Repeal, abolish the Military Commission Act

The judiciary branch of the government has handed down another defeat to President Bush when it declared a detainee in Guantanamo was improperly labeled an enemy combatant.

A three judge-panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said Huzaifa Parhat (pronounced hoo-ZY’-fah PAHR’-haht), a Chinese Muslim known as a Uighur, is not an enemy combatant, undermining the basis for his more than six years in detention.  The court rejected the Bush administration’s argument that the president has the power to detain people who never took up arms against the U.S.

In the Military Commission Act of 2006 there are two “enemy combatant” designations. One lawful and the other unlawful. Parhat falls under the latter category and specifically this application of the law was used against him:

a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.

Whether this ruling means the provision in the Act is unconstitutional or not is undetermined.  There are scores of detainees in Guantanamo who were sold to the US military by Northern Alliance members in the early stages of the conflict in Afghanistan who probably had similar circumstances as Parhat, i.e. they were captured without bearing arms or firing on American forces, who should be likewise released.  There are scores of other prisoners of Guantanamo who have already been released without charge after being imprisoned for years.  Both presidential candidates have called for Guantanamo Bay’s facilities to be closed, and that’s one thing I applaud them for but the stain the facility has left on America’s moral cloth is indisputable.  Holding people indefinitely, without the hope of a trial and/or exoneration is torture in and of itself, and something that was repudiated by the “founding fathers” of this country.  It is a national disgrace that we have let that moral guide evade our collective consciousness.  I am glad to see that the judicial branch of the government has redeemed us.

World’s Top Ten Intellectuals are all Muslims

Imagine that; at least according to the secular magazine, Foreign Policy, which conducted a poll of who are the world’s top public intellectuals.  Of course one has to add the caveat it’s a rather unscientific poll.  However, over 500,000 responded to this poll and here are the results:

FETHULLAH GÜLEN-Religious leader • Turkey

MUHAMMAD YUNUS-Microfinancier, activist • Bangladesh

YUSUF AL-QARADAWI-Cleric • Egypt/Qatar

ORHAN PAMUK-Novelist • Turkey

AITZAZ AHSAN-Lawyer, politician • Pakistan

AMR KHALED-Muslim televangelist • Egypt

ABDOLKARIM SOROUSH-Religious theorist • Iran

TARIQ RAMADAN-Philosopher, scholar of Islam • Switzerland

MAHMOOD MAMDANI-Cultural anthropologist • Uganda

SHIRIN EBADI-Lawyer, human rights activist • Iran

Quite a potpourri of schools of thought and political philosophies.  I don’t see any warriors,  jihadists, former al-Qaida members  on the list although some would try to argue that Qaradawi or Ramadan might qualify for that title.  What this list does show is the diversity inherent in the world wide Muslim community and the appreciation Muslims have for people of all walks of life who make a contribution to the benefit of their way of life.