I've been really bad at this blogging thing, but I'm going to start up again insha'Allah.
BTW if you want to take a trip to Pakistan to view the madness first hand, let me know. There is a delegation heading there next week; I'll forward you the 411.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I've been really bad at this blogging thing, but I'm going to start up again insha'Allah.
Friday, December 14, 2007
At a November 15th press conference, politicians, community members, and clergy came out in support of LAX Hilton housekeepers who filed a complaint and won a citation against the hotel from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health for violating the Repetitive Motion Injury (RMI) standard.
Totaling $14,425 in proposed fines, this is the first time that CalOSHA has cited a hotel for violating the RMI standard. It cited the privately-owned LAX Hilton on October 30th for failure to control exposures causing such injuries and failing to train workers on injury symptoms, prevention and reporting. Additional violations included electrical, chemical and eye protection hazards and a failure to adequately complete accident investigation forms under the Injury and Illness Prevention Program Standard.
California is the only state in the United States that has a workplace repetitive motion injury standard. According to the LA Times, CalOSHA Director Len Welsh said the LAX Hilton "did not follow policies that other Hilton hotels followed." In the same article, Adela Barrientos, one of the LAX Hilton housekeepers who filed the complaint along with the Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, stated that "they keep putting more things in the room."
The LAX Hilton, located on Century Boulevard just outside the Los Angeles International Airport, is under a national boycott. Housekeepers there held a "Day of the Dead Tired" march through Los Angeles along Century Boulevard, drawing attention to work-related injuries and the need for health care.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 4:49 PM
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "O God, grant me life as a poor man, cause me to die as a poor man and resurrect me in the company of the poor." His wife asked him why he said that, and he replied: "Because (the poor) will enter Paradise (before) the rich. Do not turn away a poor man. . .even if all you can give is half a date. If you love the poor and bring them near you. . .God will bring you near Him on the Day of Resurrection."
(and I've seen this happen in Muslim countries!),
smiling at him or buying him lunch . . .
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 6:57 PM
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Mr. George Washington (where my money at?)
She thought he’d call (where my money at?)
She had a good day, bad day, sunny day, rainy day
All he wanna know is (where my money at?)
Closed legs don’t get fed, go out there and make my bread
All he wanna know is (where my money at?)
She ended up in a roll call, bruised up, scarred hard
All he wanna know is (where my money at?)
She thought he’d call (where my money at?)
See I’mma tell you like WU told me
Cash Rules everything around me
Singin’ dollar dollar bill yall (dollar, dollar bill yall)...
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 12:16 PM
Monday, November 26, 2007
For Immediate Release
November 26, 2007
Al-Awda Statement On Annapolis Conference
With the upcoming US-sponsored international conference in Annapolis MD, Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, reiterates once again that a just and lasting peace can only be achieved with the return of all Palestinians to their original homes, towns, and villages, with full restitution of all of their confiscated and destroyed property, and compensation. The Palestinian Arab people, regardless of their religious affiliation, are indigenous to Palestine. Therefore, they are entitled to live anywhere in their homeland Palestine which encompasses present-day [apartheid] "Israel", the West Bank and Gaza Strip. No agreement, negotiations or parties which purport to trade away these rights or any other inalienable rights can have any legal basis and cannot bind or compel the Palestinian
people to end the struggle for the fulfillment of all of their rights.
The definition of [apartheid] Israel as a "Jewish state", granting exclusive rights to citizenship and land to any Jew from anywhere in the world, while denying the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine their fundamental rights, is part and parcel of the racism inherent in the colonialist Zionist ideology which underlies the policies and laws of the settler state of [apartheid] "Israel". Any sacrifice of any part of our land and culture will represent a blow to the entire Arab peoples and the lands of West Asia and Africa.
The US government subsidizes [apartheid] Israel's injustices with billions of dollars annually. Any Palestinian and other Arab participating in accommodation with
the Zionist and US regimes in order to promote normalization and put an end to the Palestinian liberation struggle, stand exposed naked before the world as traitors to our people.
Until all Palestinians exercise their right to return and self determination, Al-Awda calls on all its members and supporters to redouble their efforts, working for and demanding:
1. An end to all US political, military and economic aid to [apartheid] "Israel"
2. The divestment of all public and private entities from all Zionist corporations, and American corporations with subsidiaries operating within [apartheid] "Israel"
3. An end to the investment of Labor Union members' pension funds in[apartheid] "Israel"
4. The boycott of all [apartheid] "Israeli" products
The 60 year commemoration of the Palestinian Nakba will take place in May 2008. Al-Awda's 6th Annual International Convention will take place in Anaheim, California, May 16-18, 2008. The convention will be dedicated to renewing our struggle to return and to reclaim our land no matter what deals are made in Annapolis.
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition
PO Box 131352
Carlsbad, CA 92013, USA
Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC) is the largest network of grassroots activists and students dedicated to Palestinian human rights. We are a not for profit tax-exempt educational and charitable 501(c)(3) organization as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States of America. Under IRS guidelines, your donations to PRRC are tax-deductible. To make a donation, please go to http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html
Monday, November 19, 2007
In a special pre-Thanksgiving radio address broadcast from the White House, President George W. Bush asked his fellow Americans to join him in giving thanks for the following things:
“My fellow Americans, let’s be thankful for global warming, because as these winter months approach, it makes the world such a nice, toasty place.
“Let’s be thankful for all of the food on our tables, unless some of it is from China.
“Let’s be thankful that Pakistan will have free and fair elections, and maybe someday we will, too.
“Let’s be thankful for the iPhone, except for those losers who actually paid full price for it.
“Let’s be grateful that I didn’t take out a subprime mortgage on the White House like Mr. Cheney told me to.
“Let's be thankful that nuclear weapons haven’t fallen into the hands of the wrong people, like Nancy Pelosi or Rosie O’Donnell.
“Let’s be thankful that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s writers are on strike, and hopefully will stay that way for the rest of my term in office.
“Let's be thankful that even though my approval numbers are falling, they’re still higher than my grades at Yale.
“Let’s be thankful that Osama bin Laden dyed his hair in his last video, because that made him look really gay.
“Let's be thankful for Guitar Hero III, which really helps you get through those long Cabinet meetings when they're going on and on about the economy.
“Let's be thankful that our military commanders have nothing bad to say about the war in Iraq until after they’re retired.
“Let's be thankful that in nine months it will be August and then I can go on summer vacation again.
“And finally, my fellow Americans, let's be thankful that, even though Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, I’m still a lock for the Nobel War Prize.”
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Most Americans have sex on the third date. I married my husband after meeting him for the third time. I'm Indian, and having an arranged marriage is something that my ancient culture still thinks is a great idea.
Since the day I was born, my parents had been planning this occasion. When I was 20, they presented me with my first proposal. I found him overbearing, and I desperately hoped there would be more suitors. There were. But I passed on every Raj, Arun, and Sanjay — too fat, too boring, too short.
By age 26, after attending more than 150 weddings, I was fast approaching my "expiration date." So my parents put pressure on our community — not to mention my relatives — to find The One. They urged me to be more flexible, and I had no reason to argue. Being a spinster in Indian society is considered an embarrassment, a burden on the family. I was raised to think a smiling groom, approved and blessed by my parents, was the ultimate achievement. While Western teenagers spent summers working the cash register at the mall, I spent mine learning to sew and cook so that I could someday be a successful wife.
. . .
That's when I started to realize that I just might have the best of both worlds. I marinated my Indian marriage in the flavors of Manhattan. I kept the sari and bought the Jimmy Choos. I made fabulous curries, seasoned with spices from Dean & Deluca. And after months of enjoying decidedly non-Indian experiences of seders, Saks, and sake, I felt confident enough to direct Indian guests to a hotel, occasionally throwing in a MetroCard.
As Indian women gain financial independence, it is inevitable that we will see fewer arranged marriages — and maybe that's too bad. I firmly believe that our marriage works because it is blessed and supported by our families. The strength we get from their advice (solicited and unsolicited) helps us overcome difficult times. Had I found my own mate, I'm sure my parents would have come around, but I'd have to live knowing that they wouldn't be truly emotionally invested in the success of the marriage.
I've come to believe it's not so much how you get hitched but what you do with your relationship that matters. Although my husband doesn't always agree with his opinionated and selectively liberated wife, he openly expresses his love. Back home, couples don't even hold hands on the street. Here, well, couples do a lot more than that. India may have found me a husband, but America showed me how much fun it is to be his wife. Power to my parents for arranging this union.
Monday, November 12, 2007
(In case you need a break from the LAPD stuff. . . )
After almost 10 YEARS of waiting, the Higher Education Act is finally on the move!
The Higher Education Act was originally introduced in 1965 to help "strengthen educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education." It is the single most comprehensive bill dealing with higher education access on the federal level. HEA is supposed to be renewed every 5-7 years, but hasn't been reauthorized since 1998!
On Friday, the House Education & Labor Committee introduced the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 (Higher Education Act Reauthorization). The committee will make changes to the bill this week and the full House will vote on the bill soon.
Today, you have the chance to make sure college is affordable and accessible for generations to come.
Passage of the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007 will:
* Simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application by allowing the Department of Education to use IRS information already available
* Expand higher education access for low income and underrepresented students by making the Pell Grant available year round, strengthening early intervention & outreach programs such as GEAR UP & TRIO, and expanding funding for graduate students at historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and other minority serving schools.
* Restore the integrity and accountability of student loan programs by requiring schools to adopt codes of conduct, providing student borrowers with full information about their federal and private loan options, and protects students from aggressive marketing practices by lenders
Congress needs to hear from students and their families about the need to make higher education more affordable and accessible!
Flood your Representatives' phone lines WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY and urge them to make higher education a right!
Click here for a sample call-in script!
For more information on the Higher Education Act, visit www.usstudents.org or email us at email@example.com.
Friday, November 09, 2007
This is how it all starts: the LAPD is "mapping" the Muslim community! I'm not sure what I'm more distraught about: the mapping or the complicity and submission by certain Muslims involved in all of this. Check out the nitty-gritty here!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
San Francisco, November 8, 2007 -- The South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA) condemns the "state of emergency" declared in Pakistan on November 3rd, 2007 by President General Pervez Musharraf, his suspension of civil rights, and the ensuing state violence against the Pakistani judiciary, bar, pro-democracy activists, human rights organizations and independent media.
In recent days, the Pakistani military state has beaten and jailed a staggering number of lawyers and judges for supporting an independent judiciary and for opposing military dictatorship. Victims include Muneer Malik, past President of the Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, whom SABA recently honored at a joint event with the Bay Area Association of Muslim Lawyers. In fact, a majority of the Supreme Court justices and their families have been put under house arrest for refusing to give their imprimatur to President Musharraf's overthrow of constitutional governance.
We stand in solidarity with fellow lawyers who are fending off bayonets, batons and bullets in the streets of Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and other Pakistani cities to defend the rule of law. This military crackdown violates international law and threatens the freedom and liberty of all Pakistanis.
SABA calls on President Musharraf immediately to end the "state of emergency," to restore the judiciary, and to release all lawyers imprisoned for opposing the military state. As South Asian attorneys, we add our voices to the chorus of: "Qanoon ki baladasti, zindabad! Long live the rule of law!" We call on all lawyers to support the sacrifice of our colleagues in Pakistan and work towards their immediate release.
Media Contact: Supriya Sundarrajan
Monday, November 05, 2007
Well according to Dilbert, everybody should convert because:
Osama and his gang want to form a giant caliphate, essentially a world government run by Islamic law with an Islamic leader. But if 300 million Americans become Islamic, he’s not going to want us in the group because we’d be too influential with our relatively moderate ways. We’d be unsuitable as either an enemy or an ally. His best strategy would be to ignore us.BUT would you be happy as a Muslim?
And it’s irrational to believe you would not be happy as a Muslim when you see plenty of practicing Muslims in this country who are perfectly happy with their choice. You would be happy with any religion after you got used to it, especially if all your friends joined in.
(Hat tip: Mike Yi)
Thursday, November 01, 2007
To get on the ballot, a candidate must demonstrate two requirements: that he or she is viable nationally and has spent time campaigning in the state.
Carol Fowler, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party and a member of the executive council, suggested Wednesday that Colbert did not meet the standard of national viability.
. . .
Meanwhile, long shots Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel did make the cut.
part of Colbert's campaign team? Yay for Kucinich though!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
"I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health," Kucinich, a quirky, long-shot candidate in the race for his party's presidential nomination in the November, 2008 election. "There's something wrong. He does not seem to understand his words have real impact."
Monday, October 29, 2007
"Everyone knows factories in Shahpur Jat use child labor — it's an open secret," says Puja Sahu, owner of a fashionable boutique in the area where the Observer reporter allegedly found the sweatshop. Shahpur Jat lies in the southern part of Delhi and houses grimy, dimly lit sweatshops behind plush, high-end boutiques. On Monday, there were no children working in the unit that had reportedly been making clothes for Gap, but several children were seen embroidering clothes in a number of other factories. Sahu says trained embroiderers and tailors are paid between $110 and $150 a month, whereas "children can be employed for less than half of this, sometimes for no money at all if their parents have sold them off."
The Indian government tried to downplay the issue and none of the ministries in whose domain it has arisen has commented. It was left to Commerce Minister Kamal Nath to react to the report. According to the Times of India, Nath said the allegations would be probed, while warning developed countries against using allegations of child labor as a pretext for taking protectionist tariff measures. Children's rights activists, however, see the latest allegations as typical of the problems associated with India's economic rise, where growth is prioritized over social equity. Pradeep Narayan of the non-profit Child Rights and You says, "Policies on liberalization, privatization, trade, export-import, et cetera get implemented very fast and very effectively. But the policies on the social sector, like health or child labor, never do."
Sunday, October 28, 2007
You knew it had to happen.
The moment firefighters began to get an edge on the fires, pundits, bloggers and other gasbags couldn't wait to proclaim San Diego's superiority over New Orleans in government response to disaster.
A writer on the conservative Red State website said the difference, of course, was firm Republican leadership in San Diego.
"New Orleans, on the other hand," said the writer, "was a city on the federal dole dominated by Democrats, racial politics, and the legacy of Huey Long's populist-socialist dreams."
Everybody got that?
Republicans are better at evacuations than Democrats. This seems to be particularly true when the Republicans in question can flee down the highway in Yukons while Democrats wait for buses trapped under water.
. . .
"It's phenomenally better," Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff said of the difference in federal response, "because we have been planning and preparing and training together for the last 2 1/2 years."
There you go.
You'd think San Diego's staunch defenders would be thanking New Orleans for making these improvements possible, rather than all but calling the recovering bayou city a jungle filled with savages who got what they deserved.
But we have different classes of people.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
9) Muslim Student Association
Call me crazy, but as a Jew, I am very nervous about organizations that would like to see death to Israel. It’s just a personal preference of mine that Israel be left to… I don’t know… survive? That is why the Muslim Student Association (MSA) made the list.
. . .
MSA is a group that supports radical Islam that calls for the death of Jews, the wiping out of the United States, raises money for Hamas, and has many other ties to terrorist organizations.
. . .
2) Universities and Colleges
Anyone familiar with my column at Family Security Matters knows my thoughts on the Left’s stranglehold on American colleges and universities. Unfortunately, many professors use the various organizations on this list as a part of their curriculum, often selectively ignoring facts that don’t support their far-Left agenda.
Full Story: Family Security Matters
(Hijab tip: Rose Mishaan)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The Kleptocrat in an Hermes Headscarf
October 22, 2007
By JEMIMA KHAN
She's back. Hurrah! She's a woman. She's brave. She's a moderate. She speaks good English. She's Oxford-educated, no less. And she's not bad looking either.
I admit I'm biased. I don't like Benazir Bhutto. She called me names during her election campaign in 1996 and it left a bitter taste. Petty personal grievances aside, I still find jubilant reports of her return to Pakistan depressing. Let's be clear about this before she's turned into a martyr.
This is no Aung San Suu Kyi, despite her repeated insistence that she's "fighting for democracy", or even more incredibly, "fighting for Pakistan's poor".
This is the woman who was twice dismissed on corruption charges. She went into self-imposed exile while investigations continued into millions she had allegedly stashed away into Swiss bank accounts ($1.5 billion by the reckoning of Musharraf's own "National Accountability Bureau").
She has only been able to return because Musharraf, that megalomaniac, knows that his future depends on the grassroots diehard supporters inherited from her father's party, the PPP.
As a result, Musharraf, who in his first months in power declared it his express intention to wipe out corruption, has dropped all charges against her and granted her immunity from prosecution. Forever.
Notably, he did not do the same for his other political rival, Nawaz Sharif, who was recently deported after attempting his own spectacular return to Pakistan.
But the difference is that Benazir is a pro at playing to the West. And that's what counts. She talks about women and extremism and the West applauds. And then conspires.
The Americans and the British are acutely aware that their strategy in the region is failing and that Musharraf's hold on power is ever more tenuous. They have pressed hard for Benazir and the General to cut a deal that would allow them to share power for the next five years in a "liberal forces government".
It's all totally bogus. Benazir may speak the language of liberalism and look good on Larry King's sofa, but both her terms in office were marked by incompetence, extra-judicial killings and brazen looting of the treasury, with the help of her husband--famously known in Pakistan as Mr 10 Per Cent.
In a country that tops the international corruption league, she was its most self-enriching leader.
Benazir has always cynically used her gender to manipulate: I loved her answer to David Frost when he asked her how many millions she had in her Swiss bank accounts. "David, I think that's a very sexist question."
A non sequitur (does loot have a gender?) but one that brought the uncomfortable line of questioning to a swift end.
Of all Pakistan's elected leaders she conspicuously did the least to help the cause of women. She never, for example, repealed the Hudood Ordinances, Pakistan's controversial laws that made no distinction between rape and adultery.
She preferred instead to kowtow to the mullahs in order to cling to power, forming an expedient alliance with Pakistan's Religious Coalition Party and leaving Pakistan's women as powerless as she found them.
The problem is that the West never seems to learn; playing favourites in a complicated nation's politics always backfires. Imposing Benazir on Pakistan is the opposite of democratic and doubtless will cause more chaos in an already unstable country.
Make no mistake, Benazir may look the part, but she's as ruthless and conniving as they come--a kleptocrat in a Hermes headscarf.
Jemima Khan is an ambassador to Unicef.
(Hijab tip: Huda Shaka)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This fun-filled week will feature an array of speakers, films, enlightening literature and the opportunity to participate in a sit-in. Student organizers can choose from a delightful list of speakers, including:
Mark Steyn, a man who calls himself a "culturalist" rather than a "racist" for finding Western culture preferable to Arab culture and who supports immigration with the condition of assimilation
Phyllis Chesler, a professor of women's studies who wrote of the new anti-Semitism, which essentially encompasses anyone opposed to Israel's policies
And, if you're really lucky, like students at the University of Southern California, Ann Coulter, who once referred to Muslims as "ragheads" and is now apparently crusading for Muslim women's rights.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Born in Kenya of Indian heritage, I came to the United States at age 6, settling with my family in upstate New York. Growing up Muslim in suburban America, I missed out on the typical “Dawson’s Creek” method of courtship: the flirting, the fighting, the making up and making out.
. . .
So my friends and I had high expectations when it came to marriage, which was supposed to quickly follow graduation from college. That’s when our parents, many of whom had entered into arranged marriages, told us it was time to find the one man we would be waking up with for the rest of our lives, God willing. They just didn’t tell us how.
. . .
Yet now, at 29, despite all of my “meetings,” I remain unmarried. And in the last five years I’ve exhausted the patience of my matchmaking aunties and friends who have offered up their husbands’ childhood playmates.
I began to panic when I realized people were no longer even asking me how my husband hunt was going. I was too old to be hanging out at the mosque weekend school, where scarf-wearing teenage girls in tight jeans check out the boys from a distance (while pretending not to look). Yet I was not at the point where I’d consider importing a spouse from the subcontinent.
Monday, October 08, 2007
Please note: Columbus was a murderer. One of the main components of his "discovery" included raping and murdering the natives, not to mention pillaging their villages. I'm sorry, did you miss that? People died so you could get the day off from work today.
This is very much like Thanksgiving, aka Rape and Pillage day.
Maybe this is what is wrong with Amerikkka (us). We were "discovered" and founded by murderers, we are led by murderers and yet all we can think of is how it means we get the day off work.
And Islam is the problem? Give me a break.
Read a book folks, read a book.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The last ten nights of Ramadan are upon us. And soon after this you the journey for Hajj will begin for Muslims around the world.
If you make the same dua, each day, for the last ten nights of Ramadan, it's guaranteed that you would have made that dua during Laylatul-Qadr. (A night worth 1000 months of reward in the sight of Allah).
So, prepare your dua from now!
Step 1: Ask yourself, "If Allah said to me, I'll give you anything you wish, just ask!" What would you ask for? Make a list. (Try to fill two pages worth of dua, from the goodness of this life and the next.
Step 2: Pick about six of those things
Step 3: Make dua for those siz things consistently every night for the last ten nights of Ramadan.
Of course, make as much dua as you want, but make sure these six things are consistent.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of CCR’s case charging Caterpillar, Inc. with aiding and abetting war crimes and other serious human rights violations on the grounds that the company provided bulldozers to Israel knowing they would be used unlawfully to demolish homes and endanger civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
[The] decision from a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals found that it did not have jurisdiction to decide the case because Caterpillar’s bulldozers were ultimately paid for with money from the United States. Because of the U.S. government’s decision to grant military assistance to Israel, any decision regarding whether Caterpillar aided and abetted war crimes would impermissibly intrude upon the executive branch’s foreign policy decisions. In today’s decision, the Court did not rule on the question of whether Caterpillar aided and abetted Israeli war crimes.
“We are extremely disappointed with the Court’s refusal to decide whether Caterpillar violated the law, essentially because it did not want to question the U.S. decision to pay for the bulldozers,” said CCR Senior Attorney Maria LaHood. “The Court has a constitutional duty to uphold the law, and the law prohibits aiding and abetting war crimes - regardless of who’s footing the bill.”
(With respect to the concern of whether or not I will ever need to know the workings of the "political question" doctrine, the answer appears to be "YES!")
And the injustice continues . . .
Monday, September 24, 2007
DETROIT — The United Auto Workers has launched a national strike against General Motors Corp., GM spokesman Dan Flores said Monday. It's the first nationwide strike during auto contract negotiations since 1976.
Workers walked off the job and began picketing Monday outside GM plants after UAW's late morning strike deadline passed.
Monday, September 17, 2007
(I <3 this quote. It's been circulating via email for sometime now - I thought I'd share in case some of you out there had not yet seen it. Disclaimer: I haven't verified it's authenticity.)
From Ronald Reagan's recently published diaries.
Entry: May 17, 1986;
"A moment I've been dreading. George brought his
ne're-do-well son around this morning and asked me to
find the kid a job. Not the political one who lives
in Florida. The one who hangs around here all the
time looking shiftless. This so-called kid is already
almost 40 and has never had a real job. Maybe I'll
call Kinsley over at The New Republic and see if
they'll hire him as a contributing editor or
something. That looks like easy work."
Friday, September 14, 2007
(Sadly, that is being called a milestone.)
BUT 9.7 million children under age 5 will still die this year. Do your part to make a difference. Donate NOW.
(Reminder to myself before all others: the money spent on a new pair of shoes, even those on clearance, can save a life!)
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
3,000 people died in the World Trade Center Attacks.
Over 650,000 people have died as a result of the illegal war we are conducting in Iraq.
It's 9-11 EVERY DAY in Iraq!
(Not to mention Afghanistan, Palestine, etc.!)
Sunday, September 09, 2007
GUPS @ San Francisco State University
PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY
Sept 5, 2007
Dear community members:
We are thrilled to announce that we have finally won approval for the SFSU Palestine Mural despite ferocious opposition.
This permanent piece of art honoring the late professor Edward Said is the first of its kind on any American university campus wall; it has been attained after a long, unrelenting, and sustained struggle spearheaded by the Palestinian students of SFSU GUPS and allies and supported by the Bay Area Arab American community and friends.
You don't want to miss the exciting celebration to inaugurate the mural that will be held at the Cesar Chavez Student Center in San Francisco State University on November 2, 2007. The event will feature cultural presentations, inspirational speakers, music, food, and more throughout the day and a moving night program. We are planning to invite members of the Said family to join us in these activities.
This is history in the making. This mural is more than just a piece of art; it signifies the unbreakable bond between Palestine and the Palestinians everywhere including US campuses. It recognizes the ground-breaking and prolific academic and intellectual work to which Professor Said dedicated his life and his relentless defense of peace and justice. The mural is an important culmination of the Palestinian students' historic struggle for Palestinian human and national rights. The mural shall serve as a daily reminder of the Palestinian struggle, establishes a permanent presence of the Palestinian issue, and links it to the three other murals that celebrate peoples' struggles for social justice, self-determination, and freedom.
Therefore, we in GUPS, and the Cesar Chavez Student Center, have the honor to invite you all to join in celebrating this historic event.
If you need more information or like to know what you can do to support this celebration please contact GUPS by email at GUPS@sfsu.edu or by visiting our website.
1650 Holloway Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94132
We hope to see you all there.
General Union of Palestine Students
San Francisco State University Chapter
Friday, September 07, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
Today the United Steelworkers and United Mine Workers of America, which have a combined 1.8 million members, threw their support behind Mr. Edwards. His campaign said the endorsements gave him “the largest bloc of union support” of any of the presidential candidates so far.
In a statement announcing the Labor Day endorsement, the steel union cited Mr. Edwards’s electability in the general election — a theme his campaign has been pushing as a way to set him apart from top rivals Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.
“The union movement is not just important for the past, it is crucial to strengthening and growing the middle class in America, crucial to lifting millions of Americans out of poverty,” Mr. Edwards said while visiting a region of the country where the steel and manufacturing businesses have declined.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 11:02 AM
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
If you know anything about me, it's likely you know about my sad-sad driving record. Furthermore, a few of my clients this summer were individuals who had fallen victim to some of these myths resulting in hundreds of dollars in penalties and suspended driver licenses.
It should be no surprise then that I found this MSN Money article on the 8 Top Traffic Myths to be both funny and interesting.
1. If the officer makes a single mistake on your ticket, the case will be dropped.
2. If the officer doesn't show up in court, you automatically win.
3. Red cars get more tickets.
4. You need a lawyer to beat a ticket.
5. If you get a ticket in another state, your home state won't find out about it.
6. You can make up an excuse to get out of the ticket.
7. A radar detector will ensure that you never get pulled over.
8. If you don't sign the ticket, it will be dismissed.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 8:15 PM
Ellen Shershow: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jill Manton: email@example.com
Public Art Program, SF Arts Commission
25 Van Ness Ave, Suite 240
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dear SF Arts Commission,
I am writing to express my support of the mural on 24th and Capp in its entirety, including the positive images of Palestinian liberation struggles. I applaud the SF Arts Commission for their encouragement of self-expression and youth leadership development, and want to ensure that the Commission continues to allow for and insist on the artistic freedom of the HOMEY artists.
This mural represents the united struggles of people of color in the Mission, including the Palestinian and Arab community working with, living amongst, and supporting the young people of this neighborhood. The mural depicts self-determination for all and breaking down barriers as major themes. Just as residents of the Mission are fighting displacement locally and walls separating them from their homelands, so too are Palestinians.
As artists, you know the importance of freedom of creativity and the right to express strongly your beliefs and experiences. The muralist tradition has always been rooted in its depiction of popular history and struggle as experienced by the artist and the community the mural is being made in. To censor this narrative dismisses the central function, purpose, and power of the medium and the communities it speaks to. I hope this mural can not only visually represent self-determination, but also embody the self-determination of young artists and Mission residents through your help maintaining the integrity of the mural and the traditions and lived experiences which have inspired it.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 10:46 AM
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 3:01 PM
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
. . . Ramadan is just a little over a month away!
10 Great Goals to Set for This Ramadan
1. Eat, drink and be moderate
Almost all of us do it - once Iftar time hits, we just keep plowing food and drink into our mouths till it's hard to move afterwards. And those of us who do it know this is totally contrary to the spirit of Ramadan, through which we're supposed to learn self-control not self-indulgence. Let's try to stick to the Prophetic rule on eating: fill our stomachs with one-third food, one-third water and one-third breathing space, even in Ramadan.
2. Give a dollar a day in charity...or five or ten
The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was always generous but even more so in Ramadan. Let's open our hearts and dig a little deeper in our wallets this year. Even less than a dollar a day adds up. Whatever you can give, it's the intention that counts.
3. Memorize 4 new Surahs
Memorizing the Quran often seems like a daunting task. But the key is doing it in small bites. Since there are four weeks in Ramadan, try to memorize one new Surah a week. Start off with a short, easy one. Once you've started, you'll build momentum and may even want to memorize a longer one the following week.
4. Go to Tarawih prayers
Post-Iftar, the first urge is to sleep after an exhausting day. But try your best to head out to the mosque for Tarawih prayers. Praying alone is wonderful, but doing it in congregation is fantastic. The community spirit is part of Ramadan's blessings. Don't miss it this year. If going every day is not possible, try going at least one week.
Monday, August 06, 2007
So Why Hasn’t Iran Started by Wiping Its Own Jews Off the Map?
Israel's Jewish Problem in Tehran
By Jonathan Cook
Iran is the new Nazi Germany and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the new Hitler. Or so Israeli officials have been declaring for months as they and their American allies try to persuade the doubters in Washington that an attack on Tehran is essential. And if the latest media reports are to be trusted, it looks like they may again be winning the battle for hearts and minds: Vice-President Dick Cheney is said to be diverting the White House back on track to launch a military strike.
Earlier this year Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s opposition leader and the man who appears to be styling himself scaremonger-in-chief, told us: “It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs.” Of Ahmadinejad, he said: “He is preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state.”
A few weeks ago, as Israel’s military intelligence claimed -- as it has been doing regularly since the early 1990s -- that Iran is only a year or so away from the “point of no return” on developing a nuclear warhead, Netanyahu was at it again. “Iran could be the first undeterrable nuclear power,” he warned, adding: “This is a Jewish problem like Hitler was a Jewish problem … The future of the Jewish people depends on the future of Israel.”
Monday, July 30, 2007
"To those who say the term 'hijab' is not explicitly mentioned in the Qur'an and thus it cannot be fard, ask them: what then about the fact that the words 'Asr,' 'Maghrib' and 'Ishaa' are not explicitly mentioned in the Qur'an?"
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
(Hat tip to CAIR: I love their daily news briefs compilation!)
US House of Representatives: 2006 Cycle
- Kirk, Mark (R-IL) : $76, 564
- Ellsworth, Brad (D-IN) : $48, 750
- Hoyer, Steny (D-MD) : $44,500
US House of Represenatives: Career
- Berkley, Shelly (D-NV) : $246, 205
- Frost, Martin (D-TX) : $190, 014
- Engel, Eliot (D-NY) : $179,918
US Senate: 2006 Cycle
- Lieberman, Joseph (D-CT) : $127,093
- Nelson, Bill (R-FL) : $89,861
- Kyl, Jon (R-AZ) : $87,000
US Senate: Career
- Levin, Carl (D-MI) : $658,887
- Harkin, Tom (D-IA) : $520,950
- Specter, Arlen (R-PA) : $489,973
We wonder why the US is unable to faciliate peace in the Middle East - I think it might have something to do wtih the fact that American politicians are selling their souls to Apartheid advocates.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Thank you Cindy Sheehan. Thank you for reminding me why I've always hesitated when it came to voting Democrat.
I was frightened out of ever voting for a third party, or an independent candidate, but voting out of fear is one of the things that bestowed us with the Bush crime mob and may give us the Republican, if not in party affiliation, Hillary Clinton.
I was a lifelong Democrat only because the choices were limited. The Democrats are the party of slavery and were the party that started every war in the 20th century, except the other Bush debacle. The Federal Reserve, permanent federal income taxes, not one but two World Wars, Japanese concentration camps, and not one but two atom bombs dropped on the innocent citizens of Japan -- all brought to us via the Democrats.
Read on at: SF Chronicle
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
From Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi's response to a question regarding a woman's voice, in Islam:
The promotion of such negativity against women has led many 'scholars' and 'Imams' to make the unsubstantiated ruling about female speech. They claim that women should lower their voice to whispers or even silence except when she speaks to her husband, her guardian or other females. The female act of communication has become to some a source of temptation and allurement to the male.
The Qur'an, however, specifically mentions that those seeking information from the Prophet's wives were to address them from behind a screen (Al-Ahzab 33: 53). Since questions require answers, the Mothers of the Believers offered fatwas to those who asked and narrated hadiths to whomever wished to transmit them.
Furthermore, women were accustomed to posing questions to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) while men were present. Neither were they embarrassed to have their voices heard nor did the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prevent them from forwarding their inquires. Even in the case of `Umar when he was challenged by a woman during his khutbah (Friday sermon) on the pulpit, he did not deny her. Rather, he admitted that she was right and he was wrong and said: 'Everybody is more knowledgeable than `Umar.'
Another Qur'anic example of a woman speaking publicly is that the daughters of the Shu`ayb mentioned in the Qur'an in surat Al-Qasas, verse 23. Furthermore, the Qur'an narrates the conversation between Sulayman and the Queen of Sheba as well as between her and her subjects.
All of these examples support the fatwa that women are allowed to voice their opinion publicly, for whatever has been prescribed to those before us is prescribed to us, unless it’s unanimously rejected by Islamic law.
Read on at: Islam Online
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Muslim juror ‘listened to iPod under hijab’
The Muslim woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is accused of concealing the device beneath her headscarf so that she could listen to music during the testimony of a man who bludgeoned his disabled wife to
Read on at Times Online
There are sooo many issues with this situation. Assuming this is an accurate report, my top two:
- As folks who depend on democratic tools like a jury, can we please start showing it the respect it deserves.
- Wow. This has the potential to make wearing hijab an obnoxious burden on female jurors!
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Happy 4th of July?
By Guest Blogger Yesi King
As many U.S. residents stock up on beer, barbecue and chips, and families happily sit around excited circles to anticipate the crackling and luminous fireworks that will light up the sky for the most revered of American holidays, many people across the globe suffer from U.S. policies. This day is a reminder of the ‘freedom’ we have and enjoy. However, the irony in Americans enthusiasm lies is the mentality that promotes perceptions like “don’t forget what this day is all about,” or “don't let us forget those brave men and women that fought and died so that we might have the freedom to speak up when things are not as they should be...” Such patriotism is instilled in the institutions of this country in an attempt to quiet dissent over government policies that at the same time promote quite the opposite.
By Howard Zinn
On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.
Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?
These ways of thinking -- cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on -- have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.
National spirit can be benign in a country that is small and lacking both in military power and a hunger for expansion (Switzerland, Norway, Costa Rica and many more). But in a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves.
Monday, July 02, 2007
A Saudi friend of mine once said that “the only thing more cliché than talking about the veil is apologizing for talking about the veil.” She’s right; the subject’s boring, long-exhausted. Yet, for Muslim women, it’s one subject that won’t go away. Here’s an insider tip for my male Muslim friends, even the so-called progressive ones who say they don’t care whether women veil or not: the difference between you and me is that you’ve never had to make this decision. And as much as we love you — plural — for claiming that you don’t care what conclusion we come to, the fact is you will never have to be in this position. And that, right there, makes your experience of Islam different from ours.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO - A Muslim teenager who was ordered by a school monitor to take off a headscarf she wore for religious reasons returned to classes after school officials apologized to the family.
Issra Omer, 13, told her parents she was too embarrassed to show up for summer school classes at Seaside High School on Wednesday, the day after a monitor demanded she remove her hijab, the Muslim scarf covering the head and neck, to conform to the district's no-hat policy. Issra, whose family is originally from Sudan, explained that her scarf is worn for religious reasons, but the school employee still yelled at her, said her father, Yousif Omer. The teenager, who will be starting 9th grade in the fall, felt humiliated by being singled out in front of her peers, and started crying, he said. The school's principal, Syd Renwick, explained the employee didn't intend any harm.
Read on at: The Californian
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Food for thought as we near the end of World Refugee Day:
- As of December 31, 2005, the largest source countries of refugees are the Palestinian Territories, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, and Sudan.
- An estimated 80% of refugees are women and children. They often carry the heaviest burden of survival for themselves and their families. Women and adolescent girls in refugee settings are especially vulnerable to exploitation, rape, abuse and other forms of gender-based violence.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
It seems as though maybe the folks at CAIR Watch are actually very fond of me. It turns out they came back to my blog when they heard I posted about being profiled on their website - and they updated the profile accordingly!
"About Billoo being profiled on CAIR Watch: "It's sad because I don't deserve such an honor. Subhan'Allah a lot of the folks in that Hall of Fame [CAIR Watch Profiles] are true superstars. We're talking about the likes of Dr. Sami Al-Arian who has suffered ridiculous injustices, along with so many others who have made innumerable contributions to the cause of social justice. I'm not fit to clean the shoes of so many of those people." (CWZY MUSLIMA, ‘Famous,’ June 12, 2007)"
Check it out: CAIR Watch
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 10:17 AM
"Objectively, the American public is much more responsible for the crimes committed in its name than were the people of Germany for the horrors of the Third Reich. We have far more knowledge, and far greater freedom and opportunity to stop our government's criminal behavior."
Read on at: Counter Punch
Friday, June 15, 2007
The Bay Area had been making me crazy for a while and I couldn't understand why. However, this past Wednesday (when I received an email about a HUGE event taking place this Saturday (mind you I'm on a lot of listservs, and there had been almost ZERO advertising for this event beforehand)) it kind of all just fell in place. It isn't there aren't enough activist or even spiritual events up here - rather it is that there is almost ZERO coordination amongst the various hosting/organizing groups. People sometimes double and triple schedule various events on the same day such that you could have several events happening in one weekend and NO events in another. Unlike in Southern California (Alhamdulillah for SCAMA!), the Bay Area does not seem to have a single location where ALL relevant events are listed such that people could refer to it before deciding on dates.
So, as a minimal contribution to event coordination in general (as well as my sanity) I decided I was going to put every event that ever came my way HERE.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
So yes for the 2nd time now in six months, an Islamophobic website has decided to make a feature presentation out of me!
- It's crazy because of all of my years of activism, I'd have to say that at least in these past 10 months I've been less of an activist than ever before. In fact, a large amount of my activism has become confined to my blogs - are the Islamophobes really that concerned about my minimal contributions to the marketplace of ideas?
- It's sad because I don't deserve such an honor. Subhan'Allah a lot of the folks in that Hall of Fame are true superstars. We're talking about the likes of Dr. Sami Al-Arian who has suffered ridiculous injustices, along with so many others who have made innumerable contributions to the cause of social justice. I'm not fit to clean the shoes of so many of those people.
- On the upside, I'd like to thank the CAIR Watch folks for picking a somewhat decent picture of me. When the Militant Islam Monitor/Pipes drama went down, they first put up a video of somebody who was not me and when they finally put up a picture of me it wasn't such a great one. However, I'd have to say that relatively speaking I actually like the one up on CAIR Watch. Alhamdulillah.
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Chinese Leave Guantánamo for Albanian Limbo
TIRANA, Albania — Ahktar Qassim Basit says he is not angry about the four years he spent as an American prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, before his captors mumbled a brief apology and flew him to this drab Balkan capital to begin a new life as a refugee.
It is this new life in Albania, Mr. Basit and other former Guantánamo detainees say, that is driving them to desperation.
The men, Muslims from western China’s Uighur ethnic minority, were freed from their confinement in Cuba after they were found to pose no threat to the United States. They have now lived for more than a year in a squalid government refugee center on the grubby outskirts of Tirana, guarded by armed policemen.
The men have been told that they will need to get work to move out of the center, they said, but that they must learn the Albanian language to get work permits. For now, they subsist on free meals heavy with macaroni and rice, and monthly stipends of about $67, which they spend mostly on brief telephone calls to their families. But some of the men have already lost hope of ever seeing their wives and children again.
“We suffered very much at Guantánamo, but we continue to suffer here,” Mr. Basit said. “The other prisoners had their countries, but we are like orphans: we have no place to go.”
Mr. Basit and four other men here, who spent time at a hamlet in Afghanistan run by Uighur separatists, are still considered terrorist suspects by China’s Communist government. Only Albania’s pro-American government would give them asylum, but Albanian officials have since told the men they cannot afford to give them much else.
Things could be worse, the former prisoners note. At least 15 of the 17 Uighurs who remain at Guantánamo have also been cleared for release, but not even Albania will accept them — and neither will the United States. Instead, American diplomats say they have asked nearly 100 countries to provide asylum to the detainees, only to find that Chinese officials have warned some of the same countries not to accept them.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
June 5, 2007
Senator Jack Scott, Chair
Senate Education Committee
State Capitol, Room 2082
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: (APLLPI), AB 171 (Beall), Hearing Date June 13, 2007
Dear Senator Scott:
I am writing in support of AB 171 (Beall), Assumption Loan Program for Law in the Public Interest (APLLPI). The APLLPI would give students like me the financial ability to enter into the field of public interest law and give back to our communities.
Many graduating law students are prevented from considering a public interest job because of unprecedented levels of educational debt, which for most law students exceeds $80,000. This cumulative debt is a strong consideration in whether I will be able to pursue a public interest career focused on serving California’s communities most in need of legal assistance. This is especially true when private sector jobs earn a salary that can be three times as much as that of a public interest salary.
Many schools offer only a minimal amount of loan repayment assistance through school funded programs. In addition, very few employers have the ability to provide loan repayment assistance to newly hired graduated law students. The Public Interest Attorney Loan Repayment Program will ease a grave barrier to entry into public interest law, allowing more students wishing to pursue a career in this area to move forward with this dream.
I strongly support AB 171 and respectfully request your support as well.
1L at UC Hastings College of the Law
Friday, June 01, 2007
Check it out: Pew Poll finds some U.S. Muslims support suicide bombing.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 2:31 AM
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
But that was before militias began threatening their Baghdad neighborhood and Umm Hiba and her daughter fled to Syria last spring. There were no jobs, and Umm Hiba’s elderly father developed complications related to his diabetes.
Desperate, Umm Hiba followed the advice of an Iraqi acquaintance and took her daughter to work at a nightclub along a highway known for prostitution. “We Iraqis used to be a proud people,” she said over the frantic blare of the club’s speakers. She pointed out her daughter, dancing among about two dozen other girls on the stage, wearing a pink silk dress with spaghetti straps, her frail shoulders bathed in colored light.
As Umm Hiba watched, a middle-aged man climbed onto the platform and began to dance jerkily, arms flailing, among the girls.
“During the war we lost everything,” she said. “We even lost our honor.” She insisted on being identified by only part of her name — Umm Hiba means mother of Hiba.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
"If memory serves me correctly, I was wearing a little white tank top and a short black skirt. I had been raised Orthodox Muslim, so I had never before worn such revealing clothing while in my father's presence. When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father's suite.
As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day. My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget.
He looked me straight in the eyes and said, 'Hana, everything that Allah made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You've got to work hard to get to them.'
He looked at me with serious eyes. 'Your body is sacred. You're far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.'"
Muhammad Ali's Life Lessons Through His Daughter's Eyes."
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
American talk show queen accepts Elie Wiesel proposal to come to [apartheid] Israel, says she sympathizes with [apartheid] Israelis' suffering.
Oprah Winfrey will be arriving in [apartheid] Israel for a solidarity visit in the near future, the queen of American talk shows announced Monday during an event at Manhattan's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
In the event, Winfrey was honored by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity for her contribution to promoting humanitarian issues.
Read on at: YNet
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
An open letter to the Rolling Stones regarding their planned gig in [Apartheid] Israel:
Dear Rolling Stones,
The Palestinian arts community received in disbelief media reports of your upcoming performance in Israel, at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress, and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland. If the news is accurate, and we sincerely hope it is not, we strongly urge you to cancel your plans to perform in Israel until the time comes when it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and respects fundamental human rights as well as the relevant precepts of international law concerning Palestinian rights to freedom, self-determination and equality.
Performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa during the apartheid era. We all remember how leading Rolling Stones musicians played a prominent role in enforcing a cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa in the 1980’s, and participated in recording the timeless song, Sun City, which had a singular influence on raising public awareness about apartheid and its injustices. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Prof. John Dugard, and South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils have repeatedly declared, Israel has created a worse system of apartheid than anything that ever existed in South Africa.
Indeed, Israel’s policies throughout its illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory, which have surpassed their South African counterparts, include house demolitions; Jews-only colonies and roads; uprooting hundreds of thousands of trees; indiscriminate killings of civilians, particularly children; incessant theft of land and water resources; denying freedom of movement to millions under occupation, cutting up the occupied Palestinian territory into Bantustans, some entirely caged by walls, fences and hundreds of roadblocks. Sixty years since the Nakba, Israel’s planned campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, and 40 years into its military occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territory, Israel has consistently and relentlessly violated basic human rights and relevant precepts of international law with utter impunity. Moreover, Israel’s war of aggression against Lebanon last year caused more than one thousand civilian deaths, not to mention massive destruction to infrastructure and decimation of entire residential neighbourhoods.
The resounding failure of the international community to date in ending Israel’s occupation, collective punishment, and other forms of oppression was what prompted Palestinians to appeal to international civil society to bear its moral responsibility to put an end to injustice, just as it did against apartheid South Africa. To this end, Palestinian civil society has almost unanimously called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine. A specific call for cultural boycott of Israel was issued last year, garnering wide support. Among the many groups and institutions that have heeded the Palestinian boycott calls and started to consider or apply diverse forms of effective pressure on Israel are the Church of England; the US Presbyterian Church; a group of top British architects; the British National Union of Journalists in the UK; the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); the South African Council of Churches; the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario; Aosdana, the Irish state-sponsored academy of artists; celebrated authors, artists and intellectuals led by John Berger; and Palme d’Or winner director Ken Loach. Is it too much, then, to expect conscientious artists like the Rolling Stones to similarly uphold the values of freedom, equality and justice for all by supporting the growing boycott against Israel?
We appeal to your moral principles and your record of standing up for human rights and human dignity. If the reports are true, we sincerely hope that you shall cancel this ill-conceived and particularly harmful concert in Israel. If they are not true, we urge you to issue a statement to clarify where you stand on this issue of principle.
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of [Apartheid] Israel
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Everybody always wants to talk about those who preach hate under the guise of Islam - well good riddance to Falwell who did the same exact thing with Christianity.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell was stricken at his campus office and died Tuesday after a career in which the evangelist used the power of television to transform the religious right into a mighty force in American politics. He was 73.
. . .
Driven into politics by the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that established the right to an abortion, Falwell founded the Moral Majority in 1979. One of the conservative lobbying group's greatest triumphs came just a year later, when Ronald Reagan was elected president.
Falwell credited the Moral Majority with getting millions of conservative voters registered, aiding in Reagan's victory and giving Republicans control of the Senate.
"I shudder to think where the country would be right now if the religious right had not evolved," he said when he stepped down as Moral Majority president in 1987.
. . .
The 1980s marked the religious conservative movement's high-water mark. In more recent years, Falwell had become a problematic figure for the GOP. His remarks a few days after Sept. 11, 2001, essentially blaming feminists, gays and liberals for bringing on the terrorist attacks drew a rebuke from the White House, and he apologized.
. . .
In 1999, he told an evangelical conference that the Antichrist was a male Jew who was probably already alive. Falwell later apologized for the remark but not for holding the belief. A month later, his National Liberty Journal warned parents that Tinky Winky, the children's TV character, was a gay role model and morally damaging to children.
Posted by Zahra Billoo at 3:03 PM
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:
Gambling with the future of California is a high stakes game! Please Make a Safe Bet for Higher Education - buy out the 7-10% UC fee increase and restore Academic Preparation funding to $33 million for the 2007-2008 academic year.
UC students fully understand the difficult decisions you are charged with making during this budget cycle and urge you to continue to make higher education a priority. Students who complete a college education will contribute $3 to California's economy for every $1 the state spends on their education. Higher education is a great investment in the future of our state.
If the Governor's proposed fee increase takes effect, UC fees will have increased nearly 100% in only six short years - making it impossible for students and families to plan for a college education.
Thanking you in advance,
1250 N Bellflower Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90840
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
as well as the Civil Rights movement.
I advocate a notion of a Muslim student community
that is deeply religious, educated,
gender balanced, non-sectarian,
activist, service oriented and shura based!
Is that really too much to ask?
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Judge rules in favor of LAX-area hotels
By Kerry Cavanaugh
The Los Angeles City Council lost its legal showdown with the business community on Friday, when a judge struck down its effort to impose a living-wage ordinance on hotels near LAX.
. . .
The ruling marked a major setback for the council and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who worked with the city's powerful unions to craft the controversial living-wage ordinance.
"The judge's decision is shocking to me, and I expect the city attorney to appeal," said Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who helped push for the law.
. . .
Los Angeles has had a living-wage requirement for more than a decade, but it had been applied only to firms doing business directly with the city.
In expanding it to the hotels, the council argued that the facilities benefit from their proximity to Los Angeles International Airport and its city-funded improvements, and so they could be required to pay higher wages.
The expanded living-wage law, first adopted in November, required 13 hotels along Century Boulevard to increase workers' hourly pay to $9.39 with health insurance, or to $10.64 without health benefits.
But hotels and business groups vigorously fought back, saying the city has no right to set wages for private-sector workers.
They also worried that the law could set a precedent and lead to similar ordinances being expanded to other industries.
The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce teamed up with hotels and spent $800,000 to gather more than 103,000 signatures to put the ordinance on the May ballot with the hope that voters would overturn the law.
. . .
Read the whole story at: LA Daily News
AND if you want to read about the struggle from the people actually living/fighting it: Coalition for a New Century
Thursday, May 03, 2007
in the Middle East? These buses are Saudi Arabia status!
By Katya Adler
BBC News, Jerusalem
The other day I was waiting for a bus in downtown Jerusalem. I was in the bustling orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Mea Sharim and the bus stop was extremely crowded.
When the Number 40 bus arrived, the most curious thing happened. Husbands left heavily pregnant wives or spouses struggling with prams and pushchairs to fend for themselves as they and all other male passengers got on at the front of the bus.
Women moved towards the rear door to get on at the back.
When on the bus, I tried to buck the system, moving my way towards the driver but was pushed back towards the other women.
These are what orthodox Jews call "modesty buses".
The separation system operates on 30 public bus routes across Israel.
The authorities here say the arrangement is voluntary, but in practice, as I found out, there is not much choice involved.
'Abuse and threats'
Naomi Ragen is one of a group of women now taking the separation bus system to court. She is an orthodox Jew herself.
"I wasn't trying to start a revolution, all I wanted to do was get home," she tells me.
"I was in downtown Jerusalem and I saw a bus going straight to my neighbourhood and I got on and sat down, in a single seat behind the driver.
"It was a completely empty bus, and all of a sudden, some men started getting on, ultra-orthodox men. They told me I was not allowed to sit there, I had to go to the back of the bus."
Not only is the segregation system discriminatory, says Ms Ragen, but it can also be dangerous, she says, for those like her who ignore it.
"I said to him look, if you bring me a code of Jewish law and show me where it's written that I have to sit at the back of the bus I'll move.
"And he tried to gain support from the rest of the passengers and I underwent a half-hour of pure hell - abuse, humiliation, threats, even physical intimidation."
Supporters of the separation system say the buses involved serve mainly religious Jewish neighbourhoods - but not exclusively.
Many passengers are not happy. You will hear complaints at bus stops all over town.
One man told me that if some people wanted segregation buses they should pay a private company to provide them.
Another told me that in a society that is democratic and where the buses are subsidised by the government, a minority's concerns should not override those of the majority.
But Shlomo Rosenstein disagrees. He is a city councillor in Jerusalem where a large proportion of Israel's segregation lines operate.
"This really is about positive discrimination, in women's favour. Our religion says there should be no public contact between men and women, this modesty barrier must not be broken."
Opponents of the separation buses face an uphill struggle. Orthodox Jewish leaders are a powerful minority in Israel.
Naomi Ragen says the buses are just part of a wider menacing pattern of behaviour towards women in parts of the orthodox Jewish community.
"They've already cancelled higher education in the ultra-orthodox world for women. They have packed the religious courts with ultra-orthodox judges.
"In some places there are separate sides of the street women have to walk on."
She says that there are signs all over some religious neighbourhoods demanding that women dress modestly.
"They throw paint and bleach at women who aren't dressed modestly and if we don't draw a line in the sand here with this seat on a bus, then I don't know what this country and this religion is going to look like in 20 years," Ms Ragen said.
Petitioners like Naomi Ragen have asked Israel's High Court to either ban the segregation buses altogether or to force bus companies to provide parallel bus routes for passengers wanting to sit where they like.
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