Dr Kaukab Siddique | Editor-in-Chief ---------------------------------------------------------
Rabi' al-Awwal 24, 1426/May 3, 2005 #33
Factually speaking:

Best Secular Education without Faith, Direction and Spirituality Does not Make Good Human Beings

Source: Heinz Family Philanthropies, chaired by Teresa Heinz, 2002
Keeping it in Perspective:

New Trend's Standards: Which Other Paper Publishes So much against its Own position? When will W.D. Publish New Trend's Criticism of him?

On Br. Salim Khatib's letter:

Allowing criticism of one's own reporting to be aired or published is a basic premise of good journalism. This is why most news organizations have ombudsmen.

Answerability and openness to criticism are both traits of Muslim leadership, as exemplified in multiple sahih hadith. Controlling one's "nafs" is something we are always talking about. Who needs control his "nafs" more than a Muslim leader, who commands the respect and attention of many? Is not capacity to accept critism by a Muslim leader central to control of his "nafs"?

So, it is both an Islamic premise and just plain good journalism to allow criticism. Yet, what other Islamic publication prints letters such as Br. Salim's or Sr. Hadayai's? Does the Muslim Journal? Dawn? Minaret? Al-Jazeerah?

So please, open your mind, Muslims. Hold all leaders and media (which in a sense are leaders, as they help to form public opinion) to the same high standard. Are you at least as questioning of what you hear on NPR, CNN, and the Muslim Journal as you are of the New Trend forum? Are you as questioning of W.D. Muhammad as you are of the editors of this forum?

-N. Siddique, University of Maryland
African-American Muslim Woman Leader Rebuts W.D. Supporters.

W.D. Muhammad and those Silent in the Face of Oppression are the Issue: Br. Kaukab is seeking Allah's Pleasure, not Popularity.

Ref: Sis. Hadayai's letter: "Do not insult 'their Earthly Leader,' Otherwise your Message will not be heard."

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I didn't know how to take Sister Hadayai Majeed's letter. It is of almost no concern to me if Brother Kaukab is losing popularity, making himself a target, or turning people off. He is not advanced by the approval of those entrenched in these targeted organizations nor is his work diminished by their disapproval and name-calling.

He is not simply pointing out the failings of these mainstream organizations and the people at their helm willy-nilly, he is putting forth a warning---which he is Islamically bound to do, whether his popularity wanes or not.

The followers of WD Mohammed have made their leader an integral part of how they see Islam and the Muslim world. If WD doesn't call for one brownie to be sold so that a dollar might find it way to the masses of innocent brutalized Muslims (brutalized at the hands of our own state sponsored policies)---it will not happen. So be it. To each his own. Do I care how these thinkers assess Jamaat al Muslimeen? Not even a little bit. Do I care about their slings and arrows? That's laughable.

Bro. Kaukab should care only if he is seeking a following. However, if he is simply seeking Allah's pleasure by doing what He enjoins us to do: ---then why should he be concerned? Who cares about the opinions of those who feel puffed up by their leader's photo op with a city councilman, or their big conferences where the names of our political prisoners don't even pass through their lips? Leave them to their FBI recruitment booths ----- if they think that puts them out front.

Jamaat al Muslimeen is not an organization of numbers. It is an organization of seeing a need and working to fulfill it for the sake of Allah. Bro Kaukab---a loser? That's rich.

* The loser is the one who can hear of a Muslim woman forced to give birth at an Israeli checkpoint and then kick back with a Coke. Karen English, Richmond, California

Israeli Demolition of Palestinian Homes: Eyewitness Account.
Liberal Jews joined hands with Muslims to stop demolitions but Failed.

By Rizwan Nazir, British Muslim [Day 4 of his diary]

Dear All,
Assalamu'alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.

All praise is due to Allah (swt), Lord of the Worlds.

Wednesday 1st December: Demolition Day in Jerusalem

Alarm goes of, JJ from the US also comes into our dorm to wake Jon (pronounced Euan) from Sweden and Frank, from Denmark, up. Objective - to get to a house before the police do to prevent its destruction. Just yesterday 3 homes were destroyed but 1 was saved using similar tactics - saved for 2 weeks from destrucation, but this could mean 10 years in reality. Allahu-alam.

Leave hostel, meet some more activists at taxi rank - destination Beit Hanina in Jerusalem.

Stop at meeting point - meet yet more activists, including Ben and Joseph, Jewish, visible with their skull caps, and both from the US. Geoff, co-ordinator of ICAHD (the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions) also arrives.

Stop of near to destination but not sure where exactly to go - Geoff calls the Palestinian who's home is supposed to get destroyed to come get us all (we're in 3 cars now). We arrive at the house, only looks like a small hut to me but it houses a family of 8, including an elderly grandmother and a disabled child. Young children serve us naan bread and cold & hot drinks. Despite their crisis, they are still hospitable!

A police jeep arrives, we are all on alert. Takes a good look at us, asks us who we are and Geoff responds in Hebrew something along the lines that this is a rally for the demolition I assume. Police leaves.

Geoff informs us that the house just in front of this family home belonged to King Hussein of Jordan. The family bought the land rights to the house 4 years ago, and only built the house 1.5 years ago. However, after going to court 3 times, the Supreme Court in Israel declared that there is no license for the home and therefore must be destroyed (basically, the Israeli's allow the Palestinians to buy land but are not issuing licenses for them).

In the distance we can also see a caterpillar bulldozer that is parked stationery against another house. JJ tells us that this is a 6 storey house and the owner was able to pay for the fine (approx $15K) and most likely the license (very unusual case I suggest) but can only pay for 2 storeys. So what does the court decide? The top 4 floors are to be destroyed and hence the bulldozer is here to do just that!

Geoff goes on to tell us that objective of Israel is to simply limit the housing available to the Palestinians. Pointing to the distance between where we stand (i.e. Jerusalem) and Ramallah where the Israelis are creating brand new cities, with large settlements housing around 30-40,000 ultra orthodox Jews (projection is 80,000 in 5 years). Aim of the state is to ensure that East Jerusalem must never be the capital of Israel but West Jerusalem, hence the creation of the Apartheid Wall, etc etc.

He also states that the Jews have firm belief in the Right of Return, i.e. areas that were Jewish pre-1967 war, that they can go pick out any house that was Jewish (no relation whatsoever, as long as Jew then criteria met!).

Basically they just say that they used to stay there and have the right to be there now. So the Israeli authorities come in and knock the Palestinians door down and kick them out, then form a Jewish compound, put security in place, including cameras, etc, and then they stay in the middle of an Arab area. And as per expected, if they are prepared to stay there, they are not friendly people and don't intend being either.

Logic - in 1967 70% of population became Jewish, since then, policy is to keep minimum of 72% majority.

So the aim is therefore to create the capital of Israel simply all-jewish, so if any of the international community do happen to raise their brow then the government would just state that well you can't kick us out we are all Jewish here anyway!

Thus, 72% of land in Israel is owned by the state, or the major Jewish agencies. So by this very nature, only Jews can live on the land. The state then subsidies the selling of the land, e.g. construction of a full neighbourhood, and encourages people to come stay there.

During Ramadhan demolition was ceased. I mean the state wanted to show the world of their considerate actions didn't they! Now, however, they have revamped activities and are marching full steam ahead - I mean they are now behind schedule so must be playing catch up eh?!

Ben: "of course now have furious schedule to keep up with!", he says to me.

32 homes have been demolished in the past week alone

(including bedouin homes), leaving countless without a roof over their heads.

Ben points out how the Israelis play with stats - i.e. in one report because a Jewish garage was near a synagogue, then the garage was demolished (not the house!) and this makes it 100% hit rate for them whereas a lesser percentage of destroying Arab homes if you see what I mean!!

Further, the Palestinians must pay for the water, sewage, etc even if it is not connected - another policy of ethnic cleansing.

So why don't the Palestinians have a license? Why can't they have one?

The Israeli aim is to force them into camps, drive them out, some of the Palestinians then do give up, migrate, therefore the Israeli's have less Palestinians to deal with = Tactic! Ben adds that the Tel Aviv Israelis don't even know what is going on here! Most would forget that Palestine even exists! They suffer from myopia, and they don't think or want to deal with politics. Their line of thinking is this when Ben confronts them - "why help them?, they only bomb us". But they don't understand why they bomb them he says!

They also deal differently with the people, there are different rules for treating Palestinians (usually beaten up when protesting the way we are heretoday) and Jews (hand lightly slapped and told not to assist again) to internationals/foreigners - at worst sent home and no rightto return for 10 years.

Anyway, we all wait anxiously in the cold; will our presence help save the destruction of this home?

Police arrives in numbers. The state sub-contracts the demolition to commercial wreckage companies who are also now here. We all move into the house and sit. Euan and JJ get onto the flat roof of the house and rally peacefully up there. We hear some noise and look through a small patch of open wall and see a caterpiller bulldozer now there, barely a few yards from the home.

Man walks into the home and issues the order from the supreme court. Gives us 10 minutes to leave the house or else we will all be removed by force and sent to prison. I look outside the house and it looks like a war-zone what with the bulldozer, approx 40 heavily armed police (split between police and border police, though no military in this case) in close proximity as well as several jeeps visible.
Note - soldiers do not have any legal status to arrest you here but can move in with force (police have full rights apparently).

A few of us walk out - we don't want to get dragged out. A few ICAHD members stay behind, including Geoff and whilst Euan jumps off the roof, JJ lies flat on the middle of the roof (a 240lbs man lying flat is difficult to remove!)

Two police officers on horseback arrive. Police go in heavily entering the house (we are only standing approx 10 yards away). JJ is dragged off the roof and dumped near the house. Police asks if he will walk away now, he refuses and remains lying lifeless, several officers then carry him towards our direction. As he is carried past us, JJ says sarcasticly "I like it here, it's comfortable, this is a lot easier than walking!!" Police dump him behind us and in the process we are all moved back, soldiers dragging our arms and telling us firmly to move back.

Sub-contractors step in to move belongings of the family swiftly and place them approx 10 yards from the house (no compassion as tight timescale and we've already held them back). Police is standing right next to us and between the home. They look as if they don't care, and don't feel bad.They are just following orders. They don't see the bigger picture. It's a legal court order isn't it? Euan is standing next to me now and asks the policemen:

"Are you happy here?".

"Do you have a house with a family?".

He continues, "I want to understand what is going on here in this country?".

Policeman replies: "Read the papers, everything is there".

Euan: "I don't think it is", "It's your job, but you chose it".

Caterpiller bulldozer starts destruction.
Euan: "We are raising funds for the family to help, do you want to help?"

Police reply: "No".

Geoff: "Afterwards we wonder why the world calls us anti-semitic, but look at what we do?!"

A family of 8 homeless. A home of a poor family takes less than 5 mins to destroy. And to make sure, they drill through the pillars to break them up too despite having fallen earlier!

Geoff: "no trial for war crimes - they are just following orders!"

Full flat heap of destruction now left.

Bulldozer departs crime scene.

One young officer yawns and stretches his arms out showing his approval.

Grandmother distraught. Children in tears. Activists start comforting family, but we feel we need to be comforted ourselves, how are the family feeling I think?? Police starts to filter out.

Last of Israeli police leaves.

Since 1967, thousands of homes have been destroyed (I hear 12,000 at least), and hundreds of thousands therefore made homeless.

We then have a brief committee meeting on site. Geoff informs us that ICAHD doesn't have much funds (if any), starts appealing to everyone for funds, not just personal contributions but also from the other agencies that the activists may be associated with (remember, we can leave and go back to our homes, cushy jobs, lives etc, but the family can't, they are stuck here).
He then states that we want to hold the Israelis accountable for its actions. It presents itself as the victim whereas the issue is nothing to do with security or terrorism:

"in less than two minutes you see how they pulled out all this family's possessions in the world", he says.

To summarise, the family bought the land, they own the land but couldn't get a building permit. Was their home for past 1.5 years. Policy of Israeli government is not to give building permits to Palestinians. British Red Cross called to bring the family a tent, most likely will stay next to the demolition as many do (Anata destruction 2 days ago, family tried to build a shed/rooftop with the rubble!). Winter now - very cold here, and I say this coming from Scotland! Palestinians are approx 1/3 of population in Jerusalem, but have only 8% of municipal budget assigned to them. Injustice we cry!

Aim of Israelis - referred to as "quiet transfer", use of significant admin and planning to get the Arabs out.

Rabbis from UK human rights arrived post-demolition (London based group).

Ben, the Jew from Seattle: "This isn't Judaism. This isn't Jewish!", he says.

Geoff, co-ordinator of ICAHD:

"not going to get through to the Israelis, now hope is in the international community", and tells us how he has lost all heart in trying with Israelis.

"25,000 housing units missing in Palestine, induced shortage".

"70% of Palestinians live below the poverty line".

"Quiet Transfer" - once the Palestinians moved out, they are then most likely to lose their Jerusalem permit, very difficult (if not impossible) to come back.

"Israel is enforcing law - can't be held accountable!".

"Now family left without home.trauma in kids.seeing their parents humiliated publicly. Study undertaken found that 60% of suicide bombers had their homes demolished.
Israel planting seeds themselves".

I noticed father tried to compose himself post-destruction, but I shall never forget the look on his face.

A family of 8, including an elderly grandmother and a disabled child - left without a roof over their head. Israelis depart, move on to next home. This goes on every day here.

Media presence today (only because they had news pre-demolition!) - Associated Press, and Swedish Daily Paper, as well as a famous Swedish director making a documentary.

Euan, Frank and I get a shared taxi back to Damascus Gate. Euan is carrying the large banner: "THIS IS A FAMILY"S HOME! STOP ISRAELS RACISM" - though it's folded up (this was displayed from the rooftop and right across the home). Arrive at DG when 2 policemen see us and call us over. Demand passport and to see banner out. We tell them in a roundabout way what it is. He doesn't know what Israeli racism is!! He asks the other officer, he's as dumbfounded as him! A few more officers are passing by, he calls them over and asks them what racism is. They aren't sure either. Euan starts explaining peace, black and white, etc - one officer jumps in and says "Israel V Arabs?!". Swedish Documentary Crew arrive in taxi and help save us as Euan makes chit-chat! They don't know what racism is!!!

Go to Al-Aqsa to pray in the afternoon.

Am off to camp to teach the children from tomorrow for 2 weeks insha'Allah. Just informed will be the only English teacher on site! Going to camp via Ramallah, where someone will try meeting me - as getting through checkpoints difficult and then if denied access, trip through mountains required, where there is some crossfire apparently (don't fancy doing it alone, don't mind going if with others). Spoke with an American girl also here (unfortunately she was asaulted by a Palestinian during her first trip, but has come back to help the poor farmers once again), she tells me as I look like a local, will be difficult through checkpoint.
However, a Japanese guy in the hostel said I look like a South American! So insha'Allah will get entry.

Love, Ridwan
PS - If you don't know this already, ICAHD is an Israeli org whereas ISM is a Palestine one - both completely different.

Palestinian Leader/Humanitarian Activist Living in U.S. Faces Serious Violations of His Rights

Ashqar Legal Battle Continues
Attorney Highlights Struggle for Justice

Dr. Abdelhaleem Hasan Ashqar, Palestinian activist and former candidate for the Presidency of the Palestinian Authority, continues his quest for justice and the right to return to his land in Palestine.

The initial civil contempt proceeding against Dr. Ashqar prompted him to enter into a hunger strike that lasted 180 days. During the hunger strike he stated he would rather die than testify and betray his religion and political convictions. Dr. Ashqar now faces new criminal charges which have been characterized by legal and civil and human rights activists as politically motivated by the government.

Below is an open letter from Dr. Ashqar's lawyer, Michael Kennedy, which highlights Dr. Ashqar's noble legal battle for justice, his right to return to his homeland and the struggle for peace and justice for the Palestinian people:

TELEPHONE: (212) 935 4500
TELEFAX: (212) 980 6881

April 25, 2005

I am honored to be a part of a team of lawyers seeking justice for Dr. Ashqar and welcome this opportunity to address you about the issues at stake in this case and the plight of Dr. Ashqar.

This prosecution is a political smear campaign designed to destroy the public image and reputation of concerned humanitarian activists like Dr. Ashqar. This prosecution is also designed to smear and criminalize Hamas, an organization with which the United States government has repeatedly dealt.
The method of the campaign carried out by the government is to claim that leaders and activists like Dr. Ashqar who draw attention to the Palestinian cause, are supporters and financiers of the outlawed organization, Hamas.
According to the government, Hamas is not a political voice in Palestine, but a criminal organization based in the United States that violates the Racketeering, Influence, and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), that is, members of Hamas are gangsters and not political opponents of Israel's occupation.
There is no evidence that either Dr. Ashqar or the Al Aqsa Educational Funds, Inc., were involved with Hamas or financially contributed to acts of terrorism. Rather, in the early 1990's, Dr. Ashqar, through his organization, Al Aqsa Educational Fund, Inc., engaged in fund raising to provide funds to students from the occupied territories. This goal of Dr. Ashqar's was without political boundaries as he believed that Palestinian liberation and democratic self-rule could only come through the proper education of its people.

Ashqar is now being persecuted for his beliefs and good deeds. In fact, in 1998 and 2002, he was called before the Grand Jury that demanded information from him about Palestinian activists, fund raising institutions, and occupation resisters. Each time he refused to answer questions as a matter of religious belief and political principle. To punish him, Dr. Ashqar was jailed for contempt of court after refusing to testify. Being a prisoner of conscience and protesting his unjust punishment, Dr. Ashqar went on hunger strike. Rather than release him from the Court cruelly ordered that he be force fed by tubes being inserted through his nose. Even this level of cruel and unusual punishment did not defeat Ashqar's resolve that he never betray his religious principles or the people of Palestine.

I believe that Dr. Ashqar will be vindicated at trial. The government's case will not withstand the constitutional challenges that we will raise and the facts that prove his innocence. However, the government has failed to declassify or translate any of the evidence that it has had in its possession for the last 15 years. To me, this is a clear sign that the government knows that there is no connection between Dr. Ashqar and Hamas and that they cannot succeed at trial.

I hope you will continue to exercise your moral and legal right support Dr. Ashqar and his family through this difficult time while he anxiously waits the day to prove his innocence.

Michael Kennedy, Esq.

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2005-05-04 Wed 21:08ct