Charity- An Other Tool Of Enslavement By The Rich & Powerful ?

The book review below on Rock Star, Bono, raises the old question-Is Charity and Philanthropy an other tool of Rich and Powerful, who control most of the resources, to enslave the masses?

Irish musician Bono arrives at 10 Downin

” The Frontman; Bono ( In the name of Power) By Harry Browne-Review”

Bono the philanthropist is nothing but a crony of bankers and neocons, argues Terry Eagleton. Some excerpts from article;

Bono belongs to the new, cool, post-political Ireland; but by turning back to the old, hungry, strife-torn nation, now rebaptised as Africa, he could bridge the gap between the two. Even so, he has not been greatly honoured in his own notoriously begrudging country, or elsewhere. Harry Browne recounts the (perhaps apocryphal) tale of the singer standing on stage clapping while declaring: “Every time I clap my hands, a child dies.” “Then stop fucking doing it!” yelled a voice from the crowd.

n fact, as Browne points out, he has cosied up to racists such as Jesse Helms, whitewashed architects of the Iraqi adventure such as Tony Blair and Paul Wolfowitz, and discovered a soulmate in the shock-doctrine economist Jeffrey Sachs. He has also brownnosed the Queen, sucked up to the Israelis, grovelled at the feet of corporate bullies and allied himself with rightwing anti-condom US evangelicals in Africa. The man who seems to flash a peace sign every four seconds apparently has no problem with the sponsorship of the arms corporation BAE. His consistent mistake has been to regard these powers as essentially benign, and to see no fundamental conflict of interests between their own priorities and the needs of the poor. They just need to be sweet-talked by a charmingly bestubbled Celt. Though he has undoubtedly done some good in the world, as this book readily acknowledges, a fair bit of it has been as much pro-Bono as pro bono republico.

If Bono really knew the history of his own people, he would be aware that the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s was not the result of a food shortage. Famines rarely are. There were plenty of crops in the country, but they had to be exported to pay the landlords’ rents. There was also enough food in Britain at the time to feed Ireland several times over. What turned a crisis into a catastrophe was the free market doctrine for which the U2 front man is so ardent an apologist. Widespread hunger is the result of predatory social systems, a fact that Bono’s depoliticising language of humanitarianism serves to conceal. Click link for full article;

( Posted By F. Sheikh )

Snowden, Through The Eyes Of A Spy Novelist

Alex Berenson in NYT;

We have treated a whistle-blower like a traitor — and thus made him a traitor. Great job!”

“What Mr. Snowden at first seemed to want — and rightly — was to force our electronic spies to answer, in plain English, are you saving e-mails, Skype and other Internet communications? What about phone calls? For how long? Who can get access to this data, and is a warrant required in each case? How are calls between Americans treated? Et cetera. Despite many promises of disclosure from the White House, the answers to all those questions remain murky”.

“So Mr. Snowden seemed to have done the world a service. But in the last week both he and his former employers have misplayed their hands, and his story has become far trickier. Mr. Snowden did not start out as a spy, and calling him one bends the term past recognition. Spies don’t give their secrets to journalists for free.”

“Mr. Snowden has put himself in a terrible spot. Moscow will surely protect him for as long as it feels like irritating Washington. But by the time the Russians are finished sifting through his laptops, he’ll be their spy, whether or not he meant to be. Beijing may have already pulled the same trick; some intelligence officers believe that Chinese spy agencies copied Mr. Snowden’s hard drives during his Hong Kong stay.”

We have treated a whistle-blower like a traitor — and thus made him a traitor. Great job. Did anyone in the White House or the N.S.A or the C.I.A. consider flying to Hong Kong and treating Mr. Snowden like a human being, offering him a chance to testify before Congress and a fair trial? Maybe he would have gone with President Vladimir V. Putin anyway, but at least he would have had another option. The secret keepers would have won too: a Congressional hearing would have been a small price to bring Mr. Snowden and those precious hard drives back to American soil.” Click link for full article;

( Posted By F. Sheikh)

When Believers Go Bad!

Shared by Azeem Farooki

When Believers Go Bad: One Muslims Answer To Religious Hate Crimes

Dr. David Liepert
After the horrible shootings in the Sikh Temple in suburban Milwaukee, I was struck that Wade Page talked about a “Racial Holy War”, highlighting that he felt his hate was religiously sanctioned. And looking around our world, although it’s frightening just how pervasive that feeling has become, it was even more frightening to me as a Muslim to realize that America’s initial response wasn’t as much to condemn religiously based violent slaughter as it was to correct his mistake confusing Sikhs for Muslims.

So what can I, as a Muslim do about it? Heaven knows al-Qaeda’s no better. And so far we don’t know much about Page’s religion: so far all we can say is he wasn’t Muslim, because if he were it would have led the news. But it doesn’t matter. Every religion there is has been used by some to justify hatred, something that’s well documented in Christopher Hitchens’ “God Is Not Great”, a book I very much enjoyed reading despite the controversial title. Because I thought he asked a very important question.

If God’s so Good, then what makes some believers so very bad?

Growing up as an evangelical Christian, I thought I knew what the answer was. I was pretty sure humankind was divided into eternal winners and eternal losers based on their religions, that I knew where the lines were drawn, and that they were drawn the same in this life and the next. But the more people I met who weren’t like me, and the more different religions I studied, the more I questioned whether I knew everything there was to know about getting to Heaven.

I ended up in Islam not because I rejected Jesus or anything that the Bible actually said, but because I learned how much religious marketing and populist interpretation had influenced what Christianity eventually became. I left it to explore my ongoing relationship with our shared Creator and ended up Muslim, despite the fact that I know the same thing has happened to Islam as well.

However, I’ve stayed here because despite Islamist and Islamophobic claims to the contrary, Islam itself explicitly condemns that “Winner Take All” approach to religion. In fact, the Quran says quite clearly in An-Nisa 4: 123-124,

Not your desires, nor those of the People of the Book (can prevail): whoever works evil, will be requited accordingly. Nor will he find, besides The Lord God, any protector or helper. If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female – and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.

And in Al-Baqarah 2:145-148 God further explains,

Even if thou wert to bring to the people of the Book all the Signs (together), they would not follow thy direction; nor wilt thou follow their direction; nor indeed will they follow each other’s direction. If thou after the knowledge hath reached thee, Wert to follow their desires,-then thou wouldst indeed be in the wrong.

The Truth is from thy Lord; so be not at all in doubt. To each faith is a goal to which The Lord God turns them; then strive ye all together (as in a race) Towards all that is good. Where-so-ever ye are, The Lord God will bring you Together. For The Lord God Hath power over all things.

Seems simple enough, so what’s gone wrong? And how do we fix it? Well for starters, I think the single best thing Muslims can do for everyone, including Palestinians living under the Israeli Occupation is admit that the Jewish claim to the Holy Land is even stronger in the Holy Quran than it is in the Holy Bible.

Because the problem’s not with our religions: Instead, it’s with what we’ve done to them. Populist marketing, politics and self interest have warped all our faiths, and the best examples of how that process has victimized believers of every stripe lies in the way we interpret God’s Words to Abraham’s children about the Holy Land.

In the Quran, there is little doubt that God intends Israel to belong to the Children of Israel. It commands the people of Moses in Al-Maidah 5:21,

O my people, enter the Holy Land which The Lord God has assigned to you and do not turn back [from fighting in The Lord God’s cause] and [thus] become losers.

But that translation, which is consistent throughout virtually every English version of the Quran, and which is also consistent with the way Arabic scholars present the meaning of the verse to other Arabic speakers, is an excellent example of how far Islam has strayed from the Quran’s original intent. Because KatabAllahu, the word translated as “assigned”, actually means something much closer to “Ordained by God Most High”: a much stronger association than “assigned” would otherwise imply.

So if the land’s eternally ordained to their stewardship, how can anyone claim the Quran isn’t OK with both Judaism and the Jews? In fact, rather than condemning them, it confirms God’s covenant relationship with the Jewish people repeatedly, and only condemns those who aren’t living up to their end of the bargain just like many Old Testament prophets, like Jeremiah. Repeatedly.

And those bargains include the Covenant of Circumcision, which grants them the lands of Canaan. None of those Covenants are abrogated in the Quran, and nowhere does it or Muhammad even imply that Muslims were intended to replace the Jews within them. In fact, since Muhammad wasn’t circumcised on his 8th day—and since him no Muslim has been either—we couldn’t. An 8th day circumcision is what that Covenant explicitly requires.

However that Covenant is actually one that Judaism’s not living up to, and an example of how that religion’s been subverted as well. Because there’s a precondition that makes Jewish sovereignty in Israel good news for everyone, Palestinians included. As Genesis 18 explains, to make it all come out right for everyone, God requires that Israel govern the land righteously, according to God’s principles of equality and justice for all his descendents, regardless of their religion.

Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.

So justice is a prerequisite, and there’s no mention of one religion reigning supreme anywhere in there either: Abraham wanted what’s best for ALL his children, Jew and non-Jew alike. In fact the word translated as “nation” and “nations” is goy and goyim, which today’s Jewish people generally think means “non-Jew”.

It also sounds like God expects that “Good for everyone world” to begin in His Holy Land. And for that to come about, the Covenant requires Tzedakah, “God’s Benevolent Justice for All” to begin there. And that sounds like something best achieved with a totally free, egalitarian, constitutional democracy—at least if they give one vote to everyone—to me.

So why does so much of the evangelical Christian world agree with radical Islamists and Zionists alike that there needs to be a war between Muslims and Jews over Israel? Frankly, it’s because they’ve been interpreting Jewish prophecy without asking any Jews. If they’d done so, any Jew familiar with Daniel’s prophecies would have told them we have at least two hundred years to go.

And according to Jewish, Muslim and Christian prophecy, if you examine them all together, those two hundred years are going to be very different from what many Christians, Muslims and Jews expect. For example, among other things, it will include Muslims who are also Jews (the lost tribes of Khurasan/Afghanistan) marching in and defending Israel, and a second coming where Christ leaves us all with nothing more to fight with each other over. And that’s one thing I know is going to happen, because God’s plan promises peace for us all.

I think much of the current confusion likely derives from the lack of Jewish input regarding the way Christians interpret John’s Revelation. Because in Revelation 12 God’s perfect Israel is described this way:

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

And I certainly get how some Christians will think that carries an anti-Muslim message because the woman, whom many Christians consider Mother Mary, is standing, apparently quite disrespectfully, on Islam, symbolized by the moon.

Except the woman actually has nothing to do with Mary, and the moon actually has nothing to do with Islam.

Because this isn’t the first time in the Bible the sun, moon and stars come together. The first time the sun, moon and stars come together in the Old Testament; the time that defines what those symbols actually mean, is in the story of Joseph.

In a dream, before he’s kidnapped by his brothers and sold off to Egypt, he sees 11 stars (his brothers) bowing down to one star (him), in which his father Jacob/Israel (symbolized by the Sun) and mother Rachel (symbolized by the Moon) appear as well.

So that image can’t mean Christianity conquering Islam, because the moon would never be treated so disrespectfully: it symbolizes the woman who with her sister Leah became the Mothers of Israel itself.

But it’s why the moon is her symbol that makes for the inclusive happy ending, because it turns out that it’s because she was a proto-Palestinian! Holy-Land-Living, Monotheistic, non-Jewish Semitic Arabs have actually been part of the Bible’s narrative from the very beginning. Called the Ishmaelites (literally the “people of Ishmael”), or the Midianites (the family Moses married into), their Old Testament symbol was always the moon.

And that also means Israel’s crowning glory can’t be the 12 Jewish sons of Jacob/Israel because according to Orthodox Jewish law, they weren’t even Jewish. Although their daddy was, their mother wasn’t. And that makes Israel’s crowning glory not Jewish Israel alone, but instead Arab/Jewish unity, “clothed” by Israel, and supported by all the world’s Muslims: Islamic Zionism, the way it should be.

And today, we ignore the perception-warping effects of Christian Zionism and the effects of their attempts to bring about the end of the world on American politics at our own peril; literally, because the so-called “happy ending” of many—if not most—Christian Zionists currently requires a version of Armageddon resulting in the eradication of all the world’s Muslims, the death or conversion to Christianity of all the world’s Jews, and a rather painful eternity for the rest of you.

I know that all begs the question, “why did God make us different, if He intends to bring us together? Here’s what the Quran says, in Al-Hujurat 49:13.

O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of The Lord God is the most righteous of you. Indeed, The Lord God is All-Knowing and All-Acquainted.

God made us different from each-other so we would have to “know” each-other, and compare ourselves to each-other against God’s standards of “righteousness”. And the word translated as “know” is Lita’arafu, which implies a reciprocal and ongoing relationship, while the word translated as “righteous” is Atqakum, which the Quran says can only be attained by caring for others. That means the ones among us whom God appreciates the most are the ones who care for those we consider “different” among His diverse Creation the best.

You know, given all that I think what we really need to respond to religion’s capacity to promote conflict is the simple realization that among all our different religions we’ve got so many different sects, and among those many different sects we’ve got so many different individual believers who form their own personal accommodations with that sect’s beliefs, doctrines and dogmas, that in fact we’ve actually got over 6 billion different religions, one for every woman, child and man on earth. Faith’s not about religion, it’s about relationships.

Your faith, my faith, all our faiths are personal relationships between us and our God, who Knows us all as individuals, and we all know Him as individuals too.

And God wants us to look out for each other.

So what’s wrong with religion—all our religions—is simple: religion is supposed to be about learning to live in a way that’s right by both God and Creation, and so it’s supposed to be about learning to control ourselves. But all too often we allow others to use it to control us, or we try to use it to control others instead.

When we do that, we make Karl Marx right, when he said religion was the opiate for the masses. He thought in political terms, in terms of oppression and control, and religion used to that purpose is nothing more than a political tool.

But True Faith frees the believer from oppression, because it makes us all equals under the One God who Made us all. And for that reason, one of the signs of True Faith within yourself is that it makes you not just God’s servant, but everyone’s servant, so that it frees everyone else.

What’s missing from all our faiths and religions is the simple realization that God Loves everyone else too.

Dr. David Liepert Chairs the Calgary Shura Council, serves as VP and official spokesperson for the Faith of Life Network, co-Chairs the Abraham’s Tent Interfaith Dialogue and is a National Board member of the Canadian Islamic Chamber of Commerce. He has advised the Canadian Imams Council regarding Interfaith matters, and is also author of Muslim, Christian and Jew: Finding a Path to Peace Our Faiths Can Share.


How I came to love the veil?

Shared by Mirza I Ashraf

How I Came To Love the Veil

By Yvonne Ridley


I used to look at veiled women as quiet, oppressed creatures — until I was captured by the Taliban In September 2001, just 15 days after the terrorist attacks on the United States, I snuck into Afghanistan, clad in a head-to-toe blue burqa, intending to write a newspaper account of life under the repressive regime. Instead, I was discovered, arrested and detained for 10 days. I spat and swore at my captors; they called me a “bad” woman but let me go after I promised to read the Koran and study Islam. (Frankly, I’m not sure who was happier when I was freed — they or I.)

Back home in London, I kept my word about studying Islam — and was amazed by what I discovered. I’d been expecting Koran chapters on how to beat your wife and oppress your daughters; instead, I found passages promoting the liberation of women. Two-and-a-half years after my capture, I converted to Islam, provoking a mixture of astonishment, disappointment and encouragement among friends and relatives.

Now, it is with disgust and dismay that I watch here in Britain as former foreign secretary Jack Straw describes the Muslim nikab — a face veil that reveals only the eyes — as an unwelcome barrier to integration, with Prime Minister Tony Blair, writer Salman Rushdie and even Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi leaping to his defense.

Having been on both sides of the veil, I can tell you that most Western male politicians and journalists who lament the oppression of women in the Islamic world have no idea what they are talking about. They go on about veils, child brides, female circumcision, honor killings and forced marriages, and they wrongly blame Islam for all this — their arrogance surpassed only by their ignorance.

These cultural issues and customs have nothing to do with Islam. A careful reading of the Koran shows that just about everything that Western feminists fought for in the 1970s was available to Muslim women 1,400 years ago. Women in Islam are considered equal to men in spirituality, education and worth, and a woman’s gift for childbirth and child-rearing is regarded as a positive attribute.

When Islam offers women so much, why are Western men so obsessed with Muslim women’s attire? Even British government ministers Gordon Brown and John Reid have made disparaging remarks about the nikab — and they hail from across the Scottish border, where men wear skirts.

When I converted to Islam and began wearing a headscarf, the repercussions were enormous. All I did was cover my head and hair — but I instantly became a second-class citizen. I knew I’d hear from the odd Islamophobe, but I didn’t expect so much open hostility from strangers. Cabs passed me by at night, their “for hire” lights glowing. One cabbie, after dropping off a white passenger right in front of me, glared at me when I rapped on his window, then drove off. Another said, “Don’t leave a bomb in the back seat” and asked, “Where’s bin Laden hiding?”

Yes, it is a religious obligation for Muslim women to dress modestly, but the majority of Muslim women I know like wearing the hijab, which leaves the face uncovered, though a few prefer the nikab. It is a personal statement: My dress tells you that I am a Muslim and that I expect to be treated respectfully, much as a Wall Street banker would say that a business suit defines him as an executive to be taken seriously. And, especially among converts to the faith like me, the attention of men who confront women with inappropriate, leering behavior is not tolerable.

I was a Western feminist for many years, but I’ve discovered that Muslim feminists are more radical than their secular counterparts. We hate those ghastly beauty pageants, and tried to stop laughing in 2003 when judges of the Miss Earth competition hailed the emergence of a bikini-clad Miss Afghanistan, Vida Samadzai, as a giant leap for women’s liberation. They even gave Samadzai a special award for “representing the victory of women’s rights.”

Some young Muslim feminists consider the hijab and the nikab political symbols, too, a way of rejecting Western excesses such as binge drinking, casual sex and drug use. What is more liberating: being judged on the length of your skirt and the size of your surgically enhanced breasts, or being judged on your character and intelligence? In Islam, superiority is achieved through piety — not beauty, wealth, power, position or sex.
I didn’t know whether to scream or laugh when Italy’s Prodi joined the debate last week by declaring that it is “common sense” not to wear the nikab because it makes social relations “more difficult.” Nonsense. If this is the case, then why are cellphones, landlines, e-mail, text messaging and fax machines in daily use? And no one switches off the radio because they can’t see the presenter’s face.

Under Islam, I am respected. It tells me that I have a right to an education and that it is my duty to seek out knowledge, regardless of whether I am single or married. Nowhere in the framework of Islam are we told that women must wash, clean or cook for men. As for how Muslim men are allowed to beat their wives — it’s simply not true. Critics of Islam will quote random Koranic verses or hadith, but usually out of context. If a man does raise a finger against his wife, he is not allowed to leave a mark on her body, which is the Koran’s way of saying, “Don’t beat your wife, stupid.”

It is not just Muslim men who must reevaluate the place and treatment of women. According to a recent National Domestic Violence Hotline survey, 4 million American women experience a serious assault by a partner during an average 12-month period. More than three women are killed by their husbands and boyfriends every day — that is nearly 5,500 since 9/11.

Violent men don’t come from any particular religious or cultural category; one in three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime, according to the hotline survey. This is a global problem that transcends religion, wealth, class, race and culture.

But it is also true that in the West, men still believe that they are superior to women, despite protests to the contrary. They still receive better pay for equal work — whether in the mailroom or the boardroom — and women are still treated as sexualized commodities whose power and influence flow directly from their appearance.

And for those who are still trying to claim that Islam oppresses women, recall this 1992 statement from the Rev. Pat Robertson, offering his views on empowered women: Feminism is a “socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

Now you tell me who is civilized and who is not.


To Listen to a talk given by Sister Yvonne Ridley on how she came to Islaam, ClickHERE.