Archive for February, 2008

Unity Wanted

The independent state of Kosovo is born! Just ten years ago, the conflict in former Yugoslavia intensified as ethnic Albanians of current Kosovo suffered 10,000 casualties at the hands of Serbia and its former war-criminal leader Slobodan Milosevic. And on 17 February 2008 Kosovo officially broke away from that same Serbia. Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi’s decision to declare independence may have been a historical moment, but it doesn’t come without controversy and immense tensions.

Serbia, Russia, Spain and other a few other nations refuse to recognize Kosovo’s independence and are challenging the legalities of the unilateral decision. Although the European Union and the United States, as well as other nations, officially recognized Kosovo as an independent state almost immediately, it is the Muslim nations that need to step up.

Kosovo’s independence can be viewed as a victory for the Muslim World overcoming an occupation, however, not unless Muslim nations immediately ally with Kosovo and offer absolute support for the young nation. Kosovo will need political support to help fend off calls from Serbia and Russia who are trying to nullify the independence; financial support to help transition the once province into a complete nation; generous trade agreements to build its economy; and any military assistance needed if Serbia reacts violently.

Hopes for unification from the Muslim World may have already been damaged by Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan who both declared they will not recognize Kosovo as an independent nation. However, their significance is rather small and it is obvious their decision comes because of pressure from Russia. The rest of the Muslim World should officially accept Kosovo as an independent nation and see this historical event as a rare opportunity for the Muslim leaders to prove to their citizens and the rest of the world that they do care for their people.

Currently, Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, Iraq, and Afghanistan are all under some form of foreign occupation. Kosovo may play as the first domino bringing the rest of the Muslim lands into the free world.

-Ehab Z.

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Syria on the Hotseat

On the night of February 12, one of the most infamous resistance fighters was assassinated. For years, the Hezbollah resistance leader, Imad Mughaniyah, usually referred to as Hajj Rudwan, had been too elusive for his enemies to catch. His assassination may arrive as a surprise for many. However, this state of bewilderment may develop not necessarily for the underlying actuality of his assassination, moreover it raises the questions of how and where. Hajj Rudwan’s life was taken in an immense car bomb explosion that took place in Damascus, Syria.

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Syria has been a major ally to Hezbollah along with other Islamist and Arab resistance groups for years, but all that may now change. For an attack that powerful to target an individual as prominent and elusive as Hajj Rudwan, the Damascus-based government has a lot of explaining to do.

Although Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran are all pointing their fingers at the Zionist state of Israel’s Mossad intelligence for responsibility of the attack, it would be primitive for one to simply dismiss the idea of Syria’s contribution in the attack. The Mossad or even the United States’ CIA could have very well been behind the attacks, this may have been possible with the cooperation of the Syrian government. Israel has denied responsibility.

Imad Mughaniyah is responsible for numerous attacks including those against Israelis and Jews in Argentina; attacks against Israel; and attacks against Western personnel in Lebanon. Since he began his militant campaign against the West, like the one that killed 241 US servicemen in 1983 during the Lebanese civil war, Hajj Rudwan had been on the US most wanted list with a reward of 25 million dollars for his capture or 5 million for a tip on his whereabouts.

Although Hajj Rudwan had been protected in Syria for years, one should question whether or not the Damascus-based government engaged itself in the assassination (at least logistically) because of pressure from the United States.

Hezbollah has sent a team of investigators to Damascus to inspect the assassination of one of its most significant members. If the position of their fingers shifts in the direction of the Damascus-based government, Syria may lose the respect of Hezbollah, other resistance groups, and Iran, which may transition Syria into the chaotic disorder resembling the conditions of its Arab neighbors.

Even if Syria did not have a role in the assassination of Hajj Rudwan, the attack displays serious signs of security weaknesses in Syria, which may no longer be safe for exiled leaders and prominent militants to take refuge in.

-Ehab Z.

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Putting the cart before the horse

Fear, fear is always there,” says 30-year-old Safana, an artist and university professor. “We don’t know who to be afraid of. Maybe it’s a friend or a student you teach. There is no break, no security. I don’t know who to be afraid of.”

Often Muslims and Arabs, including myself, are offended when Westerners imply that the people of the Middle East are not capable of forming and maintaining democratic institutions. However, when I hear stories like the above, I begin to wonder and doubt in the ability of Muslim societies to sustain themselves without some kind of major, sweeping reform taking place. I think a constant sense of victimization causes many of us to think in reactionary and defensive terms, and to our own detriment, we become dismissive of Muslim faults and sweep them under the rug. This attitude only gets in the way of progress by preventing any serious dialogue from emerging within our communities. Before Muslims can hope to usher in democracy to their lands, there must be a critical and objective assessment of how sharia (Islamic law) is being practiced in these regions. There must be a willingness to confront and address those out-dated, oppressive cultural values that prevent so many from reaching their full potential as human beings and ultimately, as citizens of their nations. Unfortunately, such willingness and needed determination will probably not appear any time soon.

Between soldiers of the West and soldiers of God, there are too many soldiers running around the Muslim world trying to impose their destructive ideologies and doing the greatest harm to the most vulnerable and helpless populations. It is incredibly shameful and sad that Muslim women have not only their occupiers to fear, but their own ilk too. That Muslim communities are reluctant to address their treatment of women out of fear, shame, and pride does not change the reality that there exists great trepidation, distrust, and disrespect between male and female in many Muslim communities, including right here in the United States. <>

“And their Lord hath accepted of them, and answered them: “Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: Ye are members, one of another…” (3:195)

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YES, WE CAN

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 I’m a cynical man. I often find myself falling into pessimism and despair. I often set my sight so low that should I achieve anything the bar was so low to begin with that success is almost inevitable and failure acceptable. This year, we are on the brink of something bigger than any of us. And I’m afraid of being disappointed. I’m scared that nothing will change and we will spiral even further into the hegemony the US is and not the superpower that the US should be. But then I ask myself. What if I’m wrong? What if things do change? Did the Revolutionaries ever think they’d defeat Great Britain? Did slaves ever think they would be free? Did women ever think they’d have the right to vote, and a place in the workforce? Did MLK truly believe his dream would come true? No, things are not perfect, and within each of these stepping stones we haven’t achieved exact equality, but we’ve progressed. It was said once that hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and good things never die. Look beyond the cynicism and the media and the hype. What if, in all my pessimism, I’m wrong? What if things do change? Close your eyes and imagine it. Imagine how amazing it would be. God Bless.

OJ

VIDEO – YES WE CAN

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CAIR: Send 10,000 Letters for Gaza

CAIR recently launched a campaign to collect 10,000 letters to be sent to Congress calling for an end to the illegal blockade in Gaza.

All people need to do is print out the pre-written forms, fill in the names of their representative and senators, sign and mail to:

Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Ave, S.E.
Washington, D.C., 20003.

The New York chapter has committed to collecting 1,000 letters.

CAIR is also asking that the message be forwarded to at least 5 others to do the same.

It’s not that difficult, just print, sign, and mail. Let’s help CAIR meet its goal.

Click here to download a letter to your senators.

Click here to download a letter to your representatives.

To find out who your representative and senators are, just plug in your zip code at this site:

Congress.org

If you can’t get yourself to print and sign a letter that’s already been written for you, then you’re either heartless or the laziest creature to ever walk the planet. Seriously.

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