Heated clashes erupt in several West Bank towns 1May11

Intense clashes flared in the West Bank districts of Al-Khalil and Nablus on Sunday morning, but no injuries have been reported.

Locals reported that Jewish settlers seeped into the Iraq and Burin villages southwest of Nablus city in northern West Bank in a bid to provoke and terrorize Palestinian residents.

Clashes broke out after locals addressed the attacks backed by the Israeli army.

The same morning, the Israeli army stormed the Abu Ishnineh district in southern Al-Khalil in search of youths suspected of throwing stones at them.

Locals told PIC correspondent that violent clashes ensued between the soldiers and dozens of youth amid a shower of rubber-coated bullets and gas and stun grenades.

Youth responded with stones and bottles without report of injury.

Earlier on Saturday, heated clashes ignited in the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Jerusalem’s Arab Silwan district.

Locals said youth hurled molotov cocktails on the roof of a Palestinian structure occupied by the Israeli army in order to protect nearby Jewish settlers and their armed militias.

Locals sustained breathing difficulties after the soldiers showered the community with gas grenades in pursuit of the youths.

(australiansforpalestine.com / 01.05.2011)

Deutsche Bahn stapt uit spoorproject Israël

Het Duitse spoorbedrijf Deutsche Bahn trekt zich terug uit een omstreden spoorproject in Israël. Dat heeft een woordvoerder van Deutsche Bahn zondag bevestigd naar aanleiding van berichtgeving in het blad Der Spiegel. Het project leidde tot veel protesten van pro-Palestijnse actiegroeperingen. Een dochterbedrijf van Deutsche Bahn trad op als adviseur bij de bouw van een nieuwe hogesnelheidsverbinding tussen Jeruzalem en Tel Aviv. Een deel van het spoortraject loopt over een lengte van 6 kilometer via de Westelijke Jordaanoever. Het 1,2 miljard euro kostende project moet uiterlijk in 2017 af zijn en verbindt de twee steden in een reistijd van 28 minuten. De rit over het bestaande traject duurt anderhalf uur.

Een groot deel van het spoortraject op de Westelijke Jordaanoever loopt via tunnels onder de grond. Actiegroepen vinden echter dat daardoor toch land van de Palestijnen wordt afgepakt en internationale regels worden geschonden. Deutsche Bahn gaf geen reden voor het besluit zich uit het project terug te trekken.

Israël heeft altijd aangegeven dat ook de Palestijnen zullen profiteren van het spoorproject. Er zou al begonnen zijn met de planning van de bouw van een spooruitbreiding die de stad Ramallah op de Westelijke Jordaanoever verbindt met de Gazastrook.

(www.parool.nl / 01.05.2011)

Egypt calls on US to recognize Palestinian state

CAIRO (AFP) – Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi on Sunday called on the United States to recognize a Palestinian state, as rival Palestinian factions prepare to sign a reconciliation accord in Cairo.

Arabi urged visiting US Congressman Steve Chabot to “press Congress and the American administration to recognise a Palestinian state.”

Recognition “would correspond with previous statements by the American administration supporting peace based on two states,” the official MENA news agency quoted him as saying.

Arabi, who held talks on the Arab-Israeli conflict with Chabot, also called on the United States to “exert efforts to hold an international Middle East peace conference,” MENA said.

Palestinian factions are preparing to sign a deal in Cairo on Wednesday after president Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah faction and its bitter foe Hamas agreed to form a government that would prepare for elections in a year.

US President Barack Obama’s administration relaunched direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in September only to see them grind to a halt three weeks later over Israel’s settlements construction in the West Bank.

(www.maannews.net / 01.05.2011)

Assad’s fall would create shockwaves from Tehran to Tel Aviv

Unrest in Syria has greater potential consequences than any other event in the Arab Spring so far.

Supporters Syria Assad

Supporters of President Bashar al-Assad wave the flag in Damascus.

As decades-old dictatorial regimes crumbled around him in January, Syria‘s president, Bashar al-Assad, denied that revolution would spread to his country. Balhermep, the Ba’athist concept of “the ruling of the people”, would keep his country together.

But as demonstrations in towns and villages across Syria seemed only to be spreading last week, even as the regime intensified its crackdown, that notion appeared to be unravelling.

The international consequences of regime change in Syria are many and complex. The fallout will be particularly marked in Lebanon and Palestine, and there will also be impacts on the country’s alliances with Iran, Turkey, and Iraq, and, perhaps most importantly, on its relationship with Israel.

Damascus’s influence has always been strong in these areas. Syria is vital to Hezbollah, which leads a Lebanese coalition supporting Assad. Lebanon has no land borders except with Syria on the east and north, and with Israel to the south. To the west is the Mediterranean, swimming with battleships and an international force to prevent the smuggling of weapons. Hezbollah’s links with Syria are, in turn, the linchpin of the alliance between Tehran and Damascus, for the party’s first loyalty is to Iran and the supreme leader of its Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The fall of the Assad regime would mean the loss of Iran’s only ally in the region and thus a weakening of the clerical regime. This could boost the enthusiasm of Iranian reformers, who have been sidelined and repressed since the disputed presidential elections in Iran in 2009.

Damascus also hosts at least 10 Palestinian factions, most prominently Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Analysts say that Assad’s tacit support comes not from interest in Arab causes but a desire to gather cards to play against the US and Israel in negotiations to win back the Golan Heights.

The late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas consistently complained about Syria and Iran’s interference in Palestinian affairs, which has always frustrated any reconciliation between Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Fatah, which controls the West Bank.

The irony is that the reconciliation process has been reinvigorated by the signing of a treaty between the two rival factions in Cairo last week. Observers have noted this détente was only possible due to the distractions Assad faces at home.

Now that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is leading the opposition movement at home, Hamas is reported to be looking for a new HQ elsewhere.

Further east, Iraqi governments have long accused the Assad regime of facilitating fundamentalist attacks inside Iraq and say that Damascus harbours many of the dissolved Iraqi Ba’ath party’s former leadership – men Baghdad would like turned over for trial.

Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first to publicly scold Assad on more than one occasion for not taking his advice to reform. Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Syria for consultations and sent its head of intelligence, Hakan Fidan, to Damascus.

There is no doubt that this reflects the Turkish concern that events in its close neighbour Syria may turn into a sectarian or religious war which would have a direct impact on Turkey. That fear was expressed by the Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday when he warned of the possibility of a mass exodus of Syrians fleeing a potential bloodbath.

Meanwhile, behind closed doors, leaders in Israel fear the fall of Assad could lead to the rise of a conservative Islamic regime. An end to the fragile stability of the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967, is a particular worry. Leaking of the news that Tel Aviv fears the Golan front could erupt again came as a surprise to many in the Arab world in light of the declared enmity between Israel and the Ba’ath regime.

With their allies in Egypt overthrown, Israel may not welcome yet more regime change so close by.

Upheaval in Syria will not only affect its immediate neighbours – it will reshape the balance of power in the Middle East more than any event in the Arab Spring thus far.

(www.guardian.co.uk /  01.05.2011)

Principles of the Islamic Way of Life

THE WAY OF PEACE

Glory to God Most High, full of Grace and Mercy. He created all including man. To man He gave a special place in His Creation. He honoured man to be His agent, and to that end, endued him with understanding, purified his affections, and gave him spiritual insight; so that man should understand nature, understand himself and know God through His wondrous Signs, and glorify Him in Truth, Reverence and Unity.

For the fulfilment of this great trust, man was given a will, so that his acts should reflect Gods universal Will and Law, and his mind freely choosing, should experience sublime joy of being in harmony with the infinite, and with the great drama of the world around him, and with his own spiritual growth.

“Know that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying, (in rivalry) among yourselves, riches and children. Here is a similitude: how rain and the growth which it brings forth, delights (the hearts of) the farmers: soon it withers: you will see it grow yellow: then it becomes dry and crumbles away. But in the Hereafter is a penalty severe (For the devotee of wrong) and Forgiveness from God and (His) Good Pleasure For the devotees of God and what is the life of this world, but a matter of illusion”.
(Qur’an, Al-Hadid 57:20)

The average Human Being lives for about sixty years. Twenty years of this life is taken up by sleeping and approximately ten years in growing and learning. Taking into account, another twenty years in working and worry, we are left with a meagre ten years to enjoy the ‘realities’ of life without the above ‘prerequisites’. However, even with such freedom one encounters physical pitfalls such as illness, anxiety, and the natural process of ageing. Overall, the life of this world may be summed up as a bitter-sweet game or test with no ‘apparent’ purpose.

Muslims believe that the limited life in this world merely serves as a transition toward life eternal, in Paradise. For those who strive in the right path awaits a bounteous reward and for those who strive toward ignorance, awaits a terrible punishment.

Muslims also believe that ‘to be successful’ in this world means to achieve one’s aims and duties for this life, and for the life in the Hereafter. Muslims invest in the worldly life through commitment toward the family and invest in the Hereafter through giving charity and poor-due.

Muslims view the pleasures of this world as being petty and restricted by our own senses and imagination, whereas the pleasures of the Hereafter are mind-blowing and boundless; as a gift from the Most Merciful, the Most Kind.

——————————————————————————–

PRINCIPLES OF THE ISLAMIC WAY OF LIFE

Islam means absolute submission to the Will of Allah and those who by choice submit to the Will of Allah are Muslims.

(Note: Allah is the Arabic word which means the One and Only God, who is Self-Subsisting; Eternal; neither Slumber or Sleep overtaketh Him; the Source of Peace and Perfection, the Supreme; the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, no vision can comprehend Him but He comprehends all; who begets not and who is not begotten and there is nothing liken unto Him that can be imagined. Such is Allah our Lord and your Lord; the only One deserving of worship; worthy of all Praise.)

——————————————————————————–

The Pillars of Faith in Islam

The Declaration of Faith, which reads: la illaha illa Allah, Muhammad ur Rasul Lul Lah (There is no other object worthy of worship but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah).
The Muslim also believes in:

All the Prophets and Messengers of Allah, including Adam, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus. etc.

All the revealed Books of Allah of which the Qur’an is the last and perfect revelation.

All the Angels who are spiritual beings of Allah.

The Islamic doctrine that the power of actions proceeds from Allah and every human being is morally responsible for his own actions.

The Day of Resurrection and of Judgement.

Obligatory Prayers, five times a day.

Fasting during the Muslim month of Ramadan. This fasting takes the form of basically abstaining from all foods, drinks and sensual pleasures from dawn to sunset.

Zakat which is an obligatory tax or ‘poor-due’ on certain assets above a prescribed quantity.

The Pilgrimage to Mecca, if one has the means of performing it.
Islam is a complete way of life. It is the guidance provided by God, the Creator of the Universe, for all mankind.

Islam is not a new religion. It is in essence, the same message and guidance provided by God revealed to all His Prophets.

“Say: we believe in God and in what has been revealed to us, and what was revealed to Abraham, Isma’il: Isaac, Jacob and The Tribes, and in (the Books) given to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets, from their Lord: We make no distinction between one and another, among them, and to God do we bow our will (in Islam).”
(Qur’an, Al-‘Imran 3:84)

The message which was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad is Islam in its comprehensive, complete and final form.

“Let there be no compulsion in Religion: truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah (one God) has grasped the most trustworthy hand hold, that never breaks. and Allah hears, and knows all things.”(Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:256)

——————————————————————————–

No Chosen People

Islam rejects the idea of Chosen people, making faith in the one God and good actions the sole key to Paradise.

——————————————————————————–

THE QUR’AN

The Qur’an is the complete book of guidance for mankind. It is the Sacred books for the Muslims and the main source of Law in Islam. The whole of the Qur’an is from Allah. Each word of it is a revealed word. It was sent down to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. The Qur’an is in the Arabic language. It was revealed, piecemeal and completed over a period of twenty three years.

No other book in the world can match the Qur’an, even with respect to its recording and preservation. The astonishing fact about this book of Allah is that it has remained unchanged, even to a dot, over the last fourteen hundred years. The Qur’an was recorded as soon as it was revealed under the personal supervision of the Prophet Muhammad .
The Qur’an exists today in its original form. It is a miracle, in the sense that it has survived so many centuries without being altered or tampered with in any way. The message of the Qur’an is a mercy to mankind and is the final revelation from Allah to humanity. The Qur’an addresses humanity and calls them to contemplate their creation, the purpose of their existence and then to act upon the truth based on proof.

The Qur’an is recited and memorised by Muslims all over the world everyday. No variation of text can be found in it. You can check this for yourself by listening to the recitation of Muslims from different parts of the world.
Every word in it has been preserved intact.

Allah the almighty, has Himself taken the responsibility of preserving the Qur’an and He says:

“Surely, We have revealed this reminder and lo, We verily are its guardian.”(Qur’an, Al-Hijr 15:9)

The Qur’an is a living proof of the existence of Allah, the All Powerful. It is also a testimony of the validity of the Islamic way of life for all times. Arabic the language of the Qur’an, unlike the languages of other revealed books, is a living, dynamic and a very rich language. Millions of people all over the world speak and use Arabic in their daily life. This is further testimony to the unchanging character of the Qur’an.

The subject matter of the Qur’an is MAN and HIS ULTIMATE goal in life. Qur’anic teaching cover all areas of this life and the life after death. It contains principles, doctrines and directions for every sphere of Human activity. The theme of the Qur’an consists broadly of three fundamental beliefs – TAWHEED, RISALAH AND AKHIRAH. Tawheed is the basic theme of the Qur’an. All the Prophets and Messengers of Allah called people towards Tawheed. The Qur’an gives a picturesque description of Paradise which will be rewarded to the true obedient servants of Allah. The severe punishment to be metered out to the evildoers has also been depicted vividly in the Qur’an.

The Qur’an urges mankind to follow its guidance and teachings. The success of human beings on earth and in the life after death depends on obedience to the Qur’anic teachings. We cannot perform our duties as the servants of Allah and His agents, if we do not follow the Qur’an. The Qur’an urges us to work for the supremacy of Islam and for the removal of all evils.

The superb style of the Qur’an has a tremendous effect on its readers. It totally changes the pattern of the life of those who believe and practice its teachings. It leaves a soothing effect on the mind of the reader, even if he does not fully understand its meaning.

——————————————————————————–

THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET

The Prophet Muhammad rose from an orphan boy (having lost his father before his birth and his mother while yet a child of five) to be the greatest force known to history for the moral, spiritual and social regeneration of a fallen humanity. While yet a young man, he was known and respected for his purity and integrity, being nick-named AL-AMIN which means, the trustworthy. For thirteen years he and a small band of followers were subjected to the worst persecution – ostracism, torture and social boycott. Ultimately he had to flee Mecca along with his followers, seeking refuge in Medina – at a distance of 250 miles. His opponents, however, did not leave him alone there. There stirred up the tribes against him and made attack after attack upon him in the distant asylum, to put an end to what they considered to be a menace to their inherited superstitions iniquitous hegemony. In the encounters which followed, the superior morale of the Muslims of faith in a noble cause triumphed over all the forces ranged against them.

Unlike common victors in history who inflict all sorts of punishments on the vanquished, the Prophet Muhammad , in the highest spirit of chivalry, (which Islam teaches towards a fallen foe) not only gave his blood thirsty enemies a general amnesty, but extended towards them a hand of fellowship. Thereby, welding the whole populace into a solid, compact brotherhood inaugurating the new era, where morals and social justice reigned supreme.

From an orphan to the head of state, the Prophet Muhammad saw life in all its vicissitudes, and went through its manifold ups and downs. Through all these situations he brought a lustre of his own, thereby blazing in this dark and dismal struggle of life, the path of truth, honour and dignity to seekers after truth in all walks of life. Above all, the sense that he was a humble servant of God, which was the sum and substance of his mission, never left him.

Even as a ruler of the vast domain of the Arabian Peninsula, he lived the life of a simple man, washing and stitching his own clothes, milking his goats, mending his shoes and lending a helping hand in household work.

In the Prophet Muhammad were fulfilled the prophecies of both Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) as to the advent of a prophet who would bring a new law and lead the people unto all truth:

“The Lord thy God will raise unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me: unto him ye shall hearken.” (Deuteronomy 18:15)

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bare them now. How be it when HE, the spirit of truth is come, HE will guide you into all truth: for HE shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever HE shall hear, that shall HE speak, and HE will show you things to come.” (John 16:12-13)

——————————————————————————–

WOMEN IN ISLAM

Spiritual Status

The Qur’an provides clear-cut evidence that woman is completely equated with man, in the sight of God in terms of her rights and responsibilities.

The Qur’an states:

“Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds.”(Qur’an, Al-Muddaththir 74:38)

“Surely for men who submit (to God) and for women who submit (to God), And believing men, and believing women, for devout men, and devout women, for truthful men, and truthful women, for steadfast men, and steadfast women, for humble men, and humble women, for charitable men and charitable women, for men who fast and women who fast, for men who guard their chastity, and women who guard their chastity, for men who remember God much, and for women who remember, for them God has prepared, forgiveness, and a mighty reward.”(Qur’an, Al-Azhab 33:35)

And Again God says :

“Whosoever performs good deeds, whether male or female, and is a believer, we shall surely make him live a good life, and We will certainly reward them for the best of what they did.”(Qur’an, An-Nahl 16:97)

Each of the Five pillars of Islam: Belief, Prayer, Fasting, Poor-due and Pilgrimage – is as important for women as for men, as there is no differentiation of their rewards.

——————————————————————————–

Intellectual Status

The Prophet Muhammad said:

“The search for knowledge is a duty for every Muslim (male or female) and seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”

“Knowledge” for a Muslim is not divided into sacred and secular, and the implication of these sayings of the Prophet , is that every boy or girl, man or woman, should pursue his or her education as far as possible, bearing in mind the words of Allah in the Qur’an.

“…Those who truly fear God, among his Servants, are those who have knowledge…”(Qur’an, Fatir 35:28)

In Islam therefore, both men and women are credited with the capacity for learning and understanding and teaching, and one of the aims of acquiring knowledge is that of becoming more conscious of God. It is considered, in Islam that the more a person, male or female, studies the creation and observes its workings, the more he or she becomes conscious of the Creator, the Power who made and sustains the creation.

——————————————————————————–

Role as a Wife

The Qur’an clearly indicates that marriage is sharing between the two halves of the society, and that its objectives, beside perpetuating human life, are emotional well-being and spiritual harmony.

Its basis is love and mercy.

Among the most impressive verses of the Qur’an about marriage is the following:

“And among His Signs is this: That He created mates for you from among yourselves, that you may find rest, peace of mind in them, and he ordained between you love and mercy. Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.”(Qur’an, Ar-Rum 30:21)

According to Islamic Law, women cannot be forced to marry anyone without their consent. As, the women’s right to decide about her marriage is recognised, so also her right to seek an end for an unsuccessful marriage is recognised.

To provide for the stability of the family, however, and in order to protect it from hasty decisions under temporary emotional stress, certain steps and waiting periods should be observed by men and women seeking divorce.

Besides all other provisions for her protection at the time of marriage, it was specifically decreed that woman has the full right to her Mahr (dowry), which is presented to her by her husband and is included in the marriage contract, and that such ownership does not transfer to her father or husband. The concept of Mahr in Islam is neither an actual or symbolic price for the woman, as was the case in certain cultures, but rather it is a gift symbolising love and affection.

The Qur’an states:

“They are garments for you, while you are garments for them.”(Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:187)

Prophet Muhammad said:

“The best of you, is the best to his family and I am the best among you to my family.”

“The most perfect believers are the best in conduct and best of you are those who are best to their wives.” (Ibn Hanbal no 7396)

Man in Islam is fully responsible for the maintenance of his wife, his children and some cases of his needy relatives especially females. This responsibility is neither waved or reduced because of his wife’s wealth, or because of her access to any personal income gained from work, rent, profit or any legal means.

Woman, on the other hand, is far more secure financially and far less burdened with any claims on her possessions. Her possessions before marriage do not transfer to her husband and she even keeps her maiden name. She has no obligation to spend on her family out of her wealth.

——————————————————————————–

Role as a Mother

Apart from her role as a wife, the Muslim woman has a very important role as a mother. The status and value attached to parents in the Muslim world is very high.

The Qur’an says :

“Your Lord has decreed that you should worship none but Him, and show kindness to your parents, whether one or both of them attain old age, while they are still with you. Never say to them ‘shame’ nor scold either of them, Speak to them in a generous fashion. Protect them carefully and say: Lord show them mercy, just as they cared for me as a little child.”
(Qur’an, Al-Isra 17:23-24)

Allah also says:

“We have enjoined man to respect his parents: His mother bears him with fainting after fainting, While his weaning takes two years. Thank Me as well as your parents; Towards me lies the goal.”(Qur’an, Luqman 31:14)

The Muslim mother has consequently a great feeling of security about the type of care and consideration that she can expect from her children when she reaches old age. As the verse of the Qur’an quoted above indicates, thankfulness to parents is linked with thankfulness to God.

A man came to the Prophet asking:

“Messenger of God, who is the most deserving of good care from me?”
The Prophet replied: “Your mother”, The man asked again: “Who else?”
The Prophet replied: “Your mother”, The man said: “Who else?”
The Prophet replied: “Your mother, then your father, then your nearest relatives in order.” (Related by Bukhari)

In another narration, The Prophet has said:

“Paradise lies at the feet of your mother.” (Related by Bukhari)

Thus, emphasizing that Paradise awaits those who cherish and respect their mothers.

——————————————————————————–

Summing Up

In Islam, the relationship between men and women is to compliment each other and not to compete against one another. In conclusion; the following rights have been given to the Muslim women, in the Qur’an some 1400 years ago, without any changes (whilst their “Western” sisters have only recently gained some of the rights listed below.)

Spiritual equality.

Not, responsible for Adam’s sin.

Right to choose husband.

Right to seek divorce.

Right to inheritance.

Exclusive ownership of personal gains and acquired wealth.

Right to education (to any level).

Right to seek employment.

Right to keep maiden name.

——————————————————————————–

POLYGAMY AND ISLAM

Islam is a practical way of life, answering all aspects of human civilisation. Islam allows, restricted polygamy – marriage to more than one woman. The normal marriage practice is monogamy – one man married to one woman – polygamy is the exception.

Muslim men are allowed to marry more than one woman, if, and only if, they are prepared and capable of dealing equally and justly between each of them.

The fact is emphasized in the Qur’an :

“To orphans restore their property (when they reach their age), nor substitute (your) worthless things for (their) good ones; and devour not their substance (by mixing it up) with your own. For this is indeed a great sin.
If you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two, or three or four; but if you feel that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.(Qur’an, An-Nisa 4:2-3)

As Islam prohibits adultery and the keeping of mistresses, a man may take more than one wife ONLY if he is able to be just to both wives, as opposed to the western society which allows a man to have as many mistresses as he wants without providing them with any rights or security.

Some of the reasons why a man may choose to take a second wife are as follows:

When a wife is barren and cannot bear children, but they wish for children, but they wish for children. It is better for the man to have a second wife rather than divorce the first, but the first wife may divorce the man.

If the wife is chronically ill and she is unable to carry out her normal marital and household duties, then the husband may marry an additional wife and so help restore the family balance.

Polygamy may be an answer to a society which has more women than men. This happens especially after the problem of war.

But, we remind readers that a man does not have to have a reason to take a second wife, but he must consider the effect that it will have on the other wife and his existing family. In other words if he takes another wife, it must not be at the sacrifice of the first. So it is something that he has to think about seriously. He must also realise in the end he is responsible to Allah for all his actions.

An overwhelming majority of Muslims are monogamous – they have only one wife. The fact that only a minority of Muslims have more than one wife has become a centre of propaganda against Islamic teachings and undoubtedly such emphasis on a very minor issue can give a misleading impression of the true Islamic way of living.

——————————————————————————–

THE PROHIBITED IN ISLAM

Halal and Haram

The Prohibition of Things is Due to Their Impurity and Harmfulness:

It is the right of Allah, the One Who created the universe and bestowed innumerable favours upon mankind, to legalise or prohibit as He deems proper.

In Islam things are prohibited only because they are impure or harmful. If something is entirely harmful it is ‘haram’, and if it is entirely beneficial it is ‘halal’; if the harm of it outweighs its benefit it is haram, while if its benefit outweighs its harm it is halal. This principle is explained in the Qur’an in relation to wine and gambling:

“They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say (O Prophet); in them is great sin and some benefit for human beings, but the sin is Greater than the benefit…”(Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:219)

Another Islamic principal is that if something is prohibited, anything which leads to it is likewise prohibited. By this means Islam intends to block all avenues leading to what is haram. For example Islam has prohibited adultery, it has also prohibited anything which leads to it or makes it attractive such as seductive clothing, private meetings and casual meetings between men and women, the depiction of nudity, pornographic literature, obscene songs, and so on.

One of the beauties of Islam is that it has prohibited only such things as are unnecessary and dispensable, while providing alternatives which are better and which give greater ease and comfort to human beings.

Allah has prohibited seeking omens by drawing lots but has provided the alternative of istikhara, which is to ask guidance from Him in making a choice between two conflicting decisions. He has prohibited usury but has encouraged profitable trade. He has prohibited gambling but has encouraged healthy forms of competition such as sport.

He has prohibited adultery, fornication, and homosexuality but has encouraged lawful marriage.

He has prohibited intoxicating drinks in order that they may enjoy other delicious drinks which are beneficial for the body and mind.

And He has prohibited unclean food but provides alternative wholesome food.

“O you who believe! Do not make unlawful the good things which God has made lawful for you. But commit no excess: for God does not Love those given to excess.”(Qur’an, Al-Maidah 5:90)

——————————————————————————–

Pork

Forbidden by Allah’s Word in the Qur’an

“Forbidden to you (for food), are; dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which has been invoked, the name of other than God…”
(Qur’an, Al-Maidah 5:4)

Forbidden in the Bible:

“And the swine,…he is unclean to you. Of the flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.” (Leviticus 11:7-8)
The same command is repeated in Deuteronomy 14:8 and similarly in Matthew 5:17-19.

From the medical point of view:

Herbivorous animals such as cattle and sheep eat of clean fresh fodder and cereals, whereas the pig will eat waste animal products including offal and carrion and even human flesh.

Worms and Parasites: As transferred from pig to man:- Trichina Worms, Tapeworms (taenia Solium), Roundworms, Hookworms, Faciolopsis Buski, Paragonimius, Clonorchis Sinosis, Erysipelothrix Rhusiophathiae. The above worms and parasites are responsible for many diseases, many of them are contagious, others are fatal.

These include Anaemia, inflammation of the bowels, Pneumonia and serious diseases of the liver and chest region.

Uric Acid: Uric Acid (known cause of heart disease and rheumatism) has an approximately 20% extraction rate from the kidneys of the pig. Herbivorous animals have an 80% extraction rate. Hence, relative to other animals, a high concentration of Uric Acid is found in Pork.

Fatty Acids: Pork Fat is very harmful to the body, being difficult to digest and efficiently convert to energy. Pork Fat is absorbed by the body and consequently accumulates in human tissue as animal fat. Herbivorous animal fat is broken down by the body within the bloodstream resynthesising the fat into a readily available energy source.

Note: Pork is not the only meat which is prohibited, but the flesh of all carnivorous animals is not allowed to be eaten, while that of herbivorous animals is permitted.

——————————————————————————–

Halal Meat

The conditions of Islamic slaughtering:

The declaration of the Name of God before killing:

“Then eat of that over which the Name of Allah has been mentioned, if you believe in His Signs.”
(Qur’an, Al-Anam 6:118)

“And do not eat of that over which the name of Allah has not been mentioned, for truly that is impiety…”
(Qur’an, Al-Anam 6:121)

The wisdom of the Islamic method of slaughtering is to take the animals life in the quickest and least painful way; the requirements of using a sharp instrument and of cutting the throat relate to this end.

By using a sharp knife and cutting the windpipe, the gullet, and the two jugular veins without severing the spine, the animal will be subject to the least amount of pain. This method allows the animal’s heart to pump out blood; whilst the brain is supplied with blood, instructing the heart to beat.

Health-wise, such a method is justified as it allows the minimum amount of blood to remain in the flesh. In this way the high level of Uric Acid found in the bloodstream is kept to a minimum. It is a known medical fact that Uric Acid is responsible for most cases of heart disease and rheumatism.

The Islamic method of slaughter is ordered by God and it is obvious from a medical point of view that such a way is most beneficial for the health of humans.

——————————————————————————–

CHRIST IN ISLAM

Jesus in the Qur’an

The acceptance of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) by Muslims is a fundamental article of faith in Islam, and that a Muslim can never think of Jesus (peace be upon him) in any derogatory terms. A Muslim is happily denied the liberty of defaming Jesus (peace be upon him) or any other prophet of God.

A Muslim’s concept of God, religion, prophethood, revelation and humanity makes him accept Jesus (peace be upon him) not only as an historical fact but also as one of the most distinguished apostles of God.

Islamic beliefs depict Jesus (peace be upon him) in a most respectable manner and place him as high in status as God himself has placed him.

The Muslim believes that the greatness of Jesus (peace be upon him) arises from the fact that he was chosen by God and honoured with His word; that he was entrusted with the revelations of God and commissioned to teach His message; that he fought hypocrisy and blasphemy; that he was distinguished in the beginning at the time of his birth and in the end at the time of ascension; and that he was a sign to the people and a mercy from God.

In fact, Mary is the only woman mentioned in the Qur’an by name.

Jesus (peace be upon him) in the Qur’an:

“Behold! the angels said: O Mary! God gives glad tidings of a Word from Him; his name will be Christ Jesus. The son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to God.”
(Qur’an, Al-‘Imran 3:45)

“She said: O My Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me? He said: Even so; God creates what He wills when He has decreed a plan, He but says to it, ‘Be’ and it is!”
“And God will teach him The Book of Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel!(Qur’an, Al-‘Imran 3:47-48)

“The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, ‘Be’, and he was.”(Qur’an, Al-‘Imran 3:59)

——————————————————————————–

The Qur’an Re-establishes the Second Coming of Jesus

As has been revealed in the Qur’an:

Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) will be returning to this world before the day of Resurrection to become a leader of the Muslim Nation:

“And (Jesus) shall be a sign (for the coming of) The Hour of (Judgement): therefore have no doubt about the (Hour), but follow ye Me; this is a straight way.”

“Let not the Evil One hinder you; for he is to you a plain enemy.”

“And when Jesus came to you with clear signs he said: I have come to you with Wisdom and in Order to make clear to you some of the points in which you differ; therefore fear God and obey me.”

“For God, He is my Lord and your Lord: so worship Him. This is a straight way.”

(Qur’an, Az-Zukhruf 43:61-64)

Reproduced below are Verses 119 to 121 Surah Maidah, Chapter 5, depicting the scene of Judgement Day, when God will question Jesus (peace be upon him) regarding the misdirected zeal of his supposed followers in worshipping him and his mother: and his response:

“And behold! God will say: O Jesus the son of Mary! Did you say unto men, worship me and my mother as Gods in derogation of God? He will say: Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing. You would indeed have known it. You know what is in my heart, though I know not what is in thine. For You know in full all that is hidden.”

“Never said I to them anything except what You did command me to say; worship God, my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them whilst I dwelled amongst them; when you did take me up. You were the Watcher over them, and You are a witness to all things.”

“If You do punish them, They are Your servants: If You forgive them, You are the Exalted in power. The wise.”

(Qur’an, Al-Maidah 5:119-121)

——————————————————————————–

Prophet Muhammad in the Old and New Testaments

The Old Testament:

Isaiah XXI:7:
Translation:

“He saw two riders one of them was a rider upon an ass and the other a rider upon a camel, he harkened diligently with much heed.”
Isaiah saw in a vision two riders, one of them was a rider upon an ass and the other a rider upon a camel. In our opinion the above passage is the faithful rendering of the original Hebrew. In the English Bible, however, it is thus translated: “He saw a chariot of asses and a chariot of camels, etc”.

The Vulgate has it as follows: “He saw a chariot of two horsemen, a rider upon an ass and a rider upon a camel, etc”.

There can be no doubt that of the two riders represented by the Prophet Isaiah, as being the restorers of the true worship of the Godhead, the rider upon the ass is Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), because he so made his entry into Jerusalem, and that by the rider of the camel is meant by the prophet of Arabia, of which country the camel is characteristic of conveyance.

Soloman 5:16:

Hikko Mamittadim Vilullo Mahamadim Zehdudi Vezem Raa. Benote Yapus Halam.
The English translation thereof is as follows:

“His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is Muhammad altogether lovely. This is my beloved and this is my friend. O daughter of Jerusalem.”
King Soloman has named the Prophet: that was to come “Muhammadin”. In Hebrew the suffix ‘la’ is used to express respect as the term ‘Eloha’ which means ‘God’ is mentioned in Bible as “Elohim”. It is thus clear that Soloman has quite distinctly mentioned the name of the Prophet Mohammed that was to come as “Muhammad”. But an error is made, intentionally, or unintentionally, by translation of the proper name as “Altogether Lovely”. Even the translation ‘Altogether Lovely’ is a befitting attribute of the Prophet , as mentioned in the words of Hadith.

Deuteronomy 18:15:

“The Lord thy God will raise unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto Me; unto him ye shall hearken”.
The New Testament:

The Gospel of Barnabas:
Introduction to Barnabas.

This part consists of the prophecies and glad tidings about the advent of the Last Prophet Muhammad as foretold in the Gospel of Barnabas, which was accepted as a Canonical Gospel in the Churches of Alexandria till 325 AD In 383 AD the Pope acquired a copy of the Gospel which was put in his private library.

When Pope Sixtos IX (1565-1590) became Pope, his friend Fra Marino saw the Gospel of Barnabas there. He translated it in the Italian language, his mother tongue.

The Italian manuscript was discovered by J F Cramer Counsellor to the King of Prussia who in 1713 presented it to the Prince Eugene of Savoy. In 1738 along with the library of the Prince it found its way into Hofbiblyothex in Vienna. The manuscript in the Imperial Library of Vienna is still there. This was translated into English by Mr and Mrs Ragg in Oxford in 1907 and printed in Oxford, at the Clarendon Press.

Barnabas was a Jew born in Cyprus. His name was Joses and due to his piety and devotion, he was given the title of Barnabas by other apostles.

In the Acts of the Apostles, Barnabas is mentioned as follows:

“And Joses, who by the Apostles was surnamed Barnabas, which is being interpreted (the son of Consolation), a Levite and of the country of Cyprus.”
Barnabas understood the teachings of Christ better due to his close association with Jesus (peace be upon him).

Advent of Prophet Muhammad as foretold by Jesus Christ (peace be upon him):

Then said the priest, “How shall the Comforter be called and what sign shall reveal his coming?” Jesus (peace be upon him) answered, “The name of the Comforter is Admirable for God have him the name when He created his soul and placed it in celestial splendour. God said ‘Await Muhammad, for thy sake I will create Paradise, the World and a great multitude of creatures. Whereof I make thee a present, in so much that whoso shall bless thee shall be blessed, and whoso shall curse thee shall be accursed. When I shall send thee unto the world, I shall send thee as my Messenger of Salvation and thy word shall be true. In so much that Heaven and Earth shall fail, but thy faith shall never fail. Muhammad is his blessed name.’ ” Then the crowd lifted up their voice saying, “O God, send us Thy Messenger! O Muhammad, come quickly for the salvation of the world.”

“I therefore say unto you that the Messenger of God is a splendour that shall give gladness to nearly all that God hath made, for he is adorned with the spirit of understanding and counsel, the spirit of wisdom and might, the spirit of fear and love, the spirit of prudence and temperance; he is adorned with the spirit of charity and mercy, the spirit of justice and piety, the spirit of gentleness and patience, which he had received from God three times more than he had given to all his creatures. O blessed time, when he shall come to the world. Believe me that I have seen him and have done him reverence, even as every prophet hath seen him; seeing that of his spirit God giveth to them prophecy. And when I saw him, my soul was filled with consolation saying, ‘O Muhammad, God be with thee and may He make me worthy to untie thy shoelace, for obtaining this I shall be a great prophet and holy one of God’ “.

Conclusion:

This now is a fascinating revelation of the private teachings not yet divulged to the masses. The purity of the character of Jesus (peace be upon him) gives boundless charm to the magnificence of a God-given wisdom unto Christ (peace be upon him).

The sacrifice of Ishmael together with the further evidence of the prophecy of Christ (peace be upon him) has been hidden behind a ‘veil’ – a veil that is intermingled with strange interpretations of the present day. This remains as a plain and simple truth without the ‘touch of allegory’. It is not susceptible to several interpretations. It give the heretofore veiled incidents of the life of Christ (peace be upon him). The untold secrets now remain for the public gaze.

It is for any challenger of facts to disprove that these amazing documents of ‘Barnabas’ are not in the Imperial Library in Vienna. The roots for the liberty of our soul planted in the heart of the earth by Saint Barnabas, is that he instinctively dispensed the knowledge gained to the disciples to convey and carry throughout the ages.

During the early ministry of Christ (peace be upon him) he sought, trained and prepared twelve disciples, amongst whom was Barnabas, to be spiritually worthy, morally and ethically qualified, to perpetuate the knowledge that Christ Jesus (peace be upon him) brought to earth, The exclusion of these secrets during the Christian Era is a demonstration of a knowledge, which could become the most potent and powerful influences for the health and happiness of the nations. It has in the seed of the gradual elimination of the national, international war and strife, in an attempt to save humanity from error and sin – an attempt that is the mother of the improvement of mankind.

John 16:12-13:
“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. How be it when he, the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak and he will show you things to come.”

——————————————————————————–

Biblical Verses Testify that Jesus is Not God

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonder and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you as ye yourselves also know.” (Acts 21:22)

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, see thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have testimony of Jesus (peace be upon him): Worship God.” (Revelations 19:10)

“For have I not spoken of myself, but the Father which sent me. He gave a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” (John 12: 29)

“I can of my own self do nothing – as I hear I judge. And my judgement is just, because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which has sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” (John 5: 20-31)

“…..for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14: 28)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is no greater than his Lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” (John 13:16)

Jesus (peace be upon him) saith unto her (Mary Magdalene) … I ascend unto my Father and your Father; and to my God and your God.” (John 20:17)

“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man. No, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but the Father.” (Mark 13: 32)

“But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard from God.” (John 8:40)

——————————————————————————–

THE QUR’AN SPEAKS

Jesus is Not God

And behold! God will say: O Jesus son of Mary! Did’st thou say unto men, worship me and my mother as Gods in derogation of God?

“He (Jesus) will say:

“Glory to Thee! Never could I say what I had no right (to say). Had I said such a thing, you would have indeed known it. You know what is In my heart, though I know not what is in Thine. For You know in full all that is hidden. Never said I to them anything except what You did command me To say; Worship God, my Lord and your Lord…”(Qur’an, Al-Maidah 5:116-117)

——————————————————————————–

Muhammad is Not God

“Say (O Muhammad) to the people: I am but a man like you: It is revealed to me by inspiration, that your God is one God: so stand true to Him, and ask for His forgiveness and woe to those who join Gods with God.”
(Qur’an, Fussilat 41:6)

Note: Some people maintain that Muslims worship Muhammad , instead of God, and call themselves “Muhammadans.”

The above verse gives answer to such an allegation as Muhammad never claimed himself to be God.

He was a Prophet, like any other Messenger of God. The word “Muhammadanism” as applied to the Islamic Religion is a misnomer.

Islam means submission to the will of God, and its followers are called Muslims.

——————————————————————————–

IS THE QUR’AN THE WORD OF GOD?

The Authenticity of the Qur’an

Dr. Maurice Bucaille:

Maurice Bucaille (Professor of Surgery, France) in his book, The Bible, the Qur’an and Science mentions the following (quoting page 120):

“What initially strikes the reader confronted for the first time with a text (The Qur’an) of this kind is the sheer abundance of subjects discussed; The Creation, Astronomy, the Explanation of Certain Matters concerning the Earth, the Animal and Vegetable Kingdoms and Human Reproduction.

Whereas monumental errors are to be found in the Bible, I could not find a single error in the Qur’an. I had to stop and ask myself; if a man was the author of the Qur’an, how could he have written facts in the seventh century AD, that today are shown to be in keeping with modern scientific knowledge?

There was absolutely no doubt about it, the text of the Qur’an we have today is most definitely a text of the period, if I may be allowed to put it in these terms. What human explanation can there be for this observation? In my opinion there is no explanation; there is no special reason why an inhabitant of the Arabian Peninsula should, at a time when King Dagobert was reigning in France (629-639 AD) have had scientific knowledge on certain subjects that was ten centuries ahead of our own.”

Dr. Jacques Cousteau:

Captain Jacques Cousteau, an eminent French Research Professor embraces Islam as a result of reading in the Qur’an verses which 1400 years ago were related to the result of his recent research work. That is, there are phenomenal barriers at connections of certain oceans, and that the waters of one sea do not mix with that of the other.

The Qur’an clearly states the above fact:

“He has let free the two bodies of flowing water, meeting together:Between them is a barrier which they do not transgress.(Qur’an, Ar-Rahman 55:19-20)

——————————————————————————–

Scientific Discoveries Conform with Qur’anic Verses

Dr Keith Moore:

Professor Keith Moore (Anatomy, University of Toronto, Canada) describes the stages of human development, in his book The Developing Human, clinically Oriented Embryology:

“Growth of science was slow during the medieval period and a few high points of embryological investigation undertaken during this age are known to us. It is cited in the Qur’an, the Holy Book of the Muslims, that human beings are produced from a mixture of secretions from the male and the female.

Several references are made to the creation of a human being from a sperm drop, and it is also suggested that the resulting organism settles in the womb like a seed, six days after its beginning. The human blastocyst begins to implant about six days after fertilisation.

The Qur’an also states that the sperm drop develops “into a congealed clot of blood”. An implanted blastocyst or a spontaneously aborted conceptus would resemble a blood clot. Reference is also made to the leech-like appearance of the embryo. The embryo is not unlike a leech, or a bloodsucker, in appearance.”

“The embryo is also said to resemble ‘a chewed piece of substance’ like gum or wood. The somites do in fact resemble the teethmarks in a chewed substance.”

“The developing embryo was considered to become human at 40-42 days and to no longer resemble an animal embryo at this stage. The human embryo begins to acquire human characteristics at this stage.

“The Qur’an also states that the embryo develops between ‘three veils of darkness’. This probably refers to:

the maternal anterior abdominal wall,

the uterine wall, and

the aminiochorionic membrane.
Space does not permit discussion of several other interesting references to human prenatal development which appear in the Qur’an.” (The Developing Human, Dr KL Moore, M.Sc, Ph.D, FIAC, FRSM)

——————————————————————————–

Sex Determining Factor in the Qur’an and Science

Chromosomes X and Y:

Many theories have been put forward to explain how the sex of a child is determined. Only recently when techniques for examining human sex cells were developed did scientists come to basically understand the sex determining factor in human reproduction.

The human female has 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of each cell, in the form of 23 matched pairs. Whereas the human male has 46 chromosomes, but only 22 pairs are matched; the chromosomes of one pair do not match exactly. One is the same size as those of the twenty third pair in a female, but the other is smaller. The larger is known as the (X) chromosome and the smaller is the (Y) chromosome. Thus, a woman has two (X) chromosomes in each cell, and a man one (X) and one (Y) chromosome.

During the reproductive process, when ovum (female sex cells) are formed, each cell contains 22 chromosomes and one (X) chromosome. However, when sperm (male sex cells) are formed, one half of the sperm will contain 22 chromosomes and one (X) chromosome whilst the other half will contain 22 chromosomes and one (Y) chromosome.

During the fertilisation process if an egg is fertilised by a sperm cell being a (X) chromosome, a female offspring will result. If an egg is fertilised by a sperm bearing a (Y) chromosome, then the resulting offspring would be male. Therefore, the sperm is a sex determining factor.

The following fourteen hundred year old verses clearly testify that the sperm cell is the sex determining factor in human reproduction:

“That He did create in pair, male and female; from a seed when lodged (in its place).”(Qur’an, An-Najm 53:45-46)

“And God created you from dust, then from a sperm-drop, then He made you in pairs (the male and the female).”(Qur’an, Fatir 35:11)

“We created you from mixtures of germinal drop…”(Qur’an, Al-Insan 76:2)

——————————————————————————–

Human Development in the Qur’an

Dr. Maurice Bucaille:

“The Qur’anic description of certain stages in the development of embryo corresponds exactly to what we today know about it, and the Qur’an does not contain a single statement that is open to criticism from modern science.

The implantation of the egg in the uterus (womb) is the result of the development of…formations (which) make the egg literally cling to the uterus. This is a discovery of modern times.”

The act of clinging is described five different times in the Qur’an, of which two are shown below:

“Read, in the name of your Lord and Cherisher, who fashioned; who fashioned man from something which clings.”(Qur’an, Al-Alaq 96:1-2)

“”Was (man) not a small quantity of sperm which has been poured out? Then did he become something which clings; then God fashioned him in due proportion.”(Qur’an, Al-Qiyamah 75:37-38)

“The Qur’an informs us that the embryo then passes through the stage of ‘chewed flesh’, then osseous tissue appears and is clad in flesh.”

“…We fashioned…into something which clings…into a lump of flesh in proportion and out of proportion…”
(Qur’an, Al-Hajj 22:5)

“We fashioned the thing which clings into a chewed lump of flesh and We fashioned the chewed flesh into bones, and We clothed the bones with intact flesh…”(Qur’an, Al-Mu’minun 23:14)

“All statements in the Qur’an must be compared with today’s firmly established concepts. Throughout the Middle Ages, unfounded myths and speculations were at the origin of the most diversified doctrines; they persisted for several centuries after this period. It was in fact, only during the nineteenth century that people had a slightly clearer view of this question (human development).”

“More than a thousand years before our time, at a period when whimsical doctrines still prevailed, men had a knowledge of the Qur’an. The statements it contains express in simple terms truths of primordial importance which man has taken centuries to discover.”

——————————————————————————–

ISLAMIC QUALITIES

Honesty

Perseverance

Tolerance

Firmness

Punctuality

Courage

Generosity

Chastity

Justice

Forgiveness

Faith in One God – Allah

——————————————————————————–

Ethics of Islam

“Imbue yourself with Divine Attributes” said the Prophet . God’s attributes form the basis of Muslim ethics. Righteousness in Islam encompasses leading a life in complete harmony with the Divine Attributes.

——————————————————————————–

Faith and Action

Faith without action put simply, is a dead letter. Faith on its own is unstable unless translated into practice. Muslims believe that people are accountable for their own actions in this world. Each must bear their own burden, and nobody can expiate for another’s sin.

——————————————————————————–

Inherent Purity

Muslims believe in the inherent sinlessness of man’s nature. Gifted with the power of reasoning, the human being is capable of apparently unrestricted progress. They also believe that all people are born as Muslims and that it is one’s parents or guardians whom initiate the diversion from or the cohesion to – the pure faith.

Therefore, the term ‘born Muslims’ refer to those who have remained as Muslims after birth, and for those embracing Islam the term ‘reverts’ is used in lieu of the misnomer ‘converts’.

——————————————————————————–

The Position of Women in Islam

Man and woman come from the same origin, possess similar souls and have been gifted with equal potential for intellectual, spiritual and moral attainments. Islam places man and woman under like obligations.

——————————————————————————–

Equality of Mankind and the Brotherhood of Islam

Islam is the religion of the Unity of God and the Equality of Mankind. Lineage, riches and family pride are accidental things, virtue and the service of humanity are matters of real merit. Distinctions of colour, race and creed are non-existent within the bounds of Islam. All humans are of one family. Islam has succeeded in welding the ‘black’ and the ‘white’ into one fraternal whole. The strict rule of brotherhood is set firm with the following saying of the Prophet Muhammad :

“No one of you is a believer in God until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.”

——————————————————————————–

Personal Judgement

Islam encourages the exercise of personal judgement and respects the difference of opinion, which according to the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad , “is a blessing from God.”

——————————————————————————–

Knowledge

The pursuit of knowledge is a duty in Islam. It is the acquisition of knowledge that makes humans distinct amongst all other creatures.

——————————————————————————–

Sanctity of Labour

Every form of labour which enables man to live honestly is respected. Idleness is deemed a sin.

——————————————————————————–

Charity

All the facilities of man have been given to him as a trust from God, for the benefit of his fellow creatures. It is a Muslim’s duty to cater for others needs and such services must be applied without any discrimination. Charity in Islam brings one nearer to God, and has been made an essential part of one’s obligations. Every person who owns property above a certain limit pays a fixed tax; levied on the rich for the benefit of the poor.

“For those who give in Charity, men and women, and loan to God a beautiful loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit), and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward.”
(Qur’an, Al-Hadid 57:18)

——————————————————————————–

Moral Teachings

Islam requires the display of every quality that has been given to man, but makes only one limitation – that it should be displayed on the proper occasion. It requires a person to exhibit modesty as well as boldness and courage, but each at its correct moment. The Qur’an teaches the Muslims to be submissive without losing self-respect; it exhorts them to forgive, but not in a manner as to embolden the culprits; it allows them to exercise all their rights, but not as to violate others. Muslims are also required to preach the faith of Islam, but not by way of compulsion.

“Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; and pardon (all) men; for God loves those who do good.”(Qur’an, Al-‘Imran 3:134)

“For God is with those who are patient, and those who do good.”(Qur’an, Al-Waqi’ah 56:128)

——————————————————————————–

No Priesthood

Islam is the way of Unity. Any association with God is direct and personal; without the mediation of a priest.

“And those who, having done something to be ashamed of, or wronged their own souls, earnestly bring God to mind, and ask for forgiveness for their sins, and who can forgive sins except God? And never obstinate in persisting knowingly in (the wrong) they have done for such, the reward is forgiveness from their Lord…”
(Qur’an, Al-‘Imran 3:135-136)

——————————————————————————–

Forgiveness

The importance of forgiveness for a Muslim is emphasized with the following verses from the Qur’an:

“Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (evil) with what is better; then will he between whom and yourself was hatred become as it were your friend and intimate!”(Qur’an, As-Saff 61:34)

“Tell those who believe, to forgive those who do not look forward to the Days of God.”(Qur’an, Al-Jathiyah 45:14)

“Kind words and the covering of faults (of others) are better than charity followed by injury. Allah is Free of all wants, and He is Most Forbearing.”(Qur’an, Al-Baqarah 2:263)

We would like to thank all the sisters who gave of their time and patience in putting this article together.

We pray to Allah (Most Exalted is He) to bless them and their families (Amen), and we would ask you to make du’a for them also.

Unfortunately, there are too many sisters to mention by name

(www.whyislamtrue.com / 01.05.2011)

Syrian protests go on despite bloody repression

London, (Pal Telegraph)  – The brutal crackdown in the restive Syrian city of Daraa persisted on Saturday, as security personnel surrounded, shelled and took control of a key mosque, residents told CNN.

Soldiers and other security forces blanketed the area around the Omari mosque, the center of anti-government demonstrations in the city, according to two residents and two human rights activists outside Syria who are in touch with protesters there.

In the eastern part of the city, dozens of government tanks fired shells as helicopters flew overhead and soldiers got into position on rooftops, residents said.

Gunfire could be heard in the background as one of the residents spoke to CNN over the telephone.

The brutal crackdown in the restive Syrian city of Daraa persisted on Saturday, as security personnel surrounded, shelled and took control of a key mosque, residents told CNN.

Soldiers and other security forces blanketed the area around the Omari mosque, the center of anti-government demonstrations in the city, according to two residents and two human rights activists outside Syria who are in touch with protesters there.

In the eastern part of the city, dozens of government tanks fired shells as helicopters flew overhead and soldiers got into position on rooftops, residents said.

Gunfire could be heard in the background as one of the residents spoke to CNN over the telephone.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Syrian government announced it has a complete plan for reforms in the political, economic, judicial and administrative sectors, Syrian state news agency SANA said.

In Daraa, residents said the city is under a strict curfew. One resident said that men venturing outside were being shot and women and children who left their homes were being escorted back. Another said anyone on the street was being shot.

Bloated bodies remained uncollected in the streets, their relatives afraid to retrieve them, witnesses said, and they complained about a lack of water, power, electricity and food.

CNN has not been granted access into Syria and is unable to independently verify witness accounts.

But CNN has spoken with witnesses, some of whom have also reported what they see via social networking sites and posted homemade videos. Reports also have been compiled by human rights organizations.

The clampdown in Daraa comes a day after 19 people, including four soldiers, were reported killed and more than 50 others wounded in the city, where the nationwide demonstrations originated last month.

Funerals were held Saturday in Homs for four members of the Syrian security forces killed during protests in that city and in Daraa, SANA said.

In Daraa, government forces opened fire on protesters from neighboring villages who tried to enter the city near the Jordanian-Syrian border, according to witnesses who spoke with CNN.

The violence comes amid a bloody crackdown against protesters by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus.

The harsh crackdown has emboldened demonstrators and drawn widespread criticism from across the world, including international entities like the United Nations and human rights groups.

The U.S. government on Friday announced new sanctions against top members and elements of the regime.

(networkedblogs.com / 01.05.2011)

Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territory

In the course of the armed conflict that erupted in the Middle East in June 1967, the Israeli military occupied the remainder of Mandated Palestine: the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which was under Jordanian control, and the Gaza Strip, which was under Egyptian administration. The lines of these areas were defined as such by the 1949 Armistice Agreements that were concluded between Israel and Jordan and Egypt respectively. The Israeli military also occupied the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights. Israel, thus, became a belligerent occupant of those territories.

Following the war, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, which emphasized the international law principle of “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and which affirmed that peace in the Middle East should be based on the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict” and the “termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

This resolution, along with the principle of returning the land in exchange for peace (land for peace) which was embodied in it, became the basis for the Middle East peace process.

What is The Israeli Occupation?

Based on the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and relevant UN resolutions, the entire international community considers the Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, along with the other Arab territories occupied by Israel in 1967, to be “occupied territories” subject to the 4th Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War. The United Nations, in a multitude of resolutions, has affirmed the applicability of the 4th Geneva Convention to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967, including East Jerusalem and has called for an end to the occupation. The UN has also repeatedly affirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the need for the realization of those rights.

At the start of the occupation, Israel, the occupying Power, immediately began imposing scores of repressive measures against the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. These measures, entailing grave violations of human rights, have inflicted enormous suffering and harm on the Palestinian civilian population. At the same time, the occupying Power attempted to change the status of the occupied territory or parts of it and to change the demographic composition of the territory through the illegal transfer of Israeli civilians. The occupying Power attempted to justify many of these measures by citing its security considerations or military needs. In reality, however, the occupying Power has been driven by an expansionist vision or ideology and, in the course of implementing such a vision, has used its enormous military capabilities and a complex system of economic, legal and administrative policies and practices. Another fundamental aim of the occupying Power has been to prevent the realization of Palestinian national rights. The result of these measures has been a gradual change in the situation in the Palestinian territory from that under foreign occupation to that under active colonization.

Israel, the occupying Power, has continued with its policies and practices of occupation for almost 32 years. These policies and practices represent grave breeches of international humanitarian law and serious violations of all the principles and laws of human rights. Israel has also carried out these policies in total disregard for the position of the international community and in total violation of the Charter of the U.N. and of relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, as well as resolutions of other U.N. organs.

The following is an outline of the policies and practices of Israel, the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem.

Violence Against and ill-Treatment of the Civilian Population

Numerous forms of physical violence and ill treatment have been routinely and systematically used against the civilian population. These include summary executions by special undercover units and indiscriminate shootings with live ammunition or rubber-coated bullets by the Israeli army and by the armed Jewish settlers, which has resulted in scores of injuries and death. There have been numerous cases whereby the shootings by soldiers and settlers have resulted in massacres of Palestinian civilians, such as the massacre at Al-Haram Al-Sharif on 8 October 1990 and the massacre of 29 Palestinians in the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron on 25 February 1994 by a settler.

Another notable form of Israeli violence against the civilian population is the use of torture in prisons for both repressive and interrogative purposes. Israel is the only nation in the world that has codified and legalized the use of torture in interrogation.

The violence perpetrated against the Palestinian population also includes random and/or excessive beatings, physical harassment and the use of tear gas in confined places. Arbitrary arrests, humiliation, delays and even the obstruction and outright denial of access to medical treatment have been daily occurrences at the checkpoints.

Collective Punishment

Forms of collective punishment against all or parts of the population have included, inter alia, the imposition of curfews and sieges on entire villages or urban centers, often for prolonged periods of time, raids, home demolitions, blanket closures of schools and universities, and the destruction of property, including agricultural and private land and the uprooting of trees and crops.

Another form of collective punishment is the severe restriction on the freedom of movement of persons and goods within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, between the West Bank and Gaza and between the occupied territory and the outside world. Generally, all Palestinians are required to carry Israeli-issued identity cards and to obtain permits to enter Jerusalem and to travel abroad. For the past several years, East Jerusalem has been placed off limits to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, despite the city’s economic, social and religious importance to the Palestinian population.

Arbitrary Detention

Israel, the occupying Power, allows for the arbitrary detention of any Palestinian civilian for up to 6 months without trial and the detention orders can be extended indefinitely for additional 6-month periods. In practice, however, many have been detained for much longer periods, some up to or over 7 years. There is no minimum age for arrest or detention and thousands of Palestinians, including children, have been illegally detained. More than 600,000 Palestinian civilians have been arrested since the beginning of the occupation in 1967. As of November 1997, there were approximately 3000 Palestinians being held by Israel in detention and prison facilties. Moreover, the occupying Power has moved the detainees to detention camps or centers outside of the occupied territory and into Israel itself.

Deportation of Civilians

Israel, the occupying Power, has pursued a policy of deportation of Palestinian civilians from their homeland. It has attempted to justify these military orders by citing the British Mandatory Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945 (These regulations, however, were revoked in May 1948 by the British government and cannot, in any case, justify deportation). The deportations are usually carried out through extra-judicial administrative orders taken by military commanders and not by any judicial authority and are not pursuant to any legal procedure.

The permanent expulsions totaled over 1,156 in just the first decade of the occupation, later reaching 2,500 persons. Deportees included professors, students, trade union leaders, journalists and even elected mayors. Typically, the deportees have been expelled over the border to either Jordan or Lebanon, against the will of those countries. In 1992, Israel carried out an unprecedented mass deportation, expelling 418 Palestinian civilians at one time to Southern Lebanon.

Illegal Acquisition of Land

After the occupation, Israel, the occupying Power, immediately proceeded to take control of as much of the Palestinian land as possible. In the process, Israel applied complex measures for illegal land acquisition, ranging from the control of all state and communal lands, the application of the British Mandatory Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945 and of the absentee property procedures, the change of laws related to the expropriation of land, to the direct confiscation of privately owned land. The illegally acquired land could become either “closed areas,” “security zones,” “green areas,” “nature reserves,” or could be used for the building of settlements. More than 50% of the land of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, is now under Israeli control and approximately 7% of the Occupied Territory, including more than 1/3 of East Jerusalem, has been used for settlement building.

Exploitation of Natural Resources

The Israeli occupation involves both the theft and exploitation of the natural resources of the territories, primarily land and water. Israel has taken the entire Palestinian share of the water resources of the Jordan River and has diverted the resources from three major West Bank water aquifers to meet demands in Israel and in the settlements. Of the 600 million cubic meters of water produced annually in the West Bank, Israel, the occupying Power, draws 490 million cubic meters while the Palestinians receive only 110 million cubic meters. More than 40 deep-bore wells were also drilled in the West Bank for consumption by Israel. Towards the end of the 1970s, the occupying Power transferred responsibility over water resources from the military government to the Israeli national water company (Mekkorot).

The result has been a severe water shortage for the Palestinian population and a decline in agricultural output because Palestinian farmers have been forced to abandon their farmlands in order to find alternative means of livelihood. The dramatic fall in the proportion of the GNP and employment accounted for by agriculture is also a result of the enormous amount of agricultural land lost to the occupation authorities through confiscation.

Substitution of the Occupying Power’s Laws for those Previously in Force

With the beginning of the occupation, Israel, the occupying Power, established a military government in the Occupied Palestinian Territory which exterts absolute control over the Palestinian population. The two area commanders of the West Bank and Gaza have exclusive formal authority over the area. The commander is the legislator, the head of the Executive, and is in charge of appointing all local officials and judges. The military commanders have introduced over 1100 military orders in the West Bank and over 835 in the Gaza Strip. These orders have changed, amended or repealed virtually every law in the Palestinian territory. The occupying Power effected structural changes in the court system and established military tribunals which were responsible for dealing with security related matters, the scope of which has gradually broadened. In November 1981, through a military order, a civilian administration was established for the military government.

At the same time, Israel, the occupying Power, has created a dual system of law in the Occupied Territory. Israel has extended some of its laws extraterritorially to the Occupied Territory, applying them only to Jewish settlers and it has established local and regional Jewish councils.

Transfer of Israeli Population

With the onset of the occupation, Israel, the Occupying Power, began to transfer parts of its own population to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem. These Israelis were settled on illegally acquired Palestinian land in what came to be known as Israeli settlements. Such population transfers are explicitly forbidden under the 4th Geneva Convention specifically to prevent colonization and annexation.

In the initial stage of this process, Israel claimed that the settlements were being built for “security” based reasons. At a later stage, however, more ideological reasons were given to justify this illegal expansionist policy. To date, Israel has transferred more than 350,000 settlers into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including an estimated 180,000 who live in nine settlements in the illegally expanded boundaries of East Jerusalem. The Israeli government provides considerable financial incentives and other forms of assistance to the settlers to encourage them to move to the Occupied Territory. Most of the settlers are armed and, as evidenced by the many incidents of violence perpetrated by them, have been a real and serious threat to the safety of Palestinian civilians.

The transfer of population, coupled with the illegal acquisition of land, the abuse of natural resources and the establishment of a dual system of law, has created a clear situation of colonization in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Destruction of the Economic Structure

Israel, the occupying Power, has undertaken a variety of broad measures, effectively causing the destruction of the Palestinian economy. These measures include the following: strict financial regulations on all activities related to industry; closure or takeover of banks; imposition of taxes, levies & fines (in many cases tax assessments run higher than the annual revenues of a business); withdrawal of operating licenses and closure of farms and businesses; destruction of crops, industrial equipment and other property; stringent measures against agriculture and fishing, including the bulldozing of farmland, the uprooting of trees, and bans on fishing off the Gaza coast; restrictions on the movement of labor; tight controls on export and trade of Palestinian goods; regular and systematic closures of the Occupied Territory to both Israel and the outside world.

The West Bank and Gaza have been effectively transformed into “captive markets” for Israel, whereby Israeli products enter unencumbered by tariffs and customs and free from local or international competition. Local businesses are compelled to buy everything from Israel. The occupation also transformed Palestinian civilians into a pool of cheap labor for Israel and within a few years, a large segment of the Palestinian population became dependent on Israel for employment, mainly in menial labor and construction.

At the same time, the occupying Power, while placing heavy taxes upon the population, did not improve or maintain the infrastructure of the territories in return. The infrastructure was left to deteriorate and minimal municipal, social and health services were provided.

Destruction of the Social Structure

The occupation thoroughly destroyed much of the Palestinian social structure and stifled any potential social development. In addition to the direct physical and psychological trauma inflicted on a large segment of the population, other harsh measures were also imposed. Communication with the outside world was severely restricted and the health situation deteriorated as a result of the constraints placed on the medical and public health sectors. The education system was brought under enormous pressure, including the closure of schools and universities for prolonged periods. The return of Palestinian displaced persons (those who fled during the 1967 war) has also been prevented by the occupying Power, as have most cases of family reunification.

All forms of civil liberties were forbidden and violations were severely punished under the occupation. Freedom of expression and assembly were banned and all media and press were censored. Forms of political expression, such as the printing of any document containing any political substance, were forbidden.

Additional Measures in Jerusalem

Immediately following its occupation of the city, Israel, the occupying Power, took numerous measures to consolidate its control over East Jerusalem and judaize it. The Israeli government expanded the municipal borders of Jerusalem and extended its laws, jurisdiction and administration to East Jerusalem. On 30 July 1980, the Israeli Knesset adopted a law illegally annexing the city. Palestinian Jerusalemites were thus placed in a precarious legal situation, whereby they were issued different Israeli identity cards from other Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Although they did not become citizens, they became subject to Israeli law.

Israel, the occupying Power, has taken various measures to force Palestinians to leave Jerusalem, including land confiscation, restrictions on building, and the refusal to grant family reunifications. Most notable in the past several years has been Israel’s campaign of evicting Palestinian Jerusalemites from the city. The policy, described as “quiet deportation,” involves, inter alia, the widespread confiscation of Palestinian identity cards and has escalated to the point that it is contributing to an additional change in the city’s demographic composition. Since 1967, more than 5,000 Palestinians have been stripped of their Jerusalem residency and forced to leave their homes. Of these, approximately 1,400 have been revoked since 1995, over 788 in 1998 alone.

Gradually, through the imposition of a permanent closure and numerous restrictions on entry, Jerusalem has become almost impossible to reach by the rest of the Palestinian population. The city has become off-limits in the last several years, a situation, which has created enormous social, economic, health and educational problems for the entire Palestinian population.

Given Jerusalem’s religious status, the closures have affected the freedom of religion of the civilian population as well. The closure of Jerusalem has prevented Christian and Muslim residents of the West Bank and Gaza from praying at their respective holy places, even during major holidays. Jerusalem’s holy places, moreover, have been constant targets by Israelis for desecration, destruction and transformation. The foundations of many Islamic holy sites have been threatened by Israeli archaeological excavations and the Temple Mount has been the site of numerous violent incidents that resulted in the loss of lives of many Muslim worshippers. The Al-Aqsa Mosque itself has been a target of attacks, such as the 21 August 1969 arson attack that caused extensive damage and destruction. In Al-Khalil, part of Al-Ibrahimi Mosque was transformed into an area for Jewish prayer and Palestinian worshippers have been restricted from praying at the site.

The above-mentioned systematic Israeli policies and measures have been continuously applied by the occupying Power against the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Territory, including Jerusalem, since 1967. The priorities given by Israel, the occupying Power, to those policies and practices and the efforts it took to carry them out have varied according to the different situations on the ground as well as to the overall political environment. For instance, illegal acquisition of land and or the transfer of Israeli population have not taken place with the same intensity throughout the whole period of the occupation.

Violence against civilians, collective punishments and deportation of civilians, while always common, dramatically intensified during the 7-year period of the Intifada, which started in December 1987. This intensification of highly repressive measures, labeled Israel’s “Iron Fist Policy,” was aimed at crushing the uprising as quickly as possible and breaking the will of the people. The figures for this period include the following: over 1100 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, of which approximately 276 were children under the age of seventeen; over 80,000 Palestinians were seriously injured in the first two years alone; 23,000-29,000 children were seriously injured; 10,000 children under the age of 18 were imprisoned for prolonged periods of time; over 18,000 administrative detention orders were issued against Palestinian civilians; more than 75,000 civilians were detained; over 14,000 were placed under administrative detention (at one point, there were approximately 13, 000 Palestinians held in custody at one time); more than 2000 homes were demolished.

With the conclusion of the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements, and the partial redeployment of Israeli forces from some areas of the Occupied Territory, some of the above-mentioned direct repressive measures have been reduced, possibly due to the decrease in contact and friction between parts of the civilian population and the occupying army. However, Israel’s policies and measures related to settlement building, destruction of the economic and social structure, and Jerusalem have all increased substantially. The severe restrictions on the movement of persons and goods, often in the form of general closures, has become an issue of increasing concern during the past several years. All of these measure are also direct violations of the existing Palestinian-Israeli agreements concluded within the Middle East peace process.

Fourth Geneva Convention and the Hague Regulations

The Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians in Time of War of 12 August 1949 and the Regulations Annexed to the 4th Hague Convention of 1907 apply to all cases of armed conflict and/or occupation. An international consensus exists among states, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), that the Convention is fully applicable to all the territories occupied by Israel in 1967. The U.N. Security Council confirmed the applicability of the 4th Geneva Convention to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, in 24 resolutions. Many of those resolutions call upon Israel, the occupying Power, to comply with the provisions of the Convention and to accept its de jure applicability. The General Assembly, along with other bodies of the U.N., has adopted scores of resolutions affirming the same position.

Many Security Council and other UN resolutions have dealt with specific Israeli grave breaches of the Convention and other acts contrary to its provisions, such as settlements, measures related to Jerusalem, deportations, indiscriminate shooting of civilians and collective punishment. The resolutions all condemn such illegal Israeli actions call for their cessation and for full Israeli compliance with the provisions of the Convention and the terms of those resolutions. In several of these resolutions, the Security Council called for measures to provide for the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population and requested the Secretary-General to fulfill certain tasks in this regard.

Israel, in turn, is a signatory to the 4th Geneva Convention and, as such, must respect the Convention under all circumstances. However, Israel is not complying with the provisions of the Convention; it argues that the 4th Geneva Convention is not applicable to the Occupied Territory and it claims compliance with the humanitarian provisions of the Convention! Such a position is obviously illegal and condemnable. Moreover, Israel’s position on the issue has been confusing and wrought with many inconsistencies. For instance, Israeli Military Order #3, issued on 7 June 1967, states that the military court in the West Bank must apply the provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention with respect to judicial procedures and gives the Convention precedence over military orders. Yet, this military order, along with another identical one related to Gaza, were subsequently deleted by other orders in the same year.

The Israeli Supreme Court adopted an ambiguous position on this matter, refraining from dealing with claims based on the Convention on the grounds that treaty law does not become part of the law of the land until the Knesset passes legislation to that effect. However, in another case regarding the Ansar camp in southern Lebanon, the Court in effect held that the 4th Geneva Convention is applicable. On the other hand, with regard to Hague Regulations, the Court found them applicable on the grounds that they reflect customary international law, which is deemed part of Israeli law, in the absence of a conflicting municipal law. Accordingly, the Court found that settlements could be justified as part of Israeli military need.

The international community has resolutely rejected these Israeli positions and the Security Council and other U.N. organizations have adopted, as mentioned above, numerous resolutions in this regard. In 1968, the General Assembly established the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, which, in spite of Israel’s refusal to cooperate, submits periodic reports to the General Assembly throughout each session. Also, in 1993, the Commission on Human Rights appointed a Special Rapporteaur for the Occupied Territories and again Israel refused to cooperate.

In response to Israel’s continuing illegal policies and measures in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, which have persisted since 1967 in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and U.N. resolutions, the international community has acted to reassert its position. In this regard, on 24 April 1997 the UN General Assembly convened, for the first time in 15 years, the 10th Emergency Special Session (a rare procedure based on UN resolution 377 (V) of 1950 entitled “Uniting for Peace”) to consider illegal Israeli actions in Occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The 10th Session recommended to the High Contracting Parties to convene a conference on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and to ensure its respect in accordance with common article 1. This represents the first time in the history of the Convention that such a call for a conference on a specific situation has been made. On 9 February 1999, in its 5th resumption of the 10th session, the Assembly further recommended that a conference be convened on 15 July 1999 at U.N. headquarters at Geneva. The resolutions adopted by the session also affirmed the responsibility of the High Contracting Parties to respect and ensure respect for the Convention.

Conclusion

The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory, including Jerusalem, and the policies and practices of the Occupying Power in this regard indeed represent a unique case for several reasons. Primarily, the occupation is unique because of the multiplicity and intensity of Israel’s grave breaches of the 4th Geneva Convention and other acts contrary to its provisions, all of which led to untold suffering by the Palestinian civilian population. Secondly, those grave breaches and other acts have continued for a long period of time, almost 32 years, in total contradiction of the position of the international community and in blatant violation of many Security Council and other U.N. resolutions. Lastly, the Israeli occupation is unique because it effectively transformed the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory from one of occupation to one of actual colonization of the Palestinian land and denied the legitimate national rights of a whole people at the end of the 20th century a time when the phenomenon of colonization has long been deceased in other parts of the world. This situation and the accompanying culture of impunity must be brought to an immediate end. In short, the Israeli repressive measures must cease immediately and Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable for its record in this regard. The measures of colonization must also be stopped and reversed with all the correlating practical and legal ramifications.

This occupation must end and the Palestinian people must be allowed to realize their inalienable rights, including the right to establish their own state, so that peace can be achieved on the basis of co-existence and international legalities.

(webgaza.net / 01.05.2011)

Belgian Parliament backs burqa ban

Late yesterday, the House of Representatives of the Belgian Federal Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of introducing legislation that bans the burqa-type Islamic dress in public. The bill was approved by a majority of 136-1 and only had two abstentions.

Actually, the Lower House had already approved the bill about one year ago, but the process was held up at the last moment when the government coalition collapsed. In order to avoid legal problems, the Lower House of the federal caretaker government of Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrat) voted once again.This time, only one MP voted against, Eva Brems of the green party Groen! There were also two abstentions by two members of the Francophone greens of Ecolo.

The issue sparked a lot of debate over the past few years. Supporters of a ban say that it symbolises the oppression of Islamic women and also cite security reasons. Others claim that the women should have a free choice of their own, and that Islamic women might no longer have the permission of their family to leave the house now.

Belgium is only the second country to ban the burqa-type dress in public, after France. The Belgian Senate still has time to decide whether to put the bill up for further discussion, but no major problems are expected.

(www.deredactie.be / 01.05.2011)

Israel used chemical weapons in Lebanon and Gaza

Israel has admitted using phosphorous bombs during the war against Lebanon last summer, just days after being accused by an Italian television documentary programme of using dense inert metal missiles, which are highly carcinogenic, against the Palestinians in Gaza in July and August.

After previously claiming that phosphorous bombs were only used to mark targets, Israeli cabinet minister, Jacob Edery, has now confirmed that “the Israeli army made use of phosphorous shells during the war against Hezbollah in attacks against military targets in open ground.”

Phosphorus weapons cause chemical burns and the Red Cross and human rights groups argue they should be treated as chemical weapons. The use of chemical weapons against civilians or against military targets in civilian areas is outlawed by the Geneva Conventions. The US has insisted that Saddam Hussein be tried for using chemical weapons against civilians.

The Lebanese government had accused Israel of using banned weapons, including phosphorus incendiary bombs and vacuum bombs during the recent war. Doctors in hospitals in southern Lebanon had said they suspected some of the burns they were seeing were caused by phosphorous bombs.

Israel dropped more than a million cluster bombs on south Lebanon in the last few days before the ceasefire that have resulted in at least three deaths a day, mainly of women and children, and which have rendered the area almost uninhabitable.

Israel’s reversal of its previous claim that its weapons used in Lebanon did not contravene international conventions can only strengthen the claims by Palestinian doctors that Israel has used experimental heavy metal weapons against the people of Gaza.

The Italian state television’s satellite channel, RAI News 24, which last year documented the US military’s use of white phosphorus against civilians during attacks on Fallujah, followed up reports from Gaza of inexplicably serious injuries.

Doctors had appealed for help in identifying the cause of these strange injuries that were small, often invisible to X-rays, and cuts provoked by intense heat in the lower limbs. They observed an unusually large number of wounded that had had to have one or both of their legs amputated just below the genitals due to burns. Dr. Habas al-Wahid, head of the emergency centre at the Shuhada al-Aqsa hospital, told the journalists that the legs of the injured were sliced from their bodies “as if a saw was used to cut through the bone.”

Dozens of victims had completely burned bodies and shrapnel type injuries that X-ray machines had been unable to detect. Doctors said they had removed microscopic particles of carbounium and tungsten, a highly carcinogenic substance, from wounds. Dr. Juma Saka, of Shifa hospital in Gaza City, said that doctors had found small entry wounds on the bodies of the dead and wounded, and a powder on the victims’ bodies and in their internal organs. “The powder was like microscopic shrapnel, and this is likely what caused the injuries,” Saka said.

In many cases, doctors found that their patients, after initially appearing to recover, suddenly died after one or two days. “We don’t know what it means, new weapons or something added to a previous weapon,” said Saied Joudda, the deputy director at the Kamal Odwan hospital in Beit Lahiya.

These injuries were first seen in July after Israel launched a massive military offensive against Gaza at the end of June, ostensibly to find Corporal Gilad Shalit, who had been seized by Palestinian militants, and to put an end to the firing of Qassem rockets into Israel. The six-week-long war against a largely defenceless people destroyed roads, bridges, homes, water treatment and electricity plants, killed at least 286 Palestinians and injured 4,200, according to Gaza’s emergency services’ estimate. Overshadowed by Israel’s barbaric war against Lebanon, it received little publicity in the world’s press.

Most of the deaths and injuries were caused by Israeli drones, unmanned light planes that dropped weapons using precise remote-controlled devices against pre-established targets.

The programme reported that the doctors in Gaza had compiled extensive documentary evidence of the injuries. Dr. Mouawia, a cardio-vascular surgeon and director general of emergency services in Gaza, explained, “In the main hospitals of Gaza, such as the Shifa Hospital, our medical colleagues have treated wounds that present small holes, especially at the legs; in some other cases, within the body itself metallic fragments of various dimensions have been found, which are actually larger than the small wounds.”

“Personally I have collected in a CD the documentation relative to 86 cases that I am ready to show in Italy or anywhere else so that people can know what has happened here in the past months, when the public opinion was directed especially at the war in Lebanon,” he continued.

“In our opinion, Israel has also used chemical weapons, such as numerous cases demonstrate, documented cases, with persons having extremely serious burns to their internal organs in the absence of external wounds.

“In the Gazan hospitals,” Dr. Mouawia added, “the doctors are facing a situation that is truly difficult, worsened by the state of siege that we in the Gaza Strip are forced to live under. It is like an open-air prison: many of those wounded have died due to the seriousness of the wounds provoked by these weapons that are ‘different’ from the traditional ones up to this moment used by the Israeli aviation.” He said that no new cases had been recorded since August.

After lengthy research and analysis of the samples of metals found in the victims’ bodies and examining the unusual wounds, the programme’s reporters believed that the most likely cause of these injuries were missiles very similar to the US made Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME).

According to the military magazine Defence Tech, DIME is a carbon-encased missile that shatters on impact into minuscule splinters, at the same time setting off an explosive that shoots blades of energy-charged, heavy metal tungsten alloy (HMTA) powder, such as cobalt and nickel or iron, with a carbon fibre casing. It turns to dust on impact, as it loses inertia very quickly due to air resistance, burning and destroying through a very precise angulation everything within a four-meter range, as opposed to the shrapnel which results from the fragmentation of a metal casing.

The designation of the metal as “inert” is due to the metal’s non-involvement in the blast, rather than the metal being chemically or biologically inert.

This technology is one of a new range of “low collateral damage” or LCD weapons designed to minimise the damage to nearby property, by confining its increased lethal effects to a restricted space. So it is “ideal for densely populated areas” and “helping the warfighter to prevent the loss of public support,” according to its enthusiastic proponents.

The television programme did not address the question as to whether the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) developed this weapon themselves or had been supplied by the US to test the weapons, using the Palestinians as guinea pigs.

When questioned by the journalists, a spokesman for the IDF stated, “Israel uses no weapons that are not legal under international law.” But since DIME is new, international law has not passed judgment on its legality.

The IDF evidently refused to talk to the Italian reporters officially since they only cited Yitzhak Ben-Israel, major-general in the Israel air force, a former head of the army’s weapons-development program. He did not deny it was a DIME-type weapon, stating instead that “One of the ideas is to allow those targeted to be hit without causing damage to bystanders or other persons.”

He told the reporters “this is a technology that allows the striking of very small targets.”

In other words, DIME would be the perfect weapon for Israel’s programme of targeted assassinations of Palestinian opponents of the ongoing suppression and humiliation of the Palestinian people.

But the huge ratio of dead to injured in Gaza’s densely populated cities suggests that supposedly “low lethality” weapons—that provide increased lethality within a narrow zone—may have precisely the opposite effect.

Tungsten, the main material that would stray outside of the target zone, is also said to be highly carcinogenic and harmful to the environment. According to New Scientist magazine, John Kalinich’s team at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Maryland said that in a study designed to simulate shrapnel injuries, pellets of weapons-grade tungsten alloy were implanted in 92 rats. Within five months all the animals developed a rare cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma.

The carcinogenic effects of HMTA have been studied by the US Armed Forces since at least 2000 (along with depleted uranium). These alloys were found to cause neoplastic transformations of human osteoblast cells.

Dr. Mark Witten, a cancer researcher from the University of Arizona, said he was concerned about the possible links between tungsten and leukaemia. “My opinion is that there needs to be much more research on the health effects of tungsten before the military increases its usage,” he said.

Carmela Vaccaio, a doctor at University of Parma, examined samples sent by the Italian reporters from the Gaza Strip and found a very high concentration of carbon, as well as copper, aluminium and tungsten, which she considered to be unusual materials. In her report she concluded, “These findings could be in line with the hypothesis that the weapon in question is DIME.”

To add to their suffering, the Palestinian survivors of this new weaponry can expect to fall victim to cancer.

Later, in a statement issued after the programme, the IDF denied the use of DIME weapons, adding that “Due to operational reasons, the IDF cannot specify the types and use of weapons in its possession.”

(Global Research, October 24, 2006 / www.globalresearch.ca / 01.05.2011)

(Admin.: An old article, but no one cares about it, the west is watching, drinking a beer and go for a pee, you have to shame yourself)

Gevechten in Libië nabij grens met Tunesië

DEHIBA – Strijders die loyaal zijn aan de Libische leider Muammar Kaddafi, zijn rond de stad Wazin nabij de grens met Tunesië in gevecht geraakt met opstandelingen. Een correspondent van het Britse persbureau Reuters, die in Tunesië is, zei dat hij artilleriebeschietingen en geweervuur hoorde.

De Tunesische autoriteiten hebben de grenspost bij de stad Dehiba gesloten. Mensen in de buurt worden geëvacueerd.

(www.parool.nl / 01.05.2011)