Unite Muslims Homepage

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Waking UP Unite Muslims After 40 Months!

Assalamu Alaikum,
The last time posted in this blog was in 2007. Wow, that's almost 3 and a half years! I shut down Unite Muslims blog then because I started a new blog called 1 Muslim Nation on the better blogging software platform called wordpress.com. Since then I've continued to blog at 1 Muslim Nation and let this blog neglect. I think I've come here not more than a dozen times in the last four years since my last post here. Yet this blog has continued to attract visitors. The clustor maps statistic gadget in the side bar tells me Unite Muslims blog has about 10 to 20 visitors each day. That's not much compared to what I get for my 1muslimnation.wordpress.com Islam blog yet, 10 visitors a day is more than I think the majority of the millions of blogs on the Internet get.  Every little helps for dawah and islaah. Allah reward for the intention rather than the reach or size of our deeds.

Also this blog still gets comments once in a way. I'm sorry but I couldn't track them and read them or respond to them. And further more this blog seems to have got many dozens of spam comments. I couldn't moderate them even.

Anyway I hope to revive this blog to or atleast post excerpts of my articles from my 1 Muslim Nation blog. Also even the wordpress 1 Musliim Nation blog will soon be migrating to it's own domain name. I've bought www.1muslimnation.com domain name and I'am in the process of setting up the new brand new website. Many people have encourage me about 1 Muslim Nation blog and commended it. The name has a huge potential unlike the Unite Muslims term which has a negative connotation. It would have been better if I had chosen Muslims Unite or something. but then I wouldn't have come up with the inspiring 1 Muslim Nation term. Maybe that's why if you say Alhamdullialah everything that happens maybe even bad things Allah will make it something good come from it.

When I migrated from this blog to 1 Muslim Nation at wordpress I also transfered many of the posts you find here to that blog. But I'm not sure I want to do that one with 1muslimnation.com. I'm undecided whether to transfer all the article there or start that blog from scratch. I transfered the article about Ataturk and Islam from this blog to 1MN and it's has been a huge success. Much more people have read it than they would have read it if I had kept it here. So there is good reason to take the posts in the wordpress blog to my new domain hosted blog website.

That's all for now forks. Jazakallah if you read so far in this post. I don't know how eloquant I sounded in the post. I'll improve inshallah in my future posts. take care.

Unite Muslims brother AKA NOW 1 Muslim Nation DOT com

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Unite Muslims has Moved to a New Blog

Thanks to everyone who has read this blog. After 7 months of blogging here I've moved on to WordPress. Insha'Allah from today onward you can find me at: http://1muslimnation.wordpress.com. Inshallah I hope to post more on Islam, politics, Muslims, news etc. in it. Hope to see you their.


I've also transfered all my old posts to it. But unfortunately I had to leave behind the comments because currently there is no clearcut automated way to transfer anything between the New Blogger version and Wordpress blogs (...how I regret having upgraded to newblogger only a month ago, it would have being so easy to transfer everything if it wasn't for this)

Please, if I happen to appear on your blogroll, update your bookmarks and edit my link.

Also please keep 1MuslimNationBlog in your prayers and ask Dua from Allah to make it a means through which the message of Islam spreads and

Your brother in Islam

Monday, February 26, 2007

Inviting People to Islam: Dawah Tips and Articles

Muslim Converts doing DawahBismillah,
In the past two weeks I read the following four blog articles about Dawah (Inviting people to Islam).

  • Tips for Da’wah - a great article in point format containing more than 25 tips for Dawah
  • Sister Fatima Barkatulla says she received a phone call from a Yorkshire lady on the day when it was in the news that 13% of British Muslims apparently believe that the July 7th bombers were martyrs. Read what happened next in her blog post - A lady so close to Islam. And make Dua that may Allah guide her to Islam
  • In this 2 part series titled, "Current Affairs and Misconceptions," PART1 and Part 2, Fatima Barkatulla has analysed Muslims present situation in non-Muslim countries and how we can make a impact for the better or for the worst.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Israel Palestine Focus on Reads of the Week

This week I was very busy so couldn't do much reading. I hardly had time to go over even my blogroll. But here are 4 articles read in this week you might find interesting.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

2 Inspiring Poems About The Holy Qur'an

Bismillahi rahmani raheem,
The Holy Qur'an inspiring poemsI stumbled upon two inspiring poems about The Holy Qur'an (Koran) yesterday in this lovely website called, SparklyWater.com. They are not only beautiful but very evocative. So I thought I'll share them with you through my blog.

This first poem called, "The Miracle of the Qur'an," is almost like a poetically written introduction to The Holy Qur'an.

The Miracle of the Qur'an

Brothers and sisters, to increase your Iman
Read the Miracle - read the Qur'an
Recite it everyday and to recite it be proud
For the word 'Qur'an' means to recite aloud
And this is to know - for those who are keener:
Around 28 Surahs were revealed in Madinah
The Book from Allah - the Lord of the worlds
Over 6000 verses / 77,000 words
Read it with respect - notice the auras
Al-Fatiha to An-Nás - all 114 Surahs
In this Book, 25 Prophets are mentioned by name
Came at different times, but the message the same
The verses revealed over a 23 year span
Sent from Allah, through an angel to man
He gave us a message and this is Islam
So read the Miracle - read the Qur'an

This second poem called, "The Holy Qur'an," made me very sad. It's a reflection about the way we treat the world's greatest treasure...

The Holy Qur'an

I am a Book in elegant prints
To know my name, here are some hints:
Rich in cover and nicely bound
In hearts of Muslims I am rarely found
High on a shelf I am usually kept
Forgotten and neglected, I am left
With respect I do get lots of kiss
My main point is what they always miss
At times I am used for phoney swear
My true use though is very rare
A Miracle I am that can change the world
All one has to do is heed my word
I am your saviour, I am your guide
So come and take heed, come and abide
I have wisdom, I have treasure
So much so, there is no measure
Right from wrong is my fame
Holy Qur'an is my name

If you like these 2 poems you might also like reading the other poems, especially the poem called, "Qur'an and the TV Guide." Also check out the great Islamic pictures in the 'Picture Section'. They are AWESOME...

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Reads of the Week - 1 February 2007

Every week while browsing the Internet I read many interesting articles. I would like to share the most interesting, instructive, informative or inspiring articles with my blog readers. So inshallah, from this week onwards I am going to post a weekly blog post like this with links to the most interesting web articles I read in that week.
  • Amad relates two very distressing stories involving two Muslim sisters in his post- The Prostitute and the Atheist: Lessons in our Grief. I found it very painful because both involved practicing sisters, who by all accounts  seem to have been "good" Muslims.

  • Umar Lee writes about a ongoing Western propaganda promoting a superficial form of Islam which will be in harmony with Western interests and pacify the current Muslim resistance. This is a very serious matter. If Only a “Wahabi” Believes This, Then What Does a Muslim Believe?” An essential read for all concerned Muslims.

  • Among the plethora of misconceptions and petty accusations against Islam, you would occasionally find a serious charge. One of them is that the noble Quran (Koran) contains "hate" against Jews and Christians. Svend White's debunks it in his article,Some observations on charges of "hate" in the Quran

  • Parenting is no easy task and so is growing up as a God fearing student and going through school and university. Growing up as a practicing Muslim I got through my fair share of difficulties at school but still continue to struggle against Shaytan's (Satan's) temptations while I now study for my degree. A Bristish Muslim activist and young mother, Fatima Barkatulla who blogs at Muslim Motherhood writes,  My visit to a prep school. (And my memories of sex-education) May Allah protect all of us from sin and hellfire. Amen.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Time Passes Quickly As We Near The World's End

Bismillahi rahmani raheem,
Clock depicting time passing quickly worlds end nearI have not posted in my poor blog for sometime now. I posted once in this blog last week and Salim was concerned about its validity so to be on the safe side I deleted that post. So it has been more than 3 weeks since I posted that post about Israel propaganda but I feel it was like a few days ago.

Anyway, have you thought about how soon time seems to fly and days become weeks and months and before you know it's a new year? It reminds me of a Hadeeth (saying) of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) about time passing quickly when the end of the world nears. If I recall that Hadeeth correctly prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had said something to the effect that, when the end of the world nears time will pass so fast, that a year will be like a month and a month will be like a week and a week will be like a day and a day will be like a hour and a hour will be like a minute and a minute will be like the time taken for a leaf to burn. How true is prophet Muhammad’s prophecy. Indeed I am always shocked how soon time seems to pass. I hardly could keep track with hours let alone minutes when I am doing something interesting. The most striking example of how fast time passes is every Friday when I'm getting ready for Jummah prayers. Then sometimes I wonder, “Why, it was like yesterday I got ready for Jummah last week!” and then remember the Hadeeth I just mentioned.

Anyway, what with my studies and all the other things in a youths life and my limited and very slow access to the Internet I am very sad I have not been able to post here as regularly as I hoped. I remember when I started this blog about 6 months ago, I had more spare time and I hoped to post every fourth or fifth day but that turned out to be only a hope. I am now lucky if I get time to go see what’s happening in my favourite news websites and forums.

But I didn't entirely stop blogging these few weeks. I posted some posts in the Muslim Unity blog. You might find them interesting. Here are the links to them:

1) A Christian Internet Monk's Opinion About the Blogosphere

2) Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah "Marrying" Israel to fight Shia Muslims

3) Who will be the Caliph of the Caliphate?

4) A Prayer that'll help you in your quest for Knowledge

Friday, January 12, 2007

Spellbinders: The Art of Israel and American Propaganda

Bismillahi rahmani raheem,
Internet website Zionist Israel Propaganda AdvertisementI got this image from a Israeli propaganda advertisement in a popular Western website. Notice the cunning way they have used the words "The Israel Project" to cast Israel as something good whereas in reality it is a cruel Zionist, Western imperialist project. See the way they've used "fight terrorist propaganda". Little will the target internet viewers, the average Western visitor to that website ignorant of the truth and history of Israel-Palestine conflict guess this advertisement itself is a terrorist propaganda!

The average Western citizen knows a lot about sports, video games, girls, alcohol, drugs, cars, music, and his/her job, but knows and cares little about the way the world works and are easily led to believe Israeli American propaganda.

I came across the following article about the principles that underline Israel and American propaganda  in the Muslim Public Affairs Committee of UK website (www.mpacuk.org)

Spellbinders: The Art of Zionist & US Propaganda

Paul J. Balles considers the three main strengths of Zionist and American propaganda: simplicity, repetitiveness and the ignorance of its target audience.
I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all. - Joni Mitchell
Hypnotists, magicians, politicians, sloganeers and propagandists succeed or fail depending on how well they enchant people with illusions.

"The Israelis made their desert bloom." - Zionist illusions

"There is no need to argue with the masses, slogans are much more effective. Slogans are like strong drinks to people. - Joseph Goebbels

"The Israelis built the only industrialized economy in the entire Middle East." - Israeli slogan

"Propaganda must limit itself to a few themes and repeat them incessantly." - Adolph Hitler

"The Israelis built the only liberal democracy in the Middle East." - Illusionist chant

"Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state." - Noam Chomsky

"The Middle East conflict is not about Israel's occupation of the territories; it is about the refusal of the Arabs to make peace with Israel, which is an inevitable by-product of their desire to destroy it." ­ Zionist propaganda

"... Effective propaganda must limit its points to a few and these points must be repeated until even the last member of the audience understands what is meant by them." - Adolph Hitler

"The Israelis treated the Arabs who remained in Israel well. To this day the very large Arab minority, which lives inside the state of Israel, has more rights and privileges than any other Arab population in the entire Middle East." - Disinformation magic by David Horowitz

"... the rank and file are usually much more primitive than we imagine. Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious." - Joseph Goebbels

Consider the next two quotations, with a shift in venue from Israel to America, together:

"The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly... it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over." - Joseph Goebbels

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." - George W. Bush

Here's why hype has worked for the Zionists, for Carl Rove, for the neo-conservatives and, until his lies started to catch up with him, for George W. Bush:

"The essence of propaganda consists in winning people over to an idea so sincerely, so vitally, that in the end they succumb to it utterly and can never escape from it." - Joseph Goebbels

The scientist Carl Sagan referred to essentially the same effect on the public:

"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: if we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back." - Carl Sagan

Finally, a word from the master craftsman's first protégé:

"Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way round, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise." - Adolf Hitler

Who are the later protégés? Consider the observation of a master visionary:

"Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!" - Leonardo da Vinci

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Burj Dubai Tower and World's Tallest Building Competition

Bismillahi rahmani raheem,
Image of Burj Dubai Tower world's tallest building and structureThe Burj Dubai (Tower of Dubai) now under construction in UAE is going to be the tallest building in the world upon completion in 2008. It is estimated to cost about 900 million US dollars and will probably be over twice the size of the famous Empire State Building. But the Tower is designed to be the centre of a large-scale, mixed-use development with another 19 residential towers among other constructions. The complete development will cost more than US$ 8 billion. The official height of the building or the number of stories cannot be confirmed because the final height is officially being kept a secret due to competition purposes!

Wikipedia reports, "Though unconfirmed, Burj Dubai has been through several height increases since its inception. Originally proposed as virtually a clone of the 560 m Grollo Tower proposal from Australia, the tower was soon redesigned to an original Skidmore Owings and Merrill design seen above and discussed below. This design stood approximately 705 metres tall. Contradictory information abounds regarding the official final height of the building, which is to be expected considering the building seeks to acquire the designation as the world's tallest structure upon completion in 2008. The website Burjdubaiskyscraper.com mentions a rumoured final height of 916 metres as of a posting on September 28, 2006, but this is contradicted by a September 20 posting of a GoWealthy.com article listing a height over 940 metres or 3084 feet." But whatever the final height will be it is going to handsomely beat the current world’s tallest building, Taipei 101 in Taiwan and even the tallest freestanding structure (on land) Toronto's CN Tower.

List of tallest buildings and structures in the worldNo doubt Burj Dubai Tower will be a very beautiful and amazing engineering feat. It will be an architectural marvel. It will be a symbol of Dubai's achievements and a national pride for the people of Dubai and UAE and possibly even to all Muslims. But the question remains, is it absolutely necessary to build such a tall building? Why waste money unnecessarily when there are so many critical and noble things to do? What is the use or who cares for such world records?

The average man on the streets doesn't give two hoots for any world record. A Dane told me that before the Danish cartoon controversy many Americans thought Denmark was the capital of Sweden! There you have it. We live in a world where the average citizen don't know nor care whether Denmark is a country or city! What fat chance is there for Dubai Tower making a world impression? It is nothing but an extravagant Arab monument of oil wealth, conceit, ego and a white elephant. Anyone with a commonsense will see this building for what it is - 'another imprudent petrodollar extravaganza'.

Dubai skyline Burj Dubai Tower Worlds Tallest BuildingIn recent years UAE has become an ultra modern state thanks to visionary leaders and oil money. Today, together with Singapore and Hong Kong, Dubai is one of the commercial hubs of Asia. The country has a highly advance infrastructure and all the luxuries 21st century can provide. But the UAE is yet to develop in industrial production, scientific and technological fields. Why not invest this money in science and technological research? This way the country will benefit for many generations and also UAE will quickly become an industrial developed nation. Why not stop spending on extravagant buildings and hotels but invest this money in these fields and make Dubai the Asian technological hub? Or what about making UAE an international educational centre by building state-of-the-art universities and research institutes like in Australia or Canada? Billions of dollars spent on extravagant monuments if invested wisely is sufficient to make UAE both a technological and educational hub. That will bring Dubai more world attention and accolade than 20 such Towers of Dubai ever will.

UAE already has made enough world records and super structures by building the most cost hotels, buildings and huge artificial islands. Dubai is spending 900 million dollars on Burj Dubai Tower alone. Yet the Muslims are starving to death all over the world. Imagine what 900 million dollars would do for the Tsunami devastated Indonesian Muslims. Just imagine if the Dubai invested the billions it spends on vain constructions in constructing factories, schools, roads in neighbouring poor Arab nation of Yemen? Within a decade or two Yemen will become a very stable and industrially developed country which will benefit its 20 million people who are now having a very hard time.

Before I wrap up, let me remind you of Prophet Muhammad’s warning regarding tall Buildings. Prophet Muhammad (sal) said one of the signs of the day of judgement is competition to build tall buildings. This doesn't mean it's not good to build tall buildings and there are occasions when we need high rise buildings like in congested areas. But it's very sad to see our Muslims wasting money to build tall and extravagant buildings for competition purposes. Muslims are playing with billions when millions of Muslims starve. Allah almighty has warned us we will be held accountable for every cent that passed through our hands in this life. What will Muslims fate be on the day of judgement?

Sunday, December 31, 2006

5000 Years History of Religions in 90 Seconds

Assalamu Alaikum
Here's a great animation from www.mapsofwar.com about the spread of religions over the last 5000 years. To start this short 90 second animation move your mouse-pointer over to the winking button "Play" and click.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Return to Blogging but Deflecting from Custom

Bismillahir rahmanir raheem,
The Beautiful Struggle of Blogging and CustomI couldn't update the blog for sometime now because I was sick and didn't feel like blogging. I was thinking of abandoning the blog but seeing the encouragement I've received for my previous posts and the continuing visits to the blog, I think I'll continue blogging. It will at least, inshallah improve my writing skills and help me become more articulate to spread prophets message to all mankind.

However due to sustainability in the long run there's going to be a big different in Unite Muslims blog. Inshallah in future I am going to make it a bit of a personnel blog as well deflecting from the strictly religio-political atmosphere it used to have. So don't be surprised if you come across occasional rants or even completely demented blog posts.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A blog addressing Indian Muslims concerns

Assalamu Alaikum,
The Indian flagAs you might already know India has a very large Muslim population which according to some sources might be only second to Indonesia. Roughly estimated to be around 140 million, Indian Muslims form a significant portion of the Muslim Ummah. Intellectuals like Dr. Zakir Naik and Dr. Rashid Shaz are two shining examples of this communities contribution to todays Islamic world.

However in modern India, living as a Muslim has become very tough in a Hindu majority society (81% of India's population is Hindu) due to reasons like the partition of Pakistan, communal riots, the Kashmir dispute and terrorist attacks. Coupled to this has been the economic and educational backwardness of Indian Muslims and inaccurate reports coming out of India about them. In this atmosphere it's very important for outsiders to have a local Muslim source to get first hand opinions and information from Indian Muslims.

preview of Indian Muslims blog Fulfilling this need is the Indian Muslim community blog - indianmuslims.in It has a growing contributor base from across the country and publishes well written posts about issues concerning Indian Muslims. The blog is a must visit for everyone interested in India, Muslims and Indian issues.

A recent post I like to draw your attention is the post titled - And this is why we need this blog! Its about the gloomy side of the worlds largest minority Muslim community.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Women Praying in Mosques

Assalamu Alaikum,
Muslim Women prayed in Prophets mosqueSometime back we had a discussion about sisters in the mosque at ummah.com forum. It was an interesting discussion with brothers and sisters from different areas expressing their views. This blog post is a result of that discussion plus some information from a little research.

Strange as it may seem to many, women praying in Mosques is nothing new to Islam. In the early days of Islam mosques were just as open to women as it was for men because the mosque is for Muslims, men and women, to worship our Creator. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Do not stop the maid servants of Allah from going to the mosques of Allah." (Muwatta of Imam Malik) and, “When the wife of one of you asks about going to the mosque, do not stop her." (Bukhari). So it’s perfectly okay for women to attend prayers in the mosque if they wish to.

Today, owing to various reasons in many Muslim communities it has become the custom for only men go to the Mosque and women to pray at home, (except on special occasions such as Ramadan ‘Tarawee’ prayers and Eid festival prayers) This may have being fine until recently. But inline with Prophet’s Sunnah, due to many reasons we need to make our mosques accessible to women. The most important reason is for the convenience of women who are traveling, working and away from home and unable to get back home on time for prayers. It’s also important to make our mosques women friendly because it’s vital for dawah activities and helps new convert sisters to learn to pray and practice Islam not to mention it benefits them and new families to the area to get to know the local Muslim community. When a mosque accommodates women it also helps change negative stereotypes non-Muslims have about Islam. In addition this allows other beneficial activities like Islamic classes, tajweed classes etc. to be setup for women. The modern world is so tantalizing it’s very easy to forget the hereafter and get engrossed in this temporary worldly life. In this environment it is vital our Muslim women and in turn our children are fully included in our mosques to be sure that our next generation understands and follows Islam as it was truly taught by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Though one might think we need to rebuild mosques, actually for women to pray in the mosques they don’t necessarily have to have their own section. The only separation between men and women in the mosque is during prayers when women must stand behind the men. In Prophet’s mosque women occupied the back rows and could be seen and heard by the rest of the congregation. Ibn Abaas (ra) said: "Once the Prophet came out (for the 'Eid prayers) as if I were just observing him waving to the people to sit down. He then, accompanied by Bilal, came crossing the rows till he reached the women. He recited verse 12 of chapter 60 to them and asked: 'O ladies, are you fulfilling your covenant?' None except one woman said 'Yes'. The Prophet then said: 'Then give sadaqah.' Bilal (ra) then spread his garment and said 'Keep on giving alms'. (Bukhari)

The Prophet’s open main space mosque will be the ideal but I think due to privacy and other concerns it’s best to have a women’s area or at least some sort of a covering separating part of the praying area of the mosque for women.

Today in non-Muslim countries a mosque must definitely accommodate women, preferably with a women’s prayer area and other facilities. However many mosques in these countries are small and converted properties so it is understandable if a women’s area is not provided immediately for obviously maximizing the space for men is important because unlike women it’s mandatory for men to attend Friday prayers (though at other times a movable curtain or panel would allow women to use the mosque). But a purpose built mosque should definitely include a women’s area.

Fortunately many mosques, especially in western countries have begun to address this need. However I hear in some cases they are tiny rooms and basements with a leaky roof and a bad smell! I know this is not the case everywhere but this type of situation should never occur. For men or women mosques should be a place of refuge where your mind can be at ease from worldly affairs. If a Mosque has or plans to have a women’s area it need not be as big as men’s area but every step should be taken to ensure it is equal in facilities and other aspects to the rest of the Mosque and maintained accordingly. Getting the opinions of women in that community and making sure their requirements are met will also ensure pleasant and practical facilities are provided.

And when building a new mosque or arranging a women’s prayer area it’s important to have women’s participation. This will make sure the best possible is available to women and avoid many difficulties and complaints later on. Also women must ask for mosque facilities/activities if they are not provided. Because sometimes it is unlikely anything will be provided unless there is a demand.

So if anyone knows of any mosque being built in their area or nearby, get involved with it (e.g. like helping raise funds etc.) This is a great rewardable action and at the same time puts you in a position to influence the decisions and push for a women’s area. For existing mosques it would certainly help to discuss with the management and create awareness in the community for a suitable arrangement for women.

See Also
* Why Your Mosque Should be Woman Friendly
* Women in Mosques
* Women in mosques - No curtains, no walls, no partitions!
* Denying women access to the ‘Main Space’

Friday, November 17, 2006

Uzbekistan and Bogus Al-Qaeda Terrorist

Assalamu alaikum,
map of Uzbekistan and Central Asia“Sir, Do you want a steady supply of Al Qaeda terrorists to frighten the wits out of your countrymen and maintain a state of emergency to carry on your secret plans at home and abroad? Then Central Asia is the place to go. Specify the quantity and rest assured they’ll be delivered on time.” I know nobody told this to the architects of the War on Terror but this is exactly what’s happening in Central Asia - a predominantly Muslim region of five countries, today ruled by ex-Soviet dictators who brutally suppress the people and cash on America’s War on Terror.

Professor Juan Cole wrote an eye opener about Uzbekistan a few weeks back in his popular blog, juancole.com. In the post 'Craig Murray on Manufacturing Terror' he gave an insight into this former Soviet and 90% Muslim country about which many Muslims outside the region haven’t even heard about let alone know what’s happening. Here are excerpts from that article that dealt specifically on Uzbekistan.

Craig Murray formerly Ambassador to UzbekistanWrites professor Juan Cole: ‘I was at the conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society the last couple of days. Saturday evening, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray addressed us. He served in Tashkent 2002 through 2004. (right image: Craig Murray)

Murray's exhibit number 1 is Uzbekistan, which has major gas reserves. The US sought and received basing rights there after September 11. The US supported the government of Islam Karimov, the old Soviet apparatchik who turned himself into a post-Soviet dictator. The US and the UK maintained in their official documents that Uzbekistan was making progress toward democracy. They praised Uzbek elections as a sign of such progress, even though Islam Karimov did not allow the opposition to run in the elections.

bogus Al-Qaeda prisoner torture victim UzbekistanMurray began receiving photographs and other evidence from victims' families that the Uzbek government was engaging in brutal torture techniques as part of its interrogation of dissidents. One corpse had been beaten around the neck and jaw, and boiled alive. There was a line across his chest, under which it was scalded. Boiled like a lobster.

Murray as UK ambassador began seeing CIA reports naming known al-Qaeda operatives who were prominent in Uzbekistan. But these turned out to be just run of the mill Uzbek politicians who were on the outs with Karimov. Where did the CIA get this information about high-level terrorists in Uzbekistan? From Karimov's secret police. And where did they get their phony "intelligence"? From torturing dissidents and making them admit to being al-Qaeda and implicating others as al-Qaeda. From torture. From the twilight of consciousness before the boiling killed them. From lobsters.

Flag of UzbekistanNow I have to back up and tell you about Uzbekistan. Uzbeks have a Muslim heritage. They have Muslim names. But Uzbekistan is a country full of atheists and secularists. It is more secular than France. Everyone drinks vodka like fish. Almost no one could actually tell you how to pray the five daily prayers. There are a few. They are considered odd by the other Uzbeks. I know a sociologist brought up in the Soviet Union who has studied its "Muslims," who were deracinated over 60 years, and he said, "What you have to understand is that they were normal Soviet citizens." He is right.

Uzbek president Islam Karimov makes terroristThe government of Islam Karimov, which is basically corrupt dusted-off apparatchiks from the old Soviet system, is aware that the West is afraid of Islam. And as people brought up Communist, they don't like it either. So they scare the Americans and Europeans with tall tales about an Islamist menace in Uzbekistan, which attract support to the Uzbek government and also cause the Westerners to make excuses for a degree of political repression that approaches that characteristic of Saddam Hussein in the old days. (left image: Islam Karimov)

There is an academic industry in the United States, by the way, of alleging radical Muslim fundamentalism is a big problem in Uzbekistan. It is bunkum. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which was tied to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, had between 150 and 1,000 members at its height, and that was about it for Islamism in Uzbekistan.

In a poll done in 2002 by Pew, 91 percent of Uzbeks agreed with Bush's War on Terror and the way it was being waged! You couldn't have found those numbers anyplace else in the world, maybe even in the US!

Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin LadenMurray pointed out that if you had a referendum in Uzbekistan on whether Islamic canon law should be the law of the land, and explained that it would result in a ban on vodka, less that 1 percent of the population would vote for it. That is certainly true.

So there isn't, frankly, any al-Qaeda to speak of in Uzbekistan. But Karimov used torture and false allegations to manufacture an al-Qaeda, and Murray thought that the Bush administration and elements in the CIA were swallowing it hook, line and sinker.

I came away from this consummate insider's presentation with a sinking feeling that Uzbekistan is the tip of the iceberg.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Islam in Turkey and Kemal Ataturk reforms for Secularism

Assalamu Alaikum,
Secular Turks waving Turkey flagTurkey is gradually regaining the global attention it once enjoyed albeit for different reasons. The main international focus has been on Turkey's EU entry talks which began in October 2005 on joining the European Union (EU). But the subtler and the less pronounced is the revival of Islam in Turkey despite nearly 90 years hostile secular Governments.

Although today Turkey seldom figures in Muslim or Islamic discourse, it was for five centuries the center of the Muslim world, until that fatal day, March 3rd, 1924, when Mustafa Kemal Pasha Ataturk abolished the Caliphate -office of the successors to prophet Muhammad, the supreme politico-religious office of Islam, and symbol of the Turkey sultan's claim to world leadership of all Muslims—was abolished.

Today 98% of Turkey’s population is officially Muslim but the proportion of practicing Muslims is as low as 20%. However unlike in Europe where church attendance gradually fell in Turkey it is the result of a systematic attempt to constrain and weaken Islam by successive Kemalist secular governments and the military.

Mustafa Kemal Pasha Ataturk Founder of TurkeyThe hostility towards Islam began in early 1920s. A military commander, Mustafa Kemal Pasha led the Turkish War of Independence to form the Republic of Turkey as the successor state of the defunct Ottoman Empire. For this Mustafa Kemal became very popular and adored by all Turks. Thereafter he became the first President of the Republic of Turkey. The Turks venerated him so much he was given the name ‘Atatürk’, meaning Father of the Turks, (honorific name formally presented to him by the Turkish Grand Assembly in 1934.)

But Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was no ordinary leader. He was an astute statesman and strewed strategist. He didn’t express to the public how he would develop Turkey until he got the power to execute his vision (i.e. not until he was President of Turkey.)

Then Atatürk carefully constructed and deployed a master plan, today known as the Kemalist ideology or Kemalism. Believing in this strategy Ataturk and his associates started to publicly question the value of religion and held the view religion was not compatible with modern science and secularism was imperative for modernity.

Ataturks reforms for secularism of TurkeyThus Ataturk regime began step by step to implement the Kemalist ideology with a radical reformation of the Turkish society with the aim of modernizing Turkey from the remnants of its Ottoman past. In line with their ideological convictions the Ataturk government abolished Islamic religious institutions; replace the Shariah law with adapted European legal codes; replaced the Islamic calendar with the Gregorian calendar; replace the Arabic script which was used to write the Turkish language with the Latin script and closed all religious schools.

In addition Ataturk took over the country's 70,000 mosques and restricted the building of new mosques. Muftis and imams (prayer leaders) were appointed and regulated by the government, and religious instructions were taken over by the Ministry of National Education. Mosques were to preach according to the Ataturk’s dictates and were used to spread the Kemalist ideology.

For Sufi Muslims it was worse. Atatürk confiscated Sufi lodges, monasteries, meeting places and outlawed their rituals and meetings.

Turkey secularist against headscarves womenAccording to Ataturk modernity was valued and represented as not wearing any religious dress or being non-religious. So he ordered what cloths Turkey’s citizens should wear. The traditional garb of local religious leaders was outlawed. The fez (Turkish hat) was banned for men and the veil and hijab (headscarves) were discouraged and restricted for women.

Atatürk and his colleagues even wanted to Turkify Islam. They ordered Muslims to use the Turkish word Tanri instead of Allah for God and use the Turkish language in Salaath (the 5 times prayers) and Azaan (the call for prayers). These preposterous changes deeply disturbed the faithful Muslims and caused widespread resentment, which led in 1933 to a return to the Arabic version of the call to prayer.

After some time the Atatürk regime moved towards more extreme measures. Ataturk prohibited religious education. The existing mosques were turned into museums or used for the regimes secular purposes.

human rights in secular TurkeyThe faithful Turkish and Kurdish Muslims (Sunni, Shia and Sufi inclusive) were powerless against Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s regime and his military. But they tried to resist the oppression and even led rebellions. But he was too strong for them and Ataturk suppressed the rebellions after massive bloodsheds. (e.g. Seyh Sait rebellion in southeastern Turkey claimed about 30,000 lives before being suppressed.)

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk died in 1938. After that some of his preposterous laws were revoked by his successors due to their harshness and the fact that Islam was always a strong force at the popular level despite the suppression.

Kemalist against practicing Islam in TurkeySince then there have been occasional calls for a return to Islam. But the secular governments and military true to the Kemalist ideology have managed to suppress them. Amidst this environment in the 1980s a new generation of educated, articulate and religiously motivated leaders emerged to challenge the dominance of the Kemalist political ruling elite. By their own example of piety, prayer, and political activism, they have helped to spark a revival of Islamic observance in Turkey.

But the Turkish military and the state bureaucracy are infiltrated with (Kemalist) secularists and act as the guardians of Ataturk’s reforms and work to preserve Kemalism and weaken Islam. This situation has gradually led to a polarization of the Turkish society and today Turkey remains as someone observed a 'torn society'.