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To: Brumar89 who wrote (1730)8/29/2002 10:12:20 PM
From: lorne
   of 3959
Lots of reading here.
Why I Left Islam
I am often asked, Why I left Islam?. As absurd as it may be, some Muslims cannot even allow themselves to think that leaving Islam is an option, or even possible. They rather think that those who leave Islam are paid Jewish agents than accept the fact that people have freedom to think and some may even think that Islam is not for them. The following are my reasons.

Not until few years ago I used to think that my faith in Islam was not based on blind imitation but rather was the result of years of investigation and research. The fact that I had read a lot of books on Islam, written by people whose thoughts I approved of and delving into philosophies that were within my comfort zone, emphasized my conviction that I had found the truth. All my bias research confirmed my faith. Just like other Muslims I used to believe that to learn about anything one has to go to the source. Of course the source of Islam is Quran and the books written by Muslim scholars. Therefore, I felt no need to look elsewhere in order to find the truth, as I was convinced that I have already found it. As Muslims say “Talabe ilm ba’d az wossule ma’loom mazmoom”. The search of knowledge after gaining it is foolish

Of course, this is a foolish idea. What if we want to learn the truth about one of these dangerous cults? Is it enough to depend only on what the cult leader and his deluded followers say? Wouldn’t it be prudent to widen our research and find out what other people have to say about them? Going to the source makes sense only in scientific matters, because scientists are not “believers”. They do not say something because they have blind faith. Scientists make a critical analysis of the evidence. It is very much different from religious approach that is based entirely on faith and belief.

I suppose it was my acquaintance with the western humanistic values that made me more sensitive and whet my appetite for democracy, freethinking, human rights, equality, etc. It was then that when I read again Quran I came across injunctions that were not al par with my newfound humanistic values, I was distressed and felt very uncomfortable to read teachings like these.

Q.3: 5
”But those who reject Faith after they accepted it, and then go on adding to their defiance of Faith,- never will their repentance be accepted; for they are those who have gone astray”.

Q.16: 106
”Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith - but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.”

One may think that the dreadful penalty mentioned here pertains to the next word. But Muhammad made sure that these people received their penalty in this world as well. See the following:

Sahih Bukhari Volume 6, Book 61, Number 577:

I heard the Prophet saying, "In the last days (of the world) there will appear young people with foolish thoughts and ideas. They will give good talks, but they will go out of Islam as an arrow goes out of its game, their faith will not exceed their throats. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for there will be a reward for their killers on the Day of Resurrection."

Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 63, Number 260:

Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "

Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 63, Number 261:

Eight men of the tribe of 'Ukil came to the Prophet and then they found the climate of Medina unsuitable for them. So, they said, "O Allah's Apostle! Provide us with some milk." Allah's Apostle said, "I recommend that you sh ould join the herd of camels." So they went and drank the urine and the milk of the camels (as a medicine) till they became healthy and fat. Then they killed the shepherd and drove away the camels, and they became unbelievers after they were Muslims. When the Prophet was informed by a shouter for help, he sent some men in their pursuit, and before the sun rose high, they were brought, and he had their hands and feet cut off. Then he ordered for nails, which were heated and passed over their eyes, and they were left in the Harra (i.e. rocky land in Medina). They asked for water, and nobody provided them with water till they died.

And from Partial Translation of Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4339

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin:
The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) Said: The blood of a Muslim man who testifies that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle should not lawfully be shed except only for one of three reasons: a man who committed fornication after marriage, in which case he should be stoned; one who goes forth to fight with Allah and His Apostle, in which case he should be killed or crucified or exiled from the land; or one who commits murder for which he is killed.

The following is very disturbing. I dare to say any man who read it and is not taken aback with disgust has a long way to go to become a human.

Sunan Abu-Dawud Book 38, Number 4348

”Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:
A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it.
He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up.
He sat before the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.
Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood".

Full article >>>

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To: ChinuSFO who started this subject8/30/2002 11:45:38 AM
From: Thomas M.
   of 3959
Quranic injunction - "Lakum deen o kum, waaley ya din."

Translation - "My religion is mine, yours is yours."

<<< To be a foreigner in the Abbasid court was not really a drawback since the culture encouraged diversity and rewarded people for speaking many langages and bringing the richness of their own backgrounds. In fact, during the AD, scholars, artists, poets,and litterateurs came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds (speaking Aramaic, Arabic, Persian and Turkish), colors (white black and mulatto), and creeds (Muslim, Christian, Jew, Sabian and Magian). It was this cosmopolitanism and multiculturalism of Baghdad that made for its enduring strength as a great center of culture.

To think that the discourse of 20th century "western" secular multiculturalism has at least some of its roots in the 7th and 8th century Islamic empires of the Ommayyid and Abbasid dynasties is indeed a sobering thought. >>>

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (1730)8/30/2002 12:52:47 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 3959
Or the LA branch of the Jewish Defense League, another story that evaporated, to be replaced by a Moslem detained without charges.

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To: lorne who wrote (1731)8/30/2002 12:54:18 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 3959
Sounds much like those "religious" leaders such as Ariel Sharon who professes to hew to the idea of Eretz Isra-El.

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (1730)8/30/2002 7:51:04 PM
From: blind alley racer
   of 3959
Native American Rights (Audio)

California's sacred sites bill -- designed to help American Indian tribes halt development on sacred land -- has businesspeople up in arms. Developers and some lawmakers say the bill goes too far in allowing tribes to intervene in building projects and demand change if Indians say a sacred area is threatened. But California's tribe leaders support the bill, and hope it will inspire other states to pass similar measures. California Governor Gray Davis has not said whether he will sign the bill. NPR's Andy Bowers reports. (2:58)


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To: blind alley racer who wrote (1736)8/30/2002 10:09:46 PM
From: lorne
   of 3959
Oh Oh. Len. Looks like your days here may be numbered. Not just you but all the muslim terrorist supporters...andy,gus,tommy, heck you guys know who you are. Get your licks in while you can. :o)
Support For 1st Amendment Slipping

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 30, 2002
"Many Americans view these fundamental freedoms as possible obstacles in the war on terrorism."

(AP) Support for the First Amendment has eroded significantly since Sept. 11 and nearly half of Americans now think the constitutional amendment on free speech goes too far in the rights it guarantees, according to a new poll.

The sentiment that the First Amendment goes too far was already on the rise before the terrorist attacks a year ago, doubling to four in 10 between 2000 and 2001.

The poll released Thursday found that 49 percent think the First Amendment goes too far, a total about 10 points higher than in 2001.

"Many Americans view these fundamental freedoms as possible obstacles in the war on terrorism," said Ken Paulson, executive director of the First Amendment Center, based in Arlington, Va., which commissioned the survey. Almost half also said the media has been too aggressive in asking the government questions about the war on terrorism.

The center, which also has offices in Nashville, asked the University of Connecticut's Center for Survey Research and Analysis to measure views about the First Amendment.

The poll of 1,000 adults was taken between June 12 and July 5, and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The researchers said they designed this year's survey, in part, to test the "public's willingness to tolerate restrictions on the First Amendment liberties during what they perceive to be wartime."

They found that 48 percent of respondents agreed the government should have the freedom to monitor religious groups in the interest of national security — even if that means infringing upon the religious freedom of the group's members. Forty-two percent said the government should have more authority to monitor Muslims.

The survey also found a significant dip in the number of people who believe newspapers should freely criticize the U.S. military about its strategy and performance. Fifty-seven percent were supportive this year, compared to 69 percent in 2001.

Seven in 10 respondents agreed newspapers should publish freely, a slight drop from 2001. Those less likely to support newspaper rights included people without a college education, Republicans, and evangelicals, the survey found.

Republican respondents also were more likely than Democrats or Independents to see the news media as too aggressive in seeking war information from government officials.

Among other poll findings:

About four in 10 favored restrictions on the academic freedom of professors to criticize government military policy during war. Twenty-two percent strongly supported such restrictions.

While 75 percent considered the right to speak freely as "essential," almost half, 46 percent, supported amending the Constitution to prohibit flag burning.

Sixty-three percent rated the job the American educational system does in teaching students about First Amendment freedoms as either "fair" or "poor." Five percent rated the educational system's job in this area as excellent.

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (1730)8/30/2002 10:33:42 PM
From: lorne
   of 3959
Iran's President Trying to Limit Power of Clergy
The New York Times

TEHRAN, Aug. 28 — Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, said today that hard-line clerics had made it all but impossible for him to do his job and that he would propose legislation to adjust the balance of power so that he could pursue reforms.

President Khatami's statement amounted to a clear expression of frustration with the clerics who hold most real levers of power and have thwarted a president elected twice on promises to open the economy and usher in greater civil liberties.
"I am announcing today that the president must have the power to perform his duties within the framework of the Constitution," he said at a news conference.

"We cannot speak of democracy if we are not ready to play by its rules," he added. "The main aspect of democracy is the right of people to change a government if they do not like it."

Full story >>>

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To: GUSTAVE JAEGER who wrote (1723)8/30/2002 10:35:26 PM
From: lorne
   of 3959
Brain drain in Iran....Gees that can't be good. :o)
Iran's '79 revolution has gone awry
By Borzou Daragahi
August 28, 2002

TEHRAN — The sprawling bazaar in the southern part of this city is where opposition to Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the last Iranian monarch, sparked the Islamic revolution in 1979. The bazaar merchants opposed the shah's permissive culture and favored a government of religious clerics or mullahs. But it was the shah's economic policies that ignited the revolution. Merchants were outraged by his attempts to open Iran's economy to the global market and foreign competition.
Now, some of those same people who toppled the shah are desperately trying to pull Iran's economy into the 21st century.
That's because many of the major policies the mullahs initiated since the 1979 revolution have failed. But the government may not be able to improve its economy without dismantling the revolution that put it in power.
The country's economic problems are broad, deep and numerous. Everyone complains about not being able to make ends meet. According to government statistics, the average family earns $3,125 a year; but spends $600 more than that.
More palpably, Iranians eat 20 percent less food and 30 percent less meat than they did 10 years ago.
Hassan Fallahi, a taxi driver from southern Tehran with five children. says times have gotten tougher and tougher.
"A kilogram of meat that cost $2 last year costs $3 this year," he said. "Foodstuffs have gotten more expensive, clothes have gotten more expensive. But your salary stays the same."
After the revolution, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini urged Iranians to bear many children. Go forth, he said, and breed a new Islamic order.
Well, they did. Now Iran faces a huge demographic crisis: 800,000 to 1.2 million new jobs are needed every year for people entering the job market.
But the country can only create 400,000 jobs in a good year. The official unemployment rate is at 13 percent, but most independent analysts peg it at 20 percent. One minister recently called unemployment a national threat.
Mohammed Hussein Adib, an Iranian economist, predicts unemployment could rise to 30 percent in the next four years. "The biggest challenge for Iran might be finding enough sidewalks for aimless young men to mill about upon," he joked.
The mullahs taught illiterate people to read and put universities in every small town. The result has been an educated youth with high ambitions but few opportunities. Unless they go abroad. Since the mullahs took charge of Iran, they have tried to impose seventh-century religious values on the population. They banned pop music, alcohol, discos and many forms of modern entertainment.
So the modern-minded are leaving. Late last year the International Monetary Fund named Iran the world's No. 1 victim of brain drain, with 150,000 to 180,000 of the country's best educated moving out each year to contribute their talents to the West.
In managing the private sector, the government has fared even worse. When the clerics wrested control from the shah, they grabbed all his properties and those of his friends and put them in the hands of the government and various religious foundations.
Those organizations — with names like the Foundation for the Oppressed and the Foundation for War Orphans — now control vast tracts of the Iranian economy, stifling the growth of the private sector and scaring off foreign investors. Few entrepreneurs dare risk facing a fatwa for underselling Iranian sofas or cereals.
Iran's former president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, started a move to privatize state-owned industries bur that just made the problem worse, said Nasser Hadian, a Tehran University political scientist now teaching at Columbia University.
"Many of those corporations were given to many of the friends and relatives of the politically important people," he said. "After they assumed ownership of the corporations and organizations, many of them in fact dismantled, disorganized these corporations and sold [the pieces] in the market for a higher price."
In the big cities, the mullahs decided to invest in mosques rather than subways. As a result, Iran has grown into a car-dependent country. Iran's increasing domestic consumption is eating into sales of its primary export: oil.
Most economists agree that foreign investment and a general opening up of the economy would do much to alleviate Iran's troubles.
But because the clerical regime tried to export its revolution to other countries, supporting militant movements in Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian Territories — U.S. sanctions remain in place.
Other potential trade partners remain suspicious. Egypt, for example, won't restore full relations with Iran until it renames a Tehran street now dedicated to the assassin of President Anwar Sadat.
Because of the U.S. sanctions, the country made a series of rotten business deals with European companies. They agreed to develop Iran's oil fields in exchange for free oil. The bills have come due, and Iran has to fork over millions of barrels a day to the Europeans.
The clerical government in Iran is now stuck economically. But economists say that unless it takes drastic measures, Iran's government could follow in the steps of the Soviet Union and collapse under the weight of its own economic mismanagement.

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To: blind alley racer who wrote (1734)8/30/2002 11:39:21 PM
From: Brumar89
   of 3959
I see your argument - both of them were turned in before they did anything unlike the limo driver who wasn't turned in by his friends and who murdered a number of people he didn't knkow.

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To: blind alley racer who wrote (1735)8/31/2002 6:08:49 AM
   of 3959
Behind the hoopla on Iraq lies the US's REAL target: Iran. (after all, these two have an old score to settle, eh?)

Iran: threat or victim?

A US strike against Iraq seems imminent, but who's next? Galal Nassar argues it will be Iran


Indeed, confidential reports reveal that Israeli pilots are currently in central Anatolia training in case plans to bombard Iranian nuclear reactors and missiles bases are implemented. Increased flights over the Turkish-Iranian border have also been reported. The reports suggest that one of Israel's objectives in its military cooperation with Turkey is to obtain permission to use Turkish air bases for assaults against Iranian targets. Already the Israeli-Turkish agreement allows for eight Israeli war planes to be stationed permanently on Turkish territory.

Operation Babel-2, the code name for the Israeli offensive to destroy Iranian missile plants and storehouses, will go into effect if the US 'diplomatic deterrent' fails, according to the report. Iranian military authorities are currently studying two scenarios, the first is a possible Israeli bombardment of missile plants in Shiraz, Khorramabad, Farahin and Shahman, the second involves targeting foreign experts working on the missile and nuclear development programmes.

The authorities believe that Israel procured 45 F-15s, capable of flying distances of over 1,500 kilometres and returning to base without refueling, expressly to carry out raids against Iran. Consequently, Iranian authorities have been taking precautions to ensure that their facilities are protected. Measures include, dispersing laboratories and facilities to diverse parts of the country. Iranian officials also fear that a traditional war in the region could easily escalate into a nuclear war in which the US and Israel would seek to use small tactical atomic bombs.

Tehran is contemplating a possible counter strike. Iran has obtained highly detailed Russian satellite pictures pinpointing the locations of Israeli missile silos. Apparently, Israel's main silo is located 20 km west of Jerusalem near the Tel Nouf air base. The silo, which is surrounded by caves and fortified bunkers, is located to the south of missile manufacturing plants at Bir Ya'qub. Tehran has also deployed Shahab missiles to target other Israeli installations, such as the Zakheriya base southeast of Tel Aviv, which houses long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The satellite photographs indicate that the missiles are not stored in fortified shelters that could withstand a nuclear attack. Unlike their Israeli counterparts the Iranian missile shelters are fortified against attacks.

Tehran has further warned Israel and the US that, in the event of an attack, it would counter, using suicide bombers in speed-boats, to attack US ships stationed in the Gulf. It also threatened to mine the Hormuz Straits, halting international shipping in the Persian Gulf, and to mount terrorist strikes against US interests in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The common feeling among Iranians is that they are surrounded on all sides, with NATO-allied Turkey to the northwest, US bases in Uzbekistan to the northeast, US forces in Afghanistan, US bases in Pakistan, and the US navy in the Gulf and Indian Ocean. All that remains is for Washington to succeed in toppling Saddam Hussein, install a pro-US regime in Iraq, and the encirclement will be complete.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved

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