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….the true and authentic teachings of Islam promote the sanctity of human life, dignity of all humans, and respect of human, civil and political rights. Islamic teachings uphold religious freedom and adherence to the same universal moral values which are accepted by the majority of people of all backgrounds and upon which the US Constitution was established and according to which the Bill of Rights was enunciated.

……we the members of FCNA (Fiqh Council of North America) believe that it is false and misleading to suggest that there is a contradiction between being faithful Muslims committed to God (Allah) and being loyal American citizens. Islamic teachings require respect of the laws of the land where Muslims live as minorities, including the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so long as there is no conflict with Muslims’ obligation for obedience to God. We do not see any such conflict with the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. The primacy of obedience to God is a commonly held position of many practicing Jews and Christians as well.
We believe further that as citizens of a free and democratic society, we have the same obligations and rights of all US citizens. We believe that right of dissent can only be exercised in a peaceful and lawful manner to advance the short and long term interests of our country.

The Fiqh Council of North America calls on all Muslim Americans and American citizens at large to engage in objective, peaceful and respectful dialogue at all levels and spheres of common social concerns. We call upon all Muslim Americans to be involved in solving pressing social problems, such as the challenge of poverty, discrimination, violence, health care and environmental protection. It is fully compatible with Islam for Muslims to integrate positively in the society of which they are equal citizens, without losing their identity as Muslims (just as Jews and Christians do not lose their religious identity in doing the same).

 

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Saw this map on a tweet made by Glen Greenwald where he states, rhetorically I can only assume, how much of a threat Iran is to the US.  Certainly he doesn’t mean to the “homeland” but it’s hard to imagine who else Iran is threatening with the demographics illustrated above.  I’m sure we can find someone who will be scared enough to insist America use its peace dividend gained by a withdrawal from Iraq to fight a war with Iran.  Stay tuned.

Gaddafi is dead


and this is all you need to know about that

A Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, was found guilty of the bombing [of Pan Am flight 103] by a Scottish court in the Hague, his co-defendant, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, being acquitted. At long last there was going to be some kind of closure for the families.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

What’s wrong is that the evidence against Megrahi was stretched thin to the point of transparency. Indeed, the court verdict might be dubbed Supreme Court II [a reference to the Bush v. Gore decision that put George W. Bush in the White House], another instance of non-judicial factors clouding judicial reasoning.

The key charge against Megrahi — the sine qua non — is that he caused a suitcase with explosives to be loaded at Malta airport and tagged it so it would pass through Malta, Frankfurt and London airports without an accompanying passenger and without being detected.

That by itself would have been a major feat and so unlikely to happen that any terrorist with any common sense would have found a better way. But aside from anything else, we have this — as to the first step, loading the suitcase at Malta: there is no witness, no video, no document, no fingerprints, no forensic evidence of any kind linking Megrahi — or anyone else — to such an act.

And the court admits it: “The absence of any explanation of the method by which the primary suitcase might have been placed on board KM180 [Air Malta] is a major difficulty for the Crown case.”

in other words because of the political winds of the time, not evidence, Libya had to be implicated in an act of terror that they most likely had nothing to do with.  It’s important to keep in mind, as Robert Parry says,

As Americans turn to their news media to make sense of the upheavals in the Middle East, it’s worth remembering that the bias of the mainstream U.S. press corps is most powerful when covering a Washington-designated villain, especially if he happens to be Muslim.

The other thing you need to know about Gaddafi’s death is this tidbit from South Carolina US senator Lindsey Graham who said

Let’s get in on the ground. There is a lot of money to be made in the future in Libya. Lot of oil to be produced. Let’s get on the ground and help the Libyan people establish a democracy and a functioning economy based on free market principles.

I hope the Libyans see this guy coming before he gets there and hoodwinks them much like he has their counterparts here in America.

Viva la Tunisia


Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab spring, and it seems its fervor hasn’t diminished one bit.

Sara Besbes, Tunis and Africa’s fencing champion, Tuesday refused to play against an Israeli player during the 2011 World Fencing Championship in Catania, southern Italy, according to Panorama.It website.

It said Besbes, who comes from a family of great fame in fencing, reached the final round where she had to play against an Israeli player. However, she stood still on the platform, pointing her sword toward the ground and refusing to move as a sign she was boycotting the Israeli athlete but without officially announcing it to avoid punitive measures by the judges.

The Never-ending Terror Threat


By Ivan Eland

Now that the big kahuna — Osama bin Laden — has been killed, the “War on Terror” is much less exciting.

Even before Osama’s demise, experts sent chills through the massive post-9/11 U.S. government anti-terrorism bureaucracies by concluding that the threat from al-Qaeda had been much weakened by the group’ s own bloody excesses against civilians, many of whom were Muslims.

Yet the way government works, every agency needs a threat to hype to keep the cash flowing in from scared taxpayers. So the anti-terrorism agencies need to keep the threat, however declining, fresh in the public mind and publicize their efforts to successfully combat the danger.

Recently, two incidents illustrate the extent of the government’s refrain that the “terrorists are (still) coming, the terrorists are (still) coming!”

As the public has tired of drawn-out, muddled and costly (in blood and treasure) counterinsurgency wars in faraway places that seem to have only a tangential relationship to battling insidious terrorists, technology has ridden to the rescue.

Now any U.S. president can kill potential terrorists with pilotless drone aircraft much more cheaply and without casualties from putting troops on the ground. For example, the U.S. is using such technology in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen to take out alleged Islamic terrorists.

Recently, an American drone successfully assassinated Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who spoke fluent English and was inspiring Islamist militants with charismatic speeches. U.S. authorities also made vague allegations that he was operationally involved in the BVD (underwear) bombing and a plot to blow cardboard boxes on cargo planes out of the sky.

Even disregarding the obvious problem of what legal authority the United States used to justify violating the Fifth Amendment’ s prohibition on taking life, liberty or property without due process — the Justice Department’ s legal memo justifying Awlaki’ s killing is classified, and Awlaki doesn’ t seem to be covered by the post-9/11 authorization for war, which only approved military action against those who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks or harbored the attackers — the U.S. government clearly hyped the threat that Awlaki posed.

Awlaki was little known in the Middle East, and one knowledgeable scholar termed him “a-dime-a-dozen cleric.” Thus, his importance to the war on terror was largely a creation of the American government and media.

Seeing the opportunity for some free publicity — what terrorists crave — al-Qaeda then pushed Awlaki further into the manufactured limelight.

And now that the U.S. has made him a martyr by assassinating him on the basis of secret criteria, vague allegations, and no due process, the State Department had to put out a worldwide travel alert to American citizens warning of retaliatory attacks to avenge Awlaki’s death.

Also as part of the post-9/11 terrorism hype, the government has created a terrorist watch list containing 420,000 names, with no public disclosure of the criteria used to put that many people on it and no due process for such persons to answer the allegations. If only a fraction of that massive and wildly inflated list is trying to do harm to the United States, we are all in trouble.

In sum, in the war on terror, the U.S. government hypes the threat to justify expanding anti-terrorism efforts and budgets, argues that war is the only means to effectively combat the inflated threat (instead of using low-key intelligence and law enforcement measures, which don’t generate more terrorists by poking the hornet’s nest), and creates a wider retaliatory threat by using such draconian military action.

This wider danger is used to justify the need for even harsher military action, and the action-reaction cycle escalates. In sum, the government is creating the demand for its own services; private businesses should be in awe of such ability.

And not only is the government hyping the terrorist threat, it is creating it.

Like the hapless BVD bomber, who didn’t even have a bomb big enough to bring down the airliner, a graduate student the FBI recently arrested for plotting to blow up the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol with hobbyists’ remote-controlled aircraft would have been foiled by the fact that the planes just couldn’t carry enough explosives to do the job.

The student, a U.S. citizen, got very different treatment than Awlaki. Instead of being assassinated, he was arrested, but before that, the U.S. government purposefully helped him. The government, in order to entrap him, gave him money and grenades, assault rifles, C-4 plastic explosives, and even the remote-controlled aircraft to carry out the attack.

Without all this money and equipment, the student would have likely been no threat at all. In fact, according to The New York Times, Carmen M. Ortiz, the U.S. attorney in Boston, admitted, “The public was never in danger from the explosive devices.”

This is not an isolated case. In similar cases, the FBI has provided the means to carry out terrorist attacks but then arrested the alleged plotter. Such entrapment provides opportunities for people to do what they otherwise would not or could not do.

And Muslims have complained that the FBI is targeting their community with such “gotcha” tactics.

Such governmental hyping of the terrorist threat, or actual creation of it, to justify greater federal coercive action makes one wonder whether to fear more the low probability of a successful terrorist attack or the massive, expensive and intrusive government efforts to combat it.

What a difference a year makes


Last year about this time there were demonstrations in New York city in opposition to the building of a community center which would feature a mosque, among other places of worship, at Park 51.  Islamophobes whipped up anti Islamic fervor and garnered a lot of media attention surrounding their racist rants.  We were inundated, regaled with news articles like this and this and this. One could make the case that such constant exposure in the media was an incitement to the mosque’s opponents to continue their assault against the First amendment to the Constitution.  The New York city demonstrations were duplicated in other cities across the country, taking the form of “anti-sharia” protests, intimating that as the number of mosques grew in America the possibility of Americans being ruled by Islamic law would increase too.  Faulty assumptions built on racial prejudice, that were never called that and magnified under the  full light of America’s media and gobbled up by America’s darkside, the Ground Zero mosque debacle was fully embraced by America.  One year later and Park 51 mosque has opened, people are praying there, life is still being lived and America is no worse for that event taking place as it should have.  It is correct to point out, albeit more pointedly than a writer here that the furor over the Park 51 mosque was indeed racist, fueled by a racist media, and particularly FoxNews, that journalistic anathema  that has soiled the American conscious.

A year later and what has changed is this, there is a ground swell against the nefarious activity of Wall Street bankers who have profited greatly at the expense of  the American economy through business transactions which solely benefited them.  What has also changed is the American media’s ignoring these protests which have been equally vociferous and as well attended but which have far more impact on the lives of every American than the building of a place of worship in New York city.  Media some say  serves as a source of intelligence for the public about what is or should be important to them but it has failed miserably in the two instances for this piece, over emphasizing Park 51 demonstrators while ignoring Occupy Wall Street protestors.  It appeared media’s intent was to neglect the protests in hopes they would fizzle out, disperse and quietly go away.  That hasn’t happened, I’m sure much to the chagrin of a lot of hand wringing execs in news rooms who must now cover these protests.

If you want to know what are the goals of these demonstrations, why are they being held and what it is the people taking part in them want, you can find that information below.

 

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