Israel to issue its own Gaza war report, pre-empting U.N. inquiry

More than 2,000 Palestinians lost their lives during the 2014 attack on Gaza, 20,000 homes were destroyed

More than 2,000 Palestinians lost their lives during the 2014 attack on Gaza, 20,000 homes were destroyed

PNN/ Gaza/

Israel will issue a report on Sunday arguing its 2014 Gaza attack was lawful, a move aimed at pre-empting the release of findings of a U.N. war crimes investigation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed as a waste of time, Reuters reports.

Israel’s two-month attack last year, which included heavy shelling and air strikes into the densely populated enclave, killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians.

Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel died.

“Whoever wants to know the truth, let them read this report,” Netanyahu, accusing Hamas of hiding behind non-combatants by deliberately operating in crowded Palestinian neighborhoods, told his cabinet in remarks made public.

“Whoever wants to continue with baseless blaming of the state of Israel, let them waste time reading the report by the U.N. commission. We, for our part, will continue protecting our soldiers. They will continue protecting us.”

The inquiry by the U.N. Human Rights Council into possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas is due to publish its findings this month, having postponed the release from March to consider further evidence.

Israel says it did everything possible to prevent civilian casualties. Israel’s critics accuse it of using excessive force and acting with impunity.

In March, Makarim Wibisono, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian territories, told Reuters the disparity in casualty figures on the two sides “reflects the (skewed) balance of power and the disproportionate cost borne by Palestinian civilians, raising questions as to whether Israel adhered to the international law principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions.”

(Source / 14.10.2015)

Reports: Tunisia’s Ghannouchi seeks Egypt Govt-Brotherhood settlement

The leader of Tunisia’s Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Ennahda Movement, Rachid al-Ghannouchi, is seeking a Saudi-sponsored political settlement between the Brotherhood and the Egyptian government, Egypt’s local media reported.
Independent Al-Shorouk newspaper on Sunday quoted sources at the Brotherhood as saying that an initiative offered by Ghannouchi for Saudi Arabia as a potential sponsor involves a halt for the Brotherhood’s political involvement in political activity, in return for releasing all of the group’s members detained by Egyptian authorities.
Ghannouchi made his first visit to Saudi Arabia last Tuesday. Several press reports said that his visit came in line with earlier statements in which he said Saudi Arabia could lead reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the Egyptian government, the latter which ousted the group’s rule in 2013.
“I expect [new] King Salman bin Abdulaziz to lead reconciliation efforts in the region and specifically in Egypt and Syria,” Ghannouchi told The Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview in February.
But the Ennahda Movement denied the reports linking the visit with the rumored settlement, stressing that Ghannouchi was visiting the kingdom for Umra rituals (minor pilgrimage).
Analysts expect King Salman’s policies to be more open to dealing with Islamists compared to his late predecessor, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who openly backed the ouster of the Brotherhood’s government in 2013.
Reports on the alleged mediation coincided with statements by the Brotherhood’s former international affairs official, Youssef Nada, who suggested that the group was open to dialogue with the current government.
Nada, in a message released two days ago, said he was ready to “receive whoever seeks the best for Egypt and its people.”
(Source / 14.06.2015)

Israeli forces re-open 2 streets in Hebron

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces agreed to re-open shops on al-Sahla street in Hebron which has been closed since the massacre in the Ibrahimi mosque in 1994.Hebron mayor Dawoud al-Zaatari said the municipality has lodged several requests to ease the suffering of people in the city, which has resulted in finally re-opening al-Sahla street in the Old City.Al-Zaatari said Israeli forces also agreed to re-open the entrance of Jabal Jowhar, which was closed since the start of the Second Intifada, and which leads to the main intercity road, at the start of Ramadan.He added that the municipality still awaits several other “facilitations” that they requested.

(Source / 14.06.2015)

Syrian civil war: Can Assad’s regime survive the onslaught from Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra?

The Syrian army is faltering in the face of determined onslaughts by extremists who have no fear of death. But it may be the only institution that can keep the nation intact

It’s a dangerous equation in the Syrian war that the further you are from Damascus, the more Bashar al-Assad’s regime seems doomed. And the more you drive around the vast area still held by government forces – and I’ve just completed around 1,100 miles of mountains, desert and battle fronts – the more you realise that the war will go on. And on. And that the Syrian army, outgunned and at times frighteningly outnumbered by its Islamist enemies, is not about to collapse.

But here are a few grim facts. Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra are now attacking the Syrian military in rows of suicide trucks, and along fronts so wide that the army often doesn’t have the manpower to withstand them. Rebel logistics are hi-tech and better than the Syrian army’s, and a lot of their communications systems are American. The insurgents have hundreds of anti-armour wire-guided TOW and Milan anti-tank missiles and can afford to fire three – even four – rockets at a single Syrian tank, knocking out its fire-control circuits so that its ammunition explodes and its soldiers are burnt to death.

At Palmyra, in Homs province, between 1,800 and 2,000 Isis fighters were confronted by an army which could not withstand their constant attacks. In the two days before they retreated, Syrian troops smashed their way briefly into forward Isis positions, only to discover piles of “tactical vests” – advanced body armour – thermal missiles, stacks of Muslim prayer books in Russian (apparently belonging to Chechen fighters), enough sidearm ordnance for each rebel to carry 10,000 rounds of ammunition each, and stacks of Snickers chocolate bars. Even Isis, it seems, marches on its stomach.

The Syrian army often finds itself outgunned by the insurgent groups
The Syrian army often finds itself outgunned by the insurgent groups

American “experts” talk glibly now of how the Syrian army will make a “planned retreat” to the mountains of the Alawites, the Shia sect of President Assad, and try to keep open the road from Damascus to the Mediterranean coast via Homs.

Syrian “experts” – a lot closer to the battle than the think-tank boyos in Washington – speak of a more political strategy. What the regime must do, they say, is hold on to the major cities in a line from Aleppo south through Hama and Homs to Damascus (Deraa in the south may or may not be included in the plan) and deprive either Nusra or Isis of a potential capital in Syria. Isis’s present capital, Raqqa, is a fag-end of a city in the desert and even Palmyra, symbolic though its loss has been, is no metropolis from which rebels can claim national sovereignty.

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But the loss of Aleppo would give them a capital worthy of the name, the largest city in Syria, albeit the second metropolis afterDamascus. Thus Aleppo is important, not because the Syrian government must keep it – which it must – but because its enemies must be deprived of it. The newly combined “Army of Conquest”, a Nusra-led and Nusra-cloaked alliance of Islamist satellite groups, is the greatest threat to date. And execution is as important to the rebels as the suicide bomb.

Army sources in Damascus say that 250 army families were taken for execution when Palmyra fell. One of the last government supporters to leave the city showed me a picture he took on his phone, of a smiling little girl, the daughter of an officer, who believed she was safe. “We know her father was slaughtered,” he said. “We don’t know what happened to her.” But as one Syrian officer put it to me last week: “I tell my soldiers that, yes, Isis can kill you – but that you are just as capable of killing Isis.”

Members of the Syrian Red Crescent transport the bodies of reported regime fighters from rebel-held area into regime-held areaMembers of the Syrian Red Crescent transport the bodies of reported regime fighters from rebel-held area into regime-held area

No wonder, then, that Iranian military personnel can be found – as I came across them this month – scattered in twos and threes around the battlefield, learning rather than fighting, no doubt tapping into the battle tactics used by their fathers in the titanic eight-year war between Iran and Iraq after Saddam’s 1980 invasion of the Islamic Republic. They are smart, well-educated; one of them, beside fields set alight by shellfire, cheerfully apologised to me in fluent English for not being able to speak. “Wrong place – wrong time!” he laughed.

But the Iranians are in Syria at the right time for Bashar al-Assad, and so are the Afghan Shia fighters brought in from Kabul, some of whom were queuing to visit the Umayyad mosque in Damascus last week, several dressed in military fatigues. With perhaps 50,000 dead, the Syrian army needs men. Conscripted troops now serve indefinitely. And if that army falters or ceases to exist, no other force is capable of holding Syria together. No wonder President Assad uses much of his speechifying to praise the army and its tens of thousands of “martyrs”.

It was thus necessary last week to make a pilgrimage to the Starship Galactica foreign ministry in Damascus to listen to Dr Faisal Mekdad – he is a medical doctor as well as deputy foreign minister – to find out just how confident the regime claims to be. How does he feel about the Iranians fighting on his side? And the Lebanese Hezbollah? Or is it true what the American “experts” say, that there is a “planned retreat” to the coast, to cling on to Damascus and Latakia and create a “rump” Syria?

Visiting Dr Mekdad is a bit like going to the dentist. It can be very painful – but you feel better afterwards. Or at least for a while. “It is our right to have anyone fight for us,” he says. “Whoever is ready to come and help us is welcome… The other party is a party of terrorists, and now we have every credible information that the French and the British will go to the EU and say that the Nusra Front is a ‘moderate’ group – they will try to rehabilitate Nusra, even though Nusra is a part of al-Qaeda…

“Of course, losing any small village is a big loss for us. Every square inch of Syria is important to us. But Aleppo is the second major city of Syria and losing it would be a big loss. But we have never – ever – in our [cabinet] meetings doubted that we will hold it. All our strategic planning now is to keep the way open to Aleppo, to allow our forces to defend it.”

Syrian army soldiers and Hezbollah members flashing the 'Victory' sign in their positions overlooking the Flita height in the Qalamoun mountains
Syrian army soldiers and Hezbollah members flashing the ‘Victory’ sign in their positions overlooking the Flita height in the Qalamoun mountains

That the Syrian cabinet discusses Aleppo is proof of the city’s political as well as military importance – “all our strategic planning” is a dramatic phrase to hear in the mouth of any Syrian minister. I travelled the dangerous main supply route north of Aleppo months ago, with tracer rounds criss-crossing the road from both sides. The highway south can be attacked at any time. Nusra uses mountain bikes to spring out of the desert on lonely checkpoints at night.

“A few months ago,” Dr Mekdad complained, “before direct intervention to help Daesh [Isis] and Nusra by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, we were about to achieve a historic advance. The occupation of Idlib [city] would never have taken place without direct Turkish intervention – thousands of Turks, Chechens, huge forces were brought in, which attacked Idlib and Jisr al-Shugour. When we were preparing to liberate Idlib, we lost Jisr al-Shugour. We have to prepare for losses and gains. This is war.”

Ministers have a habit of saying things like this when the chips are down. Bashar al-Assad has said pretty much the same thing. But what Dr Mekdad was to say next was of a different dimension.

“It is clear now that without re-energising the army, reorganising it and enabling its central command to implement all its decisions, then we will not be able to achieve what we are planning to achieve.”  Dr Mekdad spoke of new weapons for the army – it sorely needs them to replace the clapped-out Warsaw Pact tanks that litter Syria, however much the minister’s promise was born of hope rather than signed contracts. But Aleppo returned to our conversation like a persistent mosquito.

“I agree when you speak about our cities from the strategic and humanitarian point of view. Yes, Idlib matters, Deir ez-Zour [where Syria’s surrounded army still holds out] matters, Raqqa matters – but they are not as important as Aleppo is. Once you have a strong central presence [in the country], you have every chance that the smaller towns could be brought back naturally, both militarily and politically… but in no way can we sacrifice a millimetre of our territory by ‘prioritising’ – it would absolutely be a big loss if Aleppo was not in our hands. We have confidence we can defend it.”

What was important for the government, Dr Mekdad said, “is whether Syria will survive or not. President Assad has not put himself as the No 1. He will work for Syria – and the most important thing is for Syria to survive.”

http://bcove.me/1cm0315f

This is familiar territory, of course. The country must be reformed through a “political process” – we all know who that involves – or “Syria will be there no more – I am confident that things will not come to the second option. If it comes, many countries in the region will disappear.”

Which is what Bashar al-Assad has been saying since the start of the war. But when I go through my notes of my long journeys across Syria these past days, I come across individual stories. Of the army checkpoints facing armoured vehicles driven by suicide bombers, of the Syrian missiles which can only hit them at 300 yards – too close for the defending soldiers to survive the explosion. Of suicide “packs” of Isis men who fight to the last minute and only then blow themselves up. Of the Syrian MI-35 helicopters which run out of rockets and ammunition before they can destroy all their targets.  “Once Isis are close to you, it’s over,” one former Syrian officer remarked bleakly to me. “You must kill them before they get to you. Out-gunned, you don’t have a chance.”

The further you travel from Syria, the more imaginative become the stories to convince you of its destruction. The Americans have done a deal with the Russians to ship Assad off to exile in Moscow.  The Iranians will “close down” the Syrian war if the nuclear talks are successful. The Iranians don’t have confidence in the Syrian army. The most extraordinary  theory suggests that the “moderate” rebels will destroy both Isis and Assad.

There is no point in romanticising any side in this war. The government militias and the barrel-bombers and the torture chambers eliminate the use of pink eye-shades. But if you have to draw up a list of priorities for the Syrian regime to survive the coming weeks and months, they are easy to identify. It does not involve the Baath Party. Nor, for that matter, President Assad. The answer is simple: the Syrian army. New guns. New tanks. Aleppo.

(Source / 14.06.2015)

Thousands of Syrians flee into Turkey amid intense fighting

Thousands of Syrians flee into Turkey amid intense fighting

A syrian refugee carries a baby over the border fence into Turkey from syria in Akçakale, Şanlıurfa province, southeastern Turkey, June 14, 2015

Thousands of Syrians cut through a border fence and crossed over into Turkey on Sunday, fleeing intense fighting in northern Syria between Kurdish fighters and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The flow of refugees came as Syrian Kurdish fighters closed in on the outskirts of a strategic ISIL-held town on the Turkish border, Kurdish officials and an activist group said, potentially cutting off a key supply line for the extremists’ nearby de facto capital.

Taking Tal Abyad, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, would deprive the militant group of a direct route to bring in new foreign militants or supplies. The Kurdish advance, coming under the cover of intense U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in the area, would also link their two fronts and put even more pressure on Raqqa.

In this Turkish border village, the refugees took by surprise the Turkish troops stationed there, who were overwhelmed by the large number of people crowding the crossing. Thousands of people had been gathering for more than a day on the Syrian side of the Akcakale border crossing before they broke through Sunday afternoon.

People threw their belongings over the fence while others passed infants into Turkey over barbed wires before following through a several-meter wide opening in the border fence.

Turkish troops later brought in reinforcements and gathered up the refugees on the Turkish side of the border, preventing them from going deeper into Turkey.

It was earlier stated by the mayor of Akçakale, Abdülhakim Ayhan, that ISIL was not allowing the Syrians to enter into Turkey. ISIL is known to use civilians as human shields during clashes and treat civilians in an inhumane fashion, selling women and children into slavery and beheading men.

News reports said that ISIL militants were blocking the route of civilians hoping to enter through the the border of Akçakale. Many Syrians then tried to enter Turkey by tearing holes in the large border fence, in the hope of escaping ISIL militants. The refugees were repelled by soldiers, Ayhan said that Turkish authorities were discussing how best to allow the civilians into Turkey.

Some 13,000 refugees have already crossed into Turkey in the last 10 days, according to the Foreign Ministry. Hundreds more are waiting on the Syrian side of the Akçakale border crossing. On Saturday, Turkish military forces prevented the refugees from entering Turkish territory and some soldiers even fired shots into the air. Militants who appeared to be ISIL members forced the refugees waiting at the border, mostly Kurds and Turkmens, to go back to their towns. Some of the refugees were seen trying to convince Turkish soldiers to allow children into the Turkish side.

A member of the moderate Syrian opposition from Tel Abyad, Ekrem Dade, told Today’s Zaman over the weekend that due to the Kurdish People’s Defense Units’ (YPG) shelling the town, many people had to go to the Turkish border. He asked for the Turkish Red Crescent’s help, saying that people in town are in need of water urgently. He said a large number of those people are Turkmens and the temperature is close to 42 degrees. “Don’t let us in through the border. But give us water. Two of our children died recently out of thirst and sickness. There is no doctor left in town,” he said.

Dade also said that ISIL militants are executing tens of people in the town. In the meantime, the US-led coalition forces attacked ISIL targets around Tel Abyad on Saturday and 20 civilians died in the attack.

A statement by the main Syrian Kurdish fighting force, known as the YPG, said its fighters have encircled the ISIL-held town of Suluk, a few kilometers southwest of the strategically important town of Tel Abyad. The YPG is the military arm of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). Turkey says the PYD has links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. But US officials say that the PYD is not a terrorist organization under US law. The US military air-dropped weapons to the PYD forces fighting against ISIL militants in Kobani, a Syrian border town, last October despite Turkey’s warnings that the US not help the PYD.

The YPG statement said ISIL militants have “lost control” over Suluk and Kurdish forces were advancing toward Tel Abyad. It also said the road linking Tel Abyad with Raqqa was under YPG control. The report could not be immediately confirmed. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Kurds were less than 10 kilometers away from Tel Abyad. The loss of Tel Abyad would be a major blow to ISIL.

The border town is a major avenue for commerce for the extremist group, through which it smuggles in foreign fighters and sells black-market oil. The city is also a key link between Turkey and the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, the de-facto capital of ISIL’s self-declared caliphate.

In Syria, a country now split mostly between Islamic militants and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, the US has found a reliable partner in the country’s strongest Kurdish militia, the YPG.

Since the beginning of May, they have wrested back more than 200 Kurdish and Christian towns in northeastern Syria, as well as strategic mountains seized earlier by ISIL. They have recently pushed into Raqqa province, a stronghold of ISIL. Along the way, they have picked up ammunition, weapons and vehicles left behind by the jihadis.

At the Akçakale border crossing, an Associated Press team witnessed hundreds of Syrians, many of them with suitcases and other belongings, standing on the other side. At one point, a group of armed, masked men — likely ISIL militants — approached them and ordered them to return to the town. Fearful, many of them turned back, only to return after about 15 minutes.

Capturing Tel Abyad would open a direct line between Kurdish-controlled territories along the border with Turkey, linking up Kurdish-controlled areas in Hasaka province to the west with Kobani to the east. Such a move is likely to anger Turkey, which sees the YPG as part of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

ISIL still holds about a third of Iraq and Syria, including Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul. ISIL fighters continue to battle Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen for territory north and east of the capital, Baghdad.

Reuters news agency reported on Saturday that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organization that tracks the war, said the YPG fighters were now halfway between Suluk and Tel Abyad. With the help of US-led air strikes, the YPG fended off an ISIL attack on the border town of Kobani, or Ayn al-Arab, in January. Since then, the YPG has emerged as the most significant partner on the ground in Syria for the US-led alliance that is trying to roll back ISIL.

Washington has ruled out the idea of partnering with President Bashar al-Assad, who last month lost the city of Palmyra in central Syria to ISIL — the first time it seized a city directly from government control.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday accused the West of bombing Arabs and Turkmens in Syria while supporting Kurdish “terrorist” groups he said were filling the void left behind.

(Source / 14.06.2015)

Israeli army murders Palestinian in Kafr Malek

Abdullah Eyad Ghanayem, 21 years old, was killed by the Israeli army early morning around 3:00 AM in Kafr Malek, a village north Ramallah.
According to a Palestine Red Crescent Society paramedic that contacted ISM, the soldiers invaded the village around 2:30 AM. The clashes took place and they began shooting tear gas, stun grenades, and live ammunition. They shot the Ghanayem in the back with live ammunition after he allegedly threw stones at the army jeep. The soldiers followed him with the jeep and ran over him and then the jeep rolled over onto him and he was in critical condition and bleeding under the jeep for three hours. The soldiers didn’t allow any ambulance to come close and to give medical care, even the villagers were forbidden to come and try to pull him from under the jeep. The soldiers didn’t care about him. Finally after 3 hours they gave him to the PRCS ambulance. Ghanayem spent 2 years in an Israeli prison, he was released only three months ago.

Photo and information credit goes to the PRCS paramedic that contacted ISM. Their name is not included out of privacy.

Abdullah Eyad Ghanayem in the emergency room.

 

Abdullah Eyad Ghanayem in the emergency room

The battered body of Abdullah Eyad Ghanayem.

 

The battered body of Abdullah Eyad Ghanayem

Wounds on Ghanayem's body

 

Wounds on Ghanayem’s body

(Source / 14.06.2015)

US transfers 6 Yemeni Guantanamo detainees to Oman

Reuters / Bob Strong / Files

For the first time in six months, prisoners held without trial at the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention center have been flown out of Cuba. The Pentagon has announced that six Yemeni men have been transferred to Oman.

“The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Al Khadr Abdallah Muhammad Al Yafi, Fadel Hussein Saleh Hentif, Abd Al-Rahman Abdullah Au Shabati, and Mohammed Ahmed Salam from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to Oman,” the US Department of Defense said in a statement on Saturday.

They had been cleared to leave for years after first being taken into custody in 2002. The departures now leave 116 detainees imprisoned in Guantanamo.

No further large transfers are imminent, a senior US official told Reuters, adding that efforts continue to repatriate prisoners or settle them elsewhere.

President Obama’s pledge to shut down the facility has continually been thwarted by the Republican-dominated Congress, which outlawed bringing any detainees onto domestic soil. That means if prisoners are to be released, they must be sent to their home nation, or more usually, a third country.

Uruguay is one such recipient. The South American nation earlier took in six detainees from Guantanamo, but a dispute between the men and the Uruguayan authorities over the terms of the move led to protests outside the US embassy in Montevideo.

A former Guantanamo prisoner also died in Kazakhstan last month. He had been resettled there after 11 years in Guantanamo. Pentagon did not provide the cause of his death, but the British newspaper the Guardian reported that it was from kidney failure, citing another former prisoner.

Guantanamo Bay was opened in the wake of the 9/11 attacks by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush. But it has been mired in scandal throughout its history with allegations of torture and sexual abuse.

This year, the current administration reiterated its intent to empty the jail by 2017 – the end of Obama’s presidency.

(Source / 14.06.2015)

Israeli forces kill Palestinian in West Bank

The youth has not been identified due to deformation of his body, medics said.

Israeli occupation forces killed on Sunday at dawn a Palestinian youth in West Bank city in Ramallah.

Archive photo of a Palestinian killed by the Israeli occupation forces in the Gaza Strip during the summer of 2014, when more than 2,260 Palestinians were killed, 11,000 others were wounded

Days of Palestine, West Bank –Israeli occupation forces killed on Sunday at dawn a Palestinian youth in West Bank city in Ramallah.

In village of Kafr Mali, in the outskirts of Ramallah, the Israeli occupation forces run after Palestinian protesters throughout the narrow alleyways and fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at them.

One of the armoured military vehicles of the Israeli occupation forces follow a youth in a very small pathway, where the vehicle turned up-side down and smashed the head of the Palestinian youth.

Palestinian medical sources told Days of Palestine that the youth was blocked in the area and kept the youth bleeding until he died. Then, they allowed Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to the area.

The youth arrived in Ramallah Medical Compound, but until writing this report, doctors said, he had not been identified because of the deformation of his body.

(Source / 14.06.2015)

Ramadan, maand van berouw!

[Ramadanbericht nr. 2]

 
Alle lof zij aan Allah, onze barmhartige Heer. Hij Die de mens heeft geschapen en weet wat zijn ziel hem influistert.In het vorige bericht hadden we het al over de mentale voorbereiding die we treffen voor de Ramadan door bewustwording en zelfreflectie. En het mooiste wat hieruit voortvloeit is ongetwijfeld het oprecht tonen van berouw van al onze zonden en tekortkomingen.

Wanneer de gelovige kijkt naar de ontelbare gunsten van Allah, op het gebied van gezondheid, goed onderdak, ruime voorziening e.d. en vervolgens kijkt naar zijn gehoorzaamheid aan Allah en zijn dankbaarheid voor Zijn gunsten, dan kan het niet anders dan dat de gelovige schaamte ervaart. En in zichzelf zegt: ‘O Allah vergeef mij en schenk mij leiding.’   

Mens is zwak
Iedereen begaat zonden. Als mens zijn we zwak en beïnvloedbaar door zoveel factoren. Profeet vrede zij met hem zei:

“Alle kinderen van Adam (i.e. de mens) begaan fouten, en de beste van hen zijn degenen, die (continu) berouw tonen.” [Tirmidhi]

Allah heeft de mens geschapen en kent zijn zwakte, Hij is Zijn dienaren daarom barmhartig en geeft hun de mogelijkheid om van hun zonden af te komen door het tonen van berouw.
 
Eén van de eigenschappen van de vrome gelovigen, is het continu tonen van berouw, iedere keer wanneer zij in een zonde vervallen. Zoals Allah over hen zei:
 
“En degenen die, als zij een zedeloosheid begaan hebben, of zichzelf onrecht aangedaan hebben, daarna Allah gedenken en dan vergeving voor hun zonden vragen, en niemand vergeeft de zonden behalve Allah. En zij hebben geen volharding in wat zij deden (aan zonden), terwijl zij weten (dat ze zondig zijn).” [3:83]
 
Allah is de meest Barmhartige, de Vergevensgezinde en houdt van Zijn dienaren die continu berouw tonen. 

Allah zegt:

Voorwaar, Allah houdt van de berouwvollen (die continu berouw tonen). [2:222]
 
Het verheugt Allah de meest Verhevene wanneer Zijn dienaar naar Hem terugkeert en berouw toont. De volgende overlevering van de profeet vrede zij met hem verduidelijkt de grootte van deze vreugde:
 
“Allah’s vreugde met de berouw van Zijn dienaar, is groter dan die van een persoon in een uitgestrekte gevaarlijke woestijn, van wie al zijn proviand op zijn kameel is. Vervolgens gaat hij slapen en wanneer hij wakker wordt, merkt hij op dat zijn kameel is verdwenen. Hij gaat ernaar op zoek totdat hij het opgeeft door hevige dorst. Dan zegt hij: ‘ik ga maar terug naar mijn plek en wacht tot de dood mij bereikt!’

Vervolgens plaats hij zijn hoofd op zijn arm en gaat liggen, wachtend op de dood. Plotseling wordt hij wakker en is zijn kameel terug, met proviand en al. Allah’s vreugde met de berouw van Zijn dienaar, is groter dan de vreugde van deze persoon met het terugvinden van zijn kameel!” [Sahih Moslim]
 
Allah de meest Genadevolle houdt zo veel van onze terugkeer naar Hem, en toch gaan wij door met het zondigen zonder het tonen van berouw!
 
Voorwaarden berouw
Het tonen van berouw moet aan een aantal voorwaarden voldoen opdat dit oprecht is en door Allah wordt geaccepteerd:
 
1) Spijt hebben van de begane zonde.
 
De gelovige ervaart de zonde als pijn in het hart. Hij heeft pas rust, nadat hij oprecht berouw heeft getoond. Als dit jouw situatie is beste broeder of zuster, weet dan dat jouw hart nog levende is. Bega je zonden en ervaar je geen spijt, weet dan dat er iets mis is.
 
2) Laten van de zonde.
 
Een persoon heeft enkel berouw wanneer hij de zonde ook daadwerkelijk laat. En van de tekenen van het oprecht tonen van berouw is, dat je niet alleen maar de zonde laat, maar ook afstand neemt van alle wegen die jou leiden naar deze zonde, want elke zonde heeft een inleiding. Daarom zegt Allah ook: “En volgt niet de voetstappen van de duivel.” [2:208]
 
Degene die bijvoorbeeld berouw heeft van het drinken van alcohol, moet niet in een bar gaan zitten of zitten met mensen die drinken. Degene die berouw heeft van overspel en buitenechtelijke relaties, moet geen verboden contact houden met het andere geslacht.
 
3) Vastberadenheid om niet weer in die zonde te vervallen. 
 
Naast het hebben van spijt en het laten van de zonde, dient de gelovige vastberaden te zijn om niet weer in dezelfde zonde te vervallen. Mocht een persoon afzwakken en weer in die zonde vervallen, dan toont hij nogmaals berouw. 

De angst, om weer in een begane zonde te vervallen, weerhoudt velen van berouw, waardoor ze dan zeggen: ‘ik blijf liever die zonde verrichten dan dat ik berouw toon en weer terugval.’ Dit is één van de listen van de duivel om jou van berouw te weerhouden, dus wees gewaarschuwd.
 
Zo doen ook sommigen van onze broeders en zusters niet mee met al het goede in deze gezegende maand met als excuus dat ze niet hypocriet willen zijn door opeens met Ramadan ‘vroom’ te gaan doen. Dit is een andere list om jou altijd ver van het goede te houden!  
 
Als een zonde ook onrecht bevat naar de mensen toe, zoals diefstal bijvoorbeeld, dan komt er een vierde voorwaarde bij (opdat de berouw oprecht is). En dat is in dit voorbeeld: de mensen hun bezittingen teruggeven.
 
Barmhartigheid van Allah
Ga niet door met het verrichten van zonden beste broeder of zuster denkend dat Allah jouw zonden toch niet vergeeft. Als jij oprecht berouw toont door aan de eerdergenoemde voorwaarden te voldoen, dan vergeeft Allah jou. Ook al zijn jouw zonden als de bergen in omvang en ook al heb je de meest afschuwelijke dingen gedaan.
 
Allah zegt: 

Zeg: “O mijn dienaren die buitensporig (met zonden) tegenover zichzelf waren, wanhoopt niet aan de Genade van Allah. Voorwaar, Allah vergeeft alle zonden. Voorwaar, Hij is de Vergevensgezinde, de meest Barmhartige.” [39: 53]
 
En de profeet vrede zij met hem zei: “Degene die berouw toont van een zonde, is als degene die geen zonde heeft.” [ibn Maajah]
 
Beste broeders en zusters:
Als we de start van deze gezegende maand niet aangrijpen om oprecht berouw te tonen van onze zonden, wanneer gaan we dat dan wel doen?
 
Moge Allah ons doen behoren tot Zijn berouwvolle dienaren, zij die iedere keer wanneer ze in een zonde vervallen Zijn grootheid gedenken en berouwvol naar Hem terugkeren.

Abulfadl.
Student aan de Universiteit van Medina, Saudi Arabië.

27 Sha’baan 1436 / 14 juni 2015

ROHINGYA – END THE ETHNIC CLEANSING

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It seems the hysteria is dying down; to the circle of the usual activists and those who fight relentlessly to get as much attention to the cause and to the few news and organizations who are still covering the story. But it’s the same cycle, attention and news for a while and everyone else carries on till some other big story hits.
The “boat people” which has been termly coined with the latest breaking story, uncovered massive exploitation ring, some known for a while and some newly “discovered” information of torture, ransom and detention.

As much as sensationalism goes, not much has changed in regards to a great breakthrough and hope for the Rohingya. Someone once wrote “sadly the Rohingya people’s sufferings do not appear to be deemed newsworthy by world media”. ..and pretty much true.

We have heard from the Dalai Lama, the respected Desmond TuTu and Barrack Obama the President of the United States who made a statement of a few words, referring to the plight and matter as “a great test for the democracy of future” and “to take very seriously this issue of how the Rohingya are treated”.

World heads and world leaders and famous people championing the plight of the Rohingya; but what has it actually accomplished?

For now the heat is on the trafficking ring, so that will stop for a bit. But sadly in time, many more will be pushed to take that risk again for a better chance at life and a new cycle will start.

We have help given to the ones who have made land in Indonesia and some in Malaysia. Help with money and aid to house them and care for them after the harrowing ordeal at sea. Many organizations and individuals have gone there- don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic gesture to see the level of kindness and love, humanity with people from all over coming to help. It’s beautiful and it is heartwarming.

Remember the words by Chinua Achebe “While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.”? Not to devalue the humanity and humanitarian gesture and not saying to remove charity at all, because God knows we the people of the world with its current global condition, charity will continue and it kinda has to.

It’s looking at a solution. A durable shot at changing the situation and maybe a bit of the world.

Just look at where we are at now.

Paranoia. The whole world is gripped with it. Fear. Oh my god yeah.

Hatred. Racism.

Greed. Phisshh…. wheels turning to explore and exploit the already down and out, making money out of the misery of others.

For the Rohingya, the conditions don’t exist for them to go back where they came from. The Burmese government stripped the Rohingya of the right to hold temporary identification cards, but did not guarantee the full rights of a citizen. So what is that really? Feels like a living nightmare that your house, although it’s yours but you’re not allowed to have any rights, someone else gets to dictate what and how you get to live and you will probably get killed or your family members, while all you can do is you just watch it happen.

A process of “ethnic cleansing and genocide”, let that sink in your perspective for a bit.

It’s no use to use the plaster effect, Band-Aid actions if you will, it doesn’t help the root of all the happenings we are witnessing.

Temporary measures would not be durable nor good for the people. Many more Rohingya children will be born “Stateless” in the countries who have been kind to take them in and many many more will be born in the camps. Many more will go to the seas again. No rights and dignity as a world citizen, and at the mercy of the host country still dictating what can be allowed to be provided to the Refugees.

Boycott Burma. The nations of ASEAN, God bless them, whatever gestures, pressured or otherwise, that they have given. It puts a lot of stress on their own governments to take in the people but still not solving the stateless position of the Rohingya. Another child would grow up without rights to proper education, another mother would be giving birth to a child whose future of his life and roots will be soon be erased if this continues and just living on a hope or dream to be elevated instead of persecuted.

Boycott Burma, with trade and economic sanctions. The leaders of ASEAN countries should stop being an indirect accomplice to the Ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. Full rights to return home and all the rights as a citizen of Myanmar must be demanded with no compromise till that is achieved, instead of complaining, instead of just fixing up meetings and more exchanges of diplomatic words.

I am not of a political expert or anything like that but maybe just enough to dream of a better way because I am sick of watching the way the people have to live, merely existing sometimes. Maybe cordon off land on Myanmar soil with Peacekeeping force mending and looking out for angry mobs targeting the Rohingya for a change. And let the people build back their lives in a system, working towards coexistence with the country, I don’t know how. But living and running in fear, in severe lack of rights, no freedom and unknown, bleak future is not what they or we want in any spot in our lives or country.

The POTUS has spoken and says to “take very seriously this issue of how the Rohingya are treated”. How about doing something to stop the persecution, stop the Genocide.

So can we do it? Countless petitions has been signed, many more demonstration and protests and talks have been done. What does it take for us, you, me, we, them, and the other leaders to put a stop on a 21st century genocide?

If Justice stands for something then the Rohingya deserves to live on the land their past generations have lived on, if humanity is preached and worshipped by the majority people there, then brotherhood should be respected and restored. If peace is possible let it be what we wish for others too.

A dream maybe, a human need to belong and live in peace, not pieces, co existing well, because it is possible.

I remember a young Rohingya man asked me once when I visited the camp last year, most heartbreaking question I couldn’t find words to answer while I stood & listened to them is this

“Why? (the injustice) ..We have dreams too” #Rohingya
~Liz MYS ❤️