Friday, March 30, 2007

Today . . .

. . . marks 1500 days of imprisonment for
Dr. Sami Al-Arian.

(MASNET) Friday, March 30th marks 1500 days in jail for Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Dr. Al-Arian was recently sentenced to an additional eighteen months in jail for his refusal to testify before a grand jury. However, this verdict was rendered against him despite a plea agreement he had with the government, which included a no-cooperation clause. (See: MAS Net)

Dr. Al-Arian has been scheduled for a hearing with Judge Bruce Lee on April 20th, 7 days after his government agreed upon release date. Reports from family members indicate that "Dr. Al-Arian intends to restate his commitment to his non-cooperation clause and request Judge Lee to withdraw the current citation for contempt."

More on Dr. Al-Arian's ongoing persecution at Counter Punch

. . . is also the 31st Anniversary of Land Day.

(Wikipedia) For Palestinians, Land Day has since become a day of commemoration and tribute to those who have fallen in the struggle to hold onto their land and identity. The Press Center of the Palestinian National Authority has characterized it " a remarkable day in the history of the Palestinian people's struggle, as the Palestinians in such a particular day embrace the land of their ancestors, their identity and their existence."

More on Land Day 2007 at BBC News

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stand up for Higher Education in California!

Dear Chancellor Reed:

As a concerned CSU graduate and former CSSA Executive Officer, I cannot remain quiet during this period of turmoil within the CSU. I am concerned that the CSU's current internal struggles are threatening a great public university and genuinely harming its students, faculty and the state of California.

Middle-class jobs are disappearing and for many high school students an affordable, quality education is the key to their future. The inability of CSU supporters to collectively and cooperatively advocate for state funding resources has resulted in nearly unaffordable student fees, created overcrowded classrooms not conducive to learning or teaching, and produced very difficult working conditions for professors and lecturers.

It is crucial that we work to ensure the CSU is able to maintain its status as an education system that is viewed as one of the finest and most affordable for working families in the country and not one that is only remembered as having been that way once in the distant past.

I support the California Faculty Association and their demand for a decent contract with fair wages and better working conditions. Moreover, I also support their larger battle to return CSU to well-funded institution of yesteryear as faculty teach the students that are the future of California.

Zahra Billoo

Every voice counts! Send a message
NOW! The CSU faculty deserve a fair contract. Have you done your part to support them in getting one?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

FEMA? Hezbollah?

Personally seeing the ongoing devastation in New Orleans, reminded (vis-a-vis Affad Shaikh) me of a quote I enjoyed last year:

'So Hezbollah is giving $4,000 each to the residents of South Lebanon and promising to rebuild their towns. Seeing such quick actions, we should disband FEMA - after its woeful performance in New Orleans - and outsource the job to Hezbollah.'

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

CFA Authorizes Strike!

For Immediate Release

Alice Sunshine, 510.384.1967
Lisa Cohen, 310.395.2544


94% of California Faculty Association Members Vote in Support of a Strike if a Contract Settlement Cannot Be Reached with the CSU Administration

Thousands of Faculty Members Will Take Part in the Largest University Strike in U.S. History

Los Angeles – The California Faculty Association (CFA) announced today that its members overwhelmingly voted in favor of a strike if a labor agreement cannot be reached with the CSU Administration. The labor negotiating period under state law ends on Monday, March 26, ten days after an independent mediator issued a report recommending how the dispute should be settled.

If the ten-day “quiet period” concludes with no agreement, which is the final attempt to reach a contract under labor law, the CSU faculty has the legal right to begin job actions. Of the 8,129 faculty members who voted, 94% voted in favor of a strike. The 81% voter turnout on the 23 CSU campuses exceeded the CFA’s expectations.

John Travis, President of the California Faculty Association, said, “Today, the faculty has spoken loud and clear – they are tired of the way in which they are being treated by the CSU Administration. And they want a return to a true focus on the mission of the university — the instruction of students.

“They are frustrated by millions of dollars wasted on pet projects and golden parachute deals for executives while our classrooms and student services are being cut. And finally, they are sick of being lied to and treated disrespectfully by an Administration that makes ‘take it or leave it’ offers and refuses to bargain fairly.

“We need to make real progress toward paying the CSU faculty at the same level as our peers around the country. We know this administration has the financial flexibility to make it happen, but they choose not to. If they don’t find the will to reorder their priorities, we don’t want to strike but we will.”

The vote authorizes CFA’s Board of Directors to set the dates and locations of the strike. CFA’s leaders have already indicated that the job actions will begin with “rolling strikes” in which campuses will strike at different times for two days each. The actions are likely to occur in April.

Friday, March 16, 2007

4th Anniversary

We are approaching the 4th anniversary of the illegal invasion, of the "shock and awe" attack, on Iraq.

Please note, as of midnight PST on Saturday, March 17th, the illegal war in Iraq will have cost us over $408,938,000,000. And it continues to increase every second.

I don't know about you BUT . . .

I refuse to be party to this war.

I refuse to allow innocent civilians to be killed in my name.

I refuse to say nothing while men are killed for defending their homes.

I refuse to accept that war is the answer.

I refuse to believe gang raping women will bring them liberation.

I refuse to label freedom fighters, terrorists.

But most importantly I refuse to sit silently by, apathetic and complacent. I refuse to resign myself to the lowest level of faith (and humanity if you ask me) - disliking evil within my heart.

I refuse . . .

For those of you in Southern California:
Orange County
Los Angeles

And for those of you in Northern California:
San Francisco: Sunday & Monday
San Jose

insh'Allah (God willing) I will see you at one of these? And if you're opposed to the war, but aren't attending any of the protests - what are you are doing instead, to voice your opposition? To voice your anger? Your disagreement? Your conscience?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Check it out, both Muslamics and HHR have been updated!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Super Store!

I have a confession to make: I went shopping at a Wal-Mart Super Store. We didn't have a choice. It was the only thing in town that would have everything we needed.

We tried alternatives though - Get this, when we asked the woman at the hotel's front desk if there were alternatives she asked why we didn't want to go to Wal-Mart. She thought it was because maybe it would be too crowded! She gave us the name of and directions to another grocery store. We couldn't find it! We drove around for about 30 minutes, navigating the one-way streets and the Bourbon Street (there were all sorts of people out and about, and drunk well before dark) closure to no avail. We couldn't find it; we couldn't even see it.

So yes, today while away from home on a social justice expedition in Louisiana, I shopped at a Wal-Mart Super Store. I believe it's the first time I've been in a Wal-Mart in quite a few years (and those times didn't count because they were in Canada and because I wasn't yet aware of the social issues surrounding Wal-Mart).

Random Observations:

  1. It was packed!
  2. Given how cramped the streets of Metairie are, the Wal-Mart is a bit of a ways out of the area - but it's an oasis of parking and open space!
  3. Nothing seemed to be on sale; everything was just really cheap.
  4. A random African American man said "Salaams" to me. I believe this was the first official random Muslim encounter I've had out here (not including the Muslim cab driver on Saturday morning in SF).
  5. The majority of the individuals shopping at the Wal-Mart were African American. The same is true about the folks who were working there.

We bought $176 worth of groceries at Wal-Mart! One thing is for sure, I figured out why they are called Super Stores!
  1. They had everything there!
  2. You would not believe how much food we got for $176! (Not very surprising given their employees barely make any money and definitely don't have any benefits.)
I was tempted to take a picture of all of the Wal-Mart grocery bags we lugged back to the hotel, but I held back. Somehow, I don't think that would have been the best memory.

Ya'Allah please grant us refuge from evil capitalist schemes like that of Wal-Mart.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Bay Area Muslims Mobilizing for Al-Aqsa

I attended a gathering of Bay Area Muslims mobilizing to protect Al-Aqsa and support the Palestinian people, last Saturday, March 3rd. I have posted below, my notes in their entirety. If you're looking for a condensed version, check this out.

Imam Zaid Shakir

  • Reminder: as Muslims, our religion is under attack. That attack is assuming many forms: intellectual, psychological and physical)
    • Psychological: transforming us into materialistic beings. If we compare our material resources to those of our oppressors we will fall into despair.
    • Allah (swt) declares war against those who transgress on those who have befriended him. What then should we be afraid of? Let us befriend Allah (swt)!
  • Allah (swt) alternates strength amongst groups in order to distinguish the real believers. It is easy to believe when you are winning. It is, however, when you are on the weaker end of the cycle that Allah (swt) tests the strength of your belief
  • We cannot solve these problems over night. This is a long-term struggle.
  • Ultimately, Allah (swt) will protect his house
    • This does not mean don’t work and/or don’t mobilize. It means don’t despair!
    • In order to make real change, it is necessary to at least start working with the resources we already have despite their imperfections
      • Support the Presbyterian Church's decision to divest!
      • Buy Jimmy Carter's book!
      • Support the Palestinian people: they need our moral support, our money and our voices!
Shaikh Mumtaz-ul Haq
  • He doesn't normally address mixed-gender gatherings.
    • However, because Palestine is so close to his heart he is sacrificing his principles for just one night.
  • We need to change ourselves before Allah (swt) will change our condition.
    • Don't blame the Zionists, blame yourselves
      • It is as though your mother is being raped and you are busy watching TV and playing games
  • Yes, Al-Aqsa is the third holiest Muslim shrine BUT it was the first Qibla!
  • Jerusalem indicates the pulse of the Ummah. When Muslims are strong, we have Al-Aqsa BUT when we are weak we don’t.
  • What can we do?
    • We visit Tokyo and Timbuktu, but never Palestine. Visit Palestine!
    • Make dua! Why are we afraid to ask Allah (swt) for help? It's a free resource!
Dr. George Bisharat
  • The challenge is that the Palestinian narrative is virtually absent while on the other hand the Israeli story is told eloquently and frequently
  • The Bad News
    • The media is biased
    • We are facing a concerted effort to denigrate the Palestinian people
  • The Good News
    • While there is lots of work to be done, it is doable
    • The media wants to hear from us, we simply have to step up to the plate
  • The Institute for Middle East Understanding
    • Their sole focus = the media
      • Mass media = the gatekeepers of American public opinion
    • We spend hours working on speeches/talks that reach at most a few hundred people BUT the same amount of time spent working on Op-Ed pieces could potentially give us access to thousands of people!
  • For every dollar we invest in direct support of the Palestinian people we should invest an equal amount in strategic campaigns supporting the Palestinian cause here (i.e. the United States). This way, someday insh'Allah we will be able to stop collecting money to rebuild mosques and instead focus on collecting money for new mosques!
  • Remember: the other side has to keep the public convinced that the sky is red. All we have to do is get the word out that it is in fact blue.
    • And also remember, we have God's justice on our side.
Dr. Agha Saed
  • There is a pattern:
    • Provoke, use overwhelming military power, humiliate and then consolidate your newest acquisitions
  • Zionists are attempting to undermine the unity of Muslims and Christians
  • In Lebanon, 6,000 people defeated Israel
    • Muslims are no longer afraid
  • You can purchase the governments in Muslim countries, but when you do that you create non-state actions which are not bound by any law
    • You can destroy nation-states, but you cannot destroy the will of the people.
  • The struggle for Palestine is taking a long time. However, in the life of nations this is not a very long struggle
    • Remember, it took over 130 years to free Algeria
  • Dr. Sami Al-Arian
    • An amount equivalent to almost 1/3 of the money spent on Katrina relief has been spent on investing him
    • Of the 51 charges the government brought against him, the jury did not convict on a single one
    • He is on the 41st day of his hunger strike and he has lost 43 pounds already
    • We need to advocate for him!
Amir Abdel Malik Ali
  • The Zionists are fanning the flames of fitnah in the Ummah
    • It’s not working though because they are simultaneously uniting us behind a common enemy. Al-Aqsa unites Sunnis and Shias!
  • There is a different climate today, mainstream folks are openly using the term “apartheid” to describe the racist state of Israel
  • We have to stop using "their" words and "their" definitions
    • Our brothers and sisters are freedom fighters, not terrorists.
    • Keep in mind, their definition of a good Muslim is one who does not think Islam is the solution
  • Stop pacifying the youth
    • Unleash them! Stop taking the fire out of them. It is their fitrah to have this fire - this fire will protect them from Jahiliyah
Dr. Hatem Bazian
  • We need to re-energize ourselves in terms of our work.
    • Silent people never make history. Furthermore, silent people who go with the flow are never remembered.
    • The Prophets (peace be upon them) stood up in the face of adversity, they did not go with the flow. We need to follow in the footsteps of the Prophets.
  • Salahuddin was the product of a society.
    • We need to produce Salahuddins!

My thoughts
  • Mash'Allah it was packed house. There were easily over 350 people there. The fabulous thing about those numbers was that the audience reflected a relatively diverse crew of people - ethnicities, ages, socioeconomic classes. All of the people who you could never imagine showing up at a protest or rally were at this event, and more!
  • There were some fundraising pushes (primarily for Dr. Al-Arian and the IMEU), but nothing very obvious. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
  • The children got involved - the mosque hosted an art contest for kids ages 4-12 (?) with the theme being Al-Aqsa. Fabulous idea - Alhamdulillah, reel them in early!
    • Speaking of children, I came across this today. Sounds like an interesting place to make a donation, so that the youth of Palestine may actually have a childhood!

May Allah (swt) grant the Palestinians and all of the oppressed peoples of the world victory!


So, Alhamdulillah I just got word that my Moot Court brief will not be needing revision over Spring Break. Now though, I no longer have any excuses to justify not having started to pack for Louisiana!

BTW a few of us are trying something out. Bloggers gone wild? Your feedback would be appreciated.

Alhamdulillah for the victory in the Senate today! Major props to Muslim Advocates, MPAC and the ACLU amongst others. For those of you out there who don't vote, this should be taken as a sign that we, the electorate, actually do have some power.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Better Late Than Never?

Last Thursday, March 1st, was the National Lawyers Guild Student Day Against the Death Penalty. I promised myself I'd blog on it, but Moot Court got in the way.

Better late than never?

Death Row Inmates Often Wait Indefinitely for Execution: Fairly balanced piece; it highlights just a few of the issues plaguing the system from a California perspective.

The official National Lawyers Guild statement on the day can be found here.

And if you're looking for a lot more information, check out the Death Penalty Information Center. They've got EVERYTHING you could ever want/need to know about the death penalty.

Oh the sick, sad world we live in?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

International Women's Day

Apartheid Israel
The beacon of light, the God-send to the Middle East that is the Apartheid State of Israel, doesn't pay women as much as it does men. Yup, and they want to criticize other folks? Turns out, in 2005 the average salary of women was LESS THAN HALF of that of men.

Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, co-authored an open letter to the government of Iran - "to abolish urgently laws that discriminate against women."

Human Rights Watch says many women are making strides. However, violence is still an obstacle that disables many of them from exercising even their basic rights! Violence? Oh the sick, sad world we live in.

Please Oh Please

Please oh please tell me something I don't know! I initially received the 411 I am including below from the Mecca One Radio listserv. However, I was subsequently reminded by: Saira Lari, Angie Ellaboudy, Jameelah Shukri, Suwila Habib, Sophia Majeed and Marya Bangee that it is true - there is little if any hope - there is officially a "Muslim guy shortage."

Tune in this Thursday, March 8th, if you're as curious as I am to find out what the scholars have to say about the matter.

On a related note: my brother has countered all of this by saying there is a parallel shortage of good Muslim sisters.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

@ the Printer

My Moot Court brief is done-done-done! Well, almost, it's at the printer!

The Secular Islam Summit ended last night. Sound interesting? Check out what CAIR Tampa Executive Director, Ahmed Bedier, had to say about it:

The folks at covered the summit from the inside. I'd say it is the closest thing to balanced I've seen as of yet.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

San Luis Obispo Activists Seek Peaceful, Educational Response to Daniel Pipes' Offensive Presence at Cal Poly


San Luis Obispo Activists Seek Peaceful, Educational Response to Daniel Pipes' Offensive Presence at Cal Poly

(San Luis Obispo, 3/4/2007) – Cal Poly Student Peace Activists Organize a Silent Candle Light Vigil, in response to Daniel Pipes' presence at Cal Poly, to commemorate the lost lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Cal Poly student organizations, including the Muslim Student Association (MSA), Students for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (SJPME), and the Progressive Student Alliance (PSA) are planning a silent candle light vigil in front of the Cal Poly Spanos Theatre (on the corner of Grand Avenue and South Perimeter) on Monday, March 5th at 6:30pm. This vigil is intended to raise awareness about the humanitarian toll the Middle East wars have taken on the lives of innocent civilians. Daniel Pipes, one of the radical and extreme supporters of the Iraq war -- and war on other Middle Eastern nations -- is scheduled to speak in the Spanos Theatre on the same night.

As students striving to increase awareness and tolerance of different faiths and cultures, we find it disturbing and offensive to have a hatemonger and racist such as Daniel Pipes speaking at our campus. Pipes has made some appalling comments and sweeping generalizations about Muslims, African Americans, Arabs and Palestinians; "The Palestinians are a miserable people...and they deserve to be." (Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2001), " converts tend to hold vehemently anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic attitudes." (Commentary, 6/1/2000), "Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene...All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most." (National Review, 11/19/90)

While we stand for freedom of speech and patriotism, we reject and condemn in the strongest terms, hate speech, bigotry and racism, which all undermine and destroy efforts towards attaining mutual understanding and peace amongst our different communities. We also condemn the oppression, subjugation and torture of innocent civilians and citizens of the United States and other nations.

We call upon all people of conscience to join us for a silent candle light vigil this Monday to commemorate the loss of life in the Middle East. Bring your candles and wear white to stand up for peace, justice and tolerance towards all nations of the world.


For further information about the Candle Light Vigil, contact:
Naiyerah Kolkailah: (805) 550-5917,
Stella Atiya:

Wafa Sultan: Reformist OR Opportunist?

Reformist or opportunist, Sultan continues to enjoy the spotlight as she routinely figures prominently as a guest speaker at many functions and fundraisers across the country. As her fame grows, so do her admirers and detractors.
. . .
Halabi alleges that the Sultans lived in dire poverty. "Their rent was over $1,000 per month and Moufid was only making $800," he said. Dr. Wafa Sultan was forced to rent out a room in her apartment and work at a pizza parlor in Norwalk, Calif. where a personal friend used to pick her up and drop her off daily. This same friend used to help the Sultans out with groceries and occasionally loaned them money just so they could make it through the month. "It was
a serious struggle," Halabi recalled. "The Sultans lived hand to mouth for years on end." Further, Halabi said that at no point during the period he knew the family did Sultan ever discuss religion, politics or any topic relevant to her current activities. "She is a smart woman, articulate and forceful, but she never meddled in religion or politics to the extent she is doing now," Halabi said.

. . .
InFocus also found out that the web site called Annaqed ( she supposedly wrote for before being noticed by Al-Jazeera Television is not an "Islamic reform Web Site" as was reported in the New York Times article, but rather an Arab nationalist blog run by a Syrian Christian who defines it as being "in line with Christian morality and principles." The site is also replete with anti-Muslim writings.
Sultan’s detractors include not only Muslims but members of the Jewish community as well. In an op-ed piece published in the Los Angeles Times (June 25, 2006) and titled "Islam’s Ann Coulter," Rabbi Stephen Julius Stein at Wilshire Boulevard Temple, who attended a fundraiser for a local Jewish organization where Sultan was a speaker, wrote, "The more Sultan talked, the more evident it became that progress in the Muslim world was not her interest.... She never alluded to any healthy, peaceful Islamic alternative."
. . .
As for the Sultans’ financial troubles, Halabi told InFocus that ever since Dr. Sultan gained notoriety those troubles are a thing of the past. "She bought a house for herself and bought another for her son," Halabi said. "She also bought two smog-check stations, one for her husband and another for her son," he added. When asked about the source of her material well-being, Halabi was unsure.
As to the reasons that may have pushed Sultan to be so outspoken and vocal against Islam in a post-9/11 world, Halabi sympathetically remarked, "Poverty. It drives people to sell their soul."

More at:

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Hero

I got the poem below over email sometime ago, I thought I'd post it for those of you who may not yet have seen it. I'm not sure who it's by, but it makes me smile every time I read it.

My Hero.

My hero is the French girl who shaved her head when they said she couldn't wear the scarf.

My hero is the Palestinian girl who tells the soldier it is her duty to visit Jerusalem.

My hero is the black girl in America, passing with flying colors in a class not meant to be hers.

My hero is the Latina who rises when they dare to question her contributions to this nation.

My hero is the Afghan girl, always raising her head up high against communism and its young brother the fanatic bearded man.

My hero is the Iraqi girl, martyred when America raped her country.

My hero is the Chechen girl, holding steadfast to the rope of Allah.

My hero is the Desi, marching in Britain for an Umma she's never seen but has touched deep within the heart.

and to the Malaysian girl, brightly clad under Ramadan lights, with hands cupped, hoping God will drop her a dime of luck for her prayers.

My heroes are my grandmothers, grabbing rifles from trigger happy soldiers and waving white cloth when their sons were taken to prison.

My hero is my mother, our mothers, always fixing us a hot plate and making sure our homework is always neat, blessed by the virtue of Allah, given the patience to kiss their fallen son and forgive him,

While their daughters look on painfully in a world that throws bullets and scowls at their braided locks and dangling scarves.

Yes, I'm Procrastinating!

Activist a 'Pirate,' Not Eco-terrorist
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Paul Watson flies the Jolly Roger from his ship and boasts of ramming more boats than any living seafarer, part of an anti-whaling crusade that even Greenpeace calls too radical.
. . .
But Watson dismisses Greenpeace - an organization he helped found in 1971 before a falling out - and other mainstream conservation groups as "feel good corporations." He also insists the U.N. World Charter for Nature gives him legal authority to save whales by sinking or disabling whaling vessels.

More at:

Colorado to Use Inmates to Fill Migrant Shortage
DENVER — Ever since passing what its Legislature promoted as the nation's toughest laws against illegal immigration last summer, Colorado has struggled with a labor shortage as migrants fled the state. This week, officials announced a novel solution: Use convicts as farmworkers.

. . .
Prisoners who are a low security risk may choose to work in the fields, earning 60 cents a day. They also are eligible for small bonuses.

More at:

'Sold' Pakistani Girl in Appeal
Nooran Bibi said her late husband had promised her daughter, Rasheeda, to one Lal Haider in lieu of a poker game debt amounting to 10,000 rupees ($164).
. . .
The use of women to settle blood feuds and debts in tribal society in Pakistan by promising them in marriage remains widespread despite recent reforms.

More at:

Illegal West Bank Homes for US Jews
Al Jazeera's David Chater reports on how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict came to Teaneck, New Jersey this week.
At an orthodox synagogue they were selling the message "invest in Israel's future - strengthen the settlements".
The project is aimed at getting American Jews to fill the financial gap left after the Israeli government decided to eliminate subsidies for building on the West Bank by encouraging them to purchase second homes in one of the many existing illegal settlements.

. . .
Investors are assured that according to Israeli law there is no possibility of their ownership rights being violated. No mention is made of the fact that all of the settlements are illegal under international law.
The settlements breach the Geneva Conventions and Security Council resolutions 446, 465 and 471, which require the dismantlement of settlements.
They also breach UN resolutions which demand that Israel withdraw to the pre-June 1967 borders and give back all of the occupied lands.

More at: