Saturday, August 14, 2010

President Obama clarified today that what he meant during the speech is the fundamental right of Americans regardless of colour, religious belief and creed the right to live and practice their own religion in peace and to built their own house worship not on the wisdom of building the mosque near Ground Zero!

I am a committee member of OFMA which stands for Old Fress Muslim Association. I was elected recently. When it was set up i was dead set againts it. I still am unhappy that it got approve but as a member (although my life membership was paid by the present President Tuan Syed Azhar) I am bound to help the association for now it is my duty although setting it up was not a wise move to me. I take stock when I remember the Hudaibiyah treaty which was sign by Muhammad pbuh but oppose by no other than the second caliph later Umar Al Khattab but yet when it had been sign he support it as all good soldier has too!

Before the new committee was voted in the Headmaster gave a speech and it rattle me. He spoke about the picture of Hitler and the ulamak from Bosnia! It shock me not because of the stories but how sly is the PR against Islam is being played and the muslims in the majority are not aware of it. These picture was first circulated during the Bosnian war to show that the bosnians were equal to Nazi's and to incite the Serbs to butchered the Muslims citizens during the breakup of Yugoslavia and now it is used to incite the Christian populace that Muslims in general love war and it sads me the headmaster of my former school could use the picture to show his pride that we were respected by the Nazi's without understanding that by doing so we have fallen to the trap of our enemies! Mayor Bloomberg the Mayor of New York supported the Cordoba Mosque to be built. I always ask why? Is he not a Jew who supports Zionism and Israel? If so do you know that it being built the PR fallout is terrible for the Muslim populace? Built a Mosque but do it by not inviting controversies. Built it in New York but not at Ground Zero!

Do it not because of pride or fear but because it is wise to do so. Hear me please before it got out of hand!
Here's a piece of article in the Star which I do implore the readers to read!

Saturday August 14, 2010

Indonesian Islamic boarding school in the spotlight again


THE Al-Mukmin Islamic Boarding School, co-founded by Indonesian firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, is infamous for producing alumnis who went on to become some of the most hardened militants including executed Bali bombers, brothers Mukhlas and Amrozi.

With last Monday’s arrest of Bashir for alleged involvement in an Aceh terror training camp, Al-Mukmin located in Ngruki, Central Java, once again found itself in the spotlight.

Just as significant, a former Al-Mukmin graduate, Noor Huda Ismail, is doing the complete opposite.

Huda, 37, established and runs the only private de-radicalisation programme for militants released from prison as well as ex-combatants who once fought in conflict zones.

Another Al-Mukmin graduate and champion Arabic speaker in school, Zaki Amrullah, is a reporter for a German radio station and is known for his moderate views.

The two young men are an interesting study of how critical thinking and interaction with a diverse community becomes a potent force against radicalism and militancy.

Huda, for example, is intelligent, tall and well-built. He studied at Al-Mukmin from 1985-1991 from the age of 12.

His Al-Mukmin room-mate was Utomo Pamungkas alias Fadlullah Hasan, currently serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings where he drove the car used for the blasts as well as helping to assemble the bombs.

Physicaly, Huda would have been the perfect candidate to be trained as a combatant had he not fallen in love with the daughter of one of Al-Mukmin’s cleric and had the audacity to take her out for one date.

“I was part of the group of students which underwent induction as part of the process to select candidates to be sent to Pakistan for further studies. But in the end, I failed. I was considered morally corrupt,” said Huda.

But his former room-mate Fadlullah was selected, went to Pakistan and later Afghanistan to wage a jihad against the Russians.

Huda described the environment in Al-Mukmin as one where the teachers and clerics are highly revered and no one questioned anything. “The attitude is “you listen and you obey”,” said Huda.

“The students will faithfully follow everything said to them. It is much easier to follow the leader who gives you the promise of heaven than to question why,” said Huda.

Huda says it was “extremely possible” he could have turned into an extremist if not for his mother who was an educated and critical thinker who encouraged and taught him to think critically.

“She taught me to question, not out of disrespect but to understand and to deepen my knowledge.”

While Al-Mukmin’s curriculum did not preach radical ideology, the socialisation, discussions and environment were overtly pro-shariah, anti non-Muslims, secular, democratic governments.

“At Al-Mukmin, we were taught not to respect the national flag as it is considered kafir. In many forums in the school, there was an endorsement for an Islamic state,” said Zaki.

The books available in Al-Mukmin were reportedly largely Islamic books which were more of a hardline strain with authors like Hassan Al-Bana, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“There were very few books which gave an alternative view,” said Zaki.

Zaki also described the social setting where the students were made to feel under siege, that the world comprised of either a friend or an enemy.

“This conviction, this logic of friend or enemy, was planted in the minds of the students and they came to view their world as being constantly under attack. It made my school mates tense all the time, not relaxed,” said Zaki.

And like Huda, Zaki’s parents were critical thinkers who gave their children access to all kinds of books. After Al-Mukmin, Zaki studied international relations at the Muhammadiyah University. Muhammadiyah is the country’s second largest moderate Muslim organisation which claims 35 million followers.

Huda took up communication studies at the Gadjah Mada University and later became a reporter for the Washington Post where he covered the Bali bombings.

The bombings left a deep impression of Huda – he met two little boys named Alif and Aldi who overnight became orphans when their father died in the bombings.

He met Fadlullah again after his arrest, leaving two little girls literally “orphaned” when he was jailed. The events led Huda to set up the International Institute of Peace Buidling to help militants released from jail reintegrate into society.

Huda set up a cafe, a fish rearing pond and batik trading business to give jobs to the combatants. At the cafe, the ex-combatants have to serve people from different relions and ethnic groups.

“They have to serve Muslims, civil servants who are considered devils, Christians, Chinese,” said Huda.

“To their surprise, they find the so called haram people are very nice to them, give them tips. Slowly, they learn a different view from what was previously taught to them, based on their own experience,” said Huda.

Huda said he never challenges the ex-combatants long-held convictions.

“I just create the opportunities for them to experience something new and different to what has been drummed into them. It is far more ffective,” said Huda.

Huda just published a book on his friendship with Fadlullah and how children of both the perpetrator and victim end up suffering. Proceeds from the book “My frend the Terrorist?” wil be donated to the peace institute.

Sunday August 15, 2010

Does it matter what religion we belong to?


LAST Tuesday, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9 to 0 in favour of allowing the demolition of a building near the World Trade Centre site to make way for a 13-storey Islamic cultural centre and mosque.

Plans for the construction of the proposed mosque drew strong criticism from American politicians such as Sarah Palin who last month Tweeted to say: “Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing.”

She Tweeted again later saying to New Yorkers: “Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real.”

Palin was not the only one opposed to the building of the mosque.

The National Republican Trust paid for a provocative advertisement called “Kill the Ground Zero Mosque” which replayed scenes from Sept 11 with a background voice saying “On Sept 11, they declared war against us. They want to build a 13-storey mosque at Ground Zero. This ground is sacred. That mosque is a monument to their victory. The mosque at Ground Zero must not stand.”

Despite such opposition, the path is now finally open for the project to proceed.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in a stirring speech given following the Landmarks Preservation Commission vote, stated that the government had no right whatsoever to deny Muslims the right to build a mosque.

“Let us not forget that Muslims were among those murdered on 9/11 and that our Muslim neighbours grieved with us as New Yorkers and as Americans. We would betray our values – and play into our enemies’ hands – if we were to treat Muslims differently than anyone else. In fact, to cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists – and we should not stand for that,” Bloomberg said.

“On Sept 11, 2001, thousands of first responders heroically rushed to the scene and saved tens of thousands of lives. More than 400 of those first responders did not make it out alive. In rushing into those burning buildings, not one of them asked ‘What God do you pray to?’ ‘What beliefs do you hold?” the mayor said, before finishing by noting that political controversies may come and go but there is no neighbourhood in New York that is off limits to God’s love and mercy.

It is difficult to be a Muslim in many Western countries. Religious bigots are quick to play up on fears and remind everyone of not only Sept 11 but also the dangers of creeping Islamisa­tion. — Sin Chew Daily/ANN



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