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Dr Kaukab Siddique | Editor-in-Chief Safar 11, 1428/ March 1, 2007 #19

The Qur'an's Message: Men and Women EQUALS in the struggle for Good:
"If any do deeds of righteousness, be they male or female, and are true believers, they will enter PARADISE, and not the least injustice will be done to them." (The Qur'an 4:124)

Worldwide Protest endorsed by Jamaat al-Muslimeen USA.
Wassan Talib, 31-years old, Zainab Fadhil, 25 years old, and Liqa Omar Muhammad, 26 Facing Execution by Puppet Regime in Baghdad

Stop the executions!

Statement of Hana Albayaty, Ian Douglas, Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Iman Saadoon, Dirk Adriaensens and Ayse Berktay

Wassan Talib, 31 years old, Zainab Fadhil, 25 years old, and Liqa Omar Muhammad, 26 years old, face imminent execution in Iraq, all charged with "offences against the public welfare" by a government that cannot even provide electricity but fills the streets with dead bodies. All are in Baghdad's Al-Kadhimiya Prison. Two have small children beside them. The 1-year-old daughter of Liqa was born in prison. All women deny the charges for which they face hanging.

Paragraph 156 of the Iraqi Penal Code, under which they were judged, reads: "Any person who wilfully commits an act with intent to violate the independence of the country or its unity or the security of its territory and that act by its nature, leads to such violation is punishable by death." Iraq's "puppet" government charges these women with its own crimes.

None of the three women was permitted to see a lawyer. The trials to which they were subject are illegal under international law. All three are prisoners of war with protected rights under the Third Geneva Convention. Their execution would not only be illegal and summary, it would be utterly immoral. Civilization around the world reviles the death penalty while Iraq's feudal leaders make a public spectacle of executions.

In a country where it is evident there is no state or judicial system, the occupation and its puppet government use, as all repressive regimes in history, fake tribunals to exterminate those who oppose them. No legal judgment can be issued while there isn't the civilized conditions of due process, at least the presence and security of lawyers.

Iraqi women are testament to the life of the nation of Iraq. By contrast, the US-installed government, in its backwardness, imposes only a culture of death. Whereas Iraq was the most progressive state in the region for women's rights, with the US invasion protective legislation was cancelled. The United States and its local conspirators, in creating hundreds of thousands of widows and reducing life in Iraq to a struggle for bare survival, have placed women in the crosshairs and now on the gallows.

Women are always the first and last victims of war. We celebrate the numberless acts of resistance of Iraqi women, whether their resilience in the face of a culture of rape, torture and murder by US and Iraqi forces, their fortitude in continuing to give life amid state-sponsored genocide, their dignity as they try to maintain a semblance of normality for their children and families, their courage in burying their husbands, sons, daughters or brothers, or in direct action against an illegal and failed military occupation.

We demand the release of Wassan, Zainab and Liqa and all political prisoners in Iraq. We call upon all persons, organizations, parliaments, workers, syndicates and states to withdraw recognition from this pro-occupation, sectarian Iraqi government. We call for immediate protest in front of every Iraqi embassy worldwide. There is no honor in murdering women. Occupation is the highest form of dictatorship. It is not these three women who should be prosecuted; it is this government and its foreign paymaster.

Dated 14 Feb 2006

We hope all endorse, distribute widely, organize and act. Please reply to:

Initial endorsers:
Lieven De Cauter, initiator of the Brussells Tribunal, philosopher, K.U. Leuven / Rits – Belgium

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, chairman of the Perdana Global Peace Organization – Malaysia

Eduardo Galeano, Essayist, journalist, historian, and activist – Uruguay

Ramsey Clark, former attorney general of the United States, founder of the International Action Centre – USA

Dr Curtis Doebbler, international human rights lawyer, professor of law at An–Najah National University – Palestine

Excerpt of Statement by Abdul Ilah Albayaty

Wassan Talib, 31 years old, Zainab Fadhil, 25 years old, and Liqa Omar Mohammed, 26 years old, accused of belonging to and participating in the Iraqi resistance, summarily judged in a simulacra of a trial, in the absence of lawyers, will be executed 3 March 2007 in Baghdad.

ALL, let's unite ourselves, raise our voices to scream our indignation, refuse the horrors and the regression of our civilization, and prevent the assassinations of Wassan, Zainab and Liqa.

Abdul Ilah Albayaty
11 February 2007

IMAM JAMIL al-AMIN Testifies: Evidence Admitted: Hopeful Signs

By Sr. Tazkiya, Washington, DC

As Salaamu Alaikum,
I just wanted to pass along some of the main points from Imam Jamil's hearing yesterday for those who may not have been updated.

The case will remain open, the new hearing date will be rescheduled within the next 4 months
The confession from Otis Jackson was allowed into evidence
Imam Jamil was able to testify in the hearing (unlike in his trial)

Insha Allah further updates are forthcoming. It goes without saying that the need for fundraising efforts continues. If anyone is holding a fundraiser, please forward information on it to the following email address for redistribution:

Muslim Truck Driver Applied for Job and ....

I viewed Imam Musa youtube link. [See New Trend #17] He made a statement concerning " being on the terrorist watch list". Within the last six months the Va. state police as well the FBI have given me personal visits. I had placed internet application for Hazardous Material Driving jobs. I had no problems with them.
My question is:
1) is there a way I can receive this terrorist watch list to see if my name is on it ?
2) Has a DNA blood test been performed to match the blood of the confessed killer in Imam Jamil behalf?

Yusuf ElFakhri [Manassas, Virginia]

Reader Lambasts New Trend [re: "Imam" Magid's Synagogue Visits or?...]

Please be a little more educated about the people you PUBLICLY lambast without proper knowledge of who they are. Indeed, this "New Trend" magazine is setting a new trend in just how unethical Muslims can be, epecially on a public forum. I pity the readers who see your emails because of the biased, unsubstantiated, and wholly incorrect junk they recieve in their email inboxes. Please stop this


Ed. Note: New Trend has asked Junaid to tell us where we were inaccurate. He has not answered. ISNA's "Imam" Magid has not replied either because he has been exposed and cannot give any Islamic reason for his pro-Zionist activities.

Dr. Abdul Alim Shabazz has pointed out an error in our interview with Br. Ishmael Muhammad, son of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. The date for the first arrivals in the slave trade should have been 1619 c.e. Br. Ishmael did give us that date but we used the 1607 date owing to the info from the recent program organized by Tavis Smiley.

African Presence in Early Asia: Runoko Rashidi Speaks

Historian's Remarks Spark thoughts on Racism among Muslims

By Nadrat Siddique

Having been the only practicing Muslim at my suburban, all-white high school, I developed an understanding of racism early on. Yet the recent Howard University lecture of renowned historian and scholar Runoko Rashidi on "The African Presence in Asia" opened my eyes to the fact that I, too, had unwittingly swallowed racist ideas. The standing-room only, primarily black audience exuded afrocentricity and political consciousness with their red, black, and green caps, locks, and politically astute questions. Regrettably absent—in light of the subject matter—was HU's significant Asian student population.

Rashidi's first act, upon taking the podium, brought to light the unconscious eurocentricity of most of us living in the West. Employing a long-neglected Africanism, Rashidi recognized the elders. He asked their permission to speak. Only then did he begin the lecture. How often do we, Muslims, Africans, and others—whose religions and cultures emphasize respect of the Elders—bother to do this? In one stroke, Baba Rashidi, as he is respectfully called, returned us to our roots.

A solidly built, dark-skinned brother with bald head and gold frame glasses, he spoke in a no-nonsense manner devoid of rhetoric. "I'm tired of hearing of a black history which begins with slavery," he began. "A perfect example is the popular black history book, From Slavery to Freedom."

"I differ in my view of history. I don't view it as Africans waited around for some white man to come and take them captive," he told the appreciative audience.

Nuclear DNA polymorphisms have been used to study the origins and relations between ethnic and racial groups, said Rashidi matter-of-factly. "Mitochondrial DNA, inherited from the mother, is more important [in demonstrating relatedness]. This indicates that Africa is the mother country."

Rashidi's research focuses on black people in Asia and the Middle East. To this end, he has traveled to Syria, Jordan, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, and a litany of other countries. "Israel," explained Rashidi, "Is the only country I haven't visited—for political reasons."

Denial by Local Officials

At the start of each visit, Rashidi was invariably told: "There are no black people here." Undaunted, he headed straight to the national museum. Almost without exception, he found artwork—often centuries old—depicting people with unmistakably black (Africoid, in archeological terms) features. Then, traveling the countryside, to remote and inaccessible areas seldom frequented by tourists—he found black people. The pattern repeated itself in nearly every country he visited.

Beyond his extensive travels throughout Asia, Rashidi has visited Africa 20 times. "Wherever I go, I meet Africans who are literally dying to leave Africa," he said. Twenty-five hundred people line up at the [U.S.] embassy in Ethiopia each day. This is because things are so bad. They are the new boat people."

The implication is that such was not always the case. As Ivan Van Sertima (with whom Rashidi co-authored African Presence in Early Asia) wrote in They Came Before Columbus, there was a time when Africans were leaving Africa because—as the ruling power—they had the wealth, resources, and naval capability to explore what was then uncharted territory.

Rashidi launched into his slide presentation. It is a small sampling of the thousands of slides of artwork from museums across Asia and the Middle East he has painstakingly collected through decades of research. There are black natives of the Andaman Islands, whose inner radar, said Rashidi, allowed them to flee just before the tsunami; an African nobleman from Laos; a 2,000 year-old bust of a Syrian African nobleman; and Antara the Lion. All have clearly Africoid features.

Then there is the tomb of Bilal (RA).

African Presence in Early Islam

"Bilal [RA]," Rashidi told the predominantly black, non-Muslim audience, "had an Ethiopian mother. He was one of Muhammad's [PBUH] closest companions. His tomb was found in Syria."

"There was an African presence throughout early Islam," said Rashidi. "Ishmael [AS] was a black man, as was the grandfather of Prophet Muhammad [PBUH]. A well known saying of the Prophet is: 'He who brings an Ethiopian man or woman into Islam, brings his house blessings.'"

Rashidi described a mural he'd observed at the Pantheon (burial site of Rousseau, Voltaire, Marat, Victor Hugo, and other notables) in Paris: "It is a painting of a very handsome black man. This is an African crusader."

Other slides depict not artwork, but photographs of indigenous black people across Asia and the Middle East, which Rashidi has collected in the course of exhaustive field work: photographs of a black Saudi cabinet member, who held the position in 1954; black men of Kuwait's Sabah family; and a black Iraqi.

This last is perhaps the most astonishing. The black Iraqi is holding a submachine gun. This is not a U.S. soldier, Rashidi emphasized, but an African Iraqi.

"There was a population of Black captives in Southern Iraq, called the Zanji," Rashidi explained. "They engaged in three major insurrections, with some success. Iraq has a 10 - 15 % African population in the South, but you don't see them on TV," he tells the mesmerized audience.

At this point, Rashidi could have seized the occasion to bash Arabs/Muslims. But, he uttered barely a word on the Arab identity of the slavers. I wondered if this was due to a consciousness of a common oppressor, who today subjugated Arabs and Africans alike. Or was it in recognition of the efforts of the young Muslim graduate student, Sharron Muhammad, who'd worked hard to organize the Howard lecture?

Whatever the case, I was struck by the stark contrast between the attitude of this strong afrocentric brutha, actively engaged in uplifting his people, and that of the "Free Darfur" movement—Zionists who contributed nothing to black liberation, but were quick to spoon-feed black people news of their Arab "enemy," feigning common ground with black people, while both blacks and Arabs continued to suffer and die disproportionately under the Zionist/capitalist/imperialist agenda.

Rashidi's next few slides depicted women: "An Israeli sister" wearing hijab ("She looks very African"); an African-Palestinian woman, who attended Howard University ("The Black Panther Party was established among Palestinians"); and a group of African Turkish women. [All quotes describing Rashidi's slides are his—editor]

Rashidi, who displays few pictures of himself, appears with the latter group. "These are African women of Southwest Turkey," he explained. "Their husbands are dead, and they are discriminated against."

There are so few blacks in Turkey, he continued, that these women had never seen a black man other than one from the Sudan or Chad. "I knew it was time to leave when one of the ladies started stroking my arm, and telling me I reminded her of her late husband," he quipped.

There is a painting of black slaves standing in a line behind their Ottoman regent ("The Ottoman Empire had many blacks, but this is not acknowledged"); and a bust of an African-Afghan ("probably destroyed by the Taliban"). I longed to ask the scholar the reason for his latter supposition.

Then there is the figurine of a black woman from the Indus Valley ("We know she is a sista--from the hand on the hip" jokes Rashidi); and a painting of a black woman with long braided hair pinned up in a bun.

Amazingly, museum officials tried to convince Rashidi that the beaded appearance of the woman's hair in the latter painting was not African hair in a braid, but "snails" which crawled on to the woman's head!

"I am a very patient person," said Rashidi, "So I spent the next 48 hours reclining under the same type of tree she was under, in the very same area, and no snails crawled onto my head."

Rashidi's main research interest is India. "In Greater India, more than a thousand years before the foundations of Greece and Rome, proud and industrious Black men and women known as Dravidians erected a powerful civilization....the Indus Valley civilization--India's earliest high-culture, with major cities spread out along the course of the Indus River," says a handout accompanying the lecture. "The Indus Valley civilization was at its height from about 2200 B.C.E. to 1700 B.C.E."

I thought back to discussions of the Indus Valley civilization in my high school world history classes. As in the treatment of Ancient Egypt, "they schools" somehow managed to overlook the minor detail that the Indus civilization was a black civilization. But, they did not mind discussing blacks and slavery, slavery and blacks, I mused.

"The decline and fall of the Indus Valley civilization has been linked to several factors, the most important of which were the increasingly frequent incursions of the White people known in history as Aryans—violent Indo-European tribes initially from central Eurasia and later Iran," Rashidi's handout continued.

Oppression of Dalits

As the lecture reached its peak, Rashidi hit upon the major focus of his research: Dalits, or "untouchables" in India. Dalits—who are black—"are victims of Hinduism," he explained. They are literally treated as untouchable—in other words, unclean. Even the shadow of a Dalit is believed to be polluted, and Dalits must announce themselves by beating drums or making loud noises, to allow others to avoid them. They live under apartheid-like conditions.

Then, Rashidi offered a startling statistic: Three hundred million people are Dalits in India. The significance of this? "This means there may be more black people in India than there are in Africa," he said.

Rashidi is a powerhouse of knowledge, dropping facts at lightening speed.

As the lecture wrapped up, he showed slides of a black Brahmin ("Very unusual"), and an early depiction of a black Krishna ("Initial depictions of Krishna were always black"), before moving on to speak briefly of his travels to the far east.

Travels to the Far East

Rashidi had no desire to visit China, and said he traveled there only for the completeness of his research. Predictably, he was informed by Chinese officials: "There have never been black people in China." Rashidi had difficulty traveling around China, and, for once, did not encounter black people. However, in the course of his research, he found that one of China's earliest dynasties, the Shang, were said to have "black and oily skin."

In Japan, he found proverbs with references to African roots ("For a samurai to be brave, he must have a bit of black blood"); in Angkor Tom, Cambodia, he found bas reliefs depicting black people (shown on the cover of his book, Africans in Early Asia); in Central Vietnam, he discovered an entire living population of black people; and everywhere in the far east, he found black Buddhas ("All early depictions of Buddhas were black, and this did not change until much later").

"Wherever there is humanity, you find black people," said Rashidi, concluding the lecture. "I want all black people to embrace their African-ness. Why is this important for us? Because we are trying to become whole again. What you do for yourself, depends on what you think of yourself. And what you think of yourself depends on what you've been told."

During Q&A, the question of Dalits came up again, as many audience members seemed shocked by what they'd heard. Elaborating, Rashidi told of a Dalit woman being paraded through the village naked, because she stole some vegetables to feed her family, and of a Dalit boy forced to drink urine in punishment for some very minor infraction.

"There is an affirmative action policy in India," said Rashidi. A Dalit headed India's Supreme Court for a time; another was President of India. The appointment of these token black people, like the appointment of Clarence Thomas and Condoleezza Rice to high positions in the U.S., evidently had little impact on the condition of the majority of their people. Clearly U.S. foreign policy makers—in their embrace of the Hindu-dominated Indian government as a foremost U.S. allies—were unfazed by the apartheid-like conditions experienced by 300 million black people.


The lecture was the most thought-provoking I'd attended in recent memory. Afterwards, I greeted Baba Rashidi with "As-salaam alaikom" and extended him my solidarity as a Pakistani and a Muslim. I told him that were it not for his book, I, like most Pakistanis, would be woefully ignorant of the African contribution to our subcontinent, and that the incredible history he'd presented was completely absent from schools across Pakistan and India. His lecture, coupled with my reading of New Trend coverage of Dalits greatly added to my awareness of the specter of racism and classism plaguing the Indian Subcontinent. For one, it occurred to me that Bollywood's (Indian cinema's) acute racism closely paralleled that of Hollywood. Both popularized negative and de-humanizing stereotypes of black people, targeting them for genocide. Remarkably, Indian cinema was hugely popular in West Africa.

Like many Indo-Pak households, my childhood home featured Indian movies blaring in the background every evening. Although the sexism of Indian cinema sickened me even then, its racial intonations initially escaped me. Most of the movies featured Milky White Indian Hero and Milky White Indian Heroine, frolicking through gardens and fields in their glorious courtship dance--paragons of goodness and morality. Adivasis—a major black Indian ethnic group—were, almost without exception, depicted as savages, drumming and dancing around an open fire in remote areas far from "civilization," encountered by Milky White Indian Hero only when he came to rescue Milky White Indian Heroine from their evil clutches. Dark-skinned actors were frequently cast as villains of various sorts, usually bent on raping the Milky White Indian Heroine. In addition to his work with Dalits, Rashidi worked closely with Adivasis, and he listened with interest as I mentioned this to him.

As I left the program, I started thinking how I would explain the relevance of the African presence in early Asia to Muslims. I knew a good many brothers and sisters would try to convince me that racism is an American problem; that Muslims don't think along racial lines; that in Islam, the sole relevance of skin color is "so that ye may know one another;" and that one is judged solely on taqwa (level of Allah-consciousness). They would try to convince me that it is a waste of time to ponder the question of who settled where and when, and that these things were in the past.

The Pakistani sister who secures her coach bag walking through the garage because "a black man may be lurking there;" the Arab/Indian/Pakistani man looking for an arranged marriage whose stated criteria is "anyone but a black woman;" the Nigerian youth whose parents teach him not to hang with African-Americans, because "they no good"—all these, as well as many more subtle and subconscious notions reveal that racism has penetrated our oh-so-pious Muslim consciousness, whether we acknowledge it or not.

Racism is cemented by a myth which refuses to acknowledge the immense and positive contributions of powerful African civilizations throughout history, insisting that black people be viewed only in the context of slavery and its aftermath. As Baba Rashidi stated in his closing remarks, "The people of Sumer lost their history, so they died." For Muslims to maintain the myth is to assist in the oppression and cultural genocide of black people. A Muslim, by definition, bears witness to the truth, even that truth which is discomfiting.

For more information on the Dalit struggle, blacks in early Asia, and related topics, visit Runoko Rashidi's website:

2007-03-02 Fri 01:51:25 cst