Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Sanity in the midst of madness

By: Gulamhusein A.Abba

Being a peace loving Muslim, a Gandhian and a staunch believer in non-violence, I was, and continue to be, outraged, saddened and very disturbed by the senseless and horrific violence by misguided Muslims over a silly, amateurish, vulgar and baseless movie. 

Innocent men were killed, including  US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Property of those that had nothing to do with the offending video was torched and destroyed. Relations between countries were savaged. 

It was gratifying to note that many political and religious leaders, including Muslims, denounced both, the violence and the video. No less than the US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the condemnation and brave Muslims in Benghazi itself stood on streets with signs stating that the perpetrators of the violence did not represent Libyans or Muslims, much less Islam. 
At the local level, the Association of Religious communities, representing almost all the faiths in Danbury, spoke out loud and clear through a sagaciously worded full page advertisement in the Saturday issue of the News Times. 

Without in any way justifying or excusing the violence that has been let lose all over the globe by misguided Muslims, there is a need to understand that though the video triggered the violence, it is not the underlying cause for it.

Muslims feel, not without reason, that Muslims and Islam itself are being targeted by Western nations. Minarets have been banned by the Swiss government.. The wearing of a head scarf has been banned by France and Belgium. In the US itself various police departments have profiled and “mapped” Muslims, planting informants in mosques. Worse, the building of mosques is being opposed, even those cleared by respective town/city councils, and existing mosques and sites of proposed ones have been vandalized. 

Newspapers and TV screens are full of images of violent Muslims, with the mandatory sound bite of AllahoAkbar  included, giving the impression that millions of Muslims across the world had taken to the streets. Important figures continue to level defamatory and baseless accusations against Prophet Mohammed. It is even alleged that terrorism is ingrained in Muslims and is in fact a part of Islam itself!    

In an article in a recent issue of Newsweek, the violent protests against the insult to Prophet  Mohamed were described as ‘intolerance’ and the article proceeded to claim that ‘such intolerance has crossed borders and become the defining characteristic of Islam’. (Emphasis added). 

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC’s host of Morning Joe publicly commented that Muslims hate the US because of the religion itself. He went on to state: "If you gave every street vendor, from street vendor to prime minister in that region, a chance to throw a rock at the U.S. Embassy, they would." 

After a week of the violent protests, the French magazine   Charlie Hebdo decided to pour oil on the fire by publishing offensive cartoons of the Prophet.

All this needs to be countered. But violence is not the answer. By resorting to it the perpetrators are playing into the hands of detractors of Islam and of those who hate Muslims. There are better and more effective ways of countering such propaganda, and that is by presenting the truth.

The truth is, as pointed out by Dean Obeidallah (a former attorney and now a frequent commentator on various TV networks) in a recent excellent commentary to CNN. “In Indonesia, a nation of over 200 million, (only) several hundred people took part in protests …. In Egypt, a nation of over 80 million, about 2,000 people protested on Friday… In Lebanon, no protests occurred until Monday. Why? Because the pope had been visiting the country, and the leader of Hezbollah, which the U.S. has labeled as a terrorist group, didn't want to do anything to interfere with the pope's historic three-day visit.” 
Just as pastors like Terry Jones and Bill Keller, commentators like Joe Scarborough, Muslim hating writers like Robert Spencer, David Horowitz and Pamela Geller, and mobs that demonstrate against a mosque being built do not represent either America or Christianity, so do the miniscule proportion of Muslims that indulge in saber rattling do not represent Muslims, much less Islam. 

As stated earlier, the best and most effective way of countering falsehoods is by presenting the truth. So what is the truth about Islam and Prophet Mohammed? 

That will take a book to explain. For now, as a former Catholic nun, a world-renowned author on world religions and a champion for peace worldwide, Karen Armstrong's video about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad  and his compassion is great to view and share. Click here: 

In conclusion, acts are always better than words. A notable example is being set by Celebrate Mercy. They have put together a mercy mail campaign to ask Muslims to send condolence letters to the family of Ambassador Chris Stevens as a perfect way to counter the anti-Islamic video with a good deed. 

In just 45 minutes they got 3,000 letters! In the first 1,638 letters that were sent, I am happy to say that the largest percentage (31.26) were from America. At last check, more than 5,000 letters had been sent.  

Hear the contents of just one of the letters by clicking here:  and then clicking on the video shown on the page that opens up. 

This writer strongly urges readers, especially if they are Muslims, to send a letter of condolence to the deceased Ambassador’s family. To do this, click here:  and follow the prompts.









Friday, September 7, 2012

By: Gulamhusein A. Abba

Note:  This article was written on June 29 and  published on July 3 in the NewsTimes: (

Just as Lyndon B. Johnson’s efforts to establish the Great Society and his War on Poverty were lost on the streets of Hanoi, so also Obama’s quest for justice, his efforts to reduce the killing federal deficit and his war to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor in this country are all being lost on the streets of Kandahar and Jerusalem..

Millions in USA are saying to themselves in their heart, though they hesitate to utter it with their lips, “For God’s sake Mr.President, end the senseless, unwinnable war in Afghanistan, and end it now. Leave the corrupt Karzai to his own fate. Why on earth are you committing the cream of our country to death and life-shattering injuries for two more years after having already decided on departing from Afghanistan ? What will be gained?”

They seem to be echoing the question Lyndon B. Johnson once famously asked in a telephone  conversation with his Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, McGeorge Bundy, on May 27, 1964 while discussing the Vietnam War. Here is a relevant excerpt:

Johnson: I will tell you the more, I just stayed awake last night thinking of this thing, and the more that I think of it I don't know what in the hell, it looks like to me that we're getting into another Korea. It just worries the hell out of me. I don't see what we can ever hope to get out of there with once we're committed. I believe the Chinese Communists are coming into it. I don't think that we can fight them 10,000 miles away from home and ever get anywhere in that area. I don't think it's worth fighting for and I don't think we can get out. And it's just the biggest damn mess that I ever saw.

Johnson continued:

And we just got to think about it. I'm looking at this Sergeant of mine this morning and he's got 6 little old kids over there, and he's getting out my things, and bringing me in my night reading, and all that kind of stuff, and I just thought about ordering all those kids in there. And what in the hell am I ordering them out there for?  (Emphasis added by writer).

Notwithstanding this soul searching he did go on ordering more and more of those “kids” towar.

Obama, who showed so much promise before and immediately after his election to be the President of USA, and from whom the people expected so much, is being used by powerful forces. He either does not know that he is being so used or has sold his soul to the war hawks and the Jewish lobby merely to retain the golden throne and all that goes with it.

He should know that the continuation of the war in Afghanistan, his paying obeisance to AIPAC and Netanyahu and  assuring  continued and unconditional support to Israel while ignoring the  injustices heaped on the Palestinians and their plight, may win him the coming election but these policies are inflicting incalculable harm on this country.

There is a lesson Obama can take from the Johnson episode. All his ordering of those “kids” needlessly into war haunted Johnson for a long time and ultimately led to his decision not to ask for or accept his party’s nomination for another term as President.

If Obama does not have the courage to end the destructive policies being followed by this country, or knows that, with realities of government being what they are in this country, he cannot do what he would like to in these matters, he should at least have the courage of his convictions to say, as LBJ did, “I will not seek or accept the nomination of my party for the Presidency”.

Obama will soon find that it is better not to have blood on his hands and guilt on his conscience than sit on the throne for four more years.

As for the voters, true their choice is limited to only bad or worse. Choosing the lesser evil is never the answer. Evil is evil and must be avoided at all cost.
The voters need to send a strong message that they will not support anyone who puts his own personal interests before the long term good of the country.

The voters in the coming historic election have a third choice. Give their support to neither Obama nor Romney. Just don’t vote for any of them. Leave that portion of the ballot blank or vote for any independent or the nominee of some other party, the Green Party for example, if any of them fields a candidate.

By this simple act the voters can and should send a clear message to both the parties and to all future contenders for the throne in Washington.

Monday, September 3, 2012

When you are a Palestinian
by nahida the Exiled Palestinian
A poem by Shadi Abdul-Kareem
Translation by Nahida Exiled Palestinian

When you are a Palestinian 
You would need daily practice of hiding tears 
And swallowing huge chunk of wishes 
 Overflowing from your reality

 In front of which you stand flabbergasted 
Wondering who’d find the genie’s lamp 
That would bring back your olive tree, 
 the straw tray and the sea fragrance? 

When you are a Palestinian 
You wouldn’t dare to broaden your smile 
The ghosts of Alaqsa would encircle you 
And the blood of Saladin which runs in your veins 
Would remind you whenever you attempt to smile 
That your smile is a betrayal… punishable by history 

When you are a Palestinian 
You cannot dream solo 
There is always someone with you 
Rather taking control 
And whilst others dream of wealth, power, wife, children 
Your dream is 
A nap beneath an orange tree in Haifa 
A cup of coffee by the shore of Tabareya 
A prayer that rises up to heaven
 Following the footsteps of the beloved 

When you are a Palestinian 
You’d live in a state of unceasing absence of normal life
 No wakefulness… no sleep 
No work… no rest 
No awareness… no unconsciousness 
Without the remembrance of Palestine;

How was Palestine!
What became of Palestine!
And what will happen to Palestine?

When you are a Palestinian 
You would live a stranger in your homeland 
And a stranger outside your homeland 
 You would provoke all kinds of feelings
You’d be an instigator of pity, some times 
An instigator of sadness, some times 
An instigator of curiosity, some times 
An instigator of admiration, many times 

When you are a Palestinian 
You’d work tirelessly 
Promoting a redundant commodity 
No longer in circulation 
Since new dictionaries of morality have been invented 

When you are a Palestinian 
 You will unavoidably get an illness called melancholy 
You will infect all those who know you
 And those who gaze at the caged tears in your eyes 
And those who’d listen to the howl of mosques, churches and stones in your voice 

When you are a Palestinian 
You would enjoy an extraordinary memory 
You’d remember the number of sand grains under the sea
 The voice of every muezzin 
The laughter of every child 
You’d remember the colour of dawn 
The flavour of sleep
 The scent of rain 

When you are a Palestinian 
You’d also remember those black nights 
The voices of their monsters and their moves 
You would remember the smell of death mixed with gunfire 
You’d remember the wailing of widows
 And the moaning of little girls 
You’d remember your footsteps towards the oblivion 
Every tear, and over which soil granule it fell 

When you are a Palestinian 
You’d discover the value of numbers 
You’d fall in love with them 
Or hate them 
A strong bond will anchor you 
Since your name became a number 
Your history, a number 
Your home address, a number 
Your lost-family members, a number 
Those who died, who imprisoned, who were torn to pieces… numbers 
The days you squandered -or squandered by- in refugee camps… a number 
Your dreams and failed prophecies of the day of your return… a number
 You’d appreciate indeed the value of numbers 
You’d be filled with gratitude to those who invented numbers 
Otherwise your life would’ve been lifeless, and numberless 

When you are a Palestinian 
You’d live in chronic yearning to a past you never knew 
And to future you would never know

When you are a Palestinian 
Words of love would not matter to you 
Nor the stock market
 Nor festival celebrations here and there
 It would not matter to you if nights became endless 
Or if days disappeared forever
 It would not matter to you if the year is twelve months 
Or twelve watermelons 

It would not matter to you if people ascended to the moon 
Or if the moon descended to them 
It would not matter to you if a party loses the election and another wins 
It would not matter to you if a country is triumphant and another defeated 
All what matters to you is that 

When you are a Palestinian 
You would abruptly stop talking
 And leave the story unfinished 
The poem without an ending 
As most likely the ideas in your head would become overcrowded 
So much so that they’d run over each other 
And you’d have to stop writing or talking immediately 
To attend the funeral of those thoughts which have been squashed 
And died before even being born 

I will cut short my speech 
Leave to give my condolences in exile
 Where thoughts pass away 
Because they refuse to survive 
Without a homeland 

September 2, 2012 at 11:52