Activists: Ramadan brings no respite to Syria’s Homs

Image released by the Shaam News Network on July 9, 2013 claims to shows smoke rising from buildings in Syria’s Homs

BEIRUT (AFP) — An army assault on Homs in central Syria entered its 13th day Thursday, as the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan brought no relief to people in rebel areas, activists said.

“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we do not hear the sound of a rocket or a shell hit the besieged (rebel-held) neighborhoods, especially Khaldiyeh and Bab Hud,” said Homs-based activist Yazan.

Districts in central Homs, dubbed “the capital of the revolution” by activists, have been under army siege for more than a year.

Speaking to AFP via the Internet on the second day of fasting, Yazan said that “even before Ramadan, we were down to one meal a day”.

Throughout the blockade, rights groups have warned of critical humanitarian conditions in rebel areas of the city, which come under daily shelling and frequent aerial bombardment.

The United Nations has said that some 2,500 civilians are trapped in the besieged neighborhoods, and activists say there is no way out.

“The situation now is especially difficult for families who were forced to flee their homes because of the intense shelling” that accompanied the latest assault, said Yazan.

For about six months, people living in the besieged neighborhoods of Syria’s third city have relied on firewood or diesel fuel for cooking.

“We eat rice and bulgur to break our fast in the evening, and thyme and olives before daybreak,” said Yazan.

“This is our second Ramadan under siege.”

During Ramadan, Muslims the world over gather with family over festive meals after sunset when they can break the dawn to dusk fast.

In besieged Homs, however, “there is no electricity, no generators and no water wells” any more, said Yazan.

Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement is taking part in the regime’s military assault on Homs, says the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Despite the difficulties and “the military imbalance, we plan on resisting here”, said Yazan.

The army meanwhile renewed its bid to storm the rebel areas from an entrance point near the 11th century Khaled Bin Walid mosque, which has itself been hit by shells, said the Syrian Revolution General Commission.

“Very fierce battles also raged on all the fronts,” said the SRGC, a grassroots network of activists.

Despite earlier calls by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Syrian opposition for a Ramadan ceasefire, the conflict only looked set for further escalation.

The rebel Free Syrian Army, meanwhile, said it had received a shipment of weapons and ammunition but did not reveal where they came from or where they were deployed.

We have “finally received shipments of ammunition, Kalashnikov machineguns and anti-tank missiles”, FSA political and media coordinator Louay Muqdad told AFP by phone.

The weapons “were not sent by the European Union or the United States”, he said, in reference to Western promises to back the rebels.

Muqdad said although the weapons were used to “destroy more than 90 regime tanks and a massive amount of checkpoints throughout Syrian territory”.

But he said that “these arms are insufficient for all our battles”.

He also described the siege imposed on rebel areas of Homs as “suffocating” and said the FSA is trying to move in ammunition, humanitarian aid and food.

“We are suffering from shortages,” he said.

The Observatory estimates that more than 100,000 people have been killed in Syria’s raging war.

On Wednesday alone, at least 102 people were killed in violence across the country, the group said.

Syria’s war began with peaceful demonstrations calling for regime change but morphed into an insurgency after the regime unleashed a crackdown on dissent.

(Source / 11.07.2013)

Settlers Cut 1150 Olive Trees Near Nablus

Ghassan Daghlas, in charge of Israeli Settlements File at the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, has reported that a number of extremist Israeli settlers cut on Thursday [July 10 2013] 1150 Palestinian Olive trees east of the Nablus District.

File -
Daghlas told the Radio Bethlehem 2000 that the settlers attacked Palestinian orchards that belong to villagers of Awarta, and used chainsaws to cut approximately 1150 trees.
Daghlas added that the villagers found their trees cut after the army allowed them to enter their lands isolated behind the Annexation Wall. The orchards are close to the Itamar illegal Israeli settlement.

He said that the residents heard sounds of chainsaws, over the last several days, but did not know what was happening, especially since they have no access to their lands without a permit from the Israeli military.

The attacked orchards belong to 25 families in the town, and are their main sources of livelihood.

The recent attack is one of dozens of similar attacks against the residents and their orchards, as extremist settlers repeatedly cut and uprooted Palestinian orchards and lands, and repeatedly torched Palestinian crops and farmlands.

(Source / 11.07.2013)

Al Qaeda kills Free Syrian Army commander: FSA spokesman

Militants linked to al Qaeda in Syria killed a senior figure in the Western- and Arab-backed Free Syrian army on Thursday, an FSA source said, signaling a widening rift between Islamists and more moderate elements in the armed Syrian opposition.

Kamal Hamami, a member of the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, known by his nom de guerre Abu Bassel al-Ladkani, was meeting with members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the port city of Latakia when they killed him, Qassem Saadeddine, a Free Syrian Army spokesman, told Reuters.

“The Islamic State phoned me saying that they killed Abu Bassel and that they will kill all of the Supreme Military Council,” Saadeddine said fromSyria.

“He met them to discuss battle plans,” Saadeddine added.

The Free Syrian Army has been trying to build a network of logistics and reinforce its presence across Syria as the U.S. administration pledged to send weapons to the group after it concluded that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces had used chemical weapons against rebel fighters.

U.S. congressional committees are holding up the plan because of fears that such deliveries will not be decisive and the arms might end up in the hands of Islamist militants, security sources have said.

While Free Syrian Army units sometimes fight alongside Islamist militant groups such as the Islamist State, rivalries have increased and al Qaeda-linked groups have been blamed for several assassinations of commanders of moderate rebel units.

(Source / 11.07.2013)

Nachtelijke rust!

Eén van de sterk aanbevolen daden in deze gezegende maand, is het verrichten van de Taraweeh (het nachtgebed). Gezamenlijk in de moskee.

De profeet -salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem- zegt:

“Wie het nachtgebed in ramadan verricht met geloof en hoop op de beloning, van hem worden zijn voorgaande zonden vergeven.” [al-Boecharie]

Ook is het aanbevolen om het gebed volledig te bidden, totdat de imam klaar is.

De profeet -salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem- zegt:

“Wie met de imam staat (in gebed) totdat hij klaar is, dan is het alsof ie de hele nacht heeft gebeden.” [Tirmidhi]

Ontneem jezelf deze grote beloning niet, door vroegtijdig de moskee te verlaten. Kijk niet naar de mensen die vroegtijdig weggaan, maar naar die blijven. Dat is het juiste wedijveren.

Gedenk dat onze nobele profeet -salallaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem- stond in het nachtgebed totdat zijn voeten opzwollen! Aicha -radiya allaho ‘anhaa-, vrouw van de profeet, verbaasde zich hierover en zei: Allah heeft jouw voorgaande en komende zonden vergeven, waarom doe jij dit? Hij antwoordde: “Mag ik geen dankbare dienaar zijn?!”

Het luisteren naar de recitatie van het Boek van Allah, gezamenlijk in de moskee met jouw medemoslims, is hét genot van dit wereldse leven. Het is voeding voor de ziel en rust voor het hart. Nergens anders vind je dat.

Één van onze vrome voorgangers, toen ie op zijn sterfbed lag, moest ie huilen. Toen zeiden de mensen om hem heen; wat doet jou huilen? Hij antwoordde: “Ik huil niet uit angst voor de dood en ook niet omdat ik in deze wereld wil blijven. Maar ik huil omdat ik de dorst van de hete dagen(tijdens het vasten) en het nachtgebed zal missen.”

Zo beste broeder of zuster, houden de vrome mensen van het aanbidden van Allah. Zij ervaren het niet als een last, maar als verlichting.

Beste broeders en zusters, wellicht dat we overdag druk zijn met allerlei aangelegenheden, zoals het voorzien in ons levensonderhoud. Daar is niks mis mee; Allah zegt:

“En wij hebben de dag gemaakt om levensonderhoud te zoeken.” [78:11]

Maar wat voor excuus hebben wij dan om de nachten van deze gezegende maand niet goed te benutten met o.a. het reciteren van de Qoraan en het bijwonen van het Taraweeh gebed?

Allah zegt:

“Wanneer jij dan klaar bent (met jouw wereldse zaken), streef dan (met de zaken van het Hiernamaals)” [94:7]

Tot slot een vraagstuk ontleend aan de site van de grootgeleerde bin Baaz – moge Allah hem genadig zijn en met het beste belonen – :

Wat is het oordeel betreffende de vrouw die de Taraweeh in de moskee wil verrichten?

De shaych antwoordde:

Het uitgangspunt betreft het gebed van de vrouw is dat het thuis beter is, zoals dat in de hadieth van de profeet salla allaaho ‘alaihi wa sellam staat. Maar als zij reden ziet tot het bijwonen van het gebed in de moskee omdat het motiverend is en vanwege het profijt dat ze opdoet met lezingen – en gepast gekleed is – dan is daar niks mis mee. Het is goed vanwege het grote profijt en de stimulans tot het verrichten van goede daden.
Abulfadl, student aan de Universiteit van Medina. Saudi Arabië.

2 Ramadan

Israeli army says weapons seized in Nablus

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces seized ammunition in a raid on Nablus early Thursday, the army said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an that soldiers found a rifle and two pipe-bombs in the northern West Bank city.

Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces accompanied by police dogs raided university dorms in the al-Juneid area of Nablus and inspected students’ rooms.

Witnesses said the soldiers brought 20-year-old Mahmoud Abdul-Halim Talahmah to the raid and took him back with them. He was arrested a day earlier in a raid on the same dorms.

Talahmah, from Bethlehem, is a student at the An-Najah National University in Nablus.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said no arrests were made in Nablus on Thursday.

Two Palestinians were detained near Ramallah early Thursday, she added.

(Source / 11.07.2013)

The current conflict is between democracy, governance, and the military coup; not the Brotherhood and the opposition

Tarek Al Bishry is an Egyptian thinker and Judge, considered one of Egypt’s top legal minds. He was born in Cairo on November 1, 1933. His grandfather, Salim Al Bishry, was shaykh of Al Azhar from 1900–1904 and 1909-1916. His father, ‘Abd al-Fattah Al Bishry, was president of the Egyptian Court of Appeal until his death in 1951.

On February 15, 2011 Al Bishry was appointed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to head the committee set up to propose constitutional changes in the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

Al Bishry was a secular leftist but became a prominent “moderate Islamic” political thinker, which gained him respect as a bridge between the movements.


Tariq Al-Bishri‘The 2012 constitution, which was disabled by the July 3 2013 coup, gives the ministry supported by the parliament almost full authority in policy-making and the management of the country’s affairs, far more than the president’s powers’

The matter at hand during this difficult time, which began with the events on June 30 2013 and culminated in a military coup on July 3 2013, is not the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and whether or not they will remain in power. It is in fact a matter of the democratic constitutional system which was a result of the January 25 revolution, and whether Egypt will preserve this system or if it will nip it in the bud, replacing it with the military coup that put Egypt under a new dictatorship that will last for decades to come.

The observation of events since July 3 indicates that we are facing an action carried out by the Armed Forces leadership and announced by the Commander in Chief and the Minister of Defence after a political meeting with some religious and political figures they had chosen to support. They announced the disablement of the constitution agreed upon by the Egyptian people and received 63.6 per cent of votes in a free and fair polling. Moreover, an interim president of Egypt was appointed, while the constitutional president elected in the fair and free presidential elections carried out by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, is isolated. The coup leader gave the appointed interim president the authority to issue constitutional declarations, and this is in effect for an indefinite period of time by a ministry that has not yet been formed and has decided to arrest the president. We have become a country without a constitution or recognised ruling system.

The question at hand is; what was the military coup if it wasn’t actually a military coup?

It has been said that the matter was about overthrowing the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, but the parliamentary elections, in accordance with the new constitution, were on the verge of being held. They were scheduled to take place at the beginning of June if it weren’t for the opposition’s call to invalidate the decision for elections, which was accepted by the court on grounds of formalities. However, they seemed legal except for some details concerning the electoral law, and even these obstacles were on the verge of being resolved and becoming part of the law, and the elections were close to being held. Moreover, it cannot be said that the Brotherhood would’ve taken control of the state’s agencies and institutions to ensure the results of the elections would be in their favour, because the facts of the coup that recently occurred prove that the state’s administration and security devices were not under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood no matter how hard they tried.

The significance of a non-Brotherhood majority in the upcoming parliament, which is expected due to the decreased popularity of the Brotherhood after coming into office (at the height of their popularity in late 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood had less than 40 per cent of the parliamentary seats and the president, a Brotherhood candidate, received 25 per cent of the votes in the first round and only 51.7 per cent of the votes in the second round against him and Ahmed Shafik) is that their decreased popularity in the upcoming elections would mean that the ministry would be formed without them, or that they would not have the majority vote.

The 2012 constitution, which was disabled by the July 3 2013 coup, gives the ministry supported by the parliament almost full authority in policy-making and the management of the country’s affairs, far more than the president’s powers. Moreover, this constitution dictates that the ministry overrules the president regarding the issuance of resolutions.

It was all on the verge of being put into effect in accordance with the constitution and sound constitutional procedures, but it was not. Moreover, the leaders of the armed forces moved to declare the suspension of the constitution and the country is, once again, in a state of governance that is neither constitutional nor democratic.

It may be said that the action of the Armed Forces leadership was a result of the people’s movement that took place on June 30, and that the movement was similar to that of the January 25 2011 revolution. This comparison is corrupt and untrue because the movement of the people on January 25 was a unified political action agreed upon by the people with one demand; the removal of Hosni Mubarak and his supporters from government and the establishment of a democratic system, while restoring the people’s liberties. Hence, with this unified demand, the Armed Forces had the right to take action in response to the people’s undisputed consensus.

As for now, the movement on June 30 2013 was an action divided among the masses gathered in Tahrir Square who opposed the government of the elected president, and the masses gathered in Rabaa Adaweya Square who supported the current elected president and his ministry and demanded he remain in power. This divided action between two different groups with opposing goals and demands can only be resolved through elections in accordance with the constitution. There is no justification for the Armed Forces to intervene and resolve the issue in favour of one side or the other, as this would be considered a partisan act in which it would support one political party over the other, and the Armed Forces is prohibited from engaging in politics. Such action would be far from the people’s interests and the preservation of national security, rather being biased towards one party over another and towards internal policies over others, which is be considered a coup.

At the moment we are not facing a battle between the Muslim Brotherhood in power and their opponents, because this battle could have been resolved in accordance with the 2012 constitution through parliamentary elections and what it will result in, including a ministerial formation that reflects the people’s true support for each of the feuding groups.

We are, however, facing a battle concerning democracy and the constitution, which relapsed due to the coup carried out by the Armed Forces leadership. This leadership took advantage of the popular opposition against the Muslim Brotherhood, and drove them to support it in the battle of killing the spirit of the January 25 2011 revolution, along with constitutional democracy, and to take us back to the brutal totalitarian regime.

I believe that the armed forces themselves, its men and people, are innocent of this, because they took to the streets based on orders from their leaders and took control of the country’s facilities, not to carry out a military coup, but to secure the facilities and the group of Egyptians who were expected to take action on June 30 in order for them not to be infiltrated with vandals. However, their leader took advantage of this action and gave it other political implications related to demolishment of the constitutional democratic system the Egyptians built. However, the leaders of the coup did not realize that by disabling the constitution and dismissing the President they brought down the ministry, whose leader would possess the legitimate authority of making orders.

The people must realize that their present quest does not concern the restoration of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule, but the defence of the constitution and the democratic system. Moreover, they must make a political choice, not between supporting the Muslim Brotherhood or their opponents, but between defending democracy and supporting a dictatorship.

And to those who are now seeking to bridge the gap between the points of view, I have been asked by many to address this matter and contribute to it, and I say we are facing a dilemma, which is the fact that it is almost impossible for those who resort to a military coup to abandon it because their personal fate has become linked to the fate of the coup. Furthermore, to those who want to give up some constitutional democratic matter to avoid a physical coup, I say that this will create a dangerous constitutional precedent that will always threaten the democratic system, and creates the potential for forces to take action at any time to impose any of its demands in light of a political crisis, which was experienced by other countries, such as Turkey, Latin America, and Africa for decades.

May God save Egypt from this fate.

(Source / 11.07.2013)

Koran memoriseren: 10 tips voor bij het leren

By Marianna Laarif

“Degene die de Koran bestudeert en uit zijn hoofd leert en daarbij de geboden en verboden van Allah aanvaardt, zal door Allah worden toegelaten in het Paradijs. Hij zal hem ook voorspraak verlenen voor tien van zijn familieleden die bestemd zijn voor de hel.” 1 Wie wil deze beloning, die de Profeet (vrede en zegeningen zij met hem) aan ons bekend maakte, nou niet ontvangen? Hierbij een aantal tips voor Koran memoriseren.

Tips bij Koran memoriseren
Tip 1: Let op je intentie
Voor alle daden geldt: een juiste intentie. De Profeet (vrede en zegeningen zij met hem) heeft gezegd: “Handelingen worden alleen door hun intentie bepaald en ieder mens zal alleen dat krijgen wat met zijn intentie samenhangt.” 2 En dit geldt ook voor het leren en het reciteren van de Koran. Leer omwille van Allah en niet omwille van je omgeving of om mooi te kunnen reciteren. Neem regelmatig even de tijd om bij je intentie stil te staan en zuiver je intentie zonodig, zodat je het omwille van Allah blijft doen.
Tip 2: Zorg voor een goede nachtrust
Als je niet goed slaapt, voel je jezelf ook niet goed en dat werkt door bij het leren. Je zal verzen waarschijnlijk minder goed onthouden. Ga daarom op tijd naar bed en slaap niet te kort of te lang, want dat zal allemaal ten koste gaan van het leren van de Koran.
Tip 3: Leer niet te lang
De meeste mensen kunnen hun aandacht maar 45 minuten vasthouden, daarna verzwakt hun aandacht. Houd hier rekening mee bij het leren van de Koran. Leer bijvoorbeeld 45 minuten en neem daarna een kwartier pauze en leer daarna nog 45 minuten. Afhankelijk van de tijd die je hebt, kun je een tijdschema opstellen om de Koran te leren. Houd de tijd op die momenten desnoods bij met een timer.
Tip 4: Leer op vaste momenten
Zoals je afspraken met anderen vastlegt, kun je ook afspraken maken met de Koran. Stel vast op welke momenten je wilt leren en beschouw het echt als een afspraak, een hele belangrijke afspraak zelfs. Op deze manier heb je altijd tijd om te leren. Extra tip: de meeste mensen leren het beste in de ochtend…
Tip 5: Ga stoorzenders uit de weg
‘A’oedhoe bilahi mi…’ TRING TRING, concentratie weg. De telefoon, de televisie, de computer, allemaal zeer handig, maar ze kunnen ook vreselijk storend zijn. Ga daarom alle zaken die je kunnen storen bij het Koran memoriseren uit de weg, anders zal je steeds uit je concentratie gehaald worden en dan zal je vrij weinig leren.
Tip 6: Controleer wat je leert
Een fout die vaak gemaakt wordt, is dat mensen Koran memoriseren, maar zichzelf nooit (laten) controleren. Hierdoor worden er fouten gemaakt die grote gevolgen kunnen hebben. Ze spreken woorden verkeerd uit, waardoor verzen een hele andere en soms zelfs een verwerpelijke betekenis krijgen. Pas hier voor op en zoek een leraar die je recitatie kan controleren of beluister op zijn minst zelf recitaties van ervaren recitators. Beluister hun recitaties en beoordeel daarmee je eigen recitatie.
Ook zou je gebruik kunnen maken van speciale programma’s waarmee je de Koran goed kunt leren. Op de website kan een dergelijk programma gevonden worden.
Tip 7: Laat je niet misleiden door hoe lang je nog moet
Denk niet: ‘Wanneer ken ik de hele Koran nou eindelijk uit mijn hoofd?’ want dat zal je alleen maar demotiveren. Maak je doelen kleiner en haalbaarder. Denk in plaats daarvan: ‘Wanneer ken ik deze aya?’ of ‘Wanneer ken ik deze surah?’ Je zal deze doelen sneller bereiken, dan het memoriseren van de hele Koran, het werkt dus veel motiverender wanneer je steeds in staat bent om doelen te behalen.
Iets wat hierbij kan helpen is het maken van een schema met daarin de suwar die je wilt leren voorlopig. Vink iedere suwar af die je geleerd hebt en hou zo bij hoe ver je al bent.
Een andere tip hierbij is om te beginnen achteraan in de Koran. Achteraan in de Koran staan de kortste suwar en die zijn makkelijker te leren en je bereikt dan sneller doelen van het helemaal leren van suwar.
Tip 8: Maak een planning
Hoeveel aya of suwar wil je per dag of per week leren? Spreek het met jezelf af, want door een doel vast te stellen, zal je jezelf er beter aan vasthouden. Maar kijk wel uit dat je niet te veel van jezelf eist of te weinig. Het is belangrijk dat je pas verder gaat naar de volgende aya als je de vorige goed kent.
Houd bij de planning ook rekening met het herhalen en het controleren van het geleerde. Dat kost ook tijd en dat moet ook gedaan worden. Het beste is om daar één keer in de week of één keer in de maand (afhankelijk van hoeveel je leert), tijd voor in te plannen. Houd je die dag alleen maar bezig met het herhalen en plan ook een dag in voor het controleren.
Tip 9: Strategie bepalen
Behalve vaststellen hoeveel aya je gaat leren, is het ook belangrijk om een leerstrategie vast te stellen. Dit is voor iedereen anders, maar de meeste mensen leren het beste door de aya een aantal keer goed door te lezen en het daarna zelf te herhalen. Steeds wanneer je vastloopt, kijk je weer in de tekst. Daarbij kun je de aya steeds herhalen in een audiobestand. Wanneer de aya dan goed in je hoofd zit, ga je door naar de volgende. Gebruik jij een andere leermethode, deel het dan in de reacties.
Tip 10: Denk aan de beloning
Soms zal het memoriseren van de Koran gemakkelijk gaan, maar er zal ook een tijd komen waarin dit niet het geval is. Het leren zal soms niet lukken of misschien heb je zelfs een tijd geen zin meer om te leren. Echter is dit het moment waarin je standvastig moet blijven. Let er op dat je blijft vasthouden, hoe moeilijk het ook is. Denk op die momenten aan de beloning die je op een dag insha’Allah zal ontvangen, zoals deze beloning:
“Degene die de Koran reciteert en het uit zijn hoofd leert, zal met de nobele rechtschapen schrijvers (de engelen) zijn en degene die zichzelf inspant om de Koran uit zijn hoofd te leren en het met grote moeite reciteert, zal dubbel beloond worden.” 3
1: Overgeleverd door Tirmidhi
2: Overgeleverd door Bukharie & Muslim
3: Overgeleverd door Muslim

Khader Adnan expresses solidarity with 30,000 hunger strikers in California prisons

Approximately 30,000 persons inside more than twenty prisons in California are on their fourth day of a mass hunger strike today, demanding an end to long-term solitary confinement along with other abusive conditions and policies. And they say they won’t end their strike until state officials sign a legally-binding agreement to end the draconian practices.

As I wrote on Monday, Palestine activism groups are organizing in solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners in California. While Israel continues to arrest, detain, imprison and torture Palestinian men, women and children, many parallels are made between the systems of mass incarceration there and in the US. Samidoun, the Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, wrote in a solidarity statement with the California prisoner hunger strike:

Over 2 million people are imprisoned in the US and over 60 percent of those people are people of color, subject to a distinctly racialized system that routinely criminalizes youth of colour, in sharp contrast to the crime rate, which has fallen while imprisonment has risen. Mass incarceration is deeply racialized, as 1/3 of young Black men are in the criminal justice system. The US holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners with 5 percent of the world’s population, and prisoner resistance and political action has been sharply repressed.

… Solitary confinement is a mechanism of torture, from Palestine to Pelican Bay to Guantanamo, and we stand in solidarity with the courageous prisoners who challenge isolation and oppression.

Michelle Alexander, author of the important book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindnesswrote in The Nation in 2010: ”There are more African-Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.” Alexander adds that as the prison population rises — there are more than 2 million persons incarcerated across the US — nonviolent offenses “alone account for about two-thirds of the increase in the federal inmate population, and more than half of the increase in the state prison population … In some states, African Americans comprise 80 percent to 90 percent of all drug offenders sent to prison.”

The Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity website adds:

The California prison system currently holds over 10,000 prisoners in solitary confinement units, with dozens having spent more than 20 years each in isolation. Conditions in Pelican Bay State Prison’s [secure housing units (solitary confinement)] sparked massive waves of hunger strikes in 2011 that saw the participation of 12,000 prisoners in at least a third of California’s 33 prisons.

To read updates on the mass hunger strike, which was organized by persons inside thePelican Bay prison, visit the Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity website.

Khader Adnan’s statement

On Tuesday, Addameer, the Palestinian prisoners’ advocacy organization based in the occupied West Bank, published a statement of solidarity from Khader Adnan who famously went on a hunger strike in December 2011 for 66 days in protest of his administrative detention. Adnan’s hunger strike elicited global solidarity and actions worldwide. He was released back to his home in the West Bank in April 2012.

Adnan states:

I announce my full solidarity with my 30,000 oppressed brothers in the American prisons and I ask that the American people and the government end the policy of isolation of the detainees and the prisoners, and comply by human rights law that forbids continuous isolation because of its destructive effects on the mental and physical health of detainees.

Khader Adnan’s full statement is below:

Khader Adnan’s statement of solidarity with hunger striking prisoners in California.

Also on Tuesday, Addameer reported that 12 individuals are currently on hunger strikes in Israeli prisons, and the organization provides their names, the length of their hunger strikes so far, and details of their detentions.

Mahmoud Sarsak speaks in the UK

Meanwhile, Palestinian national football star and former hunger striker Mahmoud Sarsak— who was on a three-month hunger strike beginning in March 2012 protesting his administrative detention orders imposed by Israel in 2009 — recently spoke to an audience in the UK. He talks about being imprisoned, his hunger strike, international solidarity and the status of current prisoners in Israeli jails who remain on hunger strike. The video below was produced by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

(Source / 11.07.2013)

Pakistani Taliban bans men from wearing tights in Ramadan

Former deputy chief of the Pakistani Taliban Waliur Rehman holds his AK-47 assault rifle as he talks to local media representatives in Paikistan’s tribal belt of South Waziristan on May 16, 2011.

The Pakistani Taliban has banned men from wearing tight or see-through clothes during the holy month of Ramadan, the Saudi-based al-Riyadh newspaper reported on Thursday, quoting reports from South Waziristan.

The Taliban group also gave local shops written warnings of $500 fine if they are found selling thin clothes that do not “properly” cover the human body.

Tailors were also threatened with kidnapping and beating should they be caught making such “un-Islamic” clothing for men.

No warnings or threats were reportedly issued for women, because most of them wear the traditional full body cover known as the burqa.

Pakistani Taliban in the area bordering Afghanistan had previously mounted a crackdown on tight and thin men’s clothing.

In 2011, a group of Taliban raided shops in the town of Wana, confiscating clothes that they saw as too thin to make respectable clothing.

“They said it was un-Islamic to wear clothes that don’t properly cover the human body,”Shopkeeper Rahimullah Khan told AFP at the time.

A local official in Wana told AFP that thousands of meters of fabric was seized and burned.

“The men confiscated big bundles of raw cloth which they declared was too thin to wear from dozens of shopkeepers in the main bazaar and burnt them,” he told AFP.

“They had warned shopkeepers almost a week ago to stop selling un-Islamic cloth. Today, the militants stormed the shops and confiscated the rolls.”

(Source / 11.07.2013)

El-Baradei “a close friend of Israeli war criminal Sharon”


Mohammed ElbaradeiMohammed ElBaradei meeting with Ariel Sharon

An Arabic website has revealed details of the links between the man nominated to be the Deputy Interim President of Egypt and an Israeli leader alleged to be a war criminal. Mohamed ElBaradei not only supported disgraced Hosni Mubarak but was also close to ex-Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.According to the Arabic Secrets site, ElBaradei was close enough to Sharon to have dinner at his home while visiting Israel. Sharon was responsible for a number of massacres of Palestinian civilians, most notoriously the Sabra and Shatila massacres of 1982, as well as the killing of Egyptian school children targeted by Israeli airstrikes.

There are concerns that the ex-head of the International Atomic Energy Agency may use his connections to Mubarak to ensure that the latter is released from prison.

ElBaradei’s new position comes at the expense of the democratic choice of the Egyptian people following President Morsi’s ousting last week by a military coup.

Meeting with Israeli military commanders

A friend of the deposed President Mubarak…

…who enjoyed lengthy meetings with him

(Source / 11.07.2013)