Choices for Israel: Ethnic Cleansing, Apartheid or Democracy

Choices for Israel: Ethnic Cleansing, Apartheid or Democracy

[I saw this on the Mujahideen Ryder Blog]

In this video we see the Israeli Army commandeering a Palestinian home whenever they choose and usually in the middle of the night, turfing out the family so that they can sleep in their beds. So not only are they occupied in their own land, they are occupied even in their own homes.

We see Jewish fundamentalist (illegal) settlers determined not to move an inch even if it is a giant step towards peace, the irony is that they were ordered by their own government to populate the occupied territories.

We see the Israeli Army demolishing Arab houses in OCCUPIED East Jerusalem.

Israel is not the beacon of democracy that many in the West think it is.

The most shocking thing about this video is that fact that it was made in the first place and then aired on a prime US Channel CBS News, on a primetime show 60 Minutes.

Even with Herod Olmert’s attempt at killing as many people and children as possible in the attack on Gaza, the birth rates amongst Palestinians is so high that in 10 years the Jewish population will be a minority, insha’Allah. The only feasible way forward for Israel is peace and democracy even if they have to live as a minority, this is a conundrum that cannot be easily resolved and is a conundrum of their own making.

Our Mosques and Art (or lack thereof).

At the age of 41, I have been a grumpy old man for a while now. One of my peeves is the state of our mosques as institutions, the people running them, the maintenance (or lack thereof) and the garish “artwork” and “embellishments” people give as gifts to the mosque.

I am usually not one to question the motives of people, but I firmly believe that a lot of the “decoration” pieces that end up in the mosque are gifts that people have received from friends and relatives who have been to Hajj, Umra or to a Muslim country, the recipient probably thinks “oh man this is ugly and I don’t want it in my house, but I can’t bin it because of the sacred imagery, I know, I’ll give it to our local mosque!” (don’t tell me that you have never thought of it too!) and so, the mosque acquires an eclectic mix of , mass-produced tat, tack, trash, clutter, kitsch, hideously vulgar plastic ornaments and garish flashing pictures that are an anathema to Islamic Art and our history of embellishing the house of Allah with only the best of human endeavours.

In our mosque, on either side of the mihrab someone has “kindly” donated, what can only be described as two mini faux-fish-tanks one with a picture of the Ka’aba and the other with Masjid al-Nabi both immersed in the grotesqueries, which you plug-in to illuminate and to get the water going, wow, the genius of it! If that wasn’t bad enough, the way they have been put on the wall is just plain stupidity – take two “L”-shaped shelf brackets (one for each of the hideous abominations) put the aforementioned on the bracket, get some cellotape and cellotape the monstrosities to the bracket (make sure you do a really bad job of it too) and then screw it into the wall, for that extra special botch job touch, leave the power cable dangling. Arghhhh! Even writing this is infuriating and painful! Alhamdulillah, our mosque was generally quite well decorated when it was built, we have very nice tile-work, calligraphy (although the English script leaves a little to be desired), and the mihrab is tasteful. We had the carpet changed a couple of years ago, and although the carpet is physically of good quality, the mixture of pinks, reds, yellows and greens coupled with floral patterns is a little off-putting to say the least. Over the years, people seem to have put up stickers on the doors and tile work, if a notice has to be put up they don’t use something as discreet as blu-tack, oh no, it has to be duct-tape or that brown packing tape, you have to make sure it leaves behind gunk or when you peel it off it takes a layer of paint with it. Why, why, why? Have people no sense of the aesthetic any more, no appreciation of beauty and art and no commonsense, where did it all go wrong? Are we really the legacy of those who built the Taj Mahal, the Alhambra and made advances in sciences, literature and art? Are we?

I made the mistake of pointing out to one of the senior members of the mosque committee what I thought of the aforementioned ornaments and he totally missed what I was saying and started accusing me of disrespecting the Ka’ba and Masjid Nabi! I don’t think it was in his capacity to make the distinction between the subject matter and the presentation of it, he just didn’t get it despite my feable attempts to explain it.

We have all heard the hadith: In-Allaha jameel wa-yuhibbu l-jamalGod is Beautiful and loves beauty, has our sense of beauty and what is beautiful diminished, just as our consciousness of God has diminished? Have these mass-produced ignoble artefacts become the metaphor of our condition, that there is no depth to us and what we produce? Can’t we see past the fake-gold and ornamentation, be it of the human or of the sacred space?

BBC Director General Pro-Israeli?

I was reading Osama Saeed’s blog Rolled Up Trousers and he has dug up a report from the Independent in 2005 that could perhaps explain the BBC decision. It turns out that the Director General Mark Thompson was on a trip to Jerusalem in 2005 and had a face to face meeting with the war criminal Ariel Sharon;? Mr. Thompson’s wife is also Jewish.? You make your own mind up and if you are yet to make a complaint to the BBC perhaps you should ask whether these two points had any bearing on the decision.