International News

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Maurice Bishop
The late Maurice Bishop, prime minister of Grenada, led a coup in 1979 in an attempt to change the social and economic fortunes of the tiny island nation. (Photo by NANCY SHIA)

 

By Barrington M. Salmon?

Special to the NNPA from

The Washington Informer

Don Rojas didn’t know that when he accepted Maurice Bishop’s offer to become his press secretary that he’d end up being an eyewitness to a coup, and an invasion of Grenada by the U.S. military.

Rojas, 64, said he served as press secretary in the years prior to and including the 1983 invasion.

“The prime minister invited me to come back in 1979 to rebuild media,” said Rojas, a St. Vincentian native who owns and operates a progressive media relations firm in Randallstown, Md.

“My first assignment was editor of the Free West Indian, and then he appointed me.”

Radio documentarian Amina Hassan spent a year in Grenada while working on a public radio series detailing the religion, politics and culture of several Caribbean countries including Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana and Puerto Rico.

“I was 40 when I went,” said Hassan, a Los Angeles native. “Personally, one of the things about Grenada was that I wanted to see if I could take care of my children out of the country by myself.

“I did that. I didn’t take any handouts. I raised money, put on presentations and wrote to foundations.”

“We didn’t have a lot. Peanut butter and muffin cakes would be like a treat. The rent was paid, everything was taken care of. It was important to me to do that on my own. My children saw that.”

Hassan, 72, said she and her four children lived in the neighborhood with Grenadians.

“I got there in 1982. We made good friends down there at the time,” she recalled. “We were integrated and the neighbors were nice.”

Hassan described Grenada as being severely underdeveloped.

“It was a little backwater. The government’s Xerox machines didn’t work and the government was trying to build a power plant to deal with the frequent outages,” she said.

She said people enamored by the revolution came down to the island, intrigued by being able to see the socialist experiment unfolding.

“We were openly sympathetic. We were living our lives,” Hassan said. “We did have good relations with the government. We didn’t have to pay our electric bills. We began to train some people so we didn’t have to pay tariff when we brought in equipment.”

“He was pretty charismatic and handsome too. He was well-liked and I always saw him around. Here was someone attempting to [develop] socialism so people sort of flocked there.”

Bishop seized control of the government in a bloodless coup in 1979, toppling the corrupt and brutal government of Eric Gairy. Gairy ruled by fear and used a group of thugs called the “Mongoose Gang” to beat, threaten, intimidate and murder dissidents and rivals, real and imagined.

Bishop and his New Jewel Movement advocated and espoused a milder brand of socialism that sought to improve the lives of the 100,000 residents of the tiny island-nation.

In a March 1979 speech, Bishop outlined his vision of the future.

“Let me assure the people of Grenada that all democratic freedoms, including freedom of elections, religious and political opinion, will be fully restored to the people,” he said.

“People of Grenada, this revolution is for work, for food, for decent housing and health services, and for a bright future for our children and great grandchildren.”

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turkish masjid in midrand south africa

By Sia Safiyyah Muhammad

 

It’s been four years since my last journey to South Africa.  I look at it as a journey instead of a trip, because it’s more than leisure..., it's an experience.  I had to adjust to the differences upon arriving in the country six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Also, the country of South Africa operates on a British system, so the steering wheel and driving is on the opposite side. While we are experiencing autumn n America, they are enjoying the warmth and beauty of spring. The official language is British English, so you hear words like “boot” for a automobile trunk, “pocket” for glove compartment and “pram” for stroller.

Many native African Muslims eat together from one main dish with their hands, which fosters togetherness and communal conversation.  The extremes of beauty and poverty still overwhelm the untrained eye.

Though British English is the most widely spoken common language, the beautiful native languages of Zulu, Xhosa and Tswana are spoken throughout the communities. The warm hospitality and daily conversations include “hello, how are you; how’s your family” – all woven into their culture.

When I visited people’s homes not more than 10 minutes went by before I was offered a refreshment of water, juice, tea and biscuits (English tea cookies).  And when I am leaving. It is often said, “You must greet your family.”

The Muslims in the community gather at least once a week, sometimes on Friday for Thikrul-Jum’uah or remembering Allah and Prophet Muhammed; a short lecture/class; nasheeds (Islamic songs remembering Allah and Prophet Muhammed) and sharing a meal.

One of the highlights of this journey was the aqiqah (baby naming ceremony) of Muhammad and Ruqayyah's new addition – Fatimatuz-Zahrah –where family and community people visited their home to bless the family through prayer, a feast, gifts and celebration.

There are uniquely beautiful sights that are breath taking sunrises and sunsets, trees, plants, flowers and songs of birds indigenous to South Africa. Many of the people drive automobiles, as we do, however, many others walk or ride vans called taxis.

Many of the children in the neighborhood travel to school by vans called transports.  Often the children are happy and love to be with each other.  Many of the girls, teens and women wear their hair in beautiful styles as braids, cornrows, and intricate loc designs.

Many neighborhoods have a small businesses, usually in/near residents‘ homes, as barber/beauty shops, convenience stores called a “tuck shops,” or work as a tailor/seamstress.

Though the housing development companies are usually owned by Europeans, the building is often done by the native South African men.  This leads me to the not-so-pleasant side of things.  Though my sister is blessed to live in a comfortable situation, there are so many thousands of people who are literally living from “hand to mouth” or less.

There is approximately 30 percent unemployment among the native South Africans.  Though Apartheid ended in the 1990s, many people live in such substandard conditions – makeshift dwellings of corrugated metal and cardboard.

Homes are literally packed together side by side like sardines in a can.  Heavy rains and flooding can literally wash away homes.   Sewage backups are often a problem.  Though many of the townships (city ghettos) have small brick houses with electricity, they often deal with issues as crime and especially theft, shiftlessness, and immorality-all commonplace for ghettos of any country.

The worth of the rand (their dollar) is 10 to one.  For example, I got my hair braided for $10 U.S., which is equivalent to 100 rand (which would cost at least $60 in the U.S.).

The daily diet of the average person includes white flour products, sodas, sweets and meat, making the average diet very unhealthy.  The country is considered a democracy (celebrating their 20th anniversary next year), however, it literally has a long way to go to experience economic justice for all who aim for it.

The light of the Muslims in the community I've come to know and love; it is a real love, with honor and respect for G-d's Way.

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Aqiqah and family in South Africa.

By Sia Safiyah Muhammad

Some may remember that I traveled to South Africa three years ago to as my sister, Ruqayyah, was bringing new life into the world which by the will of Allah was a stillborn.

Three years later, her family has expanded by two beautiful births – Muhammad Al-Hasan born two years ago and Fatimatu-Zahrah born three weeks ago!  Allah is indeed the Best Knower and the Most Merciful.

South Africa is presently enjoying spring, as we in America are enjoying the beauty of autumn. Though the black African people have suffered great atrocities, many move about peaceful with song in their voice working in communities and enjoying the company of family and friends.

I am recently arriving back in the country and now need to process my journey and will share with Muslim Journal’s readers soon.

Facts about South Africa:

Official Name:  Republic of South Africa

President:  Jacob Zuma

Type of Government:  Democracy

Currency: One Rand (R)=100 cent

Capitals:  Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicial)

Provinces:  Estern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumulanga, Northern Cape, Limpopo, North West, Free State, Western Cape

Population Groups:  African, Coloured, White, Indian/Asian

Official Languages:  Afrikaans, English, isiZulu, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, Sesotho saLeboa, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivende, Xitsonga

Key industries:  Mining (platinum, chromium), automobile assembly, metal-working, machinery, textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, fertilizers, foodstuffs, commercial ship repair

Time:  Six hours ahead of eastern standard time

Measures:  metric system

Internet domain:  .za

 

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Focolore President Meets WIth King Abdulla

Movement Dedicated to Unity at Work Trying to Foster Peace in Mideast

ROME, Italy –  As Pope Francis is joined by Church leaders across the globe calling for peace and negotiation in Syria, the president of the Catholic Focolare movement was in Jordan, where she met with King Abdulla II.

“His Majesty welcomed us warmly, saying that he was honored by our visit,” Maria Voce reported. “He wanted to know how our work had gone on here in Jordan. [...] I was then able to inform him that we came from several countries, Christians and Muslims, all joined by the spirit of universal brotherhood.

“I thought it was important to highlight the fact that it was possible to hold a series of such meetings here in Jordan, precisely because of the spirit of openness and tolerance that characterizes this land.”

Ms. Voce and co-president Giancarlo Faletti were in Jordan Aug. 29 through Sept. 10, to meet with delegations of the movement of several nations of the Middle East and North Africa.

The charism of Focolare is to work for unity. Ms. Voce said that King Abdulla II "expressed his concern over the situation in the region, the great challenges, and he didn’t hide his concern for the Christian communities. But, above all, he told me that we had to face these crises and uncertainties together.”

Also on a visit to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis, the King was commended for his commitment to interreligious dialogue.

Ms. Voce said she told the King “of our joy at seeing him in the photograph with the Pope in the press. And he immediately stressed that it was one of the most beautiful visits that he has had in these years," she said. "Referring to the Pope, he said: ‘We felt that we were brothers.'"

Members of Focolare also joined with the Pope's Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Syria, which he called for on Sat., Sept. 7.

“The two words that impose themselves at this extremely dramatic and dangerous moment are ‘total commitment to answer to Pope Francis’ appeal for prayer and fasting while expressing  gratitude to him for giving voice to the hearts of millions of people of all faiths from all over the world,’" Ms. Voce said from Amman.

(Zenit.org)

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Egypt’s Shameful Day ….

 

By Esam Al-Amin

Out of 25 governors, Egypt’s military appointed 19 generals including many Mubarak-era officials. To the military, taming and controlling the population was its top priority. So much for the promise of empowering the youth.

Liberals such as Mohammad ElBaradei convinced themselves that they could ally with the military at the expense of their ideological foes, the Islamists, instead of democratically competing at the ballot box. Soon, ElBaradei awoke to the hard reality that brute force and violence is the military’s preferred tool to settle disputes, not the messy compromises of democracy.

The Nobel peace laureate then had to resign in disgrace. His fellow peace laureate Barack Obama did not fare better. He also failed the democracy litmus test by not condemning the coup when it was announced or standing up firmly for democracy and the rule of law. However, the day after the bloodshed, the violence, which he said the interim government and security forces were responsible for.

The statement was a step in the right direction, even though it was not strong enough, since it equivocated on its support for the restoration of the constitution and the democratically-elected deposed president.

Foreign powers care very little for Egypt or its people. Time and again, the West has proven that its rhetoric of lofty ideals and values are sacrificed at the altar of short-term interests. Historically, the U.S. has often been more concerned about the security of Israel than serving its own long-term interests.

Israel had considered Mubarak a strategic asset for three decades. It was the main reason the U.S. had to prop him up at the expense of supporting and building democratic institutions in the country.

If Israel or its supporters in the U.S. favored Sisi and feared the ascendance of the Islamists, the U.S. would most likely then favor the military over the democratic will of the Egyptian people regardless of the consequences. This would actually put the long-term U.S. national security interests in the region in peril.

Both Secretary of State John Kerry and EU Foreign Chief Catherine Ashton had expressed reservations about the intervention by the Egyptian military chief. But when it mattered most, they accepted its aftermath.

Comparisons to Libya and Syria

When the government cracked down using bloody tactics comparable to Libya’s Gadhafi or Syria’s Assad, Western governments were restrained in their criticism. When the pro-coup government declared a state of emergency after the crackdown, instead of rejecting it outright, the West shamefully accepted it hoping that “it would be lifted soon.”

To be credible, the call for the UN Security Council by several Western countries must include the referral of Egypt’s coup leaders to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charge of crimes against humanity. There is a ample evidence already assembled on the Internet and through live witnesses to prove this heinous crime.

The ruthlessness of the coup and the brutality of the crackdown have solidified in the eyes of the Islamists and many pro-democracy Egyptians the immense challenges they face. The January 25 uprising was not a complete revolution.

The revolutionary partners handed it over to the military, which was eventually able to assemble the political building blocks needed to restore the old coalition of the military and the deep state at the expense of the real objectives of the revolution.

Undoubtedly, the military coup has veered Egypt off the democracy track. The most effective way to get back on it is for ordinary Egyptians from all political strands to once again descend to the streets by the millions to challenge the authoritarianism and brutality of the state. Egyptians must reclaim their revolutionary zeal.

They must also aspire to regain their unity: Muslims and Christians, men and women, young and old. The defining factor should be a true and genuine commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.

That means an absolute rejection of the military coup and the army’s intervention in politics, as well the purging of all corrupt elements of the deep state. That entails an absolute repudiation of any sectarian conflict.

The burning of Coptic churches must not only be condemned, but the churches should be protected by Muslims like any revered mosque. Suffice it to remember that it was Mubarak’s security apparatus and interior minister Habib Al-Adly that were actually responsible for bombing the Church of the Saints in Alexandria one month before the 2011 revolution in order to accuse Islamists and spread suspicion and acrimony.

Similarly, the identity and nature of Egyptian society should not be subject to sectarian debate; Egypt has demonstrated for centuries that it can have an Islamic-based culture that is tolerant and harmonious.

As if the pro-coup regime was not already illegitimate, the bloody massacre has completely stripped it from any semblance of legitimacy.

An international BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) campaign and a global protest movement should immediately be put in place while a massive civil disobedience effort at home is mobilized until the criminal regime is overthrown and its murderous elements are brought to justice.

According to international jurist and human rights legal expert, Professor Cherif Bassiouni it is possible for the UN Human Rights Commission to initiate a process to investigate the bloody massacre and to eventually file charges with the ICC.

As Egyptians take to the streets in the coming days, weeks, and months, three factors will single handedly or collectively influence the future course of Egypt’s unfinished revolution: the break up and defeat of the security state, the exit of the military from Egypt’s political life and to be subjected to civilian oversight, and a principled and uncompromising stand by the international community against the coup in support of democracy and the rule of law.

Max Weber reasoned that a necessary condition for an entity to be a state is that it retains its claim on the monopoly of violence in the enforcement of its order. But when this monopoly of violence is used against the citizens of a civilized state to thwart their will, it could never be legitimate.

That is a state ruled by the law of the jungle.

(Esam Al-Amin is the author of  The Arab Awakening Unveiled: Understanding Transformations and Revolutions in the Middle East. Email him at alamin1919@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @al_arian1919.)

CIOGC

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) is appalled and saddened by the reports of the recent massacre in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria, where there is strong indication of the use of chemical weapons against civilians.

More than 1,300 civilians have been reported dead and thousands have been treated for what seems to be an exposure to internationally prohibited nerve gas.

Half of the victims were women and children who perished when several civilian areas around Damascus were attacked with chemical weapons during Wednesday’s early morning hours.

Horrific videos showing helpless victims being rushed into field hospitals and medical centers with minimal equipment and depleted supplies are being uploaded to the Internet and broadcast across various media outlets.

Medical teams and volunteers, who are also suffering symptoms from exposure, are attempting to save as many lives as possible.

Pale, wet corpses with no obvious wounds or other injuries cover the floors of the field hospitals and medical centers, while victims being taken in by medical staff have been seen with blue lips - gagging and gasping for air.

We especially found the sight of the high number of motionless bodies of children and infants being held by crying parents or desperate rescuers heartbreaking and tragic.

“For more than two years, the international community has stood in silence as the Syrian people have been killed with guns, tanks, helicopters, SCUD missiles and now chemical weapons,” said Dr. Zaher Sahloul, past Chairman of CIOGC and President of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS).

“The United Nations has proven to be ineffective in saving the lives of innocent civilians, and we have reached the pinnacle of ineffectiveness as the attack took place with the U.N. investigative team present a mere 20 miles away,” he added.

CIOGC invites its faith partners to join us in condemning the massacre and the use of internationally prohibited chemical weapons by the Syrian regime.

“We call on President Obama to use effective means to end the suffering of the Syrian people and prevent further use of chemical weapons,” said Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin, CIOGC Chairman and Co-Founder.

“We ask our community members and our faith partners to pray for the victims and their families, designate next Friday as a day of prayer for Syrian children, and contribute to humanitarian assistance efforts, and call the White House and Congress to urge actions to end the daily massacres in Syria.”

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago is a federation of 58 Islamic organizations and advocate of Muslim community interests throughout the metropolitan Chicago region.

 

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Muslim Journal International News Category

By ESAM AL-AMIN

In June 1967, it took Israeli forces only six hours to rout the Egyptian military and devastate its air force, inflicting the most humiliating defeat on the Arab world in the last half century.

In the 1973 October war, the Egyptian army killed 2,600 Israeli soldiers in 20 days of combat. Nearly 40 years later, the Egyptian military turned its guns on its own citizens to much devastation: On Aug. 14, it took the combined forces of Egypt’s army and police 12 hours to disperse tens of thousands of unarmed peaceful protesters in two sit-in camps in the eastern and western suburbs of Cairo.

It was a determined effort by the July 3 coup leaders to not only defeat their political opponents but also to strike a decisive blow to democracy and the rule of law in Egypt and across the Arab world.

Since June 28, Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) have been camped out at these two sites, initially as a show of support to President Mohammad Morsi, as he was being challenged by the opposition. But since he was deposed on July 3, the protesters have been demanding his return, the restoration of the suspended constitution, and the reinstatement of the dissolved parliament.

For 48 days, the sit-ins and demonstrations across Egypt attracted millions of Morsi supporters as well as pro-democracy groups, who protested the coup’s nullification of their presidential and parliamentary votes and their ratification of the referendum on the new constitution.

Throughout the six-week standoff, the country’s military rulers, led by coup leader Gen. Abdelfattah Sisi, insisted on the MB’s complete recognition of the status quo and their submission to the political roadmap as determined by him on July 3.

On several occasions, Sisi declared that he would not budge an inch on a future course that was certain to impede the country’s path toward democracy and constitutional legitimacy by ignoring the will of the electorate expressed at the ballot box more than five times in eighteen months.

While Egyptians elected Morsi as president with a clear majority in June 2012 in free and fair elections, they also affirmed that vote nearly two to one when they ratified the new constitution six months later.

Article 226 of the constitution stated that the term of the current president (Morsi) would “end four years after his elections” or in June 2016.

In fact, one month after the coup, the Egyptian public opinion has sharply turned against it. On August 6, the respectable Egyptian Center for Media Studies and Public Opinion published a poll showing that 69 percent of the Egyptian public rejects the military coup, while 25 percent supports it, with 6 percent refusing to give their opinion.

Of those who reject it, only 19 percent identify themselves with the MB, 39 percent with other Islamist parties, while 35 percent are unaffiliated but feel that their votes were invalidated by the coup. Of those who support it, 55 percent in the poll consider themselves former Mubarak regime loyalists, while 17 percent identify themselves as Coptic Christians opposed to Islamists’ rule.

Moreover, 91 percent of those who refused to give an answer belong to the pro-Saudi Salafist Al-Noor Party, which initially supported the coup before it pulled back and withdrew from Sisi’s roadmap.

Shortly after the coup, the military and their largely liberal and secular enablers set the stage for excluding the Islamist groups, particularly the MB and its political-affiliate, the Freedom and Justice Party, by arresting or issuing arrest warrants for their leaders, freezing their accounts, seizing their assets, banning their media outlets, and orchestrating an elaborate demonization campaign against them.

This discourse was reminiscent of the Mubarak-era tactics employed against the group for decades by the notorious state security apparatus, which was reconstituted shortly after the coup. By the last week of July, the military’s offer to the MB was simply to accept the coup and all its consequences in return for joining a managed political process.

The MB summarily rejected the offer, which would have denied them all their gains and restricted them to winning no more than 20 percent of parliamentary seats, while excluding them from all executive positions.

The Western Powers

Initially, most Western powers overlooked the conditions surrounding the military coup and simply consented to its consequences. But as the pro-Morsi demonstrations persisted and expanded for days and weeks, it became evident that the political state of affairs could not be ignored.

The stakes were too high, not only for Egypt’s stability but also for the entire region. Therefore, political negotiations between the antagonist parties led by the U.S. and the E.U. began in earnest.

While the MB and their supporters wanted to negotiate on the basis of the constitution and democratic legitimacy, the military and its allies wanted the MB to accept a political solution based on the coup and the new reality.

For over a week, EU envoy Bernardino Leon and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns tried to negotiate a settlement. Initially, the interlocutors insisted that the MB join the new political process in return for the release of their leaders.

Eventually, the negotiators agreed to incorporate elements of an initiative announced by over 50 Egyptian intellectuals, academics, and public figures.

The plan allowed for a constitutional mechanism that would have reinstated President Morsi for a very short period of time, after which he would appoint a consensus prime minister and a technocrat cabinet. He would then submit his resignation. The new cabinet would then supervise the parliamentary elections within sixty days.

The Western mediators further extracted an agreement from the MB to accept this political outcome and obtained a huge concession from the MB: keeping the same prime minister appointed by the coup.

According to Envoy Leon, there was “a political plan that was on the table, that had been accepted by the other side (the MB),” but was eventually rejected by the military.

As negotiations were underway, the media campaign led by Mubarak loyalists, corrupt oligarchs, and “the deep state” reached fever pitch levels. Jehan Soliman, a presenter on state television, and is by no means a MB supporter, was outraged at the demonization campaign led by state officials, prompting her to eventually expose the campaign to the public.

Moreover, the main liberal and secular forces urged the military not to negotiate or reach an accommodation with the MB but to crack down hard on the protesters instead.

Meanwhile, according to interior minister Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim, while the negotiations were underway the security forces were setting plans in motion to attack the protesters, clear the campsites, and arrest the leaders. It was evident that the coup leaders were determined to bring the MB and their Islamist allies to their knees, either politically or by force.

In order to justify the eventual brutal crackdown on the peaceful protesters, the army and the police demanded an order from the compliant general prosecutor to use as legal cover.

Even though peaceful protests are constitutionally-protected, the prosecutor readily issued the order under a phony pretense, namely that the protesters were armed (false), or had become a nuisance to the residents (rejected overwhelmingly by the locals).

In contrast, no orders were ever issued to clear dozens of secular groups from Tahrir Square during much of the last year, though their protests shut down government agencies for days, and in some cases, weeks.

There are moments in a nation’s history that become etched in stone. Such was the Palestinian Nakba, the atomic bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the September 11 attacks.

The horrors unfolded on August 14 will go down in Egypt’s history as such a momentous event. Hundreds of thousands of people had been camped out for 48 days at the Nahda Square near Cairo University in the western side of the capital, and around Rabaa Al-Adawiyya Mosque on the eastern side.

The congregants had just finished celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan a few days earlier. They were determined to peacefully assert their will, as well as to stand firmly to defend the constitution and the democratic process expressed at the ballot box.

They rejected the coup and loathed the return of the security state. They sought to restore democracy and President Morsi, who has been illegally detained and isolated for weeks.

Just as they finished their morning prayers, the people stood in both squares listening to spiritual invocations while reaffirming their commitment to stay the course peacefully. But at 6:30 AM on that fateful day, army tanks, armored vehicles, and bulldozers descended on the protesters from different directions.

They were followed by the army’s special forces, the police, and thugs dressed in civilian clothes and protected by their state security handlers. The scene was eerily similar to the early days of the January 2011 uprising that overthrew Mubarak. Snipers were on rooftops, especially those of military buildings, including the Military Intelligence headquarters.

According to the official account given by Gen. Ibrahim in a press conference, the police first started by warning people to disperse through loud speakers. He said the police then offered the protesters safe passage to leave, with a promise that they would not be arrested. Shortly thereafter, the police sprayed the protesters with water cannons.

When the protesters refused, the police then used tear gas, at which point, he claimed, protesters used automatic weapons against the police. Gen. Ibrahim charged that the MB had snipers on rooftops and were targeting the police, resulting in the killing of 43 police officers.

However, no evidence of their deaths such as names, pictures, or footages was ever produced. Only then, the Minister claimed, did the police use live ammunition, resulting in the killing of 149 people across Egypt.

He also stated that the protesters were not peaceful and that caches of weapons were seized, including nine automatic guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Needless to say, none of this woven tale is remotely true.

According to many international dispatches including a report by CNN, the protesters were peaceful and unarmed. A Guardian report stated, “The protesters were peaceful, and included many women and children.”

The pro-coup Egyptian television media, embedded with the army, broadcast several caches of arms to show that the protesters were not peaceful, only to be exposed that such arms were brought by the police to be “discovered.”

Contrary to Gen. Ibrahim’s claims, the police never used loud speakers or water cannons. They immediately started shooting the unarmed protesters with live bullets.

European human rights observer Ahmad Mufreh, offered his vivid testimony on live television, asserting that the police started shooting at people with the intent to kill. In fact, the police never meant to provide safe passage; those who chose to leave through it were brutally beaten and immediately arrested.

By noon, the army and the police had breached the defenses of the Nahda Square and brutally cleared its protesters. However, it was not until 6 PM that they were able to assert full control over the Rabaa Al-Adawiyya mosque.

The security officers then took down protesters’ signs and banners and burned down their tents, even though many corpses were still inside. Dr. Ahmad Muhammad, a surgeon operating at Rabaa’s field hospital, told Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr that he and other doctors were ordered to immediately leave or they would be shot, forcing him to abandon the patient he had been operating on and leaving him to die.

Another witness, Sameh Al-Barghy, an MB opponent and a graduate of American University in Cairo, told Al-Jazeera that although he had not been at the protest and was opposed to it in principle, he had gone to help shortly after he heard about the security crackdown.

As his voice cracked, he said that he had witnessed a horrific massacre, when a group of protesters hiding in a building under construction was chased down by the security forces. He said that the police had entered the building and shot at point blank those who were hiding in the first two floors, before arresting the rest.

Another witness said that he had seen two bystanders being shot in front of his eyes by the police without any provocation.

Another doctor at the field hospital at Rabaa mosque said on Al-Jazeera that he counted more than 2,600 bodies including 65 children. Asmaa El-Beltagy, the seventeen-year old daughter of MB leader Mohammad El-Beltagy was among the casualties.

Later in the evening, MB spokesperson Ahmad Aref proclaimed that over three thousand people had been killed on that day across Egypt, and that as many as ten thousand were injured, many seriously.

The brutality and viciousness of the military crackdown is plain to see in the images captured in the links above and disseminated around the world. At least half a dozen journalists were also killed, including Sky News cameraman Mick Deane, and Gulf News reporter Habiba Abdelaziz. According to multiple witnesses, once in control, the security forces burned down the field hospital, the media center, and tents where the protesters’ corpses were laid to hide the military’s crimes.

To add insult to injury, the government has refused to hand over the bodies of the killed until their families sign a document that stated that the cause of death was “natural.” In many cases the coroner left the cause of death blank.

Many families refused to comply with such immoral request leaving many corpses unclaimed  and in danger of decomposition. As human rights and civil liberties organizations around the world such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch strongly condemned the massacre in Egypt, the Arab Organization for Human Rights, dominated by secular and liberal elites strangely enough blamed the MB for the bloodbath.

What next? Back to Revolution 101

It is inconceivable that Gen. Sisi, Gen. Ibrahim, their civilian enablers, Western backers, and the perpetrators of these war crimes and crimes against humanity did not know or anticipate the degree of the carnage. Upon embarking on the coup, its leaders were determined to strike a fatal blow to the Islamists, particularly the MB.

Each had its own motives. The secular liberals recognized that they could not win in free and fair elections against the Islamists in future elections after their successive defeats at the ballot box during the past two years. Thus, excluding or weakening the Islamists would allow the liberal and nationalist parties the space needed to occupy the political landscape for the foreseeable future.

Mubarak loyalists and elements of the deep state were eager to exact revenge against the MB, their staunch historical foes for the past three decades, for ousting them from power in the 2011 uprising.

They were not only able to marginalize and subdue their opponents, but also made a successful comeback in their own right. Ironically, within 30 months, the counterrevolutionaries have now become the face of the revolution. They hope that June 30, the day of their comeback, will now replace January 25, the day of their ouster.

The army considers itself the defender of the nation and its institutions and wants to retain its economic and social privileges. It does not want to subject itself to any meaningful civilian oversight. The precedent set by the January 2011 uprising, they reasoned, might one day weaken the military or even compel it to give up its privileged status in society, as their counterparts in Turkey eventually had to do.

The generals waited for the right moment to strike and end the public’s dalliance with democracy in order to delay, if not altogether end, the coming of that dreadful day when they become accountable to the people.

Many youth groups were disillusioned and frustrated with all parties. They were able to throw out the face of Mubarak’s repressive and corrupt regime. But given their disappointment and impatience with the slow progress, they thought they could just as easily get rid of what they perceived as the arrogance or incompetence of the MB.

In the process, they naively not only handed back control to the military, but also made the dream of establishing a genuine democratic system based on the rule of law ever more distant. The army appointed a 77-year-old puppet prime minister, and a cabinet largely composed of Mubarak loyalists.

Out of 25 governors, the military appointed 19 generals including many Mubarak-era officials. To the military, taming and controlling the population was its top priority. So much for the promise of empowering the youth.

Liberals such as Mohammad ElBaradei convinced themselves that they could ally with the military at the expense of their ideological foes, the Islamists, instead of democratically competing at the ballot box. Soon, ElBaradei awoke to the hard reality that brute force and violence is the military’s preferred tool to settle disputes, not the messy compromises of democracy.

The Nobel peace laureate then had to resign in disgrace. His fellow peace laureate Barack Obama did not fare better. He also failed the democracy litmus test by not condemning the coup when it was announced or standing up firmly for democracy and the rule of law. However, the day after the bloodshed, the violence, which he said the interim government and security forces were responsible for.

The statement was a step in the right direction, even though it was not strong enough, since it equivocated on its support for the restoration of the constitution and the democratically-elected deposed president.

Foreign powers care very little for Egypt or its people. Time and again, the West has proven that its rhetoric of lofty ideals and values are sacrificed at the altar of short-term interests. Historically, the U.S. has often been more concerned about the security of Israel than serving its own long-term interests.

Israel had considered Mubarak a strategic asset for three decades. It was the main reason the U.S. had to prop him up at the expense of supporting and building democratic institutions in the country.

If Israel or its supporters in the U.S. favored Sisi and feared the ascendance of the Islamists, the U.S. would most likely then favor the military over the democratic will of the Egyptian people regardless of the consequences, which would actually put the long-term U.S. national security interests in the region in peril.

Both Secretary of State John Kerry and EU Foreign Chief Catherine Ashton had expressed reservations about the intervention by the Egyptian military chief. But when it mattered most, they accepted its aftermath.

Comparisons to Libya and Syria

When the government cracked down using bloody tactics comparable to Libya’s Gadhafi or Syria’s Assad, Western governments were restrained in their criticism. When the pro-coup government declared a state of emergency after the crackdown, instead of rejecting it outright, the West shamefully accepted it hoping that “it would be lifted soon.”

To be credible, the call for the UN Security Council by several Western countries must include the referral of Egypt’s coup leaders to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charge of crimes against humanity. There is a ample evidence already assembled on the Internet and through live witnesses to prove this heinous crime.

The ruthlessness of the coup and the brutality of the crackdown have solidified in the eyes of the Islamists and many pro-democracy Egyptians the immense challenges they face. The January 25 uprising was not a complete revolution.

The revolutionary partners handed it over to the military, which was eventually able to assemble the political building blocks needed to restore the old coalition of the military and the deep state at the expense of the real objectives of the revolution.

Undoubtedly, the military coup has veered Egypt off the democracy track. The most effective way to get back on it is for ordinary Egyptians from all political strands to once again descend to the streets by the millions to challenge the authoritarianism and brutality of the state. Egyptians must reclaim their revolutionary zeal.

They must also aspire to regain their unity: Muslims and Christians, men and women, young and old. The defining factor should be a true and genuine commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.

That means an absolute rejection of the military coup and the army’s intervention in politics, as well the purging of all corrupt elements of the deep state. That entails an absolute repudiation of any sectarian conflict.

The burning of Coptic churches must not only be condemned, but the churches should be protected by Muslims like any revered mosque. Suffice it to remember that it was Mubarak’s security apparatus and interior minister Habib Al-Adly that were actually responsible for bombing the Church of the Saints in Alexandria one month before the 2011 revolution in order to accuse Islamists and spread suspicion and acrimony.

Similarly, the identity and nature of Egyptian society should not be subject to sectarian debate; Egypt has demonstrated for centuries that it can have an Islamic-based culture that is tolerant and harmonious.

As if the pro-coup regime was not already illegitimate, the bloody massacre has completely stripped it from any semblance of legitimacy.

An international BDS (Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions) campaign and a global protest movement should immediately be put in place while a massive civil disobedience effort at home is mobilized until the criminal regime is overthrown and its murderous elements are brought to justice.

According to international jurist and human rights legal expert, Professor Cherif Bassiouni it is possible for the UN Human Rights Commission to initiate a process to investigate the bloody massacre and to eventually file charges with the ICC.

As Egyptians take to the streets in the coming days, weeks, and months, three factors will single handedly or collectively influence the future course of Egypt’s unfinished revolution: the break up and defeat of the security state, the exit of the military from Egypt’s political life and to be subjected to civilian oversight, and a principled and uncompromising stand by the international community against the coup in support of democracy and the rule of law.

Max Weber reasoned that a necessary condition for an entity to be a state is that it retains its claim on the monopoly of violence in the enforcement of its order. But when this monopoly of violence is used against the citizens of a civilized state to thwart their will, it could never be legitimate.

That is a state ruled by the law of the jungle.

(Esam Al-Amin is the author of  The Arab Awakening Unveiled: Understanding Transformations and Revolutions in the Middle East. Email him at alamin1919@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @al_arian1919.)

A Diverse Assembly Of Guests

By Lydia Muhammad

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into Nations and Tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other).

“ Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things).” (Qur’an, Surah 49 Ayah 13)
            MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis Interfaith Project started in 2007 as a dinner with the intention of bringing people of all faiths together to break bread.  The dinner has continued during the month of Ramadan and has been a true representation of the interfaith Community in the Memphis area.
Cordova, an affluent suburb of Memphis, was the site of the 2013 dinner which included a diverse group of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and other faiths.  Honored guests included Mayor A.C. Wharton, of Memphis, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy, and Congressman Steve Cohen.
The evening began with a recitation from the Qur’an, followed by the Rev. Cheryl Cornish of First Congregational Church, who was the first of the honored guest speakers. With her beautiful spirit of love and her peaceful countenance, her opening remarks gave thanks to God and there is goodness in our being; especially being together, so that we might grow in understanding and appreciation.

She talked about how interfaith has worked for the sake of her family, which, like many of our families, is interfaith globally and racially.  In addition, she noted how her little Nebraska WASP family became so diverse. “It was done with love,” Cornish said. “This is how the world and all of the diverse cultures, races and religious persuasions become one; it is through love that we do that,” she said.
Following Rev. Cornish, we were blessed to hear Imam Zaid Shakir, resident scholar, of Zaytuna College, in California. He talked about the many lessons we take from Ramadan but focused on patience as being a great virtue.

“Ramadan inculcates patience into a person, and it’s so important because it is necessary to work for the common good,” Shakir said.  Shakir also spoke about love being absolutely essential if we are to do the work that needs to be done.

“We appreciate what we owe to each other as human beings and the fast is a more permanent fast, which is a lifetime fast of avoiding racism, bigotry, militarism, and grinding poverty,” he said.

He added a quote by Prophet Muhammed (SAW) by saying, “None of you truly believes until he wants for his brother what he wants for himself.”
Imam Rashad Sharif of Masjid Al Mu’minun in Memphis introduced a distinguished panel of community servants.  He quoted a section of the Qur’an that talked about the believers, saying that they believe and then they go into appropriate action.

Each of the agencies he introduced are action-oriented entities serving to enhance the community life throughout Shelby County, Tennessee. The panel was made up of Community Alliance for the Homeless, Memphis Friendship Foundation, Memphis Office of Community Affairs, Memphis Police Department, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare, Mid-South Food Bank, and MIFA Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association.
Community Alliance for the Homeless is an organization that works to end homelessness.  Its 100,000 homes campaign has placed more than 50 individuals in apartments. Their goals are to end homelessness for families with children.

Memphis Friendship Foundation is a collaborative effort between Heartsong Church and Memphis Islamic Center to build a park and baseball field which is right between the church and the Masjid.

Memphis Office of Community Affairs is a community advocate service of the Mayor’s office in that they connect the community to services and outreach. Colonel James Kirkwood of the Memphis Police Department is an advocate for mentoring and believes that is a way to help rid our communities from the cycles of violence.

Methodist LeBonheur is a place of healing and hope and is a faith based and value shaped hospital which caters specifically to Memphis children.

For 31 years, The Mid-South Food Bank has served 31 counties by serving those who are in need.

Finally, MIFA is an organization that helps Memphis families with housing, college prep, and meals on wheels.
The evening ended with a special dua by Shaykh Yasir Qadhi. When he approached the podium, I reflected on his presentation I was blessed to hear in 2011. I felt that his comments then were apropos to this evening’s event.

He discussed “Serving Thy Neighbor,” which was the theme of the 5th annual Memphis interfaith dinner.  He said, “In this time of unchecked hatred and bigotry, harmful stereotypes, and negative media against the faith of Islam, the best way to change the world is to start with ourselves.”

Qadhi said, “Instead of complaining about what is wrong with the world, we should reach out to our neighbors, with love and compassion. Freedom from hatred can only be found by liberating our egos, our materialistic consumerism and service to others is commanded by Allah in all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism.”

He talked about Islam always being a part of the United States when President Thomas Jefferson hosted a guest from Tunisia, Sidi Sulayman. He was impressed that Jefferson knew so much about Islam and 250 years after his presidency, U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison used Jefferson’s Qur’an in his swearing in ceremony.”

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Delta Sorority Members

By Courtenay Brown?

Special to the NNPA from

The New York Amsterdam News

As the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding this year, they also are celebrating an additional accomplishment: The grand opening of their very own elementary school in Haiti on June 15.

In collaboration with the non-profit Water and Educational International, the Delta Research and Educational Foundation established the Water and Educational International Student Collaboration for Haiti Outreach Opportunities for Learning (WEI SCHOOL) project in 2012.

It seeks to provide “an adequate school facility to include clean water for school children in Haiti,” according to a statement. A school in Chérette, a village southwest of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, was rebuilt with bigger classrooms and new technologies that will promote a “hands-on global service learning experience.”

There also will be unlimited access to fresh, clean water to meet the needs of the 300 students who attend the school.

“As a former elementary school teacher, it has been my experience that providing the proper educational tools and creating a positive learning environment to school instruction and enables students to excel in and outside the classroom,” National President of Delta Sigma Theta, Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre said in a statement.

WEI will control all managerial and financial entities of the school as well as its daily responsibilities and legal responsibilities. However, the school’s administration has chosen to name the school Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Elementary School at The Cynthia M. A. Butler-McIntyre Campus.

The name is in recognition of the funds that were donated by members of the sorority in support of the Clean Water Haiti Fund in 2010 and the grant from the Delta Research and Educational Foundation that provides clean water onsite at the school.

According to the statement, the school’s reconstruction is the “first of many initiatives to alleviate some of the challenges in obtaining a quality education in Haiti.”

“Although we no longer see the images of Haiti in the news, the women of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority have not forgotten the devastated faces of our Haitian brothers and sisters after the earthquake three years ago,” Butler-McIntyre said.

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Muslim Journal International News Category

By Bert Wilkinson?

Special to the NNPA from

The New York Amsterdam News

Fearing that the U.S. will, in the short- to medium-term, require reduced amounts of natural gas from Trinidad for its Eastern Seaboard states, the oil- and gas-rich southern Caribbean island of Trinidad is beginning to switch its focus to mainland China, as it searches for new markets for its booming gas sector.

The U.S. is beginning to step up production of both oil and gas thanks to the relatively new hydraulic fracturing technology that now allows the industry to unlock behemoth amounts of supplies from underground sources that were previously unreachable through old-style drilling techniques.

Recently, both U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping were in the twin-island Caribbean republic with Tobago for talks with regional leaders.

But while Biden’s visit attracted the usual heavy domestic and international press, authorities in Trinidad made it plain that there was more value in the visit of the Chinese than the Americans.

Both Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said that the island’s cabinet had wasted little time in noting the rapid pace at which the U.S. oil and gas sector has been taking off in recent years, and industry talk suggests that the U.S. will be self-sufficient as early as 2020.

The result is that planners and experts are already seeing reduced demand for natural gas supplies from Trinidad to the U.S. in the near future and the need to open new markets.

Critics say that this is the reason why the visit of the Chinese was more significant to both Trinidad and the regional trade bloc, as the Chinese offered less than a dozen bloc members nearly $3 billion in concessions and promised even more. Trinidad annually supplies as much as 60 percent of the gas needs of U.S. Eastern Seaboard states.

Specifically for Trinidad, the two cabinet members say that the Chinese market is paying “three times more” for natural gas than the Americans and can lap up all the supplies they can get in the medium- to long-term, unlike the Americans, who are heading for self-sufficiency despite widespread concern over fracking posing potentially serious danger to the water table and the environment in general.

“My government is actively seeking to penetrate new markets regionally and internationally. We see China as a key business partner and a potential new market for our energy products.

Alternative and renewable energy research and development is also high on our developmental agenda, and we welcome the involvement of the Chinese in this area,” Persad-Bissessar said.

Ramnarine, on the other hand, announced that four shipments of liquefied natural gas had already been supplied to the Chinese, and “we expect this will increase.” Any expansion of the nearby Panama Canal will also help boost exports to China, he said.

“The industry in Trindiad and Tobago has to evolve and stay competitive. We’ve drafted a national energy policy that is now being fine-tuned before being taken to cabinet,” he said.

The Chinese brought 280 persons to Trinidad and has extensive investments on the island.

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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