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Israeli Occupation Causes Terrorism (UN Report Finds)

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amnesty-report.JPGSome people ask why do people engage in terrorism. While it is never okay to justify it, it is in our interests to evaluate its root-causes and work on those, instead of trying to stop it after it has taken root. The situation in Gaza, which Amnesty and a bunch of other human-rights organizations, call the worst in 40 years (news, full-report), is the sort of situation that breeds hatred, anger and eventually terrorism.

The following piece was submitted by theManOfFewWords (who provides us with many colorful comments). He calls himself an aggressive anti-establishment blogger, a know-it-all and sometimes jerk, and also runs Islamify.com, a Muslim social news site.

So a UN commissioned report comes out and the findings are, surprise surprise, that the Israeli occupation causes terrorism. While it rightly does not condone any terroristic acts it does recognize that they are “a painful but inevitable consequence of colonialism, apartheid or occupation.” It also recognizes that the Palestinian resistance to Israel is legitimate and cannot be compared to al-Qaeda’s “mindless terrorism.” To be honest, while I can give the UN a heads up I think the report is a bit redundant as everybody on Earth, including many Israelis understand this to be pretty obvious. Only in America where propaganda and celebrity gossip pass as news do people have no idea what’s going on. Some even believe crazy things like the drivel published in Alan Dershowitz’s The Case for Israel, (a rip-off of From Time Immemorial) which states that Zionists settled a completely empty Palestine and that there is no such thing as a Palestinian, only Arabs that migrated to take advantage of growing Jewish prosperity and created the myth of Palestine and forged the entire history of a fictitious people, the Palestinians. Here in the US this is considered real scholarship. Needless to say, this article won’t make the front page in any major American paper. But anyway, I digress.

Let’s try and imagine how this study was conducted: A dedicated statistician wades through streets flooded with Palestinian blood while navigating around floating limbs and passing out surveys to widows, orphans and amputees in order to discover what the root cause of terrorism is in Palestine. You see it’s tough to really understand why these crazy Arabs do anything. The methodology is a little disingenius to say the least. Maybe we can suggest to the UN a study worth commissioning. Why don’t we try and understand the causes of Israeli terrorism? I would love to read about that. Why can’t Israel get along with it’s neighbors? Why can’t they share and play nice? Maybe we should examine Jewish culture, lets take a look at the radical Yeshivas and see what they teach. Is Jewish fundamentalism a cause? Are the Ashkenazi or Mizrahi Jews responsible? Is the Torah responsible for Israeli terrorism? Maybe it’s because Jews oppress their women. Do Jews preach killing of the Goyim (non-Jews)? Maybe we need a Jewish reformation. Maybe rabbis need to start condemning terrorism. I am genuinely curious. Let’s get a commission a study on that. Let’s apply the same criteria they apply to Muslims when “analyzing” them. When Jewish groups complain that these sorts of questions are “anti-semitic” we should look over, put a hand on their shoulder (slowly, they might flinch) and give them a now you know how it feels smile. Maybe Olmert will say, “Hey, now I understand how the Muslims feel and I call for an end to Islamophobia and world-wide coexistence between Jews and Arabs. I will begin by apologizing to the Palestinians giving them the right of return, citizenship with full rights and breaking down all the walls that have kept our two people apart.” Don’t laugh, it could happen, you see I’m an optimist.

Well, let’s get back to reality and take a good look at this Yahoo news article. Aside from stating the obvious there are some curious idiosyncrasies that you may not have noticed. Curiously, there wasn’t a word of comment from any Arab or Palestinian, not even to give so much as an “i told you so.” However, our friends at the Israeli embassy had the opportunity to say, “The common link between al-Qaida and the Palestinian terrorists is that both intentionally target civilians with the mere purpose to kill.” After that, in an excellent demonstration of journalistic responsibility the writer put that statement in the appropriate context by mentioning Israel’s summer bombing campaign that leveled Beirut and killed over 2000 innocent civilians and then went all analytical on his behind questioning whether it is artificial to make a distinction between “intentionally” targeting civilians and “unintentionally” doing so. Oh you didn’t see that little rebuttal in the article? Too bad, it would have been nice.

The most important thing to understand is not to let the corporate media to set the agenda for our discourse. The article discusses Palestinian terrorism but would never dare use the term terrorism to describe Israel’s activities as though Muslims have a monopoly on terror. It is important to understand that the use and control of language shapes our own thinking and to constantly think about terrorism as relating to Muslims subtly affects our own thinking. I am sure many of the people who read the Yahoo article did not ask that important question. What does cause Israeli terrorism? What kind of culture criticizes the Israeli invasion of Lebanon because it failed to destroy Hezbollah rather than because of the catastrophic and unnecessary destruction of civilian infrastructure and lives? Don’t just analyze the victims, analyze the aggressors. So while some might see this article as supporting the Palestinian cause, it is in reality a veiled paternalistic approach to affirming Palestinian resistance.

So what have we learned? Well, Arab and Muslim public opinion doesn’t count. If it did then, in a related occupation over in Iraq, US troops would have left long ago respecting the will of the people in this this shining, new Middle Eastern Democracy. Furthermore, all that rhetoric about Iraq falling apart after US troops withdraw is inaccurate considering the analysis on polls of Sunnis and Shiites that indicate national reconciliation is possible. But who cares what Arabs have to say, let’s hear what Anne Coulter thinks.

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54 Comments

54 Comments

  1. Amad

    Amad

    March 6, 2008 at 11:01 AM

    The report by Amnesty, Oxfam, CARE and other human-rights organizations is a scathing indictment of the collective punishment being meted out in Gaza.

    And these organizations are not Islamic organizations, they have no vested interest to be biased towards one party or the other. But, of course Israeli government officials hate when there is an objective report and will do everything to tarnish it.

  2. Pingback: UN: Israeli Occupation Causes Terrorism … Duh! |

  3. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 6, 2008 at 11:11 AM

    Let me preempt any Zionist apologists who might respond to this article by saying for them what they are probably going to say anyway.

    “Amnesty International, Oxfam, CARE and the UN are anti-semitic.”

    “Gush Shalom are anti-semitic.”

    “theManoffewwords is anti-semitic”

    “MuslimMatters is anti-semitic”

    “Muslims are anti-semitic.”

    “Arabs are anti-semitic.” (though this makes little sense.

    And last but not least “the TRUTH is anti-semitic.”

  4. Avatar

    Asim

    March 6, 2008 at 2:53 PM

    lol nice ^^

  5. Avatar

    Person

    March 6, 2008 at 3:28 PM

    Manoffewwords is not a ‘know-it-all sometimes jerk’. I think he was just kidding when he said that. Yes.

  6. Amad

    Amad

    March 6, 2008 at 3:43 PM

    He calls himself an aggressive anti-establishment blogger, a know-it-all and sometimes jerk

    We didn’t put words in his mouth. We know he’s kidding (hopefully).

  7. Avatar

    Person

    March 6, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    Well you guys shouldn’t be publishing such self-descriptions. :)

  8. Avatar

    Person

    March 6, 2008 at 5:24 PM

    Its a muslimmatter to disallow a Muslim to hurt himself. I’m sort of surprised that muslimmatters.org published that.

  9. Avatar

    Person

    March 6, 2008 at 5:28 PM

    Also, ‘We know’ and ‘hopefully’ don’t go together. You either know that something is true or you hope for it to be true. In this case, knowing and hoping cannot exist simultaneously.

  10. Avatar

    aadil

    March 6, 2008 at 6:47 PM

    http://chromovision.com/films/Wall.wmv

    This video is one of the best short films (7min) I have seen on the subject of Israeli occupation and construction of their Wall.

    Some of you might have already seen it since its from 2004, but if not check it out.

  11. Avatar

    Navaid Aziz

    March 6, 2008 at 7:36 PM

  12. Avatar

    Person

    March 7, 2008 at 12:25 AM

    So, Br. Amad. Are those negative characterizations going to be edited out?

  13. Avatar

    MR

    March 7, 2008 at 1:07 AM

    There jannah is limited (this life). Our jannah in unlimited (the hereafter).

    May Allah (swt) grant the innocent and the oppressed jannah in the hereafter.

  14. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 7, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    person, it’s just a joke. Lighten up. If anyone else complains then I’ll ask Amad to change it.

    I do appreciate your intentions though.

  15. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 7, 2008 at 3:25 PM

    LOL I am a little disappointed that the only controversy my article illicited was in my description.

  16. Avatar

    Person

    March 7, 2008 at 5:14 PM

    Well…to the reader (or to me atleast) it doesn’t seem like the description was written in jest…it seems like an unnecessary public confession of personal weaknesses. Reminded me of the hadith that I quoted.

    If its all a joke, then maybe it should explicitly be stated as such. So, tomorrow if/when someone calls you a know-it-all sometimes jerk they will have no evidence to support their claim.

    Also, Br. Amad needn’t need your permission to edit the description because editing it is the professionally right thing to do. :)

  17. Avatar

    Person

    March 7, 2008 at 5:20 PM

    Actually you should be glad your post is being read so closely. Controversies started from the very top (of the post)…will get to the bottom if Allah has so willed.

  18. Avatar

    Person

    March 7, 2008 at 9:31 PM

    correction: *controversy*

  19. Avatar

    Irum Sarfaraz

    March 7, 2008 at 9:53 PM

    Br. MOFW,
    If you are keen for controversy may I suggest you do a post on ‘third wives’ ?!

  20. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 7, 2008 at 10:45 PM

    lol … Irum, how about “those whom your right hand possesses”

    Hmm … You think it would be vanity if i Islamified my own article?

  21. Avatar

    eli

    March 8, 2008 at 10:53 AM

    Haven’t seen a post about the murders at the seminary.

    Disgusting

  22. Amad

    Amad

    March 8, 2008 at 12:57 PM

    Eli, how many posts about the killing fields of Gaza appear on the Israeli supporting websites, like LGF, etc.? Let me help you. ZERO. How much of the news about the 50+ civilians killed by Israel was given the sort of coverage given to the less than 10 dead in the seminary?

    You’d have been dead or in a cave not to have heard about the seminary shootings, while you’d have be to really engaged to find out about what happened previous in this cycle of violence.

    While we have no qualms about condemning the seminary shootings, how many Zionist websites do you think have condemned the Gaza killings? ZERO. That actually is much more disgusting.

    Why don’t you condemn it for us right here? I want to hear it from you.

  23. Avatar

    Person

    March 8, 2008 at 2:24 PM

    Excuse me Br. Amad: I am waiting for a response to my question…

    Salaam alaykum

  24. Amad

    Amad

    March 8, 2008 at 2:31 PM

    Person, pls let it go. I am not changing anything unless MOFW requests it. If you wish to discuss this further, you can contact me by email; info at muslimmatters dot org. We aren’t going to bore everyone on this petty issue any longer.

  25. Avatar

    Wigon

    March 8, 2008 at 4:20 PM

    Amad, to address your comment, the US news did actually talk about the 50 dead Palestinians in Gaza from the massive military onslaught. However, they did not show graphic pictures of the dead being carried away or laying on the streets as in the seminary shooting. However, the West also sees the Palestinian deaths as “collateral dammage” while seeing the seminary deaths as direct intentional murder of innocent Jewish civilians (although some there were off-duty soldiers). Obviously, if you are a Palestinian who’s just lost your family from a tank shell “accidentally” shot into your apartment you will have a very different view of this. One has to ask what is the root of the violence on both sides and how do you end the cycle of revenge violence? Genocide?
    Hard to do that with the Israelis now that they have nukes including some on Dolphin class submarines giving them 2nd strike capability. Rather then Muslims screaming for revenge, realistic solutions need to be pushed rather then more fueling of this cycle of violence. Jihad is an obligation for Muslims but there are many types of Jihad (economic, spiritual, and through dialogue for example). There is also Dawah through leadership by example rather then lowering oneself to fight as unjustly as kafr (or worse). Remember, that Saladin is not remembered in Western history books because of how many Christians and Jews he killed, but rather by how many he saved through his mercy and justice despite how many Muslims the Crusaders killed.

  26. Avatar

    Person

    March 8, 2008 at 8:42 PM

    Alrighty….plz check your mail!

  27. Avatar

    Malik

    March 8, 2008 at 10:03 PM

    Really only one thing matters in this dispute: That the Palestinians overwhelmingly chose Hamas. Doing so they, with eyes wide open, chose a party of violent religious fanatics who openly state in their charter that their aim is the violent destruction of Israel and the murder of the Jews.

    Many Muslims (and leftists) have complained that we are not respecting Democracy by not respecting the outcome of the vote. We don’t have to respect the outcome to respect Democracy, we have to respect the process. And respecting the process is making people accountable for their democractic decisions so as to foster responsible decision-making.

    The minute they voted Hamas in with their open goals of Genocide the Palestinan population gave up their status of Non-combatants. It’s harsh but that is part of the democratic process.

  28. Amad

    Amad

    March 9, 2008 at 10:40 AM

    So, then by your logic, we should assume that all Israelis who voted in Likud on many occassions or all Israelis/Americans who are ardent Zionists and believe that there is no 2-state solution (including believing/expressing that all Palestinians need to be “removed”) are ALSO combatants? The students killed were at a seminary that is ultra-orthodox, ultra-zionist, teaching radicalism and not accepting of Palestine as a state— so were they combatants? The children and women of Palestine, are they combatants?

    Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel, wants the Israelis to go “home” where they all came from (Europe, Russia, etc.)… not much different from the aspirations of many Zionists regarding Palestinians in the occupied territories.

    Your logic, if reversed, would be considered the logic of terrorists, but of course your warped sense of humanity will not let you see right through it.

  29. Avatar

    anon

    March 9, 2008 at 3:31 PM

    “Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel, wants the Israelis to go “home” where they all came from (Europe, Russia, etc.)… ”

    To be technical, “home” for the majority of Israelis is Israel, considering that 70% of them, if not more were born there. So Hamas’ request is kind of like me asking the children of illegal mexicans born and raised in the US to go back “home” to mexico

  30. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 9, 2008 at 3:49 PM

    I remember telling Malik to “shut the hell up” in the comments section of a previous post.

    He should have listened to me because now he sounds like an extremist fanatic.

    1st he says that Hamas’s goals are genocide. I would like to see a statement by any of the current leaders of Hamas that proves his assertion.

    It’s also s funny because if you have paying attention to the news the ISRAELIS are the one calling for holocaust (shoah) of Palestinians.

    Also your version of democracy is interesting. Vote freely, but if you make the wrong choice there will be a holocaust, EVEN if you voted for the right party you are also responsible for all the Palestinians who voted for Hamas and now you and your family, yes including your babies are legitimate targets.

    One thing is for sure … victory belongs to ALLAH and he gives it to whomever he wills. Let the Zionists strut around in arrogance and oppression. If they believe they can move mountains with their bare hands, tomorrow they will see those same mountains crush them.

    Your words are meaningless Malik, your thoughts insignificant, your time wasted and your mind corrupted.

    Your accusations and ignorance are like empty foam. You are neither convincing, intelligent nor rational.

    For us victory is near, sometimes I can feel it and it gives me goosebumps. A free Palestine where Muslims can visit Masjid al Aqsa and pray there in peace.

    Hizbullah defeated the Israelis, Jews are leaving Israel in droves, the IDF is weak, undisciplined and soft. The Russians that are imported into Israel to boost Jewish numbers turn out to be Christians who lied about their religion so they could use Israel as a stopove point to coming to the US. The Zionist project has been discredited by the ENTIRE world.

    Yet you make foolish empty assertions. You should thank God that ANYONE on this site is willing to give you the time of day let alone respond to your ignorant drivel.

    Go hand out with your Zionist friends, they are soon to be homeless inshallah, maybe you can help them find housing, that is ofcourse until they steal YOUR home and put you out on the street.

    When that happens you can complain to some Palestinians, they will know exactly how you feel. Maybe they will even offer to help.

  31. Amad

    Amad

    March 9, 2008 at 3:57 PM

    anon: that is interesting isn’t it? So some people come to a nation forcibly and take it over, displacing other people. Then these people have kids. The displaced people also have kids. So, now the people who were displaced and originally from the location have no right to return, let alone their kids. While the people who forcibly took over the land become its “rightful” owners.

    I understand its not the occupiers’ kids’ faults. So let them stay there. But where is the justice of leaving out those who were originally displaced?

  32. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 9, 2008 at 4:12 PM

    I disagree with Amad, let all those Ashkenazi Jews rediscover their European roots. Besides an “Israel” with a sudden influx of 2 million Palestinians is going to make a lot of Jews leave anyway … something like 60% dont want to live with Arabs in their neighborhoods.

  33. Avatar

    Person

    March 9, 2008 at 4:31 PM

    Amad…was the email suggestion your way of quieting me down? Very disappointing.

    I replied to your email yesterday. You need to check your spam/bulk box. If you did receive it, then I have nothing more to add. As I said, let it go. -amad

  34. Avatar

    DrM

    March 10, 2008 at 9:55 PM

    Eli, why should anyone with conscious care about a bunch of dead jewish terrorists in Jerusalem? Turns out that little “seminary” of yours was nothing but a zionist terrorist training camp.
    Good bloody riddance I say.

    **Dr. M, Islam condemns the killing of non-combatants, regardless of their ideology. So as Muslims, we cannot support the killing of non-combatants. -MM**

  35. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 11, 2008 at 8:10 PM

    You know this is an issue I was interested in. What was the nature of this Yeshiva? Why was it targeted specifically?

    Does anyone have any information on it?

  36. Avatar

    dario

    March 11, 2008 at 8:24 PM

    According to Wiki their is a specific committee that deals with the issue of military exemption and Yeshiva students. It basically said that at the age of 22 all Yeshiva students are given a year to decide whether they want to go to work or continue with their studies at the yeshiva. If they choose to continue with their studies they are exempt from military service. If they decide they would rather work they must choose between a 4 month stint in the IDF, reserve duties in the military, or a civilian service of one year without salary. And this is for all yeshivas in Israel not just this one. I doubt that there was anything special about this particular yeshiva. It was probably the most accessible

  37. Avatar

    dario

    March 11, 2008 at 8:27 PM

    Also, one more thing, according to wiki this yeshiva “Merkaz harav” iwas founded in 1924 and is commonly regarding as the flagship of yeshivas in israel. So the guy choosing this yeshiva in particular might have been symbolic because of that. Who knows

  38. Amad

    Amad

    March 11, 2008 at 8:47 PM

    This is basically a jewish madrassa with all the negative connotations that the west has imposed on this arabic word for school.

    This madrassa was strongly tied to the settler i.e. steal/occupy/then-insult arab neighbors movement. They were teaching extremist zionist teachings.

    Had roles been reversed, the israeli propaganda machine with its US allies would have made this front and center: of how this islamic madrasa was teaching extremists and basically deserved nothing less. It is amazing how quiet this fact has been kept.

  39. Avatar

    dario

    March 11, 2008 at 9:02 PM

    Sorry, one more comment that basically goes into some of what amad said

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/962041.html

  40. Avatar

    DrM

    March 11, 2008 at 11:38 PM

    In response to my earlier comment, jewish settler terrorists are heavily armed and have a history harassing and murdering Palestinian civilians, including school children, hence they are hardly “non-combatants.”

  41. Avatar

    dario

    March 12, 2008 at 4:02 PM

    I wasn’t aware 15 and 16year olds sitting in a building reading the torah were heavily armed. Thanks for the heads up

  42. Avatar

    Solomon2

    March 14, 2008 at 3:56 PM

    Hi, guys! Long time since I’ve been here. The report is interesting. I can’t find where it states, “Israeli Occupation Causes Terrorism.” I have found the passage where it says the current Israeli policy of the embargo isn’t working.

    Since that policy dates from a time long after Israelis and Israel’s armed forces departed Gaza, a natural conclusion is that the report’s authors are blaming Gaza’s woes on the end of Israeli occupation. The authors make it clear that circumstances were better when Israelis ruled the territory.

    However, the authors still hold that Gaza is somehow “occupied” so Israel is still responsible under the 4th Geneva Convention (probably the sections which Israel isn’t a party to, I guess.) That Gaza is “occupied” is a sick fiction. Where are the Israeli troops? When done with their raids they depart. That is not occupation. Nor does Israel control Gaza’s border with third countries – Hamas demonstrated that. Since these are precisely the conditions of “occupation” premised in the report, the current reality undermines its criticism of Israel – but not its criticism of the Palestinian Arabs.

    Living in Gaza can be difficult, I’m sure. But how much progress can be made towards improving people’s lives if they exist in a dream world?

  43. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 14, 2008 at 10:08 PM

    Solomon, Israel is able to cut off electricity, supplies, imports, access to the sea and travel outside of Gaza. As for the last point, both Jordan and Egypt, ALLIES of Israel by the way, cooperate with the siege. Egypt recently relented due to domestic pressure that is why Palestinians were allowed to pour into Egypt.

    This is all not mentioning the repeated attacks and incursions by Israelis in Gaza. Gazan airspace is under total control by the Israeli airforce as is the coast. Palestinian fisherman cant even fish because of the Israeli navy.

    Who is in the dreamworld bro?

  44. Avatar

    Solomon2

    March 15, 2008 at 8:59 PM

    mfw, I’m the one who read the report that was incorrectly characterized as, “Israeli Occupation Causes Terrorism”. So how can I be the one in the dreamworld?

    That said, I’m glad you agree with my presentation of the facts. Under international law, the measures you cite may constitute a siege (they aren’t nearly complete), but they do not mean that Gaza is in any way “occupied” by Israeli forces, any more than Gaza can be characterized as “occupied” by Egyptian forces. (Too many Gazan Arabs who poured through the exploded breaches in the Egyptian wall have long since aroused the ire of the Egyptian government, and are now being penned in as before, it seems.)

    Of course, some people do say that Gaza is currently “occupied” by the openly Iranian-trained militia of Hamas. These same people usually blame Israel for this, citing Israel’s role in promoting Hamas decades ago when it was merely a vehicle for providing social services to the populace. The Israelis didn’t appreciate that Hamas was really something like the orphanage out of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Come to think of it, a lot of Muslim institutions seem to work that way…

  45. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 15, 2008 at 11:51 PM

    Ok i will ignore your strange take on “a lot of Muslim institutions” as well as your unsubstantiated and hypocritical claim of Hamas being an Iranian-trained militia.

    Let’s say that Gaza is not occupied. What is it then? An independent state with an internationally recognized government, embassies world-wide and a right to an army to defend itself? What is it, a principality, satrap, bailiwick, beylicate, province, region, territory, bantustan? Boardwalk, maybe?

    Honestly i dont even know why i respond sometimes … i’m only asking for you to return with a more preposterous answer which I will then have to shoot down with my lovable mix of sarcasm and irreverence.

    Thus an ugly cycle that gives me carpel tunnel, overloads your neurons and exposes you to ridicule.

    This is precisely why we should eliminate public education and tv. The combination of the two makes everyone think they know something when they dont and make them misunderstand their God-given faculties of speech for a right to spout nonsensical opinions.

    May your fingertips sprout fuzzy follicles. I shall call them fingerstaches and laugh at you when you try and be serious. How can I take a man seriously with fingerstaches?

    If that last paragraph made little sense to you then you know how I felt reading your entire last post. Just remember, don’t lick your fingers after eating, it would be a disgusting sight and further undermine your “it rains when I fart” opinions.

  46. Avatar

    DrM

    March 17, 2008 at 10:27 PM

    A link to neocon “pajamas media” site, eh solomon? It never fails to amuse me how utterly disingenuous jewish fanatics are when it comes to promoting their racist narrative. Gutter snipes like Phylis Chesler and Michael Ladeen? Nuff said. Somebody is definitely in a “dream world” and it isn’t the Arabs.

  47. Avatar

    Phil

    March 24, 2008 at 5:46 PM

    Levelled Beruit you wrote. What a load of rubbish like so much of your pathetic piece. I wonder if you have you even visited the city? Israel does not target innocent civilians. It’s Hamas who uses civilians as human shields and hope some get killed as it helps their cause to create ‘martyrs’. The Palestinian people are become unwilling martyrs. Every missile aimed at Israel hurts the Palestinain cause. When will their evil leadership realise that fact or do they even care?

  48. Avatar

    theManOfFewWords

    March 25, 2008 at 7:28 AM

    Phil, I want to know what you are on. Seems like good stuff, do you know where I can get me some?

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  54. Avatar

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    November 2, 2012 at 2:54 AM

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#Islam

Muslims for Migrants | A Joint Letter By Imam Zaid Shakir & Imam Omar Suleiman

Imam Zaid Shakir

Published

on

migrants

Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “He who gives respite to someone who is in straitened circumstances, or grants him remission, Allah will shelter him in the shade of His Throne, on the Day of Resurrection, when there will be no shade except its shade.” (Tirmidhi, 1306)

He also said, “There is no leader who closes the door to someone in need, one suffering in poverty, except that Allah closes the gates of the heavens for him when he is suffering in poverty.” (Tirmidhi, 1332)

The message is clear, the way we treat the most vulnerable of Allah’s creation has consequences to us both individually and collectively, and both in this life and the next.

As the humanitarian crisis at the southern border deepens, there is a deafening silence from most corners of the American Muslim community. One might ask, “Why should that silence be concerning?” Shouldn’t the nation of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) who was himself an orphan and a migrant sent as a mercy to the worlds be the first to be moved with the images of children in cages? Migration and asylum are God-given rights that individuals and nations would do well to respect. These rights are affirmed in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah upon him).

Concerning migration, the Qur’an states unequivocally: 

As for those whose souls the angels take while they are oppressing themselves, the angels will say to them, “What was your former state?” They will respond, “We were oppressed in the land.” The angels will counter, “Was not Allah’s earth spacious enough for you to migrate therein.” (4:97)

 The oppression referred to in this verse specifically focuses on persecution because of faith, but the general meaning of the wording can accommodate any form of oppression which involves the denial of a person’s Divinely conferred rights.

Migration lies at the very heart of the prophetic tradition in the Abrahamic religions. Abraham himself was a migrant. His son Ismail was a migrant. The Children of Israel along with Moses were migrants, as was Jesus. Not only was our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) a migrant, he twice sent many of his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them) to Ethiopia to seek the protection of the Negus. The fact that the Muslim calendar is dated from the migration of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) from Makkah to Madinah indicates the lofty place migration has in the life of the Muslim community and in the consciousness of its members. 

Additionally, history records the massive migrations of those Muslims who fled from oppressive, tyrannical, violent rulers or invaders. One of the most famous examples we can relate in this regard is the massive westward migration of those escaping the advancing Mongol hordes. Among those refugees was the great poet, Rumi, who along with thousands of others fled his home in Balkh, located in present-day Afghanistan, eventually settling in Konya, in the heart of Anatolia. Others migrated for economic reasons. The historian, Richard Bulliet, theorizes that the economic collapse of Khurasan, a once-thriving Sunni intellectual hub in eastern Iran, led to the migration of large swaths of its population to Syrian and Egypt. In his view, the many scholars among those refugees led to an intellectual revival in the lands they settled in.

As for asylum, it can be granted by both the state and an individual Muslim to individuals or groups. The foundations of this principle in prophetic practice was established during events which occurred during the conquest of Makkah. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), as the de facto head of state, issued an oath of protection to the people of Mecca when he declared, “Whosever enters the house of Abu Sufyan is safe. Whosoever casts down his weapons is safe. Whosoever closes his door [and remains inside] is safe.” (Sahih Muslim, 1780) Ibn Ishaq’s version adds, “Whosoever enters the [Sacred] Mosque is safe.” (Narrated in Sirah Ibn Hisham, 4:35)

Those enjoying these protections from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) had not committed a crime and although they had not traveled to another land seeking refuge, the description of their land had changed from one under the authority of the Quraysh to one under the authority of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him). In this “new” land they were being guaranteed safety and subsequently freedom even though they had not yet embraced Islam.

 A related event is Imam Ali’s sister, Umm Hani, granting asylum to al-Harith bin Hisham and Zuhayr bin Ummayya that same day. When faced with the prospect of their execution by her brother, Imam Ali, she locked them in her house and went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) to inform him that she had granted them asylum. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) responded, “We grant asylum to those Umm Hani has granted asylum to and we protect those Umm Hani has extended protection to.” (Sirah ibn Hisham, 4:42) In other words, the entire Muslim community, globally, is bound to respect the oath of protection or asylum granted by even an individual Muslim.

This idea of the entire Muslim community respecting a grant of asylum extended by even a single Muslim is strengthened by the Hadith:

 The protection of the Muslims is one and the least of them can grant it. Whosoever violates the asylum extended by a Muslim upon him falls the curse of Allah, His angels and all of humanity. Never will an obligatory or voluntary act be accepted from him. (Bukhari, 3172)

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) praised the Ansar of Madinah for how they loved those that migrated to them and preferred them even over themselves. (Quran: 59:9) They bore no resentment to those that migrated to them and sought reward only from Allah for sustaining them. They knew that supporting those in need was only a means of goodness in their lives rather than a burden. These powerful Islamic teachings have been codified by our scholars into a sophisticated system of amnesty, asylum, and respect for the status of refugees.

Hence, when we view the sickening conditions those migrating to our southern borders are exposed to, we should be touched and moved to action knowing that our religion grants those fleeing persecution, oppression, or ecological devastation, the right to migrate and to be duly considered for asylum. Our actions, however, must be based on principle and knowledge. We should further vigorously defend the dignity our Lord has afforded to all human beings, and our obligation to assist those who are suffering from recognized forms of oppression.

We must also understand that the rights to migration and asylum have been codified in the most widely accepted Muslim statement on human rights: The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, Article 12; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 14; the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (ADRDM), Article 27; and the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), Article 22. The United States is a signatory party to the UDHR, and by way of membership in the Organization of American States (OAS), reluctantly accepts the authority of the ADRDM and the ACHR, although she has never ratified the latter two.

Our view on this issue should also be informed by the knowledge of our own country’s history as a nation of immigrants in the Native’s land. It should further be shaped by understanding the way nativist and white supremacist tendencies have fueled xenophobic and exclusivist policies and how in many instances our sometimes misguided policies have created many of our most vexing human rights challenges. It must also be informed by our obligation as American citizens.

For example, we need to understand that the overwhelming majority of families, children and individual adults arriving at our southern border from the “Northern Triangle” of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are fleeing intolerable levels of violence. That violence is not just that of ruthless street gangs, such as MS-13, it also emanates from government-sponsored death squads, many of which were organized and trained by the CIA or the US military at the former School of the Americas based at Fort Benning, Georgia. The infamous Battalion 316 of Honduras was an American-trained death squad responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial killings in that country during the 1980s and into the 1990s as well as the kidnapping and torture of thousands of Honduran citizens during the same period. These death squads are beginning to reappear in the wake of a wave of right-wing regimes assuming power throughout Latin America.

The combination of American political and economic pressure through the mechanisms of neocolonialism used to control and systematically under-develop former and present “banana republics,” the International Monetary Fund (IMF), plutocratic regimes increasingly beholden to Washington DC, integrating the violence of both death squads and drug cartels into their crushing of both popular dissent as well as any attempts at economic diversification and stratification help to create the conditions producing the waves of migrants moving towards our southern border. Long before they sought to cross our borders, our borders crossed them.

Long before they sought to cross our borders, our borders crossed them.

Despite the history, the way that the Trump administration has chosen to deal with the current crisis, largely for cheap race-baited political gain, has challenged the God-given rights to migration and asylum, exacerbated the humanitarian crisis at the border, and diminished the standing of the United States internationally. It is critical to understand, however, that just as the policies producing the floods of migrants from parts of Latin America are not uniquely a product of the Trump administration, Trump is not the first racist to occupy the White House. We could mention Richard Nixon, who famously embraced Kevin Philip’s “southern strategy,” to wrest the south from the control of the Democrats; we could mention the KKK-loving, segregationist, Woodrow Wilson; we could mention the slave-driving, genocidal ethnic cleanser Andrew Jackson, as well as others.

What makes Trump unique, as Greg Grandin emphasizes in his latest book, The End of the Myth, is that Trump is a racist who has appeared at a time America is no longer, via conquest or economic domination, expanding her frontiers. With the ensuing erasure of the myth of American exceptionalism, the “American people” can no longer point to our global economic or political domination as the difference between “them” and “us.” 

Unable to deflect our nagging national problems, one of the most vexing being the race issue, by looking outward, large numbers of white Americans are turning inward with xenophobic frenzy. That inward turn creates a focus on outsiders who threaten “our” rapidly disappearing “purity.” Hence, the border, symbolized by the wall, becomes not just an indicator of national sovereignty, it becomes a symbol of white identity. A symbol Trump invokes with seldom matched mastery. Vested with the passion emanating from the defense of an embattled race, innocent brown children taken from their mothers and imprisoned in overcrowded, feces-stained gulags become easily dismissed collateral damage.

Generally speaking, the same playbook that has been employed against the Muslim and other immigrant communities, specifically refugees from the Middle East, has been employed against the immigrant community as a whole. In far too many instances, America’s destructive foreign policy leaves helpless populations running to our shores, increasingly to be dehumanized and disregarded again in order to pander to the worst of our domestic propensities.

Launchgood.com/migrants, migrants, Muslims

So we call upon the Muslim community to not only assist in efforts to support our migrant brothers and sisters but lead the way. Get involved in advocacy work, support immigrant justice organizations, join the sanctuary efforts and lend yourself and your wealth in whatever way you can to be at their aid. By the Grace of Allah, we have launched a campaign to reunite as many families as we can. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “Whoever separates a mother from her child, Allah will separate him from his loved ones on the Day of Resurrection.” (Tirmidhi, 1566) We hope that in reuniting families, Allah will reunite us with our beloved ones on the Day of Resurrection, and specifically with the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) in the highest gardens of Paradise.

Imam Zaid Shakir, Imam, Lighthouse Mosque

Imam Omar Suleiman, Founder & President, Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research

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Malaysians Ask China To Free Uyghurs, Close The Camps

Hena Zuberi

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Free Uyghur Malaysia

By Gulnaz Uighur

Muslims are standing up for Uyghurs, protests held in Malaysia.

5th of July could be just like another day for people but for Uyghurs, it brings back dark memories of a bloody past. This day, in 2009, thousands of Uyghur students were massacred by Chinese police in Urumqi. These young students were demanding an investigation into the rising number of homicides in a toy factory. These people only wanted justice. They were also upset by the ongoing discrimination in the employment sector. Graduates were denied jobs because of their Uyghur ethnicity. After the protests, China started abducting the Uyghur youth and no one knows where the missing went. Its been 10 years since that horrifying incident and the condition of Muslims have devolved in a genocidal nightmare.

Communist Government in China Has over 2 Million Uyghurs in Concentration Camps

Beijing has now locked over 2 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. People in these places are forced to denounce Islam, forget the teachings of Quran, prohibited from praying, asked to learn Xi Jinping’s speech and tortured for not obeying these orders. Sadly, Islam is being treated as a disease in China and most of the Islamic nations are turning a blind eye to it.

So Malaysia came as a breath of fresh air when Muslim NGOs organized an anti-China protest against Uyghur persecution.

On 5th July 2019, a coalition of 34 Malaysian NGOs gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur to protest the persecution of Uyghurs. The organizations prepared a memo of protest to be submitted to Chinese officials. In the memo, they demanded Beijing to ‘Respect the human rights of the Uyghur people, in particular, their right to life and freedom of religion and belief.’ , ‘immediately stop the persecution and extreme repression of the Uyghur people.’ and close the camps. They also called upon the International community to increase the voices of protest and disfavour upon the Chinese government and to work together to improve the situation for the Uyghur people through concrete actions.

The protesters shouted slogans like ‘Me Too Uyghur’ and ‘Save Uyghur’. In a media interview, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), Mohamad Raimi Abdul Rahim asked immediate freedom for all those who have been detained in concentration camps.

Malaysians Stand With Uyghurs

Abim secretary Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz accused the Chinese government of concealing the plight of the Uyghurs by offering NGOs and government agencies free trips and painting a rosy picture of the camps. Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, chairman of the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Islamic Organizations (Mapim), said the atrocities committed against the Uyghurs could not be denied or disguised. The Group of NGOs also included Ikram Association and the Malaysian Youth Council among others.

Though no Chinese official came out to accept the memo, the message was clear that now people won’t keep quiet about the Uyghur persecution. There is a dire need for Muslim countries to break their silence on this issue. There is enough evidence to prove that something unholy and inhumane is happening with Uyghurs. If these countries consider China their friend then ask it to stop being a Shaitan. The leaders must realize that their first duty is towards the Ummah and not towards China.

Now is the time to stand for Uyghurs before nothing is left to be saved.

This protest in  Malaysia has proved that people in Muslim countries do support Uyghurs even if their governments are silent and are upset with Beijing’s policies. This event proved that governments may fail to fight but people won’t.

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5 Quick Things Americans Can Do For Uyghurs Today

Abu Ryan Dardir

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“I may die, but let it be known that my nation will continue their struggle so long the world continues to exist.” Kazakh leader Uthman Batur. He said these words as Chinese authorities executed him for resisting the communist occupation. Currently, China has, one million Uyghurs (Uighurs), Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities held in concentration camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) (East Turkistan) in northwestern China.

Their struggle surpasses the 10 or so years since we have become aware of it. Just like the Rohingya genocide, we waited till the last minute. We are always late and say, “Never Again.” It happens again and again.

In my lifetime, there have been horrendous genocides that could have been prevented to stopped. As a child, I remember Rwanda in the headlines, then a year later Bosnian genocide. Then we hear these demonic stories after the fact. I remember stories from survivors from Bosnia, and thinking to myself, “How are you here and functioning?”

Let us not be fooled to why this is happening now. It is related to economic advantages. The Chinese government’s present signature foreign policy initiative is the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) that seeks to connect the PRC economically to the rest of the Eurasian continent through massive infrastructure projects that will stimulate international trade. The western and south-western components of the BRI require the XUAR to serve as a transportation and commercial hub to trade routes and pipelines that will join China with Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and the entirety of Europe. As a result, the XUAR has become an important strategic region for the Chinese, and the state views its indigenous populations as an obstacle to developing its vision for this future critical center of international commercial networks.1

The expansion of their trade route also ties in Iran hence the sanctions placed, but that’s a different report for a different time. China, of course, has defended their actions by claiming its an anti-terrorism plan. Getting reliable information is hard. China has made it a point to make things difficult for reporters. Yanan Wang, a China-based journalist from the Associated Press, has reported extensively on and from Xinjiang.

In a ceremony at Asia Society on Tuesday commemorating AP’s 2019 Osborn Elliott Award for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, Wang described the subtle ways government minders worked to thwart her reporting: “(Both of the times we went there we arrived at the airport, we had a welcoming committee from the local authorities. They’re always very polite and professional. They say that “you’ve arrived in Xinjiang and we’re here to assist you in your reporting. Tell us what you’re working on so we can help you.” They offer us drives in their car and plenty of hospitality.

Basically, from the moment we arrive, we’re followed by at least one car. There are a bunch of interesting scenarios that we came across. You can see that the local handlers are trying hard to be professional. They are members of the propaganda department, so they’re PR professionals. They don’t want to make it appear like it’s so stifling. At one point, we were taking photos, and someone suddenly appeared on the scene to say he was a “concerned citizen.” He said he’d seen us taking photos and that it was an infringement of his privacy rights. He had this long monologue about privacy rights and about how it wasn’t right for us to take photos of him without his knowledge. We asked him, “Well, where are you in these photos?” and he’d go through all of them. He said we had to delete all of them. He’d say, “This is my brother,” or “This is my place of work, you have to delete it.”

They had all of these interesting tactics to work around the idea that they were trying to obstruct our reporting and make it appear that someone who claims to be a concerned citizen.)”2

On top of that, locals that talk to journalist are punished, sometimes go missing.

I decided to do something this time around; I got in touch with an Uyghur community near my residence to see how an individual could help. It started at a Turkic restaurant, and from there, I have been involved in whatever capacity I am able. Through this effort, I got in touch with a Turkic professor in Turkey who has students stranded as they are cut off from contacting family back in Xinjiang. He helps them out financially; my family and friends help with what they can.

As Muslims in the West, there is no doubt we should act. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith” (Muslim).

How Can You Help Uyghurs

Here are a few things you can do to help:

1. Ask Congress to pass To pass S.178 & H.R.649 Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019. Urge your senator and representative to support this cause. It has been introduced. This bill can help the Uyghur community to be treated like Tibetans (another region oppressed by China).

2. Stay informed. The mainstream media is not the place to get accurate information on the situation. Be skeptical of where the data is coming from, stick to reliable sources that are verified. As mentioned above, journalists find it difficult to report.

3. Donate to Uyghur Human Rights Organizations to end concentration camps: UHRP, Uyghur American Association  Donate to Awareness Campaigns: Save Uigur Campaign 

4. Boycott or reduce buying Made in China products

5. Follow these links for updated information: facebook.com/Uyghur-Human-Rights-Project-227634297289994/ and facebook.com/ChinaMuslims

This crisis is an ethnic cleansing for profit. These are dark days as we value profit over people.

1.Statement by Concerned Scholars on mass detentions | MCLC …. https://u.osu.edu/mclc/2018/11/27/statement-by-concerned-scholars-on-mass-detention s/

2.Why It’s So Difficult for Journalists To Report From …. https://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/why-its-so-difficult-journalists-report-xinjiang

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