Friday, June 05, 2009

Obama's Brave Words: Help Him!

U.S. President Barack Obama, gave a speech in Cairo and in it, told the Israeili government to stop their illegal settlements within Palestinian lands. Though I had reservations about him previously, I now salute him as it take real guts for someone in his position to say such words openly, remembering how lopsided the US policy has always been for the region. This, and a couple more of his actions may help to ease the burden of the Palestinian people.

In an effort to assist him, Avaaz, and organisation that has been championing peace throughout the world, has made an appeal to the citizens of the world to show their support, and can be read as below:

Obama: "Stop the Settlements"

President Obama's speech in Egypt today was a stunning step toward achieving Middle East peace. His first new move: to press Israel's right-wing government to stop their self-destructive policy of building settlements on Palestinian land.

But Obama needs help from around the world to face down the powerful opposition already mobilising against him.

Let's raise a massive global chorus immediately to support Obama’s statement that the settlements in occupied territory must stop, by joining our voices to a petition based on his very own words.

We’ll advertise the number of signatures in key papers in Israel and Washington DC – support Obama’s message now, sign the petition below and spread the word today:

Petition to the Government of Israel and the
United States Congress:

In the words of President Obama, just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued settlements in the West Bank. They violate previous agreements and undermine efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop.

- . -

* Click here to sign as a show of support.

** Read Obama's speech here.

Thank you.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Simply Funny But Honest Piece

Reading Zan Azlee's column here, one can't help but laugh at the humour in it. It was a well written piece of perhaps, a true incident in his life. But as funny as the situation he was put in - not the religious matter, please - there is a much grimmer truth to be told: After more than 50 years of rule under the Perikatan and later the BN, both led by umno, there are still many people, yours truly included, that have vague understanding of Islam. And if the Malays themselves cannot understand their religion well, not much can be said of the non-Malays if they don't, can we? This, relates to the story below.

There is an old story about a Malay kampung. No specific location need be mentioned as the kampung is as typical as any. And situated in the small town of the kampung, one would find at least one coffeeshop, and another selling grocery and sundry goods to serve the needs of the villagers. In many occasion, both shops would be owned by 2 different Chinese families, though there were a large number where a single family owned both the shops. And typical as it was then and even now - in different guise, 'accounts' would be opened in the form of those small 555 note books. But that is not the point here.

At the above point of time, the kampung's statistics would probably say "98.5% Malay, 1% Chinese, 0.5% Indian", where the Indians would most probably be either serving with the Security Forces, or living in a small community of rubber tappers. It would then natural for the Chinese shopkeepers - many of them non-Muslims - to sell and serve alcoholic drinks, which is well within their rights to do so. What isn't though, are, or were, the Muslims who, without shame, participate in a binge or two.

The point of this story as told to me years ago, was that despite the overwhelming numbers, the Malays/Muslims were not able to hold staunchly to their belief but succumbed to the temptations which is against it. Now, I am not being a prude or having a holier-than-thou attitude here, but merely recounting this story which I believe, is well known already. And this, is what umno is all about: they fail to hold on to the principles of the cause of their founding, and created new ones along the way, the kinds which goes smack opposite the former. And instead of creating better understanding of Islam, they turn it into something different that confuses the minds of many, Muslims included, and yours truly not excluded (no need to mention anything specific as there are far too many incidences). But perhaps, their actions can be attributed to their very own lack of knowledge; a wishful thought to some, but we are taught to think kindly of another, weren't we?

An example of the above mentioned lack of knowledge and confusion can be found in a comment here, where the person do not understand the role of a Muslim to a non-Muslim regarding dakwah - ours, is only to propogate the news and understading of Islam, and not to convert people into our faith. That, lies within the sole discretion of Allah s.w.t. And clearly the person in question, who is of umno faith, does not understand this. And it is for reasons such as this one whih makes me loathe the party ever more.

As with Zan Azlee's writing in his column, let me too mention that I am no Ustaz, nor a man deep in knowledge of Islam. It is with that latter confession which makes me believe that if not I, then later generations, would be able to understand and appreciate Islam, not only as a spiritual faith, but one that is encompassing including the good governance of a nation, were PAS to replace umno, and not stand alongside it. And with that too, I cannot understand why certain quarters - sadly, within PAS - who believe in umno's invitation for some form of a coalition government. To me it is very clear: If a non-Muslim is against Islam, then in high probability they do not understand the religion. But, what do you make of a Muslim who not only go against the teachings of Islam, but help fan hatred towards it? A traitor, perhaps.

Going back to Zan Azlee's simply funny but honest piece, if there is a need for us to cleanse ourselves, that it must be of the misdeeds, cruelty, corruption, and all the vile words one can think of, and that can be found in an acronym of words spelt "u.m.n.o" - a four letter word which is self-explanatory.

There is a story about Khalifah Harun ar-Rasyid I read, but sadly one which I have lost the source. Upon ascending the caliphate, the Khalifah appointed several people as new governors of distant cities. But upon learning news of one of the governors, the Khalifah rescinded the appointment. When that person learned of the rescinding order, he met the Khalifah to know the reason why. The Khalifah said it was because he had served under the previous Khalifah who was a tyrant. In reply to the man's protest that his previous appointment was only a brief spell, the Khalifah replied "Even had you served him for a month, you were an accomplice to him". (Anyone in knowledge of this, kindly tell me the source, or correct any mistakes mentioned. JazkAllah khair.