Muslim Congress of N. America condemns savage killing of James Foley

What follows is a text of an email sent to subscribers to Muslim Congress’ newsletter. Muslim Congress is a North American based organization. You can visit their website here.

Dear brothers and sisters, assalamu alaikum

On Tuesday 19th, August 2014, James Foley an American videographer and reporter, abducted 21 months ago in Syria near the Turkish border, was beheaded by the savage terrorist group, ISIS. And the gruesome video of this decapitation was put on the internet as a threat to others.

This savage act of slaughtering human beings on camera or slitting chests of dead soldiers have now become commonplace; something that was unimaginable until a few months ago. Dropping workers from roofs of government offices in Syria or beheading and summarily executing Shia and Sunni Muslims, Christians and other people in Iraq are similar beastly crimes being routinely committed today. If the Western media and governments had taken this threat of religious extremism seriously and used its leverage over the corrupt Saudi and Qatari undemocratic West-sponsored despotic regimes backing such terrorist groups and had forced them to nip their financial and military support to ISIS in its bud, James Foley would not have become a victim of this slaughter.

Muslim Congress unequivocally and categorically condemns this indescribable barbaric tragedy, and offers condolence to James’ parents John and Diane Foley. May his soul rest in peace. According to the Islamic teachings of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his progeny, people of all faiths – Christians, Jews, Hindus etc must be respected and dealt with the best of morals and ethics. Similarly the rights of reporters, journalists, other professionals and all civilians must be honored.

wassalam
Muslim Congress

Compilation of Muslim fatwas, protests, statements against ISIS/ISIL/IS

It is a refrain often heard-especially from Zionists and their right wing partners in North America and  Europe-why don’t Muslims condemn groups like ISIS? Of course, this is a contrived indignation that has at its core hostility to Islam and Muslims. Muslims are the biggest victims of groups like ISIS. Furthermore, condemnation has been swift and widespread. So, in order to provide our readers with a resource that they can readily use in the face of some bigoted attack, we will compile a list of prominent Muslims and Muslim organizations as they condemn ISIS. There are so many Muslim protests and fatwas and statement against ISIS that it will take time to tally all of them. It should be noted that ISIS is not a sectarian issue as the BBC and others like to insinuate. The international condemnations below are from disparate groups across the whole Muslim spectrum. We will add to this list on a continuous basis.

1) Muslim leaders in the UK issue a fatwa against ISIS:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/aug/31/british-muslim-leaders-fatwa-jihadists-islamic-state-isis

2) Noted Muslim cleric in Kerala (India) issues fatwa against ISIS:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/muslim-cleric-in-kerala-issues-fatwa-against-isis/article6365856.ece

3) Norway Muslims protest against ISIS:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/25/norway-muslims-protest-islamic-state_n_5711107.html

4) Michigan Muslims protest against ISIS:

http://www.ijreview.com/2014/08/171666-muslims-denounce-isis-enemies-humanity-dearborn-michigan/

5) Calgary Muslims protest ISIS:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/hundreds-of-calgary-muslims-protest-isis-violence-in-iraq-1.2683589

6) Ayatollah Sistani urged jihad against ISIS while condemning any Shia excesses against their Sunni brethren in retaliation (the links on this are widespread. just Google it).

http://www.iraqinews.com/baghdad-politics/ki-moon-supports-ayatollah-sistani-s-call-to-keep-away-from-sectarianism/

7) Imam of Al Aqsa mosque condemns ISIS:

8) Calgary Imam goes on hunger strike to protest ISIS:

9) Iranian air force jets deployed to fight ISIS:

10) King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia condemns ISIS and like groups:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/amid-isis-violence-saudi-arabia-king-abdullah-warns-of-threat-to-us/

11) Syed Hasan Nasrallah of Hizbollah condemns ISIS:

http://www.tehrantimes.com/world/117721-isil-is-a-monster-that-threatens-everyone-nasrallah

12) Muslim Congress, a North America based organization, has sent an email to its members strongly condemning the brutal murder of James Foley. You can read the text here. 

13) Al Azhar (one of the centers of learning for Sunni Muslims) graduate rejects ISIS and its notion of the “caliphate”.

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2014/07/syria-iraq-isis-caliphate-egypt-azhar-reaction.html#

 

Comments section

Recently, one of the writers at Muslim Perspectives had a very good exchange with some Israel supporters on the Jerusalem Post (Israeli newspaper) website. The Israel supporters were clearly impressed. One of them even referred to the poster as a “clever Iranian,” though the poster is not Iranian. The point is, the exchange was productive. It was polite. The MP poster made his point: the Zionist state should be disbanded and a referendum should be held in Palestine. A few days later, the poster noticed that the Jpost staff had removed all his posts and left up the responses for no apparent reason. Actually, we know the reason. The posts were succinct, and the pro-Israelis had no answer. It was censorship at its best. Given that experience, we are starting a new trend. We are going to post comments made by our staff on various platforms here. This one was made on the New York Times website for the comments section of a story entitled: “Army Know-How Seen as Factor in ISIS Successes” and is posted here in case it is not approved or removed:

If only U.S. policy makers had listened to experts such as Alastair Crooke, a former MI6 agent and foreign policy aide to former EU foreign policy representative Javier Solano. The reality is that the Middle East comes from a different historical paradigm. There are two main groups within the ME and beyond: Islamic groups such as Hamas, Hizbollah, Islamic Jihad, Muslim Brotherhood and others that believe in nation states, believe in the ballot box, believe in compromise. These groups comprise the majority of Muslims who are what the West labels “Islamist.” Then there are groups such as ISIS, that are products of Saudi Arabia and its ideology and that were supposed to have been controlled by the Saudis. However, they have gone rogue, to put it politely. The Israelis, ever self interested (as they should be) constantly try to conflate the two, and a lot of American officials are duped. Its a shame. Hizbollah has been fighting ISIS for two years. Its time we asked them for help. Hamas has been ruthless in stopping ISIS like groups in Gaza. Its time we asked them for help. Iran as well. Syria too. Its time we got real, before there is a 9/11 like tragedy again (God forbid) and we are left scratching our heads.

Saudi Arabia and ISIS

And ISIS threatens Saudi Arabia too: “The kingdom is calling in favours from Egypt and Pakistan. No one is certain what ISIS has planned, but it’s clear a group like this will target Mecca if it can. We expect them [Da’ish] to run out of steam; but no one is taking any chances,” said an adviser to the Saudi government.

What we are seeing here – in the Sunni sphere – is the turning upside down of a strategy that has been the bedrock of US and western Middle East thinking for the last 60 years: the idea that Saudi Arabia could ‘manage’ Sunni Islam to promote its interest to have ‘Islam’ attenuated down to having ‘one voice (Salafist), one authority (the King) and one reading of the Qur’an (and thereby control over the mosque) – whilst simultaneously facilitating US policy objectives in the Middle East and beyond.

Sunni Islam was ‘managed’ in order to contain Soviet influence in the Middle East; to undermine Ba’athism and Nasserism; to defeat the USSR in Afghanistan; to contain Iran; to undermine President Assad in Syria and to launch a coup against Prime Minister Maliki in Iraq. This intimate relationship effectively tied the West closely to Gulf security, and through its diverse intersections (Sandhurst, West Point, Wall Street and the City), western governments have come to deeply assimilate the Gulf ‘narrative’. The handing over to Europe and America of the baton of the Saudi ‘narrative’ has facilitated the painting of Saudi’s regional rival (Iran) as the dangerous ‘other’, in western eyes.

For most of this period, Saudi Arabia did indeed manage and finance the ‘genie’ of fired-up Sunni radicalism in the joint interest of Saudi Arabia and the US. Even Al-Qae’da itself really lay still within the Wahhabist paradigm. But Da’ish does not. It is truly at war with the Kingdom, unlike Saudi Arabia’s faux conflict with Bin Ladenism. ISIS contemptuously dismisses the three pillars of Saudi legitimacy and authority, and has reinterpreted Islamic history in order to wage war and to seize power: and the Gulf States are squarely in its sights. The genie has turned  on the master who originally conjured it out from its bottle.

The quote above is from the website Conflicts Forum (Conflictsforum.org) and the full article can be found here. It is from an analysis of ISIS and Saudi Arabia’s role in the mess that is occurring in Iraq. The author is Alastair Crooke. He is a sagacious analyst, and worth reading regularly. Here is a detailed introduction to him from the website itself:

 

Director and Founder of Conflicts Forum based in Beirut. He was formerly advisor on Middle East issues to Javier Solana, the EU Foreign Policy Chief. He also was a staff member of Senator George Mitchell’s Fact Finding Committee that inquired into the causes of the Intifada (2000-2001) and was adviser to the International Quartet. He facilitated various ceasefires in the Occupied Territories and the withdrawal of occupying forces on 2 occasions. Alastair has had 20 years’ experience working with Islamist movements, and has extensive experience working with movements such as Hamas, Hezbollah and other Islamist movements in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East. He is a member of the UN’s Alliance of Civilization’s Global Experts. His book, Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution was published in February 2009 and he is a frequent contributor in the international press, both writing articles and TV and radio commentary.

New York Times essay highlights Jewish struggle against Zionism

As we have said innumerable times before, Jewish people as a whole are good people. They are immensely talented. Zionism is an aberration. It was a reaction to the horrors of the holocaust. Zionism was the exploitation of the fear and anger of Jews at their treatment in Europe to in turn oppress the innocent people of Palestine. It was started by people who had no affinity for Judaism. It was a cynical power move. It is now failing. Israel has made Jews around the world less safe. Jews are increasingly nervous about Zionism. Even the most ardent among them is having a hard time justifying the wanton killing of innocents in Gaza. The New York Times publication of this article on its website is a testament to the loosening of Zionism’s grip on America. It might take two generations or more, but Israel won’t last long at this rate. The biggest enemies of Zionism will turn out to be Zionists themselves. Their racism, arrogance, violence and hatred will be their undoing. You can read the article here.

Video: Guantanamo guard converts to Islam

 

All credit for this goes to Vice News. This is a Vice News video. As a warning to all Muslims and non Muslims who like to protect their vision from anything untoward, please be careful if you do decide to visit the Vice website. It does have sections and content that are not suitable.

Having said that the video below makes for compelling viewing. It is about Terry Holdbrooks, a former Guantanamo guard who has since converted to Islam.


 

 

James Foley and his brutal murder.

The video of James Foley’s brutal murder filled me with horror, sympathy and anger. The horror was visceral, at the mere thought of what had transpired (I tried watching one beheading video a few years ago and was so traumatized that I haven’t even tried again). The sympathy was for this poor man, who did not deserve to be killed in this manner. The sympathy was also for his family. As a Muslim, I cannot even begin to express my condolences and sympathy for his family. The anger I felt was directed at multiple points: Primarily it was directed at ISIL. This cancer must be eradicated, plain and simple. The people who have bought into this twisted ideology understand only one thing: power. They need to be eradicated, period.

Unfortunately Hizbollah, Iran and others who have been fighting ISIL, Jabahat al Nusra and other Al Qaeda like groups in Syria and according to certain reports in Iraq have gotten no outside support. (Click here to read Syed Hassan Nasrallah, General Secretary of Hizbollah express his opinion on ISIS/ISIL).  This is in large part due to the fact that Israeli, big oil, arms manufacturers and other interest groups are determined not to let the American public learn about a reality that is well known in the Middle East: Hizbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups that believe in the integrity of nation states, the power of the ballot box and democracy are the archenemies of groups such as ISIL, which subscribes to an ideology that originated in Saudi Arabia. The reality is that the seeds for ISIL were planted in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of that country. Saudi, Pakistani and American intelligence agencies all played their role. President Regan invited Taliban representatives to the Oval Office and called them heroes. The Haaretz (an Israeli newspaper) recently ran a piece that cheerfully pointed out that ISIL was “refreshing” because they had no intention of attacking Israel. ISIL has also put out statement in which they have made clear that their primary target are Shia Muslims, not the Israelis. Prince Bandar, the former Saudi intelligence chief, was one of the architects of Jabahat al Nusra, an Al Qaeda inspired group that was rivalling ISIL at one point. Now, Jabahat al Nusra fighters have joined ISIL in droves. The irony here is that Jabahat al Nusra were supported by both Ayman Az Zawahiri, the current head of Al Qaeda as well as the Saudi government, not to mention the Turks and with a wink and a nod the Americans. ISIL is like Frankenstein, the ideology it espouses closely represents Saudi Wahhabi ideology, yet the original pit bull (Taliban etc.) has given birth to young that have turned on their masters. The Saudis are now just as terrified of ISIL as anyone else, in large part due to the support it finds within the Saudi regime. Let’s not forget that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, yet the U.S. government has redacted and refused to share any information that may signal Saudi complicity in the 9/11 tragedy. Furthermore, relatives of Usama bin Laden were allowed to fly out of the U.S. at a time when U.S. Senators could not catch a plane. They left without any questioning, quietly in the middle of the night.

All this aside, the Israelis never miss an opportunity to present ISIL and Hamas/Hizbollah as the same brand of “terrorists” They know full well that by doing so, they are gunning for a scenario that would result in a broad, unlimited war with a vast swath of Muslims in the Middle East, thus saving their apartheid state from the righteous anger of millions of Muslims and non-Muslims. The reality is that Hizbollah is hugely popular with Christians in Lebanon while ISIL is slaughtering them when it can. The reality is that Hamas governs a besieged, impoverished open air prison in which both Muslims and Christian Arabs suffer equally. Christian Arabs support Hamas as much as their Muslim brethren and are united in their opposition to the brutal Israel regime. Despite the efforts of pro-Israeli writers such as Jonathan Schanzer, the fact is that Christians in Gaza have lived unmolested by Hamas since it took over the poverty stricken enclave in 2007.

In our humble opinion, the American people need to wake up.  Israeli, big oil and other interest groups that are pushing an agenda that lumps organizations such as Hizbollah with ISIL must be given a clear message: “your vested interests will not be allowed to jeopardize world peace.” The irony is that Israel is right now engaged in protracted negotiations with Hamas for a Gaza cease fire as it mounts a public relations campaign that attempts to conflate ISIL and Hamas. Wonder what would happen if the Israelis tried to “negotiate” with ISIL. It is time that the people of the United States realized that there are two groups within the Middle East: the majority, who do not harbor any enmity to the U.S. apart from its support of Israel and its opposition to their democratic right to control their countries and resources as they see fit, and a small minority that subscribe to a deadly ideology that represents Islam about as much as the LRA represents Christianity.

So what is the solution? The solution is for Western states, particularly the United States to subscribe to a foreign policy that does not have control of energy resources as its central driving tenant. It is the drive to have absolute control of resources that precipitated the European and then American support of their European proxy Israel. Israel has long ago lost any foreign policy utility (if indeed it ever had any, but that is not an argument for this article) in terms of securing resources. Gone are the days when resources could be won by direct or indirect (proxies such as Israel and client states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc) intervention.

Instead, the answer is to let genuine grass roots reform and political development take place in the Middle East. Israel should be dismantled. It is a threat to both Jews and Muslims. Instead, democracy is the solution to the issue of Palestine. A democratic, unitary state should come into existence, with (for example) a Jewish President, Muslim Prime Minister and Christian Speaker of the House. To some, this may seem implausible, but the reality is that until the 1920s, Jews and Arabs coexisted peacefully in the region.

If this central issue can be resolved, and if the West can resist interfering in the internal affairs of the Muslim lands, then the incentive to label and demonize genuine, grass roots Islamic-democratic systems such as Iran, Hizbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood will disappear. Proof of this is Hizbollah and Iran’s fight against ISIS for the past two years. Saudi Arabia’s animosity to the Muslim Brotherhood is also a component of this very dynamic. If this is allowed to happen, then groups such as ISIS will disappear virtually over night as their natural enemies (i.e. Islamic groups that oppose such a nihilistic vision that is anti-Islamic) rally to destroy them.

 

U.S. media glosses over blockading of Israeli ships in California

It is amazing how the U.S. media continues to ignore the blockading of an Israeli ship attempting to unload at a Oakland, CA port. Protestors and workers who are members of the  International Longshoremen and Warehousemen Unions (a group which also stood against the South African apartheid regime in 1984) are blocking the Zionist ship. The Zionist crews have tried various tactics such as trying to offload cargo early in the morning etc., but have failed so far. This story was reported by Al Akhbar English. You can read the full story here. The story was reported on the websites of Washingtonpost.com and other electronic outlets, but has not been featured as a main story or story of any significance on any major network.