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Let's Try to learn from the Columbia Shuttle Tragedy

"Seest thou not how thy Lord dealt with the people of ĎAd , - or the (city of) Iram, with lofty pillars, the like of which were not produced in (all) the land? And with the Thamud (people) who cut out (huge) rocks in the valley?- And with Pharoah lord of stakes ....( The Qur'an 89:6-10)

"And what will explain to thee that which breaks to pieces? (It is) the Fire of Allah kindled (to a blaze), ....(104:5-6)

The people of America are in deep mourning for the Columbia shuttle tragedy. The fiery end of a major attempt to penetrate outer space is indeed a matter for condolence and sympathy which we must offer to the nation as a whole. A disaster of this national and international level does call for contemplation and deep thought. As the inquiry into the disaster proceeds, along with the scientific and technical aspects, the moral, social, political and spiritual aspects too need to be explored.

After the mourning should come introspection.

SCIENTIFIC EFFORT for the benefit of humanity is encouraged in the Qur'an and the teachings of the Prophet (pbuh). Significant research which can help humanity to live better, compassionate, unselfish lives is certainly required.

NASA's programs are funded and supported by the American people. The amounts spent on the product, training and support services are incredibly high, in many cases more than the income of entire nations. NASA owes it to the American people to justify its projects in language which makes sense to the layperson. Here are a few concerns:

1. Outer space belongs to all humanity. It should not be explored with an imperial view of conquest and dominion. If NASA has connections to the military establishment which pervades America, that does take away from its research and humanitarian aspect.

2. What are America's priorities? Medical coverage for all free of charge is a natural requirement of the richest country in the world. If the U.S. can send massively expensive payloads into space, it can also provide basic medical relief to its people.

3. Drugs are pouring into every city. Crime and family breakup are realities for most Americans. How is it that we can walk in outer space but our children get killed if they walk in Baltimore or New Orleans' mean streets? Why is there no money for the PEOPLE's CAUSES?

4. If NASA is a scientific and research project, it should be kept away from issues of international conflict and war.

5. Each flight should be scrutinized for its moral and spiritual content. COLUMBIA took on board NO MUSLIM while it had an Israeli and an Indian-origin person. This exclusive profile, leaving out the Muslims of America and the one billion Muslims of the world, made the shuttle a morally questionable venture.

5a. The ISRAELI OFFICER on board was part of the Israeli war machine. He had violated not only the LAWS of the UNITED STATES, but also the laws of the United Nations to which the U.S. is a signatory. This Israeli officer attacked the Palestinian people and the people of Lebanon in military actions which were condemned by the United Nations as violations of international law.

5b. The Israeli on board took part in the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor, an attack which was condemned by the United Nations and also condemned by the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES. By placing him on the shuttle, NASA seemed to be saying that it does not care for international law.

5c. If the Israeli attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor had not taken place, today we would not have the specter of war which Iraq is facing because it is defenseless. A nuclear Iraq would have deterred the kind of jingoism and saber rattling the U.S. (for Israel) is indulging in right now.

6. The Hindu woman (of Indian origin) on board was such a sweet person but again the moral imperative comes first. Surely the United States is aware that Hindu India has carried out RAPE as a weapon of subjugation in occupied Kashmir. The rapes carried out by the Indian army on Kashmiri women number in the THOUSANDS.

6a. In INDIA itself, in Gujarat state, there was mass rape of Muslim women carried out only a year or so back.
WE LIVE IN A SMALL WORLD. We can't pretend that we are quite UNAWARE of INDIA's brutalities against Muslim women and then put a woman of Hindu origin on the shuttle.

COLUMBIA was AMERICA's STATEMENT to the whole world. It should have been carried out with much greater moral awareness.

NASA owes it to the American people to carry out its projects in a way which will be inclusive and humane, not meant to demean the Muslim world and to exalt the forces of Zionism and Hinduism. The money for NASA is the money of the American people. It should not be spent to fulfil the Zionist program.
WAS GOD TELLING US SOMETHING? [Columbia scattered over "Palestine"]
(A letter from Dallas, Texas):
as-Salam `alaykum wa-rahmat Allah wa-barakatuh, wa-ba`d!

About 8:00 am this morning I heard a loud "boom". It sounded and felt like somebody's car had bumped our building. Later I learned that it was the sound of the Columbia Space Shuttle breaking up over our heads, carrying six Americans and one Zionist, "Israel's" first astronaut, to their deaths.

That Zionist was an airforce colonel who had participated in the 1973 war, the assault on Iraq's civilian nuclear facility in 1981, and the brutal invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

In view of all that, how ironic it is that the debris from that terrible crash would scatter over a wide area centered around a nearly forgotten little Texas town by the name of Palestine!!??

God says in Surat al-Rahman (ayah 33):

[Arabic text]

which has been interpreted by Pickthall as:

O company of jinn and men, if ye have power to penetrate (all) regions of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate (them)! Ye will never penetrate them save with (Our) sanction.

Eric Mueller
Ayatollah Montazeri Released: Truth Teller

NEW TREND hails the release of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri who had been held under house arrest since 1989. He came out strong and his usual truth-telling self.

New Trend's editor met the Grand Ayatollah in the holy city of Qum before in-fighting among the Iranians led to his removal from the political scene. At the time of his detention, New Trend criticized the move.

In fact Montazeri was the successor of Imam Khomeini but the Imam seems to have been told stories by various opportunists who made use of the Imam's extreme illness to cut him off from his natural heir.

We hope that the children of the original revolution, which was supposed to be non-sectarian and international, will come forth to support this learned man of Allah.

On January 27, 2003 there were huge demonstrations in the major towns of Yemen against the U.S. plans for war on Iraq. [The protests were COMPLETELY blanked out in the U.S. media.}

All levels of society, pro-government and opposition, were involved in the rallies. They condemned America's "colonial moves."

Most significantly, impressive segments of the crowd called on the government to: "Open the doors of jihad" and permit the people to fight against the aggressors.

2003-02-03 Mon 19:07ct