Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Trump tweets hatred - what's new?

US President Donald Trump has sparked shock and outrage on social media after sharing videos posted by a British far-right activist, known for her anti-Muslim rhetoric, on Twitter.
The US leader shared three videos by Britain Firstdeputy leader Jayda Fransen, purporting to show Muslims carrying out beatings or acts of vandalism.
Britain First's Fransen, who in 2016 was convicted by a British court for harassing a woman wearing a hijab, is banned by court order from entering mosques in the UK.
Together with other activists from the far-right group, Fransen took part in regular mosque "invasions". 
Thomas Mair, the killer of British MP Jo Cox is reported to have shouted the group's name after stabbing the Labour Party politician.
One of the tweets shared by Trump shows a video of a teenage boy beating up another teen boy on crutches. The incident happened in May this year in the Dutch town of Monnickendam.
After the video was posted on Dutch social media in May, police arrested two Dutch teens from Monnickendam and neighbouring town, Edam-Volendam, in connection to the beating. It was never confirmed that the individual in the video was Muslim or a migrant.
Trump's decision to share the videos was sharply condemned by rights groups.
"By his unconscionable and irresponsible actions this morning, President Trump is clearly telling members of his base that they should hate Islam and Muslims," said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations.
The Muslim Council of Britain urged the country's authorities to distance themselves from Trump and his comments.

The Muslim Council of Britain comments on President Trump sharing anti-Muslim videos from the far right
The American Civil Liberties Union also said that "Trump's prejudice against Muslims reveals itself at every turn".
Trump's prejudice against Muslims reveals itself at every turn—with today's tweets meant to gin up fear and bias, with statements like "Islam hates us," and with every version of the Muslim ban.
In Britain, the official spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May, said Trump was "wrong" to share the videos.
"Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people," said a statementreported by UK media.
"British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right which is the antithesis of the values this country represents, decency, tolerance and respect. It is wrong for the president to have done this."
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, the country's second-biggest political force, condemned Trump's retweets as "abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society".
I hope our Government will condemn far-right retweets by Donald Trump. They are abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society.
Many others on social media also voiced anger that the holder of such a high office would share material from a far-right activist.
"Trump sharing Britain First. Let that sink in. The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours. (Donald Trump) you are not welcome in my country and my city," British Labour Party MP David Lammy tweeted. 
Brian Klass, an academic at the London School of Economics, wrote: "Here in the UK, Britain First is (correctly) seen as a neo-Fascist hate group. They are beyond the fringe extremists. Their leaders have been arrested and convicted for inciting hatred, including the horrible racist woman that Trump re-tweeted multiple times." 

Donald Trump has been retweeting Britain First leader and rampant anti-Muslim activist Jayda Fransen. See how her online following has spiked following recent terror attacks: 
Wednesday's retweets are not the first time Trump has shared or made comments that are considered racist or discriminatory. 
On Monday, speaking to a group of Native American veterans, Trump referred to US Senator Elizabeth Warren who claims Native American ancestry as "Pocahontas", after a historic Native American figure.
Trump also campaigned on a platform of banning Muslim entry to the US and the surveillance of mosques in the country.
Shortly after taking office, he signed an executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. After court challenges, the ban was revised and now includes restrictions on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as North Korea and Venezuela. 

Slavery should be abolished

The excerpt below is from an old article of mine:

"The ancient world was deeply entrenched into slavery, and the Arab society in Muhammad’s (S) time was no exception. The pagan aristocracy in Makkah, Jewish landowners and merchants in Madinah and many wealthy Christian Arabs were slave owners. [15] Most of the early believers in Muhammad’s (S) message of pure monotheism, on the other hand, were slaves, who were brutally tortured for their faith by their non-Muslim slavers. It became, thus, incumbent upon the Prophet (S) and his Companions (notably Abu Bakr and Uthman – may Allah be pleased with them) to free those slaves. Muhammad (S) bought freedom of 63 former slaves, A’isha (RA) 67, Abbas (RA) 70, Abdullah ibn Umar (RA) 1000 and Abdur Rahman ibn Awf 30,000. [16] It was no wonder that some of the best-known Muslims and soldiers in the defense of Islam were these former slaves and their children. [17]

The Qur’an unequivocally makes it clear that no man, irrespective of his status (including a prophet), can enslave any other human being: “It is not (possible) for any human being unto whom Allah had given him the Scripture and wisdom and ‘Nabuwah’ (Prophethood) that he should afterwards have said unto mankind: Be slaves of me instead of Allah …” [3:79]

Thus, Islam’s credit lies in being the only major religion to curtailing slavery and encouraging emancipation of slaves. (See the Qur’an for many such references, e.g., 4:92, 5:89, 58:3, 90:13, 24:33, 9:60, 2:177, 2:221, 4:25, 4:36.) Following the dictates of the Qur’an, personal and public wealth from zakat fund and the Baitul-Mal was used for manumitting slaves. [18] Here are some relevant Traditions (ahadith) encouraging emancipation of slaves, Muslims and non-Muslims alike:

“A person who frees a Muslim slave, Allah will deliver every one of his limbs from the fire of Hell in return for each of the limbs of the slave, even his private organs for the sake of the freed slave’s organs.” - Muhammad (S) [Bukhari and Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]

“The atonement for beating or slapping a slave (Muslim or non-Muslim) on the face, for no fault of his, is that he should be set free.” - Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Ibn Umar (RA)]

“Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).” - Muhammad (S) [Bukhari: Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (RA)]

“Allah the Most High said, I will be the opponent of three persons on the Day of Resurrection. They are the one who makes a covenant in My name and then prove treacherous. Or the one who sells a free person (Muslim or non-Muslim) as a slave and appropriates his price for himself. And the one who hires a laborer and having taken full work from him, fails to pay him his wages.” - Muhammad (S) [Hadith Qudsi, Bukhari: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]

“There are three people whose prayers are not accepted. And one of these three is a man who enslaves a free person (Rajulun iitabada muharraran).” – Muhammad (S) [Abu Dawud]

“No son can repay his father unless he finds him as a slave and purchases him and sets him free.” – Muhammad (S) [Muslim: Abu Hurayrah (RA)]
As hinted earlier, many of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (S) were freed slaves who went on to become great leaders of the Islamic community. Bilal the Abyssinian became the first caller to Islam [note: the position of mu’addhin is next to the imam]. Ammar ibn Yathir was from Yemen, Salman al-Farsi was from Persia, Suhayb al-Rumi was from Byzantium. Many of the rulers in Muslim territories were freed slaves and their descendants.

On the other hand, throughout our known history, many of the notorious slave traders (including those involved in the Atlantic slave trade) were Christians and Jews. [19] To them, the fate of dark-skinned (African) race was sealed with Genesis 9:25: “And he [Noah] said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” (See also Joshua 16:10.) The Church did not believe that Africans possessed human souls. [20] Not surprisingly, when the British Crown asked the Christian clergy for supporting documents to justify the slave trade, they readily found them within the Bible. [21]

Dr. George Best, a non-Muslim historian, says, “Christianity did not object to slavery. Politically or economically, it did not encourage the believers to oppose the traditions of their generations as regards slavery. Christianity did not even discuss the problem and said nothing against the rights of slave owners. It did not urge slaves to demand their freedom and did not basically ask to free the slaves.”

Nor should we forget that the movement to abolish slavery in Europe and America is rather a new phenomenon and dates back only to the 19th century, [22] nearly 1200 years after Islam forbade taking any free man as a slave (see Imam Bukhari’s chapter: Baab Ithm man ba’a hurr wa akala thamanahu). Even with the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 in the British Parliament, the practice of owning slaves continued for another century in the West. The Grand Larousse of the 19th century reads: “Man does not wonder at the presence of slavery and its being common among the Christians till now. The religious representatives approve it and believe that it is legal. In brief Christianity approves it completely till our time and it is very hard to prove that Christianity tried to abolish slavery.”

Unfortunately, modern-day slavery still exists today in one form or another, e.g., sex labors in many parts of the world, captives or prisoners of war held in many parts of the world, forced labor in Burma and China, and slave camps run by the SPLA and Lord’s Army."
An excellent article on this subject is written by Mufti Taqi Usmani.

He said: "It was from the intense concern of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) for slaves that the last word he spoke before his death was encouragement towards fulfilment of their rights. Thus, Anas ibn Malik (Allah be pleased with him) narrates: “The general will of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) when death came to him and he was giving up his soul was: ‘[Be steadfast on] prayer, and [take care of] what your right hands possess.’” Ibn Majah transmitted it in Abwab al-Wasaya (1:198), and he transmitted from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him): “The last statement of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was: ‘[Be steadfast on] prayer, and [take care of] what your right hands possess.’” Abu Dawud also transmitted it in al-Adab, Bab Haqq al-Mamluk (2:701), and his wording is: “[Be observant of] Salah, [be observant of] Salah! And fear Allah in what your right hands possess.”

This is why we see the Sahabah hastening towards freeing slaves, and seizing opportunities for it. Thus it was narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave Abu al-Haytham ibn al-Tayhan (Allah be pleased with him) a slave and he said: “Accept the advice of kindness to him.” Abu al-Haytham proceeded to his wife and informed her of the statement of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), so she said: “You will not reach what the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said about him unless you free him.” He said: “He is free.” Al-Tirmidhi transmitted it in Abwab al-Zuhd, Bab ma ja’a fi Ma‘ishat Ashab al-Nabi sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

And it is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (Allah be pleased with him) that when he came with the intention to accept Islam and he had with him a slave, they were each parted from the other. Afterwards, he came while Abu Hurayrah was sitting with the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), so the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “O Abu Hurayrah! This is your slave who has come to you.” He said: “Take notice, verily I make you witness that he is free!” Al-Bukhari transmitted it in Bab idha qala li ‘abdihi huwa liLlahi wa nawa l-‘itq (1:343). And the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave Abu Dharr a slave, and he said: “Accept the advice of kindness to him,” so he freed him. Al-Bukhari transmitted it in al-Adab al-Mufrad, Bab al-‘Afw ‘an al-Khadim (no. 163).

Whenever Ibn ‘Umar became overly attracted to some form of wealth, he would take it [i.e. emancipating slaves] as a means of attaining closeness to Allah (Exalted is He), and his slaves would know this of him. Once, one of them stayed constantly in the mosque, so when Ibn ‘Umar saw him in that beautiful condition, he freed him. His companions said to him: “They are deceiving you.” He said: “Whoever deceives us by means of Allah we will fall prey to him.” Al-Nawawi narrated it in Tahdhib al-Asma’ wa l-Lughat (1:280), and Ibn Sa‘d transmitted it in the biography of Ibn ‘Umar in his Tabaqat (4:167). And from what is known about ‘Uthman (Allah be pleased with him) is that he would free a slave from the slaves every Friday.

Thus, these are a few examples from those beautiful incidents which adorn Islamic history, which we cannot exhaust in this place. We only cited them so a picture of the Islamic society may be gleaned. We should relate here what ‘Allamah al-Nawwab Siddiq Hasan Khan narrated from al-Najm al-Wahhaj that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) freed 63 people, the number of years of his life, and he enumerated their names. He said:

And ‘A’ishah freed 69, and she lived for that number of years, and Abu Bakr freed many, and al-‘Abbas freed 70 slaves. Al-Hakim narrated it. ‘Uthman freed twenty when he was besieged, and Hakim ibn Hizam freed a hundred loading them with silver, and ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar freed a thousand, and he performed a thousand ‘umrahs, and he performed sixty Hajjs, and he kept 1000 horses for [fighting] in the path of Allah, and Dhu l-Kala‘ al-Himyari freed 8000 slaves in one day, and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf freed 30,000 people. See: Fath al-‘Allam Sharh Bulugh al-Maram, Kitab al-‘Itq (2:332).

These are only eight men, who had freed 39322 slaves! You can deduce from this the extent of the generosity of the Muslims in freeing their slaves."

What's the stand of Judaism and Christianity on the subject of slavery? Probably a reading of the Bible can help us to understand how it promotes slavery:

“You may possess slaves, but make sure they are foreigners. You may also make slaves of the natives who dwell among you and from their children who are born and reared in your land. You may own them as chattels and leave them to your sons as their hereditary property, making them slaves forever. But you should not lord it over your own countryman, your own kinsmen.” [Lev. 25:44-46] (See also: Deut. 21:10) Even in the NT, not a single statement can be found in Jesus’s mouth that comes close to uprooting slavery. (See also: 1 Timothy 6:1, 1 Peter 2:18, Col. 3:22 for endorsement of slavery.)

Slavery, as I see it, is forbidden in Islam. All human beings should do everything possible to abolish this practice.
14 Edward Peters, Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe; R. Dean Peterson, A Concise History of Christianity; James A. Haught, Holy Horrors; J.N. Hillgarth, Christianity and Paganism; Malcolm Lambert, Medieval Heresy.
15 A study of the lives of many former slaves who became the Companions of the Prophet (S) is sufficient to prove this. For instance, Salman al-Farisi’s (RA) slave master was a wealthy Jew from Banu Qurayza. (See also Maulana Rumi’s masterpiece - Mathnabi.)
16 Human Rights in Islam by Abul ‘Ala Mawdudi.
17 Read this author’s – The Book of Devotional Stories – (in print) for stories of some of these early Muslims.
18 See Fethullah Gulen’s article: How is it that Islam, a religion inspired by God for the good of humanity, allows slavery? - Islam Herald.
19 According to some historians, eighteen million Africans are estimated to have died during the Atlantic slave trade. In American Holocaust (1992), David Stannard estimates that some 30 to 60 million Africans died being enslaved. Howard Zinn puts the number at 40 million.
20 See, this author’s “An anatomy of racism” and “White Man’s Burden: the never-ending saga.”
21 St. Augustine (c. 354-430) taught that slavery was God’s will and that Christianity did not make slaves free but made good slaves out of bad ones. (The City of God 19.5)
22 The only real exception is Portugal (1761), however, the practice continued for decades in its colonies.

A war criminal drinks poison during trial at the Hague

Bosnian Croat wartime commander has died after drinking poison during an appeals hearing at a UN court, Croatia's prime minister has confirmed.
Slobodan Praljak, one of six former political and military leaders who were appealing their sentences in The Hague, died in a local hospital.
The 72-year-old tilted back his head and took a swing from a flask or glass as the judge read out that his 20-year prison sentence had been upheld.
"Judges, I am not a war criminal, I reject the verdict with contempt," he said after drinking. The presiding judge called for a doctor and halted the proceedings.
The apparent courtroom suicide, which was broadcast on a video feed, came in the final minutes of the last judgement at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which closes next month.
"Former head of the chief headquarters of the Croatian Defence Council, General Slobodan Praljak, died in a hospital in The Hague after he drank poison in a courtroom after the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia confirmed his 20-year sentence for war crimes," Croatian TV reported.
UN court representatives and Dutch hospital officials declined to comment on his condition.
The presiding Judge Carmel Agius suspended the hearings and paramedics raced to the courtroom, which was declared a crime scene by Dutch authorities. As forensic investigation got underway, the courtroom was sealed off, and the public was instructed to leave.
"Don't take away the glass," Agius said, instructing the guards to lower blinds and block a glass-partition separating the court from the public.
In the chaotic moments that followed, guards and paramedics raced in and out of the courtroom. Ambulances were seen leaving the tribunal, but there was no official confirmation of Praljak's condition.
A reading of the judgement, which was also deciding on charges against five other suspects, resumed more than two hours after Praljak said he had poisoned himself.
The incident upstaged the appeals ruling, which was important for Croatia, where parliament was suspended so lawmakers could follow the reading of the verdict.
The court upheld convictions of Praljak and five other Bosnian Croats: Jadranko Prlic, the political leader of the Croatian province of Bosnia, along with military and police figures Bruno Stojic, Milivoj Petrovic, Valentin Coric and Berislav Pusic.
Judges upheld findings that there was a criminal conspiracy that included the regime of neighbouring Croatia under then-President Franjo Tudjman with the goal of "ethnic cleansing of the Muslim population" of parts of Bosnia to ensure Croatian domination.
The defendants on Wednesday received sentences ranging from 10 to 25 years. The decision cannot be appealed.
The chairman of Bosnia's inter-ethnic presidency, Dragan Covic, a Croat, said: "He showed before the whole world what kind of sacrifice he is ready to make to prove that he is not a war criminal."
The ICTY, established in 1993 by the UN Security Council, indicted 161 war crimes suspects from Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. Of the 83 convicted, more than 60 of them were ethnic Serbs.
The court's lead suspect, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, died of a heart attack in March 2006 months before a ruling in his genocide case.
Former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic was found guilty of genocide by the UN war crimes tribunal last week and sentenced to life in prison for his role in massacres and ethnic cleansing during Bosnia's war.

Saudi prince earns freedom after paying $1bn ransom (?)

RIYADH (Reuters) - Senior Saudi Arabian prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, has been freed after agreeing to pay over $1 billion to settle corruption allegations against him, a Saudi official said on Wednesday Miteb, 65, son of the late King Abdullah and former head of the elite National Guard, was among dozens of royal family members, high officials and senior businessmen rounded up this month in a crackdown on graft that has strengthened the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The official, who is involved in the crackdown and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Miteb was released on Tuesday after reaching “an acceptable settlement agreement”. The official said he believed the agreed sum to be the equivalent of over $1 billion.
“It is understood that the settlement included admitting corruption involving known cases,” the official said, without giving details.
According to the official, Prince Miteb was accused of embezzlement, hiring ghost employees and awarding contracts to his own firms, including a deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear.
Prince Miteb is the first senior figure known to be released among those detained. Around 200 people in total have been questioned in the crackdown, authorities said earlier this month.
The allegations, which include kickbacks, inflating government contracts, extortion and bribery, could not be independently verified.
Saudi authorities, who estimate they could eventually recover around $100 billion of illicit funds, have been working on reaching agreements with suspects detained at Riyadh’s luxurious Ritz Carlton hotel, asking them to hand over assets and cash in return for their freedom.
Apart from Miteb, the Saudi official said that at least three other suspects had finalised settlement agreements and that the public prosecutor had decided to release several individuals.
The prosecutor has decided to put at least five people on trial, the official said without disclosing their identities.
The fate of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of investment firm Kingdom Holding 4280.SE and one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent international businessmen, was not known.
Kingdom issued a statement earlier this month saying it was continuing to operate normally but has not responded to queries about his status since he was detained early this month.
Two Saudi sources told Reuters that Prince Alwaleed has so far refused to reach a settlement and had asked for access to his lawyer in order to fight allegations against him.
Relatives, his lawyer and officials in his office could not be contacted to comment.


Saudi Arabia’s stock market .TASI, where many investors have been alarmed by the corruption probe, rose after news of the settlements by Prince Miteb and others. The main index was trading 0.4 percent higher around midday on Wednesday.
The settlements may mean authorities can soon wind down parts of the probe, reducing the risk of damage to the economy through the freezing of hundreds of bank accounts, and easing the danger that firms linked to detainees could be affected.
Officials from Prince Miteb’s office could not be reached for comment about his release, and it was unclear if he was able to move freely or whether he would be put under house arrest.
An acquaintance of the family said earlier on his Twitter account that Prince Miteb was receiving brothers and sons at his palace in Riyadh.
The arrests of royals and top businessmen have been welcomed by many Saudis who are frustrated by corruption, but the crackdown is also seen by many people as a pre-emptive step by Prince Mohammed to remove any possible challenge to his control over the world’s top oil exporting country.
The round-up follows a meticulously planned palace coup in June through which Prince Mohammed ousted his elder cousin Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as heir to the throne.
Prince Miteb, as overlord of the 100,000-strong National Guard, represented the last great competing power center left after the toppling of Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. In September, religious and intellectual critics of the government were jailed.
Reporting by Samia Nakhoul Writing by Sami Aboudi and Andrew Torchia; Editing by Michael Georgy and Raissa Kasolowsky