Bahia Amawi, a primary school teacher in Texas who was fired for refusing to sign an anti-BDS oath in her contract
A primary school teacher in Texas has been fired for refusing to sign an anti-BDS oath embedded in her employment contract. Bahia Amawi is a language specialist who works with autistic and speech-impaired primary school children. She has been told that she can no longer work in the state’s public schools after she “refused to sign an oath vowing that she ‘does not’ and ‘will not’ engage in a boycott of Israel or ‘otherwise take any action that is intended to inflict economic harm [on Israel]’,” the Intercept revealed yesterday.
Amawi has held a contract with Pflugerville Independent School District – the body which oversees schools in and around Texas state capital Austin – for almost ten years, but upon renewing her contract in August discovered an additional clause had been inserted into the paperwork. The clause required Amawi to pledge that she “does not currently boycott Israel,” that she “will not boycott Israel during the term of the contract” and that she will refrain from any action “that is intended to penalise, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel, or with a person or entity doing business in Israeli or in an Israel-controlled territory.”
Such phrasing would effectively bar Amawi from supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, boycotting goods produced on illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank or even expressing support for either of these actions since, as the Intercept points out, “such speech could be seen as ‘intended to penalise, inflict economic harm on, or limit commercial relations with Israel’.”
Speaking to the Intercept, Amawi explained: “It’s baffling that [the school district] can throw this [clause] down our throats and decide to protect another country [Israel]’s economy versus protecting our [US] constitutional rights. If I [signed the contract], I would not only be betraying Palestinians suffering under an occupation that I believe is unjust and thus, become complicit in their repression, but I’d also be betraying my fellow Americans by enabling violations of our constitutional rights to free speech and to protest peacefully.”
Upon refusing to sign the contract, Amawi was told by her school district supervisor that her employment would not be renewed.
The incident has sparked a fierce legal debate, with Amawi filing a lawsuit which argues the clause violates her right to free speech under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. According to Haaretz, the lawsuit claims that, “The Supreme Court has recognised that nonviolent boycotts intended to advance civil rights constitute ‘form[s] of speech or conduct that [are] ordinarily entitled to protection under the First and Fourteenth Amendments’.” The lawsuit will point to a precedent in which it was ruled that, “While states have broad power to regulate economic activities, there is no comparable right to prohibit peaceful political activity such as boycotts.”
READ: ACLU warns Congress anew against criminalising boycotts of Israel
The clause was entered into Amawi’s contract after Texas enacted a law in May 2017 prohibiting state agencies from signing contracts with companies that boycott Israel. The law – known as HB 89 – required the Texas Comptroller’s Office to make a list of all companies that boycott Israel and to hand this list to state agencies, which would then be banned from forming contracts with these blacklisted companies. The law also prevented state pension funds from investing in companies which support BDS.
Texas is not the only US state to have enacted an anti-BDS law. Illinois became the first state to adopt such legislation in 2015, with a further 25 states following this model since then, including the State of New York, California and Florida. A further 13 states have anti-BDS legislation pending, including Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington.
US support for BDS was thrust into the spotlight in September when, citing the movement, a professor from the American University of Michigan refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student who wished to study in Israel. John Cheney-Lippold’s stance drew anger from pro-Israel organisations in the US, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which have worked to counter growing support for the movement. Since then, other university faculties have vowed to back BDS, as has newly-elected Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, who in November became one of the first two Middle Eastern-heritage women to be elected to the US Congress.
Statue of the late Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani was demolished by Israeli authorities on 17 December 2018
Israeli authorities demolished a statue of the late Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani yesterday in the northern city of Acre, Quds Press has reported. The statue was erected by relatives and Palestinian activists at the entrance of Nabi Saleh Cemetery in the city, Kanafani’s birthplace.
Israel’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Aryeh Deri, ordered the demolition after an intervention by Minister of Culture Miri Regev. “It is impossible for the statue of someone like this man to remain,” said the right-wing Regev. “He was a prominent member of a group which killed Israelis.” She pointed out that Kanafani is still a cultural and national hero for the Palestinians.
In fact, Kanafani was one of the most well-known Palestinian and Arab writers and journalists of the 20th century. Deri, though, claimed that the statue was demolished because it was of a “terrorist”, saying that Kanafani was affiliated to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is a “terrorist group”.
The Popular Committee in Akka expressed its deep anger at the demolition of the statue. “He is still scaring the state of Israel, its intelligence agencies and its army even while he is dead,” said the Committee.
Ghassan Kanafani was born in the city of Akka in the north of Palestine on 8 April, 1936, during the British Mandate occupation era. He rejected the Israeli occupation in 1948 and became active against it, writing novels and articles denouncing the state and joining the PFLP. On 8 July, 1972, the writer was assassinated in Beirut by a bomb planted in his car by the Israeli Mossad spy agency.
Nidal Fakih, a bus driver from the Shuafat neighbourhood of Jerusalem, was attacked by settlers 13 December 2018
The Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ruled yesterday that a brutal attack on an unarmed Palestinian bus driver was “road rage”, denying that the incident constituted a hate crime.
Nidal Fakih, a bus driver from the Shuafat neighbourhood of Jerusalem, was attacked on Thursday night while driving to Modi’in Illit, an ultra-Orthodox settlement north of the city in the occupied West Bank. He told the authorities that he had been dropping off passengers at the illegal settlement when two Israelis boarded the bus and began speaking to him; when they realised that he was a Palestinian they began to beat him.
Footage which emerged on social media shortly after the attack showed Fakih bleeding severely from his left eye and unable to move from his seat, clearly in shock. He was later hospitalised with “lacerations to his face, a fractured eye socket and several cracked ribs,” the Times of Israel reported yesterday.
However, despite the severity of the attack and the fact that Israeli police had on Friday said they believed the incident was nationalistically motivated, the Magistrates’ Court in Israeli-controlled Jerusalem ruled on Monday that the attack did not constitute a hate crime. “There is no evidence that this was a racist incident, rather [than] an altercation between drivers,” Israeli judge Chavi Toker said at the hearing. Toker also refused to allow the suspect — a 20-year-old Israeli settler from Modi’in Illit – to be remanded in custody; instead, he ordered him to be kept under house arrest until Friday.
The attack on Fakih came during several days of intense violence across the occupied Palestinian territories, which saw repeated settler attacks on Palestinians and the killing of several Palestinians by Israeli forces. In the early hours of Thursday, Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinians, 29-year-old Saleh Omar Al-Barghouthi and 23-year-old Ashraf Naalwa. In Al-Bireh, near Ramallah, on Wednesday, they also killed 60-year-old Hamdan Al-Arda. The victim’s family members said that he suffered from hearing loss and most likely failed to hear Israeli soldiers’ warnings to stop, with their presence causing him to lose control of the car. The Israelis shot and killed him nonetheless.
On Friday, illegal Israeli settlers carried out dozens of so-called “price-tag” attacks when they attacked Palestinian vehicles and shot at Palestinian homes. Dozens of settler youths gathered near the illegal Israeli outpost of Giv’at Assaf – south of Ofra on Route 60 – to throw stones at passing Palestinian vehicles, while on Thursday night settlers stormed Ein Yabroud, north east of Ramallah, and opened fire on Palestinian homes.
Such assaults have continued into this week, with a Palestinian teen left injured on Monday evening after being run over by an Israeli settler south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Nineteen-year-old Muhammed Mahmoud Odeh Ghazal, from the nearby village of Kisan, was transferred to hospital with multiple injuries after a settler, believed to be from Ma’ale Amos, hit him with a car at a road junction.
Thus far Israel has not opened investigations into these settler attacks. Even in the event that investigations are opened, Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din estimates that only three per cent of investigations into Palestinians hurt by Israeli citizens since 2005 have resulted in conviction.
It’s time for Israel to accept that as an occupied people, Palestinians have a right to resist – in every way possible
Long ago, it was settled that resistance and even armed struggle against a colonial occupation force is not just recognised under international law but specifically endorsed.
In accordance with international humanitarian law, wars of national liberation have been expressly embraced, through the adoption of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 (pdf), as a protected and essential right of occupied people everywhere.
Finding evolving vitality in humanitarian law, for decades the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) – once described as the collective conscience of the world – has noted the right of peoples to self-determination, independence and human rights.
Indeed, as early as 1974, resolution 3314 of the UNGA prohibited states from “any military occupation, however temporary”.
In relevant part, the resolution not only went on to affirm the right “to self-determination, freedom and independence […] of peoples forcibly deprived of that right,[…] particularly peoples under colonial and racist regimes or other forms of alien domination” but noted the right of the occupied to “struggle … and to seek and receive support” in that effort.
The term “armed struggle” was implied without precise definition in that resolution and many other early ones that upheld the right of indigenous persons to evict an occupier.
This imprecision was to change on December 3, 1982. At that time UNGA resolution37/43 removed any doubt or debate over the lawful entitlement of occupied people to resist occupying forces by any and all lawful means. The resolution reaffirmed “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle”.
A palpable illusion
Though Israel has tried, time and time again, to recast the unambiguous intent of this precise resolution – and thus place its now half-century-long occupation in the West Bank and Gaza beyond its application – it is an effort worn thin to the point of palpable illusion by the exacting language of the declaration itself. In relevant part, section 21 of the resolution strongly condemned “the expansionist activities of Israel in the Middle East and the continual bombing of Palestinian civilians, which constitute a serious obstacle to the realization of the self-determination and independence of the Palestinian people”.
Never ones to hesitate in rewriting history, long before the establishment of the United Nations, European Zionists deemed themselves to be an occupied people as they emigrated to Palestine – a land to which any historical connection they had had long since passed through a largely voluntary transit.
Indeed, a full 50 years before the UN spoke of the right of armed struggle as a vehicle of indigenous liberation, European Zionists illegally co-opted the concept as the Irgun, Lehiand other terrorist groups undertook a decade’s long reign of deadly mayhem.
During this time, they slaughtered not only thousands of indigenous Palestinians but targeted British police and military personnel that had long maintained a colonial presence there.
A history of Zionist attacks
Perhaps, as Israelis sit down to mourn the loss of twoof their soldiers who were shot dead this past week in Jerusalem – in what many consider to be a lawful act of resistance – a visit down memory lane might just place the events in their proper historical context.
On April 12, 1938, the Irgun murdered two British police officers in a train bombing in Haifa. On August 26, 1939, two British officers were killed by an Irgun landmine in Jerusalem. On February 14, 1944, two British constables were shot dead when they attempted to arrest people for pasting up wall posters in Haifa. On September 27, 1944, more than 100 members of the Irgun attacked four British police stations, injuring hundreds of officers. Two days later a senior British police officer of the Criminal Intelligence Department was assassinated in Jerusalem.
On November 1, 1945, another police officer was killed as five trains were bombed. On December 27, 1945, seven British officers lost their lives in a bombing on police headquarters in Jerusalem. Between November 9 and 13, 1946, Jewish “underground” members launched a series of landmine and suitcase bomb attacks in railway stations, trains, and streetcars, killing 11 British soldiers and policemen and eight Arab constables.
Four more officers were murdered in another attack on a police headquarters on January 12, 1947. Nine months later, four British police were murdered in an Irgun bank robbery and, but three days later, on September 26, 1947, an additional 13 officers were killed in yet another terrorist attack on a British police station.
These are but a few of many attacks directed by Zionist terrorists at British police who were seen, by mostly European Jews, as legitimate targets of a campaign they described as one of liberation against an occupation force.
Throughout this period, Jewish terrorists also undertook countless attacks that spared no part of the British and Palestinian infrastructure. They assaulted British military and police installations, government offices, and ships, often with bombs. They also sabotaged railways, bridges, and oil installations. Dozens of economic targets were attacked, including 20 trains that were damaged or derailed, and five train stations. Numerous attacks were carried out against the oil industry including one, in March 1947, on a Shell oil refinery in Haifa which destroyed some 16,000 tonnes of petroleum.
Zionist terrorists killed British soldiers throughout Palestine, using booby traps, ambushes, snipers, and vehicle blasts.
One attack, in particular, sums up the terrorism of those who, without any force of international law at the time, saw no limitation to their efforts to “liberate” a land that they had, largely, only recently emigrated to.
In 1947, the Irgun kidnapped two British Army Intelligence Corps non-commissioned officers and threatened to hang them if death sentences of three of their own members were carried out. When these three Irgun members were executed by hanging, the two British sergeants were hanged in retaliation and their booby-trapped bodies were left in an eucalyptus grove.
In announcing their execution, the Irgun said that the two British soldiers were hanged following their conviction for “criminal anti-Hebrew activities” which included: illegal entry into the Hebrew homeland and membership in a British criminal terrorist organisation – known as the Army of Occupation – which was “responsible for the torture, murder, deportation, and denying the Hebrew people the right to live”. The soldiers were also charged with illegal possession of arms, anti-Jewish spying in civilian clothes, and premeditated hostile designs against the underground (pdf).
Well beyond the territorial confines of Palestine, in late 1946-47 a continuing campaign of terrorism was directed at the British. Acts of sabotage were carried out on British military transportation routes in Germany. The Lehi also tried, unsuccessfully, to drop a bomb on the House of Commons from a chartered plane flown from France and, in October 1946, bombed the British Embassy in Rome. A number of other explosive devices were detonated in and around strategic targets in London. Some 21 letter bombs were addressed, at various times, to senior British political figures. Many were intercepted, while others reached their targets but were discovered before they could go off.
The steep price of self-determination
Self-determination is a difficult, costly march for the occupied. In Palestine, no matter what the weapon of choice – whether voice, pen or gun – there is a steep price to be paid for its use.
Today, “speaking truth to power” has become very much a popular mantra of resistance in neoliberal circles and societies. In Palestine, however, for the occupied and oppressed, it is an all-but-certain path to prison or death. Yet, for generations of Palestinians stripped of the very breath that resonates with the feeling of freedom, history teaches there is simply no other choice.
Silence is surrender. To be silent is to betray all those who have come before and all those yet to follow.
For those who have never felt the constant yoke of oppression, or seen it up close, it is a vision beyond comprehension. Occupation sits heavy on the occupied, every day in every way, limiting who you are and what you may dare to become.
The constant rub of barricades, guns, orders, prison and death are fellow travellers for the occupied, whether infants, teens in the spring of life, the elderly, or those trapped by the artificial confines of borders over which they have no control.
To the families of the two Israeli Druze policemen who lost their lives while trying to control a place that was not theirs to command, I extend my condolences. These young men were, however, not lost to the ring of resistance, but willingly sacrificed by an evil occupation that bears no legitimacy whatsoever.
Ultimately, if there is grieving to be done, it must be for the 11 million occupied, whether in Palestine or outside, as so much stateless refugees, stripped of a meaningful voice and opportunity, as the world makes excuses built largely of a political and economic gift box that bears the Star of David.
Not a day goes by now without the chilling wail of a nation watching over a Palestinian infant wrapped in a burial shroud, stripped of life because electricity or transit have become a perverse privilege which holds millions hostage to the political whims of the few. Be they Israeli, Egyptian or those who claim to carry the mantle of Palestinian political leadership, the responsibility of infanticide in Gaza is theirs and theirs alone.
‘If there is no struggle, there is no progress’
The three young men, cousins, who willingly sacrificed their lives in the attack on the two Israeli officers in Jerusalem, did so not as an empty gesture born of desperation, but rather a personal statement of national pride that follows a long line of others who well understood that the price of freedom can, at times, mean all.
For 70 years, not a day has passed without the loss of young Palestinian women and men who, tragically, found greater dignity and freedom in martyrdom than they did in obedient, passive living controlled by those who dared to dictate the parameters of their lives.
Millions of us worldwide dream of a better time and place for Palestinians … free to spread their wings, to soar, to discover who they are and what they wish to become. Until then, I mourn not for the loss of those who stop their flight. Instead, I applaud those who dare to struggle, dare to win – by any means necessary.
There is no magic to resistance and struggle. They transcend time and place and derive their very meaning and ardour in the natural inclination, indeed, drive, of us all to be free – to be free to determine the role of our own lives.
In Palestine, no such freedom exists. In Palestine, international law recognises the fundamental rights to self-determination, freedom and independence for the occupied. In Palestine, that includes the right to armed struggle, if necessary.
Long ago, the famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass, himself a former slave, wrote of struggle. These words resonate no less so today, in Palestine, than they did some one 150 years ago in the heart of the Antebellum South in the United States:
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
17-year-old Palestinian boy Ayham Sabah was sentenced by the Israeli occupation’s Ofer military court to 35 years in prison on 17 December 2018. Ayham, from the village of Beitunia near Ramallah, was also ordered to pay a fine of 1 million NIS (approximately $300,000.) He was accused of stabbing an Israeli occupation soldier inside the illegal colonial settlement in 2016 at the age of 14. The occupation soldier, who was also himself an illegal settler in the Ma’aleh Michmash settlement, died of his injuries.
The hefty fine was labeled “compensation” for the family of the occupation soldier. Ayham was there with Omar Rimawi, who was also 14. While Omar was shot and killed by another settler, Ayham was severely wounded in his shoulder, foot and hand after being shot. Both were denied medical care for long periods of time before being removed from the scene. Ayham’s father, Bassam Sabah, spoke with Asra Voice radio, saying that the lengthy sentence reflected the racism of the occupation, that does not see Palestinian children as children. Further, the father said that the verdict did not weaken his son’s morale. “He considers the sentence to have no value, because his hope for freedom is much greater,” he said.
In addition, Ayham’s father said that his son’s sentence is not an isolated incident but a price imposed on Palestinians wherever they are and a suffering that will not end until Palestine achieves its freedom. “Steadfastness and survival is our only option,” he noted.
Ayham is one of over 200 Palestinian children imprisoned by Israel, including 41 under the age of 16. Palestinian children are even detained without charge or trial under so-called “administrative detention,” facing indefinite renewal on the basis of secret evidence. He is not the only Palestinian child facing extreme sentences: Muawiya Alqam, 14, was sentenced to six and a half years in Israeli prison; Ahmad Manasrah, 14, to 10 years in prison; Nurhan Awad, 17, to 13 years in Israeli prison. In several of these cases, including those of Ahmad and Nurhan – like Ayman – a close friend or family member, also a child, was shot down and killed in front of the surviving child.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network condemns the sentencing of Ayham Sabah and demands justice and freedom for imprisoned Palestinian children. We further call for international action to compel the Israeli state to respect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and end international military aid and assistance that funds the imprisonment and torture of Palestinian children.
The imprisonment of children highlights the necessity of building the movement to boycott Israel, including economic, cultural and academic boycott and the imposition of a military embargo. The imprisonment, oppression, and killing of Palestinian children by the Israeli occupation is part and parcel of the Israeli colonial project in Palestine, and the only true freedom for Palestinian children will be achieved through the freedom of the Palestinian people and the liberation of Palestine.
Palestinian medical sources have reported that a young man was injured, on Monday evening, by a speeding Israeli colonialist settler who rammed him with his car, east of the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank.
The sources said Mohammad Mahmoud Ghazal, 19, suffered lacerations and bruises to various parts of his body, and was moved to a clinic in Teqoua’ town, before he was transferred to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital, in Bethlehem.
The Palestinian was injured near al-Minya village junction, close to the illegal Maali Amos colony, which was built on Palestinian lands.
All colonies in the occupied West Bank, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention to which Israel is a signatory and a constant violator.
The international observational organization, Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), has compiled the situation of Hebron city, over the last 20 years, into a single, significant and damning report.
According to an anonymous source who has read the report, speaking to Haaretz newspaper, the report revealed that Israel has been in severe and regular breach of a number of international and internal laws that they once vowed to uphold.
For a long time, Hebron has been a contentious place, having being divided in two under the 1997 Hebron Protocol. The Palestinian Authority controls 80% of Hebron city, with its 175,000 Palestinian inhabitants, known as H1. Israeli Forces control H2, which some 40,000 Palestinians live along with up to 800 Israeli settlers.
TIPH has been observing and monitoring the daily situation in Hebron with a goal of assisting and reporting on the maintenance of ‘normal life’. However, looking back on the last few years, the 100 page document shows that life in Hebron is anything but normal.
As an occupying nation, Israel is obligated by international rule to protect civilians that are being occupied, with a particular requirement of upholding the right to non-discrimination.
According to the PNN, explicit counts of favoritism to Israeli settlers and the oppression of Palestinians observed by TIPH’s 64 international mission members disprove any illusion of two peoples living side by side in equality.
Religion is a good example to illuminate the stark contrast between the treatment of the inhabitants of Hebron.
Jewish worshipers have had roads built for their convenience that cuts through Palestinian farmlands, with old Ottoman houses demolished to widen the road for their commute to pray.
For Muslims, on the other hand, their journey to the holy Ibrahimi Mosque is literally obstructed by Israeli security checkpoints at the only two access points to reach the mosque, where they get searched and sometimes even strip searched.
In addition to this, the Israeli military restricted the Muezzin from announcing the call to prayer, especially on Friday nights and Saturdays due to Jewish Shabbat. In fact, last month alone, Israeli forces silenced the Ibrahimi athan 47 times as to not annoy the Israeli settlers who also attend another section of the holy site.
Discrimination via freedom of movement
This continual prioritization of settlers and the suppression of Palestinians in H2 by Israel is also evident in people’s freedom of movement, the report states.
A notorious example that illustrates this is Shuhada Street. It used to be a bustling Palestinian market place, a commercial hub for merchants and a popular thoroughfare. Since Israeli forces prohibited Palestinians to drive on this road and restricted access to pedestrians, the once thriving shopping center now resembles an ghost-like town, deserted and empty, with all its buildings shuttered.
Israeli citizens, however, can enjoy exclusive freedom of movement with full access to all roads. This also extends to movement between suburbs and townships, where many Palestinians struggle through unpleasant checkpoints manned by Israeli forces.
Next steps The confidential report, exclusive to only the internal members of Israel, Palestinian authority and TIHP’s member countries (Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey) has overseen 40,000 incident reports against Israel’s actions in Hebron over the last 20 years. Haaretz said the report concluded with stating that the situation in Hebron is going in the opposite direction to what the Hebron Protocol was aiming to achieve.
TIPH’s detailed report does not provide any recommendations for action to be taken by any government – neither internal nor external. It is merely a reflection on the dire situation in the torn city of Hebron, over the last two decades.
Prophet Mohammad PBUH emphasised how Allah values a just ruler when he said: “There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade: a just ruler; a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic; a man whose heart is attached to the mosques; two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting upon that; a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position [for illegal intercourse], but be says: ‘I fear Allaah’; a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity; and a man who remembered Allaah in private and so his eyes shed tears.” [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
Allah says in the Quran (5:8): “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealings and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety. Fear Allah, indeed Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.”
We can learn a lot from looking at an incident that surrounds Amr Ibn Al Aas, who was a companion of the Prophet PBUH and also the ruler of Egypt under the rightly guided Caliph Umar Ibn al -Khattab.
A man from the Copts (Copts are Egyptian Christians) came to Umar ibn al-Khattab in Al-Madinah and said: “O Commander of the Faithful! I seek refuge in you from oppression.” Umar RA replied: “You have sought refuge where it is to be sought.” The Egyptian (Copt) said: “I was racing the son of ‘Amr ibn al-’Aas, and I defeated him. Then he (the son of Amr Ibn Al Aas) began to beat me with a whip saying: I am the Son of Nobles! (He is referring to the fact that his father is a companion of the Prophet and the ruler of Egypt).”
As a result, Umar RA (the Caliph) wrote to Amr (the ruler of Egypt) commanding him to come with his son. When they came to Umar he inquired: “Where is the Egyptian (Copt)?” And then said: “The Egyptian (Copt) has to take the whip and beat your son Amr!” Consequently, the Egyptian began actually to beat the son of Amr with the whip while, Umar RA says to him: “Beat the Son of Nobles!”
Anas said, “So he beat him. I swear by Allah, as he was beating him, we all pitied his wailing. He did not desist until we stopped him.” Then Umar told the Copt to beat Amr. He (the Copt) replied: “O Commander of the Faithful! It was his son who beat me, and I have evened the score with him.”
Caliph Umar RA’s famous quote encapsulates the essence of justice in Islam, “Since when do you enslave the people when their mothers bore them as free?”. Amr said: “O Commander of the Faithful! I was unaware of this, and he (the Copt) did not come to me (seeking justice).”
The lesson learnt here is that Islam is an egalitarian religion where Muslims and non Muslims have equal rights. The model of leadership presented by the Prophet Mohammad PBUH and the rightly guided Caliphs, exemplifies how Muslim leaders should rule with Islamic values, of justice, meritocracy, equality etc. Thus this necessitates that we hold our rulers and politicians accountable if they fail to apply these values, whether deliberately or not. Holding politicians to account and opposing their wrong doing is an important part of our Islamic duties to forbid evil. The Ummah (Muslim nation) is in such a sad state of affairs because we allowed corrupt incompetent and criminal dictators to rule us.
One of the biggest enemies of Muslims is the dictatorial tyrannical governments that are ruling Muslim countries. These tyrants are a plague on Muslims. They are an obstacle to progress and development. These corrupt regimes are obstacles to science, justice and progress.
May the Arab Spring succeed in toppling corrupt governments and shake the thrones of tyrants.
The Israeli military on Tuesday invaded the Palestinian neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukaber in Jerusalem and demolished two Palestinian-owned apartment buildings under the pretext that they were “built without a permit”.
Israel has issued no permits for Palestinians to build on their land in Jerusalem since 1967, but the excuse is frequently provided for the demolition of Palestinian homes in areas that they are trying to annex that these homes are “constructed without a permit”.
According to local news sources, the Israeli military bulldozers, backed by troops from the special forces and Israeli police from Jerusalem, stormed the neighborhood of Farouk in the Jabal al-Mukaber area of southern Jerusalem. They then surrounded two apartment buildings and prepared the demolition process.
The buildings were owned by the Aql family, and were meant to house the grown children of Amin Fahma. One of the family members is about to get married, and was supposed to move into one of the units after the wedding. The building was recently completed, and was about 200 square meters in size.
The family had filed an appeal with the court of the Israeli government’s rejection of their construction, and had just last week had that appeal denied by the Israeli High Court.