These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 6, 2011.
Sunday, 6 November 2011
The â€œDisgraceâ€� of the Majority
An editorial in the Guardian on October 25 exposed the nature of what often is called “the European project”: a goal that those pursuing it never state out loud. In brief, it is the construction of a huge power bloc under the domination of a self-perpetuating political class and its auxiliary nomenklatura, free of the most minimal democratic oversight or constitutional restraint.
The editorial was titled “Conservatives and Europe: learned nothing, forgotten nothing,” a reference to Talleyrand’s famous dictum about the Bourbons. Britain’s Conservative Party, the editorial argued, was unfit to govern because of its continued internal division on the issue of the U.K.’s membership in the European Union, the latest manifestation of which was a vote by 80 Conservative members of Parliament in favor of holding a referendum on the issue. A Guardian poll, published in the paper on the same day as the editorial, established that 70 percent of the population believed that such a referendum should be held; 49 percent wanted to leave the union and 40 percent wanted to remain in it (11 percent were undecided).
One can make many criticisms of the Conservative Party, but surely one such criticism is not that 80 of its members of parliament have voiced the disquiet of at least half the nation’s population about the most important question that it faces. The Guardian called the 80 members of parliament “a disgrace,” by which it meant that the opinion of fully half of the population, and possibly more, should not even be heard in the Mother of Parliaments. In other words, the philosopher-kings of the European nomenklatura should be allowed to get on with their work free of interference—because, after all (and as new evidence further proves every day), they are doing such a fantastic job.
By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press – 3 hours ago
MINA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Chanting "God is great," millions of Muslims on Sunday stoned pillars representing the devil in a symbolic rejection of temptation on the second day of their annual hajj pilgrimage, a day that also marks the start of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Vast crowds flowed past the three pillars, which now resemble curved walls, in a four-level sprawling concrete structure built to expedite the flow of pilgrims, casting pebbles at the largest one. The ritual will be repeated for two more days, with participants eventually casting stones at all three pillars.
The ritual in the desert valley of Mina commemorates Abraham's stoning of the devil, who is said to have appeared three times to the prophet to tempt him.
It is one of the most dangerous stages of the hajj, with the press of people around the pillars creating the risk of a stampede. In 2004, 244 people were killed, and the following year at least 360 others killed when several pilgrims tripped over baggage while others behind them kept pushing ahead. Saudi authorities subsequently built the current complex to reduce the stampede danger.
Officials estimate that 2.5 million pilgrims have joined the hajj this year.
Male pilgrims in the two-piece seamless white robes worn during the hajj, and women covered head to foot except for their hands and faces, chanted "God is great" while casting the pebbles.
"Hurry up, pilgrims," Saudi security officers called out through loudspeakers, to prevent crowds from building up next to the pillars.
Afterward, pilgrims shaved their heads or clipped off a lock of hair, a tradition dating back to [what Muslims believe] the Prophet Muhammad's own pilgrimage. They are also required to slaughter a lamb or goat, representing the lamb that Abraham sacrificed in the place of his son Ishmael, although pilgrims may arrange for this to be done in a different location or in their own countries.
Sunday also marks the start of Eid al-Adha [when the slitting of a throat of an animal is done] in remembrance of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son. [
"Thank God that we are doing hajj this year. May God protect all Arab and Islamic countries," said Dina Mohammed Ramadhan, a 27-year old pilgrim from Egypt, as she emerged from the crowed with her husband pushing her two babies in a carriage.
The five-day pilgrimage is packed with symbolism and ritual aimed at cleansing the soul of sin and winning absolution by tracing the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad and of Abraham, whom Muslims[appropriated from Judaism, as they have other figures, including Moses and Jesus, taken in distorted form, from the two prior-in-time monotheisms] view as a forefather of Islam.
Abdul Mojan's moment of realisation came when the good guys threw him into the boot of their car, slammed it shut and drove off with him a prisoner inside.
When they finally stopped and hauled him out, he asked them: "What are you doing? I'm a revolutionary just like you! I've never supported Gaddafi.'"
But the former rebels didn't care. They had taken a liking to the new office block in western Tripoli that Mr Mojan managed and they wanted the keys and ownership documents. He tried to reason with them, pointing out that there were plenty of government buildings standing empty.
To no avail, however. "We have sacrificed for this revolution and you haven't, and now we will take what we want," he was told by a cocky 18-year-old. "You can have the building back when the revolution is over."
A week later Mr Mojan was still incredulous as he recounted his tale to The Sunday Telegraph, admitting that he felt lucky to escape without a beating although there was nothing he could do about the 5,000 dinar (£2,550) they stole from his car.
Many of Tripoli's residents have had a similar moment of grim awakening in recent weeks. Their liberators, still swaggering around the city in Che Guevara-style berets and armed to the teeth, have not gone back to their home towns as they promised. Nor have they started handing in the guns they used to fight against Gaddafi, as they said they would.
"When they said Libya Free, they meant the cars, the refrigerators and the flat-screen television sets," runs one joke doing the rounds in Tripoli's cafes. Stories of gunmen taking expensive cars at checkpoints, giving receipts saying they will be returned after the revolution, are nervously swapped over cups of tea.
More alarming than the looting have been the armed clashes between militias. There have been three big fights in the capital alone in the past week; shoot-outs at a hospital, Martyr's Square, and the military airport, which have left several dead and dozens wounded.
Then there are the detentions. With the fighting over, the revolutionaries have not been idle. They have kept busy rounding up hundreds of suspected Gaddafi supporters in a wide-scale witch-hunt, often on the basis of little more than rumour and accusation.
One man, a supporter of the revolution who was full of hope a month ago, described how his brother-in-law, Omar, had been grabbed by gunmen from Misurata. They were acting for a wealthy businessman from the city, with whom Omar had a dispute several years ago.
"They came to his house and Omar went with them because he believed in the revolution and thought it was a misunderstanding that would soon be sorted out," the man said.
"But when they arrived in Misurata they threw him in their private prison and said they would beat the soles of his feet until he confessed. It is an old Turkish torture called the falakha. He was really scared, and he managed to escape by persuading one of them who felt uneasy about this to let him go.
"Next day they turned up at his house, and threatened his wife and children. Can you believe this? We have hundreds of little Gaddafis now.
"There is no one to stop them, and they are convinced that because they suffered in the war, they should be able to do what they like now. If it carries on like this I really fear for our revolution."
Libya's problems would not look so dangerous if there was a proper government in place to deal with them. Instead, more than two months since Gaddafi was driven from his capital, there is still a power vacuum. No government has been formed because former rebels cannot agree on how to share out power. The new prime minister, appointed last week, is a professor of electrical engineering originally from Tripoli who spent most of the last three decades at universities in Alabama and North Carolina - and was chosen because he offends nobody.
Abdul-Raheem al-Keeb has yet to prove that he isn't more suited to running a university department than a former dictatorship awash with guns and riven with tribal and regional rivalries.
With expectations sky-high, his inbox is daunting: he has to get the economy going, head off separatists in the east who are talking about setting up their own oil rich mini-state, disarm the increasingly arrogant militias, and organise Libya's first real elections.
He has been promised help from the West in building a democracy, yet so far there is little evidence of any. The United Nations presence has been kept deliberately small, at the request of the National Transitional Council. Only a trickle of aid workers have turned up, and experts in nation building with experience of Afghanistan and Iraq are notable by their absence.
"There is a deliberate effort to avoid the mistakes of Afghanistan and Iraq and not try to get foreigners in to micromanage everything," said one European Union diplomat last week. "And the Libyans are proud people, they don't want to look like a Third World nation needing a big foreign presence in here."
A handful of enterprising foreign businessmen have arrived looking for opportunities, drawn by the prospect of lucrative reconstruction contracts. "We've come way too early, there is no one to talk to yet," said a frustrated American who spent last week trying to set up meetings with representatives of a Libyan government which does not yet exist. "I will come back in the spring."
Many Libyans remain hopeful about the future of their revolution. Omar Khalifa, of the charity Libya Hurra, was arranging the distribution of sheep and money to 2,500 needy families for the festival of Eid this weekend.
"Of course people have suffered a lot in the past year," he said. "But the Libyans know they have to be patient, and that it will take a while to get back to normal."
Getting the militias out of the capital would help, but the leader of one notorious brigade told The Sunday Telegraph his men will stay for the time being.
"We are here to help build democracy and protect the revolution", said Mohammed al-Madhni, a commander in his fifties with a roguish grin.
The most colourful story told about them, not denied by Commander Madhni, is that Zintanis stole an elephant from Tripoli zoo as a trophy of war, taking the unfortunate beast back to their town in a truck.
They have taken up residence in the suburb of Regatta, a delightful district of palm trees and neat bungalows facing on to the blue Mediterranean. It was home to British and American oil workers and their families until they fled in February, as the revolution broke out.
Now the suburb has an eerie, deserted feeling. Doors and windows have been smashed so looters can get in, and the militias have spray-painted graffiti over walls. Only a few luxury cars are left, the ones with complicated security codes that make them difficult to steal and drive away. Several of those have had their wheels stolen.
"You could see them driving round in their pick-up trucks with big machine-guns going round the bungalows, picking up freezers and flat-screen televisions," said one of the witnesses to the Zintan fighters' looting spree.
People in Tripoli try to laugh about the mountain men – they are particularly amused that the Zintanis took jet-skis and fast boats back to their homes deep in the desert.
But there is also a fear that now the gunmen have a taste for power, and nobody to stop them, the post-Gaddafi future may be much more difficult than Libyans had hoped.
One formerly enthusiastic revolutionary, watching a group of young gunmen at a checkpoint, couldn't help being gloomy.
"You have to wonder, is this how failed states start out?" he said.
In January 1981 the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit meeting in Mecca declared that, "Palestine should be viewed as the paramount issue of Muslim nations." Since then Europe hastened to adopt this path as well and has provided for the Palestinization of the cultural, social and above all political life of Europe. more>>>
What Reuters Said, And What Reuters Should Have Said
Reuters has yet another story -- I've put it below these remarks -- about the Hajj, something we must all apparently learn about, and follow, and take a great interest in. The title says that "politics" is left behind for those on the hajj. But Islam is all about politics. It is all about everything. It purports to be, it offers itself as, a Complete Guide to the Universe. The text of the Reuters article tells a different story, the one that accords with common sense: on the Hajj, Arabs and Muslims of different political factions within their own countries will not be fighting with each other (though over the past decade, there have been incidents involving Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims causing disruptions, or themselves being disrupted, as they protested Saudi policies).
The Hajj is all about hostility: hostility to the Infidels is increased with all the sacred rigmarole that heightens Muslim solidarity. And, in the Muslim world of the Hajj and the Muslim world outside the Hajj, Hostility to Infidels does not decrease when Muslims fall out. It is just that when they do, they have to spend their energies, their weaponry, their money, dealing with Muslim enemies and that lessens pressure on Infidels.
ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Struggling to keep his footing in a throng of Muslims trying to reach a mountain top near Mecca, Omar al-Sharkasy says it is thanks to the downfall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi that he is able to make the haj pilgrimage.
Part of a government-sponsored group for relatives of fighters killed in the civil war to defeat Gaddafi's forces, Sharkasy has joined up to 3 million people from around the world to perform the annual haj, which all able-bodied Muslims are enjoined to complete at least once in a lifetime.
This year, haj has come at a time of sweeping change in the Middle East, where a wave of uprisings has toppled veteran leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Gaddafi, captured and killed last month, was the latest to fall.
But the march for change halts outside the gates of Mecca, where pilgrims say they leave politics behind.
Sharkasy said he saw his haj opportunity as the first sign of more good things to come from his country's revolution, but during the few days in Mecca he would not think about the conditions he left behind.
"This is the first good omen for Libyans. It reassures Libyans that the riches of their country are theirs ... But our presence here is strictly for worshipping God," said Sharkasy, whose brother was killed in the fighting.
Home to Islam's holiest sites, Saudi Arabia regards itself as the guardian of Islam and assumes the responsibility of maintaining a peaceful haj season when Muslims from various sects gather at the same place and time.
"Allah did not intend haj to be a place for dispute, haggling... or using it for political agendas or preaching grim sectarianism," Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Shaikh, said late last month, as the government was preparing to receive pilgrims.
Even though pilgrims will not dabble in political discussions during haj, the imprints of a new Middle East and concerns about the future of the region are present in their prayers.
A white-bearded cleric led an Egyptian congregation of pilgrims in prayer as they walk backed to their tents from Jabal Rahma (Mountain of Mercy) in Arafat, 20 km (13 miles) east of Mecca.
"We ask for peace and security for the people of Egypt, the people of Tunisia, the people of Yemen and the people of the Levant ... Oh God make them find peace with one another," the cleric said into a handheld loudspeaker, his followers echoing his prayers after him. [peace for the Muslims, permanent war for the Infidels]
With hands raised to the heavens and tears streaming down their cheeks, pilgrims cloaked in white crowded the mountain.
More than 20 who spoke to Reuters said their only concern was to make the most of their spiritual journey, seeking forgiveness for their sins. Politics was not on the agenda.
"We will not talk about politics or economics. We all agree this is not a place to argue, and is not a place to call for various causes or try to convince people," said Saeed Hamdi from Yemen, scene of nine months of protests against the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Self-Aggrandizing "Charitable" In Bollywood Just As In Hollywood
From the Times of India:
Bollywood: No charity without publicity
Mohammed Wajihuddin, TNN | Nov 6, 2011
For a change, the Scotch drinkers were served cold drinks, fruit juices and lime water. The emcee, though sporting a silk sari and abacklesscholi , spouted socialistic sermons. And the audience was treated not to the sexy beats of Sheela ki jawanibut to Shubha Mudgal's sonorous rendition of Pakistani poet Zehra Nigah's protest poetry; before which Ratna Pathak Shah gave a solo performance of the Ismat Chughtai-penned short story Mughal Bachcha.
All of this happened last week at-believe it or not-a Bollywood party. Essentially a fund-raiser by producer Firoz Nadiadwallah for activist Shabnam Hashmi's NGO ANHAD , it hammered home a vital reality-that Bollywood badly needs to shake off its selfimposed insulation. The feisty Hashmi, beckoning the dream merchants to view the country's gritty reality, remarked: "Some of ANHAD's friends asked us why we were tying up with Bollywood and that too in a five-star hotel. But we agreed to do it because we want the entertainment industry to acknowledge that the marginalised need its attention."
Truer words were never spoken, say critics who aver that Bollywood as an industry needs to do much more for social causes. "Bollywood wakes up only when natural calamities strike. It keeps itself mostly insulated from the man-made calamities stalking our nation like starvation, farmers' suicides and female foeticide," admits Nadiadwallah, who met Hashmi two years ago and was touched by ANHAD's efforts to empower women through vocational training and schools in the remotest areas.
It would be unfair to dismiss the Hindi film industry as completely aloof from social causes-it does open its heart and purse occasionally. However , this is mostly at the level of individuals and, dismayingly, very often with attendant publicity when films are due for release . Shah Rukh Khan, for instance , donated his Rs 50 lakh winnings on KBC to the children's ward at Nanavati Hospital but his participation in the show was also part of a Ra.One promotion. Salman Khan helps terminally ill children through his NGO Being Human but, like many others, tries to marry his charity with his film's promotion. So, before the release of Ready this year, he booked a show at PVR Juhu for children from an orphanage . "It was a smart move. The film got publicity while he humoured the orphans," says a film publicist who attended.
Shabana Azmi's fund-raising fashion show 'Mijwan' , named after her ancestral village in UP, saw 24 Bollywood biggies, walking the ramp in designer Manish Malhotra's outfits. "The women of the village will do the embroidery for my line for a year," Malhotra had announced. A noble effort no doubt, but such fund-raising shows are few and far between.
Old-timers recall that the film industry was far more involved with social causes in earlier decades. One of the major bridges linking it with social issues was the Progressive Writers Movement. "As long as this movement was strong and there were people like Kaifi Azmi , Sahir Ludhianvi, Balraj Sahni and K A Abbas around, the film industry often associated itself with the cause of the toiling masses," recalls composer Khayyam, who attended several such charity shows from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Lyricist Hasan Kamal says, "You cannot and should not expect the same concern from today's breed of actors as Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand demonstrated . They were brought up on Nehru's socialist ideals while the current lot is a product of the me-first , consumerist society." Kamal recalls seeing Dilip Kumar actively participate in raising funds for 'Anjuman-e-Islam' (Kumar's alma mater) through mushairas and ghazal soirees.
Some aver that it is too much to expect Bollywood to do fund-raising and have charity shows even during normal times. "Why do we expect evangelism from the film industry ?" asks lyricist Prasoon Joshi, who adds that he and Aamir Khan have together done many ad campaigns-on malnutrition , tourism and electoral voting -for free. But others maintain that if Bollywood demonstrated the kind of collective social and political responsibility Hollywood often has, it could do wonders. "Unlike Hollywood and even the-South Indian industry, Bollywood has not been at the forefront of fund-raisers ," says social commentator Shiv Vishwanathan . "Let them set an example . They should seem to be doing at least a bit in real life of what they preach so often on screen.
Watch Occupy Boston Invade Israeli Consulate for Palestinian Protest in the Hub City
A hat tip to Rick G. and Vladtepesblog.
Ira Stoll of the blog Future of Capitalism (FoC) had a You Tube video report on the Occupy Boston Palestinian supporters invasion of the office building where Israel’s consulate is located in the Hub city. This sit-in pales by comparison with those Cairo ‘springers’ destroying the Israeli embassy in Egypt-see our post. This act of civil disobedience by the Marxists and Pink Code advocates was in apparent solidarity with a comrade Kit Kittredge who was on one of the Free Gaza Flotilla vessels hailed and escorted into the Israeli port of Ashdod.
According to the Twitter feed of @kade_ellis, chants included, "hey hey, Ho ho! Israeli apartheid's got to go!," "long live the intifada! Intifada intifada!," "not another nickel! Not another dime! No more money for Israel's crimes!," and "Viva viva Palestina!"
I can already hear the Occupy Boston people saying the small splinter group that went to the Israeli consulate building doesn't represent all of Occupy Boston, and the Occupy Wall Street people saying that Occupy Boston doesn't represent all of the Occupy movement, and the anti-Israel protesters saying they aren't anti-Semites, they are just anti-Zionist or critical of the policies of the current Israeli government. And some of the rest of them saying that the anti-Israel protesters don't represent all of Occupy any more than Patrick Buchanan represents the entire Republican Party. But at a certain point, one has to wonder why these people are protesting Israel and not some far more abusive government like that of China, Iran, or Syria. I can already hear them saying that America doesn't give billions a year in aid to China, Iran, or Syria.
Still, the whole event illustrates the way the Occupy movement has become a forum for people to air whatever pre-existing grievance or agenda they have, even if it has nothing to do with Wall Street. And how readily a protest against bankers can elide into one against the Jewish state.
Watch the YouTube video of the Occupy Boston Israeli consulate invasion.
mrc-tv has a annotated video, courtesy of Valdtepesblog, of the Israeli Navy hailing one of the vessels that sailed from a southern Turkish port, with "no cargo." The vessel was simply trying to run the blockade and make a political statement. Sure!
Watch the mrc-tv video of the Israeli Navy hailing the Free Gaza flotilla vessels and their exchange.
Jon Corzine, former Goldman Sachs co-chairman, 'ace' Treasury bond trader, former New Jersey US Senator and Governor has perpetrated a major financial disaster, the demise of MF Global. A Reuters story, WRAPUP 5-MF Global CEO Jon Corzine quits as big bet fails on the abrupt demise of MF Global-the trans Atlantic commodity and derivative brokerage captures the sorry tale of how Corzine tanked the company because of his invincible ignorance about prudent risk taking fueled by his Democratic political connections with the Obama Administration and fund-raising for the President's re-election campaign. In the wake of the MF Global bakruptcy filing, Corzine resigned and passed on receiving his $12 million lagniappe - a bonus for his disastrous performance.
Here is my asessment as a former investment banker.
Jon Corzine committed the ultimate sin of financial hubris. Used to making big trading bets at Goldman Sachs in the old partner days, prior to his ouster in 1999 following the firm's public offering of shares, he made a $6 billion bet with over-leveraged OPM "other people's money" destroying MF Global and his reputation. The failure of MF Global, as a result of Corzine's recklessness, also raises the credibility of the Obama Administration and the mindless nattering about 'too big to fail'. A Lehman Brothers the MF Global disaster is not.
Corzine had the chutzpah to make these outrageous bets by cowering his colleagues at MF Global. Then he rushed over to see his ex-partner from Goldman Sachs, Gary Gensler, Chairman of the Federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to have the latter push off appropriate regulatory circuit breakers - reform regulations. While other trading fools also took big bets on Euro sovereign debt from sick economies of the Northern mediterranean littoral with towering debt relative to the capacity to pay, MF Global literally bet the ranch. One can't absolve John Mack and team over at Morgan Stanley from a similar bad bet. At least they had canyons of cash and liquidity, whereas MF Global had virtually none, less than $1 billion in capital.
The Obama White House was seriously considering Corzine as sucessor to Secretary Tim Geithner at Treasury. That probably had a lot to do with Corzine's mega buck financial bundler role in Obama's re-election campaign funding.
For sure Gensler ought to be given the boot from the CFTC. It also shows how ineffective and lame are the Dodd Frank, FIRA and alleged CFTC "reforms.:
There will be lots of government, meaning FBI, SEC CFTC and Congressional, investigations on the MF Global failure.
One unsettlling matter is where is the missing nearly $1 billion in customer accounts funds? JP Morgan alleges it may have found $600 million in so-called custodial accounts. That will be foremost onthe investigators' agendas as commingling of funds violates the CME clearing house rules.
Corzine's and MF Global's legal counsels will probably invoke the "sloppy records keeping defense."
Now in the wake of the MF Global bankruptcy comes this latest financial debacle with overtones of political fund raising links.
Sic transit ignomine Corzine, Gensler and the wrecking crew inside the Obama White House, already tainted over the Solyndra loan deal.
BAGHDAD — Iraqi security forces have arrested a woman whose boyfriend convinced her to send her little boy on a suicide mission and then failed to stop the attack after she had a change of heart, police said.
Sunni widow Suad al-Obaidi, 47, was arrested on Friday along with her allegedly Al-Qaeda boyfriend, after attacks on anti-Qaeda Sahwa (Awakening) militia in Diyala province a day earlier, a Diyala police officer told AFP. She was arrested in Diyala province, while the boyfriend, Hamid Alwan, 53, was detained in Baghdad.
According to the officer, Alwan convinced Obaidi to send nine-year-old Murtada Latif Kadhem to bomb a Shiite mosque in Khales, north of Baghdad, several years ago. Alwan "took her son with her ... by car to the Shiite mosque but, on the way there, she started to cry about her son," the officer said. "He put her out of the car, and took the son, who was wearing an explosive belt, to the mosque," where "he blew himself up."
A few months later, Alwan tried to convince Suad to send her 18-year-old son Kadhem Latif Kadhem on a suicide attack, but he fled to the home of his married sister, Hanna.
Muslims In Mecca Are Not Shouting "God Is Great" But, Rather, "Allah Is Greater"
Reuters, Agence France-Presse, the BBC, and all the other uncomprehending or deliberately misleading Western news agencies and broadcast giants, keep reporting that Muslims at the Hajj are shouting "God is great."
That is not what they are shouting. They are shouting "Allahu Akbar." This means not that "God is great" but that "Allah is greater [than the Christian God, than the Jewish Yahweh, than any god or gods anyone else can possibly come up with]"
The word for "great" in Arabic is "kebir." The comparative form, "greater," is "akbar."
For more see not Wikiepedia but Wikislam.
The entry at WikiIslam on "Allahu Akbar" is here:
This article discusses the meaning of the Islamic phrase, "Allahu Akbar", and its translation into English.
Although the phrase "Allahu Akbar" (Ø§Ù„Ù„Ù‡ Ø£ÙƒØ¨Ø±) is a common phrase used by all Muslims in various situations, including the Salah (obligatory five prayers a day) and has even been used by some non-Muslims, as a show of support for the protesting Iranians; it is widely associated with the "radical" (fundamental) Muslims who shout it while engaged in Jihad - which usually entails the murder of innocent non-Muslims. Many 'moderates' and apologists claim it's simply the Arabic translation of a common English phrase meaning "God is great!"
However, this is untrue. "Allahu Akbar" does not mean "God is great" as claimed. It actually means "Allah is greater." Greater than what? You may ask. The fact that it's a 'war cry' for the Jihadis (more recently including Major Nidal Malik Hasan) should give you a clue to this. Let's examine the use of this phrase in scripture, and the use of these words in their original Arabic.
'Allah' is simply the Arab word for 'God.'
'God' in Arabic is translated 'ilah,' not 'Allah.'
Transliteration: ašhadu Ê¾anla ilÄ�ha illal-LÄ�h, wa Ê¾ašhadu Ê¾anna muá¸¥ammadan rasÅ«lul-LÄ�h
Literal: There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.
As you can see, even though many English speaking Muslims falsely claim it states "there is no god but God", this is clearly not the case. Allah is not the generic word for 'god' in Arabic, but the name of Islam's deity - at the start of almost every Surah (Chapter) of the Qur'an is the phrase (in part): "In the name of Allah...."
[1.1a] The belief that Allah is One is the fundamental basis of Islam, and when Divine Unity is expressed, the name "Allah" must be used. It is not permissible to say, "There is no god but the Almighty" or use any other names except Allah for the shahada. Nothing at all resembles Him or is equal to Him.
Why do Muslims and apologists insist 'Allah' means 'God'?
For many (like Muhammad before them) a lie is worth being told if it will facilitate proselytisation (Da'wah). For others, 'moderate' Muslims and non-Muslims alike, it's purely out of ignorance. Language is always evolving, so the actual definition of a word and its popular usage can, and very often does, differ. For example, 'gay' still means 'happy' but through its use in western pop-culture, it can also mean 'homosexual'. This is also the case for the word "Allah" in predominantly Muslim cultures and societies. It is used interchangeably with 'God', as most people are Muslims; to them Allah is God, thus to make a distinction would be redundant.
It is unfortunate how so many are willing to take advantage of people's ignorance of the Arabic language when it suits their purpose. For example: the false conversion story of pop legend Michael Jackson. A video entitled 'Inshallah' (Allah willing) has been doing the rounds on user-contributed media sites like YouTube. It contains edited footage of Michael Jackson using the phrase 'Inshallah,' and its editor proudly proclaimed on its page "only Muslims say Inshallah." a view which was echoed by many of the Muslim commentators who viewed it. However, it was simply a case of selective editing. The Muslim who made the video had cut off the first part of Michael's statement. It was a 12 year-old promo for his Tunisian fans on the eve of his HIStory world tour. Since Arabic is Tunisia's official language and since Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians living in Tunisia also use the phrase 'Inshallah', it was not proof that he had converted to Islam.
In another case in Malaysia, the government banned Christians from using the word 'Allah' in reference to the Christian God, and in one incident, reported by CNN in October of 2009, twenty-thousand Bibles were seized by authorities because they referred to the Christian God as 'Allah,' completely disregarding the fact that due to the evolution of the Malay language, which has borrowed extensively from Arabic, Sanskrit and Portuguese, there is no indigenous Malay word for 'God' other than the pagan 'Allah'. It was reported that in 2010 a court ruling overturned the ban, a decision which the government has appealed against, insisting that it should remain in place. This decision to allow Christians to use the word 'Allah' has led to violent protests and bombings of several Malaysian churches. One of the protesters, named Faedzah Fuad, says:
“Allah is only for us, The Christians can use any word, we don’t care, but please don’t use the word Allah.”
So, according to Muslims, is 'Allah' the word for 'God' (i.e. the God of Abraham) or the name of their particular deity distinct from the God of Christianity and Judaism? No doubt you will receive very different answers depending on the situation. However, the original Arabic script found within the Qur'an tells you all that you need to know.
They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit." They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs." Thus doth Allah Make clear to you His Signs: In order that ye may consider- 
In the following sahihhadith, you can see the phrase has been translated correctly into English by Muslims.
Narrated Anas: The Prophet set out for Khaibar and reached it at night. He used not to attack if he reached the people at night, till the day broke. So, when the day dawned, the Jews came out with their bags and spades. When they saw the Prophet; they said, "Muhammad and his army!" The Prophet said, Allahu--Akbar! (Allah is Greater) and Khaibar is ruined, for whenever we approach a nation (i.e. enemy to fight) then it will be a miserable morning for those who have been warned."
One must also note that if the word "Allah" meant "God", why then would he be telling the Jews of Khaibar (who supposedly worship the same god) that Islam's Allah is greater?
Here are a few more quotes which use the phrase "Allahu Akbar".
Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu Ubayd, the mawla of Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, from Ata ibn Yazid al-Laythi that Abu Hurayra said, "Whoever says 'Glory be to Allah' (Subhana'llah) thirty-three times and 'Allah is Greater' (Allahu akbar) thirty-three times and 'Praise be to Allah' (al-hamdu lillah) thirty-three times, and seals the hundred with 'There is no god but Allah, alone without any partner. The Kingdom and praise belong to Him and He has power over everything' (La ilaha illa'llah, wahdahu la sharika lah, lahu'l mulku wa lahu'l hamd, wa huwa ala kulli shay'in qadir) after every prayer will have his wrong actions forgiven him even if they are abundant as the foam on the sea."
Yahya related to me from Malik from Hisham ibn Urwa that his father never brought food or drink, nor even a remedy which he ate or drank but that he said, "Praise be to Allah who has guided us and fed us and given us to drink and blessed us. Allah is greater. O Allah! We have found Your blessing with every evil, give us every good in the morning and evening. We ask You for its completion and its gratitude. There is no good except Your good. There is no god other than You, the God of the salihun and the Lord of the Worlds. Praise be to Allah. There is no god but Allah. What Allah wills. There is no power except in Allah. O Allah! Bless us in what You have provided us with and protect us from the punishment of the Fire!"
Al-hamdu lillahi-lladhi hadana wa at amana wa saqana wa naamana. Allahu akbar. Allahumma'l fatna nimatik bi-kulli sharr. Fa asbahna minha wa amsayna bi-kulli khayr. Nasaluka tamamaha wa shukraha. La khayr illa khayruk. Wa la ilaha ghayruk. Ilaha'-saliheen wa rabba'l-alameen. Al-hamdu lillah. Wa la ilaha illa'llah. Ma sha'Allah. Wa la quwwata illa billah. Allahumma barik lana fima razaqtana. Waqina adhaba'n-na
'Allah' is not simply the Arabic word for 'God,' but the name of Islam's chosen deity (i.e. the pre-Islamic moon god located in the Ka'aba.) and 'Akbar' does not mean 'great,' but 'greater.' Greater than what? The answer is - Allah is greater...than whatever god you happen to believe in.
BAGHDAD — As the United States prepares to withdraw its troops from Iraq by year’s end, senior American and Iraqi officials are expressing growing concern that Al Qaeda’s offshoot here, which just a few years ago waged a debilitating insurgency that plunged the country into a civil war, is poised for a deadly resurgence.
Qaeda allies in North Africa, Somalia and Yemen are seeking to assert more influence after the death of Osama bin Laden and the diminished role of Al Qaeda’s remaining top leadership in Pakistan. For its part, Al Qaeda in Iraq is striving to rebound from major defeats inflicted by Iraqi tribal groups and American troops in 2007, as well as the deaths of its two leaders in 2010.
Although the organization is certainly weaker than it was at its peak five years ago and is unlikely to regain its prior strength, American and Iraqi analysts said the Qaeda franchise is shifting its tactics and strategies — like attacking Iraqi security forces in small squads — to exploit gaps left by the departing American troops and to try to reignite sectarian violence in the country.
The group, which is also known as Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, has shown surprising resilience even as its traditional supply lines of foreign fighters through Syria have been disrupted by the turmoil in that country, American intelligence officials say. It conducts a little more than 30 attacks a week, carries out a large-scale strike every four to six weeks, and has expanded its efforts to recruit Iraqis, leading to a significant increase in the number of Iraqi-born suicide bombers.
“I cringe whenever anybody makes a pronouncement that Al Qaeda is on its last legs,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the American military’s top spokesman in Iraq. “I think one day we are going to look around and say it’s been a long time since we have heard from Al Qaeda, and maybe then we can say it is on its last legs.”
The Qaeda affiliate’s nascent resurgence has helped fuel a debate between some Pentagon officials on one side, who are seeking a way to permit small numbers of American military trainers and Special Operations forces to operate in Iraq, and some White House officials on the other, who are eager to close the final chapter on a divisive eight-year war that cost the lives of more than 4,400 troops.
Iraqi analysts express fears that ties between Al Qaeda and members of the former ruling Baath Party may be re-forming. “The government is afraid from an alliance between Qaeda and Baath precisely in this time, after the American withdrawal from Iraq,” said Ehssan al-Shemari, a political science professor at Baghdad University. “The security issue is the biggest challenge for the government in the next stage.”
According to General Buchanan, there are 800 to 1,000 people in Al Qaeda’s Iraq network, “from terrorists involved in operations to media to finance to fighters.” A document released by the military in July 2010 said Al Qaeda had about 200 “hard core” fighters in Iraq. The weak Iraqi economy is providing a large pool of young and vulnerable recruits, analysts say.
A Defense Department official familiar with the Qaeda affiliate said that the group’s leaders and foot soldiers are Sunni Arabs from central, western and northern Iraq. While some may have been affiliated with the Baath Party in Saddam Hussein’s government, analysts say, they were not involved at high levels of the government or military. Foreigners make up only a small percentage of the organization’s membership base.
Over the summer, the Qaeda branch in Iraq tried to ignite sectarian bloodletting with a series of coordinated attacks across the country and the execution of 22 Shiite pilgrims from the city of Karbala who were traveling through Anbar Province, an area once controlled by Al Qaeda.
In the days after the pilgrims were killed, security forces for the local government in Karbala conducted raids in Anbar, arrested several people and took them back to Karbala. The raids infuriated local leaders in Anbar, who threatened to respond with violence. But the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki frantically intervened. The acting defense secretary traveled to Anbar to meet with local leaders, and ultimately one of the local leaders threatened a lawsuit, a once unthinkable way of resolving a dispute in Iraq.
The Maliki government’s ability to tamp down the tensions encouraged many Iraqi and American officials that the Iraqis would be able to defuse sectarian tensions without the Americans looking over their shoulders.
The raids underscored the group’s shifting tactics. The Qaeda affiliate here “has eschewed efforts to control territory and impose governance — initiatives that left it extremely vulnerable to counterinsurgency techniques — and adopted a more traditional terrorist model built on an underground organization and occasional large-scale attacks,” according to a study in August by Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism analyst at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research group.
Although the United States is withdrawing all but a handful of its remaining 33,000 troops, leaving a few to guard the American Embassy, both governments are discussing a continuing military partnership. Among the main American goals is for the Iraqi government to approve a contingent of American Special Forces that would train and assist Iraqi security forces, according to two American officials
The White House announced Friday that President Obama will meet with Mr. Maliki on Dec. 12 to discuss the continuing “strategic partnership” between the United States and Iraq.
Senior American officials say that intelligence sharing between American and Iraqi forces, which officials from both countries credit with reducing the number of attacks by half over the past two years, will be significantly diminished after the troops leave.
The officials are particularly concerned about the nighttime abilities of the Iraqi special forces, who relied on the Americans for intelligence on the location of insurgents, helicopter transportation and other counterterrorism missions at night.
“It won’t be as clean as when we were helping them do it,” said an American official who was briefed on Middle Eastern militaries. “You will probably have raids go wrong, wrong house, wrong target. It is not like Al Qaeda will have a free hand to do whatever it wants. But the Iraqis will do things that we would have advised them not to do,” and their ability to target insurgents will be reduced, the official said.
As the support from the American military is waning, the State Department, which will have a big presence in Iraq in years to come, is increasing its efforts to help the Iraqis target Al Qaeda.
Last month, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton designated the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, as a special global terrorist and posted a $10 million reward for information on his whereabouts. Few Iraqis had heard of Mr. Badri, but he was among the first terrorists to eulogize Osama bin Laden after he was killed in May, and he pledged to conduct 100 attacks in Iraq to avenge Bin Laden’s death. Mr. Badri, also known as Abu Dua, has kept a low profile since assuming control of the group after raids last April killed the organization’s previous two leaders.
Al Qaeda in Iraq has focused its attacks on Iraqi security forces, but senior American officials have also expressed fears that the group may export its violence. In May, two Iraqi refugees living in Bowling Green, Ky., were charged with trying to send sniper rifles, Stinger missiles and money to the Qaeda affiliate in their home country. Neither of the men, Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, was charged with plotting attacks within the United States. A federal sting operation prevented the weapons and money from going to Iraq.
The new director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew G. Olsen, warned in testimony to Congress last month that Al Qaeda in Iraq was increasingly likely to attempt attacks outside the country. He cited a video the group released in January calling on individuals to attack students and infrastructure in the West.
Adams says she is not following existing law, which requires the federal government to cut off visas from countries that refuse to re-admit their citizens who have committed crimes while residing in the U.S. illegally. If these countries refuse to take the criminal illegal immigrants back after a six-month “detention period,” the U.S government releases them back into U.S. communities.
“If she [Napolitano] doesn’t use what we have given her, this Congress and past Congresses with a statutory ability, 243(d) then what she is doing is she is releasing criminals back into the streets who have committed crimes and they’re going back into our American communities, our hometowns and they’re committing really horrible crimes,” Adams told The Daily Caller.
“One young man shot point blank, in the face, a police officer in Florida after being released. These have got to stop.”
Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, “Discontinuing Granting Visas to Nationals of Country Denying or Delaying Accepting Alien” reads as follows, “On being notified by the Attorney General that the government of a foreign country denies or unreasonably delays accepting an alien who is a citizen, subject, national, or resident of that country after the Attorney General asks whether the government will accept the alien under this section, the Secretary of State shall order consular officers in that foreign country to discontinue granting immigrant visas or nonimmigrant visas, or both, to citizens, subjects, nationals, and residents of that country until the Attorney General notifies the Secretary that the country has accepted the alien.”
Adams said that in 2001, the U.S. secretary of state “issued those orders [using 243(d)] and guess what? The country [Guyana] took back their criminal aliens so we know it works so the question is why isn’t she [Napolitano] doing it?”
Adams pressed Napolitano on the issue during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on October 26 but did not receive answers to her questions.
“I asked point blank, has she had a ruling from any attorney in her office saying that she could violate or ignore 243(d),” she said. “When I asked Secretary Napolitano has she done this, has she used this, she said ‘no’ at first then later on she said what she had said about everything else – she would have to go back and look at it and get back to us so the letter is a follow-up to the questions that were asked.”
Adams has asked Napolitano to respond to her letter by Nov. 18. She told TheDC she will work with Chairman Lamar Smith – who has issued a subpoena against DHS on a related issue – to take further action.
Ilmar Reepalu is the Mayor of Malmo, Sweden’s third largest city. He is a man on the move, trying to promote and develop Malmo’s position as a leader in green technology around the world. He can squeeze us in for an interview at 8:30 on a Sunday evening. Uncomplaining, he rides up to Malmo’s City Hall on his bicycle in the dark and rain to talk to us.
We are in Malmo, not to discuss sustainability and fair trade in the city, but rather its massive immigration, which some call a problem, others consider a gift.
One-third of Malmo’s population is foreign-born. Another 10 percent are of a different nationality. The biggest influx these days is from the Muslim world. Many of them are very traditional-- a small group is quite extreme.
Sweden has a population of 9 million — of those, 1.4 million are immigrants. Approximately 100,000 pour in each year. Ilmar Reepalu thinks that’s a good thing.
“Sweden needs lots of immigrants,” he says, “because otherwise we can’t keep up our welfare system. We, as most parts of Europe, have too few people. Within the coming 20 years, we will have a lack of labor force, so we need more people coming to Sweden. We don’t have enough kids from ourselves.”
Sweden has probably the most generous immigration, asylum and welfare policies in the world.
Some natives have had it with this bottomless funding pit. For the first time last year, voters elected the far right anti-immigration Sweden Democrats—giving them a handful of seats in Parliament.
MP Kent Ekeroth disputes the argument that immigration keeps Sweden’s welfare system afloat.
“What kind of immigrants do we take in? It’s people from Somalia who have done nothing but herd sheep their whole life and we expect them to benefit our society? It’s ridiculous.”
The Sweden Democrats advocate cutting back 90 percent on immigration, redirecting the money currently spent on housing and caring for refugees to programs to improve life in their home countries.
“If you bring one immigrant to Sweden, it’s expensive. It costs a lot of money. If you put that money to use in Africa or the Middle East or wherever, you can help hundreds more.” Ekeroth goes even further, “If you put this money over there to help them with food, with medicine, with education or whatever, you can help hundreds, maybe thousands, more. So what’s more humane? To help one person lead a life of luxury here in Sweden or to help 1000 to avoid starvation in Africa?”
The Sweden Democrats’ views have made them targets both of Sweden’s left, and of immigrants. Ekeroth travels with security.
The tensions that have come as a result of the swelling immigration have affected all sides.
Riots have periodically broken out in a largely Muslim neighborhood of Malmo, called Rosengard, sparked by the perception of mistreatment of residents by the police or other authorities. Firefighters at the scenes of some of these riots have been attacked. As a result, they will often refuse to answer calls to put out fires there without police escort.
There has been an Islamophobic backlash. Scandinavia’s largest mosque happens to be in Malmo. It was set on fire in 2004. The culprit was never found. An imam was shot on the premises. The head of the Islamic Center at Malmo’s main mosque, a man named Bejzat Becirov, regularly receives hate mail, adorned with pigs and pictures of Usama Bin Laden.
Becirov, a moderate Muslim from the former Yugoslavia, and hence, a European, from a community where women did not typically wear the veil, thinks the culprits behind these attacks on his mosque may be neo-Nazis, but may also be extremist Muslims who don’t like Becirov’s message of integration.
He thinks immigrants to Sweden should try harder to blend in.
“Since religion doesn’t say anything about how you should dress, maybe it’s a good idea to try to take a look at how everybody else is behaving, and try to present themselves and adapt to that,” he says. “And that would make it easier for them. Perhaps things start there."
Becirov acknowledges that it’s harder for non-Europeans to adapt to a liberal place like Sweden.
“If you look at Muslims coming from the Middle East, I think it takes 15 to 20 years before they are integrated—a generation.”
Becirov believes the number of Malmo Muslims who subscribe to extremist ideology is small, but that their recruiting methods are aggressive. In his words, python-like.
Ekeroth worries about how those extreme elements exercise their authority.
“There’s unofficial Shariah police going around Rosengard, checking how women dress, and there are unofficial Shariah courts in Malmo, being used,” he says.
Despite the controversy, Swedes we interviewed outside Malmo’s main station were supportive of their country’s immigration policies.
One young woman told Fox News, “I think we should take more. I know that not many people would agree with me.”
A young man adds, “I think it’s good. It creates great diversity.”
Another young woman, when asked about the face of Sweden changing dramatically due to massive immigration, said, “I think everything we call culture right now, it’s been so fluid throughout history. I don’t think it can be overruled like that. Everything that comes in, it just adds to the culture, it doesn’t take away.”
Sweden has taken in more Iraqi refugees than the United States has, the mayor of Malmo points out. That is something many Swedes are proud of. Mayor Reepalu believes that rather than cut back on immigration, Sweden should do more to help those coming to Sweden adapt to their new lives, especially the children.
“The challenge,” he says, “is to have teachers good enough to take this quite tough situation, where you have lots of children coming into the schools, coming directly from conflict zones in different parts of the world, carrying with them lots of trauma of course.
“To take care of that—to help those people get a good start in their lives.”
In terms of democratic principles, the public debate over a prospective Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is justified, as long as it doesn't cause Israel diplomatic damage or require revealing secret information. But the current debate is actually a ritualized and pointless endeavor.
In effect, it's impossible to take a serious position on the matter without full knowledge of the facts. It's important to know the stance taken by countries that are important to Israel, as well as the intelligence assessment and operational options. Thus the only conclusion that can be drawn from public opinion polls asking whether people would support or oppose an Israeli attack is that the Israeli public discourse on the issue is a superficial one. The only proper response is: "I don't have the necessary information to express an opinion."
The fact that this public debate is so insubstantial also affects the statements made by former high-ranking security officials. In theory, they have the right, and even the obligation, to publicly share their opinions on such an important matter, if it's possible to do so without revealing confidential information or damaging Israel's security or foreign affairs. That's the case for a substantive public debate that could influence the decisions being made. On the other hand, there's nothing to be gained from having former high-ranking officials announce what they think about a given issue if it's just a ritualized debate. It would be better for them to try to influence the genuine decision-makers from the inside rather than make a lot of noise in the public arena.
For a closer look at the distinction between substantive and non-substantive public discourse, we can compare the Iranian issue with one that is no less important: the peace process. Decisions relating to how worthwhile it is for Israel to give up parts of Judea and Samaria and divide Jerusalem in exchange for peace agreements are fitting for public debate, as are decisions relating to whether it is right to focus on relations with the Palestinians or whether it would be better to pursue a comprehensive regional peace. It is important to debate such questions. Although there are complicated security considerations involved in the peace process too, one cannot compare the level of secrecy needed in that case to the level of secrecy needed regarding anything connected to Iran. On the peace process, then, former senior political and security officials should indeed be stating publicly what they think and why, thus contributing to a serious public debate.
A public debate on the peace process, and the associated values, can and should affect a national referendum on the issue, as well as Knesset votes and cabinet resolutions. That makes it an essential debate, unlike discussion of an Israeli attack in Iran. Unlike with the peace process, Israel's leaders must - in accordance with the principles of representative democracy and based on the specific characteristics of the Iran issue - make a decision on a prospective Israeli attack on Iran to the best of their judgment, without taking into consideration the media, public discourse or party politics.
I am inclined to estimate that not more than 10 or 15 people in all of Israel know all the varied information that is essential for a level-headed decision on the Iranian issue, including the prime minister, defense minister and two or three advisers and professionals. This leads me to a difficult but unavoidable conclusion: History is presenting Israel with a critical challenge in which the very few are likely to greatly affect the future of very many. Such a situation is not desirable from the perspective of democratic values, and it also entails some danger. Such situations are rare, but they are not unique in history, especially in light of weapons of mass destruction. (Just recall U.S. President John F. Kennedy's response to the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba. )
Fortunately, notwithstanding all the justified criticism of this country's leaders on issues like the peace process and the social welfare policy, there is no doubt about their total commitment to Israel's security, expertise in the Iranian issue and reasoning ability. In any case, the decision is necessarily in their hands. One can only hope that the public debate, which will certainly not help matters, will at least do no harm.