Thursday, 14 August 2008

Correspondence with Kesav Pillai & Kannan

Dear Mr. Pillai and Mr. Kannan

I’ve been following a series of your email messages that were primarily targeting Islam and its prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). A news item from Saudi Arabia that dates back to 2002 was picked up by someone to show that Muslims are savages and there were some comments about the Prophet too.

While I acknowledge your freedom to make any comments on anything under the sun or beyond it, do not assume that what you were propagating all these days was the only thing that is happening in the world. I can cite hundreds of examples of barbaric things that are happening in and around the world to say that the religion of those people who commit those barbaric act is savage and violent. But, I would not blame such things on someone’s faith because of common sense. Moreover, my faith also prevents me from doing so. For instance, I can’t ever say that the acts of the Ranbir Sena, a ruthless army owned by upper caste Hindus in Bihar who has earned notoriety by mercilessly murdering thousands of low caste Hindus there, are happening because of the Hindu religion. (Read this Indian Express article on this: http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/ie/daily/19990315/iex15088.html)

Also, those who paraded a dalit woman naked in the streets of Bellary, Uttar Pradesh were not doing that because Hinduism preaches them to do so. (Read the Hindu article on this: http://www.hinduonnet.com/2001/08/28/stories/01280006.htm) I can easily differentiate between the religious teachings and the barbarous acts of some of its followers.

In Madhya Pradesh, when a group of villagers burned Kuttu Bai, 65, in the funeral fire of her husband in the name of "sati" (Read BBC report on this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2180380.stm), it was not the religion at fault, but people who were interpreting religious teachings for their vested interests were at fault. Examples are galore, but for sensible people, these are enough.

Now coming back to the Prophet’s subject, one of the main accusations against him is that he was advocating violence. Historical facts are at stake here. As I said before, for the sake of criticism, you can merely criticize anyone under the sun. But, if we do not want to sacrifice our integrity and show justice to history, we should be honest with historical facts that no one can deny. How can a man who and whose followers were mercilessly tortured by the polytheists of Makkah for continuous 13 years and who did not raise a single hand against his enemies throughout this period be described a preacher of violence? The Makkans imposed a tight embargo on him and his entire family and were cornered in a valley called Shiab Abi Talib for continuous three years and they were even eating leaves of trees to survive. Throughout this period, nobody was allowed by the Prophet to raise their hands against their enemies. His companions were tortured to such an extent that they used to come to him and tell him that why you are not doing anything to stop this from happening? His only response was to show patience. Even after migrating to Madina after these harsh 13 years, he was wishing for peace and wanted to lead a peaceful life. However, when the Quraish hunted him down there as well, he began to defend against such a ruthless enemy. And after conquering Makkah during his eight’th year in Madina, he pardoned the very people who fought him with such brutal force. These are historical facts no one can deny. Read articles by independent historians to get a clear picture. (For your reference, I'm attaching a PowerPoint presentation, please read it before you make any comment).

So, my friendly and sincere call to you is not to sacrifice your own integrity for the sake of criticism. Get your facts straight and do justice to history.

In the meantime, do not think that I justify any of those savage acts committed by Muslims elsewhere. But, my suggestion is that we should all stand together to fight barbaric acts by people of all faiths. They do not represent any religion, but own vested interests.

Wishing you all the best…

Taj Aluva
Email: tajaluva@gmail.com
Blog: www.tajaluva.blogspot.com

Monday, 4 August 2008

Correspondence with Mr. Jack Stone

Dear Mr. Stone,

It seems to me that your response missed the main point of the conversation: what I was trying to convey through the following incidents was that throughout the recent history of mankind, it was not any religion that precipitated the unjustified killing of innocent people, but the people who misrepresented it. I’m totally in agreement with you when Hitler, born into a Roman Catholic family, (your claim that he was an atheist is doubtful and you can clear it from this link: http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/mischedj/ca_hitler.html) killed millions of Jews he was not representing Christianity. I also agree with you when you say, Stalin, though being born into a Christian family, was a communist and killed hundreds of thousands of people to preserve his regime. The Japanese, whose majority believe in Buddhism, attacked Pearl Harbor killing more than 2,000 US soldiers and a few civilians, and the US, whose majority believe in Christianity, dropped two atom bombs in retaliation and killed 280,000 civilians and rendered another 200,000 homeless in the worst ever attack in human history on civilians. In Gujarat (unfortunately you are wrong here) at least 2000 people were killed by some fanatics who misrepresent the great religion of Hinduism. In the run up to setting up their homeland in Palestine and afterwards, Israel, which is a Jewish state, either killed or displaced five million Palestinians (refer to: www.guardian.150m.com/palestine/israeli-massacres.htm).

In all these incidents, we don’t blame any religion for the killings undertaken by the perpetrators. Then, whey would Osama Bin Laden’s religion is blamed for the unscrupulous terrorist attacks which killed innocent civilians? That is the point of contention here. If you do not call those who unleashed atom bombs against innocent civilians "Christian terrorists", but describe them as mere life-savers, why would you call a person, who was born into a Muslim family, an Islamic terrorist, though he misrepresents the Islamic values?

So, my point is clear. Let’s all – people of all religions and faiths – denounce terrorism in whatever form, whether it’s undertaken by a government or a group of misled and misinformed individuals. We can never compensate the pains and sufferings of a family that lost a loved one – whether they are Christian, Muslim or Hindu. Let’s all stand up for the common and shared values that the humanity cherished for ever and make this earth a peaceful place to live in harmony.

Having said this, please note that Islam or its holy book, The Quran, does not propagate terrorism as a tool to preach its teachings. Instead, it says: "Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious." (Chapter 16, Verse: 125).

One of the main teachings of Holy Quran is this: "If anyone slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people." (Chapter 5, Verse 13)

Thaj Aluva
Email: tajaluva@gmail.com
Blog: http://www.tajaluva.blogspot.com/



From: Jack Stone [mailto:jackstoneisright@gmail.com] Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2008 7:18
To: tajaluva@gmail.com

Can anyone forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Who did this?
THE JAPANESE. THEY ATTACKED THE UNITED STATES AT PEARL HARBOR WITHOUT PROVOCATION. THEY REFUSED TO STOP THE WAR. THEY STARTED THE WAR. THE USA ENDED IT.
Who used weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the history of mankind?
THE GERMANS IN WORLD WAR I
Can anyone forget Hitler? He was a Roman Catholic.
NO HE WAS NOT A ROMAN CATHOLIC. HE WAS A SATAN WORSHIPPER. EVIDENCE OF THE OCCULT IN THE NAZIS REGIME HAS BEEN SHOWN VERY STRONGLY. AGAIN, YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND CHRISTIANITY. YOU CANNOT BE A CHRISTIAN SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU LIVE IN A "CHRISTIAN" COUNTRY.

Can anyone forget Vietnam War and the chemical weapons used to kill poor Vietnamese? Who did this, Muslims?
NO WEAPONS WERE USED TO KILL POOR VIETNAMESE. THE USA DEFENDED AND PROTECTED THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE FROM ATTACKS BY THE NORTH VIETNAMESE. THE USA GOT BETWEEN VICIOUS ATTACKERS FROM THE NORTH WHO WERE TRYING TO KILL THE PEOPLE IN THE SOUTH. AS ALWAYS, THE USA WAS DEFENDING HUMAN LIFE AND PROTECTING PEOPLE. ONLY THE VICIOUS MURDERERS WERE KILLED BY THE USA.
Can anyone forget Stalin who killed millions of people in Russia? He was a Christian.
AGAIN, STALIN WAS NOT A CHRISTIAN. STALIN WAS AN ATHEIST. ONLY ATHEISTS -- WHO REJECT GOD -- COULD BE LEADERS IN THE COMMUNIST SOVIET UNION.
Can any civilized man forget Abu Gharaib prison torture in Iraq?
NO, BECAUSE THE USA PUT THOSE PEOPLE IN JAIL WHO DID THIS. THEY WILL NOT FORGET WHILE THEY ARE SITTING IN JAIL HOW THE USA PUNISHED THEM.

BUT SO WHAT? SOME IRAQIS HAD SOME UNDERWEAR ON THEIR HEAD AND HAD TO TAKE THEIR CLOTHES OFF. THEY WILL THANK ALLAH THAT THEY WERE NOT IN SADDAM'S PRISONS. THEY WOULD BE TORTURED FOR YEARS, AND HAVE PARTS OF THEIR BODY CUT OFF BY SADDAM HUSSEIN. THEY ARE VERY LUCKY.

Can anyone forget Oklahoma bombing? Who did this? Timothy McVeigh was a homegrown product.
NO, ACTUALLY, IT HAS BEEN PROVEN THAT TIMOTHY MCVEIGH HAD HELP FROM IRAQ.
Can anyone forget the killing fields in Cambodia? Paul Pot was a Christian.
AGAIN, POL POT WAS A COMMUNIST. ONLY AN ATHEIST -- WHO REJECTS GOD -- CAN BE A LEADER IN A COMMUNIST COUNTRY. POL POT WAS NOT A CHRISTIAN. HE REJECTED GOD.
Can anyone forget 2 World Wars? How many millions of people died in these wars? Who fought these two wars?
ATHEISTS WHO REJECT GOD STARTED THESE WARS. THE USA SAVED THE WORLD
Can any human being justify the killing and destruction of one country, Afghanistan, by America in order to capture one man, Osama Bin Laden?
YES, BECAUSE THERE IS NO DESTRUCTION OF AFGHANISTAN BY THE USA . MUSLIM JIHADISTS DESTROYED AFGHANISTAN FOR 10 YEARS IN THE 1990'S.

THAT IS WHY WHEN THE USA CAME INTO HELP, 90% OF THE FIGHTERS DESTROYING THE TALIBAN WERE AFGHAN FIGHTERS DESTROYING THE TALIBAN.

NOW AFGHANISTAN IS STRONGER AND BETTER THAN IT HAS BEEN IN 20-30 YEARS. THE USA HAS BLESSED AFGHANISTAN WITH PEACE AND GROWING ECONOMIC PROSPERITY.

Can any human being justify the killing and destruction of one great country, Iraq, by America in the name of WMD and which was proved later as a big lie? Bush is a Born-Again Christian.
AGAIN, THE ONLY DESTRUCTION IN IRAQ HAS BEEN BY MUSLIMS -- SADDAM HUSSEIN, AL QAEDA AND IRAQI MUSLIMS. MUSLIMS HAVE BEEN KILLING MUSLIMS IN IRAQ. THE USA HAS STOOD BETWEEN THESE MUSLIM KILLERS AND THEIR MUSLIM VICTIMS.

THIS IS WHY IRAQI MUSLIMS ARE NOW MARCHING IN THE STREETS SIDE BY SIDE WITH US SOLDIERS. THEY KNOW THAT THE MUSLIM JIHADISTS ARE THE EVIL ENEMY, AND THE US SOLDIERS ARE THEIR FRIENDS.

WE KNOW THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN HAD WMD'S. SADDAM MOVED THEM TO SYRIA.
IRAQ NOW HAS HOPE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 50 YEARS, AND IS MUCH BETTER OFF THAN BEFORE.

Can anyone forget the Crusades against Muslims in the 10th century? Who did this?
YES, CHRISTIAN EUROPE DEFENDED ITSELF AGAINST INVASIONS BY MUSLIMS, AND THE MURDER OF CHRISTIANS BY MUSLIMS. THE EVIL OF MUSLIMS HAS NEVER CHANGED. BUT WHEN OUR ARMIES COME OVER THERE AND KICK YOUR BUTTS, THEN THERE IS PEACE. THE CRUSADES WERE A RESPONSE TO MUSLIM EVIL.
The French killed about a million Muslims in Algeria because they wanted independence. Who did this, Muslims?
NOT FAMILIAR WITH THIS, BUT FROM THE HISTORY OF MUSLIMS (A) THEY LIE ABOUT THE NUMBERS KILLED -- ALWAYS, (B) MUSLIMS ALWAYS START WARS.
The USA and Britain have killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
FALSE. THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT SAYS THAT 150,000 IRAQIS HAVE BEEN KILLED. 90% OF THESE WERE KILLED BY MUSLIMS. IT WAS A CIVIL WAR BETWEEN DIFFERENT MUSLIM GROUPS.

THE USA AND UK HAVE PROTECTED THE MUSLIM CIVILIANS FROM BEING KILLED BY OTHER MUSLIMS. MUSLIM = EVIL. USA = GOOD.

Serbs (Christians) have killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims and raped thousands of women in Bosnia and Kosovo. Who did this crime beyond comparison in human history?
ACTUALLY, BOTH SIDES KILLED THE OTHER. THE USA CAME TO PROTECT THE MUSLIMS IN BOSNIA AND KOSOVO.
THE USA IS THE BEST FRIEND OF MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD.

BUT, AGAIN, THE SERBS ARE NOT CHRISTIANS. SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU LIVE IN A HISTORICALLY CHRISTIAN COUNTRY DOES NOT MAKE YOU A CHRISTIAN.
The massacre of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut was not done by Muslims, but by Christians of Lebanon, protected and supported by the Israelis.
ACTUALLY, WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED INSIDE THE CAMPS. ISRAEL DID NOT SUPPORT THIS.
HOWEVER, AGAIN, YOU CANNOT BE A CHRISTIAN BY SIMPLY CALLING YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN. THAT IS NOT WHAT CHRISTIANITY IS.
The genocide of Bosnian Muslims is committed by the Serbs (Greek Orthodox), and the Croats (Catholics). The Bosnian Muslims were denied the means to defend themselves, while Christians were given arms to kill Muslims.
REPEAT: SEE ABOVE. THE USA USED THE POWER OF THE GREATEST MILITARY ON EARTH TO DEFEND AND PROTECT THE MUSLIMS
The fight between the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland is not the work of Muslims.
TRUE. BUT, AGAIN, ONE IS NOT A CHRISTIAN BY SIMPLY LIVING IN A HISTORICALLY CHRISTIAN COUNTRY. THESE PEOPLE WERE NOT CHRISTIANS.
The Ku Klux Klan is a white militant Christian fundamentalist group. They still exist in the USA, and are not banned. They are not accused as white militant Christian fundamentalists.
NO, THESE ARE NOT CHRISTIANS.
The invasion of Panama by the US Government and putting President Noriega in jail is not considered state terrorism or a state fundamentalism. It was considered liberation of that country and offering the people the so called "American democracy". The ordinary, innocent citizens of this country were slaughtered, imprisoned and tortured.
YES, NORIEGA DID SLAUGHTER, IMPRISON, AND TORTURE THE PEOPLE OF PANAMA. THE USA SAVED THEM. THAT IS TRUE.
In Chile, US brought down the democratically elected government of Salvadore Allende and installed the right-wing military dictator General Augusto Pinochet. The ordinary, innocent citizens of this country were slaughtered, imprisoned and tortured.
THE US DID NOT BRING DOWN A GOVERNMENT. THE USA NEVER SENT IN ANY TROOPS. ALL THE USA CAN DO IS SUPPORT ONE SIDE OR ANOTHER INSIDE CHILE. THE PEOPLE OF CHILE DID THIS.
The invasion of a tiny island Grenada by the U.S. Government and the shackling of its president as a slave are considered a liberation movement, but not a state of terrorism. The ordinary, innocent citizens of this country were slaughtered, imprisoned and tortured.
NO ONE WAS SLAUGHTERED, IMPRISONED, OR TORTURED IN GRENADA, EXCEPT THE CUBAN
TROOPS OCCUPYING THE ISLAND OF GRENADA. AS SOON AS THE USA LANDED, EVERYONE SURRENDERED, EXCEPT A SMALL NUMBER OF CUBANS.
Number slaughtered: 0
Number imprisoned: 0
Number tortured: 0

The attack of Libya by American weapons during the Reagan administration was not considered terrorism or fundamentalism, but part of the New World Order scheme.
AND IT STOPPED LIBYAN TERRORISM, AND KEPT PEOPLE SAFE ALL THROUGH THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE WORLD.
The attack on the nuclear reactor in Baghdad by Israelis was considered a heroic achievement of the government of Israel, but not terrorism and fundamentalism.
AND IT STOPPED SADDAM HUSSEIN FROM BUILDING NUCLEAR WEAPONS, AND KEPT PEOPLE SAFE ALL THROUGH THE MIDDLE EAST AND THE WORLD.
Fundamentalism as explained by Webster Dictionary has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims. It has coined with reference to Christianity.
Fundamentalism is a variation of any religion.
Holy War and the idea of the infidels are terminologies that have to do with the Christian crusaders.
NO, THE MUSLIMS INVADED SPAIN, AND INVADED EUROPE UP TO VIENNA. THE HOLY WAR WAS STARTED BY THE MUSLIMS WHO INVADED EUROPE.
THE CRUSADERS RESPONDED TO MUSLIM EVIL AND MUSLIM WAR BY TRYING TO STOP THE MUSLIM AT THEIR SOURCE. EUROPEANS GOT TIRED OF FIGHTING MUSLIMS IN EUROPE, AND DECIDED TO CUT THEM OFF AT THEIR SOURCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

The massacre beyond comparison has happened and is still happening in Chechnya and innocent people including women and children are brutally killed and raped every day. Who is doing this?
ATHEST RUSSIANS AND EX-COMMUNISTS, WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD.
Innocent people including women and children are brutally killed everyday in Palestine. The Israel, for half a century destroying the Palestinian people and their houses with the help of arms and financial and moral support provided by the USA.
THE ONLY INNOCENT PEOPLE BEING BRUTALLY KILLED IN PALESTINE ARE THE JEWS. ISRAEL LIVES AT PEACE WITH EGYPT. ISRAEL LIVES AT PEACE WITH JORDAN. BUT NO ONE CAN LIVE AT PEACE WITH EVIL PALESTINIANS, WHO ARE MURDERERS.
The people including women and children in Iraq have been killed during the war and 12 years long sanctions. 500,000 children under age 5 would have alive today if sanctions did not exist. This hijacking and hostage taking of Iraq was done by the so called civilized people.
NO, THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT SAYS THE NUMBER IS 150,000 -- AND 90% OF THOSE WERE KILLED BY MUSLIMS KILLING MUSLIMS IN A CIVIL WAR.
THE NUMBER KILLED BY 12 YEARS OF SANCTIONS: 0

SADDAM HUSSEIN HAD A RIGHT TO SELL ALL THE OIL HE WANTED TO BUY ALL THE FOOD AND MEDICINE HE WANTED.

IF SADDAM HUSSEIN DID NOT BUY ENOUGH FOOD OR MEDICINE, THAT IS THE EVIL OF SADDAM HUSSEIN, NOT THE SANCTIONS.

AGAIN: THE SANCTIONS DID NOT COVER FOOD OR MEDICINE.

THERE WERE NO SANCTIONS AGAINST FOOD OR MEDICINE.

SO HOW MANY TIMES WILL YOU LISTEN TO LIARS? IT IS TRUE THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN KILLED MILLIONS OF IRAQIS.

BUT DO NOT COUNT THE PEOPLE THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN KILLED AGAINST THE USA.

Innocent boys and girls were killed in Afghanistan during Russian and American invasion.
THE ATHEIST COMMUNIST GOVERNMENT OF THE SOVIET UNION, WHICH REJECTS GOD, KILLED BOYS AND GIRLS, AND EVEN MADE BOMBS THAT LOOKED LIKE TOYS.
NO INNOCENT BOYS AND GIRLS HAVE BEEN KILLED BY THE AMERICAN LIBERATION OF AFGHANISTAN.

YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE USA DOES NOT FIGHT WARS LIKE YOU BLOODTHIRSTY, SAVAGE, MUSLIM TERRORISTS. WE DO NOT FIGHT YOUR TYPE OF WAR. WE FIGHT AGAINST THE MILITARY. WE DO NOT KILL CIVILIANS.

How many people were killed in Gujarat in 2002? Who did this?
MUSLIMS

Jack Stone

Sunday, 3 August 2008

The essential lessons of the Prophet’s ascension

BY THAJ ALUVA

“GLORY to (God) Who did take His servant for a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We did Bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the one Who heareth and seeth (all things).”
— Holy Quran, 17:1
AL ISRAA Wal Mairaj was a very important event in the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Arabic word Al Israa literally means night journey and Al Mairaj means ascension referring to the passage of the Prophet from the Sacred Mosque (in Makkah) to the Farthest Mosque (Al Aqsa in Jerusalem) in a night and his ascension to the seven heavens in the same night where he was shown some of the signs of God.
On the night of Al Israa, the Prophet was in the house of his cousin Hind, daughter of Abu Talib, who was also called Umm Hani. Hind related that “The Messenger of God spent the night prayers and went to sleep. Just before dawn, the Prophet of God awoke us and we all offered the Fajr (dawn) prayers together. Following the prayers, Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, ‘O Umm Hani, I offered the night prayer in this place with you and then I went to Jerusalem and I prayed there, and as you see, I have just finished praying with you the dawn prayer.’ I answered, ‘O Prophet of God, do not tell this to the people, for they will not believe you and harm you.’ He said, ‘By God, I shall tell them.”
The Hadith literature and the Prophet’s biographies offer a detailed account of this miraculous but real journey, which drew criticism from polytheists of Makkah. Even some of those who followed Muhammad (peace be upon him) and believed in him began to have their doubts (about the journey).
Al Israa Wal Mairaj as narrated in Hadith literature and biographies was: On the night of Al Israa, the Prophet was awakened by Angel Gabriel who led a fantastic steed, called Buraq (lightning); it approached the Prophet, allowed him to mount and was off like an arrow over the mountains of Makkah and the sands of the desert toward the North.
The archangel accompanied them on this prodigious flight. When they reached Jerusalem, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prayed in Al Aqsa Mosque along with other Prophets of God who preceded him. Then, he mounted to the seven heavens. There he met the angels and was taken near the Throne of God. Holy Quran records the event thus: “By the Star when it goes down, your Companion is neither astray nor being misled, nor does he say (aught) of his own desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him: He was taught by One Mighty in power, endued with wisdom: for He appeared (in stately form) while He was in the highest part of the horizon. Then he approached and came closer; and was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer; So did (God) convey the inspiration to His Servant – (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey. The (Prophet’s) (mind and) heart in no way falsified that which he saw. Will ye then dispute with him concerning what he saw? For indeed he saw Him at a second descent, near the Lote-tree beyond which none may pass; near it is the Garden of Abode. Behold, the Lote-tree was shrouded (in mystery unspeakable!). His sight never swerved, nor did it go wrong!. For truly did he see, of the great signs of his Lord.” (Holy Quran, An-Najm, 1-18).
It was during this heavenly encounter that the Prophet received the command from Allah that all believers must offer five prayers each day. Before returning to the earth, Gabriel also took the Prophet to Paradise where the faithful would rejoice after their resurrection, and was shown scenes from the hell where various types of punishments were being meted out to the sinful.
The period that preceded Al Israa was the most difficult time in the life of the Prophet and the Muslims. The disbelievers of Makkah went too far in torturing the Muslims and forcing them twice to migrate to Abyssinia. The deaths in that year of Prophet’s uncle, Abu Talib, who protected Muhammad (peace be upon him) from his enemies, and his wife Khadija, who had been of much help to him during all his difficulties, had been a major shock to the messenger of Allah.
However, he remained steadfast and kept reminding the faithful that the atrocities against them were actually a test from Almighty Allah Who wants to prepare them for the sacred mission of spreading His message of truth the world over by themselves becoming a living example of Islam.
The Al Israa experience at this crucial point of time came as a blessing from God for the Muslims. Their faith in Allah and Islam was fortified by Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) journey to the presence of God. This helped them remain steadfast in their commitment to Islam’s message. The divine command during Al Mairaj that the believers must pray five times a day was an eternal tribute to the Prophet’s rendezvous with God.
The prayer itself is a form of the faithful’s dialogue and communication with the Creator. Al Israa wal Mairaj was thus a landmark and turning point in the life of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. The experience enabled him to fully grasp the unity of being in all its totality and perfection.
-ends-
Email: tajaluva@gmail.com
Blog: tajaluva.blogspot.com

Yale hosts high-level Christian-Muslim dialogue

The Editor,
Gulf News
Dubai.

Dear Sir,

With reference to the report below that has been carried in your esteemed newspaper on 27 July, it's quite interesting to note that more and more inter-faith dialogues are taking place across the globe. Earlier last month, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, took the lead in bringing together scholars of different religions in the Spanish capital, Madrid, setting a good example for future dialogues among world's prominent religions. This assumes much significance especially as there is a growing tendency among people of different faiths to make a retreat unto their own faith and shut all the doors of dialogue. Events such as this will help promote mutual understanding among people about other faiths thereby spreading religious harmony and ensuring peaceful co-existence. One of the prime objectives of such gatherings should be promoting shared moral and family values that are more necessary now than ever.

Taj Aluva
Dubai
Email: tajaluva@gmail.com


U.S.A.
Yale hosts high-level Christian-Muslim dialogue
ReutersPublished: July 27, 2008, 23:49
New Haven, Connecticut: Senior Christian and Muslim scholars and leaders are meeting in the United States this week seeking common ground in their different faiths to foster better understanding between Islam and the West.
Hosted by Yale University Divinity School, the conference is the first public dialogue launched by Muslim intellectuals in the Common Word group that appealed to Christian leaders last year for discussions among theologians to promote peace.
Most US participants are Protestant theologians and church leaders, including some prominent evangelicals, but some Catholics and Jews also are taking part. The Muslims, both Sunnis and Shiites, hail from around the world.
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Their conference comes just more than a week after King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia hosted an unprecedented meeting of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists in Madrid and pledged to pursue interfaith dialogue.
"We have broken the ice of mistrust between the West and Islam with this initiative," said Mustafa Ceric, grand mufti of Bosnia. "In world affairs today, the rule should not be the argument of force but the force of argument."
Ceric, whose homeland in former Yugoslavia was torn apart by ethnic and religious strife in the 1990s, said it was time for serious dialogue among mainstream faith leaders after years in which violence by Islamist radicals has dominated the headlines.
Growing interest
Miroslav Volf, a Yale theologian co-hosting the sessions, agreed this and other recent interfaith encounters in Europe and the Middle East pointed to a growing interest in seeking more Christian-Muslim understanding. "There's definitely something in the air," the Croatian-born Protestant said.
The Common Word project, started last October by 138 Muslim scholars, says Christianity and Islam share two common core values - love of God and love of neighbour. The group says discussions on this among experts can help defuse tensions between the faiths.
Christian leaders have responded positively to the appeal.
The Common Word group, a multinational platform for mainstream faith in a religion with no central authority, will meet Anglicans in October and Pope Benedict in November.
(www.gulfnews.com)

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Waiting for World War III: Hypocrisy thy name is Khalilzad!

By Thaj Aluva
In a recent interview with an Austrian daily, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to the United Nations, was quoted as saying upheaval in the Middle East and Islamic Civilisation could cause another world war. He made this remark to the daily Die Presse noting that the region is going through a very difficult transformation phase and it has strengthened extremism and creates a breeding ground for terrorism. Mr. Khalilzad’s talk about world war at this juncture has to be taken seriously because of his proximity to the corridors of power in Washington. However, he might be silently calling himself a 'hypocrite' when the talk of a world war at this time completely exonerates the United States, given its disastrous role in turning the Middle East to a "place of turmoil" that it is now. Take for example, Palestine. The United States helped its pet country Israel to steal the land of Palestinians, destroy their homes and olive groves, shoot down their children in the streets, and abuse their women. Noted anti-war activist Paul Craig Roberts describes this situation in an article titled The Shame of Being an American: "The Palestinians have been walled off into ghettos, who cannot reach their farm lands or medical care or schools, who cannot drive on roads through Palestine, that have been constructed for Israelis only. Their ancient towns have been invaded by militant Zionist "settlers" under the protection of the Israeli army who beat and persecute the Palestinians and drive them out of their towns. They cannot allow their children outside their homes because they will be murdered by Israeli "settlers." The Palestinians who confront Israeli evil are called "terrorists." When Bush forced free elections on Palestine, the people voted for Hamas. Hamas is the organization that has stood up to Israel. This means, of course, that Hamas is evil, anti-Semitic, un-American and terrorist. The US and Israel responded by cutting off all funds to the new government. Democracy is permitted only if it produces the results Bush and Israel want. Israelis never practice terror. Only those who are in Israel's way are terrorists." And, Mr. Khalilzad says the world is on the brink of a world war because of the Islamic world! He further adds that some people in the Islamic world believe they should return to the time of the Prophet Mohammad (6th-7th century). It may take decades before some understand that they can remain Muslims and simultaneously join the modern world, he says. Instead of going into a discussion on why Mr. Khalilzad hates people who think that a world conceptualized by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is good for mankind, let's look at who else are contemplating a going back to earlier centuries. Take for example the Christian Zionists in the US who wields considerable influence on the US government. One prominent member of this group, John Hagee, pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, announced in February 1997 that his church was donating over $1 million to Israel. Hagee claimed the funds would be used to help resettle Jews from the Soviet Union in the West Bank and Jerusalem. “We feel like the coming of Soviet Jews to Israel is a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy,” Hagee stated. When asked if he realized that support of Likud’s policies and the increase in Jewish settlements was at cross-purposes with US policy, Hagee answered: “I am a Bible scholar and a theologian, and from my perspective the law of God transcends the laws of the United States government and the US State Department.”If anyone thinks that these so-called Christian Zionists are only a few in the US, just read Donald Wagner, professor of religion and Middle Eastern studies at North Park University in Chicago, who wrote in a five-part article on Christian Zionism: "During the past two or three decades, the conservative Evangelical movement has been the fastest growing sector within the American Christian churches. Estimates of the number of evangelicals range from 100-130 million, out of which 20-25 percent could be classified as fundamentalist ­ some 20-26 million Americans. Of the fundamentalists, most, but not all, are inclined to support the Christian Zionist position. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center noted that 58 percent of evangelicals believe in the Battle of Armageddon, an indicator that they would be predisposed to Christian Zionism." Mr. Khalilzad should first look at his own courtyard before blaming others for the world's problems as he waits for an impending world war whose main perpetrator, history would definitely find, would be his own country. -ends- Middle East turmoil could cause world war: U.S. envoy By Reuters 08/27/07 -- VIENNA (Reuters) - Upheaval in the Middle East and Islamic civilization could cause another world war, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was quoted as saying in an Austrian newspaper interview published on Monday. Zalmay Khalilzad told the daily Die Presse the Middle East was now so disordered that it had the potential to inflame the world as Europe did during the first half of the 20th century. "The (Middle East) is going through a very difficult transformation phase. That has strengthened extremism and creates a breeding ground for terrorism," he said in remarks translated by Reuters into English from the published German. "Europe was just as dysfunctional for a while. And some of its wars became world wars. Now the problems of the Middle East and Islamic civilization have the same potential to engulf the world," he was quoted as saying. Khalilzad, interviewed by Die Presse while attending a foreign policy seminar in the Austrian Alps, said the Islamic world would eventually join the international mainstream but this would take some time. "They started late. They don't have a consensus on their concept. Some believe they should return to the time (6th-7th century) of the Prophet Mohammad," he was quoted as saying. "It may take decades before some understand that they can remain Muslims and simultaneously join the modern world." Khalilzad was also quoted as saying Iraq would need foreign forces for security for a long time to come. "Iraq will not be in a position to stand on its own feet for a longer period," he said in the interview. Asked whether that could be 10-20 years, he said: "Yes, indeed, it could last that long. What form the help takes will depend a lot on the Iraqis. Up to now there is no accord between Iraq and the United States about a longer military presence." Khalilzad said the chaos in Iraq since U.S.-led forces overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003 was not unavoidable but arose from mistakes in the initial period of occupation. "Historians are discussing now whether we should have sent more troops to Iraq to preserve law and order, if it was right to dissolve the Iraqi army, if we should have built an Iraqi government quicker, if there should have been such a sweeping de-Baathification program (removing Saddam-era officials)." Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited