Anti-corruption chief: PLO, PA officials under investigation

Palestinian Authority anti-corruption commission chief Rafiq al-Natsheh

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Several top-ranking Palestinian officials are under investigation by the Palestinian Authority anti-corruption commission, the head of the anti-graft body said this week.

Rafiq al-Natsheh confirmed PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki faces an inquiry by the commission. He declined to comment on the accusations against al-Malki, in comments on Ma’an TV program More Than a Question, to be broadcast Saturday night.

Head of the PA parliament’s oversight committee Majed Abu Shamala referred the foreign minister to the corruption commission in April after he failed to respond to summons by the legislative committee for two years, broadcaster Al Jazeera reported at the time.

Abu Shamala said his committee had examined several charges against al-Malki, including issuing passports to ineligible individuals, and financial and administrative irregularities at his ministry.

Al-Natsheh told Ma’an that in addition to al-Malki, a member of the PLO executive committee, and a member of the Fatah central committee, are being investigated by the anti-corruption commission. Citing due process, he declined to provide their names.

The commission chief assured that he would be able to bring back every penny stolen from the Palestinian people.

Securing international arrests warrants for suspects residing abroad would soon by possible, he said, without elaborating.

Interpol is currently refusing to cooperate with Palestinian prosecutors to summon a former presidential economic adviser to the West Bank to answer corruption charges, the attorney-general said last month.

Ahmad al-Mughni said he had asked Interpol to help track down Muhammad Rashid, but it would not help because Palestine is not a recognized state. If Palestine was a member of the UN it would be easier to bring suspects in front of the Palestinian judiciary, he said.

Three PA government ministers facing corruption probes by Natsheh’s commission — Minister of Agriculture Ismail Daiq, Minister of Economy Hassan Abu Libdeh and Health Minister Fathi Abu Moghli — were replaced in a reshuffle last month.

( / 16.06.2012)

Tunisian former PM launches secular party to challenge Islamists

Tunisia’s former prime minister Beji Caid Essebsi officially announced the creation of a party named “Tunisia’s Call” in Tunis. (Reuters)

Tunisia’s former prime minister Beji Caid Essebsi officially announced the creation of a party named “Tunisia’s Call” in Tunis.
Former Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi on Saturday launched a new secularist political party aimed at counterbalancing Ennahda, the moderate Islamist group that swept to power in the first free elections last year.
Ennahda, which was banned under ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, won more than 40 percent of seats in a new constituent assembly in October and has gone on to form a government in coalition with two non-religious parties.

 While a large number of small secular parties split the liberal and leftist vote, Ennahda, as the only major religious party standing, scooped much of the conservative vote and emerged as the single most powerful group in Tunisian politics.
Fearing a repeat of their disappointing performance when Tunisians go to the polls to vote for a full-term parliament in the first half of next year, secular groups and figures and members of Ben Ali’s disbanded RCD have scrambled to merge or form new and more powerful alliances, with limited success.

At a meeting that attracted some 2,000 followers in Tunis on Saturday, Essebsi said it was time for secular parties to retake the initiative from Ennahda.

“The political scene is unbalanced and the parties, unfortunately, have been unable to come together. Therefore, we announce the establishment of the Nida Tunisia (Tunisia’s Call) movement,” Essebsi said.


Several Tunisian parties have merged in recent months. The Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), Afek Tunis and the Republican Party merged earlier this year to form a secular centrist group. The secular left Ettajdid and Labor Party also merged earlier this year.

Several politicians have also broken away from Ettakatol and the Conference for a Republic, Ennahda’s two secular coalition partners, to form new splinter groups.

None have so far been able to build a strong platform on which to begin campaigning or offer an alternative to Ennahda, which remains the largest and best organized party in Tunisia.

A well-known politician with large numbers of supporters, Essebsi has sought to build support by appealing to members of the former regime who were sidelined in the last elections.

His rivals complain that this approach will allow former regime members to return to the upper echelons of political life by the back door despite broad calls for them to be purged.

Outside the conference centre where the meeting was held, dozens of Islamist protesters denounced Essebsi, who became interim prime minister after the revolution and led Tunisia to elections, as one of the “feloul” or remnants of the old regime.

“No return, no return,” the protesters chanted before they were dispersed by security forces.

Essebsi’s decision to form the new party comes as Ennahda faces strong criticism from secularists who say it is too tolerant of religious zealots who have become more assertive since the revolution and were at the forefront of riots that shook the country earlier this week.

Essebsi, whose party is so far composed of former members of his interim government and independent politicians, said that economic conditions had deteriorated since Ennahda came to power in October and that there had been a setback in freedoms.

“This movement is based on a programme that seeks to launch the Tunisian dream anew,” Essebsi said

( / 16.06.2012)

Vote for the Brother

A Muslim Brother is better than a Mubarak crony



THE likely choice of candidates in the run-off on June 16th and 17th to decide who will be Egypt’s next president is not what The Economist had hoped for. That is hardly surprising, since we incline towards liberalism, and the Arab spring has not fostered it in the Arab world’s biggest country.

Amr Moussa, the diplomat we supported in the first round, was trounced, and Egyptians now have a wretched choice between Muhammad Morsi, a dreary Muslim Brother who narrowly won the first round, and Ahmed Shafiq, a former air-force chief and standard-bearer for the Mubarak old guard.

Even now the contest is plagued by uncertainty. As we went to press, the supreme court was due to rule on whether to exclude Mr Shafiq from the run-off because of his role in the old regime. Such a chaotic debut for democracy would tempt ordinary Egyptians to pine for the brutal certitudes of Mr Mubarak’s rule. Better that the vote take place—and that Mr Morsi, the Muslim Brother, become president of the Arab world’s biggest country.

People are nervous of the Muslim Brothers. Many secular-minded Arabs fear that if ever they gained power they would never let go. However slickly the Islamists repackage themselves, a strain of intolerance runs through them, particularly in religion. Egypt’s 8m Christians, about 10% of the population, are understandably anxious—not least because, to get elected, Mr Morsi will need the support not just of the Brothers but also of the Salafists, a far more worrying band of Islamists who hark back to the puritanism of the Prophet Muhammad’s era and who have amassed an alarming degree of popular support in the new Egypt. Already, the Brothers and the Salafists hold a majority in Egypt’s parliament. Should a Muslim Brother become president, the risk is that the Islamists will then ride roughshod over the rest. That is the fear of many secular Egyptians; and Israelis are worried too.

But these fears look overblown. Islamism in the Arab world now covers a wide spectrum; and its sensible end has fast been evolving from a radical, violent strain into a modern, outward-looking variant. In Tunisia a party close to the Brothers won power and has started well. In Morocco a similar party has served in coalition, albeit under the king’s writ. Even the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brothers, Hamas, has been groping towards practical politics (see article). Above all, in Egypt, the Brothers have gone out of their way to shed intolerance and bigotry, espousing—at least on paper—rights for women and Christians, and promising not to close down bars on tourist beaches or ban the wearing of bikinis.

Doubts linger. No one knows how the Islamists would treat minorities if they controlled both arms of government, or how they would revamp the judiciary. On some occasions, Mr Morsi has seemed to back a witch hunt against members of the former regime of Hosni Mubarak; on others, he sounds like a puppet being manipulated behind the scenes.

If there were a decent secular candidate, we would vote for him. But Mr Shafiq, whose mantra is a call for stability and a crackdown on crime, would be a throwback to repression. He was Mr Mubarak’s last prime minister, and is unrepentant about the sins of the past government. Mr Shafiq seeks to defend what is known as the “deep state”: the military and security establishment that has clung to power since Mr Mubarak’s fall. Since then Egyptians in uniform have continued to abuse their powers and spit on human rights.

Better let them rule

Mr Shafiq’s campaign has been incompetent. He has espoused crassly populist policies, promising to cancel the debts of farmers. He has spread fear, insinuating that charities are foreign agents and that Islamists will create a bullying Iranian-style revolutionary guard. His desire to shut the Islamists out of power, whatever the popular will, is alarming. Experience shows that forcing them underground only adds to their mystique and saves them from the responsibilities of office.

It is unfortunate that after all the hope and anguish of the past 18 months Egyptians are presented with a choice between the deep state and the Brotherhood. Yet it does not mean that the revolution has failed. Under Mr Mubarak, the country was suffocating. Egyptians now can at least say what they want and vote for whomever they like. If they opt for Mr Morsi and the Brothers, they face a future full of risks. But that is better than a return to the oppressive past under Mr Shafiq.

( / 16.06.2012)

Plunder of Palestinian natural resources is “corporate war crime,” manual explains

Adri Nieuwhof

Vast areas near the occupied Dead Sea are closed off by Israel as “military area” (Who Profits, October 2010)

WhoProfits, a research project of the Coalition of Women for Peace, has documented corporate plunder of natural resources in the occupied West Bank. For example, Israeli cosmetics firm Ahava’s extraction of mud from the occupied Palestinian Dead Sea andHeidelbergCement and Cemex’s role in operating quarries in the West Bank. HeidelbergCement and Cemex headquarters are based in Germany and Mexico, respectively.

Last September, the Open Society Institute published the updated “Corporate War Crimes, Prosecuting the Pillage of Natural Resources,” a manual written by law professor James G. Stewart. The manual is useful for lawyers, rights organizations and Palestine solidarity activists to explore options to hold business representatives to account for their role in the plunder of Palestinian natural resources.

Natural resources in the West Bank are owned by the Palestinian people

Sovereignty over natural resources and the right to self-determination are closely tied. The Palestinian people unquestionably have the right to self-determination. The League of Nations already affirmed this right in 1917 and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) did so in its 2004 authoritative legal opinion on Israel’s wall built on occupied Palestinian land. The ICJ also found that “Israel is bound to comply with its obligation to respect the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and its obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.”

The UN General Assembly declared that sovereignty over natural wealth and resources is a “basic constituent of the right to self-determination” by adopting Resolution 1803 in 1962. The UN Security Council affirmed peoples’ rights to natural resources on several occasions.

By granting companies permits to extract natural resources in the occupied Palestinian territories for the benefit of Israel and the companies, Israel disregards its international obligations. Moreover, Ahava, HeidelbergCement and Cemex have conscientiously requested Israel army’s civic administration – the occupying power – for permission, instead of the owners – the Palestinians.

Ahava, HeidelbergCement and Cemex extract Palestinian natural resources

WhoProfits has documented the extraction of Palestinian natural resources by Israeli cosmetics firm Ahava and multinational building materials industries HeidelbergCement and Cemex.

Ahava operates an excavation site on the shores of the occupied Dead Sea to extract mud for its products. In a letter of 26 April 2011, the Israeli army’s civic administration informedWho Profits that it had granted Ahava a license for operating a site for collecting mud from the occupied area of the Dead Sea for commercial uses. Ahava received the license in 2004 and has been operating the excavation site ever since. The company is selling its products containing stolen Dead Sea minerals in Ahava flagship stores in Germany, Hungary, the Philippines, Korea and Singapore.

The multinational building materials industries HeidelbergCement and Cemex from Germany and Mexico, respectively, are involved in the operation of quarries in the occupied West Bank.

HeidelbergCement’s subsidiary Hanson Israel operates the Nahal Raba quarry in the West Bank near the green line — Israel’s internationally-recognized boundary with the occupied West Bank — and Kfar Qasim, a Palestinian village in Israel.

Cemex owns fifty percent of Yatir Quarry through its subsidiary ReadyMix Industries. The Yatir quarry lies next to the Israeli settlement of Teneh Omarim in the south Hebron hills of the West Bank.

In May 2011, The Electronic Intifada documented the transportation of construction material from Yatir and Nahal Raba quarries in the occupied West Bank into Israel.

International law prohibits plundering of natural resources

In his manual, Stewart writes that the laws of war protect property against pillage during armed conflict. In the Hague Regulations of 1907, two provisions stipulate that “the pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, is prohibited,” and that “pillage is formally forbidden.” According to an interpretation by Julius Stone, “wasteful or negligent destruction of the capital value, whether by excessive cutting or mining or other abusive exploitation” by the occupying state in the territory it occupies is “contrary to the rules of good husbandry,” Stone is recognized internationally for his expertise in international law. In addition, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 reaffirmed that “pillage is prohibited.”

ICJ sets important precedent in case of illegal occupation of Namibia by apartheid South Africa

The South African apartheid regime illegally occupied Namibia for decades. The ICJ set an important precedent in its 1971 Advisory Opinion on South Africa’s presence in Namibia. Stewart refers to the Namibia Opinion in his manual by quoting the Court’s conclusion, “[O]fficial acts performed by the Government of South Africa on behalf of or concerning Namibia after the termination of the Mandate are illegal and invalid, this invalidity cannot be extended to those acts, such as, for instance, the registration of births, deaths and marriages, the effects of which can be ignored only to the detriment of the inhabitants of the Territory.” Therefore, attempts by the apartheid South African regime to grant title in Namibian natural resources were “illegal and invalid,” because the expropriation of natural resources is not analogous with registering births, deaths, and marriages.

Moreover, one of the judges on the case explicitly confirmed this interpretation in a separate opinion by adding that “other States should not regard as valid any acts and transactions of the authorities in Namibia relating to public property, concessions, etc.” The UN Security Council and United Nations Council for Namibia, later confirmed this view.

Palestinian natural resources exploited for the benefit of Israel and companies

Stewart presents in his manual also the argument that non-renewable resources can be exploited by an occupying army, provided that the money from these sales is spent exclusively on the humanitarian needs of the local population.

However, this is certainly not the case with Heidelberg Cement and Cemex. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Israel’s state comptroller revealed in its annual report for 2005, that although any royalties from the quarries should be used for the benefit of the Palestinian population, they were paid into the Israeli state treasury instead (“Digging up the dirt,” 3 September 2010).

In the case of Ahava, part of the profit will directly flow into the settlements of Mitzpeh Shalem and Kalia. The kibbutzes in these illegal settlements in the West Bank own 37% and 7,5% of Ahava, respectively.

Israel accelerates exploitation of Palestinian quarries after it occupied the West Bank

Stepping up the extraction of natural resources in war zones or conflict areas is a characteristic of the war crime of pillage. Until the early 1970s only two Palestinian quarries had existed in the area, according to Haaretz. The Israeli daily reports that Israel’s stone and gravel quarries in the West Bank came into operation in the early 1970s.

Israel’s plundering drew the attention of the UN General Assembly in 2010, expressing “its concern at the exploitation by Israel of the natural resources of the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” and called upon Israel “not to exploit, cause loss or depletion of or endanger the natural resources in the OPT.” It also recognized the right of the Palestinian people to claim restitution as a result of any exploitation, loss or depletion of, or danger to, their natural resources.

Business representatives can be held to account for plundering

Criminal courts are capable of prosecuting business representatives for pillage perpetrated during the course of commercial activities in a conflict zone, writes Stewart in his manual. After the Second World War, the Nuremberg Tribunal ruled that “[i]nternational law… binds every citizen just as does ordinary municipal law.” The Tribunal concluded that crimes against international law “are committed by men, not by abstract entities,” to ensure that the corporate structure did not shield business representatives from individual criminal liability. It contributed to broad consensus that the laws of war bind individuals.

Stewart argues that perpetrating, aiding, and abetting or instigating pillage of natural resources renders individual business representatives guilty of a war crime. He mentions that for example Germany, home country of HeidelbergCement, the 2002 Code of Crimes against International Law states that “Whoever in connection with an international armed conflict or with an armed conflict not of an international character pillages or, unless this is imperatively demanded by the necessities of the armed conflict, otherwise extensively destroys, appropriates or seizes property of the adverse party contrary to international law, such property being in the power of the perpetrator’s party, shall be punished with imprisonment from one to ten years.”

The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has exposed the complicity of a number of multinational corporations in the Israeli occupation, alerting investors to the incompatibility with corporate social responsibility. In addition, Ahava has been targeted by the movement with protests and a boycott and protests.

The manual “Corporate War Crimes, Prosecuting the Pillage of Natural Resources” provides an additional tool. It can be used by lawyers, rights organizations and Palestine solidarity activists to explore options to hold business representatives to account for their role in the plunder of Palestinian natural resources.

( / 16.06.2012)

As Gaza siege enters sixth year, harm will be felt for years to com

Palestinians inspect a boat after it was destroyed by Israeli shelling off the coast of Gaza, August 2009.

As Israel’s blockade on Gaza enters its sixth year, warnings about the increasingly dire conditions in Gaza grow louder.

Reports by international agencies on the impact of five years of siege paint a grim picture showing how Israel’s blockade is not just a policy of collective punishment imposed after the elected Hamas government began its rule, but also a policy of de-developing Gaza.

Israel’s siege impacts every aspect of life in Gaza. An entire generation of children suffer from malnutrition-related deficiencies such as stunted growth and anemia — in addition to the psychological trauma incurred as a result of Israel’s military attacks on the Gaza Strip.

University-age young people are severely limited in their higher education options, further contributing to the de-development of Gaza’s economy.

The siege on Gaza will have an impact for years to come. History will not judge kindly the role played by the self-declared “international community” in aiding and abetting Israel’s cruel policy of managed humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Hundreds of children killed, thousands injured

Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians released a report this week on the impact of the blockade on the health of children in Gaza. “Gaza’s only fresh water source is now too dangerous to drink and is contaminated with fertiliser and human waste,” the agencies warn, noting that Gaza is one of the most densely populated ares in the world, with more than 4,500 people per square kilometer).

A press release accompanying the report adds:

Since the blockade started, the number of children under three being treated for watery diarrhoea has doubled. High levels of nitrate – found in faeces and fertiliser – is also linked to some cancers and is a massive risk to pregnant women.

Gaza’s sewage system is also completely broken, much of it destroyed during Operation Cast Lead and treatment plants are overloaded or lack fuel. Open cesspits sit right next to family homes and in just the first two months of this year, three children drowned in open sewers.

The agencies add that the restrictions placed on the movement of people and goods in an out of Gaza, and the long-term poverty as a result of the crippling of Gaza’s economy, means that “families are unable to buy nutritious food and are less able to produce nutritious food themselves.” Indeed, one-third of Gaza’s children are living in poverty. Malnutrition-related conditions such as stunting and anemia are therefore on the rise in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the agencies report, “Since 2007, 605 children in Gaza have been killed and 2,179 injured as a direct result of the conflict, and 60 children were killed and 82 injured in Palestinian factional and other fighting.”

As Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert explained in a recent interview with The Electronic Intifada, the average age in Gaza is 17.6 years and 58 percent of Gaza’s residents are 18 years or younger.

Factsheet: Five years of blockade

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has released a factsheet outlining the impact of five years of siege on the Gaza Strip.

The impact of the siege on Gaza’s economy is starkly illustrated by statistics; for example,34 percent of Gaza’s workforce, including half of its youth, are unemployed. Also, Israel restrictions mean that 35 percent of Gaza’s farmland and 85 percent of its fishing waters are totally are partially inaccessible. The restrictions on fishing have severely impacted the livelihoods of 35,000 while an estimated 75,000 metric tons of produce are lost each year because of the movement restrictions, according to OCHA.

OCHA’s report also notes the danger of other industries in Gaza: “Since the intensification of the blockade in 2007, at least 172 Palestinian civilians have been killed and 318 injured while working in tunnels between Gaza and Egypt” — the only lifelines that Palestinians in Gaza have thanks to the nearly hermetic closure of the Israeli-controlled crossings with Gaza.

Impact on all aspects of life in Gaza

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network noted in a statement this week that the blockade on Gaza violates an array of basic human rights, including residents’ “right to life, health, education, food, water, standard of living and adequate housing.”

The group adds: “The government of Israel contends that the closure of the Gaza Strip forms part of a policy of legitimate ‘economic warfare’ against the authorities in Gaza. International law is unequivocal however: the closure constitutes a form of collective punishment of the entire civilian population of Gaza and is in clear violation of international humanitarian law.”

Essential medicines stocks depleted

Meanwhile, Gaza has run out of 42 percent of essential medicines, the World Health Organization stated this week, adding that “Israel does not allow the Health Ministry in Gaza to send medical equipment for repair” — affecting the ability of Gaza’s health system to provide life-saving treatment.

Ma’an News Agency adds, citing WHO, “During Israel’s 3-week offensive on the Gaza Strip in December 2008, 15 out of 27 hospitals were damaged as well as 43 clinics.”

Israeli movement restrictions have also prevented patients from accessing specialized treatment outside of Gaza, and prevent medical practitioners from advancing their training.Israel has also conditioned the issuing of travel permits for medical treatment on cooperation with its spy agencies.

Drug and fuel shortages have increased the need for referrals outside Gaza, funded by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

“The 5 most frequent reasons for referrals are for cardiovascular, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, or neurosurgery treatment,” WHO says.

Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem are the main specialized centers, but Israel has denied permits to nearly 12,000 patients, or their requests were delayed past their hospital appointment date.

“In the past two years, 618 patients were called for interrogation by Israeli security after applying for a permit,” WHO says.

The main Palestinian teaching hospitals are in East Jerusalem, but medics from Gaza are often denied permits to attend training courses.

( / 16.06.2012)

Qatar financing al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria attacks: Reports

People sift through the rubble following a car bomb in the Syrian city of Aleppo. (File Photo)

People sift through the rubble following a car bomb in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
The government of Qatar is hugely financing al-Qaeda terrorists to carry out military operations against the Syrian government, reports say.

A group of Qatari intelligence agents have met with al-Qaeda-aligned commander Abdul Ghani Jawhar and gave him millions of dollars in aid, according to reports from north of Lebanon.

The reports add Jawhar along with the Qatari intelligence agents have infiltrated into Syria through the Lebanese border to organize “suicide attacks and bombing operations” inside the crisis-hit country.

Hundreds of Syrian civilians, including in Damascus and Deir Ezzor, have been killed during bombing attacks carried out by the terrorist groups who enjoy the support of the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who came to power after staging a US-backed coup against his father in 1995, has changed the tiny Persian Gulf country to a center for commanding US military operations in the Middle East.

The kingdoms of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which enjoy the full support of the United States, have no democratic system and their people have no role in the political process of their countries.

The unrest in Syria began in March 2011, with demonstrations being held both against and in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of killing protesters, but Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

( / 16.06.2012)

13 cancer patients held in Israeli occupation jails deprived of proper medical care

GAZA, (PIC)– The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies said that 13 prisoners in the Israeli jails suffer from different forms of cancer and are in real danger due to the Israeli prison service’s disregard of their condition.

The Center’s spokesman, Riad Ashkar, said in a statement on Friday, “The lives of the prisoners living with cancer in the occupation jails are in danger, due to the seriousness of their health condition, in addition to not receiving the appropriate medical treatment.”

He added, “The occupation offers them only what keeps them alive,” noting that as soon as the prisoner’s disease reaches an advanced stage and his death is imminent, the prison administration releases him to die outside the prison walls so that it would not be held responsible for his death.

The Center called on all international institutions and bodies, particularly the World Health Organization, and Doctors without Borders, to urgently send medical committees to visit the prisons and see for themselves the situation of patient prisoners who are exposed to slow death, and to intervene immediately to save their lives.


Ministery declares state of emergency – Photography
Gaza Health Care in Crisis – January 2012 – Photography


( / 16.06.2012)

In het christendom zijn er verschillende stromingen die hun geloof op verschillende manieren uitdrukken. Geldt dit ook voor de islam? Wat zijn de verschillen tussen Shi’ieten en Soennieten in de islam?

Vanwege de unieke geaardheid van ieder van ons, zijn verschillende interpretaties van religie onvermijdelijk. Desondanks heeft de islam in vergelijking tot andere religies een aantal voordelen.

Ongeacht welke stroming moslims toe behoren, wordt de koran door iedereen als het ultieme referentiekader aanvaard. Aangezien de koran vanaf de tijd van de profeet (vzmh) nooit veranderd is, hebben wij tot op de dag van vandaag altijd de authentieke islam bij ons gehad.
De beginselen van het geloof, de vijf zuilen van de islam zijn voor 98 % van de 1.2 miljard moslim op aarde hetzelfde. Deze leerstellingen worden in de koran duidelijk uiteengezet, zonder ruimte voor interpretatie. De verschillen betreffen meestal perifere kwesties en de manier waarop de sociale toepassing van de islam zich in het demografische en culturele landschap van het overgrote deel van de moslimwereld ontwikkeld heeft.
Door de objectiviteit en het vernuft van de eerste moslimgeleerden zijn de soenna(h) behouden gebleven, waarin staat wat de profeet (vzmh) gezegd heeft, wat hij deed en welke handelingen hij toestond of accepteerde. Deze geleerden hebben een zeer kritische evaluatie en filtering op de authentieke overlevering toegepast.
De islam is een levende religie. De praktijk van de islam was in de tijd van de profeet (vzmh) goed ingevoerd en is tot op de dag van vandaag in zowel het persoonlijke als openbare leven behouden gebleven. Dit alles heeft ertoe geleid dat de authentieke islam bewaard is gebleven en het merendeel van de moslims in de wereld deze authentieke hoofdstroom van de islam volgt. De onderverdeling van de moslimwereld valt in drie grote categorieën uiteen.
Soennieten: met zo’n 83% vormen de Soennieten de meerderheid van de moslimwereld.
Shi’ieten: met zo’n 13% van de moslims, vormen de Shi’ieten een belangrijke minderheid. Het merendeel van Iran en een minderheid van de bevolking in aangrenzende landen behoort tot de Shi’itische stroming
Gulat: met zo’n 2% omvat deze stroming vele verschillende en kleine minderheden, die extreme doctrines ontwikkeld hebben, die niet door de koran of de leringen van de profeet (vzmh) gestaafd kunnen worden.
De belangrijkste verschillen tussen Soennieten en Shi’ieten werden veroorzaakt door een aantal politieke gebeurtenissen dat in de vroege geschiedenis van de moslimgemeenschap plaatsvond en gemarkeerd wordt door het tragische martelaarschap van Hussein, de tweede zoon van Ali, bij Karbala in he jaar 680. Daarnaast groeide de islam snel en besloeg deze al snel het uitgestrekte
gebied van India tot de Atlantische Oceaan. Onvermijdelijk werd deze snelle groei vergezeld van grote uitdagingen op bestuursgebied.
Alle moslims maakten zich zorgen over deze gebeurtenissen en verafschuwden degenen die de familie van de profeet (vzmh) onderdrukten en onrecht aandeden. Een groep mensen die zeer veel van Ali en de familie van de profeet (vzmh) hield, reageerde echter zeer sterk op deze gebeurtenissen en veroorzaakte daarmee een polarisatie in de moslimwereld.
Hoewel zowel de Soennitische als Shi’itische moslims dezelfde koran accepteren en gebruiken, in dezelfde beginselen geloven en dezelfde vijf zuilen van de islam in acht nemen, zijn er toch enkele verschillen:
Leiderschap: bij de Soennieten wordt de Kalief of Imam (de leider van de moslimgemeenschap) gekozen uit de moslims, op basis van zijn competentie en leiderschap. Behalve de profeet (vzmh) is iedereen feilbaar. Bij de Shi’ieten worden de Veertien Zuiveren en Volmaakten (Ali, Fatima – Ali’s vrouw en dochter van de profeet (vzmh) – hun twee zonen Hassan en Hussein, en negen Imams) echter allen als onfeilbaar beschouwd. Volgens hen dient de Kalief een directe afstammeling van de profeet (vzmh) te zijn.
Bronnen der Wet: hoewel zowel de Soennieten als de Shi’ieten de koran en soenna(h) van de profeet (vzmh) als geopenbaarde autoritaire tekstbronnen accepteren, hebben de Shi’ieten hun eigen verzamelingen van overleveringen bewaard, die naast de soenna(h) van de profeet (vzmh) bevatten, ook die van Ali en de Imams bevatten.
Voorspraak: voor de Soennieten is er een directe relatie tussen God en de mensen. Godvruchtige geleerden, met kennis en wijsheid zijn geen bemiddelaars, maar slechts geleerden op het gebied van het interpreteren van de religie. Voor de Shi’ieten vormden Ali en de andere Imams door God geïnspireerde voorbeelden, gidsen en bemiddelaars tussen God en de gelovigen.
Heilige Dagen en Vieringen: naast de heilige dagen die Soennieten en Shi’ieten beiden vieren, vieren en herdenken de Shi’íeten resp. de geboortedagen en sterfdagen van de Imams. Het martelaarschap van Hussein bij Karbala en de daarbij horende herdenking en rituele opvoering van dat drama vormen een hoeksteen van de persoonlijke en gemeenschappelijke identiteit.
Rituele gebruiken: de praktijk van de Soennieten centreert zich rond de vijf zuilen van de islam en de handelingen van de profeet (vzmh). Naast de dagelijkse gebeden hebben de Shi’ieten dramatische recitaties, passie spelen en processies door de straten ontwikkeld, die zich centreren rond het drama van Karbala.
( / 16.06.2012)

Issa Amro, coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, arrested at border on way to speaking tour

Issa Amro, Coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, was stopped last night by Israeli authorities at the Allenby Bridge. He was arrested and taken to Hebron police station, where he was interrogated for hours on suspicion of involvement in organizing the women’s action that took place in Hebron last Wednesday, at the segregated Shuhada Street.

Amro, was traveling to Italy for a speaking tour organized by the Italian Peace Association to meet Members of the Italian Parliament and Senate, and municipality representatives from different Italian cities.

Issa Amro, a prominent popular resistance activist in Hebron, was arrested several times in the past by the Israeli army for participating in activities to protest the occupation practices in Hebron. Throughout the past few years, Youth Against Settlements has been leading the global campaign to re-open Shuhada street, Hebron’s main commerce center that was closed to Palestinian movement in 1994.

Last Wednesday, approximately 15 Israeli and International women dressed in Palestinian traditional clothing walked through Shuhada Street in silence protesting the policy of preventing Palestinian women from accessing the street. The women were shortly stopped by Israeli soldiers and attacked by both soldiers and settlers. Five activists and one journalist were arrested during the action. Later that day, a Palestinian man was also arrested on suspicion of “conspiracy” related to the same action. All seven were released throughout the next 24 hours, three on condition of a 90 day restraining order from area A and the Hebron area.

( / 06.06.2012)

Night Raid in Ni’lin 15.06.2012

At 01:30 on Friday morning more than 120 soldiers surrounded the village of Ni’lin from all sides but the west. 30 minutes later the soldiers invaded the village on foot accompanied by 14 military jeeps. They proceeded to raid five houses inside the village, the houses of Jameel Srour, Jammal Srour, Yousef Srour, Shukri Kawaja and Mosab Srour.

During the house raids, the families were put in one of the rooms in the house while the soldiers harshly went through their belongings, destroying furniture and leaving chaos in their wake. The five men listed above were all arrested but three of them were released later during the night. The two remaining men, Yousef and Mosab Srour were taken to an as of now unknown Israeli military facility where they are still being held as this is being written..

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( / 16.06.2012)