Thursday, March 31, 2011

Prophet Muhammad In Hindu Scriptures


The advent of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned more than once in the Hindu scriptures.


By Jamal Badawi
Muslim Intellectual — Canada
Thursday, 07 December 2006 00:00
Courtesy Of "On Islam"


Hindu scriptures are divided into three basic categories: Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas. There are differences about the age of those scriptures; some people believe that they go back almost 4,000 years.
One of the amazing prophecies in these Hindu scriptures is the one on the tongue of Maharshi Vyasa, a Hindu saint, that states that the land of Arabs will be corrupted by the evil doers — maybe a reference to the pre-Islamic pagans; and that Mahamad — a slight adulteration of the name Muhammad — will come and guide those who went astray. He will be circumcised, bearded, eloquent; he will create a great revolution; he will announce the call for prayers; he will eat of the meat of lawful animals but not of the swine; and he will fight against irreligious nations. All these descriptions meet Prophet Muhammad (Vidyarthi).
Bhavishya Purana, one of the most important Puranas, includes another prophecy that states that in a foreign country a spiritual teacher whose name is Muhammad will come; he will be a dweller of Arabia; he will gather a large force to fight or kill the devil; and God will protect him from his opponents.   Prophet Muhammad Mentioned In The Upanishad Some Hindu scholars consider the Upanishads scripture to be superior to the Vedas, because they impart divine knowledge and teach how the human soul can get nearer to its Maker and Master.

The Muslim testimony of faith is mentioned in the Upanishads.
The most important  prophecy in it is the one that mentions the coming of Prophet Muhammad by name, and the Muslim testimony of faith — there is no God but Allah — is repeated more than once in it.
As a result of the clarity and explicitness of that prophecy, some Hindus actually enter into Islam, which has led some Hindu scholars to claim that perhaps this prophecy was written by a Hindu pundit who converted to Islam. But this is refuted because this prophecy was referred to in some of the ancient Hindu books that predate the advent of Islam or Muslims to India (Vidyarthi). In the Allo Upanishad, the following description of God is given: the name of the deity is Allah, He is one, the King of all the world, He is the Magnificent, the Greatest of all, the Best, the Most Perfect , the Holiest of all, the Nourisher of the whole world, the Manifester of the earth and the space, and the Lord of all creation.
He created the sun, the moon, the stars, and the heavens. He is the Nourisher of all the birds, beasts, animals that live in the sea and those that are not visible to the eye. He is the remover of all evils and calamities, and Muhammad is the apostle of Allah.
Prophet Muhammad Mentioned In The Vedas The third basic category of Hindu scriptures is called the Veda. In the Atharva Veda, it is mentioned that the praiseworthy among people shall be praised; it is known that the name Muhammad in Arabic actually means "the praiseworthy."
It also states that the promised prophet will be a camel rider, which is interesting because Indian prophets were forbidden to ride camels. Prophet Jesus, according to the New Testament, rode on an ass but not on a camel, but it is well known that Prophet Muhammad rode a camel.
The seventh mantra also speaks about someone who is going to be a guide to all people, and Prophet Muhammad always emphasized that he was not sent to a particular people, like Israelites alone or Arabs alone, but to the whole world.
The sixth mantra speaks about some of the brave people who vanquished without a battle and that the number of their opponents was 10,000, which could be a reference to the battle of the allies or the trench that took place during Prophet Muhammad's time. The number of the people who put a siege around Madinah were indeed 10,000, and they were vanquished without a battle because God sent a hurricane that finally, after a long siege, forced them to leave.
In the Rig Veda, it speaks about a person who is described as truthful and trustworthy, powerful and generous who will be famous with 10,000. All these are the characteristics of Prophet Muhammad, and the number 10,000 could be a possible reference to the number of the Companions of Prophet Muhammad who entered Makkah victoriously. Works Cited Vidyarthi, Abdul Haq. Muhammad in World Scriptures. New Delhi: Adam Publishers, 1990.
Adapted from a lecture in Dr. Jamal Badawi’s Islamic Teachings series.
Dr. Jamal Badawi is a professor of management and religious studies, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Anti-Semitism = Islamophobia



By Lesley Hazleton
Posted on March 8, 2011
Courtesy Of "The Accidental Theologist"

This past weekend, I spoke to a Hadassah meeting – the Women’s Zionist Organization of America.  The subject, of my choosing, was “What’s a ‘nice Jewish girl’ doing writing so much about Islam?”


The easy answer to the question I’d self-imposed was “Why not?”  A perfectly reasonable answer, perhaps, but not with bigots like Peter King about to begin his witch hunt this week in the form ofcongressional hearings on the alleged “radicalization” of American Muslims.

The real answer is that it’s precisely because I’m Jewish that I find myself writing so much about Islam these days.  Because as a Jew, I know the dangers of prejudice.  And I can smell it a mile off.  When I hear someone talk about “the Jewish mentality,” I know I’m listening to an anti-Semite.  How else stereotype millions of people that way?   Just as when I read someone like Ayaan Hirsi Ali talking about “the Muslim mentality,” I know — no matter how pretty she is, how soft-spoken, and how compelling her life story – that I am listening to an Islamophobe.
And I recognize that anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are two sides of the exact same coin:  the stereotyping of millions of people by the actions of a few.  That is, prejudice.
So it’s particularly painful, let alone absurd and self-defeating and dumb, to see that some Islamophobes are Jewish.  And equally painful – and absurd and self-defeating and dumb – to see that some Muslims are anti-Semitic.
I have no statistics to say what proportion of Jews are Islamophobic or what proportion of Muslims are anti-Semitic (though I could doubtless make some up and throw them out there with such an air of authority that they’d be repeated ad infinitumuntil they achieve the status of “fact”).   But the Muslim Brotherhood, for all the changes it has undergone, still distributes The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.  And while anti-Zionism does not necessarily mean anti-Semitism, there is a clear overlap, with a venemous hatred finding its outlet in what is now the more acceptable form of anti-Zionism.
So we need to be clear.  We badly need it.
“Islam” did not attack the US on 9/11;  eighteen people with a particularly twisted and distorted idea of Islam did.  “The Jews” do not shoot Palestinian farmers in the West Bank;   Bible-spouting settlers with a particularly twisted and distorted idea of Judaism do.
The Quran is no more violent or misogynistic than the Bible.  In fact it’s less so.  If you insist, as Islamophobes do, on highlighting certain phrases, then you should turn around and do the same with the Bible, which you will find ten times worse, with repeated calls for the destruction of whole peoples. Only the dumbest, most literal, hate-filled fundamentalist, Jewish or Muslim, takes the rules of ancient warfare as a guide to 21st-century life.
We have to stop this stereotyping.  Now.  All of us.
We have to recognize prejudice not only in others, but in ourselves, Jewish or Muslim.
We have to be able to see that the anti-Semitic trope of “the Jews” trying to take over the world is exactly the same as the Islamophobic one of “the Muslims” trying to take over the world.
We have to acknowledge that an Islamophobic Jew is thinking exactly like an anti-Semite.  And that an anti-Semitic Muslim is thinking exactly like an Islamophobe.
We have to realize that American Jews need to stand up with Muslims against Islamophobia just as American Muslims need to stand up with Jews against anti-Semitism.
Because Islamophobia is, in essence, another form of anti-Semitism, and vice versa.  And it’s in the direct interest of both Jews and Muslims — of all of us — to stand up and confront both forms of prejudice.
In the famous words of an anti-Nazi Protestant pastor during World War II:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

The CIA and The Western Media



An Empire Of Lies

By Jonathan Cook
March 25, 2011
Courtesy Of "Another World Is Possible"


Last week the Guardian, Britain’s main liberal newspaper, ran an exclusive report on the belated confessions of an Iraqi exile, Rafeed al-Janabi, codenamed “Curveball” by the CIA. Eight years ago, Janabi played a key behind-the-scenes role -- if an inadvertent one -- in making possible the US invasion of Iraq. His testimony bolstered claims by the Bush administration that Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, had developed an advanced programme producing weapons of mass destruction.

Curveball’s account included the details of mobile biological weapons trucks presented by Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, to the United Nations in early 2003. Powell’s apparently compelling case on WMD was used to justify the US attack on Iraq a few weeks later.

Eight years on, Curveball revealed to the Guardian that he had fabricated the story of Saddam’s WMD back in 2000, shortly after his arrival in Germany seeking asylum. He told the paper he had lied to German intelligence in the hope his testimony might help topple Saddam, though it seems more likely he simply wanted to ensure his asylum case was taken more seriously.

For the careful reader -- and I stress the word careful -- several disturbing facts emerged from the report.
One was that the German authorities had quickly proven his account of Iraq’s WMD to be false. Both German and British intelligence had travelled to Dubai to meet Bassil Latif, his former boss at Iraq’s Military Industries Commission. Dr Latif had proven that Curveball’s claims could not be true. The German authorities quickly lost interest in Janabi and he was not interviewed again until late 2002, when it became more pressing for the US to make a convincing case for an attack on Iraq.

Another interesting disclosure was that, despite the vital need to get straight all the facts about Curveball’s testimony -- given the stakes involved in launching a pre-emptive strike against another sovereign state -- the Americans never bothered to interview Curveball themselves.

A third revelation was that the CIA’s head of operations in Europe, Tyler Drumheller, passed on warnings from German intelligence that they considered Curveball’s testimony to be highly dubious. The head of the CIA, George Tenet, simply ignored the advice.

With Curveball’s admission in mind, as well as these other facts from the story, we can draw some obvious conclusions -- conclusions confirmed by subsequent developments.

Lacking both grounds in international law and the backing of major allies, the Bush administration desperately needed Janabi’s story about WMD, however discredited it was, to justify its military plans for Iraq. The White House did not interview Curveball because they knew his account of Saddam’s WMD programme was made up. His story would unravel under scrutiny; better to leave Washington with the option of “plausible deniability”.

Nonetheless, Janabi’s falsified account was vitally useful: for much of the American public, it added a veneer of credibility to the implausible case that Saddam was a danger to the world; it helped fortify wavering allies facing their own doubting publics; and it brought on board Colin Powell, a former general seen as the main voice of reason in the administration.

In other words, Bush’s White House used Curveball to breathe life into its mythological story about Saddam’s threat to world peace.

So how did the Guardian, a bastion of liberal journalism, present its exclusive on the most controversial episode in recent American foreign policy?

Here is its headline: “How US was duped by Iraqi fantasist looking to topple Saddam”.
Did the headline-writer misunderstand the story as written by the paper’s reporters? No, the headline neatly encapsulated its message. In the text, we are told Powell's presentation to the UN “revealed that the Bush administration's hawkish decisionmakers had swallowed” Curveball’s account. At another point, we are told Janabi “pulled off one of the greatest confidence tricks in the history of modern intelligence”. And that: “His critics -- who are many and powerful -- say the cost of his deception is too difficult to estimate.”

In other words, the Guardian assumed, despite all the evidence uncovered in its own research, that Curveball misled the Bush administration into making a disastrous miscalculation. On this view, the White House was the real victim of Curveball’s lies, not the Iraqi people -- more than a million of whom are dead as a result of the invasion, according to the best available figures, and four million of whom have been forced into exile.

There is nothing exceptional about this example. I chose it because it relates to an event of continuing and momentous significance.

Unfortunately, there is something depressingly familiar about this kind of reporting, even in the West’s main liberal publications. Contrary to its avowed aim, mainstream journalism invariably diminishes the impact of new events when they threaten powerful elites.

We will examine why in a minute. But first let us consider what, or who, constitutes “empire” today? Certainly, in its most symbolic form, it can be identified as the US government and its army, comprising the world’s sole superpower.

Traditionally, empires have been defined narrowly, in terms of a strong nation-state that successfully expands its sphere of influence and power to other territories. Empire’s aim is to make those territories dependent, and then either exploit their resources in the case of poorly developed countries, or, with more developed countries, turn them into new markets for its surplus goods. It is in this latter sense that the American empire has often been able to claim that it is a force for global good, helping to spread freedom and the benefits of consumer culture.

Empire achieves its aims in different ways: through force, such as conquest, when dealing with populations resistant to the theft of their resources; and more subtly through political and economic interference, persuasion and mind-control when it wants to create new markets. However it works, the aim is to create a sense in the dependent territories that their interests and fates are bound to those of empire.

In our globalised world, the question of who is at the centre of empire is much less clear than it once was. The US government is today less the heart of empire than its enabler. What were until recently the arms of empire, especially the financial and military industries, have become a transnational imperial elite whose interests are not bound by borders and whose powers largely evade legislative and moral controls.

Israel’s leadership, we should note, as well its elite supporters around the world -- including the Zionist lobbies, the arms manufacturers and Western militaries, and to a degree even the crumbling Arab tyrannies of the Middle East -- are an integral element in that transnational elite.

The imperial elites’ success depends to a large extent on a shared belief among the western public both that “we” need them to secure our livelihoods and security and that at the same time we are really their masters. Some of the necessary illusions perpetuated by the transnational elites include:
 That we elect governments whose job is to restrain the corporations;
 That we, in particular, and the global workforce in general are the chief beneficiaries of the corporations’ wealth creation;
 That the corporations and the ideology that underpins them, global capitalism, are the only hope for freedom;
 That consumption is not only an expression of our freedom but also a major source of our happiness;
 That economic growth can be maintained indefinitely and at no long-term cost to the health of the planet;
 And that there are groups, called terrorists, who want to destroy this benevolent system of wealth creation and personal improvement.
These assumptions, however fanciful they may appear when subjected to scrutiny, are the ideological bedrock on which the narratives of our societies in the West are constructed and from which ultimately our sense of identity derives. This ideological system appears to us -- and I am using “we” and “us” to refer to western publics only -- to describe the natural order.

The job of sanctifying these assumptions -- and ensuring they are not scrutinised -- falls to our mainstream media. Western corporations own the media, and their advertising makes the industry profitable. In this sense, the media cannot fulfil the function of watchdog of power, because in fact it is power. It is the power of the globalised elite to control and limit the ideological and imaginative horizons of the media’s readers and viewers. It does so to ensure that imperial interests, which are synonymous with those of the corporations, are not threatened.

The Curveball story neatly illustrates the media’s role.

His confession has come too late -- eight years too late, to be precise -- to have any impact on the events that matter. As happens so often with important stories that challenge elite interests, the facts vitally needed to allow western publics to reach informed conclusions were not available when they were needed. In this case, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are gone, as are their neoconservative advisers. Curveball’s story is now chiefly of interest to historians.

That last point is quite literally true. The Guardian’s revelations were of almost no concern to the US media, the supposed watchdog at the heart of the US empire. A search of the Lexis Nexis media database shows that Curveball’s admissions featured only in the New York Times, in a brief report on page 7, as well as in a news round-up in the Washington Times. The dozens of other major US newspapers, including the Washington Post, made no mention of it at all.
Instead, the main audience for the story outside the UK was the readers of India’s Hindu newspaper and theKhaleej Times.
But even the Guardian, often regarded as fearless in taking on powerful interests, packaged its report in such a way as to deprive Curveball’s confession of its true value. The facts were bled of their real significance. The presentation ensured that only the most aware readers would have understood that the US had not been duped by Curveball, but rather that the White House had exploited a “fantasist” -- or desperate exile from a brutal regime, depending on how one looks at it - for its own illegal and immoral ends.
Why did the Guardian miss the main point in its own exclusive? The reason is that all our mainstream media, however liberal, take as their starting point the idea both that the West’s political culture is inherently benevolent and that it is morally superior to all existing, or conceivable, alternative systems.

In reporting and commentary, this is demonstrated most clearly in the idea that “our” leaders always act in good faith, whereas “their” leaders -- those opposed to empire or its interests -- are driven by base or evil motives.

It is in this way that official enemies, such as Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic, can be singled out as personifying the crazed or evil dictator -- while other equally rogue regimes such as Saudi Arabia’s are described as “moderate” -- opening the way for their countries to become targets of our own imperial strategies.
States selected for the “embrace” of empire are left with a stark choice: accept our terms of surrender and become an ally; or defy empire and face our wrath.
When the corporate elites trample on other peoples and states to advance their own selfish interests, such as in the invasion of Iraq to control its resources, our dominant media cannot allow its reporting to frame the events honestly. The continuing assumption in liberal commentary about the US attack on Iraq, for example, is that, once no WMD were found, the Bush administration remained to pursue a misguided effort to root out the terrorists, restore law and order, and spread democracy. 

For the western media, our leaders make mistakes, they are na├»ve or even stupid, but they are never bad or evil. Our media do not call for Bush or Blair to be tried at the Hague as war criminals. 

This, of course, does not mean that the western media is Pravda, the propaganda mouthpiece of the old Soviet empire. There are differences. Dissent is possible, though it must remain within the relatively narrow confines of “reasonable” debate, a spectrum of possible thought that accepts unreservedly the presumption that we are better, more moral, than them.

Similarly, journalists are rarely told -- at least, not directly -- what to write. The media have developed careful selection processes and hierarchies among their editorial staff -- termed “filters” by media critics Ed Herman and Noam Chomsky -- to ensure that dissenting or truly independent journalists do not reach positions of real influence.

There is, in other words, no simple party line. There are competing elites and corporations, and their voices are reflected in the narrow range of what we term commentary and opinion. Rather than being dictated to by party officials, as happened under the Soviet system, our journalists scramble for access, to be admitted into the ante-chambers of power. These privileges make careers but they come at a huge cost to the reporters’ independence.

Nonetheless, the range of what is permissible is slowly expanding -- over the opposition of the elites and our mainstream TV and press. The reason is to be found in the new media, which is gradually eroding the monopoly long enjoyed by the corporate media to control the spread of information and popular ideas. Wikileaks is so far the most obvious, and impressive, outcome of that trend. 

The consequences are already tangible across the Middle East, which has suffered disproportionately under the oppressive rule of empire. The upheavals as Arab publics struggle to shake off their tyrants are also stripping bare some of the illusions the western media have peddled to us. Empire, we have been told, wants democracy and freedom around the globe. And yet it is caught mute and impassive as the henchmen of empire unleash US-made weapons against their peoples who are demanding western-style freedoms.

An important question is: how will our media respond to this exposure, not just of our politicians’ hypocrisy but also of their own? They are already trying to co-opt the new media, including Wikileaks, but without real success. They are also starting to allow a wider range of debate, though still heavily constrained, than had been possible before. 

The West’s version of glasnost is particularly obvious in the coverage of the problem closest to our hearts here in Palestine. What Israel terms a delegitimisation campaign is really the opening up -- slightly -- of the media landscape, to allow a little light where until recently darkness reigned. 

This is an opportunity and one that we must nurture. We must demand of the corporate media more honesty; we must shame them by being better-informed than the hacks who recycle official press releases and clamour for access; and we must desert them, as is already happening, for better sources of information. 

We have a window. And we must force it open before the elites of empire try to slam it shut. 

This is the text of a talk entitled “Media as a Tool of Empire” delivered to Sabeel, the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre, at its eighth international conference in Bethlehem on Friday February 25. 
__________________________________________________________________________________

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.

The Biggest Threat Facing U.S. Is Fast Creeping Ignorance




It's reached epidemic levels in government. Isn't wanton ignorance among those we trust with nuclear policies, war, famine, jobs, the national debt and more, a concern?

By Stephen Pizzo
March 25, 2011
Courtesy Of "Alter Net"

I am old enough to remember the days when what Americans were told to fear most was "Creeping Communism."

There were even hearings. There was a blacklist. There were arrests and even a couple of executions.


In the end all communism turned out to be creeping toward was its own extinction.

We may not be as lucky with the new creep we're facing today: Creeping Ignorance.

As a story from AlterNet put it, "3/4ths of Senate GOP Doesn't Believe in Science: The Tea Party and its allies had made it unacceptable to the GOP base to be anywhere except pandering to the anti-science crowd." (Full Story)

The Right, which hated and feared commies and their (largely imaginary) infiltration into government, not only don't seem to care about creeping ignorance in government, but have come to embrace this new breed of government infiltrators.



The explanation for this embrace is simple as the minds of the infiltrators: science, and for that matter any other factual analysis, tends to flatly contradict many of the Right's most cherished fictions, such as:
  • The more you cut taxes the more tax revenue flows into federal coffers.
  • History proves America is a Christian nation.
  • Climate change is either not happening at all or, if it is happening, it has nothing to do with our use of fossil fuels. ("I personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything that human beings do. ..." - Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin)
  • Slashing regulation of business and high finance is good for business, good for the nation and good for the American public.
  • If the rich are allowed to keep more of their earnings they will share it with everyone else, (trickle down.)
  • School science classes should be "fair and balanced," like Fox News, when teaching the origins of life on earth by teaching the biblically-inspired "creationist" version alongside Darwin's scientific theory of evolution.
  • President Obama "may not have been born in America" as he claims.
  • President Obama is "a secret Muslim."
And the list of Creeping Ignorance goes on and on, growing longer with each passing month. Michelle Bachmann believes that the founding fathers "didn't rest until the put an need to slavery." She also believes the first shot "heard around the world" that started our war of independence was fired in New Hampshire. It wasn't. Did she care? Nope. Pointing out that it was fired in Massachusetts was, to her and her kind, just further proof of how the mainstream media picks on conservatives.

So, where are the hearings on Creeping Ignorance in the halls of Congress? I mean, I remember the time, not so long ago, when it was held as a matter of national policy that "a mind is a terrible thing to lose." It seems to me it's reached epidemic levels in federal and state government. Shouldn't someone hold hearings? Isn't wanton ignorance among those we trust with nuclear policies, war, famine, jobs, the national debt and more, a concern?

If there were hearings they could begin by taking a page from the popular Jeopardy quiz show:

Question: "They were the first major documents enshrining human rights since the Magna Carta."

Answer: "What's the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights?"

Question: "The US Civil War was fought over it."

Answer: "What was slavery?"

Question: "A process used by researchers to prove theories."

Answer: "What is the scientific method?"

Suspects should put under oath and asked directly:

"Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of any group that believes, or claims to believe, such things as that the US government was behind the 911 attacks or that President Obama was born in Kenya?"

And so on. Each suspect would be grilled until it could be established that this member of Congress was or wasn't a certified ignoramus.

Now, I'm plenty glad that Creeping Communism turned out to be a -- excuse the pun -- red herring. But I am not at all convinced that Creeping Ignorance will be as benign a threat to the US.

For the nation that has, for a couple of centuries, been not only a beacon of freedom, but also a beacon of knowledge and science, Creeping Ignorance at the heart of our government threatens to turn us into a nation only Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter, et al., could love: one big festival of stupidity.

Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, which was nominated for a Pulitzer.

Politicians Instigate Islamic Witch Hunts

By JAKE McBRIDE
March 28, 2011
Courtesy Of "Red and Black"


A video has surfaced on YouTube. It shows a mob hurling verbalized hatred at Muslim families attending a benefit for a women’s homeless shelter in California.
Led by elected Republican officials, the crowd mourned the state of America and the perverted nature of Islam. Silent Muslim American families walked to their minivans, strapped their children into car seats and drove quickly past the rabid crowd.

MCBRIDE
Recently, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) held Congressional hearings investigating the threat of “homegrown Islamic terror.” He feels this is a looming threat brewing in mosques and Muslim Student Associations across America.
In December, an FBI undercover agent attempted to infiltrate a mosque in Orange County, Calif. His open references to jihad led worshipers to contact the FBI and report their own agent.
Republican State Sen. Gerald Allen proposed a ban on Shariah law given in the Quran for the state of Alabama. But when questioned by a local paper, Allen couldn’t define “Shariah law” and his bill actually plagiarized the definition given on Wikipedia.
These politicians are forsaking their duties to the American people to chase down a unicorn. By putting Islam on trial, they fuel hate and promote ignorance.
American Islamic groups regularly condemn terrorist attacks.
It is ludicrous for our politicians to investigate a nonexistent framework for Islamic terrorism when there are many other problems in America.
What has happened to us?
Elected politicians tell us Islam is an anti-intellectual religion of sexual perversion and jihad.
This, when the Muslim scholars of the European “Dark Ages” paved the way for the Enlightenment.
And jihad — often translated “holy war” — actually refers to the struggle for purity, justice and knowledge, in addition to political struggle.
Even the most level-headed of the Religious Right would consider these four goals lofty.
The ideological spectrum of Islam is as vast as the spectrum of Christian beliefs: there are fundamentalists, moderates, progressives and feminists.
There are Muslims fighting both for and against human rights, just as there are Christians who do both.
Instead of investigating an imaginary network of terrorists, why not examine the underground sex slave trade in America?
Why not examine Sovereign Citizen — a white anarchist group — which gorges itself on a diet of supremacist literature and scams gun stores to increase its arms stockpiles, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
One member, Kevin Harpham, just this year planted a bomb along the route of a Spokane, Wash., MLK Day parade route.
Why is it that Muslim Americans can’t buy fertilizer for their lawns without their names going onto a federal database, but supremacists can stock up on 20 assault rifles at a time?
Why do we gaze with suspicion at Georgia mosques, when Atlanta is vying for its title as child prostitution capital of America, according to the FBI?
Why do our politicians continue the Islamic witch hunt?
Because we — the American people — let them.
We stereotype and judge, until Muslims become automatic suspects in America.
Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the “Ground Zero Mosque,” said Osama bin Laden was “created in America.” When you consider how our politicians have treated Muslims in America, you have to wonder — maybe he’s right.
— Jake McBride is a sophomore from Columbus majoring
in mathematics

Possibility Of Arming Libyan Rebels



By Laura Rozen
March 30, 2011
Courtesy Of "Yahoo News"


Not long into the enforcement of the no-fly zone in Libya, a military stalemate appears to be taking shape. Forces loyal to Muammar Gadhafi continue to hold key towns against incursions by Libyan rebels--and the fragile international coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes over the past 11 days in order to protect Libyan civilians from attack is now at odds over whether the Libyan rebels require more direct military assistance.
Coalition members are discussing a range of options, including increased NATO close air support to aid the rebels engaged in direct combat with Gadhafi's forces and efforts--in all likelihood carried out covertly--to arm and train the rebels. In an exclusive report for Reuters, Mark Hosenball writes that Obama has issued a secret presidential finding authorizing covert U.S. support for the Libyan rebels--a move that will almost certainly raise the stakes in Libya for the United States and its coalition partners, while making it harder to assure the ambivalent U.S. public that the conflict in Libya will produce a quick resolution.
Despite the reported finding, the White House, for its part, insisted that "no decision" on arming the rebels had yet been made.
"We're not ruling it out or ruling it in," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement Wednesday. "We're assessing and reviewing options for all types of assistance that we could provide to the Libyan people," in consultation, Carney added, with "international partners."
And talk of direct military assistance to the rebels has some Washington lawmakers and policymakers uneasy. They are leery of wading directly into a Libyan civil war, as opposed to the more limited kind of humanitarian intervention that President Barack Obama outlined in his speech to the nation on Monday. Then, the president stressed that the United States was intervening in order to avert a massacre of Libyan civilians that would have "stained the conscience of the world."
But now statements from the administration seem to signal a shift in thinking. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a conference on Libya in London Tuesday, said her reading of the UN Security Council resolution 1973 on Libya allowed for the arming of the Libyan rebels. At the same time, she insisted that the United States had not yet made any decision to do so.
A senior European diplomat, who spoke anonymously due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing discussions, said Thursday that his country endorses a similar interpretation of the UN resolution--but added that his government favors "tipping the balance" decisively in favor of the Libyan opposition.
Former U.S. officials who have worked on Libya said they suspect that any plan to arm and train the rebels would be carried out covertly. Such initiatives would likely take shape via neighboring Egypt, the officials said—thereby bypassing the consensus-driven command structure of the NATO-led coalition that assumed command of Libya military operations Wednesday.
"I think that if we do arm the rebels, we will never hear about it," one former U.S. official who worked on Libya said, requesting anonymity in order to share her views frankly.  "The Libyan rebels have said they want training by the Egyptian military. They say they don't want Americans on the ground.  The Egyptian military will give them stuff, some of which they've bought from us, it will be called technical assistance, that is how it's going to happen."
"The Egyptians really are already in there training," the former official said. She noted Egypt has made a point of keeping its role quiet--but that the United States is likely already aware of it.
Other analysts noted the years-long U.S. effort to train the security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan--and wondered, given that ongoing effort, just how coalition members might manage to effectively arm and train the Libyan rebels in a relatively short time frame.
"I don't know how you do it effectively," said former State Department Middle East official Joel Rubin. "Look at the lessons learned of our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, in training their security forces, how challenging and multi-year [a task] that is. We have been providing less complex weaponry to those forces than would be required to militarily-dislodge Gadhafi from outside. So I think one has to really recognize that that is the kind of effort that would be required to arm the rebels."
"It does feel like we are watching a stalemate develop," Rubin, now with the progressive National Security Network, added. "And I hate saying that ... We might see a divided Libya." Under this scenario, Rubin explained, Gadhafi would be entrenched in the capital Tripoli and the western part of the country, while the rebels would hold Benghazi and eastern Libya.
But Rubin also stressed that the military situation on the ground will play an important role in "shifting the dynamics inside of Tripoli, which is really going to be the ultimate determinant of Gadhafi's fate. Not fighting in Misrata."
Western officials and analysts also noted that Gadhafi regime insiders have been placing phone calls to western embassies and intermediaries, with the aim of opening up negotiations to secure a cease-fire arrangement or exit plan for themselves or Gadhafi.
Experts say that such calls are probably getting a thorough hearing. Even the governments in the coalition that have pushed hard against Gadhafi have said they would be amenable to a deal that could ensure Gadhafi leaves Libya.
"There has to be an escape valve," Rubin said.
The former U.S. official also noted reports Wednesday that Musa Kusa--Libya's foreign minister and former longtime intelligence chief --was in Europe. That seemed to indicate, in the official's view, that negotiations for a ceasefire, or an exit plan for Gadhafi associates, may be under way.
But the UK Foreign Office said that Kusa had defected. "He has told us that he is resigning his post," the UK Foreign Office said in a statement, according to the BBC.
(A former Libyan army soldier shows new Libyan rebel recruits how to use the AK-47 at a training base in Benghazi, eastern Libya: Hussein Malla/AP)