International News

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By Halimah Mohammed Ali

ATLANTA, Ga. – An old vision of this community’s leadership has reappeared in Fort Valley, Georgia.  The legacy of both the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and his son, Imam W. Deen Mohammed –for economic growth and independence – has emerged in the spirit and heart of Fareed Shakir.

While incarcerated in the Milan, Michigan, prison for draft evasion, a round table discussion among the Muslim men inmates and their leader, the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, led to an accreted effort to purchase a 140-acre farm and some cattle in White Cloud, Michigan.

A little over a year ago, Fareed Shakir went to investigate a property that was recommended to him for purchase.  Bro. Fareed is a builder, so farming was the last thing on his mind.  But with Allah’s Decree, he would purchase a 140-acre farm in Fort Valley, Ga.

Without any agricultural training, Bro. Fareed took up this calling and with Prayer and Perseverance, he literally bought the farm and is determined to produce Organic Halal meat.  He completely revived the land and uses only organic fertilizer and grass seeds.

Once the grass began to grow, he immediately sought out for the finest quality of Black Angus cows – a total of 11 – within less than nine months of the purchase of the farm.  Those cows already have produced six calves to date.

The journey for Bro. Fareed has been hard yet miraculous!  Allah blessed him to acquire farm equipment, tools and the local support of his neighbors.  Last spring, he related how anxious the cattle were to graze in the freshly grown grass.  He observed them poking their heads out of the pen, constantly peering at the tall grass.

Although they were being feed hay, the cattle became disinterested once the grass appeared. Bro. Fareed finally released them  into the field and expressed the delight of the cows as doing a “Happy Dance.”

The road to developing the farm is far from complete. Nonetheless, the small group of men and Farmer Fareed are on the job daily.  He shared with his visitors that he could feel the spirit of the late leaders as he worked and tilled the soil.

So what’s next for the farm?  There are three structures up to house chickens! Just like the Hon. Elijah Muhammad did in Michigan!  The Atlanta community encourages everyone to pay a visit to the Fort Valley farm and lend your support for this brave and noble effort – that honors the legacy of our great leaders through the work that is being done.

Keep our brother, Fareed Shakir, and his staff in our dua’s everyday. It’s our time, and we must get busy doing all we can to please Allah and to serve humanity.

Muslim Journal is looking for more Do-For-Self stories that have turned ideas and ideals into realities and concrete works serving humanity.

 

 

 

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network

Islamic militant suspects were secretly shipped to Libya for harsh interrogation after 9/11 under a U.S. program called “extraordinary rendition,” it was revealed recently by the New York-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The program was outlined in hundreds of letters recently discovered in the now-abandoned office of Moussa Koussa, former foreign minister and head of Libyan intelligence, who defected to Britain in February.

The documents expose how the CIA turned over suspects to Libyan authorities knowing they would be tortured.

“Eight or nine individuals” were delivered to Libya, according to the Rights group, and not just for questioning, said Peter Bouckaert of HRW in Tripoli.

“The CIA also sent the questions they wanted Libyan intelligence to ask.  And from the files, it’s very clear that they were present in some of the interrogations themselves,” Bouckaert said.

The practice of torture to obtain information, while not permitted at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, received a green light from President Qaddafi in Tripoli, the documents reveal.

In return, Libya’s secret service reportedly received specific information about Libyan dissidents and was even assisted with the deportations of exiled dissidents back to Libya.

“What’s remarkable is the friendly tone of these files,” observed Bouchaert.  “U.S. and British intelligence agents thank Musa Kusa for the crate of oranges and dates that he sent back with the intelligence agent who came to visit.

“And all of these are letters, ‘Dear Musa’ letters, to a man who is infamous in Libya for his involvement in repression.”

Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, top Qaddafi aides are reportedly taking refuge in neighboring Niger, where the former Libyan President has close ties with the Tuareg nomads.

Some African countries continue to recognize Colonel Qaddafi as Libya’s leader.  Niger’s government, however, has recognized the anti-Qaddafi National Transitional Council as the country’s legitimate authority.

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As rebel fighters tightened their grip on Tripoli, many African leaders were largely silent over the prospect of the demise of Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

South African broadcaster SABC reported that Angola offered him asylum but it was unclear how he would get out of Tripoli with U.S. officials declining to rule out targeting Gaddafi in a drone attack.

Ugandan opposition leader Nandala Mafabi said Col. Gaddafi’s likely overthrow would be inspirational.  “It shows that people can rise against dictatorship and succeed if there is discontent because of a leader overstaying in power or suppressing citizens.”

President Yoweri Museveni, however, gave qualified support to his one-time backer. “I have had a lot of problems with Gaddafi, but when it comes to foreigners interfering in the affairs of Africa without the permission of the African Union, I cannot support it.  The position of Africa is ‘leave Libya to the Libyans to solve’.”

Friends of Gaddafi, now anxiously observing his defeat, include Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, South Africa and Mali.  As of this last week in August, African recognition of the Libyan rebels was only four countries: Senegal, Gambia, Egypt and Tunisia.

Concerns are growing as to who or what will replace the ousted African “King of Kings,” as Gaddafi once called himself.

Columnist Patrick Cockburn observed in a piece titled “No one doubts that Gaddafi has lost.  The question is: Who has won?”: “In Iraq, the Americans dissolved the Iraqi army and excluded former members of the Baath party from jobs and power… Most Iraqis were glad to see the end of Saddam Hussein, but the struggle to replace him almost destroyed the country.

“In Tripoli, as in most oil states, the government provides most jobs and many Libyans did well under the old regime. How will they now pay for being on the losing side?”

Cockburn warned, “Long-term opponents of the regime will find it difficult to share the spoils of victory with those who turned their coats at the last minute.”

 

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By Fungai Maboreke, Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network

A settlement of $260 million owed to citizens of the West African nation of Ivory Coast, victims of a nighttime dumping of toxic trash by a foreign barge, must be found and distributed, says the Rights group Amnesty International.

According to Amnesty, only a handful of the 92,000 victims received any payment, and the money paid to the former government of Laurent Gbagbo is largely unaccounted for. 

“It’s unacceptable that so many people … have not received the compensation they are entitled to,” said Benedetta Lacey, special advisor to Amnesty on the 5th anniversary of the disaster.

Hundreds of tons of highly toxic oil waste were offloaded in Abidjan, the country’s commercial capital, on Aug. 19, 2006.  Later it was learned that the British company, Trafigura, was fully aware that its waste was so toxic, that it was banned in Europe.

More than 100,000 Ivorians required medical attention and 12 victims appeared to show fatal levels of the poisonous gas hydrogen sulphide, one of the waste’s lethal byproducts.

Trafigura agreed to pay $195 million for about 95,000 victims.  A second payment of $20 million was approved as final payment for additional costs and clean-up expenses.

But a group calling itself the National Coordination of Toxic Waste Victims of Cote d’Ivoire managed to hijack some of the funds.  Much of the money is now missing, and the head of the group has disappeared.

Genevieve Diallo, of the victims’ group next to Akouedo dumpsite, said, “On the fifth anniversary, we must think about the victims…. Those who have misappropriated the money must be brought to justice.  Justice must be done.”

 

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Muslim Journal International News

TRIPOLI, Libya – On the night of Aug. 21, a sudden rebellion erupted in Tripoli. In less than 48 hours, rebels were controlling 80 percent of the capital apart from a few pockets where Gaddafi loyalists were still in charge.

These Tripoli inhabitants surprised the world with their well-timed, coordinated, armed resistance in the stronghold of the regime. They did not await support from the rebels approaching Tripoli from three destinations, who were only 60-40 km away from the capital.

It was only after this that the rebels from outside Tripoli stormed the capital by land and sea. Six months after the uprising erupted, it seems as if the struggle to overthrow the regime is finally drawing to an end.

So why did the Tripoli protesters decide to go ahead alone, rather than wait for back-up from the forces of the transitional government in Benghazi who were only few miles away from Tripoli?

Up until now, Tripoli has been rather quiet: We have only witnessed limited protest, as the security apparatus intensified. But now, these protesters decided to act ahead of time, so that  they too could be credited with the fall of the regime.

Tripoli protesters were in fact sending a symbolic message to the effect that they can overthrow the regime without the help of rebels from outside of Tripoli. They were not to have it all their way however.

NATO too promptly tried to jump into the picture by bombing unimportant targets in Tripoli to reassure a world public that NATO was right in there.

Protesters in Tripoli, however, have proved that they are not less patriotic than their fellow Libyans who stood up to be counted and sacrificed their lives in Benghazi, El Zawiya, and Misrata. Now, eyes are turned to Tripoli to witness the last chapter of the longest serving regime in the region.

Perfect Timing  

Their liberation operation had perfect timing. The Muslim world is closely watching news coming from Tripoli. Friday, in terms of Ramadan, corresponds to the day in which Prophet Muhammed conquered Makka.

Gaddafi’s forces were taken by surprise, when simultaneously, all the mosques in Tripoli gave the green go-ahead to protesters to start their operation to liberate Tripoli. “Allah Akbar” – God is the Greater – was the secret signal heard across Tripoli just after Al Maghrib, the Muslim prayer after which Muslims break their fast in the holy month of Ramadan.

No one could have imagined that Tripoli inhabitants would rise up at a time when which Muslims are busy eating Iftar after a long hot day of fasting.

Protesters went into the streets, gathered at the mosques, and marched toward specific strategic locations in the capital. It seems that the rebels had access to arms and ammunition, possibly  acquired from police or army members who were pro-protest. A number of the Gaddafi forces immediately surrendered to the rebels, giving up their arms.

Protesters attacked the political prison, liberating their fellow citizens who were held there. Some police stations were attacked. Libyan activists marched on toward Bab Al Azizia, the stronghold of the regime.

As expected, the Gaddafi forces overcame their initial surprise and retaliated using rockets, and sending their snipers out over the roofs of buildings. However, many forces fled their positions returning back to their families, while others surrendered. Suddenly, Gaddafi’s forces collapsed and disappeared.

The transitional government in Benghazi granted an amnesty to all the Gaddafi forces that will give up and put down their arms - an excellent tactic for lessening the bloodshed.

Coordinated Protest

This was not a spontaneous demonstration, but a planned uprising spreading through all the neighbourhoods of Tripoli. Protesters were organized and acted according to plan. Arms were secretly acquired ahead of time, and were in the hands of the rebels at the right time.

This is thanks to a command centre managing the battle of Tripoli with ongoing communication between the rebellious neighborhoods of Tripoli and the Transitional National Council (TNC) in Benghazi.

Protestors were operating under a united leadership made up of secret sleeping cells. It is widely understood that those secret cells have provided valuable information about pro-Gaddafi military targets inside Tripoli for the past six months.

An integral part of the plan is to control strategic key areas inside the capital and to arrest the remaining high ranking officials close to Gaddafi. Everybody knows that the game is up. High ranking officials have fled across the Tunisian borders. No one knows whether Gaddafi is still inside Tripoli or has already left.

Wherever he is, however, Gaddafi seems to be the last one to grasp the new realities on the ground. His last three speeches simply repeat desperate calls for “true Libyans” to stand up against the rebels and defend Tripoli. His closest supporters have abandoned him to meet his destiny alone.

Huge Challenges

The quick fall of Tripoli in the hands of the rebels has surprised international players who were pessimistic about the situation in Libya. International observers and political analysts thought that the conflict had reached a ‘stalemate” likely to continue for a prolonged period in which no side would achieve a decisive victory on the battlefield.

Gloomy scenarios of political division and internal conflict were also widely assumed. Nonetheless, Tripoli protesters have proved the opposite. Now, international players will compete to win Libya reconstruction contracts.

With the huge victory on the rebels’ side, there must now be a smooth transition process. The burden on the TNC is very heavy: it means building a country from scratch. Libya has no organized army, political parties or opposition. Restoring order and collecting arms from the streets is an immediate challenge.

Having armed militias in a tribal country is potentially alarming. But, there are promising signs that Tripoli will not turn into a new Baghdad. The capital has not so far witnessed looting or organized crime in the capital.

                (The Libyan Legend was written by civilian Libyans with high expectations of a future free Libya, who have risen up from every corner and carried arms to end one of the world’s totalitarian regimes. Essam Badran is a political analyst with a law degree specialized in Middle East studies.)

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Muslim Journal International News

Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network

Reeling under the world economic crisis and the nation’s own failure to create new jobs, the South African government dedicated this year’s Women’s National Day to Economic Empowerment for Women.
At the commemoration, held recently at Polokwane’s Mokaba Stadium, the ruling African National Congress expressed “great concern” over the slow pace of empowering African women in the workplace – African women account for only 0.8 percent at top management level.
Other speakers cited an uphill battle since Apartheid was dismantled in 1990.
“I want my children to know that our past violent society left permanent scars and that the future is in building social cohesion in a society still divided on racial, sexist, ethnic, and class lines … and where violence against the ‘other’ is still prevalent,” wrote Thoko Mpumlwana, Deputy Chair of the Electoral Commission of South Africa, in a recent column in Gender Links.
“I want my kids to ‘imagine’ and work toward a non-racial and non-sexist society.  Patriarchy lives and its effect is felt by women of South Africa every day,” she observed.
Women’s Day honors the 20,000 South African women who marched on the Union Buildings in Pretoria in 1956 to protest the hated pass laws of the racist Apartheid regime.
A song composed for the occasion, Wathinkt’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (you strike a woman, you strike a rock) has become the anthem for women in South Africa and beyond.
In a related development, ANC youth league leader, Julius Malema, has paid a $7,000 fine to a women’s group over “hate speech,” ordered by the Equality Court.
Malema was sued by the Sonke Gender Justice Group for saying that a woman who charged President Jacob  Zuma with rape had a “nice time” with him.

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Muslim Journal International News

As the country marked Heroes Day on Aug. 8, 2011, President Robertt Mugabe renewed threats against companies from Western countries that have imposed targeted sanctions on him and key ZANU PF officials.
The U.S. and European Union slapped sanctions on Mugabe and his supporters because of human rights abuses.
According to Reuters, Mugabe told thousands who attended the commemoration of liberation heroes: “We can’t continue to receive the battering of sanctions without hitting back.  We have to hit back.”
“We will have to discriminate against countries that have imposed sanctions against us.  Why do we need companies like Rio Tinto?  If they are to continue mining, then the sanctions must go,” he said.
He has previously called for a boycott of products from foreign countries who back the sanctions, which he says have hurt the country’s shaky economy.

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network

South African workers displayed frustration with “poverty wages” in major rallies the second week in July 2011, across the Southern tip of Africa nation.

They called on their government to halt the trend to temporary work, shortened work contracts, and the use of labor brokers who keep wages low while the cost of basic necessities is on the rise.

About 70,000 workers in the chemical sector started striking recently for a minimum monthly salary of $872 ($6000 rand) and a 40-hour work week.

Congress of South African Trade Unions’ general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told workers South Africa faced a “major crisis” because of inequalities.

“Africans are living in poverty with 58 percent earning a salary of $47 ($325 rand) a month,” said Vavi.  “We are not enjoying the fruits of our democracy, because we remain affiliated with a crisis of unemployment, with 36 percent of people unable to find job opportunities to work.”

Food, housing, transport and health care are nearly out of reach of the working class, union leader Simon Mofokeng told the marchers.  He blamed capitalists for creating unhealthy competition among workers over the last decade.

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Au Summit

Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network

African Union Heads of State and Government concluded a long agenda at their recent meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.  The meeting ran from June 23 to July 1, 2011, under the theme: “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”
At the meeting, the members disputed many of the moves by the international community including the effort to detain Sudanese President al-Bashir, the handling of the crisis in Libya, and the announced prosecutions over post-election violence in Kenya in 2008.
They urged that these matters be handled by national mechanisms.
They rejected moves to arrest Colonel Moammar Gaddafi, saying it “seriously complicates the efforts aimed at finding a negotiated political solution to the crisis in Libya.”
All AU Member States were urged not to cooperate in the execution of the arrest warrant against the embattled Libyan leader.
Further planning was recommended for the Diaspora Summit. A pre-summit conference is slated for September 2011 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York while the Global Diaspora Summit is set for May 25, 2012.
Finally, the members endorsed a call for job creation supported by the State, Private Sector, Employers and Trade Unions, and Civil Society Organizations, with special emphasis on youth empowerment.
A resolution calling for the lifting of the economic and trade boycott of Cuba by the U.S. also was adopted.

Politics

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By Nusayba Hammad, Communications Director, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (nusayba@uscpr.org) WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an act unprecedented in recent history, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand...
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