Khan Continues Demands to Overturn Loss

December 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Amir-Khan1
 

Former super lightweight champion Amir Khan repeated calls this past week for his loss to Lamont Peterson to be overturned or for the sanctioning bodies to mandate an immediate rematch. The split decision, following a fight in which referee Joe Cooper deducted two points from Khan for pushing, so incensed Khan’s handlers that they filed official appeals to both sanctioning bodies, and during a conference call Tuesday afternoon, Khan reiterated his position.

“I think the IBF and WBA should order a rematch in my opinion and also look at the fight the way it was refereed,” Khan said during a conference call while on a train to London. “Let’s just see where we go from here. Overall, it was a great performance from Lamont Peterson  also. We both were happy with the way we fought, but the referee and the judging just spoiled a great night of boxing.”

Cooper deducted a point from Khan in the seventh and 12th rounds that Khan and his team insist came without customary warning. Cooper, however, warned Peterson repeatedly, Khan’s camp said, for coming in low with his head but did not issue a penalty.

Richard Schaefer, chief executive officer of Golden Boy Promotions, which handles Khan’s publicity, also questioned circumstances that unfolded immediately after the fight. The suspicious activity, Schaefer said, included judges taking an exceptionally long time after the fight to pick the winner; judge George Hill’s card showing 10-10 for the seventh round and later changed to 10-8 in favor of Peterson; and the disappearance of an IBF scorecard that had the fight as a draw.

Schaefer said he spoke to IBF Champions Chairman Lindsay Tucker on Monday morning about the incident and was told the IBF supervisor at the fight said the card had vanished. Schaefer also said Tucker told him it appeared to the IBF supervisor that the D.C. boxing commission removed the card while Peterson was in the ring receiving the belt. “Then suddenly two days ago, an IBF scorecard appeared,” Schaefer said. “It looks as if it was made up after the fact. No question about it. Or it was made two days ago. The printing was way too neat and consistent, not consistent with what usually a scorecard looks like. We’re just outlining the facts here. There clearly is some smoke.”

Khan’s camp initially sent the IBF a letter stating its disapproval of the refereeing and judging, and the IBF responded by saying it did not see grounds to overturn the decision. Khan’s team then filed an official appeal that Schaefer said is set to be heard in New York on Jan. 19. Khan’s team is still awaiting an official reply from the WBA.

Peterson, meantime, has not announced an official rematch. Peterson said after the fight that he was willing to fight Khan again, and Schaefer said he approached Barry Hunter, Peterson’s trainer, with a seven-figure offer for a bout at Staples Center on May 19. The process of setting up a rematch, though, appears on hold pending rulings from the IBF and WBA.

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Boxing Council Orders Hopkins-Dawson Rematch

December 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

HopkinsDawsonWeighIn_Hoganphotos_(3)The World Boxing Council last week ordered a rematch between light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins and former titleholder Chad Dawson at its 49th annual convention in Las Vegas. The Hopkins-Dawson rematch order came two days after the California State Athletic Commission changed the result of their controversial October 15th fight in Los Angeles from a second-round knockout in Dawson’s favor to a no decision following Hopkins’ protest.

Originally, referee Pat Russell ruled Dawson a TKO winner after he lifted Hopkins up and dumped him to the canvas because Hopkins was draped over his back after missing a punch. Hopkins suffered a shoulder injury and could not continue. The WBC, which sanctioned the bout, had already kept Hopkins as its champion following the fight and now has ordered a rematch with the caveat of “unless their representatives mutually agree to another arrangement.” That means the two camps could try to make a deal or agree to do at least one interim bout.

Gary Shaw, Dawson’s promoter, was pleased with the WBC’s decision. “I think justice has been served,” he told ESPN.com. “When Hopkins had a draw with Pascal, the WBC gave him an immediate rematch. And now they have done the same thing for Dawson after the controversy.”

When Dawson thought he was champion after being declared the winner in October, he vowed not to give Hopkins a rematch. After the result was changed Tuesday, he said he wanted a rematch, but Hopkins said he would not fight Dawson again. Now that the WBC has ordered a rematch, Hopkins said he would take the fight, which might not actually happen because the first fight was such a commercial disaster that finding a network to put up the money required to make the fight could be very difficult. That is why the sides may agree to look for different fights.
Hopkins has now come to grips with the idea of a rematch. “Let’s get the ball rolling,” Hopkins, told ESPN.com after leaving the convention. “The fans got cheated because of circumstances in the first fight. Now they get an opportunity to get their money’s worth. It’s been a really interesting 48 hours. Things are different now because of that (order). Let’s get it on. The bottom line is a champion defends his belt. That’s what champions do. I believe I am the best at light heavyweight. So my whole thing is champions defend, they don’t get stripped, they don’t throw belts away. I’ve done it for 20 years and I ain’t changing my stripes today.”

But, the fight will have to make financial sense, says Hopkins. “Whatever is best economically without having my belt stripped then I’m fine with that,” he said. “I duck no one. I never did. But if the fans and the people and the networks believe that Chad Dawson don’t draw bees to honey — and this is a business — then that is what it is. I’ve earned this championship belt and I am not ready to leave.”

The 46-year-old Hopkins insists that he is not fearful of rematches, as witnessed by his track record. “My record speaks for itself. I’m normally victorious the second time round,” he said. After a draw with Pascal last December, he outpointed him in May to become the oldest fighter to win a world title. He then avenged a loss to Roy Jones last year.

Hopkins defeated Antwun Echols in a rematch of a prior win, twice defeated Robert Allen after their first bout ended in a no contest and knocked out Segundo Mercado to win his first world title at middleweight after their first fight ended in a draw. Only Jermain Taylor got the better of Hopkins in both meetings.

Hopkins’ promoter, Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer, however, is not in favor of the rematch with Dawson. “I think that there is no interest in this fight,” he told ESPN.com. “As long as the fighters know that, and they are OK with whatever money there is, then why would I want to stop that fight from happening? I really just want to do fights the public would want to see and where I know going into the fight that it will be entertaining. I just don’t think that these two styles mesh.”

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Amir Khan Loses Controversial Decision

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

AmirKhan1Pakistani-British boxer Amir Khan lost his Junior Welterweight titles to Lamont Peterson this week in a controversial split decision. Khan’s team initially called for an investigation of referee Joseph Cooper, who deducted two points for pushing on Saturday which ultimately led to Khan losing the disputed split decision 112-113, twice, and 115-110. However, he has since decided against appealing. “There is nothing to appeal about,” said Khan. “If I do they are not going to overturn it. I’ve got the rematch pretty much there. HBO want to do it, Lamont has said he wants to do it.”

Sitting side-by-side at the hospital, the two fighters embraced and discussed a second installment. Both men were beaten up. Khan did not leave until 5am, after treatment for damaged hands and having his ear syringed. Peterson’s right eye was almost closed – trophies from what is likely to be deemed “Fight of the Year” Peterson’s younger brother, Anthony, said: “They embraced, took pictures together and said, ‘we can do it again, down the stretch’. It was a moment of great sportsmanship There was no trash talk.”

Peterson, the newly-crowned International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association champion, said: “I wouldn’t mind doing it in England. The deal would have to be right, but if it is, then I would do it.” The sight of a rematch is likely to be Las Vegas however, as March 31st of 2012 is already being discussed with HBO and the casino resorts. It will take some negotiating, but Khan is Peterson’s route to greater paydays, and indeed, further glory. He could double his purse of $500,000 for the next fight.

Khan insisted that he “did not feel like the loser”, but that he would come back from defeat. “I know the little mistakes I have made and I will get rid of them. I’ll get back in the gym and work even harder. “The rematch is going to be bigger and I know now that there is one more fight for me at 140lb [light-welterweight]. I want my titles back and then I’ll move up to 147lb [welterweight]. I am going to work hard now and change things I did in the ring. We will be working on the angles. We know exactly what he does now. We still thought we had won. It was a better Peterson than the one who beat [Victor] Ortiz. They were in shock winning the fight.”

Khan explained some of the confusion after the fight: “One of the Golden Boy guys got the scoresheets and it said ‘Khan, Khan, Peterson’ and then the next thing it was ‘Peterson, Peterson, Khan’. The referee seemed to disappear pretty quickly. I haven’t looked at the scorecard. I don’t blame Lamont for the fight. The blame is for the referee and the judges. I was up against the ref, the judges and Lamont. This was the first time I have had points taken off me – and it happened twice. When you get two penalties in the fight it was like taking four points off me because they take one off me and give him one.” Khan remained highly critical of Cooper. “I wouldn’t let him do a world title fight again. He has refereed 44 out of 51 [fights] in DC and he comes from here. He didn’t warn me.”

Physically, Khan will need time to recover. “My hand has swollen up a bit, but it is not a break and it didn’t inconvenience me,” he said. “I have my first black eye in boxing. The worst damage was behind the ear.” Khan may be physically beaten up, but his psyche, however, is in fine shape. “It is how you come back from these kind of fights. One thing about me is that I give it my all. All my fights are exciting and it finishes my year off on a high note, even though I didn’t get a decision. Things happen for a reason and I have matured. Now I will get this fight out of the way and move slowly up to 147.”

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Bernard Hopkins Loss Overturned!

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

2011-10-15T045954Z_01_BTRE79E0DVZ00_RTROPTP_3_SPORTS-US-BOXING-HOPKINSFive days after the fight, the World Boxing Council (WBC) made a ruling on last Saturday night’s fight between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson that came to a premature conclusion at the end of the second round as Hopkins suffered a damaged right shoulder after being lifted and sent to the canvas by Dawson. Referee Pat Russell ruled that no foul was committed, therefore since Hopkins was unable or unwilling to continue, the WBC light heavyweight title would change hands. Ultimately, Dawson was declared the winner via second round TKO.

Here is the WBC’s explanation of their ruling:

In regards to the championship defense of the light heavyweight WBC world champion between Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson, held in Los Angeles, California, in which the referee declared a KOT2 against champion Hopkins, as he could not continue due to an injury after a push by challenger Dawson, the head offices of the WBC sent videos, medical reports and the WBC corresponding Rules to the Board of Governors that unanimously declared a Technical Draw on the fight; therefore, Bernard Hopkins is still the WBC Light heavyweight champion of the world…

It does not appear that the WBC is demanding a rematch. Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Goy Promotions, told Maxboxing, “Gary Shaw and Chad Dawson make it clear that they don’t want to have a rematch. We made it clear that we don’t want a rematch and I think if you ask 100 people, fight fans, you’re probably going to have a 120 that respond, “No, we don’t want the rematch.” So I don’t think there’s interest, any appetite for the rematch and there’s no need for a rematch. I think Chad Dawson should move on and I’m sure there’s going to be good fights out there for him. I don’t know: maybe there’s a rematch with Jean Pascal. I think that’s what he would like to do. Go and pursue other fights, increase his marketability and fan base, then who knows? Other big fights will come for him. That’s what I think should happen.

The California commission will not convene until December to rule on the matter (which irks Schaefer to no end) but regardless of the ruling, he doesn’t believe this effects Hopkins’ deal with HBO. “I just spoke with Bernard. He was, of course, pleased that the WBC continues to recognize him as their light heavyweight champion. He’s going to get the results tomorrow from the MRI and the doctor’s opinion for how long he’s going to be out of having contact. How long it’s going to take him before he can get back in the ring and that’s what’s going to determine what I’m going to go back to HBO with, for securing Bernard’s next date.” Schaefer indicated that he hopes to see Hopkins back in the ring in spring of 2012.

As for Russell, Schaefer really has no hard feelings. In fact, he still respects him as a referee. “I really think Pat Russell had…and you can’t even say he had an off-night. He admitted in the interview he did with [Maxboxing] he just didn’t see it. And I think that happens. Nobody is perfect and sees everything. It’s impossible. So I’m really giving him the benefit of the doubt. I just think if they’re going to make arguments that it wasn’t a foul and that it was legal and all this kind of thing, that’s when I’m going to have a problem but I highly doubt that the California commission is going to take that kind of approach. It’s impossible.”

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Al Dah to Fight in US Next

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

17-EisaAlDah9-cropUnited Arab Emirates welterweight boxer Eisa Al Dah, also known as The Arabian Warrior, is scheduled to fight his tenth bout against as yet unconfirmed opposition on December 16 in Tampa, Florida after an invite to the USA International Boxing Championship sanctioned by the International Boxing Council (IBC).

The 32-year-old Emirati (seven wins, three losses, from nine fights, four by knock-out) has been training in the United States for the past two months with British WBA Super and IBF World Light Welterweight Champion Amir Khan. Khan fights Lamont Peterson at the Walter E Washington Convention Centre in Washington DC on December 10 to defend his titles.

Al Dah, who will fly back into the UAE on Monday before returning stateside for early November for the big fight, is hoping his famous sparring partner will enable him to reach higher competency over eight and six rounds, instead of his current four round ability.

The two-time Arab, six-time UAE and three-time West European champion, will be busy stoking support for his fight when he arrives back here this week as he looks to raise the profile of the sport in this region. Local training sessions will be taking place at Bel Rematha Sports Centre.

Having first beaten Larry Foster in 2007 via technical knock-out (TKO) in the first round at Shaikh Rashid Hall, at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Al Dah went on to beat David Love by first round stoppage in 2008 at the same venue.

Al Dah also beat Karl Taylor on points at Newport Leisure Centre in Wales that same year before losing to Alfredo Valdes by second round TKO in Polanco, Mexico in 2009. Three more wins followed in the form of two points decisions either side of a second round KO against Wayne Downing and Steve Cooper in Wales, plus Matt Seawright in Knightsbridge, London [listed chronologically] all in 2009.

However, it proved to be too much in a split decision loss awarded to Anthony Woods in Florida 2010. Al Dah made up for it in front of a home crowd at the Trade Centre with a third round KO of Ignasi Caballero this February. He now seeks his first career win in the Americas, [US and Mexico] where he’s previously sustained his sole losses.

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Gaddafi Loyalists Under Fire as Libya Celebrates ‘Eid

September 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Samia Nakhoul and Maria Golovnina

TRIPOLI/TAWARGA, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan forces backed by NATO bombers struck at loyalist troops dug in around Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown on Wednesday, as refugees streamed out of the besieged bastion fearing a bloody showdown in the coming days.

2011-08-31T101914Z_1293657413_GM1E78V1EZE01_RTRMADP_3_LIBYA
Libyan Muslims react during Eid prayers at Green Square in Tripoli August 31, 2011. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

As people in Tripoli and other cities marked the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan with special savor following the end of 42 years of one-man rule, anti-Gaddafi fighters at the front around the coastal city of Sirte kept up pressure on its defenders, whom they have given till Saturday to surrender.

NATO said its planes bombed Gaddafi forces near Sirte on Tuesday, targeting tanks and other armored vehicles as well as military facilities. They also hit targets in the area of Bani Walid, another Gaddafi stronghold 150 km (100 miles) southeast of Tripoli. Anti-Gaddafi fighters said on the same day that they had advanced to within 30 km (20 miles) of the desert town.
On Wednesday NTC fighters said they clashed with Gaddafi forces patrolling in the area west of Sirte.

At Tawarga, west of Sirte, civilians streamed in laden vehicles along the coastal highway, some flying white flags.

Passing through a checkpoint set up by the forces of the interim ruling council, the NTC, many of the refugees said they feared a major battle, since they did not expect those holding Gaddafi’s tribal homeland to give up without a fight.

“I need to take my family where it is peaceful. Here there will be a big fight,” said one man, who gave his name as Mohammed.

Ali Faraj, a fighter for the opposition forces which forced Gaddafi into hiding last week, said he doubted people in Sirte would willingly join the revolt: “There will be a big fight for Sirte. It’s a dangerous city. It’s unlikely to rise up. A lot of people there support Gaddafi. It’s too close to Gaddafi and his family. It is still controlled by them.”

There is no independent confirmation of conditions in Sirte, which was developed into a prosperous city of 100,000 during the 42 years Gaddafi ruled Libya. NTC officials say power and water are largely cut off and supplies are low.

In Tripoli, after dawn, worshippers packed Martyrs’ Square, which was named Green Square in the Gaddafi era, chanting “Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), Libya is free.”
Fighters on rooftops guarded against any attack by Gaddafi loyalists and sniffer dogs checked cars. Even the interim interior minister, Ahmed Darat, was searched.
“This is the most beautiful Eid and most beautiful day in 42 years,” said Hatem Gureish, 31, a merchant from Tripoli.

“Gaddafi made us hate our lives … We come here to express our joy at the end of 42 years of repression and deprivation.”

Fatima Mustafa, 28, a pregnant woman wearing a black chador, said: “This is a day of freedom, a day I cannot describe to you. It’s as if I own the world. I’m glad I haven’t given birth yet so my daughter can be born into a free Libya.”

But the war is not over yet, with Gaddafi on the run and his loyalists defying an ultimatum set by Libya’s interim council.

Saturday Ultimatum

Libyans who revolted against Gaddafi in February needed NATO air power to help them win, but, given their country’s unhappy colonial history, they remain wary of foreign meddling.

Their interim leaders, trying to heal a nation scarred by Gaddafi’s cruelly eccentric ways, may want United Nations help in setting up a new police force, but see no role for international peacekeepers or observers, a U.N. official said.

“They are very seriously interested in assistance with policing to get the public security situation under control and gradually develop a democratically accountable public security force,” Ian Martin, special U.N. envoy for post-conflict planning in Libya, said at the United Nations in New York.

“We don’t now expect military observers to be requested,” he said. “It’s very clear that the Libyans want to avoid any kind of military deployment of the U.N. or others.”

The National Transitional Council (NTC), keen to assert its grip and relieve hardship after six months of war, won a $1.55 billion cash injection when the U.N. sanctions committee released banknotes in Britain in frozen Gaddafi accounts.

France has asked the committee to unfreeze 1.5 billion euros

($2.16 billion) of Libyan assets in France, a French government source said on Wednesday, adding that Libya has 7.6 billion euros of assets parked in French banks.

“Friends of Libya”

The source also said that Russia and China, which have not formally recognized the NTC, would send representatives to a “Friends of Libya” conference in Paris on Thursday to discuss support for political and economic rebuilding.

The timing of the meeting, on September 1, strikes a chord for many Libyans, who for four decades have been obliged to celebrate the date as the anniversary of the military coup that brought Colonel Gaddafi to power in 1969.

Despite the killing and shortages of fuel, power and water that Tripoli has endured since Gaddafi’s fall, worshippers in Martyrs’ Square were mostly ebullient about the future.

But Nouri Hussein, 42, an engineer, said that while he was glad Gaddafi was gone, he feared the guns in the hands of unruly fighters: “There is apprehension about what next. The rebels should not be blinded with the ecstasy of victory.”

NTC leaders have told their forces to treat prisoners with respect — in contrast with the reported killing and torture of detainees by Gaddafi’s forces — but Amnesty International said its staff had seen anti-Gaddafi fighters threaten and detain wounded opponents, notably black Libyans and foreigners.

“The council must do more to ensure that their fighters do not abuse detainees, especially the most vulnerable ones such as black Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans,” Amnesty’s Claudio Cordone said in a statement after one incident in Tripoli.

“Many risk reprisals as a result of allegations that Gaddafi forces used ‘African mercenaries’ to commit widespread violations during the conflict,” the lobby group added.

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Amir Khan Knocks Out Judah

July 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

amir5Amir Khan used his advantages of speed, height, and youth earlier this week and dominate his elder challenger, Zab Judah, to further unify the junior welterweight division of boxing. Khan knocked out Judah with a hard right hand in the fifth round Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the process, he added Judah’s IBF junior welterweight title to his own WBA title Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Khan, age 24, definitely looked more spritely than the 33 year old Judah. After landing punches early and often, Khan finally struck Judah in the mid-section in the fifth round. Judah fell to his knees and tried to indicate to the referee that he had a received a blow below the belt. But the referee was not buying it, and he counted Judah out, to give Khan the knockout. And replays clearly showed that the final blow was indeed a clean one.

“Zab is a great fighter, but he was a little awkward,” Khan said to reporters afterward. “I knew he was getting hurt and moving away and ducking. I kept hitting him right on the face and the shot that took him down hit him right on the belt. If it had gone another few rounds, I would have knocked him out with a clean shot. I saw I was hurting him and it was only a matter of time.”

Judah, with 41 wins, 7 losses, and 28 knockouts, and his promoter Kathy Duva, did not agree with the decision. “It was a low blow,” Judah said. “I was trying to get myself together [when I was down] and that was self defense there [going down]. He jabbed my cup. It was an uppercut and it lifted the belt and that really hurt. The punch was clearly below his belt.

Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) was leading by a 40-36 shutout on all three scorecards at the time of the knockout. “I think my speed overwhelmed him along with my power,” Khan said. “I built it up from the beginning and took my time. I could’ve gone with the plan to knock him out sooner, but I wanted to work my way up. I’m No. 1 in the division. Now I will go back and see who my team is going to line up for me next.”

Khan was supposed to face WBC and WBO titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr., but Bradley turned down the fight despite a 50-50 offer from Khan that would have paid him possibly as much as $1.8 million. “If Bradley didn’t want to fight then, he probably doesn’t want to fight him now after seeing what he just did to Zab Judah,” Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told ESPN.

Bradley, for his part, still sounds uninterested. “He’s not ready for the ‘Storm,’” Bradley said after the fight, referring to his nickname “Desert Storm.” “I’m not impressed,” Bradley continued. “I know the comments that are going to be made about this, but I’m not stressing over what everyone else is saying. When we do get in the ring everyone will see who the best 140-pounder in the world is.”

Under the terms of his deal with HBO, Khan is required to fight again in December, once again in the United States. “We’ll see who will be available,” Schaefer said. “It might be the winner of [the Aug. 27] Robert Guerrero-Marcos Maidana fight. It might be Erik Morales. But I really don’t think Bradley wants to have anything to do with Amir Khan. It was a great performance. The combinations, what a talented fighter. One more fight at 140 and then in the spring move up to 147 and go get one of the big boys.”

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Badr Hari Alive and Kicking

July 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

badr_hariBadr “The Golden Boy” Hari made his triumphant return to the world of kickboxing after approximately one year away from the sport. This past May, Hari took on Tony Gregory on the It’s Showtime card in Lyon, France in the Super Heavyweight division. The crowd enthusiastically welcomed Hari from an exile that he claims was self-imposed. However, his return came in the wake of his infamous disqualification in a fight against Hesdy Gerges in May of 2010 in Amsterdam, in which Hari was disqualified after kicking Hesdy in the face.

Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and of Moroccan descent, Hari is a former K-1 heavyweight kick-boxing champion. As of May of this year, the 26-year-old Hari was ranked as the number two kick-boxer in the world by LiverKick.com. He has also been officially praised by the king of Morocco, Mohammed VI, for his outstanding accomplishments in the sport.

On this day in May, in France, however, Gregory never truly posed a threat to the great Badr Hari. Despite being booed out of the ring at the end of his last fight, Hari was this time welcomed openly by a raucous crowd that was eager to get re-acquainted with the exploits of kick-boxing’s bad boy. Despite being one of the greatest kick-boxers in the world, Hari has unfortunately has been involved in a number of controversies involving unsportsmanlike conduct in the ring and alleged violent assaults outside of the ring.

Nonetheless, Hari has side-stepped the controversy, and on this day in Lyon, he brushed aside yet another challenger, as Gregory went down and went down hard. Though many have called for a rematch with Hesdy Gerges for the It’s Showtime heavyweight title, it has been announced that Bari’s next fight will be against Romanian Daniel Ghita in September. Ghita has been ranked as one of the top five kick-boxers in the world. Ghita lost a controversial decision to Gerges earlier in the year and should provide stiff competition for Hari. But Badr Hari has been through plenty and should be ready for the challenge.

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Nigerian Boxer Brings Power

July 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

004 IMG_8291 Kayode Lateef “Power” Kayode  recorded an impressive 10-round unanimous decision victory on an exciting night of fights on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME®. The unbeaten cruiserweight Kayode (17-0, 14 KOs) proved too much for Matt “Too Smooth” Godfrey (20-3, 14 KOs) Friday night at the Chumash Resort Casino. Kayode controlled the entire fight and sent Godfrey to the canvas a total of three times, eventually winning by scores of 98-90, 97-90, 98-89.

With Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach in his corner, Kayode has officially “graduated” from ShoBox, according to ShoBox color commentator and boxing expert Steve Farhood. “Kayode is what he is,” Farhood said. “Boxers are always going to give him trouble, but he graduated tonight. And now he can aim for bigger things than ShoBox, which is a compliment.”

Kayode, of Hollywood, Calif., by way of Lagos, Nigeria, knocked Godfrey to the floor in rounds one, five and nine with a devastating display of body shots and power punches to the head of Godfrey. “I thought we would finish (Godfrey) off earlier, but he took some good shots,” Roach said. “It’s OK we went the distance. (Kayode) needs rounds. Overall I thought it was a good performance.”

Added Kayode, who won for the fifth time at Chumash and the third time in a row: “We said we were going to cut off the ring and that’s what we did. People here know what I can do now. They’ve seen what I can do. Now it’s on to bigger things.”

Kayode, 27, is now regarded as one of the sport’s elite prospects, which is quite a change from just a few years ago when he was stranded in New York. Accompanied by two friends, he came to the United States from his home in Lagos, Nigeria, to fight in a pre-Olympic tournament in Chicago.

Because of a miscommunication, when the three Nigerian men arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, there was no one there to meet them. They spoke no English and had no idea how to communicate to anyone whom they were, what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go.

Kayode met several unscrupulous people along the way, all of whom identified themselves as players in boxing who would help him advance his career. Each only served to make the matter worse; he bounced around the country from city to city, essentially chasing false dreams. “For me to tell you that story, it would take days to go through everything,” Kayode said in his deep baritone. “It was a very difficult time in my life.”

He was working at a gym in Los Angeles, expecting to meet another potential manager, when he became acquainted with Steve Feder. Feder’s only connection to boxing had been as a fan, though his father had briefly managed fighters years ago.They struck up a friendship and Feder eventually agreed to become Kayode’s manager. Feder saw Kayode as a talent with frighteningly good power, but he was also very raw. Kayode only began to box when he was in his late teens in Nigeria, and only then because he kept getting mugged by gangs in a rough section of Lagos.

Feder believed Kayode had the talent to succeed at the highest level, but he also needed to be taught the game. And so he directed him to Roach, the four-time trainer of the year and perhaps today’s leading trainer. “Lateef has been blessed with a natural gift of power,” Roach said.

Kayode is well known to the frequenters of Roach’s now-famous Wild Card Boxing Club on Vine Street in Hollywood. He’s as diligent a worker as there is at the gym, which is saying something since one of the fighters who works there regularly is Roach’s prized pupil, Manny Pacquiao.

Kayode promoter Gary Shaw, who is convinced that Roach will be able to lead Kayode to a championship, said that the two will get plenty of private time soon. That, Shaw added, will lead to a huge improvement in Kayode. Roach had been devoting most of his time to training Pacquiao and Amir Khan, the World Boxing Association super lightweight champion who will defend his title against Marcos Maidana on Dec. 11 in Las Vegas.

After the Khan-Maidana fight, Roach won’t have to split his focus and will be able to direct all of his wisdom toward Kayode. “Manny is in the Philippines and Freddie will be done with Amir soon, and then you’ll see a marked improvement in Lateef,” Shaw said. “Lateef is still very raw and needs a lot of time refinement, which he’ll get by working with Freddie.”

Shaw compared Kayode’s tools and raw power to one-time top heavyweight prospect Ike Ibeabuchi, who was perhaps the most gifted heavyweight in the world but couldn’t stay out of trouble. Ibeabuchi is now serving a long sentence in a Nevada prison, his boxing career over. Ibeabuchi was 20-0 with 15 knockouts. Many considered him the fighter who would be able to knock off Lennox Lewis.

Shaw said that Kayode has the kind of raw power and athleticism that made Ibeabuchi so big in the 1990s. “Lateef’s punching power is very much like Ike and is what I would call spectacular,” Shaw said. “After he’s with Freddie for a while, he’s going to be scary good.” And if that comes true, Feder will be rewarded for his faith in a guy who had almost run out of options. The two have forged a close bond and each says they’re looking forward to making a run at the championship together.

It might have been crazy that day at Kennedy Airport to view Kayode as an undefeated world champion, but no more. Now, Kayode is an elite prospect who is good enough that he may be less than a year away from a title shot. “Lateef is an amazing guy, and to be able to share this journey with him is my pleasure,” Feder said. “He’s in love with boxing. He’s in love with the gym. It’s hard to find a guy who cares about what he does and about improving so much. It’s his dream to win the title, and I’m just fortunate to be a small part of the process.”

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Food Woes Set to Define Middle East

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

large fresh fruit basketThe fight for freedom and democracy rages on in many parts of the Middle East, as people clamor for change in their homelands. However, according to a recently released report by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), denizens of the Arab world just might find themselves fighting over precious resources such as food over the next several decades.

At this year’s World Conference for Science Journalists, hosted by the government of Qatar, Regional Communications Manager for the IFAD Teysir Al Ganem said, “The Arab world is the region that is most hit by food imports and fluctuations in food prices. Some 65 million Arabs live on less than $2 a day and fluctuations in prices affect the number of poor people.” It’s no secret that the bulk of food in produce bins and on shelves in Middle Eastern grocery stores is imported from the West and a scant few agriculturally wealthy Arab states.  The IFAD projects that the Arab World will have little choice but to rely upon the food imports until 2050.

Climate change will have a dramatic affect on the capabilities of nations in the Middle East that are somewhat agriculturally stable. As a result of climatic changes, the Middle East region will be prone to increased drought, less rainfall and higher temperatures which are disastrous forces that will have a negative impact on countless agricultural projects. Population growth in the Arab world is another factor that will add to the food crisis as, according to the IFAD, the population in the Arab world will exceed well over 690 million people in the next 40 years.

Arab countries that do cultivate fruits and vegetables will have to rely on alternative methods to grow vegetation to cut costs and preserve the environment. Farmers in Yemen have already resorted to more traditional methods of sowing seeds and harvesting crops instead of relying upon automated machinery that is often expensive to purchase and utilize. However, despite the best efforts of farming communities in the Middle East, perceived ‘plagues’ such as locusts and black stem rust threaten to wipe out scores of crops before they come to maturity thus forcing a food pandemic that might cripple the region as a whole. 

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Bernard Hopkins Becomes Oldest Boxing Champ in History

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

BernardHopkinsHeadShotMuslim boxer Bernard Hopkins became the oldest boxing titlist in any division in any era on Saturday with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal in Montreal, Canada. Hopkins won the World Boxing Council (WBC) light heavyweight belt by winning all three cards after 12 rounds, by the scores of 116-112, 115-114, and 115-113. At the ripe old age of 46, no one had won a boxing title at such an advanced age since then 45 year old George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994. Saturday’s fight was a rematch of the first Hopkins-Pascal fight that took place this past December and ended in a draw.

Hopkins improved his record to 52 wins, 5 losses, and 2 draws. He is now likely to defend his belt against former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, who won in a unanimous decision in Saturday’s undercard against Adrian Diaconu. However, Dawson previously lost his title against Pascal in August. Another possible opponent is undefeated super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, who was originally born and raised in Romania but now resides in Canada.

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Amir Khan Unification Fight with Bradley Off

May 12, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, TMO, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Amir KhanPakistani-British boxer Amir Khan and his camp are moving on after an imposed deadline issued by Golden Boy Promotions to junior welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. came and went last week. Golden Boy CEO Richard Shaefer said that he had not heard from Gary Shaw, Bradley Jr.’s promoter or anyone in his camp before or after the 1pm deadline on Wednesday.  Khan (25-1, 17 knockouts) and Bradley (27-0, 11 knockouts) were scheduled to meet July 23rd in Las Vegas after Schaefer had worked out a deal with Khan, Shaw and HBO. However, in the end, Bradley chose not to accept Shaw’s offer of a minimum of $1.3 million, which would have been a career-high purse for Bradley.  The failure of this fight to occur is disappointing for several reasons. The hype for this fight had begun even before Khan took on and defeated Paul McCloskey in England last month. But more importantly, the fight would have unified three titles in the light welterweight division, with Khan holding the World Boxing Association (WBA) title, and Bradley holding the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) belts.

For now, the back-up plan for Khan is a group of boxers that include interim lightweight titlist Robert Guerrero, Marcos Maidana (who Khan defeated in a close decision back in December), Erik Morales and International Boxing Federation (IBF) titleholder Zab Judah.  Each candidate is promoted by Golden Boy except Judah, who is with Main Events, which has done several fights with Golden Boy in the past. The logical target from this list would be Zab Judah, who is the IBF light welterweight belt holder. So, with Khan’s WBA belt, it would provide at least some level of unification. Discussions, however, are ongoing.

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Amir Khan Retains Title Belt

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

news-graphics-2008-_660030aBritish-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan retained his WBA light welterweight title by a technical decision on Saturday against challenger Paul McCloskey in Manchester, England. The fight was stopped by the referee in the sixth round because of a nasty cut over McCloskey’s left eye.  The ending was somewhat controversial, as referee Luiz Pabon deemed that the cut was a result of an accidental clash of heads. He summoned ringside doctor Phil Sahu, who believed McCloskey couldn’t continue with blood seeping into his eye and impairing his vision.  McCloskey was livid as Pabon sent the fight to the judges for a decision. And all three judges not only had Khan leading 60-54 in the 6th round, but they also had Khan the victor in each of the first five rounds, giving Khan the technical decision. 

After the fight, McCloskey’s camp was adamant that the fight should not have been stopped and that he was deserving of an immediate rematch. While Khan’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, was somewhat sympathetic to McCloskey’s sentiments, he was firm in stating that Khan would be moving on to other challengers in the immediate future. In fact, even before this fight, word had been circulating that a unification bout with WBO and WBC title holder Timothy Bradley had already been penciled in for July 23rd of this year in Las Vegas. With the win, Khan improved to 25-1 with 17 knockouts.

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Amir Khan in Final Preparations for McCloskey Fight

April 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

Amir_1
 

Pakistani-British boxer Amir Khan is in the final stages of training for the next rung in his ladder of success. He takes on Northern Ireland’s Paul McCloskey this weekend in a defense of his World Boxing Association (WBA) light welterweight title. Khan has been so focused in fact that he shut down his Twitter and Facebook accounts several weeks ahead of the bout in order to avoid additional distractions. He even spent a few weeks in the Phillipines to train with boxing superstar Manny Pacqiao as well as the expert trainer whom they share as clients, Freddie Roach. Roach has now come to Manchester, England to assist Khan in the days leading up to the April 16th fight.

There was some controversy this past week when the Khan-McCloskey fight was dropped from pay-per-view to regular cable television viewing on England’s SkySports 3. Khan took this as an insult to the fighters, and he and his camp have now shifted the fight to a lower level of pay-per-view on Primetime TV. The reasons for the downgrade were apparently related to the underwhelming caliber of fighters on the undercard, which came into view in particular after fellow Muslim boxer Hasim Rahman pulled out of his fight against undefeated Brit Tyson Fury.

McCloskey himself is in fact undefeated, so this will be no cakewalk for Khan. And there is already talk that a unification bout with World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley has already been penciled in for July 23rd in Las Vegas. And if Khan were able to win that fight, he would be, at age 24, the youngest undisputed world champion in British boxing history. So even more than Twitter or Facebook, that is the kind of distraction that Khan will have to keep out of his mind if he wants to be known the world over as King Khan and not A Mere Con.

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Journalism: An Islamic Perspective

May 6, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

By Musa Odeh

Editor’s note:  The TMO Foundation conducted a scholarship essay contest and TMO is now printing the essays of some of the entrants to the contest.

This is the essay of a $500 scholarship winner, by Musa Odeh, on the subject “Journalism:  An Islamic Perspective.” He received a $500 scholarship.

Moosesuit

It was the morning of September 11, 2001.  Hijackers overtook a commercial plane and smashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.  As the world watched the building diminish and burn to the ground, a second airplane collided into the south tower like a guided missile in a war zone.  It took two hours, and the World Trade Center was no more. The attacks of September  11th would be remembered forever as the worst attack on U.S. soil.  The World Trade Center would never be the same again. The United States would never be the same again. The world would never be the same again. Islam would never be the same again.

My life changed on September 11th as the U.S. launched a “War on Terrorism.”   The media began to portray Islam as an enemy towards mankind, especially here in the West.  Islam was the new face of the public enemy, and this was not justified.  False portrayals of Muslims as terrorists forced me to take action.  The word “terrorism” has become a synonym to “Islam.” 

I have taken it upon myself to prove otherwise.  I feel it is my obligation to show the other side of the story.  It is my calling to battle skewed reports and unbalanced coverage of Muslims in the media.  It is my job to shed light on the truth.  In a time of war and hate crimes against Muslims, it is I who shall show the world the truth–by fighting and battling–because in the end, the pen is mightier than the sword.

When I was younger, my mother used to tell me to pick my battles and choose them wisely.  If something was not a good idea to pursue, she would tell me, “This is not your fight.  Let it go.”  She also taught me to never start a fight I couldn’t finish.  I never really understood her advice until today.  Showing the world the truth and reporting the facts is my fight.  It is a battle I wisely choose to fight and it is definitely my struggle.  This is a fight I will not back down from and I am determined to stand tall because I cannot be defeated in this fight.

I chose to be a journalist because I want to be an advocate for Islam and show the true meaning of the religion from a broad perspective.  Islam has been covered in the media through a tainted and biased lens and I feel that journalism chose me, to find the stories that dig deeper into human interest and show the truth of Islam and its followers.  When I watch the news, I feel so much more strongly about this cause.  I feel it is my duty to speak on behalf of the oppressed Muslims who are portrayed as monsters, the law abiding, hard working Muslims who are looked down upon because of their faith. 

I want to become a journalist because I enjoy learning and interacting with people.  I would write and report stories that show people something they did not know before reading my piece.  It is my goal to report the story that nobody else has ever thought of.  The story is not about me, it’s about the people I am interviewing. The story is also about the communities I am working for.  I want to publicize the stories of the little people, who without me would not have had their story told to the world or their voices heard.   Helping people and communities is all the compensation and reward I need for being a journalist.  My long term goal is to win a Pulitzer Prize for the phenomenal work I have done to help people tell their stories and to allow their voices to be heard.

By definition, a journalist is someone who gathers or broadcasts news to the public.  In all honesty, I feel there is no correct or accurate definition of the word “journalist.”  My ultimate goal is to find a job as a reporter and/or writer for the mainstream media of the U.S.  I want to bring out the truth and report stories that show the actual face of Islam and its followers.  For example, I would love to cover Muslims in the Dearborn area and show the world how Muslims live on a day to day basis, by showing that they have close family ties and work every day jobs.  It is my hope that the biased world would be able to relate and the “terrorist” image would begin to fade away.  I want to be the reporter who shows what Muslim life is actually like. Contrary to the western mentality of Muslims sitting around in “madrasas” all day plotting their next act of evil; when in reality, those thoughts are non-existent.

As a Muslim who tries his best to live his life by Islam, I feel that it is my responsibility and obligation to portray Islam in a positive light. I do that through my interactions with people on a daily basis by showing how Muslims deal with others in a kind and respectful manner. Islam was first spread by merchants who went to faraway lands that had never heard of Islam.  It is through their positive interactions with non-Muslim merchants and citizens that they influenced the communities they stumbled upon. 

When the followers of other religions witnessed the respectful, honest and fair ways of the Muslims they began to inquire about this religion.  The kindness of Islam draws people closer and closer to the religion.  Muslim merchants’ mannerisms were exemplary, to the point that it piqued people’s interest and motivated them to inquire about the religion.  That helped the spread of Islam.  Muslim merchants led by example and became ambassadors of Islam– as I plan to do in my daily works as a Muslim journalist—God willing.

Becoming a journalist is hard enough, but becoming a Muslim journalist is ten times harder.  A Muslim journalist must be perfect in every aspect of his job because his actions are already magnified from day one.  As a Muslim journalist, one will be criticized and ridiculed because of the religion he/she chooses to follow.  This forces the Muslim journalist to have thick skin and be flawless in the work of reporting, as well as extremely accurate with facts and sources.  A hiccup for a Muslim journalist is viewed as a heart attack to the rest of the world.  All eyes are on a Muslim when entering the world of journalism as a Muslim.

The biggest reason Muslims are hated in the eyes of the United States public is because of their ignorance which led them to learn the fear of Islam.  The best and most effective way to counter “Islamophobia” is by educating the public about the true essence of Islam.  It is the journalist’s job to be objective and tell the facts.  Educating the world about Islam and its followers will result in the world beginning to view the religion in a new light.

Islam teaches its followers to respect all religions and that should be included in some coverage.  Other coverage could detail stories of the Prophet Muhammed (s) and how he once passed a Bible on the ground and how he stopped to pick it up, teaching his companions that we should respect “their” book.  He respected the book and the people who follow it.  Islam also preaches being nice to your neighbors.  Why not find a story of a Christian family having nothing but good things to say about a neighboring Muslim household whom they have lived next to for 20 years? 

Little things can change the way the public views Islam, but as a Muslim journalist, my first job is to educate the public about Islam in direct and indirect ways.  One can counter ignorance by educating.  One can counter stereotypes by disproving them and showing they are not true.  We can counter “Islamophobia” by showing the public there is nothing to fear besides the biases of one nation.

Finally, I have not chosen journalism.  Journalism has chosen me.  I feel that I have been chosen to make a difference in this world and I will rise to the occasion.  I will use my skill in writing and my outspoken ways to serve Islam as journalist.  I ask the Almighty to grant me success in doing so.

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Harun Yahya – Unawareness—A Sly Threat

January 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Satan’s Efforts to Drag Believers into Unawareness

One of satan’s major goals is to divert people from the Way of Allah and lead them to Hell. He busies their minds with false apprehensions in an attempt to confuse them and prevent sound thought.

All sincere believers have an open mind and thus are aware of reality and can consider all of the details necessary to reach a sound decision. Their moral character, which is reflected in their behavior, comes from their faith, fear, and respect of Allah. But sometimes satan can take advantage of their momentary forgetfulness, carelessness, or lack of knowledge to draw them into unawareness.

Allah warns believers about this danger: “Do not let satan bar your way. He truly is an outright enemy to you.” (Surat al-Zukhruf: 62) and “Those who believe fight in the Way of Allah. Those who disbelieve fight in the way of false deities. So fight the friends of satan! Satan’s scheming is always feeble”(Surat an-Nisa’: 76). He announces that satan’s devious plans will not affect sincere believers. Satan knows this and, when he vows to lead people astray, does not include Allah’s sincere servants:

He (satan) said: “By Your might, I will mislead all of them, except for Your chosen servants among them.”

Sad: 82-83

Despite this knowledge, satan nevertheless tries to confuse their minds during times of difficulty, illness, or some other personal hardship, if only for a moment, to prevent them from earning an even greater reward and rising to an even higher place in Allah’s Sight. For example, if someone is about to do a good deed, satan may insert thoughts about postponing it until later so that, hopefully, the person will forget all about it. Or, as we read in Surat an-Nisa’ 95: “Those believers who stay behind–other than those forced to by necessity–are not the same as those who strive in the Way of Allah, sacrificing their wealth and themselves. Allah has given those who strive with their wealth and themselves a higher rank than those who stay behind. Allah has promised the best to both, but has preferred those who strive over those who stay behind by an immense reward.” Satan wants to prevent believers from striving in His Way and from earning greater dignity in His Sight.

Satan makes intimations to believers during difficult times of sickness or in the heat of battle in order to take advantage of a momentary weakness.

Of course, Allah tests individuals with periods of difficulty, pressure, and distress so that they will reveal their true natures. Such testing is very important. For example, during the time of our Prophet (saas), some individuals who were constantly by his side on the battlefield became unaware in the heat of battle:

… when they came at you from above you and below you, when your eyes rolled and your hearts rose to your throats, and you thought unworthy thoughts about Allah.

Al-Ahzab: 10

Allah gives the good news that sincere believers who fall into momentary unawareness will be forgiven if they repent. Repentance is thus one of His great gifts. In fact, He tells us in the Qur’an how He forgave three sincere believers who regretted their failure to fight:

And (He turned) also toward the three who were left behind, so that when Earth became narrow for them, for all its great breadth, and their own selves became constricted for them and they realized that there was no refuge from Allah except in Him, He turned to them so that they might turn to Him. Allah is the Ever-Returning, the Most Merciful.

At-Tawba: 118

Satan can whisper to people until they become immersed in despair, thinking that everything is lost and that the situation is irremediable. But believers know that such thoughts are no more than satanic deceptions, and so ignore them. They immediately turn to Allah, repent, and take refuge from unawareness in Him:

As for those who guard against evil, when they are bothered by suggestions from satan, they remember and immediately see clearly.

Al-A‘raf: 201

Taking refuge in Allah from the empty apprehensions that can lead them into unawareness, they are careful to remember Him at all times, read and ponder the Qur’an, and pray constantly. So, by His will, they are saved from even a moment of unawareness.

A warning to unaware people

… so that you may warn a people whose ancestors were not warned and who are therefore unaware.

Ya Sin: 6

Throughout history, Allah chose prophets and messengers, upon whom He bestowed light and understanding, to warn all people who, for whatever reason, had rejected or had lost their earlier awareness of true Islam. Allah chose our Prophet, Muhammad (s), to warn his own people, to bring the true religion to them, and to instill in them fear and respect due to Allah:

Warn them of the Day of Bitter Regret, when the affair will be resolved. But they take no notice. They have no faith.

Maryam: 39

These prophets and messengers told their people about Allah, His infinite power, and the Hereafter; showed proofs on Earth and in the heavens of His existence; and, through various means, called their people to faith in Allah and obedience to Him. But most people, in spite of the wondrous order in all that they could see, did not appreciate His power properly and so continued to turn their backs on Him:

When Our Signs came to them in all their clarity, they exclaimed: “This is downright magic!” And they repudiated them wrongly and haughtily, despite their own certainty about them. See the final fate of the corrupters.

An-Naml: 13-14

Allah warns people in different ways. This book, a believer’s words, a person’s own conscience, or even an informative report in the press or some other publication can all serve to warn people. Everything a person sees and hears actually occurs through Allah’s choosing and, if evaluated in the knowledge that they come from Him, can be understood as warnings to turn to Him. Allah has sent us various warnings and reminders, and in the Qur’an He commands us to correct their behaviors and find the right path.

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