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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

3 intriguing articles on Hizbullah, Lebanon crisis and the Muslim Ummah

Assalamu Alaikum,

In the course of last two weeks I came across these three intriguing and thought provoking articles.

1. Hezbollah’s resilience built on years of homework (Christian Science Monitor)

This is an inspiring article, examining the facts behind Hezbollah’s recent success. Muslim organizations can learn a great deal from the faith, courage, determination, strategy and hard work, displayed by the Hezbollah fighters to defeat the militarily and technologically superior Israeli forces – one of the most powerful military force on earth. To put it in CSM own words “Meticulous planning and a thorough understanding of Israeli military doctrine both play into its success”

2. Robert Fisk: In the face of Bush's lies, it's left to Assad to tell the truth (The Independent, UK)

This article cuts at both ends –Hezbollah supporters and Israeli supporters. Here journalist Robert Fisk unearths complex truths invisible to the untrained eye.

3. The Muslim malaise (Toronto Star, Canada)

It’s a solid piece explaining hard-to-digest truths about the current situation of the Muslim Ummah. To quote a friend “You have to read the whole article because it covers almost every base out there. And it’s done in such a way that most people (who don't immediately reject articles with trigger words) will read this and take something from it”.

The last article is rather depressing for a Muslim. However remember the old maxim “know your mistakes and the battle is half won”.

Monday, August 28, 2006

How Sri Lanka Muslims suffer from Ethnic War and Tamil Tiger Terrorism

Bismillahi rahmani raheem
Muslim people flee war ravaged hometown, Eastern Sri LankaIn August (2006) more than 40,000 Muslim civilians fled in fear from their hometown Muttur in eastern Sri Lanka, as violence erupted between Government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels over a neighbouring water sluice. About 100 civilians were also believed to be killed or missing from this clash. This is only one major incident in the sufferings Sri Lankan Muslims continue to undergo for more than 25 years.

Sri Lanka and Muslims

Sri Lanka is an island nation of 20 million people and it is located in the Indian ocean, just off the southern tip of India. It is home to Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim ethnic communities who have lived in harmony with each other for centuries. The Sinhalese form the majority (74%) of the population followed by Tamils (15%) and Muslims (9%).

Muslim refugee civilians of Sri Lanka Tamil Tiger terrorism and ethnic separatist warSri Lanka’s 1.5 million Muslims are mostly Moors (i.e. descendent's of Arab traders who settled in the island centuries ago) while about 1/10 of them are Malays (who came to Sri Lanka during Dutch & British colonial rule.) These Muslims have over the time developed their own Sri Lankan identity and live scattered throughout the country in small communities. In the present context it's also noteworthy Muslims form the single largest ethnic community in the eastern province.

The Separatist War

In early 1980s the rebel group called LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) or better known as Tamil Tiger, launched a violent separatist struggle for a separate Tamil state in the Tamil majority north-eastern provinces of the country claiming the Tamil people were oppressed by the majority Sinhala Government. The war that ensued has so far claimed more than 60,000 lives and has devastated the country and its people.

Tamil Tigers and Muslims

Sri Lanka Muslims suffering LTTE Tamil Tigers terrorismFrom the beginning of the separatist war Tamil Tigers claimed to represent and fight for what they claimed as the "oppressed" Tamil minority of Sri Lanka. In addition the Tamil Tiger rebels made a preposterous claim that Muslims were not a separate ethnic community or a minority but part of Sri Lanka’s Tamil ethnicity. This they made realizing the strategic importance of numbers in their struggle for a separate Tamil country and due to the considerable concentration of Muslims in north-eastern provinces.

But the Sri Lankan Muslims with their own ethnic, cultural and religious identity opposed the Tamil Tigers preposterous claim. And also having lived in harmony for centuries among the Sinhala majority and used to considering Sri Lanka as their motherland the Muslims vehemently opposed the Tiger rebels struggle for a separate country.

Violence against Muslims

All Sri Lankan ethnic communities have suffered from the war but the islands third, and smallest, ethnic community –the Sri Lankan Muslims have become the worst affected and forgotten losers in this vicious struggle.

Muslim refugee camps and Tamil Tiger terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka MapSince the start of the separatist war Tamil Tigers planed and carried out ruthless attacks against the Muslims living in the north-eastern areas of the country including ethnic cleansing, mass killings, forcefully taking over Muslim properties, imposing various taxes, abducting Muslim youth as Tiger guerrilla cadres and others for ransom.

1990-1991 was a particularly terrible period for Muslims. In October 1990 the Tamil Tigers ordered all Muslims living in Tiger controlled northern Jaffna peninsula to leave within 48 hours or face execution. So nearly 90,000 Jaffna Muslims fled from their homes overnight. Each fleeing person was only allowed to take 300 rupees in cash (around 10 US $ then) and a few cloths and leave behind everything else they had, which subsequently the Tamil Tigers took over. These Muslims fleeing the northern peninsula were gathered in refugee camps in Putlam and Kalpity areas. These Muslim people had lived better lives in Jaffna while some had even been very successful businessmen. Even today after 15 years, around 53,000 of them still live in these refugee camps.

The same year Tamil Tigers massacred 172 Muslims praying in a Mosque in the eastern town of Kathankudy. Not stopping from these, they have since then killed many thousands of north-eastern Muslims by sporadic attacks, not to mention they have taken over Muslim peoples properties in Eastern areas under their control. So the mainly agrarian North-Eastern Muslims have been continuously suffering in the hands of the ruthless Tamil Tigers.

Current Situation of Muslims

Sri Lanka ethnic war Muslim victims protest for peaceThe successive governments elected to power have not addressed the concerns and sufferings of Muslims. Furthermore on many occasions the protection offered by Government forces to the Muslims has been inadequate, thus exposing them to the ruthless Tamil Tiger terrorism. Meanwhile the Government, Muslims and Sinhalese from other parts of the country, Islamic organizations and other NGOs, continue aid and rehabilitation efforts. However the relief and rehabilitation efforts are insufficient and with the continuation of hostilities despite a ceasefire since 2002, Muslims in war-torn areas continue to endure the adversities of war.

poor injured Muslim child from LTTE terrorist attacksMeanwhile Muslim political parties and representatives are stuck in personal wrangling and are divided. Many Muslim politicians are trying to make the pains and sufferings of these destitute people into their own personal projects to uplift their political image. This was evident from the recent Muttur incident where currently 40,000 Muslims are displaced and continue to live in refugee camps undergoing much hardship. Consequently there is no one to speak for the real concerns and sufferings of the Muslims.

Caught in this intricate and seemingly endless web of violence between Tamil Tiger terrorists and the Government, Sri Lanka's Muslims are increasingly desperate, unsure which way to turn, and whom to trust. Forgotten victims of a particularly vicious war, they are trapped between hammer and anvil.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Reflection: Terror plot and disproportionate reporting by corporate media!

Assalamu Alaikum,

Before reading this please read my earlier post – Current Issues: UK airline terror plot

Media images For the past two week the corporate media has been bursting with news on the alleged plot to blow U.S. jetliners out of the Atlantic skies. It resulted in causing great amount of panic and rekindle fear of “Islamic terror” in the minds of people. A Sri Lankan newspaper columnist made these observations about media latest spotlight.

“Does the news about the terror plot deserve such prominence? Look at some of the facts of the matter.
  • The plane plot was discovered well ahead of the alleged date on which the terror suspects were to allegedly execute their plan. So there was no need to cause unnecessary panic and flight delays worldwide.

  • The claim that five of the suspects are still at large was made by US authorities. Scotland Yard did not state this in its statement.

  • Since 1996, or even before that, western intelligence units and law enforcement authorities have been aware of the possibility of terrorists using liquid explosives.

  • None of the suspects was arrested in any of the British airports.

  • The arrests were the result of a long-standing investigation – a coordinated effort of the US, British and Pakistani governments. This means the suspects had been under surveillance for a long period. Surely, the authorities could have stepped up security measures to detect liquid explosives at every western airport as soon as they came to know about the alleged plot.

  • President Bush in a brief statement on Thursday said the plot was a “stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom.” There are no “Jewish-fascists” in Bush’s lexicon to describe those who kill children in Lebanon, and the US president after the 9/11 attacks made a similar statement saying the “terrorists hate us, because they hate the freedom we enjoy.”

In the absence of an independent and objective global TV channel to report the news as it is, the corporate media are probably over reacting – or, to use the Lebanese conflict jargon, indulging in disproportionate reporting.”

It is also alleged that a powerful section of the Western corporate media is in the hands of those who wage the war on terror on behalf of capitalism, rightwing evangelism and Zionism.

Current Issues: UK airline terror plot

Assalamu Alaikum,

Plane terror plot August 10, British police revealed the alleged plot to blow up about 10 civilians jetliners over the Atlantic using disguised liquid explosives. So far media reports claim British and Pakistani authorities have arrested 41 people in the two countries in connection with the suicidal plan.

Just as the Lebanon conflict eclipsed the events in Iraq, the alleged terror plot to blast civilian jetliners over the Atlantic has overshadowed Israel’s wanton destruction of Lebanon, where thousands of people are starving to death. The manner the terror plot was revealed has shifted the world attention from Israeli terror to the so-called Islamic terror and helped Israel to keep its war crimes out of media channels.

I don’t dismiss the alleged terror plot as a Western conspiracy or protect those behind it. Rather I question claims made by London because both London and Washington poured on us heaps of similar claims – which were never proved – before the 2003 invasion of Iraq with the claim of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

If those suspects are found guilty they should be punished, for those who kill or intend to kill innocents civilians are a threat to humanity. Terror is not the answer to state terror.

If those Muslims suspects really want to teach Washington and London a lesson for their open support for Israel’s terror, they should go to Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon and fight the war to evict the colonialists and end the foreign occupation of those countries.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Reflection: Lebanon crisis: Who backed immediate ceasefire?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We all share the responsibility!

Assalamu Alaikum,

Allah is watching youIt is very encouraging to see many scholars, leaders, intellectuals and journalist increasingly emphasizing the need for Muslim unity, in this long due awakening of the Muslim Ummah. But the effort of these people alone is not sufficient to unite the Ummah. We the Muslim masses must share this responsibility and play our part towards uniting Muslims. It is high time we put this among our priorities in our daily life. Allah says in the Qur’an "Verily Allah will not change the condition of people until they change it themselves." [13:11]

(thanks to br. Buraq for the graphic)

Intellectuals: Dr. Rashid Shaz

Assalamu Alaikum,

On the subject of Muslims future, Dr. Rashid Shaz of New Delhi, author of ‘Understanding the Muslim Malaise’ and ‘Islam: Negotiating the future’, has been at the forefront for a regeneration in Islamic thought among Indian Muslims. After the demolition of Babri Masjid in 1993, he launched an international weekly magazine, the Milli Times. Presently he is chairman of Peace India International and edits a bi-monthly journal on Future Islam in Arabic, English and Urdu. FutureIslam.com explores how Muslims can emerge from a 'ghetto-mind' and find a Quranic basis of a global living.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A practical vision to Unite Muslim countries

Assalamu Alaikum,

I read a critic say, “Even if Islam were to sweep the entire area from South Africa to Philippines we [the western neo-colonialist] need not fear for they are utterly and hopelessly disunited. The Islamic world would probably turn in on itself over sectarian and national divisions before it would be a major threat to even India.” I wish it was not but I fear that is the truth. Today Muslims number 1.5 billion and counting. Oil drives the world and 3/4 of the proven oil reserves lie under Muslims feet. Islam the religion of Muslims is a potent force as it was when it first spread out of Arabia 14 centuries ago. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific isles is a landmass spanning 15,000 km inhabited by Muslim majorities.

Yet how do Muslims figure in the world arena? Sad to say it’s nothing less that pathetic. The GDP of all the Muslim countries combined is less than or equal to that of France. When 50,000 Muslim women are raped by Christian Serbs in Bosnia, Muslims watched as spectators. When country after country falls to the hands of neocolonialist Muslims look on helplessly. When Lebanon is bombed to Stone Age and Palestine is no more they heat their seats. Millions starving in Africa, many more oppressed in Central Asia does not disturb the Muslim peace of mind. YaAllah! I dare say they’ll be heating their chairs even if Mecca is vaporized or millions butchered in Saudi Arabia and Iran. "The less we think about the Muslims the happier we’ll be," seems the thought of the day.

Disunited as we are I don’t think Allah will help us if we don’t try to correct ourselves. Allah’s help comes only when we change ourselves for the better. The darkest hours are the nearest to dawn. There are ways out of this seemingly stalemate situation.

Presented here is a vision to unite Muslims countries. If it materializes there’ll be a Muslim federation or union stretching from the shores of Atlantic to the isles in the edge of Pacific Ocean. First let’s look at the some facts.

Worldwide Muslim Population distribution map

The map shows the current worldwide Muslim population distribution. The vision foreseen here is for a united union/federation of Muslim majority countries. Lets call it United Nation of Islam or Union of Nations of Islam or simply UNI for now, for easier reference. Here is the map of UNI based on the above Muslim distribution. The countries with more than 50% Muslim population will belong to the United Nation of Islam (UNI). This map shows this intercontinental UNI state.

The UNI map

UNI does not necessarily mean something like a Caliphate, it could be like the European Union, and inshaallah can be created in phases and stages via discussions, consensus, coordination etc. The current national borders, nation governments etc. will be intact, but there will also be a federal government and parliament for the whole UNI. The people from one part of the federation, for instance a citizen of Nigeria would be able to go to Bangladesh or Malaysia without the need for a passport or other travel documents, just like within the EU. An investor from Kuwait will be able to start a business enterprise in Senegal or Pakistan as easily as he would in Kuwait. An Indonesian, Pakistani farmer will send his harvest to be sold to Moroccans and Yemenis without much hassle or import duties he presently has to pay. People within the UNI will be able to move and settle anywhere within the UNI federation’s borders as if in the same country. The movement of people and goods within the federation will have as much freedom as available in a country now. All people irrespective of gender, religion, nationality, caste, colour or language currently living within the UNI borders will belong and be citizens of UNI. They'll have all the rights they enjoy now. There’s no need for Muslims living outside of UNI federation to come and live in a UNI country, but of course if anyone wants they'll be able to settle and obtain citizenship of any of the UNI countries.

Leaving things as it is or engaging in wishful thinking without action or allowing and appealing to non-Muslims to decide the fate of our Muslim ummah and our lands, in all likelihood leads to the devastation of both. We Muslims must decide our future and not leave it for the Pentagon or Kremlin. We are making a grave mistake in underestimating the abilities, resources and knowledge Allah has given us. Inshaallah if we try will make it.

It’s worthy remembering 60 years ago a European Union was a dream of a few enlightened people. Today it is a reality. There always exists an urge in the Muslim psyche for something like a Caliphate. Similar proposals have been voiced before. That’s good. But to bear fruit plans need to be made and we need to contribute by our actions. As the first step in materializing this dream we need to spread the idea to many as possible.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Introduction to Unite Muslims Blog


Unite Muslims flag fotoAt last I decided to write a blog. So here it is -the Unite Muslims blog, my first blog. Writing a blog as a step towards uniting Muslims has been at the back of my mind for several months. Unfortunately it wasn’t till today I finally decided to cut the Gordian knot. I am not much of a writer but I think I'll be able to develop my writing skills in the process and voice my convictions more clearly. Inshaallah this is going to be a new experience to me. Well, first things first. Why did I start this blog? What are my objectives?

Why did I start this blog?

The answer is easy as well as sad. Sometime back I remember reading in an old magazine about the Bosnian tragedy in the early 1990s. Around 50,000 Bosnian Muslim women were raped and numerous other atrocities were done to the helpless Bosnian Muslims. Yet hardly any Muslim country or movement took sufficient action to stop this horrible crime against Muslims. It seems all had washed their hands-off leaving everything to the United Nations and some small-scale individual efforts by some Muslims.

Now a decade and a half later one would expect things to have changed. But has anything changed? For the past three weeks, Israel has been bombarding Lebanon, they allege is in response to the abduction of two of their soldiers by Lebanon base Hezbollah organization. But the scale of their military operations shows a very different picture. I may be wrong (as I have been more than I like to confess); it looks like this latest ‘invasion’ of Israel is nothing but the next stage of their long-term plan (more accurately the next stage of their well planed strategy).

Okay, we’ll talk about it another time maybe. Nevertheless this latest atrocity by Israel against this small war-torn country wouldn’t have happened if our Muslim brothers and sisters, our Muslim leaders had stood up for Lebanon, as they rightly should! Israel or any other country would dare not touch a Muslim land if Muslims were united. To recall an old idioms “Union is strength” as well as ‘United we stand divided we fall’. So as you would have guessed Unite Muslims blog is an effort in the direction of uniting Muslims. Allhamdulillah, I am happy to be writing this blog and participate actively with many thousands of Muslims around the globe working towards Muslim unity.

What is the objective of Unite Muslims blog?

The objective of this blog is to create awareness about the challenges Muslims are facing, the sufferings our brothers and sisters in various parts of the world are undergoing daily, working towards Muslim unity and spreading Islamic awareness by examining the world with Islamic objectives. Inshaallah from this humble effort I hope to create a desire, a deep craving among Muslims to put aside their differences and unite in the name of almighty Allah for a better world for all.

After starting Unite Muslims I have also become a member of the community blog - Muslim Unity