What will Claudia Rosett wear when Syria sues her for slandering its First Lady?

Claudia Rosett is is journalist-in-residence at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Describing her as a journalist is a bit inaccurate. She is a spin-doctor and propagandist. A pro-Israel propagandist.

She recently wrote an article sensationally dubbed, “What Should Asma al-Assad Wear to the Syrian Revolution?”

She didn’t really wonder in her other articles about what Israeli First Ladies should wear to Palestinian funerals.

Her job is to affirm certain approaches that support the continuous above-international-law Jewish state, through aggressive writing, blackmail, and a play on inferiority-superiority, victim-victimizer scenarios.

I decided to get a glimpse about the journalist behind the offensive article, which plays with readers feelings, attracting them into the mind-zone of Rosett’s, who by the way openly hates Arabs and Muslims alike (she says that young Muslims like to assualt Jews everywhere in the world – check out her articles).

The journalist, Rosett. did not even meet with Ms. Asma Al-Assad, has no idea about what she is like, and obviously is out there to get her. She just a read a Vogue magazine article that led her into an all-out assault, that she should be sued for.

Why target the image of the First Lady?

Because Ms. Assad succeeded in building a “nice” and positive image of her self in the West, and therefore improved a lot in Syria’s image… and for people like Rosett, this minuscule Syrian triumph on PR turf should be destroyed.

By all means, Syria, for Rosett, should remain with the image of being a dangerous terrorist-incubating country, which she repeats throughout a number of her articles.

Ms. Asma helped diversify Syria’s image, which eased the old stereotypes that tarnished the image of Syria. This is not good news in Rosett’s book.

Vogue, oh, Vogue!

Rosett’s inspiration for destabilizing Ms. Asma’s image comes from naive Facbook and YouTube videos by what apparently looks like young Syrians (and since I am a firm believer in conspiracy theory, the videos might be the making of Rosett’s camp). The slides zoom in on Ms. Asma’s designer bags, then zooms out into a photo of a kid working at a car repair shop. The idea is obvious: they are hungry, you are wearing luxurious clothes…

Vogue on the other hand used all kinds of “glamorous” terms to portray Ms. Asma as a fashionista, which is their problem nor hers.

Who is Rosett?

Skimming through a 2009 article Rosett had written, “The New Anti-Semitism“, and another one dubbed, “When in doubt, Slam Israel,” one can instantly draw a profile about the lady: She is pro-Israel, anti-Muslims, and anti-Arab. (see quote at the bottom of the article).. and I am not making this up, propaganda style… read the two articles and both descriptions will glare at you.

  • Clearly, Rosett is a propagandist, who attempted in the aforementioned article, “The New Anti-Semitism”, to convince readers that the White House was being racist against a small group of people, i.e Jews, who are:

a minority that even in the relatively enlightened 21st century is increasingly subject both worldwide, and to a disturbing extent even inside the U.S., to double standards, slurs, threats, arson, bombings, stabbings and other attacks on their persons, shops, homes and places of worship.

I thought the Jewish lobby controlled pretty much a lot of economy and politics in the U.S. How come this lady during the relatively enlightened 21 century is trying to sell us this soundbite?

  • She fills the article with great compassion and support for the Jews, by saying:

“It is not unusual in some parts of the world to hear them [Jews] described, not least by official media outlets, as apes and pigs.”

  • She plays on the over-abused “Holocaust” string, and claims that:

“there are proliferating signs that in too many places, and too many ways, the world is tacitly coming to accept not only persecution of the Jews, but the possibility of a second genocide.”

Wow.

Propaganda, the old-fashioned way. Rosett obviously missed her classes on new PR methods and subtler propaganda cues. Maybe she has an audience out there that still needs to be fed assumptions of the type.

This same woman, as mentioned before, works for Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

This is a think-tank that helps shape policies in the US, with the power to impact on the Middle East. Frightening!

We should be very worried to see one of its journalists, i.e. Rosett, writing, or to be more accurate, aiming her propaganda guns at Syria’s First Lady, while conveniently forgetting to mention in her many articles that Jewish Israelis kill Palestinians left-right-and-center.

The devil’s advocate?

Here are some quotes from Rosett’s article about The New Anti-Semitism article:

“… they [Jews] account for no more than about 0.2% of humanity.

That’s also miniscule compared with a worldwide Muslim population very roughly estimated at some 1.5 billion. And Israel, for all its U.S. support, walks a lonely and beleaguered path compared to the 57-member strong Saudi-headquartered Organization of the Islamic Conference–one of the core lobbying blocs in the UN General Assembly.

Many Muslims may well desire simply to live in peace. Unfortunately, some of the most vocal, politically active and militarily aggressive among them–ruling Iran and Gaza, and harbored in places such as Syria and Lebanon–are explicitly dedicated to destroying Israel.

Through Internet and television propaganda, through pronouncements from the UN stage, through everything from subsidies to anti-Semitic lobbying associations to money and arms for terrorist groups, they [Muslims] spend considerable resources fueling movements to boycott, denigrate and attack Jews.”

A writer like Rosett has no business playing with the internal affairs of Syria, nor  comment on the Syrian First Lady’s fashion – when she is obviously & aggressively an anti Muslim, anti-Arab propagandist.

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(open letter to Qardawi from Syrian priest) رسالة مفتوحة من كاهن سوري إلى القرضاوي

Al-Nahar newspaper published an open letter by Father Elias Zahlawi, addressing Al-Qardawi.

رسالة مفتوحة من كاهن سوري إلى القرضاوي

أحييك تحية إيمانية في الله الواحد الأحد، الذي تدين الأكوان كلها، بوجودها، لكلمته المبدعة، والذي سيقف كل حي عاقل بين يديه المباركتين، للحساب، في اللحظة الحاسمة التي لا مفر منها.0

سيدي..0

قد يكون لنا الكثير، نتبادل الخواطر والدعاء بشأنه، بوصفك رئيساً لرابطة علماء المسلمين في العالم، وأنا بوصفي كاهناً عربياً من سورية.0

إلا أني أرى اليوم، أن أترك كل ذلك لمن بيده كل شيء الله عز وجل، لأطرح عليك سؤالاً واحداً، فرض نفسه عليّ وعلى الكثيرين، دون شك، من العرب والمسلمين في العالم إذ سمعتك تتحدث مرتين، عبر فضائية الجزيرة، حول ما جرى ويجري في وطني سورية.0

ذلك بأني وجدت في كلامك عن سورية، تناقضاً صارخاً مع وقفتك الرائعة، منذ شهر ونيّف، في ميدان التحرير، وسط الملايين من أبناء مصر العظيمة.0

يومذاك، لم تتردد في توجيه الشكر لأبناء مصر من الأقباط المسيحيين، لوقوفهم صفاً واحداً مع إخوانهم المسلمين، في هذه الثورة العظيمة التي لم يشهد لها تاريخ الشعوب مثيلاً، في تنظيمها ووحدتها وسلميّتها ونبلها وأهدافها.0

ولكم كنت كبيرا عندما خصصت أبناء مصر من الأقباط المسيحيين بالشكر لأنهم قاموا بحماية إخوانهم المسلمين، إذ كانوا يؤدون الصلاة في ميدان التحرير، حتى كان يوم مشهود، رفعوا فيه الصلوات في آن واحد، وقد تقدّم صفوفهم الموحدة، القرآن الكريم والصليب المقدس، مرفوعين بأيدٍ متشابكة ومؤمنة…0

ويا لروعة ماجرى يومها، وما قلتَ أنت بالذات! 0

ترى، ماهو الأمر الذي جعلك تتخذ من الأحداث الجارية في سورية موقفاً مغايراً بالكلّية؟0

لمَ كنت في مصر داعية عظيماً لوحدة القلوب والصفوف والأهداف، فيما أنت، في حديثك عن سورية تدعو وتكرر الدعوة لإثارة الفتنة بين المسلمين أنفسهم؟0

سيدي..0

أتدعو إلى الفتنة بين المسلمين في سورية، وأنت أعلم الناس بما ورد في مطلع القرآن الكريم، في سورة البقرة بالذات، من تحذير متكرر بشأن الفتنة، على أنها «أشد من القتل» (الآية 191)، و«أكبر من القتل» (الآية 217)؟0

أتدعو إلى الفتنة بين المسلمين في سورية، وأنت أدرى الناس بما كان بين المسلمين الفاتحين، يوم بلغوا دمشق، وبين أصحابها المسيحيين، من عهدة عظيمة وفريدة، أقرّت أسساً للعيش المشترك أتاحت لهم لأن يرسوا قواعد البناء المشترك في نطاق الخلافة والدولة، فانطلقوا من دمشق يفتحون الآفاق، شرقاً وغرباً، شمالاً وجنوباً؟0

أتدعو إلى الفتنة بين المسلمين في سورية، وأنت أدرى الناس بما جاء في العهدة العمرية، تلك الوثيقة الفريدة التي جعلت بعض مؤرخي الغرب أنفسهم يصفون المسلمين على أنهم «أرحم الفاتحين»؟0

أتدعو إلى الفتنة، وأنت ترى ما يحدث من عدوان سافر ومدمّر على العالم الإسلامي كله، من قِبل غرب طغى وتجبّر، وداس جميع الشرائع الإلهية والبشرية؟0

أتدعو إلى الفتنة وأنت ترى الانهيارات المروّعة، التي حدثت وتحدث في العالم العربي كله، بفعل عوامل داخلية وخارجية، من أهمها الصهيونية التي هيمنت على الغرب كله، بدءاً من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، فكانت ضحيّتها الأولى والكبرى فلسطين، ومن ثم العراق فيما هي تواصل السعي لتدمير سورية، لأن سورية باتت القلعة العربية الوحيدة الواقفة بكل إباء وشجاعة في وجه هذا «الطاغوت»؟0

سيدي..0

هل لك أن تقول لنا ما الذي حدث، فغير موقفك السابق والمشرّف وأنت المسؤول الأعلى بين علماء المسلمين جميعاً؟0

ما أجمل ما كنتَ تقول وسط الملايين من أبناء مصر العظيمة!0

وما أبشع ما طلعت علينا به في سورية، يوم غادرت مصر!0

سيدي..0

سبق لك أن زرت سورية، فهل لي بدعوتك لزيارتها، في هذه الأيام بالذات؟0

ستجد سورية، كما كانت دائماً واسعة القلب والروح تعيش إخاءً دينياً وإنسانياً، فريداً من نوعه، يشهد لها به كل من أتاها مؤمناً، إنساناً..0

فهلاّ أتيتها، أنت الداعية الأول في الإسلام، عساك تطلق من دمشق دعوة جديدة وملِحّة، إلى جميع الناس، مسلمين ومسيحيين وسواهم، لوقفة حق وعدل ومحبة تنبع من قلب الله الواحد الأحد، في وجه طغيان منفلت، فقد عقله ومرجعيّته الإنسانية والروحية، فبات يهدد العالم كله، عاجلاً أو آجلاً، بخراب محتوم!0

وإني، إذ أرجو استجابتك لدعوتي هذه، أهديك من دمشق، صادق محبتي واحترامي، وأنا أسأل مَن هو وحده الرحمن الرحيم، جلّ جلاله، أن يهدينا جميعاً الصراط المستقيم!.0

الأب إلياس زحلاوي

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Why there are so many ‘athiests/skeptics’ these days…

When a self-assigned so-called man of religion like Mr. Qardawi appears on TV and pollutes the waves with his non-sense, it is only natural for people to run away from religion, because what they hear, see and read by the “official” Islamic “leaders” is in simple terms, ugly, unacceptable, and unconvincing.

Why would a modern man or woman believe in an Islam “drafted” by a bunch of Salafi men who make you feel sick in your heart with the kind of logic they display, the ugly religion they market, and that fanaticism they support?

It is normal, very normal, to see a lot of today’s young generation (and a little bit above young) very wary to surrender themselves to a religious thinking that doesn’t sound “quite right.”

The religious leaders in this time and age are accountable and responsible for destroying the true meaning of Islam, they are responsible for every atheist and skeptic who has a good heart: who has been looking all his/her life for the truth, finding it difficult to enter the door of religion because at the door he/she finds those self-assigned guardians who speak on behalf of Allah, throwing people as they wish into a vicious cycle of anger, violence and hatred, by claiming it is in the name of Islam.

Allah is beautiful, Sayyidna Prophet Mohammad is beautiful; they have nothing to do with today’s ‘ulama’ (religious leaders). Those are polluted spirits that roam the earth. May Allah rid us of all shapes of hypocritical religion.

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الجهاد المخادع

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ((يوقفون – يعني الملائكة – بين يدي الله ويشهدون – يعني للعبد بالعمل الصالح المخلَصِ لله – فيقول لهم: أنتم الحفظة على عمل عبدي وأنا الرقيب على ما في قلبه إنه لم يردني بهذا العمل وأراد به غيري فعليه لعنتي)). وقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: ((إن الله إذا كان يوم القيامة ينزل إلى العباد ليقضي بينهم وكل أمة جاثية فأول من يُدعى به رجل جمع القرآن ورجل قُتل في سبيل الله ورجل كثير المال فيقول الله للقارئ: ألم أعلِّمك ما أنزلتُه على رسولي؟ قال بلى يا ربِّ، قال: فماذا عملت فيما عُلِّمت؟ قال: كنت أقوم به آناء الليل وآناء النهار فيقول الله له: كذبتَ وتقول الملائكة له كذبتَ، ويقول الله: إنما قرأتَ ليقال فلان قارئ فقد قيل ذلك. ويؤتى بصاحب المال فيقول الله له: ألم أوَسِّع عليك حتى لم أدَعَكَ تحتاج إلى أحدٍ؟ قال: بلى يا ربِّ، قال: فماذا عملتَ فيما آتيتُكَ؟ قال كنت أصِلُ الرَّحْمَ وأتصدَّقُ فيقول الله له: كذبتَ، وتقول له الملائكة: كذبتَ، ويقول الله له: بل أردت أن يقال فلان جَوادٌ فقد قيل ذلك. ويؤتى بالذي قُتِل في سبيل الله فيقول الله: فيماذا قُتِلتَ؟ فيقول: أمِرْتُ بالجهاد في سبيلكَ فقاتلتُ حتى قُتلِْتُ، فيقول الله له: كذبتَ، وتقول له الملائكة: كذبتَ، ويقول الله له: بل أردتَ أن يقالَ فلان جَريءٌ فقد قيل ذلك. ثم ضَرَبَ رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم  على ركبة أبي هريرة وقال: يا أبا هريرة أولئك الثلاثة أول من تُسَعَّرُ بهم النار يوم القيامة)).0

المصدر: الفتوحات المكية للشيخ محيي الدين ابن عربي – المجلد الثامن – ص364 -دار الكتب العلمية، بيروت، لبنان

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إلى القرضاوي: سيدنا محمد (صلعم) لم يعلم العلماء المسلمين الجبن

من أبراجهم العاجية يهيجون الناس ويتركون الموت لغيرهم… ألا وهم المنافقون

رسالة مفتوحة إلى السيد القرضاوي:0

منبر يوم الجمعة هو منبر سيدنا محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وله آداب وحرمة. لم يصلنا عن رسول الله صلعم أنه وقف يوما مخاطبا الناس يوم الجمعة داعيا إياهم أن يذهبوا إلى الموت هكذا من دون أي تهيئة، ولا خرجت الناس من بعد خطبته الكريمة تغلي في دماءها النار طلبا للقتل من دون خطة ولا جيش ولا “إذن”. ولم يصلنا عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه كان يرسل الناس إلى الجهاد بينما يبقى هو في الصفوف الخلفية تاركا إياهم لمواجهة الموت بينما هو آمن في المدينة أو مكة – حاشى لله.0

إنما الله سبحانه وتعالى وصف هؤلاء اللذين يصفون ما لا يفعلون واللذين يرون المجاهدين ذاهبين إلى القتال بينما هم يقعدون مع القاعدين… بماذا؟ بالمنافقين.0

الجهاد أيضا له آداب وله خطة وله جيش وله مؤمنون يحمون ظهور بعضهم ويجاهدون لإعلاء الحق… “لا تقطعوا شجرة…”… والجهاد فقط لإعلاء راية الله وليس للحرية وليس للديموقراطية ولا من أجل أن تثور الشعوب… المجاهدون حين يذهبون لملاقاة عدو الله يصلُون بينما فرقة منهم تحميهم ثم تصلي الفرقة الأخرى كي تحميها الفرقة التي صلََت كيلا يميل الكافرون عليهم ميلة واحدة… هذه آداب الجهاد التي نسيها العالم اليوم ونسيها أشخاص مثل سيادتكم يدَعون بأنهم أئمة.0

لذلك تفضلوا سيادتكم إذا ما كان تدعون إليه في نظركم “جهادا” وانزلوا وجاهدوا بأنفسكم مع الناس كي لا يقال عنك منافق. أم أنكم تأكلون وتشربون وتنامون قريري الأعين بينما لا يهم إذا تحمس شباب صغار السن لا يعرفون يمينهم من شمالهم وذهبوا إلى الموت تصديقا لكلامك الذي يصل إلى الملايين.0

الإمام الحقيقي هو الذي يمارس ما يدعو إليه وإذا كنت غير مستعد للنزول إلى الشارع وأن تكون مع نفس الناس اللذين أثرتهم فمعنى هذا أنك مجرد جبان ومنافق يقف على منبر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا يراعي حرمة المنبر ولا يراعي حرمة العمامة التي يمشي تحتها ولا يعرف من الدين سوى الأنا… هناك مشايخ كثيرين ممن قد شرب وأكل الشيطان في حجرهم، ممن يعتقدون أنهم على الحق وما هم إلا على الباطل.0

انزل ومت مع من ماتوا.0

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The problem with Facebook, social media, and this generation

I have been following up with the “load of crap” on Facebook, especially that concerning Syria. I got offended – as a person – by both the lack of intellect, depth, or hindsight by both sides of the equation. Although some comments here and there sounded quite balanced and inspiring, but the general Facebook atmosphere SHOULD make any grown-up, with brains, very wary to actually take it too seriously.

It killed me today and yesterday to see news tickers quoting Facebook gibberish on different news channels. These news channels forgot to tell the world that those Facebookers are kidos, who think they have found a platform to express themselves,  Che-Guevara style.

The problem with social media is that it allows any small-minded, stupid kid, to blurb out their narrow-viewed, mood-swung, instinct-reigned, uncultivated opinions in the shape of groups on Facebook, or blogs, or twitter tweets, and they will be taken seriously. They will get quoted, and people will listen to children (who have no weight, neither in life experience, nor in the art of communication, and forget about depth of character), and take them seriously.

May they rest in peace… the giants of human history who have worked on themselves, read thousands of books, traveled the world, studied under great masters, discovered a thing or two, before standing in public and voicing their opinions about anything at all. How will Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd, Plato, and Ibn Arabi, feel when they see today’s phenomenon of social media (and its kidish patrons).

A generation of kids who spend most of their time behind their monitors, is now being heard, loud and clear, and it is confusing everyone with their ramblings. They don’t even know the ABCs of journalism (objectivity being one) and they go around posting “news” about incidents they do not fathom, using wording that fuels hatred, anger, confusion and crazy ideas in the hearts and heads of 20-something enthusiasts who probably listen to Bob Marley, consider Ziad Rahbani a role-model, and have a T-shirt or two of Che Guevara.

I was just like them only a few years ago, I had a Che Guevara ashtray, I wanted to die for freedom, my blood boiled when I faced or read about injustice (or what I perceived as injustice), I listened to music that made me melancholic all the time, because happiness is only for the posh and the yuppie (which I thought I wasn’t). Back then (which is only a few years ago), I didn’t have Facebook to pour all my frustrations and vanities into. I thought I knew better than everybody when it came to politics, I thought I supported the right causes.

The vanity of youth is a common accessory to those in their teenage years, in their twenties, and even their early thirties. It is quite dangerous that those are now the driving force behind social media, parading their short-sightedness, hot-temperateness, in every corner of cyberspace.

Do you know how damaging it is for young people to get heavy dozes of attention? They become spoiled, egoistic, selfish. They become more inclined to sensationalize things even more to get more attention, and what better place for any kid or teenager than cyberspace to root in and mobilize this attention, by blurting their un-tested ideals online, getting support from other angry, frustrated kidos, and calling it freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression?

Freedom of expression is for those who have worked hard to earn it, who have been tested, who have experienced many zones of life, who have shaped their opinions based on observation, on personal growth, on lessons learned.

Freedom of expression is not for any idiot in the street who thinks democracy is another excuse for him to swear vulgarly at others in power, those whom he envies deeply for driving a car he doesn’t own, or occupying a chair he dreams of sitting on.

Freedom is for those who are free from within from the shackles of the ego, from the envy of others, it is for those who sincerely care about others (rich and poor, educated and not so educated, Muslim or Christian). Freedom is for a breed of human beings who have achieved above-animal-hood levels of compassion, love for others, understanding, wisdom, and vision.

As a parent would you allow your 13 year old kid to run around as he liked, say what he wanted any time, insult others, etc? No. So how come there is a double standard in social media, where 13-year-old-minded teenagers can say what they liked without restrain?

  • Unfortunately, the movers and shakers of today’s global society are nothing more than a few Facebookers and Tweeps who lack the professional skills of analyzing politics, economics, social behavior, etc – but who are so good at shaping the opinions of their generation by using the emotional side of things, by saying things that tickle the weak-spot of any Che Guevara copycat.
  • Humanity, all of humanity, has taken a long time to realize and establish the fact that wisdom comes (mostly but not always) with experience, with time, after 30, or 40, you read about this in all heritages… all of it got blown away with the spread of social media which filled the universe with gibberish by anybody, anytime, without discrimination between the wise and the stupid.

So, when a news network comes and includes a ticker on a Facebook group calling for this or calling for that without actually taking into consideration the level of crap in this or that group, I feel we are in danger of drowning into more chaos.

With time, when traditional media institutions – who have habitually groomed their own set of opinion makers, can no longer support their off-line existence (therefor having no jobs for sound and cultivated writers) – are forced into becoming a social media outlet, what fragments of truth (any truth) will we have left? Facts will become the toys of social media tweeps and facebookers who think punctuation is archaic, let alone fact-checking. Anyone will be able to start a war anywhere, or a propaganda, or a false scandal, if they are clever enough to get supporters and “followers.”

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Do you believe in your intuition? then follow your heart!

I had one of the most intense experiences in my life this past week.

I thank God I went out of it in one piece.

I was basically paying a lot of effort to go against my heart.

The further I went, the more weight I felt, the more nightmares, the more alienation.


My whole system was crashing under the weight of my heavy heart, I started to go through a mild depression, which was getting all the more serious, yet I persisted against all the symptoms… up until the point I felt a stab in my heart, and that’s when I stopped.

Yes, I was trying to morph myself into someone I wasn’t… or to be more particular; I was trying to convince myself of becoming part of a project… while my heart was screaming: NO.

My mind, on the other hand, was weaving illusions about how prestigious the project was, how brilliant I would look in that position, how it would feel great to take up a challenging account, etc.

I got caught in the middle!

I have had previous experience with going against my heart; I paid heavily. I thought I learned my lesson, but apparently I didn’t.

The heart knows the hidden things, it has eyes that see beyond the obvious. They say never judge a book by its cover, and I totally agree with that. Our mind sees the cover of the book, just the cover, and it decides: “hey, that’s a nice book, I want to buy it.” But the heart knows what’s inside the book, and can tell that what the cover professes has nothing to do with what is inside. It could well be a badly written novel.

The heart knows. The mind doesn’t.

After I decided to stop walking down the path that tore my heart to pieces, I slept for a very long time to create a clear slate between that experience and my new day. I was moving heavily under a gray cloud and when I decided to stop, I was already depleted.

After reading a few lines of Quran, repeating prayers to help me make the right decision, and a lot of sleep, I regained perspective.

What I didn’t quite catch while I was forging ahead with plans to complete the project is that the other side was tampering with the technical and financial agreement to the extent I may end up paying from my own pocket to finish the project. My heart was picking up on all the manipulation that I did not even consider existed because I was dealing with a blind attitude of trust. When I revisited the correspondence with a sober heart, I realized that had I went on with it, I would have gotten stuck in a hoax.

Thank Allah.

Thank Allah.

Thank Allah… we have a heart.

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How different are liberals really from religious fundamentalists?

By the looks of it, liberals stand on one end of the spectrum, while religious fundamentalists are on the other. But I believe both are fundamentalists in their own ways. Both are control freaks, and both exercise discrimination and oppressive behavior against “the other.” Both want to clone people so they would become just like them to fit into either one of their camps.

  • Bring an uncovered woman to a closed religious fundamentalist society, she will be mistreated, and lectured for not covering her hair. She will be targeted by other women, both nicely and vulgarly, to finally cover her hair (out of pressure and fear of not being massaged into her surroundings). Women will back-stab her and speak ill of her just because she doesn’t wear the hijab.
  • Bring a covered woman to a liberal society, she will be looked down-upon, treated like she was a plague, and tricks will be applied to sway her out of her hijab. If she is the only covered woman in a social event, she will sure be made aware of it with gazes that tell her “you don’t fit here, go back to your own flock.”

I find both societies extremely… how shall I say it… saddening.

I personally don’t like hijab.

In my life journey, I have traveled all the way from my teenage days when I used to think that hijab is a social practice, to my “now” days where I have come to acknowledge it as a commandment by Allah to protect women.

I still do not – in my heart of hearts – like hijab.

But my heart aches when I meet people who think they can put hijab on a woman’s head, or remove hijab from her head:

People who think they can terrorize her so she can fit in, who think they have a rule and a power on this earth to reject or accept her based on her looks. Who think they can take away from her humanity just because they do not agree with her, who back-stab her, speak ill of her, exercise all kinds of bad manners against her, just because she does not resemble their clothing, she doesn’t mirror their ideals, and she does not cherish their little gods.

It’s her head, she does what she wants with it. Leave her alone!

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I {heart} Howl’s Moving Castle

Directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Howl’s Moving Castle is a must-watch Japanese animation. Loaded with a lot of meaning and a beautiful imagination, this 2004 film features Billy Crystal’s funny voice in one of the characters.

The script is so witty; I watched the movie several times now and each time I discover a new layer of meaning hidden within the film’s folds. Very clever, “deep,” and entertaining.


The soundtrack is sooo beautiful. Click below to watch the movie & to have a good listen of the wonderful music, but be careful it could play and replay in your head for a couple of days after you’ve watched the movie.

The movie basically says that if you have a you can surmount the worst spell/curse.

Watch the film here below:

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A leader is someone who has a built-in Judgement Day


We travel through life as a consciousness.

This consciousness or awareness starts primitive. It looks after its own interest: Give me milk, give me food, give me cuddling.

Then it grows, it looks after self-image: tell me I’m beautiful, tell me I’m brilliant.

Then it develops into a status/power-hungry, ego-driven entity: Give me praise, give me fear, give me ego-massages.

All these levels, according to Ibn Arabi, are levels of the animal self. النفس الحيوانية

What makes us more developed? What takes us into a higher plain, as people, nations, workers, leaders, followers?

Ethics.

No, not ideas, not intellectual prowess.

Ethics don’t stop at an idea we adopt about ourselves: That we are ethically sound. They are a journey. They consist of levels too, just as the animal self does.

Ethics need a daily dose of self-observance, so one could uncover one’s own wrong ideas about his/her own ethics.

Everything we do before we die is driven by ethics, or lack of them. Those form our intentions.

We might give a poor man money, but the intention behind the act can vary from one person to another, or from one ethical level to another.

One man might give out money to feel good about himself. Which is serving self-interest. Another man might give out money to be “seen” by others as a good person, which is still self-serving. Another man gives money because he genuinely feels with the poor and believes it is his duty on earth to be a conduit of provision for others.

How far removed is this man from the 1st two examples!?

Age has nothing to do with the ethical level we are at. Some people are 90 years old and their whole life is still centered around instinctual matters.

Others might be 18, but they are arduously working towards the refinement of themselves.

It is our duty towards our souls, towards our life, to better ourselves ethically. We need to work at removing our egos from almost everything we do, and replace this animal self-hood with real intentions for the betterment of ourselves and others.

Leadership needs ethical muscles

Both pictures from: Howl's Moving Castle

Leadership, true leadership. is about ethics, vision, compassion, and a great deal of self-observance.

Leaders, true leaders, suffer because they “carry.” They carry heavy consciences that torment them. They carry the heaviness of making/changing/adapting decisions, they carry the fear over the people/organizations/countries they lead, they carry the need to be firm with small-minded people, they carry the burden of mentoring others and leading them through their egos and jealousies and trickery. They carry the weak and the strong and hope to balance out both without being unfair or tyrannical.

True leaders carry the weight of the constant “Judgment Day” that they expose themselves to every single hour of the day. They do not wait for Judgment Day to arrive, and they do not worry or argue about whether it is “real” or not, they have their own inner scale, and their own inner judgment room… they calculate, and think ahead, and sleep on the consequences of every action they take.

They think of the souls of the people they carry, and whether they will take them to a good place on this journey or not. A good leader worries about whether he is allowing them to grow: is he reforming them when needed, is he changing their ways, is he learning from his mistakes.

Institutions where leaders sleep soundly are places you should be careful with: The leader is on an ego-trip, most likely, and the journey is not a journey of “standards,” truths, or ethical quality.

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A spiritual experience: Sufi dhikr at Muhieddine Mosque ~ by Simon Burns

Fantastic article!

Tomb of Sufi Sheikh and mentor Muhieddine Ibn ‘Arabi

A spiritual experience: Sufi dhikr at Muhieddine Mosque

by Simon Burns

The circle of men falls silent. A string of prayer beads swings from the creased hand of a gray-bearded sheikh, all else is still. For an instant the circle seems to hold its breath.

“Ya lateef, ya lateef,” chants the sheikh. The voice of a young boy bursts in with it, “Ya lateef, ya lateef.” Devotion is flying from 30 or so sets of lungs, filling every corner of the Mosque of Muhieddine Ibn ‘Arabi in Salihiyyeh, in the foothills of Mount Qasyoun.

This is the Sufi dhikr (remembrance) and the men in the circle are sending out a chant of devotion at the Muhieddine Ibn ‘Arabi mosque.

“They are connecting with God from the very center of their hearts,” says Ahmad Al Mujahid, one of the circle’s leaders.
As the chant gathers momentum, the energy swirling around the circle is almost palpable. Some are rocking back and forth, their palms upturned towards the sky, with tightly shut eyes and intense expressions on their faces. The chant rolls on, faster and faster, louder and louder. Then, whoosh, and silence descends.

This singing, like the other chants, draws words from the Quran and hadith. Ahmad says that the participants sing themselves into a state of fitra, where they feel their primordial nature – the original way that God made them.

Less than five meters from the dhikr circle lies a tomb of great power. According to Sheikh Muhammad, it is the Damascus equivalent of the Kaa’ba. Pilgrims journey to say a prayer, ask for a cure for sickness, help with hardship or just bask in its presence.

It is the Muhieddine Ibn ‘Arabi tomb, more commonly known as Ibn ‘Arabi to English speakers, or Al Sheikh Al Akbar (The Greatest Master) to Sufis. He is a saint, philosopher, mystic, poet, traveler and sage of universal importance to Sufism.
Born in the 12th Century, with a body of work stretching to 15,000 pages, he has inspired philosophers from China to Europe – from Daoists to Dante.

Sheikh Muhammad Al Yaqoubi is a Syrian scholar and Sufi descended from the prophet Muhammad. Formerly the Mufti of Sweden, he now lives in Damascus and gives a weekly Friday speech at the mosque. “Attachment to God is a work of the heart,” he says. “The heart is detached from everything except God in the dhikr.”

He says that Ibn ‘Arabi is present in the tomb, listening to the pilgrims who visit the mosque. “They cannot hear his replies because of the veil that separates humans from the world of spirits and djinn. Only great Gnostics can perceive him.”
Some Fridays, though, believers report seeing Ibn ‘Arabi. Participants in the ceremony have been known to see a beam of light projecting from his tomb to the dhikr. One Friday, Sheikh Muhammad forgot to include the Fatiha (the opening verse of the Quran) in his evening speech, as he usually does. “Ibn ‘Arabi appeared to me in the audience and reminded me! I had to stop and say the Fatiha!”

Andalusian Spain of the late 12th Century was a mix of religions, managing relative harmony among the followers of various faiths. From an early age, Ibn ‘Arabi saw the underlying unity of the three monotheistic faiths. According to Sheikh Muhammad, Ibn ‘Arabi saw in them not difference, but a single shared essence. The same is true of Damascus, he says.
“In Damascus, people of different religions have always known how to live together. From an early age we learn to distinguish our religions and ourselves, but not to hate other religions. We respect each other’s right to live together, and to share land, air and food. In this respect, Syria presents a model for the west on dealing with minorities.”

More than 770 years after Ibn ‘Arabi was laid in his tomb, a line from his poetry gives expression to a sentiment that resonates to this day in the dhikr. It resonates with people, regardless of faith: “By God, I feel so much love that it seems the skies would be rent asunder, the stars fall and the mountains move away if I burdened them with it: such is my experience of love.”

Participation in the dhikr is recommended to all Muslims regardless of denomination (Sheikh Muhammad calls it the tissue of Islam). Anyone is welcome at the tomb of Ibn ‘Arabi, and men of all faiths can observe the dhikr every Friday after the Maghrib prayer (a little after 4:30 pm). Sheikh Muhammad al Yaqoubi gives a speech every Friday at the mosque after Asha’ prayer (just after 6 pm). He will begin classes on Sufi mysticism in English in coming months.

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