Rep. Conyers: Investigate Luqman Shooting

February 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Al-Hajj Imam Abdullah El-Amin, MMNS

Large interfaith, intercultural outpouring of support for Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah

imam-luqman2 Now that the Wayne County Medical Examiner has released the autopsy report of slain Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the outrage and questions are growing by leaps and bounds in the community.

The manner in which the imam was set up and killed by federal officers has outraged and been questioned by the Mayor Dave Bing of Detroit, countless business and community leaders, and now, the powerful chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary committee, John Conyers.  Congressman Conyers called a press conference in Detroit and demanded a full Federal investigation of the facts surrounding what many call the “execution” of Imam Luqman Abdullah by FBI agents.

As we remember, this newspaper was the first to report on the excessive force and questionable motives of the government security forces that pumped at least 21 bullets into the body of the imam.  The Muslim Observer was also the first to point out the total disrespect and denigration shown to human being Imam Abdullah by giving a dog more care and attention than a human being.

The autopsy report showed that Imam Luqman was not only shot at least 21 times, his hands were also handcuffed behind his back as he lay prone face down in a trailer truck.  At the same time the police dog, named freddy, was airlifted to an emergency veterinarian hospital in an attempt to save his life.  Traffic was blocked off in both directions as the helicopter landed in the middle of busy 12 mile road in a futile attempt to save the dog.

FBI agents reported they opened fire on Imam Abdullah because he allegedly shot the dog, who is considered a federal agent; and they must shoot to kill anytime one of their officers is attacked.  This is ludicrous.     Dogs do not possess a mind.  The oath FBI agents take seems to exclude dogs.  The oath is as follows:  “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.  So help me God.”

Now we all know a dog is not capable of consciously agreeing to such an agreement so using such a flimsy excuse to fill a man full of bullet holes is, at best, barbaric and devilish.

Congressman Conyers’ concern took another important turn when he wondered aloud why the FBI spent so much time and resources to build a case that obviously, at best, was entrapped petty crime.  It was revealed that the suspects did not commit larceny, nor did they conspire to.  They were brought “stolen items” that were supplied by the FBI and even paid with FBI money.  The FBI also controlled the warehouse that held these “stolen goods” and was the scene of the set-up killing of the imam.

So why did the government want Imam Abdullah dead?  Or was it the government or merely some gung-ho trigger-happy cowboys who wanted to get target practice?  This is the big question.  Congressman Conyers has asked Attorney General Holder to open a full investigation and it has already started.  This is very significant because Congressman Conyers, as Chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, will chair any proceedings brought before the House – and that includes the Attorney General if necessary.

One big positive result of this whole scenario is the outpouring of love and support from the non-Muslim community.  There were representatives there from Quakers, National Action Network, ACLU, Michigan Coalition for Human Rights.  Congressman Conyers was also joined by Michigan State Representative Bettie Cook-Scott who also heads the Judiciary committee of the Michigan Legislature.  The entire proceeding was brought together by another non-Muslim.  Mr. Ron Scott, leader of the Coalition Against Police Brutality, worked tirelessly getting sufficient support to keep the light on the case.  ALLAH says in the Qur’an that the Christians are closer to you than any other group.  This case is a sign that if we believe in ourselves and do the right thing, ALLAH will send help to us and they will be more assertive for our cause than we are.  I didn’t see as much Muslim support and outrage as I saw Christian.  One Christian lady stood and said “this is about justice for a human being.  It has nothing to do with what religious faith he belonged to.”

We are also blessed to have the tireless efforts of CAIR-Michigan executive director, Dawud Waild.  This brother has the uncanny ability to work with other members of the society and bring positive results to fruition.  It is good to have confidence in a brother that we believe has done his homework and will not sell us out.

Never in our wildest dreams did we (and possibly the FBI’s as well) think the imams’ homicide would open up such a big inquiry into questionable dealings by our law enforcement department.  ALLAH allows things to happen for His own purposes and those who reflect can be blessed to understand His purpose.

12-6

Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Convention

December 10, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Schwartz, MMNS

With the twin scourges of Islamophobia and racism prevalent in the United States and with the media acting as an echo chamber, a great burden is placed on individuals and groups who seek to speak the truth about Islam and the nature of the crises that effect us domestically and internationally.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), created in 1988, is one such organization. MPAC was formed to work for the civil rights of Muslim Americans and to facilitate their entry into American pluralism. MPAC works at the national as well as the grassroots level and has won the trust and respect of the Muslim and non Muslim community. MPAC has become an information source for those seeking to understand Islam and seeking also to put current events in their proper perspective.

MPAC held its ninth annual convention in Long Beach, Ca. this past Saturday. The event brought a capacity audience to attend workshops and listen to speakers, expert in their fields, and who provided insight and education into topics taken from today’s headlines. The title of the convention was: “With Change come Challenges.”

After thought provoking and informative workshops, the event ended with a banquet featuring Congressman Andre Carson (D,IN), awards, and entertainment.

Among the presenters (but not limited to) were Dr. Maher Hathout, a retired physician celebrated in the Muslim and non Muslim community for his dedication to peace and human rights and for his interfaith work. Dr. Hathout is the MPAC Senior Advisor, an author, and a sought after speaker.

Dr. Aslam Abdullah is the Editor-in Chief of The Muslim Observer, a weekly English language Muslim newspaper. He was recently elected vice president of the Muslim Council of America, a new organization which serves Muslims in the arena of policy and political affairs. Dr. Abdullah is active in Islamic affairs in Nevada which activity also includes being secretary of the Interfaith Council of Nevada.

Dr. Laila Al Marayati is a physician and the Chairperson of KinderUSA, an organization dedicated to the well being of children, focusing in particular on the children of Palestine. Dr. Al Marayati is also the spokesperson for the Muslim Women’s League, a Los Angeles group which seeks to strengthen the role of Muslim women.

Haris Tarin of MPAC is that group’s Community Development Director. Mr Tarin has traveled extensively and has spoken at various symposia on the topic of Islam and the Muslim community.

“Fort Hood: A Defining Moment” was the topic of an afternoon panel. Most of the audience spoke among themselves before the event began and indicated thoughtful interest in how the matter would be handled.

“I am so glad this is being discussed” said one young man to his companion.

“I know there is more than what the media say” said his companion.

When asked by panel moderator, Salaam Al Marayati, MPAC’s Executive Director, whether Muslims should respond to this event, Dr. Maher Hathout declared that Muslims should not be apologetic because of the deranged acts of one man who happened to be Muslim. He reminded his audience that Major Nidal Hasan shouted  “Allahu Akbar” before he began his killing spree.  He said that if he used those two words now, every non Muslim would run out of the room.Yet Muslims use the same two words forty two times a day during their prayers. It is wrong to tar Muslims with a broad brush as the media have been wont to do. Non Muslims, most of whom do not understand the phrase, and its meaning, “God is Greater”, automatically fear it. Muslims are an essential part of the solution to the problem of Muslim extremists. They are essential to the education of non Muslims about Islam and the only ones truly qualified to ascertain when there is extremism and to propose effective solutions.

Dr. Connie Rice, an attorney and activist and a second panel member, said that this incident indicates more than ever the essential role that MPAC and other moderate Muslim groups must play in partnering with law enforcement. This places a terrible burden on MPAC, she said,  but one which they will willingly and efficiently carry out. She seconded the presentation of Dr. Hathout in presenting the necessity for groups such as MPAC to educate the community about Islam and to partner with law enforcement.

After the panel MPAC received an award from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Dr. Maher Hathout accepted the award.

During a particularly timely panel on “”Rebuilding US-Muslim World Relations”, a State Department official, Jonathan Morgenstein of the Department of Defense, commented that in Iraq and Afghanistan American soldiers were interacting with the local population. Dr. Laila Al Marayati commented that it would be so much better if these men and women were doing so in the capacity of peace corps volunteers and not as occupiers.

A bazaar was held in the main room and featured booths representing different Islamic groups. These booths include (the list is incomplete): CAIR; Islamic Relief; the Muslim Women’s League; ACCESS; American Medical Overseas Relief (AMOR); the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC) Youth Programs, and Al-Madinah School. AMOR is dedicated to helping the medically needy in the Middle East with emphasis on children in Afghanistan. It may be accessed at: <www.AMORelief.org>.  The Al-Madinah school in Los Angeles is currently engaged in building projects that will be in the heart of urban Los Angeles.

Those wishing to learn more about MPAC and/or to make a contribution may access it at: www.mpac.org.

11-51

Huda El Masri Sosebee

August 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Susan Schwartz, MMNS

Readers of The Muslim Observer are familiar with the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF), a humanitarian, charitable organization which addresses itself to the needs of Palestinian children in the Middle East.

On July 15, Huda El Masri Sosebee, the wife of Steve Sosebee, President and CEO of the PCRF, passed away after a brave battle with cancer. She was 46. Huda has left behind a grieving husband and two daughters, 12 year old Deema and 2 year old Jenna.

While Huda held the title of Director of Social work, she dedicated herself to the PCRF in its entirety and to the suffering children in the Middle East. Those who met her even briefly were inspired by her love, her energy, and her enthusiasm.

Huda was a proud and brave Palestinian Arab woman who herself to her work, even sending emails in her final weeks to insure that the work of the organization would not suffer.

Those who knew her feel blessed by their association.

11-32

Exclusive: TMO Interview with Harun Yahya

March 12, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Interview of Harun Yahya

By Adil James, MMNS

American audiences may not know the name Adnan Oktar, although they may be familiar with the plentiful writings of Harun Yahya. In fact Adnan Oktar and Harun Yahya are one and the same, Harun Yahya being merely the English pen-name of the famous writer. This is the print version of The Muslim Observer’s February-March 2009 interview with Mr. Adnan Oktar, who graciously agreed to a lengthy interview with us through the medium of an interpreter, Ms. Seda Aral, who translated our questions into Turkish and his responses into English. 

Our questions and some of his responses have been abbreviated for easy reading, but the meaning of his responses has of course not been altered.

Enjoy!

ADNAN OKTAR_2 Q:  Please update us on your court case?

A. ADNAN OKTAR: This case began with a police operation against the Science Research Foundation (BAV) community in 1999. That was an operation initiated due to certain false claims made by the communist deep state organization and directed by it. Indeed, the director of the Organized Crimes branch of the time who conducted the operation against us is currently detained and on trial facing charges of membership of the Ergenekon terror organization. Again, a famous journalist who constantly produced hostile reports about us during the course of that operation and who waged a serious psychological warfare campaign against my colleagues and me is also now in prison, charged with membership of the Ergenekon terror organization, and the legal proceedings against him are still going on. Following trial proceedings lasting 8 years, the court brought in a guilty verdict against me and 3 female colleagues on charges on leading a running criminal enterprise. I have the greatest respect for the court’s decision and I wish the members of the court the very best. But, on the other hand, nobody believes the allegation that I am the leader of a criminal gang. I must be the only gang leader who has written 300 books and has millions of readers. As a matter of fact, the public prosecutor in the case even said that the allegations were false and there was not a single piece of evidence to support them over those 8 years, and he twice requested that my colleagues and I be acquitted.

Let me briefly summarize the public prosecutor’s legal opinion for you; he says, “There is no evidence against the defendants in that collected by the court.” In other words, he says there is no evidence against us.


[Even the prosecutor in my case] sets out his conclusion in the words: “In the absence of any evidence to show that Adnan Oktar established an enterprise for criminal purposes and that the other defendants committed the crimes of managing the enterprising and engaging in activities on its behalf, it is requested in the public name that the defendants be individually acquitted of all charges, under Article 223/2E of the Criminal Code.” The public prosecutor said there was no crime and no evidence of any offense. But the court board decided differently. There is definitely goodness and wisdom in this and it is all for the best, insha’Allah. If Allah has seen fit to consign me to the School of Yusuf (Madrassa of Yusuf), I am honored by that.

Q:  What is your response to the backlash against you from Muslim writers who believe in evolution?

A:  Ask these people how the angels and djinn were created. Will they be able to say they came into being through evolution? No, of course they will not. Or ask them if they can account in terms of evolution for how the Prophet Musa’s (as) staff turned into a fully formed snake with digestive, motor and reproductive systems when he threw it down on the ground. When the Prophet Jesus (as) breathed on a bird-shaped object made out of mud, it turned into a living, flying bird. How do they explain that? Harun_Yahya(Adnan_Oktar)_11

The fact is that behind the efforts of some Muslims to reconcile Islam and evolution in their own eyes, lie an element of ignorance and an element of defeatism, a fear of being unable to respond to Darwinism. These people imagine, with the knowledge of the 1900s, that evolution is a scientific theory and that opposing evolution means opposing science. But they are unaware that science refutes evolution. Evolution is a theory unable to explain even how a single protein came into being by chance, a theory at a complete dead-end. Moreover, not one of the 100 million fossils unearthed confirms evolutionists’ claims. Darwin admits that himself, saying, “Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined? Everything is highly regular and perfect”, he says. Because Allah creates them, that is why. “But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?” he asks. Because evolution never happened, that is why. Does that not finish Darwinism right from the outset? There are 100 million fossils and they all prove Creation. So can one speak of Darwinism under such circumstances? Of course not.

Q:  What is your reaction to anti-evolution movie “No Intelligence Allowed” by Ben Stein, showing the ostracism of scientists who reject evolution?

A: It is perfectly obvious that Darwinists have established a global dictatorship. Under official protection in 95% of the countries of the world, the theory of evolution has had its invalidity scientifically proved, and despite being a false theory that violates reason and logic, it is still imposed as an official ideology. In middle and high school and university exams it is obligatory to answer questions about the theory of evolution as if this false theory were true and correct. No academic or scientist who even hints he does not believe in Darwinism is allowed to continue with his work or to enjoy any promotion. And it is arranged that the majority lose their jobs. It is almost the first time in the history of the world that such an ideology is officially protected and imposed in just about every country of the world. This system, which manifests itself as a social dictatorship, has established a hugely repressive regime. They have even tied the Vatican’s hands with the pressure they made. The Vatican issued a statement about Darwinism just the other day, and the terrible nature of the situation is evident from that. They have made the Vatican incapable of saying, “There is no evolution.” European materialists and Darwinists imagine they can resurrect Darwinism by making the Vatican issue statements in favor of it. But the fact is that Darwinism is dead, and no initiative can bring it back to life. It is now time to bury Darwinism for good.

Q:  Believers believe in a world that is intrinsically unseen, therefore how can believers argue against unbelievers?

Harun_Yahya(Adnan_Oktar)_13 A: Using a genuine, rational and clear style, one based on evidence, has always been a very important and effective method, insha’Allah. Everyone can explain and understand things to the extent ordained by Allah. When someone is guided to the true path, he is guided so because it is ordained by Allah in his destiny, not because we explained anything to him. Of course the things we say are an instrument, but if Allah does not open someone’s heart, then he cannot understand what he hears or see what is before his eyes. You can show him thousands of proofs and explain things in countless ways, but he will still not change. Of course, one has a responsibility to strive and tell people the truth, but one can only preach to the extent Allah permits. However, we must not forget that when a Muslim preaches, he is not preaching to the person opposite him, but to an entity Allah creates in his brain, in an area the size of a lentil. That person does exist on the outside, but we can never have direct dealings with that person on the outside. We have direct experience of images established by an electric current of a few amps. This is a very great secret, a great blessing to grasp the depth of faith. This is knowledge that enormously deepens and strengthens a Muslim’s preaching power.

Q: What is the best way for Muslims to study science? Are there books available in English that you would recommend to Muslims studying science in America or Europe?

A: A Muslim intellectual is someone who thinks broadly and freely. In the Qur’an, Allah commands us to reflect deeply, research and investigate. As Allah reveals in the Qur’an, Muslims will also think and enquire and investigate. Someone consumed by a love of Allah will investigate the artistry, knowledge and manifestations of Allah with great excitement, determination and passion. All scientific and cultural progress throughout history has been led by believers. The way that Muslims today are depicted as having no idea about or are kept away from science, knowledge, art or cleanliness is a tactic employed by materialists and Freemasons. Muslims must not fall for that snare, but will raise their levels of knowledge. They will enhance the joy of seeing Allah’s artistry through scientific enquiry. I recommend that my Muslim brothers read the works of Harun Yahya. These have been translated into 67 languages and are all available free of charge on the Internet.

Q: What avenues should Muslim scientists pursue?

A: Someone with a passionate love of Allah will draw enormous pleasure from His artistry and the manifestations of His sublime mind. Anyone enquiring or reading with that love and fervor will obtain most excellent results and this will be instrumental in great advancement. In the same way that religion encourages scientific research, so scientific enquiry conducted in the light of the truths revealed by the faith will produce very rapid and definite results. Because the faith is the only source able to provide an accurate and certain account of how life and the universe came into being. Science can only produce accurate findings so long as research in conducted along the lines of investigating Allah’s omnipotence and the proofs of creation in the universe. Only if the right course is taken, if it is accurately directed in other words, can science achieve its true objective in the shortest possible time.

By Allah’s leave, we will all see in the time of Hazrat Mahdi (as) the enormous advances in science that fervor and joy of faith will be instrumental in bringing about. The spiritual strength Hazrat Mahdi (as) is instrumental in bringing about will lead to the greatest scientific and technological developments in the history of the world, and will be more delightful, beneficial and effective than people have ever dreamed.

Q: You have argued these are the Last Days–what advice do you have for Muslims in this time?

A: What our Prophet (s) tells us is the truth. He acts in compliance with Allah’s revelation. He described the portents of the End Times through Allah’s revelation, and they all have come to be truth. These portents can all be found in the Kutub-u Sitte (the Six Books). In addition, the Qur’an makes it very clear that the moral values of Islam will rule the world. This is crystal clear in verse 55 of Surat an-Nur. There are various other verses of the Qur’an regarding the domination of the moral values of Islam over the world, and they can all be seen on my www.awaitedmahdi.com website. The subjects of Hazrat Mahdi (as), the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) and the End Times are matters on which all four schools are in agreement; the Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliqi and Sha’afi schools are unanimous on the subject. The appearance of Hazrat Mahdi (as) and the return of the Prophet Jesus (as) are absolutely certain. That is also the case in Shiism. Indeed, the Shiite and Sunni schools make up 95% of the Islamic world. Nobody has ever maintained anything different. The hadith I have set out in my works and writings are hadith that have been verified and found completely trustworthy. Had they not been verified, there might have been doubts as to their reliability, but they have been confirmed. Our Prophet (saas) says that the portents of the End Times will happen one after the other, like the beads on a necklace. When one ends the next will start, he says. He says wondrous things will happen one after the other. Note how wondrous things are now happening in the world, the portents of the End Times have all taken place within 20-30 years. The eclipses of the Sun and Moon during Ramadan, for example, is something highly detailed. It happened in 1400 by the Hegira calendar. The Prophet (saas) says the waters of the Euphrates will be severed. And the Euphrates was cut off by a dam and the flow of its waters stopped. The newspapers carried reports saying the Euphrates had been severed, and the truth of our Prophet’s (saas) hadith thus emerged. Our Prophet (saas) says there will be carnage in the same region. The massacres by the PKK are clearly set out. The Prophet (saas) said that blood will be shed in the Qaaba at the beginning of the century in which Hazrat Mahdi (as) appears. He says the Qaaba will be occupied. And that all happened.

A great economic crisis is described in detail, and that has also happened. There are hundreds of other portents, and people can read these on my web sites. It appears from all these portents that Hazrat Mahdi (as) has begun work and that the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) is close at hand, insha’Allah. That is why I always say that Muslims will seek Hazrat Mahdi (as) and pray for the coming of the Prophet Jesus (as). “We sought but could not find”; this is out of question. A Muslim must pray for them. And then Allah will create them, bring them into being. I keep on saying that. Because the coming of Hazrat Mahdi (as) is certain. The coming of the Prophet Jesus (as) is certain. The global dominion of Islamic moral values is certain. I do not concentrate on an event unless there is something wondrous about it. I am someone who looks at everything rationally. I evaluate things in the light of the evidence, I sign up to rational and correct ideas and follow the truth 100%. I go along with what is 100% true. The portents of these happy days have come about, and Muslims have a duty to experience that joy. They will see the abundant blessings of this age and experience all its beauty, insha’Allah.

Q:  Who else is doing such work to build the ummah, like you and Ahmad Deedat before you?

A: Fear constitutes a grave form of corruption for Muslims in the End Times. They hesitate, saying, “But what if I am imprisoned, or beaten, or sworn at, or slandered or killed?” But whatever happens, they will earn merit accordingly. Is our aim not to earn Allah’s approval? Most Islamic countries have been unnecessarily afraid and experienced terrible suffering. Had they been courageous and rational, Allah would not have inflicted that suffering on them. Strength belongs to Allah. Nothing apart from Allah has any strength. Allah bestows fear and troubles. Allah bestows afflictions on cowards. Allah protects the brave. Muslims have a duty to be brave. For example, when it comes to the establishment of the Turkish-Islamic Union, some Muslims say nothing out of a fear of “What will they say?” The fact is, however, that it is a sin for Muslims not to be united and act together. Sin is a spiritual burden. In other words, it is obligatory in the eyes of the Qur’an for Muslims to act as one, as brothers. The door is open to all kinds of scourges so long as they do not do this, so long as they are not united. But some Muslims carefully avoid this, out of such fears as “Such-and-such will react like this, so-and-so will not want it, what will they say?” or are even unable to raise the subject at all. But no matter what they say, we will obey Allah’s command, we will be united.

Muslims fear only one thing; they fear Allah. Anything apart from Allah should not be feared. If Allah wishes He can make the world a very different place and easily have the Turkish-Islamic Union accepted. And we will then want it and strive with all our might and cry out “The Turkish-Islamic Union must be established.” Once the Turkish-Islamic Union has been founded, no harm will come to even a single hair on Muslims’ heads. And then let’s see whether they can line up the bodies of dead Muslims, children and all, and take photographs of them. Will they then have the courage to crush the Muslim world underfoot like ants? The bloodshed will stop instantaneously, all the oppression will immediately come to an end, insha’Allah. And why should the world not want a Turkish-Islamic Union? The union we espouse is a union of love and friendship, that will protect and embrace all with affection and compassion. Why should anyone not want that? I cannot conceive of any society, any government not wanting a union that will resuscitate the global economy, bring about an end to terror and bring prosperity to all.

For that reason, I always tell my brothers to concentrate on union at every available opportunity, in their writings, or talks or conversations. They must constantly demand that their governments establish the Turkish-Islamic Union; insha’Allah, those demands will be of the nature of a prayer to Allah. When I talk about a Turkish-Islamic Union under Turkish leadership this is not something resulting from any pretension to racial superiority. The Turkish nation is willing to bear troubles and difficulties. Assuming the role of elder brother is a hard job requiring sacrifices. But both historic circumstances and also social conditions make Turkish leadership essential. As the descendants of a nation who gave order to the world for 700 years in the time of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish nation will again be willing to act as elder brother to and be the protector and servant of its Muslim and Turkic brothers, insha’Allah.

Q: Do you believe the hijab ban will be stopped in Turkey?

A: Some people in Turkey have an unfounded fear, and that must first be put right. The fact is that democracy and secularism lie at the heart of Islam. Islam allows people the right to believe and express their ideas as they wish. It is a rule in Islam that there must be no pressure in religious matters. Freedom of thought is a requirement of Islam. It has taught mankind democracy and secularism with the reason and conscience brought about by religious moral values. People must be told that. They must be told that their fears are groundless, that everyone, no matter what they may believe, is a first-class citizen. But the stipulation about the hijab in the Qur’an is perfectly clear. It is also set out in the hadith. There is nothing to argue about. These young people are very devout, our young girls want to turn up wearing the hijab. So what? Nice, polite ladies turn up. Of course there may be a diverse range of opinions. Everyone can think in different ways. Just so long as all our citizens are given the right to live as they wish and are given guarantees of freedom and democracy. Let young girls wear the hijab if they want. A laic regime, the republic, is embedded in Turkey. I regard it as totally inappropriate to make such a fuss within such a system about a handful of young girls wearing the hijab.

Q: What advice do you give to people who feel lazy, unable to help good people to do good work like you?

A: I am madly in love with Allah. Allah must be loved with a mad intensity. That Allah we love with such joy with love must enter our minds the moment we get up in the morning. We must start the day with the joy and delight of Him, with a joyous, festive air. Because we are under the control of an infinite mind, an infinite power and infinite compassion. This is an extraordinarily delightful thing, and we constantly see His blessings everywhere. Our lovely Allah has prepared His eternal paradise for us. Of course the joy of that pervades our hearts and we must not forget it for a moment. We must spend every moment of our lives, from morning to evening, in the festive joy and fervor of Him, and must even experience the joy of Allah in our dreams. He will even influence our dreams if we experience that great joy. So no sloth or idleness can ever be possible, insha’Allah.

11-12

Escape from Bint Jebail

August 3, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil James, TMO Staff reporter
A Muslim Observer exclusive report

Hussein Khalil looks like a man who spent all night watching a ghost. His face is pale and ashen, with a few days’ growth of beard on his cheeks. His face is young, but his manners show the sincerity that usually results from a close experience of the fragility and beauty of human life. He still sees pictures of the dead people he saw only last week in the south of Lebanon. He still doesn’t sleep quietly through the night, and nor do his children. When airplanes fly overhead, his 3 and a half year old son screams at him to run for shelter before the Israelis kill them.

Mr. Khalil just returned from Lebanon, crossing through a harrowing and miserable odyssey to save his wife and children. On June 6th, his wife and children had left happily for a vacation with her parents in Ainetta, the town immediately neighboring Bint Jebail. They expected to return at the end of the summer, on September 6th.

As the political situation melted down after Hezbollah’s July 12th abduction of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, he kept in constant contact with his family by phone. The phone calls got worse and worse. Through some of the phone calls, he could hear distant bombs and other sounds of war. The bombardment affected his children—they started to become annoyed, hysterical, crying frantically. His infant daughter Muna cried to him on the phone, “Please come and get us—why are they trying to kill us?” His wife told him, “Don’t even try to come,” because of the fierce bombardment. Terrified of the rumored death traps waiting for fleeing refugees on the roads out of southern Lebanon, the family hunkered down in the house. The pressure affected Khalil—at night, he could not sleep; in the day, he could not work; he could not drink, he could not eat.

Friday July 14th was the worst day. That day, he was talking to his wife during an artillery bombardment when he heard a loud explosion, somebody screaming, and the phone line went dead. Although he would not find out until he arrived there days later, the artillery shell had hit the house, destroying the top floor but (through apparently miraculous intervention) not injuring his family members in the house. But that Friday, he knew no such thing. Frantic, he went to the airport. He flew to Jordan; a flight delay gave him an expected wait of 13 hours, which was too much for him at that point. He found a car and traveled to Syria. Explaining his situation, he was allowed to cross the border.

A friend in Damascus prepared a car for his use and made travel plans for him, giving him contact numbers of other people who might help him in Lebanon. Everyone else in Damascus told him not to go, that Beirut was a war zone.

His heart burning for his family, Mr. Khalil continued on, driving to Beirut. He arrived in Beirut on Tuesday. Then he went to the American embassy; after waiting in line, he spoke to an embassy official, telling him that at least 10 US citizens were in a house close to Bint Jebail under heavy bombardment, including his wife and children and in-laws. The American official told him, “We cannot stop the war for your family.” They told him to let them stay where they were, and asked Mr. Khalil for his phone number [which, not surprisingly, they never called].

Then he went to the Red Cross. They said the same thing, that “It is hostile there—we are not allowed to go there, we are not permitted to go.” They told him to try the UN.

He went to the UN, where no one actually met with him, other than to make a generalized announcement that they were trying to obtain a cease-fire there.

Desperate to help his family, he began to contact taxi drivers. He offered some of them $10,000 to drive him to Bint Jebail. No one would take the money—“it’s not an issue of money,” they said, “it is impossible.”

Exhausting all of his friend’s contacts, he turned to an old friend from years ago, whose number he still had. That friend agreed to drive him to Tyre, without ever mentioning money. Their plan was to leave after fajr on Wednesday morning. That night the Israeli air force bombed the Beirut airport. After fajr they left for Tyre.

Lebanon is small, and travel is a minor act relative to what it is in America—if a driver could drive 60mph in a straight line from the south to the north, he could travel the length of Lebanon in less than two hours. When the Israeli army invaded Lebanon in 1982, they waltzed to Beirut in four hours. Tyre is normally a 45 minute drive from Beirut (from Tyre, Khalil planned to hitchhike or walk the 25 miles to Bint Jebail). Against all the advice of those in Lebanon, they drove a van—and it is for this reason that they would be able to save so many of their relatives in Bint Jebail.

The Israelis had bombed the normal roads going south from Beirut, so only someone with knowledge of the back roads could succeed in going south to Tyre. Fortunately the driver knew the back roads through the mountains, and after four hours they began to approach Tyre. Refugees going away from Tyre tried to flag them down, telling them not to go forward.

The driver wanted to turn around, but Khalil begged him, “Just get me to Tyre.”

Asking for directions through the remnants of the devastated roads of southern Lebanon, they tried dead end after dead end. Finally, two people having just come out of Tyre directed them to pass through a nearby orchard, which they did, to find their way.

That was when they found the bodies. They passed at least four cars and one van, full of people, most of whom were dead but some of whom were still alive and moving in agony in those burnt-out shells of cars, all of which still had white flags; body parts and luggage was strewn across the ground. All of the cars had been hit where the heat of the engine provided a signature for missiles to hone in on—this fire was targeted by Israeli helicopters or jets, and was not the result of errant artillery. The smell of burnt human flesh still haunts Mr. Khalil. One man had tried to escape his doomed vehicle, but not in time. The door hung open, and the man’s headless body still leaned out of the car when they passed.

Desperate to save his family, with no medical training and himself on a mission which would save tens of people, Mr. Khalil and his friend continued on. Warned of the danger they faced, Khalil kept his eyes glued to the sky, his hand attached to the door handle, while the driver focused on driving. At a moment’s notice they were prepared to jump out of the van and run away.

He prayed continuously and sincerely, accepting that if he died on this journey at least it would be in the course of doing a good deed, as a martyr, trying to save lives and serve his family.

For some reason, as they left Tyre, the driver continued on and never asked Mr. Khalil to continue on by himself on foot.

They passed through Tibneen. Tens of people waited next to the Tibneen hospital on the road, desperate for food. If Mr. Khalil had stopped here, it would have been impossible to continue on. Many people would have crushed the car. They pushed the bread through the windows to the starving people, about 30 bags of bread, and continued on. Mr. Khalil estimates there are about 15,000 refugees in Tibneen, close to the hospital.

After journeying, they arrived at the split in the road between Bint Jebail and Aineta. To the right there is a valley, from which they saw the white streaks of Hezbollah missiles streaking south towards Israel—the only evidence they ever saw of the presence of Hezbollah in Bint Jebail—“I never even saw one man holding a Kalashnikov,” said Mr. Khalil.

Jet fighters banked and turned in the sky, immediately directing their fire downwards at the source of those plumes of smoke. Artillery flew into the valley, and into Ainetta, the rocket attack providing a focal point for the Israeli military. This barrage affected the travelers as well—they flew down the road past destroyed buildings. One top story of a building was blown up as they passed. They heard and saw an Israeli drone patrolling above. Smoke was everywhere, missiles were flying down, artillery was bombing everywhere.

When he saw his family’s destroyed house Mr. Khalil’s heart sank to his knees. The artillery shell had blown off the top of his roof, he sprinted from the van, through the bombardment, to the house, wrenching open the door, to find his wife and children sitting on the floor, crying under the merciless Israeli bombardment. In a short time, he crowded his entire family into the van; neighbors ran to him, giving him their children to put into the van with him, not caring about themselves but only caring that he save their children. In their minivan, they stacked 32 people, mostly women and children, of several different families.

Later, Khalil learned, only 3 hours after he left the house in which his family had sheltered was splintered by an Israeli attack, killing three people who had been sheltering there—so if he had only waited a day, or had been delayed by only a few hours, his entire family would have been killed.

Thus began their escape. They careened through the streets of Ainetta and towards Tibneen, artillery pounding so close to them that one 155 mm howitzer round blew out the back window of the van. He begged his family, “Do not look outside the van—do not look left or right,” not wanting his children to see the dead people in the road. “Allah Allah please help us,” he prayed fervently. Some in the van read Qur`an, some did other zikr, begging for safety from above. And so, miraculously, 32 people crowded into a minivan did the unthinkable—escaping a merciless Israeli barrage that explicitly targeted all vans and pickup trucks.

When he got to Tibneen, Mr. Khalil felt better, less pressure from the Israelis. When he got to Sida, he got out of the minivan and kissed the earth, thanking God for having brought him out safely. From Beirut, the family was evacuated via the USS Nashville to Cyprus, then by military transport to New Jersey, then via a surreal rental car ride from New Jersey home to Dearborn, Michigan.

When he returned home, he learned that the driver that saved him and his family was later blinded by an Israeli attack while making a second attempt to pass the gantlet and save more people.

Speaking of the state of Lebanon today, Khalil says it is “three times worse than it was during the civil war. They are targeting the infrastructure.” The roads, the gas stations, the small and large factories, the electricity and phone switchboards are all catastrophically devastated. Prices for travel, he says, are astronomically inflated—it now costs about $1,000 or $1,500 to take a taxi from Beirut to Syria.

The tragedy of this past two weeks was not the first of Hussein Khalil’s life. His background reflects the terrible history of Lebanon. His father, a baker, never himself involved in any fighting, was brutally murdered when Mr. Khalil was only 6 years old for the crime of being a Muslim who lived in a Christian neighborhood. Mr. Khalil’s mother first brought him to the United States in 1982, when he was 12 years old, to escape the Lebanese civil war. And we hope that he and his family have finally escaped war for good.

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SE Michigan News for week ending May 31, 2006

June 1, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

UMSA Sponsored Seminar/Conference Held at IAGD

Troy—May 28—The UMSA Udruzenje Muslimana Sjeverne Amerike), the Society of Bosnian Muslims of North America, held a conference this weekend with the support of the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit (IAGD).

About 300 people were in evidence this past Sunday at IAGD, part of a loyal following that attended the entire 3-day-long event. Most of those in attendance were from out of town, from as far away as Florida, Missouri, and elsewhere—reflecting the wide diaspora to which Bosnian immigrants to America have spread.

UMSA is an organization that is not particularly well-known among American Muslims, but which has had a growing presence since its founding in 2001. UMSA maintains an extremely well-organized website in the Bosnian language at www.umsa.org.

Speaking with The Muslim Observer on behalf of UMSA was its Secretary, Mirsad, who declined to give a last name. Mirsad is a huge bear of a man with a dark spot on his head from his prayers, who wore through the beginning of our meeting an artist’s beret, with a flowing beard that extends at least eight inches below his chin and that moves in chance breezes. He immigrated to the United States from Serbian Belgrade in the very early part of the war (1993), without himself serving in any military capacity because he was from the start on the wrong side of enemy lines. He had worked as a rock ‘n’ roll producer before the war, but prompted by Serbian and other antipathy to him during the war faced inward and embraced his own Islam.

Bosnians who came to the United States ended up, says Mirsad, in wildly different parts of the country. Some in Grand Rapids Michigan, some in Jacksonville Florida, some in Phoenix Arizona, some in Dallas Texas, some in Amarillo Texas, some in Hamtramck Michigan—in short a huge community of Bosnian refugees scattered across the US in cities—which cities that have nothing in common other than that they have Bosnian refugees.

According to Mirsad, there are within the United States about 500,000 Bosnian immigrants, refugees from the war, many of whom have had large families here. Therefore, he estimates that in the US (counting immigrants and their descendants) there are “more than one million” Bosnians, most of whom have taken American citizenship—a huge portion of the estimated 4 million Bosnians inside Bosnia itself. He estimates that 30% of Bosnians in America actively practise Islam.

But, surprisingly, he says that despite the Bosnian historical trend that most marriages crossed religious lines, within the diaspora that trend has become minimal and in fact Bosnians usually marry within Islam. Mirsad cites himself as an exception to that rule, as he married an American Christian woman who then converted to Islam—the couple has now had five children.
UMSA’s stated ambition is to “patiently work with our community to help them preserve and restore our Muslim identity,” therefore it was established in May of 2001 as an Illinois religious not-for-profit organization “for the purpose of da’wa in Islam.” Da’wa here refers primarily to preaching to people who are already Muslim, because UMSA focuses its efforts on reaching out to the Bosnian-American community.

The Bosnian community under communism lived under constant threat, and was unable to practise Islam fully; under the war of genocide of the 90’s, again Muslims were forced back on their heels. Now that Bosnians have come to the United States, they are faced with a different threat, that of assimilation. Being white and better able than other Muslim American communities to fade quietly into the American mainstream, they face a choice as to whether they wish to retain their Muslim identity or instead distance themselves from it and quietly merge with mainstream Americans. It is these threats to the Islam of Bosnians that UMSA was intended to counter.

Mirsad said that UMSA receives no outside funding for its activities, despite its having been very active since its inception—this week’s conference (though modest in its budgetary requirements—being held at a sympathetic mosque and with few speakers) was its sixth annual conference (UMSA also claims the ability to pay for tickets for Bosnian scholars to travel to the US)—UMSA also sports a publishing house which has already published two books independently, and the professional website mentioned earlier. Mirsad also claims that UMSA has distributed 100’s of thousands of audio tapes on Islam.

UMSA’s website shows that the organization sees the modern world through the prism of the Balkan war of the last decade. It features prominently ten-year-old pictures of murdered Bosnian civilians over whom stand merciless Serb paramilitary members or army soldiers. Random clicking around on the site leads to a disclaimer in English, which specifies that “any mention in any article of any type of weapons is for information purposes only. Udruzenje Muslimana Sjeverne Amerike and the maintainers of this website do not encourage you to commit any illegal acts anywhere, and disclaim liability for the same.”

The website is huge and well-organized—despite its being in Bosnian it is clear that through the website (which Mirsad claims has had millions of visitors since its beginning) viewers can easily access video, audio, and more.

The conference itself featured only three speakers who each spoke multiple times. They are: Dr. Anwar Hajjaj, Dr. Ibrahim Dremali, and Imam Edip Makic. Dr. Anwar Hajjaj is the President of the American Islamic Information Center, which advocates involvement in electoral politics by Muslims. Dr. Ibrahim Dremali is a proponent of the Wahhabi school of thought, featuring prominent and adoring references to the education and background of Mohammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab, and the usual detailed explications of what is bid’a and haram.

Mirsad, asked whether Dr. Dremali was representative of the thought of UMSA as a whole, answered absolutely not, that there were many speakers and in fact the speakers originally selected by UMSA had not been allowed to come to the US because of visa restrictions to their travel from Bosnia. Asked what their names had been, Mirsad declined to specify.

Imam Makic, another speaker, is the imam of a Grand Rapids community mosque. Grand Rapids, he explains, is the home of approximately 10,000 Muslim Bosnians, and is intending soon to build a new mosque. Imam Makic spoke in Bosnian to his primarily Bosnian audience—he spoke of the many benefits of Ottoman rule in Bosnia, of the linguistic abilities of historical Bosnian scholars (who spoke Arabic, Turkish, and other languages in addition to their own native tongue) and especially of the many scholars who have come from that area over the past 500 years. Scholars he mentioned prominently included Hasan Kafija Pruscak (1544-1615) and Mehmed Handzic (1906-1944). Imam Makic also mentioned the Rais-ul-ulama of Bosnia, who is Dr. Mustafa Ceric, who follows in the tradition of those great scholars by speaking many languages including Arabic and Turkish.

Describing the benefits of Ottoman rule in the Balkans, Imam Makic explained that since Ottoman rule was withdrawn from Bosnia, there have been 10 attempts at genocide against Bosnia’s Muslims.

In fact, the analogy which Mirsad applies to Bosnia is that of Andalusia, which likewise was a Muslim state in Europe, and which was over the course of a few centuries completely and bloodily hijacked away from the influence of Islam.

Imam Makic expresses his hope for Bosnians in America, saying that in fact their position is improving every day, with more schools and mosques. He says that Bosnian Muslims are also creating good relations with other refugees who somehow arrived in Grand Rapids (whose immigrant community is composed of Bosnians (the majority), Somalians, Ethiopians, and Kosovar Albanians), as well as with the other non-Muslim inhabitants of that western Michigan city.

The imam explained that his mosque is run out of a small rented building now, but that the community recently bought land for a large $1.5 million project intended to include a school, funeral home, and to be the home for many activities for young people.

Asked why the conference did not feature better-known speakers, Mirsad explained first that UMSA wanted to bring Bosnian scholars to speak, but was prevented because the scholars they chose were not granted visas. Secondly, he explained that UMSA wishes to sponsor speakers that speak as da’ees on political and social issues rather than imams who speak humbly on religious issues.

Mirsad explained that the nationwide Muslim organizations like ISNA and ICNA are not interested in UMSA because its base is relatively small, being able to pull only a few hundred people for one of its conferences rather than the tens of thousands attracted by ISNA or the thousands attracted by ICNA.

UMSA’s Mirsad says he is Hanafi, the madhhab claimed by the overwhelming majority of Bosnians.

He dislikes the celebration of Mawlid, which he claims is a cultural celebration which in Bosnia is celebrated with dancing and alcohol. Confronted with the suggestion that Mawlid is a world-wide Muslim phenomenon not confined to Bosnia, Mirsad bristles and appears deeply offended but retreats to his claims that he does not accept it because its Bosnian practitioners use alcohol. He does not debate that Mawlid and alcohol are two completely separate issues.
He proudly explains that UMSA’s participants take an active role in discussions with their lecturers or imams. They “demand the proof” for anything they hear and question, which itself is different from the absolute acceptance given Prophet (s) by sahaba, given sahaba by the tabi’een, given tabi’een by the tabi’ tabi’een, and so on—in fact this tradition of acceptance and following is an unquestioned one still practised by most Muslims and at most legitimate schools of Islamic instruction, that has only recently been upended by modernist reformers.

Mirsad sheds new light on the present situation of Bosnian Muslims, saying that in fact the entire war was decided in favor of the Serbs by the Dayton accords, which ceded huge lands to the Serb aggressors and which hamstrung Bosnia by appointing an EU “High Representative” with executive powers, able unilaterally to veto or ram through any change in Bosnia. He cites the Bosnian flag as the best example of this. Bosnia’s flag, he explains, was imposed on Bosnia by the EU—it is not a reflection of what the Bosnian people themselves wanted. While he avers his belief that the government’s employees are doing their best, whatever they do is subject to outside control and therefore in fact there is no autonomy.

Asked whether Bosnia now endures a lot of corruption, he argues that in fact corruption is everywhere around the world and perhaps less prevalent in Bosnia than in the United States itself.

As a further symptom of unfairness, Mirsad argues that the majority of prisoners brought to the Hague for war crimes trials have been Muslims, despite Muslims being absolutely the victims of the Bosnian war and despite Ratko Mladic and other prominent Serb war criminals living out their lives in hiding in Serbia with apparently very significant government support.

8-23

Plea for Help

May 18, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad ibn Abdullah (s) is his last and final Prophet (s). I greet you in the universal language of peace, Assalaamu Aleikum wa Rahmatullah. I thank you for my subscription to The Muslim Observer newspaper.

Dear editor—I am writing to you in regards to many of the ideologies of prisoners in the state of Illinois.

It seems that the government officials have not made it a goal to habilitate or rehabilitate the prisoners to maintain themselves upon their release and throughout the duration of their stay. I am considered a spiritual leader and upcoming imam in Al-Islam. Unfortunately, the talk of the prisons are violence against America and majority of this comes from non-Muslims.

You can hear the roars of inmate celebration when they hear about terrorist strikes against Americans and how they would like to participate in the terrorist action against America upon their release. The inmates are treated as if they were in Abu Ghraib, and this is dangerous to America, because they have made an enemy within their own states. Many gang members as I used to be as well are ready for war.

Many who stood on their block corners selling drugs and willing to die for their mobs are now trying to join al-Islam and join a different war, but some are learning the wrong interpretation of Islam, which is also dangerous to Muslims. It’s imperative for the new converts to fully understand the true prerequisites of al-Islam, and if not, America is looking for a bigger burden.

This is due to a lack of education, a lack of communication, and a lack of organization. The state will provide Christians and Jewish faiths with special diet, but refuse to accommodate Muslims, and officials hate Muslims, and hatred is returned which creates a friction of malice. The inmates at the correctional center are in a realm of desire to become rebels against their oppressors.

This especially comes from a breach of the fourth pillar of Islam which is zakat. There is no Islamic organization that will tend to the needs of Muslims in the prisons. There are Muslims such as I with business ideas that could help to create an Islamic funding for Muslim prisoners all over the country. The Muslims in Arabia make too much money for any Muslim on the face of the planet to be poor. We need to develop organizations that could pay Muslim attorneys to assist incarcerated Muslims.

Many masjids that I have written and organizations, never write back. Currently I am in court fighting to get a halal diet for all Muslims in the State of Illinois and I am acting as a lawyer, but I cannot even procure an affidavit from a Muslim imam or halal food company and it’s a shame. We are in a dangerous situation—you have inmates of all religions speaking of blowing up buildings and other structures and this comes from oppression and depression.

Well we have a depiction of the problem, but we need a forecast of a solution, therefore we call on The Muslim Observer to publish this message, and perhaps a Muslim legal organization will assist me and us in court and others perhaps could subsidize us with the court case of Islam before it’s too late; thank you for reading.

As-Salaam aleikum wa Rahmatullah

Eric Ware, Mustapha Abdullah al-Alim Muhammad, R32516

The Muslim Observer

April 24, 2006 by · Leave a Comment 

click here to visit The Muslim Observer website.

The Muslim Observer is the only Muslim weekly newspaper distributed in all 50 states in the USA. It is one of the largest subscription-based Muslim newspapers in the U.S. The Muslim Observer offers top-quality community, national, and international news.
We currently have domestic offices and correspondents in several major cities, with plans for further expansion within the U.S. We also maintain a large pool of writers and reporters around the world who provide interesting reports on current international events relevant to Muslims and Islam. Also, using the major news wire services, we cull stories and graphic images that are of particular interest to our readers but that might be under-reported outside of a special-interest newspaper like ours.

Our goal is continued growth and recognition within Muslim communities in the United States.

Adil James—Profile

November 18, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 

justme

Adil James graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in American Literature in 1989 and from Columbia University School of Law in 1994.  His father was a career foreign service officer whose career culminated in being ambassador to the West African nation of Niger.  He is descended from Quaker families who emigrated to the American continent in the 1600s, including two of the founders of New Jersey.

He is the Managing Editor / General Manager of TMO, whose primary duties include managing the TMO office, its website, laying out the print newspaper, writing articles, and advising TMO’s CEO on content and strategic direction for TMO.

Adil has worked at The Muslim Observer since November of 2004. 

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