Muslims are quick to condemn terrorist attempt
By Kate Pastor
When Khalid Isa heard about the attempted bombing of Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Center, his first thought was to hope it wasn’t the work of Arabs.
The American-born Palestinian owner of Sqweez Juice Bar & Grill on West 238th Street between Waldo and Greystone avenues got little relief, however, from learning the alleged terrorists identified themselves as Muslims.
“It’s a misrepresentation of Islam because this is exactly what Islam tells us not to do,” said Mr. Isa, who together with other local Muslims and Jews has started a group called World Peace, One Falafel at a Time. The group is dedicated to enabling dialogue between Muslims and Jews, and ending violence between the groups.
“This is not the way to be, this is not the way to think, this is not the way to grab somebody’s attention, this is not the way toward peace,” he said of the alleged conspirators.
“It’s ridiculous because these are guys who converted to Islam in jail and they don’t know what the hell Islam is about. They have no idea,” Mr. Isa said.
Many Muslims in and around Riverdale have condemned the violence allegedly planned for Riverdale Temple and the Riverdale Jewish Center on May 20, drawing clear distinctions between their religion and the beliefs held by men thought to be jailhouse converts to Islam.
Three Imams from different Mosques showed up at the Riverdale Jewish Center’s solidarity rally on Friday. The Muslim American Society of Upper New York’s board president, Ali Salhab, a former Riverdale resident, also walked a letter into the Riverdale Press, repudiating and denying any religious justification for the violent plot.
“We just want to make sure that our neighbors understand where we stand on this issue,” said James Momani, who accompanied Mr. Salhab.
It seems, however, that not everyone does.
Last week, Mr. Isa got a phone call from a friend whose child attends The David A. Stein Riverdale/Kingbridge Academy, MS/HS 141. She was upset because after the foiled plot Islamic children started being taunted by other kids at school, he said.
Mr. Isa’s friend asked if he would consider giving a talk at the school to discuss the true meaning of Islam with children, some of whom may have gotten the wrong idea.
“The word Islam means peace, comes from the word Salam that means peace,” Mr. Isa said, personally enraged that the men he calls “uneducated, uninformed idiots” claim to be bound to him by faith.
The negative impact of violent acts like the one thwarted in Riverdale last week spared almost nobody.
“Hate crimes hurt all of us,” said Mr. Momani. “Today they do something to you, tomorrow they do something to me.”
When Muslims react to violent extremism here in Riverdale, said Basheer Hasan, a Muslim who manages a gas station on Broadway, “It’s gonna be the same reaction like everyone else.”
Archives for : May2009
CAIR Questions FBI Tactics in NY Synagogue ‘Plot’
New details of informant’s actions prompt Muslim group’s concerns
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/26/2009) A prominent
national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today questioned the
FBI’s tactics leading up to the arrest of four New York men for
allegedly plotting to attack Jewish institutions in that state.
Based on early reports of a foiled plot to bomb a synagogue and a
Jewish community center and to shoot down military planes, the
Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) initially
applauded the FBI and the other law enforcement agencies that took part
in the investigation.
In a statement issued today, CAIR cited newly-revealed
details of the case that indicate the alleged “plot” may have been
based more on the financial inducements of a government informant
than on the predisposition to terrorism of three petty criminals and a
mentally ill Haitian immigrant. The Associated Press described the
alleged plotters as “down-and-out ex-convicts living on the margins in
a faded industrial city.”
SEE: Islam Not to Blame for Bronx Terror Plot (Huffington Post)
“This entire scheme seems to be the product of sending yet another
FBI agent provocateur into an American mosque to instigate a ‘plot’
that would likely never have been hatched but for the rhetorical and
financial inducements of the government informant. As a defense attorney said of the informant
in this case, who was also the informant in a previous case, ‘Where he
goes conspiracies blossom.’ According to the family of one of the
suspects, the FBI informant even promised to pay for a liver transplant for his dying brother.
“We need to know who first suggested the specific targets in this
plot and, if it was the FBI informant, why a government agency would
create a scenario that may drive a wedge between two American religious
“These arrests seem to be based on a government formula for
announcing law enforcement ‘victories’ that we have seen all too often
in the past – take a paid informant, insert him into a mosque or
community without probable cause of criminal behavior, locate marginal
characters open to financial or rhetorical inducements, facilitate
criminal actions suggested by the provocateur, and then announce
‘terror’ arrests with great fanfare.
“This formula, which could be used in any faith community, produces
flashy arrests but rests on shaky constitutional ground and does little
to advance legitimate law enforcement goals. It also serves to alienate
an entire religious minority and provides fodder for those who seek to
demonize Islam and marginalize American Muslims.”
CAIR’s statement reiterated the American Muslim community’s
longstanding repudiation of terrorism in all its forms and encouraged
anyone who is aware of criminal activity to immediately contact law
The statement also restated CAIR’s concerns about Justice Department guidelines, implemented under the Bush administration, which allow race and ethnicity to be factors in opening an FBI probe.
In an interview with the New York Post,
the girlfriend of the alleged ringleader said the informant was
constantly around, “It was like he was stalking him.” The girlfriend of
one of the other alleged plotters said: “They aren’t radicals they were
just financially motivated. They aren’t terrorists. If [the informant]
wasn’t in the picture they would’ve never come up with this idea. This
was not their idea. They make it sound like they sought him out and
said we want to do this when he’s the one who approached them. He
enticed them with money.”
The New York Times wrote:
“Everyone called the stranger with all the money ‘Maqsood.’ He would
sit in his Mercedes, waiting in the parking lot of the mosque in
Newburgh, N.Y., until the Friday prayer was over. Then, according to
members of the mosque, the Masjid al-Ikhlas, he approached the young
A lawyer who represented the last terror suspect tried in New York
state called the FBI’s operation “a foolish waste of time and money.”
He said, “It is almost as if the FBI cooked up the plot and found four
idiots to install as defendants.”
CAIR noted that the FBI informant in a similar case in California
recently stated that he views Islam as a threat to national security.
In March, a coalition of major national Islamic organizations announced that it is considering suspending outreach relations with the FBI,
citing similar incidents in which American mosques and Muslim groups
have been targeted. The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and
Elections (AMT) also called on the FBI to reassess the use of
informants as agents provocateurs within the Muslim community.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35
offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to
enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil
liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote
justice and mutual understanding.
Gujarat’s Mundra port sees import of Quran objectionable, holds back its 4,000 copies for a month
Submitted by admin3 on 25 May 2009 – 11:15am.
* Indian Muslim
TwoCircles.net Staff Correspondent
Ahmedabad: The 4,000 copies of the Holy Quran in Arabic script landed at the Mundra port more than a month ago but these are yet to be handed over to the consignee in Gorevali village of the Muslim dominated Banni area in the Rann of Kutch within Kutch district.
The consignment along with some 500 CDs have been sent from Dubai. The copies of the Holy Quran are meant for free distribution and not for sale.
This is despite the fact the consignments have been sent legally and the consignee has got valid documents. Even assistant customs commissioner at Mundra Ashok Nagade admitted to journalists that the import of the Holy Quran was not illegal. He said that the customs department would hand over the material to the consignee as soon as certain investigations were over.
The copies of the Holy Quran are meant for Jamia Darul Masiha, an Ahl-e-Hadees madrasa at Gorevali run by Abdul Qayyum Khan. Set up in 1952 by Khan’s grandfather Haji Dalil Khan, the madrasa has been imparting Islamic education among 40,000 Muslims of Banni region bordering Pakistan.
The consignment has been sent by Khan’s father Haider Khan working in Dubai.
Speaking to TwoCircles.net, Khan said that after the consignment landed, he contacted a number of clearing agents but all of them refused to entertain him. Finally, he himself went to the customs officials along with the papers of the consignment sent by his father.
“As soon as I reached the customs office, I was surrounded by police and intelligence sleuths who were waiting for him in advance’’, Khan told this reporter over phone from his residence in Gorevali on Sunday evening.
“I was surprised by this behaviour of the customs officials as also the intelligence sleuths from the central and state agencies because I had valid documents and the consignment was sent legally’’, Khan stated.
However, Khan cooperated with the agencies and gave them all the information about himself and the sender of the consignments. “Investigators told me that they had advance information that some objectionable materials are being sent to me and hence, they were waiting for me to personally reach and claim it’’, narrated Khan.
However, customs officials, who checked each and every copy of the Holy Quran found nothing objectionable.
“Their objection was to some of the CDs packed within the cartons of the Holy Quran’’, said Khan. But this was not illegal because the papers sent from Dubai mention CDs as part of the consignment.
Khan said that the copies of the Holy Quran were meant for distribution among the local people. “The copies of the Quran were gifted in Dubai by several people and my father sent them for the benefit of the people here’’, he explained.
He said that though the custom officials had finally become convinced and agreed to release it after conducting investigations. “But now I will have to pay the demurrage charges because the customs allow free storage only for 15 days in their godowns’’, informed Khan.
Khan’s madrasa is affiliated to Jamia Salafia Islamia University of Banaras in Uttar Pradesh.
In Gujarat, Kutch district has the largest concentration of Muslims, most of them located in border areas.
Nothing is going to change unless we start to rule India
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on 27 May 2009 – 4:39pm.
Muslims r 2nd class citizens in India. I respect and love most of the indians and i also know that constitution gives us rights but in practicality it is not observed.It is not the time for tears but to snatch the rights by whatever means.We r cornered to the wall.Since our history tells us that we were brave when we had real faith in Almighty ALLAH now since we have faith on the people and that too on politicians we become nothing more than heap of ashes.In allama Iqbal’s words”Mussalman nahee rakh ka dher hei”.We have to rise again we should read our glorious past and conquer the world again let us rise o muslim ummah let us rise together.Fight and fight till persecution is no more.SO again i would like to quote Allama Iqbal’s words”Dayar e ishq mein apna Muqam paida kar”.
It is my sincere advise to all muslims to read Allama Iqbal too.Let us be united and stand together and have firm faith in ALLAH.Even if we dont have anything to eat and let us not depend on any government.cuz we were the rulers and we r destined to rule.Cuz the sovereignty belongs to ALLAH alone.
Submitted by S.M.PASHA (not verified) on 26 May 2009 – 8:32am.
SOME SHER DIL” MUSLIM MUST COME FORWARD AND FILE A CASE AGAINST THE UNJUST ACTION OF THE AUTHORITIES.
Shame on the Govt.
Submitted by Patwardhan (not verified) on 25 May 2009 – 4:34pm.
Pay demurrage charges for no fault of the consignee. Amazing logic. If you dont pay they desecrate it or burn it ! This is Modi’s Gujarat. “Real Secularism” in action for all to see
That bogus “terrorist plot” in New York has fallen from the headlines, but its pernicious impact lingers on. My earlier piece on this story, written late last week, drew a lot of comments, and a number of people contacted me about the story, too.
Here are a few updates.
First, a sensible AP story puts it in perspective, emphasizing the role of the FBI’s agent-provocateur who entrapped the four men now charged in the “chilling” terrorism plot:
What happens to these cases after the media spotlight fades and the noise dies down? And are the snitches involved reliable?
“Most of these guys don’t get tried,” said security analyst Bruce Schneier. “These are not criminal masterminds, they’re idiots. There’s huge fanfares at the arrest, and then it dies off.”
The New York men arrested last week were ex-convicts down on their luck. In federal court, one admitted that he’d recently gotten stoned. “I smoke it regularly,” he told the judge. Not to worry, he added, “I understand everything you are saying.” …
However, court statistics show that most domestic terrorism cases never make it to trial.
And why don’t then make it to trial? Because nearly every one of them is utterly bogus.
A reader of The Dreyfuss Report forwarded an interesting piece that reveals some information about the FBI’s agent-provocateur in the New York case, apparently a Pakistani immigrant who’d been busted for felony fraud and then recruited by the FBI to go around searching for domestic “terrorists.” He was involved in a case in upstate New York several years ago, helping to frame an Iraqi Kurd named Yassin Aref in an unrelated “terrorism” plot:
When illegal eavesdropping failed to turn up any improper activity on Yassin’s part, the FBI engaged a Pakistani immigrant named Malik, who already had been convicted of 80 to 100 felonies in a scheme to market fraudulent drivers licenses, and essentially told him that the government would make all of his legal troubles go away (and cancel his scheduled deportation) if he could entrap Yassin into terrorist activity by means of a concocted “sting.”
According to the fictitious plot, the government set Malik up as a supposed secret arms merchant who sold missiles to terrorist groups, particularly JEM (Jaish-e-Mohammed), which sought to liberate Muslim Kashmir from India. Malik offered to loan money to a member of Yassin’s mosque if Yassin would witness the transactions for free in the Islamic tradition (as a notary does, under American law)–a perfectly legal and even praiseworthy act by Yassin, under normal circumstances.
For a proper “sting,” Malik was to tell Yassin that the money for the loan came from the sale of missiles to JEM, which intended to use the missiles in an assassination in New York City. If Yassin witnessed the loan transactions with the intent to help Malik conceal the illegal source of the money for the loan, he would be guilty of several terrorist-related crimes.
But Malik did not give Yassin the necessary information for him to understand the illegality of the plot, the loan, or the witnessing. As a result, the sting never developed; instead, it became a simple frame-up by the government.
You can read the whole piece, by one of Aref’s attorneys, here.
The New York Post has more details on the agent-provocateur’s role in the earlier case, too:
The FBI informant in the Bronx synagogue terror plot helped convict two Albany Muslims on terror-related money-laundering charges three years ago.
Shahed Hussain, 52, an upstate motel owner, turned informant in 2002 after being busted on fraud charges while working as a translator for the Department of Motor Vehicles. The man, who had helped immigrants cheat on driver’s tests, began cooperating with the FBI in a bid to win leniency in court and avoid deportation to Pakistan.
The informant then posed as an arms buyer who needed to launder money from the sale of a shoulder-launched missile to be used to kill a Pakistani envoy. His act duped Albany pizzeria owner Mohammed Hossain into laundering cash for him, while Yassin Aref, an Albany imam, acted as a witness.
Hossain and Aref were convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Several of the informant’s tenants told The Post that he claims to be a “spy” for the FBI, and that he “blew out of here Tuesday night.” One tenant said the cooperator was on the telephone “a few weeks back . . . telling somebody about buying guns.”
Aref’s lawyer, Terence Kindlon, called the informant “a liar and a sneak and a trickster.”
Hossain’s lawyer, Kevin Luibrand, said the informant “completely lied” to his FBI handlers about information in the Albany case.
You can read more about the new case at the New York Times blog, which also has some interesting links.
The Times also has detailed profiles of the four men accused in the latest case, all petty criminals with only the most tenuous connection to Islam and no connection whatsoever to any terrorist groups.
SIT begins probe into Zakia’s complaint against Modi and his ministers
Submitted by admin3 on 26 May 2009 – 10:32pm.
* Indian Muslim
By Twocircles.net Staff Correspondent
Ahmedabad: The probe into the complaint filed against Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 62 others in connection with the post-Godhra riots of 2002 began today with Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team(SIT) “interacting’’ with Zakia Jafri and Teesta Setalvad.
The probe was ordered by the Supreme Court through its order on April 27 this year on a petition filed by Zakia, widow of slain former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri. The ex-MP was among 69 Muslims brutally murdered in the Gulberg Society on February 28, 2002, during the statewide anti-Muslim riots.
Speaking to mediapersons, SIT chief R K Raghavan said that SIT had officially begun the probe into the complaint filed in the apex court seeking probe against Chief Minister Modi, his seven cabinet colleagues and several senior IAS and IPS officers.
He said that they first called Zakia and Teesta because SIT wanted to know what happened on the day of riots in Gulberg society. As for Teesta, he said that she was called for interaction as she was convener of the Concerned Peoples Tribunal which had conducted a hearing in the matter and its findings had been used by Zakia in her petition.
Asked if Narendra Modi would also be called for probe or “interaction” as Raghavan preferred to call in connection with Zakia and Teesta, he said that whoever was needed for a probe as per orders of the Supreme Court would be interrogated.
According to SIT sources, two former judges of the Supreme Court including Justice P B Sawant, who had participated in the proceedings of the tribunal, would also be called for “interaction.”
Talking to Madhyamam, Teesta said that she was questioned particularly about former minister (now murdered) Haren Pandya who had deposed before the tribunal.
Belonging to anti-Modi camp, Pandya had deposed before the tribunal about a meeting held by Modi on February 27, 2002, after the Sabarmati train tragedy. In his depositions, he had stated that Modi had ordered the then DGP Chakravarti and senior IAS official Ashok Narayan not to take any action against the Hindu mobs venting their ire by attacking the Muslims.
Pandya had also revealed that there were four or five ministers also present in Modi’s meeting. However, Pandya had not revealed their names to the tribunal. Unfortunately, Pandya was murdered subsequently in broad daylight. While his family members accused Modi of plotting the murder, police arrested several Muslims from Hyderabad and Gujarat and about a half dozen accused in the case have been convicted in the case.
Four months on, CBI yet to file charge sheet in Hari Masjid police firing case
Submitted by admin4 on 26 May 2009 – 8:01pm.
* Indian Muslim
By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,
Mumbai: It has been about four months since the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) took the charge of the Hari Masjid firing case but it did not submit the charge sheet yet. While taking the case in their hand in February this year, after the intervention of the Bombay High Court, the central government agency had expressed confidence to file the charge sheet within 15 days.
The CBI has made no progress in the case except recording the statement of the petitioner Farooq Mapkar, says a report in the Urdu Times daily.
It was on January 10, 1993 during Bombay riots when a police contingent led by then Sub Inspector Nikhil Kapse opened fire at the Muslims offering prayer in Hari Masjid at Wadala under RAK Marg Police Station. Six persons died in the police firing.
Farooq Mapkar, who is among those who were injured by police bullet in the firing, had told Justice Sri Krishna Commission, formed for the investigation into the riots, that Nikhil Kapse had fired at the Namazees without reason. The Commission had held him “guilty of unjustified firing” and “inhuman and brutal behavior.”
But the government did not believe the commission observation and formed Special Task Force which later gave clean chit to the police. After many years of battle when Farooq Mapkar did not get justice, he filed a petition in the Bombay High Court.
The High Court on December15, 2008 came down heavily on the state government and the CBI in the case and asked why the central investigating agency was not taking up the case. After initial hesitation CBI agreed to probe the firing.
Muslim Resistance to LTTE in East First Major Obstacle to Eelam
By M. M. Zuhair, P.C. Former Member of Parliament
Muslims across the island joined in the national celebrations that marked the end of three decades of war, culminating in the liberation of the brutalized Tamils, Muslims, and Sinhalese of the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. Indeed, the end of Velupillai Prabakaran, signifies the liberation of the entire country, nearly 504 years after the Portuguese invasion of Sri Lanka in 1505. Mosques, Muslim homes and businesses joined the rest of the country in hoisting the National Flag and saluting the armed forces.
Many of them stopped their vehicles at check points and served sweets to the young soldiers on duty. I heard of many others who had walked into Buddhist temples and shared their new found joy of “freedom with security”. There were still others who shared with the Tamils, the freedom that they would henceforth enjoy in the North, in an identical manner they did in the rest of the country.
The purpose of this contribution is limited to place the answers to these questions before the public, though it is time that the Muslims consider serious programmes that will help the community forge ‘unity in diversity’ and ‘integration with identity’.
Muslims, particularly of the North and East, became the first major obstacle to the Eelam project, to which more detailed reference will be made later on. Muslim resistance resulted in the expulsion of over 100,000 Muslims from the North by the LTTE, followed by the killings of large numbers of Muslims by the LTTE in several districts in the east ending in brutal massacres.
It is best that I quote the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka Rohitha Bogollagama, who addressing a meeting of Heads of Missions of Muslim countries based in Colombo on 11th March, 2009 soon after the suicide bomb attack at the Godapitiya Jumma Mosque in Akuressa, targeting the National Milad-un-Nabi festival, on 10th March, had this to say:
“The Muslim community in this country has co-existed peacefully with both the Sinhalese and the Tamil communities and lived amidst them for centuries. The Muslims, particularly in the North and the East of Sri Lanka have been especially targeted by the LTTE for their resolute opposition to the separatist agenda espoused by the LTTE. For their stubborn defiance, the Muslims have paid a heavy price. The LTTE commenced its murderous campaign against the Muslims in the East by launching coordinated attacks on the Meera Jumma and Husseiniya Mosques in Kattankudy on 3rd August 1990, in which 147 worshippers were gunned down, as they knelt in prayer. The fear psychosis that was instilled in the Muslim community by the LTTE was reinforced by further massacres carried out on isolated Muslim villages in the Eastern Province. The Palliyagodella village was targeted in October 1991 in which 109 Muslim men, women and children were brutally hacked to death in their sleep by women and child cadres of the LTTE. This also marked the beginning of the induction of women and children by the LTTE to carry out cold blooded massacres of civilians in other parts of the country as well.”
“The ethnic cleansing of the entire Muslim community in the Northern Province, which the LTTE carried out in October 1990 with cold blooded and clinical precision, stands out in the annals of world history as a chapter written in shame of the wholesale uprooting and expulsion of an entire ethnic community which has lived for generations in that part of the country. Even today, 18 years after this shameful incident, these Muslims numbering over 100,000 are still languishing in IDP camps in the Puttalam district and other parts of Sri Lanka, as refugees in their own country.”
The end of the LTTE, responsible for these massacres caused to the Muslims – because they were Muslims – is sufficient cause for the Muslims of Sri Lanka to celebrate firstly as Sri Lankans but more so as Muslims. Their resistance to Eelam was the first major obstacle that helped defeat terrorism in Sri Lanka.
Another relevant factor to be recalled in this connection is that many Muslims who served in the country’s forces, mainly from the Malay community of Muslims, have laid down their lives in battling terrorism.
They are too many to be named here. All credit should no doubt go to the Commander in Chief President Mahinda Rajapakse, his brother, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the Service Commanders and their men and women and to all those mostly from the forces who laid down their lives in this war.
Equally important is the role played by Members of Parliament, in ensuring that the Mahinda Rajapakse government enjoyed a secure majority in Parliament, throughout the period of the war. For a Government threatened to be defeated in the first Budget it presented to Parliament, credit must be given to President Rajapakse and his brother M.P. Basil Rajapakse for ingeniously ensuring a stable parliamentary majority, which included almost all the Muslim Members, who stood with the Government all along the war, excluding an insignificant minority.
The country will not forget another factor of relevance which contributed immensely for the government’s successful prosecution of the war, namely the contribution of Muslim countries in contrast to many countries from the West. Pakistan, Iran and Libya, in addition to China came out effectively to off-set the negative impacts on the country’s external resources, vital to continuously oil the war machinery and replenish stocks.
India, our important and immediate friend, helped notwithstanding all local pressures to the contrary, from Tamil Nadu. Pakistan and China supplied essential weapons, though at a price while Iran kept Sri Lanka economically going in 2008 with an interest free credit package for oil purchases valued at US$ 700 Million, in addition to two major project aids to the tune of US$ 1.4 Billion, the highest single country contribution to Sri Lanka, so far. The oil credit package helped Sri Lanka defeat the LTTE’s expectations of an economic fall out of the Sri Lankan Government.
In assessing the Muslims’ contribution
by 1985, the LTTE was growing as a critical force in the East, following the failure of President Jayawardene from 1978 onwards, to crush the LTTE then in its formative years. I had by 1983 left the Attorney-General’s Department as Senior State Counsel, after 10 years of service to the state. I had retainers from the Eastern Courts and the late M.H.M. Ashraff at that time had a wide practice in the courts of law in the East. Hashim, a former teacher and Advocate from Akkaraipathu who first alerted me to the coming events. His own son had become the Area Leader of the LTTE for Akkaraipathu. He was angry he could not stop his own son from joining the armed group. There were several other young Muslims who were joining the LTTE in numbers. They had lost confidence in both the UNP and the SLFP, and that was why they were joining the Tamils fighting for autonomy, he told me, and if this is not stopped, this would spell great danger, more for the Muslims outside the North-East. I spoke to Ashraff, I told him, the time has come for us to address this growing danger of Muslim boys joining the LTTE. He understood the repercussions and the likely fall-out. He was ready to give up his lucrative practice and form a Muslim Party, as the only way to arrest all possible damages.
As law students, we had our sympathies with the SLFP, following the post of Minister of Education being given to a Muslim, the late Dr. Badiuddin Mahmud by Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. Ashraff said a Muslim party was the only answer to prevent Muslims joining the LTTE. He also sa
, that we could not tell this reason to the country, as it would spell disaster for the Muslims in the East. I told him that the party must be confined to the East, as the majority in the South could misinterpret and become suspicious. He said the party, could not be either pro or anti-LTTE, as that would create problems for the Muslims in the East, who were living with the Tamils peacefully, as much as with the Sinhalese in the South. He was clear of the need to form a Muslim party, to absorb the Muslim youths and prevent the spread of the LTTE amongst the Muslims in the East.
Months later, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress was formed in the East, with its leader Ashraff having to walk a ‘tight rope’ of keeping Muslim interests to be seen neither as anti-Sinhala nor anti-Tamil. This was an exceptionally challenging task for the SLMC with both the Sinhala and Tamil leaders soon becoming suspicious. The suspicions were mainly due to the superficial and shallow response of politicians and sections of the media to the major event of the emergence of a Muslim political party. Muslims in the UNP as well as the SLFP too found the SLMC an unhappy irritant.
Muslims in the east, however, joined the SLMC in large numbers .Whilst the SLMC succeeded in attracting the youths, the LTTE saw a huge threat in the SLMC for its projected objective of exclusive control over the North-East as the Tamil speaking homeland. LTTE’s attempts to give leadership to the Tamil speaking Muslims of the East was now doomed to fail with the SLMC emerging as the sole voice of the Muslims of the East,
The country must pay a tribute to the Muslims of the East, who stood under Ashraff’s SLMC flag and resisted firmly at a huge cost to their community, the LTTE’s attempts to inveigle the East into the tiger empire. This was indeed the first major obstacle to the Tiger dream of a Tamil homeland.
Previously labelled as ‘Tamil Speaking’ homeland, the LTTE soon found its attempts to encompass the culturally distinct, politically independent Eastern Muslims, who comprise nearly 1/3rd of the Muslim population of over two million in the entire country a frustrating failure! The repercussions were unbearably grave. Hundreds of Muslims whilst at prayers inside mosques, were brutally murdered, hundreds of Muslim policemen were lined up by the LTTE separated from Tamil policemen and shot to death, and large numbers returning home after performing Haj were ruthlessly assassinated by the LTTE.
Muslim businessmen, farmers, their farm lands and even their cattle were not spared. All this happened after nearly 100,000 Muslims were forcibly driven out from their homes in the North overnight and who found refuge in Puttalam, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts, where I led a team of FAMYS (Federation of Assemblies of Muslim Youths of Sri Lanka) volunteers from Colombo as the first group to help, with a Libyan donation of US$ 50,000.
In my view, the sacrifice of hundreds of lives of Muslims, the pain and suffering of thousands of other Muslim men, women and children exposed to LTTE brutalities – similar to the atrocities suffered by the Sinhalese – would place the Muslim resistance to the LTTE’s attempts to eelamise the East far above that of the much touted and most welcome defection of Karuna Amman alias Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran and others from the LTTE. If the Muslims had lost sympathy for the Tamil struggle, the LTTE must blame only itself and perhaps also its arrogance.
It would not be an exaggeration to place on record that if not for the Muslim resistance beginning in the 1980’s the LTTE would have seen the birth of ‘Eelam’ comfortably, with the consequence of instant recognition by the West, ala Kosovo! When the opening paragraph of the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 14th May, 1976 of the ‘moderate’ Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) referred to the “Tamils possessing the Northern and Eastern districts” – to the diabolical exclusion and the arrogant marginalisation of the Muslims and the Sinhalese – there was nothing that the Muslims could have hoped for, from the terribly extremist LTTE!
Al-Nakba: The Palestinian Catastrophe of 1947-48
[Click here for a PDF flyer containing the text below.]
What Is Al-Nakba?
“Nakba” means “catastrophe” in Arabic (“al-nakba” means “the
catastrophe”). Throughout the Arab world, the word is used to refer to
the devastation of Palestinian society and the dispossession of the
Palestinian people resulting from the ethnic cleansing conducted by
Zionist forces during 1947-48.
What Is Nakba Day?
The most important date on the Palestinian calendar, Nakba Day is
observed throughout the world on May 15. This is a time to learn about
the history of Palestine and of Palestinians, and to remember the
tragedy inflicted on the Palestinian people in 1947-48, which has yet
to be rectified.
Nakba Day is also an occasion to celebrate the continued vitality of
Palestinian culture in the face of continuing hardships, and to
reaffirm Palestinian aspirations for peace and self-determination.
What Happened During Al-Nakba?
- During the late 1930s and early 1940s, many among the European Zionist leadership in Palestine openly favored “transfer” of the indigenous Palestinian population to make way for a future Jewish state.
- As the colonial British Mandate of Palestine ended in 1947-48,
clashes began and Zionist forces attacked Palestinian communities, in
most cases driving out their inhabitants.
- In other cases, Zionist forces conducted massacres of civilians (e.g. 100 villagers at Deir Yassin, 200 at Tantura) in order to induce the rest of the Palestinian population to flee.
- Over 700,000 Palestinians — 2/3 of the Palestinian population — fled in panic at the Zionist attacks or were forcibly expelled by Zionist forces.
- Zionist forces depopulated over 400 Palestinian towns and villages,
many of which were purposefully demolished. The newly established
Israeli government confiscated refugees’ lands and properties and
turned them over to Jewish immigrants.
- Israel has since refused to allow Palestinian refugees to return to
their homes and has refused to pay them compensation, as required by UN Resolution 194 of 1948.
What Was the Aftermath of Al-Nakba?
Even though before 1948 Jews had owned about 7% of the land in
Palestine and made up only 1/3 of the population, following the
conquest Israel was established on 78% of Palestine.
What Is the Significance of Al-Nakba?
The Nakba destroyed a thriving and diverse Palestinian society and scattered the Palestinian people into diaspora.
The Nakba is also the source of the still-unresolved Palestinian
refugee problem. Today, over 4 million Palestinian refugees are
scattered throughout the world. Many of them live in Jordan, Lebanon,
Syria, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip in poverty-stricken refugee
Why Is Nakba Day on May 15?
Although May 15 is the date on which Israel declared independence in
1948, Nakba Day is not a protest against Israeli independence. Israeli
Independence Day, which follows the Jewish calendar, was celebrated on
April 17, 2002.
Where Can I Find Out More?
Visit the following web sites:
THAT ORGY OF JUNK LOANS
introduce ethical Islamic Banking
By K. Godage
The current spate of financial scandals reminded me of the orgy of junk loans that had been given by the Peoples Bank in the period (if my recollection is right) 1992-93. I wonder as to whether any of that public money was recovered. Subsequently we had the Pramuka Bank scandal and three other scams including perhaps one of the biggest in the world have surfaced. As a concerned citizen, I am certain that I speak for thousands, we would like the Central Bank to inform us as to the action taken against those who obtained ‘junk loans’ and defaulted and also what action has been taken against those involved in the Pramuka affair?
In many respects the Central Bank has failed us as has the banking system as an instrument to assist in the development of the country. Should we not consider changing the banking laws, perhaps adopting some of the extremely good features of the Islamic Banking system which has an ethical orientation.
Islamic banking refers to a system of banking or banking activity that is consistent with the principles of Islamic law (Sharia). Sharia prohibits the payment of fees for the loaning of money (Riba, usury) for specific terms, as well as investing in businesses that provide goods or services considered contrary to its principles (Haraam, forbidden). While these principles were used as the basis for a flourishing economy in earlier times, it is only in the late 20th century that a number of Islamic banks were formed to apply these principles to private or semi-private commercial institutions within the Muslim community.
There are some features such as the non charging of interest (but only the imposition of administrative charges) which are not only commendable but should be emulated by people of all religions. There are also other features which could be adopted with advantage. What was most important of all, to mind, is that the bank which lends money for a project becomes a partner in the project; all project lending is therefore for joint ventures and the bank not only shares in the profits but has a stake in the project and would be on the board of directors and would seek to ensure its success. An Islamic tenet worthy of mention is that those with excess wealth are required to share with those less fortunate. The money deposited with a bank is placed as a trust to allow the bank to lend to those who have no resources to use such monies.
Considering the fact that the global financial crisis has been the result of reckless lending it does appear that the world has a thing or two to learn from Islamic banking. If the rules of Islamic financing had been in place, the mortgage crisis in the USA, which triggered the current financial crisis, could never have happened. If the details had been closely inspected, it would have been evident in many cases that the people taking out the mortgage would never been in a position to repay it.
Islamic law stipulates that all financing activities must be linked to a real economic transaction. “It is essential to know exactly what the transaction is based on. If someone wants to buy a house, can it be sold to him in installments? At first glance, it might look like a loan, but ultimately, it ensures that those involved know exactly what is happening,”
Similarly, instances – whereby money is earned not by selling goods or providing services, but by cleverly using capital to generate major profits would have been prevented.
The same can be said for earning interest: Islam forbids the faithful to “let money work”. There are other strict rules in the system: businesses that are not compatible with the “Sharia”, i.e. with the Islamic code of religious law, may not be financed. Naturally, it is forbidden to trade in pork, pornography, or gambling. Most unfortunately trade in hard drugs was not prohibited because such drugs or even hashish or cocaine was unknown. Those who indulge in the trade of drugs know that it is not in the spirit of Islamic law but they pocket their conscience because of the money involved. They stand cursed for they are in actual fact in violation of the law of Allah.
The ban on gambling applies not only to doing business with casinos, but certainly also to gambling-like behaviour on the international finance markets, where conventional rules of economics were abandoned and where “financial instruments” that were not even understood by many of those who were dealing in them suddenly appeared.
Sri Lanka has a few banks that indulge in Islamic banking but it is certainly time that the government appointed a new Banking Commission (the last such Commission was appointed in1934 during the days of the State Council—- the Commission was headed by Justice Pokinwala and the late N. U. Jayawardena was the Assistant Secretary of the Commission and functioned as the virtual Secretary of the Commission (as Prof. Das Gupta was unable to make himself available) to examine the state of our banking industry and to suggest ways of modernizing it. A new Banking Act which would ensure that no junk loans are given and that our banking system would play a positive role in the development of our country is an imperative.
The market value of the Islamic banking sector in Sri Lanka is estimated at LKR 70 billion to LKR 100 billion. Islamic financial services providers currently active include Amana Investments Limited, Ceylinco Islamic Investment in a Shariah compliant Corporation (CIIC), Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB), National Asset Management Limited (NAMAL), First Global Investments Group and ABC Investments
I am certain that there are experts in Islamic banking in this country; the government should include such specialists in the work of a new Banking Commission, they would be able to make an invaluable contribution to modernizing our banking system and bring it in line with our own requirements. Adopting some Islamic banking practises could also help this country to strengthen our relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya and the rest of the Islamic world in particular and of course ensure that no junk loans are granted at the instance of politicians.
A Woman in the Muslim Brotherhood
Submitted by t.nicole.hernandez on Mon, 05/11/2009 – 21:03.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt would give more freedom for all aspects of Egyptian society, including women, if the movement achieved power in the country, a female member of the group said.
Hiba, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. The 28-year-old said she joined the party nine years ago because the party’s plans include social as well as religious and political concerns. Although the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928, it remains banned in Egypt. Because of its illegal status in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is not recognized by the U.S. government, although it is not listed as a terrorist organization.
While the Brotherhood is Egypt’s largest opposition party, the current government makes it difficult to join parties other than the ruling National Democratic Party, led by current president Hosni Mubarak, according to Hiba and other Egyptians. Hiba said the Mubarak regime has not allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to take the parliamentary seats it won in the 2005 elections. She added that some government branches, such as the Minister of Information, create problems for women who adhere to the Islamic dress code, even though the constitution of Egypt lists the state religion as Islam. This discrimination against veiled women, Hiba said, exists regardless of whether they are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. For example, the Minister of Information controls the state-owned broadcast stations and does not allow female presenters to wear a headscarf on-air, even though adherence to the rules of hijab has recently increased among Egyptian women.
“You should judge me as a woman from my experience [and] my knowledge,” Hiba said through a translator. “Not the shape of my body.”
For Hiba, the Muslim Brotherhood’s goals of instituting Islamic law would provide benefits for women similar to those of American women, such as equality between the genders, job opportunities, free elections, more seats in ministries and Parliament, and the ability to choose what to wear without discrimination.
“American women have all these rights; I wish I had these rights,” Hiba said.
The Muslim Brotherhood has a female candidate every parliamentary election, according to Hiba. She added that the party does not restrict her from an active role just because she is a woman, and she said she would like to be a parliamentary candidate one year. However, she doubts she could abide by the Mubarak regime’s treatment of prominent Muslim Brotherhood members.
And her fear is real. Egypt’s government has detained more than 500 members of the Brotherhood without issuing any kind of charge, and the regime arrested two lawmakers from the party in August 2007 after removing their immunity, according to an Agence France-Presse article.
Even though she faces such danger, Hiba said she is honest about her membership with the Muslim Brotherhood.
“If anyone asks,” she said, “I’ll tell them [I'm a member].”