The American Triangle of Depression

Stock Market

Stock Market

Ten months ago (January 18th, 2008) Henry Paulson, the American Secretary of the Treasury, announced that in the long run the economical structure of America is solid and that he believes that the economy will grow. Official members of George W. Bush’s government, for instance the Chair of the Federal Reserve, did not say anything about the downfall of the American economy. Two months later (March 16th, 2008) the Secretary of the Treasury repeated his reliance on the American economy and emphasized that he has complete trust of the American financial institutions and that the American marketplace can resist difficulty.

Four weeks before the American economic sun set, people woke up from their slumber and heard that huge and old American banks, American financial institutions, and American insurance agencies went bankrupt. The news of America’s financial crisis and bank crises hit like a bomb and shook the world’s financial system for a few minutes. The American stock market fell 40 percent and the stocks of large stock markets in the world fell dramatically. The week that world leaders, for instance Dr. Ahmadinejad, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, were in New York attending the annual session of the United Nations, the American Secretary of the Treasury, who was the managing director of a huge American financial institute – Goldman Sachs on Wall Street – put forth tireless effort to confirm George Bush’s 700 billion dollar plan in the congress in order to prevent the complete fall of the American banking system which the American economy has not seen since the time of the previous president Franklin Rosevelt, in the 1930s.

This financial crisis and bankruptcy of United States banks was not astonishing for people who read the analyses regarding America and the events of the world in the Kayhan Newspaper. Exactly ten months ago (January 31st, 2008) when Henry Paulson, the Secretary of the Treasury reported about a healthy American economy, the Kayhan Newspaper predicted an American financial crisis in an article titled Depression in America. I wrote there that this country is practically in an economic crisis. The first paragraph of that article was started with: “The depression has started in America, but the government and treasury department have yet to announce it. There is has always been a three to six month gap between an economical event and its official announcement in the history of the American economy. The depression of 2008, which we are still in, is not an exception to this rule. News regarding the depression must be given gradually and slowly because the modern economy has a direct connection with people’s imagination and trust. America has the largest economy in the world and in the age of internationalizing capital, work, and technology any change in the financial and banking areas of America will have a large effect on the international economy.” This has happened.

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One Jew Less

SS Free Gaza and SS Free Liberty

SS Free Gaza and SS Free Liberty

Two boats Free Gaza and Liberty manned by fourtysome activists from various lands, safely reached the shores of besieged Gaza. They passed through the naval blockade established by the Israelis, and brought a message of hope, and even some provision for the besieged. This was far from obvious and expected conclusion of the daring enterprise; some 20 years ago, a similar attempt ended in catastrophe. In 1988, the PLO staged an unsuccessful effort to sail from Cyprus to Haifa. The Israeli frogmen attached a limp mine to the ship, named the Sol Phryne and re-christened Exodus-2, while it was in the Cypriot port of Limassol, while a day earlier they planted a bomb in the car of the crew and killed three of them. That voyage had been timed to coincide with 40 years of Nakba and the founding of Israel. For twenty years, nobody even mentioned it, nor tried to repeat the suicidal trip. This trip marked the 60th anniversary, and it went off successfully.

This is a happy event: we should be glad that the boats arrived safely. Let these small vessels be remembered together with Granma and Exodus, if not with Santa Maria of Columbus, for they did an historic deed. The siege of Gaza is breaking down. The Israeli authorities said they did not want to interfere with the boats in order to give it less publicity. But events have their own dynamics; and we may hope that Israeli leaders won�t find it that easy to go back to their bad old ways. One small demonstration may lead to revolution. This operation should be extended, and multiplied; instead of one boat, hundred boats should sail.

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Wary of Islam, China Tightens a Vise of Rules

The grand mosque that draws thousands of Muslims each week in this oasis town has all the usual trappings of piety: dusty wool carpets on which to kneel in prayer, a row of turbans and skullcaps for men without headwear, a wall niche facing the holy city of Mecca in the Arabian desert.

But large signs posted by the front door list edicts that are more Communist Party decrees than Koranic doctrines.

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The Truth Withstands Scrutiny

Shaikh Ali Abu Talib

Shaikh Ali Abu Talib

You can tell a vision from an illusion by close examination. “But the deeds of those who cover their perception to shield ignorance from the ego-annihilating effects of the Light of the Truth are like (a person moving towards) a mirage in the Desert; the thirsty one supposes it to be water until he comes up to it and finds that it is not.” (Qur’an 24:39)

People thirsty for spiritual knowledge, wandering in the desert of worldliness, selfishness, and nationalism (tribalism, racism, sexism, elitism, materialism, intellectualism, ritualism, etc.) will run after an illusion and nearly (if not actually) deify the person who pointed them in the direction of the mirage. Then comes a person Allah sends who knows where the real oasis is. He or she tries to get the pitifully misguided people to stop and realize that this thing they think is real can be seen through. It lacks substance. It’s illusionary. Undeniable proof makes it obvious that he or she is correct. Yet, that God-sent guide is often viewed with contempt and sometimes hostility, by mommy, daddy, preachers, teachers, governors, and their own children, students, disciples, and political constituents who have come to revere the illusion as unquestionable, infallible truth.

The issue I wish to examine is the controversial issue of Imamah – Divinely-Guided Leadership. I am not using this title, Imam (leader), generally. I am talking about the extremely high office, right next to Prophethood that can only be held by a man chosen by God, and His Messenger, and the Imam preceding him, starting with Ali, son of Abu Talib (peace be upon him). I contest that this is the office that preserved the real meaning of the Ummal Kitab (Mother of the Book) and the infallible Muhammadan explanations. I thus call you to a revolution of consciousness, conscience, and behavior.

No one can claim to believe in Allah and not believe in His Most High Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny). The Message would not be known without this Most Truthful and Trustworthy Messenger, who never spoke without Allah’s Infallible Permission. So many times in the Qur’an does Allah say, “Obey Allah, and His Messenger”, “Obey Allah, and His Messenger”, “Obey Allah and His Messenger.” It does not say, “Obey Allah, and His Book.” When we obey what is in the Book, we are obeying Allah. The Book is not Allah. But the Book is God’s Infallible Word. Prophet Muhammad did not compose the Book. Allah composed the Book. And the Book commands us (I count 37 times) to obey Allah and His Messenger.

The obvious question is, how do we obey Allah’s Messenger? He died 1400 years ago. We still greet him in prayers with salams, and he is the most revered man on earth. We still feel his presence. But he is no longer with us in the physical to guide by verbal orders or example. Does his death then abrogate these 37 verses revealed in the Holy Qur’an? Prophet Muhammad allegedly said, “I will leave you with two things that, if you follow them, you will not stray: The Book of God and….”

Here is where the controversy enters. Most Muslims believe that the second of the two things which the Prophet bequeathed to us is his traditions (Sunnah). Great! If I obey what is in the Book, I obey Allah. And if I follow the traditions of Prophet Muhammad, I obey the Messenger, continuing Divine guidance after the Prophet’s passing.

Problem! Which set of reports contain the most reliable traditions of the Holy Prophet?

It is obvious. We simply cannot exclusively rely on the Qur’an without Muhammad’s Prophetic input. Allah Himself through the Qur’an testifies to that fact. All of our questions and directions are not covered by the Qur’anic Text. Qur’an commands us to offer our prayers. But the Qur’an does not tell us how to offer the prayers. Do we hold our hands or drop them to the side? Can women lead prayers? Can women and men stand side by side in prayers? What is Wajib (compulsory)? What is forbidden? How can we know for sure?

Prayer is just one issue. There are also the issues of Zakat, Khums, private and public property, Hajj, fasting, at least fifty menstruation issues, what constitutes proof in prosecuting fornication, theft, rape, murder, etc.? When is homicide justifiable? How do you perform the wedding rites, burial rites, birth rites, etc.? The issues just go on, and on, and on. The Qur’an has no answer to any of these questions. During Muhammad’s time, there issues were decided by him. His decisions were enshrined by Muslim scholars and clerics into books of sacred traditions (Hadith). But political/economic/social forces broke the original Muslim community into sects. There was only one Prophet, but there are over 100 contradictory “traditions” reported on some of these issues! There are over 200 variations of prayer in the four so-called “Sunni” schools of Islamic law alone! Where did all these “traditions” come from?

Adult Muslims, men and women, need to acquire a fair degree (at least) of political sophistication. The Muslim community was never, and is not now, a monolithic Shangri-La. Problems with opportunists, ego-centric narrow minded zealots, the spiritually weak, the gullible, and all kinds of criminals existed during Prophet’s time. Allah gave the Prophet’s community power. Ambitions rose like weeds in the hearts of the undeserving. The Muslim governments ceased being ruled by saintly men very early on. For the most part, whoever controls the government writes the history. In a theocracy, the party in charge builds the Masajid (mosques), and ego controls the pulpit. So how did so many traditions appear, contradicting one another?

Sultans, Shahs, kings, and other arrogant impotent potentates claimed to be the heirs to Prophet Muhammad’s authority. Since they often lacked knowledge of Qur’an and Sunnah, they always made sure they tied the turban on somebody who would not get too big for his britches. And if they did, they were executed. Independent scholars who attracted a following were considered princely rivals and killed quickly, without ceremony, record or remorse. Most Muslims never knew the “go down”. Loose ends were cut off and/or denied public access. Each one of the Top Eleven descendants of Prophet Muhammad, who were considered the Divinely-Chosen Imams (peace be upon them), was murdered!

Ali ibn Abu Talib was assassinated in the mosque during morning prayers in Ramadan by a lunatic fanatic. His other ten top descendants met their deaths at the hands of jealous Muslim rulers. Ali’s son Hasan was assassinated by his own wife, who was an agent of the governor of Syria, Muawiyah (son of the Prophet’s arch enemy Abu Sufyan). Muawiyah was Imam Ali’s worst enemy. Muwayiah’s son brutally butchered Imam Hussain, Hasan’s brother, and almost all the males in his entire family! Yazid ibn Muawiyah ambushed Hussain’s small entourage of 73 males and a few less females with a whole battalion (literally) of cavalry men. They were detained in the desert during summer, for three days deprived of food and water. They were then set upon and slaughtered. Seventy-two men, boys, and infants were murdered. The other top-ranked eight descendants were all poisoned in prison without fanfare, as most Muslim scholars who rise out of obscurity are murdered today – without remorse, record, or legitimate reason. The deed is most often done so quietly; it doesn’t even make the papers.

In the meantime, “the monkeys” that the governments pay and train to become religious scholars and clerics keep right on guessing about these issues. They are not trained to know what the Prophetic Precedents. They are trained to lick the hand that feeds them. So each one is jealous of the other one. The ones that work in the Big Mosques are jealous of anyone who might compete for their fat cat cushy job. And the ones who work in the little mosques are envious of the fat cats and anyone who exhibits more brilliance than they do in Islamic learning and understanding (which is not usually too difficult).

Therefore, petty, jealous, government-sponsored, pseudo-intellectual, wannabe religious leaders are bogusly enshrined and continue to enshrine all kinds of personal opinions and pseudo-religious government policies as Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah. They suppress the people’s natural curiosity and keep them ignorant and Qur’anically illiterate. These mosques are operated without dynamic programs or imaginative agencies designed to solve the people’s problems of poverty, ignorance, disunity, and the intrusion on Islamic populations by anti-Islamic influences from both foreign and domestic sources.

In fact, the cleric caretakers of the Masjids act to opiate the people until the sultans, kings, and presidents need them to whip the people up to get involved in another “Jihad” to keep their profligate parties in power. Allah and His Prophet did not entrust these people with the reins of leadership (Imamah) of the Muslim community. They were usurped from their rightful owners by lovers of power who never hesitate to use murder, intrigue, and nationalistic rhetoric to accomplish their designs.

The Preservation of Prophet Muhammad’s Traditions is the Most Important Function of the Office of the Imamah

We strongly assert that this God-appointed office was given to none other than Ali ibn Abu Talib. He in turn chose his successor (Imam Hasan ibn Ali) by God’s order, and Imam Hasan chose his successor, Imam Hussain. Imam Hussain chose his successor, Imam Ali ibn Hussain, and so on, until the 12th Imam. Within these 12 houses, we find the Divine Light of the Prophetic Tradition. These men and their top students preserved the Prophetic Tradition despite near relentless government interference and brutal suppression. And today, since an Islamic Revolution based on the principles taught by these twelve houses toppled one of the world’s oldest, richest, and most powerful, despotic monarchies on the planet, the Shah of Iran, the Saudi royal propaganda machine has launched an all-out attack on the Shias.

Five hundred thousand Shias lost their lives in Operation Desert Storm, and they never touched Saddam. The whole thing was a set up and engineered by the filthy oil “a-rich-a-crats,” who saw themselves as next. So they staged a fictitious threat and sic-ed their well-paid Kafir Super Jinns on the followers of the Imam in southern Iraq. Kuwait was just bait. Saddam was never the target.

Saddam was an integral part of the set-up. Saddam and his elite forces who terrorized their own people for decades were never touched. They did, however, obliterate Saddam’s Shia enemies on international television. The whole world watched, and they still don’t know what happened. Can you imagine the Prophet Muhammad calling in the whole Kafir world to Arabia in order to defend himself from anybody? Yet Muslim clerics all over Arabia produced Hadiths showing the legitimacy of King Fat Head’s action. The Muslims didn’t even scratch their heads. This episode of the Muslims being hoodwinked to back might rather than right is just a continuation of what happened almost 1400 years ago.

After Imam Ali and Imam Hasan, the Muslim nation was ruled by the very same family whom Prophet Muhammad struggled against in Mecca and Medina. I am referring to none other than the infamous family of the arch statue worshiper Abu Sufyan. This is the same Abu Sufyan whose wife chewed on the liver of Prophet Muhammad’s Uncle Hamza, whom she also had assassinated. This is the mother and father of the first Muslim dynasty, the Omayyad. How they rose to power, stepping over the corpses of the Prophet’s family whom they murdered, is a lesson in Machiavellian tyranny.

Then the Family of Abbas rose to revenge Al-Hussain and restore the reins of power to the Holy Imam. Abbas was the youngest brother of Abu Talib. He apparently did not support the Prophet but rather supported Abu Sufyan until Mecca was conquered. He then became a Muslim. Opportunism? God knows.

All but two of the Omayyad chiefs were mercilessly executed. These two fled to Africa. The Abbasid forces gave chase but lost the trail in Egypt. These Abbasid forces founded the city of Cairo on the spot where they lost their escaped fugitives. The fugitives escaped to North Africa. There they founded the Moorish Omayyad Dynasty that ruled Spain for 800 years! A mosque was built on the spot where the Abbasid warriors congregated for Salat. This masjid was called Al-Azhar, after Prophet Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah Zahra (peace be upon her).

Unfortunately, the Abbasids reneged on their intention to restore the reins of power to the Imam. Though the Abbasids claimed to be Shia, the taste of power corrupted them to their core. The Imam (Ja’far as-Sadiq – founder of Islamic jurisprudence) was jailed and poisoned by his cousin, the Abbasid Commander. The four (so-called) Sunni Imams, Abu Hanifa, Malik, Shafa’i, and Hanbal, were paid to contest with the Imam in an attempt to diminish his almost universal popularity. All four of these “Imams” were former students of the Imam!

Yes! It was the Imam-murdering, nepotistic Omayyads who paid a man from Bukhara to collect “Hadiths” from their paid agents. The most famous of these most often-quoted sources of Prophet’s sayings and deeds was Abu Hurayra. Abu Hurayra, whose association with Prophet did not begin until after the battle of Khayber, was a fixture in the Omayyad palace in Syria. He was an active agent for Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, the governor of Syria and the arch enemy of Imam Ali and Imam Hasan ibn Ali.

One needs to study the life of Abu Hurayra. Many of the narrations he rendered and said he heard the Prophet say are true, but he could not have heard the Prophet say these things, because he was not even Muslim, nor did he live in Medina at the time! Many narrations he reports are flat out fiction to build up his employers, the Banu Omayya and/or put down Banu Hashim or the family of Abu Talib. Yet this man is the most often repeated source of “authentic” traditions!

In the meantime, wives of the Prophet like Umm Salamah, who was very close to the Holy Prophet and lived a very long time, were practically overlooked. Fizza, the Ethiopian companion of Fatimah, the greatest of all Hafizs (male or female), was ignored. Fatimah was ignored. All the grandsons of Prophet and their sons and daughters were ignored. All the Imams were ignored. All of their top students, whose dissertations, supplications, essays, and poems are the basis of classical Islamic culture, were ignored. With all these wells of wisdom ignored while ignoramuses like Abu Hurayra were raised to the level of infallibility by a government grateful for his “Uncle Tom” services, it is no wonder why ignorance dominates the Muslim psyche. Muslims acted and continue to act like Prophet never said:

“I am the City of Knowledge, and Ali is the Gateway to It.”

It is very unwise to think that you are a Muslim who does not follow somebody’s account of Prophet Muhammad’s traditions. And it is equally unwise to follow a school of thought blindly, without knowledge of the pros and cons. Open your eyes, and wake up. Do not be stubborn and arrogant. We are never too young or too old to grow in knowledge. Only a fool refuses to face facts. Only a bigot prefers the false status quo to the unveiled Truth of a matter. There is no shame in not knowing. But there is great shame in not knowing because one has covered up his or her perception, so ignorance is shielded from the ego-annihilating effects of the Light of the Truth. It is big shame, and a bigger sin.

“As for those who cover their perception to truth, I will chastise them,” says Allah. (Qur’an 3:56) “Cursed by the tongue of David were those from the Children of Israel who cover their perception of truth.” (5:78) “And a party of the Children of Israel believed, and a party were those who cover their perception to truth.” (61:14)

The issue that faces us is the same issue that faced the mosaic dispensation of Islam. Will we accept the Divinely-Guided Leadership of the Imams and their top students’ account of the Prophet’s traditions, or will we wallow in racist, tribal, nationalistic, cultural error, following lusts, rejecting curiosity and reason, condemning scholarship, and empowering murderers?

When truth is applied, falsehood must flee the way darkness flees from light. Only a Satan stands in defiance of the Evident Truth. And the Truth not only will withstand scrutiny. It invites scrutiny.

Who Cares about Omar Khadr ?

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr is probably the greatest shame on Canada, because two governments, the Liberals under Paul Martin and the Conservatives under Harper have both made the overt decision to leave him in prison. The case against him is insane.

He was a child, aged 15. He was in Afghanistan because his parents took him there. His father and mother are militant Muslims. He was in a building that US commandos suddenly attacked. When people in the building shot back, they bombed the building and blew it to bits. Then they approached the building, and a US soldier got killed by a hand grenade thrown from the ruins of the building. When they entered the ruins Omar was still alive, but, others were too. In a revised report, they made him the only one left alive. He has been charged with murder. He was shot at close range by bullets (plural).

The case is insane for several reasons:

1) He is a child soldier, which means he is a victim of war not a war criminal.

2) Evidence was changed to make him the only person by inference who might have thrown a hand grenade.There is no witness that he did.

3) Soldiers killed while attacking a house in a foreign country cannot be victims of murder. They are casualties of war.

4) People in a house being attacked by foreigners are engaged in self-defense.

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Who Created God?

Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi

Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi

Written by Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi


Who created God? This is a strange question, but the well-known English philosopher Bertrand Russell has stated in one of his books, “During my youth, I believed in God and thought that the proof ’cause of all causes’ was the best evidence for it. All that I see in the world has a cause, and if we follow the chain of causes, ultimately we will reach the first cause, and this first cause is who we call God. But later, I completely turned away from this belief, because I thought if everything has a cause and creator, then God must also have a cause and creator.”


It happens that this is one of the most famous and elementary objections of the materialists. More clearly, they say, “If God created everything, then who created God?” It is not clear to us how long Russell encountered this objection, but since this question occurs to many youths, it must be accurately studied.

There are several fundamental points that exist here, and by paying attention to them, the answer to this objection will become clear:

First, if we accept the materialist belief and also claim what Russell has claimed, will we be free from this objection? Clearly not, because the materialists also believe in the principle of causality. They consider everything in the natural world to be the effect of another thing. Therefore, we can ask them the same question about matter. If everything is the effect of matter, then what is matter the effect of?

Based on this, and keeping in mind that the chain of cause and effect cannot go on forever, all the philosophers of the world, including materialist and religious philosophers, believe in an eternal being, a being that always existed. However, the materialists say that the eternal being of the universe is matter or the combination of matter and energy. And theists say the central source is God. In this manner, it becomes clear that Russell has no choice but to believe in an eternal being, even if it is matter.

Secondly, can this eternal being have a cause? Certainly not. Why? Because an eternal being always existed, and a thing that always existed does not need a cause. Only that being is in need of a cause which did not exist at one time and then came to existence. Ponder over this.

As a result, everyone is in agreement about the existence of an eternal source. And the firm proofs for the invalidity of an infinite series of cause and effect has obliged all philosophers to admit that there is an eternal origin. Therefore, contrary to what Russell has imagined, the disagreement among theist and materialist philosophers isn’t that one accepts the cause of all causes and the other does not. Rather, both equally believe in the first cause and cause of all causes.

So where is the disagreement then? It must clearly be stated that the only difference is that theists believe that the first cause has knowledge and willpower, and they name him God. But the materialists imagine it to be without knowledge and willpower, and they name it matter.

Now how did a matter so clear remain unknown to Russell? We can only say that he was an expert in mathematics, natural sciences, and social science, not in primary philosophy, such as recognition of existence and its source and effects.

From what was stated, we also come to the conclusion that religious philosophers do not only use the proof of “cause of all causes” to prove the existence of God, because this only proves the existence of a primary cause. In other words, it proves the existence of an eternal being in whom the materialists also believe. The important issue for the religious philosophers after proving the existence of the first cause is to prove that He has endless knowledge. This matter can easily be proved by studying the order of creation, its secret wonders, and the calculated laws which govern over the skies, Earth, and various living beings. Ponder over this.

This was the first necessary discussion in answer to this objection. The other necessary matter is that this objection is based on the belief that every being is in need of a cause and creator. This law is not universal and is only true in those cases where a thing previously did not exist and later came to existence. Ponder over this.

To shed further light on this point, we say that there are beings that exist now which previously did not exist, such as the solar system and living beings, both plants and animals. Their history shows that their existence is not eternal. Based on their differences, they did not exist a few million or a few billion years ago, and then they came into existence. Evidently, for the coming about of such beings, a cause or causes are necessary. Clearly, the separation of the Earth from the sun, based on Laplace’s hypothesis and others formed after him, was due to particular causes, whether we are completely aware of them or not. Similarly, the coming about of the first sprout of plant life, then animal, and then human life are all indebted to causes. Therefore, scientists are continuously striving to find these causes. If their existence was not due to causes, there is no reason for them to come about a million or billion years ago. Why didn’t they come about in twice as much time or half as much? The selection of these particular times is the best proof for the fact that the conditions and causes of their coming into being were only certain at those times.

But if a being is eternal, whether we call that eternal being God or matter, it does not need any causes. It does not need a creator or a god, because there is no history of His coming about, and so that the place of cause and creator is empty in this history. The existence of an eternal thing takes rise from its essence, not from outside its essence so that it will be in need of a creator. Think over this.

You, I, the Earth, the sky, the solar system, and so forth are in need of a creator, because our existence is not eternal and not from within ourselves. The first cause and cause of all causes is not such, because His existence is from His self.

A Clear Example

Philosophers have mentioned examples to explain this philosophical statement and make it more understandable. For instance, they say, “When we look inside our work room or living room, we see that it is illuminated.” We ask ourselves, is the illumination from the room itself?

Then we immediately say no, because if the illumination came about from the room itself, the room would never get dark. But sometimes it is illuminated, and sometimes it is dark. Therefore, its illumination is not from itself. And we quickly come to the conclusion that the brightness of our room or house is from the light particles that shine in it.

Then we immediately ask ourselves: where does the brightness of light particles come from?

With a little thought, we come to the conclusion that the brightness of a light particle is of itself and comes about from within its essence. Light particles have not borrowed their property of brightness. Nowhere in the world can you find light particles that are dark and then take brightness from something else. No matter where light particles are, they are bright. The brightness is a part of their essence, and it is not borrowed. It is perhaps possible for light particles to be destroyed, but it is not possible for them to exist but be dark. Contemplate this.

Therefore, if someone says that the brightness of every area and locale in the world is an effect of light, and then asks where the brightness of light is from, we immediately say that the brightness of light is a part of its essence. Similarly, when it is said the existence of everything is God’s, and then someone wonders whose the existence of God is, we immediately answer it is His own and from within His essence.

The author of over a hundred books and articles on religious and social topics, including a commentary on the Holy Qur’an, Ayatollah Nasir Makarem Shirazi is followed as a Religious Authority by millions of Shias around the world today. He lives and teaches in the holy city of Qom, Iran.

Why `Holocaust Denial’ Laws are Dangerous

Frederick Toben

Frederick Toben

On October 1, British police at London’s Heathrow airport arrested Dr. Frederick Toben – an Australian citizen and a Holocaust revisionist – during a stop on a flight from the United States to Dubai. He was detained on the basis of a “European Arrest Warrant” issued by German authorities that accuses him of publishing material online “of an anti-semitic and/or revisionist nature.”

Toben, a former schoolteacher who holds a doctorate in philosophy, has reportedly described the Holocaust as “a lie”. His Australia-based “Adelaide Institute” website allegedly carries the transcript of an interview in which he says there is “no proof” that the Hitler regime systematically exterminated Jews.

He is being held in custody until a British court decides if he is to be extradited to Germany. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 17. A German prosecutor says that if Toben is extradited, he could be sentenced to five years in prison. He would then join two German citizens, Ernst Zundel and Germar Rudolf, who are already serving prison terms for having violated Germany’s “Holocaust denial” law.

In Germany it is crime to “deny, play down or justify” genocidal acts carried out by the Hitler regime. “Holocaust denial” is also a crime in France, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, and several other European countries, as well as in Israel. Over the years many individuals have been fined, imprisoned or forced into exile for “denying the Holocaust,” including Robert Faurisson and Roger Garaudy in France, Siegfried Verbeke in Belgium, Juergen Graf and Gaston-Armand Amaudruz in Switzerland, and Ernst Zundel, Germar Rudolf, Guenter Deckert and Hans Schmidt in Germany.

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American Muslims Seven Years after 9/11

Seven years after 9/11, Muslims in America remained at the receiving end with assault on their civil rights and their faith in the name of “war on terror.” Muslims are the prime targets of the post 9/11 reconfiguration of American laws, policies, and priorities. Defending civil rights remains the single most important challenge before the seven million-strong American Muslim community as the consequences of the 9/11 tragic terrorist attacks continue to unfold seven years after the ghastly tragedy. The government initiatives have reshaped public attitudes about racial profiling and created a harsh backlash against the Muslim community. At the same time Muslims and Islam remain a popular past time for the US media and some prominent religious and political leaders who never miss any opportunity to attack Muslims and their faith in the name of extremism. Unfortunately, in the post-9/11 America, Islamophobia is not only more widespread but more mainstream and respectable.

Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson’s article titled “Holding Muslims at Arm’s Length” best reflect how fear mongering and Islamophobia is being used in the 2008 presidential election. He points out that in his year-and-a-half-long run for president, Obama has visited churches and synagogues, but no mosque. Jackson answers to Obama’s meaningful reluctance to visit a mosque when he quotes a Newsweek poll of May which concludes that only 58 percent of Americans think Obama is a Christian.

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The Closing of the American Border

American Border

American Border

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the government seemed to put forth a unified stance on the need to combat terror. But you say in your book that there was actually a fierce internal fight between two groups – you call them The Cops versus The Technocrats. Who are they?

Indeed, this fight began the very night of 9/11. Jim Ziglar, who was the head of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) at the time, was strongly opposed to what the Ashcroft Justice Department did after 9/11, which was to use immigration laws aggressively as a counter-terrorism tool, to hold people on immigration violations if they believed they had even the slightest connection to terrorism.

There was one faction that said, “Look, we need to use immigration law aggressively as our main tool in the war on terrorism.” Another group of people, most of them under Tom Ridge in the White House, and later the Department of Homeland Security, said, “Look, if we do that, all we’re going to succeed in doing is driving away people that we want and need to come to the United States. We need to be more targeted and intelligent about how we strengthen our border after 9/11.”

You quote George W. Bush saying to his customs chief, “You’ve got to secure our borders against a terror threat, but you have to do it without shutting down the U.S. economy.” How did the ones who were all for using immigration law win out?

The ones who wanted to strengthen border controls intelligently knew what they wanted to do, but it was a long process. You needed to develop new systems to identify more accurately who was coming into the United States and who you had reason to be concerned about.

The people in the Justice Department who wanted to use immigration law didn’t need to wait. Immigration law is an incredibly powerful tool for arresting and detaining any foreigner. One of the officials that I interviewed said, “Immigration law is like tax law – you’re guilty until proven innocent.”


Seyed Mahmoud Mousavi

Seyed Mahmoud Mousavi

LOS ANGELES – A federal court today sentenced Seyed Mousavi — a respected local community leader — before a packed courtroom to 33 months in prison for filing false tax returns, omitting group membership on naturalization forms, and violating the U.S. economic embargo against Iran. Though the government asked for a 9 year sentence, the Court was compelled by the myriad of evidence in Mousavi’s favor and ultimately sentenced him to less than one-third of the government’s request. From community members to concerned law students, there has been an outpouring of support for Mousavi in what has become an extremely politicized trial.

On June 29, 2006, the FBI raided Mousavi’s home, business and place of worship at gunpoint in the early morning hours, handcuffing family members and carting off boxes of documents and computers. More than a year later, Mousavi was arrested in his mosque despite assurance from the government that he would be allowed to turn himself in if they decided to charge him. On April 24, 2008, Mousavi — father of two UCLA students — was convicted of filing false tax returns, omitting group membership on naturalization forms, and violating the U.S. economic embargo against Iran. His lawyer failed to present evidence in his defense.

Though not charged with or convicted of acts of terrorism, the government attempted to paint Mousavi with the broad brush of “terrorist.” The prosecution invoked unsubstantiated assertions, xenophobia and “secret evidence” of terrorism early-on in the case. As a result, Mousavi sat in jail without bail for over one year on these non-violent charges. At a hearing last week attended by 120 supporters, a new defense team presented substantial evidence of Mousavi’s innocence but was denied a motion for a new trial.

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