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Yom al-Quds: Rally in Washington DC followed by Imam al-‘Asi’s Superb Khutba

September 3, 2010

Palestinian flags, photos of Israeli atrocities, placards denouncing Zionism brought the message of Islam to Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle. It was an impressive gathering with powerful speakers. Here one got a glimpse of authentic Islam in America which the media work so hard to conceal by publicizing puppet groups.

Large numbers of Islamic women in full hijab participated. Some of them have consistently expressed their faith through words and actions for decades, among them Sis. Muneera and Sis. Safiya.

The quality of speeches was really good, the most memorable of them coming from Charles Carlson [from Colorado], Imam Nahidian [from Manassas, Virginia] and al-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan [Silver Spring, Maryland]. A number of very young activists too spoke well.

From Dupont Circle, the crowd marched to the Islamic Center on Massachusetts Avenue where Imam Muhammad al-‘Asi leads the prayers on the pavement OUTSIDE the mosque. It was hot and humid with no shade but Imam al-‘Asi’s khutba was among the best I have heard in my 35 years of Islamic work in America. He is one of the very few imams in America who have not sold out to the US power structure.

Main points:

Imam Muhammad al-‘Asi taught from the Qur’an as no one else in America can. He highlighted the racist, genetic concepts of Israel as highlighted in the Qur’an and the rise, the arrogance and the fall of Jewish power. He admonished the Muslim Ummah for marginalizing the central issue of Palestine. With Palestine under occupation, colonialism continues to flourish in the Muslim heartland. His analysis of SHIRK, the only unforgivable sin in Islam, is that by cooperating with and by assimilating into the contexts and framework of Zionism and Imperialism, Muslims are committing SHIRK [associating others with the power of Allah].

Imam Nahidian lamented the plan of a rogue church group in Florida to burn the Qur’an on the anniversary of the 9.11 attacks. The church has not realized that the Qur’an considers holy both Jesus and Moses, peace be on them, and teaches the truth they brought. By burning the Qur’an, the rogue church will be desecrating Jesus and Moses as well.

Charles Carlson provided a devastating analysis of Christian Zionism and the attempts to use the Bible to justify support for Israel. His eyewitness account of his visit to Gaza should help the followers of Jesus, pbuh, to understand how they have been supporting a power which is the enemy of Jesus, pbuh. Mr. Carlson’s DVD on Christian Zionism was distributed after Juma’. It should be viewed by all readers of New Trend and gifted to neighborhood churches.

El-Hajj Mauri Saalakhan in his speech on Palestine included a poignant account of the suffering of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in US prisons. This highly educated Pakistani woman, graduated from the best American schools, was kidnapped by US special forces and is said to have been tortured and humiliated in US prisons, Br. Saalakhan said. The court is preparing to sentence her for “terrorism” on September 23. [He spoke so well about Dr. Aafia that I personally congratulated him after the rally.]

Kaukab Siddique: [I was not listed as a speaker and I was not sure I would make it to the rally but once there, I decided to speak as a gesture of support for the gathering.] My main points:

1. Zionism is racism, genocide and terrorism.

2. US Muslims must unite against Zionism regardless of differences on other issues.

3. A Zionist is one who considers Israel a legitimate entity. In that sense, we have Muslim Zionists who should be exposed and discredited,

4. Once Muslims unite, Israel can be dismantled even by peaceful means. We will send the Jews back to where they came from. Like Salahuddin Ayyubi, we might even give them funds to go back.

5. President Obama’s silence on Israeli genocide in Gaza and the Turkish flotilla is ominous. He was disturbed by the death of 4 Israeli settlers yesterday but not by the massacre of Palestinian children.

6. We Muslims must go back to the unity against oppressors which Imam Khomeini wanted to bring about. He wanted us to forget about sects, nationalities and race and instead focus on Islam. We better remember his advice and stop fighting each other.

7. Boycott all businesses which support or fund Israel.

[It was a beautiful gathering but I was turned off by the conspiracy theories about 9.11 which some speakers insisted on presenting.]

A Meeting with Charles Carlson

On September 2, 2010. New Trend’s representatives interviewed Mr. Carlson in Baltimore for two hours. Sis. Abigail conversed with him about the New Testament and the authentic teachings of Jesus, peace be on him.

For years Mr. Carlson has striven to teach Christians that war is not the path they were shown. He is particularly concerned that some pastors and mega churches are supporting Israel to the extent of preparing Americans to support Israeli aggression against Gaza and Lebanon. Mr. Carlson physically went to a series of mega churches to teach them the message of peace. He was not permitted to speak but he would not give up and stood outside the churches to protest against pro-Israeli propaganda.

Mr. Carlson showed Sis. Abigail the Schofield bible in which commentary had been strategically placed to give biblical texts a pro-Israeli slant. Most of the comments scattered throughout the Schofield bible are quite mundane, in fact boring. Hence, the lay reader would find the pro-Israeli comments as if they are regular parts of the bible promising Palestine to the Jews.

Readers might remember Mr. Carlson’s critique of the atrocity stories which were meant to defame Sudan. Since then he has developed his critique of Christian Zionism. He personally went to Gaza and witnessed the daily long distance Israeli rocket attacks and bombings meant to terrorize the entire population.

A very humble man, soft spoken, one only gradually finds the depth of his moral vision. Perhaps this is what the followers of Jesus, pbuh, are supposed to be like. New Trend can send you Mr. Carlson’s DVD on Christian Zionism.

Check out his web site: www.whtt.org

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Report: Quds Day in the Nation’s Capital

September 18, 2009

Washington DC –A diverse group of protestors gathered on Embassy Row at the approximate midway point between the White House and the Israeli embassy.  As the noon-sun reached its zenith, Muslims and non Muslims, mothers and young children, students and grandparents approached the Circle wearing their khefayahs, and holding their flags or hand-made signs. The event began with the group recitation of surah al-Fatihah, the most commonly recited prayer by Muslims, asking Allah to guide them to the path of those who please Allah, not those who incur His wrath and displeasure. The moderator then introduced the theme of Quds Day and its origins. Thirty years ago Imam Khomeini called for the establishment of Quds Day on last Friday of the month of Ramadhan.  The month of Ramadhan is a time of spiritual improvement for the individual as well as the community.  Echoing this month-long improvement, Quds Day is another step in improving our connections with rest of the world-wide community and our connection to the Creator’s command to stand with the oppressed against the oppressors.  The word “Quds” is Arabic for “the holy place” and is the Arabic name for Jerusalem and the surrounding lands.  Quds Day is an opportunity for participants to proclaim support for a Holy Land free from the oppression and injustice wrought by Zionism.   It’s a day to reinvigorate our support for our brothers and sisters who are struggling to live in dignity.

Diverse Speakers

With this short explanation of the origins and purpose of Quds Day the first speaker was introduced and his organization was invited to speak.  A group of orthodox rabbis representing Neturei Karta International had travelled from New York to join the rally.  Neturei Karta is an orthodox Jewish group founded in Jerusalem in response-to and rejection-of Zionism at the turn of the 19th century.  Rabbi Yisoroel Dovid Weiss, standing in front of Palestinian flags and signs that read “Gaza=Auschwitz”, began by establishing that from a Jewish perspective rooted in the Torah, the entire existence of Israel is illegal, and that the Zionist ideology that led to its creation is also the “root cause of every drop of blood in Palestine.” Such startling words coming from a firmly Jewish presence based in New Jersey shatter the “anti-Semite” rhetoric that is the innate response of many uneducated and often bigoted Israel-supporters. Rabbi Weiss stated that Jews were commanded by their Lord to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors, and that contrary to the Zionist dogma, were forbidden by their Lord to come out of their status of being exiled from the Holy Land as a people.

The creation of the State of Israel, he mentioned, marks the Zionist attempt to transform Judaism from a spiritual religion to a political and nationalistic one. As an aftermath, this effort has “slaughtered Jewish spirituality,” and has led to the uprooting of the souls of Jews from their Lord.  He pointed out that Zionism has absolutely zero Jewish theological foundations.  The founders of the modern Zionist movement, leaders like Theodor Herzl and Ze’ev Jabotinsky were openly hostile to the Jewish religion and heaped ridicule upon observant Jews.  Rabbi Weiss said these early Zionists were able to achieve support because they were willing to “kidnap the Jewish name” and use “the Torah as a deed to the land” without actually respecting the laws of the religion. In the meantime, they have gotten away with this behavior by creating a smoke screen and conning people to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is based on religious differences between Muslims and Jews, and not the politics of oppression and usurpation of resources.  Rabbi Weiss mentioned that the Zionists aggressively go after anyone, including Jews, through “ridicule, attacks, and intimidation.” Rabbi Weiss urged the audience to recognize and resist the Zionist agenda, denounce this massive error in modern history, and pray for peace which can only come from God.

After a commemoration of the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla (since the 27th anniversary fell two days prior), and poetry by spoken word artist Ebrahim Mohseni, the event continued with words from Reverend Graylan Haglar, a senior minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in DC. With a prophetic presence and a history of activism that reaches back to working against the apartheid regime in South Africa, the reverend had some very pragmatic advice for activists. For one thing, he noted that a difficult aspect of this struggle is that it is a “protracted one,” but this also means that it “has to be a creative one.” He offered his own experience in struggling against the apartheid regime of South Africa in Boston.  He recounted the story of how he, along with other anti-apartheid activists, were calling for Harvard to divest from apartheid South Africa and how these calls were being ignored.  So the activists paid a visit to the law firm that handled Harvard’s entire investment portfolio.  They went into the offices and took it over, occupying it all day, refusing to leave or to allow the firm to conduct its business since it had relations with South Africa. The activists wanted to prove to the corporate world that they would “NOT be able to do ‘business-as-usual’” until they decided to “stand for justice and to stand for every soul that is Palestinian.”

This very public, non-violent action brought awareness to their cause, and is a perfect example of the creativity that can be employed. This approach is necessary because, despite the deaths that have occurred on both sides, the playing field between Isrealis and Palestinians is not equal. And so, the reverend urged the crowd to “be with those who are oppressed while justice cannot be served. Until we find that our brothers and sisters in Palestine have a safe, decent, hopeful future we cannot do otherwise except to stand with them.” One example of this inequality and oppression is the security wall, which the reverend said is, “designed for a land grab—to control the water, the movement of people, and that is apartheid, and there’s no other way to cut it.”  As for the settlements, he said: “we have to continue to resist settlements being placed on Palestinian territory—these settlements are against international law, moral law, and the law of God. Stand up and continue the resistance.” The fact that he was able to draw from previous experiences of fighting—and over coming—oppression was an excellent source of inspiration and reminder of the importance of spirituality guiding moral actions.

International ANSWER activist Eugene Puryear echoed this sentiment of hope within a seemingly bleak and discouraging situation, calling for the support of the Palestinian people and their human rights. He was followed by Hajj Mauri Saalakhan, Director of the Peace and Justice Foundation. While he mentioned that Genocide is taking place in various locations today, he made a distinction between the case of the Palestinians and other groups. He said that, “Zionism has an official, in your face…military and material cover,” that most other militaries and regimes do not have, which puts them at a severe advantage. Despite this international leverage, he quoted several American individuals who have come to recognize and speak out against Zionism and its lobbyists in the United States. Among those quoted in his book, The Palestinians Holocaust: American Perspectives are vice president Jimmy Carter and student activist Rachel Corrie.

Brother Afeef Khan, who serves on the editorial board for Crescent International was the final speaker.  He made another interesting observation that seldom receives coverage or consideration. In addition to the corrupt moral foundations of the state, Israel has attracted other social ills that endanger healthy, wholesome, and peaceful existence of people. Today, the country is “the nexus of the worldwide drug trade, the trafficking of women, worldwide insecurity, arms sales and financial crisis.” These activities, unsupported by any people of faith, have naturally flourished in a state that usurped a Jewish identity for its own material benefit. They are further proof of Rabbi Weiss’s warning that the spirituality of the Jewish people is being slaughtered by Zionism, since no Jew who is loyal to the true teachings of the Torah and the commands of the Creator would be engaging in actions that make the world more harmful and toxic. With this view in mind, the “solution begins with the destruction of the state of Israel,” which would put an end to the negative intentions of the policies of the secular regime.

After the speakers, the organizers of the rally pointed out, as had Reverend Hagler, that Quds Day is not the only day of the year to be conscious of oppression in the Holy Land.  Quds Day is a day to inspire and reinvigorate people for the next 364 days of the year.  With this thought in mind, magnets were handed out to the crowd.  The magnets were provided as a resource for families.  The magnets listed 3 of the largest American companies that offer economic support to the Israeli apartheid economy.  The magnet listed the “sins” of these companies or their CEOs and provided some basic information on the global consumer boycott of Apartheid Israel.  The information was gleaned from the Inminds.co.uk website, a website offer researched information about dozens of companies that support the Israeli Apartheid economy.

Finally the rally participants endorsed four resolutions.  The crowd then marched and chanted several blocks to a jummah prayer in front of the Washington DC Islamic Center.  Imam Muhammad al-Asi continued with the theme of Quds Day with hiskhutbah.

The overall effect of the speakers was tremendous: religious leaders from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities, as well as human rights activists covered various reasons why a Zionist Israel is as unacceptable as an Apartheid South Africa was.  Wisdom, experience and encouragement were all offered in the struggle to remember and support our brothers and sisters in Palestine.  Aside from this outstanding panel of speakers, there was another source of encouragement and inspiration: the crowd itself. Though small, it was filled with young families—many mothers and children were in attendance, as well as the elderly. Only Allah knows the length of the Palestine-Israel conflict, but the seed for peace through justice is firmly planted in our youngest generation.

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