Israel sends 2 warships to Egyptian border

The Israeli military says it has sent two more warships to the Red Sea border with Egypt following warnings that militants are planning another attack on southern Israel from Egyptian soil.

Earlier this week, Israel’s military ordered more troops to the border following intelligence reports of an impending attack.

Israel’s home front minister said Tuesday that militants from the Gaza-based Islamic Jihad are in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula waiting to attack.

Gunmen who infiltrated Israel through the porous Egyptian Sinai border killed eight Israelis earlier this month.

The attack sparked calls to increase security on both sides of the frontier and created new tensions between Israel and Egypt.

No changes in security alignments were observed on the Egyptian side of the border.

(www.almasryalyoum.com / 30.08.2011)

Miles of Smiles and Africa 1 convoys reach Gaza

GAZA, (PIC)– Miles of Smiles and Africa 1 aid convoys reached the Gaza Strip on Monday evening through the Rafah border
crossing.

The higher committee for receiving delegations in Gaza said that Miles of Smiles5 from Europe which was dubbed the “border
martyrs” to honour the Egyptian soldiers killed by the IOF, and Africa 1 convoy arrived at the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing at sunset (time for iftar) on Monday.

The committee added that after receiving participants in the two aid convoys at the crossing and having iftar together, they proceeded to Gaza where they will spend Eid with its people.

(www.palestine-info.co.uk / 30.08.2011)

American Zionists expressed opinion about Caucasus Emirate

An American Zio C. May, president of a “Foundation for defense of Democracies”, a policy institution focusing on so-called “terrorism” and “political Islam”, published on a Zio website News Chief an extremely spiteful article about Islam, in which he also touched the issue of a new Islamic country of Caucasus Emirate.

The Islamophobic jew writes with reference to the just released World Almanac of “Islamism”, published by an “American foreign policy council”, a non-governmental think tank, which claims to advises the American government (almanac.afpc.org):

“In Russia, the Caucasus Emirate “has ideologically and politically allied itself with the most virulent elements of the global
jihadist movement, including al-Qaeda, the Taliban (Western name for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – KC), Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and others” (no comments – KC)”.

Meanwhile, an American marine in a discussion of the Caucasus Emirate on the English-language website of the American state dept. Radio Liberty (there are less FSB agents there among the staff than in the Russian Service, and correspondingly less censorship) recalled that during the American War of Independence “for England, George Washington was a terrorist”.

It is worth mentioning that the Zios are sounding the alarm for several years already and call for “paying attention” to the North Caucasus.

So, two years ago a Zio paper in jew-occupied single and indivisible Palestine published an analysis of the situation by certain jew “experts” who came to a conclusion that North Caucasus is now “turned into an international problem (see The International Jew,
the World’s Foremost Problem
, by Henry Ford Sr.) from a purely Russian one”.

According to the International Jew, North Caucasus is now “one of the main fronts of struggle for the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate”, and “Chechnya has become a powerful outpost of the Islamic Jihad”.

(www.kavkazcenter.com /30.08.2011)

Sinking the Mavi Marmara

The release of the findings of the UN panel of inquiry into the May 2010 Israeli attack on the Turkish Mavi Marmara, part of the Freedom Flotilla endeavoring to deliver aid to besieged Gaza, was recently delayed for the fourth time since the originally scheduled release date over three months ago.

Israel initially claimed the delay occurred at the behest of Turkey; Turkey claimed it happened at the behest of Israel. The latter
version of events would seem to be validated by a Sunday report on Israel’s Channel 2, according to which Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has asked the US to delay the release another six months. According to Haaretz, the UN panel’s findings will nonetheless be published this Friday.

Either way, the latest delay follows Netanyahu’s unsurprising affirmation that Israel will not apologise for the deaths of
eight Turkish activists and one 19-year-old Turkish-American activist shot – most of them execution-style – by Israeli commandos (IDF) who intercepted the ship.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned of a Turkish “Plan B” in the event that an Israeli apology does not indeed materialise.

Inverting cause and effect

From the point of view of the Israeli regime, an apology is not required given that the IDF commandos, and not the slaughtered activists, were the victims of the encounter at sea.

This innovative approach to logic was presented by IDF spokeswoman Avital Liebovitch at a post-attack press briefing, during which she announced that the passengers of the Mavi Marmara had engaged in “severe violence against our soldiers”.
Liebovitch’s alarming summary of premeditated passenger violence involving weapons “grabbed” from commandos did not address the issue of why the IDF had not thus thrown a wrench in the works by simply refraining from raiding the ship.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry confirmed the violent intentions of the seafarers by adding the category, “Weapons found on Mavi Marmara” to its Flickr photostream and uploading images of marbles, kitchen knives, keffiyehs, and a metal pail. Deputy
Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon’s detection of ties between the Gaza flotilla and global Jihad was additionally upheld by a Flickr photograph featuring a slingshot colourfully decorated with stars and the label “Hezbollah”.

The Foreign Ministry has yet to explain whether Hezbollah always labels its Gaza-bound slingshots in English, or why the photograph is specified as having been taken on February 7, 2006, i.e., over four years prior to the flotilla attack.

As for the Israeli proclivity for inverting cause-and-effect relationships – such that commandos who shoot guns while descending from helicopters onto boats become the victims of the unarmed humanitarian activists onto whom they are descending – an
application of this formula to other phenomena in the physical world results in the unexpected discovery that slabs of meat impale themselves on butcher knives and that armadillos attack the wheels of cars.

‘Delegitimising’ Israel

Quite fortunately for Israel, its acrobatics in defiance of truth are sanctioned by regrettably influential media figures like New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas Friedman, who obediently assigned quotation marks to the “flotilla of ‘humanitarian’ activists” in his analysis of the maritime confrontation.

Along with his decree that “[t]here is no question that this flotilla was a setup”, Friedman’s reference to the “violent confrontation that the blockade-busters wanted” echoed the assessment by Israeli government spokesman extraordinaire Mark Regev that
the flotilla passengers were intent on accruing “headlines for their cause” by “initiat[ing] violence”.

Resurrecting his Operation Cast Lead-era philosophy that persons wanting to critique Israel’s actions in Gaza should recall that Islamist suicide bombers were also blowing up people in Iraq, Friedman updated the prerequisites for post-flotilla criticism
of Israel to include more examples of unsavory behavior by regional Arabs and Muslims, such as that Syria was a suspect in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He subsequently warned of a “trend, both deliberate and inadvertent, to delegitimise Israel”, resulting in a situation in which, “[i]f you just landed from Mars, you might think that Israel is the only country that has killed civilians in war”.

Leaving aside the minor detail that Israel was not at war with the Mavi Marmara, hypothetical Martian visitors might also be confused by other formulaic discrepancies such as the complete lack of suicide terrorism in Iraq prior to the US invasion and the fact that Islamist suicide bombers are not the primary recipients of military aid from the global superpower. Some Martians might even be inclined to assign blame for encouraging “violent confrontation” not to humanitarian aid flotillas but rather to foreign affairs columnists for the US newspaper of record who champion the mass killing of civilians in Gaza and Lebanon and advocate for civil war in Iraq.

As for the project to delegitimise Israel, I was able to witness this firsthand last year when I attended the funeral ceremony at Istanbul’s Beyazit mosque for Cevdet Kiliclar, one of Friedman’s “‘humanitarian’ activists”.

For non-Martians trained in the strategic proliferation of quotation marks, the scene might have been described as consisting of thousands of “mourners”, including “women”, “children”, and “students”, who had gathered to celebrate the “killing” of their “compatriot” and the opportunities it provided to sell headbands declaring “Hepimiz Filistinliyiz – We are all Palestinian”.

From Colombia to Gaza

Other popular Turkish slogans from this time period emerged from Erdogan’s post-massacre assessment that Israel had committed “inhumane state terrorism”.

Accurate as this depiction may be, it would have carried more ethical weight had, say, the Turkish military not proceeded with its acquisition of Israeli-manufactured Heron drones to aid in domestic “counterterrorism efforts” against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

As for state terrorism on other continents, the appointment last year of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to the post of vice-chairman of the four-person UN panel of inquiry into the Mavi Marmara incident was curious, given the intimate association of his name with the military and paramilitary practice of killing civilians. To his credit, however, Uribe has never argued that Colombian soldiers who – in potentially thousands of instances – murdered civilians and dressed the corpses in guerrilla attire in order to receive bonus pay and extra vacation time, were in fact the victims of said corpses.

Despite the repeated delay of the release of the UN panel’s findings – referred to as the “Palmer report” in honour of its chairman, former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer – Haaretz journalist Barak Ravid cites “a political source in Jerusalem” as revealing that:
“According to the final draft of the probe, Israel is not asked to apologise to Turkey, but the report does recommend it expresses regret over the casualties. The Palmer Report also doesn’t ask Israel to pay compensation, but proposes Israel transfer money to a specially-created humanitarian fund.”

The source also reports the panel’s conclusion that “the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza is legal and is in accordance with international law”, in which case the UN panel would be contradicting the UN on the issue of the legality of the Gaza siege.

As for the “Plan B” that Erdogan has threatened to pursue if Israel fails to issue an apology, compensate fatalities, and cease blockading Gaza, the Turkish newspaper HaberTurk lists the components of this plan, which are said to include a visit to Gaza next month by Erdogan, a suit against the Israeli government and relevant soldiers, and a reduction in defense cooperation and economic ties.

Turkey will additionally refrain from reinstalling an ambassador in Tel Aviv, a post that has been vacant since the Mavi Marmara incident, and will refuse to accept a replacement Israeli ambassador to Turkey when the current one terminates his stint in September.

Diplomatic antagonisms

The position of the Turkish ambassador to Israel is one that has been traditionally characterised by ups and downs, both figurative and literal. At a January 2010 meeting in Jerusalem, for example, then-ambassador Oguz Celikkol was deliberately seated at a lower altitude than his Israeli interlocutors, who were displeased with the portrayal of Mossad in the popular Turkish television series Kurtlar Vadisi or Valley of the Wolves.

The Israeli government eventually apologised for the treatment of Celikkol, setting the dangerous precedent that is perhaps to thank for Erdogan’s current conviction that Israel can indeed be made to apologise for things.

Given that the Mavi Marmara attack was made the focus of the plot of the 2011 film “Valley of the Wolves: Palestine”, based on the TV series, it is possible that any renewed Turkish ambassadorial presence in Israel will be greeted with seating arrangements even more proximate to the floor.

For more information on other sorts of diplomatic posts, one may meanwhile refer to a website devoted to cultivating “Novice Ambassadors” for Israel. Established by the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, the site purports to “make it possible for each one of us to arm ourselves with information and pride in Israel’s global contributions and history and to present a more realistic image of Israel to the world”.

Rather than focus on realistic Israeli global historical contributions such as the elimination of approximately 1,400 persons, primarily civilians, in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, prospective ambassadors are instead called upon to dispel such alleged myths as that camels are the primary mode of transport in Israel and that cooking methods are primitive.

An arsenal of rotating factoids is provided on the right side of the screen for use in countering “barbs of criticism” leveled against the Jewish state. Bits of trivia include that “An Israeli invention for an electric hair removal device makes women happy all over the world” and that “Each month Israelis consume close to 15m bags of [the snack food] Bamba; every fourth snack sold in Israel is Bamba, and 1,000 bags of Bamba are manufactured every month”.

As for the utility of Bamba snacks and global-female-happiness-inducing razor components in obscuring the significance of human principles and human suffering, this may only be further reinforced by a gradual sinking of the Mavi Marmara
beneath an eternal debate over whether Israel is sorry for killing civilians or whether it merely regrets that they caused their own deaths.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 30.08.2011)

Firms Aided Libyan Spies

First Look Inside Security Unit Shows How Citizens Were Tracked

[LIBYA2] The Wall Street JournalOne of countless files from Libya’s internet surveillance center.

TRIPOLI—On the ground floor of a six-story building here, agents working for Moammar Gadhafi sat in an open room, spying on emails and chat messages with the help of technology Libya acquired from the West.

The recently abandoned room is lined with posters and English-language training manuals stamped with the name Amesys, a unit of French technology firm Bull SA, which installed the monitoring center. A warning by the door bears the Amesys logo. The sign reads: “Help keep our classified business secret. Don’t discuss classified information out of the HQ.”

First Look Inside Security Unit

See photos of the building, explored Monday by The Wall Street Journal.

Eduard Bayer for The Wall Street
Journal

The room, explored Monday by The Wall Street Journal, provides clear new  evidence of foreign companies’ cooperation in the repression of Libyans under Col. Gadhafi’s almost 42-year rule. The surveillance files found here include emails written as recently as February, after the Libyan uprising had begun.

WSJ’s Alan Zibel reports Libyan government officials relied on technology from western companies to spy on citizens. Photo: Edu Bayer for The Wall Street Journal

One file, logged on Feb. 26, includes a 16-minute Yahoo chat between a man and a young woman. He sometimes flirts, declaring that her soul is meant for him, but also worries that his opposition to Col. Gadhafi has made him a target.

“I’m wanted,” he says. “The Gadhafi forces … are writing lists of names.” He says he’s going into hiding and will call her from a new phone number—and urges her to keep his plans secret.

“Don’t forget me,” she says.

This kind of spying became a top priority for Libya as the region’s Arab Spring revolutions blossomed in recent months. Earlier this year, Libyan officials held talks with Amesys and several other companies including Boeing Co.’s Narus, a maker of high-tech Internet traffic-monitoring products, as they looked to add sophisticated Internet-filtering capabilities to Libya’s existing
monitoring operation, people familiar with the matter said.

Libya sought advanced tools to control the encrypted online-phone service Skype, censor YouTube videos and block Libyans from disguising their online activities by using “proxy” servers, according to documents reviewed by the Journal and people familiar with the matter. Libya’s civil war stalled the talks.

“Narus does not comment on potential business ventures,” a Narus spokeswoman said in a statement. “There have been no sales or deployments of Narus technology in Libya.” A Bull official declined to comment.

[Censorship LOGO]

The sale of technology used to intercept communications is generally permissible by law, although manufacturers in some countries, including the U.S., must first obtain special approval to export high-tech interception devices.

Libya is one of several Middle Eastern and North African states to use sophisticated technologies acquired abroad to crack down on dissidents. Tech firms from the U.S., Canada, Europe, China and elsewhere have, in the pursuit of profits, helped regimes block websites, intercept emails and eavesdrop on conversations.

The Tripoli Internet monitoring center was a major part of a broad surveillance apparatus built by Col. Gadhafi to keep tabs on his enemies. Amesys in 2009 equipped the center with “deep packet inspection” technology, one of the most intrusive techniques for snooping on people’s online activities, according to people familiar with the matter.

Members of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s family were reported Monday to have arrived in Algeria, a neighbor Libyan rebels have accused of supporting the ousted regime. Jeff Grocott has details on The News Hub.

Chinese telecom company ZTE Corp. also provided technology for Libya’s monitoring operation, people familiar with the matter said. Amesys and ZTE had deals with different arms of Col. Gadhafi’s security service, the people said. A ZTE spokeswoman declined to comment.

VASTech SA Pty Ltd, a small South African firm, provided the regime with tools to tap and log all the international phone calls going in and out of the country, according to emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal and people familiar with the matter. VASTech declined to discuss its business in Libya due to confidentiality agreements.

Libya went on a surveillance-gear shopping spree after the international community lifted trade sanctions in exchange for Col. Gadhafi handing over the suspects in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 and ending his weapons of mass destruction program. For global makers of everything from snooping technology to passenger jets and oil equipment , ending the trade sanctions transformed Col. Gadhafi’s regime from pariah state to coveted client.

The Tripoli spying center reveals some of the secrets of how Col. Gadhafi’s regime censored the populace. The surveillance room, which people familiar with the matter said Amesys equipped with its Eagle system in late 2009, shows how Col. Gadhafi’s regime had become more attuned to the dangers posed by Internet activism, even though the nation had only about 100,000 Internet subscriptions in a population of 6.6 million.

The Eagle system allows agents to observe network traffic and peer into people’s emails, among other things. In the room, one English-language poster says: “Whereas many Internet interception systems carry out basic filtering on IP address and extract only those communications from the global flow (Lawful Interception), EAGLE Interception system analyses and stores all the
communications from the monitored link (Massive interception).”

On its website, Amesys says its “strategic nationwide interception” system can detect email from Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail and see chat conversations on MSN instant messaging and AIM. It says investigators can “request the entire database” of Internet traffic “in real time” by entering keywords, email addresses or the names of file attachments as search queries.

It is unclear how many people worked for the monitoring unit or how long it was operational.

In a basement storage room, dossiers of Libyans’ online activities are lined up in floor-to-ceiling filing shelves. From the shelves, the Journal reviewed dozens of surveillance files, including those for two anti-Gadhafi activists—one in Libya, the other in the U.K.—well known for their opposition websites. Libyan intelligence operators were monitoring email discussions between the two men
concerning what topics they planned to discuss on their websites.

In an email, dated Sept. 16, 2010, the men argue over whether to trust the reform credentials of Col. Gadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam, who at the time was widely expected to succeed his father as Libya’s leader. One man warns the other that the younger Gadhafi is trouble. “I know that you hope that Seif will be a good solution,” he writes. “But … he is not the proper solution. I’m warning
you.”

Computer surveillance occupied only the ground floor of the intelligence center. Deeper in the maze-like layout is a windowless detention center, its walls covered in dingy granite tile and smelling of mildew.

[LIBYA1] Human Rights WatchActivist Heba Morayef’s emails turned up at Libya’s internet surveillance center.

Caught in the snare of Libya’s surveillance web was Human Rights Watch researcher Heba Morayef, who handles Libya reporting for the activist group. Files monitoring at least two Libyan opposition activists included emails written by her, as well as messages to her from them.

In one email, dated Aug. 12, 2010, a Libyan activist implores Ms. Morayef to help him and his colleagues fight a court case brought against them. “The law is on our side in this case, but we are scared,” he wrote. “We need someone to help.” The email goes into specific detail about the plaintiff, who was a high-ranking member of a shadowy group of political commissars defending the
Gadhafi regime.

Ms. Morayef, reached Monday in Cairo, where she is based, said she was last in contact with the Benghazi-based activist on Feb. 16. She said she believes he went into hiding when civil war broke out a week later.

Another file, dated Jan. 6, 2011, monitors two people, one named Ramadan, as they struggle to share an anti-Gadhafi video and upload it to the Web. One message reads: “Dear Ramadan : Salam : this is a trial to see if it is possible to email videos. If it succeeds tell me what you think.”

Across town from the Internet monitoring center at Libya’s international phone switch, where telephone calls exit and enter the country, a separate group of Col. Gadhafi’s security agents staffed a room equipped with VASTech devices, people familiar with the matter said. There they captured roughly 30 to 40 million minutes of mobile and landline conversations a month and archived them for years, one of the people said.

Andre Scholtz, sales and marketing director for VASTech, declined to comment on the Libya installation, citing confidentiality agreements. The firm sells only “to governments that are internationally recognized by the U.N. and are not subject to international sanctions,” Mr. Scholtz said in a statement. “The relevant U.N., U.S. and EU rules are complied with.”

The precise details of VASTech’s setup in Libya are unclear. VASTech says its interception technology is used to fight crimes like terrorism and weapons smuggling.

The Fight for Tripoli

On Edge in Libya

Track fighting and city control around the country.

Map: Regional Upheaval

Track events day by day in the region.

A description of the company’s Zebra brand surveillance product, prepared for a trade show, says it “captures and stores massive volumes of traffic” and offers filters that agents can use to “access specific communications of interest from mountains of data.” Zebra also features “link analysis,” the description says, a tool to help agents identify relationships between individuals based on analysis of their calling patterns.

Capabilities such as these helped Libya sow fear as the country erupted in civil war earlier this year. Anti-Gadhafi street demonstrators were paranoid of being spied on or picked up by the security forces, as it was common knowledge that the regime tapped phones. Much of the early civil unrest was organized via Skype, which activists considered safer than Internet chatting. But even then they were scared.

“We’re likely to disappear if you aren’t careful,” a 22-year-old student who helped organize some of the biggest protests near Tripoli said in a Skype chat with a foreign journalist before fleeing to Egypt. Then, on March 1, two of his friends were arrested four hours after calling a foreign correspondent from a Tripoli-based cellphone, according to a relative. It is unclear what division of the security service picked them up or whether they are still in jail.

The uprising heightened the regime’s efforts to obtain more intrusive surveillance technology. On Feb. 15 of this year, as anti-government demonstrations kicked off in Benghazi, Libyan telecom official Bashir Ejlabu convened a meeting in Barcelona with officials from Narus, the Boeing unit that makes Internet monitoring products, according to a person familiar with the meeting. “The urgency was high to get a comprehensive system put in place,” the person said.

In the meeting, Mr. Eljabu told the Narus officials he would fast-track visas for them to go to Libya the next day, this person said. Narus officials declined to travel to Tripoli, fearing damage to the company’s reputation.

But it was too late for the regime. One week later, Libyan rebels seized control of Benghazi, the country’s second largest city, and the capital of Tripoli was convulsing in antiregime protests. In early March, Col. Gadhafi shut down Libya’s Internet entirely. The country remained offline until last week, when rebels won control of Tripoli.

(online.wsj.com / 30.08.2011)

 

‘50.000 doden sinds begin opstand Libië’

In Libië zijn naar schatting 50.000 mensen om het leven gekomen sinds het begin van de opstand tegen Muammar Kaddafi in februari dit jaar. Dat heeft een militaire commandant van de Nationale Overgangsraad in Libië gemeld.

//  

Kolonel Hisham Buhagiar.
Kolonel Hisham Buhagiar.

Kolonel Hisham Buhagiar, commandant van de troepen die vorige week de hoofdstad Tripoli op de strijders van Kaddafi veroverden, zei dat alleen al in de steden Misurata en Zlitan tussen de 15.000 en 17.000 mensen zijn gedood. Hij zei dat circa 28.000 gevangenen zijn bevrijd.

Vorige week zei leider Mustafa Abdel Jalil van de Nationale Overgangsraad dat de strijd in het Noord-Afrikaanse land minstens 20.000 mensenlevens heeft gekost.

(www.parool.nl / 30.08.2011)

 

Israel warns of possible attack during Eid

Israel’s Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said on Tuesday that a cell of more than 10 militants is dwelling in Sinai ahead of a plan to attack Israel, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“Islamic Jihad is trying for a long time to perpetrate the attacks from the Sinai and the Eid al-Fitr is a good time for attacks. The defense establishment has concrete intelligence regarding plans by a terror cell from the Sinai consisting of more than 10 people,” Vilnai was quoted as saying by the Post.

Israel’s warning follows rising alerts after eight Israelis were killed in Eilat when militants – who allegedly crossed in from Sinai – attacked the area on 18 August.

Israeli forces have been touring the border area and, on the same day of the attack, crossed into Egypt and killed five Egyptian officers in friendly fire. The event spurred a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

“This morning we are on high alert in the south, against a possible attack, similar in part to the attack which occurred 10 days ago. Readiness is very high. We are determined to strike at those carrying out the attacks, to take action as much as possible to intercept the attack and we are reiterating that responsibility stems from the Gaza Strip. It is not just Islamic Jihad but also Hamas,” the Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Defense Minister Ehud Barak as saying.

Israel reinforced its border presence on Monday, according to the Post and other Israeli media, and informed the Egyptian military of its new deployment. Israeli roads running alongside the border were also closed in anticipation of potential attacks.

Haaretz also reported defensive preparations in case attackers launch their strikes from the Gaza Strip through a tunnel. Israeli forces also strengthened their naval presence in the Gulf of Eilat in case attacks are launched from the Red Sea Front.

Haaretz added that it is rare that such intelligence information is leaked to the media, but it is perhaps meant to preempt the militants.

The Post reported that Israel is restraining itself from taking action against the Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza by not launching a high-scale campaign in the area, in respect for Egypt’s interim rulers.

(www.almasryalyoum.com / 30.08.2011)

“FIQH OF RAMADAN” Class 9 – ‘Fiqh of Eid’

 

 

FIQH OF EID

This is a little longer than usual but InshaAllah very beneficial and useful for every muslim around the world. This is our Last class for “FIQH OF RAMADAN” InshaAllah we will have the Final Exam on the Complete course on Frday the 29th of July’11.

ZAKATUL-FITR

There is a Zakat payment due at the end of the month of fasting, called Ramadhan. The day that it is due is called ‘Eidul-Fitr, which is a day of celebrating the end of the fast. One of the Prophet’s Companions named Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, said:

“Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon Him) enjoined the payment of one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barley as Zakatul-Fitr on every Muslim, slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the ‘Eid prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Rulings on zakaat al-fitr

The correct view is that it is fard (obligatory), because Ibn ‘Umar said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made zakaat al-fitr obligatory,” and because of the consensus of the scholars (ijmaa’) that it is fard.

(Al-Mughni, part 2, Baab Sadaqat al-Fitr).

The Wisdom Behind Zakatul-Fitr

Zakatul-Fitr purifies the fasting person from whatever shortcomings, such as foul or unnecessary speech, that he might have indulged in during his fast. It also saves the poor people from the humiliation of asking people for help on the day of the ‘Eid. One of the Prophet’s Companions named Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, said: The Messenger of Allah enjoined Zakatul-Fitr as a redemption for the fasting person from unnecessary or foul speech and as a food for the poor.” (Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah)

Who is obliged to pay it?

A man has to pay on behalf of himself and his wife – even if she has money of her own – and his children and parents if they are poor, and his daughter if she is married but the marriage has not yet been consummated. If his son is rich, he does not have to give zakaat al-fitr on his behalf. A husband has to give zakaat al-fitr on behalf of a divorced wife whose divorce (talaaq) is not yet final (i.e., she is still in the ‘iddah of a first or second talaaq), but not in the case of a rebellious wife or one whose divorce is final. A son does not have to give zakaat al-fitr on behalf of a poor father’s wife because he is not obliged to spend on her.

[When giving zakaat al-fitr], one should start with the closest people first, so he gives it on behalf of himself, then his wife, then his children, then the rest of his relatives in order of closeness, following the pattern laid out in the rules governing inheritance.

What Should be Given as Zakatul-Fitr

The amount to be given is one saa’ of food, according to the measure of saa’ used by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because of the following hadeeth.

– Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: At the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) we used to give it in the form of a saa’ of food…” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 1412).

A saa’ is approximately equivalent to three kilograms of rice.

As for giving zakaat al-fitr in the form of money, this is not permissible at all, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said that it must be given in the form of food, not money. He clearly stated that it is to be given in the form of food, so it is not permissible to give it in any other form and Islam wants it to be given openly, not secretly. The Sahaabah gave zakaat al-fitr in the form of food, and we should follow, not innovate.

 

 

The time for giving zakaat al-fitr

It should be given before the Eid prayer, as is stated in the hadeeth that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) “commanded that it should be given before the people went out to pray.”

(Al-Bukhaari, 1407).

The best time to pay Zakatul-Fitr is the time from dawn on ‘Eid until just before the ‘Eid prayer. However, those who give it before the morning of the ‘Eid (i.e. a day or two before the ‘Eid) have properly fulfilled the obligation. Those who give it away after the ‘Eid prayer, it is considered as a voluntary charity (Sadaqah) only. In other words it is not counted as Zakatul-Fitr.

It is disliked (makrooh) to delay giving it until after Salaat al-‘Eid; some scholars said that this is haraam and is counted as qadaa’ (making up a duty that has not been performed on time), on the basis of the hadeeth, “Whoever pays it before the prayer, it is an accepted zakaat, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it is just a kind of charity.”

(Reported by Abu Dawood, 1371).

The Recipients of Zakatul-Fitr

Zakatul-Fitr is paid to the same eight categories of people who are eligible to receive the Zakat on wealth, as we explained before. The poor and the needy are the most deserving people for Zakatul-Fitr.

 

EID PRAYER

Sunnahs of Idul-Fitr Prayer

On the first day of Shawwal (the month that follows Ramadan) the person goes to the ‘id Mosque or praying ground having undertaken the following recommended acts:

  • Total ablution (Ghusl).
  • Dressed in the best of clothes (preferably new clothing).
  • Assumed a breaking of the Fast by eating at least a few pieces of dates. This is in accordance with the tradition of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and an odd number is preferred i.e. 3, 5, 7, 9 and so on.
  • It is Sunnah to say Takbeer loudly when leaving our homes to go to Eid Prayer.
  • The Sunnah for Eid Prayers is to pray in the Musallah (that is in an uncovered place) and not in the Masjid. The Prophet [pbuh] never prayed Eid Prayer in the Masjid
  • It is the practice (Sunnah) to head to the ‘id praying center by walking. Upon arrival at the place of prayer the person sits and waits for the prayer to begin.

Prayer of Eid ul-Fitr

1. After about 20 minutes from clear sun rise, the imam stands up for the prayer and loudly signifies the entering into prayer by reciting the “Takbiiratil lhraam” that is “ALLAHU AKBAR”. The whole congregation also follows suit by reciting the “Takbiiratil-lhraam”.

2. As usual, with any other prayer, the person thereafter comes up with the opening supplication known as “DUA AL ISTIFTAAH”.

3. After that, the Imam says “ALLAHU AKBAR” 6 more times and the congregation would follow likewise.

4. After completing the recitations of the words of greatness which total up to seven, the Imam would then seek the protection of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) from the cursed satan in a low voice by saying “AUTHU B’LJBILLAHI MINASH SHAYTANIRRRAJIIM”. He would thereafter silently invoke Allah’s name by saying: “BISMILLAHIR- RAHMANI-R–RAHIIM” and then recite “AL FATIHAH” (the opening chapter of the Holy Qur’an) in a loud voice. The followers (congregation) would then say “Ameen” together loudly after the Imam completes reciting the “Al Fatihah”. Each follower would then recite “Al-Fatihah” silently. It is recommended that the Imam thereafter recites the whole of chapter 87 of the Holy Qur’an i.e. “SA BIHISMA ” (Glorified be the name of thy Lord, the Most high). The followers are required to listen to the Imam’s recitation.

5. The Imam then raises his hands up to the level of his shoulders or ears performs “Rukuu” saying “ALLAHU AKBAR.” ‘Thereafter he raises his head up from bowing saying “SAMI’A ALLAHU LIMAN HAMIDA” followed by the congregation saying “RABBANNA WALAKAL HAMD”. The Imam and the congregation thereafter proceed to prostration saying “ALLAHU AKBAR”.

6. After the prostration, the Imam would resume the standing position for the second rakaat and the congregation would follow him up accordingly.

7. Thereafter, the Imam would say “ALLAHU AKBAR” 5 times and the congregation would perform likewise, and would recite the private supplication between each “Takbiir” as already discussed in point 4 above.

8. Then, the Imam recites “AL-FATIHAH” and for this second rakaat it is preferred that he thereafter recites the whole of chapter 88 of the Holy Qur’an i.e. “Al Ghasiya”, (The Disaster) and the congregation would listen attentively.

9. Thereafter, the Imam completes the Rukuu (bowing) and Sujuud (prostration) positions in the manner already discussed and sits back for the words of witness “At-Tashahud”. Then, the Imam concludes the prayer with the words of peace i.e. “ASSALAMU ALEYKUM WA RAHMATULLAH” and of course, the entire congregation would follow the Imam in all these acts as is the custom in all prayers.

  • After concluding the prayer, the Imam would climb the pulpit to deliver the ‘Festival Sermon’, and starts the same with nine recitations of “ALLAHU AKBAR” with the congregation saying after him the same. After listening to the sermon, the congregation disperses. Listening to the sermon is not obligatory but is recommended.
  • Jabir reported: “The Prophet [pbuh] used to come back from Eid-al-Fitr on a path other than the one used in going to it.” [Bukhaari]

Idul-Adha Prayer

“IDUL ADHA”, (Feast of Immolation) prayer is performed on the 10th day of the 12th month of Islamic “Hijra” Calendar and is performed exactly in the same manner as enumerated and discussed above for the ‘Idul Fitr Prayer

Women going for Eid Prayer

It is not obligatory for women, but it is Sunnah. Women should offer this prayer in the prayer-place with the Muslims, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined them to do that.

According to a report narrated by al-Tirmidhi: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to bring out the virgins, adolescent girls, women in seclusion and menstruating women on the two Eids, but the menstruating women were to keep away from the prayer place and witness the gathering of the Muslims. One of them said, “O Messenger of Allaah, what if she does not have a jilbaab?” He said, “Then let her sister lend her one of her jilbaabs.” (Agreed upon).

Based on the above, it is clear that for women to go out and attend the Eid prayers is a confirmed Sunnah, but that is subject to the condition that they do not go out unveiled or making a wanton display of themselves, as is known from other evidence.

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TIPS FOR TEST

1. Very important note for all of us to know before Eid.

2. Remember the rulings of Zakat-ul-Fitr.

3. Remember the Sunnahs of Salatul Eid-ul-Fitr.

Happy Learning… JazakAllah Khair…As Salam  Alaikum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakaatuhu 🙂

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Please Share the note on your walls so that our Brothers & Sisters who are not part of the course can also benefit InshaAllah.

(Facebook / Learn Islam (Short Courses) op maandag 25 juli 2011 / 30.08.2011)

The Survivor

In a region beset by conflict and revolution, the enigmatic king of Morocco has managed to retain control, even as his subjects protested.

As Arab rulers go, Mohammed VI, the 48-year-old king of Morocco, seems at times like the region’s most reluctant autocrat. When inheriting power from his repressive father 12 years ago, he refused to move to the royal palace, preferring his own private home. In the first years of his reign, he fired the regime’s most hated government figures and released high-profile dissidents. So when the king promised a new constitution earlier this year in response to protests, many Moroccans believed he might actually deliver what demonstrators were demanding: a real parliamentary democracy with a figurehead monarch, as in Spain or the U.K. “It felt like things were shifting,” says Ali Amar, a journalist and the author of an unsanctioned biography of Mohammed VI.

But appearances in the royal palace can be deceiving, as Moroccans told me repeatedly during a visit to the country recently. The new constitution Mohammed unveiled earlier this summer fell short of expectations. To critics, it mostly seemed to reinforce what Moroccans call the makhzen system of royal privilege—leaving the king firmly in control.

Seven months after Arabs across the region began rising up against their leaders, the regimes touched by the upheaval can be divided into two groups: those that crumbled quickly (Tunisia, Egypt) and those still fighting back (Libya, Yemen, Syria). Morocco represents a third category, a regime that promised to embrace the demands of the protesters, bought time by forming a committee, and ultimately withheld real democracy. For now, at least, the strategy is working. The protests across the country have mostly subsided, and the king’s new constitution won huge support in a national referendum last month. “In terms of short-term maneuvering, it was very clever,” says Karim Tazi, a businessman and outspoken critic of the king.

At the center of it all is a figure who remains largely an enigma at home and abroad, who gives almost no interviews (he turned down Newsweek’s repeated requests), and whose lifestyle, as depicted in the pages of Morocco’s small but feisty independent press, seems like an imperial rendering of the American television show Entourage. Mohammed surrounds himself with former high-school buddies, throws million-dollar parties for American celebrities such as Sean Combs, and travels with his personal bed in tow. He also owns much of Morocco’s economy, either outright or through holding companies. A 2007 study by Forbes listed him as the world’s seventh-wealthiest monarch, with an estimated fortune of $2 billion. By comparison, Queen Elizabeth II is worth $600 million.

And yet Mohammed is unquestionably different from his Arab counterparts. For one thing, he is genuinely popular in Morocco, where the monarchy dates back 400 years and is respected for, among other things, having negotiated the country’s independence from France. He’s also less repressive than most Arab leaders. In a region of police states, his regime prefers co-opting opponents to jailing them. Even his excessive wealth seems to generate less resentment than other kleptocracies, though poverty and unemployment run high. “He’s very close to his people,” says Andre Azoulay, a top adviser to the king whom I met one morning at a hotel in Rabat. “He’s not a clone of his father. He’s doing very well.”

In many ways, Mohammed VI is in fact the opposite of his father. Slim, eloquent, and ruthless, Hassan II ruled Morocco for nearly four decades, jailing thousands and surviving both coups and assassination attempts. To his countrymen, Hassan was the towering figure who stabilized the country—often brutally—after Morocco won its freedom from France. To Mohammed, he was an abusive son of a bitch, Amar the biographer told me during a recent walk through the Rabat royal palace, where the prince was raised. When the son acted out, the king had him beaten in front of his harem at the palace, a walled compound with arched gateways and rows of bronze cannons. When, as a teenager, he crashed one of his father’s cars, Hassan threw him in the royal jail for 40 days.

Malika Oufkir witnessed the relationship between the father and his young son up close. The daughter of a top palace official, Oufkir lived in the Rabat palace until Mohammed turned 7. She says Hassan’s harsh discipline made the young prince turn inward. “He was this very sweet, very shy little boy,” Oufkir told me. “His father was an extrovert, but he grew up to be just the opposite.” And she personally experienced Hassan’s brutality. Oufkir’s father was a general in Morocco and later served as the interior minister, a position that made him the second-most-powerful man in the country. When he organized a coup in 1972—ordering military jets to strafe the king’s plane on its return from Paris to Rabat—Hassan had him executed. The king then jailed the 19-year-old Oufkir, her mother, and her five younger siblings in secret prisons for more than 15 years. In her memoir, Oufkir described near starvation, beatings, and a suicide attempt. “We had no part in the coup, we were just kids,” she says. “The king was extremely vengeful.”

He was also extremely controlling. Hassan handpicked Mohammed’s classmates, choosing the smartest and most well connected in the country, plucking them from their families to live in the palace. The separation, Amar told me, helped create a lifelong fealty to the future king. It was also a way of consolidating the crown’s alliances with disparate clans and regions.

For the prince, by now rebellious against his father and increasingly spiteful, this band of orphans became his crew. Some of them followed him to France where, in his 20s, Mohammed was a regular at the nightclubs. “He was quiet, but he could [also] be very witty, very engaging,” one friend who regularly attended parties with the prince told me on condition of anonymity. “He would tell these interesting stories about his life as a child, about meeting the Kennedys and attending de Gaulle’s funeral.” When Mohammed VI ascended to the throne in 1999, the friends came along.

The succession raised expectations. As king, Mohammed seemed to distance himself from his father’s policies. He talked about promoting democracy and made some changes, including an unprecedented expansion of women’s rights. But the new spirit was quickly eclipsed by an old institution. “At some point, the king just shrank back into the makhzen system,” says Tazi, the businessman, who likens the layers of advisers, friends, and assorted opportunists around the king to a large octopus with enough tentacles to reach into the pockets of all Moroccans. “When King Hassan died, the octopus lost its head, because the new king refused to join the body. The system was dying,” he says. “And then setbacks happened and the body took back its head and the two merged very harmoniously.”

Mohammed is neither a gifted orator nor a political strategist, two areas in which his father excelled. Instead, he’s focused on expanding the crown’s investments and his own personal wealth. Though precise figures are hard to come by, his holding companies are known to have large stakes in nearly every sector of the Moroccan economy from the food and banking industries to real estate, mining, and manufacturing, according to analysts who study Morocco’s financial structures. As the portfolios have expanded, so have the allegations of corruption.

An American diplomat in Casablanca wrote in a cable to the State Department in 2009 about the “appalling greed” of those close to Mohammed. Made public by WikiLeaks last year, the cable said the royal family used state institutions to “coerce and solicit” bribes. When I visited Tazi at the office of his mattress company in Casablanca, he told me he regularly pays bribes just to get his merchandise delivered to customers around the county. “It’s a multimillion-dollar business taking place every day, and the profits trickle up to the top of the ladder.”

People close to the king say his investments help the country by conveying confidence in the Moroccan economy. That may well be true. Foreign investment is up in Morocco, and the country’s GDP growth has averaged 5 percent since Mohammed was enthroned, according to Communications Minister Khalid Naciri, who acts as the Moroccan government’s spokesman. “Morocco remains a country of great political and economic openness,” he wrote me in an email.

But economic growth can sometimes hide the real story. In a report issued this year, Transparency International ranked Morocco 85 on its corruption scale, with higher numbers indicating greater corruption. By comparison, it listed Tunisia at 59. While some Moroccans have certainly benefited from the growth spurts, the rising disparity between rich and poor has left many more people frustrated. “If only a few people are better off as a result of economic growth, then strong GDP figures don’t make a country stable,” says Shadi Hamid, a Mideast expert with the Brookings Institution. “On the contrary, they can actually contribute to a revolutionary situation.”

Among Moroccan businessmen, the king’s direct involvement in the economy is no secret. (One of his holding companies is called Siger—an inversion of the Latin word regis, meaning “of the king.”) Many prefer to avoid investing in areas where the royal palace already has holdings, fearing the king’s power and influence would put them at a disadvantage. As a result, companies owned by the crown are often monopolies or near monopolies, says Aboubakr Jamai, who published the weekly Le Journal Hebdomadaire until it folded last year. “So even if you set aside the political aspect, the moral aspect, the ethical aspect, it’s not optimal economically,” he says. (Naciri responded that “the new constitution has also provided serious mechanisms to protect free competition and private initiatives.”)

The first big demonstrations in Morocco occurred on Feb. 20, five weeks after Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia and just nine days after Egyptians ousted Hosni Mubarak—a particularly euphoric moment that preceded fighting in Syria and Libya. Several Moroccan protesters told me they felt a little embarrassed about coming late to the party. Though firmly rooted in the Arab world, many Moroccans pride themselves on the fact that their country is more open and liberal than most others in the region. On more than one occasion while there, I heard people describe the Straits of Gibraltar, which separate Morocco from Spain, as a geographical accident. That other Arab countries might embrace a European-style democracy before Morocco seemed like an affront to many protesters.

In his speech just two and a half weeks after that first protest, Mohammed promised a new constitution that would guarantee “good governance, human rights, and the protection of liberties.” Members of the drafting committee he appointed took a full three months to formulate the document. By the time it was ready, Moroccans could see the results of other protests in the region: stalled revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and bloody wars of attrition elsewhere. On July 1, Mohammed’s revised constitution sailed through a referendum vote. In an email, Naciri described the reallocation of powers in the constitution as “very deep and serious.” But an issue of the privately owned magazine TelQuel summed it up with this cover line: “New constitution—more king than ever.”

Whether the vote marks the end of the revolutionary spasm in Morocco is now hotly debated. Tahar Ben Jelloun, the country’s most celebrated poet and writer, believes the protests have left an indelible mark on Morocco. He also thinks the king is committed to changing the system. “People are impatient. It’s normal they would want the kind of reforms that will rapidly change their lives. But democracy is a culture that needs time and education.” But Hamid, the Brookings analyst, disagrees. “I’m not going to deny there are reforms, but that’s the strategy these regimes use,” he told me. “They never end up redistributing power away from the king.”

On one of my last days in Morocco, Amar drove me to a parking lot in downtown Rabat to see Mohammed’s car collection. Behind the eucalyptus trees, I glimpsed a three-story building of marble and glass where hundreds of cars were kept, including Mohammed’s favored Ferrari and Aston Martin. When the Aston Martin needed servicing two years ago, Amar told me, Mohammed ordered the air force to fly it to London in a cargo plane, though there are plenty of able mechanics in his own country. We lingered for a few moments until a policeman emerged from a guard booth and motioned for us to leave. The details of Mohammed’s wealth are well covered in Amar’s book, a fact that led the regime to ban it. Yet incredibly, it has sold 30,000 copies in France, which has a large Moroccan population. Whenever Amar’s abroad, he lines his suitcase with copies and brings them back to Morocco, in a private battle against the government censor. A few months ago, a customs agent caught sight of the books in a scanner. But the punishment he imposed was reasonable—and perhaps telling: all he asked for was a copy of the book.

(www.thedailybeast.com / 30.08.2011)

Jewish settlers attack Qasra village and damage hundreds of olive trees

NABLUS, (PIC)– Jewish settlers attacked on Monday evening the village of Qasra to the south east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus and inflicted damage  on a number of fields planted with olive trees.

Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of settlements file in the northern West Bank, said in a press statement that settlers from the Aish Kodesh settlement outpost attacked the village and started inflicting damage to fields planted with olive trees.

He pointed out that this was the second attack by the settlers on the village in 48 hours, as the settlers attacked the village two days earlier and damaged dozens of olive trees before the villages confronted them and chased them away.

Local sources also said that settlers Monday night uprooted 270 olive saplings from villagers fields at the edge of the village and that the settlers’ attacks increased since evening hours.

The sources also said that settlers were throwing stones at Palestinian cars on the road between Nablus and Ramallah and managed to break some car windows.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 30.08.2011)