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Jamada al-Awwal 9,1429/ May 15, 2008, #29
Jamaat al-Muslimeen [News] [4 items only]
p.O. Box 10881
Baltimore, MD 21234
720 Balloons to Mourn 720 months of Israeli occupation
May 15, 2008: Greensboro, North Carolina: As we go to the
"press," the Muslims of North Carolina led by Imam Badi Ali
are rallying against al-Nakba or the Catastrophe as the
occupation of Palestine is called in the Arab world. The
children of the community are releasing balloons with
messages on them meant for the American people. [A helium gas
tank is on hand to fill the balloons.]
The messages translate the meaning of al-Nakba. Some of the
messages refer to Jimmy Carter's comment on the collective
suffering imposed on Gaza. Others refer to the occupier
status of Israel.
Br. Badi Ali says that the future belongs to Palestine, not
to Israel. Terrorism is the foundation of Israel, he said.
Expulsion of millions of Palestinians from their lands is the
proof that Israelis are OCCUPIERS. He criticized Egyptian
ruler Hosni Mubarak for sending greetings to Israel on its
60th anniversary. Br. Ali said that Islamic scholars
should address Hosni Mubarak's gross error. Does he not
know that Israel is an occupier? Br. Ali asked. Such
greetings mean Mubarak is totally out of touch with the
thinking of the Egyptian people.
Final Reminder of Jamaat's National Islamic Shoora on
May 24. Pre-Order CDs of three Formal Presentations.
Inshallah, the National Shoora of Jamaat al-Muslimeen will
meet in Greensboro, North Carolina,on May 24. It will give
the final touches to the planning for the International
Islamic Peace and Awareness Conference to be held in
Baltimore on August 16, inshallah. [The conference web site
Organizer: Br. Aziz.]
The Jamaat plans to distribute CDs of three essential
presentations to be made at the Shoora. You may pre-order
now. Please send a donation if you want more than one. The
presenters are top of the line activists in America's
Dr. Abdulalim Shabazz
Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, Endowed Chair,
Grambling University, Louisiana. He will speak on Education
for the Oppressed and African American Communities.
2. Sis. Karen English, California teacher of children with
special needs, author of numerous books, first American
Muslimah to visit the ancient Islamic city of Timbuktoo, West
Africa. She will speak on: Boycott of U.S. businesses which
support Israel and which indirectly endorse the occupation
3. Imam Warith Deen Umar, one of America's most distinguished
Imams who played a very important role in setting up the
chaplaincy system for Muslims in New York state which helped
Muslim inmates get their basic Islamic rights. After 9.11 he
was targeted by the Wall Street Journal and the united
forces of Zionism to break him and to destroy his livelihood.
He stood firm even as Bush's storm troopers ransacked his
apartment in the Bronx, desecrated his prayer books, then
raided his family home in Albany with dogs and terrorized his
family. He was taken to court but refused to compromise. He
will talk about his brilliant new groundbreaking book JEWS
for SALAAM, a formula for an honorable peace.
Big Muslim Presence at Washington, DC Town Hall Meeting:
Response to Police Misbehavior with Sis. Octavia. Apology
Demanded. Police Commander Defensive. Muslim women's right
to head cover
May 14, 2008: Muslims from Washington, Maryland and Virginia
packed the town hall meeting held at the Kelly Miller Middle
School Auditorium, 301 49th Street, in Washington, DC., N.E.
They had come to show support for Sis. Octavia and Br. Mark
Wali Timberlake. As reported in the previous issue of New
Trend, Sis. Octavia was mistreated by police right in front
of her home on the allegation that her car windows tint was
not right and that her license had been suspended [which
turned out to be wrong].
During the Q & A, Br. Wali presented the story of his wife's
suffering. He wanted to know on what basis her head covering
was removed and she was not permitted to feed her suckling
infant. He spoke well. The police commander from the 6th
district, where the incident happened, did not deny Br.
Wali's charges. When the commander indirectly admitted fault
and conceded that the police should "use commonsense," the
Br. Abdul Wali is active in the community activities of the
area and Muslims are well respected. Masjid al-Islam, which
is nearby, led by Imam Musa has had a positive influence.
Sisters from Jamaat al-Muslimeen Baltimore showed up to
support Sis. Octavia because, they said, this could happen to
any Muslim woman who wears a head covering.
Br. Abdul Wali adds:
Dear Brothers and Sisters
Alhumdulillah they heard our voice last night at the town
hall meeting and now they need to hear from the community. I
ask that you please send letters to the below individuals
expressing the need for the Metropolitan Police Department to
be trained in cultural awareness and sensitivity towards
Muslims and women. Please note what has happened to sister
Octavia and the fact that her drivers license wasn't even
suspended and that she was unable to nurse her baby. Also let
it be known that the Department of Motor Vehicles has been
known to harass sisters about taking their ID pictures with
their Hijab (Hair Covering) on. In one case they told a
sister that she couldn't take a ID picture with Hijab on.
Lastly the DMV needs to check to see how many people have had
their license suspended improperly and without
Email letters to:
Police Chief Cathy Lanier
Assistant Police Chief Diane Groomes
Commander Robert Contee
Ward 7 Council Person Ms. Alexander
Ward 8 Council Person Mr. Barry
At Large Council Person Mr. Brown
Mayor of Washington DC Adrian M. Fenty
Mayor Fenty's Chief of Staff Tené Dolphin
Director of Motor Vehicles Lucinda Babers
Lucasville prison imam Abdullah Hasan Unjustly sentenced
to death: Support increasing 15 Years after
by Saadiqah Amatullah Hasan, Toledo, Ohio
Peace & Blessings,
It has been 15 years since the Lucasville Prison Uprising at
the Southern Ohio Correctional facility, where 9 inmates and
1 prison guard was murdered.
The search for retribution led to an absence of justice for
the prisoners involved in the uprising. Prosecutorial
misconduct and snitch testimony resulted in five men on death
row, and many more serving extended sentences for convictions
surrounding the uprising. Some of those convicted negotiated
with authorities, saving officers' and inmates' lives, and
attempting to keep the peace.
2008 marks the 15th Anniversary of the Lucasville Prison
Uprising, and those wrongly convicted are still awaiting
their day in court. We ask that the governor appoint a
special commission to investigate the uprising, bring justice
to those who've been wrongly accused, and bring closure to
the many families affected by the tragic events of fifteen
The Lucasville Justice project ask that you sign the petition
on the ACLU website and/or contact Ohio's Gov. Ted Strickland
and request that he investigate the grave injustice
surrounding the Lucasville convictions.
Attached to this e-mail is a recent article composed by one
of the Lucasville 5; editor and co-founder of Compassion,
Siddique Abdullah Hasan. His work can be found on
Hasan has also taken a genuine interest in not only
publicizing his case, but also speaking out in solidarity
with other political prisoners. An article he composed with
regards to Mumia Abdul-Jamal can also be downloaded from
Lastly, we ask you to aid us in continuing to shed light on
the injustice in his case and the circumstances surrounding
all of these cases.
Why are U.S. Muslims so helpless? Why is Every Politician
Supporting Israel? Why is Africa Ignored?
by Kaukab Siddique, Ph.D
Democratic Party leaders are vying with each other to show
support for Israel. The Republicans think they have already
proven that they love Israel more than they love America
itself. U.S. Muslims watch in horror, helpless
Why do we have this situation when there are an estimated 7
to 9 million of us in America? Why can't we have any impact
on U.S. policies? Jewish Americans are fewer in number but
are, more or less, running this country.
The basic reason for this helplessness is that we have
already "given away the store." Self-styled leaders implanted
themselves in Muslim communities and decided to recognize
Israel and to woo American Jewry and to kow tow to the
American power structure.
America's Muslims could have changed the situation by
unitedly rejecting the legitimacy of Israel. With 7 to 9
million highly articulate, socially mobile, educated and
cultured Muslims opposed to the existence of Israel, the
political situation would change. The American government
would know that we are unalterably opposed to Israel and to
all that the U.S. does to help Israel. The government would
also know that the global Muslim ummah agrees with us. Any
steps taken against us would damage America's
In a situation where a power bloc exists which is not
controlled by either the Republicans or the Democrats, the
Muslim viewpoint would carry weight and people from all
political groups in this country would want our support.
The strategic blunder we committed was that we gave away
everything without the slightest resistance. Why should
anyone want our support when they already have our support on
Israel and our silence on the bombing of Iraq, Afghanistan
The African-American community suffered a fate not very
dissimilar from that of ours. The Democrats take them for
granted and they vote up to and sometimes above 90% for the
Democratic Party. They have the Congressional Black Caucus
[BC] which is as spineless as CAIR and ISNA. How easily they
fell into the Darfur trap. BC is willing to help the Zionists
destroy the biggest African country, Sudan, in the name of
helping a tiny Sudanese province called Darfur.
Would the BC ever dare to say: Why are you pumping BILLIONS
of dollars into Israel and many more billions into Israel's
war in Iraq when AFRICA IS STARVING and facing ECONOMIC RUIN.
Our task through Jamaat al-Muslimeen and likeminded groups is
to unite the Muslims of America, through strictly peaceful
means, on the basis of the Qur'an and the authentic Hadith.
We must make it very clear to America that Israel is a
terrorist entity implanted in Palestine by brute force. It
has no legitimacy under international law and under Islamic
law. We will use every peaceful method available to us to
oppose, defeat and dismantle Israel.
BE OUTGOING: Don't Bring "Them" into our Communities
One of the greatest blunders of CAIR and ISNA [and MAS] was
to admit guilt for being Muslim. There is nothing in U.S.
law, even as interpreted by Bush, which gives the FBI and CIA
the right to come into Muslim communities and to recruit
Muslims to spy on each other. The law says that the regime
must bring charges against individuals: no one has the right
to brand the entire Muslim population as POTENTIALLY
criminal. ISNA's men like Syed Sayeed, Nihad Awad, "imam"
Magid and a whole list of bootlickers have tarnished the
self-respect and Islamic identity of the Muslims of America.
CAIR man Hooper standing at the pulpit of a mosque with the
mass murderer of our ummah was a lesson in humiliation which
Stalin could have hardly matched.
We need to go out into the communities of America and talk
about the issues. Not that we pray 5 times a day and fast in
Ramadan. Go on praying. That's not the issue in America. The
issue is that we are against the bombing of Iraq, Afghanistan
and Somalia. We oppose the funding of Israel, the supply of
weaponry to Israel. We want to stop the infusion of American
mass culture into Africa to help stem the spread of AIDS.
We must show political understanding of the motivation of
some good Americans who oppose Israeli ATROCITIES. That does
not mean that they oppose Israel. These ongoing atrocities
must be stopped but people like Chomsky, Amy Goodman, Fisk
and others conceal their acceptance of Israel as a legitimate
entity. U.S. Muslims are not slow thinking fools. We don't
need all this criticism of atrocities which simply covers up
the real issue of the legitimacy of Israel. Unless we tackle
the real issue, nothing will change.
Once we make a powerful statement against Israel, we will get
support from millions of Americans who want an independent
America, freed of the Jewish albatross. Remember we are NOT
anti-semitic. We are NOT against anyone's race. We are not
against Judaism either. Jews are the People of the Book. The
issue is the behavior of the Jews, not their race or their
religion. They have taken our land, Palestine, by force of
arms, and they exploit, manipulate and control America to use
this great country against the Muslim world and Africa.
War News: From NT's Media Monitor
Pakistan: U.S. Air Attack Kills 20, wounds 35, destroys
small mosque in Bajaur Agency
May 14, 2008. According to villagers and Pakistani Urdu
media, an American drone fired rockets at two buildings in
the village of Dama Dola in the Bajaur agency near
Afghanistan. The dead include at least two children. There
are indications that 4 Islamic visitors from other countries
were also killed [perhaps the main targets]. Maulvi Taj
Muhammad, a local Islamic leader affiliated with the Taliban
was among those killed. A small mosque was destroyed in
Funeral prayers for the martyrs held on May 15 were attended
by thousands of people. They were chanting angry slogans
against the U.S. and vowing to take revenge. The Pakistani
military claimed that it had no idea of what happened.
Meanwhile in Southern Waziristan, Islamic elements exchanged
12 Pakistani military men for 32 of their supporters.
Afghanistan: Taliban Pin Down U.S. troops, says NBC
May 15, 2008: A martyrdom operator attacked a police station
in the western province of Farah killing 18 and wounding 22.
Taliban cadres are moving out of the south, most of which
they control, to attack U.S. funded forces in western and
northern provinces. Unable to explain the Taliban successes,
Karzai's men are claiming that Iran is helping the Taliban.
The situation is quite serious with Taliban on the offensive.
On May 1, NBC TV showed America's best troops under Taliban
attack in the Garmser area of Helmand province. NBC reported
that the marines were "pinned down" by the Taliban and had to
call in air strikes to make the Islamic fighters back off.
NBC admitted that most of Helmand, and Garmser area where the
marines are entrenched, remains under strong
IRAQ: Big Shi'ite offensive, backed by U.S., against
Mosul: 500 arrested
U.S.-installed Iraqi "prime minister" al-Maliki arrived in
Mosul to coordinate a massive Shi'ite offensive against the
al-Qaida held city of Mosul. In some parts of the city,
Shi'ite troops are going house to house to kill resistance
fighters. The most backward segments of society, the tribal
chiefs, are being paid significant amounts to help find the
al-Qaida fighters. According to IP, 500 Iraqis have been
arrested in Mosul from May 10 to 14 to reduce support for the
In turn al-Qaida is targeting Sunni tribal elements
supporting the U.S. On May 13, in a village west of Baghdad,
a martyrdom operator killed scores of U.S. supporters
attending a funeral
Pakistani fighters hit U.S. convoy, are killed in
Taliban do not have to Force ideology on people. They have
mass support. [Interview with Pak Taliban leader.]
by Arif Yousafzai [The writer lives in Peshawar and seems
dependable because he reports without his personal views.]
PESHAWAR: The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan
(TTP) has announced that the unilateral ceasefire by
the Islamic militia against the security forces has virtually
ended and therefore the Taliban have resumed attacks on
troops in some parts of the country.
"We are not formally announcing that the unilateral ceasefire
we have proclaimed few months back has been withdrawn but I
feel no hesitation to announce that the truce has virtually
ended," said Maulvi Umer, a spokesman for the militia.
In a telephonic interview with this correspondent from an
undisclosed location, Umer dismissed the media reports that
the Taliban had given two months deadline to men in
Taliban-controlled areas to sport beard or get ready to face
the music. "It is unfortunate that we have been misquoted by
some media organisations. We have never given any such
deadline to men to grow beards or get ready for
consequences," Umer clarified. He said that the Taliban
believed in applying peaceful means to persuade people to
adopt Islamic way of life.
"We have several branches which are busy motivating people
towards Islamic teachings through peaceful means," he said.
These branches included Amar Bil Maroof Wa-nahye Anil
Munkar (commanding morality and discouraging sins), Dawa
and Tableegh (preaching virtues), reviving Sunnah of Prophet
Mohammad (peace be upon him) and a squad protecting rights of
the women as mentioned in Islam, he said.
The militia spokesman said that almost 90 percent of the men
in the tribal areas grew beards and the Taliban had no need
to use force against the remaining 10 percent male segment of
the society. "We will never use force to press people to keep
beard," he claimed.
The commander-turned-spokesman said that a dominant majority
in the tribal areas and now in settled parts of the country
too were cooperating with the Taliban in their agenda which
had roots in Islam and the Islamic militia could not think of
intimidating ordinary people to live this way and don't live
"We are basically mujahideen (warriors engaged in a jihad)
and we are busy promoting jihadi culture to defeat the
enemies of Islam. We being Taliban are not a state to push
people towards what we feel as right," Umer said. "After
establishing Islamic state, we will be in a position to use
the state machinery to enforce the Sharia in letter and
spirit," he observed.
The spokesman said that the Taliban had no intention to
establish a government within the government or run a
parallel judicial system, saying that running affairs of the
government was the responsibility of those who were in power.
However, he made clear that the Taliban would take action
against sins, injustices and malpractices if brought into
their notice by the citizens.
"It is peoples' confidence on our honesty and method of quick
dispensation of justice that they bring their problems to us
to be resolved," Umer remarked. Had the government delivering
timely justice to people, he questioned. "We are against
criminals and we have no enmity with the common man," he
Asked about the latest situation involving peace talks
between the government and the Taliban, Umer said that peace
negotiations was now a bygone tale. "The government wasted
our four months in futile exercise of signing peace accord.
The efforts from the government remained largely confined to
media statements," Umer alleged.
Had the government been sincere in inking peace accord with
the Taliban, the agreement would have signed much before, the
talkative Taliban spokesman opined and said that it was
unfortunate that the government (both federal and provincial)
never demonstrated serious attitude in this regard.
He revealed for the first time that a key figure in the Awami
National Party had contacted the Taliban directly for
initiating peace negotiations. ANP President Asfandyar
Wali and NWFP Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti were making
tall claims regarding peace negotiations with the Taliban but
their position has exposed before the people,
He went on to say that both Asfandyar and Amir Hoti seemed to
be powerless as far as their desire to ink peace deal with
the Taliban was concerned. "We don't doubt the intention of
Asfandyar and Amir Hoti but we feel they don't have any
power," Umer revealed.
The Taliban spokesman said that the ANP government was
beating drums over the release of Tehrik Nifaz
Shariat-e-Mohammadi chief Maulana Sufi Mohammad as the
release of elderly cleric would prove to be the harbinger of
drastic change in situations in the Swat valley. "Sufi
Mohammad is veteran leader but for peace in Swat ANP would
have to sit across the table with Maulana Fazlullah,"
Umer predicted a shameful future for the ANP if it deceived
the public mandate as, according to him, was done by the MMA,
which cheated people in the name of Islam. He described the
recent attacks on the security forces in Swat, South
Waziristan Agency and Bajaur as reaction to the government's
flawed policies and use of force against the
The Taliban didn't want to fight with army or police but the
militants had to retaliate when they were attacked, he
said. "It is regrettable that our army is playing mercenary
role for American, which is enemy of Islam, and Taliban are
fully prepared to continue to fight American forces and their
aides till they are wipe-out completely from the surface of
earth," Umer resolved.
The spokesman said that the Taliban were fast spreading in
other parts of the country in general and in the tribal areas
as well as in most parts of the North-West Frontier Province
in particular, saying that all the Taliban were united under
their leader, Baitullah Mehsood.
Another report from London adds: The bodies of nine local
Taliban, killed by the US forces in Afghanistan, Monday
arrived in Wana, South Waziristan.
BBC reports that at least thirty militants led by Mulla Nazir
Group crossed the border around twenty to twenty five
It is reported that Taliban attacked on convoy of NATO forces
in the area of District Uruzgan of Paktika, which inflicted
heavy damage to the forces.
When the militants were returning after the attack, the US
planes targeted them in which twelve of them were killed and
some of them also detained by the US forces. The rest of
militants have taken nine bodies to Wana whereas three bodies
are still in Afghanistan.
Deputy Commander of Mulla Nazir Group, Maulana Muhammad Iqbal
was also killed in the attack. Seven of the deceased are from
Wana whereas two of them are from Punjab. It is difficult for
locals to identify the bodies owing to burn injuries on
The AFP reports that these militants attacked NATO convoy in
the area of Gardaze due to which eight army men were killed
and destroyed number of tanks.
'No clemency for Fazlullah'
ISLAMABAD: Awami National Party (ANP) spokesman Zahid Khan on
Sunday said neither clemency has been announced for cleric
Maulana Fazlullah nor the cases against him were quashed.
Khan said that during the initial negotiations between the
NWFP government and Tehreek-e-Taliban, both sides agreed on
ceasefire. The issues of clemency for Tahreek Nifaz-e-Shariat
Mohammadi Amir Maulana Fazlullah, release of his comrades,
and cancellation of cases against them were not discussed
during these talks, he added. He further said that
jirga-style talks were moving forward in positive directions.
It was decided in the talks that there would be complete
ceasefire, official and private buildings and security forces
would not be targeted, he maintained. Talking about the
reinstatement of judges, he said that it was the matter
between PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N chief
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Pakistan to extradite Jundullah terrorists to Iran
Tehran Times Political Desk
ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan will soon extradite some of the top
members of the Jundullah terrorist group to the Islamic
Republic of Iran.
Pakistan will soon officially deliver some top members of the
Jundullah terrorist group, who are currently in custody, to
Iran, Pakistani government officials told the Mehr News
Agency correspondent in Islamabad on Tuesday.
Jundullah is a terrorist organization based in Pakistan's
Balochistan Province that has been blamed for attacks there
and in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan Province.
Jundallah claims that it has 1,000 fighters and has killed a
number of Iranian soldiers. The group has been labeled as a
terrorist organization by Iran and Pakistan. Some believe the
group is linked to Al-Qaeda
Letter: Reader thinks Texas raid on non-conformist
religion is meant to protect children
The Texas thing is not about polygamy but about sexual
exploitation of children.
These girls are under-age and become the toys of adults.
If you have children, you understand why this is wrong.
Letter: Re: Siraj Wahhaj and Abdul Malik Mujahid:
Angry Letter Condemns Dr. Siddique
I am shocked by your tongue. It is not only too harsh, it is
also incorrect. What you are doing is equal to condemning a
Muslims, especially the welknown activists, equal to
hypocrites and kuffar. I told you before, and repat now, you
have all right to disagree with them, but not right to
condemned them in such language, as opportunists and other
terms that you have used agsisnt Imam Siraj Wahhaj and Abdul
Look at yourself, you are not really making any substantianl
effort agaisnt the enemies of Allah and the believers, like
anybody else, other than bad mouthing. I am afraid, you do
not seem to be a person who fear Allah or make tauba for your
unjust acts, especially inflicting upon innocent Muslims who
may be mistaken, like you and anybody else, myself included.
You can talk about issues in terms of what you think is right
for Muslims to do and vice versa, not in such way of personal
attack on other well known Muslim activists. Siraj Wahhaj and
Abdul Malik Mujahid may be failing to understand how to help
the cause of Islam and Muslims properly, but do not deserve
to be condemned by other Muslims in such a tone. I know you
had broken away from Jamat, but since then you are only
cursing those who you don't agree with, without really making
any proactive gesture to the cause of Allah. I feel obligated
to remind you that you need to ask Allah to give you the
light of Iman that you, I am sure, are claiming of so
confidently, evident in your tone of condemning others. I
believe, the Prophet,s, would not accept such tone of
condemnation of each otehrs. Do not be so sel-righteous and
take a position of being a perfect guy in Islamic movement,
especially in the situation that is so confusing, for Muslims
without the direct and physical guidance of the Prophet of
Allah in it. I am so disappointed in you. You are not allowed
to condemn other Muslims of repute like that. I have nothing
against you, except what I read from you. Please don't put
people on the spot by this type of writings.
wa assalamu alaikum
Your brother in Islam,
Haider Bhuiyan [Georgia]
Letter: Re: New Trend's critique of Turkey's Gulen Group
[new "Islam"] and ISNA president Mattson: U.S. Turkish group
rejects Gulen, accepts Bediuzzaman
The reason we are sending this communiqué is that we are
receiving many emails from friends and acquaintances
inquiring whether or not we belong to the Gulen Movement. We
(the Nursi students in Milwaukee function with a Saturday
Jalsa and have now established the Islamic Society of the
Americas, Inc.) do not have any relationship or affiliation
with the Gulen Movement. We are an independent group and we
are doing Islamic work according to our Ustad Bediuzzaman's
methodology, which is derived from the Holy Qur'an and
Sunnah. We believe that Bediuzzaman was the most important
Islamic scholar who defended Islam in Turkey after WWI.
During this era, secular forces in Turkey had the mission of
eliminating Islam after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Bediuzzaman paid a high price for his religious conviction by
spending the majority of his life in a number of prisons. He
never compromised the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah of Islam to
appease western interest or for his own personal gain.
Within the Nursi Movement there are numerous groups. Groups
like us follow Bediuzzaman's methodology of Islamic work
while some other groups combine Nursi and western
philosophies for their personal gains or alternate agendas.
Our group maintains its Islamic identity and uniqueness and
interacts with others with mutual respect. We perform Da'wa
(invitation to Islam) according to our Prophet Muhammad's
Your Brother in Islam,
Suleyman Kurter [Wisconsin]
May 10, 2008
Barack Obama sacks adviser over talks with Hamas
WASHINGTON (Times Online) -- One of Barack Obama's Middle
East policy advisers disclosed Friday that he had held
meetings with the Palestinian Resistance Movement Hamas --
prompting the likely Democratic nominee to sever all links
Robert Malley told The Times that he had been in regular
contact with Hamas…. Such talks, he stressed, were related to
his work for a conflict resolution think-tank and had no
connection with his position on Mr. Obama's Middle East
"I've never hidden the fact that in my job with the
International Crisis Group I meet all kinds of people,"
Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Mr. Obama, responded swiftly:
"Rob Malley has, like hundreds of other experts, provided
informal advice to the campaign in the past. He has no formal
role in the campaign and he will not play any role in the
future." The rapid departure of Mr. Malley followed 48 hours
of heated clashes between John McCain, the Republican
nominee-elect, and Mr. Obama over Middle East policy.
Mr. Obama, who has been trying to assuage suspicion towards
him among the influential Jewish and pro-Israel lobby, spoke
at a Washington reception marking the 60th anniversary of
Israeli independence on Thursday when he promised that his
commitment to the country's security would be "unshakeable".
However, Mr. McCain has high-lighted the Democrat's pledge to
negotiate directly with nations such as Iran and a statement
from Hamas saying that it hoped that Mr. Obama would win
This was denounced as an offensive smear by Mr. Obama, who
repeated earlier statements saying that… "we should not
negotiate with them (Hamas) unless they recognize Israel
(and) renounce violence".
He went on to suggest that Mr. McCain's attack showed that he
was "losing his bearings". This remark triggered a furious
reaction from Mark Salter, the Republican's senior adviser,
who said that Mr. Obama was "intentionally raising John
McCain's age as an issue" -- a claim the Democrat vehemently
denied. The intensity of this dispute reflects both Mr.
Obama's desire to move beyond his battle with Hillary Clinton
and how Republicans are already beginning to train their
sights on him.
The Republican National Committee has amassed a 1,000-page
dossier on Mr. Obama, with researchers spending weeks in
Chicago seeking fresh material. He is already being
criticized for his links with Rashid Khalidi, a Columbia
University professor who has branded Israel an "apartheid
system in creation".
Mr. Malley, a respected commentator on Middle Eastern issues
and part of President Clinton's negotiating team at the Camp
David talks, has come under attack in recent months from
right-wing bloggers. Friday, asked if Obama campaign was
aware of his contact with Hamas, he said: "They know who I am
but I don't think they vet everyone in a group of
Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain's foreign policy chief,
suggested that Mr. Malley was part of an emerging pattern in
which other advisers had been repudiated after throwing
confusion over policies on trade and Iraq. "Perhaps because
of his inexperience Senator Obama surrounds himself with
advisers that contradict his stated policies," he said.
2008-05-16 Fri 08:32:39 cdt