Saturday, January 26, 2008

Jewish Convert To Islam

Monday, January 21, 2008

Obama Sets Record Straight on His Religion: Presidential Candidate Battles Misconception That He's a Muslim

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Barack Obama is stepping up his effort to correct the misconception that he's a Muslim now that the presidential campaign has hit the Bible Belt.

At a rally to kick off a weeklong campaign for the South Carolina primary, Obama tried to set the record straight from an attack circulating widely on the Internet that is designed to play into prejudices against Muslims and fears of terrorism.

"I've been to the same church _ the same Christian church _ for almost 20 years," Obama said, stressing the word Christian and drawing cheers from the faithful in reply. "I was sworn in with my hand on the family Bible. Whenever I'm in the United States Senate, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. So if you get some silly e-mail ... send it back to whoever sent it and tell them this is all crazy. Educate."

Obama is referring to a debunked chain e-mail circulating widely on the Internet that suggests he is hiding his Islamic roots and may be a terrorist in disguise. It says he was sworn into the Senate on the Quran and turns his back on the flag during the pledge.

Some facts, some misstatementsThere are some truths in the e-mail's details. Obama's middle name is Hussein. His father and stepfather were Muslim. And he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, a largely Muslim country. But he attended secular and Catholic schools, not a radical madrassa.

His campaign has been pushing back against the false rumors all year. His aides decried an incorrect news report that Obama was educated in a Muslim madrassa and a section of his Web site is devoted to correct that and other false rumors circulating on the Internet.

But they are stepping up the effort now that the campaign has hit South Carolina and soon turns to other southern states where religion is so important to voters. The campaign distributed an open letter from seven Jewish senators this weekend condemning the attacks; aides are planning an event this week to respond directly to the e-mails; and campaign representatives blanketed South Carolina churches Sunday with literature that touted Obama's Christian faith.

One piece features photos of Obama praying with the words "COMMITTED CHRISTIAN" in large letters across the middle. It says Obama will be a president "guided by his Christian faith" and includes a quote from him saying, "I believe in the power of prayer."

A second piece, which like the first doesn't mention the Muslim rumor, includes photos of Obama with his family and a caption that says they are active members of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. It explains how as a young man Obama "felt a beckoning of the spirit and accepted Jesus Christ into his life."

Fighting against ClintonsObama says he's going to fight harder against other mischaracterizations about his positions that he says are being perpetrated by rival Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, the former president.

"When I see Senator Clinton, President Clinton distort my words ... that is not a way to move the debate forward, that is not a way to help the American people," Obama said during his rally at the Columbia Convention Center. "I am not running for president just to become president, I'm running to help the American people. I'm not willing to say or do anything just to win an election."

The Clinton campaign suggested the former president would continue pointing out what it says are inconsistencies in Obama's record.

"President Clinton is a huge asset to our campaign and will continue talking to the American people to press the case for Senator Clinton," said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer.

Obama adviser Steve Hildebrand said the campaign has organized "truth squads" made up of South Carolina supporters ready to defend Obama's record from any attacks made by the Clintons this week.

In an interview broadcast Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Obama said the former president "has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling" by making statements that are not supported by the facts.

"This has become a habit, and one of the things that we're going to have to do is to directly confront Bill Clinton when he's making statements that are not factually accurate," Obama said.
The Clinton campaign responded to Obama's interview with ABC by posting a fact check on a campaign Web site in an effort to bolster Bill Clinton's arguments against Obama.

"We understand Senator Obama is frustrated by his loss in Nevada, but facts are facts," Singer said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Obama and the Latino Vote in the NY Times

I found this interesting article over at Abdul Halim's blog Planet Grenada.

Obama and the Latino Vote in the NY Times

(Baseball star David Ortiz, aka "Big Papi," just one of the millions of Afro-Latinos ignored - again - by the New York Times)

There are many things to admire about the New York Times. A complex and nuanced understanding of the vast diversity of Latino America is not among those things.

In a story on page A1 of the Times yesterday, reporters Adam Nagourney and Jennifer Steinhauer stated that Latinos are not going to support Senator Barack Obama in his bid for the White House because, “in Obama’s pursuit of Latinos, race plays a role.” In other words, they said that Latinos would not vote for a black man, and backed it up with nothing other than a couple of anecdotal quotes from random Latinos in Los Angeles.

The sloppy, inaccurate story goes on for 32 agonizing paragraphs, using the terms “black” and “Latino” as though they were mutually exclusive – which they are not. Historians estimate that 95 percent of the African slave trade to the Americas took place in Latin America.

To this day, the vast majority of people in the African diaspora live south of the U.S. border, in Latin American countries from Brazil to Colombia to Cuba and, yes, even Mexico. The song "La Bamba," in fact, was brought to the Veracruz region of Mexico by Africans enslaved to the Spanish. The song likely has roots in the Bembe (Bantu) culture from what is now the Congo. This is only a stone's throw, geographically, from the Kenya of Obama's father's birth.

How quickly we forget in this country. How brutally we refuse to learn.

The New York Times not only ignores completely the African history of Latin America by positioning "blacks" against "Latinos" as if none of us were both. To do so is enormously irresponsible because it dissolves from public consciousness the fact that African slavery was a crime committed all across this hemisphere, by colonial Europeans who spoke English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. The story also erroneously portrays Latinos as a race unto themselves - an error egregious enough to be stated in our own census bureau's definition of Hispanic as a person "of any race". Including "black".

The miserable Times story also uses “Latino” as a synonym for “Spanish-speaking,” which is as useless and ignorant as would be the assumption that all French-Americans speak French. Most Latinos in the US do not speak Spanish well. Many pretend they can, because they are afraid of being laughed at or called pochos by all those other Latinos pretending they speak Spanish. But the truth is: Most of us cannot speak Spanish after the second generation. This assimilation pattern is no different from that of the Germans, or the Italians. It's just that the Times, like the rest of Big Media, seems to have confused "immigrant" with "Latino" - another huge error. The Times story actually says Latinos are new to the American Southwest. Did they forget "Arizona" "Nevada" "California" "Colorado" "Montana" and even the city of the story's dateline, "Las Vegas" are SPANISH WORDS? Jesus Christ. New here? C'mon. Some of us are. Some of us, clearly, are not.

It is not difficult to find information about the long history of Latinos in America, or Afro-Latinos, or even on linguistic preference among Latinos in the United States; among those who will vote (citizens) the vast majority are English-dominant and do not speak Spanish well enough to consume media in that language.

Mysteriously, the story opens with Hillary Clinton eating a taco (at King Taco, with Villaraigosa, no less) in East Los Angeles. It is one of three taco references in the story. Need we remind the Times that tacos are no ubiquitous among the nation's diverse Latinos? Or that tacos are considered mainstream American fare? Or that tacos, if you trace their ethnographic lineage, are actually Native American in origins?

Tacos. Latinos. East Los Angeles. Villaraigosa. It's like a bad movie. I would laugh if it weren’t so pathetic. I wondered, and not for the first time, why it was that the New York Times chose, when writing about “Latinos,” to do so in the cliched barrio of East Los Angeles. After all, the nut-graf for the story states that Latinos will sway the primaries in California, Nevada, and New York.

New York.

Immigrants from the Dominican Republic made up the largest single immigrant block to the city of New York in the 1990s. Five out of every six Dominicans are of African descent. Many Puerto Ricans are also of African descent. There are great movements afoot in popular culture throughout the Americans to make the link between Africa and Latin America – from Grupo Niche singing of blackness in the salsa classic “Etnia,” to the Nuyorican Poets rapping about being BlackTinos.

How it is that the editors and reporters of the nation’s leading newspaper - located in the city where salsa was invented from the Afro-Caribbean beats of Puerto Rica and Cuba, where Dominican blacks have replaced American blacks in much of Harlem, where Washington Heights now goes by the name Quisqueya Heights, for the Dominican Republic, where Junot Diaz and his Afro-Dominican novelistic mojo dominated the bestseller list last year – can completely ignore the significant segment of this country’s Latino population that IS BLACK is beyond me.

Way beyond me.

The article quotes a random 20-year-old woman on the streets of Los Angeles as their only legitimate source for the headline screaming about Obama’s lack of support among Latinos, ostensibly because of his “blackness.” This is your source? Natasha Carrillo of East Los Angeles? Holy crap. Are you joking? Is this the best you can find? Why not go the CUNY, and talk to the Dominican and Puerto Rican studies experts there? Why send reporters to a freakin' taco stand in East Los Angeles? I'll tell you why: The story was written in the minds of the editors before it was reported; that's why it WAS NEVER reported. It was made up. And because it was on the front of the NY Times, you are going to have pundits from coast to coast quoting it as the gospel truth, all because Natasha Carrillo, 20, of East Los Angeles, said so.


I suggest the reporters and editors of the New York Times stop taking their cues on Latino identity and politics in America from the boxers on Resurrection Boulevard and other nonsense TV shows, and take the subway uptown for a spell. Walk around. Go to a bodega or two. Listen to people talk. All those “black” people you see in Washington Heights? They’re Latinos.

And many of them (us) will be voting for Obama.

You want a source on blacks and Latinos, New York Times? Call me, the Cuban woman whose father was dedicated to the Yoruba God Obatala when he was a child. Call me, who knows that the phrase “Fulano” comes from the Fulani people of Africa. Call me, who knows that the double-headed tambora drum of merengue music, the national music of the Dominican Republic, has roots in West Africa. Call me. You have my number. I'm the one who writes you an editorial every week that you ignore. I'm the one who is supposedly one of the most influential Latinos in America, but can't get your attention on this, or any other Latino issue. Yeah. Me. The one who busts all your stereotypes up into little gray flecks of newsprint.

You want to talk about blacks and Latinos? Then stop forgetting history.

Stop forgetting that millions of us are both black, and Latino. En punto, y ya.

Posted by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez at 4:52 PM

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Various Muslim Children reciting Al-Quran | YEMEN | DAMMAJ-2

Here is part two from our brothers in Dammaj, Yemen. MashaAllah. May Allah reward Shaykh Muqbil, rahimahullah, and enter him into jannah , Amin

Praying in the Pathways Adjoining the Masjid


Question: What is the ruling regarding the one who prays outside the masjid, such as the one who prays in the pathways adjoining the masjid?

Response: If the masjid is not large enough for the congregation and (some of them) they prayed in the adjoining pathways (to the masjid) then there is no harm (in that) so long as they are able to follow the imaam because that is necessary.

Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen
Majmoo' Fataawa wa Muhammad ibn Saalih al-'Uthaymeen - Volume 13, Fatwa No.398

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Afghan Clerics Warn Karzai Against Missionaries
By Sayed SalahuddinSat Jan 5, 5:19 AM ET

Afghanistan's Islamic council has told President Hamid Karzai to stop foreign aid groups from converting locals to Christianity and also demanded the reintroduction of public executions.

The council, an influential group but without binding authority, is made up of Islamic clergy and ulema (scholars) from various parts of Afghanistan and made the warning in a statement during a meeting with Karzai on Friday.

The ulema have always played a crucial role in Muslim Afghanistan and have been behind a series of revolts against past governments.

But since the ousting of Taliban's radical Islamic administration by U.S.-led troops in 2001, Afghanistan has seen an unprecedented period of freedoms.

"The council is concerned about the activities of some ... missionary and atheistic organs and considers such acts against Islamic sharia (law), the constitution, and political stability," said a copy of the statement obtained by Reuters.

"If not prevented, God forbid, catastrophe will emerge, which will not only destabilize the country, but the region and the world."

Quoting what he said were reliable sources, Ahmad Ali Jebrayeli, a member of the council and also a member of parliament, said unnamed Christian missionaries had offices in Kabul and in the provinces to convert Afghans.

"Some NGOs are encouraging them (to convert), give them books (Bibles) and promise to send them abroad," he told Reuters on Saturday.


Numerous foreign aid groups and charities operating in Afghanistan have strong direct or indirect links to Christian organizations, but they insist they are not proselytizing.

Some 23 South Korean missionaries, were kidnapped by the Taliban last year and, amongst other things, accused of trying to convert Muslims. Two of the group were murdered before the rest, almost all women, were freed following a complex secret deal.

The conversion and spiriting out of an Afghan Christian convert following the intervention of several Western leaders and Pope Benedict in 2006 also sparked a series of protests locally.
Strict interpretations of Islam as practiced in Afghanistan treat conversions as apostasy, which is punishable by death.

The council also urged Karzai to stop local TV stations from airing Indian soap operas and movies -- enormously popular in Afghanistan -- which they said showed obscenities and scenes which threatened the morality of society.

The council also demanded a return to public executions for murderers as well as a crackdown against graft.

The Taliban, leading an insurgency against Karzai's government and foreign troops, used to publicly execute those convicted of capital crimes -- usually on Fridays after midday prayers.
While Afghanistan still has the death penalty on its books, it has been rarely been carried out since the Taliban's fall and never in public.

Karzai instructed various government departments to address the demands of the council, but stopped short of committing to change, Jebrayeli said.

"If he fails to listen to the Ulema, people will further distance themselves from the government (and) there will be more pessimism and instability," he said.

(Editing by David Fox and Bill Tarrant)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Barack Obama Iowa Caucus Victory Speech

Obama Under Attack From Rivals
Barbara Ferguson, Arab News —

WASHINGTON, 6 January 2008 — As Arab News went to press, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were getting ready to clash face-to-face for the first time since he threw her campaign into turmoil.

On Thursday night, Obama punctured Hillary’s front-runner status with a convincing win in Iowa as he sought to become America’s first black president. Should Hillary win, she would become the country’s first female president.

Days before the second leg of the US presidential candidates’ selection marathon in New Hampshire, the rivals will trade shots as surviving Democratic and Republican hopefuls take part in TV debates.

Sen. Obama, a gifted orator, will try to avoid mistakes. Sen. Hillary, meanwhile, is desperate to stall his momentum and hopes to use the New Hampshire primary as a fire wall.

In the Republican debate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will try to hit back at Mike Huckabee, who pulled off a surprise triumph in Iowa, while surging John McCain also hopes to shine.

Obama is facing increased criticism from Hillary and other rivals determined to block him in New Hampshire.

Just five days after the Iowa caucuses, the small northeastern state of New Hampshire will hold the country’s first presidential primary election on Tuesday.

The candidates are heading into several weeks of intense campaigning that culminates in more than two dozen state primary contests on Feb. 5.

On Friday night, Hillary, Obama, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Rep. Dennis Kucinich made their presidential pitches to the 3,000 hardy partisans assembled in Milford for the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s 100 Club fundraising dinner. It was the largest political dinner in New Hampshire history, Republican or Democrat.

If the dinner is any indication —Obama will handily win here. When Obama, the dinner’s last speaker, took the stage the crowd surged forward chanting “O-bam-a” and “Fired Up, Ready to Go!” So many people pressed toward the stage that an announcer asked people to “please take their seats for safety concerns.” By comparison, Hillary was twice booed. The first time was when she said she has always and will continue to work for “change for you.” Change is a word long-used by Obama in his campaign.

The audience, particularly Obama supporters, let out what sounded like a thousand people collectively groaning.

The second time came a few minutes later when Hillary said: “The there are two big questions for voters in New Hampshire. One is: who will be ready to lead from day one? The second,” and here Hillary was forced to pause as boos from the crowd mixed with cheers from her own supporters. “...Is who can we nominate who will go the distance against the Republicans?”
Hillary did receive a rousing cheer at the end of her 18-minute address, but Obama had the audience on its feet, waving placards during an earsplitting ovation.

Obama, son of a Kenyan father and American mother, countered with a call for a broader political base founded on progressive values. “If you know who you are, if you know what you believe in, if you know what you are fighting for, then you can afford to listen to folks who don’t agree with you, you can afford to reach across the aisle every once in a while,” Obama said. “It won’t hurt you. You won’t be compromised and you will be able to form the majorities that will defeat the special interests and ... win elections.” Obama’s open-armed appeal, typically heard in general elections and not in primaries, was aimed not only at independents and Republicans, but at Democrats who Obama’s campaign believes are attracted by an inclusive message.

The approach has made him a target of his main rivals, Hillary and John Edwards, who argue his vision is naive.

“There’s no shortage of anger in Washington people,” Obama said. “We don’t need more heat, we need more light.” He added a new punch line to one of his stump speech standards, recounting how Republicans have approached him and whispered their support. “Now,” he said to loud applause, “they weren’t whispering!”

The major Hillary-Obama showdown will likely come on Feb. 5, which is shaping up as a near-national primary day. More than 20 states will vote, including Hillary’s home state, New York, Obama’s home state, Illinois, and California.

Several Democratic strategists unaffiliated with any campaign said on Friday that Hillary could lose in the early states and still clinch the nomination on Feb. 5. To do so, they said, she must focus on burnishing her own image in the coming month, and she must resist the temptation to tar Obama, as he could become a magnet for Democrats who want to move beyond the Clinton-Bush years.