Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sign of the times... again

I once again apologize for my continued absence, whenever I get round to writing something I'm either not in the mood any more or something pops up again. However, I'd like to share this with you, I think you'll be as concerned as I am. Read on:

Church in Arizona protested because it looks like a mosque

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 -- 9:22
churchdome3 Church in Arizona protested because it looks like a mosque

Islamophobia may have reached a point in this country where people condemn Christians that they suspect are Muslims without ever checking the facts.
In Phoenix, Arizona, a new Christian church has residents fearing that it is an Islamic mosque.
The Light of the World multidenominational church is being built just off of Interstate 10 and features a dome-like structure.
"Since the distinctive dome shape went up, church leaders said they have received phone calls from concerned neighbors who've mistaken the building for an Islamic mosque," KPHO reported.
"I heard many people, they came over and they say, 'Is this a Muslim temple?' No, it's not," church member Juan Calixto told KPNX.
"It is unfortunate that people are so intolerant to differences that they aren’t willing to see that the place of worship is not a mosque," said Tayyibah Amatullah of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Arizona chapter.
Church officials have hung a sign to let people know they aren't Muslim. "If you think we are different you are wrong," the sign reads. "We are building a Christian house of prayer."
"We're trying to let people know that we're Christian and our churches are modern," Uzieo Martinez, a church official told KPHO.
Officials are trying to avoid the type of backlash received by the Park51 Islamic center that is planned near Ground Zero.
The cultural center was largely ignored when The New York Times first reported about it in December 2009.
The project received wider notice in May 2010 when a community board considered the construction plans. Conservative bloggers Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer dubbed the proposed center the "Ground Zero Mosque" which started a national controversy.
"But with so many high-profile figures selling unfounded, anti-Muslim fear to the public, is it any wonder that all many Americans can see in Islam is a phantom menace?" asked Tanya Somanader at the liberal blog Think Progress.


Words fail me, is this what the world is coming to? Where even looking 'different' or in this case 'Muslim' is dangerous and can lead to harassment? This is an all to regular occurance, people looking as if they are Muslim are attacked, even though they are not. Even at the 'Ground Zero Mosque' 'protest' organized by Loony in Chief Pamela Geller this happened, two Arab Christians who turned up to protest were attacked by the crowd and had to be protected by the police. It is a sad world where hate is getting to a level that it is dangerous to stand out or look like a certain group of people, where you have to, as this Church does, hold up a sign effectively saying 'Not Muslim, please don't hurt me!'. I know you are all intelligent people and I don't have to go on for to long about the dangers this sort of thing. However, I would like to make two main points.

First of all, this rise in what can only be called tribalism, where one has to fit in and all others are 'enemies' to be hated, is extremely dangerous. I don't really need to go into to much detail, but we all know what happens when hate is allowed free range to grow. And a close freind of mine said, hate is a seed sown by someone by the devil, if it is allowed to grow then it will soon take over that person. We cannot let this hate grow.

I would also like to share something the Buddah once said:

"Words have the power to create and destroy, when they are both true and kind, they can change our world"

This is very true and it is the case with these so called blogger like Geller who are peddling their hate, and making huge profits out of it. We need to take the Buddah's words to heart, not allow our words to destroy and make the true and kind to change this world for the better. These hate mongers need to be taken to heel and stood up to. Because, as I related in the story of Martin Niemöller in an older post, who knows when these people will turn on you?

I will leave this here, it is a depressing subject and I don't want to go to much into it right now, but I think you can all see the danger we are facing.



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For your urgent attention UPDATED V

Wednesday 10th November, 2010



"Strofades IV" has broken its moorings, without port permission, and is heading out of Derna Harbour.

The rear door of the ship is half closed, with convoy vehicle B7 stuck on it precariously. It is extremely dangerous.

In the lower deck of the Ro-Ro (rollon rolloff) ship are held hostage:

3 Libyans - (2 port authority policemen, with Colonel Salahuddin Rashin, Manager of Derna Port)

1 Moroccan

1 Algerian

2 Irish

6 UK nationals

The violent Greek owner who is also its captain of "Strofades IV" has just disembarked (as at 22.50 GMT) through a side door of the ship, onto a speed boat. His speed boat has made for another cargo vessel in Derna the harbour - "Odin Finder".

None of our guys now know who is in charge of Strofades IV, or where it is destined to go.

The ship is empty, apart from the hostages and single convoy vehicle jammed in the doorway. It is making rapid headway to get out to sea.

The matter is a serious breach of every maritime law possible.

We have asked all relevant Embassies to supply urgent, immediate, consular assistance.

We are EXTREMELY concerned for the safety of all the nationals on board.


Please can you spread the word, I will keep you all updated as and when I receive new information. Thank you.





According to one of the hostages, they have been told the ship is heading towards Greece. Currently the 3 Libyan policemen are believed to be negotiating with the captain but they are refusing to alter course. The rear door of the vessel remains unsecured. Also, pressure is being put on Libya to stop the vessel. As of
3.05 GMT we remain very concerned for the safety of the vessel and hostages.

As of yet no major media outlet has run this story, please keep spreading the word.

Will keep you posted.



Sketchy reports coming from the vessel at the moment, but it is being said that 4 Libyan vessel supported by fighter jets are attempting to have the 13 hostages removed from the vessel and taken back to Libya. $75000 worth of donations that were on the vessel at the time have been secured but the captain appears to be trying to extort money in exchange for the hostages despite already have been paid $75000 for use of his ship. We have no contact with any of the hostages at this time since they are too far out to sea.

One again, the mainstreem media is refusing to cover this story, please continue to spread the word

As always, I'll keep you informed.



Still no direct contact but it is believed that the vessel is heading towards Crete. Libyan, British, Irish, Maltese and Greek authorities are working together to try and detain the captain who is believed to be unhappy about how he was being paid. 

The media are finally picking up on the story, thank you to all of you who contacted your local media.


We now have sporadic contact with the hostages via SMS. One reports that around 6 hours ago they commandeered a VHF radio and sent a distress message on channel 6 which was picked up by a NATO warship. They still believe they are heading towards Crete.

You can follow the vessel's progress here:


 A few more details for you. To begin with it appears that there are more Libyans on the ship than previously stated three, 7  include customs inspectors, border police and the harbor manager for Derna Port.  The Libyans are being treated better than the aid workers, seem to have separate cabins, have more freedom of movement and are in contact with Libyan authorities by radio and mobile phone. A full list of the other hostages is as follows:

Mustapha El-Guerbouzi (46) - UK National, resident in West London
Kieran L Turner (38) - UK National, resident in Liverpool
Raheal Parveez (25) - UK National, resident in North East London
Aziz Mekkati (43) - Algerian National, resident in Algeria
Yunus Malik (23) - UK National, resident in London
Nagib Elgarib Elbarrami (32) - UK National
David T Callander (35) - Irish National
Tauqir A Sharif (23)- UK National, resident in North East London
Kenneth O'Keefe (41)- Irish National
Khalid Mohamed Omar Ali (21) - UK National

It has been confrimed that the hostages did at one point manage to contact NATO warships, P492 and F452, via the tanker OCL Oakland. These warships promised assistance but none came for reasons unknown.
Ken O'Keefe added: "They said they would help, but no one has come to rescue us.  That was some hours ago."

Kieran adds: "At first we were made to stay in the loading bay area at the rear of the ship, which was really dangerous once the ship got out to sea - the ship's loading door is still open at a 45degree angle!  They didn't give us any life jackets. And that was when the weather was still calm.  The weather is rough now - you can just imagine..."

Kieran further adds: "Initially we were stopped from moving around the ship and had to stay in the bottom of the lower deck. Eventually we just walked through to the crew quarters, and they've let us occupy their small smoking room.  At least we are safe and in the dry, and it has a couch so we can try to sleep. We've been given one meal, of sorts, since the ship left Derna.  We've got access to water, but it's not drinking water."

Ken O'Keefe has tried to talk to the Captain on a number of occasions.  At first he succeeded in talking to him, but since then the captain has blanked him. Ken has also stated that it is everyone's intention not to let their mission fail and to return to Libya as soon as they can.

Currently we are awaiting footage from the vessel which will be uploaded to this site as soon as it is received from the hostages. Stay tuned.



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Upcoming 'serries', Islam ABC

Firstly, I would like to apologize for my absence. Again. I have no excuse other than, well, nothing really...

Anyway, I have an upcoming series of articles in the pipeline, my 'Islam ABC'. I'm going to try and cover a wide range of topics about Islam and Islam related things, most of it my own writing but with some borrowed pieces kindly contributed by other writers. The purpose of this will be to answer some of the most asked questions as well as give a bit of clarification on what Muslims think and believe, mixed with a few of my own 'idealistic' ramblings for you to laugh at.  Below is a mostly complete list of the topics I will cover, there are a few gaps which I will, God willing, have filled by the next time we meet (someone help me find articles for X, Y and Z!!). See you there!

A = Apostasy, rejection of faith
B = Bombing, the suicide kind
C = Christians, our friends in faith
D = Dogs, and other creatures
E = Earth, for which we must care
F = Fundamentalism, taking it too far
G = God, to whom everything is due
H = Halal, all that is lawful
I = Islam, and what it means
J = Jesus, messenger supreme
K = Ka'bah, that black cube thing
L = Life, and it's purpose
M = Money, distraction from God
N =
O =
P =
Q = Qu'ran, the revelation
R = Religion, corruption of faith
S = Sharia, much misunderstood
T = Taquiya, a false concept
U = Us, inhabitants of the creation
V =
W = Worship, connecting with God
X =
Y =
Z =


Thursday, October 28, 2010

In plain view

I apologize for the low quality of the next post, however the lunacy of what I have been reading about really is not easy to  put across, so please stay with me and normal slightly better service will resume shortly :-)

One of the great things about a Court of Law is it puts everything, no matter how small, in plain view for all to see. When something goes to court then all that matters is the facts. Out of court you can say pretty much what you like on the flimsiest of evidence but when you try and to make a lawsuit out of that then prepare to fail. This is very apparent in the current loony 'Murfreesboro mosque trial' which has been bubbling away in recent months to my great amusement. I've included a couple of articles from the local paper, I'm sorry for the length but please read and see the benefits of the Justice System for yourself:


Witnesses fund lawsuit against local mosque
A witness in the Murfreesboro mosque trial said she believed America would be better off without Muslims and pledged support to fight a proposed mosque in her community.

Murfreesboro resident Jeanetta Alford was called to the stand Thursday in an effort by plaintiffs to stop the construction of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Rutherford County.

"If anyone is teaching out of the Qur'an, then yes, you are breaking the law," Alford told the court. "I believe we have to follow the Bible and respect our government."

Alford went on to describe the dangers of Sharia law and her new found fear of Islam after studying publications and hearing from local mosque opponents.

"If the religion of Islam allows men to beat their wives and have sex with children, then it's against our law," Alford said. "If any so-called religion violates our United States Constitution then it should not stand. People should stand up against that."

Alford admitted in cross examination that she has given money to a group she believes educates the community about the dangers of Islam.

"I've not given much because my husband lost his job," Alford told the court. "But we did give $100 to an education group, and I bought a DVD called 'Lest We Forget.'"

The admission comes a day after another plaintiff witness, Millie Evans, admitted giving $600 to the same group, denying any knowledge her money was funding the lawsuit.

"I felt like what they told me it was for was to educate the community on what Islam is about," Evans told the court yesterday.

The group Alford and other plaintiff's witnesses fund is called Proclaiming Justice To The Nations (PJTN). The group, described to the Post by President Laurie Cardoza-Moore as a "community activist group," funds the lawsuit against the county's May 24 site plan approval for a proposed Islamic community center on Veals Road.

Plaintiff Attorney J. Thomas Smith of Franklin told the Post today he was retained by PJTN and works with the group's president and plaintiff attorney Joe Brandon Jr.

The group has also used contributions from local residents to pay witnesses who appeared on the stand Thursday.

Timothy Jones Cummings Sr. is one witness who admitted being paid thousands of dollars by plaintiff attorneys to read to the court from anti-Muslim websites he found.

"I'm not clear on the purpose of his testimony here," Chancellor Robert E. Corlew III told plaintiff's attorneys before allowing the testimony. Corlew noted a defense objection and warned admission was contingent on plaintiffs showing relevance at a later date.

Under tough cross examination, County Attorney Josh McCreary highlighted the problem with allowing what defense called blatant hearsay.

"They paid you $3,000 to print stuff off the internet and present it on the screen here," McCreary asked the witness. "You read pages and pages of this stuff and don't know the truthfulness of any of this, correct?"

Cummings showed anti-American cartoons and other web postings he says shows the nefarious nature of local Muslims plaintiffs claim are behind the proposed mosque.

"I cannot testify to the veracity of any content I've presented or what's presented on anyone's web page," Cummings admitted to the court.

Cummings went on to say he was asked as a computer expert to find content online for the plaintiffs about the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. What he presented were web postings by noted anti-Muslim websites (Iconoclast and New English Review) and videos of people he could not identify talking about what they saw on other websites.

"At this point he's dependent on the veracity of some third party," Chancellor Corlew said. "Mr. Cummings has no way he can independently verify this content existed."

The court also watched the May 24 County Commission meeting in which the site plan for the proposed mosque was approved under religious 'use of right' land ordinances.

Plaintiffs contend Islam is not a religion and local Muslims should not have been granted such consideration for approval of their mosque's site plan.

Plaintiffs have yet another full day before the court starting tomorrow morning at 8:30.


I was not quite sure how to take this at first... clearly these people are off their heads with hate, bigotry and desperately need someone to hate. Their knowledge of the American Constitution is also severely lacking... these from people who no doubt believe themselves to be 'defenders of the Constitution'. Words fail me, but I'll let you make your mind up, again the great thing about a Court of Law is you get it all clear cut. But there is more:


Plaintiffs ask if Islam is a religion in mosque trial
Plaintiffs in a case to stop the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro spent most of Wednesday questioning whether Islam is a religion. The case resumed two days after the federal government filed a motion in the case.

Attorney Joe Brandon Jr. fought through more than 20 sustained defense objections including badgering the witness, being argumentative and asking irrelevant questions.

"Isn't it true that in the Qur'an Mohammad had a six-year-old wife that he had sex with," Brandon asked a county commissioner on the stand. "Is that your idea of what a religion is?"

The U.S. Department of Justice filed an amicus curiae with the court Monday stating unequivocally that Islam is a religion and defended the Constitutional right of Americans to freely worship.

"Presidents as far back as Lincoln and Jefferson, and as recent as President George W. Bush, have publicly recognized Islam as one of the world's largest religions," U.S. Attorney Jerry Martin stated in a press conference on Monday.

Brandon took issue with the federal government's position in his questioning of county commissioners he called as witnesses.

"The federal government cited Thomas Jefferson in their press conference, and he owned slaves," Brandon asserted to Commissioner Gary Farley. "Is that who they want to cite as an authority?"

Both County Mayor Ernest Burgess and Commissioner Will Jordan cited the federal government as one source of many claiming Islam is a religion.

"Did you say that you want the federal government that supported slavery to tell this court that Islam is a religion," Brandon asked Jordan.

Plaintiffs sought with each witness to challenge the county's May 24 approval of a site plan for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM) under religious use of right zoning ordinances on the grounds that Islam is not a religion.

"Sharia law includes instruction on how to beat your wife," Brandon told Burgess on the witness stand. "How is Sharia law going to affect our society, our jobs and our freedoms?"

Brandon asked each commissioner called as a witness if they believed cults led by David Koresh and Jim Jones qualified as religions.

"Do you remember Jim Jones who killed all those people who drank the Kool-Aid," Brandon asked Burgess. "Is that what's going on with the ICM?"

Brandon also asked each commissioner if they believed in tenets of Sharia law that plaintiffs claim ICM members will institute in Murfreesboro.

"Do you believe in having sex with children," Brandon asked Farley to the gasps of the audience and a quickly sustained objection that the court was degrading into a circus.

Millie Evans, a 45-year resident of Rutherford County, revealed under cross examination the name of a group aiding plaintiffs in this case. Evans was asked how she got in touch with the plaintiffs pointing to a nonprofit helping Brandon.

"We've been in touch for weeks and weeks on this," Evan told the court. "I donated myself. I don't know where the money went to. P.T. something."

Evans told the court she wrote a $500 check and gave $100 in cash to a nonprofit she says told her it is here to educate the community on the dangers of Islam.

The group is called "Proclaiming Justice To The Nations." The group's president, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, has been an outspoken critic of the proposed mosque at prior public meetings of the Rutherford County Commission.

"We work with the attorneys in this case," Cardoza-Moore told the Post. "We're like a community activist group."

Before recessing for the day, Chancellor Robert E. Corlew, III made the court aware of an early morning motion filing an amicus curiae on behalf of Louis E. Johnston Jr. along with a copy of his book on Sharia law.

The case resumes Thursday morning at 8:30.



No, me neither... I really do not know what to say... is there any hope in the world for people like this?! Do they not see what they have become?! Do they not see what they are saying?! ARGH!!

Enough? I think so, views please! 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Go Egypt!

Good news from Egypt, let's hope they stick to this and more follow:


Egypt high court bars police from universities

By Magdi Abdelhadi BBC Middle East analyst
Egyptian policeman at the American University in Cairo - 8 June 2009
The high court in Egypt has ordered the government to abolish police units at university campuses.
The court rejected a government appeal against an earlier ruling which declared the permanent deployment of police on campuses unconstitutional.
Rights groups have long criticised the presence of police on campuses, saying its sole purpose was to prevent students from engaging in politics.
The case was brought against the government by a group of professors.
They have long campaigned for the independence of academic institutions and are part of a broad coalition of activists in opposition to the authoritarian rule of President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for more than 30 years.
The presence of police at universities is often used to suppress political protests organised by students affiliated to the opposition Muslim Brotherhood and other leftist groups.
The police control access to the campus and can deny entry to visitors and the media.
The court ruling is final, but the government may still use emergency powers, as it has done in the past, to circumvent the law.


Now, why is this so important, apart from free speech issues? Well, simple, if we look throughout history then we can see that the centre of Islam has always been it's houses of learning, universities of course being vital to this. So, if Egypt sticks to it's word then, God willing, we will see some real progress in Egypt regarding any 'Islamic Revival', that is the discarding of all the junk we Muslims have accumulated over the years, all the oppressive and 'cultural' stuff that has nothing to do with Islam but rather with corruption of our texts. Previously, police interference in universities had put a large block in the way of that, but now that has been removed let's pray there is progress.

I still think that the 'new sun' of Islam will rise in Asia, not the Middle East, but if Egypt and others keep this up, then maybe the sun can rise in both areas of the world and shine it's light of truth. Onward people!



Friday, October 22, 2010

Let's pray this isn't the begining

I read a rather sad article on the BBC today, read on:

Swedish police link 'racist' shootings to lone gunman

Police investigate shooting at Sorbacksgatan in Malmo. 21 Oct 2010
Swedish police fear a lone gunman may be behind a spate of racially-motivated shootings in the southern city of Malmo.
Detectives say they are linking up to 15 gun attacks in the city over the past year that have targeted people of immigrant background.
The investigation comes amid growing tension in Sweden over immigration.
In elections in September, 20 members of a far-right anti-immigration party won seats in parliament.
Police have not revealed exactly which cases the special unit is looking into.
However, Swedish media report that they include one fatal shooting - a 20-year-old woman last October who was sitting in a car.
In recent weeks, two men of ethnic minority background have also been shot and wounded while waiting at bus stops in the city.
And on Thursday evening two women described by police as "immigrants from a European country" were wounded after being shot through their apartment window.
Map locator
"We have established a special unit here in Malmo to investigate between 10 and 15 similar crimes," police spokesman Lars-Haakan Lindholm told AFP news agency.
"It does appear there are racist motives. We are receiving help from profilers from the national police force. This is our number one top priority right now."
The investigation has revived memories of a spate of racially-motivated attacks in and around the Swedish capital Stockholm from August 1991 to January 1992.
John Ausonius, now 57, killed one person and wounded 10 others. He was jailed for life in 1994.
Malmo, which has a significant immigrant population, was the scene of riots in December 2009 following the closure of an Islamic centre.


Is this a sign of things to come? I pray not but I fear it may be. As more and more hate is generated, as more and more idiots keep poking the pot, the more things like this are likely to happen. I've already read of a nutter in the USA admitting that he was influenced by Fox News and David Horowitz’s web sites, I am sure he is not alone, in fact after reading some of the comments on Horowitz's sites I *know* he is not. Sure, some guys don't take much to push them over the edge but there are plenty of 'normal' people being fed this stuff day in day out and what's more they are believing it. 

This really is not any different to 'Islamic' extremism, people being fed junk day in day out, as Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister, once said, "A lie repeated enough times becomes the truth". There are people out there on both sides prepared to take a gun and go and kill others and so long as the lies keep being repeated that number will grow and grow. Of course, other factors are involved but the fact that there are people on both sides spewing out this is a major one. People are angry and there are those that are giving these angry people their targets, their scapegoats, and in the end blood get's spilled. It is easy to blame others, but hard to solve problems.

 If hate propaganda like the stuff I see circulating today carries on being read, believed and in some cases acted on then the danger of repeats continues, it grows day by day. I hate to say it, but the rise of Hitler started in a similar way, slowly to begin with, but after a few years of lies, hate and propaganda being pumped out it didn't take long for the whole terrible series of events to unfold and it could happen again. Dehumanizing one set of people and blaming them for our problems is how genocide begins. One side get's all the blame for the worlds ills and are dehumanized so much that they are seen as lesser, deserving of death, the world would be better without them. This could happen here, we only have to look at history to see where this has happened before, I will call up the Holocaust as the best known example. The outlines are there, rise of the far right and rise in hate crime is just the beginning, we must stop it dead in it's tracks.

The only way to fight this is truth, rational thought and peace as well as to stop blaming others for things we really should be handling ourselves. If we, all of us, don't stand up to the people spewing this hate then this could be the beginning of something terrible.  I'll admit it, I really do fear for the future, I really do, but while there are still good people on this earth I have hope, so should you. So let us stand together against this sort of hate and end it once and for all, the future is in our hands.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A look at the 'enemy'...

I found this article about some Germans who went of to fight for the Taliban. It gives a pretty good insight into the sort of people attracted to them, read on....

The Cream Puff Brigade: How a group of Islamist radicals became the laughing stock of the Taliban… because they missed their mothers

German intelligence sources have revealed a group of fanatical Islamist radicals became the laughing stock of the Taliban because they missed their mothers during a training camp.

The nine would-be terrorists have been branded the ‘Cream Puff Brigade’ after they travelled from Germany in 2009 to the camp near Afghanistan.

Instead they were laid low by diarrhoea, moaned about food, griped about their training and admitted pining for friends and family.

Rigorous: A group of nine would-be terrorists, nicknamed the ‘Cream Puff Brigade’, were all arrested or killed before travelling to Afghanistan to attack NATO force.
Intelligence officials believe that the rigours the insurgents faced will help dispel ideas that the pilgrimage to fight Western forces is easy or romantic.

Hamburg‘s Office for the Protection of the Constitution – Germany’s domestic intelligence agency – initially called the gang ‘the travel group’, according to magazine Der Spiegel.

Their new nickname came about when the group disintegrated under the rigours of life near the front line.
‘We knew all of them,’ one official told the magazine.

They had been under surveillance for months because of their attendance at the Taiba mosque – spiritual home of the 9/11 attackers.

In June and July this year, according to Spiegel, two of them were arrested in Pakistan, two more were killed in a recent drone attack.

But all of them were, according to intelligence, useless at the art of waging Holy War.

‘When they left Hamburg, some of them had still been living at home with their parents in the rooms they’d grown up in.

‘They fancied themselves fierce warriors, but they turned out to be major failures.’

Aged 21 to 55, one was a former drug addict, one a failed businessman with a mentally disturbed brother, and another a small-time ‘pothead’ with a criminal record for petty theft offences. Most were jobless.

In the winter of 2008 they resolved to go to Afghanistan to fight NATO forces. According to reports they split into four small groups early last year for the journey.

Ahmad Sidiqi, an Afghan-German whose interrogations at the U.S. air force base at Bagram triggered the recent terror alerts across Europe, travelled with his wife and brother.

Shahab Dashti, his friend, went along with his wife. Other included Naamen Meziche, who was born in Paris and Rami Makanese, 23, who was born in Frankfurt.

Meziche, a fanatic, was arrested on the way out in Syria.

The last group of three were a disaster from the start – one was arrested at Frankfurt Airport before he left, the other two were stopped at Vienna Airport and found to have a piece of paper with tips about ‘How to wage Holy War‘ written on it.

When they arrived in Pakistan, the police put them in jail and then deported them back to Germany.
In all five men and two women made it to a town in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.

‘Bedridden, feverish and afflicted with diarrhea, they were probably more of a burden than a boon to jihad,’ the article said.

They were upset at having to pay for their food and weapons. Their Taliban masters made them write begging letters home seeking more and more cash.

‘During their telephone calls and in their e-mails back home, they sounded less and less enthusiastic and more and more discouraged about waging jihad,’ the security sources said.

Sidiqui‘s younger brother was the first to pack it in and return home to his parents.

Makanese also gave in to the rough conditions. He donned a burqa to get to the German embassy in Islamabad.

He was arrested when he got back to Germany and is now in custody where he has, according to the security services, ‘been singing like a canary in the hopes of a reduced sentence when he gets to court’.

‘Shahab Dashti and Naamen Meziche were killed in a U.S. drone attack on Mir Ali two weeks ago.

‘The only people left from the original group are the two women, both of whom are now pregnant,’ said Spiegel.

It's pretty telling of the general caliber of Taliban 'recruits' from overseas and of the realities for any fool that thinks joining the Taliban might be a good idea. The people who try to join tend to be drop outs, wanna-be tough guys or romantics, a little radicalization from some nutty 'cleric' and they think that joining the Taliban would be a good career move. Take note readers, the Taliban sucks and so do the people involved!



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Going green for God

Before I start I'd like to apologize for my absence over the past few days, I have a partially good reason, honest! On Thursday I was suddenly informed that there was a GreenTech exabition coming to the city, GreenTech is one of my passions and since I am in theory the representative for my company in the ME (not quite sure what happened there, it's gone very silent) I had to drop everything, prepare my portfolio and rush over for what was a truly enlightening two days. However, one of those foreign delegates must have been carrying a nasty foreign bug and after spending Sunday traveling up and down the various bus and train lines trying to deliver a sick cat that I had rescued to a new home (a story for another time), I scummed to what can only be called 'MEGA FLU VERSION 194705' and have spent the whole of Monday in bed. Still, I'm alive and ready to blog, so let's go...

As I said above, one of my passions is GreenTech so I thought I'd write a little about that in the context of faith. GreenTech (Green Technology), also known as EnviroTech (Enviromental Technology) or CleanTech (Clean Technology) is the application of the environmental science to conserve the natural environment and resources, and to curb the negative impacts of human involvement in the world. Sustainable development is the core of environmental technologies. In other words, GreenTech is about living on this planet and not destroying it in the process.

So how is this relevant to faith? Well, for starters we humans have been gifted this earth, it is a wonderful creation and to mess it up is a sin, a huge one. Adam, the first man, was told to name the animals of this planet and, more importantly, given the duty to look after them and the earth that they, and we, live on. 

On all counts we are failing these duties and God is clearly not happy about it. Is it just me, or have there been more hurricanes, typhoons, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and so on recently? Many scientists say that all these events can be connected to how humans are messing up the earth and I agree. Clearly, God designed this earth so that when we humans started to ignore His message about looking after the planet, the planet would strike back. Recently the UN opened it's latest biodiversity convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Japan, where the Japanese environment minister revealed to the world that we may have got only 10 years to stop wreaking our home before it becomes irreversible and the Earth sets about wiping us all out over the coming generations*. I believe that, so what do we do about it? Clearly we can't expect the UN to do all that much about it, while the UN has it's many strengths it has dissolved into little more than a talking shop these days, as someone pointed out on a post below, it's human rights commission apparently praised Iran recently. Once again, it's going to be up to us, the inhabitants of this Earth and the ones whom God has entrusted His creation to. We can't rely on our 'leaders', we are going to have to do this ourselves.

How do we do this? Well, that is something I will come back to in later posts, but for now I just want you to think, think about your duties to God and His creation and, once again, think of how to work together to solve it. I know I say it a lot, but we have the tools and the power to solve this, do we want to?



* The Environment Minister argued that; "All life on Earth exists thanks to the benefits from biodiversity in the forms of fertile soil, clear water and clean air ....We are now close to a 'tipping point' - that is, we are about to reach a threshold beyond which biodiversity loss will become irreversible, and may cross that threshold in the next 10 years if we do not make proactive efforts for conserving biodiversity." In other words, the Earth is a complex interdependent machine of different species that complement each other and through the existence of one species, other species can live and visa versa. His argument is that if humans keep doing what we do and kill off species then we will wreck this 'machine' by killing of species then the Earth will cease working as it does now, parts of the 'machine' will have been irreversibly destroyed. The implications of this are huge, this 'machine' is our life support, if it stops functioning or starts behaving erratically, as it is starting to do now, then we really are dead.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New study confirms that the Pope is Catholic and wears a funny hat. Oh, and that suicide terrorism is caused by millitary occupation...

Yep, seriously, it took a 6 year study by Robert Pape and CPOST to work that one out... but it's official, when you invade a country, kill citizens and don't keep your promises, people get mad and a few of them get so mad that they attack you, sometimes by blowing themselves up. Who'd have thought that possible! I mean, surely when you invade and liberate a country like Iraq of Afghanistan the people will welcome you and shower you with flowers and suchlike. Well, actually, they did, in Iraq the army laid down it's arms (or used them to blow up portraits of Saddam) and in Afghanistan men shaved of the beards the Taliban had forced them to grow, in both countries there was celebration and the people looked forward to a new future. However, 10 years down the line and things have understandably soured, there was no plan in Iraq of Afghanistan over what to do once the country was taken over, commanders like Colonel Tim Collins who took the initiative and set up ruling bodies based on local people in southern Iraq found great success, proving what could have happened, but for the the most, nothing was done and NATO and the UN wasted a golden opportunity to really fix both countries. Now, that golden period is far in the past and with broken promises and bodies littering the streets, understandably people fight back, and some will go to extremes, especially if they have seen their families killed.

All is not lost though, in both Iraq and Afghanistan it has been shown numerous times that given half the chance the people will turn on groups like Al-Queda and the Taliban, belive me those two are hated just as much as anyone else! In Iraq, the BBC documented how local militia leaders turned on their formaer Al-Queda allies and cleared them out of their neighborhoods with US help. Similar stories are common in Afghanistan as well, recent pushes by UN and NATO forces have found that locals will quite willingly show the locations of militants, minefields, weapon caches and so on to the soldiers.

So where to now? Well, I've been saying it for a long time but it's simple, UN and NATO forces have to prove that they are in this for the locals, win their trust (again) and create stability by providing jobs and education. An employed, educated people are the enemies of the Taliban and Al-Queda which is why both groups spend a lot of effort attacking schools. Educated people can see through their false logic, the lies that they tell about Islam and employed people are more satisfied and thus less likely to consider putting on a bomb vest as a good career move. It is possible, the locals want peace, but does the UN and NATO? Time will decide and I'll be writing more on this topic later, but for now, I want to see your thoughts.



Monday, October 11, 2010

What we hope to achieve

A wonderful piece written by a Jewish Rabbi about his and his son's experience at a Muslim Iftar. It really shows how a little bit of talking and cooperation does wonders for us all. Read on, share and enjoy:

Thanks to the Imam, My Little Son Got Serious About Synagogue

It was three days before Rosh Hashanah, and I was predictably anxious about my identity, my life, about my family's Jewish future. As a good and fractious Jew, I was somewhat ambivalent about which synagogue I would go to: The one I sometimes go to? The one I would never step foot in? The one that I really should create on my own, maybe? 
This Rosh Hashanah was different for two reasons. My 87-year old mother, who lives alone 400 miles away in Boston, had pneumonia. So we were on our way to Boston, but I had to honor a commitment to my dear friend Yahya Hendi, who is an imam. He wanted the whole family, the whole world, it seems, but especially Jews and Christians, for an iftar, a very sacred celebration as a part of Ramadan. He wanted us all to share in every aspect of the evening, and so made his backyard into a center of prayer and his house into a feast. 
My son Isaac is so attached to baseball that he brings his glove and ball everywhere, just in case: you never know when you might meet another seven-year-old in search of round objects to bat, pound, throw and kick. Sure enough, Imam Hendi's young son was outside pounding a soccer ball, furiously, back and forth, by himself! Ah, a delicious sight for my son, all the right signals of a fellow juvenile madman in motion, a mark of the truly committed, those who play even by themselves! 
So Isaac lunged toward the boy, but what is this? A soccer ball?! Where is the baseball? And so I witnessed a moment of cultural crisis, that great Atlantic Ocean divide between the obsession with soccer and the obsession with baseball. Not to worry, I turned away for just a few minutes, and they were tossing the baseball. Peace on earth, goodwill toward mankind, Arab/Jewish conflict resolved, game, set, match. 
Then something strange happened to my son. The crowds parted on the grass, the Muslims came to the center and lined up precisely, and Imam Hendi called his boy to the front. The imam then gave an impassioned speech on the intense love he felt for everyone there, for all Jews and all Christians, and on how indeed there was no proper way to be a Muslim other than through love. 
My boy was watching all these men and women gather. Then Yahya's boy led the call to prayer, and my son's face was aglow with his beautiful eyes full of wonder. I stared at Isaac staring at Yahya's boy in reverence, and I, on the side, in the cool of the night, underneath brilliant stars, prayed that maybe we should just stay in that moment. 
You see, Imam Hendi felt especially motivated to gather everyone because we were days away from the spectacle of an American Quran burning. He was on television, and I was being called for a television spot that night. So here we were, Yahya and a hundred guests, prayers and blessings, my girls and his girls, my boy and his boy, and also a world gone mad. 
I noticed a change in Isaac after that night. He came to Synagogue with me, with the glove, as usual, but I caught him watching and listening intently to ceremony, mouthing many of the words he did not know yet. I saw him begin to explore his identity as a spiritual being. 
I watched a second birth, the birth of a human being who seeks out what is beyond, at first through the worship practices of the fathers and the mothers, through the ceremonies of the ancients, through engaging what has come before. 
For that second birth of my son, I have Imam Yahya Hendi to thank, a Palestinian who just buried his father back home in bad circumstances, who is fatherless now, just like me, trying to make the world safe for his beloved children. I see him there on the grass, hands raised, palms up, the stars blazing above, saying his ancient words, Allahu Akbar. I think to myself, yes, sometimes God is great, when we find the Divine Presence in the eyes of strangers, and in the loving words of long lost cousins. And I think that this year I inaugurated my Isaac on a good journey. 
Rabbi Marc Gopin, author of To Make the Earth Whole, is the James Laue Professor and Director of CRDC, George Mason University, and a co-founder of MEJDI (, a Jewish/Arab social enterprise that offers educational peace tours in support of honest businesses and social change activists.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

First they came...

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) 

The above poem sits on my wall. It was written by a Christian Pastor, Martin Niemöller, about his experience living under Nazi Germany. Pastor Niemöller was born in 1892 into a very conservative home. After graduating he served as an officer in the Imperial German Navy during the First World War, rising to become commander of a German U-boat (submarine). For his wartime achievements he was awarded an Iron Cross First Class but after the war he became disillusioned with Germany's new democratic government and resigned his commission in the Navy, choosing instead to become a Protestant preacher. Like most Protestant Pastors, he supported the rise of right wing radicals opposing Germany's new democratic government and endorsed the Nazis as they rounded up various groups to cement their power. However, unlike most pastors, he correctly saw the extreme racism exhibited by the Nazis and bravely joined a group of other pastors who declared the Aryan Paragraph, the clause in the Nazi statutes that set out discrimination against 'non-Aryans' (people who didn't fit with the idea of the 'master race', Jews, Muslims, many Catholics and almost all non white people were included as non-Aryans) incompatible with the Christian virtue of charity. For this, 800 opposing pastors and other supporters were arrested by the Nazis. Becoming disillusioned with the Nazis, he set up the Pfarrernotbund (English for 'Emergency Covenant of Pastors') to unite other pastors from various sects who opposed the Nazi's racism and policies. Hitler grew to personally detest him and eventually he was arrested and spent the duration of World War Two in a German concentration camp before being liberated by American forces in 1945.

His poem reflects all this. To begin with, as a supporter of the Nazis, Niemöller kept silent and sometimes actively supported the Nazis rounding up of left wingers (Communists and Trade Unionists in the poem) and other 'opponents' such as Jews. By the time he realized what was happening and that he too would soon be an 'opponent' due to his Christian stance against the Nazis, it was too late, he was on his own and ended up imprisoned. Had he not been liberated by the Americans, he would probably have been killed along with thousands of others who dared oppose the Nazis. But if he had chosen to oppose the Nazis earlier, along with others, then maybe the Nazis would never have risen to power.

So how is this relevant to us now? Well, there are two important lessons here. First off, there is this, just because right now you are not being oppressed, opposed and attacked unreasonably doesn't mean that it will always be like that. Once those who are attacking have finished with their target what's to say they won't pick on you? Today we see Muslims being the ones attacked, Islam being demonized, by certain groups. By and large most non Muslims just let it be, I can't say I blame them, but I ask them to think of what Niemöller wrote, think about it hard. Because who knows when they will come for you?

For Muslims it's a similar lesson. We have a whole load of people who claim to be Muslims, Bin Ladan and so fourth, who attack others. Now, while we don't exactly do nothing about it, we all know that we oppose people like this, there is more that we could be doing. Why is it that the Americans had to go and hunt Bin Ladan? Why didn't we? And why aren't we doing a little more to oppose radicalization. I know we do a lot already, but there are areas for improvement and it's a topic I will write about at a later date. Because, the question is the same, who knows when they will come for you?

At the end of the day, the power is in your hands. Non-Muslims, look at what is happening to Muslims and ask how you can help. Talk to us, we don't bite! Muslims, reach out more. We're good people but if we don't sort our our nutters then I can understand why non-Muslims doubt it sometimes. Again, the power is in your hands, use it. And remember this; 'Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, I'll try again tomorrow.'



Saturday, October 9, 2010

Do what you can

There is a story from the Bible that I think describes one of the things that this blog is about. It's about a rich man and a poor woman at the temple donation box, read on....

Near the entrance to the temple was a large box set into the ground where people would deposit their donations. Jewels, gold, silver, coins, all was accepted and it wasn't unknown for people to donate huge amounts. One rich merchant did just that, approaching the box he pulled a number of gold bars from under his expensive cloak and dropped them into the box, before clanking away under the weight of the jewelery he was wearing. 

Next up was a poor woman. Thin, bedraggled and untidy, she was the complete opposite to merchant who had come before her. She took a small copper coin, worth nearly nothing, and deposited in the box before shuffling away with her head down.

Jesus (or Isa) related this story to his followers. The rich man, he said, had given far less than the poor woman. How could this be? his followers exclaimed, One copper coin won't even buy a meal! Jesus explained It is not the quantity that you give, it's the quantity in relation to what you already own. The rich man had many more gold bars, giving away a few was at no cost to him. That copper coin was all the poor woman had and hence, in the eyes of God, she gave far more than the rich man ever gave.

This is a message we should take to heart in our daily lives. You may think you are lesser than someone else because they own more than you, because they donate more than you, because they spend more time in prayer than you, for any number of reasons. But to God, all that matters is you did what you could with what He gave you as a gift. So while someone may be giving gold bars while you only have a copper coin, just make sure that you give that copper coin.

Your coin could be many things. You could be really good at writing, so write and teach. You could find that you have an amazing ability for reading, so read and learn. You could discover a gift for speechcraft, so speak to others. Pretty soon you'll find that what you thought was a small copper coin is in fact worth more than gold bars! It doesn't matter what gifts God has given you, all that matters is you use them to the best of your ability.



Changing the lightbulb, a call to my fellow Muslims

There is a joke that I read some time ago. It goes 'How many Muslims does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: None, they'd rather sit in the dark and blame the Jews'. Now, on the face of it, that joke is just a mildly offensive renationalisation of Muslims general in-ability to do anything. Or is it? I've been thinking, are we all really just sitting in the dark? Do we really just blame someone else for our problems? And in my opinion, yes, we are. We really are sitting in the dark these days. Muslim countries are generally more backward than their 'western' counterparts, our people are often ill-educated and we seem reliant on the 'west' for so much. Oh, and we certainly spend a lot of time blaming others for our issues, we seem to be attack the 'west' continually while at the same time aspiring to be more 'western'.

Why is this? We have a great history of leading the world in so many fields, our religion encourages development. We are certainly not short on the resources front, nor on the people front. Yes, our old empires are ruins, we lost our libraries, our universities, our great cities but that was centuries ago! Why has no new great Muslim nation risen yet? Why are do we spend so much energy feuding? Why is it that the Gulf region, the 'centre' of our faith squanders it's wealth on palaces while the people live in apathy? Asia is doing better, Malaysia is a good example of a nation that's at least doing some thing right, but it's an exception rather than the norm. What about our 'Leaders'? Dictators rule supreme in our Umnah, something that Islam is against, whether it be the House of Saud or the tin pot despots that used to be in charge of places like Indonesia and Pakistan. Then we have the 'failed states', Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, what happened there? How did that go so wrong?

In my view, the answer is simple, we have lost our faith. We seem to have strayed far from the ideals of our beliefs and we now pay the consequences. Islam warns us of all the mistakes we have made, whether it be squandering our wealth, letting dictators rule, oppressing education or simply not keeping our duties, it's all there!

So, what do we do? Well, the first and most important thing is to discuss the issue and admit it is a problem. In the past, Muslims were encouraged to look at the issues we faced and sort them. There is even record of our leaders ordering this to be done!

That is where you the reader come in. The aim of this blog is to inspire us to start talking about our religion again, to face our issues and solve them. We want you, no not want, NEED, you to contribute, because the only way to solve this is together. So write, speak, make a video, draw, whatever, just do something and send it to us. We have to get our religion back and the only way to do it is to join forces and act! No one is helpless, no one can't do something, we all have something to offer here. We were each given gifts in this life, let's use them...

Cabs and blindness

I was trying to get a cab a few months back. It was Friday, I was running a little late for prayers and I really needed to get to the Mosque. I'd just arrived at the train station and was relived to see a cab waiting at the rank. I rushed over, threw open the door and told the driver where I wanted to go. '$15' the driver said. 'What?! It's $7 and you know it, run it by the meter' I exclaimed back at him. 'You want a meter cab, you go and hail one of the street' the driver replied to me haughtily and I did just that, much to his annoyance, paid $7 and was on time for Friday prayers.
About 4 hours later, having eaten with friends at the mall next to the Mosque, I once again needed a cab, this time to get home. Thankfully, by the entrance of the mall there was another rank so I walked on over and approached the first cab. Before I could reach it though a man in a smart uniform informed me I needed a ticket and directed me to an office next to the rank. Slightly confused I walked on over, queued for five minutes and got to the window. '$25' the uniformed woman stated and I handed over the money and got a slip of paper in return. I was then put in a group with a young couple who were going to the same area as me and told to wait for my 'turn'. 10 minutes later the couple and I were directed to a cab. It was only when I got home that I realized that, not only had my journey taken twice as long as normal, I'd paid $15 more than I normally would and had to share a cab (the couple were lovely BTW and we had an interesting talk on the art of growing bonsai trees, mine keep dieing and according to them it's because I don't give them enough sunlight. We live and learn...).
So, why did I do it? Why at the train station was I not prepared to pay an extra $8 dollars but at the mall meekly paid $15 extra with no fuss? It's simple really and goes down to basic human psychology, humans will do something if a person in 'authority' tells them. It's why policemen wear uniforms, they are just an ordinary person like you and me but the uniform states 'I'm in charge, do what I say'. At the mall, all the staff at 'rip you off cab company' wore uniforms and had a smart office, I wasn't prepared to challenge them because my brain said 'well, they are in charge here' and meekly handed over a vast amount of money just for a guy to stop a cab for me. I could have done that myself for free like I did at the train station!
So how is this relevant to Islam and religion? Well often I see people following so called 'scholars' saying absolutely daft things about Islam. Why? Let's take an example I heard of recently when some 'scholar' in Saudi said that sport was bad for women and lead them to hell or some such junk. If I told you that you'd quite rightly laugh at me, tell me that sport encourages healthy competition, is good for your body and that Mohamed himself prescribed a number of sports (horse riding, archery and falconry if memory serves) to Muslims. Clearly, there is nothing in Islam that says it's bad for women to get fit and partake in sport, there are rules about clothing and so on yes, but that applies for men as well. This happens a lot, all the time I hear of 'scholars' giving barmy judgments that have little to do with Islam and more to do with their own personal goals. So, why do people listen to this 'scholar' even though he's clearly talking junk? Simple, he's wearing 'uniform', in other words he has a beard and so on. Just as I followed the uniformed staff at the taxi rank even though they were clearly not working in my interest, people follow or at least don't question what these 'scholars' say due to their 'uniform'. It's not unique to Islam, I've seen plenty of nutcase Christian Priests and Jewish Rabbis spouting out junk, it's a universal problem.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying don't trust religious leaders, far from it, there are plenty of good religious leaders out there who really do speak for the faith. All I am asking you, the reader, is not to be blinded by 'uniform', to question what people say and check whether they really are following what God said, not just furthering their own agenda for their own means. As Thomas Jefferson once said “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.” He is correct, and it is fear that these 'scholars' and such like rely on, your fear of questioning and thinking for yourself. So don't fear, trust in God and think!