Saturday, December 31, 2011

UPDATE on Peace Instead of Washington's Addiction to War: Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Published on Saturday, December 31, 2011 by Living Peacefully With One's Neighbors by Phil Tajitsu Nash

Imagine that your community and a neighboring community had been at war a half century ago. Many men had been killed, and women and children had been kidnapped.

Then, imagine what it would take for those two communities to sit down together to look at archival films of life in their region, share memories of common ancestors, and allow their children to interact peacefully with one another.

Read about these trend-setters for peace: or click here

(Since a New Year resolution of mine is to seek out the true positive despite all that we must face that is not...I wanted to include the above article as an antidote to the concerns of Kucinich's as RIGHT ON as his concerns always are...and to show how we of all ages can learn from peacemakers of ALL ages and persuasions.



Truthdigger of the Week: Rep. Dennis Kucinich
For original GO here

Posted on Dec 30, 2011

As the year draws to a close, the U.S. government risks repeating the costly mistakes of the recent past by ratcheting up tensions with Iran, emphasizing risky sanctions over diplomatic negotiations and making fact-challenged claims about Iran’s nuclear program. Good thing Rep. Dennis Kucinich is on Capitol Hill to call Congress on its deadly war addiction. For his willingness to make a stand against almost all of his congressional cohorts and his refusal to accept shoddy arguments and distressingly repetitive rationalizations for entering into yet another precarious foreign entanglement, we salute Congressman Kucinich as the last Truthdigger of the Week for 2011.

It’s alarming how short our nation’s collective memory, not to mention its attention span, can be when it comes to missing signs of the manipulation of information during the lead-in stages of conflicts with other nations. Rep. Kucinich called in Friday with a history lesson and an update on the debate he brought to the floor of the House about why we shouldn’t listen to the building drumbeat of war with Iran that seems to hold most of Washington in its thrall.

First, a little background. Two bills have made the legislative rounds proposing sanctions against Iran in the last year: The Iran, North Korea and Syria Nonproliferation Act (H.R. 2105) and the Iran Threat Reduction Act (H.R. 1905). On Dec. 14, H.R. 1905 passed with only 11 members of the House, including Kucinich, opposing the bill. Minutes later, H.R. 2105 also passed, and this time only two congressmen—Kucinich and California Rep. Pete Stark—voted against it.

“We actually warned members about this,” Kucinich said Friday. “We sent out letters to members of Congress, and I went to the floor to speak against it.” But Kucinich’s arguments were shot down from both sides of the political aisle, as his colleagues seemed eager to accept the predominant rhetoric claiming that Iran was dead set on developing its own nuclear weapon and that imposing tough sanctions is the most effective way to thwart the threat from Tehran.

This, despite warnings from the likes of Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen, who noted in September that open diplomatic channels were key in preventing big miscalculations and miscommunications. As Kucinich pointed out in his letter to Congress members on Dec. 12, “Section 601 of H.R. 1905 prohibits contact by a U.S. government official or employee with any Iranian official or representative who ‘presents a threat’ to the United States,” a clause that sharply curtails diplomatic interactions between the two nations, but the prospect of this potential gag order apparently failed to stir up much concern. “You see how little attention is paid to any details and facts,” Kucinich said of his opponents in Washington.

So, here are the facts as Kucinich saw them as he took a moment to talk to Truthdig’s Associate Editor Kasia Anderson on the last business day of the year.

Kasia Anderson: There appears to be some push back from other members of Congress about this issue of whether our hands would be tied, diplomatically speaking, by H.R. 1905. How can you all be looking at the same document, and yet one member of Congress says this won’t compromise diplomatic communication and another says it would?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: I can tell you from my perspective. Everything I try to do is fact-based; I work from a fact-based position. There are some members who made up their minds a long time ago to advance conflict against Iran, and I think the impact on the U.S. and the world would be devastating. There’s no reason whatsoever for us to move into a war against Iran. And we should not be rattling sabers—we should not be taking steps that escalate. And so I think from my perspective when these issues have come up in the past regarding Iran, I understood that the neocons have had extraordinary influence in keeping up the tensions, but someone has to say that they were wrong about Iraq. Someone has to hold the neocons responsible for the drumbeat for war that cost the lives of thousands of American troops and perhaps over a million Iraqis, that will have a long-term cost of about $5 trillion and that has further damaged America’s position in the world. The same people that brought us Iraq are changing the q to an n and advancing a whole new war based on the same type of flimsy predicate that brought us to war against Iraq.

Anderson: In your debates about the sanctions against Iran, you drew parallels to the lead-in to the Iraq War and to the Gulf of Tonkin, among other historical lessons. Can you expand on those here?

Kucinich: The Gulf of Tonkin is relevant here because the American people were largely unaware of what transpired during an encounter—a so-called encounter—in the Gulf of Tonkin that led directly to the war in Vietnam. We are now in the Strait of Hormuz, in an area where there’s a tremendous amount of traffic, and the potential for conflict is real. This is why I quoted Admiral Mullen in saying that he wasn’t looking towards any escalation here. Anybody in the Navy understands how real the risks are of ratcheting up a military presence in the Strait of Hormuz as a means of [imposing] sanctions from the very beginning—sanctions were in and of themselves a path towards escalation—a direct path towards war. … Congress can’t seem to get away from this drumbeat of war. As an institution it seems incapable of avoiding another war. The American people don’t want another war.

I led the effort in Congress in 2002 in challenging the march towards war. There was no evidence that Iraq had the intention or the ability of attacking the United States of America. There were no WMDs—it was all a put-up job to take us into a war. And the people who took us into it have never been held accountable, from Bush on down; members of Congress are equally accountable because they voted in favor of the war. We cannot break free of the hold that war has on our country. The implications of conflict with Iran are extraordinary. Unlike Iraq, Iran has the ability to fight back. Unlike Iraq, Iran is a major player in the economy of the world, and the implications of conflict with Iran will be felt globally and can put the U.S. in a much broader conflict with other nations as well. This is a very dangerous moment.

Anderson: How is it that Congress gets swept up in this kind of rhetoric?

Kucinich: It’s really a kind of reverse Houdini phenomenon. Houdini was famous for escaping being bound, but members of Congress are famous for binding themselves—binding our nation into perilous conditions. And so how does that happen? I don’t see war as being inevitable. I see that we have an obligation to use diplomacy to avoid war, and we have a greater obligation in this heavily mediated society to work to get at the truth and not be swept up into war by ideologues or by war profiteers who both cashed in in Iraq.

With an American economy falling apart. ... We are at a decisive moment in the history of this country where we have to begin to make a conscious choice of a domestic agenda over foreign conflict. If we fail to do that, we will lose our nation.

Anderson: Do you think anything can be done with respect to a potential conflict with Iran?

Kucinich: Yes! Back off. That’s what we need to do.

I want to go back over the dynamics in Washington. There’s always a certain group of people—Republicans and Democrats alike—who will vote for war. They’ll vote to fund wars, seeing it their patriotic duty to do so. We need a new type of thinking. That new type of thinking has to be demanded by people like your readership and by constituents aross the country. We have become so enamored of war as a nation we can’t break from it. If you look at the Republican debate, it’s all about war with them—all but Ron Paul. What’s this about? What are we doing? Why aren’t we taking care of things at home?

There’s a psychology of aggression which permeates our society. It is as though we are riding a death star. Yet I refuse to believe that America will perish through this kind of thinking. I’m hopeful that we can reverse the direction. But you can only do it if people have the truth—if people have information about what’s really going on.

Anderson: What about the claims that Iran is developing its own nuclear weapon?

Kucinich: The changes in the International Atomic Energy Agency are very disturbing. Instead of a dispassionate technician running the IAEA, you have a politician who used politics to get his appointment, and now he’s willing to do his servile best to give those who want war the leverage to claim that Iran is moving towards getting a nuclear weapon. That poisons the dialogue.

Know that lies are being told right now to get us into a conflict with Iran. We need to take steps to avoid it, otherwise we’re looking at a condition that would be calamitous to the economy of the nation and to the long-term health of the United States of America. Also think of the Cuban Missile Crisis, how the military was trying to go for war. And the political strength it took President John F. Kennedy to pull back and to curtail war. There was a real conflict there, and the chances of conflict were real. The chances of a nuclear war were real, and yet we had leaders who understood the need for diplomacy. Diplomacy is not weakness—it’s strength. The use of arms as a substitute for diplomacy is idiocy. Those who are responsible for that kind of thinking need to be called on it—need to be held accountable. It’s lazy intellectualism and lazy politics that cause people to vote for war. We can no longer afford this. We need to change our position in the world. If we don’t we will lose our nation. That’s why I’ve been speaking out in Congress for years to try to avert conflict.

You can look at what I said in the lead-up to the war against Serbia. You can look at what I said coming out of 9/11 and the lead-up to the war in Iraq and these other wars that we’ve had. The one ray of light that I saw was that some of the conservative Republicans questioned our actions in Libya.

Look, if you want to stop war, you have to have communication with people. I mean, if you look back to the Cuban Missile Crisis, which is one of the gravest crises of the 20th century, it was the fact that the United States and Russia were able to engage in communication [that saved us]. So we have to be very careful that we don’t pass any kind of a law that would restrict not just our First Amendment rights and not just freedom of association, but would restrict the basic kind of diplomacy that’s used, because everyone here knows that diplomacy is not just leaders talking to leaders. All kinds of backdoor diplomacy goes on, and I think that that needs to be taken into consideration.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

So why are the drones allowed at all?

This girl was left with horrific burns after U.S. drone attack in Pakistan. She was brought to America to receive surgery.

Shakira was pulled from a bin by a medical mission where two other children died of their injuries

By Daily Mail ReporterLast updated at 11:40 AM on 23rd December 2011 Read more: here

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gutsy Silent Angels Want Peace in Mexico

Raymundo Aguirre for NPR

After 20 minutes of silent witness, the angels gather around a group of neighbors and pray with them for employment, for better living conditions, for salvation from sin, and for an end to the murders.

With their silver makeup complete, the young people pile into a decrepit green van nicknamed "the weenie," and make their way to the first stop of the day. Their wings are strapped on the roof.

The van pulls up in front of a supermarket at a busy intersection.

The angels, well rehearsed, take their positions on street corners and medians. They stand on folding chairs in long white robes, so that they look like giants...

READ more on for December 19, 2011 here or GO here to listen to the 6 minute story.

American Voices for Peace features forgiver Rais Bhuiyan

GO here

Sunday, December 18, 2011

CAIR: Highlights/News/Actions -- Esp. Texas Leaders

Be sure to see call to action on NDAA (Yes, we should call no matter what has been signed or not and ask for our representatives and President to get rid of such a law.

Here's an older and timeless letter from CAIR Houston

"And what will explain to you what the steep path is? It is the freeing of a (slave) from bondage; or the giving of food in a day of famine to an orphan relative, or to a needy in distress. Then will he be of those who believe, enjoin fortitude and encourage kindness and compassion"

(Holy Qur'an Chapter 90, Verses 12-17)

"Show forgiveness, speak for justice and avoid the ignorant" (Holy Qur'an Chapter 7, Verse 199)

Executive Director's Message

Different Faiths, One Family, Come Together: Focus on the Good!

As Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatoh! In June CAIR-TX initiated its Peace and Unity Campaign as a response to anti-Muslim sentiment, Islamophobia, and a call for unity among all Americans. If there was ever a time to heed the call for peace and unity in America … it’s now. The current polarizing narratives that are amok in our society do not serve our country well. The freedoms that we have enjoyed as Americans cannot survive this onslaught of negativity unless we change those narratives to more peaceful, unifying overtures. On Thursday June 23, 2011 we announced the release of “Same Hate, New Target” Although this Islamophobia report had some troubling trends that must be addressed, it has more important positive trends that should be our focus. Achieving balance and focusing on “the good” in these times can be challenging for advocacy groups and community alike. You may recall Pareto’s Law or the 80/20 rule. This rule can be applied to almost any situation. It essentially says we spend 80% of the time dealing with 20% of our challenges. June 15, 2011 marked my one year anniversary with CAIR-TX, Houston Chapter, and what a year it’s been! Al hamdu-illah, we have met many of our challenges head-on. We continually have opportunities to promote an accurate image of Islam and Muslims, while empowering Muslims to be their own advocate. The Houston community seems to have embraced our outreach efforts, and we continue to build coalitions that promote justice, mutual respect, and a sense of unity. These relationships are invaluable, and we hope to make our peace and unity initiative the mantel in everything we do! Insha Allah, we will spend 80% of our time building relationships and focusing on the good in the Greater Houston Community!


Mustafaa Carroll

Executive Director

Find this letter in this older inspiring newsletter from Cair Houston here

Introduction to a man who has been a featured peacemaker of the year in a variety of places - who has been supported by CAIR Houston -- Here's an intro to Rais Bhuiyan and his international campaign and website: "World Without Hate" in many places --
Attacked man forgives attacker here

Find these items of interest on the CAIR website along with suggested actions for more justice and peace where we live:

Interfaith Leaders Challenge Anti-Sharia Bill lA rabbi, an interfaith leader, and a Temple University professor joined the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Wedne... CAIR-PA: Lessons of Ramadan and 9/11 (Philly Inquirer)This season brings a confluence of two important events for me as an American Muslim, one spiritual, one civic....

CAIR: Manhattan Children's Museum Gets Funding for 'Muslim Worlds'"Muslim Worlds" will have hands-on exhibits, performances and other events geared toward getting children...SEE here and CAIR > HomeCouncil on American-Islamic Relations ... Manhattan Children's Museum Gets Funding for 'Muslim Worlds' "Muslim Worlds" will have hands-on exhibits, ... Childrens Museum of Manhatten

NEW Attack in Texas here

Per Positive Actions to Negative Ones:

I found this on CAIR fb = CAIR
Christians, Muslims, Jews to Boycott Lowe's Over 'Bigotry' hereChristians, Muslims, and Jews alike are speaking out against Lowe’s Hardware Store’s decision to pull advertisement from the TLC television show “All American Muslim.” On Saturday, demonstrations in front of various Lowe’s locations across the country will seek to raise awareness

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: OR go here Action Alert: Ask President Obama to Veto Indefinite Detention of U.S. CitizensContact President Obama and urge him to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540), which authorizes the military to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens suspected of terrorism without charge or trial.


note from blogger here on "no more crusades" plz consider calling your congressional representatives too...what about mayor of your state and religious leaders? With enough folk calling - we the people may get this horrendous law removed.

Also go to oneheartforpeace dot blogspot dot com or click here for plenty more items on this recent finalized ruling...

THANX CAIR for ALL you do for peace, justice, and our precious yet often fragile nation and world!

US: Lowe's pulls ads from Muslim show, sparks protest

By JEFF KAROUB | AP – 17 December 2011

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Protesters descended on a Lowe's store in one of the country's largest Arab-American communities on Saturday, calling for a boycott after the home improvement chain pulled its ads from a reality television show about five Muslim families living in Michigan.

About 100 people gathered outside the store in Allen Park, a Detroit suburb adjacent to the city where "All-American Muslim" is filmed. Lowe's said this week that the TLC show had become a "lightning rod" for complaints, following an email campaign by a conservative Christian group.

Protesters including Christian clergy and lawmakers called for unity and held signs that read "Boycott Bigotry" and chanted "God Bless America, shame on Lowe's" during the rally, which was organized by a coalition of Christian, Muslim and civil rights groups.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat and the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature, said it was "disgusting" for Lowe's to stop supporting a show that reflects America — the conservatives, liberals and even "the Kim Kardashians" in the Muslim community, she said.

"We're asking the company to change their mind," said protester Ray Holman, a legislative liaison for a United Auto Workers local. He said he was dismayed that the retailer "pulled sponsorship of a positive program."

A local rabbi extended his support to clergy at the protest and local Arab Americans, saying he and other Jews would have been at the protest had it not fallen during the Jewish Sabbath.

"I hope that they would likewise stand up and demonstrate should something outrageous like this take place against another religion," Rabbi Jason Miller said in a statement.

Lowe's spokeswoman Karen Cobb said Saturday that the company respected the protestors' opinion.

"We appreciate and respect everyone's right to express their opinion peacefully," she said.

The show premiered last month and chronicles the lives of families living in and around Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit at the heart of one of the largest Arab-American populations outside the Middle East.

Dearborn is home to the Islamic Center of America, one of the largest mosques in North America. Overall, the Detroit area has about 150,000 Muslims of many different ethnicities and is served by about 40 mosques.

It airs Sundays and ends its first season Jan. 8.

The Florida Family Association has said more than 60 companies it emailed, from Amazon to McDonalds, pulled their ads from the show, but Lowe's is the only major company so far to confirm that it had done so. The group accused the show of being "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

The travel planning site also pulled its ads, though its marketing chief said the decision was made because the company was dissatisfied by the show's quality and TLC wasn't upfront with advertisers about how the show would be presented.

Saturday's rally was met by about 20 counter-protesters including John White, who lives in nearby Livonia and called those protesting against Lowe's "terribly misdirected." He acknowledged that he hadn't watched the show, saying he'd seen previews and read about it, but believed the company made a decision based on business, not bigotry.

"Americans are not suspicious ... of baseball-playing, apple-pie eating Muslims," he said. "It's the ones you see on the news."

The manager of the Lowe's store, Doug Casey, said the company wasn't influenced by any outside group or ideology. He said those who criticized Lowe's have a right to their opinion, but that "it's not the opinion of most of the customers I spoke to in the store today."

"I'm deeply sorry if it's caused any divide in our community," he said. "It was never our intention to offend or alienate anyone."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The US Privatizing of Crimes Against Humanity

Excerpt from Annie Byrd's "Feeding the Monster..." Rights Action December 9, 2011

Privatizing Crimes Against Humanity

The use of private security contractors by the State Department, the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency has skyrocketed since September 11, 2001.

A two year Washington Post investigation published in July 2010 showed that just in the CIA one third of all employees, approximately 10,000 people, actually worked for private security contractors. Defense Secretary Robert Gates explained that he has not been able to get a number on how many private contractors work in the Secretary of Defense.

Blackwater, among the largest and best known government contractors, was founded in 1997 in McLean Virginia, home of the CIA, the same year that an internal directive limited the possibility of the use of torture by informants on the CIA payroll, and the same year approximately 1,000 CIA informants, at that time reported to be a third of the CIA employees, were purged from their payroll for participation in crimes following controversies that exposed involvement in drug trafficking, torture and murder.

Many known human rights abusers have been involved in the private security industry. Billy Joya, a former member of the 1980s Honduran death squad Batallion 3-16, is reported to own private security companies in Central America, and founded a company in the US in 1997. He was also sighted in the 15th Batallion near Tocoa, Colon in March 2010, a date that coincided with the birth of a death squad reportedly operating out of the 15th Batallion which, to date, has been implicated in close to 50 assassinations.

In September 2011 Joya appeared on the Honduran national news program 'Frente a Frente' with a strange cost benefit analysis of police in Honduras, apparently promoting the argument that the police are expensive and inefficient, the inevitable discourse that proceeds privatization of any state enterprise.

The AUC Colombian state-sponsored paramilitary forces, deeply implicated in massacres, murder, torture and drug trafficking, have long been connected to private security companies. Chiquita Brands Fruit Company is currently being sued by the surviving families of Colombian unionists murdered by the AUC after Chiquita made payments in 2004 to AUC affiliated private security companies.

There is no doubt that private security contracting companies are a means of facilitating impunity for States and corporations by contracting out repression and other dirty business. Lawsuits forced Blackwater to change its name to Xe and move its headquarters to the United Arab Emerites.

The birth of denationalized mercenary armies, contracted for military and police functions, and involved in heinous crimes, is a real threat to the rule of law on a global scale, and it looks like Honduras and Central America may already be their next big theater of operations.

Calls for International Commissions

The measures undertaken thus far demonstrate no real commitment or capacity to achieve effective reform. In reaction, in early November, Julieta Casetallanos put out a call to form an international commission to intervene in the police and carry out a reform process. Real reform and international observation is urgent, especially as Honduras enters a volatile yet potentially transformative electoral process while at the mercy of deeply corrupt and violent state institutions controlled by people put in place by a military coup and willing to do anything to retain political control of the nation.

After the 2009 military coup, a proposal surfaced to create an office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights in Honduras, but few advances have been made in establishing one, and the mandate of a UNHCR office would not be broad enough to encompass the need to oversee a purge of state institutions...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Muslim Men March on FMC Carswell

Find links to the case and concerns re. Dr. Aafia below this announcement...

Muslim Men March on FMC Carswell
(Ft. Worth Texas)
Saturday, December 31, 2011
An emergency mobilization for
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, and all other female prisoners suffering abuse in a federal institution that has a long, shameful record of violating the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee against “cruel and unusual punishment.”

While ALL ARE INVITED to join this urgently needed mobilization, we feel it is a
special obligation on Muslim Men!

You can mail a donation to:
The Peace Thru Justice Foundation
11006 Viers Mill Road
STE L-15, PMB 298
Silver Spring, MD. 20902
For More Information:
E-mail: or Tel: (202) 246-9608

To learn more about the facts of this case you may wish to go to
the International Justice Network - GO here and Just the Facts here

Find a most interesting sweeping, long yet also clear talk given by this dedicated human rights lawyer who has been working with Aafia's family on the well-being and return of her children:

Monday, November 28, 2011

"The Window"

As I enter the solitude of prayer
I put these matters to Him, for He knows
That's my prayer-time habit, to turn and talk
That's why it's said "My heart delights in prayer"
Through pureness a window opens in my soul
God's message comes immediate to me
Through my window the Book, the rain and light
all pour into my room from gleaming source
Hell's the room in which there is no window
To open windows, that's religion's goal

Rumi's Masnavi 3: 2400-2404

The Windows above found here

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Allama Iqbal's Marghdeen: Light for Us Today

Whether we consider the emphasis all over the world on "green" living, the need for freedom which does not limit the freedom of others, the longing for a world without war and overbearing law-enforcement, Iqbal has something to say. Look at the goals of the "Occupy...the Banks or the 99% movements". Or see how often religion has become the opiate of people in various places, times and with different names. Consider not only how we sabatage the free expression and imagination of our children yet also do the same to our own.

Then read the following reflectively. This is from Iqbal's imaginary journey with Rumi in his book "Javidnama". Iqbal called this one book (for the childlike of all ages and times) his life work. How generous he left behind such wisdom for us all!

From JAVIDNAMA "Sphere of Mars" p. 27 Retold by Hina Tanvir, Ed. by Khurram Ali Shafique and Illustrated by Tabassum Khalid - available from Iqbal Academy Pakistan.

The city of Marghdeen is a magnificent place with tall buildings. Its people... speak a language that sounds melodious to the ears. They are not after material goods; rather they are the guardians of knowledge and derive wealth from their sound judgment. The sole purpose of knowledge and skill in that world is to help improve the life. Currency is unknown, and temperaments are not to be governed by machines that blacken the sky with their smoke...there are no landlords to plunder their harvest, and the tillers of the land enjoy the entire fruit of their labor. Learning and wisdom don’t flourish on deceit and hence there is neither army, nor law keepers...because there is no crime in Marghdeen. The marketplace is free from the...heartrending cries of the beggars.

“In this world there is no beggar,”...“Nor anyone is poor; no slave, no master – no ruler and thus none dominated.”

(The visitor) said, “Being born a beggar or a destitute, to be ruled or suppressed, is all by the decree of God. He alone is the architect of destiny. Destiny cannot be improved by reasoning.”

“If you are suffering at the hands of destiny,” replied the (Marghdeenian)..., “It is not unfair to ask God for a new one. He has no shortage of destinies for you. Failure to understand the mystical significance of destiny has led the inhabitants of the Earth to lose their identities. Here is a hint to the secret of destiny: change yourself and your destiny will change with you. If you are dust, you shall be scattered by the wind. But if you become solid as a rock, you can break the glass. If you are dewdrop, then you are destined to fall but if you are an ocean, then you will remain. To you, faith means conformity to others while your imagination remains confined because you do not conform to yourself. Shame on the faith that serves like an addiction to opium!”

Then he paused, and added, “A gem is a gem as long as you think it is valuable, otherwise it is just a stone. The world will shape itself according to your perception of it. The heavens and the earth too will adjust.”

Thumbnail above is "Evening in Amsterdam"
Lower represents painting "Lights and Shadows"
both painting are by artist Leonid Afremov Find him at

Now Is the Nonviolence Moment STRONG as usual that NONVIOLENCE is the ONLY way to respond to and initiate action TODAY in the murk of violence to personhood on all levels.

From the
WarIsACrime site:

Now is NOT the moment to declare "We tried nonviolence and it didn't work."

The purpose of a nonviolent movement is not to prevent police violence. The purpose is to change the society. And there is always every expectation that the police will be ordered to respond with violence if we begin to have any success. We are having success and the 1% is scared. Big city mayors are holding conference calls to discuss those fears and their militarized responses. War criminals and pirates like Cheney, Rice, and Paulson are canceling their events. Referenda are being passed in favor of working people. States are pulling out of mortgage (non)settlement deals.

Obama is at least pretending to listen to the people on the tar sands pipeline.

The corporate media is discussing inequality and the unfair concentration of wealth, power, and tax breaks in our corporatocracy. The Occupy camps are returning, resisting, growing, and finding ways to build a movement broader than the encampments. Now, when there are encouraging (if brutal) signs that the other side knows we are winning, now is the moment when we need a nonviolent movement.

Until now it has just been a movement. Now is when we nonviolently escalate. Now is when we take it from the streets to the suites. Now is when we refocus the discussion on taxing the rich, ending the wars, and moving the money from the military and corporate handouts to people and our natural environment. Now is when we shut down the stock exchange, the committee hearings, and the gated communities. Now is the winter of our discontent. Now is the nonviolence moment.

Watch this video from Keith Olbermann. SEE war is a crime dot org

Also watch OccupyWashingtonDC on CNN.

Also check out the new bill just introduced in Congress to overturn corporate personhood.

Lead Us


If there's ONE Rumi poem which keeps coming to mind the most it's this one (Even the very beginning works well by itself and the middle is perhaps too dense for now.)

A Zero-Circle

Be helpless and dumbfounded,
unable to say yes or no.

The a stretcher will come
from grace to gather us up...

Crazed, lying in a zero-circle, mute,
we will be saying finally,
with tremendous eloquence, Lead us.

When we've totally surrendered to that beauty,
we'll become a mighty kindness.


In addition, I'm not at all sure if this is the accurate poet of this one...yet I find it quite interesting:

I saw this in an older forum - the poster said:

This is a poem by Rumi's oldest son, Bahauddin:

Where Are All the Others?

Those full of fear are not really on the way.
Everyone here is a king. No servants.

The wave can never be afraid of the ocean.
Inside that motion, how can anything be "other?"

When you feel separate, you're in your imagination.
Saints are the lights we see within this

exquisite fluid, and I'm not talking
about the elements! There's a light

that's the opposite of fire, as white to black.
When what I'm pointing to arrives,

there's no trace of burning. Don't ask
for a lineage of revelation, or explication

of texts, or rules of morality. There's nothing
here but love and mystery. Welcome to the tavern

where drunkards get sober and transparent,
until they disappear altogether in the face

of the one they love. Whatever loosens the taste
of their joy comes new with each breath.

In this orchard, and for the garden we farm,
there's no summer or winter. Roses open

every direction. This world's existence
is one night long. There's a great lively

gathering that night, but some people sleep
through it. Anyone who has seen the Beloved

wonders, "Where are all the others?" This
has nothing to do with thinking or belief.

Bahauddin, you've been left here alone
without your father, the great Mevlana.

From now on you'll have no friend,
no form to love, only what's real.

From a Commenter on this older forum:

What I really love about Rumi's poem is this, every single poem of him tell us his search for Allah. Some of his poem are so sad, some so mad, some so crazy and some filled with joy. The absolute beauty of his poem will be know if we follow it from his early stage of his life, before he meet Shams, then when He meet Shams we could see the difference in his view, as he keep searching and searching from the beginning to the end, we could feel the transformation in Him...

(Finally) in Rumi's world there is no Rumi or Shams or anyone else, only the One, Allah.
Image above found on blogsite called HeavenlyMindedEarthlyGood with this quote underneath it:
"That which does no earthly good cannot be heavenly minded." R. Rivera

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Allama Iqbal Day: In Honor of the Poet/Philosopher

who was also a jurist, a politician, a social reformer, and a great scholar.

* find link below to source of photo
and to a shortened version of reference page...

(Note from other sources:
The first funeral prayer was attended by over twenty thousand people at Islamia College Railway Road and the second one outside Baadshahi Mosque. The then Imam of the Mosque, Moulana Ghulam Murshid led the prayer which was attended by over sixty thousand people.)

On April 21, 1938, Iqbal died in Lahore. People swarmed to his house; they included MUSLIMS, HINDU and SIKHS...when the funeral procession started in the evening it contained no less than twenty thousand people. Children from the orphanage of Anjuman Himayat-i-Islam paid their homage by holding little black flags in their hands and standing silently in a queue on a nearby road. They lowered their flags when the procession passed by. It was not forgotten that the poet had started out as a fundraiser for HOMELESS children thirty-eight years ago.

...His last book, an imaginary travelogue to Madinah in Persian verse was still unpublished. It came out later that year by the title he had given to it, Armughan-i-Hijaz, or The Gift of Hijaz...

...the Prime Minister designate Jawaharlal Nehru called the first session of his parliament on the 14th and let it linger on till midnight when he could greet the awakening of his country with a moving speech. The session did not adjourn until Suchitra Kirplani, who would later become the first woman Chief Minister in an Indian province, had sung Iqbal’s Saray jahan say achha Hindustan hamara (Our India is better than the whole world) alongwith Jana mana gana of the Bengali poet Tagore.

The next morning in Karachi, Jinnah hoisted a green and white flag to start the first day’s work in the state that was officially seen as the brainchild of Iqbal. Here, each successive ruler would feel obliged in one way or another to pledge commitment to the “message of Iqbal.”

The two states fought three wars against each other in less than three decades but Iqbal remained dear to them both. (It is believed that Nehru)...had enjoined upon his daughter (who became prime minister)to always honor the memory of Iqbal.

(Iqbal) had immortalized (Nehru) by mentioning him in his greatest work, Javid Nama.

(Indira Gandhi) initiated a second round of accolades for Iqbal by way of an international conference in New Delhi when Pakistan announced its own centennial of the poet four years later. However, it would be wrong to guess that such appreciation in India was restricted to the Nehru family – Morarji Desai, who wrested power from Indira Gandhi in the meanwhile, took pains to ensure that the conference in New Delhi takes place as planned...

Find this complete page here

People bestowed on Iqbal the title of "Shaere-Mashriq" (Poet of the East!). It may sound strange that Iqbal never considered himself a poet as is evidenced by his correspondence with Syed Sulaiman Nadvi [1885-1953].

"I have never considered myself a poet. Therefore, I am not a rival of anyone, and I do not consider anybody my rival. I have no interest in poetic artistry. But, yes, I have a special goal in mind for whose expression I use the medium of poetry considering the condition and the customs of this country." (translated from the original in Urdu; Maktoobat, Volume I, page195)

Iqbal: A Reference Page on The Republic of Rumi Website here

In honor of a major biographer's of Iqbal's life here

Other Notations such as Quaid-i-Azam's message on Iqbal Day
12:01 AM Posted 9 November 2011 by Khurram Ali Shafique

You Tube video discussion with Khurram Ali Shafique here

Recent International Iqbal Awards include Muhammad Abdul Rahim from Bangladesh on his book in Bengali ‘Iqbalaur Rajnaiti Ki Chintadhara’

Monday, November 7, 2011

Three poems about Waking Up:

Pied Beauty

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

Gerard Manley Hopkins


Break the Mirror

In the morning
After taking cold shower
—–what a mistake—–
I look at the mirror.

There, a funny guy,
Grey hair, white beard, wrinkled skin,
—–what a pity—–
Poor, dirty, old man!
He is not me, absolutely not.

Land and life
Fishing in the ocean
Sleeping in the desert with stars
Building a shelter in the mountains
Farming the ancient way
Singing with coyotes
Singing against nuclear war–
I’ll never be tired of life.
Now I’m seventeen years old,
Very charming young man.

I sit down quietly in lotus position,
Meditating, meditating for nothing.
Suddenly a voice comes to me:
“To stay young,
To save the world,
Break the mirror.”

Nanao Sakaki


Song Of Dawn

It's dawn, -
open the door,
wake up, Khukumoni!
The jasmine flowers
from their vines
are calling you to come running,
wake up, Khukumoni!
Uncle Sun
is crawling out
all dressed in a crimson shirt,
listen - the gatekeeper
is singing
his song, 'Rama hoi.'
The birds
are leaving their nests
to fly in the sky,
listen to them
singing continuously,
filling the morning air!
The restless
Bulbul birds
whistle from flower to flower,
this time,
this time,
Khukumoni will open her eyes!
Setting the rudder,
hoisting the sail,
the boat begins its journey,
this time,
this time,
Khukumoni has opened her eyes!
she's not-
she's an early-riser,
that's why
Brother Moon
gives a teep everyday for her!
and running-
all the little boys and girls,
listen to them
about who woke up first!
wash up
wake up, Khukumoni!
With a hymn
let's begin
asking for a blessing from God!

Kazi Nazrul Islam

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gaza-Bound Flotilla Again...

EXCLUSIVE: Video Report from Gaza-Bound Flotilla …13 hours ago

Nov 03, 2011 · Democracy Now! correspondent Jihan Hafiz filed this video report from the Tahrir boat from international waters and joined us live on the telephone …

Reporter for Democracy Now!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No More Crusades - By Tom Hayden

Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares *

Somehow I missed seeing the following 2007 article until just now - as the war in Iraq launched by the US is purportedly ended and as debris from the Japan Tsunami is said to be potentially landing on the West Coast October 25, 2011

Whether or not we are anymore allowed isolation is an irrelevant question.
What is begging an answer from us each and all is this:

Just what/how/when and in which manner are we Each and All going to make ourselves an instrument of our mutual worldwide suffering?

blogger here, Connie

Tom Hayden was described above the following item , posted at Huff Post: Former state senator and leader of Sixties peace, justice and environmental movements

Excerpts from speech I (Tom Hayden) gave to "Progressive Christians Uniting"

It's good to see 500 progressive Christians becoming organized in response to the highjacking of the faith by right-wing Christian networks. The fact that voters turned away the agenda of social and religious conservatives in the Nov 2006 election is a sign of the times. Those in high places who have been attacking progressive Christians like the All-Saints Church hopefully have heard the voice of the people. If not, we must turn up the volume on the voter mandate. That the voters in November heralded the coming of a progressive agenda on Iraq, on fair trade, on energy independence as well as religious tolerance should make you all exceeding glad that this organization exists in this time and place, and I hope that you will tithe yourselves to make your voices heard more clearly.

I have been instructed by your preachers to make only brief remarks, as their example teaches. So let me make these points in addition to thanking you.

First, I hope that my book the "Lost Gospel of the Earth" will be helpful as you rise to the challenge of environmental justice with your Eighth Day Project.

When I chaired the Natural Resources Committee in the California senate, I noticed that the clergy never testified against the destruction of species, forests, clean air and water, the wellsprings of life itself. Even today, the California Fish and Game Code refers to fish and wildlife as "the property of the people" and says they provide a contribution to the state economy. The forest practices law mandates "maximum sustained production of high quality timber products" while limiting any other values to only being "considered".

The environment thus is valued as a utilitarian resource, a giant storehouse of raw materials for the use of humankind. Right-wing Christians like Reagan's former interior secretary James Watt have argued against preservation of the environment in light of the Second Coming. Liberals have argued for environmental stewardship, often citing the "dominion" reference in Genesis as justification.

Well certainly stewardship is to be preferred to pillage. But I want to challenge the stewardship notion that we were placed here, at some distant time in the past, to suddenly become stewards of nature, as if nature was doing badly on its own. The stewardship concept extracts us from, and places us above, the realm of nature. The scriptures place us in this role to underscore our special, sacred status above the lesser world of living things and ecosystems. As stewards, we become the plant managers for the absentee owner. If this preposterous idea was true, we would have been overthrown or fired from our administrative roles for malfeasance and neglect long ago.

The Rev. Martin Luther King wrote in his 1963 letter from a Birmingham jail, in a rebuke to segregation, that all God's children are sacred. I wait the day when an environmental Martin Luther King writes of dying and disregarded species that all God's creation is sacred.

We will never win the argument against pollution and the decline of species by driving our Priuses. This will take a leap of faith, not just technical fixes.

That day is coming but it will take great soul-searching, in theology and practice, for Christianity - and other faith traditions as well - to make the adjustment. I agree with Al Gore who wrote that "when we rise, we will experience an epiphany as we discover that this crisis is not really about politics at all, it is a moral and spiritual challenge."

I am not sure that the theological and institutional adjustment can be made. We are living on borrowed time. But I believe we can rediscover a Lost Gospel of the Earth, an indigenous and mystical sense of the cosmos buried within all our religious traditions as evidence of past religious wars.

It is there in the rainbow covenant between God and earth itself. It is there when Isaiah speaks of the holy mountain and the earth being full of the knowledge of the Lord. It is there in the voice of the Whirlwind lecturing Job. It is there in the Tree of Life in Eden. It comes again in Francis of Assisi praising brother sun, sister moon, and mother earth. It is there in Hildegard of Bingen quoting the Holy Spirit as the breeze that nurtures all things green and makes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.

But our dominant story is upside down, and the challenge is to make it right. Eve is not Adam's rib, but the early goddess made dependent on man; the snake is not the Devil, but the symbol of nature brought low. To truly experience the Lost Gospel, we have to acknowledge those old wars against nature worship and goddess cults, and make a just peace at last with those enemies. We must acknowledge and no longer be threatened by the pagan and goddess spirits within the mystic traditions of Christianity, among those who experienced the Christ as Cosmic, a divine presence in all creation.

Let me say it again. We must ensure that the religious wars of the Old Testament truly are over, and that means recognizing, respecting and reconciling with the visions of former enemies, not perpetuating a triumphalism. Making a just peace with the past may be the only path to a just peace in the future.

All those epic culture wars took place in the deserts and oases between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the place of today's Iraq, the center of the world's mad scramble for oil, and the scene of the greatest environmental injustice, pollution and destruction on earth today. The Christian crusaders in the Pentagon, those like Gen. Jerry Boykin, the under-secretary in charge of intelligence, who boasts of Christianity's superiority over Islam and claims - insanely- to have aerial photographs of Satan himself in the dark clouds above Mogadishu, these are the modern claimants of rada, the Hebrew for "dominion over", ancient Eden, its present Muslim inhabitants and their tempting reservoirs of oil.

An environmentalism that does not speak of Iraq, one that speaks of global warming but not of global suffering, is an environmentalism that seeks only to replace Caesar's chariots with more fuel-efficient models. But if we would follow the path of Jesus today, we must denounce as sinful the Empire being installed in Eden today, a sin that brings us ever closer to the crucifixion not only of Iraq but nature itself.

And so I ask you tonight, in the best spirit of your tradition, to rise up and stop this latest and most lethal chapter of the Crusades.

* a sculpture by Evgeniy Vuchetich, given by the Soviet Union to the United Nations in 1959; photo was taken from UN grounds showing sculpture in front of the East River. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (blogger found photo in Wikipedia under "Swords into Ploughshares"

Friday, October 21, 2011

Palestinian Prisoners Are Not “Unpeople”

They Are Children of God

22 Oct 11 by James M. Wall

In a talk at New York City’s Barnard College the night the Hamas-Israeli prisoner exchange was announced, Noam Chomsky anticipated the one-sided media coverage of the exchange.

He charged the media with treating Israeli Jews as people, while dismissing Palestinians as “unpeople”.

Chomsky, who is Jewish, brings credentials to this issue as both an acclaimed linguistic scholar, and a strong advocate of Palestinian human rights.

To illustrate his point at Barnard, Chomsky described a front-page New York Times story, dated October 12, with the headline: “Deal with Hamas Will Free Israeli Held Since 2006

The Israeli, of course, is Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas for five years after he was captured June 25, 2006. Shalit, an Israeli army corporal, was on a patrol along the Israeli-Gaza border when he was captured.

Next to the Times story, Chomsky says, is a picture of four [Israeli] women, who are “kind of agonized over the fate of Gilad Shalit”.

The picture caption reads, he tells his audience, “Friends and supporters of the family of Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit received word of the deal at the family’s protest tent in Jerusalem.”

Chomsky adds:

Well, that’s understandable, actually. I think he should have been released a long time ago. But there’s something missing from this whole story. So, like, there’s no pictures of Palestinian women, and no discussion, in fact, in the story of—what about the Palestinian prisoners being released? Where do they come from?

We finally have pictures of Palestinian men and women released from Israeli prisons, What we do not have are the names of most of them. And we still do not know where most of them “come from”.

The woman in the picture above, shown with a man we must presume is her father, was taken at the Mukataa (headquarters) close by Yasir Arafat’s tomb in Ramallah and adjacent to what was once the headquarters in which Arafat spent his final months.

The photo caption does not explain the meaning of Mukataa for non-Arabic readers. It also does not provide the name of the woman.. The picture, taken by Ilia Yefimovich for Getty Images, is available worldwide, but so far as I have been able to ascertain, it has not appeared in any American media outlet.

Read on here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Christian-Muslim Dialogue reaches out to find mutual respect, understanding

Christian-Muslim Dialogue reaches out to find mutual respect, understanding
20 October 2011 found on Islamophobia 20 October 2011

Lexington, Kentucky

For a dozen years a diverse group of believers has convened monthly to find mutual understanding and respect – for their diverse faiths.

This group, the Christian-Muslim Dialogue, meets monthly to discuss issues between the two faiths. Sometimes the issues revolve around headline news stories, while other times the group simply discusses similarities and differences between the two religions. Though discussions typically focus on relations between Christians and Muslims, the meetings are open to anyone.

“We open it to all faiths. The topics are Christian-Muslim mainly, because we felt that was a needed thing,” said Dr. John Parks, co-founder of the Christian-Muslim Dialogue and member of Masjid Bilal Ibin Rabah mosque on Russell Cave Road.

The group was established more than 12 years ago when Parks and a group of other interested people met casually because they felt a Christian-Muslim dialogue was needed in Lexington. Shortly after their first meeting, they formalized the group, Parks said.

The group began to meet once a month at Hunter Presbyterian Church, where they would listen to both Christian and Muslim guest speakers and hold group discussions.

“We try to identify a topic that is relevant to our traditions that might have interest amongst the participants,” said Ihsan Bagby, participant in the Christian-Muslim dialogue and professor of Islamic Studies at University of Kentucky. “Sometimes we are theological, sometimes we cover headline-news type stuff.”

When it was first established, the group consisted of mainly older Christians and Muslims, Parks said. But in the last few years, the group has tried to reach out more to students.

“Particularly, in the last two years, we’ve put an effort into connecting with the Muslim Student association and UK students,” Parks said. “We’ve encouraged the younger speakers to do the presentations.”

The group also brings in professors, like Bagby, to speak about current issues.

At the group’s meeting on Oct. 22, the discussion is titled “Sharia law: what it is and what it isn’t” in light of current events surrounding Sharia law, which is the legal interpretation of Quran, the Muslim scripture.

“It has become a very contentious issue. In about 20 states there are bills called anti-Sharia bills in the state legislature that would ban Sharia. Usually the rhetoric surrounding these bills are very anti- Muslims,” Bagby said. “From an objective scholarly approach, and from a Muslim approach we want to have a better understanding of Sharia.”

The panel discussion at the meeting will feature Paul Salamanca, a professor at the UK College of Law, Roula Allouch, a Cincinnati attorney and Nabeel Jawahir, a pre-law student who has worked with the Council of American Islamic Relations regarding civil rights.

The goal of the discussion at the group’s meeting is “to put the whole issue of Sharia in perspective, so that people can understand what Sharia is,” Bagby said.

The Christian-Muslim Dialogue will be held Saturday, Oct. 22, at 10 a.m at the Unitarian Universalists Church at 3564 Clays Mill Road instead of Hunter Presbyterian Church due to the football game at Commonwealth Stadium. A potluck lunch will be held following the discussion and attendees are invited to bring a dish to share.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

To Find Our Common Celestial Bond

" Don't look at your form,
however ugly or beautiful.
Look at love and at the aim of your quest. ...
O you whose lips are parched, keep looking for water.
Those parched lips are proof that eventually you will reach the source."

It’s a familiar analogy, but quite accurate, to talk about our relationship with the sacred in the same way we describe a beautiful gemstone. There are many facets to a gem, and depending upon the angle from which we view it, we see light reflected and refracted differently. Several people looking from different angles may report seeing something different, and yet they are all describing the same gem. In the same way, there are many facets to the sacred, and we all see it differently depending upon the “angle” of our culture and experience. And yet there is but one sacred.

There is an old saying that actually comes prior to Walt Whitman (who is often credited with saying it) that “the central urge of every atom is to return to its source.” When you look at the gamut of religions – all of which describe their own versions of the many-faceted gem – the one truth that runs through every one of them is that each of us is called to discover our true essence – our connection with the Divine.

That discovery is the whole of the spiritual journey, no matter what the religious path or discipline may be. And the beauty that is inherent in all of these individual religions is that they each provide an opportunity for individuals to discover the truth of themselves through their particular tradition.

It’s essential for us to realize that in spite of all the differences that seem to exist between us as individuals – color, race, creed, religious background – we all have a need within us that almost never leaves us alone – an almost incessant sense that something vital is missing from our life.

According to each different culture and tradition, that which is vital is named differently. Individuals pursue what has been named, hoping that somehow it will put an end to the sense that something is missing.

But when people get caught up in the particulars of their own religion, they often lose sight of the fact that the vital thing that seems to be missing is already within them, it has always been within them, and the same vital element that is within them lives within every human being on this planet.

To find it in myself is to see it in everyone else. And if I can see it in myself and in everyone else, I can’t be in conflict with others anymore. I can’t judge them. It’s impossible not to be compassionate if I see that I am everyone, and that every one of us is born with the same central need and the longing to fulfill it.

Now, more than ever, it is critical that individuals come to realize this common bond between us. There has probably never been as much conflict in our world, as much individual suffering, and as much global potential for a nightmarish situation, including what is happening to our environment, regardless of its cause. When we look at the planet at this moment, we’re looking at what has come from all that we’ve known, and known to do, from our understanding.

If I can see for a fact that the world that I am in today is not a better place than the one I came into, then inherent in seeing the world as it is, and recognizing that I am the world that I see, comes the understanding that the world cannot possibly change until something in me changes – until I begin seeing in a new way.

And this is where we come back to the unifying principle across religions. All true spiritual writings help individuals see the truth of themselves as they are. When we see the truth, in the very seeing of it an action is mandated. We must stop blaming others and start working to change ourselves so that we can experience personal fulfillment while also making the world a better place.

We must realize that every other human being, regardless of the surface differences, is after the same thing we are. We are all here to find the sacred, and it’s a difficult journey for every one of us. That understanding can lead to compassion, peace, and a world where we work together, instead of tearing ourselves apart.

Excerpted from The Seeker, The Search, The Sacred: Journey to the Greatness Within by Guy Finley. Published by Weiser Books.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

GUANTÁNAMO AT HOME: An evening with the families of US 'terror suspects'

Danny Glover, Gareth Peirce, Kathleen Chalfant, Wallace Shawn, and Deborah Eisenberg host an evening focused on the human rights crisis in the US' federal justice system with firsthand accounts from the families of US terror suspects.

As the tenth anniversary of September 11th is commemorated across the country, most public attention to the civil liberties and human rights abuses of the US ‘War on Terror’ still focuses overseas – to the abuses at Guantánamo, Bagram, and CIA rendition sites.

Renowned human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, along with stage and screen actors Danny Glover, Wallace Shawn, and Kathleen Chalfant, and 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award winner Deborah Eisenberg will co-host an evening focused on the stories of families whose loved ones are suffering rights abuses in terrorism cases being prosecuted within the American federal judicial system.

Family members will tell their own stories of the human and civil rights violations here in US courts and prisons – stories of the inhumane conditions of confinement terror suspects face pre-trial and post-conviction; of over-reaching material support charges often accompanied by flimsy evidence; of years of intrusive and often illegal government surveillance; of FBI informants disrupting mosques and instigating conspiracies.

Featured speakers will include family members of the Newburgh Four, Fahad Hashmi, Lynne Stewart, the Holy Land Five, Tarek Mehanna, the Fort Dix Five, Ahmed Abu-Ali, and Shifa Sadequee among others.

Co-sponsored by The Center for Constitutional Rights; The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, The Graduate Center, CUNY; The Center for Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY; Theaters Against War; and Educators for Civil Liberties, with support from The North Star Fund.

Friday, October 14 · 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Proshansky Auditorium, CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street)
New York, New York 10016

or GO to fb (you don't need to be a fb member to just read the info) Facebook page: here

Abdul Sattar Edhi

Go here

Count for Hunger Victims!

Keep in touch with and Sign up to help comfort the hungry GO here and do more...which comes from your own spirit of Love...

Plz Comment and Share your own ideas and Actions...

Peace Groups NOT giving up....recent reports

Reports and Stay connected with recent delegation in Kabul. Non-Violent Peacemakers
Christian Peace-Maker Teacm

10 Years After: Welcome to the Failed State of Americastan
by Johnny Barber
October 4, 2011

As we step off the Turkish Air flight and walk across the dusty tarmac to the terminal, we are greeted by a large billboard. In big bold English it proclaims, “Welcome to the Home of the Brave.” It stops me in my tracks. I shake my head, thinking, “damn weird” and continue in to passport control. After waiting in a short line, I present my American passport to the guard in the booth. He doesn’t acknowledge me. He flips through the shiny new pages until he gets to the visa. He stamps it. He turns to the picture. He gives me a precursory glance and hands the passport back to me. I turn and enter Afghanistan.

I have come here with two friends from Voices for Creative Non-Violence, forming a small delegation interested in developing relationships with ordinary Afghans and gathering stories of everyday life since the American invasion in 2001. After collecting our luggage and taking a short bus ride to the parking area, Hakim, Mohammed Jan, and his brother Noor greet us warmly. Hakim and Mohammed Jan are our hosts and the organizing force of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.

Read the rest of the report

Stop the Machine: Create a New World!

October 2011 will mark the start of the 11th year of the invasion of Afghanistan and the onset of the 2012 US federal budget, which provides unlimited funds for war and corporate welfare, yet withholds essential funds for services that meet human needs.

Starting on October 6, 2011, thousands of concerned Americans will assemble in Freedom Plaza, in Washington DC to take control of our country and our lives. We will occupy the plaza and hold a People's Assembly where we come up with just and sustainable solutions to the crises we face and demand that these solutions be presented and that the people's needs be addressed. We will plan and engage in creative acts of civil resistance and demand that our inherent rights and freedoms be protected, and that our children have a chance to live in peace,to breathe clean air, and to grow edible natural food.

Will you stand with us and denounce the systems and institutions that support endless war and unrestrained corporate greed ?

Connect with a U.S. "Tahrir Square" demonstration at


After a little "catch-up work" you will find newer items here either as updates to older posts or as comments. Plz add your own comments to encourage more international dialogue.

Thanx for coming by.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Jewish High Holidays Reflection 2011


The Coalition for Peace with Justice would like to express its deep gratitude for its friends and supporters who have worked, advocated and donated toward a just peace in Palestine-Israel.


A Personal Reflection on the Jewish High Holidays

by Maggid Rachel Galper

For many Jews, the High Holidays is the time of year we celebrate Creation and the sweetness of the New Year. It is also the time we rededicate ourselves to being Holy vessels by doing teshuvah - turning toward God. We do this by calling out to the Holy One with the Shofar (ram's horn), casting all that separates us from God (our "sins") into the waters during Tashlich, performing mikveh (ritual immersion) in living waters, and doing our best to repair the harm we have caused in the world through prayer, fasting, self-examination, and making amends. We renew our commitment to live and love with a willing spirit, a full heart, and a clear mind. Only then can we be sealed in the Book of Life for another year.

On Yom Kippur (The Day of At-One-Ment), we study the story of Jonah to remind us of the ways in which we, like him, are reluctant prophets trying to avoid our sacred responsibility to care for one another. This responsibility is clearly stated in Isaiah 57-58. Here God tells us to unlock the fetters of wickedness, let the oppressed go free, share our bread with the hungry, take the suffering into our homes and hearts, clothe the naked, and to pay attention to other beings (our kin). "This is the fast I desire!" God tells us. And we are told that if we do this Holy work, we will bring healing, light, and compassion to a dark and troubled world.

In Deuteronomy 30:14, we are reminded that God's teachings are never far away; they are within us, accessible and available. In verses 19-20, God tells us, "I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life- if you and your offspring would live...." So why, with such clear and loving instruction and guidance, is it so hard for us to choose life? Why must we set aside time and space to repent and return to God, ourselves and each other year after year?

Let me tell you a story....

Several days ago, I drove up to the mountains with a friend. It was raining, and everything was blanketed with mist. We visited the plants and trees as we always do, weeding where needed, picking tomatoes and peppers, enjoying the smells of rosemary, lavender, and basil. I noticed that on many of the plants, there were intricately woven spiders webs, laced with countless drops of rain glistening like precious gems along their many strands. I was awed by the beauty of God's creation. But at the same time, I realized that the spiders were constantly building and rebuilding their webbed homes to survive and trap their prey. The earth, my Torah, was showing me that what is beautiful and purposeful entangles and takes life. She was also teaching me that the webs we weave must constantly be made and remade.

I believe this is the blessing and the curse God speaks to us of in Deuteronomy. Thousands of years ago my ancestors stood on two separate mountains, six tribes on each, to shout amen to each of the blessings and curses recited by the Priests and Priestesses in the valley between them- the place of balance and clear seeing. They shouted acknowledgement to show God that they were choosing to live life with full understanding of the consequences for their actions.

During the High Holidays, I accept the same challenge offered my ancestors: to choose life by accepting the blessings and the curses and dwelling in the valley between them. It is a time of being humble and raw before my Maker, and releasing all that does not serve. For me, this means many things. It means accepting Divine guidance and becoming a clear vessel for God's will. It means combating despair. It means pursuing justice and speaking out when it is not being done. It means being compassionate and open to the Divine in everyone I meet- without exceptions. It means confronting bigotry and fundamentalism within and without. It means challenging oppression. And it means weaving a web without becoming entangled in it.

But if the High Holidays were the only time I had in which to do this deep inner searching and cleansing, I would be utterly lost. Fortunately, my tradition gives me opportunities every day and night to do teshuvah, turning toward God, by choosing to be in deep connection with the Holy. Herein lies the core of God's teachings for me: The world I seek to create is not baffling or beyond my reach. It is here and now- already within me, within us, within each moment, within each droplet, strand, and web, within every prayer, and within every amen.

May each and every day be our day for choosing life.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Chaplain speaks on racism toward Muslims after 9/11

Student Newspaper - The Daily Orange > News

Chaplain speaks on racism toward Muslims after 9/11
By Hailey Temple

Contributing Writer

Published: Monday, September 26, 2011

Updated: Monday, September 26, 2011 01:09

Earlier this month, Syracuse University students and Americans across the nation recognized the loss of thousands of lives from the terrorist attacks on 9/11 ten years later.

For former U.S. Army Chaplain James "Yusuf" Yee, the 10-year anniversary marked not only a tragedy for the nation, but the revival of the American ideology called Islamophobia, or the sense of fear and hostility toward Muslims that leads to discrimination and racial profiling.

Yee spoke at the Life Sciences Complex on Thursday to a packed lecture hall after being invited by SU's Muslim Students' Association.

When Yee served as a chaplain to Muslims at Guantanamo Bay's Camp Delta in late 2002 into 2003, he said his purpose at the terrorist prison was two-fold: to be a religious adviser to the camp's command and to serve as a chaplain to both American Muslims and Muslim prisoners.

During his 12-month term at Guantanamo Bay, Yee saw firsthand the type of neglect and exploitation Muslim prisoners received from American counterparts.

"I saw religion being used as a weapon," Yee said. "Military guards would intentionally abuse the Quran in order to try and pressure these individuals in Guantanamo to give up some type of information, intelligence if they might have it."

"They wanted to try and break these individuals from their core belief as Muslims," he added.

Despite earning military recognition and high rankings for his religious efforts at Guantanamo Bay, Yee said he became a victim of Islamophobia in 2003 as he was traveling home to visit his wife and child in Seattle before finishing his term at Camp Delta.

While at a stop at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Yee said he was swarmed by security and intelligence officers, interrogated and secretly arrested and accused for taking classified documents from Guantanamo Bay.

Yee spent 76 days at the Naval Consolidated Brig, a maximum-security prison for American enemy combatants.

"There were stories swirling around in the media that I was this ‘terrorist spy,' that I was working for al-Qaeda and the Taliban as a spy for the prisoners," Yee said.

As a military prisoner, Yee said he experienced the same neglect he saw other Muslim prisoners endure. Much like those prisoners, Yee was shackled "at the wrists, at the waist, at the ankles, in a suit of chains."

Once Yee's name was cleared of these allegations, he was released and reinstated as a military chaplain. He resigned and was honorably discharged from the military in 2003.

Although Yee is no longer a military member, the exploitation he witnessed and experienced as a Muslim continues to be a part of American society, he said.

Despite promises that Guantanamo Bay would close following President Barack Obama's election, the prisons are open and continue to house Muslims that are arrested and accused of terrorist acts.

Yee said he was enthusiastic about Obama's campaign "because he had the strongest position on Guantanamo and taking care of this human rights situation, but it has yet to be done." Now, Yee said he is very disappointed in how Obama has handled the Guantanamo situation.

Yee also described how Islamophobia has taken many forms in American government. After a prominent imam was invited to give the opening invocation for a state legislature, a state representative left the meeting.

"The guy walked out because he said ‘Mohammed is not my God,'" said Yee, followed by a few chuckles from the audience. "Well, Mohammed is not our God either … and this shows the ignorance, the lack of knowledge even our elected officials have about Islam."

Despite the profiling Muslims have received since Sept. 11, Yee and other Muslims remain optimistic about the status of Islam religion in American society.

One way that Yee described as a means of eliminating Islamophobia is by sharing the ‘Muslim narrative,' or as Yee said, by sharing stories of Muslims who also lost their lives on 9/11. Yee said Muslims need to be proactive in the media and share the stories.

Ismail Pathan, vice president of SU's Muslim Students' Association and junior finance major, also said he feels that this message needs to be heard.

"Many people often don't understand that Muslims are Americans, too, and any act against America is an act that is against them, too," Pathan said.

Pathan said this is a time when Muslim Americans need to talk about their experiences, and Yee did that.

For Mushaf Haque, a freshman communications and rhetorical studies major, improving the image of Muslims in America starts at a personal level.

"I am a big believer in leading by example," Haque said. "If my actions portray a positive image of Muslim peoples' lives, then that is my main goal."

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

ALLAH: A Christian Response (Three Reviews)

Miroslav Volf (Author)

Frequently bought together with A Common Word: Muslims and Christians on Loving God and Neighbor by Miroslav Volf

Recent disputes like the "ground zero" mosque controversy have their roots in historical conflicts, according to Yale professor and author Volf (Exclusion and Embrace). The author, who grew up in what was then Yugoslavia, explains that Christians' ability to live in community with Muslims depends on their answer to one question: is the God of the Qur'an the same as the God of the Bible?

With a conversational tone and the backing of both sacred texts, the author argues that while beliefs about God may differ, the object of worship for both religions is the same (or at least the objects are "sufficiently similar"). Such "claims are spicy," but come after careful consideration. Volf provides a thorough examination of theology to show the complexity of what seems a simple question of terminology.

Perhaps the most stirring and involved debate concerns the comparison of the Christian Trinity to Allah. On such a heated topic, readers will appreciate Volf's sense of humor and optimism. Though the text may not convince those who fear religious pluralism, his timely call for Christian love toward Muslims should at least lead to further dialogue, if not increased social cooperation. This is an important book.

Product Description
Three and a half billion people—the majority of the world’s population—profess Christianity or Islam. Renowned scholar Miroslav Volf’s controversial proposal is that Muslims and Christians do worship the same God—the only God. As Volf reveals, warriors in the “clash of civilizations” have used “religions”—each with its own god and worn as a badge of identity—to divide and oppose, failing to recognize the one God whom Muslims and Christians understand in partly different ways.

Writing from a Christian perspective, and in dialogue with leading Muslim scholars and leaders from around the world, Volf reveals surprising points of intersection and overlap between these two faith traditions:

• What the Qur’an denies about God as the Holy Trinity has been denied by every great teacher of the church in the past and ought to be denied by Christians today.

• A person can be both a practicing Muslim and 100 percent Christian without denying core convictions of belief and practice.

• How two faiths, worshipping the same God, can work toward the common good under a single government.

Volf explains the hidden agendas behind today’s news stories as he thoughtfully considers the words of religious leaders and parses the crucial passages from the Bible and the Qur’an that continue to ignite passion. Allah offers a constructive way forward by reversing the “our God vs. their God” premise that destroys bridges between neighbors and nations, magnifies fears, and creates strife.

The most surprising part of the book was his analysis of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity in the light of Islamic monotheism. By his accounting, and he relies on traditional orthodox accounts of the Trinity, the affirmations and denials that make up the doctrine are well in line with Muslim teachings on the nature of God. Particularly interesting was his use of Nicholas of Cusa, a Christian theologian and philosopher who wrote eirenically toward Islam in the medieval era.

If you are looking for a thoroughly biblical and deeply Christian rationale for engagement with Muslims, you need to consider this book and its arguments. Volf's style is clear and accessible, with plenty of scholarly substance, yet written in a way accessible to non-scholars. Volf brings in the masterful argument set forth by theologian Nicholas of Cusa (1401 - 1464) and that of Reformer Martin Luther. Volf gave a good summary of the explanation of Nicholas of Cusa of the Trinity to the Muslim so that there is "no dispute between Christians and Muslim about God's unity" (51). One part of his explanation is that "[n]umbers are for creatures. God is not a creature. Therefore God is beyond number - beyond the number one as much as beyond the number three" (52). It must be noted that Nicholas of Cusa came up with this ingenious explanation of the Trinity after the fall and rape of Constantinople in 1453 by the Muslim armies of Sultan Mehmed II and the Christians were trying to sue for peace.

A Timely and Important Work by a Thoughtful and Loving Scholar, April 20, 2011
By Daniel A. Walter "Steelyeye" (Midland, TX USA):

In Allah, Miroslav Volf tackles the controversial question, "Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?" Volf points out that it is only since 9/11 and the emergence of Muslim terrorist groups into the forefront that Christians have begun to ask this question. The book is a timely and carefully written argument from the point of view of a Christian theologian to fellow Christians (with Muslims as an intended and important secondary audience) that demonstrates that indeed the God of the Qur'an and the God of the Bible share sufficient similarities to be deemed the same.

Volf opens the debate by briefly touching on the modern issues contrasting the opposition's viewpoint, exemplified by Pat Robertson, who believe that Allah is a different God from that of Christians, with that of his own. In the wake of the violent reactions throughout the Muslim world to the Danish cartoons that satirically portrayed Muhammad in 2006 and the peacemaking overture of the Islamic scholars who issued the "Common Word" document in 2007, knowing whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God is critical to achieving peace and combatting extremism. Volf does not address the issue of salvation. His stated goal is to lay the theological foundation for peaceful Muslim-Christian relations.

Volf examines the record of Muslim-Christian relations for precedents. His first is Nicholas of Cusa was a cardinal during the sack of Constantinople by Ottoman armies. His recommendation to the pope to arrange an interfaith conference rather than a new crusade was based on his conviction that Christians and Muslims worship the same God with different names and in different ways. His second example is from a century later when the Ottoman armies had invaded Hungary. Martin Luther described Muslims using the same fiery rhetoric as he did for all his opponents. For Luther the Muslims didn't worship a separate God, but like Catholics, Jews, and heretical groups, they did not rightly know the one true God, while acknowledging significant overlaps between the Christian and Muslim understanding of God.

Then Volf returns to the book's central question. He suggests that no two people have the exact same belief in God, even if they share a common faith, so he proposes that the God of Christians and Muslims can be said to be the same if they show sufficient similarity. Volf examines portions of the Qur'an, the Hadith, and the Bible and compares beliefs for normative Muslims and Christians: God is One, God is the Creator, God is transcends creation, and God is good. Also God commands that people love Him and love their neighbor. The key here is "normative." Volf sets aside extremist positions for the moment. Then, he examines the practices of Muslims and Christians. Stated beliefs are one thing. What person practices reflects what he truly believes. He concludes that to the extent that Muslims and Christians hold to the normative beliefs of their religion and practice the commandments to love God and love others, they do worship the same God. Muslims may worship God deficiently since they do not know God as revealed through Jesus Christ, but Volf is not examining the question of salvation.

Volf then examines some of the key differences between the Muslim and Christian conception of God. He clears up many of the misconceptions held by Muslims about the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and paints a picture of the Triune God to highlight another important difference, the nature of God's love. Though in both religions, God commands his followers to love, only in Christianity does God ask believers to love their enemies. The difference comes from the quality of divine love. For Muslims, God's self-love is the source of all human love. For Christians, the inter-personal love of the Trinity is the source. God's love is self-giving rather than self-directed. God does not love what is pleasing to Him, rather God loves and so transforms what is displeasing to Him to what pleases Him. These differences do not indicate that Muslims and Christians worship a different God, but are the basis for fascinating and rigorous debate about the nature of the one true God.

One of the most important points in Volf's argument is the inclusive nature of monotheism. Any attempt the confine God to a marker of identity (his example: the Christian Serbs) effectively reduces God to tribal deity. A community must instead align its own aspirations with God's character and demands. Both Muslims and Christians claim to worship the one God, but both communities often fall prey to having God align with their own narrow viewpoints. Since God does underly the ultimate values of both, this is a foundation for unity and peace.

Volf believes that unity and peace can be shared by Muslims and Christians who maintain an exclusivist religious worldview. Volf does not suggest that Christianity is the same as Islam, just because both adherents worship the same God. Nor must either group surrender the truth claims of their respective religions. Muslims and Christians do not need to settle for relativism. They can disagree with one another on important religious beliefs such as the nature of salvation, while remaining committed to treating one another with dignity and fighting for the common good of all. The foundation for this "political pluralism" for "religious exclusivists" is in the shared belief that the two most important commands are to love God and love one's neighbor. Additionally, a commitment to justice precludes treating the other as second-class citizen. Thus, Volf also has critics of religion, such as the new atheists, in is sights. Monotheism is the basis for a just and ethical, peaceful society, committed to political pluralism. In his words, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of political wisdom in a multi-religious state" (241).

Volf concludes his work by giving ten ways the arguments of his book can be used by Christians, primarily, but also by Muslims to combat religious extremism, including terrorism. The book thus achieves its practical purpose of promoting peace and the common good of Muslims and Christians in society. I highly recommend this book to any Christian (or Muslim!) involved in interfaith dialogue, religious ministry, or mission work. While I don't agree with every point that Volf makes, his writing is very clear, logical, and easy to read. His arguments are well constructed, with a good balance of reason and revelation, with modern and historical examples. Though some of the topics are challenging theologically, it should not be difficult to follow for the layperson. There is a lot of material worth debating and discussing in Christian, Muslim, or interfaith groups.

Look Inside at

Product Details
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperOne (February 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061927074
ISBN-13: 978-0061927072
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)