28 July, 2014

SAMOTALIS FRIENDS WORLDWIDE EID MUBARAK

SAMOTALIS FRIENDS WORLDWIDE EID MUBARAK AND MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF...

EID AL-Fitr 2014
SAMOTALIS FRIENDS WORLDWIDE EID MUBARAK AND MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY
                                                                                       Chinese Muslim Women in Eid Prayer
 
Eid Mubarik and many happy returns of the day.
Do not miss the Eid prayer and make your families, relatives and friends happy. Provide charity to the poor and deprived neighbours, visit the sick, and remember the dead of your relatives and friends.

May Allah accept our fasting, our prayers and our charity during Ramadan after.
May Allah bless us, our families, friends, neighbours and all Muslims worldwide with joy, prosperity and peace of mind.

May Allah free all oppressed, cure all sick, enrich all poor. May Allah guide us to his path and make us those whom he shields from all evil. May Allah make us those he frees from hell in the honour of Eid Al-FITR mubarak.Ameen. 


EID MUBARAK TO YOU ALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN ISLAM.



--


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24 July, 2014

Ramadan in Gaza: life under missile-fire


Ramadan in Gaza: life under missile-fire

More than 100 have died – often women and children in their own homes – and food prices are rising fast as supplies dry up



Peter Beaumont in Gaza City

The Guardian,

Palestinians flee an air strike on a house in Rafah that killed five people and wounded 15 others on the fourth day of the Israeli military campaign. Photograph: Eyad Al Baba/Anadolu Agency/Getty


In Gaza's largely deserted streets, the first thing you notice is the absence of children.

The beach, usually crowded on Friday afternoons, is empty save for a handful of fishermen casting hand nets into the surf next to the harbour wall.

Al-Azhar park – next to the university of the same name – and Barcelona park with its climbing frames, lawns and basketball courts, are empty.

The few children who are outside play in the sheltered spaces between tall apartment blocks and the narrow lanes of the poorer neighbourhoods, a few feet from their doors under the watchful eyes of their parents: places deemed safer from bomb blasts.

It is the fourth day of Israel's intensive bombing campaign of the Gaza Strip, and more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, many of them children. More than 670 are injured. Families here have settled into a tense wartime regime, a daily routine hard-learned from Israel's previous military campaigns of 2008-09 and 2012.

Unlike Israel, there are no bomb shelters in Gaza. There are no sirens to warn of incoming missiles and no Iron Dome to shoot them down. The only warning, and one provided only intermittently, is that from those dropping the bombs – supplied by phone, text or a warning shot to the roof.

Under the ever-present hum of circling drones, squeal of jets, bomb-blasts and the thud of naval gunfire from the sea, most women and children are stuck indoors, often in buildings without electricity.

These families have been caught in a tragic catch-22. Afraid to leave their homes when the Israeli warplanes do drop their bombs on Gaza's neighbourhoods, it is the women and children sheltering in the buildings where they instinctively feel safest who are dying.

Israel has said it is training its missiles on Gaza's homes – a practice the United Nations Human Rights Office says may violate international law – because Hamas and other militants are hiding inside.

"We have received disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," Ravina Shamdasani, a UN spokeswoman said on Thursday. "Such reports raise doubts about whether the Israeli air strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law."

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has rejected the criticism of international and local human rights groups and vowed to continue with the campaign. "No international pressure will prevent Israel from continuing its operation in Gaza … The leaders of Hamas are hiding behind the citizens of Gaza, and they are responsible for all casualties," he said.

For the 1.8 million people living in Gaza, this means that long Ramadan days – from before dawn until the late bedtime traditional during the fasting month – will continue to be defined by limited exposure to the open air.

Gaza City's central Firas market is usually packed with shoppers shoulder to shoulder, looking for fruit and vegetables after noon prayers. This Friday a few people were bustling along its lanes. Hamdi Haboush, 63, sat outside the hardware store where he sells brush heads and squeegees, spice racks and spades. "I haven't had any customers at all today," he said. "I only opened because I couldn't bear staying in the house. There are 50 of my family in our building, including twenty grandchildren.

"It's only really me who is going to early prayers at the moment [at four in the morning]. But it's the most frightening time for bombs so I walk close to the walls on my way to mosque.

"Otherwise no-one is going out. There's no work and nothing to do. Nowhere safe to go. Everyone is in a state of panic wondering when a bomb will fall.

"We have two metres square of space where the younger children can play. Last night some of the grandchildren came to me and said: 'Why are you going to open your shop? It's scary.' But I have to come out to change my mood."

Other men standing or sitting by their empty shops and stalls said the same. There is no money to be made – only relief from households going "crazy".

If, as Haboush says, early morning prayers are quiet, a steady stream of men and older boys filed in to the main mosque in Radwan for Friday prayers.

Mahmoud Karazem, 30, arrived late and in a hurry. He has grown used to the bombs over the years and different campaigns: "It's normal." Life under advanced missile-fire is not yet normal for his wife and two young toddlers.

"My wife is at home with the children. They are one and a half and almost three. I try to reassure them but when a bomb explodes it bursts the bubble. I cuddle them to get them used it, but sometimes it doesn't work."

The imam began his sermon with a message to worshippers that they were engaged in a fight of "good against evil". Ramadan "is a time of victories" he said before condemning the complicity of America and the international community and "the silence of the Arab world".

Mahmoud Khalija went to buy groceries after midday prayers. A worker at Gaza City's Shifa hospital, he said he is attempting to go about his life as "normally as possible".

"My wife is going to work too," he said. "Our older children stay at home with the youngest. The prices are the biggest problem. There is no fish," he added, indicating a shuttered fish stall. "And because it is so hard for the farmers to harvest and bring their produce to the market, some prices have quadrupled."

Others who had ventured out explained the judgment call: roads exposed to the sea, and therefore to Israel's naval gunships, are to be avoided. Roads bordering farmland where rockets are launched, are driven through quickly, if at all.

In Gaza, wealth cannot inoculate you from fear. In affluent neighbourhoods, where the buildings are taller and more widely spaced, the sound of the dropping missiles rings more loudly and clearly than in the huddled, poorer neighbourhoods and refugee camps. They are also closer to the naval boats pounding the coast with artillery fire.

In Tal al-Hawa, a neighbourhood hit hard in the 2008-09 conflict, Hazem Farwana, 38, a baker, is making Ramadan pancakes. He and his son Samir, 12, sell them for a £1.50 a kilo from a stall in front of a falafel takeaway.

Pancakes are the treat of any Iftar meal at the end of a day of fasting. They are served with nuts, cheese or dates and normally eaten before families go out visiting, sitting up late into the night. But Farwana and his wife have not gone visiting this week: "We are not living a normal life.

"People are stuck indoors. All they can do is eat. I have four children under 16 – I won't let them go too far from home."

As he spoke, a bomb exploded in the distance, close enough for a shockwave to rattle the window frames overhead.

Suddenly philosophical, Farwana added: "If I am going to die then I will die. I can die in the open as easily as I can indoors."
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Obama Humiliates Muslim Guests at White House Ramadan Event


Obama Humiliates Muslim Guests at White House Ramadan Event, Endorses Israel’s Gaza Assault and NSA Surveillance
The definition of poor leadership.

http://www.alternet.org/world/obama-humiliates-muslim-white-house-guests-endorsing-israels-gaza-assault-defending-nsa

At the annual White House Iftar dinner commemorating the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, President Barack Obama endorsed Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip and defended government spying on Muslim-Americans. Alongside dozens of Muslim-American community activists and Muslim diplomats, the White House welcomed Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, an outspoken advocate of Israel's settlement enterprise who has claimed Muslim and Arab culture is endemically violent.

In the past, the annual Iftar dinner passed without much notice. Last year, President Barack Obama delivered a boilerplate speech to the assembled crowd of Muslim-American community activists and Middle Eastern ambassadors about his efforts to spur entrepreneurship. But this time, amidst a one-sided Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip that was about to claim its 200th death in just a week, and which the US had backed to the hilt, the heat was on.

While Obama prepared his remarks, calls rang out with unprecedented intensity for invitees to boycott the July 14 ceremony. Among those who urged a boycott in protest of the Gaza assault and ongoing government spying on Muslim-Americans was the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), an established presence in Washington representing the country’s largest Arab-American advocacy group.

Joining the boycott call was Mariam Abu-Ali, the sister of Ahmed Abu Ali, a US citizen renditioned to Saudi Arabia for torture before being sentenced to life in prison on dubious charges of threatening to kill George W. Bush. “The White House Iftar is a slap in the face to those in the Muslim community who have been victims of U.S. civil-rights and human-rights abuses,” Abu Ali wrote. “It is an attempt by administration after administration to whitewash the crimes of the U.S. government against Muslims by painting a less-than-accurate picture of their relationship with the American Muslim community.”

As established Muslim-American leaders like Laila Al-Marayati lined up to boycott (Al-Marayatirejected an invitation to the State Department’s Iftar), others defended their presence at the ceremony. Most vocal among them was Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), one of the two Muslim members of Congress. “I disagree with the tactic,” Ellison remarked in a statement released by his office. “It will not close Guantanamo Bay, guarantee a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine or undo the NSA’s targeting of Muslims.”

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) echoed Ellison, insisting that the event would “allow [them] to engage with senior White House officials for a decent amount of time on substantive issues.”

While Muslim-American civil rights groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations have assumed a more confrontational posture towards the White House and boycotted a prayer breakfast with former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in protest of his support for NYPD surveillance of Muslims, MPAC has taken an altogether different tack. Its role as a paid consultant on the cable TV series, “Tyrant,” was perhaps the best example of its accommodationist stance.

Produced by Howard Gordon, the creator of “24” and “Homeland,” the show starred a white actor playing a pathological Arab dictator who ruled over the deeply dysfunctional fictional nation of Abuddin. Even mainstream TV critics derided the series as unbearably Orientalist, with the Washington Post’s Hank Stuever describing it as a “stultifyingly acted TV drama stocked with tired and terribly broad notions of Muslim culture in a make-believe nation on the brink.” Leading up to the White House Iftar, a leader of a major Muslim advocacy organization told me on background that MPAC was bleeding support, especially from younger activists.

At the Iftar dinner, Obama launched into a defense of Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip, declaring,“I will say very clearly, no country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens. And so, we’ve been very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself against what I consider to be inexcusable attacks from Hamas.”


http://www.alternet.org/world/obama-humiliates-muslim-white-house-guests-endorsing-israels-gaza-assault-defending-nsa

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Palestinians in Gaza struggle this Ramadan

Palestinians in Gaza struggle this Ramadan

Grappling with unpaid wages and a struggling economy, Palestinian families have little to celebrate during holy month.


Fares Akram

Gaza City - On top of the Abu Amin Abu Shawish family’s Ramadan breakfast table sat only four bowls ofmaloukhieh soup, two dishes of white rice, and some lemons and green peppers.

"The meat was eaten yesterday. This is the leftover from the day before," said Abu Amin, 50, who provides for an extended family of 14 people, all living in a makeshift home in southeast Gaza City. The family’s economic situation during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan "is very bad" compared to previous years, Abu Amin said.

In the past, he distributed cement to several construction sites and projects in the Gaza Strip every day. The cement, like most other construction materials, was being smuggled into the Palestinian territory from Egypt. Last summer, the Egyptian army shut down most of the smuggling tunnels, cutting off the lifeline that had prevented Gaza's economy from near-total collapse.

More than 50,000 people who worked in industries related to the tunnels, and more than 150,000 professionals and artisans whose jobs relied on construction materials, have now joined the ranks of Gaza's jobless. In the first quarter of 2014, approximately 180,000 Palestinians in Gaza were unemployed, up from about 160,000 unemployed in the last quarter of 2013.

"In the past, I used to make from 100-150 shekels [$29-44] distributing cement a day, and my son worked on a [horse-drawn] cart also in distributing, making another 50 shekels [$15]," said Abu Amin, whose house is made of salvaged concrete bricks and rusted, corrugated aluminium. "We had a new meal every day."

"Now, we can't find 15 shekels [$4] to feed the horse," he continued.

RELATED: Gaza - Life under siege

While mosques are full for most of the day, at night people in Gaza are preoccupied by Israeli air strikes on the besieged Palestinian territory. Israel says the attacks are a response to rockets fired from Gaza; they have also come after Israel accused Hamas of orchestrating the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli settler teenagers near the West Bank city of Hebron last month. On Saturday, Israel launched 10 separate strikes on Gaza.

Meanwhile, Abu Amin's family only received one parcel of food from a charity operating in Gaza - beans, cooking oil, rice, sugar, and other basic staples - for Ramadan, compared to four parcels at the same time last year.

Charities in Gaza are struggling with increased demand for help, said Ahmed al-Kurd, the coordinator of humanitarian aid for several local organisations in Gaza. Last year, the organisations were able to support 60,000 families. This year, the number of families who applied for food assistance increased dramatically to 100,000, while the charities have enough money to provide for 30,000 families, al-Kurd said.



I came here to buy Ramadan goods for my family and my [married] daughter, but I don’t think I will be able to buy all the things I wanted.

- Mohammed Qanita, 44, electrician


Due to international political pressure, "hundreds of financial transfers [from Muslim and Arab donors] did not arrive," he told Al Jazeera. "We can't carry out our work as needed."

High prices and a lack of purchasing power also mean that many people wander through Gaza’s markets, but few actually buy.

"Prices are high this year," said electrician Mohammed Qanita, 44. "I came here to buy Ramadan goods for my family and my [married] daughter, but I don’t think I will be able to buy all the things I wanted."

At al-Zawya market in the old quarter of Gaza City, fewer Ramadan ornaments were visible than in previous years, and though the market was busy, the majority were not buying.

Alaa Masoud, who was selling cheese, jam, tahini halva, and other Ramadan staples, said that with the closure of the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, much of the goods must be imported through Erez, an Israeli-controlled commercial crossing point.

"This has risen from 18 to 23 shekels [$5-7]," he said, pointing to a yellow Gouda cheese. An Egyptian-made feta cheese saw a six-shekel [$1.75] increase. "People have no money; workers are laid off, crossings are closed, no salaries," Masoud said. "At this time last year, I was selling 100,000 shekels [$29,250] a day. Now, I only sold for 60,000 [shekels, about $17,500]."

RELATED: Salary crisis imperils Palestinian unity

The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority has not yet paid the salaries of its 70,000 employees in the Gaza Strip. PA employees are usually paid the first week of every month, however the PA said the salaries will be late because Israel has not yet transferred Palestine's tax revenues.

Over the past eight months, the Hamas government, which was dissolved in June with the formation of a Palestinian national consensus government, has provided its employees with only small portions of their basic salaries. Employees of the former Hamas government, estimated at about 42,000 workers, still have not collected paychecks for April and May.

Read more of our coverage on Palestine



"We are looking for every way at least to provide them with a minimum income. There are attempts to provide employees with smaller payments from charities and benefactors. This is what we can do for them in Ramadan," Salah al-Bardaweel, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, told Al Jazeera.

While Abu Salem, a 35-year-old traffic cop, has not been paid for more than 50 days, he was still working under the hot sun.

"I have four children and it's their right to enjoy [themselves] like children of other families," he said, without giving Al Jazeera his full name. Abu Salem added that he wouldn’t be able to buy "fresh meat, chicken, qatayef, candies and sweets for Ramadan".

Maher al-Tabba, an economist based in Gaza, said that both sets of Palestinian public servants - in the West Bank and Gaza Strip - hold most of the purchasing power. "Markets often rely on the salaries of [Palestinian Authority] and Gaza employees."

He told Al Jazeera that the delay in paying the employees caused a sharp decrease in sales. "We are talking about 180,000 to 200,000 jobless people… This is a disastrous situation," he said.

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Daawo sidii loo dilay Saado Cali Warsame - argagixis ha daawan hadaad aw...

14 July, 2014

Eritrea: The only country able to withstand aggressive US adventurism

isyas_afwerki2014

Eritrea: The only country able to withstand aggressive US adventurism

Asmara (HAN) July 12, 2014. Expert Analysis, Your Power & Regional Influence Magazine, opinion page by Amanuel Biedemariam. President Baraka Hussein Obama extended an invitation to all African leaders except Eritrea which are not in good standing with the United States. Why Eritrea?
In Washington, the White House announced that the First American Black leader will host the first United States and Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, on August 5 and 6, 2014. The U.S. President Baraka Hussein Obama looks forward to welcoming leaders from across the rising African continent to the Nation’s Capital to further strengthen ties with one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions.
More specifically Eritrea leader Isaias Afwerki were not invited, but, President Baraka Hussein Obama issued invitations  to the heads of state from Angola, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Chad, Comoros, Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia.

The Reason is based the short Opinion Written by Amanuel Biedemariam: A young Eritrean that was born in the US once said, “When I hear people call Eritrea a new nation, it startles me because I grew knowing Eritrea to be a nation.” Most Eritrean children that grew up in the US before independence have encountered people that told them Eritrea does not exist on the map. Their answers were always that Eritrea existed in their heart and they knew that she will be free.
The subtle way the West pulled Eritrea’s annexation left Eritreans empty handed without a country, under primitive tyranny of Ethiopia’s pseudo monarchy. In a flash, they defeated the surrendering Italian army led by British troops into Asmara Palace and not long-after, British soldiers and the US escorted Emperor Haile Selassie into Asmara with his wife and handed him a nation without having to lift a finger. Great Britain’s recently declassified World War II videos show this transaction clearly.
Eritreans who dreamt of independent Eritrea were forced to flee, killed or imprisoned. That in effect marked the start of the liberation struggle. Eritrea ceased to exist as a nation then. However, Eritrea was alive in the hearts and minds of Eritreans. Heart is the foundation of the Eritrean psyche, the place where Eritrea lives no matter where and it is where it all starts and still continues to date.
With nothing but determination, Eritreans embarked on a long and arduous journey to freedom. Without resources and military expertise Eritreans flocked to the field to fight against US funded Ethiopian troops. In no time, Eritrea managed to establish a full-fledged army that included tanks  captured from enemy soldiers. Moreover, while the fighting was taking place, Eritreans were focused on reestablishing Eritrea after victory hence embarked on a nation building campaign.
The people of Eritrea accomplished the unthinkable, unimaginable and seemingly impossible fit. With principled approach to struggle, clear-aim stemming from the iron-willed Eritrean heart, by empowering Eritreans with education, by organizing, arming-them with everything they need to succeed as a unit and by Self Reliance Eritrea won.
The manner in which Eritrea came to life is a history that the Soviet Union, United States and their allies shun to talk or write because it highlights the defeat of their agendas. That also means given a choice these enemies would not have liked to see independent Eritrea.
In 1991, the US tried to block Eritrea’s independence but failed because Eritrea knew what to do and where to go. Eritrea took-out the system in Ethiopia and propelled the current regime, in a sense conducted a regime change; a first seamless transition conducted by an African nation, and ensured the signature that sealed independence. No African nation would admit that the current regime in Ethiopia is a byproduct of the struggle propelled to power by Eritrea.
Eritrea’s independence was significant historical event that reshaped the Horn of Africa’s geostrategic map. It came at a time when the Soviet Union fell and the US became the sole-superpower. The breakup of the USSR accorded the US opportunity to control the region. Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and Ethiopia became US client-states with Ethiopia as a hub. Eritrea was also a part of that equation.
After the Cold War, the US controlled the region by proxies. At the time the Clinton administration lauded these “new generation African leaders” including His Excellency President Isaias Afwerki as the hope for the future. That was short-lived because while the others kowtowed to US interests Eritrea forged independent path to the dismay of US marking new Era of US Eritrea relations. Eritrea was the only nation thus a spoiler of US hegemony. Cooperation, mutual interests-based bilateral relations with Eritrea would set a bad precedent; hence, a regime change policy was initiated against Eritrea.
The machinations to ensnare Eritrea under the pretext of border-war were initiated leading to countless death, loss of limbs and population displacement. Had they succeeded, Eritrea would have been soaked-in-blood for generations. Eritrea managed to foil all their sinister attempts.
However, these machinations continued. The UN was manipulated to pass punitive measures that denied Eritrea her inalienable rights for self-defense with illegally manipulated and fabricated sanctions under the guise of “African nation’s initiative” when the actual violators were Ethiopia and the US that brazenly and violently invaded Somalia, a sovereign nation.
The levels of covert and overt activities on Eritrea remain relentless. All the defamatory campaigns and destabilizing activities against Eritrea trace their roots to Ethiopia and US. The US continues the assault with the youth as their key target. Recent State Department regarding Eritrean refugees from the Afar region indicate continuation of a hostile policy geared at encouraging youth flight. The regime change policy is still on play. US authorities are still trying to divide the people of Eritrea from the government.
In 2009, on Christmas Eve, when Ambassador Susan Rice boasted the sanction she placed upon the people of Eritrea, she said the US supports the people of Eritrea. In a similar Fashion, when Secretary John Kerry extended his warped independence letter, in May of 2014, he also said the US stands with the people of Eritrea.
Although it is an open secret, why deny congratulations to the government that brought independence of Eritrea? That is duplicity and sign of continuation of the policy. Nothing in the history of the US demonstrates US support for the people of Eritrea. The fact that Secretary Kerry deliberately misrepresented Boston Marathon-winner Meb Kiflezgi’s identity by calling him Kenyan when he knows that Meb is Eritrean-American is evidence that they do not want to acknowledge Eritrea.
Cold War Part II
During the Cold War, due to the global-geopolitical juxtaposition, Eritrea was caught on a seesaw that affected her negatively. That ended at the time when Eritrea won independence and the fall of USSR. Over the last two decades, the world witnessed the destruction of Iraq, Libya, Syria and unforeseen changes in many places such as Egypt. However, after 23 years of US adventurism, the world is experiencing yet another transition that will influence nations. The situation in Ukraine seems to be the game-changer having monumental impact on world politics.
When the US pressured Russia with swift actions including sanctions for Crimea, Russia and China lashed back in ways that changed the world. With a stroke of pen, China and Russia brought down-to-earth the notion of US as sole-super-power. By signing huge energy trade agreement, they invalidated the sanction threat and placed the EU-nations that supported the sanctions on a precarious position. Countries such as Germany were forced to retract, in a sense created a wedge between EU and the US.
The agreement is diminishing the role of the petro-dollar and re-establishing a new economic order that could counter US’s. The bilateral agreements will have implications on relations between nations, on the UN working-pecking-order, on the global economy, on previously US
engineered-UN and other sanctions, and on global politics. A shift on global-alliances independent from US is in place. Hence, for the first time in years, it appears the world is poised for a multi-polar world-order independent from US control.
The most import impact however is on the US dollar. When countries start to trade with other currencies, the value of the dollar falls precipitously and it damages the reserve currency that enabled the US to print money with impunity. Countries that depended on US finances to sustain their economies will crush. This includes countries like Ethiopia that receive billions of US dollars as food and security aid. Absent of new funding sources these countries will crush.
These new geopolitical developments will influence the political dynamics of various regions in Africa. The penetration of China by using/dumping the dollar to gain influence, Russia’s assertive-stances at the UN Security council is dissolving previously US dominated roles, thus diminishing US influences profoundly. For example China is building rail infrastructure that connects Kenya, to South Sudan, Uganda, and Rwanda.
These global developments will lead to changes of outdated US Africa policy. However, these changes will not come willfully. It will come due to US’s inability to manage situations that are spiraling out of control, changing global realities, and lack of funding. At the end, cost- benefit
analysis will force US policy changes.
For example Ethiopia will, in short time, be too expensive to manage. To divide-and-rule the TPLF junta divided Ethiopia along ethnic and religious lines. Many Ethiopians have been crying foul due to fears that religious clashes could lead to genocide in Oromia and other places. Dr. Gregory Stanton of Genocide Watch has been warning about genocide in Ethiopia. Moreover, Ethiopia’s interventions in various parts of the region will undoubtedly have repercussions.
The effect on Eritrea
The difference between 1991 and now Eritrea was stripped-bare then. Today, the reality in Eritrea is different. The mere fact that food security is attained is a game changer. Eritrea is in much better place and able to stand independently. Eritrea is the only country able to withstand
aggressive US adventurism. It is ironic that Eritrea, a country that ascended at the fall USSR is managing to witness yet another cold war like event on the offing. Except this time the table appears to be turning with US super-power status on the decline while China and Russia rise.
Issias Aferworki is supposed to be a dictator, a tyrant, a leader “who kills his own people” according to just about every western media and human rights outfit there is, yet there they were, over 5,000 very proud and happy Eritreans giving him a hero’s welcome, standing ovations inside and wildly cheering throngs outside greeting his arrival and especially when he joined the crowd outside before his departure. His Last trip in new York.
Even when nations knew Eritrea is standing truthfully by the law, no one stood for justice on the side of Eritrea for fear of retaliation by US. Regardless, the people of Eritrea knew, as President Isaias Afewerki said, “That this adventurism will not last.” The people of Eritrea stood together and fought knowing that the fight is for the very-existence of Eritrea and paid the price demonstrating that Eritrea can stand without having to depend on any power. As a result, today, countries are looking for allies and Eritrea is a perfect choice. Eritrea’s ability to defend herself and the neutral stances are bearing fruit.
Eritrea was able to withstand the wrath because of the UNITY of the people, and successful national-service program. Every Eritrean, no matter where they live or who they are, has to participate. As a result Eritrea has the most disciplined military population on the world. The people of Eritrea know how to respect the gun and live with it while protecting the nation.
The mature-nature and the discipline makes Eritrea the most peaceful nation in Africa.
Eritrea’s greatest resources are the people not the rich natural resources the nation is endowed with. It is also national service and the unity of the people. And not surprisingly the enemies’ main targets are Eritrea’s human resources. The US and Ethiopia are doing everything to deny Eritrea her youth; attack the national service program and create divisions amongst the people. Their main aim is to find or create a crack.
Conclusion
Eritrea stood strong by the incorruptible leadership that brought Eritrea the time and space necessary to roll-with-the-punches. They secured the room necessary that allowed Eritreans to see global developments and learned from it with patience. Eritrea focused on the bigger picture
avoiding traps of temporary PR gains. They showed sacrifice and selflessness that the people can identify. They showed resilience under pressure and told the world we will do it our way, the Eritrean way. Most importantly Eritrea is here by the united-will and strength of the people.
It is time to strengthen our unity and stand for what the martyrs gave their lives. Above all, be smart; lift each-other and our communities no matter where we are. That is what time it is.
Wetru Awet N-Hafash
Zel-Alemawi Zikri N-Sema-e-tatna
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13 July, 2014

1435 Ramadan Mubarak - A religion that offers remedy for social ills

 A religion that offers remedy for social ills


Qiblatain Mosque in Madinah. (AN photo)

This is the last part of Abdul-Lateef Abdullah’s story about how Islam changed his life.

Being a social scientist by trade, much of my time is spent working on and pondering over the ills and dilemmas of our society. As I learned more about Islam, I came to the conclusion that societal ills are based primarily on unhealthy, dysfunctional social behaviors. Since Islam is a lifestyle focused totally on the most healthy, positive way of conducting our lives in every setting, then it is, and will always be, the only true answer to any society's social dilemmas. With this realization, not only did I decide that Islam was relevant to my everyday life, but I began to understand why it is so different from other religions. Only Islam provides knowledge and guidance for every aspect of life. Only Islam provides a way to achieve health and happiness in every dimension of life — physical, spiritual, mental, financial, etc. Only Islam provides us with a clear life goal and purpose. And only Islam shows us how to live in and contribute to a community, not just talk about it. Islam is what everyone needs, and what so many who have not found it yet, are searching for. It is the path to purpose, meaning, health and happiness. This is because it is the straight path to the source of all the power we could ever need — God.

It was only until I actually became Muslim that I realized just how encompassing our lifestyle truly is. Literally everything we are instructed to do has one underlying purpose — to remember God. It just shows the absolute and divine brilliance of the religion, in that there is a lifestyle that can show you how to remember your Creator in as simple an act as greeting someone, or getting dressed in the morning, or waking up from sleep. Islam shows us that by constantly remembering God, everything we do becomes focused on Him, and thus becomes an act of worship. From this, our energy, our thoughts, and our actions all become redirected away from unhealthy and useless causes, and focused on the source of all goodness. Thus, we are continuously tapping into His divine strength, mercy and grace. So, by remembering God constantly, we become stronger, better, and healthier in every aspect of our lives.

I thank God everyday for the ease to which he has allowed me to make the necessary changes in my life so that I can continue to live in America and still be, Insha-Allah, a good Muslim. As a white, middle-class American, many of the cultural aspects of Islam are quite different from what I, and those close to me throughout my life, have been used to. In fact, when I finally broke the news to my family that I had taken my Shahada (testimony of faith) and become Muslim, almost all of their questions and concerns were related to cultural differences — marriage, social life, family, etc. They were much less concerned about my general beliefs around God and religious practice. For my family, friends, and co-workers, becoming Muslim was not seen necessarily as a negative change, but it has required a great deal of education for them about Islam. In fact, as with my own education, this process of sharing the truth about Islam with them is never-ending because there is no limit to how much knowledge we can acquire, and it is the responsibility of every one of us to share whatever right knowledge we have.

Because acquiring right knowledge is such a critical component to a Muslim's development, having a teacher who has taught me how to apply Islam in everyday life that has made all the difference for me and helped me in managing whatever difficulties I have experienced from my reversion. Having someone knowledgeable you can turn to whenever you have questions is a wonderful support that every new Muslim should go out of their way to find. Islam is not a religion that can be rationalized, in the way that Christianity and Judaism have been over the ages. It is a clear path that must be followed exactly as God laid for us through the life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, his companions, and the scholars of Islam.

In this day and age, in this society, discerning the path can often be difficult, especially when we are constantly faced with questions and doubts from people who on the surface may not be hostile to Islam, but whose general lack of faith can have a harmful effect on someone who bases everything they do on their love for God. It is also not easy being in an environment where we are constantly bombarded with sensual temptations which are seen as ordinary, common aspects of everyday life.

But when we have the support of a knowledgeable, experienced teacher, who is able to apply the universal teachings of Islam to his life, then the truth becomes clear from error, exactly how God describes in the Qur’an. From this, we are able to understand how to apply Islam correctly to our own lives, and thus receive God's many blessings. The ultimate test, however, of anyone who claims to have true and right knowledge, is to look at how they apply it in their own lives. If their actions support their teachings, then and only then should we look to them for guidance.

My journey to Islam, although short, has been a life-altering experience. It is one that with every passing day makes me more and more appreciative and thankful to Almighty God. The extent of His mercy can only fully be understood from the perspective of someone who prostrates themselves regularly and submits their will to that of the Creator. This is what I strive for through Islam. It is the struggle that we must fight every moment of every day, but one that we love, because we know Who to turn to for support and Who is helping us along.

I look back at my life prior to Islam and reflect on the different ways I sought guidance. I think back to all the different ideas I once had of who God really is, and how we can become close to Him. I look back now and smile and perhaps even shed a tear because now I know the truth. Now, life makes sense. Now, life is order. Now, I know why I am here, where I want to go, what I want my life to be, how I want to live, and what is most important not just to me, but to everyone. I only hope and pray that others who have not found the path yet, can feel the same that I do.

(Courtesy of www.islamreligion.com)
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Halaaga Tahriibka: Daawo Gabadh Reer Burco Oo Si Murugo Leh Ula Hadlayas...





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Uhuru hosts Muslim leaders for Iftar dinner

Uhuru hosts Muslim leaders for Iftar dinner

08 July, 2014

2014 Ramadan and Rahma




2014 Ramadan and Rahma

Realizing the ever increasing Somalis whose written language is English, and who never or rarely visit the exclusive Islamic websites, I take the liberty of surfing these sites on their behalf. I selected articles on essential issues of our religion. I shall post a series of most significant topics on my blog SAMOTALIS.BLOGSPOT.COM . Nothing is more important and virtuous than the duty of fasting. To your knowledge, I post the following article in its authenticity and entirety, without any change in any form or shape.

Any inquiry for clarification or otherwise, please visit http://www.islamweb.net/
Selected and posted by
Ahmed Arwo

The significance of fasting

Fasting, is abstaining from eating, drinking and coitus from daybreak to sunset as a devotional ritual. Allaah, the Almighty Says in the Noble Quran (what means):

"O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous." [Quran; 2:183] That is: that you may fear Allaah, keep away from His prohibitions, and fulfill His Commands. Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said: " Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allaah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)" [Al-Bukhaari]
This means that Allaah does not want us to abstain from eating and drinking only, rather, He wants us to refrain from evil deeds and vileness too. The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, instructed that a fasting person, if offended or abused, should say: "I am fasting." [Al-Bukhaari] By this, as though the fasting person says: "It is because I am fasting I do not return your abuses." The offender at that point may feel embarrassed, and desist.
What is the purpose of Fasting?

The purpose of fasting is not physical training to endure hunger, thirst and exhaustion; rather, it is disciplining the ego to relinquish the loved for the sake of the Beloved. The loved are the desires of eating, drinking, sexual activities etc., while the Beloved is Allaah, the Exalted. Hence, it is imperative to keep in mind when we observe fasting that we do so only for the sake of Allaah. It becomes imperative on us to try our best to observe the rites that reflect our obedience to Allaah, such as the remembrance of Allaah, reading the Quran, supererogatory prayers, charitable deeds and donations, good manners, etc.
Fasting has great significances and aims, which, if carefully considered, instill in us much surprise. Among these significances, we mention the following:
First significance:
Fasting is linked with true faith in Allaah, the Most Exalted; that is why it has been reported that fasting is a secret act of worship since a person may break his fast, if he wishes, by eating, drinking or simply by not making the intention to fast (in which case his fast will not be accepted even if he remains fasting the whole day). Fasting, then, is a hearty, secret worship that concerns only the servant and his Creator. When the servant knowingly gives up the things and acts that nullify the fast, despite his ability to reach them in secret, he gives indeed strong evidence of his certain belief that Allaah, the Almighty, watches over him in both his manifest and secret deeds. There is no doubt that in this kind of conduct is a significant training to strengthen faith in Allaah.
Second significance
Fasting is also training for the servant to aspire to the Hereafter since, by fasting, he gives up some of the worldly matters, looking forward to Almighty Allaah's reward. By observing the fast, he weighs the profit in terms of the condition in the Hereafter. However, those who measure things in materialistic terms are only concerned with the worldly aspect of fasting. As a result, they think of it as merely deprivation of the pleasures of life, which please the self and satisfy the body. They are not in the least concerned with the other aspect of its significance in the hereafter that constitutes the real reward and the genuine perpetuity. This attitude of their hearts weakens their aspiration for the hereafter and its eternal enjoyment.
Third significance:
Fasting is a practical embodiment of submission and servitude to Allaah, the Exalted, that the servant manifests by eating and drinking at night only in response to the call of his Lord, Allaah Who Says in the Noble Quran (what means): "And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread [of night]." [Quran; 2:187]. That is why the fasting Muslim should eat at Iftaar (break fast) time, at sunset, and just before dawn (Suhoor, or the per-dawn meal) because continuous fasting (day and night) is forbidden in Sharee'ah (Islamic law).
The act of eating is, therefore, a form of worship of Allaah, the Almighty. When dawn starts, Muslims discontinue eating and drinking (and having sex with their spouses) in compliance with Allaah's order, for He Says (what means): "…Then complete the fast until the night [i.e. sunset]." [Quran; 2:187]. In this way, the Muslim is educated about complete servitude to Allaah, the Most High, in such a way that when his Lord commands, he complies. It is, therefore, not simply a matter of personal taste, whim and disposition, but a matter of obedience to Allaah and implementation of His Commands.
Fourth significance:
Fasting is similarly a form of education to the whole society since when the fasting Muslim feels that people around him are all fasting, he finds fast no longer difficult, but feels that he is in harmony with the society to which he belongs through worship, the unifying factor of the whole community. Whoever compares voluntary fasting to the obligatory fast in the month of Ramadhaan perceives a certain difficulty in the former and easiness in the latter due to the aforementioned reasons. That is why Muslims find it very difficult to spend the month of Ramadhaan away from Muslim environments.


30 June, 2014

East and Central Africa weekly UN reports



Analysis: Looking beyond IGAD in South Sudan

lead photo
NAIROBI, 23 June 2014 (IRIN) - The northeast African regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been working to get the opposing sides in South Sudan to implement the multiple ceasefire and peace process commitments to try to end the crisis in South Sudan, but fighting has continued with little progress towards ending the impasse.
Read report online

Coral reef restoration can save lives, livelihoods

lead photo
KISUMU, 24 June 2014 (IRIN) - A new report suggests that preserving and restoring coral reefs may be one of the cheapest and most effective ways to mitigate coastal erosion and flooding.
Read report online

Flat funding, harsh laws could hurt Uganda's battle against HIV

lead photo
KAMPALA, 25 June 2014 (IRIN) - Inadequate funding coupled with harsh laws targeting same sex unions could erode the gains so far made in the fight against HIV in Uganda, activists warn.
Read report online

Sudanese refugees in South Sudan caught between two wars

lead photo
DORO REFUGEE CAMP, UPPER NILE STATE, 25 June 2014 (IRIN) - South Sudan's brutal conflict has throttled the supply of food to Sudanese refugees in the remote northeast of the country, fuelling tensions and hunger that have triggered a deadly crime wave and prompted thousands to return to the war-zone from which they fled.
Read report online

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations

Sent from my iPhone

29 June, 2014

Remember those who are being persecuted this Ramadan


Remember those who are being persecuted this Ramadan


by Ludovica Iaccino
Source: ibtimes.co.uk



By: Ludovica Iaccino

Source: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/

While many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are preparing to celebrate Ramadan, the month of fasting, there are some who will not be free to acknowledge the most sacred month of the Islamic calendar.

IBTimes UK looks at some of the countries where Muslims are persecuted for their beliefs and also looks back at examples of persecution of Muslims throughout history.

Muslims are currently persecuted in:

Myanmar

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority, originally from Bangladesh, who live in the predominantly Buddhist of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) .

Buddhist extremists refuse to acknowledge the Rohingya and claim they are Bengalis who belong in neighbouring Bangladesh.

A New York Times short documentary broadcast this month, shows how Myanmar authorities confine the Rohingya to ‘quasi-concentration camps’ or to their own villages, with reduced/minimal access to medical care and education.

More than 230 people have been killed in religious violence in Myanmar since June 2012 and more than 140,000 have been displaced.

Central African Republic (CAR)

The CAR conflict has pitted Muslim Seleka forces against Christian Anti-Balaka militias since the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim Michel Djotodia in 2012.

The two have continued to engage in tit-for-tat violence resulting in more than 2,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of displacements since.

Thousands of Muslims have fled Christian-majority areas as sectarian violence continues to rise.

“We didn’t want the Muslims here and we don’t want their mosque here anymore either,” Christian looter Guy Richard told news agency AP after more than 1,200 Muslims had fled the capital Bangui.

China

The Uyghur people are a Turkic Muslim minority living in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, known also as East Turkestan, in China.

The Uyghurs are subjected to religious discrimination by the Chinese government.

Since the founding of the Republic of China in 1912, some Uyghurs have demanded complete autonomy from the Chinese government.

Former Chinese leader Mao Zedong launched an anti-rightist campaign in 1957, aimed at purging dissidents and critics of the government. The campaign was believed to have also targeted the Uyghur nationalists.


During the Great Leap Forward Campaign (1958-1962), hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs fled Xinjiang to Soviet Union, due to a widespread famine.

China accuses Uyghur militants of waging a violent campaign for an independent state; however, Beijing is often accused of exaggerating Uyghur’s extremism to justify its religious crackdown on the Muslim minority.

India

Muslims have been often felt persecuted in India – the world’s largest Islamic community - by the Hindu majority.

Between 50,000-200,000 Muslims were believed to have been killed in pogroms in Hyderabad in 1948, during the Partition crisis.

Since independence, India has always maintained a constitutional commitment to secularism but Muslim-Hindu conflict hasd never been far from the surface. Since then, India has witnessed sporadic large-scale violence sparked by underlying tensions between sections of the Hindu and Muslim communities.

The sense of communal harmony between Hindus and Muslims in the post-partition period was compromised greatly by the razing of the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. The demolition took place in 1992 and was perpetrated by the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Last month, Narendra Modi, the leader of the BJP, was sworn in as India’s new prime minister. Questions still persist over PM Modi’s role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, when up to 2,000 Muslims were killed in religious riots. Human rights groups and the media have accsued Modi, who led the the Gujarat government at the time, for inflaming the violence and not protecting the Muslim community form the mob.

Angola

In November 2013 Angola ordered the shutdown of all mosques and declared Islam illegal.

Minister of culture Rosa Cruz e Silva called Islam a “sect” which would be banned as counter to Angolan customs and culture.

Muslims account for less than 1% of the population of 19 million, while more than half of the former Portuguese colony in south west Africa subscribe to Christianity.

Clashes between the two communities are frequently reported in the local media. Muslims, many of whom migrated from west Africa and Lebanon, often face hostility from lawmakers.




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