|OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– A group of Israeli occupation soldiers hoisted a three-meter long Israeli flag inside the holy Aqsa mosque on Monday and took photos with it as background.
Azzam Al-Khatib, the director of endowment in Jerusalem, said that around 160 soldiers of the special forces provocatively hoisted the flag inside the mosque.
He said that one of the Aqsa guards told them to lower the flag and get out of the Aqsa plazas, but they refused and shouted at him.
He pointed out that the incident is the first of its kind since the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem in 1967.
(www.palestine-info.co.uk / 28.05.2012)
In an article of March 4, Richard Lightbown argues that Israel’s use of depleted uranium, white phosphorus and other toxic metals in its war on the people of the Gaza Strip has put the whole of the Strip’s population and its environment – air, soil, groundwater and possibly seawater – at risk of serious long-term injury and contamination.
Press TV on 4 March 2011 reported that cancer cases in Gaza had increased by 30 per cent, and that there was a link between the occurrence of the disease and residence in areas that had been badly hit by Israeli bombing. Zekra Ajour from the Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights told the channel that Gaza had been a testing ground for illegal weapons.
On 20 December 2009 Al-Dameer had published another paper in Arabic on the increase in the number of babies born in Gaza with birth defects, thought to be the result of radioactive and toxic materials from Operation Cast Lead.1 The birth defects included incomplete hearts and malformations of the brain. During August, September and October 2008 the number of cases had been 27. In the comparable months in 2009 the numbers had risen to 47. There was a similar rise in aborted foetuses. Al-Dameer had called for scientific monitoring throughout the Gaza Strip to obtain statistics on deformed foetus cases relating to the intentional use of internationally banned weapons.
Similar dramatic increases in birth defects over a longer period have been recorded in Iraq and have been linked to widespread use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. (It is reported that local midwives no longer look forward to births as they don’t know what is going to come out.)
Although the epidemiologist Professor Alastair Hay told the BBC in March 2010 that it was difficult to suggest any particular cause for the trend,2 scientific data has been published which contradicts his opinion. A review in Environmental Health in 20053 concluded by saying:
Regarding the teratogenicity of parental prenatal exposure to DU aerosols, the evidence, albeit imperfect, indicates a high probability of substantial risk. Good science indicates that depleted uranium weapons should not be manufactured or exploded.
When later asked in the same interview about white phosphorus, Prof. Hay had replied;
…phosphorus is an essential element in our bodies and so you would I think have to ingest a huge amount to cause any particular problem. But there has been no investigation anywhere that I am aware of to link phosphorus with health problems…
Apparently the professor has not read the Goldstone Report of the previous year which states in paragraph 896:
Medical staff reported to the mission how even working in the areas where the phosphorus had been used made them feel sick, their lips would swell and they would become extremely thirsty and nauseous.
The toxicity of phosphorus is also recorded in a report by New York medical staff:4
Oral ingestion of white phosphorus in humans has been demonstrated to result in pathologic changes to the liver and kidneys. The ingestion of a small quantity of white phosphorus can cause gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. Individuals with a history of oral ingestion have been noted to pass phosphorus-laden stool (“smoking stool syndrome”). The accepted lethal dose is 1 mg/kg, although the ingestion of as little as 15 mg has resulted in death.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that breathing white phosphorus for long periods causes “phossy jaw”, a condition in which there is poor wound healing of the mouth and breakdown of the jawbone.5
Depleted uranium in US-supplied bunker-buster bombs
Evidence of the use of depleted uranium against Gaza is tenuous and Goldstone merely recorded in paragraph 907 that it had received allegations which it had not further investigated. Much of this evidence came from Action des citoyens pour le désarmement nucléaire (ACDN: Citizens Action for Nuclear Disarmament). Their report of July 2009 hypothesizes that the GBU-39 bunker-buster bomb is packed with 75 kilogram of depleted uranium. (A UNEP report also ambiguously refers to bunker-buster bombs containing depleted uranium.) The US delivery of 1,000 of these bombs to Israel arrived in early December 2008 shortly before the start of the war. The GBU-39 is considered one of the world’s most precise bombs and Boeing, the manufacturer, claims that the bomb will penetrate three feet of steel-reinforced concrete. (UNEP suggests that it can penetrate reinforced concrete to depths ranging from 1.8 to over 6 metres.) Boeing’s patent on the weapon mentions depleted uranium.6
It is not known how many bunker-buster bombs were used against Gaza but it seems reasonable to assume that the number could run into hundreds. It is thought that they were used mostly in the Philadelphia corridor against the tunnels. Desmond Travers, the former Irish army officer who was a member of the Goldstone Commission, would only say that depleted uranium may have been used during the war, although he did agree that it would have been well suited for attacking the tunnels where maximum penetration would have been desired.7 He was also in agreement with ACDN that the use of below-ground targets would have considerably reduced the levels of aerosol uranium that was dispersed into the air.
Col Raymond Lane, who is chief instructor of ordnance with the Irish armed forces, gave testimony to the Goldstone Commission on weapons used in the Gaza conflict. He told the commission that he had no expertise of depleted uranium and so had not investigated it. He gave no reason for his failure to bring in specialist expertise to investigate the subject.8
In April 2009 Jean-François Fechino from ACDN was part of a four-person team which went to Gaza for the Arab Commission for Human Rights. Samples that the team brought back were analysed by a specialist laboratory which identified carcinogens: depleted uranium, caesium, asbestos dust, tungsten and aluminium oxide. Thorium oxide was also found, which is radioactive, as are depleted uranium and caesium. The analysis also identified phosphates and copper, along with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are a health hazard, especially to children, asthmatics and elders.9
Depleted uranium burns at almost 1200 degrees Celsius. (TNT by comparison burns at 576 degrees Celsius.)10 At this temperature the fire vaporizes any metals in the target which in combination with uranium are released into the air in aerosol form. After deposition the aerosols have the potential to contaminate groundwater. (The Gaza aquifer, which is the Strip’s only water source, is also connected to ground water supplies in Egypt, although water only flows into Gaza from Israel.11)
There is empirical documentation that the aerosols can travel up to 42 Km and theoretical documentation that they can travel further. Sderot is about 43 kilometres from the Philadelphia corridor and less than five kilometres from Beit Hanoun. In consequence, it may be that the activities of Israel’s air force have created a greater threat to the Israeli city than all of the 8,000 well-publicized rockets from Gaza ever have.
Depleted uranium accumulation has been recorded in the bone, kidney, reproductive system, brain and lung. It is carcinogenic, toxic to the kidneys, damaging to cellular DNA and causes malformations to an embryo or foetus.
Research reports 75 Tons of depleted uranium were found in Gaza.
Although an Israeli army spokesman told CNN on 7 January 2009, “I can tell you with certainty that white phosphorus is absolutely not being used.” the chemical had been used by Israeli forces since the beginning of the war.12 The Goldstone Report stated that Israeli sources later claimed their forces had stopped using white phosphorous on 7 January 2009 because of international concerns. This was also untrue as there is evidence that it had been used after that date. Goldstone declared the Israeli armed forces to have been “systematically reckless” in using white phosphorous in built-up areas (paragraphs 884, 886 and 890).
Difficulty in detecting the extent of damage to tissue and organs gave serious problems to medical staff trying to treat white phosphorus injuries. Several patients died as a result. Doctors found that when they removed bandages applied to a wound that still contained fragments of white phosphorous, smoke would come from the wound since the chemical continues to burn as long as it is in contact with oxygen. White phosphorous sticks to tissue so that all flesh and sometimes muscle around the burn would have to be cut out. The substance is also highly toxic (Goldstone paragraphs 892/4/5/6).
An article published in The Lancet included photographs of a young man who was admitted to hospital in Gaza with white phosphorous burns on 30 per cent of his body. The day after admission smoke was noticed coming from the wounds and the patient was rapidly transferred to the operating room for removal of dead tissue and removal of white phosphorus particles. During the operation a particle of the chemical was dislodged and caused a superficial burn on a nurse’s neck. The patient survived.13
Col Lane testified that although white phosphorus gave the best quality of smoke for military purposes it was “horrible stuff” and the Irish army had stopped using it 20 years previously. He recounted how the British army had sea-dumped quantities of the material off the coast of southwest. Scotland in the 1950s, some of which had been washed up on the coast of Ireland by a storm in 2007. It had ignited on drying (the colonel had witnessed this himself) and in one instance a child had suffered burns as a result.
Other toxic materials
Mass spectrometry analysis conducted by the New Weapons Research Group (NWRG) found aluminium, titanium, strontium, barium, cobalt and mercury in biopsies taken from white phosphorus wounds at Shifaa Hospital, Gaza. (Aluminium, barium and mercury have potential for lethal and intoxicating effects; aluminium and mercury can cause chronic pathologies over time; mercury is carcinogenic for humans; cobalt can cause mutations; and aluminium is fetotoxic, i.e. injurious to foetuses.)14
White phosphorus bombs are built with alternating sectors of white phosphorus and aluminium. Analysis by NWRC of the powder from a shell near Al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza also found high levels of molybdenum, tungsten and mercury. Tungsten and mercury are carcinogenic, while molybdenum is toxic to sperms.
In a report appropriately entitled “Gaza Strip, soil has been contaminated due to bombings: population in danger”, NWRG also conducted analyses of two craters caused by bombs in 2006 and two others by bombs in 2009. In the 2006 craters they identified tungsten, mercury and molybdenum, while in the 2009 craters at Tufah they discovered molybdenum, cadmium, cobalt, nickel, manganese, copper and zinc. Cadmium and some nickel and manganese compounds are carcinogenic.15
NWRG has further conducted research of hair samples from 95 children resident in heavily bombed areas of Gaza. Again using mass spectrometry the study identified the carcinogenic or toxic metals chromium, cadmium, cobalt, tungsten and uranium. One wounded individual also had unusually high levels of lead. The study found the results alarming and considered the levels could be pathogenic in situations of chronic exposure. Thirty-nine of the examinees were recommended for further checks.16
DIME weapons, soil contamination and cancer
It has been reported that soil in the area of a DIME (dense inert metal explosive) bomb blast may remain barren for an indefinite period of time because of contamination from heavy metal tungsten alloy.17 The same material in trial rapidly caused tumours in 100 per cent of rats when used at both low and high doses, with the tumours spreading to the lungs, necessitating euthanasia.18
DIME weapons were first used against Gaza by Israeli drones in the summer of 2006, when Palestinian medical personnel reported that it significantly increased the fatality rate among victims.19 Shortly after the DIME weapons were also trialled during the first week of the war in Lebanon in July 2006.
The Goldstone Commission was unable to confirm that DIME munitions were used by Israeli forces during Operation Cast Lead. Col Lane had told the commission in testimony that there was no actual proof. He then went on to testify that he had been given samples in Gaza which analysis in Dublin had shown to contain DIME materials consisting mostly of tungsten with traces of iron and sulphur. He was of the opinion that ordnance had been used that had some sort of DIME component. He also mentioned that he had read of unusual amputations, and that tungsten and cobalt would have this effect. Weaponry had been found with DIME components which was capable of amputation and there are Palestinian amputees, yet neither Col Lane nor the commission was prepared to say that DIME weapons had been used by Israeli forces.
DIME bombs cause a high proportion of amputations particularly of legs, while patients often suffered internal burns as well. The bombs consist of powdered tungsten alloy mixed with an explosive material inside a casing which disintegrates on explosion. The tungsten powder tears apart anything it hits including soft tissue and bone, causing very severe injuries. Tungsten alloy particles, described as “finely powdered micro-shrapnel”, are too small to be extracted from the victim’s body and are highly carcinogenic. (Goldstone, paragraphs 902-4)
No weapons fragments can be found from DIME bombs with standard diagnostic resources, despite the indication of heavy metals from this type of injuries. Mass spectrometry analyses by NWRG of biopsies from amputation injuries revealed aluminium, titanium, copper, strontium, barium, cobalt, mercury, vanadium, caesium, tin, arsenic, manganese, rubidium, cadmium, chromium, zinc and nickel. Doctors reported that it was difficult to determine the extent of dead tissue (which it is vital to remove). This resulted in higher rates of deep infection, subsequent amputation and higher mortality.20
The wide range of heavy metals discovered by analysis in casualties, residents and soil in Gaza suggests that other unidentified weapons may have also been trialled. (The Sensor Fuzed Weapon has been suggested as one such technological perversion that the Israeli forces may have used.21)
The whole Gaza population and their environment, including generations yet to be conceived, have been put at risk of serious long-term injury from heavy metal pollution of the air, soil and groundwater (and possibly the seawater too), while the causal pollution is likely to cross state borders into Egypt and even into Israel. Reassurances of the legitimate and responsible use and the reduced lethality of weapons (an opinion in part shared by Col Lane) are callous and inadequate in the context of the dangerous reality that has resulted. Meanwhile, the impacts of Israel’s illegal assaults on Gaza remain ignored and its deeds uncensored by the wider international community.
(References, resources, related news and updates on http://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 28.05.2012)
Israel’s long known open secret is its formidable nuclear arsenal. Less is known about its chemical and biological weapons (CBW) capability. More on that below.
In 1986, Dimona nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu revealed documents showing what many long suspected. Israel had been secretly developing, producing and stockpiling nuclear weapons for years. Experts called his information genuine. They revealed sophisticated technology able to amass a formidable nuclear arsenal. Today it’s more potent than ever.
In his 1991 book titled “The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and America Foreign Policy,” Seymour Hersh discussed its strategy to launch massive nuclear counterattacks in response to serious enough threats.
In his 1997 book titled “Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies,” Israel Shahak said Israel won’t hesitate using nuclear or other weapons to advance its “hegemony over the entire Middle East.”
In 2006, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Germany’s Sat. 1 channel: “Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly, threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel and Russia?” Later he denied what viewers clearly heard him say. Calls for him to step down followed. So did accusations of ineptitude for acknowledging Israeli nuclear weapons publicly.
Israel always stuck to its nuclear ambiguity position. Olmert later backtracked. Damage control didn’t assuage criticism. Opposition party members called him irresponsible. Meretz party member Yossi Beilin said: “The prime minister’s amazing statement regarding nuclear capability indicates a lack of caution bordering on irresponsibility.”
Olmert’s approval rating plunged. Aides tried frantically to limit damage. His spokesman, Miri Eisin, said his comments didn’t mean Israel had or wants nuclear weapons. Of course, the cat was out of the bag after Mordechai Vanunu revealed it 20 years earlier. Damage control made things worse. Vanunu welcomed Olmert’s admission, accidental or otherwise. He hoped he said it intentionally, saying: “For 20 years, they tried to deny me and my story, but the policy of cheating and lying didn’t succeed.”
Changes are taking place, he added. He hoped his situation would improve. It didn’t. He still chafes under repressive Israeli policies. Practically under house arrest, he’s harassed. His fundamental rights are denied. He wants his citizenship revoked and permission to leave, but Israel won’t grant either right. He’s a legend in his own time. He only wants to live free. After what Israel put him through for decades, he deserves that much and more.
Israel refuses to discuss its nuclear capability. Others are less reticent. On May 4, Haaretz headlined “Israel’s atomic arsenal could fall victim to a new US nuclear policy,” saying: Visiting Hiroshima last February, escorts “drew (Israeli Defence Secretary Ehud Barak’s) attention to a map of the world listing the number of nuclear warheads in the possession of the atomic powers. There is a number next to Israel’s name, too: ’80.’ Barak did not respond.”
Most experts believe Israel has hundreds of warheads and sophisticated long-range delivery systems. “According to a (late 1990s) secret document of the Pentagon’s Defence Intelligence Agency….leaked during the period of the George W. Bush administration, Israel had ’60 to 80’ nuclear warheads in 1999.” The Pentagon updates its data regularly. It keeps close watch on all nuclear powers and suspected ones like North Korea. Israel never signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
In 1969, Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir mutually agreed that Israel’s nuclear capability wouldn’t harm relations. In 1998, so did Clinton and Netanyahu. In 2009, Obama continued past policy.
Expect change eventually. Israel’s belligerency over Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme may “boomerang” on its military one.
Israel’s Chemical and Biological Weapons (CBW)
Israel signed the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), but didn’t ratify it. It never signed the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Its policy is CBW ambiguity.
In 1993, the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment WMD proliferation assessment included Israel as a nation having undeclared offensive chemical warfare capabilities. In 1998, former Deputy Assistant Defence Secretary Bill Richardson said: “I have no doubt that Israel has worked on both chemical and biological offensive things for a long time. There’s no doubt they’ve had stuff for years.”
Israel tests new weapons in combat. Against Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza during Cast Lead, it used direct energy weapons, chemical and/or biological agents, and others producing injuries and symptoms medical professionals never previously saw. For example, bodies with dead tissue had no apparent wounds. Corpses were found shrunken. Civilians had heavy lower limb damage requiring amputations. Nonetheless, unstoppable necrosis followed (death of cells and living tissue) followed by death. Internal wounds had no trace of shrapnel. Corpses were blackened but not burned. Some badly wounded victims didn’t bleed.
The Palestinian health ministry said Israel used a new type explosive in Gaza. It contained toxins and radioactive materials. They burned and tore victims’ bodies from the inside. They also left long term deformations.
A Palestinian doctor accused Israel of using chemical ammunition that burns and injures soft tissue, but can’t be traced by X-rays. Severe internal wounds were reported. Unknown gases believed to be nerve agents were used. Those affected lost consciousness for about 24 hours. They experienced high fevers and muscle rigidity. Some needed urgent blood transfusions.
In Gaza, white phosphorous was used. It burns flesh to the bone. Depleted uranium spread radioactive contamination. Close-range explosives caused severe injuries, requiring amputations. Children had legs cut off, abdomens sliced open, or died because nothing could save them.
In June 2011, CounterPunch contributor Saleh El-Naami headlined “Exposing Israel’s Most Dangerous Secret,” saying: Only authorised personnel have access to the Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR). Israel calls it “a governmental, applied research institute specialising in the fields of biology, medicinal chemistry and environmental sciences.”
Others reveal IIBR is “where Israel develops its biological and chemical weapons and prepares for any eventuality of biological or chemical warfare.” Its facility is Israel’s “most top-secret military installation….”
Official censorship prohibits anything discussed about it. One exception only occurred after long-term employee Avisha Klein sued “for harassment and emotional abuse.”
She was part of a team developing mustard gas protective ointment. During proceedings, more information came out. IIBR has hundreds of scientists and technicians. Its many departments specialize in chemical and biological weapons research, development and production. One is a poison used for assassinations.
In 1977, Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered Mossad to eliminate Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine leader Wadie Haddad. He was fond of Belgian chocolates. Mossad coated some with “a slow-acting poison, and had them delivered to Haddad….”
The substance had “undetectable properties.” Haddad’s health deteriorated. Flown to East Germany for treatment, he was diagnosed with leukemia and died on March 29, 1978. Thirty-two years later, the truth came out. IIBR’s poison killed him. Other assassinations were conducted the same way. IIBR specializes in toxic substances and protective vaccines. Anthrax research got attention. Israel feared enemies might use it.
IIBR works closely with Israeli military and intelligence operations. They list priorities. IIBR works on them. “For example, information that has come to light during the coverage of Klein’s suit reveals that many years ago the Israeli military establishment was concerned that Arab states might use such chemical agents as mustard gas in a potential assault against Israel and, therefore, instructed the institute to develop a chemical substance to minimise the effects of the gas.”
Israeli soldiers were used to test vaccines. Some experienced “permanent physical damage.” Lawsuits for damages were filed. Victims want recognition as disabled veterans and appropriate compensation. Pressure got IDF officials to announce experiments on Israeli personnel would end.
The Nuremberg Code prohibits medical experiments without human subjects voluntarily consenting. Recruitment must exclude “coercion, fraud, deceit, and (provide) full disclosure of known risks.”
Experiments are prohibited “where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur.” Those permitted must be expected “to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study….”
In 1948, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion ordered European Jewish scientists recruited who could “either increase the capacity to kill masses or to cure masses; both are important.”
Avraham Marcus Klingberg became a chemical and biological weapons (CBW) expert and IIBR deputy director. Avraham was also recruited. He became the father of Israel’s nuclear weapons programme in charge of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC). Ben-Gurion was determined to have a nuclear option and other non-conventional weapons to counter numerical Arab advantage.
In his farewell address to the Israeli Armaments Development Authority (RAFAEL), he defended the strategy saying: “I am confident, based not only on what I heard today, that our science can provide us with the weapons that are needed to deter our enemies from waging war against us.”
He and Shimon Peres became leading forces behind Israel’s nuclear, biological, and chemicals development programme. Strict secrecy was maintained. Staff was forbidden to discuss anything related to their work. Prohibitions remain strict.
Truths eventually leak out. One day much more will be known. Vanunu was harshly punished to deter other whistleblowers. Bradley Manning faces similar treatment. In his case, life in prison may result.
Nonetheless, some who know tell others. Suppressing vital truths everyone needs to know remains hard to do forever. Much is known about Israel’s nuclear programme. Perhaps CBW disclosures will expose secrets too important to hide.
(www.nation.com.pk / 28.05.2012)
By Sheikh Ahmad Kutty at OnIslam.net
Is Sufism an Islamic practice?
Not everything that goes under the name of Tasawwuf (Sufism) is considered Islamic, just as not everything that goes under the name of Fiqh (jurisprudence) can be considered as authentic or proper Fiqh. In order to judge something as Islamic, it must be judged and weighed by the well-established criteria and standards of Sharia as enshrined in the Book and the Sunnah. Thus if a certain Sufi practice or custom is opposed to the prescribed criteria of the Sharia as enshrined in the Quran and the Sunnah, it shall be judged as un-Islamic; if, however, it agrees with these criteria it shall be judged as perfectly Islamic.
Outstanding Muslim scholars have divided Sufism into two broad categories in order to determine its compatibility or non-compatibility with the Sharia:
Firstly, genuine and authentic Sufism, which is undoubtedly in perfect agreement with the Book, the Sunnah, and the practices of Salaf As-Salih (early righteous Muslims). Sufism of Sufi masters such as Junyad Al-Baghdadi, Abu Sulayman Al-Darani, etc. belong to this category of authentic and genuine Sufism.
Secondly, pseudo-Sufism which includes those who uphold and advocate cultic practices or customs that are contrary to the Sunnah, as well as those who have mixed Sufism with speculative Mysticism/Neo-Platonism, and thus dabble in metaphysical theories about cosmos, emanations, etc. Both these groups are charlatans and impostors. While the former invent new forms of worship that are not sanctioned by the Law-giver, the latter mix philosophy with religion and blur the essential distinction between the Creator and creation, which is the basis of Prophetic religion. There is no doubt that indulgence in such forms of Sufism takes humans away from their true purpose and mission in life which is to do God’s will on earth. These pseudo-Sufis turn the goal of human life into contemplation of mysteries of the universe; it is contrary to the Quranic definition of the purpose of human existence.
It is because of the real dangers inherent in such aberrations, and deviations that the early Sufi masters tirelessly preached the importance of weighing everything by the firm yardstick of the Sharia. Abu Al-Qasim Al-Junayd, one of the genuine masters of authentic Sufism, said, “The essence of Tawhid (monotheism) is to distinguish the eternal from the temporal.” He also said, “Whoever does not retain the Quran, nor studies the Hadith cannot be trusted in this matter since our knowledge is bound solely by the teachings of the Book and the Sunnah.”
Abu Sulayman Ad-Darani said, “Often one of the insights of the Sufi folk occurs to me and yet I do not accept it until I examine it by the testimony of the two of the most reliable witnesses: the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him.”
According to an eminent scholar, “Authentic Sufism is at once a cognitive and practical discipline of souls, curing of diseases of hearts, implanting of virtues, and purging souls off their vices and carnal desires, and training in patience, contentment and obedience to Allah; it is struggle against the carnal soul, and combating its base inclinations and meticulous scrutiny of actions and non-actions, and guarding souls against the invasions and influx of heedlessness and vain thoughts, and severing off all hindrances and obstacles that hinder and hamper one’s journey to Allah; it is asceticism in everything that distracts a person from celebrating remembrance of Allah and make one’s hearts focused on it. It is knowledge of Allah and conviction in Him, affirming His Oneness and glorifying Him, and turning wholly unto Him, and turning away from everything else; it is to be solely focused entirely on worshipping and obeying Allah, and compliance with His limits, and acting according to His Sharia, and exposing oneself to the graces and gifts that Allah vouchsafes to His chosen servants as a sheer sign of His grace and mercy.”
Another scholar said, “Sufism is to adorn oneself with every noble traits of character and to shun every base one.” Or, stated differently, “It is to examine one’s states and cling to noble manners.”
When defined in this way, Sufism is not only an authentic Islamic discipline but the quintessence of Islam as an experiential reality.
Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.
(www.faithinallah.org / 28.05.2012)
Renowned nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan has said that Pakistan has the capability to shoot down unmanned surveillance drone aircrafts adding that the country is facing internal threats rather than external.
Talking to a private TV channel on Monday he said that they had built missile in Kahuta some 15 years ago which have the capability to shot down drone aircrafts.
Dr. A.Q Khan said the Army has taken oath for the security of borders but what is the use of oath if violation of border continues.
“Zia ul Haq was a dictator but he was a patriot ruler of Pakistan and current rulers are corrupt and robbers”, he stated.
Dr. A.Q Khan said, “Pakistan’s defence look very impenetrable externally, but it is vulnerable internally due to the internal situation of the country, we had planned that nation would focus on progress, education and industrial advancement but rulers have plundered the public property for many years”.
“Even having nuclear capability, it is a wrong perception that we can not take action against the United States, England or France because we have accumulated nuclear system against India”, he said.
He stated the green passport had respect across world in the past but nowadays it does not have any value.
(www.nation.com.pk / 28.05.2012)
Amman, May 28 (Petra) — The Lower House and the Council of Europe on Monday agreed to pursue cooperation on constitutional reforms and a package of political reform legislation the chamber will pass, including the constitutional court.
House Speaker Abdul Karim Dughmi told a Council of Europe team during a joint workshop in Amman on the constitutional court that he appreciated the council’s cooperation as part of the priorities of the Neighbourhood Cooperation with Jordan 2012-2014, stressing that the court is a key pillar of the Kingdom’s reform package.
He said the workshop was of great benefit in the area of the constitutional court due to the vast expertise of participating experts from Italy, Georgia, Croatia and Hungary.
Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said the reform phases in Jordan had seen acceleration in various sectors, particularly the legislative area, which culminated in the House’s passage of constitutional amendments.
He said it was incumbent upon the Kingdom to expedite the reform drive, provide it with the means for sustainability and shore up its performance in line with the royal vision.
Judeh said His Majesty King Abdullah’s visit to the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe last April had galvanized the country to accelerate efforts and set the reform priorities according to best criteria.
The council’s Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said his organisation was established in the aftermath of World War II and comprises 47 European nations, noting that it is natural that it works to assist Europe’s neighbours to benefit from its expertise in drafting their laws and to build on them as they go through democratic reform.
Jagland said Jordan had taken key reform steps, noting the Kingdom is a regional role model and hailing the King’s efforts in that endeavour that offered the framework to set up a constitutional court.
(petra.gov.jo / 28.05.2012)
In de serie van lezingen zal de stichting Stop de Bezetting een lezing organiseren van Baha Hilo. De heer Hilo is coördinator van de Olijfbomencampagne en Palestijns activist in Bethlehem die boeren helpt om op te komen voor hun rechten op land, op eigendom, op vrije vergadering en verplaatsing. Onvermoeibaar verzet hij zich tegen de annexatie van Palestijns land. Hilo woont in Bethlehem en hij werkt voor de Joint Advocay Initiative (JAI) – een gezamenlijke campagne van de YMCA van Oost-Jeruzalem en de Palestijnse YNCA -. Hiervoor coördineert hij de Olijfbomencampagne.
De Olijfbomencampagne – Keep hope alive, is de campagne die gericht is op de Palestijnse boeren, van wie het land onteigend is en vernietigd dreigt te worden door Israëlische militairen en de settlers in de bezette West Bank, te ondersteunen. Met de campagne worden buitenlanders opgeroepen om olijfbomen op Palestijnse landbouwgrond te sponsoren en actief mee te werken met de lokale boeren bij de aanplant, bescherming en oogst van de olijfboomgaarden.
De campagne kan zo op een originele manier boeren in een drooggelegde bezettingseconomie werk verschaffen en zorgen voor een beetje extra geld en tevens mensen op een individuele en concrete manier betrekken bij de mensenrechtenstrijd achter de Israëlische apartheidsmuur.
Tijdens de lezing zal Baha Hilo vertellen over het werk van de Olijfbomencampagne, maar ook over indringende feiten, zoals het verwoesten van de Palestijnse huizen en de steeds meer oprukkende muur, die het leven van de Palestijnen ondraaglijk maakt. Baha is een boeiende spreker, die de aandacht zeker een uur of meer kan vasthouden en veel kan uitleggen over de situatie in Palestina.
De lezing vindt plaats in het gebouw van HTIB, Eerste Weteringplantsoen 2c, 1017 SJ Amsterdam ( te bereiken via de trams 4, 24, 7, 10 en uitstappen bij halte Weteringcircuit). De toegang is gratis.
Naast de lezing van Baha Hilo worden ook de organisaties die opkomen voor de rechten van het Palestijnse volk, uitgenodigd om acte de préséance te geven en zich voor te stellen met flyers en uitleg aan bezoekers bij vragen. Hiervoor worden tafels beschikbaar gesteld door de stichting Stop de Bezetting.
“Five years of access restrictions have brought many Gazan families to their knees. People are very dependent on our food programs,” UNRWA commissioner general Filippo Grandi said.
“Securing funding for these programs is increasingly difficult, and so we are especially grateful to the UAERC for coming forward now with this timely donation,” he added.
The donation will support some of the most vulnerable Palestine refugee families requiring assistance. Over the last five years, the UAERC contributed over $5 million for food aid, an UNRWA statement said.
“The Muslim Brotherhood got 10 million votes in parliamentary elections, but got only five million in presidential elections,” he told Al Arabiya’s Special Interview.
Akef attributed this drop in popularity to the way Muslim Brotherhood members presented themselves in the media.
“There is a difference between a group defending itself against accusations and one that plans to lead the country. This applied to both the Brotherhood and its political wing the Freedom and Justice Party.”
The Brotherhood, Akef added, was not capable of realizing the effect of media has on people, especially leading media outlets.
“Many of those outlets are not objective.”
When asked about his earlier statement about not wanting to see a shift in power from the Islamists to other political factions, Akef said he meant that the country is going through a very tough stage and the criteria of success and failure in the beginning will not be definitive.
“If an Islamist takes charge at this stage and he does well, he will get the credit, but if he fails, all Islamists will be blamed for not being able to run the country.”
Akef denied that Egyptian Christians are apprehensive about Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi wining presidential elections in the run-off.
“Neither Copts nor any other Egyptians are afraid of Mursi or the Brotherhood. Of course, they are free to vote for whoever they want but we will give them all the guarantees that we only want what’s best for Egypt.”
(english.alarabiya.net / 28.05.2012)
Nabeel Rajab, still faces travel ban and criminal charges for “inciting” protests and “defaming” security forces.
Rajab has been detained and beaten several times during nearly 18 months of unrest in Bahrain [via Twitter]
|Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahraini human rights activists, has been released on bail, according to his lawyer.
Rajab, the director of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, was arrested earlier this month at Manama’s international airport after returning from Lebanon.
He was charged with “inciting illegal rallies” through social networking websites, and with “defaming” Bahrain’s security forces.
Rajab was released on 300 dinars ($800) bail, but still faces a travel ban, his lawyer, Mohamed al-Jishi, said on Monday. The next hearing is scheduled for June 17.
Rajab, one of the most prominent figures in the nearly 18-month pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain, has been detained, questioned and beaten repeatedly by security forces. He rejected the charges against him during a court session earlier this month, describing his arrest as “a political decision”.
“I only practised my right to free expression,” he told the court. “I did not commit a crime.”
The case against Rajab has been widely criticised by local and international human rights groups.
Al-Khawaja ending hunger strike
Meanwhile, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, the Bahraini activist who has spent the last four months on hunger strike, plans to end his fast on Monday night, according to his lawyer and one of his daughters.
Al-Khawaja started his hunger strike in February to protest against his detention, and that of numerous other activists behind bars. He was one of 14 prominent opposition figures arrested last year and convicted by a military court.
He plans to release a statement about his hunger strike on Monday night, according to al-Jishi, who also represents al-Khawaja. “He thinks that he got results for this hunger strike, because everybody is talking about the detainees here in Bahrain,” al-Jishi said in a telephone interview.
It has been difficult to obtain detailed information about al-Khawaja’s health, because the Bahraini government has blocked most outside experts – and, at times, even his relatives – from visiting him. A source with knowledge of his condition last month described it as “critical,” and said al-Khawaja had lost nearly one-fifth of his body weight.
Family members say he has been force-fed on several occasions by doctors in the hospital where he is being held.
“It’s very good news,” his daughter Maryam al-Khawaja said of her father’s decision. “We supported him in that position, but now we’ll worry less because his life won’t be at risk.”
(www.aljazeera.com / 28.05.2012)