Sunday, September 27, 2009

Afghanistan: Losing Hearts, Minds and The War

This Article is written by Brother Abid Mustafa

The events in Afghanistan over the passed few weeks clearly demonstrate that America and her allies are running out of options to extricate themselves from a hazardous quagmire that threatens to end their occupation in disgrace. The situation has rapidly deteriorated and the recent NATO airstrike which killed scores of innocent civilians not only epitomizes the callous attitude of the crusaders, but sets a new benchmark for measuring West's sacred ideal of human rights when applied to the Muslims of Afghanistan let alone the Muslim world. The indiscriminate killing of civilians belittles the oft quoted mantra of winning hearts and minds; instead it has diminished West's credibility, appalled the nations of the world and more significantly emboldened the Afghan resistance.

This new dose of realism, has stirred some western politician and military leaders to intensely question the war in Afghanistan. Commenting on Gordon Brown's recent pledge to remain committed to Afghanistan, Lord Paddy Ashdown said, "Events are still moving against us in Afghanistan...This was the right war to fight but we have made catastrophic errors over the last five years and unless we can turn this thing round very quickly I think things will not get better, they are likely to get worse." Across the Atlantic, the call for a new Afghan strategy by General McChrystal�months after the Obama unveiled his much coveted Afpak strategy� underscores the confusion and mayhem amongst US military planners. After 8 years of ‘preventative war' and several strategies later, the mighty US military and its partner NATO is fatigued and nowhere near to overcoming a band of rag-tag fighters. Grandiose plans to use Afghanistan as a staging base to counter Russia, China and the resurgence of Islam seem to be wishful thinking at best.

Even the new strategy offers very little solace in the way of fresh battlefield thinking. Proposals such as dividing the Afghan resistance, tempting moderate Taleban into the political process, improving civilian infrastructure, increasing the Afghan army and boosting the number of US/NATO troops have been tried before and have only met failure. One only has to look at Iraq and realize that similar strategies pursued are fast unraveling�making a mockery of claims that the violence has subsided and the resistance defeated. Last year the Rand National Research Institute conducted a study of the 90 insurgencies that had taken place since 1945 and discovered that on average it takes 14 years to defeat insurgents once they are operational. Unless, the US and her allies are willing to substantially augment existing troop numbers and prepare their populations for a protracted counterinsurgency war, the prospects for stabilizing Afghanistan look woefully bleak. In Europe the momentum is galvanizing towards ending European involvement in fighting America's ‘preventative war'. Britain, France and Germany are pressing for an international conference to persuade the fickle Afghan government to take on more responsibility. Abdication of European responsibility will put further pressure on the already strained trans-Atlantic alliance.

The only military asset the West's has in its arsenal to reverse its fortunes in Afghanistan is the Pakistani regime. In the past, America exploited the Pakistani army, the country's rich resources and ingenuity of its people to help the Afghan Mujahiddeen defeat the Soviets. Later, the US collaborated with Pakistan's elite and created the Taleban to promote stability in Afghanistan and act as a conduit for the transportation of oil and gas from Central Asia. Today, America is conniving with the Pakistani leadership to confront the Afghan resistance and destroy it, even if this leads to the dissolution of Pakistan's territorial integrity. If it was not for Pakistan, America's preponderance in the region would have terminated long ago.

It is precisely this point that anti-war campaigners in the West and those nations that are incensed by America's unjust war on the poorest nation on earth should concentrate on. They should all lobby Pakistan to withdraw assistance to America and NATO. Any endeavor short of this trajectory is futile and will only prolong the war.

As for the Pakistani people they must realize that the present political and military leadership is stooped in cowardice and blinded by promises of illusionary riches to recognize Pakistan's immense strength and the opportunity before them to deliver a painful blow to end America's primacy. Instead, what is required during this Ramadan is for the people and the armed forces to take the reigns of power establish the Caliphate and expel the crusader forces from both countries. Those who doubt their ability to accomplish this feat should ponder on the poorly equipped Muslim army at Badr that overcome the mighty Quraish and ushered in a new age of Islamic rule.

Views on the News - 24/09/2009

Germany attacks UK ahead of the G20 meeting
This week, German finance minister Peer Steinbrueck launched an outspoken attack on the City of London, saying the financial lobby is 'doing its best' to block the introduction of stricter financial market regulations. 'There is clearly a lobby in London that wants to defend its competitive advantage tooth and nail,' Steinbrueck told Germany's Stern magazine. He singled out Britain's approach to hedge funds, claiming the UK is fighting tougher regulations because it is worried about suffering from an exodus of talent. He said the financial sector accounted for 15% of the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) in contrast to just 6% in Germany. Steinbrueck last year poured scorn on Gordon Brown's bank and business bailout plans. His attack came as the European Commission unveiled detailed proposals to create new pan-European authorities with the authority to oversee and intervene in national financial markets. There are concerns in the UK that these plans could give the Commission too much influence over Treasury interventions in the banking system.

Is Turkey part of Obama’s regional missile defense programme?
Less than two weeks before Turkey is likely to host new international talks about the Iranian nuclear programme, Ankara’s stated interest in buying four missile defence batteries has raised a big question: why does the country think it needs a missile shield? “We will procure four batteries,” Gen Metin Gurak, the spokesman of the general staff in Ankara, said during a regular media briefing on Friday. “The missiles are not directed against any country in particular. They are mobile and can be used on every front.”Gen Gurak said the system would cost around US$1billion (Dh3.67bn), much less than the sum of around $8bn that had been reported by the Turkish press earlier. The general said the higher number had been included in a notification sent by the US government to Congress and had referred to 13 batteries, not four. He said a decision on the tender for the system of four batteries would be made by October 13. Two US companies, including Raytheon, the maker of the Patriot system, as well as a company from China and one from Russia have put in bids. There is also speculation that Turkey, the only Nato country bordering Iran, could be playing a key role in a new US missile defence strategy after the cancellation of planned missile deployments in Eastern Europe. Turkey’s territory lies within range of Iranian short and medium-range missiles. “We have updated our intelligence assessment of Iran’s missile programmes, which emphasises the threat posed by Iran’s short and medium-range missiles, which are capable of reaching Europe,” the US President Barack Obama said last Thursday.

McChrystal paints a grim picture of America in Afghanistan
The Afghan war will be lost unless more troops are sent to pursue a radically revised strategy, the top U.S. and NATO commander said in a confidential assessment that offers stark choices for President Barack Obama. In the assessment, sent to Washington last month and leaked on Monday, Army General Stanley McChrystal said failure to reverse "insurgent momentum" in the near term risked an outcome where "defeating the insurgency is no longer possible." A copy of the 66-page assessment was obtained by The Washington Post and published on its website with some parts removed at the request of the government for security reasons."Resources will not win this war, but under-resourcing could lose it," McChrystal wrote. "Failure to provide adequate resources also risks a longer conflict, greater casualties, higher overall costs and ultimately, a critical loss of political support. Any of these risks, in turn, are likely to result in mission failure." McChrystal, who commands more than 100,000 Western troops, two-thirds of them American, has drafted a separate request spelling out how many more he needs but has not sent it to the Pentagon, which says it is considering how he should submit it. In his assessment, McChrystal painted a grim picture of the war so far, saying "the overall situation is deteriorating" and calling for a "revolutionary" shift putting more emphasis on protecting Afghans than on killing insurgents. "Our objective must be the population," he wrote. "The objective is the will of the people, our conventional warfare culture is part of the problem. The Afghans must ultimately defeat the insurgency.”

Zardari’s empty begging bowl
President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday called upon the US to fast track reimbursement of outstanding Coalition Support Fund of $1.6billion and early realization of the Tokyo pledges to ensure economic stability of Pakistan. The President said this while talking to the US President Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, who called on him here Tuesday afternoon and discussed a wide range of issues concerning the two countries. The President also asked for the passage of the Biden-Lugar Bill, which is constantly being thrown in Pakistan's face as reflecting the commitment of the US to Pakistan but which still remains to be passed by Congress. The case of the Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZs) Bill is suffering the same fate. But despite this humiliation, Zardari is pressing ahead with the first summit of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. Like a true beggar, Zardari will plead for money with promises of spilling more Muslim blood. The event will be chaired jointly by President Asif Ali Zardari, and crusaders US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

China prepare to flex its military might
China on Wednesday promised military watchers a real show in the National Day parade on October 1, with a host of new equipment to be rolled out, most of which has never before been seen in public. "The equipment we will unveil is 100 percent China-made and close to 90 percent will be paraded for the first time," Gao Jianguo, spokesman for the office of the National Day Military Parade Joint Command, told reporters. China will stage a huge military parade and pageant in Beijing on October 1 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the communist People's Republic. Gao said new equipment unveiled to the public would include nuclear, conventional and cruise missiles, as well as fighter jets, radar systems and surface-to-air missiles -- without offering any specifics. "We will unveil some new weapons during this parade and this is the concrete reflection of China's economic and technological development and progress in the military field," he said. China's military spending rose 15.3 percent in 2009 to 69 billion dollars, according to a budget submitted to parliament in March, the latest in a string of double-digit increases. Earlier a defence ministry spokesman in Beijing rejected US Defence Secretary Robert Gates' comments that US naval carriers and air bases in the Pacific faced new threats from China's modernisation. The US National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said that China's military modernisation programme posed a threat and that China's involvement in cyber technology had become aggressive.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

This is Iman

The article is written by a Sister

The Prophet SAW in his ascent to Jannah could smell a beautiful smell and asked Jibrael what the beautiful smell was. He SAW was told this was the smell of the hairdresser of the daughter of Firaun, and her children,.

Who may this woman and her children be, we may ask? Yet another figure in an Islamic history book? But surely, my dear sisters, this woman is more than a dormant figure in a book. This woman is the magnificent, most beautiful example for us all, on what Iman really means. What steadfastness upon the Haq really means. And what sacrifice fi sabeelilah really means.
And the hadith narrated in Ahmad and Ibn Majah is as follows:

The hairdresser of the daughter of the Firaun, a nobody, another servant in the expansive quarters of the Firaun was one day combing the hair of her master's daughter. And as she was doing so, she accidentally dropped the comb and after picking it up to resume her combing, she subconsciously uttered Bismillah. Just as we do, my dear sisters, before we eat, before we do any action, the utterance of bismillah is alhumdulilah of second nature to us, as it alhumdulilah was to her. But this utterance in no way had the same repercussions as maybe out utterances do today. Swiftly the daughter asked her what she had said, asking her whether she was mentioning the name of her father.

But this brave and valiant woman's reply was - No. I mention Allah, my God and the God of your father. Immediately the daughter became angry and rushed to her father to tell him what had happened. He, in his anger, at finding this out, summoned her to him.
And she came and stood, a woman, a woman, sisters, in front of this great, most tyrannical and dictatorial Pharaoh. And he said to her, 'who is your god?' And she said, 'Allah is my lord.' He said 'who is Allah?' She said 'Allah is my god and yours.' Yes, she was cornered and put in a place, when she had to answer, she answered. No compromise, no thinking about how it would affect her job, her livelihood and most of all her 5 children.

Her answer made the Firaun furious and he ordered for chains to be brought. They whipped her, punsihed her but her reply was the same 'Allah is my lord and yours.'
And so he ordered for them to bring a large container and he spilt boiling oil in to this container, and then he said, 'bring me all her children!' And her first child was brought. A child who for a mother, her heart aches for, when he may graze his knee, bang his head. Yet as the Firaun asked her the same question again and her response was the same, this child was put into the boiling oil, for his flesh to melt away from his bones, leaving his mother in this dunya.

But my dear sisters, the pain of the loss of a child, in front of your very eyes, in a manner which could make the coldest of hearts weep, did in no way weaken this jewel of Allah. She continued to watch all four of her children being immersed in the boiling oil and killed in this way. And then came the fifth, a baby who was still breastfeeding. And she was about to pull back. Imagine sisters, the innocent form of a baby whose total dependence on the mother for all form of nourishment, imagine how a mother would feel to think of the fate that laid for him. And then Allah SWT, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, in his magnificence, enabled this baby to speak to his mother. 'Be patient my mother, you are in the truth, Allah Allah has promised you with a great heaven, keep going mother.' SubhanAllah!
And the same fate befall the innocent baby.

She knew she was next and she began to cry. The tyrant, Firaun, then asked her why she was crying. And sisters, it was not in regret of what she had done, or in anger for Allah's test upon her. No. It was because she had a request she wanted to ask this man, but she did not know whether he would comply. And what was this request?

This request was - After she was also boiled alive, that all that remained of her and her children should be gathered together and buried in the same grave. This is so, on Yawm Ul Qiyamah, she could be raised with all the children beside her and enter Jannah with them.

Sisters, what are our tests? Comfort? Ease? The fear of what people will say to us? The sacrifice of wealth, status, career? Just think of this fragant jewel of Jannah, and remember that nothing is too big a sacrifice for the sake of our Rabb.


Parenting in Islam

Many issues in the Muslim community have highlighted the breakdown in communication between parents and their children – especially teenagers. As parents we must do our utmost to protect ourselves and our family from the Hellfire. We cannot simply accomplish this by being a taskmaster. Rather we must build a relationship with our children based on respect, trust, love and friendship just as RasulAllah (saw) and the Sahaba (ra) did.

Men and Stones

Allah (swt) has laid a heavy responsibility on the parents for the well-being of their children in the Dunya and in the Akhira:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ
“Oh you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.”[TMQ 66:6]

In his tafsir, Ibn Kathir says, “Qatadah said [about this ayah], ‘He commands obedience to Allah, to not disobey Allah, he orders his family to obey His orders and helps them to act upon His orders. When one sees disobedience, he stops them and forbids them from doing it.’”Thus parents assume the role of managing the affairs of the household. They ensure that the obligations (fara’id) are being fulfilled and the prohibitions (muharamat) avoided by all family members.

The Prophet (saw) said:
“All of you are guardians and all of you are responsible for things under your guardianship; the ruler is a guardian (managing his state’s affairs) and he is responsible for things under his care, the man is a guardian over his family and responsible for them, the woman is a guardian of her husband's house and she is responsible for it. All of you are guardians and responsible for things under your control.”[Bukhari & Muslim]As parents our motivation should be in the certainty that Allah (swt) has endowed us with the responsibility to guard our families from the fires of Jahanam – a responsibility that He will ask us about on the Day of Judgment.Establishing the FoundationHow can parents do their best to raise their children on the sirat-al-mustaqeem?

The Prophet (saw) said:
“A father gives his child nothing better than a good education.”[Tirmidhi & Baihaqi]

Our best effort in achieving this would be to provide our children with the correct foundation built upon the Islamic Aqeedah. We should regularly engage in discussions with our children to teach them that the Islamic Aqeedah is based on reflecting upon the world around us and concluding that it is created by Allah (swt), the Creator of all creation. We should also teach them that the commands and prohibitions are from Allah (swt) and not us as parents. That is, we should make them realize that they are not ultimately accountable to us, but rather to Allah (swt) who is All-Seeing and All-Knowing. Once this basis is established we should then proceed to teach our children that all our actions must be based on textual evidences from the Quran and Sunnah. Our children must also be immersed in the vivid descriptions of Jannah and Jahanam, so that their emotions are linked to the rewards that Allah (swt) has promised and the punishments that Allah (swt) has warned us about.

A Look at the Fathers of the Past

Knowing that Allah (swt) has placed on our shoulders the responsibility of managing our family’s affairs, we should look to the examples provided to us in the Quran, Sunnah and the generations thereafter.Allah (swt) revealed to us in the Quran how Luqman had advised his son:

يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَى مَا أَصَابَكَ إِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ (17) وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ
"O my son! Perform As Salat, enjoin (on people) Al-Ma'ruf , and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar, and bear with patience whatever befalls you. Verily, these are some of the important commandments (ordered by Allah with no exemption). And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster. And be moderate (or show no insolence) in your walking, and lower your voice. Verily, the harshest of all voices is the braying of the donkey."[TMQ 31:17-19]

The advice shows the concern of a father for the well-being of his son not only in this life but, more importantly, in the akhira.
When we look at the ayat together we can visualize the advice being passed from a loving father to his son rather than a set of orders being handed down. As parents we need to establish a relationship with our children where we are not simply ordering them “do this” or “don’t do that”. We must first build a bond with our children so that they are willing to receive and accept our guidance. This can only be achieved in a relationship that is based on mutual respect, trust, and love. As parents we must take the time to understand our children and their personalities and tailor our conversations with them accordingly.Our greatest example is the Prophet (saw). He was like a father to his Sahaba (ra). Looking into his life and how he treated his Sahaba (ra) we see that he spent a great amount of time and effort to know their personalities. He took a great deal of effort to understand their needs and what would motivate them to be the best believers in Allah (swt). Regarding his attitude towards the Muslims, Allah (swt) revealed:

فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ
“And by the Mercy of Allah, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have broken away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (Allah’s) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs.”[TMQ 3:159]

For example, Anas (ra) (when mentioning his childhood) narrates, “I served the Prophet (saw) for ten years, and he never said to me, "Uff" (a minor harsh word denoting impatience) and never blamed me by saying, "Why did you do so or why didn't you do so?"

The Sahaba (ra) continued this relationship of being conscious of their children’s affairs and advising them with the best of speech. When Aisha (ra) was accused of committing adultery her parents did not cut her off and sever ties with her although this was a heavy accusation made against her. Rather her father, Abu Bakr (ra), and mother allowed her to return to their home until the issue was resolved. Aisha (ra) said, “So I continued to cry that day and my tears would not stop flowing until I believed that my liver would split open due to my tears. While I was sitting and crying, my parents were with me, and one of the Ansar ladies asked permission to enter and started crying with me.”

In another situation the Sahaba (ra) were sitting with the Prophet (saw) and he asked about a specific tree. None of the Sahaba (ra) knew the answer except Abdullah ibn Umar (ra). However, Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) remained silent. After the halaqa was over, when Umar (ra) and Abdullah (ra) were returning home, Abdullah (ra) told his father that he knew the answer but had remained silent out of respect for the older Sahaba (ra) who were present. Umar (ra) was disappointed and told Abdullah (ra), “Had you said that it meant the date-palm tree, this statement of yours (would have been dearer to me) than such and such things.” It was clear from his statement that Umar (ra) was teaching his son to be confident when upholding what is right and not to shy away from it.

Inculcating the Lessons in our Youth

With this heavy responsibility placed upon us we might be inclined to assume the role of a taskmaster, and order our children around as though they were servants, as it is always easier than earning their co-operation and help. But we must refrain from this type of thinking because it will establish a sense of dread and fear in our children, making us, their parents, the last people they turn to and trust. Rather we should mentor the hearts and minds of our children to hope for the mercy of Allah (swt) and fear His anger. Verily, in our absence, it is Him who is aware of their actions and who will account them accordingly.

In an athar of Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) he said: "Play with your children until the age of seven, educate them for another seven, and befriend them for another seven.” From this advice we can discern that as parents we should understand that our relationship with our children progresses as they grow older and should not remain as it was when they were infants or small children. As they mature, we should strive to establish with them a relationship of companionship. To establish a friendship based on mutual trust, respect, and love we must ensure that the atmosphere in our homes is conducive for this. When we speak to our children we should try and speak to them using the best of speech. We should select the best terms/words and talk to them in a respectful manner. We should ensure that what we say is clear and easy to understand, so that they are not misunderstood by our children.

At the same time we should listen to what our children have to say. We should not 'over interpret' what we hear or try to 'read between the lines'. Rather we should allow for open dialogue and clarification so that our children will feel that if they have something to say that they will not be belittled or dismissed.

We should have patience and be gentle in our dealings with our children. We should create an environment where they feel that they can come to us for advice or to entrust us with information without fearing that they will not be understood, or that they will get into more trouble by speaking. We need to establish an understanding with our children that we are here to help and guide them and not to reign over or control them.

Finally we must do our utmost to be good role models for our children as it is our actions that they pay attention to rather than our words.May Allah (swt) be pleased with the way that we raise our children and may our children be a means of continuous rewards after our death insha-Allah.

Allah (swt) says in the Holy-Qur'an
إِنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ وَاللَّهُ عِنْدَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ
“Your wealth and your children are only a trial, whereas Allah! With Him is a great reward (Paradise).”[TMQ 64:15]


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Views on the News - 18/09/2009

America needs you, CIA chief tells Arabs
In a historic visit to Dearborn Detroit, CIA Director Leon Panetta reached out to metro Detroiters with roots in the Middle East at a Ramadan dinner aimed at engaging Arab Americans. "The reason I'm here ... is very simple: Your country needs you," he told a crowd of about 150 Arab Americans and Chaldeans on Wednesday at the Bint Jebail Cultural Center. "It needs your ingenuity; it needs your wisdom; it needs the skills of your communities to help protect the way of life that all of us hold dear." Panetta's speech was believed to be the first time a CIA head has held a public Ramadan dinner, said CIA official George Little. And it comes at a time when the CIA finds itself involved in conflicts across the Muslim world. "I am particularly honored to be with you on this night, which I understand is the Night of Power, which holds such deep spiritual meaning for all Muslims," Panetta said. In order for the CIA to get better, "we have to reflect the face of this nation, we have to reflect the face of the world," he said. "Our goal is to substantially increase diversity."

UK Police Chiefs brace for riots between Muslims and English fascists
This week UK police chiefs up and down the country warned to brace them- selves for a winter of race riots. UK police forces have been put on alert amid growing concerns about violent clashes between Muslims and far-Right thugs. Trouble has already occurred in several UK cities where the English Defense League(EDL) has protested against the Islamisation of the UK. The EDL is an umbrella organisation which attracts far-Right activists, neo-Nazis and football hooligans with a shared hatred of “Islamic extremism”. EDL has set up divisions in Luton, north London, Bristol, Portsmouth, Southampton, Derby, Cardiff and across the West Midlands. Four national police units, including experts on soccer hooliganism and terrorism, are investigating the group. John Denham, the secretary of state for communities and local government, warned that there were strong parallels between the group, which is planning protests in Muslim neighbour- hoods, and Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, who sparked fighting when they marched through Jewish areas of London’s East End in the Thirties. Mr Denham said: “If you look at their [EDL]demonstrations they’ve organised, it is clear that it’s a tactic designed to provoke and to get a response and hopefully create violence.”

Belgium bans the wearing of hijjab
Schools in the Belgian Dutch-speaking region of Flanders have banned the wearing of the Muslim headscarf. After a decision by the region’s school board, around a fifth of schools say they will implement the ban immediately – others have up to a year to follow. Two schools are already enforcing the ban. Headteacher Chris Weyers explained: “96 percent of the pupils were Muslims. And it was a great pressure on the students who weren’t Muslims, or that were Muslims but did not wear the scarf, and so our pupils weren’t free anymore.” While some girls have complied with the ban – removing their scarves while in school – Muslim groups have strongly condemned the move. Angry pupils have staged protests outside the school and one girl has filed a complaint with the Belgian Council of State to contest the ban. While protests are expected to continue, Belgium is not the first to ban the scarf. France, Germany and the UK have various types of bans in place that forbid the wearing of hijjab and the niqab.

Petraeus: Taliban have grown stronger
General David Petraeus, the overall commander of troops in Afghanistan, has painted a bleak picture of the security situation admitting that the Taliban has “without question” increased its strength in the country. Gen Petraeus said the current security situation in the country was equivalent to the most violent period in Iraq said during a speech in London this week.“The Taliban without question have expanded their strength and influence” in certain districts of Afghanistan,” he told a select audience of military, security services and political figures at the Policy Exchange think tank. In many districts there was the feeling of a “downward spiral present” in terms of progress. The Taliban were funding their campaign not only by the drugs trade and crime but also with “donations from outsiders”. Petraeus remarks coincide with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledge of withdrawing at least 500 of the country’s 3,000 troops deployed in Afghanistan “in the next few weeks”. The move is bound to further strengthen the Taleban.

Zardari government paid 3bn dollars to wage war against Islam
The United States has provided more than $3bn in aid to Pakistan since President Zardari came to power a year ago, its ambassador in Islamabad says. Anne W Patterson said the money was given in "combined security, economic and development assistance". "The US government will continue to deliver assistance to Pakistan through a variety of long-standing vectors as required by American law to ensure transparency and accountability, and is not depriving the Pakistani government any degree of direct funding as a result of a lack of confidence or trust," the US ambassador said. Meanwhile according to ‘US Arms Sales to Pakistan’ report, the major arms purchase agreement by Pakistan signed in 2006, was in excess of $3.5 billion, ranking Pakistan first among all arms clients of the US during that calendar year. So it is pretty evident where the money paid to the Zardari government will end up.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Al-Quds: Don't Visit Us - Liberate Us

This article is written by brother Asif Salahuddin

Umar Bin Al-Khattab (ra) in the year 636 was the first to do so. Under his command as Khaleefah, the armies of Islam, after their continued expansion outside the Arabian Peninsula, had reached the gates of Jerusalem (Al Quds) and had the city surrounded. Partly because of the city's immense importance - it is home to Masjid-Al-Aqsa (the third holiest mosque in Islam) and had been the first Qibla for the Muslims - Umar (ra) himself journeyed to the land and oversaw the liberation of this sacred city.

The second to do so was none other than Salahuddin Al-Ayubi in the year 1187 following the brutal period of conquest by the crusading forces from Europe. Western historians themselves account that the streets of Jerusalem flowed knee-deep in Muslim blood when the crusaders overran and ransacked the city. But it was Salahuddin that finally rallied the various Muslim regions together to unite as one army and under one leader that would confront the crusader forces and eventually expel them from the holy land, liberating it and Masjid Al-Aqsa in the process and bringing the area back into the Islamic state's rule.

But today Masjid Al-Aqsa, and the holy land of Al-Quds it is situated in, again stands subjugated by non-Muslim forces. This has been the case since 1917 when the British took control of the region away from the Uthmani Khilafah, which was then followed by the occupation of the Zionists from 1948 when Israel was formed by the British to be their satellite state in the region. Disturbingly for the Muslim Ummah, this year marks the 92nd year of its occupation, which is now longer than the period for which the crusaders occupied it before Salahuddin liberated the city.

But there will be a third liberation of this land, Insha'Allah, under the command of an individual whose name will rank in history alongside that of Umar (ra) and Salahuddin Al-Ayubi. Whether this military officer originates from the current Pakistan army, Turkish Army, Egyptian army or any other existing Muslim force remains yet to be seen.

Thus explained, in an emotive presentation on the subject, the articulate Sheikh Abu Abdullah visiting from Al Quds, Palestine where he is the Imam of the Beit Safafa Masjid. "What is the best way to visit Palestine in the current climate?" a question was put forward to him. "In a jet fighter" came the humorous reply, but with after slight reflection and with the seriousness the topic deserves, "Don't come and visit us - come and liberate us".

This is the clear sentiment expressed by the Muslims of Palestine, for they are living under a brutal occupation by the Zionists who have squeezed ever more and more land and resources away from them, rendering the Muslims to live in little more than the glorified prison camps of Gaza and the West Bank. Literally animals are treated better than these Muslims. Just recently it has been horrifyingly disclosed in the Aftonbladet, a leading Swedish newspaper, that the Israelis are abducting young Muslim men, ripping them open and selling their organs on the international market for hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are standards which are followed when animals are killed for their meat to ensure minimum pain to them etc, but for these young Palestinian Muslims no such standards are observed as they are hunted down and slaughtered in a barbaric manner before their bodies are pillaged and used for commercial profit. Such is the depravity that is currently taking place in the holy land.

No amount of charity will help such Muslims - only by lifting the Israeli state's persecution will they be saved. So with such horrendous treatment of fellow Muslims, what is stopping the Muslim military men of today in stepping forward and unleashing their armies for the liberation of the blessed land of Al-Quds and its Muslims?

Just before the decisive battle of Hattin in Ramadhan, which preceded the liberation of Al-Quds and in which the Muslim army led by Salahuddin was victorious, Salahuddin's advisors urged Salahuddin to wait after the month of Ramadhan to engage the enemy. But Salahuddin, after having deeply contemplated the importance of this issue in Islam and the immense duty which fell upon the Muslims to act, disagreed and proceeded with his plan after replying "Man's lifetime is short, death gives no appointment and leaving the occupiers in the Muslim lands for more than a single day despite the ability to drive them out is an abominable act that I could not bear."

Today, the Muslim army men in a similar position to act must not only learn from the actions of Salahuddin, but they must also dwell on the actions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم himself. For in Salahuddin's time the Islamic state still existed, albeit fragmented, and it was Salahuddin who went about reunifying it first before confronting the crusaders. However, Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم had to first struggle to establish this state, and only once done did the battles of Islam begin.

It was during this arduous quest to establish the Islamic state that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم addressed the seventy odd strong delegation from Yathrib, who would later form the Ansar. During this historic meeting in Aqabah the pledge of material support, or Nusrah, was given by the delegation to Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, assuring him صلى الله عليه وسلم that the Muslims could migrate to Yathrib and establish the first Islamic state there under their protection and commitment to defend against any external threats.
In return Abdullah bin Rawaha (ra), one of their leading figures, enquired from Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم as to what their incentive would be for such a momentous commitment. Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم explained the tremendous reward that awaited them in the next life in return for such sacrifice, in response to which Abdullah bin Rawaha (ra) replied: "A profitable trade (Ribh ul-bay')! We will not annul nor ask to be annulled."

Allah سبحانه وتعالى Himself has endorsed these words forever by incorporating them in the Qur'an in verse 111 of surah At-Tawba:
إِنَّ اللّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللّهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُواْ بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُم بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
"Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph."

Both these challenges remain today to be fulfilled by the military men of the Muslim world. They must first give their pledge of support to those who are calling out to them to re-establish the Islamic state on the method of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, and secondly, under this new leadership, they must set out on the road of liberating the Islamic lands, including Al-Quds.
In order to do so they must put their complete trust in Allah سبحانه وتعالى, cast aside their worldly fears and take that vital step forward knowing that Allah سبحانه وتعالى will make the foothold firm of those who help His cause. They must realise that whatever the fruits have been of the trade that has preoccupied them thus far, these will pale into insignificance when compared with the immense reward that awaits them insha'Allah in the next life for undertaking Allah's سبحانه وتعالى struggle. This, Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur'an, is the ultimate success.

At the same time, the Muslim army men who have the capability to take action must not forget that by being neglectful of this duty, they will incur Allah's سبحانه وتعالى wrath.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur'an in verse 16 of surah Al-Hadid:
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ
"Is not the time ripe for the hearts of those who believe to submit to Allah's reminder and to the truth which is revealed, that they become not as those who received the scripture of old but the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened, and many of them are evil-livers."

Unlike most civilians, who can do little more than look on in helpless despair at the plight of the Ummah today, these Muslim soldiers actually have the capacity of taking the right steps to rectify the situation. For this purpose, they must realise that on the day when mankind will appear drunk with absolute terror before our creator Allah سبحانه وتعالى, they will be in the forefront to be severely accounted for both their actions and inactions in this life.

In short, the time for the Muslim military officers to act has come and they should not delay a single day in giving their material support or Nusrah to those sincere Muslims around them that need it in order to re-establish the Islamic state and wake up the giant of Islam from its slumber, mobilising in the process the millions of Muslims around the globe that are awaiting eagerly to be led forward for this cause. These colonels, brigadiers or generals must look beyond the distractions of this life; the plots they seek to accumulate, the western education they wish to attain for their offspring, the wealth they wish to amass and the lifestyle they cherish to hold on to, for none of these things will accompany them to their graves except their deeds. Today they have the means to enact this noble duty, but tomorrow Allah سبحانه وتعالى may take this away from them without notice, leaving them to forever rue over this missed golden opportunity that could have won them eternal reward and save them from a painful doom.

Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur'an, in verse 75 of surah An-Nisa:
وَمَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاء وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَـذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا

"And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? - Men, women and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!'"


Views on the News - 11/09/2009

UN calls for the dollar to be replaced
The dollar should be replaced with a global currency, the United Nations has said, proposing the biggest overhaul of the world's monetary system since the Second World War. In a radical report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has said the system of currencies and capital rules which binds the world economy is not working properly, and was largely responsible for the financial and economic crises. It added that the present system, under which the dollar acts as the world's reserve currency , should be subject to a wholesale reconsideration. Although a number of countries, including China and Russia , have suggested replacing the dollar as the world's reserve currency, the UNCTAD report is the first time a major multinational institution has posited such a suggestion. In essence, the report calls for a new Bretton Woods-style system of managed international exchange rates, meaning central banks would be forced to intervene and either support or push down their currencies depending on how the rest of the world economy is behaving.

British Government losing public support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
Most people are against the decision to send British troops to Afghanistan, according to a survey published this week. More than half of those questioned said that the Army should never have been deployed to Helmand province in southern Afghanistan. The latest gauge of public opinion will cause alarm in the Government, which has been trying in recent months to clarify the objectives of the mission in Helmand, codenamed Operation Herrick. However, 53 per cent of the 2,000 people questioned for the survey, conducted by ICM Research on behalf of the National Army Museum, rejected the Government’s reasoning for the mission in Helmand . When asked whether 9,000 troops should have been sent on Operation Herrick, only 6 per cent “strongly agreed”. Another 19 per cent “agreed”, giving a combined vote of support of one quarter of the survey participants.

Another 15 per cent were unable to make up their minds either way, indicating that the Government still has a long way to go to convince members of the public that the mission in Afghanistan is justified. Even greater disaffection was shown towards the British military campaign in Iraq , which was finally brought to an end in July after six years.
Sixty per cent voiced opposition to Britain ’s military involvement in Iraq . Only 20 per cent agreed that it had been right to send troops to Basra .

America aims to boost its presence in Iraq through private contractors
Despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to withdraw US troops from Iraq , the US is planning to award contracts to protect US installations at a cost to taxpayers that could near $1 billion. In fact, the Multi-National Force-Iraq just awarded $485 million in contracts just last week, while Congress enjoyed its summer recess. Five firms will handle private security deals to provide security for US bases. It’s a neat rhetorical loophole that will allow US officials to say that the country has withdrawn from Iraq , while its contractors remain. “Under a similar contract with five security contractors that began in September 2007, the MNF-I spent $253 million through March 2009, with needs growing over that 18-month period,” the Washington Post’s Walter Pincus wrote in Wednesday editions. “That contract, which was to run three years, had a spending limit of $450 million. The Pentagon’s “quarterly report on contracting showed a 19 percent increase from the three previous months in the number of security guards in Iraq hired by the Defense Department. The Central Command attributed the increase, from 10,743 at the end of March to 13,232 at the end of June, mainly to “an increased need for PSCs [private security companies] to provide security as the military begins to draw down forces.”

Pakistan: Pentagon under pressure to prove it can stay the course in the region
The Pentagon has come under increasing pressure to explain its role in Afghanistan and warned that it would be a disaster if the US abandoned Pakistan and Afghanistan now.‘If indeed we were to turn our backs on Afghanistan again, and in the process essentially turn our backs on Pakistan again, that it would be a road to disaster,’ Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told a briefing here. ‘We have to show our friends and allies, whether it be Pakistan or any of the other central Asian nations, that we are committed to them, that we are their friends and allies. And we are not going to turn our backs as we have in the past.’ The Pentagon official, also conceded that US military commanders needed to show real progress in Afghanistan over the next 18 months if they expected the American public to continue backing the war. Mr Morrell noted that US Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates had acknowledged recently a degree of understandable ‘war weariness’ among the American people. ‘We’ve been at war now for eight years. It’s been long and difficult and costly in lives and treasure,’ Mr Morrell said. ‘We have to be able to show the American people that all this effort, all these resources, are not in vain — that we are indeed making headway.’

Indian President: Central Asia tensions threaten world
Growing religious and ethnic tension in ex-Soviet Central Asia poses one of the most significant threats to world peace and stability, Indian President Pratibha Patil said on Monday. During a visit to Tajikistan ’s capital Dushanbe , Patil sounded the alarm over the deteriorating security situation in the region, which experts say is driven by instability in war-wracked Afghanistan . “The spread of intolerance and hatred throughout the region threatens the entire world and is a dangerous phenomenon following the end of the Cold War,” she told reporters here, according to comments released by her press service. “I call on the leaders of the governments of Central Asia to arrange for the destruction of terrorism in all its forms,” she said. A string of incidents, from a suicide bombing in Uzbekistan in May to gunbattles with suspected militants in Tajikistan this summer, have heightened fears that the predominantly Muslim region may be sliding out of control. Tensions have been high along the poorly-delineated border between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan since the suicide bombing, with Tashkent unilaterally building up its defences along the border. For its part, Kyrgyzstan has deployed troops to shore up its border with Tajikistan , which shares a broad and poorly-guarded border with Afghanistan .

Sep 11 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Analysing Obama's Honeymoon: The End of the Beginning

When Barrack Hussein Obama was inaugurated on January 20th 2009, he achieved something no other person of his race has ever done in the 232 year history of the United States. Obama become the first black man to take the oath of office and by doing so entered the history books as the 44th President of the United States.

Obama shattered the myth that a black person could not ascend to the most powerful office in the country and become the leader of the free world. But Obama is no ordinary politician, born to a black Kenyan father and a white American mother from Kansas, Obama has been shattering records all his life. The first black editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review, a gifted orator a freshman Senator who was elected with over 70% of the vote in 2004 and who then become the only black person to gain the nomination of either major party. Fighting under the banner of "Change We Can Believe In", the Obama juggernaut didn't just win his party's nomination or the subsequent general election by defeating a number of lightweights. In beating Hilary Rodham Clinton, he defeated the greatest brand name in the Democratic party. In winning the general election, Obama beat a decorated war hero and one of the greatest US legislators and foreign policy experts of his time in John McCain.

The sheer symbolism of seeing a black man in the oval office of the White House cannot be denied, especially in the context of America's shameful history of treatment of its black minority. To understand the symbolism one needs to have seen the tearful reaction of many elderly black Americans to Obama's victory. When this generation was growing up, blacks couldn't vote, blacks had to sit at the back of buses, blacks couldn't eat in the same restaurants. In some states, Obama's parents mixed race wedding would have been illegal, such was the overt racism in American society. This is why it was no wonder there was an outpouring of emotional adulation from the west coast of the United States to the east coast of Africa, from the Nevada desert to the Nairobi slums, from the streets of Chicago to the streets of Berlin. Barack Obama captured the mood for change.

Since taking office Obama has continued to point towards a change in approach in US policy, a change repeated again and again in many speeches. Many across the world, spurred on by the hope drummed up by US media, bought into his 'It's time for change' rhetoric whilst many others had become disillusioned with the Bush presidency, desperately hoping that some change will occur with a change in personnel in the White House.

As August drew to a close Obama's honeymoon period comes to an end, this would therefore be an appropriate time not just consider what foreign policy the Obama regime will pursue but what he has done and what he is doing. The first months of any US presidency are spent filling key positions and learning the levers of foreign and national security policy. There are also the first rounds of visits with foreign leaders and the first tentative forays into foreign policy.
For all those across the world who were hoping for change, aside from the naivety of such a position as US Presidents operate in a world of constraints and limitations the most remarkable aspect of Obama's foreign policy is it's consistently with the policies of former President George W. Bush. How else can one describe retaining Bush's defence secretary, Robert Gates and how can one explain running against the Iraq war and then appointing Hilary Clinton arch supporter of the Iraq war as your secretary of state.

Obama's continuation of Bush's failed policies can be seen by analysing US actions across the Muslim world:

Iraq - During Obama's presidential campaign Obama ran against the Iraq war. The centre piece of his position was that the war was a mistake, and that he would end it. Obama argued that Bush's policies alienated US allies. He charged Bush with pursuing a unilateral foreign policy, alienating allies by failing to act in concert with them. In doing so, he maintained that the war in Iraq destroyed the international coalition the US needs to execute any war successfully. Obama further argued that Iraq was a distraction and that the major effort should be in Afghanistan.
Obama inherited Bush's plan that called for coalition forces to help create a viable Iraqi national military and security force that would maintain central government's authority and Iraq's territorial cohesion and integrity. In the meantime, the major factions in Iraq would devise a regime in which all factions would participate and be satisfied that their factional interests protected. While this was going on, the United States would systematically reduce its presence in Iraq until around the summer of 2010, with only non-combat troops remaining.
Obama adopted the Bush administration's policy of a staged withdrawal linked to political stabilization and the development of Iraqi security forces. While he tweaked the timeline on the withdrawal, the basic strategy remains intact. He even retained Bush's defence secretary, Robert Gates, to oversee the withdrawal.

Afghanistan - The Bush administration had remained in a defensive posture in the belief that given the forces available, enemy capabilities and the historic record, that was the best that could be done, especially as the Pentagon was almost immediately reoriented and refocused on the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. Towards the end of Bush's administration they began exploring - under the influence of General David Petraeus, who designed the strategy in Iraq the possibility of a political accommodation in Afghanistan.

When Obama took office all the indications were that the US military and foreign policy establishment had already abandoned the neo-conservative objective of crushing the Taliban and remaking Afghanistan into a functioning democracy. America's Afghanistan policy fell into the hands of the realists, whose priority was maintaining a tractable and viable client in Kabul, keeping Afghanistan securely inside the US sphere of interest, holding on to a key asset in
Central Asia's "great game" of energy resources and pipeline infrastructure.

Obama's main foreign policy position was that Bush's adventure into Iraq has obscured the real threat from Afghanistan and Pakistan, which should be the priority. Obama publicly and repeatedly promised to escalate US military intervention in Afghanistan, increasing the number of US troops and expanding their operations and engaging in methodical, cross-border attacks. Obama declared that his regime would extend the ‘war against terror' by systematic, large-scale ground and air attacks on Pakistan, thus escalating the war to include villages.

Obama shifted US policy from a purely defensive posture to a mixed posture of selective offensive and defensive, and has placed more forces into Afghanistan. Obama's basic strategy has remained the same as Bush's: hold onto to Afghanistan until the political situation evolves to the point that a political settlement is possible, this is taking place through US proxies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan holding talks on behalf of the US with Mulla Umar's Taliban, and the numerous comments by US and UK officials who continue to reiterate talking to the Taliban and accommodating them into any future political settlement.

The US now views Central Asia and South Asia through the same lens. Condoleezza Rice confirmed in January 2006 that South Asia and Central Asia are high on her list of global priorities, and the State Department is adjusting its bureaus so that the same teams of experts and diplomats are focused on both regions. "One of the things that we did in the State Department was to move the Central Asian republics out of the European bureau, which really was an artefacts of their having been states of the Soviet Union, and to move them into the bureau that is South Asia, which has Afghanistan, India and Pakistan." "It represents what we're trying to do, which is to think of this region as one that will need to be integrated, and that will be a very important goal for us."

Afghanistan's importance to the US was outlined by geopolitical expert William Engdahl "Afghanistan has historically been the heartland for the British-Russia great game, the struggle for the control of Central Asia during the 19th and 20th centuries. British strategy then was to prevent Russia at all costs from controlling Afghanistan and thereby threatening Britain's imperial crown jewel, India. Afghanistan was similarly regarded by pentagon planners as highly strategic. It was a platform from which US military power could directly threaten Russia and China, as well as Iran and other oil-rich Middle East lands. Little has changed geopolitically over more than a century of wars. Afghanistan was in an extremely vital location, straddling South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East."
Bush's policy makers viewed Afghanistan through the lens of Central Asia and the threats posed by both China and Russia, Obama's policy shows there will be no departure from this.

Iran - US aims for Iran for some time have been the complete reversal of the Islamafication of the country. The Bush administration, for the most part, viewed Iran through the neo-con lens which was regime change through military action. However, the debacle of the Iraq war made such an option remote. Calls by the likes of Vice-President Dick Cheney for military action were drowned out by the realists in the Bush administration who managed to gain the upper hand and their preferred method of dealing with Iran was through multilateralism and diplomacy, as opposed to unilateralism and military intervention. Barack Obama had no plan to change such a policy however like the realists he is prepared to use overwhelming force against Iran to occupy its oil and gas fields if necessary. Obama emphasised that he would extend the hand of friendship to Iran if it "unclenched its fist", reiterating that he is for multilateralism and engagement with Iran as he favours aggressive personal diplomacy.

With Iran's general election out of the way and the controversy of rigged results subsiding in scale and scope the US will have to deal with Ahmadinejad. Obama has in reality continued the policy of the Bush administration adopted after the neo-cons failed to make a compelling case against Iran. Obama continues to demand an end to Tehran's nuclear program, and has promised further sanctions unless Iran agrees to enter into serious talks by late September.
Obama will in all likelihood accelerate US-Iran rapprochement as both nations need each other. It was Iran that rescued the US in the midst of an insurgency in Iraq which showed no sign of abating.

Iran through its proxy the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) a group created in Tehran with full backing in 1982 and through its supreme leader Abdel Aziz al-Hakim who gathered the major shi'ah factions around him and brought stability to South Iraq, in effect leaving the US with an insurgency around Baghdad to contend with. In Afghanistan It is Iran that has secured North East Afghanistan and begun the redevelopment of the area once again coming to America's aid in its time of need. The US and Iran have virtually the same interests in the region and whilst there is much distrust between the two nations that goes back to the Islamic revolution, the reality in the region means Iran and the US will further cooperate.

Pakistan - Obama didn't just follow Bush in his policy for Pakistan but outshone him by leaps and bounds. As the Taliban made a comeback and made a mockery of so called US success in the country the Bush administration had concluded that Pakistan posed the primary obstacle to success in Afghanistan. As long as jihadists could freely infiltrate across the border shared by those two countries, victory in the Afghan war would remain elusive. "We can hunt down and kill extremists as they cross over the border from Pakistan," Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff remarked, "But until we ... eliminate the safe havens from which they operate, the enemy will only keep coming." George W Bush built the case against Pakistan and Obama has executed the project now called the Af-Pak war. Obama publicly declared that his regime would extend the ‘war against terrorism' by systematic, large-scale ground and air attacks on Pakistan, he escalated the war to include villages, towns and cities deemed sympathetic to the Afghan resistance. Pakistan has become the new theatre for US imperial expansion and this is deemed necessary by Obama to win the regional war.

Guantanamo - Obama made a great deal about his intention to close Guantanamo Bay, yet there are other Guantanomo's such as the Bagram base in Afghanistan for instance or prisons in Iraq which he is not closing. There are many facilities in dark corners of the world where the US is holding thousands of prisoners with Guantanamo being the tip of an ugly iceberg. Even with respect to Guantanamo, the United States Congress and US popular opinion is against sending the inhabitants at Guantanamo to prisons in the US to face trial and Obama has already caved in by allowing military commissions rather than civilian courts to try these inhabitants. Indeed in its latest $106 billion dollar appropriations bill to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Congress refused the Obama administration's request for a paltry $80 million to begin the closure of Guantanamo.

There should be no doubt that Obama's "reaching out" to the Muslim world is merely, in his own words, "a more open diplomatic approach." The aims of the US remain the same and this is what Obama was elected for. He made this very clear in his inauguration speech when he said: "We will not apologise for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror ... we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."

Obama's Cairo speech should not be seen in isolation. This is a part of a deliberate diplomatic strategy of repairing America's reputation in the Islamic world after the debacle of the Bush years. Obama in conjunction with large sections of the US national security establishment realised that America cannot achieve her objectives using military means alone. Following the failures in Iraq, Afghanistan and the scandals of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, America's military is not only exhausted but her standing in the world has suffered to depths not seen in recent times. When America polls single digit favourable ratings in Turkey, a country with the most aggressive secular system in the Muslim world, you know you are in trouble. Therefore a new strategy had to be formulated which commenced with Obama's speech in Cairo and the net results of his vague speech remain unclear.

As Obama begin his family holiday on Martha's Vineyard resort off the Masschusetts coast the rhetoric of ‘change' has all but evaporated and what we are witnessing is ‘more of the same' with some tinkering. Obama has managed get through his honeymoon period without actually having to make an important decision which would have brought him into conflict with congress and the republicans.

Obama's main challenge is repairing America's battered reputation around the world, the US has thrown all ideas of justice in the bin with Guantanamo and extraordinary rendition. It has even abandoned key values such as the free market which for long were symbols of American success. The financial crisis and its subsequent fall out has further hampered US aims abroad and with a more assertive Russia who is challenging the US at every opportunity Obama really has an impossible task.

The US continues to bleed from two wars which have now lasted longer than WW2, the only consistency with Obama is the fact that he will continue with the policies developed by the same foreign policy experts of the Bush era and Obama has no plans to deviate from such a path.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Liberation of Makkah - 20th Ramadan

This is an extract from the book "The Islamic State" by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabahani.

As soon as the treaty of Hudaybiyah was signed between the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم and the Quraysh, the tribe of Khuza'ah came under the protection of Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم and Banu Bakr sided with the Quraysh. Relations between the Quraysh and the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم remained peaceful and both sides resumed their business. The Quraysh expanded their trade in order to make up for what they had lost during the wars against the Muslims. Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم pursued his task of conveying the Message of Islam to the whole of mankind while simultaneously strengthening the position of the Islamic State over the Arabian Peninsula and providing safety and security within the State itself.

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم defeated the Jewish fortifications at Khaybar and then he صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم sent his envoys to the kings of various states and established foreign contacts. He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم expanded the authority of the Islamic State to the point where it engulfed the whole of the Arabian Peninsula. Then exactly one year after al-Hudaybiyah the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم called on the people to prepare for the ‘Umra ul Qada (making up the Umrah missed at Hudaybiyah) having been excluded from performing it the previous year. A convoy of two thousand men marched from Madinah and, in accordance with the Hudaybiyah agreement, none of the men carried more than the single sword in its sheath as prescribed by it.

However, the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم feared betrayal by the Quraysh and he prepared an army of a hundred riders appointing Muhammad ibn Maslamah at its head, with instructions to lead the convoy, but not to trespass the sanctity of Makkah, which they duly obeyed. The Muslims went on to perform the fulfilled ‘Umrah and they returned to Madinah without incident. After their return to Madinah the people of Makkah began embracing Islam. Khalid ibn al- Walid, ‘Amr ibn al-'As and the guardian of the Ka'bah, ‘Uthman ibn Talhah embraced Islam, followed by a large number of people from Makkah. The Muslims grew stronger by the day, whereas fear and weakness crept into the Quraysh's ranks.

When the Muslims returned from the battle of Mu'tah, having suffered a large number of casualties, the Quraysh deemed that the Muslims were finished, so they motivated the tribe of Banu Bakr against Khuza'ah and supplied them with weapons. Banu Bakr attacked Khuza'ah killing some of their men and the remaining Khuza'ah fled to Makkah for refuge. ‘Amru ibn Salim al-Khuza'i then hurried to Madinah and told the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم what had happened and implored his help. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم replied, "May you be helped, O ‘Amru ibn Salim."

Upon this the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم decided that this breach of the treaty by the Quraysh could not be ignored nor could it be corrected except by the conquest of Makkah. The Quraysh became afraid of the consequences of breaking the treaty, so they sent Abu Sufyan to Madinah with the aim of strengthening the treaty by asking for an extension. However, Abu Sufyan did not go directly to meet Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم and instead went to the home of his daughter Umm Habibah, wife of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم. As he moved to sit on the Messenger of Allah's bed she folded it up so that he could not sit on it. When her father asked her whether she had folded it because he was too good for it or whether it was too good for him, she replied, "It is the Messenger of Allah's bed and you are a filthy polytheist so I do not want you to sit on it." Abu Sufyan replied, "By Allah since you left me you have turned bad." He then left in a rage.

Later Abu Sufyan managed to talk to the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم and to ask for the extension to the treaty which he so badly desired, but he did not receive any reply as he was ignored completely. Next he went to Abu Bakr and pleaded with him to speak to the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم on his behalf. Abu Bakr refused to do so. Then he approached ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab who rebuked him harshly saying, "Should I intercede for you with the Messenger of Allah? By Allah if I had only an ant I would fight you with it." Finally he went to see ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib who was with Fatimah and he appealed to him to intercede with the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم. ‘Ali answered that if the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم had determined a thing then it was useless for anyone to try to talk him out of it. Turning to Fatimah he asked her to let her son Hasan be a protector between men. She said, "None could give protection against the Messenger of Allah."

At this point Abu Sufyan became desperate and he rode off shortly back to Makkah where he told his people about his experience in Madinah. Meanwhile, the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم urged his people to prepare for battle and he marched with them towards Makkah. He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم was hoping to take the Quraysh by surprise in order to force them to surrender and thus avoid bloodshed.

The Muslim army numbering ten thousand set off from Madinah to conquer Makkah. They eventually reached Marr al-Dahran, which was about five kilometers from Makkah, without the knowledge of the Quraysh. Although, the Quraysh expected an invasion and their leaders were still debating how they should counter it. During this time, the ever vigilant Abu Sufyan came out to assess the danger that was looming over Makkah when he was met by al- ‘Abbas, who had by then accepted Islam. He was riding the Messenger of Allah's white mule on an errand to warn the Quraysh to seek protection or face annihilation from the Muslims, since the Quraysh were not in a position to stand in the Messenger of Allah's way. Al-‘Abbas said to Abu Sufyan, "This is the Messenger of Allah and his army and I fear for you and the Quraysh if he should enter Makkah by force." Abu Sufyan asked, "What is there to do?" Al- ‘Abbas asked him to ride behind him and together they would go to meet the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم and seek his protection. As they proceeded through the Muslim encampment, they passed by ‘Umar's fire. ‘Umar recognized the Messenger's mule and also spotted his implacable enemy Abu Sufyan.

Realizing that al-‘Abbas wanted to seek protection for Abu Sufyan, ‘Umar dashed to the tent where the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم was in order to ask him to cut off Abu Sufyan's head. However, al-‘Abbas galloped his mule there ahead of ‘Umar exclaiming as he entered, "O Messenger of Allah, I have offered him my protection." A serious argument between ‘Umar and al-‘Abbas arose, whereupon the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said to al-‘Abbas, "Take him away to your quarters and bring him back in the morning." The next day Abu Sufyan was brought to the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم whereupon he embraced Islam.
Al-‘Abbas said to the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم, "O Messenger of Allah! Abu Sufyan is a man who likes to have some cause for pride, could you not do something for him?" Upon hearing this Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم proclaimed that, "He who enters Abu Sufyan's house is safe, and he who locks his door is safe, and he who enters the Masjid is safe." Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم then ordered that Abu Sufyan be detained in the narrow part of the valley where the mountain projected so that the whole Muslim army would pass by him and he would see them. Afterwards, he hurried back to his people shouting at the top of his voice, "This is Muhammad who has come to you with a force you cannot resist. He who enters Abu Sufyan's house is safe, and he who locks his door is safe, and he who enters the Masjid is safe." On hearing this the Quraysh aborted their resistance. Then the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم marched and entered Makkah, while remaining on the alert. He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم had instructed his commanders to split into four divisions and not to fight or shed any blood unless they were forced to do so. The army entered Makkah meeting no resistance except the division of Khalid ibn al-Walid, who quickly dealt with it.

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم dismounted at the top of Makkah where he stopped for awhile before marching towards the Ka'bah, which he circumambulated seven times. He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم then summoned ‘Uthman ibn Talhah and he opened the Ka'bah. People gathered around him, and he صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم addressed them by reciting the verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ
"O mankind, We created you from male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you in the sight of Allah is that who has "At-Taqwa". Verily, Allah is All knowing. All-Aware." [TMQ Al-Hujurat, 49:13]

Then the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم asked, "O Quraysh, what do you think I am about to do with you?" They replied, "Good! You are a noble brother, son of a noble brother." He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said, "Go your own way for you are free." Inside the Ka'bah, the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ordered the pictures of angels and prophets which were decorating its walls to be torn down. He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم also found a dove made out of wood which he broke in his hands and then threw it away. Lastly, Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم pointed to the multitude of idols present with a stick in his hand and he recited the verse:

وَقُلْ جَاء الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ كَانَ زَهُوقًا
"And say: Truth has come and Batil has vanished. Surely! Batil is ever bound to vanish." [TMQ Al-Isra, 17:81]

All the idols collapsed onto their backs one after the other, then they were burned, broken up and disposed of. Now the sacred house was finally purified. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم remained in Makkah for fifteen days, during which time he صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم organized its affairs and taught the people Islam. Thus was Makkah completely liberated and as a result the main obstacle standing in the way of the Islamic campaign had finally been overcome. The great victory was achieved with only a few pockets of resistance, such as Hunayn and the city of Ta'if, remaining in the Arabian Peninsula. These were not expected to prove difficult to remove.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Islam and International Relations

The basis of the Islamic foreign policy consists of taking the message of Islam to every people and every nation.

For Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ ۖ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ

"O Messenger! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed his Message." [Al-Ma'idah, 5:67]

When the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم established the Islamic state in Madinah, the foreign policy of the state was implemented without delay. Examples of this was when He صلى الله عليه وسلم signed the treaty of Hudaibiyah with, many Muslims were displeased with some aspects of the agreement, to such an extent that Umar bin Al-Khattab (ra) approached the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم and expressed his disagreement. However, he صلى الله عليه وسلم reminded Umar (ra) that his first priority was please Allah سبحانه وتعالى and to obey his commandments. Hence the treaty of Hudaibiyah helps us to understand that certain political manoeuvres which need to be taken to spread dawah. Also, it is vital to generate a good public opinion to earn respect and trust of the people.

He صلى الله عليه وسلم also sealed treaties with the Jews of Madinah to convey the Message in Hijaz.
The basis of international relations in Islam has always been a set concept and can never be changed; this has been the case from when the Islamic state was established and up until it was destroyed. The Islamic State cannot place a bubble around it and just be concerned about its own people; the state will need to constantly monitor international politics as well as local politics (i.e. affairs of the state). This is what it meant by foreign policy.

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said in his Khutbah al-wada' (farewell speech):
"Would the present tell the absent, for the absent may be more conscious than the listener." He صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "May Allah brighten a man who listened to my saying, understood it and conveyed it as he heard it."

The implementation of the Islamic foreign policy is through dawah and Jihad. This method has always been used as a means to execute the foreign policy of the Islamic state.
Due to the way Islam has been degraded by western governments and the media, it has had a negative impact on the perception by non Muslims and some Muslims. It would be absolutely vital that the state works towards refuting the arguments that are being hurled against Islam; this would ensure that the correct version of Islam is presented and would not affect the foreign policy and the states work to open lands to Islam. Here, the media would be used as a tool to propagate Islam and to show the strength of the State to masses. Styles and means such as debates and lectures would be utilised to demonstrate the success of the state and how it would be flourishing in terms of economic, educational and scientific progress. Equal rights would be given to every citizen whether they are Muslim or non Muslims. Every citizen would have access to free education, jobs and medical care.

Exposé of fallacies of contradicting ideologies would also be relayed to the public. Hence, media is key in facilitating the foreign policy and to propagate the values of Islam and to eradicate the capitalist ones.

The State would be independent from international organisations such as United Nation who from the very basis contradict the Islamic ideology. The sole ambition of this organisation is to propagate the capitalist ideology. The state would work to unify the Muslim world under the shade of Islam and would set itself free from any organisation that will act as an obstacle towards the objectives of the Khilafah.

As Muslims we should be very vigilant of the erroneous beliefs of international law. Internal law emerged initially to counter the Ottoman Khilafah. During the 17th century the European states collaborated with one another to confront the Ottoman state. The relations between the states were regulated by certain rules which were agreed upon. The questions which we need to raise in this day and age are: How can International Law be successful, applicable or universal when its main focus is just to keep stronger nations in power. Their aim is to protect the interests of capitalist states, rather than any other ideology be it communism or Islam. The United Nations is weak in comparison to powerful nations such America. An example of the failed attempts by the UN was the Srebrenica massacre. Currently in its 14th year anniversary of a massacre that the United Nations facilitated by gathering the victims together, disarming them, and then refusing pleas for the return of their arms as their predators closed in. This resulted in more than 8000 Muslims being massacred.

Another major concern for Muslims is Guantanamo Bay and how it has remained open for 6 years without any type of justicafication. Though the UN displayed signs of disapproval, they couldn't even manage to shut it down or put a stop to the regime of torture and humiliation of our brothers.

And lets not forget the dark days that we witnessed earlier this year; the massacre in Gaza. Once again the UN demonstrated the flaws of their organisation. The superpowers would always protect Israel and would veto against any motion passed against it.

The list of failed attempts of peace by the United Nations is endless.What the Ummah needs is for their affairs to be run by the laws of Allah سبحانه وتعالى not by the United Nations. Contract/oath with this organisation would not be allowed, this is to prevent any type of interference on how the Khilafah would be run.

Allah (swt) says:
وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ ۚ إِلَّا تَفْعَلُوهُ تَكُن فِتْنَةٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَفَسَادٌ كَبِيرٌ
"The Unbelievers are protectors, one of another: Unless you do this, (protect each other), there would be fitna on earth, and great mischief." [Al-Anfal, 8:73]

We need to rely on Allah سبحانه وتعالى laws and on each other to liberate the lands which have been occupied by colonialists. The state would not be allowed to keep ties with countries that have occupied Muslim lands and would not be allowed to sign economic treaties or keep diplomatic relations with them. However, the State would be allowed to establish relations with neutral states; Non Muslim states. Any type of treaties established with these nations would need to be done according to Islam.

Furthermore, the Khilafah would need to ensure that they are progressing in the field of technology to build certain relations with places such as Japan. Advancement in nanotechnology, nuclear and solar power would aid this. Japan is an economic giant and is blooming in technology. The countries strength lies within its economy; it is one of the highly developed countries in the world. The Industries heavily rely on importing raw materials from other countries; this would work in favour for the State as we would use this opportunity to liaise with them. The State would either exchange information or even supply raw materials to aid the manufacturing process. This would solidify relations between the two nations.
Domestic natural resources such as oil, diamonds and gold are widely recognised as being great assets for Africa. The state would encourage Africa to manage their resources effectively and not sell them for insignificant costs to feed US interests. The same thing would be said for Latin America; it is rich in resources and agriculture but is in poverty due to it being bankrupt by capitalist nations.
Building relations with neutral nations would smooth the progression of the state in terms of economy, technology and military power. This would set a powerful image to show the strengths that the state would have.

In conclusion, the state would need to be diligent of the domestic and international Politics. This means that it would need to be conscious of the internal and external threats to prevent any type of danger to the state and the Ummah. The state would work towards strengthening its military power, economic status and convey the correct version of Islam to the world. The Ummah needs to look towards the Islamic state to protect their interests and not the United Nations or capitalist nations.

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Deceiving years will come where the people would believe the liar and not believe the trustworthy, and the traitor would be trusted and the honest would be distrusted. In those years, the Ruwaybidah will speak." He was asked, "And what is Ruwaybidah?" He said, "The shallow man who speaks about the public affairs."

The Battle of Badr - 17th Ramadan

This is an extract from the book "The Islamic State" by Sheikh Taqiuddin an-Nabahani.

In the second year of the Hijrah, the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم set out on the 8th of Ramadhan with three hundred and five of his Sahabah mounted on seventy camels. ‘Amr ibn Umm Maktum was assigned to lead the prayer while Abu Lubabah was left in charge of Madinah.

They rode the camels in turn heading towards a caravan led by Abu Sufyan. As they marched on, they sought news of the caravan until they had reached the valley of Dafran where they settled, and news reached them there that the Quraysh had set out from Makkah to protect their caravan. The whole affair then assumed different proportions for it was no longer the caravan, the question was whether to confront the Quraysh or not. So Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم consulted the Muslims. Abu Bakr and then ‘Umar voiced their opinions, then al-Miqdad ibn ‘Amr arose and said,

"O Messenger of Allah! Go where Allah tells you, for we are with you. We shall not say as the children of Israel said to Moses ‘You and your Lord go and fight and we will stay at home', but you and your Lord go and fight and we will fight with you."

The Muslims then went silent, and he صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said, "Give me advice O men!" by which he meant the Ansar who had paid allegiance to him at al-‘Aqabah. They had pledged to protect him as they protected their wives and children, with the stipulation that they were not responsible to fight with him outside Madinah. When the Ansar sensed that he صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم meant them, Sa'd ibn Mu'adh who was holding their banner said, "It seems as if you mean us, O Messenger of Allah." He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم said, "Yes." Sa'd said, "We believe in you, we declare your truth, and we witness that what you have brought us is the truth, and we have given you our word and agreement to hear and obey; so go where you wish, we are with you; and by He who sent you, if you were to ask us to cross this sea and you plunged into it, we would plunge into it with you; not a man would stay behind. We do not dislike the idea of meeting our enemy tomorrow. We are experienced in war, capable of fighting. It may well be that Allah will let us show you something which will bring you joy, so take us along with Allah's blessing." The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم was delighted with Sa'd's words and said, "Proceed with full confidence, for Allah has promised me one of the two parties, and by Allah, it is as though I can now see the place where they will be killed."

The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم and his Sahabah journeyed until they had nearly reached Badr. They realized that the Quraysh's troops were nearby and so ‘Ali, al-Zubayr ibn ‘Awwam, and Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas with a number of his Sahabah were sent to the well at Badr in search of news. They returned with two young men whom they questioned. They disclosed the number of the Quraysh at between nine hundred to a thousand men and that the nobles of the Quraysh were out in force to protect the caravan. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم realized that they were facing a force which was three times the size of his own and that he would be in for a fierce battle. He صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم informed the Muslims that Makkah had thrown out the pieces of its liver (or the best of her sons) into the battle and that they should harden their resolve.

The Muslims vowed to stand up to the enemy, they settled by the well of Badr where they built a cistern and filled it with water. Then they stopped up all the other wells so that they would have plenty of water and the enemy would have nothing to drink, at the same time they also built a canopy for the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم to reside in. The Quraysh took up their positions and the skirmishes of battle began. Al-Aswad ibn ‘Abd al-Asad stepped forward to destroy the cistern that the Muslims had built. Hamzah dealt with him by smiting him and sending his foot flying. He fell on his back with blood streaming from his foot and Hamzah followed him and struck him, killing him near the cistern. Then, ‘Utbah ibn Rabi'ah stepped forth between his brother Shayba and his son al-Walid. Hamzah, ‘Ali and ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Harith stepped forward to meet them. Hamzah quickly dealt Shayba a blow and ‘Ali soon disposed of al-Walid. Hamzah and ‘Ali turned on ‘Utbah who stood firm against ‘Ubaydah and they dispatched him, carrying off their injured companion afterwards.

Then the two sides advanced and drew near each other on Friday morning on the 17th of Ramadhan. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم straightened the ranks and incited the Muslims to fight. The Muslims were encouraged by Allah's Messenger's words and went forward. The fighting broke out fiercely and Qurayshi heads went flying from their bodies, the Muslims becoming stronger in belief all the time chanting ‘Ahad! Ahad!' (the One! the One!). Allah's Messenger صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم stood in the middle of the melee, took a handful of pebbles and threw them at the Quraysh saying, "Foul be those faces!" Then he صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم ordered his Sahabah to charge and they duly obliged until the battle was over and the foe was routed. The Muslims emerged victorious, slaying many warriors and tribal leaders of the Quraysh and capturing many more. The Quraysh fled the battlefield and the Muslims returned to Madinah having achieved a truly great victory.

Views on the News - 04/09/2009

Young Muslims in Britain feel demonized
A sweeping majority of young British Muslims feel demonized and under attack by the police and media, while they face a dilemma to cling to their Muslim identity in a growingly suspicious society, a London-based think tank said in a report on Tuesday, September 1. “They see one Asian person's mistakes and the rest of the community ... has to pay for it," one unnamed young Muslim said in the "Seen and Not Heard: Voices of Young British Muslims" report. The report, conducted by the Islamic think tank Policy Research Center, warns that since July 7, 2005 attacks on London, media outlets are portraying the Muslim community as a national threat. Britain is home nearly 2 million Muslims, most of them are of south Asian origins. A recent UK government-commissioned study has also found that a torrent of negative and imbalance stories in the British media demonize Muslims and their faith by portraying them as the enemy within. British Muslims have also taken full brunt of anti-terror laws since the 7/7 attacks. They have repeatedly complained of maltreatment by police for no apparent reason other than being Muslim. A Financial Times opinion poll also showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.

American institution to train Saudi leaders
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) announced it has been awarded a prime contract by the U.S. Military Training Mission (USMTM) to support the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces (SAAF) by establishing a Saudi War College (SWC) that meets educational and administrative standards of US War Colleges. The contract has a one year base period of performance, three one-year options and a contract value of more than $11 million if all options are exercised. Work will be performed primarily in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.The USMTM to Saudi Arabia is a joint training mission and functional component command under the military command of the U.S. Central Command. The USMTM advises and assists the SAAF through security assistance efforts by developing, training and sustaining capable deterrent and self-defense forces for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to facilitate regional security. Under the contract, SAIC will help establish an SWC to assist in preparing and educating Saudi leaders to face domestic and global challenges. SAIC will help establish a state-of-the-art educational institution, and develop and implement a flexible curriculum that will enable the SWC to adapt to future Saudi mission requirements. SAIC will also recruit, hire, and retain fully qualified Saudi instructors, develop and implement a quality assurance plan, and establish a career and mentoring program for SWC instructors. "SAIC is honored to support the SAAF by helping establish a world-class SWC. We believe that SAAF, teamed with SAIC, has the prerequisites for creating a prestigious military institution for the education of strategic leaders," said Charles Zang, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager.

Kyrgystan’s oppressive policies against Muslims is backfiring
Kyrgyzstan's clampdown on banned Muslim groups may increase the number of their followers, especially among the Central Asian state's women, the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank said on Thursday. Any instability in the impoverished former Soviet republic is a worry for the United States which runs a military air base there to support its operations in Afghanistan."Kyrgyzstan's increasingly authoritarian government is adopting a counter-productive approach to the country's growing radicalisation," ICG said in a report."Instead of tackling the root causes of a phenomenon that has seen increasing numbers, including many women, joining groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), it is resorting to heavy-handed police methods that risk pushing yet more Kyrgyz towards radicalism." ICG urged Kyrgyzstan and its Central Asian neighbours who face similar problems to focus on the root causes of radicalism by improving living standards and fighting corruption.ICG also said the government should not clamp down on some traditional attributes of Islam such as women's headscarves -- which were been banned from Kyrgyz schools this year. It called on the West to prevent further repressive measures by the Kyrgyz government. "As Central Asia becomes a major supply route for NATO's expanded war in Afghanistan, Western powers with an increased interest in the region's stability should caution against repressive policies."

Another new strategy for fighting Islam in Afghanistan
General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan, Monday called for a new military policy in the country, saying that "serious" change was needed to achieve victory. In a report sent to the Pentagon and Nato headquarters, McChrystal acknowledged that the last eight years had been disastrous, and said that the focus should be upon winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan population, not direct engagement with militants. McChrystal said: "The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort." The report is expected to pave the way for McChrystal to request more troops, in addition to the 108,000 international troops already there.

The call for a new strategy comes after the failed strategies of Bush and the recently much coveted AfPak strategy of the Obama administration. It is becoming increasingly evident that US after having spent billions of dollars and suffering huge causalities is nowhere to ending this war; rather the prospect of a humiliating defeat grows ever closer.

Allah (swt) says,

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّوا عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَسَيُنْفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُونَ
“Verily those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the Path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend it, but in the end it will become a regret [hasrah] for them. Then they will be overcome [yughlaboon].” [TMQ: al Anfaal 8:36]

India worried about Pakistan’s growing nuclear arsenal
Indian Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor said on Wednesday that Pakistan was going well beyond deterrence after reports Islamabad had increased its nuclear arsenal and was working to add cruise missiles. "There were certain degrees of deterrence and the figure of 70 to 90 nuclear warheads directed against a country certainly goes beyond the concept of deterrence," Kapoor said in the western Indian city of Pune. "It is a matter of concern for us," he added. Gen. Kapoor was commenting on an article published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist about the enhanced nuclear arsenal of neighboring Pakistan. "A new nuclear-capable ballistic missile is being readied for deployment, and two nuclear-capable cruise missiles are under development. Two new plutonium production reactors and a second chemical separation facility also are under construction," said the U.S. journal.

What is the point of having a nuclear arsenal if the Pakistani leadership is not prepared to use it to defend itself from the current American-Indian onslaught. If North Korea and Iran can effectively use their nuclear arsenal and nuclear programmes to counter America then what is preventing Pakistan from doing something similar to protect its population and integrity.