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Character Development by Collective/Public Organizational Activities

STANWOOD COBB was a Harvard educated historian who lived and taught in Istanbul, Turkey nearly a century ago. In 1914 he published a book, based on his experiences in the Orient. In his book “Islamic Contribution to Civilization”, he writes:
“As I moved among the common people I was particularly struck with their serenity and calm at all times. Along the quai of the Bosphorus, for example, one had an opportunity to see the difference in temperament which set the Muslim trader apart from his competitors. While others were always on the watch for customers, shouting loudly and waving as they saw potential patronage, and often jumping out of their boats in order to induce trade, the Muslim sat in lordly calm, waiting in peace for whatever customer Allah willed to send him. Actually, this attitude was more persuasive to us than the hurry-scurry of the Greek and Armenian boatmen, whom we brushed aside in order to reach the boat of a Turk.

This Muslim attitude of immense calm in the midst of …

How to Build Islamic Attitude, Knowledge and Skills?

THE seventh century which saw the rise of Islam also saw Christian Europe enter the Dark Ages. In the western Europe the invading Goths had almost obliterated the culture and technology of the Romans. In the Eastern Roman Empire, centering in Constantinople, the Church had all but suppressed Greek science and philosophy. India was languishing in a period of stagnation; and China, while blossoming richly in the arts, was almost wholly devoid of science.

It was during this period of decline and stagnation that Muslim Arabs, the followers of Muhammad (S), became the torchbearers or vanguards of knowledge in our world. They created an Islamic civilization, driven by inquiry and invention, which was to become the envy of the rest of the world for nearly a millennium.

It is this spirit, the unquenched thirst for knowledge, which made Abu Rayhan al-Biruni to ask a question on inheritance law or some other related issue while he was lying on his deathbed. (Abu Rayhan al-Biruni was a great scie…

Two must-read articles in the New York Times

Two highly informative articles can be viewed in the New York Times. One is about how China can defeat America, written by one of the most prominent intellectuals of China: Yan Xuetong, the author of “Ancient Chinese Thought, Modern Chinese Power,” who is a professor of political science and dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University. The other is about Obama's Torture policy by Eric Lewis who is a partner at Lewis Baach PLLC in Washington.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/opinion/how-china-can-defeat-america.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha212

http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/tortures-future/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha211

All those Republican Candidates – can they be taken seriously?

The American public likes to be entertained and this is the time of the year, thanks to the presidential hopefuls, when they are getting more than their share of entertainment. Just watch the Republican debates on the TV, or listen to their silly talks on the radio, or read their comments or views on a plethora of issues, you are sure to get plenty of entertainment. Sometimes they appear too stupid and vague to be taken seriously for such a lofty position. Consider, for instance, Herman Cain, the black Republican candidate. On his recent campaign stop in Miami, Cain took some time to try some Latino cuisine, and offend a few Latinos along the way. After biting into a croqueta at Miami's famed Versailles Cafe, Cain asks, "How do you say delicious in Cuban?" Cuban, as many know, is not a language. In Spanish, however, delicious is delicioso.

Sometimes these presidential candidates are stumbling and mumbling Jacks like any other Joe, Dick and Harry. Sometimes they are full o…

The Arab League Must Bring Down the Assad Regime

As usual the Syrian government of Bashar Al-Assad has made a travesty of its promises. It was only a week ago before Eid-ul-Adha that the tyrannical regime had promised to abide by an Arab League proposal to halt all violence, release all detainees, withdraw all armed elements from populated areas and allow unfettered access to journalists and to Arab League monitors. But the violence in Syria has not stopped. More than 60 people have been killed by military and security forces, including at least 19 on Sunday that marked the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

According to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists, Assad’s security forces shot dead 25 people, including two children, across Syria on Wednesday. The network provided some details of Wednesday's violence: in Homs, Haitham Al-Bawab, kidnapped from work Tuesday, was found with obvious torture marks; in Daraa-Jasim, pharmacist Basil Ibrahim Al-Qowaider was arrested for aiding the wounded; a…

Comments on Biblical Controversy with the Qur’anic Narrative on Abraham's Son who was meant for sacrifice

According to Islamic Traditions, it was Isma'il (AS), the first son of Ibrahim (AS), who was meant for sacrifice and not Ishaq (Isaac) (AS). The Biblical narratives differ with the Qur’anic version suggesting, instead, that it was Isaac – the second son of Ibrahim (AS), born through Sarah, who was meant for the sacrifice. Genesis (chapter 22) says: "Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love…" The problem with this verse is that Isaac was not Abraham's only son. Before Isaac was born, there was Ishmael. Is it possible some zealous scribe had replaced the word Ishmael with Isaac into the verse?

Since the Qur’anic story about sacrifice did not specifically mention Isma’il (AS) by name, some Jews and Christians have suggested that the lad meant for sacrifice was Isaac. However, if one follows the sequence of verses it becomes clear that Ishaq (AS) was not meant in the Qur’anic story. In regard to the verse, "So We gave him the good news…

Eid-ul-Ad’ha and the Merit of Hajj

The 10th day of Dhu’l Hijjah in the Muslim calendar is the day of Hajj - Eid al-Ad'ha or Yawm al-Nahr -- when the pilgrims in Makkah sacrifice halal animals following one of the oldest traditions of mankind, dating back to the time of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) Alayhis Salam (meaning: peace be upon him).

In an earlier article ‘The Soul of Hajj’ I mentioned about the rituals of the hajj and how it is tied up with the events in Ibrahim’s (AS) life. He was childless with his first wife Sarah. Then he took Hagar (Hajera) as his second wife. Through her, he became father of Isma’il (Ishmael) (AS) at a very advanced age. Soon after the child was born, he was commanded by Allah to settle the infant with his mother Hajera in the valley of Makkah. After some years, as the Qur’an says, “And when his son was old enough to walk with him, (Abraham) said: O my dear son, I have seen in a dream that I must sacrifice you. So look, what thinkest thou?” (37:102)

To this question, Isma’il (AS), then on…

Adibashi and Adhibashi Issue of Bangladesh

Like many countries of our world, especially in South and South-east Asia, Bangladesh has her share of ethnic minorities. There are some 14 ethnic minorities that live in Bangladesh. They are known as Chakma, Marma (Mogh), Larma, Jummas, Tippra, Murong, Panko, Kyong, Mro, Tangchangya, Bomang, Lushai, Kuki, Khumi etc.

In recent years some foreign NGOs and their local agents have been involved in anti-Bangladesh campaigns that are aimed at undermining the sovereignty of the country. Since 1975, the Indian government has been playing a very dubious role by aiding some of the secessionist movements inside Bangladesh, a process which never stopped even in good times with more friendlier governments. Regretably, their anti-Bangladesh campaigns are also aided by paid local agents inside Bangladesh.

As reported in a prominent daily of Dhaka on March 20, 2010, Subir Bnowmick, BBC representative of Kolkata, India, wrote in his book titled ‘Troubled Periphery Crisis of Indian North East’ that In…

Rohingya - Rakhine -- Debate or Dialogue between thinking persons?

From the responses we have seen thus far, it is quite obvious that the extreme racists and bigots within the Rakhine Buddhist community are running out of wits after my recent posting of the Rohingya Identity and Demography in the British Era. There I showed that the Rohingya people, far from the Rakhine unsubstantiated claims, are an indigenous group of the Arakan State of Burma who had settled there from time immemorial, and hundreds of years before the ancestors of today's Rakhines settled. Having analyzed the demographic data of the English colonial period, I also pointed out that the so-called influx to Arakan during the British era actually had more to do with the Rakhine population than any other ethnic/religious group, and that the growth within the Rohingya Muslim community was a natural one.

Unfortunately, as we have noticed time and again, the racists within the Burmese and Arakanese Rakhine communities are uncomfortable to consider any other possibility beyond their ow…

Col. Gaddafi’s Death – lessons for dictators?

Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi died on October 20 on the way to a hospital in Misrata. An autopsy determined that he had bullet wounds to his chest and head. Apparently, he was killed by a Libyan captor with the rebel forces that had toppled his regime. It was not the kind of death he imagined to embrace during the 42 years of his rule before the revolution. Surely, he was a marked man since the days of President Reagan. He had too many foes – mostly foreign – who hated him for a plethora of reasons. But never before the Libyan Revolution had he any inkling that one day his fellow countryman would be his executioner shooting the final bullet to end his life.

It was a sad demise of one of the most enduring rulers of our time who refused to call it quits. Gaddafi was captured alive hiding in a drainpipe outside his hometown of Sirte. He was roughed up, bruised, taunted and hounded before his death. It was not a pleasant picture, all captured by cell phone videos, to see him dragged out by his hair…