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Dr Kaukab Siddique | Editor-in-Chief Rabi' al-Awwal 17,1435/January 19, 2014 # 3

For breaking news from Syria, Bangladesh and Egypt, please scroll down.

Breaking News: Afghanistan

January 15: A US military force carried out a massacre of civilians in the Siah Gerd area of Parwan province. The killings were so gruesome that even the US installed ruler Karzai cried out in revulsion. He revealed that seven childen and a woman were among those killed by the US. We were hunting Taliban, said the US.

January 17: Taliban carried out a retaliatory attack on western officials and their rich Afghan supporters in a Lebanese restaurant in the high security zone of Kabul. A martyrdom operator broke in. After the explosion two Taliban youths entered and shot up the place before they were killed by Karzai's troops. At least 21 were killed in the attack including 4 from the UN and one from the IMF. The dead include 3 Americans, 2 British, 2 Canadian, one Danish and one Russian. The rest were wealthy Afghans and troops.

President Obama has condemned the attack.

Breaking News: Pakistan

Pakistani Islamic leader, Munawar Hasan, ameer Jamaate Islami, condemned US' Congress support for Dr. Shakil Afridi who is said to have helped US search for Shaykh Osama and is in a Pakistani prison. Munawar said that USA is connected to all the traitors in Pakistan. The US he said ruined Pakistan's health services by using the anti-polio campaign to search for Osama. He criticized the Pak government for seeking IMF help. He said begging and charity can never help put Pakistan on its economic feet. The masses need economic change, not charity, he said.

He was addressing a large Friday prayer gathering in Lahore on January 17

Meanwhile in Karachi a leading Sunni Islamic scholar, Maulana Usman, was assassinated with his guard and driver. Pro-MQM Shia elements are suspected. He supported the Taliban. In retaliation, Taliban killed three media people known for their propaganda against Taliban. War is coming to Karachi

Breaking News: Iraq

January 15-17. Tank led attacks by al-Maliki's military on the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi were beaten back. At least 22 Shia troops are reported killed and 4 tanks destroyed.

The two cities seem to be firmly in the hands of ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq & the Levant] with tribal support.
America is rushing weapons to Maliki as is Iran.


In Makka, the powerful spirituality of Muhammad, pbuh, and Abraham, pbuh, is fighting back against the Saudi serpent of extreme wealth and materialism. An American Muslimah has brought a powerful first person account of her Ummrah. It is doubtful if there is any better account of the holy journey in English. Please scroll to end.

Turkey's charismatic leader Erdogan defeated "moderate" Gulen's intrigues thus ending the conspiracy theories about him. Gulen was working with "religion" out of his center in America, Please scroll to end .

Breaking News: Syria [ Scroll to end for a beautiful photo of children supporting ISIL.]

January 18: The Islamic State in Iraq & the Levent [ISIL] has crushed the groups which tried a surprise attack on it. ISIL cleverly made peace with groups which were genuinely concerned about ISIL's severe policies and is toning down. Those who were not for peace were fought to a standstill and then executed in brutal executions, at least 50 of them treated as traitors.
In all this infighting, Assad's forces were held at bay by Jabhat Nusra and could not advance.

Palestinians In Syria and Lebanon

The Palestinians in Lebanese camps are preparing to strike at Assad's supporters in Lebanon after news came out of the terrible conditions of Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk camp on the outskirts of Damascus.

On January 18, Assad allowed a left wing Palestinian group supporting him to take 200 food parcels into Yarmouk which hardly helped because 18000 people are starving there. Assad lost his temper with Palestinians after many of them supported the Jabhat Nusra. In a fit of anger, he also condemned Hamas.

Now Jabhat Nusra in Lebanon has been formed and on January 15 it bombed a Hizbullah stronghold in the town of Hermel near the Syrian border. It accuses Hizbullah of supporting Assad and killing Syrian women and children.

Yemen: In northern Yemen, Iran has armed Shi'ite groups which are now fighting Yemenese supporting the mujahideen in Syria. On January 18 in San'a, Yemen's capital, an Iranian diplomat was killed in a drive by shooting.

Our America
New Outreach

On January 17, 30 copies of New Trend were distributed after Juma' at a masjid in Houston, Texas.

Also this:

On January 17, 25 copies of New Trend were distributed after Juma at a masjid in Petersburg, Virginia.

Brooklyn, New York: 20 copies of New Trend distributed at Shia masjid.

First Revolutionary Khutbas of 2014
Both Assimilationism & Ghettoization are incorrect US Muslim Responses.
Colors & Languages are from Allah: We are ONE Ummah by Qur'an & Hadith.

On January 10 and January 17, at Masjid Jamaat al-Muslimeen in Baltimore, Maryland, Dr. Kaukab Siddique gave his first two khutbas in 2014. The masjid was well attended but as it is a small masjid, some of the main points of the khutbas are summarized here for countrywide distribution. [These khutbas were influenced by the writings of Dr. Abdulalim Shabazz [ ] and Br. Shamim Siddiqui.]

Three Texts:

And of the people are some who say, "We believe in Allah ," but when one [of them] is harmed for [the cause of] Allah , they consider oppression by mankind as [if it were] the punishment of Allah . But if victory comes from your Lord, they say, "Indeed, We were with you." Is not Allah most knowing of what is within the breasts of all creatures?
[The Qur'an 29:10]

And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those who have knowledge. [The Qur'an 30:22]

Disruption & subversion [fasad] have become widespread on the land and at sea because of people's deeds; this in order that He may cause them to have a taste of some of their deeds; perhaps they will turn back (from evil).
[The Qur'an 30:41]
  1. After 9.11, the well to do US Muslims started asimilating rapidly. They tried to show that they were not different from any non-Muslim.

  2. American rulers' corruption became their corruption. They cut off all protests against the occupation of Muslim lands and visited synagogues to assure Israel of their support. Five young American Muslims were handed over to the government.

  3. As the Messenger, pbuh, had prophesied, if the Jews and the Christians go into the snake pit, you will too. They became ashamed even to admit in public that they were Muslims.

  4. The blasphemous idea that Muslims were suffering overseas because Allah wanted them to suffer was brought up. Allah explicitly tells us not to confuse the oppression by humans with punishment from Allah.

  5. Muslims forgot the basic message of Muhammad, pbuh: No cooperation, no compromise with tyranny, oppression, kufr, nifaq and tughyan.

  6. On the other extreme were those so disgusted or alienated by America that they isolated themselves and set up Muslim ghettoes and enclaves. They became totally ineffective and unable to give the message of Islam.

  7. Islam does not teach isolation. If there is no scope left for da'wah, the Islamic message is HIJRA.

  8. However hijtra itself may not be possible now as we see the emergence of dajjal who is circling the entire globe.[Hadith gives details of Dajjal.]

  9. The Islamic choice for US Muslims is Da'wah, systematic, creative, loving, compassionate da'wah to the millions of Americans looking for a way out of the mental prison of secular America.

  10. There are 9 million of us in America, numbering more than the Jews. We should use all peaceful means available to us to oppose Zionism and imperialism. Muslim countries should not be occupied. Palestine should not be occupied.

  11. Always remember, the Qur'an has made us ONE UMMAH, from Nigeria to the Philippines, from Bangladesh to USA. What hurts one of us, hurts all of us.

  12. Americans are agonizing about the tyranny of the regime in Washington which is surveilling every one of us. Americans know that that Homosexuality is an abomination and is being endorsed by the drone master himself. Americans can see the carnage caused by liquor and drugs. They can't do anything because they have been sold out by their own religious leaders. Americans need Islam.

  13. Look at the prison system. Millions have been stuffed into prison cells. Look at how they are humiliated, from taking of their clothes and doing cavity searches when relatives visit.

  14. Do your Islamic duty. Give the message of Islam in its purity. Don't mix it with race and nationalism. Allah has made all colors and races. Stand with the oppressed against the oppressors. STUDY the QU'RAN and the HADITH.

Amiri Baraka Passes Away: Great Poet who Questioned 9.11 Official Version

One of the greatest Black poets of our times Amiri Baraka ;passed away on January 9. His funeral was on January 18.

His greatest poem was on 9.11 in which he challenged the government's view that the 9.11 attacks were the greatest tragedy in American history. He pointed out that nothing worse than slavery had ever happened to America and it went on for 400 years.

He was the poet laureate when he read the poem. The Zionist lobby went all out to have him removed but the rules did not allow the removal of a poet laureate. So guess what they did [with the support of the governor] ? They abolished the position of poet laureate! It was a huge act of censorship but the Zionist controlled media did not object.

He was hated by the power structure because he spoke against the Jewish stranglehold on Ameeica. He was labelled "anti-semitic." He was also very outspoken against homosexuality and was labeled "homophobic."

[I distributed his poem by email and it went viral in Black communities - KS]

Please see Sis. Aisha's brief tribute to Amiri Baraka below .

Breaking News: Bangladesh.

January 15: The fake elections held by the pro-India regime in Dhaka were a pathetic disaster for the rulers. Boycotted by both the BNP [nationalists] and the Jamaate Islamii, the turnout was so low that in the words of opposition leader Khaleda Zia, the Dhaka regime is illegal.
Hindus moblized by the regime became bold enough to attack mosques but were quickly countered by Muslim youths.

Breaking News: Egypt

The Egyptian generals were much cleverer than Bangladeshi rulers . They killed several thousand Muslim Brotherhood supporters over the last year and arrested and tortured more than 25,000. Now a "constitution" written by the generals has been "voted" under strict security control. The result: The generals say 98.01 % voted for their "constitution." By the way, it outlaws religious parties. [Even Stalin would have cheered.]

Breaking News: Courtesy Burma Task Force, USA

Military Attacks Burmese Muslims Again

Maungdaw, Burma: Around 3:00 AM this morning (on 14th of January), a joint force of Military, Security Force, and Police started raiding the village of Anthala village of east Kilai-Daung (Du-Chira-Dan) village tract, southern Maungdaw. They opened fire at the people and started carrying out mass-arrests regardless of age and gender. During the operation, many people were injured, several people have died as well.
 village of Anthala Burma
[So after Buddhist mobs, now we have the military itself attacking a helpless, unarmed minority--Editor]

Palestine is Crying out like Bilal, r.a.
by Shaukat Khan [Charlotte, North Carolina]

ah! my dear fellow muslims contemporary
I am confused as how to write my poetry
about the glories of Qasim or Ayubi
you wish I would not speak
you philosophize
that muslims are in a new struggle
requiring new mental aptitude
and political know how
to survive the political climate contemporary
but the Taqwa of Bilal saying 'Ahad, Ahad'
is similar in spirit to the Palestinian struggle
our Islam is being tortured
to stop us from saying Palestine, Palestine
but the era of 'political correctness'
haunts mankind
and the muslims are the first to show
their willingness to follow the flow
into this new kind of a mental slavery
in preparation for tightening the noose
the victims will be
muslims throughout the world
we will see a more horrible holocaust
a Hollywood drama played in real life
nurtured by the few the proud

Re: Why did they Investigate Kaukab Siddique? Trying to Stop Islam
by Sis. Aisha [New York City]

As-salaamu-'alaikum Bro. Siddique!

I was upset to read that you and those close to you had been harassed by the FBI regarding the New Trend. Of course, I was already aware of it but, not to that extreme.

These kuffar devils have outlawed Islamic practices in over 11 states and counting. Could be more now. While Israel can blow its trumpet and call every European Jew to come hither to help them raze entire Palestinian villages, murdering Palestinians in the process, Muslims are forbidden from even offering charity to one another!

They have made it a crime for Muslims to travel to and offer assistance to each other in the Muslim World! The purpose behind this reminds me of something El-Hajj Malik Shabazz stated once. He spoke about the importance of Black Nationalism. He stated that the U.S. doesn't give the Chinese to hard a time because they have China to reckon with. The Muslims in The Muslim World have already showed flashes of their power to the kuffar. We are still showing it owing to adherence to the Qur'an and authentic Hadith.

This is what the kuffar are trying to prevent and their plan will fail. This government does not want to have to reckon with any bonafide, Shari'ah governments anywhere in the world. But, I definitely believe that Islam needs to get stronger here in order for the American Government's plan to fail.

I was just reading a New York City Muslim funeral site. It stated that, although embalming is haraam, embalming bodies being shipped overseas is a requirement. I have a hard time believing that the Jews follow such protocol with their dead. I posed that question to the Islamic funeral home and I am awaiting an answer.

May Allah bless and reward you for your efforts to educate and empower all of the oppressed people of this world!

Sis. 'Aisha

Remembering Amiri Baraka.

Note: I just read that Amiri Baraka passed away on Jan. 9th. He was 79. No mention of it in the media here. I do remember him angering the Js over his 9/11 poem. I think this slight is because of that fat pig Ariel "The Butcher" Sharon's death, this weekend. Unbelievable how is death can overshadow the death of someone who truly tried to inform and empower people with his words.

Our America: Compiled by New Trend's media monitor.
America's Zionist Jews on the Roll: Misleading & Exploiting the masses
  1. Springsteen has made millions with his super patriotic songs. He was a friend of Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, but suddenly turned on Christie abd ridiculed him on the Fallon late night show. The Democrats want to bring down Christie so Republicans will have no leader and that will pave the way for arch Zionist Hillary Clinton to be the next presidential contender. So Springsteen turns on his friend. [The jew is no one's friend]. [January 15]
    Also Springsteen is bringing up the mediocre comedian Fallon as a success. Another Zionist.

  2. Spielberg has been making millions off the American public with his miovies, often serving Israel in the process. He made the Amistad movie. Black audiences were thrilled. No one asked. Would you have liked a Jew to use your enslaved great grand father or mother to provide entertainment to American audiences to enrich a Zionist Jew?
    Of course Spielberg did not mention the Jewish owners of slave ships.

  3. Harvey Weinstein, who is known for his extremely violent movies, including Django Unchained and others, now is speaking against the National Rifle Association [NRA] because Obama needs that opposition group to be weakened.

  4. Dr. Ruth Westheimer who made discussions of explicit sex commonplace on line and on radio has come in support of homosexuality without batting an eyelash. Obama has sanctified sodomy and Ruth walked into this abomination as if it is no big deal. [CNN January 16]

[By the way CNN's Anderson Cooper is a self-confessed homosexual and Wolf Blitzer is a Jew and friend of Israeli spy Pollard. Both are hard core Zionists and have excluded Islamic viewpoints from CNN for years.]

How Culpable Were Dutch Jews in the Slave Trade?
C. Liphshiz and I. Tzur - JTA

Speaking out against "Black Pete" is part of what van de Kamp calls his social mission, an effort that extends to reminding Dutch Jews of their ancestors' deep involvement in the slave trade ... In one area of what used to be Dutch Guyana, 40 Jewish-owned plantations were home to a total population of at least 5,000 slaves, he says. Known as the Jodensavanne, or Jewish Savannah, the area had a Jewish community of several hundred before its destruction in a slave uprising in 1832. Nearly all of them immigrated to Holland, bringing their accumulated wealth with them.

Latest Gang rape of a woman in India : This time a Danish Tourist.
The Plight of women in Secular Hindu Heartland

NEW DELHI (AP) — A 51-year-old Danish tourist was gang-raped near a popular shopping area in New Delhi after she got lost and approached a group of men for directions back to her hotel, police said Wednesday.

Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said two people were arrested after a daylong search for the suspects. Details were not immediately available.

The attack is the latest crime to focus attention on the scourge of sexual violence in India.

The woman also was robbed and beaten in the attack, which happened Tuesday near Connaught Place, Bhagat said.

The woman asked the men for directions to her hotel, Bhagat said. They lured her to a secluded area where they raped her at knife-point, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

The woman managed to reach her hotel Tuesday evening and the owner called police. Police were questioning several other suspects.

"When she came, it was miserable," said Amit Bahl, owner of the Amax hotel in the Paharganj area, which is popular with backpackers. The woman was crying and "not in good shape," he said.

"I am really ashamed that this happened," said Bahl, who sounded shaken.

A sign outside the hotel reads, "Recommended by Lonely Planet."

The woman, whose name was not released, was on her way back to Denmark, said Ole Egberg Mikkelsen, head of the Danish Foreign Ministry's consular department in Copenhagen, which handles cases involving Danes abroad. Egberg Mikkelsen said the woman had received assistance from Indian and Danish authorities, and that her next of kin had been contacted.

An Indian police official said the woman boarded a flight home Wednesday morning.

It was not immediately known whether she had been traveling alone. The Danish Embassy in New Delhi had no comment.

The problem of sexual violence in India has gained widespread attention since the horrific gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman on a moving bus in December 2012. Public fury over the case has led to more stringent laws that doubled prison terms for rape to 20 years and criminalized voyeurism and stalking.

But for many women, particularly the poor, daily indignities and abuse continue unabated and the new laws have not made the streets any safer. Ranjana Kumari, director of India's Center for Social Research, said India's conservative, patriarchal traditions lead men to use rape as a tool to instill fear in women.

"This mindset is not changing," she said. "It's a huge challenge."

Experts say the rapid growth of India's cities and the yawning gulf between rich and poor are exacerbating the problem of sexual violence, with young men struggling to prove their traditional dominance in a changing world.

Cultural stigmas, police apathy and judicial incompetence have long made it difficult for women to even report rapes.

Still, there has been a surge in the number of rapes being reported recently, suggesting women are emboldened to speak up. Between January and October last year, 1,330 rapes were reported in Delhi and its suburbs, compared with 706 for all of 2012, according to government figures.

Foreigners also have been targets, including a Swiss woman who was cycling with her husband in central India when she was gang-raped.

The cases threaten India's lucrative tourism industry. Last year, the Tourism Ministry launched an "I Respect Women" campaign to reassure travelers. Tourism accounted for 6.6 percent of India's GDP in 2012, the latest year for which figures are available.

Associated Press writers Chonchui Ngashangva in New Delhi and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

From Ms. Carolyn
In the Center of Jerusalem Anti-Christian Graffiti
Thursday, 16 January 2014 07:52

JERUSALEM - The website of "QUDS NET NEWS AGENCY", on January 10, 2014, showed pictures of graffiti from a few days ago, written in Hebrew on the walls of the Notre Dame Center, near the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

According to the "QUDS NET NEWS AGENCY", this is not the first time that graffiti "calling for the expulsion of Christians," were discovered on the wall of an institution belonging to the Catholic Church, not to speak of other Christian institutions.

The anti-Christian sentiments were discovered by some young people who then went to complain to the Israeli police, who in turn went to the site to ascertain the facts.

The shock over the incident has prompted the Christian community in Jerusalem to protest strongly, not for the first time, denouncing these acts that reveal a deeper problem that concerns Israeli society in general and Jerusalem in particular; and which seriously calls into question religious tolerance within the society that encompasses the State of Israel, which cannot manage to prevent this type of religious intolerance.

In his Christmas message, the Latin Patriarch condemned "all forms of religious fundamentalism", stating that Christians in the diocese had "suffered this year from an increase in vandalism by extremists, at twenty sites, amid the holy places, or places of worship." A sign of concern for the small handful of Christians who still live in the country!
By: Firas Abedrabbo


Makkah is a very old city settled in the barren desert of Arabia a few miles from the Red Sea. It is not a place one would choose to build a city or imagine that any city built there would ever flourish. Yet it has black gold under it and it is visited for its spiritual and holy symbols mentioned in the Quran by millions of Muslims from all over the world. Some come to fulfill the fifth pillar of Islam: the Hajj and some come for Ummrah (the minor pilgrimage) to cry, weep and beg at the door of the House of Allah to feel the imprint of the earth under their feet that was once trodden upon by Prophets like Ibrahim AS and Muhammad ibn Abdullah pbuh.

Yet it was the command of Allah to Ibrahim AS, to build it. He was told "call and they will come" and he bowed his head in abject humility and obedience and thus has been given the title given to no other: Khalil Allah (friend of Allah). However many tests had to come to wrench his heart, his love and his attachments to family before he could be hailed as Khalil Allah. He sailed through each of them with the ease of one who has only one focus and that is on His Lords obedience.

In the heart of the city is a centerpiece that is a magnet of attraction for all those who believe in One God and submit to him in complete humility.

The Kaaba is that place of attraction for not only the Muslims but also all people in the world, who wonder at the pull of the Kaaba for the hearts of the pure and in grief.

The Kaaba a building of large stones in the shape of a cube, covered by a black cover sits central within the hills of Makkah. Two such hills are Safa and Marwah. These hills have been mentioned in the Quran as signs of Allah. These hills bear witness to the signal event in history where the mother of all Muslims and wife of Ibrahim AS: Hajara (Hagar) struggled to find sustenance, help and protection for her infant son Ismail.

As a tribute to womanhood, motherhood and the beginning of the lineage of the Muslims in Arabia, every year many times millions of people walk up and down those "hills" emulating her struggle for her son.

Thus honoring the deep and inviolable instinct of a mother striving to save her son from almost certain death. Protecting him from the 120 plus degree Fahrenheit temperatures of the unshaded Arabian sun and the plunging 30 degree Fahrenheit temperatures of the night in the raw desert.

Though the hills of Safa and Marwah have been flattened and paved with marble tiles, the striving of the struggle of Saee for anyone who has done it remains a struggle. Thus it has been for me on each of the Pilgrimages that I have attempted.

Every time I think of my dead son and wonder at the courage of the woman whose steps I am walking in and find myself wanting in the department of absolute faith.

Though the hills of Makkah are dubbed "hills" perhaps due to their low elevation. The rugged nature of the rock is slippery and unforgiving in climbing it (having done so once before the rocks of Safa were enclosed for visual purposes only).

Adam (AS) built the first Kaaba forty years before the Masjed Al Aqsa in Jerusalem on Allah's command; it crumbled with time and then it was rebuilt by Ibrahim AS with his son Ismail AS who is the forefather of the Muslims.

After it was built, Allah commanded Ibrahim AS to call people to prayer. Obedient but perplexed he looked at the vast desert surrounding it and saw nothing and no human being as far as the eye could see. He wondered who would come and yet Allah commanded him to "CALL!" and thus he did in complete unquestioning obedience to his Lord.

It is in response to his call that many millions and I go to Makkah. I went for what is considered a minor pilgrimage called Ummrah. In the Ummrah I respond to Ibrahim AS call with "Labayk Allah humma labayk............."

When I enter Makkah I walk in the path of Prophet Muhammad pbuh in tawaf (circumambulation of the Kaaba) and stand to pray at the station of Ibrahim AS where he and his son Ismail stood to raise the bricks in the wall of the Kaaba. His footprint has been preserved under a golden-latticed dome.

Here on the completing of my tawaf, I also drink Zam Zam the amazing pure water that sprang from the feet of baby Ismail as he dug his heels into the sand crying. While his mother had climbed one of the two hills of Safa and Marwah for the seventh time, Angel Gabriel stood at the feet of baby Ismail and dug his wing in the hot sand and from the earth beneath the toes of the baby Ismail erupted the sweetest and purest water of the world called Zam Zam. It has since then provided the whole world that comes to Makkah a refreshing drink after and before the rituals of the pilgrimage.

I have been trying to go for Ummrah for seven months but I think it was not whole hearted. I am approaching a new year, which holds many personal dilemmas for me and there is nowhere where I want to be more than standing at the Kaaba when the new year as I know it opens its curtain on the western world. Allah fulfills my ardent wish with a swish of a wand and I am on my way to Ummrah.......

I arrive at Jeddah and an efficient car service drives me to Makkah. The car enters a maze of tunnels. It finally stops and I am told that I am at my hotel. I step out into the tunnel, and enter the door of the hotel, leaving my luggage with the concierge I ascend to the lobby in two stages. The elevator doors open and I have dejavu; I could be in any lobby of a posh Las Vegas hotel minus the movie star icons.

It is 3 .30 pm in the evening. I am tired but elated. I am going to do Ummrah right now, Inshallah I will check into my room, shower eat something to give me some energy and head for the Kaaba.

The hands of the clock move and the room I am told will not be ready till 5 pm, and Maghreb Salah begins at 5. I see myself deprived I am in Makkah in a hotel which is less that 500 ft. from the Kaaba and I am going to miss my Salah in the Kaaba.

I make an executive decision, I make a back pack with urgent and important items, and check out my handbag to the concierge and head for the ladies restroom to do wudu.

In the posh five star hotel in Makkah a stones throw from the Kaaba, I had expected to find a restroom catered for wudu, a place to sit down and wash my feet, hooks to hang my hijab and abaya which I wanted to divest myself of to make a proper wudu. The European designer of the hotel probably a non-Muslim had left me no choices; I was in Las Vegas with no such Muslim accouterments to facilitate wudu.

After making wudu, I walked out and entered the mosque of the Kaaba also called The Haram. The first change I noticed were in the workers, they were still skinny as they had been in the last few years of my visits but each of them had a potbelly or more apropos a "wheat belly" more on that subject in another post.

Following sadaqaat I arrive at the steps that lead me into the large opening around the Kaaba where I am to begin the first part of my Ummrah ritual, which is the Tawaf. (Circumambulation of the Kaaba)

I stand dumbfounded..............the Kaaba can only be seen in bits and pieces as if a part of a giant puzzle. A large circular ring has been placed around it so that people could walk their tawaf at a higher elevation. Numerous scaffoldings crisscross my vision of the Kaaba, I want to pray but all I feel is the strangle hold on the Kaaba, the inability to breathe, and the constrainment (Qabad). All these bindings, the ring, the scaffoldings and the visually broken up Kaaba are like a piece of cloth to gag the mouth of spirituality.

I am shaken out of my stupor. I am deeply grateful to be here no matter what the circumstances and what the custodians of Kaaba are doing with it. It is still The House of Allah and it stands majestic welcoming me, beckoning me closer......

I make dua .........

Soon I fall into the stream of people circumambulating the Kaaba, they seem unaware of the scaffoldings, or the circular lasso around the Kaaba, focused on their prayers. Men in white ihram, women in white from Iran and Egypt, women in black from the Arabian outskirts, women in white with hand covers from Indonesia and Malaysia. Graceful old Pakistani village women with bright dupattas as if glued to their heads, erect in posture and determined to be close to the Kaaba. Then there is surprise: a small contingent of Burmese Rohingas pass me by, who have come to lay their grief of being tortured and their families being massacred by the followers of Buddha.

Soon I forget the visual divisioning of the Kaaba and I am with my Lord. Hundreds of people walk with me in sync, moving forward like a symphony and yet alone. We alone know what our hearts yearn for and what we have brought to lay at His door.

What questions we have within us, what we want from him are a closed secret between Him and us. Tears flow unabated unnoticed, privately amongst hundreds.

Most of all each of us long for His proximity more than anything else ...........

For some it translates into being closer to the walls of His house, kissing the cover, moving their hands across it in abject destitution, asking, begging........

His house now stands in a stranglehold of modern construction imagery designed by architects who most likely have never performed Ummrah or Hajj and probably have no idea what is important and what was not in the spiritual journey for an individual who undertakes the Journey of Pilgrimage.

The tawaf ends with the call of Maghreb prayer, and in seconds all the men and women fall in line for prayer. After prayer tawaf continues, after the seventh round two-rakah prayer has to be performed behind the station of Ibrahim, followed by drinking Zam Zam to refresh the body and soul and then on to Saee at Safa and Marwah.

These hills have been designated as signs from Allah of our faith. I am not sure what flattening them and saving a few stones from Safa as a demonstration mean?

Saee is always a personal challenge for me, I see and feel the strength of our mother Hajara (Hagar) and yet I do not seem to be able to embue it in me, I think of her many sacrifices for the sake of Allah and her absolute faith that He is her protector and sustainer energizes me.

As I start at Safa I realize that in my rush to go to the Haram to start my Ummrah I have forgotten my duas to read at each hill of Safa and Marwah. I walk on and find a couple that seem South African or Indian and ask them if they would share the dua. The woman pulls out a duplicate copy and gives it to me.

The distance of the valley between the hills of Safa and Marwah at first glance does not seem to be long...........and yet for a mother seeking help, it must be long, for a mother exhausted with the heat and running out rations it must be long, for a mother who has left her baby son under the shade of a rock it must be long............. For a mother who worries about her baby dying of dehydration it must be long....

The green fluorescent lights indicate where our mother Hajara ran towards her son, was he crying or had he stopped crying, did her worry for him made her run in part of valley, once she was comforted that he was still alive she would then climb Safa again and call out " is anyone there? Help! is anyone there?" and then come down and run to him again to check on him and feed him the last bits of her rapidly diminishing rations.

I walk the Saee, and it requires the extra push around the third and fourth round of the seven and then it eases.........

In the Haram all external life stands still, all worries of the world recede, the only worry that remains is what will happen to me when I die and am transported into the next eternal world, will it be a place of peace "As salaam" or torment of Naar (Fire). We all pray for the former and seek refuge from the later at the end of every circambulation with the dua "rabana atayna fid dunya................."

Today and every day that I stayed in Makkah and performed Tawaf, the giant orange cranes stand like spectres ready to dive down and become vultures,

Around the Kaaba, the earth gouged by these machines, lies violated like a raw wound. The broken parts of the remote buildings of old Makkah in the hills, some of them centuries old spew out dust and memories................and perhaps screaming for moderation from unscrupulous and unleashed modernity.

Every pilgrim with the implacable feeling in his or her heart that this may be the last time he or she may be able to make it here walks and stands in oblivion of all else around her.

As old Makkah crumbles into pieces of dust each iota carrying a piece of the 1400 year old Muslim history within it now shredded and spread over the land like the ashes of a beloved on his or her land. The fine specks of the dust of old Makkah cling to the kiswa of the Kaaba in their last embrace................

But old Makkah fights back! (To be continued)

Turkish politics and the death of conspiracy
By Adam B McConnel

"Conspiracy theories cannot be disproved," goes the common argument against using them in debates. Generally, yes, that's accurate. But sometimes politics and history take interesting turns.

The Turkish Republic's elite classes - the military, the bureaucracy, the intelligentsia - have long used a conspiracy theory as the main foundation for their strident opposition to the Justice and Development (AK) Party, the populist Turkish political party that has ruled Turkey for the past 11 years.

Since Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AK Party came to power through popular election, the Turkish elites have charged that he and the AK Party were practicing takiyye: that is, they were hiding their true intent, supposedly a plan to impose Sharia (Islamic) law on the country and turn Turkey into an Islamic theocracy.

To informed and objective observers, this was always a risible assertion. From the beginning of the AK Party's term in power, it was clear that they did not have such intentions. The AK Party was, in both word and deed, a moderate and conservative political party espousing the Islamic version of Europe's typical "Christian Democrat" parties.

The Turkish elites, especially those with political power, probably understood intuitively that this was the case. But their real concern, sometimes a subconscious concern, was that of class. They were irritated that, yet once again, someone from the lower classes would be in charge of the government.


Consequently, a campaign was launched to insult, humiliate, and provoke both Erdogan and all the members of his political party. This campaign has continued unabated for the past 10 years. The fundamental claim was always that the AK Party had long-term plans to overthrow the democratic system and impose Islamic law. In order to carry out this sinister plot, Erdogan had made a Faustian bargain with Fetullah Gulen, the leader of an Islamic sect known by several different names, but usually as the Nurcu Movement or Hizmet (Service) Movement.

By all accounts, Erdogan has indeed been close to the Gulen movement and utilized its cadres over the years, but it was equally obvious that he was not one of Gulen's adherents. Gulen was a good person to work with because his organization is one of the most widespread and popular in Turkish society.

Gulen's movement is based in Sunni-Sufi Islam, and moderate. This gave Erdogan a solid, moderate, conservative, and already-existing foundation upon which to build a political movement. This relationship was a practical, political relationship that benefited both sides since Gulen's people got patronage from the arrangement. Even though the nature of the relationship was clear, Turkish elites latched onto its existence in order to flog one of Turkish political culture's most important dead horses, the Islamic Threat.

Over the years, this Chicken Little fear-mongering took on different forms. As an illustration, since Ahmet Davutoglu was made foreign minister, a bland and superficial story was devised that smugly identified his overall foreign policy vision as that of a reborn Ottoman statesman who wanted to expand Turkish influence throughout all of the former Ottoman domains. Never mind that Davutoglu was busy flying to European capitals, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Asia to promote Turkish business interests. The "Neo-Ottomanism" idea sounded catchy and appealed to people who didn't follow Davutoglu's policies closely, or who didn't understand the AK Party's politics.

Another twist is a favorite bugaboo of the Turkish elites, alcohol. Every time the Erdogan government tried to regulate alcohol in the slightest way, a great hue and cry was raised in the sectors of the Turkish press pandering to the elites: "They want to ban alcohol, they want to impose Islamic law!"

Again, this made sense only to those who did not know that alcohol was highly regulated in most industrialized, democratic countries, and to those who did not know that alcohol had long been almost totally unregulated in Turkey. Lack of alcohol regulation in Turkey meant that the Turkish state had difficulty obtaining tax revenue from alcohol, and that, from time-to-time, people died from drinking moonshine falsely packaged in reused bottles.

Now, the Great Islamic Conspiracy has come crashing down. The corruption scandal that broke on 17 December is widely understood in Turkish society as the state bureaucratic Death Match between the AK Party and the Gulen movement. In other words, it turned out that the town was only big enough for one sheriff.

The AK Party-Gulen conspiracy theory has thus been disproved in more than three weeks worth of press scrums, public announcements, and flashing lights. The Turkish elites are still too busy having conniption fits about the corruption scandal to assess the implications, but their Grand Narrative is over. It turns out that the religious people weren't interested in imposing Islamic law, but preserving their interests and sources of money.

What a surprise!

The sarcasm here stems from years of fruitless effort explaining this fact to members of the Turkish elite: Erdogan is not a radical, the AK Party has no radical program, not even a secret one. Turkish politics, and Turkey's politicians, now resemble the politics and politicians of other industrialized democracies. The sooner Turkish elites understand this, the sooner they will be able to construct a viable political alternative to the AK Party.

Not a peep about Islamic law has been heard over the past few weeks, as one might surmise. The Turkish elites' public and self-deceptions of the past 10 years have been laid bare. When the smoke clears from this current scandal, the Turkish elites have some scrambling to do in order to create another Grand Narrative capable of demonizing the prime minister and his party.

At the moment they have corruption, but it remains to be seen how much mileage they can get out of this subject since corruption is not the real issue. Corruption is a red herring. Corruption has always been an overt feature of Turkish politics. In fact, corruption has been greatly reduced in the past decade of AK Party rule. Corruption exists, and is still a prominent problem in Turkish politics and the Turkish economy, but high ideals concerning corruption are not the reason that this investigation was launched. At stake is control of state finances, influence in state institutions, and transparency in the economy.

As the days go by, however, it becomes more and more clear that the Turkish people have not bought into the scandal or the narrative. They've witnessed too much of this sort of nonsense over the past 60 years. The gap in perception between the elites and the Turkish masses continues to widen. Now it seems more likely that this scandal will redound to the AK Party's favor in the coming local elections.

Adam B McConnel is a History PhD student at Sabanci University in Istanbul. He specializes in 20th century Turkish history, 20th century Turkish-American relations, and 19th and 20th century world history. He has lived in Istanbul since 1999.

Courtesy: BBC January 16, 2014
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2014-01-19 Sun 12:23:43 cst