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Illegal Occupation, the Elephant In The Room

The Origin of Modern Terror and Crumbling Western Values

Israeli-military-raid-Palestinian-home-June-2014

By John Chuckman | Aletho News | January 26, 2015

Do you ever solve problems by ignoring them? Most of us would say that is not possible, yet that is precisely what western governments do in their efforts to counteract what is called “Islamic terror.” Yes, there are vast and costly efforts to suppress the symptoms of what western governments regard as a modern plague, including killing many people presumed to be infected with it, fomenting rebellion and destruction in places presumed to be prone to it, secretly returning to barbaric practices such as torture, things we thought had been left behind centuries ago, to fight it, and violating rights of their own citizens we thought were as firmly established as the need for food and shelter. Governments ignore, in all these destructive efforts, what in private they know very well is the origin of the problem.

Have Islamic radicals always existed? Yes, we have records through the history of British and French empire-building of strange and fearsome groups. It appears every large religion has a spectrum of believers, always including at one end of the spectrum extreme fundamentalists. They are not a new phenomenon anywhere, so why has one group of them, in the sands of the Middle East, become part of our everyday awareness?

It is also nothing new that young men become hot-blooded and disturbed over what they regard as attacks upon their kind. Western society’s record of crusades, religious wars, colonial wars, and revolts, all total likely having no equal in the histories of the world’s peoples, offers countless examples of young men being angered by this or that circumstance and joining up or running off to fight.

George Bush told us today’s terrorists hate our freedom and democratic values, but like virtually every utterance of George Bush, that one was fatuous, explaining nothing. Nevertheless, his is the explanation pounded into public consciousness because governments and the corporate press never stop repeating versions of it, the Charlie Hebdo affair and its theatrical posturing over free speech being only the latest. Theatrical? Yes, when we know perfectly well that most of those who marched at the front of the parade in Paris are anything but friends of free speech.

All backward peoples are uncomfortable with certain western values, that being the nature of backwardness, and backwardness is a defining characteristic of all fundamentalist religious groups – Hasidic or ultra-Orthodox Jews, Mennonites, Roman Catholic Cardinals, cloistered nuns, Sikhs, and many others – who typically choose modes of dress, rules to obey, and even foods to eat having little or no relationship with the contemporary world and science. Of course, that is their right so long as they are peaceful and law-abiding.

Any fundamentalist group, pushed by more powerful people from outside their community, is entirely capable of, and even prone to, violence, and all human beings are capable of violence when faced with abuse and injustice. Centuries of religious wars and terrors in Europe about such matters as how the Mass is celebrated prove the proposition and should be held as a warning, but they are forgotten by most, if they were ever known. The tendency towards violence continues today amongst many fundamentalist faiths. In so relatively small and seemingly homogeneous a society as Israel, there are regular attacks from ultra-Orthodox Jews against the country’s worldly citizens or against fair-minded rules about such pedestrian matters as women riding buses or walking on a street. The attacks become quite violent – punching, spitting, burning down homes, and killing sometimes – and all go against what we call western values, but because the scale is fairly small, and our press also has a constant protective bias concerning all things Israeli, these events rarely make our mainline news. They must be found on the Internet.

It took Western Europe literally centuries to leave behind such recurrent and violent themes as witches and the need to burn them alive, the Evil Eye, casting out demons, execution for differences of belief, and countless other stupidities which characterized whole societies and destroyed lives. And if you want to go still further back, go to the Old Testament, a collection of ancient writing packed with violence, superstition, prejudice, and just plain ignorance, which Christians and others even today regard as containing important truths for contemporary life. Human progress, at least in some matters, takes a very long time indeed.

Our world has more backward people than most of us can imagine. The news does not feature their extremes and savageries because it serves no political purpose. In Africa, for example, we find practices and beliefs utterly repellent to modern minds: the practice of senior village men raping young girls as an accepted right, the genital mutilation of 3 million girls annually (an African, not an Islamic, practice), the hunting down and butchering such “strange” people as albinos, their parts to be eaten as medicine, and many others. In India, a country well on its way to becoming modern yet one with a huge backward population, we have practices such as marrying off mere girls to old men rich enough to pay dowries to poor parents. At one stroke this enriches the parents and relieves them of the burden of a child, a female child too, always viewed less favorably. The practice generates a large population of widows when the old husbands of girls married at, say, twelve die. These women are then condemned to entire lives as widows, never allowed to remarry, required to dress and eat in certain ways, and basically shunned to live in squalid equivalents of old folks homes, living entirely meaningless lives. India also has the practice of “bride burning” where new brides who are deemed unacceptable for various reasons become the prey of the groom’s family, literally being burned alive. There are many other barbarities in that society too, including “honor killing” and young women who are made inmates in certain temples to serve as glorified prostitutes.

Our press assiduously avoids much of the world’s horrors as it focuses on “Islamic extremism,” and politics are the only explanation for the bias. The press theme of Islamic terror and indeed real incidents of terror grow from a reality always taken for granted, never debated, and certainly never criticised: the elephant in the room, as it were, is Israel’s illegal and agonizingly long occupation of the Palestinians.

It may be not be important to our press and governments that Israel holds millions as prisoners, crippling the lives of generation after generation, or that Israel periodically strikes out in every direction – Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank – causing the deaths of many thousands, or that Israel is seen to bulldoze people’s homes and sacred monuments with complete impunity, but it very much matters to many millions of Muslims in the world, and some of them, fundamentalist men, strike out against it just as young men everywhere have sometimes struck out against keenly-felt hurts and injustice.

In western countries, under the hard influence of America, a country in turn under the hard influence of the world’s best organized and financed lobby, the Israel Lobby, we have come to regard Israel’s behavior as normal, but it is, of course, not normal, not in any detail. What is normal about holding several million people prisoner for half a century? What is normal about bulldozing homes and literally stealing the land upon which they stood? What is normal about declaring an honestly elected government as criminal and treating its people as though they were criminals? What is normal about limiting people’s opportunity to earn a living or to import some of the needs of life? What is normal about killing nearly a thousand children, as Israel has done just in Gaza, since 2008?

Pretending that Israel’s behavior is not the major cause of what screams from our headlines and news broadcasts has reached absurd levels. America has only vastly compounded the problem of Israel’s organized abuse of a people: it and its silent partners have destroyed Iraq, destroyed Libya, are working hard to destroy Syria, have seen to it that Egypt’s tens of millions again live under absolute government, ignore countless inequities and barbarities in secretly-helpful countries like Saudi Arabia, and carry out extra-judicial killings through much of the region. All of it is carried out on Israel’s behalf and with Israel’s cooperation. Can any reasonable person not see that this vast factory of death also manufactures countless grievances and vendettas? The stupidity is on a colossal scale, rooted in the notion that you can kill your way out of the terrible consequences of terrible policies.

In America, paid political shills (Newt Gingrich was one) have campaigned about there being no such thing as a Palestinian. Others (Dick Armey was one) have said that millions of Palestinians should be removed, all their land left conveniently to Israel. That last is an odd thing to say, isn’t it, considering there are supposed to be no such thing as Palestinians? And just what country would take millions of “non-existent” Palestinians? Obviously no politician with even pretence of integrity would say such things, and how can intelligent and successful people like America’s Jews take satisfaction in hearing politicians reciting such embarrassing scripts? But this is a good measure of the way intelligence and sound thinking are scorned in American politics. How can you achieve anything worth achieving without intelligence and sound thinking? You cannot, but that doesn’t stop American Presidents and Secretaries of State from carrying on the world’s longest-running dumb show, something called the “peace process.” The sombre, moose-like figure of John Kerry is photographed playacting at statesmanship while American-supplied arms just keep killing thousands of innocent people.

January 26, 2015 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Horizon Conference: Meeting of Minds in Tehran

By Eric Walberg | Dissident Voice | October 8, 2014

The 2nd conference “New Horizon: the International Conference of Independent Thinkers” was held in Tehran, September 29–October 1 2014, including over 30 journalists, writers and academics from around the world presenting papers and arguing issues of world geopolitics, with a focus on the Middle East. I came from Canada, along with University of Lethbridge Globalization Studies Professor Anthony Hall, author of Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization, and Capitalism (2010).  It was greeted in western media by hysterical denunciations; firstly, by the American Jewish Committee which accused it of “promoting hatred of Jews and Israel”, and the Anti-Defamation League which accused it of “promoting anti-Semitic propaganda”. The conference almost didn’t take place at all, having been officially cancelled, supposedly as a gesture to the West, after the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was elected last year. But after a flood of criticism on Iranian websites sympathetic to the organizers, the Iranian Foreign Ministry reversed itself. Nader Talebzadeh, the principle organizer, had had to lobby hard to reinstate the conference, calling the cancellation of the conference “a major mistake on the part of our government”.

“Have our leaders given in so much to the world that they are even afraid of a conference that might hurt Mr Obama’s feelings?” asked one blogger sarcastically.

The 1st New Horizon Conference in September 2012 was denounced in the West when it was addressed by the previous president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, probably best remembered in the West for his 2005 soundbyte that Israel should be “wiped off the map”, referring to Ayatollah Khomeini’s prediction that “the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” The translation of the Persian text was later corrected but this was ignored in the West, where Ahmedinejad was further accused of “holocaust denial” for suggesting the figure of six million as the number of Jews who died in the holocaust was exaggerated, and he was mocked for suggesting that 9/11 was a conspiracy.

Indeed, most Iranians see 9/11 as involving some degree of conspiracy by the US and/or Israel, but then so do, for instance, 55% of Egyptians. So, not surprisingly, prominent at the New Horizon Conference this year was the world’s leading 9/11 conspiracy theorist, France’s Theirry Meyssan, who in 2002 published what is still considered the classic work on the topic, 9/11: The Big Lie (L’Effroyable imposture), translated into 28 languages, arguing that the attacks were organized by a faction of “the US military industrial complex in order to impose a military regime.” Meyssan also argues that the attack against the Pentagon was not carried out by a commercial airliner but by a missile. Also present was American filmmaker Art Olivier, who produced the feature film Operation Terror (2012), whose scenario followed Meyssan’s.

In a YouGov poll last year, 60% of Americans rejected the official explanation as published in the 9/11 Commission Report (2004), so Meyssan’s call for a UN investigation of 9/11 and the recent petition signed by 100,000 New Yorkers for an investigation of the collapse of World Trade Center building 7 are surely legitimate, though they have been blocked by politicians as “absolutely ridiculous” and “wild fantasies”.

Iran’s current President Rouhani was not associated directly with this year’s conference.  Instead he was embroiled in a controversy with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who both extended his hand in friendship to Rouhani at the UN General Assembly in a “historic meeting”, and then slapped him in the face from the UN General Assembly podium, attacking Iran for its “support for terrorist organizations, its nuclear program, its treatment of its people”, calling it “part of the problem in the Middle East”.

“On the contrary,” said a peeved Rouhani in his address to the UN, blaming the West and Saudi Arabia for sowing the seeds of extremism in the Middle East with “strategic blunders” that have given rise to the Islamic State and other violent jihadist groups. He also criticized the West’s sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program and reiterated his government’s desire to resolve the dispute, stating that no cooperation with the West against ISIS is possible until the sanctions are lifted. He called Cameron’s comments at the UN “wrong and unacceptable.”

Appropriately, the New Horizon Conference opened with the book launch of the Persian edition of US journalist Gareth Porter’s Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (2014). Porter told me:

Through painstaking checking with experts and an IAEA official, I discovered that the documents submitted to the IAEA, which supposed showed Iranian plans to put nuclear warheads on their missiles, were fabricated by the terrorist group People’s Mojahedin of Iran and were passed on the IAEA by Mossad. They were contradictory—clearly doctored blueprints for an obsolete missile system.

Porter was awarded the UK Gellhorn Prize for investigative journalism in 2012 for exposing official lies concerning US policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. With this latest expose, Porter did for the Iranian nuclear dossier what he and others did after 2003 in exposing the lies that prompted the US invasion of Iraq.

The sessions were varied. “The Gaza War and the BDS Movement Strategies” was addressed by Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin, who has been arrested dozens of time for her plucky protests at Congressional hearings against the war in Iraq, and who famously interrupted a speech by President Barack Obama in May 2013 protesting his continued use of drones against civilians. (She is barred from entering Canada.) Benjamin suggested a new project to highlight illegal Israeli settlements: activists hope to target one of the largest US-based real estate firms, RE/MAX, which “operates in over 90 countries, including Israel, where it sells homes complete with swimming pools in the West Bank to Israeli settlers in defiance of international law.” Every Sunday tens of thousands of “open houses” are held by RE/MAX around the world. Benjamin hopes activists will picket these open houses to embarrass RE/MAX into ceasing their West Bank activities. A session on Islam and the West, “Postsecularism and its Discontents”, emphasized the importance of ethics in Islamic civilization which makes subservience to market diktat unacceptable, and is a major stumbling block to understanding between the West and the Muslim world. “There is no teleology in western society, no guiding morality, only an obsession with materialism, with logos,” argued organizer Arash Darya-Bandari. “We believe it is necessary to control the negative tendencies in culture, such as pornography, alcohol, drugs, prostitution, to strive towards a more moral and justice society.”

“The ‘Islamic’ State Meme, its Precursors, and the US-Israel-Saudi Triangle” heard frontline reports from Meyssan and others about the intentional destruction of the Iraqi and Syrian states by the invasion of Iraq and ongoing western and Israeli support for insurgents in Syria, directly resulting in ISIS’s phenomenal success. “The West has abetted Sunni-Shia differences in the process to keep Muslims divided and allow continued western penetration and control of the growing chaos there,” charged Meyssan. Rouhani’s comment at the UN—“Certain intelligence agencies [who] have put blades in the hands of madmen, who now spare no one,”—is hard to argue with.

In the session “The Israeli Lobby in England”, Stephen Sizer, Anglican vicar and author of Christian Zionism—Road Map to Armageddon? (2004), explained that the vast majority of Zionists are not Jewish, but Christian. This prompted him in 2006 to draft what became known as the Jerusalem Declaration on Christian Zionism, signed by four of the Heads of Churches, declaring Christian Zionism a heretical belief, both immoral and a contradiction of faith. The rector of the University of Middlesex was pressured to rescind Sizer’s PhD but the examination committee wouldn’t budge. Nor has Sizer been cowed by constant harassment, including a break-in and the theft of his computer. At the same time, on his visits to Tehran, Sizer lobbies on behalf of Iranian religious minorities and always brings Persian-language New Testaments as “gifts”. “My intent is to show the Iranians that genuine Christians are not a threat to anyone, but bring the message of peace and love.”

Contrary to the shrill cries in the western media that the conference was anti-Semitic, it was unique in my experience in addressing Zionism and US imperialism forthrightly and intelligently, without a hint of racism. The issue of anti-Semitism was addressed and dismissed, as “There is no issue with Jewish people or the Jewish religion,” explained Darya-Bandari, “but rather with Zionism, that secular distortion of Judaism that itself is racist, and has been used as a pretext to dispossess  and kill Palestinians.”

The American Defense League loudly attacked the conference for focusing on Zionist control of western media and the outsize influence of the Zionist Lobby in the US and around the world. So what’s wrong with that? There is more than enough documented proof of this, as I discover when I researched Postmodern Imperialism. The ADL labelled several of the delegates as anti-Semitic, including ex-US Marine Ken O’Keefe, who has led several relief convoys to Gaza, has appeared several times on BBC’s Hardtalk in support of Gaza, and famously renounced his US citizenship in view of US crimes around the world. It should be remembered that the ADL was successfully sued in the 1990s for false accusations of anti-Semitism.

The conference issued a resolution condemning ISIS, Zionism, US unconditional support of Israel, Islamophobia, and calling for activism locally to boycott Israeli goods and to promote understanding between the West and the Muslim world, and to fight sectarianism. “This was a great opportunity to meet anti-imperialist activists from around the world, to bring Russians, Poles, western Europeans, North Americans together with Iranians and other Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, in a forum without sectarianism, truly supporting peace and understanding,” said delegate Mateusz Piskorski, director of the European Centre of Geopolitical Analysis in Warsaw and former MP in the Polish Sejm.

~

Eric Walberg, a journalist who is now writing for Al-Ahram Weekly in Cairo, is the author of From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-Emerging Islamic Civilization.

October 9, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Debunking the Suicide for 72 Virgins Myth

| Ascertain the Truth |

One of the biggest Israeli propaganda myths is the invention of 72 virgins as a Muslim reward for suicide. This has been repeated to the western world so often that most people accept it as fact. The media wants us to believe that there cannot be anything wrong with Israelis – who must be seen as eternal victims – to cause anyone to commit suicide as a means of striking back at them.

Heavens no!

The motivation for suicide bombings in Israel has nothing to do with Jewish treatment of Palestinians. Instead it has to do with the evilness of the Palestinians and their religious beliefs. This is the “bill of goods” they sell the western mind while at the same time faking most, if not all, the “Islamic suicide bombings” to blame on Muslims.

It is a sick and despicable mind that feels that it has a right to attack, steal, murder and cause harm to others, but if the others dare fight back they are wrong and therefore terrorists. This one sentence describes Israeli thinking and their policies. They believe they are superior and entitled and they have a right to do anything to other people and those people better not retaliate. As a result, the Israelis have done more by way of propaganda to take the legitimate fight of those who are against their wrongs and demonize them. We now have this ongoing enormous propaganda campaign to make Palestinians and anyone belonging to the same religion as Palestinians, to be seen as mindless terrorists and suicide bombers with no cause other than to do evil. And, of course, vicariously receiving 72 virgins as a reward in paradise for committing suicide to kill a few Israelis.

The Qur’an and valid authentic Hadiths are very clear about what happens to anyone who commits suicide. According to Hadiths:

Committing Suicide is a Major Sin:

Bukhari Volume 2, Book 23, Number 445: Narrated Jundab the Prophet said, “A man was inflicted with wounds and he committed suicide, and so Allah said: My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly, so I forbid Paradise for him.”

Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 73: Narrated Thabit bin Ad-Dahhak: ”And if somebody commits suicide with anything in this world, he will be tortured with that very thing on the Day of Resurrection.

There are many more Hadiths condemning suicide but I would also like to reference the Qur’an. Amongst the many verses against suicide here is one that makes it very clear that the taking of one’s life is strongly prohibited and that there is no reward for anyone who does that.

But let there be amongst you Traffic and trade by mutual good-will: Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily God hath been to you Most Merciful! If any do that in rancour and injustice,- soon shall We cast them into the Fire: And easy it is for God. Qur’an 4:29 – 4:30

So where did the reward of 72 virgins in paradise for suicide come from? Are there any Islamic teachings we can point to endorsing that?
When we look at the highest authority in Islam, the Quran, we find nothing in it endorsing rewards for suicide. Instead we find the strongest condemnation with severe punishments for those who commit suicide. When we look at Hadiths, which after the Quran is second in authority in Islam, we find nothing in the authentic Bukhari and Muslim Hadiths endorsing suicide. Instead we find strong condemnation for it.

Searching what Muslims refer to as Gharib Hadiths (weak or strange Hadiths) we do find something about 72 wives but not virgins. The Hadith we find is the following:

Sunan al-Tirmidhi Hadith 2562 says:

The Prophet Muhammad was heard saying: “The smallest reward for the people of Paradise is an abode where there are 80,000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine, and ruby, as wide as the distance from Al-Jabiyyah [a Damascus suburb] to Sana’a [Yemen]”

This is as a weak Hadith that has no Sanad — line or sequence of narration. Although listed in an authoritative collection, this particular Hadith has technical weaknesses in its chain of transmitters and is therefore not considered impeccable. As a result, Muslims are not required to believe in it. Even if the Hadith was true, there is nothing about it that says that if someone commits suicide they would get 72 virgins in paradise.

Muslims know that the description of paradise or heaven in Hadiths and Quran is allegorical. If not, then Allah would have allowed us to take our bodies with us when we die. But the vehicle by which we could enjoy the physical things (especially 72 virgins  ) mentioned as being in heaven, is left behind here in this world to rot and decay away. So we know for a fact that for heavenly rewards, physical things of this world are used to describe things totally non-physical. A Hadith to keep in mind is as follows:

The Prophet said, “Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s Cause).” (Sahih Bukhari, 4:52:53)

I am sure that 72 physical virgins are a small part of the whole world to be given to someone who has experienced paradise to come back to. Yet the prophet (saaw) has said NOBODY who experiences paradise would want to come back to this world even for everything this world has to offer. If a man was getting 72 physical virgins in heaven, then surely he would get more than that from the world and would be enticed to come back.

On the other hand, martyrdom in war for an Islamic cause is praised extensively as in the above Hadith. The Quran teaches (3:169):

“Do not consider those killed [while engaging] in God’s cause dead. Rather, they live with their Lord, who sustains them!”

The Quranic idiom, “killed while engaging in God’s cause” is a reference to martyrdom for acting on being a Muslim, whether as a persecuted and powerless individual or as a warrior fighting in defense of Islam, country, justice, freedom and peace. A Hadith in Sunan al-Tirmidhi states that in contrast to the suicide, the martyr does not even feel the pain of his death (Fada’il al-Jihad, 26:1663). He is also forgiven all his sins and has the right to intercede on behalf of his own family to enter Heaven. So, suicide is forbidden, killing of noncombatants is forbidden, but martyrdom is rewarded with entrance into heaven and, therefore, with great material rewards in the world to come.

What I wrote about Islam’s position on suicide is not secret, esoteric knowledge. It is common knowledge well known and can easily be discerned by anyone doing a very elementary study of the religion. Yet what we have today is the knee jerk, unconscious association of the religion of Islam with suicide bombings. Even to the point where claims of getting 72 virgins are an Islamic prize offered for suicide. This is a cruel and ugly lie about Islam that has been so widely perpetuated that it is accepted as fact.

Corrections to the association of Islam with suicide and the killing of innocents are not made in the media. Instead it is glued even tighter by reporting that NOT a person disobeying Islam, but a Muslim imbued with Islamic religious fervor committed a suicide.

We have a media that is too eager to enlighten and spread the word about crazy Muslims killing themselves for 72 virgins. We read and hear everyday about suicide bombers in Iraq killing themselves and other Iraqis with them. We are to believe that a religion that strongly condemns suicide, promises severe punishment in hell for those who commit it and has never had a strategy of using suicide to fight wars until recent contact with Israelis — somehow has spawned the most suicide killers on earth. I don’t believe for a minute that the reports about suicide killings in Iraq are true. Many independent journalists and eye witnesses have reported how Mossad and US occupational forces have staged incidents to make them appear to be Iraqi suicide killings. In fact there are many cases where the perpetrators have been caught.

Oddly enough in this saga about suicide killings we read the following headlines from Israeli newspapers: “Fewer officers to be armed as suicide becomes IDF’s top killer!!!” which you can read more about at the following links:

The leading cause of death for the Israeli Defense Forces is suicide!!! Well, well it looks like suicide is really an Israeli problem and not a Muslim one. Their IDF commit far more suicides than what is being blamed on Muslims. We already know that Israel leads the world in trafficking prostitutes and that there are hundreds of brothels in Tel Aviv. Israel has no law against trafficking people, and no law against prostitution. Who knows, maybe having access to one prostitute at a time on a soldier’s salary was not enough for those IDF soldiers. Maybe these soldiers believed the lies told about Muslims and were trying to get their 72 virgins too. See how strong an effect Jewish lies have on their own people.


Related:

Killing Suicide

By WILLIAM BLUM | CounterPunch | February 5, 2014

Suicide bombers have become an international tragedy. One can not sit in a restaurant or wait for a bus or go for a walk downtown, in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or Russia or Syria and elsewhere without fearing for one’s life from a person walking innocently by or a car that just quietly parked nearby. The Pentagon has been working for years to devise a means of countering this powerful weapon.

As far as we know, they haven’t come up with anything. So I’d like to suggest a possible solution. Go to the very source. Flood selected Islamic societies with this message: “There is no heavenly reward for dying a martyr. There are no 72 beautiful virgins waiting to reward you for giving your life for jihad. No virgins at all. No sex at all.”

Using every means of communication, from Facebook to skywriting, from billboards to television, plant the seed of doubt, perhaps the very first such seed the young men have ever experienced. … Full article

February 6, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia | , , , | 2 Comments

The Library of Juma Al Majid

By Ralph Nader | April 5, 2013

DUBAI, UAE – As we walked through the historical collections of books, manuscripts, periodicals, and rare reference materials at the Juma Al-Majid Center for Culture and Heritage in the growing Arab metropolis of Dubai (with the world’s second busiest airport), I kept thinking of a recent book written by my sister, Laura Nader, who teaches anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. A nuanced writing titled Culture and Dignity: Dialogues Between the Middle East and the West (Wiley-Blackwell), it differentiates between the stereotype and reality of East-West relations and how damaging and costly such filters have been since the Crusades.

Room after room at the Juma Al-Majid Center contains materials reflecting the cultural heritage of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. One room is filled with ancient and modern Persian books and tracts of poetry, art and maps. Another room is devoted to the stunning varieties of calligraphy. A third room is filled with workers silently preparing pages of fragile texts for digitalization. The Al-Majid Center’s reading rooms are open to scholars who can stay as long as they need and use these resources freely without prior application. There are about one million books and other literary selections in this remarkable gathering.

When I asked the founder of this institution and many other charities and schools, Juma Al Majid, whether there had been any mishandling of the materials at the Center due to the lack of restrictions on access to the collections, he replied that yes, a couple of times, but it is still better to keep things simple and open.

Mr. Al Majid, now over 80-years-young, seems to have achieved his many accomplishments as a very successful businessman, creating more than 40 companies in engineering, retail, automotive and investment sectors, and as a leading operational philanthropist by keeping things focused, simple and forthright.

For example, his reverence for books of ancient vintage highlighted the problem of deteriorating pages in the Center’s growing international collection. So he developed the Al-Majid Restoration Machine which he gave as a gift to 40 cultural institutions in numerous countries.

He has many librarians and restoration specialists who are kept busy by the 150 acquisition experts searching, especially the Islamic world, for collections. One room is devoted to the private collections that the Center has acquired. Pictures of the original owners adorn the walls of the private collection room with expressions of gratitude.

Mr. Al Majid’s charities revolve around educational facilities where girls far outnumber the boys (educate the ladies first, even before the men, he explained, as the best way to transmit education to a society). He makes sure the needy students receive free education. The number of students in his schools is close to 10,000. The degrees range all the way through college and doctorate (PhD) degrees. His other charities address emergencies ranging from regular assistance and schools for the impoverished Palestinians (eg. thousands of tons of bread are baked in Turkey and sent to the West Bank and Gaza). He housed Kuwaiti refugees during the first Gulf War, and he has established schools in Dubai and in other Arab and Islamic countries.

All these charities and more are funded by the profits from his diversified businesses, which are run by managers, thus freeing him to spend his time collecting, preserving and making available to scholars the literary production of the people of the book – meaning the three major religions that originated in the Arab world.

Repeatedly, he stressed that the fundamental generator of human possibilities was education. As the son of a pearl diver, raised in a very modest community near the Persian Gulf, Mr. Al Majid blends the past, present and future in his planned activities. No withered ancient manuscript nor any futuristic technology fazes him, as a tour of his cultural center demonstrates. But his conversation always comes back to books, to education, to the fundamental verities of life which is “to help humanity.”

Prominently displayed in one corridor of the Center is the Mark Twain observation that “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” The Center’s work servicing or cooperating with libraries at universities and other institutions in Europe, Asia and Africa is expanding in many dimensions. (See www.al-majid.com.)

As we departed from the Center, Mr. Al Majid spoke of his plans to build a new library to consolidate the sprawling premise that now houses the collections and outreach staff. He already has proven his talent for recruiting talent in Dubai and other countries and in connecting with many unsung charitable institutions in the medical, educational, cultural and emergency assistance areas.

By his dynamic humanitarian networking, Mr. Al Majid has illuminated the civic culture of the Arab and Islamic worlds from the past to the present. It is tragic that Western government and Western media are so occupied with the activities of empires that their people are given so little knowledge of such historic cultures and their strivings for justice, freedom and dignity.

April 6, 2013 Posted by | Book Review, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on The Library of Juma Al Majid

Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire

Book review by RON JACOBS | CounterPunch | November 30, 2012

In the machinations of Empire, religious and ethnic differences are often used to justify wars and repression. Historical examples abound. Animosity between nations’ ruling elites are framed in religious terms to rile up the populace and convince them the antagonisms between rulers over land and money are actually between the common people over religion. From there, the antagonism disintegrates into hatred and then war. Despite the conclusion of many religious adherents and teachers that all religions are merely different paths to the same godhead, people continue to cave into the fears propagated by other clerics and institutions that only their religion is the one true one. All others, therefore, are false and their followers are infidels. Once the flames of religious hatred are lit, it becomes very difficult to extinguish them. History has proven this over and over again.

Most recently, the world has seen this manipulation of faith take place against Muslims. This is not the first time Islam has been the focus of hate. Various Christian faiths have considered it a demonic religion over the centuries, from the Catholic Church to the small sect run by Terry Jones in Florida in the US. It was Islam, after all, that bore the brunt of the Catholic Crusades in the middle ages. It was also the Catholic Church that ravaged the lands of Spain during the Reconquista; and it was the Catholic Church that forced Jews and Muslims alike to renounce their faith or face death during that same period.

Like most prejudices that the ruling classes and their politicians stir up for their own ends, much religious hatred is based on ignorance and misunderstanding. This is certainly the case when it comes to Islam and its perception among many Christian churches. Despite the fact (or perhaps because of it) that Christianity, Judaism and Islam are all derived from the legacy of Abraham, the level of ignorance about this among believers is astounding. Indeed, it would leave one to think that perhaps that ignorance was intentional.

This is one of the points argued in Deepa Kumar’s latest title, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire. Kumar traces the history of anti-Islamic imagery in the Christian west: its equation of the religion with Satan and sorcery, mysterious sexual practices and perversions. From this beginning, Kumar draws a line to the development of Orientalist scholarship and its use by colonialist nations to justify their domination and exploitation of what they termed “the Muslim World.” Orientalism is best described by the author of the best book on the subject, Edward Said. “Orientalism,” he wrote, “is a style of thought based upon ontological and epistemological distinction made between “the Orient” and (most of the time) “the Occident Thus a very large mass of writers, among who are poet, novelists, philosophers, political theorists, economists, and imperial administrators, have accepted the basic distinction between East and West as the starting point for elaborate accounts concerning the Orient, its people, customs, “mind,” destiny, and so on. . . . The phenomenon of Orientalism as I study it here deals principally, not with a correspondence between Orientalism and Orient, but with the internal consistency of Orientalism and its ideas about the Orient . . despite or beyond any correspondence, or lack thereof, with a “real” Orient.”

In other words, Orientalism is a framework developed by the West to define the non-European part of the world that emphasizes the differences between these two artifices. It often has little to do with the reality of life and thought in the non-European world and is a methodology used to justify the occupation of those lands, the subjugation of their peoples, and the use of whatever means it takes to do so. In addition, it ignores essential facts that do not fit its framework that assumes the superiority of the West. Kumar discusses five myths Orientalism bases itself on and, in doing so, effectively dismantles those myths. While reading this particular chapter it felt like I was reading any number of news articles from the past fifty years explaining how Washington’s enemies were less civilized, less worldly than Americans. Medievalist, sexist, less value placed on human life, incapable of democracy or rational thought; the rationales for opposing Islam are not much different than those given for slaughtering over a million Vietnamese. Kumar looks at these phenomena historically and provides a perspective rarely if ever considered by most Western commentators.

Much of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire is an examination of the relationship between the ruling elites in Washington DC and the various elements of Islam, especially during the last twenty or thirty years. The text takes a look at Washington’s relationships with state and non-state entities. This includes Washington’s self-serving support of the Saud family in Saudi Arabia to the CIA coup in Iran that led to the tyranny of the Shah; from the arming of the Afghan mujahedin against the Soviet army to the endless war on the Afghan people and its expansion into Pakistan via armed drones. Kumar explains the economic, political and military reasons for the skullduggery and death waged in Americans’ name in countries Kumar terms “Muslim majority.” She never lets the reader forget that underlying the entire Islamophobia project is the desire for hegemonic control of the world by Washington.

After exploring the reasons for and the results of the Islamophobic project in the Empire’s outposts, Kumar turns her eye inward to the United States. She chronicles the legal attacks on mosques and Islamic social service foundations under the guise of their “support” of terrorism and discusses the growth of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab sentiment stirred up by various right wing and Zionist individuals. Citing the example of the so-called “Ground Zero” mosque, she exposes the politics of the individuals and organizations behind the campaign to prevent the building of that structure. Although many readers identify Islamophobia with Zionists, the neocons and their Christian fundamentalist supporters (Kumar spends a fair amount of tine elucidating on this), the book makes it clear that this phobia is not limited to that particular mindset. In fact, Kumar labels the liberal version of this phobia and the policies it informs “liberal Islamophobia.” This latter incarnation is one that pretends to understand Islam, while simultaneously accepting many of the same myths about the religion maintained by the aforementioned groups.

There’s a lot in this book. Deepa Kumar takes a subject that is often intentionally misconstrued and brings a clarity that incorporates the multiple facets involved. Politics and religion are notoriously dangerous bedfellows, yet they have tended to define human history for as long as there has been such a thing. This phenomenon has only become truer as history moves on. While other books may explain the religion of Islam and its relationship to Christianity better, Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire stands alone in its exploration of the relationship between western imperialism and the Muslim-majority world, especially as regards recent history. If recent events in the Middle East and other Muslim majority regions are an indicator, this relationship may be on the verge of a substantial change. This makes reading and understanding Kumar’s text even more essential.

Ron Jacobs can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

November 30, 2012 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Israeli Provocation of Sept. 11 Anti-American Embassy Protests

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | September 12, 2012

With U.S. foreign missions besieged on September 11 by Muslims outraged by an anti-Islam film, it’s useful to recall Jeff Gates’ analysis of strikingly similar earlier America-discrediting provocations. Writing in the wake of the “International Burn A Koran Day” promoted by Christian Zionist Pastor Terry Jones — who is currently promoting the “Innocence of Muslims” — for the ninth anniversary of 9/11, Gates observed:

As any game theorist could predict, even the possibility of such a psy-ops (a Koran book burning) was guaranteed to galvanize anti-American sentiments and catalyze anti-American demonstrations. As the book burning gained steadily more profile, this provocation increased the probability of catalyzing long-lasting anti-American sentiments.

As Gates pointed out in part three of his must-read (and must-watch) four-part series, “The Hate Mongers Among Us,” Pastor Jones’ Koran-burning stunt bore a “remarkable resemblance” to the Newsweek “report” alleging that a U.S. soldier flushed a Koran down the toilet. “Though that May 2005 account by Michael Isikoff was later withdrawn in substantial part,” noted Gates, “its publication provoked an earlier well-timed response by setting off anti-American demonstrations in Muslim countries worldwide.”

Newsweek, Gates observed, had recently been acquired by Sidney Harman, the now-deceased husband of former Congresswoman Jane Harman, the then pro-Israel chair of the Intelligence Subcommittee of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

The 2006 “cartoon riots” also featured a non-transparent Israeli media connection. As Gates explained:

If this sounds familiar, it should. You may recall when the wartime role played by global media became apparent in the Clash-catalyzing “cartoon riots” that swept the world in February 2006. That reaction followed the publication in France, Germany, Italy and Spain of graphic images of the prophet Muhammad that first appeared in a Danish newspaper in September 2005.

Citing free speech as the rationale, cultural editor Flemming Rose published a compilation of cartoons certain to be seen by Muslims as blasphemous, including one featuring Muhammad with a bomb in place of a turban.

An Ashkenazi native of Ukraine, Rose worked as a reporter for five years in Moscow during the oligarchi-zation of Russia. As his contribution to that nationwide fraud, he translated into Danish a fawning 1990 autobiography (Against the Stream) of presidential candidate Boris Yeltsin whose administration enabled the wildly successful financial pillaging of Russia.

Six of the top seven Russian oligarchs were Ashkenazim who qualified for Israeli citizenship.

While the media will most likely focus global attention on “Christian” Pastor Jones’ association with the latest anti-Islam provocation, it will come as no surprise to those familiar with Israeli psyops to read in the Wall Street Journal that the “Innocence of Muslims” was “directed and produced by an Israeli-American real-estate developer” or in Ynetnews that he “identifies himself as an Israeli Jew.” With the U.S. once again bearing the brunt of Muslim anger, it’s also not surprising that the Israeli filmmaker declined to identify the “about 100 Jewish donors” who funded this predictably provocative “American” production.

September 12, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Israeli Provocation of Sept. 11 Anti-American Embassy Protests

US military school taught “total war” against Muslims

Al Akhbar | May 11, 2012

A senior US military official has been forced to condemn a class taught at a military college that advocated a “total war” against Muslims.

The course at the Joint Forces Staff College in Virginia also suggested possible nuclear attacks on holy Islamic cities such as Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

The story, originally published on Wired.com’s danger room blog, risks damaging America’s already tarnished image in the Islamic world, where it maintains a heavy military presence.

The head of the course Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Dooley laid out a possible four-phase plan to carry out a forced transformation of Islam, with the aim of reducing it to “cult status.”

He added that it was possible to apply “the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki” to Islam’s holiest cities, and bring about “Mecca and Medina[‘s] destruction.”

“We have now come to understand that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam,’” Dooley noted in a July 2011 presentation, which concluded with a suggested manifesto to America’s enemies.

“It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.”

The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said the course was “against our values.”

“It was just totally objectionable, against our values, and it wasn’t academically sound,” General Dempsey said.

He said he had ordered a full investigation when the course was suspended in April after one of the students objected to the material.

However Dempsey’s argument appeared to be undermined after it emerged that Dooley has not been fired from his job.

US forces continue to occupy Afghanistan, as well as maintaining bases inside friendly regimes in the Middle East.

There was widespread fury earlier this year when dozens of Afghans were killed in protests following the burning of Qurans at a US-run military prison in southern Afghanistan.

May 11, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Comments Off on US military school taught “total war” against Muslims