Bombing follows shooting at southern Russia mosque

Six injured in mosque shooting in Dagestan, Russia's Southern republic.

Six injured in mosque shooting in Dagestan, Russia’s Southern republic.

A bomb has reportedly exploded in a mosque in the town of Khasavyurt in Russia’s southern Republic of Dagestan, injuring several people. The blast reportedly came after two gunmen opened fire in the mosque, wounding eight.

The bomb detonated as police were trying to diffuse a separate explosive device. Authorities say there were two bombs altogether, and the second is currently being dismantled by minesweepers, a local interior ministry source told RIA Novosti reports.

There have been no reports of damage to the building, and it is unclear how many people were injured in the blast.

Police found what they suspected to be an explosive device at the mosque after two gunmen opened fire on worshippers.

“The criminals placed an explosive device that appeared to be a gas cylinder connected to wires in the mosque and sped off in a silver car,” a law enforcement source told Interfax news agency.

“At 20:55 Moscow time on Hamidov Street two armed, unknown men stormed a Shiite mosque after evening prayers and opened fire on the congregation,” the Head of the Investigative Committee of Dagestan said.

He said that six victims had been taken to the central city hospital in Khasvyurt, adding that two of them were in critical condition. However, a representative of the republic’s interior ministry later said the number of victims had risen to eight. The majority of the victims were young people, specifically those “born in 1986-1992.”

No motive for the attack has been established, and police are currently looking for the suspects.

A source within the interior ministry said police had been sent to major mosques throughout the republic, with the central mosque in the capital Makhachkala being placed under “heavy guard.” However, he admitted that it would be difficult to provide security at many of the smaller mosques dotting the republic.

Another interior ministry sources refuted these claims, saying mosques in the republic were not placed under increased police surveillance.

The attack comes during the Muslim feast of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It follows a rash of attacks that have taken place over the last several months.

On Thursday, a bomb attack targeted a prosecutor in Makhachkala, though he was not harmed. In May, 14 people were killed and 87 injured after two powerful explosions rocked the capital. Earlier in March, at least five policemen were killed and two more injured after a female suicide bomber struck a police checkpoint.

Dagestan has seen a low-level Islamist insurgency for over a decade, with the majority of the attacks targeting officials and security forces.

(rt.com / 18.08.2012)

Arab monarchies of Persian Gulf: Relics of barbarism, handwriting on the wall

Anti-regime protesters stage rally in Saudi Arabia’s coastal town of Qatif on July 8, 2012.

Anti-regime protesters stage rally in Saudi Arabia’s coastal town of Qatif on July 8, 2012.

The Arab monarchies that emerged under British auspices from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire have always represented an anachronism, in sharp contradiction to the whole direction of modern history and human progress elsewhere in the world.”

Recent months have provided the world with a grotesque spectacle of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the other reactionary Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf pretending to take the lead in the struggle for democracy and human rights in a number of countries, most recently Syria.

Now, there are numerous signs that a revolutionary upsurge may soon be on the agenda in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, with Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Oman possibly not far behind. The successful overthrow of the oppressive monarchies of these nations would be an event of world historical significance, and would represent a victory for world peace and a grievous defeat for the imperialist world domination of Washington and London.

The reactionary monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula on the shores of the Persian Gulf are all members of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which was formed to support Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. Jordan and Morocco, the two Arab monarchies outside of the Persian Gulf, have been invited to join the GCC, which would make it a kind of self-defense league for endangered royals. The GCC has also talked of making a transition from regional bloc to confederation; Saudi Arabia advocates this idea, while the other monarchies fear being swallowed up.

The Arab monarchies that emerged under British auspices from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire have always represented an anachronism, in sharp contradiction to the whole direction of modern history and human progress elsewhere in the world.

The last hundred years have seen a nearly uninterrupted catalog of monarchies which have become extinct. The Chinese Empire ended in 1911. At the end of World War I, monarchies were falling like bowling pins. This included the Habsburg Emperors of Austria-Hungary, the Romanoff Czars of Russia, and the Hohenzollern Emperors of Germany and Kings of Prussia. The Sultan or Caliph of the Ottoman Empire was also deposed. These were soon followed by the Spanish monarchy. The Japanese tried to create a new empire in Manchuria, but they were unsuccessful. At the end of World War II, additional monarchies became extinct in Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia. In July, 1952, King Farouk of Egypt was overthrown by Colonel Nasser and the Free Officers movement. The British had installed King Idris as Libyan ruler in 1951, but he was ousted by a military coup led by Colonel Qaddafi. The Hashemite rulers of Iraq were ousted in 1958 by the coup led by General Kasem. In the 1970s, Spain swam against the tide by restoring its royal house. But around the same time the Greek monarchy came to an end. The Islamic Revolution in Iran overthrew Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in February 1979.

Only in the Arab territories of the former Ottoman Empire could monarchy make a comeback, due largely to the influence of the British Empire, and then increasingly to the support of the United States. The current monarchy of the House of Saud emerged during World War I under the sponsorship of the British, who through Lawrence of Arabia had incited the Arabs of Hijaz to rebel against the Turkish Sultan. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the British tried to put Syria and Iraq under a monarchy of the House of Hashem, and the Hashemites hold the Jordanian Crown today.

Saudi Arabia is still an absolute monarchy. Few people in the West have any comprehension of what this means. Under the House of Saud, there are no guaranteed rights, no separation of powers, no checks and balances, no guarantee of due process. There is no written constitution. The monarch is considered to be the owner of the entire country and of all the people in it, over whom he exercises a theoretical – and sometimes grimly practical – power of life and death. Representative bodies are sometimes chosen or nominated, but they are purely consultative: they can offer advice the crown, but they have no power to block or implement any policy.

Absolute monarchy also prevails under the Thani family in Qatar, the home of the Al Jazeera propaganda channel. After World War II, Qatar was one of the poorest countries in the region, with a pearl industry in decline. The Thanis, like the Sauds, are members of the militant Wahhabite sect, and for a time they were in danger of being absorbed into the Saudi kingdom. The Thani royals were saved by the discovery of oil, and by their Exclusive Agreement with Great Britain. There is a tradition of coup d’état by disgruntled factions inside the royal family, and there may have been an attempt of this type in the spring of 2012.

Another absolute monarchy is that of the Sultanate of Oman, which is subjected to the rule of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, who overthrow his own father in a palace coup in July 1973 and sent him to live out his days in Claridges Hotel in London. The Saids have been in power since 1744.

Bahrain, since 1783 under the rule of the Khalifa family, claims to be a constitutional monarchy, but the events of the last 18 months have shown that the monarchical power is practically totalitarian. Bahrain was a British protectorate until 1971. The Khalifas are Sunni Muslims in a majority Shiite country, and nevertheless they monopolize the most important posts in the government. Oil was discovered in Bahrain in 1932, before any of the other Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and oil production has been in decline. As a result, the standard of living here is lower than in the neighboring countries. The monarchy was saved from possible overthrow by a mass upsurge on March 14, 2011 thanks to the Peninsula Shield Force of Saudi and Emirati personnel which crushed the protest demonstrations. Demonstrators have been subjected to draconian jail sentences, while censorship and electronic surveillance remain the order of the day.

The United Arab Emirates, the old Trucial States, are a confederation of seven absolute mini-monarchies, of which the most important are Abu Dhabi under the Nahyans and Dubai under the Maktoum family. These were under British rule until 1971. Along with Qatar, the UAE has been at the forefront of attempts to destabilize Syria. The UAE also took the lead during the attack on Libya, and now hopes to play a prominent role in the looting of Libya’s oil wealth under the new regime.

Kuwait is ruled by the Sabah family, who were restored by US in the first Persian Gulf War. During that conflict, it was revealed that the Sabahs, like their monarchical colleagues, still practice household slavery, which the US under George H. W. Bush, was thus supporting. During the Iraq war, Kuwait was turned into a US garrison state. Kuwait has a parliament, but the government is appointed by the Sabahs. The opposition is pressing for full parliamentary democracy, while the Sabahs are trying to hold on to power by changing the voting law.

All of these monarchies fear their own populations. They therefore rely on the support of the United States and the British. In addition, they also cooperate closely with the Israeli Mossad.

The hedonistic Persian Gulf monarchs need to contemplate the sad fate of Louis Philippe II, the Duke of Orleans, in the French Revolution. Descended from the younger branch of the French royal House of Bourbon, he thought he could ride the tiger of revolutionary agitation and gain more power for himself. He called himself Philippe Egalité, and organized the 1789 storming of the Bastille which set off the revolution. He voted for the death sentence for his relative, Louis XVI. But in the end, the forces Philippe Egalité had unleashed turned against him, and he died on the guillotine in November 1793 at the height of the reign of terror which he had helped to unleash. The Persian Gulf monarchs pretending to support revolutions should take note.

To qualify as a real revolution, a political upheaval needs to create an important and lasting institutional change. This can be the overthrow of the monarchy, the ouster of a foreign colonial power, a land reform capable of breaking the power of latifundists, the abolition of slavery, or other achievements of the same magnitude. By this measure, the French, American, Russian, Chinese, Egyptian, and Iranian revolutions fulfill the necessary criteria.

By contrast, the events of the Arab Spring have so far fallen short. In Egypt in particular, it was clear that the seizure of power by the Army in the wake of Mubarak’s departure meant that a second revolution would be needed – just as the Russian Revolution of February 1917 was followed by the October Revolution of the same year. Whether Egypt gets a second revolution remains to be seen.

But the overthrow of the House of Saud, likely followed by the toppling of its satellites in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, would send positive shockwaves around the world. In addition to lifting an oppressive yoke from the populations involved, it would accelerate the transition from the unipolar world domination exercised by the Anglo-Americans after 1992, and would speed the transition towards world normalization on a multi-polar basis. Because imperialism would be significantly weakened by the fall of these kings, the future of national states would become brighter all over the planet.

(www.presstv.ir / 18.08.2012)

Gunmen attack Pakistani buses killing 22 Shia Muslims

At least 22 people were confirmed dead after a violent attack against Shia Muslims in northwestern Pakistan, officials said Thursday.

A group of armed men ambushed three buses near the city of Gilgit, located in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region, at aroun 7 a.m. local time. The buses were carrying Shia Muslims from Rawalpindi to Astor when the attack took place. However, Gilgit authorities said the incident occurred in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Media reports indicate that the group of attackers, between 10 to 15 people, forced passengers off the vehicles and checked their ID’s before shooting 22 Shia Muslims to death. Some reports said Pakistani Taliban militants have claimed responsibility for the attack, but investigations are ongoing.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the deadly attack.

“The Secretary-General expresses his outrage over such deliberate attacks on people due to their religious beliefs in Pakistan,” Ban’s spokesperson said. “He extends his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of Pakistan.”

(www.newkerala.com / 18.08.2012)

Iraq Eid Slaughter: 128 Killed, 371 Wounded

With the the holy month of Ramadan winding down, insurgents staged attacks across the country, even into relatively quiet southern Iraq. At least 128 Iraqis were killed and 371 more were wounded overall. This scale of multiple attacks was likely coordinated to spoil the Eid al-Fitr festivities tomorrow.

In Baghdad, a car bomb killed seven people and wounded 42 more in theHusseiniya district. At least 27 people were killed and 30 more were woundedin a blast in Zafaraniya.

A blast in Sadr City left 16 dead and 49 wounded at a produce market.

A car bomb in Daquq killed 11 counterterrorism officers, and wounded 31 others.

Gunmen shot up a checkpoint in Meshahda, leaving 10 dead and at least 10 wounded.

In Kut, a car bomb killed seven people and wounded as many as 70 more at a market.

Seven people were killed and 25 more were wounded around 10:00 p.m. when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a tea shop in Tal Afar.

In Kirkuk, four blasts at the home of a military officer killed his brother and wounded six people. A bomb killed one and wounded 15 when it exploded near a row of restaurants. Eight people were wounded in two more bombings. At least six other deaths were reported

Two people were killed and seven more were wounded in a blast near Taji.

In Ameriyat al-Fallujafour policemen were killed and three more were wounded in a drive-by shooting. Three civilians were wounded when a bomb exploded as they were awaiting aid.

Around sunset, four soldiers were killed and three more were wounded in a roadside bombing in Baquba. Gunmen attacked several checkpoints killing four policemen and wounding four others. At least one more person was killed and three more were wounded separately.

Gunmen killed two civilians at a Baaj market.

In Mosulfive people were killed and 24 more were wounded in a blast. Gunmen killed two civilians and kidnapped a third one while looking for police targets. Two civilians were killed and one more was wounded in a blast at a mosque. Two soldiers were wounded in an explosion.

A roadside bomb in Badush killed one person and wounded two othersTwo children were wounded in a blast at a home.

In Tuz Khormato, a bomb at a home killed a woman and wounded four others, including her others.

Gunmen killed two policemen and wounded three others in Dhouib.

Sahwa member was shot dead in Aswad.

Clashes in al-Rasul left one gunman deadTwo bodyguards were wounded in the attack which took place at an M.P.’s office..

In Wajihiya, a blast wounded four civilians.

A bomb in Abu Ghraib killed two soldiers and wounded four more. A separate bomb wounded three security personnel.

In Hawija, a bomb killed a woman and wounded four others.

Two policemen were wounded in a bombing north of Ramadi.

Three people were wounded in Iskandariya when a bomb blew up in their garden.

(www.uruknet.info / 18.08.2012)

Turkey begins aid distribution on Syrian border

A refugee boy flashes a victory sign at Yayladagi camp in Hatay province on the Turkish-Syrian border

ISTANBUL (Reuters) — Turkey has begun handing out food and other humanitarian aid to Syrians right on their common border as the worsening conflict in Syria makes aid distribution there increasingly difficult, Turkey’s disaster and emergency body said Saturday.

The move coincides with a sharp increase in the number of Syrians fleeing the fighting in the 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad, taking the total in Turkey to nearly 70,000 and challenging its ability to cope.

The humanitarian situation in Syria has deteriorated as fighting escalates, cutting off civilians from food supplies, health care and other assistance, aid agencies say.

“The distribution of humanitarian aid by our country right on the border with Syria has begun,” Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate, AFAD, said in a statement.

Turkey has told the United Nations of the new practice and has opened a center in its southeastern town of Gaziantep to receive international aid, AFAD said, adding that it needed dried, tinned and baby food, bedding and personal hygiene items.

The Turkish Red Crescent has also set up sites at four places on the border with Syria to receive local donations.

More than 170,000 Syrians have been registered in neighboring countries – Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey – according to the UN refugee agency.

Some 1.2 million people are uprooted within Syria, many staying in schools or other public buildings, according to the UN regional humanitarian relief coordinator.

There has been a diarrhea outbreak among residents of Rural Damascus province because the water supply has been contaminated by sewage, the World Health Organization said.

The number of Syrians in Turkey has risen sharply from 44,000 at the end of July, and Ankara is concerned there may be a flood of refugees from the major northern city of Aleppo as the conflict there intensifies.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday welcomed the United Nations’ appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as the new international mediator on Syria but said he would need consensus in the UN Security Council if his mission was to succeed.

Turkey is setting up four new refugee camps to cope with the influx: two in Gaziantep, one in Kahramanmaras and one in Osmaniye. It already has eight tent cities – five in Hatay, two in Sanliurfa and one in Gaziantep – and a camp of prefabricated housing for 12,000 people in Kilis province.

Setting up the new camps would bring the cost of caring for the refugees to around 300 million Turkish lira ($167 million), AFAD said.

(www.maannews.net / 18.08.2012)

Saudi shame on Islamic world

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (C) is escorted by Turkish President Abdullah Gul (C-R) as Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati (L) walks alongside them during an extraordinary summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Mecca
Far from promoting solidarity and peace, the OIC has shown itself to be a political instrument serving the geopolitical interests of Washington and its allies in the destruction of Syria and their designs for entrenching hegemonic control over the Middle East. That control is all about exploiting the resources of the region to enrich Western corporations and banks, paying off elite rulers and impoverishing the mass of people.”
As the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) concludes its emergency summit in Mecca this week with the suspension of Syria, its member states should now consider amending the body’s name – to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation with United States Imperialism (OICUSI).

For the OIC stands as a violation of every principle it is supposed to represent. In calling for this conference with its flagrantly politicised agenda, Saudi Arabia emerges as the shame of the Islamic world.

Admittedly, the acronym OICUSI is a bit clunky, but it would be far more truthful than the present OIC. The 57-member organisation, founded in 1969, represents some two billion Muslims worldwide and is charged with “promoting solidarity among members and upholding peace and security”.

Far from promoting solidarity and peace, the OIC has shown itself to be a political instrument serving the geopolitical interests of Washington and its allies in the destruction of Syria and their designs for entrenching hegemonic control over the Middle East. That control is all about exploiting the resources of the region to enrich Western corporations and banks, paying off elite rulers and impoverishing the mass of people.

Of course the Syrian people want reform and more democracy. But they won’t achieve that so long as Saudi Arabia and the other Western proxies remain on their thrones of deception colluding with the foreign enemies of the people.

Just at the hour when the people of Syria are desperately in need of international solidarity and peace, the OIC delivers a kick in the teeth.

In this way, the OIC is following in the disgraceful footsteps of the 21-member Saudi-dominated Arab League, which suspended Syria last November.

These sanctions against Damascus are based on the entirely bogus claim fomented by Washington and the former colonial powers London and Paris that the conflict in Syria stems solely from repression and violence perpetrated by the government of President Bashar Al Assad against his people. This propaganda narrative turns reality completely on its head. The violence in Syria over the past 17 months has largely stemmed from armed groups that are supplied, directed and infiltrated by the Western powers in collusion with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel.

The US-led axis is attempting to tear Syria apart by fuelling sectarian bloodshed between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and between Muslims, Christians, Druze and Kurds. The desecration of Islam is particularly vile. Mosques have been turned into sniper posts to fire on civilians, and whole villages have been massacred – the throats of children slit – by so-called Holy Warriors.

These jihadists, who have gravitated to Syria from Britain, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, among other countries, are directed by Washington, London and Paris in time-honoured fashion of these powers’ criminal involvement with Islamic fundamentalists under the catch-all nom de guerre of Al Qaeda. They are weaponised by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Israel; they are trained and based by Turkey and Jordan. And their brains are weaponised by Saudi Wahhabism, with all its intolerant pathological hatred to anyone who opposes its tyranny and Western objectives.

In the context of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, this conspiracy of terror and mass murder should be matter of diabolical shame for member states Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan. These supposedly Islamic countries are colluding with the Western powers and their criminal Zionist proxy in the murder of Muslims and other Syrians in the service of imperialist domination of the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia in particular is seen as abusing its historic role as custodian of the holy Islamic centre of Mecca to further a despicable political agenda. By calling the extraordinary meeting of the OIC in Mecca – supposedly to discuss the violence in Syria – Saudi Arabia is covering its blood-soaked hands with a mantle of religious sanctity.

By contrast, Iran’s delegation to the OIC conference, headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stood out as upholding the principles of the organisation. Iran rightly pointed out the basic injustice that the Syrian government was not even invited to the Mecca conference to hear the charges being levelled against it, and to have the opportunity to defend itself against such charges. One shouldn’t be surprised by the absence of jurisprudence for Syria at the Saudi-orchestrated event. After all, thousands of ordinary Bahrainis are being dragged through military courts in Saudi-backed Bahrain solely on the basis of trumped up prosecutions with no right to defend themselves either.

Iran’s foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi noted at the beginning of the three-day conference: “Every country, especially OIC countries, must join hands to resolve this issue in such a way that will help the peace, security and stability in the region.”

He warned: “By suspending [Syria’s] membership, this does not mean you are moving towards resolving an issue. By this, you are erasing the issue.”

Unfortunately, Salehi’s sound advice was ignored. With typical Wahhabist attitude of no discussion, no explanation, the Saudi-hosted conference ended with the formal suspension of Syria from the OIC. The heavy-handed conclusion achieves what it was meant to: to not give Syria a fair hearing, to further isolate the country in the eyes of the world, to conceal the violent involvement of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Jordan in the destruction of Syria, and to give political cover for their imperialist masters in the dismemberment of Syria.

The Mecca summit has all the signs of a tawdry show trial, shamefully under the banner of Islam, conducted, of all places, in the holy city. Current OIC chief is Turkish national Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. He said the decision to suspend Syria sent “a strong message” to Damascus.

A statement issued at the end of the summit said participants had agreed on “the need to end immediately the acts of violence in Syria and to suspend that country from the OIC”.

The suspension was “also a message to the international community stating that the Muslim world backs a peaceful solution [in Syria], wants an end to the bloodshed and refuses to let the problem degenerate into a religious conflict and spill over into the wider region,” the OIC chief Ihsanoglu added.

Absolutely not true. First, if the OIC was serious about “ending immediately the acts of violence in Syria” then it would have suspended the memberships foremost of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey – the instigators of so-much bloodshed, terrorism and crimes against humanity in Syria that are inflaming the region.

Second, on the claim that “the Muslim world backs a peaceful solution in Syria”, it should be noted that the Geneva accord agreed by the UN Security Council at the end of June, which calls for an inclusive political dialogue in Syria, has been continually violated by the Western, Arab, Turk, Israeli backers of the Jihadist terror army assailing that country.

Indeed, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says these parties have sabotaged the Geneva accord.

At the OIC summit, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in particular have arrogated the banner of the Muslim world, when in truth they are the unseemly standard bearers for imperialist butchery in the Middle East.

In this holy month of Ramadan, where faith, compassion and truth before God is supposed to be adhered to more than ever, the Saudi OIC conference is truly an abomination of all that is supposedly represented by “Islam/peace”.

(www.presstv.ir / 18.08.2012)

A Settler Leader, Worldly and Pragmatic

“You cannot maintain a Jewish soul of a community if you detach it from history,” said Dani Dayan.

SOME years ago, after the death of a neighborhood teenager, a psychologist asked Dani Dayan, the leader ofIsrael’s settler movement, what kind of life he wanted for his only child.

“If it’s for me to decide, I would like her to establish an outpost on the most challenging hill in Samaria,” Mr. Dayan recalled saying, using the biblical name for the northern swath of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. “But she should never forget the road from that hill to the theaters of Tel Aviv and to the museums of Tel Aviv and to the restaurants of Tel Aviv.”

From a bedroom window in his spacious, modern home here in this settlement about 20 miles northeast of Tel Aviv, Mr. Dayan — and his daughter, Ofir, 18 — can see the lights that represent those theaters, museums and restaurants. In his mind, he and his family, just by living here in the West Bank rather than yielding it to become a Palestinian state, are a “shield” protecting those theaters and museums, and the survival of Israel itself.

“You cannot maintain a Jewish soul of a community if you detach it from history,” he said. “If Israel detaches itself from Hebron and Bet El and Shilo, it will become an empty society, a shallow society that ultimately will forget why it’s here.”

Mr. Dayan, 56, an immigrant from Argentina who got rich running an information technology company, has devoted the past five years to expanding the Jewish presence in those and other disputed historic places across the West Bank as chairman of the Yesha Council, which represents 350,000 settlers in 150 communities. Passionately ideological yet profoundly secular, he defies the caricature of settlers as gun-toting radicals who attribute their politics to God and the Torah — he travels the world collecting art and wine, and a bald spot occupies the place others reserve for a skullcap.

Mr. Dayan’s movement has had a string of successes this summer. After Israel’s Supreme Court declared the tiny outpost of Ulpana illegal because it sat on private Palestinian land, he helped negotiate 800 new settler homes in exchange for a peaceful evacuation of 30 families. A college in Ariel was elevated to university status, a first within a settlement. A government-appointed commission of three respected judges declared the entire settlement enterprise to be legal, contrary to international opinion.

Over the last month, Mr. Dayan declared victory against the two-state solution in an Op-Ed page article in The New York Times and in a lengthy article in The Atlantic. But as The Atlantic noted, he faces an internal battle among the settlers over tactics; many prefer a more principled, confrontational stand to his pragmatic, businesslike approach.

On right-wing Web sites, Mr. Dayan has been denounced as a traitor and called “a danger to settlements.” A columnist, Hanamel Dorfman, declared, “We, the youth of the settlements, of the hilltops, already don’t believe in you.”

During the fight over Ulpana, there was a move to unseat Mr. Dayan, which he survived. But some within the movement say they are closely watching how he handles the scheduled move this month of Migron, another outpost declared illegal by the Supreme Court.

“His approach is: ‘O.K., let’s work with what I can do. It’s not good, but it’s good enough,’ ” said Itzik Shadmi, chairman of the Binyamin Council, which includes about 40 settlements totaling 50,000 residents. “My approach is to fight until the end, to do some confrontation with the government, in order for everybody to understand that maybe they can win this battle but we will win the war itself.”

But Mr. Dayan’s true adversaries say his pragmatic approach has made him the most effective leader the settlers have had.

“Our challenge is to expose him,” said Yariv Oppenheimer, director of Peace Now, which opposes all settlements. “His agenda is the same as the most fanatic right-wing settlers. But he has this ability to hide it and to speak with the public with a much more sensible argument and a much more moderate image.”

MR. DAYAN — whose father, Moshe, was a second cousin of Gen. Moshe Dayan — came from Buenos Aires to Tel Aviv in 1971, in a family that revered Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the revisionist Zionist who led the underground military organization Irgun. But his brother, Aryeh, who declined to be interviewed, became a “radical leftist anti-Zionist” journalist, as both men have put it. They retain a certain closeness by never mentioning politics: Aryeh refused to attend Dani’s wedding in 1987 on the ramp leading to the Temple Mount but joined a reception afterward in West Jerusalem.

Their cousin Ilana Dayan, a television journalist, said that Dani Dayan had been immersed in politics since he came of age but that his education in computer science and economics had helped “rationalize the discourse.”

“It’s not a debate about whether the Messiah has come or is on his way,” Ms. Dayan said. “He’s talking realpolitik, he’s talking rational, he’s talking cost-benefit analysis. He will try to engage in a civilized and always intriguing argument, and he will try to convince you that from the point of view of the Zionist enterprise even the status quo is better than any Peace Now fantasy.”

To Mr. Dayan, those who believe in a two-state solution are “either naïve or liars.” He has a two-stage vision: for the next 30 to 40 years, Jews and Palestinians should continue to expand their communities in the West Bank, “with the kind of interaction that is minimal but allows people to live well.” Later, he imagines, leadership change in Jordan, where ethnic Palestinians are a majority, would lead to an arrangement in which the West Bank is jointly governed by Israel and Jordan with “shared responsibilities for two peoples between two states.”

“I see a vision of everyone living normal lives here with a political situation that has to be unique,” Mr. Dayan said one day in May. “There is no other example in history of a people dispersed for 2,000 years that comes back to its land and reclaims it. It’s a very peculiar situation and will need a peculiar solution.”

Mr. Dayan and his wife, Eynat, moved to Maale Shomron in 1988, living for two years in a trailer, as required by the settlement to prove their commitment. They built a showpiece home, where the sunken double-height living room is filled with a painting from Vietnam, a sculpture from Machu Picchu and a meditation bowl from Nepal. “This is from South Africa,” he said, pointing to a set of large wooden masks. “Post-apartheid South Africa. I refused to visit apartheid South Africa.”

TOURING the settlements with Mr. Dayan is like attending a family reunion with a proud patriarch. At a plastics factory where Jewish and Arab workers take occasional field trips together, he said, “We are much less prejudiced toward Palestinians than Israeli society as a whole.” Leaving the college in Ariel, Mr. Dayan declared, “This is exactly what I want for Judea and Samaria: it’s a university that has some ideological tone, but it’s 21st-century, and it’s integral to the fabric of Israeli society.” Sampling robust reds at the Psagot winery, he mused, “This is my dream: to make a combination of mission, ideology, good life — that’s what makes life here permanent.”

Standing on a lookout point in Elie, Mr. Dayan surveyed his empire, the red-roof settlements that dot the hills in every direction.

“When I hear Israeli politicians say there are isolated settlements that should be removed, I know they have never visited here,” he said. “I got to fulfill the dream of 100 generations. Today, it’s a day-to-day fact.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: August 18, 2012

An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported that Dani Dayan’s family arrived in Israel in 1979; they arrived in 1971. It also said that Mr. Dayan’s father was a first cousin to Gen. Moshe Dayan; he was a second cousin. And it reported that Ze’ev Jabotinsky led the underground military organization Haganah; he led Irgun.

(www.nytimes.com / 18.08.2012)

Sharia: Barbaric or Perfect?

Sharia is the complete code of Islamic law, which pertains to the rights and duties of the Muslims. It regulates the lives of the people. It is comprehensive and includes from the minutest details of eating, drinking and dressing to the complex details of law making.

Islamic Sharia Law

The word “Sharia” literally means “the clear path to follow.”

The Islamic Sharia is derived from four sources.
The first source is the Glorious Qur’an. The Qur’an is the last and final revelation of Almighty God revealed to the last and final Messenger of God Prophet Mohammed The Qur’an is the word of God and is also called “Furqaan”, the criteria to judge right from wrong. It was revealed in a span of approximately 23 years to Prophet Mohammed through Archangel Gabriel fourteen hundred years ago. It contains 114 surahs or chapter and more than six thousands signs or verses. The Glorious Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, but the scholars have translated it into almost all the major languages  of the World.

The second source  is the Sunnah, which means the way of the Prophet, the authentic sayings of the Prophet. They act as a commentary of the Qur’an and are supplementary to it. Allah says in the Qur’an in several places including Sura Nisa Chapter 4 Verse 15 “Obey Allah, Obey the Messenger.” Obey the Messenger means follow the Sunnah of the Prophet. Many a times for the details of the prophet’s commandment we have to look into the life of the Sahabas, the companions of the Prophet. The Prophet said that first look in the Qur’an, then at my example and then if you want more details, look at first three generations of Muslims called Salaf-e-Saleheen.
First the Sahabas (the companions of the Prophet), who saw the Prophet, lived with him and died as believers. Then comes the next generation Tabiyen and then comes the third generation Tabetaiyen. So if there is difference of opinion regarding the Sunnah, you have to look at the lives of the Salaf-e-Saleheen (first three generations). So the Sunnah the Prophet (the authentic sayings) are the second source of Sharia.
The third source is the Ijma that is the consensus of opinion of the companions of the Prophet, followed by the consensus of opinion of the Salaf-e-Saleheen and is followed by the consensus of opinion of the Muslim Jurists of the first three centuries of the Hijara.
The fourth source of Sharia is Qiyas, which means to judge and come closer. If you can’t find any direct indication in the Qur’an or in the Sunnah of the Prophet or in the Ijma, then you can use your own logic to try and find the answer based on the verses of the Qur’an or the Sayings of the Prophet or the Ijma using analogy. But Qiyas can only be used in a Islamic state, where proper Islamic Sharia is followed.
So there are four sources of Sharia. The first and highest in authority is the Qur’an, the word of God. The second is the life style of the Prophet. Third is the Ijma and fourth is Qiyas.

The Islamic Sharia is a complete of conduct and a complete way of life. But unfortunately the media and the critics of Islam present the Islamic Sharia as barbaric. Most of their allegations revolve around two aspects. The first aspect is the punishment in Islam. They show a poster or the front cover of a book of a man being whipped. The second aspect is the women in Islam. They may show a woman in Hijab and say she is subjugated.

Punishment in Sharia:

Most of the religions only speak good things, but Islam besides speaking good things it shows us a practical way to achieve that state of goodness.
For instance, all religions says that you should not rob. But Islam goes a step further and tells us how to stop robbery. The third pillar of Islam is Zakat that every rich person, who has the savings more than 85 grams of Gold, should give 2.5% of that saving every lunar year in charity. If every rich human being gives charity, poverty would be eradicated from the world and not a single person would die of hunger. God says in the Qur’an in Surah al-Hashr Chapter 59 Verse 7 that Zakat (obligatory) has been prescribed, so that it may prevent the wealth from circulating only in the hands of the rich people. Obligatory Charity (Zakat) is a part of Islamic Sharia. All the rich people have to pay 2.5% of their savings every lunar year in charity.
And after that Allah says that you should not rob. If anybody robs after that Allah says in the Qur’an Sura Maidah 5 Verse 38, “As to the thief, be it a man or woman chop off his/her hands as a punishment from Allah.” Many people think that if they go to Saudi Arabia, where this law is practiced, every second person they would see with chopped hands:) But in fact if you go to Saudi Arabia, you may hardly see or more likely never see anyone with hands chopped because the law is so strict that a potential thief would think ten times before robbing.
The Islamic gives you advice that don’t rob, but not everyone would not follow this advice. So what is the solution? The solution is that there has to be a punishment.
Though an advanced country America has one of the highest rate of theft and robbery in the world. If Islamic Sharia is implemented in USA that every rich person should give 2.5% of his savings in charity every lunar year. Then impose the law that anyone who robs his/her hands should be chopped off. I ask you will the rate of theft and robbery in America increase, decrease or remain the same? Definitely it will decrease. It is a practical law and you will get results as soon as it is imposed. We make laws to get results not only to be mentioned in books.

You may argue that since so many people are robbing, we will have to cut the hands of thousands of people. But what you fail to realize that the moment the law is imposed except a few all others would stop robbing because of the severity of the punishment. The moment you implement the Sharia, the punishment need not be implemented. It may be implemented once in a blue moon.

People fail to realize that the Islamic Sharia is perfect. Therefore does not mean that if a poor steals bread it does not mean his hands would be chopped off. Only if you rob or steal a particular big amount, then it is implemented. It is the duty of the Islamic state to provide food to him, it is the duty of the Muslim Ummah, the Muslims.

That is the reason the least rate of robbery in any part of the world is in Saudi Arabia, where this law is practiced.
This was just an example of punishment in the Islamic and the logic behind it.

Women in Islam:

Unaware of Women’s Rights in Islam, the critics of Islam claim that women are subjugated in Islam. These critics say that in Islam the men and women are not equal.
In Islam men and women are equal, but they are not identical. Our Creator has made the men and women biologically, physiologically and psychologically different. Depending upon biological, physiological and psychological makeup our Creator has given different roles to men and women. In many aspects men and women are equal. In some aspects women have a degree of advantage. In some aspects men have a degree of advantage. But overall men and women are equal.
For instance, it is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari Vol 8 Book of Aadab Chapter 2 Hadith 2 that once a man asked Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) that who deserves the maximum love and companionship in this world. The prophet said your mother. The man asked after that who? The prophet repeated your mother. The man asked again after that who? The prophet again repeated your mother. Once the man asked after that who? The prophet answered your father. So it means as far as love and companionship of the children is concerned the mother gets three times more than the father. Here the women have a degree of advantage.
Suppose, if a robber enters my house, I would not say that I believe in Women’s liberalization. I will not tell my mother, sister or wife to go and fight. Since Allah has given us, men a degree of advantage in physical strength. It is our duty to protect and support the women.
In this post, I will only answer a few questions about women in Islam. For more answers refer to the post  Frequently Asked Questions About Women in Islam.
Another common objection is that the Islamic Hijab is not for modesty and it is for subjugating the women. If we look around us today, the level of modesty keeps on differing from individual to individual depending upon the surronding and society. For instance, in certain Muslim Arab countries even looking and staring at a woman is considered immodest. In India you can look at woman. You can talk to her it is considered modest. But if you touch her it is considered immodest. Therefore the Indian greetings is with folded handed. In certain Western countries touching a woman and shaking hands with her is modest, but kissing a woman is considered immodest. In some Western countries kissing a woman on the cheeks, on the lips is considered modest. In certain Western countries, the man and woman can do whatever they want with eachother’s permission and it is considered modest. If a woman wears mini skirts and short in USA, it is considered modest. But if a woman wears the clothing in the Indo-Pak subcontinent, it is considered immodest.
So who is to decide what is modest and what is immodest? The best one to decide is our Creator, Allah, God Almighty.
If we look at the history, we would come to know about the low status the women were given to the extent that they were denied basic human dignity.
In Babylonian Civilization, the women were degraded and were denied all rights under the Babylonian law. If a man murdered a woman, instead of him being punished, his wife was put to death.
Greek Civilization is considered the most glorious of all ancient civilizations. Under this very ‘glorious’ system, women were deprived of all rights and were looked down upon. In Greek mythology, an ‘imaginary woman’ called ‘Pandora’ was considered the root cause of misfortune of human beings. The Greeks considered women to be subhuman and inferior to men. Though chastity of women was precious, and women were held in high esteem, the Greeks were later overwhelmed by ego and sexual perversions. Prostitution became a regular practice amongst all classes of Greek society.
When Roman Civilization was at the zenith of its ‘glory’, a man even had the right to take the life of his wife. Prostitution and nudity were common amongst the Romans.
The Egyptian considered women evil and as a sign of devil.
Before the spread of Islam in Arabia, the Arabs looked down upon women and very often when a female child was born, she was buried alive, but after the Qur’an was revealed this evil practice stopped.

Islam is the first religion and Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) is the major benefactor, who uplifted the women and gave them their due rights. After gaving rights to the women, Islam also showed them the way how to maintain their rights, their status and their modesty. That’s why Hijab was prescribed. People normally talk about Hijab for women, but in the Qur’an God Almighty first speaks about Hijab for Men and then for women. God Almighty says in the Qur’an Chapter 24 Verse 30 “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” The moment a man looks at a woman and if any brazen or unashamed thought comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze.

The next verse of Qur’an Chapter 24 Verse 31 speaks about the Hijab for Women. “ And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons…” And a long list of Mehrams, whom she can’t marry.

There are six criteria for observing Hijab.

1. First is the extent, which is different for men and women. For men the extent is from the navel to the knee. For women the complete body should be covered. The only parts, which can be seen are the face and the hands till wrists.
The rest of the criteria are the same for both men and women.
2. The clothes worn should be loose and should not reveal the figure.
3. The clothes worn should not be transparent such that one can see through them.
4. The clothes worn should not be so glamorous as to attract the opposite sex.
5. The clothes worn should not resemble that of the opposite sex.
6. The clothes worn should not resemble or be a sign of the unbelievers.
God Almighty says in Sura Ahzab Chapter 33 Verse 59 “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad); that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Hijab has been prescribed for the women so that it will prevent them from being molested. Suppose two sisters who are twins, and who are equally beautiful, walk down the street. One of them is wearing the Islamic hijab i.e. the complete body is covered, except for the face and the hands up to the wrists. The other sister is wearing western clothes, a mini skirt or shorts. Just around the corner there is a hooligan or ruffian who is waiting for a catch, to tease a girl. Whom will he tease? The girl wearing the Islamic Hijab or the girl wearing the skirt or the mini? Naturally he will tease the girl wearing the skirt or the mini. The Qur’an rightly says that hijab prevents women from being molested. After that if any man rapes any woman, he should be given capital punishment, death penalty. Some people object saying death penalty is barbaric and Islam is a barbaric religion. I ask them. God forbid! If someone rapes their mother and the rapist is brought in front of them, what punishment will they give him? Everybody would say death penalty. Then why this double standard. When someone rapes their mother, death penalty and if someone else’s mother is raped, death penalty is barbaric?

According to a FBI report, in the year 1990, every day on an average 1756 cases of rape were committed in USA alone. Americans got bolder by the year 1996. According to the US department of justice in the year 1996 every day on an average 2713 cases of rape were committed. It is a rape in every 32 seconds. For how many minutes have you been reading this post? Maybe about 5 minutes, in these 10 minutes about 8 to 9 rape cases may have taken place in USA. I ask you! If you implement the Islamic Sharia that if any man looks at woman and any brazen thought comes to his mind, he should lower his gaze. The women should wear the Islamic Hijab, the complete body covered except the face and the hands till wrists. After if any man rapes a woman, he should get capital punishment, death penalty. I ask you, will the number of rapes in the US increase, decrease or remain the same? Naturally, it will decrease. Islamic Sharia is a practical law, which gives positive results as soon as implemented.

Marrying 4 Wives in Islam:

There are many critics, who say that Islam is barbaric because it allows a man to have 4 wives. Qur’an is the only religious scriptures on the face of the earth, which says marry only one. No other religious scripture says marry only one, not the Bible, not the Vedas, not Bhagwad Geeta. No religious scripture says this except the Qur’an.

It is mentioned in Ramayan that the father of Sri Ram, King Dashrat had more than one wife. It is mentioned in Vishnu Sutra Chapter 24 Verse 1 that a Brahman can have 4 wives. If you read Mahabharat, how many wives did Sri Krishna have? Shri Krishna had 16,108 wives. When Sri Krishna could have 16,108, why can’t we have 4 wives? If you read the Old Testament, Suleman had 4 wives, Abraham had 3 wives. In the Jewish religion you can marry as many wives as you can.  Later on in the 10th and 11th century Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah passed a synod that a Jew should marry only one wife. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries used to marry more than one wife as late as 1950. According to the Bible a Christian can marry as many wives as he wants. Nowhere the Bible says marry only one. It is later on that the church said that a Christian should marry only one. Hindu religious scriptures allow a Hindu to marry as many women as he wants. It is the Indian Penal Court, which passed a Hindu Marriage Special Act in 1954 saying Hindus should marry only one. According to the the 1975 census of India, the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961 was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims in India.
Lets analyze what does the Qur’an say. Allah says in the Qur’an Sura an-Nisa Chapter 4 Verse 3 “Marry women of your choice in twos, threes or fours, but if you can’t do justice then marry only one.” This verse “Marry only one” is only being mentioned in Qur’an”, but marrying more than one is only allowed if you can do justice between the wives. Otherwise you can’t. In fact marrying more than one wives is not compulsory in Islam. It is only optional. Lets analyze what is the logic behind allowing a man to marry more than one wife. By nature male and female are born in equal proportion, but any pediatrician would tell you that in the pediatric age itself more male children die as compared to females children. Because a female child has more immunity than a male child. As life goes on more males die in wars and accidents, more males die due to alcoholism and cigarette smoking. Today there are more females in the world than males. Only in a few third world countries due to the evil practice of female foeticide and infanticide. Fetuses are aborted after they are identified as females. If this evil practice stops then even in these third world countries the number of females would exceed that of males. In USA alone there are 7.8 million females more than males. In UK there are 5 million females more than males. In Germany alone there are 4 million females more than males. In Russia alone there are 9 million females more than males. And God Almighty alone knows how many females are more than males throughout the world. Suppose even if I agree with the person, who says that men should marry only one and suppose my sister or his sister lives in USA. Every man finds a partner for himself. Yet there would be 7.8 million females without any partner. The only options for these females would be to marry a man, who already has a wife, or become public property. Though the word “Public Property” is harsh, yet it is the most sophisticated word I can use. Any modest woman would prefer being the wife of a man who already has a wife rather than becoming public property. In the Western countries having a Mistress is very common. One can have as many mistresses as he wants. American statistics say that an American man has 8 sexual partners on average before settling down with one. Having on average 8 mistresses goes down their throat, but having more than one wife does not go down their throat. If we compare, a mistress is degraded and does not have any rights while a second wife is protected, gets her due rights and gets honor. The reason Islam allows some men to have more than one wife is to protect the modesty of women, not to degrade her.

In Islam women are considered as a “Mohsina” as a fortress against the devil, unlike other religions where she is considered a sign of the devil. Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) said in Sahih Bukhari Volume 7 Book of Nikaah Chapter 3 Hadith 4, “O young people, whoever has the means to get married, should get married.” The prophet said, “There is no Monasty in Islam.” The prophet also said that whoever marries, he completes half his deen. That does not mean that if you marry twice, you complete your full deen. The prophet meant that marriage protects you from fornication, pornography, homosexuality and adultery, which are harmful for the society. Only if you marry you have a chance to become a husband or wife and a father or mother, which are important duties in Islam. So whether you marry once or twice, you only complete half your deen. The prophet also said, “Anyone who does not marry is not of me.” In Sura an-Nisa Chapter 4 Verse 21, the Qur’an describes Nikaah as a Meesakh, a sacred covenant. And for marriage to solemnize the permission of both the would wife and husband is compulsory in Islam. It is mentioned in Sahih Bukhari Volume 7 Book of Nikaah Chapter 69 Hadith 49 that Once a lady by the name of Hansa Bint Khadima Al Ansaria approached the prophet and said that her father has forced her to marry a man, she does not like. And the prophet nullified the marriage.
In Islam for a marriage to solemnize Mehr is compulsory. The would-be husband should give an amount of marital gift to the would-be wife. In the Indo-Pak subcontinent the bride has to give an amount of dowr to the bridegroom. In Islam demanding dowry directly or indirectly is prohibited. You can not say that my son likes driving a Mercedes car or living in a 3 bedroom apartment indicating you want a Mercedes car or a 3 bedroom apartment in dowry. Demanding dowry directly or indirectly is prohibited in Islam. Willingly if the parents of the bride give you something as a gift, there is no problem. In fact in Islam the man gives dowry to the wife. This is how Islam protects the status of women.

Allah says in the Qur’an in Sura an-Nur Chapter 24 Verse 4 that if anyone lays an allegation against the modesty of a woman and if he can not support it with 4 witnesses, he gets 80 lashes. Suppose if he gets 4 witnesses and if any of those 4 witnesses falter during cross examination, they get 80 lashes each. Some may say 80 lashes is barbaric, So is laying a allegation against the modesty of a woman not barbaric? So it depends on what is barbaric to you.

The rule of the Islamic Sharia protects and uplifts the modesty of women, unlike the Western Culture which in the name of women’s liberalization has actually degraded her to the status of concubines, mistresses and society butterflies, which are hidden behind the colorful screen of art and culture. They are selling their daughters; they are selling their mothers. The famous ad, which I have heard about, shows a girl standing in a bikini in front of a BMW car, which is famous among the youngsters and the caption says, “Test Drive Her Now.” Who the girl or the car? They are selling their mothers and daughters. We in Islam protect our women. We love them. We revere them. We respect them and we honor them. We do not want to sell them.
 

Why women inherit half the share as compared to men in Islam?

Furthermore they ask why women inherit half the share as compared to men. Several verses of the Qur’an deal with the matters of inheritance. There are some instances, where females inherit more than that of males, but as a whole I agree that men inherit double than that of women. It is because in Islam women are financially more secure than men. In Islam, it is the duty of the father and brother before she is married and it is the duty of the husband and the son after she is married to look after her lodging, boarding and clothing. So after laying the whole financial burden on the shoulders of men, Allah has to be just because Allah is never unjust in the least degree.(Qur’an 4:40) Suppose if a man dies and after giving away other shares, $15,000 are left. According to Islam the son gets $10,000 and the daughter gets $5000. Now I ask you! Would you prefer getting $10,000 and spending $9000 on the family as men have to look after the family. Or would you prefer getting $5000 and not spending even a single penny even on yourself and sit back and enjoy from your brother’s share as well. See! We Muslim men should be complaining, not the women:)
There is a misconception not only among Non Muslim, but even among Muslims that any war fought by any Muslim for any reason is called Jihad. Jihad does not mean any war fought by any Muslim for any reason.

The word “Jihad” comes from the Arabic root word “Jahada” which means “to strive, to struggle”.

In the Islamic Sharia, Jihad means to strive against one’s own evil inclinations, to strive to make the society better, to strive in the battlefield in self-defense or against tyranny and oppression. Jihad means to strive, to struggle. Many people translate Jihad as “Holy War”, but if we translate the word ‘Holy War’ into Arabic, it is “Harbon Muqadasa”. The word ‘Harbon Muqadasa’ does not occur anywhere in the whole Qur’an or any Hadith of the prophet. So Jihad is not Holy War. The word ‘Holy War’ was first used by the orientalists to describe the crusades, when the Christians conquered many countries and killed thousands of people in the name of Christianity. One of the types of Jihad is fighting (Qital), which is only allowed in self defense and against tyranny and oppression.

The critics of Islam pick up verses of the Qur’an out of context saying that Qur’an says that everywhere you find a Kafir kill him.

The most misquoted such verse of the Glorious Qur’an is that of Sura Tauba Chapter 9 Verse 5. If you start reading from the first verse of Chapter 9, you would get the context. There was a peace treaty between the Muslims and the pagans of Makkah and it was unilaterally broken by the pagans of Makkah. In the Glorious Qur’an Chapter 9 Allah tells the pagans of Makkah to put the things straight in a period of 4 months or it is declaration of war and in the battlefield fight them and if required kill them. So Qur’an 9:5 is revealed in the battlefield. In order to boost up the morals of his soldiers any Army General would tell his soldiers to fight the enemy and kill them. He will not tell them to get scared and run away. These critics do not quote the verse 6, but jump to verse 7. Why? Because Verse 6 has the answer to their allegation. Verse 9:6 of Qur’an says that if the enemies want peace, grant them peace and escort them to a place of security so that they may hear the word of God Almighty. The most generous Army General today would say, Leave the enemy. But Allah says escort/take the enemy to a place of security.

All major religious scriptures talk about fighting against falsehood.

Same thing is mentioned in the Bible. Book of Exodus Chapter 22 & Chapter 32 talk about fighting. Book of Numbers Chapter 31 talks about fighting. Even Jesus Christ tells his disciples to take the sword and go and fight in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 22 Verse 36 and in Gospel of Mark Chapter 14 Verse 47. Same in the Hindu Scriptures. Marbharat is all about fighting.Bhagwad Geeta, the most widely read Hindu scripture is an advice that Shri Krishan gives to Arjun to fight. Arjun says in Bhagwad Geeta Chapter 1 Verse 43-46 that how can I fight my cousins. I would prefer getting killed unarmed than fighting my relatives. Shri Krishna tells Arjun in Bhagwad Geeta Chapter 2 Verses 2 & 3 that how can such impurities come into your mind that you don’t want to fight? How can you become so impotent? Shri Krishna further says in Bhagwad Geeta Chapter 2 Verse 31-33 that you are a Shatriah. You should fight. Only if you fight you will get paradise.
When I quote Luke 22 to Christians and Bhagwad Geeta to Hindus, they say, “You know, this fighting about truth afainst falsehood.” Same is in the Qur’an about truth against falsehood. Every country has a law. In USA it is prohibited to rob or rape, but still people rob and rape. To stop this every country has a military force, a police force. That is what Qur’an is telling the Muslims that they should also have such a force in their state, which should be ready to fight the enemy. What’s the harm?

Jizya, Poll Tax:

People object that why Islam takes Jaziya, tax from Non Muslim? If you know the background of Jizya, you would appreciate it. If the Khalifah (head of state) tells that you should take part in a war, it is compulsory on every Muslim to take part in the war. No matter whether you are a doctor, engineer or lawyer, you have to fight. Jaziya is just about a couple of bucks. When a Non Muslim pays Jaziya, the Islamic State provides him protection and he need not to fight. Jizya is just about a couple of bucks. If one gives me the option whether to go and fight or stay at home and get protection by paying a couple of bucks. I would prefer staying at home and letting others protect me for just a couple of bucks.

Similarly there are various verses about Non Muslims rights in Islam. Allah says in the Qur’an Sura Mumtahina Chapter 60 Verse 8, “as to those Kafirs who do not fight your faith and do not drive you out of your homes, Allah advises you to deal justly with them for Allah does not like those who are unjust.” The next verse 60:9, “As to those Kafirs who fight your faith and drive you out of your homes, Allah forbids you to go to them for protection.” If a Muslim an innocent Non Muslim, the Muslim is give death penalty. If a Muslim harms a Non Muslim, the Muslim gets punished. If a Muslim robs from a Non Muslim’s house, the Muslim robber’s hands are chopped. That is Justice.

The Islamic Sharia tells you the good things you should do. Not to rob, Not to rape, etc. But everyone will not follow, then the punishment is laid down. But the complete Sharia also includes the fifth pillar of faith, Belief in the Hereafter, Life after Death. Allah says in the Qur’an Sura Mulk Chapter 67 Verse 2 “It is Allah who created Death and life to test which of you is best in deed.” Life after death is compulsory for Emaan (faith). There are many people, who say life after death is illogical. I have already proved Hereafter: Life after Death logically. Many people do bad in this world and do not get punished, but on the day of judgement total justice is done. So if any culprit escapes punishment, he would get punished in the Hereafter as he deserves.
For instance, Hitler incinerated 6 million Jews. Suppose if Hitler had been caught what punishment could you give him. Maximum, Death Penalty. But what about the 5999999 other innocent Jews he incinerated? We can not punish him for all he did, but God Almighty can. On the day of Judgement God can burn Hitler more than six million times in hell-fire. As the Holy Qur’an says in Chapter 4 Verse 56 “Those who reject Our signs, We shall sooncast into the Fire;as often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for fresh skins, that they may taste the penalty: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise” On the Day of Judgement total justice will be done. Since Life after Death is a compulsory part of Sharia that is why Sharia is perfect.

If you wanna judge Sharia, judge it on the basis of Qur’an & the Sunnah (sayings & tradition of the prophet), not on what individual Muslims do. Because the media picks up the black sheep of the Muslim community and present them as though they are exemplary Muslims. If a 60 years old Arab man marries an 18 year old girl, it comes in the News Headlines. But if a 50 year old Non Muslim rapes a 6 year old girl, it comes in the News Brief. I am aware that there are black sheep in the Muslim community, who do not follow the Sharia and do bad things. Suppose if you give a Mercedes car to a bad driver and he crashes it. That does not mean that the car has any defect. If you wanna know about the car then look at its specifications. In the same way if you wanna know about Islam, read the Holy Qur’an. If you wanna see the car in action, then give it to a good driver. In the same if you wanna see Islam in action, then look at prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) in authentic sources because he is the apt representation of Islam.

(peacebk.blogspot.nl / 18.08.2012)

Abbas tightens sanctions for electricity theft in West Bank

The threatened cut to supplies would affect areas in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas has approved a legal amendment to increase penalties for the theft of electricity after a West Bank electricity company warned it would be cut off for unpaid bills.

Legal adviser to the president Hasan al-Awri told Ma’an the amendments increase the minimum jail term for electricity theft or manipulation of bills to four months, and a fine between 300 and 1,500 Jordanian dinars ($424 – 2,121).

In addition, sabotage or destruction of electricity installation will incur a jail term of between one and three years, and a fine between 2,000 and 10,000 Jordanian dinars ($2,828 – 14,140), he added.

The amendments to the 2009 electricity law entered into force on Thursday, he said.

While the legal changes are important, they are not a complete solution due to the need for enforcement, Al-Awri told Ma’an.

Lack of enforcement encourages further theft, he stressed, calling for security agencies to arrest people stealing electricity and require payment by those evading bills.

The Jerusalem Electricity Company said last week it had received an official warning from the Israeli Electric Corporation that it would cut off electricity due to unpaid debts amounting to 424 million shekels ($105 million).

The threatened cut to supplies would affect areas in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho.

The Israeli company agreed to postpone cuts until after the Eid al-Fitr holiday this weekend, and agreed a scheduled payment plan to reduce debts.

(www.maannews.net / 18.08.2012)

Syria denies Assad’s deputy tried to defect

(FILES) A picture dated on November 2008 shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) siting next to Vice President Faruq al-Shara during a meeting at the parliament in Damascus. Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara has not defected, state television said on August 18, 2012, citing a statement from his office after media reports that he had fled. "Mr Shara has never thought about leaving the country or going anywhere," the televison said. Shara, 73, is the most powerful Sunni Muslim figure in the minority Alawite-led regime of President Bashar al-Assad and has served in top posts for almost 30 years. AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA
(FILES) A picture dated on November 2008 shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) siting next to Vice President Faruq al-Shara during a meeting at the parliament in Damascus. Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara has not defected, state television said on August 18, 2012, citing a statement from his office after media reports that he had fled. “Mr Shara has never thought about leaving the country or going anywhere,” the televison said. Shara, 73, is the most powerful Sunni Muslim figure in the
BEIRUT: Syria denied reports on Saturday that President Bashar Assad’s deputy had defected and his forces pressed an offensive against rebels, bombarding parts of Aleppo in the north and hitting an insurgent-held town in the oil-producing east.

Vice-President Farouq al-Shara “never thought for a moment about leaving the country”, said a statement from his office broadcast on state television issued in response to reports that the veteran Baath Party loyalist had tried to defect to Jordan.

Assad, battling a 17-month-old rebellion led by Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority that has turned into a civil war, has suffered a string of defections including his prime minister Riyadh Hijab two weeks ago.

Shara, whose cousin – an intelligence officer – announced his own defection on Thursday, is a Sunni Muslim from Deraa province where the revolt first erupted against Assad, from the minority Alawite sect which is an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.

The 73-year-old former foreign minister kept a low profile as the rebellion escalated but appeared in public last month at a state funeral for three of Assad’s top security officials killed in a bomb attack in Damascus.

The statement said he had worked since the start of the uprising to find a political solution to end the bloodshed and welcomed the appointment of veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi as a new international mediator for Syria.

Brahimi, who hesitated for days to accept a job that France’s U.N. envoy Gerard Araud called an “impossible mission,” will replace former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who is stepping down at the end of the month.

Annan’s six-point plan to end the violence and move towards political negotiations was based on an April ceasefire agreement which never took hold. The conflict has deepened since then with both sides stepping up attacks.

Assad’s forces have turned increasingly to air power to hold back lightly armed rebels in the capital Damascus and Aleppo, a northern commercial hub. More than 18,000 people have died and some 170,000 have fled the country as a result of the fighting, according to the United Nations.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army bombarded neighbourhoods in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Rebels hold several districts in the country’s northern commercial hub and have tried to push back an army counter-offensive.

State television said soldiers “cleared terrorists and mercenaries” – terms used by authorities to describe Assad’s armed opponents – from the western district of Saif al-Dawla, where some of the heaviest fighting has taken place.

Internet footage which activists said was filmed in Saif al-Dawla on Saturday showed a plane making a low pass over buildings and dropping two bombs.

The Observatory also said at least 20 armoured vehicles moved into the eastern town of Mayadeen in Deir al-Zor province, where Syria’s 200,000 barrels per day of oil are produced.

In the town of Tel, north of Damascus, local activists said the bodies of 40 people killed in bombardment were gathered together for a joint burial. A picture showed what appeared to be several corpses wrapped in colourful blankets on a street.

U.N. MONITORS LEAVING

The last U.N. observers who deployed in Syria four months ago to monitor Annan’s failed ceasefire will leave after midnight on Sunday, when their mandate expires.

They will leave a “liaison office” open in Damascus after their departure, though its size and role have not been finalised, a U.N. spokeswoman said.

“The comfort for me is that the U.N. will stay in the country,” General Babacar Gaye, head of the departing U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, told reporters in Damascus.

“The United Nations is committed to ending violence, committed to triggering dialogue between the parties.”

Brahimi, a Nobel Peace laureate, will have a new title, Joint Special Representative for Syria. Diplomats said the change was to distance him from Annan, who had complained that his Syria peace plan was hampered by a divided Security Council.

In an interview with France 24 television, Brahimi said he would soon meet with the Security Council.

“We are going to discuss very seriously how they can help,” he said. “They are asking me to do this job. If they don’t support me, there is no job. They are divided, but surely they can unite on something like this and I hope they will.”

Humanitarian conditions in Syria have deteriorated as fighting worsens, cutting off civilians from food supplies, health care and other assistance, U.N. agencies say. Sewage-contaminated water has led to a diarrhoea outbreak in the countryside around Damascus, with 103 suspected cases.

Some 1.2 million people are uprooted in Syria, many staying in schools or other public buildings, U.N. officials say. U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, ending a visit to Syria, said on Thursday up to 2.5 million people needed aid there.

(www.dailystar.com.lb / 18.08.2012)