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A Joyous Reunion

Tragedy is common, when the refugees come ashore. But there is also joy, as there was when a man named Jaffar came to the harbor to look for his brother and two nephews.Video: Ben C. Solomon for The New York Times; Photograph: Bryan Denton for The New York Times.

Iran reaches out to Saudi for ‘stability’Expo_1385617171

(AFP) / 2 December 2013

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appealed on Monday to Saudi Arabia to work with Tehran towards achieving regional “stability”, as he pressed a tour seeking rapprochement with Gulf Arab states.

Zarif arrived in Doha after visits to Kuwait and Oman for meetings aimed at assuring top officials that a deal Iran secured with world powers on its disputed nuclear programme is in their interest.

During his stopover in the Omani capital Muscat, Zarif called on Saudi Arabia to jointly work with Iran to resolve regional issues.

“I believe that our relations with Saudi Arabia should expand as we consider Saudi Arabia as an extremely important country in the region and the Islamic world,” Zarif said on Monday.

“We believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia should work together in order to promote peace and stability in the region.”

Zarif also praised Oman’s role in last month’s negotiations between Iran and world powers, including the United States, that paved the way for the landmark nuclear deal. “We expressed our appreciation for the very central and positive role that the sultanate had played in facilitating these talks,” Zarif said after he met His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman.

Later in Qatar, Zarif held talks with the Amir of Qatar, His Highness Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the QNA news agency reported.

They “discussed bilateral relations and means of developing them as well as matters of mutual interest,” said QNA.

Sultan Qaboos has acted as an intermediary between Western countries and the Islamic republic in the past few years.

Zarif on Monday again voiced hopes to “soon” visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, whose foreign minister announced during a visit to Tehran last week that his government was ready to create a joint economic commission with Iran.

“I am ready to go to Saudi Arabia, but it is just a matter of being able to arrange a mutually convenient time. I will visit it soon Inshallah (God willing).”

Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers, meeting in Kuwait City last week, expressed hopes that the interim deal would lead to a permanent agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme.

The Iranian Revolution (also known as the Islamic Revolution of Iran or the 1979 Revolution; Persian: انقلاب اسلامی, Enghelābe Eslāmi or انقلاب بیست و دو بهمن) refers to events involving the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty under Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who was supported by the United States, and its eventual replacement with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the revolution, supported by various leftist and Islamic organizations and Iranian student movements. While the Soviet Union immediately recognized the new Islamic Republic, it did not actively support the revolution, initially making efforts to salvage the Shah’s government.


The revolution was unusual for the surprise it created throughout the world: it lacked many of the customary causes of revolution (defeat at war, a financial crisis, peasant rebellion, or disgruntled military), occurred in a nation that was enjoying relatively good material wealth and prosperity, produced profound change at great speed, was massively popular.

Zarif said in Kuwait City, the first stop in his tour, that Iran was looking to open a new page in relations with the Gulf.

He reiterated his calls in Oman.

“We feel that relations between countries in the region must be built on mutual trust and friendly ties must be strengthened,” Oman News Agency quoted him as saying.

Iran was “not planning to deceive the world”, added Zarif.

Muslims and Jews Vow to Stand Up for Each Other, Build Global Movement of Reconciliation


Islamic Meditation Techniques

by Jim Booth, Demand Media (http://people.opposingviews.com/islamic-meditation-techniques-7279.html)

A cursory glance at the traditional Islamic prayer known as Salat along with the practice of Dhikr, or remembrance of God, suggests an affinity with traditional meditative practices. Though Muslims consider these primarily acts of worship they are also contemplative in nature, requiring focus on God.


Salat, the proper term for the Islamic ritual prayer, begins in the standing position, followed by an intermediate bow, finally ending in full prostration. One complete movement, from standing to prostration, is considered a rakat. Muslims recite specific Quranic passages throughout each rakat, concentrating on the words of the Quran.
Performed five times a day, salat can take as little as five minutes to as long as a Muslim wishes to pray. Salat provides Muslims the opportunity to focus on God and the afterlife rather than the typical pursuits and anxieties that beleaguer one’s conscience.


The constant repetition of God’s names or attributes is known as Dhikr in Islam. Muslims also repeat short Quranic passages. Dhikr is often done immediately after one has performed the ritual prayer in a kneeling position while remaining on the prayer mat or space. Some Muslims use prayer beads though they are not required. Dhikr can be done anywhere provided one can find a clean, quiet place. Like salat, the chief aim of Dhikr is the remembrance of God above all else.

  • London calling …The National Football League unveiled the dates for three games that will be played in London in 2014 (NFL International). Check them out. Read More

Muhammad and Contemplation

Before Muhammad received his first revelation in 610 CE, he would spend much of his time in contemplative meditation. Stories abound of his trips to Mount Hira where he spent nights focusing on God. According to Islam, Muhammad received the first Quranic revelation in this contemplative state. Much of the contemplative practices in Islam, including the ritual prayer and Dhikr, are taken directly from Muhammad’s example.

Meditation and Islam

Though Muslims do not consider them to be explicitly meditative practices, Dhikr and Salat are meant to symbolically purify one’s soul. As with traditional meditation, these methods of worship in Islam serve both a practical and spiritual end. Practically speaking, it does much to alleviate the daily anxieties that seem legion in many Muslim’s lives. Spiritually, it reminds Muslims of their proper place before God and the world.


About the Author

Jim Booth is a writer living in Los Angeles. He is currently pursuing graduate work in Philosophy and Religion. The study of faith, in all its various guises, has been a paramount pursuit for him. He has published work in ‘The Seattle Review (2005),’ ‘Rattle (2003),’ and ‘Zouch (2011).’

New Muslim Cool discussion at Berkeley

New Muslim Cool discussion at Berkeley (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

Islam & Globalization

by Ethan Lazuk, Demand Media (http://people.opposingviews.com/islam-globalization-9972.html)

The greatest effects from globalization on Islamic society are related to the influx of Western liberalism into conservative Muslim circles, particularly throughout the Middle East, Asia and Africa. One result is religion becoming more private; another is that information sharing has served to unite culturally different Muslims and inspire debates about social, political and religious reform and improvements to women’s rights.

The Personal Nature of Religious Experience

An Everlasting Peace Treaty

By: Ayatullah Ja`far Subhani
{And if two factions from amongst the believers begin fighting against one another, then restore peace between them both. However, if one party revolts against the other party, then fight the revolting party until they submit to the command of Allah. When they do so, then restore the peace that was between them with justice and act with equality (between the parties involved). Surely Allah loves those people who act with equality.}
Peace and harmony, whose basis is founded upon justice and fairness is one of the benefits of the teachings of the moral ethics and is also one of the rulings (that must be enacted) in an Islamic society. However true peace is one in which the interests of the opposing parties who are belligerent towards one another is brought forth in the correct manner.
It is peace and harmony which is upheld by people of true faith and who possess cognizance of Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) and if one of the two sides who are within the sphere of justice and fairness were to step out and go beyond the boundaries, then with whatever force and power is available, they would be stopped. The forces would be mustered up to fight against the aggressive party so that they return back to the path of truth.
In order to make such a peace agreement permanent and stable, Islam has laid down certain conditions:
1. Any sort of peace treaty or agreement to refrain from aggression and hostility must be based upon justice and fair dealings and if one party is more powerful than the other side, then they must not use their power to impose their wishes and desires on the party who is weaker.

It has been said in the past that, “True peace between a powerful (nation) and a weaker one can never be conceivable” and this is definitely the truth and thus, the Qur’an has told us that:

فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَمُهٌا بِالْعَدْلِ وَ أَقْسِطُوا…
“…then restore the peace that was between them with justice and act with equality (between the parties involved).”
2. Those who possess true faith and genuinely recognize Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) and who do not stand to profit from the disagreement must be the ones who oversee the peace treaty.
3. Anytime one of the two parties thinks about expansion (of their area or land) and try to take steps that go against the peace treaty, then those who are the arbitrators and the neutral party involved must inform the aggressive party about the outcomes or effects of them starting a war. This must be done so that the person who wishes to oppress others and go against the laws of Islam would know that there is no room in an Islamic society for such people and these two fundamental conditions are found in the Qur’an in the following verse:
فَإِنْ بَغَتْ إِحْدٌهُمٌا عَلى الأُخْرى فَقٌاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي…
“However, if one party revolts against the other party, then fight the revolting party until they submit…”
4. Fighting against the oppressing party must not take on the form of revenge or retribution. Rather, any form of opposition to the oppressor must be due to the fact that he has gone against the laws of Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He), and one must try to remove the thoughts from his head in which he feels that he is able to violate and encroach upon the rights of the believers, and this can be deduced from the section of this verse that states:
…حَتٌّى تَفِيءَ إِلـى أَمْرِ اللٌّهِ
“…until they submit to the command of Allah.”
Thus, opposition to oppression must continue until the oppressor returns back to the path of justice and fairness – which in essence are the commandments of Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) – as have been mentioned in this verse.
5. At the end of this verse, we have been reminded of an important point which is that those people who have true faith must constantly strive to make sure peace is attained and any wars that take place must not make them hopeless or discouraged of trying to attain peace. This must be realized and carried out even to the point that after the oppressors have subjugated a group of people, we must still keep our spirits high and try to formalize a new peace treaty that is based upon justice, just as it has been mentioned in the verse:
فَإِنْ فٌائَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمٌا بِالْعَدْلِ وَ أَقْسِطُوا…
“When they do so, then restore the peace that was between them (the parties involved) with justice and equality)…”
Such a peace treaty and agreement that is founded on the above mentioned conditions is a true peace agreement that Islam has laid down and enjoined upon the belligerent parties at war.
If the above mentioned conditions were to be carried out, then in addition to being able to safeguard the interests of both parties, we would also be able to cover the entire world with the clothing of a peaceful life – which is the greatest wish and longing for the people of the entire world. This is the peace that Islam has proposed and the conditions that it has given to attain and maintain such a state.
Let us take a look at the peace treaties that both the major and minor nations of the world have signed and ratified in the past – which of these agreements are truly just? Is a peace treaty that is drawn up between two aggressive parties ever equitable, or is it ever imaginable that peace between a powerful and a weak nation is attainable?
Are the councils that oversee the peace treaties impartial or are they completely free of any benefit or profit in their arbitration, problem solving and settling of a dispute and enmity? Are the aggressive parties made known of the peace treaties, agreements and settlements (that are imposed upon them) by the major powers of the world before they sign and enact them?
The political commentators of the world are all in agreement and have stated that, “Establishing peace in any part of the world will never be accepted except with complete agreement of the world powers and the dominating super powers of the world. Even the establishment of peace in the Middle East will only become possible when two camps – from both the East and the West – are in agreement of such a peace.”
Therefore, such an imposed peace which is far from being achieved will never yield positive results and an everlasting and perpetual peace will in no way be realized or established.
Struggling for Peace
Peace is one of the goals and ethical values of the religion of Islam and is one of the most important obligatory acts of the religion (for the believers) which must be enacted with the conditions mentioned above. It does not make any difference if the peace agreement which is trying to be reached is between two Muslims, two groups of people or two major nations. In any event, it is incumbent on every Muslim that in the minimum, he must strive and struggle to make sure peace is established.
In the war of Hudaybiah, the Messenger of Islam (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) displayed an amazing self-sacrifice in establishing peace between the Muslims and the Polytheists. He was willing to order some of his companions to return back to Makkah [to live amongst the Polytheists just as they (the people of Makkah) had wished] just to make sure the peace treaty could be ratified. (We have gone into detail on this issue in our book, Furugh Abadiyyat).[10][48]
Elaborating on the importance of peace and friendship between two opposing parties, Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him), has said the following:
وَ صَلاٌحُ ذٌاتَ بَيْنَكُمْ فَإِنِّي سَمِعْتُ جَدَّكُمٌا يَقُولُ: صَلاٌحُ ذٌاتَ الْبَيْنِ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ عٌامَّةٍ الصَّلاٌةِ وَ الصِّيٌامِ
“I advise you (my two sons – al-Hasan and al-Husain) to establish and foster peace amongst two opposing parties, since surely I have heard your grandfather (the Messenger of Allah, blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) say, ‘Establishing peace between two opposing parties is better than praying and fasting for the entire year.”[11][49]
The commandment of establishing peace is so important in the view of Islam that the person who is trying to make peace (between two parties) is permitted to use any logical means at his disposal and he is even permitted to lie to the opposing parties to bring about this peace![12][50]
Standing up to an Oppressor
Without doubt, standing up to an oppressor is one of the sacred primary teachings of Islam. Principally, a majority of the Heavenly Prophets came from families who lived under the oppression and domination of tyrants.
In addition, there are very few Surah’s of the Qur’an in which the names and punishments of the tyrants is not mentioned (either directly or indirectly) and even in the verse under discussion, the Islamic society has been commanded to fight against tyrants and oppressors until they return back to the straight path and open the doors to the commandments of Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He). It is said in this verse:
…فَقٌاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّـى تَفِيءَ إِلـى أَمْرِ اللٌّهِ
“…then fight the revolting party until they submit to the command of Allah.”
In another place in the Qur’an, we are cautioned that no Muslim is permitted to take an oppressor as a protector; it has been mentioned:
وَ لاٌ تَرْكَنُوا إِلـى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا فَتَمَسَّكُمُ النٌّارُ
“And do not incline towards those people who are oppressive and do wrong or the fire will seize you.”[13][51]
The noble leader of the Shi`a world, Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him) has said, “Many times the Prophet of Islam (blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny) said:
لَنْ تُقَدَّسَ أُمَّةٌ لاٌ يُؤْخَذُ لِلضَّعِيفِ فِيهٌا حَقُّهُ مِنَ الْقَوِيِّ غَيْرَ مُتَتَعْـتِعٍ
“That nation or government in which the rights of the oppressed and destitute people are not guarded and where the mighty and powerful people are not forced to accede to these rights will never see happiness and salvation.”[14][52]
After being deprived of the right to lead the community for twenty-five years, Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him) explained the reason why he accepted the leadership (Khilafah), at that time:
أَمٌّا وَالَّذِي فَلَقَ الْحَبَّةَ وَبَرَأَ النَّسَمَةَ لَوْ لاٌ حُضُورُ الْحٌاضِرِ وَقِيٌامُ الْحُجَّةِ بِوُجُودِ النٌّاصِرِ وَ مٌا أَخَذَ اللٌّهُ عَلى الْعُلَمٌاءِ أَنْ لاٌّ يُقٌارُّوا عَلى كِظَّةِ ظٌالِمٍ وَ لاٌ سَغَبِ مَظْلُومٍ لَأََلَـقَيْتُ حَبْلَهٌا عَلى غٌارِبِهٌا وَ لَسَقَيْتُ آخِرَهٌا بِكَأْسِ أَوَّلِهٌا
“Behold, I swear by Him who split the grain (to grow) and created living beings that had it not been for the people coming to me and had the supporters not exhausted the argument and if there had not been the pledge of Allah with the scholars that they should not acquiesce in the gluttony of the oppressor and the hunger of the oppressed, I would have cast the rope (of Khilafah) on its own shoulders and would have given the last one the same treatment as to the first one.”[15][53]
Through his clear speech and the unmistakable events of Islamic history and keeping in mind that those who held the flag of the religion in every time were always the oppressed individuals of society and the powers who worked against the Prophets were the ones who made up the exploitation powers (of their time), is it correct what the materialists claim the following about religion that: “Religion instructs its followers to observe patience and tolerance in the face of oppression from the exploiters and that one should consider their oppression as being a part of undisputable fate and destiny that has protected the interests of the exploiters.”
“The pressures and forces exacted by the leaders in relation to their subjects and the extortion and encroachment on the rights of the Feudalists and the Aristocrats in relation to the oppressed and downtrodden people – even though it lead to violent uprisings – however, by drawing upon the parallels that these uprisings and ineffectiveness had, lead to consolation in the minds of those who were deprived amongst the society and thus it was slowly thought that religion had a stupefying effect on the soul of a person.”
The person who has even the least amount of knowledge in relation to the plan that religion has brought forth, would know that all of the incorrect observations (mentioned in the above mentioned quotes) were designed to confuse the people who do not know the truth and realities about religion.
The issue of observing patience is a belief that even the materialists of our time possess. It is indeed one of the upright principles of the ethical teachings which all nations and all people – including the materialists – have true faith in. Without this main ethical trait, there is not a single person who possesses aims and goals (for himself) that would ever be able to reach his objectives (without this trait).
This is so because the meaning of patience (sabr) is not that one gives in to the oppression of a tyrant. In no culture or in any of the books of ethical traits has patience been explained in this way. Rather, the meaning of patience (sabr) means to be firm on the path to reach one’s goals and to have endurance in the face of tribulations. Thus, there is not a single nation that has reached to any point without showing endurance and firmness (on the path towards their goal).[16][54]
Therefore, the true meaning of patience is opposite to that which the materialists imagine it to be as it truly means to be firm and resolved against the opposing enemies and opposition to the incorrect wishes and desires of the soul or the unpleasant events that happen in one’s life. Such an ethical principle is one which will destroy subjugation, demolish the empires of the oppressors and one which will bring about success and victory in the various stages of one’s personal life.
The aversion that Islam shows to oppression and tyranny is to such an extreme, that even the person who is pleased with an oppressor living is counted as being amongst those who commit oppression:
قٌالَ الإِمٌامُ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ الصٌّادِقُ (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاٌمُ): أَلْعٌامِلُ بِالظُّلْمِ وَ الْمُعِينُ لَهُ وَ الرٌّاضِي بِهِ شُرَكٌاءٌ

Imam Ja`far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said: “The person who oppresses (another person) and the one who helps him and the one who is pleased with him (oppressing someone else) are all equal to one another.”[17][55]
Safwan ibn Mahran, was one of the close friends and companions of Imam Musa ibn Ja`far al-Kadhim (peace be upon him) who owned many camels. One day the Imam (peace be upon him) reproached him by saying that, “All of your deeds are good except one of them and that is that you rent out your camels to Harun al-Rashid, the Oppressor.”
The companion said to the Imam, “I swear by Allah! I never rent him my camels for vain or prohibited acts. Rather, at the time of the Hajj, I give him my camels so that he is able to visit the House of Allah. I do not even go with him on this journey; rather, I send those who work with me to accompany him.”
The Imam replied, “When you give Harun the camels, do you request him to pay you in full before he takes them or does he give you an amount and then the rest is paid to you (when he returns)?”
Safwan replied, “He pays me an amount before he goes and then the rest when he returns from his trip.”
The Imam then asked Safwan, “Do you wish that Harun returns back from his trip alive so that he can pay you back the rest of the money that he owes you?”
The companion replied, “Yes.”
The Imam (peace be upon him) then said, “Whoever is happy or wishes that an oppressor is given a long life is considered as an oppressor himself and his eventual outcome will be the hell-fire.”[18][56]
Yes! That what the materialists say about religion has been extracted from Christianity and is close to the teachings of the Christian Church since in their opinion, one of the teachings of the Messiah (`Isa ibn Mariam, peace be upon them both) is that if a person hits you on one side of your face, then give him the other side too, as it is stated: “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him also the other.”[19][57]
[20][48] Volume 2, Page 580-603 (Third Printing); this can also be read in the English translation of the mentioned book entitled, The Message, published by Islamic Seminary Publications of Karachi, Pakistan, reprinted by Ansariyan Publications (Refer to Page 518 – 539).

wasseriadulanPositive Effects of Quranic Spiritual Technology

Scholars have argued that, just as religious beliefs in the United States and Europe have become less communal and more personal, the same is true in Islamic societies in the Middle East and Central Asia. Muslims are relying less on public sources of Islamic knowledge, they argue, and are instead turning to media such as poetry, art and technology to create personalized religious experiences. A similar phenomenon is occurring at the state-level. Historically, Muslims have had a cultural and religious center in the western Arabian Peninsula that includes both Mecca and Medina, Islam’s two holiest cities. Thanks to new localized religious identities emerging around the world, however, alternative centers of Islamic culture are being established in places like Africa, Asia and even the United States.

Information Sharing and the Islamic Ummah     f00058c87bf88c18d303c041942b7c36

Besides more personalized religious experiences, globalization has contrarily brought increased unity between Muslims globally. From the start, Islam has contained the concept of the “ummah,” or a global brotherhood of Muslims. The egalitarian philosophy of the ummah was long superseded by nationalistic and ethnic differences, but information sharing in the age of globalization is changing this. Thanks to the introduction of satellite television, the Internet, new books and magazines and international travel, Muslims are exposed to different Islamic cultural and religious traditions from around the world. Conservative support for only one type of Islam has given way to a liberalized celebration of the cultural and religious diversity of Muslims everywhere.

Sahih Muslim Hadith 6470 Narrated by Abu Hurayrah
The Messenger of Allah (saws) said:

“He who called people to righteousness, there would be reward (assured) for him, like the rewards of those who accepted and adhered to their invitation, without their rewards being diminished in any respect.”

  • Letters: An invitation to promote justice on International Anti-Corruption Day (I also invite you to promote values of equity and justice: all of society wins from that).

Opposition to Globalization

While some Muslims have welcomed the changes of globalization, it has also been met defensively in some conservative circles of the Islamic world. The essence of this defensive stance is a competitive effort to reaffirm local cultural and religious traditions in spite of the influx of Western liberalism as a result of globalization. This competition between new and old traditions is played out in the institutions that produce Islamic knowledge. Prior to globalization, a small number of Islamic jurists held a monopoly over Islamic knowledge and practice. The democratic values of Western liberalism, however, have created a widespread interest in Islamic knowledge across different segments of society. While this has created political and social reformers in Islamic societies, it has also created a sometimes violent backlash by defensive Muslim traditionalists.

  • Now let us inspect what Liberal Islam really denotes. One of the key hallmarks of liberalism is that individuals be accorded with absolute freedom of choice. In trying to apply this to Islam, its proponents call for a total reinterpretation of what Islam is and how an individual should practice it now. FMT LETTER: From Umar Hakim Mohd Tajuddin, via e-mail.

Globalization and Women’s Rights

The processes and opportunities that globalization has created in the Islamic world have not been evenly distributed at the state and individual levels. Women’s rights is one area in particular where its effects have been less forthcoming. In general, the status of women in a society depends on their contributions to production relative to men. While globalization has generated jobs in manufacturing and the exporting of goods in the Islamic word, the rate of female employment has remained stagnate. The increased participation of women in politics, society and the economy is a tenet of Western liberalism, but it is also a dramatic societal shift that is deeply opposed by conservative traditionalists throughout the Islamic world.


  • Annual Review of Anthropology: Multiple Modernities: Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism in a Globalizing Age; Robert W. Hefner
  • Middle East Journal: Globalization, International Finance, and Political Islam in the Arab World; Hamed El-Said et al.
  • Yale University: How to Create One Islamic Community in a Diverse World; Riaz Hassan
  • Journal of Business Ethics: Women, Management and Globalization in the Middle East; Beverly Dawn Metcalfe


  • The Ohio State University: Globalization and the Muslim World: Sub-Saharan Africa in a Comparative Context; Alamin Mazrui
  • The Institute for Ismaili Studies: Present Day Islam between Its Tradition and Globalisation; Mohammed Arkoun
  • Cambridge University: Women, Islam and Globalization in the Twenty-First Century; ed. Nilgün Anadolu-Okur

About the Author

Ethan Lazuk graduated with high honors and has specializations in cultural anthropology and Asian Studies with emphasis on the Middle East. He has published several academic research papers and editorial articles about world politics and cultural studies that have been featured in publications such as the “Arizona Republic” and the Huffington Post.

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The last few years has witnessed a revolution in online learning, many people are turning to the internet to educate themselves, switch careers, or change their life. This is fantastic as people have access to resources they never had before, says Jamie Alexandre at the Foundation for Learning Equality, but the fact that two-thirds of the world’s population still doesn’t have access to the internet means that a large proportion of people are excluded from this. And it’s the proportion of the world that would most benefit from this: the poor and disadvantaged.

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What Alexandre is doing is to create platforms that host all these resources and distribute them to communities that have little or no online access. KA Lite, their platform, allows students to do exercises, watch videos, and it tracks their progress. This has been distributed to over 80 countries around the world. It is open source, so anyone can download it, download the content to fill in the gaps, and then deploy that into any classroom, home orphanage, or any facility around the world.

What he has found is that children become highly engaged when they get immediate feedback on work. Teachers get more empowered, as they can respond to students and tailor lessons.


wwwpages: ineffableisland.com/2013/09/niacin-fountain-of-youth.html

There are several initiatives trying to connect the entire world to the internet, but the needs of unconnected communities need to be addressed now, says Alexandre. If we wait, they will be left behind.

Jamie Alexandre spoke to BBC Future at The Atlantic Meets The Pacific conference.

For more in our Future Education series, click here.


Interactive …more to share than to differ

An Article written by : Atiq Ebady

The misconceptions that surround Islam in this day and age are too great to number. A repeated scene is that of a Muslim having a discussion with a non-Muslim and trying to explain that Muslims are not terrorists, Muslims are not wife-beaters, that these actions are the deeds of a few which are then unjustly imposed on the whole Muslim population. But if the whole Muslim population had presented themselves in an Islamic manner in the first place, the reputation of a Muslim would be far too virtuous to allow the misdeeds of a few to tarnish the image of the whole Muslim world. But Muslims generally do not present Islamic values, they present Muslim values; and the difference between these two can sometimes be as vivid as night and day.

What do I mean by Islamic values and Muslim values? Islamic values are those that are set out in the Quran and the practice of the noble Messenger, Muhammad (S). Muslim values are those that are created as part of the culture of the Muslim communities. These include the day-to-day interaction between the Muslims and their outlook on Islam’s rules and regulations. The difference is that Islam is perfect and pure, while the values formulated by the Muslims may or may not be in accordance with Islam. The detriment that arises from this is that many times precedence is given to the Muslim values over the Islamic values.


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This is not to say that Muslims do not care about Islam, they care for and love Islam deeply, they have concern for their children’s Islamic upbringing and the welfare of the Muslims all over the world. But what happens is that certain practices become common among them and their mentalities are set on justifying these practices instead of accepting the Islamic rulings on such things. They become a part of the Muslim culture and mentality, and so it becomes difficult to try to explain to them that Islam forbids such things. Because of this transformation in mentality, the average person in such a community will be hostile to someone bringing Islamic rulings forbidding things such as music and dancing and enforcing things like hijab and modest conduct. Having gatherings and parties that center around music and dancing, and removal of the hijab and modest conduct have become common among many Muslims, and so they constitute what we have called Muslim values, as opposed to the Islamic values.


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The Muslim values are caused by a relaxation on the enforcement of Islamic laws. The Islamic values, principles, and priorities are contained within these laws. Prayer, fasting, charity, hajj, hijab, modesty, being kind to others, giving parents their due rights, emphasizing the importance of marriage, attending the Islamic centers and masjids, gaining knowledge, all of these are designed to build spiritually healthy individuals and a spiritually healthy society. When the performance of these actions is relaxed then a void is created that is receptive for outside and often unIslamic ideals.When there is relaxation then a distorted concept of freedom is adopted, it gives the Muslims the courage to challenge the Islamic laws and present their own philosophy as to why following the laws is not necessary. They make excuses to oppose the laws and create their own, when the Quran has clearly said,

And it behooves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Apostle have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Apostle, he surely strays off a manifest straying. (Al-Ahzab, 33:36)

An understanding has to be conveyed that the Muslim communities will only thrive if they adhere to the principles of Islam. The concept of Islam that the non-Muslims have is directly related to the actions of the Muslim communities, because the majority of them will not go out and research about Islam, they will make their judgments based on what they see the Muslims doing. So it is not surprising for them to think that Muslims drink alcohol, that they eat pork and haram food, they listen to music, dance, go to discos and nightclubs, engage in promiscuous relationships, and many other things that a Muslim should not be doing. On the flip side, it is not surprising for them to be ignorant of the fact that a Muslim is supposed to pray at least five times a day, he/she has to fast during Ramadhan, go to Hajj once in a lifetime, abstain from cursing and abusive language, abstain from backbiting, go to masjid on Fridays for jum’a prayer, read Quran, and other basic obligations that a Muslim has.

The result is that a distorted image of Islam, the pure and perfect religion, is presented to them, and in response the Muslims try to say that it is a few Muslims ruining it for the rest of them. But this is not the case, the responsibility lies with the majority of the Muslims who themselves are not acting Islamically. Yes, it is true that the terrorists are few, and that the equation of a Muslim with a terrorist is wrong and unjust. But this is an isolated incident, and in general it is the majority of the Muslims ruining things for themselves. This can only be corrected by starting at the root of the problem, the Muslim family and attendance in the Islamic centers. If the parents are consistent in teaching their children and are themselves consistent in practicing Islam, and if the entire family atte8044nds the Islamic centers on a regular basis, then we will see an amazing transformation in the conduct of the Muslims, as individuals and as communities.logo-small Then when the non-Muslims look to the actions of the Muslims they will actually learn about Islam, and will not have to worry about whether or not what they are seeing is Islam.

As Muslims, we have to strive to make our Muslim values the same as our Islamic values. Only then can we truly be considered believers.



الموضوع: الإشارة القرآنية لظلمة الكون …

surah maida 0050910

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