Archive for May, 2006

h1

Mahmoud Abbas Announces Darth Vader is Luke's Father

May 26, 2006

…or that is basically how this news of his comes. He has supposedly given Hamas an ultimatum: “Recognize Israel, or else.” First of all, or else what? Secondly, he is asking that Hamas recognize Israel so long as Israel meets certain conditions (returning to the 1967 borders, East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, right of return for refugees, etc.)

Unlike you, Mr. Abbas, the rest of us have not been living under a rock. Israel has already built a wall through the middle (and I use the term loosely) of the holy land, making it clear they are not interested in giving up any of their seized land or East Jerusalem, for that matter. Hamas has repeatedly said that they would be willing to work with Israel under the above conditions, but Israel has always refused.

So, the question is, why is Abbas suddenly making himself seem like Mr. Bright Idea? Obviously, he has been exposed for the lame duck that he is and is trying to save face (i.e. make himself look good for his masters, the Zionists, and also look good in front of the Palestinian people, as the reasonable secular politician, willing to bend but not break). Rubbish.

Regardless of what Mr. Bush, Israel, or anyone else thinks about Hamas, they have always represented the interests of the people. So, it is not surprising that the Palestinian people elected them, or that Israel is so vehement in opposing their plans, irrespective of how peaceful and “reasonable” those plans might be. If Hamas, tomorrow, said “Israel, take all of the land, we’ll leave,” Israel would accuse them of antisemitism and bomb them, along with hundreds of houses of innocent people. If Mr. Abbas turned around and said the same thing, he’d be championed as a hero.

Why? Because he will lead the Palestinian people into moral corruption and decadence, just as his predecessor, Arafat, had done. For Muslims, real Muslims, the issue of Jerusalem, of all of Palestine, is not a political one, or even a human rights issue. It is a religious issue. That land belongs to God, and all religions that hold it sacred have a right to it. The Zionists claim it exclusively for themselves, and for that, they will be eternally resisted, until the relent.

h1

Independent Women and the Battle of the Camel

May 25, 2006

Sunni Sister has a post that links to the Question and Answer section of “Sunni Path.” The inquisitor asks if women’s rights declined after the incident of the Battle of the Camel because people apparently frowned upon the Mother of the Believers, Aisha, for being involved in a “political” matter. The answer was very enlightening, but I feel that it did not address some critical questions of my own (not surprisingly, since I ask a lot of questions).

Although the respected person of knowledge who answered the question, did clear up that women in Islam were much more independent and free thinking than under jahiliyyah, despite to what the inquisitor had been told by western academics, she did not really explain why the people frowned upon Aisha’s involvement; because they certainly did.

From what I understand, they frowned upon her actions because they were wrong, not because she was a “woman sticking her nose into political matters.” For that matter, everyone else involved on the side of those supposedly “avenging the death of ‘Uthman” were likewise frowned upon because of this incident. Although the orientalists might argue that Aisha’s subsequent withdrawl from political life was an indication that she acknowledged women’s “role in the background,” I would argue that she withdrew because she acknowledged wrongdoing and wanted to clear herself from it.

When someone does something wrong and knows it, they try hard not to repeat that act. When she was captured, and her army was defeated, she was treated with respect and honor, like the Mother of the Believers, and not like a captive. This undoubtedly left an impression on her that the person she was fighting was not some common lad from the backstreets of Makkah, who happened to have become caliph and was not fulfilling his alleged duty (i.e. avenging the wrongful death of ‘Uthman).

Nay, this was the Amir of the Muslim Ummah, the inheritor of the prophetic mission, the gate to the City of Knowledge, the champion of the Muslim army, the Commander of the Faithful, the Proof of Allah on earth, Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah extend His blessings and peace to encompass him).

Perhaps Aisha recognized that and relented. If anything, that shows that women tend to be less stubborn and bull-headed than men. Others, such as Mu’awiyah b. Abi Sufyan, never learned that lesson. Allah knows best.

h1

Reforming Islam Revisited

May 21, 2006

Many months ago, I posted some thoughts on “Reforming Islam” from the perspective of “Progressive Muslims.” This is not all that different from the perspective of an ex-Muslim, namely Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but it is profoundly more alarming to the average Muslim to hear someone who claims to be an ex-Muslim (although even that is doubtful) say something like, “Muhammad is, seen by our Western standards, a perverse man”.

She does not apologize for her attacks on Islam (under the guise of “reform”), but she does insist that they are not attacks at all. “I want to reform Islam,” she says with complete honesty, yet she has alienated herself from the very people she seeks to reform. And that is the real problem. Female circumcision, domestic violence, subjugation, and other social customs that oppress women are not inherent in Islam. They are the problems of people who happen to be Muslim, much as she probably was. One could argue that those problems are more obvious in western countries than in the Middle East. Every time a Muslim woman sees a billboard with a half-naked Christian woman selling beer, she probably thinks of that poor model as being “oppressed” but she does not blame that oppression on Christianity.

There is a sense of irony in the fact that the people Hirsi Ali wishes to reform are a lot like her. She undoubtedly received “Islamic education”, but it was apparently neither Islamic nor educating. Those who attack her, who would love to remove her from the planet, most likely view Islam the same way that she does. When she says that Islam is oppressing, they want to kill her, not because she’s wrong, but because she’s right, and how dare a woman speak the truth about her own oppression!

For that reason, a blogger from City of Brass applauds her for her bravery in standing up against the oppression of women. At the same time, however, he/she makes it clear that the applaud is not for her lack of proper understanding of Islam. She is not an ‘alim (scholar of religion), the blogger writes, but an ally.

But this is not the way of Islam, not even of the “liberal-minded” Muslims who also believe Islam should be reformed. There is a certain etiquette in “enjoining the good and forbidding the evil” that seems to be missing from Hirsi Ali’s understanding. She, Salman Rushdie, and others like them believe in offending to make their point, but such a stance renders their entire platform invalid. If she was truly interested in reforming Islam, why would she offend its adherents? They become more like the person who has been hurt by another and abuses him to get back at him. Yes, intentionally offending someone is abuse. That is an Islamic principle, and someone who wishes to reform Islam should know that before trying to teach Muslims anything.

I, who could be described as a modern Muslim who practices traditional Islam (and by that I do not mean Sunni Islam, sorry), I see her as neither an ‘alim nor an ally. She is a victim, and most of her responses to people who criticize her sounds as though she has been victimized. Unfortunately, someone who has been victimized and has not been properly treated for it tends to return to her abusers. It creates a depressing cycle of abuse. That does not mean she is asking for the abuse but rather that she does not know any other way. To her, that is the way Islam is. She wants to change it but does not know how.

Of course, she is wrong on both accounts. Islam is not oppressive and it does not need change. Many Muslims need change, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the non-Muslims who needs to know al-Islam (the true path of peaceful submission to God). In a way, perhaps her migration to America will be good for her. Like many other American Muslims, I chose Islam. It did not beat me over the head and force me to submit.

If I see her on the street, I will not kill her, beat her, curse her, or applaud her. I will feel sorry for her.

h1

Writers Cafe

May 18, 2006

Here is another site where I will be posting some of my writing, inshaAllah. This is for general works (i.e. not necessarily about Islam). It is called WritersCafe.org. They are currently having a contest, and the first prize is $100.

h1

The United States of Israel

May 16, 2006

“…the US has been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of Israel, that Israel is a liability in the “war on terror”, that the biggest Israeli lobby group, Aipac (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), is in fact the agent of a foreign government and has a stranglehold on Congress – so much so that US policy towards Israel is not debated there – and that the lobby monitors and condemns academics who are critical of Israel.”

Read the Full Story by Robert Fisk

h1

Reagan Supported Apartheid

May 16, 2006

“Throughout his presidency, Reagan supported the apartheid government in South Africa and even labeled Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress a notorious terrorist organization.”

Listen to the segment at Democracy Now!

Read the transcript

h1

Library Secrets

May 10, 2006

Girl (standing at the circulation desk about to checkout a book): “Wait, hold on. I want to get another book.”

Me: “OK, sure.”

The girl walks all the way to the back of the library to the “collective biographies” section and then returns with a Gossip Girl book.

Me: “Where did you get that?”

Girl (points to the biography section): “From back there.”

Me: “Why was it back there?”

Girl: “I hid it there so no one else could get it.”

Me: “…”

I then check out the books and smile to the girl as she leaves.

You have to pick your battles, and there was no way I was going to win that one.