scholar be punished for defending the abused group’s right to express their true feelings ? Why did the West insist that Muslims were wrong when they reacted angrily to the publication of Rushdie’s book ? Why did Western countries not accept Muslims’ requests to put a ban on the book ?

Some Westerners would attribute the reason for the West’s reaction to the desire of some Muslims to end Rushie’s life. However, it is a known fact that so many Muslims have stated that killing Rushdie is wrong as a matter of principle and that attempts to kill him would give him so much credit, wealth, and fame that he otherwise could have never achieved. Furthermore, It is very clear from what happened to Dr. Schimmel that Western intellectuals still consider any person who criticizes Rushdie to be a wrongdoer regardless of that person’s disapproval of Rushdie’s killing.

As a matter of fact, the overwhelming majority of Westerners would justify the West’s attitude by citing the magic phrase “Freedom of Speech.” If one argues with them “Do you mean absolute freedom of speech even offensive and hurtful speech?”, they would proudly affirm: “Yes unconditional freedom of speech. Anyone is entitled to express his/her views regardless of whether others will be pleased or offended by these views.” If you ask them: “Is this theory practiced unconditionally in the West today?” So many would not hesitate to give an affirmative answer. At this stage one should say “It is not the first time in history that so many have been so wrong for so long.” The truth of the matter is there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech neither in the West nor any where else. Skeptics would, rightly, demand evidence for this claim. Here are some haphazardly collected examples that I have mostly encountered by chance while reading Western newspapers, magazines, and books in the last few months.

Let us start with Germany. In 1991, Guenter Deckert, leader of the ultra-right-wing National Democratic Party organized a lecture at which an American speaker claimed that the Auschwitz gassing of Jews never took place. Deckert was prosecuted and convicted for arranging the lecture under a statute prohibiting incitement to racial hatred. In March 1994 he was tried again. Finally, he was given only a suspended one-year jail sentence and a light fine. The judges were criticized by other judges for the light sentence. The Federal Court of Justice overturned the light sentence and ordered another trial. The public was outraged by the series of events and the law responded. In April 1994, the German constitutional court declared that denials of the Holocaust are not protected by free speech. In order not to be outdone, the German Parliament passed a law declaring it a crime punishable by 5 years in prison to deny the Holocaust whether or not the speaker believes the denials.

A German publisher based in Munich withdrew and destroyed the German language version of an American book titled, Eye for an Eye, by John Sack (Basic Book, 1993) because it alleged that Stalin had deliberately chosen Jews to oversee secret police activities in the former German territories of post war Poland.

In Austria, one can get a prison sentence for denying the existence of the Nazi gas chambers. In 1992, the government modified the language of the law such that it would be considered a crime “to deny, grossly minimize, praise or justify through printed works, over the airwaves, or in any other medium the National Socialist genocide or any other National Socialist crime.”

In Denmark, when a woman wrote a letter to a newspaper describing homosexuality as “the ugliest kind of adultery”, she and the editor who published her letter were targeted for prosecution.

In Japan, a 250,000 circulation magazine, Marco Polo, carried, in its Feb. 1995 issue, an article claiming to present the new historical truth and argue that Nazi gas chambers are historically dubious. The reaction to the article was swift and severe. Major industrial firms such as Volkswagen and Mitsubishi cancelled their advertising in protest. The publishing house of Marco Polo withdrew all copies of the February issue, announced that it was dismissing Marco Polo staff, and shut down the magazine itself.

In Australia, any unfair written material that could be described as inciting racial vilification is banned by the 1989 Anti-Discrimination act. The writer and the publisher of such material may be exposed to damages of up to $40,000.

In Britain, laws against blasphemy still exist. British Muslims tried to make use of these laws against Salman Rushdie. They discovered that only blasphemy against Christianity is outlawed. That is, one is free to blaspheme against the religion of one’s neighbor as long as the neighbor does not happen to be a Christian. Therefore, the Satanic Verses was not proscribed. Ironically, a Pakistani movie ridiculing Rushdie and the whole affair of the Satanic Verses was banned from Britain.

In France, the French national assembly, in 1990, passed new laws to toughen the existing measures against racism, “The measures also outlaw revisionism — a historical tendency rife among extreme right-wing activists which consists of questioning the truth of the Jewish Holocaust in World War II.” Many intellectuals were disturbed by the words “measures” that “outlaw … questioning” included in the French legislation.

In June 1995, Princeton University professor, Bernard Lewis, was fined $2,062 for having denied that Armenians were victims of genocide in Ottoman Turkey early in this century. Moreover, Lewis was ordered to publish the court ruling in the daily Le Monde and warned that he risked further judicial action if he repeats his denial on French soil. Professor Lewis did not contest “the terrible human tragedy of the deportation” of the Armenians. But he considers that there was no “systematic annihilation” and that most of the victims died of “famine, disease, exhaustion or cold.” That is why, in an interview published by Le Monde in November 1993, when he was asked why Turkey still refused “to recognize the genocide of the Armenians’, Lewis replied: “You mean why do they refuse to recognize the Armenian version of that event?”

This comment led to a storm of protest from the Armenian community in Paris. Thirty university teachers published an open letter accusing Lewis of “betraying the truth and insulting the victims of Turkish brutality.” At first they tried to prosecute Lewis under the Loi Gayssot, passed in 1990, which makes denying the Holocaust a criminal offense. But it was pointed out to the Armenians that the communist deputy Gayssot had restricted his new law to those denying the truth of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. It should be noted that Lewis is a historian whose specialty is the history of Ottoman Turkey. He is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject.

In Aug. 17, 1995, A book published in Switzerland by the “Algerian committee of free activists” has been banned from entering French territory because “Its distribution is liable to affect public order…its underlying tone is anti-French”, said the spokesman of the French interior ministry.

In the U.S., the government cannot do much to silence obnoxious speech because of the first amendment to the constitution. However, nongovernmental institutions, especially the media and the universities have taken the lead. At the university of Michigan, a student said in a classroom discussion that he considered homosexuality a disease treatable with therapy. He was summoned to a formal disciplinary hearing for violating the school’s policy of prohibiting speech that victimizes people on basis of sexual orientation. The case has generated a lawsuit in federal courts. Another student who denounced Dr. Martin Luther King as a communist has been sentenced by his university’s judicial board to thirty hours of community service.

The American Media has a long history of voluntary censorship. For example, a series of films which explained why Muslims were growing more furious with the West, were taken off-air in the US. Broadcasters were faced with a lobby against them and there was a threat to advertising. The films titled, Roots of Muslim Anger, were made by Dr. Robert Fisk who has received the British Press Award as the best British foreign reporter for “Foreign reporting at its finest.” The reason for the intense lobbying against the series was that it considered Israel responsible for many Muslim grievances against the West. An imposing scholar such as Noam Chomsky who has been described by the New York Times as “arguably the most important intellectual alive” has never appeared in any of the US major television networks because his views always upset the American elite.

House speaker Newt Gingrich has dismissed a House historian when it was brought to his knowledge that she has once written: “The Nazi point of view, however unpopular, is still a point of view, and is not presented.”

In the summer of 1995, The War Veterans Lobby (one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington) has lobbied successfully to remove all the material describing the tragedies caused by the American atomic bombs thrown on Japan in 1945 from a World War II exhibition in Washington. Several historians protested the move as enforcing a kind of “patriotically correct history” which has no thing to do with the “real history.”

In 1986, author George Gilder (whose book Wealth and Poverty was a worldwide best seller in 1981) had a great difficulty in finding a publisher to republish his earlier book, Sexual Suicide, because of protests from feminists who think (as one of them has recently said on ABC) that “Sexual differences should not even be studied.”

Oxford University Press rejected Professor John Vincent’s book, A Very Short Introduction to History, which it had previously welcomed. The reason was that Vincent had not been politically correct. He had used the word “men” instead of “people”, referred to historians as “he” thereby excluding women historians, etc.

Michael Jackson’s latest album generated a wave of protest because some of the words therein were deemed racist by some American Jews. Charges of anti-semitism prompted Jackson back to the studio to get rid of the offensive words.

In Canada, CTV Television network on its popular morning show “Canada AM” has, on Oct. 15, 1994, hosted Josef Lepid, a leading Israeli political commentator, who, on the air, called for “a decent Jew in Canada” to assassinate Victor Ostrovosky (a former Israeli intelligence officer and author of two books exposing Israeli intelligence secret operations). The incident received conspicuous silence in the Canadian media. The very same commentators who had clamored for Rushdie’s right of free speech uttered no words in support of Ostrovosky’s same right.

A couple of years ago, a British historian was giving lectures in Canada in which he denied the Holocaust. He was arrested and deported by the Canadian authorities. Also, a school teacher was relieved of all teaching duties because he taught his students to disbelieve that the Holocaust has ever happened.

A university professor wrote on his campus journal that a woman who had been raped by her partner should bear some of the responsibility for the rape especially if she was improperly dressed. His comments prompted a huge outcry on campus. He was forced into early retirement.

It seems that the West does not only lack absolute freedom of speech, it lacks absolute freedom of thinking as well. One might enjoy the hospitality of German prisons (for 5 full years) for ‘believing’ that the Holocaust has never happened. In France, one does not have to be a ‘true believer’, merely questioning the Holocaust will do. One wonders what should be the punishment if some people deny World War II altogether. Perhaps, they should be executed. In North America, one would ‘only’ lose one’s job for disbelieving in the Holocaust. This ‘leniency’ is perhaps due to the fact that American jails are overcrowded. Questioning the differences between men and women is a taboo that any ‘decent’ human being should not discuss. Charges of sexism are used to deter those who contemplate exceeding the acceptable limits. Discussions about homosexuality and race are similarly stifled.

The seldom acknowledged fact is that thought control does exist in the West. It is practiced by the governments, the media, the universities, and more importantly by the politically correct crowd. Several insightful Western intellectuals have recognized this fact. For example, Alexis de Tocqueville described America (at a time when America was considered the freest place in the world) by saying: “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” George Santayana had this to say about the same theme: “There is no country in which people live under more overpowering compulsions…You must wave, you must shout, you must go with the irresistible crowd: otherwise you will feel like a traitor, a soulless outcast…In a country where all men are free, every man finds that what most matters has been settled for him beforehand.”

It should not be construed however that freedoms of thought and speech are nonexistent in the West. Such a conclusion would be untrue and unfair. As a matter of fact, the West does enjoy more freedom of speech than anywhere else in the world today. One cannot ignore the freedom to protest, demonstrate, and strike provided by Western constitutions. One cannot disregard the relatively open and free discussions and debates taking place in parliaments and lecture rooms throughout the West. One cannot dismiss the role of Western media in exposing politicians misdemeanor as insignificant. For example, one cannot forget the role of the Washington Post in the Watergate affair. Nevertheless, these freedoms are neither unlimited nor unconditional. Opinions which might irritate powerful groups, important interests, or significant segments of the population are silenced by many ‘nonviolent’ means. George Orwell in his article, The Freedom of the Press, has eloquently described the status of Western press: “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark without the need for any official ban…[the] press is extremely centralised and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question…Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”

Let us now try to honestly address the ticklish question of free speech. Should there be freedom of speech? Certainly. Absolute freedom of speech? Certainly not. Why? Offensive speech have disastrous consequences affecting individuals and the society at large. It leads to the spread of hatred, animosity, and divisiveness. For example, how many human beings would accept others to accuse their mothers of being whores ? Should the society protect the freedom of speech of the accuser or the freedom from offensive speech of the accused ? If one whole group in the society is denigrated as ‘niggers’ by another group, should the society protect the freedom of speech of the offending group or the freedom from speech of the offended group ? If non-Jews accuse Jews of conspiring to exterminate all other races, whose freedom should be protected ? If men describe women as sources of all evil, whose freedom should be protected ? When a group of women, whom one billion Muslims revere more than their own mothers, have been gratuitously defamed by Rushdie as whores, whose freedom should have been protected ? In general, societies have little to lose and so much to gain by proscribing outrageous speech. In fact, all human societies have, to one degree or another, practiced freedom from speech. However, not all societies have been honest to admit what they practice. The Quran has been unequivocal in forbidding all kinds of insulting speech: “O you who believe Let not some men among you ridicule others: it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let some women ridicule others: it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame nor be sarcastic of each other, nor call each other by offensive nicknames…” (49:11)

However, in limiting freedom of speech for the purposes of social peace and harmony, no society should go to the extreme of “outlaw … questioning.” This is the mentality of the dark ages, the Inquisition, and some ailing dictatorial regimes. The whole world must struggle to wipe out all the traces of this mentality rather than enforcing it by democratic legislation. Objective inquiry must never be banned for any reason whatsoever. If some people, for whatever reason, exploit the freedom of inquiry to incite racial, ethnic, sexual, or religious vilification, then a line has to be drawn between benign and malicious motives without sacrificing the priceless freedoms of thinking, questioning, and inquiring. It is exactly the same line that has to be drawn to distinguish between freedom of speech and freedom from speech. The Canadian Supreme Court has recently (July 20) drawn a similar line in its decisive ruling on libel law: “criticism, yes, but accusations rooted in non-facts that do gratuitous damage to the reputation of individuals, no.” The Quran does not only guarantee the freedom of thinking and questioning, it considers the act of thinking a sign of good faith. Thinking and reflection are considered among the characteristics of righteousness: “In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for people of understanding. Those who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides and reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth..” (3:190-191) The Quran in its numerous arguments with the unbelievers cites compelling evidence for them; not to make them believe, but to make them think: “…Thus does Allah make clear to you His signs: in order that you may reflect” (2:219) “…Such are the similitudes which We propound to people, that they may think” (59:21)

To sum up, the whole Rushdie affair and its protracted aftermath has never been a mere question of free speech in the West as any simple comparison between the fate of professor Lewis in France and the treatment professor Schimmel received in Germany would clearly reveal. The support which Rushdie has received in the West and the defamation which Dr. Schimmel has been subjected to in Germany have more to do with Western “Islamphobia” than with absolute freedom of expression. The Western blatant indifference towards the feelings of Muslims is due to intense Western misunderstanding, suspicion, and fear of Muslims and Islam. Had the West really believed in and practiced absolute freedom of speech, then Muslims would have been very wrong to demand a ban on the Satanic Verses since it would have been a violation of a well-established Western tradition. But the West has never practiced this imaginary absolute freedom of speech and probably never will. It is not at all unprecedented that Western publishing houses have voluntarily ( for fear of fines or of upsetting the public) refrained from publishing a book. Upsetting Muslims, on the other hand, was deemed by the publishers of the Satanic Verses to make the book far more saleable. The publishers realized the simple fact that Muslims in the West are neither powerful nor respectable and that perturbing them would attract the attention of so many readers who would have otherwise never paid any attention to the book. Muslims in the West are the least studied, the least understood, the least trusted, and the least respected minority group. According to a nationwide poll conducted for the American Muslim Council, 67% of Americans had favorable opinions of Roman Catholicism, 52% of Judaism, 39% of Christian fundamentalism and only 23% had a favorable opinion of Islam. Muslims in the West, especially in some European countries such as Germany, France, and Britain, live under conditions that can at best be described as contemptuous tolerance.

Therefore, my conclusion is that Muslims should not have reacted the way they did with respect to Rushdie’s insults. They must learn how to create a respectable and powerful presence for themselves in the West first before asking the West to be considerate to their feelings. They ought to understand the lesson that something is far more deeply rooted in the Western tradition than free speech and that is: double standard.

source: http://www.ummah.net/what-is-islam/respond/free.htm

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

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911 Explosive laden van 2-3 arrests

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

911 Explosive laden van 2-3 arrests

Posted Feb 26, 2008 07:25 AM PST

Category: 911

Video confirming that van full of explosives was found on 9-11 and the occupants arrested. From the way this story “went away”,, one is left to conclude that these were more Mossad agents.

“Evidence linking these Israelis to 9/11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.” — US official quoted in Carl Cameron’s Fox News report on the Israeli spy ring and its connections to 9-11.

source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CHq6JocvDM

===

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

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JAPAN MUSLIM PEACE FEDERATION: Correspondence with Danish Ambassador and other Protest information

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

JAPAN MUSLIM PEACE FEDERATION

Bessho 2-16-3-702, Hachioji-Shi, Tokyo 192-0363;

Mobile: 09033566207, Phone: 0426-76-4982, Fax: 0426-57-3551 email: muslim@muslimrevival.com

——————————————————————————————————————————–

To

His Excellency Mr. Freddy Svane,

Ambassador of Denmark,

Tokyo

February 27, 2008

Subject: Request for getting an official reply from your government

By the time of our appointment, if possible

Your Excellency,

Thank you very much for your acceptance of our request for appointment. We want to send our Protest Letter and all other related documents by email, which may be more than 13 pages and a list of Danish products in color we are campaigning for boycott by the Muslims all over the world. Please send us your email address so that we may email all this information to you before our meeting.

The purpose of all our protests is to get an apology and an affirmative reply about the positive intentions of your government to frame necessary laws to restrict freedom of speech with regard to humiliation of our most-revered Prophet of Islam, Mohammad (peace be upon him) in your country. There are already laws in other European countries like Germany and Austria against denying Holocaust, respecting the sentiments of about a total of 15 million Jews in the world today. We hope your government will also take positive measures to respect sentiments of 1.2 Muslims in the world and avoid enhancing tensions between Denmark and 57 Muslim countries of the world and to stop boycott of Danish products and demonstrations in all Muslim countries against your embassies.

After our emailing the documents, we will be very much obliged if we can get a positive reply from Your Excellency by the time of our appointment, if possible.

Looking forward to your favorable reply in this regard, we remain,

Sincerely,

For JAPAN MUSLIM PEACE FEDERATION

Hussain Khan,

Coordinator,

*********************

JAPAN MUSLIM PEACE FEDERATION

Bessho 2-16-3-702, Hachioji-Shi, Tokyo 192-0363;

Mobile: 09033566207, Phone: 0426-76-4982, Fax: 0426-57-3551 email: muslim@muslimrevival.com

———————————————————————————————————–

To

His Excellency Mr. Freddy Sbane,

Ambassador of Denmark,

Tokyo

February 26, 2008

Subject: Request for an appointment to present a Protest Letter

Against the publication of provocative cartoons in 17 newspapers of your country

Your Excellency,

We take this opportunity to thank your previous ambassador for granting an appointment to our delegation last time at your embassy about two years ago and for having a dialogue with the undersigned in Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo on the same issue as mentioned above.

We are holding a demonstration on Friday, 29th February, 2008 at 3 p.m. in Ebisu Park near your embassy protesting against the repeated publication of humiliating and provocative cartoon of our most-revered Prophet Mohammad in 17 newspapers of your country. After this demonstration, a delegation of 7 representatives of the Federation wants to have an appointment with Your Excellency at 4.30 p.m. on the same day to present a Protest Letter for forwarding it onward to your Prime Minister. This Protest Letter will be on behalf of several Muslim organizations in Japan.

Looking forward to your favorable reply for the appointment, we remain,

Yours Sincerely,

Hussain Khan,

Coordinator,

JAPAN MUSLIM PEACE FEDERATION

********************

JAPAN MUSLIM PEACE FEDERATION

Bessho 2-16-3-702, Hachioji-Shi, Tokyo 192-0363;

Mobile: 09033566207, Phone: 0426-76-4982, Fax: 0426-57-3551 email: muslim@muslimrevival.com

To

His Excellency, Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen,

The Prime Minister of Denmark,

Copenhagen

Through The Danish Ambassador in Japan

February 29, 2008

Your Excellency,

Subject: Protest Against Anti-Muslim Prejudice Of Danish Government

And Against Publication Of Provocative Cartoon In 17 Danish Newspapers;

Make laws to prevent humiliation of our Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him)

On behalf of the Muslims living in Japan, we, the representatives of various Muslim organizations in this country, want to convey our feelings to your government with the hope that you will consider them seriously and apologize to the Muslims all over the world for the publication of a provocative cartoon in your 17 leading newspapers.

We regard it a matter of great regret that deserves full condemnation from all Muslims of the world that your government is determined to pursue anti-Muslim policies reminiscent of 11th and 12th century Crusades of Christians against Muslims. You are not preaching Christianity to us, but in the name of the so-called “freedom of speech”, your government has embarked upon a campaign of abusing Islam and its sacred prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him); and for which you have never expressed any regrets.

Unfortunately, your government is hiding its secret desire to abuse Muslims under the plea that the media in your country is free and not under your control. This is absolutely a false plea. Suppose your media starts an anti-Danish campaign and invites some foreign country to militarily attack Denmark and make all Danish people slaves of some foreign power, would you allow your media to carry on such a press campaign against the interests and basic values of your country? Would you allow a criminal to continue killing your countrymen in the name of his freedom of action? No, absolutely not. Then you will forget the plea of “freedom of speech” or “freedom of action”, and use your political power to control such non-sense.

Please have a look on the attached document under the caption, “Hypocrisy of the Freedom of Speech in the West”. It documents many cases showing there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech in the West. We give here a few excerpts from it. In your own country, Denmark, when a woman wrote a letter to a newspaper describing homosexuality as “the ugliest kind of adultery”, she and the editor who published her letter were targeted for prosecution. In June 1995, Princeton University professor, Bernard Lewis, was fined $2,062 for having denied that Armenians were victims of genocide in Ottoman Turkey early in this century. Moreover, Lewis was ordered to publish the court ruling in the daily Le Monde and warned that he risked further judicial action if he repeats his denial on French soil. An imposing scholar such as Noam Chomsky who has been described by the New York Times as “arguably the most important intellectual alive” has never appeared in any of the US major television networks because his views always upset the American elite. In 1986, author George Gilder (whose book Wealth and Poverty was a worldwide best seller in 1981) had a great difficulty in finding a publisher to republish his earlier book, Sexual Suicide, because of protests from feminists who think (as one of them has recently said on ABC) that “Sexual differences should not even be studied.” Michael Jackson’s latest album generated a wave of protest because some of the words therein were deemed racist by some American Jews. Charges of anti-semitism prompted Jackson back to the studio to get rid of the offensive words. In April 1994, the German constitutional court declared that denials of the Holocaust are not protected by free speech. In order not to be outdone, the German Parliament passed a law declaring it a crime punishable by 5 years in prison to deny the Holocaust whether or not the speaker believes the denials. In Austria, one can get a prison sentence for denying the existence of the Nazi gas chambers. In 1992, the government modified the language of the law such that it would be considered a crime “to deny, grossly minimize, praise or justify through printed works, over the airwaves, or in any other medium the National Socialist genocide or any other National Socialist crime.” In France, the French national assembly, in 1990, passed new laws to toughen the existing measures against racism, “The measures also outlaw revisionism — a historical tendency rife among extreme right-wing activists which consists of questioning the truth of the Jewish Holocaust in World War II. House speaker Newt Gingrich has dismissed a House historian when it was brought to his knowledge that she has once written: “The Nazi point of view, however unpopular, is still a point of view, and is not presented.” In Britain, laws against blasphemy still exist. British Muslims tried to make use of these laws against Salman Rushdie. They discovered that only blasphemy against Christianity is outlawed.

Your Excellency, from all the examples given above it is clear that all countries of the West have put restrictions on freedom of speech whenever it was something inconvenient to them or when it was against Christianity or against Jews. Why you cannot make similar laws to restrict the freedom of speech, if it goes against Islam and especially when it is something against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), the most revered personality by 1.2 billion Muslims of the world?

A Western scholar, a leading British commentator on religious affairs and author of Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, Karen Armstrong says, “……….I think it was criminally irresponsible to publish these cartoons. They have been an absolute gift to the extremists – it shows that the West is incurably Islamophobic. It sends a very bad message. But, more seriously, it is letting ourselves down. We trumpet abroad about what a compassionate culture we are. But these cartoons depicting Muhammad as a terrorist are utterly inaccurate, feeding into an Islamophobia that has been a noxious element in Western culture since the time of the Crusades. It can only inflame matters at this very crucial juncture of our mutual history. And now we are all living in this multicultural society cheek-by-jowl with one another, not even within a single country but we are linked to one another in our global village. We have to learn to live side by side better than this………”

George Bernard Shaw said about Muhammad (peace be upon him), “He must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness.”

The distinguished French Marxist orientalist Maxine Rodinson has told us in his book, Mohammed, that “The Comte de Boulainvilliers, early in the eighteenth century, hailed him as a free-thinker, the creator of a religion of reason. ……TheThe eighteenth century as a whole saw him as the preacher of natural, rational religion, far removed from the madness of the Cross. The academies praised him. Goethe devoted a magnificent poem to him, in which, as the very epitome of the man of genius, he is compared to a mighty river.”

In the concluding chapter of his book, the Frenchman goes on to say that Thomas Carlyle put Muhammad among the heroes of humankind in whom the spark of divinity is to be seen. Rodinson tells us the nineteenth-century Arabist Hubert Grimme “saw Muhammad as a socialist who was able to impose fiscal and social reform………..”

In the inimitable words of Alfred de Lamartine, “Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational dogmas, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness my be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he? (Historic de la Turquoise, Paris, 1854, Vol. II pp. 276-77). Stanley Lane-Poole, who hails Muhammad (SM) as “the most excellent of the creations of God” provides us with a beautiful graphic description of the tender virtues of the towering personage: “He was gifted with mighty powers of imagination, elevation of mind, delicacy and refinement of feeling. `He is more modest than a virgin behind her curtain’, it is said of him. He was most indulgent to his inferiors, and would never allow his awkward little page to be scolded for whatever he did.” “There is something so tender and…., and withall so heroic, about Muhammad, Edinburgh, 1882). But it is the `secular’ attitude of the Prophet of Islam (SM) which has perhaps enabled him to exert the greatest influence on the course of history. He was kind and merciful not only to the Christians, Jews and Sabeans, but to the pagans as well, always upholding the Qur’anic maxim that “there is no compulsion in religion.” And this `secular’ attitude of the last and the greatest Prophet prompts the renowned astronomer and historian to declare very boldly: “My choice of Muhammad to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels….Muhammad unlike Jesus was a secular as well as a religious leader. It is this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in history.” (Michael H. Hart, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, New York, PP. 33. 39, 40). The Encyclopaedia Britannica testifies: “Muhammad is the most successful of all prophets and religious personalities”. [11th edition, article entitled “Koran”] With some of the world’s greatest scholars of Islam providing historical context and critical perspective, three years in the making, MUHAMMAD: LEGACY OF A PROPHET, airing on WTVS Detroit Public Television, Sunday, December 22 at 9 p.m. ET, travels in the footsteps of the prophet to the Arabian desert and the holy city of Mecca, where much of Muhammad’s story unfolded. Noted actor Andre Braugher narrates, “His name was Muhammad, and in the next 23 years, he would bring peace to the warring pagan tribes of Arabia and establish the new religion of Islam, which today has 1.2 billion followers.”

The significance of the Prophet in the life of a Muslim can not be over-emphasized, as the renowned South Asian poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal (d. 1938) said: “You can deny God, but you can not deny the existence of the Prophet.” Muslim scholars have written extensively on how the Prophet’s love for all invites any believer from any tradition to him. Nevertheless, place of the Prophet in the daily lives of Muslims is at the center of their increasing their knowledge of Allah and surrendering themselves to the creator.

Your Excellency, we are not making any baseless allegations against your government. You have never asked your newspaper editors to stop acting against the very interests of Denmark itself, if it happens to be a matter concerning the cattle, known as Muslims in your dictionary. Your country has lost its reputation by demonstrations against it all over the world. On February 18, 2006, there was a peaceful demonstration against these cartoons in London. British police said about 15,000 people were present, and there were no reports of violence or arrests. Organizers estimated 40,000 people marched. Two years ago your economy had suffered by millions, rather by billions, of dollars due to boycott of Danish goods in Muslim countries. Your embassies were burnt in Damascus and Beirut. Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi asked for the resignation of a Cabinet minister, Roberto Calderoli, who wore a T-shirt featuring the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cartoons. The Italian consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi was set afire and besieged by protesters incensed at the cartoons. At least 10 people died. The Italian Foreign Ministry noted that the Italian consulate was the only western representation in Benghazi. Dozen of deaths occurred in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Libya and Pakistan. Your Islamophobia has made you insensitive to all these losses and uproar. Now your adamant unapologetic attitude is again inviting repetition of the same vicious circle. Again demonstrations against your government have started in Muslim countries like Indonesia, Pakistan and in several others. Your government never made any attempt to call a meeting of your media representatives to persuade and ask them to apologize to Muslims for their provocative publication of anti-Islam cartoons.

Your Excellency, in a recent televised speech to the nation, you have called for a halt to the violent protests which have ravaged schools and private property for more than a week in your country. According to a report in the Copenhagen post of 18th February, the protests are believed to have been sparked by an incident earlier this month in Copenhagen in which a police officer allegedly assaulted an elderly Palestinian immigrant. In the following days, disenchanted minority youth across the country joined in, and as of Sunday a reported 379 fires had been lit, including 108 cars and 11 schools.

Your Excellency, why such a small incident against an elderly Palestinian Muslim in your country goes out of proportion? It is simply because your prejudice against Muslims could not remain hidden for long and the Muslim youth in Denmark have seen your anti-Muslim face and unapologetic attitude toward the entire Muslim Ummah, which is encouraging your newspapers to abuse our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

While your government has always been insensitive to Muslim resentment, other non-Muslim and Christian countries like Russia and Belarus took exemplary action against their newspapers to discourage other publications to follow their lead in reprinting such provocative cartoons. They have banned such newspapers and Belarus has sentenced the editor for three years in Jail.

Even in a much more free country than your Denmark, i.e. the United States, most of the newspapers have followed a self-imposed ethical code, restrained themselves from reprinting such provocative cartoons and did not abuse the freedom of expression as it has been disgraced in your country.

The Editor-in-Chief, Carsten Juste, of the main culprit newspaper, Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, who initiated reprinting of abusive cartoon in alliance with 16 other newspapers, speaks of Danish media ethics code and Danish media traditions, while showing his sympathies with his Cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard. But in his self-styled ethical code and media traditions, it appears alright to punish over 1.2 billion Muslims for an uncommitted, unproven, hypothetical crime of 3 would-be Muslim assassins of his Cartoonist. Punish the entire Muslim Ummah for an uncommitted would-be crime of 3 persons and never apologize for it! Your government is exposing its secret anti-Muslim bias by remaining a silent spectator to all this drama!

You have no supporting evidence for trying these 3 would-be assassins in any Danish court of law, as you have no proof of their alleged murder plot. You have already freed one Danish Muslim suspect after interrogation and would deport the other 2 Tunisians without any trial. Why don’t you prosecute the criminals instead of punishing the entire Muslim Ummah? You are taking revenge, not from those 3 suspects, but from the Muslims all over the world. What a mockery of Danish justice! What a laughable standard of Danish ethics and media traditions!

Guardian Unlimited reported that in April 2003, Danish illustrator Christoffer Zieler submitted a series of unsolicited cartoons dealing with the resurrection of Christ to Jyllands-Posten. Zieler received an e-mail back from the paper’s Sunday editor, Jens Kaiser, which said: “I don’t think Jyllands-Posten’s readers will enjoy the drawings. As a matter of fact, I think that they will provoke an outcry. Therefore, I will not use them.” Why the editor did not use his right of ‘freedom of speech’. He was afraid of ‘provoking an outcry’ from Christians on the cartoons of Jesus Christ. The same newspaper did not bother for the outcry, if it is from the non-Christians like us and published the provocative cartoons of our Prophet twice after a gap of about 2 years. Are these the ethics and traditions in Denmark, which the Editor-in-Chief was speaking of?

As a matter of fact, the West as whole and your prejudiced anti-Muslim government in particular has double standards for the Muslims. You value the freedom of your editors but do not care for those who are hurt by the abuse of such a freedom.

In Islam, we have been taught to respect leaders of all religions and all cultures. But your ethical code allows abusing them just for the satisfaction of your anti-Muslim prejudices. Do your moral teachings allow you to hurt the feelings and sentiments of the people who have never hurt your elders, leaders or heroes?

In a multi-cultural global village of 21st century, we urge your government to come out of the narrow confines of prejudices against Muslims and apologize for the needless provocation by all leading 17 newspapers of your country and make such laws that do not allow freedom of speech to humiliate Islam and our beloved Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) ensuring that such provocations against Muslims will never happen again.

Sincerely Yours,

For Muslim Organizations in Japan

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JAPAN MUSLIM PEACE FEDERATION

Bessho 2-16-3-702, Hachioji-Shi, Tokyo 192-0363;

Mobile: 09033566207, Phone: 0426-76-4982, Fax: 0426-57-3551

email: muslim@muslimrevival.com

PRESS RELEASE FOR MEDIA IN JAPAN (URGENT)

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(Draft prepared by A. R. Siddiqi (International Muslim Center-Japan)

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On Friday, 29th, Feb. 2008, under the umbrella of Japan Muslim Peace Federation, the Muslim organizations and Muslim community in general, in Japan will stage a peaceful and well organized gathering at Ebisu Higashi Park at 3 p.m. and a delegation of 5 persons will go to the Embassy of Denmark in Tokyo to present a Protest Letter to the ambassador.

The Muslims will be protesting the reproduction of the caricature and cartoon of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and mercy of Allah be upon him), by 17 news papers in Denmark, recently. The Muslims see it as a conspiracy to give bad name to the noble personality of Prophet Muhammad the last messenger of Allah. The Muslims consider it a great sin and highly objectionable to produce, manufacture or print fictitious photo or image of the prophet in any form.

In the past about 2 yrs back the same mischief was committed by some newspapers in Denmark. Then also the Muslim representatives called upon the Danish Ambassador and handed over a letter of protest. The Ambassador expressed his regret and assured that such provocations will not be repeated again. As a protest then also dairy farm and all Danish products were boycotted all over the Muslim countries. The same fate is falling again upon the Danish products. In many countries the Muslims are so angry that they are demanding expulsion of the Danish Ambassador. The Muslim people are very sensitive in matters of Islam the religion of about 1.2 billion people all over the world.

The Muslims in Japan have demanded apology from the Danish Ambassador in Japan and urged him to prevail upon his government and the Danish media to respect the religious sentiments of 1.6 billion Muslims of the world. Now there is a world wide Muslim campaign against products of Denmark including Japan for total boycott by Muslims.

The Muslims in Japan insist that today the world needs mutual understanding and religious tolerance, not confrontation The Muslim community has expressed great appreciation of the people and government of Japan for respect given to Islam and Muslims in Japan.

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Hypocrisy of the Freedom of Speech in the West

By: Sherif Abdel Azeem Mohamed


(Excerpts from an article by Sherif Mohamed. Please click below for the full article: http://www.ummah.net/what-is-islam/respond/free.htm“)

“……..As a matter of fact, the overwhelhelming majority of Westerners would justify the West’s attitude by citing the magic phrase “Freedom of Speech.” If one argues with them “Do you mean absolute freedom of speech even offensive and hurtful speech?”, they would proudly affirm: “Yes unconditional freedom of speech. Anyone is entitled to express his/her views regardless of whether others will be pleased or offended by these views.” If you ask them: “Is this theory practiced unconditionally in the West today?” So many would not hesitate to give an affirmative answer. At this stage one should say “It is not the first time in history that so many have been so wrong for so long.” The truth of the matter is there is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech neither in the West nor any where else. Skeptics would, rightly, demand evidence for this claim. Here are some haphazardly collected examples that I have mostly encountered by chance while reading Western newspapers, magazines, and books in the last few months.

Let us start with Germany. In 1991, Guenter Deckert, leader of the ultra-right-wing National Democratic Party organized a lecture at which an American speaker claimed that the Auschwitz gassing of Jews never took place. Deckert was prosecuted and convicted for arranging the lecture under a statute prohibiting incitement to racial hatred. In March 1994 he was tried again. Finally, he was given only a suspended one-year jail sentence and a light fine. The judges were criticized by other judges for the light sentence. The Federal Court of Justice overturned the light sentence and ordered another trial. The public was outraged by the series of events and the law responded. In April 1994, the German constitutional court declared that denials of the Holocaust are not protected by free speech. In order not to be outdone, the German Parliament passed a law declaring it a crime punishable by 5 years in prison to deny the Holocaust whether or not the speaker believes the denials.

A German publisher based in Munich withdrew and destroyed the German language version of an American book titled, Eye for an Eye, by John Sack (Basic Book, 1993) because it alleged that Stalin had deliberately chosen Jews to oversee secret police activities in the former German territories of post war Poland.

In Austria, one can get a prison sentence for denying the existence of the Nazi gas chambers. In 1992, the government modified the language of the law such that it would be considered a crime “to deny, grossly minimize, praise or justify through printed works, over the airwaves, or in any other medium the National Socialist genocide or any other National Socialist crime.”

In Denmark, when a woman wrote a letter to a newspaper describing homosexuality as “the ugliest kind of adultery”, she and the editor who published her letter were targeted for prosecution.

In Japan, a 250,000 circulation magazine, Marco Polo, carried, in its Feb. 1995 issue, an article claiming to present the new historical truth and argue that Nazi gas chambers are historically dubious. The reaction to the article was swift and severe. Major industrial firms such as Volkswagen and Mitsubishi cancelled their advertising in protest. The publishing house of Marco Polo withdrew all copies of the February issue, announced that it was dismissing Marco Polo staff, and shut down the magazine itself.

In Australia, any unfair written material that could be described as inciting racial vilification is banned by the 1989 Anti-Discrimination act. The writer and the publisher of such material may be exposed to damages of up to $40,000.

In Britain, laws against blasphemy still exist. British Muslims tried to make use of these laws against Salman Rushdie. They discovered that only blasphemy against Christianity is outlawed. That is, one is free to blaspheme against the religion of one’s neighbor as long as the neighbor does not happen to be a Christian. Therefore, the Satanic Verses was not proscribed. Ironically, a Pakistani movie ridiculing Rushdie and the whole affair of the Satanic Verses was banned from Britain.

In France, the French national assembly, in 1990, passed new laws to toughen the existing measures against racism, “The measures also outlaw revisionism — a historical tendency rife among extreme right-wing activists which consists of questioning the truth of the Jewish Holocaust in World War II.” Many intellectuals were disturbed by the words “measures” that “outlaw … questioning” included in the French legislation.

In June 1995, Princeton University professor, Bernard Lewis, was fined $2,062 for having denied that Armenians were victims of genocide in Ottoman Turkey early in this century. Moreover, Lewis was ordered to publish the court ruling in the daily Le Monde and warned that he risked further judicial action if he repeats his denial on French soil. Professor Lewis did not contest “the terrible human tragedy of the deportation” of the Armenians. But he considers that there was no “systematic annihilation” and that most of the victims died of “famine, disease, exhaustion or cold.” That is why, in an interview published by Le Monde in November 1993, when he was asked why Turkey still refused “to recognize the genocide of the Armenians’, Lewis replied: “You mean why do they refuse to recognize the Armenian version of that event?”

This comment led to a storm of protest from the Armenian community in Paris. Thirty university teachers published an open letter accusing Lewis of “betraying the truth and insulting the victims of Turkish brutality.” At first they tried to prosecute Lewis under the Loi Gayssot, passed in 1990, which makes denying the Holocaust a criminal offense. But it was pointed out to the Armenians that the communist deputy Gayssot had restricted his new law to those denying the truth of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. It should be noted that Lewis is a historian whose specialty is the history of Ottoman Turkey. He is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the subject.

In Aug. 17, 1995, A book published in Switzerland by the “Algerian committee of free activists” has been banned from entering French territory because “Its distribution is liable to affect public order…its underlying tone is anti-French”, said the spokesman of the French interior ministry.

In the U.S., the government cannot do much to silence obnoxious speech because of the first amendment to the constitution. However, nongovernmental institutions, especially the media and the universities have taken the lead. At the university of Michigan, a student said in a classroom discussion that he considered homosexuality a disease treatable with therapy. He was summoned to a formal disciplinary hearing for violating the school’s policy of prohibiting speech that victimizes people on basis of sexual orientation. The case has generated a lawsuit in federal courts. Another student who denounced Dr. Martin Luther King as a communist has been sentenced by his university’s judicial board to thirty hours of community service.

The American Media has a long history of voluntary censorship. For example, a series of films which explained why Muslims were growing more furious with the West, were taken off-air in the US. Broadcasters were faced with a lobby against them and there was a threat to advertising. The films titled, Roots of Muslim Anger, were made by Dr. Robert Fisk who has received the British Press Award as the best British foreign reporter for “Foreign reporting at its finest.” The reason for the intense lobbying against the series was that it considered Israel responsible for many Muslim grievances against the West. An imposing scholar such as Noam Chomsky who has been described by the New York Times as “arguably the most important intellectual alive” has never appeared in any of the US major television networks because his views always upset the American elite.

House speaker Newt Gingrich has dismissed a House historian when it was brought to his knowledge that she has once written: “The Nazi point of view, however unpopular, is still a point of view, and is not presented.”

In the summer of 1995, The War Veterans Lobby (one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington) has lobbied successfully to remove all the material describing the tragedies caused by the American atomic bombs thrown on Japan in 1945 from a World War II exhibition in Washington. Several historians protested the move as enforcing a kind of “patriotically correct history” which has no thing to do with the “real history.”

In 1986, author George Gilder (whose book Wealth and Poverty was a worldwide best seller in 1981) had a great difficulty in finding a publisher to republish his earlier book, Sexual Suicide, because of protests from feminists who think (as one of them has recently said on ABC) that “Sexual differences should not even be studied.”

Oxford University Press rejected Professor John Vincent’s book, A Very Short Introduction to History, which it had previously welcomed. The reason was that Vincent had not been politically correct. He had used the word “men” instead of “people”, referred to historians as “he” thereby excluding women historians, etc.

Michael Jackson’s latest album generated a wave of protest because some of the words therein were deemed racist by some American Jews. Charges of anti-semitism prompted Jackson back to the studio to get rid of the offensive words.

In Canada, CTV Television network on its popular morning show “Canada AM” has, on Oct. 15, 1994, hosted Josef Lepid, a leading Israeli political commentator, who, on the air, called for “a decent Jew in Canada” to assassinate Victor Ostrovosky (a former Israeli intelligence officer and author of two books exposing Israeli intelligence secret operations). The incident received conspicuous silence in the Canadian media. The very same commentators who had clamored for Rushdie’s right of free speech uttered no words in support of Ostrovosky’s same right.

A couple of years ago, a British historian was giving lectures in Canada in which he denied the Holocaust. He was arrested and deported by the Canadian authorities. Also, a school teacher was relieved of all teaching duties because he taught his students to disbelieve that the Holocaust has ever happened.

A university professor wrote on his campus journal that a woman who had been raped by her partner should bear some of the responsibility for the rape especially if she was improperly dressed. His comments prompted a huge outcry on campus. He was forced into early retirement.

It seems that the West does not only lack absolute freedom of speech, it lacks absolute freedom of thinking as well. One might enjoy the hospitality of German prisons (for 5 full years) for ‘believing’ that the Holocaust has never happened. In France, one does not have to be a ‘true believer’, merely questioning the Holocaust will do. One wonders what should be the punishment if some people deny World War II altogether. Perhaps, they should be executed. In North America, one would ‘only’ lose one’s job for disbelieving in the Holocaust. This ‘leniency’ is perhaps due to the fact that American jails are overcrowded. Questioning the differences between men and women is a taboo that any ‘decent’ human being should not discuss. Charges of sexism are used to deter those who contemplate exceeding the acceptable limits. Discussions about homosexuality and race are similarly stifled.

The seldom acknowledged fact is that thought control does exist in the West. It is practiced by the governments, the media, the universities, and more importantly by the politically correct crowd. Several insightful Western intellectuals have recognized this fact. For example, Alexis de Tocqueville described America (at a time when America was considered the freest place in the world) by saying: “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” George Santayana had this to say about the same theme: “There is no country in which people live under more overpowering compulsions…You must wave, you must shout, you must go with the irresistible crowd: otherwise you will feel like a traitor, a soulless outcast…In a country where all men are free, every man finds that what most matters has been settled for him beforehand.”

It should not be construed however that freedoms of thought and speech are nonexistent in the West. Such a conclusion would be untrue and unfair. As a matter of fact, the West does enjoy more freedom of speech than anywhere else in the world today. One cannot ignore the freedom to protest, demonstrate, and strike provided by Western constitutions. One cannot disregard the relatively open and free discussions and debates taking place in parliaments and lecture rooms throughout the West. One cannot dismiss the role of Western media in exposing politicians misdemeanor as insignificant. For example, one cannot forget the role of the Washington Post in the Watergate affair. Nevertheless, these freedoms are neither unlimited nor unconditional. Opinions which might irritate powerful groups, important interests, or significant segments of the population are silenced by many ‘nonviolent’ means. George Orwell in his article, The Freedom of the Press, has eloquently described the status of Western press: “Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark without the need for any official ban…[the] press is extremely centralised and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question…Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”

Let us now try to honestly address the ticklish question of free speech. Should there be freedom of speech? Certainly. Absolute freedom of speech? Certainly not. Why? Offensive speech has disastrous consequences affecting individuals and the society at large. It leads to the spread of hatred, animosity, and divisiveness. For example, how many human beings would accept others to accuse their mothers of being whores ? Should the society protect the freedom of speech of the accuser or the freedom from offensive speech of the accused? If one whole group in the society is denigrated as ‘niggers’ by another group, should the society protect the freedom of speech of the offending group or the freedom from speech of the offended group ? If non-Jews accuse Jews of conspiring to exterminate all other races, whose freedom should be protected? If men describe women as sources of all evil, whose freedom should be protected? When a group of women, whom one billion Muslims revere more than their own mothers, have been gratuitously defamed by Rushdie as whores, whose freedom should have been protected? In general, societies have little to lose and so much to gain by proscribing outrageous speech. In fact, all human societies have, to one degree or another, practiced freedom from speech. However, not all societies have been honest to admit what they practice. The Quran has been unequivocal in forbidding all kinds of insulting speech: “O you who believe; let not some men among you ridicule others: it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let some women ridicule others: it may be that the latter are better than the former, nor defame nor be sarcastic of each other, nor call each other by offensive nicknames…” (49:11)

However, in limiting freedom of speech for the purposes of social peace and harmony, no society should go to the extreme of “outlaw … questioning.” This is the mentality of the dark ages, the Inquisition, and some ailing dictatorial regimes. The whole world must struggle to wipe out all the traces of this mentality rather than enforcing it by democratic legislation. Objective inquiry must never be banned for any reason whatsoever. If some people, for whatever reason, exploit the freedom of inquiry to incite racial, ethnic, sexual, or religious vilification, then a line has to be drawn between benign and malicious motives without sacrificing the priceless freedoms of thinking, questioning, and inquiring. It is exactly the same line that has to be drawn to distinguish between freedom of speech and freedom from speech. The Canadian Supreme Court has recently (July 20) drawn a similar line in its decisive ruling on libel law: “criticism, yes, but accusations rooted in non-facts that do gratuitous damage to the reputation of individuals, no.” The Quran does not only guarantee the freedom of thinking and questioning, it considers the act of thinking a sign of good faith. Thinking and reflection are considered among the characteristics of righteousness: “In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for people of understanding. Those who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides and reflect upon the creation of the heavens and the earth..” (3:190-191) The Quran in its numerous arguments with the unbelievers cites compelling evidence for them; not to make them believe, but to make them think: “…Thus does Allah make clear to you His signs: in order that you may reflect” (2:219) “…Such are the similitude which We propound to people, that they may think” (59:21)

To sum up, the whole Rushdie affair and its protracted aftermath has never been a mere question of free speech in the West as any simple comparison between the fate of professor Lewis in France and the treatment professor Schimmel received in Germany would clearly reveal. The support which Rushdie has received in the West and the defamation which Dr. Schimmel has been subjected to in Germany have more to do with Western “Islamphobia” than with absolute freedom of expression. The Western blatant indifference towards the feelings of Muslims is due to intense Western misunderstanding, suspicion, and fear of Muslims and Islam. Had the West really believed in and practiced absolute freedom of speech, then Muslims would have been very wrong to demand a ban on the Satanic Verses since it would have been a violation of a well-established Western tradition. But the West has never practiced this imaginary absolute freedom of speech and probably never will……… Muslims in thethe West are the least studied, the least understood, the least trusted, and the least respected minority group. According to a nationwide poll conducted for the American Muslim Council, 67% of Americans had favorable opinions of Roman Catholicism, 52% of Judaism, 39% of Christian fundamentalism and only 23% had a favorable opinion of Islam. Muslims in the West, especially in some European countries such as Germany, France, and Britain, live under conditions that can at best be described as contemptuous tolerance.

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

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The Taliban have Kabul in their sights

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

The Taliban have Kabul in their sights

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI – As Pakistani politicians scramble to form a coalition government following last week’s parliamentary elections, there has been a surge in violence in the Swat Valley and in other parts of North-West Frontier Province, and on Monday a senior army officer was assassinated.

The indications are that whoever takes power in Islamabad – be it the Pakistan People’s Party or the Pakistan Muslim League of Nawaz Sharif or a combination of both – the real battle will be in Afghanistan between the Taliban and al-Qaeda-led militants and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and its allies.

Army surgeon general Lieutenant General Muhammad Mushtaq Baig and seven other people were killed in a suicide attack in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. It was the most high-profile killing since the death of former premier Benazir Bhutto in the same city last December.

Apart from the Swat Valley, there has been an increase in violence, including bomb blasts, in the North Waziristan tribal area and Bajaur and Manshera agencies, after a brief lull in the runup to the elections. More than a dozen incidents have been reported.

The trigger for this appears to have been planned joint Pakistan-NATO operations in the region against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The militants aim to open up several fronts in Pakistan to dissuade the military from cooperating with NATO.

This situation is an embarrassment to the security apparatus as it was believed that following recent countrywide operations that uncovered militant cells in Karachi, Rawalpindi, Mianwali, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan that the problem was being contained.

The regional war
Asia Times Online investigations show that the Taliban’s three-pronged plan for their spring offensive comprises cutting off NATO’s supply lines running from Pakistan to Afghanistan, recruiting fresh volunteers and, most importantly, the creation of a strategic corridor running from Pakistan all the way to the capital Kabul.

Since being ousted in 2001 and waging annual spring offensives, this is the first time the Taliban have come up with the idea of creating such a corridor.

The long road to Kabul
As things stand, the Taliban have established pockets of resistance all around Kabul, in addition to more settled pockets across the country. The Taliban roam around freely in the eastern province of Wardak, just 30 kilometers from Kabul.

But now the Taliban want to connect the dots, as it were, to ensure a quick and steady supply of arms and men to reinforce the pockets sufficiently for attacks on the capital.

It is envisaged that the corridor initially starts in Mohmand Agency and Bajaur Agency in Pakistan and then passes through Kunar and Nooristan provinces all the way to the Taghab Valley in Kapisa province in the northeast about 100 kilometers from the capital.

In 2006, the Taliban seized the strategic Taghab Valley – as well as the Musayab Valley to the south of Kabul – with the goal of an assault on the capital, but because of limited supply lines they were only able to maintain their positions for a few months.

This year, the Taliban aim to retake these positions, while having in place secure supply lines starting in the Pakistani tribal areas to maintain a steady stream of men and resources.

Over the past year, the Taliban have increased the number of their fighters in Mohmand Agency to 18,000 and to between 20,000 to 25,000 in Bajaur Agency. Taliban quarters believe this will provide sufficient strength to ensure operation, which is due to run from April to September.

The counter-strategy
This steady gathering of forces in the two agencies did not go unnoticed by NATO. So, with Pakistani assistance, NATO will increase military operations aimed at nipping the corridor idea in the bud.

American special ground troops have escalated their activities in Kunar and Nooristan provinces and a US base in Kunar, just three kilometers from Bajaur Agency, is now fully operational. Once the operations are in full swing, Pakistan will provide assistance through its air base in Peshawar for attacks on militant bases in the agencies.

“The operation has to start in the month of March as the Taliban have to launch their operation in April,” a Pakistani security official told Asia Times Online.

However, Pakistan’s plans could still be derailed. A powerful lawyers’ movement is scheduled to launch protests on March 9 to pressure the new government into ousting President Pervez Musharraf. This would certainly delay any decision on Pakistan taking on the militants in a big way.

The lawyers are agitating for the reinstatement of members of the higher judiciary “who ceased to be judges” after Musharraf imposed emergency rule on November 3. Musharraf also suspended chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry last March,a move that set off country-wide protests.

Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, will be doing its best to fuel these flames to force Pakistan to back off and leave the way clear for the Taliban’s corridor.

source: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JB27Df01.html

===

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

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Shocking Stories About the Forgotten War in Afghanistan

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Shocking Stories About the Forgotten War in Afghanistan

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet

Posted on February 26, 2008

They say journalists provide the first draft of history. With the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, that draft led to an almost universal consensus, at least among Americans, that the attack was a justifiable act of self-defense. The Afghanistan action is commonly viewed as a “clean” conflict as well — a war prosecuted with minimal loss of life, and one that didn’t bring the kind of international opprobrium onto the United States that the invasion of Iraq would lead to a year later.

Those views are also held by many Americans who are critical of the excesses of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror.” But there’s a disconnect there. Everything that followed — secret detentions, torture, the invasion of Iraq, the assault on domestic dissent — flowed inevitably from the failure to challenge Bush’s claim that an act of terror required a military response. The United States has a rich history of abandoning its purported liberal values during times of war, and it was our acceptance of Bush’s war narrative that led to the abuses that have shattered America’s moral standing before the world.

In his book, The Guantánamo Files, historian and journalist Andy Worthington offers a much-needed corrective to the draft of the Afghanistan conflict that most Americans saw on their nightly newscasts. Worthington is the first to detail the histories of all 774 prisoners who have passed through the Bush administration’s “legal black hole” at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. But his history starts in Afghanistan, and makes it abundantly clear that the road to Guantánamo — not to mention Abu Ghraib — began in places like Kandahar.

AlterNet recently asked Worthington what that road looked like at its point of origin.

Joshua Holland: I think most Americans believe that we went into Afghanistan to rout anti-American or anti-Western “jihadi,” but your book captures the fact that the U.S. entered on one side of a long-standing civil war that had nothing to do with any sort of “clash of civilizations” between East and West. Can you give us some sense of what that conflict was about?

Andy Worthington: Sure, it’s a very good question, actually. Briefly, the roots of the conflict lie in the Afghan resistance to the Soviet invasion in the 1980s, when the United States, via Pakistani intermediaries, and the Saudis vied to fund the mujahideen — Afghan warlords and their soldiers, backed up by a rather smaller number of Arab recruits.

At the end of the 1980s, when the Soviet Union withdrew, the country was plunged into a civil war, as the various warlords, pumped up with billions of dollars of U.S. and Saudi aid, fought each other to gain control of the country. Tens of thousands of civilians died, and crime and human rights abuses were rife.

Largely in response to this lawlessness, the Taliban — initially a group of ultraorthodox religious students from the south of the country — rose up to cleanse the country by creating a pure Islamic state. Their project, too, was soon derailed by brutality and by a religious fundamentalism that shocked the West, but it was the struggle between the Taliban and the warlords of the Northern Alliance that attracted thousands of foreign foot soldiers to Afghanistan in the 1990s, summoned by fatwas issued by radical sheikhs in their homelands, which required them to help the Taliban in their struggle against the Northern Alliance.

Osama Bin Laden, who had been living in Saudi Arabia and Sudan in the post-Soviet period, returned to Afghanistan in 1996 and became involved in funding military training camps and building up his plans for a global, anti-American jihad, but — although there was some overlap between Al Qaeda and parts of the Taliban leadership — the vast majority of the recruits, as I’ve indicated, were involved not in a grand “clash of civilizations” but in a provincial inter-Muslim civil war.

Holland: That’s an important point. There’s a common belief that a seamless integration existed between the Taliban and Bin Laden’s group, and that integration justified our attacking Afghanistan, a nation-state, in “self-defense.” But in reality, the Taliban was busy fighting this inter-Muslim civil war and had little or no role in Al Qaeda. Let’s go a bit further: just how much overlap was there?

Worthington: According to a senior intelligence official interviewed by the journalist David Rose in 2004, the overlap was very small. Rose was told, “In 1996 it was nonexistent, and by 2001, no more than 50 people.” Now this official was referring to an overlap of fairly high-level people in both organizations, and certain commentators have pointed out that Al Qaeda’s “Arab Brigade” of around 500 soldiers contributed to the Taliban’s military strength, but, to return to what we discussed before, this was in the context of an inter-Muslim civil war, and not a war against the United States.

There were certainly major divisions within the Taliban leadership regarding Bin Laden, and even Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, was apparently unimpressed by Bin Laden in the years after his return to Afghanistan. In 1998, Omar had even been planning to betray Bin Laden to the Saudis, but when Al Qaeda attacked the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the U.S. retaliated by launching cruise missile attacks on training camps in Afghanistan, Omar drew closer to Bin laden. Even so, the Taliban offered to hand over Bin laden after 9/11 if proof was offered of his involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Holland: They were so close in 1998 — the deal had been done, and two jets carrying Saudi Prince Turki and a group of Saudi commandos had actually landed in Afghanistan and were waiting to pick up Bin Laden when the deal soured.

Worthington: That’s right. And another clear sign of the lies involved in the “seamless integration” you refer to happened on Oct. 7, 2001, the first night of “Operation Enduring Freedom,” when the U.S. military announced that it had bombed 23 Al Qaeda training camps. As I mention in the book, of the dozens of training camps established in Afghanistan from the 1980s onwards, most were funded by Pakistan and wealthy donors in the Gulf countries. Some were run by Afghan warlords, others by Pakistani groups and others by militant groups from other countries. Although bin Laden had a few camps of his own, it was inappropriate to describe all the training camps in Afghanistan as “Al Qaeda camps.”

Holland: OK, let me go back briefly to an earlier point. Supporters of Bush’s global network of “black” prisons say that those who ended up in them were “unlawful combatants.” And you said that a lot of people from around the Muslim world were drawn to serve as foot soldiers in Afghanistan’s civil war, but in the book, you also make it clear that many were not even foot soldiers — not combatants at all — but religious students, aid workers and other adventurous young people, and many of them would later get caught up in the chaos that followed the invasion and ended up at Gitmo.

Worthington: Yes, that’s right. I’d say that between 70 and 100 of the foreign — non-Afghan — detainees had traveled to Afghanistan to provide humanitarian aid to the Afghan people, to teach or study the Koran, as economic migrants, or even because they were curious about the “pure Islamic state” that, in some quarters, the Taliban was alleged to have established. A similar number were captured in Pakistan. Charity workers were captured near the border, where they had traveled to provide assistance at refugee camps, and others — including missionaries, entrepreneurs, economic migrants, refugees and students — were actually captured elsewhere in Pakistan, in towns and cities far from the “battlefields” of Afghanistan.

And then, of course, there are the Afghan detainees, who made up over a quarter of Guantánamo’s total population. Many of these were unwilling conscripts, who were forced to serve the Taliban, and most of the rest were picked up either on the basis of false intelligence — because the U.S. forces did not know who to trust — or were handed over by their rivals, in business or in politics, who told false stories to the Americans.

Holland: And what was the process by which the U.S. military sorted out one from the other — how did they distinguish between “enemy combatants” and the poor suckers that were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Worthington: There was no process. In all previous wars, the U.S. military has followed the Geneva Conventions, and, in accordance with Article 5 of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions, has held battlefield tribunals to separate the wheat from the chaff — or the fighters from the farmers. In the first Gulf War, for example, the military held 1,196 battlefield tribunals, and nearly three-quarters of the prisoners were subsequently released.

In Afghanistan, however, not only were there no battlefield tribunals, but Chris Mackey, who worked as a senior interrogator in the prisons at the airbases in Kandahar and Bagram, where the Guantánamo prisoners were processed, noted in his book The Interrogators that every single Arab who ended up in U.S. custody was sent to Guantánamo on the orders of senior figures in the military and the intelligence services, who received the lists of prisoners at their base in Kuwait.

Although only Afghans with “considerable intelligence value” were supposed to be sent to Guantánamo, Mackey also made it clear that it was not until June 2002, when around 600 detainees were already in Guantánamo, that those in charge on the ground in Afghanistan came up with a category of temporary prisoner — “persons under U.S. control” — who could be held for 14 days without being assigned a number that entered the system overseen by military officials in Kuwait. It was the only way that they could deal with at least some of the many innocent Afghans who ended up in their custody.

Holland: A few of the stories you tell in the book really drive these points home, so I’d like to just ask you to briefly tell us the stories of a couple of detainees. According to the U.S. military, there were three juveniles under 16 years of age who were held at Guantánamo. Choose any of the three, and tell us how he ended up at Gitmo.

Worthington: Well, first of all, there were actually far more than three detainees who were under 16 years of age, and all of these detainees should have counted as juveniles — and been treated accordingly — in any civilized society.

The three you’re talking about, however, are three Afghan boys who were aged 12, 13 and 14 at the time of their capture. Two were captured in a raid on the compound of a minor Afghan warlord named Samoud, whose many enemies seem to have included the Taliban, and the other — 14-year-old Mohammed Ismael Agha — was actually delivered to U.S. forces by the Taliban. He’d been looking for work with a friend and had been obliged to spend the night at a Taliban outpost. In the morning, the Taliban soldiers asked them to join them, and when they refused, they were delivered to the nearest U.S. base.

Holland: The military says that efforts were made to provide “for their special physical and emotional care,” that they were housed “in a separate detention facility modified to meet the special needs of juveniles” and “were not restricted in the same manner as adult detainees.” Is that what you found?

Worthington: Up to a point, yes. These three were, at some point, housed separately in a block called Camp Iguana, and they were released in January 2004, although they should have been released much earlier. They were the lucky ones, however. To give just one example, Agha’s companion, Abdul Qudus, who was also 14 years old, was not released until 2005 or 2006, and there is no evidence that he — or any of the other juveniles — was held separately from the rest of the adult population, or, for that matter, treated any differently.

The most notorious case of a juvenile in Guantánamo is, of course, the Canadian Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old when he was captured after a firefight in July 2002, in which he allegedly killed a U.S. soldier. Khadr was treated appallingly in Afghanistan and Guantánamo, and is currently on trial in one of the administration’s contentious military commissions, in which it has recently been revealed that he might not even have been responsible for the death of the U.S. soldier in the first place.

Holland: Who is Mohammed Sadiq?

Worthington: Mohammed Sadiq was Guantánamo’s oldest prisoner. 88 years old at the time of his capture, Sadiq was apparently seized because his nephew had worked for the Taliban. U.S. forces bombed his house, took all his belongings and delivered him to the prison at Kandahar airbase. He was one of the first detainees to be released, in October 2002, but the fact that he was sent to Guantánamo at all was a disgrace, and it was reported, after his release, that he was unable to come to terms with what had happened to him.

Holland: And, finally, tell me who Abdul Razeq was?

Worthington: Abdul Razeq was a severely disturbed schizophrenic who was kept isolated in Kandahar, because, amongst other things, he had a tendency to eat his own excrement. In a dehumanizing touch, the soldiers referred to all the detainees as “Bob,” and Razeq was known as “Crazy Bob.” He too was sent to Guantánamo, but was flown back to Afghanistan in May 2002. Chris Mackey noted that he arrived “strapped down in the center of the plane like Hannibal Lecter.” He was then placed in a maximum-security cell in a hospital, where a journalist interviewed him. He was so disturbed that he described the prison at Kandahar as a “hotel” and said that the Americans had taken him to Guantánamo “to treat my mental problems.”

Holland: And the U.S. thought these people were …

Worthington: “Enemy combatants.” That’s how it worked. Everyone who ended up in U.S. custody was an “enemy combatant.” Essentially, when you look at the lack of screening in Afghanistan and the failures of the tribunal process that took place in Guantánamo from 2004 onwards — which Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham, who worked on them, described in an explosive statement last year as reliant upon generalized and often generic “evidence” that had nothing to do with the detainees in question, and was designed merely to rubber-stamp their designation as “enemy combatants” — you realize that, in connection with the “War on Terror,” the presumption of innocence has been done away with completely.

For the first four and a half years after 9/11, every prisoner was effectively regarded as guilty until proved guilty. After the tribunals, 38 detainees were cleared for release — although the administration, denying the concepts of innocence and wrongful arrest, referred to them as “no longer enemy combatants” — and many more have been cleared in the review boards that have taken place every year since then, but for the 281 detainees who remain, it’s apparent that the “evidence” against them has never really been tested at all.

Holland: As I was reading the book, it struck me that not only did the American public — not to mention the military and intelligence establishments — have a totally false view of who the “enemy” was, but also that there was a widespread belief that the Northern Alliance were the “good guys.” I didn’t really sense any “good guys” in your book — who were we allying ourselves with?

Worthington: The short answer is that, in an attempt not to get bogged down like the Soviet Union did, the U.S. invasion involved just a few hundred Special Forces operatives who hooked up with various Northern Alliance leaders in northern Afghanistan and supported them with money, arms and air power.

There were some principled military commanders in the Northern Alliance — not least Ahmed Shah Massoud, the Alliance’s charismatic leader, who was killed by Al Qaeda assassins just two days before 9/11 — but even Massoud’s men had been accused of atrocities over the years, and what we should perhaps consider is that, at the base of everything, Afghanistan is a disproportionately well-armed country that has been psychologically brutalized by what is now nearly 30 years of war.

Nevertheless, the invasion led to some horrific events, in which the U.S. military was at least partly complicit. In November 2001, after the surrender of the city of Kunduz, Gen. Rashid Dostum, one of the Alliance leaders, slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands of native and foreign Taliban fighters by suffocating them in container trucks en route to his prison at Sheberghan (death by container being a fairly recent innovation that was practiced by both sides). There appears to be evidence that U.S. forces were not unduly put out by this turn of events, and that, moreover, they were involved in the particularly brutal treatment of some of the survivors at Dostum’s prison.

In one sense, of course, all of this could be regarded as part and parcel of the horrific reality of warfare, but the U.S. record is no better in the south of the country, where, in an attempt to foster support in the Taliban’s Pashtun heartlands, U.S. forces entered into numerous dubious deals with various untrustworthy warlords, which, in turn, led to many innocent Afghans being sent to Guantánamo.

Holland: Now, in the book you describe a scene of total chaos in the aftermath of the invasion, and one of the common claims among so many of the detainees who would end up at Gitmo was that they had been sold to U.S. troops by these same allies — or tribal leaders or Taliban units or whoever encountered them — for as much as $5,000 per head. Essentially, there were real financial incentives for claiming that some unlucky foot soldier or Koranic student was a high-level Al Qaeda operative.

Worthington: Oh, absolutely. The military’s psyops teams came up with over a hundred different leaflets and dropped millions of them all over Afghanistan. Most of them fruitlessly offered rewards of $25 million for the capture of Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Al Zawahiri and Mullah Omar, but one in particular featured the following message: “You can receive millions of dollars for helping the anti-Taliban force catch Al Qaeda and Taliban murderers. This is enough money to take care of your family, your village, your tribe for the rest of your life — pay for livestock and doctors and school books and housing for all your people.”

And in Pakistan, the situation was arguably even more corrupt. In his 2006 autobiography, In the Line of Fire, President Musharraf boasted that, in return for handing over 369 terror suspects (including many transferred to Guantánamo), “We have earned bounty payments totaling millions of dollars.”

Holland: And those that were turned over to the U.S. by various factions weren’t lucky. I think most people would be shocked at how abusive and violent U.S. troops were towards the prisoners they held in Afghanistan.

Worthington: I think you’re right to raise that point, because Kandahar and Bagram were really the front line in the “War on Terror,” where conditions were, I think it would be fair to say, primitive, brutal and terrifying. In the early months, prisoners were beaten, humiliated and prevented from speaking to one another. The worst abuses, however, happened in Bagram from July 2002 onwards. That was when at least two prisoners were murdered — including one, an innocent taxi driver named Dilawar, who is featured in my book and is also the focus of Alex Gibney’s excellent documentary Taxi to the Dark Side.

And there were even worse prisons in Afghanistan — a number of secret, CIA-run prisons (to this day no one knows exactly how many), including two near Kabul. The “Dark Prison” was like a medieval torture dungeon, but with 24-hour music and noise, and the other was the “Salt Pit.” Dozens of Guantánamo detainees passed through these facilities, as well as other “ghost prisoners” who have subsequently disappeared.

Holland: And that was a model that was then taken to Abu Ghraib, as well as Gitmo?

Worthington: Sadly, yes. The team responsible for the worst violence at Bagram — at the time of the murders — was actually transferred to Abu Ghraib, and much of the institutionalized violence at Guantánamo was inspired by the Afghan prisons. It’s also worth noting, however, what happened at Guantánamo in the fall of 2002. The administration was disappointed by the quality of the intelligence obtained from the detainees and decided that it was because they had been trained by Al Qaeda to resist interrogation, whereas in fact they were mostly innocent men or foot soldiers and had no worthwhile intelligence to give. In an attempt to “break” the detainees, the Pentagon authorized the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including prolonged solitary confinement, forced nudity, the use of extreme heat and cold, sexual humiliation and the prolonged use of painful stress positions. The commander at the time was Geoffrey Miller, and he was later sent to Abu Ghraib to “Gitmo-ize” the Iraqi operations, with the results that horrified the world when the scandal broke in April 2004.

Holland: Let me shift gears here for a moment. Bush’s apologists often excuse the kinds of abuses you describe by claiming that the prisoners held in Gitmo were “captured on the field of battle.” Was that always the case?

Worthington: No, not at all. The overwhelming majority were not captured on any kind of battlefield at all and, as an analysis of Pentagon documents by the Seton Hall Law School showed, were not even captured by U.S. forces. Eighty-six percent were captured by the Americans’ allies, who then handed them over, or sold them, as discussed above. It’s also worth noting that several dozen detainees were captured in 17 other countries, including Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Egypt, the Gambia, Georgia, Indonesia, Iran, Mauritania, Thailand and Zambia.

After 9/11, many countries were willing to cooperate with the U.S. in an attempt to track down potential terrorists, but it’s also important to understand that the administration put enormous pressure on these countries. For example, this is what happened to the six Algerian-born Bosnians who are still in Guantánamo. The U.S. government accused them of planning to blow up the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. The Bosnians then imprisoned them and investigated them for three months but found no incriminating evidence whatsoever. As soon as they were released, however, they were seized by U.S. agents and taken to Guantánamo. The Bosnians were powerless to prevent it.

Holland: I think we’ve come to the heart of your book. The administration says that those housed in Gitmo are “the worst of the worst.” But you claim that of the nearly 800 human beings who the U.S. captured or purchased, held incognito without any legal rights, regularly beat and on a few occasions allegedly murdered, only about 40 were die-hard anti-U.S. terrorists. How do you arrive at that? Wouldn’t real terrorists claim that they were just innocents caught in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Worthington: My claim is based firstly on statements made by dozens of high-level military and intelligence sources cited by the New York Times in June 2004, when 749 detainees had been held at Guantánamo. These officials said that none of the prisoners “ranked as leaders or senior operatives of Al Qaeda,” and “only a relative handful — some put the number at about a dozen, others more than two dozen — were sworn Qaeda members or other militants able to elucidate the organization’s inner workings.”

Ten more detainees were transferred to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2004 — although I have no doubt that they were not all terrorists — and another 14 “high-value” detainees — including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of the other men charged recently in connection with the 9/11 attacks — were transferred in September 2006.

Forty might therefore be too low a figure, but I’m confident that it’s no more than 50. As a percentage of Guantánamo’s total population, that’s just 6 percent, which, as a success rate, is both disappointing and disgraceful.

Holland: Finally, you argue that all of these policies were dictated at the highest levels of the U.S. government. Can you explain briefly what makes you think that?

Worthington: Sure. Dick Cheney and his advisors — especially David Addington, his legal counsel (and now chief of staff) — came up with the military order in November 2001 that authorized the president to capture anyone he regarded as a terrorist anywhere in the world, declare them an “enemy combatant” and hold them without charge or trial. That same document also established the military commissions. Then Cheney and his cabal persuaded the president to accept that the prisoners were not protected by the Geneva Conventions and in August 2002’s “Torture Memo” sought to establish that interrogations constituted torture only if the pain endured was “of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” This in turn encouraged the widespread use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which, at Guantánamo, were explicitly approved by Donald Rumsfeld.

There are many fine, principled Americans who attempted to resist these innovations, or spoke out against them, but the most insightful quote I found about the implications of these policies came from Milton Bearden, a former CIA bureau chief, who told David Rose, “It doesn’t matter what distribution that memo had or how tightly it was controlled. That kind of thinking will permeate the system by word of mouth. Anyone who suggests that this and other official memos on this subject didn’t have an impact doesn’t know how these things work on the ground.”

source: http://www.alternet.org/story/77500/

===

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

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If Kosovo, why not Palestine?

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

If Kosovo, why not Palestine?

It is time for the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership to challenge the international community on Palestinian independence, writes John Whitbeck*


As expected, Kosovo has issued its unilateral declaration of independence, the United States and most European Union countries, with whom this declaration was coordinated, rushing to extend diplomatic recognition to this “new country”. This course of action should strike anyone with an attachment to either international law or common sense as breathtakingly reckless.The potentially destabilising consequences of this precedent (which the US and the EU insist, bizarrely, should not be viewed as a precedent) have been much discussed with reference to other internationally recognised sovereign states with strong separatist movements practising precarious but effective self-rule, such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transniestria, Ngorno-Karabakh, Bosnia’s Republika Srpska, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as to discontented minorities elsewhere. One potentially constructive consequence has not yet been discussed.

American and EU impatience to sever a portion of a UN member state (universally recognised, even by them, to constitute a portion of that state’s sovereign territory), ostensibly because 90 per cent of those living in that portion support separation, contrasts starkly with the unlimited patience of the US and the EU when it comes to ending the 40-year-long belligerent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (no portion of which any country recognises as Israel’s sovereign territory and as to which Israel has only asserted sovereignty over a tiny portion, occupied East Jerusalem). Virtually every legal resident of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip seeks freedom, and has for over 40 years. For doing so, they are punished, sanctioned, besieged, humiliated and, day after endless day, killed by those who claim to stand on the moral high ground.

In American and EU eyes, a Kosovar declaration of independence from Serbian sovereignty should be recognised, even if Serbia does not agree. However, their attitude was radically different when Palestine declared independence from Israeli occupation on 15 November 1988. Then the US and EU countries (which, in their own eyes, constitute the “international community”, to the exclusion of most of mankind) were conspicuously absent as over 100 countries recognised the new State of Palestine, and their non-recognition made this declaration of independence “symbolic”, unfortunately for most Palestinians as well.

For the US and the EU, Palestinian independence, to be recognised and effective, must be directly negotiated on a wildly unequal bilateral basis between the occupying power and the occupied people with emphasis laid on attaining the final agreement of the occupying power. For the US and the EU, the rights and desires of a long-suffering and brutalised occupied people, as well as international law, are irrelevant. For the same US and the EU, Kosovar Albanians, having enjoyed almost nine years of UN administration and NATO protection, cannot be expected to wait any longer for their freedom, while the Palestinians, having endured over 40 years of Israeli occupation, can wait forever.

With the “Annapolis process” going nowhere, as was clearly the Israeli and American intention from the start, the Kosovo precedent offers the Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership — accepted as such by the “international community” because it is perceived as serving Israeli and American interests — a golden opportunity to seize the initiative, reset the agenda and restore its tarnished reputation in the eyes of its own people. If this leadership truly believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, that a decent “two-state solution” is still possible, now is an ideal moment to reaffirm the legal existence (albeit under continuing belligerent occupation) of the State of Palestine, explicitly in the entire 22 per cent of Mandatory Palestine that was not conquered and occupied by the state of Israel until 1967, and to call on all those countries that did not extend diplomatic recognition to the State of Palestine in 1988 — and particularly the US and the EU states — to do so now.

The Kosovar Albanian leadership has promised protection for Kosovo’s Serb minority, which is now expected to flee in fear. The Palestinian leadership could promise to accord a generous period of time for Israeli colonists living illegally in the State of Palestine, and Israeli occupation forces, to withdraw, as well as to consider an economic union with Israel, open borders and permanent resident status for those illegal colonists willing to live in peace under Palestinian rule.

Of course, to prevent the US and the EU from treating such an initiative as a joke, there would have to be a significant and explicit consequence if they were to do so. The consequence would be the end of the “two-state” illusion. The Palestinian leadership would make clear that if the US and the EU, having just recognised a second Albanian state on the sovereign territory of a UN member state, will not now recognise a Palestinian state on a tiny portion of the occupied Palestinian homeland, it will dissolve the Palestinian Authority (which, legally, should have ceased to exist in 1999, at the end of the five-year “interim period” under the Oslo Accords) and the Palestinian people will thereafter seek justice and freedom through democracy, through the persistent, non-violent pursuit of full rights of citizenship in a single state in all of Israel/Palestine, free of any discrimination based on race and religion and with equal rights for all who reside there.

Palestinian leaderships have tolerated Western hypocrisy and racism and played the role of gullible fools for far too long. It is time to kick over the table, constructively, and to shock the international community into taking notice of the fact that the Palestinian people simply will not tolerate unbearable injustice and abuse any longer.

If not now, when?

source: http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/885/op140.htm

===

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

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More Lies From The Bush Fascists

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

More Lies From The Bush Fascists

By Paul Craig Roberts


22/02/08 “
ICH” — –
President George W. Bush and his director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, are telling the American people that an unaccountable executive branch is necessary for their protection. Without the Protect America Act, Bush and McConnell claim, the executive branch will not be able to spy on terrorists, and we will all be blown up. Terrorists can only be stopped, Bush says, if Bush has the right to spy on everyone without any oversight by courts.

The fight over the Protect America Act has everything to do with our safety, only not in the way that Bush and McConnell assert.

Bush says the Democrats have put our country more in danger of an attack by letting the Protect America Act lapse. This claim is nonsense. The 30 year old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives the executive branch all the power it needs to spy on terrorists.

The choice between FISA and the Protect America Act has nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism, at least not from foreign terrorists. Bush and his brownshirts object to FISA, because the law requires Bush to obtain warrants from a FISA court. Warrants mean that Bush is accountable. Bush and his brownshirts argue that accountability is an infringement on the power of the president.

To escape accountability, the Brownshirt Party came up with the Protect America Act. This act eliminates Bush’s accountability to judges and gives the telecom companies immunity from the felonies they committed by acquiescing in Bushs illegal spying.

Bush began violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in October 2001 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10488458/ when he spied on Americans without obtaining warrants from the FISA court.

Bush pressured telecom companies to break the law in order to enable his illegal spying. In court documents, Joseph P. Nacchio, former CEO of Qwest Communications International, states that his firm was approached more than six months before the September 11, 2001, attacks and asked to participate in a spying operation that Qwest believed to be illegal. When Qwest refused, the Bush administration withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Nacchio himself was subsequently indicted for insider trading, sending the message to all telecom companies to cooperate with the Bush regime or else. http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/10/16/former-telcom-ceo-bushs-illegal-spying-began-months-before-911-attacks/

Bush has not been held accountable for the felonies he committed and for leading telecom companies into a life of crime.

As the lawmakers who gave us FISA understood, spying on people without warrants lets a political party collect dirt on its adversaries with which to blackmail them. As Bush illegally spied a long time before word of it got out, blackmail might be the reason the Democrats have ignored their congressional election mandate and have not put a stop to Bushs illegal wars and unconstitutional police state measures.

Perhaps the Democrats have finally caught on that they cannot function as a political party as long as they continue to permit Bush to spy on them. For one reason or another, they have let the Orwellian-named Protect America Act expire.

With the Protect America Act, Bush and his brownshirts are trying to establish the independence of the executive branch from statutory law and the Constitution. The FISA law means that the president is accountable to federal judges for warrants. Bush and the brownshirt Republicans are striving to make the president independent of all accountability. The brownshirts insist that the leader knows best and can tolerate no interference from the law, the judiciary, the Congress, or the Constitution, and certainly not from the American people who, the brownshirts tell us, wont be safe unless Bush is very powerful.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison saw it differently. The American people cannot be safe unless the president is accountable and under many restraints.

Pray that the Democrats have caught on that they cannot give the executive branch unaccountable powers to spy and still have grounds on which to refuse the executive branch unaccountable powers elsewhere.

Republicans have used the war on terror to create an unaccountable executive. To prevent the presidency from becoming a dictatorial office, it is crucial that Congress cease acquiescing in Bushs grab for powers. As the Founding Fathers warned us, the terrorists we have to fear are the ones in power in Washington.

The al Qaeda terrorists, with whom Bush has been frightening us, have no power to destroy our liberties. Compared to the loss of liberty, a terrorist attack is nothing.

Meanwhile, Bush, the beneficiary of two stolen elections, has urged Zimbabwe to hold a fair election. America gets away with its hypocrisy because no one in our government has enough shame to blush.

source: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19402.htm

===

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

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Using the Sword to Spread Western Values

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Using the Sword to Spread Western Values

by Abid Mustafa

(Sunday, February 17, 2008)

“Take the example of the New World and its relationship with Afghanistan and Iraq. Liberation has become occupation; democracy has given way to colonial rule, devastation is termed as precision bombing and the slaughter of innocent Muslims is described as collateral damage. Meanwhile, American and British oil companies are queuing up to exploit the oil wells of Iraq and transport the energy reserves of the Caspian Sea to Europe via Afghanistan.”

Whenever western governments mention weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Muslims in the same breath, the western media immediately breaks into wild frenzy warning its people that a catastrophic event of epic proportions is about to unfold.

Old European fables of Muslims spreading Islam by the sword are reinvented to convey the impression that Muslims are extremely dangerous, highly irresponsible and pay scant regard to human life. Hence the mantra of disarming Muslim countries of WMD has become the rallying cry of the West directed against the Muslim world.

In some cases the arguments are extended to justify the West’s ongoing policy of regime change in Syria, Iran and perhaps Pakistan. However, a close study of Islamic rule in the past contradicts the popular western myth that Muslims are bloodthirsty people anxious to wipe out the rest of mankind in the name of Islam.

The same however, cannot be said about the West. The West armed with its secular doctrine and materialistic world-view proceeded to exploit, plunder and colonise vast populations in order to control resources and maximise wealth.

In pursuit of these newfound riches the West succeeded in destroying civilisation such as the Incas, American Indians, Aztecs, and Aborigines. Those who survived colonisation were forcibly converted to Christianity, stripped of their heritage and sold into bondage to western companies. For the indigenous people of Africa, India, Asia, Middle East and others, the promises of freedom quickly evaporated and were replaced by colonial rule. Rather than show remorse towards such atrocities the West could only gloat at its achievements.

Technologies such as cannons, pistols, steam engines, machine guns, aeroplanes, mustard gas etc only hastened the acquisition of colonies and the exploitation of its people. Resistance offered by the natives towards their colonial masters was met by brute force – often resulting in the destruction of entire communities. When the West was not destroying the natives they were too busy annihilating each other in a desperate bid to cling on to their precious colonies. World Wars I and II are prime examples of the destructive nature of western values.

This is a description of the Old World where countries like England, France, and Germany built empires and accumulated immense wealth on the death and destruction of millions of innocent people. Is the New World (America leading the West) any different today?

Take the example of the New World and its relationship with Afghanistan and Iraq. Liberation has become occupation; democracy has given way to colonial rule, devastation is termed as precision bombing and the slaughter of innocent Muslims is described as collateral damage. Meanwhile, American and British oil companies are queuing up to exploit the oil wells of Iraq and transport the energy reserves of the Caspian Sea to Europe via Afghanistan.

The Islamic Khilafah in the past never treated mankind in such a barbaric fashion. Neither did the Khilafah spread Islam by force nor destroy civilisations. When Islam spread to Egypt, many Coptic Christians did not embrace Islam and today they still number approximately 7 million. Likewise, when India was opened up to Islam the inhabitants were not coerced into accepting Islam. India today has a population of more than 750 million Hindus.

Compare this to extermination of Muslim and Jews in the courts of the Spanish Inquisitors during the much-coveted European renaissance. Those Jews that survived this Spanish holocaust, were warmly welcomed by the Ottoman Caliphate. In Islamic Spain they flourished and became important members of the Islamic society.

Today, the world has more to fear from the destructive nature of western values than WMD. In the past these values were enforced upon nations either through direct colonial rule or through tyrannical regimes loyal to the West. Presently, the greatest danger-facing mankind is the constant threat of the West imposing its values on the rest of the world through WMD.

source: http://www.salaam.co.uk/news/displaynews.php?news_id=252128

===

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

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9/11: The Unraveling of the Official Story Continues

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

9/11: The Unraveling of the Official Story Continues

By Mark H. Gaffney


Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall.

Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

couldn’t put Humpty together again.


25/02/08 “ICH” — —
Today in America we are witness to a great unraveling, the likes of which we have never seen before. There are no historical precedents. For many months now the official narrative about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on America has been coming apart, and I mean: at the seams. The official story about that terrible day is disintegrating. The trend shows no sign of abating and in recent weeks it even appears to have accelerated. At the present rate, soon there will be nothing left of the official version of events but a discordant echo and a series of extremely rude after shocks.

Is our nation prepared to face those rude shocks?

The unraveling began within weeks of the release of the 9/11 Commission Report (in July 2004) with the shocking revelation that members of the 9/11 commission were convinced that government officials, including NORAD generals, had deceived them during the investigation–––in essence, had lied to their faces during the hearings.[1] According to the Washington Post the members of the commission vented their frustrations at a special meeting in the summer of 2004. The panel even considered referring the matter to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation.

The unraveling continued in 2006 with the release of a follow-up volume, Without Precedent, authored by the two men who had co-chaired the commission, Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton. The men had come under increasing fire ever since the release of their final report for presiding over what many now believe was a failed investigation. Stung by so much criticism, Kean and Hamilton felt the need to explain (and defend) themselves. The gist of their 2006 book is easily summarized. They write: ”We were set up to fail.”

The bleeding continued in May 2007 with the stunning announcement that former BYU physicist Steven Jones had found residues of thermate, a high temperature explosive, in the dust of the collapsed World Trade Center.[2] The discovery has the gravest implications for our nation, and probably for this reason the announcement went reported in the US media. In a later chapter I will discuss this important evidence in detail.

Yet another startling revelation occurred in December 2007 when we learned that the CIA destroyed evidence, in the form of audio-tapes, deemed vital to the official investigation.[3]

The news prompted 9/11 Commission co-chairs Kean and Hamilton to fire off an angry salvo in the New York Times in which they charged that the CIA had obstructed their investigation.[4] Their blunt accusation was explosive and should have caused every American to sit up and take notice. Unfortunately, the average American probably failed to connect the dots because, as usual, the US media offered nothing in the way of helpful context or analysis. We were fed the usual diet of tidbits and sound bytes: a wealth of minutiae. The big picture remained elusive.

But back to the unraveling story.

Starting in 2002, the CIA conducted interrogations of captured Al Qaeda operatives, including Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi Binalshibh, at undisclosed CIA prisons outside the US. During these interrogations the CIA resorted to “enhanced interrogation techniques” (the CIA’s euphemism for torture) to extract information.[5] The methods included “waterboarding,” which induces a sensation of drowning in the unlucky individual. Evidently, the CIA decided for its own internal reasons to video-tape these early interrogation sessions. However, years later (in 2005), Jose A, Rodriquez, the CIA’s Director of Operations, ordered the tapes destroyed. For what reason? Well, according to current CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, because the tapes posed “a serious security risk.”[6] Hayden went on to clarify his rather cryptic remark, and explained to the press that if the tapes had become public they would have exposed CIA officials “and their families to retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.” The excuse was flimflam, but the US media hung on Hayden’s every word as if he were speaking gospel. The press certainly did not throw him any hard balls. Nor did they press him on the point.

Hayden also claimed that the CIA had notified the appropriate committee heads in Congress in 2005 before destroying the evidence. But according to the Times this was immediately denied by the top two members of the House Intelligence Committee. A spokesman for Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), who at the time chaired the oversight committee, said that he was “never briefed or advised” that the tapes even existed, let alone “that they were going to be destroyed.”[7]

Kean and Hamilton had a similar reaction–––outrage. In their article they state categorically that the CIA never informed them about any taped interrogations, despite their repeated requests for all pertinent information about the captured Al Qaeda operatives, who were then in CIA custody. In fact, as damaging as the news about the CIA’s destruction of evidence surely was, the story exposed an even more serious problem. One might naturally assume that the official commission charged to investigate the events of 9/11 would have had unfettered access to all of the evidence pertinent to the case, including government documents and key witnesses. This goes without saying. Access was vital to the success of the investigation. How else could the commission do its work? Yet, it never happened.

CIA Stonewalled the Official Panel

In their article Kean and Hamilton summarize their dealings with the CIA.[8] They describe their private meeting with CIA Director George Tenet and how he denied them access to the captured members of Al Qaeda. Which means, of course, that the panel never had a chance to conduct its own interviews. Tenet even denied them permission to conduct second-hand interviews with the CIA interrogators, which Kean and Hamilton felt were needed to “to better judge the credibility of the witnesses and clarify ambiguities in the reporting.”[9] Ultimately, the commission was forced to rely on third-hand intelligence reports prepared by the CIA itself. Many of these reports were poorly written and incomplete summaries[10] which, according to the co-chairs “raised almost as many questions as they answered.”

In order to resolve the many uncertainties the commission prepared a list of questions, which they then submitted to the CIA. The questions covered a range of topics, such as the translations from the Arabic, inconsistencies in the detainees’ stories, the context of the questioning, how the interrogators followed up certain lines of questioning, and the assessments of the interrogators themselves. But the CIA’s response was less than helpful. In their article Kean and Hamilton state that “the [CIA] general counsel responded in writing with non-specific replies.” This is a bland way of saying that the agency stiffed the panel. Not satisfied, Kean and Hamilton made another attempt to gain access to the captives, but were again rebuffed during a head-to-head meeting with Tenet in December 2003. For this reason the ambiguities and other questions went unresolved and still flaw the commission’s final report. Yet, as I have indicated, the more serious problem was the panel’s lack of access to begin with, a problem that was by no means obvious until the recent story broke in the mainstream press. As we now know, Kean and Hamilton had inserted a caveat in their report (on page 146) conceding that they were denied access to the witnesses. Most readers, however, probably pass right over it without understanding its awful significance. I know I did, the first time I read the report.

The latest unraveling also came with a twist. Not even Porter J. Goss, CIA Director at the the time, knew that the tapes had been destroyed. That decision, as noted, was made by Jose A, Rodriquez, the CIA’s Director of Operations–––as in covert operations. According to the Times, Goss was angered to learn he had been left out of the loop.[11] But Goss declined to make a public statement. What are we to make of this? Why was the CIA chief kept in the dark about the destruction of evidence deemed vital to the 9/11 investigation? This is just as shocking as the destruction of the tapes because it points to a disconnect in the chain of command. Was the CIA’s covert branch, long notorious for staging rogue operations, up to its old tricks? Are there loose cannons at Langley still?

The 9/11 Commission Report was packaged and sold to the American people like some trendy product. The US media has told us countless times it is the definitive version of the events of September 11, and in 2008 most Americans probably take this for granted. When something is repeated enough times on television people begin to believe it whether it is true or not. This is what happens when mass marketing is made to serve a political agenda. We witnessed a similar phenomenon during the run-up to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, when President G.W. Bush’s mantra about Saddam’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and his supposed links to Al Qaeda were drummed into the brain of every American. Today, of course, we know different. None of it was true. Yet, on the eve of that war a Washington Post poll found that 70% of Americans believed that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. The case is a sobering example of the power of the corporate media to shape public opinion with–––let us call it by its true name–––propaganda.

OK. It is now 2008. Is America prepared to face reality? The 9/11 Commission’s lack of direct access to the captured members of al Qaeda can only mean that the official 9/11 investigation was fundamentally compromised from the outset. No other conclusion is possible, given the latest disclosures. In their recent article Kean and Hamilton do not repudiate their own report, at least, not in so many words. But they come close. They insinuate that the CIA’s stonewalling now calls into question the veracity of key parts of the official story, especially the plot against America supposedly masterminded by Khalid Shiekh Mohammed and approved by Osama bin Laden. Until now, the nation has assumed that all of this was soundly based on the testimony of the captured al Qaeda operatives, several of whom supposedly confessed. This is the story told in the 9/11 Commission Report. However, when you probe more deeply you discover the devil lurking in the details. I personally believe there was a plot by al Qaeda to attack America. Yet, without independent confirmation about what the captives actually confessed to, precisely what was said and by whom, indeed, whether they confessed at all, there is absolutely no way for us to know how much of the official story is true and how much was fabricated by the CIA for reasons we can only guess.

For all that we know, the entire story is a pack of lies. It comes down to whether the CIA is telling the truth. Should we believe them? Another important question is: How did the miscarriage of a lawful process of discovery happen, given that Congress invested the 9/11 Commission with the authority to subpoena evidence?

Philip Shenon’s New Book

Now, in February 2008, along comes a new “tell-all” book by Philip Shenon with much to say about the above, and some answers.[12] His book’s sub-title, The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission, sounds very promising. Nor does the author fail to deliver. Shenon covered the 9/11 Commission for the New York Times and over the course of the investigation he personally interviewed many of the commissioners and staff. His book is an overnight best-seller, and for good reason. It is a well-written expose and affords our best look yet at what went on behind-the-scenes. Instead of burdening us with his personal opinions, Shenon plays the role of reporter, and describes what happened through the eyes of the commissioners and staff. The book provides valuable insights into why the investigation failed.

Of course, we already knew large parts of the story. We knew about National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice’s incompetence, for example, and about the serious conflicts of interest on the commission, particularly in the case of Philip Zelikow, who served as the panel’s executive director. In that capacity Zelikow controlled many facets of the investigation, including the scheduling of witnesses and the vital flow of information between the staff and commissioners. Zelikow also edited (and, no doubt, doctored) the final report. In addition to being a long-time confidante of Rice, with whom he coauthored a book, Zelikow served on Bush’s transition team and even drafted a national security strategy paper that became the basis for the Bush administration’s attempts in late 2002 to justify the coming war against Iraq. It is hard to believe that Kean and Hamilton, who claim their goal was to lead a nonpartisan investigation, would have knowingly hired such a man–––a neocon–––to manage the day-to-day affairs of their panel. According to Shenon, it only happened because Zelikow failed to report the full extent of his ties to the Bush administration when he submitted his resume for the job. If Zelikow had been more forthcoming he would have been instantly eliminated from consideration. But this hardly excuses Kean and Hamilton for failing to properly vet the candidate.

Shenon’s most important revelation is sure to fuel the unraveling process. Shenon names CIA Director George Tenet as one of the government officials whom the commissioners and staff were certain had lied during the hearings.[13] Tenet gave testimony on three occasions (in addition to the private meetings with Kean and Hamilton) and in each of these hearings the CIA Director suffered from a faulty memory, frequently responding with “I can’t remember.” Initially, the commissioners were inclined to be sympathetic and gave the director the benefit of the doubt. (Tenet’s supporters at the agency reportedly made excuses for their boss: George could not remember because he was dead-tired, physically exhausted from dealing with the war on terrorism, and suffering from sleep deprivation–––not getting enough shuteye.[14] Poor old George.) But gradually the tide turned. By Tenet’s third appearance it was obvious to everyone he was perjuring himself.

Curiously, there no mention of this spectacle in the 9/11 Commission Report. Why not? Kean gave the reason at the panel’s first public hearing in New York City, when he said: “Our…purpose will not be to point fingers.” The comment was not well received. According to Shenon, it prompted a rumble in the audience, including sneers from the families of the victims who wanted those officials responsible to be held accountable.[15]

It is important to understand that when Tenet stiffed the commission he was carrying on a time-honored Langley tradition. For the first 25 years of its existence the CIA functioned entirely outside our constitutional framework of government. Like it or not, this is the disturbing reality. The state of affairs prevailed until the Watergate era when the Church hearings exposed a laundry list of criminal activities by the CIA, such as domestic spying, the assassination of foreign leaders, the overthrow of governments, plus the nasty habit of deceiving Congress. The Church hearings shocked the nation and led to the creation of House and Senate intelligence committees to provide the democratic oversight that was sorely lacking. At any rate, that was the intent. But as with so many good ideas it never worked as expected. The CIA soon found ways around the oversight process. This is not surprising when you consider that the agency’s expertise is clandestine operations. Today, the Intelligence Committees in both houses are widely viewed as a joke, and despite a chorus of denials from the agency and its admirers the perception is undoubtedly correct. To his credit, Shenon touches on the problem. The author mentions that one of the commissioners, former Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA), once served on the Senate Intelligence Committee but quit in frustration because of the lack of any serious business. Said Gorton: “I felt it was a useless exercise–––I never felt I was being told anything that I hadn’t learned in the Washington Post.”[16] Does such an agency deserve our trust and respect?

As to why Kean and Hamilton did not make more aggressive use of their authority to subpoena evidence, Shenon’s answer is not very satisfying but rings true. The co-chairs were overcautious because they wished to avoid a legal showdown that would drag out in the courts.[17] A legal stalemate threatened to delay their investigation beyond the mandated deadline, which in their view would have been tantamount to a Bush victory. It was a huge mistake, however. Had Kean and Hamilton stood tough and issued blanket subpoenas early in the investigation as their legal counsel advised, the inevitable showdown in the courts would have worked in their favor. Bush and Tenet would have been perceived–––correctly–––as obstructing the investigation and would have come under increasing pressure and scrutiny. That sort of confrontation would have served the discovery process and the cause of 9/11 truth. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. This helps to explain why the official investigation failed in its stated objective: “to provide the fullest possible account of the events surrounding 9/11.”[18]

Although Philip Shenon supports the official narrative, his research was so narrowly focused that his rather casual discounting of “conspiracy theorists” can do no harm to the 9/11 truth movement. (Here, of course, “conspiracy theorist” means anyone who does not agree with the official conspiracy theory.) Judging from his book, Shenon appears to be genuinely unaware that in 2007 the evidence shifted decisively in favor of the “conspiracy theorists.” It is ironic that, whatever his personal views, his book is likely to speed the unraveling process.

The showdown with the CIA, though long delayed, appears to be developing as I write, and it portends–––I believe–––a coming shift in the terms of the debate, away from the previous discussion about the incompetence of officials and “security failures” to more grave issues. But how this important drama will be played out remains unclear. Obviously, a new legally empowered investigative body is urgently needed, since the 9/11 Commission no longer exists. While there are many reasons to worry about the future––––we have entered the most dangerous time in our history––––the good news is that, once begun, the unraveling process is irreversible. It moves in only one direction: forward. As in the famous nursery rhyme, the official reality is falling apart and the pieces will never be put back together again.

Mark H. Gaffney’s forthcoming book, The 911 Mystery Plane and the Vanishing of America, will be released in September 2008. Mark’s latest, Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes, was a finalist for the 2004 Narcissus Book Award. Mark can be reached for comment at markhgaffney@earthlink.net Visit Mark’s web site at www.gnosticsecrets.com

NOTES

1 Dan Eggen, “9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon,” The Washington Post, August 2, 2006.

2 The Jones paper is posted at http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/200704/JonesWTC911SciMethod.pdf

3 Mark Mazzetti, “CIA Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations,” New York Times, December 7, 2007.

4 Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, “Stonewalled by the CIA,” New York Times, January 2, 2008.

5 “CIA destroyed terrorism suspect videotapes. Director says interrogation tapes were security risk. Critics call move illegal,” NBC News, December 7, 2007.

6 Mark Mazzetti, “CIA Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations,” New York Times, December 7, 2007.

7 Ibid.

8 Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, “Stonewalled by the CIA,” New York Times, January 2, 2008.

9 The 9/11 Commission Report. Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, p.146.

10 Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission, Grand Central Publishing, New York, 2008, p.391.

11 Mark Mazzetti, “CIA Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations,” New York Times, December 7, 2007.

12 Philip Shenon, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Commission, Grand Central Publishing, New York, 2008, p. 360.

13 Ibid., p. 360.

14 Ibid., pp. 258-260.

15 Ibid., p. 99.

16 Ibid., p. 229.

17 Ibid. pp. 94 and 201.

18 The 9/11 Commission Report. Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, p. xvi.

source: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19413.htm

===

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Danish Muslims despair at portrayal

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Danish Muslims despair at portrayal

BBC Feb 18, 2008

In the wake of the reprinting in Denmark of one of the 12 cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad, BBC religious affairs correspondent Frances Harrison finds the country’s Muslim community dismayed but determined.

“We will keep on working for integration, to build bridges. If you don’t know who is Muhammad I am telling you please read about Muhammad,” said the imam.He was leading prayers in a small overcrowded building in Copenhagen used as a mosque – with the faithful forced to pray outdoors in the courtyard on plastic mats in the icy wind.

Danish Muslims have bought land for a purpose-built modern mosque, but they say their application somehow always gets stuck in the planning stage. It is one more grievance.

Space may be cramped, but mosque attendance is high because all the major newspapers have just reprinted one of the controversial cartoons that shows the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban.

  At Friday prayers this mistrust of the media is bubbling close to the surface. One furious man comes and tells the people I am interviewing not to trust journalists

This was after Danish intelligence said they had uncovered a plot by three Muslims in Denmark to kill one of the cartoonists.

“We were all punished by the printing of those pictures,” says the imam in his sermon.

He is angry that none of the men accused of masterminding the plot are being put on trial – the Danish intelligence services say revealing their evidence would compromise their intelligence network.

Instead, they are expelling two of the suspects who do not have Danish citizenship and freeing the third who does.

“How does it make sense that a person who is trying to kill somebody is being arrested, charged, interrogated and then released and yet still we should feel that he’s a terrorist?” asks Imran Hussein, who runs Network an advisory body for Muslim organisations in Denmark.

Like many Muslims here he was appalled by the discovery of the plot to kill the cartoonist but now he is more sceptical.

‘We despair’

Denmark has about 250,000 Muslims – from Pakistan, Somalia, Turkey, Iraq and many other countries. It is a small figure, but Muslims make up 5% of the population.

“A lot of people are afraid of Islam today in Denmark and when they are afraid of Islam it means they are afraid of me too,” says Sofian, who was born in Denmark but feels he no longer has a future there.

“When the same thing happens again it’s tiring and we despair,” says Kamran.

“I am hurt, as I was the first time,” says Feisal, who works in marketing and was also born in Denmark. He believes the problem is not Danish society but the media.

“The Danish press should have learned from their previous mistakes and the only thing the Muslims are asking for is respect, nothing else”.

Feisal says he cannot understand why the media keeps focusing on the idea that Muslims are trying to take their freedom of speech away from them.

“It’s the media who started it this time, so I feel a lot of it is their fault,” agrees Kamran, who also thinks there has been some positive dialogue with ordinary Danish people.

‘Alienation’

At Friday prayers this mistrust of the media is bubbling close to the surface. One furious man comes and tells the people I am interviewing not to trust journalists, calling us animals who twist the truth. The feeling of hurt over the cartoons is slowly transforming into anger.

“I will never feel one hundred percent accepted here in Danish society,” says Imran Hussein, who has tried hard at integration, getting involved in local politics.

He says the cartoons were just part of a bigger picture.

“It’s just getting worse and worse because the daily spoken language about immigrants and the portrayals of Muslims specifically are getting worse worldwide, so of course that’s had an effect in Denmark as well,” explains Imran.

“Before it was my clothing was not correct, the food I ate wasn’t good enough, the way I expressed myself wasn’t good enough – now my Prophet is not good enough. The next would be I am not good enough,” he says.

Radical Islamist parties have been quick to channel this sense of alienation.

Hizb ut Tahrir in Denmark organised a protest against the reprinting of the cartoons.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the streets of Copenhagen shouting “God is Great!” and “Freedom of Speech is a plague!” Some Danes looked rather surprised.

‘Nobody listening’

Meda watched the demonstration with her three-year-old daughter from the windows of a cafe; at first she thought it rather scary – later she realised it was peaceful.

She is against the printing of the cartoons, saying “it was only meant to tease the Muslim people and I don’t see any reason for that”.

Outside the cafe, under the guidance of Hizb ut Tahrir, Danish Muslims were chanting “Khilafat” – supporting the party’s demand for the creation of a caliphate to unite Muslims worldwide.

So far Muslims in Denmark have been talking about discrimination and the need for more respect. But the more they feel nobody is listening to their anger the more susceptible they will be to the message of radical political Islam.

source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7251378.stm

===

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

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A Nightmare World of Torture and Prison Guard Suicides : Confessions of a Gitmo Guard

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

A CounterPunch Exclusive

A Nightmare World of Torture and Prison Guard Suicides

Confessions of a Gitmo Guard

By DEBBIE NATHAN

February 26, 2008

A psychiatrist who has treated former military personnel at Guantánamo prison camp is telling a story of prisoner torture and guard suicide there, recounted to him by a National Guardsman who worked at Guantánamo just after it opened.

Dr. John R. Smith, 75, is a Oklahoma City psychiatrist who has done worked at military posts during the past few years. He is also a consultant for the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Services, and is affiliated with the Veteran’s Affairs Administration Hospital in Oklahoma City. The court-appointed psychiatric examination of Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Murrah Federal Building in 1995, was conducted by Smith. A few years ago, he became a contract physician, treating active duty members of the US military in need of psychotherapy.

Smith spoke on February 22, 2008, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, held in Washington DC. His presentation dealt with the psychological impact on guards of working at Guantánamo . He focused on a chilling case history, of a patient he called “Mr. H.”
.
Smith described Mr. H as a blue-collar Latino in his 40s who had done routine service in the National Guard for years before being called up to Kuwait. Then, shortly after 9/11, he was diverted from Kuwait to Guantánamo . The detention camp had just opened. Mr. H was deployed there to work as a guard.

Untrained for the job, Mr. H was taken aback by the detainees. They threw feces and urine on him, said Smith, and tried to get him to sneak letters out, telling him that if he didn’t, “they would see to it that his family suffered the consequences.” The prisoners also mocked Mr. H, that his being in the military made him “a traitor” to Latinos and other minorities. Mr. H was confused and terrified.

Meanwhile, according to Smith, “this good Catholic man with a family who had pretty much always followed the rules” was called on to participate in torture. One of his jobs was “to take detainees to certain places and see that they were handcuffed in difficult positions, usually naked, in anticipation of interrogation.” Mr. H often watched the questioning. He saw prisoners pushed until they fell down, then cut. They responded to the torture with “defecation, vomiting, urinating,” and “psychotic reactions: bizarre screaming and crying.”

Smith noted that Mr. H said he was “required to handcuff and push to the ground detainees who were naked.” The prisoners were also made to “remain on sharp stones on their knees.” Detainees, Mr. H told Smith, would try to avoid interrogation by rubbing their knees until they bled in order be taken to the prison hospital.

According to Smith, Mr. H’s comment about these events “was poignant and simple: ‘It was wrong what we did.'” While still at Guantánamo , he responded to being a participant in torture “with guilt, crying and tears. But of course it was forbidden to talk with anyone about what he was experiencing.” He “became more and more depressed.” Apparently, so did other military personnel. Smith said Mr. H told him that in the first month he was at Guantánamo , two guards committed suicide.

Smith said that by the time he saw Mr. H, he “had become very ill. He was suicidal, terribly depressed, anxious,” and “riddled with insomnia and horrible dreams and flashbacks.” He had already seen two military therapists and not improved. But those therapists “were active duty and he didn’t dare tell them” what had happened at Guantánamo . Smith was not active duty, and after two or three sessions Mr. H opened up. With medication and psychotherapy, he became less suicidal but was still too sick to do any more military service.

Three years later after treating Mr. H, Smith got three new patients who were guards at Guantánamo on later tours. They said conditions were much improved –“they loved it at Guantánamo and went swimming in the Caribbean.” Still, one guard was having problems directly related to his work there. He “described having to cut down a detainee” who tried to hang himself after chewing through an artery in his own arm. There was blood everywhere. When the guard left Guantánamo , he was suffering from “anxiety attacks, panic attacks.”

Smith said his presentation at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences meeting was the first time he’d ever spoken publicly about his Guantánamo patients. He decided to talk, he said, because he is concerned that veterans are generally ineligible for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) disability benefits if the condition is not caused by combat. He considers the guards of Guantánamo “an overlooked group of victims.” But in making that case, Smith stepped into a unique role. Heretofore, almost all accounts of torture at Guantánamo have come from non-governmental human rights groups or detainees and their defense lawyers. The FBI accounts in 2004 were contradictory. Smith, a prestigious physician, relayed accounts from inside the military.

source: http://www.counterpunch.com/nathan02262008.html

===

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

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14 Points of fascism

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 27, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

14 Points of fascism

In his original article, “Fascism Anyone?”, Laurence Britt (interview) compared the regimes of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Suharto, and Pinochet and identified 14 characteristics common to those fascist regimes. This page is a collection of news articles dating from the start of the Bush presidency divided into topics relating to each of the 14 points of fascism. Further analysis of American Fascism done by the POAC can be read here.
1.) Powerful and Continuing Nationalism: Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

September 11 Freedom Walk

Family Security Matters — the right-wing front group, claims ‘multiculturalism’ threatens U.S.

New Majority Leader: Iraq War “May Be The Greatest Gift That We Give” Our Grandchildren

Headstones of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are inscribed with the Pentagons war-marketing slogans

White House and the RNC are going to make a habit of using uniformed military personnel as props at Republican political rallies, despite the fact that it is a plain violation of military regulations banning politicization of the armed forces.

“You must glorify war in order to get the public to accept the fact that your going to send their sons and daughters to die.” The inside story of the cozy relationship between big box office American war movies and the Pentagon

More…

2.) Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights: Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
One of the worst things you’ll ever read about your government
We are now a torturing police state: Bush signing into law that will get rid of habeas corpus, allow hearsay evidence, and allow the President to determine what is allowable torture.
Bush Offers Himself Amnesty for Human Rights Crimes
Bush threatens to veto $442b defense bill if Congress investigates detainee abuses.
Guantanamo Judge: “I don’t care about international law. I don’t want to hear the words ‘international law’ again. We are not concerned with international law.”
Rumsfeld to approve new guidelines that will formalize the administration’s policy of imprisoning without the protections of the Geneva Conventions and enable the Pentagon to legally hold “ghost detainees,”
US ‘preparing to detain terror suspects for life without trial’
U.S. oks evidence gained through torture
July 1, 2003: U.S. Suspends Military Aid to Nearly 50 Countries: because they have supported the International Criminal Court and failed to exempt Americans from possible prosecution.
US has at least 9000 prisoners in secret detention

More…

3.) Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause: The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has joined a conservative Washington think tank, where he will found and direct a program called “America’s Enemies.”
Sean Hannity creates weekly “Enemy of the State” segment on his new program
Fox radio hosts suggests putting liberal commentators and activists in concentration camps.
World history textbook used by seventh-graders at Scottsdale’s Mohave Middle School was pulled from classrooms mid-semester amid growing right criticism of the book’s unbiased portrayal of Islam
Rallies planned against ‘Islamofacism’: Event to ‘unify all Americans behind common goal’

More…

4.) Supremacy of the Military: Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
Bush budget to cut funding for just about anything that helps people, gives $35 billion more to the Pentagon (not including war costs), and guarantees record deficits for decades to come.
President threatens veto of $11B increase in education, health research and border security funding. Meanwhile, Iraq war costs taxpayers $12B a month
Bush lobbies Congress to have the funds saved from his veto of children’s health care to be spent in Iraq and Afghanistan. The $45.9-billion emergency request would push the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over $600 billion.
8 states sue Bush Administration for cuts to Children Insurance Programs
Many national parks will have to cut back on staff due to a $2.5 billion budget cut, the equivalent to one week of the Iraq war
Bush wants to cut Iraq war funding. Just kidding, he wants to cut funding for a program that gives health insurance to poor children. Governors from both parties are opposing it.
Three cable channels now feed news, information and entertainment about the armed services into millions of living rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week: The Military Channel, the Military History Channel and the Pentagon Channel.

More…

5.) Rampant Sexism: The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.
It’s legal again, to fire gov’t workers for being gay
Bush calls for Constitutional ban on same-sex marriages
Bush refuses to sign U.N proposal on women’s “sexual” rights
W. David Hager chairman of the FDA’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee does not prescribe contraceptives for single women, does not do abortions, will not prescribe RU-486 and will not insert IUDs.
The State Department has awarded an explicitly anti-feminist U.S. group part of a US$10 million grant to train Iraqi women in political participation and democracy.

More…

6.) Controlled Mass Media: Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

At the White House Christmas party for the press last night, “conservative talk radio hosts dominated the place: President Bush “smiled, patted him on the back and said, ‘Keep it up. We need you guys.’”

FBI Acknowledges: Journalists Phone Records are Fair Game
Report shows U.S. government has been engaged in illegal propaganda aimed at its own citizens and the story gets only 41 mentions in the media
Free Press details recent governmental propaganda efforts, from faux-correspondent Jeff Gannon to paid-off pundit Armstrong Williams, and from the demise of FOIA to video news releases passed off as news. also… See a Whitehouse fake news release here (opens realplayer)
Fox”news” hack lets it slip: Shep Smith says ‘Fox is Bush’s network after all.

More…

7.) Obsession with National Security: Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses

Rove: GOP to Use Terror As Campaign Issue in 2006

More…

8.) Religion and Government are Intertwined: Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
Jerry Falwell cleared of charges that he broke federal election law by urging followers to vote for Bush
NC congressman proposes law making it ok to preach politics from the pulpit
Texas Governor Mobilizes Evangelicals
Family research council: Justice Sunday
Thou shalt be like Bush: What makes this recently established, right-wing Christian college unique are the increasingly close – critics say alarmingly close – links it has with the Bush administration and the Republican establishment.
Park Service Continues to Push Creationist Theory at Grand Canyon and other nat’l parks

More…

9.) Corporate Power is Protected: The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
A Bush administration plan to crack down on contract fraud has a multibillion-dollar loophole: The proposal to force companies to report abuse of taxpayer money will not apply to work overseas, including projects to secure and rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bush continues to abuse his power and issues a signing statement to avoid pesky things like a “commission to probe contracting fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan”
4,000 Mine Safety Violations Ignored On Bush Administration Watch
Bush Reappoints Mine Safety Chief Who Bungled Crandall Canyon Disaster
GAO report: The White House “pressured the Environmental Protection Agency to weaken requirements that companies annually disclose releases of toxic chemicals
The K Street Project is a project by the Republican party to pressure Washington lobbying firms to hire Republicans in top positions, and to reward loyal GOP lobbyists with access to influential officials. It was launched in 1995, by Republican strategist Grover Norquist and House majority leader Tom DeLay.
American Conservative Magazine: One U.S. contractor received $2 million in a duffel bag… and a U.S. official was given $7 million in cash in the waning days of the CPA and told to spend it “before the Iraqis take over.”
There are 6 Congressional Committees investigating the Oil-for-Food (UN) scandal, yet not a single Republican Committee Chairman will call a hearing to investigate the whereabouts of 9 billion dollars missing in Iraq
Bush money network rooted in Florida, Texas: Since Mr. Bush took office in 2001, the federal government has awarded more than $3 billion in contracts to the President’s elite 2004 Texas fund-raisers, their businesses, and lobbying clients

More…

10.) Labor Power is Suppressed: Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
Bush vows to veto anti-terror security bill if it allows airport screeners to unionize.
Labor Department warns unions against using their money politically
President Bush Attacks Organized Labor: Bush attacked organized labor Saturday, issuing orders effectively reducing how much money unions can spend for political activities and opening up government contracts to non-union bidding.
March 2001: President Bush signed his name to four executive orders on organized labor last month, including one that cuts the money unions will have for political campaign spending.
Congress and the Department of Labor are trying to change the rules on overtime pay, eliminating the 40 hour work week, taking eligibility for overtime pay away from millions of workers, and replacing time and a half pay with comp days.

More…

11.) Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts: Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
The A to Z guide to political interference in science
Bush’s new economic plan cuts funding for arts, education
Artists from all over the world are being refused entry to the US on security grounds.
A group of more than 60 top U.S. scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisers to past Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes
Freedom of Repression: New ruling will allow censorship of campus publications

More…

12.) Obsession with Crime and Punishment: Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations
Citizens who have done no more than criticize the president are being banned from airline flights, harassed at airports’, strip searched, roughed up and even imprisoned
The 10 most outrageous civil liberties violations of 2006
The United States has now become the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-8 times the rate of other industrialized nations.
American Gestapo is here: “There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the ‘United States Secret Service Uniformed Division.'”
America: secret jails, secret courts, secret arrests, and now secret laws
Snitch-or-Go-to-Jail bill will make pretty much anything short of reporting on everyone you see for doing just about anything a jailable offense. With minimum sentences, up to and including life without parole.
The problem with Gonzales is that he has been deeply involved in developing some of the most sweeping claims of near-dictatorial presidential power in our nation’s history, allowing him to imprison and even (at least in theory) torture anyone in the world, at any time
Police officers don’t have to give a reason at the time they arrest someone, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a ruling that shields officers from false-arrest lawsuits.

More…

13.) Rampant Cronyism and Corruption: Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
The Great List of Scandalized Administration Officials
FEMA official who coordinated the fake news conference resigns, lands a new gig heading public affairs at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) was forced to give up his seat on the powerful committee after the FBI raided his home as part of the Abramoff scandal. To replace him, the GOP leadership tapped Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), who was himself recently named one of Congress’ most corrupt lawmakers.
Making Sense of the Abramoff Scandal
In preparation for upcoming Congressional hearings, Bush Administration firing federal attorneys and appointing ringers without Senate confirmation via the patriot act.
If Bush’s pick is confirmed, that will mean the five top appointees at Justice have zero prosecutorial experience among them.
Iran-Contra Felons Get Good Jobs from Bush
Big Iraq Reconstruction Contracts Went To Big Donors
Bush Wars — Crooks Get Contracts : The main companies that were awarded billions of dollars worth of contracts in Iraq have paid more than $300 million in fines since 2000, to resolve allegations of fraud, bid rigging, delivery of faulty military equipment, and environmental damage.
US Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) lost track of $9 billion
“Contracting in the aftermath of the hurricanes has been marked by waste, corruption and cronyism”

More…

14. Fraudulent Elections: Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.
A couple of election workers have been convicted of rigging a recount in Ohio following the 2004 election
Rolling Stone does some investigative and rather exhaustive digging into public documents and says we’re almost guaranteed the 2004 election results were massively rigged
Powerful Government Accounting Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings
Conyers hearing in which Clinton Curtis testifies that he was hired to create hackable voting machines (.wmv)
The Republican Party has quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide private defense lawyers for a former Bush campaign official charged with conspiring to keep Democrats from voting in New Hampshire.
The Conyers Report (.pdf)
No explanation for the machines in Mahoning County that recorded Kerry votes for Bush, the improper purging in Cuyahoga County, the lock down in Warren County, the 99% voter turnout in Miami County, the machine tampering in Hocking County
Less access than Kazakhstan. Fewer fail-safes than Venezuela. Not as simple Republic of Georgia. The 2004 Elections according to international observers.

More

If Mussolini defines fascism as “the merger of corporate and government power” what does that make the K Street project?

Related Articles:

“Now and Then”- Part 1 A 3 part series by W David Jenkins III on the similarities between America now and Germany post Reichstag fire

Click here to purchase this image on POAC merchandise

“Now and Then”- Part II: The Propaganda Machine
Now and Then- Part III
Hitler’s Playbook: Bush and the Abuse of Power
It may sound crazy to some, but the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism.
Is America Becoming Fascist?
Eternal Fascism:
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt
The Danger of American Fascism:
With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.
Sheila Samples: Freedom To Fascism — A Bumpy Ride: Republicans don’t seem to realize that they are no longer individual members of a coherent “party,” but are merely part of a mean-spirited and dangerous movement that is threatening to sweep away democracy as we know it.
Germany In 1933: The Easy Slide Into Fascism
The Brownshirting of America: Bush’s supporters demand lock-step consensus that Bush is right. They regard truthful reports that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was not involved in the September 11 attack on the US – truths now firmly established by the Bush administration’s own reports – as treasonous America-bashing.
Fascism then. Fascism now? When people think of fascism, they imagine Rows of goose-stepping storm troopers and puffy-chested dictators. What they don’t see is the economic and political process that leads to the nightmare.
What is Fascism? Some General Ideological Features
Hello. You are now living in a fascist empire
Neo-fascism in America : Too many people believe fascism is only about goose-stepping, jack-booted Nazis. Too many people believe that American democracy is so strong that fascists could never take control of America. If you are sympathetic to those views, I invite you to consider the possibility that you are mistaken.
It is in times of fascism rising that armies of ignorance are once more resuscitated from the bowels of a society bordering on the edge of mass psychosis. The America at the dawn of the twenty-first century is no exception…
Republican Party Brown Shirts: “The Wide-Awakes”: The organization was known for virulent anti-Catholicism, secretive rituals, and a military-style organization complete with “officers” and units.
Harper’s Magazine: We Now Live in a Fascist State
They Saw It Coming: The 19th-Century Libertarian Critique of Fascism
Victims of Creeping Fascism: We are witnessing nothing less astonishing than the demise of the American experiment. 12-20
The ten phases of a Bush scandal. 12-22
America is headed for a soft dictatorship by the end of Bush’s second term.

source: http://www.oldamericancentury.org/14pts.htm

===

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

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Hijab: Personal choice not state law in Turkey

Posted by musliminsuffer on February 19, 2008

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

=== News Update ===

Hijab: Personal choice not state law in Turkey
 
16/02/2008      
(AP) Veiled women, one of them wearing a paper bag over her hijab, protest against the hijab ban in Ankara
 

The claim that hijab is worn today by oppressed women is seriously flawed, and is remnant of 19th century orientalism.

By Dr. Louay Safi


Hijab, the head cover Muslim women wear in keeping with their religious traditions, has become in modern times a politically charged issue in several Muslim countries, and more recently in Europe. In the early eighties, Iran imposed hijab on its female citizens, while Syria banned it from schools during the same period. Syria gradually came to term with the hijab, as the number of Syrian women who chose to wear it increased drastically during the nineties. Hijab is enforced today in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and banned in Turkey. France banned the hijab in 2004, and far right politicians and pundits are calling for similar ban in other European countries, and have already succeeded in doing so in the Belgium city of Antwerp.

The Turkish parliament passed last week a constitutional amendment that practically repealed early constitutional provisions that allowed the Turkish government to ban the hijab from government buildings, universities, and schools in the late nineties. Although the lifting of the ban is not in force yet, the confrontation over this issue with secularists who control the military and the courts has already started. Secularist Turks are up in arms, protesting the new amendment, and preparing to challenge it in court

The debate over the hijab is emotionally charged, with secular Turks presenting the move as the first step toward ending democracy in Turkey and forcing all Turkish women to wear headscarf. This alarmist language has clouded the debate and created a sense of panic, as the choices presented are based on the logic of either/or, as if the only choices society can make is that between banning or enforcement the hijab. These are of course false choices, as society can choose neither to ban nor enforce. The third choice is the one available to women in most Muslim countries. In most societies, the decision to wear headscarf, or to take it off, is a personal choice.

Yet, the real problem is not in the decision a woman makes, but in the politicization of that decision. The problem lies in the moral inconsistency and the use of double standards in addressing an issue concerning individual choice and freedom of expression. The only morally defendable position is in denying the state the right to either force or prohibit people to follow practices they genuinely believe to be required by their religious traditions, particularly when these practices do not violate the rights of others.

The argument to ban hijab often rests on a paternalistic attitude derived from the dominant position enjoyed by the group to which the person who advocate the hijab ban belongs. For decades now, anti hijab writers refused to consider it as a personal choice and an individual right, protected under international humanitarian law. Reza Afshari, for instance, insists that wearing the hijab must not be seen as a self-expression of Muslim women, but rather as a symptom of a male-domination culture. He, further, argues that Muslim women have internalized the “male-dominated culture.” He even claims that, in addition to being sub-consciously misguided, Muslim women have another reason for wearing hijab, namely to avoid “those sanctioned practices that permit harassment of women in public, forcing them to comply with repressive norms and rewarding them by according them a marked difference in the ways men treat women in public.”

The argument is both flawed and sexist. It is flawed because it can be equally used to undermine the right of women who chose not to wear hijab by those who could argue that the latter style of dressing is not a personal choice, but is rather influenced by the dominant culture. The argument is, more importantly, sexist as it assumes that women cannot have a mind of their own, and are always vulnerable to manipulation by male members of their society.

Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that the above assertion is correct, then the remedy cannot be banning the hijah and denying women the right personal choices, in violation of equal protection of the law. The remedy must rely on persuasion, education, and enactment of laws that would empower women to act on their on volition, instead of being forced by the state to wear the headscarf of take it off.

A similar argument was recently made by Cheryl Benard in a report that was published by the RAND Corporation in 2004. Benard refused to see the Muslim headscarf as a religious practice, and chose instead to castigate it as a provocative political statement and a challenge to Western democracy. Benard insisted that the hijab is worn by women preserving old habits. “In the United States,” she claimed, “hijab is typically worn by the following groups: recent immigrants from rural, traditional parts of the Muslim world; fundamentalists; unassimilated traditionalists belonging to the strongly observant minority; the elderly;” and, the author states that when it is worn by “young women,” these women “want to get attention and make a provocative statement in their schools, colleges, or workplaces.”

What is provocative is not that Muslim women are choosing to wear the hijab, but that there are still individuals that lay claim to intellectualism who, in keeping with orietalist strategies, continue to deal with the follower of the Islamic faith as silent objects of research that can be describe and analyzed, but never allowed to define themselves in their own voices. This sad state of affairs has been eloquently highlighted in an article by Manal Omar that was published in the Guardian in April 2007 under the title “I felt more welcome in the Bible belt.”

Manal narrates in the article her ordeal during a short stay in Oxford, England, when she was challenged by an angry man who did not approve of her wearing a swimsuit that covered her body. Not only did the man speak with her in condescending voice, but the newspaper that reported the event with a negative spin refused to interview her, and relied solely on the account of her accuser.

She ellequontly described her painful experience as she was rendered an object of ridicule, and her story utilized as a springboard for attacks on multiculturalism and immigrant Muslims. “Looking back,” she wrote, “what disturbed me the most about the debate was that my very identity was reduced to a cluster of cliches about Muslim women. I was painted in broad strokes as an oppressed, unstable Muslim woman. I was made invisible, an object of ridicule and debate, with no opinion or independent thoughts. The fact that I had dedicated the past 10 years to working on women’s issues on a global level, led a delegation of American women into Afghanistan in 2003, and put my life on the line in Iraq struggling for women’s constitutional rights were clearly beyond anyone’s imagination.”

Politicians and pundits who question the right of Muslim women to practice their faith do not only ignore the leadership role they play, but also fail to recognize their capacity to be inspired by their faith. The claim that hijab is worn today by oppressed women is seriously flawed, and is remnant of 19th century orientalism. Many women who chose hijab today are highly educated and actively involved in public life. They include lawyers, journalists, politicians, directors of non-profit organizations, human rights advocates, professors, and leaders of religious groups and grassroots organization.

It is about time that Muslim women’s personal choices were respected and their voices were heard.

Dr. Louay Safi serves as the executive director of ISNA Leadership Development Center, an Indiana based organization dedicated to enhancing leadership qualities and skills. He writes and lectures on issues relating to Islam and the West, democracy, human rights, leadership, and world peace. His commentaries are available at: http://blog.lsinsight.org

source:
http://www.islamonline.com/news/newsfull.php?newid=89539

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