Washington, D.C. - U.S. Reps. David Bonior, D-Mich., Jim McDermott, D-Wash., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., leave today for a five-day trip to Iraq to see first-hand the toll that war and economic sanctions have taken on the country.
The trip is aimed at gaining insight into the humanitarian challenges another war on Iraq would have on innocent Iraqis and the dangerous implications of a unilateral, preemptive strike on U.S. national security.
McDermott, Bonior and Thompson will be part of a delegation organized by the Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of Iraq, a project of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, and LIFE for Relief and Development, a Michigan charity organization licensed by the United States and the United Nations to administer aid in Iraq.
"I tend to think there are other ways to deal with the disarmament of Iraq, and we should exhaust every single possibility to do that before the United States takes the absolutely unprecedented step of a preemptive strike," McDermott said. "The day the United States starts saying, 'We don't like this leader; we're going to take him out no matter what the human cost is,' we have crossed a major line in international behavior. And I am very worried about that."
Bonior said a better understanding of the humanitarian problem in Iraq and its national security implications are crucial to the United States' decision whether to launch another war.
"We continue to rattle sabers and pound war drums, and yet we have very little idea of challenges we could face afterwards. What happens to our standing on the world stage if we act alone? Will our men and women in the military be required to occupy Iraq and for how long?" Bonior said. "The question is do we want to put our military personnel and Iraqi civilians in harm's way in an action that is dangerous to our national security priority - the war against terror? We have assembled an important coalition to fight the terrorism of Al Qaeda and this war will threaten that."
The group will leave today and arrive in Baghdad on Friday. They will visit many sites, including a hospital, a water filtration plant and an oil-for-food distribution site. The group will return on Tuesday.
Thompson said gaining firsthand knowledge about Iraq will better help him and Congress work with our regional allies to address the humanitarian challenges faced by Iraqi citizens who may not be responsible for their leaders' actions.
"The classified briefings Congress has been presented to date have fallen short of bridging the current chasm between a rush to war and evidence of an immediate threat," Thompson said. "The more we can learn, the better our ability will be to bring long-term stability to this region."
I hope arabs will unite and not succum to the wesstern evil designs
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OPEN ATTITUDE OF WOMEN AND MEN THAT ONCE EXISTED IN BAGDAD,THE WONDERFUL HISTORY OF GREAT ACCOMPLISEMENTS AND THINK TANKS?REALLY BROTHER I'M SO TIRED OF ALL THIS CULTURAL STUFF,THAT SEEMS TO CREEP IN THE MASJIDS AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT ,YOU CAN'T EVEN SPEAK AS A WOMEN .I HAVE ALWAYS FELT MORE COMFORTABLE IN PRACTICING MY DEEN AS A CONCERNED HUMAN BEING WORKING FOR ALLAH ,A FREE AGENT.IN ORDER TO MAKE ANY CHANGES TO MOVE FOREWORD,GROW,ECT. IT IS BETTER NOT TO ATTACH YOURSELF TO ANY PARTICULAR GROUP OR ORGANISATION.THIS WORKS BEST FOR ME,BECAUSE I FIND THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE WITH A NEW FATWAH OR OPPRESSIVE IDEA ABOUT WHAT WOMEN CAN OR CAN'T DO .AN ELDERLY BROTHER ONCE TOLD ME MANY YEARS AGO ,"IF YOU OPPRESS THE WOMEN YOU SUPPRESS A NATION". SO BE IT,ALLAH (SWA) GUIDED ME TO THIS DEEN AND I DIDN'T GET ANY MAN OR ALIM'S PERMISSION TO SPEAK OR WORK FOR THIS DEEN. IT CAME FROM ALLAH AND THAT IS WHO WILL GUIDE MY TONGE AND MY LIFE, LIBERTY,AND PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THIS DEEN.
YOUR SISTER IN ISLAM
People (Muslim and non-muslim) should learn about Islam NOT only from the Quran and Sunnah, but from history. You MUST put the Quran in historic context. This is NOT to argue that some of it is no longer applicable, but rather that most of it is in response to the society of that day. Much serves as an example of how to behave in the ideal -- examples are timeless, but to understand the point, you ahve to consider the context.
As an example, there are verses indicating divorce is final after a man indicates 4 times that divorce is desired. Aside from the fact that this is about the need for a separation period between husband and wife, it is a RESTRICTION on men, rather than a liberty. At the time there was a huge problem with familial abandonment by men -- this verse is in response to that. Also, if I'm not mistaken, women were allowed to divorce at the time, and one can conclude that in the absense of a restriction placed on them, that they continue to have this right. Too many Muslims are too afraid to study the Quran in this manner as they confuse thoughtful examination and critical reinterpretation with criticsm of God's word.
And one final point worth noting, I believe it was sadly very unreligious, brutal so-called Muslim leaders that happened to appreciate the sciences and the arts that are responsible for most of the advances attributable to the Muslim world.
Intellectual freedom and governments controlled by the people, are the key to the sort of ferment that leads to cultural growth. We in the west have an extremely narrow and historically perverse view of Islam and its intellectual contributions, and conveniently forget the horrors inflicted on Christians and non Christians alike by the Church in an effort to assure political and religious hegemony, and the subsequent wars and bloodshed committed in the name of God by Europeans against each other as various religious factions vied for supremacy, certainly ironic given Christ's admonition to "Love God and Love thy neighbor as thyself"
As Christian with a deep and abiding mistrust in any religion that seeks to use oppression and violence to spread its message, we must all acknowledge that we all have blood on our hands, and look for ways to end hostilities, not exacerbate them.
If you put all that negetive energy in to reading the facts and really understanding the Quran itself, believe me you will regret the comments you have made.May Allah help you see the light
Excellent article but alas known to any educated observer for decades. It is frightening to read the comments of some of the readers. The problems faced by Islamic world are not new and certainly not unique to islam. For example:
1) Chruch did not allow interest on capital lent to be charged until Medici in Rome deiced to go againt;
2) Women did not vote in the Switzerland till 1971;
3) Church leaders ordained civil policies till 1400; and many more examples like this.
The question however is that why the islamic world failed its people. I submit three hypothesis:
1) Islamic world is governed by clerics/their derivatives like pre rennaissance Europe and as Europe was week and poor than Islamic world is weak and poor now. The Islamic religion must go through its rennaissance like in Europe, Meiji revolution in Japan, Deng's revolution in China, democratisation of India etc. If the religion is not separated from governance the problems will continue. A tolerant civil society must give rights to everybody (eg Mosques are allowed in Hindu India, Christian Italy, Orthodox Russia, Buddhist Sri Lanka etc) but as a Sikh my people cannot build a Sikh place of Worship in Saudi Arabia etc.
2) In most Islamic states 50% of its population is not allowed by religion to participate to their fullest potential. One can imagine what would happen to any economy if women who make up 50% of the population cannot particpate fully. Empowerment and freedom for women must be a central issue.
3) Basic human rights need to built into the Islamic world. Whether this is done by democracy or common civil law is upto islamic scholars. As a sikh I would not like to be goverened by Sharia (muslims in India are governed under sharia and not under civil law) Islamic contries need to have something similar (Malaysia is an eg.)
Islamic society has itself to blame for its problems and thus it needs to solve them in its own way blaming US, Israel, West etc will solve
I know that people living in USA pay about 27% of their income to the goverment as TAXES. I said USA not some other country because it is considered the best country in the world by non muslims now.
Cindy, do you know that the non-muslims living under Islamic rule were ordered to pay LESS than what muslims used to pay as Zakat (charity).
Zakat is 2.5% (two point five percent) of the wealth that stayed with one for one year. (wealth other than your first house, first car...). So if you had one house and nothing else, then you would pay NOTHING at the end of the year...
So please compare what people have to pay now to the US government VERSUS what non muslim people had to pay to the Islamic government back then.
You will find out that people nowadays are oppressed. They are oppressed because they are ruled by man made laws, not GOD made just and merciful laws.
Read the Koranic verse: 5-47:
"Let the people of the Gospel judge by what Allah hath revealed therein. If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel/ go astray from God's path (and thus cause harm and destruction). "
The same thing applies to Muslims. If they do not follow Allah's words that are just and merciful to muslims and non muslims then Muslims themselves will be cursed by Allah. See Koran:7-44
"The Curse of Allah (name of God) is on the wrong doers/ oppressors".
The oppressors can claim to be Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers. The bottom line is that if you are an oppressor then God will curse/ hurt/ destroy you/ make you suffer.
So I ask our creator to guide all of us more to His way of life.
note: verse plucking will not help you-Cindy or any one else- in understanding what is wanted by that verse. One has to understand the entire Koran and Sunnah at least, then speak up. Learn Islam from God (His book), not Islam from Muslims (because these Muslims may be on the wrong path due to lack of k
I think you have missed two things. First, the UN Report was targeted specifically to the "Arab World" and not the Ummah. Second, the conclusions were (as the author says)more or less apoplicable to all the muslim countries.
The article was very commendable and the UN Report was down to earth. There is hardly any muslim country that is not having one or more of the three deficits (i.e. freedom, knowledge and woman power). The issue now is how do we get out of this mess?
My humble suggestion is that each and every one of us MUST make a committment to put in some efforts no matter how small in enhancing freedom, knowledge and woman power. This, after all is one of the teachings of Islam.
We thank the UN for the report."Wisdom is the lost property of the Muslim. Whenever he finds it he is more entittle to it".
Muslim Contribution to Human Civilization
And May Allah give us waking power that we shake ourself from this ignorance and live like Muslim Ummah.
To have again self confidence we have to remove some of the arab leaders.
By the use of the misnomer "The Arab World" you have spoiled your efforts in the sight of Allah. When will our so called intellectuals in Islam begin to understand that there is no place for NATIONALISM in Islam!!! Allah has said " Oh you who believe enter the religion of Islam totally....."
We will remain in utter squalor forever if we think we will use ethnic or Nationalist ideas to achieve the needed peace with Allah and ourselves. Allah does not mince words, when He commands you either follow or you are doomed. No two ways about it. I am only praying with tears in my eyes that Allah will continue to protect His three holy places till the day of resurrection even if we will witness the return of the Jahilliyah period, Allah forbids, Ameen.
It's very discouraging to see open comment boards used for hate messages and baseless ranting. It seems that a person who visits a site simply to spew venom and unfounded insults at an entire people might have better ways of spending their time.
As did the Romans. And like Rome, the Muslim empire took these tecknoledgies and developed further from them.
In the meanwhile, Christiandom produced no science whatsoever. Even as late as the Renaissance Era, innovators like Galileo and Giordano Bruno faced brutal treatment from the Church, often resulting in public execution or life imprisonment.
Only when Church power fell did science manage to take firm root in Christiandom, which by then had learned to work against Church teachings.
Peace be with you.
The study says that the Arab world has practically no freedoms, a collective GDP of less than Spain, economic growth rate of effectively 0, real population problems which are rapidly getting worse, high illiteracy, not enough in practical education, and women are treated as second class citizens. But somehow, this would all go away if the Palestinians were in better shape, and the Western media would treat them better. Where is the ownership of the problems that plague the Arab world? Where are the recommendations for home-grown solutions to these home-grown problems? Whatever wrongs the 'Arab street' thinks were committed by the US, countries like Korea have had worse, and Korea has turned itself into a manufacturing powerhouse in the last 30 years. They did it through the sweat of their collective brows, not by trying to blame someone else for their shortcomings.
1. The type of leadership being practiced by most of these Arab nations (A King as a Ruler, Ruling family etc)is not the type prescribed by the Holy Profect(PBUH). This could be the reason for the problems being faced by these countries and indeed the Muslim comminity. We should however not yield to the western promotion of democracy as this also has its own disadvantages. If we want a change in the lives of the Arabs and indeed the lives of Muslims. Our nations, Countries should be gorverned as prescribed by the Holy Profect and our leaders should be selected according to the Sunah of the Holy Profect. Any thing short of these is not devine and is bound to fail.
2.We should not underestimate the influece of the West. This is a very difficult thing for people to belive but it is the truth. Islam civilization is the only civilization that questions the inadequacies of the Western Civilization. They don't like it as a people. We should realize this. We have to exercise our freedom. Not because some people sat down and gave us freedom as stated in the Foudamental Human Rights Postulates but because all Muslims are free and are servants Allah and Allah alone.
We can not accept the fact that some people feel democratic ruled governance is the best form of ruling. What we know as Muslims is that for us to chose a leader a Govern, we must follow the Sunah of the Holy Prophet.
I cannot say enough to congratulate you on such a fine article. You have nailed it!! It's not just the Arabs (as you noted) rather the entire Muslim world that is in complete shambles. The question is why? Again, as you wisely noted that it's not appropriate for us to only blame the West (although they bear a heavy burden) it is our fault who became mesmerized by the Occident. We forgot our past, our present and never thought about the future. Our people, as whole, have an ailment and it's called INFERIORITY!! Some may disagree but that is one of our major problems; our inferiority complex on global and individual levels. We have left what elvated our status to one of the greatest civilizations for that which debased us to a bunch of imitating monkeys without focus, destination or clear concept of who we are. Now the few who try to revitalize what we had from the original sources are being maligned. Even the religion itself is attacked at every opportunity. It's hunting season and the target is Islam. You spoke of frustration but that word does not begin to articulate the absolute despair some of us feel. We are going through our own mental Palestine, India, Kashmir, Chechnya, etc... There is light beaming through all this darkness though. The conversion of Muslims at a faster rate than ever. The likes of you, Dr. Jeffery Lang, Dr. Jeremiah D. McAuliffe, Jr. Ph.D., Dr. Jamal Badawi, the brothers at Islamic City and Moiz Amjad at www.understanding-islam.com are all who have contributed to a better understanding of that which will bring us out of the depths of this abyss. They are not the only ones, there are many more. Thank you for such an eye opening article, I just wish there were more. We need to be educated and I wish we would collectively raise ourselves back to the knowledge we once wielded mightier than any sword we have so wrongly been famed for. If we would only, "Read in the name of your God..."
'research'. After graduation, it took seven years
for me to figure it out, and leave my country and
The Middle East. Every time I returned to visit or do haj, I was reassured that I did the right thing. The arabic saying goes: 'knowing the reason eleminates the wondering'.
Some commentators hate Islam as a religion and anyone who practices it. They will never be content until we do what they want us to do, which is leave Islam altogether. This is also mentioned in the Quraan. Most of them were fed false info about Islam so I don't really blame them for their views. The condition of where most of us came from don't help to change their distorted views. I don't mind if they go bad mouthing other countries, but when someone bad mouths Islam it irritates and offends me.
the Arabs NEVER led the world in anything..During the days of the Muslim Empire, the Muslims enslaved the genius of the Byzantines, the Persians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Kurds and this Hindus......and claimed all the knowlege and accomplishments for themselves. The reason that Christians and Jews were allowed to live, as humiliated dhimmis for sure, was that the Arab/Muslims conquerers and colonizers WERE so primitive and ignorant, that they needed this class of educated literate people, who created under the threat of death, the "glory" that Islam claims.
As soon as the Arabs/Muslims stopped conquering more advanced civilizations, the true face of Arab/Islamic civilization became prominent....and we see it now.
Islam and Arabia is today, what it has always been...WITHOUT THE INDUSTRY AND GENIUS OF NON MUSLIM PEOPLES AND CULTURES.......nothing.....living off violence and theft....and in some cases oil...
And while the illusion of zakat is brought out to show the magnanimity of the muslims, the real absence of justice and civic participation in governance is obscured. Natural resorces of the country belong (personally) to the most brutal, and not as a public trust, to benefit the people.
The failure of Arabs/Muslims is a symptom of the thinking disorder that allows this culture to understand "peace", as non muslims living UNDER Islam in a state of subjugation and humiliation. Koran 9:29.
and thats just the beginning....