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 Time for the Muslim World to Wake-Up!

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PostSubject: Time for the Muslim World to Wake-Up!   Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:54 pm

Time for the Muslim World to Wake-Up!

The US attack on Iraq has made the global masses receptive. Now is the right time for the Muslim world and Indian Muslims to present the quintessential principles of Islam to the world.
By M. Hanif Lakdawala

Man Holding a Banner stating "No Iraq War" The emergence of massive, coordinated, and rapidly escalating and maturing movements against war across the planet is more than just hopeful, exciting, and optimistic. It is the stuff of new worlds. This is perhaps the only war in recent history that has created worldwide revulsion. Starting from the rift in the Security Council, other security arrangements and collective mechanisms like European Union, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), OIC, Arab League and NATO, have risen in opposition to this immoral war. The consensus among them was that the US should have used diplomatic and political means for finding a solution to the Iraq crisis. In case, war became necessary, it should have been sanctioned by the UNSC.

Not to be left behind, the world opinion registered the most vocal protests over the American war plans when millions of people took to the streets across the world. Among the slogans that the placards carried was "Not in my Name" written in bold letters. This slogan indicated the distancing of the people from the actions of their respective governments in Washington, London, Madrid, Canberra and Rome. The coming out of people on the streets in such large numbers against what they termed a dangerous course of action their governments were following, showed their consensus on peace.

The recent anti-war demonstrations were perhaps the largest such out-pouring in modern history. Were there two million or one and half million in London? Were there two or three million in Rome? Two or three million in cities across Spain? 500 or 700 and 50,000 in New York city? And this has occurred without an international organisation overseeing it. And it has occurred without single organisations inside each country overseeing it.

The recent public outrage around the world against US policies may very well signify a paradigm shift of people's concern from the regional to the global context. Millions of protesters took to the streets recently the world over, from Cape Town to Karachi, from Sydney to Sophia and from South Korea to South Africa with a single slogan: No to War; Yes to Peace.

Two days after the attack, 10,000 turned out for a march that started on Hollywood Boulevard and headed for the headquarters of news network CNN, the target for anger from many. With banners bearing slogans like "CNN: War is not entertainment" and chanting, "Tell the truth", they dubbed the corporate media "spinographers". In the crowd was Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon and her husband Tim Robbins and rock singer Eddie Vedder. The protesters accused the networks of being biased towards the government and not giving enough airtime to the anti-war movement.

Noam Chomsky, one of America's most prominent political dissidents and a renowned professor of linguistics at MIT in one of his recent interviews said, "The peace demonstrations were another indication of a quite remarkable phenomenon. There is around the world and in the United States opposition to the coming war that is at a level that is completely unprecedented in US or European history both in scope and the parts of the population it draws on". The FBI has reported, "The intensity and scope of opposition to a U.S.-led war against Saddam Hussein has grown to levels that far exceed any such opposition that existed in 1991." (Wilgoren, NYT, 3/19/03).

These anti- war protests make it clear that people can no longer be fooled. They refused to believe the official propaganda. In an online survey of 40,035 people conducted by Yahoo in Korea on the day of the US attack on Iraq, over 75 per cent or 30,080 respondents said that they believe the attack on Iraq was to secure U.S. interests in controlling Iraqi oil reserves. The respondents said that U.S. military and oil conglomerates will benefit the most from the war. Reflecting the anti-war sentiments, some 30 online communities were launched on the day of the attack to foster cooperation in stopping the unwanted war, according to an official at Daum Communications.

Do such anti -war protests have any impact? Yes it does. Oscar award organise promised a more "sombre and dignified" affair than usual by scaling down the Oscars' sparkle and glamour this year to reflect the mood of the war. With war imminent, organisers earlier cancelled the traditional red-carpet arrivals ceremony, opting instead for low-key entries of stars wearing sober attire rather than their usually spectacular creations. In January, Scottish train drivers refused to move munitions. In Italy, people have been blocking dozens of trains carrying American military personnel and weapons, and dockers have refused to load arms shipments. US military bases have been blocked in Germany.

Steve Shalom who teaches political science at William Paterson University in New Jersey and is active with the Montclair Civil Rights Coalition in his article in support of the anti -war movement said, "We haven't prevented this war, but that is not the key point in assessing our efforts. The key point is that our efforts to prevent immoral wars are growing ever larger and ever more effective, and are on a path, a long path, to be sure towards not only preventing such wars, but then removing their institutional causes".

There are now two super powers in the world, the New York Times told its readers, after the February 15th demonstrations. On one side there is the U.S. military machine. On the other side, there is international public opinion.

"We have become a threat, but can we deliver?" asked Jessica Azulay and Brian Dominick of the American resistance movement. "Policy-makers are debating right now whether or not they have to heed our dissent. Now we must make it clear to them that there will be political and economic consequences if they decide to ignore us."

Thus a blessing in disguise of the US attack on Iraq is the positive attitude of the global masses. They have become receptive. They are unbiased and accept the truth. Now is the correct time for the Muslim world to present and preach Islam before the entire world by practising and following the quintessential principles of Islam and demonstrating a lively Islamic character. As concerned citizens at an individual level, we should create pressure on the Indian government by joining the current anti-war movement locally and globally so that adequate pressure be brought on the Indian government to take a firm stand against the war and take a pro-active stand by insisting that the U.S. is entitled to absolutely none of Iraq's oil. It is the property of the Iraqi people.

As soon as humanitarian supplies are assured, all U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Iraq. Any military bases or U.S. occupation is an imperial imposition and unacceptable. Also at individual levels, we can register our support to anti -war movement by signing petitions and writing letters to few of the following anti war sites. www.stopwar.org.uk, www.resist.org.uk, www.amnesty.org.uk, www.ccr-ny.org,

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Western Union Money Transfer
Harasses Muslims

Harassess Muslims

Washington: The Council for American-Muslim Relations (CAIR) has alleged harassment campaign against Muslim customers by Western Union Money Transfer, a company that deals with money transfer across cities and nations. CAIR, alleged that Western Union seizes money being transferred by Muslim customers and launches investigations into credentials of persons whose names carry prefixes or suffixes such as Mohammad, Ahmed, Ali etc. Recently when a black Muslim American named Mohammad Ali transferred money from New York to Connecticut, an officer from Western Union insisted on his submitting a photograph as his name was Mohammad Ali. Mohammad Ali protested and wanted return of the money, but the company said the money would not be given back unless he submitted a photograph. Wendy Herbert, a spokeswoman of Western Union said the seizure of the money was in accordance with the American laws. She said that such laws were specifically applied against names bearing Mohammad or Ali etc. Mohammad Ali got back his money a day after he submitted his photograph. CAIR is seeking explanation from the Western Union as the American business laws do not allow discrimination on the basis of religion.

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Quran to be Translated into Irish

Dublin: The Quran is to be translated into Irish in an ambitious project aimed at bringing Ireland's Gaelic-speaking and Muslim communities closer together. Lesley Carter of the Dublin-based Islamic Cultural Centre, which will oversee the project, said the translation would benefit Irish-speakers from both cultures. "There are a number of Muslims among the Irish-speaking community-people who were born here and learnt Irish in school. And also for those (non-Muslims) who have an interest in Islam, then the Quran will be available in the language they prefer," she said. The Islamic community is currently the fastest-growing religious minority in Ireland, with around 18,000 Muslims living in the country - most of them in the capital, Dublin.

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Qibla-Cola -the Right Choice

London: In a bid to break the monopoly of US brands, a soft drink, aimed at the Muslim community, has been launched in the United Kingdom.

A Derby-based company launched Qibla Cola to provide an alternative to Muslims and consumers who do not want to patronise the US-based Cola companies. For every two-litre bottle of Qibla Cola sold, 10 per cent of the profits will go to the Muslim Charity Organisation Islamic Aid. The Qibla Cola Company, founded by Bradford-born Pakistani businesswoman Zahida Parveen recently, hopes to make a significant contribution to Muslim charities from product sales. Its product carries the strap-line 'Liberate your taste'. Qibla Cola and Qibla Diet Cola will be sold in major cities across the United Kingdom, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow.

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Palatial Islamic Centre in London

London: Prince Karim Aga Khan, leader of the world's Ismaili branch of Shi'ite Muslims, has proposed to a 24 million pound ($35 million) Islamic Centre that will stand opposite the centuries-old Houses of Parliament and next to Lambeth Palace, the official home of the Church of England's religious head, housing various academic and cultural facilities built in line with the local architecture.

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"Muslim Up" Arrives After Mecca Cola

Paris: Just as the existence of Coca Cola brought about in its wake the creation of Pepsi, it was inevitable that France which gave the world the best selling Mecca Cola soft drink , would give it another beverage, Muslim-Up. That seems to have been the principal objective of Khabeb el Hasni and two other French nationals of Tunisian origin who decided to set up the new company, which has just manufactured the first bottles of Muslim-Up. "No to War, Yes to Peace. We want to see birds of love hovering high and not jet fighters" is the banner carried by the company, whose products have taken the French markets by storm in just a few days of its launch.

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Women Campaign Against Polygamy

Kuala Lumpur: A coalition of 12 Malaysian womens' groups launched a campaign against polygamy following recent moves by some states to ease restrictions for Muslim men to take a second wife. Muslim women's groups were enraged when the government of northern Perlis state, bordering Thailand, announced it would allow Muslim men to marry again without the consent of the first wife. The north-east state of Terengganu also plans to ease the process of taking on a second wife for its legislators by issuing them with undated letters authorising them to do so at any time. Zainah Anwar, director of Sisters-In-Islam, said the coalition wanted to spread the message that polygamy was not the norm in a Muslim marriage, and instead encourage Muslim men to make a conscious commitment to monogamy. Muslims can question the system of administration of polygamous marriages which may not be smooth. But they are not supposed to challenge the institution of polygamy which is allowed in Islam," said the Mufti of Perlis, Datuk Alim Mat Jahaya Hussin.

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Human Rights-An Islamic Perspective

Sharjah: The "International Seminar on Human Rights from the Islamic Perspective" convened by the Rabat-based Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), in conjunction with the Libya-based World Islamic Propagation Organization (WIPO) and the Directorate of Culture and Information of the Government of Sharjah. concluded its deliberations recently and issued a final communiqué in which several recommendations have been made. Muslim scholars and intellectuals called for a continuation of further research in issues related to human rights from the Islamic perspective, and to collect information from various sources and Islamic authorities that are reliable, so that a unified stand could be arrived at. The Seminar also urged educational institutions in Islamic countries, as well as Islamic organisations, both local and international, to make the subjects of human rights among the priorities of their research efforts and to publicise the Islamic perspective on it. There was an unanimous agreement on the setting up of a special Islamic center for the study of human rights and dissemination of information about the Islamic perspective on human rights at an international level.

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Yusuf Islam's Peace Train and Angels of War

In 1977, Cat Stevens left his life as a pop music icon behind. After a string of smash hits, he traded his guitar for Islam and took the name Yusuf Islam. At that point in time, he never thought he would return to the world of music. However, 26 years after leaving the stage, Islam is revisiting some of his old hit songs in an effort to aid the overwhelming and still-growing peace movement that has swept the globe.

Says Islam on his website (www.yusufislam.org.uk): "Though times have changed, it's a nice surprise to see that youthful feeling of anti-war sentiment returning once more to the cobbled main streets of Europe."

Doing his part, Islam has re-released his most famous song, "Peace Train", and has re-worked another of his songs, "Lady D'Arbanville", to have an anti-war theme tailored to the current crisis. The new piece is entitled "Angel of War". Both "Peace Train" and "Angel of War" are being distributed to radio stations and can be downloaded free of charge from Islam's website, www.catstevens.com

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Rumi Remains America's Best-selling Poet

New York: With so many of the top selling books on Islam painting a picture of violence, hatred, and intolerance, it seems odd that the top selling poet in America, for several years now, has been a 13th century Muslim mystic. Jalaluddin Rumi would have loved the irony. Hailing from Afghanistan, a land that has become intimately familiar with Americans for reasons that have little to do with love and enlightenment, Rumi and his work have gone beyond fad to phenomenon. Of late, Madonna, Demi Moore and Martin Sheen read translations of his words praising Allah . Oliver Stone wants to make a film of his life. Donna Karen plays Rumi recitations at her fashion shows. What has made Rumi so popular? "Rumi is the voice of unconditional love," says Kabir Helminski, a translator of Rumi's poetry and a sheikh of the Mevlevi Sufi Order (which traces its lineage back to Rumi). "He is willing to talk about his own pain, for instance, the pain of loving God, the pain of being human."

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Islam-Most Popular Religion in UK

London: It is now official. Islam is by far the largest recognised religion in the UK after Christianity. The preliminary results of the Census published this month, confirmed there were 1.6 million Muslims living in Britain, representing 3 per cent of the population. But the number could be even higher and more than the 1.8 million estimated in previous research conducted by The Muslim News with 4 million declining to answer the voluntary question on religious affiliation. The newly-released figures showed that 70 per cent of the population described themselves as Christians, 1.1 per cent as Hindu, 0.7 per cent as Sikh, 0.5 per cent as Jewish and 0.3 per cent Buddhist.

The Census found that the highest concentration of Muslims was in London, making up 8.5 per cent of the population. The most popular area was in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, east London, with 36.8 per cent Muslim. Overall, the proportion of ethnic minorities in England rose to nine per cent, up from six per cent in 1991. Two areas, both in north London, were found for the first time to have more blacks and Asians than white people. The inclusion of religion in the Census for the first time, is important in determining the allocation of resources and service delivery and ensuring that the needs and rights of Muslims are met.

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Islamic Syllabus at Swiss Schools

Abu Dhabi: "The number of Muslims in Switzerland has increased 15 times since the 1970s and the community enjoys equal rights as those of Swiss citizens," says Nadia bint Ahmed Al Rachedi Kharmoose, President of the Association Culturelle des Femmes Musulmanes de Swiss (ICFM) or Cultural Association for Muslim Women in Switzerland, while delivering a lecture at Zayed Centre in Abu Dhabi. The recent survey indicated that the number has gone up to 3,10,000 representing five per cent of the total population of the country, mainly centering around Zurich. According to Nadia, Muslims enjoy full rights as Swiss nationals. "Muslims in Switzerland have the right to practise their religious beliefs freely. The country has about 120 mosques, but the Muslims have not obtained the official recognition of the Swiss government so as to guarantee financial resources for programmes that serve the Muslim community. There is a programme for introducing Islamic syllabus at schools during the current academic year (2003-2004) at the Swiss town of Neuchatel.

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Arab-American Museum in Michigan

Dearborn (Michigan-US): The first ever Arab-American National Museum will be inaugurated in September 2004. It is being put up by ACCESS (The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services). The Center will display the contribution and culture of Arab-Americans who make up a community of nearly 400,000 people in Michigan area. Most of these Arabs arrived as immigrants after 1971.

The 38,500 square foot museum will have an art gallery and a resource center. Exhibits will draw attention to the three monotheistic faiths born in Arab lands, as well as the scientific, cultural, linguistic, navigational accomplishments of the Arabs. ACCESS helped the new Arab immigrants in learning English and skills to start an economic life in America.

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