This year again, as so often in the past, the Ummah has been divided unnecessarily on the dates of Ramadan, primarily by a blatantly nonsensical announcement of moon-sighting by the Saudi government.
At the same time that Muslims are elated at Hizbullah's brilliant victory over Israel's war machine, they are deeply troubled by the mayhem in Iraq. Although much of the trouble is Iraq is foreign-instigated, the Iraqis themselves are not above blame. The two countries offer stunning contrasts in acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and important lessons for the global Islamic movement. In Lebanon, Hizbullah has achieved with a few thousand fighters armed with iman triumphs that have eluded hundreds of thousands of heavily armed Arab soldiers fighting under the banner of nationalism. In Iraq, what seemed to be and opportunity for the Islamic movement has become a disastrous mess.
The annual meetings of the UN General Assembly are sometimes surreal experiences. Formally, the General Assembly is the seniormost element of the UN structure, representing the coming together of the heads of the states that constitute the “international community”. In reality, everyone knows that real power in the UN rests with the five permanent members of the Security Council, and that the General Assembly has little real power, as reflected by the utter ineffectiveness of its routine resolutions condemning Israel for its policies against the Palestinians. Every now and then, however, it becomes the occasion for what appear to be significant political developments that transcend the limitations of the Assembly’s position.
Months of negotiations between Hamas leaders and Fatah leaders on forming a coalition government, which they hope will break the political deadlock in the country and facilitate the lifting of the West's economic boycott, appeared to reach a significant breakthrough on September 11. It was announced that agreement had finally been reached after a series of meetings in Ghazzah between PA (Palestinian Authority) president Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah, and Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader appointed prime minister after Hamas's stunning victory in January's parliamentary elections.
Consider the following: the recent confession by an Israeli general that Israel dropped more than 1.2 million cluster bombs on Lebanon during the recent war; an American columnist saying "Israel is doing the Lord's work"; the head of the American Republican National Committee saying "Today we are all Israelis"; the reinforcement of Euro-American military forces in occupied Afghanistan; the positioning of foreign military forces inside of a ‘sovereign' Lebanon; and the intensifying daily reports of explosions, slaughter, and death squads in American-occupied Iraq. Bearing all this in mind, why do so many in the Islamic movement find it so difficult to understand fundamental truths and realities about our West-dominated situation?
An acrimonious parliamentary and public debate, accompanied by a series of boycotts by several groups of parliamentary sessions, has repeatedly forced Iraq's legislature to postpone discussion of a bill to divide Iraq into autonomous regions.
The issue of Darfur dominated the recent UN summit in New York as it did the other two sessions held on the sidelines by African and Arab leaders gathered there. Because the term of the 7,000-strong African Union force in Darfur was due to end on September 30, the main question was whether to send UN peacekeepers to replace it – as the US and its allies demanded but the Sudanese president rejected – or to extend the term of the AU mission and strengthen it.
It has been generally accepted for some time now that the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) has established firm control over most areas of Somalia – including Mogadishu, the capital, and other leading ports and towns. By contrast the interim government has no presence outside the small and ruined town of Baidoa, 150 miles west of Mogadishu, though it enjoys the support of the UN, the West and neighbouring countries.
Afghanistan is sinking into a black hole, but this is not what the rulers of the West, whose forces are busy killing Afghans, will admit. They continue to talk as if all is well and that the Afghans are happy to be "liberated" by gun-toting foreigners who shoot first and ask questions later, if at all.
On September 18, almost exactly four years after Canadian citizen Maher Arar was arrested at John F Kennedy airport (New York) on September 26, 2002, as he returned from a family vacation in Tunisia, Justice Dennis O'Connor released an 822-page report into his arrest and torture in Syria.
Hizbullah leader Shaikh Hassan Nasrallah has come to symbolise the Islamic movement, thanks to Hizbullah’s resistance against the Israelis. NASR SALEM profiles the Ummah’s latest hero.
I seek God's protection against the cursed Satan; in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate; praise be to Almighty God: blessings and peace be upon our master and prophet, the last of the prophets, Muhammad, upon his good, righteous, infallible family, upon his noble companions; and upon all the prophets and messengers.
On September 19, the opening day of the UN General Assembly session in New York, Iranian president MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD gave a speech that was applauded around the world. Here we reprint the full text of that speech.