Friday, March 31, 2006

Nuggets of Wisdom

M. Zuhdi Jasser, chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, calls for a counter-movement within Islam. Only this movement can save us. He also criticizes a number of American Muslim organizations like CAIR.

It makes me hope and pray for some counter-movement within my faith which will push back all this darkness. And I know that it must start with what is most basic — the common truth that binds all religions: “Do unto others, as you would have them do onto you.” The Golden Rule.

The question I ask myself in the darkness of my own night is, “How did my beautiful faith become so linked with such ugliness.” To me, the answer is both deep and simple. A spiritual path must be only about the spiritual while a worldly path must be about this world. When the two get mixed together, it brings out the very worst in both.

I have argued the same point here.

  Posted by BP at 7:48 pm Comments (1)

An Apology for Jill Carroll?

If the below report was true, I think I owe Jill Carroll an apology for second guessing her. However, I am still awaiting what she has to say when she returns home, but if the below turned out to be true, then Carroll is definitely not from the likes of former German hostage Susanne Osthoff.

Nevertheless, I still want to hear it from Carroll’s mouth. So I’m withholding my apology at the moment.

Jill Carroll’s kidnappers reportedly warned her before her release that she might be killed if she cooperated with the Americans or went to the Green Zone, saying it was infiltrated by insurgents.

The freelance writer for The Christian Science Monitor, who was freed by her captors Thursday and dropped off at a branch office of the Iraqi Islamic Party, was later escorted to the Green Zone by the U.S. military, the newspaper said Friday.

At first, she was reluctant to go, but a Monitor writer in Baghdad Scott Peterson, convinced her it was safe, the newspaper said.

The Monitor’s editor, Richard Bergenheim, also said no money had been exchanged for Carroll’s release. “We simply know she was dropped off at the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters,” he said.

Also on the Internet video, Carroll is shown answering questions, presumably from her captors, and saying that Iraqi insurgents were “only trying to defend their country … to stop an illegal and dangerous and deadly occupation.”

Bergenheim said Friday that Carroll’s parents, who spoke to her about the video, told him it was “conducted under duress.”

“When you’re making a video and having to recite certain things with three men with machine guns standing over you, you’re probably going to say exactly what you’re told to say,” Bergenheim added.

So we’re all waiting for Jill to explain that herself.


That’s Jill’s picture taken in the Green Zone after she was released. Notice that she took the hijab off.

  Posted by BP at 6:39 pm Comments (20)

Keep your ears open for Jill Carroll

After she said that “it makes very clear that the mujahedeen are the ones that will win in the end” during an interview Jill Carroll had with her kidnappers, The Sandmonkey is waiting to hear what she has to say when she heads home.

I will be trying really hard to keep my mouth shut until she leaves Iraq and heads back to the US. I am willing to say that she said what she said because she had a gun to her head, and had to say whatever was necessary to get out. I will give her a break to collect her thoughts, relax and figure her stuff out, and see what she has to say. But honestly, if she turns out being another Giuliana Sgrena or Susanne Osthoff, I swear by all the gods in heaven that I will not join a single campaign to free a single person, especially a journalist, kidnapped in Iraq ever again, especially ones who are sympathethic to the Jihadis.

  Posted by BP at 4:00 pm Comments (10)

The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article on Egyptian working women.

At first glance, men seem to hold all the jobs in the crowded city of Cairo: They drive taxis, direct traffic, and iron clothing in steamy laundry shops. But behind the scenes, a quiet revolution is taking place.

Record numbers of Egyptian women are holding jobs, and the variety of careers open to them is rising. Women serve as bank CEOs, newspaper editors, university deans, and government ministers. One has been appointed a judge.

  Posted by BP at 3:53 pm Comments (14)

A museum, the right place for a hijab

The former president of Germany’s “Union of Muslim Women” decided to remove her head cover or hijab and donate it to a museum. Amal Abdeen Aljan stated that she “is free to do whatever she wants to do with her head” and she wished the people to know her personally and not just as the daughter of Youssef Abdeen. Her father, a leader of a fundamentalist turkish organization, made Aljan wear the head cover ever since she reached puberty. Her head cover will be placed in a section dedicated to “integration and immigration”.

I got this story from Al Arabiya website. You can’t imagine what people said in their comments on this story. The majority treated this trivial thing as if the lady had burned the Quran right in downtown Berlin. I just feel so sorry for Allah. He created the entire universe with all its complexities and yet people still think he is stupid enough to get pissed off at a girl who walks down the street with her head uncovered. I mean, do these people really think Allah is that stupid.

It is worth mentioning that the first Egyptian woman to remove the hijab was called Huda Sharaawi in 1923. The hijab back then was not the head cover of today but a complete covering of the entire body, including the face. Sharaawi took the cover off her face as she stepped out of the ship that brought her from a women rights conference she attended in Italy. By the 30s and the 40s, all forms of covering for women virtually disappeared from Egypt especially within the upper and middle classes. The covering started to pop out its ugly face once again by the 70s, when the region was hit by a nasty wave of politicized Islam and religion fundamentalism.

Today the vast majority of Egyptian girls in all segments of the society cover their hair. They were told that Allah would have a bad day if someone, especially a male stranger, saw their hair. I believe we need to wait for 2 generations for us to return back to 1923.

It’s so funny. Here I am hoping that in the future we would go “backwards”.

Source: Al Arabiya (Arabic)

  Posted by BP at 3:38 am Comments (3)
Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Canada suspends aid to Hamas-led government

Canada suspended aid to the Hamas-led government. It’s now the first country, besides Israel, to do so. I am suprised. I mean, this is Canada! Does that have to do with the removal of Paul Martin?

Hamas and new Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh insist they won’t soften the militant group’s violent ideology or formally recognize its longtime nemesis.

OK Mr. Haniyeh. You believe in whatever ideology you want to believe in, but just please don’t ask for money afterwards. No change in ideology, no moolahs. Fair enough huh.

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement that Canada had no choice but to suspend assistance and decline any contact with the new Hamas Cabinet.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister actually said that??!!

“I think the Canadian position is hasty and shows obvious bias,” newly installed Palestinian Information Minister Youssef Rizka told The Associated Press in Gaza City. “What we need from the Canadian government is that it ask the Israeli authorities to admit that they are occupying Palestinian land.”

Well, I am sure Canada respects the will of the Palestinian people. But does that mean to give Hamas Canadian taxpayers’ money? I don’t think so.

However, Ottawa emphasized Wednesday that it would continue giving
humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people through U.N. and nongovernment
organizations.

That’s the option I recomment. International donors should continue helping the Palestinian people through NGOs and the UN, bypassing the Palestinian government. If they were smart, they would use the money to empower young reform minded members of Fatah (Mahmoud Dahlan is a perfect example) in an attempt to regain Fatah’s influence once again.

  Posted by BP at 10:41 pm Comments (5)

Lurpak is back

The Islamic “scholars” attending a conference in Bahrain issued a statement calling for the Muslim world to end their boycott of products made by the Danish company Arla Foods, the manufacturer of Lurpak butter. The diary products giant received the biggest blow from the boycott. In addition to its extensive business in the region, Arla foods product are easily found and can be replaced by various alternatives, and hence the boycott had a significant negative effect on the company’s global sales.

The “scholars” pardoned Arla because the latter published print ads across 52 newspapers and aired a TV commercial condemning J-Posten and stating that freedom of expression does not include what the Danish newspaper did. The company then expressed its willingness to find a possible solution with the “scholars” in Bahrain. Arla’s PR campaign drew criticism from the Danish government that viewed the company to have gone too far.

(Source: Al Arabiya (Arabic))

Update: A group of Danish feminists, disapproving of Arla’s PR campaign in the Arab/Muslim world, have decided to launch a boycotting campaign of Arla foods! They even have their own website (Danish).

Poor lurpak butter. It faced a boycott in the Middle East, now it’s facing a boycott in its homeland.

  Posted by BP at 6:21 pm Comments (5)
Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Jordanian blogger Nas has interesting thoughts on “apostasy in Islam”.

  Posted by BP at 9:23 pm Comments (310)

Move Aside Wafa Sultan

A couple of weeks ago I saw an Al Hurra interview with a Yemeni lady called Elham Manea. The lady amazed me with her common sense and intellect. Unlike Wafa Sultan, Manea is a professing Muslim with a reform mind we are all in dire need of.

Manea, who lives in Switzerland, talked about religious reform and how Islamic jurisdiction didn’t witness any change from over a thousand years.

I googled up Elham Manea’s name and found a number of her articles. One article really grabbed my attention. It was a very controversial article (Arabic)yet she made perfect sense. Manea was describing her feelings when she once decided to pray while still having her monthly period! She said she was very apprehensive at the beginning, yet when she finished she felt God was no so angry with her. Makes sense huh.

  Posted by BP at 2:30 pm Comments (25)
Monday, March 27, 2006

Why we all won’t be around when Islam reforms?

The Christian reformation was bloody and messy, the Islamic reformation will take generations before it bears any fruit. There are 2 reasons why.

First, currently, we are not even in stage one. We are below the zero level. The debate of whether a convert out of islam should be killed or not didn’t even commense. If such a simple crystal clear thing, the right to change religion, is still not being discussed, then when do you think will the Islamic world start discussing issues such as women rights, freedom of speech, and the seperation of politics and religion?

Second, Muslims are busy blaming the Jooooooz and America. When you are busy blaming others for your ills, you have no time to look at the mirror.

So ladies and gentlement, we’re in this for the long haul. Don’t forget to tell that to your grandchildren.

  Posted by BP at 4:46 pm Comments (12)