By Allah’s great mercy, I have received many messages from well-wishers from all over the world after the publication on MuslimWakeUp of Tarek Fatah’s article on the meeting I addressed at the Noor Centre in Toronto. This is my brief response to the article and the messages I continue to receive.
Tarek Fatah wrote about the event but added his own twist every now and then. For example, my voice never trembled with anger. But without my medication, which was in my lost luggage, I was close to tears more than once and my voice reflected that.
The emotionalism that I felt was a reflection of my truly believing in a Merciful Allah, a belief deep in my heart which puts me in direct confrontation with those who would perform brutal acts, and justify those acts because, they say, these were done at the time of the Prophet (s).
They are ready to say this, having no regard for the advancements that Allah has privileged us with as human beings. That people could so easily justify this while believing in the same Merciful Allah was upsetting. But I said what I believe: that it is not okay to cut off someone’s hand.
I chose that example to make my point about Qur’anic interpretation because I thought that it was an example that many people could agree with it. Alas, when one looks at some of the comments posted on MWU, one realizes that, in fact, many Muslims believe that it is inappropriate to say “no" to certain “problematic" articulations of the Qur’an. They claim that it is inappropriate even though the principles behind such Qur’anic verses might have been given a certain form relative to the context in which the Qur’an was being revealed: in seventh century Arabia, where a particular kind of punishment was customarily used to punish thieves. We now have other ways to punish thieves. We now also have other understandings and perspectives about the treatment of women to how women were customarily treated in seventh century Arabia.
Being confronted by my detractors, I stood my ground very firmly because to respond in any other way would have meant being hypocritical to my relationship with Allah Ar-Rahman and His Book. Allah knows best what is weak and what is strong in my heart. And Allah knows best the many, many flaws in my person and my behavior. My presentation, I believe, was fairly calm and yet direct. Unfortunately, it was misinterpreted by some of those who attended the meeting and some others who only know of the event by reading Tarek’s article. The article, unfortunately, used the occasion for some of the author’s own agenda. That is why it emphasizes certain issues and statements and makes them seem more important than they were to me.
Do not think that I felt upset at the meeting. I laughed with those who stayed all three hours. They continued wanting to ask questions and make comments for two hours. It was clear to me that ninety percent of the responses were from people who disagreed with me. Perhaps this was because those who agreed did not have the courage (at that time) to say that they had questions about specific Qur’anic pronouncements. They would, after all, have to still face my vocal detractors after I had left. Some of these detractors accused me or concluded – through their own methods of deduction – that I:
do not know Arabic;
do not know the Qur’an;
do not believe in the Holy Qur’an as a message from Allah;
do not believe in the Prophet (s);
do not believe in Islam.
Every one of these conclusions is, of course, false.
It is easier to dismiss my words, or me for that matter, in order not to substantively deal with some of the details, nuances and difficulties of the Qur’an. I will never claim to have all the answers. However, it is only through my sincere questioning and searching for answers that I have come to some peace regarding some of the problematic questions. And for those of my questions that I have to peace with, I will stand my ground, even in the face of those who want to scapegoat me as the enemy rather than to actually face the details and difficulties.
Thank you all for your many prayers and for your support. I always am in need of both. I believe in du’a because I believe that Allah has not abandoned me. I am proud to say that I believe in Allah, that I believe in the words of Allah and that I believe in the example of the Prophet (s).
But as someone sincerely searching, I must admit that I have some questions.
Despite Arab criticism of Washington's ambitions for democratizing the Arab world, some analysts say that the tentative reforms would not have happened without US intervention. "It's because of the Americans, let's face it," says Michael Young, a Lebanese political analyst. "These regimes didn't give a damn about the views of their people not so long ago - Mubarak's decision I link directly to Bush's inauguration address. The leaders realize things have to change in terms of the public image."Here's how it started:
New openings for Arab democracy
Would the Lebanese uprising against Syrian occupation have happened had we not invaded Iraq two years ago? There is every reason to think not. And this genuine display of People Power is only a manifestation of a deeper undercurrent slowly swarming and propagating throughout the Arab world.Read it all: A Specter is Haunting Arabia
A specter is haunting the Middle East -- the specter of freedom. The powers representing the Old Way of Ideas have entered an unholy alliance to exorcise this specter, but there is no stopping the stomping of freedom.
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a muon cosmic ray screening device that can accurately detect smuggled nuclear weapons and materials in any vehicle or container, the nuclear lab reported Tuesday.
The device would provide, according to Los Alamos officials, an enormous advantage over X-ray scanning equipment, which can generate dangerous amounts of radiation and cannot penetrate lead containers and other shielding.
Several test models of the scanner have been built and successfully operated, and work on a full-sized prototype has begun, the laboratory said.
This is a story about love, fate, friends, and the unexpected. I like to think it's a good story - but then, some of it's mine. Some of it's yours, too, and there were a few twists and turns along the way. I've been trying to do it justice for a month now, and... well, just sit a spell and I'll tell you.Go read the rest now: Winds of Love
See that photo on the right? It's an ice sculpture. Inside lies a very special treasure, the product of love and friendship on so many different levels. To tell its tale, I need to talk about a grandmother's love, the blog that changed my life, a proposal gone horribly wrong, and a day of redemption wherein love and friendship once again rode to the rescue of all.
True love is possible, and so are happy endings. I know, 'cause it happened to me.
LAHORE: In Sanda police station, Muhammad Azam – a man who has confessed to the murder of his sister – awaits his verdict with little repentance or remorse. His reasons for killing the divorced mother of four – to defend family honour.
Azam, a milkman by tradition who is soon to be transferred to Camp Jail, slaughtered 32-year-old Shahnaz at her house in Abu Bakar Colony, Bund Road on February 23 after suspecting her of having illicit relations.
After the murder, Azam did not flee, instead he waited out patiently for the police to reach the crime scene and arrest him. “Our society leaves men like me with few options. I had to kill her to get my peace of mind," Azam told Daily Times from behind lockup.
Shahnaz married Zafar Ali after divorcing husband Allah Dita, from whom she had four children – Khurram Shahzad 14, Muhammad Amir, 12, Shan, 9 and Muzamil Abbas, 6. Ali is currently serving a sentence in Sheikhupura Jail for attempted murder while the kids are in the custody of their grandfather Malik Ali.
“Since her husband went to jail, she started going out with other men," said a teary-eyed Azam, adding, “For two years I kept asking her to mend ways. I literally begged her to stop her antics because the children were being neglected. Everyone laughed at me. I couldn’t take it anymore."
When asked whether being sentenced to death was worth it, he said, “In our society, a poor man has little dignity, and he cannot bear to part with it. My friends used to humiliate me. I decided to end my ordeal and face what may come."
Sanda station house officer Muhammad Ishtiaq said that every individual held different views. “Most people in Punjab would rather face death, than let female family members dishonour the family name by having illicit relations," he stated.
My friends at RegimeChangeIran have just received a copy of a secret report prepared by the Pasdaran Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s key security forces, for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It warns they would be unable to control a demonstration or rebellion in Tehran lasting longer than six hours.I sure hope so! Faster please! They're resuming enrichment on the 15th of March if the Euros don't appease them fast enough.
Here’s the report’s key confession:Society is in an unstable state. Were certain sensitive locations in Tehran to 'explode' under these circumstances, and the capital sink into chaos, if uprisings continue unabated and grow larger for more than six hours in Tehran, the situation would become uncontrollable.
You can be sure every student protestor in Iran knows about this report by now.
Iranian State Security Forces (SSF) have already had their hands full this month. On February 13, thousands of people poured into the streets of Mahabad in northwestern Iran to violently protest cut-offs of water, gas, and electricity as well as bread shortages. Demonstrators set fire to banners and posters celebrating the 26th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in front of government offices. SSF agents and Basij paramilitary thugs attacked the demonstrators with clubs and batons, who proceeded to fight back, injuring a number of agents and thugs.
On February 21, three towns in western Iran erupted simultaneously, Sardasht, Saqqez, and Baneh. When SSF agents attacked the demonstrators protesting fuel shortages, they were violently resisted. In Sardasht, over 200 people were arrested, hundreds more in Baneh, but in Saqqez, the townspeople beat up several SSF agents and forced them to run away.
There have been dozens of very small-scale protests in Tehran over the past few months, but as word of the Pasdaran report gets out and springtime starts to arrive, you can expect that six-hour limit to be tested, and on increasingly large scales. Events in Iran may be about to move as fast as Michael “Faster Please" Ledeen never ceases to ask for.
Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karami announced the resignation of his pro-Syrian government Monday, two weeks after the assassination of his predecessor, Rafik Hariri, triggered protests in the streets and calls for Syria to withdraw its thousands of troops.(a thimbleful of cognac to lawhawk)
"I am keen that the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country. I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honor to head. May God preserve Lebanon," Karami said.
Karami made the announcement during a parliamentary debate called to discuss Hariri's Feb. 14 assassination in a bomb blast that killed 16 others. The announcement prompted cheers from more than 25,000 flag-waving demonstrators protesting against the government and its Syrian backers outside.
While Turkey’s Islamist press long has been a consistent source of anti-Semitic articles, such as ones claiming that Jews are buying up land in Turkey in order to allow Israel to control the country’s resources, in recent months there have been a growing number of similar articles in the country’s nationalist newspapers and occasionally in the mainstream press, the leader said.I've heard and read similar conspiracy theories in Greece: Jews are buying land in Crete, Israel is buying islands in the Aegean to control the (as yet undiscovered) oil. Just another Mediterranean version of the same old story and anyway, I'm not worried; Maine's Michael and I put dibs on Crete a long time ago. We haven't made any plans about Turkey though, whom do we talk to about that?
TYRE: A statue of the late Syrian president Hafez Assad in the southern village of Qana was destroyed Sunday in the latest anti-Syrian act since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The metallic statue of Assad's head and torso in the middle of a water fountain was felled from a stand hailed "the eternal leader" and was left lying damaged on the ground.Yes yes yessss! I'm sooo pumped about this.
Internal Security Forces and State Security personnel came to the scene to investigate the incident.
The monument, which bears Lebanese and Syrian flags, was erected in June 2002, two years after the death of Assad who ruled Syria for 30 years.
A group of young people who were standing near the statue said those responsible for the incident aimed at stirring strife, adding that those people cannot be southerners as those along with Syrians have liberated the area.
Amal and Hizbullah have a strong presence in Qana where Israel bombed a UN peacekeeping compound in 1996, killing men, women and children who took refuge there from Israeli bombardments.
The Hariri Foundation is funding the education of the children who lost their parents in the bombardments.
In Tyre, there is a street named after Assad as well as a cultural center named after his late son Basil.
After Hariri's assassination on Feb. 14 which was blamed on the pro-Syrian regime and Damascus by the Lebanese opposition, many Syrian workers have fled Lebanon.
Attacks targeting Syrians have also been reported across the country.
Russia signs deal with Iran to sell them fuel; Canada drops out of missile defense at the point of maximum gathering danger; China's new sovereign deep-sea port in Pakistan; Iran is the greatest threat to peace; Iran to Europe: you can trust us to stay three months away from a nuclear weapon; Iran denies custody of bin Laden; Iran nuke threat has been fermenting for 20 years; terrorist recidivism shocka; Syria redeploying to Bekaa murmurs; Hezbollah, not IJ, behind latest suicide bombing; Trident submarines join the GWOT; more tidbits on brutal MS-13 gang; sting nabs 2 La. individuals untroubled by selling fake IDs to Abu Sayyaf; MANPAD attacks on airliners?; missing fuel rods found in Cali; cosmic rays detect nukes through shielding; smuggling tunnel from Mexico to US found; India a preeminent power within 15 years; China antisecession law brings repercussions; US ads in Pakistan may be paying off; Nepal blockade over-for now; NK wants six way talks resumption, has scary missiles in the pipeline; US to sell India arms; a look at the Philippines; Euros love wiretapping; Italian troubles and UK successes in combating terror; dumb IRA moves and tone-deafness; Jordanian Australian in chokey in Lebanon; Arab Bank ordered to cease wire transfers; Zarqawi's inner circle shrinking; CIA recruiting at Guantanamo; Dutch upping Afghan commitment; Planespotters hurt CIA secrecy; maritime terrorism and more...