Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Will "Islamic State" (formerly ISIS) be able to achieve the majority of support from Sunni Muslims globally?

The "Islamic State" as the group is now called, is a political reaction not a religious movement. Yes, they all belong to the same sect of Islam, but their war isn't holy. They are a group formed to fight against the Asad regime in Syria and the American-installed puppet regime in Iraq (which is why the group was originally called "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria").

We as Sunni Muslims believe in the prophecy that describes the return of an "Amir el-Mu'mineen" (Khalifa) which will pave the way for one unifying Islamic State , however this prophecy comes with many detailed events that have not transpired with the installation of this new "Islamic State" and this new "Khalifa", Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Firstly, the line of Khalifa will begin with the Mahdi who's name will be Muhammad Ibn Abdulaah. This man will appear during his pilgrimage in Mecca where learned men of the faith will witness him and insist he is the Mahdi. He will deny such a title and will be chased down, insisting he is not worthy of such a title. 
Today, this self-proclaimed Khalifa, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is just another militant who has created his own group.

Secondly, the Mahdi will return to unify the Muslims, not divide them. He will bring peace and justice, not death and destruction. He will protect minority groups such as Christians and Jews, not displace them from their homes.

I must admit, I was excited to hear about the birth of this "Islamic State" until I saw what they were capable of, and the majority of my fellow Sunnis agree that we will still have to wait a little while longer for the return of the Khilafa.

Ultimately it all comes down to one simple fact: Militant groups like the "Islamic State" and Jabhat al-Nusra will always emerge when the Muslim world is denied its rights and freedoms. When dictators and puppet regimes are installed to enforce their own laws violently with the help of external Western influences, we can expect the response to be just as violent.

What could we possibly expect from the oppressed nations of Iraq and Syria but an emergence of reactionary groups who respond in kind?

Many Sunni Muslim do not support "Islamic State", but we can certainly understand why they exist.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Is condemning the loss of innocent lives taking a side?

Misconceptions float around so easily when an Egyptian speaks up against the military's excessive use of force against civilians gathered for a vigil in support of the first democratically elected President of Egypt. The immediate reaction for taking such a stance results in accusations of being affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood and to Mohammed Morsy. Ironically this misconception only exists among some Egyptians, while the rest of the world looks on in horror at the events unfolding before their eyes.

Persuaded by the likes of media outlets sympathetic to the state apparatus (such as Al-Ahram, MENA, and Al-Masry Al-Youm), liberalists choose to believe the Armed Forces are defending their nation against an unstoppable force of "Islamists" who are hijacking the country of its democracy simply because they won elections. The fallacy begins when this propaganda claims that foreign media is misguiding the billions around the world about the "truth" that only Egyptians living in Egypt could only ever know. Obviously this is because Western media choose to sympathize with such a controversial Islamic group such as the Muslim Brotherhood... it makes perfect sense...

It no longer becomes a factor that the condemnation could be the result of evidence revealing the military used live ammunition to kill almost 600 unarmed men, women and children, and injure almost 4000 more. Gun shot wounds have been found penetrating the head and chest of protesters after the snipers pulled their triggers, and the sounds of automatic rifles were heard ringing around the encampment. This deliberate targeting of civilians was not an instinctive reactionary decision made by the ground troops bombarding the sit-in, rather it was the order given after the announcement was made a week prior to disperse the protesters by "all necessary measures". The Armed Forces were so certain of success that they made the bold statement claiming it would only take one hour to remove protesters from Rabaa Al-Adawaya. Such an efficiency could only mean a "necessary" use of force.

Many worldwide listening intently on the updates coming from Cairo found it hard-pressed to come up with an excuse to justify such an act, even when performed against "Islamists".

Hypocrisy starts to ring true amongst some when support for the beloved Armed Forces are chanted in the streets of Tahrir for protection against extremism and "Western influences". This protection, of course, is only be made possible when General Al-Sisi and his troops collect their $1.5 billion annual paycheck that was gifted to them since the Camp David Accords, back when Egypt had forsaken their pride against the occupying forces of Israel.

Ultimately, the argument is no longer a political debate on who has legitimacy, or whether one is pro-Morsy or anti-Morsy, or whether the overthrow of the President was a coup or not. The reality is that the situation in Egypt has rapidly changed from being "politically unstable" to being a "war crime against humanity".

Anyone would be obliged to condemn the situation all the same if the military attacked the liberals.

The military has the sworn responsibility to protect both sides and prevent both sides from escalating their demonstrations into violent clashes, and yet instead they have opted to support one group's rights, and deny the other's.

The incident that has occurred on the streets of Cairo can only ever be described as a massacre, regardless of who the victims supported, and the world now fears the situation will turn into another Syria.

In order to prevent that, Egyptians must condemn the military for it's horrific acts against its own people.
That is the neutral stance. The only side that one should take to condemn the loss of innocent lives is the one in support of humanity.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Justifying Military Actions Against the Muslim Brotherhood

There are many Egyptians today that claim any killing of a member of the Muslim Brotherhood is justified because they are religious extremists. Nothing can be further from the truth. Although there are many complaints about how the Muslim Brotherhood governed the nation, the entire course of their one-year political history cannot provide any conclusion as to whether or not they were the best or worst decision made by the people of Egypt. The only fact on the ground that can be confirmed is that they were the first free democratically elected party in Egypt’s long history.

Many who followed the political progress over the last year had legitimate claims over their poorly organised conduct in cleaning up the country, especially with regards to a lack of short term "wins" in the hearts and minds of citizens. This included dealing with sanitation, fuel & petrol, traffic conditions and many others. Although expecting to pass judgement on a party after one year in office to clean a 30-year mess may be a little premature, no one can deny that there were urgent matters that could have been resolved to keep the people of Egypt satisfied in knowing that the wheels were indeed in motion. It's all about the PR campaign and how you sell yourself to your clients, and in this case the Brotherhood's clients were the people who elected them into office in the first place.

That being said, there were also many who didn't follow the political progress over the last year. Rather they occupied their time with a myriad of false accusations and rumours that left us wondering whether or not Egyptians were capable of distinguishing between a devout Muslim and an extremist. Ill-informed claims posted on Facebook and Twitter flooded feeds with noise louder than that of the parliamentary debates, and it reached levels of ignorance and even bigotry.

The Muslim brotherhood is simply a membership club, comparable to an Australian RSL club. Some claim that one in every ten Egyptian is an "Ikhwani" (of the Brotherhood). That includes women & men, bearded men & shaven men, members who dress in the traditional Islamic garments or wear suits & ties. They are doctors, lawyers, taxi drivers, teachers, and Islamic scholars. They are regular people who are part of an Islamic group; much like the Islamic Egyptian Society is an Islamic group in Australia (only that their numbers aren't large enough to contest a seat in parliament). The only thing that makes them stand out as an Islamic organisation is that they are comprised of practicing Muslims who simply pray their five obligatory prayers daily and read the Quran regularly rather than having it left on a shelf as an historic ornament. That is primarily the only thing that differentiates them from anyone else who earnestly rejects the concept of having the political scene flooded by "Islamists"; dubiously named as though it were a movement like Communist, Fascist or any other “-ist” that could instill fear in the "moderate" populous of society. Apart from their duties, devout Muslims still go out on weekends, they watch TV, and celebrate birthdays. More importantly, they reject hard-line Sharia-run countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran; just like anyone else in Egypt considered moderate. It is concerning that people like the Muslim brotherhood are attacked not for their political direction, but for being extremists simply because they prefer their religion as priority over their culture. Nothing more.

Any Islamic group that enters the political scene is immediately attacked with non-constructive criticism such that the following statements begin spreading throughout social networks like wildfire: "Just wait until they force all women to wear the Burka"; "They are going to knock down the Sphinx because they think idols are prohibited"; "They will close all the beaches because they don't like bikinis"; "Look at that bearded man on TV; he thinks he is a Sheikh trying to be an expert in politics"; And worst of all: "The army killed them? Good riddens!"

As a practicing Muslim, I am saddened to hear such anti-Islamic sentiment sweeping Egypt far worse than any discrimination I've ever experienced here in Western society.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

15 reasons why a 'YES' vote on Egypt's Draft Constitution makes more sense

Based on the above links to the constitution in Arabic and English, the following reasons are why a 'YES' vote makes more sense.
  1. There is nothing in the Constitution that suggests, explicitly or implicitly, that Islamic organisations will directly benefit from the Constitution itself, nor are there any special privileges given to them.
  2. Contrary to what people have said, if Islamic organisations gain more influence in politics, women's statuses are elevated and protected with regards to the following principle: "there is no dignity for a country in which women are not honored; women are the sisters of men and partners in all national gains and responsibilities." as well as in Article 10 which states: "The State shall provide special care and protection to female breadwinners, divorced women and widows."
  3. The Constitution gives the right for Christians and Jews to worship freely and implement their own rules based on their faiths as mentioned in Articles 3 and 43, which also provides them with the right to choose their own spiritual leaders.
  4. There is now a clear separation of control. The real power of the government will be handed to the people through the House of Representatives and removed from the President and any other executive positions, as mentioned in Article 116.
  5. There are no dictatorial powers bestowed on the President. He does not have the will to dissolve Parliament at his own discretion, and even if he tries to push for a dissolution, it must be put to a public referendum. If the majority disagree with the President's decision and support the legitimacy of Parliament, then the President has lost his credibility in government and must be forced to resign. Article 127
  6. In the event that Parliament does actually get dissolved, power of legislation is handed to the Senate (Shura Council) as priority above the President as mentioned in Article 131.
  7. If the President declares a state of emergency to give him temporary powers, it must be approved by Parliament, and has an expiry of 6 months. If it needs to be extended, only the people, through public referendum, can agree for an extension of emergency powers. Article 148.
  8. Police can no longer arrest civilians and keep them detained indefinitely without the right to fair trial. They are obliged to provide legitimate reasons for their arrests and treat the detainees with respect and dignity without harm or interrogation. Articles 35-36.
  9. Internal affairs can no longer tap phones or spy on civilians with internet technology using their own discretion. People's privacy is now sacred as mentioned in Article 38.
  10. People have the freedom to voice their opinion (without insult, or risk to national security) whether verbally, through blogs or even via Media outlets and the press, which is a new concept for Egyptians. Article 45, 48, and 215
  11. Education is planned to improve, and illiteracy is planned to be removed. Article 61
  12. Free healthcare services to all poor citizens, as mentioned in Article 62, which is something the United States haven't even been able to provide.
  13. The government is willing to implement a minimum wage plan, with all workers having equal rights and safety in the workforce. Article 63.
  14. Civilians can no longer be tried in Military courts if they commit a civil crime. Article 198.
  15. The transitional period is solid, providing the Shura Council, NOT the president, full authority of legislation for the current transition towards a new elected Parliament. Article 230
The arguments that oppose the Constitution have not been strong enough to convince me to vote otherwise.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Population of Jews and Arabs in Israel, West Bank and Gaza

JewsIsrael6.20 million
JewsWest Bank Settlements0.53 million
ArabsIsrael1.57 million
ArabsWest Bank2.50 million
ArabsGaza1.20 million
ArabsRefugees4.50 million

Total Population
Jews 6.73 million
Arabs 9.77 million