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Open Thread Sunday 2/1/09

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allahpendant08lgFor this edition of the Open Thread, I feel that it’s time we have a good dose of spirituality before we dive into the gritty news once more.

A dip into MM’s Inspiration and Spirituality archives yields many amazing results from which we can all take benefit. These days, with so much focus on the latest political news around the world, we are perhaps forgetting some of the most important, core aspects of our Deen: our relationship with Allah, our worship of Him, and how it affects us as individuals and as a society.

On that note, we present some MM Golden Oldies:

THE OCEAN OF MA‘RIFAH: SHALLOW & DEEP
In explaining the hadith: “Know Allah in times of prosperity and He will know you in times of adversity,” [7] Ibn Rajab writes about ma‘rifah , or knowing Allah:

“A servant’s ma‘rifah of his Lord is of two levels: Firstly, a general acquaintance which involves acknowledging, affirming and having faith in Him: this type of ma‘rifah is common to all believers. Secondly, a deeper type of ma‘rifah, or acquaintance, which leads to hearts being totally inclined to Allah: devoted to Him; intimate with Him; at peace when remembering Him; being shy of Him; and being held in awe of Him. This is the specific type of ma‘rifah around which the gnostics, or ‘årifun, revolve – as one of them remarked: “The poor people of this world have departed from it without xperiencing the most delightful thing in it.” He was asked: What is the most delightful of things? He said: “The ma‘rifah of Allah, Mighty and Majestic is He.” Ahmad ibn ‘Asim al-Antaqi said: “I desire not to die until I attain ma‘rifah of my Lord. I do not mean ma‘rifah in the sense of merely believing in Him; but a ma‘rifah so that, when I know Him, I feel shy of Him.”

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Having fortified our souls with reminders of spirituality, we can turn our refreshed gazes to the grim reality:

JERUSALEM (AFP) — An Israeli human rights group on Monday called for the immediate dismissal of the chief military rabbi, claiming he gave soldiers fighting in Gaza pamphlets urging them to show no mercy.

  • The London Review of Books published an article by Henry Siegman titled “Israel’s Lies.”

Middle East peacemaking has been smothered in deceptive euphemisms, so let me state bluntly that each of these claims is a lie. Israel, not Hamas, violated the truce: Hamas undertook to stop firing rockets into Israel; in return, Israel was to ease its throttlehold on Gaza. In fact, during the truce, it tightened it further. This was confirmed not only by every neutral international observer and NGO on the scene but by Brigadier General (Res.) Shmuel Zakai, a former commander of the IDF’s Gaza Division. In an interview in Ha’aretz on 22 December, he accused Israel’s government of having made a ‘central error’ during the tahdiyeh, the six-month period of relative truce, by failing ‘to take advantage of the calm to improve, rather than markedly worsen, the economic plight of the Palestinians of the Strip . . . When you create a tahdiyeh, and the economic pressure on the Strip continues,’ General Zakai said, ‘it is obvious that Hamas will try to reach an improved tahdiyeh, and that their way to achieve this is resumed Qassam fire . . . You cannot just land blows, leave the Palestinians in Gaza in the economic distress they’re in, and expect that Hamas will just sit around and do nothing.’

  • Ellison Accepts Appointment to Foreign Affairs Committee

Speaker Cites Deep Understanding of Foreign Policy Issues
Committee Offers Diplomatic, Economic Policy And Trade Opportunities

WASHINGTON, DC  – Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) was appointed to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).  Ellison will serve on the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, as well as the International Organizations Human Rights and Oversight Subcommittee.

“I am pleased to appoint Congressman Ellison to the Foreign Affairs Committee,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “I am certain he will do an excellent job with his deep understanding of foreign policy issues and his strong commitment to peace and diplomacy.”

“I am honored to accept the Speaker’s appointment to the Foreign Affairs Committee.  I am convinced that diplomacy and development must be elevated to the proper place as instruments of peace-making,” said Ellison.  “I am pleased to have this opportunity to have a more direct role in the pursuit of peace, as well as the pursuit of economic opportunities for the 5th Congressional District,” Ellison stated.

Ellison noted that he hopes to support President Obama’s efforts to restore and enhance America’s standing in the world as a beacon of democratic ideals.

“President Obama has said he wishes to initiate a partnership with the world based on mutual respect and mutual interest,” Ellison said. “I concur wholeheartedly with him, and stand ready to help,” Ellison said.

Ellison was repeatedly called on by both the Bush Administration and Democratic leadership to lend a helping hand in strengthening democratic ideals to varying visiting dignitaries, academics and students.  He also participated in numerous trips abroad for the same purpose.

The 5th Congressional District, which Ellison represents, is the most culturally rich and ethnically diverse district in Minnesota.  Ellison hopes to use the Foreign Affairs Committee as a springboard to facilitate mutual trade opportunities between Minnesota and the world.

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Amad

    February 1, 2009 at 12:35 PM

    Did Sunday happen in Canada on 1/31, Sr. Zainab? :) [changed the date of the thread to 2/1/09]

  2. AnonyMouse

    February 1, 2009 at 4:12 PM

    Oops! I knew it wasn’t a good idea to do the Open Thread at 1 in the morning in a sleep-deprived, sugar-high state! :S

  3. abu abdAllah (MM Associate)

    February 1, 2009 at 4:47 PM

    bismillah. you canucks and your maple syrup… :)

  4. AnonyMouse

    February 1, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    What can I say, it’s good stuff!

    Does anyone have any idea how to get a hold of Dr. Hesham al-Awadhi (the one who did the Children Around the Messenger, 4 Great Imams, & Women Inspired by the Beloved audio series)? Where is he and how do I get to him?! Do any Brits have a clue as to when his next UK appearance will be?

  5. Nihal Khan

    February 1, 2009 at 8:34 PM

  6. Ibrahim

    February 1, 2009 at 9:14 PM

    Greetings, brothers and sisters,

    It is my desire to bring Muslims, Christians, and other Monotheists together on the internet to discuss sincere faith in the One True God, in a way that takes all the Holy Books seriously, but without becoming polemic. Currently, I know of no place on the internet where this is being done. I am running a website, FaithDialog.org, that exists for this very purpose, but thus far only one Muslim has joined, and so there is no discussion going on. But I believe faithdialog.org has the potential to greatly increase mutual respect, understanding, and even positive change between Muslims and Christians in the English speaking world, insha’Allah. I would like to invite anyone here who would like to discuss faith in Allah with other Muslims and Christians in a fruitful and peaceful manner to come join us at FaithDialog.org.

  7. AsimG

    February 2, 2009 at 6:50 PM

    Asalaamu Alaykum,

    I was contacted by Congressman Andre Carson and wanted to share it with the MM community. I also think it should be posted on the MM article that condemns his yes vote on the Israeli resolution.

    “My vote wasn’t against my Palestinian brothers and sisters. In fact, I have met with Democratic leadership asking for increased humanitarian aid to my brothers and sisters. The yes vote was in support of a separate Palestinian State and humanitarian aid in which the resolution calls for. The resolution calls for America’s support of Israel’s right to defend itself and the condemnation of terrorism. As a muslim representing Indiana I have to consider both muslim and non muslim interests. I am always fighting for the downtrodden. Salaams!”

    This was given as a response to my question on why he voted yes and why did he not at least condemn the civilian casualties.

  8. Manas Shaikh

    February 2, 2009 at 11:24 PM

    WRT the digg ban, I wrote to them the following brief response:

    I came to know that MuslimMatters.org, which is a reputed blog has been blocked from Digg. It makes no sense to me, except if I assume that you are bunch of biased and racist people.

    • Amad

      February 2, 2009 at 11:38 PM

      jazakallahkhair Manas,
      For those who are wondering, we asked our readers, via FB, to write to DIGG protesting the exclusion of the MM url from being dugg:

      This was the message, feel free to join the protest:

      Dear DIGG’ers and friends of MuslimMatters,

      We NEED your help to fight back censorship of the Muslim viewpoint on Gaza.

      Recently DIGG has banned the URL MuslimMatters.org (MM) from being submitted for DIGG.

      This was based on action-alerts posted on MM for suggested articles/videos/photos that the authors of the specific posts wanted to share with readers about Gaza.

      However, online Israeli supporters and groups such as JIDF, probably saw our action-alerts as highlighting stories and articles that they desperately wanted to bury. As you can understand, Israel is in a frenzy to muddy or prevent the story of the Gaza massacre from being told.

      DIGG did not send MM any explanations and despite repeated requests for information, they did not have the courtesy to provide any details, except to point to their terms and conditions at: http://digg.com/tou

      We come to you, dear friends, to help us fight this discriminatory action back. We cannot let this sort of censorship of one viewpoint persist.

      Take 2 minutes to do the following:
      1) Talking points:
      a.MuslimMatters.org is a reputed Muslim blog that has done a lot to promote the DIGG service. MM has many writers and any one post or author does not represent the position of the entire MM site.
      b.The action-alerts that MM posted highlighting different stories/pics/videos were no different from “shouts” that readers can send to each other on DIGG.
      c.This was no organized effort to “artificially” alter the results, since there was no compulsion on the readers to DIGG the suggested item, no membership contracts, and no different from the shouts that readers can send to each other.
      d.Why did DIGG not send an explanation or “warning” to MM if it suspected Terms of Use violation?

      2) Demand that DIGG immediately reinstate the MM url and provide proper explanation for the banning.

      3) Send an email to support@digg.com, abuse@digg.com
      or use http://digg.com/contact/

      Here is a canned letter (if you don’t have the time to piece together something from the talking points):

      “As a reader of MuslimMatters.org and a DIGG user, I am very disappointed by DIGG’s action to ban the MuslimMatters.org URL. MM, as a blog representing opinions of many Muslims around the world, was just providing us links of mutual interest, and recommending them to be DUGG, without compulsion or contracts. This is no different from shouts that we are able to send to each other on DIGG. DIGG’s behavior in banning the url seems an act of pure discrimination against the anti-Israel viewpoint and colors DIGG as no longer being an objective carrier of all viewpoints.

      I demand that as a member of your community, that you reinstate the muslimmatters.org URL immediately, otherwise I will simply stop using DIGG too”

  9. Ibrahim

    February 3, 2009 at 8:37 PM

    Is there any clue as to what portion of the Terms of Service DIGG thinks MuslimMatters.org violates?

    • Amad

      February 3, 2009 at 9:14 PM

      This is the response they sent to people who wrote to them:

      Thanks for taking the time to contact us at http://Digg.com regarding your website.

      As you know, Digg is a community-driven website – our community has consistently reported the domain to which you refer as manipulating Digg votes which is a serious violation of Digg Terms Of Use http://digg.com%2Ftos

      9.with the intention of artificially inflating or altering the ‘digg count’, blog count, comments, or any other Digg service, including by way of creating separate user accounts for the purpose of artificially altering Digg’s services; giving or receiving money or other remuneration in exchange for votes; or participating in any other organized effort that in any way artificially alters the results of Digg’s services;

      10. to advertise to, or solicit, any user to buy or sell any products or services. It is also a violation of these rules to use any information obtained from the Services in order to contact, advertise to, solicit, or sell to any user without their prior explicit consent;

      Because unblocking your domain would not be in line with the best interests of the larger Digg community, we will not reverse this decision.

      What is amazing is that DIGG did not have the courtesy to send us any “warnings” or notices of any violations. They did not even have the courtesy to explain their actions as it relates to SPECIFICS, except to send us canned messages, and similar messages to our readers. This is probably because they don’t have a leg to stand upon.

      There was no “artificial” inflation of any DIGG results. The author of the specific action-alert posts shared resources that would be of common interest with our readers, with the readers having full right to exercise whether to DIGG or not. For those familiar with DIGG, that is no different than sending out shouts to other members, highlighting a certain article/news/video.

      This action by DIGG is purely driven by Israeli foot-soldiers and online mercenaries who probably flooded DIGG with canned complaints, and DIGG shamelessly banned the MM url without proper investigations or giving us the chance to argue our case.

  10. B

    February 7, 2009 at 3:37 AM

    “..or participating in any other organized effort”

    Your action items and requests for readers to Digg is an organized effort, moreover, you do have a Facebook group just to inform members of Digg-ing related requests.

    I am sorry to see that Muslimmatters.org got banned, however, their rules seem very clear.

  11. hoppiemochie

    May 20, 2009 at 12:22 PM

    Hiya all of youz!..
    How are yaz doing?

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