Like a real life game of ‘Cluedo’, we know the weapon, the victims, the place and the time. Only the identity of the perpetrator remains a mystery. The primary suspects are the Syrian regime or the rebels; both sides have the capability to deliver these nasty weapons, as for motive, there is a degree of uncertainty. The Syrian regime is winning the war on the ground, and the use of such weapons would only unify the rest of the world against them, thus, such an action looks irrational and counter-productive. Especially in light of the fact that Obama already stated the use of chemical weapons was a line that could not be crossed. Moreover, the immediate and equivocal Syrian response, requesting an UN inspection team to verify the matter seems to point to their innocence.
Could the rebels have done this? One cannot imagine they would use chemical weapons on their own people, to perpetuate an uncertain military response, with an uncertain outcome, unless it was done by a lunatic fringe extremist group among the rebels.
A picture is worth a thousand words is the age-old proverb; an image can certainly convey many ideas instantly. However, a deceptive image tells a bigger story, it spawns lies and disseminates hate on a larger magnitude. It is the hate-filled Islamophobic fascists that have been busy tarnishing the Muslims as a whole, by cherry picking certain actions, hiding behind certain political terms, and operating behind the ubiquitous mass media.
Like most Muslims, I have become accustomed to seeing numerous anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim images appearing on social media networks, and the internet, such images would get censored if it were aimed at any other community. One would be hard pushed to find similar material appearing from Muslims; at most you see posters from victims and angry mobs on the streets demonstrating in response to an American-Israeli led atrocity or another video insulting Islam published in the name of free speech.
Richard Dawkins speaks like a colonial relic resurrected from the past, and naturally he is out of touch with the current society; he speaks pejoratively about Muslims that seems to be coloured by his obsession with Darwin’s race-centric evolution theory. His recent jibe on tweeter about the less evolved Muslims having less Nobel Prize than Trinity College went viral, and it is part of his catalogue of smears against the voiceless Muslim community. For years, believers from all sections of society have tolerated his unrestrained arrogance in propagating atheist dogmas, as if he had witnessed the creation of the universe.
The 49-year-old widow of the Apple founder Steve Jobs has moved on, she has found her new partner; already the critics and sceptics are at it. It’s too soon, only two-years have passed by, how could she fall in love with another man so quickly? Does it mean she didn’t really love him? The cycle of speculation and gossip continues. One can understand grounds for criticism in cases where an aging octogenarian tycoon has left a younger beautiful widow, who runs off the next day with his fortune and a young male model, but that, is not applicable here.
In some religious cultures widows do not remarry at all, enduring loneliness until the end of time, whilst a widower is free to continue. For example, In Hinduism the marriage of widow is taboo, it is enforced rigorously by society among some castes; the logic is, if the widow remarried, she can possibly conceive her reincarnated dead husband in her womb, and a husband cannot be a son too, thus prohibition of marriage for widows. I assume they were not willing to take risks with contraception either!
The formal announcement of an exit date for the US troops has been largely met with criticisms, because it gives the opponents a schedule to prepare and plan, and creates the impression, the US has lost and is running. Instead of exercising further damage limitation exercises, the US senior officials announced that President Barack Obama was now considering the ‘zero option’ - total withdrawal of US forces after 2014. This seems detrimental, whilst a bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington is being negotiated to determine the size of the US forces to remain after the US exit; their role will be to aid the nascent Afghan National Security Forces ( ANSF) to maintain peace and stability.
Naturally, the announcement of the ‘Zero Option’ has been criticised widely by military experts and diplomats. The former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, retired Gen. John Allen stated: “They don't want us in large numbers, but they want us there in enough numbers to help to continue to develop the ANSF." On the surface this announcement of the ‘Zero Option’ seems like the US is announcing total capitulation. However, given the recent political development with the efforts to get a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, it could mean two things:Read More ...
The video message of Prime Minister David Cameron, and the tweet from President Obama, wishing the Muslims well, as they begin observing the month of fasting in Ramadan is really a nice gesture; it makes as small contribution to neutralise the acidic clash of civilisation, which is manifested in the various conflicts around the world. Many of us, Muslims and non-Muslims are still bitter about the illegal Iraq war and Western leaders continue to turn a blind eye to the Israeli python strangling and suffocating the Palestinians – but we also need to acknowledge the just intervention in Libya that helped to prevent a bloody massacre by the Libyan dictator, and the masses in the West are now more sympathetic towards the Palestinians. Many of us also wanted to see Western troops, preferably helped by Turkey and other Muslim nations to remove the murderous Syrian regime.
Last Friday, Imams in various mosques around the country delivered a political sermon (khutba) for a change - it was not about the awful situation in Syria or Burma, but on the domestic issue of street groomers; the men in question entice vulnerable young girls with gifts, drugs and alcohol for sexual exploitation, and if necessary employ violence to keep them in chains. Imams do not need to deliver sermons or pass a fatwa, it is common knowledge that adultery, rape, prostitution, drugs, and alcohol are explicitly forbidden in Islamic law, and the jurists are unanimous on this. The sermon sent out a political message - it implied some level of collective guilt on the wider Muslim community, as if they have to bear some responsibility for the actions of the street groomers. One is naturally compelled to ask the simple question: what’s the connection between the street groomers and the wider Muslim community? Is it simply their Muslim names and heritage? Had the street groomers committed armed robbery or murder, would a similar sermon be delivered?
In times of conflict, religious, ethnic, linguistic traits are accentuated and the sectarian dimension is no exception. With the direct involvement of Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy, the Syrian conflict accelerates towards becoming a sectarian one and small skirmishes along the sectarian line have already occurred across the border in Lebanon. The Shia axis of Iran, Hezbollah, and the Alawite regime is balanced by the Sunni dominated rebels, supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf states. Assad is no more an Alawite Shia as was Saddam Hussein a devout Sunni, both subscribed to the doctrine of socialist orientated Arab nationalism, devoid of Islam. A dubious ideology when you consider that Arab civilisation began with the birth of Islam.
“Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure.” (Jeremy Bentham, the utilitarian philosopher)
About 15 to 30 % of the World Wide Web’s traffic is porn and that is quite substantial when you think in terms of sales revenue from a global product, for example Coca Cola. In this case, the profit margin is far greater, because unlike a perishable item, a porno film is like a piece of software that can be consumed multiple times as new, and does not need to be reproduced after consumption. This lucrative income makes Internet moguls like Google reluctant to curtail the easy access to porn that the Google Search Engine is renowned for. As the old adage says, money makes the world go round; accordingly it makes the World Wide Web spin faster. And it becomes a tornado when combined with the catalyst of sex.
“I prefer land to niggers” Cecil Rhodes
There is constant talk of evolution as the answer to the age-old question: what is the purpose of life on Planet Earth. The answer points to the conclusion of a purposeless life - we are another breed of species that follows the same cyclical pattern of birth, consumption, growth, procreation and death. Do the animals also ponder on the meaning of life and subjects like the beauty of art? I leave that to the evolutionists. The fact is, unlike the animal kingdom, human society is in a state of flux; our thoughts, ideas, values, and the food we harvest, deliver and consume using various modes of transport and the means of production are constantly changing.