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Dr Kaukab Siddique | Editor-in-Chief Ramadan 4 ,1434/July 13, 2013 # 29

Obama: We want Clemency for Lynne Stewart

On July 12, Jamaat al-Muslimeen participated in a rally in Washington DC at 14th street and Park Road, calling on the government to release the People's Lawyer Lynne Stewart on the basis of clemency. She is dying of cancer in a prison in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The Jericho Movement was well represented at the rally along with a number of other groups. It was good to meet Br. Jihad Abdul-Mumit again. Sis. Lucy Murphy sang in Spanish about the struggle of Lynne Stewart. The husband of Lynne, also an activist, has decided to go on hunger strike in front of the White House.

[Info via Nadrat Siddique.]
[Lynne Stewart defended the Blind Shaikh Dr. Omar Abdel Rahman, for free, but was herself imprisoned.]

Jamaat al-Muslimeen urges the government to release all Islamic political prisoners.

It is a shame that the government is breaking the hunger strike in Gtmo by force feeding the 104 Islamic prisoners who are striking.

Let's see what the government will do about the 30,000 prisoners who are going on hunger strike against indefinite solitary confinement in California's prisons. Please scroll down for details.

Breaking News: #1 In Syria: July 5-12. Mujahideen of al-Nusra have beaten back Syrian army attacks on Aleppo. In a struggle with secularist opponents of Assad, al-Qaida Islamics have taken complete control of two villages in the northern corridor to Turkey. In Latakia province, a Free Syrian Army commander, Kamal Hamami, member of the Supreme Military Council which is seeking weapons from the US, was killed by elements of the Islamic State in Iraq, an al-Qaida group.[July 11] Earlier, there were explosions in Assad's ammunition depots in Latakia which is the Alawite stronghold. The Afghan Taliban have set up a research unit in Syria to study how to counter Hizbullah and Iranian forces fighting for Assad. Asad's tank column has successfully broken into the Khalidiya district of Homs which is defended by armed civilians. More than a thousand civilians are lying injured in the ruins of Homs after ongoing artillery and air bombardments by Assad's forces. Various parts of Homs are in the hands of army defectors opposing Assad and others in the hands of Alawite armed civilians supporting him. Hizbullah from Lebanon are spearheading the Assad advance into Homs. Also, on July 10, Hizbullah's stronghold in Beirut was hit by a car bomb with heavy casualties. Looks like the mujahideen supporters in Lebanon got through in spite of tight security.

Breaking News #2: July 12. Egypt: Tens of thousands Egyptians rallied at several points in Cairo as well as in Alexandria, Giza and other cities. They want democracy restored and President Morsi released. The Muslim Brotherhood was attacked on July 8 after Fajr prayers by the military. At least 51 worshippers were killed. With so many unarmed martyrs, the military thought the Islamics would scatter and run. Instead they rallied ever more strongly.

It is now evident that America bankrolled the demonstrators against President Morsi and then America's puppets in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait pledged $8 billion and $4 billion respectively to the coup group and its supporters. [We can send readers the lengthy report on USA's bankrolling the anti-Morsi crowds.]

America's dilemma is that the Muslim Brotherhood did not run. After so many martyrs, mujahideen might retaliate against the military and then the gates would be open for al-Zawahiri and al-Qaida. America is now telling the army to hold back and to release President Morsi. The sit in by thousands of Morsi supporters, including thousands of women, has become permanent at Masjid Rabia al-Adawiya in Cairo.

Travelogue: Eyewitness Account of Secularized Egypt before the revolution. Superb photos of historic mosques,
Much religion but little relevance to the issues. Please scroll to end.

The Qur'an's Concept of Power
by Syed Qutb [shaheed]

To the believer in Islam, human power falls into two categories: a rightly-guided power that recognizes God and abides by His directions, and an arrogant, rebellious one that does not admit to God's sovereignty and authority. A Muslim is required to support and endorse the former, no matter how weak or disadvantaged it may be, and to reject and oppose the latter, regardless of its strength or dominance. The Qur'an says: "Many a small band, by the grace of God, has vanquished a large one." (2: 249) Such victory of the apparently weaker host could only be achieved when it relies on God, the source of all power." [From Fi Zilal al-Qur'an, vol. 1]

Idol Breaking is central to Islam: Iqbal's "tafseer" of the Qur'an in Poetry

"Yeh Daur upnay brahim ki talash main hay
Sanam kada hay jahan, la Illaha il Allah"
[ Zarbe Kaleem by Iqbal.]

[This era is searching for its Ibraheem
This world is a temple of idols, [but] there is no God but Allah.]

[Comment by Kaukab Siddique: Iqbal's Urdu poetry is very difficult to translate because underlying it is the entire spectrum of Islamic concepts. The Qur'an narrates the story of Abraham, pbuh, who smashed the idols of his nation, many of them crafted by his own father. Later, hadith tells us that Muhammad, pbuh, smashed the idols of the oppressors who ruled Makka. In our era, we have the "idols" of power, wealth, status, military superiority, male dominance, nationalism, materialism, tribalism and racism. These are the "gods" of our era. Following the line of Abraham, pbuh, and Muhammad, pbuh, we say to each one of them, there is no God but the One God Allah..]

July 8 was the anniversary of Fatima Jinnah, great Pakistani woman , the founder's sister, who tried to save Pakistan from military control. She almost did. Maulana Maudoodi supported her. [Surprise!?] Please scroll to end.

After a British soldier was killed in London by a Nigerian Muslim, British racists went on the rampage and attacked 16 mosques, a shop and a school. [The Muslim News, UK, June 28.] British troops have occupied parts of Afghanistan.

British women have a very different view of Islam than do the racists.
The Miracle of Islam: Meet 4 of the more than 5,000 British women who embraced Islam last year.
Amazing photos. With thanks to Sis. Gulshan in Canada. Please scroll way down.

Personal from Kaukab Siddique
Obituary: Learning from the passing of a great Muslim.
Asim Hussain's Lonely Struggle for Truth: We talked almost every Week.
He Read New Trend Regularly. He was betrayed by ICNA.

Dr. Asim Hussain who lived most of his life in Michigan passed away just before Ramadan on July 8. May Allah bless him and grant him a place in Janaat al-Firdous.
Asim bhai, as we called him, lived every day of life in the last 30 years I knew him permeated with the wisdom and knowledge of Islam. He was so generous and influential and loving that leaders of Jamaate Islami would stay with him on their visits to America. Meetings of Halqa-e-Ahbab-e-Islami, when I was Secretary General, were often held in his home. His wife, Rafia, may Allah bless her soul, was a great cook and her food was part of the enjoyment of the meetings.
During his last years, Asim bhai used to call me to discuss the tragedies of the Muslim world. He discussed the most sensitive issues. ThIs became a weekly event, sometimes twice a week, till the government picked up the calls and bothered his son. After his wife passed, he became very lonely and this became worse as his hearing and speech weakened, but he was always firm in his faith in Allah.

His main concerns were:
  1. Understanding how the Qur'an links faith and spirituality with political transformation and revolution. He got this from Tafheemul Quran, the commentary on the Qur'an by Maudoodi.

  2. He used to urge me to contact Jamaate Islami leader Munawar Hasan and tell him to go to the masses and work for the distribution of wealth.

  3. He said, we must understand the difference between the despots we read about in Muslim history and the modern dictators and Kings. The despots of history worked for the benefit of the Ummah once they had gained power. The modern tyrants don't care at all for the ummah. Even after gaining power, they only do what their foreign masters tell them to do.

  4. He understood why I gave up Jamaate Islami after being so close to it for so long. However, he was shocked when I criticized Maudoodi but then regained his friendship with me.

  5. He was 100% anti-Israel and pro-Palestine.

ICNA, which once supported Jamaate Islami, became a total puppet of the US government. Asim Hussain was deeply disappointed but was too kind to openly criticize ICNA. His dilemma was that even his sons had joined ICNA. The mosque he used to go to in Canton, Michigan, in his final years was a total sell out. Siraj Wahhaj, the bearded traitor who helped put the blind Shaikh in prison for LIFE and 65, came to the Canton mosque to collect funds. Asim bhai was outraged but couldn't say anything in public as his wife had passed away and his health was declining steeply.

I don't like hypocrisy so I must protest ICNA leaders trying to claim Asim bhai as one of themselves after he left this world.

  1. ICNA has not supported Jamaate Islami for 30 years. Asim bhai thought JI was central.

  2. After 9.11 ICNA prostrated before the White House and even gave up remembering Maudoodi's anniversary.

  3. ICNA did not speak out even when Israel attacked GAZA twice.

  4. ICNA was silent about the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

  5. Then it came out that Zahid Bukhari, the outgoing President of ICNA, was working with the US State Department and had proudly placed his connection with the Zionist regime on his resume.

  6. Finally, Naeem Baig, one of the biggest ICNA hypocrites, revealed that ICNA had been in bed with the FBI for 20 years. [The letter Baig issued was identical to that issued by CAIR.] Naeem Baig is now President of ICNA.

  7. ICNA dared not say a word against Israel. For such cowards to claim thar Asim bhai was one of them is a shameful lie.

It is indeed immoral behavior on the part of ICNA leaders, Yunus and Baig, to claim that Asim bhai was part of ICNA.
Hypocrisy should not be tolerated, especially not in Ramadan.

Palestine: The New Generation Continues to Defy Israeli Occupiers  Wadi Maswadeh being led to an Israeli army jeep

Wadi Maswadeh being led to an Israeli army jeep July 11:
Wadi Maswadeh, 5 year old, was arrested in "Hebron" [Occupied Al-Khalil] for throwing stones at Israelis. Later he was released after a Jewish group of lawyers said that those arrested should be at least 12 years old.

Celebrities, Whistleblowers Lead Petition to Ecuador for Snowden's Political Asylum
Petition Has Over 23,000 Signers

Contact: Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy, (202) 448-2898
Washington, D.C. - Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, John Cusack, Amber Heard, Shia LaBeouf, Roseanne Barr, and musician Boots Riley have joined Vietnam War whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg and Iraq War whistleblower Joe Wilson, author Noam Chomsky and many other prominent whistle-blowers, activists, former intelligence and military officers, academics and others in calling on Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to grant whistle-blower Edward Snowden political asylum. The full letter and list of prominent signers was circulated by the organization Just Foreign Policy and is posted on the group's website.

The letter is here:

The petition is here:

"We're proud to stand with patriotic American whistleblowers like Dan Ellsberg, Coleen Rowley, Joe Wilson and Thomas Drake in appealing to President Correa to grant political asylum to Edward Snowden," said Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy. "For democracy to work, Americans have to be able to find out what our government is doing. Unprecedented government secrecy and an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers are threatening the ability of Americans to control their government. If President Correa grants asylum to Snowden, all Americans who love freedom will be in his debt."

The actors, directors and musicians were joined by author and journalist Naomi Klein, professor and Middle East expert Juan Cole, "The Young Turks" co-host Cenk Uygur, Thomas Drake (the former NSA Senior Executive and whistleblower), Coleen Rowley (retired FBI agent & former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel, and one of three "whistleblowers" named Time Magazine's "Persons of the Year" in 2002), Jacob Appelbaum (developer of The Tor Project), Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans (Cofounders of CODEPINK), Ann Wright (retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat), and Ray McGovern (Former U.S. Army officer and former senior CIA analyst) among many others.

Over 23,000 others have joined in signing the petition as it has circulated on the internet. The Ecuadorean government first reported it had received a political asylum request from Snowden on Sunday.

The letter states that Snowden has revealed "severe abuses of the basic constitutional rights of U.S. citizens and the rights of people in other nations. Yet rather than focusing on the danger to citizens' freedom and privacy exposed by these revelations, and what reforms are necessary to protect citizens' rights, the Obama administration, the U.S. Congress and much of the media are again focusing their ire on the messenger" - Snowden, whom it terms a "brave whistle-blower."

The letter states that the Obama administration has charged Snowden under the Espionage Act even though Snowden "clearly did not commit espionage," and that the Espionage Act charges are "arbitrary" and "evidence of political persecution." It notes that the Obama administration "has charged more than twice as many whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined."

Our America
30,000 California Prisoners on Hunger Strike to oppose Indefinite Solitary Confinement & Collective Penalties

An estimated 30,000 California prison inmates have begun to refuse meals in what could be the largest prison protest in state history.Inmates in two-thirds of California's 33 prisons, and at all four out-of-state private prisons, refused both breakfast and lunch Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports. In addition, 2,300 prisoners did not to go to work or to their prison classes, either refusing or saying they were sick.

The corrections department does not acknowledge a hunger strike until inmates have missed nine consecutive meals.
The protest is organized by a small group of inmates at Pelican Bay State Prison near the Oregon border. The priority on their list of demands is to get relief for inmates held in indefinite solitary confinement because of their ties to prison gangs.

"We are presently out of alternative options for achieving the long overdue reform to this system and, specifically, an end to state-sanctioned torture," the group wrote in a statement released Monday by the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. "Now we have to put our lives on the line via indefinite hunger strike to force CDCR [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] to do what's right."

"We are certain that we will prevail.... the only questions being: How many will die starvation-related deaths before state officials sign the agreement?," the statement continued. "The world is watching!"

The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition is planning protests in solidarity with the inmates. About 75 people rallied in solidarity in downtown LA Monday, and dozens of demonstrators gathered in front of the King County Jail in Seattle on Monday.

Prisoner demands call for state officials to:1) stop punishing groups for the actions of individuals 2) stop rewarding those who provide information on others 3) improve nutrition 4) institute constructive programs for those in solitary confinement 5) end long-term solitary confinement

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton told the LA Daily News that reforms made in October have already met the demands of prisoners and strikers. In part, she was referring to the state's new Step-Down Program, which allows inmates to earn placement in general housing without relinquishing membership to a gang.

The California prison system currently holds over 10,000 prisoners in solitary confinement units, with dozens having spent more than 20 years each in isolation, according to the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition.

In 2011, inmates staged a series of hunger strikes over the same issues that drew international attention. About 12,000 prisoners in at least a third of California's 33 prisons participated in that strike, making the current strike almost three times as large.

Factual Information about Ramadan by Imam Ali Siddiqui in Northern California.
There is a special night called the Night of Power, which is mentioned in the Quran (Chapter 97), as a night of peace, mercy, and light. Worshiping during this night is better than the worship of 1,000 months. During this night, Muhammad was chosen by Allah, as the Messenger of God, and Quran was sent to the 1st level of heaven. During this night, Allah, God Almighty, sends down an army of special angels, under the leadership of Archangel Gabriel, who go to every nook and cranny of the earth to pray for the mercy of Allah, God Almighty, and salvation of the believers.

Unlike common calendar, which is Solar based, Islamic calendar is Lunar based. It does not mean that Muslims worship moon. It is another way to count days of the month and the year. Like all Islamic months, Ramadan, 9th lunar month, begins after sighting the Crescent, but not the new moon. The probability to see the Crescent for Ramadan is on July 9, 2013 just after the sunset on the western horizon.

All healthy Muslim adults including homemakers, school-going kids around the age of 13, factory workers, businessmen, and others among them will be fasting. Your Muslim neighbors will be getting up very early to take their sahoor, a pre-dawn meal before starting their fast. So, don't get alarmed if you hear lot of noise next door. Summer School staff has to show understanding and consideration towards Muslim students who may be fasting during the month of Ramadan from July 10 to August 7, 2013. They should be assigned alternate activities instead of strenuous gym activities.

Physicians should also understand that their patients might be fasting. They should prescribe the medicine in a way that they could take it with their pre-dawn or after sunset meals. However, if the patients' life may be in jeopardy, explain it to the patients or seek help from a Muslim Medical Chaplain at a local hospital or an Imam/director of a local Masjid/Islamic Center. According to Muslim physicians, there are some physiological benefits from Muslim Fasting (total abstention from food and liquids) including lowering of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol, and lowering of systolic blood At the completion of month of Fasting, Muslims all over the world celebrate their holiday of Eid al-Fitr. It is the biggest Muslim holiday. It is a true thanksgiving for a Muslim believer for having the opportunity to obey Allah, God Almighty, by observing Fasting. It is celebrated on the 1st day of 10th lunar month, Shaw'waal. This year, it will be on August 8, 2013. The holiday begins with Muslims putting on their best, preferably new clothes and going to the Eid congregation. Eid congregations are very large gatherings of Muslim men, women, and children across the country. You can also witness these gatherings by simply finding out through Web, newspapers, radio, and TV. Afterwards, people greet each other with hugs and handshakes. The children receive gifts of money and toys. After the congregation, Muslims visit each other at their homes and hold lunches or dinners for family and friends. Don't be surprised if you are invited to an Eid dinner or Eid celebration by your Muslim neighbors or friends. Please do accept such an invitation. The hospitality, friendliness, and variety of international Muslim cuisine will pleasantly surprise you.

Greetings of Ramadan, Ramadan Karim!

P.S. Muslims should call their local Masjid for the beginning and end of Ramadan.

Additional information can be acquired through e-mail:

About the author:
Imam Ali Siddiqui with 40 years of service, is a Friday Khatib, Islamic teacher, Muslim Chaplain, youth advisor, family
counselor, educator, poet, and writer with a vision who has been involved in the teaching Islam, history, comparative
religion, contemporary issues to Muslims and non-Muslims. He is actively involved in the community service including
spiritual/educational development, service to the sick and the incarcerated; and the interfaith work. His work has
been successfully building bridges between faiths and communities. Presently Imam Siddiqui serves the North Bay
Muslim Community, CA including Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies & Understanding, Santa Rosa, CA; North
Bay Jewish Muslim Dialogue; Marin Interfaith Council, Santa Rosa Interfaith Ministerial Association, American Civil
Liberties Union of Sonoma County, Japanese American Citizen League, and Khatib at North Marin Islamic Center
and Muslim Society of Napa. For additional information about the author, please Google: "Imam Ali Siddiqui". For
speaking engagement:
A Brief List of Imam Siddiqui's Articles:
Please post on your website or mail to your lists including your local newspaper. Editing and MIISU, 1841 Vermillion Way, Santa Rosa, CA 95403;; 707-545-5234

"Bridging the gap of understanding between Muslims and the community through teaching about Islam, Muslims, and Islamic Civilization and developing the understanding of other religions, cultures, and civilizations through interfaith engagement."

With thanks to Sis. Gulshan in Canada

I wasn't looking for a religion ... I just fell in love with Islam
Meet four of the 5,000 Brits who become Muslims each year

 Jayne Kemp

Devout ... PCSO Jayne Kemp

More than half of those who make the switch are white - and 75 per cent are women.
But what would make someone want to change their lifestyle so dramatically? Police Community Support Officer Jayne Kemp left her Catholic roots behind after "falling in love" with Islam while helping victims of so-called honour violence.
Here EMILY FOSTER, JENNA SLOAN and EMILY FAIRBAIRN speak to Jayne and three other women about why they decided to become Muslim.

PCSO Jayne, 28

JAYNE KEMP patrols her beat wearing a traditional hijab headscarf and even works extra time after shifts so she can attend Friday prayers at her mosque.

Devout Jayne converted to Islam last April and even plans to change her name to Aminah.

The single mum, who patrols Eccles, Gtr Manchester, as a Police Community Support Officer, says: "I thought Islam was all about women being forced to slave away in the kitchen — but I found out it was about being generous with your time, and patient and respectful of others.

"As I looked into it, I saw similarities with Catholicism and noticed values such as looking after your neighbours and cherishing the elderly, which is something older people say younger people don't do any more.

"I wasn't looking for any religion at the time but for every question I had answered about Islam, I had five more. I think I fell in love with it."

 muslim women at prayer

Prayer ... a group of Muslim women pray wearing the traditional hijab

Devoted Jayne even missed out on celebrating Christmas with her son, nine, and daughter, seven. She sent them off to their dad's and cooked her own meal so it would be halal — the meat slaughtered in the manner prescribed by Sharia law.

And despite the drastic change, Jayne says colleagues at Greater Manchester Police and her family have been supportive. She is now helping to design a regulation police hijab and tunic — as one has never been needed before.

Jayne says: "I was worried about what my colleagues would think but they have been so understanding.
"People in Eccles have been great too — most don't even mention it. If my children had struggled with me covering my hair I wouldn't have done it.

"They have both asked a lot about it but I would never push Islam on them and they will be brought up Catholic.
"I just hope by speaking out I can show it is OK for a Muslim woman to work in the police force and change negative Islam stereotypes.

 muslim girl praying

Respectful ... Jayne says she found similarities between Islam and Catholicism

"My family, in general, are supportive. If I'm happy, they're happy. My sister said I'm the happiest she's ever seen me."

Jayne was inspired to convert to Islam after chatting to other Muslims on Twitter.

Muhammad Manzoor, who runs Muslim Twitter account Local Masjid from his home in Whalley Range, Manchester, helped her make the transition.

He said: "I was humbled Jayne was asking me these questions.

"She has found this religion for herself and hopefully it shows Muslims can mix in society without compromising their faith."

Student Alana, 21

ALANA BLOCKLEY, a media student who lives in Glasgow, converted to Islam after meeting her husband Abdul on holiday in June 2010. She says:

My family are all travellers and we live on a caravan site. I was baptised as a Christian but church and religion were never a big part of my life.

I was 18 when I decided I wanted to go out to the Canaries. I wanted to work as a club rep and have the experiences people say you should when you're young.

I arrived in Fuerteventura and after a couple of days, a hotel maintenance man offered to take me out for a coffee. He was Abdul, a Muslim from Morocco.

 Alana Blockley

Preaching to the converted ... Alana, right, and pictured wih her husband Abdul

When I got home he asked me to come back and visit him - and after three visits we knew we wanted to be together.
I started to research Islam because I wanted to know more about his life.

I decided I wanted to convert. I was worried about telling my parents and burst into tears. Mum thought I was pregnant and my dad thought I'd crashed my car.

I started to wear the hijab last summer. We got married in a Muslim ceremony earlier this month in Fuerteventura.

I miss eating Parma ham but I don't miss alcohol.

I celebrate Eid now, but I compromised with my parents and we all had a halal Christmas dinner.

I hope I'm going to heaven now and I like the rules of Islam.

Jobseeker Claire, 24

CLAIRE EVANS converted to Islam last July after researching it following a break-up. Claire, from Bridgend, South Wales, says:

After my heart was broken by a Muslim man, I wanted nothing more to do with the religion - I thought it was cruel and unkind.

But my mum started looking up more about Islam and pointed out the way this man had behaved was contrary to the faith's teachings.

I read up on it and discovered that Islam actually promotes tranquillity and peace.

 Claire Evans

Heartbreak ... Claire converted to Islam after breaking up with a Muslim man

I wasn't religious before I converted. I didn't really believe in God. I now cover my hair and wear a hijab, which was a big decision. My dad doesn't like it, though, and I don't wear the hijab when I'm with him.

At first I got some stares and nasty comments but in the past six months I've grown in confidence. Now I go to the mosque once a week and I pray every day.

I also took a Muslim name, Safir, but I still use my old name of Claire too. I have a new partner too, who is a Muslim, but we're not settling down just yet.

Islam has made me calmer and, for the first time in my life, I feel accepted.

There's not much I miss about my old life, except the odd sausage roll - I can't eat pork now.

Model Ayesha, 24

AYESHA OLUMIDE, from Edinburgh, is a model who works under her original name of Eunice. She converted to Islam in 2009 while at university. She says:

Before converting to Islam I was a Christian - but where my family is from in West Africa, Islam and Christianity are both practised. But it wasn't until I started studying philosophy at university that I began to learn more about Islam.

At first I was worried it would be too extreme but when I studied the Koran it blew my mind. The theories about nature and science appealed and I felt enlightened. You can't always explain everything in a scientific way and Islam helps me with that.

 Ayesha Olumde

Model behaviour ... at first Ayesha found it hard to 'square being a Muslim with being a model'

I was first scouted as a model while a 15-year-old tomboy. I was into football and athletics - but a career in fashion is all about looks. Converting to Islam made me realise how much we value people if society thinks they're beautiful.

At the mosque, women cover their head and dress modestly, so no one is judging you on what you look like. At first I found it hard to square being a Muslim with being a model. But I spoke to a Muslim sister and she said Islam is not an extreme religion, so if it felt too extreme to me it probably wasn't right.

Now I cover my hair for 99 per cent of the time but if I don't want to when I wake up one day, I don't. And I don't do any bikini or underwear shoots.

I don't have set days at the mosque but I do go often and I pray every day. I would like to start a family in the future but don't think I'd marry a non-Muslim.

Read more:

With thanks to Syed Abdul Bais
Miss Fatima Jinnah
(Fatima Jinnah ; July 30, 1893 — July 8, 1967)

Fatima Jinnah was the younger sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and an active political figure in the movement for independence from the British Raj. She is commonly known in Pakistan as Khatun-e Pakistan ( "Lady of Pakistan") and Mader-e Millat ("Mother of the Nation.") She was born in Karachi, (in the part of British India that later became Pakistan). She was an instrumental figure in the Pakistan movement and the primary organiser of the All India Muslim Women Students Federation. After the formation of Pakistan and the death of her brother, she remained an active member of the nation's politics. She continued to work for the welfare of the Pakistani people until she died in Karachi on July 8, 1967.

Early life and career

Fatima Jinnah was born in Karachi, British India on July 30, 1893. Jinnah's parents, Poonja Jinnahbhai and Mithibai Jinnahbhai, had seven children: Muhammad Ali, Ahmad Ali, Bunde Ali, Rahmat Ali, Maryam, Fatima and Shireen. Of a family of seven brothers and sisters, she was the closest to Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Her illustrious brother became her guardian upon the death of their father in 1901. She joined the Bandra Convent in Bombay in 1902. In 1919 she got admitted to the highly competitive University of Calcutta where she attended the Dr. R. Ahmed Dental College. After she graduated, she opened a dental clinic in Bombay in 1923.

Quaid's companion

Mr.Jinnah lived with her brother until 1918, when he married Rattanbai Petit. Upon Rattanbai's death in February 1929, Jinnah closed her clinic, moved into her brother Muhammad Ali Jinnah's bungalow, and took charge of his house. This began the life-long companionship that lasted until her brother's death on September 11, 1948.

Paying tribute to his sister, Ali Jinnah once said, "My sister was like a bright ray of light and hope whenever I came back home and met her. Anxieties would have been much greater and my health much worse, but for the restraint imposed by her.

Political life

During the transfer of power in 1947, Jinnah formed the Women's Relief Committee, which later formed the nucleus for the All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA). She also played a significant role in the settlement of Muhajirs in the new state of Pakistan.

In the 1960s, Jinnah returned to the forefront of political life when she ran for the presidency of Pakistan as a candidate for the Combined Opposition Party of Pakistan (COPP). She described her opponent, Ayub Khan, as a dictator. Her early rallies nearly 250,000 people turned out to see her in Dhaka, and a million lined the 293 mile route from there to Chittagong. Her train, called the Freedom Special, was 22 hours late because men at each station pulled the emergency cord, and begged her to speak. The crowds hailed her as the mother of the nation.

In her rallies Jinnah argued that, by coming to terms with India on the Indus Water dispute, Ayub had surrendered control of the rivers to India. Jinnah lost the election, but only narrowly, winning a majority in some provinces. The election did not conform to international standards and journalists, as well as subsequent historians, have often suggested it was rigged in favour of Ayub Khan

Presidential election 1965

Fatima Jinnah, popularly acclaimed as the Madar-i-Millat, or "Mother of the Nation" for her role in the Freedom Movement, contested the 1965 elections at the age of 71. Except for her brief tour to East Pakistan in 1954, she had not participated in politics since Independence. After the imposition of Martial Law by Ayub Khan, she once wished the regime well. But after the Martial Law was lifted, she sympathized with the opposition as she was strongly in favor of democratic ideals. Being the Quaid's sister, she was held in high esteem, and came to symbolize the democratic aspirations of the people. The electoral landscape changed when Fatima Jinnah decided to contest the elections for the President's office in 1965. She was challenging the incumbent President Ayub Khan in the indirect election, which Ayub Khan had himself instituted. Presidential candidates for the elections of 1965 were announced before commencement of the Basic Democracy elections, which was to constitute the Electoral College for the Presidential and Assembly elections. There were two major parties contesting the election. The Convention Muslim League and the Combined Opposition Parties. The Combined Opposition Parties consisted of five major opposition parties. It had a nine-point program, which included restoration of direct elections, adult franchise and democratization of the 1962 Constitution. The opposition parties of Combined Opposition Parties were not united and did not possess any unity of thought and action. They were unable to select presidential candidates from amongst themselves; therefore they selected Fatima Jinnah as their candidate.

Elections were held on January 2, 1965. There were four candidates; Ayub Khan, Fatima Jinnah and two obscure persons with no party affiliation. There was a short campaigning period of one month, which was further restricted to nine projection meetings that were organized by the Election Commission and were attended only by the members of the Electoral College and members of the press. The public was barred from attending the projection meetings, which would have enhanced Fatima Jinnah's image.

Ayub Khan had a great advantage over the rest of the candidates. The Second Amendment of the Constitution confirmed him as President till the election of his successor. Armed with the wide-ranging constitutional powers of a President, he exercised complete control over all governmental machinery during elections. He utilized the state facilities as head of state, not as the President of the Convention Muslim League or a presidential candidate, and didn't even hesitate to legislate on electoral maters. Bureaucracy and business, the two beneficiaries of the Ayub Khan regime, helped him in his election campaign. Being a political opportunist, he brought all the discontented elements together to support him; students were assured the revision of the University Ordinance and journalists the scrutiny of the Press Laws. Ayub Khan also gathered the support of the ulema who were of the view that Islam does not permit a woman to be the head of an Islamic state.

Fatima Jinnah's greatest advantage was that she was the sister of the Founder of Pakistan. She had detached herself from the political conflicts that had plagued Pakistan after the Founder's death. The sight of this dynamic lady moving in the streets of big cities, and even in the rural areas of a Muslim country, was both moving and unique. She proclaimed Ayub Khan to be a dictator. Jinnah's line of attack was that by coming to terms with the Republic of India on the Indus Water dispute, Ayub had surrendered control of the rivers over to India. Her campaign generated tremendous public enthusiasm. She drew enormous crowds in all cities of East and West Pakistan. The campaign however suffered from a number of drawbacks. An unfair and unequal election campaign, poor finances, and indirect elections through the Basic Democracy System were some of the basic problems she faced.

Fatima Jinnah lost the election of 1965 and Ayub Khan was elected as the President of Pakistan. It is believed that had the elections been held via direct ballot, Fatima Jinnah would have won. The Electoral College consisted of only 80,000 Basic Democrats, who were easily manipulated. The importance of this election, lay in the fact that a woman was contesting the highest political office of the country. The orthodox religious political parties, including the Jamaat-i-Islami led by Maulana Maududi, which had repeatedly declared that a woman could not hold the highest office of a Muslim country, modified their stance and supported the candidature of Fatima Jinnah. The election showed that the people had no prejudice against women holding high offices, and they could be key players in politics of the country.

Matloobul Hassan Syed deposed that Fatima Jinnah's faith became clear to him when he accompanied her to Mardan in the NWFP in her election campaign against General Ayub Khan. When local Shia leaders told her that they would vote for Ayub, she contended that she could represent them better as she was a Shia.

Fatima Jinnah died in Karachi on July 8, 1967. The official cause of death was heart failure, but rumours persist that she was murdered by the same group who killed Liaquat Ali Khan. In 2003, the nephew of the Quaid-i-Azam, Akbar Pirbhai, reignited the controversy by suggesting that she was assassinated.
The following are excerpts from some of her statements.

1963 - Madar-i-Millat's Message to the Nation on Quaid-i-Azam's Birthday:

"The movement of Pakistan which the Quaid-i-Azam launched was ethical in inspiration and ideological in content. The story of this movement is a story of the ideals of equality, fraternity and social and economic justice struggling against the forces of domination, exploitation, intolerance and tyranny".

1965 - Madar-i-Millat's Message to the Nation on Eid ul-Adha:

"Let us sink all our differences and stand united together under the same banner under which we truly achieved Pakistan and let us demonstrate once again that we can, united, face all dangers in the cause of glory of Pakistan, the glory that the Quaid-i-Azam envisaged for Pakistan."

1967 - Madar-i-Millat's Message to the Nation on Eid ul-Adha:

"The immediate task before you is to face the problem and bring the country back on the right path with the bugles of Quaid-i-Azam's message. March forward under the banner of star and the crescent with unity in your ranks, faith in your mission and discipline. Fulfill your mission and a great sublime future awaits your enthusiasm and action. Remember: 'cowards die many times before death; the valiant never taste death but once.' This is the only course of action which suits any self-respecting people and certainly the Muslim Nation."
 The Founder with his sister on his birthday - 25 December 1947

The Founder with his sister on his birthday - 25 December 1947

Travelogue: Before the revolution
Lots of Religion in Egypt but Separated from the Issues of Life and Society.

By asqfish April 11, 2010
 The Imam Husain Mosque: Cairo

The Imam Husain Mosque: Cairo

It all started over a cup of tea at a retreat in a game reserve in South Africa. It was after the dinner break and my co-retreater had just told us (V and me) that she had been to Jerusalem in a Middle East tour.

Jerusalem, Al Aqsa a remote impossible dream fraught with dragons and monsters that guarded its gates.......and yet this petite woman, told us as she fastidiously sipped her tea with a great deal of finesse, that she had prayed in the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and was planning on going again.........and the rest is history. Many thanks to the sister who inspired us, and to V whose tenacious follow up made this dream a reality.

Five countries in fifteen days. What was different was that it was an educational tour, this time it was not an ABC tour......i.e. another B church, but different, very different!

The first country was Egypt, where I had last been thirty years ago as a young bride with my hubby.

"Cairo is a city of 2000 mosques," said the guide, the same line I had heard thirty years ago. The city has grown to 14 million people but the mosques have remained the same. Thus providing one musallah for 7000 people. Something was wrong in this math, but it turned out to be true.

I took a cab to the Imam Husain mosque in the heart of the city flanked on one side by the honorable University of Al Azhar and the souks of the Khan e Khalili on the other.

Nowhere else is religion more clearly divided in practice versus way of living as I found in and around the Imam Husain mosque.

I had arrived one hour before Jumma prayer and yet as I stood outside the entrance the sway of the crowd of women told me that the inside was packed. It was reminiscent of going to see the Rowda of Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him. The desire of the women to pray in the mosque was intense and determined. I too had made up my mind that though I was not going to push but I was indeed going to pray jooma inside

Standing in line I glanced back as a shimmer of sequins sparkled in the sun. The shop at the mosque entrance was selling belly-dancing costumes. Nothing could had been more inappropriate and yet it did not seem unusual to the locals who went about their business defining a succinct separation between prayer and daily life with nothing connecting the two.

I did get into the mosque and managed to pray, salaat ul juma. I noticed that the Egyptian women reflected the microcosm of their population that I see in the American mosques. They talked while the adhan was called and continued to talk while the khutbah was given and after finishing prayer, pulled out their little bags of food and started feeding themselves and the children in the musallah. A relatively affluent woman was distributing bread with something green and cheese to the rest of us and earning her hasanaat.

I decided that the Imam Husain mosque was not where the affluent women of Eygpt went to pray.
As I came out the belly dancing costume sellers looked at my black abaya and my scarf, which I discovered is a Saudi style, and left me alone as they heckled others.

In the mosque was a grave and supposedly the body of Imam Husain is buried there, women went in to pay their respects give money to the man sitting at the door and went out their duty done towards God and his representatives.

My next stop was the Khan e Khalili, I remember it fleetingly from thirty years ago where the guide had ushered us quickly to one shop and then taken us back without letting us imbibe the atmosphere. This evening, I could do that at leisure. As I walked the narrow lanes, people stepped aside respectfully and some disinterestedly, no one heckled me, I was neither white, nor an obvious tourist, and my abaya spoke volumes.

The shopkeepers had hard eyes, had seen many a thing, and struck many a bargain. It was impossible to tell the Christians from the Muslims, they were alike in their behavior. I came upon a shop of Tasbeehs made of the most exquisite stones engraved and set with mother of pearl and other semiprecious stones. It was a joy!

The next stop was the bookshop run by a Coptic Christian lady. I found prints from long time ago of Jerusalem and the Sinai, I relished looking at them for that is where I was going next.
 Al Azhar mosque

Al Azhar mosque

Walking to Al Azhar, I have never felt safer and more respected in my life, clad in my black abaya and my black Saudi styled hijab.

As I stepped over the threshold of the masjed, I felt honored to join all the scholars of this University who had stepped over this threshold. In the secular climate of Egypt I am told that Al Azhar has lost its shine and its dignity for many reasons, which are unclear to me.

Inside, the peon of the Imam, shows me around, and then indicates the women's prayer area. Inside the women's musallah, the women are ready to pray, some have been there a while and some like me have come in from shopping.
 women's musallah

Looking out at the sunlight through the women's musallah
In the cool slightly darkened musallah I pray Asr with them. After salah a young woman approaches me talking to me in Arabic, I feel like an imposter with my abaya and mute in Arabic.

We talk in the international language of sisterhood of the Ummah and I realize that she is studying at Al Azhar and then she gives me the students tour, and we go into the inner sanctums where the imam is giving the post Asr lesson and as usual we have some women talking during the lesson.........reminding me of our masjed at home.
 The class after Asr

The class after Asr: the main musallah at the AL Azhar masjed
This is my first day in Cairo.........

2013-07-13 Sat 21:23:50 cdt