Oppositie: Saleh moet macht overdragen

De oppositie in Jemen heeft president Ali Abdullah Saleh zaterdag opgeroepen de macht aan vicepresident Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi over te dragen. Die kan dan met de oppositie onderhandelen over een overgangsperiode, blijkt uit een verklaring van het Gemeenschappelijk Forum, waarin de oppositiepartijen en hun bondgenoten samenwerken.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh van Jemen. EPA
President Ali Abdullah Saleh van Jemen.

Saleh is al meer dan dertig aan de macht in het armste Arabische land. Sinds enige tijd wordt er regelmatig tegen zijn bewind gedemonstreerd. Saleh zei een week geleden dat hij bereid is zijn functie op korte termijn neer te leggen, mits de machtsoverdracht ”op waardige wijze” plaats heeft. Eerder zei hij aan te blijven tot de volgende presidentsverkiezingen, in 2013. De vicepresident is lid van het Algemeen Volkscongres, de partij van Saleh.

(www.parool.nl / 02.04.2011)

ISLAM AND HUMAN RIGHTS

 

ISMA’IL R. AL FARUQI
(Professor of Islamics, Department of Religion, Temple University, Philadelphia)

Over a billion humans in the world today are Muslims. As Muslims, they believe in human rights. But their bill of human rights is not one composed by a committee of scholars or leaders, resolved and promulgated by a government, a parliament, or a representative assembly. What humans compose can only be tentative; and what they resolve can only be temporary. With their partial knowledge and passing interests, humans are known always to contend with one another, to agree and disagree and to keep on changing. Human rights cannot be subject to such vicissitudes. Hence, Muslims believe in a bill of human rights which is eternal whose author is Allah – Subhanahu wa Ta’ala (SWT) Theirs is a bill which was taught by all the prophets and which is crystallized in the Holy Qur’an, the revelation which came to the Prophet Muhammad, Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (SAAS). Islam’s bill of human rights was promulgated by God for all places and times. The Islamic bill of human rights is the oldest, as well as the most perfect and greatest. The Muslims of the world rejoice that humanity has in this century come to acknowledge the greater part of Islam’s Bill of human rights and pray that Allah (SWT) may guide humankind to recognize these rights and actualize them in their lives.

The Islamic bill of human rights is a system of axiolgical principles or values. The deontological applications of them, or the duties and ought’s deriving therefrom, have been elaborated in the shari’ah– the law of Islam. Hence, Islam’s human rights are not merely ethical desiderata, or ideals of administrative policy, which cannot be invoked in legal processes. They have the full force of established law, and they have been known both to the literate and illiterate a whole millennium before the age of printing. Equally, except in a few cases, the letter of the prescriptive elaborations of human rights in Islam is not sacrosanct and hence absolutely unalterable. The qualities of eternity and immutability belong to the principles behind the prescriptive elaboration, not to their figurization , i.e. to the legal form given them by translation of the purposes of the law into legislative prescriptions. Eternity and absoluteness, belong in the main, to the axiological postulates. With the exception of these postulates and directions, all deontological elaborations, whether legal or methodological, and other prescriptive particularizations of the shari’ah are ever-open to reinterpretation by humans. This openness is dictated by the ever-changing conditions and situations of human life which demand in turn a readiness on the part of the law to meet them in pursuit of its eternal objectives. The shari’ah is divine and eternal therefore, not in its letter, but in its spirit. The letter of the law is honoured precisely because of its derivation from that which is divine and eternal. To enable itself to move with time and to accommodate changing human conditions, the shari’ah established the science of usul al fiqh. This science recognized from the earliest time that the shari’h has other sources, besides the texts of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, which guarantee dynamism and creativity. To this purpose, usul al fiqh established a methodology of logical deduction and analogical extrapolation from the data revelata, as well as criteria for an empirical discovery of the common welfare of the people which it declared an equally valid source of law. For the overwhelming majority of Muslims (the adherents of the Hanafi, Maliki, and Ja’fari schools or madhahib of law) to establish critically – i.e. empirically – the requisites of public welfare and to subsume them, either through istihsan (juristic preference) or maslahah (juristic consideration of the commonweal), under the Maqasid al Shari’ah (the general purpose of the law), is the pinnacle of juristic wisdom and Islamic piety.

We are therefore dealing ,with neither a fossilized law whose form or letter is immutable; nor with a flux of precepts which change with every situation. Rather, Islam’s human rights are anchored in eternal principles or values whose applications may develop following human situations, but only with critical guarantees for the permanence of those principles and values.
As values, Islam’s human rights arrange themselves in clusters and are best discerned as such; for a recognition of each value becomes at once a recognition of its relatives, as well as of its order of rank within the cluster and in the realm of values as a whole. There are nine such clusters.
I- Values Associated with Birth:
All humans are born innocent.
1) There is neither original sin nor fall; neither vicarious guilt, nor vicarious
merit; neither predestination to be saved, nor to be condemned.
2) On the contrary, all humans are created in the best of forms and perfect; i.e.,
endowed with faculties which enable them to recognise their Creator and their
creaturely status, to discern good and evil, to acknowledge their own human
rights and obligations.
3) They are created absolutely equal. Their physical characteristics as well as
those which pertain to the geography or sociography of their birth and are no
more than aids for personal identification.
4) There can therefore be no division of human castes, destined at birth for one
kind of living or another, as Hinduism claims; or into classes destined at birth for
one kind of function or another, as Marxism claims; nor predestination to
salvation or damnation as Calvin taught; nor, finally, ontological election to a
“chosen” status different from all humans, as Judaism claims. A human’s
personal worth or unworth can never be a function of that person’s birth. To be
born is to have the right to be, to live as long as God alone permits.
No one may be deprived of life except for legitimate cause, and none may take
away his own life.
5) Equally, to be born is to be endowed with God’s amanah or trust to actualize
the divine patterns, i.e., to realize the absolute in this space-time.
6) This is the meaning of khilafah or vicegerency of God.
7) As well as the ground of cosmic status, the station higher than that of the angels,
which belongs to all humans by virtue of birth.
8) No human may be deprived of the right to fulfill the amanah and khilafah, to the
full extent of one’s power.
II. Values Associated with Childhood:
All humans are entitled to have parents, descendence from whom gives them their names and identities.
9) No foundling may remain a foundling but must be rehabilitated into his natural
family. All children are entitled to love and care on the part of their parents or
guardians as well as to acculturation and socialization, to guidance and discipline,
to redress and punishment where necessary.
10) All humans are entitled to a free education which fully develops their
potentialities and prepares them for their khilafah.
11) They are entitled to training in the vocation best adapted to their capacities so
as to produce in their productive years more than they cost or consume from
conception to burial. Unless they do so they would not have increased the total
quantitative and qualitative good of creation, of history, which is the criterion of
their moral worth.
III. Values Associated with Adulthood:
A- Rationalism. The truth is, and it is knowable by humans. It is one; just as God is One.
12) It is knowable by any of the twin avenues of reason and revelation, since the
object of both is one and the same, namely, the will of God which is knowable as
the divine patterns of creation, in the realms of nature, of the psyche, of society,
of ethical religious and esthetic consciousness.
13) No contradiction between reason and revelation is ultimate.
14) Wherever contradiction occurs, it is our understanding of either the data
of revelation, or the data of nature, that is at fault, necessitating re-examination.
All humans are entitled know the truth; and no censorship or restriction may be
imposed by anyone.
15) All humans are hence entitled to enquire, to search, to learn and to teach one
another. Human society is a school on grand scale where everyone is student
and teacher at the same time. Ideological or thoroughgoing skepticism is the
inseparable twin of cynicism. It is false, and a defiance of God.
16) No one may promote it to destroy the tradition of human knowledge and
wisdom, though questions may always be asked to increase that legacy. No one
may prevent anybody from appropriating it or contributing to its growth.
B- Life-and world-Affirmation. God has created life and the world for good purpose. Life must therefore be lived and the world developed. Instincts ought to be satisfied and happiness sought and achieved. Talents, faculties and potentialities, ought to be realized and the result must be the building and growth of culture and civilization.
17) Fulfillment of self as well as of creation is indeed a divine purpose established that humans, in their pursuit of it, do the good deeds which actualize the moral values, i.e., the higher part of the divine will. Conversely, no human may destroy life and the world, or subvert culture or civilization. Cynicism is a denial of the divine purpose of creation and action based upon it is a defiance of the Creator Himself (SWT).
C- Freedom. The liberty to know and to think (mind), to judge and to choose (heart), to act or not to act (arm), belongs universally and necessarily to all humans. Coercion in any form, except as imposed by law, is a civil and religious offence, punishable in this world as well as in the next.
D- Egalitarianism.
18) As creatures of God, all humans are absolutely equal in their relation to Him,
to His providence and justice, His love and mercy as well as to His judgement in
this world and in the next.
19) Their equal creatureliness is the corollary of His unity and transcendence.
Differentiation among them is legitimate only when it is based upon individual
effort and merit.
20) On the other hand, racism, chosenness, or any discrimination on the basis of
religion, race, colour, language, ethnicity, descendence geography or history, is
evil prohibited by God and a threat to His unity and transcendence.
E. Ummatism. Belonging to an ummah or society is a fact of nature and a divine
pattern. All humans are members of one ummah or another.
21) while no human may turn his back to, and dissociate himself from society as
such, each is free to associate with, or dissociate from any group or ummah. To
this end humans are free to communicate and assemble with one another, to
build such institutions as would promote and express such association.
F. Responsibility. Except minors and the legally-declared insane, all humans are mukallafun; i.e., responsible before God and the law, each within his/her sphere of influence. Both men and women are responsible for the welfare of their dependents, relatives, and neighbors, according to the prescriptions of the shari’ah if they are Muslims, and to millah law if otherwise.
22) They are responsible for their contracts and covenants;
23) for fulfillment of established customs.
24) All duties incumbent upon the collectivity of Muslims become personal
duties incumbent upon every adult individually, wherever and whenever the
collectivity fails to carry them out.
25) It is both the right and the duty of every member of the ummah, of every citizen
of the Islamic state, to bring court action against any violation of the shari’ah;
and it is the duty of society to support such an initiative and protect its author.
G. Universalism. Humans were created to form an open society, where action is meant to actualize the divine patterns. This is an open competition which any human may enter without conditions.
26) Any person or group may join this society, fulfill its functions, rise in hierarchy
or achieve in its arena all that personal qualification, self-exertion and effort
make possible.
27) Righteous achievement of the individual person is the only basis of merit. All
humans have the right to reside wherever they choose, to change their
residences at will.
28) Equally, they are entitled to transport their wealth and goods wherever they
wish, to join or secede from the ummah of their birth. Muslims may not secede
from their ummah and continue to reside in the Islamic state.
IV. Values Associated with Economic Activity
29) All wealth belongs to Allah (SWT) who made everything in creation
subservient to man.
30) If they have acquired it legally, humans are the trustees and stewards of it,
entitled to its usufruct and enjoyment without limits. No property may be
expropriated without legitimate cause and equitable compensation. No one may
prevent another from drawing benefit from God’s bounty in any amount.
31) Property may be owned privately, corporately or publicly. It may not be
destroyed or abused. Likewise, no one may make a misrepresentation in
business transactions or cheat, steal, or rob another of his/her wealth.
32) None may hoard or monopolize any commodity for the purpose of “cornering
the market” and raising prices artificially.
33) None may lend more on interest, or share the profits without sharing the risks.
The benefits accruing from public property should devolve to all citizens
according to their needs.
34) All humans are entitled to employment, and all employment should earn enough
to support the workers and their dependents throughout life, according to a
clearly defined and agreeable minimum standard of living.
35) Equal works should earn equal pay in all cases. All humans are entitled to their
savings and their private properties. They may give their wealth as gifts or pass
it to their descendents according to the inheritance laws of their ummah.
36) The orphans, the poor and the destitute are entitled to the assistance of society
in such measure as would guarantee the minimum standard of living.
V. Values Associated with Political Activity
Islam regards decision-making as a process determined by the principle of shura,
or participation of ruler and ruled together. Participation in the political life of the ummah or world state of Islam, is not only a basic human right, but a religious duty.
37) This participation Islam directs, should express itself in the selection and
appointment of the ruler, in obedience to and monitoring of the ruler’s exercise
of power, in giving the ruler the benefit of warning and advice and in impeaching
and/or removing the ruler from office in case of failure.
38) Ruler and government are expected to fulfill the shari’ah and actualize the
vision of Islam.
39) These are not only “official” duties of the ruler and members of the
administration, but personal religious and civil duties incumbent upon all
individuals in case the ruler and government fail to realize them. While Islam
abhors any discrimination between the citizens of the Islamic state in public
service based on anything but personal competence and merit, its ethic forbids
the Muslim to seek public office, expecting public servants to be sought and
elected or appointed by their fellows. Self-nomination and promotion
are condemned.
40) Islam regards political office as a sacred trust placed in the candidate most
capable of fulfilling the ideal of Islam relevant to that office. Islam regards a
human as entitled to live under the Pax Islamica – the jurisdiction of the Islamic
state – if they so wish, regardless of whether or not they are Muslims; and to exit
therefrom, otherwise. In the former case, they have to abide by the laws or
institutions of their millah, or faith- community.
41) Islamic law will not apply to them unless they themselves request such
application. No human may be arrested or interned except under the laws of his
millah or under criminal laws of the shari’ah; and none may be subject to
harassment or invasion of privacy by government officers. No ruler or
government may command the citizens anything that violates the shari’ah.
Wherever this happens, the government loses its right to be obeyed , and to
oppose it becomes the duty of the citizens. Wherever there is departure from the
shari’ah, no obedience is due.
VI. Values Associated with Social Activity
All humans are entitled to marry and raise a family;
42) to exercise control over their children and to acculturate them into their own
traditions. The family in its extended form is the basic unit constitutive of
society. Its formation, constitution, and the rights and duties of its members
toward one another are all defined and girded by the shari’ah. All may choose
and associate with their friends; and may assemble for any purpose without
permission. All humans are entitled to have their public morals protected by the
state and their moral/religious sensitivities safeguard against offence by any
person or agency. All humans are entitled to the protection of their persons and
properties by their neighbors, against any damage, and all have the duty to stop
their neighbors’ aggression against any other’s person or property.
43) All humans have the right to identify with the ummah whose ideology
represents their personal convictions, to lead their lives in ways which they
determine as most consonant with that ideology, to express that ideology in
theoretical, actional or esthetic form, and to order their life and leisure as the
ideology dictates. They are entitled to build and maintain such social and cultural
institutions as their culture and its creative development demand.
44) They are entitled to help and support one another if they suffer injustice, and
to prevent same before its occurrence whether themselves or others. Men and
women are full legal persons and equal in all matters affecting their lives.
45) Both sexes are entitled to the names and identities given to them at birth, to
equal education and full exercise of all religious, cultural, moral, social,
economic, and political rights and duties under the law. In matters of support and
inheritance, and in some cases of legal witness, Muslim men and women are not
equal.
VII. Values Associated with Judicial Activity
46) All humans are equal before the law; the rulers and the ruled, the rich and the
poor, the black and the white, the Muslim and non Muslim. All humans have
the right to arbitrate their disputes among themselves or have them adjudicated
by the courts under the shari’ah,
47) if they are Muslims, under their millah-law otherwise. They have the right and
the duty to defend one another before a court, to give witness, to enjoin the
good, to prohibit and prevent evil.
48) The best witness is one given before it is asked for. No human may be tried in
absentia or without hearing of defence.
49) No one may be commanded or coerced to counter the shari’ah.
50) Every human is presumed innocent and treated as such until proven guilty in a
court of law. No person may be indicted except under the shari’ah, which
pluralistically includes the millah-laws; and none may be condemned or punished
beyond its prescriptions.
51) No one may be held responsible for the crime committed by another except in the case of a minor or a person under guardianship.
52) And no one may be tortured or put under duress to give witness or information under any circumstances. All matters flowing out of coercion, cheating or spying are null and void, and inadmissible as part of any legal process.
VIII. Values Associated with International Activity
53) All humans, whether Muslim or non-Nuslim, citizen or non-citizen resident or non-resident of the Islamic state, individuals or groups, are entitled to enter into a covenant of peace, mutual security and friendly relation with the Islamic state. Any human may plead any case in its shari’ah courts, seek and obtain permission to reside, to work and trade in peace and security within the Islamic state.
54) In case the non-citizen, non-resident is a Muslim, the shari’ah would apply to him/her in all its provisions; in case of the non-Muslim, the laws of his/her millah will apply. In no case may such a person be treated differently from the citizens. Every human being is entitled to hear the message of Islam without exception; and it is the duty of the ummah to present it.
55) No one may prevent the message from being heard. The Islamic state has the duty to remove such obstacles or “iron curtains” by any means at its disposal.
56) Besides this, the preservation of freedom to hear the word of God, to consider and to judge according to one’s best conscience, no cause justifies recourse of force except in the repulsion of an actual aggressor. No group or people or nation may ridicule another or deride its faith and tradition. A  fortioti, no group, people or nation may aggress upon another. Inter-group disputes may be solved only through arbitration or judicial procedure in a court of law. The Islamic state and all nations ought to support the victims of aggression and to redress the injustices committed. even if this requires the taking up of arms against the aggressor nation.
57) All persecuted humans (not those running away from justice) have the right to take refuge in the Islamic state. And the Islamic state is duty hound to extend its protection to them.
IX. Values Associated with Death
58) All humans are entitled to medical care throughout life and to special care in their old age. If they have no young dependents to care for them, society is obliged to do so in a way which safeguards their mental and social health as well as their personal dignity. Humans are all entitled to free and proper burial according to their millah laws.
CONCLUSION
59) The human rights and obligations which Islam recognizes constitute a humanism in which man is not the measure of all the thing as Protagoras had thought. God or His will is indeed such a measure. Islam rejects the tragic Promethean view in which man defies God, steals the fire from Him, and ends like the Greek and German gods in eternal doom. It equally rejects the Christian view in which man is fallen and helpless, hopeless except for a God messiah to pull him out of his tragic predicament. But it commends Christianity and its adherent for their humility, their love and concern for humanity. It equally rejects the Hindu Upanishadic and Buddhist Theravadic view that life and existence are an aberration of the Absolute or an evil to be surmounted by withdrawal and meditative processes. Finally Islam rejects all ethnocentrist views of humanity and the world, especially that of Judaism. But it commends Judaism and its adherents for their tenacity in upholding the absolute unity and transcendence of God.
Islam acknowledges man to be the vicegerent of God, fully endowed, free and responsible to realize his cosmic function, and thereby to deserve his eternal bliss or doom. Moreover, Islam’s humanism under God is not a mere philosophy, a system of values advocated by culture alone. Islam’s humanism under God is law known to all, backed by sanctions and the authority of the Islamic state, and promulgated equally for its citizens as well as others, whether Muslim or  non-Muslim.

NOTES

1. The Prophet (SAAS) said: Every human is born innocent (‘ala al-fitrah). His parents make him adhere to one religious tradition or other (i.e., man’s historical religiocultural personality is acquired and not necessary)
2. The Qur’an reported Adam’s sin; but it affirmed that his sin was his own; that he repented and was forgiven.

(Qur’an 2:36-37). The Qur’an also affirms that no soul will get any more or any less
than it has earned (Qur’an 3:25); that no person is responsible for the guilt of another, or may intercede on another’s behalf.
(Qur’an 2:48): that guilt is not transferable
(Qur’an 6:164); that no atom’s weight of good or evil will be lost in the final reckoning on the Day of judgement. (Qur’an 99:7-8).
Allah who created everything perfect (Qur’an 32 :7)

 

We created man in the best of forms (Qur’an 95:4 )
God then perfected man, breathed into him of His own spirit. God gave man his hearing, his sight and heart, as faculties of cognition and knowledge (Qur’an 32:9)
Turn yourselves to the primordial religion, as a hanif ; to the natural religion innate and absolutely the same in all humans. That is the only true and worth religion ; (Qur’an 30:30). Add to these verses the ubiquitous admonition to reason, to consider, to think, to judge, to compare and contrast, to seek the truth, to choose the right guidance.

4.

O People! We created you all of a single pair of male and female; and We have constituted you into tribes and nations that you may identify one another. The worthier in the eye of God is the more righteous (Qur’an 49: 13).
5.
Unless in retaliation for the killing of another person or in punishment for spreading evil, whoever kills a person has killed the whole of humanity; and whoever gives life to a person has done so to the whole of humanity (Qur’an 5:32)
6.We (God) offered Our trust to heaven and earth and mountains. They all rejected it, in fear of its burden. But man accepted and carried it (Qur’an 33:72)

7.
And when thy Lord said to the angels, I plan to establish a vice-genent for Myself on earth, the angels asked, Would you establish on earth a creature that sheds blood and spreads evil while we constantly glorify and adore You? God said: I have designed a plan [for humanity on earth] which you do not know.
(Qur’an 2:30).
8.And We commanded the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam, and they did. (Qur’an 2:34)

We have ennobled and cherished humankind, enabled them to traverse land and sea, provided them with all good things, and granted them priority over many other creatures. (Qur’an 17:70).
9. Islamic law condemns adultery in the strongest terms; but it is most considerate to the children of adulterous unions, whom it regards as innocent of their parents’ crime. It prescribes their acquisition of the father’s name, if known, as legitimate and rightful in all cases.
(Allah) did not make your adopted sons (truly) your sons. That is only your empty claim, whereas Allah says the truth and guides to it. Give them the names of their real parents; that is more just in Allah’s judgement. And if their parents are utterly unknown, then regard them as your clients, but always as your brothers in religion. (Qur’an 33:4-5).
10. In the case of children devoid of parents or relatives to assume these duties, the shari’ah imposes these duties upon the Islamic state and regards the chief of state or khalifah personally responsible for the welfare and Islamic upbringing of such children.
11. The Prophet (SAAS) decreed that the pursuit of knowledge is a duty for every Muslim man and woman.
12.
Rather, it is Allah indeed that is the Truth (Qur’an 22:6).
And proclaim, O Muhammad, the truth has come and is now manifest. Falsehood has been confuted; for it deserves to be so (Qur’an 17:81).
13-

Heaven and earth are full of patterns of Allah for the believers to grasp. In the creation of man as well as in that of every creature Allah has created, there are patterns to be perceived by those who are convinced. (Qur’an 45:3-4).

We shall present to them our patterns in the horizons as well as within themselves (in their consciousness) until they realize that this is indeed the truth” (Qur’an 41:53).
14.
say O Muhammad, My Lord Who knows all things, challenges with the truth. Say, the truth has now become manifest. The opposite of truth has nothing to stand upon and is devoid of effect or power. Say, if I fall into error, it is my deed, my personal responsibility (Qur’an 34: 48-50).
15.
Truth and wisdom have become manifest. They are different from falsehood and straying (Qur’an 2:256). The Prophet (SAAS) said: Whomsoever God wishes to bless, He causes him to acquire knowledge.
16.
Does man think that he has been created in vain? (Qur’an 75:36).
17.
The righteous are those who examine and ponder over the creation of heaven and earth and exclaim in conclusion: O God You have not created all this in vain (Qur’an 3:191).
18.
There shall be no coercion in religion (Qur’an 2: 256).Whoever wishes to believe, let him do so; and whoever wishes to disbelieve, let him do so likewise. (Qur’an 18:29).

19. Supra, note 4. On his last pilgrimage, the Prophet (SAAS) said in his sermon at ‘Arafat: All of you issue from Adam, and Adam issued from dust. No Arab has any priority over a non-Arab, no black over a white, and no non-Arab over an Arab and no white over a black – except in righteousness.
20. Supra, note 4. To everyone a place will be assigned corresponding to the merit of his deeds (Qur’an 6:83). The Prophet (SAAS) said: Were Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad himself, to commit theft, I would impose upon her God’s sanction of having her hand cut off,
21.
Let there be of you an ummah calling to the good deed, enjoining the acts of righteousness and prohibiting those of evil. Felicitous is such an ummah (Qur’an 3:104).
22. The Prophet (SAAS) said: Everyone of you is a shepherd, responsible for his flock.

23.

Fulfill your covenants perfectly; for to convenant is to commit oneself responsibly (Qur’an 17:34).

 

Felicitous are those believers who keep their promises and fulfill what they have committed themselves to do (Qur’an 70:32).
24. Supra, note 21.
Take the side of forgiveness and enjoin that which is right (Qur’an 7:199).
25. The shari’ah distinguishes the fard ‘ayn (personal duty) from the fard kifayah (collective duty). But it prescribes the automatic transformation of any collective duty unto a personal one wherever and whenever the collective has failed to fulfill that duty.
26.
And if those whom you call to Allah turn away from this cause, Allah will exchange them for another people who will be otherwise (Qur’an 47:38).
27.
No man may receive credit except for what he himself had wrought. His accomplishments must indeed be shown, and he must be rewarded accordingly (Qur’an 53:39 -41).
28.
Is not Allah’s earth wide enough to accommodate all? (Qur’an 4:97)
And the earth has He spread out for living creatures (Qur’an 55:10).
Allah has made the earth subservient to you, O humankind, strike out then into the world and seek of Allah’s bounty (Qur’an 67:15).
29. This principle of the shari’ah if often misunderstood to imply discrimination between Muslims and non-Muslims. That non-Muslims may change their religion and join the Muslim ummah, and Muslims may not to convert to other religions and join their respective ummah, is alleged to constitute such illegitimate discrimination. The fact, however, is otherwise. The shari’ah holds all humans free to choose their religious affiliations, to enter into and exit from any religious denominations, including Islam (Editor’s Note: This is not the generally accepted view). What it condemns is exit from political affiliation with the ummah or the Islamic state while continuing to reside within its territory. Since affiliation to the religion of Islam is ipso facto affiliation to the Islamic state and the ummah it is not conceivable to exit from the one without exiting from the other. Exit from the religion is a religious matter in which personal freedom is guaranteed for all. But exit from the ummah is at once an exit from citizenship, or loyalty to, the Islamic state. No state can or does tolerate anybody’s self-exoneration from loyalty to itself while continuing to affirm one’s citizenship or residence in that state. Such loyalty is a conditio sine qua non on residence or citizenship. That is why Islamic law has treated exit from Islam as tantamount to exit from state, and therefore necessitating either physical separation from the territory of the Islamic state or prosecution as if it were treason. Naturally, the Muslim who converts to another religion, secedes from the ummah and exits from the Islamic state is not only safe because the jurisdiction of Islamic law does not reach him; neither the ummah nor the Islamic state has any claim against him.
30.Do you not know that to Allah alone dominion of heaven and earth (Qur’an 2:107)?

Do you not see that Allah has made subservient to you everything in heaven and earth and showered His blessings upon you (Qur’an 31:20)?
31.

So strike out into the earth and seek the bounty of God therein (Qur’an 62:10).

There are no restrictions on the bounty of your Lord (Qur’an 17:20) The Prophet (SAAS) said: Whoever appropriates something of the earth without due title, will be thrown on the Day of Judgement into the seventh lowest level.
32.Woe to the fraudulent! Who exact full measure when they receive but cheat when it is their turn to give (Qur’an 83:1-3).

Whether male or female, the hand of the thieves shall be cut off in retribution from Allah for their misdeed (Qur’an 5:38). The Prophet (SAAS) said: Whoever deals with fraudulence is not a Muslim.

33.
As to those who pile up their wealth of gold and silver, who do not spend it in the cause of God, warn them of sure and dire punishment (Qur’an 9:34). The Prophet said: Every monopolist is a sinner.
34.
Allah has made trade or buying and selling legitimate; but He has prohibited the collection of interest (Qur’an 2:275).
Those who collect interest are like those possessed by Satan (Ibid).
35.
Felicitous are those who recognize a right to the destitute and the deprived to a share in their wealth (Qur’an 70: 24-25). The Prophet (SAAS) said: Give the employee his wages before his sweat has had time to dry… God honors the believer who practices a profession. In another hadith the Prophet (SAAS) reported that Allah (SWT), will prosecute mercilessly anyone who cheats a worker out of his wages.
36.
The inheritance should be divided after satisfaction of a debt due and the fulfillment of a willed gift (Qur’an 4:11).
37. The Prophet (SAAS) said: Those who die without having participated in the election of one caliph or political officer pass away as non-Muslim.
38. Upon his election to the caliphate, Abu Bakr (Radiya Allahu ‘Anh [RAA] May God bless him) said: If I govern well, you should help me. If I govern badly, you should correct me. . . It is your duty to obey me only so long as I obey God and His Prophet. Were I to disobey them, you owe me no more obedience (Ibn Ishaq, Sirat al- Nabiyy (SAAS) edited by M. M. D. Abdul Hamid, Cairo: M. Subayh, 1383/1963, Vol. IV, p. 1075. Allah (SWT) described the felicitous believers as

those who conduct their affairs in consultation among themselves (Qur’an 42:38).

39. Ibid.
40.
Do not therefore nominate or praise yourselves. (Qur’an 53:32).
41. This was one of the distinctive features of the constitution of the Islamic state, the first written statement constitution in history. It was dictated by the Prophet Mohammad (SAAS) in 622 A.C. on the very first day of the Hijrah, or his arrival to Madinah in that year, and on account of which that day was declared the beginning of the Islamic era. The constitution decreed as legitimate and indeed constitutive of the Islamic state, the Jewish ummah, with its religion and institutions and laws. Later, the same principle was applied to the Christians by the Prophet himself (SAAS), and following in his footsteps, the Muslims later applied it to Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists and adherents of all other religions who had either lived in the Islamic state or entered therewith into a covenant of peace! This was responsible for the creation of a novel system of organization, the first pluralistic society- wherein several religious communities live in peace under the aegis of a professedly ideological (Islamic) state. Moreover, this Islamic pluralism is not one of a few constitutionally guaranteed basic human rights, but a legitimization of all the laws – religious, social, political, cultural, economic, criminal, procedural – governing any non-Muslim society which opts for the Pax Islamica, the world-order of Islam. Thus, the non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic state may order their lives as their religious and cultural traditions; and their own courts of law are backed by the Islamic state, for the enforcement of their own laws.
In their possession is the Torah wherein is the law of God (Qur’an 5:43). As to the People of the Evangel [the Christians], let them rule themselves by what God has revealed therein (Qur’an 42:38).
42.
It is indeed Allah’s pattern that He has created of yourselves spouses in whom to find quiescence; that He established between you the pattern of mutual love and compassion. Such are the patterns of Allah that those capable of reasoning may ponder over and consider (Qur’an 30:21). The Prophet (SAAS) commanded Muslims to marry and procreate. Willed celibacy is condemned in Islam, as is monkery (Qur’an 57:27).
43. Islam stands for the closest solidarity and mutual security of humans with one another (see Qur’an 90:12-18). Condemning the others, the Qur’an affirmed:
They did not prohibit one another from committing their evil deeds. Accursed indeed was their conduct (Qur’an 5:79). The shari’ah is not satisfied to recommend neighborly love in a general matter, but has established a number of duties which a person must observe toward the neighbour: and it declared failure and neglect to observe them subject to sanction.
44. See this author’s “The Rights of Non-Muslims under Islam: Social and Cultural Aspects,” Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs. Vol. I, No. 1 (Summer, 1979), pp. 90-102.
45. The shari’ah was first in human history to recognize woman as a legal person, fully endowed to perform all legal functions. This was the consequence of Islam’s rehabilitation of woman, its denial of the Christian myth of Eve as temptress and source of evil, as cause of original sin and of the fall of humankind, and its affirmation of equal rights and duties as belonging to her

 

Allah will not lose count of a single deed whether committed by man or woman. For men and women are equally members of one another (of society) (Qur’an 3:195).
46. In order to guarantee woman’s dignity and gird her person against abuse, Islam prescribed that woman is always entitled to the support of her father, guardian, husband or nearest male relative, regardless of her wealth. Islam thus exonerated all women from having to earn their livelihood and be subject to the degradation usually accompanying a woman in want. Nonetheless, woman is free to work and add to her personal income if she wishes and has the requisite talent and competence. Somewhat to balance this favourable position in the economic life of society, Islam assigned to the male heir double the share of the female. The charge commonly levelled against Islam as unfair to women usually omits from consideration men’s obligation to support all their women relatives and concentrates on the half-share in her parents’ inheritance assigned her. In fact, Islam is biased in favor of woman and seeks her protection and welfare at all times. Another charge against Islam refers to the refusal of the shari’ah court to consider woman’s witness as equal to a man’s; but this too is a misunderstanding. Being intended for the millions rather than the exception, and assuming the patriarchal family as the basic social unit, the shari’ah regarded a woman’s witness as the full equal of man’s in cases of legitimacy, descendence and family relations – the area with which most women are indeed familiar – but only half of man’s witness in cases of civil, administration, and criminal laws, with which she is usually not knowledgeable.
47.If you dispute with one another on any matter, refer it to Allah and His Prophet for adjudication (Qur’an 4:59).

O Muhammad, Adjudicate their disputes by that which Allah has revealed, and do not follow their desires (Qur’an 4:49). See also Qur’anic quotations at end of fn. 41 supra.
48. The ethic deterring Muslim conduct in this regard is based firstly upon the Qur’anic verse:
Let there be of you an ummah which calls to the good, which enjoins the acts of righteousness, prohibits the acts of injustice and evil. Such are the felicitous (Qur’an 3:104). Secondly Muslim commandment towards the neighbor is determined by the Prophet’s commandment: Whoever witnesses an injustice or evil, let him redress it with his own hand. If he cannot, let him do so with his tongue. And if he cannot, with his heart; but that is the weakest faith.
49.
Conjecture is no substitute for true knowledge (Qur’an 53:28
Do not spy on one another; nor talk evil about another in his absence (Qur’an 49:12). The Prophet (SAAS) said: If the evil you tell about your neighbor in his absence is true, you have committed a sin. If it is false, a double sin. He further said: Whoever is sued in court for a right violated must be heard.
50. Supra, fn. 38.
51.
These are the sanctions of God. Never go beyond them (Qur’an 2:229). The Prophet (SAAS) commanded: Avoid applying the sanctions of the law wherever there is any degree of doubt.
52. In such cases, the responsibility of the guardian is to compensate the victim for the damage or loss of sustained. Otherwise, no one is responsible but for his/her own action. Allah (SWT) proclaimedEvery person is responsible but for what he had wrought (Qur’an 52:21).

53.
Even a little suspicion is a crime (Qur’an 49:12).
To harm the Believers, whether man or woman, by ascribing to them what they have not done, is to commit a grave and perfidious crime (Qur’an 33:58).
54. This is perhaps the greatest breakthrough in international relations ever achieved, namely, that any individual or group – not only sovereign nations – are entitled to enter into the international arena as full legitimate contenders, defendants or participants. They can conclude covenants or treaties and be responsible for their fulfillment. Since its inception in 622, the Islamic state opened itself to anyone or any group desiring to enter into a legitimate relation with it for any purpose, and empowered all its courts-of-law to deal with any dispute arising out of such agreements. Like any other legal person, the Islamic state regarded itself as neither too shy to invite and enter into such relations, nor too proud to plead in any first-instance court if its agreement was violated. Indeed, under the shari’ah the court-of-law is a public institution which any human may enter and use to bring about equity and justice to any person or interest under the jurisdiction of the Islamic state. Non-citizen transient residents may even challenge the action of the chief of state.
55. Calling humans to God is a permanent personal duty for every Muslim man and woman. Allah ta’ala commanded:
(Qur’an 16:125) See next footnote.
56. This was the cause of all the wars of conquest which took place in the first century of Muslim history. The state sent missionaries to present Islam to the ruler and the ruled. Where they were well received – regardless of whether or not their efforts led to any conversions, the relation between their nation and the Islamic state remained good, and that national entered into the “house of peace” with its political, social, economic and religious structures intact. Where the missionaries were killed, the state was forced to mobilize and march against the offenders.
Those who rise to redress an injustice perpetrated against them, and achieve victory, are not blameworthy for what they do in course of their action , (Qur’an 42:41).
Felicitous are those who, when We establish their dominions on earth, uphold the salat, pay the zakat, enjoin the good deeds and prohibit the evil (Qur’an 22:4l).
Call unto the path of your Lord with wisdom and goodly counsel. Argue with them with the more comely arguments (Qur’an 16:125).
Say: O People of the Book ! Come now to a noble principle common to both of us, that we worship none but God; that we associate naught with Him; and that we take not one another as lords beside God (Qur’an 3:64).
57.
If any two factions among the believers quarrel together, reconcile them. If one transgresses the terms of peace, then fight ye all against the transgressor till he complies. When he does, reconcile them again in justice and fairness (Qur’an 49:9).
58.
And if any polytheist asks for your protection, grant it to him that he may hear the word of God. Then escort him safely to his refuge (Qur’an 9:6).
59. The Prophet (SAAS) commanded: When your neighbour dies, it is your duty to prepare his remains for burial and do so well to their Creator who will judge them according to their deeds.

(www.2muslims.com / 02.04.2011)

Tientallen arrestaties in Syrië

De Syrische veiligheidsdiensten hebben zaterdag 37 mensen aangehouden. Dat gebeurde een dag nadat in de stad Douma, ten noorden van de hoofdstad Damascus, zeker negen mensen waren omgekomen bij demonstraties tegen het regime van president Bashar al-Assad.

Zowel in de zuidelijke stad Deraa, een van de belangrijkste centra van de onrust van de laatste weken, als in Douma en de noordelijke industriestad Homs werden mensen opgepakt.

Een inwoner van Douma zei dat de situatie daar zaterdag rustig was. De veiligheidsdiensten gaven daar de lichamen van sommige slachtoffers van het geweld van vrijdag niet vrij, kennelijk om te voorkomen dat hun begrafenis op nieuwe protesten zou uitlopen.

De Syrische staatsmedia maakten vrijdag melding van de protesten, maar die zouden overwegend kalm zijn verlopen. Slechts één meisje zou zijn omgekomen.

(www.parool.nl / 02.04.2011)

Five myths about Muslims in America

I founded the multi-faith Cordoba Initiative to fight the misunderstandings that broaden the divide between Islam and the West — each perceived as harmful by the other. Millions of American Muslims, who see no contradiction between being American and being Muslim, are working hard to bridge this gap. It is therefore not surprising that they have become the target of attacks by those who would rather burn bridges than build them, and the subject of recent congressional hearings exploring their “radicalization.” What myths are behind the entrenched beliefs that Muslims simply do not belong in the United States and that they threaten its security?

1. American Muslims are foreigners.

Islam was in America even before there was a United States. But Muslims didn’t peaceably emigrate — slave-traders brought them here.

Historians estimate that up to 30 percent of enslaved blacks were Muslims. West African prince Abdul Rahman, freed by President John Quincy Adams in 1828 after 40 years in captivity, was only one of many African Muslims kidnapped and sold into servitude in the New World. In early America, Muslim names could be found in reports of runaway slaves as well as among rosters of soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Muslims fought to preserve American independence in the War of 1812 and for the Union in the Civil War. And more than a century later, thousands of African Americans, including Cassius Clay and Malcolm Little, converted to Islam.

Currently, there are two Muslim members of Congress and thousands of Muslims on active duty in the armed forces. Sure, some Muslim soldiers may have been born elsewhere, but if you wear the uniform of the United States and are willing to die for this country, can you be really be considered a foreigner?

2. American Muslims are ethnically, culturally and politically monolithic.

In fact, the American Muslim community is the most diverse Muslim community in the world.

U.S. Muslims believe different things and honor their faith in different ways. When it comes to politics, a 2007 Pew study found that 63 percent of Muslim Americans “lean Democratic,” 11 percent “lean Republican” and 26 percent “lean independent.” Ethnically, despite the popular misperception, the majority of Muslims in the United States (and in the world, for that matter) are not Arabs — about 88 percent check a different box on their U.S. census form. At least one-quarter, for example, are African American. Anyone who thinks otherwise need look no further than the July 30, 2007, cover of Newsweek magazine, which featured a multicultural portrait of Islam in America.

Muslim Americans are also diverse in their sectarian affiliation. And whether they are Sunni or Shiite, their attendance at religious services varies. According to the State Department publication “Muslims in America — A Statistical Portrait,” Muslim Americans range from highly conservative to moderate to secular in their religious devotion, just like members of other faith communities.

With above-average median household incomes, they are also an indispensable part of the U.S. economy. Sixty-six percent of American Muslim households earn more than $50,000 per year — more than the average U.S. household.

3. American Muslims oppress women.

According to a 2009 study by Gallup, Muslim American women are not only more educated than Muslim women in Western Europe, but are also more educated than the average American. U.S. Muslim women report incomes closer to their male counterparts than American women of any other religion. They are at the helm of many key religious and civic organizations, such as the Arab-American Family Support Center, Azizah magazine, Karamah, Turning Point, the Islamic Networks Group and the American Society for Muslim Advancement.

Of course, challenges to gender justice remain worldwide. In the World Economic Forum’s 2009 Gender Gap Index, which ranks women’s participation in society, 18 of the 25 lowest-ranking countries have Muslim majorities. However, as documented by the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality , Muslim women are leading the struggle for change through their scholarship, civic engagement, education, advocacy and activism in the United States and across the world.

4. American Muslims often become “homegrown” terrorists.

According to the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, more non-Muslims than Muslims were involved in terrorist plots on U.S. soil in 2010. In a country in the grip of Islamophobia — where Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) can convene hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims — this has been overlooked. In 2010, the Triangle Center also found, the largest single source of initial information on planned terrorist attacks by Muslims in the United States was the Muslim American community.

As an American Muslim leader who worked with FBI agents on countering extremism right after Sept. 11, 2001, I fear that identifying Islam with terrorism threatens to erode American Muslims’ civil liberties and fuels the dangerous perception that the United States is at war with Islam. Policymakers must recognize that, more often than not, the terrorists the world should fear are motived by political and socioeconomic — not religious — concerns.

5. American Muslims want to bring sharia law to the United States.

In Islam, sharia is the divine ideal of justice and compassion, similar to the concept of natural law in the Western tradition. Though radicals exist on the fringes of Islam, as in every religion, most Muslim jurists agree on the principal objectives of sharia: the protection and promotion of life, religion, intellect, property, family and dignity. None of this includes turning the United States into a caliphate.

For centuries, most Islamic scholars around the world have agreed that Muslims must follow the laws of the land in which they live. This principle was established by the prophet Muhammad in A.D. 614-615, when he sent some of his followers to be protected by the Christian king of Abyssinia, where they co-existed peacefully. Not only do American Muslims have no scriptural, historical or political grounds to oppose the U.S. Constitution, but the U.S. Constitution is in line with the objectives and ideals of sharia. Muslims already practice sharia in the United States when they worship freely and follow U.S. laws.

In his 1776 publication “Thoughts on Government,” John Adams praised Muhammad as a “sober inquirer after truth.” And the Supreme Court building contains a likeness of the prophet, whose vision of justice is cited as an important precedent to the U.S. Constitution.

(www.washingtonpost.com / 02.04.2011)

Algerijnse politie verhindert nieuwe mars van oppositie in Algiers

De politie heeft zaterdag verhinderd dat opposanten bijeenkwamen om te manifesteren in de hoofdstad Algiers. Ze eisen een regimewissel in Algerije.

Sinds de rellen in januari neemt het aantal sociale en politieke protesten in Algerije toe.
Het land heeft intussen de bewaking van de grens met Libië versterkt, om “te verhinderen dat leden van Al-Qaeda in de Islamitische Maghreb op het Algerijnse grondgebied binnendringen”, zo meldt de krant L’Expression zaterdag. De informatie werd echter niet officieel bevestigd.

(www.nieuwsblad.be / 02.04.2011)

Koran burning by Florida pastor initially went unnoticed

Wearing a judicial robe and doling out a punishment selected through an online poll, the pastor of a tiny Florida church on March 20 declared Islam’s holy book “guilty of crimes against humanity” and ordered it set ablaze in a portable fire pit.

In a video later posted on the Dove World Outreach Center’s Web site, the pastor can be heard saying that the Koran smoldered “very good” and that the flame would work well for burgers or marshmallows.

Compared with last September, when the world was riveted by the Rev. Terry Jones’s threat to burn the Koran, the bizarre mock “trial” last month of the Muslim scripture went largely unnoticed in the United States.

Two days later, however, Pakistan’s president called it a “serious setback” for the civilized world, and the U.S. ambassador agreed that it was “abhorrent.” On March 24, Afghan President Hamid Karzai called for Jones’s prosecution. But among U.S. faith and government leaders as well as the hordes of reporters who covered Jones last fall, there was largely silence.

“We tried to really downplay it. We didn’t want to escalate it. It didn’t seem to be getting traction in the media, and we certainly didn’t want to bring attention,” said Geoff Tunicliffe, head of the World Evangelical Alliance, one of the world’s largest faith organizations.

But after an angry mob killed seven people at a United Nations office in northern Afghanistan, faith leaders rushed Friday to condemn the killings and Jones’s actions, which could reverberate throughout the Muslim world.

Tunicliffe, whose group represents hundreds of millions of evangelicals, said he was having emergency meetings with Muslim and Christian leaders to organize a summit in Pakistan or Afghanistan about religious violence.

Representatives of several major Muslim American organizations held a joint conference in Washington to denounce the killings. Among them were the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Jones has been on the receiving end of condemnations before. In September, he and his obscure church commanded media attention from around the world by threatening to burn the Koran on the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

After being pressured by everyone from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Gen. David H. Petraeus, he abandoned that plan. But in the months since, the church has repeatedly sought the limelight, with a Web site and press releases every few days announcing everything from Jones’s views on Egyptian politics to his plans to protest Islam in Britain (his visa was denied).

In January, Dove announced that it would “put the Koran on trial” in March and asked readers to vote whether to burn, shred or drown it.

(www.washingtonpost.com / 02.04.2011)

“PERPETUAL HELL” OF THE PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CAMPS

British Parliamentary Delegation to Lebanon February 2011

by: Stuart Littlewood

A delegation of parliamentarians has returned from a tour of the refugee camps in Lebanon and made its report http://www.prc.org.uk/newsite/images/stories/pdfs/PRC_lebanon_delegation.pdf .

It was led by former British government minister Sir Gerald Kaufman MP and included four members of the European Parliament and three of the British Parliament. The delegation’s purpose was to assess the humanitarian situation faced by Palestinians living in Lebanon’s refugee camps, and it was able to raise issues at the highest level with the Lebanese in a series of meetings.

The UN Refugee Agency describes the plight of Palestinian refugees as “by far the most protracted and largest of all refugee problems in the world today”.

Three-quarters of the 11 million Palestinians are refugees. Their plight is at the core of the 63-year struggle against Israel. All other issues, political and humanitarian, arose as a consequence of Israel’s denial of the right of refugees to return to their land.

The report reminds us that a whole host of international treaties and conventions recognise the right to return including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. The Right of Return for refugees is guaranteed under Humanitarian and Human Rights Law and countless UN resolutions.

And the UN has affirmed the right of return through its Resolution 194 on no less than 122 occasions.

But to the international community none of this is worth the screeds of paper it is written on. Law and principle are utterly meaningless to the great, civilised powers, who just fidget and whisper sweet nothings in Israel’s ear.

Amount of abuse of Palestinians .. is at a level that you cannot even imagine.’

Meanwhile, over 400,000 Palestinians live in Lebanon’s 12 ‘official’ (UNRWA-run) refugee camps and its many ‘unofficial’ camps, amounting to approximately 10 percent  of the country’s population. They are politically marginalised, without basic social and economic rights, trapped in often squalid surroundings, and without hopes for the future.

Palestinian refugees, says the report, suffer more in Lebanon than in any other country that hosts them.

Europe should “balance out” America’s role

President Suleiman told the delegation: “Lebanon does not have the capacity to absorb 400,000 people; we simply cannot offer them a good life. The truth is that we will not see peace in the Middle East without the implementation of the refugees’ right of return.”

Foreign minister, Dr Ali Chami, said: “It is not acceptable that Palestinians have been living outside their own state since 1948. The half a million in Lebanon are in complete misery and a very dire situation. The clear solution is the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital”. He also spoke of the Israelis’ intransigence: “Since 1978, according to UN resolutions, Israel has violated Lebanese sovereignty every day, while the international community has failed to deter them.”

Referring to Israel’s invasions and occupation of Lebanon, Deputy Speaker Al Zain said: “Lebanon has endured a lot for the Palestinian cause… It is high time the West liberated itself from double standards and stopped supporting satellite regimes that do not respect Palestinian rights.”

A Hezbollah MP remarked: “More than two million people have been killed because of this cause. There are millions of Palestinian victims around the world and the international community has paid out billions of dollars, but there is still no solution”.

Another MP added: “There needs to be seriousness in dealing with Israel and an end to backing dictatorships. Palestine had free elections in 2006, but the West conspired to undermine the results. If this corruption isn’t corrected the West will face the biggest upheaval in the region since 1948-49.”

On Europe the Deputy Speaker said: “The world needs another power to balance out America’s role, Europe should fulfill this role.”

Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon

Recalling the Sabra and Shatila camp massacre of at least 800 in 1982 while Beirut was under Israeli occupation, British MP Jeremy Corbyn reflected: “The pain of the Sabra and Shatila massacres… never goes away. It was a poignant moment for the delegates to be able to lay a wreath at the memorial. It was sad to see the continued poverty in those camps nearly 30 years on, but we were inspired by the people. The description by Mohammed Omar Deeb, an elderly survivor of the massacres and his determination that

one day he would see his village in Palestine and that all his family would see a free Palestine is typical of the enduring spirit of the Palestinian people.”

Two inquiries held Israel indirectly responsible and Ariel Sharon was especially implicated.

Refugees must remain at the centre of all peace talks

After their visit the delegation concluded…

  • The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon are victims many times over.
  • They are denied access to their homeland.
  • They are the victims of Lebanon’s civil wars and the numerous Israeli

invasions and occupation.

  • They are victims of the unwillingness of the international community to

secure justice and the unwillingness of the Lebanese authorities to grant

them their basic human rights.

Their recommendations are…

  • The international community, including Israel, is responsible for guaranteeing the rights of Palestinian refugees and providing them with protection.
  • While Lebanon and many members of the United Nations offer appropriate

rhetoric, this must be matched with concrete steps to tangibly improve the lives of the refugees in Lebanon and put an end to the catastrophic conditions in which they live.

  • An appropriate solution is needed that restores and protects the human rights of the refugees, including their right to return to their land.
  • In Lebanon, Palestinian refugees have a status that falls far short of even second class citizenship. This should be corrected without delay.
  • All parties should respect and enforce United Nations General Assembly

Resolution 194 which calls for the return of the refugees.

  • As Israel has shown no inclination to respect the rights of Palestinian refugees under international law, it is incumbent on the international community to enforce a resolution.
  • The European Union and its member states, including the United Kingdom, should significantly increase their funding to UNRWA to allow the agency to fulfill its remit.
  • Negotiators, politicians and activists should ensure that Palestinian refugees remain at the centre of all peace talks.
  • Lebanon’s position on the refugees is woefully inadequate. The 17th August 2010 law should be implemented immediately as a first step to normalising the lives of Palestinian refugees by improving human, civil and property rights and lifting restrictions on the professions available to Palestinians.

On housing, all restrictions that limit the right to adequate housing for Palestinians should be removed, including any legislation that discriminates against Palestinians who are not officially citizens of a recognised state. A degree of security of tenure should be guaranteed and restrictions on bringing building materials into refugee camps should be removed, including the fines or penalties imposed on Palestinians for attempting to make their homes habitable.

As regards the environment, minimum levels of sanitation and access to clean water for all Palestinian refugees should be ensured.

As regards employment, restrictions on Palestinian access to all professions should be

lifted and the process of obtaining work permits eased.

As regards education, Lebanon should ensure that all children under its jurisdiction have access to education equal to that enjoyed by Lebanese nationals.

As regards non-ID refugees, their status in Lebanon should be regularised and refugees provided with identification documents.

It’s altogether a shocking situation. Congratulations to the delegation for seeing it from the refugees’ angle and making their findings public.

“Conditions are unspeakable… the real culprit is Israel”

Sir Gerald Kaufman, who led the delegation, summed up. “When I went to Gaza in 2010 I thought I had seen the worst that could be seen of the appalling predicament of Palestinians living in conditions which no human being should be expected to endure. But what I saw in the camps in Lebanon is far worse and far more hopeless.

“The conditions are unspeakable, but for over 400,000 of our fellow human beings this is their life: today, tomorrow and for a future that cannot even be foreseen. At least in Gaza, frightful though the situation is, the people are free within the confines of their blockaded prison. In the camps of Lebanon they are not free and this is, to a very considerable degree, the responsibility of the Lebanese government which could allow

conditions to improve and could allow the victim freedom of movement, but specifically refuses to do it.

“Yet, culpable though the Lebanese government undoubtedly is, the real culprit is the Israeli government, which by refusing to come to a settlement with the Palestinians, is directly and horrendously responsible for the plight of those immured in the camps.

“It makes me more determined than ever to fight for the rights of the Palestinian people and to campaign against the deliberate decision of the Israeli government to perpetuate the hell in which so many Palestinians are living”.

There speaks one of the few honourable, decent men in the cesspit of Westminster politics… and a Jew.

At the time of Israel’s appalling blitzkrieg on Gaza’s civilians, Sir Gerald famously told the House of Commons: “My parents came to Britain as refugees from Poland. Most of their families were subsequently murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust. My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow.  A German soldier shot her dead in her bed. My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers

murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.

“It is time for our Government to make clear to the Israeli Government that their conduct and policies are unacceptable, and to impose a total arms ban on Israel. It is time for peace, but real peace, not the solution by conquest which is the Israelis’ real goal but which it is impossible for them to achieve. They are not simply war criminals; they are fools.”

Kaufman tells it the way it is, as do many brave Jewish peace groups – Jews for Justice and the like – and all credit to them for standing against the cruel Israeli regime.

So why cannot other Jews around the world, who reckon themselves to be well-informed and able to tell right from wrong, also speak up? What say all those making their fortunes here in the UK and living in luxury in Hendon, Golders Green and Manchester?

Are they not for justice?

Stuart Littlewood

1 April 2011

(www.intifada-palestine.com / 02.04.2011)

Non-violent marches attacked in at least 4 Palestinian towns

Weekly non-violent anti-Wall protests in a number of towns across the West Bank on Friday, including Bil’in, Nil’in, al Ma’sara and Nabi Saleh, were attacked by Israeli forces wielding tear gas and other ‘less-than-lethal’ weapons. Three protesters were injured when they were hit by high velocity tear gas canisters fired at close range by Israeli soldiers.

Protesters teargassed at past Bil'in protest (image by activestills)
Protesters teargassed at past Bil’in protest (image by activestills)

The protests on Friday commemorated Palestinian Land Day, the day in 1976 when Palestinians organized protests against Israeli confiscation of their land, and six protesters were gunned down by Israeli troops. Palestinians, along with supporters around the world, organize events each year on Land Day to protest the ongoing Israeli confiscation and annexation of Palestinian land.

According to a report from the Palestine News Network, in the village of Bil’in, where anti wall protests have been organized for the past six years, three men were injured when Israeli troops fired tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at protesters. After the midday prayers in the local mosque finished, villagers were joined by international and Israeli peace activists and marched up the gate of the wall separating villagers from their lands.

Troops stationed there opened fire at protesters injuring three. The men sustained injuries when soldiers fired tear gas canisters directly at them. Many others were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

The nearby village of Ni’lin held a similar protest on Friday. After conducting the Friday prayers on lands near the wall, villagers and their supporters marched up to the gate of the wall separating local farmers from their land. Israeli troops used tear gas and sound bombs to force people back. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

In the southern West Bank village of al-Ma’sara, near Bethlehem, Israeli troops used tear gas to suppress the weekly protest against the wall. Local politicians along with Israeli and international supporters joined the villagers after the midday prays and marched to the lands where Israel is building the wall.

Troops fired tear gas to force people back into the village; many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.

(networkedblogs.com / 02.04.2011)

Allochtone Antwerpse agenten: “Moeten ons dubbel bewijzen”

Eind 2010 voerde de Antwerpse politie een onderzoek uit naar problemen die medewerkers van allochtone origine ervaren tijdens hun job. Uit de resultaten blijkt dat er geen racistisch klimaat heerst bij de politiediensten, maar dat heel wat werknemers van allochtone afkomst wel voelen dat ze zich dubbel moeten bewijzen en vaak het verwijt krijgen dat ze hun job kregen op basis van positieve discriminatie.

De politie bracht de resultaten donderdag zelf naar buiten, naar eigen zeggen om te voorkomen dat er indianenverhalen de kop zouden opsteken. Het onderzoek kwam er nadat er signalen waren opgevangen dat agenten van allochtone origine in hun eigen gemeenschap problemen ervaren omdat ze voor een politiecarrière kozen. Een eerste telefonische enquête bevestigde tot op zekere hoogte deze signalen, maar bracht vooral ook interne strubbelingen aan het licht.

Uit een vrijwillige mondelinge bevraging van vijfentwintig operationele politiemedewerkers van allochtone origine bleek dat 85 procent van hen aanvoelt zich dubbel te moeten bewijzen op de werkvloer, terwijl zelfs 90 procent al eens het verwijt kreeg dat hij of zij de job kreeg door positieve discriminatie. Ook zouden leidinggevenden te weinig optreden bij klachten rond racisme en discriminatie.

Verrijking

70 procent van hun ondervraagde autochtone medewerkers vindt dat dit laatste inderdaad het geval is, maar 75 procent beschouwt de aanwezigheid van allochtonen in het korps desondanks toch als een verrijking.

De politie gaat nu werken aan een meer transparante communicatie, een meldpunt diversiteit en het responsabiliseren van leidinggevenden.

(www.hbvl.be / 02.04.2011)

Sha’ath: Palestinian leaders mulling one-state solution

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha’ath said Thursday that a bi-national state was one of “many ideas” being formulated by the Palestinian leadership.

Palestinian leaders plan to declare an independent state in September, and to seek UN recognition of that state.

The Middle East Quartet — the UN, US, EU and Russia — and US President Barack Obama set September as the goal for establishing a Palestinian state. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s two-year state-building plan is due to be completed in September.

However, if a Palestinian state is not established, several alternatives are being discussed by Palestinian leaders, Sha’ath said.

The senior Fatah official told Ma’an that one option to end the occupation was to form one state across all of historic Palestine, in which Palestinians would demand citizenship and equal civil rights.

He said leaders were also considering dissolving the Palestinian Authority and ending all Palestinian commitments to Tel Aviv, leaving Israel fully responsible for its occupation.

Placing Palestine under the mandate of the UN General Assembly was also being considered, Sha’ath said.

Israel has warned that Palestinians will face retaliatory measures if they seek recognition of a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP that the ministry was working to ensure that there wouldn’t be a vote at the UN.

Meanwhile, a senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Moscow to dissuade Russia from supporting the EU’s intention to present a plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Israel insists that a Palestinian state can only be established through talks. The UN’s recognition of a state would be “the end of the path of dialogue and negotiation,” the foreign ministry spokesman said.

“If problems can no longer be solved through dialogue we shall also take unilateral measures … without at the moment threatening anything concrete,” Palmor added.

Palestinian reconciliation

Israel has also warned that national Palestinian unity would be the end of negotiations with Israel.

Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority could not have peace with both Israel and Hamas. “It’s one or the other, but not both,” he told Jewish fundraisers in a speech distributed on Tuesday by the Israeli Government Press Office.

In the wake of mass youth protests across the West Bank and Gaza demanding an end to the division, Abbas accepted an invitation from Hamas premier Ismail Haniyeh to hold unity talks in the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, Abbas met with a delegation of Hamas leaders in Ramallah, the first such meeting in over two years. Both sides described the talks as “positive.”

Hamas head of the Palestinian legislature Aziz Dweik led the delegation, and said he expected his party to accept Abbas’ initiative to end the division by forming a unity government to prepare for elections.

Sha’ath said that Abbas told the Hamas leaders that he was willing to give up US aid, worth $475 million annually, to make peace with Hamas.

Following Hamas’ victory in 2006 elections, the international community withdrew its funding from the Palestinian Authority, although it recognized that the elections were free and fair.

A unity government survived for a year without foreign aid, but collapsed when Hamas ousted Fatah from Gaza in bloody street battles in 2007.

The international community lifted its economic sanctions of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which retained control in the West Bank. But Israel imposed a tight blockade of Gaza widely considered to be a form of collective punishment and illegal under international law.

(www.maannews.net / 02.04.2011)