This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/337
"Shakespeare and Islam : Good Neighbors?" Islam Awareness week in Londinistan -"Halal, headscarves, and terrorism" vs.Hamlet,Macbeth, and thespianism.
December 5, 2004
MIM: Besides being a main speaker at the recent UN conference on 'Islamophobia', John Esposito was a keynote speaker at a 1997 conference in Malaysia, together with Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy and Islamo facist promoter Hans Koechler, head of the Vienna based 'International Progress Organisation' which is associated with the UN.John Esposito is also on the advisory board of Hans Koechler's 'Center for Balanced Development'.
Hans Koechler was a close friend of former Nazi SS officer and UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, and staunchly defended the ex Nazi officer when accusations of war crimes were levelled against him .
Professor Hans Koechler was also personally appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan to the World Court, as a 'monitor' at the World Court trial in the Hague against Libya for the Pan Am 103 bombing which killed more then 200 people when the plane crashed in Lockerbie Scotland . http://i-p-o.org/nr-lockerbie-un-17sept03.htm
Koechler declared that that the US had 'rigged the trial' when a Libyan was accused of the bombing and demanded an independent inquiry. http://i-p-o.org/lockerbie-nr-23aug03.htm
In an interview at the Malaysia conference Esposito declared that Sheik Tantawi of Egypt should not be criticised for his ruling which approved suicide bombings in Islam, and declared that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".
John Esposito is also a board member of Hans Koechler's 'The Center for Balanced Development.' The CBD appears to be an offshoot of Koechlers' IPO and was used to employ Esposito and Islamist Louay Safi, who wrote the UN in 2002 to protest the US embargo presenting himself as a representative of Koechler's CBD.
Professor Esposito is also a member of the advisory board of the International Institute of Islamic Political Thought,in the UK.
The IIPT is directed by Azzam Tamimi who is a known Hamas member. Tamimi and the IIPT are connected to Al Qaeda linked groups such as Al Muhajiroun ,the CDLR, and MIRA , who are attempting to overthrow the Saudi royal family for not being Islamic enough. In 2003 Bashir Nafi,who had fled the US after the arrest of his friend Sami Al Arian, went to work at the IIPT in the UK.
For more on Esposito, Koechler,Safi, the IPO and the UN 'oil for food' program see:
Hanni Al Banna is the head of the Islamic Relief organisation and sits on the board of trustees of Yusef Islam's aka Cat Steven's Muslim Aid, a terrorist fundraising front which was on a list of Spanish police and accused of financing and recruiting Muhajideen (Al Qaeda ) fighters in Bosnia.
MIM: The United Nations show of approving a resolution which mentioned anti semitism was an attempt to placate the US, and for Anan try to save himself from the fallout of the 'oil for food scandel and the $50,000 dollar bribe to his son by a Swiss company. The UN made a big show of 'approving a resolution' dealing with 'anti semitism which also slyly included mention of rising intolerance against other religions'.
This mention of 'other religions' was the excuse for Islamists to organise a black tie dinner and intensive "Da'wa" effort to and spread Islam at the cost of the United States which Anan so despises.
The' Islamophobia seminar' included opening a photo exhibition to the public entitled 'ISLAM' in the UN headquarters building in New York which will no doubt serve as a recruiting point for new converts.
"The Islamophobia seminar comes more than two weeks after a UN General Assembly committee approved for the first time a resolution decrying an increase in anti-Semitism along with rising intolerance and violence directed at other religions.
However, observers have raised concerns that no other resolutions were approved by the world organization on hatred directed to religions other than Judaism
.Annan to Open Seminar on Combating Islamophobia
CAIRO, December 2 (IslamOnline.net) – UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will open on Tuesday, December 7, a seminar on combating Islamophobia through education, inclusion and example.
The "Confronting Islamophobia: Education for Tolerance and Understanding" seeks to examine different manifestations of intolerance and explore ways to promote respect and understanding among peoples, according to the UN Chronicle Online edition.
Annan warned in a black-tie dinner at the UN headquarters in January that Islamophobia poses a challenge to the spirit that he said unites peoples across the globe.
He said that since the 9/11 attacks "many Muslims, particularly in the West, have found themselves the objects of suspicion, harassment and discrimination."
"Too many people see Islam as a monolith and as intrinsically opposed to the West," he said.
"Caricature remains widespread and the gulf of ignorance is dangerously deep."
The event is the second of a series entitled "Unlearning Intolerance", organized by the Educational Outreach Section in the Outreach Division of the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).
As its name suggests, the series offers opportunities to discuss the effect of intolerance, wherever it exists and for whatever reason.
The seminar will be held in the UN headquarters, with panelists including eminent writers, scholars, theologians and experts on Islamophobia and other issues related to tolerance and education.
After Anna's opening statement, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University, will deliver a keynote address.
There will then be panel discussions offering different perspectives on Islamophobia, the role of education in fostering tolerance and understanding, and on ideas for confronting Islamophobia more effectively.
These discussions will allow the audience and the panelists to make comments and pose questions.
In the afternoon, the panelists will join in an overview of the day's discussions and further interact with the audience and each other.
The panelists include Ahmed Kamal Aboulmagd, a professor of Public Law, Cairo University; Judge, World Bank Administrative Tribunal; Member of the Academy of Islamic Research of Azhar, Cairo.
John L. Esposito, a university professor and founding director of the Georgetown University Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding, will also show up for the event.
Hany El-Banna, the president of the London-based Islamic Relief and Asma Gull Hasan, the author of "Why I Am a Muslim"; "American Muslims: The New Generation" will be also there.
A photo exhibition titled "ISLAM", by renowned Iranian photographer Abbas, will be open to the public on the same day at the Visitors' Entrance to UN headquarters.
This exhibition of his work is arranged by DPI in collaboration with Magnum Photos.
On the day of the seminar the International Film Festival for High School Students in New York will screen the film "Journey to the Sun" at the United Nations Dag Hammarskjِld Library Auditorium.
Directed by the young cinematographer, Yesim Ustaoglu, this award-winning film chronicles the story of friendship between two people and their understanding of human suffering caused by racial and ethnic intolerance.
The Islamophobia seminar comes more than two weeks after a UN General Assembly committee approved for the first time a resolution decrying an increase in anti-Semitism along with rising intolerance and violence directed at other religions.
However, observers have raised concerns that no other resolutions were approved by the world organization on hatred directed to religions other than Judaism.
The DPI launched the "Unlearning Intolerance" series at the mid-point of the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1998.
The first seminar of the series, held on 21 June, was on confronting anti-Semitism.
MIM : John Esposito -Sieg Halal!
"Do not be too quick to draw the Bid'a gun -least of all against Sheik Al Azhar"
MIM: John Esposito runs the Center for Christian Muslim Understanding at Georgetown University. His understanding of Muslims also includes their need for suicide bombings, as seen in the article below. http://www.islam-democracy.org/esposito_bio.asp
Not surprisingly, Esposito is also the director of the cynically named Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, a Saudi funded Wahabist "think tank" closely aligned with the IIIT which was raided in "Operation Greenquest" in connection with terrorism funding. Louay Safi, who is on the board of the CISD, and was the ' director of research' at the IIIT at the time of the JTTF raid. Louay Safi is also working with Hans Koechler, and the Center for Balanced Development.
Esposito's fellow panelist,at the 'Conference for Civilisational Dialouge', Roger Garaudy, Holocaust revisionist,ex Marxist and convert to Islam, had this to say in 2000 about the US and Jews:"The United States is an Israeli colony"..."Most of the members of the National Security Council are Jewish"...the Zionists hold the centers of influence and power in America"...http://islamonline.net/livedialogue/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=AYy2M3
Do not be too Quick to Draw the Bid'a Gun Against the Sheikh al-Azhar
Do not be too Quick to Draw the Bid'a Gun Against the Sheikh al-Azhar
The Conference for Civilisational Dialogue organised by the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue of Malaya University on Sept. 15-17, 1997 saw the meeting of some of the renown scholars of the world such as Prof. Tu Wei Ming, Dr. Roger Garaudy, Prof. Hans Koechler, Prof. Joseph Camillery, Prof. Chandra Muzaffar and, of course, Prof. John Esposito.
The matter which figured prominently at the three day conference was the so-called clash of civilisation thesis propounded by Bernard Lewis and brought to the fore by Prof. Samuel Huntington. In particular, arguments tended to converge on the fact that such a thesis was meant to demonise the perceived enemy so as to legitimate unwarranted actions that would otherwise be difficult to justify under ordinary circumstances.
Discussions had drifted into and around Huntington's social or cultural determinism of Islam as having, inevitably or otherwise, "bloody borders."
One of the most notable presentations was that of Prof. Esposito's. In his usual scholarly suave and candour, Esposito stated to the effect that in order to protect Western vested interests, Western powers in collusion with certain academic and media personalities have drawn a convenient picture of Islam as a monolith to be reckoned with. Three is, after all,
As Esposito stated, "Ayatollah Khomeini's call for other Islamic revolutions found ready believers not only in the Muslim world but also in the West. In France, Raymond Aron warned of 'the Islamic revolution wave' generated by 'the fanaticism of the Prophet and the violence of the people,' which the Ayatollah has [supposedly] unleashed."
"US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance stated that a major reason for his objection to a military mission to rescue American hostages in Iran was fear of an 'Islamic-Western war.... Khomeini and his followers, with a Shiite affinity for martyrdom, actually might welcome American military action as a way of uniting the Moslem world against the West'," added Esposito.
He also pointed out that it was Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated American columnist, who wrote, "History is being driven by another force as well: the political reawakening of the Islamic world."
As Esposito explained, it is a challenge all the more ominous because it is perceived to be pan- Islamic. It is a "global intifada," supposedly embracing not only the Islamic heartland but also occurring on the peripheries of the Muslim world where Islam confronts the non-Muslim communities: in Kashmir, Azerbaijan, (Kosovo) Yugoslavia, Lebanon and the
A similar attitude was expressed by Hirsh Goodman, whereby he stated that "the incipient threat we see facing Egypt - the inexorable spread of radical uncompromising, violent and militant Islamic fundamentalism - is by no means unique. Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, some Gulf states, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia are, in varying degrees, all in similar crisis."
Such slanted views were unfortunately affirmed by Muslim themselves. As M. J. Akbar, an Indian Muslim writer, noted that the West's "next confrontation is definitely going to come from the Muslim world. It is in the sweep of the Islamic nations from the Maghreb to Pakistan that the struggle for a new world order will begin."
Governments in the Middle East like Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Turkey have used not only the perceived regional "fundamentalist threat" but also its global threat to appeal for greater understanding and aid from the West to justify their crackdown and at times indiscriminate repression of Islamists. They do not distinguish between those who espouse a violent revolution to overthrow the political system and those who, operating within the system, challenge the power of political elites.
The Turkish government, no longer able to portray itself as a buffer state against the spread of communism to NATO's southern flank, is recasting itself as a buffer state and bulwark, only this time against revolutionary Islam. As the then-Prime Minister Tansu Ciller warned, if Turkey is not admitted to the European Economic Community, there "will be a
Such views or sentiments coming from the Muslim world itself have unfortunately lent credence to, among others, the repression of Palestinians by the Tel Aviv regime. "The Israeli government," said Esposito, "no longer able to present itself as the bulwark against the spread of communism in the Middle East, a role that powerfully justified substantial American aid, found in political Islam not only a domestic threat but also a new more virulent global threat."
Amongst Israel's typical arguments would be that "Our struggle against murderous Islamic terror is also meant to awaken the world, which is lying in slumber.... We call on all nations, all peoples to devote their attention to the great danger inherent in Islamic fundamentalism... This is a real and serious danger that threatens world peace... we stand on the line of fire against the danger of fundamentalist Islam."
Ironically, these or similar arguments were used by the Serbian terrorists in order to justify the genocide of Bosnian Muslims during the civil war of Bosnia Herzegovina.
Indeed, such irrationality has even gotten the better of some of the best among scholars. Bernard Lewis, in "The Roots of Muslim Rage", wrote that "Fundamentalist leaders are not mistaken in seeing in Western civilisation the greatest challenge to the way of life that they wish to retain or restore for their people.... It should now be clear that we are facing a
Such is truly irrational because Lewis refuses to examine particular problems or conflicts in light of the prevailing politics or the state of contemporary international affairs. He even asks that Western Christendom revive its crusader mentality of "them and us" in order to justify the continued domination or even subjugation of non-Western worlds. It is also irrational because he assumes that the Judaeo-Christian heritage is necessarily aligned with Western vested interests in sheer neglect of the needs or aspirations of the Third World in which reside a substantial number of Christians of non-European descent.
In light of these facts, during the question and answer session, I asked Prof. Esposito whether we should include in the list of those Muslims who contribute, inadvertently or otherwise, to the notion that Islam equals fundamentalism which equals terrorist violence, the Sheikh al-Azhar. After all, the Sheikh had recently declared the suicide bombings in Israel to be unequivocally Islamic, in that it is a legitimate form of self defense. I pointed out to Esposito that in accordance with the examples of the Prophet (pbuh), "jihad" is built upon the foundations of justice and compassion, not terror. Hence there can be no justification in the primary sources of the Shariah for suicide bombing, meaning that the Sheikh's "fatwa" is truly a "bid`a" or innovation of the worst kind, over and above the inconsistencies of logic inherent in his "fatwa".
In a rather long winded response, Esposito explained that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter; and that terrorism, as seen in the case of Israel's or the Tel Aviv regime's treatment of Palestinians, can and has been used to legitimate wanton violence and continued acts of oppression. However, surprisingly, Esposito added, "Although I have not read or come across the actual 'fatwa', as a rule, we must not be too quick to draw upon the 'bid`a' gun against anyone, not least of whom the Sheikh al-Azhar."
At such a point, the moderator for the session Prof. Syed Hussein al-Attas of Malaya University intervened and unequivocally stated that "such suicide bombings are unIslamic. How does anyone justify throwing a bomb into a bus filled with people who are not belligerent, let alone kill oneself in the process? And we know from the primary sources [Quran and Hadith] that women and children, the old and the sick are to be spared during battle. These suicide bombers are different from the Japanese kamikaze, whereby the latter would commit an act of selflessness, brought about by desperation, against legitimate military targets."
Hussein al-Attas words were met with silence.
Ahmad Faiz bin Abdul Rahman
19 September 1997.
MIM :From the 'United Nazis' to the 'Council on anti American Islamic Radicals':
Not surprisingly John Esposito is a rabid Fifth Columnist. Below he is touted as a 'Foreign Affairs Analyst' at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research under the Clinton presidency. What is not mentioned is that Esposito's deliberate underplaying of the threat which Bin Laden posed to the US may have led to major security failures which hindered the detection of the 9/11 attacks. In his NRO article "Exposing Esposito - How the academy infected intelligence' ,Stanley Kurtz wrote :
A report that the Clinton state department may have actually stopped our government from accepting vital intelligence on Osama bin Laden's activities offered by the government of Sudan raises a disturbing possibility. According to the report, a "politicized" state department passed up the opportunity to receive critical intelligence on bin Laden, simply because that intelligence did not fit the department's "conventional wisdom." But what was conventional wisdom at the state department, and where did it come from? Quite possibly it came from one John Esposito — the most prominent contemporary American scholar of Islam. Esposito has long been an advocate of political power for Islamic fundamentalists, and during the Clinton years Esposito served as a foreign-affairs analyst for the Near East and South Asia branch of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research at the state department. Esposito's bad advice may have had a great deal to do with the state department's foolish refusal even to look at critical intelligence on Osama bin Laden's activities.
Esposito's story has only recently been brought to public attention by Martin Kramer's extraordinarily important book, Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America.
MIM: John Esposito is also a member of the advisory board of the International Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the UK which is run by Azzam Tammi a known Hamas member. Board member Sheik Yusuf Al Qaradawi made the news last year when he issued a fatwa (religous ruling) stating that Muslim women were also Islamically obligated to become suicide bombers. Qaradawi was also linked to the Boston HUB mosque and to Abdulrahman Alamoudi, the director of the AMC who was jailed for 23 years on terrorism related charges. Basher Nafi, another IIPT board member fled the US during terrorism investigations involving his USF colleague Sami Al Arian. In 2003 Nafi was arrested by UK police on terrorism related charges.
IIPT BOARD MEMBERS
Board of Advisors
Esposito joins CAIR/aka IAP/Hamas as the 'Moderate friends of terror" and the CIOGC to celebrate 'The future of Islam in America'.
IL CIOGC 12 Annual Community Dinner
HAT: The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) announces its
Conference featuring John Esposito which included Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, the 'professor' who was brought to the University of Southern Florida by Sami Al Arian who left the school in 1995 to become the head of Islamic Jihad in Syria. At the beginning of the Iraq war Shallah urged Syrians to go to Iraq and become suicide bombers against the Americans.
A panel discussion on Isam and the West includes left to right, moderator Alan Godlas, UGA assistant professor of religion, and panel members Sulayman Nyang, professor African studies at Howard University; Amina Wadud-Muhsin, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University; Ramadan Abdullah, director of the World And Islam Studies Enterprise; and Ann Mayer, associate professor of legal studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
"...Speakers included Ramsey Clark, U.S. attorney general for the Johnson Administration; John Esposito, director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University; Kanan Makiya, research fellow at the Center of Middle East Studies at Harvard University; and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, university professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University..."
MIM: John Esposito listed as an 'advisory board member' of Koechler's 'The Center for Balanced Development' .Note that the weblink for Koechler's International Progress Organisation and the CBD are the same. TheIPO logo gives the impression that it is connected to the United Nations, as is Koechler who may be on the UN payroll as a special appointee of Kofi Annan.
The director of the CBD is Louay Safi, who wrote a letter to the United Nations Security Council to express "his and his colleagues at the CBD's concern at the growing degradation of life in Iraq".
Center for Balanced Development
Vienna, 6 November 1999/P/K/16656c-is
The President of the International Progress Organization, Professor Hans Koechler (Austria), has been appointed as member of the International Advisory Board of the newly-established Center for Balanced Development (CBD).
The Center is dedicated to helping emerging communities by studying the goals and consequences of developmental strategies, providing educational support, and advocating balanced development that combines economic growth with civic empowerment and political maturation.
The Center intends to generate cross-cultural dialogue among intellectuals of different cultural and religious backgrounds to bring about understanding and reform. One of the major research projects of the Center for Balanced Development is entitled "Global Governance: Who Speaks for the South?" This study is focused on the structure, the decision-making processes and the major actors in international organizations such as the UN, WTO, IMF, World Bank. The study attempts to find out the extent to which the interests of the peoples of developing countries are represented in the plans, policies, and programs of international organizations.
Other research projects deal with "Unequal Development: Sources, Remedies, and Consequences," and "Islam and the West: Civilizational Clash or Cultural Dialogue?"
The Center for Balanced Development is located at Sterling, Virginia (United States of America). Among the members of the International Advisory Board are Prof. Ali Mazrui, Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at the State University of New York, Professor John Esposito of Harvard University, and Mr. Mustafa Ceric, President of the Islamic Council of Bosnia (Sarajevo).
END/Center for Balanced Development/1999-11-06
Bellow is the full text of Dr. Safi's letter to the Security Council President.
His Excellency Moctar Ouane
Dear Mr. Moctar Ouane
I am writing to you to share with you my concerns, and those of my colleagues at the Center for Balanced Development, regarding the continued degradation of the state of human life in Iraq, and to join the growing number of individuals and organizations who have become convinced that the economic sanctions have given rise to humanitarian disaster of lasting material and moral impact. Many of us who are committed to a future based on the principles of justice, cooperation, and respect for human rights and dignity are astonished to see a society of over 22 million people being exposed to conditions that resemble those found in concentration camps. The images of starved children suffering from malnutrition bring to mind the prisoners of concentration camps under the Serb regime in Bosnia and the Nazi regime in pre-1945 Germany. Starving the children of Iraq and denying them decent education is unacceptable, particularly when the United Nations Security Council holds the key to stopping all the misery visited on them.
While I am aware that the economic sanctions are intended to curtail the aggression of the Iraqi regime, and to limit its ability to bully its neighbors, such an objective should, and can, be pursued, I believe, without putting the entire Iraqi population under extreme hardships and dangers.
The Security Council's sanctions are now contributing not only to the nutritional deprivation of the Iraqi people, but they have had debilitating effects on the education system. As such, the sanctions have become counterproductive, since they are breeding ignorance and illiteracy, the very conditions that give rise to tyrants and dictators. If the objective is to defeat the authoritarian regime of Iraq, a policy that create more openness and strengthen civil society institutions and projects should replace the current isolation imposed on Iraq. It is not difficult to see that rather than weakening Saddam's regime, the sanctions are playing to the hands of the Iraqi government by setting in place the very conditions which ensure its survival. After nine years of sanctions, Saddam's regime is as entrenched in power as it has ever been.
The oil for food plan has done very little to ease the suffering of the Iraqi people, and UNICEF and WHO reports show that the overall health, education, and poverty conditions continue to deteriorate. Apparently, those who need the food and medication the most are the last to receive them.
While Saddam's regime bear the main responsibility for leading the people of Iraq to two major wars with their neighbors, and for bringing destruction and adversity to millions of families both within and without, the United Nations Security Council holds the key to ending this sad situation. The Security Council must recognize that its efforts to fight Saddam's regime through economic sanctions has instead created a major catastrophe for the civilian population. If the sanctions are meant to destabilize the military regime of Saddam, as repeatedly argued by their defenders, the last nine years should provide sufficient proof of the futility of this strategy. A more meaningful approach to limit the capacity of the Iraqi government to commit aggression against its neighbors is to impose a military embargo.
I wish therefore to conclude my letter by urging you, and through you the members of the Security Council, to work towards lifting the economic sanctions as soon as possible, and to consider replacing them with an embargo on military technology and hardware. A military embargo can achieve the stated aim of preventing Iraq from threatening its neighbors without destroying the people of Iraq.
With PLO terrorist chief Arafat in Beirut in 1980
Hans Koechler in Baghdad with Tariq Aziz in 2000
Hans Koechler with Gaddafi and Ramsey Clark in Tripoli 1986
Recent UN conference in Chicago "The Future of World Order' organised together with Koechler's International Progress Organisation
MIM: The 'United Nazis' lives up to it's name and its anti Americanism as can be seen in this listing for hearings to protest the innocence of Nazis Kurt Waldheim and John Demanajuk . The hearings were called the "Dirty Side of the Department of Justice" and were organised by the neo facist LaRouche Foundation. Hans Koechler testified as did several former UN members.
226 "The Dirty Side of the U.S. Dept. of Justice"
PANEL II: The LaRouche Cases
MIM:Islamofacists at the United Nazis
Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar (third from left) meeting at United Nations Headquarters with an international peace delegation concerning the Iran-Iraq war: Dr. Hans Koechler, President of I.P.O. (right), Shah Ahmad Noorani Siddiqui, President of the World Islamic Mission, Pakistan (second from right), Field Marshal Abdul Rahman Sowar Al-Dahab, former Head of State of Sudan (third from right), Dr. Murad Ghaleb, Secretary-General of the Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organization (second from left), and Mousa Al-Mousawi, Iran (left) (New York, 16 June 1988)
MIM: In 2002 Hans Koechler was listed as a planned participant in this conference from the group Committee for Solidarity with the Arab Cause.
Comité de Solidaridad con la Causa Árabe
Arab Cause Solidarity Committee
Carretas 33 2º F-G, Madrid, 28012. Spain
Pone & Fax: 00.34.91.531.75.99 / e-Mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AGAINST THE WAR
IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE IRAQI PEOPLE
Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th of November, 2002
Dear Mr. Collon,
As you know, in recent months the Bush Administration has begun preparations for a full-scale war against Iraq, which would lead to a change of that country's political regime. Although these preparations are being presented by the US and Great Britain as falling within what has been termed, after the terrible events of September 11, the "Global War on Terrorism", the determination of the US to proceed with a final attack on Iraq is in fact anterior to that date, having already been formulated by the Clinton Administration. What is more, after trying unsuccessfully to implicate Iraq in the September 11 attacks, the Bush Administration no longer considers it necessary to find a connection between Iraq and the attacks on Washington and New York in order to justify such an attack on Iraq. At present, the Bush Administration feels that not even the eventual return of UN disarmament inspectors to the country would be a determining factor in avoiding an intervention.
At the same time, the 12-year-old regime of sanctions, with its grave consequences, is still being maintained against the civilian population of Iraq, with the measures taken by the UN to palliate the effects of the embargo –the "oil-for-food" program"– serving barely to check a greater deterioration in living conditions, as has been denounced by both of the former UN coordinators for Iraq, Mr. Dennis Halliday and Mr. Hans von Sponeck. Moreover, these measures, as in the case of the recent resolution 1409, approved in May by the Security Council, permit the US administration to deceive an international public opinion which has become more and more aware of the genocidal impact of the sanctions, as well as to gain time to prepare for the war.
Although faced with the demand for the lifting of sanctions and for a negotiated resolution to the problem –along the lines of the talks held since the beginning of this year by the Iraqi government and the Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan, with the support of the Arab League–, the Bush Administration seems determined to initiate a new war in the Middle East, of unimaginable consequences and for which a date has even been fixed: the beginning of next year.
It is for this reason that the Arab Cause Solidarity Committee (ACSC), within the framework of the Spanish Campaign for Lifting Sanctions on Iraq (SCLSI), wishes to organise in Madrid an International Conference against the War: In Solidarity with the Iraqi People to be held next November 16th and 17th , dates around which the Iraqi sanctions regime is scheduled to be renewed and during which Mr. Dennis Halliday and Mr. Hans von Sponeck will be in Spain.
In addition to its Opening and Closing Sessions, the Conference will be structured in two thematic Sessions: (1) "The Iraqi Sanctions Regime: Humanitarian Impact and Legal Aspects" and (2) "US Policy in the Middle East: the Palestinian Question and the Prevision of a War on Iraq after the September 11 Attacks"; and two Round-Table Discussions: (1) "Information and Manipulation: Setting the Stage for a New War" and (2) "The World after the September 11:Confronting the the Global War abroad and the Restrictions on Civil Rights inside".
As we are aware of your concern and commitment regarding this question, we would likte to invite you to participate in this new activity of the ACSC/SCLSI in its First Round-Table.
Travel, board and lodging expenses during your stay in Madrid will be covered by the organization. Please, let us know your attendance as soon as possible in order to prepare the final Conference programme and to arrange your ticket and stay in Madrid. If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We remain entirely at your service and hope that you will accept our invitation.
With the warmest regards,
Madrid, June 25, 2002
The participation of Mr. D. Halliday and Mr. H. von Sponeck has been confirmed. In addition to this, we have extended invitations to the following persons:
Santiago Alba Rico (philosopher and writer, Spain); Paz Andrés Sáenz de Santa María (professor of Public International law, Universidad de Ovierdo, Asturias, Spian) Ahmed Ben Bella (first President of Algeria); Phyllis Bennis (Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, USA); Ray Bristow (British Gulf War veteran affected with Gulf War Syndrome); Jutta Burghardt (former Director of the World Food Program in Iraq, Germany); Ramsey Clark (former Attorney General of the United States, President of the International Action Center); Aida Dabbas (Popular Committee for the Defence of Iraq, Jordan);
George Galloway (Labour Party MP, and President of Mariam Appeal, Great Britain); Ernesto Gómez Abascal (Member of the Central Committee of the Comunist Party, Cuba);Elias Khouri (representative to the UN of the Arab Lawyers Union/Union des Juristes Arabes, Switzerland); Hans Koechler (President of the International Progress Organization, Austria); ); Pedro Martínez Montávez (professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain); Patrick Moriau (Député Féderal, PS, Belgium); Naim Abu Tair (Union of Health Work Committees, Beit Sahour, Palestine); Luis Mesa Delmonte (researcher and former Director of CEAMO, Cuba); Ahmed Ould Daddah (President of the Rassemblement des Forces Démocratiques Party, Mauretania); Ignacio Ramonet (Director of Le Monde Diplomatique, France); Graham Usher (Middle East International correspondent in East Jerusalem) Scott Ritter (former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, is author of "Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem, Once and for All", 1999, USA); a representative of ANSWER (Coalition Act Now to Stop War and Racism, USA); a representative from Iraq; Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (writer, Spain); Denis Viénot (President of Caritas Europe, France).
In 1995 Hans Koechler did his bit for Islamphobia at this pre 9/11 workshop aptly entitled : "Images of Islam- Terrorising the Truth"
At an international workshop on "Images of Islam: Terrorizing the Truth," the President of the International Progress Organization, Dr. Hans Koechler, presented the campaign against Professor Annemarie Schimmel as a typical case of the anti-Islamic bias of important sectors of Western Society. In his presentation to the workshop, Professor Koechler focused on the historical causes of stereotypes of Islam in Europe and on the West's tendency to create a new "enemy stereotype" after the vanishing of the Soviet threat..
'Islamophobia in the UK'...
Muslims in the UK also did their bit for 'Islamophobia' this month by organising an "Islam Awareness Week".
Which begs the question as to where it is written that people have to like Muslims - and if a non Muslim who accords the same respect which Muslims show to "infidels" and "British and American kuffars" could call themselves "Islamistanthropes?"
'Halal meat, Headscarves, and Terrorism vs. Othello, Macbeth, and Thespianism at the Globe.
"Dr Dawud Noibi, a former Islamic consultant of the London-based Iqra Trust, suggested that Muslims should be good neighbors as their belief in life after death influences their actions and behavior in life on earth.
Unfortunately, his implication that non-Muslims are "wicked infidels" did not go down very well with those keen to learn about Islam and their Muslim neighbors, and undid quite a bit of the good of the first speaker.(!)
Shakespeare and Islam: Good Neighbors?
Ever heard of Shakespeare and Islam being mentioned in one sentence? If not, then you probably haven't been to the UK this autumn, particularly during the week of November 22-28. Let me explain.
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB) organized a Shakespeare and Islam season for the autumn of 2004. The theme for this year's Islam Awareness Week was "Your Muslim Neighbor."
As part of this cooperation, a souk, or traditional Arabian market, was arranged during the last weekend of November in the reconstruction of Shakespeare's original Globe Theatre. According to the leaflet advertising the event, this souk would include "fantastic winter shopping opportunities." This was very true, so I was glad that I left most of my money at home, or I would be bankrupt by now. Anyway, just window shopping was very satisfying for the eyes and ears. The souk also included art and craft demonstrations by the Prince's School of Traditional Art, an exhibition of photography by Peter Sanders, a series of "souk talks," and "wisdom-oriented entertainment" by the Khayaal Theatre Company.
Considering the time they had been allocated, speakers at the "souk talks" were encouraged to be very "souk-cinct"—how else, for example, could one explain basics of the faith and the history of Islam in just 30 minutes? It was a very diverse series of talks ranging from the practical "Islamic Calligraphy" to the multiple identities of human beings in "A Muslim Female Trajectory," and from a preachy presentation on "The concept of the Hereafter in Islam" to the bubbly young journalist who at the last minute took over from the original speaker on "Halal meat, Headscarves, and Terrorism."
According to the first speaker of the day, Hassan Abedin from the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OXCIS) who lectured on "Islam in the Modern World," Ramadan is like a month-long New Year's resolution. He reminded us that although Islam is often popularly thought of as being an Arab religion, the top five countries with the highest Muslim populations are lands which are far away from Arabia, such as Indonesia. Even though Syria and Jordan, for example, are known as Muslim countries, France has more Muslims (5 million) than either Syria or Jordan (3.2 million each).
Dr Dawud Noibi, a former Islamic consultant of the London-based Iqra Trust, suggested that Muslims should be good neighbors as their belief in life after death influences their actions and behavior in life on earth. Unfortunately, his implication that non-Muslims are "wicked infidels" did not go down very well with those keen to learn about Islam and their Muslim neighbors, and undid quite a bit of the good of the first speaker. Some excellent advice he had for Muslims though was that we should always remember that all our actions are recorded far more meticulously than CCTV cameras and DVD can ever record.
Mr. Nasser Mansour, an Islamic calligrapher and teacher at the Prince's School of Traditional Arts, mentioned that the modern version of the saying "the pen is mightier than the sword" would be "the computer is more powerful than the atom bomb." During his talk, he focused on the four stages of making a traditional pen from material similar to bamboo—opening, sharpening, slitting, and clipping. For non-Arab speakers it was funny to hear that a pen gets tested by writing the Arabic letter waw, which looks similar to the English letter g or the number 9.
The overriding advice of Zarah Hussein, a young female journalist, speaking instead of scheduled Fareena Alam, who had to travel to Syria at the last minute, was that if we want our non-Muslim neighbors to understand us better, more Muslims should work in the media. She mentioned that ignorance about Islam is the greatest fuel for Islamophobia. As most of us get our information from the media, it is not enough for her alone, the only hijabi at the BBC (besides the cleaner) during 9/11, to carry the torch. It is important for us to explain that the vast majority of Muslims are just as interested in housing, education, and crime prevention as anybody else, though we do have to differentiate between Islam and our cultural peculiarities.
By 3 p.m. it was time for a talk on "Art and Alchemy" by Mr. David Cranswick, who is a traditional painter with a doctorate from the Prince of Wales Institute in London. The word alchemy comes from the Arabic word al-kimiya or al-khimiya, meaning cast together, or pour together, or weld, or alloy, and so on. The main element from this talk was the organization of colors with the help of the seven visible planets: That is, Mars, for example, carries colors from ochre to brown and Venus carries colors such as blue and green. Could that be where John Gray got his inspiration from when he argued that "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"?
Dr. Matthew Birchwood is a visiting scholar at the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, Queen Mary University in London and is specialized in the role of Islam in literary-political discourses of the seventeenth century in England. He, along with Dr. Matthew Dimmock, who is an English Lecturer at the University of Sussex, was allotted a talk on "Icons and Infidels." They focused on two visits by Moroccan ambassadors to seventeenth century England (it is amazing how much paintings can say about politics and religion!). They started off with the sad statement that 500 years on, the Moors are, once again, about to be evicted from Spain.
Sarah Joseph, the chief editor of EMEL magazine, an Islamic lifestyle magazine, mentioned that she was recently asked to squeeze herself into a description of just three words. Having so many identities and character aspects, the main thing she could mention was being human. Although she is obviously not unique in that respect, it did clarify that we have the capacity to relate to other human beings instead of always identifying ourselves as a minority: We can perceive ourselves as part and parcel of society, as human as our non-Muslim neighbors.
After mentioning having a very thick skin and being willing to handle any question, she was asked about the famous wife-beating clause in the Qur'an. She answered that, although this clause was not the one that had tipped her over the edge to decide to become Muslim some 17 years ago, she stated that with proper questioning of the historical context and interpretation of the verse, it was clear that far from introducing domestic violence, it actually sought to extinguish it. What it meant to convey is that partners who "have words" don't automatically get a one way ticket to Hell. The life of the Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) is, again, our great example in this respect.
To end the day, Dr Matthew Birchwood spoke again, this time about the "Alchoran," the first translation of the Qur'an into English, dating back to 1649. This shows that Islam has been a good neighbor in the UK for much longer than the Asian invasion of the 1950s.
With all these interesting talks to attend, there was little time left to listen to the three short plays and the collection of short stories specially produced for the occasion by the British Khayaal (Arabic for imagination) Theatre Company. Just looking at them for a bit, though, on the brilliantly decorated stage and wearing beautiful, historical outfits, it was easy to drift off and believe I was actually in Arabia as it was a few centuries ago.
Finally, judging by the accents, there were quite a few of our neighbors present from across the pond. According to one of the people who had come from the US, many had come over to London as students, and they had been joined this weekend by vacationers using Thanksgiving as an excuse to visit their neighbors on the other side of the ocean.
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/337