Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bus Driver Union: "Dump Veolia"

Boston: Corporation which Exploited Syria & Iraq Opposed by Black Bus Drivers' Union "Dump Veolia" campaign. Workers also helped "Free Aafia" Movement. Islam forbids Private Ownership of Natural Resources.

Islam often presents itself as the Middle Path between the two extremes of Capitalism and Communism. Islamic Law would eliminate the need for class struggle by creating a society where property owners are held accountable. Yet, no Islamic society exists in this century. What is important to understand however is that Islam considers environmental and mineral resources to belong to Allah. That means nobody can own them. An Islamic movement has to protect and utilize natural resources for the public benefit. Leftist speech refers to "The People" while Islamic speech invokes "Allah" - but essentially they are both saying the same thing: that water and other resources belong to the government and cannot be privatized.

We have been hearing the word "privatization" a lot as local governments for example Flint, Michigan take the water and sewage infrastructure out of public control and give it to a private company that then contaminates the water and destroys the pipes. The Flint move was touted as part of "austerity measures," even though the privatization actually cost the city much more. It was really about corporations lining their pockets with public money. When a government hires a "private" company to run basic civilian infrastructure, we are not talking about a small private company with scientific expertise to solve environmental or organizational problems. These "private" companies are actually huge international corporations, which are steadily consolidating their power to create what increasingly appears to be a global takeover of control that is able to overrule local governments and impose its will on the people via distribution or non-distribution of water, food, and resources. Islamic hadith prophesied the coming of such a global rule - Dajjal - that represents an evil force of oppression, which rules by controlling access to food, water, and other resources.

The poorest of the poor, from India to South America suffer from lack of access to clean water while their freedom of movement is often brutally hindered. These conditions do not arise because of the backwardness of the people but are due to deliberate maneuvers by the political elite. The poor are further degraded by unsafe working conditions and inadequate compensation from corporate bosses that prevent workers from organizing to demand improvements. The ongoing current struggle against multinational corporations is being spearheaded by labor unions and social justice groups in a wide variety of locations. Because of increasing global communication, activists involved in protests and strikes all over the world are not only able to offer solidarity but compare notes on the common global enemy and strategies for defeating it. An increasingly organized, informed and supported labor movement can only be a good thing.

The business connections between those building the wall between the US and Mexico and those building walls surrounding Palestinian areas are unsurprising, but not everyone is aware of the vast extent of the massive web of international corporate control of water, sewage, and transportation systems around the globe. A particularly evil French corporation named Veolia, which dates back to the time of Napoleon, made huge profits from French colonization of the West Indies and Algeria by building railways and water treatment plants. In 2013 the UN hired Veolia to destroy Syria's chemical weapons. Veolia thus profited off the Syrian civil war, while engaging in a political charade, as the UN continued to allow Assad to destroy infrastructure and mass murder political opponents using non-chemical weapons. Veolia is also profiting off the US occupation of Iraq, as the Iraqi Ministry has employed Veolia to build a water treatment plant.

This same company, Veolia, is currently engaged in privatizing the water and transportation systems in many cities around the US, committing fraud and embezzlement, contaminating water, reducing services to poor areas while increasing fees, and breaking union contracts.
In 2013, Veolia also took over the management of Boston Public School Bus transportation, sparking an ongoing struggle by the school bus drivers union USW Local 8751 against Veolia's unfair labor practices including payroll shortages, impossible demands on bus drivers, overcrowding of buses, failure to provide agreed upon benefits, and bad faith negotiations resulting in the attempted prosecution and termination of union organizers. Veolia's efforts to crush Boston's only black and immigrant-majority union failed due to hundreds of protesting bus drivers and incredible support from solidarity activists. This union's struggle is important on many levels because not only are they resisting a corporation that has already destroyed many other cities' water supply and workers' rights on several continents, but Boston bus drivers themselves have a decades-long history of supporting people's justice issues. They played a huge role on the front lines of desegregation, escorting black children to school through angry racist white mobs. Not only has the bus drivers' union stood against Israeli Apartheid but they did much of the organizing and provided the sound system for Boston's recent rally to support Dr. Aafia Siddique on March 8, 2016.

The Dump Veolia campaign is growing in many countries around the world from Chile to India, resulting in a surge of political and social networking. "Veolia is just one window to understand the need for joint struggle, how corporatization entangles us with past histories of oppression and present global resistances," writes Maia Brown for Stop Veolia Seattle. "When we understand the historical continuities, exemplified by Veolia, between early structures of Western Imperialism and industrialization and today's globalization and neoliberalism, we strengthen our ability to form new solidarities and communities of struggle." 

Jahar: Short Film Review

An Alternative View of the Alleged Marathon Bomber. Loyalty or Treachery? Did he do it?

On Saturday, April 23, 2016 I attended the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City to see the 13 minute student film entitled, "Jahar" at the Bow Tie Cinema in the neighborhood of Chelsea. 

"In the days after the Boston Marathon bombing, a young man must come to terms with the fact that one of his friends is involved," reads the blurb on the Film Fest schedule. The director, Henry Hayes, was born and raised in Cambridge, MA. He moved to New York in 2011 to attend NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He now lives in Brooklyn and works as a commercial editor.

The screenwriters were Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Henry Hayes. The cast was only four actors: Devante Lawrence, Andre Ozim, Andrew Raia, and Alberto Rosende.

The film starts out with the young men watching the TV news, which is announcing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan as the Boston Marathon bombers. Then it cuts to "Two Years Earlier." Jahar is portrayed as a short, dorky white guy, even though in reality he is over 6 feet tall. He is shown in high school being ridiculed. "What kind of name is Dzhokhar?"

His friend defends him, saying, "His name is Jahar." His friends, two black and one white, treat Jahar in an inclusive, yet condescending way. "That's my nigga right there," says "Mo" as they hang out in the basketball court smoking blunts. "That's my boy, my brother." They also call him "Jizz," which Jahar was clearly not comfortable about. Their conversation is vacuous.

In Jahar's mother's version of events, Tamerlan told her he was on his way to pick up Jahar from school, when the police started chasing them. In this film version of events, Jahar gets a call on his cell phone after his friends asked him for a ride somewhere. "Sorry, I got to go help my brother," he says. "Help him with what?" they ask. "I don't know," Jahar answers and leaves.

Without any transition, the film cuts to the three friends minus Jahar standing back on the basketball court in communal shock, contemplating what had just happened.
Only Jahar's friend, "Mo" was loyal. "Who was the one who drove us all home that night after the party? Eight drunk guys and one in the trunk and he was able to get us past the police. We know him," Mo insisted. The "Mo" character is supposed to be the screenwriter, Zolan.

But the other friend says, "I don't know man. Do we really know him?"

"That's our boy, that's our nigga," Mo continues to insist.

The film ends with the FBI asking Mo, "What was he like?"

After the film, native New Yorker Karina asked the director and artists if deep down inside they may think he's innocent? Any time in their mind did they ever think he was framed?

"They both said no they do not think he's framed, they believe he's guilty, and both looked at me like I had 10 heads. Rude, and clearly ignorant, making a film without any real research into the case," Kitty told NT. "I'm pissed at the producers who are so arrogant... They loving the success of this while their "friend" is on death row for something he didn't do."

Whether he was innocent or guilty, one would expect more personal concern from true friends. It was a very disappointing reaction, since the movie was actually quite moving regarding the one friend's defense of Jahar. It made me think a lot about loyalty.

Clearly, these young men were capitalizing off the fact that they knew the Boston Bomber in high school, without engaging in any character development or political challenge. The film seems quickly thrown together rather than deeply thought out. It only made the festival due to the high profile content. The line-up for the Question and Answer session had more participation from the makers of Jahar than from any other producers of short films, which added to my impression that the film was receiving special treatment. Zolan has now been given a job writing for the Boston Globe, at a time when many writers have been laid off.
"Seems strange that he would be right in with the propaganda media. Maybe that's the deal they offered him if he went along with the official narrative. The look on the actors face playing him at end made you think he got scared at that point," Karina told NT.

It was, on one hand, somewhat daring to stir up sympathy for the accused. However, the filmmakers' demeanor afterwards just made me think of traitors. Because if your friend truly did something like that, you would want to ask him why. Or if you believed he was innocent you would stand by that. The film gave the impression of some students that knew him superficially and decided to make themselves popular by using him.

"What was their point of making the film? For a different perspective? Why do they care about portraying a different perspective if they believe he's guilty? More questions than answers for me," said Nicole, who had driven from Vermont to see the film.

Jihad Jane: A Special Prison Visit

Jihad Jane: A Special Trip To Visit an Islamic Woman in Prison who Threatened Cartoonists of Prophet Muhammad, Pbuh. 

On Saturday, May 7, 2016 I traveled to Tallahassee, Florida's Federal Correctional Institution to visit Colleen "Fatima" LaRose, also known as "Jihad Jane." She was sentenced to ten years for conspiracy to commit murder overseas, for her role in a 2009 failed plot to kill Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist who mocked the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). She spent four years in solitary confinement but now resides in general population in a unit containing 60 women.

Fatima was very surprised to see me, as she has not been receiving any mail for two months, ever since I sent her the article I wrote about her for New Trend. Oddly enough, the prison counselor never received my visitor request form in the mail either. Thankfully, he was very kind and expedited the approval process after I overnighted him a second form. Fatima has not received a visitor in years. She greeted me warmly with a long, tight embrace. The 52 year old convert to Islam wore a khaki prison suit with a white hijab. She was in good spirits and seems to be well-liked by the guards and the co-prisoners. The guard had joked to her laughingly, "Are you gonna behead me?" She calls the other women, most of whom are much younger than herself, "my babies." "I never had children before I came to prison," she laughs.

We shared a delightful 1 ½ hour visit eating cookies and drinking soda from the vending machine in a visiting room full of families sitting at round tables. There were also tables outside in the courtyard, but Fatima preferred to stay in the air conditioning. She had me cracking up, telling me a lot of funny stories about life in prison. For example, she likes to sneak food from the kitchen. One time she had a bra full of eggs and another inmate came up to her and gave her a big hug! She was later caught bringing a tomato to a cellmate, and lost her kitchen job. She is now relegated to the dishroom but occasionally sneaks into the kitchen to help her friends cook.

She spoke of her admiration for Br. Osama bin Laden. "You can see from his face that there is a light about him." She does not believe the news about Osama being killed by US forces and dumped into the sea. She hopes that he is still alive somewhere. I mentioned to her that he is likely to have died from kidney failure. Regarding 9/11, she said, "Osama explained to the Jews and them that the Muslims don't want your western ways and you need to get your troops out of our lands. He told them again and again. They were forewarned." She listens to the news and continues to be very interested in ongoing developments such as ISIS.

"I want to support them," she said, "But I think they've gone too far, burning that guy alive." I explained to her what I had learned from New Trend, that the man was a fighter pilot whose plane had gone down after he had firebombed people. "Oh, I never knew that!" she exclaimed. "In that case, he deserved it."

She said there are about 15 Muslim sisters in her prison, who attend jummah prayers. She is the only one keeping hijab. "They all call it 'high-jab!'" she laughs in her charming southern accent. She wears a black hijab to work and the white one other times.

Fatima has a very sunny disposition, she is energetic and friendly to everyone and seems to be respected and loved by the women in her unit. She has found a way to bridge the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims by staunchly refusing to back down from her own beliefs and values at the same time as graciously and lovingly accepting other people for who they choose to be - one of her favorite people to socialize with is a Spanish-speaking religious Jew who is also transgender. She introduced me to a pretty young black woman passing by. "Her husband is my baby." The "husband," Fatima's cellmate, is injecting male hormones and growing a beard.

"There's a lot of that going on in here!" she whispers, laughing cheerfully at the juicy gossip.

Fatima, who is expected to be released in Pennsylvania in 2018, is looking forward to becoming a part of a real Muslim community. Her interaction with the Ummah was almost entirely online. Fatima had become obsessed with jihad after learning about the situation in Palestine.

Fatima said people often asked her if she will do anything jihad-related again, once she is released but she says no. "They are not going to ask me to do anything else. I have already proved myself," she said of her mentors, whom she believes to be with al Qaeda. "I was very honored as a woman to be chosen for a mission. Usually they give those kinds of jobs to the brothers. I don't like that I'm in prison, but it's not that bad." She has always been very patient with the decision of Allah, even when she was in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) in solitary.

Regardless of what one believes about her choice of action, it says a lot about her character that she was willing to sacrifice herself in order to stand up for her brothers and sisters around the world, that she had never met, who had done nothing for her. Fatima's future plan upon release is to grow flowers and vegetables. For now, she is looking forward to fasting for Ramadan.

[New Trend urges readers to write to the sister.]

Register Number: 61657-066

Demo Condemns Extra Judicial Killing of Usaamah Rahim

On June 2, 2016, about 45 demonstrators called out by Mass Action Against Police Brutality commemorated the one year anniversary of the coordinated police and FBI assassination of 26 year old Al Hajj Usaamah Rahim in Roslindale, Massachusetts, where he was ambushed in the parking lot of CVS.

After murdering Rahim, the JTTF raided the home of his nephew, David Wright in Everett, Massachusetts and arrested him on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL, obstruction charges, and charges to commit terrorism across national boundaries. The crowd of protesters was majority Black, many Muslim, and very diverse.

After marching from Roslindale Square, flowers were strewn at the spot where Rahim died, and Imam Farooq of Masjid Alhamdulillah made a dua. Then white balloons were released into the air while reading al Fatiha. His mother and other close friends and family wore all white. Many people driving by seemed supportive or curious, and those who slowed down, as well as pedestrians we passed, were handed a leaflet headlined, "Justice for Usaamah Rahim!"

Rahim was on his way to work at CVS that morning on June 2, 2015 in broad daylight. FBI claimed the brother was wielding a knife, but the surveillance video clearly shows that the federal agents and police officers suddenly approached him, one with gun drawn. No federal or municipal judge served any warrant for Rahim. This was not a situation gone bad while someone was resisting arrest. This police killing appears to be premeditated murder organized by the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

The government claims that Rahim and Wright were in contact online with Junaid Hussain, whom Obama assassinated by drone in August 2015 in Raqqa, Syria. Hussain was a 21 year old British-Pakistani hacker who once posted Tony Blair's personal information online, and was later said to be recruiting volunteers for the Islamic State online, according to the government.

"This dangerous precedent of government abduction based on science fiction-like speculation and prognostication is a threat to the rights of everyone," states Mass Action. "It is also very concerning that the Boston Police force is involved with an FBI investigation blurring the line of the duties of local police and federal government. This is all part of the ever increasing expansion of police agencies and police powers that target the residents of this country in the name of fighting the 'War on Terror.'"

Wright's legal case has similarities to others' like Tarek Mehanna and Ziyad Yaghi, as well as Yassin Aref, in that the JTTF, BPD and FBI followed these young men for months previous to their arrest. The government has not provided any evidence of a conspiracy other than wiretapped conversations, which they claim contain hidden code words. For example, "going on vacation" to them meant "going for jihad." The government also claims that Rahim and Wright were planning to behead Pamela Geller. Wright, who maintains his innocence, has been held in the brutal Plymouth facility for one and ½ years awaiting trial.

The protesters demanded the indictment and prosecution of all police, FBI and others involved in the military tactile assassination of Al Hajj Usaamah Rahim; Full and complete investigation of all officers and personnel involved in the murder and plotting of the murder; Release of the full unedited video of the shooting to the public; Freedom for David Wright, imprisoned since June 2 2015; and and an End to the targeting of Blacks and Muslims!

Detroit, Michigan: The Shocking Case of Lacino Hamilton

It was July 1994 when Lacino Hamilton's foster mother was shot and killed inside her home. The Detroit woman who had raised Lacino was named Willa Bias, but he called her "Mom." Lacino, who was 19 at the time he was found guilty of the murder, is now 41 and imprisoned at Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Michigan, serving a sentence that will not expire until he is at least 71. He has always insisted that he loved his foster mother and that he is not the murderer. He was convicted based on the testimony of a "jailhouse snitch" in exchange for a lighter sentence, and a coerced confession from a friend who later refused to testify against him in court, but they still used the written confession.

In a personal letter, Lacino demonstrated a deep sense of self-reflection. He told me that while he is innocent of the murder, he was not "innocent." He was a drug dealer participating in the gangster lifestyle. Investigators speculate that Willa was murdered for the $70,000 cash Lacino had been storing in the basement. Lacino hopes that upon his release, he could work with urban youth to teach them positive alternatives to crime. He has spent his two decades in prison reading and writing many thoughtful essays addressing the problem of the "school to prison pipeline" and the irrational US policies that marginalize the poor.

"How some of us live is not a mistake; neither is it the product of a broken system. We live like that because it is profitable to a lot of people businesses: pawn shops, pay-day loan services, slum lords, creditors, social services and others who traffic in misery," he wrote.

Lacino also wrote letters to thousands of journalists, lawyers and colleges hoping someone would listen to his story of wrongful incarceration. Finally he heard back from Claudia Whitman, the director of the National Death Row Assistance Network, which recommends cases to the Innocent Project. At last an attorney, Mary Chartier, agreed to take on the case pro bono. If all goes well, Lacino will receive a retrial next year and hopefully be released.

In 2013, an investigator looking into Lacino's case contacted Christopher Brooks, who decided to finally speak out about Lonnie Bell, the man he saw exiting Willa Bias' home shortly after the murder, now that Lonnie is dead as a result of gang warfare. Lonnie had admitted to Christopher over lines of cocaine that he had committed the murder "because she was supposed to be dead." Lonnie also told Christopher that if he said anything, he would kill him too. Spooked, Christopher moved to Monroe, Michigan, a town near the Ohio border, to avoid Lonnie.

The informant, Olivera Rico Cowen, who is responsible for Lacino's false conviction, died of AIDS after he got his sentence reduced from 15 years to one year in exchange for "cooperating" with homicide detectives. Even though Olivera was the key witness in six other murder convictions, his testimony was accepted in lieu of evidence, leading to Lacino's 80 year sentence.

"In many cases, even if all the witnesses have recanted, or if a person claims innocence, it's still difficult to [overturn a conviction]. The courts are more concerned with whether the trial has been procedurally proper," Attorney Mary Ownes told Truthout.

However, US police, and in particular the Detroit Police Department, are coming under increasing scrutiny from the Federal Department of Justice and the public. Detroit police are notorious for withholding evidence from trials, that would prove the suspect's innocents. Detectives routinely provide witnesses with prewritten statements to memorize. Corruption in the homicide department led to the closure of the DPD's crime lab in 2008, while the FBI discovered that Detroit's former mayor, Kwame Kilpatric, who is now imprisoned, was discovered having a romantic affair with the federal monitor on police reforms, who had been sent to look into a report that Detroit police committed the highest number of fatal shootings compared to all other police forces in the US.

"Thinking broadly about the ways incarceration is constructed and reconstructed, or alternatives to incarceration, is complicated by networks of social control. Which operate to legitimize who has the authority to speak about incarceration, what can be said about incarceration, and what is sanctioned as true about incarceration," writes Lacino in the introduction to a book he is writing.

"One important mechanism for challenging the system of incarceration, then, is incarcerated men and women, and the communities in which they come from, must begin to speak for themselves. Incarcerated people can articulate an analysis of incarceration from the particular vantage point of lived experience. Use this to analyze policies and practices that support incarceration. And generate alternatives to caging people for part or all of their lives.

"These subjugated analyses about the world of incarceration define that world and possibilities differently. Thus, listening to and learning from the analyses and experiences of incarcerated men and women can help the broader society get a clearer understanding of the ordeal of retribution style justice; and suggest more imaginative alternatives for repairing harms caused in our society," Lacino concludes.

Lacino's investigative attorney team continues to track down witnesses and collect affidavits and push for a retrial. Please keep him and other wrongfully incarcerated people in your prayers.

Lacino Hamilton #247310
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Dr.
Lapeer, MI 48446

This article is based on a report by Aaron Cantu entitled "Ring of Snitches: How Detroit Police Slapped False Murder Convictions on Young Black Men," published March 31, 2015 in Truthout.

Attempt to Use Quds Day in Support of Assad Regime

Al Quds Day should only be for Palestine

I was confused by Al Quds day in Boston on July 1, 2016. The organizer was trying to "tie in" the issue of Syria, Yemen etc, condemning ISIS, Taliban, al Qaeda and talking about "stability in the Middle East" (code words for supporting Assad.]

When I mentioned that the Russians, Hizbollah and Assad bombing is what is destabilizing the region, and demanded why they are trying to limit Al Quds day for Shia and Assad loyalists, she would not budge from that position, and only one brother (a Palestinian refugee) defended my argument for keeping this strictly about Palestine so as not to alienate Sunni Muslims. Most people were saying I was really rude. It was disappointing to see exclusionary sectarian politics taking over what should be a unified mass movement in support of Palestine. 

Large Protest Against Police Brutality Ignored by the Media

Boston: On July 13, 2016 a very large demonstration organized by Mass Action Against Police Brutality took place at the police headquarters, then walking 3 ½ miles through the city of Boston. In the beginning speeches, much mention was made (that was omitted by all media) by his sister of the June 2015 killing of Usaama Rahim by Joint Terrorism Task Force along with FBI and Boston police.

As the demonstration proceeded along through the projects of Roxbury, the crowd swelled to several thousands. You could not see the end of the demonstration, the street was completely filled. Protesters eventually shut down all traffic at the Dudley T station while giving short speeches and then more speeches at Dudley Square filling every inch of space. The crowd was very ethnically diverse and in a very loving supportive energetic mood. When the mother or sister of a police victim began to cry, the crowd would shout out words of love and encouragement. One speaker wondered where all these supportive people were before, when she really needed them, at the time police committed these acts.

Recently, Boston Mayor Walsh made statements supporting police officers without also stating clear support for the lives of Bostonian civilians. There is a corrupt "Irish cop" mafia culture in Boston. However, Boston is also known for being relatively served and not instigating police riots. Police lined the crowd on bicycles but did not interfere with the crowd. In one instance, a white bigot rushed into the crowd and punched a Franciscan monk. A supporter of the march chased the attacker off. The police did nothing. The crowd was such that the police had to step aside. It was a historic day. Bostonians don't usually have large protests.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trying to Understand Syria

On Monday, August 1, 2016 I was privileged to have an in depth conversation with a Syrian doctor who has lived in the US for the past 27 years, to get his personal analysis of the political situation in Syria. I had approached him with many questions due to what appeared to me to be a near complete disconnect between Islamic vs Leftist, or US vs Russian news reports. I would like to resolve this gap in mutual understanding to move to the next level of problem solving.

Sam said in order to understand, we have to go back in history. His father was a member of the socialist, nationalist Baathist party, which was one of many post-colonial movements, and came to power in Syria in 1963. He said his father was a “true leftist” and a high-ranking military officer. In 1970, Hafiz al-Assad, the defense minister, staged a coup against the party to take power. He claimed his intention was to get the Baath party on the right track after it had become corrupted. Assad’s “corrective movement” purged half or more of the party’s leaders, including Sam’s father.

Leftists in Syria believe that Hafiz al-Assad’s coup was staged by the West in order to dismantle the socialist movement. The US at that time was propping up several governments in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa where policy decisions were made by one person. These governments, including the newly installed Assad regime, were less than socialist and more like a dictatorship. Under Assad, the political rhetoric remained leftist but in actuality, Assad tortured and wiped out all the Communists in Syria, which had been around 10% of the population.

King Hussein of Jordan had previously kicked the Palestinians out of Jordan and sent them to Lebanon. Under Hafiz Assad, Syria occupied Lebanon and purged both leftists and Palestinians. He sent the PLO and Arafat out of Lebanon and forced them to live in Tunisia. Eventually, they were able to return to the West Bank after Arafat’s peace treaty with Israel.

The Syrian regime has always been pro-Western and pro-Israel but using leftist rhetoric because of popular sentiment. Assad depended heavily on his Alawite sect, the elite of which became a mafia ruling the country and dominating the military and intelligence agencies. Assad ruled by force of intimidation and torture. His dictatorship was run by the Alawite minority using socialist slogans. Syria was not anti-American/pro-Russia as many western leftists believed. The Syrian regime, similarly to the Iranian, would use slogans such as “resistance and steadfastness” and “Death to America!” which caused the gullible to believe these regimes were anti-imperialist. However, Iran has helped the US greatly in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The US then basically handed the power to Iran in Iraq after removing Saddam Hussein at great cost.

Syria was also no anti-imperialist. The Golan Heights never had a more secure Israeli border until after Assad. Rather than pushing against Israel, Assad was busy fighting Palestinians in Lebanon. If Assad had pushed against Israel, Israel would not have swallowed the West Bank.

The US didn’t mind him saying anti-American things. He still sent his kids to college in the US and came to the US for medical treatment. His and his junta’s assets were secured in Western banks. Assad regime was not anti-US nor anti-Israel.

The Syrian Revolution came in spite of the Americans, it was not instigated by the US. They said at first they would support the “moderates” but they didn’t deliver on their promise. The US could have helped Syrians overthrow the regime but the fighters didn’t get the anti-aircraft missiles they needed, (and were crucial to win) except what they captured from the regime. The US did give FSA a few anti-tank missiles but the revolution could not survive without anti-aircraft missiles, which the US gave out 2 or 3 at a time. The short supply was secured by the US government, which could deactivate the anti-aircraft missiles at will. The technology was constantly monitored as to its whereabouts by the US, and only one person was allowed to use it, using their thumbprint. Then whenever the US decided they could cut him off. So this American help was not help. There was no trust.

Had the US supported moderate rebels, they would have overthrown Assad long ago. US is working with the regime. Their goal is not to allow any side to win, and not ending anything.

Chemical weapons were used, and nothing happened despite American declared red lines. There was a point when the regime was weak but the US did not intervene to tip the balance towards the rebels. After a few planes had been shot down, Assad would have been forced to come to the negotiating table. But the US is working with the Russians.

The US gave limited amounts of weapons to FSA -  the Syrian army members that defected because they refused to fire upon their own people and have now joined the people’s struggle. The FSA received no practical help from the US. The Islamists have more support. They are rumored to receive weapons from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and even from Iran and the regime!

Why? Because the Syrian regime wants to be seen as “fighting Islamic extremists.” The world would see the moderate democratic rights activists as a viable option to replace Assad. But the world will never accept an Islamic government. Therefore in 2012, the regime actually released thousands of Islamic movement prisoners, who became the leaders of the Islamic resistance, which soon overpowered the secular Free Syria movement. Most Syrians do not want an Islamic government and many even prefer the regime, but the world powers promoted the Islamists in order to get rid of the potential acceptance of a popular Syrian movement for democracy.

The regime is acting in concert with the West’s policies. They got rid of any acceptable replacement to their government. The initial revolution was wiped out and their struggle for freedom was replaced by a struggle between the regime and Islamist forces.

Since the 1940’s, there existed the Muslim Brotherhood, who wanted to work within the system and use elections to promote their political platform, but there was no big Islamic movement in Syria. The moderate Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed and their members would be executed.

ISIS could not survive without outside support. They have regular military parades displaying their weaponry but nobody bombs them. Nobody touches the ISIS convoys with their many many vehicles. They are supposedly opposed by Russia, the West, and all other countries but even the US bombing is not effective. It serves no purpose except to justify continued military presence in the area.

The US support to the Kurds is very open, and serves to demonstrate the difference between Kurdish areas and other areas in Syria. Any time a Kurdish town is about to fall, the US will actively intervene effectively. The Kurds have a defacto alliance with the Syrian regime, who does not bomb them, and with Israel, who used them to fight against Saddam Hussein.

Nobody really knows who arms ISIS. They are heavily armed, made up of foreign fighters, and they are fighting the Syrian regime’s foes. The regime gave up land to ISIS without a fight. There was a regime prison notorious for torture. ISIS blew up the prison, destroying all evidence.

Sam said the US preferred Assad and stability for their geopolitical ambitions. Assad helped Israel neutralize Egypt in Sinai. He told me to look up Henry Kissinger’s 1973 pact between Assad and Israel.

Regardless of what the US wants, the Assad regime is no longer acceptable to govern because of what he has done. Assad has to be replaced; could be with a similar regime with a new name but that he needs to be replaced is a fact. It doesn’t mean that the US desires it but they have to work with the situation. The US has not supported the uprising against Assad. But at this point there is no choice for the world powers. Once they desire to solve the problem, replacement of Assad is a must. This is not a victory for the revolution. Perhaps some of the people’s demands will be addressed.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

International Women's Day Rally for Dr. Aafia at MIT March 8, Boston

Our America: Boston

On March 8, International Women's Day,  a Rally was held  for Dr. Aafia at MIT where she Studied. 


Photo of Aafia rally. Sis. Karin speaking [right].

Among the numerous Speakers was Sis. Karin. This is what she said: 
"My name is Karin Friedemann also known as Maria Hussain. I was an active member of the Muslim Students' Association at Wayne State University [Detroit]. serving as Publication Secretary from 1995-1996.I did not know Dr. Aafia Siddiqui but she was an activist at MIT around the same time as me.
Dr. Aafia's sincere and humble enthusiasm for promoting Women's rights in Islam - the Rights of Muslim women to Education, to earn and keep their own money, as well as the protection of Motherhood. She argued that a woman must be educated in order to be the best mother for her children, because an ignorant mother would raise ignorant children. 
Dr. Aafia also cared deeply about the suffering of Muslims in war torn areas around the world. She viewed the Global Muslim Community as one body. And if even one small part of the body is in pain, the entire body cannot sleep. [Hadith.] This point of view that emphasized empathy and action has since been demonized by the powers that be, causing many good people to live in fear. 
However, during the 1990's, Muslims in America experienced a sense of self-confidence, idealism and freedom that can even be compared to the 1960's. American Muslims were filled with faith in themselves and the hope that we could make the world a better place. 
With this level of enthusiasm, Dr. Aafia told the Boston Globe during Islamic Awareness Week that, "If Americans were to learn about the beauty of Islam, they would all want to become Muslims!" 
Dr. Aafia and I were also both very active in the Muslim Students' Association, raising awareness about the wars in Bosnia and Chechnya. I feel a deep sisterhood with her because we both went door to door collecting boots and winter gear to send to Bosnia, where many people were made homeless by the war. Both of us collected so many donations that boxes were stacked to the ceiling in the Muslim Students' prayer hall, leaving hardly any room to walk, inspiring many brothers to drive vans full of donations to the charity foundation in Chicago, from where the boots etc. would be shipped by container load to Bosnia.
Nobody knows exactly why Dr. Aafia Siddique was targeted by US 'intelligence' to be abducted and disappeared, but her student activism may have played a role, to send American Muslims, and Muslims in America, a chilling message. That they are not considered equal citizens, that they are not granted Constitutional freedom of speech or free travel. That Muslims are not free to do fundraising campaigns, that their charities would be closed down and their assets frozen if they tried to participate in political activism or humanitarian projects. 
After 2001, Islam in America entered a dark period in history from which we have not yet emerged. It even seems that the forces of hate and destruction are growing more entrenched in the US political establishment and media.
There is one thing we can do to turn things around and bring us back to a time when Muslims didn't have to be afraid to get on an airplane or afraid to donate money to a political cause. We can and we must free Dr. Aafia Siddiqui . We must show the world that Muslims in the US are equal citizens that should enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of travel, freedom to promote their beliefs, just as any other group is free to promote their interests and their beliefs and to donate money to causes they care about. 
We need to demonstrate that it's not acceptable for the US government to kidnap people and hold them for years in secret prisons being raped and tortured, without any charge against them. The America that I am working for is not one that makes an example out of student activists by concocting contrived allegations of terrorism against them. Our country's freedom and integrity requires that we free Aafia." 

Until we truly understand "la ilaha," how can we understand "il Allah"?

[Note to my Beloved Readers: I posted this a few months ago. I re-post it as a way to let everybody know that I am now all caught up in past postings and now we are back to business. Love you all so much.]

Every single person born on this earth is a Divine Being. While Christianity teaches that all human beings are born flawed, Islam teaches that all human beings are born perfect, sinless.

All human beings have access to their Higher Self if they choose to seek it. Seeking refuge in your Higher Self does not mean that your Lower Self is not real. It just means that your selfish or satanic urges are less important to you. When you sprinkle a teaspoon of salt into your drink, it will take away the sweetness, but if you put a teaspoon of salt into your bath, it will not affect much. Imagine if you put a teaspoon of salt into the ocean, nobody would notice it at all! The best way to deal with evil in your personal life is to make it a very small part of your life.

Instead of worrying about our problems we have to get used to dealing with them and even planning ahead for them to arise.

"Those who are first on the battlefield and await the opponents are at ease; those who are the last on the battlefield and head into battle get worn out. Therefore good warriors cause others to come to them, and do not go to others," wrote Sun Tzu in "The Art of War," a Japanese classic from around 500 BC.

This could mean many things on different levels but those who are at peace with the concept that life is all about struggle are at ease, while those who delay are unlikely to attain any victory.

I open a page of the book by Lao Tzu named Tao Te Ching. "It is easy to maintain a situation while it is still secure."

Lao Tzu is said to be an older teacher of Confucius who was a Chinese philosopher also around 500 BC. Totally different country, same insight. We are most at ease when we are maintaining a situation or position, whether it's military, financial or emotional.

It's not that Asian knowledge is so unique or special but rather that it just makes sense when you think about it. Presumably, these sages were drawing upon centuries of past teachings.

The same thing when we read from the Quran. Although this book is only 1400 years old, it discusses stories and concepts that go back to the BC era. A very large portion of the Quran is dedicated to discussing the Laws of Moses and the Teachings of Christ. I think Moses was supposed to have lived about 2000 BC and Jesus around the year 0. The Buddha is also said to have reformed India from its paganism around 5 BC. The scriptural teachings of the Buddha and Jesus tend to overlap. The spiritual goal of selflessness seems to be the common path.

Shaykh Hakim Moinuddin Chishti writes in the book, "Sufi Healing," that "In its progression through life, the physical body passes through stages from infancy to youth, adulthood and old age. Similarly, the soul passes through specific evolutionary stages or stations."

These are described as the Station of Egotism, the Heart, the Pure Spirit, the Divine Secrets, the Proximity to Allah, and lastly, the Station of Union with the Beloved. There is some philosophical overlap between this and the 7 chakras, which are physical energy centers along the human spine. Knowledge of the chakras is essential for directing healing energy into specific realms. Direction of light into the crown chakra is said to be equivalent to spiritual enlightenment or God-consciousness.

Nowadays people are trying to find spiritual meaning beyond what their parents thought they should strive for. Even if they all agree that Paradise is the goal, their plan of action may differ.

"O chivalrous youth! If tomorrow you go to paradise and you look at it from the corner of your heart's eye, in truth, in truth, you will have fallen short of Adam's aspiration. Something that your father sold for a grain of wheat - why would you want to settle down there?" writes Said al-Din Farghani, a disciple of Ibn al Arabi's stepson, Sadr al-Din Qunawi, in the 13th century.

Therefore our entire idea of paradise could be suspect. We need to let go and experience something like spiritual exile and abandonment, until we find our true home. We can only do this by disbelieving all that we have ever been told. "La ilaha" means rejection of all false gods. It means repudiating this world and all its glittery offerings and falsehoods.

Until we truly understand "la ilaha," how can we understand "il Allah." The Asian concept of Taoism, for example yin-yang, gives us the language of balance and opposites. 'There is no god' is like the night. 'except Allah' is like the daylight. You need both for the 24 hour cycle to exist. It is just as important to doubt everything as it is to believe. Otherwise, your belief has no meaning.

Whether we are doing yoga or doing salat, the aim is spiritual Oneness. May we all be strengthened in our spiritual practices however small, so that we may see the Great.

Boston Muslim Shot and Killed & then Convicted by the Media

June 7, 2015

At 7am on Tuesday, June 2, a black Muslim man, Usaama Rahim, 26, was shot by Boston FBI and police in front of the CVS in Roslindale, a relatively nice area of Boston. His brother, Ibrahim Rahim, who is an imam in California, stated that Usaama was waiting for the bus to go to work when police and FBI approached him for "questioning." The police claim he wielded a knife, which left them no choice but to shoot him dead.

Not a single community organization in Boston from the Green Rainbow Party to the Muslims have made any kind of immediate attempt at organizing a demonstration or making a statement as one would expect. The news reports that the man was "under investigation" (as we all are). This alone is enough for them to say the authorities killed a "terrorism suspect." There are some reports the man had made some statements online supporting the Islamic Caliphate. He had been trailed by government agents for the past 6 days 24/7 and was said to be visibly nervous.

This event is even more alarming than your average police shooting because, like the case of Ibrahim Todashev, who was killed by Boston police and FBI in his Florida home in 2013, the murder appears to be premeditated. Todashev is also said to have lunged at officers, which somehow resulted in him being hit in every major organ and a final kill shot to the back of the head.

"CNN already has the black Muslim killed by Boston police convicted as "part of terror network" - a "source" said so!" opined Glenn Greenwald that day. "1) Police kill a black US Muslim on the street; 2) anonymously claim he follows ISIS on social media; 3) case closed."

Local clergy were invited to view the videotape of the event. Imam Farooq Abdullah, who is a highly respected local African American leader, stated that the footage was very distant and inconclusive as to whether or not the man had brandished a knife but it was true that the police backed up several yards before shooting him in the chest. He was not, as his brother Ibrahim was told by their father, shot in the back, nor was he talking on a cell phone at that moment.

Nevertheless, there was no need to kill him. The story about him planning to behead a police officer sounds far-fetched, though if true, would indicate that he was either mentally unstable or just making a joke about smoking pigs. If the authorities actually had any evidence of this plot, they could have easily obtained a warrant for his arrest. Approaching him in the street to intimidate him was certainly not the appropriate way to deal with either a dangerous terrorist or a mentally ill person. They could have left their card at his house or called him.

The most worrying aspect of this entire story is the complete silence of the usual activist crowd.

What is the matter with this town? They stopped traffic when police killed a black man elsewhere, but when it happens here at home they don't care? Why, because he is Muslim? I posted a comment expressing concern on Mayor Walsh's Facebook page and was deluged by hateful comments, mostly from Irish people, who are convinced the police must have been justified in killing a terrorist and that by killing him, they saved a lot of taxpayer's money.

Most likely, public sentiment against Muslims has been stoked by the Boston Marathon Bombing trials, which are all winding down this month. On Tuesday, June 2, Dias Kadyrbayev, the Kazakh friend who threw away the backpack, was sentenced to 6 years by Judge Woodlock after agreeing to plead guilty. Azamat Tazhayakov of Kazakhstan and Robel Phillipos of Ethiopian heritage, who both plead innocent but were found guilty, and Khairullozhon Matanov of Kyrgyzstan, who agreed to plead guilty because he knew he would not get a fair trial in Boston, will be sentenced within the week. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's official sentencing is scheduled for June 24. Dias, Azamat and Khairullozhon are expected to be deported after serving out their sentences. Stephen Silva, who sold Dzhokhar the gun, got 7 years. Silva is being held in general population and Robel is under house arrest while the Asian kids are all in solitary confinement. After sentencing they will be moved to other prisons. I pray they will be safe.

Helping Political Prisoners is Part of our Faith

The National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF) has announced their Fourth Annual Ramadan gift campaign for Muslim prisoners, who have been the victims of overzealous pre-emptive prosecution, entrapment, and false charges. NCPCF was created "to educate the public about the erosion of civil and political freedoms in our society, and the abuses of prisoners within the U.S. criminal justice system especially after 9/11." It is a collection of weak organizations, which need our help to grow stronger and advocate more effectively.

Dozens of American Muslims are living out long prison sentences under abusive conditions and solitary confinement. These are people who are so beloved to Allah that they are being tested. And we ourselves are being tested in relationship to them.

It has been narrated by Saeed through his chain from Hibban bin Jabalah, that the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: "Indeed it is obligatory upon the Muslims to free their captives or to pay their ransoms." It is not easy for us in America to pay for someone's freedom - or even pay for their lawyer fees - but we can still make a huge difference to the life of someone caged and helpless.

Those prisoners who have no family in the US, nor a network of friends, may have no money in their commissary. Prisoners need money to be able to make phone calls, or buy razors, toilet paper, toothpaste, stamps and paper as well as snacks.

"The Federal Bureau of Prisons allows for special purchase of Ramadan items (such as dates) during this holy month and NCPCF would like to send the money as soon as possible so the inmates can receive them before mid June."

This Ramadan, NCPCF is seeking 180 individuals to donate $105 to a Muslim in America's prisons. The $5 would pay for the money transfer fee. This is an opportunity to help someone you don't already know about, to go beyond the high profile cases that already have a lot of supporters taking care of their everyday needs. But even the high profile cases, after some time, the world forgets about them. I wrote to one prisoner at CMU after about 8 years of incarceration, who told me that although he used to be well known and respected in the community, nobody but his mother corresponded with him anymore. He had even stopped receiving photos of his children. He requested me to send money to another Muslim prisoner who did not even have shampoo.

If you already have a previously established relationship with a prisoner, please consider them also when you are calculating your zakat. If you don't have the money at least send them a card! There are also volunteer organizations which drive children to visit their parents in prison.

Other ways to help prisoners is to make dua: "ALLAHumma fukka qayda asrana wa asral-muslimeen (O ALLAH! Break free the shackles of our prisoners and the prisoners of the Muslims)." This dua is important because we also need to care about the prisoners in Muslim countries too. The goal of Islam regarding captives is to free them and integrate them into society.

Please send your check to: NCPCF, Ramadan Gifts Program, P.O. Box 66301, Washington, DC 20035. When you make a donation please email them at and tell them that you have sent a donation.

Abu Dawud mentions the hadith narrated by Abu Talha Al-Ansari and Jabir Bin Abdullah, that the Prophet Muhammad (SA) said, "No man forsakes a Muslim when his rights are being violated or his honour is being belittled except that Allah will forsake him at a place in which he would love to have His help. And no man helps a Muslim at a time when his honour is being belittled or his rights violated except that Allah will help him at a place in which he loves to have His help."

Marathon Bombing Case: They Forgave the killer of 9 in Charleston, but not Dzhokhar.

On Wednesday, June 24, 2015, Dzhokhar "Jahar" Tsarnaev finally spoke.

"I would like to begin in the name of Allah, the exalted and glorious, the most gracious, the most merciful, "Allah" among the most beautiful names. Any act that does not begin in the name of God is separate from goodness."

The victims, the jury, nobody was expecting this religious sermon.

"He did crack up and pause a few times, it sounded like he was trying to compose himself," stated a courtroom observer.

Before thanking his attorneys, he invoked the name of Muhammed. He thanked those who testified on his behalf, he thanked the jury for their service, and even the Court.

"The Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings be upon him, said that if you do not show mercy to Allah's creation, then Allah will not have mercy on you, so I'd like to apologize now to the victims, to the survivors. Now, I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, for the damage that I've done. Irreparable damage."

What he said satisfied neither the victims nor those who continue to believe that he was framed.

"Immediately after the bombing, which I am guilty of - if there's any lingering doubt about that, let there be no more. I did do it, along with my brother."

Those who were hoping he would 'do a Tarek Mehanna' political speech got instead a speech on forgiveness that sounded at once sincere yet highly scripted, but answered nobody's questions like why? or how?

"Now, I am a Muslim. My religion is Islam. The God I worship, besides whom there is no other God, is Allah. And I prayed to Allah to bestow his mercy upon the deceased, those affected in the bombing, and their families. Allah says in the Quran that with every hardship is relief. I pray for your relief, for your healing, for your well-being, for your strength. I ask Allah to have mercy upon me and my brother and my family. I ask Allah to bestow his mercy upon those present here today. And Allah knows best those deserving of His mercy."

This convoluted sort of apology left everyone scratching their heads.

Why would he wait until AFTER he was found guilty and sentenced to death to apologize? And why, how, what the heck - and how is it that he is suddenly speaking with a thick Arabian accent? Not a Russian accent. He sounded Middle Eastern, two different observers told New Trend. It really was him, they said, but strangely out of character. He used to talk like "Yo what's up."

The most bizarre part of it is that not only Carmen Ortiz the lead prosecutor, but Judge O'Toole made public statements condemning Jahar's interpretation of his own religion.

"You did it on purpose... It is tragic, for your victims and now for you, surely someone who believes God smiles on and rewards the killing of innocents believes in a cruel god. This is not and cannot be the god of Islam," said the judge right before condemning Jahar to death. So is he being executed for murder or for a politically incorrect interpretation of Islam?

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, whose office prosecuted Tsarnaev, said she was "struck more by what he didn't say.

"He didn't renounce terrorism, he didn't renounce violent extremism, and he couched his comments in line with Allah and Allah's view, which gave it a religious tone, and there was nothing...about this crime that was Islam-associated."

Tsarnaev adhered to a radicalized version of Islam was not in line with the faith's "peaceful and loving" roots, Ortiz explained.

"The youth will not stay quiet while America is killing the innocent Muslims. As my sons there will be many many many inshallah! And I will die with my love towards them," texted Jahar's mother to a supporter.

"Your country kills the brothers and sisters and those good hearted and beautiful souls like my sons who love their ummah cannot see the conspiracies of your government towards our ummah and things like that happen! For example if someone kills my brother or my sister I will not blink and destroy whoever killed them - why?? Because I love them...Everything is by Allah's will... Allah knows the intention and the purity of it and what was the intention for!" concluded Jahar's mother.

I am worried that they are going to execute Jahar before we learn the true story. His statement created as many questions as it answered. This is quite a decade, quite a century, already. However, Jahar has been moved to a prison in Florence, Colorado. It is nearby but not the same place where Imam Jamil al-Amin is being held in Supermax.

Everything is Rainbow Gay this Week

Why not Legalize Polygamy? Sodomy can be a Healh Hazard, Islam Forbids it.

In the 80's, the Rainbow Flag meant the Rainbow Coalition, which was a black anti-racism campaign that eventually morphed into the Green Rainbow Party of Massachusetts, and other paths. It could also refer to the Rainbow Family, which is a group of anti-war hippies, mainly white Christians. But somehow it got associated with Gay Pride. There doesn't seem to be anything else being discussed on anybody's newsfeed, including that of my children, other than this, lately.

I explained to them that in Islam, if two women are married to the same man, they are allowed to be naked together. But sodomy involves mixing poopoo germs into the mouth or the vagina, which is very disgusting and leads to diseases, which could even involve death of a fetus. In my opinion, the preference of the people of Lut is very harmful to both men and women. This taboo is important to my culture. Some other cultures view sodomy between man and wife to be acceptable, but I do not personally feel comfortable accepting it. In my opinion, regarding religion, I think that sodomy should be avoided by both males and females.

Even though homosexual practices are against my religion, I am not going to raise a voice against gay marriage because I believe that freedom of religion is very important to this country and also to religion itself. If a person wants to practice homosexuality, this means they are essentially a pagan. But pagan beliefs should not be criminalized any more than any other religious belief. Also, normalization leads to more stable relationships, which will significantly reduce the spread of disease.

In the same vein, I would like to see more activists lobbying for polygamous marriage legalization. In Canada, I have heard (please correct me if I am wrong) that a man or a woman can marry as many as will consent to the marriage. It is very important as Muslims to understand the value of the contract. It is far superior to the chaos of desire and fear mixed with freedom.

In my personal life experience, gay partnerships that I am acquainted with are the bedrock of artist and gardening communities because they do not dissolve in the way that heterosexual marriages so often break up. Decades go by and you can visit their home and nothing has changed.

Politicians love the gay community because they have expendable income - they have no more children, so they invest in property and pets. They have professional jobs but no heirs. They are like a priesthood. For those who view gays as a threat to society (which they are in many ways), we can only try to demonstrate that we do better with our own families and communities.

Tonight, which is July 3, Boston is so noisy with loud explosions from fireworks. Just like the starlets outside my window that chirp so loudly at 5am, the Boston Marathon trial seems to have resulted in unprecedented experimentation with explosives. However, despite the very very loud booms coming from all directions, there is an absolute silence of police sirens. It is midnight and I am hearing explosions echoing through the sky from all directions and a complete police absence.

At exactly 1am there is total silence.

I was driving down my own street at 11am and the sound of the explosions were very loud! I felt scared. But also I feel safer knowing that my neighbors hopefully know how to defend us! Now I am hearing a loud helicopter and the explosions stopped for like 45 seconds but then continued.

The local Dorchester radio station, 105.3 plays reggae and promotes a Christian/Rastafarai agenda. The theme that they were promoting I agree with. They said, "We do not curse our enemies. We pray for their redemption." Honestly, I think this is the best way.

Unmet Relational Needs in Muslim Culture

One of the most astonishing things I am noticing about Muslim culture is the widespread tendency to marry a woman and then physically and emotionally abandon her. Men are now using a new excuse:

"It was just an arranged marriage."

Abandonment, whether or not required by economic necessity, is reinforced by shame related to divorce, and the belief that 'good' women don't remarry.

"She is just someone my late mother chose."

A married woman becomes property of her in-laws, as opposed to a life partner of her husband, who feels no shame leaving her alone and pregnant. She is merely a tool to provide his parents with grandchildren.

The cultural taboo against divorce even after abandonment often assumes that a 'decent' woman would never consider gainful employment. So even if a marriage is totally unsatisfactory, the woman would beg the husband not to divorce her. She would pretend that she is still in a marriage, even when the husband has clearly moved out forever, or visits only every few years.

Muslim men seem to think that marriage is defined purely by financial support. There doesn't seem to be any awareness of the relational needs (including sexual) of women. While men are encouraged to marry as many women as they need to make sure there is no buildup of semen, women seem to almost happily consent to the degradation of their internal organs through non-use, as long as there is money coming in, and even when there is not. While financial support is better than no financial support, what is the deal with a man deciding that any woman has no right to have sex, ever again, in her life? He can divorce her and pay child support, maybe alimony.

Surat al Baqara, Verse 229 states: "either you retain her on reasonable terms or release her with kindness."

There is a lofty egotism that says, "as long as I am paying her bills I own the non-use of her body."

We know from hadith that the early Muslims did not have taboos against divorce and remarriage. If Hussain (RA) were alive today, he would be considered quite the gigolo. Pre-Islamic pagan Arab women could initiate divorce merely by turning their tent so that the entrance was facing in a new direction. The newly instituted Islamic concept of marriage was primarily a contract to make sure that parental lineage and responsibility were never in question.

The influence of Hinduism and Christianity added to Islamic practice the concept of shame in remarriage, which is based on the assumption that sex is purely for procreation and not a human right in itself, which is based on the idea that women are innately filthy, that men should try to avoid women, and that a woman should only ever taste one husband, even if that means she spends the majority of her life alone.

The book, "Law of Desire" by Shahla Haeri is based on a study of marriage practices in post-revolutionary Iran. It describes many instances where wives are divorced by their husbands and become destitute, even homeless. Because remarriage is very rare in the culture, this creates an underclass of women who are essentially prostitutes, except that they have to wait 2 months in between sexual encounters, during which time they are merely beggars in front of the shrines. There is such a gross class difference between "kept women" and "husbandless women" that women will compete with each other for dominance instead of welcoming second wives as sisters.

Interestingly, the women most likely to be free to remarry, even if impermanently or non-residentially, are those who have a bad relationship with their parents. This would imply that the parents themselves are preventing the 'good' divorced daughter from meeting a man, because of fears of disgrace overriding their concern for her health.

I'll never forget the day when I was trying to discuss our relationship or the lack thereof with my Pakistani husband, and his solution to the problem was to "send me back to my parents." As an American woman over the age of 30, who had worked in jobs and rented her own apartment before marriage, this sounded completely absurd. I will go to my parents if I decide to go to my parents. I am not a parcel to send somewhere! I was completely baffled that he really viewed me in such a dehumanizing way, as a person without personhood?! He eventually became the perfect ex-husband, but I now notice more and more how people think this is a "man's world."

I do not wish to conclude that non-Muslim culture is superior. I notice the politics of greetings in American culture, where men always greet each other while women are usually mute on the side. While laws do not prevent non-Muslims from marriage and remarriage, gainful employment of the woman seems to be a prerequisite, and her ability to get time alone away from her children. In other words, the man either wants the woman to pay half the bills or else he only wants to visit her when she is alone. He is not volunteering to be the head of a family. This usually requires a third party to be available to take care of the children so the woman can date, which means that the woman owes someone, rather than the man providing for her and her children.

It is hard to know which situation is more humiliating. There are pros and cons to each situation: the man providing for an estranged wife vs. the woman being financially independent. Divorce is never an ideal situation, especially when children are involved. It is a wonderful gift of this century from God, to have the opportunity and freedom to be able to pick and choose wisely between religious and legal laws, to provide the best possible security and outcome for families.

Native Americans challenge Corporate & government greed.

On July 21, 2015 a convoy from out west calling themselves the Apache Stronghold traveled first to New York City and then to DC to protest the giveaway of their sacred lands - National Forest land - for copper mines. It is very important to understand the historical importance of this event. The American Indian Movement took hold among student groups in the 1970s but it took until now for the message to go forward, regarding indigenous rights and protection of the environment.

Photographer Kimora Merritt Brass took an iconic photo of a native woman wielding a traditional bow and arrow in Times Square, standing up for the sacred Oak Flats.

Members of the Apache Stronghold marched from Lafayette Square on Tuesday morning to the West Lawn of the US Capitol to mark the end of a spiritual journey across the country to protest a bill snuck in as a rider in the National Defense Authorization Act by Senator John McCain, and Arizona's junior Senator Jeff Flake, which was approved by Congress in the closing hours of its last session. That rider traded away Apache sacred land to allow a massive copper mine.

The caravan left Arizona in early July, traveling some 2,000 miles as part of a growing movement to save Oak Flat, where native people have held religious and coming-of-age ceremonies for generations. The copper mine would leave a huge crater - 1.8 mile wide and wipe out streams, springs and wildlife habitat. The caravan was in New York City's Times Square on Friday and arrived in Washington this Monday evening. The Apache Stronghold caravan arrived at the U.S. Capitol to conclude their spiritual journey on July 21, 2015.

Tuesday's event marks the final destination of the convoy's journey from Mt. Graham to Oak Flat in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona to Washington, DC. Apache Stronghold stopped at Native American reservations along the journey gathering prayers and strength, arrows and eagle feathers, building awareness of the Oak Flat issue as well as recognizing that many Tribes have the same or similar issues with the protection of their sacred sites. More than 480 Tribes and many environmental organizations, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, animal rights groups and religious congregations support saving Oak Flat. The group hoping to Save Oak Flat is supporting a bill introduced by Congressman Raul Grijalva to repeal the awful bill passed in December.

On July 22, Wednesday, a group of women including grandmothers went to the capitol building to talk to Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, who has "a record of intolerance and saying vicious things against Native Americans," about statements he made in a letter.

The group of women journeyed to Washington, DC to voice their displeasure on the add-on legislation tugged into the $585 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 that gives land at Apache Leap and Oak Flat in southeastern Arizona to Rio Tinto, foreign mining company, to mine. Part of a larger group called Apache Stronghold, the women earlier rallied on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol to call for the reversal the add-on legislation.

Rather than speak with Mrs. Cassadore and the other ladies and Apache Stronghold members with her, Rep. Gosar responded by hiding behind a locked door and calling the Capitol police, threatening to have Mrs. Cassadore and her friends immediately arrested.

Apache Stronghold spokesperson Wendsler Nosie, Sr. told the press, "There is no excuse for his mistreatment of the Apache grandmothers and young ladies who came to his office. Cowering behind a locked door, refusing to come out, and then calling a squad of policemen to sweep those gentle ladies away is just terrible. Rep. Gosar should apologize for that, as well as for his strange and insulting 'Dear Colleague' letter."

Natural Health Care Practitioners Murdered, Disappeared

When I first read the news on June 23, 2015 that renowned autism researcher, Jeff Bradstreet, MD was found face down in a river with a gunshot wound to the chest and that it had been ruled a suicide, I was skeptical but could accept that the "vaccines cause autism" doctor could be driven to suicide in the same way that the "germs cause infections" doctor was committed to a mental institution where he killed himself after being scorned by the medical establishment.

Bradstreet had dedicated decades of his life to treating autism as a vaccine injury caused by mercury poisoning. Later the FDA tried to tote thimerosal as a safe alternative to mercury, but Bradstreet debunked their claim in his practice, which successfully helped many people with autism through chelation, a nutrition-based way of helping the body expel the mercury.

Dr. Bradstreet faced professional scorn as a result of his research and practice. In 2004 his work was dismissed by the Institute of Medicine, which was paid by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to produce a report rejecting any association between autism and vaccination. He was also ridiculed for mercury detoxification treatment by a special master in vaccine court.

The Epoch Times [ ] reported that "shortly after an FDA and DEA raid on his clinic in Buford, Georgia, Dr. Bradstreet suddenly died. The FDA - which continues to maintain that thimerosal is safe despite contrary evidence produced by him and other researchers - would not comment on why its agents visited his clinic.

An investigation is ongoing and a fundraising effort has been set up by his brother "To find the answers to the many questions leading up to the death of Dr. Bradstreet, including an exhaustive investigation into the possibility of foul play."

The doctor's wife does not believe it was suicide. Lori Bradstreet writes on their gofundme page that her husband "was tirelessly dedicated to his family and treated his patients as family. He was a champion for the truth. He was a fighter and would never just quit. His desire to be "the voice for those had no voice" was evident in all he did. What we were told happened really does defy all reason. Thank you for all your help to find the truth."

It stopped looking like suicide to me after several other natural health doctors also mysteriously died in the days following. It has started to look like doctors who question the safety of vaccines are being systematically murdered. Other doctors have also gone missing the past few weeks too.

Dr. Bruce Hedendal, DC PhD, died suddenly on June 21 in Boca Roton, Florida. He had had a recent meeting with the feds, was investigated and charged shortly before he mysteriously died. This doctor was healthy and fit, friends say, with a thriving practice. Hedendal, also an anti-vaccine advocate, was found dead in his car, but there was no accident nor was the car running.

Then on June 29, popular holistic doctor Teresa Ann Sievers, MD in Bonita Springs, Florida was gruesomely murdered while she was home alone. Neighbors reported hearing her scream. Lee County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday they were pursuing several leads in connection with the slaying. They reassured locals that no threat to the general population exists and that the murder was targeted, not random, but remained "tight-lipped" about their investigation.

Around the same time, on June 19, three Mexican doctors, Dr. Raymundo Tepeque Cuevas, Dr. Marvin Hernández Ortega, Dr. José Osvaldo Ortega Saucedo and their attorney, Julio César Mejía Salgado, were found dead in the back of a pick up truck in Acapulco. The doctors worked at a community hospital. Hours before their deaths, the Mexican doctors had also been in contact with government officials. The Mexican government is also acting strangely. Family and friends are demanding full, transparent investigations. Cecilia Ortega Solórzano, mother of Hernández Ortega, says officials returned the wrong corpses, too eager to close the case.

"The day we were told about the bodies, we went to identify them, but they didn't belong to our relatives, who have been missing for four days. These corpses were decaying as if they have been dead for 15 days," she said.

Dr. Deborah Gilmaker, is another alternative doctor who was murdered five months ago had told people she was being covertly targeted, and was pleading for help from the government.

Also mysteriously missing as of June 29 is physician and preventive health advocate Dr. Jeffery Whiteside, in Grand Chute, Wisconsin. Door County Sheriff's Department is reportedly looking for Dr. Whiteside, last seen in the Ephraim area at a family vacation home.

Dr. Patrick Fitzpatrick, 72, a retired opthalmologist who had practiced in North Dakota, went missing in Montana around July 3rd. NBC reports that the vehicle and trailer of Dr. Fitzpatrick were found abandoned next to a pea field Saturday.

Right now, there are laws in most states allowing parents to exempt their children from being vaccinated but certain lobbyists are clamping down trying to change laws and create public drama.

Encounter Groups Organizing Students: Muslims and Zionist Jews

I have for a long time advocated that there is no better way to encourage revolutionary thinking except through student groups, especially nowadays when we have long established student organizations plus new technology to link everyone in the country and abroad on social justice issues. The enemy such as Hillel has top down command structure to organize and energize every Jew in the country to care about any cause even as obscure as "slavery in Sudan" or "sweatshops in Pakistan." As soon as one of their leadership comes up with a game plan, every related student organization is going to get active in trying to convince church and synagogue of the cause they want to promote.

Communist Party groups have a lot of activities that a person could join if they enjoy going to protests or political history group studies. Student groups define public opinion.

The student organization structure is the most important and efficient political organizing tool available for anyone with a cause. The YMCA obviously caught on to this line of thinking because they actually funded my 16 year old son to go to a social justice leadership training program this summer for free, staying in the college dorms of Nazarene College. Naturally they spent one out of five days defining gender as a continuum but what my son understood of the discussion was that you should not be mean to confused people. They also discussed racism, sexism, classism, etc and defined the terms so that the young people could understand the linguistics of their approach, which seems to be leftist.

My son's basic experience of the summer camp was a lot of emotional support to get the kids to express how they feel about themselves, their background, experience with racism, sexism and so on. It was a chance for them to say what they have never been allowed to say before, in a group situation that was very encouraging. My son felt he broke some boundaries past his fear of public speaking. I learned from hearing about it that he feels that he does not know enough about his ethnic background to even try to represent what people think when they look at him and might want to ask about it. The experience of being expected to explain who one is, can be stressful especially to young people who are still searching for the answer to that question.

Even though I appreciate the goals of race and gender politics, we have to realize that America is like a garbage dump of people who left their country. We are the riff raff of global society. The most important part of being American and coming of age is realizing that nobody cares about you. You are totally on your own. There are beautiful merits to that approach to life too. Think of how much the sea cares about the fishermen catching the food you will later buy. The sea does not care about you and nor does politics. All a person can do is gain skill riding the waves.

Those who feel they benefited from this week long emotional and learning experience are now invited to attend weekly meetings with the goal of establishing student organizations in their various learning institutions, including high schools.

When I was in college, I belonged to the Muslim Students Association. At Wayne State University in Detroit, we had our own mosque, our own building on campus to make wudu, attend jummah, and hopefully organize. The Board of Directors was overseen by the older generation of Egyptian and Pakistani Muslim Brotherhood alumni but completely was run by the students, who even vacuumed and cleaned. toilets. But it was not only about having a place to pray.

The MSA always required a handful of students to volunteer for roles like President, Vice President, General Secretary... I was the Publication Secretary one year late 90s.

The thing with the MSA is like the Green Party today. All you have to do is show up at your first meeting and they want to appoint you to something. They really need fresh blood. Once you have a position you will be affiliated with an organization, which means you have common ground to communicate with other chapters and also you can state that you legally represent your members.

For example, you could send off a fax to your local Representative saying you represent the Muslim Students Association or any organization you decided that you belong to, and you might likely get a meeting to discuss issues with some person representing the government. You cannot do this unless you represent an organization. That is why you must join, or create one.